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Title: Villages of the Algonquian, Siouan, and Caddoan Tribes West of the Mississippi
Author: Bushnell, David Ives
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's note: For this text version passages in italics are
indicated by _underscores_. Small caps have been replaced by ALL
CAPS and "i" with a breve is shown as [)i].

On page 6 "pursued by y^e Savages", "^e" refers to superscript "e".

Inconsistent spelling is maintained in this document, for example
"Chayenne" and "Cheyenne".







  [Illustration: Decoration]



                                       SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION,
                                     BUREAU OF AMERICAN ETHNOLOGY,
                                 _Washington, D. C., January 4, 1921_.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit the accompanying manuscript, entitled
"Villages of the Algonquian, Siouan, and Caddoan Tribes West of the
Mississippi," by David I. Bushnell, jr., and to recommend its
publication, subject to your approval, as a bulletin of this Bureau.

      Very respectfully,

                                               J. WALTER FEWKES,

      _Secretary of the Smithsonian institution_.


When Louisiana became a part of the United States the great wilderness
to the westward of the Mississippi was the home of many native tribes,
or groups of tribes, retaining their primitive manners and customs,
little influenced by contact with Europeans. Their villages were
scattered along the water courses or skirted the prairies, over which
roamed vast herds of buffalo, these serving to attract the Indians and
to supply many of their wants--food, raiment, and covering for their
shelters. But so great are the changes wrought within a century that now
few buffalo remain, the Indian in his primitive state has all but
vanished, and even the prairies have been altered in appearance. The
early accounts of the region contain references to the native camps and
villages, their forms and extent, tell of the manner in which the
habitations were constructed, and relate how some were often removed
from place to place. Extracts from the various narratives are now
brought together, thus to describe the homes and ways of life of the
people who once claimed and occupied a large section of the present
United States.



  The tribes and their habitat                    1

  The buffalo (_Bison americanus_)                3

  Villages and forms of structures                7

    Algonquian tribes                             8

      Ojibway                                     8

      Cree                                       17

      Cheyenne                                   21

      Blackfoot confederacy                      25

      Arapaho                                    33

      Sauk and Foxes                             37

      Illinois                                   41

    Siouan tribes                                43

      Dakota-Assiniboin group                    44

        Mdewakanton                              45

        Wahpeton                                 52

        Yanktonai                                54

        Yankton                                  57

        Teton                                    59

          Oglala                                 63

        Assiniboin                               71

      Dhegiha group                              77

        Omaha                                    77

        Ponca                                    87

        Kansa                                    89

        Osage                                    98

        Quapaw                                  108

      Chiwere group                             112

        Iowa                                    113

        Oto                                     114

        Missouri                                121

      Winnebago                                 122

      Mandan                                    122

      Hidatsa group                             140

        Hidatsa                                 141

        Crows                                   150

    Caddoan tribes                              155

      Pawnee                                    155

      Arikara                                   167

      Wichita                                   179

        Waco                                    181

      Caddo                                     182

  Conclusion                                    184

  Authorities cited                             186

  Synonymy                                      193

  Explanation of plates                         194

  Index                                         203




  1. Drying buffalo meat. Griset                      Frontispiece.

  2. "A buffalo hunt on the southwestern prairies." Stanley       4

  3. "Buffalo hunt." Wimar                                        4

  4. "Buffalo hunting on the frozen snow." Rindisbacher           4

  5. _a_, "A buffalo pound." Kane. _b_, Scene in a Sioux village,
           about 1870                                             4

  6. _a_, Camp of "Sautaux Indians on the Red River." _b_,
           Ojibway wigwam at Leech Lake, Minnesota               10

  7. _a_, "Encampment among the islands of Lake Huron." Kane.
           _b_, Ojibway camp on bank of Red River                10

  8. _a_, Ojibway camp west of Red River. _b_, Ojibway camp
           on bank of Red River                                  12

  9. Ojibway habitations. _a_, Wigwams covered with elm bark.
           _b_, Wigwams covered with birch bark                  12

  10. _a_, Ojibway birch bark canoe. _b_, Ojibway Indians with
            birch bark canoes                                    16

  11. _a_, Trader's store near Cass Lake. _b_, Outside an elm
            bark covered structure                               16

  12. Objects of Ojibway make. _a_, Hammer, bag, and two
            skin-dressing tools. _b_, Section of a rush mat      16

  13. _a_, Ojibway mortar and pestle. _b_, Delaware mortar
            and pestle. _c_, Ojibway birch bark dish             16

  14. Cheyenne family                                            24

  15. Piegan camp. Bodmer                                        24

  16. _a_, Blackfoot camp. Kane. _b_, Arapaho village            34

  17. Atsina camp. Bodmer                                        34

  18. Sauk and Fox habitations. _a_, Frames of structures.
            _b_, Mat-covered lodges                              38

  19. Sauk and Fox habitation covered with elm bark              38

  20. _a_, Northwest shore of Mille Lac, 1900. _b_, The
            Sacred Island in Mille Lac                           46

  21. "Kaposia, June 19th, 1851." Mayer                          46

  22. _a_, "Dakotah village." Eastman. _b_, "Dakotah
            encampment." Eastman                                 50

  23. _a_, Council at the mouth of the Teton. Catlin.
            _b_, Fort Pierre, July 4, 1851. Kurz                 50

  24. _a_, _b_, Near Fort Laramie, 1868. _c_, "A skin lodge
            of an Assiniboin chief." Bodmer                      76

  25. _a_, Assiniboin lodges formed of pine boughs. Kane. _b_,
            "Horse camp of the Assiniboins, March 21,
            1852." Kurz                                          76

  26. _a_, Tipi of an Omaha chief. _b_, Page of Kurz's
            sketchbook                                           76

  27. "The village of the Omahas." 1871                          76

  28. _a_, Page of Kurz's sketchbook, showing Omaha village.
            _b_, Page of Kurz's sketchbook, showing interior
            of an Omaha lodge                                    80

  29. "Punka Indians encamped on the banks of the Missouri."
            Bodmer                                               80

  30. _a_, Kansa village, 1841. Lehman. _b_, Dog dance within
            a Kansa lodge, 1819. Seymour                         96

  31. Kansa habitation                                           96

  32. _a_, Frame of an Osage habitation. _b_, An Iowa
            structure                                           102

  33. "Oto encampment, near the Platte, 1819." Seymour          102

  34. _a_, Oto pemmican maul. _b_, Heavy stone maul.
            _c_, Mandan implement for dressing hides            120

  35. _a_, Oto dugout canoe, from Kurz's sketchbook.
            _b_, Hidatsa bull-boat and paddle                   120

  36. Winnebago habitations, about 1870. _a_, Structure
            with arbor. _b_, Showing entrance on side           120

  37. Winnebago structures        120

  38. _a_, Interior of a Mandan lodge. Catlin. _b_, Scene
            in a Mandan village. Catlin                         132

  39. "Mih-tutta-hangkusch," a Mandan village. Bodmer           132

  40. Interior of a Mandan lodge. Bodmer                        136

  41. _a_, _c_, Mandan wooden bowls. _b_, Mandan
            earthenware jar                                     136

  42. _a_, Buffalo horn spoon. _b_, Spoon made of horn of
            mountain sheep. Mandan                              136

  43. "Miniatarree village." Catlin                             136

  44. "Winter village of the Minatarres." _a_, Original pencil
            sketch. _b_, Finished picture of same. Bodmer       142

  45. From Kurz's sketchbook. _a_, Use of a carrying basket.
            _b_, The ring-and-pole game. _c_, Hidatsa with
            bull-boats                                          142

  46. Crow tipis. _a_, "Crow lodge." Catlin. _b_, Camp at
            the old agency, 1871                                152

  47. A camp in a cottonwood grove                              152

  48. Trader crossing the prairies. Page of Kurz's sketchbook   162

  49. Pawnee village, 1871                                      162

  50. Pawnee earth lodges, 1871                                 162

  51. In a Pawnee village, 1871. _a_, Children at lodge
            entrance. _b_, Showing screen near same entrance    162

  52. __a, Arikara carrying basket. _b_, Wichita mortar         168

  53. "Riccaree village." Catlin                                168

  54. _a_, Arikara rake. _b_, Arikara hoe. _c_, Crow
            parfleche box                                       178

  55. Wichita habitations. _a_, Near Anadarko. _b_, Lodge
            standing about 1880                                 178


  1. The buffalo of Gomara, 1554                     4

  2. Tipis                                          59

  3. Horse travois                                  66

  4. Plan of the large Mandan village, 1833        131

  5. "The ark of the first man"                    132

  6. Typical earth lodges                          133

  7. Inclosed bed                                  134

  8. Plan of the interior of a Mandan lodge        135

  9. Wooden club                                   138

  10. Plan of the Mandan village at Fort Clark     140

  11. Plan of a ceremonial lodge                   144

  12. Plan of the large Hidatsa village            145




The country occupied by the tribes belonging to the three linguistic
groups whose villages are now to be described extended from south of the
Arkansas northward to and beyond the Canadian boundary, and from the
Mississippi across the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains. It thus
embraced the western section of the valley of the Mississippi, including
the entire course of the Missouri, the hilly regions bordering the
rivers, and the vast rolling prairies. The climatic conditions were as
varied as were the physiographical features, for, although the winters
in the south were comparatively mild, in the north they were long and

The three linguistic families to be considered are the Algonquian,
Siouan, and Caddoan. Many Algonquian and Siouan tribes formerly lived
east of the Mississippi, and their villages have already been described
(Bushnell, (1)),[1] but within historic times all Caddoan tribes appear
to have occupied country to the westward of the river, although it is
not improbable that during earlier days they may have had villages
beyond the eastern bank of the stream, the remains of which exist.

[1] For citation of references throughout this bulletin, _see_
"Authorities cited," p. 186.

The Algonquians included in this account comprise principally the three
groups which may be termed the western division of the great linguistic
family. These are: (1) The Blackfoot confederacy, composed of three
confederated tribes, the Siksika or Blackfeet proper, the Piegan, and
the Kainah or Bloods; (2) the Arapaho, including several distinct
divisions, of which the Atsina, or Gros Ventres of the Prairie, who were
closely allied with the Blackfeet, were often mentioned; (3) the
Cheyenne, likewise forming various groups or divisions. Belonging to the
same great family were the Cree or Kristinaux, whose habitat was farther
north, few living south of the Canadian boundary; also the Ojibway,
whose villages were scattered northward from the upper waters of the
Mississippi. Some Sauk later lived west of the Mississippi, as did bands
of the Foxes and some of the Illinois tribes.

The Siouan tribes were among the most numerous and powerful on the
continent, and those to be mentioned on the following pages belonged to
several clearly defined groups. As classified in the Handbook of
American Indians North of Mexico,[2] these include:

[2] Bull. 30, Bur. Amer. Ethn., part 2, p. 579.

I. Dakota-Assiniboin group: 1, Mdewakanton; 2, Wahpekute (forming, with
the Mdewakanton, the Santee); 3, Sisseton; 4, Wahpeton; 5, Yankton; 6,
Yanktonai; 7, Teton--(a) Sichangu or Brulés, (b) Itazipcho or Sans Arcs,
(c) Sihasapa or Blackfeet, (d) Miniconjou, (e) Oohenonpa or Two
Kettles, (f) Oglala, (g) Hunkpapa; 8, Assiniboin.

II. Dhegiha group: 1, Omaha; 2, Ponca; 3, Quapaw; 4, Osage--(a) Pahatsi,
(b) Utschta, (c) Santsukhdhi; 5, Kansa.

III. Chiwere group: 1, Iowa; 2, Oto; 3, Missouri.

IV. Winnebago.

V. Mandan.

VI. Hidatsa group: 1, Hidatsa; 2, Crows.

The Caddoan family is less clearly defined than either of the preceding,
but evidently consisted of many small tribes grouped, and forming
confederacies. Those to be mentioned later include: (1) The Arikara; (2)
the Pawnee confederacy, composed of four tribes--(a) Chaui or Grand
Pawnee, (b) Kitkehahki or Republican Pawnee, (c) Pitahauerat or Tapage
Pawnee, (d) Skidi or Wolf Pawnee; (3) the Wichita confederacy, including
the Waco and various small tribes; (4) the Caddo proper.

Although the latter are included in the same linguistic group with the
Arikara, Pawnee, and others as mentioned above, they are regarded by
some as constituting a distinct linguistic stock.

During the years following the close of the Revolution, the latter part
of the eighteenth century, many tribes, or rather the remnants of
tribes, then living east of the Mississippi, sought a refuge in the West
beyond the river. Many settled on the streams in the southern part of
the present State of Missouri and northern Arkansas, and, as stated by
Stoddard when writing about the year 1810: "A considerable number of
Delawares, Shawanese, and Cherokees, have built some villages on the
waters of the St. Francis and White Rivers. Their removal into these
quarters was authorized by the Spanish government, and they have
generally conducted themselves to the satisfaction of the whites. Some
stragglers from the Creeks, Chocktaws, and Chickasaws, who are
considered as outlaws by their respective nations, have also established
themselves on the same waters; and their disorders and depredations
among the white settlers are not unfrequent." (Stoddard, (1), pp.
210-211.) And at about the same time another writer, referring to the
same region, said: "Below the Great Osage, on the waters of the Little
Osage, Saint Francis, and other streams, are a number of scattered bands
of Indians, and two or three considerable villages. These bands were
principally Indians, who were formerly outcasts from the tribes east of
the Mississippi. Numbers have since joined from the Delawares,
Shawanoes, Wayondott, and other tribes towards the lakes. Their warriors
are said to be five or six hundred. They have sometimes made excursions
and done mischief on the Ohio river, but the settlements on the
Mississippi have suffered the most severely by their depredations."
(Cutler, (1), p. 120.)

No attempt will be made in the present work to describe the habitations
or settlements occupied by the scattered bands just mentioned.

It is quite evident that during the past two or three centuries great
changes have taken place in the locations of the tribes which were
discovered occupying the region west of the Mississippi by the first
Europeans to penetrate the vast wilderness. Thus the general movement of
many Siouan tribes has been westward, that of some Algonquian groups
southward from their earlier habitats, and the Caddoan appear to have
gradually gone northward. It resulted in the converging of the tribes in
the direction of the great prairies occupied by the vast herds of
buffalo which served to attract the Indian. Until the beginning of this
tribal movement it would seem that a great region eastward from the base
of the Rocky Mountains, the rolling prairie lands, was not the home of
any tribes but was solely the range of the buffalo and other wild
beasts, which existed in numbers now difficult to conceive.


(_Bison americanus_.)

With the practical extermination of the buffalo in recent years, and the
rapid changes which have taken place in the general appearance of the
country, it is difficult to picture it as it was two or more centuries
ago. While the country continued to be the home of the native tribes
game was abundant, and the buffalo, in prodigious numbers, roamed over
the wide region from the Rocky Mountains to near the Atlantic. It is
quite evident, and easily conceivable, that wherever the buffalo was to
be found it was hunted by the people of the neighboring villages,
principally to serve as food. But the different parts of the animal were
made use of for many purposes, and, as related in an early Spanish
narrative, one prepared nearly four centuries ago, when referring to
"the oxen of Quivira ... Their masters have no other riches nor
substance: of them they eat, they drink, they apparel, they shooe
themselves: and of their hides they make many things, as houses, shooes,
apparell and ropes: of their bones they make bodkins: of their sinews
and haire, threed: of their hornes, maws, and bladders, vessels: of
their dung, fire: and of their calves-skinnes, budgets, wherein they
drawe and keepe water. To bee short, they make so many things of them as
they neede of, or as many as suffice them in the use of this life."
(Gomara, (1), p. 382.) A crude engraving of a buffalo made at that time
is reproduced in figure 1.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--The buffalo of Gomara, 1554]

The preceding account describes the customs of the people then living in
the southern part of the region treated in the present sketch, either a
Caddoan or a neighboring tribe or group, and it suggests another
reference to the great importance of the buffalo, but applying to the
tribes of the north more than three centuries later.



J. M. Stanley, 1845]


[Illustration: "BUFFALO HUNT"

Carl Wimar, 1860]



Peter Rindisbacher, about 1825]


[Illustration: _a._ "A Buffalo Pound." Paul Kane, 1845]

[Illustration: _b._ Scene in a Sioux village, about 1870. Photograph by
S. J. Morrow]

"The animals inhabiting the Dakota country, and hunted more or less by
them for clothing, food, or for the purposes of barter, are buffalo,
elk, black- and white-tailed deer, big-horn, antelope, wolves of several
kinds, red and gray foxes, a few beaver and otter, grizzly bear, badger,
skunk, porcupine, rabbits, muskrats, and a few panthers in the
mountainous parts. Of all those just mentioned the buffalo is most
numerous and most necessary to their support. Every part of this animal
is eaten by the Indian except the horns, hoofs, and hair, even the skin
being made to sustain life in times of great scarcity. The skin is used
to make their lodges and clothes, the sinews for bowstrings, the horns
to contain powder, and the bones are wrought into various domestic
implements, or pounded up and boiled to extract the fatty matter. In the
proper season, from the beginning of October until the 1st of March, the
skins are dressed with the hair remaining on them, and are either worn
by themselves or exchanged with the traders." (Hayden, (1), p. 371.)

In the early days the tribes who occupied a region frequented by or in
the vicinity of the range of the buffalo could and undoubtedly did kill
sufficient numbers to satisfy their various wants and requirements, but
hunting was made more easy in later times when horses were possessed by
the Indian. Then it became possible for the bands of hunters, or
even the entire village, to follow the vast herds, to surround and kill
as many as they desired, and to carry away great quantities of meat to
be "jerked," or dried, for future use. So intimately connected were the
buffalo with the life of the tribes of the plains and the circumjacent
country that frequent allusions will be made to the former when
describing the camps and villages of the latter.

The various ways of hunting the buffalo and other wild beasts of the
plains and mountainous country, as practiced by the different tribes,
have been described by many writers. The several methods of hunting the
buffalo were often forced through natural conditions, but nothing could
have exceeded the excitement produced during the chase by well-mounted
Indian hunters. This was the usual custom of the tribes of the plains
after horses had become plentiful and the buffalo continued numerous.
The paintings reproduced in plates 2 and 3 vividly portray this phase of
the hunt. In the north the hunters were compelled during the long
winters to attack the herds on the frozen, snow-covered prairies, and
plate 4 shows a party of hunters, wearing snowshoes, mingled with the
buffalo. This sketch, made about the year 1825, bears the legend:
"Indian Hunters pursuing the Buffalo early in the spring when the snow
is sufficiently frozen to bear the men but the Animal breaks through and
cannot run." This graphic sketch may represent a party of Cree or
Assiniboin hunters, probably the latter, and it will be noticed that
they are using bows and arrows, not firearms, although other drawings by
the same artist representing a summer hunt shows them having guns.

Another custom in the North was that of constructing inclosures of logs
and branches of trees, leaving one opening through which the buffalo
were driven, and when thus secured were killed. Such an inclosure, or
pound, is shown in plate 5, _a_. This is a reproduction of the original
painting made by Paul Kane, September, 1845. In describing it he wrote:
"These pounds can only be made in the vicinity of forests, as they are
composed of logs piled up roughly, five feet high, and enclose about two
acres. At one side an entrance is left, about ten feet wide, and from
each side of this, to the distance of half a mile, a row of posts or
short stumps, called dead men, are planted, at the distance of twenty
feet each, gradually widening out into the plain from the entrance. When
we arrived at the pound we found a party there anxiously awaiting the
arrival of the buffaloes, which their companions were driving in. This
is accomplished as follows:--A man, mounted on a fleet horse, usually
rides forward till he sees a band of buffaloes. This may be sixteen or
eighteen miles distant from the ground, but of course the nearer to it
the better. The hunter immediately strikes a light with a flint and
steel, and places the lighted spunk in a handful of dried grass, the
smoke arising from which the buffaloes soon smell and start away from it
at the top of their speed. The man now rides up alongside of the herd,
which, from some unaccountable propensity, invariably endeavour to cross
in front of his horse. I have had them follow me for miles in order to
do so. The hunter thus possesses an unfailing means, wherever the pound
may be situated, of conducting them to it by the dexterous management of
his horse. Indians are stationed at intervals behind the posts, or dead
men, provided with buffalo robes, who, when the herd are once in the
avenue, rise up and shake the robes, yelling and urging them on until
they get into the enclosure, the spot usually selected for which is one
with a tree in the centre. On this they hang offerings to propitiate the
Great Spirit to direct the herd towards it. A man is also placed in the
tree with a medicine pipestem in his hand, which he waves continually,
chaunting a sort of prayer to the Great Spirit, the burden of which is
that the buffaloes may be numerous and fat." (Kane, (1), pp. 117-119.)
Quite similar to this is the description of a pound constructed by the
Cree a few years later. This was some 120 feet across, "constructed of
the trunks of trees, laced with withes together, and braced by outside
supports," and within "lay tossed in every conceivable position over two
hundred dead buffalo." Another pound erected at this time had the "dead
men" extending for a distance of 4 miles from the entrance. (Hind, (1),
I, pp. 356-359.) Maximilian, Lewis and Clark, and other explorers of the
upper Missouri Valley refer to enclosures into which the Indians drove
antelope. And that the custom was followed by the tribes far east of the
Mississippi is proved by the writings of early explorers. Champlain in
1615 gave an account, accompanied by an interesting drawing, of such a
hunt, and Lahontan nearly a century later presented an illustration
bearing the legend: "Stags block'd up in a park, after being pursued by
y^e Savages." Many other references could be quoted, as the ways of
hunting followed by the Indians have always been of interest to the many
writers who have described the manners and customs of the people.

What was probably a characteristic view in a Sioux village of half a
century ago, after a successful hunt, is shown in the old photograph
reproduced in plate 5, _b_. Here, in front of the group of skin tipis,
are quantities of meat suspended and being "jerked" or dried in the air.
Buffalo skins are stretched on the ground, and in the immediate
foreground are two women scraping a skin. This is a picture of the
greatest interest and rarity.

The sight of the great herds roaming unmolested over the far-reaching
prairies proved of interest to all who saw them, and many accounts are
left by the early travelers. One brief description of such a scene may
be quoted. It refers to a place in the upper Missouri Valley, not far
from a Mandan village, and was written June 22, 1811:

"We arrived on the summit of a ridge more elevated than any we had yet
passed. From thence we saw before us a beautiful plain, as we judged,
about four miles across, in the direction of our course, and of similar
dimensions from east to west. It was bounded on all sides by long
ridges, similar to that which we had ascended. The scene exhibited in
this valley was sufficiently interesting to excite even in our Canadians
a wish to stop a few minutes and contemplate it. The whole of the plain
was perfectly level, and, like the rest of the country, without a single
shrub. It was covered with the finest verdure, and in every part herds
of buffaloes were feeding. I counted seventeen herds, but the aggregate
number of the animals it was difficult even to guess at: some thought
upwards of 10,000." (Bradbury, (1), pp. 134-135.) And this was but one
of innumerable similar scenes to have been witnessed throughout the wide
range of the vast herds.

"The Indians say ... that in travelling over a country with which they
are unacquainted they always follow the buffalo trail, for this animal
always selects the most practicable route for his road." (Warren, (1),
p. 74.) This is a well-known fact, and many roads both east and west of
the Mississippi which have now developed into important highways owe
their origin to this cause.

The story of the buffalo will ever be one of interest, becoming more and
more so as the years pass; and so it is gratifying to know that nearly
all the available information bearing on the customs of the animal, the
migration of the herds, their ancient habitat, and their rapid reduction
in numbers was some years ago brought together and preserved in a single
volume. (Allen, (1).) This was done while the buffalo were still quite
numerous, and many facts recorded were derived from hunters or others
acquainted with the customs of the times.


The villages as well as the separate structures reared by the many
tribes who formerly occupied the region treated in the present work
presented marked characteristics, causing them to be easily identified
by the early travelers through the wilderness of a century ago. The mat
and bark covered wigwam predominated among the Algonquian tribes of the
north, although certain members of this great linguistic family also
used the skin tipi so typical of the Siouan tribes of the plains, while
some of the latter stock constructed the earth lodge similar to that
erected by the Caddoan tribes. Thus, it will be understood no one group
occupied habitations of a single form to the exclusion of all others,
and again practically all the tribes had two or more types of dwellings
which were reared and used under different conditions, some forming
their permanent villages, others, being easily removed and transported,
serving as their shelters during long journeys in search of the buffalo.
The villages of the several groups will now be mentioned in detail.


The numerous tribes and the many confederated groups belonging to the
great Algonquian linguistic family extended over the continent from the
Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic coast, and from Labrador on the north
southward to Carolina. They surrounded the Iroquoian tribes of the
north, and, at various places came in contact with members of other
stocks. The combined population of the widely scattered Algonquian
tribes was greater than that of any other linguistic family in North

The native tribes of tidewater Virginia and those who were encountered
by the New England colonists, tribes so intimately associated with the
early history of the Colonies, belonged to this stock, as did the later
occupants of the Ohio Valley and of the "country of Illinois." In the
present work the villages of other members of the linguistic group will
be considered, including those of the Ojibway and the related Cree, and
of the Blackfoot confederacy, Arapaho, and Cheyenne, usually termed the
western division of the stock. Several tribes whose villages stood east
of the Mississippi in early historic times will also be mentioned.


The Ojibway (the Sauteux of many writers) formed the connecting link
between the tribes living east of the Mississippi and those whose homes
were across the "Great River." A century ago their lands extended from
the shores of Lake Superior westward, beyond the headwaters of the
Mississippi to the vicinity of the Turtle Mountains, in the present
State of North Dakota. Thus they claimed the magnificent lakes of
northern and central Minnesota--Mille Lac, Leech Lake, Cass Lake, and
Red Lake--on the shores of which stood many of their camps and villages,
serving as barriers against invasions and attacks by their inveterate
enemies, the Sioux. The Ojibway are essentially a timber people, whose
manners and customs were formed and governed by the environment of lakes
and streams, and who were ever surrounded by the vast virgin forests of
pine. While game, fish, and wild fowl were abundant and easily
obtained, yet during the long winters when the lakes were frozen and
the land was covered by several feet of snow there were periods of want
when food was scarce.

The habitations and other structures of the Ojibway, which have already
been described and figured (Bushnell, (2)), were of various forms,
constructed of several materials, and varying in different localities,
according to the nature of the available supply of barks or rushes.

In the north, on the shores of Lake Superior and westward along the
lakes and streams, as in the valley of Red River and the adjacent
region, the majority of structures were covered with sheets of birch
bark, secured to frames of small saplings.

About the year 1804 Peter Grant, a member of the old North-West Company,
and for a long period at the head of the Red River Department of the
company, prepared an account of the Sauteux Indians, and when describing
the habitations of the people, wrote: "Their tents are constructed with
slender long poles, erected in the form of a cone and covered with the
rind of the birch tree. The general diameter of the base is about
fifteen feet, the fire place exactly in the middle, and the remainder of
the area, with the exception of a small place for the hearth, is
carefully covered with the branches of the pine or cedar tree, over
which some bear skins and old blankets are spread, for sitting and
sleeping. A small aperture is left in which a bear skin is hung in lieu
of a door, and a space is left open at the top, which answers the
purpose of window and chimney. In stormy weather the smoke would be
intolerable, but this inconvenience is easily removed by contracting or
shifting the aperture at top according to the point from which the wind
blows. It is impossible to walk, or even to stand upright, in their
miserable habitations, except directly around the fire place. The men
sit generally with their legs stretched before them, but the women have
theirs folded backwards, inclined a little to the left side, and can
comfortably remain the whole day in those attitudes, when the weather is
too bad for remaining out of doors. In fine weather they are very fond
of basking in the sun.

"When the family is very large, or when several families live together,
the dimensions of their tents are, of course, in proportion and of
different forms. Some of these spacious habitations resemble the roof of
a barn, with small openings at each end for doors, and the whole length
of the ridge is left uncovered at top for the smoke and light." (Grant,
(1), pp. 329-330.) And referring briefly to the ways of life of the
people: "In the spring, when the hunting season is over, they generally
assemble in small villages, either at the trader's establishment, or in
places where fish or wild fowl abound; sturgeon and white fish are most
common, though they have abundance of pike, trout, suckers, and
pickerel. They sometimes have the precaution to preserve some for the
summer consumption, this is done by opening and cleaning the fish, and
then carefully drying it in the smoke or sun, after which it is tied up
very tight in large parcels, wrapped up in bark and kept for use; their
meat, in summer, is cured in the same manner.... Their meat is either
boiled in a kettle, or roasted by means of a sharp stick, fixed in the
ground at a convenient distance from the fire, and on which the meat is
fixed and turned occasionally towards the fire, until the whole is
thoroughly done; their fish is dressed in the same manner." (Op. cit.,
pp. 330-331.)

The method of cooking food, as mentioned in the preceding paragraph, is
graphically illustrated in the old sketch made a century ago, now
reproduced in plate 6, _a_. This shows a family gathered about a small
fire where food is being prepared, and beyond is a bark-covered wigwam.
The sketch bears the legend, "A family from the tribe of the wild
Sautaux Indians on the Red River. Drawn from nature." It indicates the
primitive dress and appearance of the people, and it is of interest to
compare this with the photograph which is reproduced in plate 6, _b_,
showing another small group of the people three-quarters of a century
later. Such were the changes within that period.

Similar to the preceding were the habitations shown by Kane in a sketch
made during the early summer of 1845, the original painting being
reproduced as plate 7, _a_. This was described as an "Indian encampment
amongst the islands of Lake Huron; the wigwams are made of birch-bark,
stripped from the trees in large pieces and sewed together with long
fibrous roots; when the birch tree cannot be conveniently had, they
weave rushes into mats ... for covering, which are stretched round in
the same manner as the bark, upon eight or ten poles tied together at
the top, and stuck in the ground at the required circle of the tent, a
hole being left at the top to permit the smoke to go out. The fire is
made in the centre of the lodge, and the inmates sleep all round with
their feet towards it." (Kane, (1), pp. 6-7.) The interesting painting
could well have been made among the Ojibway camps or settlements of
northern Minnesota instead of representing a group of wigwams located
many miles eastward, but this tends to prove the similarity of the small
villages in the region where large sheets of birch bark were to be


[Illustration: _a._ "A family from the tribe of the wild Sautaux Indians
on the Red River." Drawn from nature, 1821]

[Illustration: _b._ Ojibway wigwam. Leech Lake, Minnesota, 1896]


[Illustration: _a._ "Encampment among the Islands of Lake Huron." Paul
Kane, 1845]

[Illustration: _b._ Ojibway camp on bank of Red River. Photograph by H.
L. Hime, 1858]

Between the loosely placed sheets of bark were necessarily many openings
through which the wind could enter, and in addition was the open space
at the top intentionally left as a vent through which the smoke could
escape from the inside. In describing the appearance of the interior of
such a structure it was told how--

"Around the fire in the centre, and at a distance of perhaps 2 feet from
it, are placed sticks as large as one's arm, in a square form, guarding
the fire; and it is a matter of etiquette not to put one's feet nearer
the fire than that boundary. One or more pots or kettles are hung over
the fire on the crotch of a sapling. In the sides of the wigwam are
stowed all clothing, food, cooking utensils, and other property of the
family." When referring to the great feeling of relief on arriving at
such a shelter in the frozen wilderness the same writer continued:

"When one has been traveling all day through the virgin forest, in a
temperature far below zero, and has not seen a house nor a human being
and knows not where or how he is to pass the night, it is the most
comforting sight in the whole world to see the glowing column of light
from the top of the wigwam of some wandering family out hunting, and to
look in and see that happy group bathed in the light and warmth of the
life-giving fire ... and no one, Ojibway or white, is ever refused
admission; on the contrary, they are made heartily welcome, as long as
there is an inch of space." (Gilfillan, (1), pp. 68-69.) As a missionary
among the Ojibway of northern Minnesota for a quarter of a century, Dr.
Gilfillan learned to know and love the forests and lakes in the changing
seasons of the year and to know the ways of life of the Ojibway as few
have ever known them.

The structures just mentioned were of a circular form, with the ends of
the poles which supported the bark describing a circle on the ground. Of
quite similar construction were the larger oval wigwams, where two
groups of poles were arranged at the ends in the form of semicircles,
with a ridgepole extending between the tops of the two groups. Other
poles rested against the ridgepole and so formed the sloping supports
upon which the strips of bark were placed. One most interesting example
of this form of primitive habitation was visited by the writer during
the month of October, 1899. It formed one of a small group of wigwams
which at that time stood near the Canadian boundary, north of Ely,
Minnesota. It was about 18 feet in length and between 8 and 9 feet in
width. There were two entrances, one at each end, with hanging blankets
to cover the openings. Within, along the median line on the ground,
burned four small fires. Beautiful examples of rush mats, made by the
women, were spread upon the ground near the sloping walls, these serving
as seats during the day and sleeping places at night. Many articles hung
from the poles which sustained the bark covering, as small bags and
baskets, and many bunches of herbs. In one corner was a large covered
_mokak_, and on the opposite side was a carefully wrapped drum, owned by
the old Ojibway, _Ahgishkemunsit_, the Kingfisher, who was sitting on
the ground near by.

Quite similar to the preceding must have been the wigwam visited by Hind
in 1858. This stood a short distance from Manitobah House, of the
Hudson's Bay Company, and belonged to an Ojibway hunter. As Hind wrote:
"His birch-bark tent was roomy and clean. Thirteen persons including
children squatted round the fire in the centre. On the floor some
excellent matting was laid upon spruce boughs for the strangers; the
squaws squatted on the bare ground, the father of the family on an old
buffalo robe. Attached to the poles of the tent were a gun, bows and
arrows, a spear, and some mink skins. Suspended on cross pieces over the
fire were fishing nets and floats, clothes, and a bunch of the bearberry
to mix with tobacco for the manufacture of kinni-kinnik." (Hind, (1),
II, p. 63.) Hind was accompanied on his second journey, in 1858, by a
photographer, Humphrey Lloyd Hime, who made many interesting negatives
while in the Indian country. Among the photographs made at this time are
three views of bark wigwams of the Ojibway which stood near the banks of
Red River. These are now reproduced in plates 7, _b_, and 8 _a_, _b_.


[Illustration: _a._ Ojibway camp west of Red River. Photograph by H. L.
Hime, 1858]

[Illustration: _b._ Ojibway camp on bank of Red River. Photograph by H.
L. Hime, 1858]


[Illustration: _a._ Wigwams covered with elm bark]

[Illustration: _b._ Two types of wigwams covered with birch bark


While in the vicinity of Red River the year before (1857) Hind
encountered several interesting Ojibway structures. At a point not far
north of the Minnesota boundary his party crossed the Roseau a few miles
east of Red River, and there "on the bank at the crossing place the
skeletons of Indian wigwams and sweating-houses were grouped in a
prominent position, just above a fishing weir where the Ojibways of this
region take large quantities of fish in the spring. The framework of a
large medicine wigwam measured twenty-five feet in length by fifteen in
breadth; the sweating-houses were large enough to hold one man in a
sitting position, and differed in no respect from those frequently seen
on the canoe route between Lakes Superior and Winnipeg, and which have
been often described by travelers." (Hind, (1), I, p. 163.) During the
journey, when camping on an island in Bonnet Lake, the party encountered
"an Indian cache elevated on a stage in the centre of the island. The
stage was about seven feet above the ground, and nine feet long by four
broad. It was covered with birch bark, and the treasures it held
consisted of rabbit-skin robes, rolls of birch bark, a ragged blanket,
leather leggings, and other articles of winter apparel, probably the
greater part of the worldly wealth of an Indian family." (Op. cit., p.

The canoe route between the lakes mentioned by Hind was often broken by
dangerous rapids, around which it was necessary to carry the canoes, as
Catlin described the Ojibway party doing at the Falls of St. Anthony.

The ceremonial lodge of the Ojibway, where the M[)i]dé rites were
enacted, was often 100 feet or more in length and about 12 feet in
width. The frame was made of small saplings, bent and fastened by cords,
similar to the frames of wigwams which were to be covered with mats or
sheets of bark, but the coverings of the ceremonial lodges were usually
of a more temporary nature, boughs and branches of the pine and spruce
being sometimes used, which would soon fall away, although the rigid
frame would stand from year to year, to be covered when required.
Somewhat of this form was the "medicine lodge," described by Kane. This
stood in the center of a large camp of the "Saulteaux" or Ojibway, not
far from Fort Alexander, which was about 3 miles above Lake Winnipeg, on
the bank of Winnipeg River. The camp was visited June 11, 1846, and in
referring to the lodge: "It was rather an oblong structure, composed of
poles bent in the form of an arch, and both ends forced into the ground,
so as to form, when completed, a long arched chamber, protected from the
weather by a covering of birch bark.... On my first entrance into the
medicine lodge ... I found four men, who appeared to be chiefs, sitting
upon mats spread upon the ground gesticulating with great violence, and
keeping time to the beating of a drum. Something, apparently of a sacred
nature was covered up in the centre of the group, which I was not
allowed to see.... The interior of their lodge or sanctuary was hung
round with mats constructed with rushes, to which were attached various
offerings consisting principally of bits of red and blue cloth, calico,
&c., strings of beads, scalps of enemies, and sundry other articles
beyond my comprehension." (Kane, (1), pp. 68-71.)

It is quite evident the frame of the large lodge encountered by Hind was
similar to the structure described by Kane a few years before. Both
stood in the northern part of the Ojibway country, a region where birch
bark was extensively used as covering for the wigwams, and where it was
easily obtained.

The temporary, quickly raised shelters of the Ojibway were described by
Tanner, who learned to make them from the people with whom he remained
many years. Referring to a journey up the valley of the Assiniboin, he
wrote: "In bad weather we used to make a little lodge, and cover it with
three or four fresh buffaloe hides, and these being soon frozen, made a
strong shelter from wind and snow. In calm weather, we commonly encamped
with no other covering than our blankets." (Tanner, (1) p. 55.) On
another occasion fire destroyed the wigwam and all the possessions of
the family with whom he lived, and then, so he said: "We commenced to
repair our loss, by building a small grass lodge, in which to shelter
ourselves while we should prepare the pukkwi for a new wigwam. The
women were very industrious in making these.... At night, also, when it
was too dark to hunt, Wa-me-gon-a-biew and myself assisted at this
labour. In a few days our lodge was completed." (Op. cit., p. 85.) And
again when near Rainy Lake, "I had no pukkwi, or mats, for a lodge and
therefore had to build one of poles and long grass." (p. 214.) It is
quite evident the shelters of poles and grass, as mentioned by Tanner,
were similar to those erected by the Assiniboin as described on another
page, and as indicated in the painting by Paul Kane, which is reproduced
as plate 25, _a_.

Two very interesting old photographs, made more than half a century ago,
are shown in plate 9. One, _a_, represents clearly the elm-bark covering
of the wigwams, and in this picture the arbor suggests a Siouan rather
than an Ojibway encampment; _b_ is more characteristic of the Ojibway.

The structures encountered in the Ojibway country farther south differed
from those already mentioned, the majority of which were covered with
sheets of birch bark, a form which must necessarily have been restricted
to the northern country. But the type was widely scattered northward,
and undoubtedly extended eastward to the Atlantic, especially down the
valley of the St. Lawrence into northern Maine and the neighboring
Provinces. South of this zone were the dome-shaped mat or bark covered
wigwams, varying in different localities according to the available
supply of barks, or of rushes to be made into mats, which served to
cover the rigid, oval-topped frame. Most interesting examples were
standing in the Ojibway settlements on the shore of Mille Lac,
Minnesota, during the spring of 1900. One, which may be accepted as a
type specimen, was of a quadrilateral rather than oval outline of base,
and measured about 14 feet each way, with a maximum height of 6 feet or
more. The saplings which formed the frame were seldom more than 2 inches
in diameter, one end being set firmly in the ground, the top being bent
over and attached to similar pieces coming from the opposite side. Other
small saplings or branches were tied firmly to these in a horizontal
position about 2 feet apart, thus forming a rigid frame, over which was
spread the covering of mats and sheets of bark, the latter serving as
the roof. In this particular example the covering was held in place by
cords which passed over the top and were attached to poles which hung
horizontally about a foot above the ground. A second row of mats was
fastened to the inside of the frame and others were spread on the ground
near the walls. A small fire burned within near the center of the open
space, although the cooking was often done outside, just beyond the
single entrance.

Although the Ojibway were numerous, they had few large villages or
settlements. They lived for the most part in small, scattered groups,
and often moved from place to place. However, there were some
long-occupied sites, as at Red Lake, Sandy Lake, on the shores of Leech
Lake, where the Pillagers gathered, and the more recently occupied
villages at Mille Lac, sites once covered by the settlements of the
Mdewakanton. These villages, which should more properly be termed
"gathering places," at once suggest the various descriptions and
accounts of the great village of the Illinois, which stood on the banks
of the upper Illinois during the latter part of the seventeenth century
and was many times visited by the French.

When the Ojibway and Sioux gathered at Fort Snelling, at the mouth of
the Minnesota River, during the summer of 1835 in the endeavor to
establish peace between the two tribes or groups, they were encamped on
opposite sides of the fort. Catlin, who was there at the time, wrote of
the temporary camp of the Ojibway: "their wigwams made of birch bark,
covering the frame work, which was of slight poles stuck in the ground,
and bent over at the top, so as to give a rooflike shape to the lodge,
best calculated to ward off rain and winds." (Catlin, (1), II, p. 137.)
Unfortunately, the original painting of the camp does not exist in the
great collection of Catlin paintings now belonging to the National
Museum, Washington. In the catalogue of the collection printed in
London, 1848, it appears as "334, Chippeway Village and Dog Feast at the
Falls of St. Anthony; lodges built with birch-bark; Upper Mississippi."

An outline drawing of the picture was given as plate 238 to illustrate
the account quoted above, but how accurate either description or sketch
may be is now quite difficult to determine. However, it is doubtful if
the structures had flat ends, as indicated, and mats may have formed
part of the covering. Catlin continued his narrative and told of the
removal of the camp (p. 138): "After the business and amusements of this
great Treaty between the Chippeways and Sioux were all over, the
Chippeways struck their tents by taking them down and rolling up their
bark coverings, which, with their bark canoes seen in the picture,
turned up amongst their wigwams, were carried to the water's edge; and
all things being packed in, men, women, dogs, and all, were swiftly
propelled by paddles to the Falls of St Anthony." They reached "an eddy
below the Falls, and as near as they could get by paddling." Here the
canoes were unloaded and the canoes and all else carried about one-half
mile above the Falls, where they again embarked and continued on their
way. It is interesting to contemplate this scene and to realize it was
enacted within the limits of the present city of Minneapolis so short a
time ago. A beautiful example of the light birch-bark canoe of the
Ojibway is shown in plate 10, _a_, and a photograph of two old Ojibway
Indians with similar canoes is reproduced in plate 10, _b_. The canoes
indicated by Kane in his painting (pl. 7, _a_) were of this form,
probably the most graceful and easiest propelled craft ever devised.


[Illustration: _a._ Ojibway birch bark canoe. Northern Minnesota, 1899]

[Illustration: _b._ Ojibway Indians with birch bark canoes. North of
Ely, Minn., 1899]


[Illustration: _a._ Trader's store at the village of the Pillagers, Cass
Lake in the distance on the right. November 26, 1899]

[Illustration: _b._ Outside an elm-bark structure. At the Ojibway
village of Sagawamick, on south shore of Mille Lac, Minnesota. May 21,


[Illustration: _a._ Hammer, bag, and two skin-dressing tools]

[Illustration: _b._ Section of a rush mat, as used to form covering for
a wigwam



[Illustration: _a._ Ojibway mortar and pestle]

[Illustration: _b._ Delaware mortar and pestle]

[Illustration: _c._ Ojibway birch bark dish]

The various structures in an Ojibway village do not appear to have been
erected or placed with any degree of order. Certainly this is true of
conditions in recent times, and whether any accepted or recognized plan
was followed in the past is not known. The small wigwams formed an
irregular group on the shore of a lake or the bank of a stream
surrounded by the primeval forest.

In the month of May, 1900, a council house which had been erected by the
Ojibway some years before stood on a high point of land in the midst of
dense woods, about 1 mile north of the outlet of Mille Lac--the
beginning of Rum River--and about 200 yards from the lake shore. It was
oriented with its sides facing the cardinal points, about 20 feet
square, with walls 6 feet in height and the peak of the roof twice that
distance above the ground. The heavy frame was covered with large sheets
of elm bark, which had evidently been renewed from time to time during
the preceding years. No traces of seats remained and grass was again
growing on the ground which had served as the floor. This was the scene
of the treaty of October 5, 1889, between the Ojibway of Mille Lac and
the United States Government. Within a short time this very interesting
primitive structure had disappeared and two years later no trace of it
remained. Whether this represented an ancient type of building could not
be ascertained.

The Ojibway villages were supplied with the usual sweat houses, a small
frame covered with blankets or other material, so often described.
Resembling these were the shelters prepared for the use of certain old
men who were believed to possess the power of telling of future events
and happenings. Such a lodge was seen standing on the shore of Lake
Superior, about 18 miles from Fond du Lac, July 27, 1826. As described
by McKenney: "At this place, Burnt river is a place of divination, the
seat of a _jongleur's_ incantations. It is a circle, made of eight
poles, twelve feet high, and crossing at the top, which being covered in
with mats, or bark, he enters, and foretells future events." (McKenney,
(1), p. 269.) Interesting, indeed, are the many accounts of the
predictions believed to have been made by these old men.

A remarkable performance of this nature was witnessed by Paul Kane. When
returning from the far West during the summer of 1848 the small party of
which he was one arrived at Lake Winnipeg and on July 28 had advanced
about midway down the eastern shore. On that day Kane made this entry in
his journal: "_July 28th._--About 2 o'clock P.M., we endeavoured to
proceed, but got only as far as the Dog's Head, the wind being so strong
and unfavourable, that it was thought useless to run any risk for
the short distance we would be able to make against it. In the evening
our Indians constructed a jonglerie, or medicine lodge, the main object
of which was to procure a fair wind for next day. For this purpose they
first drive ten or twelve poles, nine or ten feet long, into the ground,
enclosing a circular area of about three feet in diameter, with a boat
sail open at the top. The medicine-man, one of which is generally found
in every brigade, gets inside and commences shaking the poles violently,
rattling his medicinal rattle, and singing hoarse incantations to the
Great Spirit for a fair wind. Being unable to sleep on account of the
discordant noises, I wrapped a blanket round me, and went out into the
woods, where they were holding their midnight orgies, and lay down
amongst those on the outside of the medicine lodge, to witness the
proceedings. I had no sooner done so than the incantations at once
ceased, and the performer exclaimed that a white man was present. How he
ascertained this fact I am at a loss to surmise ... The Major,
[M'Kenzie] ... with many other intelligent persons, is a firm believer
in their medicine." (Kane, (1), pp. 439-441.)

In addition to the several forms of structures erected by the Ojibway,
as already described, they reared the elm-bark lodge which resembled in
form the log cabin of the early settlers. Three of these were standing
on the south shore of Mille Lac, Minnesota, during the spring of 1900,
and the outside of one, showing the manner in which the bark covering
was placed, is indicated in plate 11, _b_. This was similar in shape to
the Sauk and Fox habitation reproduced in plate 19, although the Ojibway
structure was more skillfully constructed. Habitations of a like nature
were found among the Sioux villages on the banks of the Mississippi in
the vicinity of Fort Snelling, and others were erected within a
generation by the Menomini in northern Wisconsin, but whether this may
be considered a primitive form of structure has not been determined.

A trader's store standing near the Ojibway village on the shore of Cass
Lake, Minnesota, during the late autumn of 1899 is shown in plate 11,
_a_. Similar cabins were occupied by some of the Indian families, these
having taken the place of the native wigwams.

Various objects of primitive forms, made and used by the Ojibway within
a generation, are shown in plates 12 and 13.


The Cree (the Knisteneaux of Mackenzie) were closely related to the
Ojibway; they spoke the same language, and had many customs in common.
As Hayden wrote: "The Cree nation was originally a portion of the
Chippewa, as the similarity of language proves; and even now they are
so mingled with the latter people as with difficulty to be considered a
distinct tribe, further than a slight difference in language and their
local position." (Hayden, (1), p. 235.) Formerly they occupied the
forest region to the eastward of the country which they later claimed.
There they were probably accustomed to the mat or bark covered
structures, similar to those of the neighboring Ojibway, but in more
recent times, after having been attracted to the prairies by the
buffalo, they followed the customs of the prairie tribes and for the
most part made and used the typical conical skin-covered lodge.

After reaching the open country, and becoming more accustomed to the
life of roving hunters, they were necessarily less sedentary in their
habits than formerly, and their camps probably seldom remained long in
any one place. They became scattered over a wide region, and in 1856 it
was said: "They number about ten or eleven hundred persons. Like most of
the tribes in the Northwest Territory, they are separated into clans or
bands, and live in different districts for greater advantages in
hunting." Here is given a list of the several bands, with the number of
skin lodges claimed by each group, but the "Pis-ka-kau-a-kis, or
'Magpies,' are about thirty lodges; are stationed at Tinder Mountain;
live in dirt lodges and log-cabins; cultivate the soil to some extent,
and raise considerable quantities of corn and potatoes; hunt buffalo
during the winter, and trade also with the Hudson's Bay Company."
(Hayden, (1), p. 237.) The same writer continues (p. 238): "Besides the
foregoing there are about two hundred lodges more who are not formed
into bands, but scattered along Lac de L'Isle Croix, and live by hunting
reindeer, moose, fish, and wild fowl. They live in skin tents in the
summer, but sometimes build log and bark huts in winter, and seldom more
than one cabin is found in the same place. These are the poorest of the

Thus it will be understood how scattered bands of the same tribe often
reared and occupied several forms of habitations, influenced by their
natural surroundings and requirements. And here are references to the
use of the bark-covered lodge, the skin-covered lodge of probably a
different shape, the structure covered with earth or sod, and, lastly,
the log cabin, by widely dispersed bands of the Cree.

A simple form of temporary shelter was constructed by the Cree and
Ojibway to serve during certain ceremonies. This was described about a
century ago when recounting the customs of the "Sauteaux and the Crees."
It was told that in public feasts "Several chiefs unite in preparing a
suitable place, and in collecting sufficient provisions, for the
accommodation of a numerous assemblage. To provide a place, poles are
fixed obliquely into the ground, enclosing a sufficient space to hold
several hundred, and at times, nearly a thousand people. On these
poles, skins are laid, at the height of twelve or fifteen feet, thus
forming a spacious court, or tent. The provisions consist both of dried
and of fresh meat, as it would not be practicable to prepare a
sufficient quantity of fresh meat, for such a multitude, which, however,
consists only of men. At these feasts, the guests converse only on
elevated topics, such as the public interests of the tribe, and the
noble exploits of their progenitors, that they may infuse a publick and
an heroic spirit, into their young men. Dancing always forms the
concluding ceremony, at these festivals; and the women, who are not
permitted to enter the place where they are celebrated, dance and sing
around them, often keeping time with the music within." (Harmon, (1), p.
362.) It is to be regretted that these early accounts are often so
lacking in detail, and that so much is left to imagination. In this
instance the form of the large structure was not mentioned, but it was
probably extended, resembling to some degree the M[)i]dé lodge of the
Ojibway. Among the latter the large ceremonial lodge was covered with
mats, sheets of bark, or sometimes with skins or boughs of pine or
spruce. Like customs may have prevailed among the Cree.

Proving the wandering, roving disposition of the Cree, and the
consequent lack of permanent villages, Maximilian wrote from Fort Union,
at the mouth of the Yellowstone, during the latter part of June, 1833:
"The Crees live in the same territory as the Assiniboins, that is,
between the Saskatschawan, the Assiniboin, and the Missouri. They ramble
about in small bands with the others, are poor, have many dogs, which
carry their baggage, but only a few horses. They live, like the
Assiniboins, in leather tents, follow the herds of buffaloes, of which
they sometimes kill great numbers in their parks. The Crees are reckoned
at 600 or 800 tents." (Maximilian, (1), pp. 199-200.)

The dog travois, such as was used by the Cree and mentioned in the
preceding account, was of very ancient origin, having been seen and
described by the first Spanish explorers to traverse the prairie lands
of the Southwest. In _Relacion Postrera de Sivola_, prepared in the year
1541, appears this interesting note:

"These people have dogs like those in this country, except that they are
somewhat larger, and they load these dogs like beasts of burden, and
make saddles for them like our pack saddles, and they fasten them with
their leather thongs, and these make their backs sore on the withers
like pack animals. When they go hunting, they load these with their
necessities, and when they move--for these Indians are not settled in
one place, since they travel wherever the cows [buffalo] move, to
support themselves--these dogs carry their houses, and they have the
sticks of their houses dragging along tied on to the pack-saddles,
besides the load which they carry on top, and the load may be, according
to the dog, from 35 to 50 pounds." (Winship, (1), pp. 510-571.) This
description could easily refer to conditions and customs among the
tribes three centuries and more later.

A very graphic sketch of a dog travois was made at Fort Union, October
10, 1851, by the Swiss artist, Friedrich Kurz, and is now reproduced in
plate 26, _b_, showing the method of attaching the poles, and how the
load was rolled and placed upon the latter. The use of the horse for a
similar purpose in later years followed as a natural sequence.

Among the many paintings by Paul Kane, now preserved in the Royal
Ontario Museum of Archæology, at Toronto, is one bearing the legend:
"Cree Indians Travelling." It represents a small party of Indians, some
walking, others mounted on horses, with several horse and dog travois.
The latter show long poles attached to the sides of the dogs, one end of
the poles dragging on the ground, while about midway of their length is
a small pack upon which a child is seated. The broken, rolling land of
the north is represented with a few clumps of small trees. The picture
is one of much beauty and interest, depicting as it does some of the
primitive customs of the Cree.

During the summer of 1858 the Hind expedition into the region far west
of the Red River encountered many small groups of Cree hunters and also
observed the ancient camp sites of the same tribe. They wrote in part:
"Immediately on the banks of the Qu'appelle Valley near the 'Round Hill'
opposite Moose Jaws Forks, are the remains of ancient encampments, where
the Plain Crees, in the day of their power and pride, had erected large
skin tents, and strengthened them with rings of stones placed round the
base. These circular remains were twenty-five feet in diameter, the
stones or boulders being about one foot in circumference. They wore the
aspect of great antiquity, being partially covered with soil and grass.
When this camp ground was occupied by the Crees, timber no doubt grew in
the valley below, or on the prairie and ravines in detached groves, for
their permanent camping grounds are always placed near a supply of fuel.

"Making an early start in search of wood, we came suddenly upon four
Cree tents, whose inmates were still fast asleep; about three hundred
yards west of them we found ten more tents, with over fifty or sixty
Indians in all. They were preparing to cross the valley in the direction
of the Grand Coteau, following the buffalo. Their provisions for trade,
such as dried meat and pemmican, were drawn by dogs, each bag of
pemmican being supported upon two long poles, which are shaft, body, and
wheels in one. Buffalo Pound Hill Lake, sixteen miles long, begins near
Moose Jaws Forks, and on the opposite or south side of this long sheet
of water, we saw eighteen tents and a large number of horses. The women
in those we visited on our side of the valley and lake, had collected a
great quantity of the mesaskatomina berry which they were drying." And
not far beyond we "began to find the fresh bones of buffalo very
numerous on the ground, and here and there startled a pack of wolves
feeding on a carcas which had been deprived of its tongue and hump only
by the careless, thriftless Crees. On the high banks of the valley the
remains of ancient encampments in the form of rings of stones to hold
down the skin tents are everywhere visible, and testify to the former
numbers of the Plain Crees.... The largest ancient encampment we saw
lies near a shallow lake in the prairie about a mile from the Qu'appelle
valley. It is surrounded by a few low sandy and gravelly hills, and is
quite screened from observation. It may have been a camping ground for
centuries, as some circles of stones are partially covered with grass
and embedded in the soil." (Hind, (1), I, pp. 338-341.)

This is a simple explanation of the origin of small circles of stones
now encountered in different parts of the country, but in other
localities, where stones were not obtainable, masses of sod were used
for the same purpose, and these in turn may have caused the small earth
circles which are now discovered in the lower Mississippi Valley and


As has been remarked by the most observant student of this tribe:
"Information as to the region occupied by the Cheyenne in early days is
limited and for the most part traditional. Some ethnologists declare
that Indian tradition has no historical value, but other students of
Indians decline to assent to this dictum. If it is to be accepted, we
can know little of the Cheyenne until they are found as nomads following
the buffalo over the plains. There is, however, a mass of traditionary
data which points back to conditions at a much earlier date quite
different from these. In primitive times they occupied permanent earth
lodges and raised crops of corn, beans, and squashes, on which they
largely depended for subsistence." (Grinnell, (1), p. 359.)

According to tradition, which in part is verified by the accounts of
early explorations, the Cheyenne at one time lived in the valley of the
Minnesota, whence they gradually moved westward. Thus at least a part of
the tribe removed from the edge of the timbered region to the plains, a
movement which probably took place during the latter part of the
eighteenth century.

While living in the vicinity of the Minnesota the villages and camps of
the Cheyenne undoubtedly resembled those of the Sioux of later days; the
conical skin-covered lodge, or possibly the mat or bark structure of the
timber people, as used by the Ojibway and others. But during the same
period it is evident other bands of the tribe lived quite a distance
westward, probably on the banks of the Missouri, and there the
habitations were the permanent earth lodge, similar to those of the
Pawnee, Mandan, and other Missouri Valley tribes. Sioux traditions refer
to Cheyenne villages on the banks of the Missouri near Fort Yates, Sioux
County, North Dakota. These were visited and described by Dr. Grinnell,
during the spring of 1918, who wrote: "The Teton Sioux, now allotted and
scattered over the Standing Rock Indian reservation, declare that on the
west bank of the Missouri river, not far from Fort Yates, there were
formerly two Cheyenne villages.... I visited the two sites. The most
northerly one is situated on a bluff above the Missouri river on the
south side of Porcupine creek, less than five miles north of Ft. Yates.
The village has been partly destroyed by the Missouri river, which has
undermined the bank and carried away some of the house rings reported to
have been well preserved, but a number remain. Of these a few are still
seen as the raised borders of considerable earth lodges, the rings about
the central hollow being from twelve to fifteen inches above the
surrounding soil, and the hollows noticeably deep. In most cases,
however, the situation of the house is indicated merely by a slight
hollow and especially by the peculiar character of the grass growing on
the house site. The eye recognizes the different vegetation, and as soon
as the foot is set on the soil within a house site, the difference is
felt between that and the ground immediately without the site. The
houses nearest both Porcupine creek and the Missouri river stand on the
bank immediately above the water, and it is possible that some of those
on the Porcupine have been undermined and carried away by that stream
when in flood. This settlement must have been large. It stands on a
flat, now bisected by a railroad embankment, slightly sloping toward the
river, and the houses stood close together." More than 70 large house
sites were counted, "one at least being 60 feet in diameter," and in
addition to these were a large number of smaller ones. "On the gently
rising land to the west of the Porcupine village the Cheyenne are said
to have planted their corn, as also on the flats on the north side of
the Porcupine river. The village site now stands on the farm of Yellow
Lodge, a Yankton Sioux, who stated that he had always been told by the
old people that this was a Cheyenne village and that in plowing he had
often turned up pottery from the ground." And in reference to the age of
this interesting site: "Sioux tradition declares that the village on
the Porcupine river was established about 1733 or a little earlier,
perhaps 1730; they fix the date as about one hundred years before the
stars fell, 1833. It was a large village and was occupied for fifty
years or more and then the people abandoned it and moved over to a point
on Grand river twenty miles above its mouth. The date of the removal is
given as about the time of a great flood at this point, which, it is
said, took place about 1784." (Grinnell, Op. cit.) This later village
existed until about 1840 and appears to have been composed of skin
lodges, not the permanent earth structures. Sioux tradition also places
the earlier home of the people who erected the village on the Porcupine
at some point in the Valley of the Minnesota.

The second of the two sites mentioned stood some 2 miles below Porcupine
Creek, and it is the belief of Dr. Grinnell that these were the villages
to which Lewis and Clark referred in their journals as having been
passed by the expedition on the 15th and 16th of October, 1804. At that
time game was abundant and several hunting parties of the Arikara were
encountered, and an entry in the journal dated October 15, 1804, reads:
"We stopped at three miles on the north a little above a camp of Ricaras
who are hunting, where we were visited by about thirty Indians. They
came over in their skin canoes, bringing us meat, for which we returned
them beads and fishhooks. About a mile higher we found another
encampment of Ricaras on the south, consisting of eight lodges: here we
again ate and exchanged a few presents. As we went we discerned numbers
of other Indians on both sides of the river; and at about nine miles we
came to a creek on the south, where we saw many high hills resembling a
house with a slanting roof; and a little below the creek an old village
of the Sharha or Cheyenne Indians.... At sunset we halted, after coming
ten miles over several sandbars and points, above a camp of ten Ricara
lodges on the north side." (Lewis and Clark, (1), pp. 108-109.) Such was
the nature of the country a little more than a century ago.

