Rosalie Little Thunder, Pte Oyate 

Darrell Geist, Buffalo Field Campaign

We write to you still in the aftershock of the unconscionable tribal participation in the most recent government slaughter of wild buffalo in Yellowstone National Park and Montana. We feel compelled to share our insight on how this corrosive process began.

In the early 1990s Montana cattle ranchers were in an uproar over the migration of buffalo to habitat in Montana beyond Yellowstone National Park’s borders. Sounding the battle cry of brucellosis disease, cattle ranchers manipulated the Montana legislature into creating MCA 81-2-120. This new law delegated authority over the public’s only wild buffalo population to livestock inspectors and the state veterinarian.

Soon after livestock interests got control over wild buffalo, Governor Marc Racicot and the state used MCA 81-2-120 as a legal battering ram against Yellowstone National Park for “permitting” wild buffalo to naturally migrate. A court-forced legal settlement created the Interagency Bison Management Plan that has been in place since 2000. The plan is for the American people to pay the Montana Department of Livestock and Yellowstone National Park to harm and destroy our country’s last wild buffalo on our National Parks and National Forests.

Irrational “permanent haze-back” deadlines and “bison-tolerant zones” have harmed the buffalo and degraded wildlife habitat. In this government-led war against the buffalo, the public will not hear about the contributions that buffalo provide to the ecosystem. The government does not bring public attention to the suffering it has caused to native plants, birds and animals when newborn buffalo calves flee Montana, driven away under the propellers of livestock agency helicopters. Harassing still pregnant buffalo and baby calves off nourishing spring grasses from our public forests and parks is an unreported crime.

Following instinctive faithfulness to calving grounds, migratory buffalo must run a lethal gauntlet of Treaty and state hunters along the Park’s borders to adjoining National Forest lands. Wild buffalo must further suffer the harm of captivity in traps on public and private lands. This near-threatened and ecologically extinct native species is further subject to population control experiments with sterilizing agents. Our heritage of wild buffalo is quarantined to produce new offspring for commercial domestic profit. An arbitrary line is drawn on the map beyond which migratory buffalo can never roam again.

Sympathetic landowners who willingly share their private land with the buffalo are subject to intimidation by armed livestock inspectors and a cadre of government agents who trespass on private land to harass all buffalo out of Montana. The often-heard refrain is: “It’s all part of the plan.” But this heavily biased plan is man-made and can be changed.

Ignoring long standing condemnation of the government-led buffalo slaughter by American Indian Tribes and traditional leaders, the InterTribal Buffalo Council and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes entered into deals with the National Park Service to take hundreds of “surplus” buffalo to slaughter this winter. The Nez Perce Tribe has also signed a slaughter deal. The Park is pursuing similar arrangements with other Tribal governments to set-up an operational quarantine – a livestock factory – to domesticate wild buffalo. Backing a trailer up to a trap in Yellowstone Park where buffalo are confined and transporting them to slaughter has nothing to do with tradition or the sacred or sovereign rights of tribes.

Our tribal councils and leaders are occupied with many challenges and do not have ready access to adequate information about the Yellowstone buffalo herd’s fate. Oftentimes decision-makers are distanced from their own councils and advisors, traditional and spiritual. Unfortunately, the decisions made on wild buffalo continue to serve the interests of the Montana Department of Livestock and the National Park Service first.

With the sanction of MCA 81-2-120, Montana and Yellowstone National Park have shot or captured for slaughter 5,097 wild buffalo. This winter, with the shield of tribal involvement, several hundred buffalo were captured for shipment to slaughterhouses.

The deception that buffalo are a disease risk is not fair to the tribes or the American people. Since cattle infected buffalo in captivity on the Lamar Buffalo Ranch a century ago, there has been no case of wild buffalo transmitting brucellosis back to cattle. Our relative, the buffalo, has been found guilty while the evidence of their innocence has been buried.

How did this state of affairs come to be?

This highly corrupt plan, and the law upon which it is based, would cease to function without the support of the U.S. Congress. Our representatives in Washington D.C. have misappropriated $40 million of the American people’s money to fund a tragic and disastrous death policy for our national icon.

In spite of fourteen years of the Interagency Bison Management Plan’s existence, Montana has not conceded to giving even one more acre of year-round habitat to migratory buffalo. There is no ‘kill-free’ zone for a native species Montana’s own biologists recognize as vulnerable to “extinction or extirpation in the state.”

A long overdue public process to review year-round buffalo habitat by Montana was recently blocked by cattle ranchers in collusion with the Board of Livestock. But even under the most “tolerant” alternative, wild buffalo would be confined to 0.4% of Montana’s habitat. Montana cattle ranchers now intend for the public and the tribes to swallow a poison pill: a fragment of year-round habitat in exchange for continuously slaughtering buffalo.

The boogeyman of brucellosis raised by cattle ranchers to seize management authority over the public’s wild buffalo no longer exists.

Today, cattle are being managed under a U.S. Dept. of Agriculture-APHIS approved and taxpayer supported plan. Ranchers benefit $9.50 to $14 per head by vaccinating cattle. Despite the few cases of brucellosis transmission from wild elk to cattle, Montana’s Designated Surveillance Area rules have protected the state’s brucellosis free status. Statewide, the cost-savings for Montana cattle ranchers is $22 to $46 million dollars and multiplying. The new rules have also removed whole herd cattle slaughter and diminished the threat of state sanctions against Montana cattle that contract brucellosis.

Montana’s cattle ranchers are being taken care of, but the public’s one remaining population of wild buffalo is being massacred.

Montana’s Constitution mandates that we take special considerations to ensure the persistence of native wildlife species for future generations. We must rally to repeal the corrupting influence of MCA 81-2-120, a misbegotten law that is destroying our natural and cultural heritage. Montanans must act together and provide a welcome home for wild buffalo.

Traditional people must guide our tribal leadership in a manner that reflects the integrity of our historical and cultural relationship with our relative, the buffalo. Montana politics has made a mockery of a keystone species. The capitalist culture has commodified the buffalo for shameless profit. The slaughter of the buffalo is not about a disease, really. It is about a commodity and profiting from that commodity. We, as a species, must take into account how our beliefs and actions are affecting the future of all species. We must make every effort to acknowledge the need for a care-taking culture that respects and honors the role of a sacred species.

Can decision-makers rise above the intense politics that swirl around this sacred species? Can we root out the entrenched, corrupt forces that threaten the future of wild buffalo? The time yet to come for buffalo now rests upon the vision, courage and leadership of our tribal leaders and the American people.


Rosalie Little Thunder, Pte Oyate
Phone: (605) 939-1005

Darrell Geist, habitat coordinator, Buffalo Field Campaign
Phone: (406) 646-0070

About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

61 Responses to An Open Letter to Tribal Leaders and the American People.

  1. Lyn McCormick says:

    I don’t understand why it is (mandated ?) that after the buffalo are relinquished to the Tribes that they are destined to go directly to slaughter ? Once they are Tribal property they should not have to meet the regulatory requirements of the MDL. If the IBMP is concerned about retaining and maintaining the gene pool of this herd, why shouldn’t they be allowed to join other Tribal herds ?

  2. Ida Lupine says:

    The Interior Dept.’s so-called ‘mitigation’ corridors can’t come soon enough. I just do not understand why we have such persistent, irrational views about bison and wolves.

    • Nancy says:

      “I just do not understand why we have such persistent, irrational views about bison and wolves”

      Ida – and I can’t understand why “we” would think a gravel road (that would suddenly open too many avenues of human opportunity up) thru an important wildlife migration route (Alaska) shouldn’t trump people who decide to live isolated and, have had everything in the way of medical needs addressed.

