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Scabby Bull, an Arapaho Indian, 1898

The Arapaho [ əˈræpəˌhəʊ - ] or Arapahoe are a Native American people and, like their closest allies - the Cheyenne - belonged to the plains and plains cultural area as nomadic Plains Indians . In addition, from 1750 both peoples were the dominant military and political power of the Central Plains and the Front Range in western Nebraska and Kansas , in southeast Wyoming and in eastern Colorado .

Historically, they were close allies of the Cheyenne and later their former enemies, the Lakota Sioux , Comanche , Kiowa and Plains Apache . Their traditional enemies included the Shoshone , Ute , Osage and Pawnee . The related Gros Ventre were often fought stubbornly, as they had joined the powerful tribal alliances hostile to the Arapaho for their protection - first as a member of the Blackfoot Confederation (from around 1793 to 1861) and then as a member of the Cree - AssiniboineAlliance (Nehiyaw-Pwat).

Originally the Arapaho consisted of five independent dialect and tribal groups who lived along the Red River of the North in northern Minnesota and in the west of the Great Lakes in the area of ​​the cultural area of the Northeastern Woodlands , but who, together with the Cheyenne, were under pressure from those armed with guns and militarily superior Ojibwe and Assiniboine had to move west and southwest. On this migration, the northernmost tribal group stayed in northern Montana and south Manitoba and Saskatchewan in the early 18th century , while the four remaining tribal groups moved further south and southwest onto the Central Plains and the Front Range. Around 1750 two separate tribes had developed: the Gros Ventre , who remained in the north on the Northern Plains, and the Arapaho, who moved south and south-west .

The Northern Arapaho have lived together with the Eastern Shoshone Tribe on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming since 1878 and are recognized as the Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Reservation ; the Southern Arapaho live together with the Southern Cheyenne in Oklahoma and form the also federally recognized tribe of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes .

The Arapaho tried to stay out of the wars with the United States, but fell victim to the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 when Colonel Chivington wiped out a Cheyenne and Arapaho camp under the protection of the US government . The survivors fled to Wyoming and asked the Shoshone for land; others drove for revenge and took part in the so-called Red Cloud War from 1866 to 1868 (also known as the Bozeman Trail or Powder River War ) on the side of the Northern Cheyenne and Lakota, which for the time being with a complete victory of the united tribes ended. Together with (mostly) Northern Cheyenne and Lakota some Arapaho fought in 1876 in the Battle of Little Bighorn River against the 7th US Cavalry Regiment under George A. Custer .

Tribal designation and name

Freckle Face, Arapaho Woman, 1898

According to a widespread view, today's tribal name Arapaho is derived from a word of the enemy Pawnee - either from raapuh / raapih ("to act") or from tirapihu / larapihu ("trader"); A competing doctrine claims, however, that the name derives from the language of the also hostile Absarokee (Crow) , who the Arapaho called Alappaho ("people with many tattoos "), which the European traders then verballhorn in Arapaho - who know Arapaho themselves no sound for "r". The Cree also called them Assaso Iyiniwak ("Tattooed People"). The Absarokee and Cree names refer to the traditional Arapaho tradition of tattooing three horizontal dots on the chest of boys and one dot on the forehead of girls; This was done in order to be able to identify them again after a possible attack and robbery of the children or women by an enemy tribe when they were liberated in the enemy camp.

The Cheyenne called Hetanevo'eo'o ( "Cloud People"), the Lakota also Maȟpíya Tho (Blue Cloud Men ',' Blue Sky People "-" Blue Cloud People, "" Blue Sky people ") and the Assiniboine also Maȟpíyato . All of these names could come from the Arapaho's original name as Heeteinono'eino .

The Pawnee called the Arapaho - like many other tribes, by the way - as Sarí'itihka / Sári'itihka ("dog meat eater"), the Comanche also called them Saria Tʉhka / Säretika (Sata Teichas) , the Caddo Detseka'yaa and the Wichita peoples Nia'rhari's-kûrikiwa'ahûski , which roughly means "dog eater" (the Shoshone and Ute also had similar names).

The Arikaree, on the other hand, called them Tuhkanihnaáwiš / Kun na-nar-wesh ('Gray Stone Village' or 'Colored Stone Village People'), since the Arapaho trade goods may also include gemstones from the southwest.

Since the Hidatsa also referred to the Arapaho as E-tah-leh / Ita-Iddi ('Bison Path People'), the French probably adopted this name, so that in the older French-language literature both - Arapaho and Gros Ventre - also called Gens de Vache ("buffalo people", "bison people") are known. The tribal terms Kananavich, Ca-ne-na-vich or Kanenavich , which mostly appear in English texts (for example Lewis and Clark ), seem to be corruptions of either the French naming Gens de Vache or the Arikara name.

