The idea of transferring the National Bison Range back to tribal control is gaining traction . . .
More than a century after the federal government removed more than 18,000 acres of land on the Flathead Indian Reservation to establish the National Bison Range, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are working to return the wildlife refuge to tribal management.
Such an action would require federal action, and last month the tribes released a legislative proposal that would remove the range from the National Wildlife Refuge System and place it back into federal trust ownership for the tribes.
Nearly 150 people attended a Tuesday night meeting at the Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, where representatives from the tribes’ natural resources and legal departments were on hand to discuss the proposal with community members and explain the draft legislation.
It should be interesting to watch this story unfold . . .
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun negotiating a possible transfer of the National Bison Range to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
In an email sent to agency employees Friday, Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Noreen Walsh announced the opening round of discussions but provided few specifics.
“Given that we are today in a much better place regarding the future of bison … and that we want to strengthen our partnership with the CSKT, we believe that now is the right time to investigate the possibility of transferring the refuge, which was long ago carved out of tribal lands, into trust for the benefit of the CSKT,” Walsh wrote.
Her email also noted such a transfer would require an act of Congress.