The fate of the Plains people and the buffalo were inextricably linked. The people needed its meat for food, its bones for tools, its hide for blankets and shelter. The beast sustained life and was also held sacred. When white hunters began their slaughter of the buffalo, they were destroying the Plains people as well.
By 1889, only one herd of eighty five animals remained. A lone specimen might have hidden out in the back side of a wilderness, and the remaining Indians would have had to travel weeks to find it.
The Native Americans could not bring themselves to believe the buffalo were gone. Many clung to the belief that the buffalo had merely gone to another place, and that if they would just search diligently enough, the buffalo would come back as abundantly as before.
In this work, I tried to show the desperation of a small hunting party which has dispatched a small bison. I left out the horses because I didn't want to detract from the human misery, Maybe they were so poor now they didn't own horses. Maybe they had to eat their horses. They are poor, and that is my statement.
And not, with the last buffalo gone, they will grow poorer. - HT
Howard Terpning - Last Buffalo, The
Product Code: TERLA1
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