Episode 12 - Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign
Today's episode is with Stephany Seay, media coordinator for the Buffalo Field Campaign. Stephany is on the front lines of protecting Yellowstone’s buffalo, for which there is sadly still great hostility in Montana and among cattlemen. She and other members of Buffalo Field Campaign monitor buffalo year round, and they bear witness to the government's mistreatment of them, such as last winter when about 600 animals were killed.
"The first time I had ever met wild buffalo, I looked into their eyes and that was pretty much it. I remember shedding tears and just feeling completely committed, and the following winter I moved to Montana and have been here ever since."
"When European invaders arrived here, they wanted this land and they wanted the indigenous people out of the way. And so one of the ways that they attempted to do that was to kill the buffalo, because indigenous people were so dependent and lived so symbiotically with the buffalo, that to destroy the buffalo, they would be able to control the native people."
"The cattlemen who started to fill up the landscape with cows after the buffalo had been nearly annihilated, they wanted to maintain that control over the grasslands. And when those wild buffalo in Yellowstone, the last remnant population of wild buffalo, started to rebound and leave the borders that man had set up for them within Yellowstone National Park, the cattle industry was very afraid of that -- and they’re still very afraid of that."
"We get to go out into those formidable temperatures, into that deep, deep snow, in negative 40 days and stand with the buffalo who are just living in it. They don’t get to go home and change into warm clothes and sit by a hot fire. And it’s a gift everyday to be able to be on the landscape with the buffalo."
"We have this little saying that: "The buffalo, they call the people, they call their people to come and stand in their defense." And ultimately it is them that are teaching us how to save us from ourselves rather than us really coming in to save the buffalo. The buffalo have it all figured out. They’re waiting very patiently for us to learn, and to reawaken and to catch up."
"We come across fresh griz tracks, fresh sign, and we see bears from time to time in the areas that we patrol. And it’s such an awesome feeling... "Oh they were going the way we’re going. I guess we’re going to probably head a different way today.'"
"We need more buffalo on a larger landscape. It will help grizzly bears. It will be a benefit to the buffalo and the land herself. It will be a benefit to tribes who want buffalo to return in a respectful manner. So all in all, I think these two others can help each other out and help heal the land together."
In the Presence of Buffalo, by Dan Brister’s
Everything by Derrick Jensen, especially Endgame, Vols. 1 & 2, & The Myth of Human Supremacy