Editor’s Note: This is an op-ed written by Jaedin Medicine Elk, who is the co-founder and vice-president of Roam Free Nation. She writes about the continued slaughter of migratory buffalo.
By Jaedin Medicine Elk/Roam Free Nation
Thirty percent of America’s last wild migratory buffalo have been removed from the population.
On Saturday, March 18th, Yellowstone National Park released the latest report of bison slaughter and removal operations on the Interagency Bison Management Plan website. The report shows that the slaughter of Yellowstone’s bison continues, including the killing of pregnant females who are just weeks away from giving birth.
As of Saturday, March 18th, 1,814 buffalo have been killed or otherwise removed from the population. That is 30% of the entire population of Yellowstone buffalo, which was at 6,000 in August of last year. Unless Yellowstone takes action now, this will be the most buffalo taken in a season since the deadly slaughters of the late 1800’s. The firing-line style “hunt” at the boundary of Yellowstone has taken the lives of 1,067 buffalo. At least 349 of these were adult females, and nearly every one of those females will have been pregnant. That’s 349 calves that will never be born.
When there’s thirty hunters there from ten different tribes, it turns into a competition to see who can get a buffalo, causing hunters to start firing into family groups hoping they kill a buffalo. It seems the new ‘relationship’ is hunting them to near-extinction because our treaty rights are more important than the well-being of a strong buffalo population.
The billboards put up by The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Roam Free Nation continue to draw attention to the hunt – there are now five billboards across Montana with more on the way. Our message: “There is no hunt. It’s slaughter.” will now reach people in Helena, Billings, Belgrade, and Livingston, Montana.
Yellowstone claims they have no control over what happens to buffalo once they leave the park, and they have been trying to pass the blame for the unprecedented slaughter. But Yellowstone has trapped 781 buffalo at the Stephens Creek Capture Facility inside the park. Of these; 88 were shipped to slaughter (including 70 adult females, most likely pregnant); 282 have been sentenced to a life of domestication in the quarantine program, never to be wild again; and only 34 have been released. Yellowstone continues to hold 374 for “release or slaughter” – so they cannot claim they have no control over their fate..
These dire numbers get even worse when the natural winter kill is taken into account. Yellowstone estimates that 9 out of every 100 adult bison die over the winter on an average year, and with a winter as harsh as this one has been, those numbers can be expected to rise. The state of Montana needs to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the impact of this bison slaughter on grizzlies, since winterkill bison carrion are an important food source for grizzlies, especially since grizzlies’ other main food sources, whitebark pine nuts and Yellowstone cutthroat trout have both been decimated.
The “hunt” has been, and continues to be, an irresponsible slaughter that disregards the very survival of the population. The fact that Yellowstone has captured, slaughtered, and consigned to quarantine another huge group of buffalo only compounds the cost to the herds. How can those doing the bulk of the killing say that they want more buffalo on a larger landscape? How can Yellowstone say the park could host 10,000 plus buffalo while they contribute to removing 30% of the herd? When does it end? When the buffalo are gone?
Editor’s note: Lierre Keith, co founder of DGR, is going to be in London for two events. On April 1, she’s going to be a part of a Women’s Rights Conference along with a number of other feminists. On April 2, she is going to give a talk on Bright Green Lies, followed by a screening of the documentary and Q&A.
What is to be Done? Women’s Rights Conference
A hybrid conference (up to 150 of us in real life and lots more online) in London on Saturday 1st April 2023, 9am-5pm near Old St tube or Barbican tube. Women’s Declaration International invites you to a day of speeches, workshops, networking, internet livestream link to global sisters and hopefully fun. If you would like to attend, help plan, organize, volunteer on the day, run sessions, etc, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in this form https://forms.gle/bFLntzbBzrm4zd6M8
We will livestream the whole thing, so you can participate online too.You can use the normal FQT attendee login so if you are registered for FQT you are registered and need to do nothing further. If not go to womensdeclaration.com and register for Feminist Question Time and you will get a Zoom link the week before.
