“There are, by fair calculation, more than 300,000 Indians who are now subsisting on the flesh of buffaloes, and by these animals supplied with all the luxuries of life which they desire, as they know of none others…Every part of the flesh is converted into food, in one shape or another, and on it they entirely subsist. The robes of the animal are worn by the Indians instead of blankets; their skins when tanned are used as coverings for their lodges and for their beds; undressed [the skins] are used for constructing canoes, for saddles, for bridles, lariats, lassos and thongs. The horns are shaped into ladles and spoons…their bonds are used for saddle trees, for war clubs, and scrapers for graining the robes, and others are broken up for the marrow-fat which is contained in them. Their sinews are used for strings and backs for their bows, for thread to string their beads and sew their dresses. The feet of the animal are boiled with their hoofs for the glue they contain, for fastening their arrow points, and many other uses. The hair from the head and shoulder, which is long, is twisted and braided into halters, and the tail is used for a fly brush.”
– George Catlin, about the Native Americans of the Plains in the 1830s.
Note: Painting is by George Catlin
Portrait of a Navajo Native American, 1906. Photo by Carl Moon.
Scorched Lightning, a member of the Sioux Nation, dressed in traditional costume including a bear claw necklace. Circa late 1800’s/early 1900s.