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The High Plains and Their Utilization by the Indian

Waldo R. Wedel
American Antiquity
Vol. 29, No. 1 (Jul., 1963), pp. 1-16
DOI: 10.2307/278626
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/278626
Page Count: 16
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The High Plains and Their Utilization by the Indian
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Abstract

This paper re-examines the thesis, which still persists in some quarters, that limited surface-water supplies, scarcity of through-flowing streams, a generally harsh environment, and shortage of wood for tipi poles, stakes, and fuel, because they precluded year-round occupation of the High Plains, would also have made regular seasonal residence and through-travel by pedestrians extremely difficult or impossible. A review of historic Indian occupation and natural resources, notably distribution and nature of the water supplies, suggests that seasonal residence patterns were entirely feasible for prehorse Indians, and that travel in and through the region, except in times of severe drought or winter storms, would have been practicable for experienced plainsmen, even on foot. The potential significance to archaeology of the larger perennial springs in and around the shortgrass country is noted.

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