Most Plains people were not farmers. They were
hunters and gatherers. The women took care of the children, made the
clothes, and gathered wild vegetables. For most of the year, the men
wandered the prairies in search of food. The men traveled great
distances and hunted on foot. When they killed game, they cooked and
dried food wherever they were, and carried home as much as they could
on foot, dragging food behind them piled on buffalo skin.
The coming of the horse changed their life
Horses are not native to the United States. When
the Spanish arrived in the New World, they brought horses with them.
Some of those horses escaped. Some found their way into the Great
When the Plains People first saw horses, they
called them mystery dogs. These early people were smart and
adventurous. It did not take them long to realize that if they could
catch a horse, they could ride a horse. It might have started as a
game, but it soon became a way of life.
The Plains People could travel many miles in one
day on horseback. They could hunt more effectively. They could haul
skins and food home more easily, and in bigger quantities as horses
could drag large loads.
Soon, each family had ample skins to make much
larger teepees. They happily moved out of earth homes made of mud, and
into huge tepees made of wood poles covered with buffalo skins. They
loaded their families, their goods, and themselves on horseback, and
followed the buffalo.
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