Otoe-Missouria Buffalo Hunt in Silhouette

Buffalo Hunt Silhouette

This metal sculpture is on a hillside behind one of the new casinos in northern Oklahoma, just south of Arkansas City, Kansas.   The Otoe-Missouria Tribe was encountered by Lewis & Clark on their epic expedition of 1804, when the inhabitants were still living in their Nebraska tribal home.  So the story goes, the tribe was on a buffalo hunt, making Lewis & Clark wait on them to return to their village.  There are statues in front of the casino commemorating that “First Council” meeting.  The metal outdoor artwork obviously recalls the hunt.

I find the sculpture particularly striking because it produces a silhouette effect regardless of the outdoor lighting.  On an overcast day, like the one when I took this photo, the effect is quite pronounced.  The individual pieces are large, and in a photograph, you can almost be convinced that they are real.  I gasped when I first saw it and wondered why it was visible only from the back parking lot of the casino.  I think it is magnificent.  I hope that this fine display of art is not offensive to Native Americans, especially those in this particular area near the northern border of Oklahoma.  I hope it is considered a tribute to a culture and way of life now buried deeply in our country’s past, with all its beauty and its scars.

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