Buffalo were roaming Turtle Island by the millions. They were a prominent source to Indigenous way of life, using every part of the buffalo for food, clothing and shelter.
During the height of colonialism settlers murdered buffalo as a mass genocide and cutting off Indigenous food source.
Finding an old photograph at the Banff Trading Post I traveled to the old Buffalo Paddock to find the exact location where this photo was taken. Being in the spot where a buffalo once was, I was haunted by where I was standing. The paddock was described as a zoo where tourists can come and look at buffalo from their car. From stories from my grandfather, people tormented the buffalo. Buffalo were trapped and no longer can move freely.
Parks Canada submitted a feasible proposal for wild bison restoration to Parks Canada in September 2010. In 2017, during Canada’s 150th anniversary, bison were reintroduced into Banff National Park. In April 2017, after 140 years the first bison was born in the wild in Banff National Park. I found this project problematic as when a now free roaming buffalo moved east onto provincial lands where Parks Canada “promised” buffalo would not trespass. The result was that the buffalo was destroyed by Parks Canada officials on August 5th 2018. The second buffalo destroyed was by the same cause on August 4th 2021.
How can buffalo trespass when they have no concept of owned land?
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