Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cheyenne Tribe

The Cheyenne tribe, "whose name means 'red talker' or 'people of a different speech" would hunt on the hills and prairies alongside the Missouri and Red rivers. In the 1700's the Cheyenne tribe would move their encampments in order to follow the herd of buffalo and by doing so they became expert hunters. Like many other tribes, hunting buffalo had become very important in order to live because the Cheyenne would use the buffalo for clothing, jewellery and tools as well as for food. However, when it comes to clothing the Cheyenne would also use buckskins as it is finer than buffalo therefore, they would predominately use buffalo for winter clothing and for creating tipi coverings.

Furthermore, it is believed there is a myth that surrounds the Cheyenne tribe because it was once said that the buffalo used to eat humans and so it became a race between animals and humans and in the end the humans won and so "the buffalo told their young to take with them some human flesh as provisions, which they stuck in front of their chests. It was according to this legend that the Cheyenne did not consume the flesh beneath the throat of the buffalo, as it was believed to be made from human flesh." In addition an "important figure within Cheyenne mythology is that of Sweet Medicine, a deity responsible for giving the Cheyenne four arrows, two bestowing them with power over men, two giving them power over the buffalo." As well as mythology it is also said that this particular tribe have many legends and stories which have been passed through generations.

As well as having many legends and stories it is said that "The Cheyenne are probably one of the most culturally rich nomadic tribes because of their sedentary origins." They are believed to be rich because "when the Lewis and Clark expedition encountered the Cheyenne in 1804, they documented the tribe as being well organized on a social level, and being "rich in dogs and horses."
"They Cheyenne exercised diplomacy when dealing with neighbouring tribes, with whom they would also trade. Over the years, as they grew more powerful and economically strong, rivalries began to form within their ranks, and the tribe was ultimately divided into two factions, the Northern Cheyenne, and the Southern Cheyenne." The division of this tribe, however was not the only disruption the Cheyenne people had to face because the Sand Creek massacre 1864 saw nearly two hundred men, women and children killed because the white settlers wanted to obtain more land. Therefore, the Cheyenne, both north and south tribes, had to relocate to Oklahoma.

"Slowly, over the years that followed the wars and many conflicts, the Cheyenne population was decimated. Many died of disease and starvation, while others were killed by soldiers. The remaining Cheyenne, not strong enough in numbers to continue fighting, were eventually assimilated them into their culture, and indoctrinated into the Christian faith." Therefore, over the years what started out has a very strong and wealthy tribe has had a challenging life and "today the Cheyenne population has grown from what was only about a hundred survivors, into one tribe including five thousand members, and owning two reservations. The Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho currently live in Oklahoma, while the Northern Cheyenne live on the Tongue River Indian reservation in south-eastern Montana."

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