Tribal Bison Slaughter Illegal?

Tribal members gutting a bison killed on Custer Gallatin National Forest land near Gardiner, Montana. 

As of a week ago, as many as 1,139 bison have been slaughtered by tribal members. Yet the entire so-called tribal bison “hunt” may be illegal. Yet, no group, including those who profess to care about the bison, including the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and Buffalo Field Campaign, has been willing to challenge the tribal assertions that they have “treaty rights” to kill Yellowstone bison.

Here’s a link showing the aftermath of this horrific slaughter of our national mammal.

WHY TRIBAL HUNT BY GARDINER MAY BE ILLEGAL

Please bear with me as I explain why tribal hunts may be illegal.

The treaties between the tribes currently killing bison at the boundary of Yellowstone National Park and the U.S. government typically designated a “reservation” where the tribe would live.

Most treaties also include reserved rights outside the reservation borders, including the “privilege of hunting on open and unclaimed lands that the tribes ceded to the U.S. government.  

  1. Article 3 or 4 common to all Treaties: Nez Perce Treaty of 1855 -Hell Gate Treaty of 1855, Confederated tribes of the Flathead, Kootenay, and Upper Pend d’Oreilles Indians, Confederated Tribes of Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla, and Fort Bridger Treaty (Eastern Band Shoshoni and Bannock 1868)

The exclusive right of taking fish in all the streams where running through or bordering said reservation is further secured to said Indians: as also the right of taking fish at all usual and accustomed places in common with citizens of the territory, and of erecting temporary buildings for curing, together with the privilege of hunting, gathering roots and berries, and pasturing their horses and cattle upon open and unclaimed land.

One legal review I read concludes that to determine the existence of original Indian title to land, and the right to hunt and fish following from that title, courts have generally required a showing of actual use and occupancy over an extended period of time. In Mitchel v. United States [34 U.S. (9 Pet.) 711, 9 L.Ed. 283 (1835)] the United States Supreme Court said: Indian possession or occupation was considered with reference to their habits and modes of life; their hunting grounds were as much in their actual possession as the cleared fields of the whites; and their rights to its exclusive enjoyment in their own way and for their own purposes were as much respected, until they abandoned them, made a cession to the government, or an authorized sale to individuals.

These “ceded lands” extend beyond the reservation boundaries and are defined primarily as certain public lands (such as National Forests) not set aside for uses incompatible with hunting, like national parks.

Such public lands are considered open and unclaimed and open to hunting. The specific boundaries of ceded lands are usually described in treaties.

As sovereign governments, the tribes exercise their right to set regulations that may differ from those established by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission. On their reservations and ceded lands, tribes are not obligated to follow state wildlife game laws. Instead, they can set up their seasons, bag limits, and other necessary restrictions. The tribes are responsible for enforcing their own regulations.

Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, part of the Crow Tribe’s ceded lands. Photo George Wuerthner 

The legality of hunting on ceded lands was recently upheld by a recent Supreme Court decision, Herrera vs. Wyoming. The Court determined that a Crow Indian tribal member who had shot elk on the Big Horn National Forest (part of the “ceded lands” of the Crow Tribe) outside of the state hunting season in Wyoming was not in violation of state wildlife regulation since he killed the elk on “ceded lands.”

For instance, here is the Nez Perce tribe treaty, which, among other things, describes the Nez Perce “ceded lands” as ending on the Bitterroot Mountains along what is now the Idaho-Montana border-hundreds of miles from Yellowstone National Park.

Here’s a map of the Nez Perce Reservation and ceded lands.

None of the tribes who have killed over 1000 Yellowstone bison have ceded lands near Gardiner, Montana, where the ongoing bison slaughter occurs.

The large white area lying between the Crow (pink), Blackfeet (purple), Shoshone (yellow) and Flathead (orange) includes Yellowstone Park is not part of any tribe’s ceded lands.

A map showing the ceded lands of various tribes is found here.

