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Man Explains Why He Tried to Bring a Bison Heart to Governor Bullock

Photo courtesy of Hulton Archive/Stringer/Getty Images

On Tuesday, March 4, a spiritual leader of the Blackfeet tribe was stopped by security at the Montana Capitol while attempting to bring a bison heart into Montana governor Steve Bullock’s office.

Eesukyah, whose Euro-American name is James “Jimmy” St. Goddard, said that the heart was brought to the capitol to protest an unethical hunt.

“We brought the buffalo heart that the Nez Pierce tribe left on their hunt in Yellowstone, of one of the cows that was pregnant with a fully formed fetus,” Eesukyah said. “We brought this heart because you can’t hunt at this time of the year and you can’t leave things like this on the ground if you’re an Indian tribe. We uphold the cultures of many tribes and when we see a violation like this, we speak up.”

The governor was not available, so Eesukyah spoke with Jason Smith, the director of Indian Affairs. Eesukyah says that the killing of cows in spring is offensive to all cultures including to the CSKT to which he said Smith belongs.

“Why are they killing cows with fully formed fetuses inside of them,” Eesukyah asked? “No culture kills a mammal at this time of year, not even white culture. There’s no hunting in Montana, why just the buffalo?”

Eesukyah and his family performed a ceremony yesterday in which the heart was released into a river. There have been no changes to the tribal bison hunting regulations in Yellowstone.


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