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Cheyenne Indian Tribe


Cheyenne Indian Tribe

Cheyenne Girl

The Native American Cheyenne Indian Tribe (also called the Suhtai, Sutaiothe or Tsitsistas) speak a language in the Algonquian linguistic family. The Cheyenne Indian Tribe is divided into two major groups, the Northern Cheyenne and the Southern Cheyenne who currently inhabit the Northern and Southern Great Plains, respectively.  However, the Cheyenne Indians are not originally from the Great Plains and are thought to have originally lived in the area that is now Minnesota. These indigenous North Americans were not agriculturalists, but originally practiced a hunter-gatherer life style in the Great Lakes Region consisting of gathering wild rice and hunting buffalo (North American Bison).  The introduction of the domesticated horse from Europe had a dramatic effect on their way of life, and the Cheyenne Indians are thought to have originated the "horse culture" which permitted them to travel long distances and adapt to living all year long in the Great Plains, where formerly they only hunted there in the Summer months.  Although the Cheyenne were among the first in the area to breed horses, they were not the first to obtain firearms, and another Algonguian-speaking tribe (the Ojibwe-Chippewa) used rifles obtained from Anglos to force the Cheyenne to abandon their lands and migrate further west.  Eventually, the Cheyenne Tribes were dislocated even further west and south by the Sioux Indians who displaced them from the Black Hills area in South Dakota.  In the early 1800s, the Cheyenne made a strategic alliance with another Algonquian people, the Arapaho Indians.  This alliance exists to this day. Having powerful allies allowed the Cheyenne Indians to greatly expand their area which at one time extended from Montana, through Wyoming and Colorado, to the western part of Nebraska and Kansas and south to Oklahoma and Texas. The Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho were in competition with another alliance composed of the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apaches.  Incredibly, the Cheyenne even made a raid into Mexico in 1853.  The Cheyenne were renown as great warriors who formed military societies, the most notable of which was the Contrary Warrior Society, being famous for riding backwards on horseback into battle in order to prove their bravery. Today the majority of the Cheyenne Indians live in federal reservations in Oklahoma and Montana. Currently the Cheyenne Indian Tribe has a total population of about 22 thousand Native American Indians. 


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