Topic: Cheyenne

General History of the Western Indian Tribes 1851-1870 – Indian Wars

Up to 1851, the immense uninhabited plains east of the Rocky Mountains were admitted to be Indian Territory, and numerous tribes roamed from Texas and Mexico to the Northern boundary of the United States. Then came the discovery of gold in California, drawing a tide of emigration across this wide reservation, and it became necessary, by treaty with the Indians, to secure a broad highway to the Pacific shore. By these treaties the Indians were restricted to certain limits, but with the privilege of ranging, for hunting purposes, over the belt thus re-reserved as a route of travel. The...

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William Cody – “Buffalo Bill” His Life and Adventures – Indian Wars

One of the best known, and since the death of the renowned Kit Carson, probably the most reliable guide on the Western frontier, is William Cody, otherwise known as “Buffalo Bill.” His exploits have been the theme of a dozen novelists, and in the year just past (1870-72) his movements have been as accurately and frequently chronicled by the daily press throughout the country as they would have been had he been an official magnate of the highest degree. There is something especially attractive in the romance attending the career of one of these noted hunters, which never palls...

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Explanation of Plot of Cheyenne Village Site on Sheyenne River – Tributary of Red River

Dr. O. G. Libby, of University, N. D., and Dr. A. B. Stout, of the New York Botanical Garden, who ten years ago examined this old Cheyenne village site on the Sheyenne River, most kindly consent that I should announce the results of their work there; and Dr. Melvin R. Gilmore, Curator of the Historical Society of North Dakota, where the maps and notes on this village site are deposited, agrees that the material should be published. This generous permission enables me to add to this paper the maps made in 1908 by Dr. Libby and Dr. Stout, as well as their recorded notes, which furnish some further details as to the village as they found it. The matter is of interest to students of the Plains tribes, who will be grateful to these gentlemen for the opportunity to learn the results of their inquiry. The north face of village (fig. 33) is on slope of about 45° to old river bed some 40 feet below. To east a gentle slope extends. A shallow and gently sloping ravine separates village from a round topped broad knoll by road evidently the burial ground. To the south a gently sloping level area extends. To the west a trail can be traced about 20 rods. It extends down slope to edge of marsh land where a spring is now located. No large,...

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Early Cheyenne Villages

Information as to the region occupied by the Cheyenne in early days is limited and for the most part traditional. Some ethnologists declare that Indian tradition has no historical value, but other students of Indians decline to assent to this dictum. If it is to be accepted we can know little of the Cheyenne until they are found as nomads following the buffalo over the plains. There is, however, a mass of traditional data which points back to conditions at a much earlier date quite different from these. In primitive times they occupied permanent earth lodges and raised crops of...

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Cheyenne Genealogy

Researchers who believe they are descended from the Cheyenne will be limited in their research to the amount of records available which provide specific names, and even further, those records which provide proof of relationships. The first source for Cheyenne genealogy should be the Free US Indian Census Schedules 1885-1940 as they cover the years of 1885-1940 and you will likely only need to go back to a grandparent to find somebody alive in the 1930’s. Determining an ancestor in these records would verify descendancy, especially in those census after 1930 when the degree of Indian Blood is provided. Proving descent from records earlier then 1885 becomes much more difficult with the Cheyenne Nation. While there were certainly marriages between whites and Cheyenne prior to 1885, the knowledge of these marriages and official records showing proof are much more scant. The Cheyenne had a band of half-breeds which are mentioned both in the section on the divisions of the Cheyenne and bands of the Cheyenne Indians. While it is possible that the entire band is made up of half-breeds it is more likely that the band is named after their chief who was named half-breed. There is a list of people mentioned in the treaty of 14 October 1865 which contain several White-Indian marriages. it is unknown whether the Indians were Cheyenne or Arapaho, but at the time were part...

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Otter Creek Homesteaders

Otter Creek flows north into Montana out of the highlands in Wyoming and empties into the Tongue River at Ashland. Capt. Calvin Howes developed one of the earliest ranches on Otter Creek. He arrived in Montana in the early 1880’s and established the Circle Bar O Ranch on the lower Powder River. In 1884, Captain Howes drove 2,000 head of cattle from Texas to Otter Creek and maintained a successful cattle operation that survived the disastrous winter of 1886-87. The Creek’s naming is attributed to Howes. In total there were 50 families, 246 people on Otter Creek/Tongue River – Little Chief’s band has 20 families with 101 people. In a letter dated August 18, 1882 from George Yoakum to Pres. Arthur he states that Chief White Bull’s band has settled along the Tongue River and some have built houses. He also states that some of Little Chief’s band visited the Cheyenne in August, 1882 and now want to settle in the Tongue River valley. In a report dated October 3, 1882 from Capt. Ewers, 5th Infantry, Ft. Keogh, MT to the Asst. Adj. General, Dept. of Dakota, he states there are 10 houses, nearly completed, on or near the mouth of Otter Creek, and “so situated so each would have 160 acres”. NameMenWomenBoysGirlsPoniesCattleWagonHidesCabinComments Bob Tail Horse11418 miles south of Otter Creek. House not finished. Hollow Log1348 miles south of...