Another ancient village site presenting many interesting features stands
on the bank of an old bed of the Sheyenne River, near Lisbon, Ransom
County, N. Dak. This would have been about midway between the Minnesota
River and the village on the Missouri near Porcupine Creek. A plan of
this village made a few years ago is now preserved in the Historical
Society of North Dakota and was reproduced by Dr. Grinnell in the
article cited. It shows a large number--70 or more--earth-lodge sites,
varying in size, but closely grouped, and protected by a ditch except on
the river side. There is a remarkable similarity between this site and
others east of the Mississippi, where structures of a like form
evidently stood in the centuries before the coming of Europeans. The
ditch may have been accompanied by an embankment, in turn surmounted by
palisades. The river served to protect the settlement on the north, the
encircling embankment and ditch reaching the bank of the stream both
above and below the occupied area.

Unfortunately no sketch or picture of any sort of a Cheyenne earth lodge
is known to exist, but the villages just mentioned must necessarily have
resembled in appearance those of the Pawnee of a later generation,
remarkable photographs of which have been preserved and which are shown
in the present work. And as Dr. Grinnell has said in a recent
communication (February 2, 1920) when referring to the places long ago
occupied by the camps of the Cheyenne: "I have walked about on the sites
of these old villages, and the grandmother of a woman of my
acquaintance, and probably the father of that woman, lived in
earth-lodge houses, presumably very similar to those occupied in my time
by the Pawnees and the Mandans. I have never seen one, however, and do
not know anyone who has seen one. Many years ago, I might have procured
from old Elk River a description of such houses, though he was even then
very old and growing feeble. It is too late to lament that now."

The conical skin lodge of the Cheyenne resembled that of other plains
tribes, and they must in earlier times, when buffalo were so numerous
and easily secured, have been rather large and commodious structures.
When Lewis and Clark descended the Missouri, on their return from the
far west, they reached on August 21, 1806, an encampment of the Cheyenne
on the bank of the Missouri, opposite the upper village of the Arikara,
not far below the old Cheyenne village mentioned in the journal of the
expedition on October 15, 1804. To quote from the entry made August 21,
1806: "... arrived opposite to the upper Ricara villages. We saluted
them with the discharge of four guns, which they answered in the same
manner; and on our landing we were met by the greater part of the
inhabitants of each village, and also by a band of Chayennes, who were
encamped on a hill in the neighbourhood...." After conversing with all
concerning the Mandans, "The sun being now very hot, the chief of the
Chayennes invited us to his lodge, which was at no great distance from
the river. We followed him, and found a very large lodge, made of twenty
buffaloe skins, surrounded by eighteen or twenty lodges, nearly equal in
size. The rest of the nation are expected to-morrow, and will make the
number of one hundred and thirty or fifty lodges, containing from three
hundred and fifty to four hundred men, at which the men of the nation
may be computed. These Chayennes are a fine looking people, of a large
stature, straight limbs, high cheek-bones and noses, and of a complexion
similar to that of the Ricaras." (Lewis and Clark, (1), II, pp.





Karl Bodmer, 1833]

The photograph reproduced in plate 14 shows a Cheyenne family group, an
interesting example of a travois, and part of a lodge. The latter
differs from all described on the preceding pages and evidently
resembles those erected by the Pawnee in their temporary camps. This
form may have been used in later times in the place of the conical skin
lodge, although the latter was not abandoned, but, as among other
tribes, the Cheyenne appear to have erected several types of shelters or
habitations, governed by the available supply of materials necessary for
their construction.

Large lodges, evidently tipis, set up for special purposes by the
Cheyenne, are mentioned by Grinnell. In the spring of 1853 the main
village of that tribe, so he wrote, stood "at the mouth of Beaver Creek
on the South Platte. There a large lodge was set up as a meeting-place
for each of the soldier bands. To each such place came the relations of
those killed the year before to implore the soldier bands to take pity
on them and to help to revenge their injuries." And at this time many
presents were given the warriors. (Grinnell, (2), p. 80.)

This was before many of the primitive customs of the tribe had been
changed through contact with the whites.


The tribes forming this group are the Siksika, or Blackfeet proper, the
Piegan, and the Kainah, or Bloods. Closely allied and associated with
these were the Atsina, a branch of the Arapaho, but who later became
incorporated with the Assiniboin. These tribes roamed over a wide
territory of mountains, plains, and valleys.

Early accounts of the manners and ways of life of the Blackfeet are to
be found in the journals kept by traders belonging to the Hudson's Bay
Company, who penetrated the vast, unknown wilderness southwestward from
York Factory during the eighteenth century. Although the records are all
too brief and leave much to be desired, nevertheless they are of the
greatest interest, referring as they do to the people while yet in a
primitive state, with no knowledge of the customs of Europeans.

The first of the journals to be mentioned is that of Anthony Hendry, who
left York Factory June 26, 1754. He ascended Hayes River many miles,
thence, after crossing numerous lakes and streams and traversing forests
and plains, arrived on Monday, October 14, 1754, at a point not far
northeastward from the present city of Calgary, Alberta. This was in the
country of the Blackfeet, mentioned in the journal as the Archithinue
Natives. That same day, so the narrative continues: "Came to 200 tents
of Archithinue Natives, pitched in two rows, and an opening in the
middle; where we were conducted to the Leader's tent; which was at one
end, large enough to contain fifty persons; where he received us seated
on a clear [white] Buffalo skin, attended by 20 elderly men. He made
signs for me to sit down on his right hand: which I did. Our Leader set
on several grand-pipes, and smoked all round, according to their usual
custom: not a word was yet spoke on either side. Smoking being over,
Buffalo flesh boiled was served round in baskets of a species of bent,
and I was presented with 10 Buffalo tongues." The following day he again
visited the lodge of the chief, where he received as a gift "a handsome
Bow & Arrows," and the journal continues: "I departed and took a view of
the camp. Their tents were pitched close to one another in two regular
lines, which formed a broad street open at both ends. Their horses are
turned out to grass, their legs being fettered: and when wanted, are
fastened to lines cut of Buffalo skin, that stretches along & is
fastened to stakes drove in the ground. They have hair halters, Buffalo
skin pads, & stirrups of the same."

Although Hendry mentioned the encampment to consist of 200 lodges it is
quite evident others were in the vicinity, or came soon after his
arrival, for three days later, on October 17, he noted in his journal
"322 tents of Archithinue Natives unpitched and moved Westward."
(Hendry, (1), pp. 337-340.) They did not have permanent villages, and
"never wanted food, as they followed the Buffalo & killed them with the
Bows and Arrows. They were unacquainted with the canoe, would not eat
fish, and their garments were finely painted with red paint." Such were
the Blackfeet about the middle of the eighteenth century.

On June 27, 1772, Matthew Cocking, second factor at York Factory,
started on a journey quite similar to that performed by Hendry just
eighteen years earlier. He ascended Hayes River, passed north of Lake
Winnipeg, and continued in a southwestwardly direction to some point not
far north of the South Saskatchewan River in the extreme western part of
the present Province of Saskatchewan. When near this position on
December 1, 1772, they encamped not far from a "Beast pound," which had
probably stood from year to year. That day, so he entered in his
journal, "our Archithinue friends came to us and pitched a small
distance from us; on one side the pound 21 tents of them, the other
seven are pitched another way." And the following day, "the Archithinue
Natives repairing the pound, the repair we gave it on our arrival not
being sufficient." Two days later "the Archithinue Natives drove into
the pound 3 male & one female Buffalo, & brought several considerable
droves very near. They set off in the Evening; & drive the Cattle all
night. Indeed not only at this Game, but in all their actions they far
excell the other Natives. They are all well mounted.... Their Weapons,
Bows & Arrows. Several have on Jackets of Moose leather six fold,
quilted, & without sleeves." Cocking evidently visited many of the
tents, and on December 5 wrote: "Our Archithinue Friends are very
Hospitable, continually inviting us to partake of their best fare;
generally berries infused in water with fat, very agreeable eating.
Their manner of showing respect to strangers is, in holding the pipe
while they smoke: this is done three times. Afterwards every person
smokes in common; the Women excepted.... The tobacco they use is of
their own planting.... These people are much more cleanly in their
cloathing, & food, than my companions: Their Victuals are dressed in
earthen pots, of their own Manufacturing; much in the same form as
Newcastle pots, but without feet: their fire tackling a black stone used
as flint, & a kind of Ore as a steel, using tuss balls as tinder, (i.
e.) a kind of moss." December 6, 1772: "No success in pounding: the
Strangers say the season is past." On December 21 "we were joined by ten
tents of Asinepoet Indians," and the following day "by five tents of
Nehetheway Indians." The former were Assiniboin and the latter Cree.
(Cocking, (1), pp. 110-112.)

One of the reasons which inspired Cocking to undertake the long journey
into the wilderness was the desire to win the Blackfeet away from the
French interests, and to persuade them to carry their furs to the posts
of the Hudson's Bay Company. Soon the English were successful in their
endeavors, and for several generations secured the furs and robes
collected by the people of the ever-shifting camps, who followed the
buffalo as the vast herds moved from place to place with the changing
seasons of the year. Later, traders from another people penetrated the
country to the upper waters of the Missouri, and certain of the
Blackfeet began trading at the posts erected by these newcomers. The
various tribes wandered over a wide region, and 60 years ago it was

"The Blood Indians range through the district along Maria, Teton, and
Belly Rivers, inclining west and northwest far into the interior. In
this section, wood is more abundant, pasturage excellent, and,
consequently, buffalo almost always abound there. The Blackfeet inhabit
a portion of country farther north than the Bloods, extending to the
banks of the Saskatchewan, along which they often reside. They have
never altogether abandoned their English friends, and more frequently
dispose of their furs to them than to the American traders on the head
branches of the Missouri. The Piegans roam through the Rocky Mountains
on the south side of Maria River, on both banks of the Missouri.... They
also hunt as far down the Missouri as the Mussel-shell River, and up
that stream to the borders of the Crow country. The three divisions ...
constitute the Blackfoot nation proper, whose name has become notorious
for their fierce and deadly struggles with all the neighboring tribes,
and in former times struck terror to all white men who travelled in any
district from the Saskatchewan to the Yellowstone, and from the
Yellowstone to the Columbia.... These bands all live in skin tents, like
the rest of the prairie tribes, follow the chase for a subsistence, and
in former years were famous for their war excursions against neighboring
tribes." (Hayden, (1), pp. 249-250.)

The region mentioned would have included the central portion of the
present State of Montana and northward. Marias River flows into the
Missouri just below Fort Benton.

Maximilian, who visited the Blackfeet during the summer of 1833, has
left a very concise and interesting account of the appearance of their

"The leather tents of the Blackfeet, their internal arrangement, and the
manner of loading their dogs and horses, agree, in every respect, with
those of the Sioux and Assiniboins, and all the wandering tribes of
hunters of the upper Missouri. The tents, made of tanned buffalo skin,
last only for one year; they are, at first, neat and white, afterwards
brownish, and at the top, where the smoke issues, black, and, at last,
transparent, like parchment, and very light inside. Painted tents,
adorned with figures, are very seldom seen, and only a few chiefs
possess them. When these tents are taken down, they leave a circle of
sods, exactly as in the dwellings of the Esquimaux. They are often
surrounded by fifteen or twenty dogs, which serve, not for food, but
only for drawing and carrying their baggage. Some Blackfeet, who have
visited the Sioux, have imitated them in eating dogs, but this is rare.
Near the tents they keep their dog sledges, with which they form conical
piles resembling the tents themselves, but differing from them in not
being covered with leather. On these they hang their shields, travelling
bags, saddles and bridles; and at some height, out of the reach of the
hungry dogs, they hang the meat, which is cut into long strips, their
skins, &c. The medicine bag or bundle, the conjuring apparatus, is often
hung and fastened to a separate pole, or over the door of the tent.
Their household goods consist of buffalo robes and blankets, many kinds
of painted parchment bags, some of them in a semicircular form, with
leather strings and fringes; wooden dishes, large spoons made of the
horn of the mountain sheep, which are very wide and deep.... In the
center of the tent there is a small fire in a circle composed of stones,
over which the kettle for cooking is suspended." (Maximilian, (1), pp.

A painting of a Piegan camp was made at that time by Bodmer, who
accompanied Maximilian, and served as an illustration in the latter's
work. It is here reproduced as plate 15. It shows clearly the many skin
lodges forming the encampment, the numerous dogs and horses, with some
of the Indians wrapped in highly decorated buffalo robes. Some of the
lodges are decorated, but the great majority are plain, thus conforming
with the description.

Maximilian again wrote while at Fort McKenzie, in August, 1833:

"Having made our arrangements on the first day of our arrival, and
viewed the Indian camp, with its many dogs, and old dirty leather tents,
we were invited, on the following day, together with Mr Mitchell, to a
feast, given by the Blackfoot chief, Mehkskehme-Sukahs (the iron shirt).
We proceeded to a large circle in the middle of the camp, enclosed with
a kind of fence of boughs of trees, which contained part of the tents,
and was designed to confine the horses during the night, for the Indians
are so addicted to horse stealing that they do not trust each other. The
hut of the chief was spacious; we had never before seen so handsome a
one; it was full fifteen paces in diameter, and was very clean and
tastefully decorated. We took our seats, without ceremony, on buffalo
skins, spread out on the left hand of the chief, round the fire, in the
centre of the tent, which was enclosed in a circle of stones, and a dead
silence prevailed. Our host was a tall, robust man, who at this time had
no other clothes than his breechcloth; neither women nor children were
visible. A tin dish was set before us, which contained dry grated meat,
mixed with sweet berries, which we ate with our fingers, and found very
palatable. After we had finished, the chief ate what was left in the
dish, and took out of a bag a chief's scarlet uniform, with blue facings
and yellow lace, which he had received from the English, six red and
black plumes of feathers, a dagger with its sheath, a coloured
pocket-handkerchief, and two beaver skins, all of which he laid before
Mr Mitchell as a present, who was obliged to accept these things whether
he liked or not, thereby laying himself under the obligation of making
presents in return, and especially a new uniform. When the chief began
to fill his pipe, made of green talc, we rose and retired (quite in
Indian fashion) in silence, and without making any salutations." (Op.
cit., pp. 261-262.)

As Maximilian had already visited and seen many skin lodges as he
ascended the Missouri, his remarks concerning this one which belonged to
the Blackfeet chief are most interesting. It was between 40 and 50 feet
in diameter, very clean and well decorated, probably a remarkable

The circles of earth which indicated the former positions of lodges were
noticed by Maximilian, and he again mentioned them while at Fort Union,
at the mouth of the Yellowstone, October 16, 1833. He said (p. 305):
"The little prairie fox was so hungry, and, therefore so tame, that it
often visited the environs of the fort, and we found these pretty little
animals among the circles of turf which were left on the removal of the
Indian tents."

Another visit to the Piegan, in the same region, was made just 20 years
later, during the month of September, 1853. J. M. Stanley, who
accompanied Gov. Stevens as the artist of the expedition, left camp on
the banks of Marias River and three days later, September 14, 1853,
reached the divide between Milk and Bow Rivers: "From this divide I had
a view of the Bull's Head, forming the base of Cypress mountain.... At 1
o'clock I descended to a deep valley, in which flows an affluent of
Beaver river. Here was the Piegan camp, of ninety lodges, under their
chief Low Horn, one hundred and sixty-three miles north, 20° west, of
Fort Benton.

"Little Dog conducted me, with my party, to his lodge, and immediately
the chief and braves collected in the 'council Lodge,' to receive my
message...." This was conducted with customary formality, and the next
day, September 15, "At an early hour a town crier announced the
intention of the chief to move camp. The horses were immediately brought
in and secured around their respective lodges, and in less than one hour
the whole encampment was drawn out in two parallel lines on the plains,
forming one of the most picturesque scenes I have ever witnessed.

"Preparation for their transportation is made in the following manner:
The poles of the lodges, which are from twenty to thirty-five feet in
length, are divided, the small ends being lashed together and secured to
the shoulders of the horse, allowing the butt-ends to drag upon the
ground on either side; just behind the horse are secured to
cross-pieces, to keep the poles in their respective places, and upon
which are placed the lodge and domestic furniture. This also serves for
the safe transportation of the children and infirm unable to ride on
horseback--the lodge being folded so as to allow two or more to ride
securely. The horses dragging this burden--often of three hundred pounds
are also ridden by the squaws, with a child astride behind, and one in
her arms, embracing a favorite young pup.

"Their dogs (of which they have a large number) are also used in
transporting their effects in the same manner as the horses, making,
with ease, twenty miles a day, dragging forty pounds. In this way this
heterogeneous caravan, comprising of a thousand souls, fell into line
and trotted quietly until night, while the chiefs and braves rode in
front, flank, or rear, ever ready for the chase or defence against a
foe.... Like other tribes in this region, the Piegans retain all their
primitive customs, adhering with faithful pertinacity to the ceremonies
of their forefathers." (Stanley, (1), pp. 448-449.) At that time the
Piegan were estimated to have had 430 lodges, the average number of
persons occupying each being 10.

During this brief but interesting journey Stanley made many sketches of
the Indians with whom he came in contact, but not one of the drawings is
known to exist at the present time. His beautiful painting of a buffalo
hunt, shown in plate 2, is one of his five pictures now in the National
Museum at Washington.

The Blackfeet allies often moved in great numbers from place to place
when searching for the herds of buffalo or tracking some enemy tribe.
Such a war party was encountered on the banks of the River Saskatchewan,
two days' journey below Fort Pitt, about the present town of Battleford,
Saskatchewan, on June 1, 1848. Among the party then going from Fort Pitt
to Norway House, the Hudson's Bay Company's post on the northeast shore
of Lake Winnipeg, was the Canadian artist Kane, who entered in his
journal: "We saw a large party of mounted Indians, riding furiously
towards us. On their nearer approach they proved to be a large war
party, consisting of Blackfoot Indians, Blood Indians, Sur-cees, Gros
Ventres, and Paygans.... We instantly put ashore to meet them.... They
told us they were a party of 1,500 warriors, from 1,200 lodges, who were
then 'pitching on' towards Fort Edmonton; that is, they were making
short journeys, and pitching their tents on towards Edmonton, leaving
few behind capable of bearing arms. They were in pursuit of the Crees
and Assiniboines, whom they threatened totally to annihilate, boasting
that they themselves were as numerous as the grass on the plains. They
were the best mounted, the best looking, the most warlike in appearance,
and the best accoutred of any tribe I had ever seen on the continent
during my route.... After our smoke several of the young Braves engaged
in a horse race, to which sport they are very partial, and at which they
bet heavily; they generally ride on those occasions stark naked, without
a saddle, and with only a lasso fastened to the lower jaw of the horse
as represented in Sketch No. 16." (Kane, (1), pp. 417-420.) The "sketch
No. 16" is here reproduced in plate 16, _a_. It shows, in addition to
the horses, several conical skin-covered lodges, the one on the right
being highly decorated.

The valley of the Saskatchewan and southward to the waters of the
Missouri was a region frequented by many tribes, rich in game, and one
from which the Hudson's Bay Company derived quantities of furs. The
Blackfeet, who, as already mentioned, occupied in recent years the
country about the headwaters of the Missouri, formerly lived farther
north, and about the close of the eighteenth century were encountered
near the Saskatchewan, neighbors of the Assiniboin and Cree. About the
year 1790 Mackenzie traversed the country, and wrote, regarding the
number and distribution of the tribes then claiming that northern
region: "At Nepawi, and South-Branch House, about thirty tents of
Knisteneaux, or ninety warriors; and sixty tents of Stone-Indians, or
Assiniboins, who are their neighbors, and are equal to two hundred men;
their hunting ground extends upwards to about Eagle Hills. Next to them
are those who trade at Forts George and Augustus, and are about eighty
tents or upwards of Knisteneaux: on either side of the river, their
number may be two hundred. In the same country are one hundred and forty
tents of Stone-Indians; not quite half of them inhabit the West woody
country; the others never leave the plains, and their numbers cannot be
less than four hundred and fifty men. At the Southern headwaters of the
North branch dwells a tribe called Sarsees, consisting of about
thirty-five tents, or one hundred and twenty men. Opposite to those
Eastward, on the head-waters of the South Branch, are the Picaneaux, to
the number of from twelve to fifteen hundred men. Next to them, on the
same water, are the Blood-Indians, of the same nation as the last, to
the number of about fifty tents, or two hundred and fifty men. From them
downwards extend the Black-Feet Indians, of the same nation as the two
last tribes; their number may be eight hundred men. Next to them, and
who extend to the confluence of the South and North branch, are the
Fall, or Big-bellied Indians, who may amount to about six hundred
warriors." (Mackenzie, (1), p. lxx.) "South-Branch House" of this
narrative stood between the north and south branches of the
Saskatchewan, near the present town of Dalmeny, in the Province of
Saskatchewan. The Picaneaux, who probably possessed from 200 to 300
skin-covered lodges, were the Piegan, the Piekann Indians of Maximilian,
whose village as it appeared in 1833 was painted by Bodmer. Likewise the
Fall or Big-bellied Indians, whose habitat about the year 1790 was near
the junction of the two branches of the Saskatchewan, were the Atsina,
the Gros Ventres of the Prairie, and their village or camp in 1790 was
probably quite similar to the one visited by Maximilian 43 years later,
when it was sketched by Bodmer.

By reason of the roving disposition of the northern tribes, those
mentioned in the preceding quotations and their neighbors, it was not
possible for them to erect and maintain permanent villages. The
skin-covered lodge served as a shelter easily and quickly raised and
readily transported from place to place as requirements and desires made
necessary. But many bark-covered structures were probably to have been
found scattered throughout the wooded sections.

Something of the manners and ways of life of these people may be
gathered from another passage in Mackenzie's narrative: "In the fall of
the year the natives meet the traders at the forts, where they barter
the furs or provisions which they may have procured; then they obtain
credit, and proceed to hunt the beavers, and do not return till the
beginning of the year; when they are again fitted out in the same manner
and come back the latter end of March, or the beginning of April. They
are now unwilling to repair to the beaver hunt until the waters are
clear of ice, that they may kill them with fire-arms, which the
Chepewyans are averse to employ. The major part of the latter return to
the barren grounds, and live during the summer with their relations and
friends in the enjoyment of that plenty which is derived from numerous
herds of deer. But those of that tribe who are most partial to these
desarts, cannot remain there in winter, and they are obliged, with the
deer, to take shelter in the woods during that rigorous season, when
they contrive to kill a few beavers, and send them by young men, to
exchange for iron utensils and ammunition." (Mackenzie, (1), pp.

The large ceremonial lodges erected by the Blackfeet were among the most
interesting structures reared by the tribes of the Northwest. A
remarkable example was encountered by the Fisk party September 1, 1862,
near the banks of Milk River, a short distance from Fort Benton. As
described in the journal: "We passed this afternoon an abandoned camp of
some three thousand or four thousand Blackfeet Indians. A large
'medicine lodge,' in which they had celebrated their superstitious
rites, was left standing, although its covering had been mostly stripped
from its frame-work. It was circular, and about one hundred feet in
diameter and forty feet high in the centre, the roof poles running from
the top down to and around a tree, which was erected for a centre pole.
This, in time of occupancy, is covered with dressed buffalo skins, and
constitutes the Indian's highest achievement in the architectural line."
(Fisk, (1), p. 24.) The entire ceremony attending the selection of a
site for the structure, the cutting of the poles, the erection of the
associated sweat lodges, and the final raising of the medicine lodge,
has been recorded by Grinnell, (3), pages 263-267, and is one of the
most complete accounts of a native ceremony ever prepared.


The ancient habitat of the Arapaho, according to tradition, was once far
northeast of the country which they later occupied. It may have been
among the forests of the region about the headwaters of the Mississippi,
the present State of Minnesota, where their villages would have stood on
the shores of lakes and streams. But later, like the related Cheyenne,
with whom they have been closely allied during recent generations and
probably for a long period, they reached the prairies, through what
causes may never be known, and there, with different environments, their
manners and ways of life changed. While a people of the timbered
country, they undoubtedly reared and occupied the forms of habitations
so characteristic of the forests, as exemplified by the wigwams of the
Ojibway and other tribes in recent times, but after reaching the prairie
country, where buffalo were obtained in such vast numbers, their
villages or camps assumed the appearance of those of the Siouan tribes,
conical skin lodges taking the place of the mat or bark covered

The Atsina, a detached division of the Arapaho, closely associated with
the Blackfeet, were often mentioned by the early writers as the Gros
Ventres of the Prairie, and in certain English narratives as the Fall or
Rapid Indians. In other journals they were mentioned under the name
Minnetarees of Fort de Prairie. Thus they were called by the early
American explorers.

On May 29, 1805, just two weeks before arriving at the Great Falls of
the Missouri, the Lewis and Clark party reached Judith River, and a
short distance above its junction with the Missouri "We saw the fires of
one hundred and twenty-six lodges, which appeared to have been deserted
about twelve or fifteen days, and on the other side of the Missouri a
large encampment, apparently made by the same nation. On examining some
moccasins which we found there, our Indian woman said that they did not
belong to her own nation the Snake Indians, but she thought that they
indicated a tribe on this side of the Rocky mountains, and to the north
of the Missouri; indeed it is probable that these are the Minnetarees of
fort de Prairie." (Lewis and Clark, (1), I, p. 234.) The following year,
when the expedition was returning from the west, the tribe was again
mentioned. On July 15, 1806, the expedition passed Shields River, and
two days later reached Brattons River (now Bridger Creek), a tributary
of the Yellowstone in the present Sweetgrass County, Montana. Here, "In
one of the low bottoms of the river was an Indian fort, which seems to
have been built during the last summer. It was built in the form of a
circle, about fifty feet in diameter, five feet high, and formed of
logs, lapping over each other, and covered on the outside with bark set
up on end, the entrance also was guarded by a work on each side of it,
facing the river. These intrenchments, the squaw informs us, are
frequently made by the Minnetarees and other Indians at war with the
Shoshonees, when pursued by their enemies on horseback." Another similar
work was encountered the next day. (Lewis and Clark, (1), II, pp.


[Illustration: _a._ Blackfoot camp. Paul Kane, 1848]

[Illustration: _b._ Arapaho village, Whitewood Canyon, Wyoming, about



Karl Bodmer, 1833]

The preceding references to fortified camps are of great interest, but
similar works were mentioned by other explorers of the upper Missouri
Valley. During the summer of 1833 several were encountered by
Maximilian, and on July 18 of that year he wrote: "On this day at noon,
we reached, on the south bank, an Indian fort ... it is a kind of
breastwork, which Indian war-parties construct in haste of dry trunks of
trees.... This fort consisted of a fence, and several angles, enclosing
a rather small space, with the open side towards the river. In the
center of the space there was a conical hut, composed of wood. Near this
fort, on the same bank of the river, there was a beaver's den made of a
heap of brushwood." (Maximilian, (1), p. 216.) Six days before, on July
12, they had encountered several huts probably similar to that which
stood within the "fort." In the narrative it is said: "Just at the place
where our vessel lay, were four old Indian huts, of some war or hunting
party, composed of trunks and boughs of trees piled together in a
square, in which some of our party made a fire to cook their meat.
Scarcely 100 paces above these huts, was the Indian Fort Creek of Lewis
and Clark." (Op. cit., p. 212.)

Elsewhere in this sketch other native "forts" will be mentioned. The
erection of such works appears to have been quite common among the
widely scattered tribes.

Fortunately, a very interesting picture of a skin lodge village or camp
of the Atsina has been preserved, a painting made by Bodmer during the
summer of 1833, when it was visited by Maximilian. It stood on the bank
of the Yellowstone, at the mouth of the Big Horn, near the dividing line
between Rosebud and Yellowstone Counties, Montana. Describing the
settlement as it appeared on the evening of August 3, 1833. Maximilian
wrote: "On the left was the mouth of Bighorn River, between considerable
hills, on which numbers of Indians had collected. In the front of the
eminence the prairie declined gently towards the river, where above 260
leather tents of the Indians were set up; the tent of the principal
chief was in the foreground, and, near it, a high pole, with the
American flag. The whole prairie was covered with Indians, in various
groups, and with numerous dogs; horses of every colour were grazing
round, and horsemen galloping backwards and forwards, among whom was a
celebrated chief, who made a good figure on his light bay horse." These
were the Gros Ventres, "called by the English, Fall Indians."
(Maximilian, (1), pp. 231-232.) Bodmer's painting, or more correctly, an
engraving made from the painting, is reproduced in plate 17.

On July 8, 1842, Fremont, while on his journey to the Rocky Mountains,
reached a village of the Arapaho and Cheyenne. But before arriving at
the village the party came in contact with a large number of Indians
belonging to the two tribes, who were chasing a herd of buffalo. Of the
exciting scene presented by these many mounted Indians and the rushing
buffalo, he left a vivid account: "We were too far to hear the report of
the guns, or any sound; and at every instant, through the clouds of
dust, which the sun made luminous, we could see for a moment two or
three buffalo dashing along, and close behind them an Indian with his
long spear, or other weapon, and instantly again they disappeared. The
apparent silence, and the dimly seen figures flitting by with such
rapidity, gave it a kind of dreamy effect, and seemed more like a
picture than a scene of real life. It had been a large herd when the
_cerne_ commenced, probably three or four hundred in number; but, though
I watched them closely, I did not see one emerge from the fatal cloud
where the work of destruction was going on. After remaining here about
an hour, we resumed our journey in the direction of the village.

"Gradually, as we rode on, Indian after Indian came dropping along,
laden with meat; and by the time we had neared the lodges, the backward
road was covered with the returning horsemen. It was a pleasant contrast
with the desert road we had been traveling. Several had joined company
with us, and one of the chiefs invited us to his lodge. The village
consisted of about one hundred and twenty-five lodges, of which twenty
were Cheyennes; the latter pitched a little apart from the Arapahoes.
They were disposed in a scattering manner on both sides of a broad,
irregular street, about one hundred and fifty feet wide, and running
along the river. As we rode along, I remarked near some of the lodges a
kind of tripod frame, formed of three slender poles of birch, scraped
very clean, to which were affixed the shield and spear, with some other
weapons of a chief. All were scrupulously clean, the spear-head was
burnished bright, and the shield white and stainless. It reminded me of
the days of feudal chivalry; and when, as I rode by, I yielded to the
passing impulse, and touched one of the spotless shields with the muzzle
of my gun, I almost expected a grim warrior to start from the lodge and
resent my challenge. The master of the lodge spread out a robe for me to
sit upon, and the squaws set before us a large wooden dish of buffalo
meat. He had lit his pipe in the mean while, and when it had been passed
around, we commenced our dinner while he continued to smoke. Gradually,
five or six other chiefs came in, and took their seats in silence. When
we had finished, our host asked a number of questions.... A storm had
been gathering for the past hour, and some pattering drops on the lodge
warned us that we had some miles to our camp.... We found our companions
under some densely foliaged old trees, about three miles up the
river.... Nearly opposite was the mouth of one of the most considerable
affluents of the South fork, _la Fourche aux Castors_, (Beaver fork,)
heading off in the ridge to the southeast." (Fremont, (1), pp. 29-30.)
This would have been near the eastern boundary of the present Morgan
County, Colorado, a region approaching the western edge of the great
prairie, in the midst of the range of vast herds of buffalo. The entire
description of the events of the day as prepared by Fremont reads more
like fiction than fact and is one of the clearest and most concise
accounts extant of a buffalo hunt by native tribes under such
conditions. The paintings by Stanley and Wimar, as reproduced in plates
2 and 3, would serve to illustrate Fremont's narrative.

The following year (1843) Fremont, on his second expedition, reached St.
Vrain's Fort; thence continuing up the South Fork of the Platte he soon
arrived in the vicinity of the present city of Denver, and at some point
not far below the mouth of Cherry Creek discovered a large Arapaho
village. This was on July 7, 1843, and to quote from his journal: "We
made this morning an early start, continuing to travel up the Platte;
and in a few miles frequent bands of horses and mules, scattered for
several miles round about, indicated our approach to the Arapaho
village, which we found encamped in a beautiful bottom, and consisting
of about 160 lodges. It appeared extremely populous, with a great number
of children; a circumstance which indicated a regular supply of the
means of subsistence. The chiefs, who were gathered together at the
farther end of the village, received us (as probably strangers are
always received to whom they desire to show respect or regard) by
throwing their arms around our necks and embracing us.... I saw here, as
I had remarked in an Arapaho village the preceding year, near the lodges
of the chiefs, tall tripods of white poles supporting their spears and
shields, which showed it to be a regular custom.... Though disappointed
in obtaining the presents which had been evidently expected, they
behaved very courteously, and after a little conversation, I left them,
and, continuing up the river, halted to noon on the bluff, as the
bottoms are almost inundated; continuing in the afternoon our route
along the mountains, which are dark, misty, and shrouded." (Fremont,
(1), pp. 111-112.)

A photograph of a small Arapaho village, standing in Whitewood Canyon,
Wyoming, about the year 1870, is reproduced in plate 16, b. The
skin-covered lodges shown in this photograph were probably similar to
those sketched by Bodmer a generation before.


It is not the purpose of the present sketch to trace the early
migrations of the two related tribes, or to refer to their connection,
linguistically or socially. However, it is evident their villages were
similar in appearance, and both had two distinct forms of habitations
which were occupied during different seasons of the year. The summer
villages of both tribes consisted of bark houses, and near by were
gardens in which they raised corn, squashes, beans, and some tobacco,
but with the coming of autumn the families scattered and sought the more
protected localities where game was to be secured, and there erected the
dome-shaped, mat-covered lodge, resembling the structures of other
tribes of the region.

The middle of the eighteenth century found the two tribes established in
villages near the mouth of Rock River, on the left bank of the
Mississippi, in the present Rock Island County, Illinois. Here they were
visited by Long and his small party August 1, 1817, at which time the
Fox settlement "containing about thirty cabins, with two fires each,"
stood on the left bank of Rock River, at its junction with the
Mississippi. The Sauk village was 2 miles up Rock River and consisted
"of about one hundred cabins, of two, three, and in some instances, four
fires each," and it was, so Long wrote, "by far the largest Indian
village situated in the neighborhood of the Mississippi between St.
Louis and the Falls of St. Anthony." (Long, (1), pp. 68-69.) This was
the birthplace, in the year 1767, of the great Sauk leader Black Hawk.
At the time of Long's visit the people of the two villages had several
hundred acres of corn, "partly in the low ground and extended up the
slopes of the bluffs," and were in a very prosperous condition.

The village was destroyed by the militia June 15, 1831, and those who
escaped soon after crossed the Mississippi. In 1837, having ceded their
hunting grounds in Iowa to the Government, they removed to a tract in
Kansas beyond the Missouri, where they continued to reside for some 20
years as practically one tribe. Later the majority of the Foxes returned
to Iowa and secured a small tract of land near Tama, in Tama County, on
the left bank of Iowa River, where a mixed group continues to dwell. In
1867 the remaining Sauk ceded their lands in Kansas and removed to the
Indian Territory.

As already mentioned, the tribes erected two distinct types of
habitations. The mat-covered lodge is shown in plate 18. The bare
frames, ready for the mat coverings, are indicated in _a_, while the
completed structure is represented in _b_ of the same plate. Both
photographs were made near Tama within the past few years.


[Illustration: _a._ Frames of structures ready to be covered with mats
or sheets of bark]

[Illustration: _b._ Mat-covered lodges




During the summer of 1820 Schoolcraft was on the upper Mississippi and
stopped at the village of the Sioux chief "La Petit Corbeau," which
stood on the bank of the river a few miles below the present city of St.
Paul. He was conducted to the lodge of the chief, which, so he wrote,
"is spacious, being about sixty feet in length by thirty in width--built
in a permanent manner of logs, and covered with bark." (Schoolcraft,
(2), p. 318.) A few days later, on August 6, 1820, he left the mouth of
the Wisconsin, passed the mouth of Turkey River, which joins the
Mississippi from the west, and 1 mile below the mouth of Turkey River
arrived at a Fox village which stood on the left bank of the
Mississippi. This would have been near the present village of Cassville,
Grant County, Wisconsin. Here were twelve lodges, "large, and built of
logs, in the same substantial manner practised among the Narcotah
bands." This refers to the village of La Petit Corbeau and others which
he had recently visited. And continuing the narrative, "The cause of
their being now deserted, is the fear entertained of an attack from the
Sioux, in retaliation for the massacre lately perpetrated upon the banks
of the St. Peter's. The desertion appears to have taken place after they
had planted their corn, and from the order in which the village is left,
it may be concluded that its re-occupation is kept in view. I found
several small gardens and corn fields adjoining the village, in which
squashes, beans, and pumpkins were abundant, but the corn had been
nearly all destroyed, probably by wild animals. Walking back from the
river half a mile ... I was surprised to find an extensive field of
water- and musk-melons, situated in the midst of a grove of small,
scattering trees, but without any inclosure. Some of the fruit had been
destroyed by animals, but a great abundance still remained." (Op. cit.,
pp. 340-341.)

The preceding references would seem to apply to summer habitations, as
distinguished from the mat-covered structures already mentioned. The
descriptions are rather vague, and the lodges encountered by Schoolcraft
may have been similar in form to that shown in plate 19. This most
interesting and valuable photograph was made in the Indian Territory
probably 40 years or more ago, and represents a rather large dwelling.
It shows clearly the manner in which sheets of bark were placed and
secured to serve as roof and sides, and in this instance the bark
appears to be that of the elm.

Interesting notes on the manners and ways of life of the Sauk and Foxes
just a century ago are to be found in a communication from Maj. M.
Marston, of the Fifth Infantry, to Morse. Marston was commanding officer
at Fort Armstrong, from which place the letter was written during the
month of November, 1820. At that time the Fox village standing on the
bank of the Mississippi, opposite Fort Armstrong, consisted of
"thirty-five permanent lodges," and this may refer to the type of
structures shown in plate 19. As Marston then wrote: "There is also a
small Sauk village of five or six lodges on the west bank of the
Mississippi, near the mouth of Des Moin river, and below Fort Edwards;
and a Fox village near the lead mines (about a hundred miles above this
place,) of about twenty lodges; and another near the mouth of the
Wapsipinica of about ten lodges." Thus the villages and camps of the two
tribes were to have been seen on both banks of the Mississippi, but
undoubtedly the greater part of their hunting was done westward from the
river, within the present State of Iowa. A century ago the people of the
village would leave "as soon as their corn, beans, &c., are ripe and
taken care of, and their traders arrive and give out their credit, (or
their outfits on credit,) and go to their wintering grounds; it being
previously determined in council, on what particular ground each party
shall hunt. The old men, women, and children, embark in canoes; the
young men go by land with their horses; on their arrival, they
immediately commence their winter's hunt, which lasts about three
months." The traders would follow and remain in convenient places.
During the winter most of the Indians would pay their debts, get many
necessary articles, and at the same time reserve the more valuable
skins. These, "such as beaver, otter, &c., they take home with them to
their villages, and dispose of for such articles as they may afterwards
find necessary." The winter of 1819-20 was evidently a very prosperous
one for the two tribes as well as for the traders, and Marston wrote:
"These traders, including the peltries received at the United States
Factory, near Fort Edwards, collected of the Sauk and Fox Indians during
this season, _nine hundred and eighty packs_. They consisted of 2,760
beaver skins; 922 Otter; 13,440 Raccoon; 12,900 Musk Rat; 500 Mink; 200
Wild Cat; 680 Bear Skins; 28,600 Deer. Whole number, 60,082."

At the close of the winter hunt "they return to their villages, in the
month of April, and after putting their lodges in order, commence
preparing the ground to receive the seed. The number of acres cultivated
by that part of the two nations, who reside at their villages in this
vicinity, is supposed to be upwards of _three hundred_. They usually
raise from seven to eight thousand bushels of corn, besides beans,
pumpkins, melons, &c. About one thousand bushels of the corn they
annually sell to traders and others; the remainder (except about five
bushels for each family, which is taken with them,) they put into bags,
and bury in holes dug in the ground, for their use in the spring and
summer. The labor of agriculture is confined principally to the women,
and this is done altogether with a hoe. In June, the greatest part of
the young men go out on a summer hunt, and return in August. While they
are absent the old men and women are collecting rushes for mats, and
bark to make into bags for their corn, &c.

"The women usually make about three hundred floor mats every summer....
The twine which connects the rushes together, is made either of
basswood bark, after being boiled and hammered, or the bark of the
nettle; the women twist or spin it by rolling it on the knee with the
hand." (Morse, (1), App., pp. 124-127.) Some men, as well as women, of
these tribes are often employed in and about the lead mines on the
Mississippi, not far from their villages.

The customs of the tribes, as related in the preceding notes, their
hunts away from the villages during certain seasons of the year, their
return to plant and care for their fields and gardens, and the placing
of the surplus grain in caches, had probably been followed by native
tribes of the Mississippi Valley and adjacent regions for generations
before the coming of the Europeans.


Although the tribes of the loosely constituted Illinois confederacy
claimed and occupied a wide region east of the Mississippi, in later
years centering in the valley of the Illinois River, nevertheless
certain villages are known to have crossed and recrossed the great
river. Thus, in the early summer of 1673, Père Marquette arrived at a
village of the Peoria then standing on the right or west bank of the
Mississippi, at or near the mouth of the Des Moines. Two months later it
had removed to the upper Illinois. A few weeks after passing the Peoria
Marquette discovered another of the Illinois tribes, the Michigamea,
living near the northeastern corner of the present State of Arkansas,
and consequently west of the Mississippi. On the map of Pierre van der
Aa, _circa_ 1720, two small streams are shown flowing into the
Mississippi from the west, a short distance south of the Missouri. The
more northerly of the two is probably intended to represent the Meramec
and a dot at the north side of the mouth of the stream bears the legend:
"_Village des_ Ilinois _et des_ Caskoukia," probably the Cahokia. This
stream forms the boundary between Jefferson and St. Louis Counties,
Missouri, and a short distance above its junction with the Mississippi
are traces of a large village, with many stone-lined graves, probably
indicating the position of the Illinois village of two centuries ago.
Also, on the d'Anville map, issued in the year 1755, an "Ancien Village
Cahokias" is shown at a point corresponding with the mouth of the small
Rivière des Pères, a stream which joins the Mississippi and there forms
the southern boundary of the city of St. Louis. Until covered by
railroad embankments many small mounds were visible near the mouth of
the Rivière des Pères, indications of the old settlement were numerous,
and graves were encountered on the neighboring hills. These were
evidently the remains of the "Ancien Village Cahokias." The many salt
springs found on the Missouri side of the Mississippi served to attract
the Indians from the eastern shore. Establishing their camps in the
vicinity of the springs, they would evaporate the waters and so obtain a
supply of salt, a process which continued long after the French had
settled in this part of upper Louisiana.

The villages of the Illinois tribes have been described in a former
publication (Bushnell, (1)).

About the close of the eighteenth century many scattered bands of
various tribes whose habitat was east of the Mississippi sought new
homes to the westward. Especially was this true after the signing of the
treaty of Greenville, Ohio, August 3, 1795. But two years before the
signing of this important treaty small groups of Shawnee and Delaware
crossed the river, and by the year 1793 had established a village on
Apple Creek, near the Mississippi and some 40 miles south of the French
settlement of Ste. Genevieve. A few years later these, or others of the
same tribes, had small towns not far west of St. Louis and only a short
distance south of the Missouri. Within another generation many of the
remaining tribes were removed from east of the Mississippi by the
Government to lands set apart for them just west of the western boundary
of Missouri. But for many years after the beginning of the nineteenth
century the western part of the Ozarks was occupied, or frequented, by
bands of several tribes.

It seems quite evident that with the removal of the tribes from the east
came certain changes in their customs and ways of life. And it is
doubtful whether all attempted to erect their native form of
habitations. Again, before leaving the east they had seen and
constructed the log cabin of the pioneers, and it is evident similar
structures were reared by them in their new homes, or at least by some
of the tribes, among them the Delaware. An interesting account of one of
these later settlements has been preserved, but it is very brief. It was
mentioned in the journal of a dragoon, one of the command then crossing
the wilderness from St. Louis to the valley of the Arkansas, and was
prepared about the beginning of December, in the year 1833: "It was
drawing towards the close of the day, when at a little distance we
descried a cluster of huts that we imagined might be a squatter
settlement, but upon a nearer approach, found it to be the remains of a
log-town long since evacuated, that had formerly been the settlement of
a tribe of the Delawares.... The site was a beautiful one; and the
associations that were connected with it, as well as the many vestiges
of rude art that remained about it, invested this spot with many
pleasing sources of reflection. As we entered the town, our regiment
slackened their pace, and slowly rode through this now silent ruin. A
small space of cleared land encompassed the settlement, but scarce large
enough to relieve it from the deep gloom of the lofty and surrounding
forest of aged oaks.... The huts were small, containing but one
apartment, built of logs, many of which had become so decayed as to have
fallen to the ground, and the whole was covered with a rich coat of
moss." (Hildreth, (1), pp. 70-71.) Scattered throughout the settlement,
near and between the ruined houses, stood many large oaks. On the trunks
of some of these had been cut various figures and symbols by the

This Delaware village evidently stood not far from the present town of
Springfield, Green County, Missouri. Just beyond it began the "Kickapoo
prairie, which is the commencement of that immense chain of prairie land
that extends in broken patches to the Rocky Mountains." (Op. cit., p.

The preceding reference to various figures cut on the trees near the
deserted village tends to recall a somewhat similar allusion by Irving.
On November 2, 1832, during his "Tour on the Prairies," so he wrote: "We
came out upon an extensive prairie, and about six miles to our left
beheld a long line of green forest, marking the course of the north fork
of the Arkansas. On the edge of the prairie, and in a spacious grove of
noble trees which overshadowed a small brook, were traces of an old
Creek hunting camp. On the bark of the trees were rude delineations of
hunters and squaws, scrawled with charcoal; together with various signs
and hieroglyphics, which our half-breeds interpreted as indicating that
from this encampment the hunters had returned home." (Irving,
Washington. (1), p. 187.)

It is to be regretted that all such figures should so soon have
disappeared, as did the frail structures of the native villages, leaving
only fragments of pottery and bits of stone, ashes, and occasional
animal bones to indicate where they had once stood.


The numerous and widely scattered tribes belonging to the Siouan
linguistic family formerly had a combined population which caused this
to rank as the second largest stock north of Mexico, being exceeded only
by the Algonquian.

All evidence tends to prove that during past centuries the many tribes
who were found living west of the Mississippi when the great central
valley of the continent first became known to Europeans had, within a
few generations, migrated from the eastward. This is likewise indicated
by certain tribal traditions. Many had undoubtedly occupied the upper
parts of the Ohio Valley, and were probably the builders of the great
earthworks discovered in that region. What impelled the westward
movement of the tribes may never be determined. Whether they were forced
to abandon their early habitat by stronger forces, by the lack of food
which made it necessary for them to seek a more plentiful supply, or by
reason of causes distinct from either of these can never be definitely

But some remained in the east; all did not join in the migration, and
the native tribes encountered by the colonists living in the piedmont
region of Virginia and extending southward into Carolina belonged to
this linguistic family. Their villages have been mentioned in a former
publication. (Bushnell, (1), pp. 92-94.)

It is more than probable that while living east of the Mississippi all
reared and occupied structures similar to those of the Algonquian tribes
of later generations, mat and bark covered lodges, such as continued in
use by the Osage, Quapaw, and others even after they had reached their
new homes, but some through necessity were compelled to adopt other
forms of dwellings. Thus many were found occupying the conical skin
tipi, while some had learned the art of building the large earth-covered
lodges, an art which had evidently been derived from the Caddoan tribes
coming from the Southwest.


The Dakota constitute the largest division of the great Siouan
linguistic family. To quote from the Handbook, this group includes the
following tribes, a classification which is recognized by the people
themselves: "1. Mdewakanton; 2. Wahpeton; 3. Wahpekute; 4. Sisseton; 5.
Yankton; 6. Yanktonai; 7. Teton, each of which is again subdivided into
bands and subbands." These seven principal divisions are often referred
to as the Seven Council Fires of the Dakota. The first four groups as
given in this classification formed the eastern division, and their
home, when first encountered by Europeans, was in the densely forested
region about the headwaters of the Mississippi. The others lived
westward, reaching far into the plains. The Assiniboin, in historic
times a separate tribe, was originally a part of the Yanktonai, from
whom they separated and became closely allied with the Algonquian Cree.
Thus some of the Dakota as first known to history were a timber people,
others lived where the forest and prairie joined, with a mingling of the
fauna and flora of the two regions, and in later years the Oglala, the
principal division of the Teton, extended their wanderings to and beyond
the Black Hills, crossing the great buffalo range.

As will be shown in the sketches of the dwellings and other structures
of the Dakota tribes, those who lived in the timbered region, occupying
much of the present State of Minnesota, erected the type of habitation
characteristic of the region, but in the villages along the Minnesota
both bark and skin covered lodges were in use, and the more western
villages were formed exclusively of the latter type, the conical skin
tipi of the plains. There appears to have been very little variation in
the form of structure as erected by the widely scattered bands.


When preparing a sketch of the villages and village sites of the
Mdewakanton, it is quite natural to begin with a brief description of
the site of the village to which Father Hennepin was led captive, during
the early spring of the year 1680. On the afternoon of April 11 of that
year, while ascending the Mississippi with two companions, he was taken
by a war party of the Sioux, and after much anxiety and suffering
reached the Falls of St. Anthony, which he so named. Thence, going
overland through the endless forests, they arrived at the village of
their captors. Soon Indians were seen running from the village to meet
them, and then it was that "One of the principal Issati chiefs gave us
his peace-calumet to smoke, and accepted the one we had brought. He then
gave us some wild rice to eat, presenting it to us in large bark
dishes." From this place they were later taken in bark canoes "a short
league ... to an island where their cabins were." (Shea, (1), pp.

The Mdewakanton "mystery lake village," of the Santee or eastern
division of the Dakota, were considered by some as "the only Dakota
entitled to the name Isanyati (`Santee'), given them from their old home
on Mille Lac, Minnesota, called by them Isantamde, 'Knife Lake.'" There
is no doubt of the Mdewakanton being the Issati of Hennepin, to whose
principal village he was taken, and where he remained for some weeks
during the year 1680. It has always been acknowledged that the village
stood on or near the shore of Mille Lac, but not until 1900 was a site
discovered which appears without doubt to indicate the position of that
ancient settlement. The outlet of Mille Lac is Rum River, which enters
the Mississippi at Anoka. The stream soon after leaving the lake expands
into a series of small lakes, usually designated as the First, Second,
and Third Lake, from the outlet at Mille Lac. Rum River leaves Mille Lac
near the southwest corner, but soon turns eastward, therefore the three
lakes are rather parallel with the south shore of the great lake. At the
upper end of Third Lake is an isolated mass, rising some feet above the
highest stage of water, and having a superficial area of several acres.
On May 29, 1900, this spot was surrounded by a marsh, in places
overgrown with rushes, with pools of water, more numerous on the north
side. But a short time has elapsed since all the lakes were somewhat
deeper and more water flowed in Rum River. And at that time the waters
surrounded this elevated mass and it stood as an island at the head of
Third Lake. When the surface of this island was examined it was found
to be strewn with innumerable fragments of pottery, some fractured
stones, and a few stone implements. The amount of pottery was greater
than is often found on any site, in any part of the country, and it was
quite evident this island was once occupied by a large, permanent native
settlement. Without doubt this was the site of the village to which
Hennepin was taken in a bark canoe, "an island where their cabins were."
At present this is in Sec. 25, T. 42, R. 27, Mille Lacs County,

No description of the ancient village has been preserved, but it
undoubtedly resembled the settlements of other tribes living in the
midst of the great forests. The structures were probably bark or mat
covered, many of an oval form quite similar to those of the Ojibway, who
later occupied the near-by sites on the shores of Mille Lac. And like
the Ojibway, the Mdewakanton may have had more than one type of dwelling
in the same village, or structures of different forms may have served
different purposes.

The shores of Mille Lac, one of the most beautiful sheets of water in
Minnesota, abound in traces of the ancient settlements which stood
generations or centuries ago. Near several of the sites are groups of a
hundred or more burial mounds, all of which may be attributed to the
Siouan tribes. One village, the site of which is marked by a large
number of mounds, stood on the shore of the bay in the northwestern part
of the lake, shown in the photograph reproduced in plate 20, _a_.

The sacred or mysterious island, known as such to the Sioux and later to
the Ojibway, is in the southern part of the lake, several miles from the
south shore. It is a remarkable spot, one to be looked upon by the
Indian as a place of mystery. So small that often it is not visible from
the shore, it consists of a great quantity of blocks of granitic
formation which are piled to a height of 20 feet or more upon a ledge
which comes to within a foot or less of the surface of the lake. The
island is about 250 feet in length from east to west, the width from
north to south being about one-half the length. Some of the great blocks
are 10 or 12 feet in length, 4 or 5 feet in thickness and width, and
would weigh many tons. The ledge extends for a distance of about 150
feet to the north and east of the island, covered by a foot or more of
water. There is no soil on the island, no vegetation, and its only
occupants are numbers of gulls. A photograph of this most interesting
spot, made by the writer May 20, 1900, is reproduced as plate 20, _b_.


[Illustration: _a._ Northwest shore of Mille Lac, 1900. Site of an
ancient Sioux settlement]

[Illustration: _b._ The Sacred Island in the southern part of Mille Lac.
May, 1900]


[Illustration: "KAPOSIA, JUNE 19TH, 1851"

F. B. Mayer]

According to the stories of the old Ojibway who were still living on the
shore of Mille Lac during the spring of 1900, the Mdewakanton were
driven from that region about the middle of the eighteenth century,
and moving southward settled along the banks of the Mississippi.
Descendants of these were occupying well-known villages on the
Mississippi and Minnesota during the summer of 1823, when Major Long and
his party ascended the rivers from Prairie du Chien.

Before leaving Prairie du Chien to discover the course of the Minnesota,
or St. Peters, as it was then designated, the members of the expedition
were divided into two groups, one to go overland to the mouth of the St.
Peters, the other to convey the supplies by boat to that point. Both
parties visited the principal villages on the way. First following the
route of those who went overland, on June 26, 1823, they encountered a
village of five lodges, evidently on the Iowa River, in the present
Winneshiek County, Iowa. Two days later, June 28, they arrived at the
more important village of Wapasha, in the present Wabasha County,
Minnesota, and as told in the narrative: "Whatever might be the reveries
in which the party were indulging, they were soon recalled to the dull
realities of travelling, by the howling and barking of a band of dogs,
that announced their approach to an Indian village consisting of twenty
fixed lodges and cabins. It is controlled by Wa-pa-sha, an Indian chief
of considerable distinction. In his language, (Dacota,) his name
signifies _the red leaf_. A number of young men fantastically decorated
with many and variously coloured feathers, and their faces as oddly
painted, advanced to greet the party. One of them, the son of the chief,
was remarkable for the gaudiness and display of his dress, which from
its showy appearance imparted to his character foppishness.... The chief
is about fifty years of age, but appears older.... His disposition to
the Americans has generally been a friendly one." (Keating, (1), I, pp.
249-250.) Hennepin's reception by the ancestors of the same people, in
their ancient village near Mille Lac, about a century and a half
earlier, may have been quite similar to this accorded the members of the
Long expedition in 1823.

On the evening of June 30 the party going by land arrived "at an Indian
village, which is under the direction of Shakea, (_the man that paints
himself red_;) the village has retained the appellation of Redwing,
(_aile rouge_,) by which the chief was formerly distinguished." This was
on the site of the present Red Wing, Goodhue County, Minnesota. There
the party remained overnight, and on the following morning, July 1,
1823, the boat bearing the supplies belonging to the expedition, on its
way from Prairie du Chien to Fort St. Anthony, reached the village, and
"The whole party being again united, the chief invited them to his
lodge, with a view to have a formal conversation with them.... As a
compliment to the party, the United States' flag was hoisted over his
cabin, and a deputation of some of his warriors waited at our encampment
to invite us to his lodge. We were received in due ceremony; the chief
and his son, Tatunkamane, (the walking buffalo,) were seated next to the
entrance. We took our stations near them, on the same bed-frame, while
his warriors seated themselves on the frame opposite to us." This was
followed by handshaking, and the smoking of the pipe of peace. (Op.
cit., pp. 251-252.) The two parties again separated and those passing
overland arrived at the fort the following evening.

The boat party, ascending the Mississippi, arrived at "Wapasha's
village" on June 29, soon after the departure of the others who were
going overland. They left Redwing early in the afternoon of July 1, and
on the following day passed the St. Croix. Continuing, they "passed an
Indian village consisting of ten or twelve huts, situated at a handsome
turn on the river, about ten miles below the mouth of the St. Peter; the
village is generally known by the name of the _Petit Corbeau_, or Little
Raven, which was the appellation of the father and grandfather of the
present chief.... As the village was abandoned for the season, we
proceeded without stopping. The houses which we saw here were
differently constructed from those which we had previously observed.
They are formed by upright flattened posts, implanted in the ground,
without any interval except here and there some small loopholes for
defence; these posts support the roof, which presents a surface of bark.
Before and behind each hut, there is a scaffold used for the purpose of
drying maize, pumpkins, &c." Late in the same day they arrived at the
fort. (Keating, (1), I, pp. 288-289.) Whether the method of constructing
lodges by forming the walls of upright posts or logs was of native
conception or was derived from the French is now difficult to determine.
In referring to the customs prevailing in the Mississippi Valley,
particularly the French portions, about the year 1810, Brackenridge
said: "In building their houses, the logs, instead of being laid
horizontally, as ours, are placed in a perpendicular position, the
interstices closed with earth or stone, as with us." (Brackenridge, (1),
p. 119.) The old courthouse at St. Louis was built after this method.
Again, among some tribes along the eastern slopes of the Rocky
Mountains, as will be told on another page, were to have been found
small, well-protected lodges formed of upright poles, and in this
instance there is no reason to suspect European influence. Therefore it
is not possible to say definitely whether the structures standing on the
banks of the Mississippi during the summer of 1823 were of a primitive,
native form, or if they represented the influence of the early French
who had penetrated the region many years before.

Just three years before the Long expedition passed up the Mississippi
and prepared the preceding descriptions of the Sioux settlements
Schoolcraft went down the river, and in his journal are to be found
brief references to the same villages. To quote from the journal, August
2, 1820: "Four miles below Carver's cave, we landed at the village of Le
Petit Corbeau, or the Little Raven. Here is a Sioux band of twelve
lodges, and consisting of about two hundred souls, who plant corn upon
the adjoining plain, and cultivate the cucumber, and pumpkin. They
sallied from their lodges on seeing us approach, and gathering upon the
bank of the river fired a kind of _feu-de-joie_, and manifested the
utmost satisfaction on our landing.... We were conducted into his cabin
which is spacious, being about sixty feet in length by thirty in
width--built in a permanent manner of logs, and covered with bark."
(Schoolcraft, (2), pp. 317-318.) The following day at noon the party
arrived "at the Sioux village of Talangamane, or the Red wing, which is
handsomely situated on the west banks of the river, six miles above Lake
Pepin. It consists of four large, and several small lodges, built of
logs in the manner of the little Raven's village. Talangamane is now
considered the first chief of his nation.... Very few of his people were
at home, being engaged in hunting or fishing. We observed several fine
corn fields near the village, but they subsist chiefly by taking
sturgeon in the neighbouring lake, and by hunting the deer. The buffalo
is also occasionally killed, but they are obliged to go two days journey
west of the Mississippi, before this animal is found in plenty. We
observed several buffalo skins which were undergoing the Indian process
of tanning." (Op. cit., p. 323.) The third settlement was reached during
the afternoon of August 4, 1820, at which time, to quote from the
journal, "we made a short halt at the Sioux village of Wabashaw, which
is eligibly situated on the west bank of the Mississippi, sixty miles
below Lake Pepin. It consists of four large lodges, with a population
of, probably, sixty souls. A present of tobacco and whiskey was given,
and we again embarked at twenty minutes before five o'clock." (Op, cit.,
p. 334.) The question now arises, Were the various structures seen by
Schoolcraft, those "built in a permanent manner of logs," constructed of
"upright flattened posts," as mentioned in the Long narrative? If so, it
is evident similar habitations were reared by the Foxes and were
encountered by Schoolcraft at the Fox village standing on the left bank
of the Mississippi, below the mouth of the Wisconsin, August 6, 1820.
However, the statements are rather vague, and the various dwellings may
have been quite similar to the bark houses more clearly described in
later narratives. But it is beyond question that some of the structures
were strongly built, and Long on July 16, 1817, wrote: "Passed a Sioux
village on our right containing fourteen cabins. The name of the chief
is the Petit Corbeau, or Little Raven.... One of their cabins is
furnished with loop holes, and is situated so near the water that the
opposite side of the river is within musket-shot range from the
building.... The cabins are a kind of stockade buildings, and of a
better appearance than any Indian dwellings I have before met with."
(Long, (1), p. 31.)

