Chapter 16: The American West
The Great Plains
Indians of the Great Plains
In the middle of the 19th century, probably around 100,000 Native American lived in the Great Plains. They were very diverse, and were consisted of around 6 linguistic families and at least 30 tribal groupings. The Native Americans were then hurt greatly by the small pox and measles introduced by the Europeans. 2.
The Teton Sioux were Native Americans, who had lived in the Great Plains. The land in the Great Plains had attracted many buffalos and antelopes, which the Sioux had hunted. They were a nomadic tribe and lived in portable skin teepees. Before they had horses, the Sioux tribe treated men and women equally. After they had gotten horses, men had become the hunters. They also drove out other tribes that lived in the Great Plains. 3.
The Teton Sioux’s religion: they believed that everything was sacred and there was a hierarchy of how sacred everything was. 4.
The Sioux were all self-contained; they did trade with other tribes and when they became acquainted with white settlers, they traded with them too. ii.
Wagon Trails, Railroads, and Ranchers
At first the Euro-Americans believed the Great Plains to uninhabitable by people depending on agriculture. They called it the Great American Desert. When people wanted to go westward, they took their wagons; the wagons hurt the land as they went over it. 2.
Soon the government gave 2 companies generous land grants plus millions of dollars to build the transcontinental railroad. The Union Pacific built westward from Omaha, and the Central Pacific built eastward from Sacramento, California. In 1869, the tracks met at Promontory Point, Utah. Soon railroad tycoons figured out the benefit of building railroads in the Great Plains, and soon during the 1880’s, 40,000 miles of track were laid west of the Mississippi. 3.
Buffalos had started to reap much profit. Soon people realized that hides could be used to make leather, which...
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