US House passes bill to make the buffalo a national symbol

RAPID CITY (KOTA-TV) A recently passed bill by the US House is bringing the buffalo one step closer to becoming the national mammal of this country.

It is expected that the Senate will adopt the House bill very soon before sending it to President Obama for his signature.

South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem was one of many who were instrumental in championing the National Bison Legacy Act, which will make the buffalo one of three official symbols of the us.

Jim stone, Executive Director for the Intertribal Buffalo Council, which has worked to restore the animal to tribal lands, says the buffalo has played a huge role in American history and believes it should represent the United States.

"The Buffalo is an iconic species in this country. You have a bald eagle, which is recognized as a symbol, and it's very deserving of that position, yet the buffalo had more to do with the United States, pre–discovery, than the bald eagle in some senses. It provided everything for the Native American's way of life", said Stone.

He adds that the recognition as a national symbol will create educational opportunities to tell the story of how the buffalo has rebounded from the brink of extinction.