HEAD-SMASHED-IN BUFFALO JUMP

by Pam Hobbs

The hunt had been particularly good. Countless buffalo had been driven over the cliffs to their deaths below. But for one young brave standing on a ledge part way up as they cascaded down before him, things went terribly wrong. Bodies of the beasts piled up thick and fast, and when his people came to butcher them they found the youth with his skull crushed. In his memory this place is called Estipah-Sikikini-Kots, which in the Blackfoot language means "where he got his head smashed in."

It is a dramatic story, told in a dramatic manner here 11 miles (18 km) northwest of Fort Macleod, Alberta, where one of Canada's most exciting museums commemorates a culture going back at least 5,500 years. Leading archeologists agree. UNESCO has declared this a World Heritage Site, putting it in the same league as the pyramids, the Parthenon and Stonehenge.

Story describes this method of hunting and the museum which presents the life and times of the Prairies hunters, ending with:



GETTING THERE: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is 108 miles ( l75 km) from Calgary, west of Fort Macleod on Secondary Hwy #785.

Hours of Operation: May 15 to Labour Day 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Remainder of the year 9 - 5. Facilities include a 60 seat cafeteria, 2 km of outdoor interpretive trails, guided tours of the Centre.

An authentic Blackfoot experience (available June through September) is a 1, 2 or 3 day package which includes sleeping in a tipi, all meals, story telling, games and guided hikes, designed to enhance the visitor's appreciation of this ancient culture. Cost depends on the number of people per tipi, whether you bring your own sleeping bag, etc. For more information contact Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre, Box 1977, Fort Macleod, Alberta TOL OZO. Phone: (403) 553-2731, or www.head-smashed-in.com