Indians

Native American Series Vol. 2

- Culture and Traditions
- Micmac, Iroquois, Moccasins

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Native Americans

Native American Lesson Series

- Myths and Customs
- Cayuga, Cheyenne, Bison

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What Were the Major Native American Tribes?

A tribe is defined as a group of people sharing common social characteristics living in a community. In a way, our modern society is a tribe itself. In order to gain new knowledge, however, we have to ask ourselves, "What were the major Native American tribes" in order to further up our familiarity with their numerous characteristics, language, customs, and religion. It is sad to say, however, that by the nineteenth century, these groups of nature-loving people had already lost their ability to fight for the preservation of the environment.

The Apache is considered as one of the most well-known Native American tribes. They were nomadic and mostly hunters and gatherers of food. They valued the idea of extended families hence they made it a point to live together in small abodes. Most of them maintained polygamous relationships, an act which was allowed but was rarely practiced publicly. The buffalo is considered as their most worshipped animal due to its usefulness to the tribe. On certain occasions they are known to have raided Spanish villages in order to steal various goods.

The Arapahos were, similar to the Apaches, nomadic hunters. They live in a shelter called the tipi, wherein women were placed in charge of the household while men were expected to work outside during the day in order to either hunt for fresh meat or protect the camp of the tribe. They were also reliant on the buffalo as sources of transportation, clothing material and even food. During the summer they are known to have performed the Sun Dance. They also found themselves in recurrent conflicts with other tribes such as the Shoshone and the Pawnee. Unfortunately, a huge number of the Arapahos were victims to the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre.

The Cherokees focused on a combination of hunting and farming. They were known to be non-nomadic, going together depending on their clans. Their shelter was made of sugar cane and even mud. Like the Arapahos, women were placed in charge of taking care of the houses. They also have the option to participate in the farming duties in order to grow corn, squash, sunflowers and beans. They are known to have used canoes in order to travel on any body of water.

The Cheyenne were known allies of the Arapaho and the Sioux. They also lived in tipis tended by the women while the men hunt for food. The tribe was also present during the Sand Creek Massacre. In the year 1877 they were forced to move to Oklahoma. A number of people from the tribes who resisted the order were shot.

The Navajos moved to the southwest during the year 1500. They live in houses called hogans made of mud or animal hides. They kept sheep and relied on wool-spinning for clothes. When the Spanish arrived they were known to have traded with them. It was not long, however, when the Navajos fell into a conflict with the Spanish, allowing them to participate with the Mexican War of 1849. Twenty-years later they were placed on a reservation site and were given thousands of sheep by the government of the United States.

The Sioux composed the largest Indian tribe. They were nomadic hunters made up of a number of groups. They also live in tipis and practiced the same man-woman duties prevalent among Native Americans. During the summer they also practice the Sun Dance. Some of their famous personalities are Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and Red Cloud, who led the resistance along Bozeman Trail. In 1890, however, the tribe was defeated during the Battle of the Wounded Knee.

Websites For Learning All About Native Americans

  1. Native American Theme, Vol. 1 Workbook
  2. Native American Theme, Vol. 2 Workbook
  3. American Indian Kids
  4. American Indian Policy Center.
  5. Ancient American
  6. Cankpe Opi: Wounded Knee Massacre
  7. First Nations Histories
  8. History of the Northwest Coast
  9. Narragansett Indian Trib
  10. Native American Conquest
  11. On This Date in North American Indian History
  12. Voices from the Trading Post
  13. The Wampum Chronicles
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