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Senate Passes National Bison Day Resolution
September 18, 2014
For the second year in a row, Senate designates National Bison Day to celebrate bison’s contributions to our culture, economy and environment
Celebration of America’s Largest Land Mammal will be November 1st this year
Washington, D.C. – September 18, 2014 –
The Vote Bison Coalition today applauded the U.S. Senate’s passage of a resolution to celebrate National Bison Day this year on November 1.
The Vote Bison Coalition, comprised of the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, National Bison Association, Wildlife Conservation Society, and more than 50 other organizations, businesses and tribes, supports National Bison Day as a way to celebrate the bison as an American icon for its contributions to our country’s history, culture, ecology and economy.
The National Bison Day resolution was sponsored by Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) and attracted 20 other bipartisan co-sponsors. The resolution follows the passage of a similar resolution in 2013. The Vote Bison Coalition plans to continue pushing for a National Bison Day resolution each year as a way to celebrate bison on an annual basis.
Senator Johnson said, “National Bison Day recognizes one of America’s most iconic symbols. Once nearly extinct, the bison has made a remarkable comeback. Bison played an integral role in the daily and spiritual lives of Native American cultures that continues to this day. Bison is playing an increasing role in agriculture in South Dakota and the West as bison ranching expands. National Bison Day gives all of us an opportunity to celebrate the bison as a living embodiment of the United States.”
On November 1, bison supporters across the country will host events celebrating bison in their communities. On National Bison Day in 2013, Native Americans, bison producers, conservationists, sportsmen, educators and other public and private partners commemorated the day with events and promotional activities in: DC, FL, IA, KS, KY, ND, NJ, NY, OK, SD, TX, VA, and WY.
John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, said, “A day to honor bison is a tremendous way to help Americans learn about and commemorate this majestic animal which is as quintessentially American as baseball, apple pie and the bald eagle. I look forward to celebrating National Bison Day on November 1 along with bison supporters across the country. We applaud Sens. Enzi, Johnson and all of our champions for their work in recognizing this American icon.”
Jim Stone, Executive Director of the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, said: “National Bison Day provides the opportunity for the bison communities to educate people about the role this iconic species is playing in the lives of people in today’s world. The stories surrounding the bison cover the width and breadth of this country and are compelling and need to be heard.”
Dave Carter, Executive Director of the National Bison Association, said: “National Bison Day is a valuable stage that allows us to speak to the public about this magnificent animal, not only from its historic perspective, but from the perspective of its cultural, economic and ecological significance today.”
Keith Aune, WCS Senior Conservationist and Bison Program Coordinator, said: “Establishing National Bison Day is a great way to acknowledge the important relationship of bison to humans and honor the role of this animal to our country’s history. The American bison is truly an important animal connecting to humans through economies, ecosystems, cultures and societies. With the passage of this Senate resolution to establish National Bison Day, we can properly celebrate the significance of this force of nature that shaped our American Great Plains over tens of thousands of years.”
In addition to Sens. Enzi and Johnson, the National Bison Day resolution was co-sponsored by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The Vote Bison Coalition also supports the National Bison Legacy Act, which would officially designate bison as America’s national mammal. The bill was introduced this Congress by Sens. Tim Johnson (D-SD) and John Hoeven (R-ND) and Reps. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). The House and Senate versions have each attracted 17 bipartisan sponsors.
About the American Bison, a National Icon
Bison have an important role in America’s history, culture and economy. Before being nearly wiped from existence by westward expansion, bison roamed across most of North America. The species is acknowledged as the first American conservation success story, having been brought back from the brink of extinction by a concerted effort of ranchers, conservationists and politicians to save the species in the early 20th century. In 1907, President Teddy Roosevelt and the American Bison Society began this effort by shipping 15 animals by train from the Bronx Zoo to Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Many Native American tribes revere bison as a sacred and spiritual symbol of their heritage and maintain private bison herds on tribal lands throughout the West. Bison now exist in all 50 states in public and private herds, providing recreation opportunities for wildlife viewers in zoos, refuges and parks and sustaining the multimillion dollar bison ranching and production business.
Bison currently appear on two state flags, on the seal of the Department of the Interior, and on U.S. currency. In addition, bison have been adopted as the state mammal of Wyoming and the state animal of Oklahoma and Kansas. The bison is the nation’s most culturally recognizable mammal and as such deserves recognition through designation and celebration.
Bison continue to sustain and provide cultural value to Native Americans and Indian Tribes. More than 60 tribes are working to restore bison to over 1,000,000 acres of Indian lands in South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Montana, and other states. Today, bison remain integrally linked with the spiritual lives of Native Americans through cultural practices, social ceremonies and religious rituals.
Bison production on private ranches is in its strongest economic condition in more than a decade. The total value of privately owned bison on more than 2,500 bison ranches in the U.S. was estimated to exceed $280 million in 2013. Bison ranches in states including South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, and Montana create jobs, provide a sustainable and healthy meat source, and contribute to our nation’s food security.
The bison, North America’s largest land mammal, once roamed the continent freely, helping sustain plains and prairie ecosystems as a keystone species through grazing, fertilization, trampling and other activities. Bison shaped the vegetation and landscape as they fed on and dispersed the seeds of grasses, sedges, and forbs. Several bird species adapted to or co-evolved with types of grasses and vegetation structures that had been, for millennia, grazed by millions of free-ranging bison.
The Vote Bison Coalition, led by steering committee members the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, National Bison Association and Wildlife Conservation Society, formed in 2012 to make bison the National Mammal and to celebrate National Bison Day annually on the 1st Saturday of November. The coalition counts more than 50 businesses, tribal groups and organizations who have banded together to support efforts to celebrate bison. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Chief Earl Old Person of the Blackfoot Nation, and Ted Roosevelt V, great-great grandson of President Roosevelt, serve as the Advisory Council to the coalition.
For more information on the Vote Bison Coalition, please visit VoteBison.org
The Inter Tribal Buffalo Council
is a federally chartered Tribal organization dedicated to the restoration of buffalo to Tribal lands in manner that is compatible with their spiritual and cultural beliefs and practices. ITBC has been working on this mission since 1992. Visit: http://www.itbcbuffalo.com
The National Bison Association
brings together all stakeholders to celebrate the heritage of the American bison, to educate, and to create a sustainable future for our industry. Visit: http://www.bisoncentral.com
Chip Weiskotten – 202-624-8172; email@example.com
Mary Dixon – 347-840-1242; firstname.lastname@example.org
Wildlife Conservation Society
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org
; http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS; http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia Follow: @thewcs.