Sacred Beings
Buffalo and Deer - Sustainers of Life

Hunting Methods - Métis Hunters

Gabriel Dumont, a Métis buffalo hunter, 1885
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Archives, Ottawa 1885-5 (2)

The rich culture of the Métis was based on the buffalo hunt. Like their Aboriginal relatives, the Métis usually appointed someone Chief of the Hunt. Strict rules had to be followed and harsh penalties were imposed on those who disobeyed. For many, the hunt became an important economic activity. The major hunts took place twice a year, in the spring and fall, and lasted two to three months.

I could see buffalo all over; there were thousands and thousands of them travelling ... There was not one herd but many. ... The first buffalo that entered the pound went round and round the centre tree in a circle like the sun, and each buffalo that was driven in afterward did the same thing. The pound was so crowded the buffalo could not move. We started to shoot. We had guns, bows and arrows, and butcher-knives. When we got through, there were one hundred and seventy dead buffalo in the pound. The buffalo were shared.

Norbert Welsh, Métis, 1931, Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, in The Last Buffalo Hunter, by Mary Weekes.

Camp Providers, by Alfred Jacob Miller, 1867
National Archives of Canada C-000418

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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

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