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Title: Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, v. 23
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, v. 23" ***

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                        Early Western Travels
                               1748-1846

                             Volume XXIII



                         Early Western Travels

                               1748-1846

          A Series of Annotated Reprints of some of the best
        and rarest contemporary volumes of travel, descriptive
                   of the Aborigines and Social and
                   Economic Conditions in the Middle
                    and Far West, during the Period
                     of Early American Settlement


           Edited with Notes, Introductions, Index, etc., by

                      Reuben Gold Thwaites, LL.D.

   Editor of "The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents," "Original
       Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition," "Hennepin's
                         New Discovery," etc.

                             Volume XXIII

        Part II of Maximilian, Prince of Wied's, Travels in the
                 Interior of North America, 1832-1834

                            [Illustration]

                            Cleveland, Ohio

                      The Arthur H. Clark Company

                                 1906

                          COPYRIGHT 1906, BY
                      THE ARTHUR H. CLARK COMPANY

                          ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                          The Lakeside Press
                    R. R. DONNELLEY & SONS COMPANY
                                CHICAGO



CONTENTS OF VOLUME XXIII

[Part II of Maximilian's Travels in the Interior of North America]


  CHAPTER XVI--First stay at Fort Union, from June 24th
    to July 6, 1833                                                   11

  CHAPTER XVII--Voyage from Fort Union to Muscleshell
    River, from the 6th to the 28th of July                           26

  CHAPTER XVIII--Voyage from the Muscleshell River to
    Fort Mc Kenzie, from July 28th to August 9th                      60

  CHAPTER XIX--Description of Fort Mc Kenzie and the Environs,
    and of the Indian population living there                         90

  CHAPTER XX--Stay at Fort Mc Kenzie, from August 9th to
    September 14th                                                   123

  CHAPTER XXI--Return from Fort Mc Kenzie to Fort Union,
    from the 14th to the 29th of September                           168

  CHAPTER XXII--Second residence at Fort Union, from September
    29th to October 30th                                             188

  CHAPTER XXIII--Voyage from Fort Union to Fort Clarke,
    from October 30th to November 8th                                207

  CHAPTER XXIV--Description of Fort Clarke and the Environs          222

  CHAPTER XXV--Account of the Mandan Indians                         252

  CHAPTER XXVI--Observations on the Tribe of the Manitaries,
    or Gros Ventres                                                  367

  CHAPTER XXVII--A few words respecting the Arikkaras                386



ILLUSTRATIONS TO VOLUME XXIII

(The following are text cuts in original)


  A Grosventre dagger                                                105

  Blackfoot parchment bags                                           105

  Horn drinking cup                                                  105

  Talc pipes                                                         105

  Plan of women's medicine dance                                     113

  Badge of Prairie-dog band                                          113

  Badge of Raven band                                                113

  Pipe-lighting stick                                                113

  Indians seated before Fort Mc Kenzie                               129

  Head of _Cervus macrotis_                                          129

  Head of _Antilocapra Ord._                                         247

  Head of _Canis latrans_                                            247

  Hand looking-glass                                                 267

  Cylinder of planks                                                 267

  Mandan huts                                                        267

  Mandan bed                                                         285

  A Mandan letter, in hieroglyphics                                  285

  Child's dart, of stag-horn                                         285

  Stone club, with handle                                            355

  A knotted wooden club                                              355

  Arikkara bird-cage gourds                                          355

  Map of neighborhood of Fort Clark                                  363

           PART II OF MAXIMILIAN, PRINCE OF WIED'S, TRAVELS
                   IN THE INTERIOR OF NORTH AMERICA

         Reprint of chapters xvi-xxvii of London edition: 1843

                      TRAVELS IN THE INTERIOR OF
                         NORTH AMERICA, IN THE
                      YEARS 1832, 1833, AND 1834

                               [PART II]



CHAPTER XVI[1]

FIRST STAY AT FORT UNION, FROM JUNE 24TH TO JULY 6TH [1833]

    Departure of the Assiniboin Steamer--Excursions into the
      Prairie--The arrival of several bands of Assiniboins--The
      Crees, or Knistenaux--The Visits to the Camps of the
      Indians--Their Departure--Death of Matsokui--Arrival of our
      Keel-boat--Preparations for our Journey to Fort Mc Kenzie.


Mr. Mc Kenzie had given us a comfortable lodging in his house, and we
lived here very pleasantly, in a plain style, suitable to the resources
of so remote a place; for we could not hope to meet with so good a
table as we had had on board the steamer. We had, every day, fresh or
dried buffalo flesh, bread made of flour, and also a good supply of
coffee and wine. The first days passed rapidly in examining the fort
and the immediate environs, while, on board the steamer, they began
already, on the 25th, to unload and convey the provisions and goods to
the fort, so that all was bustle and activity. Eight hundred packs of
buffalo hides, each consisting of ten, were immediately embarked, amid
a heavy fall of rain, which did much injury to these hides, which are
tanned by the Indians. It was, therefore, necessary to open every one
of the packs, and dry them again. The furs in the interior of North
America are free from a nuisance so common among us, I mean insects,
especially moths, which are unknown on the Upper Missouri. Besides the
buffalo hides, many beaver, bear, wolf, lynx, fox, and other skins
were embarked. Of the wolf and lynx, sixty-two packs, each consisting
of 100 skins. Some of the Indians were very troublesome while this was
doing, continually asking and begging for various things, particularly
tobacco, which they were too indolent to prepare, or to get from the
forest for themselves. The tobacco which the Fur Company sells to them,
to mix with their leaves or bark, is strong, clammy, and black, and is
in twists, six or eight inches long. Most of the Indians now present
looked wretchedly poor, and many of them had not even a pipe of their
own. Several apartments in the fort were assigned to these visitors,
where they cooked and slept.

{199} After we had made ourselves acquainted with the fort, we made
excursions into the prairie, especially to the chain of hills, and Mr.
Bodmer took many views of the country. In all such excursions it is not
usual to go alone, at least not without being well armed, because the
Indians, especially war parties, can never be trusted. The Assiniboin
having taken in its cargo, was to depart on the afternoon of the 26th
of June, and return to St. Louis; the Company, therefore, assembled
once more on board, to dine together. About three o'clock, when the
whole population of the place was assembled on the beach, we took
leave of our travelling companions, Messrs. Sandford and Pratte, with
whom some of the Company's clerks had embarked to return to the United
States. In order to turn, the Assiniboin first went a little way up the
river, and then passed the fort with the rapidity of an arrow, while a
mutual salute of a discharge of cannon and musketry was re-echoed from
the mountains, and handkerchiefs were waved till a bend of the river
hid the vessel, which we had so long inhabited, from our view. On this
day the Assiniboins had left the fort to go into the prairie; others,
in part much better dressed, had arrived, but only as harbingers of a
great number of their people, and of Crees,[2] who, in fact, came on
the 27th of June, singly, and in companies.

These Crees did not much differ, in appearance, from the Assiniboins;
they are robust, powerful-looking men, with lank hair falling over
their shoulders, and a broad flat lock, cut off straight over their
eyes; one man, however, had it hanging down to his mouth. Some had
their long hair plaited in several tails; many wore skin caps adorned
with feathers, and one had the whole tail of a prairie hen; several
of them wore the leather cases of their bows wound round their heads,
like a turban. Their faces were painted red, some with black stripes,
and their dress was like that of the Assiniboins. Several of them wore
long wolf skins over their shoulders, with the head of the animal on
the breast, and the tail trailing on the ground. Their leggins had a
quantity of long leather fringe; the men are said to be often much
tattooed, and Franklin says, that this operation is painful, but we
were assured that the contrary is the case. The women are said to be
well made, and, in the north, they understand how to dye a beautiful
red with the roots of _Galium tinctorium_ and _boreale_, and black with
the bark of the alder.

The chief of the Crees was Maschkepiton (the broken arm), who had a
medal with the effigy of the President hung round his neck, which
he had received on a visit to Washington.[3] The present intention
of these people, who had no skins to sell, was to welcome Mr. Mc
Kenzie, who is much beloved by the Indians, and frequently receives
presents from them; and, on many occasions, they have carried him
about, as in triumph, to do him honour, and prove their attachment to
him. 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 {200} great numbers in their parks. The Crees are
reckoned at 600 or 800 tents; consequently, assuming the usual number
of three men for each, there will be from 1,800 to 2,400 men for this
tribe. Their customs, games, and religious opinions, are said to agree
with those of the Assiniboins. Their language has an affinity with that
of the Ojibuas, but entirely different from that of the Assiniboins, or
Sioux, though many of the Crees learn the latter.

On the 26th of June, the arrival of a numerous band of Assiniboins was
announced to us by several messengers; they intended to compliment Mr.
Mc Kenzie, who had long been absent. All on a sudden we heard some
musket-shot, which announced a very interesting scene; and all the
inhabitants of the fort went out of the gate to witness the arrival
of this savage horde. Towards the north-west, the whole prairie was
covered with scattered Indians, whose numerous dogs drew the sledges
with the baggage; a close body of warriors, about 250 or 300 in number,
had formed themselves in the centre, in the manner of two bodies of
infantry, and advanced in quick time towards the fort. The Indian
warriors marched in close ranks, three or four men deep, not keeping
their file very regularly, yet in pretty good order, and formed a
considerable line. Before the centre, where, in a European battalion,
the colours are carried, three or four chiefs advanced, arm in arm, and
from the ranks of this motley, martial, painted mass, loud musket-shot
were heard. The whole troop of these warriors now commenced their
original song, consisting of many abrupt, broken tones, like those of
the war-whoop, and having some resemblance to the song which we heard,
in the years 1813 and 1814, from the Russian soldiers. The loaded dogs,
guided by women and children, surrounded the nucleus of warriors, like
the sharp-shooters that hover about the line. Thus this remarkable body
advanced towards us, and many interesting features appeared the nearer
they approached. All these Indians were wrapped in their buffalo robes,
and dressed out in the most diverse and highly fantastical manner. Most
of them had their faces painted all over with vermilion; others, quite
black. In their hair they wore the feathers of eagles, or other birds
of prey. Some had wolf-skin caps, notwithstanding the great heat, and
these caps were partly smeared with red paint. Others had fastened
green leaves round their heads; long wolves' tails were hanging down
at their heels, as marks of honour for enemies they had killed, and
the part of their dress made of leather was new and handsome. They had
their guns in their arms, their bows and arrows on their shoulders,
and, in this manner, these robust men, who were, for the most part,
five feet eight or nine inches, and many six feet high, advanced with a
light, quick step, in an upright posture, which gave them a perfectly
military air; and this impression was heightened by the song which
sounded from their ranks, and the loud beating of their drums. They
advanced to within about sixty paces, then halted at a fosse running
from the Missouri past the fort, and waited, the chief standing in
front, for our welcome.

Mr. Mc Kenzie had sent two interpreters, Halero and Lafontaine, to
meet them, who shook hands with the chiefs, and then led them to the
gate of the fort, which was shut as usual, and a {201} guard set before
it, for too many Indians are never admitted at the same time, because
they can never be implicitly trusted. On this occasion, only the chiefs
and about thirty of the principal warriors were admitted, who sat down
around the apartment which was allotted to such meetings. All the other
Indians went first to the Missouri to drink, and then sat down to rest
in the shade.

It was natural that we, as strangers, constantly remained with the
assembled Indians, for there were many interesting subjects for our
observation. The thick stone pipes, with long flat tubes, were handed
round, and they showed us a remarkably handsome one, ornamented with
yellow horse-hair, which was intended as a present for Mr. Mc Kenzie.
The whole company received something to drink; and many Indians, before
they raise the vessel to their lips, dip the fore finger of their right
hand into it, and sprinkle some of the liquid five or six times in the
air, doubtless as an offering to the higher powers.[4] They gazed on us
with much curiosity, and the interpreter gave them an account of the
singular strangers, who hunted after animals, plants, and stones, and
prepared the skins of the former, of which they, of course, could not
see the use.

While tranquillity was gradually restored within the fort, a new and
very interesting scene took place without. On the west side of the
fort the Indian women were engaged in erecting temporary travelling
or hunting huts, composed of poles, fixed in the ground, and the dog
sledges set up against them, and covered with green boughs, as they
had brought only a part of their baggage. Horses were everywhere
grazing, dogs running in all directions, and groups of the red men
dispersed all round. The scene was highly entertaining; and the various
occupations of cooking, gaming, and making preliminary arrangements,
diffused life and activity over the prairie. I was particularly struck
with one Assiniboin on account of his head-dress, which I frequently
saw afterwards, and the interpreter called him to us. He wore, across
his head, a leather strap, to each side of which a horn was fixed, and
between them, black feathers cut short. The horns, which were cut out
of those of an antelope, had, at their point, a tuft of horse-hair dyed
yellow, and on the side hung leather strings, with feathers at the end,
and bound with yellow porcupine quills. Mr. Bodmer made a very faithful
drawing of this man, as he wished to be taken in his full dress[5]. His
name was Noapeh (a troop of soldiers), and his countenance and whole
figure were characteristically Indian. We visited several of the newly
erected huts, where the fire was already burning in the centre; we
were everywhere asked for whisky and tobacco, of which only the last
was here and there given. If we wished to obtain anything by barter,
brandy was always demanded in payment, and, therefore, very little
could be done. Late in the evening, the singing and the drum of this
restless multitude were heard in the fort, and the noise and tumult
continued the whole night. On the 28th of June we were early in motion,
that we might lose no part of the new scenes around us. Noapeh was
{202} brought at an early hour, and stood with unwearied patience to
the painter, though his relations frequently endeavoured to get him
away. He had put on his best dress, and had, on his breast, a rosette
of dyed porcupine quills, eight or ten inches in diameter. On this day
there was a great crowd of Indians in the fort, to barter several
articles of their dress; part of them went away in the course of the
day, for when we went to their camp in the afternoon we found most
of the huts empty, and saw, at a distance, many Indians, seldom more
than two or three together, returning in three principal directions. A
great part of them went up the Missouri, parallel with the river, but
avoided the wood on the bank, and traversed the prairie in a western
direction; another part turned to the north-east, and these, about
an hundred in number, went to join in a military expedition against
the Mandans and the Manitaries. On occasions like the present, when
many Indians assemble about the trading posts of the Whites, they
are obliged to be constantly on their guard, because their enemies
endeavour to obtain information of these moments, and take advantage
of them for their sudden attacks. On the evening of this day, we had
a violent storm of thunder, lightning, and rain, and, as the rain
continued on the following day, the 29th of June, 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; several Indians, however, soon appeared, wet through and
through, and covered with mud up to their knees, which, however, they
did not mind. A sketch was taken of a tall young warrior,[6] who
preserved a most inflexible gravity of countenance till Mr. Bodmer
set his musical snuff-box agoing, on which he began to laugh. Another
interesting young man of the branch of the Stone Indians,[7] whose
name was Pitatapiu, had his portrait taken at a later period. His hair
hung down like a lion's mane, especially over his eyes, so that they
could scarcely be seen; over each of them a small white sea shell was
fastened with a hair string; in his hand he carried a long lance, such
as they use only for show, to which a number of slips of the entrails
of a bear were fastened, and smeared with red paint. This slender
young man had his painted leather shield on his back, to which a small
packet, well wrapped up, his medicine or amulet in horse-stealing, was
fastened, and which he greatly prized. These people will not part with
such things on any terms. The handle of his whip was of wood, with
holes in it like a flute. He and several Indians brought word that
his countrymen, from the environs of the Fort des Prairies, on the
Saskatschawan River, would shortly visit us, to dispose of all their
beaver skins. It made us shiver to see the Indians, in the damp, cold
weather, run about barefoot the whole day in the deep mud, while we, in
our room, sat constantly by the fireside. They, too, greatly enjoyed
the warm room, and a number of them were always sitting with us, to
smoke their pipes, while Mr. Bodmer was drawing Pitatapiu's likeness.
We took care that their pipes should be constantly filled, and, in
general, tried every means to amuse them, that they might not lose
their patience during the operation.

{203} 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.[8] We now saw the Indian women returning in all directions
from the forest, panting under the weight of large bundles of wood,
which were fastened on their backs. Their dogs lay about the tents;
they were large, quite like wolves, and of different colours, chiefly
of the colour of the wild grey wolf, and some spotted black and white.
Reduced to skeletons by want of food, they could not stretch out their
sharp backbone; but, for the most part, went crooked and contracted,
looked about for old bones, and growled at each other, showing their
white teeth. They were not so savage to strangers as the dogs of the
Crows, at Fort Clarke, and if one of them seemed inclined to bite us,
he was immediately very roughly kicked and beaten by the Indians.

We had not been long in this camp, when 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. They came without music, with
two chiefs at their head, and proceeded towards the gate of the fort.
Among them there were many old men, one, especially, who walked with
the support of two sticks, and many who had only one eye.[9] The first
chief of this new band was Ayanyan (as translated by the Canadians,
_le fils du gros Français_), generally called General Jackson, because
he had made a journey to Washington.[10] He was a handsome man, in a
fine dress; he wore a beautifully embroidered black leather shirt, a
new scarlet blanket, and the great medal round his neck. 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 {204} around was life and activity. We witnessed
many amusing scenes; here, boys shot their arrows into the air; there,
a little, brown, monkey-like child was sitting alone upon the ground,
with a circle of hungry dogs round it. In one of the tents there was
a man very ill, about whom the medicine men were assembled, singing
with all their might. Many people had collected about this tent, and
were peeping through the crevices. After the conjuration had continued
some time, the tent was opened, and the men who had been assembled
in it went away by threes, the one in the middle always stepping
a little before the others, and they continued singing till they
reached their own tents. In another tent, belonging to a young married
couple, we found a child hung up in a leather pouch, of very beautiful
workmanship. These pouches, which serve instead of cradles, are so
large that only the head of the child is visible. This pouch had, on
the upper side, two broad stripes of dyed porcupine quills, and several
very pretty rosettes, with long strings of different colours, and was
lined with fur. I purchased it from the woman, but, with many other
interesting articles, it has never reached Europe.

On the 1st of July, in the morning, we heard that Matsokui, the young
Blackfoot Indian, who had come here with us, had been shot, during
the night, in the Indian camp. Berger, the Blackfoot interpreter,
who was charged to have a watchful eye over this young Indian, had
frequently warned him to keep away from the Assiniboins and the Crees,
or some mischief would certainly befall him; but he had suffered
himself to be deceived by their apparently friendly conduct, and had
remained in a tent till late at night, where he was shot by a Cree,
who had immediately made his escape. We saw the dead body of our poor
travelling companion, laced up in a buffalo's skin, lying in the
fort, and it was afterwards buried near the fort, in a coffin made by
the carpenter. Kiasax had been more prudent; he had not trusted the
Assiniboins, and had returned with the steam-boat to his family. Mr.
Mc Kenzie told us, that he had witnessed a similar incident the year
before. A Blackfoot whom he brought with him, was shot by the Crees at
their departure, though he had previously been many times in their camp.

After the perpetration of this deed, a dead silence prevailed in the
Indian camp; but about noon, two of the chiefs, attended by other
Indians in procession, singing aloud, and among them General Jackson,
came as a deputation to make excuses to Mr. Mc Kenzie for this murder.
They brought, by way of present, a horse, and a couple of very
beautiful pipes, one of which was a real calumet, adorned with feathers
and green horse-hair. They made an address to Mr. Mc Kenzie, in which
they solemnly asserted their innocence of the death of the Blackfoot,
saying that the deed had been done by a Cree, who had immediately fled,
and whom they had pursued, but in vain. Ayanyan is said to have spoken
remarkably well on this occasion.

In the afternoon we again heard the Indian drum beating very loud in
the tent of the sick man, and we went there to see their conjurations.
We looked cautiously through the crevices in the tent, and saw the
patient sitting on the floor, his head, covered with a small cap,
sunk {205} upon his breast, and several men standing around him. Two
of the medicine men were beating the drum in quick time, and a third
rattled the Quakemuha (or Shishikue), which he waved up and down. These
people were singing with great effort; sometimes they uttered short
ejaculations, and were in a violent perspiration; sometimes they sucked
the places where the patient felt pain, and pretended they could suck
out or remove the morbid matter. Such jugglers are very well paid by
the patients, and always regaled with tobacco. Many of the Indians
went away this afternoon, because they could not find sufficient
subsistence. Among others, General Jackson had taken leave. It was
reported that some of the Crees had said they would take up the body
of the Blackfoot that was shot, because there had not been time to
scalp him; but such expressions were quite usual, and the grave was not
disturbed.

The keel-boat from Fort Cass had arrived, on board of which we were to
go to Fort Mc Kenzie. We had, therefore, a numerous company, but we
were in no want of provisions, as our hunters had brought home, from
their last excursion, the flesh of nineteen buffaloes. It was exactly
a year to-day, July 4th, since we had landed at Boston. Mr. Mc Kenzie
sent Berger, the interpreter,[11] and one Harvey, by land, to Fort
Mc Kenzie, to which they proceeded on horseback, before us, along the
north bank of the river. They had no baggage but their arms, their beds
of buffalo skin, and blankets. They took some dried meat with them, but
they chiefly depended for subsistence on their rifles. While the people
were employed in loading the keel-boat with the goods and provisions
for the tribes living higher up the river, we profited by this last
day's stay in this place, to make excursions into the neighbouring
woods on the river-side, and to the prairie. In a wood, below the fort,
we found a tree, on which the corpses of several Assiniboins were
deposited; one of them had fallen down, and been torn and devoured by
the wolves. The blankets which covered the body were new, and partly
bedaubed with red paint, and some of the branches and the trunk of the
tree were coloured in the same manner. Dreidoppel, who discovered this
tree, took up the skull of a young Assiniboin, in which a mouse had
made its nest for its young; and Mr. Bodmer made an accurate drawing
of the tree, under which there was a close thicket of roses in full
blossom, the fragrant flowers of which seemed destined to veil this
melancholy scene of human frailty and folly.[12]

The Flora keel-boat was laden, and there was only the baggage of the
travellers to be taken on board. This vessel was a strong-built sloop,
about sixty feet long by sixteen broad, with a deck, a mast, and sail.
The goods were deposited in the middle space; at the stern there was
a cabin, ten paces long and five or six broad, with two berths, one
of which was allotted to Mr. Mitchell, and the second to me; the
other persons, three in number, spread their beds, in the evening, on
the floor. At the back of this cabin there was a little window, with
a sliding shutter, and, on each side, a port-hole, which, in fine
weather, admitted light and air. Round the vessel there was a ledge,
about a foot and a half broad, on which the men walked backwards and
forwards {206} when, the water being low, they had to propel the boat
by means of poles. In the fore part of the vessel was the apartment for
the _engagés_, and, on the deck, an iron grate for cooking: here, too,
the game which we had taken was hung up. About half of our men were
destined to tow the vessel when there was no wind. Formerly this was
the only method of navigating the Missouri, till, about two years ago,
the first essay was made with the steam-boat which now goes regularly
to Fort Union. A voyage from Saint Louis to Fort Mc Kenzie used to take
eight months, and is now performed by the steam-boat in a little more
than a third of that time. The number of men, destined by Mr. Mc Kenzie
for the voyage to the Blackfeet, consisted of double the usual crew
of a keel-boat, and, including us travellers, amounted to fifty-two
persons. I had taken many things, necessary for a long journey, from
the Company's stores, but part of what I had brought from St. Louis
had been left at Fort Pièrre, on the Teton River, the want of which I
already felt, but had still more reason to lament in the sequel.

All necessary arrangements for our voyage being made, Mr. Mc Kenzie
caused some fire-works to be let off before the fort on the bank of the
Missouri, for the amusement of the people, which gave occasion to many
jokes. The serpents dispersed the crowds of young Canadians, who had
never seen anything of the kind before, and were called by their older,
more experienced comrades, _mangeurs de lard_.[13]


FOOTNOTES:

[1] This volume begins with chapter xvi of the London edition.--ED.

[2] For the Cree, consult our volume ii, p. 168, note 75.--ED.

[3] Catlin painted a portrait of this chief in 1832; and speaks of
his visit to Washington under the care of John A. Sanford (probably
in 1831-32), accompanied by several Assiniboin. See Catlin, _North
American Indians_, i, p. 56.--ED.

[4] Some of them assured me that the intention of this custom was, that
their deceased friends or relations might participate in the enjoyment
of this benefit.--MAXIMILIAN.

[5] See Plate 45, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[6] See background of Plate 65, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[7] For portrait of this Indian, see Plate 65, in the accompanying
atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[8] See Plate 16, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[9] I have spoken on this subject in the account of my "Travels in
Brazil," the above defect being very common among the Brazilians. On
the whole, it appears that there are more cripples among the North
American Indians than in Brazil. A dwarfish Assiniboin frequently
visited Fort Union, who was, at the most, between three and four feet
high; his legs were short, crooked, and deformed. His head, and the
upper part of his body, were perfectly well-formed; his countenance
animated and intelligent, as is frequently the case with such persons.
He wore a remarkably handsome dress, and rode his spirited horse
exceedingly well. In the course of this journey in North America, I met
with several Indian dwarfs; but not a single instance among the many
Brazilians whom I have seen. Governor Cass likewise mentions a deformed
Indian. On St. Peter's River there were two Sioux women, each of whom
was about two feet and a half high; and there were similar dwarfs among
the Blackfeet.--MAXIMILIAN.

[10] Catlin, _North American Indians_, i, pp. 56, 57, gives an account
of the reception of these Indians on their return from Washington
(1832). The stories of American sights at first created a sensation
among the tribesmen, but they soon began to doubt their authenticity,
and set down their narrator as a liar and impostor. "General Jackson"
killed himself the year after his return, partly because of illness.
Mc Kenzie had his remains interred at Fort Union. See _Larpenteur's
Journal_, ii, pp. 412-415.--ED.

[11] Berger (usually called "old man Berger") had in his early days
been in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company. Going to the Missouri
with Kenneth Mc Kenzie, he rendered valuable service to the American
Fur Company. The daring with which he ventured among the hostile
Blackfeet, together with his knowledge of their language and customs,
succeeded in persuading a band of that tribe to visit Fort Union, and
make a treaty of amity (1831). Berger's salary as Blackfoot interpreter
was eight hundred dollars per annum. He was still living in 1845, when
he had a hostile encounter with Alexander Harvey.--ED.

[12] See Plate 63, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[13] The British companies distinguished between "winterers"--old
experienced employés, who devoted their entire time to the business
of the company, and who were hardened to privations--and _mangeurs de
lard_ ("pork-eaters"), who were employed only for the summer months,
chiefly in transporting the canoe loads from Montreal to the Upper
Country and return. See F. J. Turner, "The Fur Trade in Wisconsin," in
Wisconsin Historical Society _Proceedings_, 1889, pp. 78, 79.--ED.



CHAPTER XVII

VOYAGE FROM FORT UNION TO MUSCLESHELL RIVER, FROM THE 6TH TO THE 28TH
OF JULY

    Difficult Navigation--Remarkable Formation of the Eminences--La
      Rivière aux Trembles--Prairie à la Corne du Cerf--Successful
      Buffalo Chase--Wreck of the Beaver Keel-boat--The rude
      Manners of the American Hunters--Beaver Dens--Prairies of
      the Upper Missouri--Successful Bear Chase--Milk River--The
      Orignal--Grand Détour--Big-Dry River--White Mountain
      Castles--Difficulties of the Naturalist--Muscleshell River.


On the 6th of July, at seven in the morning, after we had taken leave
of the inmates of the fort, our men began to tow the Flora. The
American flag was hoisted on the fort, and several guns were fired,
on both sides, as a farewell salute. The weather was warm and fine,
so that the men who towed the vessel suffered from the heat, and
frequently lay down on the muddy bank of the river to drink. Beyond the
wood, where the dead of the Assiniboins were deposited in the trees, a
bend of the river to the north made us lose sight of the fort, and Mr.
Mc Kenzie, who had accompanied us so far, wished us a happy voyage,
and rode back; on which the cannon of our vessel again fired a salute.
We afterwards rowed in the boat to the south bank, where we landed
several of our people to hunt, and rambled through the dense forest and
the prairie. The ground, which was everywhere seen between the high
grass, was an indurated whitish clay, on which the plants, of which
we collected several, grew only in single spots. We saw no game, it
being too near the fort; but we observed traces of stags and buffaloes,
and numbers of their bones. The yellow-breasted _Icteria viridis_ was
singing among the thickets, especially in the rose bushes. We ascended
the high, bare, clay hills, from the summit of which we saw our vessel
approaching. The prospect was very fine; we overlooked the windings
of the river, the verdant moors, the forests, and the thickets, the
prairies here and there extending beyond them, and the lofty fantastic
chain of clay hills, of a whitish-grey colour, with some darker strata,
or horizontal stripes, and regular perpendicular {208} clefts or
ravines. The twenty-six men who towed our boat had been often obliged
to put off the greater part of their clothes, to wade through the
water, and the mud of the soft sand banks. The trunk of a tree, lying
on a bank, broke the door of our cabin, and we were frequently obliged
to row. For this purpose there were on the deck, two large and long
oars, which were worked by three or five men, who walked backwards and
forwards. At a large pile of drift-wood on the bank, an immense tree
swept our deck, as the people who were towing did not hear us call to
them, and broke the stays, by which I received a severe blow, which
might have proved dangerous. Often, too, we came so near the bank,
that the earth covered the windows, and made our cabins quite dark.
We had our dinner at four o'clock, consisting of salt pork, pemmican,
hard ship's biscuit, and coffee. In the evening, when the sun was
setting, and illumined the chain of hills with wonderful splendour, our
hunters returned with a young deer. On this day Mr. Mitchell divided
the crew of the vessel into watches, so that two men might always
watch, who were relieved three times in the night. Powder and ball were
distributed among the men, but they were forbidden, under penalty of
five dollars, to fire, which might easily have attracted Indian war
parties. On the following morning (July 7), the weather was agreeable
and the sky clear; we saw many swans, but could not get at them. We
had before observed these beautiful birds and wild geese on the sandy
beach. The young branches of the thickets had suffered by the frost,
and the river had fallen four inches; to-day, however, the heat was so
intense that we could scarcely bear it on deck. We observed that the
stems of the poplars, to the height of five feet, or fifteen feet above
the present level of the river, had the bark rubbed off by the ice. In
this part there appeared, before the hills, cones of a most singular
shape, burnt to a brick red; and the summits of the higher hills were
often strangely formed in various angles. In the whitish strata of
clay-slate between the clay are here and there apertures, arched above
in the form of the gates or windows of knights' castles. The men who
towed our boat killed, in the prairie, a large rattlesnake, the rattle
of which we had heard on board the vessel. The hunters had seen some
elks and deer; and Dechamp brought one of the latter on board. The
towers had much labour at this part of our voyage, the current of the
river being very strong; they were sometimes obliged to climb, in a
long row, up the hills, where we saw them suspended, like chamois, in
dangerous positions. Mr. Bodmer sketched some of these hills on the
left bank.[14] In other places, the _engagés_ who were towing were
obliged to make a way on the bank by cutting down large poplars and
thick bushes, which often cost much time and trouble. Here they often
met with rattlesnakes, of which they killed several. Mr. Bodmer came
so near one of these snakes, that he had nearly been bitten by it;
he, however, killed it by a blow, and brought it on board. On this
occasion, Mr. Mitchell told us that he had once seen an Indian boy die
in an hour and a half after having been bitten by one of these snakes.

{209} According to Ross Cox,[15] the Canadians eat the rattlesnake;
but I can affirm that we never saw an instance of it; on the contrary,
they always manifested the greatest antipathy to those animals. This
traveller likewise says that the serpent often bites itself, but I
cannot believe this, as I never succeeded in any attempt to make him do
so.

The next day, the 8th, we had again many difficulties. The river was
shallow in places, and our men were obliged to get into the water to
push our vessel on. In order to convey them from the boat to the land,
there were no means but by laying a board, which had to be placed in a
slanting position, so that it was no easy matter to climb up. On the
left bank they were often prevented from proceeding, because the ground
was so loose that it gave way under their feet. In this manner three
Assiniboins had been killed, who sat down below the bank, when the sand
fell, and buried them. The forest through which our men passed, had,
in these parts, a very thick underwood of roses and buffalo-berries,
and there were many very large frogs in it. At a place where the chain
of hills recedes behind woods and thickets from the Missouri, we came
to the mouth of a stream, with a soft bottom, which is called, by the
Canadians, La Rivière aux Trembles, and, by Lewis and Clarke, Martha's
River.[16] Of all the hunters whom we had landed at this place, Papin
alone brought a very fat deer; but it cost much trouble to take our
hunters on board again, for the _engagés_ who went with the boat for
that purpose, fell up to the waist in mud, after taking off their
clothes. They were forced partly to swim, partly to wade, in order to
reach the land. A little further up, the labour of the men towing the
vessel was still greater; for, on the other side of a sand bank, the
river was covered with snags, the intervals between which were hidden
by foam and small twigs. The men, in a long row, had to step or jump
from one of these snags to another, the sand being too soft to bear
their weight; but they frequently missed the snags, and fell between
them, up to their arms, into the river, so that many of them, who had
never before done such work, trembled all over, and returned to the
vessel. When they had got over these difficulties, they reached the
prairie, beyond which, at the distance of from 150 to 200 paces from
the bank of the river, the most singular pyramids rose, like towers.
Our hunters had killed an elk, a variable hare,[17] and a large
rattlesnake. The willow thickets on the bank, over which the goatsucker
was hovering, and from the edge of which a large wolf stood looking
at us, were full of mosquitoes, which, happily for us, were kept at
a distance from the vessel by a slight wind, when we took up our
quarters for the night on shore. If we shot a goatsucker, we found in
his capacious jaws a ball of mosquitoes, which quite filled it, which
are gradually collected and swallowed from time to time; so that the
name, _mangeur des maringouins_, given to this bird by the Canadians,
is very appropriate. During the night, however, those troublesome
insects had found their way into our cabin, and sadly tormented us on
the 9th, in the morning, for which reason we were very glad to proceed
on our voyage, which, {210} however, began with new difficulties. Two
deer swam through the river near us, and many shots were fired at them
in vain, as well as at some buffaloes; yet our deck was quite hung
round with game, especially portions of the large elks. Our men broke
the large bones of these animals, and used the marrow for greasing
the locks of their guns. The skins of such animals, killed on these
voyages, belong to the Company, and are used to make shoes for their
servants.

About twelve pair of Indian shoes are made of one large elk's skin,
the making of which costs a dollar; the skin of a Virginian deer will
produce only five or six pair.

About ten in the morning a violent storm arose, accompanied with rain;
the thermometer was at 71°, and the mosquitoes were very troublesome.
On the bank we saw a long yellow clay hill, in the shape of a fortress,
and before it smaller hills, with isolated cones, partly consisting of
purple clay.[18] Near these singular hills our hunters had killed a
couple of deer, and brought with them the horns of a large elk, with
seven antlers. We lay to for the evening at the wooded bank, where
numerous beautiful shrubs were partly in flower. Early on the morning
of the 10th, the hunters landed, and soon returned with the information
that they had killed three buffaloes and a bear. As the distance was
too great to bring the latter to the vessel, they had only cut off
his claws; but some men were despatched to fetch the buffaloes. We
traversed the forest into the open prairie, where the animals lay, at
the distance of full half a league. In the forest we, for the first
time, killed the magpie of this country (_Pica Hudsonica_, Bonn),
which, in appearance, much resembles that of Europe; but differs
considerably in its note and manners. Its nest was in a thick thorn
bush, seven feet from the ground, and had two young birds in it. I have
never seen these birds with more than two young ones; and the old birds
are very shy in summer, and it is very difficult to surprise them.
Not far from the magpie we found a couple of young owls, fully grown,
sitting close to each other on a branch, while the note of the old
bird was heard in the high trees in the vicinity. In the thick bushes
we heard the note of the cheerful and agile _Icteria viridis_. The
bushes of dogwood, symphoria, and roses, were so full of mosquitoes,
that when we had discharged our pieces, it was difficult to reload
them. The heat was great, and not a breath of air was stirring to
relieve us from those cruel bloodsuckers. In the neighbouring prairie
we found the cactus plant, which we have before mentioned, covered with
the most beautiful flowers, which attracted vast numbers of insects.
About twelve o'clock the men returned with the buffaloes, and we
went on board with them. They had seen several buffaloes, but could
bring away the flesh of only two of those that had been killed. After
leaving this place, the bank was covered with low bushes, so that we
were in no danger from the falling of high trees; but large portions
of the steep bank itself frequently fell down, and dashed the water
even into our cabin. Messrs. Bodmer and Mitchell made an excursion
into the wood, where they saw many wild pigeons, numerous traces of
bears, and the corpse of an Assiniboin deposited in a tree. There was
an undergrowth of black currants, in search of which our people always
{211} went, whenever they had a moment to spare. Towards evening, when
we lay to near the prairie of the north bank, a violent storm seemed to
threaten the safety of the vessel, and it was therefore made as fast
as possible, but it passed over, the clouds dispersed, and our fears
were dispelled. At half past nine in the evening we saw a faint aurora
borealis, the rays of which shot up into the sky; the temperature of
the air was pleasant, but the sky was not free from clouds, which
diminished the brightness of the meteor.

On the morning of the 11th of July, Mr. Bodmer took sketches of the
singular chain of hills, near which our people experienced great
difficulties from sinking in the mud, and were often obliged to swim;
twenty-nine of them were employed at the towing-rope, till a very
violent storm, with torrents of rain, compelled us to take shelter
on the bank, under cover of a tall poplar wood. The rain penetrated
through the deck into our cabin, and wetted our baggage; luckily it
was of short duration. We had now passed a place called L'Isle au Coupè
(the cut-off), but the Missouri had here broken through at one of its
large bends, and had formed a low island opposite to a marshy tongue of
land; the channel follows the main breach, and beyond this the river is
very broad: at this time it was high and full. _Helianthus petiolaris_,
in full size and beauty, as well as the two species of willows (_Salix
longijolia_ and _lucida_) already mentioned, grew on the banks of the
river; they are exposed to constant destruction; the river tears them
away in large masses, and throws them into its rapid waves; but the
ever-acting energy of nature is not to be restrained, and they soon
appear again on the new alluvial soil, though, in general, only young,
slender willows. We fired in vain at a couple of swans on a small
stream called Porcupine River,[19] the mouth of which is on the north
side, and an elk, killed by Dechamp,[20] detained us some time to take
the flesh on board. We then reached Two Thousand Miles River, so called
by Lewis and Clarke, which joins the Missouri on the north side, from
which, to the junction of the Missouri with the Mississippi, it is said
to be 2,000 miles.[21] At this place the forest joined an extensive
prairie, covered with bushes of artemisia, where we found, on the
ground, large cast-off elks' horns. Many isolated trees were quite dry,
and of a silver-grey colour, doubtless through a prairie fire; in one
of them we heard the chirping of the young of a pair of sparrow-hawks,
which are very common here; the old birds flew anxiously about. Here,
too, were numbers of the great fly-catcher (Muscicapa tyrannus). Elks
and deer had traversed the prairie in all directions, and trodden many
paths to the river. The prairie extended, without interruption, as
far as the eye could reach; it is called Prairie à la Corne de Cerf,
because the wandering Indians have here erected a pyramid of elks'
horns. As we perceived it from the river, we went to it, accompanied by
Dechamp and Sancier.

About 800 paces from the river, the hunting or war parties of the
Blackfoot Indians have gradually piled up a quantity of elks' horns
till they have formed a pyramid sixteen or eighteen feet high, and
twelve or fifteen feet in diameter. Every Indian who passes by makes a
point of {212} contributing his part, which is not difficult, because
such horns are everywhere scattered about; and often the strength of
the hunting party is marked, with red strokes, on the horns they have
added to the heap. All these horns, of which there are certainly more
than 1,000, are piled up, confusedly mixed together, and so wedged in,
that we found some trouble in extricating, from the pyramid, a large
one, with fourteen antlers, which we brought away with us. The horns
are partly separated from the head of the animal with the skull, and
partly single horns. Some buffaloes' horns were mixed with them. The
purpose of this practice is said to be a medicine, or charm, by which
they expect to be successful in hunting. As the drawing of this pyramid
was begun, we were called away by signals from the vessel.[22]

A violent storm, which came up in the evening, was succeeded on
the next day (the 12th of July) by a very high wind, which, as we
attempted to proceed, twice broke the towing-rope, and we got into two
successive whirlpools (_remoux_), twice turned the vessel round, and
carried it with violence against the bank, so that the water came into
the cabin, and the deck was covered with earth. As the wind did not
abate, we lay to at the upper part of the Prairie à la Corne de Cerf,
and immediately dispersed in quest of game. The prairie was the same
as yesterday, and the wind blew dust and sand into the air, and even
into the closest chests in our vessel. We met with various species of
birds, among which was a black and white finch, which appeared to me
to be a new species, and in its mode of life greatly resembles the
rice bird. Among the wormwood bushes we roused several variable hares,
and saw the yellow-headed blackbird, many sparrow-hawks, and a large
rattlesnake, which escaped into a hole underground. Elks' horns were
everywhere scattered about, and it would have been easy to make of them
a second pyramid like the one already mentioned. Several interesting
plants were gathered, among which were the _Asclepias speciosa_, with
large fragrant flowers, and a new species of _lactuca_ or _prenanthes_.
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 people made a fire to cook
their meat. Scarcely 100 paces above these huts, was the Indian Fort
Creek of Lewis and Clarke--a stream with a deep bed, in which there was
now but very little water. The wind, which was so violent at noon,
abated towards the evening, and allowed us to proceed a little further
up the river, till we lay to for the night. The air was very cool
to-day, and made a striking contrast to the heat of yesterday; however,
we comforted ourselves that we were not tormented by the mosquitoes. On
the following morning, the 13th, it was just the same, and we were soon
obliged to stop by the rising of the wind. We had seen a large bear,
and accordingly took advantage of our rest to send our five hunters
in pursuit of it. They did not, however, succeed in their object,
but brought back, in place of it, some other game. The wood here was
so thickly matted with willows, roses, dog-berry, and many burrs and
other troublesome plants, and likewise so full of dry broken wood and
rubbish, lying on the ground, that it was excessively difficult {213}
to penetrate. I followed, alternately, the paths trodden by buffaloes,
elks, bears, and deer, and at length got into such an intricate
thicket, that it was not till after many hours of painful and fatiguing
exertion, that I was so fortunate as to find our vessel; but all my
clothes were completely torn to rags. On the inclined trunk of a tree,
I saw an Assiniboin wrapped in skin; the tree itself was painted red;
and on one of the boughs hung the saddle and stirrups of the deceased.

Though the weather had improved, we made but little progress this
evening, because the river was too shallow, and we were not able
to follow the south bank till the following morning (the 14th).
Hereabouts, a chest and a cask were found, which belonged to the Beaver
keel-boat, wrecked there in the preceding year, and was likewise under
the command of Mr. Mitchell. As we had to contend with the soft sand
banks in the river, and could not proceed without great effort, the
vessel was put back, and brought into another channel, where we soon
took in fresh game, for our hunters succeeded in killing five elks, of
which, however, they could only bring away a part. Herds of buffaloes
were in the vicinity, and several of these colossal animals crossed
the Missouri in our sight. Dechamp, Papin, and Dreidoppel overtook
these swimming animals in a boat, while four or five of our hunters
got ashore before them, and two of these wild oxen were killed; a
third escaped severely wounded, but one of those that were killed sank
so deep into the mud of the river that no part of his flesh could be
obtained. A white wolf appeared immediately after, and very composedly
laid himself down on the bank, doubtless waiting our departure to
commence his delicious repast. This part of the country was low and
flat; wood, willow thickets, and prairie alternated along the bank.
We here saw, for the first time, a beautiful plant, which is frequent
from hence further up the river, the _Rudbeckia columnaris_ (Pursh),
the petals of which are half orange-colour and half brown. We lay to,
for the night, near a wood on the right bank, when our people bathed,
the evening being very fine and warm. The wood was lofty, shady, and
beautiful; we looked into high, dark arcades, where the whitish trunks
shone in the twilight; in front of it lay an old Indian hut; the
night-swallow hovered high in the air, and numerous bats flitted across
the surface of the water. The mosquitoes were not so troublesome;
and at ten in the evening there was an aurora borealis, consisting
of two columns of pale light, which rose high in the air, sometimes
lengthening, and then again contracting. We never heard any noise
accompanying these meteors.

This night and the following morning (the 15th) were very sultry;
at eight o'clock, 75° Fahrenheit. Papin had shot a deer the evening
before, but did not kill it; which was doubtless the cause of the
loud howling of the wolves which we heard during the night; for these
creatures make an incessant howling when they have found such a prize,
and contend for the booty, in which cases the weaker and the young
come off the worst. The ground of this forest, and of the adjoining
prairie, was a heated, very hard, dry clay, and the country reminded
me, at this season, except {214} in the vegetation, of the summer in
the Sertao of the province of Bahia, in Brazil. Numerous birds animated
the thickets, and we were preparing to pursue them, when a large
buffalo bull advanced into the river, and immediately sank in the mud.
We hastened up and killed him with several shot. With Messrs. Mitchell
and Cuthbertson[23] I soon afterwards reached the vessel; my American
friends, heated as they were, threw themselves into the water to
refresh themselves. Towards noon, when the thermometer was at 86°, our
other hunters returned, who had killed several buffaloes, and wounded
an antelope. They had seen a herd of at least 100 elks, and wounded one
of them. Mr. Mitchell, with his rifle, had shot down a white-headed
eagle from a high tree, where he was devouring a large fish. The
evening was very pleasant, but the mosquitoes penetrated in such swarms
into the vessel, that we were obliged to stop every aperture of the
cabin, and consequently suffered from the heat.

Early in the morning of the 16th we perceived a herd of buffaloes,
and resolved to go in chase of them; but six bulls, standing near the
bank, got the wind of us, and all fled. We endeavoured to get near
them, but without success; and, after a fatiguing excursion of six
hours, returned back much heated, and did not reach the vessel before
twelve o'clock, which had remained far behind. We then proceeded on our
voyage, and soon after Dechamp and Papin came on board, who had killed
some buffalo cows. Dreidoppel, whom we found further up the river in
the wood, had lighted a fire, over which he roasted the loin of a large
antelope, which he had killed; while he was busy in preparing the skin
of this animal for my zoological collection, he suddenly perceived two
large white wolves standing about ten paces from him, which did not
appear to be at all afraid. He might have shot them both, had not the
ramrod of his rifle been broken. The wood where we took Dreidoppel on
board was full of gooseberries, of a pleasant acid taste, of which our
people brought a great quantity on board. The shrub which bears these
black berries is thickly set with reddish thorns, almost like _Robinia
hispida_.

We were now in sight of the place where Mr. Mitchell, with his
keel-boat, the Beaver, had suffered shipwreck in the preceding
year.[24] On the present occasion, Henry Morrin, our pilot, was very
apprehensive of what might befall us in this dangerous spot. We
followed a narrow channel, between the southern bank and a low willow
island, where we lay to for the night. Our hunters had soon perceived
in this island two large elks, and we therefore stole along before the
thickets, in order to cut them off from the forest.

Mr. Mitchell succeeded in mortally wounding one of them, which,
however, went on for some distance, sprinkling the bushes with its
blood. We followed the trace through a very intricate thicket, till the
night obliged us to return on board without accomplishing our object.

At break of day, on the 17th, we heard the loud howling of the wolves,
which were doubtless disputing about the elk that we had wounded the
day before; but Mr. Mitchell did not wish to lose any time, and we gave
up our booty. The place where the Beaver was wrecked was about {215}
200 steps from our night's quarters, and we went to look at it. At that
time the Beaver had lain about 300 paces further up the river, but in
a dark night was loosened from its moorings by a storm, driven down
the river, and thrown upon a sand bank. Two men were drowned, and Mr.
Mitchell had escaped by an immense leap from the deck to the shore. The
greater part of the cargo, worth 30,000 dollars, was lost: the crew
then built a small fort, or log-house, about forty paces in length,
in which they remained till part of the goods were saved, and another
boat came up to fetch them. In this melancholy situation they were in
danger of a quarrel with a band of Blackfoot Indians. These Indians
were returning by land from Fort Union, to which they had been invited,
on account of the conclusion of the treaty of peace. The presents made
to them by the traders were on board the Beaver, and the greater part
was lost, which much incensed the Indians. The disputants had already
taken up and cocked their pieces, and it was entirely owing to the
resolute conduct of Mr. Mitchell that the matter was amicably settled.
Since that time the bank of the river, at this place, has undergone a
considerable change. Only the pickets, at the back of the log-house,
were still standing; all the rest had been swept away. At that time the
whole place was bare sand; now, it was covered with willows, five feet
high, and the river had carried away the bank for the breadth of, at
least, 100 paces.

Soon after eight o'clock, the thermometer being at 80°, our vessel
reached the place where one of the buffalo cows was lying, near which
the hunters had passed the night, and we took the best part on board.
The hunters of the prairies are often greater savages than the Indians
themselves; they frequently eat the liver and other parts of the
animals they have killed, without dressing it. We had gone but a little
way along the southern bank, when we perceived, below the steep wall,
a beaver's den, of which Mr. Bodmer made a drawing.[25] It consisted
of a heap of twigs and logs, between four and five feet high, and the
entrance was, as usual, below water. The inside of such a den consists
of earth and clay, with pieces of wood, and contains several chambers,
or divisions, in which these remarkable animals lie dry above the
water. A bridge of earth, which likewise contained some wood, led
from the land to the cone-shaped den, the interior of which I was,
to my great regret, prevented from examining. In these rapid rivers,
the beavers build only such light dwellings; but erect larger ones,
skilfully provided with strong dams, only in stagnant waters, such as
lakes, ponds, still arms of rivers, &c. &c. There are, however, some
beavers here which live only in holes in the ground, the entrance to
which is above water. Their chambers are then perhaps eight feet above
the surface of the water, are spacious, and adapted to the number of
animals that live in them.

We had sent people into the forest to cut hatchet-handles of ash wood,
because further up there was no wood of this kind of a sufficient size.
At noon the thermometer was at 81°; the hunters had killed an elk, and
seen several bears. A thunder-storm, with a high wind, obliged us {216}
to fasten the vessel to the shore, and to take other precautions; but
the storm soon abated, and our people caught about five-and-twenty
white cat-fish.

During our voyage, on the 18th of July, I could not help making
comparisons with my journeys on the Brazilian rivers. There, where
nature is so infinitely rich and grand, I heard, from the lofty, thick,
primeval forests on the banks of the rivers, the varied voices of the
parrots, the macaws, and many other birds, as well as of the monkeys,
and other creatures; while here, the silence of the bare, dead, lonely
wilderness is but seldom interrupted by the howling of the wolves, the
bellowing of the buffaloes, or the screaming of the crows. The vast
prairie scarcely offers a living creature, except now and then, herds
of buffaloes and antelopes, or a few deer and wolves. These plains,
which are dry in summer, and frozen in winter, have certainly much
resemblance, in many of their features, with the African deserts.
Many writers have given them the name of savannahs, or grassy plains;
but this expression can be applied, at most, to those of the Lower
Missouri, and is totally inapplicable to the dry, sterile tracts of the
north-west, where a more luxuriant growth of grass may be expected, at
best, only in a few moist places, though various plants, interesting to
the botanist, are everywhere to be found.

On this day, at noon, we reached, on the south bank, an Indian fort, an
expression which I shall often have occasion to use in the sequel; it
is a kind of breastwork, which Indian war-parties construct in haste of
dry trunks of trees. When such parties intend to stop for the night,
they erect a breastwork, sufficiently large, according to their number,
composed of trunks of trees, or thick branches, laid one on the other,
generally either square or triangular. In this bulwark they lie down to
sleep, after having placed sentinels, and are there able to repel an
attack. This fort consisted of a fence, and several angles, enclosing
a rather small space, with the open side towards the river. In the
centre 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.

After our hunters had returned, with the flesh of a buffalo, we had
a favourable wind, which allowed us to use our sail. At a turn of
the river we suddenly saw a couple of bears running backwards and
forwards on a sand bank before the willow thickets. One of them at
length went away, and the other ran along the strand, and fell on the
dead body of a buffalo cow, which was half buried in the mud. While
the keel-boat sailed against the stream in the middle of the river,
a boat was put out, into which Messrs. Mitchell and Bodmer, and the
hunters, Dechamp and Dreidoppel, threw themselves, and rowed along the
bank towards the ravenous animal. The sight of this first bear chase
was interesting, and we that remained as spectators on deck awaited
the result with impatience. Dechamp, a bold and experienced hunter,
and an excellent marksman, was put on shore, and crept unperceived
along the strand, till he got to the branch of a tree, about eighty
paces from the bear, in order, in case of need, to intercept his
retreat to the thickets. The {217} ravenous bear sometimes raised
his colossal head, looked around him, and then greedily returned to
his repast; doubtless, because the wind was in our favour, and these
animals are not remarkably quick-sighted. The boat had got to within
fifty paces, when the pieces were levelled. Mr. Mitchell fired the
first mortal shot, behind the shoulder blade. The other shots followed
in quick succession, on which the bear rolled over, uttered fearful
cries, tumbled about ten steps forwards, scratched the wounded places
furiously with his paws, and turned several times completely over. At
this moment Dechamp came up, and put an end to his misery by shooting
him through the head. The huge beast lay stretched out: it was fastened
by ropes to the boat, and conveyed in triumph to the ship, where it was
measured, and a drawing made of it. I much regretted that I had not
taken part in the sport; but I had not believed that it was possible,
in such an open, unprotected spot, to get so near the bear.

This grizzly bear was a male, about three years old, and, therefore,
not of the largest size: he was six feet two inches and two lines
in length, from the nose to the tip of the tail; the latter being
eight inches. His colour was dark brown, with the point of the hair
of a rusty colour, but new hair already appeared of a lighter grey,
with yellow tips. This bear is known to be a very dangerous beast of
prey, and is willingly avoided by the hunters: if fired at, he very
frequently attacks, even if not wounded, when they suddenly come too
near him. If he perceives a man in time, he generally gets out of the
way, especially when he has the wind. Almost all the hunters of the
prairie relate their adventures with the bears, and whole volumes might
be filled with such stories. It is certain that many white men and
Indians have been torn to pieces by these dangerous animals, especially
in former times, when they were very numerous, and lived to a great
age, as may be seen in Lewis and Clarke's Travels. Even last year, five
of Mr. Mitchell's hunters, who had wounded one of these animals, were
so quickly pursued by him, that they were obliged to take refuge in
the Missouri. This species of bear cannot climb, and therefore a tree
is a good means to escape their attacks. The true country of these
animals on the Missouri, where they are at present the most numerous,
is the tract about Milk River. Here there is no wood of any extent
in which they are not found, but they are likewise seen everywhere
in a north-westerly direction. In these solitudes, the long claws
of this bear serve to dig up many kinds of roots in the prairie, on
which he chiefly subsists, but he is especially fond of animal food,
particularly the flesh of dead animals. There is no other species of
bear on the Upper Missouri, for the black bear is not found so high
up. At the place where we had killed the bear, it would have been easy
to shoot many of these animals, by posting ourselves near the dead
buffalo cow: the whole sand bank was covered with the prints of bears'
footsteps, and trodden down like a threshing-floor; but our time was
too short and too precious: we, therefore, proceeded on our voyage till
a violent thunder-storm threatened us, and we lay to, by the high bank
of the prairie, {218} where our bear was skinned. During the night,
torrents of rain fell, which wetted our books and plants in the cabin.

On the following day, the 19th, we had another chase after a colossal
bear, which swam through the Missouri to a dead buffalo; but our
young hunters were this time too eager, and fired too soon, so that
the animal escaped, though probably wounded, as fifteen rifles were
discharged at him. Afterwards we saw several beaver lodges. The people
towed the steamer in the afternoon, making their way along the bank,
through a dense willow thicket. All of a sudden they cried that there
were bears close to them; on which the hunters immediately leaped on
shore. Mr. Mitchell had scarcely arrived at the head of the towers,
when he perceived a she bear with two cubs. Dechamp came to his aid,
and in a few minutes the three animals were in our power. Mr. Mitchell
had killed the mother, which was of a pale yellowish-red colour; one of
the cubs, which was brought alive on board, was whitish about the head
and neck, and brownish grey on the body; the other was dark brown. The
females of these animals are generally of a lighter colour than the
males, which is the case with many beasts of prey, particularly the
European fox. The live cub was in a great rage, and growled terribly;
it was impossible for me to save his life.

After this successful chase we were detained by a high contrary wind,
and it was, therefore, late when we reached the mouth of Milk River,
on the north bank.[26] This river comes down in many windings, and
constitutes the western frontier of the territory of the Assiniboins.
Its waters are generally muddy and mixed with sand, whence it has
its name. It contributes to thicken the waters of the Missouri,
though Lewis and Clarke affirm that it is Maria River which chiefly
contributes to dull their clearness; this, however, is not well
founded, for most travellers, and we ourselves, found the waters of the
Upper Missouri perfectly clear and transparent as far as Muscleshell
River. Even the Maria is at times quite clear and pure. The Moose
Deer or Orignal (_Cervus alces Amer._) is said to be common towards
the upper part of Milk River, and Dechamp himself had killed several
of these animals on the Missouri, in the vicinity of this river. A
little further up we lay to, for the night, on the south bank, where
our hunters killed a bear and a very large buffalo. Mr. Bodmer made
a drawing of the head of the latter magnificent animal, whose thick,
coal-black, wavy frontal hair was eighteen inches long. Some of our
_engagés_ came up, cut up the whole animal, and ate the liver without
cooking it. During the night we had again much wind, and were glad that
we were able to remain in a safe channel of the river.

Early on the morning of the 20th we reached the place where the
Missouri makes a great bend of fifteen miles, the distance across by
land being only 400 or 500 paces. At this place the ice drives in
spring over the flat land, or sandy point, and the tall poplars at the
end of it were rubbed smooth, on the lower part, to half the thickness
of their trunks. This bend is called {219} Le Grand Détour, and there
are several such in this river. The wind, in many of these bends, being
too strong for the efforts of the towers, and the masses falling from
the bank, often endangering our vessel, we lay to under the protection
of the hills on the north bank of a narrow prairie covered with bushes,
where I found the blue-grey butcher-bird, the magpie, and several
common birds, many of which we shot; we also caught a great many
butterflies, which were hovering about the flowers in the burning rays
of the sun. Henry Morrin, our pilot, a very good marksman, brought in
a large male antelope. The other hunters had killed, on the opposite
bank, twelve buffaloes, viz., four bulls, five cows, and three calves,
but brought away only the flesh of the cows, leaving all the rest to
the wolves, the bears, and the vultures: they had missed a large bear.
Towards evening we left our anchorage, but made so little progress,
that, when night came, we were not above a couple of miles from Milk
River.

On the 21st we came to the place where the buffaloes were killed the
day before: part of the flesh of the animals, which had not been
touched, was taken away, and a full grown young bald eagle was shot
down from the nest. It was now the dry season, which, in these parts,
continues from the middle of July to the end of autumn. The whole
prairie was dry and yellow; the least motion, even of a wolf crossing
it, raised the dust. We could recognise the vicinity of the herds of
buffaloes at a distance, from the clouds of dust which they occasioned.
All the small rivers were completely dried up. Even the Missouri was
very shallow, which it always is in summer and autumn. The prairie
hills were now of a pale grey-green colour, with some bushes in the
ravines, but all had a withered, sterile appearance. Soon after mid-day
we saw a large buffalo bull standing on the bank, which seemed to
challenge us, lowering his head and pawing the ground with his fore
feet, so that the dust flew to a great distance around him. We landed
the hunters, who got sight of a bear, but soon lay to, at the end of
a prairie, near the mouth of Big Dry River, which joins the Missouri
on the south side. Its channel, in winter, is several hundred paces in
breadth, and in it was another narrow channel, in which, at this time,
the water was only two feet deep.[27] The right bank of the stream is
steep, and consists of grey clay; the left is covered with low willows;
the whole surrounding country has a bare, desolate appearance.

Continuing our way but very slowly, we perceived, on one of the hills
of the bank, some elks, and, by the aid of our telescopes, saw that
they were large males with immense horns; and at this same moment, a
black bear came from the thicket on the north bank, and began to swim
across the river. The hunters immediately divided into two parties;
the one, including Messrs. Mitchell and Bodmer, going by land along
the bank of the river; the other in the boat, rowing after the bear.
Unluckily our boat got aground, by which the bear got the start, and
came too near to the hunters, who were posted behind the bank. As
soon as he set foot on land, he was killed by several shot. He was
not so large as the one lately killed, of a dark brown colour, and we
contented ourselves with carrying off as trophies only his head and
fore paws. On account of the {220} high wind we did not leave this
spot to-day, and the chase gave us much employment. Scarcely was the
bear killed, when buffalo bulls came into the river in several places,
which we should certainly have killed, if our young men had known how
to restrain their ardour. In the artemisia bushes of the prairie, a
porcupine was caught alive, which was not killed till it was on board
the keel-boat, our _engagés_ declaring that it was a great delicacy.
This animal is of great importance to the Indians, on account of its
quills, which they dye, and use to embroider their clothing, and for
other ornamental purposes.

On the 22nd of July we again saw clay hills, of strange forms, of
friable, blackish-grey clay, with angular or small roundish cones set
upon them. It was only in the clefts and ravines between them, that
there was any vegetation; otherwise, not a blade of grass was to be
seen on them. On the south there was a couple of clay hills resembling
the ruins of an ancient castle, of which Mr. Bodmer made a drawing.
They appeared to us to have some resemblance to what are called "The
Two Brothers," near Bornhofen, on the Rhine. The river makes here a
very considerable bend. Buffaloes were grazing in the prairies, and the
cries of the wild geese were heard on all sides. The hills, with their
singular forms, which were almost always the same, now came near to the
river; most of the conical tops were of a greyish-brown colour; others,
blackish-grey; and many had a top of a burnt-red colour. Even from our
vessel we could distinguish, on all these hills, bright points, which
sparkled in the sunshine, which proved, on examination, to be caused
by the brilliant selenite, which has been mentioned before, and which
occurs everywhere in these clay hills, either in layers or in nests.
On our excursion to-day, we brought back large pieces of this fossil.
We lay to for the night by a sand bank, the clay of which, where it
had been wetted by the water, was cracked and cleft in all directions.
This clay might certainly be used for pottery; on the surface there
were prints of the footsteps of all kinds of wild animals, but we saw
no living creatures but myriads of tormenting mosquitoes. We had made
considerable progress to-day, because a favourable wind had allowed us
to use our sails.

