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Linda Little Wolf

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Visions of the Buffalo People
by Linda Little Wolf   

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Publisher:  Pelican ISBN-10:  1589801245 Type: 


Copyright:  Jan 1 2003 ISBN-13:  9781589801240

Barnes &

Learn how the acquisition of the horse from the Spanish explorers transformed the life and culture of the Plains Indian. Full of information and activities to teach about the Golden Era of the Horse on the Great Plains. Enjoyed by horse lovers of all ages.

Close your eyes and picture a copper-skinned Indian brave galloping after a buffalo herd astride his loyal horse. He is dressed in fringed deerskin garments; eagle feathers adorn his braided hair. His bow is drawn as he takes aim, ready to bring down a great humpbacked beast. This is our romantic ideal of the Plains Indian, but this was not always their way of life. Early Plains Indians did not have horses. Horses became extinct on the North American continent more than ten thousand years ago. For many centuries the people of the plains survived on foot as wandering nomads. It was a harsh and difficult life as they struggled to find food and shelter. Spanish explorers reintroduced horses to North America in the 1500s, and a few hundred years later, the Plains Indians possessed horses in great numbers. Thus began the Golden Era of the Horse. Visions of the Buffalo People will take readers on a journey back through time to experience this continent's greatest hunters, warriors and horsemen, and their unique bond with their equine brother. 

"Long ago my ancestors gazed upon this great beast. Once we climbed upon his strong back, our lives were forever changed. His beauty captivated us. His intelligence inspired us. His athletic ability amazed us. We were then touched by his spirit, his keen sensitivity, overwhelming loyalty and purity of heart.
The special relationship between Indians and their horses was based upon trust, loyalty and respect. European settlers watched with amazement, as the Plains Indians became one of the world's greatest horse cultures.
The lifelong partnership between a Plains Indian and a horse began at an early age. An infant traveled in a baby cradle attached securely to it's mother's saddle. The great animal's strength and rhythm gently rocked the baby to sleep. Young children helped care for their family horses. They helped make horse equipment, watched horses in training, learned and practiced riding. Plains Indian children were accomplished riders by the time they were twelve. All horsemanship skills were learned by both boys and girls. These skills were especially important for the young boys. They were destined to be the next generation of buffalo hunters and warriors.
A horse was not only reliable transportation for the Plains Indians. He was an ally on the hunt and a trusted comrade in battle. A horse trained for the buffalo hunt was not used for any other purpose. This animal was a hunter's most prized possesion. A buffalo horse or "runner" was typically a young horse, around four years old. The chosen horse was at the peak of his speed and stamina. The runner needed the ability to sprint over both long and short distances. He also needed the intelligence to learn quickly and respond to subtle commands. Imagine the courage required maneuvering through a panicked herd of stampeding buffalo, facing an animal as huge and fierce as the buffalo without shying.
The runner was carefully trained and pampered. He was fed the finest of grasses. During the hot summer months, he was bathed in cool water. During the cold winter months, he was warmed with buffalo robes. While other horses grazed peacefully near the outskirts of camp, the runner was tethered next to its owner's tipi in the heart of the encampment. Here the runner was in danger from only the boldest of horse raiders. Runners shared their pampered lives with horses used on the battlefield."

Professional Reviews

As adults, we have forgotten the wonderful tales, legends, and history of the Plains Indian. With "Visions of the Buffalo People" our children and grandchildren will be able to travel back in time to this wonderful ers. This book should be placed in every school and public liabrary.

Janie Scott- mother, grandmother, and horse owner

"Visions of the Buffalo People is an exciting motivational source for my third grade Social Studies unit. Through the use of various artickes and activities, my students will have a more realistic understanding of these ancient nomadic communities. This book truly recaptures the forgotten history of the Plains Indians for our children, and I highly recommend it to every teacher." Gail Mitchell - third grade teacher

"An exciting journey into the world of the Plains Indian. Visions of the Buffalo People is a unique presentation of the history and culture of North America's nomadic tribes and the horse. It provides outstanding articles, photographs, and projects. Designed for youth, adults will also be fascinated by this educational and entertaining publication." Thomas D. Hall - retired museum curator

Midwest Book Reviews
"... a presentation of the culture of the Plains Indians which is as engaging as it is informative. This book covers everything from buffalo hunts and drives, to vision quests; to examples of tribal sign language, and much, much more. Enhanced throughout with historical photographs and line-drawn illustrations, this book is an intrinsically fascinating treasure trove which offers an authoritative introduction to Plains Indian life, and is a very highly recommended contribution to school and community library Native American reference collections and personal reading lists."

5-Star Rating

by James A. Cox - Editor in Chief

KUATT - by Edna M. Boardman
" Teachers looking for fresh materials for their elementary and junior high school classes on the traditions, history, and culture of America's Indians may want to adopt this book as a textbook or have multiple copies for use as reference. It does not deal with the coming of European settlement or cover disturbing historical events, issues of law, or life among the Native Americans today except incidentally. Brief chapters with b/w drawings and photographs explain such aspects of traditional Indian life as tipi making, language, hunting, the horse, the family and clan, women, courtship and marriage, childhood, adolescence, the role of the warrior and hunter, and the importance of the buffalo. Excerpts from a speech by Chief Seattle and several other chiefs plus a prayer and proverb allow readers to sample Indian philosophy. Directions for craft projects are carefully laid out.

Written by a Sioux author, this book has a sympathetic and respectful tone; it will not date quickly."

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