Lewis & Clark: Mapping the West - see http://www.mnh.si.edu/education/lc/lcmapping/

"The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the territorial size of the United States. Occupying that vast area were numerous Indian tribes.
Although we tend to think of Indians as one people, the tribes Lewis and Clark met were actually very different from one another. Indeed, in terms of language, appearance, and way of life they were as dissimilar from each other as the peoples of Europe.
Some of the Indians lived in wooden houses. Some lived in skin houses. Some made wooden boats. Some made boats of bark or animal hides. Some ate dog meat. Others would eat it only if starving. Some tribes were warlike. Others thought war was barbaric.
These are "cultural" differences. Tribes that lived near each other, shared a similar way of life, and spoke a similar language are said to share the same culture and are grouped together in a culture area. During their journey to the Pacific Ocean, Lewis and Clark traveled through three different culture areas: the Plains, Plateau, and Northwest Coast.

The Plains Indians were primarily nomadic buffalo hunters who lived most of the year in teepees. The horse was an important part of their culture. Although a few of the Plains tribes, like the Mandans and Pawnees, lived in permanent villages most of the year, they hunted buffaloes and had a lifestyle similar to their nomadic neighbors. Among the Plains tribes Lewis and Clark met were the Osage, Sioux, Cheyenne, Crow, and Mandan.

Upon reaching the Rocky Mountains, Lewis and Clark entered the country of the Plateau Indians. Living here were the Blackfeet, Flathead, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Spokane, and Yakima Indians. These Indians lived in the Columbia River Country and were fishermen as well as hunters.

Upon reaching the Pacific Ocean, Lewis and Clark met Indians of the Northwest Coast Culture Area. These people were excellent wood workers who built large houses, boats, and totem poles. Living near the mouth of the Columbia River were the Clatsop, Tiliamook, and Chinook Indians."

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Tribes of the West

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Cultural Areas


Type of Hunters


Other Important Details

Tribe Names

Great Plains
Nomadic Buffalo Hunters who followed the buffalo herds
The horse was an important part of their culture. Most famous of all Indians for their horsemanship, buffalo hunting skills, teepees and war bonnets.
Mandan, Pawneee, Osage, Sioux, Cheyenne and Crow
Blackfeet, Assiniboine, Crow, Hidatsa, Mandan, Yankton Sioux, Arikara, Teton Sioux, Ponca, Omaha, Otoe, Kaw, Missouri, Osage
Great Basis

Digger Indians - Foragers of edible wild plans

Shoshone, Bannock, Pauite
Near Rocky Mountains in Columbia River Country
fishermen (Salmon)

Yakama, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Nez Perce, Flathead, Wishram, Wanapum, Palouse, Cayuse, Klickitat, Metho, Blackfoot, Spoane
Northwest Coast
Near Pacific Coast. Near the mouth of the Columbia River

large houses, boats and totem poles
Excellent Wood Carvers
Clatsop, Tiliamook, Chinook and Salishan

Links to More Research Sources:

Buffalo | Cache Pits | Early Woman's Botanists | George Drouillard | Indian Burial Canoe | Knife River Indian Villages | Legend of Multnomah Falls| Lewis & Clark among the Tribes | Native American Designs & Colors | Nez Perce National Park | Pierre Cruzatte| Sacagawea | Sacagawea Golden Dollar |Salmon | States with Indian Names |

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Cute L&C .png
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