One of the most interesting accounts of the villages just mentioned is
contained in the journal of a traveler who visited them in 1849, the
year the Territory of Minnesota was created. On May 16 of that year he
"passed Wapasha's Prairie ... a beautiful prairie in Minnesota, about
nine miles long and three miles wide, occupied by the chief Wapasha (or
Red-Leaf) and his band of Sioux, whose bark lodges are seen at the upper
end of the prairie." (Seymour, (1), p. 75.) And later in the day, after
leaving Lake Pepin, "an Indian village, called Red Wing, inhabited by a
tribe of Sioux is seen on the Minnesota shore. It appears to contain
about one dozen bark lodges, and half as many conical lodges, covered
with buffalo skins; also, a log or frame house, occupied by a
missionary. Indian children were seen running, in frolicsome mood, over
the green prairie, and Indian females were paddling their canoes along
the shore. This village is near the mouth of Cannon River." On the
following day, May 17, 1849, Seymour passed the village of Kaposia,
occupied by the chief Little Crow, or Little Raven. It stood on the west
bank of the river about 5 miles below the then small town of St. Paul.
The Indian village at that time consisted of about 40 lodges, having a
population of some 300. A few days later he went to the village, and
regarding the visit wrote: "During the time I visited them, the Indians
were living in skin lodges, such as they use during the winter, and when
traveling. These are formed of long, slender poles, stuck in the ground,
in a circle of about eight feet in diameter, and united at the top, and
covered with the raw hide of the buffalo, having the hair scraped off.
They are in the form of a cone, and can be distinguished from those of
the Winnebagos and other Indians as far as they can be seen. During the
summer they live in bark houses, which are more spacious, and when seen
from a distance, resemble, in form and appearance, the log cabins of the
whites. When passing in sight of the village, a few days afterward, I
noticed that they had removed their skin lodges, and erected their bark
houses. The population of this village, as I before remarked, is from
250 to 300 souls." He entered one of the small skin-covered lodges. "An
iron kettle, suspended in the center, over a fire, forms the principal
cooking utensil. Blankets spread around on the ground, were used as
seats and beds." (Op. cit., pp. 137-138.) A cemetery, with its scaffold
burials, stood on the bluffs in the rear of the village. There is reason
to believe these were the first skin-covered tipis encountered by Seymour
while ascending the Mississippi.


[Illustration: _a._ "Dakotah Village." Seth Eastman]

[Illustration: _b._ "Dakotah Encampment." Seth Eastman]


[Illustration: _a._ Council at the mouth of the Teton. George Catlin]

[Illustration: _b._ Page of Kurz's Sketchbook, showing Fort Pierre and
the Indian encampment, July 4, 1851]

It will be noticed that in the preceding description of Kaposia no
mention is made of log structures, such as were alluded to by Long and
Schoolcraft. Only the typical bark house and the conical skin-covered
tipi were seen by Seymour. Fortunately a most valuable and interesting
picture of the village, as it appeared on June 19, 1851, is preserved
and is now reproduced in plate 21. Both forms of habitations are shown,
and in the distance, on the left, are indicated the scaffold burials
standing on the bluffs in the rear of the settlement. On the extreme
right is the prow of a canoe, evidently on the immediate bank of the
Mississippi. Having this remarkable sketch, it is gratifying to find a
brief description of the two forms of lodges, and also to know that the
notes may have referred to Kaposia in particular. It tells that "the
lodges are from eight to fifteen feet in diameter, about ten to fifteen
feet high and made of buffalo-skins tanned. Elk skins are used for this
purpose also. The summer house is built of wood, or perches set upright,
twenty or thirty feet long, by fifteen or twenty wide. The perches are
set in the ground about one foot, and are about six feet out of the
ground. Over this is put a roof of elm bark. They are very comfortable
for summer use. The lodge of skin lasts three or four years; the lodge
of wood seven or eight years." (Prescott, (1), p. 67.)

The bark houses, which resembled "the log cabins of the whites," were
shown by Capt. Eastman in one of his paintings. It was used as an
illustration by Schoolcraft, and is here reproduced as plate 22, _a_. It
is less interesting than the sketch of Kaposia, but in many respects the
two are quite similar.

Several bark houses of the form just mentioned stood on the shore of
Mille Lac, forming part of the Ojibway village visited in 1900, and
similar to these were the "winter habitations," occasionally erected by
the Menominee, as mentioned and figured by Hoffman as plate xviii in his
work on that tribe. (Hoffman, (1), p. 255.) It is rather curious that
these should be described as "winter habitations" among that Algonquian
tribe, and as being occupied during the summer by the Siouan people. As
a matter of fact this strong distinction may not have existed. The use
of this type of house by the Foxes has already been mentioned. Whether
these may be regarded as representing a purely aboriginal form of
structure is not easily determined, but they will at once recall the
unit of the long communal dwellings of the Iroquois. The slanting roof,
the flat front and back, and the upright walls, all covered with large
sheets of bark, were the same.

Again returning to the narrative of the Long expedition. Early in July,
1823, the party having rested at the mouth of the Minnesota, or St.
Peters River, began ascending that stream. Having advanced a short
distance they arrived at the village of Taoapa, better known as
"Shakopee's Village," from the name of the chief of this band of the
Mdewakanton. It stood in the present Scott County, Minnesota, and in the
summer of 1823 "consisted of fifteen large bark lodges, in good order;
they were arranged along the river. Some of them were large enough to
hold from thirty to fifty persons, accommodated as the Indians usually
are in their lodges. The ground near it is neatly laid out, and some
fine corn-fields were observed in the vicinity. There were scaffolds
annexed to the houses, for the purpose of drying maize, etc.; upon these
we were told that the Indians sleep during very hot nights." Near the
village were seen various scaffold burials, while "In the midst of the
corn-fields a dog was suspended, his head decorated with feathers, and
with horse-hair stained red; it was probably a sacrifice for the
protection of the corn-fields during the absence of the Indians." Six
miles above the village was Little Prairie. (Keating, (1), pp. 329-330.)
Quite likely the structures at this village were similar to those
described above, which resembled in outline the log cabins of the white


The Wahpeton, "dwellers among leaves," constitute one of the seven great
divisions of the Dakota, and to quote from the Handbook: "Historic and
linguistic evidence proves the affinity of this tribe with the Sisseton,
Wahpekute, and Mdewakanton. Hennepin (1680) mentions them as living in
the vicinity of Mille Lac, Minn., near the Mdewakanton, Sisseton, and
Teton. On his map they are placed a little to the N. E. of the lake."
While living in the seclusion of the vast forests which surrounded the
great lakes of central Minnesota, the villages of the Wahpeton were
probably formed of groups of bark or mat covered structures so typical
of the region at a later day. Gradually they left the timbered regions,
and about the first years of the last century were living near the mouth
of the Minnesota River. Thence they appear to have moved up the stream,
and during the summer of 1823 were encountered by the Long expedition in
the vicinity of Big Stone Lake, in the present Lac qui Parle County,
Minnesota. The account of the meeting with the Indians on the prairie,
and later of their visit to the village, by the members of the
expedition, is most interesting. On July 21, 1823, "While traveling over
the prairie which borders upon this part of the St. Peter, that connects
Lake qui Parle with Big Stone Lake, our attention was aroused by the
sight of what appeared to be buffaloes chased across the prairie. They,
however, soon proved to be Indians; their number, at first limited to
two, gradually increased to near one hundred; they were seen rising from
every part of the prairie, and after those in advance had reconnoitered
us, and made signals that we were friends, by discharging their guns,
they all came running towards us, and in a few minutes we found
ourselves surrounded by a numerous band.... Some of them were mounted on
horseback, and were constantly drumming upon the sides of their horses
with their heels, being destitute both of whip and spur. Many of them
came and shook hands with us, while the rest were riding all round us in
different directions. They belonged, as we were told, to the Wahkpatoan,
[Wahpeton] one of the tribes of the Dacotas.... As we rode towards their
lodges, we were met by a large party of squaws and children, who formed
a very motly group.... The village, to which they directed us, consisted
of thirty skin lodges, situated on a fine meadow on the bank of the
lake. Their permanent residence, or at least that which they have
occupied as such for the last five years, is on a rocky island, (Big
Island), in the lake, nearly opposite to, and within a quarter of a mile
of, their present encampment. Upon the island they cultivate their
cornfields, secure against the aggressions of their enemies. They had
been lately engaged in hunting buffalo, apparently with much success.
The principal man led us to his lodge, wherein a number of the
influential men were admitted, the women being excluded; but we observed
that they, with the children, went about the lodge, peeping through all
the crevices, and not unfrequently raising the skins to observe our
motion. They soon brought in a couple of large wooden dishes, filled
with pounded buffalo meat boiled, and covered with the marrow of the
same animal; of this we partook with great delight." This was followed
by another feast, in a near-by tent, and still a third where a dog had
been killed and prepared, "which is considered not only as the greatest
delicacy, but also as a sacred animal, of which they eat only on great
occasions." The party did not remain long at the village, but continued
on up the lake shore, and soon encountered on a bluff "two Indian
lodges, in one of which was Tatanka Wechacheta, (the buffalo man,) an
Indian who claims the command of the Wahkpatoans." Later in the day the
party returned to these lodges, where "the chief, and his principal men,
were in waiting. We entered the skin lodge, and were seated on fine
buffalo robes, spread all round; on the fire, which was in the centre of
the lodge, two large iron kettles, filled with choicest pieces of
buffalo, were placed.... Our hosts were gratified and flattered at the
quantity which we ate; the residue of the feast was sent to our
soldiers. In this, and every other instance where we have been invited
to a feast by Indians, we observed that they never eat with their
guests." (Keating, (1), I, pp. 367-373.)

The village of skin-covered tipis standing on the shore of the lake, as
seen by members of the expedition on that July day nearly a century ago,
must have resembled the painting later made by Capt. Eastman, which is
reproduced in plate 22, _b_, taken from Schoolcraft. In the painting the
tipis are undoubtedly too closely placed, but otherwise they are quite
accurately shown. This illustration as used in Schoolcraft bears the
legend "Dakotah Encampment."


Like other divisions of the Dakota, the Yanktonai formerly lived in the
thickly timbered region surrounding the headwaters of the Mississippi,
in the central portion of the present State of Minnesota, and, like
them, moved southward and westward until they reached the plains and the
habitat of the buffalo. Although in their earlier home they undoubtedly
reared the mat-covered structures, nevertheless when they reached the
open country they constructed the conical skin lodge.

During the latter part of July, 1823, the Long expedition reached a
village of this tribe then standing in the vicinity of Lake Traverse, in
the present Traverse County, Minnesota. In the narrative of the
expedition very little is said regarding the appearance of the
encampment, which may not have offered any peculiar features, but much
was said concerning the dress and ways of the inhabitants. In part the
narrative states: "The principal interest which we experienced in the
neighbourhood of Lake Traverse, was from an acquaintance with Wanotan,
(the Charger,) the most distinguished chief of the Yanktoanan tribe,
which, as we were informed, is subdivided into six bands. He is one of
the greatest men of the Dacota nation, and although but twenty-eight
years of age, he has already acquired great renown as a warrior." As the
party neared the establishment of the Columbia Fur Company, on the
border of the lake, "a salute was fired from a number of Indian tents
which were pitched in the vicinity, from the largest of which the
American colours were flying. And as soon as we had dismounted from our
horses, we received an invitation to a feast which Wanotan had prepared
for us." Three dogs had been killed and prepared for the great occasion.
"We repaired to a sort of pavilion which they had erected by the union
of several large skin lodges. Fine Buffalo robes were spread all around,
and the air was perfumed by the odour of sweet scenting grass which had
been burned in it. On entering the lodge we saw the chief seated near
the further end of it, and one of his principal men pointed out to us
the place which was destined for our accommodation; it was at the upper
end of the lodge." (Keating, (1), I, pp. 429-432.)

Arranging the skin covers of several large tipis in such a way as to
form a single shelter, to serve as a ceremonial "lodge," was the custom
of many tribes, and other instances will be mentioned. But another and
more elaborate form of structure was used by the tribes just mentioned.
In 1858, when describing certain customs of the people then living along
the course of the Minnesota and in the vicinity of Lake Traverse, Riggs
referred to the sacred dance and said: "Among the Dakotas a most
remarkable society exists which is called _Wakan wachepe_, or Sacred
Dance, of which the medicine sack is the badge. It may be regarded as
the depository and guardian of whatever they esteem as _wakan_, or
sacred." He then related the contents of the bag and the meaning of the
ceremony, and continues: "A large skin lodge is usually occupied as the
center of operations, the door of which is made wide by throwing up the
corners. From this, on each hand, extends a kind of railing, some thirty
or forty feet, on which skins are thrown. The entrance is at the farther
end. All around the inside of this sanctum sanctorum and along the
extended sides sit those who are called to the dance. Beyond this and
near the place of entrance is a fire, with great kettles hanging over
it, which are filled with dried buffalo meat or other food; and near by
lay several packs or bags of the same, which are consecrated to the
feast. The whole village are gathered around and are looking over or
peeping through the holes in the barricades." Much was then told about
the strange and curious ceremonies enacted within the lodge. (Riggs,
(1), pp. 505-506.)

Leaving the encampment in the vicinity of the post of the Columbia Fur
Company, the Long expedition moved northward, and when just beyond Lake
Traverse, while traversing the prairies on July 27, 1823, "passed a
party of squaws engaged in conveying to their camp some slices of fresh
meat to jerk; their fellow labourers were dogs. Each of the dogs had the
ends of two poles crossed and fastened over the shoulders, with a piece
of hide underneath to prevent chafing. The other extremities dragged on
the ground. This sort of vehicle was secured to the animal by a string
passing round the breast, and another under the abdomen; transverse
sticks, the ends of which were fastened in the poles, kept these at a
proper distance, and supported the meat. This seems to be the only mode
of harnessing dogs, practised among the Sioux; we believe, they never
use them in teams, as is customary with the traders." (Keating, (1), II,
pp. 9-10.)

The expedition soon arrived at Pembina, near the international boundary,
where it would appear they found the two characteristic forms of native
habitations in use by the Indians. A drawing was at that time made by
Seymour and used as an illustration in the narrative, showing the "two
different kind of lodges used by the northwest Indians," the first being
the skin lodge of the prairie tribes, and "of this nature are all the
lodges used by the Dacotas;" the second were the bark-covered structures
of the Ojibway, "who for the most part live to the north-east of the
buffalo regions." To this latter class must have belonged the
habitations of the Siouan tribes before they were forced from their
early homes among the forests and lakes to the eastward.

When referring to the two characteristic forms of habitations it will be
of interest to quote from the writings of one who traversed the country
more than a century and a half ago, when all was in its primitive
condition, but, like many writers of that period, he failed to give
details which at the present time would prove of the greatest value. He
wrote: "The Indians, in general, pay a greater attention to their dress
and to the ornaments with which they decorate their persons, than to the
accommodation of their huts or tents. They construct the latter in the
following simple and expeditious manner.

"Being provided with poles of a proper length, they fasten two of them
across, near their ends, with bands made of bark. Having done this, they
raise them up, and extend the bottom of each as wide as they purpose to
make the area of the tent: they then erect others of an equal height,
and fix them so as to support the two principal ones. On the whole they
lay skins of the elk or deer, sewed together, in quantity sufficient to
cover the poles, and by lapping over to form the door. A great number of
skins are sometimes required for this purpose, as some of their tents
are very capacious. That of the chief warrior of the Naudowessies was at
least forty feet in circumference, and very commodious.

"They observe no regularity in fixing their tents when they encamp, but
place them just as it suits their conveniency.

"The huts also, which those who use no tents erect when they travel,
for very few tribes have fixed abodes or regular towns or villages, are
equally simple, and almost as soon constructed.

"They fix small pliable poles in the ground, by bending them till they
meet at the top and form a semi-circle, then lash them together. These
they cover with mats made of rushes platted, or with birch bark, which
they carry with them in their canoes for this purpose.

"These cabins have neither chimnies nor windows; there is only a small
aperture left in the middle of the roofs through which the smoke is
discharged, but as this is obliged to be stopped up when it rains or
snows violently, the smoke then proves exceedingly troublesome.

"They lie on skins, generally those of the bear, which are placed in
rows on the ground; and if the floor is not large enough to contain
beds sufficient for the accommodation of the whole family, a frame is
erected about four or five feet from the ground, in which the younger
part of it sleep." (Carver, (1), pp. 152-154.) Though lacking much in
detail, nevertheless the preceding notes are of historical interest and
value, describing as they do the primitive habitations which were reared
and occupied by the native tribes living in the upper Mississippi Valley
about the middle of the eighteenth century. Skins of the elk and deer
were evidently used as coverings for the conical tipi, which seems to
prove the lack of a sufficient number of buffalo skins to serve the
purpose, although farther west, beyond the timbered country, where
buffalo were more easily obtained, their skins were made use of and
covered the shelters of tribes by whom they were hunted.


When the expedition under the leadership of General Atkinson ascended
the Missouri, during the summer of 1825, he wrote regarding the Yankton:
"The Yanctons are a band of the Sioux, and rove in the plains north of
the Missouri, from near the Great Bend, down as far as the Sioux river.
They do not cultivate, but live by the chase alone, subsisting
principally upon buffalo. They cover themselves with leather tents, or
lodges, which they move about from place to place, as the buffalo may
chance to range. They are pretty well supplied with fusees, and with
horses, and a few mules. They are estimated at 3,000 souls, of which 600
are warriors. They are comfortably habited in frocks, or shirts of
dressed skins, and leggings, reaching to the waist, of the same; they
use besides, robes of buffalo skins, which are frequently beautifully
wrought with porcupine quills, or painted tastefully; are friendly to
the whites, but make war upon almost all other tribes, except those of
their own nation. Their trading ground is on the river Jaques."
(Atkinson, (1), pp. 8-9.) On June 17 the party arrived at Fort Lookout,
a post of the American Fur Company, and four days later, "on the 21st,
the Tetons, Yanctons, and Yanctonies, three distinct bands of the Sioux
Nation, having arrived, a council was opened, and, on the 22d, a treaty
concluded with them." This great gathering of the tribes, with their
numerous skin-covered tipis, would have presented a sight similar to
that witnessed and described by Catlin just seven years later, in the
vicinity of Fort Pierre.

An excellent description of the skin-covered tipi of the Sioux, but of
the structures of the Yankton in particular, is contained in
Maximilian's narrative. Writing on May 25, 1833, he said the "Sioux
Agency, or, as it is now usually called, Fort Lookout, is a square, of
about sixty paces, surrounded by pickets, twenty or thirty feet high,
made of squared trunks of trees placed close to each other, within which
the dwellings are built close to the palisades.... About ten leather
tents or huts of the Sioux, of the branch of the Yanktons or Yanktoans,
were set up near the fort.... All these Dacotas of the Missouri, as well
as most of those of the Mississippi, are only hunters, and, in their
excursions, always live in portable leather tents.... The tents of the
Sioux are high pointed cones, made of strong poles, covered with buffalo
skins, closely sewed together. These skins are scraped on both sides, so
that they become as transparent as parchment, and give free admission to
the light. At the top, where the poles meet, or cross each other, there
is an opening, to let out the smoke, which they endeavor to close by a
piece of the skin covering of the tent, fixed to a separate pole
standing upright, and fastened to the upper part of the covering on the
side from which the wind blows. The door is a slit, in the front of the
tent, which is generally closed by another piece of buffalo hide,
stretched upon a frame. A small fire is kept up in the centre of the
tent. Poles are stuck in the ground, near the tent, and utensils of
various kinds are suspended from them. There are, likewise, stages, on
which to hang the newly-tanned hides; others, with gaily-painted
parchment pouches and bags, on some of which they hang their bows,
arrows, quivers, leather shields, spears, and war clubs.

"We paid a visit to Wahktageli in his tent, and had some difficulty in
creeping into the narrow, low entrance, after pulling aside the skin
that covered it. The inside of this tent was light, and it was about ten
paces in diameter. Buffalo skins were spread on the ground, upon which
we sat down. Between us and the side of the tent were a variety of
articles, such as pouches, boxes, saddles, arms, &c. A relation of the
chief was employed in making arrows, which were finished very neatly,
and with great care. Wahktageli immediately, with much gravity, handed
the tobacco-pipe round, and seemed to inhale the precious smoke with
great delight.... The conversation was carried on by Cephier, the
interpreter kept by the Agency, who accompanied us on this visit.... The
owner of a neighbouring tent had killed a large elk, the skin of which
the women were then busily employed in dressing. They had stretched it
out, by means of leather straps, on the ground near the tent, and the
women were scraping off the particles of flesh and fat with a very
well-contrived instrument. It is made of bone, sharpened at one end, and
furnished with little teeth like a saw, and, at the other end, a strap,
which is fastened round the wrist." (Maximilian, (1), pp. 148-152.) A
drawing by Bodmer, reproduced by Maximilian on page 151 of the work
cited, is here shown as figure 2. It represents a small group of tipis,
of the type mentioned in the narrative, and on the right, in the rear,
is a tripod with what appears to be a shield suspended from it. The bone
implement mentioned as being used by the women to remove particles of
flesh from the skin of the recently killed elk belonged to a well-known
type which was extensively used throughout the region. It was formed of
the large bones of the leg of the buffalo, elk, or moose. Many old
examples are preserved in the National Museum, Washington.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--Tipis.]

When dealing with the agents of the Government the Yankton would gather
on the plains around Fort Pierre. Just 20 years after Maximilian's visit
to the upper Missouri a small party passed down the river, and on
October 18, 1853, entered in their journal: "We reached Fort Pierre
about 12 o'clock m.... Two days before our arrival at this place, the
main body of the Yankton Sioux, in number some twenty-five hundred, had
left for the buffalo country. They have been here to receive their
presents from the government. Two more bands are expected in a few
days." (Saxton, (1), p. 267.) And some days later, while continuing down
the Missouri: "The prairies are burning in every direction, and the
smoke is almost stifling."


The Teton, moving westward from their early habitat to the east and
north of the Minnesota, were encountered on the banks of the Missouri by
Captains Lewis and Clark when they ascended the river, during the early
autumn of 1804. On September 26 of that year the expedition reached the
mouth of Teton River (the present Bad River), which enters the Missouri
from the west at Pierre, Stanley County, South Dakota. Here stood the
great village of the Teton, concerning which Sergeant Gass gave a very
interesting account in his journal: "We remained here all day. Capt.
Lewis, myself and some of the men, went over to the Indian camp. Their
lodges are about eighty in number, and contain about ten persons each;
the greater part women and children. The women were employed in dressing
buffaloe skins, for clothing for themselves and for covering their
lodges. They are the most friendly people I ever saw; but will pilfer if
they have an opportunity. They are also very dirty: the water they make
use of, is carried in the paunches of the animals they kill, just as
they are emptied, without being cleaned.... About 3 o'clock we went
aboard the boat accompanied with the old chief and his little son. In
the evening captain Clarke and some of the men went over, and the
Indians made preparations for a dance. At dark it commenced. Captain
Lewis, myself and some of our party went up to see them perform. Their
band of music, or orchestra, was composed of about twelve persons
beating on a buffalo hide, and shaking small bags that made a rattling
noise. They had a large fire in the centre of their camp; on one side
the women, about 80 in number, formed a solid column round the fire,
with sticks in their hands, and the scalps of the Mahas they had killed,
tied on them. They kept moving, or jumping round the fire, rising and
falling on both feet at once; keeping a continual noise, singing and
yelling. In this manner they continued till 1 o'clock at night, when we
returned to the boat with two of the chiefs." (Gass, (1), pp. 45-46.)

In the journal of the expedition is a very full account of the events
which transpired during the two days spent at the Teton camp, but only
part will now be quoted, sufficient to describe the place of meeting:
"Captain Lewis went on shore and remained several hours, and observing
that their disposition was friendly we resolved to remain during the
night to a dance, which they were preparing for us. Captains Lewis and
Clark, who went on shore one after the other, were met on landing by ten
well dressed young men, who took them up in a robe highly decorated and
carried them to a large council house, where they were placed on a
dressed buffaloe skin by the side of the grand chief. The hall or
council-room was in the shape of three quarters of a circle, covered at
the top and sides with skins well dressed and sewed together. Under this
shelter sat about seventy men, forming a circle round the chief, before
whom were placed a Spanish flag and the one we had given them yesterday.
This left a vacant circle of about six feet diameter, in which the pipe
of peace was raised on two forked sticks, about six or eight inches
from the ground, and under it the down of the swan was scattered: a
large fire, in which they were cooking provisions, stood near, and in
the centre about four hundred pounds of excellent buffaloe meat as a
present for us." Then followed several addresses by the chiefs;
offerings of dog meat to the flag "by way of sacrifice," and the smoking
of the pipe of peace. (Lewis and Clark, (1), I, pp. 84-86.) The entire
ceremony proved of the greatest interest. Then followed an account of
the habitations standing in the village: "Their lodges are very neatly
constructed, in the same form as those of the Yanktons; they consist of
about one hundred cabins, made of white buffaloe hide dressed, with a
larger one in the centre for holding councils and dances. They are built
round with poles about fifteen or twenty feet high, covered with white
skins; these lodges may be taken to pieces, packed up, and carried with
the nation wherever they go, by dogs which bear great burdens. The women
are chiefly employed in dressing buffaloe skins: they seem perfectly
well disposed, but are addicted to stealing any thing which they can
take without being observed." (Op. cit., pp. 88-89.)

During the year 1832 George Catlin remained for some time at and near
the mouth of the Teton, where a few years before had been erected a
station of the American Fur Company, which was soon given the name Fort
Pierre. "The country about this Fort is almost entirely prairie,
producing along the banks of the river and streams only, slight
skirtings of timber.... On my way up the river I made a painting of this
lovely spot, taken from the summit of the bluffs, a mile or two distant,
showing an encampment of Sioux, of six hundred tents of skin lodges,
around the Fort, where they had concentrated to make their spring trade;
exchanging their furs and peltries for articles and luxuries of
civilized manufactures." (Catlin, (1), I, p. 209.) And he continued (p.
211): "I mentioned that this is the nucleus or place of concentration of
the numerous tribe of the Sioux, who often congregate here in great
masses to make their trades with the American Fur Company; and that on
my way up the river, some months since, I found here encamped, six
hundred families of Sioux, living in tents covered with buffalo hides.
Amongst these there were twenty or more of the different bands, each one
with their chief at their head, over whom was a _superior chief_ and
leader, a middle-aged man, of middling stature, with a noble
countenance.... The name of this chief is Ha-won-je-tah (the one horn)
of the Mee-ne-cow-e-gee band, who has risen rapidly to the highest
honours in the tribe."

About this time a "grand feast" was prepared by the Indians in honor of
the Indian agent and the several Americans who were then at Fort Pierre,
including Catlin. A sketch of the gathering is shown in plate 23, _a_,
after the illustration in Catlin's narrative, but it may be of interest
to know that the original painting is now in the National Museum,
Washington. Describing this scene, Catlin wrote:

"The two chiefs, Ha-wan-je-tah and Tchan-dee ... brought their two tents
together, forming the two into a semi-circle, enclosing a space
sufficiently large to accommodate 150 men; and sat down with that number
of the principal chiefs and warriors of the Sioux nation." The several
Americans were "placed on elevated seats in the centre of the crescent;
while the rest of the company all sat upon the ground, and mostly
cross-legged, preparatory to the feast being dealt out. In the centre of
the semi-circle was erected a flag-staff, on which was waving a white
flag, and to which also was tied the calumet, both expressive of their
friendly feelings towards us. Near the foot of the flag-staff were
placed in a row on the ground, six or eight kettles, with iron covers on
them, shutting them tight, in which were prepared the viands for our
_voluptuous_ feast. Near the kettles, and on the ground also, bottomside
upwards, were a number of wooden bowls, in which the meat was to be
served out. And in front, two or three men, who were there placed as
waiters, to light the pipes for smoking, and also to deal out the food."
(Op. cit., p. 228.) The account of the ceremony which soon followed
proves the gathering to have been one of much interest, and to the
Indians one of great moment. The arrangement of the two large tipis so
as to form a single shelter recalls the site of the gathering near the
shore of Lake Traverse only a few years before. It is to be regretted
that Catlin did not leave a more detailed description of the appearance
of the great encampment as it was at the time of his visit, but he
devoted much of his time to painting portraits of the Indians, of which
he prepared a large number.

Although Catlin found representatives of many bands of Sioux gathered
about on the plain surrounding Fort Pierre, nevertheless the
comparatively permanent village of the Teton was near the mouth of the
stream of that name. Maximilian, who ascended the Missouri during the
spring of 1833, arrived at Fort Pierre late in May, and in his journal
said: "The Sioux, who live on Teton River, near Fort Pierre, are mostly
of the branch of the Tetons; though there are some Yanktons here."
(Maximilian, (1), p. 150.) He elsewhere mentioned that "the tents are
generally composed of fourteen skins," therefore consider the great
number of buffalo required to furnish coverings for the lodges mentioned
by Catlin. Maximilian wrote on May 30, 1833, near Fort Pierre: "Round an
isolated tree in the prairie I observed a circle of holes in the ground,
in which thick poles had stood. A number of buffalo skulls were piled up
there; and we were told that this was a medicine, or charm, contrived
by the Indians in order to entice the herds of buffaloes. Everywhere in
the plain we saw circles of clods of earth, with a small circular ditch,
where the tents of many Indians had stood." (Op. cit., p. 157.) These
were evidently the remains of the encampment seen by Catlin the
preceding year.

A sketch of Fort Pierre as it appeared July 4, 1851, is given in plate
23, _b_. This was the work of the young Swiss artist, Friedrich Kurz,
and is now reproduced for the first time. The small groups of Indians,
the tipis standing near the fort, and the rolling prairie in the
distance are all graphically shown.

The several divisions of the Teton performed the sun dance, at which
time a large ceremonial lodge would be erected, which stood alone in the
camp circle, formed of the numerous skin tipis. The lodge as reared at
different times and by the various tribes varied in form and method of
construction, but it seems to have been the custom of all the tribes to
abandon the structure at the termination of the ceremonies. It was
regarded as a sacred place and one not to be destroyed by man. Large
structures of this sort were often encountered by parties traversing the
plains and adjacent regions, and one, probably erected by a tribe of the
Teton, was discovered by the Raynolds party, July 16, 1859, in the
extreme eastern part of the present Crook County, Wyoming. In the
journal of the expedition it was written on that day, "We have not yet
met any Indians, nor any indications of their recent presence. The site
of our camp is, however, marked by the remains of an immense Indian
lodge, the frame of which consists of large poles, over thirty feet in
length. Close by is also a high post, around which a perfect circle of
buffalo skulls has been arranged." (Raynolds, (1), p. 31.) This may have
been used during the preceding year, at which time the skin tipis of the
people enacting the sacred ceremonies were pitched in the form of a
circle with the great lodge standing in the center. But with the
completion of the annual dance the participants removed, with their skin
tipis, to other localities, allowing the sacred structure to be
destroyed by the elements.


Of the early history of this, the principal division of the Teton,
nothing is known. During the first years of the last century they were
discovered by Lewis and Clark on the banks of the upper Missouri, south
of the Cheyenne River, in the present Stanley County, South Dakota. They
hunted and roamed over a wide region, and by the middle of the century
occupied the country between the Forks of the Platte and beyond to the
Black Hills. While living on the banks of the Missouri their villages
undoubtedly resembled the skin-covered tipi settlements of the other
kindred tribes, and later, when they had pushed farther into the prairie
country, there was probably no change in the appearance of their
structures. A very interesting account of the villages of this tribe,
with reference to their ways of life, after they had arrived on the
banks of the Platte, is to be found in the narrative of Stansbury's
expedition, during the years 1849 and 1850.

July 2, 1849, the expedition crossed the South Fork of the Platte,
evidently at some point in the western part of the present Keith County,
Nebraska, and on the following day "crossed the ridge between the North
and South Forks of the Platte, a distance of eighteen and a half miles."
On July 5 the expedition began moving up the right bank of the North
Fork, and after advancing 23 miles encamped on the bank of the river.
They had arrived in the region dominated by the Oglala. "Just above us,
was a village of Sioux, consisting of ten lodges. They were accompanied
by Mr. Badeau, a trader; and having been driven from the South Fork by
the cholera, had fled to the emigrant-road, in the hope of obtaining
medical aid from the whites. As soon as it was dark, the chief and a
dozen of the braves of the village came and sat down in a semicircle
around the front of my tent, and, by means of an interpreter, informed
me that they would be very glad of a little coffee, sugar, or biscuit. I
gave them what we could spare." This particular band had not suffered
very severely from the ailment, but were greatly heartened to receive
medicines from the doctor, or "medicine-man," of the expedition, and
when they returned to their village "the sound of the drum and the song,
expressive of the revival of hope, which had almost departed, resounded
from the 'medicine lodge,' and continued until a late hour of the
night." (Stansbury, (1), pp. 44-45.) During this visit some of the
Indians told of a larger camp about 2 miles distant, where many were ill
with the dreaded malady.

The following morning, July 6, 1849, the expedition resumed its advance
up the valley, and soon reached the "upper village," of which an
interesting account is given in the journal. It "contained about two
hundred and fifty souls. They were in the act of breaking up their
encampment, being obliged to move farther up the river to obtain fresh
grass for their animals. A more curious, animated, and novel scene I
never witnessed. Squaws, papooses, dogs, puppies, mules, and ponies, all
in busy motion, while the lordly, lazy men lounged about with an air of
listless indifference, too proud to render the slightest aid to their
faithful drudges. Before the lodge of each brave was erected a tripod of
thin slender poles about ten feet in length, upon which was suspended
his round white shield, with some device painted upon it, his spear, and
a buckskin sack containing his 'medicine' bag.... We continued our
journey, accompanied for several miles by the people of both villages.
The whole scene was unique in the highest degree. The road was strewn
for miles with the most motley assemblage I ever beheld, each lodge
moving off from the village as soon as its inhabitants were ready,
without waiting for the others. The means of transportation were horses,
mules, and dogs. Four or five lodge-poles are fastened on each side of
the animal, the ends of which trail on the ground behind, like the
shafts of a truck or dray. On these, behind the horse, is fastened a
light framework, the outside of which consists of a strong hoop bent
into an oval form, and interlaced with a sort of network of rawhide.
Most of these are surmounted by a light wicker canopy, very like our
covers for children's wagons, except that it extends the whole length
and is open only at one side. Over the canopy is spread a blanket,
shawl, or buffalo-robe, so as to form a protection from the sun or rain.
Upon this light but strong trellice-work, they place the lighter
articles, such as clothing, robes, &c., and then pack away among these
their puppies and papooses, (of both which they seem to have a goodly
number;) the women, when tired of walking, get upon them to rest and
take care of their babies.... The dogs also are made to perform an
important part in this shifting of quarters. Two short, light
lodge-poles are fastened together at the small end, and made to rest at
the angle upon the animal's back, the other end of course, trailing upon
the ground. Over his shoulders is placed a sort of pad, or small saddle,
the girth of which fastens the poles to his sides, and connects with a
little collar or breast-strap. Behind the dog, a small platform or frame
is fastened to the poles, similar to that used for the horses, upon
which are placed lighter articles, generally puppies, which are
considered quite valuable, being raised for beasts of burden as well as
for food and the chase.... The whole duty of taking down and putting up
the lodges, packing up, loading the horses, arranging the lodge-poles,
and leading or driving the animals, devolves upon the squaws, while the
men stalk along at their leisure; even the boys of larger growth deeming
it beneath their dignity to lighten the toils of their own mothers."
(Op. cit., pp. 45-47.)

From the preceding account of the movement of a village of the Oglala it
is quite apparent they did not advance in the orderly manner followed by
the Pawnee, as described by Murray in 1835, but the dreaded illness from
which many were then suffering may have caused the rather demoralized
condition of the band. The travois as used at that time was similar to
the example shown in plate 14, although the latter was in use by the
Cheyenne a generation later. But the frame was not always utilized, and
often the tipi, folded and rolled, with other possessions of the family,
rested upon the poles or upon the back of the horse.

Horses thus laden, and with trailing poles on either side, left a very
distinctive trail as they crossed the prairie, and as described: "The
trail of the Plain Indians consists usually of three paths, close
together, yet at fixed distances apart. They are produced as follows:
The framework of their lodges or tents are made of long poles which, on
a journey, are tied to each side of a pony, and allowed to trail upon
the ground. The result is that a long string of ponies, thus laden and
following each other, will wear a triple path--the central one being
caused by the tread of the ponies, the two outer by the trailing of the
lodge-poles." (Bell, (1), pp. 25-26.) An illustration of a horse so
loaded is given on page 26 and is here reproduced as figure 3. It bears
the legend "Sioux Indian Lodges or Tents; one packed for a journey, the
other standing," and, although crude, conveys a clear conception of the

[Illustration: FIG. 3.--Horse travois.]

To continue the narrative of the Stansbury expedition. The party
advanced up the river and pursued their journey to the Great Salt Lake
and there wintered. The following year they returned to the east and on
September 21, 1850, reached the left bank of the North Fork of the
Platte, at a point near the center of the present Carbon County,
Wyoming. Describing the site of their encampment that night, near the
bank of the Platte: "The place we now occupy has long been a favorite
camp-ground for the numerous war-parties which annually meet in this
region to hunt buffalo and one another. Remains of old Indian stockades
are met with scattered about among the thickets; and the guide informed
us, that four years since there were at one and the same time, upon this
one bottom, fifteen or twenty of these forts, constructed by different
tribes. Most of them have since been destroyed by fire. As this was the
season of the year when we might expect to find them upon their
expeditions, we were on the _qui vive_, lest we should be surprised."
They remained in camp the following day, Sunday, and that evening
entered in the journal: "Several herds of buffalo were seen during the

The morning of the 23d was warm and cloudy, and the party soon after
leaving their camp forded the river "on a ripple, with a depth of
eighteen inches." The water was clear, with a pebbly bottom. That this
location was frequented by Indians was again indicated by the discovery
of another great group of "forts," as told in the narrative:
"Immediately above where we crossed, were about twenty Indian forts, or
lodges constructed of logs set up endwise, somewhat in the form of an
ordinary skin lodge, which had been erected among the timber by
different war-parties: they appeared to be very strong, and were
ball-proof." (Stansbury, (1), pp. 243-246.) These strongly constructed
lodges will at once recall the rather similar structures which stood at
some of the Siouan villages, on the Mississippi below the mouth of the
Minnesota, during the early years of the last century.

On September 27, when about midway across the present Albany County,
Wyoming, the expedition encountered a large number of Indians belonging
to a village a short distance beyond. These proved to be the Oglala, and
during the following day the village was visited by Stansbury, who wrote
in the journal: "This village was the largest and by far the
best-looking of any I had ever seen. It consisted of nearly one hundred
lodges, most of which were entirely new, pitched upon the level prairie
which borders on the verdant banks of the Laramie. No regular order
seemed to be observed in their position, but each builder appeared to
have selected the site for his habitation according to his own fancy.

"We rode at once to the lodge of the chief, which was painted in broad
horizontal stripes of alternate black and white, and, on the side
opposite to the entrance, was ornamented with large black crosses on a
white ground. We found the old fellow sitting on the floor of his lodge,
and his squaw busily engaged over a few coals, endeavouring to fry, or
rather boil, in a pan nearly filled with grease, some very
suspicious-looking lumps of dough, made doubtless from the flour they
had received from us yesterday.... After some further conversation,
another chief, named the 'Iron Heart,' rose up and invited us to a
feast at his lodge: we accordingly accompanied him, and found him
occupying the largest and most complete structure in the village,
although I was assured that the Sioux frequently make them much larger.
It was intended to be used whenever required, for the accommodation of
any casual trader that might come among them for the purpose of traffic,
and was accordingly called 'The Trader's Lodge.' It was made of
twenty-six buffalo-hides, perfectly new, and white as snow, which, being
sewed together without a wrinkle, were stretched over twenty-four new
poles, and formed a conical tent of thirty feet diameter upon the
ground, and thirty-five feet in height." This must have been a
magnificent example of the tipi of the plains tribes, and is one of the
largest of which any record has been preserved.

Moving in a southeastwardly direction from the great village, they
passed many mounted Indians killing buffalo, and later in the day passed
another Oglala village of some 50 lodges, moving southward. The surface
of the prairie for many miles was strewn with the remains of buffalo,
which had been killed by the Indians and from which only choice pieces
had been removed. (Op. cit., pp. 254-257.) They were now ascending the
western slopes of the Black Hills, and approaching the region dominated
by the Cheyenne, and two days later, September 29, 1850, were a short
distance south of a village of the latter tribe.

The region just mentioned, the southeastern part of Wyoming, was
traversed by a missionary who, July 24, 1835, encountered a party of 30
or 40 mounted Indians. "They were Ogallallahs, headed by eight of their
chiefs, clad in their war habiliments, and presenting somewhat of a
terrific appearance.... They told us their whole village was only a few
hours' travel ahead of us, going to the Black Hills for the purpose of
trading." Late the following day the party overtook the Indians,
"consisting of more than two thousand persons. These villages are not
stationary, but move from place to place, as inclination or convenience
may dictate. Their lodges are comfortable, and easily transported. They
are constructed of eight or ten poles about eighteen feet long, set up
in a circular form, the small ends fastened together, making an apex,
and the large ends are spread out so as to enclose an area of about
twenty feet in diameter. The whole is covered with their coarse skins,
which are elk, or buffalo, taken when they are not good for robes. A
fire is made in the centre, a hole being left in the top of the lodge
for the smoke to pass out. All that they have for household furniture,
clothing, and skins for beds, is deposited around according to their
ideas of propriety and convenience. Generally not more than one family
occupies a lodge." (Parker, (1), pp. 66-67.)

Fort Laramie was reached by the Stansbury expedition on July 12, 1849,
after advancing about 100 miles beyond the Oglala villages passed six
days before. The fort stood on the emigrant road, and was likewise a
great gathering place of the neighboring Indians. An interesting account
of the visit of a party of emigrants just four years before is
preserved: "Our camp is stationary to-day; part of the emigrants are
shoeing their horses and oxen; others are trading at the fort and with
the Indians.... In the afternoon we gave the Indians a feast, and held a
long _talk_ with them. Each family, as they could best spare it,
contributed a portion of bread, meat, coffee or sugar, which being
cooked, a table was set by spreading buffalo skins upon the ground, and
arranging the provisions upon them. Around this attractive board, the
Indian chiefs and their principal men seated themselves, occupying one
fourth of the circle; the remainder of the male Indians made out the
semi-circle; the rest of the circle was completed by the whites. The
squaws and younger Indians formed an outer semi-circular row immediately
behind their dusky lords and fathers." (Palmer, (1), pp. 25-26.) This
was June 25, 1845, and the account of the gathering of emigrants and
Indians is followed by a brief description of the fort itself which is
of equal interest; "Here are two forts. Fort Laramie, situated upon the
west side of Laramie's fork, two miles from Platte river, belongs to the
North American Fur Company. The fort is built of _adobes_. The walls are
about two feet thick, and twelve or fourteen feet high, the tops being
picketed or spiked. Posts are planted in these walls, and support the
timber for the roof. They are then covered with mud. In the centre is an
open square, perhaps twenty-five yards each way, along the sides of
which are ranged the dwellings, store rooms, smith shop, carpenter's
shop, offices, &c., all fronting upon the inner area. There are two
principal entrances; one at the north, the other at the south." (Op.
cit., pp. 27-28.) Outside the fort proper, on the eastern side, stood
the stables, and a short distance away was a field of about 4 acres
where corn was planted, "by way of experiment." About 1 mile distant was
a similar though smaller structure called Fort John. It was then owned
and occupied by a company from St. Louis, but a few months later it was
purchased by the North American Fur Company and destroyed. Such were the
typical "forts," on and beyond the frontier during the past century.

The Indians would gather about the fort, their skin tipis standing in
clusters over the surrounding prairie. Such groups are shown in plate
24, _a_, _b_. These two very interesting photographs were made during
the visit of the Indian Peace Commission to Fort Laramie in 1868, and it
is highly probable the tipis shown in the pictures were occupied by
some of the Indians with whom the commissioners treated.

The Black Hills lay north and west of the region then occupied by the
Oglala, and although it is known that the broken country was often
visited and frequented by parties of Indians in quest of poles for their
tipis, yet it seems doubtful if any permanent settlements ever stood
within the region. Dodge, in discussing this question, said:

"My opinion is, that the Black Hills have never been a permanent home
for any Indians. Even now small parties go a little way into the Hills
to cut spruce lodge-poles, but all the signs indicate that these are
mere sojourns of the most temporary character.

"The 'teepe,' or lodge, may be regarded as the Indian's house, the
wickup as his tent. One is his permanent residence, the other the
make-shift shelter for a night. Except in one single spot, near the head
of Castle Creek, I saw nowhere any evidence whatever of a lodge having
been set up, while old wickups were not unfrequent in the edge of the
Hills. There is not one single teepe or lodge-pole trail, from side to
side of the Hills, in any direction, and these poles, when dragged in
the usual way by ponies, soon make a trail as difficult to obliterate as
a wagon road, visible for many years, even though not used." (Dodge,
(1), pp. 136-137.)

Col. R. I. Dodge, from whose work the preceding quotation has been made,
was in command of the military escort which formed part of the
expedition into the Black Hills during the summer of 1875. The traces of
the lodges which had stood near the head of Castle Creek, as mentioned
in 1875, undoubtedly marked the position of the small encampment
encountered by the Ludlow party the previous year. In the journal of
that expedition, dated July 26, 1874, is to be found this brief mention:
"In the afternoon occurred the first rencontre with Indians. A village
of seven lodges, containing twenty-seven souls, was found in the valley.
The men were away peacefully engaged in hunting; the squaws in camp
drying meat, cooking, and other camp avocations. Red Cloud's daughter
was the wife of the head-man, whose name was One Stab. General Custer
was desirous they should remain and introduce us to the hills, but the
presence among our scouts of a party of Rees, with whom the Sioux wage
constant war, rendered them very uneasy, and toward night-fall,
abandoning their camp, they made the escape. Old One Stab was at
headquarters when the flight was discovered, and retained both as guide
and hostage.... The high limestone ridges surrounding the camp had
weathered into castellated forms of considerable grandeur and beauty and
suggested the name of Castle Valley." (Ludlow, (1), p. 13.) Red Cloud,
whose daughter is mentioned above, was one of the greatest chiefs and
warriors of the Oglala; born in 1822 near the forks of the Platte, and
lived until December, 1909.

Although there may never have been any large permanent camps within the
Black Hills district, nevertheless it is quite evident the region was
frequented and traversed by bands of Indians, who left well-defined
trails. Such were discovered by an expedition in 1875, and after
referring to small trees which had been bent down by the weight of snow
the narrative continued: "The snow must be sometimes deep enough to hide
trails and landmarks, as the main Indian trails leading through the
Hills were marked by stones placed in the forks of the trees or by one
or more sets of blazes, the oldest almost overgrown by the bark."
(Newton and Jenney, (1), p. 302.) And in the same work (p. 323), when
treating of the timber of the Hills, it was said: "The small slender
spruce-trees are much sought after by the Indians, who visit the Hills
in the spring for the purpose of procuring them for lodge-poles."

In another work Dodge described the customs of the tribes with whom he
had been in close contact for many years. The book is illustrated with
engravings made from original drawings by the French artist Griset, and
one sketch shows a few Indians, several tipis, and frames from which are
hanging quantities of buffalo meat in the process of being dried.
(Dodge, (2), p. 353.) This suggests the scene at Red Cloud's camp. The
original drawing is now reproduced as plate 1, the frontispiece.


The Assiniboin were, until comparatively recent times, a part of the
Yanktonai, from whom they may have separated while living in the forest
region of the northern section of the present State of Minnesota.
Leaving the parent stock, they joined the Cree, then living to the
northward, with whom they remained in close alliance. Gradually they
moved to the valleys of the Saskatchewan and Assiniboin Rivers and here
were encountered by Alexander Henry in 1775. Interesting though brief
notes on the structures of the Assiniboin as they appeared in 1775 and
1776 are contained in the narrative of Henry's travels through the great
northern country. In 1775, when west of Lake Winnipeg, Henry wrote: "At
eighty leagues above Fort de Bourbon, at the head of a stream which
falls into the Sascatchiwaine, and into which we had turned, we found
the Pasquayah village. It consisted of thirty families, lodged in tents
of a circular form, and composed of dressed ox-skins, stretched upon
poles twelve feet in length, and leaning against a stake driven into the
ground in the centre. On our arrival, the chief, named Chatique, or the
Pelican, came down upon the beach, attended by thirty followers, all
armed with bows and arrows and with spears." (Henry, (1), pp.
256-257.) Fort de Bourbon stood at the northwest corner of Lake
Winnipeg, and the Assiniboin village of Pasquayah was on the present
Carrot River, which flows parallel with the Saskatchewan before joining
the larger stream. This was in the eastern part of the province of

Early the following year Henry made a visit to an Assiniboin village, to
reach which he crossed many miles of the frozen wilderness. He was
accompanied by a party of Indians and the short account of the journey
contains much of interest. They left Fort des Prairies, "built on the
margin of the Pasquayah, or Sascatchiwaine," February 5, 1776, and, as
is recorded in the journal, "At noon, we crossed a small river, called
Moose-river, flowing at the feet of very lofty banks. Moose-river is
said to fall into Lake Dauphin. Beyond this stream, the wood grows still
more scanty, and the land more and more level. Our course was southerly.
The snow lay four feet deep. The Indians travelled swiftly; and, in
keeping pace with them, my companions and myself had too much exercise,
to suffer from the coldness of the atmosphere; but, our snow-shoes being
of a broader make than those of the Indians, we had much fatigue in
following their track. The women led, and we marched till sunset, when
we reached a small coppice of wood, under the protection of which we
encamped. The baggage of the Indians was drawn by dogs, who kept pace
with the women, and appeared to be under their command. As soon as we
halted, the women set up the tents, which were constructed, and covered,
like those of the Cristinaux.

"The tent, in which I slept, contained fourteen persons, each of whom
lay with his feet to the fire, which was in the middle; but, the night
was so cold, that even this precaution, with the assistance of our
_buffalo-robes_ was insufficient to keep us warm. Our supper was made on
the tongues of the wild ox, or buffalo, boiled in my kettle, which was
the only one in the camp."

On the morning of February 7, "I was still asleep, when the women began
their noisy preparations for our march. The striking of the tents, the
tongues of the women, and the cries of the dogs, were all heard at once.
At the first dawn of day, we commenced our journey. Nothing was visible
but the snow and sky; and the snow was drifted into ridges, resembling

"Soon after sunrise, we descried a herd of oxen, extending a mile and a
half in length, and too numerous to be counted. They travelled, not one
after another, as, in the snow, other animals usually do, but, in a
broad phalanx, slowly, and sometimes stopping to feed."

One week was required to reach their destination, and during the morning
of the 12th of February the party arrived at a small wood, in which the
Assiniboin village stood. And "at the entrance of the wood, we were met
by a large band of Indians, having the appearance of a guard; each man
being armed with his bow and spear, and having his quiver filled with
arrows.... Forming themselves in regular file, on either side of us,
they escorted us to the lodge, or tent, which was assigned us. It was of
a circular form, covered with leather, and not less than twenty feet in
diameter. On the ground within, ox-skins were spread, for beds and

Later, the same day of their arrival, they were invited to a feast in
the tent of the chief. An Indian appeared. "We followed him accordingly,
and he carried us to the tent of the great chief, which we found neither
more ornamented, nor better furnished, than the rest." And another feast
followed in the evening, "Every thing was nearly as before, except that
in the morning all the guests were men, and now half were women. All the
women were seated on one side of the floor of the tent, and all the men
on the other, with a fire placed between them."

The village consisted of about 200 tents, "each tent containing from two
to four families." And here "I saw, for the first time, one of those
herds of horses which the Osinipoilles possess in numbers. It was
feeding on the skirts of the plain." (Henry, (1), pp. 275-289.) Such was
a great Assiniboin village nearly a century and a half ago.

The entire village was to return to Fort des Prairies, and so, on the
morning of February 20, 1776, the tents were struck, and "Soon after
sunrise, the march began. In the van were twenty-five soldiers, who were
to beat the path, so that the dogs might walk. They were followed by
about twenty men, apparently in readiness for contingent services; and
after these went the women, each driving one or two, and some, five
loaded dogs. The number of these animals, actually drawing loads,
exceeded five hundred. After the baggage, marched the main body of men,
carrying only their arms. The rear was guarded by about forty soldiers.
The line of march certainly exceeded three miles in length." (Op. cit.,
p. 309.)

It is easy to visualize this great body of Indians passing over the
frozen plain, camping at night under the scant protection of a small
cluster of trees. The hundreds of dogs carrying the skin lodges of the
villages, the men and women moving forward on snowshoes, undoubtedly
stopping to kill buffalo and thus to obtain food for all. An exciting
and animated scene it must have been, but only typical and
characteristic, not unusual.

The preceding description of the movement of an entire village suggests
a passage in the journal of La Verendrye, treating of the same people a
generation earlier. Late in the autumn of 1738 a small party of French,
accompanied by a numerous band of Assiniboin, set out from the village
of the latter to visit the Mandan, who lived many leagues distant. La
Verendrye, the leader of the expedition, wrote: "I observed to M. de la
Marque the good order in which the Assiniboins march to prevent
surprise, marching always on the prairies, the hillsides and valleys
from the first mountain, which did not make them fatigued by mounting
and descending often in their march during the day. There are
magnificent plains of three or four leagues. The march of the
Assiniboins, especially when they are numerous, is in three columns,
having skirmishers in front, with a good rear guard, the old and lame
march in the middle, forming the central column.... If the skirmishers
discovered herds of cattle on the road, as often happens, they raise a
cry which is soon returned by the rear guard, and all the most active
men in the columns join the vanguard to hem in the cattle, of which they
secure a number, and each takes what flesh he wants. Since that stops
the march, the vanguard marks out the encampment which is not to be
passed; the women and dogs carry all the baggage, the men are burdened
only with their arms; they make the dogs even carry wood to make the
fires, being often obliged to encamp in the open prairie, from which the
clumps of wood may be at a great distance." (La Verendrye, (1), p. 13.)

The Assiniboin appear to have possessed a great fondness for visiting
other tribes, and many narratives of journeys in the upper Missouri
Valley contain references to meeting with such parties.

The size of the Assiniboin camps was often mentioned by the early
writers. Thus Tanner wrote: "When we came from the Little Saskawjawun
into the Assinneboin river, we came to the rapids, where was a village
of one hundred and fifty lodges of Assinneboins, and some Crees."
(James, (2), p. 57.) This was a century ago, when the villages retained
their primitive appearance, and so it is to be regretted that no
detailed description was prepared of this large group of skin-covered

The two associated tribes extended their wanderings to the southward,
reaching the Missouri, a large gathering of the allies being encountered
by Lewis and Clark at the Mandan towns in November, 1804. In their
journal, on November 14, appears this entry: "The river rose last night
half an inch, and is now filled with floating ice. This morning was
cloudy with some snow: about seventy lodges of Assiniboins and some
Knistenaux are at the Mandan village, and this being the day of adoption
and exchange of property between them all, it is accompanied by a dance,
which prevents our seeing more than two Indians to-day: these Knistenaux
are a band of Chippeways whose language they speak; they live on the
Assiniboin and Saskashawan rivers, and are about two hundred and forty
men...." And on the following day: "The ceremony of yesterday seem to
continue still, for we were not visited by a single Indian. The swan are
still passing to the south." (Lewis and Clark, (1), I, p. 127.)

As will be recalled, the expedition under command of Lewis and Clark
wintered near the Mandan towns, and on April 7, 1805, proceeded on their
journey up the Missouri. On the 13th of April they arrived at a small
creek which entered the Missouri about 20 miles above the mouth of the
Little Missouri. They ascended the creek and at a distance of about
1-1/2 miles reached a pond "which seemed to have been once the bed of
the Missouri: near this lake were the remains of forty-three temporary
lodges which seem to belong to the Assiniboins, who are now on the river
of the same name." The following day, April 14, 1805, after advancing
about 15 miles beyond the creek entered on the 13th, "we passed timbered
low grounds and a small creek: in these low grounds are several
uninhabited lodges built with the boughs of the elm, and the remains of
two recent encampments, which from the hoops of small kegs found in them
we judged could belong to Assiniboins only, as they are the only
Missouri Indians who use spirituous liquors: of these they are so
passionately fond that it forms their chief inducement to visit the
British on the Assiniboin." (Lewis and Clark, (1), I, pp. 185-186.)

During the days following many Assiniboin camps were discovered.

From these brief statements recorded in 1804 and 1805 it will be
understood that when a large party of the Assiniboin moved, or when on a
visit to another tribe, they carried with them their skin lodges, but
when on a hunting trip they raised temporary shelters of brush and
boughs, and the same custom was undoubtedly followed by war parties.

Evidently the establishment in after years of posts of the American Fur
Company at certain points along the course of the upper Missouri served
to attract bands of the Assiniboin as well as representatives of other
tribes. Several interesting accounts of the arrival of such parties at
Fort Union, near the mouth of the Yellowstone, are preserved. Thus
Maximilian wrote when at the fort, June 29, 1833: "The expected arrival
of more Assiniboins was delayed; they do not willingly travel with their
leather tents in wet weather, because their baggage then becomes very
heavy.... On the 30th of June, at noon, a band of Indians had arrived,
and twenty-five tents were set up near the fort. The women, who were
short, and mostly stout, with faces painted red, soon finished this
work, and dug up with their instruments the clods of turf, which they
lay round the lower part of the hut. One of these tents, the dwelling of
a chief, was distinguished from the rest. It was painted of the colour
of yellow ochre, had a broad reddish-brown border below, and on each of
its sides a large black bear was painted (something of a caricature it
must be confessed), to the head of which, just above the nose, a piece
of red cloth, that fluttered in the wind, was fastened, doubtless a
medicine." Continuing, the narrative recorded the arrival of others.
"Another band of Assiniboins appeared at a distance. To the west, along
the wood by the river-side, the prairie was suddenly covered with red
men, most of whom went singly, with their dogs drawing the loaded
sledges. The warriors, about sixty in number, formed a close column....
The whole column entered the fort, where they smoked, ate, and drank:
and, meantime, forty-two tents were set up. The new camp had a very
pretty appearance; the tents stood in a semicircle, and all the fires
were smoking, while all around was life and activity." (Maximilian, (1),
pp. 202-204.)

A painting of the dwelling of the chief, with a broad border at the
bottom, "and on each of its sides a large black bear," was made by
Bodmer and reproduced by Maximilian. It is here shown in plate 24, _c._
Several interesting details are represented in this graphic sketch. The
dog travois is well shown, both the manner in which a dog appeared when
the frame was attached, and the several pairs of poles with the small
net-covered frames, standing together to the left of the principal tipi.

The preceding quotation from Maximilian is suggestive of an entry in the
journal of the Swiss artist Friedrich Kurz, made some years later. Kurz
wrote while at Fort Union: "October 13, 1851. As we were weighing and
hanging up dried meat, a lot of Assiniboins came to the fort with squaws
and many horse and dog travois. As a whole these trading parties do not
show much of interest, but there are always many details to be picked
up, of great value to a painter." (Bushnell, (3), p. 15.) Kurz remained
at Fort Union until April 19, 1852, when he descended the Missouri to
St. Louis, and thence returned to his native city of Bern. While still
at Fort Union on March 21, 1852, he made the sketch now reproduced in
plate 25, _b_, which bears the legend, "Horse camp of the Assiniboins."
It shows a group of skin-covered lodges in the midst of a grove of
cottonwoods, and evidently the Missouri is in the distance on the right.
At that time (1851-52), according to Kurz, the Assiniboin then living in
the vicinity of Fort Union numbered 420 lodges, with 1,050 men, but
"from 2-3000 Assiniboins live far above, near lake Winnibeg."


[Illustration: _a._ Near Fort Laramie, 1868]

[Illustration: _b._ Near Fort Laramie, 1868]

[Illustration: _c._ "A skin lodge of an Assiniboin chief." Karl Bodmer]


[Illustration: _a._ Assiniboin lodges "formed entirely of pine
branches." Paul Kane, 1848]

[Illustration: _b._ "Horse camp of the Assiniboins, March 21, 1852."
Friedrich Kurz]


[Illustration: _a._ Tipi of Gi-he-ga, an Omaha chief. Photograph by W.
H. Jackson, 1871]

[Illustration: _b._ Page of Kurz's Sketchbook]



Photograph by W. H. Jackson, 1871]

The Assiniboin living in the far northwest had another and simpler form
of temporary structure, as mentioned by Kane. He wrote, when arriving at
Rocky Mountain Fort, a post of the Hudson's Bay Company, April 21, 1848:
"This fort is beautifully situated on the banks of the Saskatchewan, in
a small prairie, backed by the Rocky Mountains in the distance. In the
vicinity was a camp of Assiniboine lodges, formed entirely of pine
branches." (Kane, (1), p. 408.) The painting made by him showing the fort
and lodges is reproduced in plate 25, _a_.


