Cheyenne Tribe

Picture of a Cheyenne

This article contains interesting facts, pictures and information about the life of the Cheyenne Native American Indian Tribe of the Great Plains.

The Cheyenne Tribe
Summary and Definition: The Cheyenne tribe were a powerful, resourceful tribe of the Great Plains who fiercely resisted the white encroachment of the Native Indian lands. The names of the most famous chiefs of the Cheyenne tribe included Dull Knife, Chief Roman Nose, Little Rock, Morning Star and Black Kettle.

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Facts about the Cheyenne Native Indian Tribe
This article contains fast, fun facts and interesting information about the Cheyenne Native American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions like where did the Cheyenne tribe live, what clothes did they wear, what did they eat and who were the names of their most famous leaders? Discover what happened to the Cheyenne tribe with facts and a timeline about their wars, battles and history.

What was the lifestyle and culture of the Cheyenne tribe?
The Cheyenne tribe originally lived as farmers in earthlodges in the Sheyenne River valley. The were forced west to the Great Plains by the French and their Chippewa allies. The Cheyenne tribe changed their lifestyle to become nomadic buffalo hunters who lived in tepees. In 1832, the Cheyenne tribe separated into two groups, the Northern Cheyenne, who lived along the Platte River; and the Southern Cheyenne, who lived along the Arkansas River in Colorado and Kansas. Their name comes from the Sioux word 'Shai-ena' meaning "Strange Speech People" for when they entered the Sioux lands nobody was able to understand their language. The Cheyenne tribe were divided into warrior clans called the Fox Men, the Flint Men, Medicine Lance Men, the Buffalo Bull Men, the Bowstring Men and the famous Dog Men who  became known as the Dog Soldiers.

What were the rituals and ceremonies of the Cheyenne tribe?
The ceremonies of the Cheyenne tribe and many other Great Plains Native Indians, included the Sweat Lodge ceremony, the Vision Quest and the daunting Sun Dance Ceremony. The ceremonial pipe (Calumet), was ritually filled with tobacco was passed among participants at all sacred ceremonies of the Cheyenne. The Calumet, was often used to seal a peace treaty, hence the term 'Peace Pipe', but it was also used to offer prayers in religious ceremonies and in war councils.     


Where did the Cheyenne tribe live?
The Cheyenne are people of the Great Plains Native American cultural group. The location of their tribal homelands are shown on the map.  The geography of the region in which they lived dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Cheyenne tribe.

  • They lived in the American Great Plains region in the states of Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota

  • Land: Grass covered prairies with some streams and rivers

  • Climate: Hot summers and cold winters

  • Animals: The  animals included the Bison (Buffalo), deer, cougars, elk, bear, beaver, porcupine, antelope, prairie dogs, eagles and wolves

Map showing Native American Indians Cultural Groups

Map showing location of the
Great Plains Native American Cultural Group

What did the Cheyenne tribe live in?
The Cheyenne tribe lived in tent-like homes called tepees. The
Tepee was constructed from wooden poles that were covered with weather-proof animal skins such as buffalo hides. It was cone shaped, with flaps for entrances, rounded at the base and narrowing to an open smoke hole at the top. The inside of the Tepees had few furnishings. Buffalo hides were used for seating, bedding, and covers. A hearth was built in the center of the tepee for cooking and heating. Most tepees were approximately 12 to 16 feet in diameter at the base. This type home suited the nomadic lifestyle of the Cheyenne tribe. A tepee was quick to erect and easy to dismantle.

What language did the Cheyenne tribe speak?
The Cheyenne tribe spoke in the Algonquian language.

What food did the Cheyenne tribe eat?
The mainstay of the food that the Cheyenne tribe ate included the meat from all the wild animals that were available to hunt: Buffalo, deer, elk, bear and wild turkey. These were supplemented with roots and wild vegetables such as spinach, prairie turnips and potatoes and flavored with wild herbs. Wild berries and fruits were also added to the food available to the Cheyenne. When food was scarce the tribe ate dried buffalo meat, called pemmican.

What weapons did the Cheyenne use?
The weapons used by the Cheyenne tribe included bows and arrows, stone ball clubs, jaw bone clubs, hatchet axe, spears, lances and knives. War Shields were used on horseback as a means of defence. The rifle was added to their weapons with the advent of the white invaders. Horse whips were commonly used by the Cheyenne tribe to goad their horses forward during battles or during the chase for buffalo.

Cheyenne Clothing
The women of the Cheyenne tribe were responsible for making the clothes worn by the people. Most items were sewn from soft, tanned skins of deer (buckskin) and buffalo. Clothing was often beautifully decorated with paint, porcupine quills or beadwork. Cheyenne clothing for both men and women were adorned with ornaments, and they wore elaborate necklaces and armbands.

What clothes did the Cheyenne men wear?
The clothes worn by the Cheyenne men consisted of breechcloths, fringed buckskin tunics or shirts and leggings. Warm buffalo robes or cloaks were also worn to protect against the rain and the cold. The adult Cheyenne men also wore beaded, long feathered war bonnets decorated with eagle feathers and beadwork as a symbol of courage, honor and accomplishment. All clothing was discarded in battle.

What clothes did the Cheyenne women wear?
The type of clothes worn by the women of the Cheyenne tribe were knee-length dresses and leggings. The women also wore the buffalo robes to keep warm and dry. The dresses of the Cheyenne women that were used for special occasions were intricately decorated with beads and painted with signs and symbols that reflected their tribal identity and family values celebrating acts of valor by their men or sacrifices made for the well-being of the family and tribe. Cheyenne women wore their hair in two, thick braids decorated with beads.

