We are very pleased to let you know that Thursday’s screening of “Yellowstone Voices: A Path Forward for the American Bison“ was a wonderful success!
Before the event, RFN co-founders Stephany Seay and Jaedin Medicine Elk met with Rochelle Salois, Confederated Salish & Kootenai tribal member; Steve Kelly of Alliance for the Wild Rockies; Bonnie Lynn of Yellowstone Voices; her incredible lawyer, Jared Pettinato; the producer of the film, Greg Cairns; and Bonnie’s son, Adam, who ran security for the event. We shared updates, new information, and had some great brainstorming sessions. Good things are on the way.
The Museum of the Rockies was the perfect venue! As we arrived, we noted quite a few vehicles in the parking lot. When we got to the auditorium, there were some new and familiar faces. More and more people continued to arrive. Just a few minutes before we started, the whole auditorium was packed! It was such a terrific turnout. Our friend, Nikos Pastos, Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal member, opened the event with a very thoughtful prayer. Bonnie welcomed everyone and spoke some powerful, heartfelt words. Then the film began.
Most of the folks who were interviewed for the film were there, and would be on a Question & Answer panel at the end of the evening. As the film played on, there were scenes of the beauty and grandeur of the buffalo, and, of course, the heartbreaking, maddening scenes of what befalls them when they migrate out of Yellowstone into Beattie Gulch. Gasps of shock and sorrow could be heard throughout the audience. Those of us who have been bearing witness lived through these scenes over and over again. Everyone in the auditorium was moved. When the film ended, there was huge applause. People were touched. Touched enough to want to do something, anything, to stop this senseless slaughter disguised as a hunt.
After the film was over, we had a big screen zoom call with Dr. Peter Nara, M.Sc, DVM, PhD. He was in total agreement with the concerns we all raised about the wrongness of the concentrated killing fields at Beattie Gulch and how that negatively impacts the buffalo, the ecosystem, and some of the human players involved.
Following that, there was a Question & Answer session with most of the folks who were interviewed for the film sharing information and ideas with members of the native and non-native audience. Even Rick Wallen, Yellowstone’s former head bison biologist was there with us, finally able to say the things he had not been allowed to convey while working for the Park Service. Natives, scientists, lawyers, outfitters, activists – everyone an advocate – represented splendidly. There was no opposition from the audience. We were all on the same page. We all want to end this brutal killing. We all want a path forward for the mighty buffalo.
During the panel session, it was mentioned that it was Bonnie’s 80th birthday that day! The whole auditorium sang Happy Birthday to her. She replied saying: this is not about me, but about the buffalo, it’s a birth day, a new day for this path forward. At the very end, our dear, long time friend, Jimmy St. Goddard, Spiritual Leader of the Blackfeet Nation, closed the evening with the drumming of a buffalo song. It was an amazing event and we are so thankful for and proud of having been a part of it.
Thank you for allowing us to be there and for your wonderful support. Roam Free Nation would like to give a special thank you to Steve Kelly for providing us housing and hospitality, and so much more. And a special thank you to Bonnie Lynn and her team for bringing this issue – and us as a team – so far along. We thank each and every one of you who stand in defense of wild nature and the last wild buffalo. The field season draws near. Soon we will need to return to the front lines and we will need your help to facilitate our being there. Please consider financially supporting our work to make this possible.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Wild is the Way! Roam Free!
Co-founder, Roam Free Nation