Beliefs, Buffalo and Destruction: the Plains Indians in C19th America

Ref: C2226253

Discover what traditional life was like for the Plains Indians in 19th Century America, focusing predominantly on the Sioux Indians. We will start by investigating their beliefs and ceremonies, approaches to warfare, reliance on buffalo and their nomadic lifestyle. The course will then see how this way of life came into conflict with the new influx of settlers that came onto the Plains to settle and build houses such as the Homesteaders, or through the Plains to get to the west coast such as the Pioneers or the Forty-Niners for the Gold Rush. The course will culminate in looking at the various battles and wars that ensued, followed by the ways in which the Plains Indians way of life was systematically destroyed through the building of the railways, the hunting to near extinction of the buffalo on which they relied and the use of reservations.

Course aim

To provide a brief introduction and overview of the culture, beliefs and daily life of the Plains Indians of 19th Century America and the ways that the influx of new settlers led to the destruction of their traditional way of life.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify the main religious beliefs of the Sioux Indians in 19th Century America
  • Explain the ways in which the traditional way of life for the Sioux Indians depended on Buffalo
  • Identify the ways in which the Sioux lifestyle was nomadic and depended on moving around the Plains
  • Describe the ways that the building of the railways, the hunting of the buffalo and the use of reservations destroyed the Sioux Indians traditional way of life
  • Distinguish the ways in which the Sioux Indians way of life was different at the end of the 19th Century compared to their traditional way of life before the settlers came

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • This course acts as an introduction and can be followed in more depth on the six settler groups that affected the Plains Indians in the course 'Settlers, conflict and survival in the American West 1820-1900' which focuses on the problems that the settlers faced in making a life on the Plains.

Download full course information sheet

Beliefs, Buffalo and Destruction: the Plains Indians in C19th America

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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