What were the Key Beliefs of the Plains Americans?

Essay by lizzyrose89High School, 10th grade April 2004

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There are five main beliefs of the Plains Americans. I am going to look at each belief in detail to see whether any of the five beliefs are more important to the culture of the Plains Americans than the others. The beliefs are:

·The Great Spirit.



·Medicine Men.

·Ceremonial Dances.

The Great Spirit was a very important belief for the Plains Americans. They all believed that the Great Spirit lived in the Happy Hunting Ground, where it ruled over everything. One of the biggest aims of the Plains Americans was to go to the Happy Hunting Ground when they died. To do this, they had to live a good life, and live harmoniously with nature. This makes the ideas of the Great Spirit and the Happy Hunting Ground similar to many other religions' ideas of God and Heaven. The Plains Americans also believed that everything had its own spirit, and so was part of the Great Spirit themselves.

This meant that all things were respected and all life was holy, and humans were not more important than any other living thing, so when buffalo were killed, an offering was left for the buffalos' spirits.

The Plains Americans also believed that power and nature always worked in circles. Everything around them was circular; the horizon around the flat Plains was circular, as were the sun and moon that lived in the circular sky. The harsh wind whirled in circles, birds' nests and the tipis that they lived in were circular. The seasons also made a circle, as did life, which ended with a second childhood. They believed that if they worked with nature and not against it, the natural power of the circles would become their power. The names given by the Sioux to the months show...