Posts Tagged ‘Peter Powell’

Lame White Man was a Southern Cheyenne, who came north after Sand Creek with his small following. He then was a head soldier of the Northern Elkhorn Scraper society but still rated as a southern council chief.

His name was variously translated as Lame White Man, Walking White Man, Crippled White Man, or Broken White Leg. The Sioux called him Bearded Man or Moustache (which hints at the unusual presence of facial hair). Therefore author Richard Hardorff suggests that Lame White Man may have been a captive of white descendants.

Another Cheyenne name for him was Mad Hearted Wolf or Rabid Wolf, for in battle he was always out in front, “fighting as fiercely as a maddened wolf” (as Peter Powell stated).

His wife was called Twin Woman and he had two children: Red Hat and Crane Woman.

— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

Chief Lame White man was 37 years old when he died and left behind a widow and two daughters. He is credited with encouraging the warriors to resist the “soldier” excursion into Calhoun Coulee in which the warriors initially fled at their approach. Contrary to the work published by Dr. Marquis who stated that Two Moon led the Cheyennes at the Little Bighorn, Wooden Leg says it was Lame White Man.

A Southern Cheyenne, Lame White Man had been with the northern branch for so long that he and his wife and children were considered to be part of the Northern Cheyenne. He was also referred to as Walking White. In the heat of battle he received mortal wounds and succumbed to these wounds on Custer Ridge. His body was subsequently mistaken as a “Ree” scout for the soldiers and, as a result, scalped by the infuriated Sioux warriors.

Lame White Man was also known as “White Man Cripple” and “Walking White Man.” His martial prowess when battling the “White Man” was so prodigious that his contemporaries honored him with names that signified what happened to “White” soldiers when they came face to face with him. Their intestinal fortitude became so meager that they could offer no more resistance than a cripple or were inclined to walk away rather than fight.

— Realbird

I looked through the pages of “People of the Sacred Mountain” by Father Peter Powell. He listed the Northern Cheyenne Chiefs in 1876 and who of them was at the Little Bighorn in detail.

The traditional 44 Cheyenne Chiefs were chosen in a ceremony after a Sun Dance in 1874. This “Renewing of the Chiefs” took place normally every ten years. For the first time the Northern Cheyenne elected their own Council of Chiefs independent of the Southern branch of the tribe. The following Cheyennes were chosen in 1874:

Old Man Chiefs:
Little Wolf, Northern Suhtai and Sweet Medicine Chief
Morning Star (a/k/a Dull Knife), Head Chief of the Omisis
Old Bear, Omisis
Black Moccasin (a/k/a Limber Lance)

Council of the Forty-Four:
Box Elder, Head Chief of Northern Suhtai
American Horse, Northern Suhtai
Black Wolf, Northern Suhtai
Black Eagle, Head Chief of Northern Scabby
Little Chief, Little Chief’s band of Lakota/Cheyenne
Turkey Leg, (Young) Spotted Wolf, Old Wolf, Black Moccasin (a/k/a Iron), Bald Bear, White Dirt (a/k/a Powder), White Head (a/k/a Gray Head), Old Crow, Strong Wolf (a/k/a Big Wolf), Plum Man, Magpie Eagle, Crazy Head, Black Crane, Medicine Bear, Medicine Wolf, Twin, Standing Elk, Spotted Elk, Living Bear, Black Bear, Cut Foot, Broken Dish (a/k/a Calfskin Shirt) and some others.

The great majority of these Chiefs were at the Little Bighorn in 1876.

Only Morning Star/Dull Knife, Turkey Leg, Spotted Elk, Standing Elk, Living Bear, and Black Bear remained at the agency that year. Little Wolf arrived shortly after the battle and was harangued badly by the Lakotas.

In addition to the Chiefs all of the thirty headmen of the Northern Cheyenne warrior societies were probably present at the Little Bighorn, with the exception of Little Wolf, head chief of the Elkhorn Scrapers.

Elkhorn Scraper:
Lame White Man
Wild Hog
Broken Jaw
Tall White Man
White Hawk
Plenty Bears
Wolf Medicine

Kit Foxes:
Last Bull
Two Moon
Wrapped Hair
Little Horse
Rattlesnake Nose
Weasel Bear

Crazy Dogs:
Old Man Coyote
Strong Left Hand
Little Creek
Snow Bird (a/k/a White Bird)
Crazy Mule
Iron Shirt
Black Knife
Beaver Claws
Red Owl
Crow Necklace

The most important holy men in the Little Bighorn village were Coal Bear (Keeper of the Sacred Hat), Box Elder, and White Bull (Ice).

— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

Little Wolf at Laramie by Alexander Gardner, 1868

Little Wolf at Laramie by Alexander Gardner, 1868

Little Wolf was married to Quiet One and Feather on Head, and he had two sons, Pawnee and Woodenthigh, and a daughter, Pretty Walker.

