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Northern Cheyennes at the Little Bighorn

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 (aka Dull Knife), Head Chief of the Omisis
Old Bear, Omisis
Black Moccasin (aka 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 (aka White Bird)
Crazy Mule
Iron Shirt
Black Knife
Beaver Claws
Red Owl
Crow Necklace

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

— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

©2008-2022 Diane Merkel & Dietmar Schulte-Möhring
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