For thousands of years American bison have played a critical role in the history of the West.
For Native peoples the bison not only provided sustenance and essential materials for day-to-day use, but also represented a connection to the earth and a way of life. For European and American settlers spreading west across the continent, bison represented opportunity and the seemingly unlimited abundance that the West had to offer. Once bountiful, then exploited to almost extinction, the bison have persevered and endured as a symbol of the American West.