With four rooms, a garden and a coffee area, the speakers/workshop leaders include: Sheila Jeffreys, Lierre Keith , Zuleyka Valentin Arroyo, Kaïla Atarou Manfah, Christina Ellingsen, Julia Long, Amparo Domingo, Kate Coleman, Stephanie Davies-Arai, Amber Alt, Paula Boulton, Maureen O’Hara, Marian Rutigliano, Lynne Harne, Emma Thomas, Sally Wainwright, Louise Somerville, Jan Williams, Kelly Frost, Kate Graham, Alison Jenner, Lynn Alderson, Shannon from HearSheHearShe, Jo Brew and many more!
The theme is What is to be done, so talks and workshops will focus on what we should do next.
After the day, we have booked a quiet room at a pub where we can sit and chat, plus go downstairs to buy food and drink.
In order for WDI to break even (& hopefully increase our war chest), we need all of us to support the event both financially (by buying tickets, and donating funds) and also through volunteer activities (in preparation, day of, and cleanup).
You can buy tickets for the in person event here. Register for the online event here.
Lierre Keith – writer, radical feminist, food activist, and environmentalist will be in London Sunday, April 2nd for this highly anticipated talk. This will be followed by a screening of Bright Green Lies and a Q and A with the people behind it.
More and more environmentalists are starting to question whether not just fossil fuels, but also so-called ‘green energy’, could pose a potentially serious threat to our environment and to what remains of our already threatened species and biodiversity.
With praise from world-renowned author and campaigner Vandana Shiva (anti-GMO activist and President of Navdanya International), Jeff Gibbs (director of Planet of the Humans, available to watch here for free) and Chris Hedges (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of America: The Farewell Tour), Bright Green Lies and its accompanying documentary film dig further into this issue, exploring whether our dependence on fossil fuels can really be replaced with a new form of industry that calls itself green.
Join us for the event with our expert panel:
This illuminating film “dismantles the illusion of ‘green’ technology in breathtaking, comprehensive detail, revealing a fantasy that must perish if there is to be any hope of preserving what remains of life on Earth. From solar panels to wind turbines, from LED light bulbs to electric cars, no green fantasy escapes Jensen, Keith, and Wilbert’s revealing peek behind the green curtain. Bright Green Lies is a must-read for all who cherish life on Earth.”
—Jeff Gibbs, writer, director, and producer of the film Planet of the Humans
Copies of the film on DVD will be available for purchase, alongside copies of the book which Lierre may sign for you.
Note: This is an in-person event. Please register on this Eventbrite link.
Banner by “File:Lierre Keith.png” by Deep Green Resistance is licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Editor’s Note: Today we’re sharing the following brief essays written by members of Deep Green Resistance:
When I was about 8 I lived in the mountains and our home was surrounded by tall needly trees.
Not too far from one corner of the home, just slightly down the hill, was a small cluster of boulders. The rocks were situated in such a way that I could just manage to nestle myself 8-year-old self between them.
It was a tiny haven. A mini open-air dwelling and escape from regular life.
The chipmunks would occasionally join me and there we’d sit listening to the trees creaking in the wind.
I haven’t lived in the woods or any place even remotely as wild since. I’ve called cities home for the majority of my life, both before and after that time. And for an embarrassingly long time, I didn’t realize anything was missing from my life.
But somehow I finally realized the errors in my ways. There wasn’t any specific moment in time or place I visited that reminded of what I was missing. But I began to seek out natural refuges wherever I was. And when I took the time to look around me, I saw that beautiful places were everywhere. Not just in the mountains but in the city parks. And at the beach. On the trails near my home. Even my backyard.
If I had to pick just one favorite place in nature anywhere, I think the mountains will always top the list. But actually I like to think that wherever in nature I happen to be is my favorite place.
Two thirds of the oxygen in the air we breathe comes from plankton in the ocean. We evolved with nature, shaped by our relationships with the plants and animals around us.
