The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982 Page: 230
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
who were constantly locked in combat with saber-wielding cavalry-
men, brutish buffalo hunters, and land-hungry settlers. Certainly no
one who studies military files within the National Archives can doubt
the partial truth of this image, since the various Cheyenne groups
steadfastly resisted white incursions into their lands and fought nu-
merous epic battles. Yet this continuous focus on Cheyenne martial
prowess obscures an equally strong tradition of diplomatic expertise
by peace chiefs who generally were held in higher esteem than warrior
leaders. This separation of civil and military powers was institution-
alized in the Council of Forty-Four, which oversaw the general welfare
of the bands by minimizing internal conflict and by avoiding confron-
tation with whites and other tribes. Members of this illustrious and
powerful group came from the ranks of proven warriors who, upon
their election, gave up positions within the warrior societies to accept
new responsibilities. Each was chosen by the existing Council mem-
bers to serve for ten years, thus assuring continuity of the ruling body
and at the same time maintaining representation for all of the bands.
Stan Hoig, professor of journalism at Central State University in
Edmond, Oklahoma, presents fifteen brief biographies of noted peace
chiefs and dramatizes the difficulties that they faced in dealing with
the calamitous reservation experience. Some, such as Slim Face, Old
Tobacco, Yellow Wolf, Black Kettle, and White Antelope, met death
at the hands of whites who never understood the internal organization
of Cheyenne society and who cast all Indians in the mold of scalping
In addition to focusing on the peace leaders, Hoig chronicles the
activities of three warrior chiefs-Bull Bear, Tall Bull, and Roman
Nose-who led the various military societies in a futile resistance
against the army. He also traces the 1878-1879 winter march of the
northern Cheyennes from their hated western Oklahoma reservation
back to their Montana-Wyoming homeland. One group, led by Little
Wolf, ultimately made it back to the familiar surroundings of the
Tongue River, but many of Dull Knife's people were killed following
a breakout from the guardhouse at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. Less
celebrated but equally important was Little Chief, who utilized white
friends and federal courts to have his people returned to the Tongue
River Reservation in 1891.
The Peace Chiefs of the Cheyennes is a well-conceived book, but its
brevity somewhat detracts from its potential value. Had the author
delved more deeply into the internal tribal structure and cultural
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982, periodical, 1981/1982; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101208/m1/264/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.