National Geographic : 1944 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine Blackfeet Meet Maj. Gen. Hugh L. Scott at a Historic Gathering Chief Owen Heavy Breast, left, and Chief Mountain Chief, wearing General Scott's old uniform, were Blackfeet leaders at the meeting held in July, 1925, on the site of old Fort Union, near Williston, North Dakota, famed in the annals of early explorers and fur traders. Beside General Scott stands a modern generation Blackfeet woman, who put on tribal regalia only for the occasion. When the buffalo were scattered, individual stalking was sometimes practiced. The hunter frequently covered himself with an animal skin and approached his quarry against the wind, until within shooting range. Both the lance and bow and arrow were used. The lat ter was a more effective weapon for a mounted hunter than the single-shot rifle. Bow and Arrow an Effective Weapon The short, recurved, sinew-backed bow used principally by the western tribes was admirably suited for short-range work on horseback, and observers have repeatedly re ported arrows passing entirely through the body of a buffalo. In early times the arrows were tipped with flaked stone points which were later replaced by triangular iron points after the coming of the trader. Southern and eastern tribes used mainly plain wooden bows, Osage orange being the favored material. The horn bow, backed with sinew, was a very powerful type used by a number of tribes. In the West, mountain-sheep horns were used and in the North, elk horns. Because of its effectiveness, the bow and arrow did not give way completely to the gun until the very end of the 19th century. To the women fell the task of preparing most of the products of the hunt. The meat of the buffalo was cut into strips and hung on wooden frames where it was dried and smoked so that it could be preserved. Pounded with dried berries and wild cherries and mixed with fat, the dried meat was made into pemmican, a concentrated, nutritious food particularly suitable for carrying on journeys. The skins of the buffaloes were staked out on the ground where the women scraped and dried them, and later made them soft and pliable by dressing with brains and other in gredients. They could then be worked into robes, dresses, or tepee covers.