Arapaho Tribe

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United States Gotoarrow.png Indigenous Peoples of the US Gotoarrow.png Colorado, United States Genealogy Gotoarrow.png Oklahoma, United States Genealogy Gotoarrow.png Wyoming, United States Genealogy Gotoarrow.png Indigenous Peoples of Colorado Gotoarrow.png Indigenous Peoples of Oklahoma Gotoarrow.png Indigenous Peoples of Wyoming Gotoarrow.png Arapaho Tribe

Guide to Arapaho Tribe ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Indigenous Peoples of Montana Arapaho Indians

To get started in American Indian Research

Alternate Names: Arapahoe

Arapaho Indian In a Piegan Lodge3.jpg
1990 abt 7000 
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Regions with significant populations
Ancestral Homelands: Great Lakes area and northern Minnesota, moving on to North Platte and Arkansas Rivers in Colorado Territory

Northern Arapaho -- Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming and some in southern Wyoming and northern Colorado Southern Arapaho -- Cheyenne and Arapaho Reservation in Oklahoma and some in Oklahoma and southern Kansas


Federally recognized

Linguistic Group


Cultural Group

Plains Indians

Other Related Ethnic Groups

The Atsine or Gros Ventre are a branch of the Arapaho

Tribal Headquarters[edit | edit source]

Northern Arapaho:

Northern Arapaho Nation
533 Ethete Road
Ethete, WY 82520
Phone: 1-307-332-6120 or 1-307-856-3461
Fax: 307.332.7543

Southern Arapaho:

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma
P. O. Box 38
Concho, OK 73022
Phone: 1-405-262-0345
Fax: 405.422.7424

History[edit | edit source]

During the 1700's the tribe migrated from the Great Lakes region into the Great Plains

In 1835 conflict with in the tribe caused a division, creating the Northern Arapaho and Southern Arapaho groups. The Northern Arapaho settled in what is now Wyoming near the Rocky Mountains. The Southern group settled in "Colorado" near the Arkansas River.

A Treaty in 1861 stated ..."Out of the lands so set apart and retained there shall be assigned to each member of said tribes, without distinction of age or sex, a tract of forty acres, to include in every case, as far as practicable, a reasonable portion of timber and water; ....and one hundred and sixty acres shall also be reserved out of each division of the retained tract for the establishment and support of schools for the education of the youth of the tribe..."

During the Sand Creek Massacre, in 1864 130 Southern Arapaho and Cheyenne were killed by the U.S. Army.

A proposed Treaty October 14, 1865 ratified in May of 1866. made an effort to provide for the survivors of the Sand Creek Massacre, and possessed..."an accurate census of the Indians entitled shall be taken at the time of the annuity payment in the spring of each year by their agent...the census shall be the bases on which the amount to be expended the next ensuing year shall be determined..."

The 1865 Treaty at the council-ground on the Little Arkansas in the state of Kansas, proclaimed theCheyenne, Arapaho and Apache tribe are to be united and recognized as Confederated Tribes.

With the signing of the Treaty of Medicine Lodge (1867), the Southern Arapaho were placed on a reservation in Oklahoma sharing with the Cheyenne. The Treaty of Fort Laramie assigned the Northern Arapaho to the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota to be shared with the Sioux, however the Northern Arapaho desired their own lands. Finally in 1878 the Northern Arapaho were assigned to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming sharing with the Shoshone.

Brief Timeline[edit | edit source]

  • 1700: migrate from Great Lakes region into the Great Plains
  • 1835: the tribe divided into the Northern Arapaho, who settled near the Rocky Mountains (Wyoming,and the Southern Arapaho who settled near the Arkansas River (Colorado).
    • 1851 September 17, at Fort Laramie
  • 1855-74: The tribe was under the jurisdiction of the Upper Arkansas Agency.
    • 1861 February 18, at Fort Wise
  • 1861: Treaty at Little Arkansas River
  • 1864: Sand Creek Massacre, 130 Southern Arapaho and Cheyenne, many women and children, are killed by the U.S. Army, under the direction of Colonel John M. Covington.
  • 1865: Treaty at camp on the Little Arkansas river, in the state of Kansas
  • 1867 Treaty of Medicine Lodge, Southern Arapaho placed on a Reservation in Oklahoma, shared by the Cheyenne
  • 1867: Treaty at Council Camp
  • 1868: Treaty at Fort Laramie -- Northern Arapaho were assigned to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota with the Sioux, but they sought their own lands.
  • 1875-80: The tribe was under the jurisdiction of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Agency.
  • 1876: Northern Arapaho rejected proposal to rejoin with the Southern Arapaho
  • 1878: Northern Arapaho assigned to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, shared with the Shoshone who were former enemies
  • 1892: Arapaho lands opened for settlement. (Oklahoma)
  • 1896: April 21, The Shoshone and Arapaho Indians signed an agreement for the sale of the Owl Creek or Big Horn, Hot Springs. (Senate Doc. no. 247, 54th Congress 1st Session, page 3-6)
  • 1963: A claim against the United States for land cession was settled.