Every cell in our bodies comes from nature. We are made of water, plant and animal, virus and microbe. The bacteria in our gut outnumber our own cells. We are human only in relationship with the more than human world. And it is an honour to be related. To share a connection with the magnificence and intelligence embodied in the diversity of species who are our kin. It is an honour to be an animal on this planet.
I care because I am in love with the natural world. And knowing what I know, I think it is a necessity to protect it. But more than that, it is an act of gratitude. The Earth gives us our very lives. It gives us the most beautiful things we will ever experience. I could work my whole life in activism and never repay the cost of a single breath of ocean air.
We are living in unpredictable times. Whether it’s the threat of nuclear annihilation, economic depression, or ecological collapse, no one can predict exactly what will happen or when. What we do know is that cities and suburbs will not be places humans can live in the long run.
Women need to learn self-defence now. As things become increasingly chaotic, men will look for an outlet for their violence. Those outlets are always women and nature. We can attempt to learn the skills that are necessary for survival in traditional human cultures.
But there are no personal solutions to social problems, which means we need to build communities, we need to organize, and we need to defend the natural world as if our lives depend on it, because they do.
What does it mean to have a culture of resistance? What does this culture value? What is it resisting, and why? How is it different from the dominant culture?
The culture that we are living in now — a capitalist, industrial society — has certain values that we have been told are important for our well-being. Some of these values are: unlimited growth is good, we can have whatever we want, humans are superior to all other life forms on earth, we can tame the natural world for our own purposes, and the individual is more important than the community.
The problem with these values is that they are unjust and unsustainable. We aren’t living within the natural limits of our planet. We think we can continue to use up everything on the earth, and there will be no consequences. And if there is a problem, technology will solve it.
In the meantime, the population continues to rise, more and more of the earth is being destroyed, and more species are dying every day. People are becoming more alienated from each other. They don’t understand, or don’t want to acknowledge, that industrial civilization is the cause of all this suffering.
A culture of resistance rejects industrial, capitalist values. It fights for the natural world and knows that we are just one of many species that share this earth.
A culture of resistance joins together as a community, and rejects the idea of individualism. No one person is more important than another. We work together to meet our needs. We respect all beings and realize that we are dependent on nature to live. Nobody should be using up all the natural resources, thereby making it very difficult for others — human and nonhuman — to survive. It reminds me of the Buddhist teaching, “Do not take anything that is not freely given.”
A culture of resistance recognizes that the earth is finite. The planet can support a few million people, but not billions. It can provide us with all we need to stay alive and healthy: clean water and air, natural food, and adequate shelter. Other beings on the planet are respected and seen as part of the natural community, not things to be exploited. Hunter-gatherers used to live in harmony with nature for thousands of years, and it was sustainable.
The modern culture we live in today is toxic in so many ways. If we do not resist, it will continue to grow until it collapses under its own weight, causing unimaginable destruction and suffering. We must get rid of industrial civilization. Join the culture of resistance!
When I came across Deep Green Resistance I had no background in environmentalism and no knowledge about the ecological crises our planet was facing, and in many ways I felt like this put me at a disadvantage. But I think it gave me one really important advantage: it meant that I hadn’t yet been taken in by many of the false solutions offered by the mainstream environmental movement.
I hadn’t been primed to believe that my power as an activist was limited to petitions, street protests, reducing my carbon footprint and so on. And it meant that I didn’t already have a strong belief that technologies like wind and solar were solutions for the planet. It quickly became clear to me, through understanding this new analysis, that such technologies can only be seen as solutions in a world in which humans have lost their true connection to the natural world.
I learned that some studies have shown that renewables are expected to be the number one cause of habitat destruction in coming years. So that begs the question, is that what the planet needs? Is that something I can stand by and support?
My hope is that more people start to question some of these mainstream narratives, whether or not they already understand what’s happening to our planet — our home.
I want more people to look at the facts, and be unafraid in making up their own minds how they feel about what they see.
I want more people to feel confident in questioning whether a new form of industry that calls itself “green” is what the planet really needs, whether it’s really what we want to be doing to our home. And whether we think this industrial way of life we’ve all become so used to is really sustainable.