Bison Pipeline Helped Preserve Buffalo Hunters' Sacred Landmark

Bison Pipeline Helped Preserve Buffalo Hunters' Sacred Landmark

The discovery of an ancient finding halted construction and helped shape TransCanada's Aboriginal and Native American Relations Strategy

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The discovery of a humblecha along the Bison Pipeline route required a halt on construction and the careful removal and replacement of the ancient stone, which is where ancestors would have come after days of walking to fast, pray or complete a spiritual quest.

Machine operators and on-the-ground team members collaborated to ensure the ancient stones were moved and stored carefully then put back onto the site exactly as they had been found.

Hollows in the Humblecha discovery indicate where tribal members made their spiritual offerings.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - 8:00am

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Atop a natural rise in the gentle rolling hills in Carter County, Montana, looking across the grasslands as far as the eye can see, is a cluster of nearly 40 boulders of varying sizes. Some of them are quite large and covered in brightly colored lichen while others are smaller, nearly hidden under the brush that has grown up around them.

One special rock, however, reveals something sacred — a depression in the stone rubbed smooth from generations of spiritual offerings made there to Mother Earth by American Indians as many as 500 years ago.

That find in 2010 proved important because it ensured the previously unknown site would be protected for hundreds of years to come. It also laid the groundwork for TransCanada’s Native Americans Relations Policy, which recognizes the significance of the land and traditions, and the importance of building relationships based on mutual trust and respect.

“How we separate ourselves is really quite simple — we respect traditional territory,” says Lou Thompson, manager, U.S. Tribal Relations, TransCanada.

The unanticipated discovery was made during the construction of TransCanada’s Bison Pipeline Project, a 303-mile gas pipeline that begins in northeastern Wyoming and travels east through Montana and North Dakota before connecting with Northern Border Pipeline in North Dakota.

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CATEGORY: Energy