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
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