From the sixteenth through the eighteenth century, the cultural patterns of the American Indians of the western plains were most dramatically influenced by
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major changes in ecological conditions
contact with tribes from eastern coastal areas
the adoption of European styles of dress
the adoption of European agricultural techniques
the introduction of the horse by Spanish explorers and settlers
The introduction of the horse had a dramatic effect on the culture of American Indians of the western plains. The horse vastly improved the Indians' ability to hunt buffalo and other game. As a result of adopting horseback riding, many tribes were transformed in a few generations: from semi-sedentary hunters, gatherers and farmers, to fully nomadic hunters. There was no major change in the ecology of the Plains in this period. Contact between Plains tribes and Eastern coastal tribes was indirect and unimportant. European styles of dress were not necessarily adopted by Plains Indians, nor would they have represented a major change in cultural patterns. The Indians of the plains did not adopt European farming practices in this period.