Dog Soldiers.Among the western Indian tribes there were a number of military societies, most of them of a secret character. To illustrate: The Kiowas had six warrior societies, viz: the Rabbits, the Young Mountain Sheep, the Black Legs, the Horse Caps, the Skunkberry People (also called Crazy Horses), and the Chief Dogs. The first was composed of boys from ten to fourteen years of age, who, as they grew older were eligible into some of the other societies, determined by their skill in the use of arms, their bravery, etc. The Chief Dogs were limited to ten picked men, selected for their known courage, their fortitude, and their power of endurance. At the time of initiation each member was invested with a sash and took a solemn oath never to turn back in the face of a foe while wearing it, unless it was the unanimous decision of the Dog Chiefs that a retreat was necessary. The leader wore a long black sash around his neck when about to go into battle, and was expected to take his place in front of the charge, pin the end of this sash to the ground by driving his lance through it, from which position he could exhort his men to deeds of valor. After the fight, if he was still alive, he was released by his men pulling out the lance. It is worthy of note, however, that the black sash was not worn unless the battle was to be one of extermination.
The Cheyennes had their "Ho-ta-mit-a-neo" or dog men, an organization similar in character to the Dog Chiefs of the Kiowas. They were leaders, but the name "Dog Soldiers" was frequently used to designate all under their command. The Cheyenne chiefs White Horse and Bad Face were dog men. The initiation into the Ho-ta-mit-a-neo was one calculated to test thoroughly the bravery of the candidate and his ability to withstand punishment. For three days before the actual ceremony of initiation, the candidate is not permitted to eat, drink or sleep. The initiation was generally observed in the spring of the year, and was the occasion of a tribal holiday, the festivities lasting a week or ten days. It was considered an honor among the young men to serve under a chief who had been accepted by the society as worthy of becoming a member, and some of the worst atrocities on the western frontier were committed by the dog soldiers. They were at the battle of Arickaree in force, where their vindictiveness toward the whites was played in the most cruel and brutal manner. The leading chiefs of the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Comanche and Kiowa tribes disclaimed all responsibility for the depredations of the dog soldiers, but a large number of the young braves of these tribes followed the leadership of the Dog Chiefs in preference to following that of the recognized war chiefs of the tribe to which they belonged.Page 527 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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