Wednesday, 29 August 2012

the truth about the alamo finally by Daniel N. White

 heres a review of a new book about the alamo from the blog dandelion wine
We now have a  truthful book about the Alamo. somehow it seems to have escaped critical attention, particularly, to no great surprise, here in Texas. The book isExodus from the Alamo:Click the image to open in full size. The Anatomy of the Last Stand Myth, by Phillip Thomas Tucker. Published in 2010 by second-tier publishers Casemate, this book has not received any reviews by any major national source, nor any attention by any of the Texas newspapers.* Hell I’d have thought that San Antonio, which although by population numbers is the US’ 9th largest city has always really been Mexico’s northernmost city, and is also where the Alamo, or what little is left of it, resides, would have paid some attention, but nothing from those quarters. Dallas, the most insecure, mean-spirited city in the country, sizeable parts of which would throw big parties every November 22nd if they could get away with it**, hasn’t officially denounced this book, and I’d have thought that the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, or the many fulminating reactionary textbook activists there who contribute so much to keeping Texans stupid, would have held press conferences, marches, and bookburnings over this book and its contents.Click the image to open in full size. Nope. Nothing from the East Coast, or the Left Coast, both of which have well-founded grudges against Texas, only in part on account of our most recent ex-president, grudges that could be Click the image to open in full size.readily slaked by the handy and complete demolition of the Texas founding myth done here. Unfortunately for them, they are likely to get a new dose of grudges from the impending Perry presidency, alas. Them and the rest of us, alas squared.
Tucker, a historian for the USAF, brings to the table the essential military knowledge necessary to write about a military event. All previous authors about the Alamo were journalists who knew nothing about military matters and the battlefield, or second-tier academics, who all wereClick the image to open in full size. equally ignorant. Both groups most all lack facility in the Spanish language, and neither group ever did any real research into Mexican archives for the firsthand accounts of participants that Tucker found when he went looking in Mexican archives. Both groups either lazily and uncritically promoted the Alamo myth, or, perhaps worse, saw where the evidence led and shied away from drawing the necessary if unpopular conclusions. Doesn’t say much for eitherClick the image to open in full size. group.
Tucker shows, from contemporaneous Mexican and American accounts, that there was no fight to the last man at the Alamo. Instead, the defenders, who were caught completely flat-footed asleep by a surprisingly well-planned and executed Mexican attack, mostly all bolted and ran from the Alamo and were cut down by Mexican cavalry that Santa Anna had placed in position for that task. A sizeable contingent of defenders were in the ‘hospital’ and were massacred there, and there was a cluster of defenders, led by Dickenson, who fought bravely in the Alamo chapel in an effort to buy time for their comrades’ escape. Even with their bravery, the fight was over inside of twenty minutes, start to finish. No real battle winds up that quick; it was an ignominious rout.Click the image to open in full size.
A sizeable fraction, half or better probably, of Mexican casualties (which totalled around 300) were friendly-fire casualties, from the untrained Mexican infantry firing blindly, from the hip, in the dark, into the backs of their countrymen. Contrary to the Old Joe myth, there were in Click the image to open in full size.fact two escapees from the slaughter, and they were interviewed, and their accounts got circulation at the time. The flight from the Alamo appears to have been the defenders’ plan all along, and Tucker argues that if Santa Anna had postponed his attack for a day or so that the defenders would have sought surrender terms on account of the severe morale, illness, and command dissention problems in the Alamo garrison. The lack of interest in preserving the Alamo, which was mostly demolished before the DRT saved what was left of it 60 years later, shows not just the ordinary extraordinary greed and shortsightness of Texans, but also likely shows that the Alamo myth wasn’t entirely accepted by a fair or better percentage of the people who lived then. The failure of anyone in San Antonio to gather the defenders’ ashes from the burn piles afterwards–they were almost all left untouched for the two or so years it took for the winds to disperse them–also shows that there was no real love lost between San Antonio’s Click the image to open in full size.inhabitants and the persons claiming to be their defenders. That, and a desire of most Texans back then to forget the Alamo, as time enough hadn’t transpired for the myth to displace most people’s back then ordinary doubts about what actually happened. I suspect that theClick the image to open in full size. contemporaneous newspaper storytelling about the Alamo, which all began the fight to the last man myth, wasn’t entirely believed by the readership. People could smell a rat back then, probably better than now.
