Tag archives for Buffalo Jump
Ellie: Oki napi! This morning, we traveled to the Lodgepole Gallery & Tipi Village in Browning, Montana. Today we learned about the heritage of the Blackfeet Nation, a Native American tribe that calls the area of Glacier National Park its home. Upon arrival at the Village, we walked down to a round, wooden shelter to witness and photograph some traditional Blackfeet dances. The Grass Dancer (whose job was to stomp down the grass for the other dancers) wore a dazzling otsskoinattsi (blue) leather costume adorned with luxurious colored beads. To top off the costume, he wore an impressive porcupine-hair headdress with eagle feathers. Another boy, called the Chicken Dancer, had the role to represent the sage grouse. He flapped his maohksinattsi (red) beaded wings and shook his tail feathers to the beat of the buffalo drums. Finally, the Fancy Dancer came jingling over. His costume, consisting of layered towers of lime saisskimokoinattsi (green) streamers and feathers, bounced as he twirled and whirled around. Finally, we kids were allowed in on a Circle Dance; a hand-holding dance where you slowly spiral around a central object while stepping in time to the music. We finally finished when we were as tightly curled as a nautilus shell. I thought it was marvelous to be able to see these colorful dances and feel the music vibrating inside of me.
Bees buzzed past me as I stared up at Cutthroat Boarding School buffalo jump. Although it was sad to hear about the Buffalo jump, the scenery made up for it. Even today you can find some remains of buffalo bones. According to one of the Blackfeet tribe members, one person would put on a wolf skin, and another person would pretend to be a buffalo calf to try to lure the buffalo toward the edge of the cliff.
When we got back to the Lodgepole Gallery Tipi Village we played some Native American games including “Scream and Run” (children played this game so they could warn their parents if someone invaded their
territory). We also played Double-ball. Double-ball was traditionally played by women. You had to fling a ball above a bar to score one point and if the ball wrapped itself around the bar you scored two points.
Some other games we played were “Salish Hoop and Dart,” “Blackfeet Hoop,” and “Long Arrow and Sticks in the Fist” (a guessing game).
After we played some games we made a “Scream and Run” stick. We all decorated them a different way, making each unique and interesting in our own way.
Today was really interesting and we all learned a lot, including some Blackfoot words like Oki Napi, which means “Hello, my friend.” And we learned that dogs used to pull up to 120 pounds (like tepees). Today was
really interesting and fun!
Hannah: There is a common misconception that all Native Americans, including the Blackfeet, still lead the lives of their ancestors, but they live a modern life with little contrast to the rest of the American population. The traditional way the Blackfeet would hunt buffalo was by using a Buffalo Jump to run the animals over the
edge. That resulted in the death of the large, aggressive animals. They were very resourceful in using the entire buffalo. The women used the stomach as a cooking pot. Although buffalo was the main source of
nutrition in the earlier times, having the chance to eat buffalo in this age is a special occasion. Tonight I was given the chance to eat native buffalo soup and buffalo cooked in the form of meatloaf. The meat highly resembles beef but is leaner and more compact. I favored the meatloaf over the soup, but both were delicious. Locally picked sarvice berries were served in cream as dessert. Along with this we ate everyday American food like spaghetti, rolls, and salad. This reinforces the fact that Native Americans are not the stereotypes often
depicted in our minds.
Today we went to the First People’s Buffalo Jump. First thing when we got out of the bus we had to get back in because they wanted to drive us to another part of the park where the cliffs were. When we got to the cliff we hopped out of the bus and a park ranger told us a few safety things like “Watch out for rattlesnakes.” or “Don’t step in the prairie dog holes.” So about halfway through our walk the park ranger said, “Who’s the fastest male runner?” So I raised my hand and he said “Okay, what’s your name?” And I said “Jackson.” Then he said “Okay well you’re the young man chosen by the elders, you have to lead your group.” Then we had to assemble into three groups, a group in the back that wore wolf suits [not really], and two groups on either side that had to hide behind rock walls [again, not really]. And then there was me. I had to dress up in a buffalo calf suit [I know that the "not relays" are kind of getting predictable so let's say I pretended]. The idea behind this is since I’m dressed in a calf suit and I’m making noises like I’m hurt, the alpha female [the males are off partying], will come try to rescue me and when she goes all the other buffalo follow. So I have to gradually pick up speed and then the buffalo start running and they eventually run off the cliff. So that’s kind of the concept of the buffalo jump. Thanks for reading!
Read the whole post »