      And I can’t understand why “we” sit on the sidelines when it comes to people like Bundy (waiting for the jury to come in ? “) to realize how destructive his cattle are and have been, to what’s left of a very fragile wildlife habitat.

      Research Ida. Lots of good sites and people out there who “walk the talk” when it comes to wildlife and habitat. Or if you really care about the issues, get your butt in gear and in a rig and come visit 🙂

      You get my point?

      • Ida Lupines says:


      • Ida Lupines says:

        I guess I don’t understand what makes one migration route more important than another one? Except partisan politics. And people didn’t just decide to live there, they have lived there for generations – I believe the majority are Native Alaskans. We don’t just tell someone down in the lower 48 to move if they don’t like it! There is already a network of roads there. It’s all rather arbitrary. I realize cattle are damaging, but not nearly as damaging as permanent development.

  3. Kathy Vile says:

    It seems that once again it is all about the cattle and the men and women who stand to make a lot of money off of them while spending the least amount of money raising and caring for them. Any wild and natural animal that gets in their way will be slaughtered.

  4. Randy Fischer says:

    When it comes to our ecologic issues, Wildlife News is the most informative resource on the internet, and its obviously getting better all the time.

    I always wondered why the native people participated (with those that are stealing from the land) in these crimes against ecosystem, bison and heritage…life.
    One thing for sure – those indians have a significant presence in this issue. I’m hoping Rosalie’s insight and leadership finds its way to the fight for these free buffalo.

    After reading Rosalie’s letter I now believe there is a chance they could begin to participate with a significant influence, to change the current policy of destruction.

    • Mark L says:

      I’m curious of what the exact obligation for the tribes receiving the buffalo are. I know it sounds like science fiction, but could the tribes legally remove the fetuses from the pregnant females before killing them once they receive them, thereby fulfilling their legal obligation, but possibly saving the calf?

    • mikepost says:

      It is part of the great myth of the west that native peoples were great stewards of the natural world. They have been altering and manipulating habitat and wildlife for thousands of years for their own benefit. One only has to try and envision what the aftermath of a “jump” would look like, after natives stampeded dozens of bison over a cliff and then slowly killed the maimed and injured animals that were piled one on top of the other at the bottom. Native peoples certainly got a raw deal in this country but that does not excuse their own ecological faults.

      • Lyn McCormick says:

        Mike, have you seen the documentary “Surviving Progress”‎

        It talks about the ascent of man and his ability to problem solve and in the course of becoming more efficient, using the early pre-historic hunting methods of running animals off cliffs as one example, how & why this human trait came about and what the end result was – and so it goes with human history, it repeats itself.

        The MDL / IBMP (mandate ?) that the bison be killed, and rumor has it, without regard for the sex of the animal and unborn offspring, and that it appears to happen outside the context of the traditional spiritual & cultural framework of the Native people is confusing to me. It makes me sad to hear these things but I have yet to hear the perspective on this issue.

      • alf says:

        Yes, I believe that many, if not most, anthropologists and paleontologists now believe that the First Nations were at least partially responsible for the extinction of the North American Pleistocene megafauna.

        The main differences between what the pre-European-contact First Nations people did and what we’re doing now, I believe, is that:

        (1) The First Nations people’s technology was indiscriminate and often wasteful, but it didn’t allow for many alternatives. The technology available to them made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to select individual target animals by age, sex, or whatever. Until they acquired the horse, they had few alternatives other than buffalo jumps, driving entire herds into bogs, and similar actions. And there was no assurance when they could make the next kill, so they had to stock up surpluses whenever they could.

        (2) Often their alterations of the landscape and ecosystems was done slowly, over a relatively long period of time – such a long period that in the timeframe of humans it was imperceptible – and they therefore probably weren’t even aware of the changes they were making. (Obvious exceptions include such things as deliberate setting of fires to encourage desirable plants.)