I am unaware of any legal authority superseding the treaty definition of the ceded territory. I have asked some federal agencies and tribal advocates to provide me with documentation that replaces the “ceded lands” provisions. Thus far, I have not been able to obtain any legal statement that invalidates my concerns.

ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF TRIBAL BISON SLAUGHTER

Regardless of whether tribal slaughter is legal, it has significant ecological impacts. As I have written in previous accounts, tribal bison butchery harms Yellowstone Park’s ecological integrity and bison genetics.

The tribal hunters’ removal of biomass (bison) is essentially strip mining food that would feed native species, from scavengers like ravens and coyotes to predators like grizzlies to wolves.

Coyotes feeding on dead bison in Yellowstone NP. Photo George Wuerthner 

Indeed, the annual kill may even indirectly harm the recovery of grizzlies and wolves. When there is less carrion or even weakened bison in the Park (due to hunting along park borders), both grizzlies and wolves may wander outside of the protective boundaries of the Park, where hunters may kill them.

It’s not much of a stretch to suggest that the destruction of 26 Yellowstone Park wolves that wandered outside of the Park seeking prey this last year may be partially the result of the removal of weakened park bison that wolves might otherwise have killed in Yellowstone.

As herd animals, bison form social bonds, much like wolves. As has been determined, even eliminating a single wolf from a pack can harm its success. The indiscriminate slaughter of bison may have a similarly harmful effect on bison social behavior

 

Bison migrating to lower elevation to find forage. Photo George Wuerthner

Worse for Yellowstone bison, the very bison being eliminated are the animals most inclined to migrate. Over time, this selective removal of migrating animals may reduce or eliminate this behavior in the park bison. One consequence of bison bottled up in the park borders may be some harm to plant communities.

A further impact is that the original Yellowstone bison herd had approximately 25 animals. Starting with such a small herd means the animals already went through a genetic bottleneck. This loss of genetic diversity is heightened by the tournament mating of bison, where one bull will often impregnate many cows. Some genetic experts believe a minimum of 2500-10,000 animals are necessary to ensure the long-term genetic integrity of the Yellowstone bison herd. Thus, the annual culling of the Park’s bison results in a continuous reduction in the herds.

Finally, the tribal slaughter is essentially doing the bidding of the Montana livestock industry, which seeks to bottle up Yellowstone bison in the Park based on the exaggerated threat of brucellosis transmission to cattle.

Groups like the Buffalo Field Campaign, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, National Parks and Conservation, and all the other so-called conservation/wildlife groups that suggest they are protecting and promoting Yellowstone bison ignore the real ecological impacts of tribal hunting, as do groups supposedly advocating for wolves and grizzlies or even the ecological integrity of Yellowstone Park.

None of them voice objection to the tribal slaughter based on ecological impacts to the bison or park.

CULTURAL PRESERVATION QUESTIONED

The argument that tribes are continuing their “cultural practices” ignores the use of modern weapons that dramatically enhances their ability to kill bison. In the days before cultural appropriation by the tribes of guns, horses, and other contemporary European artifacts, the ability to kill thousands of animals was infrequent. Hunting with spears and even bows and arrows limited the number of animals that could be killed and utilized. Occasional mass killings at bison jumps were rare and only occurred when all the stars lined up.

Even with the limited technology of the 1800s, Indian hunting was culpable for the decline of bison across the West. For instance, by 1840 bison were extirpated from SE Idaho and adjacent areas by tribal hunting.

Perhaps I am misinterpreting the treaties, but my reading of these treaties seems to suggest that no tribes have ceded lands adjacent to Yellowstone. Thus, they do not have any legal authority to kill bison.

I put this out as a challenge. If I am wrong, I hope to see the documentation that permits this bloodbath to continue. Even if this slaughter is legal, it certainly is not ethical and is harmful to the values of the Park.

I do not so much hold the tribes responsible and culpable for this slaughter as much as I do the silence of so-called conservation groups. I have sent my concerns about “treaty rights” to several organizations suggesting they could investigate whether the bison slaughter is legal. But, unfortunately, none has shown any interest, even though it could end this sickening spectacle.

