Tribes have played an integral part in the restoration
of buffalo in the United States. Individual Tribal members
and Tribes have been doing the hard work needed to
preserve this very important figure in historical Tribal
life since the early 1900s and continue today because
of the relationship Indian people have with the buffalo.
Early Tribal life was based around the buffalo and the
buffalo provided everything Tribal people needed to
live, including food, utensils, clothing and homes. This
has not been done out of a desire to preserve an animal
in a zoo setting or to have an animal around for show.
Tribal peoples feel that the restoration of the buffalo will
restore the strength of the Indian Nation.
The InterTribal Bison Cooperative’s mission statement
is: “To restore bison to Indian Nations in a manner
that is compatible with their spiritual and cultural beliefs
and practices.” Since inception in 1992 ITBC has grown
to 57 Tribes in 18 states with over fifty Tribal herds in
operation today. The restoration of buffalo can not come
at a better time as Tribal people have some of the highest
rates of obesity, diabetes, cardio-vascular disease and other
diet related illnesses. Buffalo meat is the healthiest red
meat available and can act as the cure for these diseases.
ITBC has been heavily involved in the Yellowstone
bison issues and continues this effort today. ITBC
developed alternatives to the current bison management
plan in place at Yellowstone but these were overlooked.
ITBC finds serious fault with any management plan in
which the only management action that takes place on
a regular basis is the wholesale slaughter of buffalo.
properly manage the Yellowstone buffalo through working
agreements with the Tribes and federal government
and would use techniques that are in use today in Tribal
herds. These techniques, developed through generations
of relationships with the buffalo, incorporate values into
the handling of the buffalo that treats the buffalo with
the respect and honor they deserve.
organizations to highlight the terrible injustice that the
Yellowstone buffalo are enduring for following their
natural instincts. ITBC believes that any management
option requires participation of Tribal peoples in order
to develop a program that will allow the buffalo to be