WINNER of the National Cowboy Museum 2020 Western Heritage Awards: Best Western Novel
What should a man do when the army sends him to help kill his wife's family?
His great-great grandson and Northern Cheyenne tribe member, Gerry Robinson, reaches back through time to unravel the emotional and complex story, delivering a historical fiction account of the events which led to the beginning of the Northern Cheyenne’s exile from their home in Southeastern Montana and Northern Wyoming.
Five months to the day after Custer’s defeat by the Northern Cheyenne at the Little Bighorn, the U.S. Army descended on the tribe’s main winter camp. Bill Rowland married into the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in 1850, eventually becoming the primary interpreter in their negotiations with the U.S. government. On November 25, 1876, Bill found himself obligated to ride into the tribe’s main winter camp with over a thousand U.S. troops bent on destroying it. Cheyenne Sweet Medicine Chief, Little Wolf, was told they would come and warned his people to leave for safety. But tradition and the protestations of a hot-blooded young leader prevented his warnings from being taken seriously.
This is the balanced and compelling story of the ensuing battle—its origins and the devastating results—told beautifully from the perspective of both Little Wolf and his brother-in-law, the government interpreter, Bill Rowland. Pulled from the dark historical shadow of Custer, Crazy Horse, and the Lakota, The Cheyenne Story vividly brings to life the little known events that led to the end of the Plains Indian War and the beginning of the Cheyenne's exodus from the only home and lifestyle they had ever known.
Gerry Robinson—the great-great grandson of Bill Rowland and Little Wolf’s great-great nephew—spent years researching and writing to deliver a historically, culturally, and emotionally accurate retelling of how the Cheyenne were extricated from their Northwest corner of the Great Plains. In a commendable effort to help preserve the Cheyenne language in written word, Gerry worked closely with tribal elders and Cheyenne cultural leaders to accurately and seamlessly incorporate the language into his text. Robinson's characters use the Cheyenne language in their dialogue, and the reader comes to know and understand its meanings contextually and by employing the accompanying glossary of Cheyenne words and phrases found at the back of the book.
This book, written by a Native American intent on providing an authentic representation of Native people, provides context to help readers better understand the hearts and minds of our nation’s current indigenous population. It is part of a larger movement by the Northern Cheyenne people, and indigenous people in general, to reclaim their culture and their history.