The defenders did an embarrassingly bad job of reinforcing the fortifications while they had the chance; mostly out of their unwillingness to do manual labor with pick and shovel. Holding the Alamo was a first-class strategic mistake, as it neither barred Santa Anna from San Antonio’s resources nor prevented him, should he have decided to, from bypassing it and attacking instead the Texian center of resistance in East Texas, and thereby quickly and handily defeating the revolt. The Texians own decision to stay in the Alamo was in large part based on the large numbers of cannon they had there, and their unwillingness to abandon them to the Mexicans. The cannon did them no good during the battle, as they lacked the manpower to crew them, the emplacements to use them, and neither the projectiles or powder to fire them. A terrible mistake, holding the Alamo for its cannon, one that was stupefyingly obviously militarily wrong. Houston’s unwillingness to send relief to the Alamo may have been from his chronic drunkenness (and likely opium stupefaction) but a part of it was likely his and other politicians in Washington-on-the-Brazos’ desire to remove from the scene several political rivals, Crockett foremost. That, and there was a considerable class rivalry between the white po-boy drifters holed up in the Alamo and their East Texas planter betters–the Texas Revolution was yet another rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.
The majority of the book, like most accounts of the Alamo, is a recounting of the events that led to the Texas secession from Mexico in 1835-6. The elephant in Texas history’s living room has always been, of course, slavery, and even my 7th grade Texas History textbook 35 years ago mentioned that the Texas founding fathers were slaveholders. Most historians haven’t done that much better a job of facing that elephant since, but Tucker does the best job to date of pointing out how that issue was the key issue that drove Texas secession. Slaves and cotton equalled wealth and status here in the US back then, and obtaining that combination was unquestionably the best and most accessible ladder up that an ambitious white male back then had. Texas’ white settlers came here from the first, even before Moses Austin’s efforts, with that goal in mind. The conflict between Anglo and Mexican in Texas was most of all a conflict between Anglo slaveholders and wanna-be slaveholders and a Mexico newly freed from European peonage’s deep desire to eliminate slavery in its borders. American historians have over the years danced around, or at best dealt gingerly at a distance, with this fact. Tucker lays it out, plainly and directly, better than I’ve seen elsewhere.
What the textbooks then, and most histories still now, don’t mention is what a lot of scoundrels, greedheads, and sorry hustling-assed lowlifes the Texas Republic leaders were. They were all, every last one of them, dreadfully militarily incompetent and only a few of them were even marginally capable of the political leadership that a successful revolt requires. Fortunately for Anglo Texas, Santa Anna made two fatal mistakes–investing the Alamo and napping at San Jacinto that afternoon. Grant, in his memoirs, talking about his experiences in the Mexican War, said that we the US were lucky to be fighting an enemy like the Mexicans, or else, he said, we’d have been taught some hard lessons. Same was true in 1836, Mexican military incompetence matched by Santa Anna’s political incompetence. Tucker doesn’t preach about this; he just lays out the facts, which speak for themselves.
Tucker has a decent discussion of how the Alamo myth functioned in the 19th Century to provide a rationalization of Anglo racial superiority, the theft of Texas from Mexico, and the subsequent dispossession, exclusion and marginalization of Tejanos from position and property. Where the book fails is bringing the Alamo myth into the 20th century, and for that matter, the 21st. The Disney and John Wayne ’50′s glorification makes some sense in the light of American Cold War insecurities, but why Disney revisited it five years ago needs explanation. Was it a commercial pastiche, or a re-hashing of a myth to serve domestic war politics a second time, for a (series of) war(s) even more fraudulent and unnecessary than the Cold War?
The book has its flaws. It is in dire need of proper editing, and could usefully have been shrunk by a third or better in length. Tucker is no shakes as a prose stylist. There are suppositions about events and motivations in the Alamo that are good suppositions, but lack documentation enough to be presented as facts. But there is hidden within a delightful secret to this book that won’t be obvious to most ahistorical Americans, but one obvious to Clio’s servants and admirers. This book will give social scientists a test case the likes of which has never before happened. A widespread and deeply held founding myth has been destroyed by this book, and this provides a unique opportunity to study the diffusion and struggle of truth versus myth. How many years will it take to change the textbook accounts? How long before Americans acknowledge that the Alamo was a chapter of military ignominy and embarrassment, and not an epic of heroism? Will latinos pick up on this book, and use it for their political and social struggles? How will this story fare in other countries’ histories of us? I am looking forward to how things develop on these fronts–it is a truly rare opportunity to learn about ourselves, how we think, how we come to hold our beliefs. I am pleased to do my bit by publicizing this book, to advance truth against myth, to kill the lies that have been deliberately spread, and to expose the professional incompetence and pusillanimity of the official and influential. My congratulations to the author, for a fine and overdue and much needed book.
*Both the Guardian and the Daily Mail in the UK reviewed it, interestingly enough. They both liked it.
**Shoot I’m being too mean to Dallas here. Contrary to what too many braindead Yankees still like to think, Dallas was then and has always remained embarrassed by its (very limited) responsibility for the death of JFK. On the other hand, this statement is absolutely true about Miami, at least amongst the guisano cubanos.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Cheyenne) are a Native American people of the Great Plains, who are of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne Nation is composed of two united tribes, the Só'taeo'o  and theTsétsêhést).

