This image of Little Wolf and Dull Knife was taken in 1873.

Native History: Chief Little Wolf Surrenders, Establishes Reservation

Christina Rose

The traveling, fighting, and raiding continued for a month until finally, as they approached the Red Cloud Agency, the attacks ended. Chief Dull Knife and Little Wolf made a decision to separate, which later Little Wolf said he regretted, though the end result was for the best.

Little Wolf’s group had dwindled to 126 people. By October 2, 1878, they stopped and wintered safely in Niobrara, Nebraska, where game was still plentiful. In March, when they reached Yellowstone, they were met by Lieutenant. W.P. Clark, known to Little Wolf and others as White Hat, who encouraged Little Wolf to surrender.

Grinnell wrote that after resting a few days, Little Wolf agreed to surrender under certain conditions, which were negotiated at Fort Keogh, near present day Miles City, Montana. General Nelson Miles approached Little Wolf after the surrender, asking the band of Northern Cheyenne to fight with the U.S. against the Sioux. Little Wolf stated he was tired, and he was not interested in fighting anymore.

Chief Little Wolf at Fort Laramie in May of 1868. (Wikimedia Commons)

Eventually, many of the group became scouts and soldiers for the army. Richard Little Bear, president of Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer, Montana said,  “They had to keep food on the table and one way was to become scouts for the cavalry. It sounds like a happy story but there was a lot of pressure, and they had to ‘do what they wanted you to do.’”

The surrender was not in vain as Little Wolf’s goal was realized. Littlebear said, “The outcome of the surrender is that we have a Northern Cheyenne Reservation. General Miles had said to pick out where they wanted the reservation to be, although the proposed reservation was a lot larger.”

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