The Indian travois consisted of two poles lashed together at one end, which was then draped over the back of an animal and attached to the animal’s neck enabling the device to be pulled. The opposite ends of the poles spread out in a triangular shape behind the animal and dragged in the dirt. Sticks, ropes, or netting strung between the two trailing poles provided the platform on which goods or people were carried.
The travois is beautifully displayed in the Plains Indian Museum of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. There, an Indian family is portrayed moving across the prairie with the warrior in the lead serving as a scout and being prepared to defend his family. Trailing him is his daughter guiding a dog pulling a small travois which is loaded with household items such as bedding and cooking utensils.
The warrior’s wife rides a horse pulling a large travois. The larger travois were frequently constructed with the poles from the family’s teepee. The buffalo skins that covered the poles to make the teepee were then loaded on the cargo area of the travois. The travois could also be used to transport sick or wounded people. I describe various uses of the travois in Bear Claws, The Iron Horse Chronicles–Book Two.
NOTE: Perhaps you noticed that I did not post on this blog on Monday, October 10. For two years I have been posting every Monday; but effective now, I will make postings on the first and fifteenth (or close thereto) of each month. If something exciting occurs in the meantime, I shall insert a special post. I hope you continue to following my website.