Five tribes are considered as belonging to this group of the Siouan
linguistic family: Omaha, Ponca, Quapaw, Osage, and Kansa. Distinct from
the Dakota-Assiniboin tribes already mentioned, these undoubtedly some
centuries ago lived in the central and upper Ohio valleys, whence they
moved westward to and beyond the Mississippi. To these tribes may be
attributed the great earthworks of the southern portion of Ohio and the
adjacent regions bordering the Ohio River. To quote from the Handbook:
"Hale and Dorsey concluded from a study of the languages and traditions
that, in the westward migration of the Dhegiha from their seat on Ohio
and Wabash rivers, after the separation, at least as early as 1500, of
the Quapaw, who went down the Mississippi from the mouth of the Ohio,
the Omaha branch moved up the great river, remaining awhile near the
mouth of the Missouri while war and hunting parties explored the country
to the northwest. The Osage remained on Osage River, and the Kansa
continued up the Missouri, while the Omaha, still including the Ponca,
crossed the latter stream and remained for a period in Iowa, ranging as
far as the Pipestone quarry at the present Pipestone, Minnesota."

While living in the heavily timbered valleys reaching to the Ohio the
several tribes now being considered unquestionably occupied villages
consisting of groups of mat-covered lodges of the type erected by the
Osage and Quapaw until the present time. But with the Omaha, Ponca, and
Kansa, it was different, and when they reached the intermediate region,
where forest and prairie joined, they were compelled to adopt a new form
of structure, one suited to the natural environments, and thus they
began to make use of the earth-covered lodge, and the conical skin tipi,
with certain variations in form. The characteristic structures of the
five tribes will now be briefly described, beginning with those of the


When Lewis and Clark ascended the Missouri in 1804 they found the Omaha
village not far from the Missouri, in the present Dakota County,
Nebraska. On the 13th of August the expedition reached the mouth of a
creek entering the right bank of the Missouri. Just beyond they encamped
on a sandbar, "opposite the lower point of a large island." From here
Sergeant Ordway and four men were sent to the Omaha village and returned
the following day. "After crossing a prairie covered with high grass,
they reached the Maha creek, along which they proceeded to its three
forks, which join near the village: they crossed the north branch and
went along the south; the walk was very fatiguing, as they were forced
to break their way through grass, sunflowers, and thistles, all above
ten feet high, and interspersed with wild pea. Five miles from our camp
they reached the position of the ancient Maha village: it had once
consisted of three hundred cabins, but was burnt about four years ago,
soon after the smallpox had destroyed four hundred men, and a proportion
of women and children. On a hill, in the rear of the village, are the
graves of the nation." (Lewis and Clark, (1), I, pp. 44-45.)

Seven years after Lewis and Clark ascended the Missouri the traveler
Bradbury visited the Omaha village standing on or near the site of the
one mentioned in the earlier narrative. May 12, 1811, while away from
the boat and traversing the country in search of botanical specimens, he
arrived on the summit of the bluffs, and, to quote from his journal: "I
had a fine view of the town below. It had a singular appearance; the
framework of the lodges consists of ten or twelve long poles, placed in
the periphery of a circle of about sixteen feet in diameter, and are
inclined towards each other, so as to cross at a little more than half
their length from the bottom; and the tops diverging with the same
angle, exhibit the appearance of one cone inverted on the apex of
another. The lower cone is covered with dressed buffalo skins, sewed
together, and fancifully painted; some with an undulating red or yellow
band of ten or twelve inches in breadth, surrounding the lodge at half
its height; on others, rude figures of horses, buffaloes, or deer were
painted; others again with attempts at the human face, in a circle, as
the moon is sometimes painted; these were not less than four feet in
diameter. I judged there were not fewer than eighty lodges. I did not
remain long on the summit of the bluffs, as I perceived, from the heaps
of earth, some of these recent, that it was a burial ground, and I knew
the veneration they have for the graves of their ancestors." (Bradbury,
(1), pp. 65-67.)

It is interesting to read of the number of decorated lodges then
standing in an Omaha village, but in later years fewer structures were
so ornamented. A typical example of a tipi of half a century ago is
shown in plate 26, _a_, from a photograph made by Jackson in 1871.

According to the best authorities on the Omaha, from whose monographs
much of the following information has been gleaned, the earth lodge and
the skin tipi are the only forms of habitations made use of by the
Omaha in recent generations. The earth lodge resembled those of other
tribes of the upper Missouri, and among the Omaha the work of erecting
such a structure was shared in by both man and woman.

"The marking out of the site and the cutting of the heavy logs were done
by the men. When the location was chosen, a stick was thrust in the spot
where the fireplace was to be, one end of a rawhide rope was fastened to
the stick and a circle 20 to 60 feet in diameter was drawn on the earth
to mark where the wall was to be erected. The sod within the circle was
removed, the ground excavated about a foot in depth, and the earth
thrown around the circle like an embankment. Small crotched posts about
10 feet high were set 8 or 10 feet apart and 1-1/2 feet within the
circle, and on these were laid beams. Outside this frame split posts
were set close together, having one end braced against the bottom of the
bank and the other end leaning against the beams, thus forming a wall of
timber. The opening generally, though not always, faced the east. Midway
between the central fireplace and the wall were planted 4 to 8 large
crotched posts about 10 feet in height, on which heavy beams rested,
these serving to support the roof. This was made of long, slender,
tapering trees stripped of their bark. These were tied at their large
ends with cords (made from the inner bark of the linden) to the beams at
the top of the stockade and at the middle to those resting in the
crotches of the large posts forming the inner circle about the
fireplace. The slender ends were cut so as to form the circular opening
for the smoke, the edges being woven together with elm twine, so as to
be firm. Outside the woodwork of the walls and roof, branches of willow
were laid crosswise and bound tight to each slab and pole. Over the
willows a heavy thatch of coarse grass was arranged so as to shed water.
On the grass was placed a thick coating of sod. The sods were cut to lap
and be laid like shingles. Finally they were tamped with earth and made
impervious to rain. The entrance way, 6 to 10 feet long, projected from
the door and was built in the same manner as the lodge and formed a part
of it. A curtain of skin hung at the inner and one at the outer door of
this entrance way. Much labor was expended on the floor of the lodge.
The loose earth was carefully removed and the ground then tamped. It was
next flooded with water, after which dried grass was spread over it and
set on fire. Then the ground was tamped once again. This wetting and
heating was repeated two or three times, until the floor became hard and
level and could be easily swept and kept clean. Brooms were made of
brush or twigs tied together. Couches were arranged around the wall in
the spaces between the posts of the framework. These were provided with
skins and pillows, and served as seats by day and as beds by night. In
the building of an earth lodge the cutting and putting on of the sods
was always done by women, and as this part of the task had to be
accomplished rapidly to prevent the drying out of the sods, which must
hold well together, kindred helped one another. The erection of this
class of dwelling required considerable labor, hence only the
industrious and thrifty possessed these lodges." (Fletcher and La
Flesche, (1), pp. 97-98.)

Although the earth-covered lodge, as just described, was used in the
permanent villages, nevertheless in the same villages were to have been
seen many of the conical skin tipis. Both types of habitation were
standing at the Omaha village in 1871 when the photograph, now
reproduced in plate 27, was made by W. H. Jackson.

Near each earth lodge, "generally to the left of the entrance, the cache
was built. This consisted of a hole in the ground about 8 feet deep,
rounded at the bottom and sides, provided with a neck just large enough
to admit the body of a person. The whole was lined with split posts, to
which was tied an inner lining of bunches of dried grass. The opening
was protected by grass, over which sod was placed. In these caches the
winter supply of food was stored; the shelled corn was put into skin
bags, long strings of corn on the cob were made by braiding the outer
husks, while the jerked meat was packed in parfleche cases. Pelts,
regalia, and extra clothing were generally kept in the cache; but these
were laid in ornamented parfleche cases, never used but for this
purpose." (Op. cit., p. 98.)


[Illustration: _a._ Page of Kurz's Sketchbook showing Omaha village, May
20, 1851]

[Illustration: _b._ Page of Kurz's Sketchbook showing interior of an
Omaha lodge, May 16, 1851]



Karl Bodmer, 1833]

On pages 95 and 96 of the work just cited appears a very interesting
description of the making and raising of a skin tipi. "Formerly the
cover was made of 9 to 12 buffalo skins tanned on both sides. To cut and
sew this cover so that it would fit well and be shapely when stretched
over the circular framework of poles required skilful workmanship, the
result of training and of accurate measurements.... The tent poles were
14 to 16 feet long. Straight young cedar poles were preferred. The bark
was removed and the poles were rubbed smooth. The setting up of a tent
was always a woman's task. She first took four poles, laid them together
on the ground, and then tied them firmly with a thong about 3 feet from
one end. She then raised the poles and spread their free ends apart and
thrust them firmly into the ground. These four tied poles formed the
true framework of the tent. Other poles--10 to 20 in number, according
to the size of the tent--were arranged in a circle, one end pressed well
into the ground, the other end laid in the forks made by the tied ends
of the four poles. There was a definite order in setting up the poles so
that they would lock one another, and when they were all in place they
constituted an elastic but firm frame, which could resist a fairly
heavy wind." There was probably very little variation in the ways and
customs of the different members of the tribe, and the tents of an
entire village would have been raised after the same, long-established
manner. But the structures in an Omaha village did not surround an open
space, "nor were they set so the people could live in the order of their
gentes, an order observed when they were on the hunt and during their
tribal ceremonies. Yet each family knew to what gens it belonged,
observed its rites, and obeyed strictly the rule of exogamy. To the
outward appearance a village presented a motley group of tribesmen. The
dwellings and their different corrals were huddled together; the
passageways between the lodges were narrow and tortuous. There was
little of the picturesque. The grass and weeds that grew over the earth
lodges while the people were off on their summer buffalo hunt were all
cut away when the tribe returned. So, except for the decorations on the
skin tents, there was nothing to relieve the dun-colored aspect." (Op.
cit., p. 99.) Such was the appearance of an Omaha village in the valley
of the Missouri.

In 1847 the Omaha erected a village on the banks of Papillon Creek, near
the line between Sarpy and Douglas Counties, Nebraska. Four years later
it was visited by Kurz during his journey up the Missouri. Kurz was
camped near Council Bluffs, on the left bank of the Missouri. Opposite
was Bellevue, the trading post of Peter A. Sarpy, and while at the
latter place, May 16, 1851, Kurz entered in his journal: "In Bellevue I
have drawn an Indian winter house made of earth, and also a Pawnee
girl." And on May 20 he wrote: "Again crossed the river to Bellevue in
order to visit the Omaha village some six miles distant; went over the
bluffs, as being the shortest way, then crossed the high prairie ... to
the _Papillon_ creek which partly surrounds the village of the Omahas.
The village itself is built on a hill.... The camp or village is
composed of leather tents and earth-covered lodges. Between the tents
and lodges are scaffolds for drying meat and also an enclosure for the
horses.... I walked into the village and watched a group of young men
endeavoring to throw lances through rolling rings, the others being
gathered on top the earth lodges, [pl. 26, _b_] as spectators."
(Bushnell, (3), p. 11.) Sketches made by Kurz at that time are
reproduced in plate 28. The interior of an earth lodge, drawn at
Bellevue May 16, 1851, is shown in _b_; the couches extending along the
wall are clearly indicated, also the fireplace in the center of the
lodge, over which is hanging a hook for the suspension of a kettle. The
village, which stood on the banks of Papillion Creek, is shown in the
lower part of _a_, of the same plate. Both forms of dwellings are
represented in the sketch; also the scaffolds for drying meat and other
purposes, and several inclosures in which their horses were confined.

On June 12 Kurz attended a sacred dance performed for the benefit of a
wounded man. He referred to it in his journal as being given by the
Buffalo Society, where all wore buffalo masks. It was held in a large
earth lodge, and he was accompanied by the chief, Joseph La Flesche.

The site of the small village mentioned by Kurz was identified a few
years ago by Gilder, and some of the ruins were examined. It stood in
the forks of the Papillion, about 4 miles in a direct line west of the
Missouri. To quote from the brief narrative: "It was here the Omaha
lived last before going on a reservation, and where they were visited by
the Swiss artist, Kurz.... It was found that the ruins were quite
shallow and had left but slight depressions, while others left small
circular mounds above the surrounding level. The Rock Island Railroad
has cut through the village, and at least one cache was exposed from top
to bottom--about fifteen feet. In all instances the caches were outside
the lodge sites.

"The surface yielded fractured iron pots, delft or figured china of
white man's manufacture, and rusty iron objects, besides flint scrapers
and chips, potsherds, and the usual accumulations of a village prior to
contact with white people. The writer cannot attribute the flint
implements to the Omaha, but considers the favorable site on a plateau
at the junction of two streams to have been used by another people long
before the Omaha erected their lodges there." (Gilder, (1), p. 75.)

Innumerable ruins of earth lodges were to have been found in the
vicinity of the present city of Omaha, the great majority of which stood
in early days before the arrival of Europeans in the valley of the
Missouri, and it is not possible to say by which tribe the villages were
erected. Many large ruins were discovered on Childs Point, in the
extreme northeastern corner of Sarpy County, just south of Omaha, and
some 4 miles northeast of the small village visited by Kurz. Some of the
ruins were carefully examined by Gilder. One, which appears to have been
considered as possessing the typical characteristics of the group, was
described by Gilder, who wrote: "In all house ruins similar to the one
here described, the main fireplace, four or five feet in diameter, is
situated near the exact center. From this fireplace the floor extends,
nearly flat, to within ten feet of the extreme outer edge or periphery
of the ruin. Here a platform, or step, twelve to fourteen inches high
and almost vertical, rose from the floor and sloped rather sharply to
the outer rim.... Around the line of the inner circumference of the
platform, at distances of approximately five feet, the remains of posts
six or seven inches in diameter were discovered. These were either in
the form of charcoal or of wood dust. Sometimes bowlders lay about the
remains of the posts, as if designed to aid in holding them in position.
The grain of the charcoal posts indicated the wood to have been oak.
About the posts, under the floor, and also under the platform, objects
were more numerous than at other points in the ruin. The charred remains
of four posts about eight feet apart surrounded the central fireplace.
There were two features of house construction that stand out
conspicuously: (1) the floor was approximately six to eight feet lower
than the level of the surrounding ridge; (2) the angle at which the
slabs, logs, or paling probably leaned inward from the periphery seems
to indicate the highest part of the roof at about the same distance
above the surrounding level as the floor was below, making the highest
part of the roof about fifteen feet above the fireplace in the center of
the dwelling.... Little besides broken flint instruments, flint chips,
shells, potsherds, and fractured drift bowlders were found upon the
floor itself; the major number of objects was beneath the floor surface,
very often covered with bowlders, as if the latter had been placed to
mark the spot. Small fireplaces were of frequent occurrence on all parts
of the floor.

"Three caches were found in the first ruin.... In one, fifteen feet west
of the center of the dwelling were found flint blades, a score of Unio
shells, a mano or muller made from a rounded drift bowlder ... and a
pottery pipe in form of a soaring bird.... The bottom of this cache was
six feet from the surface. The second cache lay at the southeastern side
of the ruin. Its bottom was eight feet from the surface of the ground.
It contained thirty shells, several large flint blades, other large
flint implements of unknown use ... animal bones, projectile points, and
a small piece of galena. The third cache, in the northeastern part of
the ruin, was the largest and deepest of the three, its bottom being
nine feet and a half from the surface. On a small shelf, or niche, at
its eastern side, two feet from the bottom, lay, a small image of a
human face carved from pink soapstone, a number of animal bones and
skulls, fish bones and scales, and Unio shells.

"So many and varied were the objects found in the ruin, so abundant the
charred sticks and grasses, that the impression is conveyed that the
dwelling had been abandoned in haste and that it had burned to the
ground." (Gilder, (1), pp. 58-61.) The objects discovered in this
ancient ruin were truly varied, as the discoverer remarked, and likewise
of the greatest interest, including specimens of stone, bone, and
pottery, with bones of animals which had probably served as food. But
how interesting it would be to know the date of the construction of this
large lodge, and the tribe to which its occupants belonged--questions
which may never be determined. However, it unquestionably belonged to
people of a tribe who reared and occupied similar structures in the
valley of the Missouri as late as the latter half of the nineteenth

Other quite similar ruins a short distance north of the city of Omaha
were examined by Gilder. Many objects of bone, stone, and pottery were
discovered. Caches were encountered, and to quote from his account of
the work: "The caches within the house sites are smaller in diameter
near the top than at the bottom, the latter part flaring out somewhat in
the manner of a large earthen pot. The bottom of the caches are rounded,
and the walls are almost as hard as fired clay. In the very bottom of
each cache was a quantity of dust, or earth as fine as dust (not compact
as at other points), in which were found small arrowpoints, flint
blades, shell beads, and flint flakes. In each case where the cache was
found within the house circle it occurred close under the western wall,
back of the fireplace and exactly opposite the entrance to the lodge,
the latter in every instance facing the east." (Gilder, (2), p. 716.)

Before closing this brief sketch of the Omaha villages and forms of
structures, it will be of interest to quote from the writings of one who
was intimately acquainted with the people of whom he wrote. Referring to
their various types of habitations, he says:

"The primitive domiciles of the Omaha were chiefly (1) lodges of earth
or, more rarely, of bark or mats, and (2) skin lodges or tents. It may
be observed that there were no sacred rites connected with the earth
lodge-building or tent-making among the Omaha and Ponka. When earth
lodges were built, the people did not make them in a tribal circle, each
man erecting his lodge where he wished; yet kindred commonly built near
one another. The earth lodges were made by the women, and were intended
principally for summer use, when the people were not migrating or going
on the hunt.... Earth lodges were generally used for large gatherings,
such as feasts, councils, or dances.... On a bluff near the Omaha agency
I found the remains of several ancient earth lodges, with entrances on
the southern sides. Two of these were 75 feet and one was 100 feet in
diameter. In the center of the largest there was a hollow about 3 feet
deep and nearly 4 feet below the surface outside the lodge.

"The Omaha sometimes make bark lodges for summer occupancy, as did the
Iowa and Sak." (Dorsey, (1), pp. 269-271.)

Referring to the more temporary structure, the skin tipi: "The tent was
used when the people were migrating, and also when they were traveling
in search of the buffalo. It was also the favorite abode of a household
during the winter season, as the earth lodge was generally erected in an
exposed situation, selected on account of comfort in the summer. The
tent could be pitched in the timber or brush, or down in wooded ravines,
where the cold winds never had full sweep. Hence, many Indians abandoned
their houses in winter and went into their tents, even when they were of

"The tent was commonly made of ten or a dozen dressed or tanned buffalo
skins. It was in the shape of a sugar loaf, and was from 10 to 12 feet
high, 10 or 15 feet in diameter at the bottom, and about a foot and a
half in diameter at the top, which served as a smoke-hole.... No totem
posts were in use among the Omaha. The tent of the principal man of each
gens was decorated on the outside with his gentile badge, which was
painted on each side of the entrance as well as on the back of the
tent." (Op. cit., pp. 271-274.)

In an earlier work, "A Study of Siouan Cults," Dr. Dorsey showed the
varied designs on ceremonial tipis of the different Siouan tribes. Among
other interesting illustrations are pictures of lodges erected at the
time of the Sun dance, with the great camp circle as formed at that
time. (Dorsey, (2).)

A clear insight into the ways of life of the primitive Omaha of a
century ago, before their native manners and customs had been changed
through influence with the whites, may be obtained from the narrative of
the Long expedition. A great part of the recorded information was
imparted by John Dougherty, at that time deputy Indian agent for the
tribes of the Missouri.

In 1819 and 1820, the period of the narrative, the permanent village of
the tribe stood on the banks of Omaha Creek, about 2-1/2 miles from the
right bank of the Missouri, in the present Dakota County, Nebraska. As
told on preceding pages, this was the large, permanent village of the
tribe, but nevertheless it was occupied for less than half the year, and
as related by Dougherty: "The inhabitants occupy their village not
longer than five months in the year. In April they arrive from their
hunting excursions, and in the month of May they attend to their
horticultural interests, and plant maize, beans, pumpkins, and
watermelons, besides which they cultivate no other vegetable. They also,
at this season, dress the bison skins, which have been procured during
the winter hunt, for the traders, who generally appear for the purpose
of obtaining them. The young men, in the mean time, are employed in
hunting within the distance of seventy or eighty miles around, for
beaver, otter, deer, muskrat, elk, &c.

"When the trading and planting occupations of the people are terminated,
and provisions begin to fail them, which occurs generally in June, the
chiefs assemble a council for the purpose of deliberating upon the
further arrangements necessary to be made...." A feast is prepared, and
all gather to determine where and when the next hunt shall take place.
These important questions being settled, all are in readiness, and "The
day assigned for their departure having arrived, the squaws load their
horses and dogs, and take as great a weight upon their own backs, as
they can conveniently transport, and, after having closed the entrances
to their several habitations, by placing a considerable quantity of
brushwood before them, the whole nation departs from the village." And
thus they continue to move until word is brought that herds of buffalo
are near, then they encamp at the nearest watercourse. The skin lodges,
having been conveyed by means of the travois, are soon set up, to be
occupied during the period of the hunt. These "are often fancifully
ornamented on the exterior, with figures, in blue and red paint, rudely
executed, though sometimes depicted with no small degree of taste." The
buffalo skins obtained during the summer hunt were known as _summer
skins_, and were used especially for the covering of their lodges and
also for their garments. After a successful hunt all parts of the
buffalo were carried to the camp and the vertebrae were crushed "by
means of stone axes, similar to those which are not unfrequently
ploughed up out of the earth in the Atlantic states."

After the summer hunt "The nation return towards their village in the
month of August, having visited for a short time the Pawnee villages for
the purpose of trading their guns for horses. They are sometimes so
successful, in their expedition, in the accumulation of meat, as to be
obliged to make double trips, returning about mid-day for half the whole
quantity, which was left in the morning. When within two or three days
journey of their own village, runners are dispatched to it, charged with
the duty of ascertaining the safety of it, and the state of the maize.

"On the return of the nation, which is generally early in September, a
different kind of employment awaits the ever industrious squaws. The
property buried in the earth is to be taken up and arranged in the
lodges, which are cleaned out, and put in order. The weeds which during
their absence had grown up, in every direction through the village, are
cut down and removed. A sufficient quantity of _sweet corn_ is next to
be prepared, for present and future use."

Being now plentifully supplied with food, unless for some unforeseen
cause having an ample quantity of buffalo meat and corn, together with
the other products of the gardens, they would "content themselves in
their village until the latter part of October, when, without the
formality of a council, or other ceremony, they again depart from the
village, and move in separate parties to various situations on both
sides of the Missouri, and its tributaries, as far down as the Platte.
Their primary object at this time, is to obtain, on credit from the
traders, various articles, indispensably necessary to their fall,
winter, and spring hunts; such as guns, particularly those of
_Mackinaw_, powder, ball, and flints, beaver traps, brass, tin, and
camp-kettles, knives, hoes, squaw-axes and tomahawks.

"Having obtained these implements, they go in pursuit of deer, or apply
themselves to trapping for beaver and otter. Elk was some time since an
object of pursuit, but these animals are now rather rare, in the Omawhaw

"This hunt continues until towards the close of December, and during the
rigours of the season they experience an alternation of abundance and
scarcity of food."

The skins secured during the late autumn hunt would be carried to the
traders and left as payment for the goods previously obtained on credit,
and also given in exchange for blankets, wampum, and various other
articles. Thence they would return to their permanent village "in order
to procure a supply of maize from their places of concealment, after
which they continue their journey, in pursuit of bisons.... This
expedition continues until the month of April, when they return to their
village as before stated, loaded with provisions. It is during this
expedition that they procure all the skins, of which the bison robes of
commerce are made; the animals at this season having their perfect
winter dress, the hair and wool of which are long and dense." (James,
(1), I, pp. 200-221.)

Such was the life of the Omaha a hundred years ago, and it may have been
quite the same for many generations, omitting, of course, the visits
made to the traders. But their systematic hunts had probably been
performed ever since the Omaha reached the valley of the Missouri, and
possibly long before.


That the Ponca and Omaha were formerly a single tribe is accepted
without question, and that the separation took place long after they
crossed the Mississippi from their ancient habitat is established by the
traditions of the two tribes. Probably the two tribes in later years,
after the separation, continued to resemble one another to such a degree
that the villages of one could not have been distinguished from those of
the other.

A deserted village of the Ponca was discovered by members of the Lewis
and Clark expedition in 1804, and according to the narrative of the
expedition on September 5 they arrived at the "river Poncara," which
entered the Missouri from the south, and at its mouth was 30 yards in
width. "Two men whom we despatched to the village of the same name,
returned with information that they had found it on the lower side of
the creek; but as this is the hunting season, the town was so completely
deserted that they had killed a buffaloe in the village itself." (Lewis
and Clark, (1), I, pp. 66-67.) The "river Poncara," later to be known as
Ponca Creek, enters the right bank of the Missouri in the western part
of the present Knox County, Nebraska. Here they continued to live for
some years, and during the spring of 1833 Maximilian said they "dwell on
both sides of Running-water River, and on Ponca Creek, which Lewis and
Clark call Poncara." Running-water River was the earlier name of the
Niobrara. "The band of them, which we met with here, has set up eight or
nine leather tents, at the mouth of Basil Creek, on a fine forest." On
May 12, 1833, appears this note in the narrative: Arrived "opposite the
huts of the Punca Indians. They lay in the shade of a forest, like white
cones, and, in front of them, a sand bank extended into the river, which
was separated from the land by a narrow channel. The whole troop was
assembled on the edge of the bank, and it was amusing to see how the
motley group crowded together, wrapped in brown buffalo skins, white and
red blankets--some naked, of a deep brown colour." (Maximilian, (1), pp.
137-139.) A sketch made at that time by Bodmer and reproduced by
Maximilian is here shown in plate 29. It bears the legend "Punka Indians
Encamped on the Banks of the Missouri."

Although at that time living in the typical skin tipi, Maximilian stated
(p. 137), "They formerly lived, like the Omahas, in clay huts at the
mouth of the river, but their powerful enemies, the Sioux and the
Pawnees, destroyed their villages, and they have since adopted the mode
of life of the former, living more generally in tents made of skins, and
changing their place from time to time." The village visited by members
of the Lewis and Clark expedition, September 5, 1804, when they "killed
a buffaloe in the village itself," was probably composed of
earth-covered lodges.

When discovering a trail, or rather tracks made by a number of Indians
crossing the prairie, it was often possible to determine the nature of
the party. The Ponca, who often moved from place to place, setting up
their tipis in various localities during the course of the year, could
have been held in mind by Gregg when he wrote: "These lodges are always
pitched or set up by the squaws, and with such expedition, that, upon
the stopping of an itinerant band, a town springs up in a desert valley
in a few minutes, as if by enchantment. The lodge-poles are often neatly
prepared, and carried along from camp to camp. In conveying them one end
frequently drags on the ground, whereby the trail is known to be that of
a band with families, as war parties never carry lodge-poles." (Gregg,
(1), II, pp. 286-288.) The rapidity and skill with which the squaws set
up and arranged the tipis, when the site of the camp had been selected,
was commented on by many writers, and what an interesting and animated
scene it must have been.


To quote from the Handbook: "Their linguistic relations are closest with
the Osage, and are close with the Quapaw. In the traditional migration
of the group, after the Quapaw had first separated therefrom, the main
body divided at the mouth of Osage River, the Osage moving up that
stream and the Omaha and Ponca crossing Missouri River and proceeding
northward, while the Kansa ascended the Missouri on the south side to
the mouth of Kansa River. Here a brief halt was made, after which they
ascended the Missouri on the south side until they reached the present
north boundary of Kansas, where they were attacked by the Cheyenne and
compelled to retrace their steps. They settled again at the mouth of
Kansas River, where the Big Knives, as they called the whites, came with
gifts and induced them to go farther west. The native narrators of this
tradition give an account of about 20 villages occupied successively
along Kansas River before the settlement at Council Grove, Kansas,
whence they were finally removed to their reservation in Indian Ter.
Marquette's autograph map, drawn probably as early as 1674, places the
Kansas a considerable distance directly west of the Osage and some
distance south of the Omaha, indicating that they were then on Kansas
River.... It is known that the Kansa moved up Kansas River in historic
times as far as Big Blue River, and thence went to Council Grove in
1847. The move to the Big Blue must have taken place after 1723."

Thus it would appear that for many generations the villages of the Kansa
had stood near the eastern boundary of the great plains, a region where
buffalo were plentiful, one suited to the wants and requirements of the
native tribes.

On June 26, 1804, the Lewis and Clark expedition reached the mouth of
the Kansas and encamped on the north side, where they remained two days.
In the journal of those days they referred to the Kansa, and said: "On
the banks of the Kanzas reside the Indians of the same name, consisting
of two villages, one at about twenty, the other forty leagues from its
mouth, and amounting to about three hundred men. They once lived
twenty-four leagues higher than the Kanzas [river], on the south bank of
the Missouri.... This nation is now hunting in the plains for the
buffaloe which our hunters have seen for the first time." (Lewis and
Clark, (1), I, pp. 18-19.) A few days later, July 2, after advancing a
short distance up the Missouri, above the mouth of the Kansas, they
arrived at the site of an ancient village of the tribe. In the journal
(p. 20) is this account: "Opposite our camp is a valley, in which was
situated an old village of the Kansas, between two high points of land,
and on the bank of the river. About a mile in the rear of the village
was a small fort, built by the French on an elevation. There are now no
traces of the village, but the situation of the fort may be recognized
by some remains of chimnies, and the general outline of the
fortification, as well as by the fine spring which supplied it with
water." Three days later, July 5, 1804, while on the right bank of the
Missouri, they "came along the bank of an extensive and beautiful
prairie, interspersed with copses of timber, and watered by Independence
creek. On this bank formerly stood the second village of the Kanzas;
from the remains it must have been once a large town." (Op. cit., pp.

The village mentioned by Lewis and Clark as standing on the banks of the
Kansas River some 40 league above its confluence with the Missouri may
have been the one visited and described by Maj. George C. Sibley during
the summer of 1811. Sibley wrote in his journal: "The Konsee town is
seated immediately on the north bank of the Konsee River, about one
hundred miles by its course above its junction with the Missouri; in a
beautiful prairie of moderate extent, which is nearly encircled by the
River; one of its Northern branches (commonly called the Republican
fork, which falls in a few hundred paces above the village) and a small
creek that flows into the north branch. On the north and southwest it is
overhung by a chain of high prairie hills which give a very pleasing
effect to the whole scene.

"The town contains one hundred and twenty-eight houses or lodges which
are generally about 60 feet long and 25 feet wide, constructed of stout
poles and saplings arranged in form of an arbour and covered with skins,
bark and mats; they are commodious and quite comfortable. The place for
fire is simply a hole in the earth, under the ridge pole of the roof,
where an opening is left for the smoke to pass off. All the larger
lodges have two, sometimes three, fire places; one for each family
dwelling in it. The town is built without much regard to order; there
are no regular streets or avenues. The lodges are erected pretty
compactly together in crooked rows, allowing barely space sufficient to
admit a man to pass between them. The avenues between these crooked rows
are kept in tolerable decent order and the village is on the whole
rather neat and cleanly than otherwise. Their little fields or patches
of corn, beans and pumpkins, which they had just finished planting, and
which constitute their whole variety, are seen in various directions, at
convenient distances around the village. The prairie was covered with
their horses and mules (they have no other domestic animals except

The manuscript journal from which the preceding quotation is made is now
in the possession of Lindenwood College, St. Charles, Mo., the copy
having been made by Mrs. N. H. Beauregard.

The preceding is a clear though all too brief account of a native
village, prepared at a time when it continued in a primitive condition.
The site, on the left bank of Kansas River just below the mouth of the
Republican, would have been about the present Fort Riley, near the
northern line of Geary County. In some respects this is the most
interesting description of a Kansa village given in the present work.
The habitations--long mat-covered lodges--were of the type erected by
the Osage and Quapaw, kindred tribes of the Kansa, and it is highly
probable they represented the form of dwellings reared by the same
tribes many generations before in their ancient villages which then
stood in the valley of the Ohio, far east of the Mississippi.

Just 15 years elapsed between the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition
and the arrival of the Long party in the country of the Kansa. In
August, 1819, to those aboard the steamboat _Western Engineer_, "The
site of an old village of the Konzas, and the remains of a fortification
erected by the French, were pointed out a few miles below Isle au Vache.
This island, which lies about one hundred miles above Fort Osage, was
the wintering post of Capt. Martin's detachment, destined to proceed in
advance of the troops ordered to the Missouri." And nothing shows more
clearly the changed conditions in that region during the past century
than the continuation of this narrative: "Captain Martin, with three
companies of the rifle regiment, left Bellefontain in September 1818,
and arrived at Isle au Vache in October, with the expectation of
resuming his march, as early in the following spring as the weather
would permit. But not having received the necessary supplies of
provisions as anticipated, they had been compelled to remain till the
time of our arrival, subsisting themselves principally by hunting....
Between two and three thousand deer, besides great numbers of bears,
turkies, &c. had been taken." On August 23, 1819, a large number of
Kansa Indians, from their villages on the river bearing their tribal
name, gathered at Isle au Vache to meet members of the Long party in
council. "There were present at this council, one hundred and sixty-one
Konzas, including chiefs and warriors, and thirteen Osages." (James,
(1), I, pp. 110-112.)

While at Fort Osage members of the Long expedition left for an overland
journey to the Kansa towns. The party was led by Say, and left the fort
August 6, arriving at the villages just two weeks later. The Kansa town
then stood in the extreme southwestern corner of the present
Pottawatomie County, Kansas, at the mouth of the Big Blue. And "as they
approached the village, they perceived the tops of the lodges red with
the crowds of natives; the chiefs and warriors came rushing out on
horseback, painted and decorated, and followed by great numbers on foot
... the village was in confusion, the hunters having lately returned;
and being then engaged in preparations for the journey to Isle au
Vache." The journey was that mentioned above, when the Indians arrived
at Isle au Vache to hold council with Long. Continuing the narrative:
"The approach to the village is over a fine level prairie of
considerable extent; passing which, you ascend an abrupt bank of the
height of ten feet, to a second level, on which the village is situate
in the distance, within about 1/4 of a mile of the river. It consists of
about 120 lodges, placed as closely together as convenient, and
destitute of any regularity of arrangement. The ground area of each
lodge is circular, and is excavated to the depth of from one to three
feet, and the general form of the exterior may be denominated

"The lodge, in which we reside, is larger than any other in the town,
and being that of the grand chief, it serves as a council house for the
nation. The roof is supported by two series of pillars, or rough
vertical posts, forked at top for the reception of the transverse
connecting pieces of each series; twelve of these pillars form the outer
series, placed in a circle; and eight longer ones, the inner series,
also describing a circle; the outer wall, of rude frame work, placed at
a proper distance from the exterior series of pillars, is five or six
feet high. Poles, as thick as the leg at base, rest with their butts
upon the wall, extending on the cross pieces, which are upheld by the
pillars of the two series, and are of sufficient length to reach nearly
to the summit. These poles are very numerous, and, agreeable to the
position which we have indicated, they are placed all around in a
radiating manner, and support the roof like rafters. Across these are
laid long and slender sticks or twigs, attached parallel to each other
by means of bark cord; these are covered by mats made of long grass, or
reeds, or with the bark of trees; the whole is then covered completely
over with earth, which, near the ground, is banked up to the eaves. A
hole is permitted to remain in the middle of the roof to give exit to
the smoke. Around the walls of the interior, a continuous series of mats
are suspended; these are of neat workmanship, composed of a soft reed,
united by bark cord, in straight or undulated lines, between which,
lines of black paint sometimes occur. The bedsteads are elevated to the
height of a common seat from the ground, and are about six feet wide;
they extend in an uninterrupted line around three-fourths of the
circumference of the apartment, and are formed in the simplest manner of
numerous sticks, or slender pieces of wood resting at their ends on
cross pieces, which are supported by short notched or forked posts,
driven into the ground; bison skins supply them with a comfortable
bedding. Several medicine or mystic bags are carefully attached to the
mats of the wall, these are cylindrical, and neatly bound up; several
reeds are usually placed upon them, and a human scalp serves for the
fringe and tassels. Of their contents we know nothing. The fireplace is
a simple shallow cavity, in the center of the apartment, with an upright
and a projecting arm for the support of the culinary apparatus." (Op.
cit., pp. 120-121.)

Say and his associates left the Kansa village to rejoin the main party
aboard the steamboat _Western Engineer_, then waiting near Isle au
Vache, but soon after starting on the journey were attacked by some
wandering Pawnee and forced to return to seek refuge among those whom
they had just left. And as told in the narrative, they were, as a
consequence, able to witness an interesting ceremony in one of the large
earth lodges. This was August 23, 1819. "Mr. Say's party were kindly
received at the village they had left on the preceding day. In the
evening they had retired to rest in the lodge set apart for their
accommodation, when they were alarmed by a party of savages, rushing in
armed with bows, arrows and lances, shouting and yelling in a most
frightful manner. The gentlemen of the party had immediate recourse to
their arms, but observing that some squaws, who were in the lodge,
appeared unmoved, they began to suspect that no molestation to them was
intended. The Indians collected around the fire in the centre of the
lodge, yelling incessantly; at length their howlings assumed something
of a measured tone, and they began to accompany their voices with a sort
of drum and rattles. After singing for some time, one who appeared to be
their leader, struck the post over the fire with his lance, and they all
began to dance, keeping very exact time with the music. Each warrior
had, besides his arms, and rattles made of strings of deer's hoof, some
part of the intestines of an animal inflated, and inclosing a few small
stones, which produced a sound like pebbles in a gourd shell. After
dancing round the fire for some time, without appearing to notice the
strangers, they departed, raising the same wolfish howl, with which they
had entered; but their music and their yelling continued to be heard
about the village during the night.

"This ceremony, called the _dog dance_, was performed by the Konzas for
the entertainment of their guests. Mr. Seymour took an opportunity to
sketch the attitudes and dresses of the principal figures." (Op. cit.,
p. 135.) The sketch made by Seymour was engraved and served as an
illustration in the narrative of the expedition prepared by James. It is
here reproduced as plate 30, _b_. The interior of the large earth lodge
is clearly shown. The "continuous series of mats" are suspended around
the wall, and the "bedsteads," as described, serve as seats for the
guests. Mats are also represented as spread over the floor in the

On August 25, 1819, the steamboat _Western Engineer_ steamed away from
Isle au Vache, and that night, after having advanced about 23 miles up
the Missouri, stopped at the mouth of Independence Creek, and a little
above the creek, on the right bank of the Missouri, was "the site of an
old Konza town, called formerly the village of the Twenty Four." This
was evidently the same site as mentioned by Lewis and Clark, July 5,
1804. Ruins of the earth lodges had undoubtedly remained quite distinct,
being overgrown with the grass of the prairie.

Isle au Vache, in the Missouri, faces Oak Mills, Atchison County,
Kansas, and Iatan, Platte County, Missouri. A brief history of the
island was prepared a few years ago. (Remsburg, (1), pp. 436-443.)

Interesting notes on the habitations of the Kansa Indians are contained
in a narrative prepared by one who passed through their country during
the month of May, 1834.

On the night of May 1 the party encamped on a small branch of the Kansas
River, where they were joined by some members of the Kansa tribe who
occupied six lodges in a near-by woods. "This party is a small division
of a portion of this tribe, who are constantly wandering; but although
their journeys are sometimes pretty extensive, they seldom approach
nearer to the settlements than they are at present." Later they arrived
at the banks of the Kansas River, and as it was approached, so the
narrative continues, "we saw a number of Indian lodges, made of saplings
driven into the ground, bent over and tied at top, and covered with bark
and buffalo skins. These lodges, or wigwams, are numerous on both sides
of the river. As we passed them, the inhabitants, men, women, and
children, flocked out to see us, and almost prevented our progress by
their eager greetings. Our party stopped on the bank of the river, and
the horses were unloaded and driven into the water." They crossed the
river by means of a large flat-bottomed boat, and reaching the opposite
bank saw many Indian lodges with some frame houses occupied by whites.
"The canoes used by the Indians are mostly made of buffalo skins,
stretched, while recent, over a light frame work of wood, the seams
sewed with sinews, and so closely, as to be wholly impervious to water.
These light vessels are remarkably buoyant, and capable of sustaining
very heavy burthens." That evening they were visited by the Kansa chief
who lived near by, a "young man about twenty-five years of age, straight
as a poplar, and with a noble countenance and bearing.... The Kaws
living here appear to be much more wealthy than those who joined our
camp on the prairie below.... Their dress consists, universally of deer
skin leggings, belted around the loins, and over the upper part of the
body a buffalo robe or blanket." (Townsend, (1), pp. 30-33.)

During the morning of May 20, 1834, the party departed from the Kansa
settlement on or near the banks of the Kansas River, "leaving the river
immediately, and making a N. W. by W. course--and the next day came to
another village of the same tribe, consisting of about thirty lodges,
and situated in the midst of a beautiful level prairie.... The lodges
here are constructed very differently from those of the lower village.
They are made of large and strong timbers, a ridge Pole runs along the
top, and the different pieces are fastened together by leathern thongs.
The roofs, which are single, make but one angle, are of stout poplar
bark, and forms an excellent defence, both against rain and the rays of
the sun, which must be intense during midsummer in this region. These
prairies are often visited by heavy gales of wind, which would probably
demolish the huts, were they built of frail materials like those below.
We encamped in the evening on a small stream called Little Vermillion
creek...." (Op. cit., pp. 33-34.)

The sketch by Seymour conveys a very good idea of the general appearance
of the interior of a Kansa lodge, and an equally interesting picture of
the village, as it was just 22 years later, is to be found in one of
Father de Smet's works. He arrived at the first of the villages May 19,
1841, and in describing it said: "At the first sight of their wigwams,
we were struck at the resemblance they bore to the large stacks of wheat
which cover our fields in harvest-time. There were of these in all no
more than about twenty, grouped together without order, but each
covering a space about one hundred and twenty feet in circumference, and
sufficient to shelter from thirty to forty persons. The entire village
appeared to us to consist of from seven to eight hundred souls,--an
approximation which is justified by the fact that the total population
of the tribe is confined to two villages, together numbering 1900
inhabitants. These cabins, however humble they may appear, are solidly
built and convenient. From the top of the wall, which is about six feet
in height, rise inclined poles, which terminate round an opening above,
serving at once for a chimney and window. The door of the edifice
consists of an undressed hide on the most sheltered side, the hearth
occupies the centre and is in the midst of four upright posts destined
to support the _rotunda_; the beds are ranged round the wall and the
space between the beds and the hearth is occupied by the members of the
family, some standing, others sitting or lying on skins, or yellow
colored mats. It would seem that this last named article is regarded as
a piece of extra finery, for the lodge assigned to us had one of them."
(De Smet, (1), pp. 65-66.) Following this description of a lodge is an
account of its occupants. He refers to the women busily engaged at
various occupations, and the men, some eating or smoking, and others
plucking the hair from their brows and beard. The brief description of
the interior of the lodge conforms with those of the earlier writers,
but it is to be regretted that more was not said about the outside of
the structure. Were they covered with earth or thatch? The village
visited by Say in 1819 was composed of earth-covered lodges, clearly
described, but the drawing made by one of Father de Smet's associates
(it is marked _Geo. Lehman, del._) represents the large circular houses
with overhanging roofs, more closely resembling thatch than the usual
covering of earth and sod. This drawing, which was reproduced in the
work cited, is here shown in plate 30, _a_. The structures standing in
the village visited by Father de Smet may have resembled the
bark-covered house illustrated in plate 31. This most interesting
photograph was probably made about 40 years ago, and at once suggests
the frame, covered with bark, and ready for the final covering of earth;
in other words, an unfinished earth lodge. However, it was probably a
complete and finished structure.

Regarding the large village visited by De Smet as mentioned above, one
historian of the tribe has written: "An important village, and the
largest of the tribe at that time, was that of old Kah-he-gah-wa-ti-an-gah,
known as Fool Chief, which from about 1830 to 1846 was located on the north
side of the Kansas river, just north of the present Union Pacific station
of Menoken.... Until recent years the lodge-circle marks were visible and
its exact location easy to be found." (Morehouse, (1), p. 348.)

A year passed between the visit of Father de Smet to the Kansa towns and
the arrival of Fremont in the same locality, but it had been a period of
trouble for the tribe and they had suffered greatly. On June 18, 1842,
Fremont wrote in his journal: "We left our camp seven, journeying along
the foot of the hills which border the Kansas valley.... I rode off some
miles to the left, attracted by the appearance of a cluster of huts near
the mouth of the Vermillion. It was a large but deserted Kansas village,
scattered in an open wood, along the margin of the stream, chosen with
the customary Indian fondness for beauty of scenery. The Pawnees had
attacked it in the early spring. Some of the houses were burnt, and
others blackened with smoke, and weeds were already getting possession
of the cleared places." (Fremont, (1), pp. 12-13.)


[Illustration: _a._ Kansa village, 1841. George Lehman]

[Illustration: _b._ Dog dance within a Kansa lodge, August 23, 1819.
Samuel Seymour]


[Illustration: KANSA HABITATION]

It is quite probable that during their journeys away from the permanent
villages the Kansa, like other tribes of the Missouri Valley, made use
of skin tipis as being easily transported from one place to another. It
would also appear that in later years the earth and bark covered lodge
ceased to be used, and that skin tipis were constructed to the exclusion
of other forms of dwellings. A missionary who resided at the Kansa
agency from 1865 to 1868 wrote: "The tribe at that time was divided into
three bands, or villages, as they were generally called. Ish-tal-a-sa's
village occupied the northern part of the reserve. He was not only
village chief, but head chief of the whole tribe also. Fool Chief's
village occupied the central part of the reserve, and Al-le-ga-wa-ho's
the southern portion. The latter became head chief after Ish-tal-a-sa's
death. There were probably about 300 in each band. Their custom was for
the entire band to camp together in some desirable locality, where wood,
water and grass for their ponies were accessible, and remain until the
pasture was eaten down, and then move to another site. Another reason
for moving was to get away from the filth that always accumulated in an
Indian village. Their tents, or tepees, were made of buffalo skins....
The lodge, as they usually designated their tepees, was easily taken
down and removed to another place." (Spencer, (1), p. 373.)

Of the numerous tribes mentioned at the present time no one appears to
have erected a greater variety of dwellings than did the Kansa, whose
habitations were of several distinct forms and were constructed of
various materials.

The long mat-covered lodges described by Sibley in 1811, as at that time
standing in the village at the mouth of the Republican, on the left bank
of the Kansas River, may be accepted as being the typical or primitive
form of structure erected by the tribe. Eight years later Say and his
companions reached another village, a few miles eastward from the one
preceding, and there found the circular earth lodges. Evidently the
ruined towns mentioned by Lewis and Clark as being visible from the
Missouri River were once groups of similar earth lodges. But all
circular lodges were not covered with earth and sod; in some instances
the walls and roofs were formed of sheets of bark.

During the month of May, 1834, many small dwellings were standing on
both banks of the Kansas River which were formed by covering a frame
composed "of saplings driven into the ground, bent over and tied at
top," with sheets of bark and buffalo skins. And not far away was
another village of the same tribe but presenting a very different
appearance. The structures were described as being "made of large and
strong timbers, a ridge pole runs along the top, and the different
pieces are fastened together by leathern thongs. The roofs, which are
single, make but one angle, are of stout poplar bark." Whether this was
of circular or quadrangular base is difficult to determine, but probably
the latter, resembling the example shown in plate 19. And in addition to
the various structures already noted, the conical skin tipis were
extensively used by the Kansa, probably serving in early days when the
people were away from their more permanent villages, but later they were
more generally utilized.


From the earliest historical times the habitat of the Osage was among
the hills and valleys of the Ozarks, south of the Missouri, in the
present State of Missouri, and here they continued to dwell until their
removal during the early part of the last century.

When Père Marquette passed down the Mississippi, late in the month of
June, 1673, he learned of the Osage, and on his map, prepared soon
afterwards, indicated the villages of that tribe near a stream which was
evidently the river bearing their tribal name. They continued to occupy
rather permanent villages until the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The tribe included three bands, two of which may be rather old; the
third more recently created. These are: (1) Pahatsi or Great Osage, (2)
Utsehta or Little Osage, (3) Santsukhdhi or Arkansas band. The latter
dates from the year 1802 or thereabouts, when a large part of the Great
Osage, under the leadership of the chief Big Track, removed to the
vicinity of the Arkansas.

The Osage, unlike certain other members of the Siouan group to which
they belong, continued to erect and occupy the mat or bark covered
habitations so characteristic of the forest tribes. Their villages which
stood among the Ozarks were probably similar in appearance to the
ancient settlements of their ancestors which once occupied a part of the
upper valley of the Ohio, whence they migrated to the region beyond the
Mississippi. But the country which served as their new home was one well
suited to the wants and requirements of the tribe. Game was plentiful,
the streams teemed with fish, and wild fruits were to be had in vast
quantities. Thus food was easily obtained.

The expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark began
ascending the Missouri May 14, 1804, and just one month later, on June
15, arrived at the site of an earlier settlement of the Little Osage. In
the journal the entry for that day states that: "We passed several
islands and one creek on the south side, and encamped on the north
opposite a beautiful plain, which extends as far back as the Osage
river, and some miles up the Missouri. In front of our encampment are
the remains of an old village of the Little Osage, situated at some
distance from the river, and at the foot of a small hill. About three
miles above them, in view of our camp is the situation of the old
village of the Missouris after they fled from the Sauks. The inroads of
the same tribe compelled the Little Osage to retire from the Missouri a
few years ago, and establish themselves near the Great Osages." And two
days later, at a place about 20 miles above their camp, on the 15th,
they reached "the crossing place for the Sauks, Ayauways, and Sioux, in
their excursions against the Osage." (Lewis and Clark, (1), I, p. 15.)

The ruined or deserted village of the Little Osage seen by the party
stood on the right or south bank of the Missouri, in the western part of
the present Saline County, Missouri, not far from the village of Malta.
The structures which had stood at this old site were probably similar to
those later erected by the people in their new village near the town of
the Great Osage, both of which were visited two years later. They were
situated far south of the Missouri, in the northern part of the present
Vernon County, in the valley of the Little Osage River.

During the latter part of August, 1806, Pike arrived at the two villages
of the Osage, having departed from Fort Bellefontain a short time before
on his journey to the far west. But, unfortunately, his accounts of the
native tribes and their villages which he encountered during his travels
are neither full nor clear, and so it is with the description of the
habitations of the Osage. To quote from the narrative: "The Osage lodges
are generally constructed with upright posts, put firmly in the ground,
of about 20 feet in height, with a crotch at the top; they are generally
about 12 feet distant from each other; in the crotch of those posts, are
put the ridge poles, over which are bent small poles, the ends of which
are brought down and fastened to a row of stakes of about 5 feet in
height; these stakes are fastened together with three horizontal bars,
and form the flank walls of the lodge. The gable ends are generally
broad slabs and rounded off to the ridge pole. The whole of the building
and sides are covered with matting made of rushes, of two or three feet
in length, and four feet in width, which are joined together, and
entirely exclude the rain. The doors are in the side of the building,
and generally are one on each side. The fires are made in holes in the
centre of the lodge; the smoke ascending through apertures left in the
roof for the purpose; at one end of the dwelling is a raised platform,
about three feet from the ground, which is covered with bear skins, and
generally holds all the little choice furniture of the master, and on
which repose his honorable guests.... They vary in length from 36 to 100
feet." (Pike, (1), App., pp. 11-12.)

Fort Osage, soon to be named Fort Clark, stood on the right bank of the
Missouri, a short distance northeast of Independence, in Jackson County,
Missouri. During the early years of the last century it was a gathering
place for the Osage and neighboring tribes, and several interesting
accounts are preserved of the appearance of the Indian lodges clustered
about the post. Both Bradbury and Brackenridge made mention of the fort
in their journals. The former wrote on April 8, 1811, and told of his
arrival: "About ten o'clock we came in sight of the fort, about six
miles distant. We had not been long in sight before we saw the flag was
hoisted, and at noon we arrived, saluting with a volley as we passed on
to the landing place, where we met Mr. Crooks, who had come down from
the wintering station at the mouth of the river Naduet to meet us. There
were also collected at the landing place about 200 Indians, men, women,
and children, of the Petit Osage nation, whose village was then about
300 yards from the fort." And continuing: "At evening Dr. Murray
proposed that we should walk into the village, and I found it to consist
of about one hundred lodges of an oblong form, the frame of timber, and
the covering mats, made of the leaves of flag, or _Typha palustris_. On
our return through the town, we called at the lodge belonging to a chief
named Waubuschon, with whom Dr. Murray was particularly acquainted. The
floor was covered with mats, on which they sat; but as I was a stranger,
I was offered a cushion. A wooden bowl was now handed round, containing
square pieces of cake, in taste resembling ginger-bread. On enquiry I
found it was made of the pulp of the persimon, mixed with pounded corn.
This bread they called staninca." (Bradbury, (1), pp. 35-37.)

Less than three weeks elapsed before Brackenridge reached the fort in
the company of Manuel Lisa. April 25, 1811, "About eleven, came in sight
of Fort Osage, situate on a bluff, three miles off, on a commanding
eminence.... A number of Indians of the Osage nation, of all ages, and
sexes, were scattered along the bank, attracted by curiosity, some with
old buffalo robes thrown over their shoulders, others dressed out in the
gayest manner.... On landing at the fort, on a very rocky shore, a
soldier under arms, who waited for us at the water's side, escorted Mr.
Lisa and myself to the fort, where we were politely received by the
commanding officer. While Mr. Lisa was transacting some business,
accompanied by Mr. Sibley, the factor, and an interpreter, I went to
deliver a pipe to _Sans Oreille_, (a warrior, and head man of this
tribe) sent to him by gen. Clark....

"The lodges of the Little Osage, are sixty in number, and within gun
shot of the fort; but they are about to remove their village to a
prairie, three miles off. Their lodges are of a circular form, not more
than ten or fifteen feet in diameter, constructed by placing mats, made
of coarse rushes, over forks and poles.

"All three of the Osage bands, together with some Kansas, were lately
encamped here for the purpose of trading, to the number of fifteen
hundred warriors." (Brackenridge, (1), pp. 216-217.)

It is more than probable the Little Osage were then returning to their
distant villages. Within less than three weeks the group of dwellings in
the vicinity of the post had been reduced in number from about 100 to
60, and undoubtedly before the lapse of many days all would have begun
their homeward journey. But the structures as described would have
resembled the dwellings in their permanent villages, differing from the
more temporary lodges discovered by Schoolcraft a few years later.

When Schoolcraft traversed the southern part of the State of Missouri a
century ago, crossing the Ozarks and following the deep valleys which
separated the ridges, he encountered many deserted camps of the Osages
and frames of one or more habitations, the mat or bark covers often
having been removed, thus allowing the bare frames to remain. These had
been the temporary shelters occupied by small parties hunting away from
their home villages. On November 27, 1818, so he wrote, "night overtook
us, and we encamped in an Indian bark tent on the bank of the river,
which had not been occupied for one or two years." (Schoolcraft, (1), p.
28.) The river mentioned was the Great North Fork of White River, and
the latter was soon reached. Continuing their journey over the rough and
rugged hills, through tangled masses of vegetation, often advancing only
a few miles each day, and that with the greatest exertion, they arrived
December 30, 1818, in the region a short distance east of James River,
possibly in the present Christian County, Missouri. Here they
encountered several deserted camps, of which, fortunately, interesting
accounts are preserved in the narrative: "In pursuing up the valley of
Swan Creek, about nine miles, we fell into the Osage trace, a horse-path
beaten by the Osages in their hunting excursions along this river, and
passing successively three of their camps, now deserted, all very large,
arranged with much order and neatness, and capable of quartering
probably 100 men each. Both the method of building camps, and the order
of encampment observed by this singular nation of savages, are different
from any thing of the kind I have noticed among the various tribes of
aboriginal Americans, through whose territories I have had occasion to
travel. The form of the tent or camp may be compared to an inverted
bird's nest, or hemisphere, with a small aperture left in the top, for
the escape of smoke; and a similar, but larger one, at one side, for
passing in and out. It is formed by cutting a number of slender flexible
green-poles of equal length, sharpened at each end, stuck in the ground
like a bow, and, crossing at right angles at the top, the points of
entrance into the ground forming a circle. Small twigs are then wove in,
mixed with the leaves of cane, moss, and grass, until it is perfectly
tight and warm. These tents are arranged in large circles, one within
another, according to the number of men intended to be accommodated. In
the centre is a scaffolding for meat, from which all are supplied every
morning, under the inspection of a chief, whose tent is conspicuously
situated at the head of the encampment, and differs from all the rest,
resembling a half cylinder inverted. Their women and children generally
accompany them on these excursions, which often occupy three months."
Schoolcraft soon crossed the ridge separating Swan Creek from Findley's
River, the latter "running from the north-east, and tributary to James'
river, the main north-western branch of White River." (Op. cit., pp.

It must be understood that this description applies to a temporary
encampment of the Osage, not to a permanent village, although they would
probably not have differed greatly in appearance. The structures in a
camp were rather smaller than those in the villages, and the latter were
covered with mats or sheets of bark instead of the walls being composed
of the crude wattlework, as mentioned in the preceding account.

Throughout the region traversed by Schoolcraft are to be found traces of
ancient camps, some quite large, others small. The innumerable caves and
caverns occurring in the limestone formations through which the many
streams have cut deep valleys show evidence of long occupancy by the
natives. Great masses of wood ashes, intermingled with broken and lost
implements of bone and stone, fragments of pottery vessels, and charred
or broken bones of animals which had served as food, are to be found
accumulated near the opening, beneath the overhanging strata. The great
majority of such material should undoubtedly be attributed to the Osage,
whose hunters penetrated all parts of the Ozarks.

A beautiful example of a frame for an Osage habitation is shown in plate
32, _a_, a reproduction of a photograph made near Hominy, Oklahoma, in
1911. This was probably the form of structure seen by the early
travelers, which is more clearly described on the following pages. It is
interesting, showing as it does the manner in which the uprights were
placed in the ground, then bent over and bound in place. As the Osage
undoubtedly lived, generations ago, in the Ohio Valley, it is possible
the ancient village sites discovered in Ross County, Ohio, belonged
either to this or a related tribe, and the ground plan of the structures
revealed during the exploration of a certain site would agree with the
typical Osage habitation of recent years. A ground plan was prepared by
the discoverer of the ancient village site (Mills, (1)) and was
reproduced on page 139, Bulletin 71, of this Bureau.


[Illustration: _a._ Frame of an Osage habitation, near Hominy, Okla.,

[Illustration: _b._ An Iowa structure]


[Illustration: "OTO ENCAMPMENT, NEAR THE PLATTE, 1819"

Samuel Seymour]

On the plan of the ancient settlement which stood many generations ago
are several interesting features in addition to the outline of the oval
habitation. North of the space once occupied by the dwelling are many
comparatively large caches, with fireplaces between. On the opposite
side of the structure were encountered 30 burials, representing children
and adults. It would be of the greatest interest at the present time
to discover the exact location of one of the Osage villages of a century
ago, and to determine the position of the caches and burials, if any
exist, in relation to the sites of the habitations.

About the time of Schoolcraft's journey through the Ozarks another
traveler went up the valley of the Arkansas, and when far west of the
Mississippi came in contact with the Osage. Nuttall, on July 15, 1819,
wrote: "The first village of the Osages lies about 60 miles from the
mouth of the Verdigris, and is said to contain 7 or 800 men and their
families. About 60 miles further, on the Osage River, is situated the
village of the chief called White Hair. The whole of the Osages are now,
by governor Clark, enumerated at about 8000 souls. At this time nearly
the whole town, men, and women, were engaged in their summer hunt,
collecting bison tallow and meat. The principal chief is called by the
French Clarmont, although his proper name is the Iron bird, a species of
Eagle." (Nuttall, (1), p. 173.) Under date of August 5, 1819, he
referred to the women of the tribe, saying: "It is to their industry and
ingenuity, that the men owe every manufactured article of their dress,
as well as every utensil in their huts. The Osage women appear to excel
in these employments. Before the Cherokees burnt down their town on the
Verdigris, their houses were chiefly covered with hand-wove matts of
bulrushes. Their baskets and bed matts of this material were
parti-coloured and very handsome. This manufacture, I am told, is done
with the assistance of three sticks, arranged in some way so as to
answer the purpose of a loom, and the strands are inlaid diagonally.
They, as well as the Cherokees and others, frequently take the pains to
unravel old blankets and cloths, and reweave the yarn into belts and
garters." (Op. cit., pp. 192-193.)

