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date: 06 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys the history of Plains Indians from the 1400s to the present, focusing on the period from the acquisition of the horse in the mid-1700s through the early reservation period in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The chapter emphasizes Indians’ spiritual and material relationships to the land, focusing on equestrian tribes who depended on buffalo hunting, as well as village tribes who developed a mixed economy of horticulture and hunting. The chapter also explores the uneven impact of settler expansion on Plains tribes, analyzing disease, commerce, the destruction of material resources, intertribal warfare, and settler violence, as well as describing conditions on reservations. Plains Indians pursued various strategies to survive the challenges of colonialism, including accommodation, militant resistance, and the Ghost Dance. The chapter concludes with an overview of historical writing on the Plains and a description of primary resources available for further study.

Keywords: Plains, horse, horticulture, buffalo, violence, warfare, reservations, Ghost Dance, colonialism

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