Buffalo Facts

THE PLAINS BUFFALO (BISON)

  • Estimated numbers in 1830  =   70 - 150 million
  • Many of today's highways follow roadways trampled out by migrating buffalo herds.
  • In 1902 our federal government started a restoration project in Yellowstone and discontinued the hunting of buffalo.
  • Named les boeufs meaning oxen or beefs, by the French.   American Frontiersman translated it to buffalo.
  • After 1830 the beaver were trapped out, the buffalo robes became more popular
  • 1870-1875 estimated 2,500,000 were taken annually for use by the American fur companies

 

HOW AMERICAN INDIANS UTILIZED THE BUFFALO

  • Meat To Eat
  • Dung For Fires
  • Brains For Tanning Hides
  • Gallstones For Yellow Paint
  • Hooves Boiled To Make Glue
  • Horns For Cups And Spoons
  • Small Bones For Knives And Tools
  • Sinew For Bowstrings And Sewing Thread
  • Tails For Shooing Flies

 

Untanned Hide (Rawhide)
  Because it shrinks when dried it was used to fasten stonehead to mallets and secure war clubs to their handles.

Fur/Hide Uses

  • Because it is waterproof, it was used for storing food and clothes, making portable water troughs for horses, and for covering circular boats.
  • Tanned Hides For Robes
  • Fur Used To Build Teepees
  • Their Fur Was Used For Trading

Uses for Hides Taken In The Late Fall

It had long winter hair which was used for mittens, warm bedding, moccasins, winter caps, and ceremonial headdresses.

View an Excavation

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last updated 1.14.08