Honouring the Buffalo is the first picture book collaboration between Raymond Lavallee and Judith Silverthorne. The credit for this book belongs to Raymond Lavallee, who is the Cree storyteller, and who asked Judith to help him write the oral stories in book form to preserve them.
The English/Cree version was published in 2015. The French/Cree translation was published in 2016. The German/Cree version was published in 2019.
“A long time ago Our People came from the Northern Woodlands to the Great Plains looking for food,” Grandfather said. “They saw that the Buffalo lived in harmony with Mother Earth the same as Our People did.”
Through the Creator, Buffalo gave themselves as a gift for the sustenance and survival of the Plains Cree people. This largest land animal in North America once thundered across the Great Plains in numbers of 30 to 50 million. They provided shelter, food, clothing, tools, hunting gear, ceremonial objects, and many other necessities for those who lived on the Plains.
But by 1889, just over a thousand buffalo remained, and the lives of the Plains Cree people changed. Buffalo is honoured to this day, a reminder of life in harmony that was once lived.
This book tells the story of how Buffalo came to share themselves so freely.
How Judith came to write this book with Cree elder Ray Lavallee is a fascinating story in itself. Read an interview with Judith and Ray.
There are free Educational Resources for this book in both English and French. As well, the audio versions of the story are in three languages (English, French and Plains Cree)(soon to be in German).
There is also a book trailer.
Also, see an excerpt in English and Cree.
This book has received many awards and accolades.
The beautiful artwork was created by Mike Keepness.