ITBC was originally formed as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. However as times changed and political winds shifted, ITBC was reorganized as a federally chartered Indian Organization under Section 17 of the Indian Reorganization Act. This was approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2010. ITBC consists of a Membership that includes all the Tribes that have joined the organization and is governed by a Board of Directors, which is comprised of five elected officers and four regional representatives.
The role of the ITBC, as established by its membership, is to act as a facilitator in coordinating education and training programs, developing marketing strategies, coordinating the transfer of surplus buffalo from national parks to tribal lands, and providing technical assistance to its membership in developing sound management plans that will help each tribal herd become a successful and self-sufficient operation.
Whether it is unique training opportunities, large scale conservation and restoration goals, or more effective marketing, ITBC works with their partners on behalf of its membership to ensure their needs are met. Such partners include: the Nation Bison Association, the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and more.
Through working with our partners at the National Bison Association and Wildlife Conservation Society, the InterTribal Buffalo Council helped in making the bison the United States’ National Mammal through the Bison Legacy Act of 2016. The corresponding National Bison Day, the first Saturday of each November coincides with Native American Heritage Month. For more information please go here.
Before the Bison Legacy Act was signed into law in 2016, the Wildlife Conservation Society gathered Tribes across the Northern Plains, to sign a different document, The Buffalo Treaty. On September 25, 2014, in Browning, MT, eight Tribes from the US and Canada signed a Treaty as a commitment of those Nations to returning the buffalo not only to their lands, but to their lives. Among these Tribes, four ITBC member Tribes, Blackfeet Nation, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai, signed onto the Treaty. In August 2015, four more Canadian Tribes have signed, bringing the total to twelve. For more information, please click here.