Tatanka Oyate Mani

They Walk for the Buffalo People


A Letter from Rosalie Little Thunder

Dear Leaders and People of the Buffalo

The slaughter of the Yellowstone buffalo continues, in spite of public outcry and with complete disrespect for the concerns of tribal people. Today, we are no closer to seeing an end to a slaughter that is without sound scientific basis; a slaughter that is politically motivated and driven by greed.

Lawsuits have failed to stop the carnage. Even the best efforts of courageous volunteers that shield the buffalo from the guns are now being circumvented by capture and shipment to the slaughterhouse.

But we cannot abandon the buffalo that have been our source of survival and therefore, the center of our spirituality. Although there are domesticated herds elsewhere, elders and Spiritual leaders have said the Yellowstone buffalo are important in that they are wild and still have natural wisdom. With their instinctive intelligence intact, they can continue to serve their rightful place as keystone species of the ecosystem; essential to the survival of the earth and humankind. This we all know.

In our struggle to protect the wild buffalo from extinction, we thank all those that understand the full nature of this struggle and have prayed and contributed in their own way. We are now appealing to you for more help in this matter.

The Environmental Impact Study that will determine the long-term management of the Yellowstone buffalo is presently in progress. The public comment period closed in November with 65,000 public comments. However, the EIS team is not legally required to consider the public comments in shaping its final plan. Although government-to-government relations are required; that the US government must consult the tribes in matters that affect them, many buffalo culture tribes were not consulted and others were minimally consulted in the EIS process. At no time did tribes have any say in the adequacy of consultation.

Six tribes have officially requested to be consulted. We ask that your tribe join the call for a strong voice in determining the fate of the buffalo. The proposed alternatives are based on the premise that there is a (scientifically unproven) disease problem and are but only options on how the buffalo will be further killed. The alternatives weigh heavily in favor of cattle and their cash value, with no consideration for the value of the buffalo in sustaining an already badly damaged environment.

Beyond the demand for consultation, tribes must gather to review not only the EIS proposals, but to develop and take a position. Whether to do so collectively or individually as tribes would be each tribe's decision. Treaties have been made and broken, but the consultation requirements must be put to the full test. The last remnants of wild buffalo are at stake.

More importantly, a Spiritual Journey to Yellowstone, to the buffalo, is quickly taking shape and those committed to making this hard journey will need your support. It is their belief that we must return their sacrifices for us and that through suffering, the prayers will be strong.

Your support can take whatever form you feel moved to offer. Your presence would be the most welcome, but if that is not possible, prayers and assistance with necessary provisions would make this Journey easier.

In addition to seeking Spiritual protection for the buffalo, the wisdom of tribal voices must be strengthened. If you can join us at the final destination; Gardiner, MT, there will be an opportunity to offer your comments to the public, on behalf of your tribe, on behalf of the buffalo.

Attached you will find a tentative schedule and route, along with a checklist of anticipated needs. Deep concern has been expressed by many people, from many places and we hope that this Journey will give people some way to act on their concern.

Please feel free to pass this information on to others. For further information or questions, contact our coordinators at 605-666-4213.

Rosalie Little Thunder


For information
Please email Rosalie


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Site Index

Walk to Save the Buffalo
A Letter from Rosalie Little Thunder
Tentative Schedule of the Sacred Walk
Personal Statements of Support
A Letter to President Clinton


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