Some people say that they know everything about Indians. Not all of the information is all in a person’s mind. We are all able to study and do research on Indians any day at any time. Is the information that we read or hear about really true? There are some small important things that some of us haven’t heard, read, or learned about yet. Did the events that supposedly happened in the books or websites really happen? Maybe if we read or learn a little more we can get the small bits of information that we need to know or haven’t learned yet. How much did the stories and myths change over time? Are we getting the truth on what we learn? “You think you know, but you have no idea. This is the true life of the Pawnee Indians.”
One of the many Indian Tribes known to exist in America was the Pawnee Tribe. The Pawnee were known to live in Nebraska. The type of housing that they had lived in were earthlodges and tipis. They had built their own earthlodges and tipis. The earthlodges they lived in were large. They had about ten to twelve earthlodges that they were pemanently living in. The earthlodges held up to eight closely related families.
The tipis were used for the buffalo hunts that occured twice a year. The tipis that they used were ornated with many things such as porcupine quills and much more. Their villages were near rivers and streams.
The Pawnee Tribe eventually was forced to move out of Nebraska. They had to move to reservations located in Oklahoma. Not the whole tribe moved though. They were forced to move sometime during the late 1800s. Before they were forced to move, they became to be known as the most populous group to be living in Nebraska. I have not gotten enough research to completely tell how long they lived in Nebraska and exactly where in Nebraska.
This tribe was one very religious group. They were recognized as the most religious group on the plains of Nebraska. They had built an altar to pray on. Sitting next to the altar was the skull of a bison. The skull of the bison would be on the westside part of the altar.
The Pawnee had many gods that they believed in. The gods that they mainly believed in were the Morning Star, Evening Star, the Sun, and the Moon. The stars of the Morning and Evening were the most important to them. Their religious rituals and social life depended on the stars. They would watch the sky and stars because of their mythology. The stars that they focused on represented the male and female characteristics of their religion.
Their main god had the name of Tirawa. They say that Tirawa was the creator of the universe. Tirawa was known to be the deity of the Pawnee people. Deity means to be or be something like a god. The Pawnee said that Tirawa did many things like have other heavenly gods help guard their people. They also said that Tirawa was a spiritual kind of person.
Many people had died of various kinds of diseases. One of the main diseases that killed many of their people was Small Pox. It might not be so serious today because we have better antidotes to get rid of it. There wasn’t or not good enough immunity to heal the sick in their time. Since there wasn’t any antidotes, the tribe’s populations was reduced to half. This was a serious matter.
The Pawnee were partly type of an agricultural group. The women of the tribe were the one who usually took care of the agriculturing. The women were the ones who were responsible for planting, cultivating, and harvesting the gardens. Some of the things that the women would harvest from the gardens were pumpkins, maize or corn, beans, squash, and melon. After the food is harvested, they would save the seeds and harvest some more food. The maize was the mot important to the Pawnee people. Maize was more important than the buffalo during the ceremonies and in their mythology.
They used many kinds of tools to hunt and to harvest their food. Some of the tools they used for harvesting were rakes, hoes, and diggers. The hoes were made from the shoulder of bisons. The diggers were made from fire-hardened sticks. Some of the tools used for hunting were tomahawks, knives, and guns.
When the Pawnee would go hunting, they would travel up to 900 miles just to find good hunting ground. On their hunts, they would hunt for elks, bears, deers, otters, racoons, badgers, squirrels, bisons, skunks, quails, prairie chickens, and especially buffalos. The meat was fresh right after it was killed. Their main source of meat was buffalo. They would eat some of their killings as jerky. There were probably more things they killed to eat but the research I have done does not tell more.
Like all of the other tribes, the Pawnee Tribe wore clothes. The thing that most of the women and men wore were moccasins and buffalo robes. The moccasins were usually made of the skin of otters. They usually wore moccasins the Spring and Summer seasons. They buffalo robes were made from buffalo skin. They would usually wear the buffalo robes during the Winter season. They wore different kinds of clothing during various ceremonies. One of the types of clothing that they would wear during their “Bear Dance” ceremony was bear skin. They would wear a layer of bear skin during that ceremony. Most of their clothes were ornated with porcupine quills, beads, and much more. The men and women both had pierced ears. The earrings were made of beads. The men would pull out their eyebrows and their facial hairs. The women wore the buffalo skin dresses while the men were wearing breechcloths.
The Pawnee were known to live longer than any other group. The tribe was divided into four population groups (or bands). The four groups were the Chaui (or Grand), the Kitkehahki (or Republican), the Pitahauerat (or Tappage), and the Skidi (or Wolf). The population of the Pawnee had an estimation of 10,000 – 12,000 people in Nebraska in 1800 A.D. Star charts were a part of their art. They also used picture writing to help them.
Petalesharo was their chief. He was a famous Pawnee chief to the Pawnee people. Petalesharo was the one who put an end to human sacrifices to the Morning Star. The Pawnee had two enemies. Those enemies were the Cheyenne and the Sioux. The Sioux were their natural enemies though. I do not know what wars they have fought in or when they fought.
In conclusion, the Pawnee Tribe was one great tribe. With all of the research I have done, I have learned a lot about them. There are many Indian tribes out there that we should also learn about. Not all tribes believe or do the same things. You can ask many people or tell people about different tribes that you have learned about. Can you say not that you have learned more than you thought you knew? There are more Indian tribes in the libraries and websites for you to learn about. Well, I guess I can say that phrase again. “You think you know, but now you do. This was the true life of the Pawnee Tribe.”