Comments

  1. Maggie Frazier Avatar
    Maggie Frazier

    This article shows the real battle for buffalo – Montana politicians & ranchers having their way!

    https://www.eenews.net/articles/big-sky-bison-battles-spell-trouble-for-haaland/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=5627d2b5-733d-465f-a6d5-6f934aff85be

    1. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
      Jeff Hoffman

      A little off topic, but do you know that Obama removed Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in order to get ranchers and farmers in Montana to support Jon Tester for the Senate? These people are the worst!

      1. George Ochenski Avatar
        George Ochenski

        Actually, it was Senator Jon Tester that stuck a rider on an unrelated but “must pass” defense bill to delist the wolves. Not only did it break his campaign promise to not use riders, it set a horrible precedent for the future to “congressionally delist” species that happen to get in the way of extractive industries, ranching, or development.
        Obama merely signed the bill…not that he did anything else to actually stop the bison slaughter.

          1. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
            Jeff Hoffman

            When I was an environmental lawyer, you know who we mostly sued? Federal agencies, like Fish & Wildlife. These agencies are all corrupt and cater far more to business interests, which should instead be ignored in these situations, than they do to ecosystems, habitats, or wildlife. So, nothing new here, just more of the same old crap.

            1. Ida Lupine Avatar
              Ida Lupine

              Speaking of which:

              https://scrippsnews.com/stories/jaguars-lose-habitat-protections-in-arizona-mining-case/

              The articles out about the increase in eagle deaths from wind turbines are interesting too.

        1. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
          Jeff Hoffman

          Obama made the deal before Tester was elected. Obama used the Fish & Wildlife Service to delist wolves in the west before Tester was elected. If I remember correctly, that delisting was successfully challenged in court, and then they passed the horrible law by attaching it to the defense bill. Perfect example of why riders should be outlawed, the bill would not have passed on its own.

          1. George Ochenski Avatar
            George Ochenski

            No, the wolves in Montana and Idaho were Congressionally delisted by Tester, not Obama. You got your dates and people wrong. Obama and Tester were both elected in 2007. Tester was president of the Montana Senate in 2005 session.
            Here’s a clip from a Missoulian article, but there are many, many more online.
            U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has inserted language into the Senate’s Continuing Resolution – the bill that funds the entire national budget – declaring the gray wolf a recovered species in Montana and Idaho

            The $1.077 trillion, seven-month spending bill is expected to reach a full Senate vote on Tuesday, and then return to the House of Representatives.

            “Jon pushed for this because wolves need to be managed by Montanans who know best how to keep them under control,” Tester spokesman Aaron Murphy said on Friday. “This provision delists Montana wolves and returns their management to our state.”

            Tester’s provision is identical to a line item Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, put in the House budget bill in February. It’s also virtually the same as a proposal Tester and fellow Democratic Sen. Max Baucus introduced as a stand-alone bill three weeks ago.

            1. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
              Jeff Hoffman

              Maybe it was to get support for Tester’s reelection. Here’s a link to a New York Times article discussing it before it happened: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/science/earth/gray-wolves-no-longer-need-federal-protection-obama-administration-says.html

              1. Ida Lupine Avatar
                Ida Lupine

                It’s something that is really bothersome – nobody wants to acknowledge that there’s an irrational preoccupation or hatred of wolves that they will always need protection from.

                Look what happened with that bloodbath in Wisconsin. There comes a point when you really have to blame our leadership (or lack of) for it.

                I don’t know if it is naivete or simply stubborn refusal to accept that causes us to ignore abuse of our laws and wildlife.

                If Wisconsin ever thinks that will be forgotten, they, ahem, would be wrong.

                1. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
                  Jeff Hoffman

                  My guess is that most people like wolves, at least in urban and suburban areas where most people live. Ranchers hate wolves for obvious reasons, and farmers also hate them. This hatred is a perfect example of the failure of humans to evolve mentally and spiritually. Instead of seeing wolves as being fellow species and part of the web of life, those people see them as a menace because of 1) their wrongful way of living; and 2) their failure to feel oneness with all life.

