At the core of the Lakota culture is the buffalo or Tatanka. For thousands of years, the lives of the Buffalo Nation and the Lakota people were spiritually and physically interconnected – as herds roamed free across the North American plains, this nomadic tribe followed.

As the buffalo roamed the Plains, so did the Lakota. The entire existence of the people centered around the buffalo’s epic migration across the vast plains of North America – from Canada to Mexico; the Pacific Northwest to the Appalachian Mountains.

Following and being close to the buffalo was important; permanence was not. Everything they owned could easily be carried by a person, dog, or horse – the portable homes (tipis), the leather or rawhide containers for mobile storage, the cradles specifically made for easy transport, and the ingenious travois gave them the ability to move the entire camp in one trip.

The location of their camp and the length of time at each site (from months to a few days) was almost solely determined by the location of the buffalo herd.

Adopting the ways of the buffalo
Pre late 19th century, the great Buffalo Nation numbered in the millions; tribal members were countless. As the bison’s deep understanding of survival is determined by numbers, the Plains Indians knew this to be true as well, and thrived in great numbers.

The buffalo is brave – they were practically invincible and afraid of nothing – and the fearless native warriors reflected these courageous traits in battle. The buffalo were also good family members…and so were the people.

Givers of Life
To the Lakota, these magnificent animals sustained all life. The Lakota regarded the buffalo as a gift of the Great Spirit and viewed them as a relative. Whenever one was killed, its sacrifice was honored as a blessing from the Tatanka Oyate.

The buffalo meant everything…they provided us our shelter, our food, our weapons, our toys. The lives of the people once revolved around the way of the buffalo. The buffalo was a connection to the Creator. The buffalo provided for the people spiritually, culturally, and socially. The buffalo gave the people life. The buffalo is life. (Source)


Responses to " Oglala Lakota Women and Buffalo: Importance of Buffalo to the Lakota (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing this The Native Americans People are not wasteful people I did not know about the buffalo they are good for the land.Just goes to show how God entrusted the people with the land and man from their greed destroy.I have a deep strong love for The Native American People!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    There are many things that Creator has given to the man and he has destroyed, we need to get back to the traditional ways of healing with herbs and remembering not to take more than we need to nourish ourselves and the land.

  3. shellyL says:

    beautiful description of the lives of the Lakota people, if only we hadn't lost those ways, how much better we would be now

  4. Anonymous says:

    I didn't know about how they eat the grass and plants (without pulling out the roots) but I know the Bison is native to the country, and can live under the harsh climate and can work the soil when it is hard, helping other plants to live (and other animals to find food) So why on earth do the ranchers have cattle on this land??? Bring the Bison back! (and take all the barbed wire away....)

  5. Lynn says:

    You are so right about needing to get back to traditional ways of living with the land! This is why I love White Wolf Pack and am grateful for those who share their tradition.

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