The Cheyenne are thought to have branched off other tribes of Algonquian stock inhabiting lands around the Great Lakes in present-day Minnesota, perhaps ca. 1500. In historic times they moved west, migrating across the Mississippi River and into North and South Dakota.

 During the early 19th century, the Cheyenne formed a unified tribe, with more centralized authority through ritual ceremonies and structure than other Plains Indians. Having settled the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Powder River Country of present-dayMontana, they introduced the horse culture to Lakota (Sioux) bands about 1730. Allied with the Arapaho, the Cheyenne pushed theKiowa to the South. In turn, they were pushed west by the more numerous Lakota.
In the centuries before European contact, the Cheyenne were at times allied with bands of the Lakota and Arapaho. In the 18th century, they migrated west away from Lakota warriors, but by the next century, bands of Lakota had followed them into the Black Hills and Powder River Country. By the mid-nineteenth century, they were sometimes allied with other Plains tribes.File:Tenmile Fletcher Group.jpg
The Cheyenne are one of the best known of the Plains tribes. The Cheyenne Nation formed into ten bands, spread across the Great Plains, from southern Colorado to the Black Hills in South Dakota. At the same time, they created a centralized structure through ritual ceremonies, such as the Sun Dance. 

When gathered, the bands leaders met in formal council. Alone among the Plains tribes, they waged war at the tribal level, first against their traditional enemy, the Crow, and later (1856–1879) against United States Armyforces. In the mid-19th century, the bands began to split, with some bands choosing to remain near the Black Hills, while others chose to remain near the Platte Rivers of central Colorado.
The Northern Cheyenne, known in Cheyenne either as Notameohmésêhese meaning "Northern Eaters" or simply as Ohmésêhesemeaning "Eaters", live in southeast Montana on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. In the 2000 census, the reservation had a total population of 4,400, with 72.8%, or about 3,250 people, identifying as Cheyenne. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe reports 9,945 enrolled tribal members as of 2011.
The earliest known historical record of the Cheyenne comes from the mid-seventeenth century, when a group of Cheyenne visited theFrench Fort Crevecoeur, near present-day Chicago, Illinois. According to tribal tradition, during the 17th century the Cheyenne were driven by the Ho hé (Assiniboine) from the Great Lakes region to present-day Minnesota and North Dakota, where they established villages. The most prominent of the ancient Cheyenne villages is Biesterfeldt Village, in eastern North Dakota along the Sheyenne River. Tradition tells that they first reached the Missouri River in 1676.
The Southern Cheyenne, known in Cheyenne as Heévâhetaneo'o meaning "Roped People", together with the Southern Arapaho, form the federally recognized tribe, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, situated in western Oklahoma. Their combined population is 12,130, as of 2008. In 2003, about 8,000 of these identified as Cheyenne. With continued intermarriage, it is difficult to separate the tribes administratively

