Mountain Spirit: The Sheep Eater Indians of Yellowstone

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University of Utah Press, 2006 - History - 224 pages
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There is still a pervasive notion that Indians did not inhabit the Yellowstone area. Drawing on the results of ongoing archaeological excavations and extensive ethnographic work among descendant native peoples, Mountain Spirit discusses the many groups that have in fact visited or lived in the area in prehistoric and historic times. In particular, the Shoshone group known as Tukudika, or Sheep Eaters, maintained a rich and abundant way of life closely related to their primary source of protein, the mountain sheep of the high-altitude Yellowstone area.
These robust people were talented artisans, making well-constructed shelters, powerful horn bows, and expertly tailored clothing that was highly sought by their trading partners. They moved in small, kin-based bands, accompanied by large dogs that were indispensable hunting and trekking companions. Moving seasonally through portions of the Beartooth, Absaroka, and Wind River ranges, the Sheep Eaters made skillful use of their environment.
Written for general readers, Mountain Spirit includes photographs, lithographs, and a number of color drawings and sketches of Sheep Eater life ways by Davíd Joaquin. It presents a vivid picture of the vanished way of life of a people whose accomplishments have been largely ignored in histories of Native peoples. 
  

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Contents

1 Objects of Pity
1
Looking for Sheep Eaters in the Historic and Archaeological Records
11
The Landscape and Habitats of Sheep Eater Territory
28
4 Living among the Powerful Spirits
36
Sheep Eater Relationships with One Another and the Outside World
52
A House for Each Season
66
Steatite and Ceramic Vessels in Sheep Eater Country
76
Sheep Eater Clothing and Presentation of Self
90
12 Hunting Bighorn Sheep for Food and Hornware
137
Seasonal Variety in the Sheep Eater Diet
146
14 The Sheep Eater Path to the Contemporary World
163
By Diligent Discovery Learning More about the Sheep Eaters
176
Notes
183
Bibliography
197
Acknowledgments
209
About the Authors
213

9 Barkeology or What We Know about Sheep Eater Dogs
103
Sheep Eater Bow Making and Its Superior Result
112
Sheep Eater Arrows and the Raw Material They Transport
129

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About the author (2006)

Lawrence Loendorf is an archaeologist at New Mexico State University. He is the coauthor of Ancient Visions: Petroglyphs and Pictographs of the Wind River and Bighorn Country: Wyoming and Montana (University of Utah Press, 2001) and Restoring a Presence: American Indians and Yellowstone National Park.

Nancy Medaris Stone is a writer and editor with a background in archaeology.

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