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Summer has quickly passed into fall and now fall is almost winter. Over the past month Bison People Land has gone through tremendous changes. The project has grown into a collaborative venture with Eco-Restoration Communities, the organization has incorporated, we have lost and gained a newborn bison calf, and had to cull our beloved bull, Buck. All of this, in combination with land management, numerous ceremonial events, and international travel has prevented me from providing an earlier update on Bison People Land.
We were blessed in June to have a newborn calf join our small herd. The calf quickly grew into a playful young bison. Over the past months her light cinnamon coat has transitioned into the thicker and darker hues of a mature bison yearling. The nourishing milk from her doting mother has been more than enough to support her accelerated development. Even now, after transitioning to grazing, she stays close to her mother, sometimes still attempting to nurse. The bond between a mother bison and her daughter is strong.
Unfortunately, in August our 3-year-old bull began to behave unruly aggressive towards his human caregivers. His behavior was severe enough to warrant more than just concern, we had to make a difficult decision. Buck had to be culled for the safety of the human residents and for even the well-being of his fellow bison. This decision was not made lightly. The conclusion was debated, reflected upon and prayed about many times over. In the end it was clear that best decision was to respectfully take his life in with a traditional mindset, honoring his sacrifice with ceremony and by utilizing his body to provide for the life of others. As are the old ways of natural cultures, every aspect of his body is used to help others to live. His transition into the afterlife was held with prayer and ceremony both before and after the cull.
This is the most difficult part of tending the environment and holding the responsibility of human caretaker of the earth. Human beings have the power to give and support life – but we also have the power to take life as well. The power to take life is a necessary responsibility of caretaking the environment. We use the power of death wisely and only as guided through prayer and synchronicity.
Even with the passing of Buck, we continue to plan on the growth of the herd and Bison People Land. We are keeping an eye out for new bison to join the herd and add to the ecological regeneration and management of this region. Stay alert for updates in the months to come as we continue to learn, develop, and refine Bison People Land.