National Bison Range is Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d'Orielles Land

National Bison Range

{National Bison Range originally posted by US Interior} The National Bison Range is 18,800 acres of illegally taken Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreilles land and completely surrounded by the Flathead Reservation in Montana. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) were compensated at less than a seventh of the actual value of the land - the difference of which they wouldn’t get for another 60 years. Last year, after years of contention, CSKT thought they might finally be getting their land back when the Fish and Wildlife Service recommended returning the land to tribal management. Enter Secretary of Interior Zinke - remember him? The one behind the reduction of Bears Ears and Grand Escalante National Monuments, leaving thousands of cultural resources unprotected? The former Montana representative reversed the Obama era management plan, choosing to keep the National Bison Range under FWS control because he didn’t want to reduce public land and didn’t trust CSKT management abilities. 

Bears ears showed that Zinke clearly has no problem removing federal protection and changing federal jurisdiction. However, transfering the National Bison Range to BIA trust land - since this is still a colonial country and tribal land is still considered government trust land - is represented as selling off public land. This is stolen land to begin with and even if it weren’t CSKT has both a proven record of quality resource management and stated commitment to keep the land accessible. The common thread between Zinke’s seemingly opposite policies at Bears Ears and the National Bison Range is an attack on indigenous sovereignty and an investment in settler control of land and resources. #publiclandisnativeland