The Ranch

Sacred Ground International and the Ranch are headquartered and co-exist on 3500 acres at the base of the Pryor Mountains located on the Crow Indian Reservation near Pryor, Montana.  A model of sustainable ranching that utilizes principles of Conservation, Preservation and Restoration of both cultural and natural resources.  This is a Living Learning Center where an international team of staff and volunteers are:

  • Restoring land devastated by drought and overgrazing

  • Revitalizing degraded soils and wetlands

  • Raising Buffalo, demonstrating their economic, cultural and bio-restorative viability

  • Raising Paint Mustangs, practicing natural horse training and holistic care

  • Growing Organic Gardens

  • Wild crafting and use Medicinal and Edible plants

  • Providing experiential learning for ranching communities as well as international guests, students, interns and volunteers

  • Blending ancient wisdom with emerging science and technologies, collaborating with educators, scientists, organizations and Wisdom Keepers to promote the well being of all life in this primary bio-region

  • Restoring habitat for threatened and endangered species and of cultural concern

  • Increasing bio-diversity in plant and wildlife habitat

 Brooke Medicine Eagle:

This model serves the Native, ranching and global community as an educational arena for interdependent yet self-sufficient harmonious life.  We believe this practical work of demonstrating healthy and harmonious living while educating the children, is a way to create a social and cultural bridge for growth and healing in the Native communities.  We hope to help them restore the vitality of their lives by embracing the richness of their own culture and heritage (including buffalo, horses, sacred herbs, and ceremony) – making it viable in the modern world.  This work honors the old ways, the present situation, and the hope of the future.  Our living question is how to create a practical spirituality – ‘Does it grow corn?  Does it create sustainable and beneficial community on all levels of life?’

We believe that teaching through modeling of workable systems is the key to transforming our society’s current unsustainable practices.

Brooke Medicine Eagle, Crow, Author and Spiritual Leader, SGI Board of Advisors

The Buffalo/Preserve

“We are the Ancient Ones who have returned for our people (ALL people). Once we filled their bellies, sheltered their bodies and taught their Spirits... We have returned.”

Buffalo came to us, not as a commercial venture, rather a conservation and restoration endeavor. We were so naïve. We have truly been the students. The buffalo have shown us how it is done.

At one time, not that long ago, 60 million buffalo roamed free in harmony with nature across America. The Native American on the western plains relied on “Tatanka” for all aspects of their lives. The U.S. Government ordered all the buffalo to be eliminated during the Indian Wars of the 1800’s. Outside of a few in the mountains around Yellowstone Park and some in captivity, they nearly succeeded. With the passing of the buffalo, life on every level of the ecosystem and the lives of the Native People and all people would change forever.

The Pryor Mountains and rolling plains beyond, still carry the marks of the millions of buffalo that migrated through its ecosystem in buffalo wallows, horn caps, bones and the stories the local Natives tell of their childhood adventures. The buffalo held such dominion over the plains, self sustaining and a role model/teacher for us today.

Your Donations will be used to fund:
* Buffalo Preserve *
* Conservation Project *
We have found that the natural ‘hoof action’ and migration habits of the buffalo have been the most significant contributor to on-the-ground restoration and maintenance of the native grasses, stream, riparian and natural spring systems, and wildlife habitat for the Ranch.

Experts in soil, water and grass conservation and restoration are provided new understanding and expanded realizations when they observe how the animals restore the land through their natural life cycle, doing what buffalo do.

The fences are for our peace of mind. The buffalo at any time could go wherever they wish and often have. We call this ranch a preserve because that is the goal…to preserve the buffalo and habitat necessary to allow this precious icon to live on and teach us what we have forgotten about stewardship.

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Paint Mustangs

Wild mustangs symbolize all that is strong and free and beautiful about MonTanah. For more than a century, the Pryor Mountains have been home to bands of these wild horses and in 1968, the 31,000 acre Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range was established and was the first of its kind in America. In 1971, Congress declared these wild free roaming horses as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West: that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the nation and enrich the lives of the American people.”

The mustangs are native to the Pryor Mountains that border The Ranch. (Pryor Wild Horse Range) These noble animals reflect the core values of Sacred Ground Intl. To further develop indigenous species as part of the cultural reclamation process, SGI has developed the Paint Mustang Program. The paint horse has long been associated with Native culture and is a distinctive symbol of the western plains. Our core herd originated from Pine Ridge South Dakota where they have run free and still carry the strength and stamina of free-roaming horses.

 The SGI herd is unique. These beautiful horses exhibit the wild herd traits of strength and stamina and the ability to fight off predators. They have the traits necessary for mountain trail riding: stamina, gentility, patience and reliability. They also have better “emotional health.” During training and the gentling process, horses are brought in 2 and 3 at a time so as not to disturb the herd mentality and family order. The herd is naturally strong, unshod, eat natural grasses and are treated holistically for their rare instances of injury.

Our 17 horses have become family, extraordinary companions, and humbling teachers.

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The Sacred Way of The Harvest/Hunt

To accept the role of assisting the buffalo to complete their journey and purpose was a war zone in my heart….to take a life and call it good, a gift, or Sacred! I also knew to take the lives of these intelligent and amazing teachers without embracing their request to do so would be a greater dishonoring.

Fifteen years ago, I stood humbled and in awe as the first donated buffalo were delivered to The Ranch. I whispered, “Why have you come? What are you doing here?” They responded, “We are the Ancient Ones who have returned for the people. All people. Once we filled their bellies, sheltered their bodies and taught their Spirits…WE HAVE RETURNED.”

When consuming or surrounding ourselves with the gifts of their bodies, we take on the imprint and qualities of their spirit. The courage, the honor, the wisdom and the enormous love and joy they share and live! This is their teaching we share. The Harvest is Sacred, The Hunter is Sacred, The Buffalo is Sacred…because the spirit of respect and honor flows through each in collaboration and clear purpose.

Our harvest process reflects my Lakota heritage and what we hold as a very respectful and honoring way to complete the buffalo’s journey here. The ‘Hunt’ takes place at home, on their beloved mountain surrounded by their family.

The day before, we go to the herd and let them know the harvest time has begun and we will return in the morning. We ask those who are ready, to set themselves apart.

At dawn the following morning everyone is cleansed with sage. All the equipment, guns, bullets, knives and vehicles are also cleansed and blessed with sage.

In the mountain pastures, the animals clearly set themselves apart. The “Hunter” is given one shot with another marksman standing ready. The mark is a tiny spot behind the ear. They quietly relax to the ground. The family, often the mother and siblings, surround first to say farewell. At first, I was amazed they did not leave. Instead they come forward and stand by while we offer tobacco and prayers of gratitude. This is magnificent and heart touching to witness. The buffalo have told me that as the bullet opens the door for the spirit to soar, all of heaven and the Ancestors begin to sing in celebration. As the buffalo spirit departs it thanks us for honoring and accepting the gift of their body they leave behind.

The animal is carried off the mountain and taken directly to the processor. The hides and skulls are delivered for finishing and tanning. All of the by-products are being used including the bones.

Commercially, the hides, bones and skulls are thrown away! Most of our skulls and robes are given to spiritual leaders and offered for ceremonial purposes such as the Sundance and Sacred Altars. All proceeds go toward our ability to sustain and follow our ancestor’s wisdom of using all of the gifts they offer us, including the wisdom to do so.

For more information about the sacred harvest/hunt, click here.

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