For thousands of years, before the Native American cultures had horses, the buffalo were harvested at jump sites that are now protected locations throughout the West. A fleet footed young warrior, covered with a buffalo calf hide, would bleat, leading the herd up onto a high cliff where the other tribe members were hiding. At a signal, the hunters would surround three sides of the herd and the hide covered young man would race to the edge of the cliff with the herd thundering behind him. He would jump, trying to reach the hiding spot that would protect him, while the buffalo fell to their death.
The buffalo were harvested with all parts being used. Meat, skin, sinew, hooves, everything was utilized to help the Native people get through the harsh winters.
Kill sites were rotated, allowing the blood odors to be eliminated by exposure to weather, runoff and snow. The buffalo jump sites were integral to the survival of the Native America of the West and now most of them are protected places that are treated with respect and reverence.
In 2013, four buffalo jump locations allowed kites made with Native American art by well known, highly respected Native artists to fly over the sites. This was the first time in America this had happened. This was the first tour of the "Flying Buffalo Project" kites and is dedicated to the artists that participated, the kite builder that made the art fly and the people that manage the jump locations that agreed to let the kites fly, remembering the buffalo that perished so that the Native people might live.
Since then the number of kites and jump locations has continued to expand. Check our latest schedule for dates and locations near you.