On the 23rd, we passed a dried-up stream, of which we had seen many on
the preceding days, and all of which are among the numerous streams
mentioned by Lewis and Clarke under the name of Dry River. Our hunters
had killed a couple of deer, and several buffalo bulls; and Papin had
roused a covey of the beautiful large prairie, or mountain cock, but
could not get a shot at them. These fine birds live in the prairie, on
the Upper Yellow Stone and the Missouri, and we frequently met with
them in the sequel. In the middle of the day our towers had great
trouble in keeping their footing on the steep, clay hills, in the
barren and crumbling mass of which they sank above their ankles, and
were obliged to assist each other.

The singular clay hills continued on the 24th July. The left bank of
the river consisted of a high clay wall, divided into cubical figures,
rent with many small clefts, and partly of overhanging {221} masses,
looking like chimneys, or pillars, which threatened, every moment, to
fall. There was here a stream with little water, and a marshy bed,
which is, perhaps, the Sticklodge Creek of Lewis and Clarke.[28] While
the wind allayed the heat of the day, we rambled through the prairies
on the bank; as far as the eye could reach there were the bleached
bones of the buffaloes and elks, and their immense horns. A couple of
sparrow-hawks, a kind of lark, and a flock of wild geese, which had
made an excursion from the river into the prairie, were the only large
living creatures that we met with here. Thousands of grasshoppers, many
of them of beautiful colours, were hopping and flying about: numerous
butterflies, but only three or four species, were hovering about the
shrubs in these dry clay steeps, which were bare of grass. There were
a great many ant hills, and mosquitoes, and several other kinds of
troublesome stinging insects. On the offsets of the clay hills which
bounded the prairie on our right, there were banks of sand-stone and
clay-slate standing out; and the detached fragments of stone, which
lay about near them, were covered with beautiful orange-coloured,
yellow, bluish-white and blackish lichens. Several deep ravines, or
clefts, were all dry, and opened towards the high, steep bank of the
Missouri. At some accessible places these ravines were crossed by the
deeply trodden paths of the herds of buffaloes, which wind through the
whole prairie along the chains of hills and the bank of the river. As
we looked round on an eminence, whence we perceived our boat sailing
with a fair wind, we saw an immense buffalo bull, which approached us
slowly, not suspecting any danger: we quickly hid ourselves behind
some bushes on the edge of a deep cleft, and, as the majestic animal
passed through it, we killed it with three well-directed shots. The
magnificent creature lay stretched out about forty paces above the
ravine, and only the advance which our boat had gained obliged us
to leave our prize. At length, however, by firing some shot on the
steep bank of the river, we succeeded in drawing the attention of our
people, and they despatched a boat for us. We took advantage of the
interval to make a second attempt at buffalo hunting, and Dreidoppel,
who was endeavouring to drive some of these animals towards me, killed
a young bull, on which the boat arrived, the crew of which took away
the tongues and part of the flesh of the buffaloes which we had killed.
Much fatigued and heated, we reached our vessel at four o'clock in
the afternoon, after having been exposed, since eight o'clock in the
morning, without a drop of water, to the heat of the sun in the barren,
withered prairies. During our absence, Mr. Bodmer had sketched some
interesting tops of the neighbouring eminences, one of which[29] is
called Half-way Pyramid, because it is half way between the Milk and
Muscleshell Rivers. The whole chain of hills, with its manifold tops,
ravines and hollows, was of a greenish-grey colour, with here and there
some dark spots of pine forest; and this country, with its bright green
meadows, with wood and willows on the bank of the river, has a most
original, singular appearance.

On the 25th July we rambled through the prairies on the north bank,
where we found {222} blackbirds, flycatchers, and the _Fringilla
grammaca_, and roused a large covey of the prairie cock, which flew up
before us with loud clapping of their wings, but which, for want of a
good pointer, we were unable to find again. We took nothing but a hare
and an owl, with some birds which had assembled in great numbers to
teaze the poor light-shunning tyrant of evening. Mr. Bodmer sketched
some more of the remarkable mountain tops.[30] Near that marked Fig.
16, some of our hunters returned with two black-tailed deer and a
young fawn; and, soon afterwards, two buffalo bulls were killed, a
great part of the flesh of which we brought away, because we were
approaching the part of the country called Mauvaises Terres,[31] where
we could not expect to find much large game. In the afternoon we saw
some Indian huts under high poplars on the bank; and, on the northern
bank, sketches were taken of singular mountain tops. In general, the
bare grey masses of the eminences on the bank were so singularly formed
that it was impossible not to wish that an able geologist might make a
minute investigation of the chain. Their tops, like towers, pillars,
&c., were contrasted with the clear blue sky, and the sun caused them
to cast deep shadows. As we were sailing with a fair wind, I was
obliged to submit to the necessity of rapidly passing these highly
interesting scenes. The mountains continued to increase in height; they
were more and more naked and sterile; their colour was whitish-grey,
grey-brown, often spotted with white, the upper part disposed in
horizontal strata, or in narrow stripes; and some isolated summits
rose in the most grotesque forms, and the general appearance reminded
me of the calcareous mountains of Appenzell, in Switzerland. In the
steep wall of the south bank we saw, at a great height, the antlers
of a stag projecting, which must have been imbedded in the alluvium,
which was now washed away by the river. On these rude, naked mountains,
the wild mountain sheep, called the bighorn, or grosse-corne, becomes
more and more numerous the further you proceed up the river. Our towers
killed, in this part, a large rattlesnake, which had just caught some
kind of rat, probably a goffer, and half devoured it. A thunder-storm,
with high wind, suddenly caused our vessel to be in great danger; but
the same wind which had at first thrown us back, became all at once
very favourable when we reached a turn in the river, and sailed, for
some time, rapidly upwards. This brought us to a remarkable place,
where we thought that we saw before us, two white mountain castles.
On the mountain of the south bank, there was a thick, snow-white
layer, a far-extended stratum of a white sand-stone, which had been
partly acted upon by the waters. At the end where it is exposed, being
intersected by the valley, two high pieces, in the shape of buildings,
had remained standing, and upon them lay remains of a more compact,
yellowish-red, thinner stratum of sand-stone, which formed the roofs of
the united building. On the _façade_ of the whole building, there were
small perpendicular slits, which appeared to be so many windows. These
singular natural formations, when seen from a distance, so perfectly
resembled buildings raised by art, that we were deceived by them, till
we were assured of our error. We agreed with {223} Mr. Mitchell to give
to these original works of nature the name of "The White Castles." Mr.
Bodmer has given a very faithful representation of them.[32]

There were similar formations on the north bank likewise; but the
increasing storm did not allow us time to contemplate these wonders:
our sail rent, and we were obliged to seek for shelter at the prairie
of the south bank. We took advantage of the halt to explore the
adjacent country, while the trees bent under the fury of the storm, and
the thunder pealed in the very sultry air. We were now in a lateral
chain of the Mauvaises Terres, a prolongation of the Black Hills, which
here cross the Missouri. We proceeded on a sloping, rough flat, or
prairie, which, with the usual vegetation, stretched along the river,
and gradually becoming uneven and hilly, rose towards the mountains,
and was covered, near the foremost hills, with diversely stratified
fragments and blocks of yellowish-brown sand-stone. All around rose
the wonderful chains of the lofty, bare, whitish-grey or grey-brown
mountains, with their conical or singularly-shaped summits, sloped or
stratified in divers ways, and dotted with scattered groups of dark
green pines. It was during this day's voyage that these mountains
increased so much in elevation, and in originality of character, that
we seemed to be suddenly transported to the mountains of Switzerland.
The Missouri, which is here rather narrow, winds its course, confined
between the high ridges of clay-slate, sand-stone, and clay; and the
torpid, naked scenery around is only animated on the bank by verdant
strips of poplars and young shrubs. On the rough plain, at the foot
of the hills, the vegetation was, for the most part, withered: the
_Allium reticulatum_, with its white flowers, quite dried up; _Cactus
ferox_, poor and shrivelled, and the bones of the buffaloes, bleached
by exposure to the air, bore testimony, even in this solitude, to
the uncertainty of life. The tracks of these colossal animals soon
led our hunters to recent footsteps, and several of them appeared in
the ravines; but thunder-storms, in the north-east and west, soon
poured down torrents of rain, and scared the animals. When the weather
cleared up, we approached nearer to the White Castles, and the illusion
vanished.

On the 26th of July, in the morning, we again viewed the White Castles
in another point of view. The pretty squirrel, called, by Say, _Sciurus
quadrivittatus_, lives in the clay ground of these parts; our towers
caught one, which we kept alive, for a long time, in a cage. Round the
trunk of an old tree the Indians had built a conical hut with pieces of
wood; but in the whole voyage from Fort Union to Fort Mc Kenzie, such
huts were the only signs of human beings, and we did not see a single
Indian. Game was now scarce in the Mauvaises Terres, and Morrin was the
only person who killed anything to-day. In these parts the singular,
perfectly spherical sand-stone balls are also found in the clay hills,
which have been already described at Cannon-ball River; they are
sometimes double, and, here, generally of the size of canister shot.
The prairies were so covered with grasshoppers that the whole surface
of the ground seemed to be alive; and where the dry leaves were still
lying they caused a constant rattling noise. That species was most
{224} numerous which makes a humming noise when flying. Their wings
are greenish-white, with a large black spot; the thighs of a beautiful
orange-red, and the sheaths of the wings a dirty white, with three
blackish transverse stripes.

In the afternoon, there were everywhere, on the banks of the Missouri,
fragments of rock and stone, which proved that we were approaching the
more solid kinds of rock which would succeed the clay mountains. The
river, which was narrow, not more than 100 paces in breadth, made, at
a certain place, a sudden, very short bend in a northern direction.
The south bank, which was exposed to the shock of the waves, was rent
in such a remarkable manner, the clay walls so cleft, split, and
washed out in a thousand varieties of fragments, cones, pyramids, and
isolated points, that it was not without great difficulty, exertion,
and loss of time, that the towers were able to proceed. The whole of
this bank is perfectly bare, and of a greyish-brown colour; no plant
can grow, because the masses of clay are always ready to fall in, and
are subject to perpetual change. The great heat obliged the towers to
drink frequently, which they effected in a singular, often dangerous
position, lying flat on the ground, with their heads downwards, and
their legs above on the slope of the bank. Beyond the bend, the river
was again 180 paces broad.

The night was pleasant, and on the 27th of July, at daybreak, we left
the keel-boat, and followed the track of a large bear, which had dug
up roots everywhere; unluckily two of our hunters had proceeded up and
caused an alarm in the forest. A wilderness full of thorns and briers
joined the wood to the hill, where the mosquitoes were excessively
troublesome. Under its tall slender poplars grew high grass, or a
thick undergrowth of roses, mostly very nourishing food for the wild
animals, which we saw in several places. In the high trees there were
flocks of blackbirds, some flycatchers, which built in old hollow
poplars on the bank, and a beautiful swallow (_Hirundo bicolor_, Bon),
which we had not before seen, and in pursuit of which we spent so much
time that our boat got considerably ahead of us, and we had to make
our way through the prairie, where the thorny bushes sadly rent our
clothes. Where the bank of the river was a steep wall, we saw a great
number of bones of animals imbedded in it, and very often the skulls of
buffaloes, from which the earth had been half washed away, projecting
over the river. Wearied by our long excursion, we refreshed ourselves
with the cool waters of the Missouri, and reached the boat soon after
noon. Messrs. Mitchell and Cuthbertson returned about the same time,
when the thermometer was 85°, from an excursion, in which they had
a delightful prospect from the heights. To the south-west, they had
seen at a distance the Little Rocky Mountain range, like blue clouds;
to the south-east, Muscleshell River. In the green extensive hollow
towards the mountains, they saw the whole prairie covered with herds
of buffaloes. They brought from the heights beautiful impressions of
shells, of which we had found some, on this day, on the bank of the
Missouri. With much labour they had ascended three different eminences,
on the last and highest, at which they arrived, excessively heated,
they were met by a high bleak wind. Here they observed a very {225}
strange formation of stone, namely, a pillar supporting a slab like a
table, consisting of a friable stone--doubtless sand-stone. They had
likewise seen from that eminence the mountain known by the name of the
Bear's-paw.

The following morning, the 28th of July, gave me another occasion to
reflect on the rude manners of our crew. For some time past we had
made a numerous and interesting collection of natural history, many
articles of which we were obliged, for want of room, to leave on deck.
The skins, skulls of animals, and the like, some of which it had cost
us much trouble to procure, were generally thrown into the river during
the night, though Mr. Mitchell had set a penalty of five dollars on
such irregularities. In this manner I lost many highly interesting
specimens; and on board our keel-boat, with the most favourable
opportunities, it was hardly possible to make a collection of natural
history, if I except the herbarium, which we kept in the cabin, under
our eyes, so that we brought but a small part of what we had collected
to Fort Mc Kenzie.

In order to find Muscleshell River, which could not be far off, I
landed early, with Messrs. Mitchell and Cuthbertson, on the south bank,
where there was a fine shady poplar-grove, with a high undergrowth of
roses, dogwood, and gooseberries. Through this thorny disagreeable
thicket we followed the tracks of the wild animals, which led us to
some open places covered with high grass; and beyond the wood a verdant
prairie, where we gathered many interesting plants. We, however, did
not find Muscleshell River, which was further up, and a storm with
heavy rain drove us back to the boat, where we arrived wet through and
through. At eleven o'clock in the forenoon, however, we reached the
mouth of the river which we had sought for.

Muscleshell River, the Coquille of the Canadians,[33] joins the
Missouri on the south-west side, and at its mouth, which is seventy
paces broad, both its banks are covered with poplars, partly high
trees, partly bushes. About eight hundred paces upward there are, on
its banks, high hills, covered with greyish-green short grass, and
spots of pines. Its course is for a long time nearly parallel with that
of the Missouri. We were told that the distance from Fort Mc Kenzie to
its banks is only between thirty and forty miles, and that it is only
five or six miles from its mouth that it turns towards the Missouri.
Lewis and Clarke reckon 2270 miles from the junction of these two
rivers to the mouth of the latter. Wandering Indians are found only
occasionally on the banks of the Muscleshell, but they are said to
be at all times about its sources. It is reckoned that its mouth is
halfway between Fort Union and Fort Mc Kenzie: we could not hope to
reach the latter in less than seventeen or eighteen days, though the
navigation of the Missouri, from the mouth of the Muscleshell upwards,
is more easy than before, because its course is straighter, its banks
more rocky, and there are neither branches of trees nor drift-wood in
its bed.

FOOTNOTES:

[14] See Plate 67, figure 1, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[15] For Ross Cox, see Franchère's _Narrative_, in volume vi of our
series, p. 276, note 84.--ED.

[16] Now Big Muddy River, the first large northern affluent of
the Missouri west of the Yellowstone. It rises on the borders of
Assiniboia, flows nearly a southern course, and forms the eastern
boundary of Fort Peck Indian reservation.--ED.

[17] The variable hare of the Upper Missouri appears to be the _Lepus
Virginianus_ of Warden. I lost all my fine specimens, and therefore
cannot compare this species with those in Europe.--MAXIMILIAN.

[18] See Plate 68, figures 12, 17, in the accompanying atlas, our
volume xxv.--ED.

[19] Lewis and Clark so named this stream from the unusual number of
porcupines seen near its mouth. The present Porcupine River is a branch
of the Milk. The stream here so designated is now Poplar River, whose
several branches have their rise on the southern border of Assiniboia;
it flows nearly south into the Missouri, through Fort Peck Indian
reservation. The station of Poplar, on the Great Northern Railway, is
near its mouth.--ED.

[20] Deschamps was probably one of the family of half-breeds who were
later (1835) murdered at Fort Union. See _Larpenteur's Journal_, i, pp.
77, 78, 95-101; also note 124, _post_, p. 151.--ED.

[21] Probably Red Water Creek, just above Poplar River, but on the
south, not north, side of the Missouri. In the _Original Journals_,
both Lewis and Clark speak of this creek as on the "larboard side."
There is some reason to think that Maximilian was mistaken in his
identification of these three rivers of Lewis and Clark--Martha's,
Porcupine, and Two Thousand Mile Creek. The one called by him Martha's,
or La Rivière aux Trembles, was probably the present Poplar, which
would correspond to the French-Canadian name; but this was not the
river named Martha's by Lewis and Clark (see _ante_, note 16).
Maximilian speaks of Porcupine River as a "small stream," while in
reality it was the largest river passed above the Yellowstone, and
Lewis and Clark considered it as a possible line of communication with
the Saskatchewan. Maximilian's "Porcupine" would thus be either Tulle
Creek, or some of the smaller northern affluents of this stretch of the
river, which would also account for his misplacing Two Thousand Mile
Creek.--ED.

[22] See Plate 21, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[23] Alexander Culbertson, who afterwards was prominent as chief
factor and partner of the American Fur Company, had, in this year
(1833), entered its employ, upon recommendation of an uncle, John
Culbertson, with whom he had been in Florida the preceding years.
Born of Scotch-Irish stock in Pennsylvania (1809), he was a large
man, of a mild temperament, and popular both with his subordinates
and the Indians. He married a Blackfoot woman, and was for several
years in charge of Fort Mc Kenzie; he also built Fort Sarpy, Fort
Lewis, and Fort Benton. In 1861 he retired from the company, having
made a considerable fortune, and went to live in Peoria, Illinois.
He nevertheless was frequently in the Indian country thereafter,
and in 1863 was present at a Sioux attack upon the upper river (see
_Larpenteur's Journal_, ii, pp. 350, 351). He also served as official
interpreter for the government, in 1869 and 1874. What is essentially
the journal of Major Culbertson's life in the Indian country, is
published by the Montana Historical Society under title, "Affairs at
Fort Benton," in their _Contributions_, iii, pp. 201-287. He most
entertainingly describes Prince Maximilian's visit (see preface to our
volume xxii).--ED.

[24] For a description of this disaster, which was occasioned by a
severe windstorm, see Montana Historical Society _Contributions_,
iii, pp. 204, 205; two employés and one Indian were drowned. Mitchell
sent an express to Fort Union with news of the catastrophe, meanwhile
fortifying within a small barricade. Aid was sent, and the party
enabled to proceed.--ED.

[25] See Plate 17, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[26] Milk River was named by Lewis and Clark from the peculiar color of
its waters, "being about the color of a cup of tea with the admixture
of a tablespoonful of milk"--_Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark
Expedition_, ii, p. 10. It is by far the largest of the northern
tributaries of the Missouri, rising in the main range of the Rockies in
north-west Montana, and flowing in a generally eastern course on both
sides of the international boundary line--the 49th parallel. The stream
drains the territory between the Saskatchewan and the Missouri, and its
valley is for many miles followed by the Great Northern Railway.--ED.

[27] Big Dry River, which retains the name assigned it by Lewis and
Clark, is the largest southern tributary of the Missouri between the
Yellowstone and the Musselshell. It is, as described by Maximilian,
a vast coulée, stretching to the Yellowstone watershed. When Lewis
and Clark passed (May 9, 1805), there was no running water within it,
although the bed was as wide at this point as that of the Missouri.--ED.

[28] This creek is on the larboard (south) bank of the river, and was
charted by Lewis and Clark; but it has not been identified, for the
reason that this region has not yet been topographically studied.--ED.

[29] See Plate 68, figure 15, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
XXV.--ED.

[30] See Plate 68, figures 16, 18, in the accompanying atlas, our
volume XXV.--ED.

[31] The French-Canadian engagés applied the term "Bad Lands" to many
parts of the West. Those districts now usually thus designated, are in
the valley of the Little Missouri in North Dakota. The Montana stretch
here mentioned is in Dawson and Valley counties, and an outlying spur
of this peculiar formation.--ED.

[32] See Plate 70, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[33] The Musselshell, a principal southern tributary of the Missouri,
rises east of the Big Belt Mountains, and flows east and north-east,
parallel to the Yellowstone; it thence makes an abrupt turn
northward into the Missouri. Lewis and Clark give its Indian name as
"Mah-tush-ahzhah."--ED.



CHAPTER XVIII

VOYAGE FROM MUSCLESHELL RIVER TO FORT MC KENZIE, FROM JULY 28TH TO
AUGUST 9TH

    Grouse Creek--Teapot Creek--Meeting with some Persons belonging
      to the Company--The Skeleton of the Bear--Chase of the
      Prairie Dogs--Little Rocky Mountain Range--Elk Island, and
      successful Chase there--The Mauvaises Terres, a Continuation
      of the Blackhills--Elk Fawn and other Rapids--The Bighorn
      and Chase--Thompson's Creek, the West Boundary of the
      Mauvaises Terres--Judith River--Meeting with the Gros
      Ventres des Prairies on Bighorn River--Observations on
      these Indians--The remarkable Country about the Stone
      Walls--Citadel Rock--Stonewall Creek--First Sight of the
      Rocky Mountains--Bear's-paw Mountain--Maria River--Arrival
      and Reception at Fort Mc Kenzie.


We did not make any long stay at Muscleshell River, for after our
hunters, who had made an excursion into the neighbouring wood and
prairies, returned, at noon, with a buffalo and an elk, we proceeded
on our voyage. Dechamp brought some impressions of shells, which
abound on these banks of the Missouri. Beyond a prairie where the
hills, which were seventy or eighty feet high, came close to the
river, we found Mr. Bodmer and Dreidoppel employed in collecting most
interesting impressions of shells, and very beautiful baculites,[34] of
the latter of which there were large, very fine, opalescent specimens.
The edge of the bank, which was scarcely two feet broad, was covered
with these fragments, which fall from the higher part of the rocky
wall. The prairie now alternated with woods of tall poplars, and these
trees, probably, do not form, in any part of the globe, such fine and
lofty forests as they do here. Impressions of shells and baculites
were collected on the bank, the last of which, a painter, who lately
travelled on the Missouri, has stated to be petrified serpents.

{227} On the following morning, the 29th of July, the river was
rather turbid, and there must have been heavy rain higher up. Nothing
particular occurred on this day. At six in the morning of the 30th, we
came to a stream which is, doubtless, the Grouse Creek of Lewis and
Clarke.[35] There were a couple of islands, which we took to be Lewis
and Clarke's Pot Islands, and a stream near them, for their Teapot
Creek, a name which, like many others given by these travellers, amused
us much.[36] We could not help observing that such names are not well
chosen, especially as it would not be difficult to find better ones,
even by merely retaining the generally harmonious Indian names.

Toward seven o'clock in the evening, as we were sailing by the
eminences which resembled the lower mountains of Switzerland, we were
much surprised to see a boat, with three men, which soon afterwards
came alongside our vessel. It had on board, Doucette, the Blackfoot
interpreter, and two _engagés_, from Fort Mc Kenzie, who had been
sent to meet us; they had left the fort three days before, where they
told us there were 150 tents of the Piekanns, or Blackfoot Indians;
the remainder of this tribe were scattered about Maria River. They
likewise said that the Fall Indians, or Gros Ventres des Prairies,[37]
had encamped on Bighorn River, to wait for us: that those Indians,
however, had not at this moment any articles for trade, but hoped
to receive some presents. This was no pleasant information for Mr.
Mitchell, as he was not just then in a condition to make many presents,
and, besides, did not much trust those Indians. Not far from the place
where we now were, Doucette had shot a large bear, which was left on
the bank of the Missouri, a piece of news which was very agreeable to
me, and of which I resolved to take advantage.

This morning, the 31st of July, being very fine, I set out early,
with Messrs. Mitchell and Bodmer, Doucette, Dreidoppel, and the two
brothers Beauchamp, all armed with rifles, or guns, to look for the
bear, which had been killed the day before. The _engagés_ carried
ropes and hatchets. In the thick underwood and high grass of the
forest, we first killed a rattlesnake, and, after proceeding a good
half league, reached the bank of the river, where we found the bear
still untouched. He was feeding on a buffalo cow, drowned in the river,
when Doucette shot him through the heart, on which he ran up the bank,
which was about ten feet high, and fell dead at the top. After taking
his measure, the skin was stripped off, and the flesh cut from the
bones, to prepare the skeleton. The bones having been partly cleaned,
were tied together, and drawn up, by a rope, into a tree, intending to
take them on our return, after they had been a little more cleaned by
the birds of prey and insects. As soon as this work was finished, we
followed the vessel, which, meantime, had got considerably the start
of us; yet, in the prairie beyond the wood, we stopped at a large, so
called, village of the prairie dogs, to kill some of these animals.
They sat in parties of two or three on the flat little eminences of
their burrows, uttered their cry, which is not a bark, but a shrill
squeak, and vanished. Making as little noise as possible, we sat {228}
down near the burrows, and succeeded in killing six of these pretty
animals, which are not so shy here as at other places, and we often got
within thirty paces of them. Laden with our booty, and with the plants
we had collected, we proceeded by the paths trodden by the buffaloes
and elks through the thick willow copses, along the river, and were
just in sight of the keel-boat, when, taking advantage of a favourable
wind, it hoisted its sail, and left us no alternative but to follow it
as quickly as we could, for three or four hours. Our fatiguing way led
through a rough prairie, covered with hard grasses, with the epinette
de prairie, helianthus, and prickly cactus, through thick skirts of
the forest, with a thorny undergrowth of roses, gooseberries, and
burrs, where the fatigued and heated hunters refreshed themselves with
the wild berries. We then had to climb over rough sand-stone hills,
sometimes obliged to slide down, and at length reached the Missouri.
On a wooded point of land, on the river side, we met with several of
our hunters, but the whole booty of our fatiguing day's work consisted
of a wild goose, an owl, and six prairie dogs. We had waded through
many muddy, half-dry streams, and seen, in the blue distance, the
range of the Little Rocky Mountains, about thirty miles off.[38] After
our return to the vessel, a herd of buffalo cows afforded another
opportunity for a chase, and our hunters killed two of them and a bull,
which furnished us with some meat. On the 1st of August, early, Mr.
Mitchell sent two _engagés_ to Fort Mc Kenzie, to give notice of our
coming.[39] We landed them on the south bank, laden with their arms
and beds. We lay to at the wooded island, called, by Lewis and Clarke,
Tea Island, in the channel on the north bank. As some elks had been
seen, the hunters were landed on the island, and in a short time we
heard firing in all directions, and in half an hour they had killed
four elks, an elk fawn, and a young deer. On account of the number of
animals found on this island, we agreed to change the foolish name of
Tea Island to Elk Island.[40] Mr. Mitchell, who had often travelled
this way, always found the island full of elks, and once, of buffaloes.
On this day he brought from it a large eagle and a rattlesnake; and
Mr. Bodmer had taken, in the neighbouring prairie, a large _Coluber
eximus_, above four feet in length.

Near Lewis and Clarke's Bighorn Island, we again saw most singular
summits on the hills. Entire rows of extraordinary forms joined each
other,[41] and in the lateral valleys we had interesting glimpses
of this remarkable scenery, as we were now approaching the most
interesting part of the Mauvaises Terres. I have already described
these mountains when speaking of the White Castles, but here they begin
to be more continuous, with rough tops, isolated pillars, bearing flat
slabs, or balls, resembling mountain-castles, fortresses, and the
like, and they are more steep and naked at every step. Often one may
plainly perceive hills or mountains that have evidently sunk into the
marshy valley. Many strata inclined at an angle of 30° to 60°, and
others perfectly horizontal. The course of the Missouri among these
mountains is pretty straight, only narrow plains or prairies, covered
with artemisia and the prickly bushes of the {229} pulpy thorn, lie
on its banks before the mountains, which frequently come very near
to the river, with large blocks of sand-stone at their foot, between
which fragments of selenite are always seen. It were to be wished that
the geologist and the painter might devote a considerable time to
examine this part of the country, step by step; they would furnish a
work of highest interest. In many places the loose pieces had slipped
down so as to form buttresses; in other parts the mountains were
spotted with groups of pines. We here collected several plants, and
Mr. Bodmer made a sketch of the mountain tops.[42] The pretty striped
squirrel, which lives in small round holes in the clay walls, was here
frequently seen, and I conjecture that, if these mountains were closely
examined, several species of this animal would be found. The country
was so interesting that we waited with impatience for the morning of
the 2nd of August, when a bright warm sunshine illumined the singular
eminences which surrounded us. Several sketches were taken of them, but
very few in proportion to their number, for large folio volumes might
be filled with such representations. We saw several islands, among
which was doubtless Lewis and Clarke's Good Punch Island, a name which
is unworthy of being transmitted to posterity.[43] It is, in fact,
difficult to find all the islands mentioned by those travellers, as
many of them have certainly been since destroyed, and others arisen in
their room. At seven o'clock in the morning the thermometer was at 80°,
and we came to a rapid, which we passed by the aid of the towing-rope
and the poles. At a bend of the river we thought we saw the ruins
of an old castle, and then reached the mouth of Lewis and Clarke's
Windsor or Winchers Creek,[44] where those travellers say they had
the first sight of the Rocky Mountains, which, however, was certainly
only the Little Rocky Mountain range. At this creek, the real pass
of the Mauvaises Terres begins. The Missouri, while passing between
these mountains, does not receive any lateral stream whatever, and few
animals inhabit these heights, except great numbers of mountain sheep.

Dreidoppel, who landed on the bank of Windsor Creek, heard a loud noise
resembling what appeared to him to be that of a waterfall, which we
could not examine. After one o'clock in the afternoon, we came to Lewis
and Clarke's Softshell Turtle Creek, which may be considered as the
western boundary of the Mauvaises Terres. Here we saw some buffaloes,
and heard the cries of the prairie dogs. Mountain tops,[45] with
singular pinnacles, look like the Glacier des Bossons in the valley
of Chamouny; in other places, the mountains were regularly rounded,
and divided into small cones. After a thunder-storm the evening was
fine and serene. We saw some wild sheep on the hills, in pursuit of
which some of our young men ascended without success. On the bank of
the river they found pieces of petrified wood, of a grey or blackish
colour, which is here very common, in large pieces, and entire trunks.

On the following morning, the 3rd of August, we were at a second rapid,
called Elk Fawn Rapid, which we passed as before.[46] The mountains
here presented a rude wilderness, looking in part like a picture of
destruction; large blocks of sand-stone lay scattered around, among
which {230} a small squirrel is found, probably of an unknown species.
Some spots were covered with a low plant, with white flowers, and
there are several species of grasses, on which the mountain sheep, or
bighorn, is said chiefly to feed. Some of these mountains reminded us
of the Mettenburg and the Eiger, in the canton of Berne. A few pines
and junipers appear here and there, and on the declivities small
patches of grass, like Alpine meadows, so that we could fancy ourselves
now in Switzerland, now in the valley of the Rhine; but the naked rude
character of the Mauvaises Terres seems to be unique in its kind, and
this impression is strengthened when you look up and down the river.
Only the croaking of the raven was heard in this desolate waste,
which even the Indian avoids, and very unwillingly visits these steep
mountains. As those people generally travel on horseback, they prefer
the open prairies beyond the mountains, where they usually find the
herds of buffaloes. We passed several rapids, one of which was called
Dauphin's Rapid, after one of our _engagés_, who had fallen into the
river at this place.[47] This last rapid gave us much trouble, till
a favourable wind enabled us to use our sail. When the vessel lay to
on the south bank, we sat down upon the hills, and contemplated the
singular conformation of the vast, rude landscape, while part of our
people were surrounding a large fire on the bank, till night spread her
sable veil over the scene.

On the 4th of August the tracks of the wild sheep were seen in all
directions, and our hunters immediately went in search of them. When we
were returning with the plants we had collected, Papin came back with
two large female bighorns, which he sent on board the boat; they were
strong muscular animals, somewhat resembling in shape and colour the
European wild goat (_Capra ibex_). The chase of these animals, in these
hot and dry mountains, is very fatiguing. In Switzerland the chamois
hunter everywhere finds springs and water to quench his thirst; this
is not the case with the hunter in the Missouri mountains, who must
descend to the river when he desires to cool his parched tongue. The
bighorn generally lives in small or large companies, on the declivities
and tops of the mountains, but in the evening, and at night, comes
down to the lower ground, where there is more food; and, even in the
daytime, is often seen towards the foot of the mountains. They are shot
with a rifle, and good marksmen do not find it difficult to kill them,
because, standing in elevated positions, they afford him a good aim.
Small projections and stones suffice them, like our European wild goats
and chamois, for a footing, or with a sudden leap, with their four
feet together, to fix themselves firmly upon them, at which time their
white-grey colour offers a certain mark to the long American rifles.
The females, and the young animals generally, keep in companies, but
the old bucks remain separate from them, two, four, or six together,
and are easily recognised by their size, and their colossal heavy
horns. Even small, young animals are very swift, and it is extremely
difficult to get one alive. Mr. Mc Kenzie had promised a hunter to give
him a horse if he would bring a young bighorn alive; but, up to this
time, he had not been able to procure one. The names of bighorn and
grosse corne, given to this animal by the English and {231} French, are
properly taken from the large thick horns of the ram, which often weigh
forty pounds the two, and make the animal's head appear quite small.
Many travellers have spoken of this animal; for instance, Brackenridge,
who calls it argolia, or argalia; and Richardson, who has given a
pretty good drawing of it.[48] After I had taken the dimensions of our
specimen, Mr. Bodmer made an accurate drawing of the head; and, as it
was not possible to save the skins from the hungry _engagés_, they were
given up to the cook. Our dinner consisted of bighorn flesh, which is
something like mutton, but has an unpleasant peculiar taste, so that
I cannot agree with Ross Cox, who calls it delicious meat; probably
because he could find nothing better in many parts of the interior of
North America.

After passing several rapids, during a violent tempest, we reached
Lewis and Clarke's Thompson's Creek,[49] which is considered as the
western boundary of the Mauvaises Terres.[50] The appearance of the
country was considerably altered; the eminences were flatter, the
valley more open, and the bank of the river was more covered with
green bushes. We were suddenly aroused from these contemplations of
the surrounding country, by discovering that our vessel had sprung a
leak; we therefore hastened on shore; the water had already risen into
the cabin; the people unloaded the boat with all speed, and soon found
the leak, which they stopped, so that in an hour and a half it was
reloaded, for which we were indebted to the number of our crew.

On the 5th of August we passed Lewis and Clarke's Bull Creek, the mouth
of which is in a pleasant country; and at six o'clock we were near
Judith River, which had, at that time, several very shallow mouths on
the north bank of the Missouri.[51] At half-past seven, when we lay to,
to give our people time to get their breakfast, we saw five Indians
coming round a hill on the south bank, whose fire-arms glistened in the
bright light of the morning sun. They fired their pieces, and sat down
on the bank, on which Mr. Mitchell and Dechamp immediately rode over to
them. Several women, with their dogs drawing sledges, soon joined them,
and the boat brought four men and a woman, who had a thick club in her
hand, on board. They were tall and well made, and very different from
the Assiniboins; they belonged to the tribe of the Gros Ventres, called
by the English, Fall Indians. They had no covering on the upper part of
the body, except buffalo skins. They sat down in the cabin, where they
smoked their pipes, and had some refreshment. A troop of Indians now
appeared on the bank, whom we saluted with a cannon shot, on which our
visitors desired to be taken on shore. The boat brought back a chief
and medicine-man, called Niatohsa (the little French man, or the French
child), of whom Mr. Bodmer immediately took a very good likeness. This
man wore his hair tied together in a thick bunch over the forehead,
which only people of his description are allowed to do. As he spoke the
Blackfoot language, Doucette was able to converse with him, while we
proceeded rapidly, with a fair wind, and twenty-seven men towing us.

{232} Meantime, a number of Indians, on foot and horseback, had
assembled on the bank, who hastened before to inform their countrymen
of the approach of the traders, which is an event highly interesting
to them. The sight of the Indians, all in motion, sometimes stopping
to look at the vessel, and firing their pieces, gave great animation
to the prairie. Being detained by a violent thunder-storm, it was one
o'clock before we reached the place where the Missouri flows through
a rather narrow gorge, from the remarkable sand-stone valley, called
the Stone Walls;[52] a white sand-stone hill appeared before us on the
north bank, as the first specimen of that formation; and on the left
was the mouth of Bighorn River,[53] between considerable hills, on
which numbers of Indians had collected. In the front of the eminences
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. While this was passing,
several Indians had been on board, many of whom swam across to us;
among them, a tall man came on board in this manner, shook off the
water, and went without ceremony into the cabin, but Mr. Mitchell drove
him out, and gave him to understand that none but the chiefs could be
admitted there; he then had the Indians told to go back to their camp,
where he would visit them.

While the camp was saluted at intervals with cannon shot, and the
Indians answered with their guns, the keel-boat, which had hoisted
its flag, was anchored on the north bank, opposite to the tents, a
very necessary precaution to prevent our coming directly into contact
with all the Indians at the same time. About forty Indian warriors,
drawn up on the bank, having made a running fire, and our cannon again
saluted, Mr. Mitchell, with the interpreter, Doucette, took the boat
and rowed across. He alone had pistols, the others were unarmed. On
the summit of the bank, all the Indians formed a long red line, and
immediately below, on the water's edge, sat the chiefs, in a detached
small body. After Mr. Mitchell had seated himself by them, and had some
conversation with them, he invited them to accompany him on board, and
brought us eight of these chiefs, who sat down in the cabin to smoke
their pipes. Among them were several men of a good open character;
but one was a very bad man, Mexkemauastan (the iron which moves),[54]
whom Mr. Mitchell had turned out of doors the year before, at Fort Mc
Kenzie, on account of his bad conduct. We were now entirely in the
power of these people, and had every reason to fear the vengeance of
this man.[55] Prompted, doubtless, by his own interests, he behaved,
to our astonishment, in a most friendly manner; shook hands with us,
and, like his comrades, gratefully accepted the presents which were
made him. He wore his hair in a thick knot on the forehead, and had
a deceitful, fawning countenance. While we were engaged with these
chiefs, we saw a number of men and women, from all parts of the bank,
swim through the river, or cross {233} over to us in their round
boats, made of buffalo skin, and our keel-boat was suddenly entered on
every side and crowded with them. Tall, slender men covered the deck,
thrust themselves into the apartments, and we were really overwhelmed
with them. They all demanded brandy, powder and ball, and brought to
exchange with us, skins, leather, and dried and fresh meat. The leather
boats, laden with their articles for barter, were brought alongside
the keel-boat, drawn by one swimmer, and pushed by another, and in
this manner we were soon hemmed in, so that it was necessary to ask
the chiefs to clear the vessel; they, indeed, induced the greater part
of the young men to leap into the water, though only to enter the boat
soon after on the other side.

Our situation was everything but agreeable, for these same Indians
had entirely demolished a fort, on the frontiers of Canada, two years
before, killed a clerk, and eighteen other persons, besides murdering
several other white people in those parts; they had, in addition to
this, had a quarrel with Lewis and Clarke,[56] and no confidence could
we therefore place in them, though Mr. Mitchell affirmed that he always
transacted business with them with pleasure, and had never had any
proofs of the treachery imputed to them. If it was their intention to
treat us in a hostile manner, there was no way for us to escape; and
how easily might the most trifling dispute with these rude men lead to
a breach, by which fifty whites, in the power of eight or nine hundred
Indians, would have had no chance. They were therefore treated with
much apparent confidence and familiarity, and everything went off
very well. A favourable wind for using our sail was very welcome, in
assisting us to escape from this perilous situation. Doucette had been
sent on shore with some goods, and instructions to barter with the
Indians, and thus, in some measure, to satisfy their desires. We on
board saw our people on shore closely surrounded by a great mass of
Indians; the noisy traffic was long continued, though Mr. Mitchell had
repeatedly given orders for the return of the boat. We were obliged
to wait a long time, and already began to be apprehensive for the
safety of our dealers, when we at length saw the boat, overloaded with
Indians, put off from the bank, on which orders were given to proceed
immediately on our voyage. About fifty robust Indians joined our men
in towing, and we were drawn along very rapidly; our keel-boat was so
crammed with people, that it drew much water. In this singular company
we began to pass through the most interesting part of the whole course
of the Missouri, namely, the Stone Walls; but we could not breathe
freely enough duly to appreciate the surrounding scenery, before we
were quit of our troublesome visitors. The chiefs were repeatedly
informed that the boat was ready to carry them on shore, and they had
all received presents, with which, however, some of them were not
satisfied; at length they were all sent off, with an intimation that
they might go to Fort Mc Kenzie, to their allies, the Blackfeet, where
the goods would be landed, and the barter conducted as they desired.
We lay to for the night, on the right bank, at the fore part of the
Stone Walls, and a number of Indians, especially women, who were found
concealed in the vessel, and turned out, kindled fires near us. Many
articles were missing, and we had given much more than we received,
{234} yet we were truly glad at having come off as well as we did. A
strong watch, with an officer, was set for the night.

The Gros Ventres des Prairies are originally, it is affirmed, a
branch of the Arrapahos; they lived chiefly in the country about the
Saskatschawan (Rivière aux Rapides), but roamed about in all the
prairies which border on the territory of the Blackfeet and Arrapahos
Indians; Alexander Mc Kenzie, and other travellers, call them Fall
Indians, because they lived near the falls of the above-mentioned
river.[57] They are well made, little differing in appearance from
the Piekanns, and other Blackfeet. They ornament their large buffalo
robes in a peculiar manner, with narrow parallel transverse stripes of
porcupine quills, and many little pieces of scarlet cloth fastened to
them in rows. This way of adorning their robes is said to be likewise
usual among the Arrapahos; their shoes, like those of the Blackfeet,
are generally of different colours; their tents, and household
utensils, are quite similar. I saw many war clubs among them, made of
the long end of an elk's horn; daggers, with handles made of the jaws
and teeth of a bear, are not uncommon among them.[58]

These Indians were formerly very poor, had bad tents, and could not
buy any fire-arms; they have, however, recovered of late, and supplied
their wants. They are addicted to begging, like all the Indians; steal
sometimes, especially the women and children; but, in this respect,
the Crows are said to surpass all the other tribes. These people had
lately been compelled to make vigorous efforts to ransom about thirty
of their men, who had fallen into the hands of their enemies--the
Crows. In their engagements with this tribe, they lost so many men as
to occasion among them an undue proportion between the sexes. Well
informed persons affirm, that they have at present not many more than
200 tents, and from 400 to 500 warriors; though others have assured me
that their number far exceeds this. Alexander Mc Kenzie estimated them,
at the time of his journey, at 600 warriors. They possess many dogs,
and at present more horses than they formerly had. In case of distress,
they sometimes eat the dogs; of late they have conducted themselves
very well in trading, and behaved peaceably towards the Whites; whereas
they were formerly enemies to the Americans. The buffalo skins, dressed
by them, are said to be now better than those of most of the other
Indians. In the main, their customs agree with those of the Blackfeet,
and they dispose of their dead in the same manner. They are reputed to
be brave in war. Their language is the most difficult of all those of
the Missouri and the Rocky {235} Mountains. The Fur Company had not a
single interpreter for this language, though great pains had been taken
to procure one.[59]

The Indians who had passed the night near our vessel returned very
early, on the 6th of August, to their camp, that they might be able to
travel in one day to Fort Mc Kenzie. The night, which was very cool,
had passed over quietly, and we had every reason to be satisfied with
the behaviour of this numerous band of Indians, for few other tribes
would have conducted themselves so peaceably and moderately on a
similar occasion. This, it is true, was for their own interest, since
they had hitherto been sufferers from the bad reputation which they had
among the Whites.

At break of day the weather was extremely cool and disagreeable; the
thermometer at half-past seven was only at 58°, and a bleak wind
prevailed, which enabled us to use our sails. The part of the country
called The Stone Walls, which now opened before us, has nothing like
it on the whole course of the Missouri; and we did not leave the deck
for a single moment the whole forenoon. Lewis and Clarke have given a
short description of this remarkable tract, without, however, knowing
the name of Stone Walls, which has since been given it.[60] In this
tract of twelve or fifteen miles, the valley of the Missouri has naked,
moderately high mountains, rounded above, or extending like ridges,
with tufts of low plants here and there, on which the thick strata[61]
of whitish coarse-grained friable sand-stone, which extends over all
this country, are everywhere visible. As soon as we have passed Judith
River this white sand-stone begins to stand out in some places, till
we have passed Bighorn River, and entered the narrower valley of the
Stone {236} Walls, where the strata extend, without interruption, far
through the country, and lie partly halfway up the mountain, and partly
form the summits. They are the continuation of the white sand-stone
which occurs in such singular forms at the Blackhills. At all the
places which are bare of grass, they are visible, and there we see
horizontal or perpendicular angles and ledges resembling walls, some of
which contain caverns. This sand-stone formation is the most striking
when it forms the tops of more isolated mountains, separated by gentle
valleys and ravines. Here, on both sides of the river, the most strange
forms are seen, and you may fancy that you see colonnades, small round
pillars with large globes or a flat slab at the top, little towers,
pulpits, organs with their pipes, old ruins, fortresses, castles,
churches, with pointed towers, &c. &c., almost every mountain bearing
on its summit some similar structure.

Towards nine o'clock the valley began to be particularly interesting,
for its fantastic forms were more and more numerous; every moment,
as we proceeded along, new white fairy-like castles appeared, and a
painter who had leisure might fill whole volumes with these original
landscapes. As proofs of this we may refer to some of these figures,
which Mr. Bodmer sketched very accurately.[62] In many places the clay
formed the summits of the hills; in these parts there were patches of
_Juniperus repens_, and on the bank of the river, small and narrow
strips covered with artemisia and the thorn with flesh-coloured leaves
(_Sarcobatus nees_). Long tracts of the sand-stone strata perfectly
resembled a large blown-up fortress, because the stratification
everywhere gave these walls a certain regularity, while, at the same
time, they bore marks of having been destroyed by violence. In several
places where the sand-stone summit appeared plainly to represent an
ancient knight's castle, another remarkable rock was seen to traverse
the mountain in narrow perpendicular strata, like regularly built
walls. These walls consist of a blackish-brown rock, in the mass of
which large olive-green crystals are disseminated.[63] They run in a
perfectly straight line from the summits of the mountain to the foot,
appearing to form the outworks of the old castles.[64] The surface is
divided by rents or furrows into pretty regular cubic figures like
bricks, which renders their similarity to a work of art still more
complete. The breadth of these perpendicular strata seldom exceeds one
or two feet. One of these walls was particularly striking, which ran,
without interruption, over the tops of three mountains, and through the
clefts between them, and connected the three masses of white sand-stone
on the summits in so regular a manner, that one could hardly fancy they
were natural, but that they were a work of art. All these eminences are
inhabited by numerous {237} troops of the wild mountain sheep, of which
we often saw thirty or fifty at a time climbing and springing over the
sand-stone formation. These harmless animals often stood on a lofty
peak, far beyond the reach of our rifles, while the outlines of their
forms were clearly defined against the bright blue sky. As we passed a
hollow lateral valley, we were shown the place at which the hunters of
the keel-boat had, last year, hemmed in a whole herd of these animals
in such a manner that not one escaped.

Early in the afternoon we came to a remarkable place where the Missouri
seems to issue from a narrow opening, making a turn round a dark brown
rugged pointed towerlike rock on the south, to which the traders
have given the name of the Citadel Rock.[65] This singular isolated
rock seems to consist of clay-slate, grauwacke, and a conglomerate
of fragments of rock in yellowish clay, and is joined to the south
bank by a ridge. On the bank opposite to it the white sand-stone runs
over the ridge of the hills, which Mr. Bodmer has very accurately
represented.[66] After we had doubled the Citadel Rock we lay to on the
south bank, and our people took their dinner. We did not stop long,
and had to contend against a cold, very high wind, while the country
was flatter and more open, with only a few of the oddly-fashioned
rocks. Immediately above the Citadel there is a similar dark brown much
smaller rock, and soon afterwards we saw, on the north bank, a jagged
conical rock, which stands quite isolated on a hill covered with short
grass. Two other less remarkable tops follow, of which the towers
(according to the course of the river) resemble a small castle, while
the other hills in this part have again the flat and rounded forms.
A herd of wild sheep looked down upon us from these heights. We had,
however, not yet taken leave of the extraordinary sand-stone valley,
on the contrary, we now came to a most remarkable place. The stratum
of sand-stone, regularly bedded in low hills, runs along both banks of
the river, which is rather narrow, like a high, smooth, white wall,
pretty equally horizontal above, with low pinnacles on the top. At
some distance before us, the eye fell on an apparently narrow gate,
the white walls in the two banks approaching so near to each other,
that the river seemed to be very contracted in breadth as it passed
between them,[67] and this illusion was heightened by the turn which
the Missouri makes in this place to the south-west. Looking backwards,
the high, black, conical rock rose above the surrounding country;
and on our right hand, there were, on the bank, dark perpendicular
walls, seemingly divided into cubes, in the form of an ancient Gothic
chapel with a chimney. Some pines grew singly about these walls, where
there appear to be regular gateways formed by art. A little further
on there was, on the north bank, a mass which much resembled a long
barrack or some other considerable building,[68] the corners of which
were as regular as if they had been hewn and built up by a skilful
workman. Beyond the rocky gate a herd of buffaloes were grazing on a
small lateral valley; our hunters contrived to get near them and to
kill four. As {238} evening was come, and the people had to cut up
the buffaloes, we lay to for the night on the north bank. I took this
opportunity to ascend the remarkable eminences. I found the sand-stone
so soft that it crumbled in my hand; whereas the yellowish-red
sand-stone, which, in some places, formed the tops or roofs of the
strange white masses, were of a rather harder grain. Extremely
stunted and often strangely contorted cedars (_juniperus_) grew among
these rocks; but the pines (_Pinus flexilis_) were well grown and
flourishing, though not above forty feet high. When standing among the
remarkable masses of the sand-stone, we fancied ourselves in a garden
laid out in the old French style, where urns, obelisks, statues, as
well as hedges and trees clipped into various shapes, surround the
astonished spectator. The balls and slabs, often of a colossal size,
which rested on the above-mentioned pedestals, were likewise soft and
friable, but not so much so as the white sand-stone, and there were
in them many round holes. Stratification could be perceived in all
these stones, for even round spherical blocks were easily divided into
regular plates, nearly an inch thick. Among these fragments the tracks
of the mountain sheep were everywhere discernible, and on the lower
declivities, which were covered with grass, those of the buffaloes.
In the prairie beyond the Stone Walls, _Cactus ferox_ grew, and at
their foot, the beautiful _Bartonia ornata_, with its large snow-white
flowers.

We looked with impatience for the following day, the 7th, in order to
reach what is called the Gate of the Stone Walls. We soon came to a
dark brown rock, like a tower, rising in the middle of the white wall,
the front of which had fallen down, and had a great number of boulders
about it. From this tower it is between 600 and 800 paces to the place
which appeared to us yesterday to form a narrow gate; before reaching
it, there is, on the north bank, a stream called, by Lewis and Clarke,
Stonewall Creek, which is about fifty paces broad at the mouth, and
its banks are bordered with high poplars.[69] A cold wind blew from
the gate, beyond which there was another towerlike dark brown rock,
not so large as the other, while the white sand-stone walls decreased
and became less regular. The hills became gradually lower, the
sand-stone partly disappeared, and was only seen occasionally. About
eleven o'clock we saw two Indians--a man and a woman--who, on their
approach, were recognized to be Blood Indians. They were returning from
the Manitaries, where we recollected having seen them: the man was
well made, and both were very neatly dressed. We took them on board,
passed several islands, and had a fine view of Bear's-paw Mountain,
nearly behind us, in the north-east.[70] The hills on the bank had,
in general, nothing remarkable in their appearance; the strata of the
sand-stone were partly exposed at their base, because the sand under
them had either fallen or been washed away. The stratum of whitish-grey
sand-stone still ran along the hills with an equally thick layer of
clay and sand over it, covered with green turf; but what might here be
called sand-stone was rather a half indurated clay and sand, mixed with
blocks of sand-stone. A mile further up, we saw, to {239} the south, in
the direction of the river, the foremost chain of the Rocky Mountains,
looking like a distant blue range, which was soon hid behind the naked,
sterile banks of the river, which had only here and there some old
trees.[71]

On the morning of the 8th of August, we again saw before us the summits
of the Rocky Mountains, and came to Spaniard Island, where several of
our hunters returned from an excursion with wild geese and a large
rattlesnake. They had seen from the eminences the eternal snow of
the Oregon, and observed six Indians on horseback, who were going in
the direction of Fort Mc Kenzie. They brought with them a quantity
of choke cherries, the fruit of the _Prunus padus Virginiana_, which
is considered to be very indigestible. This fruit is said to have
cured Captain Lewis, on his journey, of a dysentery and fever.[72]
Proceeding on our voyage, we followed the right bank, composed of
steep, yellowish-red walls, the base of which was a bluish clay, and
were delighted with the fine bright green colour of the waters of the
Missouri, which contradicted the assertion that it is discoloured by
the junction of Maria River, from the mouth of which we were now not
far distant. Turning round a point of land, we saw before us a long
table-formed range of hills, behind which is Fort Mc Kenzie, which
we might have reached by land in half an hour. In the front of these
hills, on the north bank, is the mouth of Maria River, called, by the
Canadians, Marayon;[73] after we had passed it, we saw, about six
o'clock, on the same bank, the ruins of the first fort, or trading
post, which Mr. Kipp, clerk of the American Fur Company, had built,
in the year 1831, in the territory of the Blackfeet. This fort was
abandoned in 1832, and the present Fort Mc Kenzie built in its stead,
and this, too, is soon to be abandoned. In this manner the Fur Company
continues to advance, and firmly establishes itself among nations that
are but little known, where the fur trade is still profitable. The
forsaken ruins of the first fort were entirely demolished and partly
burnt by the Indians after the departure of the Whites. On the heights
of this part, we saw two Indians on horseback, who galloped off as soon
as they perceived us, doubtless to carry the news of our arrival to the
fort.[74] Several islands, opposite the ruins of the fort, obliged us
to pass through a narrow channel on the south bank, which was not more
than forty paces broad, with a very rapid current.

At twilight we lay to under the high clay wall of the southern bank.
We were much surprised that no notice had yet been taken of us by
the fort, which was so near, though, in the two preceding years, the
steamer had been welcomed by the Blackfeet further down the river; and
as we were now so close to the fort, we might expect to see the white
inhabitants of the post; besides this, the Manitaries had told us that
the garrison of Fort Mc Kenzie had had a dispute with the Indians, and
Dechamp affirmed that he had heard to-day some cannon-shot. All these
considerations, taken together, excited in Mr. Mitchell--who was well
aware of the little reliance that could be placed on the Indians--some
apprehensions for the safety of the fort and our expedition. Small
parties of Whites, at a distance from the Missouri, are generally
murdered, or at {240} least plundered, by the Blackfeet, if they take
them for fur hunters; we had, therefore, reason to proceed with much
caution. Accordingly, Major Mitchell resolved to reconnoitre the fort
in person, and, meantime, a strong night watch was ordered on board the
vessel. Mr. Mitchell chose four of our hunters, who were thoroughly
acquainted with the country, and well armed, to accompany him. The
boat landed them on the north bank of the river, where it remained
in safety. They set out on their expedition at nightfall, the moon
shining brightly. It was agreed that, in case of a misunderstanding
with the Indians, we should drop down the river if Mr. Mitchell had not
returned before midnight. The people on board the vessel remained on
the alert, awaiting the result. The night was exceedingly fine, warm,
and serene, but the moonlight did not last long. We plainly heard the
drums of the Indians in the direction of the fort, and, on the opposite
bank of the river, the loud howling of the wolves. At half-past ten
o'clock Mr. Mitchell returned with two of his men. He had ascended the
hills, but had lost his way, and came to the mouth of the Maria River,
from which he now returned. The other two had again proceeded towards
the fort. The feet of our wanderers had suffered severely by the thorns
of the cactus plants. As we had no information of the state of the
fort, we had nothing to do but patiently to wait for daylight.

Before daybreak, on the 9th, a heavy rain set in, which continued, at
intervals, the whole day, and the mosquitoes were very troublesome. We
proceeded early along the steep clay walls of the southern bank, which
were above a hundred feet high, and saw, on our right hand, gentle
eminences, from which the antelopes fled at our approach. We were
just doubling a point of land, when we saw five white horsemen coming
towards us. The party consisted of Mr. Patton, clerk of the Company,
and hitherto director of Fort Mc Kenzie, and some of his people. They
galloped to the bank, discharged their pieces, and were welcomed on
board. The news they brought dispelled all our apprehensions; universal
joy prevailed on account of our happy arrival; and, after we had
breakfasted together, they rode back to the fort, to which we had
thirteen miles to go by water. We saw the horsemen gallop over the high
banks of the river, on which groups of Indians were everywhere seen.
Whole bands of their brown children came to the river's edge, and
accompanied the vessel with shouts of joy. Frequently two Indians were
riding on one horse; great numbers of those animals, of all colours,
were grazing in the prairie. Our arrival gave animation to the whole
scene, and our guns began to fire salutes from time to time, in which
the heavy rain was very troublesome.

We passed the last winding of the river, and a most interesting scene
presented itself. A prairie extends along the north bank, at a point to
which, projecting towards the river, we saw Fort Mc Kenzie, on which
the American flag was displayed.[75] A great number of Indian tents
was erected in the plain, which was covered with the red population in
various groups, all of whom hastened to the bank. Near to the fort, the
men (about 800 Blackfeet) were drawn up {241} in a close body, like
a well-ordered battalion. They formed a long dark brown line, with a
black stripe at the top, which was occasioned by their black hair. The
palisades and the roof of the fort, as well as the neighbouring trees,
were occupied by Indian women and their children, singly, or in groups,
and the whole prairie was covered with them. The smoke of the powder
rose in the fort, and the thunder of the cannon re-echoed from the
high banks. While our vessel was slowly approaching this interesting
scene, the boat brought an Indian, the White Buffalo (soldier of the
fort),[76] who was well known as a good-natured, tolerably trustworthy
man. The fire of musketry among the mass of the Indian warriors was
uninterrupted, and their war cry sounded over to us, while our vessel,
in spite of the rain, kept up a brisk fire. In front of the Indians we
saw three or four chiefs in red and blue uniforms, trimmed with lace,
and wearing round hats with plumes of feathers. The most distinguished
among them was Mexkehme-Sukahs (the iron shirt), dressed in a scarlet
uniform, with blue facings and lace, with a drawn sabre in his hand;
riding without stirrups, he managed, with great dexterity, his light
bay horse, which was made very restiff by the firing of the musketry.
The most respected chief among the Blackfeet, at this time, was the
Spotted Elk (Ketscpenn-Nuka), who, after a successful battle with the
Flatheads, had changed his name, and was now called Ninoch-Kiaiu (chief
of the bears). The other chiefs besides these two were called the Old
Heart, now called the Stiff Foot, the Stiff Leg, the Big Soldier, and
the Red Buffalo.

We approached the landing-place, and at length set foot on shore,
amidst a cloud of smoke caused by the firing of the Indians and of the
_engagés_ of the fort, who were drawn up in a line on the bank. Here we
were received by the whole population, with the Indian chiefs at their
head, with whom we all shook hands. The Chief of the Bears was quite an
original: his countenance, which was not very handsome, with a large
crooked nose, was partly hid by his long hair. On his head he had a
round felt hat, with a brass rim, and a silver medal on his breast. We
were led through a long double line of the red men, the expression of
whose countenances and their various dresses greatly amused us. When
we arrived at the fort there was no end of the shaking of hands; after
which we longed for repose, and distributed our baggage in the rooms.
We had happily accomplished the voyage from Fort Union in thirty-four
days, had lost none of our people, and subsisted during the whole time
by the produce of the chase.

FOOTNOTES:

[34] The fine collection of all these impressions and petrifications
made on this occasion has, unfortunately, not reached Europe. See,
on this subject, "Synopsis of the Organic Remains of the Cretaceous
Groups of the United States," &c., by S. G. Morton, Philad., 1834; and
"Transactions of the Geological Society of Philadelphia."--MAXIMILIAN.

[35] Probably identical with Beauchamp Creek. Just above this was the
site of Fort Hawley, built in 1867 by the Northwestern Fur Company.--ED.

[36] Coues, _Lewis and Clark Expedition_, i, p. 321, identifies Teapot
as the present Yellow Creek, a northern affluent between Beauchamp and
Rocky creeks. It is also called Kannuck.--ED.

[37] For a general sketch of the Blackfeet, see our volume v, p. 225,
note 120; for the Grosventres of the Prairies, Franchère's _Narrative_,
in our volume vi, p. 371, note 183.--ED.

[38] Little Rocky Mountains are a short range in Chouteau County,
Montana, forming part of the watershed between the Milk and the
Missouri. They are but thirty miles north of the latter, and rise to an
altitude of about five thousand feet. Lewis and Clark called the range
North Mountain.--ED.

[39] According to the French edition of Maximilian's _Travels_, the
names of these engagés were Croteau and Rondin.--ED.

[40] This island no longer exists; it was below Cow Creek, in the
present Chouteau County, Montana.--ED.

[41] See Plate 68, figure 20, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
XXV. Bighorn Island is not specifically mentioned in the text of the
_Original Journals_, but it was passed on the day (May 25, 1805) when
Drouillard first brought one of these animals to camp. See _Original
Journals_, ii, pp. 71-76, with small drawing. In Clark's "Summary
Statement of Rivers, etc.," it is named Ibex Island; _op. cit._, vi, p.
61.--ED.

[42] See Plate 68, figure 28, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[43] Our author misread the name of this island on the map. Lewis and
Clark named it "Goodriches Island," for one of the men of their party;
see _Original Journals_, vi, p. 61.--ED.

[44] Likewise named for one of the party, Richard Windsor. This is now
Cow Creek, draining the western borders of Little Rocky Mountains, and
entering the Missouri from the north.--ED.

[45] See Plate 68, figures 21, 25, 26, in the accompanying atlas,
volume xxv of our series.--ED.

[46] Lewis calls these "Elk Rapids," but Clark gives the name as "Elk &
Faun Riffle," since "in the rapid we saw a Dow Elk & hir faun." Coues
thinks this the present Lone Pine Rapids.--ED.

[47] Dauphin's Rapids became a prominent landmark on the upper river.
They were located about six miles below Judith River, and formed a
troublesome obstruction. According to Culbertson's reminiscences, they
were named for Antoine Dauphin, who was here detected in a liaison
with a Blackfoot woman. He was one of the first victims of smallpox in
1837.--ED.