Since the Arapaho contemptuously referred to the related Gros Ventre as Hitouunenno , Hitúnĕna or Hittiuenina (" beggars ", literally " parasites "), the allied Cheyenne took over this and also called them Hestóetaneo'o ("those who beg for meat", "parasites") "). Since the French misinterpreted this term in the sign language of the Plains as “Gros Ventres” (“fat bellies” instead of the symbol for “ hunger ”), they have since been referred to in French as Gros Ventres or in English as Big Bellies .

Like many other indigenous peoples, the Arapaho called themselves simply Hinono'eino , Hinanae'inan or Inuna-Ina (“our people” or simply “people”), but if the entire Arapaho tribe is meant, the name Hinono is used 'eiteen ("Arapaho Nation") is used.

Dialect and tribal groups of the Arapaho-Atsina (Gros Ventre)

As already mentioned, there were originally five independent dialect and tribal groups, which developed into two separate tribes during the migration between 1700 and 1750 west and south on the Plains, which even belonged to hostile tribal alliances: The northernmost dialect and tribal group remained on the northern Plains and developed into the Atsina (Gros Ventre) , while the four remaining dialect and tribal groups moved further south and southwest to the Central Plains and the Front Range and developed there to the Arapaho.

Each tribal group spoke its own dialect (or an Arapaho language), some of which differed from the actual Arapaho in various forms and strengths - but all dialects or Arapaho languages ​​(Arapaho-Atsina) were mutually understandable . This also meant that the individual tribal groups were usually able to retain their own identity and language for a long time, even if they were later to reorganize politically. The dialects of Haa'ninin (Atsina / Gros Ventre), Beesowuunenno 'and Hinono'eino (actual Arapaho) were closely related to one another, while the dialects of Nanwacinaha'ana and Hánahawuuena differed most from these. According to the elders of the Arapaho, however, the dialect of the Hánahawuuena was the most difficult dialect to understand.

The anthropologist Alfred Kroeber identified these five dialect and tribal groups as follows (from south to north):

  • Nanwacinaha'ana , Nawathi'neha ("people living in the south") or Nanwuine'nan / Náwunena , Noowothiineheeno '/ Noowunenno ("southern people"), their now- extinct language or dialect Nawathinehena was one of the most deviant dialects - they developed into the later Southern Arapaho .
  • Hánahawuuena , Hananaxawuune'nan or Aanû'nhawa ("rock people", "rock people", perhaps with reference to the Rocky Mountains ), their tribal areas bordered in the north on those of the Nanwacinaha'ana , they spoke the language or dialect Ha, which is also extinct today 'anahawunena and later evolved into the Northern Arapaho .
  • Hinono'eino , Hinanae'inan or Inuna-Ina (originally "true Arapaho" or "real Arapaho", later transferred to all Arapaho with the meaning as "our people") or actual Arapaho , spoke Hinónoʼeitíít / Heenetiit or actual Arapaho language of the Arapaho languages ​​- later developed into the nucleus of the Northern Arapaho and were considered the mother tribe among the other Arapaho .
  • Beesowuunenno , Baasanwuune'nan or Bäsawunena (“people with large dwellings” or “wigwam / grass hut people”) lived further north of the Hinono'eino , their war troops used similar dwellings on the way, like the wigwam similar to the Algonquin tribes around the Great Lakes According to tradition, they left their original homeland later than the other Arapaho groups (some Arapaho and linguists therefore claim their name means “people of the Great Lakes” or “people on the great water”, but no generally accepted translation is known today), spoke the now also extinct language or dialect Besawunena or Beesoowuuyeitiit of the Arapaho languages ​​- most of them joined the Northern Arapaho , some of the Southern Arapaho and the Gros Ventre (Atsina) .
  • Haa'ninin , A'aninin , Ahahnelin or A'ani ("people of the white clay (earth)" or "lime people") were the northernmost dialect and tribal group, after the separation from the other four Arapaho tribal groups they became from The latter is contemptuously referred to as Hitouunenno , Hitúnĕna or Hittiuenina (" beggar ", literally " parasite ") - since the Arapaho regarded the Haa'ninin as inferior or inferior; as temporary allies of the hostile Blackfoot Confederation (circa 1793–1861) they were able to maintain their ethnic independence and developed into the later Gros Ventre or Atsina (the Blackfoot referred to the Haa'ninin as “Atsíína” - “like a Cree , ie Feind ”, also reproduced as“ Courageous People ”or as“ Piik-siik-sii-naa ”-“ Snakes, ie enemies ”), they speak the now almost extinct language or dialect Gros Ventre or Ananin / Ahahnelin , used by the Arapaho was contemptuously referred to as Hitouuyeitiit ("language of beggars or parasites"); There is evidence that the southern Haa'ninin tribal group, the Staetan Band , spoke the language or dialect Besawunena together with bands of the later Northern Arapaho .