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Tongue River Homesteaders

In January 1881, all of the Northern Cheyenne that were sent to Fort Keogh were eventually allowed to move south and take homesteads near the Tongue River and on Rosebud and Muddy Creeks under the Indian Homestead Act of 1875. However, in 1900, the Northern Cheyenne families were removed or agreed to move under duress off of their private or individual holdings on which the Army under General Miles’ command had helped them settle and placed on the newly expanded reservation. In 1884 the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation was created on unsurveyed lands north of Tongue River. The Reservation boundaries excluded 46 Northern Cheyenne families who had been encouraged to homestead along the east bank of the Tongue River and along Otter Creek. At the same time, 46 white homesteads, both legal and illegal, had been established within the boundaries of the Reservation. In 1901, the white settlers on the newly expanded reservation lands in the Tongue River valley were ordered to leave. The Federal government paid the 46 white settlers $150,445 for their “improvements” (buildings etc.) on the west side of the Tongue River and compensated the 46 Cheyenne families with only $1,150 for their homesteads on the east side. Descendants of these families argue that because the government never paid fair value for these homesteads and that they were promised the chance to return, they still have...

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Sand Creek Massacre

On the night of November 28, 1864, about seven hundred and fifty men, cavalry and artillery, were marching eastward across the plains below Fort Lyon. There was a bitter, determined look on their hard-set features that betokened ill for some one. For five days they had been marching, from Bijou Basin, about one hundred and fifty miles to the northwest, as the crow flies, but some fifty miles farther by their route. When they started the snow was two to three feet deep on the ground, but, as they progressed, it had become lighter, and now the ground was clear. The night was bitter cold; Jim Beckwith, the old trapper who had been guiding them, had become so stiffened that he was unable longer to distinguish the course, and they were obliged to rely on a half-breed Indian. About one third of the men had the appearance of soldiers who had seen service; the remainder had a diversity of arms and equipments as well as of uniforms, and marched with the air of raw recruits. About half a mile in advance were three men, the half-breed guide and two officers, one of the hitter of such gigantic proportions that the others seemed pygmies beside him. Near daybreak the half-breed turned to the white men and said: “Wolf he howl. Injun dog he hear wolf, he howl too. Injun he...

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Desire to Punish the Cheyenne Indians

It is equally certain that the desire of punishing these Indians was increased, with loyal people, by the belief that their hostility was produced by Southern emissaries. How far their hostility was so produced will never be definitely known, but there was reason for the belief, without doubt. Soon after the beginning of the war the insurgents had occupied Indian Territory and enrolled many Indians in Confederate regiments. The loyal Indians tried to resist, but, after two or three engagements, about seven thousand of them were driven into Kansas. From the men among them three regiments were organized, and the women and children were subsisted out of the annuities of the hostiles. In the latter part of 1862, John Ross, head chief of the Cherokees, announced officially that the Cherokee nation had treated with the Confederate States, and, as is well known, there were several regiments of Indians in the regular Confederate service, besides numbers in irregular relations, among whom were Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Osages, Seminoles, Senecas, Shawnees, Quapaws, Comanches, Wachitas, Kiowas, and Pottawattamies, and none of them regained friendly relations with the United States until the treaty of September 21, 1865. On the south of Colorado the Comanches and Kiowas were at war, with Southern sympathies. The Mescaleros had taken the warpath on the advance of the Texans. To the north it was the same. The Sioux...

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Were the Cheyenne Responsible for the Sand Creek Massacre?