[48] For Brackenridge's _Journal_, see our volume vi. Maximilian
here refers to the eminent Scottish naturalist, Sir John Richardson
(1787-1865). He entered the navy about 1807, was in several naval
battles, and finally joined Sir John Franklin in both his exploring
expeditions. In 1848-49 Richardson commanded a search expedition for
Franklin. His published works are many, the one here noticed being
his _Fauna Boreali Americana_ (London, 1829-37), which he issued in
collaboration with two other scientists.--ED.

[49] Now Birch Creek, named by Lewis and Clark for John B. Thompson, "a
valuable member of our party. This creek contains a greater proportion
of running water than common"--_Original Journals_, ii, p. 90. It is on
the north side of the Missouri, rising in Bear Paw Mountain and running
directly south.--ED.

[50] Under the 2nd August, Softshell Turtle Creek is spoken of as
forming this boundary.--H. EVANS LLOYD.

[51] Bull Creek was so named by Lewis and Clark because (May 29, 1805)
a buffalo bull charged through their camp then lying at the mouth of
the stream. It is now Dog Creek, a southern affluent two miles and a
half below Judith River. The latter is the largest southern branch west
of the Musselshell. It rises between Sunny and Little Belt mountains,
in what is known as Judith's Gap, and flows nearly north, on its way
receiving many affluents. It was so named by William Clark for Miss
Julia Hancock, who afterwards became his wife. Fort Chardon (or Fort F.
A. C.) was built near its mouth in 1844, being destroyed the following
year.--ED.

[52] See Plate 74, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[53] Now Arrow River, rising in Baldy Range and flowing north-east,
forming part of the boundary between Chouteau and Fergus counties.
There is, however, an inadvertence in the use of this name. Lewis
and Clark at first named Judith's River Bighorn, later abandoning
this cognomen for its present name. The next stream above, on the
south side, the explorers named Slaughter River for a herd of buffalo
slaughtered by Indians below its cliffs. The published map, however,
errs by placing here two rivers--Bighorn (which should be an alternate
for Judith) and Slaughter Creek beyond the stone walls. Clark's
"Summary Statement," _Original Journals_, vi, p. 62, gives this
correctly.--ED.

By a typographical error the Crow name for the Bighorn is given wrongly
as "Ichpnaotsa" instead of "Ichpoa-tassa" (close articulation, _ich_
guttural, _tassa_ soft, short, and without emphasis).--MAXIMILIAN.

[54] See Plate 20, in accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[55] This was the same tribe, possibly the same band, with whom the
battle of Pierre's Hole occurred the preceding summer. See our volume
xxi, pp. 69-72.--ED.

[56] Possibly the first is the massacre at St. John's house, referred
to by John McLean in _Notes of Twenty-Five Years' Service in the
Hudson's Bay Territory_ (London, 1849), i, pp. 234-237.

For Meriwether Lewis's difficulties with the Grosventres of the
Prairies, consult _Original Journals_, v, pp. 218-227.--ED.

[57] For Sir Alexander Mackenzie see Franchère's _Narrative_, in our
volume vi, p. 185, note 4. For the Blackfeet and Arapaho see our volume
v, p. 225, note 120. The tribal affinity between the Grosventres of
the Prairies and the Arapaho was recognized by frequent visits of the
former to the land of the latter. Consult Chittenden, _Fur-Trade_, ii,
pp. 852, 853.--ED.

[58] See p. 105 for illustration of Grosventre dagger.--ED.

[59] Most of the Grosventres used the Blackfoot language as well as
their own, which is described as difficult by all travellers to this
region.--ED.

[60] The _Original Journals_ speak of Stonewall Creek and "those imence
nateral walls."--ED.

[61] Similar sand-stone strata are said to occur in other parts of
North America; and, in South America, Poeppig seems to have met with
them, as he describes them in the following passage:--"Towards noon
we approached the highest point on this road, the Alto de Lacchagual
(4718 metres, according to Rivero). We were much struck with the
sand-stone rocks, which we approached about the half way of the
journey, after having already seen them ever since the morning, in
different directions before us. As isolated masses, of the most varied
forms, they extend in rows along the ridge of the far-stretching
chain of hills, and form, in many places, really gigantic walls. Low
groups, probably only broken fragments, lie scattered irregularly
around, but high, apparently regular pillars rise far above them in
the distance, that look partly like basalt, for which they are taken
at Lima; partly like works constructed by art. By their symmetrical
arrangement they sometimes seem to be the ruins of an immensely large
building; at others, appear like large regular quadrangles with square
gates, between what seem to be high bastions. The form of the inverted
cone occurs here as among the rocks at Adersbach, only the proportions
must be conceived as suitable to the Andes, for many of these dark
pillars are, undoubtedly, several hundred feet high. The eye exerts
itself in vain to discover the termination of these stony columns.
They vanish at a great distance in the north-west, between similar
lines, which appear to meet them at a certain angle. At one place only
we approached them close enough to be able to examine at least the
lowest fragments; we saw, however, little more than a very soft, coarse
sand-stone, of a whitish colour, which has become black only by the
action of the air, and decomposition of the surface. These remarkable
groups have no particular name, and no popular tradition is connected
with their romantic forms, as in the Hartz. The Peruvian possesses, in
this respect, less imagination than the Chileno, who makes something
out of every rock, the form of which is unusual; sees a church on the
summit of the Andes of Santa Rosa, and, in a lateral valley of the
road from Mendoza, fancies that he discovers a palace, and a long
procession of monks performing penance."--(Reisebeschreibung, Vol. II.
p. 48).--MAXIMILIAN.

[62] See Plate 67, figures 6-9, and Plate 68, figures 22-29, in the
accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[63] The extensive collection of all kinds of rock in this remarkable
sand-stone valley, was unfortunately lost in the fire on board the
Company's steam-boat in the year 1834, and I am, consequently, unable
to determine more particularly the kind of the above-mentioned rock,
standing out in narrow perpendicular walls. Lewis and Clark call
it a conglomerate; but this expression seems to me not to be well
chosen.--MAXIMILIAN.

[64] See Plate 67, figure 4, and Plate 68, figure 11, in the
accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[65] See Plate 18, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[66] See Plate 74, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[67] Represented in Plate 74 of the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[68] Figure 10 of Plate 68, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[69] Now Eagle Creek, rising in Bear Paw Mountains and entering the
Missouri from the north-east.--ED.

[70] Bear Paw Mountains are located in Chouteau County, west of the
Little Rockies. They are not a continuous chain, but a group of high,
steep, broken hills partly covered with timber, forming part of the
watershed between Milk and Missouri rivers. The western end approaches
within eight or ten miles of the Missouri. In these mountains occurred
the battle of September 30-October 2, 1877, when United States
troops captured Chief Joseph and the largest part of his band of Nez
Percés.--ED.

[71] This group is the Highwood Mountains, on the southern borders of
Chouteau County, directly south of Fort Benton. These mountains rise to
an altitude of 7,600 feet.--ED.

[72] See Lewis's own description of his cure, by the use of this fruit,
in _Original Journals_, ii, p. 142.--ED.

[73] Maria's River rises in the main chain of the Rocky Mountains, and
flows nearly due east into the Missouri, forming its largest northern
tributary beyond Milk River. Upon reaching the mouth, Lewis and Clark
were uncertain, until they had explored each branch, which was the main
stream of the Missouri. They named the northern tributary for Captain
Lewis's cousin, Miss Maria Wood, later Mrs. Clarkson.--ED.

[74] For James Kipp see our volume xxii, p. 345, note 319. The site
of this post was directly in the angle of the rivers on the west bank
of the Missouri; it has since been swept away by the river. While the
fort was building, Kipp requested the Indians to depart and return
after seventy-five days, when to their surprise they found a completed
structure. In the spring of 1832 most of the engagés declined to
re-enter the service because of the hazardous situation of the post;
moreover, the furs had to be transported to Fort Union. Kipp had,
therefore, no alternative but to abandon the stockade, which the
Indians soon burned. Three French-Canadians, having taken Blackfoot
wives, remained with this tribe. See "Affairs at Fort Benton," in
Montana Historical Society _Contributions_, iii, pp. 203-204.--ED.

[75] Fort Mc Kenzie, whose founding is described by Maximilian in
chapter xix, _post_, was situated about six miles above the mouth
of Maria's River, a little below a cluster of small islands, on the
west side of the river, opposite bold bluffs. It was maintained until
1844. In that year Culbertson having been transferred to another
post, Chardon and Harvey, in command at Fort Mc Kenzie, took summary
vengeance on the neighboring Indians for theft by discharging cannon
at them as they came to trade at the post, and killing over thirty.
Thereupon the traders were forced by native hostility to abandon this
fort and retreat to the newly-constructed Fort Chardon, near Judith's
River (see note 53, _ante_, p. 71). The Indians burned Fort Mc Kenzie,
which was thereafter spoken of as Fort Brulé, and its site as Brulé
Bottom.--ED.

[76] Those Indians are called soldiers at the trading posts who
are employed as a kind of police to maintain order among their own
people.--MAXIMILIAN.

_Comment by Ed._ Catlin painted a portrait of a Blackfoot chief and
medicine man named White Buffalo. See his _North American Indians_, i,
p. 34, Plate 15.



CHAPTER XIX

DESCRIPTION OF FORT MC KENZIE AND THE ENVIRONS, AND OF THE INDIAN
POPULATION LIVING THERE

    Fort Mc Kenzie--The Blackfeet; their Appearance, Head-dress, &c.


Fort Mc Kenzie, which, at the time of its first establishment in 1832,
was called by Mr. Mitchell, its founder, Fort Piekann, is designed for
carrying on the fur trade with the three branches of the Blackfoot
Indians, and several other neighbouring nations, as the Gros Ventres
des Prairies, the Sassis,[77] and the Kutanas, or Kutnehas.[78] As I
have already said, the American Fur Company concluded, in the year
1831, a commercial convention with those tribes, and sent for that
purpose the interpreter, Berger, a Canadian, who was pretty well
acquainted with the language of the Blackfeet, who brought seventy
Indians of those nations to a conference at Fort Union.

At his first meeting with these dangerous people they were going to
kill him, and he was saved by a certain chief, after many disputes.
The convention which Mr. Mc Kenzie concluded with the Indians, after
those negotiations, will be found in the Appendix.[79] As soon as it
was agreed to by both parties, Mr. Kipp was sent with a keel-boat
laden with goods to Maria River, and Fort Piekann, now in ruins, was
founded. The sight of the numerous assemblage of different {243} Indian
nations collected here on that occasion is said to have been highly
interesting. As the situation of the fort was subsequently found to be
unfavourable, Major Mitchell, who succeeded Mr. Kipp, transferred the
trading post to its present situation, where an extensive prairie was
better suited to the meeting of numerous Indians. When the Company's
people landed at this place in 1832, the present fort was erected in
a few days. While the work was going on, they lived in the keel-boat,
and were actually blockaded by at least 4000 or 5000 men; and, on
the whole, by an Indian population of 10,000 or 12,000 persons,
extremely dangerous, in whom no confidence could be placed, and whose
perfidious, sanguinary, and predatory character was sufficiently
known. In fact, some insignificant disputes nearly produced a breach
of the peace, which would have inevitably led to the destruction of
the crew of the boat, and was prevented only by the decision and
resolute conduct of Mr. Mitchell. The Indians had already cut the rope
which held the keel-boat, the only hope of the Americans, to the bank,
whose situation at this time was extremely critical, as the Blood
Indians in particular had always been the declared enemies of the
Whites. As soon as the traders got into the fort, which was quickly
completed, their situation was much changed. They were secure from the
attacks of the Indians, and had sufficient provisions, powder, and
ball, for a considerable time. The Indians were no longer admitted
indiscriminately; suitable precautions were adopted; and the Piekanns,
who were the principal tribe inhabiting the surrounding country, and
some families of whom are found here at all seasons of the year, set up
their tents in the vicinity.

The present fort is 120 paces from the north bank of the Missouri,
which a little below makes a large bend. From this to the highest chain
of the Rocky Mountains is about 100 English miles; but to the beginning
of the mountains, not more than fifteen or twenty miles, and a good
day's journey to the Falls of the Missouri.

The fort itself is built in the same manner as the other trading
posts already described; it forms a quadrangle, the sides of which
are forty-five or forty-seven paces in length, and is defended by two
block-houses, with some pieces of cannon. It is much smaller than Fort
Union, and worse and more slightly built. The dwellings are of one
story, and low; the rooms small, generally without floorings, with a
chimney, a door, a small window with parchment instead of glass, and
a very flat roof covered with green sods, where the inhabitants post
themselves, when, in case of being attacked, they have to fire over the
high pickets. The flagstaff stands in the centre of the court-yard.
The gate is strong, double, and well protected; and, when the trade
with the Indians is going on, the inner gate is closed: the entrance to
the Indian store, between the two gates, is then free, a strong guard
being stationed at the store. We had brought with us the glass windows,
and other necessary materials, for the proposed new fort. Before our
arrival, the inhabitants of the fort were twenty-seven white men, and
several Indian women, married to them, to whom our arrival made an
addition of fifty-three persons. All these people, excepting the {244}
first table for six persons, lived entirely on meat, so that we may
assume that two buffaloes daily were required for their consumption.
When we consider the generally very good appetites of the Canadians,
of whom it is proverbially said that two of them will nearly devour
a whole side of a buffalo, it is evident how necessary it is to have
good hunters, and also to purchase large quantities of meat from the
Indians. They generally receive twenty balls and the necessary powder
for all the flesh of a buffalo cow, or even less when these animals are
numerous; but as many as forty charges for a gun are paid them when the
buffaloes are at a distance.

A level prairie surrounds this fort; and, about 800 paces beyond it,
the chain of hills, about 80 to 100 feet high, runs in the direction
from south to north, and about 2000 paces above the fort reaches the
Missouri, and then runs along its bank. The banks of the river, and the
low islands on it, are here and there bordered with wood and bushes,
and some islands are entirely covered with them. On ascending to the
top of the chain of hills, you look over a level dry prairie, in which,
at a small distance, are the pretty deep beds of two rivers, Maria
River, and Teton River, called, by Lewis and Clarke, Tansy River.[80]
The latter, which is a small river, flows through a beautifully verdant
valley, the bottom of which is covered with tall, shady poplars; there
is good pasture of high grasses, and other plants. It falls into the
Maria not far above its mouth, after having flowed for some distance
almost parallel to the Missouri, to which it approaches so nearly,
at between three and four miles from the fort, that the piece of land
which separates the two rivers, is not more than 500 or 600 paces
broad.[81]

Below the fort, in the first bend of the river, is an island, called
Horse Island, where the horses belonging to the fort are sent to graze
in the winter. They never have any other food than grass in summer;
and in the winter, the bark of poplar trees, which they gnaw off. They
never enter a stable. The south bank of the Missouri consists of high
clay walls, in which there are doubtless strata of sand-stone, because
numbers of beautiful impressions of shells are found immediately at the
edge of the bank. These high walls must be very dangerous to the fort,
in case of an attack by the Indians, because an effective fire may be
made from them into the internal quadrangle of the fort. This dangerous
position was one of the causes which led to the resolution of founding
a new settlement further up the river.[82]

The Missouri itself does not abound in fish in the neighbourhood of
Fort Mc Kenzie, yet soft shell turtles are sometimes caught, as well
as cat-fish, of the two species already mentioned, one of which we
obtained during our stay, and which, as proof of the voracity of these
animals, had in its stomach a stone polished by the action of the
water, five inches long and four and a half broad. A sturgeon, of a
species which, we were told, is not found in the Mississippi, was
caught here, and universally considered as an extraordinary rarity.

{245} The prairie of which I have already spoken was now animated, in
the vicinity of the fort, by the camp of the Piekanns, which was set up
in four divisions at about 400 paces from the pickets. The grass was
trodden down or fed off by the people and numerous horses, and on every
side were horsemen, groups of pedestrians and dogs, besides the horses
belonging to the fort, which were brought out in the morning, under the
care of four well armed horsemen, and conducted back in the evening at
sunset. As we shall have frequent occasion in the sequel to come in
contact with the Indians of this part of the country, this may be the
best place to speak of the Blackfeet, who are the original population
of the prairies.

The Blackfeet form a numerous nation, which is divided into three
tribes, speaking one and the same language. These tribes are--

1. The Siksekai or Seksekai, the Blackfeet properly so called.[83]

2. The Kahna or Kaënna, the Blood Indians.[84]

3. The Piekanns.

All together they can bring into the field 5000 or 6000 warriors, and,
doubtless, amount to 18,000 or 20,000 souls, which number is assumed
by Dr. Morse, though he thinks it below the truth. Warden estimates the
number of the Blackfeet at only 5000 souls, of whom the half, he says,
are warriors; this is unquestionably far too low an estimate. We shall
have the number of 18,000 or 20,000 souls, if we reckon only three
women, children, and old men, for one warrior, and this is certainly a
very low estimate. The Blackfeet move about in the prairies near the
Rocky Mountains, and partly live among those mountains, but especially
they dwell between the three forks of the Missouri, of which Jefferson
River is the most northerly; the Madison River, the western or central;
and the Gallatin the most southerly or easterly. They live, however,
especially the Piekanns, as far down as Maria River, in the prairies
of which they move about, and where all the three tribes sometimes
meet to trade with the American Fur Company. They likewise trade
with the Hudson's Bay Company, and with the Spaniards of Santa Fe,
as appears from the Spanish blankets, crosses, &c., which they wear.
There is, probably, no reason to doubt that they take most of these
things in war, for the rifles, compasses, &c., which we found in their
possession, were marked with the names of the owners. They are always
dangerous {246} to white men who are hunting singly in the mountains,
especially to the beaver hunters, and kill them whenever they fall into
their hands; hence the armed troops of the traders keep up a continual
war with them. It was said that in the year 1832 they shot fifty-eight
Whites, and a couple of years before that time, above eighty. In the
neighbourhood of the forts they keep the peace, and the Piekanns, in
particular, behave well and amicably to the Whites, whereas the Blood
Indians and the Siksekai can never be trusted. They are all great
adepts in horse stealing, even in the vicinity of the trading posts.
All these Indians are comprehended, by the Whites, under the general
name of Blackfeet, which they themselves do not, however, extend so
far, but know each of the three tribes only by its own proper name. As
they speak only one language, keep together, and differ but little in
their external appearance, they are justly considered as one and the
same nation, and I shall always speak of them as such by this general
name.

We do not, at present, possess any accurate and detailed account of
these people, for the American Fur Company, who trade with them, and
therefore have had the best opportunity of becoming acquainted with
them, seldom take any interest in scientific researches. How little
has hitherto been known of these people is proved by the fact that
Brackenridge declares them to be Sioux, though a comparison of some
words of their language immediately proves the contrary.[85] In their
exterior, the Blackfeet do not much differ from the other Indians of
the Upper Missouri. They are robust, generally well made men, and
some of the women and girls are very pretty. The men are partly broad
shouldered and muscular, partly of middle stature, and thickset. One
of the Blood Indians measured six feet eleven inches English measure.
Several Piekanns were nearly six feet, French measure. The Big Soldier
was five feet ten inches two lines, French measure. Their arms and legs
are more slender than those of the Whites, but this is by no means a
general rule. Their hands and feet are, for the most part, small, of a
blackish-brown colour, with prominent veins, exactly like the Botocudos
and other Brazilians, with whom, as I have already observed, evident
traces of this affinity appear in all the North American Indians. Their
features are in the main the same as those of the other Indians which
have been before described. The nose is often slightly curved or bent
downwards, frequently long and thin, almost like those of the Jews,
and the nostrils not extended, which is more frequently, though not
always seen in the Brazilians. Their eyes are mostly hazel, yet I saw
one Piekann with a light bluish-grey circle round the iris. Their hair
is jet black, and generally stiff, yet often not so shining a black
as that of the Brazilians; their beard is not thin, but is carefully
plucked out, for which purpose they have a twisted wire, or a piece of
tin bent together like a pair of tweezers. Old people often have grey
hair, but some young men are seen whose hair is dyed of a dark brown. A
whole family of Piekanns, near Fort Mc Kenzie, had such hair mixed with
a good deal of grey. I never saw any with bald heads. The colour of
the skin of these Indians is mostly a fine bright reddish-brown, often
really copper colour, and generally darker than in the Brazilians.
{247} Even little children have the dark brown colour, but newly born
infants are rather paler. Children, as in Brazil, have, in general,
prominent bellies and thin limbs, and often the navel large and swollen.

The Blackfeet do not disfigure their bodies; none of the nations of the
Missouri bore the nose and lips, except a tribe in the Rocky Mountains,
who are known by the name of Pierced Nosed Indians, because they bore
a hole through the gristle of the nose. It is only in the ear that the
Blackfeet pierce one or two small holes, in which they wear various
ornaments, such as strings of glass beads, alternating with white
cylinders, which they get from the Dentalium, which they barter from
the nations on the west side of the Rocky Mountains, especially the
Kutanas.[86] Many Blackfeet do not wear anything in their ears, which
are generally concealed by their long thick hair. I have never seen
any tattooing among them. On the other hand, many had, upon their
arms, parallel transverse incisions, which were cicatrized, and most
of them wanted one or two joints of a finger, of which I shall have
occasion to speak by-and-by. They paint their faces red with vermilion;
this colour, which they procure by barter from the traders, is rubbed
in with fat, which gives them a shining appearance. Others colour
only the edge of their eyelids, and some stripes in the face, with
red; others use a certain yellow clay for the face, and red round the
eyes; others, again, paint the face red, and the forehead, a stripe
down the nose, and the chin, blue, with the shining earth from the
mountains which I have before mentioned, and which, being analyzed by
Professor Cordier,[87] at Paris, he found to be mixed with an earthy
peroxide of iron, probably mixed with some clay. Others colour the
whole face black, and only the eyelids and some stripes red. The women
and children paint the face only of a uniform red. The vermilion costs
the Indians very dear, for the Company supply it from their stores at
ten dollars a pound. The Blackfeet do not paint the body--at least,
I have never seen it, and it is generally covered. Their hair hangs
down straight and stiff, often in disorder over the eyes and round
the head. Young people, however, who pay more attention to neatness,
part it regularly over the forehead, and comb it smooth. A small
sea-shell is often fastened to a tuft of hair on each side, close to
the temples; others were on one side, and often on both sides of the
forehead, and a lock of hair with brass and iron wire twisted round
it; lastly, a few adopted the ornament usual among the Manitaries and
Mandans, which forms a long string on each side of the forehead, and
will be particularly described when we are treating of the latter.
Such a one was worn by the son of the old Kutona, Makuie-Poka, and by a
few other Blackfeet, who had had intercourse with the Manitaries. Some
distinguished Blackfeet warriors had a tuft of the feathers of owls,
or birds of prey, hanging at the back of the head; sometimes ermine
skin, with little stripes of red cloth, adorned with bright buttons;
or, on the top of the head, broad black feathers, cut short, like a
brush, as represented in the portrait of the Assiniboin, Noapeh.[88]
Some braid the hair in a long thick queue behind, and many, especially
the {248} medicine men, or jugglers, wear it, like the Mandans and
Manitaries, divided into several thick queues all round, and generally
bind them all together with a leather strap, in a thick knot over the
forehead. Many bind a narrow strip of skin, or a leather strap, round
the head, and stick one or two feathers in it; several fasten large
bears' claws in their hair; most of them, when in full dress, wear
the large necklace of these claws, which is a costly and handsome
ornament; or else one made of certain roots, which smell like _Foenum
Græcum_, which they obtain from the Kutanas.[89] Very often they adorn
themselves with a braided necklace, composed of a sweet-smelling grass,
probably _anthoxanthum_, with others of glass beads, which they buy of
the Company for three or four dollars a pound, and which the women in
particular highly value. Some Piekanns hang round their necks a green
stone,[90] often of various shapes, or the teeth of buffaloes, stags,
elks, horses, &c., or large round flat pieces cut out of shells. On
their fingers they wear rings, mostly of brass, which they purchase,
by dozens, of the Company--often six or eight on each finger, often
only one or two on the whole hand. They generally let their finger
nails grow long, always, at least, the thumb nail, which is often
crooked like a claw.

The dress of the Blackfeet is made of tanned leather, and the
handsomest leather shirts are made of the skin of the bighorn, which,
when new, is of a yellowish-white colour, and looks very well. A narrow
strip of the skin with the hair is generally left at the edge of such
a skin. These shirts have half sleeves, and the seams are trimmed
with tufts of human hair, or of horse-hair dyed of various colours,
hanging down, and with porcupine quills sewn round their roots. These
shirts generally have at the neck a flap hanging down both before and
behind, which we saw usually lined with red cloth, ornamented with
fringe, or with stripes of yellow and coloured porcupine quills, or of
sky-blue glass beads. Some have all these fringes composed of slips
of white ermine; this is a very costly ornament, these little animals
having become scarce. Many of the distinguished chiefs and warriors
wore such dresses, which are really handsome, ornamented with many
strings hanging down, in the fashion of an Hungarian tobacco pouch.
When these leather shirts begin to be dirty, they are often painted
of a reddish-brown colour; but they are much handsomer when they are
new. Some of these Indians wear on the breast and back round rosettes
like the Assiniboins, but this is only a foreign fashion, and the
genuine Blackfoot costume has no such ornament. Their leggins are made
like those of the other Missouri Indians, and ornamented, in the same
manner, with tufts of hair or stripes of porcupine quills; the shoes,
of buffalo or elk leather, are also adorned with porcupine quills,
each having a ground of a different colour for its ornaments; thus,
if one is white, the other is yellow--a fashion which does not exist
lower down the Missouri, where both shoes are of the same colour. The
chief article of their dress, {249} the large buffalo robe, is, for the
most part, painted on the tanned side, but less skilfully than among
the other nations. In general, there are black parallel lines mixed
with a few figures, often with arrow heads, or other bad arabesques;
others, again, are painted with representations of their warlike
exploits, in black, red, green, and yellow. The figures represent the
taking of prisoners, dead or wounded enemies, captured arms and horses,
blood, balls flying about in the air, and such subjects. Such robes
are embroidered with transverse bands of porcupine quills of the most
brilliant colours, divided into two equal parts by a round rosette
of the same. The ground of the skin is often reddish-brown, and the
figures on it black. All the Missouri Indians wear these robes, and it
is well known that those of the Manitaries and the Crows are the most
beautifully worked and painted. In the description of Major Long's
first expedition, there is a representation of such a skin,[91] but
it is the only one of this kind which has come to my knowledge, and
I have, therefore, had a drawing made of such a one.[92] The Company
gives the value of six to ten dollars for such a skin. During the
summer, the fur is worn outside, and in winter inside. The right arm
and shoulder are generally bare. It might be thought that this dress
was too hot in summer, and too cold in winter, but custom reconciles us
to everything, and they dress pretty nearly in the same manner in the
opposite seasons.

The Blackfeet, like the other tribes, carry in their hands the wing
of an eagle or a swan, the tail of an owl or bird of prey, as a fan,
the handle of which is covered with leather, or coloured cloth. The
Company now sends to its trading posts the tails of wild turkeys,
which are much in request. In general, every Blackfoot carries a whip,
as well as his weapons, in his hand; a gun and his bow and arrows on
his shoulder, the latter in a quiver or bag made of skin or leather,
to which a bow case of the same is fastened. On his shoulder he
likewise has his pouch, containing his powder-horn, and a large knife,
in a sheath, is stuck behind in his leathern girdle. In the summer,
and even frequently in the winter, these Indians wear their buffalo
robe without any underclothing. The dress of the women is the same as
among the other Missouri Indians: it is a long leather shirt, coming
down to their feet, bound round the waist with a girdle, and is often
ornamented with many rows of elks' teeth, bright buttons, and glass
beads. The dress wraps over the breast, and has short, wide sleeves,
ornamented with a good deal of fringe, which often hang down nearly
in the same manner as in the national Polish dress, but not below the
elbows. The lower arm is bare. The hem of the dress is likewise trimmed
with fringes and scolloped. The women ornament their best dresses, both
on the hem and sleeves, with dyed porcupine quills and thin leather
strips, with broad diversified stripes of sky-blue and white glass
beads. The Indians do not like beads of other colours, for instance,
red, next the skin; and their taste in the contrast of colours is very
correct, for in their black hair they generally wear red, and on their
brown skins, sky-blue, white, or yellow. The women are very skilful in
making their clothes and tanning the leather; the men only make their
arms and smoking apparatus. The women, {250} who, on the whole, have
not an uncomfortable lot, are obliged, as among the other tribes, to
perform the heavy work. They are likewise very skilful in the art of
dyeing; and, to produce the beautiful yellow colour, they employ a
lemon-coloured moss from the Rocky Mountains, which grows in the fir
trees, my specimens of which are unfortunately lost. A certain root
furnishes a beautiful red dye, and they extract many other bright
colours from the goods procured from the Whites. With them they dye
the porcupine quills and the quills of the feathers, with which they
embroider very neatly. The girls are dressed in the same manner as the
women, and their dresses are generally ornamented with elks' teeth, for
which the Indians pay a high price.

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 tent 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;[93] wooden
dishes, large {251} spoons made of the horn of the mountain sheep,
which are very wide and deep;[94] similar drinking vessels made of
horn, kettles, and sometimes tin utensils, which they obtain from the
merchants, clothes, &c. In the centre of the tent there is a small
fire in a circle composed of stones, over which the kettle for cooking
is suspended. Among their household goods we may reckon the harness
of their horses. The horse has, generally, only a long rope, made of
buffalo hair, fastened to the lower jaw, with which it is tied in the
meadow. The saddle consists of two broad flat boards, inclining towards
each other at an angle, which lie along the sides of the horse's
back; it has before and behind an upright piece, which frequently has
a leather fringe hanging to it. It is covered with a skin, and has
another under it, and these skins serve the rider, at night, for a bed.
The Blackfeet are fond of a handsome housing, made of a large panther's
skin, which they generally obtain from the Rocky Mountains. As these
animals have now become more scarce, a high price is often given for
the skin; sometimes a good horse, and even several, and seldom less
than sixty dollars in value. The panther's skin is so laid across the
horse that the long tail hangs down on one side, and has scarlet cloth
laid under it, which forms all round a broad border, as well to the
fore legs as at the head and tail.[95]

[Illustration: A Grosventre dagger]

[Illustration: Horn drinking cup]

[Illustration: Blackfoot parchment bags]

[Illustration: Talc pipes]

One of the most necessary articles to the men is the tobacco-pipe;
those made by themselves are not so handsome as those of the Sioux,
which they highly prize, and readily obtain by barter. The true
Blackfoot pipes are made of the talc, of which I have already spoken,
or of a blackish stone, which is found in the Rocky Mountains. Their
shape is shown in the annexed woodcuts;[96] {252} it is often in
the form of a ball, or a pear, and rests upon a cubical foot. The
tube is made of wood, broad, flat, or round, and sometimes carved in
imitation of a serpent. The handsomest are the large medicine pipes,
the _calumets_ of the French.[97] They are adorned with the red heads
of the woodpecker, bills, and a large fan made of feathers, and are
used in all the solemn treaties and festivals of the North American
tribes, more or less ornamented, but, on the whole, always in the same
manner. When the Blackfeet smoke, they put a piece of dried earth, or a
round mass made of the filaments and pods of certain water plants, on
the ground, to rest the pipe on. Their tobacco consists of the small,
roundish, dried leaves of the sakakomi plant (_Arbutus uva ursi_). When
you visit an Indian in his tent, the pipe is immediately taken up, and
passes round in the company, each person handing it to his left-hand
neighbour. The master of the tent often blows the smoke towards the sun
and the earth; every one takes some puffs and hands it on; the last man
sends the pipe back again, but gives it to the person sitting opposite
to him, in another row, and it circulates as before. The Blackfeet,
like most of the tribes of the Upper Missouri, sow the seeds of the
_Nicotiana quadrivalvis_, having first burnt the place where they
intend it to grow: it is only on solemn occasions that they smoke this
tobacco.

The food and clothing of these people are chiefly derived from the
herds of buffaloes, which they pursue, and for which they make, in
the winter season, large parks, into which they are driven. The
antelopes and the mountain sheep, especially the latter, furnish them
with leather for their finer articles of dress; but the skins of the
buffalo cow are indispensable for their large robes, tents, and for
barter with the Whites. They feed on almost every kind of animal except
the grizzly bear; the black bear is not found in their prairies, and
they have an aversion to amphibious animals. The Blood Indians hunt
wolves for the sake of their skins, which they sell. All these Indians
are very expert in the use of the bow, and this weapon is dangerous
in their hands; with the gun, on the contrary, they are said to be
indifferent marksmen, their pieces being by no means good. From the
vegetable kingdom they obtain many roots; the pomme blanche, or white
turnip, is very common in their prairies. The women and children dig
them up with a particular kind of wooden instrument, and bring them in
strings to the Whites for sale.

Another root is bitter; it is boiled in broth, and is then very
nutritious. It is said that when you are accustomed to the taste, it is
not disagreeable. Another turnip-like root, called, by the Canadians,
_racine à tabac_, is buried in the earth with hot stones, and is said
to become black, like tobacco, as soon as it is fit to eat; it has a
sweetish taste, like parsnips. The other wild fruits of the prairies
are gathered by the women and children. Little children are obliged
very early, even as soon as they have cut their teeth, to chew meat,
or more properly speaking, to suck it; while older children are seen
at the mother's breast. The Blackfeet are very fond of their {253}
children, and, at their birth, give them names after animals, and other
things, remarkable events, and all kinds of occurrences.

Brandy is the greatest luxury of these Indians, as of all the other
North Americans, for which they will willingly part with everything
they possess, and have about them. They will even offer their wives
and children for sale in order to obtain it. It is said that, when
intoxicated, they are often less dangerous than other people. Many of
the men have often six or eight wives, whom they are very ready to
give up to the Whites: even very young little girls are offered. On
the other hand, they generally punish infidelity in their wives very
severely, cutting off their noses in such cases; and we saw, about Fort
Mc Kenzie, a great many of these poor creatures horribly disfigured.
When ten or twelve tents were together, we were sure to see six or
seven women mutilated in this manner.

The husband also cuts off the hair by way of punishment, and they then
avoid showing their heads, which they seek to cover. During our stay,
the Whites had punished their Indian wives in the same way. The woman
whose nose is cut off, is immediately repudiated by her husband; nobody
will take her as his wife; and such women generally work for wages,
or for their subsistence, in other tents; attend on the children,
tan hides, or perform other household work. There have been frequent
instances of a husband immediately killing his wife, when she has had
intercourse with others; often he avenges himself on the paramour,
takes away his horse or other valuable property, to which he must
submit quietly.

There is no particular marriage ceremony among the Blackfeet; the
man pays for the wife, and takes her to him; the purchase-price is
announced to the father of the girl by a friend or some other man. If
he accepts it, the girl is given up, and the marriage is concluded. If
the wife behaves ill, or if her husband is tired of her, he sends her
home without any ceremony, which does not give occasion to any dispute.
She takes her property and retires: the children remain the property
of the husband. These Indians often have many children, who generally
run and play about quite naked, and swim in the river like ducks. The
boys go naked till they are thirteen or fourteen years old, but the
girls have a leather dress at an early age. In their domestic life,
the Blackfeet, like all the North Americans, are quiet and peaceable;
they are said, however, to be more passionate than other nations. Duels
sometimes take place, and vengeance is executed in most cases. If an
Indian is killed, his relations avenge themselves, if possible, on
the murderer; but, if they have no opportunity to do this, they take
revenge on the first member of his family that they meet with; often,
however, their vengeance is bought off with some articles of value.

In their camp and tents, these Indians, even the dangerous Blood
Indians, are hospitable. White men, who visited them in the cold month
of October, were immediately lodged in the tent {254} of a chief,
while the owner, with his whole family, slept in the open air: nobody
dared to molest the guests. The horses were well taken care of, and
there was no need to look after them, for, under these circumstances,
they were perfectly safe, as well as all the effects of the strangers,
which, in other cases, would certainly have been stolen. It is not
difficult for the Indians to feed a few Whites; on the other hand, it
is impossible for the latter to do the same for their Indian visitors,
and yet they expect it. These Indian visits are so numerous, and of
such long continuance, that it is absolutely impossible to procure the
necessary victuals for them. This is, doubtless, a chief cause of the
animosity of the Indians to the Whites; and, though the disproportion
in the numbers on both sides is shown them ever so clearly, they never
understand it. Mr. Mitchell once received a severe lesson on this
subject among the Sioux on the Mississippi. He was invited to a tent,
and, though he was very hungry, did not get a morsel to eat. On the
following morning, the Sioux came to him and said that, "though he
had made him suffer hunger, he had not done so from any ill-will; but
that the same thing had lately happened to him in the house of Mr.
Mitchell, and, therefore, he meant only to give him a hint, not to be
wanting in this respect for the future." The Blackfeet are inveterate
beggars, that is, they are frequently troublesome by their constant
importunities, but they are inferior in this respect to the Gros
Ventres des Prairies. Horse stealing is an eminent art among them,
and a dexterous horse stealer is a person of distinction. They have
invented many games for their amusement. At one of them they sit in a
circle, and several little heaps of beads, or other things, are piled
up, for which they play. One takes some pebbles in his hand, moving it
backwards and forwards in measured time, and singing; while another
endeavours to guess the number of pebbles. In this manner considerable
sums are lost and won.

The Blackfeet have various dances; for instance,--1. The mosquito
dance. 2. The dog dance. 3. The dance of the buffalo, with thin horns.
4. The dance of the prairie dogs. 5. The dance of those who carry the
raven. 6. The soldiers' dance. 7. The old bulls' dance. 8. The dance of
the imprudent. 9. The medicine dance. 10. The scalp dance. The first
seven are all danced in the same manner, the only difference is in the
singing. This is usually sometimes loud, sometimes soft, now high,
now low, always consisting of short, frequently repeated tones, and
extremely monotonous, often interrupted by loud exclamations of "re,
ri," or "hey, hey, hey," repeated three times, nearly the same among
all the Missouri tribes, and interrupted by the war cry. The medicine
dance of the women does not occur every year. It is a medicine feast
for the latter, at which, however, some men likewise appear. A large
wooden hut is erected, the women dress themselves as handsomely as they
can, and all wear a large feather cap. Some of the women take no part
in the dance, and these, with the men, are spectators. Men beat the
drum, and shake the schischikué, the last day of the feast; when the
dance is finished, the buffalo {255} park is imitated; the men, the
children, and the remaining women form two diverging lines, _b_ and
_c_,[98] which proceed from the medicine lodge, out of which the women
creep, crawling on all-fours, and endeavour to imitate the manners of
the buffalo cows. Several men represent buffalo bulls, and are at first
driven back by the women; but then, as is the practice in this kind
of hunting, a fire is kindled to windward, and the women, or buffalo
cows, as soon as they smell the smoke, retreat into the medicine lodge,
which concludes the festival. They sometimes perform this dance in the
summer, when the fancy takes them.

[Illustration: Plan of women's medicine dance]

[Illustration: Badge of Prairie-dog band]

[Illustration: Badge of Raven band]

[Illustration: Pipe-lighting stick]

The scalp dance, or, properly speaking, to dance the scalp, is
performed when they have killed their enemies. The women then dress
like the men, and likewise carry their arms. If women have taken part
in the warlike expedition in which enemies have been slain, they paint
their faces black. A woman sometimes carries the scalp, or several,
according to the number they may have; sometimes it is carried by an
old woman, who then remains aside and dances alone, and drums and
schischikué, played by men, accompany the dance. There is likewise
a dance of the brave, or warriors, who form a circle, within which
several dance, imitating all the movements of a battle, and firing
their guns, on which occasion their faces are painted so as to give
them a fierce expression.

The bands, unions, or associations, mentioned when we were speaking
of the Assiniboins, are found among the Blackfeet, as well as all
the other American tribes. They have a certain name, fixed rules and
laws, as well as their peculiar songs and dances, and serve in part
to preserve order in the camp, on the march, in the hunting parties,
&c. Seven such bands, or unions, among the Blackfeet, were mentioned
to me, and to which the first seven dances above-mentioned belong.
They are the following:--1. The band of the mosquitoes. This union
has no police business to do, but consists of young people, many of
whom are only eight or ten years of age; there are also some young men
among them, and sometimes even a couple of old men, in order to see to
the observance of the laws and regulations. This union performs wild,
youthful pranks; they run about the camp whenever they please; pinch,
nip, and scratch men, women, and children, in order to give annoyance
like the mosquitoes. They do not even spare old, distinguished men. If
any man offends one of them, he has to do with all of them, for they
hold closely together. The young people begin with this union, and then
gradually rise higher, through the others. As the badge of their band,
they wear an eagle's claw, fastened round the wrist with a leather
strap. They have also a particular mode of painting themselves, like
every other band, and their peculiar songs and dance. 2. The dogs. Its
badge is not known to me: it consists of young married men, and {256}
the number is not limited. 3. The prairie dogs. This is a police union,
which receives married men: its badge is a long hooked stick, wound
round with otter skin, with knots of white skin at intervals, and a
couple of eagle's feathers hanging from each of them.[99] 4. Those who
carry the raven. Its badge is a long staff, covered with red cloth,
to which black ravens' feathers, in a long thick row, are fastened
from one end to the other.[100] They contribute to the preservation
of order, and the police. 5. The buffalo, with thin horns. When they
dance, they wear horns on their caps. In camp, the tents of the unions
are in the middle of the circle, which has a free space in the centre.
If disorders take place, they must help the soldiers, who mark out the
camp, and then take the first place.

6. The soldiers. They are the most distinguished warriors, who
exercise the police, especially in the camp and on the march; in public
deliberations they have the casting vote, whether, for instance, they
shall hunt, change their abode, make war, or conclude peace, &c. They
carry, as their badge, a wooden club, the breadth of a hand, with hoofs
of the buffalo cow hanging to the handle. They are sometimes forty or
fifty men in number. Their wives, when they dance the medicine dance,
are painted in the same manner as the men. 7. The buffalo bulls. They
form the first, that is, the most distinguished of all the unions, and
are the highest in rank. They carry in their hand a medicine badge,
hung with buffalo hoofs, which they rattle when they dance, to their
peculiar song. They are too old to attend to the police, having passed
through all the unions, and are considered as having retired from
office. In a certain degree they have descended from the union of
active and distinguished soldiers. In their medicine dance they wear
on their head a cap, made of the long forelock and mane of the buffalo
bull, which hangs down to a considerable length. New members are chosen
into all these unions, who are obliged to pay entrance; medicine men,
and the most distinguished men, have to pay more than other people. If
a woman, whose husband is in one of the unions, has had any intercourse
with another, the union meets in one of the tents, where they smoke,
and, in the evening, when all around are buried in sleep, they
penetrate into the woman's tent, drag her out, ill-treat her as they
please, and cut off her nose. {257} These Indians are often very cruel.
The man cannot make any opposition; he must repudiate such a woman. He
is then told why she has been treated in this manner, and he may have
his revenge on the seducer, from whom he generally takes some horses.

We saw the Blackfeet ride to battle half naked, but some, too, in
their finest dresses, with the beautifully ornamented shield obtained
from the Crows, and their splendid crowns of feathers,[101] and, on
these occasions, they all have their medicines, or amulets, open
and hung about them. The battle, of which we were witnesses, and of
which I shall give an account in the next chapter, enabled us to
form a pretty correct notion of their mode of fighting, which does
not differ from that of the other North Americans. Small parties,
almost naked, approach the enemy by stealth, and endeavour to gain the
advantage of him by stratagem, ambuscade, or surprise; and the attack
is generally made at daybreak. They formed long lines, and fired from
a great distance; but they are indifferent marksmen. The women and
children were very attentive to the wounded, over whom they cried
and lamented, as we shall see in the next chapter. The enemy, with
guns, arrows, spears, and knives, killed and wounded men, women, and
children indiscriminately, and scalped even the women, who are often
taken prisoners, and carried off as slaves, but afterwards not usually
ill-treated. I shall have occasion to speak also, in the next chapter,
of the fury with which they mutilate the dead, every one, as he passes,
venting his rage by firing his gun, or throwing stones at them, or by
blows. No trace is now to be found, at least among the Blackfeet, of
the tortures inflicted on the prisoners, as formerly practised by the
American Indians.

When the warriors come near their camp, after a battle, they sing;
and one rides or runs before, often in serpentine lines, backwards
and forwards about the tents, holding up and shaking the scalp, and
displaying it at a distance. If any one has taken a weapon, he displays
it in the same manner, loudly proclaiming his name as having taken
it. After a successful engagement, the men sing the song which they
call _aninay_, that is, "they are painted black." On these occasions,
they assemble in the open air about their tents, with their faces
painted black, their leggins and robes spotted with black, and then
sing, without the accompaniment of any instrument, nor are the scalps
displayed. There are no words to this song, which consists only of the
usual notes.

The weapons of the Blackfeet do not much differ from those of the
other Indians on the Missouri; but they are not so handsome and well
made as those of the Crows, Manitaries and Mandans. They do not
themselves make bows of the horn of the elk, or of the mountain sheep,
which are consequently not common among them. Their country does not
produce any wood suitable for bows; and they endeavour to obtain, by
barter, the bow wood, or yellow wood (_Maclura aurantiaca_), from
the River Arkansas. For their quivers, they prefer the skin of the
cougar (_Felis concolor_, Linn.), for which they give a horse. The
tail hangs down from the quiver, is trimmed with red cloth on the
inner side, embroidered with white beads, and ornamented {258} at the
end or elsewhere, with strips of skin, like tassels. I saw few lances
among the Blackfeet, but many war clubs, most of which they had taken
from the Flatheads. Many have thick leather shields, which are usually
painted green and red, and hung with feathers and other things, to
which some superstitious belief is attached. When they are going to
battle, they twist the leather case of their gun round their head, like
a turban. Wolf skins are then useful to them, especially when they want
to observe the enemy. They wear them across their shoulders, and, when
they wish to approach the enemy unperceived, they throw them over their
head, and lie down behind an elevation, or rising of the ground, in
such a manner as to have the appearance of a white wolf.

The medicine men or physicians of the Blackfeet are very unskilful.
We always saw them take water in their mouths, which they spit out
over the wounded. They never wash or cleanse the wounds, and the
coagulated blood was still on them on the second day. The recovery of
all the severely wounded, without any proper care, shows the vigorous
constitutions of these men, of which, indeed, there are many other
proofs. Drums and rattles (schischikué) were daily used in their
attendance on the sick, in the closed tent. Children mortally wounded
lay on the ground without covering, and without any kind of attention,
exposed to the burning sun, and they all died in a short time. These
Indians are said to have successfully healed some severe wounds; but,
as far as my observation goes, those cures were chiefly to be ascribed
to the good constitutions of the patients. Among almost all the tribes
of the Missouri there were individuals who had been scalped, and cured,
and who wore caps; and we were told that there were some such among the
Blackfeet. These Indians have some efficacious remedies derived from
the vegetable kingdom, one of which is a whitish root from the Rocky
Mountains, which is called, by the Canadians, rhubarb, which is said to
resemble our rhubarb in its effect and taste, and likewise to act as an
emetic. Another root is esteemed to be a powerful remedy against the
bite of serpents. In all cases they have recourse to the drum and the
rattle, and have great confidence in the intolerable noise caused by
those instruments. The Blackfeet make their rattles of leather, wood,
or bladder, because they do not grow any calabashes. It is well known
that this remarkable instrument is in use among most of the different
tribes or nations of the American race, as well in the northern as the
southern half of this vast continent. They have great confidence in
the medicines of the Whites, and often apply for them; but many were
in such a desperate state from diseases of long standing, that a cure
was quite out of the question. If Indians are cured by their doctors
(which sometimes happens), they make them considerable presents, or the
medicine man makes a heavy charge. Last spring several Blackfeet died
very suddenly from colic, accompanied with vomiting, and the disease
appears very closely to have resembled the cholera.

When a Blackfoot dies, they do not bury him in the ground if they
can avoid it, but sew him up in a buffalo robe, dressed in his best
clothes, his face painted red, but without his {259} weapons, and lay
him in some retired place, in ravines, rocks, forests, or on a high,
steep bank, and often cover the body with wood or stones, that the
wolves may not get at it. Frequently, when they cannot find a solitary
spot, the corpse remains above ground in a kind of wooden shed, and
they were often obliged to bury it, or to give it to the Whites as
a desirable present, which cannot be refused. The relations cut off
their long hair, smear it, as well as their faces and clothes, with
whitish-grey clay, and, during the time of mourning, wear their worst
clothing. Often, too, they cut off a joint of a finger. They believe
the dead go into another country, where they will have lack of nothing;
and that they have often been heard when they were summoned to smoke
a pipe together. At the funeral of rich Indians, several horses are
often killed upon the spot; and we were told of instances when twelve
or fifteen horses were killed in this manner at the funeral of a
celebrated chief. On the death of Sachkomapoh (the child), a rich and
distinguished chief, who is said to have possessed between 4000 and
5000 horses, 150 were killed with arrows.[102] The relations assemble
at the residence of the deceased, and even the men lament and wail.
The corpse is generally buried on the first day, and in case of death
during the night, it is removed on the following morning.

The Blackfeet, like all the other American Indians, are superstitious,
and it is rare to see a man who has not some strange custom or habit
which he adopts as a charm, and on which he imagines that the success
of his plans and undertakings depends. Many rattle with bells before
they smoke; others spit in different directions before they drink;
others, again, mutter a certain phrase, or a kind of prayer, &c. &c.
We saw one man who never lighted his pipe at the fire, but made use
of a stick about two feet long, and twice as thick as the ramrod of a
gun, which was ornamented with feathers and bells, and painted red and
black.[103] It was hollow at the end to receive another thinner stick,
which he always kindled when he wanted to light his pipe. On inquiring
the cause of this strange custom, he answered that he was afraid of
iron, and must, therefore, light his pipe with this stick. Most of
these people have such singular customs, but, unfortunately, they do
not like to communicate to others their notions on such subjects, and
it is, consequently, very difficult to get at the bottom of them.

{260} Mr. Berger, the interpreter, who was otherwise well acquainted
with the Blackfoot Indians, could not give me any information
respecting their religious ideas, further than that they worship the
sun (Natohs or Nantohs); and it is probable that, like the Mandans,
they look upon it either as the lord of life, or his dwelling-place.
We did not observe, in their camps, either offerings for the heavenly
powers, hung upon poles, as among the Mandans and Manitaries, or any
other indications of the exercise of some kind of worship.[104]


FOOTNOTES:

[77] The Sassis, or Sarcis (_Sarcees_), are a branch of the Chippewans,
who live further to the north, and must not be confounded with the
Ojibbeways (Chippeways). (See A. Mc Kenzie, pages lxxi. and cxvi.)
Tanner speaks of their language; and Captain Franklin, in his first
journey (page 109), says that this tribe had 150 tents. Dr. Morse,
in his Report (page 34), calls the Indians mentioned here, Sursees.
According to Captain Bonneville, they are usually included under the
name of Blackfeet; which, however, is by no means the case in the part
of the country through which I travelled.--MAXIMILIAN.

_Comment by Ed._ The Sarcee are a small but brave and mischievous tribe
belonging to the Athabascan family--the Tinneh stock, related either
to the Chepewyan or Beaver Indians. Early in the nineteenth century
they migrated southward, and joined the Blackfoot confederacy. They
have always roamed in British territory, and are now upon a reserve in
Alberta, a short distance south of Calgary. In 1901 they numbered 205,
and were employed in farming and cattle-herding.

[78] The Kutanas, or Kutnehas, live beyond the sources of Maria River,
on the other side of the Rocky Mountains, and form a tribe, few in
number, of which we shall have occasion to speak in the sequel. Dr.
Morse (Loc. cit. page 34) calls them Coutouns. Several other tribes of
Indian nations--for instance, the Ripids (_ibid._ page 34), have never
been mentioned to me.--MAXIMILIAN.

[79] See our volume xxiv. For different accounts of this embassy and
the subsequent treaty, see James Stuart, "Adventure on the Upper
Missouri," in Montana Historical Society _Contributions_, i, pp. 80-85;
Bradley, "Affairs at Fort Benton (Culbertson's Journal)," _ibid._, iii,
pp. 201-203; also _Larpenteur's Journal_, i, pp. 109-115.--ED.

[80] I must here observe that Lewis and Clarke's large special map is
very correct for the country about Fort Mc Kenzie.--MAXIMILIAN.

[81] Teton River--not named for the Sioux tribe of that designation,
but from the French word signifying "breast," so called from three
neighboring mountain peaks--was designated by Lewis and Clark first
Rose then Tansy River. It is the largest affluent of Maria's, rising
in the main range of the Rockies in two branches, flowing due east
until very near the Missouri; then turning abruptly north-east, and
discharging into Maria's. The narrows where the Teton approaches so
near the Missouri was known to the voyageurs as "Cracon du Nez."--ED.

[82] This new fort was not built until after the abandonment of Fort
Mc Kenzie (see note 75, _ante_, p. 87), when Culbertson founded Fort
Lewis, which was in turn soon deserted for Fort Benton.--ED.

[83] The Siksekai signifies, in their language, Blackfoot,
and all the other nations have translated the name into their
languages.--MAXIMILIAN.

[84] The name of Blood Indians is said to have the following origin.
Before the Blackfeet divided into separate bands, they were encamped in
the neighbourhood of five or six tents of the Kutonas or the Sarcees,
I believe of the former. The Siksekai and the Kahna desired to kill
the Kutonas; and though the Piekanns declared against it, a part of
those Indians attacked the few huts during the night, killed all the
inmates, took the scalps, stained their faces and hands with the blood,
and then returned. Disputes ensued in consequence of this cruel action;
the Indians separated from each other, and the murderers received the
name which they have ever since retained. They have always manifested
a more sanguinary and predatory character than the others, of whom the
Piekanns have always been remarked as the most moderate and humane of
their nation.--MAXIMILIAN.

[85] Referring probably to the Blackfoot band of Sioux. See our volume
xxii, p. 326, note 287.--ED.

[86] For the Nez Percés see Franchère's _Narrative_, in our volume vi,
p. 340, note 145; for the Kutenai, our volume vii, p. 211, note 73.--ED.

[87] Pierre Louis Antoine Cordier, a French geologist of repute. In
1819 he was called to the professorship of that science in the museum
of natural history at Paris. Under Louis Philippe, Professor Cordier
was a councillor and peer of France.--ED.

[88] See Plate 45, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[89] These roots, which are cut into short cylinders, and strung
together, are bought at high prices from other nations; for example,
the Crees and the Ojibbeways. They are likewise used as an ingredient
in the bait for beavers.--MAXIMILIAN.

[90] This green stone is a compact talc or steatite, which is found in
the Rocky Mountains.--MAXIMILIAN.

[91] This is represented in our volume xiv, p. 202.--ED.

[92] See Plate 54, figure 1, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[93] See p. 105 for illustration of Blackfoot parchment bags.--ED.

[94] See p. 105 for illustration of horn drinking cup.--ED.

[95] See the portrait of the Piegan on horseback, in Plate 19, in the
accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[96] See p. 105 for illustration of talc pipes.--ED.

[97] See Plate 81, figure 13, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[98] See plan of women's medicine dance, p. 113.--ED.

[99] See p. 113 for badge of Prairie-dog band.--ED.

[100] See p. 113 for badge of Raven band.--ED.

[101] See Plate 81, figures 5, 6, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[102] Among the Araucanians, Patagonians, Puelches, and Charruas, the
domestic animals belonging to the deceased are killed upon his grave
(see D'Orbigny Voy. Introd., p. 112), and the women cut off joints of
their fingers.--MAXIMILIAN.

[103] See p. 113 for illustration of pipe-lighting stick.--ED.

[104] In Dr. Morse's Report (page 354), there are many incorrect
statements respecting the religion of the Indians to the east of the
Rocky Mountains.--MAXIMILIAN.


CHAPTER XX

STAY AT FORT MC KENZIE, FROM AUGUST 9TH TO SEPTEMBER 14TH

    Indian Invitations--Baptism of the new comers--Trade with the
      Indians--Distinction conferred on Ninoch-Kiaiu--Affront
      to the Chiefs--Visit to Kutonapi--Death of Martin, the
      _Engagé_--Dispute occasioned by it--Ride to Snow River--The
      Blood Indians murder the Relation of Ninoch-Kiaiu--Arrival of
      the Corpse at the Fort--Quarrel of the Blackfoot and Blood
      Indians--Battle with the Assiniboins--Expedition to the
      Kutanas--Trade with the Main Body of the Blackfeet--Their
      principal Chief, Tatsiki-Stomik--War Party of the
      Siksekai--A Party of Blood Indians, with their Chief,
      Stomik-Sosak--Defeat of our Intention to proceed further--The
      Building of a new Fort--Preparations for the Voyage down the
      Missouri to Fort Union.


Fort Mc Kenzie, at the time of our arrival, was inhabited by people of
several nations, and pains were taken to occupy the motley multitude in
various ways. Handicraftsmen, of various kinds, were set to work, and
our hunters, among whom were two Spaniards from the neighbourhood of
Santa Fe, were sent out whenever circumstances permitted. Yet all these
people were not sufficiently employed, and measures were, therefore,
taken to reduce the number. Having made our arrangements on the first
day of our arrival, and viewed the Indian camp, with its many dogs, and
old dirty brown leather tents, we were invited, on the following day,
together with Mr. Mitchell, to a feast, given by the Blackfoot chief,
Mehkskéhmé-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 {262} 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 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
the Indian fashion) in silence, and without making any salutations.
We crept through the small door, which was besieged by numerous dogs,
and stepped over the foremost, who grinned at us maliciously. Mr.
Mitchell was immediately invited to three or four similar feasts, an
honour which can only suit an Indian stomach. In the afternoon the
_engagés_ of the fort gave us what they call baptism; namely, a welcome
on our happy arrival in this remote wilderness by firing several
salutes in the court-yard of the fort, for which it is usual to give
them something to drink, or else a present. Our entertainment for the
evening was the noise of the drum of the Indian camp, which is employed
not only to drive the evil spirit out of the sick, but in their dances
and other amusements, and is, therefore, heard almost every day and
every hour. We were likewise much entertained by the antics of three
young bears (_Ursus ferox_), which ran about in the court-yard. Another
very pretty animal had been brought up in the fort: this was a young
prairie fox (_Canis velox_, Say), which Mr. Mitchell made me a present
of, and which, by its tameness and vivacity, helped to amuse us during
the following winter. Our new lodging swarmed with mice, which ran
over our feet while we were writing, and kept the traps set for them
continually in motion. We trained my pretty little fox to this sport,
which was new to him, and he soon became a capital mouser.

On the 10th of August preparations were made for the solemn reception
of the Indians, which always precedes the opening of the trade, and
which is considered by the Indians as a matter of great importance.
The flag being hoisted, two small cannons, placed in the middle of the
court-yard, fired signals for the commencement of the trade. It was
full half an hour before a noise arose in the Indian camp: we heard
singing, firing of guns, and saw the mass of the Indians advancing on
all sides. When Ninoch-Kiaiu (the bear chief) approached the gate, it
was opened, and the two cannons were again fired. He entered, followed
by three or four chiefs, who approached Mr. Mitchell with their heads
inclined; and, after shaking hands with him, were made to sit down in
the Indian apartment. Soon afterwards another body appeared, and Mr.
Mitchell went out of the gate to meet them. They advanced in small
parties, headed by their chiefs, who always bring a present consisting
either of some beavers' skins or of a horse. The first horses that
we received in this manner were two greys and a light bay, which
were variously {263} painted with red, chiefly on the forehead, the
shoulders, and the haunches, and marked on the legs with transverse
stripes like a zebra, and on each side of the backbone with figures in
the shape of arrow heads. The chiefs and about thirty of the principal
warriors were admitted, and, after being seated on buffalo hides in the
dining apartment, they refreshed themselves by drinking and smoking. In
this manner three or four different bands advanced with rapid strides,
repeatedly discharging their guns, and singing their rude songs. We
observed some remarkable, martial-looking physiognomies among these
men, painted in the strangest manner, marching with a very warlike
air. The chiefs wore, for the most part, the uniform received from
the Company, made in the fashion of a great coat, with round hats and
tufts of feathers, on which they prided themselves greatly, but which
disfigured them most lamentably. Their faces, painted of a bright red,
surrounded with their thick, lank hair, and surmounted by a round hat
with a tuft of feathers, such as our German post-boys used to wear, had
such a ridiculous appearance, that we could not refrain from laughing.
Some of their uniforms were of two colours--one half red, and the other
half green, not unlike the dress of some of our prisoners in Bridewell.
Mehkskéhmé-Sukahs was dressed in the true Indian fashion, and
interested us more than any of the others. His face was black, with the
eyelids, mouth, and some stripes on the forehead and cheeks, vermilion.
After three or four bands of the Blackfeet had been received, they were
followed by one of the dangerous Blood Indians, under their chief and
medicine man, Natohs (the sun),[105] and these, too, were admitted;
after which a detachment of from sixty to eighty of the Gros Ventres
des Prairies arrived, who, having likewise brought a horse and some
beaver skins as a present, were treated like the others. The chiefs
were always welcomed by firing the cannon, and then delivered up their
colours, most of which they had received from English merchants, and
which were carried before them on long ensign staffs, quite in military
style. Mr. Mitchell had attempted, in the preceding year, to dispense
with these salutations, but the Indians immediately took offence and
were even going to part without transacting any business; for they are
extremely punctilious in points of honour.

