Twenty-four buffalo including two bulls are making their home on a 365-hectare wooded lot on Cote First Nation 265 km east of Regina in Saskatchewan.
Buffalo have roamed the Treaty 4 territory near Kamsack for the first time in 150 years.
Hundreds of people gathered Monday to celebrate the return of the sacred animal, which had been hunted to extinction by settlers after providing sustenance and shelter to plains people for millennia.
Chief George Cote has been working on his return to Cote for the past four years. He claims that First Nations people have fought hard to get to where they are now.
“We’re really grateful that buffalo numbers are increasing as a result of what happened in history,” he tells APTN News. “It’s something you should know about Canada, something non-First Nations people should know about. We’re very proud of how First Nations and non-First Nations worked together to bring the buffalo home.”
The buffalo were hauled over 900 kilometers to their new home as an act of reconciliation. They were given by an Alberta rancher and two Christian organizations.
Tearfund Canada and Loko Koa, a Samoan youth ministry, that is based in Saskatchewan. Cote is the third First Nation in the province to benefit. Peepeekisis and Zagime First Nations now have well-established herds.
Cote says there have been many difficult years, but First Nations people are resilient, likе the buffalo.
So how do you tell the difference between buffalo and bison?
Bison have large humps at their shoulders and bigger heads than buffalo. They also have beards, as well as thick coats which they shed in the spring and early summer. Another simple way to tell a buffalo from a bison is to look at its horns. Cape buffalo horns resemble a handlebar mustache; they have a thick, helmet-likе base and curl down, then back up.
A water buffalo’s horns are large, long and curved in a crescent, while a bison’s horns are typically sharp and shorter than the average buffalo’s.