IntroductionIn this section of Native American Indian Facts you will find information about the amazing American Indians of the Great Plains. Below is a list of the Great Plains Indian tribes followed by several facts about these amazing people. Within this section we will be adding pages on where these tribes lived, their history, the tribal traditions, what they wore, how they survived, their religions, who their great chiefs and warriors were, their jewelry, and the cultural roles of the tribes men and women.
The Great Plains region extends from the Mississippi River in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west, and from Canada in the north to Texas in the south. This grasslands region has very few trees and has many rolling hills and valleys. The summers are very hot and the winters are very cold.
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List of Great Plains American Indian Tribes
- Gros Ventre
- Plains Ojibwe
- Plains Cree
- Plains Apache
Facts about the Great Plains American Indian Tribes
- Many of the tribes of the Great Plains were nomadic and followed the buffalo migrations which provided their food. These tribes spent a good part of the year living in camps that could easily be dismantled and moved to follow the buffalo migrations. Other tribes of the plains were more sedentary. These tribes lived in permanent villages year round. They hunted but also relied on farming for their food supply.
- Buffalo were extremely important to the Native Americans of the Great Plains. It was their main food source, the hide was used for shelter and clothing, the bones were used to make weapons and tools, the horns were used for various items including spoons and cups, tails were used as whips, and the buffalos stomach was used as a container to hold water.
- The Indians used the natural resources available to them wisely. They only killed the number of buffalo they needed and did not waste what they killed. White settlers however hunted buffalo for sport and brought them to near extinction by 1884.
- Buffalo was the Plains Indians made food source but they also hunted other animals like antelope, and elk.
- The Indians of the Great Plains were known for living in tepees while on their hunting trips. Tepees were easy to assemble, disassemble, and transport; making them excellent housing for the nomadic tribes of the plains. They were assembled by leaning long poles together and then placing buffalo hides over them.
- The Plains Indians would transport many of their processions by using the long poles of their tepees, with animal hides strung between them, to create a sled. This sled was named a travois. The travois would be dragged behind horses or dogs.
- A Spanish explorer named Francisco Vasquez de Coronado was one of the first Europeans to encounter the Great Plains Indians. He came across the Querechos who would later be called the Apaches. He noted many aspects of their culture including how they lived in tents made of dried bison skins.
- The early European explorers and settlers reintroduced the horse to the Native American Indians of the Great Plains. The horse had been hunted to extinction centuries earlier in North America. The horse greatly improved the Plains Indians life enabling them to hunt better, travel faster, and travel further.