Cheyenne Indian Tribal Divisions

Other names, not commonly recognized as divisional names, are:

  1. Moqtávhaitä’niu, ‘black men,’ i. e. `Ute’ (sing., Moqtávhaitän). To the Cheyenne and most other Plains tribes the Ute are known as ‘Black men’ or ‘Black people.’ A small band, apparently not a recognized division, of the same name is still represented among the Southern Cheyenne, and, according to Grinnell, also among the Northern Cheyenne. They maybe descended from Ute captives and perhaps constituted a regular tribal division.
  2. Ná’kuimána, ‘bear people’; a small band among the Southern Cheyenne taking its name from a former chief and not recognized as properly constituting a division.
  3. Anskówǐnǐs, ‘narrow nose-bridge,’ a band of Sioux admixture and of recent origin, taking its name from a chief, properly named Broken Dish, but nicknamed Anskówǐnǐs. They separated from the O’mǐ’sǐs on account of a quarrel, probably, as Grinnell states, a dispute as to the guardianship of the sacred buffalohead cap, a stolen horn from which is now in possession of one of the band in the south. They are represented among both the Northern and the Southern Cheyenne.
  4. Pǐ’nûtgû’ ‘ Pe’nätĕ`ka’ (Comanche). This is not properly a divisional or even a band name, but was the contemptuous name given by the hostile Cheyenne in 1874-75 to the “friendlies,” under Whirlwind, who remained passive near the agency at Darlington, in allusion to the well-known readiness of the Penateka Comanche to sell their services as scouts against their own tribesmen on the plains.
  5. Máhoyum, ‘red tipi’; this name, in the form Miayuma, ‘red lodges,’ is erroneously given in the Clarke MS., in possession of Grinnell, as the name of a band or division, but is really only the name of a heraldic tipi belonging by heredity to a family of the Hó’nowa division, now living with the Southern Cheyenne.
  6. Wóopotsǐ’t (Wóhkpotsīt, Grinnell), ‘white wolf’ (?) A numerous family group taking its name from a noted common ancestor, in the southern branch of the tribe, who died about 1845. The name literally implies something having a white and frosty appearance, as hide scrapings or a leaf covered with frost.
  7. Totoimana (Tūtoimanáh, Grinnell), ‘backward or shy clan,’ a modern nickname applied by the Northern Cheyenne to a band on Tongue river, “because they prefer to camp by themselves” (Grinnell). From the same root comes toto, ‘crawfish,’ referring to its going backward (Petter).
  8. Black Lodges. A local designation or nickname for those Northern Cheyenne living in the neighborhood of Lame Deer “because they are on friendly terms with the band of Crows known as Black Lodges” 1.
  9. Ree band. A local designation or nickname for those Northern Cheyenne living about Rosebud creek, “because among them there are several men who are related to the Rees” (Grinnell, ibid.).
  10. Yellow Wolf bond 2. From another reference this is seen to be only a temporary band designation from a chief of that name.
  11. Half breed band 3 Probably only a temporary local designation, perhaps from a chief of that name (Mooney).

The Warrior Organization (Nŭ’tqiu, ‘warriors,’ ‘soldiers’; sing., Nŭtaq) of the Cheyenne is practically the same as found among the Arapaho, Kiowa, and most other Plains tribes (see Military Societies), and consists of the following 6 societies, with possibly one or more extinct:

  1. Hotámitä’nio, ‘dog men’;
  2. Woksíhitänio, `(kit) fox men,’ alias Mótsónitänio, `flint men’;
  3. HT’moiyogTs ‘pointed-lance men’ (Petter) or Oomi-nfitcliu, `coyote warriors’;
  4. Miihohlv;is, `red shield,’ alias Hotoanu’tgiu, `buffalo hull warriors’; (5) Himátanóhis, `bowstring (men)’;
  5. Hotam-ǐmsáw’, `crazy dogs.’ This last society is of modern origin.

Besides these the members of the council of 44 chiefs were sometimes considered to constitute in themselves another society, theVǐ’hiyo, ‘chiefs.’ The equivalent list given by Clark 4 omitting No. 6, is Dog, Fox, Medicine Lance, Bull, Bowstring, and Chief. There seems to have been no fixed rule of precedence, but the Hotámitä’niu, or “Dog soldiers” as they came to be known to the whites, acquired most prominence and distinctive character from the fact that by the accession of the entire warrior force of the Masǐ”kota division, as already noted, they, with their families, took on the character of a regular tribal division with a place in the tribal circle. From subsequent incorporation by intermarriage of numerous Sioux, Arapaho, and other alien elements their connection with their own tribe was correspondingly weakened, and they formed the habit of camping apart from the others and acting with the Sioux or as an independent body. They were known as the most aggressive of the hostiles until defeated, with the loss of their chief, Tall Bull, by Gen. Carr’s forces in 1869.Citations:

  1. Grinnell, Black Lodge Tales[]
  2. Culbertson, Jour., 1850[]
  3. Culbertson, Jour., 1850.[]
  4. Clark, Indian Sign Language,[]


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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