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Native Americans  - Tribes/Nations

 

There were many different Native American tribes and those with similar characteristics formed a main tribe or nation. Each had its own language, religion and customs.

For the most part the tribes lived peaceably believing that nature was sacred and was to be shared. However, the coming of the Europeans and the removal of their land led to conflict both between the different tribes and between the Indians and whites.

By the end of the nineteenth  century the Indians had lost their fight to preserve their traditional way of life and those that had survived the conflicts were confined to reservations.

The table below gives a summary of each of the main Plains' tribes

 

Name Nomadic/ Static Famous Leaders Brief Facts
Apache Nomadic

Hunter-gatherer

Geronimo, Cochise

Made up of several different groups
Lived in extended family units
Usual shelter was a dome-shaped lodge called a wickiup
Polygamy was allowed but rarely practised
Reliant on the buffalo
Frequent disputes with the Comanches led to their weakening in the 1700s
Traded with the Pueblas in Mexico or raided Spanish villages for goods and horses
1861 conflict between Apaches led by Cochise and Americans in protest at being forced onto reservations
1874 a group of Apaches led by Geronimo escaped capture and fled to Mexico
1886 Geronimo forced to surrender and taken to Fort Marion in Florida

Arapaho Nomadic

Hunters

 

Usual shelter was a tipi
Women were in charge of the home and owned the tipi
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Reliant on the buffalo
Perform Sun Dance in the summer
Frequent conflicts with Shoshone and Pawnee tribes
1864 Arapaho were among those slaughtered in the Sand Creek Massacre
1867 placed on Oklahoma reservation
1876 Northern Arapaho placed on Wind River reservation in Wyoming
1889 Active in bringing about the Ghost Dance movement

Blackfoot Nomadic

Hunter-gatherer

Crowfoot

Made up of several different groups
Usual shelter was a tipi
Women were in charge of the home and owned the tipi
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Polygamy was usual
Reliant on the buffalo
Performed Sun Dance in the summer
Mid 1800s many killed by smallpox
1870 200 killed in the Marias Massacre

Cherokee Static

Hunter-farmer

Sequoyah

Made up of seven different clans
Usual shelter was cane and mud plaster huts
Women were in charge of the home and land
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Grew corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers
Used canoes
1821 Sequoyah invented the Cherokee alphabet
1838-9 moved west to Oklahoma (Trail of Tears - 4000+ died on the 800 mile journey)

Cheyenne Nomadic

Hunter-gatherer

Black Kettle

Made up of ten different bands
Allied with Arapaho and Sioux
Usual shelter was a tipi
Women were in charge of the home and owned the tipi
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Reliant on the buffalo
1864 Cheyenne were among those slaughtered in the Sand Creek Massacre
1876 Northern Cheyenne took part in the Battle of the Little Bighorn
1877 Many forced to Oklahoma those that resisted were shot

Comanche Nomadic

Hunter-gatherer

 

Established around 1700 after breaking away from Shoshone
Led by Peace Chief and War Chief
Usual shelter was a tipi
Women were in charge of the home and owned the tipi
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Reliant on the buffalo
Frequent conflicts with Apache and Spanish
50% killed by smallpox and cholera in the mid 1800s
1874-5 Took part in the Buffalo War (Red River War) in protest at the numbers of buffalo being slaughtered
By 1879 most were on Fort Sill reservation

Crow Nomadic

Hunter-gatherer

Medicine Crow

Established around 1700 after breaking away from the Sioux
Two groups - Mountain Crow and River Crow
Usual shelter was a tipi
Women were in charge of the home and owned the tipi
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Reliant on the buffalo
Frequent conflict with Sioux, Shoshone and Blackfoot
1851 Given 35 million acres of land
1868 Land reduced to 8 million acres
1870 Placed on reservation in Oklahoma

Navajo Semi-Nomadic

Hunter-farmer

 

Moved to south-west around 1500
Usual shelter was a hogan (round stick house covered with mud or hides)
Women were in charge of the home and owned the hogan
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Kept sheep and women spun and wove wool into cloth
Traded with the Spanish
Frequent conflict with Spanish
Conflict with Americans following Mexican War 1849
1863 American force under Kit Carson killed Navajo sheep
1863-4 Forced to move 300 miles to Fort Sumner (The Long Walk) many died on the way
1869 Placed on reservation and given 30,000 sheep by US governement

Nez Perce Semi-Nomadic

Hunter gatherer

Chief Joseph

Made up of two groups - Upper and Lower Nez Perce
Name given by the French on account of the tribe piercing their noses
Usual shelter originally a longhouse but later used tipis
Women were in charge of the home
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Made canoes and fished for salmon
Frequent conflict with Crow and Shoshone
1863 Allocated land reduced by 7 million acres
1877 Under Chief Joseph actively resisted being moved to reservation (Nez Perce War)
Defeated at the Battle of Bear Paw Mountains

Pawnee Semi-Nomadic

Hunter-farmer

 

Made up of four different bands
Usual shelter was an earth lodge but used tipis when hunting
Women were in charge of the home
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Many killed by smallpox and cholera in the mid 1800s
1825 recognised supremacy of US government
1830-1860 - gave up increasing amounts of land to US government
Many Pawnee became scouts for the US government
1876 Moved to Oklahoma reservation

Shawnee Nomadic

Hunter-farmer

Tecumseh, Black Hoof

Made up of five different groups
Allied with Cherokee
Usual shelter was a wikkum or wigwam (small round dwelling)
Women were in charge of the home and farming corn
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Used canoes
1740-1760 Caught up in the conflict between the French and British over Ohio
Some fought for the British in the War of Independence while others remained neutral
Tecumseh led resistance against American expansion but was killed in 1813
Black Hoof led resistance against Indian removal until his death in 1831
1832 Shawnee tribe were living on reservations

Shoshone Nomadic

Hunter-gatherer

Pocatello, Bear Hunter

Made up of seven different groups
Usual shelter was a tipi but some lived in brushwood shelters
Women were in charge of the home and owned the tipi
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Reliant on the buffalo
Driven from their land by Mormon settlement of Utah
1862 Bear Hunter led a series of raids on Mormon livestock
1863 Bear Hunter and 250 Shoshone killed in Bear River Massacre
After 1863 remaining Shoshone moved to Fort Hall reservation

Sioux Nomadic

Hunter

Red Cloud, Sitting Bull
Crazy Horse

Made up of seven different groups
Largest Indian tribe
Usual shelter was a tipi
Women were in charge of the home and owned the tipi
Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp
Reliant on the buffalo
Performed the Sun Dance in the summer
1862 Group led by Little Crow massacred 800 settlers in Minnesota
1866-68 Red Cloud led resistance to white settlement along the Bozeman Trail (Red Cloud's War)
1876 Took part in the Battle of the Little Bighorn
1890 Finally defeated at Battle of Wounded Knee

 

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