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Stolen Continents : The Indian Story. HIST 404-504/ AIST 404 MWF TLC 31 Professor: Ian Chambers Office: History department, 315 Administration building Phone: (208) 885-6551 Office hours: MWF 2:00pm – 3:00pm Additional office hours available by appointment E-mail:

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HIST 404-504/ AIST 404


Professor: Ian Chambers

Office: History department, 315 Administration building

Phone: (208) 885-6551

Office hours: MWF 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Additional office hours available by appointment



For those who are interested

  • Next semester my History 404 will be the second half of this course
  • i.e. 1830 to present


The following books are required.

 James Axtell, Natives and Newcomers: The Cultural Origins of North America

 Peter C. Mancall and James H. Merrell, eds., American Encounters: Natives and Newcomers from European Contact to Indian Removal – 1500-1850

Weekly reading assignments are posted on my website

From the home page click on Course Links



 Class Participation/Presentation – (30%)

 Research Paper – (40%) – 2800 - 3000 words

 Final – (30%)

Class Rules and Regulations:

Three-One System

You must wait ONE day before contesting any grade

You must write ONE paragraph explaining why your grade should be adjusted

You must challenge the grade within ONE week of receiving it.


Plagiarism WILL NOT be tolerated

Late Papers

You will lose one point per minute for any late work.

Any student who needs special accommodations should contact me as soon as possible


Week/ Date Important Notes

1 25-29 August Native American - Intro

2 1 – 5 September No Class Monday –Labor day Euro - Intro

3 8-12 September Contacts

4 15-19 September Contacts

5 22-27 September Contacts

6 29 Sept – 3 Oct Consumption

7 6 – 10 October Consumption

8 13-17 October Consumption

9 20-24 October Conversion

10 27-31 October Conversion

11 3- 7 November Conversion

12 10-14 November Clashes

13 17-21 November Paper Due Wednesday 19th Clashes

X 24-28 November Fall Break

14 1-5 December Clashes

15 8-12 December Conclusion

15-19 December Exam Week



  • Class will divide in 13 groups
  • 3 people per group
  • Each group will present on the articles assigned for that week
  • Additional materials can also be used
  • The presentation should not only recite the details of the materials but also pose questions to encourage class discussion

Research paper

  • As an upper level class the paper is a major component of your grade
  • You will be expected to produce a research paper of 2800 – 3000 words
  • Any topic up to 1830

Video Time

  • America’s Stone Age Explorers

Not horse mounted bison hunters

  • Soil-working farmers
  • Battled and won the fight against hunger over centuries
  • Living for hundreds of years, mostly, along tree-lined streams and rivers
  • People such as Mandan, Hidasta, Pawnee

Upper Missouri River

  • Present day North Dakota
  • Tight village unit for protection
  • Protection against possible threat of food theft

Primarily farmers

    • Very efficient farmers
  • Occasional hunters – Buffalo
  • Provided:
    • Food
    • Clothing
    • Shelter
    • Implements
  • But hunt was about more than supplies

Men worked together

  • Hunt used to socialize young
  • Taught skills and knowledge
  • Highlighted group effort above individual
  • Leader of the hunt – major figure in village leadership

Female role focused on cultivation of food in fields

  • Difficult conditions
  • Long cold winters
  • Spring and summer
    • Drought
    • Heat
    • Grasshoppers
  • Amongst other things challenged growing ability

Main crop Maize

  • Short season
  • Two stage harvest
  • 1) green corn
  • 2) fall collection
  • Best of harvest saved for seed or trade
  • Rest eaten or stored

Primary ceremony for Mandan

  • Okeepa
  • Midsummer celebration symbolized unity and prosperity for the forthcoming year
  • 4 day ceremony
  • Cardinal directions
  • Began with the announcement of the arrival of the Lone Man
  • The lone man
    • Creator of earth for the Mandan
  • Arrived in village
  • Greeted by warriors
  • Announced he had come to open the Ceremonial Lodge
  • Greeted in village by leaders
  • Began to tell the story of the Mandan from creation onward

Over the four days ceremonial dances also took place

  • 8 buffalo dancers stressing the important place of the Buffalo in Mandan culture
  • 4 others
  • 2 representing day
  • 2 representing night
  • Other animal characters surrounded the main dancers

A second ceremonial aspect of the Okeepa took place during the 2-4th day

  • Induction of men into the Buffalo Bull society
  • Knife cuts would be made in the legs, chests, backs and arms of men
  • They would then be suspended by by wooden thongs from the cuts

Ceremony was symbolic of the struggle that Mandan went through to obtain a living

