Published on December 17, 2012 by Carol
Author: John H. Monnett
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Tell Them We Are Going Home details the courageous journey of the Northern Cheyennes, under the leadership of Little Wolf and Dull Knife, from Indian Territory northward to their homelands in the Powder River Country. Incorporating the perspectives of the Cheyennes, the U.S. military, the Indian Bureau, and the Kansas settlers who encountered the traveling Indians, this book provides a complete account of the odyssey, along with source material never before presented in print.
The conflict between the Northern Cheyennes and the military began with the destruction of Dull Knife’s winter village by cavalry troops in late 1876, at the close of the Great Sioux War. The survivors among Dull Knife’s people, along with other Northern Cheyenne bands, were ordered to report to Fort Reno and the Darlington Agency in Indian Territory during the summer of 1877. Monnett describes the group’s difficult seventy-day march to the agency, where the northern group began to sicken shortly after their arrival. Medical supplies were slow to arrive, and the food allotments were insufficient.
By the spring of 1878, many of the Northern Cheyennes found life in Indian Territory intolerable. They formally asked to be taken back to the higher, dry country of Montana. When their request was refused, a group of about three hundred men, women, and children slipped away from the Darlington Agency during the early morning hours of September 10, 1878, led by Little Wolf and Dull Knife.
Immediately the army marshaled the technological resources of a modern nation against them. Monnett chronicles the Cheyennes dramatic fifteen-hundred-mile trek through Kansas, Nebraska, and portions of Wyoming and Montana, which became one of the most important episodes in American history and in Cheyenne memory. Only when their plight was brought to national attention were the Northern Cheyennes officially allowed to return to their homelands and a new reservation established there for them.