                  A big problem here is that even people to do like wolves don’t prioritize their protection. As the saying goes, support of the natural environment is broad but shallow, and priorities are almost everything in making political choices. Of course this is backward, as the natural world and all the life there should be our absolute priority. Unfortunately, humans have failed to evolve mentally and spiritually (or they’ve evolved wrongly, however you want to look at it). THAT is actually the root of all these problems.

              2. Ida Lupine Avatar
                Ida Lupine

                I have to question though just how much people really do like wolves.

                Look at how coyotes and bears(Lake Tahoe) fare when they get in the way of suburbia. I don’t see people working to coexist, but to exterminate.

                I fear that while ranching is bad, development is going to be equally as bad, and maybe more so, because of all the roads, schools, etc. that go along with it.

                I read all the time about people complaining about wild turkeys, coyotes, bears with annoyance and fear, without trying to coexist.

                1. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
                  Jeff Hoffman

                  As my comments were meant to say, just because people like wolves doesn’t mean they prioritize them. Jane Fonda and Ted Turner were supposedly environmentalists, but they cut down trees on a property in the west in order to improve their views. People who want to live in modern country — far more harmful and destructive than living in urban areas, BTW — will kill and destroy to do so, because that’s their priority.

                  As to ranching v. development, they’re obviously both very harmful and destructive. But the ranching industry has done more environmental and ecological harm to the western U.S. than any other industry, probably more than all of them put together. The damn cattle are everywhere, and the only places they’re not allowed is in National Parks.

                2. Ida Lupine Avatar
                  Ida Lupine

                  Well that’s just it – if people don’t prioritize them, then they don’t like them IMO. It’s the same thing to me.

                  And again, like development, the reason that ranchers rule is that people like eating beef.

                  So if they ‘like’ wildlife as much as they claim to, they’d prioritize them enough to take a stand of some kind. I don’t see that happening as much as is should, or I’m not even convinced that most are even aware of it.

                  I still think as bad as ranching can be, development and continued encroachment into wild areas is even worse. Look at wildfires!

      2. Ida Lupine Avatar
        Ida Lupine

        Yes. It was one of the things that has soured me on politics. I don’t see Deb Haaland doing anything to change it either.

        It disturbs me greatly that wildlife genetics are in danger – wolves and bison, right whales, to name a few.

        Who do we think we are, I always ask myself.

        1. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
          Jeff Hoffman

          I used to have a T-shirt that said, “Humans aren’t the only ones on this planet, they just act like it.”

  2. Glenn Monahan Avatar
    Glenn Monahan

    Once again, Mr Wuerthener bravely takes on a topic that challenges some of beliefs. In these days of excessive “social justice” concerns, disagreeing with – or condeming a “minority group” for its actions – however wrong they may be – takes guts. Thank you, Mr Wuerthener!

    As a local resident, I also have grave concerns about the legality of the “hunt”. I have been unable to find any documentation that delineates any tribal rights at Yellowstone’s border near Gardiner, MT.

    I’ve visited the slaughter site in person. There is nothing traditional or cultural about this travesty. And the so-called “sacred” bison are being brutalilzed by tribal members.

    For example, I have footage of a bison that was mortally wounded by Indian hunters. It shows the bison lying on the ground, with his legs flailing in the air, surrounded by a group of Indians. For several minutes they cruelly watch the bison suffer, failing to administer a coup de grace in the form of a 50 Cent bullet to the head, which would have put the poor beast out of his misery.

    I also have a photograph of a bison that was killed by Indians, and the only meat that was harvested from the carcass was the backstraps, amounting to perhaps 20 pounds of meat. The rest of the animal, amounting to hundreds of pounds of meat, was left to rot on the ground. We often hear the mantra that Indians use every bit of the bison that they kill. Beattie Gulch is littered with bison hides that could have been used for various personal or tribal purposes, yet hundreds of them have been left to rot in the field.

