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Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma Gifted Bison Herd

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TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — The Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah has been gifted a heard of bison and will tend to the animals for the first time since the 1970s.

The tribe announced the award from the InterTribal Buffalo Council on Monday. The 40 animals are excess bison from North Dakota and the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. They will arrive by mid-October.

Those sites combine for about 800 head of surplus bison each year.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker says American bison played a critical role for the tribe prior to colonization and there has been a nationwide resurgence of tribes connecting with the animals.

The council also awarded a grant to help the Cherokee Nation provide fencing and supplies for the bison.