March 3, 2024:

Donate

Buffalo is the New Buffalo

Buffalo is the New Buffalo

Buffalo is the New Buffalo

Powerful stories of “Metis futurism” that envision a world without violence, capitalism, or colonization.

“Education is the new buffalo” is a metaphor widely used among Indigenous peoples in Canada to signify the importance of education to their survival and ability to support themselves, as once Plains nations supported themselves as buffalo peoples. The assumption is that many of the pre-Contact ways of living are forever gone, so adaptation is necessary. But Chelsea Vowel asks, “Instead of accepting that the buffalo, and our ancestral ways, will never come back, what if we simply ensure that they do?”

Inspired by classic and contemporary speculative fiction, Buffalo Is the New Buffalo explores science fiction tropes through a Metis lens: a Two-Spirit rougarou (shapeshifter) in the nineteenth century tries to solve a murder in her community and joins the nehiyaw-pwat (Iron Confederacy) in order to successfully stop Canadian colonial expansion into the West. A Metis man is gored by a radioactive bison, gaining super strength, but losing the ability to be remembered by anyone not related to him by blood. Nanites babble to babies in Cree, virtual reality teaches transformation, foxes take human form and wreak havoc on hearts, buffalo roam free, and beings grapple with the thorny problem of healing from colonialism.

About the author

Chelsea Vowell

Chelsea Vowell

Chelsea Vowel is Metis from manitow-sakahikan (Lac Ste. Anne), Alberta, and currently residing in amiskwaciwaskihikan (Edmonton). Mother to six children, she is a writer and educator, co-host of Indigenous feminist sci-fi podcast Metis in Space, co-founder of the Metis in Space Land Trust, and author of Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Metis & Inuit Issues in Canada.

Browse Other Books

Donate today

Support Canadian literature

Help preserve and promote Canadian writers by contributing to Real Vancouver. Your donation helps us run our events and provide writers with resources, mentorship, and opportunities to grow their craft.