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Gender and Plains Indian Warfare
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2. Shift from subsistence to commercial economy

3. Individual male Indians became self-employed

entrepreneurs

4. Producers on the margins of an expanding

global economy

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Slide 19

Subsistence needs:

Subsistence needs:

One Blackfoot family consisting of 2 men, 3 women, and 3 children required 24 bison per year for food. (Ewers 1955)

Subsistence plus Hide Trade:

52 bison per lodge per year = 6.5 bison per person per year @ 8 people per lodge. (Jacob Fowler 1821)

Per Capita Bison Consumption

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Slide 20

Reported Buffalo Kills by Indians:

Reported Buffalo Kills by Indians:

1821: 700 Cheyenne lodges were reported to be consuming

100 bison per day or 36,500 per year.

1830: 25-30,000 buffalo robes exported per year from the

Missouri River region by the American Fur Company

1846: 100,000 buffalo robes traded annually between

1830-1846 at Bents Fort in Colorado.

1847: 75,000 buffalo robes sold at Upper Missouri Agency.

1855: 3,150 Cheyenne were killing 40,000 bison per year

(44 per man) at Bents second Arkansas River Fort.

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Slide 21

Infrastructural Changes:

Infrastructural Changes:

1. Dramatic immigration onto the Plains

2. Sharp increase in the size of the Plains

Indian Population

3. Precipitous decline in the size of the bison

population.

Population/Resources 

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Slide 22

Immigration on to the Plains

Immigration on to the Plains

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Slide 23

Decline in Bison Population

Decline in Bison Population

Bison

Year Population

1800 40,000,000

1850 20,000,000

1865 15,000,000

-- -----

1870 14,000,000

1880 395,000

1889 1,091

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Slide 24

1850: Comanche reported eating their horses

1850: Comanche reported eating their horses

and raiding New Mexico settlements for

food.

1853: Cheyenne and Arapaho reported

spending half the year in a state of

starvation.

Early Reports of Indian Food Shortages:

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Slide 25

Size of Herd Sightings Increased with Time

Size of Herd Sightings Increased with Time

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Slide 26

Increasing hunting pressure on bison led to a greater massing of bison herds and to increased local variation in bison availability.

Increasing hunting pressure on bison led to a greater massing of bison herds and to increased local variation in bison availability.

This resulted in reduced access to bison for some Plains Indian groups.

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