Buffalo on the Little Miami

Shawnee Hunters on the little Miami River – 18th Century

Most of us, when we “buffalo” we think the Western Plains since the American buffalo played such a vital role in the survival of the Western Plains Indians.

However, smaller herds of buffalo could also be found in the vast wilderness east of the Mississippi River during the 18th century and before.  Although the Eastern Woodland Indians primary game was the white tailed deer – not the buffalo – they were also opportunists. It’s likely that during a long, hard winter, when survival was difficult, they would kill a buffalo under circumstances like we see here.

Indians preferred to hunt on empty stomachs. They felt that the constant reminder of hunger stimulated them to full exertion on the hunt.  John Heckewelder, a missionary who lived with the Indians for decades, said, “Sometimes many a day passes over their heads that they have not met with any kind of game, nor consequently tasted a morsel of victuals; still they go on with their chase, in hopes of being able to carry some provisions home, and do not give up the pursuit until it is so dark that they can see no longer.”

16 x 12 Oil