Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

A lady standing below an image of a falling buffalo.
Photo by Eric, (flickr)

Here is a place with a fitting name. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is a cliff in southern Alberta where the natives hunted buffalo by driving entire herds over the cliff starting about five thousand years ago. It would make sense, then, that the place would be called Head-Smashed-In, after all, the buffalo’s heads were probably smashed in, right?

Wrong. Apparently, the name comes from a young man who wanted to watch the buffalo going over the cliff from below. There was a larger-than-expected herd that year and when they pulled him out from under the buffalo it was his head was smashed in.

Head-Smashed-In is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s near Fort Macleod, Alberta, and there’s a museum & interpretive centre there where you can learn more.