In mid-June a delegation of Kiowa tribal leaders traveled from Oklahoma to the Larry Belitz ranch in the Black Hills to experience brain-tanning buffalo hides. Kiowa history reveals the tribe formerly resided around the Hills in the mid-1600s until pressured southward by the Sioux.
The group's mission was to reintroduce buffalo tanning to the tribe after an absence of over a century. Heading homeward they would retrace their ancient journey from the Hills to various sites before returning to their reservation in Oklahoma.
Sonny, Jesse, Lynda, Dorothy, Rachel, Jim, Debbie, Larry
(Dorothy Whitehorse DeLaune was born in a tipi)
The members learned to stretch a fresh buffalo hide and clean it of fat, meat and membrane using fleshers. The following days were devoted to scraping off buffalo wool with elk horn scrapers, rubbing buffalo brains into the hide and stretching it to made it soft.
On their last morning, the group learned how to place hides for making a tipi cover. The Kiowa workers sinew-sewed, using tendon threads they prepared, to join the first hides for a tipi.