Gain Deep Understanding: The Ecological Buffalo

Gain Deep Understanding: The Ecological Buffalo

Gain Deep Understanding: The Ecological Buffalo

With Wes Olson & Johane Janelle.

Sep 30 @ 5 PM - 6:15 PM MT 
Memorial Park Library, 2nd Floor
1221 2 St SW

Who better to share invaluable insights into the ecological significance of the buffalo than veteran National Park Warden Wes Olson, who has studied this keystone species for 35 years, participating in their reintroduction to many of their former historic ranges. The subject of Olson's seminal new book comes alive through 180 full-colour photographs by Johane Janelle.  

The mere mention of the buffalo instantly brings to mind the vast herds that once roamed the North American continent. Once numbering in the tens of millions, these magnificent creatures played a significant role in the varied ecosystems they occupied, and North American Indigenous Peoples depended upon them. With the arrival of Europeans, bison populations plummeted – and with them went all the intricate food webs, the trophic cascades, and the inter-species relationships that had evolved over thousands of years. Despite this brush with extinction, the bison survived, and are slowly recovering. And the relationships once shared with thousands of species are being re-established in a remarkable process of ecological healing.

This 75-minute conversation will be hosted by author Kevin Van Tighem, former superintendent of Banff National Park and passionate conservation and wildlife advocate. It includes an audience Q&A and book signing.

We are honoured by the presence of Dr. Leroy Little Bear, who wrote the book's afterword. This veteran educator and renowned academic is a model for all Aboriginals striving for success in higher learning. The founder of the Native American Studies Department at the University of Lethbridge – where he served as Chair for 21 years – also went on to become the founding Director of Harvard University’s Native American Program. He’s co-authored three texts – Pathways to Self-Determination: Native Indian Leaders Perspectives on Self-Government, Quest for Justice: Aboriginal Rights in Canada, and, Governments in Conflict: Provinces and Indian Nations in Canada – and helped write Justice on Trial, the report of Alberta’s Task Force on the Criminal Justice System and Its Impacts on the Indian and Métis Peoples of Alberta. A member of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Little Bear contributed to publications for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in the area of criminal justice issues, did the same for the Assembly of First Nations on constitutional issues and has provided legal advice to numerous Aboriginal organizations on land claims, treaties and hunting and fishing rights. He is now recognized as one of the continent’s leaders in the advancement and acceptance of North American Indian philosophy. When he began his studies in the 1960s he quickly determined he wasn’t attending university for himself. Instead, Dr. Little Bear did it for his people. “Educating Native students was my way of making a difference,” he says. “If I can graduate ten or fifty Native students then that makes a big difference.” He has already succeeded.

This event is part of Wordfest’s Imaginairium festival, Sept. 29 – Oct. 6, 2022. Connect with 60+ of the world’s most generous writers, thinkers, activators and inspirers, gathered just for you in Calgary, Canada. For more info: