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The Cheyenne, an important tribe of Algonquian Indians, originally lived in Minnesota and visited LaSalle`s Illinois River fort in 1680. The name is derived from the Dakota word meaning, "people of alien speech." They were pushed out of the plains by the Sioux and the Lewis and Clark Expedition reported them to be living west of the Black Hills.

They formed a confederation with the Arapahoes and fought frequently with the Sioux and Crows. In 1835, about half the tribe followed the advise of William Bent to move to the vicinity of Bent`s Fort near the Arkansas River, creating a division between the northern and southern Cheyenne.

After General harney`s Ash Hollow campaign of 1855, the Cheyenne joined with the Sioux in resistance to settlers and between 1860 and 1878 were among the most active forces opposing U.S. government troops. They were finally subdued in the Dull Knife campaign between September 1878 and January 1879.