Tipi and Earth Lodges of the Plains Tribes

Fig. 8. Setting up a Crow Tipi. (Tetzold photo.)

One of the most characteristic features of Plains Indian culture was the tipi. All the tribes of the area, almost without exception, used it for a part of the year at least. Primarily, the tipi was a conical tent covered with dressed buffalo skins. A carefully mounted and equipped tipi from the Black-foot Indians stands



Plains Indian Culture

Fig. 34. The Cheyenne Camp Circle. (Dorsey).

Museum collections cannot illustrate this important phase of culture; but since no comprehensive view of the subject can be had without its consideration, we must give it some space. It is customary to treat of all habits or customs having to do with the family organization, the community, and what we call the state, under



Industrial Arts of the Plains Tribes

Fig. 17. Firedrill. Northern Shoshoni.

Under this head the reader may be reminded that among most American tribes each family produces and manufactures for itself. There is a more or less definite division between the work of men and women, but beyond that there is little specialization. The individuals are not of equal skill, but still each practices practically the



Hunting and Food of the Plains Tribes

Fig. 1. Sinew-backed Bow and Quiver from the Blackfoot and a Compound Bow of Mountain Sheep Horn from the Nez Percé.

Since this is a discussion of the general characteristics of Plains Indians, we shall not take them up by tribes, as is usual, but by topics, Anthropologists are accustomed to group the facts of primitive life under the following main heads: material culture (food, transportation, shelter, dress, manufactures, weapons, etc.), social organization, religion and ceremonies,



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