In the early
1700s, Indians from the south arrived on the Plateau. They
traded horses for furs. That was the first time the people of
the Plateau had ever seen a horse.
They loved a challenge and they loved games of skill.
They quickly became magnificent riders and breeders.
Trade: The arrival of horses on the
Plateau made travel and trade much easier. The people were not limited to travel
on foot or travel by canoes on rivers or
streams to get around. That caused a
shift in culture.
Expansion: Up until the arrival of the horse,
vast areas of the Plateau were largely uninhabited.
Various tribes claimed vast amounts of land as “theirs”. But these
areas were mostly unexplored. A tribe might claim all land to the ridge of the
next mountain. But they had never actually reached the ridge of the next
mountain since they were limited to travel on foot or by canoe. With the arrival
of the horse, these areas could be explored. Tribes started to claim land that
had historically "belonged" to other tribes. Not that it mattered at first. In
the past, who claimed what was mostly immaterial because the people of the
Plateau had always shared. But the concept of sharing was changing as well.
Sharing: For thousands of years, the
clever, creative, generous people
of the Plateau had worked in cooperation with each other. Some families owned
but the owners had always shared the catch. When a family or a tribe left a pit
house to move somewhere else, they left food and blankets stored
safely behind, so that the people who used the pit house next would have food to
eat and a blanket to use to stay warm, while they got settled. But times were changing, and that change started with the arrival of the
horse. The people of the Plateau needed goods to trade for horses because each
brave wanted a horse of his own. No brave wanted another tribe borrowing or
using their horse. After thousands of years of sharing as a way of life, the
people of the Plateau were no longer willing to share. That was a huge shift in
Warfare: Once horses arrived in the Plateau
region, warfare changed dramatically. Warriors could
travel more territory. Herds of horses belonging to opposing tribes on the
Plateau were common
targets of raids, and the horses were usually not returned when peace was
achieved. That was new.
Hunting: Hunters, on horseback, began
hunting beyond the Plateau. They hunted buffalo on the plains. That caused all
kinds of trouble. The Plains
Indians considered this an act of war.
For thousands of years, life
on the Plateau had continued in much the same manner. With the arrival of the
horse, life on the Plateau changed forever.
Transportation and Trade
Warfare before the
arrival of the horse
Joseph, Nez Perce
Return to the People of the Plateau for Kids (main index)
Map of the Plateau Indian Tribes
American Games & Activities
Stories, Myths and Legends
Native American Index
- Coast to Coast
Native Americans for Kids
Native Americans in US, Canada, and the Far North
Early people of North America (during the ice
age 40,000 years ago)
Northeast Woodland Tribes and Nations
- The Northeast Woodlands include all five great lakes as well as the Finger Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River. Come explore the 3 sisters,
longhouses, village life, the League of Nations, sacred trees, snowsnake games, wampum, the
arrowmaker, dream catchers, night messages, the game of sep and more. Special Sections:
The Lenape Indians. Read two
myths: Wise Owl and
The Invisible Warrior.
Southeast Woodland Tribes and Nations
- The Indians of the Southeast were considered members of the Woodland Indians. The
people believed in many deities, and prayed in song and dance
for guidance. Explore the darkening land, battle techniques, clans and marriage, law and order, and
more. Travel the Trail of Tears.
Indians and Cherokee
Plains Indians - What was life like in
what is now the Great Plains region of the United States? Some
tribes wandered the plains in search of foods. Others settled down and grew crops. They spoke different
was the buffalo so important? What different did horses make?
What was coup counting? Who was
Southwest Indians -
Pueblo is not the
name of a tribe. It is a Spanish word for village. The Pueblo People are the decedents of the
Navajo and the
Apache arrived in the southwest in the 1300s. They
both raided the peaceful
Pueblo tribes for food and
other goods. Who were the Devil Dancers? Why are blue stones important? What is a wickiup? Who was
Child of Water?
Pacific Coastal Northwest Indians -
What made some of the Pacific Northwest Indian tribes "rich" in ancient times? Why were woven mats so
important? How did totem poles get started? What was life like
in the longhouse? What were money blankets and coppers? How did
the fur trade work? How did
Raven Steal Crow's
Inland Plateau People - About
10,000 years ago, different tribes of Indians settled in the Northwest Inland Plateau region of the
United States and Canada, located between two huge mountain ranges - the Rockies and the Cascades. The
Plateau stretches from BC British Columbia all the way down to nearly Texas. Each village was independent, and each had a
democratic system of government. They were deeply religious and believed spirits could be found
everything - in both living and non-living things. Meet the
California Indians - The Far West was
a land of great diversity. Death Valley and Mount Whitney are the highest and lowest points in the
United States. They are within sight of each other. Tribes living in what would become California were
as different as their landscape.