(Wind River Reservation, WY) – On Saturday October 16th, 50 bison were scheduled to be released for both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes, after being transported from the Dunn Ranch in Missouri.
25 bison were set to be released at 9:00 AM at the Eastern Shoshone Tribe’s Buffalo Enclosure, with the other 25 planned to be released at 10:00 AM at the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s Buffalo Enclosure.
County 10 was unable to attend both releases, but made it to the second ceremony at the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s Buffalo Enclosure.
The ceremony was led by Jason Baldes, the Eastern Shoshone Tribal Buffalo Program Manager for the National Wildlife Federation.
“The ceremonies conducted on Saturday were to welcome the buffalo home, but the healing will be in the years to come, on our lands and in our communities, through reconnection to the animal,” Baldes stated.
The ceremonial song was performed by the Eagle Drum Society of the Northern Arapaho, which is comprised of Michael Eugene Ridge Bear, Richard Brown (who provided the drum), Wes Martel, Lorn Durgen, Marlin Spoonhunter, Carrie White Antelope and Lynell Shakespeare, with Jason also assisting in singing with the group.
Jerry Redman conducted the cedaring and prayer at the Northern Arapahoe release, with Wyman Weed overseeing the Eastern Shoshone release.
While initial plans were to release 25 bison for each tribe, there were too many animals unloaded at the Shoshone enclosure (27), and three were injured during transport, so 20 were released at the Arapahoe Enclosure.
The three injured bison will be delivered in the spring, along with eight additional animals that will be provided to the Northern Arapaho via the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council in the coming weeks, according to Baldes.
Other than the three injured animals and one yearling heifer that had a difficult trip, there were no casualties during transport.
Check out some more photos of the ceremony below.