• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Beliefs of the Plain Indians

Extracts from this document...


The Plain Indians led a life dedicated to their religious and spiritual beliefs and to their traditions and in this section I will be examining some of these beliefs and traditions and will be explaining them. A belief that was shared by almost all the Indian tribes across the plains was the belief in a Supreme Being or god known as the Great Spirit or Waken Tanka. They believed that he was all powerful and that he was the creator of the whole of nature, which can explain the Indian's respect and love for all living things and nature because according to their beliefs all living things were the creation of the Great Spirit so all should be valued "The Sioux was a true lover of nature. He loved the earth and all things of the earth... Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active belief." (Sioux Chief Luther Standing Bear, Land of the Spotted Eagle, Houghton Mifflin 1933). Also they believed that the Great Spirit lived in the Happy Hunting Ground - a beautiful country beyond the skies and that if they served the Great Spirit well during their lifetime they would go to the Happy Hunting Ground when they die. (Extracts from The American West 1840 - 1895, R.A.Rees and S.J.Styles). The desire to go the Happy Hunting Ground when they died was shared by all Indians. ...read more.


until they received their vision, which would be connected to nature. Finally, they would return to the tribe and have their vision interpreted by a Medicine Man and then the youth would receive his adult name, which would be connected to his vision. "Young men go up to a hill, cry and pray for some animal or bird to come to them. For five or six days they neither ate nor drink, and they became thin. While in this state they dream, and whatever animal they see in their dreams becomes their medicine and guardian through life." (J.G.Frazer, The Native Races of America, Lund Humphries 1939). It was different for girls. Indians believed that women could easily make contact with the spirit world, and they believed they gained this ability when they hit puberty and had their first menstrual cycle. They would then get special training from the Medicine Man on how to control this link and to prevent the spirits from over powering her and would be given her adult name, which was often celebrated by a feast. Fourthly, the Indians believed that the Medicine Men of their tribe could contact the spirits and use their power. The Medicine Men were men, who had special powers. They were usually men, who had unusual wisdom and very strong personalities. The Medicine Men were essential to the tribe because of his ability to make contact with the spirits of all living things. ...read more.


First, their bodies were painted by the holy men. Then each would cut a place in his back or chest, so that a strip of rawhide, fastened to the top of the tree, could be pushed through the flesh and tied. Then the man would get up and dance to the drums, leaning on the rawhide strip as long as he could stand the pain or until the flesh tore." (A Black Elk describing the Sun Dance, in Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks).Sitting Bull had once taken part in one of these ceremonies for four days before he received his great vision of victory against the US army in the Battle of Little Bighorn. ' A painting of the Sun Dance, By George Catlin Indians had Strong beliefs on the land, they loved the land and it was very dear to them. "Our Land here is the dearest thing on earth to us." (White Thunder - a Sioux Indian, in Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Barrie and Jenkins 1971). The Indians believed they were part of the earth - they came from it and returned to it when they died. They also believed that land belonged to everyone and so no - one owned it and they believed that some places on earth were sacred. For Example, high places were sacred because they were closer to the spirit world, The Black Hills is one of this scared high places. The Indians never sowed or planted anything in the land because they believed that to do so is like ripping open mother earth's chest. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Describe the way of life of the Lakota (Sioux) and Cheyenne Indians before the ...

    3 star(s)

    Instances of one man having 30 wives have been recorded. Ideally a man would marry his wives first sister as she matured. Indian women accepted this and did not mind sharing their husbands. Divorce was a simple matter of one party throwing the other one out.

  2. Free essay

    Custers responsibilty for teh defeat at Little Bighorn

    So Custer ended up being on his own with out the reinforcements of Terry and Gibbon. Dividing his forces - Reno/Benteen (also, they dug in and survived) Custer divided up his force into three smaller forces. Reno took 125 men, Benteen 125 and Custer himself took 260.

  1. Am I not a Man and a brother?

    We were separated within a second. Of course, the two men whom grabbed us never did know neither what we were doing with our hands nor what their easy, simple grabs meant for us. I am not the only one who went through this, many of us whom I know

  2. Architectural styles

    It was built in the 'new-style' Neo classical, allowing the symmetrically placed hall to be entered through the centre of the south range, with a long gallery above. This was the beginning of the changes put in the house, Wimpole represents a typical neo classical house of its time being

  1. 'Law and Order in the American West'

    The only entertainment available to the inhabitants revolved around drinking, gambling and squandering their hard day's earnings on prostitutes at saloons. Miners were unwilling to pay for the recruitment and training of law enforcement officers.

  2. My objective would be to find an Indian village and try to make myself ...

    As he approached me, I suddenly realised every eye turn to look at me. I felt very vulnerable as you could imagine and felt that at any second I could be killed. Instead of panicking like some other people would have done, I thought back to what I knew about the Indians.

  1. The Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole tribes were the only Indian tribes who ...

    Kansas Infantry, into the Indian Territory to drive out the Confederate forces of Pike and Cooper, and to restore the refugee Indians to their homes. After a short action at Locust Grove, near Grand Saline, Cherokee Nation, July 2d, Colonel Weer's cavalry captured Colonel Clarkson and part of his regiment for Missourians.

  2. History of Medicine Revision Notes.

    He proved no blood flows through holes in the septum ? disproved Galen 1. He carried out dissections on frogs to prove that blood flows in one direction only 1. He stated that there is a fixed amount of blood in the body 1.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work