** Fort Washakie, Wind River and Crowheart are Shoshone settlements. Arapahoes live at Ethete, Arapahoe and St. Stevens.

Reservations[edit | edit source]

Reservations are tacks of land set aside for the occupation and use by American Indians.

This tribe is primarily associated with the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming to which they were assigned in 1876, along with the Shoshone .

The Southern Arapaho were removed to a reservation in western Oklahoma in 1867; sharing the reservation with the Cheyenne. That reservation today is known by the combined name of Cheyenne and Arapaho Reservation.

See Also[edit | edit source]

The Arapaho Tribe was under the jurisdiction of the following agencies and superintendencies

Upper Platte Agency

Upper Arkansas Agency

Cheyenne and Arapahoe Agency

Red Cloud Agency (Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming)

St. Louis Superintendency

Central Superintendency

Dakota Superintendency

Colorado Superintendency

Northern Superintendency

Wyoming Superintendency

Additional References to the History of the Tribe
[edit | edit source]

Records[edit | edit source]

The majority of records of individuals were those created by the agencies. Some records may be available to tribal members through the tribal headquarters.They were (and are) the local office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and were charged with maintaining records of the activities of those under their responsibility. Among these records are:

Agencies[edit | edit source]

The following agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs had jurisdiction over the Arapaho for the time periods indicated. BIA agencies were responsible to keep such records as census rolls, allotment (land) records, annuity rolls, school records, correspondence, and other records of individual Indians under their jurisdiction. For details, see the page for the respective agency.


Northern Arapaho

Southern Arapaho

Allotment Records[edit | edit source]

1891-1915 Land (Allotment) Records Concho Agency FHL first film 1026683

Census Records[edit | edit source]

The Bureau of Indian Affairs compiled annual Indian Census Rolls on many of the reservations from 1885 to 1940. They list the names of individuals, their age, and other details about each person enumerated. For more information about these records, click here.

The following table lists the census rolls for the Arapaho Indians:

Agency Location of Original Records

Post-1885 Census

M595 RG 75 Rolls 693

Roll Number

FHL Film Number
Wind River Agency, 1873-1952 Denver Roll 663 583122
Cheyenne and Arapaho Agency, 1875 Washington D.C and Fort Worth Rolls 27-32 573873-574191
Shoshone Agency, 1885-1937 Washington D.C. and Denver Rolls 498-504 581873-581879
Cantonment Agency, 1903-27 Washington D.C. and Fort Worth Rolls 16-17 573862-573863

Seger School, 1903-12, 1914-27

Washington D.C. Roll 479 581489

Correspondence Records[edit | edit source]

There are several sets of correspondence between the supervising offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the local offices -- agencies, subagencies, etc. The correspondence is often historical in nature, including reports of the conditions among local groups of Indians, hostilities, plans for building facilities, activities of traders or missionaries, etc. Occasionally, there will be names of individuals but little detail about them. For more information about American Indian correspondence, click here.

The following table lists some correspondence relating to the Arapaho Indians:

Agency Location of Original Records

Pre- 1880 Correspondence

M234 RG 74 Rolls 962

Roll Number




Upper Platte Agency, 1855-74 Washington D.C. Roll 889-96 ff-1638620
Upper Arkansas Agency, 1855-74 Washington D.C. Rolls 878-82 1638620
Red Cloud (Pine Ridge) Agency, 1871-1961 Washington D.C. and Kansas City Rolls 715-26 1638620
Cheyenne and Arapaho Agency, 1875 Washington D.C. and Fort Worth Rolls 119-26 1638620

ff=first film of 962

Treaties[edit | edit source]

During the latter part of the 18th Century and most of the 19th Century, treaties were negotiated between the federal government and individual Indian tribes. The treaties provide helpful information about the history of the tribe, but usually only include the names of those persons who signed the treaty. For more information about treaties, click here.

Treaties to which the Arapaho Indians were a part were:

  • 1851 September 17, at Fort Laramie
  • 1861 February 18, at Fort Wise
  • October 14, 1861, at Little Arkansas River
  • 1861 February 18, at Fort Wise
  • 1865
  • October 28, 1867, at Council Camp
  • 1867 Treaty of Medicine Lodge
  • 1868 April 29, at Fort Laramie
  • May 10, 1868, at Fort Laramie

Tribal Office Records[edit | edit source]

The Tribal Office is responsible for enrollment records, vital records, tribal police records, tribal court records, employment records and many others. They are an entirely different set of records from those kept by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Most of them remain in the Tribal Office. For details, contact that office at the address for the Tribal Headquarters listed above.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Prior to the Indian Reorganization Act, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, through their agencies, may have recorded some vital events. Some were recorded on health forms, such as the "Sanitary Record of Sick, Injured, Births, Deaths, etc." Others were recorded as supplements to the "Indian Census Rolls." Some were included in the unindexed reports and other correspondence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Some vital records for the Arapaho Indians include:

  • Cheyenne and Arapaho, M595, Births and Deaths 1925-1934, FHL Film: 574191

Important Websites[edit | edit source]

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

Arapaho[edit | edit source]

  • Carlson, Paul H. The Plains Indians. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, c1998. FHL book 970.1 C197p

General[edit | edit source]

See For Further Reading.

References[edit | edit source]