Is a tribal buffalo summit needed?

Harlan LaFontaine writes that to protect Indian culture and lands, tribes should consider meeting to discuss buffalo issues.

He states that in December, an Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) meeting looms, and he says that tribes have not actually conceded the issue of the Yellowstone buffalo to participating federal agencies and their current representatives.

He think denial of access to Yellowstone buffalo is bad policy for tribes because they will not truly be able to find their way culturally if they are denied full interaction with the Yellowstone herd.

He states in part: “The IBMP is the management scheme that governs Yellowstone’s wild bison, the only continuously wild bison population that remains in the United States. The IBMP is comprised of three federal agencies, two state agencies, two tribes, and one tribal cooperative. . . . I think the current receptivity to a tribal buffalo summit, with “Nation-to-Nation” consultations as a mainstay, will allow tribes to raise important questions and issues with respect to the direction of Yellowstone buffalo policy.”

“. . . A tribal buffalo summit will be an expression of the tribal concern for Yellowstone’s buffalo. Concern for buffalo represents for tribes a set of cultural values they continue to rely on. Without buffalo, there is a lessened culture; without culture, there is a diminishment of what it means to be a tribe. How many of us can fluently describe, in our Native languages, the world of the Yellowstone buffalo and their importance to us?”

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