Buffalo Meat - healthy & nutritious - now on Vancouver Island!

History


Spring time at Island Bison,
Vancouver Island Farm

It is estimated over 60 million buffalo roamed the North American continent at one time.

They ranged over most of the continent east of the Rockies and from Mexico as far north as Canadian Great Slave Lake. The herds could be endless in sight. A train on the Kansas Pacific Railroad in 1868 travelled 120 miles through one continuous herd. Another train in Kansas was stopped in its tracks, helpless for eight hours while one unending herd of buffalo passed by.

Native Indians lived in harmony with the mighty Tatonka, using it as food, clothing, covering for their lodges, sinew for bow strings, tools and weapons. In winter, dry buffalo droppings warmed their lodges. Old buffalo bulls were killed for their neck skin which could be two inches thick and when dried and stretched drum tight it made a shield that could stop arrows and was reliably reported to deflect bullets striking it at an oblique angle. It is no wonder the Native Indian thanked their Gods for the gift of this mighty animal and used it as a source of spiritual inspiration.

Bison were an integral part of the ecosystem for centuries, thriving on wild and drought resistant western grasses, native shrubs, flowers and other plants.

As the white man came to the Great Plains, particularly between 1830 - 1860, the buffalo were slaughtered senselessly for their hides and their tongues. The US government encouraged the slaughter as it eliminated the Native Indian food sources, causing them to move north or face hunger and high infant mortality.

By the turn of the century fewer than 1000 animals existed in the United States.

In recent years, conservationists, ranchers, Native Americans, government and private agencies in the United States and Canada have came to their rescue and the herds have been restored to approximately 400,000 animals.