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Weekly Update from the Field May 19, 2005
* Update from the Field
* Buffalo Honored in Day of Ceremony, School Visit
* Take Action, Support the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
* Support the Buffalo Field Campaign. Purchase a DVD of Exclusive Footage.
* Last Words: Chief Arvol Looking Horse

* Update from the Field
Buffalo intolerance continued unabated this week, with Department of Livestock (DOL) agents out every day, scouring the landscape for every last buffalo with the misfortune to have followed its instinctual urges onto the land we humans call Montana. I could give all the details, writing about day-old buffalo being run into the heavy waters of the Madison River, their heads barely bobbing above the surface as they struggle to swim across, trying to keep up with their mothers. I could write about the one with legs stuck in river mud, unable to escape the horrifying noise of the helicopter, its mom circling frantically, knowing she has to escape from the flying metal beast yet knowing also she can't do so without freeing her baby. I could write about the calf with the injured leg, likely from being run so much in its first days of life, trying to elude the agents on its three good legs. Or about the 675 pound grizzly bear struck and killed on the highway, frightened from its home inside the park by the DOL helicopter that Yellowstone officials allow to fly miles inside park boundaries, even inside an area closed to humans to provide the grizzlies some rare spring peace.

These scenes--and countless others like them--are burned fresh on the minds of every BFC volunteer. It has been a long winter and spring, and nearly every day we witness and document scenes like these. We rise each morning at four and remain in the field with the buffalo until nine or ten at night. Volunteers, many of whom have been here since December or January, are exhausted. But the spirit around our cabin remains strong. For every heart-sinking scene of buffalo mistreatment or abuse we are buoyed by the joy of watching buffalo in the wild, jumping, playing, kicking legs, nudging heads, and looking out for one another. These lessons from the buffalo keep us strong and carry over into our interactions with one another. The camaraderie that comes with living among a herd of people who have put everything else on hold, who have sacrificed their lives so that the world can learn about the buffalo and their struggle and the solidarity we feel with the thousands of people in Montana, across the country, and around the world who support our work with prayers, donations, and letters of support--these are the wages of our work. You who read these missives every week, who send us food, gear, kind words, or prayers, who take a moment from your lives and stretch already thin budgets to write a ten dollar check or make a secure online donation, you are the real Buffalo Field Campaign for you make it possible and bearable for us to be here. This week's Update is dedicated to you, our backbone.
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* Buffalo Honored in Day of Ceremony, School Visit
On Saturday, May 14, we were joined by Clem and Keith, elders and supporters who travelled thousands of miles to join us in person and in prayer. Saturday was a day of ceremony, of reconnecting, a rare break and reminder of the importance of our work. To try to put words on the experiences would only cheapen them. Therefore I will only say thanks, to Keith, Clem, and all the people around the world who joined us in prayer to ask for change and greater tolerance for the buffalo. As we emerged, late at night, from our day of prayer, we were greeted by the first clear night sky in weeks, and it was illuminated in brilliant shimmering color by the magic of the Northern Lights. The prayers were powerful and the change has begun.

Yesterday we were joined by the students and teachers of the 7th grade class of the De La Salle Blackfeet School. We shared with them our video, recorded in recent months, and took them into the field to see where much of it was shot. We went out to Duck Creek and showed them the buffalo trap, and walked along the man-made boundary. The students grasped the absurdity at once, buffalo on one side of the artificial line treated as wildlife yet on the other, in Montana, as "vermin" and "pests." Unfortunately the landscape was devoid of buffalo, as they'd all been chased back to the park. The students joined us for dinner and shared with us a beautiful presentation documenting their creation of a bustle, to be worn in a traditional dance. They also told us about a stream-bed restoration project they completed. We learned more from them than they could ever learn from us and we are grateful for their visit.
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* Take Action, Support the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
A buffalo protection bill was reintroduced in the 109th US Congress yesterday, May 18, by Representatives Maurice Hinchey and Charles Bass. In 2004, BFC volunteers made several trips to Washington, DC to educate Congress on the plight of the buffalo leading to increased support and additional co-sponsors for the Preservation Act, resulting in 105 co-sponsors in the 108th Congress. This time, and with your help, we can do even better.

For more information on the Act, including a link to a PDF version of the language, please click here http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legislative/buffalopreservation.html

Please contact your House Representative today and urge them to support the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act. To find out who your Rep is and to contact them, click here:
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html
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* Support the Buffalo Field Campaign. Purchase a DVD of Exclusive Footage.
We've been extremely busy editing footage and burning DVD's to help share the buffalo's plight with as wide an audience as possible. For a donation of $20 (less if you can't afford it) we will ship you one of these powerful DVD's so you can witness firsthand - and share with others - what the buffalo endure on a daily basis. The DVD contains everything you need to advocate in your community on behalf of America's last wild buffalo. You'll receive the exclusive new releases "Give Me a Home," "First Days of Life," and "Quarantine 17" along with the classics "Welcome to Yellowstone," "Buffalo Hope," and "Why we Exist." In addition to the videos the DVD also contains a photo-packed BFC slideshow, fact sheets, and BFC newsletters from 2002-2004.
Send a check to the address at the end of this update, or contact mease"at"wildrockies.org for more info.
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* Last Words: Chief Arvol Looking Horse
"Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind. Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger? Know that you yourself are essential to this World. Believe that! Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this World. Did you think you were put here for something less?"

Chief Arvol Looking Horse is the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe


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