On the Missouri, the Cheyenne came into contact with the neighboring MandanHidatsa and Arikara nations, and they adopted many of their cultural characteristics. They were first of the later Plains tribes into the Black Hills and Powder River CountryFile:Wpdms powder river country.jpg. About 1730 they introduced the horse to Lakota bands. Conflict with migrating Lakota and Ojibwa nations forced the Cheyenne further west, and they in turn pushed the Kiowa to the south. By 1776 the Lakota had overwhelmed the Cheyenne and taken over much of their territory near theBlack Hills.File:Black Elk Wilderness South Dakota 5.jpg In 1804, Lewis and Clark visited a surviving Cheyenne village in North Dakota. Such European American explorers learned many different names for the Cheyenne, and did not realize how the different sections were forming a unified tribe.
Despite being an oral culture, the Cheyenne developed a complex centralized authority and ritual ceremonialism that united the tribe. The ten bands had four leaders each, and the forty-four men (Council of Forty-Four) met to deliberate at regular tribal gatherings, centered around the Sun Dance In addition, they developed the ceremony of the Sacred Arrows, which they carried when they waged tribal-level war.
At the beginning of the 19th century, many Cheyenne lived near the Black Hills, but engaged in hunting and trading for horses as far south as the Arkansas River File:AR Arkansas River.jpg . They may have ranged into Nuevo Mexico for horse-stealing raids. Some bands followed Kiowa and Arapaho to the southern areas. They traded both with the Spaniards, the French, and with other American Indian tribes, trading goods and materials obtained on the upper Missouri River with those of southern tribes.
By the mid-19th century, the Cheyenne had mostly abandoned their earlier sedentary agricultural and pottery traditions because of changed conditions. They fully adopted the classic nomadic Plains culture. They replaced their earth lodges with portable tipis and switched their diet from fish and agricultural produce, to mainly bison and wild fruits and vegetables. Having acquired horses, they adopted a nomadic lifestyle, with their range expanding from the upper Missouri River into what is now Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and South Dakota.

As early as 1820, traders and explorers reported contact with Cheyenne at present-day Denver, Colorado and on the Arkansas River. They were probably hunting and trading in that area earlier. They may have migrated to the south for winter. The Hairy Rope band is reputed to have been the first band to move south, capturing wild horses as far south as the Cimarron River Valley.

In addition to endemic warfare with the Assiniboine to the north, and occasional conflict with the Lakota, the Cheyenne warred with the Crow.
 They suffered a major defeat at their hands in 1819. The following year, they took many Crow prisoners, who were adopted and incorporated into the tribe. Endemic warfare with the Crow, the Ute, and the Pawnee were a regular pattern of Cheyenne life until the 1860s.

Following reports in the 1820s of Cheyenne and other tribes' raids on parties on the Santa Fe Trail,File:Map of Santa Fe Trail-NPS.jpg US Army troops were sent out from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to protect settlers on the trail. In 

1834 Charles Bent and his partners established Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River in southeast present-day Colorado. 
File:Outside view, Bent's Old Fort, CO IMG 5704.JPG
The Bents had been trading on the upper Missouri River but were unsuccessful. As they were good friends with the Cheyenne, they relocated to the Arkansas, where the Cheyenne and Arapaho traded with them.

Treaty of 1825

In the summer of 1825, the tribe was visited on the upper Missouri by a US treaty commission consisting of General Henry Atkinson and Indian agent Benjamin O'Fallon, 
accompanied by a military escort of 476 men. General Atkinson and his fellow commissioner left Fort AtkinsonFile:Ft Atkinson west rampart.JPG on May 16, 1825. Ascending the Missouri, they negotiated treaties of friendship and trade with tribes of the upper Missouri, including the Arikara, the Cheyenne, the Crow, the Mandan, the Ponca, and several bands of the Sioux. At that time the US had competition from
British traders on the upper Missouri, who came down from Canada.
The treaties acknowledged that the tribes lived within the United States, vowed perpetual friendship between the US and the tribes, and, recognizing the right of the United States to regulate trade, the tribes promised to deal only with licensed traders. The tribes agreed to forswear private retaliation for injuries, and to return or indemnify the owner of stolen horses or other goods. The commission's efforts to contact the Blackfoot and the Assiniboine were unsuccessful. Along their return to Fort Atkinson at the Council Bluff in Nebraska, the commission had successful negotiations with the Ota, the Pawnee and the Omaha.

