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Tell Them We Are Going Home: The Odyssey of the Northern Cheyennes Paperback – November 15, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A splendid book, lucidly written and illustrated, on yet another of the many dark episodes in America's relations with her native peoples."—Kansas History


"Monnett has written the definitive account of this pivotal event in the history of the Northern Cheyennes."—Western Historical Quarterly

About the Author

John H. Monnett is Professor Emeritus of History at Metropolitan State University, Denver, and the author of several books, including Massacre at Cheyenne Hole: Lieutenant Austin Henely and the Sappa Creek Controversy and Tell Them We Are Going Home: The Odyssey of the Northern Cheyennes.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (November 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806136456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806136455
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #762,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
To my knowledge this is the first comprehensive work on the Cheyennes trek north since Mari Sandoz's often controversial "Cheyenne Autumn." In acknowledging this in his introduction, John H. Monnett, in line with some other historians, terms Sandoz's work a novel. While I would characterize her work more as, what is now known as, creative non-fiction, I agree with Monnett when he states that "[s]uch passion often evokes intense dedication to a specific viewpoint at the dismissal of others..." (xvi)
In this book, Monnett has provided a more 'well-rounded" but only slightly less moving depiction of the Cheyennes struggle to return to their homeland. And to his credit, unlike many modern historians, he does not dismiss Sandoz's work out of hand. Indeed, anyone handling this subject would be foolish to overlook her extensive and meticulous research, much of which is based on records and oral histories no longer available. However, also included in his many sources are researchers like George Bird Grinnell (who is famous for his interviews of the Cheyennes and preserving their oral history), and more recent work by John D. McDermott who apparently turned over all of the research he was originally planning to use for a work of his own on the subject. Also, enjoyable for those of us who like following up on sources, Monnett is one of the few who are now beginning to list Internet sites in their bibliographies.
While presenting all facts in a straight forward manor, it would be difficult to call this work even handed. Indeed, I defy anyone to research this subject in depth and not come away with a strong sympathy for the Cheyennes and their cause.
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Format: Hardcover
"Tell Them We Are Going Home: The Odyssey of the Northern Cheyennes" is a solid account of the 1878 attempted exodus of about 300 Northern Cheyenne men, women and children from a reservation in the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) to their traditional homeland in the Northern Plains. The Government ordered the US Army to stop the refugees. Although author John Monnett's sympathies are openly with the Indians, he presents a balanced picture of events, recognizing that the soldiers sent in pursuit were basically men doing their duty to the best of their ability, not stereotypical villains as too often portrayed in popular media in the past few decades. Monnett also does not ignore the killing of civilian ranchers and farmers nor the rape of white women carried out by some of the young Cheyenne warriors during their trek across Kansas. In attempting to understand the motivation behind such acts, Monnett explores the traditional explanation that it was largely revenge for the killing of a group of Southern Cheyennes in the same area a few years before (this view was stressed by Mari Sandoz in her "Cheyenne Autumn" book) and casts considerable doubt on the notion. At times, Monnett veers into academic jargon (we are told that "Little Wolf died in his beloved Tongue River country, albeit reimagined according to the Euro-American vision of geographical borders") and he perhaps tries too hard to give the events great symbolic significance ("The Indians who fell in the terrible pit on Antelope Creek symbolize displaced peoples everywhere whose sense of home and desire for independence transcends the love of life"), but his book nonetheless is a readable, quite detailed narrative which ultimately remains true to the author's intent of being fair to all involved.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
In a country that holds the notion of freedom in such high regard, it's surprising the story of the Northern Cheyenne's desperate 1500-mile exodus to their homeland has hardly registered on America's popular history radar. The resolve, determination and sheer courage of the Cheyenne people's attempt at freedom and dignity warrant recognition on par with any display of courage exhibited through out human history.
I read this book as a follow up to 'Cheyenne Autumn' by Mari Sandoz. For those unfamiliar with the event, I would recommend reading Sandoz book first to fully appreciate the human drama, then read Monnett's excellent work for the non-fiction angle. Monnett's book is a concise, well written, fact filled account of the journey. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in western history or humanity in general. It's very readable and well researched account.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to understand what happened in history to the Northern Cheyenne, this is the book. I bought the book to write a paper for college and it was by far the best book I found to complete my project.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Slow, pensive read 3. Major reason is it is the author's parsed to his own meter the account of the "Dull Knife Raid". It should only be read cautiously, as there very many points that seem clear in the body, yet less clear in the notes, and some that definitely do NOT match the profiles of the people mentioned in his/this version. One of the best written book notation to be found. The book, which tries to NOT be objectionable to any, becomes a fairly flat read. Negatives. Repetition of the rape age summaries of white sources. These are both sensational and questionable, the simplest though it may seem a callow choice is that Cheyenne rape was on the order of 'husband high' or 'womanly attributes' and that supposed age is a nonsense category for thought for a 'savage'. Since Dull Knife (Morning Star) was a band chief his position was slightly secondary to Little Wolf (Little Coyote/Two Tails) as Sweet Medicine Chief. DK was aged and could NOT possibly have been the active participant that history has assumed in history. LW was extremely active throughout his life and a comparison with DK is that of a Mountain Lion to an very old buffalo. The use of "The Eaters" clan designation, even though reasoned in 'notation', is disturbing in that DK was essentially a Cheyenne-Sioux and not a member of the "The Eaters". The case of backward designation to supplement latter Northern Cheyenne acceptance is at best cryptic. Since, the disintegration of clan and band boundaries is apparent to all, throughout the exodus ordeal, it is hard to understand why the author did NOT concentrate on it more. For instance, in the "Lewis fight" the escapees lost considerable assets and possibly more individuals than currently estimated.Read more ›
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