The following story was given to Chief Kurt Buffalo and Councillor Kirk Buffalo, along with the feathers in the picture below, by a visitor to our Community.
“ Thank you for the honor to sit with you during your gather. Growing up in Northern Alberta was quite isolated and our Native communities didn’t have a lot then; I think Paddle got it’s first store when I was fourteen. So when my brothers started to go our for hockey and rodeos it was very exciting and rewarding to visit them at places where their paths took them. One of them being your community what we knew then as Hobbema.
I remember being at Buffalo Ranch Rodeo 25 years ago sitting with all the veteran cowboy; being at Panee [round] dance watching Snagger pull out her moves on the dance floor. My parents would talk highly of everyone and I remember listening to them say only good things. They would talk about what good dancers you all were, what good personalities everyone had and how welcoming everyone was to our family. As a kid I admired everything, wow a Native community with a hockey arena that alone was impressive and a Junior Hockey team. This is such a cool place would think and it was so exciting on road trips knowing we were going to Hobbema. It felt like we were privileged and blessed to be in the presence of your people and your community and we were. So it is not surprising that I ended up being party of your community.
While I lived there I worked in Wetaskiwin School Division as a Native Liaison for a couple years and became very close with lots of the younger people from all four Nations. I think about those kids still, one particular who I became very close with. [We hugged and cried like babies when I decided to leave for college. Later on she had taken her own life. My best friend in Paddle also had taken her own life.] I think the heaviness of dealing with tragedies has defiantly kept me withdrawn but it’s nothing compared to what your people have dealt with throughout the years and I have so much compassion and respect for you all.
I want you to know also that now a days and over the years when I hear anyone say anything negative about Maskwacis I always say “The most beautiful and strongest people I know come from there and it is one of the most cultured communities in North America.” And I think about being a kid again hearing my parents words and all the comedians, story tellers, athletes and acceptance I was surrounded with during my time there. It’s frustrating that others don’t know that, what a shame and loss of acknowledging valuable and positive things in our world.
Take these feathers to use for whatever way you see fit; for strength, for spirit, for ceremony and as a reminder that there are some of us here who believe in you and support your leadership, community and people. These feathers some from an eagle who has flown above these mountains for years in your traditional land area and it is meant to be that they go with you. Hiy Hiy.”