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

June 23, 2013

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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Home, not-so-sweet home and Tuesday not so tea cup Tuesday!
Got even further out of town! Gone to the Royal Tyrell Museum for the day.

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  • Reply michellepond June 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm

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

    • Reply Veronica June 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Michelle, it was a very strange feeling for me, the empathy I felt for the people in complete odds with the sympathy for the animals. But I loved it. 🙂

  • Reply vastlycurious.com June 23, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    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 : )

    • Reply Veronica June 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Oh no Kathryn, now I have to know what you were up to. So stalking you checking out your blog. 🙂

      • Reply vastlycurious.com June 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

        What do you mean??? Please?

        • Reply Veronica June 23, 2013 at 6:18 pm

          Kathryn, now I’d dying with curiosity to find out where you drove to yesterday. Tell me, tell me! 🙂

  • Reply Lavender Cottage June 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    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.

    • Reply Veronica June 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Hi Judith, isn’t it amazing? 🙂

  • Reply Daryl June 24, 2013 at 5:24 am

    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!

    • Reply Veronica June 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      Me too Daryl. I studied HSI Buffalo Jump but haven’t seen it. I’m so glad I made the trek. 🙂

  • Reply Sara v June 24, 2013 at 6:37 am

    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! 🙂 Sorry, did I mention that? I meant to say, open skies are wonderful…

    • Reply Veronica June 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Lol Sara, You’re just evil…but I love you! 🙂

  • Reply Karen C. June 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    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 😉 I’m hoping all the road repairs will be in order by then. Thanks for the sneak peek.

    • Reply Veronica June 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Hi Karen, you must miss the wild roses and Alberta’s most beautiful grasslands. I love BC too but there’s something so special about those prairie dogs and grasses. Good luck with your visit. I hope you get thru easily and have the most fantastic time with your grandbabies. 🙂 Hugs.

  • Reply forestpoppy July 2, 2013 at 10:55 pm

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

    • Reply Veronica July 3, 2013 at 1:29 am

      Me too Julie, me too. 🙂

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