Black Kettle

Black Kettle

South Dakota, USA
Death 27 Nov 1868
Oklahoma, USA
Cenotaph Cheyenne, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma, USA
Memorial ID 1370 · View Source
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Southern Cheyenne Chieftain. Born near the Black Hills in present day South Dakkota he was called Moke-ta-ve-to. A warrior in his youth, he rose to the chieftanship of Wuhtapiu band of Southern Cheyenne about 1861 and became known as a peace leader. He traveled to Washington to meet President Lincoln and was given an American flag to fly from his lodge to show his camp was peaceful. In 1864 Black Kettle attempted to bring fighting between his people and the army to an end in negotiations with Major Scott Anthony at Fort Lyon. The band then moved to a camp at Sand Creek in eastern Colorado. On November 29, 1864 a contingent of the Colorado Volunteer Militia under John Chivington, a former Methodist preacher with political ambitions, attacked and destroyed the Cheyenne camp at Sand Creek. Shocked by the unprovoked attack, Black Kettle stood in the middle of the camp and raised his American flag as well as a white flag to no avail. Chivington’s men slaughtered, by conservative estimates, some 105 women and children and 28 men. Nearly five hundred Cheyenne managed to escape, including Black Kettle. Black Kettle continued to work for peace and asked his people not to retaliate for the Sand Creek Massacre. He took survivors to the south bank of the Arkansas River. On October 14, 1865, he signed the Little Arkansas River Treaty. In 1867, Black Kettle signed the Treaty of Medicine Lodge which had his people give up their land along the Arkansas River in exchange for a reservation in Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma). In the winter of 1868 Black Kettle took his people to a camp on the Washita River and hung his flag from his lodge once more. In the early morning hours of November 27, 1868, Colonel George Custer's command of 500 troopers from the 7th cavalry descended upon the camp killing some 40 men women and children. The Cheyenne lodges and winter supplies of food and buffalo robes were burned, and over 800 of their horses were slaughtered. Fifty-three women and children were taken captive. Black Kettle and his wife, Maiyuna tried to escape on horseback before they were shot dead on the river bank. Custer’s action was highly controversial since the Cheyenne were not then at war against the Americans. General William Selby Harney a key member of the Indian Peace Commission stated: "I have worn the uniform of my country 55 years, and I know that Black Kettle was as good a friend of the United States as I am."

Bio by: Iola

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The unknown who lies here is in commemoration of Chief Black Kettle and the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal members who lost their lives in the Battle of the Washita.




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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1370
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Black Kettle (unknown–27 Nov 1868), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1370, citing Black Kettle Museum, Cheyenne, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .