American Horse (Ve’ho’evo’ha or Ve’ho’evo’hame)
Son of Sitting Bear a.k.a. Three Bears, brother of the Cheyenne headman Tangle Hair. Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
He was a Northern Cheyenne who later surrendered at the Red Cloud Agency and was transferred to Indian Territory with other Cheyennes in May 1877. Not the famous Oglalla Sioux chief.
Beaver Heart – Northern Cheyenne warrior, present at Battle of Little Bighorn
Big Beaver (Homa’e Ôhma’haata or Ma’xêhoma’e) – Born about 1859. Was a young boy at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Black Moccasin –
Bobtail Horse (Va’kôhe’hamehe) – Elkhorn Scraper Society warrior, one of the first three Cheyenne to cross the river to meet Custer at Little Big Horn Battle.
Big Nose – Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Black Bear (Mo’ôhtaenahkohe) a.k.a. Closed Hand, Fist or Crippled Hand – Unmarried suicide warrior killed in hand to hand fighting with Custer’s troops, one of 7 Cheyenne killed in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
Black Coyote – Northern Cheyenne warrior. Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, later captured by soldiers in 1878, and committed suicide in prison.
His wife, Buffalo Calf Road Woman (Muts i mi u na) rescued her brother, Chief Comes in Sight, in Crook’s fight on the Rosebud, June 17th. The Cheyenne named this battle “Where the girl saved her brother” (Kse-e se-wo-is-tan-i-we-i-tat-an-e).
Buffalo Calf Road Woman fought beside her husband in the Custer fight 8 days later, and afterward was renamed Brave Woman.
Chief Black Kettle – (Mo’ohtavetoo’o or Motavato) -(born ca. 1803, killed November 27, 1868) was a leader of the Southern Cheyenne after 1854.
He was known as a peacemaker who accepted numerous treaties to protect his people. He survived the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864.
His village on Sand Creek, Colorado, was attacked by a force of Colorado militia under Col. Chivington in 1864 and a large number of innocent men, women, and children were massacred and their bodies mutilated.
He and his wife were among those killed in 1868 at the Battle of Washita River, in a US Army attack on their camp by George Armstrong Custer and his troops. They were shot in the back while trying to flee across the river.
Black Kettle Quotes
Braided Hair a.k.a. Brady – Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Brave Bear – Southern Cheyenne warrior, possibly the one who killed Custer.
Brave Wolf – A Contrary, fought at Little Big Horn, surrendered with Two Moon’s band in April 1877 and became the 2nd Cheyenne to enlist as scout for General Miles.
Buffalo Calf – Crazy Dog Society warrior, one of the first three Cheyenne to cross the river to meet Custer at Little Bighorn.
Buffalo Calf Road Woman – Wife of Black Coyote. Later renamed Brave Woman after Custer’s Last Stand battle. Also see Black Coyote.
Bull Bear – Chief of the Dog Soldiers, from a northern band of Southern Cheyenne; fought with bow & arrows in Gall’s charge up Medicine Tail Coulee.
Bullet Proof – Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Bushy Head (Hato’êstseahe) a.k.a. Bushy Hair –
Comes in Sight – Northern Cheyenne chief; had been rescued by his sister, Buffalo Calf Road Woman, at Crook’s fight on the Rosebud June 17th, after his horse was shot from under him. He was one of 5 Indians who charged in among the soldiers early in the Custer fight.
Contrary Belly Northern Cheyenne warrior a.k.a. Buffalo Bull Wallowing. – He was one of 5 Indians who charged in among the soldiers early in the Custer fight.
Crazy Head – 3rd ranking Cheyenne at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He was the son of a Cheyenne father and a captive Crow mother.
Crazy Wolf – Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Crooked Nose – Fought at the Little Big Horn.
Curly Horse (Mamâhkevo’ha) –
Cut Belly a.k.a. Open Belly – Unmarried suicide warrior badly wounded in the Little Big Horn battle. Cut Belly died a few days later – the last of 7 Cheyenne to die from the Custer fight.
Dog Friend – Northern Cheyenne warrior, fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Cut Nose (O’xeesehe)
Chief Dull Knife (Tah-me-la-pash-me)(a.k.a. Morning Star)
A principle Cheyenne chief.
He once killed a grizzly bear with a knife.
