New Ken Burns film on buffalo includes Indigenous voices from Montana

American Prairie distributed 45 bison to tribes in Montana and Washington. “The American Buffalo,” a new Ken Burns documentary that features Indigenous people from Montana, will air on Oct. 16 and 17 on PBS.

Photographer: Dennis J. Lingohr, American Prairie

“The American Buffalo,” a new Ken Burns documentary that features Indigenous people from Montana, will air on Oct. 16 and 17 on PBS.

The two-part, four-hour documentary explores the buffalo’s central role in ecosystems and in the life and culture of many Native American tribes. The series also covers the history of overhunting buffalo and the species’ near-demise before highlighting tribes’ current efforts to restore buffalo in their communities. 

This circa 1892 photo shows bison skulls awaiting processing at Michigan Carbon Works in a suburb of Detroit. The skulls were processed to yield glue, fertilizer, dye and ink or were burned to create ‘bone char.’ The early conservation movement in the U.S. reflected alarm about disappearing wildlife and habitat. 

Public domain

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