Atsina (American Indians Ready Reference)
The ethnological origins of the Atsina, or White Clay People, are mysterious. The Atsina, also known as the Gros Ventre, once belonged to an Algonquian parent tribe that included the Arapaho. Until the seventeenth century, the Arapaho-Atsina hunted, gathered, and perhaps planted near the Red River of Minnesota. In the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century, the Atsina broke off from the Arapaho and moved northward and westward to the Eagle Hills in Saskatchewan. There the Atsina probably subsisted by gathering and pedestrian buffalo hunting, although they evidently also planted tobacco. In the middle of the eighteenth century, the Atsina acquired horses and became equestrian buffalo hunters. In the late eighteenth century, the Cree and Assiniboine pushed the Atsina from Saskatchewan southwest to the Upper Missouri River.
Like other Plains tribes, the Atsina alternately battled and allied with their neighbors. Atsina bands were often allied with the closely related Arapaho and the Algonquian-speaking tribes of the Blackfeet Confederacy. In 1861, however, the Atsina sought an alliance with their erstwhile enemies, the Crow. At some point in the mid-nineteenth century, the Atsina allied with their former enemies, the Assiniboine, to resist the encroachments of the Sioux into their hunting territory.
Atsina religion and social organization revolved around two medicine bundles containing the Flat Pipe and the Feathered Pipe. Stewardship of...
(The entire section is 478 words.)
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