Buffalo Field Campaign
Update from the Field
April 27, 2006
In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* BFC Mother's Day Cards - One Week Left to Order
* Thank You LightHawk & Ray Lee!
* We Drummed for Life & Gained a Warrior
* Free BFC T-Shirt for Published Letters to the Editor!
* Last Words
* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Here along the Park's western boundary things have been nothing less than
magical. We give thanks for the blissful times in the presence of
wild buffalo, this week unharmed and un-harassed. Spring is an incredible
time to be with the buffalo after such a long, difficult winter.
As buffalo relish the emerging green grasses, their energy increases a
thousand-fold. The tracks we find show intermediate signs of buffalo dancing;
bulls sparring, yearlings playing, young buffalo kicking it up, as patient
matriarchs lead the way to greener grass and secluded birthing grounds.
Horse Butte and the Madison River corridor behold amazing gifts of
abundance, and life manifests itself in numerous, spectacular forms.
We bask in the arms of the Earth, in the presence of wild buffalo, the
soothing, prehistoric cries of the Sand Hill cranes provide the gentle
music of creation.
Our gaze lifts to the skies to see young bald eagles flying with their
parents. Golden eagles swoop down around us, spreading their great
wings, then fly up! up! up! ever higher. Higher still, the flight
of the white pelican, circling and floating in freedom on the wings of
the wind. Osprey and bluebird are busying themselves with the important
tasks of caring for life anew, gathering and fishing and preparing for
the young. Spring beauties and buttercups appear and the sage grows
greener, wafting tangy fragrances as we walk through it.
Volunteers are refreshed with strong spring winds, inspiration and
indescribable beauty. Topping it off, buffalo mothers present little
gifts to the world, in the shape of tiny red calves. Amazing to
know that these little ones will grow up to be mighty, gentle yet fearless
giants. We wonder at the safety and comfort they must feel to have
the strong love and protection of such a powerful mom and family.
Our own maternal/paternal instincts kick in strong for them as well.
Save for the nature of wolves and weather, nothing should be able to harm
them. They are beautiful in their innocence with their soft
red bodies, little black hooves, nuzzling noses and dark, wondering eyes.
As they discover what it means to be alive, trying out their new legs
prancing and dancing, hopping and skipping about the land, their patient,
loving mothers carefully watch them every step of the way. As we
follow the buffalo tracks along their migration route, we also dance with
excitement, seeing the wee prints next to mom's giant ones. The
joy of the next generation is upon us all.
Not long from now, however, the dark forces of the government and livestock
industry will be upon them. But not without a fight.
As ever, we will stand up against the lies, with the knowledge that Truth
is with the buffalo. As you read in last week's Update, the supposed
"threat" of brucellosis is just a cunning creation by the powers that
(momentarily) be, to continue their Monopoly game upon our Mother Earth.
Recent news stories report that the agencies took blood samples from the
nearly 1,000 buffalo they slaughtered. Test results show that had
the blood samples been taken prior to hasty killing, more than half would
still be alive. Fifty-five percent of the buffalo sent to slaughter
by the National Park Service and Department of Livestock this year had
NO SIGN OF BRUCELLOSIS! Critical information gained far too late.
Tests also showed that 44 percent tested "positive" for brucellosis.
The so-called positive results are false in that they only detect the
presence of antibodies, not infection. In other words, they killed
healthy buffalo that had developed immunity to brucellosis. Most
were not infectious. Further, bulls, yearlings, and non-pregnant
buffalo pose no risk of transmission, while pregnant buffalo post only
a *theoretical* risk: to this day, there has never been a documented case
of a wild buffalo transmitting brucellosis to cattle, even where they
coexist. Nearly 1,000 buffalo lost to the world forever, without
warrant, and most killed by the hands of those who are supposed to protect
If the government and livestock industry were truly concerned about disease
rather than land control and money, the agencies could have used the convenience
of murdered buffalo to do more accurate culture tests, which would have
shown actual infection. But it's easier to maintain power by spreading
lies, fabricating the truth and getting that media headline to state 44
percent tested "positive." The testing process is set up to benefit
only those whose 400-year old mission has been to rid the land of these
wild, gentle beings. Much like the way the Bush administration
sold war based on "weapons of mass-destruction" that didn't exist.
Meanwhile, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) issued a press release
yesterday saying the elk in the Madison Valley (the same valley buffalo
have been shot or slaughtered for attempting to reach) probably don't
have so much brucellosis after all. Whoops. They say it's
probably yersinia, a relatively harmless (to wildlife and livestock) gastrointestinal
bacteria that can show up as brucellosis in their brucellosis testing
procedures. Who's to say that the wild buffalo aren't victims of
this as well? Scientists that know about yersinia and brucellosis
and the testing procedures say this is most likely the case. But
sound science isn't a tool used by government. Of course, true to
government form, an FWP agent claims the same probably doesn't hold true
for Yellowstone buffalo. As a matter of convenience to carry out
their "economically beneficial" destructive policies of land control,
the government makes up excuses and formulates their "science" to continue
their agenda, no matter the cost. Wildlife management is an oxy-moron,
with the emphasis on the latter portion of the word.
