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Buffalo Bird Woman
illustration ©2013 Pat N. Lewis
Buffalo Bird Woman (c.1839–1932) was a Hidatsa who lived in what is now North Dakota. She practiced the traditional Hidatsa skills of gardening, cooking, and weaving and held to the traditional ways of her culture. She spoke only the Hidatsa language, but her stories were translated into English by her son and by Gilbert Wilson, who conducted a series of interviews with her over a period of twelve years beginning in 1906. He wrote two books, Waheenee and Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden, in which Buffalo Bird Woman related the history of the Hidatsa that had been transmitted to her through oral tradition, and described her own experience and the lives of women in Hidatsa culture. Her story appears in Native American Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 22.