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What killed all the bison? - Andrew C. Isenberg


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TEDEd Animation

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By the mid-1700s, many Plains nations survived on North America’s largest land mammals: bison. They ate its meat, made the hides into winter coats and blankets, and used the bones and horns for tools. But in the following decades, millions of bison would be deliberately slaughtered, threatening the survival of Plains societies. Andrew C. Isenberg shares what led to the animal's near-extinction.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

The story of the interaction between human beings and the bison is long and complicated. To learn more, listen to this interview with an environmental historian about the complex history of the bison’s near-extinction.

Many of the lessons we draw from the past depend on when we decide to begin and end our narratives. In the case of the bison, if we end with the story with the bison’s near-extinction at the end of the nineteenth century, the tale is grim. If, however, we continue the story into the twenty-first century, we find a more positive ending: Indigenous people in the Great Plains working to restore the bison to its natural habitat. This short film tells the story.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Andrew C. Isenberg
  • Director Rémi Cans
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Storyboard Artist Rémi Cans
  • Animator Dabid Pascual
  • Compositor Dabid Pascual
  • Art Director Rémi Cans
  • Composer Salil Bhayani, cAMP Studio
  • Sound Designer Amanda P.H. Bennett, cAMP Studio
  • Script Editor Soraya Field Fiorio
  • Fact-Checker Charles Wallace

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