Tribal Buffalo

Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming


Bottom of Form   November 2016, ten bison were released onto part of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. The Eastern Shoshone Tribe is hoping this start of a bison herd will one day number a thousand animals. The reservation has about 750,000 acres that could carry bison, more land than that available inside Yellowstone National Park. The ten bison came from a genetically pure strain the federal government maintains in Iowa.

In June 2016, the tribes released draft legislation hoping to transfer the National Bison Range from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Secretary of the Interior. The land would then be held in trust for the tribe and they would manage the 400 bison on the range.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation co-manage the National Bison Range in western Montana, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In April 2016, bison from Canada’s Elk Island National Park, to Montana’s Blackfeet Reservation. These bison will start a herd that will eventually roam more than 4,000 square miles of the Blackfeet Reservation, Glacier National Park, and Badger-Two Medicine wilderness. These bison are descendants of 410 bison bought by the Canadian government and transferred from Montana in 1907.

2014, 40 females from the Badlands made their way to the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. The Cherokee Nation has also added 12 bull bison from Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska has been reintroducing bison to the native homelands since the Tribe was restored in 1990. With assistance from the ITBC, the Ponca Tribe now has a herd of nearly 100 animals in two pastures.

The Fort Peck Tribes Fish and Game Department maintain Turtle Mound Buffalo ranch in Montana, which has about 200 head (2013) in the buffalo herd. Buffalo were reintroduced to this area in 1999.

ITBC member nation bison conservation programs include efforts by the Fort Peck Reservation in northeast Montana, home to the Sioux divisions of Sisseton, Wahpetons, the Yanktonais, and the Teton Hunkpapa as well as the Assiniboine bands of Canoe Paddler and Red Bottom.

Intertribal Buffalo Council 605-394-9730

InterTribal Buffalo Council has a membership of 69 Tribes in 19 states with a collective herd of over 20,000 buffalo. Our members manage more than 32 million acres of Tribal lands and have restored buffalo to nearly 1 million of those acres. Membership with ITBC remains open and there is continued interest by non-member Tribes in joining the organization. ITBC is committed to reestablishing buffalo herds on Indian lands in a manner that promotes cultural enhancement, spiritual revitalization, ecological restoration, and economic development.

                    Thank you ITBC for the loan of your map!

In 2011, Montana’s Fort Peck Indian Reservation received 70 bison, from Yellowstone National Park. The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission voted to transfer 68 bison.  In 2013, 34 bison were transferred from Fort Peck to the Fort Belknap Reservation to begin a herd there. Joined with the 1990’s herd of 200 (from YNP) 2014 Currently, there are groups like the Intertribal Buffalo Council (formed in 1990), made up of 59 tribes, which own 15,000 to 20,000 buffalo intended to serve tribal communities.

Since the early 1980s, the Southern Ute Tribe has managed a small herd of bison, primarily for cultural preservation and nutritional/dietary purposes. Currently, there is a herd at approximately 30 head with a 350-acre fenced pasture near Ignacio, Colorado.

Montana’s Crow Reservation has the largest herd of 1,000 bison on approximately 300,000 acres.

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe started their Bison Program in the latter half of the 1970s when it received ten bison from the State of Nebraska, through a private donation.

In 2010, approximately 2,348 bison were managed by these tribes.

Six of the seven reservations in Montana own bison.

Tribal Bison Idaho’s, Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Bison herd was established in 1966 with 21 buffalo acquired from the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. The current herd ranges from 300 to 400 head and are decedents of this start.

As of 2018 the Tribal Council reports from herds under ten and intensively managed, to herds that number over 1,000 free-ranging across their native landscape, approximately 20,000 buffalo have returned to just under 1,000,000 acres Tribal lands across the country. 19 states and 60+ tribes


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