Cherokee Phoenix

From the Lewis and Clarke's Journal

Published November, 19, 1831

Page 2 Column 2a

From the Lewis and Clarke's Journal.

Indian mode of killing Buffalo--- On the north we passed a precipice about one hundred and twenty feet high, under which lay scattered the fragments at least of one hundred carcasses of buffaloes although the water which had washed away the lower part of the hill must have carried off many of the dead. These buffaloes had been chased down the precipice in a way very common on the Missouri, and by which vast herds are destroyed in a moment. The mode of hunting is to select one of the most active and fleet young men, who is disguised by a buffalo skin round his body: the skin of the head with the horns are fastened on his own head in such a way as to deceive the buffalo! Thus dressed, he fixes himself at a convenient distance between a herd of buffalo and any of the river precipices, which sometimes extend for some miles. His companions in the mean time get in the rear and side of the herd, and at a given signal show themselves, and advance towards the buffaloes; they instantly take the alarm, and finding the hunters beside them, they run towards the disguised Indian or decoy, who leads them on at full speed towards the river when suddenly securing himself in some crevice of the cliff which he had previously fixed on, the herd is left on the brink of the precipice, and it is in vain for the foremost to retreat or even stop; they are pressed on by the hindmost rank, who seeing no danger, but from the hunters, good (sic) on those before them till the whole are precipitated and the shore is strewed with their dead bodies. Sometimes in this perilous seduction the Indian is himself either trodden under foot by the rapid movements of the buffalo or missing his footing in the cliff is urged down the precipice by the falling herd. The Indians then select as much meat as they wish, and the rest is abandoned to the wolves and create a most dreadful trench.