Why were buffalo so important?

Every part of the buffalo was used to supply the needs of the Native Americans.

  1. Buffalo provided the people's main food - buffalo liver, brain and nose gristle were a treat, eaten raw.
  2. Dried buffalo meat, called pemmican, provided food to eat through the winter.
  3. Buffalo bones provided marrow to eat.
  4. Buffalo bones were also carved to make knives, and boiled to make glue.
  5. Buffalo skin could be used to make tipis, clothes, moccasins, bedding, parflèches, saddle covers and water-bags.
  6. Dried buffalo dung provided fuel for fires.
  7. Buffalo horns and hooves were made into cups.
  8. Buffalo sinews were used as bowstrings and thread.
  9. Buffalo fat was used as soap.
  10. The rough tongue of a buffalo could be used as a hairbrush.
  11. The tail of a buffalo could be used as a fly-swat.