Video: Watch 38 Bison Set Foot on Cherokee Nation Land
Greeted with a welcome blessing, 38 female bison trundled their way down a ramp from a tractor-trailer onto Cherokee Nation land on Thursday October 9, ending a 900-mile journey from Badlands National Park in South Dakota.
Just after sunrise the magnificent animals were munching on grass in their new home on 66 acres of tribal land near Kenwood in Delaware County, Oklahoma. Their land allotment will grow along with the herd, the tribe said, with 1,000 more acres reserved, the Cherokee said in a media release. The females will be joined by 10 bulls in a week, the tribe said.
“For most of us, the American bison symbolizes our great country—free, strong and resilient. Those are the traits we identify in ourselves as Indian people,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker in the statement. “That’s why the bison has always represented something deeply spiritual to our tribal ancestors and why it’s important for us to reintroduce bison within our homelands. Today, we are able to reconnect the Cherokee Nation with a prominent part of our history and our cultural roots.”
The new arrivals capped a multi-year effort by the Cherokee to obtain bison. Last week the tribe announced that it had been awarded a few small herds by the InterTribal Buffalo Council, whose aim is to restore bison to traditional lands.
“It is a historic event here in the Cherokee Nation,” said InterTribal Buffalo Council President Ervin Carlson. “Our main purpose is to return bison back to Indian Country, and that’s what’s happening here. It’s a big part of our culture since we are connected to them spiritually, so for the Cherokee Nation it’s a great day, and for us as well, to bring bison to their Nation.”
Local station KOTV’s NewsOn6 reported on the event.
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