TITLE: Support for the Intertribal Buffalo Council in Yellowstone Buffalo Matters
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the Inter Tribal Buffalo Council (ITBC) is a federally chartered national Indian organization comprised of 60 federally-recognized Indian tribes across the United States, including six tribes in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, committed to restoration of buffalo to Indian lands to restore the cultural, spiritual, and traditional relationship between buffalo and Indian people; and
WHEREAS, over the last 20 years, the ITBC has assisted with the restoration and the collective management of approximately 20,000 buffalo across the country, comprising the largest national buffalo herd with the assistance of federal funding that ITBC passes through to member tribes via Herd Development Grants; and
WHEREAS, the ITBC has evolved from its inception in 1992 as the informal protector of buffalo in the United States and the voice of representation of Indian tribes on buffalo issues, initiatives and controversies throughout the United States and on the Interagency Bison Management Partnership (IBMP) to address Yellowstone buffalo issues; and
WHEREAS, the ITBC supports treaty hunting as a management tool to reduce herd size in the Yellowstone basin; and
WHEREAS, the ITBC accepted responsibility to transport and harvest buffalo designated by the National Park Service (NPS) for removal, after treaty hunts, in Spring, 2014, to insure buffalo were handled appropriately, with respect, to prevent a waste of meat and to insure distribution of meat to Indian tribes.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI supports tribal treaty hunting rights to Yellowstone Buffalo; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI supports the proper transport, harvest management, handling, prevention of waste, and distribution of meat to Indian tribes until live bison can be transported to tribal lands; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI supports legislation to restore and manage buffalo in Indian Country, with these principles
• Protect and enhance the cultural, spiritual and traditional connection between buffalo and American Indian tribes across the County; and
• Seek additional federal funding for buffalo restoration to Indian lands; and
• Seek additional federal funding for herd management assistance for Indian tribes; and
• Seek federal legislation that the restoration and protection of buffalo on Indian lands managed by tribes; and
• Insure consistent positions from Indian Country developed through collaborative efforts on buffalo issues; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.