Development to the Gros Ventre (Atsina) and Arapaho

Once upon a time, each of the five dialect and tribal groups had its own chief; the four tribal groups south of the Haa'ninin (Gros Ventre / Atsina) often shared the resources of the respective tribal areas and camped together; For at least the last 150 years, the Beesowuunenno 'have wandered and camped among the other three independent tribal groups - they also visited each other, so that the once four separate tribal groups (Nanwacinaha'ana, Hánahawuuena, Hinono'eino and Beesowuunenno') came together towards the end of the 18th century to the Arapaho (Hinono'eino) and the northern tribal group to the Gros Ventre / Atsina (Haa'ninin) - however, the exact date and the course of this ethnogenesis is not known. The fact that there used to be rivalries among tribal groups and a strong awareness of one's own identity is confirmed by the oral tradition of the elders of the Arapaho, who report that once the Hinono'eino ("true Arapaho") and Beesowuunenno '("Big Lodge People "or" Brush-Hut / Shelter People ") fought for possession of the tribal symbols sacred to all Arapaho - the sacred pipe and the sacred lance, both of which were traditionally preserved by the Beesowuunenno '.

Division into Northern and Southern Arapaho

At the time of regular contact with American traders, hunters and government officials in the early 1800s, the Hinono'eino (all Arapaho tribal groups south of the Haa'ninin) - often accompanied by the Cheyenne - claimed and traversed large areas of the Great Plains ; their tribal areas stretched from northern New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas north to Wyoming (called by the Cheyenne Hetanévo'ēno - "place / country of the Arapaho") and South Dakota (by the Cheyenne Ho'óhomo'éno - "land of the Sioux") called), where they mostly roamed the western areas of the Central Plains and the Front Range , while the Cheyenne mostly used the eastern areas.

As large traders, the Cheyenne and Arapaho initiated the establishment of the trading post at Bent's Fort on the Upper Arkansas River in 1833 in order to eliminate other tribes as middlemen and to be able to exchange their goods directly with American traders. When, between 1815 and 1840, many southern bands of the Arapaho and Cheyenne began to advance further south to the Arkansas River, this brought them into a rapidly escalating conflict with the Comanche bands and the Kiowa, which dominated the Southern Plains as a military and trading power and Plains Apache - there were large areas north of the Arkansas River over the Smoky Hill River (from around 1750 to the beginning of the 19th century it was known as the River of the Padoucas ) to the North Platte River (until 1805 as Padouca / Comanche Fork known) to the Comancheria , the sphere of influence of this tribal alliance. In order to control the trade with Bent's Fort and to secure access - if necessary by force - to the markets of the Pueblo and Mexicans in New Mexico as well as to the huge herds of bison and mustang of the southern plains of Texas , New Mexico and Oklahoma , the allies led Arapaho and Cheyenne (contrary to the custom of the war tactics of the Plains of action (attack) and reaction (retaliation) with mostly few deaths) a risky and brutal war against the tribes of the south, for as many opposing warriors as possible to kill. The Comanche, Kiowa and Plains Apache, who were also weakened by smallpox (1817 and 1848), realized after several extremely brutal and sometimes costly confrontations - in which they lost well over 1,000 horses several times - that the Cheyenne and Arapaho wanted to make it clear that they were doing this intended not to give up their newly gained territories in Colorado and Kansas and parts of New Mexico and Oklahoma. Therefore, in 1840, the two exhausted tribal alliances - through the intermediation of the Kiowa and Kiowa Apache (Plains Apache), who were related to the Arapaho by marriage - formed a strong military alliance, which resulted from the surrender of thousands of horses by the Comanche, Kiowa and Plains Apache was sealed to the militarily victorious Cheyenne and Arapaho. As a result, these tribal groups, now known as Southern Cheyenne and Southern Arapaho , soon established themselves as successful traders on the Santa Fe Trail .

The northern bands of the Arapaho - which were now also mostly known as the Northern Arapaho - were more conservative than their southern relatives and mostly tried to stay away from the whites and to live autonomously, so they moved further north into the areas of the Powder River and Yellowstone Rivers north of the Platte River ; to trade they came to Fort Laramie , a trading post built in 1834 at the confluence of the Laramie River and the North Platte River (later Army Fort ) in southeast Wyoming.

