Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump


Rather than taking the day off like we have in previous years, our school went on a field trip on “Treaty 7 Day.” The former holiday was held to note the signing of Treaty 7 between the Queen and the people of the Blackfoot confederacy. We went to Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, just west of Fort McLeod, Alberta. It was especially nice that the guide for my group was a former student of mine. He delivered a really professional tour that my students found very interesting. I again thought about Bowers (2000) and the idea of cultural neutrality as we watched the new video in the interpretive centre’s theatre. The old video was made in the ’80s that used a dead (and frozen) buffalo that was pushed over the cliff. Each time I saw the film the audience laughed as the buffalo bounced on its way to the bottom. The new film uses computer animation to show what it would be like when a herd was chased off of the jump. It may be that as computers evolve away from English language machines and into more intuitive tools that utilize voice and image, they are becoming more culturally neutral.

Bowers, C., Vasquez, M., & Roaf, M. (2000) Native people and the challenge of computers: Reservation schools, individualism, and consumerism.” American Indian. 24(2), 182-199.


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