Environment | Law

MTPR: Fort Belknap Tribes defend introduction of bison herd

Some members of the Fort Belknap Indian Community of Montana are questioning why the tribe accepted bison from Yellowstone National Park:
Tribal Member Leta Calvin is less than thrilled. She and her husband run a small cow-calf operation right next to the bison pen. She worries about her livelihood.

“(When) people find out that we have the cattle here and the bison are next to them, people are gonna be less apt to buy our calves in the fall,” Calvin said.

This is due to fears of brucellosis, a disease which runs in bison and elk and can cause cattle to abort their calves. It could pretty much ruin a ranch’s business if it were found in their stock.

Ft. Belknap’s Yellowstone bison, they have been tested every year for the past six years—they do not have brucellosis. Calvin said it doesn’t matter, it’s the perception.

“People around, they’re not gonna listen to all that,” she said.

Get the Story:
Tribal landowners skeptical about Ft. Belknap's new herd of Yellowstone Bison (Montana Public Radio 9/12)

Montana Supreme Court Decision:
Opinion - Citizens v. Maurier (June 19, 2013)
Synopsis - Citizens v. Maurier (June 19, 2013)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Court makes right call in transfer of bison to tribes (06/25)
Montana court upholds transfer of Yellowstone bison to tribes (6/20)

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