While the company of Indians were employed in smoking, Mr. Mitchell
took Ninoch-Kiaiu[106] (who had always been very faithful and devoted
to the Whites and the Fur Company), into his own room, and presented
him with a new uniform, half red and half green, with red and green
facings, and trimmed with silver lace; a red felt hat, ornamented
with many tufts of feathers; in short, a complete dress, and a new
double-barrelled percussion gun. Mr. Mitchell wished particularly to
distinguish this man, because he had never been to the north to trade
with the Hudson's Bay Company. When he had equipped himself in his
new uniform, which was worth 150 dollars, and entered the assembly
of the chiefs in the court-yard of the fort, it immediately became
evident that the distinction conferred upon him made no favourable
impression on them; some chiefs who had made presents to Mr. Mitchell,
and had not yet received anything in return--for instance, {264}
Mehkskéhmé-Sukahs, could not conceal their feelings; the latter hid
his head behind the person who sat next to him, while others hung down
their heads, and seemed lost in thought. When Mr. Mitchell perceived
this, he caused it to be intimated to the chiefs, that "they saw how
the American Fur Company distinguished its faithful friends; that
they, on the contrary, had generally taken their beaver skins to the
English; that he, therefore, could not give them much now, but would
make every chief a present. That it would be their interest to deal
with him in future, like Ninoch-Kiaiu, and then it would be in his
power to make them more considerable presents." The Bear Chief was then
made to mount his grey horse, that he might show himself out of the
fort in his new dress. In a rather constrained manner he made a speech
to the warriors assembled before the fort, then rode into the camp,
returned, and alighted. It must be observed, that this man was not
popular, and that his situation at this time was very dangerous; and we
afterwards saw him sitting, with his head drooping, like a proscribed
person, and afterwards retiring to Mr. Mitchell's room, where he
remained alone. Soon there arose violent debates among the chiefs;
and as Berger, the proper interpreter for the Blackfoot language, was
absent, this circumstance, perhaps, increased the misunderstanding.
Several Indians rose, among whom was Haisikat (the stiff foot, formerly
the old head), who, with violent gesticulations, made a long speech.
He was brother-in-law to the Bear Chief, and plainly advised him to
go home, and keep himself sober, because otherwise something serious
might happen. The Blood Indians were offended; they spoke loudly of
shooting Ninoch-Kiaiu, between whom and his friends long conferences
took place. While this was passing, we saw all the other Indians sit
down in half circles before the gate of the fort, as represented in the
accompanying woodcut: _a a_, the warriors sitting in seven semicircular
lines; _b_, the main body of the Indians; _c_, the front of the fort,
with a block-house, _d_.[107] The warriors sat on the ground, and,
while liquor and tobacco were distributed among them, they sang without
ceasing, and sometimes fired their guns. At six in the evening, when
we were relieved from these troublesome guests, and hoped to have some
repose after the fatigues of the day, a violent dispute arose among the
_engagés_, which might have had serious consequences. {265} Blows had
been exchanged, and the example which the Whites gave the Indians was
not very creditable to them. It was late before this dispute was ended,
and, during the night, there was no rest, as the trade with the Indians
continued till a late hour in their camp, which was, indeed, detached,
but at no great distance.

[Illustration: Indians seated before Fort Mc Kenzie]

[Illustration: Head of _Cervus macrotis_]

The offence taken by the Indians, at the distinction conferred on
Ninoch-Kiaiu, gave rise to a report, that the Blood Indians would
attack the fort, and murder all the Whites; and, though this report
was not literally correct, it was a proof of a hostile temper, which
manifested itself in various ways; for example, they thought of
withdrawing, and endeavoured to steal our horses. They had already
got one in their power, but it was recovered, and six armed men
were sent to keep guard in the meadows. The ill-temper of the Blood
Indians made Ninoch-Kiaiu expect no good from them, and he had brought
all his horses, during the night, into the fort. Some well-disposed
Indians, who came to give us assurances of their devotedness, received
refreshments, as they happened to come just at breakfast-time. Mr.
Bodmer had undertaken to paint Mehkskéhmé-Sukahs in full dress, with
his face painted black and red, a leather shirt ornamented with slips
of otter skin and ermine, a large bunch of the feathers of birds of
prey, woodpeckers' bills, ermine and pieces of red cloth in his hand--a
remarkably colossal figure.[108] Another Indian, usually called the Big
Soldier, came to have his portrait painted, on being paid for it. His
real name was Haschasto (the orator), his dress very richly ornamented,
and his stature nearly six feet. It was not easy to make a bargain
with him, as he estimated his handsome person very high, and was much
offended at our refusal to paint him at such an extravagant price.

Mr. Mitchell having been informed of the speedy arrival of the
Blackfoot chief, Kutonapi (the old Kutona), we undertook, on the 11th,
in the afternoon, an excursion to go to meet him, he having been
hitherto kept away by the beaver hunting. We crossed the river near
the part where a great number of young Indians were bathing. They ran
across the keel-boat which was lying here, and leaped from it into the
water. Their mode of swimming was not like that of the Europeans, but
perfectly resembled that of the Brazilians. These slender, well-made
young men were extremely active; their colour was a very dark shining
reddish-brown, more red than that of most of the Brazilians that I
have seen, whose colour is often more yellowish or grey brown. It
was not far from the landing-place to a small lateral valley full of
poplar copses, where a couple of leather tents were set up. Kutonapi
received us, sitting at the further end of his tent, while the other
Indians fired their guns on our arrival. In this small indifferent
hunting tent, we had to sit down on buffalo skins, while all the
inmates, consisting of four or five men, several women, and many
children, crowded about the door to see us. The Spanish hunter, Isidore
Sandoval,[109] acted as interpreter. There were fifteen or twenty
horses grazing about the tent, but there are Blackfeet who possess a
much greater number. After we had shaken hands with the men, a vessel,
with very fresh water from the Missouri, was presented, to cool
ourselves, on which Mr. Mitchell distributed {266} some small presents,
tobacco, &c., which Kutonapi accepted with thanks, and immediately
began a song in praise of the sun (Natohs), or the lord of life. A
wooden dish was set before each of us, containing boiled beaver's tail,
with prairie turnips (_pomme blanche_). The beaver's tail was cut into
small slices, and was boiled very tender. It did not taste amiss, and
is reckoned a good dish even in the United States. After the Indians
had eaten what was left, bundles of beaver skins were produced, and
the chief presented Mr. Mitchell with nine skins, and the son gave me
a tenth, and continually squeezed my hand to thank me "for having come
so far to visit them." The interpreter translated the compliments on
both sides, and I can with truth affirm, that the cordiality and the
unaffected, respectful politeness with which we were here received,
could not be surpassed among civilized nations. The beaver skins were
very carefully cleaned and dried, so that they resembled parchment. My
double-barrelled gun pleased them much, and the son wished to fire it
off, which he did, with the right-hand barrel, which was loaded with
ball. The old women smoked with us, but remained before the door of the
tent. The merry dark brown children seemed to be cleaner than usual,
which might, indeed, be said of the whole of Kutonapi's family. We
cordially took leave of these friendly people, and the chief said he
should shortly pay us a visit.

On our return to the fort, the trade had been resumed, and was going
on very briskly; it gave occasion to many droll scenes; pleasure and
discontent were expressed in many different ways. Many Indians were
quite affectionate, and embraced the Whites; others were noisy and
angry. There was a woman feeding her four or five small children with
meat, the youngest of whom, though it had no teeth, had got a little
piece crammed into its mouth. There we saw boys holding a mouse, which
they shot from each other's hands with arrows, &c. &c.

On the 12th of August, about noon, Kutonapi arrived in the fort with
his band, firing their guns, and was received with the usual discharge
of the cannon. The cheerfulness that then prevailed among us was
immediately interrupted by discord and mourning. Some Blood Indians
had stolen three horses belonging to the fort, and search was made in
vain after the thieves, when, in the afternoon, a much more serious
event occurred. Mr. Bodmer had just begun to paint the portrait of
Hotokaneheh (the head of the buffalo skin), with his large, handsomely
ornamented calumet, when we heard a shot in an adjoining room, and
immediately saw the people running together. A Blood Indian, who had
often been in the fort, and had, till that time, always conducted
himself well, had shot, with a pistol, one of our young men named
Martin. All the people were assembled round the perpetrator, and
nobody knew the cause of this event. The Indian seemed, indeed, to
be rather confounded, but affirmed that his pistol had gone off by
accident. Many of the young men were for having him shot, because, as
they said, he had doubtless committed the murder designedly; but Mr.
Mitchell decided with more moderation, considering the occurrence as an
unfortunate accident. When the first moments of exasperation were {267}
past, he forbade the murderer the fort, but at the same time strictly
enjoined the _engagés_ to refrain from all acts of violence towards
this Indian. Ninoch-Kiaiu, who was present, did not take the matter so
easily. Though he had been offended in the forenoon, because brandy
was refused him, he warmly took part with the Whites, and was going to
shoot the murderer; but being prevented in this, he beat him with the
butt-end of his gun, and drove him, as well as several Gros Ventres
des Prairies, who happened to be present, with blows, out of the fort.
Kutonapi, who was likewise present, stepped forward, and made a violent
speech, in which he described, in lively colours, the offences of the
Blood Indians against the Whites, and exhorted us to take vengeance for
them. Mr. Mitchell thanked him, but persevered in the more temperate
course, which, in his situation, was the most judicious. Berger, the
interpreter, returned, whom Mr. Mitchell had sent to summon a numerous
body of Blackfeet of 250 tents, which he had left on the Muscleshell
River, and who might join us in about a week. Most of the Indians
about the fort had withdrawn, so that, on the 14th of August, there
were only twenty-three tents; but on the same day others came, and
with them one Bird, a half Indian, and a treacherous, very dangerous
man, who had great influence among the Blackfeet. He had been formerly
in the service of the American Fur Company, had then gone over to the
Hudson's Bay Company, and cheated both. He was a tall, strong man, with
a brownish complexion, thick black hair, spoke the language of the
Blackfeet perfectly, and lived constantly among them. At present he was
not in the service of either Company, but lived by catching beaver,
and hunting, for his own account.[110] At this time, however, he came
from Fort Union, and brought letters for Mr. Mc Kenzie. Niatohse, the
chief of the Gros Ventres des Prairies, who has been already mentioned,
also arrived, and, being a man who was much esteemed, was very well
received. Mr. Patton, clerk of the Company, who had hitherto had the
direction at Fort Mc Kenzie, a man well known in the Rocky Mountains,
and thoroughly acquainted with the business of the fur trade, left us
on this day with eleven _engagés_, in a strong _pirogue_, to return
to Fort Union, and thence to Fort St. Louis. The vacancy left in the
fort by their departure was soon filled up by the number of Indians
who arrived; among whom we were visited by Mexkemanastan, whom we
had lately seen on Bighorn River, whose portrait was taken by Mr.
Bodmer.[111] This business attracted many Indians, who were often
troublesome. When the portrait of such a man struck the Indians as
being very like, they said, "Bodmer could write very correctly," as
they have no proper word for drawing. A certain Blood Indian, with his
wife, was present the whole time, and was a constant trouble to us. He
repeatedly invited us to his tent, which we were at last obliged to
accept. On our way to his tent, we saw in the Indian camp a great many
women with their noses cut off; a frightful mutilation, the punishment
for infidelity, which, as I have already said, is frequently inflicted
among these people. In the spacious and light tent we found the owner
lying on a kind of couch {268} of basket-work, with a back to it, and
covered with a buffalo skin. He was a man of bad character, who, only
the year before, had fired his gun, loaded with small shot, in the face
of a white man. In the centre of the tent there was a small fire, which
emitted great heat. Dried berries were set before us and this neat
tent was not disagreeable, as these people had no children, and great
cleanliness prevailed in their dwelling. Isidore Sandoval acted as
interpreter. We had every day conversations of this kind, in which we
always found something new to observe.

Mr. Mitchell thought now of building a new fort, for which he
endeavoured to choose the most suitable situation. On the 16th of
August we rode out for this purpose, ascended the chain of hills behind
the fort, where the little prairie dogs retreated into their burrows,
and then perceived two armed Indians, who, as soon as they observed
us, turned their horses, and galloped up to us. They had not noticed
our double-barrelled guns, and doubtless came up to frighten us, and
to try their fortune with us; for, as soon as they came near, and saw
our arms, they turned round and trotted away.[112] On our calling
after them, they stopped at some distance; one of them gave his gun to
the other, returned to us, and gave us to understand by signs, "that
an Indian had run away with his sister, the wife of a third person,
and they had ridden out to look for him, in order that they might
shoot him." Apparently following the traces, they quickly disappeared
from our view. A little further on we met with about twenty of our
own people, who were sent to work at the foundation of the new fort.
They were well armed, and had carts with their bedding, and other
necessaries. They had orders to remain out the whole week, and not
return till Saturday. Other men were sent out to burn charcoal for the
smith, for which poplar wood is very serviceable. We rode before these
people, and had, on our right hand, a fine prospect into the valley
of the Teton River, which, as a stripe of verdure, made an agreeable
break in the yellow, scorched prairie. In the valley we saw three or
four Indian tents under high poplar trees. Looking to the left hand
from this high ridge, we saw, in the foreground, a great bend of the
Missouri, on which there were several beautiful copses of poplar, and
bright verdant spots; and further upwards, on the south bank, the
mouth of the stream, called, by Lewis and Clarke, Snow River,[113]
which was the most extreme point of my journey on the Upper Missouri,
though at that time I still hoped to reach the three principal sources
of that river, the Jefferson, the Madison, and the Gallatin.[114]
Before us, a little to the left, in a south-western direction, we saw,
at some distance, the first chain of the Rocky Mountains, which does
not reach the snowy region,[115] and behind us the beautiful {269}
mountain called the Bear's Paw. From this lofty point we rode to the
left, over steep eminences, to the Missouri, and then along the banks
of the river, through thickets of willows and shady tufts of poplars,
maples, and elms, mixed with buffalo-berry, roses, dogwood, and other
shrubs. The ground was covered with luxuriant grass, of which some hay
had been made by the people of the fort, and it was still lying in
cocks. The path led along the north bank, under shady trees, and we
overlooked the spot, on the opposite bank, where Mr. Mitchell thought
of building his new fort, in a verdant prairie, near an extensive
poplar forest. We there saw several Gros Ventres walking about, their
horses grazing, their tents being pitched in a neighbouring wood.

We had scarcely set out on our return to the fort, and reached the
shady spot on the bank, when Dauphin, one of our people, came galloping
on an Indian horse, quite out of breath, and told Mr. Mitchell that
Ninoch-Kiaiu desired to inform him that his nephew had been murdered
by the Blood Indians--that he should immediately attack them, and,
therefore, advised us to return as speedily as possible. He added,
that he had instantly caused the people, who had been sent to work at
the new fort, to return. We rode rapidly back to the eminence, and
there found our people, who, with several Indians, were returning
to the fort. Mr. Mitchell very seriously reprimanded them for their
conduct, since he had not revoked his orders; on which Latresse[116]
answered, in a very loud voice, that "they had not come to be shot
by the Indians;" in short, they behaved in a cowardly and rebellious
manner; but nothing was to be done, and we all went together to the
fort. We learned, now, that the nephew of the Bear Chief, a very quiet,
well-disposed Indian, had ridden out in the morning to look for a horse
which had been stolen from him, and had been murdered not far off, on
the hills near the Teton River, by the Blood Indians, who had attacked
him with their guns, knives, and clubs. Ninoch-Kiaiu was furious.
Some Blood Indians had been immediately pursued, but without success,
and then it was proposed to kill the man who lived near the fort, to
whose tent we were lately invited; this idea, however, was abandoned,
because he was quite innocent of the murder; they had spared him, and
smoked their pipes with him. Another of those Indians had been forced,
by firing at him, to cross the river; the Bear Chief now came to Mr.
Mitchell to consult with him what was to be done. A sensible old Indian
advised that this matter should not be treated as a concern of the
whole tribe, but as a private affair, and, consequently, they should
wait patiently for an opportunity when they might take vengeance on
some member of the murderer's family. The chief, who felt that his
honour was deeply wounded, was silent, and lost in thought. As a sign
of mourning, he had put on his worst clothes, but not cut off his hair,
saying that "his head was too great and strong to do this." He had
loaded with ball the double-barrelled gun which he had lately received,
and suddenly hastened away without saying a word. He afterwards sent
word to Mr. Mitchell, that he must go to revenge his kinsman, whose
dead body he would not see; but, that it might fall into good {270}
hands, he would make a present of it to Mr. Mitchell, whom he requested
to bury it.[117] As the murder of the Indian was a consequence of the
offence which Ninoch-Kiaiu had offered to the Blood Indians, on the
occasion of Martin's death, the present could not well be refused, and
we were obliged to be very cautious how we left the fort, as the Blood
Indians were hostilely disposed towards us.

On the 17th August, early in the morning, the howling and lamenting of
the Indians in the camp was heard; and, soon afterwards, the corpse
of the murdered man was brought into the fort. It was wrapped up very
tightly in buffalo skins, and tied to a sledge drawn by one horse.
An old man, with a multitude of women and children, his relations,
followed the body with loud lamentations. An aged woman in the train
had just cut off one joint of her little finger as a sign of mourning,
and held the bleeding stump wrapped in a handful of wormwood leaves.
When our people had taken the body from the sledge between the two
gates of the fort, and carried it into the Indian apartment, a young
man, the brother of the Bear Chief, made a speech to the weeping
relatives, saying--"Why do you lament and cry?--see, I do not cry:
he is gone into the other country, and we cannot awaken him; but, at
least, two Blood Indians must accompany him and wait upon him there."
An infant, and a boy, the brother of the deceased, died on the same
night; and the Indians said that the murdered brother had called the
others away. Thus we had three dead bodies in the fort. As that of the
Indian had long been exposed to the air and the sun, it was necessary
to make haste to get it out of the way; and Berger, the interpreter,
had the disagreeable office of painting, putting on its best clothes,
and ornamenting it in the Indian fashion. The two Indians were laid
in the same grave, wrapped in a red blanket and buffalo skin, over
which was laid a piece of coloured stuff, given by Mr. Mitchell. The
bottom and sides of the grave were lined with boards; the body, too,
was covered with wood; his bridle, whip, and some other trifles, were
thrown in, and the grave filled up with earth.

Towards noon, on the same day, a number of Indians, with their loaded
dog sledges, and all their baggage, were seen descending the heights
on the other side of the Missouri. It was the band of the Blackfeet,
announced by Berger. Some of these people, handsomely dressed, soon
arrived as messengers, one of whom carried in his hand the ensign of
the Crows. Ninoch-Kiaiu came with them, who now continually talked of
going to a little camp of the Blood Indians, on the other side of the
river, to take vengeance, yet still remained with us. His brother,
who likewise made a great noise, walked about the fort with a loaded
pistol, and, at last, begged Mr. Mitchell to have him conveyed over
the river, because it was thought that two Blood {271} Indians had
been seen, whom he wanted to shoot; to which Mr. Mitchell very calmly
replied, that "if he intended to kill any body, he would not assist
him." With an expression of violent passion, the Indian, on this,
mounted his horse and galloped away, "in order," as the chief said,
"to quiet his heart for the present, by the death of a Kahna, as they
might, at some future time, shoot the real murderer." The chief's aged
uncle, Natoie-Poóchsen (the word of life), was one of the principal
mourners. He had cut off his hair, and besmeared it, as well as his
feet and legs, with whitish clay. Mr. Bodmer made a good portrait of
him in this dress. He went about howling and crying, while the Bear
Chief thought only of procuring brandy. He had in his hand a little
mustard-glass filled with this precious liquor; and one of his friends,
who also possessed some brandy, sipped a small quantity, and, embracing
the chief, discharged it into his mouth, which is considered, among the
Blackfeet, as the highest proof of friendship.[118]

The _engagés_ of the Company were now employed in packing up the
skins obtained by barter from the Indians, for which purpose there
is a particular machine. It consists of a frame of laths, which
mark the size of the packages, and in which the skins are laid. In
putting up small, light furs, a couple of planks are passed through
the frame-work, on each end of which a man stands to press the skins
together, and then to cord them. The buffalo hides, which are much
thicker, are pressed together by means of a thick beam; in this
operation six or eight men are required. Others of our people were
engaged in sawing plank, burning charcoal, and the like; they had,
however, much leisure time, which they spent in various amusements.
They fired at a mark with their rifles, at which Papin and Morrin were
very expert. In the evening we generally had an interesting sight,
when the great number of horses belonging to the fort returned from
the hills. Eight armed men rode behind and at the sides, and as many
Indians, for the sake of safety, had joined with their horses. The
whole body was very numerous, and presented a striking appearance when,
in a cloud of dust, they galloped down the hills with a thundering
noise, and entered the fort.

In order to obtain a handsome, large mountain sheep, Mr. Mitchell gave
me the services of Papin, with whom my own hunter, Dreidoppel, joined
to make an excursion. Papin went very unwillingly, though, for the sake
of security, a Blackfoot was sent with them. He affirmed that he would
not undertake this dangerous enterprise for 100 dollars, if he had not
bound himself to the Company. They made arrangements to stay out a
couple of nights, and took a packhorse with them. Other hunters were
sent out with the Indians, and we soon received information that {272}
a good many buffaloes had been killed. At other times we were often
short of meat. Bird, who had set up his tent among the tall poplars
near the fort, where Ninoch-Kiaiu also lived, visited us frequently,
and gave out that he was obliged to undertake a journey to the north.
We urged him and the other Blackfeet to persuade Ninoch-Kiaiu not
to take vengeance on innocent Blood Indians, as they were much more
numerous and powerful than the Blackfeet, and the Whites would likewise
have felt the bad consequences of such hostility.

Meantime Mr. Bodmer had taken excellent likenesses of several Indians,
among whom were old Pioch-Kiaiu (the distant bear), whose face was
painted with blue earth, and was remarkable for a long chin, unlike
that of the Indians; likewise a very pretty young Blackfoot woman,
and an old Kutana or Kutneha, whose name was Homach-Ksachkum (the
great earth), and his son, Makuie-Poka (the child of the wolf), whose
mother was a Blackfoot, and was dressed entirely in the fashion of
that tribe, but had adopted several ornaments from their enemies, the
Manitaries. The old Kutana was a good-tempered, friendly man,[119]
with an extremely characteristic physiognomy, which is most faithfully
represented in the portrait. He gave me some account of his people and
some words of their language, which are very difficult to pronounce.
The picture, which was a most striking resemblance, and the other
drawings, much amused the Indians; they at once recognised them all;
and the fame of the able writer was so spread among them, that our
lodging was constantly besieged by a numerous assemblage of Indians,
who smoked tobacco, and incommoded us by the heat they occasioned.
These men would often not sit still a moment while their portraits were
taking; there were others, on the contrary, who would sit motionless
the whole day, if they were supplied with tobacco, for which care was
always taken. These visits often afforded us opportunities to get
acquainted with their customs and notions. The White Buffalo, who often
visited us, one day brought a very beautifully ornamented bow, taken
from the Flatheads, which, however, he could by no means be prevailed
upon to sell. On my making a higher offer, he answered, "I am very fond
of this bow." I was, therefore, obliged to give up my desire to possess
it, for the Indians would have greatly increased their demands if I had
persisted after this declaration. This man had a nice sense of honour,
was to be depended upon, and devoted to the Whites, and, at the same
time, a distinguished warrior. He had lately shot his sister, because
she kept up an intercourse with a man against whom he had constantly
advised her. A chief of the Blackfeet, with whom he had a quarrel, shot
him through the thigh; he, however, did not lose his presence of mind,
and killed his enemy notwithstanding his wound. Another old man, who
sometimes visited us, pretended to be a great doctor and magician. He
said that Death had got into a certain tent to an old woman: he saw him
come in at the aperture for the smoke, and touch the woman, on which
our doctor immediately applied his medicine to the place touched, and
remained with the patient the whole night. Death came again, but all
his attempts failed, because the remedy was always applied at the right
time.

{273} Bird introduced to us a chief named Mikotsotskina (the red horn),
a handsome Blackfoot and distinguished warrior, the leader in many
warlike expeditions, who had performed several great exploits. He was
well made, with an intelligent, animated, and good-tempered expression
of countenance, and very handsomely and neatly dressed. He brought two
white horses with him, and a fine panther's skin, lined with red cloth.
This man had formerly borne the name of Mastoenna (the chief of the
ravens), and was said to have killed more white men than any one of his
nation.

About this time, when we began to be in want of meat in the fort,
having, for some time past, had only a couple of beavers, many
unfavourable reports were spread of the hostile disposition of
Ninoch-Kiaiu and his adherents towards the Whites, which had,
doubtless, been excited by the pernicious influence of the treacherous
Bird, who was prejudiced against the Company. An Indian told us that
his countrymen would demand double the usual price for the beavers,
and, if that were refused, they would kill all the Americans. We did
not suffer ourselves to be alarmed by such reports, which indicated the
unsteady character of the Blackfeet; but the time was come when we were
to be put to a more serious trial.

On the 28th of August, at break of day, we were awakened by
musket-shot, and Doucette entered our room, crying, "Levez-vous, il
faut nous battre," on which we arose in haste, dressed ourselves, and
loaded our fowling-pieces with ball. When we entered the court-yard
of the fort, all our people were in motion, and some were firing from
the roofs. On ascending it, we saw the whole prairie covered with
Indians on foot and on horseback, who were firing at the fort; and
on the hills were several detached bodies. About eighteen or twenty
Blackfoot tents, pitched near the fort, the inmates of which had been
singing and drinking the whole night, and fallen into a deep sleep
towards morning, had been surprised by 600 Assiniboins and Crees. When
the first information of the vicinity of the enemies was received from
a Blackfoot, who had escaped, the _engagés_ immediately repaired to
their posts on the roofs of the buildings, and the fort was seen to be
surrounded on every side by the enemy, who had approached very near.
They had cut up the tents of the Blackfeet with knives, discharged
their guns and arrows at them, and killed or wounded many of the
inmates, roused from their sleep by this unexpected attack. Four
women and several children lay dead near the fort, and many others
were wounded. The men, about thirty in number, had partly fired their
guns at the enemy, and then fled to the gates of the fort, where they
were admitted. They immediately hastened to the roofs, and began a
well-supported fire on the Assiniboins.

In the fort itself all was confusion. If the men had been now and then
mustered and inspected, it would have been found that the _engagés_
had sold their ammunition to the Indians; they were, therefore, quite
unprepared to defend themselves, and it was necessary, during the
combat, to distribute powder as well among the Whites as the Indians.
Mr. Mitchell and Berger, the {274} interpreter, were employed in
admitting the Blackfoot women and children, who were assembled at
the door of the fort, when a hostile Indian, with his bow bent,
appeared before the gate, and exclaimed, "White man, make room, I
will shoot those enemies!" This exclamation showed that the attack
was not directed against the Whites, but only against the Blackfeet.
Mr. Mitchell immediately gave orders to his people to cease firing;
notwithstanding this, single shots continued to be fired, and our
Blackfeet were not to be restrained, nay, ten or twelve of our people,
among whom were Doucette and Loretto, went into the prairie, and
fired in the ranks of the Blackfeet, who were assembling, and every
moment increasing in numbers. Loretto had shot, at the distance of
eighty-six paces from the pickets, the nephew of the Assiniboin chief,
Minohanne[120] (the left-handed), and this was the only one of the
killed whom the enemy were unable to carry away, for we saw them lay
many others on their horses, and take them off. In the fort itself
only one man was wounded, having had his foot pierced by an arrow,
and likewise a horse and a dog. If the enemy had occupied the heights
on the other side of the river, they might, from that position, have
killed all our people in the fort.

When the Assiniboins saw that their fire was returned, they retreated
about 300 paces, and an irregular firing continued, during which
several people from the neighbourhood joined the ranks of the
Blackfeet. While all this was passing, the court-yard of the fort
exhibited very singular scenes. A number of wounded men, women, and
children, were laid or placed against the walls; others, in their
deplorable condition, were pulled about by their relations, amid tears
and lamentations. The White Buffalo, whom I have often mentioned, and
who had received a wound at the back of his head, was carried about,
in this manner, amid singing, howling, and crying: they rattled the
schischikué in his ears, that the evil spirit might not overcome
him, and gave him brandy to drink. He himself, though stupified and
intoxicated, sang without intermission, and would not give himself up
to the evil spirit. Otsequa-Stomik, an old man of our acquaintance, was
wounded in the knee by a ball, which a woman cut out with a penknife,
during which operation he did not betray the least symptom of pain.
Natah-Otann, a handsome young man, with whom we became acquainted on
our visit to Kutonapi, was suffering dreadfully from severe wounds.
Several Indians, especially young women, were likewise wounded. We
endeavoured to assist the wounded, and Mr. Mitchell distributed balsam,
and linen for bandages, but very little could be done; for, instead of
suffering the wounded, who were exhausted by the loss of blood, to take
some rest, their relations continually pulled them about, sounded large
bells, rattled their medicine or amulets, among which were the bears'
paws, which the White Buffalo wore on his breast. A spectator alone of
this extraordinary scene can form any idea of the {275} confusion and
the noise, which was increased by the loud report of the musketry, the
moving backwards and forwards of the people carrying powder and ball,
and the tumult occasioned by above twenty horses shut up in the fort.

When the enemy were still very near the fort, Mr. Mitchell had given
orders to fire the cannons of the right-hand front block-house among
them; but this had not been done, because the Blackfeet were partly
mixed with the Assiniboins; no use, therefore, had been made of
them, of which the Indians complained bitterly. The enemy gradually
retreated, and concentrated themselves in several detachments on the
brow of the hill,[121] and this gave us an opportunity to open the
gate, with due precaution, and view the destroyed tents and the bodies
of the slain. The Indian who was killed near the fort especially
interested me, because I wished to obtain his skull.[122] The scalp had
already been taken off, and several Blackfeet were engaged in venting
their rage on the dead body. The men fired their guns at it; the women
and children beat it with clubs, and pelted it with stones the fury of
the latter was particularly directed against the privy parts. Before I
could obtain my wish, not a trace of the head was to be seen. Not far
from the river there was a melancholy scene; old Haisikat (the stiff
foot) was lamenting over his grown-up daughter, who had concealed
herself in the bushes near the fort, and had been shot in mistake by
Dechamp, who thought she was an enemy.

At the very beginning of the engagement, the Blackfeet had despatched
messengers on horseback to the great camp of their nation, which was
eight or ten miles off, to summon their warriors to their aid, and
their arrival was expected every moment. Meantime, Ninoch-Kiaiu came
and called on Mr. Mitchell for assistance, for they had been attacked
by another party of the enemy. Hotokaneheh likewise came to the fort,
and made a long and violent speech, in which he reproached the Whites
with being inactive while the enemy were still in the vicinity; they
ought not to confine themselves to the "defence of the fort, if
they seriously desired the alliance of the Blackfeet, but endeavour
to attack the common enemy in the prairie," &c. All these reproaches
hurt Mr. Mitchell, and he resolved to show the Indians that the Whites
were not deficient in courage. With this view he made the best hunters
and riflemen mount their horses, and, in spite of our endeavours to
dissuade him from this impolitic measure, he proceeded to the heights,
where 150 or 200 Blackfeet kept up an irregular fire on the enemy. We
who remained in the fort had the pleasure of viewing a most interesting
scene. From the place where the range of hills turns to the Missouri,
more and more Blackfeet continued to arrive. They came galloping in
groups, from three to twenty together, their horses covered with
foam, and they themselves in their finest apparel, with all kinds of
ornaments and arms, bows and quivers on their backs, guns in their
hands, furnished with their medicines, with feathers on their heads;
some had splendid crowns of black and white eagles' feathers, and a
large hood of feathers hanging down behind, sitting on fine panther
skins lined with red; the upper part of their bodies partly naked,
with a {276} long strip of wolf's skin thrown across the shoulder, and
carrying shields adorned with feathers and pieces of coloured cloth. A
truly original sight! Many immediately galloped over the hill, whipped
their tired horses, in order to take part in the engagement, shouting,
singing, and uttering their war-whoop; but a great part of them stopped
at the fort, received powder and balls, and, with their guns and bows,
shot at the disfigured remains of the Assiniboin who was slain, and
which were now so pierced and burnt as scarcely to retain any semblance
of the human form. As the Indians near the fort believed themselves to
be now quite safe, they carried the wounded into the leather tents,
which were injured and pierced through and through by the enemy's
balls, round which many dead horses and dogs were lying, and the crying
and lamenting were incessant.

About one o'clock Mr. Mitchell and his people returned, much fatigued
by the expedition, and the great heat, the thermometer being at 84°.
Mr. Mitchell's horse had been shot through the withers; he himself fell
off and hurt his arm; another horse was shot through the neck, and
captured by the enemy; Bourbonnais, its rider, had escaped.[123] All
our people, however, had returned safe. The enemy had been driven back
to the Maria River, where, from the want of bravery in the Blackfeet,
they were able to maintain their ground behind the trees; nay, they
had sometimes advanced and repulsed their enemies. They were plainly
heard encouraging each other, on which they came forward in parties of
twenty or thirty, and renewed the attack. It was generally observed
that the Assiniboins fought better than the Blackfeet, many of whom did
not leave the fort during the whole day. Mr. Mitchell, with his people,
had always been in advance of the Blackfeet, and nearer to the enemy.
He had often shamed the Blackfeet, whose numbers had increased to 500
or 600, calling out--"Why did they lag behind? They had reproached the
Whites with cowardice, but now it was seen who were the most cowardly.
Now was the time to show their courage," &c. The hunter, Dechamp, had
especially distinguished himself by his bravery and well-directed fire
at the enemy, of whom he had killed or wounded several. They called out
to him that they knew him very well, for he is a. Half Cree Indian,
and had many relations among the enemy. He had been several times in
the heat of the action, and a Blackfoot gave him his horse, on which
he saved himself.[124] During this engagement Kutonapi came to Mr.
Mitchell, and asked him for a paper, which he had received on the
conclusion of the treaty with the Fur Company; and, being told that it
was in the fort, he said, "Oh, if I had it here, it would secure me
against every ball!" The Indians had fired quite at random, otherwise
the loss {277} must have been much greater on both sides. We learnt, in
the sequel, that the Assiniboins had three killed, and twenty severely
wounded. Many Indians took Mr. Mitchell by the hand, welcomed him as
their friend and ally, and offered him several horses, which he did not
accept.

After dinner, Doucette, Dechamp, and Berger again rode in quest of
the enemy, who still occupied the valley of the Maria River, and
many Blackfeet came back, boasting of their heroic exploits. Old
Ninoch-Kiaiu came full of joy, and told us that "no ball had touched
him; doubtless, because Mr. Bodmer had taken his portrait a few days
before." In the afternoon a number of Blackfeet arrived, and the dust
raised by their horses was visible at a great distance in the prairie.
The fort was filled with them; and they were refreshed with water and
tobacco. We visited the wounded in their tents, had the blood washed
from their wounds, and their hair, which was clotted with it, cut off;
and gave them medicines and plaster, and, instead of brandy, which they
asked for, sugar and water to refresh them. A child had died of its
wounds; they had daubed its face with vermilion. After the exertions
of this day, both Indians and Whites were covered with perspiration
and dust, and quite exhausted. Our people observed the enemy in their
position on the Maria; but, during the night, they retreated in
three strong divisions, in the direction of the Bear's Paw, and the
Blackfeet did not molest them.

In the morning of the 29th of August a part of the Blackfeet came to
us, fatigued and hungry, and reported that they had pursued the enemy,
and fired at them on both flanks, and had found one killed; but they
had not returned the fire, without doubt, for want of ammunition.
During the night we had lodged the principal chiefs in the fort; among
them were Tatsiki-Stomik (the bull from the centre), Penukah-Zenin
(the elk's tongue), Kutonapi, and Ihkas-Kinne (the bent horn); the
latter was a chief of the Siksekai, or proper Blackfeet. Most of the
Indians of the great horde went away, promising to return soon, with
their tents and baggage, and begin the trade. The tents, with the
wounded, were all removed, except a few, to better positions higher
up the river. Several Blackfeet having heard that they were accused
of cowardice, came to justify themselves. They alleged that their
horses were too much fatigued, which might in some measure be true;
but then they might have dismounted, and fought on foot, as very few
of the enemy were on horseback. Bird, to whom Mr. Mitchell had refused
to sell one of his best horses, left the fort in great anger; and an
Indian told us that he had promised the several Indian chiefs to give
them tobacco, if they would no longer dispose of their beaver skins
here, but take them to the north, to the English Company. This man had
said just the contrary to Mr. Mitchell; his insincerity therefore was
evident; and it would be highly important to the Company to deprive
this dangerous, influential Half-breed of the power of injuring them.

The expedition to the Kutanas, projected by Mr. Mc Kenzie, set out from
Fort Mc Kenzie on the 30th of August. The object of it was to trade
with that people, and especially to obtain skins of the white mountain
goat (_Capra Americana_). It consisted of Doucette, Isidore Sandoval,
{278} with his Indian wife, four _engagés_, and two Kutana Indians, one
of whom was Homach-Ksachkum, all mounted, and with nine pack-horses,
which carried the goods, the kitchen utensils, and the beds. They had
to proceed two days' journey along the banks of the Teton River, and
then to strike directly to the north, to the mountains; and, if the
Kutanas were found in their usual places of abode, they expected to
be able to reach them in twelve days.[125] They did not think that
they could be back before the next spring. This enterprise was very
dangerous; and we, in fact, learnt, in the sequel, that Doucette had
been shot by a Blood Indian, and that the expedition had proved a
complete failure. They had scarcely vanished from our sight behind the
heights, when a great number of Blackfeet arrived, and among them many
who were quite strangers to us, and who gazed on us with astonishment,
as they had been but little accustomed to the sight of white men.
They had put on their handsomest dresses, and were much dissatisfied
when they learnt that the trade could not begin that day, because Mr.
Mitchell was indisposed. The fort was crowded with them; we saw them
smoking in every corner; and they were so idle, or so proud, that
they gave their pipes to the first white man they saw to light them,
though they were close to the kitchen fire. The gate was besieged by
Indians, who were by no means all permitted to enter, and we ourselves
all refrained from going out, because the great assemblage of these
people inside could not be trusted. The number of chiefs at this time
in the fort was small, in comparison with the preceding year, when
fifty-four of them were there at one time. Among the Blackfeet who
visited us there was an old man, called Homachseh-Kakatohs (the great
star), who had a remarkable hooked nose. He wore the round felt hat
with a tuft of feathers, which Mr. Bodmer made him take off, and then
drew his portrait, which was an excellent likeness. When the drawing
was finished, and he had received some tobacco, he rose, went into the
court-yard, and delivered, with good address, a long speech, the tenor
of which was--"The chief below (Mr. Mc Kenzie) had sent his children
hither, and recommended them to the Blackfeet; they ought, therefore,
to treat them well, to bring them good meat, that they might not lament
and complain, but be merry, and always have their bellies full."

Soon after the arrival of the Great Star, Tatsiki-Stomik and
Ihkas-Kinne came to the fort; they all asked for brandy, which seemed
to be the main subject of their thoughts. Ihkas-Kinne was a tall,
well-looking man, with a very marked countenance. He wore an otter's
skin over his shoulders, with the tail hanging down before, and which
was ornamented all over with pieces of shell. This man had rendered
some services to the fort, and was to be depended on. On this occasion
he stepped forward, with a noble, manly air, and delivered a long
speech. "The French," he said, "must have hearts ill-disposed towards
the Indians; for, on the evening after the battle, they had not given
the Blackfeet (he would not say a word of himself) anything to drink;
even the chiefs had received nothing. They had come to the fort hungry
and thirsty, and so they had left it, though they were fatigued by
their exertions in fighting for the Whites. He was just this moment
{279} come from an expedition against the Crows, in which they had
lost two of their people, and had no articles to trade with. They had
traversed, without shoes, great tracts of prairie; their feet were
sore, and tired, yet he had taken part in the action, and neither he
nor others had received any present from the Whites." Mr. Mitchell
answered that "he would make the chiefs some presents to-morrow;
though he thought that he had done enough, as he had distributed among
them, on the preceding day, a great quantity of powder and ball, and
received those that were in need into the fort. Though it was true
that the Whites possessed many medicines which they could employ to
the ruin of the Indians, he had no such thoughts. He would, however,
show them such a one to-day, to give them an idea of the power of the
Whites. When a cannon was fired, they should pay attention. To-morrow
he would have the colours hoisted, and a gun fired as a signal for the
solemn reception of the chiefs." One of the Blackfeet chiefs had before
observed, that "he was much surprised that the Whites always appeared
in their common every day clothes, whereas they (the chiefs) put on
their handsomest dresses. They had never seen the fine clothes of the
Whites."

The chiefs having left us about six in the afternoon, the gate of the
fort was shut, and, as soon as it was dark, Mr. Mitchell caused a gun
to be fired, and then some skyrockets to be successively thrown up,
which, as it happened, succeeded extremely well, rising to a great
height, and bursting into stars. Most of the Indians, however, did not
betray much astonishment at this exhibition, having already seen the
same at the English posts. The Indians before the fort had already
been dancing and singing to the sound of their drum; they now retired,
rejoicing, to their tents. It was a still, moonlight night, but the
noise of the Indians continued, and a watch was kept in the fort.

On the following morning we were surprised by the highly interesting
appearance of the great Indian camp, consisting of about 400 tents,
which stood close together, because the enemy was supposed to be still
in the neighbourhood.[126]

News had been received that the Assiniboins were scattered, and
perhaps concealed, in many small parties, in the adjacent country.

On the 31st of August the sky was very gloomy, but the clouds
dispersed, and at nine o'clock Mr. Mitchell had a gun fired as the
signal for the opening of the trade; on which about twenty-four of the
chiefs and most distinguished warriors of the Piekanns, and with them
the Blackfoot, Ihkas-Kinne, advanced, in slow procession, to the fort.
Mr. Mitchell passed through a great crowd of women and children to
meet the men, shook hands with them, and conducted them into the fort.
They had put on their best dresses, and were received with a salute
from the cannon of the fort; but the rain falling in torrents was
extremely unfavourable to this interesting ceremony. At this moment, a
numerous body of Blood Indians, with all their baggage, appeared on the
heights on the other side of the river, who intended likewise to encamp
near the fort; on this, Ninoch-Kiaiu {280} immediately appeared, and
declared "that he already felt an inclination to fire at those people;
and that there would certainly be blood shed, if they were not kept at
a distance; especially if the minds of the parties were excited by the
trade." In consequence of this declaration, Mr. Mitchell sent Berger,
the interpreter, over the river, to represent to the Blood Indians
the state of affairs, and to signify to them that it would be better
to defer their trade till that with the Piekanns was over; with this
declaration they were satisfied, and withdrew.

The chiefs who were now in the fort were the leaders of the Piekanns,
Tatsiki-Stomik, Penukah-Zenin, Sachkomapoh (the little boy),
Kitsipooch-Kiaiu (the spotted bear), Kiaiu-Stoman (the bear knife),
Ninoch-Kiaiu (the bear chief), who, however, did not enter with the
others, and was meanly dressed on account of his mourning: as also
Haisikat, Mikutseh-Stomik (the red buffalo), Achsapacké (the handsome
woman), Ihkas-Kinne (the bent cow-horn), and one or two others, whose
names I have forgotten.[127] Among them there were fine, tall, robust
men, and all wore extremely handsome and costly dresses, many of them
ornamented with strips of ermine. Tatsiki-Stomik, in particular, wore
a shirt of very white bighorn leather, embroidered on the sleeves
with blue flowers, ornamented on the right arm with long slips of
white ermine, rolled up, with red feathers, and on the left with tufts
of long black hair. Across his shoulder he wore a palatine of otter
skins, at each end of which there was a tassel of slips of ermine. The
faces of the chiefs were painted with vermilion and the blue earth of
the Rocky Mountains; they were unfortunately wet through, especially
their beautiful shoes, by the rain falling so inopportunely. The old
Middle-Bull had a venerable look; he was not tall; the expression of
his countenance was good natured and thoughtful. He promised to sit for
his portrait, which he did in the sequel, unhappily not in his handsome
dress, but in his everyday clothes. The portrait is extremely like, and
perfectly gives the honest expression of the old man's countenance.[128]

When the chiefs had taken their places in Mr. Mitchell's room, old
Middle-Bull spoke nearly to the following effect:--"He hoped that the
Whites would renounce their bad opinion of them, and not believe that
they took their skins and furs to the English: for it was evidently
their (the Piekanns') own interest to be on good terms with the fort
situated in their neighbourhood, the English settlements being at much
too great a distance; that, if some of their people talked of carrying
their beaver skins to the trading posts of the Hudson's Bay Company, it
was merely to try to obtain goods on lower terms." After this speech
the chiefs, having received presents, gradually withdrew, and the trade
began. It was not long before a dispute arose at the gate, in which an
Indian drew his knife against the doorkeeper; but he was turned out
by the chief, Penukah-Zenin, who was still there, and in this manner
tranquillity was restored. Meantime, some troops of {281} Blood Indians
had come near the fort, and the Piekanns fired at them with ball, which
they answered, so that the balls whistled over the fort. Mr. Mitchell
placed a strong, well-armed guard at the gate, and we could see, on the
heights on the other side of the river, the heads of the Blood Indians,
who had come down to observe what might happen.

We might now be considered completely as prisoners; for, at the gate,
there was an incredible crowd of Indians, who all attempted to enter
by force, pushed, crowded, fought, and struggled with each other, for
we could not venture to admit more than a certain number at one time
into the Indian magazines between the two gates. Several well-disposed
Indians supported the guard in this difficult and disagreeable
employment; yet, now and then, a man, with desperate violence, forced
his way through the gate, knocked down the guard, and it was a good
while before he could be turned out.

The trade continued on the 1st of September, and we saw in the fort
the wife of the chief of the Blood Indians, who had lately passed by
the fort, and who much regretted the misunderstanding that had arisen
between the Piekanns and her tribe. They had entered into a negotiation
with the Piekanns, to atone by presents for their blood-guiltiness,
which might lead to an amicable arrangement.

Among our most interesting visitors were a couple of Sassi Indians;
they were slightly-built men of the middle size, with nothing striking
in their appearance, and came to announce the speedy arrival of a
considerable body of their nation, who wished to dispose of their
beaver skins. While the trade was going on very briskly, on account
of the number of the men and women, a report was suddenly spread that
the Assiniboins were approaching, on which all the Indians hastily
withdrew; it proved, however, that the alarm had been caused by a new
band of the Blackfeet (Siksekai), who had appeared on the heights.
When any single Indians arrived, we saw them fire their guns at the
burnt remains of the enemy lately killed, though they could scarcely
be recognised. Then they generally soon came to us, and looked at Mr.
Bodmer while drawing, which he continued very diligently, and without
any opposition being made to it, because he had remarked that none
of the men whose portraits he had drawn, had been lately killed or
wounded. The musical box, in which they fancied that there was a little
spirit,[129] and many other European toys, generally made a lively
impression on these people, and afforded them much amusement.

During the night of the 2nd of September, some Indians had broken a
hole through the clay wall of the Indian magazine, and stolen several
articles, among which were some dresses of the chiefs; and it was
evident that the thief must have kept himself concealed in the fort
during the {282} night. Towards seven in the morning we heard some
musket shot fired in the fort, and the band of our friend Kutonapi,
about sixty or seventy in number, advanced to the fort, headed by
three chiefs, who were admitted. All the principal chiefs of the
Piekanns arrived afterwards, whom Mr. Mitchell clothed in red uniforms,
calico shirts, and every other article of dress--hung about their necks
round looking-glasses, or silver medals with the bust of the president,
&c. The most amusing was when he put on them the new red felt hats,
with red plumes of feathers. Their prodigious, long, thick hair was
too large for the hat, and the whole was, therefore, made into a great
bunch, and stuffed into the hat before it could be put on their heads.
They suffered themselves to be dressed like children, and received
other presents, such as powder, ball, tobacco, knives, &c. The dress
of every chief might be estimated at ninety dollars. Meantime, the
newly-arrived band of the Siksekai had pitched their tents, and the
fort was again surrounded by a multitude of dangerous men. Sometimes
they threatened to fire at our people when they appeared on the
pickets, and several things were stolen in the fort, because many men
were still admitted on account of the trade. The chiefs were constantly
begging, as well as the meanest Indians, and this may be justly stated
as a most troublesome habit of the Blackfeet. In this respect the
other tribes have much more delicacy. The Crows, in their visits and
negotiations, presented the Blackfeet with valuable articles, costly
feather caps, shields, horses, &c., but received nothing at all when
they came to the latter, by which all the other Indian nations are
incensed against the Blackfeet.

As the Indians became very troublesome towards evening, Mr. Mitchell
had all the arms loaded with ball. Three detachments, each consisting
of nine men and an officer, were commanded to keep guard, and he gave
orders to fire from the pickets the instant an Indian attempted to
climb over. All the chiefs were made acquainted with this order, that
they might communicate it to their people. A new report being spread,
that a thousand Assiniboins were approaching, the guards were doubled,
and the officers divided, from which we strangers were not excepted.
During this state of imprisonment our horses suffered from want of
food, as they could not be driven into the meadows, and there was but
little hay in the fort. The Indians had used or burnt the hay that was
in the prairies higher up on the Missouri, and we were, therefore, much
embarrassed about the horses.

On the 3rd of September, in the morning, some shots were fired, and
soon afterwards a new body of the Siksekai, consisting of between
thirty and forty men, arrived, of whom two of the principal warriors
were admitted. They were tall and handsome, in costly new dresses.
The name of the leader was Makuiè-Kinn (the wolf's collar). The other
carried in his hand the sign of the prairie dogs--a long crooked
staff wound all round with otter's skin, and adorned with bunches of
feathers.[130] He told us that this medicine had the effect of rallying
the warriors who were dispersed in the prairie. They told us that the
greater portion of their {283} people were in the north, but that two
strong parties of warriors were coming; and, in fact, one of them,
consisting of 150 men, soon appeared on the heights, where it halted,
and afterwards came down to the fort. The chiefs were admitted, but
soon dismissed, because they had no articles to trade with. The proper
Blackfeet (Siksekai) and the Blood Indians catch but few beavers, being
chiefly engaged in war parties, and especially selling meat to the
Hudson's Bay Company. The Piekanns, on the other hand, catch the most
beavers. Beaver traps (which are lent them) were distributed among them
to-day, and many Indians went away to hunt beavers.

Early in the morning of the 4th of September, the band of the Blood
Indians, who had lately been sent away, were seen approaching the
fort, because the trade with the Piekanns was concluded. Their old
chief, Stomik-Sosak (the ox hide), and a medicine man, Pehtonista (who
calls himself the east), entered the fort. The first, a very good
old man,[131] had saved the life of Mr. Mitchell the year before,
when an Indian was going to run him through with his spear: he is a
great friend to the Whites, and resolved, with his small band, to
remain faithful to the fort. He greatly regretted the late unfortunate
occurrence, when his son had shot, by accident, as he affirmed,
young Martin; and spoke much of his attachment to the French, as he
called them. He called Mr. Mitchell his son, and added that, "to his
great sorrow, he had been obliged to see the fort every day, without
daring to come near it, on account of the unhappy difference with
Ninoch-Kiaiu." One of the Siksekai took off all his clothes, and laid
them down as a present before Mr. Mitchell, on which Stomik-Sosak lent
him his robe to cover him. On such an occasion these people do not
hesitate to sit down quite naked. This was again a very unpleasant day
to us, for the press of the savage Siksekai was very violent. There
was no end of their most importunate begging, and dangerous men forced
their way into the fort. Most of them were very characteristic figures;
their faces were painted red and black, with medicine skins trimmed
with feathers or bells, with yellow ornaments, or buttons, glass beads,
&c., in their hair. Some of them were excessively curious, clambered
about every place, and wanted to examine everything. An extremely
dangerous man forced his way in with the chiefs, whom we could by no
means get rid of, though we repeatedly got the chiefs to desire him to
go out again. His face was painted yellow and red; the expression of
his features was that of a true hostile barbarian.

Two years before, at the conclusion of the treaty of peace, he had
boasted to Berger, at the very first interview, that he had already
shot five Whites; and it was not without the greatest difficulty that
we could now get rid of this savage.

During the night Mr. Mitchell sent all the good horses belonging to the
fort, about twenty in number, to Fort Union, by land, because we were
not able to feed them any longer. Dechamp and his brother, with Papin
and Vachard, were charged with this business, and arrived safe at Fort
Union. The speedy removal of the horses was the more necessary, as the
Indians intended to steal them, and so advantage was taken of the fine
moonlight night to send them away.

{284} It was my intention to pass the winter in the Rocky Mountains,
and I had the execution of this project much at heart; but
circumstances had arisen which rendered it very difficult, nay,
impossible. A great number of the most dangerous Indians surrounded us
on all sides, and had in particular occupied the country towards the
Falls of the Missouri, which was precisely the direction we should have
to take. They had obliged Mr. Mitchell to send away all the serviceable
horses; so that, with the best will in the world, he could not have
supplied us with these animals, which were indispensably necessary.
Without an interpreter we could not undertake a journey which was very
difficult for a few persons, and, Doucette having been sent away, Mr.
Mitchell had not one left; at the same time, a long stay, which would
be absolutely necessary for our researches in natural history, was
quite out of the question, as we should be obliged, in some sort, to
make our way by stealth. We had before asked old Tatsiki-Stomik whether
we should encounter much danger in such an undertaking? and his answer
was, that "the Piekanns might, perhaps, rob us, but would not probably
treat us as enemies; but that the Kahna and the Siksekai were fools,
and we must be on our guard against them;" and, in truth, we might
judge of the intentions of the latter, since they had fired with ball
at the Piekanns, though of their own nation, near the fort. For all
these reasons, I therefore found myself compelled to give up my plan
of going further up the Missouri, and therefore asked Mr. Mitchell for
a vessel to return down the rivers; but, as he had not one to spare,
he promised to have a new one built for me. As we might any day be
attacked by the Assiniboins, and such an attack might have proved
more serious than the preceding, and, at all events, much valuable
time would be lost by our being again imprisoned in the fort, as, in
this case, we should be, not to mention that, autumn being already
far advanced, a longer delay promised us a very unpleasant voyage, I
endeavoured to have the work hastened as much as possible, in which
Mr. Mitchell willingly co-operated. We had, besides, got pretty well
acquainted with the Blackfeet Indians, and collected a great number of
interesting portraits of them, and could not hope to observe anything
new during the winter, or to add to our collection. As the Assiniboins
were our enemies, to whom our scalps would doubtless have been a very
welcome acquisition, I intended, in case of need, to make use of the
night also, and had therefore no time to lose.

Planks were cut for my new Mackinaw boat, and the carpenter or
shipwright immediately set to work in the court-yard of the fort. The
weather was rather cool, and the Gros Ventres des Prairies, who visited
us early in the morning, came with their teeth chattering with cold,
the nights being already frosty. A sign of autumn was, that the locusts
sought their food on the shrubs, there being nothing more in the
prairies, and the crows began to take their flight in large flocks to
the south.

On the 7th of September, at noon, a band of about sixty Gros Ventres
des Prairies, of whom twenty-nine were mounted, approached the fort.
They marched abreast, and then alighted. Mr. Mitchell went to meet
them, and received from them a large horse, blind of one eye, as a
present; {285} after which the Indians were received in the usual
manner. Two chiefs, Mexkemauastan and Eh-Siss (the sun), were the
leading men; the latter was a good old man, with a very expressive
countenance. The fort was filled with these Indians, who importuned us
for medicines, many of them having old wounds which had been neglected.
Remedies were given to some for inflammation in the eye, on which
they embraced and kissed us. They had but few things to dispose of.
The women and children begged, and were so troublesome, that it was
necessary to shut the gates.

Mr. Bodmer had now taken several views in the environs, and among the
rest had begun that of the Rocky Mountains and the Bear's Paw from
the heights behind the fort.[132] We went there every day, but were
obliged always to have somebody to keep a sharp look-out while Bodmer
was drawing, because we were never safe from a visit of the Indians.
Sometimes we were alarmed by false reports, and returned home without
doing anything. We, however, accomplished our object, and Mr. Bodmer's
above-mentioned drawings give a correct idea of that country.

On the 29th [9th] of September, Mr. Mitchell sent Harvey, with thirty
more, to begin the erection of the new fort. They took with them the
only pirogue that was left, and also the horses, for which there was
no hay in the fort. After this diminution of our numbers, we had only
twenty-eight persons remaining in the fort. So many Indians had been
seen on this day, at a distance, who did not come to the fort, that it
was necessary to have a stronger guard during the night; and when it
was dark, we were alarmed by a shot, but we soon found that it was some
of our people returning from the new fort, who fired as a signal to be
brought across the ice. They brought word that the Gros Ventres had, on
the preceding day, killed thirty buffaloes, and we might, therefore,
expect some fresh provision, of which we had been for some time
deprived. Our breakfast as well as our dinner had, for a long time,
consisted of old dried meat, in the morning with coffee, and some bread
baked with fat, and at noon with maize boiled in broth. The maize was
now all consumed, and we had only the dry meat, as tough as leather,
to eat; we had, therefore, the more reason to be rejoiced, when, on
the 10th of September, the Gros Ventres brought eighteen horse-loads
of fresh meat, all of which we purchased of them with knives, powder,
ball, and other things. On the 11th of September, twenty-one men,
belonging to the fort, took the boat, which had been built for me by
the carpenter, Saucier, to the Missouri: the necessary arrangements
for our voyage were made; large cages were made for my two live bears;
and kitchen utensils and beds were procured. The cases, containing my
collections, filled a great part of the boat, which, unfortunately,
proved too small. I had received from the Company Henry Morrin as
steersman, and, besides him, three young, inexperienced Canadians,
Beauchamp, Urbin, and Thiebaut, who were ill qualified for such a
voyage, and did not even possess serviceable fire-arms. Thus, there
were only seven persons in the boat, but the time was most valuable,
and I fixed my departure for the 14th of September.

FOOTNOTES:

[105] According to Catlin's Indian vocabulary, "Natose" means any form
of medicine or mystery.--ED.

[106] See his portrait in the central figure in Plate 79, in the
accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[107] See opposite page for diagram of Indians seated before Fort Mc
Kenzie.--ED.

[108] See Plate 78, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[109] Isidore Sandoval was long employed on the upper Missouri by the
American Fur Company. In 1832 he was one of the men sent with Kipp
to begin the Blackfoot trade, and upon the latter's return to Fort
Union was left in charge thereof. He was a valued interpreter and
clerk, charged with many important missions. Finally he quarreled
with Alexander Harvey, who shot and killed him in the store at Fort
Union. See Culbertson's narrative in Montana Historical Society
_Contributions_, iii, p. 231; Larpenteur's account in his _Journal_, i,
pp. 168-170.--ED.

[110] Later glimpses of this renegade Bird are afforded by Townsend in
our volume xxi, pp. 353, 354, who reports that he was a great chief
among the Blackfeet, leader of their war parties, and in 1836 took
a treacherous revenge upon Antoine Godin, one of Wyeth's engagés at
Fort Hall. Father De Smet met Bird at the Rocky Mountain House of
the Hudson's Bay Company in 1845; he speaks of his treacherous and
suspicious character, which was proved when he deserted the missionary
priest in the wilderness. See H. M. Chittenden and A. T. Richardson,
_Life, Letters, and Travels of Father Pierre-Jean De Smet_ (New York,
1905), pp. 526-528.--ED.

[111] See Plate 20, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[112] In the preceding summer Mr. Mitchell had had a similar adventure,
by which he was made acquainted with the nature of such meetings with
the Indians. He was riding out, unarmed, with one attendant, when he
met two Indians, who immediately demanded tobacco. He gave them what
he had, but could not satisfy them; they demanded his knife, threw the
tobacco which he had given them in his face, and with a menacing air
drew their bows. They did not suffer him to go till he promised to
give them more on board his vessel the next day. They came on board
accordingly, but Mr. Mitchell took no notice of them. Since that time
he never goes out unarmed.--MAXIMILIAN.

[113] Snow River, as named by Lewis and Clark, is a southern affluent
of the Missouri not far above its junction with Maria's. The present
name of this stream is Shonkin Creek, rising in Highwood Mountains, and
flowing nearly north, disemboguing just below the site of Fort Benton,
for many years the head of navigation on the Missouri, and the most
important post of the upper country.--ED.

[114] The three forks of the Missouri which unite at the present town
of Gallatin, Montana, in the county of that name. These names were
given by Lewis and Clark (1805) in honor of the president, and two
members of his cabinet.--ED.

[115] This range was probably the Highwood Mountains, for which see
note 71, _ante_, p. 83.--ED.

[116] Jean Latresse had acted as Mitchell's envoy to Fort Union, upon
the sinking of his keel-boat the preceding year.--ED.

[117] This is a frequent custom among the Indians, which always
occasions the Whites some expense. They must bury these bodies
decently at their own cost, for which blankets, cloth, red paint, &c.,
are necessary, and the Indians, by this means, avoid the obligation
of providing all these things themselves. If the Whites were to
refuse such a present, they would be considered as acting very
meanly.--MAXIMILIAN.

[118] In the year 1832, when Mr. Mitchell had a dispute with
Tatsiki-Stomik, who was on the point of withdrawing with his whole
band, he could not find any means of retaining him, till an Indian
proposed the above measure. Mr. Mitchell accordingly took a mouthful
of brandy, went into the Indian camp, embraced the angry chief, and
discharged the liquor into his mouth, by which the friendship of the
old man was restored, who became very kind, and entertained no further
thought of going away.--MAXIMILIAN.

[119] See Plate 79, the figure at the right hand of the page, in the
accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[120] Minohanne was the principal chief and the leader of the whole
party of Assiniboins engaged in this expedition, in which there were
likewise 100 Crees. After this battle he changed his name, and called
himself Tatogan (the antelope or cabri).--MAXIMILIAN.

_Comment by Ed._ See further account of this chief in Montana
Historical Society Contributions, iii, p. 209, note. Pierre De Smet,
_Western Missions and Missionaries_ (New York, 1859), pp. 168-205, also
gives a long biography of this dangerous and potent tribesman.

[121] See Plate 75, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv, for a
view of the contest.--ED.

[122] See description of the battle as given by Culbertson in M. R.
Audubon, _Audubon and his Journals_ (New York, 1897), ii, pp. 133-136;
also in Montana Historical Society _Contributions_, iii, pp. 207-209.
The prince here omits reference to his own participation, and to the
fact that he was possibly the slayer of the Assiniboin.--ED.

[123] For a further adventure of Augustin Bourbonnais, "a free
trapper," consult Coues, _Larpenteur's Journal_, i, pp. 117-123.--ED.

[124] This Dechamp was an excellent marksman, and very brave in action.
He had been in the service of the Northwest Company, and, in the battle
with Governor Semple, had killed an Englishman, a circumstance of which
he always spoke with great pleasure, having a genuine Indian spirit. An
account of the disgraceful defeat of Governor Semple by the Half-breeds
and Indians, among whom Maji-Gabowi was present, may be found in
Schoolcraft's Expedition to Itasca Lake, p. 102, and in Ross Cox's
Account of his Journey to the Columbia, p. 269.--MAXIMILIAN.

[125] The usual habitat of the Kutenai Indians was along the river
which takes its name from them--running chiefly in British Columbia,
with a loop into northwestern Montana.--ED.

[126] See the view of this great camp of the Piegan, in Plate 76, in
the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[127] Onistahna (the chief of the white buffalo cow) was considered the
principal chief of all the Blackfeet.--MAXIMILIAN.

[128] See Plate 78, the left-hand figure, in the accompanying atlas,
our volume xxv.--ED.

