Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes
The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes have a long history as allies and friends, so when branches of these two distinct tribes were placed together on a reservation in Oklahoma, in order to survive and thrive, an even closer collaboration began. Most historians place prehistory Arapaho homelands in parts of the Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario Provinces of Canada and in the upper parts of the U.S. in what is now Minnesota and Michigan. Over time they migrated west into Colorado and Wyoming, eventually occupying lands ranging from northern New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas north into Wyoming and South Dakota.
The Cheyenne were originally a Woodland people living in the eastern portion of the U.S. and later migrated into the plains. Although they are identified as Plains Indians who followed the buffalo, they retain ties to their woodland heritage. For both tribes, encroachment by settlers from the mid-1800s onward caused ongoing struggles, including broken treaties and broken promises, the vagaries of the reservation system, and later the chicanery surrounding the disastrous Dawes Act, also known as the allotment system, often resulted in societal and cultural devastation and tragedy.
Over the last 80 years both tribes have worked hard to recover their culture and heritage and continue to do so in a number of ways. The Arapahos engage in powwows and continue to be involved with their Northern Arapaho brethren through ceremonies in Wyoming such as the Sun Dance and other age-old rituals held in such high esteem that they are not publicized. The Cheyenne continue traditions such as the Sun Dance as well, and many take part in frequent powwows.