American West

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1. Name 2 parts of the buffalo used for religious reasons.

  • Stretched hide formed drums, and bones were used as drumsticks
  • Painted skull used for rituals, horns made into head-dresses
  • Painted hooves used for prayer, hide made into religious robes
  • Meat used as sacrifice, ground hooves used to paint pictures during rituals
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2. What were the three main uses of horses for Plains Indians?

  • Hunting buffalo (creates stampede), carries belongings when moving (travois form a sort of cart), used in warfare (quick escapes, traded horses for guns etc.)
  • Used for horse racing (betting in the tribe), used to hunt white men, carries belongings when moving
  • Hunting buffalo, slaughtered for it's meat, traded for food with white men
  • Used in warfare (quick escapes etc.), hides used for tipis, attached to travois to carry belongings.

3. Name 3 parts of the buffalo used for items in the home.

  • Cutlery made from horns, bedsheets made from tanned hide, fireplaces made from bones
  • Spoons made from the horns, soap made from fat, hooves crafted into tools.
  • Dung was used as fuel, bones were made into pencils, horns made cups
  • Tanned hide for tipi covers, hooves for toys, tendons made into rugs

4. What were 3 of the 5 main challenges faced by Plains Indians?

  • High speed winds, extremes in temperature and the need to move frequently.
  • Extinct food source, high speed winds and no weapons.
  • Lack of wind, no food and the low temperatures
  • High temperatures, lack of shelter and rough terrain

5. What were 2 key features of tipis and how did they help overcome the problems?

  • Built flat to the ground to prevent damage from high winds. Flaps at the top could be opened up to allow smoke from fires to escape.
  • Holes in the sides acted as ventilation for the high temperatures. Conical, bottom-heavy shape to prevent blowing over.
  • Poles used as travois, could be packed in 10 minutes. Made of 10-20 buffalo hides, required little wood.
  • Had a waterproof layer to protect against heavy rain. Bottom of tipi rolls up to let in air, and flaps act as shade from the sun.


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