The Buffalo War: a maelstrom of Western issues

  • IMPASSIONED: Lakota Sioux protest buffalo slaughter on a 507-mile spiritual walk

    F. Camenzind
 


If there were one emblem of Western history, it might be the American buffalo. In Matthew Testa's new documentary, The Buffalo War, that emblem becomes the focal point for an impassioned controversy. "The buffalo provide a mirror," says Testa. "They reflect how we see ourselves and our place in wilderness. And that reflection is incredibly different, depending on who you are."


The film centers around Yellowstone's famous bison herd, which includes the last wild stock in the lower 48 states. Each winter, some of the animals migrate beyond the park's snowy boundaries to search for forage. As the bison descend into Montana's neighboring Gallatin National Forest, they carry brucellosis, a bacterial disease that once exacted large tolls on the cattle industry. While no proof exists that buffalo spread brucellosis to cattle, in an effort to control the disease, Montana state officials have killed over 3,000 bison since 1985, prompting fierce debate over their methods and their motives (HCN, 1/29/01: Montana, feds find common ground for bison).


Testa introduces us to protesters like Rosalie Little Thunder, a Lakota Sioux, who leads a 507-mile walk to protest the slaughter, and Mike Mease, founder of the Buffalo Field Campaign, an activist group that uses civil disobedience to block buffalo capture. We also watch the six Munn brothers, who graze their cattle on the Gallatin and struggle to save their ranch.


The film contains the heart of Western history and its multiple cultures, and opens a debate that should resonate far beyond the boundaries of Yellowstone.


The hour-long film aired on PBS stations in the mountain states in November and should air again early next year. For broadcasting schedules, visit www.pbs.org/buffalowar; to order the film, call Bullfrog Films at 800/543-FROG or e-mail [email protected].
High Country News Classifieds
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    HawkWatch International seeks an experienced fundraiser to join our awesome team! This position will provide support in all aspects of the department. We are looking...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING IN TAOS, NEW MEXICO www.westernlaw.org/about-us/clinic-interns-careers The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a...
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    will develop and execute Wild Utah Projects fundraising plan. Call, email or check full description of job online for more details:
  • HAND CRAFTED LOG HOME IN TETON VALLEY
    on ten acres. Full view of the Grand Teton. 35 miles to Yellowstone and 20 minutes to Grand Targhee Ski Area.
  • ACREAGE WITH HOME, SHOP, BARN FOR SALE!
    Must see for sng/extd fam or corp retreat in pines! $1,030,000
  • WESTERN REGIONAL MANAGER
    The American Forest Foundation seeks a smart and highly motivated candidate to join our Western conservation team. The Regional Manager supports the Regional Director to...
  • TRANSPORTATION PLANNER
    Exciting opportunity to lead the charge on meeting the future transportation demands of our community! This position will develop, coordinate, and implement the Integrated Transportation...
  • ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING INSTITUTE (EWI)
    with Robert Michael Pyle September 26-30, 2018, in Missoula MT.
  • REPORTING FELLOW - BOISE, ID
    Boise State Public Radio is hiring a Reporting Fellow as part of a new nationwide collaborative, Guns & America. Based in the state capitol, Boise...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Middle Colorado Watershed Council. Rifle, CO.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RIVERSEDGE WEST (FORMERLY TAMARISK COALITION)
    RiversEdge West is seeking an entrepreneurial leader with solid nonprofit management skills to lead our high functioning team and help us make an impact on...
  • HIRING BEARS EARS EDUCATION CENTER DIRECTOR
    Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring an Education Center Director to oversee the operation of the Bears Ears Education Center....
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR WITH WRA
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) is seeking a talented, organized person with great people skills, who is passionate about protection of the natural environment to work...
  • DIRECTOR OF REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY
    The Wilderness Society is recruiting for an experienced Communicator for our Northwest Region. This position is located in Seattle, WA. For more information please visit...
  • SALMON RIVER IDAHO WILDERNESS RETREAT HOME
    Here is an opportunity to have a piece of self-sufficient paradise on Idaho's Main Salmon River adjacent to the largest Forest Service wilderness area in...
  • RAMMED EARTH SOLAR COTTAGE
    in 5-home conservation community & botanical sanctuary on 20 acres.
  • MEMBERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR
    The Montana Wildlife Federation is looking for an enthusiastic and innovative Membership and Engagement Coordinator to help grow and maintain our grassroots voice for wildife,...
  • SR ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNER
    The City of Fort Collins is excited to announce a Sr Environmental Planner position within the Natural Areas Department. This position will be housed within...
  • HISTORICAL VACATION CABIN
    on beautiful Snow Angel Ranch located within San Juan National Forest near Pagosa Springs, CO. Lakes, fly-fishing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, horse trails, horse accommodations...
  • FIVE-ACRE VIEW LOT WITH WELL
    5 acres, well. Abuts Carson NF; hike fish ski; deer turkey elk.