RAPID CITY, S.D. — A bipartisan bill by way of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee aims to create a permanent buffalo program at the U.S. Department of the Interior and develop tribal capacity to manage buffalo.
Sens. Mike Rounds and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M) introduced the Indian Buffalo Management Act, which will help tribes and tribal organizations manage herds. A total of roughly 14 million will be made available in the bill.
A big part of the bill – allocating funds to create a sustainable buffalo herd for the tribes – who say that it a sacred part of their culture and source of food.
Members of the Intertribal Buffalo Council say the bill would be a key part in establishing those herds.
“If this bill passes, it’s just a real a real coup for the tribes to be able to is build and sustain the herbs and creating permanent, you know, funding that will be there for us to to grow that,” said Ervin Carlson, President of the Intertribal Buffalo Council.
The Indian Buffalo Management Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) earlier this year.