A Bison Range homecoming

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and neighbors celebrate 'restoration of a piece that was missing.'


Last updated 5/25/2022 at 11:33am

Sarah Mosquera / MTFP

Salish Pend d'Oreille elder Stephen Small Salmon prepares to lead dancers into the powwow for the first dance in celebration of the Bison Range transfer Friday, May 20, in Moiese. During the celebration, Small Salmon spoke passionately about the return of the Bison Range to tribal control and expressed hope that one day the tribes would also get Big Medicine back. Big Medicine was a rare white calf born on the Bison Range in 1933. According to tribal members, his birth heightened the CSKT people's spiritual connection with bison. Big Medicine died in 1959 and his taxidermied body is currently at the Montana Historical Society Museum in Helena. "He belongs here with us," Small Salmon said.

by Sarah Mosquera

Montana Free Press

MOIESE - The sound of drumming filled the rolling hills of the National Bison Range. Members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes and neighbors gathered under a large tent to sing and dance in celebration of a historic event: the tribes' reclamation of management of the Bison Range after more than a century of federal management and nearly two decades of negotiations.

"This all dates back to the treaty of 1855, when that agreement wasn't honored and this land was taken by the government," said Stephanie Gillin, wildlife biologist for the CSKT...

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