By Kaden Walksnice
Ancestral Cheyenne Homelands at Naahéo’hé’e(Otter Creek) are closer to being protected by coal development. Arch Coal is one of the World’s top largest coal producers for the global power generation industries and we have stopped them from mining on Cheyenne lands!
On March 10th Arch Coal released a statement announced the suspension of the Proposed Otter Creek Mine due to difficulty of obtaining mine permits, recent bankruptcy and declining market prices. I’m extremely thankful to know that Naahéo’hé’e is safer from arch coal even though the battle is not over, it’s comforting to know which way the fight is going right now. This news couldn’t come at a better time, in just 2 weeks the Northern Cheyenne people will be celebrating the homecoming of Chief LittleWolf to the Otter Creek area. In 1878 Chiefs Little Wolf and Morning Star with 300 Northern Cheyenne leave Darlington Agency(present day El Reno, Oklahoma) and endure a 6 month journey north through the harsh winter weather conditions, 17,000 US Troops, numerous battles and a massacre to return back to the Otter Creek area. 300 Northern Cheyenne left Oklahoma and only about 150 returned to the area while some took refugee among the Lakota. In April of 1879 Chief Little Wolf and his followers were allowed to reside in the otter creek area and a few years later were granted the 1884 Tongue River Indian Reservation.
This April 1st while people are joking around because of the contemporary holiday of April Fools, some Northern Cheyenne tribal members will be celebrating this event in the annual Little Wolf Homecoming which is a multi-marathon event that includes running, cycling and horseback riding from Otter Creek to Lame Deer. After the stopping location is reached a victory dance will be hosted in honor of reaching our homelands. This year I will run and dance for the victory over Arch Coal!
“I’m going to leave here, I’m going back north to my own country” —Little Wolf, September 1878 at Darlington Agency Oklahoma