The Northern Arapaho Tribe has accepted 15 bison from a herd in Genesee Park, near Golden, Colo. Following a transfer ceremony Monday featuring Tribal and Denver city officials, the bison were driven north to the Wind River Reservation, where they are joining a growing herd managed by the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
The Tribe plans to commemorate the newest members of its bison herd with a special ceremony today at approximately 5 p.m. in Johnstown, off Blue Sky Highway. The event is open to the public.
“Bison hold a special place in Arapaho culture and history, and I’m proud to see these magnificent animals once again call the Wind River Reservation their home,” said Chairman Jordan Dresser of the Northern Arapaho Business Council. “I thank the City of Denver for this special gift, as well as the Northern Arapaho Tribal Historic Preservation Office for its continued work preserving the proud traditions of the Arapaho people.”
At one time, an estimated 30 million bison roamed the continent, including on the Wind River Reservation. After being nearly hunted to extinction, the bison was missing from the reservation for over 130 years. But reintroduction efforts by the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes are slowly bringing the bison back to the Wind River Reservation.
With today’s transfer, the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s herd now numbers 40 bison.
“The bison is not only a vital link to our past as Northern Arapaho, it is essential to our future as we restore this important part of our culture and heritage,” said Elma Brown, interim CEO of the Northern Arapaho Tribe. “I am honored to participate in this bison transfer and look forward to these beautiful animals joining our existing herd and returning to the home of their ancestors on the Wind River Reservation.”
Renowned documentarian Ken Burns is attending today’s bison ceremony at 5 p.m. to record this historic event.