The Nez Perce tribe used to kill bison for food and many other purposes that were a part of their culture. And the hunting practice took place in what is now Yellowstone National Park. The region covers large parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
"Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison (Bison bison) have lived continuously since prehistoric times. Yellowstone bison are exceptional because they comprise the nation’s largest bison population on public land and are among the few bison herds that have not been hybridized through interbreeding with cattle. Unlike most other herds, this population has thousands of individuals that are allowed to roam relatively freely over the expansive landscape of Yellowstone National Park and some nearby areas of Montana," according to National Park Services.
Once when there was no Yellowstone National Park, there was a tribe of American Indians who used to hunt the animals across the grassy plains. But all that is no more. With the coming of western man, the very lifestyle and cultural practices of the Indians were exterminated ruthlessly.
Now, the selfsame tribe wants to restart their age-old hunting activities in the region. However, the only problem is that currently the hunting of bison is prohibited in Yellowstone National Park.
"Before there was a park, there was a tribe," Nez Perce Chairman Silas Whitman told Reuters. "Some of our members already feel we have the right to hunt in the park, but it hasn't been exercised because we feel it would be remiss in going forward that way."
The tribe has already been hunting down some of the stray bison that enter their territory. But they want more rights as a minority in the US. The allowance of hunting on the park premises is something for who raise a hue and cry over the hunting of such a rare species as bison.
They point out that the very idea of hunting in an area meant for the protection of these animals is absurd. The park head has also denied any rumors as to the allowance of hunting in the park.
"Yellowstone is against any proposal to hunt in the park," said David Hallac, chief of the Yellowstone Center for Resources, the park's science and research branch.
But when you look at the 4000 plus number of bison who are wreaking havoc on the ecology of the region, you tend to wonder if hunting them down for food wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.
Then some of the bison are infected with the disease known as brucellosis which is quite contagious. Maybe allowing the Nez Perce tribe a hunting license would be a blessing both for the tribal customs and the ecological balance of the fauna and flora in the region.