Bison reintroduction may displace ranch families - KOTA Territory News

Bison reintroduction on the Pine Ridge Reservation may displace ranch families


After 40 years of trying to figure out how to reintroduce buffalo to the South Unit of the Pine Ridge Reservation and Badlands, tribal leaders are getting close and are enlisting the help of the National Park Service. But the decision to do so would displace seven ranch families.

Eight months ago the Oglala Sioux tribe leaders passed an ordinance to allow bison to roam the southern portion of the reservation once again, but that means some producers will have to part with their land. Rancher Chancy Wilson, says he is unsure about the future for him and his family. "I grew up on this land, my parents grew on this land and its something my children if they take it away we're going to find a new home and a new livelihood some where else,"  said Wilson.

Wilson says he could lose about fifty percent of his land but other families could lose it all.  "They are losing their whole ranches over this whole deal,"  said Wilson.

National Parks Service Superintendent Eric Brunnemann says this matter is between the ranchers and the tribe. "Some things are tribal business and the leasing of those ranching units that's tribal business".  

Brunnemann says the National Parks Service partnered with the Oglala Sioux tribe 40 years ago and buffalo reintroduction was in the plan back then. "We haven't had the direction to do so until now,"  said Brunnemann.

Brunnemann says the National Parks Service's role in this is to see how this plan will affect the land and the people. "Right away my job is to conduct public meetings because you just don't take an action on federal land without talking to the public" said Brunnemann.

Public meetings will begin next week to allow people to voice their opinions on the reintroduction. There will be a meeting in each district and in Rapid City. 

Schedule of meetings

Monday April 21st: Pine Ridge/Billy Mills Hall 1:00-3:30 PM

                               Wakpamni/CAP Office  5:30-8:00 PM

Tuesday April 22nd: Allen/CAP Office 1:00-3:30 PM

                                LaCreek/CAP Office 5:30-8:00 PM

Wednesday April 23rd: Wounded Knee/CAP Office 1:00-3:30 PM

     Porcupine/Clinic 5:30-8:00 PM 

Thursday April 24th: Wanblee/CAP Office 1:00-3:30 PM

                                 Kyle/CAP Office 5:30-8:00 PM

Friday April 25th:  Oglala/Bro. Rene Hall 9:30 am-12 noon

                            Rapid City/Alex Johnson 5:30-8:00 PM



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