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Standing Buffalo Dakota First Nation

Chief Standing Buffalo (Tatankanaje) became the heredity leader of his Dakota band following the death of his father in 1871. In 1877 he was given permission to begin farming on the north side of the Qu’Appelle lakes, and in 1881 a reserve was issued in that location. Band members were successful agriculturalists and wage labourers, and by 1901 all households were self-sufficient (the band had even purchased two binders from their own funds). In 1903 a request for additional acreage was refused, even though it was acknowledged that their acreage was insufficient: they had received 80 rather than the usual 640 acres allocated per family of five. In 1907 the loss of government-owned hay land created a major setback and forced band members to rely on wage labour, which also dissolved with the collapse of the national economy prior to World War I. In 1920 Standing Buffalo and his son Julius Standing Buffalo went to Ottawa to seek an increase to the reserve’s acreage. This was not granted until 1956, long after Standing Buffalo’s death in 1921. Although agriculture remains an element in the economy of the community, employment continues to centre on wage labour. The Standing Buffalo First Nation Reserve (2,246.1 ha) is located 8 km northwest of Fort Qu’Appelle; 411 of the 1,062 band members live on the reserve.

Christian Thompson

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