Ancient. Massive. Wild.
This exhibit explores the significance of bison in the cultures of Plains Indian peoples–particularly as a resource for food, clothing, shelter and tools. That co-existence changed dramatically with the closing of the frontier that brought new settlers with livestock to compete for grass and water during a time of climate and habitat change. These developments were exacerbated by the commodification of the bison as hide and bone in late nineteenth century industrialization.
The most recent chapter of the bison story is both significant and complex: the romance of rescuing and preserving bison; the science of genetic diversity within the species; the dynamics of poachers, profiteers, and producers both industrial and small-scale; marketing bison fiber and meat to the 21st century customer. This exhibit highlights the role of the National Buffalo Foundation in bringing together a community of stakeholders to celebrate and promote the bison’s heritage and to raise awareness of that story.