The U.S. House of Representatives considers H.R.2074, the Indian Buffalo Management Act, on December 1, 2021.

The bill creates a permanent program at the Department of the Interior to help promote and develop tribal capacity to manage buffalo, or bison. The herds, which tribes relied upon for food and other purposes, were decimated during the colonization of the United States.

“The Indian Buffalo Management Act will allow tribal nations to develop and maintain buffalo herds on tribal lands to restore treaty obligations and the buffalo population itself,” said Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-New Mexico), the House Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples of the United States.

“Additionally this bill will enable the transportation of surplus buffalo from federal lands into tribal lands,” Fernandez added.

The measure authorizes $14 million to be spent on the buffalo management program. If the bill becomes law, the money would have to be appropriated by Congress.

“The demise of the buffalo was the demise of the American Indian,” said Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the sponsor of H.R.2074 and the longest-serving member of the House.

“It was done deliberately and now we’re trying to restore it on Indian land,” Young noted.

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