On Wednesday, during a ceremony at the University of Lethbridge, five members of Lethbridge City Council, including Mayor Blaine Hyggen, added the City of Lethbridge as a signatory supporting the Buffalo Treaty – thus making Lethbridge the first municipality to do so.
The Buffalo Treaty was first signed on September 24, 2014, at the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, to honour, recognize and revitalize the time immemorial relationship with buffalo. The Treaty is supported by not only the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksikaitsitapii), but also Nations of Treaty 7 and other Nations across North America.
"Supporting the Buffalo Treaty symbolizes an opportunity to share knowledge and learn from one another in the spirit of Reconciliation," says Mayor Hyggen. "On behalf of our City Council, I am pleased to add the City of Lethbridge as a supporter to this important document."
"The buffalo has traditional significance to this region as a whole," says Charlene Bruised Head-Mountain Horse, Indigenous Relations Advisor. "In a modern context, it can be a real point of knowledge on the ecological impacts, connections, and traditional ceremonies of the Plains people. The shared interests have huge benefits for our entire community."
Lethbridge City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to become a signatory to the Buffalo Treaty and authorize the Mayor to sign it. The decision stemmed from a presentation and recommendation from the Cultural and Social Standing Policy Committee on February 16.
"The treaty itself speaks to conservation, culture, education, health, economics and research — all things we can work on together — with the buffalo in the centre," says Dr. Leroy Little Bear, University of Lethbridge Vice-Provost Iniskim Indigenous Relations. "This will be the portal through which cooperation and relationships can be built."
The City of Lethbridge previously signed a Memoranda of Respect and Understanding with Kainai/Blood Tribe. Its purpose is to establish stronger communications, planning and opportunities for joint advocacy between the City and the Kainai/Blood Tribe to advance issues of common interest and resolve issues of common concern.
Read the U of L news release here.