Osprey Men-at-Arms 163 : The American Plains Indians
The central plains of North America, to the east of the Rocky Mountains, provided the homeland for the Plains Indians, here the hunting grounds of the twelve 'typical' tribes coincided with the grazing range of the largest of the buffalo herds. These tribes all shared the common features of extensive use of the tipi, buffalo and horse; the division of warriors into societies; and the religious ceremony called the Sun Dance. The Plains Indians established themselves during a period which is referred to as 'dog-days', because the dog provided their only beast of burden. Most tribes initially ventured west from the eastern woodlands, across the prairies and on to the Plains. However, these pedestrian Indians were able fully to exploit this hostile environment until after the introduction of the horse, which, by allowing the successful hunting of the buffalo and the adoption of a fully nomadic life, encouraged many tribes to abandon border areas for the central Plains. The adoption of a horse culture heralded the golden age of the Plains Indians - an age abruptly ended by the intervention of the white man, who forced them from their vast homelands into reservations in the second half of the 19th century. Jason Hook explores the culture of American Plains Indians, from camp life to conquest, backed by numerous illustrations and photographs, including eight full page colour plates by Richard Hook with five pages of accompanying commentaries detailing dress and equipment.
- Community Structure and Camp Life
- Hunting and the Horse
- Religion, Ceremony and Medicine
- The Plates