Sioux Native Americans - Food Illustration

What did the
Sioux Native Americans eat?
Native Americans
in Olden Times for Kids

Food: The Sioux were hunters and gatherers. They hunted buffalo, deer, and other animals. They gathered fruits and vegetables. Some of the Sioux people also grew crops.

The Three Sisters were the most important crops - maize, squash, and beans. They also grew pumpkins. Food was often traded between the various tribes.

Buffalo: In the Sioux culture, a boy could hunt his first buffalo at age 10. To a young boy, a single buffalo stands six feet tall, and weighs about as much as 10 people. Buffalo do not see well, but they run really fast.

Can you imagine how a boy might feel, getting ready for his first kill? He would be riding a pony. All around him, men would be yelling to get the buffalo to run. Each would have picked out one buffalo to kill.

With his boy and arrow, in the midst of all this racket and danger, a ten year old boy was expected to attempt a kill. There was no dishonor attached if he was not successful, but he had to try.

Jerky: Sioux woman made jerky by drying buffalo meat. First, they pounded the meat into a powder. Then they added animal fat, and let the mix dry.

If jerky was made correctly, it remained safe to eat for two years. The Sioux stored jerky, knowing it would be safe to eat for a very long time. Jerky was portable. It allowed hunters to take food with them.

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