A little over a year ago in September of 2014, American Indians and the First Nations of Canada made history. For the first time in 150 years, 13 nations from 8 reservations came together and signed the first cross-border indigenous treaty. This treaty established an intertribal alliance to restore bison to 6.3 million acres of land between the United States and Canada---an area that is the size of Massachusetts!
The eight reservations included:
- Blackfeet Nation
- Blood Tribe
- Siksika Nation
- Piikani Nation
- Assiniboine and Gros Ventre Tribes of Fort Belknap Indian Reservation
- Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck Indian Reservation
- Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Indian Reservation
- Tsuu T'ina Nation
The original treaty signing occurred September 23, 2014 on the Blackfeet Territory in Montana, with four additional First Nations singing in Banff, Alberta in August 2015. This treaty, often referred to as the "buffalo treaty," is an agreement of cooperation, renewal, and restoration. It represents a significant step by indigenous people to preserve prairie ecosystems and their culture. "To honor, recognize, and revitalize the time immemorial relationship we have with BUFFALO to once again live among us as CREATOR intended by doing everything within our means so WE and BUFFALO will once again live together to nurture each other culturally and spiritually." It will help create a national agenda that will return bison back to the land and allow them to roam freely between the United States and Canada.