Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Cultural Heritage Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Richard Sattler

Commitee Members

Dan Flores, Kelly Dixon


American Indians, bison, buffalo, Lakota Sioux, Native Amereicans, Nez Perce, Yellowstone


University of Montana


This study was prepared for the National Park Service to serve as documentation of the cultural significance of Yellowstone buffalo to two American Indian cultural groups, the Nez Perce and the Lakota Sioux, and of the 1999 Buffalo Walk and accompanying ceremony that took place within the boundary of the park. Both Lakota Sioux and Nez Perce peoples had leadership roles in the Buffalo Walk, which was a benchmark event in the history of the park and of Yellowstone buffalo management. Participants in the Buffalo Walk walked and rode more than 500 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota to the north gate of the park to honor and attract attention to the situation faced by the Yellowstone buffalo herd. This study documents the involvement of Lakota Sioux and Nez Perce peoples in this important event in park history and provides context for this involvement through the discussion of the historic and contemporary significance of Yellowstone buffalo to the cultures of these two groups.



© Copyright 2007 Sarah Anne Tarka