On Nov. 25, 1876, the cavalry under Col. Mackenzie attacked Dull Knife’s camp at daybreak, destroying 173 lodges and capturing 500 ponies. Although the Indians escaped, with heavy loss, they later surrendered and were moved to Oklahoma and placed with the Southern Cheyenne. Greatly dissatisfied with their new home, an attempt was made by a large party under Dull Knife to escape to the north in Sept., 1878.
Fort Robinson Breakout Spiritual Run
Eagle Tail Feather – Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn
Chris Eyre – Director of Smoke Signals and Skins
Fast Walker – Northern Cheyenne warrior, fought at the Little Big Horn
Flat Iron – In 1915 he was the last surviving Cheyenne chief who was a participant in the Custer fight at the Little Big Horn.
Hawk (Tee-tan) – Fought at the Little Big Horn.
High Bear – Northern Cheyenne. He captured the roster book of a 1st sargeant in the Custer fight and filled it with drawings of scenes from the battle.
High Walking – A son of One Horn, fought at Custer’s Last Stand.
Hollow Wood (Vehpâhoo’ôtse) – Northern Cheyenne warrior, fought at the Little Big Horn Battle
Horse Road – Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
High Wolf (Ho’neoxhaa’eho’oesêstse) – Cheyenne scout.
Hishkowits (Hǐshkowǐ’ts, ‘porcupine’, known to the whites as Harvey Whiteshield) – A Southern Cheyenne interpreter, born in west Oklahoma in 1867; eldest son of the chief White Shield (Wopohwats) .
Iron Shirt (Ma’aataeestse’henahe) – In the Custer fight at the Little Big Horn Battle. Not the Comanche chief.
John Issues – Fought at the Little Big Horn.
Kills In the Night – Northern Cheyenne warrior. Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Lame White Bull – A Dog Soldier warrior, from a northern band of Southern Cheyenne; in fight with Custer’s troops.
Chief Lame White Man (Ve’ho’enôhnehe) Warrior Chief of the Southern Cheyenne, one of 7 Cheyenne killed in fighting with Custer’s troops at the age of 38. Lame White Man was in the sweat lodge of Tall Sioux when Reno attacked, and first helped his wife Twin Woman, his son Red Hat and his daughter Crane Woman escape the village.
He did not wear his warbonnet in this battle, but was wearing a blue coat he found tied behind the cantle of a captured saddle when he was shot and scalped by a Sioux who mistook him for an army scout.
His Sioux name was Bearded Man and he is also identified as Mad Hearted Wolf (see Mad Wolf)
Limber Bones a.k.a. Limber Hand or Loose Bones – An unmarried 20 year old warrior killed in the fighting at Last Stand Hill. One of 7 Cheyenne who died in the Little Big Horn Battle.
Limpy (Nohne’kâheso) – Northern Cheyenne warrior, fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Little Bird – Wore a long-trailed warbonnet into battle; he was shot in the thigh after counting coup on a soldier in the hand to hand fighting during Reno’s retreat to the bluffs during the Little Big Horn Battle.
Little Hawk – Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Chief Little Horse (Mo in a hka kit) – A warrior chief, he led warriors against Custer at the Little Big Horn Battle and was probably the warrior who stripped the body of Tom Custer after the battle.
Little Raven, also known as Hosa (Young Crow), (born ca. 1810 — died 1889) Was a principal chief of the Southern Arapaho Indians from about 1855 until his death in 1889.
He negotiated peace between the Southern Arapaho and Cheyenne and the Comanche, Kiowa, and Plains Apache. He also secured rights to the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation in Indian Territory.
Little Robe – A Dog Soldier warrior, from a northern band of Southern Cheyenne. Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Little Shield – One of 5 young Cheyenne men on first night watch June 25-26 at Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Little Sun – Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Little Wolf (O’kohomoxhaahketa, sometimes transcribed ‘Ohcumgache’ or ‘Ohkomhakit’, more correctly translated as Little Coyote) Little Wolf was a Northern Cheyenne Chief (c. 1820 – 1904).
He was known as a great military tactician and led a dramatic escape from confinement in Oklahoma back to the Northern Cheyenne homeland in 1878.
Chief Laban Little Wolf – Northern Cheyenne warrior, later chief. Nephew of the Little Wolf who had led the march back from Oklahoma with Morning Star (aka Dull Knife).
Mad Wolf or Mad Hearted Wolf (Hahk o ni or Miv a wo nih) – His name actually means “wolf that has no sense.” Northern Cheyenne; born 1825, died 1905; one of the bravest and wisest men in the tribe; he rode with White Shield to meet Custer’s troops. (Also known as Chief Lame White Man.)
