Montana: Northern Cheyenne


The Northern Cheyenne originally lived in the Great Lakes Region. During the 15th century, they migrated westward, shifting their subsistence living from fishing to agriculture. The original tribe split into two bands, and the Northern Cheyenne band moved to the Plains. 

History of the Reservation: The U.S. government attempted to force the Northern Cheyenne to merge with their traditional enemy, the Crow, but eventually gave the Northern Cheyenne their own reservation. By Executive Order in November of 1884, a tract of land west of the Tongue River in southeastern Montana was designated as the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. It is bordered on the east by the Crow Reservation and spans about 546,000 acres (half the size of Rhode Island). 

Life on the Reservation: The Northern Cheyenne economy is supported by the education system, farming, ranching and small businesses. The largest employers on the reservation include local schools, the federal government, tribal government, power companies and construction companies. The reservation also hosts several small textile factories. Despite these economic efforts, 27% of the labor force is jobless, and 37% of residents live in poverty. 

The Northern Cheyenne reservation is home to 4,700 residents, although more than 12,000 people are enrolled with the tribe. The average household income is $43,000, about three-fifths of the U.S. average. 

Northern Cheyenne on the map: Southeastern Montana 


Income, Poverty, Population 

Enrollment, General Info and