Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located about 95 miles or 150 kilometers south of Calgary and 10 miles or 16 kilometers west of Fort MacLeod. The site can be reached from Fort MacLeod by taking Highway 2 and Secondary highway 785.
The historical significance of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump stems from its history as a buffalo hunting ground for the Indians. For over 5,500 years, the natives lured herds of buffalo grazing in the Porcupine Hills to stampede to their deaths over the edge of this 10-metre high cliff. The hunts played an important part of their culture. Hundreds of men would collaborate for the hunt, planning with precision. Religious rituals were conducted in advance of the hunt. The Indians got everything they needed from the buffalos: food, clothing from the hides, and tools from the bones. Archaeological excavations at the foot of the cliff have unveiled Indian artifacts, village ruins, and age-old bones. Unfortunately, Head-Smashed-In was abandoned some time in the 19th century after the Europeans arrived.
In 1987, an Interpretive Centre, which cost $10 million to build, was opened. The centre elaborates on the history and culture of the Plains Indians and recreates the hunt through displays and films. There are interactive workshops that teach visitors how to set up tipi tents and how to make drums and moccasins. Guided tours on site are provided. The Interpretive Centre is open every day throughout the year.
Carroll, Donald. Insider’s Guide Canada. Edison: Hunter Publishing, Inc, 1996. ISBN: 1556507100.
“Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head-Smashed-In_Buffalo_Jump>
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