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Buffalo Hunting

This exhibit shows a little insight of Native American Buffalo Hunting. Buffalo were very symbolic to the Natives because they were able to rely on them for survival. It was said that in the early 1800's, over 30 million buffalo roamed the Great Plains. The Plains indians relied on the buffalo for food, shelter, tools and also spiritual guidance. The Buffalo became popular in the Plains Indians religion and also played a major role in ritual and ceremonies. The saying "You are what you eat" really enhanced the relationship between the Natives and the buffalo. In this exhibit, I wanted to portray the importance of Buffalo to the plains indians but also show how they utilized the source. I picked 10 items that Natives used or related to Buffalo and Buffalo Hunting.

A Buffalo Bill Center of the West Virtual Exhibit
Curated by: Jess Hicks


NA.102.256
Plains | arrows | feathers |...
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Exhibit notes: Made from hard woods(Oak, Hickory, Juniper, and Cedar). Arrowhead tied on with sinew. Arrowheads were sometimes poisoned when battling between each other but never for hunting.

Museum record: NA.102.256 | 1880-1890 | L: 26.5 in, Diameter: 1.25 in | The Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, acquired through the generosity of the Dyck family and additional gifts of the Nielson Family and the Estate of Margaret S. Coe | Ten light colored wood shafts, peeled, smoothed, some decorated with paint and some with incised lines along length; triple fletched with long quills, tied with sinew top and bottom; sheet metal points hafted by inserting into split shaft and wrapping with sinew. Split at bottom also. All have green paint at bottom; except for .3 and .5 which have blue block stripe with small red lines above and below it. .9 has red only. .5 is missing metal point. | NA.102.256.1-.10.jpg | arrows | feathers | wood | pigment | metal | sinew | Plains

NA.102.269
Cheyenne | arrows | bow case...
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Exhibit notes: The Bow and Arrow was the primary tool for hunting buffalo. The Bow has a recurve appearance/shape. Sometimes used bone for constructing bows(Antlers). Arrows had three fletchings(feathers). Arrowheads tied in with Sinew from animals Cheyenne Tribe

Museum record: NA.102.269 | 1870-1890 | bow case width: 6 in, bow length: 46 in, bow case length: 25 in, Diameter: 5.5 in, Diameter: 5 in, bow width: 1.25 in, width: 1.25 in | The Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, acquired through the generosity of the Dyck family and additional gifts of the Nielson Family and the Estate of Margaret S. Coe | bow case: tanned hide, fur on in interior of both pieces, sewn into circular form with round piece on bottom, pieced with red wool cloth on bottom seam and some attached fringe. Double seam with added piece runs top to bottom. Five (5) single lines (1/4” W) of turquoise blue seed beads, with small striped segment of dark blue and yellow inserted, running horizontally around top and bottom. Twisted hide fringe attached to underside on top folded over edge. Quiver is same style and design pattern, but narrower. Attached to quiver with strips of hide strip in three sections, and tanned hide strap is (¾”W) attached through the same hide strips. Strap and strips are more recent additions. Bow: slight recurve bow, medium colored piece of wood, tapers in at handle, and again near top, notched ends; string is woven sinew, looped around to prevent strain on bow. Arrows (4): triple fletched, glued and tied off on top and bottom with sinew. Fletched portion is also painted on two (2) bows: red, blue and red striped; green or dark blue diagonal lines; to in dark blue. Each tipped with metal point varying in length from 4 ¾” to 2 ½” hafted on to top and sinew wrapped. | NA.102.269.jpg | arrows | bow case and quiver | bow | sinew | glass beads | wool cloth | tanned deer hide | pigment | wood | metal | Cheyenne

NA.702.30
Hidatsa | Northern Plains | ...
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Exhibit notes: Natives used hides for shelter, clothing but also used them for telling stories. This hide in particular shows the tribe hunting buffalo and the process of utilizing what they harvested. Native Americans would illustrate big or special events on these hides to remember the key events This hide dates back to 1875.

Museum record: NA.702.30 | ca. 1875 | L: 88 in, width: 73 in | Gift of Mr. William L. Cone | Communication and Media of Exchange: Writing and Records. Buffalo hide with hair on one side, painted and decorated on tanned side; hide was split and sewn back together along spine, applique over stitching is a band of purple, yellow and white porcupine quills with 5 quilled medallions in the same colors; painted scene on lower half of robe shows 3 Indians with rifles and wearing capotes on horses hunting 3 buffalo and 1 Indian skinning a buffalo with his gun, quiver and quirt on the ground beside him and 2 horses (1 saddled) in back of him, painting is done in brown, yellow, blue and red. | NA.702.30.jpg | NA.702.30.JPG | quirt | buffalo | rifles | Indians | capotes | hunting | saddle | horses | quiver | buffalo robe | porcupine quills | buffalo | buffalo hide | hair | pigment | tanned | Hidatsa | Northern Plains

NA.203.758
Plateau | headdress | Beads ...
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Exhibit notes: Used for Dress and Adornment, Rituals and Ceremonies, Hunting. This item has a felt liner and beaded work on the front. This style of headdress was worn by the Plateau Indians. This head dress included various numbers of hides Buffalo Mink Eagle(Feathers) Bobcat

