The Dog Soldiers or Dog Men (Cheyenne Hotamétaneo'o) was one of six military societies of the Cheyenne Indians. Beginning in the late 1830s, this society evolved into a separate, militaristic band that played a dominant role in Cheyenne resistance to American expansion in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming. Its members often opposed policies of peace chiefs such as Black Kettle. Today the Dog Soldiers society is making a comeback in such areas as the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana and among the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma.
The two central institutions of traditional Cheyenne tribal governance were the Council of Forty-Four and the military societies, including the Dog Soldiers. The Council of Forty-Four was the council of chiefs, comprising four chiefs from each of the ten Cheyenne bands, plus four principal or "Old Man" chiefs, who had previously served on the council with distinction. While chiefs were responsible for overall governance of individual bands and the tribe as a whole, the headmen of warrior societies maintained discipline within the tribe, oversaw tribal hunts and ceremonies, and provided military leadership.
Dog Soldiers were noted as both highly aggressive and effective combatants. One tradition states that in battle they would "pin" themselves to a "chosen" piece of ground, through an unusually long breech-clout "rear-apron", by use of one of three "Sacred Arrows" they would carry into battle.
Prior to the peace council held at Bent's Fort in 1840, the Algonquian-speaking Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho were allied against their traditional enemies, the Comanche, Kiowa, and Plains Apache. In 1837, while raiding the Kiowa horse herds along the North Fork of the Red River, a party of 48 Cheyenne Bowstring Men were discovered and killed by Kiowa and Comanche warriors. Porcupine Bear, chief of the Dog Soldiers, took up the war pipe of the Cheyenne. He carried it to the various Cheyenne and Arapaho camps to drum up support for revenge against the Kiowa. He reached a Northern Cheyenne camp along the South Platte River just after it had traded for liquor from American Fur Company men at Fort Laramie.
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