Black Kettle: The Cheyenne Chief Who Sought Peace But Found War

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Wiley, Aug 25, 2004 - Social Science - 308 pages
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Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Geronimo. Their names ring down through history as symbols of noble defiance against overwhelming odds. These great warrior chiefs challenged the might of the U.S. Army in desperate and doomed attempts to end white encroachment on their land and preserve their traditional ways of life. We honor their memories not for their success, but for their courage. There was another great chief, no less courageous, who believed that the only way to save his people was by waging peace instead of war. His name was Black Kettle.

This is the first biography of one of the most intriguing figures in the history of the American West. It traces the life of Black Kettle from the days of his youth, when he proved his courage and leadership skills in battles against enemy tribes, through his elevation to chief of the Cheyennes-and his realization that, for the good of his people, he must become a statesman rather than a warrior. It documents his ceaseless efforts to achieve just treaties with the United States, even in the face of death threats from members of his own tribe, and describes his ultimate betrayal by the very authorities with whom he struggled to make peace. Black Kettle survived one betrayal, the notorious Sand Creek Massacre, but the controversial battle at Washita Creek four years later cost him his life.

This fascinating journey through the life of Black Kettle and the early days of the Cheyennes explores the social, political, cultural, and historical factors that shaped every interaction between the Cheyennes and white settlers. Author Thom Hatch analyzes important treaties, examines race relations in the nineteenth-century American West, and recreates the battles and the massacres that marked the Cheyennes' rise and fall. He also takes a fascinating look at tribal histories and customs and presents a memorable cast of characters, both famous and lesser-known, who played a role in shaping the frontier at this crucial time in history.

Complete with sixteen stunning period photos and more than a dozen helpful maps of Cheyenne territory, Black Kettle tells a compelling and tragic story that is essential to understanding the history of the Plains Indians and the truth about how the West was lost by Native American tribes.

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About the author (2004)

THOM HATCH, a former film and video writer, director, and producer, is the author of five previous books, including The Blue, the Gray, and the Red: Indian Campaigns of the Civil War. He has written extensively on the Plains Indians and lives in Colorado with his wife and daughter.

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