"Iniskim- Return of the Buffalo" is an intercultural artistic response to the return of the buffalo, as wild animals, to Western North America.
In 2017 history was made when Indigenous and non-Indigenous people worked together to reintroduce buffalo to Banff National Park where they continue to roam free today. This sparked a cultural renewal with First Nations who self organized under the Buffalo Treaty to continue more buffalo reintroductions across Western North America.
Leroy LIttle Bear and Amethyst First Rider are leading this movement and since Amethyst is first and foremost an artist, she wanted to celebrate the return of the buffalo through art. Soon into Amethyst's quest she met master puppeteer, Pete Balkwill. At the time Pete and his collaborators were working with sculptural lantern puppets that lent themselves to night time performances on the land. Amethyst and Leroy were immediately intrigued. A performance about buffalo at night under the stars!
The 40-minute documentary film about their deep collaborative journey is structured around a ‘Masterclass’ on Plains Indian ways of knowing. We see the puppeteers with Leroy and Amethyst, absorbing their knowledge and then integrating it into the creation of both the puppets and the theatrical production.
Amethyst says, ‘with each movement of your hands, each dream, you are the buffalo. You become the buffalo’.