Aboriginal Perspectives


The Buffalo

Jessica Wesaquate and Andrea Rogers

Grade Level:

One - three


Students will be able to learn about the women's role in regards to the
tipi preparation, care, and setup.

Students will be able to list 4 to 5 uses of the buffalo.


video clip, brown paper bags, markers/pencil crayons

Have students watch the video clip. What do the students think First Nations peoples used before there was ever such thing as canvas? You can do this orally, or write ideas on the overhead/chalkboard. Explain that First Nations people on the plains would use buffalo hides/robes to cover their tipi.

In the Saulteaux way, women took care of the tipi. As you will learn in the video, Glen shares that women owned the tipi so that the children would always have a place to live.

Discuss how the women prepared the hides, from tanning them to sewing them. Have them imagine how the women needed to have physical strength to sew and tan hides as well as to raise the tipi.

The buffalo provided resources for the First Nations way of life. Have the students brainstorm what types of things the buffalo was used for. Examples of items: clothing, bedding, tools, meat, toys, ceremonial items, headdresses, and etcetera.
Click here
for a link that shows even more uses of the buffalo.

Now that the students have learned some of the many uses of the buffalo, they are going to choose 4 or 5 items the buffalo was used for and illustrate this on a brown paper bag. Before they begin illustrating, have students cut out the brown paper bag into either the shape of a buffalo, or in the shape of a buffalo hide. Scrunch the bag up for a wrinkled, more realistic look.

Extension activity:

Brown paper bags can also be used to draw winter counts. Winter counts can be taught through a Social Studies lesson.