The way of life of Native Americans is highly fascinating. It was based on the crucial importance of the buffalo for human survival, and on the need to ensure that people cooperated to keep their society together, in the dangerous conditions of the Great Plains.
Native Americans were still nomadic when the first European settlers arrived in America - with each tribe split into smaller bands (of about 400). The bands moved 6-8 times a year, and camp could be broken (dismantled and packed up) in a few minutes. People put their belongings into buffalo-skin bags calledparflèches, which were dragged on poles pulled by horses.
Native Americans lived like this for two main reasons:
- Partly because the Great Plains would not support their way of life in any one place for long, and they had to follow the buffalo migrations.
- Also partly because they believed that their god, the Great Spirit, wanted them to live a life of continual moving.