This classic work is an oral history of the Cheyenne Indians from legendary times to the early reservation years, a collaborative effort by the Cheyenne tribal historian, John Stands in Timber, and anthropologist Margot Liberty. Published in 1967, the book now has an updated bibliography and a new preface by Liberty, in which she shares her recollections of Stands in Timber and describes the circumstances of the Cheyenne over the past thirty years.
Stands in Timber was born in 1882, a few years after his grandfather was killed in the Custer battle. In this book he recounts tribal myths and sacred rituals, conflict with traditional enemies and whites, and eventual “civilization” and settlement on a reservation. The retelling of Cheyenne traditions formed an important part of Stands in Timber’s life from early childhood, and on his return from school in 1905 he became the primary keeper of the oral literature of his people, seeking out every elder who could contribute personal memories to Cheyenne lore. In 1956 he met Margot Liberty, then an Indian Affairs Bureau teacher, who helped him tape-record more than thirty hours of recollections. From these she compiled this unique and lively folk history, one based on a longtime inside view that can never be duplicated.
“This is an extraordinarily fascinating book, . . . a book that all Americans, Indians as well as non-Indians, will treasure.”Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.