The PBPN Land Management Department oversees a herd of approximately 200 bison that are presently located on 420 acres of tribal land. The herd is divided on two tracts of tribal lannd that can be seen most visibly on 150 Road. The other tract of land is located at the intersection of I Road and 158 Road on the reservation.
The herd began with three bison that were donated to the tribe by the Kickapoo Tribe in the 1980s and during that time employees from the Road & Bridge Department cared for the animals. Gradually, more bison were born and acquired and in 1993 the PBPN Joined the Inter-Tribal Bison Cooperative (ITBC) where more bison were obtained that came from the National Parks system. Today, the tribe is still an active member of the cooperative and are one of 58 tribes across 19 states that belong to the orgaization. A major goal of the ITBC is to restore bison back to Indian Country and to protect and preserve them. In addition, the PBPN also works with the National Bison Association and Kansas Buffalo Association.
For more information go to www.itbcbuffalo.com or www.bisoncentral.com
The bison program has grown in physical space the last five years through the Land Department. In addition to the extra tract of land for grazing the herd, a corral has been built that makes it easier to catch the bison and a small barn has also been built nearby.
Staff in the Land Management Department have also been instrumental in offering educational programs to teach about the bison and they have mounted exhibits and given tours which have proved popular. One of the classes that they teach is a class for youth called Hand Drum Crafting that takes different parts of buffalo hides and makes drums from them.
In addition, in the last few years a few of the bison have been harvested for food which is then distributed for traditional ceremonial feasts or given to the Firekeepers Elder Center.
To download a brochure on the Bison Program click here.