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Native Americans 

Artist's Conception of a Buffalo in Cache Valley
Buffalo in Cache Valley by D Willey

While some hunting methods of Native Americans could be considered wasteful (one method is known as the Buffalo Jump, in which entire herds of buffalo were frightened into stampeding over cliffs to their deaths [2]), it is generally understood that they had developed innovative uses for virtually every part of the animal, leaving little to no waste [3].

Native American Bladder Pouch
Medicine pouch made from a buffalo bladder

Here are some examples of how individual parts of the buffalo were used [4]:

  • Hide - shoes, clothing, bedding, pouches, tipi covers

  • Brains - tanning hides

  • Horns - cups, spoons, scrapers

  • Bones - tools like needles, awls, ground pegs, digging hoes

  • Stomach - cooking containers

  • Bladder - pouches

  • Scrotum - rattles

  • Tallow - healing wounds, weaning children, mixing paints, sealing food containers

  • Sinew - ropes, cords, attaching arrowheads, bow strings

Anything discarded was recycled into the environment by natural processes, leaving very few traces.

1. Cache Valley Visitors Bureau. (n.d.). The Early History of Cache Valley [Brochure]. Author. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from http://ewb.usu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/INFO-History-of-Cache-Valley.pdf
2. Buffalo Hunting on the Northern Plains. (2011, March 9). Retrieved April 19, 2016, from http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/889
3. Parry, M. (n.d.). Chapter Two - The Northwestern Shoshone. Retrieved April 19, 2016, from http://historytogo.utah.gov/people/ethnic_cultures/the_history_of_utahs_american_indians/chapter2.html
4. How the Buffalo was Used by the Plains Indians. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2016, from http://www.webpanda.us/There/uot_uses_of_the_buffalo.htm