A herd of 20 plains bison arrives at Battle River Bison Preservation compound located at Poundmaker Cree Nation on Feb. 19. The herd will be a mix of calves of both sexes and female yearlings provided by Parks Canada.
Approximately 1500 pure plains bison exist in Canada today down from the millions that once roamed the prairies. The founding herd of bison are being provided by Parks Canada, with funding for the bison compound provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada.
Chief Antoine of Poundmaker Cree Nation said, “This is a very proud moment for Poundmaker Cree Nation. We are excited to bring this sacred animal home to our lands. It has been a tough year for everyone and it allows us to celebrate and look forward to a more positive healthy future.”
Elwin Tootoosis, Bison manager said “It is a spiritually uplifting experience for us. The bison have always been a part of our cultural heritage. A great honour to be a part of.”
Battle River Bison Preservation hopes to continue to work with other First Nations who are interested in welcoming bison to their lands for education and preservation. Founder of Battle River Bison, Blaine Favel, stated “One Elder told us “when we had the bison, we had everything and were blessed, and due to colonialism, we have no bison and we are poor...” I hope that the return of the bison also marks a new beginning of pride and prosperity for this and future generations”.
Battleriver Bison Preservation Inc is a Canadian not-for-profit organization focused on pure plains bison breeding, education and cultural awareness. It is comprised of Poundmaker Band members.