Though bison are iconically associated with the United States, their historical fortunes have often been opposite those of the U.S. As the nation expanded westward, government policy, demand for bison products, and changing land use perilously reduced bison numbers. Efforts to restore bison have been complicated by overlapping legal concerns: state, federal, tribal, and constitutional. This Note examines the legal context surrounding bison restoration, focusing particularly on the critical herd connected with Yellowstone National Park. Former members of the Yellowstone herd, in turn, are the subjects of the Montana Supreme Court's 2013 ruling in Citizens for Balanced Use v. Maurier, which this Article examines closely, arguing it will significantly improve the legal landscape in which Native American bison restoration efforts function. Finally, this Note ends on a hopeful note: suggesting that federal and tribal efforts, combined with economic and environmental interests may presage the resurgence of bison herds.
The Spirit of the Buffalo: The Past and Future of an American Plains Icon,
Animal L. Rev.
Available at: https://lawcommons.lclark.edu/alr/vol21/iss1/6