Morning Star Elementary School
830 Arnold Street
Bozeman, MT 59715
Chief Morning Star
Our school is named after the Cheyenne Indian Chief, Morning Star. He was a very courageous man and was willing to help his people survive. He was known for his bravery but was not an orator. He was also known by the name, Dull Knife, as the white people said that he did not sharpen his knife to use against other men. He was named Morning Star by his family because when he was a small boy, he would wake up early and walk out on the hills to look at the morning star.
Morning Star was born about 1828 in what is now Colorado. He was made a war chief of his tribe but chose not to fight in the Battle of the Little Big Horn which occurred in 1876. However, later that year, the U.S. Cavalry under Colonel Mackenzie found Morning Star’s winter camp in the Big Horn Mountains and moved Morning Star and his band of approximately one thousand people to Indian Territory in Oklahoma to be with the Southern Cheyenne. It took them one hundred days to walk the distance.
Because Morning Star’s people were so sick while in Oklahoma, they requested returning to the plains of the north. All but approximately two hundred ninety seven people had died. Even though the government had agreed that they should be moved north there was no effort made to do so. Many of their band died, so they started north on their own. There were approximately eighty nine men and one hundred forty six women and children leaving the Southern Cheyenne. They were pursued by two thousand troops and many civilians. The Indians headed toward the Black Hills and after about six weeks they split into two groups. Most of the older people and children went with Morning Star. The group with Morning Star was captured and taken to Fort Robinson which is in Nebraska. At Fort Robinson they were told that they had to return to the Southern Cheyenne. Morning Star petitioned the US government to allow his people to return to what is now Montana. When this was denied, Morning Star and his band refused to go back and said that they would die right where they were. The captain at Fort Robinson ordered the Cheyenne to be held prisoner for five days with no food, water or wood to burn. The temperature was below zero. Again the Cheyenne broke out and left on their own. There was fighting and in the first hour more than half of the surviving warriors died. Many of the Cheyenne were returned to Fort Robinson but Morning Star and some members of his family had made it to Pine Ridge. After living with the Sioux for some time, Morning Star finally returned to his home – Montana.
Back in Montana, he counseled his people that the only way they would survive in the world in which they would be living was to be educated. Thus our school is named after this brave man who knew the value of education.