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Indigenous Peoples' Literature

Tse-tsehese-staestse
(Cheyenne)
Literature


"A nation is not conquered
Until the hearts of its women are on the ground.
Then it is finished,
No matter how brave its warriors
Or how strong their weapons."

Cheyenne proverb

Hanaya, Netonetomohta?


"He, our Father, He has shown His mercy unto me. In peace I walk the straight road"

Morning Song


Stories

Eagle War Feathers
Enough is Enough
Falling-Star (Northern Cheyenne)
How the Buffalo Hunt Began
How the First White Man Came to the Cheyennes
Origin of the Buffalo
Yellowstone Valley and the Great Flood


The Cheyenne lived in a valley next to a herd of buffalo. There was also a beautiful bird that also lived there and every time the warriors went to hunt the buffalo the bird would fly up and warn the buffalo that the Indians were coming to kill them and they would flee. Slowly the tribe was starving to death until a warrior decided to do something about it; so one night he went out on the prairie and dug a hole. He got into the hole and covered it with limbs and grass and then placed some bait on top. The next day the bird saw the bait and landed on top of the trap. The warrior grabbed the bird and tied a cord to its leg. He then threatened to punish the beautiful bird but the bird begged and pleaded that he would never warn the buffalo again so the warrior released him. The beautiful bird flew into the sky and then laughed at the warrior and said; "I lied to you, I lied to you. I am going to warn the buffalo." The warrior then pulled the bird down from the sky by the cord and told the bird that this time he would be punished.

The warrior built a smoky fire and turned the beautiful bird over and over in the smoke and this is how we got the CROW.

Source: Jack Powell


Other Cheyenne Home Pages

Cheyenne Warrior (Film by Michael B. Druxman)
Links to Other Cheyenne Home Pages

Tse-tsehese-staestse (Cheyenne {shy-an'} )

Tse-tsehese-staestse is what the Cheyenne call themselves. The word Cheyenne was believed to come from the French word chien for dog. The French traders called these people this because of the famous dog soldiers of the Cheyenne nation. This is erroneous. The now accepted etymology of the word Cheyenne is that it is the anglicized word Shyhela, which is Sioux.

The Cheyenne people are the most western branch of the Algonquian people. They originally came from the great lakes area. There are many theories about why the Cheyenne moved from the great lakes area. Most of them involve competition in the area with the Ojibwe, Ree, and Mandan. They originally lived as sedentary farmers in northeastern Minnesota, from which they began migrating westward in the late 1600s; they later settled along the Cheyenne River of North Dakota. Dislodged ca.1770, they gradually moved southwestward; when encountered (1804) by the Lewis and Clark expedition, they were living as nomadic buffalo-hunters in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Cheyenne Council

Religiously, the Cheyenne were guided to the plains area by Maheóo. They also were sent a prophet named Sweet Medicine who helped organize themselves, and developed a code to live by. He gave them their first sacred item -- the four sacred arrows. It was at this point the Cheyenne became a powerful force to be reckoned with. Their hunting territory extended from the Platte River to what is now eastern Montana. A southern group also had hunting grounds around the Arkansas River. Another group of people known as the Sohtaio also joined the Cheyenne. It is said that these two groups of people were one day fighting, when the Cheyenne overheard the Sohtaio speak amongst themselves. To their surprise, they could understand the people. Peace was quickly pursued and these people have lived with the Cheyenne ever since.

Eric Spotted Elk

In 1832 the tribe split into two branches, the northern Cheyenne, who inhabited the area around the Platte River, and the southern Cheyenne, who lived near the Arkansas River. The Cheyenne were constantly at war with the Crow until 1840, when an alliance was formed with the KIOWA, APACHE, and COMANCHE. From 1857 to 1879 they fought white settlers and the U.S. Army, especially after the brutal SAND CREEK MASSACRE of 1864, in which an estimated 500 Cheyenne were killed. The Cheyenne played an important role in the defeat of Gen. George Custer and the 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the LITTLE BIGHORN (1876).

Cheyenne Lodges

The Cheyenne moved frequently: In South Dakota they lived along the Cheyenne River and in the Black Hills. But bands of their tribe were known in every western state. Before 1700 a large group settled on the Minnesota River, and some Cheyennes visited LaSalle's Fort in Illinois in 1680. Between 1780 and 1790, their settlements were attacked by Chippewas while Cheyenne men were away hunting. Escapees settled on the Missouri River near other Cheyennes.

Jerome Bushyhead

Today the Cheyenne occupy two reservations, one at Tongue River, Mont., and the other in southwestern Oklahoma. Their population was about 7,500 in 1989.


Black Kettle Museum/Washita Battlefield
Box 252 Cheyenne, OK 73628

Dedicated to Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle

and

Site of the 1868 "Battle of the Washitas" between General George Custer's troops and the Cheyenne Nation

405-497-3929




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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.


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