Published on November 26, 2012 by Amy
Chief Henry Caruthers Roman Nose (1856–1917) was a Southern Cheyenne Chief. Roman Nose’s life spanned very turbulent times for the Cheyenne people, and he was known as a peacemaker who helped his people make the transition from a nomadic lifestyle to a settled existence.
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Henry Roman Nose was a member of the Cheyenne Tribe. He was mostly known as “Roman Nose.” Some of his other aliases were Arched Nose, and Woo-kay-nay. Roman Nose was known by his peers as being dedicated and willing to protect his people. Roman Nose was known as a warrior with many skillful and bold tactics to fight against his enemies. Roman Nose was also known to be a very spiritual individual and practiced traditional Cheyenne medicine. Roman Nose and his peers believed it was this medicine that protected him and made him such a great warrior.
Henry Roman Nose was born around 1830. He died during the Battle at Beechers Island in 1868. “He had refused a chieftaincy when young, on the grounds that he spent the major portion of his time in battle rather than in council”. Although Roman Nose never accepted the role of chief, many of his peers respected him as a leader and protector of his people and their resources. “Roman Nose, was a leader of Indian warriors and a member of the crooked Lance Society of the Cheyenne Indian Tribe”. Roman Nose’s intentions might have been to protect his people,; however, non-Indians perceived him a malicious man. “Roman Nose, the fierce Dog Soldier Warrior, was considered a ‘bad’ Indian. He wanted the white man evicted from the plains. His lance meant to sweep the lands clean of whites fences, houses, cattle and the ‘iron horse’”. Roman Nose leadership, battle tactics, and spirituality are a few things that made him known to many. Although he died fairly young, Roman Nose left an impact on the west during his time.
Roman Nose’s battle tactics and leadership skills were not only known by his tribe, but also by other people who encountered him. “His bravery came naturally and spotless; his influence was enormous as he was the acknowledged leader in war…though he was not a chief”. Witnesses of Roman Nose’s warfare talked highly about his tactics and leadership abilities. “A common battle tactic of his was to ride up and down the line of army troops within rifle range, getting them to discharge their weapons and waste their ammunition.” Roman Nose used deadly and malicious tactics to protect himself, his people, and his culture. “Roman Nose was a prominent Southern Cheyenne warrior best remembered for his key role in the ongoing battle against white advancement in the west throughout the 1860s”. Roman Nose did not accept the idea that the west was expanding and being industrialized. Giving into the enemy did not seem to be an option for him.
Roman Nose was known to be a very spiritual. “He spent endless hours in preparing his medicine, his mind and his spirit”. It was likely that he would show up late to most battles due to the fact that it took time to bless himself and get ready for warfare. It had been know that Roman Nose would spend days on quests to cleans his spirit and strengthen his medicine. Not only was Roman Nose protected by his medicine he gained through ceremony, but he also felt that he was protected by his famous War-bonnet that was made and given to him by White Bull. His war-bonnet and his practiced medicine was believed to be the reason why he was such a successful warrior.
Through Roman Nose’s spiritual practices and his war-bonnet, he was believed to be protected by himself and others surrounding him. In order for his war-bonnet to protect him, there were certain rules and rituals he had to obey. Some of these rules included never shaking hands with anyone, and never eating food that had been prepared or served using metal. Roman Nose had entire faith in his war-bonnet, and it was believed that it had always protected him in battle. Roman Nose and his fellow warriors believed that, on the morning of the Battle of Beecher’s Island, Roman Nose’s medicine had been tampered with. Roman Nose had felt that something was wrong and said, “Something was done that I was told must not be done, the bread I ate was taken out of the frying pan with something made of iron… If I go into this fight I shall certainly be killed”.