Around 1840 , the southern and northern bands had developed their own identities as Southern Arapaho and Northern Arapaho , the border of the tribal areas was the South Platte River in Colorado - this is where the two tribal groups of the Arapaho also used to gather in what is now the city of Denver as well as an important trading center for neighboring tribes. (See also: Southern and Northern Cheyenne ):

  • Northern Arapaho or Northern Arapaho : called themselves Nank'haanseine'nan (" desert mugwort people") or Nookhose'iinenno (" white sage people") and were called Bo'ooceinenno ' or Baachinena (" Silky Dogwood Folk ”); the Kiowa they also called Tägyäko ("desert mugwort people"), a translation of their own name. Originally only comprising the historical tribal groups of the Hinono'eino ("true / actual Arapaho"), two other tribal groups later merged into them - the Hánahawuuena and Beesowuunenno '; there are still about 50 tribal members among the Northern Arapaho with Beesowuunenno 'ancestors. Today they are the keepers of the sacred tribal symbols (which originally belonged to the Beesowuunenno ') and are regarded by all Arapaho bands as the nucleus or the mother tribe of all Arapaho . In the sign language on the Plains (Plains Indian Sign Language) they are therefore also identified with the sign for “mother people”.
  • Southern Arapaho or Southern Arapaho : called themselves Náwunena or Noowunenno ("southern people"), were therefore also called by the Northern Arapaho as Nawathi'neha ("people living in the south / southward"); the Kiowa called them Ähayädal (plural name for the wild plum ). In sign language, the Southern Arapaho were identified by rubbing the index finger along the side of the nose. In them the historical tribal group of the Nanwacinaha'ana / Noowothiineheeno '("Southern people") and some of the Beesowuunenno' went on. A large band of the Southern Arapaho of about 250 people moved further south to the southern plains of Texas, where they joined the once hostile Comanche and became part of the Comanche as the Saria Tʉhka / Sata Teichas band ("dog eaters"). (This was not uncommon, often smaller and politico-military weaker bands joined neighboring more powerful peoples: the Comanche also joined bands from the Shoshone and Plains Apache (Kiowa Apache)).

Through the treaties of Fort Laramie of 1851 and 1868 , the division into Northern Arapaho (Northern Arapaho) and Southern Arapaho (Southern Arapaho) was officially recognized and established by the USA, so that the two are now two tribes recognized at the federal level (so-called federally recognized tribes ).


The Arapaho and their closely related Gros Ventre originally spoke five different Arapaho idioms , each of which can be assigned to the individual tribal groups. The Arapaho dialects (language code according to ISO 639-2 :) arpbelong together with Cheyenne (Tsêhesenêstsestôtse) and Blackfoot (Ni'tsiitapipo'ahsin) to the Algonquin language family . This Plains-Algonquin regional group is, however, more culturally and geographically defined than by language, as the differences between the languages ​​listed here were so great that the three groups could not understand each other, but communicated through sign language on the Plains. Today Tsêhesenêstsestôtse (Cheyenne) is still spoken by around 1700 Cheyenne in the states of Montana and Oklahoma in the USA.

Cultural history

Because most of the Indian peoples who belong to the Algonquian language family can be found in the cultural area of ​​the Northeastern Woodland , it can be assumed that the Arapaho also emerged from the cultural layer of the Woodland Complex . It is very likely that the ancestors of the later Arapaho people lived in what is now Minnesota and North Dakota before they invaded the Great Plains. However, there is no direct archaeological or historical evidence to determine the period of this cultural change more precisely. However, it can be assumed that the spread of wild mustangs to the north made the cultural complex of a horse culture possible in the first place.

At the time of the European expansion, the Arapahos roamed the area of ​​the later US states of South Dakota , Nebraska , Colorado , Wyoming and Kansas . They lived in cone-shaped leather tents ( tipi ) which the women erected from bison hides and wooden poles. The basis of life was the hunt for bison , pronghorn and other wild animals and to a much lesser extent the gathering of plants, fruits, berries and nuts. Their material possessions were optimally adapted to a mobile way of life. An entire tent village could be packed up and made ready for travel within an hour. In winter, the tribe split up into small camps that took refuge in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in what is now the state of Colorado. In late spring, they moved out to the Great Plains in larger camp groups to hunt prairie bonsons at the end of the gestation period. In midsummer, the various local groups gathered again at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in today's Colorado to hunt the mountain bison. They returned to the Great Plains in late summer and fall to hold their ceremonies, especially the annual Sun Dance , and to hold community hunts for the bison herds that had gathered during the rutting season.

The Arapaho children often fished and hunted with the adults, but also had plenty of free time for many types of games. A throwing game was particularly popular, in which a rolling net hoop had to be hit with a dart while running.


