Trouble Back East Extent of Plains Indians
They eventually ended up on the northeastern plains, and even established several villages long the Missouri River around 1676. Still, the Chippewa and Sioux continued to attack them, and were now aided by the Assiniboin. The Cheyenne allied themselves with the Mandan and Arikara in response, and much cultural interaction took place between the three tribes, as well as with the Hidatsa.
These new influences on the Cheyenne would also play a major role in how their culture and way of life changed. Over time, and through these forced movements, the more agrarian way of life they once knew gave way to one that was more nomadic and indicative of the Plains Indians they would become. And sometime around 1750 they acquired horses, which would make their moves westward easier, and aid them in becoming more nomadic as well.
Pushed Too Far South Dakota's Black Hills
The Cheyenne pushed on, although this time they found a weaker opponent in the Kiowa, and pushed them south, taking up their former land in Montana.
All that the Cheyenne had wanted to do was trade, and that’s pretty much how they ended up in Montana. After all, if they never had gone to that French fort, they may never have been pushed west. Still, their mercantile sprits never dampened, and they would go on to be great trading partners with the Whites to come.
Buffalo Jumps Alfred Jacob Miller Painting
Buffalo roamed the plains in such great numbers that there was never any real need to save anything for tomorrow, and you certainly didn’t have to plant crops and spend time harvesting them. The bison made life simple, and the Cheyenne and other tribes came up with creative ways to slaughter bison in large numbers, including the Buffalo Jump.
It was a simple process, really. The Indians would herd the unsuspecting animals toward a large cliff where they would dumbly run off, plummeting to their deaths on the sharp and rocky stones below. Subterfuge helped, and many Indians donned wolf, antelope, and other animal skins so as to not frighten the animals.
Madison Buffalo Jump State Park View from Below
The site was used by Native American tribes dating back to 500 BC, but it was the introduction of the horse that ended up making the buffalo jump obsolete. When you could ride by quickly on horseback and fire with your bow and arrow, sneaking up on your faster prey was no longer necessary.
Campbell, Gregory. "Cheyenne." Encyclopedia of World Cultures. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. 12 Mar. 2013<http://www.encyclopedia.com>.
Moore, John H. The Cheyenne. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Co., 1999, pp. 15-16
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Madison Buffalo Jump State Park