Museum record: NA.203.758 | ca. 1905 | width at horns: 13 in, L: 32 in | Dress and Adornment - Personal Adornment and Ritual Regalia. Buffalo headdress - felt liner; buffalo horns and fur; beaded brow band with diamond pattern in orange and white on blue ground, green and blue border; abalone shell and bobcat foot in front; eagles foot on top; mink hide in back; short buffalo fur trailer with hawk feathers along sides; dew claws and ermine tails at ends of brow band. Buffalo dancers headdress. | NA.203.758.JPG | na.203.758v1.jpg | na.203.758v2.jpg | Diamond | headdress | Beads | mink | fur | feathers | dew | shell | foot | eagle | hide | felt | buffalo | horns | tails | claws | hawk | Bobcat | ermine | abalone | Plateau

NA.403.268
Plains | Hide straps | tanne...
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Exhibit notes: These reins were used to maneuver horses A way of transportation to getting to the buffalo and running them. 4 pieces of hide were used( Buffalo Hide typically). This particular item dates to the 20th century.

Museum record: NA.403.268 | early 20th century | width: .5 in, L: 260 in, width: .25 in, L: 54 in, width: .375 in, L: 72 in, width: 1.5 in, L: 14 in | The Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, acquired through the generosity of the Dyck family and additional gifts of the Nielson Family and the Estate of Margaret S. Coe | Four hide straps or ropes, horse gear. One long piece may be rigging rope; three smaller straps for unidentified use on saddles, packs, or bridles. | NA.403.268.jpg | Hide straps | tanned hide | Plains

NA.403.228
Plains | pack saddle | wood ...
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Exhibit notes: Pack saddles had multiple purposes within the tribe. This pack saddle could be used transporting buffalo back to the tribe. They were able to haul more meat efficiency with the use of horses. This pack saddle dates back to the 19th century

Museum record: NA.403.228 | 19th century | L: 17 in, H: 8.25 in, album width: 15 in | The Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, acquired through the generosity of the Dyck family and additional gifts of the Nielson Family and the Estate of Margaret S. Coe | Two rounded pieces of bone (?) attached to front and rear of two wooden side slats by means of thick-knotted sinew and rawhide, appears to be buffalo. Two holes at each 4 corners has a rawhide strap attached with hide string. On either side, the rawhide straps are connected by a circular metal ring. Underneath wood slats on either side is a large sheet of rawhide sewn on with hide through two holes at each end. One hide strap appears to be a contemporary replacement with commercial hide. 2 of the hide strings are also contemporary commercial hide restorations. | na.403.228.jpg | pack saddle | wood | hide | bone | sinew | metal | Plains

NA.102.258
Plains | quiver | tanned hi...
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Exhibit notes: Item made of tanned hide. Held a Bow and some arrows. Added Fringe for appearance. Tied together with strips of hide and Sinew

Museum record: NA.102.258 | ca. 1870 | width: 2.5 in, quiver width: 4.5 in, quiver length: 25.25 in, bow case length: 40.5 in, length with fringe: 42 in | The Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, acquired through the generosity of the Dyck family and additional gifts of the Nielson Family and the Estate of Margaret S. Coe | Bow case, quiver and strap all attached together and made from tanned hide. Quiver has rounded rawhide bottom stitched on, stitched along one side to make tube like shape, and attached fringe on top and bottom of quiver with sinew thread. Bow case is narrow (2 ½”W) with folded, and stitched on one side. Added self-fringed flap over the top; added piece on bottom also with fringe. Strap is single piece of tanned hide self-fringed on ends. All three (3) pieces bound together with thin strip of hide and holes punched through all pieces at same middle region. | NA.102.258.jpg | quiver | tanned hide | sinew | rawhide | Plains

NA.102.232
Northern Plains | sheath | k...
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Exhibit notes: This tool was used for scrapping and tanning hides but also served other purposes. This item dates back to the 1870’s. Women were the main users of scrappers and knives because they were in charge of cleaning and tanning the hides.

Museum record: NA.102.232 | ca. 1870 | diameter of handle: 3.5 in, L: 12.75 in, L: 10.875 in, width: 3 in, width: 2.25 in | The Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, acquired through the generosity of the Dyck family and additional gifts of the Nielson Family and the Estate of Margaret S. Coe | Dagger style (double edged) roughhewn knife blade fitted to a bone handle and originally secured with 10 brass rivets. Sheath is rawhide interior and tanned hide exterior with dyed quillwork on recto with 31 horizontal lines in stripes and solids in red, yellow, green purple. Top edge of case is trimmed around lip with striped segments of dark blue and white seed beads. Bottom of case embellished with rawhide strips, wrapped with dyed quills, and separated with single red seeds beads on bottom edge. Strips of tanned hide attached to top and at bottom of rawhide at bottom. | na.102.232.jpg | NA.102.232.1-2.jpg | sheath | knife | glass beads | dyed porcupine quills | tanned hide | bone | rawhide | brass | lacquer | cotton thread | steel | Northern Plains

1.69.576
hide | legs | calf | feet | ...
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Exhibit notes: Used for disguise for hunting buffalo. Primarily used when running buffalo to the buffalo jumps.

Museum record: 1.69.576 | L: 44 in, width: 53 in | Buffalo calf hide with legs and feet attached, n.d. | 1.69.576.JPG | hide | legs | calf | feet | buffalo