How Did The Plains Indians Get Their Names?

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Shanesubber Richardson Profile
The Plains Indians are the indigenous peoples of the plains and rolling hills of the Great Plains of North America; this of course is where they got their name from.

Their colorful equestrian culture and resistance to white domination have made the Plains Indians an archetype in literature and art for American Indians everywhere.

Plains Indians are usually divided into two broad classifications which overlap to some degree. The first group was fully nomadic, following the vast herds of buffalo. Some tribes occasionally engaged in agriculture; growing tobacco and corn primarily. These included the Blackfoot, Arapaho, Assiniboine, Cheyenne, Comanche, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kiowa, Lakota, Lipan, Plains Apache (or Kiowa Apache), Plains Cree, Plains Ojibwe, Sarsi, Shoshone, Stoney, and Tonkawa.

The second group of Plains Indians (sometimes referred to as Prairie Indians) was the semi-sedentary tribes who, in addition to hunting buffalo, lived in villages and raised crops. These included the Arikara, Hidatsa, Iowa, Kaw (or Kansa), Kitsai, Mandan, Missouria, Nez Perce, Omaha, Osage, Otoe, Pawnee, Ponca, Quapaw, Santee, Wichita, and Yankton.
Steve Theunissen Profile
Indian names were a language unto themselves, laden with descriptive, allusive, even magical meaning. An Indian baby was named soon after birth – usually by a medicine man or a paternal relation – and the entire village participated in the occasion. The infant might be named for an animal, for a physical phenomenon such as thunder that occurred on the day of birth or even for a brave deed that once had been performed by the giver of the name. A woman generally kept the name she received at birth, but a man often replaced his original name with a new one that celebrated a personal act of valor, recalled an encounter with an unusual animal or perhaps was inspired by a dream. However, a man who had a handicap or some other distinguishing characteristic was forever known by a name that highlighted the deformity, such as Hump or Big Hand.

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