Bison return focus of Culture Days

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The return of bison to Canada’s first national park will be the centre of focus in Banff at the ninth annual Alberta Culture Days later this month.

Eight different Banff organizations will co-host Banff Buffalo Days, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, after receiving a $9,000 provincial grant for a large-scale celebration of community, the arts, heritage, and diversity.

A small herd of 30-50 hooved and horned herbivores will be reintroduced to the Panther River Valley of the park in 2017.

Bison have been absent since before Banff National Park was created in 1885, mainly due to overhunting.

Banff Buffalo Days is also set to celebrate the historic Buffalo Treaty signing that recognizes cooperation and a political alliance between 12 tribes and First Nations, including Stoney Nakoda, between the U.S. and Canada.

The treaty also highlights the importance of conservation for bison returning to traditional lands.

Celebratory activities around the townsite include a hands-on bison exhibit at the Cave and Basin, painting workshops and live music and theatre performances, among others.

Pleased to partner with the other local organizations to make Banff Buffalo Days a success is Brett Oland, chief executive officer at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

“We’re very happy that we can be part of it and of course we try to pick very special occasions like the bison returning to Banff, so we’re constantly after granting opportunities,” said Oland.

Banff-Cochrane MLA Cameron Westhead presented the cheque to Oland at the Whyte Museum on Aug. 24.

“Celebrating our culture is important to preserving the high quality of life we enjoy here in Alberta,” said Westhead. “It attracts visitors as well as new residents and helps our communities flourish. That’s what Alberta Culture Days are all about.”

Along with the Whyte Museum, other celebration groups are Willock and Sax Gallery, Historical Luxton Home Museum, Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum, Cave and Basin, Canada House Gallery, and Arctos and Bird.

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