Historically, the buffalo has always been a part of indigenous cultural practices and religious ceremonies. The animal has long provided food, shelter and weapons for the survival of tribal families and their traditional way of life. The history of the United States government and the buffalo has not always been one of preservation, but through recent conservation efforts and changes in federal legislation, the buffalo has become a protected and honored animal, ensuring that the ancestors of the ancient herds will continue to live in national parks, on public land, on ranches and on tribal reservations for future generations to enjoy.
Native Americans have coexisted with the buffalo since time immemorial and are considered the first conservationists of the ancient buffalo herds that roamed across the North American continent. Today, their efforts continue as tribes work to preserve the region’s buffalo herds. Many tribes have large buffalo reserves for the management and operation of both commercial and traditional herds. Montana is a great place to learn more about the history and conservation of the buffalo.