Treaty Roots: Relationship, Renewal, and the Return of Buffalo

Sandra Bartlett Atwood (Lethbridge College)

While treaties may seem like a colonial construct, treaty making is deeply rooted in Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) traditional ways of knowing and being. Niitsitapi have been making Inaihstii (peace treaty) with all of the human and nonhuman relatives in their territory and the cosmos for millennia. Niitsitapi consider treaties to be unbreakable sacred alliances. Through ceremony these relationships are daily and seasonally renewed. Employing collective auto-ethnography and CBPR, this paper explores the corresponding story of colonial suppression of Buffalo and Blackfoot peoples as well as their current mutual revival and highlights conservative and dynamic elements of contemporary Blackfoot buffalo harvest customs.

Part of 02-11 Replanting Roots: Sustaining and Reviving Indigenous Knowledges and Practices, Thursday, November 02, 10:30 am–12:30 pm