Wednesday, August 17, 2022

“O, give me a home where the buffalo roam…”

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“O, give me a home where the buffalo roam…”

Montana State Representative Wayne Stahl (R-Saco) wanted to impeach Governor Schweitzer for “relocating” bison to the Fort Peck Reservation. There is that word again – relocation. The bison aren’t being relocated, they are being repatriated. What about NAGPRA (43 CFR, Part 10), Mr. Stahl?

Mr. Stahl can call it “arrogance and attitude” but Governor Schweitzer has established an exceptional and beneficial relationship with all Tribes of Montana that is a very rare occurrence in the entire history of the State. You could learn something from Governor Schweitzer, Mr. Stahl.

Every Native American of the Plains Nations knows and understands that our brother bison were here long before the ancestors of Mr. Stahl ever immigrated to this continent. Mr. Stahl’s ancestors came to escape terrorist regimes, religious persecution, famine, disease, and whatever other kind of destitution they were facing.  They came seeking freedom and expropriation.  They found nations of original ecologists whose bonds to the land and animals are perceived as heathen and restrictive to the immigrant agenda. That is wrong! Moreover, history keeps repeating itself in Indian Country. The very types of oppression and maltreatment that Mr. Stahl’s ancestors sought to flee back then are being inflicted on us today, with “arrogance and attitude”. Where is our Homeland Security?

Is there a statute of limitations on historical trauma; the continuation of the same set of perpetrations visited upon our ancestry and our brother bison’s ancestors by the ancestors of Mr. Stahl? For centuries, we elevated the bison to a very spiritual view because when they gave their life to us we were able to use every part of their sacrifice, right down to the marrow. That is called sustainability!

Protestors of the bison repatriation and Mr. Stahl’s constituents are enjoining to further expropriate the bison and the Tribes at Fort Peck and Fort Belknap of their indigenous, inherent, and sustainable rights. Wrong, Again!  

Loretta Bell

Fort Belknap Assiniboine

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