Rosebud Sioux Tribe will create the largest native-owned and managed bison herd in North America

Via:  1stwarrior  •  3 weeks ago  •  15 comments

Rosebud Sioux Tribe will create the largest native-owned and managed bison herd in North America
“I think when we look out and see those buffalo and their hooves touch the land, it’s going to be relatable for everyone.” Wizipan Little Elk CEO, Rosebud Economic Development Corporation

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

In the Lakota creation story, beings emerged from the Wind Cave in South Dakota’s Black Hills—some in human form and some in buffalo form. There’s no difference between people and buffalo in this worldview.

“We’re Lakota people and that means we’re buffalo people,” said Wizipan Little Elk, the CEO of the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), the economic arm of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. “They’ve always taken care of us and we need to take care of them.”

And the Rosebud Sioux tribe will do just that with the commitment of 28,000 acres of native grassland for the creation of a new plains bison herd. With a capacity to support 1,500 animals, the Wolakota Buffalo Range will become North America’s largest Native American owned and managed bison herd.

The project is being advanced by a partnership between REDCO and WWF with support from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Over the next five years, the Department of Interior will send hundreds of bison over to the newly created space from federally managed herds. The historic project will increase the overall number of Native American owned bison by an impressive 7% nationally.

“We see it as a point of pride,” Wizipan Little Elk said. “That we can have the largest native managed and owned buffalo herd. We can show that socially impactful, socially responsible business with multiple bottom lines can work and that it creates multiple positive impacts locally and globally.”

Over the past five years, WWF has invested more than $2.2 million in bison restoration efforts with indigenous communities in the Northern Great Plains. This new opportunity, which aligns strongly with Lakota foundational values and beliefs, will offer a model for cultural and ecological restoration efforts by Native American nations across the US.

“This announcement matters for several reasons: it represents a homecoming for this iconic species, and it’s also a reunion with the communities who lived with them for centuries in a symbiotic relationship,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF. “We are honored to be partners in this effort with the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation and the U.S. Department of the Interior, and we look forward to seeing the bison return to the Rosebud Reservation later this year.”

The first transfer of bison from the Department of Interior herds will take place in the fall.

Massive herds of bison once roamed all the Great Plains and much of North America. Unsustainable western expansion decimated those populations in a matter of decades, but now projects like this are helping to bring large herds back. WWF’s goal is to restore 5 herds of at least 1,000 bison each in the Northern Great Plains by 2025.

For Wizipan Little Elk, this is a return to history and tradition—not only in terms of buffalo, but in terms of Lakota values. Of perseverance and self-reliance. Of resiliency, community, and family. And the project meshes well with other new initiatives happening on this land. Next year, the first native language immersion school on Rosebud will open. Lakota immersion classrooms will get to visit the buffalo herd as part of their education—a meaningful interaction that will link their past and future.

“I think when we look out and see those buffalo and their hooves touch the land, it’s going to be relatable for everyone,” Wizipan Little Elk said. “Especially given our history.”


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1  seeder  1stwarrior    3 weeks ago



Absolutely super effort.  Hopefully, DOI will transfer a number of the Yellowstone buffalo herd to this new "home".

The People's Fish, Still "Hand Of The Queen"
1.1  The People's Fish, Still "Hand Of The Queen"  replied to  1stwarrior @1    3 weeks ago

So what will they do with the herd?

Are they going to sell steaks? Keep for themselves etc?

Might i propose a mail order site selling dry aged Bison?

It could be a great way to support the project etc. They are majestic animals.

1.1.1  seeder  1stwarrior  replied to  The People's Fish, Still "Hand Of The Queen" @1.1    3 weeks ago

They will only be getting 1,500 - not enough for "selling" other than to the Nation/Tribe.

Vic Eldred
1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  1stwarrior @1    3 weeks ago

I'm glad to hear the news. It is as it should be!

lady in black
2  lady in black    3 weeks ago


pat wilson
3  pat wilson    3 weeks ago

That's awesome.

Paula Bartholomew
4  Paula Bartholomew    3 weeks ago

They are big and smelly but I love each and everyone of them.  I think this is off the chart cool. Great seed.jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

5  Ender    3 weeks ago

Good to see.

I was thinking about the pureness I guess one could call it. I thought I read they were very few pure bison herds.

5.1  seeder  1stwarrior  replied to  Ender @5    3 weeks ago

There's approximately 500K buffalo today and "about" 25K are considered "pure bred" with no cross disease.

Trout Giggles
6  Trout Giggles    3 weeks ago

I loved seeing the buffalo in Yellowstone. Of course I kept my distance

Paula Bartholomew
6.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    3 weeks ago

I used to see them when I did field duty at Camp Pendleton.  As much as I would have liked to get a closer look, I knew enough to view them from a distance using my field glasses.

6.1.1  seeder  1stwarrior  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @6.1    3 weeks ago

While stationed in Norfolk, VA, had to go to Chicoteaque a couple of times, and I'd travel on 301.  There was a "farm" with a sign of "Buffalo herd".  I stopped a few times to see the herd and there was, actually, only one buffalo named Geronimo (yeah, I know, really authentic, eh?).  Got to see Geronimo from 'bout 10 feet away and that sucker was HUGE.  His hump was a good foot taller than the top of my head (I'm 5'9") and his shoulder muscles just bulged.  Glad he was in an electrical triple-wired compound.

charger 383
7  charger 383    3 weeks ago

This is a good thing

Thrawn 31
8  Thrawn 31    3 weeks ago

It would be nice to see the buffalo out in the plains again. Damn shame about the past 

8.1  Ender  replied to  Thrawn 31 @8    3 weeks ago

It reminds me of the scenes in Dances With Wolves. Where Indians only took what they needed and used the whole buffalo. Then they saw where others came along and killed whole herds and left most of them there to rot.


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