        (3) Finally, and most important : WE KNOW BETTER ! We continue to dig, plow, divert, dam, dewater, dump, burn and poison, knowing full well the damage we’re doing, but in our short-sighted greed and desire for instant gratification we do it anyway, hoping that we can postpone the inevitable until we’re gone and we won’t have to pay the piper – but our children or their children will.

  5. Carol Newton says:

    Every time I read about wild creatures: horses, bison, elk, deer, wolves–the list goes on–the government and/or the cattle ranchers are trying to control, ie: slaughter, them!!! Is there nothing sacred? These animals are a part of our land, of our ecosystem, of our heritage, and of our hearts. Is there any chance, do you think, that at some point in time the government will actually make decisions of this sort based on what is morally, ethically and ecologically right? What a concept! I have been a vegetarian for years, and I resent the fact that my tax money is in any way involved in these contemptuous acts of “management” by local and federal governments. I’m embarrassed that these governments are so ignorant, greedy and thoughtless.

  6. LM says:

    Nancy, Carol, Ida, everybody,
    Here’s how you “walk the talk” and do business with Washington. See link below, specifically Video # 3 Victoria McCullough’s (CEO Chesapeake Petroleum) presentation at the Equine Welfare Alliance Summit last weekend. She pulls out all the stops on behalf of equines while pulling in the VP, Joe Biden, and gets the job done.

    • Randy Fischer says:

      Walking the talk has its levels of influence which all converge on common ground, and as I watched the Victoria McCullough segment it is easy to recognize that she is a rare and valuable element in closing the deal, but if it was not for the humble but brave efforts of Susan Wagner who initially organized the efforts, Miss McCullough’s contributions may have been missed.

      I also want to congratulate Rosalie and Pte (and all those in support) who are certainly walking the talk, and who may well have started a powerful movement in Montana…

      A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

  7. Immer Treue says:

    Why is there any need for bison slaughter, tribal or otherwise.

    According to world renowned bison expert Don Peay… Wolves…”there has been an 80% reduction in the greater Yellowstone elk herds, moose are for all practical purposes gone from Yellowstone, and now the bison are the final prey… And they are declining as well.”

    Page 103 The Real Wolf

    • alf says:

      The “80% reduction in the greater Yellowstone elk herds” (if true) just bring them into something approaching the carrying capacity of the ecosystem. Because of the reduction in elk numbers in the park, riparian areas are regenerating; and because the willows are recovering, there’s more songbird habitat, and beaver are recolonizing streams from which they’ve been absent for decades.

      I don’t have the numbers in front of me, and I’m not going to take the time to look them up, but I believe that in both MT and ID, in the majority of game management units – including those adjacent to YNP – elk numbers are at or above the state wildlife management agencies’ targets. In WY the numbers are artificially high, because of the feeding grounds.

      I don’t know about moose numbers in the park, but just a couple weeks ago I asked an Idaho F&G officer if moose were in decline here (eastern Idaho), like they are in the NE and Lake States. The answer was, “No they’re doing fine here.”

      You seem to suggest that the alleged decline in bison numbers in the park is wolf-caused. Blame humans, not wolves.

      A friend of mine is a semiprofessional nature photographer, and he spends a lot of time in YNP observing and photographing its wildlife. He tells me that wolves seldom hunt bison, that their main prey are elk. He also tells me that around Gardner and in the Lamar Valley they’ve so exceeded the carrying capacity that they’re creating resource damage : many areas are beaten out dust bowls. (I have complete faith and trust in my source. He’s a retired federal employee, a very knowledgeable professional resource specialist, with no agendas or axes to grind.)

      Unless I’m confusing it with another screed with a similar title, from what I’ve heard and the reviews I’ve read, “The Real Wolf” is nothing but an anti-wolf rant, running the entire gamut from half-truths to outright falsehoods.

      Disclaimer, and in the interest of full disclosure : I haven’t personally seen “The Real Wolf”, so I may be wrongly informed, and if so, I apologize.

