Sacred Beings
Buffalo and Deer - Sustainers of Life

Buffalo and Deer - Products for Daily Life

Out of respect for these sacred animals, which gave their lives to provide food, shelter and clothing for humans, Plains and Plateau people used as much of the animal as possible. Two hundred to 300 products were made from the buffalo and deer. Hides were left whole when used to cover tipis or to serve as robes and blankets; deer hides were cut and sewn into shirts, leggings, moccasins and dresses. Hair cut from the hide was used to stuff pad saddles. The bones and sinew became tools and thread, the porous bones of the buffalo being fashioned into painting tools. The buffalo's horns were transformed into spoons and cups, and its tail became a fly whisk.

Women's Work after the Hunt
By Nicolas Point, S.J., c. 1840
De Smetiana Collection, Midwest Jesuit Archives, St. Louis, Missouri, IX-C9-94

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Introduction | Hunting Methods | Products of Life | Buffalo and Deer Imagery | Buffalo Ritual | Decimation of the Buffalo and Deer | Re-emergence of the Buffalo | Transition to Cattle ranching

Introduction | Buffalo and Deer | Dog and Coyote | Honouring the Horse