Chief Walking Buffalo

The story of Walking Buffalo is just one of the many stories in the new Gateway to the Rockies exhibition being developed by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.  We want your input and feedback on this permanent (ten year life) exhibition that we are planning to open at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in the spring of 2012. Tell us what you think of this and the other concepts and stories featured here. Let us know how you think we could make this exhibition more interesting. Please keep in mind that this is a draft of the storyline, not the finished product. As the stories develop, information will be updated.

To the missionary who adopted him, he was George McLean; in Stoney language, he was known as Tatanga Mani; to the world he was Walking Buffalo. Tatanga Mani was born in 1871 and, as a child, attended the signing of Treaty #7. Walking Buffalo is noted not only for his leadership of the Stoney People, but also for his life mission of peace, and for his work to document, preserve and defend traditional life and values.

Peter Whyte and George McLean (Walking Buffalo), 1954 (V683/I.C.4.b), Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

Schooled in ‘Nature’s University’, Tatanga Mani became an emissary for peace, forgiveness and human understanding. His travels eventually took him several times around the world with the Moral Rearmament Movement.

As Grant MacEwan wrote, “a lifetime spent communing with all living things truly blessed Tatanga Mani with gifts of understanding and deep personal strength. Whether spoken in tipi or temple, his message of love and respect for fundamental human dignity would never dim.”

Walking Buffalo adopted Peter Whyte and he referred to Peter and Catharine as his brother and sister-in-law. His close relationship with Peter lasted until Peter’s death in 1966 and Walking Buffalo remained in touch with Catharine until he died at the age of 96 on December 26, 1967. He entrusted his regalia to Catharine’s care and it is now in the collection of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

He travelled around the world with the message to “stop hating each other and start being brothers the way the Great Spirit intended”

Lots of people hardly even feel real soil under their feet, see plants grow except in flower pots, or get far enough beyond the street lights to catch the enchantment of a night sky studded with stars. When people live far from scenes of the Great Spirit’s making, it’s easy for them to forget his laws.
- Walking Buffalo, 1958

The forest is mankind, and the hill is the world… Trees of different names stand side by side.  The trees fall and die and help the young grow.  Even the crooked sticks help to build the world.  Even the crooked sticks help to build the world. And all the nations have to build that forest.
-Chief Walking Buffalo


  1. Walking Buffalo was on the right path. Today we need more persons on earth like him, standing up for each other no matter where you from, what kind of color your skin has and in what you believe. We are all one folk on earth and we have to brake down the walls.....


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