      • Immer Treue says:


        Sorry you took it to heart. My comment was pure sarcasm, in particular Peay’s comment about bison. 🙂

        • Nancy says:

          Immer – After I read alf’s post I googled your excellent review re: The Real Wolf book.

          and found an Immer on the book review Amazon site that tossed 5 stars into the mix of reviews, praising the book. Not sure what the hell is going on there.

          • Immer Treue says:


            Where did you see it? I know, at least for a while yet, they have the most helpful favorable, and most helpful critical reviews next to each other. Don’t see another Immer.

            • Nancy says:

              Immer – it was on the Amazon book review of The Real
              Wolf. I tried to bring the review back up again and couldn’t find it but having read your initial review, I was floored when I read just the first few words of this review praising the book.

            • Nancy says:

              Immer – spent last night and this morning trying to figure out what I typed into the search engine that brought me to that review. Even went over the other reviews on the Amazon site thinking I might of read the wrong one. Sorry I didn’t copy the link.

              • Immer Treue says:

                Believe it or not, I have enough material about The Real Wolf to write another review of the same length, or more. The book is promoted as something different, but is nothing more than a facade for hate and wolf extermination.

                It needs to be exposed for what it is. Just recently in TWN George Wuerthner has a piece, “A Response to Paul Clark’s Editorial on Wolves in Herald News. All Clark did was lift a few points from The Real Wolf.

              • JEFF E says:

                “needs to be exposed for what it is”

                which is expensive toilet paper

        • Louise Kane says:

          Alf you may not read the Wildlife News as much as some here, other wise you’d know that Immer would never make a comment like that unless laced with a heavy dose of sarcasm. But good retort

  8. Yvette says:

    One of the things that hurt and hindered all tribes on this continent was we were not one single nation. We were many ‘nations’. As far back as the first decade of the 19th century, Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, tried to convince all of the tribes along the eastern portion of the continent to unite against the new settlers. He failed. Essentially, that is one of the primary reasons we tribes lost this continent. We were not united, because we were many nations just as we are today.

    Our tribal councils and leaders are occupied with many challenges and do not have ready access to adequate information about the Yellowstone buffalo herd’s fate. Oftentimes decision-makers are distanced from their own councils and advisors, traditional and spiritual.

    My experience is I’ve never seen one tribe interfere with another tribe’s decisions on what is best for that tribe, nor do we have the power to interfere. Sovereignty can be a blessing, but it may be that Montana lawmakers saw an opportunity to divide and conquer over the decisions pertaining to wild buffalo. In today’s world, most of the tribal leaders that I know of are politicians, and they behave like politicians. While every tribe is different, some of the more progressive tribes fail to thoroughly listen to their traditional people. This presents a problem for both tribal unity and inter-tribal unity. That division is detrimental to us. It always has been.

    We are living in strange times. Our world is rapidly changing due to many different actions by mankind. Tribes have little left from the vast wilderness we once called home, but so too, does everyone else. Our wild animals are losing habitat, we’re losing wild lands in both quantity and quality, and we’re losing wild animals. Our world is impacted by modernization and progress. From the short time I’ve been participating on TWN I’m learning how powerful and influential the livestock industry is. Where Tecumseh failed to unite tribes, we have a chance to succeed now. Unity must be inter-tribal, including tribes whose traditions did not include a close relationship with the buffalo, and it must also include non-tribal Americans. They too, have a large stake in conservation, land, and animal protection.

    Traditional people must guide our tribal leadership in a manner that reflects the integrity of our historical and cultural relationship with our relative, the buffalo. Montana politics has made a mockery of a keystone species. The capitalist culture has commodified the buffalo for shameless profit. The slaughter of the buffalo is not about a disease, really. It is about a commodity and profiting from that commodity.

    Again, every tribe is different, but many of our tribal leaders are politicians, and I’ve seen conflict between the more traditional people and tribal politicians. Yes, tribes have many concerns, and one is economics, but in the process of colonization and assimilation some of us are at either end of the spectrum; living in extreme poverty or our tribal leaders are caught up in ‘capitalism on steroids’, rather than in a healthy mid-range.

