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Havre Daily News/Tim Leeds
Bison stand in the Fort Belknap Indian Community Buffalo Pasture Sunday near Montana Highway 66. A push across the nation is occurring to help Native American tribes obtain herds of bison, or American buffalo, as they commony are called. Many Montana Indian reservations already have herds of bison, including the Fort Belknap Indian Community. The Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation took ownership of a herd in 2021, its first herd since the 1990s. Congress in 2020 passed a law restoring the ownership and management of the National Bison Range to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation. That range was created in 1908 by the federal government as a 19,000 acre range in the middle of the reservation but tribal members were excluded from management of the bison. More and more bison are being provided to Native American tribes across the nation to restore their connection to the animals, which tribes had relied on heavily for their survival and well-being for centuries before European settlers, then U.S. settlement, pushed across what is now the United States.
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