Both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives have approved legislation to name the bison as the national mammal of the United States.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of the National Bison Legacy Act Tuesday, following a similar version of the bill passed by the U.S. Senate in December.
A press release from John Hoeven’s office said Senate sponsors of the bill expect the Senate to concur with the House bill later this week, sending the legislation to President Obama to be signed into law.
Senator Hoeven was one of the two senators in the Senate to introduce the bill.
If passed, the National Bison Legacy Act would name the bison as the U.S. national mammal, as well as recognize the historical, cultural and economic significance of the bison, the press release said.
“The bison, like the bald eagle, has for many years been a symbol of America for its strength, endurance and dignity, reflecting the pioneer spirit of America,” Hoeven said in the press release. “Both the Senate and the House have now passed the National Bison Legacy Act, which names this noble animal as our national mammal. This is a fitting designation that recognizes the important cultural and economic role the bison has played in our nation’s history.”
Across the aisle, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) supports the legislation, too.
“Bison and North Dakota go hand-in-hand — whether it’s the mascot for a football team, or the world’s largest buffalo monument in Jamestown,” she said in a statement last September.
In addition to naming the bison as the U.S. national mammal, the National Bison Legacy Act recognizes the historical, cultural and economic significance of the bison, which is the largest land mammal in America and revered by many Native American tribes as a sacred and spiritual symbol of their heritage.
“We think it’s great … what better mammal than the bison, that’s been part of our history for hundreds of years,” the bison Corso‘s handler, Tom Schmaltz, said.
Nick Reitan, student government’s executive commissioner of public relations said in an email, “Student government feels confident in the mission of the Vote Bison Coalition and the National Bison Legacy Act. The Bison has long been a symbol for many people throughout history, and it’s great to see the North American Bison again receiving recognition.”
North Dakota State President Dean Bresciani said, “NDSU was proud to be part of the (Vote Bison) coalition for this effort and we are pleased with the positive outcome.