Denver donates 33 bison to tribal nations

Posted at 4:34 PM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 11:45:52-04

DENVER — The City and County of Denver donated 33 bison to tribal nations Monday in an effort to support Native American conservation herds.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock along with other city officials were on hand at Genesee Park to recognize the donation by Denver Parks and Recreation to the Northern Arapaho Tribe, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and Tall Bull Memorial Council.

“For over a century now, Denver has been the proud caretaker of these Bison herds, and we remain committed to their conservation as an integral part of the ecosystem here in the West,” Hancock said in a statement. “We’re taking that commitment to a new level, and through this effort with our tribal partners, this is an opportunity to help establish, support, and sustain Native American conservation herds across the country.”  

Fifteen of the animals were transferred to the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming; 17 to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma; and 1 to the TallBull Memorial Council in Colorado.

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Tribal members perform a ceremony during Monday's event.

The city said this is the first bison transfer to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of 17 yearlings. Last year, the city presented 13 bison to the Oklahoma tribe.

This bison donation is part of the city’s effort to return the animals to their native homes, while supporting conservation efforts, on tribal land. These kinds of donations to American Indian Tribes or American Indian nonprofit organizations will continue through 2030, according to the city.

Denver Mountain Parks started caring for bison to conserve the species and prevent their extinction. It owns two herds — one at Genesee Park and one at Daniels Park. The animals are descendants of the last wild bison in North America.