Buffalo Nation: American Indian Efforts to Restore the Bison by Ken Zontek

By Ken Zontek

The ugly tale of the devastation of buffalo herds within the overdue 19th century has develop into uncomfortably commonplace. A much less usual tale, yet a hopeful one for the long run, is Ken Zontek’s account of local peoples’ efforts to repopulate the Plains with a fit, practicable bison inhabitants. Interspersing clinical speculation with local oral traditions and interviews, Buffalo country offers a short heritage of bison and human interplay from the Paleolithic period to offer maintenance efforts.
Zontek’s heritage of bison recovery efforts can also be a background of North American local peoples’ pursuit of political and cultural autonomy, revealing how local peoples’ skill to aid the bison has fluctuated with their total fight. starting within the 1870s, local North americans proven captive bison breeding courses regardless of the Wounded Knee bloodbath and an enormous onslaught on local cultural and spiritual practices. those upkeep efforts have been such a success major percent of bison at the present time hold the bloodlines of those unique Native-sponsored herds. on the finish of the 20 th century, greater than fifty tribes banded jointly to shape the Intertribal Bison Cooperative. This staff has made major development in restoring bison herds within the usa, whereas Canadian First international locations paintings with nationwide parks and different govt entities to pick and deal with free-ranging herds.
Buffalo kingdom bargains insights into the ways in which the local North American attempt to revive the buffalo state evokes discourse in cultural perseverance, environmentalism, politics, regionalism, spirituality, and the very essence of human-animal interaction.

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Extra resources for Buffalo Nation: American Indian Efforts to Restore the Bison

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The captive breeding programs provided a major bulwark against extinction due to the protection they afforded the animals within their herds. Although such successful programs failed to materialize until the near complete demise of the bison, the history of attempted captive breeding of bison, particularly by Euro-Americans, extends back all the way to the 36 Saving the Buffalo Nation initial occupation of buffalo country by Europeans. In the late sixteenth century, the first Spanish governor of New Mexico, Don Juan de Oñate, ordered a capture of bison for domestication.

He explained to his biographer, Henry Inman, that on his first calf-catching expedition he protected his charges from wolves that closed in on the thrown and tied calves. Jones could not stop while he labored to catch as many calves as possible, so he left an article of clothing with each calf to deter the hungry wolves. Halfnaked and burdened by a calf under each arm, Jones rode back to aid his captives. 21 Correspondent Emerson Hough, accompanying Jones’s second expedition, provided a near magical description of one Jones capture: “Up came his hand, circling the wide coil of the rope.

The Indians did not make any appreciable dent in buffalo numbers in the Northern Plains. ” Fellow Lakota scholar Jim Garrett focuses on the obvious variable of the increased Euro-American human presence on the plains in the nineteenth century as the key to any study of bison destruction. He especially concentrates on the use of alcohol as an inducement in the robe and hide trades. The use of such a drug to extend hegemony by the Euro-Americans allocates responsibility to them regardless of whether the shooter of the bison was Euro-American or Native American.

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