Bison Hunter, Arapaho

Artist: Carl Sweezy

Carl Sweezy reported that all the buffalo had gone from their Reservation by the time he was born, but the animal had been so crucial to Arapaho existence that it remained an iconic image for the tribe. “For hundreds of years we had gone on a long hunt twice a year, whenever our scouts had come in to report that buffalo were plenty out on the Plains; we had held our buffalo dance before we left, and had set out with our best bows and arrows…” “As long as the buffalo roamed the plains, it supplied us with nearly everything we needed. That animal had been given to us in the beginning of things, and we had learned then how many uses it had for us…its hide made our lodge coverings, robes for our beds and for clothing, and shields and parfleches; its paunch made pails and bowls; its tail and hooves made ornaments; its horns made spoons and tools; its sinews made stout cords; its flesh and fat and organs, its blood and even the marrow of its bones made our food.”

Carl Sweezy’s given name was Wattan, but he adopted the name Sweezy after his oldest brother began attending the Mennonite Mission School in Halstead, Kansas. Sweezy was the name of the railway agent there and all the children in his family were given that surname. In his memoir, Sweezy said he never knew the date of his birth because his parents “knew nothing about dates and had no way of recording them.” Most of the Arapaho tribe were still living in tipis at the time.

When ready, return to the hallway and continue on to the Supreme Court reception at the end of the hall.