[129] Captain Lyon (Private Journal, page 140), says, that the
Esquimaux took such a musical box to be the young one of a little
barrel organ, and which they, in like manner, thought to be animated by
a spirit.--MAXIMILIAN.

_Comment by Ed._ George Francis Lyon (1795-1832), who accompanied Parry
in his voyage of discovery in the "Hecla." His private journal was
published at London in 1825.

[130] See p. 113 for illustration of badge of Prairie-dog band.--ED.

[131] A very striking resemblance is found in the left-hand figure of
Plate 79, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[132] See Plate 77, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.



CHAPTER XXI

RETURN FROM FORT MC KENZIE TO FORT UNION, FROM THE 14TH TO THE 29TH OF
SEPTEMBER

    All our Baggage wet through--Delay occasioned thereby in the
      Stone Walls--Great Number of Buffaloes in the Mauvaises
      Terres--Rutting of the Elk--Great Number of Beasts of the
      Chase--A Stag with Twenty Antlers killed--Loss of the Bear's
      Skeleton--Excursion on the Muscleshell River--Numerous
      Assemblage of Wolves--Number of Beaver Dens--Violent
      Storm--Rainy Weather--Arrival at Fort Union.


The morning of the 14th of September was fine and bright, and promised
us a pleasant voyage. By noon all our effects were put on board the new
boat, and it became more and more evident that we had not sufficient
room in this vessel. The great cages, with the live bears, were placed
upon the cargo in the centre, and prevented us from passing from one
end of the boat to the other; besides this, there was not room for us
to sleep on board; this was a most unfavourable circumstance, because
it obliged us always to lie to for the night. At one o'clock in the
afternoon, we took leave of our kind host, Mr. Mitchell, and of his
only companion, Mr. Cuthbertson; all the inhabitants of the fort
accompanied us to the river, where a cannon was placed to salute us.
We had lived so long together in this wilderness, that we naturally
took a lively interest in the fate of those who remained behind to pass
the winter in a place where they would be exposed to so many dangers
and privations, and wished them courage and perseverance to encounter
them. Our boat glided rapidly along, and we soon took a last look at
the fort and its inhabitants, to whom we waved our hands to bid them
a last farewell. In half-an-hour we reached the place where we had
passed the night before we arrived at the fort in the keel-boat,
and the steersman now chose the northern channel, which led, about
half-past two o'clock, by the ruins of the old fort. Opposite the mouth
of Maria River we saw a herd of eight antelopes, and several others
at other places; likewise Virginian deer, and many birds, especially
jays and sparrow-hawks. {287} On Maria River, in particular, there were
various kinds of birds in the high trees. Here Mr. Mitchell had shot a
blue-headed jay which was hopping on the ground.[133]

Towards four o'clock a thunder-storm came on, and the sky became
entirely covered with thick clouds. As we had reason to be on our guard
against the Indians, we regretted that my two bears were unusually
dissatisfied with their confinement, and manifested their feelings
by moaning and growling, which might very easily have attracted some
hostile visitors. We lay to, before twilight, at a prairie on the
right, where we had an extensive view, kindled a fire, and dressed our
meat, part of which was put on board, and we continued our voyage. When
night was fully set in, we were on the steep high bank on the south
side of the Missouri, and, as it was too dark to proceed, we fastened
the boat to some trunks of trees, and passed a very uncomfortable
night, lying on our deck, while a heavy cold rain prevented us from
sleeping.

On the next morning, the 15th of September, we were in a lamentable
plight. We were all of us, more or less, wet and benumbed, as the boat
had no deck, and we found, to our great dismay, that this new vessel
was very leaky, so that the greater part of our luggage was wet
through. The rain had ceased, and a bleak wind chilled our wet limbs;
as soon, therefore, as we had bailed out the greater part of the water,
we hastened to proceed on our voyage. When we approached the Gate
of the Stone Walls, the sun was just rising behind that interesting
opening. Some numerous herds of antelopes and bighorns looked down from
the singular sand-stone walls on the early disturbers of their repose.
We would gladly have gone in pursuit of these animals, in order to
obtain some game; but it was high time to ascertain the damage done by
the water. When the sun had risen a little higher, we landed on the
south bank, and made a large fire, for which we took the wood of an old
Indian hunting-hut, in a wood of tall poplars. Our drenched buffalo
robes and blankets were brought on shore to dry, and I discovered,
to my great regret, that the pretty striped squirrel (_Tamias
quadrivittatus_, Say), which I had hoped to bring alive to Europe, was
drowned in its cage. Morrin, who rambled in the neighbouring wood with
his rifle, while breakfast was getting ready, killed a fine skunk with
a shot, which did not differ from those in Pennsylvania.

After stopping about an hour, during which time we had warmed and
refreshed ourselves with coffee and meat, we proceeded, and at
half-past nine reached the commencement of the Stone Walls, properly
so called, the last black towerlike rock of which, on the north bank,
first met the eye. At any other time I should have been again highly
interested by the remarkable features of this spot; but now I was
extremely impatient to know the extent of our loss. Numbers of wild
sheep were everywhere seen; but the still more numerous colonies of
swallows had retired at the coming of autumn, and, instead of these,
we saw flocks of magpies on the mountains. We gave chase in vain to
a couple of very large elks. At half-past eleven we passed the mouth
of Stonewall Creek, and lay to about 200 paces above, at the steep
declivity of the prairie on the {288} north bank. As the sun now
shone with considerable power, we hastened completely to unload the
boat, to open and unpack all the chests and trunks, one by one. How
grieved were we to find all our clothes, books, collections, some
mathematical instruments, in a word, all our effects, entirely wet and
soaked. The chests were, for the most part, open in all the joints, and
quite useless; but what afflicted me the most, was my fine botanical
collection of the Upper Missouri, made with labour and expense of time,
which I could not now put into dry paper, and which therefore, was,
for the most part, lost, as well as the Indian leather dresses, which
became mouldy. We had now no resource but to remain where we were till
most of our things were dried; a most disagreeable necessity. A large
spot of the prairie was covered with our scattered effects, and a wind
arising caused some disorder among our goods, and we were obliged to
take care that nothing might be lost. My extensive herbarium had to be
laid, on account of the wind, under the shelter of the eminences of
a small lateral ravine, which took me the whole day, and yet all the
plants became black and mouldy.

At this place, Morrin killed, for the use of our kitchen, a deer
(_Cervus macrotis_), which had already assumed its grey under coat.
This kind of deer is distinguished and well known by its long ears,
which are especially remarkable in the female.[134] When the flesh was
cooked, we all wrapped ourselves in our blankets, and lay down to sleep
on the high bank of the river, while two persons constantly kept guard,
and were relieved every two hours. I had to keep watch with Thiebaut
from nine to eleven o'clock, which was not an unpleasant time, as the
night was warm and still, and rather moonlight. A deer crossed the
river pretty near us, as it began to dawn, but nobody fired, in order
not to make any unnecessary {289} noise. We remained at this place
till nearly evening on the 16th of September. Happily for us the sun
was again very warm, and, combined with the wind, saved a part of our
effects.

After our cooking was finished, and all the chests put on board again,
we continued our voyage, passed the Citadel Rock, to which we bid adieu
for ever, not without regret; saw wolves, wild sheep, and a multitude
of bats, the latter of which flew rapidly over the bright mirror of
the river, and halted for the night at a sandy flat below a high bank,
where I had the first watch. While the remainder of the company lay on
the ground, wrapped in their blankets, and sunk in deep sleep, I amused
myself with contemplating the grotesque ghost-like formation of the
white sand-stone of the Stone Walls, amidst the howling of the wolves,
and the melancholy note of the owl (_Strix Virginianus_).

The next morning (17th September) we passed rapidly through the
Gate of the Stone Walls, where the wonders described in a preceding
chapter passed us as in a dream. They would, perhaps, have left but
an indistinct and gradually fading impression, had not the skilful
hand of the draughtsman rescued them from oblivion. Only trappers
(beaver hunters) and the _engagés_ of the Fur Company sometimes look
with indifference on these interesting scenes of nature, the value
of which few of them can appreciate; the greater number esteem a few
dollars above all the wonders of the Rocky Mountains. Towards eight
o'clock we prepared our breakfast in a prairie on the northern bank,
and warmed our benumbed limbs, while herds of buffaloes were grazing
on the hills. On the beach we saw the track of a large bear, and of
many stags, elks, and buffaloes. Eagles, ravens, crows, and magpies
flew about the river. At ten o'clock we reached the place where, on
our journey up the river, we had met the Gros Ventres des Prairies; now
we did not see a living creature--a most striking contrast! Towards
noon we were at the flat, extensive prairie at the mouth of Judith
River, which we passed at twelve o'clock. Large herds of buffaloes were
feeding here,[135] which we did not disturb, because we conjectured
that there were Indians in the neighbourhood, and therefore proceeded
very cautiously. Large buffalo bulls swam backwards and forwards across
the river, very near us; we did not, however, fire at them. The flesh
of these animals is, besides, not good at this season. A little further
down we again saw, on the north bank, a herd of several hundred bulls,
cows, and calves. The bellowing of the bulls was incessant, and we lay
to at a sandy island, covered with poplar and willow thickets, in order
to surprise them, in which, however, we did not entirely succeed.
Morrin, indeed, crept softly amongst the herd, but was obliged to fire
as he lay on the ground, and missed his aim three times. As we could
not get a cow, we were forced to be content with a bull, which Morrin
shot, a little further down, out of a small herd of twenty-four. We
might easily have killed more of these animals, for, after the shot
was fired, they were so frightened, that they ran about in confusion,
without observing their enemy. We took the flesh of the bull that was
killed, and at half-past five lay to above Dauphin's Rapid, to dress
our meat. At this place Morrin shot a couple of {290} female bighorns,
which gave us a change of diet. We afterwards passed the rapid without
accident in the twilight, and lay to below it, on the south bank,
making no noise, and without a fire. While I was keeping watch I saw,
at ten o'clock, a splendid meteor, or aurora borealis, partly obscured
by clouds. A long stripe of bright white, extending from east to
west, was very clearly defined, and separated from the horizon. The
phenomenon continued for about an hour, when the sky became covered
with clouds, and rain fell. Meantime the wolves had been quarrelling on
the opposite bank, as I inferred from their loud howling.

The following day (the 18th) led us through the remarkable valley of
the Mauvaises Terres. Unfortunately we had, on this day, a bleak cold
wind on our backs, which frightened away the numerous bighorns, elks,
and many herds of buffaloes that were grazing on both sides of the
river, in the little prairies covered with artemisia, at the foot of
the steep, bare eminences. The wind enabled them to scent our approach
at a considerable distance, as soon as our boat got into a bend of the
river, and we often landed in vain to add to our stock of provisions.
On this occasion we had many amusing scenes. A herd of twelve elks
passed the river before us; the last was a large stag with colossal
horns, this being the rutting season of these animals. The herds
of buffaloes were sometimes thrown into the greatest confusion and
consternation when we came too near them: they galloped along the bank,
and when they were tired of this, they turned into a lateral ravine,
where we saw these heavy animals ascend the high steep mountains. It
often appeared inconceivable how these colossal masses could make their
way up the steep naked walls. Sometimes, however, they were obliged
to turn back, and we intercepted the only way to the river. They were
then frequently compelled to gallop along the narrow beach near to our
boat, which, being carried rapidly down the stream, gave us frequent
opportunities of overtaking them, and we might easily have killed
several of them, but, as they were almost all bulls, we let them escape
unmolested.[136]

About ten o'clock we lay to, on the north bank, at a wild prairie,
benumbed by the cold wind, and warmed ourselves. Among the Canadian
pines the note of the little tree frog was still very loud in this
cold weather. At two in the afternoon we reached the mouth of Winchers
Creek, near which a large herd of buffaloes was grazing; in fact,
we had seen, on this day, many thousands of these animals in the
Mauvaises Terres, where, as we went up the river, all was still and
dead. This was a sign that there were no Indians in these parts; they
had, doubtless, been hunting in the prairies, and driven these animals
away. We saw everywhere buffaloes in herds, or in small parties, which
gave much variety to our voyage. As we were rapidly carried down by the
current, in a turn of the river, we suddenly saw a herd of at least
150 buffaloes, quite near to us, standing on a sand bank in the river.
The bulls, bellowing, drove the cows along; many were in motion, {291}
and some standing and drinking. It was a most interesting scene. My
people laid aside their oars, and let the boat glide noiselessly along
within a short rifle-shot of the herd, which took no notice of us,
doubtless taking our boat for a mass of drifting timber. Scarcely sixty
paces further down, there was, on a sand bank, a troop of six elks,
with a large stag, which covered one of the animals three times in our
presence. We saw him lay his horns on his back when he uttered his
singular whistling cry.[137] A stag, which stood on the steep bank, 100
paces lower down, at length got scent of us, and galloped away, which
made the elks and buffaloes aware that an enemy was near, on which they
all took flight with the utmost precipitation. Mr. Bodmer has given a
very faithful representation of this scene.[138] The great number of
wild animals, buffaloes, elks, bighorns, and antelopes, which we saw on
this day, afforded us much entertainment. We checked, on this occasion,
our sporting propensities, that we might be able better to observe
those interesting animals, in which we perfectly succeeded.

We had reached Lewis and Clarke's Tea Island, to which we had given the
name of Elk Island, and where, on our voyage up, we had found plenty of
game. I landed Morrin and Dreidoppel on the upper end, to go in quest
of game: the rest of us proceeded down towards the lower end, where
we stopped to cook. Buffaloes and elks had crossed the river before
us, and we heard the noise they made in the water at a considerable
distance. The island was covered with lofty trees, and, in many places,
with tall plants, especially artemisia, but had many grassy and open
spots, and we found on it five buffaloes, and several troops of elks
and Virginian deer. A white wolf looked at us from the opposite bank,
and the great cranes flew slowly and heavily before us. Our fire soon
blazed in the forest, and Morrin brought in some game, which afforded
us a good supper. While it was getting ready, we rambled about the
island, and heard in all directions the bellowing of the buffalo bulls,
and the whistling of the elks. I found the rutting places of the latter
in the high grass, but soon returned to the fire, as the cry of the
owl warned us of the approach of night. On consideration we judged
this place to be ill suited for our night's quarters, as we might
easily have been surprised by the Indians; we, therefore, went on board
again, as soon as the meat was dressed, and continued our voyage, in
the bright moonlight, till near nine o'clock. The evening was warm and
pleasant. We often heard the noise made by the buffaloes crossing the
river. The forests on the bank to the right and left resounded with
the whistling of the elks, alternating with the howling of the wolves;
and the shrill cry of the owl completed the nocturnal chorus of the
wilderness. Our blankets and buffalo robes, which were still wet, froze
during the night, as we had lain down on the strand by the river-side,
where we had a cold, uncomfortable {292} couch. The manner in which we
passed these nights was not calculated to afford any very refreshing
sleep; for, to be ready, in case of alarm, we could never venture to
undress, but lay down in a buffalo skin and a blanket, and the same to
cover us, with our loaded guns under the blanket to keep them dry. We
were pretty safe from a surprise, two persons always keeping watch,
relieved every two hours.

On the 19th of September we set out early: a fog rose from the river,
and we sat wrapped up in our cloaks, quite benumbed with cold, while
the whistling cry of the elks was heard all around us. Five females of
this species, followed by a proud stag, swam through the river before
us; we fired too soon, on which the stag turned round; the animals
came near us, and thereby afforded an opportunity to fire with effect;
one of the animals was wounded, but proceeded on its way, and we did
not get possession of it. At the moment, when the other animals sought
to reach the bank, another noble stag appeared, which stopped at the
distance of fifty paces, and uttered a loud cry. I quickly threw off my
cloak, and took my rifle; but at that moment my pilot, Morrin, fired
his long piece, and the stag fell. We immediately lay to, ascended the
steep bank, and were astonished at finding a most magnificent stag of
twenty antlers stretched on the ground. I immediately took the measure
of the gigantic animal, and found the horns, from the head to the point
of the uppermost antler, in a straight line, four feet one inch; the
weight of both horns, sawn off at the head, was twenty-six pounds.
The colour of the stag in this autumnal season was very beautiful:
the whole body of a pale yellowish brown; the head, neck, the under
side of the belly and extremities, a dark blackish-brown, which looked
very handsome, especially at a distance. We soon had an excellent fire
in the thick forest, which revived our chilled limbs. Breakfast was
quickly got ready, and the enjoyment of it was much enhanced by our
success. The stag was cut up, and the beautiful skin prepared entire
for the zoological collection,[139] which gave us full employment till
dinner-time. Meantime our beds and other baggage, which had been wetted
by the rain, were dried, the sun shining pretty bright.

When our work was finished, the boat was again loaded, and we put off
from the bank. After the shot we had fired, the cry or whistle of
the elks had ceased; but we saw several of those animals, and also
buffaloes, flying in different directions. A little lower down we saw
the fine deer killed by Dreidoppel, hanging on the drift-wood, but
the stream carried us too rapidly for us to think of taking it. We
often saw the black water-hen (_Fulica Americana_) and the magpie; and
wounded some buffaloes, but did not stop to take them, because they did
not immediately fall. Soon after four in the afternoon, the stags began
again to whistle, and, amidst this strange concert, we came, after five
o'clock, to the place where we had fastened to a tree in the forest
{293} the skeleton of the bear shot by Doucette. I landed full of
hopes, and we proceeded into the thick, shady forest; but, alas! not a
trace of the skeleton was to be found, except a few fragments of bone.
The surrounding bushes and the high grass had been trodden down by the
wolves and bears, the rope had been torn, the skeleton pulled down,
and it had wholly vanished. The marks of the bears' claws were evident
on the bark of the tree, and all our searching in the solitude of this
forest was fruitless; we found nothing, and my hopes were entirely
disappointed. We had the same ill fortune with some bears' heads which
we had left a little further down; and I now regretted that I had not
kept those interesting specimens. When evening came, bats flew about
over the river, and eagles and falcons appeared on the bank. As soon as
twilight commenced, we proceeded softly and cautiously down the river.
Our boat glided noiselessly along, while profound silence, which was
seldom interrupted, reigned in the extensive wilderness that surrounded
us, and in the dark forests on the banks. Man naturally seeks and
takes pleasure in the sight of his fellows; but we were very glad that
there were no human beings here besides ourselves. We continued our
voyage for a long time by moonlight; but the dark shadows of the banks
were dangerous, for the water dashed and foamed against the visible
and invisible snags, which it required the greatest care to avoid. It
was fortunate for us that Morrin was a very good pilot, who was well
acquainted with the Missouri. We passed the night on the flat sandy
beach, where we might have been betrayed by the disagreeable roaring
of our bears. Those who kept watch had the pleasure of seeing a fine
aurora borealis, which continued for half an hour in all its splendour.

On the following morning (the 20th of September), we were again
benumbed with cold. Very early we saw a large bear, which was pursued
without success. A large herd of buffaloes being found in a favourable
situation, Morrin and Dreidoppel landed to approach them behind the
willow thickets, and they succeeded in killing two fat cows, which
furnished us with an ample supply of excellent meat. The immense horns
of an elk, fixed at the head of the boat, the sixteen antlers of which
were all hung with joints of meat, had a singular appearance. These
provisions sometimes procured us a visit from the forward magpies,
which, without the least shyness, perched on the stern of the boat,
and uttered their note, which is quite different from that of the
European magpie. This magpie is a droll bird, much more so than those
of Europe, and often diverted us by its impertinence. We saw some
numerous flocks of small birds setting out on their autumnal migration,
and I observed, among others, a flock of the beautiful blue-finch
(_Fring. amoena_), which flew across the river. At noon we lay to at
an old poplar grove to prepare our dinner. Buffaloes and elks were
very numerous at this place, and we might have shot several of them
had we not thought it prudent to avoid all unnecessary noise. After we
had enriched our collections, at some places on the bank, with very
beautiful impressions of shells, all of which were, unfortunately,
lost in the sequel, I lay to for the night about a mile above the
{294} mouth of Muscleshell River. Here, too, there were numbers of
impressions of shells and baculites, of which we collected a great
many. Having reached Muscleshell River early the next morning (the 21st
of September), I stopped, in order to look for the remarkably large
horns of an elk, which Mr. Mitchell had seen here the year before, and
found to measure above five feet. Accompanied by Dreidoppel, I went
two miles up the river, which was narrow and shallow; its banks were
thickly grown with poplars, and the bones of buffaloes and elks were
everywhere scattered about. We followed a path trodden by the buffaloes
along the bank of the river. A small prairie, covered with artemisia
and sarcobatus, joined the chain of hills beyond the forest. This was
the place where the great stag's horns had lain, but we did not find
them. A little further on, a high steep wall formed the right bank of
the river, and here we found a great number of those animal remains of
the ancient world, to which the name of baculites has been given, and
which are met with in most parts near the Upper Missouri. We returned
to our boat, loaded with these valuable specimens, and immediately
continued our voyage. Provisions were soon obtained from a numerous
herd of buffaloes standing on the bank: a shot from our boat killed a
calf. We immediately lay to, and, following the bloody trace, found the
animal dead in the grove of poplars. It was of a dark brown colour,
the nose and muzzle rather lighter; its horns were just sprouting.
Our firing, and the smell of the meat while breakfast was preparing,
immediately attracted the wolves. We soon heard them howling in the
vicinity, and, in a short time, saw them assembling on a sand bank
on the other side of the river. Twelve of them, of different colours
and sizes, had galloped up on hearing the shot, stopped a moment and
looked at us, then turned back for a short distance, lay down or seated
themselves, and entertained us with a concert of their sweet voices.
Some of them were quite white, others rather grey on the back, many
very old and corpulent, others small, young, and slender.

We left this place about nine o'clock, and, with the help of my skilful
pilot, passed, without accident, some parts of the river which were
full of snags. The foliage of the poplar woods was now quite yellow,
especially that of the young trees. A few swallows were still to
be seen; the red-tailed woodpecker and the magpie were frequent in
these parts. We saw some very large male elks, many Virginian deer,
and buffaloes; some of the latter were rolling on their backs in the
parched prairie, making the dust fly in clouds. Numbers of wolves were
seen the whole day, doubtless attracted by the scent of the pieces of
meat that were hung up about the boat. Herds of buffaloes were likewise
met with, which we often overtook as they were swimming in the river,
but did not fire at them; there were also large troops of elks, among
which were some stags of extraordinary size. This great abundance of
wild animals was a very satisfactory proof to us that the Indians were
at a distance from this part of the river. The weather had been, on
the whole, very favourable; on this day it had been very warm, but the
evening was rather cool. The people laid aside their oars, and suffered
the boat to drift down the stream. A solemn silence {295} prevailed
in the vast solitary wilderness, where Nature, in all her savage
grandeur, reigned supreme. Not a breath of air was stirring; buffaloes
were quietly grazing on the sides of the hills, and even my bears lay
still, after a fresh bed of poplar branches had been made for them:
nobody spoke a word; it seemed as if we were involuntarily led by the
impressions made by the scene, at the solemn evening hour, to give way
to serious contemplation, for which there was ample matter. It was our
constant caution to let our boat glide silently along in the evening,
because it was necessary, at that time, to be more on our guard
against the Indians, who are said, generally, to return to their tents
in the evening. We passed to-day, after dark, the White Castles, which
have been mentioned before, and much regretted not having once more
seen these extraordinary formations, below which we lay to. We enjoyed
a remarkably fine, quiet moonlight night.

Our voyage, early the following morning (22nd of September), was very
pleasant and interesting. A herd of buffaloes raised a great cloud of
dust in their flight, and it seemed that they must be pursued by the
Indians. Kingfishers, which we had not seen in our progress up the
river, were now pretty numerous on all these banks; and when we lay to
at eight o'clock to get our breakfast ready, the note of the little
tree frog, with which I did not become acquainted, was heard among the
wormwood bushes. We often passed what are called Indian forts, and our
people generally looked very anxiously to see if they were occupied,
which, luckily for us, was nowhere the case. My Canadians were so timid
that they did not venture to speak loud, and, if we stopped for a
moment, they testified, by their restless gestures, their apprehensions
and their impatience. At half-past eleven o'clock, between Muscleshell
and Milk Rivers, we passed the Half-way Pyramid,[140] which lay to the
south of us. During the whole day we saw many buffaloes and elks, and a
skunk on the bank, which escaped us, and a small flock of the hooping
crane, one of the finest birds of North America, which was on its
flight to warmer regions. The moon shone with extraordinary splendour
when we lay to for the night, while the howling of the wolves and the
whistle of the elks were heard all around. At half-past nine there was
a fine aurora borealis, at first obscured by clouds, then blazing up,
and coruscating, in lofty columns. The night was not disagreeably
cool, and the following morning (the 23rd) was fine and pleasant; but
so violent a wind soon arose, that we were compelled to lie to at the
prairie near a poplar wood. We took this opportunity of drying our damp
baggage in the wind, setting a watch in the prairie, that we might
not be surprised by the Indians. During this time a great bear came
out of the willow bushes, and swam directly towards us, across the
river; we had already posted ourselves behind some trees to receive him
with a volley at his coming on shore, when, perhaps, he perceived the
smell of our boat, lying near the bank, and, to our no small chagrin,
quietly turned back. He had scarcely reached the thicket on the other
side, when a large male elk appeared at the same place, and continued,
for a long time, to graze undisturbed. {296} In the prairie near us
no other animals were seen, except large grasshoppers, two inches
long, which had black wings edged with white; at first we took them
for butterflies, but those more delicate flower hunters had already
disappeared before the breath of autumn. It was not till five o'clock
that the wind abated so as to allow us to proceed. We were entertained
by the loud whistle of the elks, many of which were lying in the river
to cool themselves. Morrin wounded a young deer at a great distance,
and we immediately saw a wolf go after it, which, doubtless, soon put
an end to the poor animal. Our bivouac for the night was lighted by an
aurora borealis, which occurred almost every evening, the weather at
the same time being warm and pleasant.

We reached the mouth of Big-Dry River by eight o'clock the next
morning, just after we had shot from our boat a male elk, of twelve
branches, whose horns we took away, but were obliged, to our great
regret, to leave the carcase for the wolves. We saw herds of antelopes,
and numerous flocks of prairie hens, which were sitting on the snags in
the river. Autumn had already tinged the foliage with various colours.
We did not indeed see here the scarlet stag's-horn sumach (_Rhus
typhinum_), but a couple of other species of that genus were, in some
degree, substitutes for that colour. At half past two in the afternoon,
we passed near the mouth of Milk River, where we remarked great numbers
of bears, elks, deer, and wolves on the bank, and some wild geese
and sandpipers on the strand. At the place where we killed the three
bears, on our voyage up the river, we now found numerous elks; magpies,
blackbirds, and the great prairie larks abounded. We saw to-day several
beaver dens, and counted twenty-seven in all from Fort Mc Kenzie to
Fort Union. Early on the following morning, the 25th of September, we
passed the Riviére Bourbeuse.[141] Morrin had just before shot a very
fat elk, which afforded us a good breakfast, so that we did not leave
this place till eleven o'clock. Towards three o'clock such a violent
storm arose, that we hastened to secure our heavily-laden boat on the
bank, behind a snag: this was 400 or 500 paces from the spot where
the keel-boat was wrecked the year before. The bank was very steep,
and on the summit there was a wood of poplars with an undergrowth of
symphoria. The storm increased in violence to such a degree that it
seemed as if it would throw down the trees on our heads; and it brought
clouds of dust from the opposite sand banks into our forest, so that
the air was darkened. Sparrowhawks, ravens, crows, and blackbirds, took
refuge in the recesses of the forest; a herd of antelopes had also
sought protection at the skirts of the wood, and we observed the buck
pursue and drive back any of the females that attempted to leave the
herd. We built ourselves a fort in the Indian fashion, of trunks of
trees and branches, where we took up our lodging for the night, when
we could scarcely hear the cry of the elks or the growling of a bear
for the roaring of the storm. Towards morning, on the 26th, the storm
abated, and allowed us to proceed on our voyage, so that by daybreak
we reached Mr. Mitchell's Petit Fort, of which the prairie hens had
taken possession.[142] Swans and ducks (_Anas boschas et sponsa_) {297}
animated the river, and flocks of the little finch were flying about on
the bank. In the evening we had a heavy rain, and our bivouac was very
uncomfortable; after mounting guard for a couple of hours, we had to
lie down under our buffalo skins and blankets, which were wet through,
and rose in the morning thoroughly chilled and benumbed.

About eleven in the morning of the 27th of September, we reached the
Prairie à la Corne de Cerf.[143] The sky was overcast, the weather
very cool, and about noon it began to rain so heavily, that we lay to
at a lofty wood to seek for shelter, but were soon wet through while
we were erecting a slight wooden covering against the torrents of
rain, which we covered with our skins and blankets. Of half a dozen
deer which we met with in the neighbourhood we killed one, the flesh
of which refreshed and strengthened us. The unfavourable weather
continued till midnight, and the storm till the morning of the 28th of
September, when our thoroughly soaked effects were brought on board
about nine o'clock, and we continued our voyage. The wind blew bleak
and unpleasant the whole day: we saw many kingfishers on the bank, and
on the shoals in the river, the avoset (_Recurvirostra Americana_),
which, with its strange, turned-up bill, sought its food in the mud,
or the shallow water. We soon came to the rude, apparently desolate
chain of hills that extends to Fort Union, proceeded till one o'clock
in the morning, and then, cold and benumbed, lay to at a sand bank,
when those especially whose turn it was to keep watch had no very
enviable lot. Cranes awoke at the same time as we did, early in the
morning of the 29th, and rose with loud cries in the misty air. We were
stiff with cold, till the sun, as he rose higher in the heavens, warmed
us a little. About nine o'clock we lay to at the sandy coast before the
forest, on the south bank, kindled a fire, and prepared breakfast--a
blessing which only those can appreciate, who, like us, have been
long exposed to bad weather, cold, wet, storms, and privations of
every kind. It was high time for us to reach Fort Union, for our most
necessary provisions were exhausted, and, in another day, we should
have been deprived of the comfort of coffee, which we should have felt
more than all the rest. A large deer but lately had his lair very near
us, and, perhaps, we had disturbed him; we, however, had no time at
present to go in pursuit of him, for it was necessary to arrange our
dress, which was completely disordered, and make ourselves a little
decent, before we could show ourselves in society. The business of the
toilet took us no little time; so that it was twelve o'clock before we
could set out for Fort Union, where we arrived safe at one o'clock,
after an absence of about three months.

FOOTNOTES:

[133] This bird, which is nearly allied to the jay, or the roller,
has not yet been mentioned by either Townsend or Audubon. In the
form of the bill, its figure, and mode of living, it much resembles
the nutcracker; only the nostrils are not covered with bristles,
like those of the jay and crow, but lie quite free on the fore part
of the skin of the nose. The _angulus mentalis_ comes out further
than in _niscifraga_. As this bird seems to form a new genus, I
call it, from the above-mentioned peculiarity, _Gymnorhinus cyano
cephalus_.--MAXIMILIAN.

[134] See p. 129 for illustration of head of _Cervus macrotis_.--ED.

[135] The American buffalo or bison has been supposed to be, if not
identical, very nearly akin, to the bison (_wisent_ or _zuhr_), which
still exists in Russia; but, from all that I know of the latter, the
two animals appear to me to form two entirely different species. The
American buffalo is characterized by its hair and colour. Its head
is very large, and is carried low, its neck short, the withers very
high, the fore part of the body colossal and broad, the back part, in
proportion, small and weak, the tail rather short, very smooth, with
short hairs, and a tuft at the end. During the summer months, the
head, neck, shoulders, fore part of the body, and thighs, till behind
the shoulder blade, are covered with longer hair, which there ceases,
and is bounded by a strictly defined line from the hinder part of the
body, the hair of which is short and smooth, looking, altogether, like
a shorn poodle. The forehead and upper part of the head have smooth
hair from twelve to eighteen inches long, and that on the fore legs is
equally long, hanging down to the middle of the shins. In the winter
the hair of the hinder part of the body is rather longer, with a
thicker wool under it.

The prints, representing the wisent or zuhr of the Poles, which is
still to be found in the forest of Bialowieza, represent that animal as
very different from the American buffalo. The figure given by Bojanus
(Tab. XXI.) represents the head of a bull six years old, without any
long hair; and so does Tab. XX., where the hair of the forehead of
the American buffalo is twelve inches long, and the beard hangs down
to a great length. In these and other prints there is no long hair on
the fore legs; while the tail, in Bojanus's prints, has much longer
hair than that of the American animal. None of them have the long hair
on the fore part of the body, nor the strictly defined limit of this
longer hair.--MAXIMILIAN.

[136] Among these animals there are some that are very large and
fat, with longer horns than the others; these are such as have been
castrated by the Indians when calves. They are said to become extremely
fat and heavy.--MAXIMILIAN.

[137] The cry of the male elk, in the rutting season, is very singular,
and seems to be in no due proportion to the large, heavy animals. It
is a shrill whistle, which, for the most part, runs regularly up the
scale, and then suddenly falls to a low, guttural note. The notes
perfectly resemble a run upwards on the flageolet.--MAXIMILIAN.

[138] See Plate 80, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[139] Unfortunately, this fine skin, which, with much trouble, I got up
to Fort Clarke, was lost when the Assiniboin steamer was burnt in the
summer of 1834.--MAXIMILIAN.

[140] See Plate 68, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[141] Maximilian does not speak of this stream in ascending the river.
It might be any of the coulées running into the Missouri below the
mouth of Milk River, to which the term Rivière Bourbeuse (miry) might
well be applied. Lewis and Clark called these Big and Little Dry Creek,
and Little Dry River, in contradistinction to Big Dry River, above the
mouth of the Milk.--ED.

[142] For this fort and the wrecking of the keel-boat which led to its
erection, see _ante_, pp. 39, 40.--ED.

[143] This prairie, on the south bank of the Missouri, is drained by
the stream now known as Elk Prairie Creek, the first considerable
affluent above Two Thousand Mile or Red Water Creek.--ED.



CHAPTER XXII

SECOND RESIDENCE AT FORT UNION, FROM SEPTEMBER 29TH TO OCTOBER 30TH

    Present Situation of Fort Union--Absence of Mr. Mc Kenzie--News
      of the Battle at Fort Mc Kenzie--Buffalo Running--Fort
      William, a new Settlement of Messrs. Soublette and
      Campbell--Appearance of the Country in Autumn--Famine among
      the Indians--The celebrated Cree Magician, Mahsette-Kuinab
      (_le Sonnant_)--Arrival of several Assiniboins, and
      of Ajanjan (General Jackson), &c.--Famished Indian
      Dogs--Pteh-Skah (the White Buffalo Cow)--An Assiniboin
      Chief, Uatschin-Tonshenih, with his War Party--Skeleton
      of a Mastodon--Winter View of the Prairie--Hunger of the
      Horses--Preparations for our Departure.


The appearance of the country about Fort Union had much changed since
our visit in the month of July. At that time there was a numerous
body of Indians here; now we saw only one tent, inhabited by a half
Blackfoot. The whole prairie was naked, dry, and withered; the plants
were in seed, which were then covered with flowers; the woods had put
on their yellow tint; the river was shallow, narrow, and full of sand
banks; the mornings and evenings were chilly, the nights cold. Changes
had also taken place in the fort itself. Mr. Mc Kenzie, with more than
twenty men, had gone down the river to the Little Missouri; he was
expected back in about two months; and there were now only about fifty
persons in the fort. Mr. Hamilton, who received us in a very friendly
manner, had the direction of the place during the absence of Mr. Mc
Kenzie, and had under him three clerks, Messrs. Chardon, Brazeau, and
Moncrevier.[144]

The people were employed on various buildings and improvements. In
particular, very strong new pickets were placed round the fort, with
a basis of brickwork. A very handsome solid powder magazine, of hewn
stone, which was capable of containing 50,000 lbs. of powder, was
completed.[145] Mr. {300} Hamilton allowed my chests to be opened
in the very light spacious loft of the governor's house, in order
completely to dry my things, which were still damp. A well-lighted and
pleasant apartment likewise enabled us to continue our employments
during our four weeks' stay.

News of the battle at Fort Mc Kenzie had been brought, on the 13th of
September, by the Assiniboins on their return. Dechamp had brought the
horses that were sent from Fort Mc Kenzie, without accident, to Fort
Union. He had been followed by some of the Gros Ventres, whom he,
however, contrived to keep at a distance. When he crossed the river
to Fort Union, the Assiniboins who were there called to him "to take
care of himself, else he would be shot, for he had disabled many of
their people;" to which he answered, "that he was not afraid; that
they should take care of themselves; for, as they had attacked the
fort, every brave man had to defend himself." He then landed boldly,
and met with nothing unpleasant. His relations and his wife (a Cree)
were assembled here, who said to him, "that he had nothing to fear from
them, but that he must be on his guard against the other Indians." He
replied, "that he did not fear open violence, but that he must expect
secret treachery." We had scarcely been a couple of days at Fort Union,
when some Ojibua Indians arrived, who announced that more of their
tribe would follow.[146] They were rather mean-looking people, but
strongly built, with their hair hanging down to the shoulders, and not
very different from the Crees. They were, for the most part, covered
with blankets.

The nation of the Ojibuas, generally called, by the English,
Chippeways, and by the French, Sauteurs,[147] inhabits the whole
extensive tract of country between Lake Superior, the Red River, the
Assiniboin River, and, further north, about Lake Winnipeg, the Lake
of the Woods, &c. They are a very numerous, vigorous, and warlike
nation, but divided into several small, scattered companies. An
estimate of their number was given by Pike,[148] but others have since
been attempted; and, in the new history of the Indian tribes of North
America, by Mc Kenney and Hall,[149] they are reckoned at 15,000 souls.

They speak the Algonquin language, which is likewise that of the
Nipissings, Ottawas, Knistenaux, or Crees, and other tribes. The French
formerly gave different names to all those little bands of one and
the same nation, and thereby caused great confusion in the history of
those people. Trifling diversities in the language are met with in each
of these Indian tribes, living apart from each other. The Algonquin
language is said, however, to be very complete and rich, and is spread
over the whole country about the northern lakes. Many terms, current
in the United States, are derived from this language, _e. g._ squaw,
moccasin, wigwam, &c.[150]

{301} As the hunters of the fort generally went out twice in a week to
replenish our stock of meat, I resolved to accompany them, and join in
the chase of the buffalo on horseback. On the 11th of October, after
breakfasting earlier than usual, the horses were sent, in a large boat,
across the Missouri. The weather was pleasant; at half-past seven the
thermometer was at 40°, and in the afternoon at 65-1/2°. We landed in a
lofty forest of poplar, ash, negundo, and elm, with a thick undergrowth
of symphoria, roses covered with beautiful red blossom, and buffalo
berries, which had then ripe red fruit. Here we collected the horses
and mules, of which we had eighteen, loaded them, and warmed ourselves
a little while at a fire. Our party consisted of Mr. Bodmer, Chardon,
and myself, and the half-Indian hunters, Dechamp, Marcellais, and
Joseph Basile,[151] a negro slave belonging to Mr. Mc Kenzie, with
three or four more who led the horses that were to carry the meat. We
soon proceeded on our expedition; and, as we rode along, were amused
by the cheerful and enterprising Chardon, who had lived long among the
Osages, and was able to give the most authentic information respecting
that people, and the Indians in general. Listening to his animated
descriptions, his communications relative to the Indian languages,
alternating with Indian songs and the war-whoop, we passed through
the forest, then across a meadow, where a few isolated bushes grew,
and where we raised a covey of prairie hens; and then over a chain of
hills, where we followed a beaten path. Skeletons of buffaloes, nearly
entire, and numbers of skulls, which might have furnished many an
osteological cabinet, lay scattered around. The hills seemed to consist
of a whitish sand-stone, with a layer of clay over it; and, here and
there, they exhibited some singular forms, but not to be compared with
those already mentioned, when speaking of the Stone Walls. From the
summit of the chain of hills we had a fine view of the valley of the
Missouri. On the further side runs a whitish chain of hills, with their
singular angles and ravines, before them the yellow prairie, with its
orange-coloured woods of poplar and ash on the banks, where Fort Union
appears: on this side of the wood were dark stripes of bushes, and
large forest trees, the reddish or brown bark of which contrasted with
the yellow foliage of the poplars; at our feet were the whitish-grey
sand-stone hills, and the greyish-brown eminences covered with dry
grass, and dark green cedars, under which was the grassy plain, with
its silvery green shrubs. {302} When we had ridden some miles, we
found the prairie was more and more level, that is, it became a gently
undulating plain, traversed by low hills, which, at the distance of a
couple of miles, generally bounded the horizon, and when we had reached
them, we had a similar uniform prospect. The whole is grey and dry,
without diversity, covered with dry low plants, which yet afford food
to numerous herds of the large heavy buffaloes. Here and there small
hollows, in which there is rather more moisture, cross the prairie,
and here some water-plants and grasses grow: in the spring and winter
there is running or stagnant water in them, which is generally salt. At
this time the ground was, in many places, entirely covered with Glauber
salt, which is collected for use, and of which there is a considerable
stock at Fort Union. Lewis and Clarke frequently observed this white
deposit on the banks of the Missouri. In the moister parts of the
prairie, where there was more vegetation, we saw a small flock of birds
of the species _numenius_, or _charadrius_. Among the plants there were
whole tracts covered with dwarf rose bushes, about a foot high; some
species of solidago and aster, with bunches of whitish flowers, and
snake-root (_Galardia bicolor_). The wolf, the prairie fox, and the
striped squirrel, are found in these prairies.

We proceeded in quick trot and gallop across the prairie, where the
larks flew up before us, and ravens and crows appeared in great
numbers. A few buffaloes that we saw at a distance did not induce us
to stop, for we had twenty miles to ride before we could think of the
chase. Towards noon we came to a little creek, called La Rivière aux
Tortues, meandering through a meadow, a hill on the north side of which
protected us from the wind. Here we halted a little, the baggage was
taken off the horses, and they were left to graze, while a fire of
buffalo dung was kindled, and a duck roasted, which had been shot by a
Half-breed, who had hastened on before us. The creek was partly dry,
with high grass growing in it; but there were still some shallow pools,
where a beautiful tortoise, resembling _Emys picta_, lived. After
resting for some time, we proceeded over gentle hills till about five
in the afternoon, when we came to a pretty considerable hill, beyond
which herds of buffaloes are usually met with. Before we reached the
summit, we crossed a small ravine, where we found a spring of cool
clear water, which refreshed us greatly. The ravine itself is filled
with a narrow strip of ash, elm, and maple, between tufts of roses,
bird-cherry, and other species, entwined by the clematis.

When we reached the top of the hill, we examined with the telescope
the extensive plain, and perceived some small groups of buffaloes,
four, five, or six together, the most numerous of which we resolved to
attack. The pack-horses followed slowly, and the hunters proceeded, in
quick trot, to a hollow between two hills, where we saw the animals at
no great distance on our left hand. With our pieces ready to fire, we
made a regular cavalry charge on the heavy animals, which, however,
galloped away at a pretty brisk rate. The horsemen divided, and pursued
the bulls, which were partly shot by the practised marksmen, and
partly wounded by the others; these were pursued, and did not fall
till many shot had been fired at them. I had followed a wounded {303}
bull into the ravine, and three of us repeatedly fired at him. He
often put himself in a threatening attitude, and even pursued us for
ten or twenty paces, but, in such cases, it is easy to avoid him, and
the frightened animal immediately took to flight again as soon as we
halted. At length, after twenty shot, perhaps, had been fired at him,
his strength failed, and he sunk down.

The Half-breed and the Indians are so skilful in this kind of hunting
on horseback, that they seldom have to fire several times at a buffalo.
They do not put the gun to their shoulder, but extend both arms, and
fire in this unusual manner as soon as they are within ten or fifteen
paces of the animal. They are incredibly quick in loading; for they put
no wadding to the charge, but let the ball (of which they generally
have several in their mouth) run down to the powder, where it sticks,
and is immediately discharged. With this rapid mode of firing these
hunters of the prairie soon make a terrible slaughter in a herd of
buffaloes. In the present case, the whole of the little herd of
buffaloes was killed; nine bulls lay on the field, and our hunters
had dispersed in such a manner that we had not a little trouble to
collect our whole party. I had separated from the rest, rode for some
miles over low eminences, and, at length, when it was getting dusk,
met with Marcellais, who had killed a buffalo.[152] Here, too, I found
Mr. Bodmer, who took a sketch of the animal that was killed. We rode
back to the ravine, and endeavoured to kindle a fire of buffalo dung in
this place of general rendezvous; the wind was bleak, and we could not
make our fire burn bright. There was no wood at all; but we threw fat
and marrow-bones into the fire, by way of fuel. Some meat was roasted
as well as the circumstances permitted; and when we were going to lie
down to rest, it appeared that my portable bed, of buffalo skins and
blankets, had been forgotten. This was no very pleasant discovery, for
the wind was raw, the fire bad, and the rain falling; however, the
hunters, who were quite used to such bivouacs, gave me a part of their
blankets, and we slept very comfortably.

On the 12th of October we breakfasted on roast meat and buffalo marrow;
the horses were collected and saddled, and the flesh of the buffaloes
fastened to the pack-saddles. Eighteen years before I had had my mules
collected in the same manner in the Campos of Brazil, when I wanted
to continue my journey; but in that beautiful and warm country, where
nature is so grand and so rich, the bivouacs in the forest are more
cheerful and pleasant, and form a striking contrast to the melancholy
life in the prairies, where you have to suffer so many privations. We
rode rapidly forward, and halted at noon, in the bed of a dried-up
stream, in order to rest, and take some refreshment. About four miles
from Fort Union, our half-breed Indians found the fresh traces of an
Indian war party, who had, probably, observed us in the prairie, and
might have cut off our retreat in the only path among the hills and
ravines to the banks; we therefore put spurs to our horses, and rode
the whole way at full gallop, so that we were much out of breath when
we arrived at the bank opposite the fort. We hastened to cross the
river, and the pack-horses, with {304} the meat, arrived soon after. A
bleak, disagreeable wind had prevailed the whole day, the temperature,
at noon, being only 61°. We, therefore, enjoyed the evening in
conversation with Mr. Hamilton, by the fireside, over a glass of punch,
which beverage was our daily refreshment during our four weeks' stay at
Fort Union. I obtained from Mr. Hamilton much information relative to
the country in which we now were; and he read to us an interesting MS.
which he had composed, respecting the life of Glass, the beaver hunter,
written down from his own words a short time before he was shot, with
two of his companions, by the Arikkaras. A man of the name of Gardner,
who afterwards happened to meet with these Indians, killed two of
them with his own hand, and I received the scalp of one of them, as a
present, during my stay in the fort. Mr. Hamilton intended to have this
life printed.[153]

As early as the 16th of October a truly wintry wind blew in the
prairie; the temperature was only 46° at noon. On the following day
the ground was thickly covered with snow; and, at eight o'clock in
the morning, the mercury had fallen to 39°. We paid several visits to
Fort William, a new settlement, founded by Messrs. Soublette[154] and
Campbell, opposite the mouth of the Yellow Stone, which was not yet
entirely surrounded with palisades. Mr. Campbell, who resided there,
gave us a very friendly reception, and afterwards visited us at Fort
Union.[155] I often walked along the banks of the Missouri to Fort
William, in agreeable conversation with Mr. Hamilton, and received,
from Mr. Campbell, much information respecting his residence and
travels in the Rocky Mountains. The remainder of our time we employed
in excursions in the prairies.

The appearance of the country differed, in many respects, from what
we had found it on our preceding visit. The forests were tinged with
yellow, or other varied hues; large flights of blackbirds, and numbers
of ravens, crows, and magpies, were flying along the skirts of the
woods; thrushes were departing in small companies, and some species
of finches still animated the thorny bushes; the yellow goldfinch had
already put on its winter dress. In the bleak prairie we found the
prairie hens singly, or in small flocks, whose crops were full of the
red berries of the low rose bushes. The cactus was still green, but
the fruit was withered. These plants bear the winter of this climate,
which is often severe, extremely well; but their joints generally
become wrinkled, and are often frozen, but the roots always produce new
shoots. Flocks of ducks and wild geese were in the river, and on the
lakes, for instance, one near the mouth of the Yellow Stone, there were
always great numbers of water fowl. Our hunters often resorted thither,
and returned heavily laden with wild geese, ducks, and musk-rats. The
cranes and pelicans passed in large flocks, and Antoine, the negro,
killed many of them. The little squirrels were no longer seen in the
prairies, having retired for their winter sleep; but we perceived,
at the mouth of their burrows, that they had taken in a quantity of
prairie grass. The wolves now came very near to the fort, and prowled
round it, even in the daytime, so that, while I was there, one of {305}
them was shot from the gate of the fort. Troops of thirty or forty
antelopes now came nearer to the Missouri, but it seems an exaggeration
to say, as Mr. Warden[156] does, that the herds of these animals
consist of several hundreds. 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. Here they remained in the
daytime, and at nightfall came to look for the remains of provisions
in the neighbourhood of the buildings. Our dogs frequently pursued
them, but their extreme swiftness enabled them to escape, and retreat
to their burrows, where they were easily caught by setting snares.
The amphibious animals had, for the most part, crept underground. The
workmen employed in setting the palisades of the new fort, dug up
several snakes of the beautiful variety, _Coluber proximus_ (Say),
which I have already mentioned.

As there were now but very few Indians in the vicinity, the wild
animals were not disturbed. However, those restless hunters of the
prairie gradually arrived, and put an end to our monotonous way of
life. When the first tents were set up, I took the opportunity of
making myself acquainted with the mode in which they dressed their
skins, and discovered what I had not previously known. They scraped the
skins very quickly and perfectly with their tooth instruments, threw
away the first shavings, but preserved those beneath, which they boiled
in water and ate. We learned that, during our absence, the Assiniboins
had made peace with the Manitaries. Their principal chief, Uahktahno
(the killer), had concluded a convention with the Gros Ventres
themselves; but such treaties are seldom of long duration. Several Cree
Indians arrived at Fort Union, among whom was the celebrated medicine
man, or conjuror, Mahsette-Kuinab (_le sonnant_), whose portrait Mr.
Bodmer took with great difficulty, because he could not get him to sit
still.[157] He was suffering severely from an affection of the eyes;
complained of his poverty, and wanted to borrow a horse, promising to
pay for it at a future time. This man is highly respected among his
countrymen, because his incantations are said to be very efficacious;
and even the _engagés_ of the Company firmly believe in such mummeries.
They relate wonderful anecdotes of this Indian. "Often," say they,
"he has caused a small tent to be covered with skins and blankets,
and closely shut, he himself having his arms and hands bound, and
being fastened to a stake, his whole body closely muffled up. Some
time afterwards, sounds of drums, and the schischikué, were heard;
the whole tent began to tremble and shake; the voices of bears,
buffaloes, and other animals, were heard; and the Indians believed that
the evil spirit had come down. When the tent was afterwards opened,
the conjuror was found fastened and bound as before, and he related
what he had learnt from the spirit whom he had interrogated." The
Canadians and Indians affirm, that his predictions invariably come
to pass; and it would have been in vain to attempt to convince these
superstitious people of the contrary. On one occasion it was said, that
Le Sonnant was at Fort Clarke, where all persons present witnessed
his performances. He told {306} them, beforehand, that a horseman
would arrive upon a grey horse, and be killed; and not long afterwards
some Chayenne Indians arrived, of whom one, riding a grey horse, was
taken and killed. This circumstance is still quoted as a proof that
Le Sonnant has intercourse with supernatural powers. His medicine or
charm, which the enchanter upon such occasions wears upon his head, is
the skin stripped off the head of a bear. So much is certain, that many
of these Indian jugglers are very dextrous in sleight-of-hand, and, by
their adroitness and artful tricks, know how to deceive the ignorant
multitude.

On the 20th of October several distinguished men of the Assiniboins
arrived at the fort, among whom were Ajanjan (the son of the tall
Frenchman), generally called General Jackson; Manto-Uitkatt (the mad
bear); Huh-Jiob (the wounded foot); all three tall, handsome men.
Ajanjan, as we were told, was not to be trusted. He showed us, on his
body, the scars of several wounds, such as of an arrow in his breast,
and a musket-ball in his arm. The handsomest of the three warriors was
the Mad Bear. The upper part of his face was painted red, his chin and
lower part of the face black, and his breast strongly marked with black
tattooed stripes, while on the upper arm and wrist he wore bright metal
armlets; his dress was, on the whole, extremely handsome. All these
people were Stone Indians (Gens de Roche). Several Assiniboins, whom
we had not seen before, arrived successively, so that, on the 21st,
General Jackson, with twenty-three of his warriors, was able to make
his entry in due form into the fort. They advanced in a line, and were
conducted to the Indian apartment, where they smoked their pipes. Among
them was a man wearing his winter dress, having on his head a badger's
skin, by way of cap, and gloves, which are very rare among the Indians.
His name was Pasesick-Kaskutau (nothing but gunpowder), and Mr. Bodmer
took an admirable full-length portrait of him. Many women arrived with
their loaded dogs, and I never saw such miserable, starved animals.
Their backs were quite bent, and they could hardly walk, yet they were
cruelly beaten. One of them was lame, and could not go on, and at every
blow the poor animal howled most lamentably; another, quite starved,
fell down dead near the tent. The Indians themselves frequently suffer
hunger, and their dogs, of course, suffer still more; so that the
poultry in the fort was in constant danger. Many of these dogs were
very handsomely marked; a pale yellow, with greyish-blue, or blackish
stripes; there were some of all colours.

The Indians at this time fared very well with us; for the opposition
of Fort William, in our neighbourhood, induced our people to pay them
higher prices for their goods, in order to draw them away. Endeavours
were made by each party to outdo the other in entertaining them, in
which the more powerful and firmly established American Fur Company
could hold out the longest. The Indians who came to us had, generally,
been already treated at Fort William; they were, therefore, extremely
merry, and their singing and beating the drum were incessant. A tall
chief, Pteh-Skah (the white cow), visited us, and a very good portrait
was taken of him. His {307} face was characterized by a long nose,
his hair smeared with clay, and his summer robe painted of variegated
colours. This chief was commended as a man thoroughly to be depended
upon. When the portrait was finished he received a small present. On
seeing our stock of snuff, which was laid out to dry, he frequently
exclaimed with delight, "Oh! how much! How much!" He then drew out a
bottle containing brandy, and drank some, on taking leave, intending
to cross the Missouri on this day to hunt buffaloes. The good humour
and merriment of the Indians was increased by the circumstance, that
a clerk of the Company bought a wife of them, for whom he paid the
value of about 250 dollars. The relations sat in a circle round the
fire, roasting, eating, and drinking, and kept up their noisy mirth
and revelry, with loud music, till late at night. Several beaver
hunters arrived, among whom was the Cree Indian, Piah-Sukah-Ketutt
(the speaking thunder), who is engaged as a hunter in the service
of the Company. He brought me a part of the skin of the head of an
original,[158] which he had killed on the Milk River, and affirmed
that he had there found the entire skeleton of a colossal serpent. A
part of a tooth which he brought proved that these bones belonged to a
fossil mastodon, which, unluckily, was at too great a distance for me
to be able to go and examine it. He said that he had broken the head to
pieces, in order to obtain the piece of the tooth. Mr. Bodmer drew a
very good portrait of this Cree in his Indian dress, and likewise of a
woman of that nation, who was married to the hunter Dechamp.[159]

In this manner we continued to employ ourselves, and were sometimes
agreeably interrupted by the arrival of fresh Indians. On the 25th of
October, a party of twenty-four warriors arrived, who, as usual in
such cases, were meanly dressed; some had painted their faces black,
others red. Most of them wore leather caps, or an old piece of skin
over their heads, and carried on their backs small bundles containing
their effects--pieces of meat, generally a pair of shoes, and a
large quantity of the plant _Arbutus uva ursi_, as a substitute for
tobacco. Most of them wore wolf's skins. Their arms consisted of lances
ornamented with feathers, a gun in its case, and bows and arrows on
their shoulders. The chief of this savage band was Uatschin-Tonshenih
(the fool); and there was among them a young Indian, whom his father,
Uitchasta-Juta (the cannibal, a chief much devoted to the Company,
and who lived at the distance of six days' journey), had sent to Mr.
Mc Kenzie, to inform him that a war party of the Assiniboins was
approaching, with the intention of stealing the horses belonging to the
fort, and warning him to take the necessary precautions. He further
informed him, that another chief, the Knife-holder,[160] being offended
on account of the battle at Fort Mc Kenzie had gone northwards with a
hundred tents to the English, in order to trade with the Hudson's Bay
Company. The young man added, that he had several other messages, but
that he had forgotten them by the way, as the journey was so long. The
intention of this war party to do some injury to the Manitaries was no
agreeable news for us travellers, because, in our voyage {308} down
the river, we should have to take that very direction. As Mr. Mc Kenzie
would soon return to Fort Pièrre, it was intimated to the leader, that
it would be advisable to go another way with his people; for, if he met
the travellers, his young people might, perhaps, be tempted to steal
the horses. The Indian immediately expressed his willingness to follow
this advice. Most of the Assiniboins now gradually withdrew, and only
a couple of tents remained near the fort, so that the prairie, already
naked and desolate, was scarcely animated by a living creature, except
that a hungry wolf or dog sometimes prowled about in search of food.
The forests, too, had entirely lost their foliage; a cold wind swept
the country; and, as early as the 27th of October, we had a heavy fall
of snow, and the cold was so intense, that we did not willingly leave
the fireside. On the following day the weather was again bright, calm,
and cold, and the forest thickly covered with hoar frost. We now, for
the first time, saw the prairie in its winter dress; all was drear and
cheerless; only the smoke of the fires of the men that guarded the
horses rose in the distant horizon. The horses could now find no food,
except the bark of the poplar trees, and appeared to be quite ravenous;
for, during the night, when they were always driven into the fort, they
completely gnawed off the oil paint on the wooden palisades.

The four weeks that I lived at Fort Union passed rapidly away, to which
the agreeable conversation of Mr. Hamilton, a well-informed Englishman,
greatly contributed.[161] Every evening we formed a circle round the
fire, where the conversation turned as well on our distant native
land as on the wildernesses of America. As the time for our departure
approached, the necessary preparations were made. I had exchanged my
boat, which was too small, for a larger one, which was old and in bad
condition, but which Mr. Hamilton quickly had repaired. Mr. Chardon
had caused a stone hearth to be fixed in this boat, but we were obliged
to remove it, as it proved too heavy. A deck or covering of Indian
tent skins was put up as a protection against the weather. The people
whom I obtained from the Company for this voyage, were, besides my
steersman, Henry Morrin, four Canadians, two of whom were inexperienced
young men. Mr. Hamilton had the kindness to provide us with many
necessaries and comforts. I shall always be grateful to him for his
friendliness, and remember, with pleasure, the time passed at Fort
Union. We took a cordial farewell of our obliging and courteous host,
and of Mr. Chardon, who had likewise given himself much trouble for my
accommodation.

FOOTNOTES:

[144] François A. Chardon had lived among the Osage for many years and
later entered the American Fur Company's employ. In 1837 he was at Fort
Clark when the steamer arrived with smallpox aboard. He himself, after
warning the Indians against exposure, contracted the disease and was
left for dead, but later recovered. In 1843 he was chosen to succeed
Culbertson at Fort Mc Kenzie, and there perpetrated the massacre which
led to the abandonment of that post and the building of Fort Chardon at
Judith River (see notes 51 and 75, _ante_, pp. 70, 87). When Culbertson
returned to the Blackfoot territory (1845), Chardon was sent to a lower
post. Palliser found him at Fort Berthold in 1848, where he died in
that year.

J. E. Brazeau belonged to the prominent Creole family of that name
in St. Louis, who removed thither from Kaskaskia before 1782. He
entered the fur-trade about 1830 and was for many years upon both the
Yellowstone, where there were trading-houses called by his name, and
the upper Missouri. He finally entered the Hudson's Bay Company, and in
the summer of 1859 was met by the Earl of Southesk at Edmonton, where
he gave that nobleman much information concerning American conditions
in the fur-trade. See Southesk, _Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains_
(Edinburgh, 1875). Brazeau should not be confused with the negro of the
same name, frequently mentioned by Larpenteur.

According to the account of his rival clerk, Larpenteur (see _Journal_,
i, p. 76), Jean Baptiste Montcrévier was discharged from the company's
employ in 1835. He was, however, with Culbertson at Fort Union in
1843, at the time of Audubon's visit. See _Audubon and his Journals_,
index.--ED.

[145] On the 4th of February, 1832, there was a great fire at Fort
Union, which would have completely destroyed it, if it had communicated
to the powder magazine, in which there were 2,000 lbs. of powder. The
buildings on the west side (five rooms) were burnt; 800 planks, and
1,000 dried buffalo tongues, served as fuel to the fire. An east wind
fortunately kept the flames from the powder magazine. The palisades
were immediately cut away, and the meat stores saved. Soon after the
fire 270 trees were felled, and the new palisades were put up on the
9th of February.--MAXIMILIAN.

[146] The Chippewa (Ojibwa) are the largest and most important branch
of the Algonquian family. They were first met by early French explorers
in the neighborhood of Sault Ste. Marie; hence their French appellation
of Saulteurs, which gradually extended to the entire tribe. Their
habitat was the region of Lake Superior and the headwaters of the
Mississippi, although bands like the one here mentioned frequently
ranged much farther westward. They participated in Pontiac's Conspiracy
(1763), but gradually became reconciled to British and afterwards to
American rule. A large number of this tribe yet live on reservations
in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, with many bands in Ontario and
the Canadian Northwest. For the best published history of this tribe,
consult W. W. Warren and Edward J. McNeill, "History of the Ojibway,"
in _Minnesota Historical Collections_, v.--ED.

[147] Most American authors write this French name incorrectly; for
instance, Sautoux or Sautous, as King likewise does. See his Journey
with Captain Back to the Frozen Ocean, Vol. I. p. 32, and Vol. II. p.
44.--MAXIMILIAN.

[148] Maximilian here cites a statement of General Zebulon M. Pike,
quoted in H. R. Schoolcraft, _Narrative Journal of Travels ... in the
Year 1820_ (Albany, 1821).--ED.

[149] This work, entitled _History of the Indian Tribes of North
America_ (Philadelphia, 1836-44) is chiefly composed of a series
of biographies of famous Indian chiefs, illustrated by many plates
from portraits (since destroyed by fire) in the possession of the
war department at Washington. It derived its vogue from the fact
that Colonel Thomas L. Mc Kenney, one of the joint authors, had been
officially connected with the Indian department for many years, serving
as superintendent of United States trade with the Indians (1816-24),
and in charge of the bureau of Indian affairs (organized 1824).--ED.

