Arapaho Child Life and Its Cultural Background

Arapaho Child Life and Its Cultural Background

Arapaho Child Life and Its Cultural Background

Arapaho Child Life and Its Cultural Background

Excerpt

The place of origin of the Arapaho is not known. Arapaho traditions tell that long ago, before there were any animals on the earth, all but one mountain was covered with water. Upon this mountain sat an Arapaho. "This Arapaho was a God. He had a pipe, and he gave it to the people. He showed them how to make bows and arrows, how to make fire by rubbing two sticks, how to talk with their hands; in fact, how to live" (Clark, 1885, p. 43). The Arapaho chief, Left Hand, said his people "originated in the north beyond the Missouri river" (Scott, 1907, p. 558).

The name Arapaho is probably of White origin. Arapaho do not speak of themselves as Arapaho, nor do other Indians call them by that name. Clark (1885, p. 43) wrote: "I have been unable to ascertain why these Indians are called 'Arapahoes.' They can give no reason for it, and I have not been able to find a similar word in any of the languages of the surrounding tribes. . . . The Southern Arapaho call the Northern Arapaho 'Red Eye,' also 'Sagebrush men'; the Northern Arapaho call the Southern Arapaho 'South Men.'" The Sioux called the Arapaho Blue Cloud People; the Shoshonie, Dog Eaters (Mooney, 1896, p. 789; Burton, 1862, p. 176). Lewis and Clark (1905, vol. 6, p. 90) called them Kanenavich in 1804; in 1819, Long (1904-7), vol. 17, p. 156) speaks of them as Arrapohoes. The Northern Arapaho are signed "mother people" in the sign language; the Southern, "rubbed noses"; the Gros Ventres of the Prairie, who at one time were very closely allied to, and perhaps, part of the Arapaho proper, "belly people" (Mooney, 1896, p. 954).

Linguistically, according to Michelson (1912), the Arapaho are one of the four major divisions of the Algonquian speaking peoples, the other three being the Blackfoot, the Cheyenne, and the Eastern-Central Algonquins.

Culturally, the Arapaho, belong to the great Plains area of North America. Their ethnology has the earmarks of that culture: they sub-

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