Worldcrunch: Fort Peck Tribes reconnect with bison traditions

"There is an end-of-the-world feeling along the two main streets in Wolf Point, a town of 2,600 at the heart of the Fort Peck Indian reservation in the northern state of Montana. A few mini-casinos and bars, including the Stockmans 220 Club and the Water Hole 1, where pale faces and Native Americans drown their boredom in rambling, alcohol-heavy conversations.

The train station feels besides-the-point as it depends on only two passing trains, one going West at 11:41 a.m., the other going East at 4:33 p.m. The many freight trains that stretch over kilometers don't ever stop here. In front of the Albertsons supermarket, unemployed youths ask for money to buy cans of beer.

Fifty-eight year-old Robert Magnan is aware of these problems. As director of the Hunting and Fishing Department, he is in charge of the Fort Peck reservation, which stretches across a million hectares of sloping hills and semi-arid steppes irrigated by the generous Missouri River.

The blood of this land runs in his veins. Born from a Sioux father and an Assiniboine mother, Robert Magnan turned this past April 19 into a sort of reparation from history. After long years of struggle, he managed to reintroduce the Yellowstone wild bison into Fort Peck. “These are the last bisons with perfect genes,” he says, his hair braided in Sioux fashion. “Reintroducing them means reconnecting with our culture, which has been diluted.”"

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Native Americans, Joblessness And The Return Of the Yellowstone Bison (Worldcrunch 7/18)

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