The Lenoir Topic N.C. Sept 18 1889
The Extinction of the Bison
……Every now and then some sensitive philosopher bewailed the virtual extinction of the American bison, commonly known as the buffalo. It is freely asserted that one of the most valuable animals on the continent has disappeared.
This is only partly true. The bison was a necessity to the Indians in their savage state. Without this important food supply the red man in the Northwest had to till the soil, for there was not enough smaller game to feed the tribes. While great herds wandered over the prairies the Indian felt himself to be independent of the white race and civilization. Warriors on the warpath found no difficulty in securing meat.
……But when the bison vanished Indian wars in the Northwest were an impossibility. Then only did the aborigines understand the futility of opposition to the orderly progress of Caucasian dominion. They clearly apprehend now why the white man sows seed in the ground and patiently waits for the harvest.
……The experiments made at Winnipeg with a domesticated herd of bisons showed clearly that, except as curiosities, they were not worth what it cost to keep them. Their strength was far inferior to that of ordinary oxen. While a bison cannot do the work of an ox it takes twice as much food to supply him. He is therefore a failure as a beast of burden. As meat he cannot be compared to many less expensive domesticated animals.
……The most valuable thing about the bison is his shaggy and durable fur. But the conditions of travel are changing in many good substitutes for “buffalo robes”have been provided.
No serious damage has been done to the country in the destruction of the bison. The grass he used to eat is needed for more useful herds. He no longer tempts barbarism to resist civilization. He is gone forever from the plains, and with him has gone the Indian frontier.
……At the same time the government should take care to preserve a herd or two of this most interesting native animal.