As Buffalo Numbers Dwindled, Tribes Plains Populations Plummeted

Jun 22, 2015

Arapahoe tipis in camp.
Credit Public Domain

In this age of chain restaurants and big box stores, the Dodge City Daily Globe has published an important reminder about the first people who lived in the Dodge City Area. These people did not live in cities or towns. Instead they moved in camps as they followed the Buffalo across the plains. The Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche and Arapaho, were nomadic, and they used the buffalo for virtually all of their needs, including food, shelter, and tools. The slaughter of the buffalo was no accident. Ranching and farming on the plains were impeded by attacks by natives who were defending their way of life. In the process, buffalo hunters struck it rich, selling hides at $3 apiece.

By 1875, there were less than 1,000 bison left, down from the 70 million that existed in prehistoric times. With the death of their food source, the populations of plains tribes plummeted.