The Plains Indians

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  • The Plains Indians
    • Indian Religion
      • There was a supreme Indian God (The great spirit or waken tanka)
        • They accepted more than 1 god.
      • Dances were used to keep in contact with the spirits
        • The buffalo dance was used for the spirits to guide them to the buffalo.
      • Males could communicate with the spirits after receiving their vision. Women got it after puberty.
    • Indian Warfare
      • Wars were used to gain honour by taking horses. It was never used to gain land as they moved around a lot
      • Counting coup was used as an alternative to war. it meant tapping the opponent with a coping stick.
      • Indians tended to abandon fights because they did not want to lose lots of men.
    • Buffalo
      • Hunting buffalo was vital for indian survival.
        • Stealing Spanish horses made it easier for them to hunt
      • Indians were nomadic. They would follow the buffalo instead of staying in one spot.
      • They used the whole of the buffalo. Flesh for food, skin for clothes, horns for cups etc
    • Family life
      • Indians lived in tipis
        • These were circular shaped because the indians belived nature worked in circles.
      • Polygamy was sometimes practised due to men dying in war
      • Old people were respected due to their wisdom.
        • They were sometimes left behind if they could not keep up with the tribe
      • Once people died, their spirits went to the 'happy hunting ground'
    • White attitudes
      • At the beginning they were happy to let them stay on the plains
      • They thought polygamy was immoral and abandoning the fight was cowardice
      • They believed land is owned
      • They believed some indian practises to be primitive (e.g. the sun dance)


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