Sacred Beings
Buffalo and Deer - Sustainers of Life

Buffalo and Deer Imagery

The deer was often a hunter's guardian spirit, appearing in a dream or vision after a period of fasting and ritual observance. It protected the hunter and helped him hunt successfully. Deer imagery — a deer's head or body in profile — is often drawn on clothing, beaded on bags, or woven into bags and baskets.

Dance shield
Northern Plains, post-1950
Plywood, dog or deer rawhide, eagle feathers
CMC V-X-225

The animal hunted is sacred power. To follow his tracks, one is on the path of power. To kill the animal is to obtain power. All this is wakan (sacred).

Black Elk, Oglala Lakota, 1931, in Joseph E. Brown, The Animals of the Soul.

Tsuu T'ina, 1921
CMC V-D-91 a, b

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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