Our appreciation for Native American craftsmanship is evident in our obsession with their jewelry, but our admiration extends far beyond that. Of course, there is the artwork, and one can’t forget the beadwork, but there is also a lot to be said of the craftsmanship, technique, and resourcefulness in the things they created out of necessity.
“One of the things I’ve always had tremendous respect for was that Native Americans were known for using the entirety of the animals they hunted, especially the buffalo,” said Cheryl McMullen, Creative Director for Double D Ranch. “Beyond meat, they made use of dang near everything – organs and all. Bones were made into tools and weapons and accessories, tendons were used for arrow strings, even the bladder was cleaned and dried to use as a canteen. But, of course, the most useful part of the bison was the hide.”
The practical applications for buffalo hide were innumerable. Hair-on hides were ideal for robes, rugs, bedding; processed hides (without the hair, i.e. leather) were used for things like teepee covers, various clothing items, bags, arrow quivers, etc. And last but not least, the much tougher, stiffer, smoother rawhide was used for things like the sole of moccasins and – the star of today’s show – parfleches!