    We are often reminded by Indians that they consider bison to be a “sacred animal “. However there is nothing sacred about the slaughter that has taken place in Beattie Gulch. We are often fed the line that these Indian “hunters “ are poverty stricken Indians who are simply harvesting meat to feed their starving families. This is a load of sympathetic, bleeding heart crap!I have visited Betty Gulch on a number of occasions. Here is what I have observed about the hunters: most of them are driving late model $70,000 pick up trucks, often equipped with a high tech cranes for loading carcasses. Some are hauling horse trailers and modern ATV’s. They are using expensive high powered rifles, sleeping in motels, and eating in local restaurants. There is nothing cultural or traditional about what is going on there. In my opinion it is nothing more than a bunch of greedy slob hunters who shoot at pregnant females, yearlings, and who scatter-shoot into entire family groups.

    We are Today living In a period where “social justice “is a prominent trend. And from my extensive reading of current events, I have noted that Indians across the country are exploiting this social justice moment to secure gains for themselves. For example there is a movement to “return” all of our National parks to tribes!

    Based upon the fact that all humans share 99.9% of genes, I am of the opinion that we are all one people, and that any efforts to single out our differences based on skin color race, etc. are divisive, and is damaging to our national psyche, and to society. Statistically, American citizens who claim to be Indian comprise 2.6% of our population. A vast majority of them do not live on reservations; in fact the percentage of the US population who live on reservations amounts to 0.3% of our countries population! Based upon this I think a question that begs to be answered, is why are Indians being allowed to harvest an overwhelming number of Yellowstone bison? My strong preference would be that these bison be used to establish herds throughout the country. However, if hunting is necessary to control bison populations, I feel that there should be no racial preference, and instead hunting licenses be issued in a random drawing.

    1. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
      Jeff Hoffman

      The important differences between people are cultural, not genetic. Natives can be every bit as bad as colonizers; just look at Dick Wilson and his GOON Squad. As a Native in AIM once put it, “we’ve always had problems with ‘scouts.’” And when I spend a week on a reservation in Arizona, the mostly traditional Natives there talked about their “traditional” domestic sheep, as if they’d even have those sheep if not for the colonizers (these people were traditional in that they had no electricity or running water, and spoke only their native language).

      That all said, it’s very clear that traditional indigenous people have far superior cultures compared to modern humans regarding the natural environment. We should all aspire to their much lower populations and natural lifestyles. Unfortunately, it’s going in the other direction, with traditional people being tempted, coerced, and co-opted into living ever more unnaturally like modern humans. Any proposed solutions to this problem would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

  3. Kimball Leighton Avatar
    Kimball Leighton

    Thank you for keeping this issue on the front burner. Native Americans are being used by the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) to continue the slaughter started years ago by DOL gunners. The DOL has used brucellosis as a false pretext to kill bison and keep our national mammal from grazing on public lands where cattlemen get cheap, subsidized grazing AKA “Cowboy Welfare.” Bison have a right to exist. This travesty has to STOP!

  4. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    If it is illegal, it should be challenged in court. Probably would never have gotten off the ground anyway except for ranching.

    Yellowstone bison should not be treated in this cruel way! I am all kinds of philosophically against this, because we no longer live in this kind of world for one.

    Colonialism has had serious, lasting impact and much of it cannot be changed.

    1. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
      Jeff Hoffman

      Totally agree about ranching. Some Natives are ranchers, so they’re just as bad as the colonizers in that way.

      Traditional culture only means something if you ACT on it. If you just mouth the words, it’s nothing but meaningless platitudes. There’s nothing traditional in North America about ranching, so Natives who do that are not at all traditional.

  5. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
    Jeff Hoffman

    If Natives want to claim traditional hunting rights, they should have to hunt traditionally. From the reading I’ve done, the Natives in North America rarely hunted bison, and those hunts were mainly limited to chasing them off cliffs, an immoral act that left the large majority of bodes to rot (not that the microbes don’t have to eat too, but they can wait til the bison die of natural causes!).

