Buffalo Calf Road Woman
For this episode, we took a look at verbal accounts of Buffalo Calf Road Woman. Her history has been passed down many years to Cheyenne contemporaries. Two women play a significant role in telling her tale. Kate Big Head and Iron Teeth. Another author, Mari Sandoz also writes the flight north from Indian Territory based on verbal accounts of women who were there as well.
Buffalo Calf Road Woman has a remarkable story. She was a young Cheyenne warrior woman just beginning to build her family when the Cheyenne people were in the midst of defending their land from the westward expansion. The Cheyenne and other native tribes endured attacks, massacres and fought against forced removals from the reservations.
The Rosebud and Little Bighorn battles proved the tribes’ military strength but ultimately contributed to tragic consequences for the victors. As a young Cheyenne mother, Buffalo Calf Road Woman fought alongside her brother and husband at both battles in defense of Cheyenne freedom.
Several brutal massacres of peaceful tribal groups led to widespread fear among the tribes and shocked the American public. No matter the bravery of the tribe they were fighting a losing battle. The US troops relentlessly pursued them and ensured they had little to no chance of survival. Buffalo Calf Road Woman, her husband Black Coyote and other Cheyenne were on the run for a long time and almost reached the point of starvation.
Cheyenne warriors recorded Buffalo Calf Road Woman’s courageous ride into the Rosebud battle in a ledger drawing. Today the Cheyenne people still call the battle site “Where the Girl Saved Her Brother.” Each January since 1999, Cheyenne runners participate in a four-hundred-mile memorial run from Fort Robinson, Nebraska, to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. They honor their ancestors who fought for their freedom and sovereignty, including Buffalo Calf Road Woman. (https://www.yellowbirdprograms.org/fortrobinsonrun)
Agonito, R. P. (2007). Buffalo calf road woman: The story of a warrior of the little bighorn. Place of publication not identified: Center Point Pub.
Agonito, Rosemary, and Wanda Sue. “Buffalo Calf Road, Heroic Cheyenne Warrior Woman.” Amazing Women In History, 23 May 2014, www.amazingwomeninhistory.com/buffalo-calf-road-cheyenne-warrior-woman/.
Cavanaugh, Ray. “Retrobituaries: Buffalo Calf Road Woman, Custer’s Final Foe.” Mental Floss, 22 June 2017, mentalfloss.com/article/502013/retrobituaries-buffalo-calf-road-woman-custers-.
Healy, Donna. “American Indian Images: Northern Cheyenne History Told in Photos, Interviews.” Billings (Mont.) Gazette. August 6, 2006. http://billingsgazette.com/news/features/magazine/american-indian-images/article_7879faa3-6215-52d0-a2f4-731c6c04a064.html.
Hoxie, Frederick E., ed. Encyclopedia of North American Indians. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
Marquis, Thomas. Custer on the Little Big Horn. Lodi, Calif.: End-Kian Publishing Company, 1967.
Michno, Gregory F. Lakota Noon: The Indian Narrative of Custer’s Defeat. Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Press, 1997.
Little Bear, Richard, ed. We, The Northern Cheyenne People: Our Land, Our History, Our Culture.Lame Deer, Mont.: Chief Dull Knife College, 2008.
Sandoz, M. (2005). Cheyenne autumn. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Weist, Tom. A History of the Cheyenne People, rev. ed. Billings: Montana Council for Indian Education, 1984.
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