Increased traffic of emigrants along the related Oregon, Mormon and California trails, beginning in the early 1840s, heightened competition with Native Americans for scarce resources of water and game in arid areas. With resource depletion along the trails, the Cheyenne became increasingly divided into the Northern Cheyenne and Southern Cheyenne, where they could have adequate territory for sustenance.
During the California Gold Rush, emigrants brought in cholera. It spread in mining camps and waterways due to poor sanitation. The disease was generally a major cause of death for emigrants, about one-tenth of whom died during their journeys.
Perhaps from traders, the cholera epidemic reached the Plains Indians in 1849, resulting in severe loss of life during the summer of that year. Historians estimate about 2,000 Cheyenne died, one-half to two-thirds of their population. There were significant losses among other tribes as well, which weakened their social structures. Perhaps because of severe loss of trade during the 1849 season, Bent's Fort was abandoned and burned.

In 1846 Thomas Fitzpatrick was appointed US Indian agent for the upper Arkansas and Platte River.File:Platte River.jpg His efforts to negotiate with the Northern Cheyenne, the Arapaho and other tribes led to a great council at Fort Laramie in 1851.File:Alfred Jacob Miller - Interior of Fort Laramie - Walters 371940150.jpg Treaties were negotiated by a commission consisting of Fitzpatrick and D.D. Mitchell, US Superintendent of Indian Affairs, with the Indians of the northern plains
To reduce inter-tribal warfare on the Plains, the government officials "assigned" territories to each tribe and had them pledge mutual peace. In addition, the government secured permission to build and maintain roads for European-American travelers and traders through Indian country on the Plains, such as the Emigrant Trail and the Santa Fe Trail, and to maintain forts to guard them. The tribes were compensated with annuities of cash and supplies for such encroachment on their territories. 
The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 affirmed the Cheyenne and Arapaho territory on the Great Plains between the North Platte River and the Arkansas. This territory included what is now Colorado, east of the Front Range of theRockies and north of the Arkansas River; Wyoming and Nebraska, south of the North Platte River; and extreme western Kansas

Grand Island Nebraska
In April 1856, an incident at the Platte River Bridge (near present-day Casper, Wyoming), resulted in the wounding of a Cheyenne warrior. 

He returned to the Cheyenne on the plains. During the summer of 1856, Indians attacked travelers along the Emigrant Trail near Fort Kearny. In retaliation, the US Cavalry attacked a Cheyenne camp on Grand Island in Nebraska(above). They killed ten Cheyenne warriors and wounded eight or more.
Cheyenne parties attacked at least three emigrant settler parties before returning to the Republican River. 
The Indian agent at Fort Laramie negotiated with the Cheyenne to reduce hostilities, but the Secretary of War ordered the 1st Cavalry Regiment (1855) to carry out a punitive expedition under the command of Colonel Edwin V. Sumner. He went against the Cheyenne in the spring of 1857. Major John Sedgwick led part of the expedition up the Arkansas River, and via Fountain Creek to the South Platte River.
 Sumner's command went west along the North Platte to Fort Laramie, then down along the Front Range to the South Platte. The combined force of 400 troops went east through the plains searching for Cheyenne.
foundry and dixon
Under the influence of the medicine man White Bull (also called Ice) and Grey Beard (also called Dark), the Cheyenne went into battle believing that strong spiritual medicine would prevent the soldiers' guns from firing. They were told that if they dipped their hands in a nearby lake, they had only to raise their hands to repel army bullets. Hands raised, the Cheyenne surrounded the advancing troops as they advanced near the Solomon River. Sumner ordered a cavalry charge and the troops charged with drawn sabers; the Cheyenne fled. With tired horses after long marches, the cavalry could not engage more than a few Cheyenne, as their horses were fresh.
This was the first battle which the Cheyenne fought against the US Army. Casualties were few on each side; J.E.B. Stuart, then a young lieutenant, was shot in the breast while attacking a Cheyenne warrior with a sabre. The troops continued on and two days later burned a hastily abandoned Cheyenne camp; they destroyed lodges and the winter supply of buffalo meat.
Sumner continued to Bent's Fort. To punish the Cheyenne, he distributed their annuities to the Arapaho. He intended further punitive actions, but the Army ordered him to Utah because of an outbreak of trouble with the Mormons. (This became known as the Utah War.) The Cheyenne moved below the Arkansas into Kiowa and Comanche country. In the fall, the Northern Cheyenne returned to their country north of the Platte.

