First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park Ulm, Montana

First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park is Near Great Falls, Montana

I, Zeb the duck, saw the Cascade County Courthouse,

County Courthouse, Great Falls, MT

County Courthouse, Great Falls, MT

located in Great Falls, Montana.  It is big and the grassy lawn even has cannons.  A sign on a cannon says it was donated, by Congress, to the Soldiers Memorial Committee.

This cannon is big

This cannon is big

I got to sit on the cannon.   Again I feel so little.

From Great Falls, we drove about 10 miles southwest on I-15 to Ulm, Montana.  First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park is located here.

Ulm, MT

Ulm, MT

I had no idea what a buffalo jump was.  Now I know and you will too, in a minute. This buffalo jump is one of the most significant in the world.  WOW!  The American Indian did not have horses for many years, so hunting buffalo was difficult.  The buffalo jump was used by American Indians to kill buffalo, necessary for the survival of the American Indian tribes.

Meriwether (his real first name) Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, wrote about this buffalo jump in his journal on Wednesday, May 29, 1805.  “  one of the most active and fleet young men is selected and disguised in a robe of buffalo skin … he places himself at a distance between a herd of buffalo and a precipice proper for the purpose; the other Indians now surround the herd on the back and flanks and at a signal agreed on all show themselves at the same time moving forward towards the buffalo; the disguised Indian or decoy has taken care to place himself sufficiently near the buffalo to be noticed by them when they take to flight and running before them they follow him in full speed to the precipice; the Indian (decoy) in the mean time has taken care to secure himself in some cranny in the cliff…the part of the decoy I am informed is extremely dangerous.”

The buffalo are stampeded off the cliff to their death.  Other Indians waited with spears to kill those that did not die from the fall.  The entire camp worked on the buffalo to preserve meat, prepare hides, and use bone and horns.

Tipi at buffalo jump

Tipi at buffalo jump

The Indian used all parts of the buffalo.  History tells us that at least 14 tribes used this site to kill buffalo.  This hill is about 1 mile wide and 2 miles long.  One side is sloped so buffalo can be herded up the hill.  The stampeding buffalo jumped 40-60 feet to their death.  Below the cliffs that stretch more than a mile, the soil reveals compacted bison bones nearly 13 feet deep.

The visitor’s center has a museum and several displays on the walls showing how tribes camped here during the times of the buffalo stampede so they could prepare the buffalo for their use.  There are also stuffed buffalo on display.

I am on buffalo.  It is tall

I am on buffalo. It is tall

This is a very interesting place

Buffalo appear to be looking down on the scene

Buffalo appear to be looking down on the scene

and the staff was very helpful.  I am just happy that I was not a buffalo at that time. For more information visit www.stateparks.mt/gov  or www.lewisandclarktrail.com  Also, Wikipedia has information and facts on this site, formerly known as Ulm Pishkun Buffalo Jump State Park.

Next time I will tell you about my visit to another Montana State Park.  One with lots of water.

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