Expose Indigenous students to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) research careers with Canada's only synchrotron.


The Bison Project integrates Traditional Knowledge (TK) and mainstream Science in an experience that engages First Nation, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) teachers, students, and communities. The Bison Project creates a unique opportunity to incorporate land-based hunting and herd management, synchrotron science, mainstream science principles and TK.

High School, Adult Basic Education, or Post-Secondary

Flexible Timeframes

Virtual and/or On-site

Students combine their community’s Traditional Knowledge to explore the elemental differences between free-grazing and supplemental-fed Bison herd diets using synchrotron light. The project includes land-based portions, understanding of historic and modern-day treaties, sample preparation, Elder/TKK-lead environmental timelines, beamtime, learning how to interpret graphs and Indigenous career paths in STEM. The Bison HERstory portion seeks to reclaim and preserve the momentous historical contributions of First Nation and Métis women towards saving the Bison from extinction. The Bison Project generates a collection of Cultural Expression resources to keep TK alive through oral tradition.

To study the bison, CLS collaborates with various organizations and are proud to share our current partners here, with more communications happening in the future.

NSERC (logo in image) supports Indigenous Programs with the CLS Education Team.The Canadian Light Source is proud to offer the Bison Project and we acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience to make this possible.

Project Protocols & Indigenous Ethics

The Canadian Light Source Indigenous Education projects followed traditional Protocol and Ceremony with Traditional Knowledge Keepers

The Canadian Light Source Indigenous Education projects followed Traditional Protocol and Ceremony with Traditional Knowledge Keepers Stewart Prosper, Yvonne Chamakese, Joseph Naytowhow, and Métis Nation of Saskatchewan Cultural and Education Director Lori Skjeie and Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Senior Researcher/Analyst - Science & Math, Dale Worme.

Project Partners

At this time, we are happy to share that partnerships are being developed with various organizations and look forward to share more information at a future date.

To learn more about what partnerships are being developed, please check out this CLS news story.

Project Leads

Bernie is the CLS Education Coordinator for Indigenous Programs.

Bernie is the CLS Education Coordinator for Indigenous Programs. Bernie creates valuable hands-on opportunities for students to explore Traditional Knowledge and mainstream science. The Arctic Fox, Bison, and Berry projects are three land-based learning opportunities that CLS offers. Bernie provides supports for educators and students by matching Indigenous Science mentors, community Traditional Knowledge and Language Keepers, Elders, and other community resources to each unique science project. Her knowledge of Indigenous communities, matriarchal family structure, and experience in intergenerational learning, assist teachers to create exciting science adventures where Indigenous Knowledge is the foundation.

Project Timeframe

These projects can be developed together with the students, teachers, mentors, CLS Education staff anytime during the school year. Sessions, listed below, are scheduled by the teacher with the Program Lead and can be adjusted to fit various timeframes. Through this process, students will participate in a science experience gathering Bison samples and pasture soil samples (collaborating with appropriate Herd Managers). Students connect to CLS through various online platforms and are guided through the sample preparation within their classroom. Samples are returned to CLS and processed during beamtime (virtual and in-person options available; dates for beamtime may vary). All data and results of the experiment will be shared with the class and teacher for presentation and future use.

Classroom sessions related to the Bison Project at the Canadian Light Source.

Session Length: We can customize from a 1hr session to a block session delivery

Project Options: Virtual or On-Site; Both available (COVID Restrictions do apply)

Coming to CLS Tips: See What to Expect on our CLS Website

Curricular Connections: Traditional Knowledge, Land-Based, STEM Career, Periodic Table of Elements, TRC Call to Action (Science), Evolution, Extinction, Cells, DNA, Genetics, Native Studies 30-Pass System, Treaty, Modern Treaty, Bison Economy, TRCs

Indigenous Connections
Resources: See our Virtual Classroom Website

Additional CLS Educational
Resources: See our Virtual Classroom Website


Are you interested in participating in the Bison Project or have questions? Reach out to our Education Team email to learn more.

Email: education@lightsource.ca