Starting in 1859 with the Colorado Gold Rush, European-American settlers moved into lands reserved for the Cheyenne and other Plains Indians. Travel greatly increased along the Emigrant Trail along the South Platte River and some emigrants stopped before going on to California. For several years there was peace between settlers and Indians. The only conflicts were related to the endemic warfare between the Cheyenne and Arapaho of the plains and the Utes of the mountains.
Dull Knife (Cheyenne: Vóóhéhéve orLakota: Tamílapéšni), Chief of Northern Cheyennes at Battle of Little Bighorn
US negotiations with Black Kettle and other Cheyenne favoring peace resulted in the Treaty of Fort Wise: it established a small reservation for the Cheyenne in southeastern Colorado in exchange for the territory agreed to in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. 
Many Cheyenne did not sign the treaty, and they continued to live and hunt on their traditional grounds in the Smokey Hill and Republican basins, between the Arkansas and the South Platte, where there were plentiful buffalo. Efforts to make a wider peace continued, but in the spring of 1864,John Evans, governor of Colorado Territory, and John Chivington, commander of the Colorado Volunteers, a citizens militia, began a series of attacks on Indians camping or hunting on the plains. They killed any Indian on sight and initiated the Colorado War. General warfare broke out and Indians made many raids on the trail along the South Platte which Denver depended on for supplies. The Army closed the road from August 15 until September 24, 1864.
File:Big Back art.jpg

Black Kettle continued to desire peace. He did not join in the second raid or in the plan to go north to the Powder River country. He left the large camp and returned with 80 lodges of his tribesmen to the Arkansas River, where he intended to seek peace with the US.
On November 29, 1864, the Colorado Militia attacked a Cheyenne and Arapaho encampment under Chief Black Kettle, although it flew a flag of truce and indicated its allegiance to the US government. The Sand Creek massacre, as it was known, resulted in the death of between 150 and 200 Cheyenne, mostly unarmed women and children. The survivors fled northeast and joined the camps of the Cheyenne on the Smokey Hill and Republican rivers. There warriors smoked the war pipe, passing it from camp to camp among the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho. In January 1865 they planned and carried out an attack with about 1000 warriors on Camp Rankin, a stage station and fort at JulesburgFile:Julesburg, Colorado UP Station.jpg. The Indians made numerous raids along the South Platte, both east and west of Julesburg, and raided the fort again in early February. They captured much loot and killed many European Americans. Most of the Indians moved north into Nebraska on their way to the Black Hills and the Powder River.

Four years later, on November 27, 1868, George Armstrong Custer and his troops attacked Black Kettle's band at the Battle of Washita River. Although his band was camped on a defined reservation, complying with the government's orders, some of its members had been linked to raiding into Kansas by bands operating out of the Indian Territory. Custer and his men killed more than 100 Cheyenne, mostly women and childrenThere are conflicting claims as to whether the band was hostile or friendly. Historians believe that Chief Black Kettle, head of the band, was not part of the war party within the Plains tribes. But, he did not command absolute authority over members of his band and the European Americans did not understand this. When younger members of the band took part in raiding parties, European Americans blamed the entire band for the incidents and casualties
The Northern Cheyenne fought in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, which took place on June 25, 1876. The Cheyenne, together with the Lakota, the Sioux and a small band of Arapaho, killed Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and much of his 7th Cavalry contingent of Army soldiers. Historians have estimated the population of the Cheyenne, Lakota and Arapaho encampment along theLittle Bighorn River was approximately 10,000, making it one of the largest gatherings of Native Americans in North America in pre-reservation times. News of the event traveled across the United States and reached Washington, D.C., just as the nation was celebrating its Centennial. Public reaction arose in outrage against the Cheyenne.

