Quest of Buffalo Spirit

buffalo petroglyph

The Quest of Buffalo Spirit

"Where the buffalo was essential to the physical survival of several Native tribes, it is the spirit of the Buffalo that represents the spiritual survival of Native people today."


In late 2005, a 5-minute short video was created by Producer/Director/Writer: Marie Burke for the newly formed Buffalo Spirit Communications Foundation. With interviews collected by Bert Crowfoot with Chief Adam Dick, Kim Recalma-Clutesi, Mary Thomas and Ruth Brass, the video became the groundwork for a four part half hour video series.

The Quest of Buffalo Spirit, a 4 part limited series - part history lesson, part documentary and part sacred quest. The series takes us on a journey from British Columbia's west coast to the southern plains of Alberta. Marie Burke, supervising producer also directed and wrote the "Quest" which is broadcast on OMNI Television in English and in Mandarin from 2008 to 2010.

In keeping with Native oral traditions, spiritual leaders from two western Canadian Native Nations demonstrate the powers of memory and presentation. Alan Pard and Jerry Potts from Piikani First Nation, and Clan Chief Adam Dick, along with Daisy Sewid-Smith and Kim Reclama-Cultesi from Qualicum First Nation, help us understand more about authentic cultural and ceremonial knowledge defined by tribes within Nations. By preserving the specific rituals of a Nation's cultural ceremonies, these guardians confront "Pan-Indianism" and show us the importance of maintaining tribal knowledge in a digital age.

The Quest is a sacred personal journey. In keeping with the Aboriginal perspective of honoring relationships, series host, Bert Crowfoot embarks on his own quest to reclaim the ancestral name of his Great Great Grandfather, Chief Crowfoot of the Blackfoot people.

The people behind the cameras and recording equipment also take the Quest. Their experiences of the sacred lead them to a code of conduct when recording with Native people. As filmmakers they follow professional protocols and undertake a spiritual responsibility to Native peoples' specific spiritual and cultural laws. Intellectual copyright and the chain of rights involve real, living relationships maintained by cultural guardians with their land, oral tradition, art, designs and literature.

Buffalo Spirit respects the integrity of the training, teachings, and protocols that must be followed in order to share cultural knowledge appropriately. This straightforward documentary series defines, creates room for honest discussion on the preservation of authentic Native cultural knowledge by using the communications media. The spiritual leaders featured in this series have the experience and the cultural rights to transmit knowledge as handed down to them by their teachers and from a Native community's collective memories. Their time with us on this earth is shortening.

Bringing the wisdom, discipline, and love of Elders to the people, The Quest of Buffalo Spirit strives to define, safeguard and uphold cultural identity.


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