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The American bison, survivor of bitter winters and the turbulent history of the Great Plains, takes a first step Wednesday toward becoming an official American symbol . Congress will consider a bill “to adopt the bison as the national mammal of the United States.” South Dakota has 33,000 bison, one-sixth the national total, and three members in Congress who back the idea of honoring them. Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat, is the lead sponsor in the Senate.

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