History, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 4-21-2015


Buchkoski, John. Spider in the River: A Comparative Environmental History of the Impact of the Cache la Poudre Watershed On Cheyennes and Euro-Americans, 1830-1880. M.A. Thesis, University of Nebraska, 2015.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: History, Under the Supervision of Professor Katrina L. Jagodinsky. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 John J. Buchkoski


This thesis is a case study of the Cache la Poudre watershed in Colorado in the mid-nineteenth century and how it contributed to cultural transformations of both Cheyennes and Euro-Americans. This research follows the relationship that developed between Cheyennes and rivers since they inhabited Mille de Lacs in Minnesota in the seventeenth century. It examines the creation of settler-colonialism through the formation of boundaries and colonies in Colorado through the use of rivers. This further illustrates the connectedness of both Euro-Americans and Cheyennes to the rivers and argues that there were battles over these rivers and not only over the land. Finally, this thesis examines how the colonists that settled Colorado also disputed between themselves over the right to these rivers, by committing themselves to the idea of the mythic West. Some were disillusioned and left, but founder of Union Colony, Nathan Meeker, propagated and promoted the mythic West, and by committing themselves to the rivers, survived in that region.

Adviser: Katrina L. Jagodinsky