An Ancient Bond with the Land
The Great Provider
People had uses for all parts of the animal: the meat, fat, hide, sinews, intestines, internal organs, brains, horns or antlers, and bones. Hides provided tipi covers, robes and tailored clothing, containers such as parfleches (used for storing food, clothing, or personal items), ropes and lines, drum heads and rattles. The entire skin of an unborn calf could be fashioned into a bag. Internal organs such as the bladder were used as storage containers. People used bones, horns and antlers to make spoons, drinking horns and other utensils, toys and ornaments, and other tools. If wood was scarce, they used bison dung to fuel fires for cooking and heating.
"The buffalo was part of us, his flesh and blood being absorbed by us until it became our own flesh and blood. Our clothing, our tipis, everything we needed for life came from the buffalo's body. It was hard to say where the animal ended and the man began."
John (Fire) Lame Deer