Bison to roam Batoche lands once again – a symbol of Métis resilience
November 18, 2022 – On the heels of the historic Batoche land transfer from Parks Canada to Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) this summer, the partners are making history again.
A special signing ceremony took place today at the Fall 2022 Métis Nation Legislative Assembly (MNLA) in Saskatoon. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Parks Canada and MN–S is for the transfer of bison from Grasslands National Park to MN–S. Phase one will see the return of 24 bison to the Back to Batoche festival grounds. Phase two, will place the growing herd on a portion of the 690 hectares at Batoche belonging to Métis citizens.
Once the bison are established on the Batoche land, the educational opportunities that present themselves are immeasurable. Métis elders and our young people can be together on the land and theoretically learn traditional and contemporary hunting, harvesting and processing techniques that date back to their Métis ancestors. The iconic bison hunt and natural resources during the early fur trade allowed Métis people to develop land-based skills that are in practice today for many Métis families and provide economic stability.
The enormous cultural significance of the return of bison to Batoche complements the long-term vision of MN–S. As stewards of the land, MN–S can look toward environment and food security and economic development.
“Bison represent a deep cultural connection to the Métis and represents our values of living in harmony, perseverance, and coexistence. As stewards of the land, returning a keystone species to the homeland of the Métis will assist the MN–S in its mandate of restoring healthy and natural ecosystems. These first steps will lay the groundwork for a comprehensive Bison strategy where the Métis and Bison once again coexist.”
Michelle LeClair, Vice President
“Bison are culturally significant animals for Indigenous people in Saskatchewan and elsewhere. Parks Canada is pleased to be working with Indigenous partners like Métis Nation–Saskatchewan on the transfer of bison as a way of strengthening connections with their histories and cultures and supporting socio-economic opportunities related to bison.”
Genevieve Jones, Field Unit Superintendant,
Saskatchewan South Field Unit Parks Canada
About Métis Nation–Saskatchewan:
Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) is built on a foundation of Métis identity, culture, values and language. Empowered by the Métis citizens of Saskatchewan, MN–S works to advance Métis rights and strengthen capacity. MN–S represents the political, socioeconomic, cultural and educational interests of more than 80,000 Métis in the province through an elected representative system at local, regional and provincial levels. Social Media Links: @MNSask @metisnationsask
About Parks Canada:
The Government is committed to reconciliation and renewed relationships with Indigenous peoples, based on a recognition of rights, respect, collaboration and partnership. Collaborating with numerous Indigenous groups across Canada, Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples are partners in conserving natural and cultural heritage and sharing the stories of these treasured places. Grasslands National Park is home to a managed population of genetically pure Plains bison. Parks Canada is committed to maintaining a disease-free, genetically diverse herd therefore contributing to the conservation of the species in North America and providing animals for the establishment of conservation herds, for Indigenous community herds and for research initiatives related to bison conservation.
For media inquiries:
Rena Montgomerie – MN–S Senior Communications Officer firstname.lastname@example.org or 306-250-1092