Monday, September 29, 2008

More Buffalo Delivered to Pine Ridge

This weekend, Village Earth delivered 7 more buffalo to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. These buffalo were donated by the Danylchuck Buffalo Ranch in Rye, Colorado . This is the 5th year that the Danylchuck's have donated buffalo to Lakota buffalo ranchers on Pine Ridge. We loaded the buffalo as soon as the sun rose Saturday morning and were quickly on the road, headed north to South Dakota. All the animals received the necessary vaccinations and certifications for interstate travel.

The Adopt-A-Buffalo program is part of Village Earth's larger initiative to support Lakota families to recover their lands from the BIA leasing program and utilize them on their own. Currently, over 60% of the Pine Ridge Reservation is being leased out, oftentimes to non-tribal members for a fraction of their value while Lakota families struggle to find regular employment.

Naturally, this situation has had a dramatic impact on the overall economy on Pine Ridge. According to the USDA 2002 Census of Agriculture for American Indian Reservations of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, in 2002 there was nearly 33 million dollars in receipts from agricultural production on Pine Ridge, yet less than 1/3rd of that income went to members of the tribe. According to GIS data published by the BIA, 20 people control more than 46% of the land-base on Pine Ridge.

Village Earth supports the broader land-reform movement across Indian Country which seeks to enhance the sovereignty of Native American's by strengthening their control over their natural resources.

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