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Protectors of the Cheyenne People

Giclee on Canvas Collectors' Resale
44" x 36" inches
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Tribal tradition suggests that the Cheyenne may have originated north of the Great Lakes, toward Hudson's Bay. They were cousins to the Arapahoes, who preceded them west. Handed-down stories tell of their having lived by a large lake far to the north, of building willow seines to catch fish. It is believed they began moving westward under heavy pressure from the Crees, who were armed by the Hudson's Bay Company. Their movement brought them under savage attack by the Assiniboins, a Siouan people carrying English-orign rifles. They retreated southwestward to the Missouri River. Some settled there to raise crops, as they had done in their original homeland, while others moved out onto the plains to live off the vast buffalo herds. There, as a Cheyenne expression put it, "we lost our corn." And there these warriors, with their weapons, war ponies and medicine shields, became the "Protectors of the Cheyenne People".