Bison coming ‘home’ to Montana Indian reservation

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Descendants of a bison herd captured and sent to Canada more than 140 years ago will be relocated to a Montana American Indian reservation next month.

Blackfeet Tribe officials are billing the event as a homecoming for a species emblematic of their traditions. The relocation follows a 2014 treaty among 11 tribes in the U.S. and Canada to restore bison to areas of the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains.

Tribal Chairman Harry Barnes says the 89 bison from Elk Island National Park in Alberta will help restore a cultural connection with an animal once relied on by his people for food, clothing and shelter.

Tens of millions of bison roamed North America until they were hunted to near-extinction.

Twenty of the bison will be loaned to California’s Oakland Zoo.