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Weekly Update from the Field October 26, 2006
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* Update from the Field
* Thank You Patagonia!
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
As the buffalo fall migration begins, your tax dollars have been hard at work this week with Department of Livestock (DOL) agents out scouring the landscape for "rougue" buffalo.  Of course, any that they find they will attempt to chase back into Yellowstone National Park. As luck would have it, the buffalo are good at making themselves invisible and avoiding the wrath of the DOL.  They are quite good at using the dense willows and forests of their native habitat to their advantage, enabling them to exist in relative peace for a while.  The agents have either continued to come up empty-handed, or have just outright been foiled again by the wily giants.

We find the DOL's behavior quite interesting since Montana's canned hunt starts November 15.  Imagine the outrage from the hunting community if livestock agents were out harassing elk or deer just before the start of hunting season.   If the people who want buffalo safe and alive behaved the way the DOL are (moving buffalo out of the 'hunt' area), we'd be cited for hunt sabotage.  The DOL's behavior plainly underscores the state and federal government's prejudice against wild buffalo.  They want to lock the buffalo inside Yellowstone, denying them of their natural instincts and right to survival and freedom, except, of course, during the months (Nov-Feb) they can be shot by gunners at the Park's boundary.  For that time, the buffalo are "welcome" on a handful of acres within Montana's borders.

Meanwhile, as the last wild herd continues to suffer harassment, slaughter and quarantine, buffalo "restoration" is becoming a hot topic of conversation.  This week there was a conference in Denver, CO called "The Ecological Future of the American Bison," focused on bison restoration.  Many thanks to Buffalo Warrior Justine for attending conference, and for always standing up for the wild buffalo and their perspective.

While the restoration buzz should be good news, the unfortunate thing is that what government and certain scientists consider restoration is a far cry from how the buffalo and the land see it.  Their ideas include capturing wild Yellowstone buffalo, sending adults to slaughter and calves to quarantine.  The calves spend years in confinement, being treated as livestock, handled and experimented on by scientists. Many calves are sent to slaughter for experiment's sake, and those that suffer years in captivity and "graduate" (as they put it) would be transported in trailers to other public and tribal lands.  The government scientists even boast that they will "teach" these now-domesticated buffalo "how to be wild again."  The sad truth is that the answer is right in front of them, embodied in the last wild, genetically unique, migrating Yellowstone bison.  Yet these groups and agencies allow brucellosis to scare them from true buffalo restoration.  Brucellosis, as you know, is the European cattle disease that cattle brought to this country's wildlife and the supposed reason for the war against the Yellowstone buffalo.  Wild buffalo have never transmitted it, but this fact continues to be ignored.  And while many scientists agree that natural dispersal of wildlife will curtail the prevalence of the disease, their actions defy this logic.  So, brucellosis, for now, remains the smoke screen that the decision-makers hide behind in order to maintain control over the land and her inhabitants.  In this, restoration becomes a mockery of itself.  We must continue to dispel the myth and insist that the restrictions are placed on the invasive cattle, not our native wild buffalo.

As the last wild herd left in America, the Yellowstone buffalo have an easy answer to the restoration question:  step aside and buffalo will restore themselves.  We as humans must relearn to coexist, to make room for the great, wild creatures.  We must piece back together the habitat, the homeland, that we have so selfishly fragmented, and welcome these magnificent animals back home.  Then, and only then, will buffalo restoration with integrity be realized.

Roam Free,
* Thank You Patagonia!
Patagonia, Inc., the ethical and famous outdoor clothing company, continues to do great things for defenders of our Mother Earth.  They empower, inspire, and help make possible the work of Buffalo Field Campaign and many other ecology-minded organizations. Patagonia helps keep BFC volunteers warm in the field with their generous clothing donations; they generously support us financially; their stores host many BFC presentations; they pledge 1% of their sales to environmental groups; they encourage people to Vote the Environment; they created the "Save the Buffalo" post cards addressed to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer that so many of you have signed and sent in; and they helped facilitate our billboard campaign, which has informed thousands of visitors to Yellowstone of the injustice suffered by the buffalo at the hands of Montana and the National Park Service. Patagonia also has an environmental internship program that allows employees to participate in the work of the groups they support. Patagonia has joined BFC on the front lines in West Yellowstone, placing their very bodies into action in defense of the last wild buffalo.

Patagonia also hosts the Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference every eighteen months, bringing together a variety of groups from around the globe.  BFC has been fortunate to attend this conference over the years.  Each one of us who attends comes back feeling refreshed, inspired and truly empowered.   It is a place where activists can share their campaign struggles and successes, learn from effective campaign managers, network with incredible people, and come away stronger and more inspired.  Having just returned from the latest Tools Conference, BFC wants to extend a huge THANK YOU to Patagonia for all the great work you have done and continue to do on behalf of the wild buffalo and the forests, oceans, rivers, winds, wildlife and all of us who share space on this beautiful blue ball of life.

