Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Reservation ranchers struggle to keep buffalo alive amid N.D. pipeline protests

The anti-pipeline protesters descending by the hundreds on rural North Dakota in support of the Standing Rock Sioux aren’t necessarily standing with Beverly Fischer. Or her dead buffalo. An enrolled tribal member, Mrs. Fischer and her husband, Ernie, are convinced that at least 13 of their bison have been butchered, barbecued and eaten by some of the hundreds of activists trespassing through the livestock pastures of Cannonball Ranch since the protests erupted in August. In one day, the Fischers had three buffalo drop dead after hundreds of protesters on Highway 1806 panicked the herd in a clash with Morton County law enforcement. “They’re honking their car horns. Then the police are there, and the protesters are yelling and screaming and chanting, and the buffalo are across the ditch in the pasture, and they’re just running because they don’t know what to do,” said Mrs. Fischer. “They’re just running in big circles throughout the pastures,” she said. “By the end of the day, three were gone.” The Fischers’ plight echoes those of local ranchers, farmers and others whose struggle to maintain their livelihoods has gone largely unnoticed as protesters upend the rural communities along North Dakota’s southern border. The Fischers, who live on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Selfridge, North Dakota, also illustrate the growing unease within the tribe over the activists who have increasingly shrugged off the chairman’s call for peaceful and prayerful opposition to the project...more

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