Opinion: Bison from historic herd return home to Montana

"An unusual gathering of diverse cultures occurred recently in an exceedingly remote yet beautiful area of the Great Plains. On a clear, sunny day in early March, members of Montana's White Clay (Gros Ventre) and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Indian tribes, ranchers, conservationists, scientists from World Wildlife Fund, American Prairie Reserve (APR) employees and volunteers assembled for a celebration of youth. The youth in this case were 70 rather bewildered and very nervous bison calves that only a month earlier had arrived in Montana from Alberta's Elk Island National Park. After thirty days of required quarantine, they were to be released into a 14,000-acre enclosure and hopefully accepted by American Prairie Reserve's existing bison population of 125 animals. The welcoming party -- somber bulls weighing 2,000 pounds and standing six feet at the shoulder -- glowered at the transfixed youngsters moments before the gates were opened by the youngest of the tribal members.

The calves' improbable journey to this expansive landscape started 130 years ago. Legend has it that in 1873, a Pend d'Oreille American Indian named Samuel Walking Coyote brought six bison to northwest Montana after a hunting trip on the east side of the state. He soon sold his fledgling herd to his neighbor Michel Pablo and business partner Charles Allard, who died shortly after the deal was struck. A decade later, through further supplementing from other herds, Pablo's band numbered 600 and was again sold -- this time to the Canadian government."

Get the Story:
Sean Gerrity: Seven Generations and 130 Years Later, A Circle Is Complete With Bison Homecoming (The Huffington Post 4/25)

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