Native Tribal People &
receive the short
stick from our tasty national
holiday in the U.S. , Thanksgiving.
A few days before the 2008
Thanksgiving I took a detour with my
sister & we found this roadside
surprise in Alachua County,
It was late in the afternoon, with a cool breeze
tickling the palm fronds.
As I watched this creature clip the field
near U.S. Highway 27,
I thought of archival reports from
the Old West, of
the thundering herds of bison that
could stampede for days,
which sustained the First Peoples
of North America.
This ranch buffalo of 2008 represents legit Florida
heritage, although the Florida bison were scant
compared to the way their cousins once blanketed the mid-West
& The West.
(Buffalo are featured in the book
SCENIC DRIVING FLORIDA, 2nd ed.
the “Crossing Creeks and Prairie” chapter,
by my own self, Jan Godown. The chapter guides
you to the lucky chance for your own encounter to see
buffalo in a natural setting at
Paynes Prairie State Preserve)
For a fine picture book about the adoption & care of a buffalo calf by a father and son and the restoration of the Pablo-Allard herd, please see Joseph Bruchac’s BUFFALO SONG. The author consulted oral history recorded in part in the 1920s & 1930s in Montana. A 1926 Salish tribal story is woven into this lyrical book. I like the information on it at Oyate.org and at the blog by Debbie Reese American Indians in Children’s Literature
To begin to understand the interesting work of Carol and Joseph Bruhac, please see
For another picture book about the woman who helped save American Buffalo, please see the story of Mary Ann Goodnight, BUFFALO MUSIC, by
Tracey E. Fern. I like the review of it by children’s book maven Esme Raji Codell, posted at her blogspot blog, Planet Esme.
(Look for the Oct. 14.200 blog, it’s after her review of a fine picture book bio on one of my picture book heroines, Wanda Gag, who lived for some time in the region where I grew up.)
To fully immerse in the topic, Steven Rinella’s new book, AMERICAN BUFFALO, recently reviewed on NPR (I’m pretty sure it was an interview with the very fine Terri Gross) follows the herds in history & also one particular buffalo that the author brings down on foot in Alaska, after winning a spot in a hunt lottery, butchers by himself & then packs out for eating later. Not for everyone who reads nature nonfiction, but if you fish ( I have) or hunt (haven’t, wouldn’t, unless for survival) or if you enjoy the buffalo steak in the cafeteria of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. this book may be for you.