Bison To Be Named National Mammal

In the 19th Century, the U.S. government pursued a policy to wipe out bison as part of an effort to force Native Americans off their lands. Now, Congress just passed a bill to designate the bison as the U.S. National Mammal, a measure now heading to the president’s desk, according to multiple news reports.

The designation had broad support.

The Washington Post ran a story today headlined: “Say hello to our first national mammal” which reported:

The bison, which will join the bald eagle as a national symbol, represents the country’s first successful foray into wildlife conservation. Lobbying for the official mammal designation was a coalition of conservationists; ranchers, for whom bison are business; and tribal groups, such as the InterTribal Buffalo Council, which wants to “restore bison to Indian nations in a manner that is compatible with their spiritual and cultural beliefs and practices.” …

The push to give bison special recognition began about five years ago. That’s when Native Americans on the InterTribal Buffalo Council joined with conservation groups to advocate for a “National Bison Day” in early November, to raise awareness of the animal’s essential role in providing food, shelter and clothing for many Native American groups prior to European settlement.