Indians and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Original inhabitants of America are Indians – Native Americans as they named them. They are wonderful market niche for Americans but at the same time they are outcasts and on the edge of society. Equality that is so important to Americans fall apart when speaking of Indians. Many Indians are drunks on the edge of society, poor and not at all aware of their own roots and far from living a quality life. Americans don´t help them at all. The fact that they build a casino in Indian reservation is silently speaking about their attitude to Native Americans. No one is so naïve that would put a casino in the center of life of those they´re trying to help. With that you sing their death sentence.

We saw that many times on our travel, but it was the most obvious in Browning, Indian reservation in Montana, near Canadian border and national parks Glacier and Waterton Lakes. That was the only place that we didn´t feel safe and at peace. It wasn´t nice to feel their real life. We wanted to see a museum of Indians in Browning, but we missed it. At the end we caught up on Canadian side on area that is protected by UNESCO. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. It is located between Waterton Lakes Park and Calgary. If you are going to travel there I highly recommend visiting, but it is necessary to come there before 4 p.m., because the museum closes at 5 p.m. – but it is really worth seeing it.

In that area Indians used to hunt buffalos in a way that they pushed them over the edge of precipice. Indians on horses – that exist only in cartoons and movies, before Americans came, that wasn´t so. They hunt buffalos in their own, special way. Some of them disguised as wolfs and scared the buffalos herd. In chaos and fear between animals that was caused by “wolf” Indians bet on maternal instinct of female buffalos. They disguised as buffalo´s cubs, mixed into the herd and then run away, towards precipice – and by that they led the heard in that direction – towards death. And buffalos did just that to protect their cubs.

I understand the way Indians hunted back then, because animals and people coexist. Buffalos represented important source of food and warmth (with their fur). The thing that I don´t (yet) understand is why they had to kill the whole herd. Why so many? Hmmm, I don´t know.  That just doesn´t sound right, it is not in balance…

In Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump area life of Indians is presented really good as well as ritual of buffalos hunt – it was an important ritual, with preparations, praying, finding the right time… Among inventively based museum there is also a small cinema when you can see simple documentary (suitable even for children that don´t understand English) showing buffalos hunt.

At the evening we came to Calgary, tired. And the next day there was bad weather. It suited us, so we calmed a little and slowly, with Starbucks coffee experienced the beat of former Olympics town.