[150] On this subject see Schoolcraft's Narrative of an Expedition
to Itaska Lake, &c., 1834, pp. 93, 94, 144, 146, 169, 217; and
Tanner's Life among the Indians, where there are many particulars
respecting this nation, their language, and written characters. In
Governor Cass's Expedition, p. 211, Schoolcraft likewise speaks of
the hieroglyphic characters of the Ojibuas in the forest, &c. Other
circumstantial accounts are given by Mc Kenney (Tour to the Lakes,
p. 318), who describes the birch canoes, and gives a poem on the
subject. Schoolcraft thinks that the Christian religion would be
easily propagated among the Ojibuas, because they do not worship the
sun and moon, nor have any other imaginary gods; but they have their
medicines, as well as the other Missouri Indians, and Monedo (Munito)
is considered by them as the Great Spirit (Schoolcraft, Loc. cit. p.
68). Warden (Vol. III. p. 450) says, "The Chippeways are designated,
in different parts of the country, by different names, as Crees,
Ottawas, &c.," which, properly speaking, is incorrect, for they all
speak the Algonquin language. According to this author (Vol. III. p.
541), those Indians are more pusillanimous in their disposition than
the Sioux, Crees, and other tribes; but the very reverse is the case,
if we may believe the Canadians, whose statements, on this point, I
found everywhere to agree. Good accounts of the several tribes of the
Ojibuas, and their abode, are given in Major Long's Travels to the
source of St. Peter's River, Vol. II. pp. 151, 152.--MAXIMILIAN.

[151] This same engagé hunted for Audubon in 1843. See _Audubon and his
Journals_, ii, pp. 93, 98-101.--ED.

[152] See Plate 64, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[153] The adventures of Hugh Glass appear to have been part of
the current tradition among Western hunters. Several accounts
were published, but not apparently this of Hamilton. Consult _The
Portfolio_, xix (or xxxiii), p. 214; P. S. Cooke, _Scenes and
Adventures in the United States Army_, (Philadelphia, 1857), pp.
135-148; R. B. Sage, _Rocky Mountain Life_ (Boston, 1860), pp. 159,
160. The latter claimed that Glass was still living in Taos--an evident
error. For what is known of his life see our volume xxii, p. 294, note
255, abridged from Chittenden, _Fur-Trade_, ii, pp. 668-706.

Johnson Gardner was a noted free-trapper of the mountains, for whom
Gardiner River, of Yellowstone Park, was named. See his fur-trade
accounts in Chittenden, _op. cit._, iii, pp. 941-944.--ED.

[154] For William Soublette see our volume xix, p. 221, note 55
(Gregg). The fort named for him was on the site of the military post of
Fort Buford, about two miles below the mouth of Yellowstone River, on
the north bank of the Missouri. The site was chosen and building begun
by Campbell's party (August 29, 1833), who had come thither from the
Green River rendezvous via the Bighorn and Yellowstone. The post was
only maintained until the following June, when its owners sold out to
the American Fur Company. See full details in _Larpenteur's Journal_,
pp. 51-67. For a time this place was a dependency of Fort Union; but in
1842 was re-established by a new firm as Fort Mortimer. Audubon visited
it frequently during his journey of 1843. Two years later the American
Fur Company again bought out the opposition. Remains of old Fort
William existed until the building of the military post of Fort Buford
(1866).--ED.

[155] Robert Campbell was born (1804) in County Tyrone, Ireland.
Emigrating to America, he lived for a brief time in Philadelphia, but
turning westward reached St. Louis some time in the year 1824. The
following year, by a physician's advice, he visited the great plains
in search of health, and having recuperated, embarked in the fur-trade
with General Ashley, upon whose retirement (about 1830) Campbell became
a prominent partner of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. His partnership
with Soublette lasted through several years. It was in the year of
Maximilian's visit (1833) that the new firm entered into competition
with the American Fur Company upon the upper Missouri. About 1835
Campbell withdrew from personal supervision of the interior trading
parties, and settled in St. Louis, where he became a prominent merchant
and banker. He was largely instrumental in promoting the volunteer
movement in Missouri at the outbreak of the Mexican War, personally
superintending the equipment and preparation of regiments. Campbell
was well and favorably known throughout the West, where his draughts
were accepted as readily as those of the United States government. The
latter employed him as commissioner in Indian negotiations--in 1851
with Father De Smet, and again in 1869. His generosity and hospitality
were widely noted. He died at his St. Louis home in 1879.--ED.

[156] For Warden see our volume xxii, p. 149, note 63.--ED.

[157] See Plate 22, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[158] "Original" is the French-Canadian term for the moose (_Cervus
Alces_). Moose were found in northern Montana until recent years.--ED.

[159] See Plate 66, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[160] This is the same chief mentioned in note 120, _ante_, p. 147;
he was usually called Tchatka or Gauche (the left-handed), one of his
names being You-hah (the man that has the knife).--ED.

[161] For brief sketch of Hamilton see our volume xxii, p. 374, note
350.--ED.



CHAPTER XXIII

VOYAGE FROM FORT UNION TO FORT CLARKE, FROM OCTOBER 30TH TO NOVEMBER 8TH

    Last Visit to Fort William--Flakes of Ice in the Missouri--Bad
      Condition of our Larder--Relief from this Distress--Mr.
      Bodmer misses his Way in the Forest--Loss of our Geological
      Collections--Conical Red Hills--Departure of the
      Antelopes--Tameness of the Magpies--Destruction of the Woods
      by the Beavers--Escape of a Visit from the Indians--Winter
      Village of the Manitaries--Unexpected Meeting with Dougherty
      and Charbonneau--The Manitari Chief, Lachpitzi-Sihrish--The
      Fontaine-Rouge, with the Petrified Trees--Visit to the Tent
      of Pare-Flêche-Rouge--Arrival at Fort Clarke.


On the 30th of October, the weather being fine, we left Fort Union,
and stopped for a moment at Fort William, opposite the mouth of the
Yellow Stone, to take leave of Mr. Campbell. The thicket of willows
on the steep bank of the river had been cut down, in order to open a
view to the yet unfinished fort, which is about 300 paces from the
bank. Mr. Campbell presented me with some specimens of natural history,
and furnished me with cigars, of which we had long been deprived;
they really are a great comfort on a long voyage. We took charge of
his letters, and having taken leave, proceeded on our voyage. As the
provisions for my people consisted of bad old bacon, and my own stock
was limited to a ham which had been obligingly left to me, from the
very scanty stock of provisions at Fort Union, with some coffee, sugar,
and ship biscuit, we were very desirous of obtaining some game, and
went on shore on a tongue of land, on the south bank, where we soon
saw several wolves, and a troop of seven deer, but could not get near
enough to fire at them. Great clouds of smoke rose from several parts
of the prairie, doubtless caused by the woodcutters of Fort William,
the hunters of which we likewise perceived at a distance. The thickets
were quite stripped of their foliage; the buffalo berry bushes alone
yet bore some sere yellow leaves. Prairie hens, magpies, and the coal
titmouse, the latter sitting among the willow bushes, were the only
specimens of the feathered tribe which we observed. Numerous tracks
of {310} animals were visible on the beach, and among them the small
delicate footprint of two different kinds of mice. We proceeded till
eight o'clock in the evening, when we lay to, as it grew too dark to
venture farther. Afterwards, however, the moon rose in great splendour,
and towards morning we had a sharp frost.

Very early on the 31st we saw numerous flights of prairie hens crossing
the river in companies of thirty or forty, and heard the whistling of
the elk stag, which, at times, like that of our European stags, is
heard at a late hour. When we lay to for breakfast, we were in a thick
forest, with the same underwood as we have before mentioned, especially
buffalo berries, in great abundance. They were of a beautiful bright
red colour, and very palatable, for, like our sloes, they require
a touch of the frost before they are good eating, yet they were
still astringent and acid; mixed with sugar, however, they were not
unpleasant. With this fruit we refreshed our bears and my little fox,
to which they afforded an agreeable variety in their food, but we did
not fare so well ourselves, having hitherto tried, whenever it was
possible, to obtain game, but in vain. Everywhere we found traces of
beavers, gnawed trunks of trees, abattis and paths trodden smooth. The
willow thickets were frequented by the coal mouse and magpie. As our
firing had been ineffectual upon a flock of white swans and some wild
geese, we again lay to near the Rivière Bourbeuse (White Earth River
of Lewis and Clarke),[162] and some of our hunters traversed the
country, while the boat remained fastened under the steep bank. Flakes
of ice already floated down the Missouri, and broke, with much noise,
against the snags in the water. This ice comes from the tributary
rivers; in this place it came from the Rivière Bourbeuse, and the
noise occasioned by it is increased by that of the banks falling in,
the dashing of the waves, and the high wind. My live animals, which
would not eat pork, were half famished, and the bears especially made
an incessant growling, which was in every respect highly disagreeable.
Our hopes were disappointed; the hunters had missed two head of game;
and, at four in the afternoon, I continued the voyage, though very
slowly, because my people complained of fatigue. If the Canadians are
not always well fed, there is no depending upon their perseverance. We
lay to early for the evening, and the people dispersed in the forest to
hunt. At the spot where we now were, we saw many traces of all kinds
of game. Beyond a close thicket of young poplars (cotton wood), were
sand hills covered with yellow grass, and yet further distant, a forest
of lofty poplars, beneath which the ground was clothed with a dark
red undergrowth of cornus, rose, and buffalo berry bushes, entwined
round their stems with clematis and vine; a few grapes were still
hanging on the branches, but they were very small and indifferent, and
did not suit the taste of even my little fox. The hunters were again
unsuccessful: they had seen nothing but the usual species of birds;
and as for me, I found only a small flock of _Fringilla linaria_,
which were so tame that they almost settled upon our fowling-pieces.
Our supper was extremely frugal; but on the morning of the following
day, the 1st of November, when we lay to at a scattered forest, Morrin
was so fortunate as to kill {311} a large elk, which quite revived
our sunken spirits. In this forest there were deeply trodden paths of
wild animals, and great numbers of prairie hens, which, however, were
extremely shy; when they were roused, they uttered a note almost like
that of our snipes, not, however, fainter towards the close, but louder
and stronger. The ground was so dry, and the withered leaves rustled
so beneath our feet as we trod upon them, that we could not get near
them. The small striped squirrel was pretty frequent here. Another elk
was afterwards shot, so that we were well provided for several days,
and the lamentations of my hungry animals were put a stop to. As we
proceeded on our voyage we frequently saw game, and the prairie hens,
like all birds of that kind, flew about us with the swiftness of an
arrow.

The singular red, burnt, conical summits of the hills attracted our
attention, till we lay to, at a little before four o'clock, near an
extensive forest on the south bank, to dress our dinner. The poplar
wood was thin, near the bank, but had a thick undergrowth of roses, in
which were a greater number of traces of wild animals than we had yet
seen, a sight which instantly set our hunters in motion. I found the
pretty little four-striped squirrel (_Tamias quadrivittatus_), in great
numbers, which ran quickly along the ground, and up the trees, with the
fruit of the rose in its mouth. My people caught one of these delicate
creatures alive, which, to my great regret, afterwards made its escape.
On account of the dry leaves we could not closely approach large game,
though we heard the noise of considerable herds of them; and all our
hunters returned before dark, except Mr. Bodmer, whom we looked for in
vain. Night came on, we called, fired our pieces, but could obtain no
intelligence of our fellow-traveller. We waited till eight o'clock,
in no small anxiety, till at length we heard a shot higher up the
river, which we immediately answered. Dreidoppel and Hugron instantly
proceeded in that direction, and at length happily returned with our
lost companion. In pursuing a stag, Mr. Bodmer had often changed his
direction, and at last got quite bewildered; he had walked eight or
ten miles, had been entangled in terrible thorny thickets, and got
into a morass. At length he reached the prairie, where he perceived
a troop of about twenty Indians, and hastened back into the forest;
then, notwithstanding the Indians were so near, he fired six shots as
signals of distress, and at length had the pleasure of descrying, from
a hill, the shining surface of the river; thitherward he worked his
way, directly through the thickets. As soon as he had been refreshed
with some food, we loosened from the bank, where our presence had been
betrayed by so many shots. We, however, lay to at a sand bank a little
further down on the opposite side, and there passed a cold night,
without fire or covering, in a high wind.

Next day, the 2nd November, was cold and bleak, and the tempestuous
wind so unfavourable that we could only pass one tongue of land, and
were compelled to stop nearly the whole day. A boat, laden with maize,
belonging to Mr. Campbell, here passed us; it had left the Mandan
villages a fortnight before. We had made our fire in a close thicket
of poplars, under a {312} high steep bank, sheltered from the wind.
Our hunters dispersed in different directions, and I soon heard a
shot not far distant, on which I advanced. Dreidoppel had roused two
Virginian deer, and wounded one of them. We followed the trace of
this animal, which we killed, and I succeeded in shooting the other
deer, which would not abandon its companion. This success afforded us
some fresh game, and my people employed themselves in cooking all the
remainder of the day, nor would anything induce them to stir from the
spot. We found, in the forest, traces of large bears, saw the prairie
fox come out of its burrow, and found no other animals, except the
small striped squirrel and one species of birds, the coal mouse,
which defies the severe winter in these parts. In the afternoon we
hoped to shoot wolves or foxes that might be attracted by the entrails
of the deer we had killed, and, therefore, concealed ourselves; but
only crows, ravens, and magpies, were lured by the bait. At six in the
evening it grew dark; we increased our fire for the night, about which
we sat till nine o'clock, while my _engagés_ lay snoring on the ground.
The surrounding wood was pitch dark; the wolves howled incessantly on
both sides of the river, till the moon rose, and the wind abated, so
that we were able to proceed before daybreak on the 3rd of November.

We again observed the black strata of the bituminous coal, and found
fine fragments, which had fallen down, together with the pieces
of the grey sand-stone of the adjoining strata. I increased my
collections with the most interesting series of the rocks of the Upper
Missouri, which, I regret to say, have not reached Europe, as they
were irrecoverably lost. On this voyage down the river I had better
opportunities of examining the singular red, burnt, and conical tops
of the summits of the bank, and they afforded me much interest. The
rocky walls, and the red hills, covered with fragments burnt red,
exactly resembled the refuse of our brick kilns, and they emitted,
when struck, a clear sound, like that of the best Dutch clinkers.
Under those red cones we generally saw a stratum of the bituminous
coal; both often appeared together. I observed several slight hollows,
resembling craters, surrounded by pyramids of the red rock. Caverns
and holes, too, frequently appeared in this clay and sand-stone;
and the remarkable light grey rocks, marked with darker transverse
stripes, and with bright red tops, which now were pink, or different
shades of crimson, as the faint rays of the sun here and there tinged
them, and gave them a highly picturesque appearance. The swallows'
nests fixed against the perpendicular walls, of which the Prince
de Musignano[163] made a drawing, were now completely deserted by
their tenants. At noon we lay to at a prairie, which we explored
while my people were cooking their dinner; but we found only ravens,
crows, magpies, and prairie hens. The ground between the yellow,
sere grass, was so dry that the dust rose at every step; it was, in
some places, overgrown with rose bushes, from two to four feet high,
symphoria, and groups of poplars. We did not encounter any buffaloes
till we reached Fort Clarke; they appeared to have retired from the
river; very frequently, however, we saw the paths and traces of other
animals. Flocks of prairie hens, forty or more {313} together, seemed
particularly to choose, as their resort, the drift-wood on the banks of
the river. A magpie was so tame that it settled on the rudder of the
boat, while Morrin was at the helm. Towards evening we lay to, on the
steep bank, where the kingfisher, the magpie, and the wren (doubtless,
_Troglodytes hyemalis_), had taken up their abode, the latter among
the dry drift-wood. Here we kindled our fire, in a tall poplar forest,
where stems two feet thick nearly formed a circle. As we had passed the
territory of the most dangerous Indians, and the nights became more and
more cold, we constantly kept up a fire at our bivouac, and on this
evening again began our night-watches, because we were approaching a
very numerous Indian tribe near the Missouri. Mr. Bodmer amused himself
with taking a sketch of our bivouac in the forest, where we leaned
against the trees, sat round the fire and smoked our pipes, amidst the
concert of the howling wolves and the screeching owls.[164]

On the 4th of November, we passed, at noon, the mouth of White Earth
River (_Rivière Blanche_), or Goat Penn River of Lewis and Clarke. At
this spot there was, formerly, a fort, which was abandoned in 1829,
when Fort Union was built.[165] A little below the mouth of this river,
the high wind obliged us to lay to; woods and thickets, with high dry
grass, and prairies, either bare or covered with artemisia, formed an
extensive wilderness, traversed by the paths of stags and buffaloes,
where we found many deer's horns and other remains of these animals, as
well as tracks of enormous bears (_Ursus ferox_). We did not, however,
see any large game, but only prairie hens, and a few stray blackbirds
and flocks of the small finches (_Fringilla linaria_), which were
picking up the seeds of the plants among the grass. It appeared that
this wilderness had been visited by Indians a short time before. After
a considerable halt we proceeded at two o'clock, passed the Butte
Carrée, and lay to, in the evening, near a narrow strip of wood on the
steep southern bank, behind which extended the prairie. The night was
clear, the wind cold, and the moon rose at twelve o'clock.

The morning of the 5th of November was bleak and chilly, and the wind
numbed the fasting travellers, till we lay to, at eight o'clock, at a
prairie overgrown with thick bushes, where we prepared our breakfast,
and where the number of prairie hens immediately induced our hunters to
bestir themselves. I had unluckily loaded my piece with small shot, for
a Virginian deer ran close by me from out of a thicket, which I might
otherwise have very easily shot. We saw a troop of elks, and our little
friend, the striped squirrel, which, however, is not yet found so low
down the river as the Mandan villages. At eleven o'clock we proceeded
on our voyage, in which we were protected by the high banks from the
bleak wind, and enlivened and cheered by the sun. A herd of antelopes
crossed the Missouri before us, and we in vain attempted to intercept
them. These pretty animals generally leave the Missouri at this time,
and hasten, on the approach of winter, to the Black Hills. A magpie
alighted on the rudder, uttering its note, "twit, twit," which is quite
different from that of the European magpie. We saw but few ducks {314}
and other water fowl, which had before afforded us so much amusement;
doubtless, because they found more subsistence on the lakes, which were
not yet frozen. We lay to, for the night, on the southern bank, where
the forest was completely laid waste by the beavers. They had felled
a number of large trees, chips of which were scattered about on the
ground. Most of the trees were half gnawed through, broken down, or
dead, and in this manner a bare place was formed in the forest. Not
far off we saw in the river a beaver den, or, as the Americans call
it, a beaver lodge, to which there was a very well trodden and smooth
path, which we availed ourselves of, to go to and from our boat. Nature
appears to have peculiarly adapted these remarkable animals to the
large thickets of poplar and willow of the interior of North America,
where the Whites, on their first arrival, found them in immense
numbers, and soon hastened to sacrifice these harmless creatures to
their love of gain. Numerous tracks of animals of all kinds, especially
elks, bears, and wolves, were observed; the wolves prowled around us
at no great distance, and at ten o'clock, when I had the watch, they
came between our bright fire and the boat, which was only forty paces
distant, being attracted by the smell of the meat.

On the next day, the 6th, we likewise met with many gnawed trees, which
proved that the number of the beavers was still pretty considerable.
Morrin had shot in the morning a fat fawn, which was gladly welcomed
by us. We had traversed a forest admirably suited to the chase, when we
met with a great deal of game, but, on account of the dry leaves, could
not get near enough. Besides the animals which I have often mentioned,
we saw some new species of birds, of which, however, I was quite unable
to obtain a specimen.

At noon we passed the Little Missouri, at the mouth of which there
were now extensive sand banks; we stopped a little below it, and found
a spot very favourable for the chase, in a forest alternating with
morass, high grass, and various plants, where we followed some fresh
traces of large elks, without, however, being able to overtake them.
We proceeded on our voyage till late in the night, and slept at a spot
in the forest which was so dense, that we were compelled to hew down
the bushes to make a space for our fire and resting-place. The night
was dark, and the loud howling of the wolves was our never-ceasing
music. Towards the morning there was a sharp frost, and the sky was
partially clouded with the west wind. Our good genius had made us set
out unusually early on the 7th November, for we had scarcely left the
bank in the morning twilight, when we heard several shot, and soon
after, at the very place where we had halted and slept, the loud voices
of the Indians calling to us to return. They were, probably, a hunting
party of Manitaries, who had been attracted in the early morning by the
light of our fire. Being very happy at having, weak as we were, escaped
visitors so little to be trusted, our _engagés_ rowed with all their
might, and there was soon a good distance between us. 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 {315} 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. Manoel Lisa, the Spanish
fur dealer, had formerly a trading post at this place.[166] Rather
further on, after we had turned a point of land, we saw a white horse
on the bank, and soon after a group of Indians, with their horses,
which they had brought to the river to water. In the wood, close by
them, was a winter village of the Manitaries, or Gros Ventres, to which
they had removed only two days previous, from their summer dwellings,
and whose present chief was Itsichaicha, which the Canadians translate,
Monkey-face. They hailed us, but I would not stop, and, the current
being strong, we rapidly passed them. An Indian woman, with a handsome
brown hound, probably of the European race, stood on the bank, and
formed a very interesting object in the wild winter scene. We were now
in the centre of the territory of the Manitaries, and were in momentary
expectation of meeting with these Indians; in fact, we soon saw several
of them on foot and on horseback. We had just doubled a point of land,
and were looking for a sheltered spot for landing, when we observed
some huts in a lofty wood of poplars, and were immediately called to by
some Whites and Indians. We recognized old Charbonneau, and landed at
once. It appeared that Messrs. Soublette and Campbell had founded a
trading post in the Manitari villages, and that their people, together
with these Indians, had arrived but yesterday at the winter village,
situated at no great distance. The clerk, who had the management of the
business here, was Mr. Dougherty, brother to the Indian agent,[167]
who had likewise accompanied Major Long in his expedition to the Rocky
Mountains, and who had, at present, old Charbonneau as interpreter. The
latter had lately quitted the American Fur Company, but subsequently
returned into their service. The Indians, under their principal chief,
Lachpitzi-Sihrish (the yellow bear), had arrived, as I have said, but
yesterday, in the winter village; and Dougherty, with Charbonneau and
several _engagés_, lived in some huts hastily erected on the bank of
the river, while a better and more substantial house was building
in the Indian village. Mr. Dougherty, to whom we delivered letters
from Mr. Campbell, would not suffer us to proceed, and entertained us
with much hospitality. It gave us much pleasure to be again in human
society, after having been so long deprived of it. While we were
chatting and smoking our cigars, we perceived, near where we were
sitting, a row of large casks, and learned that they were all filled
with gunpowder, which, considering the high wind that blew directly
into the hut, was a great want of prudence. Many interesting Indians
came successively, among whom was the old chief, who was particularly
struck with our long beards, from which these people have a kind of
{316} aversion. The night was stormy and very dark: some of us slept in
the boat; Dreidoppel and our _engagés_ in the huts on shore.

The morning of the 8th November was bleak, cold, and frosty. I left
the place early, accompanied by Charbonneau, and, after proceeding four
miles, landed on the southern bank, to look for a petrified trunk of
a tree, which Charbonneau had mentioned to me. While my people were
taking their breakfast in a poplar wood, we proceeded alternately
through thickets and open plains, towards the neighbouring hills, to
the Fontaine Rouge, which was now a marsh covered with ice: not far
from this was the tree, which is supposed to be part of an old cedar
(_juniperus_); it is the lower part of a hollow trunk, with a portion
of the roots; and, though this mass still perfectly shows the formation
of the wood, it is now converted into a sounding stone. As the whole
of this interesting specimen was much too ponderous to be removed, I
carried off a good many fragments, without, however, disfiguring the
tree, which will, doubtless, some day, find a place in some museum in
the United States. This kind of petrified wood is not, by any means,
unfrequent on the Missouri. Of the many interesting specimens of this
kind which I had collected, very few have found their way to Europe.

After breakfast we continued our voyage, at eleven o'clock, and came
to the spot where Mr. Pilcher's residence formerly stood, about eleven
miles from Fort Clarke.[168] At twelve o'clock we were opposite the
first Manitari summer village, and saw, on the other side, many
Indians, who hallooed to Charbonneau. They had some smooth-haired
hounds, spotted brown and white, with hanging ears, which were,
doubtless, of European race. The invitations to land became more
vociferous and numerous, and Charbonneau advised us to comply with
them, which we did: we were immediately conducted, by a distinguished
man, Ita-Widahki-Hisha (the red shield),[169] 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. The old uncle had a very ugly
countenance; he was fat, and his dress negligent and slovenly. The wife
of the chief held a child in her lap, with a thick hare lip. 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. Our people had likewise obtained refreshments,
and presented the Indians, in return, with some tobacco and gunpowder.
After we had conversed half an hour, through Charbonneau, with
these friendly people, and given them an account of our battle with
the Assiniboins, their enemies, we took leave and proceeded on our
voyage. The {317} Indians accompanied us to the river-side, and on
our way thither we saw the skin of a large white wolf hung on a tree,
doubtless, by way of medicine, or offering. We left at one o'clock,
and at two reached the Manitari village, Awachawi, which lay close to
the bank;[170] a couple of women, in their round leather boats, set us
across the river; they had hung some wood to their vessel, and rowed
with great rapidity; some others were proceeding towards the river,
with their boats hanging on their heads and down their backs. I shall
describe these boats in the sequel.[171] At three o'clock we reached
the Mandan village of Ruhptare, where a number of Indians came to the
bank to greet their friends; Charbonneau hid himself, that they might
not recognise him and invite him ashore. He had five names among these
Indians--the chief of the little village; the man who possesses many
gourds; the great horse from abroad; the forest bear; and fifth, which,
as often happens among these Indians, is not very refined. After we
had passed the bend in the river, we saw the second Mandan village,
Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush, and, at no great distance beyond it, Fort Clarke,
which we reached at four o'clock, and were welcomed on the shore by
Mr. Kipp, the director and clerk of the Fur Company, who led us to his
house.


FOOTNOTES:

[162] On his outward journey Maximilian gives this river the English
form of its name--the Muddy. See our volume xxii, p. 372, note 348.--ED.

[163] Charles Lucien Bonaparte, prince de Musignano and Canino, for
whom see our volume xxii, p. 39, note 15.--ED.

[164] See Plate 23, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[165] See our volume xxii, p. 369, note 345. The post was one built in
1825-26 by James Kipp (see our volume xxii, p. 345, note 319), for the
Columbia Fur Company. This was transferred (1827) with other property
to the American Fur Company, who maintained it, as Maximilian says,
until the establishment of the Yellowstone post.--ED.

[166] This post of Manoel Lisa was the one visited in 1811 by Bradbury
and Brackenridge, who found Reuben, brother of Meriwether Lewis, in
charge. See our volume v, pp. 152-167; vi, pp. 135-142. It was on the
west bank of the Missouri about twelve miles above Knife River, near
Emanuel Creek.--ED.

[167] Probably Joseph L. Dougherty, who was in 1839 farmer at the
Council Bluffs agency. His brother John accompanied Maximilian as far
as Bellevue on the outward journey. The opposition of Soublette and
Campbell to the American Fur Company was spirited though brief; consult
Chittenden, _Fur-Trade_, i, pp. 350-354. The rival post was just below
the former post of Lisa (see our volume xxii, p. 364), and above Fort
Clark.--ED.

[168] For Joshua Pilcher see James' _Long's Expedition_, in our volume
xiv, p. 269, note 193. For his post consult our volume xxii, p. 364,
note 335.--ED.

[169] Red Shield was a young chief at the time of Lewis and Clark's
visit; see _Original Journals_, i, p. 230. He is said to have been the
slayer of Le Borgne, the famous Minitaree tyrant; see our volume v, p.
162, note 90.--ED.

[170] For the location of this Minitaree village, see our volume xxii,
p. 357, note 333.--ED.

[171] See the view of the village Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush, Plate 49 [in
the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv] where one of these boats is
introduced.--MAXIMILIAN.



CHAPTER XXIV

DESCRIPTION OF FORT CLARKE AND THE ENVIRONS

    History of the Fort--Description--Climate--Soil--Geological
      Formation of the Country--Plants--Animals--The neighbouring
      Indian Population--Indian Villages.


Lewis and Clarke gave an account of the state of this part of the
country at the time of their residence in the vicinity of the Mandan
villages, in the winter of 1803-4.[172] At that time they erected a
fort on the north bank of the Missouri, a little above the place where
Fort Clarke now stands, but, at present, there is not the smallest
trace of that post. The river has since changed its bed in such a
manner, that the site of that building, which was then at some distance
from the shore, is now in the middle of the stream. Such changes in
the channel of the Missouri are of very common occurrence, so that
all the islands, sand banks, little bends, and points of land formed
by them, laid down in the special maps, are correct for only a short
time. Above the Manitari villages is a place where the river made its
way through a tongue of land, and now forms a channel nearly four
miles from its former bed. This took place in 1828. Some persons think
that Lewis and Clarke's fort would now be on the south bank of the
Missouri. Charbonneau, who was interpreter for the Manitari language,
and had lived thirty-seven years in this part of the country, was here
at the same time as those travellers, passed the winter with them, and
afterwards accompanied them to the Columbia River. He generally lives
at Awatichai, the second village of the Manitaries, and, excepting some
journeys, has always remained at this spot: hence he is well acquainted
with the Manitaries and their language, though, as he candidly
confessed, he could never learn to pronounce it correctly.[173]

Mr. Kipp, a Canadian of German descent, now clerk of the American Fur
Company, and director of Fort Clarke, came here in 1822, as agent of
the Columbia Fur Company.[174] At that time there was no fort here.
Major Pilcher, the same gentleman who came with us up the {319} Lower
Missouri, in order to take the management of the trading post of Mr.
Cabanné, among the Omahas, was, at that time, a proprietor of the
Missouri Fur Company, and directed a trading post a little above the
Manitari villages, on the southern coast. In the spring of 1822,[175]
this fort was abandoned, the above-mentioned Fur Company having been
dissolved. In May, the same year, Mr. Kipp commenced building a fort
in the prairie, which lay between the present Fort Clarke, and the
forest, in which the inhabitants of Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush live in the
winter. This fort was completed in the month of November. In the same
summer, Colonel Leavenworth,[176] with a considerable body of troops,
artillery, and an auxiliary corps of the Dacota Indians, came up the
river to the Arikkara villages, to chastise those people, who, not
long before, had attacked the keel-boats of General Ashley, killed
eighteen of the crew, and wounded many others. The inhabitants of the
banks of the Missouri affirm that this enterprise was conducted with
very little energy; they retired from the enemy's villages without
destroying them, or doing much injury to the inhabitants, at which the
allied Indians, especially, were much dissatisfied.[177] The Arikkaras,
on the other hand, became excessively arrogant, and henceforth attacked
and murdered all the white men who were so unfortunate as to fall in
their way. When Lewis and Clarke were here, these people were friendly,
but now they are violently inimical to the Whites, and have killed
many more than any other nation on the Missouri.[178] After Colonel
Leavenworth's retreat, the Arikkaras removed to a station higher up the
river, and settled in the forest which the Mandans have now selected
for their winter quarters.[179] The garrison of the fort, built by Mr.
Kipp, consisted of only five men, besides Mr. Tilton, the director. It
was, therefore, in constant danger, because of the near vicinity of the
Arikkaras. Those savages remained constantly close to the fort: one of
their chiefs, Stanapat (the little hawk with the bloody hand) killed
one of Mr. Tilton's people at the very door of the fort. Three white
men, coming from the Rocky Mountains, were obliged by the Arikkaras,
who lay in wait, to abandon their boat, and to escape, at imminent risk
of their lives, to the opposite shore. In the same autumn these Indians
murdered five persons belonging to the French Company on Cannon-ball
River. Neither Messrs. Tilton and Kipp, nor any of their people, durst
venture out of the fort, where they were obliged to remain in durance
the whole of the autumn. Subsequently, the latter resided in a Mandan
village till the fort was completed, though those people were on a
friendly footing with the Arikkaras. When the man above-named was shot
at the door of the fort, the Mandans were very anxious to declare war
against the Arikkaras; but this was overruled, because the people
belonging to the Columbia Fur Company, who had to come hither by land
from Lake Travers and St. Peter's River, would inevitably have suffered
by it.[180]

At the beginning of December, Mr. Laidlow, now on the Little Missouri,
came from Lake Travers with six wagons laden with goods, on which a
sort of peace was concluded with the Arikkaras.[181] They came first
to the fort, because they could nowhere else obtain goods from the
Whites, and the {320} precaution was always taken of admitting only
a few of them at a time. The peace with these Indians was not, as
might have been expected, of any long duration. They always behaved
extremely treacherously, and it was at length dangerous even to go out
for water, wood, or other necessaries, and the people were frequently
threatened and intimidated; for which reason, Mr. Tilton left the fort,
and went to the next Mandan village, where he resided in the hut of the
distinguished chief, Tohp-Ka-Singka (the four men), who protected him
against every attack. He afterwards went down to St. Louis.

In the spring of that year the Arikkaras returned to their former
villages, declaring that they would, in future, live in peace with the
white men. Mr. Kipp alone remained behind, and, throughout the summer,
did not see a white man; the skins and goods of the Company were in his
keeping in the hut of the chief, but he afterwards built a house near
the village, where he dwelt, till 1824, with one Jeffers, who, with
seven men, and wagons laden with goods, had come from Lake Travers.
The Mandans had hitherto protected the abandoned fort, and kept it in
order, that the Arikkaras might not burn it. During the summer Mr. Kipp
caused the palisades of the fort to be cut down close to the ground,
and the Mandans conveyed the wood to their village, carrying some of
the beams on their shoulders, and floated the remainder down the river.
The buildings were likewise destroyed. Several apartments were added to
Mr. Kipp's house, and the palisades were placed round it. As he had
not a sufficient quantity of goods, Mr. Kipp sent Charbonneau (who was
likewise in the service of the Columbia Fur Company), in company with
another man, to fetch a wagon-load from Lake Travers; but, on their
return, encountering a party of Assiniboins, they were compelled to
abandon their wagon, horses, and goods, and all was lost. About this
time the Crows arrived with a good supply of furs, but as Mr. Kipp had
not a sufficient number of articles to barter, he himself undertook,
with two Half-breeds, the journey to Lake Travers, and succeeded in
bringing a wagon-load in safety.

On his way he perceived a camp of the Dacota, and avoided it; and,
during the night, lost his horses, but was fortunate enough to recover
them. When he returned, General Atkinson, with 500 or 600 troops, had
been at the Mandan villages, whence he proceeded upwards to Milk River.
These troops returned during the summer, and hostilities had nearly
ensued between them and the Crows, who were with the Mandans.[182] The
French Fur Company had sent some of their servants with the General to
trade in the Mandan villages. Bissonette was the chief trader. In the
autumn Mr. Tilton came up from St. Louis, in a keel-boat laden with
goods. Mr. Kipp had, meantime, sent some people to the Assiniboins,
Crees, and Ojibuas, to invite their chiefs to come hither and open a
trade with them. The troops had brought a person named Wilson, as
agent of the United States for the Indians;[183] and all these people
lived together in the Mandan fort. Peace was therefore concluded
between those three Indian tribes, as well with the Whites as with the
Mandans and their allies. The object was to break off their connexion
{321} in the north with the English, and to draw them to the Missouri.
In April, 1825, Messrs. Wilson and Tilton returned to St. Louis, and
Kipp alone remained in the fort, with five men.[184] In November, Mr.
Tilton returned with a supply of goods, and Mr. Kipp went to White
Earth River, carrying with him a fine selection. Here he built a fort,
a little on this side of the mouth of the river, and remained there
during the winter, trading with the Assiniboins. In the autumn of
1826 the Sioux made an attack on the Mandans and Manitaries, killed
above fifty of the latter, a couple of the Mandans, and likewise a
Crow Indian, who happened to be on the spot. This year, the Columbia
Fur Company united with the American Fur Company, and commenced its
operations here on the Missouri.[185] In the winter of 1830 Mr. Kipp
caused the wood to be prepared for the present Fort Clarke, and
the palisades were erected in the spring of 1831. Mr. Mitchell now
undertook the direction of this new fort, which he completed to a
certain extent, and called Fort Clarke. In July, with forty-five men,
Mr. Kipp was sent to Maria River, where he built the fort, the ruins
of which I have mentioned above. He remained there till the spring
of 1832, when he was succeeded by Mr. Mitchell, who then built the
present Fort Piekann, or Mc Kenzie.[186] Mr. Kipp has since had the
direction of Fort Clarke, except in the winter of 1832-33, when Mr.
Lamont had it,[187] and Kipp was under him as clerk. Skirmishes with
the Sioux took place in the neighbourhood; and, on one occasion, when
Lamont and Kipp were conversing by the fireside, they were startled
by a shot fired through the window, while the ball passed between
them, and lodged in the wall. The Mandans, who were brought hither by
Mr. Kipp, have remained here for eleven years, in the same position
as then, and their number has neither increased nor diminished. The
trade with the Indians is, on the whole, unchanged, and the goods
remain nearly at the same prices, except when their value is raised by
foreign merchants. This year (1833), on account of the competition with
Messrs. Soublette and Campbell, twelve dollars were paid for a large
beaver-skin, though it was, in reality, worth no more than four dollars
in the United States. But it was of great moment to the Company not to
suffer any other party to compete with them. The Indians now generally
require horses in exchange for their beavers; and as there are but few
at Fort Clarke, messengers were despatched to Fort Pièrre to fetch
some. Messrs. Soublette and Campbell had, at present, one of their
people in each of the neighbouring Indian villages. I have already
mentioned their clerk, Mr. Dougherty, who lived among the Manitaries,
and stated that they had taken Charbonneau into their pay. Mr. Kipp
had likewise stationed a trader among the Manitaries, who, in the
winter, visited the villages in a sledge. The circumstances which took
place during the thirty-seven years of Charbonneau's residence in the
Manitari and Mandan villages, were nearly as follows:--

At his first arrival, the three Manitari villages stood precisely as
they do now, and Charbonneau immediately took up his residence in
the central one. No commercial intercourse had then been opened with
St. Louis; and he, as the only white man on the spot, procured what
he wanted {322} from the north, of the English. In the year of his
arrival, 1300 or 1400 Sioux, united with 700 Arikkaras, attacked the
foremost Mandan village, and about 1000 Manitaries hastened to assist
the latter. They repulsed the enemy, killing more than 100 of them,
among whom was the son of Tanahah-Tahka (the white cow), an Arikkara
chief. These people had before lived in the nearest forest, below that
which the Mandans of Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush now inhabit during the winter;
but, after this battle, they removed further down the Missouri, and
built their villages at the spot where we saw them.[188] After the war,
they left all their effects behind them in their huts. Subsequently
they often returned in a hostile manner, but never in such numbers
as at that time. Five or six years before Charbonneau arrived, the
Sioux, with 1500 tents, came on a visit to the vicinity of the Manitari
villages. Two of the latter, a man and woman, who were returning from
the Crows, were murdered by some of the Sioux; on which the Manitaries
recklessly killed five Sioux, who happened to be with them. This was
the signal for war. The Sioux surrounded the village; the inhabitants
were unable to procure either wood or water, as the river was at
some distance. There they remained closely blockaded for nine days,
drinking only the dirty stagnant water which was in the village. The
horses collected in the huts suffered hunger and thirst, and gnawed
off the bark of the wood of the posts. A chief, who had erected a kind
of bulwark on the top of his hut, shot eleven Sioux, but was, in the
sequel, killed by a successful fire from the enemy.

On the ninth day the old men gave orders that the young warriors
should mount their horses and go out to meet the enemy, while all the
inhabitants should issue forth and fetch water from the river. This was
done, but, when the Sioux observed the intended attack, they struck
their tents and retired, conducting their women and children along
the chain of hills. Eighty of the horses which were led to the river
perished, because it was not possible to prevent them from drinking
too eagerly. The Sioux were pursued, and many of them killed. During
Charbonneau's time, another war party of the same nation appeared on
the other bank of the Missouri; in the large Manitari village there
were only eighteen men, the rest being out on a hunting expedition, but
the other village collected all its warriors. The Mandans joined them,
they forded the river on horseback to make an attack, and reached a
ravine, where they faced the foe. The Sioux called to the Manitaries,
that they would first smoke together, on which all sat down, showed
each other their pipes, and began to smoke. This done, the chief of
the Sioux advanced and called to his adversaries that they were come
here to fight; both sides knew that they had brave men opposed to them,
and he, therefore, considered it would be more honourable to leave
the wood, and combat in the open plain, which was agreed to by both
parties. They proceeded into the plain and commenced the attack. Two
Mandans, the Coal, and the Black Cat,[189] had previously had a dispute
with each other, and were now resolved to see which of them would
fight the best. The Sioux soon gained considerable advantages, and the
Mandans and Manitaries {323} were already beginning to retreat towards
the forest, when the Black Cat called to the Coal, his adversary, who
was among the retreating party, whether this retreat was a proof of
his vaunted courage? On which the Coal recovered himself, took his
adversary by the arm, and said, "Well then, we will die together!" They
both turned back and rode into the thickest of the enemy. Their example
was instantly followed by all the other warriors; they recommenced the
attack with renewed vigour; the enemy was totally worsted, and many of
their people killed.

At another time a war party of the Sioux appeared opposite the village
Les Souliers,[190] in the large prairie. The Manitaries crossed the
river, defeated the enemy, and pursued them for twenty miles. The Sioux
constantly remained near the river to keep their opponents from their
camp in hills, where their women and children were placed. A Sioux,
wearing a handsome feather cap and tufts of hair, proceeded along the
hills, and a Manitari chief pursued this enemy on a fleeter horse,
and overtook him. Both dismounted and fought with their knives till
the Sioux was killed. Forty-eight of the enemy were slain, while the
Manitaries lost only three men. The Mandans had supported their allies
and neighbours in this battle. Charbonneau was witness of this action,
and said that in the following night the scalp dance was performed. Ten
or twelve years ago the Manitaries were preparing an antelope park,
and one of their people, who was occupied in a ravine, collecting the
wood necessary for the purpose, was shot by some Assiniboins, who
were lying in ambush. The relations were in the act of placing the
deceased on the stage for the dead, when about thirty Assiniboins, with
two calumets, came to the village to conclude a peace, not knowing
that another band of their people had just committed the above-named
murder. All the inhabitants hastened together, attacked and killed
about twenty Assiniboins, took three of the women prisoners, while the
few remaining of the party escaped by flight. Individuals are even now
often murdered on both sides; and only three weeks before my arrival at
Fort Clarke, three of the enemy had come to the bank opposite the fort,
and made signals that they wished to be conveyed across. A man and two
women accordingly went over in a leather boat, on which the strangers
immediately shot the man, and the women with difficulty escaped.

Fort Clarke is about three quarters of a mile below the site of the
old fort of Lewis and Clarke, 300 paces from the Mandan village,
Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush, and between eighty and ninety paces from the
southern side of the river, in a level prairie, above the rather steep
bank of the Missouri. This bank, immediately below the Indian village,
is much higher and quite perpendicular. About 200 paces below the fort
is a streamlet which has steep clay banks, and at the distance of 200
paces from the Missouri divides into two arms, one of which comes down
further south, and the other about 700 paces behind the fort, after
issuing from the hills into the level prairie. This chain of hills
limits the background of the prairie, and closes on that side the view
from the fort.[191] The ground near the stream {324} is overgrown
with grass, and, in its many windings, bushes and tall plants adorn
the banks, especially of the class _syngenesia_, such as solidago,
&c., the seeds of which are sought after in winter by the _Fringilla
linaria_, and the _Emberiza nivalis_. In the spring and autumn wild
ducks frequent this stream, which is inhabited by river tortoises; the
_unio_, too, is found in it. As soon as it freezes, which, in 1833, it
did in November, the ducks migrate to the ponds and lakes a few miles
distant, where they remain with pelicans, swans, wild geese, divers,
cranes, and other water fowl, till these lakes are likewise frozen.
About a league below Fort Clarke the Missouri makes a bend to the east
or north-east, and on this part of the bank is a rather extensive
forest, in which the inhabitants of Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush have built
their winter village of sixty or seventy huts. From the above village
there is easy access across the prairie, which is, in general, level,
to Ruhptare, the second Mandan village, there being only a couple of
small ravines filled with brushwood, the resort of prairie hens, to
break the level. Opposite the fort, on the left shore of the Missouri,
a fine forest of poplars, elms, maples, ash, &c., with a thick
undergrowth of every variety of shrub, extends to the prairie hills.
In this forest the inhabitants of Ruhptare live in the winter time,
directly opposite their summer village.[192]

Fort Clarke itself is built on the same plan as the other trading posts
of the Company. The front and back of the square are forty-four paces
in length, the sides, forty-nine paces. The northern and southern
corners have block-houses; the buildings are of one story, and they
were just erecting a new one, with a couple of rooms, having good glass
windows, which, however, was not yet completed. In front of the postern
gate was the machine in which the skins are made up into bundles, each
bundle consisting of ten buffalo hides, and weighing 100 pounds. A
small piece of garden-ground is laid out behind the fort, and not far
off, on the banks of the stream, the Indians had planted some small
fields of maize and gourds. There were only three dogs in the fort,
which were always shut out in the evening. At this time we had little
opportunity of following the chase; the herds of buffaloes had gone
to a distance, and the hunters were obliged to make long excursions
before they could meet with them. There was, however, a sufficient
stock of food for the horses in the fort, and sometimes a good many
horses were kept there; but, at this season, most of them had been
sold, in consequence of the competition in trade. These animals are
very badly treated; they are scarcely housed in a stable during the
whole winter, and in the coldest nights they were in the court-yard,
while the congealed snow lay on their backs and shoulders, some inches
thick. They had no food in the winter, except the bark of the poplar
trees in the forest; and, when the weather was not too rigorous, and
the snow too deep, they were driven thither daily. The dogs have also
to pass the night in ice and snow. Fort Clarke possessed no oxen, nor
any domestic animals, except some cocks and hens, which latter begin
to lay in March. Oxen would be in danger from the numerous Indians,
who consider them as a medicine {325} of the white men, which may be
prejudicial to them in hunting the buffaloes. There were a few tame
cats in the fort, but not sufficient to reduce the great numbers of
rats. These animals (the Norway rats) were so numerous and troublesome,
that no kind of provision was safe from their voracity; their favourite
food was the maize, among which they committed sad havoc; and it was
calculated that they daily devoured five bushels, or 250 pounds. There
were often from 500 to 800 bushels of this corn in the loft at a time.
The rats were brought hither by the American ships; but, as yet, they
have not reached the Manitari villages. The Indians killed seven of
these creatures in the prairie, which were on their route from Fort
Clarke to those villages. No rats have since attempted to visit them,
but it is more than probable that they will, ere long, find their way
thither.

The only neighbours of the fort are the Indian villages. They are
surrounded by their stages for the dead, which form a very strange
appearance, and, in the warm season, when the wind blows from that
direction, spread most disagreeable and unwholesome exhalations.[193]
In the summer time, the many Indians engaged in various occupations
in the prairie, and their numerous horses grazing around, give great
animation to the country; but, in winter, the landscape is extremely
dead and monotonous. The extensive white plain is enlivened by neither
man nor beast, unless, indeed, some herds of buffaloes are in the
neighbourhood, or a few hungry wolves are prowling about in search of
food. At that season there is generally more life on the frozen river,
as the Indians are continually going backwards and forwards from their
winter to their summer villages, and to the fort. Men, women, children,
and dogs, drawing little sledges, are seen on it all day long; and the
people of the fort amuse themselves with skating, and the children with
sledges, especially on Sundays.[194]

The climate in the country about Fort Clarke is, in general, healthy;
yet, in the spring and autumn, and even in winter, there are always
some disorders which carry off many of the inhabitants, especially
the Indians, who are entirely destitute of medical assistance. In
the winter which we passed here, several such epidemics prevailed,
which affected very many of the people; and some of the Whites, too,
were severe sufferers. A great many children were carried off by the
hooping-cough, and some Indians by diarrhoea and colic; and the cholera
having prevailed on the Lower Missouri, it was at first feared that it
had penetrated thus far, though these apprehensions afterwards proved
to be groundless. In consequence of the frequent and sudden changes of
the temperature, catarrh is very common among the half-naked Indians;
agues are quite unknown here. The winter is usually accompanied with
much rain, snow, stormy, and tempestuous weather. At times there have
even been snow-storms late in May, from which Indians have perished in
the prairie. In April, last year, a father and son were there frozen to
death.

Great inundations are rare; since Charbonneau came to this country,
which was about thirty-seven {326} years since, there have been only
two, which, however, were very severe.[195] Earthquakes, which are
frequent on the Mississippi, have not been noticed here; a circumstance
confirmed by Volney. March and April are called by the Indians the
horses' winter, because, when the weather is warm, the horses are
often driven to pasture in the prairie, and then violent storms of snow
sometimes occur suddenly, and destroy many of these animals.

The difference of climate a few days' journey down the Missouri is
often very great; for in many seasons the gourds are ripe in the
Arikkara villages, when they are only in blossom with the Mandans, and
the trees are in flower there, when the leaves are but just beginning
to sprout here; a difference which is, of course, still greater the
further you go down the river. At the Mandan villages, the leaves of
the plants seldom appear before May; the willows on the banks, perhaps,
a little sooner. The flowers in the prairie are said not to blossom
earlier, and in some years the trees have not been clothed with foliage
till the end of May. The changes of temperature are often sudden and
unpleasant.[196] The summer is always dry and hot, yet the heat is
not so enervating as on the Mississippi, though, in the prairies,
when there is no wind stirring, it is excessively oppressive. Swarms
of mosquitoes are a great torment in the summer time, but not in the
same degree every year. Last summer they were not very numerous. We
were assured that July is the only month in the year which is without
frost; before and after it there are frosts nightly.[197] In the heat
of summer the creeks become dry, and the crops of maize of the Indians
often fail in consequence of the drought. In the year 1833, the crop
was not very good, though it did not entirely fail. Autumn is generally
the most pleasant season of the year.

Fine, bright, clear days, with moderate heat, prevail; the leaves,
indeed, fall in October; and even in autumn {327} the changes of
temperature are frequently great and rapid. On the 17th October the
weather was fine, serene, and warm, and on the 18th such a sharp frost,
with a storm of snow, that two Indians were frozen to death in the
prairie. The winter is long, and generally severe; most animals then
migrate, and, therefore, the winter Fauna has but a few species whereof
to boast. We were told that, about new year, there is usually a very
cold interval of about a week, which was the case during our visit;
and the Indians have, on this account, called one of their months "the
moon of the seven cold days." The winter of 1833-34 is considered as
one of the most severe. The mercury in the thermometer was frozen for
several days, and, at Fort Union, the cold is said to have been 47°,
Fahrenheit, below zero.[198] The snow is seldom more than two feet
deep, but it remains a long time, often unchanged till the month of
March--a proof of the dryness of the climate. In the dreadful storms
of snow which perfectly darken the air, the compass is an important
and necessary instrument; in fact, it is, at all times, indispensable
in these prairies. The winter of 1832 was extremely mild: there was
scarcely any snow, and the inhabitants did not remember to have had
such a season for many years. The Missouri generally freezes in
November. Last year (1832), on the 24th November, and likewise in the
winter of this year (1833), it froze on the 23rd November, but only in
some places, at which the ice was passable two days after.

Close to the fort it is seldom frozen quite across, there being,
generally, a narrow open channel, which, however, is not of any great
length. The freezing of the Missouri in this part of the country, which
continues uninterruptedly throughout the winter, is not to be compared
with that of other large rivers; for instance, the Mississippi--for
the Upper Missouri has at this season much less depth and rapidity, so
that it freezes the more easily. Mr. Kipp recollected, in in the eleven
years of his residence here, the greatest degree of cold to have been
36° below zero. The east and north winds are generally accompanied, at
Fort Clarke, with snow and rain: the north and north-west winds are
cold. In spring and autumn there are violent storms, and but few days
are without wind, which, in fact, is pretty nearly the case in all
seasons of the year. In cold winters the sun often has a parhelion-on
either side. In the spring and autumn, there are often splendid
northern lights, while in winter they are very rare, and are most
frequently seen in autumn at about ten o'clock in the evening.

The water of the Missouri is cold, refreshing, and very wholesome.
In spring and summer it is not so transparent as at other times; in
frosty weather in winter, it is perfectly clear, as many travellers
have testified. The water in the small streams is generally bad, having
something of a brackish taste; and the banks of the Missouri are
frequently covered with a very thin, white, saline coating. Lewis and
Clarke frequently speak of this phenomenon. The soil in this country
is said to be, in general, fruitful in the plains; and especially in
the valleys which lie {328} between the hills, there is a stratum of
black mould, more than two feet thick, but the excessive drought, in
summer and winter, causes many crops to fail. The almost incessant
wind dries the ground to such a degree, that it soon absorbs the
little moisture proceeding from the rain. The dew, besides, is not
sufficiently copious to refresh and support the parched vegetation, as
it does in hot countries. When manure was spread upon the prairies, it
was immediately converted into dust, and blown away by the wind. The
Mandans and Manitaries cultivate very fine maize, without ever manuring
the ground; but their fields are on the low banks of the river,
sufficiently sheltered by eminences, where the soil is particularly
fruitful. When, after many years, the field is exhausted, they let
it lie fallow, and cultivate another spot, since these extensive
wildernesses offer them inexhaustible resources. They have been advised
to use manure, at which, however, they only laugh. Mr. Kipp intended
to make a trial with some exhausted Indian land, and to manure it;
for this purpose, he meant to spread earth over the manure, that the
wind might not so easily affect it, and in this way he hoped, in the
sequel, to convince the Indians, who pertinaciously abide by their
old prejudices. They have extremely fine maize of different species.
Mr. Kipp has made frequent trials of blue flowering potatoes, which
succeeded extremely well; but the Indians were so eager after these
incomparable roots, that he could not keep enough for seed. One Indian,
however, in Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush, had prudently preserved some potatoes
in order to plant them; and thus it may be hoped that they will be
gradually propagated among these people.

It appears, from what has been above stated, that drought and want of
wood are the chief impediments to the cultivation and settlement of
the Whites in the prairies of the Upper Missouri--an opinion in which
most of the persons engaged in the service of the Company agree, though
Bradbury thinks differently.[199]

With respect to the geological formation of the soil, it appears
chiefly to consist of clay, sand, and sand-stone. All the chains of
hills which traverse the prairie, and of which there is one along
both the banks of the Missouri, consist of clay mixed with sand, and
of sand-stone, with many impressions and petrifactions of shell-fish,
and the singular baculites, which are found everywhere on the Missouri
and its tributaries, and even here and there in the beds of the
streams. Fossil bones are frequently found, and, in the calcareous rock
further down the Missouri, entire skeletons, twelve, fourteen, or even
more, feet in length, of reptiles of the crocodile kind, of which I
brought back one, found in the vicinity of the Big Bend, for which I
am indebted to the kindness of Major O'Fallon, at St. Louis.[200] It
appears that there are no minerals in this country, and, {329} in the
immediate vicinity of Fort Clarke, not even lime. On the other hand,
the strata of black, bituminous coal appear in the hills for many
hundred miles. This coal ignites easily, with a strong sulphureous
smell, but it does not emit sufficient heat to serve as fuel or for
the forge.[201] In many places it may be evidently seen that these
strata have been on fire. The surrounding clay is frequently burnt
red, and the shards are perfectly coloured, hard and sonorous, like
our bricks and Dutch clinkers. About Fort Clarke they know nothing of
such fires, but they have frequently occurred lower down the Missouri.
The red clay, which we have so often spoken of, appears to have been
elevated by the action of fire. On the banks, extremely light, porous,
cellular, red brown scoriæ are everywhere found, which the people
here call pumice stone, though they are totally different from the
fossil usually so called, and of which extensive strata are found on
the banks of the Rhine. Petrifactions of animals and plants are to be
looked for only on the banks of the rivers, though they doubtless are
as frequent in the chains of hills, where they are concealed by the
greensward from the eye of the passing observer. I was told that, in
the prairie, about twenty miles distant from Fort Clarke, there are
places in the hills where the organic remains of the antediluvian world
lie exposed on the surface, but that country can be visited only for
short intervals of time, and that, too, attended with great danger,
on account of the hostile Indians. Entire petrified trunks of trees,
such as we had observed on the banks of the Missouri, are said to be
there, and impressions of crabs, or similar crustacea, have been found.
The Indians speak of a petrified man, at the distance of three or four
days' journey, whose head is round, and lies detached from the body.
The story about the head is, probably, incorrect, as they pretend to be
able to discern the countenance; but the rest of the skeleton is said
plainly and distinctly to be seen. These are, doubtless, the remains
of some antediluvian animal. It is much to be regretted that it is
impracticable to explore, without much risk, a country so abounding
with remains of this nature.

The extensive prairies, and their hills, certainly produce a great
variety of plants, of which a part only have been described. Bradbury
collected many plants about the Mandan villages, which were described
by Pursh;[202] and Nuttall's works likewise contain many;[203] but
there is, undoubtedly, much remaining to be done, especially in the
chain of the Black Hills. The country, about the Missouri, has its
peculiar botanical characters. The tongues of land at the bends of
the river are generally covered with wood; other parts of the banks
more rarely so; the species of trees and shrubs which occur here have
already been mentioned. There are no pines in the vicinity of Fort
Clarke; but they are found higher up the river; nor are there any
birch trees; indeed, I did not meet with one on the whole course of
the Missouri. These do not grow, except on the tributaries of the
Upper Missouri, for instance, Knife River. At the distance of three
days' journey from the mouth, at the foot of the mountains which are
improperly called La Côte Noire, though they join the Black Hills,
of which they are a branch, the latter form {330} a very interesting
chain, which runs nearly in a north-east direction from La Platte and
the great northern bend of the Missouri. They lie about 100 miles
to the east of the Rocky Mountains, and form the watershed between
the Missouri, Mississippi, and Arkansas, several rivers having their
sources in those mountains.[204] Many kinds of fossils, and numerous
species of plants and animals, which do not occur on the Missouri, are
found on those hills. The paper birch (_Betula papyracea_) grows there,
of the bark of which the northern Indians make the large pirogues,
which are described in various works on North America. This tree is
often thicker than a man's body; the bark is stripped off in large
sheets, by making two parallel transverse incisions above and below,
and then a perpendicular incision; after which the bark is loosened by
means of wooden wedges. It is dry, and comes off very easily. Within
is the smooth watered skin used by the Indians for writing their
characters upon, from which circumstance the tree has derived its
botanical name. The Black Hills are said to be likewise interesting in
a zoological point of view. Among other animals found there, are the
panther (_Felis concolor_), several species of rodentia, squirrels, &c.

In the prairies on the Missouri, near Fort Clarke, the same species of
cactus are found as near Fort Union; the grasses are not of so many
species as might be supposed; _Chondrosium oligostachyum_ (Nees), which
grows to the height of ten or twelve feet, and _Bryzophyrum spicatum_,
are, however, found there. As I had no opportunity of botanizing here
in the summer time, my list of plants of this part of the country is
very incomplete; but Bradbury and Nuttall were more fortunate. Many
officinal plants grow here, but there are no physicians to direct the
use of them.

In the forests about Fort Clarke, only a very small quantity of useful
timber is found. The poplar burns quickly, and emits much heat, and
the bark serves for the winter food of the horses. The animal kingdom
has many interesting species, for those of the extensive western
prairies are united with those of the cold regions of North America.
The best accounts of the former are given by Say, whose early death
is deeply to be deplored:[205] and for those of the more northern
regions, Richardson's admirable Fauna Boreali-Americana is replete
with interest and information. The buffalo herds do not appear in the
immediate vicinity of Fort Clarke, except when the winter is very
severe, because they are too much disturbed by the numerous Indians
in the neighbourhood. The hunters of the fort are often obliged to
ride twenty miles before they find them. In the cold snow-storms, so
prevalent during the winter, these animals take refuge in the forests
on the banks, when great numbers of them are killed, and it is often
almost impossible to drive them out of the wood. Their bones and
skulls, scattered all over the prairie, prove the immense destruction
which is made of these harmless animals. The elk may be shot at about
eighteen miles from Fort Clarke; but it does not approach nearer,
because of the Indians, to whom the skins of the elk are of great value
in the manufacture of their shoes. The white-tailed {331} deer (_Cervus
Virginianus_), called by the French, le chevreuil, is found in the
nearest woods, not a mile from the fort. The black-tailed or mule deer
is not to be seen within twenty or thirty miles. The cabri, or antelope
(_Antilocapra Ord._), lives the whole year in the immediate vicinity,
and in the summer, great numbers congregate together; but in the winter
they go towards the mountains, where they find protection against the
snow, and return in April, when large herds of them are seen to pass
the Missouri. The annexed woodcut, designed by Mr. Bodmer from the
life, gives a perfect and correct idea of this animal.[206]

The bighorn (_Ovis montana_), the grosse-corne of the French, is not
found nearer than fifty miles from this part of the country. The
Manitaries, who go to the Black Hills and other mountainous tracts
to hunt, kill a hundred or more of these animals in a season. The
grizzly bear approaches to within four miles of the fort, because the
Indians, who do not like to hunt them, leave them undisturbed. They
are, however, very fond of the flesh of the young bear; and the claws
are much valued by them, for the manufacture of their necklaces. Of the
genus _canis_, I met with five wild species in western North America.
The changeable wolf (_Canis variabilis_), undoubtedly a distinct
species, as Lewis and Clarke likewise affirm, is very common on the
whole of the Upper Missouri. It is found to vary in colour from wolf
grey to pure white. In winter these animals are nearly famished, and
extremely lean. They closely follow the herds of buffaloes, and many
sick, young, or weak animals become their easy prey; and when the
hunters are abroad there is a rich harvest for the wolves. They even
bite and devour each other, yet they did not meddle with the dead
wolves which we left in the prairie; possibly they might not have been
so {332} ravenously hungry just then. They distinguish the report of
a gun so well, that they hasten to the spot almost immediately after
the shot has been fired. The same is the case with the ravens; and the
Indian hunters affirm that the wolves watch these birds, in order to
ascertain the direction in which the prey is to be found: if a poor
animal has only been wounded, they are on the alert, and instantly
pursue it, and it inevitably becomes their prey. In cold winters they
are often so bold that they come into the villages, and approach the
people's dwellings.

