Posted by: lemmod | March 31, 2010

American Indian Weaponry

When I was younger, one item I generally associated with American Indians was the use of arrowheads and their bows and arrows. Upon remembering this, I decided to do a little exploration online about the different types of weaponry American Indians would use. I soon discovered that American Indians generally used only a couple weapons which include bows and arrows, axes, tomahawks, lances, and spears. The bow and arrow is the most common known weapon and could be used for both short and long range to kill enemies or to hunt animals. Arrowheads, which are the front part of the arrow that actually penetrated the target, would be made out of stone, metal, bone, or antler. Most arrows however were made from stone or flint. An interesting fact about the bow and arrow is that it could be said that an inexperienced warrior had the ability to fire about 20 arrows before a person could reload their musket and get a second shot off. Other than the bow and arrow, throwing tomahawks would be used for long range. Similar to a hatchet, tomahawks had a stone, iron, or brass head and were generally thrown at a target in order to injure it. A third weapon American Indians used was the axe. Extremely similar to a tomahawk except shaped a little differently and heavier, axes could be used as a short ranged weapon for heavy blows against an opponent. The last weapons used by American Indians were the lances and spears. These weapons were useful mostly to those who rode on horses and targeted enemies. With the long length of these weapons stretching longer than the individuals body using them and the long sharp stone or iron end, the weapons easily stretched to penetrate a targets body. Today, few of these weapons are still used except for the bow and arrow which is rather popular for hunting small to medium sized game or a hatchet which is sometimes used for cutting up logs.

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Posted by: lemmod | March 23, 2010

American Indian Housing

Knowing all the different climates throughout America and how difficult it must be for American Indians to adapt to the climate, I wanted to explore the different types of houses that American Indians created. I soon discovered that there were over a dozen houses American Indians used for housing. A few of these include Wigwams, Longhouses, Tepees, and Adobe houses. For wigwams, these houses were about 8-10 feet tall and covered in birch bark. Longhouses were extremely larger and could be 150 feet long, 20 feet wide and high using elm bark for siding. Both these housing styles were used by people who wanted to stay in one place for a long time. A third housing style, tepees, are probably the most known and are cone shaped wooden tents generally covered in buffalo hide for siding. Tepees approximately rose 12 feet high depending on the Indian tribe. Although, once tribes began to acquire horses, they soon created tepees that were about twice as high. Unlike wigwams and longhouses, tepees were designed to break down easily and were great for American Indians who traveled from place to place. The last housing style I wanted to explore was the adobe houses. These houses were built in the southwest and created for withstanding extreme heat. Adobes were made out of clay and were multiple levels in order to house many families. Similar to wigwams and longhouses, these houses were permanent and could not be moved.

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Posted by: lemmod | March 16, 2010

Cheyenne Indians

Looking through my previous blog posts, I wanted to find another Great Plains Indian tribe and do a little bit more research on them. The Indian tribe I discovered which sparked my interest was the Cheyenne Indians. These Indians were considered to be a Great Plains Indian tribe when the Americans discovered them and they lived throughout many regions. The regions they were able to span from were South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas. With the Cheyenne Indian tribe, roles could be established between men, women, and children. The men were the only ones who could become Cheyenne Indian Chiefs and seemed responsible for being hunters and warriors and protecting as well as feeding their family. Houses were owned by the women since they would actually build the house and drag heavy posts when the tribe moved. Also, women would be in charge of the cooking and cleaning for the family. With children, not much was expected with them and they were allowed to have dolls, toys, and play games. On occasion some children would go out and hunt or fish with their father. For their living situation, the houses of the Cheyenne were of earthen lodges and wigwams. However, as they traveled around more, they eventually switched to tipis using buffalo hides for around the outside as covering. Today, the Cheyenne Indians do not live in the area they previously did. Instead, there are two tribes which now reside in Oklahoma and Montana.

