Hoff's Aliner Travels
A Travel Blog for US and Canadian Parks with Geological Notes

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site, Alberta
One of the world’s oldest, largest, and best preserved buffalo jumps. The Jump bears witness to a method of hunting practiced by native people of the North American plains for nearly 6,000 years. This occurred before the introduction of the horse and even before the bow and arrow. Far from the cliff, the Indians created lanes with rocks and branches that made the buffalo nervous so they would not cross the line. A few Indians would dress in wolf skins to make the buffalo nervous and make them wary of running away from the cliff. The bravest and fastest Indian known as the buffalo runner would dress in a the hide of a buffalo calf and lure the buffalo towards the cliff by making distress cries. When the time was right, many Indians in hiding behind the lanes would jump up and make the buffalo panic and run towards the cliff. The buffalo could not see the edge in time because there was a small rise before they got to it. Indians lined the edges of the path and shook buffalo hides to create a wall. The path got more and more narrow as the buffalo stampeded and the buffalo runner jumped sideways through the wall of Indians before the buffalo ran over him. The cliff is 30 feet tall now but was 60 feet back then. Much of the difference in height is bones.
There were indigenous people dancing while I was there. I had buffalo stew for lunch.


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