MacEwan University is bestowing its Medal of Excellence on Chief Victor Buffalo for his “remarkable leadership” through his role with the Samson Cree Nation, for bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, his promotion of reconciliation, and in recognition for his many other accomplishments.
The Medal of Excellence will be presented on June 18 during the convocation ceremony for the School of Business.
Chief Buffalo is a well-respected leader and entrepreneur with a passion for education. He was sent to residential school at the age of seven and lived an isolated life, disconnected from this family, Indigenous heritage and culture. He found solace in reading, and developed discipline and independence due to the strict routine in the school
At 20, Chief Buffalo left the residential school with a fierce determination, reads a press statement. In 1964 he would earn a diploma in Chemical Technology from SAIT in Calgary, and would work in the mining industry in the Northwest Territories and in Edmonton.
He studied Pastoral Formation through Xavier University and Newman College. He attended a number of courses at the Banff School of Advanced Management.
Chief Buffalo would go on to serve as a community development officer at the Indian Association of Alberta, and then as land administrator for Samson. He then became involved in community and national politics.
In the 1980s, Buffalo became a guiding force in the development of Peach Hills Trust Company, a full service federally accredited institution, which offered personal and business deposits, loans and investments in Indigenous projects.
That was just the beginning for Chief Buffalo, who helped develop other opportunities for Samson Cree Nation, including Samson Oil and Gas, the Samson Lake Louise Mall and partnerships with other First Nations.
He lends his knowledge to a number of trusts and boards. And has developed business and cultural relationships internationally.
Chief Buffalo opened another important door for Samson and all Canadian Indigenous people, with a 2005 landmark breach of trust lawsuit against Canada that permitted the Samson Cree to gain control of $350 million of their own oil and gas royalties that had been previously administered and controlled by the federal government for more than 100 years, reads the statement.