Cheyenne Indians


Learn more about the Cheyenne Indians and their culture



Cheyenne Indians are a North American people, and one of the best known tribes of the Great Plains. The Cheyenne Nation consists of two united tribes, the Sotaeos and the Tsitsistas. The name Cheyenne means "Little Cree".



It is believed that Cheyenne Indians were originally from what is now northern Minnesota, although there is no clear history before the 1600s. At one time, they survived mostly on fish. In the 1700s, they obtained horses and started also hunting wild animals for food, particularly the buffalo. The ability to hunt enabled them to migrate to other areas.

The Cheyenne Indians consisted of ten separate bands and settled from South Dakota to Colorado. By the middle of the 19th century, they had split apart into two groups, Northern and Southern.

The white people became the greatest foes of the Cheyenne during the Indian Wars. There were numerous deaths, especially in the Battle of Washita and the Sand Creek Massacre. Initially, Cheyenne Indians were friendly to any settlers, but after these two battles, the Cheyenne became hostile.

The Southern and Northern Cheyenne were relocated to Oklahoma. Soil was too poor for farming and there were few animals to hunt. The Northern Cheyenne joined the Dakota Indians in the Battle of Little Bighorn, and killed George Armstrong Custer along with his army. This was known as "Custer's Last Stand". The U.S. Army attacked and defeated the Indians, and the Cheyenne population continued to dwindle. Those that weren't victims of battle were often victims of disease and starvation.

But some Cheyenne survived. Today the Northern Cheyenne live in southeast Montana on a reservation. Southern Cheyenne live in central Oklahoma. There are approximately 12,000 total Cheyenne. They strive to maintain their own culture, language, and religion.







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