Natural Resources researching raising bison commercially

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
06/19/2012 08:26 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Tribal Council’s Resources Committee recently learned about a possible donation of 80 bison to the Cherokee Nation from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

The bison are only available to Native American tribes and must be raised for commercial use, Natural Resources Director Pat Gwin said.

“The bison retail for $3,500 a piece. They’re fairly expensive animals that we would get at no cost,” he said.

Gwin added that raising and selling bison for meat is “lucrative” in today’s market, and bison byproducts such as the hide can also be sold.

To research what would be required if the herd is accepted, Gwin consulted with Gerald Parsons, who serves on the National Bison Association’s Registry Committee and operates a bison ranch near Atoka.

Parsons is willing to help the CN obtain the heard from Yellowstone, Gwin said.

“I thought he was a very knowledgeable person, and he quelled a lot of fears I had about these animals,” he said.

Gwin said Parsons has invited Natural Resources staff members to visit his ranch and that after the visit the costs associated with raising the bison would be evaluated and presented to the Resources Committee.

He said if the council agrees to accept the buffalo and pay for the costs of fencing and raising them, two locations are being considered: the Candy Mink Springs Project site in Adair County and the Kenwood Project site in Delaware County, both tribal lands.

Gwin said 400 acres are needed for the project and that Parsons told him that four acres of land is required for each bison.

Also, cattle facilities will not work for a bison herd. A facility specifically for bison that includes special fencing must be built, he said.

“The donation will be approved by Yellowstone, and they will not approve that donation until they come down and check off on your facility,” Gwin said. “Yellowstone enters into these agreements knowing these are going to be commercial animals, and they fully expect these animals to be used commercially.”

Tribal Councilor Tina Glory Jordan voiced concerns about the bison herd getting sick.

Gwin said a misconception about raising bison is that they are disease free and don’t require regular medical care.

“Just like cattle, these animals do require annual medical treatment,” he said.

She also asked if the council establishes a budget for the animals would the sale of the second generation begin to supplement that budget. Gwin said sales of the herd would eventually pay for their upkeep.

“We’ll have those figures for you when we present something formally to the council,” Gwin said.

Bison meat is in demand

The National Bison Association states several factors contribute to the demand for healthy bison meat.

Growing numbers of consumers are discovering the direct connection between diet and health, and are actively seeking flavorful meats produced without the use of growth hormones or low-levels of antibiotics.

A growing number of restaurants are adding recipes featuring all types of bison cuts, everything from brisket to short ribs. Active promotion by the NBA and independent marketers is spreading the word that buffalo is delicious and healthy.

After hovering on the brink of extinction only a century ago, today bison producers can be found in all 50 states, every Canadian province and in several countries overseas. The 2007 Census of Agriculture reported that approximately 4,400 private ranches and farms today raise 198,000 head of bison across the United States. Approximately 25,000 additional animals are kept in public herds.

will-chavez@cherokee.org


918-207-3961

ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎻ. – ᎾᎿ ᏗᏂᎳᏫᎩ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏧᎬᎦᎶᏗ ᎦᎷᎩ ᎤᏂᏲ ᎠᏂᎧᎻᏗ ᎠᏂᏅ ᎾᏞᎬ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᎰᏒ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏙᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏁᎵᏍᎪ ᏯᏂ ᏯᎾᏏ ᎾᎿ Yellowstone National Park ᏂᏓᏩᏂᎶᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᎬᏩᏂᏯᏅᏗ Wyoming ᏍᎦᏚᎩ.

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏯᎾᏏ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎠᎹᎵᎧ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ ᎤᏅᏌ ᏗᎬᏩᏂᏯᏛ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏛᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᎢᎬᏩᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎬᏩᏟ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Natural Resources ᏗᏎᎮᎵᏙ Pat Gwin.
“ᎾᏍᎩ ᏯᎾᏏ ᏌᏊᎭ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏦᎢ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎯᏍᎩᏧᏈ ᎠᏕᎸᎢ. ᎡᎵᏃ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᎢᎩ ᎠᏎᏃ ᎠᏎᏊ ᏱᏕᎩᎧᏏ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Gwin ᎤᏃᎮᎸ ᎯᎠ ᏱᏓᏛᎯᏍᏔᏂ ᎠᎴ ᏯᎴᏅ ᎢᎦᎾᏕᎬ ᎭᏫᏯ “ᎤᎪᏗ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ” ᎾᏍᎩ ᎪᎯ ᎠᏂᎾᏕᎬ, ᎠᎴ ᏯᎾᏏ ᎦᏁᎦ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎦᎾᏗᏅᏓ.

ᎠᎪᎵᏰᎢᏓᏍᏗ ᎢᏳᏍᏗᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏓᏂᎸᏍᏗ ᎯᎠ ᏯᎾᏏ ᏗᎨᎩᎧᏁᏗᎢ, Gwin ᎤᎾᏟᏃᎮᏢ Gerald Parsons, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏯᏛᏁᎯ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᏗᏃᏪᎵᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎧᎻᏗ ᏓᏃᏪᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᎦ ᏯᎾᏏ ᎠᏁᎲ ᏂᎬ ᎠᎴᏗᏍᏊ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁ ᏯᎾᏏ ᏧᎾᏛᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎥ Atoka.

