BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Leaders of Montana's Blackfeet Indian Reservation say they plan to place 89 bison onto U.S. Forest Service land near Glacier National Park that tribal members consider sacred.

The tribe on Friday released a proclamation saying the bison, also known as buffalo, would be able to roam freely within the Badger-Two Medicine area.

The area within the Lewis and Clark National Forest has been subject to a long-running dispute over proposed oil and gas drilling. It's been designated by federal officials as a Traditional Cultural District of the Blackfeet.

Bison played a central in Blackfeet culture before the animals were wiped out in the late 1800s by commercial hunting.

The 89 bison the tribe would move were relocated to the Blackfeet reservation from Elk Island National Park in Canada in May.