The political and military history of the Arapaho after the arrival of the Europeans until 1878 largely corresponds to the history of the Cheyenne , with whom they had formed a strong trade and military alliance since 1800 without giving up their own social order. Later this alliance was expanded again by the respective tribal parts: The Northern Arapaho and Northern Cheyenne had expanded the alliance in the north with their former enemies - the Sioux-speaking Lakota Sioux and some bands Yanktonai and Yankton since 1826 ; the Southern Arapaho and Southern Cheyenne, on the other hand, concluded a lasting peace and a strong military alliance after long bitter battles with the tribes of the Comancheria - who also formed a powerful tribal alliance of Comanche , Kiowa and Plains Apache . This shows that the indigenous peoples of North America mostly did not act as individual tribes, peoples or nations in trade or in war, but were organized in large tribal alliances for mutual protection, these alliances often comprised ethnically and linguistically different tribes. The Gros Ventre, however, had joined the Blackfoot Confederation (which included the Algonquin-speaking Blackfoot and Gros Ventre also the Athapaskan -speaking Sarcee ), which were among the enemies of the Arapaho. In order to be able to make themselves understandable within the tribal alliances as well as to other tribes (since the individual tribes used different languages ​​that were not understood by one another) the Plains tribes developed a sign language , the so-called Plains Indian Sign Language (PISL) . While the European immigrants viewed the Arapaho or Cheyenne as a politically united and homogeneous people or "nation" (and therefore often made all tribesmen responsible for the actions of individual bands), the Cheyenne originally comprised three separate peoples (Tsé-tsêhéstâhese, Masikota and Só 'taeo'o) and the Arapaho all four (Nanwacinaha'ana, Hánahawuuena, Hinono'eino, Beesowuunenno') - however, both peoples had developed political, religious and social systems and organizations around a common political idea of ​​a nation or a tribe build up.

Together with the Cheyenne, they were in strong competition with the tribes of the Southern Plains - especially the Pawnee and Comanche - from whom they obtained their horses, provided they did not breed their own herds of horses. They were loosely allied with the Lakota . Since the Arapaho and Cheyenne also obtained their horses through robbery and claimed access to the trade goods (especially rifles, ammunition, metal goods, knives, awls, axes, tomahawks, kettles and alcohol) of the French and Spaniards, they fought the Pawnee, Comanche as well as Kiowa and Kiowa Apaches adamant. Most recently, the Comanche and Kiowa had to recognize the Arkansas River as the northernmost limit of the Comancheria under pressure from the southward moving Arapaho and Cheyenne.

Due to their intermediate position between the rocky mountains and the great plains, they also participated in the fur trade with other tribes and European settlers. Their name Arapaho is generally agreed from the Pawnee word for "trader". Some sources also claim that Arapaho is derived from the language of the hostile Crow and means Enemy with Many Skins , which implies the same meaning, since only a people in possession of many (surplus) furs could trade .

Mostly, however, they fought against their traditional enemies, the Eastern Shoshone (also Eastern Shoshone), Blackfoot , Absarokee (also Crow), Assiniboine , Plains Cree and Ute . Here they came into conflict with the Jicarilla Apache , allies of the Ute, and the Mescalero Apache . From 1840 they formed a defensive alliance with the Cheyenne tribes with the dominant tribes of the Southern Plains - the Comanche, Kiowa and Kiowa-Apaches - against the tribes expelled from the east, which now penetrated the plains and into the mountains and the dwindling ones Bison herds contested the local tribes, as well as against the settlers, who appropriated more and more land.

The Treaty of Fort Laramie 1868 distinguished three main divisions of the Arapaho: the Northern Arapaho , the Southern Arapaho, and the Gros Ventres or Atsina . In the Treaty of Little Arkansas River in 1865, the Cheyenne Arapaho Reservation was established in the later US states of Oklahoma and Kansas , the land base of which was cut to less than half two years later in the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867. Under the provisions of the General Allotment Act ( Dawes Act ), the collective tribal land of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation was privatized in 1891; H. overwritten to individual Indians with individual inheritance, and the rest released for European settlement. In 1878 the Northern Arapaho Reservation was established in what is now the state of Wyoming, known as the Wind River Reservation since 1937 . In 1888 the Fort Belknap reservation in what is now Montana was established for the Gros Ventre and the Assiniboine or Nakoda . The majority of the Gros Ventres had converted to Christianity after 1862.


The Arapaho are still divided into the northern and southern tribe today. The northern Arapaho ( The Northern Arapaho Tribe ) inhabit the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming together with the Eastern Shoshone , the southern Arapaho live together with the southern Cheyenne as The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma , with a tribal center in Concho (Oklahoma). Both tribes are recognized by the US government.

As of the 2000 census, there were 7,000 Arapahos with common Arapaho ancestors and 9258 Arapahos with ancestors from other Indian tribes. The Northern Arapaho get their income mainly from the sale of natural resources . The Southern Arapaho earn tribal income from oil wells and commercial businesses such as cigarette sales and agriculture .