    If the issue were just colonizers v. Natives, it’s a no-brainier to side with the Natives. But despite large differences between some cultures, people are people, and it’s about what they DO, not who they ARE.

  6. Marc Bedner Avatar

    I have doubts about a legal argument I frequently see asserting that the U.S. Constitution makes treaty rights the supreme law of the land.
    The supremacy clause (Article 6) of the U.S. Constitution reads:
    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
    I am not a lawyer, but as I read this article, federal laws have the same status as treaties. Federal laws and treaties supersede state laws, but treaties do not supersede federal law (e.g. endangered species laws, land use laws).

  7. Jerry Thiessen Avatar
    Jerry Thiessen

    Here is a link to native American history regarding Yellowstone National Park:

    http://www.usgs.gov/observatories/yvo/news/land-burning-ground-history-and-traditions-indigenous-people-yellowstone

    1. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
      Jeff Hoffman

      This article is a perfect example of the neo-environmental BS that seeks to convince people that we should no longer attempt to preserve, protect, and expand wilderness. This stuff is utter BS, and the people promulgating this crap are as anti-environmental as anyone. It doesn’t matter whether individual facts are correct; the idea of this stuff is to convince us that no area is pristine — a distraction that was never claimed by anyone seeking to preserve natural areas — and that therefore we shouldn’t bother protecting anyplace. Keeping the Wild is an excellent book that debunks this kind of human supremacist/anthropocentric stuff.

      I even really have to question some of the statements in this article. Hunter-gatherers mined in what is now Yellowstone National Park? I’ve never heard of hunter-gatherers mining, that would be a first. The only societies that I know of that mined were agricultural ones.

      1. JERRY Thiessen Avatar
        JERRY Thiessen

        They mined for precious onsidian.

    2. Marc Bedner Avatar

      The case against the USGS-U of Wyoming myth of Yellowstone:

      Sheepeaters vanished by the time Yellowstone Park was established in 1872.
      According to most accounts, the only traces of this vanished tribe are abandoned
      conical timber lodges, drive lines, and other wood structures encountered at
      high elevations. This paper is a critical review of the Sheepeater phenomenon in
      northwestern Wyoming. Through a detailed examination of nineteenth-century
      literature and Shoshone ethnography, this paper explores two ideas. First, the
      Sheepeaters as depicted in northwestern Wyoming folklore are predominantly a myth
      derived from the medieval wild man and an Indian stereotype passed down through
      colonial history, and second, a permanent band of Sheepeaters in Yellowstone
      National Park may never have existed.
      https://corpora.tika.apache.org/base/docs/govdocs1/029/029210.pdf

  8. Salle Avatar
    Salle

    Land NOT ceded, it was TAKEN, all of it. They way WE describe the cultures of others through our cultural filters is the major part of this tragedy.

    Why decided not be an archaeologist was due to one short conversation I had with a Shoshone brother. He said, “Your guys come here asking where our people are buried. I say to them, tell me where your grandmother is so I can go dig up her grave and make up stories about her.”

    I switched to studying cultural and linguistic aspects of cultures instead.

    I am not a fan of these hunts and that they take place in the way that they do can be lain at the feet of assholes playing politics, basically what the white people say is always the way it ends up going due to fantasies of superiority.

    I think that this result, Indians hunting bison in plain view, is part of the centuries long myth of savages everyone is so invested in. Once THAT changes, maybe this will too.

  9. Connie Jeffcoat Avatar
    Connie Jeffcoat

    Lots of food for thought in your article, Mr. Wuerthner! Now, how to get someone to pursue in court?

    1. Jeff Hoffman Avatar
      Jeff Hoffman

      Whether a project destroys human-made things is irrelevant to whether it’s actually green. On the other hand, there’s no such thing as “green” energy, unless you mean the energy the Earth and the life here all get from sunlight on us.

