The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Ways of Life - Vol. 2

The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Ways of Life - Vol. 2

The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Ways of Life - Vol. 2

The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Ways of Life - Vol. 2

Synopsis

The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Their Ways of Life is a classic ethnography, originally published in 1928, that grew out of George Bird Grinnell's long acquaintance with the Cheyennes. Volume I looks at the tribe's early history and migrations, customs, domestic life, social organization, hunting, amusements, and government. In a second volume, Grinnell would consider its warmaking and warrior societies, healing practices and responses to European diseases, religious beliefs and rituals, and legends and prophecies surrounding the culture hero Sweet Medicine.

Excerpt

The Cheyennes have a tradition of a golden age when war was unknown and universal peace prevailed. All strangers met in friendship and parted on good terms. Such a far-off time, when hostile encounters were unknown, is told of by many of the tribes of the northern plains.

No doubt there were fightings and wars long before the coming of the white man, but these were probably the results of more or less temporary quarrels, and were not bloody. The only incentive likely to have caused such fightings was the desire for revenge, and this desire, unless promptly gratified, was apt soon to be forgotten. The introduction of the horse, however, furnished to all the Plains tribes a new and strong motive for war, for by war men might acquire something of very great value. Until the coming of the horse, the only possessions of the Plains tribes, except food and clothing, were their dogs, and their arms and implements of stone and wood. When the horse came its usefulness was at once recognized, for here was an animal whose possession added immensely to the comfort and freedom of the people. On its back they could carry loads which hitherto they had borne themselves; it carried them and their families where they pleased, and revealed to them a means of discovering and venturing into new countries of which they had known nothing; it permitted the pursuit and capture of food and its transportation for long distances to the camp. Since everyone desired to possess horses, all men would exchange desirable things for them; thus no one could have too many horses.

Only two ways of procuring horses in any numbers were known--by capturing those running wild on the prairie and . . .

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