Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack
I thought 'buffalo girls' referred to black women, the way buffalo soldiers referred to black soldiers, based on the coarse, black, curly hair reminiscent of that of bison.
The origin of the term "buffalo soldiers" is disputed (link
-- scroll down to "Etymology"). And as Avril points out, the name of the song varied based on where it was sung, "Buffalo Gals" being the Buffalo, NY version.