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Plains Indians had distinct beliefs about war. They did not aim to conquer land, as they did not believe individuals could own land. Instead they fought for hunting and living space, as well as for resources such as goods, horses and weapons. 

Plains Indians had distinct beliefs about war. They did not aim to conquer land, as they did not believe individuals could own land. Instead they fought for hunting and living space, as well as for resources such as goods, horses and weapons.

 

Young men were incredibly valuable to tribes as they were the main hunters and protectors. Plains Indians therefore developed methods to reduce the number of young men dying in conflict. For example, Plains Indians did not think it was heroic to die in battle. If they were outnumbered, Plains Indians would run away so that they could continue to provide for their tribe.

 

Plains Indians also practiced the ‘counting coup’. It was considered braver to get close enough to your enemy that you can touch them (to ‘count coup’) than to kill them from a distance using weapons. Warriors who had been touched would have to stay still until they were rescued by someone from their tribe, or until the battle ended. This meant casualties were kept to a minimum. 

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