In July 2005, Northern Arapaho won a lawsuit against the state of Wyoming and has since been allowed to build three casinos , the first gaming venues in the state of Wyoming. The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes have since operated three casinos in the US state of Oklahoma.

Only a few Arapaho speak their own language today, most of them are members of the Northern Arapaho. As for many other Indian languages, programs were launched to keep the language from disappearing.

Chiefs of the Arapaho

Northern Arapaho (Northern Arapaho)

  • Friday . He was also called Friday Fitzpatrick or Chief Black Spot by the Americans, last known to the Arapaho as Teenokuhu - "Sits Brooding, Sits meekly" - "Sitting brooding, sitting lambly, dumb", around 1824 - was once together with two others Arapaho boys during a tribal meeting in 1831 separated from his group and from the Mountain Man Thomas Fitzpatrick (English on the Plains on Friday Friday ) and have been adopted, Fitzpatrick sent Friday to St. Louis and from school, where he learned English. On one of Fitzpatrick's trade expeditions west in 1838, an Arapaho recognized Friday as her prodigal son; then he rejoined his people and served them as translator , advisor and diplomat because of his knowledge of English. He later became chief of a Northern Arapaho group, but his influence waned by the mid-1870s with the rise of Black Coal and Sharp Nose . From this time on, he is usually only listed as a translator in the official documents.
  • Black Bear ( Wo'teenox - "Black Bear") was an important chief of the Northern Arapaho. During the Powder River Expedition of 1865, General Connor discovered a large camp of about 500 people in the Northern Arapaho under Black Bear and Medicine Man on the Tongue River in late August . At 7.30 a.m. on August 29, 1865, General Connor attacked with 400 cavalrymen and 80 pawnee scouts the camp, which at that time consisted mostly of women, children, old people and a few warriors, as Black Bear with most of the warriors along against the Crow of the Big Horn River fought, destroyed tents, clothing, blankets and food - thus the entire winter supplies. Connor withstood the subsequent counterattack of the warriors under Medicine Man thanks to two howitzers . In this fight ( Battle of the Tongue River or Connor Battle ) 50 Arapaho were killed and about 1,000 horses shot by the army, about a third of the entire herd, whereupon he allied himself with the leading chief of the Lakota, Red Cloud , to fight together the whites go ahead.
  • Medicine Man (*? - died 1871), was a leading chief of the Northern Arapaho, together with Black Bear had set up the approximately 500 people large camp of the Northern Arapaho on the Tongue River and tried it on August 29, 1865 in the Battle of to defend the Tongue River (or Connor Battle ) against General Connor's 400 cavalrymen and 80 pawnee scouts, which at that time consisted mostly of women, children, old people and a few warriors, as Black Bear with most warriors against the Crow along the Big Horn Rivers fought. All winter supplies were destroyed and about 1,000 horses shot by the army, about a third of the entire herd. That was a tactical victory for the army that undermined the Arapaho's ability to threaten the Bozeman Trail for a while. Medicine Man then allied itself with the leading chief of the Lakota, Red Cloud, in order to take joint action against the whites.
  • Plenty Bear ("Many Bears", chief of the Northern Arapaho, joined his band consisting of about 34 tipis (read families) - together with the chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne and the Brulé Lakota the Oglala Lakota in Fort Laramie)
  • Scabby Bull (important war chief of the Northern Arapaho. He fought the US Army and the white settlers full of hatred in the 1860s and 1870s)
  • Sorrel Horse ( "Chestnut Red Horse"), an important chief of the Northern Arapaho, joined in 1866 after the Battle of the Tongue River Lakota Chief Red Cloud and his alliance of Lakota, Northern Arapaho and the Northern Cheyenne and fought the whites of the Red- Cloud War (1866–1868) (also Bozeman Trail or Powder River War ).
  • Black Coal ( Wo'ooseinee , Niawasis - "Black Coal"; * 1840; † July 10, 1893), member of the Antelope Group of the Northern Arapaho, first one of the young war chiefs alongside Sharp Nose , took part in the hearing in October 1867 Fort Laramie part. In 1871 he became the leading chief after the death of Medicine Man . On July 4, 1874, his camp along the Wind River, Wyoming was attacked by the 2nd Cavalry Regiment under Captain A. Bates and Shoshone Scouts. Although 26 Arapaho were killed and 20 wounded and only 4 soldiers and 4 Shoshone scouts killed, the Arapaho managed to repel the army. Black Coal was badly wounded in the chest in battle. This attack convinced Black Coal to surrender, and he even became an army scout; as this he took part in the November 1876 attack on the Northern Cheyenne camp under Dull Knife (Morning Star).
  • Sharp Nose ( Heeniibeet - "he has a long nose" - "he has a long nose", also called Ta-qua-wi or Papesto ), war chief of the Northern Arapaho, was instrumental in the wars of the Lakota medicine man Sitting Bull against the Whites involved, succeeding Black Coal as chief.
  • Little Wolf ("Little Wolf", also Little Coyote - " Little Coyote ", not to be confused with the far more famous eponymous chief of the Northern Cheyenne Little Wolf (Little Coyote) )
  • White Horse ( Woxhoox nookeih - "White Horse")