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Posted by: lemmod | March 10, 2010

American Indian Food Sources

Upon watching Dancing With Wolves and seeing the famous buffalo hunt in the movie, I began to wonder other ways Native Americans received their food. I then did a little research and found that there were about four total ways Indians were able to gather food. These included hunting/fishing, gathering, farming, and domesticating animals. For Native Americans, it seems that most participated in at least two of these food collecting ways with every single known Native American participating in hunting/fishing. The tribes that were extremely far north such as the Eskimos generally relied on hunting/fishing while other tribes, like the Hopi, Navajo, and Cherokee, were skilled at farming. American Indian farming was relatively enhanced with the use of irrigation, terracing, and crop rotation in order to grow crops more successfully. Also, food crops were not only grown. American Indians were able to grow cotton, hemp, tobacco, and plants that would be used for medicine. The third way American Indians could obtain food is just by gathering it.  This could be as simple as plucking blueberries from a bush or as complicated as using tools in order to tape trees for maple syrup.  The last thing American Indians did for food was the domestication of animals. Here, they kept animals for both service and produce. For example, dogs were sometimes kept as a service in the retrieval of game or for some tribes to dog sled. Other animals were kept for produce like sheep or hogs. Overall, the food sources of American Indians could be obtained in a variety of ways and it really depended on the area, the tribe, and lifestyle each Indian group wanted to have.

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Posted by: lemmod | March 2, 2010

The Crow Indian Tribe

Over the summer, my family and I took a vacation to the Yellowstone National Park. I began to wonder which American Indian tribes inhabited this area of Montana and soon found that it was the Crow. Upon exploring a bit about the Crow online, I discovered that the Crow who were also known as the Absaroke, lived in the Yellowstone River Valley. The Crow lived in this area and hunted buffalo using their meat for food as well as their skins for tepees. Using poles made from wood and buffalo skins, the Crow were known to create extremely large tepees. The tepees were known to be similar to the Sioux Indian’s tepees and even today, an event known as the Crow Fair is the largest gathering of tepees in the world. Also, another interesting fact is that the Crow had more horses than many other tribes from the plains as well as many dogs. Unlike other tribes however, the Crow did not eat their dogs for food.  In dealing with clothing, the Crow had traditional clothing which was distinguished by gender.  Men generally wore a shirt with leggings, a belt, a robe, and moccasins. Women would wear dresses from deer or buffalo skins that were decorated with teeth from elks.  Other than material outfits, the Crow could be distinguished from other tribes because they kept their hair long. Today the Crow still exist mostly within the Yellowstone County and at numbers a little greater than 100,000.

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Posted by: lemmod | February 24, 2010

Shoshoni Indian Tribe and The First Grade

When I was in first grade, my teacher read what came to be one of my favorite stories that I had ever heard in school. This book was called Naya Nuki and was about a Shoshoni girl who was kidnapped by an enemy Indian tribe and had to run for her life. Remembering this book, I decided to explore a little bit about the Shoshoni and their culture. The Shoshoni were a large Indian tribe which occupied parts of west Wyoming, a little bit of Montana, Utah, and the southern parts of Idaho. How they received their name seems to be unknown since the word Shoshoni is not amongst their language, however many believe another Indian tribe came up with it for them. The Shoshoni lifestyle depended on the area in which they lived. The North and eastern occupied land of the Shoshoni allowed the Shoshoni who lived here to hunt big game such as buffalo and ride horses. Although, the land to the west and south of their occupied territory was barren and the Shoshoni that inhabited these areas relied on fish, roots, or nuts to live since no big game were present. Also, the north and eastern Shoshoni had different housing styles than the south and western Shoshoni. To the north and east tipis were used, and to the south and west, brush shelters were common. Today, the remaining of the Shoshoni population generally still remains in the Idaho region.

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Posted by: lemmod | February 16, 2010

The Blackfeet Indians

Further exploring the internet and some history about American Indians, I came across a tribe called the Blackfeet Indians. I began to wonder how this tribe’s name originated and soon discovered that the common belief is that it was due to their moccasins. The Blackfeet Indians name came from their moccasins being off-colored due to the ashes of the prairie fires that occurred around their living areas. Having dark and discolored moccasins, they soon became known as the Blackfeet Indians.  Not really habiting in one area, the Blackfeet Indians also put a lot of “wear and tear” on their moccasins. These Indians were roaming buffalo hunters and lived in tipis while moving around from place to place. They did however stay in the general area of the northern plains between North Saskatchewan River, Canada, the southern head-streams of the Missouri River, and near the base of some areas in the Rocky Mountains. Unlike other Indian tribes, the Blackfeet were pretty aggressive and constantly at war with neighbors like the Sioux, Cree, and Crow. The few people the Blackfeet were not at war with are the Atsina and Sarsi who instead were protected by the Blackfeet. Also, they were never really at war a lot with the United States but remained at an uneasy state towards them. After struggling through smallpox and having their numbers decrease heavily in 1869, today there are estimates that the Blackfeet population is just around 14,000 people.

