An Ancient Bond with the Land

Communal Hunters

The Staff of Life

Just as communal hunters worked cooperatively to hunt bison and caribou, they also worked together to butcher the carcasses, process the raw materials and share the proceeds. In this way, bison or caribou provided for almost every human need, including shelter, food, clothing, raw materials for tools, even fuel for fires - truly a staff of life.

The bison furnished raw material for every aspect of human life.

Adapted from "The Bison Supermarket of the Plains", by Ewa Pluciennik, published in The First Albertans, by Gail Helgason, Lone Pine Publishing, 1986.
Drawing: Susan Laurie-Bourque
© Canadian Museum of Civilization

Raw Material - Drawing: Susan Laurie-Bourque
A SINEW - thread, bow strings
B HAIR - padding, ornaments
C HORN - cups, spoons, ornaments, powder horns
D SKULL - ceremonial
E BRAIN - hide tanning
F TONGUE - meat
G BEARD - ornaments
H HOOF, FOOT - rattles, glue
I MARROW - food, soup
J MEAT - roasted, boiled, dried
K INTERNAL ORGANS - food, containers
L SCROTUM - rattles
M TAIL - ceremonial, ornamental
O HIDE - clothing, containers, tipis, etc.
P BONE - food, knives, ornaments

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