After more than a century's absence, wild, genetically pure bison have returned to tribal lands on the Great Plains in a homecoming that reunites Native Americans with the iconic species that was a fundamental part of their culture and the prairie ecosystem.
Sixty-three bison from Yellowstone National Park were trucked 500 miles to Fort Peck in Montana's far northeastern corner. Tribal members from Fort Peck and Fort Belknap hosted Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and representatives of the National Wildlife Federation and Defenders of Wildlife at the animals' arrival Wednesday. The relocation of the Yellowstone bison follows two decades of work by the tribes, state and federal officials and conservation groups on what is seen as a major step toward restoring wild bison to the Great Plains and supporting important elements of Native American culture. It is the first-ever relocation of Yellowstone bison, the only wild, free-roaming herd, to tribal lands.
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