Chief Black Kettle

Few biographical details are known about the Southern Cheyenne chief Black Kettle, but his repeated efforts to secure a peace with honor for his people, despite broken promises and attacks on his own life, speak of him as a great leader with an almost unique vision of the possibility for coexistence between white society and the culture of the plains. Black Kettle lived on the vast territory in western Kansas and eastern Colorado that had been guaranteed to the Cheyenne under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. Within less than a decade, however, the 1859 Pikes Peak gold rush sparked an enormous population boom in Colorado, and this led to extensive white encroachments on Cheyenne land. Even the U.S. Indian Commissioner admitted that “We have substantially taken possession of the country and deprived the Indians of their accustomed means of support.” Rather than evict white settlers, the government sought to resolve the situation by demanding that the Southern Cheyenne sign a new treaty ceding […] Read More

Origin of the Buffalo

Cheyenne – Native American Lore Long ago, a tribe of Cheyenne hunters lived at the head of a rushing stream, which eventually emptied into a large cave. Because of the great need for a new food supply for his people, the Chief called a council meeting. “We should explore the large cave,” he told his people. “How many brave hunters will offer to go on this venture? Of course, it may be very dangerous, but we have brave hunters.” No one responded to the Chief’s request. Finally, one young brave painted himself for hunting and stepped forth, replying to the Chief, “I will go and sacrifice myself for our people.” He arrived at the cave, and to his surprise, First Brave found two other Cheyenne hunters near the opening, where the stream rushed underground. “Are they here to taunt me,” First Brave wondered? “Will they only pretend to jump when I […] Read More