The Cheyenne Indians originally led a sedentary lifestyle, farming crops such as corn and beans. However, with the introduction of horses from Spanish traders, the Cheyenne became a more mobile society and took to following herds of bison across the Great Plains. The buffalo provided the tribe with food and materials for clothes and tools. The Cheyenne lived in tipis, smoked peace pipes and wore feathered headdresses. The Cheyenne tribe is among the best-known tribes of Native Americans.
The Cheyenne nation consists of three tribes that banded together to form the Tsitsistas, which means "like-hearted people". Within this nation, there were 10 distinct bands that spread across the Great Plains. Their domain stretched from southern Colorado to the black hills of South Dakota and the lakes of Minnesota.
These tribes lived peacefully, with the men hunting and the women gathering. The children spent their time crafting pottery out of clay. In the evening, the tribe gathered around a large fire to sing, dance and tell stories.
Like many Native American tribes, the Cheyenne were initially friendly with the European settlers and occasionally traded with them. However, with the gold rush of the 1850s, tensions rose as the hundreds of settlers took more and more land away from the Indians. After the Sand Creek massacre of 1864, where white militias killed and mutilated nearly 200 Cheyenne men, women and children, the Cheyenne tribe became actively engaged in a series of battles known as the Indian Wars.
Many Cheyenne died in the battles, and still more died of illness and starvation. The survivors were relocated to reservations in Oklahoma and Montana.