What was the religion and beliefs of the Cheyenne tribe?
The religion and beliefs of the Cheyenne tribe was based on Animism that encompassed the spiritual or religious idea that the universe and all natural objects animals, plants, trees, rivers, mountains rocks etc have souls or spirits. The Great Plains tribes such as the Cheyenne believed in Manitou, the Great Spirit. The Cheyenne name for the Supreme Being is "Maheo"

Who were the most famous leaders and chiefs of the Cheyenne tribe?
The most famous leaders and chiefs of the Cheyenne tribe included
Dull Knife (aka Morning Star), Chief Roman Nose, Little Rock, Black Kettle, Black Bear, Chief Little Wolf, Crazy Wolf, Crooked Nose and Chief Little Horse. There were constant battles between the different tribes of the Great Plains and the Cheyenne eventually made an alliance with the Sioux, the Arapaho, and the Comanche against their mutual enemies the Crow, Pawnee, Shoshone and Ute. A fierce band of warriors called the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers were extremely courageous and would to fight to the death to protect their people.

Cheyenne History Timeline: What happened to the Cheyenne tribe?
The following history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks and battles fought by the Cheyenne Nation. The timeline explains exactly what happened to the Cheyenne tribe.

Cheyenne History Timeline

  • 1600s: The Cheyenne settled in Minnesota as farmers

  • 1680: First contact with white people at de la Salle's fort in Illinois

  • 1700: The Cheyenne moved northwest to the Sheyenne River in North Dakota, continued to farm but also began to hunt buffalo

  • 1780: The Cheyenne acquired horses and adopted a nomadic lifestyle using tepees and moved to the Black Hills

  • 1790: Conflict with the Chippewa tribe

  • 1804: The Lewis and Clark Expedition encountered the Cheyenne tribe

  • 1832: The tribe split up into the Northern and Southern Cheyenne

  • 1849: Cholera epidemic among the Cheyenne

  • 1851: First Treaty at Fort Laramie.

  • 1856: Platte Bridge Incident

  • 1861: Treaty of Fort Wise establishing a reservation in Colorado. Many Cheyenne opposed the treaty

  • 1864: Sand Creek Massacre. Chivington's massacre of Black Kettle's Cheyenne at Sand Creek in 1864

  • 1865: 1,000 Cheyenne warriors attack the town of Julesburg in retaliation to the massacre

  • 1865: Powder River Expedition

  • 1865: Dull Knife fights in Red Cloud's War (1865–1868)

  • 1865: Treaty with the Southern Cheyenne and the Little Arkansas River reservation established

  • 1866: Fetterman Fight on December 21, 1866.

  • 1868: The 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty the US army agreed to abandon the posts along the Bozeman Trail

  • 1875: Gold discovered in Black Hills

  • 1875: Indian agents were directed to move off-reservation Native Indians to report to their agencies leading to violent conflict

  • 1876: Battle of Powder River on March 17, 1876

  • 1876: The Buffalo War - Buffalo are wantonly slaughtered all over the Great Plains (over 65 million were destroyed by white hunters) depriving the Native Indians of their means to live

  • 1876: The Battle of the Rosebud on June 17, 1876

  • 1876: The Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25 1876 against George Custer and the 7th Cavalry

  • 1876: The Cheyenne Dispersal, July - December 1876 Cheyennes forcedto move to reservations

  • 1877: Cheyenne moved from Red Cloud’s Agency to Oklahoma where there is an outbreak of malaria

  • 1878: Cheyenne leaders led by Chief Morning Star and Little Wolf decide to move the people from the reservation

  • 1878: The band led by Morning Star are captured and sent to Fort Robinson in Nebraska

  • 1878: Battles with American forces at Turkey Springs, in Indian Territory, Bluff Creek, Sand Creek, and Punished Women’s Fork in Kansas

  • 1879: Fort Robinson Outbreak. Cheyenne move to Fort Keogh

  • 1882: Cheyenne moved south to the Rosebud and Muddy Creeks

  • 1884: The Northern Cheyenne Reservation in southeast Montana on the Tongue River is established

  • 1889: Bureau of Indian Affairs began a 30-year suppression of the Northern Cheyenne Sun Dance

  • 1890: The last Northern Cheyenne conflict with the US Cavalry during the Ghost Dance Turmoil

Cheyenne History Timeline

The Story of Cheyenne
For additional facts and information refer to the legend and the Story of the Trail of the Dog Soldiers, Chief Roman Nose, Chief Little Wolf and Black Kettle's Village.


  • Interesting Facts and information about the way the people lived
  • The clothes worn by men and women
  • Description of the homes and the type of food the Cheyenne would eat
  • Fast Facts and interesting info
  • Names of famous chiefs and leaders
  • Interesting Homework resource for kids on the history of the Cheyenne Native American Indians

Pictures and Videos of Native American Indians and their Tribes
The Cheyenne Tribe was one of the most famous tribes of the Great Plains Native American Indians. Discover the vast selection of pictures on the subject of the tribes of Famous Native Americans such as the Cheyenne nation. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes, such as the Cheyenne tribe, that can be used as a really useful educational resource for kids and children of all ages. We hope you enjoy watching the video - just click and play - a great social studies homework resource for kids .


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