What’s in our Collections? A Buffalo Track Shield

In our history collections, we have a Buffalo Track Shield. This version of the shield is a replica based on pre-1850 styles. It was made by Prairie Edge in Rapid City, SD.

This shield depicts human footprints following buffalo hoofprints. It represents a tracking expedition occurring under the cover of a crescent mood. The shield is decorated with items to ensure a successful hunt: horsehair to honor the horses, deer toes to give the hunter agility of the deer, and twisted leather strands to give the hunter speed of the wind. 

While some shields were used for protection, this shield was ceremonial. It’s primary purpose was to tell the story of the hunt and to ask for a success in future hunts.