More than a dozen wild bison from Denver are being returned to their native homes on tribal lands. On Friday, Denver officials presented 13 American Bison from from Genesee Park and Daniels Park to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. The bison are descendants of the last wild bison in North America.
- Bison once auctioned off will now have a new life on Native American lands. You've probably seen the big animals along I-70 on the city of Denver property. Well, now as Mekialaya White reports, they'll be donated to American Indian tribes nationwide.
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JAMIE TORRES: This is a big deal.
MEKIALAYA WHITE: 13 bison raced into a trailer. They're headed to the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes in Oklahoma.
SCOTT GILMORE: When we return these bison back to tribes across the nation, we are restoring something that was missing in this country for a long time. Indigenous populations, the bison is part of their culture and a part of their life. And to be able to be a part of this and to share this and to create this bond with the tribes across the country is something just-- you can't put it into words.
MEKIALAYA WHITE: The city councilwoman who helped with the final push on the donations says it's about turning the words of land acknowledgment that includes dismantling legacies and inequities into real action.
JAMIE TORRES: What used to be a public auction of surplus bison is now a direct donation to tribes who are establishing conservation herds of their own, returning bison to their lands.
MEKIALAYA WHITE: Denver has two herds of bison, and now the descendants of the last wild bison in North America will live on.
JAMIE TORRES: My hope is that this becomes evergreen, this becomes an annual practice for Denver forever.
MEKIALAYA WHITE: Mekialaya White covering Colorado first.