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Even further out of town, to Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump

Yesterday I drove 150km north, today I drove 190km south to a special place called Head Smashed In. It is an ancient buffalo jump, where the Blackfoot First Nations developed a distinct way of life for over 6000 years. This is such a magical place. No wonder it’s a UNESCO world heritage site.

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In the autumn, when the buffalo were fat from the summer grasses, the Blackfoot would hide under wolf and elk hides and stampede the herd over the jump.

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At the bottom of the jump would be a temporary camp for butchering and preserving and using every single piece of the animal.

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Every animal was mercifully killed, because it was believed that any animal left alive would tell the rest about the jump and the animals would be wiser and stop the stampede.

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Here at Head Smashed In is a spring for fresh water, a river near by, trees for firewood, plenty of wild berries, like saskatoons and chokecherries, and herbs and roots for medicine.

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This way of life seems to be so idyllic to me. I’m sure there were hardships. The winters were brutal and the demand on the people to preserve enough to survive must have been tremendous. But these grass lands are magic. This lovely, rich land and great open skies are so welcoming here in the summer that if I had to go back in time I’d happily be Blackfoot in an Alberta summer.


These prairies are so beautiful and the wide skies are mesmerizing. The crickets are singing and asking me to stay a little longer. I gather up a small bundle of sage to take home. It’s strong medicine.

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Comments: 16

  • June 23, 2013

    So glad you found a special place to visit. Absolutely magical!

  • June 23, 2013

    I have to think about this one although the strong survive and the need for food conquers all. Thanks for sharing! Who knew!! If I told you where I drove yesterday you would laugh. it was kind of like a slaughter : )

      • June 23, 2013

        What do you mean??? Please?

  • Lavender Cottage

    June 23, 2013

    Hi Veronica
    The natives sure were creative in figuring out the stampede and jump with the buffalo. All the history and spirits from such a place would effect most people, I’m sure.

  • June 24, 2013

    i think UNESCO is a fabulous organization .. preserving places like this (and Provins in France among others) makes it possible for us to see how life was once lived .. thank you for sharing your visit and all this interesting info!

  • June 24, 2013

    I was a little worried about you when I read the title…:-) The Native Americans have always fascinated me. Spent several summers in the Southwest. Can completely relate to your thoughts on the pureness of their existence and they didn’t have to worry about hardwood floors! πŸ™‚ Sorry, did I mention that? I meant to say, open skies are wonderful…

  • Karen C.

    June 26, 2013

    Great shot of the Alberta wild rose, Veronica. I was born in Alberta, and although I love BC enough to live here now, those prairie scenes and wild rose get me every time. Going there next week, myself – new grandchild to visit you know πŸ˜‰ I’m hoping all the road repairs will be in order by then. Thanks for the sneak peek.

  • July 2, 2013

    What a magical place. I would love to visit Canada some day. I do hope your floor saga ends soon! Juliex

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