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The Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, formerly named the Tongue River Indian Reservation, is an Indian reservation that is home to the Northern Cheyenne tribe of Native American. It is located around the small towns of Lame Deermarker and Ashlandmarker, Montanamarker, in parts of Rosebudmarker and Big Hornmarker counties. This land is located approximately 100 miles east of the site of the 1876 Battle of Little Big Hornmarker, or "Battle of Greasy Grass", as it is called by the Lakota. Small parcels of non-contiguous off-reservation trust lands are in Meade County, South Dakotamarker, northeast of the city of Sturgismarker. The total land area is 1,831.059 km² (706.976 sq mi), and a population of 4,470 was reported in the 2000 census.

Approximately 91% of the population were Native Americans (full or part race), with 72.8% identifying as Cheyenne. Some Crow also live in this reservation. Slightly more than a quarter of the population 5 years or older spoke a language other than English.

The Northern Cheyenne were allies of the Lakota in the Black Hills War of 1876-1877. Many of the people still care for this land. Numerous Cheyenne work as foresters, fire fighters and EMS employees, to help save the land they have left.
A historical buffalo jump, burial sites of Indian chiefs, the site of Custer's last camp before the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the Cheyenne Indian Museum, Ten Bears Gallery, St. Labre Indian Schoolmarker, and the Ashland Powwow are sites of special interest in the Ashland area. Lame Deer is tribal headquarters and home of the Northern Cheyenne Powwow.

The Northern Cheyenne are close relatives of the Southern Cheyenne, an AmerInd nation located in Oklahomamarker. Following the Black Hills War and earlier conflicts in Coloradomarker (see Sand Creek Massacremarker and Washita Massacremarker), the Northern Cheyenne were sent to Oklahoma to join their southern relatives. Unacclimated to the hot conditions of western Oklahomamarker (Indian Territory at the time), the northerners began dying like flies. In desperation, a small band left the reservation and headed north in 1878, an odyssey that later inspired Mari Sandoz's novel, Cheyenne Autumn. (See Cheyenne.)

The Northern Cheyenne briefly settled around Fort Keoghmarker (Miles City, Montanamarker). In the early 1880s, many families began to migrate south to the Tongue River watershed area and established homesteads in the northern edge of the Powder River Basinmarker, which they considered their natural home. The United States established the Tongue River Indian Reservation, now named the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, of by executive order of President Chester A. Arthur on November 16, 1884.

The boundaries excluded Cheyenne who had homesteaded further east near the Tongue River. Those people were served by the St. Labres Catholic Mission. The western boundary is the Crow Indian Reservation. On March 19, 1900, President William McKinley extended the reservation to the west bank of the Tongue River, for a total of . Those Cheyenne who had homesteaded east of the Tongue River were relocated to reservation lands west of the river. The Reservation's timbered ridges in southeastern Montanamarker and northwestern South Dakotamarker are also part of the Crow Reservation and Custer National Forestmarker.

Northern Cheyenne Reservation Headquarters 2003

Communities and neighborhoods

Lame Deer, Montanamarker with about 2,000 residents, 92% of them American Indian, is the capital of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Chief Dull Knife College is located there. To the west is Muddy, Montanamarker with about 600 residents, 94% American Indian, and further west Busby, Montanamarker with about 700 residents, 90% American Indian. Busby was the site of the Tongue River Boarding School opened in 1904 by the Indian Bureau (later called the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).) The Busby White River Cheyenne Mennonite Church is located in Busby.

Ashland, Montanamarker is to the east. In 1884 a Catholic boarding school, the St. Labre Indian School was established there. The 460 residents of Ashland are about 75% American Indian. Birney, Montanamarker, population about 100, 86% Indian, is south of Lame Deer and Ashland. Part of Birney, "White Birney", lies south of the reservation. Colstrip, Montanamarker with about 2,300 residents, where some Cheyenne attend the Colstrip Public School, is about 20 miles north of the reservation. About 240 American Indians live in Colstrip, making up 11% of the population. Colstrip is an industrial city devoted to coal mining and electrical generation.


Chief Dull Knife College, a Native American tribal community college and land grant institution, is located on the reservation in Lame Deer.


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