Black-tailed Prairie Dog
Cynomys ludovicianus (Ord)
With the advent of settler colonialism, the prairie dog’s status on the Great Plains has been nearly as tenuous as that of the American Bison and Native Americans. Ranchers, especially, have waged constant war against these critters: “They have a bagful of grain hanging from their saddle horns, and whenever they see a prairie-dog hole they toss a handful of oats in it, like a kind little old lady feeding the pigeons in one of your city parks. Only the oats for the prairie dogs are poisoned with strychnine. What happens to the prairie dog after he has eaten this grain is not a pleasant thing to watch. The prairie dogs are poisoned, because they eat grass. A thousand of them eat up as much grass in a year as a cow. So if the rancher can kill that many prairie dogs he can run one more head of cattle, make a little more money.” (Fire & Erdoes, Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions).
Artemisia ludoviciana (Nuttall)
This is the ceremonial plant of many Great Plains tribes: “Leaves and stems burned as incense and used for ‘smudging.’ That is, the sage is burned and the smoke breathed in, and wafted all over the body to purify one's self.” (L. Black Elk, “Culturally Important Plants of the Lakota”).