One of the most famous Native American tribes on the Great Plains is the Cheyenne, and their fame may be surpassed only by their influence on American history. Having split off from other groups around the 16th-17th centuries, the Cheyenne shifted from a sedentary agricultural society to the kind of nomadic group many envision when thinking of groups on the Plains. Land disputes and conflicts with white settlers and the Cheyenne set in motion the chain of events that led to the most famous battle among Native Americans and the American government: the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
The United States sought to defuse tensions with natives during the westward push by drafting treaties regarding major pieces of land. They did so without understanding the complex structure of the various tribes, and subgroups within those tribes. The Cheyenne were part of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, along with the Sioux and other Plains groups, but violations of that treaty and violence led to increased conflicts, and the Cheyenne fought federal troops at battles like Washita River and Little Bighorn.
Ultimately, like so many of the other Plains tribes, the Cheyenne eventually were forced to relocate onto land set aside for reservations, but they've managed to preserve their culture and traditions.
©2012- Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors
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