Parsons ᎠᏛᏅᎢᏍᏗ ᏧᏍᏕᎸᎯᏓᏍᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏧᏂᏯᏅᏗ ᏯᎾᏏ ᏂᏓᏳᎾᏓᎴᏅ Yellowstone, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Gwin.
“ᎦᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬ ᎢᎦ ᎠᎧᏔᎾᎢ ᎨᏒ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᏕᎶᎰᏍᎬ ᏥᏍᎦᎲ ᏥᎾᏰᏍᎬ ᎯᎠ ᏣᎾᏓᏅᏖ ᏯᎾᏏ ᏧᏂᏯᏅᏗ ᏥᏚᏂᏍᎪᎸᏓ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Gwin ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Ꮎ Parsons ᏧᏬᏎᎸ ᎾᎿ Natural Resources ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏭᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᏫᏚᏂᏩᏛᎯᏓᏍᏗ ᎯᎠ ᏯᎾᏏ ᏧᎾᏛᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏗ ᎢᎦ ᏧᏂᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᏗᏛᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᏄᏓᎴᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᏃᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏭᏂᏢᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᎪᎵᏰᎢᏙ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏅ ᎠᏂᎧᎻᏗ.

ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎢᏳᏃ ᏗᏂᎳᏫᎩ ᏱᏚᎾᏓᏂᎸᏣ ᏧᏂᏯᏅᏗ ᏯᎾᏏ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏈᏴᏗ ᏓᎵᎬᏩᏢᏍᎬ ᏗᏐᏴᏯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏓᎵᎬᏩᏢᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏓᏴᏓ, ᏔᎵ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᎾᏓᏁᏖ ᏧᎾᏑᏰᏗ: ᎨᎾᏗ ᏗᎦᏅᎪᎬ ᎤᎾᏎᎸ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏓᏫᏍᎦᎵ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ Kenwood ᎤᎾᏎᎸ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏆᏅᎩᏱ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ, ᎢᏧᎳ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏧᏤᎵ ᎦᏙᎢ.

Gwin ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏅᎩᏧᏈ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᎢᎦ ᎧᏂᎬᎦ ᏗᏛᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᏯᎾᏏ ᎠᎴ Parsons ᎤᏃᎯᏎᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏅᎩ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᎦᏙ ᎢᎦ ᎬᏙᏗ ᏌᏊ ᏯᎾᏏ ᎨᏒᎢ.

ᏃᎴᏍᏊ, ᏩᎦ ᏗᏴᏙᏗ ᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ Ꮭ ᎡᎵ ᎦᎬᏙᏗ ᏱᎩ Ꮎ ᏯᎾᏏ ᎤᏂᏴᏍᏗᎢ. ᎠᏎ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏯᎾᏏ ᏗᏴᏙᏗ ᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏄᏓᎴᏒ ᎤᏟᏂᎩᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎦᎬᏙᏗ ᎤᏂᏴᏍᏗᎢ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

“ᏓᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎬ ᎣᏏ ᎤᏂᏰᎸᏗ ᎾᎿ Yellowstone, ᏝᏃ ᎣᏏ ᏱᎬᏂᏱᎸᎾ ᏓᎾᏓᎧᏁᎲ ᎬᏂ ᏳᏁᏙᎳ ᎠᎴ ᏳᏂᎪᎵᏰ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᏂᎬᎾᏅ ᎠᏛᏅᎢᏍᏛ ᎤᏂᏴᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏴᏙᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Gwin.
“Yellowstone ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎾ ᏧᎾᏓᏁᏤᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏙᏗ ᏳᏙᏢᎾ , ᎠᎴ ᎠᏎ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᏃᎯᏳᏐ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏂᏯᏂᏍᎩ, ᎠᎴ ᎧᎵ ᎤᎬᎯᏳᏐ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ ᎤᏂᎾᏗᏅᏗᎢ.”

ᏗᎦᎳᏫᎦ Tina Glory Jordan ᎤᏁᏨ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏛᏛᎲᏍᎬ ᎾᎾᎲ ᏧᏂᏢᏍᏗᎢ.

Gwin ᎤᏃᎮᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᏯᎾᏏ ᏗᏛᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ Ꮭ ᏧᏂᏢᎦ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎴ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᎦᎾᏠᎢ ᎠᎦᎾᎦᏘ ᎤᏂᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᏱᎩ.

“ᎤᏠᏯᏊ ᏩᎦ, ᎯᎠ ᎦᎾᏠᎢ ᏴᏓᎭ ᎠᎭ ᎦᎾᎦᏘ ᎤᏂᎪᏩᏛᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎢᏳᏃ ᎯᎠ ᏗᏂᎳᏫᎩ ᏱᏚᏄᎪᏔᏂ ᎯᎠ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏳᎾᏓᏁᏝᎾ ᎾᎿ ᏯᎾᏏ ᎾᏍᎩᏍ ᏔᎵᏁ ᎤᎾᏁᎶᏔᏅ ᏯᎾᎴᎾ ᎠᎾᏓᏈᏱᏍᎬ. Gwin ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏛᎦᎾᏕᎬ ᎤᏅᏌ ᏯᎾᏓᏈᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏯᎥ, ᏛᎨᎶᎲᏅ.

“ᏱᏓᎩᎭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏎᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎪᏪᎳᏅ ᏩᏢᏗ ᏗᏂᎳᏫᎦ ᎠᏂᏅᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Gwin.

About the Author
Will Chavez is a Cherokee/San Felipe Pueblo Indian who has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 25 years. During that time he has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a writer, reporter and photographer for the Cherokee Advocate and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers. 

For many years h ...
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will Chavez is a Cherokee/San Felipe Pueblo Indian who has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 25 years. During that time he has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a writer, reporter and photographer for the Cherokee Advocate and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers. For many years h ...

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