Magpie (Mo’e’ha) – Southern Cheyenne, son of Big Man; wounded in Crook’s fight on the Rosebud, he fought a few days later at the Little Big Horn.
Medicine Bear – Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He said that Custer was killed early in the fight, with Keogh’s troops, and that his body was found back of the ridge, 100 feet or more from where the monument now stands.
Chief Niwot or Left Hand(-ed) (c. 1825–1864) – Was a tribal leader of the Southern Arapaho people and played an important part in the history of Colorado. Chief Niwot and his people lived along the Front Range often wintering in Boulder Valley, site of the future Boulder, Colorado.
Noisy Walking (Nestonevahtsêstse) – An unmarried suicide warrior, fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn at age 18. Noisy Walking was the only son of White Bull; shot 3 times and stabbed in hand to hand fighting during the first charge among Custer’s troops nearest the river, he died of his wounds the night after the battle. One of 7 Cheyenne who died at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Old Bear – Northern Cheyenne, fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Old Man – Son of Black Crane; among a large group of warriors who broke through the timber in the Reno fight, just as soldiers were mounting to retreat to the bluffs; he was killed by an Arikara scout during Reno’s retreat.
One Horn –
Chief Pine (Šestoto’e) – Northern Cheyenne warrior, fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Was later made a chief.
Plenty Coups (Haestôhena’hane) a.k.a. Many Kills – This is the Cheyenne name for the famous last free chief of the Crow tribe. He was not Cheyenne.
Rain In the Face (Hoo’kôhevenehe) – This is the Cheyenne name for the famous Lakota war chief. He was not Cheyenne.
Roan Bear – Northern Cheyenne,a Kit Fox Society warrior. He was one of the first three Cheyenne to cross the river to meet Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Roman Nose – While Dull Knife was noted in warfare among Indians, Roman Nose made his record against the whites, in defense of territory embracing the Republican and Arickaree rivers. He was killed on the latter river in 1868, in the celebrated battle with General Forsythe.
Chief Roman Nose (Vohko’xenehe) a.k.a. Hump Nose – A principle Cheyenne war chief famous for attacking white immigrants. Killed in 1868. (Same man as above, different article).
Roman Nose (Voo’xenehe) – A Dog Soldier warrior, from a northern band of Southern Cheyenne. Killed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in the Reno fight at about age 16. Not the famed chief of the same name who was killed in 1868. (See above.)
Scabby (Oevemana) – Among the few Cheyenne present early in the Reno fight and one of the bravest; he tested his spirit power by riding back & forth 5 times in front of Reno’s skirmish line, drawing the soldiers fire, but was never hit.
Soldier Wolf – Northern Cheyenne warrior, fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn at age 17.
Spotted Hawk – In Custer fight.
Squint Eyes (Tichkematse) – A fascinating early employee of the Smithsonian Institution was Tichkematse, a Cheyenne Indian who worked for the institution in a variety of capacities between 1879 and 1881.
Standing Elk – One of the Cheyenne chiefs at the Battle of the Little Big Horn and a member of the Coucil of 44.
Standing Woman (Ma’heoneoo’e) –
White Shield Owner, commonly known to the whites as White Shield
A Southern Cheyenne chief born about 1833 on an upper branch of North Platte River Wyoming; died in 1883 near the present Kingfisher, Oklahoma.
As a young man he was known as Mouse Road.
His more famous name was bestowed on him in 1862 by his uncle, the noted Black Kettle, killed in the battle of the Washita, who had previously borne the name himself.
About the year 1878 he assumed his grandfather’s name of Buffalo Beard, which he kept until his death.
Wolf Robe or Ho’néhevotoomáhe (b. 1838-1841, d. 1910, Oklahoma) He was a Southern Cheyenne chief and a holder of the Benjamin Harrison Peace Medal.
During the late 1870s he was forced to leave the open plains and relocate his tribe on to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indian Reservation in Indian Territory.
Strong Left Hand – One of 9 Crazy Dog warrior society little chiefs or head men; in the Custer fight.
John Sun Bear – Northern Cheyenne warrior born in 1843. Fought in the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Sun Bear wore a buffalo-horn headdress into battle, one of 12 Cheyennes who wore warbonnets into the Battle of the Little Big Horn. During this battle, a bullet grazed his forehead in the first great Cheyenne charge on Custer’s troops, knocking him from his horse, but he continued fighting, and lived to age 85.
