From a Native American perspective
Aug 29 2013
By: Yolonda Blue Horse
When I first met Mr. Frasier and had the opportunity to speak with him in great length about buffalos and what the relationship these intimidating animals were to my ancestors, I was touched by his deep understanding of the importance of the continued existence of these great four-leggeds.
Many know from history that the buffalo were very important for the survival to many Indian tribes. All of the animal parts were used in some way to assist with daily living. My ancestors were able to process these parts and use them not only for food purposes but also for shelter and religious purposes. It is also important to note that with our diet of buffalo and other natural foods, that diabetes, did not exist among my people. Today, due to these foods not being accessible as they once were, diabetes is now very prominent among many native tribes and many times, goes undiagnosed or untreated due to poverty conditions on the reservations.
Another important use of this animal was for religious purposes. The skull and the hides of these great animals were part of ceremonies and still are today. However, are these animals as accessible as they were to my ancestors? No.
We, as Native Americans, struggle to learn and to hang on to our traditions and our culture. Speaking for myself, I have completed the plan set out by those who were in charge back when my ancestors were fighting for their survival. I am educated, I do not know my language, I did not grow up surrounded by my own people to learn my culture. I have become the generation of indoctrinated Indians who have become what “they” set out for my people to become. “Kill the Indian, save the man”, as Captain Richard H. Pratt said in 1892. If I did not seek out to learn about my ancestors, or to learn where I came from, any culture or traditions that may still exist, would be lost with me. Then it could be said, that it only took 3-4 generations to lose what my ancestors had lived since the beginning of time.
When I heard of Mr. Frasier’s online newsletter, I was glad to hear that articles such as protecting the buffalo would come to surface. As I just explained what the buffalo meant to my ancestors, so is the drum. For some believe, that the beat of the drum is the heartbeat of Mother Earth. I wish Mr. Frasier success with his online publication and I strongly encourage all buffalo owners to look at what they have and to reach out to Native people keeping in mind that it really was not that long ago that my people flourished and how short of time it took to almost completely destroy the people and the buffalo who were indigenous to this land.
Yolonda Blue Horse
Member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe