Economics at your fingertips  

The Slaughter of the Bison and Reversal of Fortunes on the Great Plains

Donna Feir (), Rob Gillezeau and Maggie E.C. Jones
Additional contact information
Maggie E.C. Jones: University of Victoria,

No 1-2019, Center for Indian Country Development series from Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Abstract: In the late 19th century, the North American bison was brought to the brink of extinction in just over a decade. We show that the bison’s slaughter led to a reversal of fortunes for the Native Americans who relied on them. Once the tallest people in the world, the generations of bison-reliant people born after the slaughter were among the shortest. Today, formerly bison-reliant societies have between 20-40% less income per capita than the average Native American nation. We argue that federal Indian policy that limited out-migration from reservations and restricted employment opportunities to crop based agriculture hampered the ability of bison-reliant societies to adjust in the long-run, generating lasting regional disparities associated with other indicators of social dislocation, such as suicide and unrest.

Keywords: North American Bison; Buffalo; Extinction; Economic History; Development; Displacement; Native Americans; Indigenous; Income Shock; Intergenerational Mobility (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I15 J15 J24 N31 N32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-lab
Date: 2019-01-14
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) ... /cicd-wp-2019-01.pdf Full text (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Center for Indian Country Development series from Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Jessie Welton ().

Page updated 2019-07-13
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmci:2019_001