Spotlight: Heather Black of Buffalo Stone Woman
- Culture and Traditional Activities
- Trails and Parks
- Indigenous Tourism Canmore - June 8, 2022
Blog post courtesy of Indigenous Tourism Alberta
Black is the owner and founder of Buffalo Stone Woman where individuals can book unique “Indigi-scape” tours in the Rocky Mountains to hike trails that are dotted with beautiful scenery. It’s her family’s connection to the land, however, that remains the guiding light for her business.
Black recalls her grandmother, Susie Day Chief, as someone who was humble and taught many principles that Black still carries close to her today.
“Everything about her nature is instilled in me,” shares Black.
Day Chief taught her the traditional ways of making a place a home, how to look after children, and how to support them as they grow.
“Anything she does is traditionally rooted,” said Black, who says her roots in a family of hunters give her a deep connection to the land close to her heart.
“My grandmother was a huge teacher to all of us. She taught us that the men are the hunters and the women are the meat-cutters. So we’ve learned how to cut the meat, utilize all the animals for different dishes and all of that.”
Black’s grandparents only shared stories in Blackfoot as a way of closing the growing gap in language and culture, which were being lost.
“I look back today and it’s up to me as an individual to really embrace the teachings from my grandparents, from my father, from my aunties, and from all of the Elders and knowledge keepers who are willing to share those stories with us.”
Black’s grandparents believed in the importance of learning their language and continuing on their own individual journeys to forge connections with the land.
A combination of Black’s adventurous personality and her grandparents’ teachings enables her to provide numerous hiking tours through her business. But more than that, it is her connection to the land that inspires her to share her Indigenous culture through tourism.
“Being an adventurer also means being connected to the land,” she says. “It means learning traditional ways of how we used to eat and hunt, all of these things are what connects me to the mountains.”
Additionally, Indigenous tourism allows Black to share stories of resilience.
“We all carry our stories of resilience. We all have so many stories to share, and it’s those stories of resilience that provide authentic Indigenous tourism.”
“Our connection to the land is forever.”
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