"All things in the world are two. In our minds we are two, good and evil. With our eyes we see two things, things that are fair and things that are ugly. We have the right hand that strikes and makes for evil, and we have the left hand full of kindness, near the heart. One foot may lead us to an evil way, the other foot may lead us to a good. So are all things two, all two." - Letakos-Lesa (Eagle Chief), a member of the Pawnee
From the Trail of Tears to Wounded Knee and Little Bighorn, the narrative of American history is incomplete without the inclusion of the Native Americans that lived on the continent before European settlers arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the first contact between natives and settlers, tribes like the Sioux, Cherokee, and Navajo have both fascinated and perplexed outsiders with their history, language, and culture. In Charles River Editors' Native American Tribes series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the history and culture of North America's most famous native tribes in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
One of the most famous Native American tribes on the Great Plains is the Pawnee, and they were also once one of the strongest groups in the region. At the turn of the 19th century, there were about 10,000 members spread across much of modern day Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota and even into Missouri and Iowa. The Pawnee were able to thrive despite having strong neighbors to their west, most notably the Arapaho and the Lakota Sioux, and though the different Pawnee bands were autonomous, they also recognized the need to cooperate with each other to face various threats.