ASBN and BCCA Commend DOI’s Announcement of Significant Action to Restore Bison Populations as Part of New Restoration and Resilience Framework

Media Release
Media Contacts:

Katie Ellman American Sustainable Business Network
Terrius Harris Indigenous Business Outreach Coordinator, BCCA

Washington, DC – March 3, 2023 – American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN), a business movement building a just and sustainable economy; and Businesses for Conservation and Climate Action (BCCA, a coalition of Indigenous-led and community-based businesses, today commended the Department of Interior’s (DOI) announcement to take significant action to restore bison populations as part of new restoration and resilience framework. This initiative is an important step towards incorporating Indigenous Knowledge into the restoration process of the vital bison species across the country. The framework will empower DOI bureaus and partners to use the best available science and knowledge, including Indigenous knowledge, to help restore bison and their habitats.

“The American bison is inextricably intertwined with Indigenous culture, grassland ecology, and American history…” said Secretary Deb Haaland of the DOI. “New historic funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will help support the Department’s efforts to restore this iconic species and integrate Indigenous Knowledge into our shared stewardship goals.”

As part of the new framework, the DOI will establish a Bison Working Group (BWG) and a Bison Management Apprenticeship program to provide training and knowledge-sharing opportunities to support talent and community capacity. Additionally, the DOI commits over $25 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to promote bison conservation. The funding will go towards a variety of projects and initiatives, including establishing new bison herds, supporting bison transfers to Tribes, and entering into co-stewardship agreements with Tribes for bison management.

“As business leaders, we see this initiative to restore Bison populations in the prairies as a way to advance economic development as well as prairie restoration and protection. We are thrilled to support this effort through our recently announced Public-Private partnership with the Department of Interior to advance Tribally led community economic development as well as through the GRASS initiative as a part of the USDA Climate Smart Commodities grant program,” said David Levine, President, American Sustainable Business Network.

“We are continually impressed by the Department of the Interior and this administration’s unwavering commitment to investing in Tribal Nations. By prioritizing initiatives that promote economic growth, cultural preservation, and environmental sustainability on tribal lands, the DOI is setting a powerful precedent for how government agencies can work to uplift and empower historically marginalized communities,” said Terrius Harris, BCCA’s Indigenous Business Outreach Coordinator.

“Bison are integral to the conservation of grassland ecosystems, a just economy in Indigenous communities, and a cultural touchstone for Tribal Nations. By restoring bison to their native habitats and recognizing their value beyond just their meat and hides, we can not only create a more sustainable and equitable future for all but also reconnect many Tribal Nations to the ceremony and medicine that was lost due to their eradication. With our deep commitment to this important cause and dedication to economic equity in Tribal Nations, we are eager to support the DOI in its efforts to restore bison populations.”

ASBN and BCCA are thrilled to see the Department of Interior take significant action toward restoring bison populations. Our organizations stand ready to support DOI’s efforts and continue our public-private partnership with tribal nations to promote Indigenous-led economic opportunities and leverage our investor community’s resources.

About BCCA

Businesses for Conservation and Climate Action is a coalition of Indigenous-led and community-based businesses, organized to develop and deliver grounded and, therefore, durable conservation policy wins for the benefit of all. Our mission is to establish national policies that recognize sustainable small businesses as compatible with healthy lands and oceans and to enhance rather than exclude these sustainable businesses from conversations about resource access at every step of the decision-making process. Our work is guided by a firm commitment to social equity, local and traditional wisdom, and triple-bottom-line solutions that restore social, ecological, and economic health.

About ASBN

The American Sustainable Business Network partners with business organizations and companies to advocate for solutions and policies that support an equitable, sustainable stakeholder economy. ASBN is a multi-issue, business organization advocating on behalf of all sectors, sizes, and geographies of industry. ASBN and its association members collectively represent over 250,000 businesses across our networks. ASBN is coalition-focused in our approach to solving the pervasive and systemic issues of climate and energy, infrastructure, circular economy, and creating an inclusive just stakeholder economy. ASBN is changing the rules by which business is done so it is better for all people and the environment.