  • Linked them to the animals and plants of their environment
  • Tied together the secular and supernatural
  • Created a sense of renewed strength and purpose

A second group, related linguistically to the Mandan, were the Hidasta

  • They had migrated to upper Missouri River country from the east
  • They gained knowledge of corn cultivation from the Mandan
  • Grew other crops such as beans
  • Very efficient farmers
  • Also detail another aspect of Plains life: movement and change
Devils Lake
  • Traditionally lived under the lake
  • Hunters found a vine root
  • Began to climb
  • Vine broke as pregnant woman was climbing
    • Power of women
  • Half still live in the lake

Movement meant carrying not only physical but also mental and cultural baggage

  • Another example is the Oklahoma Kiowa story of Devils Rock Wyoming
  • Even after living for many centuries in the southern plains of Oklahoma the story of devils rock is still important


The West – PBS

“When Dogs could Talk”


Kiowa’s links with the stars shared by many other nations

    • The dancers of the Mandan
  • Pawnees of the central plains
  • Traced their beginnings to the nighttime sky
  • For the Pawnee the arrival of two stars
  • The Swimming Ducks
  • Announced the arrival of Spring
  • Dictating the beginning of real and ritual year

Swimming Ducks

  • Stinger in Scorpio
  • Spoke to the animals told them to awake
  • Followed by lightning and thunder
  • Announced time for creation ceremony was at hand

Creation tied to 12 sacred bundles

    • Each representing star
  • First bundle – Evening Star
  • Priests opened it placing contents on yellow calfskin to symbolize Buffalo
    • 2 ears of corn – food
    • 2 owl skins – alertness
    • Hawk skins – warriors
    • Paint dictated four directions
    • Flint for fire
    • Sweet grass for incense
  • Priests sang as they opened it
  • bringing world back to life in the correct order

Evening Star was female

  • Morning Star male
  • In Pawnee creation
  • Morning star went on a heroic quest ended at Evening Star
  • He created the Sun
  • The combination created a girl
  • The first woman who went to earth and joined with a boy
  • Son of the moon and the sun
  • Became the first humans

Morning Star’s importance was such that he was able to extract a significant price

  • A human sacrifice
  • Periodically Morning star appeared to a warrior during the fall
  • The warrior would then lead a party to capture a girl from an enemy camp

Sacrifice would not take place until the early spring

  • captive accompanied hunters on winter hunt
  • Upon return she would undergo ceremonial preparation
    • Painted red, calfskin skirt, Buffalo robe, black moccasins
  • After a 4 day ceremony she was repainted
    • Red on her right
    • Black on her left
  • Taken to a scaffold and shot through the heart
  • Blood dripping onto a buffalo tongue and heart which was then burnt in a ceremonial fire

Farther west in the Great Basin

  • 3 groupings had emerged
  • 1) Shosones
  • 2) Utes
  • 3) Paiutes
  • Shoshones
  • broad area Western Wyoming to California and Nevada

Hunter gathers

  • Travelled extensively to gather necessary food
    • What ever the land would provide
  • In the autumn they would hunt the Pronghorn antelope
    • Children hunted rabbit
  • Played a similar role to the buffalo
  • Highly mobile
  • Led to limited fixed housing and different kind of ritual


  • Utah and western Colorado
  • Greater rainfall led to more abundant plants and animals
  • Antelope and rabbits
  • Buffalo, deer, elk mountain sheep, and mouse
  • Also took food from rivers and streams
  • Estimated location of diet
    • 1/3 from water
    • 1/3 from gathering
    • 1/3 from other


  • Composed of three broad groupings
  • Northern
    • Eastern Oregon through western Nevada
  • Southern
    • Southern Nevada southwest Utah / northwest Arizona
  • Owens Valley
    • Small region east of the Sierra Nevada based around Owens valley


  • Again these people often gained a lot of their sustenance from the water
  • Not only from fish but also from water fowl such a ducks
  • As with all hunting and crop gathering not only was skill and stealth needed
  • but also supernatural power
  • Religious leaders were needed to predict of assist in ensuring a successful hunt or crop


  • Lived in a harsh environment
  • Forced them to be mobile
  • More nutrition coming from gathering than hunting
  • Years of experience allowed them to live in places where others could not

Owens valley

  • The presence of water in the valley allowed a degree of sedentary life style
  • Irrigation allowed for greater plant crops
  • Not planed growth – rather flooding the regions of natural crops
  • Increasing the size of naturally occurring crops

Region populated a long time before the arrival of Europeans

  • Also seen centuries of movement and relocation
  • Trade routes had been established
  • Environments had been understood and managed
  • People had developed a relationship to each other and to the region
  • A relationship that exists to this day