The Plains Bison Hunt Essay

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Introduction

The Red River Métis began their organised bison hunts soon after 1820 (Gerhard, 1982). The hunts did not take long to become a major part of the Métis culture and heritage. This would end up being a major source of income for many decades. As the ice age glaciers started to melt, the bison and other animals started moving onto the plains, the Métis then used this migration to their advantage and started hunting them (Gerhard, 1982). Some First Nations, particularly the Dakota and Assiniboine, relied primarily on the bison, utilizing every part of the body and carcass (Gerhard, 1982). As well as others, like the Ojibwa and Cree, used bison to complement more diversified hunter-gatherer lifestyles (Gerhard, 1982).
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The Camp
The people of the Plains followed the seasonal migrations of bison (Red Deer College, 2000). The dwellings and all of the household possessions were hauled. Hunting groups of 50-100 people, which occupied up to eight tents, made up the seasonal camp (Red Deer College, 2000). The women hauled supplies from camp to camp and unpacked and set-up dwellings (Red Deer College, 2000). The women created, stood up, and owned the tipi. 8-10 hides from the bison were used to create the tipi coverings (Red Deer College, 2000). Tipis were tilted to make it steeper at the back, this making the smoke hole extended down from the sloping front. Although improving the ventilation, this tilt also made the the space at the back of the tipi bigger which is where most of the activity took place. This also helped the shorter face of the cone to be braced stronger against the prevailing wind. The fire was built in the centre of the tipi. The Furniture consisted of lightweight triangular backrests made of willow and bound together with cord. Fur bedding served as couches during the day. Bags of food, tools, weapons, and garments were hung from the pole framework (Red Deer College, 2000).
The Rules of the Hunt
One of the main reasons why the Métis were so successful at bison hunting was because of the ability they had to maintain discipline (Préfontaine & Young, 2003). Ten captains were chose for the hunt, which one was named the leader of the

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