Friday, June 27, 2014

Crow Lodge of Twenty-five Buffalo Skins

Crow Lodge of Twenty-five Buffalo Skins, George Catlin, 1832-1833

Smithsonian American Art Museum

“The Crows, of all the tribes in this region . . . make the most beautiful lodge . . . they oftentimes dress the skins of which they are composed almost as white as linen, and beautifully garnish them with porcupine quills, and paint and ornament them in such a variety of ways, as renders them exceedingly picturesque and agreeable to the eye. I have procured a very beautiful one of this description, highly-ornamented, and fringed with scalp-locks, and sufficiently large for forty men to dine under. The poles which support it are about thirty in number, of pine, and all cut in the Rocky Mountains, having been some hundred years, perhaps, in use. This tent, when erected, is about twenty-five feet high, and has a very pleasing effect.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 7, 1841; reprint 1973)

Imagining Head-Smashed-In:  Aboriginal Buffalo Hunting on the Northern Plains
Jack W. Brink

Athabasca University Press
p. 228
"Hides were critical to their survival.  Eventually, over many days, the hides from the slaughtered animals made their way from the kill site to the winter camp.  Here, people (mostly women, we believe) labored over them for days on end, converting them to winter footwear, bedding to sleep on and blankets to pull over you, cape-like robes to drape over your shoulders, some heavy clothing, and a wide variety of containers like bags, satchels, shields, and drums.  The amazing hide of bison had served the animal well in its lifetime, and so too it served the people who took it."

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