Chief Two Moons (1847–1917), or Ishaynishus (Cheyenne: Éše’he Ôhnéšesêstse), was one of the Cheyenne chiefs who took part in the Battle of the Little Bighorn and other battles against the United States Army. He was the son of Carries the Otter, an Arikara (North Dakota tribe) captive who married into the Cheyenne tribe.
During Cheyenne Chief Two Moons’ lifetime there was another man using the name Two Moons and describing himself as a chief. He sold herbal medicines and was well known. To add to the confusion there were two famous Cheyenne named Two Moons, one an uncle and the other his nephew. This is the story of the elder uncle.
He was known for killing a large grizzly bear with a knife. When asked how big the bear was, Two Moons raised his arms and replied, “To the sky.” He proudly wore a necklace and arm bands, which he made from the bear’s claws.
Perhaps known best for his participation in battles such as the Battle of the rosebud against General Crook on June 17, 1876, in the Montana Territory, the Battle of Little Big Horn on June 26, 1876 and what would prove to be his last battle which was that of the Battle of Wolf Mountain on January 8, 1877. Two Moons defeat in the battle at Wolf mountain by General Nelson A. Miles would inevitably lead to the surrender of his Cheyenne band at Fort Keogh in April, 1877.
After the surrender of the Cheyenne band he led in 1877, Two Moons chose to enlist as an Indian Scout for the same General, Nelson A. Miles to whom he had not long since surrendered. As a result of his pleasant personality, the friendliness that he showed towards the whites as well as his ability to get along with the military, General Miles appointed him head Chief of the Cheyenne Northern Reservation. As head Chief, Two Moons would prove to play a crucial role in facilitating the surrender of Chief Little Cow’s Cheyenne band to Fort Keogh.
Two Moons traveled on multiple occasions to Washington, D.C., to discuss and fight for the future of the Northern Cheyenne people and to better the conditions that existed on the reservation. In 1914, Two Moons met with President Woodrow Wilson to discuss these matters.
Two Moons was one of the models selected for James Fraser’s famous Buffalo Nickel.
Two Moons died in 1917 at his home in Montana at the age of 70. Two Moons’ grave still lies alongside U.S. Route 212, west of Busby, Montana.
My story with Two Moons…
The name Two Moons was given to me by Creator in August of 2008. Little did I know that this was also the month of a blue moon which I found out means there were two full moons in one month. I did a meditation to find out what my “Spirit Name” was and all I kept hearing was, Two Moons, Two Moons. Coming out of the meditation, I thought, That’s interesting, why Two moons. Never heard of it before. So I accepted it and moved on with life. About a Month or so later, I had a dream while living in Humboldt, near Prescott, that it began to flood in front of my house. Somehow I was on a small boat and now floating along with the currant. I went under a bridge and emerged into an unknown place where I saw a tall Native American Chief standing at the shore. He had a simi-smile or smirk on his face and a huge feathered headdress. He was waiving for me to come to him. Then I noticed in the background, red rocks. I knew then that this was Sedona.
Still I didn’t know what this meant but I did start to see signs everywhere that I should go to Sedona. I tried looking online for anything associated with the name Two Moons and found nothing. I began to use the name and called myself, “Rebekah Two Moons” even though it sounded weird and kind of hokie. But I went with it.
Years had passed and all of the sudden in 2012, my partner at the time had bought a few used documentaries from a local video store that was going out of business. One of them as the Trail of Tears. It was hard for me to watch this, there was so much pain and wrong-doing to the Native Americans when the white man came. But something caught my attention, they began to speak of a Chief Two Moons that fought with Crazy Horse and Black Elk. This was the first time I had heard his name! I was so excited to learn more about it. Again another google search and nothing.
Then shortly after my fall from grace in 2013, I stopped using the name. I was working at a trading post in Sedona Arizona and was looking through the posters of Native Americans. I was trying to find something to put in my empty home. Then I saw him… Gasp! There he was! He was real! Chief Two Moons (1847–1917) This was the same man in my dream from 2008. He was a Northern Cheyenne War Chief standing six foot four inches, Two Moons was best remembered through his courageous exploits as one of the nine warrior chiefs of the Fox Warrior Society who fought against Custer and the seventh cavalry at the Battle of Little Big Horn. He is credited as being the only Cheyenne to have carried a repeating riffle during that battle. Following the surrender of the Cheyenne to General Miles, at Fort Keogh. Two Moons was chosen as one of their principal chiefs. The photograph I was looking at was taken by Edward S Curtis in 1910.
So I ended up buying the small postcard sized and took it home and put him on my mantelpiece above the fireplace. The very next day I got a call from the Arizona State prison that my son Harley’s parole was being revoked and he was going to spend the next six months in prison. Just to catch you up on the story… Harley had just turned seventeen and his girlfriend was fifteen. They seemed to be a happy young couple until one day. They were at a party and decided to have sex as any couple their age would do. All was fine until Harley broke up with her. She got so mad an d told her parents what had happened. They flipped their lid and decided to press charges on Harley. Well the court won and he was sentenced three and one half years in the federal state prison then when released he had to register as a sex offender. Sigh…. Another moment in my life where I could have just died.
As it were, Harley ended up in Florence south of Phoenix, a three and a half hour drive from home. I tried to visit him once every two months or so. He seemed to be okay and made friends with the people on the “yard” who were also in there for bullshit reasons and stayed away from the real sex offenders. Finally the day came where he was able to be released on parole for 6 months. Now having to register as a sex offender we had the hardest time finding a place for him to stay. My landlord said no, and everywhere we went they said no. No one wanted a sex offender to live in their house. They didn’t even seem to care about his story. He would never hurt anyone! But it seems that society is so conditioned as to what a sex offender is. And the courts, they really need to wake up.
Finally we found him a place at an old dump of a motel in downtown Phoenix. That place was so scary. Thugs and drug dealers gathered out front. Was I really going to leave my soon here? The truth was that I didn’t have a choice. I just prayed as I left. Great Creator, please watch over him, keep him safe, and please, return him home someday.
He was fine for a while than he had to move to another motel. He managed to make friends and get access to the internet. He made a Facebook profile and was just trying to have a social life in the real world online because the real world outside was depressing, cold and scary.
Well the authorities found out and arrested him for being on social media, I guess It was a part of his parole contract to not be online. That’s when I got the call that he was going back to prison, as a mother, I just cried and as a medicine woman, I prayed for my son.
Now back to the story of Two Moons. After buying the postcard and placing it on the mantle, that night I had a dream. Harley and Chief Two Moons was walking out of the mist towards me. Harley looked happy. Two Moons said, “I am watching over your son at this time, he is better off in prison now than where he was at the motel.” Harley nodded in agreement and they turned around and walked away until they disappeared into the mist.
I remember feeling a tremendous heavy Burdon lifted and letting out a deep sigh of relief. I knew then that Harley was okay and I was able to let it go. But right then I also knew that my connection with Chief Two Moons was real and that he was also watching over my family. But why me? Was I supposed to call myself Two Moons or did I just conger up a Native American Spirit Guide five years ago? Either way, I now felt a deeper connection with this Cherokee Chief. I did a meditation and asked him If I was to call myself Two moons and I got a strong reply that said, “yes”! He also said that I was him and that I was to finish what he started out to accomplish over one hundred years ago. So what was I supposed to finish?