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Posted by: lemmod | February 9, 2010

Largest Indian Tribe In North America: The Navajo

After looking around on the internet for some time at many different North American Indian tribes, I became curious to know which Indian tribe was the largest Indian tribe in North America. I soon discovered that this tribe was the Navajo. The Navajo Indians first began their lifestyle in Canada and Alaska but they soon moved south into the United States. During this time the Navajo, or Dine, as they were also called, met farmers and began to settle on the land near them while learning their ways. With the farmers help, they were able to learn to grow many different crops such as corn and beans as well as make clothing and create art. Unlike the common known TP, the Navajo Indians lived instead of what are called hogans which are homes that have been crafted from bark, mud, and wooden poles. An interesting fact about these homes is that the Navajo made sure the door always faced east so that they could see the sun in the morning. For the children, boys and girls had different lifestyles. The boys had to learn to hunt and make tools while girls would make the food, pottery, and learn basket weaving. After puberty, the girls would continue to learn from the women and the boys needed to pass the test of courage which could be different for every individual. Overall, the Navajo generally resides in Arizona today with a total of 140,000 people spread across the United States and 16 million acres of land. Some use modern technology, however, others have chosen a lifestyle of the past and try to live like their ancestors.

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Posted by: lemmod | February 3, 2010

The Cherokee In America

Cherokee Area In North America

Similar to the Sioux Indians, another American Indian tribe that I found with a great amount of history was the Cherokee Indians. As an American Indian tribe, the Cherokee Indians have lived from along the Tennessee River in the Appalachian Mountains, from the bottom of Virginia, and southward. In America, the first contact made with Europeans came in 1540 with the Spanish during Hernando Soto’s expedition. At this time, the Cherokee were known to the Europeans as the Chalaque, which translated, means cave people. However in the Eastern area their name was pronounced “Tsa-ra-gi” from which their now known name as the Cherokee can be derived. Although at this time, the Cherokee were still beginning to know the Europeans and became increasingly significant to American culture in the 1700’s. In 1775, the Cherokee decided to side with the British during the revolutionary war since there had already been a few heated confrontations with the colonists. The British traded weapons and ammunition to the Cherokee as well as offered bounties for the scalps of colonists at the time of this war. At first, the Cherokee were extremely successful in devastating colonist numbers. However, large colonist expeditions were sent out and they destroyed many Cherokee villages. Once the revolutionary war was lost by the British, aid from the British to the Cherokee ceased. The Spanish then seemingly replaced the British and continued encouragement of the Cherokee attacking the settlers. This was not needed because the settlers kept breaking land treaties causing the Cherokee to attack them anyway. Soon after the revolutionary war, the United States rose up and a new time began for the Cherokee. A time of defensiveness and attempts to retain the land they still owned.
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Posted by: lemmod | January 27, 2010

Sioux Indians and The Dakota’s

Recently one of my friends told me that they were part Sioux Indian and I decided to do a little fact finding on the culture and history of the Sioux Indian tribe for them. I was able to learn and discover that the Sioux Indians had a rich cultural history and were known as the Dakota Indians. These Indians were first discovered by the French near the Mississippi River in 1640 but didn’t really become part of American history until the 1800’s. During this time the Sioux Indians helped the British in the war of 1812 against the Americans. However, this battle ended in 1815 with a stalemate as reasons for fighting in order to gain land no longer became advantageous to either side. Years later in 1855, the Sioux gave 35,000,000 acres to the United States for $3,000,000. All parts of this land exchange treaty were not fulfilled to the Sioux Indians by the United States and thus hostilities began. The Upper and Lower Sioux Indians soon became hostile in 1855 and once again in 1862 killing roughly 1,000 American settlers. Many Sioux also died and 1,000 Sioux Indians were held captive after this battle. This then became the reason many of the Sioux bands fled into the Dakota Territory and caused their name of the Dakota Indians to originate. Although, parts of the Sioux tribe who still felt threatened by the United States ended up fleeing into British Territory.

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