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The thrilling images of Native American buffalo hunts will forever be a part of the national psyche, thanks to the oral lore of the once-powerful tribes who populated this continent centuries ago.

It’s a romantic world that we can only now dream of, having long allowed our greed to get the better of these historical nations.

Weaponized atrocities by some of our forebears nearly wiped out the entire population of indigenous peoples from coast to coast, destroying eons of tradition and myth regarding the origins of the land that we now call America.

Today, however, the Crow Tribes of the plains are pushing to regain some of that former glorious tradition by asking the federal government for permission to once again hunt the American Buffalo from the confines of Yellowstone National Park.

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“’The Crow are working through the director’s office to make everything legitimate,’ said Dave Loewen, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ law enforcement chief. ‘They’ve talked about it every year but never put themselves on the ground.’

“Montana already provides two free bison hunting licenses to seven tribes to shoot Yellowstone bison when they cross into Montana in the winter and early spring. In addition, Montana recognizes the treaty hunting rights of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the Nez Perce Tribe, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama Nation. Those tribal nations work with FWP to control the bison harvest, but their tribal hunters are governed by their own officials and game wardens.

“Adding one more tribal group to the hunting is likely to make a congested area even more overrun. Mike Volesky, FWP’s chief of staff, told a legislative committee last year, ‘The treaty hunt is really getting to capacity.’

“’It’s kind of an evolving situation,’ said Greg Lemon, FWP information chief in Helena, on Wednesday. ‘We’re in communication with (the Crow) now to sort things out like we have with the other tribes down there.’”

Given the previous treatment of the Native Americans as a whole by our government, many feel that this accommodation is the very least that could be done to help preserve these traditions.



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