George Bent



George Bent, also named Ho—my-ike in Cheyenne (Cheyenne people, 1843 – May 19, 1918), was a Cheyenne who became a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War and waged war against Americans as a Cheyenne warrior afterward. He was the mixed-race son of Owl Woman, daughter of a Cheyenne chief, and the American William Bent, founder of the trading post named Bent's Fort and a trading partnership with his brothers and Ceran St. Vrain. Bent was born near present-day La Junta, Colorado, and was reared among both his mother's people, his father and other European Americans at the fort, and other whites from the age of 10 while attending boarding school in St. Louis, Missouri. He identified as Cheyenne. After the Indian Wars, Bent worked for the United States government as an interpreter. Starting in 1870 with the US Indian agent to the Cheyenne and Arapaho, he lived on the reservation in present-day Oklahoma, where he stayed to the end of his life. Although a member of the Cheyenne because he was born to his mother's clan, in the tension of the postwar years Bent felt an outsider to both Cheyenne and whites because of his dual heritage. Some Cheyenne blamed him for losses to communal land suffered by the tribe when it was forced to accept allotment of lands to individual households under the Dawes Act. In the early twentieth century, Bent became an important source, or informant, for James Mooney and George Bird Grinnell, anthropologists studying and recording Cheyenne culture, as he was bilingual and knew the culture well. Anxious to get a book on the Cheyenne completed, Bent encouraged Grinnell to work with George E. Hyde, who probably wrote most of Grinnell's book The Fighting Cheyennes. Through Bent's letters to him, Hyde wrote his biography: Life of George Bent: Written from His Letters. It was not published until 1968.

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