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tough, folded rawhide carrying bag made by the Plains Indians of North America; more loosely applied, the term also refers to many specialized rawhide articles. The Plains Indians had an abundant source of hides in the buffalo they hunted, but, as they were nomadic, they had little opportunity to tan the skins. Parfleche, or rawhide, was prepared by cleaning and dehairing the skin and then by stretching it and allowing it to dry in the sun. This process created a stiff but durable leather that was used for many items, including bags, thongs, and war shields