Young people usually married in their mid teens. Marriage
was a big deal.
Finding a Partner: Some tribes arranged marriages, but either
the girl or the boy could refuse to marry the person their parents chose.
There may have been
disappointment felt, but no shame was attached to this refusal. Some tribes believed in
proposals, and left it up to the kids to decide who and when
they chose to marry. Some tribes held a dance, where
young people selected partners. Many young
couples had already decided who to marry before the dance. This
dance was mostly for fun. During a partner selection dance, if a young man wanted to marry
a certain young woman; he grabbed the sash around her waist and reeled her in.
If she allowed him to continue to hold her sash, she had agreed to the marriage.
Some tribes on the Plateau used sticks on shoulders
instead of sashes.
The Wedding Ceremony:
Whatever method was used to select a
partner, the wedding ceremony was very similar.
There was a groom’s family feast, and then a bride’s family feast.
Gifts were given at both. These gifts were not given to the young couple but were
instead given to the
guests. After the bride’s family feast, the couple was considered to be married.
Where did newly married couples live? Until the birth of their
first child, the couple moved in with the bride’s family. After the birth of
their first child, they moved into their husband's family pit house, or
negotiated with the village Council to be assigned a space in the village longhouse,
or built a separate home of their own. The choice was up to them. Custom
dictated that whatever choice they made would be supported by both the bride's
family and the groom's family.
Return to the
People of the Plateau for Kids (main index)
American Games & Activities
Stories, Myths and Legends
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.