Natives met September 22nd in Browning, Montana to sign the Northern Tribes Buffalo Treaty. Members of the Blackfoot, Blood, Siksika, Piikani, Assiniboine, Gros Ventre, Souix, Salish, Kootenai and Tsuu T'ina tribes and nations pledged to restore the buffalo on native territory. It is the first treaty among these peoples since the 1855 Lame Bull Treaty that established a common hunting ground. Collectively they control about 6.3 million acres of northern prarie on both sides of the international border, an area about three times the size of Yellowstone National Park. The treaty intends to restore the buffalo to its rightful place on the northern plains and conserve grasslands, as well as encouraging youth education and cultural restoration among the native peoples. Dr. Leroy Little Bear of the Blood Tribe in Alberta told interviewers the buffalo "brings about an ecological balance" because buffalo have a "very different grazing pattern than beef cattle". Buffalo played a central role in Northern Plains culture before the white man began his genocidal slaughter of the animal and fragmented the vast plains with European notions of legal ownership and agriculture. Bison conservationists herald the treaty as a historic milestone in a grass roots movement to bring the wild buffalo back to the western public landscape. Today, most buffalo live as livestock on private land in stark contrast to the 60 million that once roamed the Great Plains.