Western Life

Yellow Hair (Cheyenne Warrior)

Chief yellow hair or also mistakenly known as chief yellow hand, was an Indian chief and warrior named Heova’ehe. Yellow Hair was part of the Cheyenne people, the native people of the Great Plains who speak a special language called the Algonquian language. Like many other Indian tribal people they were skilled and trained as powerful mounted warriors. Warriors at that time were not as they are today, rather they would gain ranks by their acts of bravery shown in wars called coups. Through this they would rise and increase within their rank.

As Yellow Hair was chief, he must have performed many coups to gain this title and was a much respected man within his own community. Yellow Hair’s story is based on a skirmish between him and a man named Cody, who was also known as Buffalo Bill, during the battle of Warbonnet Creek on July 17th 1876. The location for this fight was in Sioux near Nebraska. It is mainly told by a man called Jules Green, who was with Buffalo Bill at the time of the duel. He narrates that he and Bill were riding on a quiet route where the Battle of Warbonnet took place where Bill kept track of the right side and Jules kept track of the left for any unusual signs.

They then saw a war bonnet ducking into a slender gorge. They realized that an Indian must have come out and when he saw them, he must have returned. However, the flash was enough for them to understand the situation. Bill then ordered Jules to go after the Indian and run him up the path where Cody would be waiting for him. So following Bill’s orders, Jules lay low and waited on his side, looking into the crooked gorge. He did not see Yellow Hair for a few minutes. The warrior did not pay much attention to Jules rather he was looking for Bill. He laid low waiting for Bill until they reached the top expecting danger.

At this point, Jules was close enough to shoot him. But before he could make a move, Bill shot Yellow Hair and he fell dead. Jules told Bill that he beat him to it and he was so close he would have easily killed Yellow hair himself. Yellow Hair also took a shot at Bill, but it barely missed his head and Bill was quicker than he was.

Bill then asked Jules to take all that the Indian had and return the horse to the camp. Bill scalped Yellow Hair’s head to keep as a show of victory which enraged a few Indians later on. Yellow Hair was a good man who fought for his people and tried his best until the end to do what he could. He even tried to shoot Buffalo Bill, but was unable to do so and that led to his demise.

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