The bison herd that Midwest SOARRING Foundation started was the result of a vision for a spirit herd, as a way of thanking our four-legged brothers for what they have done for us over thousands of years. We must move away from a destructive, throw-away society and respect what the Creator has given us. It is time to help the Bison survive, for if they survive, we survive.
The bison is a truly magnificent animal. As North America’s largest native grass eating mammal, Bison are essential to the endurance of a healthy grassland ecosystem. Unlike cattle, Bison leave the prairie grass root intact when they graze. This enables a variety of prairie grasses to continue to grow, and creates a thriving environment for wildlife to flourish. Bison are resourceful in finding hidden springs and grass buried under winter snows thus their presence restores rather than depletes the prairie.
Bison needs are basic – a safe place to live and raise their young, plenty of healthy food, clean water, space to roam, and the opportunity to enjoy a sense of community within their herd. As herd animals they chase one another in play, and challenge one another for hierarchy. Thus, as bison herds continue to thrive, they once again give life and spiritual strength to the land of their birth.
The herd that Midwest SOARRING started is located in LeRoy, Illinois. Midwest SOARRING Foundation still collects money to feed the herd, which costs $2 per day in board. We invite you to donate to our Save The Bison Fund.
Estimates of the pre-European herd size vary from 50,000,000 to 70,000,000 animals with a range that included most of North America. Early French explorers named them “Les Beoufs” mistaking them for wild oxen.
With the immigration of settlers into the prairies of North America, the bison’s numbers dwindled to a fraction of their original size. The slaughter of bison by settlers for sport and economic gain in the 1800s, brought the bison neared extinction. Many Indigenous Nations fiercely resisted relocation to reservations so the United States Army began to also kill the bison in the mid 1800s. Elimination of the bison would spell the end of the Indigenous people, many who depended upon them for survival. Disease brought to this continent from foreign domestic animals, also contributed to the reduction of the species. bison
The first bill to save the bison was introduced in Congress in 1874. By 1889, fewer than 1,100 bison remained in the United States and Canada. Today, there are approximately 200,000 bison in North America, although most of them are still found only in managed or ranched herds. Although their roaming area is barely a fraction of its original size, bison numbers have steadily increased over the years. The future for the bison has greatly improved.
The Midwest SOARRING Foundation seeks to continue to be apart of securing the future of this beautiful animal. In September of 1999 with the help of a donation, we were able to save the life of a 4 year old bison. This bison was named “Broken Horn” and became the first bison of a planned indigenous herd of 20-30 bison.
Donations from members made it possible to purchase a male named Thundering Hooves. Then two males and two females were donated from the Elgin Park District, which houses Bison at Lords Park. Others were saved from slaughter including two that were gifted by two members of The Grand Village of the Kickapoo Park Foundation. Natural births also occur which helps this heard to grow.
With any living creature, there are natural fluctuations in their numbers. The herd is our symbol of endurance and remains located in the heart of Illinois in the farm town of Le Roy. Every year at the pow wow sponsored by the Grand Village of the Kickapoo Park Foundation wagon rides are given into the bison pasture. It is a great opportunity to take pictures and be close to these magnificent animals. Come join us!