Southern Arapaho (Southern Arapaho)

  • Chief Niwot (called by the Arapaho Nowooth / Nawat , in English therefore often called Left Hand (-ed) - "Left Hand, Left-Handed", approx. 1825–1864), chief of a group of the Southern Arapaho along the Front Range and in Boulder Valley, near today's Boulder, Colorado, in the fall of 1858, despite the resistance of his sub-chiefs Bear Head and Many Whips, he made a precarious peace with the first gold prospectors under Captain Thomas Aikins in Boulder Valley after he was pressured by them and through the warning dream of an Arapaho shaman, who settled with approx. 10 tipis and thus approx. 60 tribe members together with the Southern Cheyenne as proof of their peacefulness along Big Sandy Creek, a tributary of the Arkansas River , died on November 29, 1864 from the attack John M. Chivington during the Sand Creek Massacre, under the command of John M. Chivington, only a handful of Southern Arapaho escaped.
  • Little Raven ("Little Raven", but literally Oh-has-tee, Hosa , Houu hokecii (h) - "Boy, Little Crow", * around 1820, † 1889), mediated peace between the Southern Plains tribes in 1840 ( Comanche, Kiowa, Kiowa-Apaches) and the Southern Arapaho and Southern Cheyenne, was perhaps the most important chief of the Southern Arapaho from 1855 to 1889, encamped in 1868 together with the chiefs Big Mouth , Yellow Bear and Spotted Wolf in an approximately 180 tipis Winter camp of the Southern Arapaho together with the Southern Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa and Kiowa Apaches, approx. 6,000 Indians in total, along the Upper Washita River, as the camp of the Southern Cheyenne under the chiefs Black Kettle (wo'teenooo, wo'teeno ' o) and Little Rock were attacked on November 27, 1868 in the Battle of Washita River (massacre on Washita) at dawn by the 7th US Cavalry Regiment under George Armstrong Custer in 1873, in 1873 his group still comprised 64 tipis (or families) , ve He sought to keep his group out of the US Army's wars of extermination and was a co-signatory to the Fort Wise Treaties (Sept. February 1861), Little Arkansas (October 14, 1865) and Medicine Lodge Creek (October 16, 1867), the most influential and since the reservation time supreme chief of Southern Arapaho.
  • Big Mouth (Chief) ("Big Mouth"), chief of a group of the Southern Arapaho, camped in 1868 together with the chiefs Little Raven , Yellow Bear and Spotted Wolf in a winter camp of around 180 tepees of the Southern Arapaho together with the Southern Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa and Kiowa Apaches, about 6,000 in total, along the Upper Washita River when the Southern Cheyenne camp under the chiefs Black Kettle and Little Rock was on November 27, 1868 in the Battle of Washita River at dawn on November 7 , 1868 US Cavalry Regiment under George Armstrong Custer was attacked, in 1873 his group still comprised 65 tipis (or families), was a loyal supporter and friend of Little Raven .
  • Yellow Bear ("Yellow Bear"), chief of a group of the Southern Arapaho, in 1868 had a total of approximately 6,000 Southern Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, Kiowa-Apache and Southern Arapaho among the chiefs Little Raven , Big Mouth and along the Upper Washita River Spotted Wolf , on November 27, 1868, in the Battle of Washita River, the Southern Cheyenne camp under Black Kettle and Little Rock was attacked at dawn by the 7th US Cavalry Regiment under George Armstrong Custer , killing both chiefs, Yellow Bear's and other Southern Arapaho as well as Cheyenne and Kiowa successfully attacked Custer's rearguard under Major Joel Elliot, 19 soldiers and the major were surrounded and all killed, then surrendered at Fort Cobb in 1868.
  • Spotted Wolf ("spotted wolf"), chief of a group of the Southern Arapaho, camped in 1868 together with the chiefs Little Raven , Yellow Bear and Big Mouth in a winter camp of around 180 tepees of the Southern Arapaho together with the Southern Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa and Kiowa Apaches, approximately 6,000 Indians in total, along the Upper Washita River when the Southern Cheyenne camp under the chiefs Black Kettle and Little Rock on November 27, 1868 in the Battle of Washita River at dawn by the 7th US Cavalry Regiment under George Armstrong Custer was attacked in 1873.
  • Nawat ( Nowooth , Niwot , in English Left Hand (-ed) - "Left hand, left-hander", * 1840 - died June 20, 1911), not related and to be confused with the chief Niwot of the same name , who during the Sand Creek -Massacre was killed in 1864, famous warrior and hunter, chief of the Waquithi ('Bad Faces') group of the Southern Arapaho, took part in several military operations against the whites, since the signing of the Medicine Lodge Treaty in 1867 he has been peaceful, around 1873 his group still comprised 30 tipis (or families), supreme chief of the Southern Arapaho since the death of Little Raven in 1889, supported the General Allotment Act ( Dawes Act ) and thus the privatization of the Cheyenne in 1890 despite death threats from the Southern Cheyenne collective tribal land of the Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation as well as the opening of the reservation to white settlers, when he went blind, he handed over the chieftainship to Bird Chief in 1908.
  • Bird Chief , chief of a group of the Southern Arapaho, around 1873 this still comprised 70 tipis (or families), in 1908 he succeeded Nawat as the highest chief of the Southern Arapaho.
  • Powder Face (war chief of a group of the southern Arapaho in the 60s of the 19th century, around 1873 this still comprised 25 tipis (or families), later campaigned for peace with the whites, on the part of the Americans to become a district chief on the Reservation appointed)
  • Little Chief ("Little Chief", better "Young Chief", not to be confused with the much more famous eponymous chief of the Northern Cheyenne)