[Illustration: Head of _Antilocapra Ord._]

[Illustration: Head of _Canis latrans_]

The red fox (_Canis fulvus_) is very handsome, and at the same time
common, though by no means so numerous as the wolves. The grey fox
(_Canis cinereo-argenteus_), and the cross fox (_Canis decussatus_),
are likewise found here. The black or silver fox (_Canis argentatus_),
is met with sixty or seventy miles further north, but it is
occasionally seen here, and the skin is highly prized, being sold for
sixty dollars.

The prairie fox is frequently seen, but the panther and the wild cat
are not often found. Beavers become more numerous on the Missouri and
its tributaries the higher they are ascended, and the Indians catch
them in considerable numbers; their skins are much valued by the
Whites. I saw one beautifully spotted with white; yellowish-white and
pure white beavers are not unfrequently caught on the Yellow Stone.

There are, likewise, many interesting species of birds, among which
are the turkey-buzzard, the stone falcon, the owl (a very hardy bird,
which remains here throughout the whole of the rigorous winter), the
Carolina parrot, the humming-bird (_Trochilus colubris_), wild pigeon,
woodpecker, magpie, and many others. There are many interesting species
of reptiles in this part of the country, and I much regretted that
I was not here in the summer time, when, of course, they are more
abundant and various. Several kinds of turtles frequent the Missouri
and the prairies. {333} I was told that many species of lizard abound
in summer, especially _phrynosoma_, of which there are many on the
Yellow Stone, at Fort Union, and in the Valley of the Stone Walls. I
was much surprised at not seeing a single animal of the lizard kind
on my voyage on the Missouri. Of snakes there are many species; the
black snake is not found here, but the _Coluber proximus_ (Say) is
abundant, as well as the _Coluber eximus_. There is only one kind of
rattlesnake, which is very common, and of a considerable size. Of frogs
there are several kinds, of which the _Rana pipiens_ (Schreb.), is the
most beautiful; small tree frogs likewise abound, and after a shower
of rain, the ground is frequently quite covered with young frogs. Even
many of the Whites believe that these little animals fall from the sky;
they imagine that the rainbow draws the frogs up into the air at one
end, and that they fall in a mass to the ground with the rain.

But few species of fish frequent this part of the Missouri; among
them are two kinds of cat-fish, the pike, sturgeon, gold-eye, and
occasionally the buffalo (_catastomus_). Doubtless there are many
more species, but they have not been noticed by the inhabitants, and
it is very difficult to procure them. Numerous insects of various
species abound here, to the great annoyance of the inhabitants, such
as mosquitoes, and innumerable grasshoppers, which quickly devour the
plants in the prairie, and are themselves the food of many kinds of
animals during the summer.

To give a complete picture of the country about Fort Clarke, we must
subjoin an account of the numerous Indians who inhabit this territory;
namely, the three tribes of the Mandans, the Manitaries or Gros
Ventres, and the Arikkaras, the latter of whom were absent during our
sojourn here. In order to make the narrative of our long residence
at this spot (which will be given in the sequel) more intelligible,
I shall annex, in the three following chapters, the information I
collected respecting those three Indian nations.

FOOTNOTES:

[172] Fort Mandan was occupied by Lewis and Clark during the winter of
1804-05, the preceding winter having been spent by them in camp on Wood
River, Illinois, opposite the mouth of the Missouri. Fort Mandan was
begun November 3, 1804, and abandoned April 7, the following spring;
see _Original Journals_, i, pp. 216-283.--ED.

[173] After reading the pages of Lewis and Clark's journals, one has
slight respect for Charbonneau's qualities, either mental or moral. It
is to be regretted that Maximilian relied so much upon the testimony of
this interpreter in his account of the Mandan and Minitaree Indians.
For a sketch of what is known of this interpreter's life consult our
volume vi, p. 32, note 3.--ED.

[174] For Fort Clarke and James Kipp see our volume xxii, p. 344, note
317, and p. 345, note 319 respectively.--ED.

[175] This is an evident error for 1823--the well-authenticated date
for Leavenworth's Arikkara expedition.--ED.

[176] General Henry Leavenworth was a native of Connecticut (1783);
entering the army (1812), he passed through all the grades until
brevetted a brigadier-general in 1824. He won distinction for service
at Chippewa and Niagara in the War of 1812-15, and afterwards for many
years served on the Western frontier, where he died in Indian Territory
(1834) while leading an expedition of troops to overawe the turbulent
tribesmen. See account of this expedition in P. St. G. Cooke, _Scenes
and Adventures in the Army_, pp. 225-227.--ED.

[177] General Ashley started with a party of traders March 10,
1823, arriving at the Arikkara villages May 30. He was received
with apparent friendliness, but early in the morning of the second
of June was attacked by the Indians who killed a number of his land
party, the boats escaping with great difficulty. Ashley immediately
notified the military authorities, and Colonel Leavenworth, then in
command at Fort Atkinson, near Council Bluffs, at once determined to
organize a punitive expedition. Pilcher, of the Missouri Fur Company,
joined forces with him, and secured a band of Sioux auxiliaries. For
many reasons the expedition was, as Maximilian implies, but slightly
successful. For a full account of this campaign, gathered from many
sources, consult Chittenden, _Fur-Trade_, i, pp. 264-269; ii, pp.
588-607. The expedition was notable as the first of a long series of
trans-Mississippi Indian wars.--ED.

[178] The Arikkara (for whom see our volume v, p. 113, note 76) were
the most treacherous of the village Indians upon the Missouri. After
friendly treaties with Lewis and Clark (1804), they attacked the escort
for the Mandan chief Shahake (1807); but two years later permitted his
passage with a large fur-trade caravan, and in 1811 were friendly to
the Astoria party. In 1816 or 1817 they attacked a party and killed
one man, and again (1820) robbed the trading houses of the Missouri
Fur Company. Early in the year of the campaign of 1823, they made
an unsuccessful attack upon a small post down the river among the
Sioux.--ED.

[179] In his outward journey, Maximilian found that the Arikkara
villages had been abandoned for about a year. They had therefore
re-occupied them after Leavenworth's expedition, but were never again
permanently settled therein. See our volume xxii, p. 336, note 300.--ED.

[180] For the French Fur Company see our volume xxii, p. 232, note 160.

It is evident that Maximilian's knowledge of these events was obtained
from Kipp, who had been a participant. For the Columbia Fur Company
see our volume xxii, p. 233, note 161. Tilton would appear to have
been a proprietor in this company, whose legal name was Tilton &
Company; he was sutler at Fort Gibson in 1836. See Lawrence Taliaferro,
"Autobiography," in _Minnesota Historical Collections_, vi, p. 202. The
main fort of this company was at Lake Traverse, on the boundary between
the present states of Minnesota and South Dakota. For a visit to this
place see _op. cit._, vi, p. 91.--ED.

[181] For William Laidlaw see our volume xxii, p. 316, note 279.--ED.

[182] This was Atkinson's Yellowstone Expedition of 1825. After the
Arikkara troubles of 1823, President Monroe appointed General Henry
Atkinson and Major Benjamin O'Fallon to conduct a military expedition
into the Indian country to overawe the tribesmen, and impress them with
the power of the national government. The commissioners left St. Louis
in the spring of 1825. Organized at Council Bluffs, the expedition,
consisting of nearly five hundred enlisted men, embarked on eight
keel-boats, with a cavalry escort by land. They met with no opposition
and advanced a hundred and twenty miles above the Yellowstone, reaching
Council Bluffs on the return the nineteenth of September. For the
official report, see 19 Cong., 1 sess., _House Doc._ No. 117, in vol.
vi. The difficulty with the Crows is described by Washington Irving,
_Rocky Mountains_, i, pp. 216, 217, in which the white renegade Edward
Rose figures as the hero who chastised the troublesome chiefs into
obedience.--ED.

[183] Peter Wilson of Maryland was sub-agent for the Mandan with
a salary of eight hundred dollars. He died after about one year's
service.--ED.

[184] This date should be April, 1826. Maximilian has his dates one
year behind, as is proved by the known time of Atkinson's Yellowstone
Expedition.--ED.

[185] This should be 1827. See on this subject our volume xxii, p. 233,
note 161.--ED.

[186] See notes 74 and 75, _ante_, pp. 84, 85, 87.--ED.

[187] See our volume xxii, p. 314, note 274, for Lamont.--ED.

[188] For the site of the Arikkara villages see our volume xxii, p.
335, note 299.--ED.

[189] Both these chiefs were still living at the Mandan villages when
Lewis and Clark passed a winter (1804-05) among them. Black Cat, or
Posecopsahe, lived at the second village, and was head chief of the
tribe. Clark says of him (_Original Journals_, i, p. 256), "This chief
possesses more integrity, firmness, intelligence, and perspicuity of
mind than any Indian I have met with in this quarter." The Coal, or
Shotaharrora, was chief of the first village. An Arikkara, he had been
adopted by the Mandan, among whom he had risen to a chieftainship.--ED.

[190] The French name for a people closely related to the Minitaree,
but speaking a somewhat different dialect, and considered by many
philologists as a separate tribe. See our volumes v, p. 163, note 100;
and xxii, p. 350, note 326.--ED.

[191] See the small plan of this spot on p. 363.--ED.

[192] This location of the Mandan villages corresponds with the account
of Lewis and Clark, except that these explorers represent Ruhptare as
situated on the north bank of the Missouri--doubtless their winter
village, as explained by Maximilian. When the smallpox swept away
the inhabitants of these villages (1837), the remnant of the Mandan
abandoned them to the Arikkara, and formed one small village between
their former towns and the mouth of Knife River. By 1845 they began
moving to the Fort Berthold reservation, where they have since lived,
located on the west bank of the Missouri. Their dwellings are chiefly
log huts, although a few earth lodges may yet be seen. See O. D.
Wheeler, "Last of the Mandans," in _Wonderland_, 1903, pp. 19-36.--ED.

[193] See illustration on p. 347, our volume xxii, for these burial
stages.--ED.

[194] See Plates 29, 68, and 59, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[195] In the first and greatest (Charbonneau did not remember in what
year it occurred) the water rose forty feet above its usual level.
Only the tops of the poplars were to be seen, and the ice lay above a
month on the land, till it was melted by the sun. The second inundation
took place on the 6th of April, 1826; the water rose, at daybreak, so
rapidly and so high, that Charbonneau was compelled to escape, with
some of his property, to the middle Manitari village, two miles from
the Missouri, and to take refuge on a stack of maize, where he passed
three days without fire, in a cold north wind, and drifting snow. The
water rose twenty-five feet above its usual level. The inhabitants of
fifteen tents of the Sioux, below the Sêche (near the Grand River,
below the Arikkara villages), were all drowned. In the wooded point
of land, at the mouth of the Chayenne River, lived a man named Pascal
Seré, who traded with the Sioux. The water rising rapidly, he took
refuge, with his goods, on the roof of his house, which, however,
was, ere long, lifted up by the river and carried a good way down the
stream. At this place the ice had formed a dam; the house was floated
into the wood on the bank, and there deposited uninjured. In the year
1784, when there were such extensive inundations in Europe, they also
occurred in America, as Volney relates of the Susquehanna.--MAXIMILIAN.

[196] Mr. Laidlow, at Fort Pièrre, rode out on a warm day about three
years ago, to hunt a buffalo. At nightfall it began to rain, and the
party was not well furnished with blankets. Towards morning, frost set
in, and all their clothes were frozen quite stiff, so that many of the
company did not, for some time, recover from the effects of this cold
night.--MAXIMILIAN.

[197] Volney, who gives an admirable description of the climate of the
United States, says, that July is the only month in the year without
frost at Philadelphia.--MAXIMILIAN.

_Comment by Ed._ See Flint's _Letters_ in our volume ix, p. 237, note
121.

[198] This probably means 47° below freezing point; for if it were to
be understood as 47° below c, of Fahrenheit, it would be 79° below
freezing point--H. EVANS LLOYD.

_Comment by Ed._ A curious misconception on the part of Lloyd,
the English translator, who could not believe this account of the
intense cold on the western prairies of the United States. Maximilian
undoubtedly intended just what he says--a temperature record not
unknown in recent winters.

[199] See our volume v, p. 267.--ED.

[200] A more accurate comparison has shown that this antediluvian
animal does not differ from the Mosasaurus, which has been found in
many parts of North America; and Professor Goldfuss, at Bonn, will
give us a description of it. I have already mentioned that I am,
unfortunately, not able to furnish any particulars of the several
specimens of this kind which I had obtained, because I have lost the
whole collection by the burning of the Assiniboin steamer in the
Missouri. Many of the specimens observed by me are described, with
figures, in Dr. S. G. Morton's "Synopsis of the Organic Remains of the
Cretaceous Groups of the United States. Illustrated by nineteen plates,
&c. Philadelphia, 1834."--MAXIMILIAN.

[201] See, however, on the use of this coal, our volume xxii, p. 364,
note 336.--ED.

[202] Frederick Pursh (1774-1820), a foreign botanist who came to
the United States in 1799 and spent twelve years exploring its plant
life. In 1811 he went to England where he published _Flora Americæ
Septentrionalis_ (London, 1814). He died at Montreal while arranging
a catalogue of Canadian plants. See also Bradbury's _Travels_ in our
volume v, p. 26.--ED.

[203] See preface to our volume xiii, for sketch of life of Thomas
Nuttall.--ED.

[204] Maximilian appears to distinguish between La Côte Noire and
the Black Hills. The term Côtes Noires was, however, applied by the
early voyageurs to the entire body of the highlands in Nebraska, and
in South and North Dakota. The limitation of the term Black Hills to
the particular chain now thus named in South Dakota, is of recent use.
Maximilian makes a curious error in thinking that these hills form part
of either the Mississippi or the Arkansas watershed. Taken in the wider
sense they form the dividing ridge between the Platte, Yellowstone, and
Missouri systems.--ED.

[205] For brief sketch of Thomas Say, see our volume xiv, James'
_Long's Expedition_, p. 40, note 1. Maximilian spent part of the winter
of 1832-33 with this naturalist at New Harmony (see our volume xxii);
and visited him upon his return; he died, however (October, 1834), just
after the prince had reached Europe.--ED.

[206] See opposite page for illustration of head of _Antilocapra
Ord._--ED.



CHAPTER XXV

ACCOUNT OF THE MANDAN INDIANS


In communicating the information contained in the following chapters,
in which I mean to treat especially of some tribes of the aborigines
of North America, I shall take it for granted that the reader is
acquainted with the interesting and important particulars which have
been given us by Messrs. Edwin James, T. Say, and Schoolcraft. Dr. E.
James speaks especially of the origin of the North American Indians, of
their near affinity to each other; of the recently broached hypothesis
of their descent from the Israelites, which he proves to be groundless,
and which is contradicted by the bodily conformation of the Indians,
and also of the injudicious and unjust treatment which they suffer
from the Anglo-Americans. According to him many of the Indian nations
would long since have been converted to the Christian religion, and
have settled in fixed abodes, like the Cherokees, &c., if the earlier
missionaries had better understood the work on which they were sent. It
is notorious that this subject was treated, in early times, with the
most unwarrantable want of discretion, and positive ignorance; that
the greatest injustice was exercised towards the Indian population,
and that, even now, wrongs untold are heaped on this much to be pitied
and oppressed race. A large portion of those nations has entirely
disappeared, and the accounts which have been preserved of them are
extremely imperfect; others are expelled from their native seats, mixed
together in small fragments of various tribes, half degenerated, and
consequently now affording but little that can interest the inquirer.
Such were the Indians whom Volney saw: only to the west and north-west
of the Mississippi may the Indians be yet found in their original
state. Before, however, I speak of them in general, I will describe
more in detail a small tribe which has hitherto been very imperfectly
known.

The Mandans (called by the Canadians, les Mandals),[207] by which name
these Indians are generally known, though it was originally given
them by the Sioux, were formerly a numerous people, who, according to
the narrative of an aged man, lately deceased, inhabited thirteen,
and {335} perhaps more villages.[208] They call themselves Numangkake
(_i. e._, men), and if they wish to particularize their descent, they
add the name of the village whence they came originally.[209] Some,
for instance, call themselves Sipuske-Numangkake, the men of the
pheasant or prairie hens, from the village Sipuska-Mihte, pheasant
village; others, Mato-Numangkake, the men of the bear, from the village
Mato-Mihte, bear village, &c. &c. Another general name of this people
is Mahna-Narra, the sulky, because they separated from the rest of
their nation, and went higher up the Missouri.

The early history of the Mandans is involved in obscurity; their own
traditions and legends will be discussed in the sequel, when treating
on their religious ideas. They affirm that they descend originally
from the more eastern nations, near the sea-coast.[210] Though the
above-named villages do not all exist at this time, these Indians still
call themselves by their several names. They formerly dwelt near the
Heart River:[211] when Charbonneau arrived here at the end of the last
century, the two Mandan villages, which are still standing, were about
six or eight miles further down the Missouri. The smallpox and the
assaults of their enemies have so reduced this people, that the whole
number now reside in two villages, in the vicinity of Fort Clarke.
These two villages are Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush (the southern village),
about 300 paces above Fort Clarke, and on the same side of the river,
and Ruhptare,[212] about three miles higher up, likewise on the
same bank. The first had, at the time of our visit, sixty-five huts,
and contained about 150 warriors; the other, thirty-eight huts and
eighty-three warriors. According to this, the tribe had not more than
230 or 240 warriors; and, on the whole, scarcely 900 or 1000 souls;
Dr. {336} Morse,[213] therefore, estimates the number of these people
rather too high, when he states it at 1250 souls.

The Mandans are a vigorous, well-made race of people, rather above the
middling stature, and very few of the men could be called short. The
tallest man now living was Mahchsi-Karehde (the flying war eagle),
who was five feet ten inches two lines, Paris measure (above six feet
English). In general, however, they are not so tall as the Manitaries.
Many of them are robust, broad-shouldered, and muscular, while others
are slender and small limbed. Their physiognomy is, in general, the
same as that of most of the Missouri Indians, but their noses are not
so long and arched as those of the Sioux, nor have they such high cheek
bones. The nose of the Mandans and Manitaries is not broad--sometimes
aquiline, or slightly curved, and often quite straight. Their eyes are,
in general, long and narrow, of a dark brown colour; the inner angle is
often rather lower in childhood, but it is rarely so in maturer age.
The mouth is broad, large, rather prominent, and the lower jaw broad
and angular. No great difference occurs in the form of the skull: in
general I did not find the facial angle smaller than in Europeans, yet
there are some exceptions.[214] Their hair is long, thick, lank, and
black, but seldom as jet and glossy as that of the Brazilians: that of
children is often only dark brown, especially at the tips; and Bradbury
speaks of brown hair among the Mandans. There are whole families
among them, as well as among the Blackfeet, whose hair is grey, or
black mixed with white, so that the whole head appears grey.[215] The
families of Sih-Chida and Mato-Chiha are instances of this peculiarity.
The latter chief was particularly remarkable in this respect: his
hair grew in distinct locks of brown, black, silver grey, but mostly
white, and his eyebrows perfectly white, which had a strange effect
in a tall otherwise handsome man, between twenty and thirty years of
age. They encourage the growth of their hair, and often lengthen it by
artificial means. Their teeth, like those of all the Missouri Indians,
are particularly fine, strong, firm, even, and as white as ivory. It
is very seldom that you see a defect or a tooth {337} wanting even
in old people, though, in the latter, they are often worn very short,
which is chiefly to be attributed to their chewing hard, dry meat. The
women are pretty robust and sometimes tall, but, for the most part,
they are short and broad shouldered. They are but few who can be called
handsome as Indians, but there are many tolerable and some pretty
faces among them. It is usually said of the Mandan women that they, in
some respects, have a natural conformation, such as Le Vaillant and
Péron[216] ascribe to the Hottentot women; but it seems to be owing,
in the Mandan women, less to nature than to artificial means.[217] The
children have frequently slender limbs, and very prominent bellies.
Deformed persons are very rare among the Mandans. I, however, saw a
very little dwarf with a long, narrow face, and one man who squinted.
Persons who had lost the sight of one eye, or with a cataract, are by
no means uncommon. There were several deaf and dumb, among whom two
brothers and a sister were all born with this defect. Some goîtres, or,
rather, thick necks among the women, are, doubtless, caused by too
great exertions in carrying burdens on their backs. Instances where
joints of the fingers are wanting are frequent, but these come under
the head of voluntary mutilations.

The colour of these Indians is a fine brown, sometimes reddish, more
or less dark, which might, sometimes, come under the denomination
of copper colour. In some it is more of a greyish-brown, in others
yellowish; after a thorough ablution the skin of some of them appears
almost white, and even some colour in their cheeks.[218] They do not
disfigure their bodies, only they make some apertures in the outer rim
of the ear, in which they hang strings of beads, brass or iron rings of
different sizes, or shells, the last of which they obtain from other
Indian tribes. If they are questioned respecting these shells, they
answer that they were brought from the sea. These Indians are vain,
and in this respect childish, like all savage nations. They are very
fond of ornament, and the young men have always a little looking-glass
suspended from their wrists. The traders sell these looking-glasses in
a pasteboard case, which, however, is immediately changed for a solid
wooden frame, and attached to the wrist by a red ribbon or a leather
strap. The looking-glasses are framed in various ways; the rude frame
is often painted red, or with stripes of different colours, with
footsteps of bears or buffaloes carved on it. Nay, sometimes these
{338} frames are of a considerable size, divided at one end like a
boot-jack, and ornamented with brass nails, ribbons, pieces of skin
and feathers.[219] Some had very ingeniously fastened this important
appendage to their fan made of an eagle's wing. The Indian dandy is
constantly consulting his mirror, and, if he has been travelling,
especially in the high winds so prevalent here, he immediately has
recourse to his looking-glass, and his disordered dress is most
carefully arranged.

It is remarkable that the men are far more vain than the women, and the
latter are obliged to be greatly inferior to the lords of the creation
in their attire and adornments. The costume of the Mandans is rather
simple: by far the greatest attention is paid to the head-dress. Their
hair is parted transversely across the middle of the head, the front
hair combed smoothly down, and generally divided into three flat bands,
two of which hang down on the temples, and are generally plaited. To
these plaits they attach the ornament already mentioned, which consists
of two strips of leather or cloth closely embroidered with white or
azure glass beads, and intertwined with brass wire, as represented in
the portrait of Pehriska-Ruhpa.[220] If the ground of this ornament is
red or blue, it is studded with white beads, and if the ground is white
the beads are blue. They put this ornament in their hair and pull it
over the temples; a long string is fastened to the underpart, which
reaches to the waist, and is adorned with alternate rows of blue beads
and white dentalium shells. Between these two singularly decorated
plaits there is, in the centre of the forehead, a smooth flat lock
reaching to the nose, which is not ornamented, but only tied with a red
ribbon. The back hair falls smoothly from the crown of the head to the
waist, and is divided into many tails, an inch and a half or two inches
broad, which are smeared with brownish or red clay. When the hair is
not naturally long enough it is frequently lengthened with other human
hair, often that of enemies whom they have killed, which is fastened
on with rosin. At the back of the head they sometimes wear a long stiff
ornament in the shape of a ruler, three or four fingers broad, made of
small sticks entwined with wire, which is fastened to the hair, and
reaches down to the shoulders. It is covered with porcupine quills,
dyed of various colours, in very neat patterns. At the upper end of
this ornament an eagle's feather is affixed horizontally, the quill end
of which is covered with red cloth, and the tip is ornamented with a
bunch of horse-hair dyed yellow. The lower white half of the feather
is frequently dyed red with vermilion, and the quill covered with dyed
porcupine quills.[221] When the Indians are not in their best dress,
when they are travelling, or going to the chase, they fasten their long
hair in a thick bunch. {339} When, however, they are full dressed,
they put a variety of feathers in their hair, frequently a semicircle
of feathers of birds of prey, like radii, or sunbeams, or a bunch
of tail feathers of the raven placed in a similar manner. Sometimes
they have a thick tuft of owl's feathers, or small rosettes made of
broad raven's feathers, cut short, in the centre of which is the tail
of a bird of prey spread out like a fan. These feather ornaments are
frequently determined according to the several bands or unions, of
which I shall speak in the sequel. They likewise wear the large horned
feather cap; this is a cap consisting of strips of white ermine, with
pieces of red cloth hanging down behind as far as the calves of the
legs, to which is attached an upright row of black and white eagle's
feathers, beginning at the head and reaching to the whole length. Only
distinguished warriors, who have performed many exploits, may wear this
head-dress.[222]

If they give away one or more of these head-dresses, which they
estimate very highly, they are immediately considered men of great
importance; the regular price of such a cap is a good horse; for a
single eagle's feather is always valued at one or two dollars. On
their buffalo robes they often represent this feather cap, under the
image of a sun. Very celebrated and eminent warriors, when most highly
decorated, wear in their hair various pieces of wood, as signals
of their wounds and heroic deeds. Thus Mato-Topé[223] had fastened
transversely in his hair a wooden knife, painted red, and about the
length of a hand, because he had killed a Chayenne chief with his
knife; then six wooden sticks, painted red, blue, and yellow, with
a brass nail at one end, indicating so many musket wounds which he
had received. For an arrow wound he fastened in his hair the wing
feather of a wild turkey; at the back of his head he wore a large
bunch of owl's feathers, dyed yellow, with red tips, as the badge of
the Meniss-Ochata (the dog band). The half of his face was painted
red, and the other yellow; his body was painted reddish-brown, with
narrow stripes, which were produced by taking off the colour with the
tip of the finger wetted. On his arms, from the shoulder downwards,
he had seventeen yellow stripes, which indicated his warlike deeds,
and on his breast the figure of a hand, of a yellow colour, as a
sign that he had captured some prisoners. A warrior so adorned takes
more time for his toilette than the most elegant Parisian belle.
The colour with which they paint their bodies is mixed with grease.
When in mourning they colour the face and hands white. The women and
children paint only their faces red, leaving the hair its natural
colour. The Mandans and Manitaries, and all the Indians of the Upper
Missouri, often wear the handsome necklace made of the claws of the
grizzly bear. These claws are very large in the spring, frequently
three inches long, and the points are tinged of a white colour,
which is much esteemed; only the claws of the fore feet are used for
necklaces, which are fastened to a strip of otter skin, lined with red
cloth, and embroidered with glass beads, which hangs down the back
like a long tail. Such a {340} necklace is seldom to be had for less
than twelve dollars; and very often the owners of them will not part
with them on any terms. The Mandans adorn themselves with many other
kinds of necklaces, such as strings of glass beads, scented roots, or
fungi, elks' teeth, for 100 or 150 of which they will, in exchange,
give a horse, or something equivalent. These Indians generally wear
no covering on the upper part of the body; the leather shirt of the
Assiniboins, Sioux, Crows, Blackfeet, and other nations that live more
to the north and north-west, are seldom used among them; yet a few
individuals have obtained them from those Indians, either as presents,
or by barter. Even in the midst of winter, the Mandans wear nothing on
the upper part of the body, under their buffalo robe.[224] They paint
their bodies of a reddish-brown colour, on some occasions with white
clay; and frequently draw red or black figures on their arms. The face
is, for the most part, painted all over with vermilion, or yellow,
in which latter case the circumference of the eyes and the chin are
red. There are, however, no set rules for painting, and it depends
on the taste of the Indian dandy; yet, still, a general similarity
is observed. The bands, in their dances, and also after battles, and
when they have performed some exploit, follow the established rule.
In ordinary festivals, and dances, and whenever they wish to look
particularly fine, the young men paint themselves in every variety
of way, and each endeavours to find out some new mode. Should he find
another dandy painted just like himself, he immediately retires and
makes a change in the pattern, which may happen three or four times
during the festival. If they have performed an exploit, the entire
face is painted jet black. Sometimes, though seldom, the Mandans adorn
the wrist and upper arm with polished steel bracelets, which they
obtain from the merchants; often they wear many brass rings on their
fingers, and are, on the whole, excessively fond of ornaments and
finery. The chief article of their dress is the ample buffalo robe,
called mahita, or mih-sha, which is often very elaborate and valuable.
In dry weather these buffalo robes are worn with the hair inwards, and
in rainy weather with the hairy side outwards. They are tanned on the
fleshy side, and painted either white or reddish-brown, and ornamented
with a transverse band of blue or white glass beads, and three large
rosettes of the same beads, often of very tasteful patterns, at
regular intervals. The centre is frequently red, surrounded with sky
blue, embroidered with white figures, or sometimes the reverse. The
transverse band is worked with variously dyed porcupine quills, and
is then narrower. This, however, is now old-fashioned, and was worn
before the coloured glass beads were obtained in such numbers from
the Whites. Other robes are painted with a reddish-brown ground, and
black figures, especially of animals; others have a white ground, with
representations of their heroic deeds in black, or in gay colours, with
the wounds they received, the loss of blood, the killed, the prisoners,
the arms they have taken, the horses stolen (the number of which is
indicated by the number of horseshoes), in black, red, green, or yellow
figures, executed in their yet rude style of painting. The {341}
nations on the Missouri are all in the habit of painting such robes;
but the Pawnees, Mandans, Manitaries, and Crows, are the most skilful
in this art.[225] Another mode of painting their robes is, to represent
the number of valuable presents they have made. By these presents,
which are often of great value, they acquire reputation and respect
among their countrymen. On such robes we observed long red figures,
with a black circle at the termination, placed close to each other in
transverse rows; they represent whips, indicating the number of horses
given, because the whip belonging to the horse is always bestowed with
the animal. Red or dark blue transverse figures indicate cloth or
blankets given; parallel transverse stripes represent fire-arms, the
outlines of which are pretty correctly drawn. The robe is frequently
cut, at the bottom, into narrow strips, like fringe, and ornamented
on the sides with tufts of human hair, and horse-hair dyed yellow and
green, and with glass beads. Formerly the Indians painted these robes
more carefully than they now do, and it was possible to obtain one for
five musket balls and some powder; now they are far inferior, and eight
or ten dollars is not unfrequently paid for them. A robe handsomely
painted is equal in value to two not painted.

Their leggins are fastened with straps to their leathern girdles, and
are embroidered at the outer seam with stripes, one or two inches in
breadth, of porcupine quills, of beautiful various colours, and often
with blue and white beads, and long leathern fringes, which form at
the ankle a thick bunch, which trails upon the ground. The leather
of which their leggins are made is, for the most part, stained of a
reddish-brown, or pale red, usually with clay, sometimes white, and
often marked below the knee with black transverse stripes. They, as
well as all the tribes of North America, use what the English call a
breechcloth (Nokka), which is a narrow strip of woollen cloth, striped
black and white, which passes between the thighs under the girdle,
before and behind, where it hangs down. Their shoes, which are made of
buck skin, or buffalo leather, are generally plain, or very slightly
ornamented; but, in full dress, they are embroidered with coloured
rosettes, or strips of dyed porcupine quills or beads. Those men who
have performed exploits wear, round the ankles, wolf's tail, or pieces
of otter skin, which are lined with red cloth, and trail on the ground.
In the summer, when the men are at home, and go about in state, they
carry the fan of eagle's feathers in their hands, which we have before
described. What the Anglo-Americans call "the crow," which is worn by
the warriors of the nations of the Mississippi, and the Lower Missouri,
is wholly unknown among the tribes of the Upper Missouri, the Sioux,
Assiniboins, Crows, Mandans, Arikkaras, Manitaries, and Blackfeet.[226]

The boys are generally naked, and in winter merely have a robe thrown
over them; the girls are dressed in leather in summer as well as
winter. The women wear a long leather {342} garment, with open sleeves,
and a girdle round the waist; the hem of this dress is often scolloped
and fringed; they ornament the wrists with iron rings, and tie strings
of glass beads round their necks, and sometimes in their ears. Their
leggins, called, by the Canadians, mitasse, are short, reaching only
from the ankle to the knee. Their shoes are simple, and without any
ornament.

Tattooing is in use among these people, but by no means general. Most
commonly only the left half of the breast and the corresponding arm are
marked with black parallel stripes, and a few other figures. The lower
arm and some of the fingers are occasionally marked; the men do not
tattoo their faces, and they are far inferior in this art to the New
Zealanders and other nations of the South Seas. Among the women such
designs are sometimes seen, but not frequently, and they are chiefly
among the women's band of the white buffalo cow. The point of the
needle is dyed a dark blue with the bark of the willow soaked in water.

In Major Long's Travels to the Rocky Mountains it is stated that the
Crows rub their bodies with castoreum, on account of its pleasant
scent.[227] I must observe, however, that the custom is not confined
to one nation, but is practised by the Mandans, Manitaries, Crows, and
Blackfeet, and most of the other tribes of the Upper Missouri. They
mix the castoreum with a red colour, and with it rub their face and
frequently their hair.

Having obtained a clear idea of the outward appearance of these
Indians, we will next consider their habitations, villages, and
domestic life. 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
{343} state of decay, were erected for the Indians by the Whites.[228]
There is nothing of the kind at Ruhptare. 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.[229]

[Illustration: Hand looking-glass]

[Illustration: Cylinder of planks]

[Illustration: Mandan huts]

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, which we shall
treat of in the sequel. 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 (corresponding with the devil), or a wicked
man, as they affirm, who once appeared among them, had neither wife
nor child, and vanished, and whom they now stand greatly in dread of.
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.[230]

The interior of the hut is spacious, tolerably light, and clean. 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 {344} 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. The
building of the huts, manufacturing of their arms, hunting, and wars,
and part of the labours of the harvest, are the occupations of the
men; every other kind of work is left to the women, who, though in
general well treated, are obliged to perform all the really laborious
work. The women fetch fuel, in heavy loads, frequently from great
distances, carry water, and, in winter, blocks of ice into the huts,
cook, tan the skins, make all the clothing, lay out the plantations,
perform field labour, &c. &c. 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.[231] The beds stand against the wall of the hut;
they consist of a large square case, made of parchment or skins, with a
square entrance, and are large enough to hold several persons, who lie
very conveniently and warm on skins and blankets.[232]

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.

The summer huts are very cool, and, generally speaking, have no
unpleasant smell. Mr. Say gives a very good description, and a
tolerably accurate print, of a Konza lodge, or hut,[233] and, with
{345} some slight differences, the mode of building resembles, in the
main, those of the Mandans, Manitaries, and Arikkaras. Among these
differences are the mats which are fastened all round in the first
hut, and which I did not observe among the tribes that I visited.
The beds, too, are arranged in a different manner. The Mandans and
Manitaries are seen in their huts, sitting round the fire, employed
in all kinds of domestic labour. The man has, generally, no clothing
except the nokka, and is often merely smoking, but the women are never
idle. In winter, that is, at the beginning or middle of November,
these Indians remove, with the greater part of their effects, to the
neighbouring forest, where their winter huts are situated. These
consist of precisely similar huts, of rather smaller dimensions. Their
departure from the summer huts is determined by the weather, but, as
before-said, is generally about the middle of November; and their
return, in the spring, is usually about the latter end of February,
or the beginning of March, so that we may reckon that they may pass
above eight months in their summer quarters. Inside of the winter huts
is a particular compartment, where the horses are put in the evening,
and fed with maize. In the daytime they are driven into the prairie,
and feed in the bushes, on the bark of poplars. There are, probably,
above 300 horses in the two Mandan villages; some of the people,
indeed, do not possess any, while others, again, have several. The
Mandans and Manitaries, like all the other Indians of this country,
sometimes make what are here called caches, or hiding-places, in the
vicinity of their villages. These caches are holes, or magazines,
underground, often so artfully contrived that it is very difficult to
discover them.[234] The Indians frequently go from their winter to
their summer village, to fetch any articles they may happen to want,
as they invariably leave part of their property behind. When they
quit their huts for a longer period than usual, they load their dogs
with the baggage, which is drawn in small sledges, 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
firmness. Leather straps are attached in front, and drawn either by men
or dogs. The load is fastened to the sledge by straps.[235] When the
snow is deep, they use snow-shoes,[236] which are described by Captain
Franklin, only those of the Mandans are much smaller, about two feet
and a half long; whereas in the north their length is from four to six
feet. The Mandans and Manitaries have not, by any means, so many dogs
as the Assiniboins, Crows, and Blackfeet. They are rarely of the true
wolf's colour, but generally black, or white, or else spotted with
black and white. Among the nations further to the north-west they more
nearly resemble the wolf, but here they are more like the prairie wolf
(_Canis latrans_).[237] We likewise found, among these animals, a brown
race, descended from European pointers, hence the genuine bark of the
dog is more frequently heard here, whereas among the western nations
they only howl. The Indian dogs are worked very hard, have hard blows,
and hard fare; in fact, they are treated just as this fine animal is
treated among the Esquimaux.

{346} The Mandans are hospitable, and often invite their acquaintance
to come and see them. Their pipes are made of the red-stone, or of
black clay. They obtain the red pipe-heads chiefly from the Sioux;
sometimes they have wooden heads lined with stone; the tube is plain,
long, round or flat, on the whole, of the same shape as among the
Sioux, but they are not so fastidious about ornamenting their pipes
as other tribes. They smoke the leaves of the tobacco plant, which is
cultivated by them; the bark of the red willow (_Cornus sericea_),
which they obtain from the traders, is sometimes mixed with the
tobacco, or the latter with the leaves of the bearberry (_Arbutus uva
ursi_). The tobacco of the Whites, unmixed, is too strong for the
Indians, because they draw the smoke into their lungs; hence they do
not willingly smoke cigars.

The meals of the Mandans are served in wooden dishes. The spoons
are generally large and deep; they are made of the horn of the
bighorn;[238] sometimes they are yellow, or else they are shallow, made
of black buffalo's horn. They have a considerable variety of dishes.
The Indians residing in permanent villages have the advantage of the
roving hunting tribes, in that they not only hunt, but derive their
chief subsistence from their plantations, which afford them a degree
of security against distress. It is true, these Indians sometimes
suffer hunger when the buffalo herds keep at a great distance, and
their crops fail; but the distress can never be so great among the
Missouri Indians, as in the tribes that live further northwards. The
plants which they cultivate are maize, beans, French beans, gourds,
sunflowers, and tobacco (_Nicotiana quadrivalvis_), of which I brought
home some seeds, which have flowered in several botanic gardens.

Of maize there are several varieties of colour, to which they give
different names. The several varieties are:--1. White maize. 2. Yellow
maize. 3. Red maize. 4. Spotted maize. 5. Black maize. 6. Sweet maize.
7. Very hard yellow maize. 8. White, or red-striped maize. 9. Very
tender yellow maize.[239]

The beans are likewise of various sorts--small white beans, black, red,
and spotted beans. The gourds are--yellow, black, striped, blue, long,
and thick-shelled gourds.

The sunflower is a large helianthus, which seems perfectly to resemble
that cultivated in our gardens. It is planted in rows between the
maize. There are two or three varieties, with red, and black, and
one with smaller seeds. Very nice cakes are made of these seeds. The
tobacco {347} cultivated by the Mandans, Manitaries, and Arikkaras,
attains a great height, and is suffered to grow up from the seeds,
without having any care whatever bestowed upon it. It is not
transplanted. When it is ripe the stalks are cut, dried, and powdered;
or the leaves, with the small branches, are cut into little pieces.
The taste and smell are disagreeable to an European, resembling
camomile rather than tobacco. The plant is not now so much cultivated
as formerly, being superseded by the more pleasant tobacco of the
Whites; but the species is still preserved.[240] It is only on solemn
occasions, for instance, in negotiations for peace, that this tobacco
is still smoked; the seed is, therefore, preserved in the medicine bag
of the nation, that the plant may never be lost. When they mean to
smoke this tobacco, a small quantity of fat is rubbed on it.

The cultivation of the maize and other fields, of which each family
prepares three, four, or five acres, takes place in the month of
May. Rows of small furrows are made, into which the grains of maize
are thrown singly, and covered with earth. Three times in the summer
the plants are hoed, and the earth heaped up against them, that the
moisture may have better access to them. The harvest takes place in
October, when men, women, and children, each lend a helping hand.
At present the women use, in their field labour, a broad iron hoe,
with a crooked wooden handle, which they obtain from the merchants.
Charbonneau recollected the time when they used the shoulder blade of
the buffalo for this purpose. The fields are never fenced, but lie
quite open and exposed.

The wild plants of the prairie are used by the Mandans, and other
people of the Upper Missouri; and to those before-mentioned, I can
only add the feverolles (_Faba minor equina_), a fruit resembling the
bean, which is said to grow in the ground, but which I did not see;
there are many other roots in the prairie, which are used for food.
The gourds are eaten fresh as well as dry. The beans are seldom eaten
of one kind, but many sorts are mixed together. The maize is boiled
or roasted, then pounded, mixed with fat, and made up into small cakes
and baked. There are, of course, many other ways of dressing it. The
sweet maize has a very pleasant taste, especially when it is in what is
called the milky state; it is then boiled, dried, and laid by for use.

All kinds of animals serve the Mandans for food; the bear, when it
is young and fat, the wolf, the fox, in short, everything except the
horse; the ermine is not eaten by many; and of birds they dislike the
turkey-buzzard, and the raven, because they feed on the dead bodies
deposited on the stages. They have a great aversion from serpents,
but eat the turtle; the buffalo is the chief object of their chase,
as it supplies them with skins, meat, tallow, marrow-bones, sinews,
and many other necessaries. Next to the buffalo the beaver is the most
indispensable to them, since it not only furnishes them with valuable
skins, but supplies them with delicate food, the fat tail, especially,
being considered quite a dainty morsel by the Indians. Pemmican,[241]
{348} which is so favourite a dish among the northern Indians, is not
much in use among the Mandans. Their only drink is water, for they are
unacquainted with the method of preparing fermented liquors. They did
not obtain any spirits, either from the American Fur Company, or the
agents of Messrs. Soublette and Campbell; hence an intoxicated person
is scarcely ever seen. They are extremely fond of sugar, and likewise
of salt, which they procure from their lakes, and, if the supply is
insufficient, purchase from the Whites. They are likewise fond of
coffee and tea, well sweetened. It has been affirmed, that several
North American nations, especially those which speak the Algonquin
language, are cannibals, and more particularly the Chippeways and the
Potawatomis; but I found no trace of this unnatural custom among the
Missouri nations.[242]

Two, and sometimes three, families usually live together in an Indian
hut, commonly the father, with his married sons or sons-in-law.
Polygamy is everywhere practised, and the number of wives differs;
however, they have very seldom more than four, and, in general,
only one.[243] The women are very skilful in various kinds of work,
particularly in dyeing and painting the buffalo robes. They extract a
red colour from the roots of the savoyenne, or from buffalo berries;
yellow from a lichen of the Rocky Mountains; black from helianthus, as
well as from a black stone or clay; blue and green they extract from
European substances. Among the Mandans, Manitaries, and Arikkaras, the
women, as Lewis and Clarke relate, manufacture beads from coloured
glass. They powder those which they have obtained from the traders,
and mould them into different shapes.[244] This custom is, however,
no longer common. The dyeing of the skins, of which many travellers
have spoken, employs a great portion of the women's time. These three
nations 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.[245]
With respect to their boats, the North Americans are far more expert
than the Brazilians, Patagonians, and other South Americans, who live
on the banks of rivers, and yet have contrived no means to pass them.
The Chippeways and other northern nations have handsome vessels of
birch bark; the Esquimaux makes his kiack, which is curiously covered
with seal skin; and on the Missouri, especially among the Mandans,
there are boats of buffalo skin, which are represented in the plates
accompanying this work.[246] They are very light, of a circular form,
stretched on a frame of several pieces of wood crossing each other, and
may be carried on the shoulder of a single individual.

If a young Indian desires to marry, and has obtained the consent of
the girl, he endeavours to procure that of her father; when he is
certain of this, he brings two, three, nay, even eight or {349} ten
horses, and fastens them to the hut of the young woman, who gives them
to her father. The latter then takes other horses, and if he has them
not himself, his relations assist him, and these horses are fastened,
in return, to the hut of the intended son-in-law. In such a case an
estimate is previously made of the number of horses possessed by the
woman's relations, for all presents are returned in equal number. The
bride next boils some maize, and daily carries a kettle or dish filled
with it to the hut of the bridegroom. After some time has elapsed, the
young man repairs to the hut of his bride, where he passes the night
with her, and the marriage is considered as complete. The young couple
often continue to reside in the hut of the father-in-law, but they
more frequently build a new hut for themselves; sometimes, however,
they afterwards separate. The father-in-law is, subsequently, the
principal person in the hut; everything depends on him, and is done
on his account, and for him; if game is killed, the flesh is first
presented to him, &c.[247] There are often many children in these
Indian families; some had as many as ten; yet, on the whole, the
Indians have not so many children as the Whites, doubtless because they
keep them longer at the breast. They are extremely fond of them, but
the children are often weak and sickly, in consequence, it is supposed,
of the hard labour which the women have to perform. I was universally
assured that the new-born children are of a reddish colour. The births
are, in general, extremely easy, and the mother bathes in the river
immediately afterwards, even if it is frozen; in ten days the child
is considered as safe, having got over the most dangerous period. A
person is paid to give it the name chosen by the parents and relations.
The child is held up, then turned to all sides of the heavens, in
the direction of the course of the sun, and its name proclaimed. They
have cradles for their infants, consisting of a leather bag, which
is suspended by a strap to a cross beam in the hut. These cradles of
the Mandans are not so elegant and beautifully worked as those which
we saw among the Sioux and Assiniboins. The children of these Indians
are subject to no kind of discipline whatever; they may do and say
whatever they please, and nobody finds fault with them. Everything is
done to excite a spirit of independence and self-will in the boys; if
the mother speaks to one of them, he will very likely slap her face, or
kick her, nay, sometimes he will do the same to his father, who says,
coolly, bowing his head, this boy will one day become a famous warrior.
The men sometimes treat their wives very brutally; and it has not
unfrequently happened, that a woman, after such treatment, has left the
hut and hanged herself on a tree. This lately happened in the case of
an aged woman, whose grown-up son had ill-treated her. She was missed,
and was afterwards found suspended from a tree. The women have nothing
to indemnify them for their incessant and laborious work, not even good
clothing, for this right of the fair sex in Europe is claimed among the
Indians by the men. It is singular that these women, who are condemned
constantly to work like slaves, refuse to do any work whatever if they
marry a white man, and, the Whites being entirely in the power of the
Indians, and the relations of their wives, they are obliged to submit
to this. Sisters have great {350} privileges among these Indians. All
the horses which a young man steals, or captures in war, belong to
them. If an Indian returns from an expedition on horseback, and meets
his sister, he will immediately alight, and give her the horse; on the
other hand, if he wishes to possess some object of value belonging to
his sister, for instance, a dress, he goes and abruptly demands it,
and immediately receives it; even should it be the very dress she is
wearing, she will take it off at once, and give it to her brother.

Prudery is not a virtue of the Indian women; they have often two,
three, or more lovers: infidelity is not often punished. There was
only one woman among the Mandans, a piece of whose nose was cut off,
a circumstance which is very common among the Blackfeet. If an Indian
elopes with a married woman, the husband whom she has abandoned avenges
himself by seizing the seducer's property, his horses and other things
of value, to which the latter must quietly submit. Such a woman is
never taken back. If a man has the eldest daughter of a family for
his wife, he has a right to all her sisters. A chief business of the
young men among these Indian tribes is to try their fortune with the
young maidens and the women, and this, together with their toilet,
fills up the greater part of their time. They do not meet with many coy
beauties.[248] In the evening, and generally till late at night, they
roam about the villages, or in the vicinity, or from one village to the
other. They have a singular mode of displaying their achievements in
this field, especially when they visit the women in their best dresses.
On these occasions they endeavour to gain credit by the variety of
their triumphs, and mark the number of conquered beauties by bundles of
peeled osier twigs, painted red at the tips. These sticks are of two
kinds. Most of them are from two to three feet in length, others five
or six feet. The latter, being carried singly, are painted with white
and red rings alternately, which indicates the number of conquests.
The shorter sticks are only painted red at the tips, and every stick
indicates an exploit, the number of which is often bound up into a
pretty large bundle. Thick fasces of this kind are carried about by the
dandies in their gallant excursions. Among the Mandans these sticks are
generally quite plain; among the Manitaries, on the contrary, there is,
usually, in the middle of the bundle, one larger stick, at the end of
which there is a tuft of black feathers. These feathers indicate the
favourite, and the dandies tell everybody that she is the person for
whom this honour is intended.[249]

If these people have had familiar intercourse with a person who wore
the white buffalo robe, a piece of skin of that colour is fastened to
the stick; if she wore a red blanket, or buffalo robe, a piece of red
cloth is fastened to the stick. This custom, which is well known among
the Mandans and Manitaries, has not, to my knowledge, been mentioned by
any traveller.

They have distinct names for the several degrees of relationship. The
father's brother is called father, and the mother's sister, mother;
cousins are called brothers and sisters. The {351} mother-in-law never
speaks to her son-in-law; but if he comes home, and brings her the
scalp of a slain enemy, and his gun, she is at liberty, from that
moment, to converse with him.[250] This custom is found among the
Manitaries, who have, doubtless, borrowed it from the Mandans, but not
among the Crows and Arikkaras. Among the Chippeways, and the Algonquins
in general, the name must not be changed; and persons with the same
name must not marry, but consider each other as brothers and sisters.
Among all the North American Indian nations there are men dressed and
treated like women, called by the Canadians, Bardaches, of whom Mc
Kenzie, Tanner, Langsdorff, and others, have spoken;[251] but there was
only one such among the Mandans, and two or three among the Manitaries.

Volney, and some other writers, have spoken rather too unfavourably
of the moral character of the aborigines of North America, and their
domestic habits. According to them, distrust and hostile feeling
prevail among them, for which reason they never leave their huts
unarmed; but I can bear witness that they are frequently seen in their
villages, as well as in the environs, without arms, and that it is
only at greater distances, and when they appear in state, that they
carry their weapons in their hands. I have never observed any disputes
among them, but, on the contrary, much more unity and tranquillity than
in civilized Europe. It has often been asserted that the Indians are
inferior in intellectual capacity to the Whites; but this has been now
sufficiently refuted; and Harlan is not wrong in saying that, among
the races of men, of which Blumenbach reckons five,[252] the American
should be ranked immediately after the Caucasian. If man, in all his
varieties, has not received from the Creator equally perfect faculties,
I am, at least, convinced that, in this respect, the Americans are not
inferior to the Whites. Many of the Mandans manifest a great thirst
for knowledge, and many desire to hear something of objects of a
higher order; and if they were not so much attached to the prejudices
inherited from their ancestors, many of them might be very easily
instructed. The bad examples which they so often observe in the white
men, who roam about their country in quest of gain, are not calculated
to inspire them with much respect for our race, or to improve their
morality. And if they have not been found inclined to the Christian
religion, this is, certainly, in some measure, the consequence of
the bad conduct of the Whites, who call themselves Christians, and
are often worse, and more immoral, than the most uncivilized of the
Indians. Many American and foreign works have taken notice of the
striking good sense and wit, the correct judgment of the Indians, in
all the occurrences of daily life, and it would be mere repetition here
to quote examples. One is often at a loss to answer their questions,
founded on correct and natural judgment. The inactive mode of life
natural to the Indians, which disdains all laborious exertion, is a
great obstacle to their adopting a different system. But they are not
deficient in talent for drawing, music, &c., and this is quite manifest
at first sight. Several Mandans not only took much pleasure in drawing,
but had a decided talent for it. The hieroglyphics are well known,
which the Indians employ {352} instead of writing; for instance, the
figures on their robes, the drawing of Mato-Topé, and the subjoined
Indian letter from a Mandan to a fur trader.[253]

[Illustration: Mandan bed]

[Illustration: A Mandan letter, in hieroglyphics]

[Illustration: Child's dart, of stag-horn]

The following is the explanation of the hieroglyphic figures contained
in it:

The cross signifies, "I will barter, or trade." Three animals are drawn
on the right hand of the cross: one is a buffalo; the two others, a
weasel (_Mustela Canadensis_), and an otter. The writer offers, in
exchange for the skins of these animals (probably meaning that of a
white buffalo), the articles which he has drawn on the left side of the
cross.

He has, in the first place, depicted a beaver very plainly, behind
which there is a gun; to the left of the beaver are thirty strokes,
each ten separated by a longer line; this means, I will give thirty
beaver skins and a gun for the skins of the three animals on the right
hand of the cross.

Many of them dispute, with great earnestness, on more elevated
subjects; thus, they inquired our ideas of the various heavenly bodies,
and of the origin of the universe, as they, themselves, declare their
own silly traditions to be insufficient. Some, indeed, thought our
ideas on these subjects much more silly than their own. They laughed
outright, when we affirmed that the earth was round, and revolved about
the sun. Others, however, would not reject our views, and were of
opinion that, as the Whites could do so much which was incomprehensible
to them, it was possible they might be right on this point also.

In all works that treat of these remarkable people, we find recorded
very energetic and well-digested speeches of their chiefs. They
frequently use very appropriate figures, and often said bitter truths
to their white oppressors. Dr. Morse quotes some such phrases, used
at the conclusion of treaties of peace, or declarations of war, which
express much in a few words. Thus, in declarations of war: "The blood
of our wives and children smokes on the ground! The bones of our
warriors and old men are uncovered, and whiten the earth! The tomahawk
is raised!" And on the conclusion of peace: "The bones of our warriors
are buried! the tomahawk is buried! the blood of our women and children
is covered! The path which leads to them must be kept clean; no weeds
may grow there. The chain which binds us together must not become
rusty." {353} Or, on the contrary: "The chain begins to rust," &c. &c.
Though these people often manifest great energy of character, many have
committed suicide on account of disappointments in love, or of wounded
honour, of which Dr. Morse relates a remarkable instance, where an
Indian killed himself because he was reproached with cowardice, after
his mother had suffered death for him. Many travellers speak of the
extraordinary memory of the Indians; several of them relate the entire
history of their people in a continuous narrative.

The Mandans and Manitaries are proud, and have a high sense of honour.
If a person expresses a wish to possess some article belonging to
them, he generally receives it as a present, but a present of equal,
or greater value, is always looked for in return. They estimate all
their effects at a very high rate, ascribing to them an imaginary and
far too great value; and a trifling thing is often paid for with one or
two horses. Among the articles of great value is the skin of a white
buffalo cow. Fifteen florins are paid for a small ermine skin; whereas,
a wolf's skin may be purchased for a small quantity of tobacco. One
or two horses are frequently given for a feather cap; a horse for 100
or 150 elks' teeth, or for a handful of dentalium shells.[254] The
men are much given to indolence, when they cannot pursue their chief
avocations, hunting and war. In general, the Mandans and Manitaries are
not dangerous, and, though there are many rude and savage men among
them, they are, on the whole, well-disposed towards the Whites: the
former, especially, manifest this, and have many good and trustworthy
men among them. Some of them are addicted to thieving, especially the
women and children; and it is said, that many of the Manitaries, when
they meet the Whites in the prairie, though they do not kill them, as
they used to do, generally plunder them.

They have always free access to the forts of the trading companies;
and, as at Fort Clarke, there was no separate apartment for the
Indians, we were molested by them, during the whole day, in every room;
nay, they often took the place of the owners, which, during the severe
cold in the winter time, was quite intolerable, as they stood in front
of the fire, with their large buffalo robes, and kept the warmth from
coming into the apartment. They require to be always regaled, which
is generally done, and it was estimated that in one year they smoked
200 lbs. of tobacco at the expense of the Company. A few among them,
indeed, manifested a much greater delicacy of feeling than the mass of
them, and left the dining-room when the dinner-hour approached; but
only a very small proportion possessed this correct sense of propriety,
for the others generally came just at our dinner time; it is true they
had but little meat in the winter season, and fared but badly. Disputes
and quarrels are very rare among them; but duels are frequent; and
revenge for blood is still exercised.

Many of them are particularly cleanly in their persons, and bathe
daily, both in winter and summer; their hands, however, are often
smeared with colours and fat, nay, sometimes the whole body is
bedaubed. The women are, in general, less cleanly, particularly their
hands, {354} which arises from their continual and severe labour. They
generally let their nails grow long.

The rude inhabitants of the prairies are extremely agile and hardy;
they bathe, in the depth of winter, in the half frozen rivers, and
wear no covering on the upper part of their body under the buffalo
robe; they are very expert swimmers, even when quite young. I have
already observed that all these nations swim in the same manner as
the Brazilian Tapuyas, which is confirmed by other writers. They
often practise riding on horseback without a saddle, and very swift
horse-racing.[255] They are capital marksmen with the bow; all their
senses are remarkably acute.

Among the Mandans, and all the nations of the Upper Missouri, as well
as among most of the North American tribes, there are certain bands
or unions or companies, which are distinguished from the others, and
kept together by certain external badges and laws.[256] They have
three kinds of war or signal pipes, which are hung round the neck,
and are among the badges of the unions, which divide the men into six
classes, according to their age. The first band or union is composed
of "the foolish dogs," or "the dogs whose name is not known." They
are young people from ten to fifteen years of age, and wear a pipe
made of the wing bone of the wild goose, which is but small. When they
dance, three of them have a long broad piece of red cloth hanging from
the back of the neck to the ground. Like every distinct class they
have a particular song to accompany their dance. Formerly old people
likewise belonged to this band, but then they never dared to retreat
before the enemy; this has since been changed to the present limited
rule. If a boy desires to enter the first band in order to become a
man, he goes to a member of it, addresses him by the appellation of
father, and endeavours to purchase the rank, the dance, the song, and
the war pipe belonging to it, for certain articles of value, such as
blankets, cloth, horses, powder, ball, and the like, which the father
pays for him. If this place is sold to him he has a right to all the
distinctions and privileges of the band, and he who sold it thereby
renounces all claim to it, and endeavours to purchase admission to
a higher band. The dances of the several classes are in the main
very similar, but there is a particular song belonging to each,
and sometimes even a different step. The drum and schischikué must
likewise be purchased at the same time. The latter, among this band, is
spherical, with a handle, and is made of leather.

The second class or band is that of the crows or ravens; it consists
of young men from twenty to twenty-five years of age. Frequently young
people are in none of the bands for half a year or more. They then
go to the band of the crows, and say, "Father, I am poor, but I wish
to purchase from you." If the possessor agrees, they then receive
the raven's feathers, which the band wear on their heads, a double
war-pipe, consisting of two wing bones of a goose joined together, a
drum, schischikué, the song and the dance. Each of these bands has a
leader, called, {355} by the Americans, head-man, who decides on the
sale of its rights and attributes. This head-man is chiefly applied
to when any one wishes for admission; a festival then takes place in
the medicine lodge, which is continued for forty successive nights,
of which I shall speak in the sequel.[257] They dance, eat, and smoke
there; the purchasers defray the expenses, and give up their wives
every night to the sellers, till the fathers, as they are called, are
satisfied, and transfer their rights to the purchasers, with which the
festival concludes.

The third class or band is that of the soldiers, the most eminent
and esteemed warriors. In their dances they paint the upper part of
the face red, and the lower part black. Their war pipe is large, and
made of the wing bone of a crane. Their badges are two long straight
sticks bound with otter skin, to which owl's feathers are appended.
When they go to war, they plant these sticks in the ground in front of
the enemy, and, this done, they dare not leave them, not unlike the
colours in a European army. They have a similar stick ornamented with
raven's feathers.[258] They likewise have a dance and song peculiar
to their band, and must purchase their admission into higher classes.
Their schischikué or rattle is made of iron plate, in the form of a
small kettle, with a handle. They likewise possess two tobacco pipes,
which are used for smoking on special occasions. Two men keep and carry
with them these pipes. All the higher classes may, at the same time,
belong to the band of the soldiers, who act as police officers; it
is, however, understood that all the members must be satisfied with
the purchase. If but one object to the sale, the bargain cannot be
concluded. It often happens that some individuals do not immediately
give their consent, in order to raise the price and sell to more
advantage afterwards. These soldiers, as they are called, form a kind
of committee, which decides all the principal affairs, particularly
general undertakings, such as changes of their places of abode, buffalo
hunting, and the like. If the buffalo herds are in the vicinity, they
watch them, and do not suffer them to be disturbed by individuals, till
a general chase can be undertaken.

If, during this time, any one fires at a wolf or other animal, the
soldiers take away his gun, ill-use, and sometimes beat him, to which
he must submit; even the chiefs are not spared on these occasions. The
Whites living in the neighbourhood are subject, during such a time, to
the same laws, and the soldiers have often taken their hatchets from
the woodcutters of the fort, or forbidden them to cut wood, that the
buffaloes might not be disturbed by the noise.

The fourth band, that of the dogs, wear in their dance a large cap
of coloured cloth, to which a great number of raven's, magpie's, and
owl's feathers is fastened, adorned with dyed horse-hair and strips of
ermine; they have a large war pipe of the wing bone of a swan. Three
of them have the same strips of red cloth hanging down the back, as
have been mentioned, when speaking of the first band. The head is
generally adorned with a thick tuft of owl's, magpie's, and raven's
feathers hanging down behind, and often all the three kinds of feathers
are mixed together. {356} The three men before-mentioned, who wear
the strips of red cloth (the dogs, properly so called), are obliged,
if any one throws a piece of meat into the ashes, or on the ground,
saying, "There, dog, eat," to fall upon it, and devour it raw, like
dogs or beasts of prey. The schischikué of this band is a stick, a
foot or a foot and a half long to which a number of animals' hoofs are
fastened. The costume of these three dogs is shown in the portrait of
Pehriska-Ruhpa.[259]

The fifth band is that of the buffaloes. In their dance they wear the
skin of the upper part of the head, the mane of the buffalo, with its
horns, on their heads; but two select individuals, the bravest of all,
who thenceforward never dare to fly from the enemy, wear a perfect
imitation of the buffalo's head, with the horns, which they set on
their heads,[260] and in which there are holes left for the eyes,
which are surrounded with an iron or tin ring. This band alone has a
wooden war pipe, and in their union they have a woman, who, during
the dance, goes round with a dish of water, to refresh the dancers,
but she must give this water only to the bravest, who wear the whole
buffalo's head. She is dressed, on these occasions, in a handsome new
robe of bighorn leather, and colours her face with vermilion. The men
have a piece of red cloth fastened behind, and a figure representing
a buffalo's tail; they also carry their arms in their hands. The men
with the buffaloes' heads always keep in the dance at the outside of
the group, imitate all the motions and the voice of this animal, as
it timidly and cautiously retreats, looking around in all directions,
&c.[261]

The sixth band is that of the black-tailed deer. It consists of all the
men above fifty years of age, who, however, likewise dance. Two women
belong to the band, who wait on them at the dance, cook, carry water
round to refresh them, and the like. All the men of this band wear a
garland of the claws of the grizzly bear round their heads, and all
insignia of their warlike exploits about their bodies, such as feathers
on their heads, tufts of hair on their arms and legs, scalps, painting,
&c.[262]

All these bands, as well as the following dances, are bought and sold,
and, as has been already observed, on these occasions, the buyer must
give up his wife to the seller during the festivity. But if a young
man is still unmarried, he will sometimes travel to a great distance
to another village, to ask a friend or companion for his wife, who
accordingly goes with him, and, on the evenings of the dance, gives up
his wives for him. A man often brings three or four, and even more,
wives, and gives them to his father, as he is called, as soon as the
dancing, eating, smoking, and the relating of their exploits, are
concluded. Thus one woman after the other comes, as will be described
in the account of the buffalo medicines of the Manitaries, strikes,
with her hand, the arm of the man whom she will favour, and goes to the
entrance of the tent, where she waits till he follows her. The man so
invited often keeps his seat, and bows down his head; the woman then
goes home, brings articles of value, such as guns, robes, blankets,
&c., which she lays, piece by piece, before him, till he is satisfied,
stands up, and follows her.