— inkpaduta1981
Little Wolf and Others at Fort Laramie by Alexander Gardner, 1868

Little Wolf and Others at Fort Laramie by Alexander Gardner, 1868

According to P. Powell, the man on the left is Short Hair, a Cheyenne council chief, who was obviously in mourning at the time and kind of feebleminded. I remember reading somewhere that the man in the center could be Dull Knife.

— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring
Little Wolf and Dull Knife in Washington, 1873

Little Wolf and Dull Knife in Washington, 1873

Little Wolf and His Wife by George Bird Grinnell, 1898

Little Wolf and His Wife by George Bird Grinnell, 1898

Little Wolf by Grinnell (from the Roberts Article in Montana Magazine)

Little Wolf by Grinnell (from the Roberts Article in Montana Magazine)

— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

There were two prominent Cheyenne named Little Hawk.

  • The first one was a Southerner, a member of the Dog Soldier band, who was also called Young Bull Robe.
  • The other Little Hawk was a Northern Cheyenne, who was a Elkhorn Scraper society member. He was fighting in the battles at the Rosebud and Little Bighorn when he was twenty-eight years old. He left his account to Grinnell in 1908 (see Jerome Greene: Lakota and Cheyenne and Peter Powell: People of the Sacred Mountain).

Here is a photo labeled Little Hawk, Northern Cheyenne, 1880s:

Little Hawk

Little Hawk

Because there are several Indian individuals named Little Hawk, it is not definite that this is the Cheyenne. Instead this also could be a Brule of that name.

— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring
LittleWolf and Dull Knife

LittleWolf and Dull Knife, 1873

Dull Knife (or Morning Star, as he was called by the Cheyennes) was not at the Little Bighorn. He was one of the few Northern Cheyenne Council Chiefs that had remained close to the White River Agency to show the whites that he wished to remain at peace. Other Chiefs who stayed at the agency were Turkey Leg, Standing Elk, Spotted Elk, Living Bear, and Black Bear.

The most important Cheyenne Chief Little Wolf only arrived shortly after the battle ended.

Most of the other 44 Council Chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne were at the Little Bighorn at the time of the battle. The two Old Man Chiefs Old Bear and Black Moccasin (a/k/a Limber Lance) were regarded as the principal Chiefs. (See Father Peter Powell: People of the Sacred Mountain.)

In some Indian accounts you can find the name Dull Knife. Often he is confused with Lame White Man. I guess the other reason is that Dull Knife’s son Bull Hump, often called Dull Knife himself, was in the battle.

— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring


Apparently Dull Knife was either unlucky or did not have enough skill as a leader.

It was his village that was attacked in November 1876 by the military that broke the back of the Northern Cheyenne. This after several warriors insisted that the village stay put and celebrate all night over some minor victory over other Indians.

It was Dull Knife and Little Wolf that separated the band. Dull Knife’s people were eventually captured and sent to an army fort and imprisoned in barracks after they refused to go to another reservation. They broke out of barracks on a winter night after the military refused them food, water, and heat only to have most of them shot down. Little Wolf’s band hid out for the winter and eventually surrendered under better conditions.

— Crzhrs


Dull Knife was one of the most peace-loving chiefs of the Cheyenne. He was elected as a council chief in 1854 when he was some forty-six winters old. Although he was a brave warrior in his younger days, he by then already possessed the wisdom of years. He was a strong peace man, who believed that the Cheyenne and the Whites must get along together. 

Dietmar Schulte-Möhring


I read in Joe Starita’s book about the Dull Knife family that Chief Dull Knife (or Morning Star by his Cheyenne name) had one son (Bull Hump, his eldest) and four daughters with Pawnee Woman, his first wife, who he had stolen once from the Pawnee.

He had a second wife named Short One (or Slow Woman) who bore him three sons and three daughters.

So altogether he had four sons and seven daughters, who were called the “Beautiful People” by the army troops.

His wife Short One, his son Little Hump, and two daughters were killed on the flight back north in 1879.

His youngest son was George Dull Knife, born in 1875. Because he was only about three years old in 1879 and too weak to travel the hard way, he was left behind at the Darlington agency in Oklahoma with some Cheyenne relatives. He came to Pine Ridge in 1883 with 300 other Cheyenne and settled down in Yellow Bear’s Oglala camp. Since then George Dull Knife and his family is rated as Lakota not Cheyenne.

— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring


This is often said to be a photo of Dull Knife. Perhaps it’s Buffalo Hump, his son:

Dull Knife or perhaps his son Buffalo Hump

Dull Knife or perhaps his son Buffalo Hump

— Grahame Wood