Q:

What did the Plains Indians eat?

A:

The diet of the Plains Indians primarily consisted of buffalo meat supplemented with other meats, berries, seeds and edible roots. Some specific foods consumed by these Native Americans included plums, turnips, Camas bulbs, chokecherries and currants, as well as venison, duck, elk and rabbit.

In the Plains Indian culture, men were responsible for hunting game, while women were responsible for gathering edible plant foods. Some tribes settled in semi-permanent villages periodically, and the female members of these tribes established gardens to grow food crops. In some cases, the planted crops were left to grow unattended during the months when the tribe was traveling and harvested in the fall when the tribe returned to the village.

As the primary component of the Plains Indian diet, buffalo was prepared in a variety of ways. Pemmican, a dish made with chokecherries, thin strips of buffalo meat and marrow fat, was a common meal prepared by Native Americans of the Plains tribes. Other common meals included boiled buffalo, tripe soup, smoked strips of meat and roasted intestines.

Since the Plains Indians consumed a varied diet high in lean meat and plant foods, they were typically well nourished. Research from Ohio State University found that Plains Indians of the 1800s were the tallest people in the world at the time. Height is strongly influenced by diet, so this research indicates that Plains Indians consumed a more nutritious diet than most Europeans and European-Americans of the same era.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What kind of food did the Karankawa Indians eat?

    A:

    The Karankawa Indians ate a diet that primarily consisted of berries, plant roots and other edible plants, as well as wild deer, turtles, rabbits, turkeys, oysters, clams, drum and redfish. They lived along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico, in southeast Texas, adjacent to the Coahuiltecans to the south and west, and the Tonkawa to the north.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why did the Plains Indians live in tepees?

    A:

    Plains Indians lived in tepees -- also known as teepees, tepes and tipis -- because these dwellings were easy to move as the Native Americans followed herds of migrating buffalo, or bison. Because they depended upon the animals for food and goods, the Plains Indians led nomadic lives in order to maintain a constant supply of bison. Tepees were relatively simple to transport and set up.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What did the Lakota Indians eat?

    A:

    Before moving to reservations in the 1860s, the Lakota Indians ate buffalo and occasionally engaged in agriculture, primarily growing corn and tobacco. Hunting was a way of life for the Lakota, and they followed the seasonal migrations of buffalo herds. As a result of their nomadic lifestyle, the Lakota lived in teepees throughout the year.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What did the Great Basin Indians eat?

    A:

    The Great Basin Indians ate seeds, nuts, berries, roots, bulbs, cattails, grasses, deer, bison, rabbits, elk, insects, lizards, salmon, trout and perch. The specific foods varied, depending on the tribe and where they were located in the Great Basin.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore