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

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The Indian's way of Life

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

In historic times the Indians lived the broad expanse of Americas heartland between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, and from the Saskatchewan River Basin in Canada to Central Texas. Both their culture and history lent themselves to the works of writers and dramatists who romantised the hard riding buffalo hunters and warriors that is the image many of us have of the American Indians today.

There were two main sub cultures existing in different parts of the area. The first was the agricultural tribes that lived along the Eastern Plains. The were known as farmers due to the area being covered in grass making it ideal land to grow their own food. The second sub culture being the Western Plains Indians. They were nomadic and they relied entirely on the products of the buffalo.

There were many different tribes of Indians, each having their own language, customs and their own individual grounds. Some of the best known tribes being Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapahos, Nez Perces, Comanche's and Apaches. When invaded by the whites fighting broke out, as they wanted to claim the land the Indians were living on. Obviously they resisted, The Sioux and Cheyenne were the first who fought the fiercest to keep the land. The Sioux Indians were the most powerful with great leaders such as Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

The nomadic groups moved frequently from one campsite to another, following the herds of buffalo. Buffalo was essential to their way of life. It provided the main necessities needed by the Indians. Buffalo meat was the basic diet, along with a few wild berries. The skin was used for clothes such as moccasins and buffalo hide was used for the shelter of the teepee and the dung was used to fuel the fires. The most important item made from buffalo was the shield which was very important when it came to war.

A buffalo hunt was very exciting. It was male only and as the women had a different role within the tribe. A young male Indian wanting to gain a good reputation and a name for himself would go on his first hunt to impress his fellow tribe members and his future wife. This was considered to be a very important event for a Brave. The hunt was dangerous. The buffalo and the horses trampled many men.
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The Spaniards were responsible for the introduction of the horse. As they moved northwards through Mexico during the 16th Century, they brought herds of livestock with them. They tried to keep the horses out of the hands of the natives they met, but some Indians learned to ride them and frequently stole the horses to take back to their tribe. They were very good at taming and handling the animals and taught one another exactly what to do. Indian children would be strapped to a horse before they could even walk as they played a major part in ...

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Final Comment. Star rating *** This essay is very detailed and does describe a huge range of features of the Native American's way of life. It would be even better if at the start the writer had set out which aspects of their life they were going to examine. It would have been a good idea to focus on the aspects of their life that were significantly challenged by the arrival of the European settlers.