Little Coyote (Little Wolf) and Morning Star (Dull Knife), chiefs of the Northern Cheyennes

wing the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the US Army increased attempts to capture the Cheyenne. In 1877, after the Dull Knife Fight, when Crazy Horse surrendered at Fort Robinson, a few Cheyenne chiefs and their people surrendered as well. They were Dull KnifeLittle WolfStanding Elk, and Wild Hog, with nearly 1,000 Cheyenne. Later that year Two Moon surrendered at Fort Keogh, with 300 Cheyenne. The Cheyenne wanted and expected to live on the reservation with the Sioux in accordance to an April 29, 1868 treaty of Fort Laramie, which both Dull Knife and Little Wolf had signed.below

As part of a US increase in troops following the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the Army reassigned Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie and his Fourth Cavalry to the Department of the Platte. Stationed initially at Camp Robinson, they formed the core of the Powder River Expedition. It departed in October 1876 to locate the northern Cheyenne villages. On November 25, 1876, his column discovered and defeated a village of Northern Cheyenne in the Dull Knife Fight in Wyoming Territory. After the soldiers destroyed the lodges and supplies, and confiscated the horses, the Northern Cheyenne soon surrendered. They hoped to remain with the Sioux in the north but the US pressured them to locate with the Southern Cheyenne on their reservation in Indian Territory. After a difficult council, the Northern Cheyenne eventually agreed to go South.

When the Northern Cheyenne arrived at Indian Territory, conditions were very difficult: rations were inadequate, no buffalo survived near the reservation, and, according to several sources, there was malaria among the people. In the fall of 1878, a portion of the Northern Cheyenne, led by Little Wolf and Dull Knife, tried to return to the north. Upon reaching the northern area, they split into two bands. That led by Dull Knife was imprisoned in an unheated barracks at Fort Robinson without food or water. Escaping on January 9, 1879, many died in the Fort Robinson tragedy.

Eventually the US granted the Northern Cheyenne a reservation, in southern Montana.

The Cheyenne who traveled to Fort Keogh (present day Miles City, Montana)File:MilesCityMontana-Haynes1881.jpg, including Little Wolf, settled near the fort. Many of the Cheyenne worked with the army as scouts. The Cheyenne scouts were pivotal in helping the Army find Chief Joseph and his band of Nez Percé in northern Montana. Fort Keogh became a staging and gathering point for the Northern Cheyenne. Many families began to migrate south to the Tongue River watershed area, where they established homesteads. The US established the Tongue River Indian Reservation, now named the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, of 371,200 acres (1,502 km2) by the executive order of President Chester A. ArthurNovember 16, 1884. It excluded Cheyenne who had homesteaded further east near the Tongue River. Those people were served by the St. Labres Catholic Mission. The western boundary is the Crow Indian Reservation. On March 19, 1900, President William McKinley extended the reservation to the west bank of the Tongue River, making a total of 444,157 acres (1,797 km2). Those who had homesteaded east of the Tongue River were relocated to the west of the river. The Northern Cheyenne sharing land of the Lakota at Pine Ridge Reservation were finally allowed to return to the Tongue River on their own reservation. Along with the Lakota and Apache, the Cheyenne were the last nations to be subdued and placed on reservations. (The Seminole tribe of Florida never made a treaty with the US government.)

The Northern Cheyenne earned their right to remain in the north near the Black Hills, land they considered sacred. The Cheyenne also managed to retain their culture, religion and language. Today, the Northern Cheyenne Nation is one of the few American Indian nations to have control over the majority of its land base, currently 98%.

A Cheyenne sun dance gathering, c. 1909.
Over the past 400 years, the Cheyenne have gone through four stages of culture. First they lived in the Eastern Woodlands and were a sedentary and agricultural people, planting cornsquash beans, and harvesting wild rice. Next they lived in present-day Minnesota and South Dakota and continued their farming tradition. They started hunting bison of the Great Plains. During the third stage, the Cheyenne abandoned their farming lifestyle and became a full-fledged Plains horse culture tribe. The fourth stage is the reservation phase.

