Family, Villages, and Government - Plateau Native Americans in Olden Times for Kids Illustration

Family, Villages, and Government

For Kids

Family:  The most important social unit among the people of the Plateau was the family. From birth to dead, people took care of their families, which included extended members like aunts and uncles and second cousins and elderly relations. 

Independent Villages:  After their family, their loyalty was to their village. Each village was independent of other villages. But people worked in a spirit of cooperation. They shared food and shelter. They helped each other and teamed up for the betterment of all.

Equality:  All adults in a village men and women and newcomers automatically enjoyed the rights of citizenship in the village, membership in the general assembly, voting, holding office, and participating in all activities.

Government:  Each village had a Council of elected men and women. Each village also had its own chief. The position of chief passed from father to son. If no son was available, a chief would be elected from the villagers. The Council heard all complaints and discussed solutions to problems. Their ideas or decisions were brought before the chief. Decisions on important issues were decided in a general assembly, where all the village people heard the issue(s) presented by the Chief, and then voted. The vote was final. On smaller issues, the Council could decide, but the Chief could override.

Division of Labor:  There was a division of labor in a village based on gender. Men had certain jobs. Women had certain jobs.  The men were responsible for hunting, fishing, warfare, and making tools. The women were responsible for gathering and preserving wild roots, nuts, vegetables and berries, cooking meals, child care, and making clothes, mats, and baskets. But this division of labor was not set in stone. People helped each other. If a man was injured and could not fish; until he healed, he might help the women make nets, with much laughter at his attempts to be helpful. If a woman wanted to make a tool, she could. People took great pride in making life for everyone in the village safe and pleasant, and all jobs were considered equally important.

Pictures The Plateau People

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