Plains Indians


Northeastern woodlands
Plains Indians
Nations of the Pacific
Subarctic Peoples
The Inuit


In the great grass-lands of the interior where millions of buffaloes lived, plains Indians developed a nomadic lifestyle centered on the buffalo. Plain Indians hunted in groups and developed cooperative methods to hunt and kill plains bison in mass quantities (buffalo jumps / buffalo pounds). Buffaloes were hunted not only for food, but for dwellings, clothes, fuel and dozens of other artefacts used in everyday life.




Buffalo hunters traded with southern and eastern neighbours for agricultural products. When horses were introduced by the Spanish, the Plain Indians quickly learned horse breeding and riding and a new socio-eco system based on horse trading developed.




"The languages spoken by the indigenous people of the Plains in what is now Canada belong to three linguistic families. Algonquian languages were spoken by the Blackfoot, Plains Cree (Nêhiyawak), Gros Ventre (Atsina) and Plains Ojibwa; Siouan languages were those of the Nakota (Assiniboine), and Dakota. Dene was spoken by the TsuuT’ina (Sarcee). Languages from separate families are completely divergent, and within each family languages may be similar but largely divergent. This linguistic diversity and the high mobility of the nomadic population on the Plains encouraged the development of communication by means of hand gestures or sign language."


Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia, Aboriginal People: Plains,