Introduction to the ecology of early historic communal bison hunting among the Northern Plains Indians
LccE 98 H8 A78 1974 Microfiche
LcshIndians of North America - Hunting
Indians of North America - Northwestern States - Hunting
Indians of North America - Canada - Hunting
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AbstractFor the early historic period (A.D. 1750-1880) on the northern Plains, ethno-historians and anthropologists have constructed what appears to be a sensible reconstruction of the annual hunting cycle of the northern Plains tribes. Presented briefly, the tribes dependent primarily on the bison, the Assiniboine, Blackfoot, Cree, and Gros Ventre, formed large camps only in summer when large bison herds formed during the rutting season. After the rut, the bison scattered into smaller herds during the fall as they moved onto their winter range. This necessitated a breakup of the Indians into small groups of ten to thirty lodges during the fall and winter months. During the fall into December, the bison jumps and pounds were utilized to secure sufficient provisions to permit these small groups to remain in their winter camps until spring. Examination of this reconstruction has led to a significantly different result than has been previously accepted. Analysis of early historical documents demonstrates that: (1) Bison jumps and pounds were used by these tribes in fall and throughout the winter. (2) The northern Plains tribes storied up dried provisions throughout the winter for use when supplies of fresh meat were gone. However, the bison drives were used throughout the winter and the production of large quantities of dried provisions in early fall for winter use was not undertaken and was not necessary in early historic times. (3) In early fall, the bison moved onto their winter range where they tended to form larger, sedentary herds, thereby permitting the formation of large Indian encampments of 1,000 to 2,000 people in the vicinity of these large herds which were exploited by the use of traditional bison drive methods during the fall and winter months.
Bibliography: p. 123-136.