National Bison Day

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National Bison Day is an annual commemoration of the ecological, cultural, historical and economic contribution of the American bison (also commonly known as the American buffalo) to the United States. It has been held each year since 2012 on the first Saturday in November. Bison supporters, including Native Americans, bison producers, conservationists, sportsmen, and educators typically plan local events and social media engagements celebrating and promoting the bison.[1] A campaign is underway to pass federal legislation officially recognizing National Bison Day.[2] Although the legislation has so far failed to pass, the Senate has passed a resolution each year since 2013 recognizing the day.[3]

Background[edit]

The purpose of National Bison Day is to encourage celebration of the American Bison, also commonly known as the American buffalo, a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds, became nearly extinct by a combination of commercial Bison hunting and slaughter in the 19th century and introduction of bovine diseases from domestic cattle.

As noted in Senate resolutions, bison are considered a historical symbol of the United States, and were integrally linked with the economic and spiritual lives of many Indian tribes through trade and sacred ceremonies. Bison can also play an important role in improving the types of grasses found in landscapes to the benefit of grasslands and hold significant economic value for private producers and rural communities.

In addition to organizing, sponsoring and attending local bison-related events and celebrations, the Beards for Bison campaign encouraged supporters to discuss National Bison Day on social media via hashtags and selfies.[4]

Legislation[edit]

For several years, bison supporters have continued a "Vote Bison" campaign seeking to make the American bison the "National Mammal of the United States" and have National Bison Day officially designated as the first Saturday in November each year. The Senate has shown its approval by passing a resolution about the day each year, in recent years led by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators. On May 9, 2016, President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law, officially making the American bison the national mammal of the United States.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council; National Bison Association; Wildlife Conservation Society (2015-11-06). "Happy National Bison Day! America Celebrates on Saturday, November 7" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: National Bison Association. Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  2. ^ "Vote Bison: Elect Our National Mammal!". VoteBison.org. Vote Bison Coalition. 2016. Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  3. ^ "Senate Passes National Bison Day Resolution". Glenrock Independent. Glenrock, Wyoming. 2015-11-04. Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  4. ^ "Happy National Bison Day!". National Bison Association. 7 November 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2016.