* Buffalo Ceremony Held in Yellowstone, Despite Government Shutdown
National Parks across the U.S. have been closed to the public since October 1st, when the federal government shut down amidst a political deadlock in Washington, D.C.
Despite the closures, buffalo opened the gates to Yellowstone National Park on Monday afternoon.
Led by Blackfeet tribal member and spiritual leader of the Blackfeet Confederacy, James St. Goddard, members of Buffalo Field Campaign and some visitors from afar entered the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park to gather and pray for the well-being and recovery of America's last wild buffalo.
St. Goddard approached Park Rangers to request access to Yellowstone National Park in order to exercise his First Amendment rights through a traditional prayer for the buffalo. According to National Park Service management policies, "The American Indian Religious Freedom Act reaffirms the First Amendment rights of Native Americans to access National Park System lands for the exercise of their traditional religious practices."
Park Rangers responded that St. Goddard's buffalo prayer request would have to be run up the "chain of command."
St. Goddard said the ceremony must be held before the coming winter for the Central Interior buffalo herds that have not recovered since Yellowstone National Park and the state of Montana slaughtered over half the herd during the winter of 2007-2008.
The Central Interior herds have also been heavily impacted by intensive hunting from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Nez Perce, and to a lesser extent, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and Montana hunters. This summer, the Park estimated 1,400 buffalo in the Central Interior – a disturbing and dramatic decline from the 3,500 buffalo that inhabited the region in 2005. Some scientists consider the Central Interior buffalo genetically distinct from the Northern Range buffalo.
While we waited at the entrance, more Park Rangers arrived, as did a group of elder ladies from Ohio, and a teacher and his students from Utah. The latter approached St. Goddard and his entourage to find out what was happening.
Word finally came down from the Park's "chain of command" that non-tribal members be excluded from entering the Park to participate in the ceremony. That command was rejected and the negotiation finally concluded with approval from Park Rangers to open the gate.
With a Park Ranger escort, the determined company made their way to Fountain Flats to hold their prayer in the presence of trumpeter swans, curious ravens, Yellowstone’s geysers, and buffalo bulls grazing along the Firehole River.
While the most powerful government in the world remains shut down and the gates to America's National Parks closed, the spirit of protecting the buffalo prevailed over these obstacles.
* Last Week to Catch BFC's West Coast Road Show!
This is the final week of BFC's West Coast roadshow, featuring Campaign Coordinator Mike Mease and musicians Good Shield and Mignon Geli! We've been covering a lot of ground, hitting most of the West Coast, from Bellingham, WA all the way south to Los Angeles, CA. We had a terrific event in Seattle, on September 21, hosted by Ten Club, Pearl Jam's official fan club. What an honor! And the legendary John Trudell honored BFC again with a special fundraiser in Berkeley, CA on Saturday, October 5. We are now in our final week of Road Show events, so please join us if you can! If you live in an area where a show is taking place, please feel free to get in touch with the contact person listed for that show, print and hang posters around your community, or simply tell as many friends as possible. Our generous and heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful people who work so hard to make these individual events happen! We could not do it without you. Thanks to everyone for your endless support.
View the full BFC Road Show schedule. We look forward to meeting you in person this fall.
With the Buffalo,
* "In the Presence of Buffalo" Receiving Strong Reviews.
Order a Copy Today and Help Spread the Word.
"In the Presence of Buffalo: Working to Stop the Yellowstone Slaughter," is the long-awaited book by BFC Director Dan Brister that was published in July by Graphic Arts Books. Reviews have been very positive (see links below), and the book has been selling well. "In the Presence of Buffalo" is a unique and inspiring work shedding light on the history and current management of wild buffalo, their deep relationship with First Nations, and the livestock industry's use of force to maintain control of vast expanses of public lands. Dan digs painfully deep at times as he weaves personal stories with those of the buffalo. The power of "In the Presence of Buffalo" comes directly from Dan's firsthand experiences and his powerful writing. Dan breathes new life into a traditional American theme. Everyone who values wild buffalo should have a copy of this book.
ORDER NOW via BFC's merch page and proceeds will directly benefit Buffalo Field Campaign's important work.
If you've already read it, please take the time to share your thoughts on Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere. The more people who read this book, the more informed, inspired, and widespread will be the buffalo's network of support.
from the Publisher's Weekly Review:
"...Brister stirs up frustration in this visceral portrayal of the wasting of one of our great natural resources...Brister presents a strong thorough argument but his book is more than just animal rights advocacy. It's a personal, cultural, political examination of the buffalo's place in a human world."
from one of the Amazon Customer Reviews:
"This book will break your heart, piss you off, and maybe – just maybe – inspire you to fight injustice and cruelty wherever you find it. 'In the Presence of Buffalo' is an American masterpiece."
from the Sonoron Connection Review:
"Dan's and the Buffalo Field Campaign's story is an inspiration to all of us who cherish wild creatures and shows that we can stand up against those who would destroy them. If this book doesn't move you to take action, nothing will. Perhaps the truth will set the Yellowstone buffalo free."
* BFC Traveling New England
BFC Director Dan Brister is currently in the Northeast promoting his book "In the Presence of Buffalo" and sharing stories from his time in the field with America's last wild buffalo. He has been giving a few readings/book signings and visiting East Coast classrooms in the coming weeks. The following event is free and open to the public:
Saturday, October 12, 3:30pm-5:00pm
Harvest Gallery Wine Bar
776 Main Street, Rt 6A (behind the Dennis post office)
For more information or to bring Dan to your New England Community, please contact: email@example.com.
* 2014 Wild Bison Calendars Available
BFC's 2014 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country calendars are now available! This is the fourth year we've had the honor of working with our supporters through their photographs, art, and text to create a calendar that celebrates wild buffalo 365 days a year. Artists and photographers both familair and new are featured this year, and their fantastic work demonstrates their deep love of these gentle giants. These calendars are great for your home or office and make fantastic gifts.
* 2013/2014 Newsletters: Help BFC Spread the Word
Our 2014 print newsletter is loaded with updates, images, and actions you can take to help the buffalo. BFC's newsletter has something for everyone, whether you are new to the issue or a seasoned wild buffalo advocate. If your address has changed, if you would like to be added to our mailing list, or if you would like us to send you a stack of newsletters to distribute in your community, please contact our office coordinator, Rain, with your mailing address at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-646-0070.
*By the Numbers
The last wild buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,600 individual animals, living in and around Yellowstone National Park. Wild bison are ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.
Total Buffalo Killed: 261
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Held for Government Experiment:
Died In Government Trap:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 25
Treaty Hunts: 218
Unknown Hunts: 5
Shot by Agents: 3
Highway Mortality: 7
Cause of Death Unknown: 3
Total Killed in Previous Years
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,256
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths
*Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration
BFC file photo. Click photo for larger image.
"There is no question that, so long as there are millions of buffaloes in the West, the Indians cannot be controlled, even by the strong arm of the Government. I believe it would be a great step forward in the civilization of the Indians and the preservation of peace on the border if there was not a buffalo in existence."
~ US Representative James Throckmorton, statement made in 1876
Please send us your submissions for Last Words. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you've contributed! Keep them coming!