Rep. Kristi Noem today helped lead the House in passing H.R.2908, the National Bison Legacy Act, which would adopt the North American Bison as the national mammal of the United States.  The legislation passed without opposition.

“The Tatanka is important both physically and spiritually in Native American culture.  This bill recognizes that,” said Noem.  “Bison are a cultural example of how to live in a healthy and productive manner.  There are also lessons to be learned about resilience from these animals, which were nearly being wiped from existence at one point.  Through the efforts of tribes, ranchers, conservationists and others, the species has survived and can once again be lifted as a literal and cultural example of productivity from which each of us can learn.”

WATCH: Noem Advocates for Bill on House Floor

“The Ihanktonwan people and the Tatanka Oyate were placed on this earth together and have survived as one, beating tremendous hardships through our resiliency,” said Robert Flying Hawk, Yankton Sioux Tribal Chairman. “We appreciate the recognition of this journey through the efforts of Rep. Noem and her colleagues to establish the platform which acknowledges the buffalo as the iconic figure it is.”

“Thank you to Rep. Noem for championing this act,” said Wayne Frederick, Inter Tribal Buffalo Council (ITBC) board member and Rosebud Sioux Tribal Councilman.  “Buffalo to the Titowan tribes are an integral part of our existence, it is known that without them we would cease to exist.  The buffalo also are a symbol of freedom, courage, and perseverance. Let us make sure the buffalo receive the respect that they have shown us over a millennium.”

“The Tatanka Oyate have been a part of our spiritual, cultural, and economic lives for generations.  They have given us everything we needed to survive,” said Mike Faith, ITBC Vice-President and Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Councilman. “I think anyone looking at the relationship between the tribes and the bison can learn something about the utility of the world around us and how precious that balance is.  With the help of Rep. Noem, we hope to be able to secure a place for this lesson as an iconic American symbol.”

“The return of the buffalo has re-energized our culture in many ways,” said Ben Janis, ITBC board member and Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Wildlife Director.  “I am hopeful that through Rep. Noem’s legislation, we can ensure the story of the buffalo and its place in our traditions can remain a prominent figure within America’s historical landscape.” 

“The buffalo and our tribes have been intertwined since time immemorial and we are very pleased to see this being represented through this effort,” said Jim Stone, ITBC Executive Director and Yankton Sioux Tribal Member. “This will allow us to share or story and provide education about this relationship for years to come. We would like to thank Rep. Noem for her efforts.”

“The Bison have rekindled a link to the past and have become living symbols of our Members perseverance and rich historical culture,” said Karena Miller, Assistant Manager of Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Buffalo Farm Management. “Buffalo took care of us for centuries and now it is time for us to take care of them. They will then be able to take care of us again. The bison have become an integral part of Tribal life.”

Noem first helped introduce this legislation in 2012.  She did so again in each successive Congress.  In addition to adopting the bison as the national mammal, this legislation recognizes the cultural and spiritual significance of the bison to Native American communities as well as the work of tribes, conservationists and producers to bring the bison back from the brink of extinction. 

The legislation will now be sent to the Senate for final consideration before arriving at the president’s desk for his signature.

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