Cultural Integration

The culture of the Plains Indians centered upon the buffalo. From its carcass they drew most of their material culture as they used its flesh, hides, tendons, bones, sacs men braes and many other parts for one purpose or another. Their religion was mainly directed at ensuring the success of the buffalo hunt. Their status system measured success largely according to a man's hunting skill. Their nomadic way of life was attuned to the buffalo migrations. In other words, the different parts of .the culture all fitted together in an interrelated system of practices and values.

When the white man killed off the buffalo, the Plains Indian tribes were demoralized because the core pf their culture had been destroyed. Just as a pile of bricks is not a home, a list of traits is not a culture. A culture is  integrated system in which each trait fits into the rest of the culture. It is no accident that hunting peoples worship hunting gods, fishing peoples worship sea gods, and agricultural peoples worship sun and rain gods. The different parts of a culture must fit together if conflict and confusion are to be avoided. Conflict theorists would add that beneath the calm surface of an integrated culture may lurk many unrecognized clashes of interest and great injustice and that an integrated culture need not denote a just society.