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Cheyenne, native American people of the Algonquian
linguistic family. The Cheyenne were farmers, hunters, and
gatherers in central Minnesota, but were driven from the area
by the Sioux and Ojibwa in the late 17th century. They then
gradually migrated westward along the river that now bears
their name. They settled on the Cheyenne River in North
Dakota, living in earth lodges, and farming. The Ojibwa
destroyed this settlement about 1770, and the Cheyenne moved

When they reached the Black Hills of South Dakota, the
Cheyenne switched from farming and small-game hunting to
dependence on the buffalo and life as nomads. The horse, which
reached this part of America about 1750, helped the Cheyenne
become one of the major tribes of the Western Plains. They had
a typical nomadic Plains culture and were noted buffalo hunters
and fierce warriors. The Cheyenne practiced the sun dance, in
which new braves "danced" for hours while suspended from a
pole by skewers inserted beneath the chest muscles. Their
religion placed heavy emphasis on visionary experience. During
visions, animals were thought to adopt a person, bestowing
special powers.

By about 1830 the Cheyenne were divided into two groups: the
southern Cheyenne along the upper Arkansas River, and the
northern Cheyenne at the headwaters of the Platte River. Until
a massive influx of gold prospectors entered their territory in the
late 1850s, the Cheyenne were peaceful toward white settlers.
Conflicts escalated to a massacre by United States military
forces of a peaceful group of Cheyenne men, women, and
children at Sand Creek, Colorado, in 1864.

In 1876 groups of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors were responsible
for the defeat of General George Custer and his 300 troops in
the Battle of Little Bighorn. After their surrender in 1877, the
Cheyenne were relocated by the U.S. government to Indian
Territory (present-day Oklahoma). There the tribe suffered from
disease and malnutrition and tried desperately to escape.

Language Word Samples

h'nehe = Wolf
mhoo'o = Melon
'e = Duck

Language Phrase Samples

(Said to ONE person)
To'stse! = GET UP
(Said to more than one person {group} )
To'e! = GET UP
e'thtahe = He's afraid


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