PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Did you know it’s National Bison Day? In 2016, the White House, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the InterTribal Buffalo Council, the National Bison Association, and the Vote Bison Coalition came together to designate the American bison as the US national mammal in the National Bison Legacy Act. The call for nomination came from several organizations that want to protect this animal that roams the grasslands that has been appreciated and respected by indigenous groups for centuries.
Due to wasteful hunting practices and the systematic movement to indigenous reserves and out of their homelands, bison populations were on the verge of extinction. As a result, the number of bison in the USA fell from 40 million to less than 1,000 in the 20th century. at the beginning of the century
In 1867, a member of the US Army ordered his troops to “kill every buffalo you can. Every buffalo killed is an Indian gone.” General Phil Sheridan, a top military commander at the time, allegedly told his troops to destroy the animals as the only way to bring the West under control. saying he believed it. It was not uncommon for tourists to take trains from the west and shoot bison, sticking guns through windows and shooting as they passed. One of these “hunting trips” reported 120 buffalo killed in 40 minutes.
Critical to their survival, bison provided American Indians with not only food, shelter, and tools, but a model for living. For the American Indians, the bison also represents their spirit and reminds them of how their lives were once lived, free and in harmony with nature… Because the bison gave them many gifts: from tepees and clothes made of hides to grease and soap. tools made of bone, they honored them as relatives and paid tribute to them through songs, dances and prayers.”
Recognizing that these hunting trips were unsustainable, former President Theodore Roosevelt and other government officials founded the American Bison Society in 1905 to save the animals. Thanks to their efforts and the work of the InterTribal Buffalo Council, the Department of the Interior says there are 17 bison herds. Consisting of more than 10,000 bison spread over 4.6 million acres in the US. In addition, more than 6,000 bison call Yellowstone National Park home, and more than a million acres of tribal land are also home to several of these herds.
Home Secretary Deb Haaland tweeted about the special day:
Bison are different from buffalo, as they are found in North and South America and Europe. Buffalo are found in Africa and Asia, according to National Today. Fun fact: Bison can run 35 miles per hour!
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