Arapaho are a tribe of the Algonquian family,
with the Cheyenne. They call themselves
Iņunaina, about equivalent to our people. The name by which they
are commonly known is of uncertain derivation, but it may possibly
be from the Pawnee larapihu (trader.)
By the Sioux and Cheyenne they are called Cloud
men the reason for which is unknown. According to their tradition,
they were once a sedentary, agricultural people, living about
the Red River Valley of northern Minnesota. From this point they moved
southwest across the Missouri, apparently about the same time that
the Cheyenne moved out from Minnesota, although the date of the formation
of the permanent alliance between the two tribes is uncertain.
The Atsina , afterward associated with the Siksika, appear to have separated from the parent tribe and moved off toward the north after their emergence into the plains. The division into Northern and Southern Arapaho is largely geographic, originating within the last century, and made permanent by the placing of the two bands on different reservations. The Northern Arapaho, in Wyoming, are considered the nucleus or mother tribe and retain the sacred tribal articles,
viz, a tubular pipe, one ear of corn, and a turtle figurine, all of stone.
As a people the Arapaho are brave, but kindly and accommodating, and much given to ceremonial observances. The annual sun dance is their greatest tribal ceremony, and they were active propagators
of the ghost-dance religion In arts and home life, until within a few years past, they were a typical plains tribe. They bury their dead in the ground, unlike the Cheyenne and Sioux,
who deposit them upon scaffolds or on the surface of the ground in boxes. They have the military organization common to most of the Plains tribes, and have no trace of the clan system.