The Buffalo, also known as the American Bison, was extremely important and resourceful to the Great Plains Indians. They were completely essential to the day to day lives of the Great Plains Indians before the coming of the Europeans and important for trade with the Europeans after contact. The Nomadic Great Plains Indian Tribes survived on hunting, as the buffalo was their primary food source and no other animal on the plains provided as much food and material for them as the buffalo. Not only was the buffalo the primary food source of the Great Plains Indians they were also the chief source for items such as clothing, crafting tools and decorations which the Indians made from parts of their body. The Following list describes each use for the Buffalo parts: Horns – Headdresses, spoons, powder flasks, cups and arrow straighteners. Skull – Painted and used in religious festivals.
Tongue – Hair brush; eaten as delicacy
Hair – String, stuffing for pillows and saddles.
Fur – Blankets, mittens and saddle covers
Bones – Knives, bones fleshing tools and sled runners
Hooves – Glue and tools
Stomach – Buckets and cooking vessels
Small Intestines – Contents eaten after light cooking
Ribs – Sleds for children in winter
Belly Fat – Delicacy used in preserving dried meat
Fat – Soap
Tendons – String, cord and sewing thread.
Bladder – Food bags and water containers
Liver – Eaten raw
Thigh bone – For breaking other bones for marrow
Tail – Fly Whisks and Ornaments
Raw hide – Carry bags and harnesses
Tanned hide – robes, tipi covers, bags, moccasins and leggings Meat – Eaten fresh or dried.
Hump – Most flavoured meat.
Dung – Fuel for Fires