Black Kettle

Black Kettle - Leaders, Timeline and Family

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Black Kettle's Personal Details

Black Kettle was a leader of the Southern Cheyenne tribe of Native Americans in the 19th century, who repeatedly strived for securing peace for his people

InformationDetail
BirthdayDecember 7, 1803
Died onNovember 27, 1868
NationalityAmerican
FamousNative Americans, Leaders
Birth PlaceBlack Hills
GenderMale
Sun SignSagittarius
Born inBlack Hills
Famous asLeader
Died at Age64

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Black Kettle's photo

Who is Black Kettle?

Black Kettle was a Native American of the ‘Southern Cheyenne’ tribe, who is revered for his continued efforts to bring peace to his people. He lived at a time when the US government was very insensitive to the rights of Native Americans and used its superior military muscle to repress them. He witnessed a phase wherein the government forced Black Kettle to sign an unfair treaty, then defy the treaty themselves and finally draft a new treaty according to their convenience. In spite of all the injustices, Black Kettle was foresighted enough to realize that they were no match for the Americans in battle, who wouldn’t hesitate to use force against them. Thus he kept signing one unjust treaty after another, as a result facing mutinies from within his own tribe. Even after the ‘Sand Creek Massacre’, where Black Kettle’s childhood friend died and his wife was seriously injured, he did not give up his efforts for peace. Tragically, his efforts finally proved futile as the government crushed the rebellion and confined the Native Americans to small land areas away from their ancestral homes. But, for his efforts to bring peace to his people and for the things he stood for, Black Kettle remains a much respected figure till today, especially among Native Americans.

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Childhood & Early Life

Black Kettle, or Moke-tav-a-to as his family called him, was born in South Dakota near the Black Hills. By 1832, he moved south to join the Southern Cheyenne tribe.

Later Life

‘The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851’ was signed between the US government and the Cheyennes under which the Cheyennes were assigned lands in Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado.

However, for the next few years, there was extensive uncontrolled migration of white people into Cheyenne territory, especially after the ‘Pike’s Peak Gold Rush’ of 1859. This led to conflict for territory among the Cheyenne and the Americans.

In 1861, the US government forced the Southern Cheyenne to sign a new treaty which allotted Sand Creek land to them. Black Kettle, the leader of the tribe, accepted the treaty in fear of the Americans’ military might.

The allotted land was barren and not suited for agriculture. In addition, epidemics also started spreading across the Cheyenne population. Hungry and desperate, the Cheyenne began to steal resources from nearby settlers, passing wagons and mining camps.

Black Kettle and his childhood friend ‘Chief Lean Bear’ met the U S President Abraham Lincoln in Washington D.C. in 1863. They were given peace medals and letters as a mark of their friendship with the US.

As the attacks by the Cheyenne continued tensions between both sides escalated by 1864, due to a couple of isolated incidents. Black Kettle, in an effort to diffuse these tensions, met the local commander at Fort Weld and signed a treaty, by which all Cheyenne had to report to Fort Lyon.

As Black Kettle returned to Sand Creek, a military group called ‘Third Colorado Volunteers’, led by John Chivington, attacked the Cheyenne camp at Sand Creek, flouting the treaty.

Black Kettle, in an effort to signal the Cheyenne’s peaceful intent, waved both the American flag and the white flag. But the soldiers ignored it and attacked the camp, killing 150-200 Cheyenne people and then mutilating their bodies. Black Kettle managed to escape alive.

The attack caused a conflict of ideology between the Cheyenne and Black Kettle, who still wanted to pursue peaceful negotiations, while a section of the tribe wanted to retaliate with more raids. In 1865, Black Kettle signed the ‘Treaty of Little Arkansas River’ limiting his tribe to areas in South-western Kansas.

In 1867, he signed ‘Medicine Lodge Treaty’, which allotted different territories to them and also promised provisions of food and supplies. But these promises were never fulfilled, which drove more people to join the guerrilla bands.

Major Battles

Black Kettle tried his best to avoid the massacre at Sand Creek by waving a white flag and an American flag over his Tipi. His efforts, however, proved to be futile and the soldiers attacked anyway, leading to a bloodbath. Black Kettle managed to escape unhurt, and even returned to rescue his injured wife. This brutal incident is known as ‘Sand Creek Massacre’.

