It was the Wampanoag in 1621 who helped the first wave of Puritans survive by showing them how to plant crops and forage for wild foods. But the Lakota in the prairie lands of North America would be the ones to show new settlers how “the buffalo was a ‘banquet’ for the people“ (R. Zeilinger, 1986).
The creature gave up its own flesh and life to feed them. It provided for their every need by way of sheltering them with its hide over their tipis, covering their bodies as clothing, and their feet as moccasins. Tatanka (or buffalo) also provided everyday utensils such as needle and thread, awls, bowls, and more. In this way, the buffalo was a true relative for the people - making life possible.
This animal gives completely of itself for others. The buffalo is a symbol of self-sacrifice - it gives until there is nothing left.
I say a quiet, personal prayer each time we harvest an animal, thanking him for his sacrifice - this is the ultimate Thanksgiving. Tomorrow we will honor this animal by having buffalo as the main course.
And as we come into The Season of Giving, would it not only be fitting that we bring our family and loved ones together to share a hearty and healthy meal of buffalo as the main course - in honor and continued Thanksgiving :)
Excerpt from Ron Zeilinger’s Lakota Life