Tue, Mar 28|
Restoring the Buffalo to the Wind River Reservation
Jason Baldes, Tribal Bison Coordinator at National Wildlife Federation. In collaboration with Teton County Library. Photo Credit: Neal Herbert, National Park Service
Time & Location
Mar 28, 2023, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
About the event
Replay available here.
The JH Bird & Nature Club is honored to present a special Zoom program on March 28 with Jason Baldes. As the Tribal Bison Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, Baldes is recognized nationally for his efforts in an indigenous-led movement to return buffalo - the term Native Americans prefer - back to the homelands of indigenous peoples in the West. An Eastern Shoshone from the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, his work is centered on his own homeland, which is roughly the same size, and as ecologically diverse, as nearby Yellowstone National Park.
Jason will be talking specifically about buffalo reintroduction on tribal lands. He believes that restoring a wildlife economy will require a shift in vision for land management away from the status quo driven exclusively by dollars. “For native people, a healthy environment is much more valuable,” Baldes explains. “As we restore buffalo 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.”
Jason, an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, received both his bachelor's and master's degrees in Land Resources & Environmental Sciences from Montana State University, where he focused on the restoration of buffalo/bison to Tribal lands. In 2016 he spearheaded the successful effort to relocate a herd to the Wind River Indian Reservation and works with both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes in buffalo management and expansion. He is an advocate, educator and speaker on Indigenous cultural revitalization and ecological restoration who has also served as director of the Wind River Native Advocacy Center, where he was instrumental in the passing of the Wyoming Indian Education for All Act. He currently splits time as the executive director of the Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative and Tribal Buffalo Program senior manager for the National Wildlife Federation's Tribal Partnerships Program. Jason sits on the board of directors of the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, the board of trustees for Conservation Lands Foundation, and is an adjunct professor at Wind River Tribal College/Central Wyoming College.