But were the Cheyennes responsible for all this? Quite as much so as any of the tribes. They began stealing stock early in the spring, and, on April 13, a herdsman for Irving, Jackmann, & Co. reported that the Cheyennes and Arapahoes had run off sixty head of oxen and a dozen mules and horses from their camp, thirty miles south of Denver. Lieutenant Clark Dunn was sent after them with a small party of soldiers. He overtook them as they were crossing the Platte, during a heavy snowstorm. A parley was commenced, but was interrupted by part of the Indians running off the stock, and the soldiers attempting to disarm the others. A fight ensued, in which the soldiers, who were greatly outnumbered, were defeated, with a loss of four men, the Indians still holding the cattle. After this fight, there was not a word nor an act from any member of the Southern Cheyennes indicative of peace, until the 1st of September, when the Indian agent at Fort Lyon received the following: Cheyenne Village Aug 22, 1864 “Major Collet, We received a letter from Bent, wishing us to make peace. We held a council in regard to it. All come to the conclusion to make peace with you, providing you make peace with the Kiowas, Comanches, Arapahoes, Apaches, and Sioux. We are going to send a messenger...

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Ash Hollow and Cheyenne Expedition

In 1856, eight years after our last look at the eastern edge of the Mountain country, there had not been much alteration in its appearance in the matter of settlements. There still remained the two pueblos on the Arkansas, one at the mouth of the Fontaine Que Bouille, the present city of Pueblo, Colorado, and the other some thirty miles farther up the stream, called Hardscrabble. The former was established in 1840, and the latter two or three years later. Their character may be gathered from the following extract from a letter of Indian agent Fitzpatrick, in 1847: “About seventy-five miles above this place (Fort Bent), and immediately on the Arkansas River, there is a small settlement, the principal part of which is composed of old trappers and hunters; the male part of it are mostly Americans, Missouri French, Canadians, and Mexicans. They have a tolerable supply of cattle, horses, mules, etc., and I am informed that this year they have raised a good crop of wheat, corn, beans, pumpkins, and other vegetables. They number about one hundred and fifty souls, and of this number there are about sixty men, nearly all having wives, and some have two. These wives are of various Indian tribes, as follows, viz., Blackfoot, Assinaboines, Arickeras, Sioux, Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Snake, Sinpitch (from west of the Great Lake), Chinnook (from the mouth of the Columbia),...

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Tribes of the Pike’s Peak Region

It would be interesting to know who were the occupants of the Pike’s Peak region during prehistoric times. Were its inhabitants always nomadic Indians? We know that semi-civilized peoples inhabited southwestern Colorado and New Mexico in prehistoric times, who undoubtedly had lived there ages before they were driven into cliff dwellings and communal houses by savage invaders. Did their frontier settlements of that period ever extend into the Pike’s Peak region? The facts concerning these matters, we may never know. As it is, the earliest definite information we have concerning the occupants of this region dates from the Spanish...

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Rev. Frank Wright, a Choctaw Indian

Third session, Thursday morning, October 17 Rev. Frank Wright, a Choctaw Indian, was introduced as the next speaker. Rev. Frank Wright. With the Choctaws the land question is, When shall we get hold of our land? All we want is the land. We were the first of the five tribes to agree to take it in severalty, and we are the last to get our allotments. I do not know why. So far as making farmers of the Indians, in dealing with a man you have got to take him as you find him. You cannot make blacksmiths of all the Indians, and you can not make farmers of them all. Some will turn to the ministry, some to medicine, and some to law. You can make no hard and fast rule about it. But the first principle to teach him is that he must labor to take care of himself. The Indian must become self-dependent. We have been giving them rations till they are pauperized. It is a scandal and a shame, and I shall be glad when rations are absolutely cut off and the Indians must work or starve. I have worked among the Apaches, who were held as prisoners, and have established missions among them, and I want to tell you what I have found there. These prisoners were compelled to work, and it had a...

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Games of the Plains Tribes

Amusements and gambling are represented in collections by many curious devices. Adults rarely played for amusement, leaving such pastime to children; they themselves played for stakes. Most American games are more widely distributed than many other cultural traits; but a few seem almost entirely peculiar to the Plains. A game in which a forked anchor-like stick is thrown at a rolling ring was known to the Dakota, Omaha, and Pawnee. So far, it has not been reported from other tribes. Hoop Game Another game of limited distribution is the large hoop with a double pole, the two players endeavoring to place the poles so that when the hoop falls, it will make a count according to which of the four marks in the circumference are nearest a pole. This has been reported for the Arapaho, Dakota, and Omaha. Among the Dakota, this game seems to have been associated with magical ceremonies for ” calling the buffalo 7 and also played a part in the ghost dance movement. The Arapaho have also a sacred hoop game associated with the sun dance. Other forms of this game in which a single pole is used have been reported from almost every tribe in the Plains. It occurs also outside this area. Yet, in the Plains it takes special forms in different localities. Thus the Blackfoot and their neighbors used a very small...

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