American Indians honor the spirit of dead Yellowstone bison

American Indians honor the spirit of Yellowstone bison killed under disease control plan

By Matthew Brown
Gardiner, Montana (AP) 4-08

American Indians who trace their people’s existence to the survival of bison are praying for more than 1,700 of the animals killed or removed from Yellowstone National Park this winter.

The bison are being killed under a livestock protection program meant to control the spread of the disease brucellosis. Chief Arvol Looking Horse, a spiritual leader for the Lakota tribe, is calling for federal and state officials to scrap the program before the park’s bison population is permanently damaged.

On a wind-swept clearing outside a holding pen from which 21 more bison were shipped to slaughter, Looking Horse held a ceremony to release the spirits of the dead animals. He said their continued killing threatens his people’s survival.