White Woman Creek: A Kansas Ghost Story

Western Kansas is desolate, even today.

Imagine what it was like over a century ago.

Yet, white settlers pushed on through it…

They pushed through, but it wasn’t just the terrain.

There were people, cultures, tribes; there was a whole world that was little understood by the new colonizers.

Still, they pushed through….


The Cheyenne people currently consist of two tribes; the Tsétsêhéstâhese / Tsitsistas  and Só’taeo’o / Só’taétaneo’o, more commonly called Suhtai or Sutaio.

In their creation myth, there were two divine emissaries who received gifts from the Divine Being(s) called Ma’heono.

When the missionaries came, they de-pluralized the word to Ma’heo’o, which is singular.

Can’t have too many Gods running around…

Incidentally, the Só’taeo’o term is He’emo, which means Goddess, or Sacred Female Being.

Bet the missionaries had a really hard time translating that…

Back to our Divine Emissaries:


Sweet Medicine received a bundle of Sacred Arrows; he created a legal system that included the the heads of local tribes and a select group of elders, and set their meetings around the Sun Dance, a ritual that can include extreme tests of physical endurance.

Back to the missionaries, the Sun Dance was prohibited by Federal law in the United States until the late 1970s.

Sweet Medicine also foresaw the coming of the white man…

Sweet Medicine’s colleague was the prophet Erect Horns; he taught the Sun Dance to his people and convinced them to abandon their agricultural way of life to become nomadic, adopting the horse and the tepee.

He also received a gift from the Goddess: The Sacred Buffalo Hat. The Hat, and the Sacred Arrows, represent the covenant between the two tribes, and well as the union of the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Masculine.

These are the people that our Ghost ran into…


Legend says her name was Anna-Wee.

The place she haunts is White Woman Creek; it runs through three counties in western Kansas.

This is her story:


The time was the 1860’s.

Anna-Wee was one of a group of white settlers. The men in this group had conducted a raid on a local Cheyenne tribe; the tribe retaliated.

When the violence ended, twelve prisoners were spared: ten men, and two women.

They were taken into the custody of the tribe; in time Anna-Wee fell in love with the tribal Chief, Tee-Wah-Nee. They were married, and from their union came a child.

He wouldn’t live long…

Unfortunately, not everyone was happy with life in the tribe.

One of the men stole a horse, and fled to the nearest fort, Fort Wallace.

Fort Wallace, circa 1867. One of the men pictured, Theophilus H. Turner, went on to discover the skeletal remains of a new species of dinosaur, the Elasmosaurus, nearby. Yes, Kansas had dinosaurs.

He convinced the garrison commander to dispatch his forces to “liberate” the enslaved whites.

This liberation cost the life of Chief Tee-Wah-Nee, and his son with Anna-Wee.

Anna-Wee didn’t go out so easily.

She killed the man who had betrayed the tribe and continued fighting to save her village until her last, dying breath.

Her story ended there…

Or did it?


They say on the darkest nights, when the winds are still, and the stars shine bright, that you can hear her, singing a mournful song,

filled with longing for her dead husband,

her dead son,

her dead people,

Along the shore, of the place now called:

White Woman Creek

White Woman Creek, Howard Terpning, Swoyer Fine Art & Collectibles

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