Bringing back the bison

Students at Chief Mistawasis School take part in a flag making exercise during Youth for Bison on Thursday. The flags will be used when Mistawasis First Nation officially signs the Buffalo Treaty next fall. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Anthony Blair Dreaver Johnston has overseen numerous special initiatives and projects for Mistawasis First Nation, but this one is different.

In September, the Saskatchewan First Nation will officially join the Buffalo Treaty, a historic agreement between First Nations groups in Canada and the United States to conserve and restore the bison population in North America.

It’s a long process, and for Johnston, it has to start with the youth.

“We’re trying to build a solid foundation for the future, and so in this way, the children, the youth of today, have a strong basis to further build our nation,” he said.

As part of that process, Johnston and four members of the Saskatchewan chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society held a Youth for Bison day at Chief Mistawasis School.

The goal was to help re-establish the importance of bison in the public consciousness. Johnston said it’s easy to forget that bison still exist, but if First Nations people can reconnect with them, they might learn something about their past.

“We have lessons from out past,” he said. “By bringing back the bison, it may help us revitalize those values for today.”

For the rest of this story, please see the June 2 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.