The Plains tribes were hunters and gathers. Not everyone grew the same food so they often traded amongst tribes. There was plenty of buffalo meat to eat. They roasted it, made sausages from it and dried it out. They also grew pumpkins and other vegetables. Antelope was another common meal.


The buffalo was used not only food but also for shelter.  No part of the buffalo went to waste. The meat was either roasted or boiled for eating. What was not eaten immediately was dried so it would last.  The skin was used for clothing and shelter (house).  The shelter made from it was called a Teepee.  The horns were used as spoons, cups, and toys.  Even the bones were used as tools and weapons. The tail was used as a fly brush or whip. Click on the picture to read more about food.


The Plains Indians hunted buffalo and other game such as elk and antelope. To capture them they would surround the herd or try to stamped the herds off cliffs or into areas where they could be killed more easily. Life for the Plains Indians was much easier after horses. The Indians hunted with bows and arrows even after the European traders brought guns. The Indians hunted all year long. Because the buffalo was so plentiful the Indian hunters were not limited in the number of buffalo they killed. The buffalo was roasted over a fire, dried in the sun and made into jerky, and made into pemmican. Pemmican was made by pounding dried meat into powder and mixing it with melted fat and berries. The Plains Indians ate berries, cherries, wild greens, camas roots, and wild prairie turnip with the meat.