The Culture Of The Cheyenne Indians Of The American Great Plains.

1335 words - 5 pages

The CheyenneThe Cheyenne Tribe, more commonly known as the Plains Indians, highly evolved through time due to the contributions of the Spaniards to the south and the other Europeans that came from the east. These contributions aided in the thriving of the Cheyenne, as hunting buffalo before the arrival of the horse was "not a productive enough enterprise to support a large population" (Service 114).This evolution from being an agriculturally based society to being "mounted buffalo hunters" (Service 112) was a key to sustaining the lifestyle and culture of the Cheyenne people. The climate on the Great Plains differed from season to season, with food and resources, such as crops, being plentiful in the spring and early summer months, only to either dry out or freeze during the winter, making those months the toughest to bear for the Cheyenne.With the land of the Plains being mostly flat, beans and other crops could easily be cultivated, except for the dry climate of the area. Because of the dry climate, crops such as beans, maize, and squash was "limited to river bottomlands" (Service 114). The tools and machinery required to successfully farm the dry land away from the rivers were not available to the Cheyenne, so hunting became a necessity. The major source of food, clothing, and shelter for these people was the buffalo, which roamed freely about the Plains. However, the Cheyenne also hunted the likes of wild sheep, deer, and antelope through the Plains, ambushing them in small groups (Service 119).The environment affected the lifestyles of the Cheyenne as much as it did those animals that they hunted. In the summer and warmer months, the tribes would band together into a large group, mainly for large hunting and gathering purposes. This behavior mirrored that of their prey, the buffalo herds, which would also gather into large groups in the warmer months, when food and other resources were plentiful. The same behavior was evident in the winter months, as both the buffalo herds and the Cheyenne tribes would split into smaller groups, a direct result of the scarce resources available to both man and animal.The Cheyenne obtained food, as well as other products from the buffalo, by going on large, organized hunts. The hunters would circle around the herd on their horses, killing the nearest buffalo, until all but one were killed. The final buffalo would be slaughtered by knife (Service 119). Later, the killing party would return to transport the meat, hide, and carcass away to the location of the tribe, which took days of terrible labor (Service 118-19).The Cheyenne people lived in the conical-shaped home that we now know as a tipi. These homes were often quite large, with as many family members living in one home. These tents were put together with buffalo hide, and were often very ornately decorated. And these homes were constructed for the ease of transportation, as well as the ability to protect the Cheyenne from the elements, such as winter...

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