Bison People Land
Bison People Land base is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Black Hills are a relatively small and isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota.
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Bison People Land is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Black Hills are a relatively small and isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota. This region was profoundly affected by the Jasper fire which burned about 83,500 acres 20 years ago. Beside the Jasper Fire this location has undergone degradation due to a lack of large native ungulates species (hoofed mammals, like bison and elk) and the arrival of European cattle. The negative impact on water systems and the soil has also been a major issue in this region. However, this landscape has the capability of bouncing back when there is sufficient water infiltration in the soil and streams. Bison People Land currently apply holistic grassland management, including rotational grazing, which supports and improves not only healthy grasses but also soil retention, surface, groundwater flow, and increases CO2 sequestering. This initiative currently hosts a number of camps which connect people to the ecosystem, the Bison People Land philosophy and a relationship to the land.Bison People Land is a regenerative bison (American Buffalo) management organization that brings healing and connection to the land and people through using traditional indigenous ecosystem practices and the best scientific understanding. Bison People Land’s founder, Sal Gencarelle, was inspired to create an organization dedicated to ecosystem regeneration through his three decades of apprenticing and learning the cultural practices of the indigenous people of the Great Plains of North America. Much of this ecological wisdom focused on managing the migratory bison herds which once numbered in the tens of millions. Correctly supporting the bison populations creates ecological balance. The Bison People Land initiative has reintroduced bison to this land to repair the ecosystem, increase biodiversity, and restore the healthy relationship between land, people, and animal. This is done by developing a robust version of human land management based on traditional Native American environmental knowledge combined with modern scientific practices and monitoring. For more than 10 years they have hosted “nature connection” camps on the prairies and mountains of western South Dakota. The Vision of Bison People Land includes expanding operations to other areas in South Dakota, including the local Indian Reservations and are also supporting and planting/transplanting Aspen Trees which act as nursery trees for future evergreens. Bison People Land are actively planting the region’s fruiting trees, Chokecherry and have planted hundreds of chokecherry seeds while actively curbing invasive plant species.

Achievements

In 2015, Bison People Land created The Language of the Lands Camps, which continues annually. These camps are an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to come into a deeper relationship with themselves, people and nature through traditional teachings, time in nature, practice of earth-based skills, and personal reflection and sharing.
Congruently, Helpers Gathering camps have been created that focus on personal growth and community, with the involvement of dozens of repeat participants. Since 2019 Bison People Land have managed three bison on this land. These bison have now reached sexual maturity and are expecting calves in the spring of 2023. The management of these bison is the cornerstone to these ecological and cultural restoration projects. The original land purchase was 23.5 acres (9.5 hectares) which allowed the team to start their educational programs, develop the bison herd, and create a location for events to take place. In 2021 an additional 33.5 adjacent acres (13.5 hectares) 57 acres (23 hectares) is currently under restoration.

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