Lakota Oglala Oyate embraces self-reliance

Tribes don’t want help from the State of South Dakota or any other western state unless it’s government to government.

Historically unserved or underserved by conventional financial institutions Native communities have been largely isolated from the food web. At least one American Indian tribe in South Dakota has shown interest in operating an abattoir where horse meat is an economic development opportunity. So, in an era when western states are scrambling to preserve habitat for bison, wapiti, bighorn sheep, pronghorns, deer, the threatened Greater sage grouse and all the other wildlife at risk to the Republican Party how is running nurseries for introduced species like wild horses and burros either conservative or sustainable?

East River South Dakota has been destroyed but West River can still be saved.
The buffalo nation is strong. Its circle is being mended. These were the thoughts Bamm Brewer shared at the Grand Opening ceremony for the Charging Buffalo Meat House, the reservation’s first meat processing facility, located 6 miles west of Pine Ridge Village. Created with funding from One Spirit, a Native American service organization founded to assist and support this nation’s First People, the meat house is the brainchild of Jeri Baker, the group’s director and Brewer, the organization’s food manager. “Right now, we’re feeding, providing food for, about 5,000 people,” Baker commented. “But when you look at the diet-related disease that’s here, 50 percent of the people have diabetes. Many more are at risk of diabetes. Traditionally, that was not the case. Historically, diabetes was unknown among this population.” The facility currently employs 8 to 10 people. But within the next 4 to 5 years as the tribe’s buffalo herd grows, and as the first meat processing house on Pine Ridge begins providing services to local cattlemen and contributing to the reservation’s economy, the sky could be the limit. [Jim Kent, Lakota Country Times]
Human successes hunting with dogs likely contributed to the extinction of several species and the domestication of some camelids maybe for 11,000 years.

Should rewilding efforts seek to restore sustainable wild lands to Pleistocene Era conditions or let the Anthropocene lay waste desertifying precious resources changing the landscape forever leaving survivors to cleave out habitable zones forsaking native species?

The relatively small distance between the Canadian River in New Mexico and the Missouri at Fort Peck reminds me again how the earliest humans in North America thwarted by glaciers, the dire wolf, and Smilodon on everything north of the Sangre de Cristos terminating at Santa Fe, blazed the Pecos Trail from west to east into the southern Great Plains and Mississippi Valley to find an inland paradise teeming with prey.

Northern Colorado has just added a bison herd. The Oglala, Pawnee and Comanche National Grasslands are not far away. The Thunder Basin National Grassland in Wyoming is managed from offices in Colorado. The Fort Pierre National Grassland in South Dakota is managed from Nebraska and the Grand River National Grassland is managed from North Dakota.

It merely takes the political will to build corridors for bison, other ungulates and their associated predators over public and leased private land into the Oglala National Grassland in Nebraska, Wyoming's Thunder Basin National Grassland to North and South Dakota then to the Northern Cheyenne, Crow and Fort Peck nations in Montana.

After bison reach sustainable levels agreed upon by the stakeholders fit private and other public herds like the one at Wind Cave National Park with microchips to join the public herd and be harvested according to the market or population pressures. Hybrid herds should be assessed on a case by case basis and some individuals could join the main herd.

The South Dakota Democratic Party should advocate for paying the tribes and settling the Black Hills Claim, dissolving the Black Hills National Forest, moving management of the land from the US Department of Agriculture into the Department of Interior in cooperation with Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Forestry and Wildfire Management. Mato Paha (Bear Butte), the associated national grasslands and the Sioux Ranger District of the Custer/Gallatin National Forest should be included in the move.

Rewild it and rename it Okawita Paha National Monument eventually becoming part of the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge connecting the CM Russell Wildlife Refuge in Montana along the Missouri River to Oacoma, South Dakota combined with corridors from Yellowstone National Park to the Yukon in the north and south to the Canadian River through Nebraska, eastern Colorado, western Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.

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