Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Play

Connecting health outcomes to climate solutions and lower utility bills, Engagement Center finding success near Boston's troubled 'Mass and Cass' and more protections coming for PA Children's Service providers.

Play

Georgia breaks a state record for early voting, Democrats are one step closer to codifying same-sex marriage, and Arizona county officials refuse to certify the results of the midterm elections.

Play

A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

Buffalo Restoration Key to Wildlife Economy, Tribal Health

Play

Monday, November 7, 2022   

Some 50 million bison roaming across the Great Plains once served as the backbone for thriving western economies, before European settlers slaughtered herds to the brink of extinction.

Jason Baldes, executive director of the Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative and an Eastern Shoshone tribal member, is working to bring buffalo back onto tribal lands to roam freely, starting with a small herd on the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming.

He said restoring a wildlife economy will require a shift in vision for land management away from the status quo driven exclusively by dollars.

"But for native people, a healthy environment is much more valuable," Baldes explained. "As we restore bison to the landscape for their keystone role as an ecosystem engineer, then we're restoring the land, and we're thinking more about biodiversity and the interconnectedness of all these beings that are here."

Unlike grazing cattle, which decrease plant and animal biodiversity critical for ecosystems, Baldes noted bison increase biodiversity by creating food and habitat for hundreds of species. Their dust bathing creates micro depressions important for seed dispersal and water accumulation. Their hooves naturally aerate the soil. Every winter they put on a new coat, which becomes available for many species of birds when they shed in the spring.

For thousands of years, before America's first residents were stripped of their lands and food supplies, the health and wealth of native communities in the region was directly connected to bison. Baldes pointed out despite being separated for 130 years, the animal is still very present in cultural belief systems including their annual sun dance.

"It's in our sweat-lodge ceremonies, it's in our house ceremonies," Baldes outlined. "We still have songs about the buffalo. That animal historically was our life's commissary, it was our store. It was where our foods, our medicines, our tools, our material came from."

The Eastern Band of Shoshone were also widely renowned as "buffalo eaters," and Baldes stressed bringing herds back to western lands managed as wild animals will also help tribes heal.

"We have the highest rates of diabetes and heart disease and other health-related issues because of the removal of buffalo from our diet," Baldes emphasized. "Incorporating that back into our diet again is very important. It's the highest in protein, minerals and vitamins, and the lowest in fat and cholesterol than any other meat."


get more stories like this via email
The city-run Engagement Center is a low-barrier day facility, which serves a few hundred people each day from the nearby "Mass and Cass" area, offering everything from bathroom facilities and a clean bed to referrals to drug-treatment facilities, dental care and even writing groups. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Boston's 'Mass and Cass' area, with its large homeless population and open-air drug market, remains a trouble spot for city officials, but staff at …


Social Issues

Maryland's Juvenile Restoration Act has been in effect for more than a year now and its impact has people talking about additional reforms. The act …

Social Issues

Local candidates that signed onto a no-corporate-money pledge made midterm election gains in Charleston. Katie Lauer, co-chair of West Virginia …


Research indicates that the number of women who have experienced Traumatic Brain Injury secondary to domestic violence is 11 to 12 times greater than experienced by military personnel and athletes combined. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

A new statewide initiative aims to help connect domestic-violence survivors with medical providers, with a focus on treating traumatic brain injury…

Environment

A successful program that helps low-income households weatherize homes and lower energy bills is setting its sights on improving the health outcomes o…

According to First Things First, 90% of a child's brain develops before he or she starts kindergarten. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Arizona New Parent Guide is a resource that is intended to help new parents meet the challenges of having a baby and support their baby's health …

Environment

An environmental advocacy group in Virginia has been working to bridge generational gaps. Third Act Virginia began as a group of elder climate …

Social Issues

In just two months, it should be easier for providers of children's services in Pennsylvania's child-welfare and foster-care system to get the …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021