Buffalo Are Sacred

"The Buffalo was part of us, his flesh and blood being absorbed by us until it became our own flesh and blood. Our clothing, our tipis, everything we needed for life came from the buffalo's body. It was hard to say where the animals ended and the human began." - John (Fire) Lame Deer, Oglala-Lame Deer Seeker of Visions, With Richard Erdoes, 1972

  • Over one million Native Americans shared the land of North America with the buffalo. The buffalo were very important to Native Americans and to their survival.
  • Native Americans used every part of the buffalo. They did not waste anything. They used the buffalo as a source of food, clothing, and shelter.
  • Native Americans honored the buffalo and lived in harmony with them. They treated the buffalo with respect, and the buffalo was very sacred to them.
"The Indian was frugal in the midst of plenty," a quote by Luther Standing Bear, a Lakota man. "When the buffalo roamed the plains in multitudes, he slaughtered only what he could eat and these he used to the hair and bones."

"The buffalo represents the people and the universe and should always be treated with respect. For was he not here before the two-legged peoples, and is he not generous in that he gives us our homes and our food? The buffalo is wise in many things, and thus we should always be as a relative with him" - Oglala Sioux holy man Black Elk, The Sacred Pipe, 1953

Source: InterTribal Buffalo Council:  Bison: a Living Story. San Dimas: Rhythm Net Design Group, 2000