The Buffalo Rocks

"It was spring, and a time of famine. Everyone in the village had shared their last food. They were weak with hunger. The Buffalo People had quite deserted them. The village elders asked the young men who were still strong to go out, and only to return when they had found meat for the women and children, and the old people.

"On the fourth day the hunters saw in the distance a group of buffaloes lying down. The hunters quickly got out of sight. Two who were known to be the best hunters were chosen to go forward and to kill two of the buffaloes. They crept towards the animals, and when close, they saw that a group of buffalo cows were sitting around a large bull. All were sleeping. When in range of their arrows, still the buffaloes were not moving, not a tail twitched, not an ear flicked. At first the hunters just lay there looking at the buffaloes, but then at each other. Something was happening which they could not understand. They stood up and beckoned to their comrades to come. The buffaloes had turned into stone.

"Their leader spoke: 'It is always when we are far away from home, away from people and chatter, that we see strange and wonderful things. This place is sacred. The Buffalo Spirits are here. Let us unwrap and fill the pipe, and see our prayers rise up in the smoke. We will pray that the Buffalo Spirits will look kindly on us, and give us food.'

"Afterwards they cleaned and wrapped the pipe again, and as they prepared to resume their search, they saw that the view to the south was black with returning multitudes of the Buffalo Nation.

"When white people first came to the prairies they found that the boulders were covered with red paint. There were offerings scattered everywhere: pipes, beautiful quill work, knives, bows and arrows, eagle feathers and other things of value. Whenever Indian people passed the Buffalo Rocks, they would offer prayers, for good hunting, or for strength in old age, for good health for their families, or that the people would be happy and have many horses."
— Assiniboine