      Be very wary of anything from Grist. Phony environmental online magazine, run by Dave Roberts who has absolutely no environmental credentials and is more of a yuppie than anything . (At least he did run it when I blogger there, not sure if he still does.)

      1. Ida Lupine Avatar
        Ida Lupine

        Thanks, I didn’t know that.

        The headline just caught my eye because I thought it was part of the trend to discredit environmentalists and national parks. But it looks like even so, there’s a lot of government green hypocrisy.

  10. MAD Avatar
    MAD

    In the 1851 Ft. Laramie Treaty the Crow Reservation encompassed about 1/2 of current Yellowstone Park. The Blackfeet also had a sliver in the N/W corner. In 1868, the United States pushed the Crow Reservation north to the Yellowstone River in Montana. Subsequent reconfigurations occurred in 1882, 1892 and 1906 to where the Crow rez is today. To say that the Crow don’t have a right to hunt there is incorrect.

    Also, the issue in the Herrera v. Wyoming case (and I know Clayvin personally having worked on a few of his criminal cases here in MT) was not hinged on the “ceded” lands of the Indians and their hunting rights. Wyoming claimed that when they became a state in July 1890, all treaties with Indians were extinguished. Wyoming sought to enforce the rulings in Repsis and Race Horse,,while Herrera claimed that the 1999 Mille Lacs decisions effectively overturned the older cases.

    I do agree that there are tribes who have no historical connection to the area of Yellowstone or the wildlife that migrate from Yellowstone during portions of the year. But it not true that the Crow did not utilize the area prior to the 1851 treaty which recognized the area as part of the Rez, and the 1868 treaty that took it from them.

  11. MAD Avatar
    MAD

    Wyoming also argued that the area where Herrera took the elk, the Big Horn Nat. Forest was “occupied” by a National Forest, which would nullify the hunting rights. The SC disagreed and said occupied really meant people living there, most notably white folk.

    1. Helen Fleming Avatar
      Helen Fleming

      Sounds to me, a non political person that has watched this country, and everyone living here, should live in the other’s shoe for a while. Whiteman gave Indians their taste for blood and death by giving arms to them! When is this madness going to stop! When there’s NOTHING LEFT TO KILL BUT EACH OTHER! Put that in all your political pipes and smoke it!

  12. Kathy Davies Avatar

    I’m sorry to hear about the 1,139 bison killed by tribal members on Custer Gallatin National Forest land near Gardiner, Montana. I hope that those responsible are brought to justice. I hope that the greater Yellowstone Coalition and Buffalo Field Campaign are willing to challenge the tribal assertions that they have “treaty rights” to kill Yellowstone bison.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      They are not willing to do these things,sadly enough.

    2. Marc Bedner Avatar

      Buffalo Field Campaign supports killing of “buffalo” by “indigenous” people. Roam Free Nation is trying to protect bison.
      https://roamfreenation.org/issue-background/the-hunts/

      1. Ida Lupine Avatar
        Ida Lupine

        “In either Basin, hunters are teaching the buffalo not to migrate in the direction of restoration. They are also killing off migratory memory and changing the herd dynamics by taking so many of the matriarchs who lead the family groups.”

        Just awful. How can his be allowed?

      2. Ida Lupine Avatar
        Ida Lupine

        I really think this era has now passed. We can’t go back and correct the mistakes of the past, and the mistakes and sins of the past have been far reaching, and will be, well into the future.

        Some of these photos are incredibly ugly and awful.

        All of us need to save and protect bison and other wildlife in today’s world. What is more important?

  13. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    It did eventually survive legal challenge, but not without an admonishment by the judge. They are not “Montana’s wolves”.

    It was a really politically sleazy thing to do, especially for a Democrat IMO, and it was all covered here at TWN extensively. I wonder if the current F&W Director, who I believe is a Tester protege, was involved in the crafting of the language as an attorney?:

    https://www.thewildlifenews.com/2011/08/03/molloy-upholds-wolf-rider/

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