- from America 1492
The western Great Plains is a flat, dry area where tall grasses once grew everywhere.
In 1492, high winds whipped across the plains, carrying dirt or the flames of fast-moving lightning fires. Winters were very cold, and summers sizzled. The eastern Great Plains was wetter, with more rain.
Five hundred years ago, few Native American peoples lived year-round on the Great Plains. Many of them hunted on the plains during warm weather, then spent the winters in the mountains or woodlands that bordered the Great Plains. One group that did live on the plains was the Mandan people. The women tended fields of corn and raised squash, sunflowers, and tobacco. Mandan men hunted bears, deer, rabbits, and other animals. Their most important prey was the buffalo, because the grass provided perfect grazing for those majestic beasts. Twice a year, in the spring and fall, the Mandan tracked the buffalo across the plains. One such hunt has already started. Clouds of dust are rising in the distance, so a buffalo herd must be nearby. Let’s catch up with these long-ago hunters.