Travel-Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump TB3b
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Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Texas, United States
This is not collectible.
Use TB7F5WJ to reference this item.
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Please drop this item in rural OR Premium Member Only caches. Do not place it in an urban cache or abandon it at a caching event. Transport the bug in the original plastic bag for as long as the bag lasts; this prevents tangling with other items. Otherwise, take this travel bug anywhere you wish. No permission needed to leave the U.S.
Travel bug photos included with the logs will be posted here.
About This Item
In the fall of 2015 we took a trip from Texas to the northwest. We made stops in Wyoming, Montana, Alberta and British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for things to convert to travel bugs. This bug is one such item.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is located 10 miles northwest of Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home of a museum of Blackfoot culture.
The buffalo jump was used for 5,500 years by the indigenous peoples of the plains, to kill buffalo by driving them over the 36 foot high cliff (see the other uploaded photo). Before the late introduction of horses, the Blackfoot drove the buffalo from a grazing area in the Porcupine Hills about 2 miles west of the site to the "drive lanes", lined by hundreds of cairns. Specialized "buffalo runners" were young men trained in animal behavior to guide the buffalo into the drive lanes. Some dressed as coyotes and wolves and moved toward the herd to start in in motion. Other young men were decked out in buffalo robes and situated themselves between the herd and cliff. When the herd began to move, these young men would move toward the cliff, enticing others to follow. When the herd was in full flight, at the last moment they would dodge to safety between the cairns. At full gallop, the lead buffalo would be pushed over the cliff by the weight of the herd pressing behind them. Immobilized animals would be slaughtered for food, clothing, dwellings and utensils.
According to legend, a young Blackfoot wanted to watch the buffalo plunge off the cliff from below, but was buried underneath the falling buffalo. He was later found dead under the pile of carcasses, where he had his head smashed in. However, we visited with a Blackfoot man at the interpretive center and he said that name was just a marketing ploy by the government. There was, in fact, a site several miles away known as to the Blackfoot as Head-Smashed-In, but it simply where a crushed skull had washed out of bank and had nothing to do with a buffalo jump.
We also asked the man why in the US the tribe was called Blackfoot whereas in Canada they are Blackfeet. He laughed and just said it about government bureaucracies. They all call themselves Piegan, the other names originate in white culture.
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