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Ancient buffalo

The Bow river, in Banff, started to melt last week, in the section below the bridge. As it was -18 I found it a bit strange but I was reminded of the story behind some artifacts that we have at About Canada, Banff in the form of buffalo skulls.

Buffalo skull artefacts

Over millennia the proud Buffalo roamed the plains of Canada. In the 1800′s they were hunted to near extinction.

Most buffalo skulls these days come from farmed, butchered animals.

However these skulls are from wild roaming buffalo who, in days gone by, ventured out on to, and fell through, the weak ice of a salt water lake in Saskatchewan.

Now as the water gradually recedes the farmer finds the skeletons of the mighty beasts on his shoreline, buried in the sand and, preserved from decomposition by the salt water.

They date from before modern day settlement when the buffalo was the most important animal on the prairies, shaping the history of the plains people, providing food, clothing, shelter and tools.

To the First Nations the buffalo and spirit of the buffalo were all important and life itself.

Today a buffalo Skull is still a powerful reminder of the open prairies and the way of life of a people in harmony with the land.

We only have a couple but these are neat pieces for the cabin or over the mantel.

(Be careful on that ice now!)


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