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Cheyenee Horse IndiansCheyenne - One of the most famous tribes of the Plains.  The Cheyenne formerly lived in what is now Minnesota and later moved to the present state of North Dakota.  From here they were driven west by the powerful Chippewa, who destroyed their settlement.  It was after this that they are believed to have joined the Arapaho, with whom they were ever after allied.

The Cheyenne, divided into what are called the Northern and the Southern Cheyenne, were a powerful, athletic race, and of superior mentality.  The men were noted for their bravery and the women for their virtue.  They were horse Indians and buffalo hunters and lived in tepees.

The Cheyenne were continually at war with both their red and white neighbors.  In 1876 they joined the Dakota under Sitting Bull and were present at the famous battle fought with General Custer.  Two years later they were defeated by Government troops and placed on a reservation in Oklahoma.  The climate did not agree with them and many died, until finally in September, 1878, they made an epic break for freedom under the leadership of Chief Dull Knife.  They were pursued, but out fought and out maneuvered the best of the United States troops, only to be overcome at the Dakota border.

Dull Knife once more led his people in an attempt to escape from Fort Robinson, nebraska, only to be recaptured.  The efforts of this proud and freedom loving people to regain their hunting grounds and live their roving, carefree existence make one of the saddest annals in Indian history.  They were eventually confined to reservations in Oklahoma and Montana and gave little trouble until the Ghost Dance religion swept over the Indian country.

The great tribal ceremony of the Cheyenne was the Sun Dance.  They also observed a Buffalo Head ceremony.  They had a bunch of four sacred arrows, each of a different color, which they claimed  had possessed since the beginning of the world.  No woman, white man, or half breed was allowed to come near the bundle.  it is still preserved by the Southern Cheyenne.

The Cheyenne had several war societies, the most noted of which was the "Dog Soldiers."  As the white man sometimes referred to the entire tribe as Dog Soldiers, some thought the name Cheyenne came from the French chien, meaning "dog."  however, it is from the Teton Sioux Shahiyena, meaning "People of Alien Speech."

Today the Northern Cheyenne live at the Tongue River Agency in Montana; the Southern Cheyenne and the Arapaho in Oklahoma.

The name is preserved by the state capital of Wyoming, and by a river in South Dakota; counties in Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas; the Cheyenne Mountains and Canons in Colorado; by a river and a town in North Dakota, both spelled Sheyenne; by Cheyenne Wells in Colorado, and towns in Oklahoma and Texas.
 
 

Related Information within this Site
[ Arapaho ][ Camp ][ Custer's Last Stand ][ Dog Soldier ]
[ Dull Knife ][ Ghost Dance ][ Horse ][ Horse Indians ][ Kiowa ]
[ Military Societies ][ Roman Nose ][ Sacred Bundles ]
[ Sand Painting ][ Sign Language ][ Sun Dance ]