Buffalo Jump by Peter Geiger Roop; illustrated by Bill Farnsworth Flagstaff, Arizona: Rising Moon Books, 1999. ISBN: 0873587316. pp: 32. Ages: 4-8, gr: 1-4.
A story previously published in Cobblestone Magazine as "Small Deer and the Buffalo Jump" and by the Council for Indian Education (July 1984) as Little Blaze and the Buffalo Jump. (Hardcover). ISBN: 0899923895. pp: 28


Little Blaze was angry and disappointed that his father had chosen Curly Bear, his older brother to be the ahwa waki, the buffalo jumper. Little Blaze knew he could run faster, but as his friend, Morning Eagle reminded him, he had to obey his father.

The morning of the buffalo hunt had arrived. Little Blaze’s job was to hide behind a stack of stones and scare the buffalo. As he peered out, he noticed a cloud of dust in the distance. Curly Bear was running in front of a herd of buffalo, but the buffalo were gaining on him. Suddenly, Curly Bear tripped and fell. Without thinking, Little Blaze ran to Curly bear, got him up, and ran with him to the edge of a cliff. Little Blaze knew there was a ledge a little ways down the side of the cliff. He jumped with Curly Bear, just as the herd of buffalo reached the edge. The buffalo tumbled to their deaths far below.

Little Blaze’s father called to the boys. At the celebration, Little Blaze received the name he had only dreamed of, Charging Bull.


  1. Read about the illustrator, Bill Farnsworth, and look at his pictures on his website. What is your favorite painting created by Farnsworth? Why do you like it? You can find out more about Bill Farnsworth at the M Gallery of Fine Art.

  2. Examine Farnsworth’s oil paintings that are the illustrations for this book. What can you learn from these illustrations about the environment of the Blackfoot Indians? What can you learn about their culture?

  3. Read about Peter Roop. What was the average number of students he talked with each week last year?

  4. Make a chart listing all the parts of a buffalo and for what they were used by the Plains Indians.

  5. Explain how the demise of the buffalo affected the lives of the Plains Indians.

  6. Little Blaze was tired of his "baby" name, and wanted an adult name. Think about your personality and character. If you could change your name, what name would you choose based on your character and personality?

  7. Montana’s Madison Buffalo Jump provides the inspiration for this story. Read about the state park. Look at pictures. Locate the Madison Buffalo Jump State Park on a map.

  8. Create the front page of a newspaper describing various aspects of a successful buffalo hunt.

  9. Read a Blackfoot legend. Two are provided online by the Manataka American Indian Council. Ask your librarian to help you find a "why" story from another culture.
  10. Use the Blackfoot-English Dictionary to say some words in the Blackfoot language.

  11. Research the Blackfoot Tribe. What facts can you discover about the name of the tribe?


Related Books

More for the Teacher

Links to other online guides for Buffalo Jump.


Accelerated Reader: Buffalo Jump. Quiz #53721 EN; Book Level 3.8; Points= 0.5

Other related books: