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Flashcards in The Plains Indians Deck (14):

What political influence pushed the plains Indians from the east to the west / further west onto the plains?

In 1830 the government created the first Indian removal act . They stated that if the Indians moved onto the plains then they could have the entirety of the land between the black hills and Colorado river too themselves. The government instigated this first Indian removal act as the east was getting crowded as a consequence of europeans migrating to America, the government where happy to allocate the plains to the Indians as they perceived the land to be useless due to the dry conditions in some part and the exposed nature of the land which meant weather conditions were extreme.


Which other events pushed the native Americans onto the plains ?

1) Disease
as europeans migrated to America they brought with them disease such as cholera and small poxs. These diseases were fatal to the Indians whom had never been exposed to them and consequently had no / little resistance to them. The Indians therefore were pushed into moving onto the plains in order to escape disease

2) Guns
Guns pushed the Indians onto the plains as they threatened the Indians whom had more primitive weaponry . Weaponry brought superiority to the white man hence the Indians were seen as inferior and thus had to move as those settling in the east had power. Guns also pushed the Indians onto the plains as when the Indians traded with the settlers they managed to attain some guns , these guns imbalanced the power between Indian tribes whom would normally battle for prestige and to gain honour or gather horses and bring acclaim to the tribe . Through fleeing to the plains where there were masses of land some of the Indian tribes were able to escape rival tribes due to the vast amount of empty land they had to fled across. Th Owabja where known to have chased the Souix onto the plains with guns


What pulled the Indians onto the plains

The Indians were pulled west and hence pulled onto the plains as they followed the buffaloes migration as the buffalo were that which thy depended on to maintain their lifestyle . The Indians where hunter gatherer thus were very dependent on these creatures.


Which enabling factors meant the plains Indians could survive as they were pushed into the 'great American desert'

the Native American lives were transformed when horses were introduced. The Indians came to have horses when they were brought to Mexico in the 1500's by the Spanish. Horses where highly valued in the Indian culture and soon became a symbol of wealth and prestige . Indian men were often judged on their ability as horsemen and Indian warfare often started over stolen horses . Horses enabled the Indian way of life as they meant they became more mobile and consequently could follow the buffalo more closely and make more successful kills , it also made the nomadic way of life easier as horses could be employed to carry equipment needed to erect the tipi.

the buffalo enabled the Indians to live a successful life on the plains as they provided the tribes with several important resources such as,
- flesh - the flesh was cooked for eating purposes immediately after the buffalo hunt and spare meat was often smoked in order to preserve it for the winter
- the hooves- the buffalo hooves were carved into primitive tools by the Indians which they would make use of in their daily lives
- the tail - the buffalo tails were often put to practical uses s such as being used as a whip or being used to keep away flies
-the dung - the buffalo dung was used as a fuel and so burnt on the fire to provide the Indians with heat which could be used to cook food , smoke meat and warm the tipi
- the fur - the buffalo fur was used to produce clothing and was also used for decorative purposes
- the skin- the buffalo skin was used as a fabric tomato the walls of the tipi
the Indians were hunter gatherer thus based their lives on the migration of the buffalo as they provided them with the necessities for life. Hunting buffalo could be dangerous however as they were known to stamped hence many men involved in hunting the buffalo died young

The tipi
the tipi was the home of the Indian family ,it was made from multiple buffalo skin sewn together and supported by a circular frame of wooden poles. There was a lack of timbre on the plains hence the Indians were reorcejfuland used a minimal amount of wood when designing the tipi . they also used the poles which supported the tipi as a travis for moving heavy equipment thus employed the same piece of apparatus for multiple processes showing the resourceful nature of the Indians. The tipi had a conical shape therefor was aero dynamic which mean the wind did not get caught up against it but rather wrapped around it and if anything would tend to push down on it. This wind resistance was particularly important on the plains as they were prone to strong wind due to the exposed nature of the land which was very vast and unsheltered. The tipi could be adapted to suit different types of external conditions earth could be mounted at its base for insulation colder months or flaps could be opened for ventilation in the warmer months. The tipi was made up of fairly few component thus was easy to move around which helped coincide with the nomadic Indian way of life . It could be quickly taken down anormally in about 10. minutes and also quickly reassembled which made it the perfect home for he unsettled. the scalps of enemy Indians would often be hung from the tops of this as trophies of ware far which shows that the tipi was highly valued and was pride of the Indian life. The tipi was the responsibility of the woman they owned it and were responsible for putting it up taking it down and maintaining it.


