TANNING

The hide (skin or pelt) of the buffalo can be made into tough rawhide or soft leather, depending on what it will be used for.

To prepare the hide, a Plains woman would:

1. Spread the hide on the grass and pin it down, stretched out, with wooden stakes.

2. Scrape off all the blood, fat, and meat still clinging to the hide with a fleshing tool made of animal bone and notched at one end to form scraping teeth.

3. Leave the hide out to dry.

Later, if she wanted to, she could:

4. Make the hide thinner by using a scraper ( a tool made of bone or antler with a sharp stone or metal blade attached to it).

5. Remove the hair on the other side with the scraper.

Left like this, the hide made a tough rawhide.

To soften the hide into leather, she would:

6. Work on the hide in several ways: rub a mixture or animal brain and fat into the hide with a smooth stone, rub the hide with a bone tool, stretch the hide with her hands while holding it down with her foot, or rub it back and forth over the rawhide thong.