Plains Indians

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Why did Indian nations move to the Great Plains?

Horses - In 1640 the Pueblo Indians of Mexico revolted against the Spanish and captured many of their horses, from then on horses were bred and traded between the Indian nations. Once they had horses they were able to move out to the Great Plains to live and hunt the buffalo far more easily. The horse was so important to their way of life that they counted wealth in horses.

Diseases - The Europeans who came to America also brought with them new diseases such as cholera and smallpox. The Sioux, Cheyenne and others moved west on to the Great Plains to escape from these diseases.

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The Tipi

- they could easily and quickly be taken down and packed away for transport (suits the Plains Indians nomadic lifestyle)

- two flaps at the top of the tipi which could be moved to direct th wind so that the smoke from the fire inside could escape

- in summer the tipi bottom could be rolled up to let the sun in

- in winter it could be hanked with the earth to keep the tipi warm

- the round (conical) shape of the tipi made it strong enough to resist the strong winds on the Great Plains

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Plains Indians Religion

What beliefs did the Plains Indians have?

- They believed in the spiritual world.

- They believed that spirits could influence the way in which they lived and should work along with them.

- Contacted the spirits through visions [young boys often influenced by the Medicine Man of the village]

- Circle of Nature

- Religious views affected their attitudes towards land, they believed that they were a part of the land and so therefore believed that such land could not be owned by one individual. Called the land their mother.

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