Language & Culture

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Language & Culture

LanguagePhone: 405-422-7425Fax: 405-422-8219Contact Department
CulturePhone: 405-422-7704Fax: 405-422-7447Contact Department
THPOPhone: 405-422-7482Fax: 405-422-7715Contact Department

Tribal History


Our mission statement is to restore our languages and preserve our historical, cultural, traditional, and spiritual relations for our future generations.



Petition filed to ensure Tribal input in official renaming process for Mt. Evans in Colorado

Culture Program
The Cheyenne and Arapaho Culture Program is the protector and instructor for the preservation of our tribal traditional customs, arts, social institutions and achievements that make up our nation.

With the use of Project Managers and Research Specialist, the program goes out into the communities to instruct our Tribal Members in our traditional customs and ways.  The strength of our Tribes is our people and by bringing back the language and culture, we strengthen our nation as one.

The Culture Program houses the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal NAGPRA Representatives.  These representatives work on a national level with all federal and state organizations for the repatriation of remains, funerary items and the loan of traditional articles that are maintained by museums.

The Sand Creek Massacre Representatives are part of the Culture Program and work hand and hand with the National Park Services that maintains the Sand Creek Massacre Site.  The Representatives essentially tell the true story of events surrounding the Sand Creek Massacre and how the story is presented to the public at the site located in Eads, Colorado.

Language and Culture
The Cheyenne and Arapaho Language Program serves as the keeper of our languages by providing everyone the opportunity to experience and embrace a part of being Tsistsistas and Hinono’ei. As we recognize the importance of the Cheyenne and Arapaho languages, our goal is to continue working toward the revitalization and preservation of both languages.

The Language Program offers language classes throughout our communities, including teaching languages as part of our Head Start and Child Care Programs. The program also offers a Master Apprentice Project dedicated to producing three functionally fluent speakers of the Arapaho language and three functionally fluent speakers of the Cheyenne language.

In addition to our educational programs, our staff also works to connect with our tribal elders to help preserve, maintain and revitalize the language, while encouraging our adult tribal members and teaching our children the significance of speaking the language of our ancestors. Our obligation as Tsistsistas and Hinono’ei people is to care for our language, learn it, speak it and teach it to generations to come.

To request a Cheyenne and Arapaho Language Book and CD, download and complete the form below and return it to the Language Program office.

Tribal Historic Preservation Office
The Tribal Historic Preservation Office helps the people of our tribe’s historic occurrences, in all aspects within our Culture and History. We welcome input, stories, oral history and personal encounters with significant sites within our native territories.

Tribal History

Tribal History

Tsistsistas, Cheyenne History

Tsistsistas, is the Cheyenne word meaning “Human Beings” or “The People.” The Cheyenne are descended from an ancient, Algonquian-language speaking tribe referred to as Chaa. They were also historically referred to as the Marsh People of the Great Lakes region, as they lived along the head of the Mississippi River in the central part of what is now Minnesota.

The Cheyenne were initially sedentary people – farming and raising crops of their main food sources, such as corn, beans, and squash – before later becoming hunters and gatherers. In 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition encountered the Cheyenne living on the upper Missouri River.

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes became allies and formed into one Nation. Around the 1830s the Cheyenne were trapping beaver and buffalo and tanning the hides for trading purposes. Economic trade with the French, Europeans, and others began along the Arkansas River in what is now southeastern Colorado, near and at Bent’s Old Fort.

Hinono’ei, Arapaho History

Hinono’ei, the Arapaho people, lived in the Great Lakes region along the Mississippi River. Around 1680, they began to migrate out of the Great Lakes area after being forcibly moved or pushed out of their established territory by the whites and traditional enemy tribes. Their adaptation to newer lands on the vast Great Plains and their will to survive and advance their people included making weapons such as the bow and arrow and the spear. As the horse and the buffalo flourished, the Arapahos became self-sustaining in their new territory.

Around 1796, while living and hunting buffalo on the Central Great Plains, the Arapaho people migrated to camps along the Cheyenne River near the Black Hills in what is now South Dakota. It is said that this is the area where the Cheyenne became allies with the Arapaho and, in the early 1800s, they began to camp, hunt, and live together. By 1885, the Arapahos began hunting, along with their pony herd of 4,000 along Wolf Creek in what is now northwestern Oklahoma.

Today, the Cheyenne and Arapaho are federally recognized as one tribe and known as the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. However, while the tribes function as one Nation, each tribe still maintains their culture, traditions, customs, social dances, ceremonies, and languages.

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