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Bison have always been honored in Native American culture because everything about the bison was able to be utilized. In particular, the bison hide was highly valued and used in many different ways. Taking a look at the traditional uses for bison hides and robes can offer insight into how hides can also be utilized in modern times. Let's count down our Top 5:

5. Tools and Utility Uses

There are different ways to prepare bison hide. Rawhide is a thin hide that has been scraped clean and left to dry, while tanned hide has been through a more rigorous tanning process that makes the leather tougher and waterproof.

Rawhide was used for items that needed a stretchier, more easily manipulated hide. Items such as drums, quivers, shields, and ornaments for clothing. Tanned hide was used for things that needed more strength such as bridles, sheathes for knives, and ropes.  You can see from these few examples that the different types of bison hide were widely used.

4. Tipi Covers

Another use for tanned hides was tipi covers. Tipis were the main shelter for Native American families, so they needed to be durable and able to withstand the elements. While different animal hides could be used for other things, the size of the bison hide and the ability to make them waterproof made them vitally important for crafting the large tipis.

3. Shoes

When making moccasins, Native Americans utilized both rawhide and tanned hide. The softer more flexible rawhide was used for the sole of the moccasin and the sturdier tanned hide was used for the top.

2. Clothing

Raw and tanned hides were widely used for shirts, shrouds, and other clothing. But the hide was also prepared with the fur left on, creating a bison robe. Different types of robes lend to different uses. For clothing, they were used to create ceremonial and winter items.

1. Bedding

This is number one on our list because it has the most universal application for today. Bison robes are soft, durable, and water-resistant.  This makes them ideal for use as bedding and outdoors. Robes from bison that were prepared and kept whole were used as cushions for bedding, blankets for warmth, and coverings when outside.

Bison Hides and Robes in Today's World

Highlighting the traditional uses for bison hides and robes has helped you learn how well they can be utilized. From tools to shelter or clothes and shoes to bedding, there is a lot of benefits of bison hide for you to explore. Supporting Native Americans as they preserve and share their culture brings the past and present into a beautiful harmony. Start exploring how you can add more bison to your life, check out these available products today!

The American Bison has been a long standing culturally observed animal that has been a life saving resource in the past and is still today. Bison are the largest native species in North America. Bison meat, also known as "the original red meat," is a high-protein food that also contains a variety of nutrients.

Bison is leaner than beef and could be a better option if you're watching your weight or trying to lose weight. It is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, iron, and vitamins, while being much lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than other animal proteins like chicken, beef and even salmon. Bison also has finer fat marbling due to its lower fat content, resulting in smoother and more tender meat, their raising and diet contributes to this.

Bison meat contains a lot of important minerals as well; including iron, zinc, and selenium. One 5 oz section contains 15% of the daily iron requirement, 40% of the daily selenium requirement, and 35% of the daily zinc requirement.

In 1984, the Ute Indian Tribe reintroduced buffalo into the Hill Creek Extension of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, starting with a small herd of fourteen buffalo housed as a tourist attraction at the Tribe's Bottle Hollow Resort. The Ute Indian Tribe's Bison herd has thrived and developed since the reintroduction of the Woodlands and Plains.

To feed your family and our own, we only manufacture the finest, healthiest bison products. Our bison are raised in a stress-free environment, resulting in a flavor that is smooth and delicious.

Hundreds of thousands of wild bison used to roam freely around the Great Plains of America. Due to commercial hunting and slaughtering, their population had plummeted to about 300 Bison by 1894.

The American Bison skull has been used as a sacred and traditional ornament as well as a ritualistic one. There are many reasons to have a Bison skull at the door of your home or at ceremonies. The rituals that were performed with the bison skulls were to be used to pray to the spirits and gods about life and direction. They were also used in celebration of good fortunes to the tribe, like a successful Bison Hunt.
Hunting the Bison was more for skins in the 1800's then for the rest of it. The carcass was normally left behind and not seen as useful until bone gathering expeditions started using them for fertilizer and other purposes. The American bison was rescued from extinction in large part due to conservation efforts by volunteers and the US government.

Bison Skulls and Uses Today

With the conservation efforts and the number of Bison growing there were also those that grew old and died off. The traditional Bison skull started making its way back into society and reached new popularity. Western style lodging and ranches often display Bison skulls as a part of their decor. There are many that like to be creative in adorning them and using them for art pieces in a number of different settings.

We are proud at Ute Bison to be able to be a part of the conservation efforts to bring back the American Bison. We raise them humanely and with reverence in knowing that what they meant to North American Tribes then is still here today.

Sit back, relax, and let your mind wander back to when you were a little kid on a road trip. Did you count cars or play the ABC game? You're asking Mom or Dad, "Are we there yet?", every two minutes when suddenly you see it... a wild animal! "Look! A cow in the wild!"

As a grownup, you now know that the cow wasn't actually in the wild, but the thought still makes you smile.  Now compare that feeling to when you drive past a large cattle yard and the smell of manure fills your nostrils. Yuck!

The difference in these two memories highlights why naturally raised meats are becoming more popular. Keep this comparison in mind and we'll go over some basic information and benefits of healthy meat options and why you should pay attention to that naturally raised label.

Why Naturally Raised Meats are Better for You

When talking about different types of meat, whether it's chicken, pork, beef, or bison, the concept of being naturally raised is just that: raising them in their natural environment. This means allowing the animal to eat what they would naturally eat, roam where they would naturally roam, and honor their natural way of living.

The efforts to watch and care for the animals do not interfere with these three things, rather they enhance them. By letting herds and flocks have the freedom to live this way you avoid forcing them to live in close quarters.

This greatly reduces the spread of disease and bacteria such as E. coli, staph, or salmonella, that thrive in environments in large groups of confined animals.

Raising animals in this type of environment also leads to the use of antibiotics (to fight these bacteria diseases) in addition to the potential exposure to toxins from pesticides in their food. Growth hormones are also widely used in the production of animals raised in large confined groups to help them grow faster and be ready sooner to go to market.

Making Healthy Choices When it Comes to Meat

In addition to reducing potential exposure to hormones, antibiotics, and toxins, choosing meat that has been raised naturally can benefit your long-term health.  This is true for all types of meat that you would make the conscious effort to choose the naturally raised label when purchasing, whether chicken, pork, or beef. But did you know that there is another option to consider when choosing meat to eat for your health?

Choosing meat from bison can have a great impact on your diet. Bison meat has higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids (which protect the health of your cells, particularly your heart cells), less cholesterol, and more antioxidants. In comparison, bison meat is leaner than beef and has more protein and minerals such as iron and selenium.

Naturally Raised Meats: More Than a Trend

Making the effort to choose naturally raised meats is not a small thing. Whether you make the choice for moral or health reasons, you are affecting change in yourself and the businesses you choose to support. Eating bison meat that has been naturally raised can have a great impact on your health and the health of your family.

Check out our products and enjoy adding variety to your healthy diet!

Quick Details

Ute Bison Meat Products can also be purchased on location at our Ute Plaza Supermarket. You can also enjoy a fresh Bison Meal at the Bison Cafe while there.