Buffalo Point has always been a gathering place for the Anishinabe people. During the 1700's Chief Red Cloud and the Sioux frequented the area to supplement their primary food source of bison with wild rice and venison. Considered as an energy spot because of its lush beauty it was no wonder that the Point was frequented over the years.
The route that the Anishinabe used to move north and west into the Red River was through Buffalo Point and the Reed River and was explored by LaVerendrye and Gauthier after establishing the Fort St. Charles post in 1732. As the Ojibwa started to move into the area during the early 1800's from the east forcing the Sioux from the area. Many battles took place over control of Lake of the Sandhills, which was the original name of Lake of the Woods. In 1857 Gladman, Hind and Dawson explored this route with the assistance of the Ojibwa. Eventually it was Simon Dawson who found the route at the Northwest Angle known today as the Dawson Trail. John Tanner the Falcon also used this route during his years spent on Lake of the Woods.
Eventually Chief Ayashwash signed treaty number three for Buffalo Point at the Northwest Angle in 1873. This treaty was actually signed on the American side of the inlet at Harrison Creek. This treaty was supposed to make the Indians into farmers and provisions of a plow, oxen and farming implements were furnished. An area at the Point was fenced off and cattle were raised for about 10 years. The barbed wire fence and the reminisce of a pasture are still in existence today as well as the one furrowed plow. In 1900 Little Thunder the son of Ayashwash became Chief. Six years later he died and Old Jim Thunder took over as Chief until 1941. "Shorty" Warren Thunder was appointed next and in 1969 he resigned and appointed his nephew, Jim Thunder, Chief. In 1997 John Thunder was selected as the sixth hereditary Chief in the history of Buffalo Point First Nation.
Buffalo Point First Nation is a small Reserve and has always had a small population. In 1916 there was a total of 57 members, which was the highest count in the early years. The membership comprises of five families: Thunder's, Lighting's, Cobiness's, Handorgan's and Powasen's. Buffalo Point was flooded in 1890, as was all of Lake of the Woods. Later in the 1930's everyone had moved off the reserve onto the mainland and eventually disbursed throughout the U.S.A. with some staying on the Canadian side, because of the difficulty and remoteness. Over the course of many years Old Jim thunder was able to transfer the 1670 acres of lands flooded at Buffalo Point in exchange for new lands at Reed River. In 1930 the transaction was finally completed and transferred to Buffalo Point as their second reserve. The chief was quoted as saying we want the water of Reed River so that we can trap a few muskrats and continue to live our traditional ways.
In the 1950 and 1960's a few of the members, mainly the Thunders, started to talk about the possibility of developing the reserve as a tourist destination. Eventually there were offers to purchase the reserve from various groups and the other members started to take interest. In 1967 the Manitoba Government offered $72,500.00 for the primmest site on the reserve, this was the Southeast corner comprising of 968 acres. Tom Thunder notified his adopted son Jim Thunder who was stationed in Africa with the Air Force about this offer. He took a leave of absence and came home and put a stop to the sell of the reserve. Chief "Shorty" Warren Thunder was in poor health and started to talk to his nephew Jim about becoming Chief as Shorty had never been married or had any children. Over the next couple of years Jim finally agree and in 1969 became Chief with the support of the active community members. Shorty had his third heart attack and died in 1972.
During Jim Thunder’s time as Chief, Buffalo Point eventually became the beautiful resort community that we all know today. This was all made possible through Jim’s vision and strong sense of commitment to his community. From the start of the early 70’s, after many meetings, a community referendum, support by the Department of Indian Affairs & investors (including Jim Thunder) development in Buffalo Point began.
With John Thunder as the current Chief, Buffalo Point First Nation continues to grow and prosper. It takes pride in being an independent First Nation with economic development and growth providing many opportunities for its members.