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Native American Facts For Kids was written for young people learning about the Arapahos for school or home-schooling reports. We encourage students and teachers to visit our main Arapaho website for in-depth information about the tribe, but here are our answers to the questions we are most often asked by children, with Arapaho pictures and links we believe are suitable for all ages. Photographs are the property of the sources we have credited.
|Here are links to the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and the Northern Arapaho Tribe. On their sites you can find information about the Northern and Southern Arapaho people in the past and today.|
Arapaho toy horse
|They do the same things all children do--play with each other, go to school and help around the house. Many Arapaho children like to go hunting and fishing with their fathers. In the past, Indian kids had more chores and less time to play, like early colonial children. But they did have dolls and toys, and they played games and sports like this hoop game. Arapaho mothers, like many Native Americans, traditionally carried their babies in cradle-boards on their backs--a custom which many American parents have adopted now.|
|Arapaho women were in charge of the home. Besides cooking and cleaning, an Arapaho woman built her family's house and dragged the heavy posts with her whenever the tribe moved. Houses belonged to the women in the Arapaho tribe. Men were hunters and warriors, responsible for feeding and defending their families. Only men became Arapaho chiefs, but both genders took part in storytelling, artwork and music, and traditional medicine.|
|Arapaho people lived in tall buffalo-hide houses called tipis (or teepees). Here are more tipi pictures. Tipis were carefully designed to set up and break down quickly. An entire Arapaho village could be packed up and ready to move within an hour. Originally tipis were only about 12 feet high, but after the Arapaho acquired horses, they began building them twice that size. Today, Native Americans only put up a tepee for fun or to connect with their heritage. Most Arapahos live in modern houses and apartment buildings, just like you.|
Arapaho war shirt
Arapaho women wore split skirts or long buckskin dresses, and the men wore
breechcloth and leggings.
Shirts were not necessary in Arapaho culture, but women frequently wore mantles, and in battle or on special occasions,
Arapaho warriors would wear special fringed shirts like this one. Sometimes the Arapaho decorated their clothing with
beads, porcupine quills, or rows of elk's teeth (like the lady at the bottom.) Both genders wore
moccasins on their feet and buffalo-hide robes to keep warm
in colder weather.
Here is a site about the symbolism of Plains Indian war shirts, and some photographs and links
about Native American clothing in general.
Both Arapaho men and women wore their hair in two long braids, which they sometimes wrapped in fur. Traditionally, Arapaho men tied feathers to locks of their hair, and women occasionally painted the center part of their hair red. Here is a website with pictures of these Native American hairstyles. Later, some Arapaho warriors began wearing impressive feather headdresses like their neighbors the Sioux. Both genders painted their faces with bright colors for special occasions. Arapaho people used different patterns for war paint, religious ceremonies, and festive decoration.
Today, some Arapahos still wear moccasins or a fringed shirt, but they wear modern clothes like jeans instead of breechcloths... and they only wear feathers in their hair on special occasions like a dance.
|No--the Arapaho weren't coastal people, and rarely traveled by water. Sometimes they built rafts for crossing rivers. Most of the time, however, Arapaho people traveled overland. Originally they used dogs pulling travois (a kind of drag sled) to help them carry their belongings. Once Europeans introduced horses to North America, the Arapahos became known as expert riders and traveled greater distances. Horse riding is still popular in the Arapaho nation today, but like other Americans, Arapaho people also use modern vehicles like cars now.|
Cheyenne Arapaho bison hunt
What was Arapaho food like in the days before supermarkets?|
Originally the Arapaho were corn farmers as well as hunters, but once they acquired horses they mostly gave up farming to follow the seasonal migrations of the buffalo herds. Most of their diet was meat, especially buffalo, elk and deer, which they cooked in pits or dried into jerky. The Arapahos also collected chokecherries, fruit, and roots to eat. Here is a website with more information about Plains Indian food.
What were Arapaho weapons and tools like in the past?
The most popular Arapaho weapon was the bow and arrow. The Arapahos were famous for their skill shooting arrows. Arapaho warriors also used spears and hide shields. Here is a website with pictures and more information about Native American weapon types.
What are Arapaho arts and crafts like?|
Arapaho artists are known for their quill and beadwork art, which they used to decorate clothing, moccasins, bags, and even their tepees. Here are some more photographs of Arapaho beadwork.
What is Arapaho music like?
The most important Arapaho instrument is the drum. There are two traditional styles of Arapaho drums: a flat drum that is held in one hand and struck with the other, and a large drum that stands on the floor and is played by many men in a circle around it at a pow wow or other community event. Here is a video of tribal drummers and dancers from the Wind River Reservation performing traditional Shoshone and Arapaho songs.
What kinds of stories do the Arapahos tell?
There are lots of traditional Arapaho legends and fairy tales. Storytelling is very important to the Arapaho Indian culture. Here is a story about Nihancan the spider trickster. Here's a website where you can read more about Arapaho mythology.
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