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Presenter: Mr. Jerome Greene
In the wake of the Great Sioux War of 1876-1877, the United States Government expelled most Northern Cheyenne Indians from their northern homeland to Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma. Following mounting hardships, many of those people, under Chief’s Dull Knife and Little Wolf, broke away, seeking to return north. While Little Wolf’s band managed initially to elude pursuing U.S. troops, Dull Knife’s people were captured in 1878 and ushered into a makeshift barrack prison at Camp (later Fort) Robinson, Nebraska, where they spent months waiting for government officials to decide their fate.
On the night of January 9, 1879, in a bloody struggle with troops, Dull Knife’s people staged a massive breakout from their barrack prison in a last-ditch bid for freedom. Their escape took place under an unusually brilliant moon that doomed many of those fleeing by silhouetting them against the snow. A climactic engagement at Antelope Creek proved especially devastating, and the helpless people were nearly annihilated. The gist of Greene’s presentation will focus on Antelope Creek and will carry the story into the present, describing Northern Cheyenne tribal events commemorating the breakout–all designed to ensure that the injustices of nineteenth-century U.S. government policy will never be forgotten.