Plains Indians tribal structures

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  • Plains Indians; social and tribal structures
    • Bands
      • Most people in bands were related to each other
      • Led by chiefs and had a council of advisors
      • Survival and protection of the band as a whole was seen more important than the individuals in it
      • Band roles
        • Men (brave) - hunted and fought enemies
        • Women (squaws) made clothing, fed the family and looked after the tipi
          • Consequence - Plains Indians children were traditionally taught by many different hand members
            • Men (brave) - hunted and fought enemies
            • Everyone looked after children, 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 band
            • So when the Us Government tried to break Indian Society up into units, it meant that Indian children didn't learn all the skills and traditions of their people.
              • Impacted Plains Indians way of life
        • Everyone looked after children, 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 band
    • Chiefs
      • Chosen because of their wisdom/skill
      • Chiefs decided where their bands would go and what should happen to those who broke with customs and traditions
      • They didn't have to be obeyed
    • Tribes
      • Bands in the same tribe supported each other during crisis
      • Tribal meetings arranged every year to arrange marriages, trade horses and discuss issues
      • Some tribes (e.g. the Sioux) were part of a larger group called nations
    • Warrior societies
      • Best warriors formed its warrior society
      • Members of these societies supervised hunting and protected their bands from attack
      • All short raids and wars were led by the warrior society and the band's council would always consult them before they made decisions
    • Chiefs and leadership
      • No decision could be made until everyone at the council had agreed it
        • Consequence - the US government thought that if a chief signed a treaty, all his tribe should obey the terms of the treaty , not how the Plains Indians Society worked
          • The rest of the tribe or band did not have to obey the decision
          • Chiefs and elders were often guided by the spirit world through visions
          • E.g. Chief Red Cloud signed a treaty in 1868, but many Lakota Sioux bands followed cheif Sitting Bull, who opposed it
      • The rest of the tribe or band did not have to obey the decision
      • Chiefs and elders were often guided by the spirit world through visions

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