*Explains the origins, history, and social structure of the Pawnee.
*Includes a Bibliography for further reading.
"All things in the world are two. In our minds we are two, good and evil. With our eyes we see two things, things that are fair and things that are ugly. We have the right hand that strikes and makes for evil, and we have the left hand full of kindness, near the heart. One foot may lead us to an evil way, the other foot may lead us to a good. So are all things two, all two." - Letakos-Lesa (Eagle Chief), a member of the Pawnee
From the Trail of Tears to Wounded Knee and Little Bighorn, the narrative of American history is incomplete without the inclusion of the Native Americans that lived on the continent before European settlers arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the first contact between natives and settlers, tribes like the Sioux, Cherokee, and Navajo have both fascinated and perplexed outsiders with their history, language, and culture. In Charles River Editors' Native American Tribes series, readers can get caught up to speed on the history and culture of North America's most famous native tribes in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
One of the most famous Native American tribes on the Great Plains is the Pawnee, and they were also once one of the strongest groups in the region. At the turn of the 19th century, there were about 10,000 members spread across much of modern day Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota and even into Missouri and Iowa. The Pawnee were able to thrive despite having strong neighbors to their west, most notably the Arapaho and the Lakota Sioux, and though the different Pawnee bands were autonomous, they also recognized the need to cooperate with each other to face various threats.
For several centuries, the Pawnee lived in relatively sedentary communities, relying on agriculture in what is today known as America's "breadbasket", and anthropologists have found Pawnee settlements that date all the way back to the 13th century. Inevitably, however, European contact began to drastically affect the Pawnee's lifestyle, especially when horses were introduced to their societies. Like other groups on the Plains, the Pawnee eventually became more reliant on buffalo and thus more nomadic.
Like other Native American groups in the region, the westward push by American settlers led to conflicts that nearly wiped out all of the Pawnee by the latter half of the 19th century. Nonetheless, the Pawnee were resilient enough to have their numbers bounce back, even as their lands were taken and they moved onto reservations. Today, the Pawnee live on reservations that are only a fraction of the size of the vast expanses they once controlled.
Native American Tribes: The History and Culture of the Pawnee comprehensively covers the culture and history of the famous group, profiling their origins, their history, and their lasting legacy. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about one of the most influential tribes of the Great Plains like you never have before, in no time at all.