"White Buffalo"
1998 Gold Coin
Face Value: $200.00
Royal Canadian Mint Limited Edition
#10554 of 25,000 Coins


According to artist, Alex Janvier, the legend of the White Buffalo tells of the healing and regeneration of the Chipewyan People of Western Canada.  When a white buffalo calf "walks back" -- or is born -- says the legend, people will awaken to the light and mother earth will be healed.  The birth of a white buffalo calf in the United States has sent signals to all Indian Nations across the Americas that it is their time for spiritual change; it is time to return to the spiritual way of life that was practiced by their ancestors.

Alex Janvier was born on a First Nations Reserve in Cold Lake, Alberta and studied at the Alberta College of Art.  Since 1971, he has devoted himself entirely to art.  He chose to portray the white buffalo because it is a powerful symbol of hope for his people.  In times past, the buffalo provided everything needed by the native peoples of the Western Plains -- food, shelter, clothing, and tools; lives revolved around the movement of the buffalo herds.  In recent years, the aboriginal peoples have experienced a renewed sense of their culture.  In celebrating the birth of a white buffalo calf, therefore, the artist also celebrates a new and promising future for native peoples in Canada.

The artist portrays the buffalo coming alive and leaping into action.  The four cardinal points are marked with stylized teepee pegs joined by sixteen stones -- another important symbol of spiritual renewal.  The "heartline" shows that the buffalo has life.  The lines in the background suggest water, the source of life.  As well as signing the design with his name, Janvier has included his own personal treaty number, 287.

This coin is the second of a four-coin set called "Native Cultures and Traditions," which the Royal Canadian Mint, in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Civilization, produced between 1997 and 2000.  The purpose of the series is to promote awareness of contemporary First Nations art.  The obverse bears the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll by artist Dora dePedery-Hunt.

Note: The specific coin in this photograph is a Proof Coin.  It can be spent for its face value of $200.00.  However, being a Proof Coin means it has never been in circulation and was minted using finer, special dies resulting in a perfect example of the coin.  These proof coins are sold primarily as collector items by the Mint.

Text and Photo Creation Donated by
Stellar Designs of
Plymouth, Michigan