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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Hettinger in Adams County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Last Great Buffalo Hunts

1882 - 1883

 
 
The Last Great Buffalo Hunts 1882 - 1883 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 15, 2017
1. The Last Great Buffalo Hunts 1882 - 1883 Marker
Inscription.  
In 1882 and 1883, the American buffalo made their last stand here in the valley of Hiddenwood and within a 30-mile range of this area. Hiddenwood Cliff, directly opposite across Hiddenwood Creek, was an ancient landmark for buffalo hunting tribes who often camped in this buttes and badlands. The valley was filled with their stone tepee rings.

The last 50,000 free ranging buffalo had migrated into this area, which was then part of the Great Sioux Reservation (shown above in yellow and blue) from territories farther west. Within 15 months they were gone. Although most of the estimated 60 to 75 million buffalo were likely killed by white hide hunters, these last buffalo were hunted by Native Americans in traditional ways on reservation lands.

The last great buffalo hunt began about June 20, 1882, when 2,000 Teton Lakota men, women, and children traveled 100 miles from Ft. Yates to this valley on foot and horseback, and saw the hills black with thousands of grazing buffalo. On the first day 2,000 buffalo were killed, pursued by mounted hunters with rifles. The hunters painted their faces, bodies, and horses in traditional
The Last Great Buffalo Hunts 1882 - 1883 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 15, 2017
2. The Last Great Buffalo Hunts 1882 - 1883 Marker
ways for a successful hunt. Very few hunted with bow-and-arrow. After the first day, the buffalo remained where they had fallen and the hunters returned to camp long after dark, too tired to even celebrate or tell stories. On the second day the entire tribe worked quickly to butcher and care for the meat. Humps and other tender morsels were removed for immediate feasting, and women sliced the remaining meat into thin sheets to dry and make into pemmican and jerky. On the third day, the hunters killed an additional 3,000 buffalo. In three days, the tribal hunters killed 5,000 buffalo on this "last great hunt."
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsNative Americans.
 
Location. 45° 57.858′ N, 102° 24.446′ W. Marker is in Hettinger, North Dakota, in Adams County. Marker is on U.S. 12 half a mile west of 40th Ave SE, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hettinger ND 58639, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Custer and Hiddenwood Cliff (here, next to this marker); Recognizing our Past (here, next to this marker).
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia entry for American Bison. “Despite being the closest relatives of domestic cattle native to North America,
Wayside area image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 15, 2017
3. Wayside area
bison were never domesticated by Native Americans. Later attempts of domestication by Europeans prior to the 20th century met with limited success. Bison were described as having a ‘wild and ungovernable temper’; they can jump close to 6 ft vertically, and run 35–40 mph when agitated. This agility and speed, combined with their great size and weight, makes bison herds difficult to confine, as they can easily escape or destroy most fencing systems, including most razor wire.” (Submitted on June 15, 2019.) 
 
Bison herd grazing at the National Bison Range image. Click for full size.
U.S. Department of the Interior photo via Wikipedia Commons, June 24, 2008
4. Bison herd grazing at the National Bison Range
<i>Bison bison</i> at the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma image. Click for full size.
By Katsrcool via Wikipedia Commons (CC-BY-2.0), June 5, 2012
5. Bison bison at the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2019. It was originally submitted on January 24, 2018, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 515 times since then and 232 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week June 16, 2019. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 24, 2018, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota.   4, 5. submitted on June 15, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Jul. 11, 2020