Parks Canada Bison Plan


The Buffalo: A Treaty of Co-operation, Renewal and Restoration

Relationship to Buffalo

Since time immemorial, hundreds of generations of the first peoples of the FIRST NATIONS of North America have come and gone since before and after the melting of the glaciers that covered North America. For those generations BUFFALO has been our relative. BUFFALO is part of us and WE are part of BUFFALO culturally, materially, and spiritually. Our on-going relationship is so close and so embodied in us that Buffalo is the essence of our holistic eco-cultural life-ways.

Purpose and Objective of the Treaty

To honor, recognize, and revitalize the time immemorial relationship we have with BUFFALO, it is the collective intention of WE, the undersigned NATIONS, to welcome BUFFALO to once again live among us as CREATOR intended by doing everything within our means so WE and BUFFALO will once again live together to nurture each other culturally and spiritually. It is our collective intention to recognize BUFFALO as a wild free-ranging animal and as an important part of the ecological system; to provide a safe space and environment across our historic homelands, on both sides of the United States and the Canadian border, so together WE ca have our brother, the BUFFALO, lead us in nurturing our land, plants and other animals to once again realize THE BUFFALO WAYS for our future generations.

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The original Buffalo Treaty and resolutions are archived at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

Signatories to the Treaty

In September 2014, the Blackfeet Nation, MT, Blood Tribe, AB, Siksika Nation, AB, Piikani Nation, AB, The Assiniboine and Gros Ventre Tribes of Fort Belnap Indian Reservation, MT, The Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck Indian Reservation, MT, the Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Confederated Salish and Koothenai Indian Reservation, MT, Tsuu T’Ina Nation, AB, signed The Buffalo Treaty in Browning, Montana.

In August 2015, the Stoney Nakoda’s Chiniki, Bearspaw and Wesley Nation, AB and the Samson Cree Nation, AB, signed the treaty. All 12 nations/tribes gathered in Fort Peck for the first year anniversary of the Treaty in September 2015 for a week of Buffalo celebrations and exchanging information.

In September 2016 in Fort Qu'apelle, nine Treaty 4 Nations signed the Buffalo Treatywhich are Sakimay First Nation, Grenfell, SK, Star Blanket Cree Nation, Balcarres, SK, Okanese First Nation, Balcarres, SK, Man First Nation, Stoughton, SK, Ochapowace First Nation, Whitewood, SK, Peepeekisis First Nation, Balcarres, SK, Pheasant Rump Nakota Nation, Kisbey, SK, Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation, Birch River Reserve, MB, Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, Pelican Rapids, MB

Plus in September 2016 other nations from Mexico and South America representatives signed on the Buffalo Treaty at the Eagle and Condor meeting in New York, USA.

In September 28-28, 2016, over 21 Nations gather in Banff National Park for the second anniversary of the Buffalo Treaty.

Treaty Signing

September 23, 2014 Harry Barnes, Chairman of the Blackfeet Tribal Council was the first to sign the Buffalo Treaty on the Blackfeet Reservation near Browning, Montana. Photo credit Stephen Legault;

Treaty Signing

2015 Buffalo Treaty signing in Banff National Park during the Banff Indian Days. Chief Ernest Wesley (Wesley band of the Stoney Nakoda) signing the Buffalo Treaty with Chief Kurt Buffalo (Samson Cree) behind on the left who just signed the Treaty and Chief Aaron Young (Chiniki band of the Stoney Nakoda) waiting to sign on the right. Leroy Little Bear (Blood Tribe) witnessing the signatures. Photo credit Harvey Locke.

Treaty Signing

L to R: Melissa Weatherwax, Helen Augare-Carlson, Delores Weasel Moccasin, Elsie Ground, and Lee Little Mustache signing the five resolutions during the Buffalo 2nd year anniversary ceremony in Banff on September 29, 2016. Photo credit: Craig Richards, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

On September 18, 2017 Mistawas is Nehiyawak First Nation signed the Treaty in Prince Albert National Park, SK.