The Arapaho Indians
Helen W. Nygaard
Where did the Arapaho live?
The Arapaho Indians were a warlike tribe of Native Americans. The Arapaho Indians lived in several different places in the United States. They at one point lived in the Mississippi. The tribe then divided into two bands. One band of the tribe moved in a northerly path towards Montana and Wyoming. One group moved in southward track towards Colorado.
At one point in the early 1800’s the Arapaho Indians shared a reservation with the Shoshoni Indians in Wind River, Wyoming. As they moved westward and then divided they had begun to use horses for travel. Most of the Arapahos in the southern band now live in Oklahoma along with the Cheyenne Indians.
What did the Arapaho do?
The Arapaho were a great warring tribe however they also were great hunters. They hunted buffalo. The Arapaho hunted the buffalo and used each part of the buffalo for a purpose. They used the hide for tepees and clothes. They ate the meat, either at the time of the kill or they smoked it in order to save it for later. The Arapaho never wasted any part of the kill.
The Arapaho Indians were great farmers as well as cattlemen. With the introduction of horses by the Europeans and Spanish, the herding of cattle was made easier for the Arapaho.
The Arapaho Indians clashed with the white settlers because they were trappers. The white settlers were also tracking and trapping beavers in order to use the pelts. The pelts were also a part of the Arapaho Indian’s culture and this caused a clash between the two groups of people.
Where did they live?
The Arapaho Indians lived in various parts of the United States as already stated. The Arapahos used tepees a long time ago. In some regions where they still use some of their ancient practices, tepees are used for ancient ceremonies. Tepees are also used as sweat houses for some of the rituals.
The Sacred Pipe
An old story tells about a sacred pipe which was always used for special rituals. The northern band of Indians always carried the pipe ahead of them as they travelled. The pipe-bearer signaled the beginning and the end of each day’s journey. All of the Arapahos travelling in the northern band would camp around the pipe-bearer at night. The pipe is still in existence and is housed on the reservation in Wind River, Wyoming.
The Arapaho Indians were great cattlemen and farmers that raised many crops for their people.
Ewers, Joseph. (2000) “Arapaho Indians.” World Book Encyclopedia. Field Publications,
Incorporated. Boston, Massachusetts.