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Large Crowd Turns Out For Early Morning Bison Release On Wind River Reservation

Darrah Perez

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Wildlife Federation and the Eastern Shoshone Tribe invited participants to witness the release of ten more bison south of Pilot Butte on the Wind River Reservation.

Jola Lebeau, an Eastern Shoshone tribal member, said a prayer before the release of the ten bison.

“Grandfather Creator you see us here, we are standing here with the sun to the east, that gateway of love. We thank you for this beautiful day and that the buffalo that came here from Montana, that they will love living here upon our lands,”Lebeau said.

The newest bison came from the National Bison Range in Montana, bringing the total number to 21 for the buffalo restoration effort. Eastern Shoshone Business Council Chairman Clint Wagon greeted the crowd. He said this is the start of a long road for the tribe’s bison herd.

Video by Darrah Perez

“It’s really a good thing to see some more buffalo,” Wagon said. “I know the future is still one of those things of getting more here. There is going to have to be some protection and there is going to have to be some management in aspect for these buffalo.” 

After the bison were set loose to mingle with the others the crowd celebrated, and Colorado fine artist Arturo Garcia finished up with the illustration of the event.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.

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