Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23 – Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump

For six thousand years, Blackfoot Indians used buffalo jumps to hunt buffalo, without horses or rifles.  Grazing herds of buffalo were funneled into drive paths by the use of rock and brush cairns.  Natives dressed in wolf and buffalo calf skins unsettled the herd and started it moving toward the cliff.  Many tribes joined together for the hunt as many as 100,000 could be present.  Camp was set up beside the Oldman River below the jump where processing of the meat would take place. Every part of the animal was used, hides for shelter and clothing and bones as tools. Dried buffalo was ground and mixed with berries and fat to produce pemmican, which would last through the winter. 

Fort Macleod was the first base for the North West Mounted Police, later becoming the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  They were a Canadian presence in the northwest and as such the rule of law.  They worked to stop the whiskey trade between Fort Benton (ND) and Fort Whoop Up (AB).  The training practices of the Mounties developed into the Musical Ride, maneuvers set to music.  We enjoyed the
performance by young horsemen and horsewomen very much. 

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