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Past, Present and Future of the North American Bison

Bison-grou_20220728-140719_1

Report on the Dakota Bison Symposium, held June 23-25 in Bismarck, North Dakota

A unique opportunity to reflect on the United States' National mammal, Bismarck State College's Dakota Bison Symposium (June 23 - 25) included enriching presentations at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, an art exhibition, Native American drumming and dance, documentary screenings and guided field tours. 

We had the chance to hear about the cultural significance of returning the bison to Native American communities, and how it can lead to improved health indicators for people and our environment. We saw discussions about the federal efforts to conserve the bison, and about rearing bison for commercial purposes in a way that heals the land. We learned about the pre-historic presence of the Bison in North America, and how American History is profoundly tied to the history of the Bison. It's worth quoting from author Dr. Dan Flores' presentation on this last topic: "Senseless destruction is America's historical memory of the animal that has now become our sole National Mammal. The buffalo's fate is one of the stories we really ought to understand and internalize as part of our historical trajectory."

 Native American philosophy, history and traditions played a crucial role during the symposium. Indigenous tribes have a long and close cultural bond with the bison and as former chairman of Standing Rock Mike Faith explained, "The bison is a symbolic representation of who we once were as a people. As the tribes bring their herds back, it symbolizes the growth and health of its nation."

Azimuth World Foundation was a proud planning partner of the event. As an organization dedicated to fighting for a world where humankind and nature thrive in harmony, we wish to send a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in the Dakota Bison Symposium.


Photo Credits: Jim Kambeitz (AWF Advisory Committee member)

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