Ken Burns, Rosalyn LaPier and The American Buffalo
For thousands of years, the American buffalo evolved alongside Indigenous people who relied on them for food and shelter, and, in exchange for killing them, revered the animal. For millennia, this totemic animal lived in symbiotic relationship with grasslands throughout North America, then—in less than 100 years—new settlers and hunters brought their numbers from 30 million to the mere hundreds, while in the same era glorifying them as our iconic national animal.
It’s a classic and cautionary tale of our ability to destroy the natural world—and potentially, to bring it back.
This program was recorded for radio and podcast.
The Commonwealth Club of California
Director, The American Buffalo
Indigenous Environmental Historian and Ethnobotanist
Founder and Host, Climate One