The Blackfeet Buffalo Coalition was founded to preserve anancient line of wild mustangs and reconnect young Blackfeet with these historic buffalo-hunting horses.

The Blackfeet Buffalo Coalition was founded to preserve anancient line of wild mustangs and reconnect young Blackfeet with these historic buffalo-hunting horses.
Photo © John Hockensmith

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Comments and Ratings

What happened at the BBHC has many aspects and most of it still untold. Having spent time there on and off over the years I saw how the problems grew. For example, Blackbull was very ill requiring weekly hospital visits and money ran out. Blackbull could be difficult to deal with. The biggest tragedy is the loss of the majority of the best herds of Spanish Mustangs and some of the back door deals that went on when the herds were dispersed after the County Attorney stepped in. To blame the Blackfeet, even those who sat on the BBHC BOD, is unfair. To look at other organisations (off rez) for the Spanish Mustang and their lack of prior intervention is overdue.

Submitted by Moonwriter (12/08/2012)

Bob Black Bull has a history of inappropriate behavior with adolescent males. It doesn't suprise me that he was working with them again.

Submitted by A Big Timber, MT neighbor. (10/08/2012)

I worked in the BBHC program for over a year. The struggles were many for the BBHC, but all hearts were in the right places. After Bob was injured, I began efforts to get the horses removed from the ranch and fed, and it was a political nightmare. Nobody on the reservation, or off, wanted to do anything because of the red tape involved and the possibility of bad press for the tribe. Many horses died before help finally arrived, and it only arrived after going up the ladder to the governor's office and pleading for assistance. It was a sad end to a program full of possibility, and a tragic death for many horses who served us well, and taught us much. I hope that the land heals, and that the people work to clear the area of the heartbreak and suffering that took place there. Many people learned from this experience, myself included.

Submitted by Lauren (02/12/2011)

Obviously bob blackbull was not the only person on the ranch caring for over 100 horses. No one could do that alone, so my question is: Where were the other people of the organization when bob black bull was severly injured and recovering? Did his help abandon the ranch??? It sounds like something fishy went down here.... sad.

Submitted by t littlefield (12/30/2010)

The buffalo horses need to be protected by all life's breath on our Earth Mother

Submitted by anumpeshi (01/27/2010)

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Blackfeet Buffalo Horse Coalition

Blackfeet Buffalo Horse Coalition at the Seven Eagles Ranch
LAT: 48.5362
LON: -113.1052
Elevation: 4630 FT (1411 M)

With an open palm, the young man reaches toward the three buffalo horses. They nuzzle through the wooden fence, their eyes on the gentle teenager.

This photo by John Hockensmith is featured on National Geographic's Crown of the Continent MapGuide.

Sadly, the Blackfeet Buffalo Horse Coalition fell into shambles in Winter 2007 when founder Bob Black Bull, also known as Bob Bedard, fell off his four-wheeler "quad" during chores on the ranch. With a severe hip break, Black Bull entered an East Coast hospital. For the horses, it was the beginning of a harsh winter of deprivation that ended in the death of several of the wild herd of 150-or-so mustangs.

By December 2008, all of the horses had been removed from the ranch and the operation has effectively been shut down. Horse were adopted by various individuals and sent to new homes across Montana and as far away as Canada and Kentucky. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, the Montana Horse Sanctuary, and many Blackfeet tribal members were involved in the rescue of the emaciated horses.

As the project's destination editor, my decision to include the Seven Eagles Ranch on the map was controversial from the beginning, although ultimately supported by National Geographic's senior editor, Jonathan Tourtellot.

My site visit suggested that the Buffalo Horse Coalition's ranch was a bit sketchy as a tourist destination. Yet the ranch and Bob Black Bull were strenuously, if tenuously, trying to preserve and share Blackfeet heritage with troubled youngsters from Browning. Visitors were welcome, but amenities were all but non-existent ... if you don't include the raw beauty of this rolling prairie, the peaks of Glacier National Park poking above coulees and fresh beaver dams.

Dedicated to maintaining and preserving the Blackfoot Buffalo Horse, this non-profit coalition was formed to preserve a herd of over 160 horses in their several breeding herds. The horses were used in a variety of programs promoting and strengthening the culture with the youth of the Blackfeet Reservation and non-Native participants. Seven Eagles Ranch has been maintained in natural grasses pastures with a stream containing over 16 beaver dams and an abundance of wildlife. Wolves and grizzly bears are common visitors.

Life can be hard on the frozen, windswept plains of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Unfortunately, the Blackfeet Buffalo Coalition was unable to recover from Bob Black Bull's accident. And now his dream for the children and horses has evaporated.