It was announced today that Wanuskewin received six Plains bison from Grasslands National Park. The Minister of Environment and Climate change, Jonathan Wilkinson, made the announcement about the historical arrival. Wilkinson is also a Minister for Parks Canada. The Bison have been away from Wanuskewin for over 100 years.
“The Government of Canada is honoured to support the cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples of the Northern Great Plains. By transferring Plains bison from Grasslands National Park to Wanuskewin in Saskatoon, Parks Canada is continuing its work as a leader in conservation and contributing to the global survival and well-being of an iconic and majestic animal,” said Wilkinson according to Newswire.
Wansukewin held a celebration with Parks Canada members and others to recognize the transfer.
Darlene Brander, the Chief Executive Officer in Wanuskewin said, “The bison that have arrived from Grasslands National Park will establish Wanuskewin’s conservation herd.”
“Their arrival is the culmination of a vision articulated in the Thundering Ahead campaign, but one that we have been waiting for since bison first left this landscape. We are delighted to welcome them home and are grateful to the Brownlee family for helping make this dream a reality.”
The Plains bison are a special part of the prairies and also hold a special place of importance for the Indigenous people of the area. Their return is a big deal for the people of Wanuskewin as the bison share a part of their history dating back 6,000 years. The Thundering Ahead campaign and the Brownlee Family Foundation helped to make the return of the bison a success.
Felix Thomas from Wanuskewin’s Board of Directors, said, “Bringing back the bison has been a hope for Wanuskewin since we launched the Thundering Ahead campaign three years ago, but it has been the hope for Indigenous peoples for more than a hundred years.”
“Seeing these animals returned to Wanuskewin is a symbol and reminder of our own strength and resilience. They represent reconciliation with the land and with each other.”
Parks Canada works with over 300 indigenous groups throughout the country. A goal of theirs is to conserve Canada’s heritage both culturally and naturally.