Why did the Indians live nomadic lives ?

the Indians lived nomadic lives as they needed to follow the buffalos migration across the plains as the buffalo provided them with the necessities for life. The Indians also needed to move in order to escape disease and also escape bad weather.


What was the role of an the Indian male ?

Men were responsible for hunting and taking care of the horses . they worked as part of tribes in order to protect the band in Indian warfare and wars with the settlers and also hunted the buffalo in order to bring home food to the Indian family. They were very much horse men and utilised horses for advantages both while at war for speed and power and also when hunting the buffalo for speed control and manoeuvrability. Indians were often judged by their abilities as horsemen.

In the Indian culture there were often higher numbers of women than men as the men lived dangerous lives going to war and hunting the unpredictable buffalo , to overcome this men practiced polygamy and often had children to many lives to ensure all women were taken care of and the future of the band / next generation would be large and ensured to continue.

Typically Indian men married Indian women for love this benefited the tribes as a meant that the couple was more harmonious and were more likely to produce a greater array of offspring which would make the future of the band greater. Men did however often offer the wives parent horses to exhibit their wealth and status to the Indian parents however this was typically not an arranged marriage. Normally in marriage the Indian husbands would move into the woman tipi as the women were the home owners of the time.

Men were typically the chiefs of the band this meant they acted as political leaders within tribes. Men were believed to be able to communicate with the spirit wold this became achievable if the male visited a sweat lodge . The Indian male would take notice of the spirit world and believe that the spirits offered them guidance in the steps they should take in the future.


What was the role of the Indian woman ?

the Indian women were highly valued within the Indian community as they were the bearers of children , learning children gave insurance for the future of the band . women opinions were generally respected and although they did not typically take a role as a leader of the tribe they were typically the leaders in the home .

Women were responsible for the tipi the owned the piece of apparatus hence were responsible for its deconstruction direction and transport as well as maintenance. As women owned the tipi their husbands would often come and move into that tipi in marriage.

the Indian women were judge by their crafting ability such as could they produce clothing , could they wealth cloth could they prepare animal Hyde's and cure meat etc. They were also judged by their capacity as home makers hence did they gather enough berries and seeds could they cook food for the family , could they skin the animals in preparation for cooking and could they build fires to cook the meat.


What was the role of children in the Indian life ?

children were valued as the future of the band , they were not conventionally educated using books and resources as settler children may have been however were educated more in practical skills which they would apply in their daily lives . boys were taught to hunt while girls were brought up as home makers . both the parents and the grandparents of these Indian children played a role in their upbringing. Both boys and girls were taught to ride horses as it was such a key skill in the Indian culture. As the Indians did not learn academic skill they were often perceived by outsiders as primitive to those who did not understand the culture and simply viewed the children as wild.

Children attained a name through making contact with the spirit world this was normally done several years after their birth. Girls were able to contact the spirit world upon being menstruation and attained a name this way while boys often had to fast and visit sweat lodges in order to make their first connection to the spirit world.

if a child misbehaved or was disobedient they would be publicly shamed infant of the entire tribe which would be an embarrassment hence they would tend to begin dating as was expected of them. if Indian children were obedient they were praised and thought highly of within the tribe. This process would happen to adults alike.


What was the role of old people in the Indian way of life ?

Old people were valued within the Indian tribe as they were very wise and could often give advice to both the band as a collective or pass on wisdom through generations.

Old people played a part in raising the Indian children passing on life skills as well as knowledge to the generations.

When a person became too old or weak they were simply left behind , this process was known as 'exposure' this was done as the survival of the tribe was more important than the survival of any single individual hence the elders were left behind if they started to hold back the progression of the band.


How was the Indian nation divided ?

Indians were not one collective nation they were divided into separate nations , bands and tribes. often these different nations had a culture and language in common.
The leaders of these divided groups were known as chiefs however these individuals were not dictators they simply led the way through Indian life taking inputs from others such as councils of elders and being advised by the spirit world in order to make decisions on the future of the ban . Chiefs were often well liked in the tribes and hence had the respect of the members of the band. The chiefs were normally chosen for their skills as a leader their fighting ability and their perceived wisdom.

