Ten Native American tribes were represented at Vital’s 3rd annual “Blessing of the Bison.”
Vital said the most bison (buffalo) he has had on his farm at any time is 15 head.
“We currently have nine. We began with three which we purchased from a resident on Signal Mountain,” Vital said.
Vital has played a very significant and important role in preservation and conservation.
The 90 acre farm allows the Plains and Woods buffalos to roam, mostly staying out of sight from travelers along a portion of the Trail of Tears, headed west on Highway 60 to the Blythe Ferry Memorial Removal Park.
The land is on a Conservation Easement Land Trust for Tennessee and will always be protected as green space. In fact, Vital’s neighbor David Gooch has the property north of Vital’s farm and it is also protected.
“I have always enjoyed our National Parks and Conservation. We had the opportunity to purchase the farm, then began buying the buffaloes.
“This is my way of bringing back parts of our heritage,” Vital explained.
The Georgetown Road is also an alternate for the Tanasi Trail which was added to Bradley County earlier this week by the Tennessee Department of Tourism.
Vital also played a key role in the Blythe Ferry Memorial Removal Park, which was an egress collection point for the Cherokee and many other tribes during the days prior to their trek along the Trail of Tears to their new home in Oklahoma.
“The buffalo are so important to American history and that of the Native Americans. They utilized every part of the animal. There was no waste. The hides were used for clothing and to provide warmth, bones for weapons and fat and meat for fuel and food,” Vital said.
Vital, an area businessman, is also the chairman for the Tennessee Historic Preservation Trust and has been involved in a number of personal historical reclamation and preservation projects. He is also on the Board of Trustees for the National Parks Conservation.
As for the “Blessing” — it’s something he shares with special guests and the Native Americans.