My mom was a schoolteacher who raised my two sets of twin sisters (born 18 months apart) and me. She was always there for all us, and shared many lessons of right and wrong that I carry with me to this day. Mom took care of us all by herself during my father’s two separate one-year tours to Vietnam; her quiet strength was another teaching I am proud to bring with me…though in my case the quiet may not always apply. My dad was a West Point man who served his country in the US Army for 30 years; his example taught me how to be a warrior. Colonel Mease was a gentle leader who always put his troops first, and I seek to always follow in that path myself.
As co-founder, I am going to use some of my space to acknowledge and thank folks without whom the buffalo and I would not have made it this far.
Along with my friend and ally Rosalie Little Thunder, the biggest honor of my life was making a real commitment to action in defense of the last wild buffalo. Our initial actions together led to the eventual formation of BFC, and through all of our many years of working together she opened my mind, heart, and soul to whom I want to be…who I continue to become. Rosalie’s kind ways of creating change are closely aligned with the way of the buffalo. She guides me now from above, and I am proud to keep my promise to her and stay with the buffalo.
One of my best friends in the world, a man I can honestly say I would not still be here without, is Dan Brister, our executive director. His work has given BFC the resources to provide for our activities and expenses, and allowed more than 5,000 volunteers be fed and kept warm while they stand with and protect buffalo.
The man I call my Uncle, Darrell Geist, has taught me more than I can share. We have fought for many issues and created positive change for many of them. From reducing and removing toxins, to Native rights and forest defense all around the world, and other activities such as ecosystem protection, mine disruption, various social issues, as well as the important work of teaching other activists how to create their own media at the national and international levels. We have organized rallies and protests in support of wild wolves, black bears, grizzly bears, and many other animals. And then there are the buffalo. Together, Daryl and I have also created award-winning documentaries to help educate people on many of these issues. Darrell and I have been allies since the early 1990’s with Cold Mountain, Cold Rivers and continue to fight for the buffalo as active members of Buffalo Field Campaign.
Once you spend time with the buffalo you know. Listen and learn as they have much to teach. The joy just keeps coming, and I will stand with them as my family until they roam free again.