Jacob Tall Bull – Borther-in-law of Lame White Man. Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn where his horse was shot from under him in the Custer fight.
Tangled Horn Elk -Fought at Custer’s Last Stand.
Chief Two Moon (Ish i eyo nis si) (1847–1917) – Northern Cheyenne, nephew of Old Two Moon. One of nine little chiefs, or head men of the Kit Fox Warrior society, and one of 27 minor chiefs in the tribe at the time of the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Two Moon was among the few Cheyenne present during early fighting with the Reno skirmish line and helped drive them to the bluffs. He then led warriors against Custer; his band surrendered at Fort Keogh in April, 1877.
Weasel Bear – Cheyenne warrior, fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn at age 15.
Whirlwind – a.k.a. Little Whirlwind. He was an unmarried suicide warrior who was killed at the age of 16 during the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He and one of Reno’s Arikara scouts simultaneously shot each other dead on the east side of the river. One of te 7 Cheyenne who died in this battle.
Whistling Elk –
White Bird – Cheyenne warrior, fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
White Bull (Ho tu a hwo ko mas) a.k.a. Ice – Northern Cheyenne, born 1837, son of Black Moccasin. White Bull was a warrior chief who fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He surrendered with Two Moon’s band at Fort Keogh in April 1877, and was the first Cheyenne enlisted as a scout for General Miles. White Bull scalped Lame Deer, the Minneconjou Sioux Chief, after he had been shot by General Miles’ troops May 7, 1877 in an attack on their village. White Bull was later the most famous Northern Cheyenne medicine man and Sun Dance priest.
White Elk a.k.a. Wandering Buffalo Bull – Born 1849. White Elk was a veteran Cheyenne warrior in his late 20s. At the Battle of the Little Big Horn, he rode into battle on a borrowed pony and brought back a cavalry horse as thanks to the lender.
White Frog – In the Custer fight.
White Hawk – One of 9 Elkhorn Scraper warrior society little chiefs or head men; in the Custer fight at Little Big Horn.
White Horse (Wohk po am) – Dog Soldier warrior, from a northern band of Southern Cheyenne; was in the fight with Custer’s troops at the Little Big Horn battle.
Chief White Shield (Wo-pah-he-vah or Wopowats), meaning White Shield Owner, formerly called Young Black Bird; and Spotted Wolf.
Northern Cheyenne, son of Spotted Wolf and grandson of Whistling Elk.
White Shield was a leader in the Bowstring soldier society, and in 1870 was formally elected to the council of chiefs.
In the next year he was one of a delegation sent to Washington to represent the allied Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes then established on a reservation in Oklahoma, and with his companions received from President Grant a treaty medal bearing the device of a pipe, a plow, a globe, and a Bible, which were explained to symbolize peace, agriculture, education, and Christianity.
White Shield accepted all this literally, and on his return became an earnest advocate of civilization, schools, and mission work.
He survived the Washita massacre, where Custer’s army killed an estimated 100 Cheyenne men, women, and children. He was the one who had a vision the night before the massacre of a wounded wolf mourning its pups that had been killed or scattered to the winds by a powerful enemy. The vision prompted White Shield to ask Chief Black Kettle to move the village. His request was ignored.
White Shield was a hero of the Rosebud fight. He was fishing with his nephews when he heard the gunfire of Reno’s attack on the south end of the village. He overtook Bobtain Horse and others who were the first to meet Custer at the river in the Little Bighorn battle.
Harvey Whiteshield (Hishkowits, meaning ‘porcupine’) – A Southern Cheyenne interpreter, born in west Oklahoma in 1867; eldest son of the chief White-shield (see Wopowats). In 1893 he became assistant teacher in the Mennonite mission school among the Cheyenne at Cantonment, Oklahoma, and served as interpreter for the mission. He was chief assistant of the Rev. Rudolph Petter, missionary in charge, in the preparation of a number of translations and a manuscript dictionary of the Cheyenne language.
Chief Wolf Robe (Ho’néhevotoomáhe) – (b. 1838-1841, d. 1910, Oklahoma) was a Southern Cheyenne chief and a holder of Benjamin Harrison Peace Medal.
Wolf Tooth – Warrior in the Custer fight at Last Stand hill. He later said, “All I could see were tomahawks, hatchets, and guns raised above the heads of the warriors through the dust. There wasn’t much (rifle) smoke, for no one had time to reload. Soon the field was covered with bodies.”
