Uses of Animals in Arapaho


The Natural World of the Arapaho

The Arapahos used many animals for food: the most important were buffalo, elk, deer, and antelope, but others included beaver, marmot, rabbit, grouse, turkey, and fish.

Other animals were captured for their hides -- in addition to the game mentioned above, these included weasel, otter, rabbit, mountain lion, beaver, swift fox, badger and skunk. Some of these had very specific uses, such as mountain lion (arrow quivers), skunk (medicine bags) and badger (ceremonial).

The feathers of many birds were used for decoration and ceremony, especially eagle, hawk, falcon, owl, crow, raven, turkey, grouse, magpie, and flicker.

The scent glands of skunks and beavers were used medicinally, as was bear tallow. Even spiders were used medicinally.

Finally, many animals played important roles in Arapaho mythology and related iconographic traditions, including the buffalo, elk, deer, antelope, bears, coyote, rabbit, swift fox, eagle, falcon, owl, grebe and/or coot, kingfisher, garter snake, horned toad, caterpillar and turtle, among others.

Which animal...

The following questions are designed as "teasers" to allow you to explore some elements of the Arapaho culture, language, and world view from a non-systematic perspective:

What animal was given to nursing mothers to suckle when their milk was not adequate?

What insect is named the same as a pronghorn antelope?

What insect is named the same as a buffalo bull?

What animal - in both name and myth - is associated with rain and fog?

What bird is the Arapaho equivalent of "Jack Frost"?

What bird speaks Arapaho?

What insect is connected with whirlwinds and tornados?

What animal is seen as connected with traditional doctoring techniques?

What insect was the inspiration for the name of two 14,000 ft. mountains?

What bird was named for the similarity of its call to women's ceremonial trilling?

What bird announces the coming of spring with its call?

What animal's skin is considered the most prestigious to wear?