The Cheyenne were a Native American tribe who initially lived as farmers in the modern-day region of Minnesota.
Towards the 18th century, the Cheyenne Indians changed their lifestyle very significantly. They moved to the Great Plains region, gave up farming and started hunting bison.
The Cheyenne were a unique Native American tribe since they changed their lives so much in so little a time. Before the 18th century, Cheyenne were farmers who gathered most of their food from crops.
Because of this, they lived at one place and didn’t move around much. Then the Europeans arrived in America and they brought horses with them.
The Cheyenne tribes were able to get horses from the Europeans. This helped the Cheyenne Indians move around quickly and easily.
Because of the horses, they decided to stop farming and start hunting. So they moved to the Great Plains region where there were many bison herds.
Here they started hunting. As they became hunters, they also adopted a nomadic lifestyle and started moving around more often.
When the Cheyenne lived in Minnesota as farmers, they lived in permanent houses. They built these using wooden frames which they filled up with packed earth and grass.
These houses were strong and cozy during winters. When the Cheyenne moved to the Great Plains region and became hunters, they started living in different kind of houses.
These were called teepee’s and were shaped like inverted cones. To build them, Cheyenne simply connected wooden poles and then covered them with the hides of the buffalo they had hunted.
These houses were easy to build and could be moved around very easily. This allowed the Cheyenne to go from one place to another quickly when following a bison herd.
When the Cheyenne had moved to the Great Plains region, they divided up into 10 groups. Each of these groups had four chiefs. These 40 chiefs together made the Cheyenne Council.
The Council was a sort of parliament of the Cheyenne. Apart from these 40 chiefs, the Council also included four ‘Old Man’ chiefs, sort of senior members of the council.
For this reason, it was called the Council of 44. This Council made most of the important decisions of the Cheyenne people.
After Cheyenne had moved to the Great Plains region, they became formidable warriors. So when the United States of America tried to expand into the Great Plains area, Cheyenne fought back because they didn’t want to give up their land.
There was a famous group of Cheyenne fighters who were called the ‘Dog Soldiers’. This group included some of the best fighters of the Cheyenne.
These warriors were very brave, the ‘Dog Soldiers’ became well known for this bravery as they never ran away from a battlefield, giving up even their lives when fighting the enemy.
When the newly created USA expanded to the Great Plains region, the Cheyenne fought back. Initially, the government of USA said that they could keep their land. But later, the government broke the treaties and took over more and more of the land.
This led to many battles between the Cheyenne and the government. In the end, the Cheyenne lost and were forced by the government to live in reservations.
Two major Cheyenne reservations exist. One of these is based in Oklahoma and the other is in Montana.