To different nations of Indians could be equally as hostile to each other as the Indians were to the settlers this is because the nations were not collectivised as a whole and had beliefs that slightly differed and simply had a culture for warfare.


Who was responsible for treating the disease in the Indian bands

the medicine man would prescribe herbal cures and would also use words chants and chars in order to ward of evil spirits


Indian Beliefs

The Indians were very spiritual people whom believed that the spirits create everything. They tended to believe in a spirit known as waken tanka 'the great spirit' whom created every thing that lives. The Indian also believed that al. things has spirits such as rocks and the lan and believed that these spirits could influence their lives.

Beliefs about the land
the Indians believed that land could not be owned by an individual or even a nation , they believed that they came from the land and that when they died they would return to it and that the land was their mother . Land that was elevated / at a high altitude was specifically sacred as it was closer to the spirit world , they often buried the honoured leaders in high places because of this. the black his was particularly sacred to the Indians as it was believed that Indian life began in the black hills .

Beliefs about circles
Sioux indians had a very strong belief in the circular process of life , they developed this belief as they were surrounded by circles , there was the circular shape of the sun and moon the circular horizon , the circular nature of life that saw a person grown and then die . The Indians constructed their tipis and villages in the shape of circles in order to honour this concept.

Beliefs abut visions
people believed visions were the key to making contact to the spirit world women could easily have visions after they began menstruating and were honoured because of this quality for men it was harder to attain visions and often underwent extreme methods 'vision quests' such as fasting to attain them. Visions led the Indians on their journey through life it was the spirits who gave a name to every Indian child should they live to communicate with the spirit world. The visions also had a input in making the decisions for a tribe. Many tribes had a ceremonious pipe which they would smoke in the hope to make contact with the spirit world the smoke was seen as a path to the spirit world.

Beliefs in dancing
the Indians believed that dances could be used when the whole tribe rathe than a single individual needed to contact the spirit world. some famous dances were
- the sun dance, the sun dance was performed to seek guidance from the spirit world it was one of the most common Indian dances
-the buffalo dance was used to call the spirit whom summoned the buffalo thus was normally done before the hunt
- the ghost dance was one in the hope to bring back the buffalo and bring back the dead in times of desperation
- A scam dance could be performed to celebrate a triumph in Indian warfare.
because many outsiders did not understand the Indians culture of many dances they thought of them as wild erratic and could not make sense of the dances , the dances seemed threatening and thus often instigated hostility as a consequence of settlers and outsiders lack of understanding and assumptions about the dances

Beliefs in the after life
Although the Indians did believe they would return to the land in death in coincidence with the circular process of life they did believe in an after life. due to this the Indians would often scalp any of their Indian enemies as they believed in doing so this would mean their enemies could not come back to haunt them in their afterlife. They believed the after life was ' a happy place with sunny skies and bountiful hunting grounds'

Beliefs in the medicine man
the Indians believed that the the medicine man could ease a person ill health through communicating with the spirit world or the evil spirit which had made the person ill


Indian warefare

Tribal warefare was a part of the culture of many of the Indians. Raiding enemy tribes for horses and for captives was a normal practice almost payed like a game in order for men to gain prestige. The Indians did not really value anything they could steal other than horses as they found more value things like honour and acclaim.

Not all indian warefare was about killing opposition / rival Indians it was rather about getting close enough to the enemy to touch them with 'the counting coup' and then being able to retreat without being avenged this was a huge avcheivement to the Indian who managed to make the contact and was valued just as much as taking the life would have been.

If Indians were killed in warfare then their scalps would be removed so that they could not come back to haunt the other tribe in the after life as it was believed that you could not reach the after life without your scalp. The scalps were kept as trophies and often hung from the tipis as. symbol of power and prestige. Indians also were given feathers to wear in their head dress almost as medals to exemplify their bravery


How did the Indians hunt the Buffalo

Before the buffalo hunt commenced then a buffalo dance would be carried out this was to beacon the buffalo and give luck for the hunt.

Next scouts would herd the buffalo off the edges of cliffs , or into rocks. They did so in order to successfully kill the buffalo.

The Indians would dress in buffalo skin or fox skins in order to disguise their approach which meant they could get close to the fairly un intelligent buffalo without instigating panic among the animals and brining about a stamped. this close proximity to the buffalo also meant a better shot could be made if the Indians were using arrows or bullets traded with settlers to kill the animals.