A very important
ceremony was the spirit ceremony.
The people of the Plateau believed everyone had a spirit
guide. Your spirit
guide was your special guide to health, safety, success, and
happiness. But spirit guides did not simply show up one day.
Kids had to find them, in a sense. They had to have a vision,
where they actually saw their spirit guide. Guides usually
appeared in the form of an animal, or the ghost of an animal.
Around age 9, kids began the
process of finding their individual spirit guide.
Kids seeking a vision would talk to the tribal medicine man, the Shaman.
Some tribes had the Shaman give them something special to drink. Some tribes
dunked the kids in icy cold water. Some believed a steam bath would help them
have a vision. Some kids were sent into the mountains to spend a day or two
without food or water in the hopes that a vision would come to them.
The technique varied, but the goal was the same for most of the tribes on
the Plateau – to find your spirit guide.
The belief in spirit guides was
very strong. Sooner or later, everyone saw their spirit guide. It gave the
people of the Plateau great comfort and courage to know a magical being was on
their side, looking out for them personally. In
the culture of the people of the Plateau, everyone had a job – spirit guides
were no exception. Their job was to care for and caution when needed their
person to keep them safe from harm. Spirit
guides were not with you every moment of every day. They were guides. You could
ignore their advice and direction, just as you could ignore the direction of a
hunt leader – but it might get you killed if you did.
More Plateau Indian Ceremonies
Return to the
People of the Plateau for Kids (main index)
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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.