The Cree

Caption: Mahsette Kuiuab, chief of the Cree, 1840-1843, by Karl Bodmer

Canada has many First Nations tribes. One of the largest is the Cree. The Cree is broken into eight groups. Two of these are the Plains Cree and the Woodland Cree.

The Plains Cree lived as nomads, following the bison. They lived in tepees and gathered wild greens, nuts, and other plants to supplement their main diet of buffalo meat. Some of the Cree, who lived further south, grew corn, squash, wild onions, and beans. Spears, bows and arrows, and knives were the main hunting tools and weapons. Sometimes fire could also be used to hunt on the plains. They would use it to help drive a herd of bison over a low cliff. They would spend weeks after that curing meat and hides for later use. No parts of the animals killed were wasted. Meat was eaten, hides were tanned, sinews were used as thread or bindings, and bones could be shaped into tools. Hides were used to make clothing, tepee coverings, and many other items.

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