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Social Science Native American Studies

The New Buffalo

The Struggle for Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education

by (author) Blair Stonechild

University of Manitoba Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
Native American Studies, History, Native American
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jul 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2006
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 15
  • Grade: 10


Post-secondary education, often referred to as “the new buffalo,” is a contentious but critically important issue for First Nations and the future of Canadian society. While First Nations maintain that access to and funding for higher education is an Aboriginal and Treaty right, the Canadian government insists that post-secondary education is a social program for which they have limited responsibility.In The New Buffalo, Blair Stonechild traces the history of Aboriginal post-secondary education policy from its earliest beginnings as a government tool for assimilation and cultural suppression to its development as means of Aboriginal self-determination and self-government. With first-hand knowledge and personal experience of the Aboriginal education system, Stonechild goes beyond merely analyzing statistics and policy doctrine to reveal the shocking disparity between Aboriginal and Canadian access to education, the continued dominance of non-Aboriginals over program development, and the ongoing struggle for recognition of First Nations run institutions.

About the author

Blair Stonechild is a Cree-Saulteaux member of the Muscowpetung First Nation in Saskatchewan. He is a Professor of Indigenous Studies at the First Nations University of Canada, where he was first employed in 1976. He coauthored, with Bill Waiser, Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion, which won the Saskatchewan Book Award and was a finalist for the 1997 Governor General’s Literary Award.

Blair Stonechild's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“The New Buffalo is a groundbreaking study. In a field of historical literature on Aboriginal education that is dominated by studies of elementary and secondary schooling, Stonechild’s book offers a valuable perspective on lifelong education in relation to treaty rights, cultural empowerment, jurisdictional difficulties, institutional developments, and individual experiences.”

H-Canada, H-Net Book Reviews

“The New Buffalo is a wise book that merits a large audience.”

American Review of Canadian Studies

Librarian Reviews

The New Buffalo: The Struggle for Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education in Canada

As the buffalo provided almost everything for Aboriginal people of the Plains so, states Blair Stonechild, the New Buffalo is education. Stonechild provides an historical overview of the Canadian government’s discriminatory practices and of social Darwinism that have led to many of the current problems facing Aboriginal students. Stonechild believes that controlling their own higher education is the key to Aboriginal students’ success. Though government initiatives have resulted in greater numbers of Aboriginal students attaining higher education, Stonechild reveals that many roadblocks still exist.

Stonechild is a Cree-Saulteaux from Saskatchewan. He is now a professor at the First Nations University of Canada. This book was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award (1997).

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2008-2009.

Other titles by Blair Stonechild