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Scene from Native Reign music video
Scene from the Native Reign  music video, Morning Star People  , August 1996. Photo: Kenn Bisonette

Native Reign 

A Northern Cheyenne performing group that combines traditional Native American dances, skits, with contemporary music to celebrate the history and traditions of the tribe. The Cheyenne migrated to the Dakotas from the Great Lakes region in the 1700s, and were there when Lewis & Clark made their well-documented travels through the region. About 1830, the Cheyenne divided, one band staying near the Black Hills of South Dakota, Northern Wyoming, and southeastern Montana; the other larger group moved south to Colorado, western Kansas, and Oklahoma. It is the first group, the Northern Cheyenne, whose culture Native Reign celebrates. General George Armstrong Custer met his stunning defeat at the hands of the Northern Cheyenne at the Battle of Little Big Horn in southeastern Montana. The Northern Cheyenne people were forced from their Montana homeland and driven to Oklahoma. Battling severe winter weather and encounters with the U.S. Cavalry, decimated by disease and malnutrition, they struggled to walk back from Oklahoma in 1878-79 to return to their beloved homeland. Native Reign 's video Morning Star People tells their story.

Today the Northern Cheyenne reservation consists of 445,000 acres of primary grazing land, timber land and rolling hills in southeastern Montana; the capital of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation is at Lame Deer. The Northern Cheyenne are organized under a constitution and by-laws adopted in 1936. The governing body is the Tribal Council whose president and members are elected at large by tribal members. Native Reign is composed of Northern Cheyenne youth whose primary purpose is to instill respect for the environment, their traditional culture, and a lifestyle free of drugs and alcohol. They share their message with other young people through a program of skits, dance routines, songs, and fashion shows at schools and assemblies throughout the western United States and Canada. Each group member promotes the need for education, respect for the environment, development of personal skills, respect of tribal elders and a strong spiritual foundation. On April 9, 1999, they received the Governor's Award at the State Capital Building in Helena from Montana Governor Marc Racicot for their success in showing Montana youth an alternative lifestyle to teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, gangs, and violence.

Project documentation includes a seven-page report, thirty 8 x 10 color photographs; several newspaper articles and a local tabloid article on the group; an audio cassette; and four videos: 1) Morning Star People (Northern Cheyenne Tribe); 2) "Encouraging our Young People," a lecture by a Cheyenne Elder; 3) Native Reign performing at the Rimrock Mall in Billings, MT; and 4) "Visions of a Native Youth" performed by Native Reign.

Originally submitted by: Max Baucus, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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