Not all news is bad news: While the buffalo bring forth new life,
we have been inspired by the action of others in recent weeks. To
the North, the Mohawk Six Nations are currently standing their ground,
defending their ancestral land against greedy developers. As the
days go by, more and more people come to join their ranks and the mainstream
media can no longer ignore this powerful rise of the people in defense
of the land. We pray that others over Turtle Island will be
inspired by these brave actions to stand up in solidarity against the
tyrants. The momentum is building. Be it nuclear testing on
sacred land, deforestation, rape of the oceans, or the persecution of
the last wild buffalo - these are the representatives of what ails the
sovereignty of the land herself; arriving are the fearless, strong champions
who will set her free at last.
It has been said that the buffalo will never give up on the people.
Their endurance over the centuries is testament to that. Though
it may take generations, we will, likewise, never give up on them.
* BFC Mother's Day Cards - One Week Left to Order!
Wild buffalo babies are being born, wild buffalo moms celebrated!
They need the love and protection of all buffalo defenders, as the peace
they are afforded now will not be tolerated by the Department of Livestock.
As we approach Mother's Day, help us celebrate (and protect!) wild buffalo
mothers as you celebrate the nurturing women in your life. Give
the gift of a beautiful hand-crafted Mother's Day card. Orders should
be in by Wednesday, May 3rd, so we can get the cards out to reach the
ones you love in time.
To order visit
* Thank You LightHawk & Ray Lee!
As you can imagine, we don't have too much faith in the National Park
Service's buffalo estimates. Nearly 1,000 have been sent to slaughter
or gunned down by management activities, and winter kill has been heavy
this year. Given these combined impacts, what is the herd size today?
It's hard to say; we know it's dangerously low and we are determined to
find out real information based on our own findings.
On Saturday, BFC representatives Jesse and Seamus went up on the gracious
wings of LightHawk pilot Ray Lee's plane. LightHawk is the
largest and oldest volunteer-based environmental aviation organization
in North America. Jesse and Seamus joined LightHawk in a fly-over
of the Yellowstone region starting in the currently buffalo-empty Madison
Valley, through Yellowstone National Park, and some of the surrounding
areas. They took lots of video and photographs of visible buffalo
and areas where buffalo should be. Incredibly telling shots of the
Duck Creek and Stephens Creek buffalo trap reveal the ugly scar these
facilities have on the landscape. With their documentation and mapping
skills we will get a more accurate assessment of what buffalo still remain.
This is a really exciting, detail-oriented project and we beg your patience
as all the pieces are put together. Soon, we will show you amazing
photos and video footage of the region's awesome landscape and its giant
We are grateful to LighHawk who, over the years, has been very supportive
of our work and lends their expertise to efforts to protect the last wild
buffalo. Thank you, LightHawk, for granting us the opportunity to
conduct our own buffalo count and helping us see a bigger picture with
a birds-eye perspective.
To learn more about LighHawk's work visit
YOU LightHawk and Ray Lee!
* We Drummed for Life & Gained a Buffalo Warrior
On Saturday we celebrated Earth Day in Livingston, Montana with local
and regional advocates of the wild buffalo and grizzly bear. Our
dear friend, Monica RavenHeart, brave and inspiring kindred spirit, put
her amazing energy into creating yet another beautiful and inspirational
event. We gathered and drummed, spoke about the wild, sharing stories
and invoking healing energy and positive action. Gilbert Walking
Bull, a Lakota elder, spoke to us about the relationship between the buffalo
and the Lakota people; the Buffalo Nation, they are one, intertwined,
where one ends the other begins and visa versa. Gilbert reminded
us that Tatanka, the Lakota word for buffalo, translates literally into
"His Great Creation."
The BFC buffaloon, a gigantic balloon buffalo, made his huge presence,
attracting many to our table. There were beautiful hand-crafted
drums, mother drums, rattles, tambourines all tuning in to hoof-beat and
heartbeat. Generous door prizes were given away, including a beautiful
hand-made beaded pouch crafted by our friend and Monica's husband Kevin.
At the end of the day, however, BFC got the best "prize" of all:
Monica's son, Gunner, came home with us to join the Buffalo Field Campaign.
We are honored to have this new Buffalo Warrior with us. He is already
wise beyond his years and a great photographer, besides! Check out
some of Gunner's photos from the Drumming and some from his first days
on patrol with the last wild buffalo: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/bisonphotogallery3.html
Stay tuned for "Drumming a Sacred Circle for Life III"! Thank you
Monica and Kevin for your brave and wild hearts, your strong spirits,
and the "donation" of your first born!
* Free BFC T-shirt for Published Letters to the Editor
Don't let the mainstream media get away with printing half truths!
Please monitor the news and respond to articles about wild buffalo, write
in their defense, inform others and set the record straight. The
editorial section is the most widely read part of the newspaper.
Lawmakers pay special attention to the editorial pages to get a feel for
the concerns of their constituents. Write a Letter to the Editor
for the last wild buffalo! Don't stop with the papers, though!
Contact your TV and radio stations, urging them to show BFC's footage
from the field and conduct interviews so that we can continue to raise
awareness for the buffalo!
Anyone who gets at least one pro-buffalo letter to the editor published
in the paper will receive a free Buffalo Field Campaign t-shirt (100%
organic cotton). Send us a link or a hard copy (address at the end
of this Update) to your published letter, along with your mailing address
and t-shirt size, and we'll send you a beautiful t-shirt that says it
all: "Let Buffalo Roam!" The offer holds true for anyone who
can set up a radio interview for BFC or can get a TV station to run our
For tips on writing letters to the editor, as well as a list of suggested
newspapers, please visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/lte.html
or contact Stephany at email@example.com for help.
* Last Words
"A patriot must be ready to defend his country against his government"
~ Edward Abbey