Wooden Leg (Kum-mok-quiv-vi-ok-ta or Kamâxeveohtahe) Northern Cheyenne; boyhood name was Eats From His Hand. He was the son of Walks on Crutches.
Wooden Leg was a menber of the Elkhorn Scrapers warrior society.
He fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, where he counted coup on a soldier and wrenched the rifle from his back. He was also in the hand to hand fighting during Reno’s retreat to the bluffs.
Wooden Leg was later an Indian scout at Fort Keogh in 1889, and a tribal judge on the reservation.
His American name was Richard Woodenlegs. His grandson, John Woodenlegs, was the only Indian member of President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty in 1967.
Wounded Eye – Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Yellow Hair (Heova’ehe) – Older brother of Wooden Leg. Hee rode to the Reno fight dressed for battle in a long buckskin shirt fringed with hair taken from a Crow Indian killed in an earlier battle. He was also in the Custer fight at the Little Big Horn.
Yellow Horse (Heove’hamehe) – At the Battle of the Little Big Horn, served as a lookout.
Yellow Nose (Heoveesehe) – Northern Cheyenne warrior. He was an Ute boy adopted by Spotted Wolf. At the Battle of the Little Big Horn, he charged up close to soldiers early in the Custer fight, frightening the troopers’ horses.
He is remembered for capturing a company guidon from the ground where it stood, on a charge in the Custer battle, and using it to count coup on a soldier as he carried it away.
This was the first charge among the soldiers on Last Stand Hill,and he probably had captured the General’s battle flag carried by Sgt. Robert Hughes of Troop K, before Hughes was killed.
Young Turkey Leg – Fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Famous Contemporary Cheyenne:
St. David Pendleton Oakerhater -Episcopal saint, deacon, warrior, and artist
Montano Rain – Child actor with Apache/Cheyenne Nations heritage. Rain is founder of his own non-profit organization HELP THE EARTH.
Michael Redfeather (Tenderfoot) – Actor of Southern Cheyenne descent, native american activist.
Joanelle Romero – An actress of Apache/Cheyenne descent.
Rod Rondeaux – A Crow and Cheyenne stuntman.
Suzan Shown Harjo – Cheyenne activist and writer.
Gail Small – A Northern Cheyenne activist and attorney.
Jeannine Stalling – Cheyenne activist
Viola Hatch – Activist, policymaker, tribal elder, past tribal chair
Jerome Bushyhead – Cheyenne artist, known as painter and sculptor.
Virgil Greenwood – Cheyenne artist, known for beadwork.
Harvey Phillip Pratt (born 1941) – An American forensic artist and Native American artist, who has worked for over forty years in law enforcement, completing thousands of composite drawings and hundreds of soft tissue postmortem reconstructions. He is also recognized as one of the traditional Cheyenne Peace Chiefs, also known as the Council of Forty-Four.
Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne name: Hock E Aye VI) – A multi-disciplinary artist. His art contributions include public art messages, large scale drawings, Neuf Series acrylic paintings, prints, and monumental porcelain enamel on steel outdoor sculpture.
Archie Blackowl – A Cheyenne painter from Oklahoma who played a pivotal role in mid-20th century Native American art.
Lance Henson – Cheyenne poet.
Merlin Little Thunder – Cheyenne Artist – one of the nation’s top Native American miniature painters. Merlin Little Thunder began his career in 1981. His work is included in many private and public collections including thirteen paintings in the museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. In 2005, he received first place in the painting category and second place in the miniatures category in the Santa Fe Indian Market.
Ben Nighthorse Campbell – Honorary Northern Cheyenne chief, and U.S. senator from Colorado.
Chris Eyre – Cheyenne and Arapaho director and filmmaker.
Ross Anderson – Professional World Cup Skier
Yvonne Kauger – Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice
W. Richard West, Jr. – Cheyenne lawyer and first director of the National Museum of the American Indian
W. Richard West, Sr. – Cheyenne artist and educator.
Chief Black Kettle (Mo’ohtavetoo’o) (born ca. 1803, killed November 27, 1868) was a leader of the Southern Cheyenne after 1854. He was known as a peacemaker who accepted numerous treaties to protect his people. He survived the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864. He and his wife were among those killed in 1868 at the Battle of Washita River, in a US Army attack on their camp by George Armstrong Custer. They were shot in the back.
