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Letter: Past, present and future of the North American bison

Mariana Marques, executive director of the Azimuth World Foundation, thanks planners and attendees of the recent Dakota Bison Symposium in Bismarck.

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A unique opportunity to reflect on the United States’ national mammal, Bismarck State College’s Dakota Bison Symposium (June 23 - 25) included enriching presentations at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, an art exhibition, Native American drumming and dance, documentary screenings and guided field tours.

We had the chance to hear about the cultural significance of returning the bison to Native American communities, and how it can lead to improved health indicators for people and our environment. We saw discussions about the federal efforts to conserve the bison, and about rearing bison for commercial purposes in a way that heals the land.

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Geigle writes, "The delay of 16 months to put state money to work in North Dakota has been too long. North Dakota has the opportunity to invest in North Dakota. What is the delay?"

We learned about the pre-historic presence of the bison in North America, and how American History is profoundly tied to the history of the bison. It’s worth quoting from author Dr. Dan Flores’ presentation on this last topic: “Senseless destruction is America’s historical memory of the animal that has now become our sole national mammal. The buffalo’s fate is one of the stories we really ought to understand and internalize as part of our historical trajectory.”

Azimuth World Foundation was a proud planning partner of the event. As an organization dedicated to fighting for a world where humankind and nature thrive in harmony, we wish to send a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in the Dakota Bison Symposium.

Mariana Marques is the executive director of the Azimuth World Foundation.

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This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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