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On National Bison day today, we are reminded of the magnificent role that bison play in the prairie ecosystem. Oral history, diaries and journals, and paintings by early explorer/artists like George Catlin tell us that large herds of bison were awe-inspiring (and intimidating) sights. Imagine standing on the high cliffs above the Missouri River and…
On October 30, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed, by unanimous consent, a resolution officially designating November 2, 2013, as National Bison Day. The resolution earned the bipartisan support of 25 Senators – representing a quarter of the U.S. Senate. In passing the resolution, Democratic and Republican leaders have teamed up with close to 50 diverse groups in an initiative called the Vote Bison Coalition. The group represents bison producers, Native Americans, conservationists, educational institutions, recreationists, zoological institutions, health organizations, and businesses.
National Bison Day is one of the signature components of legislation now working its way through the United States Congress. At a time of deep partisan gridlock, the National Bison Legacy Act, which would make the bison our National Mammal, boasts broad support among both Democrats and Republicans. The bill has 18 sponsors in the Senate and 7 in the House, split about evenly by party.
When Kai Ryssdal announced on National Public Radio’s daily financial round-up Marketplace recently that “political gridlock is over,” he wasn’t talking about health care, the national debt, or immigration policy. He was referring to legislation to make the North American bison our National Mammal. To celebrate the bison’s central place in the history and culture of the United States, conservationists, bison producers, sportsmen, and Native American tribes came together this spring to craft and advance the National Bison Legacy Act.