Points of View – National Human Rights Photography Exhibition
Human rights and the environment
Millions of bison once thundered across North America, and historically, they played an essential role in shaping the ecology of the Great Plains. Bison hunting was an activity fundamental to the economy and society of the First Nations people who inhabited the vast grasslands. Most Indigenous tribes regard the bison as a sacred animal and religious symbol.
Though bison once roamed across much of North America, they are now “ecologically extinct” as a wild species throughout most of their historic range, except for a few national parks and other small wildlife areas. The species' dramatic decline was the result of habitat loss due to the expansion of ranching and farming, and industrial-scale hunting practised by non-indigenous hunters. Efforts to conserve the bison are ongoing. Many believe that conservation efforts must go beyond simply increasing population size and focus on the restoration of the bison to its wild, undomesticated state.