It wasn't gold that first attracted the white man to come and live among the prairie people of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. It was not for the profits of trapping beaver, since the population of beaver was too sparse to be profitable. Men of European descent did not come for ranching or farming prospects, and oil and gas were far into the future. What brought them to the region was the commercial possibilities presented by the shaggy American Bison, better known as the buffalo.
Arguably the buffalo is the most majestic animal to grace the North American continent. Its image is awe inspiring. To indigenous peoples, buffalo were a religious totem and a staple of life. To frontiersmen, they were a symbol of a new and vibrant land. To merchants and hunters, they were an item of trade. To governments, their presence was an obstacle to dreams of empire. To settlers, the buffalo's remains were a much needed source of income. To the visionary conservationist, they were a natural resource not to be taken for granted. And to the conservationist's credit, they are still with us today. The buffalo is the symbol of the west and of the great plains. To ignore him is to ingore our own history and to diminish our own understanding of the development of North America. The buffalo's price in history is prominent and to fully appreciate their role, we must realize how close they came to extinction.
For this reason, the For Whoop-Up Interpretive Society is proud to bring you this publication. Without the buffalo, the Fort would not have existed, for the robe trade was its entire reason for being. But this is only one small story in the saga of the great North American Buffalo. In the following pages, we hope to inform, entertain and enlighten you with some of the fascinating stories and facts of the buffalo, once described as the juggernaut of the plains.
The Buffalo Legacy by Gordon E. Tolton
- Product Code: 229
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