Hoebel, The Cheyennes: Indians Of The Great Plains Essay

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E. Adamson Hoebel’s The Cheyennes: Indians of the Wonderful Plains is a detailed, comprehensive ethnographic research of the tribe’s beliefs, techniques, and variation to their severe environment. Although not the strongest Plains people, the Cheyenne used their strengths to conquer their obstacles and maintain a cohesive, stable culture.

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A sedentary town culture from the Algonquian vocabulary family, the Cheyenne shifted from the uppr Mississippi pit to the substantial plains of Colorado, Nebraska, and Wy around 1800 to escape the hostilities in the neighboring Lakota (5). Their particular settled techniques were interrupted and they started to be horse-riding and nomadic, leaving behind their town ways. Hoebel depicts their particular culture while structured but flexible, “rational and competent in ethnic adaptation” (103), and aimed toward internal balance as a means of maintaining cohesion.

The harsh plains environment, with extreme weather conditions and very little water or perhaps wood, “is the essential ecological fact manipulating the Cheyenne” (63). They designed to this by becoming mobile, moving in respect to where resources could be easily acquired, mastering their particular gathering, hunting, and tradeskills over a wide area, and relying intensely on race horses. Their faith is hierarchical, with being at all amounts endowed with spiritual capabilities.

Spirits can easily manifest in human type and their qualities lie in their knowledge of tips on how to operate inside the universe. Hoebel writes which the Cheyenne consider “the whole world if essentially a physical system which is good in substance, but which must be correctly understood and used to keep it producing what humans need” (89). They see the world mechanically, with spirits responding somewhat naturally according to human functions.

To survive in their dry grassland environment, the Cheyenne divided their labor rigidly along gender lines. The women obtained roots, fruits, and seeds while also foraging to get wood, increasing and repairing tipis, while the men sought after big video game (mainly bison, antelope, and elk) for meat and smaller pets or animals (wolves and fox) intended for fur. Gender roles control not only labor, but as well most areas of Cheyenne interpersonal life. Males and females generally end mixed-sex mingling at teenage life, and men join some of five military clubs as soon as they reach preventing age, while women include only the Bathrobe Quillers (an outgrowth with their role since makers of clothing).

However , some deviation is present – “Contraries” become transvestites while overdoing the warrior role, although “halfmen-halfwomen” will be homosexual. (Both are isolated yet tolerated. ) The Cheyenne marketplace relied intensely on control, though for their location for the high flatlands they had limited access to various traders. They frequently served while intermediaries between poorer and richer tribes, traveled great distances to trade their very own meat and vegetable items (as very well as garments and household leather goods) for much more food, along with ornamental items like beads and silver jewelry. Their most significant commodity was your horse, generally acquired in trade or stolen by enemies in raids.

Cheyenne politics had been organized simply by family, kindred, and band, and ruled by the tribal council, exactly where power place “not inside the hands of aggressive warfare leaders nevertheless under the control of even-tempered peacefulness chiefs” (43). Composed mainly of older men elected intended for ten-year conditions, the authorities worked to fix internal conflicts, which were regarded as more frightening than battle, and had an almost supernatural power. A head priest-chief (the Sweet Treatments Chief) and five treatments chiefs presided and had control of most traditions.

Hoebel’s research examines the majority of major aspects of the Cheyennes’ lives and depicts them as a tribe that made it not by simply overwhelming electricity, but by simply adapting very well to a requiring environment, trading as well as possible, and preserving internal balance and steadiness. Hoebel, Electronic. Adamson. The Cheyennes: Indians of the Wonderful Plains.

New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978.

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