Sacred Beings
Buffalo and Deer - Sustainers of Life

Buffalo and Deer Imagery

The image of the buffalo, usually the whole figure and often in profile, was drawn or carved on everyday and sacred objects. Sometimes, only the head and horns represented the animal. An even more abstract design consisted of triangular hoofprints, which were often beaded on moccasins. Occasionally, rawhide cut outs and beaded buffalo effigies were made to be placed with other sacred objects in bundles, or to be worn by people for protection. They also signified the wearer's special relationship with the buffalo spirit. Buffalo figures were frequently carved on pipes and pipe stems because the buffalo, like the pipe smoke itself, acted as an intermediary between humans and the spirit world.

The Buffalo Dance at Fort Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan
By Sydney Prior Hall, 1881
National Archives of Canada C-012940
Kainai couple, Stand Off, Alberta.
The man is wearing a horned headdress.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Archives, Ottawa 560(3)

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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