Iniskim- Return of the Buffalo

"Iniskim- Return of the Buffalo", is an intercultural artistic response to the return of the buffalo, as wild animals, to Western North America.

  • Leanne Allison
    Bear 71, Being Caribou, Finding Farley, Losing Blue
  • Pete Balkwill
  • Amethyst First Rider
  • Leanne Allison
    Bear 71, Being Caribou, Finding Farley, Losing Blue
  • Amethyst First Rider
  • Leroy Little Bear
    Key Cast
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  • Runtime:
    39 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 19, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    110,000 USD
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  • Language:
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Director Biography - Leanne Allison, Pete Balkwill, Amethyst First Rider

Amethyst First Rider is a member of the Kainai Nation, Blackfoot Confederacy,Alberta, Canada. She is a leader in the performing arts community for more that 20 years, producing and directing plays depicting Aboriginal stories and culture. Her experience in the arts has included dance productions, consulting for the University of California, Berkeley’s planetarium, as well as narration and production in the National Film Board’s documentary: Kainayssini Imanistaiswa,The People Go On. She is central to the development and success of The Buffalo Treaty: A Treaty of Cooperation, Renewal and Restoration signed by over 40 First Nations and Tribes in Canada and the USA. It is the biggest modern Treaty amongst First Nations.

Dr. Leroy Little Bear is one of our great Indigenous scholars and thinkers in the Northern Great Plains today. Leroy was born and raised on the Blood Indian Reserve (Kainai First Nation). He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1971 and continued his education at the College of Law, University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, completing a Juris Doctor Degree in 1975. He went on to be a founding member of Canada's first Native American Studies department at the University of Lethbridge and remained there as a researcher, faculty member and department chair until 1997.

Along with his wife, Amethyst First Rider, Little Bear brought about the historic Buffalo Treaty between First Nations on both sides of the USA-Canada border in 2014. Little Bear was inducted into the Alberta Order Excellence and the Order of Canada in 2016 and 2019, respectively.
He continues to pursue new research interests including North American Indian science and Western physics, and the exploration of Blackfoot knowledge through songs, stories and landscape.

Peter Balkwill is a founding co-Artistic Director of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop based in Calgary,AB. He is also the founding Educational Director of the Canadian Academy of Mask and Puppetry. His work with the Old Trout has carried him around the world as they ride the wave of puppet-renaissance currently at hand in popular culture today. With the Trout he has also participated in the creation of 4-short live action puppet films including, Honey Honey with Feist (Winner Best Music Video 2009), as well as Naughty To Nice co-produced by the National Film Board.

Leanne Allison is a filmmaker based in Canmore, Alberta known for her award-winning feature length National Film Board documentaries Being Caribou and Finding Farley. Both these films are based on long wilderness journeys in remote parts of Canada that continue to shape her work today. She is the co-creator of the National Film Board interactive documentary Bear 71, that is widely considered a seminal piece in the world of interactive media and premiered at the Sundance New Frontiers festival in 2012.

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Director Statement

Iniskim- Return of the Buffalo is cinematic wonder and an incredible opportunity to learn about Indigenous ways of knowing. We watch as a group of puppeteers are transformed by their experience of 'being buffalo' at night under the stars.

As Amethyst First Rider says to the puppeteers, "You are the buffalo. With each movement of your hands, each connection, each dream, you're creating energy and they become a part of you."