In 1868, in response to a series of attacks on Kansas farms, General Philip Sheridan planned a retaliatory attack against Cheyenne camps. They attacked the village in which Black Kettle was staying, even though its residents were staying in their allotted lands. In the attack that followed, Black Kettle, his wife and more than 100 other Native Americans were killed.

Personal Life & Legacy

He had four wives, all of whom were sisters and belonged to the Wotapio band. He began to stay with his wives’ tribe after marriage and fathered seventeen children.

He lost his childhood friend, ‘Chief Lean Bear’ in the ‘Sand Creek Massacre’ of 1865, but still continued to strive for peace.

In 1868, troops led by ‘George Armstrong Custer’ unjustly attacked the village where he was staying. This time, there was no escape for Black Kettle and he died on the banks of ‘Washita River’.

The character of this revolutionary and tribal leader was portrayed by actor Nick Ramus in the CBS TV show ‘Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman’ for three seasons.

Trivia

This Native American leader was among those rare leaders who strived for peaceful negotiations with the US government, as opposed to the guerrilla warfare tactics that the other leaders employed.

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Black Kettle biography timelines

  • // 7th Dec 1803
    Black Kettle, or Moke-tav-a-to as his family called him, was born in South Dakota near the Black Hills. By 1832, he moved south to join the Southern Cheyenne tribe.
  • // 1851
    ‘The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851’ was signed between the US government and the Cheyennes under which the Cheyennes were assigned lands in Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado.
  • // 1859
    However, for the next few years, there was extensive uncontrolled migration of white people into Cheyenne territory, especially after the ‘Pike’s Peak Gold Rush’ of 1859. This led to conflict for territory among the Cheyenne and the Americans.
  • // 1861
    In 1861, the US government forced the Southern Cheyenne to sign a new treaty which allotted Sand Creek land to them. Black Kettle, the leader of the tribe, accepted the treaty in fear of the Americans’ military might.
  • // 1863
    Black Kettle and his childhood friend ‘Chief Lean Bear’ met the U S President Abraham Lincoln in Washington D.C. in 1863. They were given peace medals and letters as a mark of their friendship with the US.
  • // 1864
    As the attacks by the Cheyenne continued tensions between both sides escalated by 1864, due to a couple of isolated incidents. Black Kettle, in an effort to diffuse these tensions, met the local commander at Fort Weld and signed a treaty, by which all Cheyenne had to report to Fort Lyon.
  • // 1865
    The attack caused a conflict of ideology between the Cheyenne and Black Kettle, who still wanted to pursue peaceful negotiations, while a section of the tribe wanted to retaliate with more raids. In 1865, Black Kettle signed the ‘Treaty of Little Arkansas River’ limiting his tribe to areas in South-western Kansas.
  • // 1865
    He lost his childhood friend, ‘Chief Lean Bear’ in the ‘Sand Creek Massacre’ of 1865, but still continued to strive for peace.
  • // 1867
    In 1867, he signed ‘Medicine Lodge Treaty’, which allotted different territories to them and also promised provisions of food and supplies. But these promises were never fulfilled, which drove more people to join the guerrilla bands.
  • // 1868
    In 1868, in response to a series of attacks on Kansas farms, General Philip Sheridan planned a retaliatory attack against Cheyenne camps. They attacked the village in which Black Kettle was staying, even though its residents were staying in their allotted lands. In the attack that followed, Black Kettle, his wife and more than 100 other Native Americans were killed.
  • // 1868
    In 1868, troops led by ‘George Armstrong Custer’ unjustly attacked the village where he was staying. This time, there was no escape for Black Kettle and he died on the banks of ‘Washita River’.

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Black Kettle's FAQ

  • What is Black Kettle birthday?

    Black Kettle was born at 1803-12-07

  • When was Black Kettle died?

    Black Kettle was died at 1868-11-27

  • Which age was Black Kettle died?

    Black Kettle was died at age 64

  • Where is Black Kettle's birth place?

    Black Kettle was born in Black Hills

  • What is Black Kettle nationalities?

    Black Kettle's nationalities is American

  • What is Black Kettle's sun sign?

    Black Kettle is Sagittarius

  • How famous is Black Kettle?

    Black Kettle is famouse as Leader