The American Buffalo

Published on February 7, 2012 by Amy

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American Buffalo
American Buffalo

The American buffalo has come to symbolize the Native American Culture. It has also serves as a reminder of what greed can cost us, as we almost lost the American buffalo from our own irresponsibility. However, we are now trying to make up for our carelessness.

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The American buffalo, also known as the American bison, crossed a land bridge that used to connect Siberia and Alaska. This allowed the American buffalo to come all the way from Asia where it originated. When it first arrived it was a huge beast that could reach up to 5,000 pounds. As it settled into this new land it slimmed down some but it can still reach up to 2,000 pounds.

The American buffalo was a huge part of Native American life. Native American’s hunted the buffalo which was no small feat. However, they were responsible in the use of the carcass. In fact, they were very resourceful and used every part of the animal. Nothing was left to waste.

Hunting the American buffalo became easier for the Native Americans once the Spanish introduced them to horses. Their hunting was furthered even more when they were introduced to guns. This increased the amount of American buffalo that were being killed off by the Native Americans. However, there was still plenty to go around.

With the arrival of white settlers came the arrival of traders and trappers. It was this new burden that dramatically decreased the number of American Buffalo. In addition to trappers and traders, there were contests and suddenly people were hunting the American buffalo just for the sport of it.

Soon, the numbers had dwindled so much that to see an American Buffalo running wild on the prairie would only be possible in a memory. However, today there are many people including many Native Americans who are trying to build up the numbers of American Buffalo. Yellowstone National Park has a buffalo haven that contains some of the last American Buffalo.

Source: American Buffalo Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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