Evidently it was not the custom of the Osage to entirely abandon their
villages when they went on their periodical hunts. Some remained, either
through choice or necessity. In the above quotation Nuttall spoke of
"nearly the whole town" being absent on their summer hunt, and one very
familiar with the habits of the tribe said: "The Osages and Kansas live
in villages, which, even during the hunting seasons, are never wholly
abandoned, as in the case with several tribes settled on the Missouri."
(Hunter, (1), p. 334.) Regarding the general appearance of the villages:
"Their lodges are built promiscuously, in situations to please their
respective proprietors: they are arranged to neither streets nor alleys,
and are sometimes so crowded, as to render the passage between them

That some of the Osage constructed very long structures is told by
Morse, but if the dimensions given in his account are accurate they
refer to the unusual rather than to the usual form of habitation erected
by members of that tribe. He said: "The Osages of the Arkansaw occupy
several villages. The principal village contains about three hundred
lodges or huts, and about three thousand souls. The lodges are generally
from fifty to a hundred feet in length; and irregularly arranged, they
cover a surface of about half a mile square. They are constructed of
posts, matting, bark and skins. They have neither floors nor chimneys.
The fire is built on the ground, in the centre of the lodge, and the
family, and the guests, sit around in a circle, upon skins or mats."
(Morse, (1), p. 219.) These various statements appear grossly
exaggerated, and on page 225 of the same work appears the statement that
"Their villages are nothing more than what they can remove on the
shortest notice, one horse being capable of carrying house, household
furniture, and children all at one load." Morse included in his notes on
the Osage several letters written by missionaries then working among the
tribe. One communication from Dr. Palmer, dated at Union, March 18,
1820, contained a note on their habitations: "Their houses are made of
poles, arched from fifteen to twenty feet, covered by matting made of
flags. At the sides they set up rived planks, lining the inside with
neatly made flagg matting. They build several fires in the lodge,
according to its size, or the number of wives the owner has. For a
fire-place, they dig a hole about as big as a bushel-basket, leaving the
smoke to ascend through a hole in the roof. Around the fire they spread
their mats to sit or eat." And when visiting the settlement, "Having
entered the lodge, and had our horses turned out, we took a humble seat
around the fire. Presently there was brought to us a wooden bowl, filled
with food made of corn. In a short time we were invited to eat at
another lodge, and before we had finished, at another, and another." And
another letter, from W. C. Requa, dated February 3, 1822, told of the
native dwellings. He wrote at that time: "I live at present among the
Osages, at one of their villages about fifty miles from Union. This
unhappy people live in low huts, covered with long grass or flag, but so
badly put together that they leak considerably in a storm of rain. They
have very little furniture, merely a few pots or kettles in which they
boil their provisions. The art of cooking their meat in any other way
than boiling is unknown among them, except roasting it on a stick before
the fire. They have very little variety in their food. Wild game, corn,
dried pumpkins, and beans constitute about all on which they subsist.
With this, however, they are contented. They have wooden bowls, out of
which they eat, drink, wash themselves." (Op. cit., pp. 227-233.) Union,
where the two communications were written, was probably Union Agency,
which stood on the right bank of the Arkansas River, just southwest of
Fort Gibson, in the present Muskogee County, Oklahoma. The settlement
"about fifty miles from Union" may have been on the Verdigris, near the
center of the present Rogers County, Oklahoma.

An interesting description of a deserted camp of the Osage was prepared
by Irving, as it appeared, standing near the banks of the Arkansas,
October 11, 1832. On that day, so he wrote: "We came in sight of the
Arkansas. It presented a broad and rapid stream, bordered by a beach of
fine sand, overgrown with willows and cotton-wood trees. Beyond the
river, the eye wandered over a beautiful champaign country, of flowery
plains and sloping uplands.... Not far from the river, on an open
eminence, we passed through the recently deserted camping place of an
Osage war party. The frames of their tents or wigwams remained,
consisting of poles bent into an arch, with each end stuck into the
ground; these are intertwined with twigs and branches, and covered with
bark and skins. Those experienced in Indian lore, can ascertain the
tribe, and whether on a hunting or warlike expedition, by the shape and
disposition of the wigwams. Beatte pointed out to us, in the present
skeleton camp, the wigwam in which the chiefs had held their
consultations round the council fire; and an open area, well trampled
down, on which the grand war-dance had been performed." (Irving, W.,
(1), pp. 38-39.) The frames probably resembled the example shown in
plate 32, _a_.

This mention of a dance by Irving suggests the description of a ceremony
witnessed at the village of the Little Osage during the same year. The
account of a "war-dance" was prepared July 25, 1832: "Much of the
ceremony consisted in a sort of dancing march round the streets of the
village between their lodges.... In their marching round the settlement,
the warriors were followed by a band of musicians, some drumming on a
piece of deer skin, stretched over the head of a keg, and others singing
their wild songs. Among the retinue I observed a great many youths, who
appeared to be young disciples, catching the spirit of their seniors and
fathers. Another group followed, who appeared to be mourners, crying for
vengeance on their enemies, to reward them for the death of some
relative." (Colton, (1), pp. 299-300.)

A brief but interesting sketch of the manners and ways of life of the
Osage of a century ago is to be found in Morse's work already quoted.
Although the notes were prepared to apply to several neighboring tribes,
they referred primarily to the tribe now being discussed. First speaking
of their gardens: "They raise annually small crops of corn, beans, and
pumpkins, these they cultivate entirely with the hoe, in the simplest
manner. Their crops are usually planted in April, and receive one
dressing before they leave their villages for the summer hunt, in May.
About the first week in August they return to their villages and gather
their crops, which have been left unhoed and unfenced all the season.
Each family, if lucky, can save from ten to twenty bags of corn and
beans, of a bushel and a half each; besides a quantity of dried
pumpkins. On this they feast, with the dried meat saved in the summer,
till September, when what remains is _cashed_, and they set out on the
fall hunt, from which they return about Christmas. From that time, till
some time in February or March, as the season happens to be mild or
severe, they stay pretty much in their villages, making only short
hunting excursions occasionally, and during that time they consume the
greater part of their _cashes_. In February or March the spring hunt
commences; first the bear, and then the beaver hunt. This they pursue
till planting time, when they again return to their village, pitch their
crops, and in May set out for the summer hunt, taking with them their
residue, if any, of their corn, &c. This is the circle of an Osage life,
here and there indented with war and trading expeditions; and thus it
has been, with very little variation, these twelve years past." (Morse,
(1), pp. 203-205.)

The cornfields were left without watchers and were probably often
destroyed by roving parties of the enemy or by wild beasts. On August
18, 1820, a hunter belonging to a division of the Long expedition
"returned with the information of his having discovered a small field of
maize, occupying a fertile spot at no great distance from the camp, it
exhibited proofs of having been lately visited by the cultivators; a
circumstance which leads us to believe that an ascending column of smoke
seen at a distance this afternoon, proceeded from an encampment of
Indians, whom, if not a war party, we should now rejoice to meet. We
took the liberty, agreeable to the custom of the Indians, of procuring a
mess of corn, and some small but nearly ripe watermelons, that were also
found growing there, intending to recompense the Osages for them, to
whom we supposed them to belong." The following morning, August 19, they
encountered several small cornfields near a creek along which they were
passing, and that day discovered "an Indian camp, that had a more
permanent aspect than any we had before seen near this river. The
boweries were more completely covered, and a greater proportion of bark
was used in the construction of them. They are between sixty and seventy
in number. Well worn traces or paths lead in various directions from
this spot, and the vicinity of the cornfields induce the belief that it
is occasionally occupied by a tribe of Indians, for the purpose of
cultivation as well as of hunting." (James, (1), II, pp. 220-221.)

The encampment just mentioned may have resembled the one described by
Schoolcraft the preceding year, though many miles away in the heart of
the Ozarks.

Although it is quite probable that hunting parties of the Osage, during
their wanderings, reached all parts of the Ozarks, and occupied camps on
banks of many streams in distant regions far away from their more
permanent villages, nevertheless all sites do not present the same
characteristic features. Thus in the central and eastern sections of the
hill country, as in the valleys of the Gasconade and its tributary, the
Piney, and along the courses of the streams farther eastward quantities
of fragmentary pottery are to be found scattered over the surface of the
many village and camp sites, and here it may be remarked that seldom are
traces of a settlement not to be discovered at the junction of two
streams, however small or large they may be.

A great many caves, some rather large, occur in the limestone formation,
often in the cliffs facing or near the streams. As previously mentioned,
these show evidence of long or frequent occupancy by the Indians. At the
openings are masses of wood ashes and charcoal, filling the space
between the sides to a depth of several feet, and in the caves
encountered in the vicinity of the Gasconade quantities of broken
pottery are found, with bones of animals which served as food, various
implements, shells, etc., all intermingled with the accumulated ashes. A
short distance from the bank of the Piney, several miles above its
junction with the Gasconade, a cave of more than usual interest is met
with in the high cliff. This is in Pulaski County. Flowing from the cave
is a small stream of clear, very cold water. It enters the main chamber
through an opening not more than 4 feet in height and about the same in
width, the stream, when the cave was visited some years ago, being 3 or
4 inches in depth. A few yards up the watercourse the channel widens
several feet and so continues for a short distance. This widening was
caused by pieces of chert having been removed from the mass, this
evidently having been one of the sources whence the Indians secured
material for the making of their implements. The bed of the stream was
strewn with flakes and roughly formed rejected pieces of stone.

Thus, as has been shown, vessels of earthenware were made and used by
the people who occupied or frequented this part of the Ozark country,
but conditions appear to have been different in the western sections.
Bits of pottery do not occur on the surface of the camp sites, and it is
evident it was neither made nor used by the occupants of certain
settlements. Fragments of pottery are not encountered on these
particular sites, but large stone mortars are often found, objects which
do not seem to have been very frequently used farther east.

The valleys of the James and White Rivers, in Stone and Taney Counties,
Missouri, were visited some years ago and many interesting sites were
discovered. Traces of a comparatively extensive village were encountered
on the E. 1/2 of lot 1, S. W. 1/4 of Sec. 9, T. 22, R. 23, Stone County,
on the left bank of White River. Within a radius of a few feet, on a
level spot near the center of the once occupied area, were found four
large sandstone mortars, the concavity of the largest being about 15
inches in diameter and 6 inches in depth, while the entire block of
stone was more than 2 feet in thickness. When discovered, June 11, 1901,
the mortars gave the impression of not having been touched since they
were last used by some of the inhabitants of the ancient village, and
from the surrounding surface, an acre or more in extent, were collected
several hundred stone implements, but not a fragment of pottery was
encountered. This site, although rather larger and more extensive than
the majority, was, nevertheless, typical of the 20 or more which were
discovered during that interesting journey through the valleys
mentioned. Quantities of stone implements were gathered from the surface
of the sites, and many mortars were found, but no pottery.

While the material recovered from the sites in the valley of the
Gasconade is similar to that found to the eastward, the finding of
mortars and the lack of pottery on the James and White River Valley
sites suggests a different culture, and it is possible the latter owe
their origin to parties of the Wichita or neighboring tribes who entered
the western valleys of the Ozarks from the prairie lands.


This, the southernmost tribe of the Dhegiha group, occupied several
villages west of the Mississippi, near the mouth of the Arkansas. When
the closely allied tribes had removed from their ancient habitat in the
upper valley of the Ohio, and had arrived at the mouth of that stream,
the Quapaw are believed to have turned southward while the others went
northward. The name of the tribe, Quapaw, signifies "downstream people;"
Omaha being translated "those going against the wind or current." As a
people they seem to have been known to the members of the De Soto
expedition about 1541, probably occupying villages on or near the sites
of the settlements visited by the French during the latter part of the
next century.

Père Marquette, while on his memorable journey down the Mississippi, in
the year 1673, went as far as the mouth of the Arkansas, where he
lingered a few days before returning northward on July 17. The villages
of the Quapaw, designated the Arkansa, were reached, but the habitations
were only briefly described: "Their cabins, which are long and wide,
are made of bark; they sleep at the two extremities, which are raised
about two feet from the ground. They keep their corn in large baskets,
made of cane, or in gourds, as large as half barrels." They used both
wooden dishes and "plates of baked earth. Their cooking was done in
large earthen pots, of their own make." (Shea, (2), p. 48.) But the most
interesting early account of the villages is contained in Joutel's
narrative of La Salle's last expedition, when he attempted to reach the
Illinois country overland from the Gulf coast. Through jealousy and
intrigue of members of the expedition he was murdered by one of their
number, March 20, 1687; but others continued eastward, and on July 24,
1687, arrived at the four villages of the Quapaw, and to quote from the
narrative of the expedition: "The Nation of the _Accancea's_ consists of
four Villages. The first is call'd _Otsotchove_, near which we were; the
second _Toriman_, both of them seated on the River; the third
_Tonginga_; and the fourth _Cappa_, on the Bank of the _Missisipi_.
These Villages are built after a different Manner from the others we had
seen before, in this Point, that the Cottages, which are alike as to
their Materials and Rounding at the Top, are long, and cover'd with the
Bark of Trees, and so very large, that several of them can hold two
hundred Persons, belonging to several Families. The People are not so
neat as the _Cenis_ [Caddo], or the _Assonis_ [Caddo], in their Houses,
for some of them lie on the Ground, without any Thing under them but
some Mats, or dress'd Hide. How ever, some of them have more
Conveniencies, but the Generality has not. All their Movables consist in
some Earthen Vessels and oval wooden Platters, which are neatly made,
and with which they drive a Trade."

The expedition was then resting at the village standing on the banks of
the Arkansas, not far above its junction with the Mississippi. Here they
remained three days, departing on July 27. On that day "We imbark'd on a
Canoe belonging to one of the Chiefs, being at least twenty Persons, as
well Women as Men, and arriv'd safe, without any Trouble, at a Village
call'd _Toriman_, for we were going down the River." The river was the
Arkansas. Later in the day they reached the "fatal River, so much sought
after by us, called _Colbert_, when first discover'd, and _Missisipi_,
or _Mechassipi_ by the Natives that were near us." The party lingered at
Toriman during the twenty-eighth, and on the following day arrived at
"the next Village call'd _Tonningua_, seated on the Bank of that River
[the Mississippi], where we were receiv'd in the Chief's Cottage, as we
had been in the others." On July 30, "We set out for Cappa, the last
Village of the _Accancea's_, eight Leagues distant from the Place we had
left." (Joutel, (1), pp. 155-161.) Passing up the Mississippi from the
Quapaw towns, they encamped during the night of August 2 on an island,
"for our greater Safety, for we were then come into an Enemy's Nation,
call'd _Machigamea_, which put our Indians into great Frights."

Père Anastasius Douay, also a member of the party, had very little to
say about their stop among the Quapaw, only that "We visited three of
these villages, the Torimans, the Doginga, and the Kappa; everywhere we
had feasts, harangues, calumet-dances, with every mark of joy." (Shea,
(2), p. 220.) Evidently his notes were faulty, as no mention was made of
the fourth town.

When La Harpe made his journey into the region bordering the Mississippi
some distance above New Orleans he encountered the Quapaw, and in his
journal referred to them as the Alkansa, and said: "La nation Alkansa,
ainsi nommée parce qu'elle sort des Canzés [Kansa] etablis sur le
Missouri, est situé sur le bord du Mississipi dans un terrein isolé par
les ruisseaux qui l'environnent; elle se divise en trois villages,
Ougapa, Torisna et Tonginga, éloignés d'une lieue les uns les autres, et
renfermant ensemble quatre cents habitans; leur principal chef est celui
des Ougapas; les Sotoüis le reconnaissent aussi pour le leur; ils
Sotoüis le reconnaissent aussi pour le leur; ils sont tous sortis de la
même nation et parlent le même langue." (La Harpe, (1), p. 317.)
Elsewhere he referred to reaching the "rivière Blanche, qui court dans
le nord-ouest du coté des Osages," which entered the "rivière des
Sotoüis," or Arkansas, 4 leagues from the Mississippi. Here stood a
village of the Sotoüis, consisting of 40 habitations and having a
population of 330.

Nearly a century elapsed between the time of La Harpe's visit to the
country occupied by the Quapaw and the journey performed by Nuttall. On
February 27, 1819, when the latter was ascending the Arkansas River, he
wrote: "In the course of the day we passed the outlet of the bayou, or
rather river, Meta, which diagonally traverses the Great Prairie, also
two Indian villages on the south bank [of the Arkansas].... The first
was the periodical residence of a handful of Choctaws, the other was
occupied by the Quapaws." (Nuttall, (1), p. 91.) This was near the line
between Lincoln and Desha Counties, Arkansas. Some distance beyond,
apparently at some point in the present Jefferson County, on March 11,
1819, he saw other native villages, but whether occupied by Quapaw or
some other tribe was not told. However, they were probably Quapaw
settlements. On that day: "Passed Mr. Embree's, and arrived at Mr.
Lewismore's. Six miles above, we also saw two Indian villages, opposite
each of those settlements.... The Indians, unfortunately, are here, as
usual, both poor and indolent, and alive to wants which they have not
the power of gratifying. The younger ones are extremely foppish in
their dress; covered with feathers, blazing calicoes, scarlet blankets,
and silver pendants. Their houses, sufficiently convenient with their
habits, are oblong square, and without any other furniture than baskets
and benches, spread with skins for the purpose of rest and repose. The
fire, as usual, is in the middle of the hut, which is constructed of
strips of bark and cane, with doors also of the latter split and plaited
together." (Op. cit., pp. 97-98.)

When returning down the Arkansas, on January 18, 1820, Nuttall evidently
reached the Quapaw village which he had passed when ascending the stream
during the preceding February. He wrote: "About noon we landed at one of
the Quapaw or Osark villages, but found only three houses constructed of
bark, and those unoccupied. In the largest of them, apparently
appropriated to amusement and superstition, we found two gigantic
painted wooden masks of Indians, and a considerable number of conic pelt
caps, also painted. These, as we learnt from an Indian who came up to us
from some houses below, were employed at festivals, and worn by the
dancers.... At the entrance of the cabin, and suspended from the wall,
there was a female figure, with a rudely carved head of wood painted
with vermillion. Being hollow, and made of leather, we supposed it to be
employed as a mask for one of the musicians, having in one hand a
pendent ferule, as if for the purpose of beating a drum. In the spring
and autumn the Quapaws have a custom of making a contribution dance, in
which they visit also the whites, who live in the vicinity, and the
chief alms which they crave is salt or articles of diet." The following
day the party reached Arkansas Post. (Nuttall, (1), p. 223.)

This account of the ceremonial lodge, for such it undoubtedly was, of
the Quapaw of a century ago, is most interesting, as it proves how the
rapidly diminishing tribe held to their old customs. The tribe gradually
disappeared from the lower Arkansas. The remnants of this once large
body moved westward, and on August 11, 1853, some were encountered by
the Whipple expedition in the extreme north west corner of the Choctaw
Nation, on the right bank of the Canadian, where the Shawnee Hills reach
to the river bank. There, on the "high bank of the Canadian, stand still
some wigwams or rather log-houses of Quappa Indians, who may boast of
not having yet quitted the land of their forefathers. But they have
shrunk to a small band that cannot furnish above twenty-five warriors,
and it would scarcely be supposed that they are all who are left of the
once powerful tribe of the Arkansas, whose hunting grounds extended from
the Canadian to the Mississippi." (Möllhausen, (1), I, p. 74.)

Probably no section of the country has revealed more traces of the
period of aboriginal occupancy than has that part of the Mississippi
Valley which extends southward from the Ohio to the Arkansas. This was
the region traversed by the Quapaw during the latter part of their
migration from their earlier habitat east of the Mississippi, and may
have been occupied by them since the fifteenth century, or before. Many
of the mound groups, village sites, and burial places occurring within
this area may undoubtedly be justly attributed to the Quapaw. Vast
quantities of earthenware vessels, of great variety of forms and sizes,
have been recovered from the sites north of the Arkansas, and these
often present marked characteristics differing from the ware found
farther south. The Quapaw are known to have been skilled pottery makers.
As already mentioned, Marquette, in 1673, referred to their "plates of
baked earth," and also to the large earthen cooking vessels "of their
own make." And in 1687 Joutel wrote of their earthen vessels "with which
they drive a Trade." Therefore it is more than probable that much of the
ancient pottery encountered in this part of the Mississippi Valley was
made by this southern Siouan tribe. Many of the village sites discovered
near the Mississippi, north of the Arkansas, were probably once occupied
by the Quapaw who, by the latter part of the seventeenth century, had
moved as far south as the mouth of the Arkansas River, in the present
Desha County. The earlier references to the tribe, those contained in
the narratives of the De Soto expedition, 1541, mention the towns being
protected by encircling embankments and ditches. The former were
probably surmounted by palisades. The village or villages of this period
probably stood on the bank of the Mississippi, and one may have occupied
the interesting site at Avenue, in Phillips County, where some
remarkable pottery vessels have been discovered. Other ancient sites in
Lee and Crittenden Counties, north of Phillips, were possibly occupied
by the same people at different times.

The position of the village of the Algonquian Michigamea, who lived
north of the Quapaw, has not been determined.


This group, so designated by the late Dr. J. O. Dorsey, includes three
tribes, the Iowa, Oto, and Missouri, who spoke slightly different
dialects of the same language. According to tribal traditions, they
were, generations ago, allied and associated with the Winnebago, from
whom they separated and scattered while living in the vicinity of the
Great Lakes east of the Mississippi, where the Winnebago continued to
dwell. It is not the purpose of the present sketch to trace the
movements of the three tribes from their ancient habitat to the banks of
the Mississippi, thence westward to the Missouri and beyond, but the
routes followed in their migrations can be fairly accurately determined
by comparing their own statements and traditions with early historical
records, and it is quite probable that many village sites now discovered
within this region were once occupied by some members of these tribes.

While living east of the Mississippi in a region of lakes and streams
surrounded by vast forests, their habitations were undoubtedly the bark
or mat covered structures, but when some moved far west and came in
contact with tribes beyond the Missouri they evidently learned the art
of constructing the earth-covered lodge which they soon began to occupy.
Likewise when and where the skin tipi first became known to them is not
possible to determine, but probably not until they had reached the
valley of the Missouri and were nearing the banks of that stream north
of the Kansas.


On September 15, 1819, the expedition under command of Maj. Stephen H.
Long arrived at the mouth of Papillion Creek, on the right bank of the
Missouri a few miles above the Platte, a site now covered by the city of
Omaha, Nebraska. In the narrative of the expedition it is said that at
the mouth of the Papillion "we found two boats belonging to the Indian
traders at St Louis. They had passed us some days before, and were to
remain for the winter at the mouth of the Papillion, to trade with the
Otoes, Missouries, and other Indians.

"The banks of the Missouri above the Platte, have long been frequented
by the Indians, either as places of permanent or occasional residence.
Deserted encampments are often seen. On the northeast side, near the
mouth of Mosquito river, are the remains of an old Ioway village. Four
miles above, on the opposite side, was formerly a village of the Otoes."
(James, (1), I, pp. 144-145.)

As mentioned elsewhere, the Iowa and their kindred tribes had migrated
from their ancient habitat in the vicinity of the Great Lakes to the
Missouri Valley, and in 1848 a map was prepared by an Iowa Indian
showing the route of the tribe from the mouth of Rock River, Illinois,
to the banks of the Missouri, across the State which perpetuates the
tribal name. The map was reproduced by Schoolcraft. (Schoolcraft, (3),
III, pp. 256-257.)

Unfortunately very little is to be found in the early writings regarding
the appearance of the Iowa villages, but they probably did not differ
from those of the tribes with whom they were so closely associated, and
the primitive village, composed of a group of mat or bark covered
structures, must have resembled the towns of the Osage. But in addition
to the usual habitation the Iowa evidently erected a larger, longer
structure. Maximilian on April 25, 1833, when in the region then
occupied by the Iowa, wrote: "The canal between Nadaway Island and the
cantonment is called Nadaway Slew, at the end of which we saw the
remains of some Indian huts. In a dark glen in the forest, we observed a
long Indian hut, which occupied almost its whole breadth, and must have
served for a great number of persons." (Maximilian, (1), p. 124.) It is
to be regretted that a full description of this "long Indian hut" was
not preserved. It may have been a ceremonial lodge rather than a large

An interesting though brief account of the Iowa as they were at this
time is preserved. It was related by a missionary, Samuel M. Irvin, who
arrived among the Iowa April 10, 1837. They were living in the
northwestern part of Missouri, the "Platte purchase," but were soon to
be removed to lands west of the Missouri. At that time, the spring of
1837, so the narrative continues: "They numbered in all 830. They were a
wild, warlike, roving people, and in a most wretched condition,
depending mainly on the chase for a subsistence. Their habitations were
of the most frail and temporary kind. They were shelters in the form of
huts or houses made of the bark of trees stretched over slender poles
and tied together with bark strings, or they were tents or lodges made
of the skins of the buffalo or elk, and sewed together with the sinews
of these animals. These bark houses were mainly for summer shelter, and
would in a few years yield to the wear of time, when they would be
abandoned and a new location sought. The skin tents were carried with
them, and made their habitations wherever they chanced to stop. They
were strictly a migratory and unsettled people." (Plank, (1), p. 312.)
And "domestic animals, excepting ponies and dogs, were not among them.
Indeed, to some of them, such things as cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry
were almost unknown, and did such animals happen their way they would
pounce upon them for present food as quickly as upon a buffalo or wild

An excellent picture of an Iowa habitation accompanied the article from
which the preceding quotations have been made and is now reproduced in
plate 32, _b_.


When Lewis and Clark ascended the Missouri during the summer of 1804
they reached the mouth of the Platte July 21. At that time, so they
entered in their journal, the Oto were living on the south side of the
Platte 10 leagues above its junction with the Missouri, and 5 leagues
beyond, on the same bank, were the Pawnee. Living with the Oto were the
remnants of the Missouri who had, a few years before, joined them. On
August 3, 1804, the expedition having ascended the Missouri to about the
location of the present city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, held a council
with representatives of the two tribes, Oto and Missouri, an event which
has been perpetuated in the name of the city. A majority of the two
tribes were then absent from their village on their summer buffalo hunt,
consequently few were present at the council.

On May 3, 1811, Bradbury arrived at the Oto village, but it was
deserted. All were probably some miles away hunting the buffalo.
However, a very interesting description of the habitations in the
deserted village is preserved. First referring to the Platte: "The
southern bank is wholly divested of timber, and as the village is
situated on a declivity near the river, we could see the lodges very
distinctly, but there was no appearance of Indians." (p. 54.) On the
following day, May 4, 1811, he visited the village and found it "to
consist of about fifty-four lodges, of a circular form, and about forty
feet in diameter, with a projecting part at the entrance, of ten or
twelve feet in length, in the form of a porch. At almost every lodge,
the door or entrance was closed after the manner which is customary with
Indians when they go on hunting parties and take their squaws and
children with them. It consists in putting a few sticks across, in a
particular manner, which they so exactly note and remember, as to be
able to discover the least change in their position. Although anxious to
examine the internal structure of the lodges, I did not violate the
injunction conveyed by this slight obstruction, and after searching some
time found a few that were left entirely open. On entering one, I found
the length of the porch to be an inclined plane to the level of the
floor, about two and a half or three feet below the surface of the
ground; round the area of the lodge are placed from fifteen to eighteen
posts, forked at the top, and about seven feet high from the floor. In
the centre, a circular space of about eight feet in diameter is dug, to
the depth of two feet; four strong posts are placed in the form of a
square, about twelve feet asunder, and at equal distances from this
space these posts are about twenty feet high, and cross pieces are laid
on the tops. The rafters are laid from the forked tops of the outside
posts over these cross pieces, and reach nearly to the centre, where a
small hole is left for the smoke to escape; across the rafters small
pieces of timber are laid; over these, sticks and a covering of sods,
and lastly earth. The fire is made in the middle of the central space,
round the edges of which they sit, and the beds are fixed between the
outer posts. The door is placed at the immediate entrance into the
lodge; it is made of a buffalo skin, stretched in a frame of wood, and
is suspended from the top. On entering, it swings forward, and when let
go, it falls to its former position." (Bradbury, (1), pp. 56-57.)

It is to be regretted that Bradbury did not give a more detailed account
of the general appearance of the village; that he did not tell of the
placing of the lodges, and of the other structures, if any stood within
the village. But this large group of earth-covered lodges undoubtedly
resembled the village of the Republican Pawnee, as shown in the
photograph made by Jackson more than half a century later.

In the narrative of the Long expedition, during the spring of 1820, more
than a century ago, is a brief note on the Oto. It reads: "The Oto
nation of Indians is distinguished by the name of _Wah-toh-ta-na_. The
permanent village of this nation is composed of large dirt lodges,
similar to those of the Konzas and Omawhaws, and is situate on the left
bank of the river Platte, or Nebreska, about forty miles above it
confluence with the Missouri." (James, (1), I, p. 338.) On the map which
accompanies the narrative the village is indicated on the south or right
bank of the Platte, in the eastern part of the present Saunders County,
Nebraska. Continuing, the journal states (p. 342): "The hunting grounds
of the Oto nation, extend from the Little Platte up to the Boyer creek,
on the north side of the Missouri, and from Independence creek to about
forty miles above the Platte, on the south side of that river. They hunt
the bison, between the Platte and the sources of the Konzas rivers."
Thus their hunting grounds included one of the richest and most fertile
sections of the valley of the Missouri, now occupied by many towns and

Much of interest respecting the manners and ways of life of the Oto when
they occupied their village near the mouth of the Platte is to be found
in Irving's narrative of the expedition of which he was a member. During
the summer of 1833 the small party under the leadership of Commissioner
H. L. Ellsworth left St. Louis and, with several teams, proceeded up the
Valley of the Missouri. They traversed the vast rolling prairie: "Hour
after hour passed on; the prospect was still the same. At last a loud
cry from our guide announced that we had come in sight of the
cantonment. There was a snowy speck resting upon the distant green;
behind it rose a forest of lofty timber which shadowed the Missouri.
This was Leavenworth.... It was mid day when we first caught sight of
Leavenworth, but it was near sunset before we arrived there. About a
dozen white-washed cottage-looking houses, composed the barracks and the
abodes of the officers. They are so arranged as to form the three sides
of a hollow square; the fourth is open, and looks out into a wide but
broken prairie. It is a rural looking spot--a speck of civilization
dropped in the heart of a wilderness." (Irving, J. T., (1), I, pp.
46-47.) From Fort Leavenworth they continued up the valley, soon
reaching the village of the Oto, near the banks of the Platte. After
describing the reception accorded the party by the people of the town
Irving wrote: "The village of the Otoe Indians is situated upon a ridge
of swelling hills overlooking the darkly wooded banks of the Platte
river, about a quarter of a mile distant. There is but little beauty or
neatness about an Indian town. The lodges are built in the shape of a
half egg. They frequently are twenty feet in height, and sometimes sixty
in diameter. The roofs are formed of long poles, which diverge like the
radii of a circle, from one common centre. The ring of the circle is
formed of upright posts, driven closely together in the ground, and
projecting upward about five feet. These are interwoven with brushwood
and the smaller branches of trees, and form the support of the outer end
of the poles composing the roof, the interstices of which are also
interwoven with twigs and brushwood. The whole is then covered with
earth, and when finished resembles a large hillock. The town contained
about seventy of these lodges, standing singly or in groups, without any
attention to order or regularity. Within, they are capacious, but dark,
being lighted merely by a small aperture at the top, which serves both
as window and chimney. The fire is built in a cavity in the centre,
directly under the hole in the roof, by which the smoke escapes after
floating in easy wreaths about the interior.

"As the lodges are very spacious, a little back from the fire there is a
circular range of tree trunks standing like columns, and connected by
timber laid in their forks, forming a support for the roof, which
otherwise, from the great length of the poles that form it, and the
heavy mass of superincumbent earth, might fall in, and bury the
inhabitants. Around the wall of the building, are ranged cribs or berths
for sleeping, screened from view by heavy mats of grass and rushes. Over
the fire is inclined a forked stake, in the hook of which hangs a large
kettle, generally filled with buffalo flesh and corn. This, to judge
from its looks, is never removed from the fire, even for the purpose of
cleaning it." (Op. cit., pp. 158-160.)

A week or more passed after the arrival of the party at the Oto village
before a council was held with the chief men of the tribe, "for the
purpose of forming a treaty, with respect to the lands lying in the
neighbourhood of the Nemahaw river." The time for holding the council
having arrived, the commissioner and his party proceeded from their camp
to the earth-covered lodge in which the ceremony was to be enacted. They
entered and "found nearly the whole tribe assembled, and seated in
circles, in the large lodge of the Iotan chief. At the far end of the
building was the Iotan; and by his side were stationed those two
worthies, the Big Kaw and the Thief. Next them were the stern forms of
the older warriors and braves.... The lodge was excessively crowded. One
ring was formed beyond another; one dark head rose behind another; until
the dim, dusk outlines of the more distant were lost in shadow, and
their glistening eyes alone could be seen. The passage which led to the
air was completely crowded with women and children; and half a dozen
curious faces were peering down through the round hole in the roof.

"The most of them had adorned themselves for the occasion. Plumes were
floating from their scalp-locks; their heads and breasts were painted
with vermilion, and long strings of wampum hung from their necks and
mutilated ears. But at the present moment there appeared to be no
thought of their appearance. Every sense was wrapped up in an intense
interest in the approaching council; every breath was held; and every
eye fixed with eagerness upon the face of the Commissioner, as he arose
to address the meeting." (Op. cit., pp. 233-235.) This vivid description
of the gathering of the Oto in a great earth-covered structure near the
banks of the Missouri during the summer of 1833 tends to recall Lieut.
Timberlake's meeting with the head men of the Cherokee, when they came
together in the townhouse at Chote late in the year 1761. The two
structures were of similar appearance and probably did not differ
greatly in size, although at Chote there were several tiers of seats
surrounding the central space within the house which were lacking in the
Oto lodge, but the two gatherings were evidently quite similar, although
belonging to different generations and being in regions separated by
many hundreds of miles of forest and plain. The great rotundas, or
townhouses of the Cherokee, were the most interesting of the various
native structures which formerly stood east of the Mississippi.
(Bushnell, (1), pp. 59-63.)

The preceding notes on the Oto refer to their permanent earth-lodge
villages, which were occupied only part of each year. When away from the
village they would make use of the skin-covered tipi, although the
temporary shelter of the Pawnee may have been copied by some members of
the tribe. Fortunately a very good description of the appearance of a
winter encampment of several families, at some point far west of the
Missouri on the prairie of Nebraska, during the winter of 1851-52, has
been preserved. The account was prepared by a traveler who became
separated from his companions and reached the camp unexpectedly while
traversing the snow-covered wilderness. The "little camp consisted of
two large tents, which stood in a deep ravine, overgrown with stunted
oaks, and on the banks of a deep stream, whose waters were hidden
beneath a thick covering of ice." One tent belonged to the chief
Wa-ki-ta-mo-nee, the other to a half-breed named Louis Farfar. Arriving
at the camp, so the narrative continues, I "crawled into the tent of the
medicine-man, and took my place by his blazing fire, while the other
occupants lay or crouched around. The old mother was busy in the
preparation of the meat, and by her side, next the opening, were two
daughters; the older about eighteen, the younger about two years old.
The father of the family, his son, and Schin-ges-in-ki-nee had,
according to Indian custom, kept the best places for themselves, which
was so much the better for me as I was placed between them. The medicine
pipe, with a bowl cut out of some red stone, went round briskly, and the
time that was employed in distributing the meat intended for the meal I
spent in taking a good view of the Indian dwelling. Sixteen long poles,
made of slender pine trees, were so placed as to form a circle of
sixteen or eighteen feet in diameter, their tops being bent over and
fastened together. Around this framework was thrown, like a mantle, the
tent leather, consisting of a great number of buffalo-hides, tanned
white, and neatly sewed together for the purpose with sinews. The
leather did not reach quite to the top, but left an opening, by which
the smoke could escape; but there were two prolongations of the tent
leather, something like flags, which were supported by particular poles,
so as, in stormy weather or contrary winds, to form a very tolerable
chimney. The tent was fixed so firmly to the ground with pegs that the
tightly stretched sides would admit neither the rain nor the snow, when
it melted from the heat of the fire; and the inhabitants had not only a
secure refuge, but a tolerably comfortable dwelling. The various
possessions of the Indians were hung round on the tent poles, where they
only took up room that could easily be dispensed with, and kept out the
cold that could have most readily found an entrance at those places. On
the space round the fire, buffalo-hides were spread for beds at night,
and when rolled up in the day made convenient seats; the fire, in a kind
of pit half a foot deep, and two and a half in diameter, was a mass of
glowing embers, with a number of logs blazing on the top, and diffused a
most pleasant warmth over the small space. Near the fire a branch of a
tree was stuck into the ground, and another placed horizontally across
it, and running the whole breadth of the tent, from which hung the most
indispensable of household utensils in the form of a great kettle,
whilst the rest of the pole was covered with wet and torn mocassins and
gaiters, in a manner that was certainly more convenient than
ornamental.... Besides the wild half-naked forms of the Indians, a
number of dogs, young and old, made part of the company assembled in
Wa-ki-ta-mo-nee's tent. The attention of the mistress of the family, a
very dirty old squaw, was exclusively devoted to the vast kettle and its
bubbling contents; a row of roughly-cut wooden platters stood before
her, and by means of a pointed stick she fished up from the cauldron
large joints of bear and half turkeys, and loaded each of the platters
with a huge portion of the savoury smelling food." (Möllhausen, (1), I,
pp. 171-175.) The second tent, so he wrote, "was more spacious" than the
one which he had entered, and described. This is an interesting
description of a small winter camp of the Oto as it stood in the midst
of the snow-covered prairie, near a stream "whose waters were hidden
beneath a thick covering of ice." The scene could undoubtedly have been
repeated in many localities in the vast region west of the Missouri. The
identity of the stream near which the two tents stood during the winter
of 1851-52 is suggested by a note in Fremont's journal, written 10 years
earlier. On June 22, 1842, when traversing the prairies, soon to reach
the right bank of the Platte, he wrote: "Made our bivouac in the midst
of some well-timbered ravines near the Little Blue.... Crossing the next
morning a number of handsome creeks, with clear water and sandy beds, we
reached at 10 A. M., a very beautiful wooded stream, about thirty-five
feet wide, called Sandy creek, and sometimes, as the Ottoes frequently
winter there, Otto fork." (Fremont, (1), p. 14.) The greater part of the
course of Sandy Creek is through the present Clay and Thayer Counties,
Nebraska, a hundred miles or more south of west from the Oto village
then situated near the mouth of the Platte.

Möllhausen remained with the Oto until the temporary camp was abandoned,
then returned with them to their permanent village. The journey required
several weeks but in time they approached the Missouri, and as they
neared their destination: "We passed the burial place of the Ottoes just
before we descended into the valley, and shortly afterwards came to the
village. The first consisted of a number of hillocks inclosed by rough
palings, and decorated with sticks with little bits of coloured stuff
and feathers fluttering from them. The village, which lay not many
hundred yards farther was a group of about sixty huts of various
construction, some of clay, shaped like haycocks or baking ovens, others
like small houses, built of thick oak bark. These dwellings stood mostly
empty, as the inhabitants had pitched their tents just now in the angle
formed by the Nebrasca and Missouri, on account of the rich grass to be
found in these bottom lands under the protecting snow, and because they
and their cattle were in that situation more sheltered from the violent
gales of wind." (Möllhausen, (1), I, pp. 210-211.) Here is a reference
to a third form of habitation known to the Oto. In addition to the
earth-covered lodge and the skin tipi, both of which were characteristic
of the time and place, they appear to have reared structures similar to
the habitation of the Sauk and Fox, as shown in plate 19, a type of
dwelling known to several neighboring tribes in the upper Mississippi


[Illustration: _a._ "Pemmican maul, Oto Agency, Nebrasca, J. W. Griest."
Formed of one piece of wood. Extreme length, 39 inches. (U.S.N.M.

[Illustration: _b._ Heavy stone maul with handle attached. "Yankton
Sioux. Fort Berthold. Drs. Gray and Matthews, U. S. A." Extreme length
about 2 feet 2 inches. (U.S.N.M. 6325)]

[Illustration: _c._ "Tools of the Mandans for dressing leather, Dakota.
Drs. Gray and Matthews, U. S. A." Handle of antler, with flint blade
attached. Extreme length of handle about 11 inches. (U.S.N.M. 8409)]


[Illustration: _a._ Oto dugout canoe, from Kurz's Sketchbook, May 15,

[Illustration: _b._ Bull-boat and paddle, obtained from the Hidatsa.
Marked "Fort Buford, Dak. Ter. Grosventres Tribe. Drs. Gray and
Matthews." (U.S.N.M. 9785)]


[Illustration: _a._ Structure showing arbor over entrance]

[Illustration: _b._ Long structure with entrance on one side




It is quite evident that after leaving the permanent earth-lodge village
of the Oto the Long party just a century ago passed one of the temporary
camps of the same people. This, fortunately, was sketched by the artist
of the expedition and reproduced in the narrative of the journey, and is
now shown in plate 33. To quote from the narrative: "For the
elucidation of what we have said respecting the form and arrangement of
the skin, or travelling lodges of the Indians, we subjoin an engraving,
representing an encampment of Oto Indians, which Mr. Seymour sketched
near the Platte river. In this plate, the group of Indians on the left
is intended to represent a party of Konza Indians approaching to perform
the calumet dance in the Oto village. It may be proper to remark, that
this party when still distant from the Otoes, had sent forward a
messenger, with the offer of a prize to the first Oto that should meet
them. This circumstance was productive of much bustle and activity among
the warriors and young men, who eagerly mounted their horses, and
exerted their utmost speed." (James. (1), II, pp. 188-189.)

Various ethnological specimens collected among the Oto a generation or
more ago are in the collections of the National Museum. One quite rare
object, a "pemmican maul," formed of a single piece of wood, is figured
in plate 34, _a_.

An original sketch by Kurz in May, 1851, representing a group of Oto
with a dugout canoe, is reproduced in plate 35, _a_.


In the narrative of the Lewis and Clark expedition appears this record:
"June 13, 1804. We passed ... a bend of the river, Missouri and two
creeks on the north, called the Round Bend creeks. Between these two
creeks is the prairie, in which once stood the ancient village of the
Missouris. Of this village there remains no vestige, nor is there any
thing to recall this great and numerous nation, except a feeble remnant
of about thirty families. They were driven from their original seats by
the invasions of the Sauks and other Indians from the Mississippi, who
destroyed at this village two hundred of them in one contest." (Lewis
and Clark, (1), I, p. 13.) About 5 miles beyond they reached the mouth
of Grand River which flows from the northwest, serves as the boundary
between Carroll and Chariton Counties, Missouri, and enters the left
bank of the Missouri River. Therefore the old village of the Missouri
evidently stood at some point in the latter county. It was probably
composed of a number of mat and bark covered lodges resembling the
village of the Osage which stood a few miles farther up the river. Two
days later, June 15, the party identified the site or remains of the
former village of the Little Osage, and, so the narrative continues:
"About three miles above them, in view of our camp is the situation of
the old village of the Missouris after they fled from the Sauks." (Op.
cit., p. 15.) From this village the few Missouri Indians appear to have
sought refuge among the Oto, then living on the banks of the Platte.


When first known to Europeans the Winnebago occupied the region west of
Green Bay, west of Lake Michigan, where, according to the Jesuit
missionaries, they had resided for many generations. There they were
living in the year 1634 when visited by Nicollet, and just 35 years
later, during the winter of 1669-70, a mission on the shore of the same
bay was conducted by Père Allouez, which proved a gathering place for
various tribes, including the Winnebago, Sauk and Foxes, Menominee, and
Potawatomi. These, with the exception of the Winnebago, were Algonquian

As already mentioned, the Oto, Iowa, and Missouri appear to have been
closely connected with the Winnebago, all speaking dialects understood
by one another. And it is also evident that when the Oto, Iowa, and
Missouri began their movement westward to the Mississippi and beyond the
Winnebago remained behind. However, about the beginning of the last
century they reached the banks of the Mississippi, and by successive
moves during the next 50 years some arrived in western Minnesota, soon
to be removed to lands beyond the Missouri, adjoining the Omaha, in the
northeastern part of Nebraska.

While living in the vicinity of Green Bay their villages were groups of
mat and bark-covered lodges, typical of the tribes of the wooded country
which abounded in lakes and streams. And it is quite evident that during
their migration westward, when they made long stops before finally
reaching the banks of the Missouri, they continued to erect and occupy
structures similar to those which had stood in their old villages
generations before.

Typical examples of Winnebago dwellings are shown in plates 36 and 37.
The arbor over the entrance is an interesting feature, seldom appearing
in the Algonquian villages, although often shown in front of Siouan

In a forthcoming publication Radin has given a list of the various forms
of structures erected by the Winnebago, some of which existed until very
recent years. (Radin, (1).)


As mentioned in the sketch of the Assiniboin, a small party of French
accompanied by members of that tribe during the autumn of 1738 went
southward from the Assiniboin country to the Mandan towns, where the
French remained several weeks. The leader of the expedition, La
Verendrye, prepared an account of the journey, this being the earliest
record of a visit by Europeans to the Mandans known to exist, although
it is easily conceived that French trappers may have been among the
tribe earlier in the century.

The expedition arrived among the Mandan November 28, 1738, after a
journey of 46 days, but soon pushed forward to a larger village.
Fortunately the journal contains references to the ways of life of the
Mandan and a brief description of their fortified or protected
settlements. At that time the tribe was said to have had six villages,
and evidently all were protected by encircling palisades. The village in
which the French then rested consisted of 130 lodges, and "all the
streets, squares and huts resembled each other." The French were
particularly interested in the manner in which the town was protected,
but the account in the journal must exaggerate the strength, or rather
the size, of the ditch. The palisade was described as being 15 feet in
height, and "At fifteen points doubled are green skins which are put for
sheathing when required, fastened only above in the places needed, as in
the bastion there are four at each curtain well flanked. The fort is
built on a height in the open prairie with a ditch upwards of fifteen
feet deep by fifteen to eighteen feet wide. Their fort can only be
gained by steps or posts which can be removed when threatened by an
enemy. If all their forts are alike, they may be called impregnable to
Indians.... Both men and women of this nation are very laborious; their
huts are large and spacious, separated into several apartments by thick
planks; nothing is left lying about; all their baggage is in large bags
hung on posts; their beds made like tombs surrounded by skins.... Their
fort is full of caves, in which are stored such articles as grain, food,
fat, dressed robes, bear skins. They are well supplied with these; it is
the money of the country.... They make wicker work very neatly, flat and
in baskets. They make use of earthen pots, which they use like many
other nations for cooking their food." (La Verendrye, (1), p. 21.) In
addition to the six more important villages there appear to have been
others, similar but smaller. Referring to these La Verendrye wrote (p.
23): "We noticed that in the plain there were several small forts, of
forty or fifty huts, built like the large ones, but no one was there at
the time. They made us understand that they came inside for the summer
to work their fields and that there was a large reserve of grain in
their cellars." Evidently these were nearer their cornfields, away from
the river banks, and were occupied only parts of each year.

From this all too brief account of the Mandan it is quite evident that
when they were first encountered by the French, living in their earth
lodges, their villages strongly palisaded, their caches filled with corn
and other food supplies, buffalo robes and bear skins, they were in
their most powerful and prosperous state. But what great changes they
were destined to undergo during the next hundred years!

On October 19, 1804, the Lewis and Clark party discovered the first of
the ruined villages of the Mandan, evidently standing on the left bank
of the Missouri, in the southern part of the present Burleigh County,
North Dakota. It proved an interesting day. "In walking along the shore
we counted fifty-two herds of buffaloe and three of elk, at a single
view. Besides these we also observed elk, deer, pelicans, and wolves."
The ruined village had been protected by palisades and, according to the
Arikara chief, who accompanied them, had been occupied by the Mandan.
These, so they wrote, "are the first ruins which we have seen of that
nation in ascending the Missouri." During the night of October 19 the
expedition encamped on the south, i. e., right, bank of the Missouri,
evidently about 2 miles below the mouth of Little Heart River, which
flows from the westward and joins the Missouri in the present Morton
County, North Dakota. The following day they advanced 12 miles up the

October 21, 1804, was cold and bleak. Snow and ice covered the ground,
and the wind blew strong from the northeast. That day the expedition
advanced only 7 miles. They passed the mouth of Big Heart River and the
site of Bismarck, the present capital of the State. Two miles above
their camp of the night previous, about opposite the mouth of the Big
Heart, they reached "the ruins of a second Mandan village, which was in
existence at the same time with that just mentioned. It is situated on
the north at the foot of a hill in a beautiful and extensive plain,
which is now covered with herds of buffaloes; nearly opposite are
remains of a third village on the south of the Missouri, and there is
another also about two miles further on the north, a little off the
river. At the distance of seven miles we encamped on the south, and
spent a cold night." The next day, October 22, they discovered other
ruined towns of the Mandan. "In the morning we passed an old Mandan
village on the south, near our camp; at four miles another on the same
side.... At six we reached an island about one mile in length, at the
head of which is a Mandan village on the north in ruins, and two miles
beyond a bad sandbar. At eight miles are remains of another Mandan
village on the south; and at twelve miles encamped on the south....
These villages, which are nine in number, are scattered along each side
of the river within a space of twenty miles; almost all that remains of
them is the wall which surrounds them, the fallen heaps of earth which
covered the houses, and occasionally human skulls and the teeth and
bones of men, and different animals, which are scattered on the surface
of the ground." (Lewis and Clark, (1), I, pp. 112-114.) Other deserted
villages were passed as they continued ascending the Missouri, to arrive
late on the 26th of October, at an old field of the Mandan, about
one-half mile below the first of their then occupied villages.

The winter encampment of the expedition, Fort Mandan, was situated on
the left bank of the Missouri, about opposite the future Fort Clark, and
some 7 or 8 miles below the mouth of Knife River, and consequently
several miles from the first Mandan village. Here the expedition
remained until April 7, 1805. The lower of the Mandan villages was
"Matootonha," the second and smaller was "Rooptahee." The list continues
and refers to "the third village which is called Mahawha, and where the
Arwacahwas reside." "The fourth village where the Minnetarees live, and
which is called Metaharta." A fifth village is mentioned but its name is
not given. (Op. cit., pp. 120-121.) Referring to these more in detail
the narrative tells something of their origin: November 21, 1804, "The
villages near which we are established are five in number, and are the
residence of three distinct nations: the Mandans, the Ahnahaways, and
the Minnetarees. The history of the Mandans, as we received it from our
interpreters and from the chiefs themselves, and as it is attested by
existing monuments, illustrates more than that of any other nation the
unsteady movements and the tottering fortunes of the American nations.
Within the recollection of living witnesses, the Mandans were settled
forty years ago in nine villages, the ruins of which we passed about
eighty miles below, and situated seven on the west and two on the east
side of the Missouri. The two finding themselves wasting away before the
small-pox and the Sioux, united into one village, and moved up the river
opposite to the Ricaras. The same causes reduced the remaining seven to
five villages, till at length they emigrated in a body to the Ricara
nation, where they formed themselves into two villages, and joined those
of their countrymen who had gone before them. In their new residence
they were still insecure, and at length the three villages ascended the
Missouri to their present position. The two who had emigrated together
still settled in the two villages on the northwest side of the Missouri,
while the single village took a position on the southeast side. In this
situation they were found by those who visited them in 1796; since which
the two villages have united into one. They are now in two villages, one
on the southeast of the Missouri, the other on the opposite side, and at
the distance of three miles across. The first, in an open plain,
contains about forty or fifty lodges, built in the same way as those of
the Ricaras: the second, the same number, and both may raise about three
hundred and fifty men.

"On the same side of the river, and at the distance of four miles from
the lower Mandan village, is another called Mahaha. It is situated in a
high plain at the mouth of the Knife river, and is the residence of the
Ahnahaways. This nation, whose name indicated that they were 'people
whose village is on a hill,' formerly resided on the Missouri, about
thirty miles below where they now live. The Assiniboins and Sioux forced
them to a spot five miles higher, where the greatest part of them were
put to death, and the rest emigrated to their present situation, in
order to obtain an asylum near the Minnetarees. They are called by the
French, Soulier Noir or Shoe Indians; by the Mandans, Wattasoons, and
their whole force is about fifty men.

"On the south side of the same Knife river, half a mile above the Mahaha
and in the same open plain with it, is a village of the Minnetarees
surnamed Metaharta, who are about one hundred and fifty men in number.
On the opposite side of Knife river, and one and a half mile above this
village is a second of Minnetarees, who may be considered as the proper
Minnetaree nation. It is situated in a beautiful low plain, and contains
four hundred and fifty warriors." (Op. cit., pp. 129-131.)

In their journal, kept while in winter quarters at Fort Mandan, are to
be found many interesting references to the Mandan. To quote several of
these will tend to shed light on the ways of life in the native village.
On November 22, 1804, the Mandan sold to the members of the expedition
"a quantity of corn of a mixed colour, which they dug up in ears from
the holes made near the front of their lodges, in which it is buried
during the winter." This had probably been gathered only a few weeks
before the arrival of the party at the village, then deposited in the
caches for future use. December 19 the weather had moderated, and the
Indians were seen playing a game on the level space between the lodges
of the first and second chiefs, a distance of about 50 yards. The entry
for January 13, 1805, contains an interesting note: "We have a
continuation of clear weather, and the cold has increased, the mercury
having sunk to 34 below 0. Nearly one half of the Mandan nation passed
down the river to hunt for several days; in these excursions men, women
and children, with their dogs, all leave the village together, and after
discovering a spot convenient for the game, fix their tents; all the
family bear their part in the labour, and the game is equally divided
among the families of the tribe." And on February 12, it was told how
"The horses of the Mandans are so often stolen by the Sioux, Ricaras,
and Assiniboins, that the invariable rule now is to put the horses every
night in the same lodge with the family. In the summer they ramble in
the plains in the vicinity of the camp, and feed on the grass, but
during cold weather the squaws cut down the cottonwood trees as they are
wanted, and the horses feed on the boughs and bark of the tender
branches, which are also brought into the lodges at night and placed
near them."

About the year 1797, and consequently a few years before the arrival of
the Lewis and Clark expedition at the Mandan villages, John McDonnell,
a partner of the North-West Company, made brief mention of the Mandan in
his journal. He wrote: "These Indians live in settled villages,
fortified with palisades, which they seldom ever abandon, and they are
the best husbandman in the whole Northwest. They raise indian corn or
maize, beans, pumpkins, squashes in considerable quantity, not only
sufficient to supply their own wants, with the help of the buffalo, but
also to sell and give away to all strangers that enter their villages."
(McDonnell, (1), pp. 272-273.) And in 1804 another representative of the
old North-West Company referred to the gardens of the Mandans and said
in part:

"In the spring, as soon as the weather and the state of the ground will
permit, the women repair to the fields, when they cut the stalks of the
Indian corn of the preceding year and drop new seed into the socket of
the remaining roots. A small kind of pumpkins which are very productive
they plant with a dibble, and raise the ground into hillocks the same as
those about Indian corn. Their kidney beans they plant in the same
manner. They cultivate a tall kind of sunflower, the seed of which is
reckoned good eating dry and pounded with fat and made into balls of
three or four ounces; they are found excellent for long journeys."
(Mackenzie, Charles, (1), pp. 338-339.) And the narrative continued:
"The only implement used among the Mandanes for the purpose of
agriculture is a hoe made from the shoulder blade of a buffalo and which
is ingrafted upon a short crooked handle. With this crooked instrument
they work very expeditiously, and soon do all that is required for their

As already mentioned, the Lewis and Clark party departed from their
winter quarters April 7, 1805, to pursue their journey westward. The
next year, on August 14, 1806, when returning, they again arrived at the
Mandan villages. They reached Rooptahee, where they were kindly received
by the people, but it is interesting to know that during the 16 months
which had intervened between the departure and return of the Lewis and
Clark party a great change had taken place in the appearance of the
native village. As mentioned in the journal, "This village has been
rebuilt since our departure, and was now much smaller; a quarrel having
arisen among the Indians, in consequence of which a number of families
had removed to the opposite side of the river." Such were the changes
ever occurring among the people of the upper Missouri. Old villages were
abandoned and new ones built, some to be divided and others united,
consequently very few of the ruined sites discovered along the course of
the river represent towns which were occupied at the same time.

Although the work just quoted contains much of interest pertaining to
the Mandan and neighboring tribes, subsequent writers described the
appearance of the villages and separate structures more in detail, and
from the narratives of Catlin and Maximilian, supplemented by many
sketches, it is possible to visualize the primitive earth-lodge villages
with their many peculiar features.

Catlin remained among the Mandan for some weeks during the year 1832 and
wrote at that time: "They have two villages only, which are about two
miles distant from each other.... Their present villages are beautifully
located, and judiciously also, for defence against the assaults of their
enemies. The site of the lower (or principal) town, in particular is one
of the most beautiful and pleasing that can be seen in the world, and
even more beautiful than imagination could ever create. In the very
midst of an extensive valley (embraced within a thousand graceful swells
and parapets or mounds of interminable green, changing to blue, as they
vanish in distance) is built the city, or principal town of the
Mandans." This was evidently the lower village, the first encountered
when ascending the Missouri, the Matootonha of Lewis and Clark, and
Mihtutta-hangusch of Maximilian. Describing the position of this town,
Catlin continued: "The ground on which the Mandan village is at present
built, was admirably selected for defence; being on a bank forty or
fifty feet above the bed of the river. The greater part of this bank is
nearly perpendicular and of solid rock. The river, suddenly changing its
course to a right-angle, protects two sides of the village, which is
built upon this promontory or angle; they have therefore but one side to
protect, which is effectually done by a strong piquet, and a ditch
inside of it, of three or four feet in depth. The piquet is composed of
timbers of a foot or more in diameter, and eighteen feet high, set
firmly in the ground at sufficient distances from each other to admit of
guns and other missiles to be fired between them. The ditch ... is
inside of the piquet, in which their warriors screen their bodies from
the view and weapons of their enemies." (Catlin, (1), I, pp. 80-81.)
This is followed by a description of the earth-covered lodges, "closely
grouped together, leaving but just room enough for walking and riding
between them." Outside they appeared to be made entirely of earth, but
entering he was surprised "to see the neatness, comfort, and spacious
dimensions of these earth-covered dwellings." The structures varied in
size, some being 40, others 60 feet in diameter. All were of a circular
form with the floors 2 feet or more below the original surface. "In the
centre, and immediately under the sky-light is the fire-place, a hole of
four or five feet in diameter, of a circular form, sunk a foot or more
below the surface, and curbed around with stone. Over the fire-place,
and suspended from the apex of diverging props or poles, is generally
seen the pot or kettle, filled with buffalo meat; and around it are the
family, reclining in all the most picturesque attitudes and groups,
resting on their buffalo-robes and beautiful mats of rushes." Their
beds, or sleeping places, stood against the wall and were formed of
poles lashed together and covered with buffalo skins. Each such bed was
screened by skins of the buffalo or elk, arranged as curtains, with a
hole in front to serve as an entrance. "Some of these coverings or
curtains are exceedingly beautiful, being cut tastefully into fringe,
and handsomely ornamented with porcupine's quills and picture writings
or hieroglyphics." Catlin's sketch of the interior of a lodge, as just
described, is reproduced in plate 38, _a_. In this picture the beds
resting against the wall are clearly shown, the sunken fireplace is
surrounded by the occupants of the lodge, and on the extreme right are
two pottery vessels and a bull-boat, so characteristic of the upper

Near the center of the large village, surrounded by the lodges, was the
open space where games were played and their various ceremonies enacted.
Referring to this, Catlin wrote (Op. cit., p. 88): "In the centre of the
village is an open space, or public area, of 150 feet in diameter, and
circular in form, which is used for all public games and festivals,
shows and exhibitions and also for their 'annual religious
ceremonies.'... The lodges around this open space front in, with their
doors towards the centre; and in the middle of this circle stands an
object of great religious veneration.... This object is in form of a
large hogshead, some eight or ten feet high, made of planks and
hoops.... One of the lodges fronting on this circular area, and facing
this strange object of their superstition, is called the 'Medicine
Lodge,' or council house. It is in this sacred building that these
wonderful ceremonies, in commemoration of the flood, take place." Later
Catlin witnessed the remarkable ceremony, as enacted by the Mandan in
the midst of their large village, and prepared a series of paintings
showing the various phases. The original pictures are in the collection
belonging to the United States National Museum, and one, the last,
showing what they termed the "last race," is now reproduced as plate 38,
_b_. In the center of the open space stands the sacred object, "in form
of a large hogshead." An outline drawing of this painting was reproduced
as plate 69 in Catlin's work.