The traditional Cheyenne government system is a politically unified North American indigenous nation. Most other nations were divided into politically autonomous bands, whereas the Cheyenne bands were politically unified. The central traditional government system of the Cheyenne was the "Arrow Keeper" followed by the "Council of Forty-Four". The name denotes the number of seated chiefs on the council. Each of the ten bands had four seated chief delegates; the remaining four chiefs were the principal advisers of the other delegates. This system also regulated the Cheyenne military societies that developed for planning warfare, enforcing rules, and conducting ceremonies. By the time the Cheyenne reached the Great Plains, they had developed this government.

Anthropologists debate about Cheyenne society organization. When the Cheyenne were fully adapted to the classic Plains culture, they had a bi-lateral band kinship system. However, some anthropologists reported that the Cheyenne had a matrilineal band system. Studies into whether the Cheyenne developed a matrilineal clan system are inconclusive.

As they abandoned their agricultural villages near the Missouri River and acquired horses, the Cheyenne adopted the Plains Indian culture. In this nomadic life, the men hunted
andfought with and raided other tribes. The women dressed and tanned hides for food, clothing, shelter and other uses. and gathered roots, berries and other useful plants, From the products of hunting and gathering, they made lodges, clothing, and other equipment. Their lives were active and physically demanding. The range of the Cheyenne was first the area in and near the Black Hills, but later all the Great Plains from Dakota to the Arkansas River.

Buffalo Hunter Ralph Morrison, who was killed and scalped December 7, 1868 near Fort Dodge Kansas by Cheyenne. Lt. Read of the 3rd Infantry and John O. Austin are in background. Photograph by William S. Soule. One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May DoddOne Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.
Marriage was a formal matter. Premarital sex was strictly prohibited and a girl's virginity was carefully guarded by her family. Because a young man postponed Marriage until he had horses and a respectable war record, Courtship often lasted for several years. The most respectable Marriages were arranged between families, although elopement took place. Until the pattern was interrupted by epidemic disease and warfare, marriage was forbidden to a relative of any degree. Most marriages were monogamous, but polygyny was permitted, often of the sororal type a polygyny in which the wives are sisters — , with the levirate also practiced. Today there is still concern about the degree of relatedness between a couple wanting to marry. Traditionally, postmarital residence was uxorilocal. With the incorporation of the Dog Soldiers into the tribal circle, residence shifted in that portion of Cheyenne society to patrilocality, resulting in two residence patterns after 1860. Divorce could be initiated by either the husband or wife for mistreatment, adultery, or other marital transgressions. A man could publicly disgrace his wife by "throwing her away" at a public gathering.An old photograph of a Young Shoshone Woman Wearing Dress Decorated with Elks Teeth.
Domestic Unit. The primary unit of cooperation and Subsistence was the vestoz, a residential extended family of related women and their conjugal families. Although the Nuclear family is the predominant pattern today, extended families still exist, often as an adaptation to the high unemployment rates, poverty, illegitimacy, and other socioEconomic factors associated with social disadvantage.
Inheritance. Some of a man's personal possessions were buried with him, but all the remaining property was given to nonrelatives. The widow and her children retained nothing. At funerals today, give-aways are still held before the body is buried and one full year after the death. Contemporary inheritance patterns are defined by legal stipulation and kinship.
Socialization. Children were generally raised permissively. Social ideals were taught through advice, counsel, and demonstration. Although physical punishment was rarely used, gossip, teasing, and sometimes ostracism acted as negative sanctions if the child misbehaved. Many of these mechanisms are used today, but physical punishment is also now used to correct undesirable behavior.

A Cheyenne woman has higher status if she is part of an extended family with distinguished ancestors and gets on well with her female relatives; does not have members in her extended family who are alcoholics or otherwise in disrepute; is hardworking, chaste and modest; is skilled in traditional crafts; knowledgeable about Cheyenne culture and history and speaks Cheyenne fluently. A young woman with these characteristics would have an advantage in a Powwow Princess competition.