The American buffalo that roamed North America by the tens of millions were an integral part of the culture of the Native Americans of the Great Plains. After the mass slaughter that followed the colonization of what would become the US, there were just 23 such bison left at the start of the 20th century, according to Smithsonian magazine.
Those 23 were located in Yellowstone National Park, which has nurtured the bison back to health, to the point that the population regularly exceeds 4,000 now. Some of those wild bison will soon go home.
The National Park Service will soon send hundreds of the bison to the Sioux and Assiniboine tribal nations at Fort Peck Reservation in Montana. A small herd has been there since 2012 as a feasibility experiment and now this presence will be much more than symbolic. “It has a real spiritual meaning for us,” Robbie Magnan, the reservation’s fish and game director, told Smithsonian.