AMERICAN WEST - plains Indians

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  • Created on: 06-06-18 14:46
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  • Plains Indians
    • Social and tribal structure
      • WARRIOR SOCIETY - The best warriors from each band formed the warrior tribe.Members supervised hunting and protected the band from attack.All short raids and wars were led by the warrior society.The band's council would always consult them before making decisions.
      • CHIEF - Chiefs and council decided where their band would go and what should happen to those who broke customs and traditions.Chiefs did not have to be obeyed.They were chosen because of their wisdom and skill as hunters and warriors.Chiefs were rarely chiefs for life.
      • TRIBE - a group of bands who supported each other during crises. Tribal meeting were held each year to arrange marriages, trade horse and discuss issues.Chiefs and elders formed the tribal councils that advised tribal chiefs. Some tribes ( such as the Sioux) were part of larger groups called nations.
      • A band saw every member as being equally important to its survival.Men (braves) hunted and fought enemies.Women (squaws) made clothes, fed the family and looked after the tipi.Everyone looked after the children who were taught the skills of their parents.Elders were respected for their wisdom but were left behind to die if their weakness threatened the survival of a tribe.
      • BAND - a collection of people, mostly related. They were lead by chiefs.They had a council of advisers who agreed everything the band did.The survival and protection of the band as a whole was viewed as more important than the individuals within it.
      • Plains Indians did not view leadership in the same way as white american society did.No decision could be made until everyone in the council had agreed to it.The rest of the band or band did not have to obey the decision.Chiefs and elders were often guided by the spirit world through visions.
    • Survival on the plains
      • HORSES - horses were essential to the Indians as catching Buffalo was much easier on a horse. Wealth and status were also measured by how many horses a tribe had. Horses carried the Indians and their belongings on their journey to find buffalo, they were also used in war
      • BUFFALO - was their main source of food, clothing and equipment on the plains. Every part of the buffalo except the heart was used. The Indians could not have survived on the plains without the buffalo
      • Most plains Indians followed the Buffalo through summer and autumn, in these months their lifestyle was nomadic. Tipis, made of wooden poles and covered in buffalo hide were ideal for their life. The cone shape protected against strong winds and the flaps provided ventilation in the summer heat, tipis could be taken down and packed away in just minutes. IN winter, the bands moved to sheltered valleys, where they would live in wooden lodges, insulated with thick layers of soil.
      • Bands were designed for survival on the plains. They changed size depending on the amount of food. When food became scarce bands would split up and apread out so there was a higher chnac of everyone getting food. This did cause conflict as tribes sometimes went into areas controlled by other tribes without a treaty.
      • Plains Indians constantly raided other tribes for food, horses and people. These raids were part of the way in which the tribes survived on the plains.
    • Beliefs
      • They believed everything in nature had a spirit and these spirits could either help or harm humans. Humans were a part of nature and should work with the spirits of nature rather than trying to control nature. They could contact the spirit world through visions and special ritual dances
      • Plains Indians tribes had sacred areas. For Lakota Sioux, it was the black hills, these were sacred as they believed this is where their tribe originally came from. Indian families sometimes had their own garden plots but generally no one owned land. For plains Indians land was not anyone's property.
      • Indians had developed ways to fight but avoid too much killing because young men were essential to the survival of a tribe. The highest respect was given to warriors, usually young men, for counting coup (landing a blow on an enemy without getting injured). Indian war parties would also run away if a fight turned against them.
    • Government policies
      • 1830 Indian removal Act -  the US government forced 46,000 eastern Indians to give up their land to move west of the Mississippi river.
      • 1834 Indian trade and intercourse act - set out a frontier between USA and Indian territory. It divided Indian territory from eastern states.Forts guarded the frontier to stop whites crossing over to settle in Indian territory.
      • 1848 US victory in the Mexican - american war.The Indians' situation changed when the us gained new territories in the west.Instead of being on the western edge, Indian territory was now sandwiched in the middle of the USA
      • Indian appropriation act - by the 1850's white Americans wanted to use parts of the land in the wet that had been given to Indians, reservations were the solution.The government paid Indians to give up land and move onto smaller areas.This act kept whites and Indians apart, the government hoped that reservations would help Indians learn to farm and live like white Americans.On reservations white Americans could teach Indians new ways of living.reservations could also become a way of controlling where Indians went and what they did.


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