During the 1860’s and 70’s Dull Knife was one of the leading chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne. Early on, he realized the need to be at peace with the United States. But, what he saw happening worried him. For instance, in 1864, a group of Colorado militiamen attacked and killed a peaceful Cheyenne village at Sand Creek.
Although Dull Knife didn’t personally participate in the Little Big Horn, some of his warriors did. This resulted in their village being attacked the following winter while camping along the Powder River in Wyoming. Because of the loss of lives and supplies, he surrendered in the spring. 
In 1877, Dull Knife and his people were relocated from their homeland in Wyoming to the area that is now Kansas and Oklahoma. Not able to hunt on their traditional lands, and unable to live on government rations, a year later Dull Knife and his tribe started on a march back to Wyoming. Although Dull Knife had told everyone that his return was a peaceful one, the army looked upon them as renegades, and attacked them at every opportunity.
Again, they were captured and held at Fort Robinson in Nebraska. But, Dull Knife was determined, and he and about a hundred of his village escaped from Fort Robinson, and headed to Wyoming.
On January 22, 1879, Dull Knife had his last confrontation with the army. Although Dull Knife escaped, his remaining followers accepted their fate and returned to Fort Robinson. Dull Knife found refuge at the Sioux reservation with Red Cloud.
Four years later the government allowed the Northern Cheyenne to return to their traditional homeland.  But Dull Knife was not with them. He had died a few months earlier.

Filed under: Old West History

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