Flying Buffalo kite lost on the Crow Reservation

by Terry Zee Lee
(Billings, MT, USA)

The Flying Buffalo Project buys Native American art that depicts buffalo and makes the original art fly. We now have 15 artists that we represent and we take their flying art to buffalo jumps across the West as a way of remembering the importance of the buffalo to the Native people. The kites are large and very beautiful and we fly them at thirty or forty locations every year.

Two weeks ago, in April of 2017, we were teaching kite battling to the Crow kids in Wyola, Montana. We let the larger and stronger kids fly some of the buffalo kites on occasion. On that particular day, the wind came up gusty and one of the large Rokkaku kites broke loose and flew away. The kite, painted by John Cadotte, (Blackfeet) featured a large red and blue buffalo and was a spectacular piece of original art.

Forty children and several teachers sadly watched as the kite went higher and higher into the sky, then disappeared. It had 500' of substantial line and a good size winder hanging from it, providing just enough drag to make the kite the perfect angle to catch the wind.

Local papers and many Facebook posts have put the word out that a big kite is missing in the southern Montana area but, so far, no word about it has been heard.

It was headed in a NW direction which is right where the Crow buffalo herd is located, only the herd is 80 miles away. I keep waiting to hear that the buffalo kite has been found and would love to get it back some day but it might be lost in the sacred Pryor Mountains. If anyone hears about it, please call Terry Zee Lee at 406-698-9369. There is a $100 reward for the return of the big buffalo kite.

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