MP-0000.298.11 | Buffalo bones gathered from the Prairies for shipment at Gull Lake, SK, 1891, copied about 1895
Buffalo bones gathered from the Prairies for shipment at Gull Lake, SK, 1891, copied about 1895
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1895, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
15 x 22 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Industry (942) , Photograph (77678)
Keys to History
The buffalo has been called the "department store" of the First Nations of the Prairies in Canada and the Great Plains in the United States, for almost every part of its body was used, not just for food. This large mammal was central to the culture of the Plains Indians, which is why it was so devastating to them when the newcomers hunted it to the brink of extinction. By the time this photo was taken, there were only a very few buffalo left. Fifty years earlier they had numbered more than 40 million in North America.
This great pile of buffalo bones is waiting at the CPR station at Gull Lake, NWT (now Saskatchewan), for shipment to eastern Canada, where they will be ground up for fertilizer.
Buffalo bones could be found all over the Prairies for years after the buffalo themselves had disappeared.
Buffalo once covered the Prairies and the Great Plains as far east as the Carolinas. When this picture was taken in 1891, there were only a few hundred left, in remote places.
Buffalo hunters each killed as many as 150 buffalo a day in the U.S. and Canada, year in and year out, mostly for robes and for leather.