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Plains Indians

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  • Plains Indians

    Some interesting information in a press article.

    This is new to me:

    A Plains Indian warrior would sometimes become ill with Mercury poisoning after unknowingly painting his forehead, face or other areas of his body frequently with a natural substance Mercury-lined pigment dye before hunting or participating in a raid or battle.
    They also mention lead-poisoning, from the habit of carrying musket-balls in the mouth.

    This on their height:

    The Plains Indians were not very tall people during the 1800s. The average height of a Plains Indian was 56 - 59 tall.
    This is quite interesting -- since one sometimes hears quite wild figures based, I think, on estimated heights of individuals in literary sources.

    I've seen a fairly comprehensive survey of bone material over time -- It's online but I can't recall where now -- and I think that was giving 5′ 9″ as an average height (or perhaps it was 56 - 59 as here). Obviously, some individuals were taller, and some tribes seemed to have been on average, too. I think the Crow were said to have been. The Oasge were geneally reckoned the tallest (they were on the edge of the Plains and farmed as well). But we seem to have an average height that's comparable to some prehistoric populations -- and to the height in current First World countries -- but not, on the whole, greater.

    It's interesting that the ages of white captive boys were sometimes under-estimated by U.S. Army medical officers examining them: The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier (9780312317898): Scott Zesch: Books

    It's suggested by Scot Zesch that this underestimate of age occured, because perhaps these boys hadn't grown as much as they would have at home. Yet while these children had what we would consider a tough time, the boys seem on the whole not have been treated any more harshly than their captors' own male children, and not deliberately underfed.

    It's certainly interesting. It's something of a regular claim in Paleo Diet circles that hunters must always be bigger than agriculturalists. That certainly can be true, but it doesnt always seem to be so.

    Anyway, I've gone into a digression. Here's the article -- also inludes three linked YouTube videos, which I haven't seen yet:

    Op-Ed: Michael Bad-Hand Terry talks at Oregon Trail Interpretive Center (Includes first-hand account)

  • #2
    interesting observations and in line with questions i have had for awhile. my generation (baby boom) is generally taller,bigger than my parents ("greats"). lower mid class family. typical days food: corn flakes,milk and sugar for breakfast;school lunch or PBJ,apple and cookie for lunch;some kind of meat,cooked however,indoors,some form of potato and veg,usually canned for supper. maybe bedtime snack. our candy intake was very limited. i had 1 6oz coke a week,maybe. ice cream,cake and pie rare treat on special days. my gen is living longer and on more corrective drugs than my parents. most "greats" are/were on a ton of shit before the end,however. my daughters gen (baby bust) is bigger,taller and heavier (fatter). verdict is still out my grands gen. have seen many grade school age obese kids around. many of whose parents have been here awhile,but,are or were likely "undocumented". don't know what any of this means. seems as though modern diets CAN be of some benefit but not for long;not in excess and not in the face of inactivity, excess sugar intake,easy availability of fast food and use of HFCS.