One of the most interesting and vivid passages in Catlin's writings is
his description of this village as it impressed him. To quote (Op. cit.,
pp. 88-89): "In ranging the eye over the village from where I am
writing, there is presented to the view the strangest mixture and medley
of unintelligible trash (independent of the living beings that are in
motion), that can possibly be imagined. On the roofs of the lodges,
besides the groups of living, are buffaloes' skulls, skin canoes, pots
and pottery; sleds and sledges--and suspended on poles, erected some
twenty feet above the doors of their wigwams, are displayed in a
pleasant day, the scalps of warriors, preserved as trophies; and thus
proudly exposed as evidence of their warlike deeds. In other parts are
raised on poles the warriors' pure and whitened shields and quivers,
with medicine-bags attached; and here and there a sacrifice of red
cloth, or other costly stuff, offered up to the Great Spirit, over the
door of some benignant chief, in humble gratitude for the blessings
which he is enjoying. Such is a part of the strange medley that is
before and around me; and amidst them ... can be seen in distance, the
green and boundless, treeless, bushless prairie; and on it, and
contiguous to the piquet which encloses the village, a hundred scaffolds
on which their 'dead live,' as they term it." Such was the appearance of
the great Mandan town in the year 1832, and this description would
probably have applied to many of the ruined villages which stood on the
banks of the Missouri farther down the river, which were occupied during
past generations by the ancestors of those whom Catlin met and whose
portraits have been preserved.

Maximilian, accompanied by the artist Karl Bodmer, left St. Louis April
10, 1833, on board the steamboat _Yellow Stone_, bound for the upper
Missouri. Arriving at Fort Pierre they boarded the _Assiniboin_. The
_Yellow Stone_ being loaded with "7,000 buffalo skins and other furs,"
was to return to St. Louis. Starting from Fort Pierre June 5, they
arrived at Fort Clark, among the Mandan, just two weeks later.
Maximilian wrote on June 18: "At half-past seven we passed a roundish
island covered with willows, and reached then the wood on the western
bank, in which the winter dwellings of part of the Mandan Indian are
situated; and saw, at a distance, the largest village of this tribe,
Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush, in the vicinity of which the whole prairie was
covered with riders and pedestrians. As we drew nearer the huts of that
village, Fort Clarke, lying before it, relieved by the background of the
blue prairie hills, came in sight, with the gay American banner waving
from the flag-staff.... The _Assiniboin_ soon lay to before the fort,
against the gently sloping shore, where above 600 Indians were waiting
for us." (Maximilian, (1), p. 171.) They departed from Fort Clark the
following day and on June 24, "the seventy-fifth day since our departure
from St. Louis," arrived at Fort Union, near the mouth of the
Yellowstone. Returning to Fort Clark November 8, they remained
throughout the winter, departing April 18, 1834.

During the long winter months Maximilian learned much of the manners and
ways of life of the Mandan, and his records are, in many respects, to be
preferred to those of Catlin. To quote his description of the Mandan
towns: "Their villages are assemblages of clay huts, of greater or less
extent, placed close to each other, without regard to order.
Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush, the largest of the Mandan villages, was about 150
or 200 paces in diameter, the second was much smaller. The circumference
forms an irregular circle, and was anciently surrounded with strong
posts, or palisades, which have, however, gradually disappeared as the
natives used them for fuel in the cold winters. At four places, at
nearly equal distances from each other, is a bastion built of clay,
furnished with loop-holes, and lined both within and without with
basket-work of willow branches. They form an angle, and are open towards
the village; the earth is filled in between the basket-work and it is
said that these bulwarks, which are now in a state of decay, were
erected for the Indians by the Whites." It is curious and interesting
that a similar observation should have been made by La Verendrye nearly
a century before, and so the question arises, If made by Europeans, who
were they? No protection or fortification of this sort was at the second
and smaller village. A plan of the larger village, indicating its
position on the right bank of the Missouri a short distance above Fort
Clark, is given by Maximilian on page 394 and is here reproduced in
figure 4. This would probably have been near the southern line of the
present Mercer County, North Dakota.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.--Plan of the large Mandan village, 1833.]

Continuing the description of the large village, Maximilian wrote: "The
huts, as I have before remarked, stand close to each other, leaving, in
the centre, an open circular space, about sixty paces in diameter, in
the centre of which (among the Mandans) the ark of the first man is set
up, of which we shall speak in the sequel. It is a small cylinder, open
above, made of planks, about four or five feet high, fixed in the
ground, and bound with climbing plants, or pliable boughs, to hold them
together (see the woodcut, p. 342 [fig. 5]).

[Illustration: FIG. 5.--"The ark of the first man."]

"At the north end of this circular space is the medicine lodge, in which
festivals are celebrated, and certain customs practised, which are
connected with the religious notions of this people.... At the top of a
high pole, a figure is here placed, made of skins, with a wooden head,
the face painted black, and wearing a fur cap and feathers, which is
intended to represent the evil spirit Ochkih-Hadda.... Other grotesque
figures, made of skins and bundles of twigs, we saw hanging on high
poles, most of them being offerings to the deity. Among the huts are
many stages of several stories, supported by poles, on which they dry
the maize. The huts themselves are of a circular form, slightly vaulted,
having a sort of portico entrance. When the inmates are absent the
entrance is shut up with twigs and thorns; and if they wish merely to
close the door they put up a skin stretched out on a frame, which is
shoved aside on entering. In the centre of the roof is a square opening
for the smoke to find vent, over which is a circular sort of screen made
of twigs, as a protection against the wind and rain, and which, when
necessary, is covered with skins (see woodcut [fig. 6]).


[Illustration: _a._ Interior of a Mandan lodge. George Catlin]

[Illustration: _b._ Scene in a Mandan village. George Catlin]



Karl Bodmer, 1833]

"The interior of the hut is spacious, tolerably light, and cleanly. Four
strong pillars towards the middle, with several cross beams, support the
roof. The inner circumference of the hut is formed by eleven or fifteen
thick posts, four or five feet in height, between which other rather
shorter ones are placed close to each other. On these shorter posts,
which are all of an equal height, are long rafters, inclining to the
centre; they are placed near each other, and bear the roof. On the
outside the huts are covered with a kind of mat, made of osiers, joined
together with bark, and now the skeleton of the hut is finished. Over
this hay is spread, and the outer covering is of earth. The men and
women work together in erecting these huts, and the relations,
neighbours, and friends, assist them in the work.... In the centre of
the hut a circular place is dug for the fire, over which the kettle is
suspended. This fire-place, or hearth, is often enclosed with a ledge
of stones. The fuel is laid, in moderately thick pieces, on the external
edge of the hearth, crossing each other in the middle, when it is
kindled, and the pieces gradually pushed in as they burn away. The
Indians are not fond of large fires. The inmates sit round it, on low
seats, made of peeled osiers, covered with buffalo or bear skin. Round
the inner circumference of the hut lie or hang the baggage, the
furniture, and other property, in leather bags, the painted parchment
travelling bags, and the harness of the horses; and on separate stages
there are arms, sledges, and snow-shoes, while meat and maize, piled up,
complete the motley assemblage." (Maximilian, (1), pp. 342-344.)

[Illustration: FIG. 6.--Typical earth lodges.]

Among the many interesting paintings made by Bodmer during his journey
with Maximilian is one of the large Mandan village, plate 39, looking
down the Missouri, showing the cluster of earth lodges on the summit of
the cliff which terminates abruptly at the river. A structure rather
lower than the others, on the immediate edge of the level area, is
probably the "bastion," as represented in the plan, figure 4, pointing
out over the cliff. Beyond the village, but evidently screened from view
by the high cliff upon which the latter stood, was Fort Clark, near the
mouth of a small stream which flowed into the Missouri.

In these large circular structures the beds stood against the wall and
the single opening faced inward. These were described by Catlin and
clearly indicated in his drawing of an interior of a lodge, plate 38,
_a_. In Maximilian's work (p. 344) is a sketch of such a bed which shows
it as a unit, not attached to the wall, and capable of being moved
about. The sketch is reproduced in figure 7. These were so formed and
inclosed in skins as to protect the occupants from the cold blasts of
air which must have circulated about in the interior of the lodge during
certain seasons of the year. And as additional protection "In the
winter huts they place, at the inside of the door, a high screen of
willow boughs, covered with hides, which keeps off the draught of air
from without, and especially protects the fire." And Maximilian related
how, about the middle of November or before, the Indians removed to
their winter huts which were in a timbered area, and thus more protected
from the winds and storms of winter. There they remained until the
latter part of February, or the beginning of March, being governed by
the climatic conditions. Thus about four months of the year would be
spent in their winter village. As the greater part of their possessions
would be deposited in underground caches they made frequent trips
between their villages to get what was desired--food, clothing, skins,
and other supplies. In the winter, when the frozen prairie was covered
with ice and snow, they made use of sledges drawn by dogs to transport
their goods from place to place. The sledges were "made of a couple of
thin, narrow boards, nine or ten feet in length, fastened together with
leather straps, and with four cross-pieces, by way of giving them

[Illustration: FIG. 7.--Inclosed bed.]

On the evening of November 30, 1833, Maximilian returned to Fort Clark
from a visit of a few days to the villages a short distance above. They
passed through "the forest-village belonging to the inhabitants of
Ruhptare," referring to the winter village of the people of the smaller
Mandan town. They entered one of the winter lodges, and "there was an
abundance of meat hanging up in this hut, as they had had a very
successful buffalo hunt." After returning to Fort Clark Maximilian
wrote: "The Mandan village near the fort was now entirely forsaken by
the inhabitants. The entrances to the huts were blocked with bundles of
thorns; a couple of families only still remained, one of which was that
of Dipauch, whom Mr Bodmer visited every day, in order to make a drawing
of the interior of the hut. Instead of the numerous inhabitants, magpies
were flying about, and flocks of snow buntings were seen in the
neighbourhood about the dry plants of the prairie, where the Indian
children set long rows of snares, made of horsehair, to catch them
alive." (Op. cit., p. 425.) The drawing made by Bodmer of the interior
of the lodge proves to be one of his most interesting pictures. It was
reproduced as plate XIX, and is here shown in plate 40.

The people of Mih-tutta-hang-kusch having removed to their winter
settlement, prepared to have "a great medicine feast," and Maximilian
was invited to be present, and so, as he recorded in his narrative, "we
proceeded thither, on the 3rd of December, in the afternoon. Mr. Kipp
took his family with him, and Mato-Topé and several other Indians
accompanied us. We were all well armed, because it was asserted that a
band of hostile Indians had been seen among the prairie hills on the
preceding day. Our beds, blankets, and buffalo skins were laid on a
horse, on which Mr Kipp's wife, a Mandan Indian, rode. Thus we passed,
at a rapid pace, through the prairie, along the Missouri, then below the
hills, which are pretty high.... After proceeding about an hour and a
half we reached the village in the wood, which is the winter residence
of the inhabitants of Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush. We stopped at the hut of Mr.
Kipp's father-in-law, Mandeek-Suck-Choppenik (the medicine bird), who
accommodated us with a night's lodging. The description of this hut may
serve for all the winter huts of these Indians. It was about twenty
paces in diameter, and circular; _h_ is the fence or wall of the hut,
supported inside by strong, low posts, on which rests the vaulted roof,
which has a square hole to let the smoke escape; _g_ is the entrance,
protected by two projecting walls covered above. At _f_ is the door,
consisting of a piece of leather stretched on a frame. At _d d_ there is
a cross wall of considerable height, made of reeds and osier twigs woven
together, to keep off the draught of air. At _e e e_ there is another
cross wall, only three feet high, behind which the horses stand; _a_ is
the fireplace, round which, at _c c c c_, are the seats of the inmates,
consisting of benches formed of basket-work, covered with skins; _b b b
b_ are four strong pillars which bear the roof, and are very well united
above by cross beams. At _i_ there was a large leather case for the beds
in which the family slept. A chain, with a large kettle, was suspended
from the roof over the fire, to cook our supper, consisting of very
pleasant flavoured sweet maize." (Op. cit., pp. 425-426.) A plan of the
lodge is given on page 426, here reproduced as figure 8.

[Illustration: FIG. 8.--Plan of the interior of a Mandan lodge.]

The "great medicine feast" was to begin the evening of their arrival at
the winter village and to last 40 nights. That evening "after seven
o'clock we repaired to the medicine lodge; it was entirely cleared,
except that some women sat along the walls; the fire burned in the
centre, before which we took our seats, near the partition _d d_, with
several distinguished men of the band of soldiers. At our left hand, the
other soldiers, about twenty-five in number, were seated in a row; some
of them were handsomely dressed, though the majority were in plain
clothes. They had their arms in their hands, and in the centre were
three men who beat the drum." (Op. cit., pp. 426-427.) The lengthy
detailed account of what followed during the course of the "feast" is
most interesting, but will not be mentioned in this sketch.

As among the many neighboring tribes of the Missouri Valley, the buffalo
served as the principal source of food for the Mandan. Often sufficient
meat could be secured very near the towns; again it would be necessary
to undertake long journeys in search of the moving herds. It will be
recalled that on January 13, 1805, when the mercury stood 34° below
zero, Lewis and Clark saw "nearly one half of the Mandan nation" pass
down the frozen Missouri on a hunt to last several days. And a few years
later, just at the beginning of summer, June 25, 1811, Brackenridge
wrote: "At ten, passed an old Mandan village; and at some distance
above, saw a great number of Mandan Indians on their march along the
prairie. They sometimes go on hunting parties by whole villages, which
is the case at present; they are about five hundred in number, some on
horseback, some on foot, their tents and baggage drawn by dogs. On these
great hunting parties, the women are employed in preserving the hides,
drying the meat, and making a provision to keep. Very little of the
buffalo is lost, for after taking the marrow, they pound the bones, boil
them, and preserve the oil." (Brackenridge, (1), p. 260.) On such trips
away from their permanent earth-lodge villages the Mandan made use of
the skin-covered tipi.

In addition to the food supplied by the chase the people of the
permanent villages had large gardens in which they raised quantities of
corn and beans of various sorts, gourds and sunflowers of several
varieties, and of the seeds of the latter "very nice cakes are made."
Many animals in addition to the buffalo, and various plants besides
those cultivated in the gardens, served the Mandan for food.



Karl Bodmer, 1833]


[Illustration: _a._ Mandan wooden bowl. Marked "Ft. Berthold, Dacotah
Ter. Drs. Gray and Matthews." Diameter 7-1/4 inches, depth 2 inches.
(U.S.N.M. 6341)]

[Illustration: _b._ Mandan earthenware jar, collected by Drs. Gray and
Matthews. (U.S.N.M. 8407)]

[Illustration: _c._ Wooden bowl. Marked "Bowl of Mandan Indians, Dakota
T. Drs. Gray and Matthews--U. S. A." Diameters 10-3/4 and 9-1/4 inches,
depth 3-1/2 inches. (U.S.N.M. 8406)]


[Illustration: _a._ Spoon, marked "Buffalo horn spoon, presented by Gen.
T. Duncan." Length about 10 inches. (U.S.N.M. 12259)]

[Illustration: _b._ Spoon made of horn of mountain sheep. "Mandan
Indians, Dacotah Ter. Drs. Gray and Matthews." Extreme length 16-1/2
inches. (U.S.N.M. 6333)]



George Catlin]

At the time of Catlin's and Maximilian's visits to the Mandan the latter
were making and using their primitive forms of utensils such as had been
in use for generations. Wooden mortars, bowls hollowed out of hard
knots, spoons made of the horn of buffalo and mountain sheep, and, most
interesting of all, dishes and vessels made of pottery--all these were
used in the preparation or serving of food. Some remarkable examples of
wooden bowls made by the Mandan are now preserved in the collection of
the United States National Museum, Washington. One of the most
interesting is shown in plate 41, _c_ (U.S.N.M. 8406), and another, of
simpler form but equally well made, in plate 41, _a_ (U.S.N.M. 6341).
Both examples were evidently quite old even when collected. They are
fashioned out of maple knots, worked thin and smooth, and are beautiful
specimens. Large spoons, often termed "drinking cups," were, as already
mentioned, made of the horns of buffalo and mountain sheep. The former
were extensively used by many tribes, and usually resembled the one
shown in plate 42, _a_. The spoons made of mountain-sheep horns were
often much larger and thinner, of a yellowish hue, and the handles were
frequently bent into form or decorated. A very beautiful spoon of this
sort is shown in plate 42, _b_. (U.S.N.M. 6333.)

Pottery dishes and vessels, so Catlin wrote, "are a familiar part of the
culinary furniture of every Mandan lodge, and are manufactured by the
women of this tribe in great quantities, and modelled into a thousand
forms and tastes. They are made by the hands of the women, from a tough
black clay, and baked in kilns which are made for the purpose, and are
nearly equal in hardness to our own manufacture of pottery; though they
have not yet got the art of glazing, which would be to them a most
valuable secret. They make them so strong and serviceable, however, that
they hang them over the fire as we do our iron pots, and boil their meat
in them with perfect success." (Op. cit., p. 116.) Maximilian described
the art of pottery making among the Mandan as exactly like that of the
two associated tribes, the Hidatsa and Arikara. He wrote regarding the
three tribes that they "understand the manufacture of earthen pots and
vessels, of various forms and sizes. The clay is of a dark slate colour,
and burns a yellowish-red, very similar to what is seen in the burnt
tops of the Missouri hills. This clay is mixed with flint or granite
reduced to powder by the action of fire. The workwoman forms the hollow
inside of the vessel by means of a round stone which she holds in her
hand while she works and smooths the outside with a piece of poplar
bark. When the pot is made, it is filled and surrounded with dry
shavings, and then burnt, when it is ready for use. They know nothing of
glazing." (Op. cit., p. 348.) This was probably the simple process of
manufacture followed by the widely scattered tribes, and the apparent
ease with which the vessels were made accounts for the great quantities
of fragments now discovered scattered over ancient village sites. Two
small vessels made by the Mandan, and collected by Dr. Matthews half a
century ago, are in the National Museum collection, and one is shown in
plate 41, _b_. Very few perfect specimens exist, several being in the
collection of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. The
specimens in the National Museum are rather small, but some very large
vessels were made and used in boiling their food.

Bows and arrows were the principal weapons of the Mandan. The heads of
the arrows, at the time of Maximilian's stay among the people, were made
of thin bits of iron, although persons then living remembered the use of
stone. Lances and clubs were likewise made and used, and when mentioning
the latter Maximilian said, "a simple, knotty, wooden club is called
mauna-panischa," and gives, on page 390, a woodcut of such a weapon. It
is of interest to know that an example of this peculiar form of weapon,
which at once suggests the traditional club of Hercules, is preserved in
the Museo Kircheriana, in Rome. It is one of four specimens now
belonging to the museum which were collected by Maximilian, the other
three being a knife sheath, a horse bridle, and a saddle blanket, all
being beautifully decorated with colored quillwork. The club is shown in
figure 9, after a drawing made for the writer in 1905 by Dr. Paribeni,
of the museum. The smaller end is bound or braided with tanned skin, to
serve as a handle, and around the upper end of the wrapping is a band of
quillwork similar in workmanship to that on the other objects. All are
remarkably well preserved, and several specimens in the Ethnological
Museum in Florence may have belonged to the Maximilian collection.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.--Wooden club.]

The Mandans, like other tribes of the upper Missouri Valley, were very
expert in the art of dressing skins, especially those of the buffalo.
They used two forms of implements, one of which is similar to those
shown in plate 12, _a_; the second, rather more complicated, is
represented in plate 34, _c_. This is a beautiful old specimen now in
the National Museum. The handle is formed of a piece of elk antler; the
blade is of clear, brownish flint, well chipped. Other similar objects
are preserved in the collection.

How fortunate it was that Catlin and Maximilian chose to spend much time
among the Mandan during the years 1832, 1833, and 1834. A few years
later, in the spring of 1837, the dreaded smallpox swept away the
greater part of this most interesting nation, and "when the disease had
abated, and when the remnant of this once powerful nation had recovered
sufficiently to remove the decaying bodies from their cabins, the total
number of grown men was twenty-three, of women forty, and of young
persons sixty or seventy. These were all that were left of the eighteen
hundred souls that composed the nation prior to the advent of that
terrific disease, and even those that recovered were so disfigured as
scarcely to be recognized." (Hayden, (1), p. 433.) Soon those who
survived deserted their old village near Fort Clark and removed a few
miles above, and the town was, about this time, occupied by the Arikara.
It is interesting to know that the small remnant of the Mandan continued
to follow their own peculiar customs and to maintain their tribal unity
although so reduced in numbers. It will not be necessary in the present
sketch to trace the later history of the tribe.

In recent years the State Historical Society of North Dakota has caused
surveys to be made of the more important village sites in that State. In
addition to the plans of the sites, showing the position of the earth
lodges, they have been fortunate in obtaining drawings of the Mandan and
Hidatsa villages, made by a Mandan living on the Fort Berthold
Reservation. In writing of the picture and plan of the "most important
historical site of the Mandan tribe in the state, the one visited and
described by Lewis and Clark, Catlin, and Maximilian," Libby said: "The
Indian chart and the map of the village as it appears to-day are here
shown. It is seen that the two representations are not essentially
unlike. The grouping of the houses about a common center, at one side of
which is the holy tepee, is the predominating characteristic of each."
The Indian drawing, although crude, shows some details omitted by Catlin
in his many sketches; but the map (fig. 10) is of the greatest interest.
It shows the site near Fort Clark as it appeared about the year 1908,
and to quote from the description: "In the center of the tepees, on the
space devoted by the old Mandans to the 'big canoe' and cedar post of
the 'elder man,' stands now a large tepee (shown in dotted outline)
which was placed there by the Arikara who occupied the village after the
small-pox scourge of 1837 had killed or driven away the original
inhabitants." The structures surrounding the open space were occupied by
the principal men of the village, and the names as given by Libby were
secured by him from "Bad Gun, Rushing War Eagle, son of the Ma-ta-to-pe
or Four Bears, whose portrait Catlin painted." In the list of names
"Tepee No. 1 was the holy tepee and was also used by Lance Shoulder,"
and "No. 2 was occupied by Four Bears." The list includes fifteen names.
At the time the survey was made the entire ditch could not be traced,
but its general course could be followed, thus indicating the
approximate boundary of the town, "beyond which only a few tepees are
located." (Libby, (1), pp. 498-499.)

[Illustration: FIG. 10.--Plan of the Mandan village at Fort Clark.]

When it is realized how little is known regarding the arrangement of the
many ancient villages which once stood in the country east of the
Mississippi, villages which in their time were probably as large and
important as those of the Mandan of the last century, it is not possible
to overestimate the value of the work of the Historical Society in
causing to be made an accurate survey of the sites and in securing
descriptions of the villages from some who remember them. A generation
later this would not have been possible.


Two tribes are regarded as constituting this group: The Hidatsa proper,
known to the earlier writers as the Minnetarees, and to others as the
Gros Ventres of the Missouri; and the Crows. The Hidatsa and the Crows
were, until a few generations ago, one people, but trouble developed and
the latter moved farther up the Missouri to the Rocky Mountains, and
there they were discovered by the early explorers of the region.

The Amahami may have been a distinct tribe, and as such were recognized
by Lewis and Clark, but according to their own traditions they, together
with the Hidatsa and Crows, once formed a single tribe. Their language
differs only slightly from that of the Hidatsa. During the early years
of the last century their one village stood at the mouth of Knife River.
Already greatly reduced in numbers, they suffered during the epidemic of
1837, and later the majority of those who had survived became more
closely associated with the Hidatsa.


The Hidatsa, also known as the Minnetarees and designated by some
writers the Gros Ventres of the Missouri, a name which must not be
confused with Gros Ventres of the Prairie often applied to the Atsina,
lived when first known to Europeans near the junction of the Knife and
Missouri Rivers, in the eastern part of the present Mercer County, North
Dakota. Some are of the belief that it was the Hidatsa and not the
Mandan whom the French, under La Verendrye, visited during the autumn
and winter of 1738, but in the present sketch the Mandan are accepted as
undoubtedly being the tribe at whose villages the French remained.

The Hidatsa villages as seen by Catlin and Maximilian during the years
1832, 1833, and 1834 had probably changed little since the winter of
1804-05, when Lewis and Clark occupied Fort Mandan, their winter
quarters, some 8 miles below the mouth of Knife River. Describing the
villages, Catlin said the principal one stood on the bank of Knife River
and consisted of 40 or 50 earth-covered lodges, each from 40 to 50 feet
in diameter, and this town being on an elevated bank overlooked the
other two which were on lower ground "and almost lost amidst their
numerous corn fields and other profuse vegetation which cover the earth
with their luxuriant growth.

"The scenery along the banks of this little river, from village to
village, is quite peculiar and curious; rendered extremely so by the
continual wild and garrulous groups of men, women, and children, who are
wending their way along its winding shores, or dashing and plunging
through its blue waves, enjoying the luxury of swimming, of which both
sexes seem to be passionately fond. Others are paddling about in their
tub-like canoes, made of the skins of buffaloes." (Catlin, (1), I, p.
186.) Among the great collection of Catlin's paintings belonging to the
United States National Museum, in Washington, is one of the large
village. The original painting is reproduced in plate 43. A drawing of
the same was shown as plate 70 in Catlin's work cited above. The work is
crude but interesting historically, and conveys some idea of the
appearance of the town, although in this, as in other paintings by the
same artist, the earth lodges are very poorly drawn, failing to show the
projection which served as the entrance and having the roofs too rounded
and dome-shaped. Bodmer's sketches are far superior.

On June 19, 1833, Maximilian, aboard the steamboat _Assiniboin_, left
Fort Clark bound for Fort Union at the mouth of the Yellowstone. Soon
after passing the Mandan village of Ruhptare, so Maximilian wrote: "We
saw before us the fine broad mirror of the river, and, at a distance on
the southern bank, the red mass of the clay huts of the lower village of
the Manitaries, which we reached in half an hour. The Missouri is joined
by the Knife River, on which the three villages of the Manitaries are
built. The largest, which is the furthest from the Missouri, is called
Elah-Sa (the village of the great willows); the middle one, Awatichay
(the little village), where Charbonneau, the interpreter, lives; and the
third, Awachawi (le village des souliers), which is the smallest,
consisting of only eighteen huts, situated at the mouth of Knife
River.... The south bank of the river was now animated by a crowd of
Indians, both on foot and on horseback; they were the Manitaries, who
had flocked from their villages to see the steamer and to welcome us.
The appearance of this vessel of the Company, which comes up, once in
two years, to the Yellow Stone River, is an event of the greatest
importance to the Indians.... The sight of the red brown crowd collected
on the river side, for even their buffalo skins were mostly of this
colour, was, in the highest degree, striking. We already saw above a
hundred of them, with many dogs, some of which drew sledges, and others,
wooden boards fastened to their backs, and the ends trailing on the
ground, to which the baggage was attached with leather straps."
(Maximilian, (1), pp. 178-179.)


[Illustration: _a._ Original pencil sketch]

[Illustration: _b._ Finished picture of the same


Karl Bodmer, 1833]


[Illustration: _a._ Manner of carrying basket similar to that shown in
plate 52, _a_]

[Illustration: _b._ The ring-and-pole game]

[Illustration: _c._ Hidatsa group with bull-boats. At Fort Berthold,
July 13, 1851


As told in the preceding section, Maximilian returned from Fort Union to
Fort Clark, where, with the artist Bodmer, he spent the long winter.
While near the Mandan towns he made several visits to the Hidatsa
villages a few miles above, and learned much of the manners and ways of
life of the people. He again spoke of the three villages on the banks of
Knife River, "two on the left bank, and the third, which is much the
largest, on the right bank." He continued: "At present the Manitaries
live constantly in their villages, and do not roam about as they
formerly did, when, like the Pawnees and other nations, they went in
pursuit of the herds of buffaloes as soon as their fields were sown,
returned in the autumn for the harvest, after which they again went into
the prairie. In these wanderings they made use of leather tents, some of
which are still standing by the side of their permanent dwellings" (p.
395). He then described the dress and general appearance of the people
and continued: "The Manitari villages are similarly arranged as those of
the Mandans, except that they have no ark placed in the central space,
and the figure of Ochkih-Hadda is not there. In the principal village,
however, is the figure of a woman placed on a long pole, doubtless
representing the grandmother, who presented them with the pots, of
which I shall speak more hereafter. A bundle of brushwood is hung on
this pole, to which are attached the leathern dress and leggins of a
woman. The head is made of wormwood, and has a cap with feathers. The
interior of their huts is arranged as among the Mandans: like them the
Manitaries go, in winter, into the forests on both banks of the
Missouri, where they find fuel, and, at the same time, protection
against the inclement weather. Their winter villages are in the thickest
of the forest, and the huts are built near to each other, promiscuously,
and without any attempt at order or regularity. They have about 250 or
300 horses in their three villages, and a considerable number of dogs"
(pp. 396-397). Bodmer's picture of the "Winter Village of the
Minatarres," made during the winter of 1833, is probably the most
accurate drawing of an earth-lodge village in existence. It was given as
plate xxvi by Maximilian, which is here reproduced as plate 44, _b_. A
pencil sketch which may be considered as the original sketch made by
Bodmer, and from which the finished picture was made, is now in the E.
E. Ayer collection preserved in the Newberry Library. Unfortunately the
drawing is unfinished but is very interesting historically. It is shown
in plate 44, _a_.

Maximilian then referred briefly to the creation myth of the people with
whom he was then resting. The entire surface was once covered with
water. There were two beings: one a man who lived in the far Rocky
Mountains who made all; the other was the old woman called grandmother
by the members of the tribe. "She gave the Manitaries a couple of pots,
which they still preserve as a sacred treasure," and "When their fields
are threatened with a great drought they are to celebrate a medicine
feast with the old grandmother's pots, in order to beg for rain: this
is, properly, the destination of the pots. The medicine men are still
paid, on such occasions, to sing for four days together in the huts,
while the pots remain filled with water." Such were the superstitious
beliefs of these strange people.

November 26, 1833, Maximilian, Bodmer, and several others went from Fort
Clark to the winter village to attend "a great medicine feast among the
Manitaries." They passed the two Mandan towns and during the journey saw
a large stone, "undoubtedly one of those isolated blocks of granite
which are scattered over the whole prairie, and which the Indians, from
some superstitious notion, paint with vermilion, and surround with
little sticks, or rods, to which were attached some feathers." The
little party had seen much of interest on the way, and it was late in
the day when they arrived at the village, "the large huts of which were
built so close to each other that it was sometimes difficult to pass
between them." Herds of buffalo having been reported in the vicinity of
the village, a party of Indians had decided to start after them the
following day, and planned "to implore the blessings of heaven upon
their undertaking by a great medicine feast." This appears to have been
a ceremony arranged by the women of the village. The structure in which
the dance took place was not one of the earth-covered lodges of the
town, but a rather temporary shelter of unusual shape. As described by
Maximilian: "Between the huts, in the centre of the village, an
elliptical space, forty paces or more in length, was enclosed in a
fence, ten or twelve feet high, consisting of reeds and willow twigs
inclining inwards. (See the woodcut.) [Fig. 11.] An entrance was left at
_a_; _b_ represents the fence; _d_ are the four fires, burning in the
medicine lodge, which were kept up the whole time. At _e_ the elder and
principal men had taken their seats; to the right sat the old chief,
Lachpitzi-Sihrisch (the yellow bear); some parts of his face were
painted red, and a bandage of yellow skin encircled his head. Places
were assigned to us on the right hand of the yellow bear. At _f_, close
to the fence, the spectators, especially the women, were seated: the men
walked about, some of them handsomely dressed, others quite simply;
children were seated round the fires, which they kept alive by throwing
twigs of willow trees into them." Here follows a description of the
ceremony, and it is related how six elderly men who had been chosen by
the younger ones to represent buffalo bulls, entered the inclosure. They
came from the hut opposite and when they were within, and after certain
formalities, were seated at _c_. The ceremony was attended by smoking,
the pipes were "brought first to the old men and the visitors; they
presented the mouth-piece of the pipe to us in succession, going from
right to left: we each took a few whiffs, uttered, as before, a wish or
prayer, and passed the pipe to our next neighbours.... The six buffalo
bulls, meantime, sitting behind the fire, sang, and rattled the medicine
sticks, while one of them constantly beat the badger skin. After a while
they all stood up, bent forward, and danced; that is, they leaped as
high as they could with both their feet together, continuing to sing and
rattle their sticks, one of them beating time on the badger. Their song
was invariably the same, consisting of loud, broken notes and
exclamations. When they had danced for some time, they resumed their

[Illustration: FIG. 11.--Plan of a ceremonial lodge.]

"The whole was extremely interesting. The great number of red men, in a
variety of costumes, the singing, dancing, beating the drum, &c., while
the lofty trees of the forest, illumed by the fires, spread their
branches against the dark sky, formed a _tout ensemble_ so striking and
original, that I regretted the impracticability of taking a sketch of it
on the spot."

[Illustration: FIG. 12.--Plan of the large Hidatsa village.]

Two days after the dance, on November 28, 1833, Maximilian visited the
chief Yellow Bear in his lodge. The interior presents an interesting
appearance: "The beds, consisting of square leathern cases, were placed
along the sides of the spacious hut, and the inmates sat round the fire
variously occupied. The Yellow Bear, wearing only his breech-cloth, sat
upon a bench made of willow boughs, covered with skins, and was painting
a new buffalo robe with figures in vermillion and black, having his
colours standing by him, ready mixed, in old potsherds. In lieu of a
pencil he was using the more inartificial substitute of a sharp-pointed
piece of wood. The robe was ornamented with the symbols of valuable
presents which he had made, and which had gained the Yellow Bear much
reputation, and made him a man of distinction." (Maximilian, (1), pp.

Among the historic village sites which have been studied and surveyed by
the State Historical Society of North Dakota, as mentioned in the
preceding sketch of the Mandan, was that "of the largest Hidatsa
village on Knife river." The map made for the society is here reproduced
in figure 12. This, to quote Libby, "shows the present appearance of the
... largest Hidatsa village site, located just north of the mouth of
Knife river. From the position and direction of the doorways, it is seen
that these villages show no such large grouping as is characteristic of
the Mandan village...." It was observed that the circles marking the
positions of the earth lodges were much deeper in the Hidatsa villages
than in the two Mandan sites. In the former the extreme depth below the
"highest part of the rim was often three feet and very commonly over two
feet," but on the Mandan sites the depressions were quite shallow. And
"in many cases it was observed that in and near the Hidatsa villages
were mounds of debris of varying heights, while nothing of the kind was
seen on or near Mandan sites." (Libby, (1), p. 500.) Noting these
characteristic features of the two groups of villages, or rather of the
villages of the two tribes, should reduce the difficulty of identifying
other ancient sites in the upper Missouri Valley.

The several quotations already made refer to the earth-covered lodges of
the Hidatsa, but the same people also made use of the typical skin tipi,
although less often mentioned by the early writers. They probably
resembled the structures used by the Crow. On November 8, 1833, when
Maximilian was returning to Fort Clark from the mouth of the
Yellowstone, he wrote: "At twelve o'clock we were opposite the first
Manitari summer village, and saw, on the other side, many Indians....
The invitations to land became more vociferous and numerous." Going
ashore "we were immediately conducted, by a distinguished man,
Ita-Widahki-Hisha (the red shield), to his tent, which stood apart on
the prairie, on the summit of the bank. The white leather tent was new,
spacious, and handsomely ornamented with tufts of hair of various
colours, and at each side of the entrance, finished with a stripe and
rosettes of dyed porcupine quills, very neatly executed. It had been
well warmed by a good fire, a most refreshing sight to us. We took our
seats around it, with the numerous family, the brother and uncle of the
chief, young men, women, and children. The chief had rather a long
beard, like the Punca chief, Shudegacheh, and his right breast was
tattooed with black stripes.... A large dish of boiled maize and beans
was immediately set before us; it was very tender and well dressed, and
three of us eat out of the dish with spoons made of the horn of buffalo,
or bighorn; after which the red Dacota pipe went round." (Maximilian;
(1), p. 316.) This must have been a beautiful example of the
buffalo-skin tipi, new and white, decorated with quillwork and tufts of

Continuing down the Missouri to Fort Clark they passed women in their
"round leather boats," and saw others, "proceeding towards the river,
with their boats hanging on their heads and down their backs."

An example of a "bull-boat" and paddle is shown in plate 35, _b_. It was
collected among the Hidatsa and is now preserved in the collection of
the National Museum. It is a specimen of great interest and rarity,
though once so extensively used by the tribes of the Missouri Valley.
Several boats of this sort are shown by Bodmer in his picture of the
Mandan village (pl. 39), and Kurz likewise left many drawings of these
peculiar craft (pl. 45, _c_).

In addition to the several forms of structures already mentioned, the
Hidatsa evidently erected a very secure temporary lodge when away from
their villages on hunting trips. On November 7, 1833, when descending
the Missouri, and just before arriving at Fort Clark, Maximilian wrote:
"Our breakfast was prepared at nine o'clock, when we lay to on the north
bank, in a narrow strip of forest, where we found some old Indian
hunting lodges, built, in a conical form, of dry timber. They had,
doubtless, been left by the Manitaries, who had come thus far on their
hunting excursions. The lower part of the huts, or lodges, was covered
with the bark of trees; the entrance was square, and bones were
scattered in all directions. We proceeded with a bleak, high wind, saw
the singular clay tops of the hills, and, in the forest, the stages made
of poles, where the Indian hunters dry the flesh of the animals they
have taken in the chase. About twelve o'clock we came to the spot where
some stakes indicated the former site of a Mandan village.... We are now
in the centre of the territory of the Manitaries." (Maximilian, (1), pp.
314-315.) Probably the danger of attack by their enemies made necessary
the erection of these comparatively secure shelters.

About the year 1845 many Hidatsa removed from the vicinity of Knife
River and reared a new village not far from Fort Berthold, some 60 miles
up the Missouri from old Fort Clark. They were joined from time to time
by other members of their tribe, and also by many of the remaining
Mandan. In 1862 the Arikara became the third tribe to settle near Fort
Berthold. But in 1850 the Arikara continued to occupy the old Mandan
town just below Fort Clark, the large village of earth lodges so often
visited and mentioned by the explorers and traders during the early
years of the last century. It is quite evident the new settlement of the
Hidatsa did not differ in appearance from the old Mandan town, the later
home of the Arikara, and on June 13, 1850, Culbertson wrote from Fort
Berthold: "The village, with its mud lodges, differs nothing in looks
from the Ree village described yesterday, except in one particular, that
is, the inhabitants are now engaged in surrounding it with pickets. The
logs are well prepared and are all up except on the west side; a bastion
with loop holes is placed in the middle of each side. This picket is of
course to protect the inmates against enemies by whom they are
frequently attacked." (Culbertson, (1), pp. 118-119.) This is a most
interesting reference. Could this palisade have been the one to which
Matthews alluded as having stood until 1865? The manner of constructing
the palisade, with "a bastion ... in the middle of each side," will
tend to recall the similar arrangement as indicated on the drawing of
the ancient Mahican village about two centuries before. (Bushnell, (1),
p. 26.)

In the autumn of 1853, just 20 years after Maximilian was among the
Hidatsa, an officer passed down the Missouri from Fort Benton to St.
Louis, thence to continue to Washington, where he arrived November 21.
In his journal are several brief references to the Hidatsa, or, as he
designated the tribe, the Gros Ventres. To quote from the journal:
"October 8 ... a fine region, full of game, and occasionally speaking a
hunting party of Gros Ventres out after buffalo." The next day the small
party arrived at Fort Berthold, late in the afternoon. Then, so the
journal continues: "We received many visits from the Gros Ventres, and
gave them a few presents. The Gros Ventres have a large village of mud
houses--very unsightly outside, but within warm and comfortable." The
following morning, October 10, 1853, "I visited some of the lodges of
the Gros Ventres, and found them exceedingly comfortable and capable of
accommodating comfortably a hundred persons. One part of the lodge is
appropriated to the horses, dogs, cattle, and chickens, and another to
their own sleeping apartments. They all seemed to live sociably and
comfortable together during the long cold winters of this cold
latitude.... We left Fort Berthold early; but, before we had advanced
far, were driven ashore by a strong wind, which continued throughout the
day. The smoke from the burning prairies is so dense as to almost hide
the sun. The fires, burning in every direction, present at night a
beautiful and magnificent, though terrible appearance." (Saxton, (1),
pp. 264-265.) What a vivid, though brief, description of conditions in
the Upper Missouri Valley when all was in a primitive state.

During the years following the visits of Catlin and Maximilian many
changes took place in the native villages standing on the banks of the
upper Missouri and its tributaries. Writing of a period about 40 years
after Maximilian's stay among the Mandan and Hidatsa, the winter of
1833-34, Dr. Matthews said: "The Hidatsa, Minnetaree, or Grosventre
Indians, are one of the three tribes which at present inhabit the
permanent village at Fort Berthold, Dakota Territory, and hunt on the
waters of the Upper Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, in Northwestern
Dakota and Eastern Montana." Describing the village, he continued: "The
village consists of a number of houses built very closely together,
without any attempt at regularity of position. The doors face in every
possible direction; and there is great uniformity in the appearance of
the lodges; so it is a very difficult matter to find one's way among
them." In a footnote to this paragraph is given the number of structures
standing there in the year 1872. The note reads: In the fall of 1872,
Dr. C. E. McChesney, then physician at the Berthold agency, counted,
with great care, the buildings in the village and, in a letter, gave me
the following results:

  Old-style (round) lodges of Rees                         43
  Log-cabins of Rees                                       28
      Total number of houses of Rees                       71

  Old-style lodges of Grosventres and Mandans              35
  Log-cabins of Grosventres and Mandans                    69
      Total number of houses of Grosventres and Mandans   104

      Total of houses in village                          175

The note states that "owing to the stupidity of the interpreter" it was
not possible to separate the Grosventres from the Mandans, which was to
be regretted.

The "old-style lodges" were the earth-covered lodges, and Matthews
follows with an excellent description of how they were constructed. He
tells of the building of the frame, "covered with willows, hay, and
earth," and over the opening in the center of the top "of many of the
lodges are placed frames of wicker-work, on which skins are spread to
the windward in stormy weather to keep the lodges from getting smoky.
Sometimes bull-boats are used for this purpose." (Matthews, (1), pp.
3-6.) A comment on the work of the early artists is worthy of being
mentioned at this time: "Prince Maximilian's artist [Karl Bodmer]
usually sketches the lodge very correctly; but Mr. Catlin invariably
gives an incorrect representation of its exterior. Whenever he depicts a
Mandan, Arickaree, or Minnetaree lodge, he makes it appear as an almost
exact hemisphere, and always omits the entry." (Op. cit., p. 6.)

Game, especially the buffalo, was becoming less plentiful in the
vicinity of the villages, and Matthews told how, "Every winter, until
1866, the Indians left their permanent village, and, moving some
distance up the Missouri Valley, built temporary quarters, usually in
the center of heavy forests and in the neighborhood of buffalo.... The
houses of the winter-villages resembled much the log-cabins of our own
western pioneers. They were neatly built, very warm, had regular
fire-places and chimneys built of sticks and mud, and square holes in
the roofs for the admission of light." About that time some cabins of
this sort were erected "in the permanent village at Fort Berthold; every
year since, they are becoming gradually more numerous and threaten to
eventually supplant the original earth-covered lodges." And in 1877
"game has recently become very scarce in their country, they are obliged
to travel immense distances, and almost constantly, when they go out on
their winter-hunts. Requiring, therefore, movable habitations, they take
with them, on their journeys, the ordinary skin-lodges, or 'tepees,'
such as are used by the Dakotas, Assiniboines, and other nomadic tribes
of the region." (Op. cit., pp. 6-7.)

Matthews's description of the caches prepared by the tribes with whom he
was so closely associated is most interesting, and it tends to explain
the origin and use of the numerous pits often discovered in the vicinity
of ancient village sites east of the Mississippi. He wrote: "The
numerous _caches_, or pits, for storing grain, are noteworthy objects in
the village. In summer, when they are not in use, they are often left
open, or are carelessly covered, and may entrap the unwary stroller.
When these Indians have harvested their crops, and before they start on
their winter-hunt, they dig their _caches_, or clear out those dug in
previous years. A _cache_ is a cellar, usually round, with a small
opening above, barely large enough to allow a person to descend; when
finished, it looks much like an ordinary round cistern. Reserving a
small portion of corn, dried squash, etc., for winter use, they deposit
the remainder in these subterranean store-houses, along with
household-utensils, and other articles of value which they wish to leave
behind. They then fill up the orifices with earth, which they trample
down and rake over; thus obliterating every trace of the excavation.
Some _caches_ are made under the floors of the houses, others outside,
in various parts of the village-grounds; in each case, the distance and
direction from some door, post, bedstead, fire-place, or other object is
noted, so that the stores may be found on the return of the owners in
the spring. Should an enemy enter the village while it is temporarily
deserted, the goods are safe from fire and theft. This method of
secreting property has been in use among many tribes, has been adopted
by whites living on the plains, and is referred to in the works of many
travelers." (Op. cit., pp. 8-9.)

Such were the characteristic features of the Hidatsa villages.


Before the separation of the Crows from the Hidatsa they may have
occupied permanent villages of earth-covered lodges, such as the latter
continued to erect and use until very recent years. But after the
separation the Crows moved into the mountains, the region drained by the
upper tributaries of the Missouri, and there no longer built permanent
structures but adopted the skin tipi, so easily erected and transported
from place to place. Many of their tipis were very large, beautifully
made and decorated, and were evidently not surpassed in any manner by
the similar structures constructed by other tribes of the Upper Missouri

During the summer of 1805 François Antoine Larocque, a clerk attached to
the Upper Red River Department of the Compagnie du Nord-Ouest, visited
the Crows and in his journal recorded much of interest respecting the
manners of the people. Larocque had, during the winter of 1804-05,
remained near the Mandan and Hidatsa villages, and thus met Captains
Lewis and Clark in their winter encampment. A large party of the Crows,
the Rocky Mountain Indians of the journal, came to the Hidatsa villages
on Knife River. There they were met by Larocque, with whom they departed
for their distant country, on Saturday, June 29, 1805. His narrative
contains a brief reference to the people. He wrote: "This nation known
among the Sioux by the name of Crow Indians inhabit the eastern part of
the Rocky Mountains at the head of the River aux Roches Jaunes (which is
Known by the Kinistinaux and Assiniboines by the name of River a la
Biche, from the great number of elks with which all the Country along it
abounds) and its Branches and Close to the head of the Missouri.

"There are three principal tribes of them whose names in their own
language are _Apsarechas_, _Keetheresas_ and _Ashcabcaber_, and these
tribes are again divided into many other small ones which at present
consist but of a few people each, as they are the remainder of a
numerous people who were reduced to their present number by the ravage
of the Small Pox, which raged among them for many years successively and
as late as three years ago. They told me they counted 2000 Lodges or
tents in their Camp when all together before the Small Pox had infected
them. At present their whole number consist of about 2400 persons
dwelling in 300 tents and are able to raise 600 Wariors like the Sioux
and Assiniboines. They wander about in Leather tents and remain where
there are Buffaloes and Elks. After having remained a few days in one
place so that game is not more so plentiful as it was they flit to
another place where there are Buffaloes or deers and so on all the year
around. Since the great decrease of their numbers they generally dwell
all together and flit at the same time and as long as it is possible for
them to live when together they seldom part." (Larocque, (1), pp.
55-56.) The narrative continues: "They live upon Buffaloes & Deer, a
very few of them eat Bears or Beaver flesh, but when compelled by
hunger; they eat no fish." The Crows were at that time in their
primitive condition. "They have never had any traders with them, they
get their battle Guns, ammunitions etc. from the Mandans & Big Bellys in
exchange for horses, Robes, Leggings & shirts, they likewise purchase
corn, Pumpkins & tobacco from the Big Bellys as they do not cultivate
the ground."

Unfortunately, Larocque did not describe the appearance of the tipis,
but such information was supplied by later writers.

Catlin visited the Crows during the summer of 1832 and saw many who
frequented Fort Union, at the mouth of the Yellowstone, during his stay
at that post. He wrote at that time: "The Crows who live on the head
waters of Yellow Stone, and extend from this neighborhood also to the
base of the Rocky Mountains, are similar ... to the Blackfeet: roaming
about a great part of the year." And describing their habitations, he
said: "The Crows, of all the tribes in this region, or on the Continent,
make the most beautiful lodge ... they construct them as the Sioux do,
and make them of the same material; yet they oftentimes dress the skins
of which they are composed almost as white as linen, and beautifully
garnish them with porcupine quills, and paint and ornament them in such
a variety of ways, as renders them exceedingly picturesque and agreeable
to the eye. I have procured a very beautiful one of this description,
highly ornamented, and fringed with scalp-locks and sufficiently large
for forty men to dine under. The poles which support it are about thirty
in number, of pine, and all cut in the Rocky Mountains.... This tent,
when erected, is about twenty-five feet high." (Catlin, (1), I, pp.
43-44.) Catlin's original painting of this most interesting tipi is in
the National Museum, Washington, and is here reproduced in plate 46,
_a_. The same was drawn and given by Catlin as plate 20 in his work.


[Illustration: _a._ "Crow lodge." George Catlin]

[Illustration: _b._ Crow camp at the old agency on the Yellowstone, near
Shields River. Photograph by W. H. Jackson, 1871




Photograph not identified, but probably made by J. D. Hutton]

As told elsewhere in this work, Maximilian, on June 18, 1833, arrived at
Fort Clark. At that time representatives of several tribes were gathered
in the vicinity of the fort. These included Crows, "of which tribe there
were now seventy tents about the fort." Referring to these in
particular, he remarked: "The tents of the Crows are exactly like those
of the Sioux, and are set up without any regular order. On the poles,
instead of scalps, there were small pieces of coloured cloth, chiefly
red, floating like streamers in the wind." (Maximilian, (1), p. 172.)
Later in the day Maximilian accompanied the Indian agent to the tipi
occupied by the Crow chief Eripuass. This he found to be of much
interest. "The interior of the tent itself had a striking effect. A
small fire in the centre gave sufficient light; the chief sat opposite
the entrance, and round him many fine tall men, placed according to
their rank, all with no other covering than a breech-cloth. Places were
assigned to us on buffalo hides near the chief, who then lighted his
Sioux pipe, which had a long flat tube, ornamented with bright yellow
nails, made each of us take a few puffs, holding the pipe in his hand,
and then passed it round to the left hand." And speaking of the tribe as
a whole he wrote: "The territory in which they move about is bounded, to
the north or north-west, by the Yellow Stone River, and extends round
Bighorn River, towards the sources of Chayenne River and the Rocky
Mountains. These Indians are a wandering tribe of hunters, who neither
dwell in fixed villages, like the Mandans, Manitaries, and Arikkaras,
nor make any plantations except of tobacco, which, however, are very
small.... They roam about with their leather tents, hunt the buffalo,
and other wild animals, and have many horses and dogs, which, however,
they never use for food.... The Crow women are very skilful in various
kinds of work, and their shirts and dresses of bighorn leather,
embroidered and ornamented with dyed porcupine quills, are particularly
handsome, as well as their buffalo robes, which are painted and
embroidered in the same manner." (Op. cit., pp. 174-175.)

During the spring of 1863 a peculiar type of log house was discovered in
the Crow country which had probably been erected by members of that
tribe. They may have resembled the cabins mentioned by Matthews as
standing at the Fort Berthold Reservation nine years later. On May 2,
1863, a member of the Yellowstone expedition entered in his journal: "In
the timber along the river, we saw many houses built of dry logs and
bark; some are built like lodges, but the most of them are either square
or oblong, and among them were many large and strong corrals of dry
logs. The Crows evidently winter along here, and, from the sign, they
are very numerous." The following day, "We camped three miles below
Pompey's Pillar, on which we found the names of Captain Clark and two of
his men cut in the rock, with the date July 25, 1806.... Buffalo to be
seen in every direction, and very tame.... No wonder the Crows like
their country; it is a perfect paradise for a hunter.... About sundown a
large band of buffalo came in to drink at a water-hole about two hundred
yards in front of our camp." (Stuart, (1), pp. 176-178.) This may have
represented a winter camp ground, with permanent huts to which the Crows
returned from year to year. It was in the northeastern part of the
present Yellowstone County, Montana.

A very interesting description of a Crow camp is to be found in Lord
Dunraven's narrative of his hunting trip to the Yellowstone region
performed during the year 1874. The particular camp stood not far from
the present Livingston, Montana. In describing the camp he wrote: "The
lodges are tall, circular dwellings, composed of long fir-poles planted
on a circle in the ground. These slope inwards and form a cone, meeting
and leaning against each other at the apex; and upon them is stretched a
covering of buffalo hides. They make very comfortable, clean and airy
houses, and are far preferable to any tent, being much warmer in winter
and cooler in summer. A tepee will hold from twelve to fifteen or even
twenty individuals; several families, therefore, generally occupy one in
common. The earth is beaten down hard, forming a smooth floor, and in
the middle burns the fire, the smoke finding an exit through an aperture
at the top. The portions of the tepee assigned to each family or couple
are divided by a kind of wicker-work screen at the head and foot,
separating a segment of a circle of about eight or ten feet in length
and five or six in breadth, closed by the screen at either end, and at
the outer side by the wall of the lodge, but being open towards the
interior. The fire is common property, and has a certain amount of
reverence paid to it. It is considered very bad manners, for instance,
to step between the fire and the place where the head man sits. All
round, on the lodge poles and on the screens, are suspended the arms,
clothing, finery, and equipment of the men and their horses. Each lodge
forms a little community in itself.

"The tepees are pitched with all the regularity of an organized camp, in
a large circle, inside which the stock is driven at night or on an alarm
or occasion of danger. Outside the door is struck a spear or pole, on
which is suspended the shield of the chief and a mysterious something
tied up in a bundle, which is great medicine." (Dunraven, (1), pp.

A white shield supported outside a tipi is visible in the photograph
reproduced as plate 47. This remarkable picture has not, unfortunately,
been identified, but it was undoubtedly made in the Upper Missouri
Valley, and from the nature of the tipis, many appearing to be quite
small, it may be assumed that it was a party of Indians who had come on
a trading trip, rather than that it represented a regular village.

Several accounts are preserved of large structures discovered in the
region frequented by the Crows which, although not positively
identified, were possibly erected by members of that tribe. Thus Lewis
and Clark on July 24, 1806, arrived at an island in the Yellowstone
River between 5 and 6 miles below the mouth of Clark's Fork, and wrote:
"It is a beautiful spot with a rich soil, covered with wild rye, and a
species of grass like the blue-grass, and some of another kind, which
the Indians wear in plaits round the neck, on account of a strong scent
resembling that of vanilla. There is also a thin growth of cottonwood
scattered over the island. In the centre is a large Indian lodge which
seems to have been built during the last summer. It is in the form of a
cone, sixty feet in diameter at the base, composed of twenty poles, each
forty-five feet long, and two and a half in circumference, and the whole
structure covered with bushes. The interior was curiously ornamented. On
the tops of the poles were feathers of eagles, and circular pieces of
wood, with sticks across them in the form of a girdle: from the centre
was suspended a stuffed buffaloe skin; on the side fronting the door was
hung a cedar bush: on one side of the lodge a buffaloe's head; on the
other several pieces of wood stuck in the ground. From its whole
appearance, it was more like a lodge for holding councils, than an
ordinary dwelling house." (Lewis and Clark, (1), II, p. 386.) This was
undoubtedly a ceremonial lodge, and it was probably quite similar to
another observed a few years later. To quote the description of the
second example: "In the country of the Crow Indians, (Up-sa-ro-ka,) Mr.
Dougherty saw a singular arrangement of the magi. The upper portion of a
cotton-wood tree was implanted, with its base in the earth, and around
it was a sweat house, the upper part of the top of the tree arising
through the roof. A gray bison skin, extended with oziers on the inside
so as to exhibit a natural appearance, was suspended above the house,
and on the branches were attached several pairs of children's mockasins
and leggings, and from one of the limbs of the tree, a very large fan
made of war eagle's feathers was dependent." (James, (1), I, p. 272.)


The ancient habitat of the many small tribes which evidently later
became confederated, thus forming the principal groups of this
linguistic stock, was in the southwest, whence the Pawnee and Arikara,
and those gathered under the name of the Wichita, moved northward.

The Caddo proper, the name of a tribe later applied to the confederated
group of which they formed the principal member, formerly occupied the
valley of the Red River of Louisiana, the many villages of the several
tribes being scattered along the banks of that stream and of its
tributaries in northern Louisiana, southwestern Arkansas, and eastern
Texas. Although usually included in the same linguistic group with the
Pawnee, Arikara, Wichita, and others, several notable authorities are
inclined to regard the Caddo as constituting a separate and distinct
linguistic group. This may be established and recognized in the future.


Soon after the transfer of Louisiana to the United States Government
several expeditions were sent out to explore the newly acquired domains
and to discover the native tribes who claimed and occupied parts of the
vast territory. Of these parties, that led by Capts. Lewis and Clark was
the most important, but of great interest was the second expedition
under command of Lieut. Z. M. Pike, which traversed the country
extending from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains, and reached the
Pawnee villages near the North Platte during the month of September,
1806. How long the Pawnee had occupied that region may never be
determined, but they had evidently migrated from the southwest, probably
moving slowly, making long stops on the way. As a tribe they were known
to the Spaniards as early as the first half of the sixteenth century,
and appear to have been among the first of the plains tribes to be
visited by French and Spanish traders.

Unfortunately Pike did not prepare a very extensive account of the
Pawnee as they appeared during the autumn of 1806, but wrote in part:
"Their houses are a perfect circle, (except where the door enters) from
whence there is a projection of about 15 feet; the whole being
constructed after the following manner, Viz: 1st. there is an excavation
of a circular form, made in the ground, of about 4 feet deep and 60
diameter, where there is a row of posts about 5 feet high, with crotches
at the top, set firmly in all round, and horizontal poles from one to
the other. There is then a row of posts, forming a circle of about 10
feet width in the diameter of the others, and 10 feet in height; the
crotches of those are so directed, that horizontal poles are also laid
from one to the other; long poles are then laid slanting,
perpendicularly from the lower poles over the upper, and meeting nearly
at the top, leaving only a small aperture for the smoke of the fire to
pass out, which is made on the ground in the middle of the lodge. There
is then a number of small poles put up round the circle, so as to form
the wall, and wicker work run through the whole. The roof is then
thatched with grass, and earth thrown up against the wall until a bank
is made to the eves of the thatch; and that is also covered with earth
one or two feet thick, and rendered so tight, as entirely to exclude any
storm whatsoever, and make them extremely warm. The entrance is about 6
feet wide, with walls on each side, and roofed like our houses in shape,
but of the same materials as the main building. Inside there are
numerous little apartments constructed of wicker work against the wall
with small doors; they have a great appearance of neatness and in them
the members of the family sleep and have their little deposits. Their
towns are by no means so much crowded as the Osage, giving much more
space, but they have the same mode of introducing all their horses into
the village at night, which makes it extremely crowded. They keep guards
with the horses during the day. They are extremely addicted to gaming,
and have for that purpose a smooth piece of ground cleared out on each
side of the village for about 150 yards in length." (Pike, (1),
Appendix, p. 15.)

Although Pike's account of this interesting tribe is very brief and
unsatisfactory, it was soon to be followed by a more complete and
comprehensive description. This refers to the notes prepared by members
of the Long expedition, 14 years later.

The expedition under command of Maj. Stephen H. Long arrived at Council
Bluff, "so called by Lewis and Clark, from a council with the Otoes and
Missouries held there, on the 3rd of August, 1804," during the early
autumn of 1819. Winter quarters were established at a point about 5
miles lower down the Missouri and at a short distance north of the
present city of Omaha, Nebr. This was called Engineer Cantonment, and
during the ensuing months many Indians visited the encampment to treat
with Maj. O'Fallon, the commissioner.

Leaving the majority of the party in quarters at the cantonment, Maj.
Long and others of the expedition, on October 11, "began to descend the
Missouri in a canoe, on their way towards Washington and Philadelphia."
Returning from the east they reached Engineer Cantonment May 28, 1820,
having arrived at St. Louis April 24, "from Philadelphia to Council
Bluff, to rejoin the party."

During the absence of the commanding officers some members of the
expedition made a short trip to the Pawnee villages, and the following
brief account appears in the narrative on May 1, 1820:

"At each of the villages, we observed small sticks of the length of
eighteen inches or two feet, painted red, stuck in the earth in various
situations, but chiefly on the roofs of the houses, each bearing the
fragment of a human scalp, the hair of which streamed in the wind.
Before the entrance to some of the lodges were small frames, like
painter's easels, supporting each a shield, and generally a large
painted cylindrical case of skin, prepared like parchment, in which a
war dress is deposited. The shield is circular, made of bison skin, and
thick enough to ward off an arrow, but not to arrest the flight of a
rifle ball at close quarters.... The lodges, or houses, of these three
villages, are similar in structure, but differ in size. The description
of those of the Konzas will apply to them, excepting that the beds are
all concealed by a mat partition, which extends parallel to the walls of
the lodge, and from the floor to the roof. Small apertures, or doors, at
intervals in this partition, are left for the different families, that
inhabit a lodge, to enter their respective bed chambers." (James, (1),
pp. 367-368.)

After the return of Maj. Long the reunited party left Engineer
Cantonment, June 6, 1820, and soon reached the Pawnee villages, situated
about 100 miles westward, on the Loup River, a branch of the Platte. The
narrative of this part of the journey is most interesting: "The path
leading to the Pawnee villages runs in a direction a little south of
west from the cantonment, and lies across a tract of high and barren
prairie for the first ten miles. At this distance it crosses the
Papillon, or Butterfly creek, a small stream discharging into the
Missouri, three miles above the confluence of the Platte."

