Interview between E. W. Wynkoop and Little Rock

Report of an Interview between Colonel E. W. Wynkoop, United States Indian agent, and Little Rock, a Cheyenne chief, held at Fort Larned, Kansas, August 19, 1868, in the present [sic] of Lieutenant S. M. Robbins, 7th United States cavalry, John S. Smith, United States interpreter, and James Morrison, scout for Indian agency.  (1868) 
by Edward W. Wynkoop

Question by Colonel Wynkoop. Six night ago I spoke to you in regard to depredations committed on the Saline. I told you to go and find out by whom these depredations were committed, and to bring me straight news. What news do you bring?

Little Rock. I took your advice and went there. I am now here to tell you all I know. This war party of Cheyennes which left the camp of these tribes above the forks of Walnut creek about the 2nd or 3rd of August went out against the Pawnees, crossed the Smoky Hill about Fort Hayes, and thence proceeded to the Saline, where there were 10 lodges of Sioux in the Cheyenne camp when this war party left, and about 20 men of them, and 4 Arapahoes, accompanied the party. The Cheyennes numbered about 200; nearly all the young men in the village went; Little Raven's son was one of the four Arapahoes. When the party reached the Saline they turned down the stream, with the exception of about 20, who, being fearful of depredations being committed against the whites by the party going in the direction of the settlement, kept on north toward the Pawnees. The main party continued down the Saline until they came in sight of the settlement; they then camped there. A Cheyenne named Oh-e-ah-mo-he-a, a brother of White Antelope, who was killed at Sand Creek, and another named Red Nose, proceeded to the first house; they afterwards returned to the camp with a woman captive.

The main party was surprised at this action, and forcibly took possession of her, and returned her to her house. The two Indians had outraged the woman before they brought her to the camp. After the outrage had been committed, the parties left the Saline and went north, towards the settlements of the south fork of the Solomon, where they were kindly received and fed by the white people. They left the settlements on the south fork, and proceeded towards the settlements on the north forks. When in sight of these settlements they came upon a body of armed settlers, who fired upon them; they avoided the party, went round them, and approached a house some distance off. In the vicinity of the house they came upon a white man alone on the prairie; Big Head’s son rode at him and knocked him down with a club. The Indian who had committed the outrage upon the white woman, known as White Antelope's brother, then fired upon the white man without effect, while the third Indian rode up and killed him. Soon after they killed a white man, and close by, a woman—all in the same settlement. At the time these people were killed, the party was divided in feeling, the majority being opposed to any outrages being committed; but finding it useless to contend against these outrages being committed, they gave way, and all went in together. They then went to another house in the same settlement, and there killed two men, and took two little girls prisoners; this on the same day. After committing this last outrage the party turned south toward the Saline, where they came upon a a body of mounted troops; the troops immediately charged the Indians, and the pursuit was continued a long time. The Indians having the two children, their horses becoming fatigued, dropped the children without hurting them. Soon after the children were dropped the pursuit ceased; but the Indians continued on up the Saline. A portion of the Indians afterward returned to look for the children, but were unable to find them. After they had proceeded some distance up the Saline, the party divided, the majority going north, towards the settlements on the Solomon, but 30 of them started towards their village, supposed to be some distance northwest of Fort Larned. Another small party returned to Black Kettle’s village, from which party I got this information. I am fearful that before this time, the party that started north have committed a great many depredations. The other day when I talked to you, you gave me instructions what to do, with a great deal of risk and danger. I have followed out these instructions, and returned to you with what is straight, and which I have just given you. I want you, as my agent, to give me advice as to what to do. I do not wish to be at war with the whites, and there are many of my nation who feel as I do, and who are in no way guilty. We are ready and willing to abide by any advice which you may give us.

Question by Colonel Wynkoop. Before I give you any advice, I want to ask you some questions. Do you know the names of the principal men of this party that committed depredations besides White Antelope's brother?

A. By L.R. They were Medicine Arrow's oldest son, named Tall Wolf; Red Nose, who was one of the men who outraged the woman; Big Head's son, named Porcupine Bear; and Sand Hill's brother, known as Bear That Goes Ahead.

Q. By Col. W. You told me your nation wants peace; will you, in accordance with your treaty stipulations, deliver up the men whom you have named as being the leaders of the party who committed the outrages named?

A. By L.R. I think that the only men who ought to suffer and be responsible for these outrages are White Antelope's brother and Red Nose, the men who ravished the woman, and when I return to the Cheyenne camps and assemble the chiefs and headmen I think those two men will be delivered up to you.

Q. By Col. W. I consider the whole party guilty; but it being impossible to punish all of them, I hold the principal men whom you mention responsible for all. They had no right to be governed and led by two men. If no depredations had been committed after the outrage on the woman, the two men whom you have mention[ed] alone would have been guilty.

A. By L.R. After your explanation, I think your demand for the men is right. I am willing to deliver them up, and will go back to the tribe and use my best endeavors to have them surrendered. I am but one man and cannot answer for the entire nation.

Q. By Col. W. I want you to return to your tribe and tell the chiefs and headmen, when assembled, the demand I now make. Tell them that I think complying with my demand is the only thing that will save their entire nation from a long and destructive war. I want you to return as soon as possible with their answer. I will see that you are safe in going and coming, and your services in this respect will be rewarded. You will be looked upon by the whites as a good man, and one who is a friend of them as well as to his own people; and as the result of your action in this matter, you will be considered by the government as a "great Chief," one in whom in the future they can always put the utmost confidence.

Little Rock. I am here in your service; at the same time I am a Cheyenne, and want to do all I can for the welfare of my nation. If the chiefs and headmen refuse to comply with your demands, I want to know if I can come with my wife and children, (whom I love,) and place myself and them under your protection, and at the same time act as a runner between you and my people?

Colonel Wynkoop. Should my demands not be complied with, you can bring your lodge and family here, and I will protect you.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).