Free-roaming buffalo a lifelong dream

Leroy Little Bear speaks during the Buffalo Treaty signing ceremony on Monday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Leroy Little Bear has dedicated almost a decade of his life to something he might not ever see.

It was roughly 10 years ago that Little Bear, the founder of the Native American Studies Department at the University of Lethbridge, first began meeting with students and Aboriginal leaders about bringing back the Buffalo.

He describes those early years as lonely ones, but on days like Monday when Mistawasis First Nations officially signed on to the Buffalo Treaty, the loneliness seems worth it.

“It’s kind of like a family reunion happening,” he chuckles. “Every time somebody signs on, the extended family is growing.”

Little Bear wants to see free-roaming buffalo return to the prairies, but the process has been slow. Environmental groups have been conducting base-line studies to make sure land in areas near the Canadian and U.S. border is suitable for buffalo, which could see the animals start roaming across international boundaries once again.

For the rest of this story, please see the Sept. 20 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.