Plains Indians beliefs

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  • Plains Indians; beliefs
    • Nature
      • Everything in nature had a spirit and that these spirits could help humans or harm them
      • Humans were a part of nature and should work with the spirits of nature, rather than try to tame and control nature
      • They could contact the spirit world through visions and special ritual dances
    • Land & Property
      • Plains Indians tribes had sacred areas - e.g. Lakota Sioux - the Black Hills, Paha Sapa were sacred because this was where the Lakota believed their tribe originally came from
      • Indian families sometimes had their own garden plots, but generally no one owned land.
      • For P.I land was not anyone's property, and not something that one person could buy/keep just for themselves
        • Consequence - White settlers had very different views about property from Plains Indians, which led to tension and conflict
    • Attitudes to War
      • Plains Indians society was full of conflict, but Indians had developed ways to avoid too much killing because young men were essential to each other's tribe
      • The highest respect and prestige was given to warriors, usually young men, for counting coup; landing a blow on an enemy and getting away without being injured
      • Indian war parties would also run away if a fight turned against them
        • Consequence - the US army found it hard to fight an enemy that ran away rather than fought to the last man. Had to develop new techniques against Indian warfare


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