Through Indigenous News Online Staff
WASHINGTON – The Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) of the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana will include the National Bison Chain when a transfer of ownership facilitated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Bureau of Land Management ( BLM) will be terminated.
The move was announced by outgoing Home Secretary David L. Bernhardt on Friday, January 15. He signed Secretary’s Order 3390 transferring the land to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The BIA will formally take the land in trust for and return the land to the Flathead Indian Reservation.
“The restoration of this land is a great historic event and we have worked hard to achieve it. This comes after a century of separating the buffalo from the bison chain, and after a quarter of a century of efforts to co-manage the refuge with the FWS, ”said CSKT President Shelly R. Fyant. “And who better to do this than the earliest inhabitants of the earth who depended on the buffalo for centuries?” It was our pillar. “
The transfer was made possible by Public Law No. 116-260, enacted on December 27, 2020. In December 2020, Congress repealed the law that created the National Bison Range, and Congress restored the land to the National Bison Range so that it is once again held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes (tribes).
The legislation also created a two-year transition period during which Congress directed the Home Secretary, through the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), to cooperate with tribes in the activities of transition as the tribes assume full management of the bison chain.
The Service and the tribes will work on a smooth transition for bison, wildlife, staff and the public.
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