Holding Stone Hands
On the Trail of the Cheyenne Exodus of 1878
“Beautifully written . . . [Boye allows] us to walk with him on a trail of discovery and compassion rarely equaled in any book of American Indian history.”—Margot Liberty, coauthor of Cheyenne Memories. “A story of personal challenge and growth . . . It is caring and compassionate, rich at many levels, and it deserves a wide readership.”—John D. McDermott, author of A Guide to the Indian Wars of the West.
In 1878 approximately 300 Northern Cheyennes under the leadership of Dull Knife and Little Wolf fled shameful conditions on their Indian Territory reservation in present-day Oklahoma. Settled there against their will, they were making a peaceful attempt to return to their homeland in the Yellowstone country. Despite earlier promises that the Cheyennes could choose to leave the reservation, government officials declared them renegades and sent thousands of soldiers in pursuit.
In 1995 Alan Boye set out on foot to follow Dull Knife’s thousand-mile flight through the sparsely populated wilderness of America’s high plains. Along the way he was joined by descendants of Dull Knife. Holding Stone Hands is the tale of two journeys. Boye provides a vivid, moving account of the Cheyennes’ struggle to return to Montana. At the same time, he details his own trek through four states and his growing understanding of why the Cheyennes’ longing for their homeland was stronger than their desire to live.
Alan Boye is an associate professor of English at Lyndon State College in Vermont. His books include The Complete Roadside Guide to Nebraska and A Guide to the Ghosts of Lincoln.