- 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
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.
within this Site
][ Camp ][ Custer's
Last Stand ][ Dog Soldier ]
Knife ][ Ghost Dance ][ Horse
][ Horse Indians ][ Kiowa
Societies ][ Roman Nose ][ Sacred
Painting ][ Sign Language ][ Sun