Introduction - PawneeThe Pawnee are a Native American tribe of Great Plains Indians who lived in what is now present Day Kansas and Nebraska. The tribe is broken down into four main bands which are the Chaui, Kitkehakhi, Pitahawirata, and Skidi. They were a fairly peaceful group; when they fought it was usually with the Apache, Kiowa and the Sioux. The reason they fought was more about showing courage than controlling territories. Where as most of the Plains Indians were nomadic the Pawnee were a sedentary group, moving around infrequently. The below facts include interesting information about their clothing, food, art, and shelter.
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Pawnee Culture Facts
- The Pawnee people were known for having a lot of festivals, many involving religion. The Harvest Festival was held each September at dark when the stars could be seen so that their people would be able to find their way home.
- Men in the tribe belonged to one of three groups: warriors, hunters or medicine men. There were two kinds of medicine men; priests that conduct ceremonies and Shaman, spiritual doctors that hold the power to heal.
- Most of the Pawnee ceremonies revolved around the use of magic objects and herbs because Pawnee men and women believed heavily in magic and spirits.
Pawnee General Facts
- The Pawnee are known for their beautiful pottery, hide paintings, and woven baskets.
- The Pawnee loved to decorate with bright colors. They decorated their tents, moccasins, clothing and jewelry with bright colors whenever possible. They used items like porcupine quills colored beads, and rocks.
- At the height of their existence there were about 10,000 Pawnee people, however diseases such as cholera and smallpox wiped out all but about 600 Pawnee Indians. Through the years their numbers have gradually increased.
Pawnee Buffalo Hunting Facts
- The Pawnee people were successful farmers. They left their villages about twice a year to hunt buffalo, and sometimes deer, in a regimented fashion which included warriors keeping watch to make sure everyone had a fair shot at the buffalo.
- Great Plains Indians relied heavily on buffalo for their food, clothes, and homes and every part of the animal was used including bones, horns and teeth.
- After the Indians ate some fresh meat, the rest of the buffalo was dried in the sun. The meat was made into jerky, a food that would last a long time, and the hide was used for shelter, clothing, beds, drums, and shields.
- The Pawnee used buffalo hides for making different types of transportation. They made toboggans by tying buffalo ribs together and they made bullboats, for travel by river, by stretching buffalo hide over willow branches.
- The tribe lived in earthen lodges near rivers, which were permanent structures. They were made of wood and covered with a mixture of soil and grass. They could accommodate 30-50 people each.
- During hunting trips, the Pawnee would construct temporary housing that could be taken apart easily and carried from place to place. These lightweight tents were known as tipis.
- Before the Europeans arrived and introduced horses, the Pawnee Indians traveled everywhere by foot with dogs being used to carry food and supplies for them.