    In mid-April we witnessed one single rogue rancher unite with like-minded people to stand against a federal agency. We saw Americans behaving at their worst, and they are still at it. But just this past week we witnessed an inter-tribal unity on an international scale because it included American tribes and Canadian First Nations unite with farmers and ranchers. Called the ‘Cowboys and Indians’, they were united in their cause to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. In all of my years, I’ve never witnessed that kind of unity between tribes and non-American Indians.

    Even those tribes, like my own, that are not traditionally tied to the buffalo, must stand with those tribes in this battle. Additionally, we Native Americans must not shun or exclude those people that are not Native American. Tribes have the potential to offer something that NGOs do not have; sovereignty. With that sovereignty, I believe government to government consultation is legally mandated if it is a federal issue. The wild buffalo are on federal land. In that respect, it is a federal issue. NGOs can offer additional experience in science, and on conservation and legal matters.

    Because our natural world is being adversely affected at such an enormous scale this goes beyond the buffalo. As Rosalie Little Thunder stated, “this is not really about brucellosis”. This is ultimately about the power of the livestock industry in a changing world. Perhaps it is the buffalo that will finally unite tribes, and spread that unity to NGOs and other like-minded people. In my opinion, it will take those kinds of numbers to succeed in protecting the buffalo, the wolf, and all wildlife and the wild lands.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Hear, hear!

      • Lyn McCormick says:

        It goes beyond the LS industry – its BIG AG

        This months Nat’l Geo front page headline:

        “EAT – The New Food Revolution, Serving more than 7 billion every day”

      • Lyn McCormick says:

        Here, here ! (which is it?):)

    • Lyn McCormick says:

      Yvette, I saw a link about that someplace, Cowboy’s & Indians but can’t find it. Do yo have a link ? Tks.LM

    • Louise Kane says:

      Yvette that was an amazing post thank you

      • Louise Kane says:

        I love seeing your posts lately and am glad you write here.

        • Yvette says:

          Thank you, Louise, though I got a bit carried away and the post is too long. I get excited when I see the potential to build on a different way to work to toward resolving a conservation problem.

          The scale of what we’re facing on conservation and environmental problems is overwhelming, so too, is the corruption in politics that drives the policy and laws. How do ordinary people overcome that level of power?

          With a little more reading I saw that the Buffalo Field Campaign was already working Native Americans.

          What I’d like to see is various groups of people combine all of the tools they can bring to the table. Tribal sovereignty could be a tool, but that comes from the tribe and not individuals. What if the majority of tribes in a region linked with NGOs on an issue? If that were to ever happen then we might start building a force to reckon with,or….it might just be my pipe dream.

          The Cowboy and Indian Alliance was by individuals, and not tribal nations, but it’s still something to take notice of, IMO. It was still exciting for me to witness these people come together.

          • Nancy says:

            No doubt how this crop circle got there 🙂


          • Debra K says:

            Yvette, I share your sentiments. I have long thought that the tribes and conservation groups would be powerful allies. We have seen some of that combined power in the lawsuits involving bighorn sheep, Megaloads and the salmon Snake River Dams.

            How do we get more NGOs and tribes into alliances? It’s been my observation that many Native Americans are (understandably) hesitant to get involved in the conquering authority’s politics and policies. And conservation groups sometimes appear to have a narrow-minded focus on their pet issues, and an “us vs. them” mindset.

            From your perspective, what are some concrete steps the conservation groups or other interested persons could take to work cooperatively with the tribes?

            • Yvette says:

              Debra K, your post is spot on. My experience is both tribes, and individual Native Americans have a tendency to be hesitant toward getting heavily involved outside non-tribal groups, especially state agencies. I don’t have an answer, and there are multiple variables for reasons why. In my job, I try to work with the state conservation folks, and even though there have been times we’re cautious of one another.

