Texas A&M University-Kingsville

The Cheyenne Exodus & The Ride Home: The Past Meets the Present

Room 132, Irma Rangel College of Pharmacy, Texas A&M University-Kingsville - 11/14/12 - 11/14/12

Contact: Adriana Garza-Flores
adriana.garza@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4979

           Texas A&M University-Kingsville junior Jesus Garza spent the summer living history.

            He spent six weeks on horseback leading the descendants of the Northern Cheyenne on a journey that retraced one of the darkest moments in the tribe’s history, known as the Cheyenne Exodus. Garza mapped the journey, of which little has been documented, and served as chief navigator during the seven-state ride.

            In commemoration of Native American Heritage Month, Garza will recount his experiences during his presentation, “The Cheyenne Exodus and the Ride Home: The Past Meets the Present,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 14 in room 132 in the Irma Rangel College of Pharmacy. The presentation is free and open to the community.

            The Cheyenne Exodus began as a treacherous journey home for nearly 300 men, women and children of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, who fled dismal conditions at a Fort Reno, Oklahoma reservation more than 130 years ago. U.S. military forces escalated efforts to confine the tribe to reservations following the defeat of General George Custer during the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. Ultimately, the government forces made the Northern Cheyenne resettle at Fort Reno after the Dull Knife Fight in 1877. Once there, the Northern Cheyenne endured disease, poor medical care and death.

           By 1878, Northern Cheyenne leaders at Fort Reno decided the tribe could no longer tolerate the conditions at the camp and absconded for home in Montana. Along their trip, the Northern Cheyenne encountered skirmishes with U.S. soldiers. At the end of the journey, only a few dozen remained.

           “Jesus spent months preparing maps using GIS technology.  His goal was to retrace as closely as possible the route of the 1878 Cheyenne Exodus,” said Dr. Shannon Baker, chair of the Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy at A&M-Kingsville. “A small and determined group of individuals endeavored to follow Jesus’ route on horseback over the course of the summer, stopping at various sacred spots along the way to perform healing rituals. As a sacred animal, the horses became part of this healing process. Jesus, inexperienced with horses at the start of the summer, joined this group on the expedition, riding horseback and camping. Along the way, he learned the meaning of ‘living history,’ as he participated in healing rituals and learned about indigenous crafts and history.  We are extremely proud of Jesus for his amazing accomplishments, not only in creating the maps, but in embracing the true definition of learning as he expanded not only his historical awareness, but also his understanding of himself.”

This page was last updated on: November 08, 2012