WOQINI (Roman Nose, Hook Nose)

Well known to both Cheyennes and non-Indians in this time, Woqini (Hook Nose) stood six-foot-three. He was a fierce warrior who refrained from attacking railroad workers and passing wagon trains until after the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864.

But in 1866, Roman Nose bitterly opposed the construction of a Union Pacific railway through his people's hunting grounds. Roman Nose was a chief of the Pointed Lance Men Society, a leading Southern Cheyenne Dog Soldier Society. Roman Nose was said to be invincible in battle - a quality rumored to be guaranteed if he wore a special headdress of forty red and black eagle feathers. The head-dress was so long that it almost reached the ground even when Roman Nose was mounted on his favorite horse.

The donning of his headdress was accompanied by many rituals and taboos, one being that Roman Nose must never eat anything with an iron eating utensil, such as a knife or fork. If this taboo was broken, a lengthy purification ceremony was required to restore the war bonnet's medicine. He proved the story time and again by loping at a slow pace in front of the enemy on his horse. Young Cheyennes idolized his exploits.

During September 1868, Roman Nose accidentally ate with iron utensils (unknown to him, what he ate was made by his wife with an iron fork ! ). A day or two later, allies came to summon Roman Nose to battle against a group of fifty-two scouts headed by Colonel G. A. Forsyth. This was too soon for the required purification of his war bonnet. Roman Nose, who had declined to go into battle until his warriors urged him, donned his war bonnet and prepared to die. He rode into battle at Beecher's Island, Colorado, and was quickly shot from his horse. He died the evening of September 17, 1868.

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