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Copyright © 2002 NLThomas
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The Buffalo Slaughter
And Native American Traditions

The following piece was put together by
Flo Gardipee, a BFC board member, lab
technician, and student of wildlife biology.

Source: Buffalo Field Campaign
NAIIP Articles Friday, May 17, 2002

Copyright © 2002 Gardipee
All Rights Reserved

How has the historic bison slaughter affected Native American traditions?

Bull Lodge was a holy man and warrior of the White Clay People, otherwise known as the Gros Ventres, and was well known for his gifts of healing and prophecy. He held the last sacred place in history as the fourth and final man of the White Clay People to receive special powers as Keeper of the Feathered Pipe bundle. One night he received the Gift of the Four Sweat Tents through a vision in his sleep. An old man with long white hair and red paint on his forehead provided him with instructions for a ceremony. This ceremony would give Bull Lodge the power to resurrect himself. It required a sufficient number of buffalo robes to cover each of the sweat tents to be used simultaneously in the ceremony.

This ceremony, which required enough buffalo robes to simultaneously cover several sweat lodges, would give Bull Lodge the power to resurrect himself.

When Bull Lodge received the message that it was time for him to perform this ceremony, he was unable to do so because the number of buffalo robes he needed were unavailable. The large, free ranging, wild herds of buffalo had been extirpated. Unable to conduct the ceremony, Bull Lodge resigned himself to his fate and passed away at the age of eighty-five. His story is just one of the many tragedies caused by the removal of the buffalo.

Below is a quote from "The Seven Visions of Bull Lodge":

"Bull Lodge's final experience was to be his greatest. For he had been given the power of resurrection, and was in constant communication with 'those who watch over him.' However, the buffalo hides which had to be used for the Sweat Tent ceremony could not be obtained, and the ceremony could not be performed. The white man felt that the only way to settle our race was to kill off the buffalo which the Indian hunted for a living. So Bull Lodge passed beyond recall, calm and perfectly resigned to his fate."

Fred P. Gone, White Clay, tribal historian
"The Seven Visions of Bull Lodge"

Related contact information:

Buffalo Field Campaign
P,O, Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Phone: 406-646-0070
E-mail: buffalo@wildrockies.org

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