Western Expansion, Manifest Destiny, and the Mexican-American War

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How did the environment of the Great Plains impact Indians' way of life?

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The Great Plains were very flat, and as such they are susceptible to lots of wind but also rain and snow and would become relatively grassy. Because of this, they were great places for bison and buffalo to thrive. These large creatures became the primary food source for many Native American groups because they were many in number and could provide food for a large number of people.

Since the Great Plains Indians were dependent on traveling bison for their food, they needed to be able to travel extensively and quickly. To accomplish they, they became more nomadic, creating villages of collapsible teepee shelters and small communities that could be quickly uprooted so they could travel whenever the herds of buffalo moved to a new area.

The vast size of the Great Plains meant that the many Native American tribes that lived there could exist in a number of different social structures. For instance, agrarian tribes like the Wichitas of the east lived in fixed settlements in earth lodges near...

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