Motavato (pronounced Moke-ta-ve-to) was born near the Black Hills of South Dakota sometime about 1803. Nothing is known about his early life until he had moved south in 1832, and joined the Southern Cheyenne who roamed in a vast territory in western Kansas and eastern Colorado.
Decades later, after having displayed strong leadership skills, he became chief of the Wuhtapiu group of Cheyenne in 1861. He was also made a chief of the Council of Forty-Four, the central government of all the villages of the Cheyenne tribe.
Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1851
Black Kettle first signed the Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1851. But, the US government was unwilling to control white expansion into the Great Plains, especially after the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush began in 1859. European Americans displaced the Cheyenne from their lands in violation of the treaty, and consumed important resources of water and game. Increasing competition led to armed conflict between the groups.
Treaty of Fort Wise
Black Kettle was a pragmatist who believed that US military power and the number of immigrants were overwhelming. In 1861 he and some of the Arapaho surrendered to the commander of Fort Lyon under the Treaty of Fort Wise, believing he could gain protection for his people.
The treaty was highly unfavorable to the Southern Cheyenne, ceding to the United States most of the lands designated to them by the Fort Laramie treaty. The new reservation was less than one-thirteenth the size of their former reservation.
A significant proportion of Cheyennes opposed this treaty on the grounds that only a minority of Cheyenne chiefs had signed, and without the consent or approval of the rest of the tribe. Many Cheyenne warriors, including the Dog Soldiers would not accept this treaty. They began to attack white settlers and raid farms and wagon trains.
Chief Black Kettle and the Arapaho chiefs led their bands to the new Sand Creek Reservation, a small corner of southeastern Colorado about 40 miles from Fort Lyon. This reservation land was not arable and was located over 200 miles away from the buffalo herds, their major source of meat.
The beginning of the American Civil War in 1861 led to the organization of military forces in Colorado Territory. In March 1862, the Coloradans defeated the Texas Confederate Army in the Battle of Glorieta Pass in New Mexico. Following the battle, the First Regiment of Colorado Volunteers returned to Colorado Territory and were mounted as a home guard under the command of Colonel John Chivington. Chivington and Colorado territorial governor John Evans adopted a hard line against the Indians.
Treaty of Fort Weld
As the Civil War progressed in the east, the number of soldiers in the area was greatly decreased and without protection, the Indians accelerated their attacks. However, the area settlers were enraged and soon formed a volunteer militia which led to the Colorado War of 1864-1865, and one of the most infamous incidents of the Indian Wars – the Sand Creek Massacre.
By the summer of 1864, the situation was at boiling point. Southern Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, along with allied Kiowa and Arapaho bands, raided American settlements for livestock and supplies. Sometimes they took captives, generally only women and children, to adopt into their tribes to replace lost members. In July 1864, Indians killed a family of settlers, an attack which the whites called the Hungate massacre after the family. Pro-war whites displayed the scalped bodies in Denver. Colorado governor John Evans believed tribal chiefs had ordered the attack and were intent on a full-scale war.
Evans issued a proclamation ordering all “Friendly Indians of the Plains” to report to military posts or be considered “hostile.” He sought and gained from the War Department authorization to establish the Third Colorado Cavalry. John Chivington led the unit, composed of “100-daysers,” whose limited term was specifically for fighting against the Cheyenne and Arapaho.
Black Kettle decided to accept Evans’ offer, and entered negotiations. On September 28, he concluded a peace settlement at Fort Weld outside Denver. The agreement assigned the Southern Cheyenne to the Sand Creek reservation and required them to report to Fort Lyon, formerly Fort Wise. Black Kettle believed the agreement would ensure the safety of his people. After he went to the reservation, the commanding officer at the fort was replaced by one who was an ally of Chivington.
Sand Creek Massacre
Ambitious, Chivington felt pressure from Governor Evans to use the Third Colorado Cavalry before their terms expired at the end of 1864. On November 28, Chivington arrived with 700 men at Fort Lyon.
At dawn on November 29, Chivington attacked the Sand Creek reservation. Following Indian agent instructions, Black Kettle flew an American flag and a white flag from his tipi, but the signal was ignored. At one point, he stood in the middle of the encampment waving the white flag above his head.
The Colorado forces killed 163 Cheyenne by shooting or stabbing. They burned down the village encampment and all their winter food supplies perished along with it. About 20 old men were killed, but most of the victims were women and children. Most of the warriors had been out hunting that day.