After advancing for several days over the prairie, on June 10, "At
sunset we arrived at a small creek, eleven miles distant from the
village of the Grand Pawnees, where we encamped. On the following
morning, having arranged the party according to rank, and given the
necessary instructions for the preservation of order, we proceeded
forward and in a short time came in sight of the first of the Pawnee
villages. The trace on which we had travelled since we left the
Missouri, had the appearance of being more and more frequented as we
approached the Pawnee towns; and here, instead of a single footway, it
consisted of more than twenty parallel paths, of similar size and
appearance.... After a ride of about three hours, we arrived before the
village, and despatched a messenger to inform the chief of our approach.
Answer was returned that he was engaged with his chiefs and warriors at
a medicine feast, and could not, therefore, come out to meet us.... The
party which accompanied Major Long, after groping about some time, and
traversing a considerable part of the village, arrived at the lodge of
the principal chief. Here we were again informed that _Tarrarecawaho_,
with all the principal men of the village, were engaged at a medicine

"Notwithstanding his absence, some mats were spread for us upon the
ground, in the back part of the lodge. Upon these we sat down, and after
waiting some time, were presented with a large wooden dish of hominy, or
boiled maize. In this was a single spoon of the horn of a bison, large
enough to hold half a pint, which, being used alternately by each of the
party, soon emptied the dish of its contents."

An excellent example of an old spoon similar to the one mentioned in the
preceding paragraph is shown in plate 42, _a_ (U.S.N.M. 12259). It is
about 10 inches in length and much worn from long use. Unfortunately it
is not known when or where it was collected, but without doubt it came
from the Upper Missouri Valley.

Continuing the narrative: "The interior of this capacious dwelling was
dimly lighted from a hole at the top, through which the sun's rays, in a
defined column, fell upon the earthen floor. Immediately under this
hole, which is both window and chimney, is a small depression in the
centre of the floor, where the fire is made; but the upper parts of the
lodge are constantly filled with smoke; adding much to the air of
gloominess and obscurity, which prevail within. The furniture of
Long-hair's lodge consisted of mats, ingeniously woven of grass or
rushes, bison robes, wooden dishes, and one or two small brass kettles.
In the part of the lodge immediately opposite the entrance, we observed
a rude niche in the wall, which was occupied by a bison skull. It
appeared to have been exposed to the weather, until the flesh and
periosteum had decayed, and the bones had become white....

"Our visit to this village seemed to excite no great degree of
attention. Among the crowd, who surrounded us before we entered the
village, we observed several young squaws rather gaily dressed, being
wrapped in clean and new blankets, and having their heads ornamented
with wreaths of gnaphalium and the silvery leaves of the prosalea
canescens. On the tops of the lodges we also saw some display of finery,
which we supposed to have been made on account of our visit. Flags were
hoisted, shields, and bows, and quivers, were suspended in conspicuous
places, scalps were hung out; in short, the people appeared to have
exposed whatever they possessed, in the exhibition of which, they could
find any gratification of the vanity. Aside from this, we received no
distinguished marks of attention from the Grand Pawnees." (James, (1),
I, pp. 427-437.)

The camp of the expedition was a little more than a mile from the
village of the Grand Pawnee, and the intervening prairie must have
presented an animated sight, being "covered with great numbers of
horses, intermixed with men, women, and children." Nearer the village
were groups of squaws "busily engaged in dressing the skins of the bison
for robes." During the afternoon many Indians arrived at the camp, men
wishing to trade horses, the women endeavoring to trade various
articles. And on the following morning, June 11, 1820, many groups of
women were seen leaving the village, accompanied by their dogs, bound
for their fields of corn situated a few miles away.

The expedition next arrived at the village of the Republican Pawnee, 4
miles from that of the Grand Pawnee. Both villages stood on the
immediate bank of the stream. Remaining there but a short time, they
continued on to the Loup village. Here they encamped during the night of
June 12, leaving early on the following morning. On the morning of the
13th many squaws were again observed making their way to the cornfields,
with their small children. Some stopped to admire the "novel appearance"
of the members of the expedition, many brought various vegetables,
jerked buffalo meat and tallow to exchange for whatever they could

"The three Pawnee villages, with their pasture grounds, and
insignificant enclosures, occupy about ten miles in length of the
fertile valley of the Wolf river. The surface is wholly naked of timber,
rising gradually to the river hills, which are broad and low, and from a
mile to a mile and a half distant." (James, (1), I, p. 447.)

During the latter part of the summer of 1833 the small party under the
leadership of Commissioner Henry L. Ellsworth reached the Pawnee towns,
and in the narrative of the expedition are to be found many references
to the customs of the people whose habitations were the primitive
earth-covered lodges. The second morning after arriving at the village
of the Grand Pawnee several members of the party walked about among the
lodges, and at that time, so wrote Irving: "The warriors were collected
in small knots of five or six, and by their vehement gestures, were
apparently engaged in earnest conversation. The children were rolling
and tumbling in the dirt; the squaws were busily engaged. Some were
bringing from their lodges large leather sacks of shelled corn; others
were spreading it out to dry, upon the leather of their buffalo-skin
tents, which had been stretched out upon the ground. Others were
cleansing from it the decayed kernels and packing it up in small sacks
of whitish undressed leather, resembling parchment. These were then
deposited in cache-holes for a winter's store.

"At a distance from the village, a band of females were slowly wending
along the top of the low prairie ridges, to their daily labour in the
small plantations of corn. These are scattered in every direction round
the village, wherever a spot of rich, black soil, gives promise of a
bountiful harvest. Some of them are as much as eight miles distant from
the town." (Irving, J. T., (1), II, pp. 44-45.)

Later the same day a council was held at the lodge of the chief,
attended by the principal men of the village, and it is interesting to
read the description of the gathering of those who were to participate:
"The lodge had been swept clean; a large cheery fire was crackling in
the centre. The rabble crowd of loungers and hangers-on had been routed;
and besides the family of the chief, we were the only occupants of the
spacious building.

"At mid-day the chiefs and braves began to assemble. They were full
dressed; many of the young warriors had spent the whole morning in
preparation, and now presented themselves, fully ornamented for the

"As the hour for the opening of the council grew nearer, the tall,
muffled warriors poured in, in one continuous stream. They moved quietly
to the places allotted them, and seating themselves in silence round the
chief, according to their rank.... The crowd continued flowing in until
the lodge was filled almost to suffocation. As they came in, they seated
themselves, until five or six circles were formed, one beyond the other,
the last ranging against the wall of the building. In the ring nearest
the chiefs, sat the principal braves, or those warriors whose deeds of
blood entitled them to a high rank in the councils of the nation. The
more distant circles were filled by such young men of the village as
were admitted to its councils. The passage leading to the open air, was
completely blocked up with a tight wedged mass of women and children,
who dared venture no nearer to the deliberations of the tribe." (Op.
cit., pp. 48-50.) When all had gathered the chief filled a large stone
pipe, took a few puffs, then handed it to the members of the
commissioner's party, who in turn passed it to the other Indians. The
addresses were then made and the council deliberated on the several
questions presented.

The expedition moved on from the Grand Pawnee to the village of the
Republican Pawnee, which stood on the bank of the Loup Fork of the
Platte, some 20 miles distant from the former, with the rolling prairie
between. Approaching the river they could see, on the far side, "a high
bluff, on which was situated the dingy lodges of the Republican
village." They were welcomed by the people of the village, and soon
reached the lodge of the principal chief, Blue Coat, which they entered.
Then "it was not long before the lodge became crowded. The old warriors
moved with a hushed step across the building, and listened to our
conversation." Soon an invitation was received to attend a feast at the
lodge of the second chief. Entering that lodge, he was seen seated upon
"a small leather mat.... Around him were lounging about a dozen Indians.
Some, reclining with their backs against the pillars supporting the
roof, with their eyes half closed, were smoking their stone pipes. Some
were lying half asleep upon the clay floor, with their feet within a few
inches of the fire; and others were keeping up a sleepy song.

"At a short distance from the fire, half a dozen squaws were pounding
corn, in large mortars, and chattering vociferously at the same time. In
the farther part of the building, about a dozen naked children, with
faces almost hid by their bushy, tangled hair, were rolling and
wrestling upon the floor, occasionally causing the lodge to echo to
their childish glee. In the back ground, we could perceive some half
dozen shaggy, thievish-looking wolf dogs, skulking among the hides and
bundles, in search of food, and gliding about with the air of dogs, who
knew that they had no business there." (Op. cit., pp. 96-99.) Such was a
domestic scene within a Pawnee lodge.

A very clear and concise description of the interior arrangement and
fittings of an earth lodge, one standing in the village of the Grand
Pawnee during the autumn of 1835, has been preserved in Dunbar's
journal. On October 22, after referring to the construction of the lodge
itself, he wrote: "Within these buildings the earth is beat down hard,
and forms the floor. In the center a circular place is dug about 8
inches deep, and 3 feet in diameter. This is the fireplace. The earth
that is taken from this place is spatted down around it, and forms the
hearth. Near the fireplace a stake is firmly fixed in the earth in an
inclined position, and serves all the purposes of a crane. Mats made of
rushes are spread down round the fire on which they sit. Back next the
walls are the sleeping apartments. A frame work is raised about two feet
from the floor, on this are placed small rods, interwoven with slips of
elm bark. On these rods a rush mat is spread. At proper distances
partitions are set up, composed of small willow rods interwoven with
slips of bark. In front of these apartments, either a partition of
willow rods is erected, or rush mats are hung up as curtains. But this
is not always the case. In some lodges the simple platform alone is to
be seen, without either partitions, or curtains. In others there is not
even the platform, and the inmates sleep on the ground.

"In these lodges several families frequently live together. I believe
there are as many as three different families in the lodge where I stop.
Each family has its particular portion of the dwelling, and the
furniture of each is kept separate." (Dunbar, (2), p. 600.) Comparing
the two preceding accounts it is easy to visualize the interior of
Pawnee earth lodges as they were nearly a century ago.

The preceding references to the women of the villages going early in the
morning to their fields of corn recall a note in Fremont's journal a few
years later. He wrote when returning from the mountains, on September
22, 1842, "We arrived at the village of the Grand Pawnees, on the right
bank of the river [the Platte] about thirty miles above the mouth of the
Loup fork. They were gathering in their corn, and we obtained from them
a very welcome supply of vegetables." (Fremont, (1), p. 78.)

The villages described in the accounts already quoted were the permanent
settlements of the tribe, groups of earth-covered lodges quite similar
to those erected by other tribes in the Upper Missouri Valley.
Fortunately several remarkable photographs of the villages and of the
separate structures are in existence, having been made by W. H. Jackson
in 1871. The most valuable of the early pictures is reproduced as plate
49. And here it may be remarked that this is a different photograph from
the one which was presented as plate 12 in Bulletin 69 of this bureau's
publications, and although both were made at the same time, nevertheless
they differ in minor details. It is therefore of interest to know two
negatives were made at that time. This was the village of the Republican
Pawnee. In plate 50 are two of the large earth-covered lodges, showing
the tunnel-like entrances, and with many persons sitting on the tops of
the structures. The entrance is more clearly shown in plate 51, where a
brush mat protects the side. This may be part of a small inclosure.



Page of Kurz's Sketchbook, August 28, 1851]



Photograph by W. H. Jackson, 1871]



Photograph by W. H. Jackson, 1871]


[Illustration: _a._ Children at lodge entrance]

[Illustration: _b._ Showing screen near same entrance


Photographs by W. H. Jackson, 1871]

In addition to the permanent earth-covered lodges the Pawnee made
extensive use of temporary skin-covered shelters, unlike the conical
lodge of the plains tribes. These served as their habitations during the
hunting season, when away from their villages. A most valuable and
interesting description of the ways and customs of the Pawnee while
occupying their movable villages was prepared by one who, during the
summer and autumn of 1835, lived among the people, sharing their
primitive ways of life and thereby learning many of their peculiar
traits. The English traveler, Charles A. Murray, whose narrative is
quoted in part on the following pages, left Fort Leavenworth July 7,
1835, and two weeks later reached the summer camp of the Pawnee: "and a
more interesting or picturesque scene I never beheld. Upon an extensive
prairie gently sloping down to a creek, the winding course of which
marked a broken line of wood here and there interspersed with a fine
clump of trees, were about five thousand savages, inclusive of women and
children; some were sitting under their buffalo-skin lodges lazily
smoking their pipes; while the women were stooping over their fires
busily employed in preparing meat and maize for these indolent lords of
the creation. Far as the eye could reach, were scattered herds of
horses, watched (or as we should say in Scotland, 'tented') by urchins,
whose whole dress and equipment was the slight bow and arrow, with which
they exercised their infant archery upon the heads of the taller
flowers, or upon the luckless blackbird perched near them. Here and
there might be seen some gay young warrior ambling along the heights,
his painted form partially exposed to view as his bright scarlet blanket
waved in the breeze." (Murray, (1), I, pp. 277-278.) Later he described
the manner of moving and pitching their large temporary camps: "On
reaching the camping-place, which is selected by the grand chief (or, in
his absence, by the next in rank), the senior squaw chooses the spot
most agreeable to her fancy, and orders the younger women and children,
who lead the pack-horses and mules (generally from five to ten in
number, according to the size or wealth of the family), to halt; but in
making this choice of ground, she is restricted within certain limits,
and those of no great extent, as the Pawnees observe great regularity
both in their line of march and encampment. I could not ascertain
whether these regulations were invariable, or made at the pleasure of
the chief; but I believe the latter; and that on leaving their winter,
or stationary, villages, he issues the general orders on this subject,
which are observed during the season or the expedition; at any rate,
they never varied during my stay among them.

"They move in three parallel bodies; the left wing consisting of part of
the Grand Pawnees and the Tapages; the centre of the remaining Grand
Pawnees; and the right of the Republicans.... All these bodies move in
'Indian file,' though of course in the mingled mass of men, women,
children, and pack-horses, it was not very regularly observed;
nevertheless, on arriving at the halting-place, the party to which I
belonged invariably camped at the eastern extremity of the village, the
great chief in the centre, and the _Républiques_ on the western side;
and this arrangement was kept so well, that, after I had been a few
days with them, I could generally find our lodge in a new encampment
with very little trouble, although the village consisted of about six
hundred of them, all nearly similar in appearance.

"They first unpack and unsaddle the horses, which are given to a boy to
drive off to their grass and water; they then arrange all their bales,
saddles, &c. in a semi-circular form, and pile them from two to three
feet high. Around the exterior of these they drive into the ground eight
or ten curved willow rods, from two to three feet distant from each
other, but all firmly bound by leather thongs to four large upright
poles, that form the front of the lodge, and along which run transverse
willow rods, to which the extremities of the curved ones are fastened.
When the frame, or skeleton, is thus finished, they stretch the cover
(made of buffalo hides, sewed together) tight over the whole, leaving an
aperture for entrance and egress in the centre of the front; and in fine
weather, the whole front open.

"This is an accurate description of a Pawnee summer-lodge; but, of
course, the dimensions vary according to the number and wealth of the
families residing therein; in some tents I have observed the front
consisting of six or eight upright poles, to which were fixed more
skins, for additional shelter or shade. On the grass, in the interior,
are spread mats, made by the squaws from reeds, and skins of buffalo or

"From the foregoing it will be easily understood that the bales of
cloth, maize, skins, and whatever other property they possess, form the
back of the tent. Each occupant, from the chief to the lowest in rank,
has his assigned place; sleeps upon his own blanket, or buffalo robe;
has his bow and quiver suspended over his head; his saddle, bridle, and
laryettes, &c. behind his back: and thus little confusion prevails,
although each individual has only just room to sit or lie at full

"Before the tent a kind of shield is raised, upon three poles
pyramidically placed, on which is the device of the chief, by which his
tent is to be recognised.... In the interior of the tent, and generally
about the centre of its concave, is suspended the 'medicine,' which is
most carefully and religiously preserved.... Under the head of
'medicine,' the Indians comprise not only its own healing department,
but everything connected with religion of superstition; all omens, all
relics, and everything extraordinary or supernatural." (Murray (1), I,
pp. 282-286.)

Late in the year 1835 Murray left the Pawnee encampment to return to
Fort Leavenworth, but, meeting with an accident, was not able to proceed
on his way. The Pawnee were likewise moving, and in moving over the
prairie made a well-defined trail. Retracing his way, and seeking the
Pawnee, he wrote: "About ten o'clock on the following day we found the
great Pawnee trail, and, following it, came at mid-day to the place
where they had camped the night before, and a most hideous spectacle did
it present; the grass was all trodden into mud--hundreds of circular
heaps of charred wood attested the number of fires that had been used;
and the whole plain was strewed with split heads, bare skeletons, and
scattered entrails of buffalo; while some hundreds of the half-starved
Pawnee dogs who had lingered behind the village were endeavoring to
dispute some morsels of the carcasses with the gaunt snarling wolves,
who were stripping the scanty relics of skin and sinew which are left by
Indian butchery attached to the bone." (Op. cit., p. 438.) This vivid
description of the appearance of an abandoned camp site quite agrees
with a reference made by Dr. Grinnell a few years ago. Writing of events
during the year 1853, and alluding to an abandoned camp of the Pawnee
that year discovered by the Cheyenne, he said: "It was a big camp; and
there were many fires. It seemed as if the Pawnees had been camped there
killing buffalo for a long time. There were still many dogs in the camp.
On one side was a well-beaten trail which led to another camp two
hundred yards off where a number of people had been camped, not in
lodges but in shelters made of willows bent over, after the fashion of a
sweat-house." (Grinnell, (2), p. 86.)

These temporary and easily erected structures of the Pawnee were
probably quite similar in form and appearance to that of the Cheyenne,
part of which is shown in plate 14. But in the latter instance the cover
is not formed of the primitive buffalo skin, but of canvas, or some
other material obtained from the trader.

The Pawnee had a strange method of dealing with their sick or wounded
during the movement of a village from place to place, and, so wrote
Father De Smet, "if, in the long journeys which they undertake in search
of game, any should be impeded, either by age or sickness, their
children or relations make a small hut of dried grass to shelter them
from the heat of the sun or from the weather, leaving as much provision
as they are able to spare, and thus abandon them to their destiny....
If, some days after, they are successful in the chase, they return as
quickly as possible to render assistance and consolation. These
practices are common to all the nomadic tribes of the mountains." (De
Smet, (2), pp. 356-357.) It is more than probable that similar grass
shelters were constructed and used by small parties when away from the
villages, but such structures would necessarily have been of only
temporary use.

In addition to the semicircular skin-covered lodge mentioned by Murray,
the Pawnee evidently made use of the conical tipi. This was described by
Dunbar when he wrote: "Their movable dwellings consist of from 12 to 20
poles (the number varying with the size) about 16 feet long, and a
covering. Three of these poles are tied together near the top and set
up. The string, with which these poles are tied together, is so long
that one end of it reaches to the ground, when the poles are set up. The
other poles are now successively set up save one, the top of each
leaning against the three, first set up, and forming with them a circle.
The string is then wound round them all at the top several times and
fastened. The cover is tied to the top of the remaining pole by which it
is raised up, then is spread round them all and tied together on the
opposite side, where is the entrance formed by leaving the cover untied
about three feet from the ground. Over the entrance the skin of a bear
or some other animal is suspended. The tents are always set up with
their entrances toward the east. At the top the smoke passes out among
the poles, a place being left for that purpose. The fire place, crane and
hearth are similar to those in their fixed habitations. The furniture is
placed back next the cover. Rush mats are then spread down forming a
sort of floor. On these they sit, eat and sleep. The large tents are
about 18 feet in diameter at the base. The tent covers are made of
buffalo skins, scraped so thin as to transmit light, and sewed together.
These when new are quite white, and a village of them presents a
beautiful appearance. Some of them are painted according to Pawnee
fancy. They carry their tent poles with them during their whole journey.
From three to six of them, as the case may be, are tied together at the
larger end, and made fast to the saddle, an equal number on each side,
the other end drags on the ground." (Dunbar, (2), pp. 602-603.)

From these various records it will be understood the Pawnee made use of
several forms of temporary and comparatively easily transported and
erected structures when away from their permanent villages of
earth-covered lodges. And what is true of the Pawnee would probably
apply to other tribes of the upper Missouri Valley.

The Pawnee, as did other tribes of the region, made long journeys away
from their villages in quest of the buffalo, and an interesting account
of their annual hunts, as conducted about the year 1835, has been
preserved. Then it was told how "The Pawnees make two hunts each year,
the summer and winter hunt. To perform the winter hunt they leave their
villages usually in the last week of October, and do not return to them
again till about the first of April. They now prepare their cornfields
for the ensuing season. The ground is dug up with the hoe, the corn is
planted and well tended. When it has attained to a certain height they
leave it, and go out to their summer hunt. This is done near the last of
June. About the first of September they return to their villages.
Formerly the buffalo came down to and far below their villages. Now
they are obliged to travel out from ten to twenty days to reach them.
The buffalo are rapidly diminishing and will in time become extinct.

"When they leave their villages to hunt the buffalo, they take every man
and beast with them, and the place of their habitations is as desolate
and solitary during their absence as any other spot on the prairie. When
the time of departure arrives all the furniture and provisions they wish
to carry with them are packed on the horses. The residue of their scant
furniture and provisions are concealed in the earth till their return.
As each family gets ready they fall into the train, which frequently
extends some miles." (Dunbar, (1), pp. 329-330.) The narrative continues
and relates many of the mannerisms of the people, and tells of their
peculiar traits. And it is difficult to realize the great distance
traveled during the hunting trips away from the permanent earth-lodge
villages. Dunbar accompanied them on several of their hunts and wrote
(Op. cit., p. 331): "The first hunting tour I performed with them they
traveled, from the time they left their village till they returned to it
again in the spring, about 400 miles. During the first summer hunt I was
with them they traveled 700 miles before returning to their village.
During my second winter hunt they traveled 900 miles, second summer hunt
800 miles."

The moving about over the vast rolling prairies of the people of an
entire village, while on their distant hunts, covering many hundreds of
miles, and carrying with them practically all of their belongings, with
innumerable dogs and horses, stopping now to kill the buffalo and again
pushing on in quest of more, constituted one of the most interesting and
characteristic phases of primitive life on the prairies. But within a
few decades all has changed, and now many towns and villages occupy the
region once traversed by the roving bands.


When or where the Arikara separated from their kindred tribe, the
Pawnee, may never be determined, but during the years which followed the
separation they continued moving northward, leaving ruined villages to
mark the line of their migration. Sixty years ago it was said: "That
they migrated upward, along the Missouri, from their friends below is
established by the remains of their dirt villages, which are yet seen
along that river, though at this time mostly overgrown with grass. At
what time they separated from the parent stock is not now correctly
known, though some of their locations appear to have been of very
ancient date, at least previous to the commencement of the fur trade on
the Upper Missouri. At the time when the old French and Spanish traders
began their dealings with the Indians of the Upper Missouri, the
Arikara village was situated a little above the mouth of Grand River,
since which time they have made several removals and are now located at
Fort Clark, the former village of the Mandans." (Hayden, (1), pp.

The beginning of the last century found the Arikara living in three
villages, all on the right bank of the Missouri. In the journal of the
French trader Le Raye are brief references to the villages, together
with some notes on the manners and customs of the inhabitants. April 22,
1802, he wrote: "The _Ricaras_ or _Rus_ have three villages, situated on
the south bank of the Missouri, in the great bend of the river. The
lower village is on a large bottom covered with cotton wood, and
contains about fifty huts." He then describes the manner in which the
earth-covered lodges were built and refers to the structures being
"placed with great regularity," a statement which does not seem to have
been borne out by later writers. Continuing, he said: "The town is
picketed with pickets twelve feet high and set very close, to prevent
firing between them. There is one gate way, which is shut at night." On
May 27, 1802, he left the lower village, "crossed Missouri, and arrived
the same evening at the upper village. This village is situated on an
Island in the Missouri, and is fortified in the same manner as the lower
village, containing about sixty huts.... The next morning we proceeded,
and soon left the Missouri, travelling a northwest course, in a well
beaten path." (Le Raye, (1), pp. 171-180.)

Although the preceding notes may not be very accurate, nevertheless they
are of interest on account of the period they cover, just before the
transfer of Louisiana to the United States, and two years before the
most important expedition ascended the Missouri.

To trace the sites of early Arikara villages as mentioned by Lewis and
Clark, and as seen by them when the expedition under their command
passed up the Missouri during the early autumn of 1804, is most
interesting. On September 29 of that year they reached the mouth of a
small creek which entered the Missouri from the south, "which we called
Notimber creek from its bare appearance. Above the mouth of this stream,
a Ricara band of Pawnees had a village five years ago: but there are no
remains of it except the mound which encircled the town." This would
have been in the present Stanley County, South Dakota. Two days later,
on October 1, they "passed a large island in the middle of the river,
opposite the lower end of which the Ricaras once had a village on the
south side of the river: there are, however, no remnants of it now,
except a circular wall three or four feet in height, which encompassed
the town." Two miles beyond was the mouth of the Cheyenne River.


[Illustration: _a._ Arikara carrying basket. (U.S.N.M. 8430)]

[Illustration: _b._ Wooden mortar. "Witchata Inds. Dr. E. Palmer."
Height of body 13-1/2 inches. (U.S.N.M. 6899)]


[Illustration: "RICCAREE VILLAGE"

George Catlin]

On the third day after passing the mouth of the Cheyenne they reached
"Teal creek," and "A little above this is an island on the north side of
the current, about one and a half mile in length and three quarters of a
mile in breadth. In the centre of this island is an old village of the
Ricaras, called Lahoocat; it was surrounded by a circular wall,
containing seventeen lodges. The Ricaras are known to have lived there
in 1797, and the village seems to have been deserted about five years
since: it does not contain much timber."

On October 6, two days' travel beyond Teal Creek, and at a distance of
about 32 miles above it, "We halted for dinner at a village which we
suppose to have belonged to the Ricaras: it is situated in a low plain
on the river, and consists of about eighty lodges, of an octagonal form,
neatly covered with earth, and placed as close to each other as
possible, and picketed round. The skin canoes, mats, buckets, and
articles of furniture found in the lodges, induce us to suppose that it
had been left in the spring. We found three different sorts of squashes
growing in the village; we also killed an elk near it, and saw two
wolves." On the following day, after advancing about 4 or 5 miles, they
encountered "another village or wintering camp of the Ricaras, composed
of about sixty lodges, built in the same form as those passed yesterday,
with willow and straw mats, baskets, buffalo-skin canoes, remaining
entire in the camp."

The baskets may have included many similar to two rare examples now in
the National Museum, Washington, one of which is shown in plate 52, _a_
(U.S.N.M. 8430).

On October 9, 1804, after passing the mouth of the river called by them
the Wetawhoo or Wetarko, soon to be known as Grand River, which flows
into the Missouri from the west in the present Corson County, South
Dakota, the expedition stopped and held a council with the Indians.
There they remained until October 11, when "At one o'clock we left our
camp with the grand chief and his nephew on board, and at about two
miles anchored below a creek on the south, separating the second and
third village of the Ricaras, which are about half a mile distant from
each other.... These two villages are placed near each other in a high
smooth prairie; a fine situation, except that having no wood the
inhabitants are obliged to go for it across the river to a timbered
lowland opposite to them."

The expedition left the Arikara during the afternoon of October 12, and
on that date in the narrative appears an interesting account of the then
recent migrations of the tribe: "They were originally colonies of
Pawnees, who established themselves on the Missouri, below Chayenne,
where the traders still remember that twenty years ago they occupied a
number of villages. From that situation a part of the Ricaras emigrated
to the neighborhood of the Mandans, with whom they were then in
alliance. The rest of the nation continued near the Chayenne till the
year 1797, in the course of which, distressed by their wars with the
Sioux, they joined their countrymen near the Mandans. Soon after a new
war arose between the Ricaras and the Mandans, in consequence of which
the former came down the river to their present position. In this
migration those who had first gone to the Mandans kept together, and now
live in the two lower villages, which may be considered as the Ricaras
proper. The third village was composed of such remnants of the villages
as had survived the wars, and as these were nine in number a difference
of pronunciation and some difference of language may be observed between
them and the Ricaras proper, who do not understand all the words of
these wanderers. The villages are within the distance of four miles of
each other, the two lower ones consist of between one hundred and fifty
and two hundred men each, the third of three hundred." (Lewis and Clark,
(1), I, pp. 92-104.) Following this, on page 106, is a brief description
of the earth-covered lodges of the Arikara, which were of "a circular or
octagonal form, and generally about thirty or forty feet in diameter,"
but a rather better description was prepared by one of the members of
the expedition, Patrick Gass, who wrote on October 10: "This day I went
with some of the men to the lodges, about 60 in number. The following is
a description of the form of these lodges and the manner of building

"In a circle of a size suited to the dimensions of the intended lodge
they set up 16 forked posts five or six feet high, and lay poles from
one fork to another. Against these poles they lean other poles, slanting
from the ground, and extending about four inches above the cross poles;
these are to receive the ends of the upper poles that support the roof.
They next set up four large forks, fifteen feet high, and about ten feet
apart, in the middle of the area; and poles or beams between these. The
roof poles are then laid on extending from the lower poles across the
beams which rest on the middle forks, of such a length as to leave a
hole at the top for a chimney. The whole is then covered with willow
branches, except the chimney and a hole below to pass through. On the
willow branches they lay grass and lastly clay. At the hole below they
build a pen about four feet wide and projecting ten feet from the hut;
and hang a buffalo skin at the entrance of the hut for a door. This
labour like every other kind is chiefly performed by the squaws. They
raise corn, beans and tobacco." (Gass, (1), p. 52.) And five days later
Gass entered in his journal: "At 7 we saw a hunting party of the
Rickarees, on their way down to the villages. They had 12 buffalo-skin
canoes or boats laden with meat and skins; beside some horses that were
going down the bank by land. They gave us a part of their meat. The
party consisted of men, women, and children." (Op. cit., p. 54.)

Two years later, on the return of the expedition, they again passed the
villages of the Arikara, arriving opposite the upper village August 21,
1806, at which time there was an exchange of salutes of four guns each.

In 1812 Cutler wrote regarding the Arikara: "They live in fortified
villages, claim no land, except that on which their villages stand, and
the fields they improve." (Cutler, (1), p. 125.)

It is quite evident, from the preceding references as well as from the
observations of later travelers, that the Arikara villages were usually,
if not always, surrounded by palisades. But to have surrounded the area
occupied by the lodges by stout posts placed close together would have
required some time and, with the primitive implements and methods of
collecting the necessary number of timbers, would have been a laborious
undertaking. However, they appear to have had another way of protecting
their towns. This was told by a French trader who was at the Arikara
village in 1795. During the early part of June of that year several
Indians arrived among the Arikara and told that three Sioux villages
"had assembled and formed an army of five hundred warriors, intending to
attack the village of the Ricaras." Fearing this attack, the narrative
continues: "The Ricaras have fortified their village by placing
palisades five feet high which they have reinforced with earth. The fort
is constructed in the following manner: All around their village they
drive into the ground heavy forked stakes, standing from four to five
feet high and from fifteen to twenty feet apart. Upon these are placed
cross-pieces as thick as one's thigh; next they place poles of willow or
cottonwood, as thick as one's leg, resting on the cross-pieces and very
close together. Against these poles which are five feet high they pile
fascines of brush which they cover with an embankment of earth two feet
thick; in this way, the height of the poles would prevent the scaling of
the fort by the enemy, while the well-packed earth protects those within
from their balls and arrows." (Trudeau, (1), pp. 454-455.) Undoubtedly
many embankments found east of the Mississippi owe their origin to this
method of protecting the villages which they once surrounded.

The most interesting and comprehensible accounts of the Arikara villages
were prepared during the month of June, 1811. Two travelers that spring
ascended the Missouri with rival parties of traders, but they were
acquainted and again met on the upper Missouri on June 3. Brackenridge
arrived at the village on June 12, and wrote:

"The village appeared to occupy about three quarters of a mile along the
river bank, on a level plain, the country behind it rising into hills of
considerable height. There are little or no woods anywhere to be seen.
The lodges are of a conical shape, and look like heaps of earth. A great
number of horses are seen feeding in the plains around, and on the sides
of the hills. I espied a number of squaws, in canoes, descending the
river and landing at the village. The interpreter informed me, that they
were returning home with wood. These canoes are made of a single buffalo
hide, stretched over osiers, and are of a circular form. There was but
one woman in each canoe, who kneeled down, and instead of paddling
sideways, placed the paddle before; the load is fastened to the
canoe.... About two o'clock fourteen of us crossed over, and accompanied
the chief to his lodge. Mats were laid around for us to sit on, while he
placed himself on a kind of stool or bench. The pipe was handed around,
and smoked; after which, the herald, (every chief or great man, has one
of them) ascended the top of the lodge and seated himself near an open
place, and began to bawl out like one of our town criers; the chief
every now and then addressing something to him through the aperture
before mentioned. We soon discovered the object of this, by the arrival
of the other chiefs, who seemed to drop in, one after the other, as
their names were called.

"When all were seated, the pipe was handed to the chief, who began as is
usual on solemn occasions, by blowing a whiff upwards as it were to the
sky, then to the earth, and after to the east and west, after which the
pipe was sent round. A mark of respect in handing the pipe to another,
is to hold it until the person has taken several whiffs." (Brackenridge,
(1), pp. 245-246.)

Bradbury, who was also present at the gathering on June 12, entered in
his journal:

"I quitted the feast, in order to examine the town, which I found to be
fortified all round with a ditch, and with pickets or pallisadoes, of
about nine feet high. The lodges are placed without any regard to
regularity, which renders it difficult to count them, but there appears
to be from 150 to 160, and they are constructed in the same manner as
those of the Ottoes, with the additional convenience of a railing on the
eaves: behind this railing they sit at their ease and smoke. There is
scarcely any declivity in the scite of the town, and as little regard is
paid to cleanliness, it is very dirty in wet weather." (Bradbury, (1),
pp. 114-115.) Later he wrote (pp. 165-166): "I am not acquainted with
any customs peculiar to this nation, save that of having a sacred lodge
in the centre of the largest village. This is called the _Medicine
lodge_, and in one particular, corresponds with the sanctuary of the
Jews, as no blood is on any account whatsoever to be spilled within it,
not even that of an enemy; nor is any one, having taken refuge there,
to be forced from it. This lodge is also the general place of deposit
for such things as they devote to the _Father of Life_."

On the following day, June 13, 1811, Brackenridge "rambled through the
village," which he found "excessively filthy," with innumerable dogs
running about. Then he proceeded to describe the habitations: "The
lodges are constructed in the following manner: Four large forks of
about fifteen feet in height, are placed in the ground, usually about
twenty feet from each other, with hewn logs, or beams across; from these
beams, other pieces of wood are placed slanting; smaller pieces are
placed above, leaving an aperture at the top, to admit the light, and to
give vent to the smoke. These upright pieces are interwoven with osiers,
after which, the whole is covered with earth, though not sodded. An
opening is left at one side, for a door, which is secured by a kind of
projection of ten or twelve feet, enclosed on all sides, and forming a
narrow entrance, which might be easily defended. A buffalo robe
suspended at the entrance, answers as a door. The fire is made in a hole
in the ground, directly under the aperture at the top. Their beds
elevated a few feet, are placed around the lodge, and enclosed with
curtains of dressed elk skins. At the upper end of the lodge, there is a
kind of trophy erected; two buffalo heads, fantastically painted, are
placed on a little elevation; over them are placed, a variety of
consecrated things, such as shields, skins of a rare or valuable kind,
and quivers of arrows. The lodges seem placed at random, without any
regularity or design, and are so much alike, that it was for some time
before I could learn to return to the same one. The village is
surrounded by a palisade of cedar poles, but in a very bad state. Around
the village, there are little plats enclosed by stakes, intwined with
osiers, in which they cultivate maize, tobacco, and beans; but their
principal field is at the distance of a mile from the village, to which,
such of the females whose duty it is to attend to their culture, go and
return morning and evening. Around the village they have buffalo robes
stuck up on high poles. I saw one so arranged as to bear a resemblance
to the human figure, the hip bone of the buffaloe represented the head,
the sockets of the thigh bones looked like eyes." (Op. cit., pp.

On June 14 they walked together to the upper of the two villages, which
were separated by a narrow stream. They entered several lodges and were
always pleasantly received by the occupants and offered food, which
included fresh buffalo meat served in wooden dishes or bowls, and
"homony made of corn dried in the milk, mixed with beans, which was
prepared with buffalo marrow." This latter, according to Bradbury, was
"warmed on the fire in an earthen vessel of their own manufacture."
Later, when he returned to the same village, he wrote (p. 158): "I
noticed over their fires much larger vessels of earthenware than any I
had before seen, and was permitted to examine them. They were
sufficiently hardened by the fire to cause them to emit a sonorous tone
on being struck, and in all I observed impressions on the outside
seemingly made by wicker work. This led me to enquire of them by signs
how they were made? when a squaw brought a basket, and taking some clay,
she began to spread it very evenly within it, shewing me at the same
time that they were made in that way. From the shape of these vessels,
they must be under the necessity of burning the basket to disengage
them, as they are wider at the bottom than at the top. I must here
remark, that at the Great Salt Lick, or Saline, about twenty miles from
the mouth of the Wabash, vast quantities of Indian earthenware are
found, on which I have observed impressions exactly similar to those
here mentioned. From the situation of these heaps of fragments, and
their proximity to the salt works, I am decidedly of opinion that the
Indians practised the art of evaporating the brine, to make salt, before
the discovery of America."

It was the custom of the people of the village to gather in the evenings
on the tops of their lodges, there to sit and converse, and "every now
and then the attention of all was attracted by some old men who rose up
and declaimed aloud, so as to be heard over the whole village." Within
the village women were often seen busily engaged in dressing buffalo
robes, stretched on frames near the lodges. Men, playing at various
games, or sitting in groups smoking and talking; children and dogs
innumerable. Such was the appearance of an Arikara village a little more
than a century ago.

On the 18th of June Bradbury visited the bluffs southwest of the village
and on one discovered 14 buffalo skulls placed in a row, and in
describing them said: "The cavities of the eyes and the nostrils were
filled with a species of _artemisia_ common on the prairies, which
appears to be a non-descript. On my return I caused our interpreter to
enquire into the reason for this, and found that it was an honour
conferred on the buffaloes which they had killed, in order to appease
their spirits, and prevent them from apprising the living buffaloes of
the danger they run in approaching the neighbourhood." (Op. cit., p.

An interesting observation was made at this time by Brackenridge
concerning a temporary encampment of a small party of Arikara when away
from their permanent, well-protected villages. He said (Op. cit., pp.
254-255): "To avoid surprise, they always encamp at the edge of a wood;
and when the party is small, they construct a kind of fortress, with
wonderful expedition, of billets of wood, apparently piled up in a
careless manner, but so arranged as to be very strong, and are able to
withstand an assault from a much superior force." Many such inclosures
were discovered and mentioned by the early explorers of the Upper
Missouri Valley, and several instances have been cited on the preceding
pages when treating of the Siouan tribes.

In 1832 Catlin went up the Missouri, and when he arrived at the Arikara
village he made a sketch of the town as it appeared from the deck of the
steamboat. The original painting is now in the National Museum,
Washington, and is reproduced in plate 53. This was engraved and
presented as plate 80 in his narrative. Writing of this sketch he
remarked: "Plate 80, gives a view of the Riccaree village, which is
beautifully situated on the west bank of the river, 200 miles below the
Mandans; and built very much in the same manner; being constituted of
150 earth-covered lodges, which are in part surrounded by an imperfect
and open barrier of piquets set firmly in the ground, and of ten or
twelve feet in height. This village is built upon an open prairie, and
the gracefully undulating hills that rise in distance behind it are
everywhere covered with a verdant green turf, without a tree or a bush
anywhere to be seen. This view was taken from the deck of the steamer
when I was on my way up the river." (Catlin, (1), I, p. 204.) At this
time the Arikara were very hostile to all the traders who passed and
repassed along the Missouri. They had attacked many canoes and caused
the death of their occupants. Fearing the outcome of their actions they
soon left the banks of the Missouri and moved westward. One year after
Catlin passed the villages Maximilian arrived there while on his way to
the far upper waters of the Missouri. On June 12, 1833, Maximilian
wrote: "Moreau's River ... is called the southern boundary of the
territory of the Arikkaras, though they often make excursions far beyond
it.... On the morning of the 12th our cannon, muskets and rifles were
loaded with ball, because we were approaching the village of the hostile
Arikkaras. We came to Grand River, called in Lewis and Clarke's map
Wetarko River. As we here touched the bottom, we crossed to the east
bank, and in half an hour reached Rampart River, which issues from a
narrow chain of hills, called Les Remparts; and soon afterwards an
island covered with willows, which, on the large special map of Lewis
and Clarke, has an Arikkara village, of which there are now no traces.
From the hills we had a fine prospect over the bend of the river, on
which the villages of the Arikkaras are situated, and which we reached
after a short run of only two miles. The two villages of this tribe are
on the west bank, very near each other, but separated by a small stream.
They consist of a great number of clay huts, round at the top, with a
square entrance in front, and the whole surrounded with a fence of
stakes, which were much decayed, and in many places thrown down. It was
not quite a year since these villages had been wholly abandoned, because
their inhabitants, who were extremely hostile to the Whites, killed so
many Americans, that they themselves foresaw that they would be severely
chastised by the United States, and therefore preferred to emigrate. To
this cause was added, a dry, unproductive season, when the crops
entirely failed; as well as the absence of the herds of buffaloes, which
hastened their removal.... The principal chief of the Arikkaras, when
they retired from the Missouri, was called Starapat (the little hawk,
with bloody claws)." (Maximilian, (1), pp. 166-167.) The Arikara at this
time appear to have left the banks of the Missouri and removed to the
vicinity of the Pawnee.

Fort Clark, on the upper Missouri, at the villages of the Mandan and
Hidatsa, was erected by the American Fur Company during the year 1829.

In 1837 the Mandans suffered from the dreaded smallpox, losing more than
90 per cent of their number, and the few who survived abandoned their
large village below Fort Clark and settled a short distance above. And,
so wrote Hayden in 1855, "About the time that the Mandans left the lower
village, the Arikaras came and took possession, the former readily
consenting to this arrangement, because it placed a large body of
strangers between them and the Dakotas, with whom, in their now feeble
state, they were unable to contend." (Hayden, (1), p. 434.)

A brief description of the Arikara village as it appeared early in June,
1850, is to be found in Culbertson's journal. On the 12th of that month
the steamboat, ascending the Missouri, reached Fort Clark, "a small
fort, about one hundred feet in length on each side." Just above the
fort was the village of the Arikara. "The village is composed of two
hundred lodges, as near as I could learn from the interpreter, and is
built upon the top of a bluff bank rising about seventy-five feet
perpendicular from the water. The huts are placed very irregularly,
sometimes with very narrow, and sometimes with quite broad spaces
between them. A number of platforms of poles, as high as the lodges
themselves, are interspersed among them for the convenience of drying
meat and dressing robes. I noticed a number of squaws busily employed in
dressing robes." (Culbertson, (1), p. 117.) The typical earth lodge is
described, one similar to those mentioned on other pages of this sketch,
but his account of the interior of a habitation is most interesting. He,
with others, stopped at a large lodge, when, so he wrote: "We were
conducted to the place of honor, opposite to and facing the door. To our
right, along the wall, were arranged several bedsteads, rudely made,
while to the left, a part was cut off by a couple of poles, for the
accommodation of the horses; the chickens had a coop in one corner, but
roam at large on most occasions, and the centre is used for a fireplace.
The lodge was clean, airy, light and comfortable, and there was plenty
of room for more than those, who I suppose, inhabit it. Behind us were
hung bows with spears on the ends, and two rude instruments of music,
made of a number of pumpkins.... Near the fireplace a small wooden
mortar was sunk in the ground, for pounding corn. The large and high
room appeared rather scarce of furniture." Many burials were encountered
when passing between the village and Fort Clark, and there "were little
patches of corn and pumpkins, generally enclosed by a slight bush
fence," these probably being the gardens belonging to the people of the
near-by town. The mortar, "sunk in the ground," as mentioned by
Culbertson, was evidently similar to the example shown in plate 52, _b_,
a form which was indicated by Bodmer in his sketch of the interior of a
Mandan lodge, plate 40.

It will be recalled that the village mentioned in the preceding notes
was the home of the Mandan during the memorable winter of 1804-05, when
the expedition of Lewis and Clark encamped a few miles below, and there
the Mandan continued to dwell until after the epidemic of 1837.

In later years the three tribes, Arikara, Hidatsa, and Mandan, were
closely associated, living in the vicinity of Fort Berthold, on the left
bank of the Missouri and about 60 miles above Fort Clark, the Arikara
having arrived at Fort Berthold, during the month of August, 1862.
Evidently their ways of life and customs were quite similar, and
Matthews, in his work on the Hidatsa in particular, but in which he
treats of the three tribes in general, said: "For cleaning the
village-grounds, they had rakes made of a few osiers tied together, the
ends curved and spreading. Their most important agricultural implement
was the hoe. Before they obtained iron utensils of the white traders,
their only hoes were made of the shoulder-blades of elk or buffalo,
attached to wooden handles of suitable length ... as late as 1867, I saw
a great number in use at Fort Berthold, and purchased two or three, one
of which was sent to Washington, and, I presume, is now on exhibition in
the museum of the Smithsonian Institution." (Matthews, (1), p. 19.)
Several rakes of this description are in the collection of the National
Museum, Washington. One, bearing the legend "Arickaree," which was
obtained at Fort Berthold, is shown in plate 54, _a_ (U.S.N.M. 6353). It
measures 4 feet 10 inches in length and is formed of six pieces bound
together. It is also of great interest to know that the hoe which was
sent by Dr. Matthews to the museum is perfectly preserved. It is here
reproduced in plate 54, _b_ (U.S.N.M. 6326). Written on it is this
legend: "Ree Indians. Ft Berthold Dacotah Ter. Drs Gray and Matthews."
The length of the scapula, that of a buffalo, is about 14 inches. Both
handle and blade are worn smooth from use. The specimen is one of much

It will be recalled that Bradbury in 1811 referred to the "medicine
lodge," then standing in the center of the large Arikara village.
Matthews, more than 60 years later, mentioned a similar structure then
standing at the village near Fort Berthold, and said concerning it: "The
medicine-lodge of the Arickarees is larger than that of the Mandans, and
is used for a greater variety of ceremonies. Some of these performances,
consisting of ingenious tricks of jugglery and dances, representative of
various hunts, we might be inclined to call theatrical rather than
religious. Probably these Indians consider them both worshipful and
entertaining. It is often hard to tell how much of a religious ceremony
is intended to propitiate the unknown powers, and how much to please the
spectators." (Matthews, (1), p. 10.)

From the various quotations given on the preceding pages it is possible
to form a good idea of the appearance of an ancient Arikara village. A
large number of earth-covered lodges, of varying sizes, were placed
without order but rather close together, often with a "medicine lodge"
in the center of the group. All were surrounded by a palisade, often
reared in connection with a ditch and embankment. The village at Fort
Berthold was thus protected until the winter of 1865, at which time the
stockade was cut down and used as fuel, and it was never replaced.

As late as 1872 there were 43 earth-covered lodges standing at the
Arikara village near Fort Berthold, together with 28 log cabins.


[Illustration: _a._ Rake marked "Arickaree." Collected at Fort Berthold.
Length 4 feet 10 inches. (U.S.N.M. 6353)]

[Illustration: _b._ Agricultural implement formed of a scapula of a
buffalo attached to a wooden handle. Marked "Ree Indians. Ft. Berthold,
Dacotah Ter. Drs. Gray and Matthews." Length of scapula about 14 inches.
(U.S.N.M. 6326)]

[Illustration: _c._ Parfleche box. "Crows, Montana Ter. J. I. Allen."
Length 28 inches, width 13-1/2 inches. (U.S.N.M. 130574)]


[Illustration: _a._ Grass-covered structures near Anadarko]

[Illustration: _b._ Grass-covered lodge, about 1880


In addition to the earth-covered lodges found in the permanent villages,
they had skin tents which were occupied when away from their towns on
war or hunting expeditions. Like the great majority of the native
tribes, the Arikara would move about during certain seasons of the year.
Hayden, writing about the year 1855, referred to this custom: "At the
commencement of the winter the Arikaras leave their village in quest of
buffalo, which seldom approach near enough to be killed in the vicinity
of their cabins. They then encamp in skin tents, in various directions
from the Missouri or along its banks, wherever the buffalo may chance to
range. They pass the winter in hunting, and return to their permanent
village early in the spring, bringing with them their skins in an
unprepared state, with a great supply of meat." (Hayden, (1), p. 354.)
Such were the hunting parties often met by the traders and explorers, as
that mentioned by Sergeant Gass on October 15, 1804. That they were
skilled agriculturists is attested by a note referring to the time they
were still living in the old Mandan village below Fort Clark, October
11, 1853. In the journal of a party at that time descending the Missouri
from Fort Benton to St. Louis appears this entry:

"Arrived at Fort Clark, or Aricaree's village. It is situated on the top
of a very high bluff on the bank of the river.... The Rees are not
friendly to the whites, and are kept from open hostilities only by fear.
They are a large tribe, and on the fertile meadows they occupy, raise a
great amount of corn and pumpkins, which they exchange with the Crows
and Dacotahs for dried buffalo meat and robes. They exported five
thousand bushels of excellent corn this year...." (Saxton, (1), p. 265.)
And it must be remembered that the principal implement was the primitive
hoe, formed of a scapula of a buffalo attached to a wooden handle.


Like the other members of this linguistic family, whose villages have
already been described, the Wichita had two forms of dwellings, which
they occupied under different conditions. One served as the structure in
their permanent villages, the other being of a more temporary nature.
But, instead of the earth-covered lodges used farther north, their fixed
villages were composed of groups of high circular structures, entirely
thatched from bottom to top. Their movable camps, when away from home on
war or hunting expeditions, consisted of the skin-covered tents of the

The peculiar thatched structures were first seen and described by
Europeans in the year 1541, when Coronado crossed the vast rolling
prairies and reached the Quivira (the Wichita) about the northeastern
part of the present State of Kansas. Here extensive village sites, with
innumerable traces of occupancy, undoubtedly indicate the positions of
the ancient settlements.

In the narrative of the expedition led by Coronado, prepared by one of
the Spanish officers, Juan Jaramillo, appears an interesting though very
brief description of the thatched dwellings of the people of Quivira:

"The houses which these Indians have were of straw, and most of them
round, and the straw reached down to the ground like a wall, so that
they did not have the symmetry or the style of these here [referring to
pueblos]; they have something like a chapel or sentry box outside and
around these, with an entry, where the Indians appear seated or
reclining." (Winship, (1), p. 591.) Castañeda, writing of the same
villages, said: "The houses are round, without a wall, and they have one
story like a loft, under the roof, where they sleep and keep their
belongings. The roofs are of straw." (Winship, (1), pp. 528-529.) This
evidently referred to structures similar to that shown on the right of
the lodge in plate 55, _a_.

A photograph of a large Wichita dwelling, of the form mentioned, is
reproduced in plate 55, _b_. The picture was probably made about the
year 1880. The door in front is open, and there appears to be another on
the extreme left, which would be 90° from the former; therefore there
were evidently four entrances. This is explained in the following
account of the construction and arrangement of such a dwelling:

"Its construction was begun by drawing a circle on the ground, and on
the outline setting a number of crotched posts, in which beams were
laid. Against these, poles were set very closely in a row so as to lean
inward; these in turn were laced with willow rods and their tops brought
together and securely-fastened so as to form a peak. Over this frame a
heavy thatch of grass was laid and bound down by slender rods, and at
each point where the rods joined an ornamental tuft of grass was tied.
Two poles, laid at right angles, jutting out in four projecting points,
were fastened to the apex of the roof, and over the center, where they
crossed, rose a spire, 2 ft. high or more, made of bunches of grass.
Four doors, opening to each point of the compass, were formerly made,
but now, except when the house is to be used for ceremonial purposes,
only two are provided, one on the east to serve for the morning, and one
on the west to go in and out of when the sun is in that quarter. The
fireplace was a circular excavation in the center of the floor, and the
smoke found egress through a hole left high up in the roof toward the E.
The four projecting beams at the peak pointed toward and were symbolic
of the four points of the compass, where were the paths down which the
powers descended to help man. The spire typified the abode in the zenith
of the mysterious permeating force that animates all nature. The
fireplace was accounted sacred; it was never treated lightly even in the
daily life of the family. The couches of the occupants were placed
against the wall. They consisted of a framework on which was fitted a
woven covering of reeds. Upon this robes or rush mats were spread. The
grass house is a comely structure. Skill is required to build it, and it
has an attractive appearance both within and without." (Fletcher, (1).)

An interesting photograph made some 30 or 40 years ago, near Anadarko,
Caddo County, Oklahoma, is reproduced in plate 55, _a_. This shows a
grass lodge of the usual form, and to the right of it appears to be an
arbor or shelter, having a thatched roof but open on the sides. This
second structure may be of the form which was seen by the Spaniards
nearly four centuries ago, a place "where the Indians appear seated or
reclining." It undoubtedly served as a gathering place, out of doors,
and gave protection from the rays of the sun.


On August 23, 1853, the expedition under command of Lieut. A. W. Whipple
camped at some point in the southwestern portion of the present McClain
County, Oklahoma, and that evening were visited by two Indians, "the one
tall and straight, the other ill-looking. Their dress consisted of a
blue cotton blanket wrapped around the waist, a head-dress of eagles'
feathers, brass wire bracelets, and moccasins. The outer cartilages of
their ears were cut through in various places, and short sticks inserted
in place of rings. They were painted with vermilion, and carried bows of
bois d'arc three feet long, and cow-skin quivers filled with arrows. The
latter were about twenty-six inches in length, with very sharp steel
heads, tastefully and skillfully made. The feathers with which they were
tipped, and the sinews which bound them, were prettily tinted with red,
blue, and green. The shafts were colored red, and said to be poisoned."
(Whipple, (1), p. 22.) Unable to converse with the two strangers, the
interpreter proceeded to interview them by signs. "The graceful motions
of the hands seemed to convey ideas faster than words could have done,
and with the whole operation we were highly amused and interested. Our
visitors now said that they were not Kichais, but Huécos, and that they
were upon a hunting expedition." Referring to the same two Indians
another member of the expedition wrote:

"The newcomers belonged to the tribe of Wakos, or Waekos, neighbours of
the Witchita Indians, who live to the east of the Witchita Mountains, in
a village situated on the bank of a small river rising in that
direction. They were now on a journey to the Canadian, to meet a
barter-trader there, but having heard of our expedition, had turned out
of their way to pay us a visit. The Wakos and Witchitas differ only in
name, and in some slight varieties of dialect; their villages are built
in the same style, and are only about a thousand yards from one another.
Their wigwams, of which the Witchitas count forty-two, and the Wakos
only twenty, look a good deal like haycocks, and are constructed with
pliable poles, eighteen or twenty feet long, driven into the ground in a
circle of twenty-five feet diameter; the poles are then bent together
and fastened to one another at the top, and the spaces between filled
with plaited willow twigs and turf, a low aperture being left for a
door, and one above for a chimney. A place is hollowed out in the centre
for a fireplace, and around this, and a little raised, are placed the
beds of the inhabitants of the hut; which, when covered with good
buffalo skins, make tolerable resting-places. Each of these wigwams is
generally occupied by two families; and the Wako tribe is reckoned at
about two hundred, that of the Witchitas at not less than eight hundred
members. These Indians practise agriculture; and beans, peas, maize,
gourds, and melons are seen prospering very well round their villages."
(Möllhausen, (1), I, pp. 115-116.)


The "Caddo proper," or Cenis as they were called by Joutel, early
occupied the southwestern part of the present State of Arkansas, the Red
River Valley, and adjacent region to the south and west.

La Salle was murdered near the banks of the Trinity, in eastern Texas,
March 20, 1687. Joutel and several others of the party pushed on, and
nine days later, when traversing the valley of the Red River, arrived at
a village of the Cenis. Fortunately a very good account of the people
and their homes is preserved in Joutel's narrative, and from it the
following quotations are made:

"The _Indian_ that was with us conducted us to their Chief's Cottage.
By the Way, we saw many other Cottages, and the Elders coming to meet us
in their Formalities, which consisted in some Goat Skins dress'd and
painted of several Colours, which they wore on their Shoulders like
Belts, and Plumes of Feathers of several Colours, on their Heads, like
Coronets.... All their Faces were daub'd with black or red. There were
twelve Elders, who walk'd in the Middle, and the Youth and Warriors in
Ranks, on the Sides of those old Men." After remaining a short time with
the chief "They led us to a larger Cottage, a Quarter of a League from
thence, being the Hut in which they have their public Rejoycings, and
the great Assemblies. We found it furnish'd with Mats for us to sit on.
The Elders seated themselves round about us, and they brought us to eat,
some _Sagamite_, which is their Pottage, little Beans, Bread made of
_Indian_ Corn, and another Sort they make with boil'd Flower, and at
last they made us smoke."

They proceeded to another village not far away, and, so the narrative
continues: "By the Way, we saw several Cottages at certain Distances,
stragling up and down, as the Ground happens to be fit for Tillage. The
Field lies about the Cottage, and at other Distances there are other
large Huts, not inhabited, but only serving for publick Assemblies,
either upon Occasion of Rejoycing, or to consult about Peace and War.

"The Cottages that are inhabited, are not each of them for a private
Family, for in some of them are fifteen or twenty, each of which has its
Nook or Corner, Bed and other Utensils to its self: but without any
Partition to separate it from the rest: However, they have Nothing in
Common besides the Fire, which is in the Midst of the Hut, and never
goes out. It is made of great Trees, the Ends whereof are laid together,
so that when once lighted, it lasts a long Time, and the first Comer
takes Care to keep it up." Here follows a brief description of the
appearance of the structures of the village, the dwellings resembling
those later mentioned as being typical of the Wichita. "The Cottages are
round at the Top, after the manner of a Bee-Hive, or a Reek of Hay. Some
of them are sixty Foot Diameter." There follows a brief account of the
method of constructing such a house. "In order to build them, they plant
Trees as thick as a Man's thigh, tall and strait, and placing them in a
Circle, and joyning the Tops together, from the Dome, or round Top, then
they lash and cover them with Weeds. When they remove their Dwellings,
they generally burn the Cottages they leave, and build new on the Ground
they design to inhabit. Their Moveables are some Bullocks Hides and
Goats Skins well cur'd, some Mats close wove, wherewith they adorn their
Huts, and some Earthen Vessels, which they are very skilful at making,
and wherein they boil their Flesh or Roots, or _Sagamite_, which, as has
been said, is their Pottage. They have also some small Baskets made of
Canes, serving to put in their Fruit and other Provisions. Their Beds
are made of Canes, rais'd two or three Foot above the Ground, handsomely
fitted with Mats and Bullocks Hides, or Goats Skins well cur'd, which
serve them for Feather Beds, or Quilts and Blankets; and those Beds are
parted one from another by Mats hung up." (Joutel, (1), pp. 106-109.)

The preceding is probably the clearest description of the furnishings of
a native structure standing beyond the Mississippi during the last
quarter of the seventeenth century that has been preserved. The large
circular structures served as the dwelling place of many individuals.
The beds were placed, so it may be assumed, in a line around the wall,
each separated from its neighbor by a mat. A large fire burned in the
center of the space. In many respects the large dwellings of the Caddo
must have closely resembled the great round structures which stood north
of St. Augustine, Florida, about the year 1700. (Bushnell, (1), pp.

Brief accounts of the many small tribes living south of the Arkansas
River soon after the transfer of Louisiana contain references to the
numerous villages, but fail, unfortunately, to describe the structures
in detail. (Sibley, (1), pp. 721-725.) The dwellings probably resembled
those already mentioned as standing a century and more before.


The references brought together and presented on the preceding pages
will reveal the nature of the dwellings and the appearance of the camps
and villages which stood, so short a time ago, in the region between the
Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains. First encountered in the southern
part of the country by the Spanish expeditions led by De Soto and
Coronado before the middle of the sixteenth century, and by the French
who entered the upper and central portions of the Mississippi Valley
during the latter part of the seventeenth century, all types of
structures continued to be reared and occupied until the latter half of
the nineteenth century, while some forms are even now in use, although
it is highly probable that within another generation these, too, will
have disappeared.

