Victor Buffalo will receive MacEwan University’s Medal of Excellence on June 19 where he will deliver the convocation message to School of Business graduates. (Photo contributed)

Former Samson Cree chief recognized for leadership

MacEwan University bestows award

Victor Buffalo will have to make room for one more award.

On June 19, the former Samson Cree chief and unabated entrepreneur will receive MacEwan University’s Medal of Excellence, the institution’s highest honour and Buffalo will deliver the convocation address to its School of Business graduates.

Buffalo has been recognized by many educational institutions over the years including the universities of Calgary, Lethbridge and Alberta where he received Honorary Doctor of Laws Degrees. His alma mater SAIT gave him its Distinguished Alumni Award and an Honorary Bachelor of Advanced Technology Degree.

Buffalo, a residential school survivor who went to study chemical technology, management and pastoral formation, said education in the key and especially encouraged Indigenous youth to consider studying business.

“The only way First Nations are going to get ahead is to get involved with business. There’s no other way. Through education and business,” said Buffalo, 76.

He said fresh ideas he hears from Indigenous youth are impressive, but they can’t forget their language or traditions.

“When we teach our kids language and tradition, they’re more astute, stronger. Rather than the one song that they sing, they’ve got to sing all the songs.”

Buffalo has received the Order of Canada, the Alberta Order of Excellence and the Alberta Centennial Medal.

In 1981 he was at the forefront for the inclusion of Aboriginal and treaty rights in the Constitution Act of Canada. He led a legal challenge against the Queen of England for constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples in Canada. For many years he was president of the International Organization of Indigenous Resource Development which led and supported the development of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Aboriginal Peoples in 2007.

Among his many business awards, Buffalo became a Laureate of a Canadian National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the field of Business & Commerce. He was also the first Indigenous person to be inducted into the Alberta Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement of Alberta and NWT.

Buffalo led the creation of Peace Hills Trust Company, Canada’s first and largest Indigenous-owned financial institution owned entirely by the Samson Nation. He was also involved in a landmark breach of trust lawsuit against Canada that permitted the Samson Cree to gain control its own oil and gas royalties.

As a director or trustee on different First Nations economic boards, he said it’s an exciting time for Indigenous people.

“I get very excited about start-up projects. It’s challenging. When you’ve got nothing to fix, it’s kind of a boring,” Buffalo said with a laugh.

He said his biggest challenge right now is working with Chinese investors on Central Alberta real estate projects. Negotiations have been going on for 10 years and he was eager to get the projects started.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer shows respect at annual celebration

Central Alberta Sexual Assault Suport Centre holds Respect Day at city hall park

Red Deer man sentenced to 4 1/2 years for fatal shooting

Mother-of-two was killed when a rifle in a sports bag accidentally went off in February 2017

Kitten found in engine is “so far, so good”

It’s kitten season at Central Alberta Humane Society in Red Deer

Fathers’ rights group to rally in front of Red Deer Courthouse

For a few months now, Mattias Battauz has been in front of… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s Food Truck Friday opens in a larger new venue

Carnival Cinemas space praised by customers and vendors

NDP nominates candidate for pending Innisfail-Sylvan Lake byelection

Seat vacant after previous MLA charged with sexual assault

Hunt underway for two suspects connected to Mississauga, Ont., blast

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police are actively hunting for two suspects believed to… Continue reading

Handcuffed Weinstein faces rape charge in #MeToo reckoning

NEW YORK — It was the moment the #MeToo movement had been… Continue reading

Waterline work closes 48th Avenue in Red Deer this weekend

Drivers can expect a major closure in downtown Red Deer this weekend.… Continue reading

Stettler police looking for alleged shoplifter who stole shoes

Stettler Mounties are looking for a woman they say stole a pair… Continue reading

Teamsters union members vote 98.1 per cent to reject CP Rail final offer

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference says its members at Canadian Pacific Railway… Continue reading

Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps to 1,600 hectares overnight

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 1,600 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Referendum in Ireland would repeal strict ban on abortion

DUBLIN — Ireland’s referendum Friday represented more than a vote on whether… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month