Social Traditions

Gender Roles

The Arapaho society was very well socially organized.  From the time boys were about 10 to 12 years in age they were separted from the girls and joined the first of many lodges that they would join in their lifetime.  This lodge was known as the Kit Fox Lodge.  While working with elders and learning the ways of life the boys would gain skills and slowly progress to the next lodge.  With each lodge came a different set of ceremonies and rituals for the boys to learn.  As they attained greater skills they were able to move on to the next highest lodge. Click here to better understand the lodge system.


Arapaho men had many roles in the tribe. Probably one of the most important role was his role as hunter. For a young Arapaho boy growing into adulthood, hunting was life. It was crucial that all Arapaho boys learned to hunt. This was their contribution to the tribe. It was the man's job to hunt and provide meat to their families and the tribe. Men also created tools and weapons when they weren't hunting. They created spears, knives, scrapers, and arrows. They used bones from many animals to create these pieces. In hunting, it was the man's job to not only provide the meat, but to skin and butcher the animal. Men were trained from boyhood how to properly skin and butcher animals, as not to waste any part of the animal. Every piece of the animal was good for something in the Arapaho.



Women were highly valued in the Arapaho. Arapaho women had many tasks to fulfill in the tribe. They prepared food, created and built the family tipi, gathered wild fruit, berries, and roots, created all clothing and cookware, and taught the young Arapaho girls about their social obligations. One of the most important tasks that Arapaho women had was probably creating clothing. Clothing proved to be crucial in the tribe and helped them survive, especially, through harsh winters. Women created leather pouches, moccasins, loin clothes, otter hair wraps, jewelry and much more. One of the most popular techniques to use in clothing was quill work. This process involved using porcupine quills as needles and beads to create ellaborate designs.