              I don’t necessarily think it’s detrimental for NGOs to be focused on single issues. I think it’s good to narrow down a problem or issue. I have been thinking about some ‘what ifs’, though. Could it be possible for various NGOs to join together on some issues? Perhaps, in a similar manner in how several NGOs have filed suits against ID for some of the wolf and other conservation strategies they’ve implemented.

              Another thing to consider is in-fighting within groups. Although I’ve never personally been deeply involved in activism, I’ve seen groups splinter and fight.

              My deal is, right now I’m working full-time and working on an M.S., but should be finished by December. My time is limited until I finish. It’s unlikely I’ll go for a PhD due to my age and my job, but I do plan to shift gears and start working on conservation and wildlife issues outside of my job.

          • Louise Kane says:

            Yvette I have often thought that without what I think of as collaborative advocacy many important issues get squashed. Institutions like Big Game Forever (that I detest) seem to work well in their unity against wolves and coordinate with others to create anti predator policy. There is so much squabbling among NGOs its hard to see how anything will ever change. I’d like to see a wolf coordinator position that is paid by numerous NGOs and whose mission is to coordinate a national effort to combat anti wolf hysteria and to create better policy. Maybe this will come from the tribal nations?

            • Yvette says:

              Tribes squabble just as much as everyone else. As for tribes, they are governments and governments have politicians. It varies from tribe to tribe, but I don’t see any of the tribes in my region taking much of an interest in wolves since wolves were extirpated from Oklahoma by the 1930’s. I don’t even any other wildlife issues. I could be wrong.

              I do wonder what it will take to level off some of the management extremes when it comes to predators. I’m sort of sick and tired of being sick and tired of seeing how some states are foaming at the mouths with their wolf management, and other predator programs.

              The thing about tribes is they can rise up, and if they join inter-tribal forces with select NGOs they might be able to accomplish positive change. I think it would take a liaison to get it accomplished, and they probably would need to be Indian to get the tribe’s trust and interest. I’m just thinking out loud. I don’t about some of the larger NGO’s either. I’ve not worked with any of them, but the send me a lot of emails requesting donations. There is bound to be a better approach.

              All I really know is it’s going to take creativity to get any positive change when dealing with the power structure of the hunting and agriculture industries, and then add the NRA.

              • Yvette says:

                Oy, left out a few words. It should read, “I don’t see them taking much interest in other wildlife issues either.”

            • LM says:

              Louise, I wonder about the same thing – how to congeal the collective purpose into a more formidable, politically connected group, like a PAC. Is it because the NGO’s & non-profits are competing for the same public money to
              survive ? I don’t think it’s an ego or competition issue, I think it’s shear survival, but it seems redundant and wasteful. A coalition of advocates from Northern Colorado proposed the “collaborative” concept at the Equine Advocates Summit 2 weeks ago. No consensus has come about yet, but it seems that it is a common topic and a thread of consensus amongst those of us out “on the back forty”. There were many good topics discussed at the Summit re: holding mainstream Media accountable to the facts, population control of wh&b with contraception, which by the way has been successfully done for two decades, although predation is still the preferred method, or managing for both. But, I guess my point is that there IS a consensus on all fronts re: conservation that structural change needs to occur. One of the speakers at the Summit, Allen Rutberg PhD Tufts University said in effect that lawsuits only work to stop the agencies from doing something illegal but do not necessarily effect structural change. And, eventhough there are Federal mandates as to how things are to be done, many of the Regional & District managers are “renegades” and unless DOI polices them the structural changes won’t take place. So, isn’t this the same scenario that we face at the State level ? It’s a conundrum and I’m gleaning for the answer. I agree, if the Tribes were to collaborate and unite under a common cause they would be a powerful force because they have an innate spiritual & cultural tradition and connection to the earth and do at some levels still practice “the ways”. It’s worth praying and fighting for 🙂

              • Yvette says:

                The reason I’d like to see tribes take an interest, get involved and fully engage to collaborate with NGOs is because if the tribes (even some of them) unite, they can bring something to the table that no one else has….tribal sovereignty. Even though that sovereignty applies only to reservation or trust lands, it still means that government agencies, like all of the federal agencies are mandated to consult with them on a government to government basis. Plus, actions that happen outside reservation boundaries still can effect environmental/conservation factors within the reservation.

