|Regions with significant populations|
|United States ( Oklahoma)|
|English, Arapaho language, Cheyenne language|
|Christianity, Native American Church, Sun Dance, traditional tribal religions|
|Related ethnic groups|
Gros Ventre, Blackfeet, and Suhtai
The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes are headquartered in Concho, Oklahoma. Of 12,185 enrolled tribal members, 8,664 live within the state of Oklahoma. The tribal jurisdictional area includes Beckham, Blaine, Canadian, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Kingfisher, Roger Mills, and Washita Counties.
The tribal government consists of the Tribal Council, Executive Branch, Legislative Branch, and Judicial Branch. The Tribal Council includes all tribal members over the age of 18. The Executive Branch is led by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The Legislative Branch is made up of legislators from the four Arapaho districts and four Cheyenne districts. The Judicial Branch includes a Supreme Court, including one Chief Justice and four Associate Justices; a Trial Court, composed of one Chief Judge and at least one Associate Judge; and any lower courts deemed necessary by the Legislature. In 2006 the tribes voted and ratified the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Constitution which replaced the 1975 constitution.
In 2009, Lt. Governor Teresa Dorsett was named acting Tribal Governor. She replaced Governor Darrell Flyingman, who was removed from office on 13 November 2009 by a cabal of individuals both tribal and non-tribal associated with Southwest Casino Corporation. Flyingman was removed pursuant to Section 8 of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Law and Order Code, in order that his interference with the schemes practiced on the tribes by Southwest Casino Corporation with the aide of chosen tribal members bent on removing Flyingman who had terminated Southwest Casino Corporation during his term as governor. Flyingman was elected first in 2007 on the platform of corruption reform and won. During his term as Governor 14 tribal members were prosecuted for embezzlement and other related charges. Flyingman was recalled twice through the efforts of the Legislature who included Janice Boswell who replaced Flyingman as governor. The Tribal Court overturned the recall both times. Shortly after replacing Gov.Flyingman, Boswell appointed her own tribal court and legislatures who are elected.
In 2010, Janice Prairie Chief-Boswell was elected Tribal Governor, and Leslie Wandrie-Harjo was elected Lt. Governor. In December 2010, Wandrie-Harjo accused Prairie Chief-Boswell of hiding financial records and disobeying tribal court orders to vacate her office. On 31 March 2011, Wandrie-Harjo and others broke into the locked tribal headquarters. A dispute has continued between Prairie Chief-Boswell and Wandie-Harjo as to who is the rightful leader of the tribe. The First Bank of Trust Company froze $6.4 million of the tribe's assets. The tribe declared a state of emergency, and a hearing had been set over the funds.
The tribe operates three tribal smoke shops and four casinos: the Lucky Star Casino in Clinton, the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, the Feather Warrior Casino in Watonga, and the Feather Warrior Casino in Canton. They also issue their own tribal vehicle tags. Their economic impact is estimated at $32 million.
The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune is the tribe's newspaper. ''CATV channel 47'' is the tribe's low power FCC licensed television station. CATV's call letters are K47MU-D. The Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma Culture and Heritage Program teaches hand games, powwow dancing and songs, horse care and riding, buffalo management, and Cheyenne and Arapaho language, and sponsored several running events.
In partnership with Southwestern Oklahoma State University, the tribe founded the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College on August 25, 2006. Dr. Henrietta Mann, enrolled tribal member, was president in 2009. The campus was in Weatherford, Oklahoma and the school offered programs in Tribal Administration, American Indian Studies, and General Studies. The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College Board of Regents voted to dissolve the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College at the end of the 2015 spring semester.
The Cheyennes and Arapahos are two distinct tribes with distinct histories. The Cheyenne (Tsitsistas/ The People) were once agrarian, or agricultural, people located near the Great Lakes in present-day Minnesota. Grinnell notes the Cheyenne language is a unique branch of the Algonquian language family and, The Nation itself, is descended from two related tribes, the Tsitsistas and the Suh' Tai. The latter is believed to have joined the Tsitsistas in the early 18th century (1: 1-2). The Tsitsistas and the Suh' Tai are characterized, and represented by two cultural heroes who received divine articles which shaped the time-honored belief systems of the Southern and Northern families of the Cheyenne Nation. The Suh' Tai, represented by a man named Erect Horns, were blessed with the care of a sacred Buffalo Hat, which is kept among the Northern family. The Tsitsistas, represented by a man named Sweet Medicine, were bestowed with the care of a bundle of sacred Arrows, kept among the Southern Family. Inspired by Erect Horn's vision, they adopted the horse culture in the 18th century and moved westward onto the plains to follow the buffalo. The prophet Sweet Medicine organized the structure of Cheyenne society, including the Council of Forty-four peace chiefs and the warrior societies led by prominent warriors.
The Arapaho, also Algonquian speaking, came from Saskatchewan, Montana, Wyoming, eastern Colorado, and western South Dakota in the 18th century. They adopted horse culture and became successful nomadic hunters. In 1800, the tribe began coalescing into northern and southern groups. Although the Arapaho had assisted the Cheyenne and Lakota in driving the Kiowa and Comanche south from the Northern Plains, in 1840 they made peace with both tribes. They became prosperous traders, until the expansion of American settlers onto their lands after the Civil War.
The Cheyenne and Arapaho formed an alliance in the 18th and 19th centuries. Together they were a formidable military force, successful hunters, and active traders with other tribes. At the height of their alliance, their combined hunting territories spanned from Montana to Texas.
The Arapaho signed the Fort Laramie Treaty with the US in 1851. It recognized and guaranteed their rights to traditional lands in portions of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming. The US could not enforce the treaty, however, and European-American trespassers overran Indian lands. There were repeated conflicts between settlers and members of the tribes.
The US government brought the tribes to council again in 1867, to achieve peace under the Medicine Lodge Treaty. It promised the Arapaho a reservation in Kansas, but they disliked the location. They accepted a reservation with the Cheyenne in Indian Territory, so both tribes were forced to remove south near Fort Reno in present-day Oklahoma.
The Dawes Act broke up the Cheyenne-Arapaho land base. All land not allotted to individual Indians was opened to settlement in the Land Run of 1892. The Curtis Act of 1898 dismantled the tribal governments in an attempt to have the tribal members assimilate to United States conventions and culture.
After the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act passed in 1936, the Cheyenne and Arapaho organized a single tribal government in 1937. The Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975 further enhanced tribal development.
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