Various writers during the eighteenth century mentioned the tribes of
the Upper Missouri Valley, but all accounts prepared at that time are
rather vague, as was their knowledge of conditions on and in the region
bordering the Great Plains. And not until after the transfer of
Louisiana to the United States, and as a result of the several
expeditions sent out by the Government to explore the newly acquired
territories, did the various groups of tribes, with their peculiar
characteristics, become known with a degree of certainty. But with the
transfer of Louisiana conditions rapidly changed. Hunters and traders
soon penetrated the wilderness where few had gone before. Fort Crawford,
at the mouth of the Wisconsin; Fort Snelling, just below the Falls of
St. Anthony; and Leavenworth, on the Missouri, were established before
the close of the first quarter of the century. Towns were built farther
and farther beyond the old frontier, and on April 18, 1851, Kurz wrote
in his journal:

"St Joseph, formerly the trading post of Joseph Robidoux, is at the foot
of the Blacksnake hills, on the left bank of the Missouri.... The
streets are crowded with traders and emigrants on their way to
California and Oregon. Many Indians of the tribes of the Pottowatomis,
Foxes (Musquakees), Kikapoos, Iowas, and Otoes are continually in the
town.... In summer the _Bourgeois_, or Chiefs, the clerks and _Engagés_
of the fur companies enliven the streets.... St. Joseph is now what St
Louis was formerly--their gathering place." Thus the Indian in his
primitive state was doomed, as were the vast herds of buffalo which then
roamed, unopposed, over the far-reaching prairies.

In studying the various types of structures it is interesting to learn
how the natural environments influenced the form of dwellings erected by
the tribes of a particular section. Thus in the densely timbered country
of the north, about the headwaters of the Mississippi and far beyond,
the mat and bark covered wigwams were developed and employed practically
to the exclusion of all other forms of habitations. But on the plains,
and in the regions bordering the great buffalo ranges, the skin-covered
conical tipis predominated, although other forms were sometimes
constructed by the same people. The earth lodges as erected by certain
tribes of the Missouri Valley were the most interesting native
structures east of the Rocky Mountains, and these at once suggest the
_Rotundas_, or great council houses once built by the Cherokees and
Creeks east of the Mississippi.

In treating of the habitations and villages of the several tribes
references have been made, incidentally, to the manners and ways of life
of the people who once claimed and occupied so great a part of the
present United States.



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    (1) The Iowa, Sac and Fox Indian Mission. _In_ Transactions of the
    Kansas State Historical Society, 1907-1908. Vol. X. Topeka, 1908.


    (1) Manners, Customs and Opinions of the Dacotahs. _In_ Schoolcraft,
    (3), IV.


    (1) The Winnebago Tribe. _In_ Thirty-seventh Annual Report of the
    Bureau of American Ethnology. Washington.


    (1) Report on the Exploration of the Yellowstone River. Washington,


    (1) Isle au Vache. _In_ Transactions of the Kansas State Historical
    Society, 1903-1904. Vol. VIII. Topeka, 1904.


    (1) Dakota Portraits. _In_ Minnesota Historical Society Bulletin,
    Vol. II, No. 8, Nov., 1918.


    (1) Journal. _In_ Reports of Explorations and Surveys to Ascertain
    the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the
    Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean ... 1853-1854. Vol. I.
    Washington, 1855.


    (1) Journal of a Tour into the Interior of Missouri and Arkansaw ...
    in the years 1818-1819. London, 1821.

    (2) Narrative Journal of Travels ... in the year 1820. Albany, 1821.

    (3) Information Respecting the History, Conditions and Prospects of
    the Indian Tribes of the United States. Philadelphia, 1851-1857. 6

    SEYMOUR, E. S.

    (1) Sketches of Minnesota. New York, 1850.


    (1) A Description of Louisiana, by Father Louis Hennepin. New York,

    (2) Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley. New York,


    (1) Historical Sketches of the Several Indian Tribes in Louisiana,
    south of the Arkansa River, and Between the Mississippi and River
    Grand. _In_ American State Papers. Vol. IV. Washington, 1832.

    SMET, P. J. DE.

    (1) Letters and Sketches with a Narrative of a Year's Residence
    Among the Indian Tribes of the Rocky Mountains. Philadelphia, 1843.

    (2) Oregon Missions and Travels over the Rocky Mountains, in 1845,
    '46. New York, 1847.


    (1) The Kaw or Kansas Indians: Their Customs, Manners, and
    Folk-Lore. _In_ Transactions of the Kansas State Historical Society,
    1907-1908. Vol. X. Topeka, 1908.

    STANLEY, J. M.

    (1) Visit to the Piegan Camp. _In_ Reports of Explorations and
    Surveys to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a
    Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean ...
    1853-1854. Vol. 1. Washington, 1855.


    (1) An Expedition to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah.
    Philadelphia, 1855.


    (1) Sketches ... of Louisiana. Philadelphia, 1812.


    (1) The Yellowstone Expedition of 1863. _In_ Contributions to the
    Historical Society of Montana. Vol. I. Helena, 1876.


    (1) Narrative of the Captivity of. _See_ James, Edwin. (2).


    (1) Narrative of a Journey Across the Rocky Mountains. Philadelphia,


    (1) Journal of ... 1794-1795. _In_ South Dakota Historical
    Collections. Vol. VII, 1914. Pierre, S. D.

    WARREN, G. K.

    (1) Explorations in the Dacota Country, in the Year 1855.
    Washington, 1856.

    WHIPPLE, A. W.

    (1) Itinerary. _In_ Reports of Explorations and Surveys to Ascertain
    the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the
    Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean ... 1853-1854. Vol. III.
    Washington, 1856.


    (1) The Coronado Expedition, 1540-1542. _In_ Fourteenth Annual
    Report Bureau of Ethnology. Pt. 1. Washington, 1896.


  Aricaree, Arickarees, Arikkaras=Arikara.
  Asinepoet, Assinneboins=Assiniboin.
  Big-bellied Indians=Atsina.
  Big Bellys=Hidatsa.
  Fall Indians=Atsina.
  Grosventre Indians, Grosventres, Gros Ventres of the Missouri=Hidatsa.
  Gros Ventres of the Prairie=Atsina.
  Kansas, Kanzas, Kaws=Kansa.
  Knistenaux, Knisteneaux=Cree.
  Konsee, Konza, Konzas=Kansa.
  Manitaries, Minatarres, Minnetarees=Hidatsa.
  Minnetarees of Fort de Prairie=Atsina.
  Otoes, Ottoes=Oto.
  Pay-gans, Picaneaux, Piekann=Piegan.
  Poncara, Punca, Punka=Ponca.
  Rapid Indians=Atsina.
  Ree, Ricaras, Riccaree, Rickarees, Rus=Arikara.
  Saulteaux, Sautaux, Sauteaux, Sauteux=Chippewa.
  Shoe Indians=Amahami.
  Soulier Noir=Amahami.
  Stone Indians=Assiniboin.
  Waekoes, Wakos=Waco.


The art of photography has made it possible to preserve a pictorial
record of the dwellings and other structures of native tribes beyond the
Mississippi, and many early photographs, together with drawings and
paintings by various artists, have been selected to illustrate the
present work.


One of the original drawings by Griset reproduced by woodcuts in Col. R.
I. Dodge's work _The Plains of the Great West_, 1877. The reproduction
is now made exact size of the original. Collection of David I. Bushnell,

Ernest Henry Griset, born in France, 1844; died March 22, 1907. Lived in
England, where he did much of his work. In 1871 he exhibited at Suffolk
Street. Some of his paintings are hung in the Victoria and Albert
Museum. More than 30 examples of his work belong to the Smithsonian
Institution, Washington. "His reputation rests on his water-color
studies of animals, for which he was awarded prizes in London. Two of
his best-known works are _Cache-cache_, and _Travailleurs de la fôret_."


Reproduction of one of the five paintings by Stanley now in the United
States National Museum, Washington, D. C.

James M. Stanley, born in Canandaigua, New York, January 17, 1814; died
April 10, 1872. He moved to Michigan in 1835 and became a portrait
painter in Detroit; two years later removed to Chicago. About this time
he visited the "Indian Country" in the vicinity of Fort Snelling, and
there made many sketches. Returned to the eastern cities, where he spent
several years, but in 1842 again went west and began his wanderings over
the prairies far beyond the Mississippi, reaching Texas and New Mexico.
His _Buffalo Hunt on the Southwestern Prairies_ was made in 1845. From
1851 to 1863 Stanley lived in Washington, D. C., during which time he
endeavored to have the Government purchase the many paintings which he
had made of Indians and of scenes in the Indian country, but
unfortunately he was not successful. His pictures were hanging in the
Smithsonian Building, and on January 24, 1865, when a large part of the
building was ruined by fire, only five of his pictures escaped
destruction, they being in a different part of the structure. The five
are now in the National Museum, including the large canvas shown in this


This is considered to be one of Wimar's best works. The original is
owned by the City Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri. Size of canvas, 36
inches high, 60 inches long.

Charles Ferdinand Wimar, usually known as Carl Wimar, was born in
Germany, 1828; died in St. Louis, November, 1862. Came to America and
settled in St. Louis during the year 1843. A few years later he met the
French artist Leon de Pomarede, with whom he later studied and made
several journeys up the Missouri for the purpose of sketching. Went to
Europe and returned to St. Louis about 1857. His _Buffalo Hunt_, now
reproduced, was painted in 1860, exhibited at the St. Louis Fair during
the autumn of that year, when it was seen by the Prince of Wales, later
Edward VII, for whom a replica was made.


One of four water-color sketches by Peter Rindisbacher secured in London
some years ago. Size of original 9-1/4 inches high, 17-1/8 inches long.
Collection of David I. Bushnell, jr. Twenty or more similar sketches are
in the library of the Military Academy, West Point. One of these was
used as an illustration by McKenney and Hall in their great work; the
second used by them is in a private collection in Washington. Another of
the pictures now at West Point was reproduced by wood cut and appeared
on page 181 of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, Philadelphia, April, 1840.
Rindisbacher may have come to America with the Swiss colonists who
settled in the Red River Valley in 1821, and in the Public Archives of
Canada are six small sketches which were probably made by him at that
time. (See pl. 6, _a_.)


_a._ A scene near Fort Carlton, 1846, showing buffalo approaching a
pound. Reproduction of a photograph of the painting by Kane, now in the
Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology, Toronto, Canada. Size of painting,
18 inches high, 29 inches long.

Paul Kane, born at York, the present city of Toronto, 1810; died 1871.
After spending several years in the United States he went to Europe,
where he studied in various art centers. Returned to Canada, and from
early in 1845 until the autumn of 1848 traveled among the native tribes
of the far west, making a large number of paintings of Indians and
scenes in the Indian country. One hundred or more of his paintings are
in the Museum at Toronto; others are in the Public Archives of Canada,
Ottawa. Some of the sketches and paintings were reproduced in his work
_Wanderings of an Artist_, London, 1859.

_b._ Reproduction of a photograph, probably made in the upper Missouri
Valley about 1870.


_a._ Reproduction of a water-color sketch now in the collection in
Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa. It is one of six small sketches "by
an artist, probably Swiss, who accompanied the European emigrants
brought by Lord Selkirk's agents to the Red River Settlement in 1821."
Size of original, 5-5/8 inches high, 7-5/8 inches long. Although not
signed it suggests and resembles the work of Peter Rindisbacher. (See
note, pl. 4.)

_b._ Reproduced from an original photograph furnished by the Minnesota
Historical Society, St. Paul.


_a._ Reproduction of a photograph of a painting by Kane, now in the
Museum at Toronto. Size of original, 18 inches high, 29 inches long.
(See note, pl. 5, _a_.) This was engraved and shown on page 7 of his
work _Wanderings of an Artist_.

_b._ Reproduced from an original photograph made near the Red River
during the summer of 1858 by Humphrey Lloyd Hime, who was photographer
with the expedition led by Henry Youle Hind.


_a_ and _b_. Same as _b_, plate 7. Original photographs are in the
Bureau of American Ethnology.


Both _a_ and _b_ are from original photographs belonging to the
Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul. The two small prints are mounted
on similar cards, that of _b_ bearing the name of C. A. Zimmerman,
photographer. The name has been cut from _a_. Both are attributed to
Zimmerman, who, in 1869, purchased the studio of Whitney, which had been
established some years. The negatives may have been made by Whitney, and
although the prints are catalogued as Ojibway habitations, nevertheless
_a_ resembles more closely the Siouan type, with an arbor over the
entrance, and the photograph may have been made in a Sioux village. The
dwellings are quite similar to the Winnebago structure shown in plate
36, _a_.

Charles Alfred Zimmerman was born in Strassburg, Alsace, June 21, 1844;
died in St. Paul, Minnesota, September 23, 1909.


Reproductions of original photographs by David I. Bushnell, jr. October,


_a._ This small log structure stood near the southeastern shore of Cass
Lake, Minnesota. Several Ojibway Indians are in the picture. Original
photograph by David I. Bushnell, jr. November, 1899.

_b._ The old Ojibway medicine man, Nagwanabe, a name well known in
Ojibway annals, is shown holding a club of unusual design which he said
he took from a Sioux warrior many years ago, during a fight between some
of his people and members of that tribe. Original photograph by David I.
Bushnell, jr. 1900.


_a._ Objects collected among the Ojibway. At top, a hammer formed of a
section of a small tree with part of a branch cut to serve as a handle.
Used in driving plugs in maple trees during the season of sugar making.
Mille Lac, May, 1900. Bag braided of narrow strips of cedar bark. Size
about 9-1/2 inches square. From the Ojibway settlement on shore of
Basswood Lake, north of Ely, Lake County, Minnesota, October, 1899. Two
tools used in dressing skins. Formed of leg bones of moose, beveled and
serrated. Length of example on right, 15 inches. Cass Lake, Minnesota,

_b._ Section of rush mat.


_a._ Wooden mortar and pestle collected among the Ojibway. Length of
pestle about 37-1/2 inches. Reproduced from Fourteenth Annual Report
Bureau of Ethnology, part 1, p. 257.

_b._ Mortar and pestle collected among the Delaware by Dr. E. Palmer and
acquired by the National Museum November 11, 1868. Length of pestle
33-1/2 inches. Diameter of mortar 7-1/2 inches, height 15 inches. (U. S.
N. M. 6900.)

_c._ Birch-bark dish, type used extensively by the Ojibway and other
northern tribes. Reproduced from Nineteenth Annual Report Bureau of
American Ethnology, part 2, Pl. LXXIX.


Reproduced from an original negative now in the Bureau of American


Reproduced from the engraving of the painting by Bodmer, as used by

Karl Bodmer, born in Zurich, Switzerland, 1805; died 1894. Studied under
Cornu. He accompanied Maximilian, Prince of Wied, on several journeys,
including that up the Valley of the Missouri. Many of his original
sketches made during that memorable trip are now in the Edward E. Ayer
collection, Newberry Library, Chicago. His later works are chiefly of
wooded landscapes, some being scenes in the valleys of the Missouri and
Mississippi. Bodmer was a very close friend of the great artist Jean
François Millet. De Cost Smith, in Century Magazine, May, 1910,
discussing the close association of the two artists, and referring
especially to their joint work, wrote: "The two men must have worked
together from the pure joy of friendship, for it must be confessed that
the work of neither was very greatly improved by the other's additions.
Bodmer would put a horse into one of Millet's Indian pictures and add
some vegetation in the foreground, Millet would return the favor by
introducing figures into Bodmer's landscapes." But this does not refer
to the sketches made by Bodmer during his journey up the Missouri in


_a._ Reproduction of a wood cut on page 420 of _Wanderings of an
Artist_. The original painting by Kane is now in the Royal Ontario
Museum of Archaeology, Toronto, being No. 51 in the catalogue. Size of
painting, 18 inches high, 29 inches long. (See note, pl. 5, _a_.)

_b._ The original photograph from which this illustration is made is in
the collection of the United States National Museum, Washington, D. C.
It is not known by whom the negative was made.


Reproduced from the engraving of the original painting by Bodmer, as
used by Maximilian. (See note, pl. 15.)


Both _a_ and _b_ are reproductions of photographs furnished by the State
Historical Society of Iowa.


Reproduction of an original photograph in a scrapbook, which contains
many manuscript notes, news clippings, etc., prepared by Newton H.
Chittenden. The book is now in the Manuscript Division, Library of
Congress, Washington, D. C.


From original photographs by David I. Bushnell, jr. 1900.


Reproduction of an original pencil sketch of the Sioux village of
Kaposia, made June 19, 1851, by F. B. Mayer. The drawing is now in the
Edward E. Ayer collection, Newberry Library, Chicago.

Frank Blackwell Mayer, born in Baltimore, Maryland, December 27, 1827;
died in 1908. Many of his paintings represented scenes in Indian life,
and in 1886 he completed a canvas entitled _The Treaty of Traverse des
Sioux_, the treaty having been signed during the summer of 1851, about
the time the sketch of Kaposia was made.


Both _a_ and _b_ are reproduced from engravings of paintings by Eastman,
used by Schoolcraft in _Information respecting the History, Conditions,
and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, 1851-1857_.

Seth Eastman, born in Brunswick, Maine, January 24, 1808; died in
Washington, D. C., August 31, 1875. Was appointed to the Military
Academy, West Point, at the age of 16, and was graduated June, 1829.
Served at Fort Crawford and Fort Snelling, where he had ample
opportunities for studying the Indians who frequented the posts. In
November, 1831, he was detailed for duty at the Academy and retired from
active service December, 1863. From 1850 to 1855 he was engaged in the
preparation of the illustrations used in the work mentioned above,
evidently under the supervision of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.


_a._ Reproduction of a drawing made by Catlin of one of his oil
sketches. The original painting is now in the United States National
Museum, Washington, D. C.

George Catlin, born in Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, 1796; died in Jersey
City, New Jersey, December 23, 1872. In the year 1832 he went to the
then far west, and during the succeeding eight years traveled among
numerous native tribes, making many paintings portraying the life and
customs of the people. He went to Europe, taking with him his great
collection of pictures and objects obtained from the Indians among whom
he had been for so long a time. One hundred and twenty-six of his
pictures were shown at the Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia, 1876,
and now more than 500 of his works, portraits and scenes are preserved
in the National Museum, forming a collection of inestimable value and

_b._ Fort Pierre, after sketch by Kurz, July 4, 1851.

Friedrich Kurz, born in Bern, Switzerland, 1818; died 1871. At the
suggestion of his friend Karl Bodmer, he came to America in 1846, for
the purpose of studying the native tribes, intending to prepare a
well-illustrated account of his travels. He landed at New Orleans and
reached St. Louis by way of the Mississippi. The trouble with Mexico had
developed, and for that reason instead of going to the Southwest, to
endeavor to accomplish among the tribes of that region what Bodmer had
already done among the people of the Upper Missouri Valley, he decided
to follow the route of the latter and ascend the Missouri to the Rocky
Mountains. But although his plans were changed he did not become
discouraged, and on October 28, 1851, entered in his journal: "My plan
is still for the gallery.... I shall have lots of correct drawings."
Cholera raged along the upper Missouri in 1851, and for that reason Kurz
was unable to remain at Fort Pierre. However, he reached Fort Berthold
July 9, 1851. Later he continued to Fort Union at the mouth of the
Yellowstone, where he remained until April 19, 1852. Returning, he
reached St. Louis May 25, thus covering the distance from the mouth of
the Yellowstone in five weeks and one day. He arrived in Bern during
September of that year and was soon appointed drawing master in the
schools of his native city, a position which he held until his death.

During the winter of 1851-52, while Kurz was at Fort Union, a German
artist of some ability was with the Oto and Omaha near the banks of the
Missouri. H. Baldwin Möllhausen, late in the autumn of 1851, became lost
on the frozen, snow-covered prairies south of the Platte, and was
rescued by a family of Oto encamped on the bank of a small stream. He
remained with the Oto and later returned with them to their village near
the mouth of the Platte. From the Oto village he went up the Missouri to
the Omaha, with whom he stayed some weeks. While with the two tribes he
made many sketches of the Indians and scenes depicting the ways of life
of the people. When he returned to his home in Berlin he carried with
him the collection of drawings, and these, if found at the present time,
would probably prove of much interest.


Both _a_ and _b_ are reproductions of photographs made in the vicinity
of Fort Laramie in 1868, during the visit of the Indian Peace
Commission. The commission was composed of a number of Army officers who
went among many of the Plains tribes for the purpose of gaining their
friendship for the Government. From original prints in the possession of
Mrs. N. H. Beauregard, St. Louis. The name of the photographer is not

_c._ From the engraving of the original picture by Bodmer, as used by
Maximilian. (See note, pl. 15.)


_a._ Reproduced from a photograph of the original painting by Kane, now
in the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology, Toronto. Rocky Mountain Fort
in the distance on the right. No. 57 in the catalogue. Size of picture,
18 inches high, 29 inches long. (See note, pl. 5, _a_.)

_b._ From a photograph of a water-color sketch by Kurz. (See note, pl.
23, _b_.)


_a._ From an original negative now in the Bureau of American Ethnology,
made by Jackson in 1871. It was probably made at the Omaha village shown
in plate 27.

_b._ A page of Kurz's sketchbook. (See note, pl. 23, _b_.)


Omaha village, from an original negative made by Jackson in 1871 and now
in the Bureau of American Ethnology. According to La Flesche, "The
location of the Omaha village can best be described as in the southwest
quarter of Section 30, Township 25, Range 10, in the extreme eastern
border of Thurston County, Nebraska. The land was allotted in 1883 to
Pe-de-ga-hi, one of the Omaha chiefs. It is about three-quarters of a
mile west of the historic site known as Blackbird Hill, on which the
great medicine man Blackbird was buried."


Both _a_ and _b_ represent pages in Kurz's sketchbook. (See note, pl. 23,


Reproduced from the engraving of Bodmer's painting, as illustrated by
Maximilian. (See note, pl. 15.)


_a._ Reproduction of the illustration in De Smet's work, where the
picture is signed _Geo. Lehman, del._

_b._ Reproduced from the engraving after a drawing by Samuel Seymour.

In the instructions issued to members of the expedition, dated
"Pittsburgh, March 31, 1819," Major Long stated: "Mr. Seymour, as
painter for the expedition, will furnish sketches of landscapes,
whenever we meet with any distinguished for their beauty and grandeur.
He will also paint miniature likenesses, or portraits if required, of
distinguished Indians, and exhibit groups of savages engaged in
celebrating their festivals or sitting in council, and in general
illustrate any subject, that may be deemed appropriate in his art."


Reproduced from a photograph in the Chittenden scrapbook. (See note, pl.


_a._ From an original photograph furnished by Francis La Flesche.

_b._ Reproduced from an illustration in Transactions of the Kansas State
Historical Society, 1907-1908, Vol. X. Topeka, 1908.


Reproduced from an engraving of the original drawing by Samuel Seymour.
(See note, pl. 30, _b_.)


Specimens in the United States National Museum.


_a._ After original drawing by Friedrich Kurz. (See note, pl. 23, _b_.)

_b._ Photograph of specimen now in the United States National Museum.


Both _a_ and _b_ are reproduced from original photographs in the United
States National Museum, Washington. It is not known by whom the
negatives were made.


From a photograph made about the year 1900, furnished by Miss Alice C.
Fletcher. The structures stood near the bank of the Missouri, north of
the Omahas. The photograph was reproduced as plate 18 in the
Twenty-seventh Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology.


_a._ From the drawing by Catlin of the original painting. This is No.
503 in Catlin's Catalogue (London, 1848), where it is described as "The
Interior of a Mandan Lodge, showing the manner in which it is
constructed of poles and covered with dirt. The chief is seen smoking
his pipe, and his family grouped around him."

_b._ After the original painting in the National Museum, Washington.
This is the fourth and last of Catlin's paintings representing different
scenes during the remarkable ceremony by the Mandan. No. 507 in the
Catalogue, where it is referred to as "The Last Race."

George Catlin. (See note, pl. 23, _a_.)


From the engraving of Bodmer's painting used by Maximilian. (See note,
pl. 15.)


Reproduced from the engraving of Bodmer's painting as used by
Maximilian. (See note, pl. 15.)


Two wooden bowls and a pottery vessel collected among the Mandan.
Specimens in the United States National Museum.


Examples of spoons, one made of a buffalo horn, the other formed from a
horn of a mountain sheep, now in the United States National Museum.


Reproduction of the original painting by Catlin, now in the United
States National Museum, Washington. It is No. 383 in Catlin's Catalogue,
described as "Minatarree Village, earth-covered lodges, on Knife River,
1,810 miles above St. Louis."

George Catlin. (See note, pl. 23, _a_.)


_a._ Original pencil sketch by Bodmer of the finished picture shown in
_b_. The sketch is now in the Edward E. Ayer collection, Newberry
Library, Chicago.

_b._ Reproduction of a photograph of the engraving as used by


After original sketches by Friedrich Kurz. (See note, pl. 23, _b_.)


_a._ Reproduction of the original painting by Catlin, now in the United
States National Museum, Washington. It is mentioned as No. 491 in
Catlin's Catalogue and described as a "Crow Lodge, of twenty-five
buffalo-skins." A drawing made from the painting appeared as plate 20 in
Vol. I of Catlin's work.

_b._ From the original negative by Jackson now in the Bureau of American


A rather crude woodcut, made from this photograph, was used in
Dunraven's book, _The Great Divide_. Unfortunately it is not known when
or by whom this most interesting negative was made, but it was probably
the work of J. D. Hutton, a member of the Raynolds party during the
exploration of the Yellowstone Valley, 1859-1860. Although the Raynolds
journal is in the War Department in Washington, there is no record or
list of the photographs, many of which are known to have been made
during the journey. A number of Hutton's photographs were reproduced by
Hayden in his work _Contributions to the Ethnography and Philology of
the Indian Tribes of the Missouri Valley_, Philadelphia, 1862.


A page from Kurz's sketchbook, carried by him during his travels through
the Upper Missouri Valley. This shows several traders approaching Fort
Union and a herd of buffalo in the distance on the right. (See note, pl.
23, _b_.)


Two negatives were made by Jackson, evidently without moving the camera.
One was reproduced in Bulletin 69 of this Bureau's publications; the
second is now shown. The first negative now belongs to the Bureau, but
the present plate is a reproduction of a photograph furnished by the
Peabody Museum, Harvard University.

Concerning the photographs now reproduced in plates 49, 50, and 51, Mr.
W. H. Jackson, now of Detroit, wrote to the Bureau, April 28, 1921, and
said in part: "Negatives to which you refer, viz, of Pawnee village
scenes, were made by myself in 1871 on my return from the first
Yellowstone expedition of the Survey, this trip also including a visit
to the Omaha Agency."


Earth lodges standing in the Pawnee village. From original negative by
W. H. Jackson, 1871. Negative now in the Bureau of American Ethnology.


Views in the Pawnee village, after photographs by Jackson, 1871.
Original photographs belonging to the Bureau of American Ethnology.


Specimens in the United States National Museum.


Reproduction of a photograph of the original painting by Catlin, now in
the United States National Museum. It is No. 386 in Catlin's Catalogue,
described as "Riccaree Village, with earth-covered lodges, 1,600 miles
above St. Louis."

George Catlin. (See note, pl. 23, _a_.)


Specimens in the United States National Museum.


_a._ From a photograph in the Chittenden scrapbook. (See note, pl. 19.)

_b._ After a photograph in the collection of the United States National


  ACCANCEA. _See_ Quapaw.

    among Sauk and Foxes, 40
    of the Arikara, 179
    of the Mandan, 127
    of the Osage, 106

    characteristics of villages of, 7
    general movement of groups of, 3
    groups comprising western division of, 1
    largest north of Mexico, 43
    villages of, described, 1


  ALLEN, J.A., book by, on the buffalo, 7

  ALLOUEZ, PÈRE, mission conducted by, 122

    once united with the Hidatsa and Crow, 140
    village of, on Knife River, 125, 141

    post of, 75
    trade of, with Sioux, 61

    domestic, lack of, among the Iowa, 114
    domestic, of the Kansa, 90
    of the Dakota country, 4
    _See_ Buffalo, Dogs, Game.

    an Algonquian group, 1
    country occupied by, 33-34
    habitations of, 34

    described by Fremont, 36-37
    photograph of, 37

  ARBOR ENTRANCE, a Siouan feature, 122

  ARCHITHINUE NATIVES, name applied to Blackfeet, 25, 26

    a Caddoan group, 2
    encampments of, visited by Lewis and Clark, 23
    hostility of, to whites, 176, 179
    Mandan village occupied by, 139
    migration of, 167, 169-170
    pottery of, 174
    settlement of, near Fort Berthold, 147
    skilled agriculturists, 179
    warfare of, with Sioux, 70

    described by Brackenridge, 172, 173
    described by Bradbury, 172
    described by Maximilian, 175-176
    on the Missouri, 168
    sites of, 168-169
    sketched by Catlin, 175

  ARK OF THE FIRST MAN, 129, 132

  ARKANSA. _See_ Quapaw.

  ARKANSAS BAND, a division of the Osage, 98

  ASSINIBOIN, a Missouri River steamboat 130
    trip of, to the Yellowstone River, 142

    alliance of, with Cree, 71
    camp of, described by Maximilian, 75-76
    country occupied by, 71
    location and number of, 32
    of the Dakota-Assiniboin group, 2
    on the march, 73, 74
    relation of, to other tribes, 44
    separated from Yanktonai, 71
    structures of, 71, 72, 73, 76-77
    with Cree, at Mandan village, 74

    size of, 73, 74
    movement of, 73, 74

  ATSINA, a division of the Arapaho, 1, 25
    allied with tribes of the Blackfeet confederacy, 25, 34
    fortified camps of, 34
    incorporated with the Assiniboin, 25
    various names for, 34

  ATSINA VILLAGE, described by Maximilian, 35

  AVENUE, pottery on site of, 112

  AWACHAWI, an Hidatsa village, 142

  AWATICHAY, an Hidatsa village, 142

  AYAUWAYS, excursions of, against the Osage, 98

    as summer habitations, 38, 51, 84
    as winter habitations, 51
    employed in timber country, 184-185
    erected by the Dakota, 44
    of the Kansa, 95
    of the Mdewakanton, 50
    of the Ojibway, 9-13, 16, 17, 56
    of the Osage, 98
    of the Oto, 120
    of the Quapaw, 109
    of the Sauk and Foxes, 39

    of the Arikara, 169
    of the Osage, 103

  BEAUREGARD, MRS. N.H., copy by, of manuscript, 90

    of the Caddo, 183
    of the Kansa, 92
    of the Mandan, 133, 134

  BELLEVUE, a trading post on the Missouri, 81


  BIG KAW, an Oto Indian, 117

  BIG KNIVES, Kansa name for the whites, 89

  BIG TRACK, an Osage chief, 98

    _See_ Bark-covered lodges.

  BLACKFEET CONFEDERACY, tribes composing, 1, 25

    camps of, described by Maximilian, 28
    ceremonial lodges of, 33
    country inhabited by, 27, 32
    descriptions of, 25-28
    manner of living, 33
    number of, 32
    warlike nature of, 28
    war party of, 31
    _See_ Siksika.

  BLACK HAWK, birthplace of, 38

  BLACK HILLS, no permanent Indian settlement in, 70

    country occupied by, 27, 32
    number of, 32
    _See_ Kainah.

    painting by, of Atsina village, 35
    painting by, of chief's lodge, 76
    painting by, of Mandan village, 133
    drawing by, of tipis, 58
    sketch by, in Newberry Library, 143

  BOWLS, WOODEN, of the Mandan, 137

  BRADBURY, visit of, to Omaha village, 78

  BRULÉS, a Teton band, 2


    Arikara offering to, 174
    hunting of, 4-7
    importance of, to the Indian, 3-4
    manner of traveling, 72

    described by Fremont, 35-36
    of the Oglala, 68

    use of, by Blackfeet, 26

  BUFFALO SKULLS, a charm to entice buffaloes, 62-63

  BUFFALO SOCIETY, Omaha, dance given by, 82

  BUFFALO TRAILS, followed by Indians, 7

    characteristic of upper Missouri, 129
    of the Hidatsa, 146-147

    Omaha, 78
    Oto, 120
    scaffold, mention of, 50-51

    described by Fletcher and La Flesche, 80
    described by Matthews, 150
    exposed by railroad cut, 82
    for storage of corn, 126
    Omaha, described by Gilden, 83, 84
    on elevated stage, 12

    a tribe of the Caddoan family, 2
    country occupied by, 155, 182
    described by Joutel, 182-183

    confederacies of, 2
    country occupied by, 1
    earth lodge characteristic of, 7-8
    general movement of, 3
    tribes composing, 2

  CAHOKIA TRIBE, village of, 41

  CANNON RIVER, village near mouth of, 50

    birch-bark, 15-16
    made of buffalo skins, 94
    of the Arikara, 172
    of the Hidatsa, 141
    Oto, 121
    _See_ Bull-boat.

  CAPPA, a Quapaw village, 109

  CASTAÑEDA, thatched houses mentioned by, 179

    among the Mandan, 128
    among the Teton, 61
    Arikara village sketched by, 175
    collection of paintings by, in National Museum, 15, 129, 141, 175
    incorrect drawings by, of earth lodges, 149
    Indian portraits painted by, 62
    Ojibway camp described by, 15

  CAVES, in the Ozarks, occupied by Indians, 107

    of the Crows, 155
    of the Hidatsa, 144
    of the Ojibway, 13
    of the Quapaw, 111
    of the Sun dance, 63
    _See_ Medicine lodge.

  CEREMONIAL SHELTER, temporary, of the Cree and Ojibway, 18-19

  CEREMONIES, Arikara, in medicine lodge, 178

  CHATIQUE, an Assiniboin chief, 71

  CHAUI, a tribe of the Pawnee confederacy, 2

  CHEROKEES, migration of remnant of, 2

    an Algonquian group, 1
    described by Lewis and Clark, 24
    in Arapaho village, 36
    lodges of, for special purposes, 25
    lodges of, like Pawnee, 24, 25
    territory occupied by, 21
    various habitations of, 22

    described by Grinnell, 22-23
    mentioned by Lewis and Clark, 23

  CHIEFS, decorations on lodges of, 67, 76

  CHILDS POINT, ruins on, 82

    treaty of, with Sioux, 15
    _See_ Ojibway.

    habitations of, 113
    tribes composing, 112

  CHOCTAW, temporary village of, 110


  CHOTE, town house at, 118

    of earth, 21, 28, 30
    of stone, 20, 21

  CLARMONT, French name of Osage chief, 103

    made of buffalo hides, 3, 4
    of the Kansa, 94

  CLUB, wooden, of the Mandan, 138

  COCKING, MATTHEW, journey of, 26-27

  COLBERT, first name of Mississippi River, 109

  CORN, cultivation of, 39, 40, 106, 127, 179

  CORONADO EXPEDITION, thatched houses seen by, 179

  COUNCIL BLUFFS, origin of the name, 115, 157

    of the Kansa, 92-93
    of the Ojibway, 16
    of the Oto, 117
    of the Teton, 60

    habitations of, 17-21
    language of, 17
    population of, 18, 19
    related to Ojibway, 17
    loving disposition of, 19
    territory inhabited by, 1, 18, 19
    with Assiniboin at Mandan village, 74
    _See_ Knistenaux.

    a tribe of the Hidatsa group, 2
    arrangement of camps of, 154
    ceremonial lodge of, 154-155
    country inhabited by, 151, 152-153
    described by Larocque, 151
    lodges of, described, 152-154
    separation of, from the Hidatsa, 150
    wandering habits of, 153

  CUSTER, GENERAL, mention of, 70

    of the Blackfeet, 26-27
    of the Cree, 18-19
    of the Ojibway, 8-11, 13, 17
    of the Omaha, 85-87
    of the Osage, 105-106
    of the Pawnee, 163-165
    of the Sauk and Foxes, 39-41
    of the Teton, 60-61
    of the Wahpeton, 53
    of the Yanktonai, 54-57

    country occupied by, 44
    habitations of, 44-45
    tribes composing, 44

    of the Teton, 60
    _See_ Dog dance, Sacred dance, Sun dance, War dance.

  DE SMET, FATHER, at the Kansa villages, 95-96

  DECORATION OF LODGES, 28, 67, 75-76, 78, 85

    abandoned settlement of, 42-43
    log cabins built by, 42
    migration of remnant of, 2, 3

    migration of, 77

  DODGE, COL. R. I., with expedition into Black Hills, 70


  DOG FEAST, painting of, 15

  DOG TRAVOIS, 19-20, 55, 65, 76

    as a sacrifice, 52, 61
    as beasts of burden, 28
    as food, 28, 53, 54
    as sacred animals, 53
    use of, for transportation, 72, 73
    _See_ Dog travois.

  DORSEY, J. O., Omaha structures described by, 85

  DOUAY, PÈRE ANASTASIUS, Quapaw villages mentioned by, 110

  DWELLINGS. _See_ Lodges, Tipi, Wigwam.

    explanations of, 21
    noticed by Maximilian, 28, 30

    Arikara, 170, 173, 176
    characteristic of Missouri River tribes, 185
    Cheyenne, no pictures of, 24
    erected by Caddoan tribes, 8
    Gros Ventres, 148
    Hidatsa, 142
    interior of, 81, 161-162
    Mandan, 128, 130, 132, 133
    most accurate drawing of, 143
    not in tribal circle, 84
    Omaha, 79-80, 82-83
    Oto, 115, 116, 117
    Pawnee, 156, 161-162
    suggestive of Creek and Cherokee council house, 185
    used by Dhegiha group, 77

    in the Ozark country, 107
    _See_ Pottery.

  EARTHWORKS, attributed to Dhegiha group, 77

  EASTMAN, CAPT., painting by, 51, 54

  ELAH-SA, an Hidatsa village, 142

  ELLSWORTH, H. L., expedition led by, 116, 159-161

  ELM BARK, structures of, 16, 17, 39
    _See_ Bark-covered lodges.

  ENGINEER CANTONMENT, winter quarters of Long expedition, 157

    to earth lodge, 149
    to Winnebago dwelling, 122

  ENVIRONMENT, influence of--
    on form of dwelling, 184
    on manners and customs, 8

  FALL INDIANS, location and number of, 32
    _See_ Atsina.

  FALL OF THE RAPID INDIANS, a name for the Atsina, 34

    Indian camp at, 15
    named by Father Hennepin, 45

    given by Blackfoot chief, 29
    of the Cree, 18-19
    of the Teton Sioux, 61-62

  FISH, method of curing, 10

  FLOOR MATS, method of making, 41

    method of cooking illustrated, 10
    of the Mandan, 127, 136
    of the Ojibway, 8-9
    of the Osage, 104, 105-106
    _See_ Agriculture, Buffalo, Corn, Dogs, Fish, Game.

  FOOL CHIEF, a Kansa chief, 96
    village of, 97

  FORT BERTHOLD, tribes near, 147

    erection of, 176
    Mandan village near, 130, 139, 140
    _See_ Fort Osage.

  FORT CRAWFORD, establishment of, 184

    location of, 72
    mention of, 71

  FORT DES PRAIRIES, mention of, 72

  FORT JOHN, destroyed by North American Fur Company, 69

  FORT LARAMIE, description of, 69

  FORT LEAVENWORTH, early description of, 116

  FORT LOOKOUT, treaty concluded at, 57

    later named Fort Clark, 99
    village near, 100

    gathering of Yankton near, 57, 59
    sketch of, 63

    encampment at, 15
    establishment of, 184

    Assiniboin camp at, 75
    stay at, of Friedrich Kurz, 76
    visit at, of Maximilian, 142

  FORT YATES, villages near, 22

    Arikara, 168, 171, 172
    Hidatsa, 147
    Mandan, 123, 131


    habitat of, 1
    present location of, 38
    visited by Long, 38
    _See_ Sauk and Foxes.

  FREMONT, arrival of, at Kansa towns, 96


  FURS, huge quantities of, collected by Sauk and Foxes, 40

    abundance of, at Isle au Vache, 91
    _See_ Animals, Buffalo, Hunting.

    played by the Omaha, 81
    space for playing, 129

  GILDER, R. F., village site identified by, 82

  GILFILLAN, DR. J. A., missionary among the Ojibway, 11

    visit to, of Long expedition, 158
    _See_ Chaui.

  GRANT, PETER, Ojibway dwellings described by, 9-10

    as temporary shelter, 13-14
    of the Caddo, 183
    of the Wichita, 179-180
    photograph of, 180

  GREAT OSAGE, an Osage band, 98

  GRINNELL, GEORGE B., erection of medicine lodge described by, 33

  GROS VENTRES. _See_ Hidatsa.

  GROS VENTRES OF THE MISSOURI, a name applied to the Hidatsa, 141

  GROS VENTRES OF THE PRAIRIE, a name applied to the Atsina, 34, 141
    _See_ Atsina.

  HABITATIONS. _See_ Lodges, Tipi, Wigwam.

  HA-WON-JE-TAH, a Teton Sioux chief, 61, 62

  HENDRY, ANTHONY, Journal of, 25

  HENRY, ALEXANDER, travels of, through Assiniboin country, 71-73

  HIDATSA GROUP, tribes composing, 2, 140

    ceremonial lodge of, 144
    creation myth of, 143
    temporary lodge of, 147
    winter village of, 143, 149
    _See_ Minnetarees.

    descriptions of, 142-143, 145-146, 148-150
    Indian drawings of, 139
    location of, 141
    near Fort Berthold, 147
    painting of, by Catlin, 141
    plan of, 145
    sites of, compared with Mandan, 146
    temporary, for winter use, 149

  HIME, HUMPHREY LLOYD, photographs made by, 12

    camp sites observed by, 20-21
    Ojibway structures encountered by, 12

  HOE, made by Arikara, 177

  HORSE TRAVOIS, 30, 65, 66

  HORSERACING of the Blackfeet, 31

  HORSES, housed in lodges of the Mandan, 126

  HOUSE RINGS, 20, 21, 22, 28, 30

    journals of traders of, 25
    trade of, with the Blackfeet, 27
    trading post of, 76

  HUNKPAPA, a Teton band, 2

    customs of the Osage, 103, 106
    customs of the Sauk and Foxes, 40
    excursions of the Mandan, 126
    excursions of the Omaha, 85-87
    grounds used for, by Oto, 116
    of antelope, a method of, 6
    of buffalo, 4-7
    parties of the Mandan, 136
    trips of the Pawnee, 166-167

  ILLINOIS CONFEDERACY, villages of, 41-43

    village of, 41
    west of the Mississippi, 1

    agricultural, of the Arikara, 177
    flint, on Omaha village site, 82, 83
    for skin dressing, 138
    stone, found on White River, 108

  INDIAN PEACE COMMISSION, visit of, to Fort Laramie, 69

  IOTAN, an Oto chief, 117

    appearance of villages of, 113
    belonging to Chiwere group, 2
    brief description of, 114
    closely connected with Winnebago, 122
    habitations of, 114
    migration of, 113

  IRON BIRD, an Osage chief, 103

  IRVIN, SAMUEL M., missionary among the Iowa, 114

    deserted village described by, 105
    Indian symbols mentioned by, 43


    brief history of, by Remsburg, 94
    council at, between Kansa and Long party, 91
    location of, 94
    remains near, 91

  ISSATI VILLAGE, site of, 45

  ITAZIPCHO, a Teton band, 2
    _See_ Sans Arcs.

  JACKSON, W. H., photographs made by, 162

  JARAMILLO, JUAN, an officer of the Coronado expedition, 179

  JONGLERIE, or medicine lodge, 16-17

  JOURNALS OF TRADERS, Blackfeet described in, 25

    account by, of Quapaw villages, 109
    Caddo tribe described by, 182-183

  KAINAH, a tribe of the Blackfeet confederacy, 1, 25

    Ojibway wigwam described by, 10
    paintings by, 20, 77

    a tribe of the Dhegiha group, 2, 77
    attack on, by Pawnee, 96
    dress of, 94
    migration of, 89
    population of, 89, 95
    variety of dwellings of, 97
    villages of, described, 90, 92, 95-96, 97
    visit of, to the Oto, 121

  KAPOSIA, village of, 50, 51

  KINGFISHER, an old Ojibway, 12

  KITKEHAHKI, a tribe of the Pawnee confederacy, 2

    at Mandan village, 74
    language spoken by, 74
    location and number of, 32
    _See_ Cree.

    among the Omaha, 81
    at Fort Union, 76
    sketches by, 20, 63, 121

  LA FLESCHE, JOSEPH, an Omaha chief, 82

  LA HARPE, meeting of, with the Quapaw, 110

  LA PETIT CORBEAU, a Sioux chief, village of, 38



  LAC DE L'ISLE CROIX, Cree bands along, 18

  LAHCOCAT, an Arikara village, 169

  LAKE HURON, encampment on islands of, 10

  LAKE SUPERIOR, structures on shores of, 9

  LAROCQUE, ANTOINE, visit of, among the Crows, 151

  LE RAYE, references in journal of, to the Arikara, 168

  LEAVENWORTH, establishment of, 184

  LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION, villages visited by, 23, 34, 60, 74,
        75, 78, 89, 90, 114-115, 124-126

  LINDENWOOD COLLEGE, manuscript journal in possession of, 90

  LIQUOR, use of, among Indians, 75

  LITTLE DOG, a Piegan Indian, 30

  LITTLE OSAGE, an Osage band, 98

  LITTLE OSAGE RIVER, Osage villages in valley of, 99

  LITTLE RAVEN, village of, 48, 49, 50

  LODGES. _See_ Bark-covered lodges, Ceremonial lodge, Earth lodge,
        Grass lodge, Log houses, Mat-covered lodge, Skin lodge,
        Thatched lodge, Tipi, Traders lodge, Wigwam.

    built by Cree, 18
    of the Delaware, 42
    _See_ Log houses.

    construction of, 48
    of Fox Indians, 38
    of Sioux chief, 39
    of upright posts, 48, 49, 50

  LONG, MAJ. STEPHEN H., expedition under command of, 47, 157

  LOUISIANA PURCHASE, change of conditions due to, 184

  LOW HORN, a Piegan chief, 30


  MAHAWHA, village of the Amahami, 125

  MALTA, MO., former Osage village near, 99

    a Siouan tribe, 2
    history of, 125
    settled near Fort Berthold, 147
    village sites of, compared with Hidatsa, 146

    described by Catlin, 128, 129-130
    described by Maximilian, 130-132
    deserted, 124
    French expedition to, 122-123
    Indian drawings of, 139
    occupied by Arikaras, 176
    plan of, 131

  MANITOBAH HOUSE, wigwam near, 12


    Illinois tribes visited by, 41
    Osage villages listed by, 98
    Quapaw villages reached by, 108

  MARSTON, MAJOR M., life of Sauk and Foxes described by, 39-41

  MARTIN, CAPTAIN, stay of detachment of, at Isle au Vache, 91

    as winter habitation, 38
    of the Kansa, 91, 92
    of the Osage, 98, 99, 100
    used by Dhegiha group, 77

  MATOOTONHA, a Mandan village, 125

  MATS, rush, method of making, 41

  MATTHEWS, description by, of Hidatsa villages, 148-150

  MAXIMILIAN, villages visited by, 19, 28, 29, 35, 88, 130-136, 175-176

    a division of the Dakota, 2, 44
    sites of settlements of, 15
    villages of, 45-52

  MEDICINE, meaning of the term, 164


    of the Hidatsa, 143-145
    of the Mandan, 135, 136

    Arikara, 172-173, 178
    ceremony of erecting, 33
    of the Blackfeet, 33
    of the Mandan, 129
    Ojibway, 12, 13, 16-17

  METAHARTA, a Minnetaree village, 125, 126

    an Illinois tribe, 41
    position of village of, not determined, 112
    visited by Marquette, 41


  MIH-TUTTA-HANGUSCH, a Mandan village, 128, 130, 131

  MILLE LAC, village sites on, 45-46

  MINICONJOU, a Teton band, 2

    intrenchments made by, 34
    population of village of, 126
    winter village of, 143
    _See_ Hidatsa.

  MINNETAREES OF FORT DE PRAIRIE, a name for the Atsina, 34

  MISSISSIPPI RIVER, first name of, 109

    ancient village of, 121
    connected with Winnebago, 122
    of the Chiwere group, 2
    remnants of, with the Oto, 114

    stone, in the Ozark country, 107, 108
    wooden, of the Arikara, 177

    bone scrapers in, 59
    collection in, of paintings by Catlin, 15, 129, 141, 175
    Oto specimens in, 121

  NEWBERRY LIBRARY, sketch in, by Bodmer, 143

  NICOLLET, visit of, to the Winnebago, 122

  NIOBRARA RIVER, early name of, 88

  NUTTALL, THOMAS, journey of, 103, 110, 111

  OCHKIH-HADDA, the evil spirit of the Mandan, 132, 142

  O'FALLON, MAJ., commissioner with Long expedition, 157

    a Teton band, 2
    country occupied by, 63
    epidemic of cholera among, 64
    log lodges of, 67
    moving of village of, 64-65
    skin lodges of, 68
    wanderings of, 44

  OHIO VALLEY, ancient village sites of, 102

    ceremonial structures of, 18-19
    habitations of, 8-17
    location of villages of, 1
    meeting of, with Sioux, to establish peace, 15
    territory claimed by, 8
    village sites of, 15
    _See_ Chippeway.

    manners and customs of, 85-87
    meaning of the name, 108
    migration of, 77
    of the Dhegiha group, 2, 77

    destroyed by fire, 78

  ONE STAB, an Oglala head-man, 70

  OOHENONPA, a Teton band, 2

    a tribe of the Dhegiha group, 2, 77
    habitat of, 98
    industry of women, 103
    life of, described by Morse, 106
    structures of, 99, 101-104
    villages of, described, 100, 103-104
    villages of, listed by Père Marquette, 98

    a tribe of the Chiwere group, 2
    closely connected with Winnebago, 122
    councils with, 115, 117-118
    country occupied by, 114
    habitation of, described by Bradbury, 115
    temporary camp of, described by James, 120
    winter camp of, described by Mölhausen, 118

  OTSOTCHOVE, a Quapaw village, 109

    caves of, 107
    habitat of the Osage, 98
    hunting ground of the Osage, 107

  PAHATSI, an Osage band, 2, 98

  PALISADES. _See_ Fortified villages.

  PALMER, DR., missionary to the Osage, 104

  PAPILLION CREEK, Omaha village on, 81


  PAWNEE CONFEDERACY, tribes composing, 2

    abandoned camp of, 165
    attack by, on Kansa village, 96
    council held with, 160-161
    country occupied by, 159
    customs of, 163-165
    habitations of, 156, 158, 161-162
    manner of moving, 163
    migration of, 156
    temporary camp of, 164

    description of, 157, 162
    orderly removal of, 65
    photographs of, 162

  PELICAN, THE, an Assiniboin chief, 71

  PEMBINA, native habitations at, 55

  PEMMICAN MAUL, of the Oto, 121

  PEORIA, VILLAGE OF, visited by Marquette, 41

  PERSIMMON PULP, bread made of, 100

  PETIT CORBEAU, village of, 48, 49, 50

  PICANEAUX, location and number of, 32
    _See_ Piegan.

    a tribe of the Blackfeet confederacy, 1, 25
    camp of, described, 30-31
    camp of, painted by Bodmer, 29
    country occupied by, 27
    population of, 31, 32
    _See_ Picaneaux.

  PIKE, LIEUT. Z. M., exploring expedition of, 99, 155

  PILLAGERS, gathering place of, 15

    ceremonial use of, 172
    from Omaha cache, 83
    of peace, smoking of, 61

  PIPESTONE QUARRY, tribes ranging near, 77

  PIS-KA-KAU-A-KIS, a band of Cree, 18

  PITAHAUERAT, a tribe of the Pawnee confederacy, 2

  "PLATTE PURCHASE," Iowa living in, 114

  PLATTE RIVER, Oto village on, 116

    a tribe of the Dhegiha group, 2, 77
    habitations of, 87-88
    migration of, 77
    separation of, from the Omaha, 87

    of Arikara villages, 170
    of Assiniboin, 76
    of Atsina or Fall Indians, 32
    of Cheyenne, 24
    of Cree, 19
    of Crow, 19
    of Kansa, 89, 93
    of Mandan, 139
    of Minnetaree villages, 126
    of Osage, 104
    of Piegan, 31
    of Sarsees, 32
    of village of Sotoüis, 110
    of Waco, 182
    of Wichita, 182
    of Yankton, 56

  PORCUPINE CREEK, village on, 22

    Arikara, 174
    fragments of, in Ozark caves, 107
    fragments of, on village site, 46
    of the Mandan, 137-138
    of the Quapaw, 112
    _See_ Earthenware.

  POUNDS, BUFFALO, 5-6, 26

    a tribe of the Dhegiha group, 2, 77
    country occupied by, 108
    decrease in population of, 111
    meaning of the name, 108
    migration of, 77, 112
    remnants of, 111

  QUIVIRA, reached by Coronado, 179

  RADIN, PAUL, list of Winnebago structures given by, 122

  RAKES, made by Arikara, 177

  RAYNOLDS EXPLORING PARTY, sacred structure discovered by, 63

  RED CLOUD, an Oglala chief, 70, 71

  RED RIVER, structures in valley of, 9, 12

  RED WING, MINN., origin of the name, 47

  RED WING, village of--
    described by Schoolcraft, 49
    described by Seymour, 50

  REES, warfare of, with Sioux, 70

    described by Irving, 161
    visited by Long expedition, 159
    _See_ Kitkehahki.

  REQUA, W. C., Osage described by, 104

    of earth, 21, 28, 30
    of stone, 20, 21

  ROCKY MOUNTAIN FORT, Assiniboin camp near, 77

  ROOPTAHEE, a Mandan winter village, 125, 134


  RUNNING-WATER RIVER, early name of the Niobrara, 88

    for seats and sleeping places, 11
    method of making, 41
    used for covering dwellings, 10

    for benefit of sick, 82
    of the Dakotas, 55


  ST. JOSEPH, a trading post, 184

  ST. PAUL, former Indian village near, 38

  ST. PETERS RIVER, exploration of, 47

  SALT, making of, by Indians, 42, 174

  SANDY CREEK, Oto encampment on, 120

  SANS ARCS, a Teton band, 2
    _See_ Itazipcho.

  SANS OREILLE, an Osage chief, 100

    eastern division of the Dakota, 45
    tribes forming, 2
    use of the name, 45

  SANTSUKHDHI an Osage band, 2, 98

  SARSEES, number and location of, 32

  SASKATCHEWAN VALLEY, tribes inhabiting, 32

    agriculture of, 40
    living as one tribe, 38
    manners and ways of life, 39-41
    summer and winter habitations of, 38
    villages of, similar in appearance, 38
    _See_ Fox Indians, Sauk Indians.

    excursions of, against the Osage and Missouris, 98
    Missouri driven out by, 121
    removal of, to Indian Territory, 38
    territory of, 1
    village of, visited by Long, 38
    _See_ Sauk and Foxes.

  SAUTEUX. _See_ Ojibway.

    deserted Osage villages encountered by, 101
    journey of, down the Mississippi, 49
    Sioux settlements described by, 49


  SEYMOUR, E. S.--
    Kaposia described by, 50
    sketches by, 55, 93, 95, 121

  SHAKOPEE'S VILLAGE, described by Keating, 52

  SHAWANESE, migration of remnant of, 2, 3

  SHAWNEE, villages of, west of the Mississippi, 42

    Arapaho, affixed to tripods, 36, 37
    of the Pawnee, 157

  SIBLEY, GEORGE C., Kansa village described by, 90

  SICHANGU, a Teton band, 2

    dance for benefit of, 82
    treatment of, 165

  SIHASAPA, a Teton band, 2

  SIKSIKA, a tribe of the Blackfeet confederacy, 1, 25

    classification of  2
    general movement of  3
    in the East  44
    second largest stock north of Mexico  43
    skin tipi typical of  7
    various habitations of  44
    villages of, described  1
    westward migration of  43

    excursions of, against the Osage  98
    gathering of, with Ojibway, to establish peace  15

  SISSETON, a division of the Dakota  2, 44

  SKIDI, a tribe of the Pawnee Confederacy  2

  SKIN DRESSING, implements for  58, 59, 138

    Arapaho  37
    Assiniboin  71, 76
    Blackfoot  28
    Cheyenne  24
    construction of  56
    Cree  18, 20
    Crow  150, 152, 153
    decorations on  28, 67, 76, 78, 85
    descriptions of  50, 51
    drawings of  56
    erected by the Dakota  45
    Hidatsa  146
    Kansa  94
    Omaha, construction of  80-81, 85
    Pawnee  162, 164, 165-166
    predominance of, on the plains  185
    sketched by Kurz  76
    Teton  61
    used by roving tribes  32
    used by the Dhegiha  77
    used by the Oto  118

  SKIN SCRAPER, bone, described  58, 59

    when used by Omaha  84-85
    Yankton, described by Maximilian  57-58


    among the Mandan  139
    among the Omaha  78

    _See_ Pipes.

  SOTOÜIS, population of village of  110

  SOULIER NOIR, French name for the Amahami  126

  SPEARS, ARAPAHO, affixed to tripods  36, 37

    of the Mandan  137
    of the Pawnee  158

  STANLEY, paintings by, in National Museum  31

  STANSBURY EXPEDITION, narrative of  64, 66-68

  STARAPAT, an Arikara chief  176


  STOCKADE BUILDINGS, mentioned by Long  50

  STOCKADES, remains of  67
    _See_ Fortified villages.

  STONE CIRCLES, explanation of  20, 21

  STONE INDIANS. _See_ Assiniboins.

  SUN DANCE, lodges erected for  63, 85

  SUNFLOWER SEED, cakes made of  136

    of the Crows  155
    of the Ojibway  12, 16

  SYMBOLS, cut on trees by Indians  43

  TALANGAMANE, a Sioux chief  49

  TAOAPA, description of village of  52

  TAPAGE PAWNEE. _See_ Pitahauerat.

  TATANKA WECHACHETA, a Wahpeton chief  53

  TATUNKAMANE, son of a Dakota chief  48

  TCHAN-DEE, a Teton Sioux chief  62

    a division of the Dakota  2, 44
    bands composing  2
    customs of  60
    great village of, visited by Lewis and Clark  59-60

  TETON RIVER, village near mouth of  62

  THATCHED LODGES, of the Wichita  179-180

  THIEF, THE, an Oto Indian  117

  TINDER MOUNTAIN, Cree band at  18

    drawing of, by Bodmer  58, 59
    of the plains tribes, fine example of  68
    typical of Siouan tribes  7
    _See_ Skin lodges.

  TONGINGA, a Quapaw village  109

  TORIMAN, a Quapaw village  109

  TOTEM POSTS, not used by Omaha  85

  TRADERS LODGE, of the Oglala  68

    across the prairie  88
    buffalo  7
    in the Black Hills  70, 71
    made by travois  66

    among the Oglala  65
    among the Piegan  30
    _See_ Dog travois, Horse travois.

  TRAVOIS. See Dog travois, Horse travois.

    of Greenville, westward migration following  42
    of peace between Sioux and Chippewas  15
    place of, between Ojibway and U. S. Government  16
    with Tetons, Yankton and Yanktonai  57

  TWENTY-FOUR, VILLAGE OF THE, a former Kansa town  94

  TWO KETTLES. _See_ Oohenonpa.

  TYPHA PALUSTRIS, mats made of leaves of  100

  UNION AGENCY, location of  104-105


  UTSEHTA, an Osage band  2, 98


  VILLAGE SITES, not contemporaneous  127

  WABASHAW, a Sioux village visited by Schoolcraft  49

    a tribe of the Wichita confederacy  2
    appearance of  181
    grass lodge of  181
    population of  182

  WAHKTAGELI, a Yankton chief  58

  WAHPEKUTE, a division of the Dakota  2, 44

    a division of the Dakota  2, 44, 52
    country occupied by  52
    village of, described  53

  WAH-TOH-TA-NA, name for the Oto, 116

  WAKAN WACHEPE, a Dakota society, 55

  WA-KI-TA-MO-NEE, an Oto chief, 118

  WANOTAN, a Yanktonai chief, 54

  WAPASHA, a Dakota chief, 47

  WAPASHA'S PRAIRIE, mentioned by Seymour, 50

  WAPASHA VILLAGE, description of, 47, 48

  WAR DANCE, OSAGE, account of, 105

  WARRIORS, special lodges for use of, 25

  WATTASOONS, Mandan name for the Amahami, 126


  WAUBUSCHON, an Osage chief, 100

  WAYONDOTT, migration of band of, 3


  WESTERN ENGINEER, a steamboat of 1819 on Missouri River, 91-93

  WETARKO, Indian name for Grand River, 169

  WHITE HAIR, an Osage chief, 103

  WHITE RIVER, village site on, 108

    a Caddoan group, 2
    thatched dwellings of, 179-180

  WICKIUP, a temporary shelter, 70

    construction of, 11
    dome-shaped, of the Ojibway, 14
    mat and bark covered, 7
    _See_ Lodges.

    a Siouan tribe, 2
    country occupied by, 122
    villages of, 122

  WOLF PAWNEE. _See_ Skidi.

    custom concerning, 19
    industry of, 103
    labor of, 65

    a division of the Dakota, 2, 44
    described by General Atkinson, 57
    population of, 57
    structures of, 57-58

    a division of the Dakota, 2, 44
    country inhabited by, 54
    described by Keating, 54, 55
    habitations of, 56-57
    village of, near Lake Traverse, 54

  YELLOW BEAR, an Hidatsa chief, 145

  YELLOW STONE, a Missouri River steamboat, 130

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