To learn more about Patagonia and their Tools for Grassroots Activists conference, visit:

Check out Patagonia's environmental internship program page and see a photo of Patagonia's Ron Hunter in a BFC tipi, nice and warm in the frigid mid-January Yellowstone winter:
* Last Words
Message from Chief Arvol Looking Horse.

Mitakuye (my relative),
I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nation, ask you to understand an Indigenous perspective on what has happened in America, what we call "Turtle Island." My words seek to unite the global community through a message from our sacred ceremonies to unite spiritually, each in our own ways of beliefs in the Creator.

We have been warned from Ancient Prophecies of these times we live in today, but have also been given a very important message about a solution to turn these terrible times around.
To understand the depth of this message you must recognize the importance of Sacred Sites and realize the interconnectedness of what is happening today, in reflection of the continued massacres that are occurring on other lands and our own Americas.

I have been learning about these important issues since the age of 12, upon receiving the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and its teachings.  Our people have striven to protect Sacred Sites from the beginning of time.  These places have been violated for centuries and have brought us to the predicament that we are in at the global level.

Look around you. Our Mother Earth is very ill from these violations, and we are on the brink of destroying the possibility of a healthy and nurturing survival for generations to come, our children's children.

Our ancestors have been trying to protect our Sacred Site called the Sacred Black Hills in South Dakota, "Heart of Everything That Is," from continued violations. Our ancestors never saw a satellite view of this site, but now that those pictures are available, we see that it is in the shape of a heart and, when fast-forwarded, it looks like a heart pumping.

The Dine have been protecting Big Mountain, calling it the liver, and we are suffering and going to suffer more from the extraction of the coal from there and the poison processes used in doing so.

The Aborigines have warned of the contaminating effects of global warming on the Coral Reefs, which they see as Mother Earth's blood purifier.

The Indigenous people of the rainforest relay that the rainforest are the lungs of the planet and need protection.

The Gwich'in Nation has had to face oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, also known to the Gwich'in as "Where life begins!"

The coastal plain is the birthplace of many life forms of the Animal Nations. The death of these Animal Nations will destroy Indigenous Nations in  this territory.

As these destructive developments continue all over the world, we will witness many more extinct Animal, Plant, and Human Nations, because of mankind's misuse of power and their lack of understanding of the "balance of life."

The Indigenous people warn that these destructive developments will cause havoc globally. There are many, many more Indigenous awarenesses and knowledge about Mother Earth's Sacred Sites, her Chakras, connections to our spirit that will surely affect our future generations.

There needs to be a fast move toward other forms of energy that are safe for all Nations upon Mother Earth. We need to understand the types of minds that are continuing to destroy the spirit of our whole global community.  Unless we do this, the powers of destruction will overwhelm us. Our Ancestors foretold that water would someday be for sale. Back then, this was hard to believe, since the water was so plentiful, so pure, and so full of energy, nutrition, and spirit.

Today we have to buy pure water, and even then the nutritional minerals have been taken out; it's just empty liquid. Someday water will be like gold, too expensive to afford.

Not everyone will have the right to drink safe water. We fail to appreciate and honor our Sacred Sites, ripping out the minerals and gifts that lay underneath them as if Mother Earth were simply a resource, instead of the Source of Life itself.

Attacking Nations and having to utilize more resources to carry out destruction in the name of peace is not the answer! We need to understand how all these decisions affect the Global Nation; we will not be immune to its repercussions. Allowing continual contamination of our food and land is affecting the way we think.

A "disease of the mind" has set in world leaders and many members of our global community, with their belief that a solution of retaliation and destruction of peoples will bring Peace.
In our Prophecies it is told that we are now at the crossroads: Either unite spiritually as a Global Nation, or be faced with chaos, disasters, diseases, and tears from our relatives' eyes.
We are the only species that is destroying the Source of Life, meaning Mother Earth, in the name of power, mineral resources, and ownership of land, using chemicals and methods of warfare that are doing irreversible damage, as Mother Earth is becoming tired and cannot sustain any more impacts of war.

I ask you to join me on this endeavor. Our vision is for the Peoples of all continents, regardless of their beliefs in the Creator, to come together.  As one at their Sacred Sites to pray and meditate and commune with one another, thus promoting an energy shift to heal our Mother Earth and achieve a universal consciousness toward attaining Peace.

As each day passes, I ask all Nations to begin a global effort, and remember to give thanks for the Sacred Food that has been gifted to us by our Mother Earth, so the nutritional energy of medicine can be guided to heal our minds and spirits.

This new millennium will usher in an age of harmony or it will bring the end of life as we know it. Starvation, war, and toxic waste have been the hallmark of the Great Myth of Progress and Development that ruled the last millennium.

To us, as caretakers of the heart of Mother Earth, falls the responsibility of turning back the powers of destruction. You yourself are the one who must decide.

You alone - and only you - can make this crucial choice, to walk in honor or to dishonor your relatives. On your decision depends the fate of the entire World.

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? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending!

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