                One or 2 small tribes may not have much power, but you get 10, 20, 30 involved then a force is being built.

                IMO, to get that accomplished it will take tribal members pushing their tribal elected officials to get involved.

                • LM says:

                  Yes, I agree – the fact that they are Sovereign gives the extra political clout that is needed. But how do you get the “Capitalists on steroids” to create a money trail to facilitate conservation efforts. During a round-up and removal of reservation horses last year the people of that tribe protested and the Tribal President immediately retracted his decision and apologized to his people. It was too little, too late and many lost their beloved horses to slaughter. It was hard not to question if his motives were pre-meditated and intentional, because that’s how politicians do business, but I had the sense that he was actually humbled by the will of the people and it took courage to admit that he did wrong by them. I sensed it was him being caught between Capitalism and Culturalism & I felt sorry for him.

              • Louise Kane says:

                Thanks LM and Yvette for your insights and thoughts on collaboration. I think there is a great deal of ego and infighting as well as competing for dollars. I’d like to see some of the NGOs merge with different divisions like companies do sometimes. That would be interesting. “All I really know is it’s going to take creativity to get any positive change when dealing with the power structure of the hunting and agriculture industries, and then add the NRA.”

                “One of the speakers at the Summit, Allen Rutberg PhD Tufts University said in effect that lawsuits only work to stop the agencies from doing something illegal but do not necessarily effect structural change. ” so true always on the defensive….

    • Randy Fischer says:

      It is very enlightening and encouraging to hear from you Yvette. I hope we get more opportunities hear from you, Rosalie Little Thunder, and many other Native American Indians. I can assure you there is a significant audience.

  9. Gary Humbard says:

    The Department of Interiors logo has ironically the bison on it. The way the department makes decisions, it should replace the bison with a cow and a sheep. Pathetic.

    Sometimes it gets politicians attention when photos are sent showing bison being hazed, their gut piles located just outside YNP and being loaded into trucks for slaughter like cattle. Photos can be powerful.

  10. Louise Kane says:

    500 sports fisherman at Bonneville Dam
    38 sea lions
    hazing and branding continues……
    humans are really cruel, selfish creatures

    • Ida Lupine says:

      It used to present a conflict – sea lions protected by the MMPA and the salmon protected too. How did we manage to get around it? When it comes avoiding doing the right thing if it isn’t beneficial to us and rationalizing why, we humans are endlessly creative.

    • Nancy says:

      Another sad article from the same site Louise:

      “That so-called “evolution” stuff is just some big lie made up by “scientists” who don’t know shit from Shinola and probably work for that other arch-enemy: the federal government. (Forget that the government has practically handed you a living since they granted your ancestors their first commercial fishing license.)”

      • Louise Kane says:

        Nancy its so overwhelming to see these bad policies that extend ecosystem wide with humans taking what they want (not need) and hating, hazing and killing other beings for needing to eat and even inhabit land we think of as our own. Rarely a thought about how it impacts other species and if so not much done about it. I think a huge shift is needed in management policies and that without it one can expect to see intermittent wildlife parks where some limited animals exist in paltry and continually harassed numbers. There is no willingness to relinquish even small areas to wildlife or to designate off limits areas. Its so egocentric, disturbing and ultimately destructive.

  11. WyoWolfFan says:

    Great letter that really sums up the problem.

  12. Lyn McCormick says:

    Good news on the bison front. Alaska to reintroduce Woods Bison. I hope this link works – let me know if it doesn’t


April 2014


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey