I remember as a boy, when we could smell the Buffalo People coming. Their scent was carried on the south wind, and there was no mistaking it. They came into our country in the Moon of the Falling Leaves, and my friend, Crow Boy, was always the first to know. He would run through the village shouting the good news, then rush to my father’s lodge, where we dropped our trousers and slid into our wolf skins. Then we would show ourselves to Grandfather, waiting for his approval and permission to make our tryst with the Buffalo People before the hunting teams could get started.
Climbing the north wind hill, I looked into Crow Boy’s eyes, knowing that wolf-spirit had already invaded him. Then, the magic would take hold of me.
Climbing the hill on all fours, we sniffed at the wind, rocking our heads from side to side, peering through the hollow eye sockets, making the wolf alive again. When we reached the ridge, we sat on our haunches and licked at our paws, just as the wolf would do.
Looking down at the Buffalo People, a shiver ran up my spine. They covered the prairie in clouds of purple and black, more numerous than the leaves of grass upon which they fed. We slipped down the north wind hill and made our tryst with them.
But that was a long time ago, even before the white man came to kill them for sport and for their skins. Now, the Buffalo People have gone back into the earth. Only their spirits are alive.