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Chapter 3.2: Changing Lifestyles

Apsáalooke Writing Tribal Histories Project

Before No Intestines and Red Scout split from their original tribes to pursue different lifestyles, they lived in the “tree country”, on the western end of the Great Lakes region. Archeologists believe that these tribes lived much as the woodland tribes did, but with climate changes, fluctuations in the availability of game and the productivity of crops changed. The initial migration was probably sparked by an increase in the buffalo herds. Ancestors of the Apsáalooke and Hidatsa found more herds to the west and began to assume a more nomadic lifestyle in response to the new resource.

As No Intestines lead his followers in search of the sacred Tobacco plant, which would signal their new homeland, they traveled light, as they were in search of a new home. Building the kinds of lodges that were used along the lakes and rivers where they came from would have been impractical. So, when the Apsáalooke left their original tribe, they lived in caves or holes dug in the ground. Eventually, they developed the tipi, the preeminent mobile home for following the migratory herds of buffalo that would become their mainstay.

Changing from living in earth lodges to caves and overhangs to tipis was a major change in lifestyle and came with much symbolism. The Apsáalooke learned about the tipi and its meaning through the odyssey of an Apsáalooke man named Yellow Leggings. Each part of the tipi has significance to the Apsáalooke, and this is remembered every time the tipi is erected.

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