For months afterward, members of the militia displayed trophies in Denver of their battle, including body parts they had taken for souvenirs.
Though Black Kettle miraculously escaped harm at Sand Creek, his wife was shot several times. He later returned to rescue his severely injured wife, and she survived the multiple gunshot wounds, only to be killed at the Washita Massacre four years later.
Always a peaceful man, Black Kettle continued to counsel peace, even as other Cheyenne struck back with continued raids on wagon trains and nearby ranches.
Black Kettle’s band moves to Kansas
By October 1865, he and other Indian leaders had arranged an uneasy truce on the plains, signing a new treaty that exchanged the Sand Creek Reservation for two reservations in southwestern Kansas, though these did not include their former Kansas hunting grounds.
As Black Kettle led his band to Kansas, many refused to follow, and instead, headed north to join the Northern Cheyenne in Lakota territory. Yet others, ignored the treaty altogether and continued to roam over their ancestral lands. These roaming braves, referred to as Dog Soldiers, soon allied themselves with the Cheyenne war chief, Roman Nose.
The relationship between the two groups is a subject of historical dispute. According to Little Rock, second-in-command of Black Kettle’s village, most of the warriors came back to Black Kettle’s camp after their attacks. White prisoners, including children, were held within his encampment. By this time Black Kettle’s influence was waning, and it is unclear whether he could have stopped the younger warriors’ actions.
The U.S. Government, angered by the Cheyenne’s refusal to obey the treaty soon sent in General William Tecumseh Sherman to force them onto their assigned lands. However, Roman Nose and his followers struck back by continuing to attack so many westward bound pioneers that it soon halted all traffic across western Kansas for a time.
Treaty of Little Arkansas River
Black Kettle moved south and continued to negotiate with US officials. He achieved the Treaty of Little Arkansas River on October 14, 1865. By this document, the US promised “perpetual peace” and lands in reparation for the Sand Creek massacre. However, its practical effect was to dispossess the Cheyenne yet again and require them to move to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). Black Kettle’s influence continued to wane.
There, the Indians were promised that they would receive annual provisions of food and supplies.
Medicine Lodge Treaty
Black Kettle was once again among the leaders who signed the treaty – the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867.
However, once he moved his band to the new reservation, the promised provisions were never given and by year’s end, even more of the Cheyenne braves had joined with Roman Nose.
Washita River Massacre
As these renegade Cheyenne continued to raid farms in Kansas and Colorado, General Philip Sheridan once again launched a campaign against the Cheyenne encampments. Seventh Cavalry Commander, George Armstrong Custer, taking the lead in one campaign followed the tracks of a small raiding party to a Cheyenne village on the Washita River.
Well within the boundaries of the Cheyenne reservation, it was Black Kettle’s village. Though a white flag flew above Black Kettle’s tipi, Custer ordered an attack on the village at dawn on November 27, 1868. Both Black Kettle and his wife would die, along with approximately 150 warriors and an estimated 20 or more women and children. The rest of the camp (52 people)were taken as prisoners. The village and all their winter supplies were burned. They slaughtered about 800 Indian horses.
Dying with Black Kettle were the Cheyenne’s hopes of sustaining themselves as an independent people. By the next year, all had been driven from the plains and confined to reservations.
Black Kettle is buried in the Indian Cemetery in Colony, Oklahoma.
In 1967, Mildred Loving and her husband Richard successfully defeated Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage via a famed Supreme Court ruling that had nationwide implications.
Mildred Loving was born on July 22, 1939, in Central Point, Virginia. She was of African-American and Native American descent, and in marrying Richard Loving—who was white—violated Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act. After the couple was ordered to leave the state, Mildred wrote to then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who suggested she contact the American Civil Liberties Union.
Roman Nose (c. 1823 – September 17, 1868), also known as Hook Nose (Cheyenne: Vóhko’xénéhe, also spelled Woqini and Woquini), was a Native American war chief of the Northern Cheyenne tribe.
He was called Môséškanetsénoonáhe (“Bat”) as a youth. He later took the warrior name Wokini, which the whites rendered as Roman Nose.
Considered invincible in combat, this fierce warrior distinguished himself in battle to such a degree that the U.S. military mistook him for the Chief of the entire Cheyenne nation.
He is considered to be one of, if not the greatest and most influential warriors during the Plains Indian War of the 1860s.