First wood bison calves born at Métis Crossing
Posted on: Jul 07, 2023
First wood bison calves born on traditional lands at Visions, Hopes and Dreams at Métis Crossing Wildlife Park
New calves add to wood bison herd of 15 cows and five young bulls at Métis Crossing after transfer of wood bison from Elk Island National Park last year
Smoky Lake, AB – July 6, 2023 – Two calves were recently born at Métis Crossing, representing a first in modern years following the transfer of 20 wood bison last year from Elk Island National Park to the 320-acre Visions, Hopes and Dreams at Métis Crossing Wildlife Park. The transfer was coordinated by the Métis Nation of Alberta to help conservation efforts and cultural revitalization.
The calves will live among a herd of 20 wood bison, 17 plains bison, 17 white bison, 25 elk and 20 Percheron horses roaming the grounds. Prior to the reintegration of the bison to Métis Crossing in 2021, it had been around 160 years since the last bison, or “bufloo” in Michif, inhabited the area.
“The birth of these calves is historic for Métis citizens in Alberta,” said MNA President Audrey Poitras. “Although native to the Métis Crossing area, wild bison were driven to near extinction by settlers in the nineteenth century, forcing Métis bison hunts to a halt. The return of bison to this area marks a milestone in Reconciliation.”
“Since the early 1800s, Métis have fought to exercise our inherent right to self-determination and self-government,” said Poitras. “Bison hunting has always played a role in our history and extends back to when we organized ourselves to govern our bison hunting expeditions with sustainability and preservation in mind.”
After familiarizing at Métis Crossing’s partner facility for 14 months, 20 wood bison were released into the paddocks at Visions, Hopes and Dreams at Métis Crossing in November 2022.
“Bison were a vital food source for Métis peoples and communal bison hunts were Métis tradition and formed the bedrock of Métis society,” said Juanita Marois, CEO of Métis Crossing. “It was at these gatherings that Métis democratic and judicial systems developed through ‘Laws of the Buffalo Hunt.’ The loss of the bison was felt deeply by Métis peoples, so to play a role in their reintroduction to these traditional lands is significant.”
The return of the bison to Métis Crossing lands provide opportunities to share important stories of Indigenous history with all guests and is part of the planned expansion into a year-round cultural destination.
Please find a folder of images here for media use and interviews are available upon request.
About the MNA
Since 1928, the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) has governed the Métis within Alberta. Our mandate is to be a representative voice on behalf of Métis people within Alberta, provide Métis people an opportunity to participate in government policy and, most importantly, promote and facilitate the advancement of Métis people through the pursuit of self-reliance, self-determination, and self-management.
About Métis Crossing
Métis Crossing is the first major Métis cultural destination in Alberta and is a premier destination for Alberta Métis cultural interpretation, education, gatherings, and business development. Métis Crossing is a place for Métis people to share our Distinct Indigenous Story with the world, and a place for everyone to visit to reflect and reconnect with their own personal story. Sitting on 688-acres of land, comprised of river lot titles from the original Métis settlers to the region in the late 1800s, The Crossing is designed to engage and excite visitors through an exploration of Métis cultural experiences. Métis Crossing strives to represent and share elements of Métis culture; pride of culture and respect (with self-identification), family reconnection and reconciliation, sacredness of place and empathy and acknowledgement with all visitors.
For more information:
Consultant, Media Profile
P: (905) 703 5841