Facts about the Bannock Native Indian
This article contains fast, fun facts and
interesting information about the Bannock Native
American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions
did the Bannock tribe live, what clothes did they wear, what
did they eat and who were the names of their most
famous leaders? Discover what happened to the
Bannock tribe with facts about their wars and
What was the lifestyle and culture of the Bannock
The Bannock tribe called themselves the Panati
and were closely related to the Northern Paiute
The Bannock tribe were originally hunters, traders
and seed gathers from the Great Basin cultural
group of Native Indians. The Great Basin social
and cultural patterns were those of the
non-horse bands often referred to as the Desert
Culture. These people were highly skilled basket
makers and wove the baskets so closely that they
would hold the finest seeds and even water.
When they acquired the horse they moved to the
hospitable lands and adopted the customs and
culture of the Plains tribes.
Bannock are people of the Great Basin Native
American cultural group. The location of their
tribal homelands are shown on the map. The
geography of the region in which they lived
dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Bannock
The Bannock tribe originally lived in the American Great
Tribal Territories: Southeastern
Idaho, southeastern Oregon, western Wyoming,
and southwestern Montana.
Land: Deserts, salt flats and brackish lakes
Climate: Very hot summers and cold winters
with very low levels of rainfall
Wildlife: The animals included deer,
sheep, antelope, rabbits, hares and snakes.
Fish were also available
Natural resources: pine nuts, seeds,
berries, nuts, roots, leaves, stalks and
bulbs. Indian rice grass was harvested
Map showing location of
Great Plains Native American Cultural Group
Harvesting Wild Rice
What did the Bannock tribe eat?
The food that the Bannock tribe ate included Indian
rice grass, also known as sandgrass, Indian
millet, sandrice and silkygrass. Rice
grass occurs naturally on coarse, sandy
soils in the arid lands throughout the Great
Basin. Other common names are sandgrass,
Indian millet, sandrice and silkygrass.
The nutritious seeds of rice grass were a
staple food of Native American Indians who
lived in the Great Basin area.
What did the Bannock tribe live in?
The Great Basin Bannock tribe lived in temporary
shelters of windbreaks in the summer or flimsy
huts covered with rushes or bunches of grass
The materials used were sagebrush, willow,
branches, leaves, and grass (brush)
that were available in their area. The more permanent winter homes
consisted of cone-shaped huts or houses called
Wikiups. Wikiups were built
using a frame of willow boughs and covered with
reeds, branches and grass. The wikiup was
rounded at the base and at the top of the dome
was an open smoke hole. Rocks were piled around
the base of the grass house for additional
insulation. Occasionally these domed shaped wikiups were built over a 2 - 3 foot foundation.
Bark and sometimes earth was added to the hut
covering in order to keep out the cold.
What clothes did the Great Basin Bannock tribe wear?
The clothes worn by the Great Basin Bannock men
traditionally consisted of breechcloths or
aprons made from sagebrush bark. In cold weather
twined bark leggings and poncho like shirts were
also worn. Fibers used to make Bannock clothes were
harvested from sagebrush bark and tule (a type
of bulrush). The fibers were dampened and then
pummeled until they could be woven or twined.
Robes, or cloaks, were made from furs,
especially rabbit fur, for added warmth. Trade
with the white settlers also provided blankets
for the tribe. The clothes worn by the women of
the Bannock tribe wore knee length woven fiber
aprons as a single front covering or double
apron that covered the front and the back. The
clothes worn by the Bannock tribe also included
clothing made of buckskin if deer inhabited
their regions. Bannock clothing for both the men
and women was adorned with fringes and feathers
and jewelry made from beads and shells.
What weapons did the Great Basin Bannock tribe use?
The weapons used by the Bannock tribe were
primitive and included bows and arrows, stone
knifes, spears, rabbit sticks and digging
What were the rituals and ceremonies of the
rituals and ceremonies of the Bannock tribe and
many other Great Basin Native Indians included
the Bannock Bear Dance and the Sun Dance which first
emerged in the Great Basin, as did the Paiute Ghost
Dance. Another important
ceremony was the Round Dance which
was associated with the pinyon (pine nut) harvest and
performed for increasing the food supply and
Tricksters also feature in the legends and
mythology of the Great Basin peoples as do
heroic figures or "transformers" who
transform, or change, the world into its
The Migration of the Bannock Tribe
The migration of the Bannock Tribe from the
harsh conditions in the Great Basin required a
totally different lifestyle to suit the climate
and natural resources of the area. The lives of
the Bannock tribe changed from nomadic seed
gathers to hunter gatherers who followed the
great herds of buffalo. The buffalo was the main
source of subsistence on the Plains and the
food, weapons, houses and style of clothes worn
by the Bannock tribe changed accordingly.
Food: The food of the Bannock tribe was
predominantly buffalo but also they also
hunted deer, elk, bear and wild turkey.
Their diet was supplemented with roots and
wild fruit and vegetables
shelters of the Bannock tribe were tepees, tent-like
shelters constructed from wooden poles that were covered
with buffalo hides
Bannock Breechcloths, fringed buckskin tunics or shirts
and leggings with warm buffalo robes to protect against
the rain and the cold