The Sacred Buffalo

I live near Yellowstone Park. Because of that, I have grown up hearing all kinds of stories about the wolves the bison and all of the controversies. Did you know that if bison stray out of the Park that they can be euthanized? It's true. They are not welcome to wander the range as their ancestors did. It is because they are believed to carry a disease called brucellosis that can cause cattle to spontaneously abort their fetuses. The ranchers have been so concerned about the buffalo infecting their herds that this sacred animal has been completely cut off from their ancient paths of migration. It seems that in this instance, our need to produce as much beef as humanly possible on this planet has had a negative impact on the ecosystem. That is happening far too much.

 

It truly makes me sad that we have done this to the buffalo. Where I live it is not uncommon to see deer, and an occasional elk or moose wandering through open prairies or near rivers. I have always wondered what it would be like if you could also occasionally come across a herd of bison living freely in the wild. They could be dangerous if approached, but so can any other wild animal. I believe that with good fences, good management and good citizenry it would be possible to allow the buffalo to wander free as they were meant to.

 

Buffalo medicine tells us that the Buffalo represents abundance, prosperity, standing your ground and protecting and conserving your resources. Buffalo typically make excellent parents and their babies have a great survival rate do to the protection that the herd offers them. They are fiercely protective of their own. I suspect that we could learn a lot about community from the buffalo.