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The great herds of buffalo that roamed the plains were essential for all parts of Sioux life and society. For most Sioux villages, "home" was wherever the herds of buffalo roamed.

Before the introduction of the horse, Sioux warriors would hunt the buffalo by dressing up as wolves as tricking them into running off of cliffs and ledges. They would also dress up in buffalo skins and make crying sounds like a baby buffalo. When an adult buffalo went to investigate, the warriors would kill it with spears and arrows.

The Sioux Indians used the entire buffalo following a kill. The buffalo hide was used for making tepees, clothes, moccasins, and robes. The hair was used to make rope and the horns were used as cups and dishes. Children fashioned sleds out of buffalo ribs, and buffalo fat was used as glue. Most importantly, buffalo meat provided food for the entire village. Much of the buffalo meat that was collected was cooked, dried, and pounded into pemmican (sort of like modern-day beef jerky).