Badger Bulletin

Bring Them Home – Reflections on the World Premiere

Badger Bulletin

Bring Them Home – Reflections on the World Premiere

bring them home

Bring Them Home / Aiskótáhkapiyaaya

Reflections on the World Premiere

A stream of enthusiastic people wrapped around the block from the entrance to the Wilma Theater in Missoula on Saturday, February 24. Hugs and smiles were exchanged while waiting, as folks from tribal communities, small towns across Montana, and Missoulians alike gathered to celebrate something we all had in common – a love for the American bison – known more commonly as buffalo, or to the Blackfoot / niitsiittupii people, as iinnii. Signs taped to every window around the Wilma read: “Bring Them Home / Aiskótáhkapiyaaya SOLD OUT.” This much anticipated event was the world premiere of Thunderheart Film’s Bring Them Home / Aiskótáhkapiyaaya at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. The groundbreaking documentary follows eight-years of the decades-long effort of Blackfoot people from both sides of the Medicine Line to restore a wild buffalo herd to their ancestral home, a vision that became reality in June 2023 when dozens of iinnii thundered from the back of trucks into the foothills surrounding Chief Mountain, ninnaastuko.

Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance staff were invited to this historic event by the filmmakers, and I was grateful to be able to attend with my husband and daughter. I will not soon forget the moving experience of being present at the first public screening: emotional introductions and messages of gratitude shared by people involved in the film, from different Nations and backgrounds, many in their traditional languages; incredible footage of the land we feel so lucky to share and call home, and meaningful interviews with people from our Reservation community and beyond; cheers, laughter, and tears throughout the film from those in attendance; and niitsiittupii singers’ voices filling the theater following the film. The energy in the room was palpable. Everyone was there to rejoice in perhaps the greatest conservation and culturally-significant projects to have occurred in our time – the return of wild buffalo to their ancestral territory.

Bring Them Home shares more than just the incredible community effort to bring bison back. It imparts the crucial message that we are a part of nature, reminding us that we are not just the caretakers of wildlife, we are kin. This is especially true for the niitsiittupii people and iinnii, who have lived together on their homeland since time immemorial, and whose lives have been so closely interconnected.

Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance is honored to support Blackfeet-led efforts to restore bison to suitable tribal and public lands in the eastern Crown of the Continent ecosystem, and we believe that this film will go a long way to inspiring others to do the same. This beautiful, thoughtfully-crafted documentary will undoubtedly make a positive impact on the restoration of wild bison, respect for Indigenous sovereignty, and advancement of cultural revitalization movements.

If you missed the screening, don’t worry. The filmmakers plan to take the film on tour around Montana as well as elsewhere in the United States. We are working with them to help organize screenings in East Glacier Park and possibly other communities on the Blackfeet Reservation later this year.

The first local screening is in Browning at the Stick Game Arbor on Wednesday, March 27th at 6 p.m. Sign up here. Be on the lookout for ways to attend other screenings of Bring Them Home, and spread support for the film in your region. Check out Thunderheart Films ( to learn more.

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