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Published December 16, 2013, 12:56 PM

Oglala Sioux back away from bison reserve plan

The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council has backed away from a plan to force cattle ranchers from their leased lands for a 100,000-acre bison reserve in the South Unit of Badlands National Park in southwest South Dakota.

By: Associated Press,

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council has backed away from a plan to force cattle ranchers from their leased lands for a 100,000-acre bison reserve in the South Unit of Badlands National Park in southwest South Dakota.

Ranchers had criticized a June ordinance that revoked grazing leases on 10 parcels within and near the boundaries of the South Unit. The council rescinded the ordinance late last week at the urging of Councilman James Cross.

Cross said people in the district he represents were strongly against the ordinance, and he criticized a committee that brought the plan to the council for not going to the districts to gather input.

The tribe and the National Park Service are working on making the South Unit of Badlands National Park into the nation’s first tribal national park. The Stronghold Buffalo Unit was part of that plan.

Ranchers in the area say they will oppose any move to force them out because they have nowhere else to go.

“This is round one and we’re going to be at it again,” rancher Sandra Buffington said.

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