Goodwill designs buffalo winter count robe for University of Regina

A Buffalo Winter Count Robe, painted with the history of the land in and around the University of Regina, was presented to the University Thursday.
Wayne Goodwill, an 81-year-old knowledge keeper from the Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation, created the robe and explained the traditions behind winter count robes.
“Buffalo painting has been done for 5-600 years, and it’s a way of recording the winters, the days of warriors and tribes of the Great Plains,” Goodwill said.
Clockwise from the lower right, the history of teepees and tribes begins, and by the time it comes around again, a lot of years have passed.
“There is a red dress there, orange shirts, and then we go into the University (First Nations University of Canada) was built here in Saskatchewan, and we have a number of students that have graduated, and of course there’s a bit of COVID in the corner,” Goodwill said.
Goodwill is one of the last known robe painters in the province.
“We didn’t have storybooks, so we painted pictures on robes,” he said. “We didn’t have paper so we used a robe.”
The robe will be displayed at the University of Regina’s Indigenous Engagement department.

“The stories embedded in this robe help expose the truth of Canada’s colonial past and the impact on the original inhabitants of this land,” said Lori Campbell, Associate Vice-President (Indigenous Engagement) in a media release. “These stories are also a celebration of the remarkable strength and perseverance of those who have gone before us, those who are walking with us, and those who will come after us.”

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