In the 1700s, after acquiring horses from the Spanish like the Comanche Indians before them, the once sedentary Cheyenne became expert buffalo hunters. The tribe usually moved their encampments according to the location of the buffalo herd they were following. Like other plains Indians, The Cheyenne had become very dependent on the buffalo for food, clothing, and other other items such as tools and jewelry. Buffalo hearts, brains, liver and kidneys were best eaten warm, as the Cheyenne celebrated a successful hunt.
Aside from warm winter robes, Cheyenne clothes were not made from buffalo skins; hip-leggings, jackets, dresses, shirts, and moccasins were made from buckskin, which was softer than the thick buffalo hides which were more suited to making winter clothes, blankets and tipi coverings.
One Cheyenne legend tells us that the buffalo used to eat humans, and that a race between animals and humans had been set up to decide whether it would be the animals who would eat the humans, or the humans who would eat the animals. The magpie and the eagle, who were on the same side as the humans had won the race, causing the buffalo to tell their young to hide from humans, who would soon be hunting them. The buffalo also told their young to take with them some human flesh as provisions, which they stuck in front of their chests. It was according to this legend that the Cheyenne did not consume the flesh beneath the throat of the buffalo, as it was believed to be made from human flesh.
The Cheyenne creation myth is also interesting, as it offers a story similar to Christianity's Old Testament and God's creation of Adam and Eve, in which we are told that Haemmawihio had created man from his right rib, and woman from his left. After Heammawehio had...