See also


  • Hartmut Krech (ed.): Adlerfeder, autobiography of an Arapaho woman . In: Indian life. Indian women and men tell their lives . Books on Demand, Norderstedt: 2009, ISBN 978-3-8391-1047-8 , pp. 119-134.
  • Alfred Kroeber : The Arapaho . In: American Museum of Natural History, Bulletin , 18 (1902-1907). Reprint: Lincoln NE 1983, ISBN 978-0-8032-7754-0

Web links

Commons : Arapaho  - collection of images, videos and audio files

References and comments

  1. Homepage of the Northern Arapaho Tribe
  2. Homepage of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
  3. Others claim the Crow name Alappaho 'means Enemy with Many Skins ("enemies with many furs"), which implies the same meaning as "traders", since only a people in possession of many (surplus) furs could trade.
  4. The Arapaho were - next to the Absarokee - among neighboring tribes and Europeans as extremely beautiful and good-looking people - the Arapaho even accused the smaller, squat and dark-skinned Ute of stealing Arapaho girls and women in order to get supposedly better things To incorporate blood and appearance into the trunk
  5. ^ Cheyenne dictionary
  6. ^ Indian Studies Research Institute (AISRI) Dictionary Database Search
  7. possibly a reference to the blue color of the tattoos that the Arapaho wore
  8. ^ Gary E. Moulton (Editor), Meriwether Lewis (Author): The Definitive Journals of Lewis and Clark , Vol 3: Up the Missouri to Fort Mandan, Publisher: University of Nebraska Press, June 2002, ISBN 978-0803280106 , page 137
  9. ^ Clark Wissler: The American Indian, An Introduction to the Anthropology of the New World . New York 1917, p. 34. John C. Ewers: The Horse in Blackfoot Indian Culture: With Comparative Material from Other Western Tribes . Washington DC 1955, p. 2 ff.
  10. ^ Evan T. Pritchard: No Word for Time: The Way of the Algonquin People . 2001, ISBN 978-1-57178-103-1
  11. a b Arapaho . In: Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia . 2006, ( February 10, 2010 memento in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved September 24, 2009
  12. "Its Native Tongue Facing Extinction, Arapaho Tribe Teaches the Young" , New York Times , October 18, 2008
  13. Friday
  14. He had several names during his life: as a boy he was called Warshinun ("Black Spot" or "Black Coal Ashes"), after a fight with the Pawnee he took his father's name, White Crow , later after a fight against the Shoshone, he called himself Thunder (Donner) , most recently after the successful destruction of a camp of the enemy Ute he called himself The Man Who Sits in the Corner and Keeps his Mouth Shut (often shortened as Teénokúhú / Teenokuhu - "Sits Brooding, Sits meekly ")
  15. Wind River Reservation, Arapaho Tribe ( Memento from December 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 128 kB)
  16. ^ John D. McDermott: Circle of Fire: The Indian War of 1865 . 2003, ISBN 978-0-8117-0061-0
  17. His name comes from the fact that he wallowed in the ashes of a burned Ute village until he was black as coal. Years later he lost three fingers in the fight against the US Army and was now Tag-ge-tha-the ('Fingers cut off')
  18. Black Coal  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  19. Loretta Fowler: Tribal Sovereignty and the Historical Imagination: Cheyenne-Arapaho Politics . University of Nebraska Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-8032-2013-3
  20. Nawat - Left Hand  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  21. ^ Arapaho Chiefs and Leaders