{357} There are other dances which are bought and sold, among which
are a second dance of the third band, and the dance of the half-shorn
heads, which the lower class may buy before they are old enough to
belong to the third band.

The medicine feast, the insignia, and the dance belonging to the
half-shorn heads, will be described in the sequel. Another dance is
that of the old dogs. The band of the dogs can buy it of the buffaloes
before they can become buffaloes, or purchase their admission to the
fifth band. In the dance of the old dogs they paint themselves white,
the hands red and black, and wear a girdle of the skin of the grizzly
bear, and a bunch of feathers hanging down at the back of the head.

What is called the hot dance is now danced at Ruhptare, and by the
Manitaries, who bought it from the Arikkaras. It is executed by the
little dogs, whose name is not known. A large fire is kindled on the
occasion, and a quantity of live coals is scattered on the ground,
about which the young men dance, quite naked and barefooted. The
hands, with the lower part of the arms, and the feet and ankles, are
painted red. A kettle, with meat cut in small pieces, is hung over
the fire; and when the meat is done they plunge their hands into the
boiling water, take out the meat, and eat it, at the risk of scalding
themselves. The last comers are the worst off, having to dip their
hands the deepest into the boiling water. During the dance they have in
their hands their weapons and the schischikué.

There is another dance which will be described in one of the following
chapters. The dance is accompanied with the schischikué and drum, and
is generally performed in a circle: the dancers carry in their hands
the bow-lance,[263] which is adorned with feathers and bears' entrails.

The Mandan women are divided precisely in the same manner as the men,
into four classes, according to their age. The youngest band is called
"the band of the gun." They wear in their hair some down feathers of
the eagle, and have their peculiar dance.

The next class into which they obtain admission by purchase is "the
river class." When they dance they wear an eagle's feather, fastened to
the fore part of the head with a piece of white ribbon, which projects
on the left side, and is entwined round the quill with grass.

The third class consists of the women of the hay, who, when they dance,
put on their best clothes, and sing the scalp song.

The fourth and last class is the band of the white cow. They paint one
eye with some colour according to their taste, generally sky-blue.
On the chin, this class, mostly consisting of aged women, tattoo
themselves with black lines; round their heads they wear a broad piece
of the skin of a white buffalo cow, something like a hussar's cap, with
a tuft of feathers in it. A more {358} particular description of the
dress of this band is given in the sequel.[264]

These unions, or bands, give occasion to many festivities, with
singing, music, and dancing, but they have likewise other dances
and diversions. One of these is the scalp dance, which may be more
appropriately described among the usages of war. Their musical
amusements are very simple. The mode of singing varies but little among
all the American Indians; it consists of broken, deep exclamations,
often intercepted by loud shouts, and is accompanied by a violent
beating of time on the drum, and the rattling of the schischikué.
Besides these two instruments, the Mandans have long wooden pipes, at
the lower end of which there is generally an eagle's feather hanging
by a string.[265] Other pipes are thicker, about twenty inches long,
and are perforated with holes; in this respect they differ from the war
pipe. They are sometimes ornamented with pieces of skin, &c. These are
the only musical instruments of the Indians besides the war pipes.[266]

The Indians have also many games; the game called billiards, by the
French Canadians, is played by two young men, with long poles, which
are often bound with leather, and have various ornaments attached to
them. On a long, straight, level course, or a level path in or near
the village, they roll a hoop, three or four inches in diameter,
covered with leather, and throw the pole at it; and the success of
the game depends upon the pole passing through it. This game is also
practised among the Manitaries, and is described, in Major Long's
Travels to the Rocky Mountains, as being played by the Pawnees, who,
however, have hooked sticks, which is not the case with the tribes here
mentioned.[267]

The women are expert at playing with a large leathern ball, which
they let fall alternately on their foot and knee, again throwing it up
and catching it, and thus keeping it in motion for a length of time
without letting it fall to the ground. Prizes are given, and they often
play high. The ball is often very neat and curiously covered with dyed
porcupine quills.[268] Card-playing has not yet reached these Indians,
though it is in use among the Osages and other tribes. The children
of the Mandans and Manitaries play with a piece of stag's horn, in
which a couple of feathers are inserted; this is thrown forward, the
piece of horn being foremost.[269] About the middle of March, when the
weather is fine, the children and young men play with a hoop, in the
interior of which strips of leather are interwoven; its diameter is
about a foot. This hoop is either rolled or thrown, and they thrust
at it with a pointed stick; he who approaches the centre most nearly
is the winner.[270] {359} As soon as the ice in the rivers breaks up,
they run to the banks and throw this interlaced hoop into the water.
In the summer time the Mandans and Manitaries often amuse themselves
with races in the prairie, for which they have the best opportunity in
the vicinity of their villages; twenty young men, or more, often run at
once, and on these occasions there is always high betting. Some of them
are very swift runners, and can hold out a long time.

The Mandans and Manitaries are extremely superstitious, and all
their important actions are guided by such motives. They have most
strange ideas of surrounding nature, believe in a multitude of
different beings in the heavenly bodies; offer sacrifices to them;
invoke their assistance on every occasion; howl, lament, fast,
inflict on themselves cruel acts of penance, to propitiate these
spirits; and, above all, lay very great stress upon dreams.[271]
Some of their traditions have a resemblance to the revelations of
the Bible; for instance, Noah's Ark and the Deluge, the history of
Samson, &c. The question here arises whether these particulars have
not been gradually introduced among them, from their intercourse
with Christians, and this seems highly probable. If they have not
yet embraced the Christian religion, it would, however, appear that
they have adopted some portions which strike them as being either
remarkable or interesting.[272] The belief in a future life, or a
better state of things after death, exists among all the American
nations; this is confirmed by D'Orbigny (Voyages, tom. iii. p. 90), who
justly blames Azara for denying all religious ideas to the people of
Paraguay.[273] In order to obtain correct information respecting all
their traditions and ideas, we persuaded Dipauch[274] to enliven our
long winter evenings by his narratives, which he readily agreed to do.
He spoke with much seriousness and gravity, and I had a most excellent
interpreter in Mr. Kipp. I give these narratives, which are often
extremely silly, as they were written down from his communications,
though I must beg my reader's patience and indulgence. It was not
possible to curtail them or to choose only the more interesting parts,
since all their traditions and legends have a certain connection, and
really possess some influence on the actual mode of life of this people.

According to Dipauch, these Indians believe in several superior beings,
of whom the lord of life, Ohmahank-Numakshi, is the first, the most
exalted and the most powerful; who created the earth, man, and every
existing object.[275] They believe that he has a tail, and appears
sometimes {360} in the form of an aged man, and, at others, in that of
a young man. The first man, Numank-Machana, holds the second rank; he
was created by the lord of life, but is likewise of a divine nature.
The lord of life gave him great power, and they, therefore, worship and
offer sacrifices to him. He is nearly identical with Nanabush among the
Chippeways, or the people of the Algonquin language, who, according
to the notion of those tribes, acts as mediator between the creator
and the human race. Nanabush and the creator frequently had disputes,
and the Mandans have similar legends. Omahank-Chika, the evil one of
the earth, is a malignant spirit, who has, likewise, much influence
over men, but who is not as powerful as the lord of life and the first
man. The fourth being is Rohanka-Tauïhanka, who lives in the planet
Venus, and it is he who protects mankind on the earth; for without
his care the race would have been long since extinct. A fifth being,
who, however, has no power, is something like the wandering Jew, ever
in motion, and walking on the face of the earth in human form. They
call him the lying prairie wolf. Besides these there is a sixth being,
Ochkih-Hadda, whom it is difficult to class, and of whom they have a
tradition, that whoever dreams of him is doomed soon to die. He appears
to figure in their traditions as a kind of devil, is said to have once
come to their villages, and taught them many things, but has not since
appeared. They are afraid of him, offer sacrifices to him, and have in
their villages a hideous figure representing him.[276] They worship
the sun, because they believe it to be the residence of the lord of
life. All their medicines or sacrifices are offered chiefly to the
sun, or rather to the lord of life, as inhabiting it. In the moon, say
they, lives the old woman who never dies, and who wears a white band
from the front to the back of the head; sacrifices and offerings are
likewise made to her. They do not know who she is, but her power is
great. She has six children, three sons and three daughters, who all
live in certain stars. The eldest son is the day (the first day of the
creation), the second is the sun, in which the lord of life has his
abode. The third son is the night. The eldest daughter is the star that
rises in the east, the morning star; and they call her, "the woman who
wears a plume." The second daughter, called "the striped gourd," is a
high star which revolves around the polar star; and, lastly, the third
daughter is the evening star which is near to the setting sun.

The old woman in the moon desired to find a wife for her son, and
brought a girl, whom she desired to wait outside the door. When the old
woman sent out to fetch her, they found in her place a toad; indignant
at the exchange, the toad was boiled in a vessel, that it might be
destroyed. But this could not be done, nor could it be eaten, and it
was, therefore, cursed, on which it remained always visible as a spot
in the moon. The narrator could not say whether the sun was large or
small, but, at all events, it was glowing hot. The son married a woman
whom they called "the narrow-leaved wormwood." They had a son, of
great promise, who appeared destined to act an important part. He was
very skilful in making arrows, and versed in all kinds of hunting and
catching of animals. He shot birds for his mother, though she had {361}
forbidden him to kill the prairie larks, yet he shot all his arrows
at these birds, but he was unable to kill any. Upon this, one of the
birds said to him, "Why will you kill me, since I am related to you?"
He dug up in the moon the pomme blanche (_Psozalea esculenta_), for
which his mother reproved him, because, through the hole which he had
dug, they could see the Manitari villages in the earth beneath. And his
mother said, "See, all those men are our relations; I did not intend
to descend to the earth yet, but now we must go thither." The father
once ordered the son to shoot a buffalo for him, and to bring him all
the sinews of the animal; but the son twisted a rope with part of those
sinews, in order thereby to let himself down to the earth. Accordingly
he descended to the earth in the vicinity of the Little Missouri, but
his rope reached only to the top of the trees. If he had had all the
sinews of the buffalo, his rope would have reached the ground, but now
remained suspended, and swung backwards and forwards. A large stone was
thrown at him from the moon, which stone was in existence not very long
since. The stone, however, could not kill him, he being medicine, that
is, charmed.

The Mandans believe that the thunder is produced by the motion of the
wings of a gigantic bird. When this bird flies softly, as is usually
the case, he is not heard, but when he flaps his wings violently, he
occasions a roaring noise. This huge bird is said to have only two
toes on each foot, one behind and the other before. It lives in the
mountains, where it builds an immense nest, as big as Fort Clarke. Its
food consists of deer and other large animals, the horns of which are
heaped up round the nest. The glance of its eyes produces lightning;
it breaks through the clouds, the canopy of heaven, and makes a way
for the rain. The isolated and peculiarly loud claps of thunder are
produced by a gigantic tortoise, which lives in the clouds. When the
lightning strikes, it is a sign of anger. They believe the stars to be
deceased men. When a child is born, a star descends and appears on the
earth in human form; after death it reascends and appears again as a
star in the heavens.

The rainbow is a spirit accompanying the sun, and is especially visible
at its setting. Many affirm that the northern lights are occasioned
by a large assembly of the medicine men and distinguished warriors
of several nations in the north, who boil their prisoners and slain
enemies in immense cauldrons. The Chippeways are said to call this
phenomenon "the dancing spirit," and the milky way, "the path of the
ghosts."

Dipauch related a history of the creation and the origin of the Mandan
tribe, in the following manner. Though this narrative is equally silly
and tiresome, I subjoin it, as giving an idea of the intellectual
condition of this people, and the nature of their conversations.

Before the existence of the earth, the lord of life created the first
man, Numank-Machana, who moved on the waters, and met with a diver or
duck, which was alternately diving and rising again. The man said to
the bird, "You dive so well, now dive deep and bring up some earth."
{362} The bird obeyed, and soon brought up some earth, which the first
man scattered upon the face of the waters, using some incantations,
commanding the earth to appear, and it appeared. The land was naked;
not a blade of grass was growing on it; he wandered about and thought
that he was alone, when he suddenly met with a toad. "I thought I
was here alone," said he, "but you are here, and who are you?" It
did not answer. "I do not know you, but I must give you a name. You
are older than I am, for your skin is rough and scaly; I must call
you my grandmother, for you are so very old." He went further and
found a piece of an earthen pot. "I thought I was here alone, but
men must have lived here before me." Thereupon he took the potsherd
and said, "I will give you also a name, and, as you were here before
me, I must, likewise, call you my grandmother." On going further he
met with a mouse: "It is clear," said he to himself, "that I am not
the first being; I call you also my grandmother." A little further
on he and the lord of life met. "Oh, there is a man like myself,"
exclaimed he, and went up to him. "How do you do, my son?" said the
man to Omahank-Numakshi; but he answered, "I am not your son, but you
are mine." The first man answered, "I dispute this." But the lord of
life answered, "You are my son, and I will prove it; if you will not
believe me, we will sit down and plant our medicine sticks which we
have in our hands in the ground; he who first rises is the youngest,
and the son of the other." They sat down and looked at each other for
a long time, till, at length, the lord of life became pale, his flesh
dropped from his bones, on which the first man exclaimed, "Now you are
surely dead." Thus they looked at each other for ten years, at the
end of which time, when the bare bones of the lord of life were in a
decomposed state, the first man rose, exclaiming, "Now he is surely
dead." He seized Omahank-Numakshi's stick, and pulled it out of the
ground; but at the same moment the lord of life stood up, saying, "See
here, I am your father, and you are my son," and the first man called
him his father. As they were going on together, the lord of life said,
"This land is not well formed, we will make it better." At that time
the buffalo was already on the earth. The lord of life called to the
weasel, and ordered him to dive and bring up grass, which was done. He
then sent him again to fetch wood, which he brought in like manner. He
divided the grass and the wood, giving one half to the first man. This
took place at the mouth of Heart River. The lord of life then desired
the first man to make the north bank of the Missouri, while he himself
made the south-west bank, which is beautifully diversified with hills,
valleys, forests, and thickets. The man, on the contrary, made the
whole country flat, with a good deal of wood in the distance. They then
met again, and, when the lord of life had seen the work of the first
man, he shook his head and said, "You have not done this well: all is
level, so that it will be impossible to surprise buffaloes or deer, and
approach them unperceived. Men will not be able to live there. They
will see each other in the plain at too great a distance, and will be
unable to avoid each other, consequently they will destroy each other."

{363} He then took the first man to the other side of the river,
and said, "See here, I have made springs and streams in sufficient
abundance, and hills and valleys, and added all kinds of animals and
fine wood; here men will be able to live by the chase, and feed on the
flesh of those animals." They then both proceeded to the mouth of the
Natke-Passaha (Heart River), in order, according to the directions
of the lord of life, to make medicine pipes. He himself made them of
ash, lined with stone. The man, on the contrary, made his pipes of
box-alder, a soft wood. They placed these pipes together, and the lord
of life said, "This shall be the heart, the centre of the world; and
this river shall be the Heart River." Each of them had now his pipe in
his hand, and when they met any creature, the lord of life laid the
pipe down before it: on doing this to a buffalo, it said, "This is not
enough; there must be something to smoke in the pipe." And the lord of
life said, "Then do you get something to smoke." On which the buffalo
cleared a spot on the ground with his fore foot, and said, "When the
rutting time of the buffaloes approaches, come here and you will find
something to smoke." The lord of life accordingly sent at the time
appointed to fetch tobacco, but it was not yet dry and prepared; he
therefore ordered the buffalo to be called, which at once spread out
the leaves and dried them; and the lord of life smoked, and found the
tobacco very good. The bull then taught him to pull off and smoke the
flowers and the buds, for these are the best parts of the plant.

The lord of life and the first man were now resolved to create the
human race. They began their operations near the bank of the Missouri;
and, in order to promote the increase of the species, they placed the
part necessary for that purpose in the forehead; but the frog came up
out of the water, and said, "How foolish you are!" and altered the
situation of the part. "What business have you to speak?" said the
lord of life, and struck the frog upon the back with his stick, and
since that time the frog has had a humped back. God had made man, and
told him he should increase and multiply, but not live longer than a
hundred years; since, otherwise, there would not be room enough for
all. The first man now said to his father, "When buffaloes are hunted,
the skins of the animals killed must be immediately taken off to wear
as robes, the stomach must be emptied, and pemmican made of the flesh."
The lord of life, however, answered, "This would not be advisable. Men
would then quarrel and destroy each other. Let them rather take the
animals home, and tan the hides, then they will have robes for their
own use, and for sale." And it appeared that the lord of life was
always right.

The first man was once on the banks of the Missouri, when a dead
buffalo cow, in the side of which the wolves had eaten a hole, floated
down the stream. A woman was on the bank, who called to her daughter,
"Make haste, pull off your clothes, and bring the cow on shore." The
first man heard this, and brought the cow to the spot. The girl eat
some of the flesh, which the first man gave her, and became pregnant.
She was ashamed, and said to her mother, that "she could not tell how
she came into this state, as she had had no intercourse with any man,"
and her mother was {364} ashamed with her. The daughter was afterwards
delivered of a son, who grew with extraordinary rapidity, and soon
became a robust young man.[277] He was immediately the first chief of
his people--a great leader among men. The first thing he did was to
build a boat, which understood whatever he said to it. He filled it
with men, ordered it to cross the river and come back, and in this
manner he sent it over several times. The new chief was of the nation
of the Numakshi (the Mandans). A saying was then current among these
people, that on the other side of the great water, or the sea, there
lived white men, who possessed wampum shells. Bodies of fifteen or
twenty men were frequently sent thither, but they were all killed.
Hereupon the chief said, "I will send my boat thither, with eight men;
this is the right number." And the boat went, arrived at the right
place, and brought to the white men the red mouse hair (beaver hair),
which they highly valued. They were well received, feasted in the
dwellings, and materials for smoking were given them. Each received
buffalo skins filled with wampum shells, and the boat returned quickly.
The boat then went, for the second time, with eleven men, and the lord
of life accompanied it. He had dressed himself in mean apparel, and
took with him a large hollow cane. On their arrival they went into a
village, but the first man remained sitting near the boat, and dug
a deep hole, over which he seated himself. The inhabitants of the
village agreed to kill the strangers by overfeeding them, and, with
this view, gave them abundance of food. The first man, to whom the
overplus of the provisions was brought, let them drop through his cane
into the hole, and the white men were astonished at the quantity of
provisions consumed. They then agreed to kill them by smoke; but the
first man made the smoke pass through his cane, and their plan was
again defeated. They now thought of killing them by means of women, all
of whom they left at their disposal.[278] As they could not kill the
strangers either by eating, smoking, or women, they gave them as many
wampum shells as they could take in their boat, and sent them away.
When the children learnt that the boat understood what was said to it,
they ordered it to go down the river to the white people; it obeyed,
and was never afterwards seen.

The first man now said to the Numangkake that he should leave them,
and never return; that he was going to the west; but that, in case
of need, they might apply to him, and he would assist them. They
were living in a small village, on Heart River, when their enemies
surrounded them, and threatened to destroy them. In this great distress
they resolved to apply to their protector; but how were they to get to
the first man? One man proposed to send a bird to him; but birds could
not fly so far. Another thought that the eyesight must be able to reach
him; but the prairie hills were in the way. At last, a third said that
thought would undoubtedly be the best means of reaching the first man.
He wrapped himself in his robe and fell to the ground. Soon afterwards
he said, "I think!--I have thought!--I return!" He threw off his {365}
robe, and was in a profuse perspiration all over. "The first man will
quickly come," he exclaimed; and he was soon there, fell furiously on
the enemy, drove them away, and immediately vanished. Since that time
he has not been again seen.

The lord of life once told the first man, that if the Numangkake should
go over the river they would be devoured by the wolves; on which they
both crossed the river, and killed all the old wolves. They ordered the
young wolves not to devour men in future, but to confine themselves
to buffaloes, deer, and other wild animals. They threw the old wolves
into the north ocean, where they became putrid, and their hair swam
on the surface of the water, from which the white men originated. The
lord of life also told the Numangkake, that when they had boiled their
maize they should keep up only a small fire for the rest of the day;
and this they still do. When the fire would not burn, they were to take
the larger brands from below, and lay them on the top. When the lord
of life was a little below Heart River, in the spring, when the first
wild geese flew past, he told them to wait, because he would fly with
them, and assumed the form of a goose. The Indians are accustomed to
shout and halloo when they see the flocks of geese, by which they are
frightened, and thrown into confusion. So it happened on this occasion
to the lord of life, and he fell to the ground. He was carried into the
hut of the chief, who sent for the youngest woman to pluck the goose,
but it bit her, and she gave it to the oldest, who was likewise bitten;
so that the lord of life escaped. He then flew to the Manitaries. A
young woman, who refused to marry, was here whipped and beaten by him.
She went to the lower village, and complained that God had punished
her, because she would not marry. A young man, who wished to have her
for his wife, took the dress of the lord of life, as she was resolved
to marry none but him. She now desired to know whether her lover was
really what he pretended to be, and with this view placed some pointed
stakes in the ground, on which he must wound himself in the night, if
he were not of a superior nature. He came and wounded himself, on which
she fell on him, took away all his clothes and hid them, so that he
looked for a long time both for them and his weapons. When day came,
two long lines, like fishing lines, were hanging down from the sun to
the earth, and near to the place where the girl was. A voice called
to her, from above, to climb up by the lines; that the clothes were
no longer in the place where she had hidden them; it was, therefore,
the lord of life who had appeared to her under the form of the young
man. The girl took hold of the lines, and the sun seemed to come down.
Several of her relations, and other men, pulled the lines, but could
not draw the sun down, while the lord of life lay quietly in it. A very
strong man, who was able to pull up the largest trees by the roots, and
cast them from him, was not able to do anything on this occasion; the
line turned round his shoulders. "I can pull up the largest trees,"
said he, "and my strength is greater than that of all other men
united, and yet I cannot break this small line." To which the lord
of life answered, "If you reach and kill me, the human race will be
destroyed from the face of the earth."

{366} At the time that the first man had incensed the Whites by his
voracity, the latter made the water rise so high that all the land
was overflowed. On this, the first man advised the ancestors of the
Numangkake to build a wooden tower, or fort, upon an eminence, assuring
them that the water would not rise higher than that point. They
followed his advice, and built the ark, on the lower side of Heart
River, on a large scale, and a part of the nation was preserved in this
building, while the remainder perished in the waves. In remembrance of
the kind care of the first man, they placed in each of their villages a
miniature model of this ark, one of which still exists in the village
of Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush. The waters afterwards subsided, and they still
celebrate the festival of Okippe in honour of this ark, of which we
shall have to speak in the sequel.[279]

Before the first great deluge, the Numangkake lived below ground, but
a band of them (the same of which we have been speaking) took up their
abode above ground at an earlier period. They believe that there are
four stories below ground and as many above, and they now inhabit the
fourth from below. The band which first came above ground is called by
them Histoppa (those with the tattooed countenance), and these, for the
most part, perished in the great deluge. Those who lived under ground
one day perceived a light over their heads, which made them desire
to ascertain what was above. They accordingly sent up a mouse, which
looked about, returned, and reported that the land above was similar
to that which they inhabited. They then sent up a certain animal,
called by them, Nahsi, about the size of a polecat, and distinguishable
by black stripes on its face and legs. Perhaps this was the racoon,
which is not now to be found in this part of the country. This animal,
when he came back, said that it was much more pleasant above than
below. They, therefore, ordered the badger to dig a larger opening,
as the present issue was too small. After the badger had performed
his task, the black-tailed deer was ordered to go up and enlarge the
opening by means of his horns. He ran about the whole day, ate service
berries, and returned in the evening. His tail was at that time white,
but as this deer returned at sunset, and the sun went down at the very
moment when his tail only was above ground, that was ever afterwards
black.

The Numangkake now resolved to go up. The great chief, with his
medicine and his schischikué in his hand, went first. They climbed up,
one after another, by the aid of a branch of a vine; and when exactly
half their number had ascended, and a corpulent woman was halfway
up the vine, it broke, and the remainder of the nation fell to the
ground.[280] This happened in the neighbourhood of the sea-shore. Those
who had reached the surface went on till they came to the Missouri,
which they reached at White Earth River. They then proceeded up the
Missouri to Moreau's River.[281] At that time they knew nothing of
enemies. Once, when a Mandan woman was scraping a hide, a Chayenne
Indian came and killed her. The Mandans followed the traces of this
new enemy till they came to a certain river, where they all turned
{367} back with the exception of two, the husband and the brother of
the woman who was killed. These two men went on till they discovered
the enemy, killed one of them, and took his scalp with them. Before
they got back to their village they found some white clay which they
had never seen before, and took a portion of it with them. When they
came to their great chief, the first who had climbed up the vine, and
whose skull and schischikué they still preserve, as a relic, in the
medicine bag of the nation, they gave him the white clay, with which
he marked some lines on his schischikué. The name of this chief was,
at first, Mihti-Pihka (the smoke of the village), but when he ascended
to the surface of the earth he called himself the Mihti-Shi (the robe
with the beautiful hair). When he had received the clay and the scalp,
he commanded all his people to shoot buffaloes, but only bulls, and to
make shields of the thickest part of the hide, which they did. When
this was done, they asked the chief what were his next commands? To
which he replied, "Paint a drooping sunflower on this shield" (as a
sort of medicine, or amulet), on which the sister of the chief said,
"You are fools! paint a bean on it; for what is smoother than a bean to
ward off the arrows?"

The chief now introduced the establishment of the bands or unions, and
founded first that of "the foolish dogs." He made four caps of crow's
feathers, and commissioned the Mandans to make a number of similar
ones. He then gave them the war pipe and song, and exhorted them to
be always valiant and cheerful, and never to retreat before the point
of the arrow. He also gave them the strips of red cloth which hang
down behind, and added that, if they would follow his directions, they
would always be esteemed as brave and worthy men. The chief then made
two of the bent sticks covered with otter skins, and gave them the
kana-kara-kachka, and then two others adorned with raven's feathers,
which he also presented to them. The first represent the sunflower,
and the latter the maize. "These badges," said he, "you are to carry
before you when you go against the enemy; plant them in the ground, and
fight to the last man, that is to say, never abandon them." He next
founded the band of "the little foolish dogs," and assembled many young
men, whom he ordered to paint their faces of a black colour, and gave
them a song of their own, with the war whoop at the end, and said he
would call them "the blackbirds." He afterwards went to war with his
people against the Chayennes. They reached the enemy and laid all their
robes in a heap together. The chief wore a cap of lynx skin, and had
his medicine pipe on his arm. He did not join in the action, but sat
apart on the ground during the whole time that it lasted. They fought
almost the whole day, drove the enemy into their village, and were then
repulsed, which happened three or four times, and one of the Numangkake
was killed. When the chief was informed of this, he ordered them to go
to the river and bring him a young poplar with large leaves, which he
planted in the ground near to the enemy, and challenged the Chayennes
to attack him; but they answered, they would wait for his attack. As
{368} he would [not] commence the combat, the enemy shot at him, but
their arrows only grazed his arm and robe. He then held up the poplar,
which suddenly shot up to a colossal size, was thrown, by a violent
storm which arose, among the enemies, crushed many of them, and obliged
the Chayennes to retreat across the Missouri.

The Numangkake now went up the Missouri to beyond the Heart River,
where a Mandan village had long stood. An old man of their tribe was
fishing at this place, when four men appeared on the opposite bank.
On his inquiring who they were, they told him their names, and put
the same question to him, which he answered; and, having an ear of
maize with him, he fastened it to an arrow, and shot it over to the
strangers. Finding the maize very agreeable to the taste, they called
to him and said that, within four nights, a great many men would come,
for whom he would do well to prepare plenty of food. They then returned
to their camp, and gave their countrymen an account of the maize. They
had likewise tasted the pomme blanche, and several other vegetables,
but considered the maize as the best of all. The camp was accordingly
broken up, and they proceeded slowly onwards. The Numangkake expected
the strangers for four nights; they cooked and made everything ready
for their reception, but, as their visitors did not make their
appearance at the end of the fourth night, they ate the provisions
themselves. A year passed by, and the strangers did not come; the
second and the third year likewise; at length, in the spring of the
fourth year, all the surrounding hills were covered with red men. Thus,
instead of four days, four years had elapsed. The new comers crossed
the river, and built a village near the Numangkake, and the name of
Manitaries was given, _i. e._, those who came over the waters.[282]

The principal chief of each nation met, and had a conference together.
The Manitari chief asked the other whence they procured so much red
maize? To which he replied, "When we fought with our enemies, and they
killed our wives and children in the maize fields, the maize grew up,
and was for the most part red." To which the Manitari chief replied,
"that he would assist them with his people against their enemies."
Already on the following day many Chayennes came and killed a number
of women in the plantations; the united nations attacked them, killed
many during the whole day, and drove them back to a small river which
falls into the Missouri. The two allied nations now remained united,
but, being so numerous that the country did not afford them sufficient
subsistence, the Mandans said to the Manitaries, "Remove higher up the
Missouri: this whole country belongs to us. There are the rivers Little
Missouri, Yellow Stone, and Knife River, on the banks of which you can
settle, but do not go beyond the latter river, for it is only in this
case that we shall remain good friends. If you go too far we shall have
disputes, make peace and again disagree; but if you remain on this side
there will be constant friendship between us." The Manitaries removed
as proposed, but built {369} one of their villages on the other side of
Knife River, which frequently occasioned dissension between them, and
it is only within these fourteen years that permanent peace and concord
have existed between the two people.

At the time when our narrator was a young man, the Arikkaras were near
and dangerous enemies to the Mandans. They often fought with them as
well as with the Sioux. When one of the two allied nations fought
alone, it was almost always defeated, but when they were combined they
generally triumphed. The preceding long narrative throws, as I have
said, much light on the actual condition of this people, and of their
prevalent superstitious customs.

At the time of their first alliance with the Manitaries, the Mandans
are said to have inhabited eight or nine villages on the two banks of
the Missouri, on the Heart River, and higher upwards. Subsequently
a great number of the Mandans were carried off by the smallpox, and
their enemies, the Sioux, entirely destroyed their largest village,
and massacred the inhabitants. The remaining population then collected
in the two villages that still exist--Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush and
Ruhptare.[283] Previously to the devastations of the smallpox, the
Sioux were not very dangerous enemies to the Mandans, because they
lived at too great a distance from them, but the Chayennes and the
Arikkaras were their natural adversaries. I shall now proceed to treat
of the religious and superstitious practices which still prevail among
them.

These Indians are full of prejudice and superstition, and connect all
the natural phenomena with the before-mentioned silly creations of
their own imaginations. They undertake nothing without first invoking
their guardian spirit, or medicine, who mostly appears to them in a
dream. When they wish to choose their medicine or guardian spirit, they
fast for three or four days, and even longer, retire to a solitary
spot, do penance, and even sacrifice joints of their fingers; howl
and cry to the lord of life, or to the first man, beseeching him to
point out their guardian spirit. They continue in this excited state
till they dream, and the first animal or other object which appears to
them is chosen for their guardian spirit or medicine. Every man has
his guardian spirit.[284] There is, in the prairie, a large hill where
they remain motionless many days, lamenting and fasting; not far from
this hill is a cave, into which they creep at night. The choice and
adoration of their medicine are said to have been taught them by the
strange man or spirit who appeared in their villages many years ago,
and has not since been seen, and of whom mention has already been made
by the name of Ochkih-Hadda. He is said also to have taught them the
art of tattooing, and to have instituted their medicine feasts. In
all natural phenomena, which are not of daily occurrence, they see
wonders, and indications of favourable or unfavourable events. If the
falling stars are numerous, or in a certain direction, it is to them
an indication of war, or of a great mortality in the human race. They
were not willing to have their portraits painted, because they alleged
that they should soon die if their portraits came into other hands;
{370} at least they endeavoured to obtain the portrait of the painter
as an antidote. One of their chiefs never smoked out of a stone pipe,
but always used a wooden one. Mato-Topé never partook of other people's
tobacco, but always smoked by himself, with the doors shut. They do
not willingly show their medicines or amulets, which are usually kept
wrapped up in a bundle or bag, and never opened except on important
occasions. They have particular medicine pipes, or, as the English call
them, medicine stems, which are uncovered and used for smoking only on
solemn occasions. Many make such pipes according to their own taste;
such, for instance, was the pipe of Dipauch.[285] The bowl was nearly
in the form of a Turkish pipe, and was made of brownish-red clay; the
tube, which was rather short and thick, represented the lord of life
in human form, but which it required some stretch of the imagination
to discover. The nation preserves a celebrated pipe of this kind as a
sacred relic, which no stranger is permitted to see. It has been in
their possession since remote ages, and they offered to show it to
me for the value of 100 dollars.[286] The Indians cannot obtain such
pipes but at a considerable expense: many of the necessary ornaments
are not to be procured among them, such as the upper bill and the
red crown of a species of woodpecker (_Picus pileatus_, Linn.), a
bird which is not found so high up the Missouri. For the head of one
of these woodpeckers, which was brought from St. Louis, they gave
a large handsome buffalo robe, worth six or eight dollars. If a man
possesses such a pipe, he sometimes conceives the idea of adopting a
medicine son. The young man whom he is to choose appears to him in a
dream; it is, however, requisite that he should be of a good family,
or have performed some exploit. He acquaints him with his intention,
and, after having provided two similar medicine pipes, he asks his
newly-adopted son, whether he is ready to undergo the ceremony of
the pipes? The latter frequently answers in the affirmative, and the
time for the ceremony is fixed: but, if he has not yet made up his
mind, it is deferred. The adoptive father then chooses two young
men, who practise the medicine dance together, with the two pipes in
their hands. The father often dances, in the morning, on the roof of
his hut, and instructs these two young men. When the time arrives,
and the adopted son is ready for the ceremony, the father, with all
his relations, and the two young dancers, repairs to the hut of his
newly-chosen son, and brings him a present of maize, cloth, blankets,
kettles, and other valuable articles. The father takes his son by the
hand and makes him sit down, after which the company dance round him,
with the two pipes; they sing, accompanied by the drum and schischikué,
the two young dancers keeping time to the music with their pipes. When
the ceremony is over, and the presents laid in one or two heaps, the
relations of the medicine son bring horses, cloth, blankets, and other
things of value, which the two parties reciprocally divide between
them. The father then again takes his son by the hand, makes him rise
from his seat, and dresses him in new clothes from head to foot, and
likewise paints his face according to his fancy. The dress and pipe
are henceforth his property, and he is considered as a real son, who
must support and defend his father. {371} This custom exists among
most of the nations on the Missouri, and even among the Esquimaux
there is a somewhat similar usage.[287] If the adopted son and father
have not happened to meet for a long time, they make presents to each
other; the father gives the son a new dress, and the latter presents
him with a good horse. Among all the Indian nations of North America,
there is a particular class of men, who are specially engaged in all
the above-mentioned ceremonies and medicines. They are, also, the
physicians, and are called, among the Mandans, Numak-Choppenih, which
signifies medicine man.[288]

The skin of a white buffalo cow is an important article, and an eminent
medicine in the opinion of the Mandans and Manitaries. He who has
never possessed one of them is not respected. Suppose two men to be
disputing about their exploits, the one an old veteran warrior, who
has slain many enemies, the other, a young lad without experience;
the latter reproaches the other with never having possessed a white
buffalo cow hide, on which the old man droops his head, and covers his
face for shame. He who possesses such a hide generally offers it to
the lord of life, to whom he dedicates it, or, which is equivalent, to
the sun, or to the first man. He collects, perhaps, in the course of
a whole twelvemonth, various articles of value, and then hangs them
up all together on a high pole in the open prairie, generally in the
neighbourhood of the burying-place, or in the village before his hut.
Distinguished men and chiefs of eminence are for the most part poor,
because, in order to gain reputation and influence, they give away
everything of value which they possess. A large number of relatives
is one of the chief means of acquiring riches, for a young man who
wishes to distinguish himself, and to be liberal, does honour to the
whole family, who assist him to the utmost of their power. When one of
his relations has anything of value, the young man goes to the owner
to demand it, and not unfrequently takes it away without ceremony.
Sometimes he hangs his head in silence, and then something of value
is given him, a handsome dress, a horse, &c. If he wishes to gain
reputation and a claim to distinction, it is necessary that he should
make presents. All the people in the village notice very accurately
what presents are made, and the donor has a right to display all
such presents painted on his robes, and in this manner to hand down
his reputation to posterity, as has been already related. This and
military glory are, in the eyes of these men, the greatest virtues.
They dare not draw a stroke too much on their robes for the horses,
guns, &c., which they have given away, for the young men keep a most
strict account against each other, and universal ridicule would be the
immediate consequence of violating this rule. Among the distinctions of
any man, the white buffalo hide is the greatest. He who has not been
so fortunate as to kill a white buffalo himself, which is generally
the case, as these animals are very rare, purchases a hide, often at a
great distance from home, and other nations bring them hither, being
well aware of the great value attached to them by the Mandans.[289] The
hide must be that of a young cow, not above two years old, and be taken
off complete and tanned, with the horns, {372} nose, hoofs, and tail.
The value of ten to fifteen horses is given for it. A certain Mandan
gave ten horses, a gun, some kettles, and other articles, for such
a hide. The white hide of a bull or of an old cow is by no means so
valuable. The white hide of a young cow suffices for all the daughters
of a family.

They do not wear it as a robe, like the Manitaries, or, at the
utmost, the wife, or one of the daughters of the family, wears it once
at some great festival, but never a second time. The Mandans have
particular ceremonies at the dedication of the hide. As soon as they
have obtained it they engage an eminent medicine man, who must throw
it over him; he then walks round the village in the apparent direction
of the sun's course, and sings a medicine song. When the owner, after
collecting articles of value for three or four years, desires to offer
his treasure to the lord of life, or to the first man, he rolls it
up, after adding some wormwood or a head of maize, and the skin then
remains suspended on a high pole till it rots away. At the time of
my visit there was such an offering at Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush, near the
stages for the dead without the village. Sometimes, when the ceremony
of dedication is finished, the hide is cut into small strips, and the
members of the family wear parts of it tied over the head, or across
the forehead, when they are in full dress. If a Mandan kills a young
white buffalo cow, it is accounted to him as more than an exploit,
or having killed an enemy. He does not cut up the animal himself,
but employs another man, to whom he gives a horse for his trouble.
He alone who has killed such an animal is allowed to wear a narrow
strip of the skin in his ears. The whole robe is not ornamented, being
esteemed superior to any other dress, however fine. The traders have,
sometimes, sold such hides to the Indians, who gave them as many as
sixty other robes in exchange. Buffalo skins with white spots are
likewise highly valued by the Mandans; but there is a race of these
animals with very soft silky hair, which has a beautiful gold lustre
when in the sunshine: these are, likewise, highly prized, and sold
for ten or fifteen dollars, and, sometimes, for the value of a horse.
Besides the white buffalo skins which are offered in sacrifice and hung
on poles, there are, in the vicinity of the villages of the Mandans
and Manitaries, other strange figures on high poles.[290] These figures
are composed of skin, grass, and twigs, which, it seems, represent the
sun and moon, perhaps, also, the lord of life, and the first man. The
Indians resort to them when they wish to petition for anything, and
sometimes howl and lament for days and weeks together.

The Mandans have several medicine festivals, of which the Okippe, or
the penitential ceremony of the ark, is by far the most remarkable.
It is celebrated in the spring or summer, and I regret to say that I
cannot describe it as an eye-witness. I am, however, enabled to give a
circumstantial description of it, word for word, as it was communicated
to me by men initiated in the mysteries of the nation.[291]

{373} Numank-Machana, the first man, ordered the Numangkake to
celebrate this medicine feast every year.[292] When the village has
fixed the time for this festivity, they choose a man of distinction,
in whom confidence can be placed, who must put himself at the head,
and direct the solemnities. In the year 1834 Mato-Topé was chosen. He
is called Kani-Sachka. This man then causes the medicine lodge to be
prepared and cleaned before the appointed time, and wood and other
necessaries to be provided.

FIRST DAY OF THE OKIPPE.--At sunset the Kani-Sachka goes into the
lodge, and begins the fast, which continues four days. With him are
six men, who are to strike what is called the tortoise, a vessel or
sack made of parchment, and filled with water.[293] Three of the men
must strike in the direction of the river downwards, and three in the
direction upwards. They strike the tortoise during the whole night.
Before sunrise a man representing the Numank-Machana, or the first man,
arrives. He dresses himself in the medicine lodge in the following
manner: round his body he fastens a wolf's skin, on his head, raven's
feathers, in his arms he carries the medicine pipe, and in his robe a
portion of pemmican. His face is painted red, and on the small of the
back he binds a piece of wood, to which the tail of a buffalo cow is
fastened. Dressed in this manner, he goes early in the morning of the
first day of the festival, and sings on the open space in the centre.
All kinds of valuable articles, such as guns, robes, blankets, &c., are
thrown towards him, of which he afterwards takes possession,[294] while
on his part he distributes pemmican among the people. He then returns
to the medicine lodge, but is not at that time permitted to speak a
word. The most eminent men of the nation now come to the lodge, address
the first man as their uncle, and say, "Well, uncle, how did you fare
in the villages? How did you find them? Were you well received?" To
which he replies, "Very well, nephew. I have not once lowered my pipe
to the ground." By which he means to say that he has received ample
presents, and offerings of all kinds have been hung upon his pipe. He
then says, "I have seen a great many buffaloes feeding in the prairie
and drinking at the river; they are very abundant everywhere." These
were the horses; but he means to intimate that, by the medicine of
this day, the buffaloes will be attracted in great numbers. All those
who intend to submit their bodies to a penance or certain tortures, in
order to render themselves acceptable to the lord of life and the first
man, come to the medicine lodge early in the morning. Their number
is, of course, uncertain; sometimes many present themselves, at other
times only a few. They are smeared all over with white clay, with no
other covering besides their robes, with the hairy side outwards, and
drawn over their heads, so that the face is covered, and they are quite
wrapped up in them. In the medicine lodge they lay aside their robes.
On the first day of the feast they go four times, wrapped up as before
described, and dance around the ark, which stands in the centre of the
open space. The Kani-Sachka remains during all this time moaning and
leaning against the ark. All {374} this is done in the forenoon. In the
afternoon all is silent, and neither dance nor procession takes place.

SECOND DAY OF THE OKIPPE.--On the second day, early in the morning,
eight men appear, who represent buffalo bulls. They are naked, wearing
only an apron of blue and white striped woollen cloth. Their body is
painted black in front, with two red perpendicular stripes like the
facings of a military uniform, and with several white transverse
stripes looking like lace or bands. The fore arm and ankles are
alternately striped white and red. In their hands they carry a fan
of green willow twigs, and on their back a buffalo robe, the head of
which, with the long hair on the forehead, hangs over the face. To the
middle of the robe a single buffalo horn is fastened, while at the
head and loins green willow branches are appended. The eight buffalo
bulls put on this fantastic dress in the lodge, and, when this is
done, march out two abreast in an inclined posture, extending their
robes with outspread hands, and holding the willow fans upright. In
this manner they dance up to the ark, where they divide, four going
to the left and four to the right round the space. They again join
opposite the medicine lodge, and then return as before to the ark,
where they continue to dance. When they are opposite to each other
they stand upright and imitate the roaring of the buffalo. As soon as
this dance begins, the six tortoise strikers bring their instrument
from the centre of the lodge, and place it near the ark in an easterly
direction, striking it, and singing a certain song which is said to be
a prayer. The Kani-Sachka stands, with his head bowed, leaning on the
ark, directly opposite the tortoise, and moans without ceasing. He is
quite naked except an apron of buffalo skin. His whole body is bedaubed
with yellow, and on his forehead he has a wreath of bleached buffalo
hair or wool hanging over the eyes. The eight buffalo bulls form a ring
and dance round him, covering him with their robes; they dance in like
manner to the tortoise, and next go to the door of the medicine lodge,
where they make a kind of covered way with their robes, beneath which
the tortoise is conveyed into the lodge. The whole ceremony is repeated
eight times on this day, four times in the morning and four times in
the afternoon.[295]

THIRD DAY OF THE OKIPPE.--The same masks as yesterday dance on this
day twelve times, and are prohibited from either eating or drinking. A
number of other masks join them. 1. Two men, dressed like women, who
dance in this costume, keeping by the side of the eight buffalo bulls.
They wear clothes of bighorn leather, women's leggins (mitasses), the
robes having the hair outwards. Their cheeks are painted red, their
chins tattooed, and their heads adorned with glass beads, as is the
custom among the women. 2. Two other men represent a couple of swans;
they are naked, carry a swan's tail in their hand, are painted all
over white, only the nose, mouth (representing the bill), and the
lower part of the legs and feet, black. 3. A couple of rattlesnakes;
the back is painted with black transverse stripes, in imitation of
those {375} animals, the front of the body yellowish; a black line is
drawn from each eye down the cheeks, and in each hand they carry a
bunch of wormwood.[296] 4. One man represents the evil spirit; he is
conducted by two men of the village to the river, where he is dressed
and painted; his entire body is painted black, and, as soon as this is
done, he is not permitted to speak a word. They put on his head a cap,
with a black cock's-comb; he likewise wears a mask, with white wooden
rings left for the opening round the eyes. They then make for him large
teeth of cotton yarn, paint the sun upon his stomach, the crescent
upon his back, and on each joint of the arms and legs, a white circle;
they then put on a buffalo's tail, and place a small stick in his
hand, with a ball, made of skin, at the end, to which a scalp, painted
red on the under side, is fastened. The ball represents the head of
an enemy.[297] When this monster is completed, they let him loose,
and he runs, like one possessed, about the prairie, comes into the
village, gets upon the huts, one after the other, and prys into every
corner, while the inhabitants throw out to him all kinds of valuable
articles as presents. As soon as he perceives this he turns towards
the sun, and intimates to it, by signs, how well he is treated, and
that it is foolish of it (the sun) to keep at so great a distance. He
goes about and looks on the people's heads for vermin, and, if he finds
any, he pretends to be very happy, and runs about with great rapidity.
The Indians are very much afraid of the devil, for which reason this
part cannot be assigned to anybody; but he who wishes to perform it
must offer himself. My informant added that this medicine feast was
once celebrated on the banks of Heart River, where the Mandans then
resided, and the man who had undertaken this part was conducted into
the river. When his clothes were taken off, in order to paint and dress
him, he appeared very uneasy, and required to be let loose; and when
this was done he seemed as one possessed by the evil spirit, and ran,
with the velocity of an arrow, on the hills and about the plain. His
two attendants were alarmed, and pursued him to the village, but the
new demon darted past them, leaped over the high fence of the village,
jumped down into the huts, and again made his egress, and then ran
to the river; this now convinced them that he was possessed. It cost
the inhabitants much trouble to catch and wash him, but he trembled
like an aspen leaf, wrapped himself in his robe, and continued in
this condition for the remainder of his life without ever speaking a
word.[298]

While the devil is walking about, the other masks continue dancing,
and {376} act in conformity with their parts, endeavouring to imitate
the natural attitudes of the animals they represent. 5. Two men,
representing white-headed eagles, are painted of a dark brown colour;
the head, neck, fore arm and hands, and the lower part of the legs,
are white; they carry a stick in their hands, and their business is to
pursue the antelopes. 6. Are two beavers; they wear the robe with the
hairy side outwards, have a piece of parchment, resembling a beaver's
tail, fastened to their girdle, and are painted brown.[299] 7. Are
two birds of prey; their shoulders are blue, the breast yellowish and
spotted; they have feathers on their heads, and the feet of birds
of prey in their hands. 8. Are two or four bears (mato), wrapped in
bears' skins, with the head and claws, which cover their head and
their whole body; they generally walk in a stooping attitude about
the dancers, and growl like those animals. 9. Two men represent the
dried meat, which is cut in small strips. They wear a cap of white
hare skin; their body is painted with zig-zag stripes; round the waist
they have a girdle of green boughs, and they dance with the others.
10. Forty or fifty Indians of different ages perform the part of
antelopes; they are painted red on the back, the rest of the body and
limbs are white, the nose and mouth black; they carry small sticks,
and run about very swiftly. 11. Two men personate the night; they are
naked, painted quite black, with white stars; on their backs they have
the setting moon, and on their breast the rising sun; they are not
allowed to sit, during the whole day, till the sun has set: they then
sit down and must not rise till the next morning.[300] 12. Are one or
two wolves; they are painted white, wear a wolf's skin, and pursue
the antelopes, which fly before them: if they catch one, the bears
come and take it from them and devour it. All these animals imitate
the originals to the best of their power. 13. Two prairie wolves; the
tops of their heads are painted white, their faces yellowish-brown;
they wear dry herbs in their hair, and carry in their hands a stick,
painted with reddish-brown stripes, and run in the prairie before the
other animals when they leave the village. Almost all these animals are
said to have different songs, with words, which the uninitiated do not
understand; they sometimes practise these songs for a whole summer, and
are frequently obliged to pay a high price for instruction. Originally
there were only ten masks at this festival. The white-headed eagles,
the beavers, and the prairie wolves, are a modern addition, and no part
of the true ancient observances of it. When all these animals come
together they fight with each other, and perform all sorts of antics.
Every animal acts according to its natural character; the beavers
strike with their tails, making a loud clapping noise; the buffaloes
roll and wallow in the sand; the bears strike with their paws, &c.

During all these masquerade dances, the penitents have remained
three entire days in the medicine lodge, where they have fasted and
thirsted, sitting perfectly still and quiet. On the afternoon of that
day, the persons of the ten masks also meet in the medicine lodge, and
all together then leave this place. The penitents lie down on their
bellies, in a circle round the ark, at some distance from it; the masks
dance among them and over them, to the sound of {377} the schischikué.

Some already begin to suffer the tortures: they give a gun, a blanket,
or some other article of value, to an eminent person, to inflict the
tortures on them. During this time the Kani-Sachka has been moaning,
and leaning on the ark. The tortures of the penitents now begin. In
many of them strips of skin and flesh are cut from the breast, or the
arms, and on the back, but in such a manner that they remain fast at
both ends. A strap is then passed under them, and the sufferers are
thrown over the declivity of the bank, where they remain suspended in
the air; others have a strap drawn through the wound, to which the
head of a buffalo is fastened, and they are obliged to drag this heavy
weight about; others have themselves suspended by the muscles of the
back; others have joints of their fingers cut off; others, again, are
lifted up by the flesh, which is cut across the stomach, or have some
heavy body suspended to the muscles, which have been cut and loosened,
and other similar tortures. Those who have been tortured on this day
return directly to their huts; but those who can bear to fast longer do
not submit themselves to the torture till the fourth day.

FOURTH DAY OF THE OKIPPE.--All those who have endured fasting for
four days are now assembled in the medicine lodge. Such as feel
themselves faint beg that the dancing may begin early. Accordingly, the
masquerade, and the dances performed yesterday, begin at daybreak. They
dance on this day sixteen times--eight times in the morning, and eight
times in the afternoon. The candidates for the torture are out about
two o'clock in the afternoon; and when they have suffered to the utmost
of their power, a large circle is formed; two men, who have no part
in the festival, take one of the penitents between them, hold him by
the hand, and the whole circle moves round with the greatest rapidity.
The Kani-Sachka is likewise treated in this manner. The famished and
tortured penitents, for the most part, soon fall down, and many faint
away, but no regard is paid to this; they are dragged and pulled about
as long as they can possibly bear it; they are then let loose, and
remain stretched on the ground as if dead. The eight buffalo bulls now
come forward to execute their last dance. Meantime, Numank-Machana (the
first man) stands on one side of the place, and invites the inhabitants
to assemble. The men come on foot and on horseback, with their bows and
arrows: the arrows are adorned with green leaves at the wooden points;
and, when the eight buffaloes have approached, dancing, the first
man, and been repulsed by him, they are shot at from all sides, fall,
roll on the ground, and then lie still as if dead. The first man then
invites the inhabitants to take the flesh of the buffaloes. The latter,
whose robes have already fallen off, rise, and retire into the medicine
lodge. Then the dancers divide into two parties, extend their arms
and legs, strike themselves on the stomach, exclaiming that they feel
themselves strong; some, that they will kill enemies; others, that they
will slay many buffaloes, &c. They then retire, take food, and rest
themselves, and the festival is concluded.

The wounds that have been inflicted on this occasion are now healed,
but they remain visible {378} during the whole life, like thick swollen
weals.[301] This is to be observed in a much higher degree among the
Manitaries than among the Mandans; the former seem to submit to much
more severe tortures. The buffalo skulls, which these Indians have
dragged about with much pain, are preserved in their huts, where they
are everywhere to be seen, to be handed down from the father to the
children. Many such heads are looked upon by them as medicine; they are
kept in the huts, and sometimes the Indians stroke them over the nose,
and set food before them. In general, the buffalo is a medicine animal,
and more or less sacred.

Another very remarkable medicine festival is that for attracting the
herds of buffaloes, which is usually celebrated in the autumn, or
winter. I shall describe this festival, as an eye-witness among the
Manitaries, where it is observed precisely in the same manner as among
the Mandans. At this festival they leave their wives to the older men,
and individual Indians do the same on certain occasions, when they
desire to ask good wishes for the attainment of some object they have
in view. A man, in such a case, goes, with his pipe, and accompanied
by his wife, who wears no clothes except her buffalo robe, to another
hut. The wife carries a dish of boiled maize, which she sets down
before a third person, and the man does the same with his pipe. The
woman then passes the palm of her hand down the whole arm of the person
favoured in this manner, takes him by the hand, and he must follow her
to a retired spot, generally to the forest surrounding the huts in the
winter time; after which she returns and repeats the same process,
often with eight or ten men. As soon as the man so favoured has resumed
his seat, the person who asks his good wishes presents his pipe to
him that he may smoke; whereupon he expresses his best wishes for the
success of the undertaking or project in hand. By way of returning
thanks, his arm is again stroked.[302]

A third medicine feast is that described by Say, by the name of the
corn dance of the Manitaries. He is pretty correct in his account of
it, and it is used as well among the Mandans as the Manitaries. It is
a consecration of the grain to be sown, and is called the corn dance
feast of the women.[303] The old woman who never dies sends, in the
spring, the water-fowl, swans, geese, and ducks, as symbols of the
kinds of grain cultivated by the Indians. The wild goose signifies
maize; the swan, the gourd; and the duck, beans. It is the old woman
that causes these plants to grow, and, therefore, she sends these
birds as her signs and representatives. It is very seldom that eleven
wild geese are found together in the spring; but, if it happens, this
is a sign that the crop of maize will be remarkably fine. The Indians
keep a large quantity of dried flesh in readiness for the time in the
spring when the birds arrive, that they may immediately celebrate the
corn feast of the women. They hang the meat, before the village, on
long stages made of poles, three or four rows, one above another, and
this, with various articles of value, is considered as an offering to
the old woman. The elderly females, as representatives of the old woman
who never dies, assemble on a certain day about the stages, carrying
a stick in their hands, to one {379} end of which a head of maize is
fastened. Sitting down in a circle, they plant their sticks in the
ground before them, and then dance round the stages. Some old men
beat the drum, and rattle the schischikué. The maize is not wetted or
sprinkled, as many believe, but, on the contrary, it is supposed that
such a practice would be injurious. While the old women are performing
these ceremonies, the younger ones come and put some dry pulverized
meat into their mouths, for which each of them receives, in return, a
grain of the consecrated maize, which she eats. Three or four grains
are put into their dish, and are afterwards carefully mixed with the
seed to be sown, in order to make it thrive and yield an abundant crop.
The dried flesh on the stages is the perquisite of the aged females,
as the representatives of the old woman who never dies. During the
ceremony, it is not unusual for some men of the band of dogs to come
and pull a large piece of flesh from the poles and carry it off. As
members of this band, and being men of distinction, no opposition can
be offered.

A similar corn feast is repeated in the autumn, but at that season it
is held for the purpose of attracting the herds of buffaloes, and of
obtaining a large supply of meat. Each woman then has not a stick with
a head of maize, as in the former instance, but a whole plant of that
grain, pulled up by the roots. They designate the maize as well as the
birds, which are the symbols of the fruits of the earth, by the name
of the old woman who never dies, and call upon them in the autumn,
saying--"Mother, have pity on us; do not send the severe cold too soon,
so that we may have a sufficient supply of meat; do not permit all the
game to go away, so that we may have something for the winter."

In autumn, when the birds emigrate to the south, or, as the Indians
express it, return to the old woman, they believe that they take with
them the presents--especially the dried flesh--that were hung up at
the entrance of the village, for the giver and protectress of the
crop. They further imagine that the old woman partakes of the flesh.
Some poor females among these Indians, who are not able to offer flesh
or any valuable gift, take a piece of parchment, in which they wrap
the foot of a buffalo, and suspend it to one of the poles as their
offering. The birds on their return, go to the old woman, each bringing
something from the Indians; but, towards the end, one approaches, and
says--"I have very little to give you, for I have received only a very
mean gift." To this, the old woman, on receiving the buffalo's foot
from the poor women, or widows, says--"This is just what I love; this
poor offering is more dear to me than all the other presents, however
costly." Upon this she boils a piece of the foot with some maize, and
eats it with much satisfaction.

The old woman who never dies has very extensive plantations of maize,
the keepers of which are the great stag and the white-tailed stag. She
has, likewise, many blackbirds, which help to guard her property. When
she intends to feed these keepers, she summons them, and they fall with
avidity upon the maize fields. As these plantations are very large,
she requires many {380} labourers, and the mouse, the mole, and the
before-mentioned stags, perform the work. The birds, which fly from the
sea-shore in the spring, represent the old woman, who then travels to
the north to visit "the old man who never dies," and who always resides
in that quarter. She does not, however, stop there long, but generally
returns in three or four days. In former times, the old woman's hut was
near the little Missouri, where the Indians often went to visit her.
One day, twelve Manitaries came to her, and she set before them a pot
of maize, which was so small, that it was not sufficient to satisfy
even one; but she invited them to eat, and, as soon as the pot was
empty, it was instantly refilled, and all the twelve men had enough.
This occurred several times while the old woman resided in that spot.

Serpents, especially the rattlesnakes, are in a greater or less degree
"medicine" for these people, who kill them, and cut off the rattles,
which they regard as an effectual remedy in many diseases.[304] They
chew one of the joints, and wet various parts of the body of the
patient with the saliva. They likewise believe in the existence of
a colossal medicine serpent, which lives in a lake three or four
days' journey from this place, and to which they make offerings. The
following is their tradition of this monster:--Two young men were
strolling along the bank of the river, and observed a cavern, through
which curiosity led them to go. On reaching the further end, they were
surprised at beholding a picturesque country, wholly unknown to them,
where numerous herds of buffaloes were grazing. Suddenly, however, an
immense giant stood before them, who demanded--"Who are you, you little
people? I am afraid if I were to lay hold of you, I should crush you!"
He then lifted them in his hands very carefully, and carried them into
the village, which was inhabited by giants like himself. Accompanied by
the two Mandans, they went out to hunt buffaloes. The giants killed the
buffaloes by throwing stones, but the Mandans destroyed many with their
arrows, which greatly delighted the giants. At that time the giants
were at war with the eagles, which were very numerous, and which they
slew by flinging stones. The Mandans, however, shot them with arrows,
so that they speedily procured a large quantity of eagles' feathers.
They then took leave of the giants, and were permitted to depart with
all their valuable feathers. On their return they found the cave
blocked up by a colossal serpent. At first they were at a loss how to
make a passage, but they soon collected a large pile of wood and burnt
the monster. One of them tasted the roasted flesh of the serpent, and,
finding it palatable, partook of more. They proceeded on their way,
when the head of the Mandan who had tasted the serpent's flesh began
to swell prodigiously, and an intolerable itching came to his face. He
begged his friend not to leave him, but to take him home. On the second
day he continued to swell, increased in length, felt an irritation all
over, and was soon afterwards transformed into a serpent, upon which
he begged his companion to take him to the Missouri, which the latter
accomplished in three days. As soon as the serpent reached the water,
he dived, but speedily rose to the surface, and said, "There are many
like me below, but {381} they hate me, therefore carry me to the long
water, three days' journey from the Missouri." This, too, was done,
but the serpent not liking his new abode, his comrade was obliged to
carry him to a second lake, called Histoppa-Numangka (the place of the
tattooed countenance), when the serpent was satisfied, and resolved
to remain. He commissioned the young man to bring him four things,
viz. a white wolf, a polecat, some pounded maize, and eagles' tails:
after this he was to go to war four times, and kill an enemy in each
combat. All this accordingly took place. The serpent then added that
he would always remain in this lake, never die, be medicine, and, when
the Mandans desired anything, they might come hither, do penance, or
make offerings, that is to say, hang robes, eagles' tails, and other
articles of value, on poles on the banks of the lake, which the Indians
sometimes do even to this day.

Another curiosity of a similar nature is the Medicine Stone, which
is mentioned by Lewis and Clarke, and which the Manitaries likewise
reverence.[305] This stone is between two and three days' journey
from the villages on Cannon-ball River, and about 100 paces from its
banks. I was assured that it was on a tolerably high hill, and in the
form of a flat slab, probably of sand-stone. The stone is described as
being marked with impressions of the footsteps of men, and animals of
various descriptions, also of sledges with dogs. The Indians use this
stone as an oracle, and make offerings of value to it, such as kettles,
blankets, cloth, guns, knives, hatchets, medicine pipes, &c., which are
found deposited close to it. The war parties of both nations, when they
take the field, generally go to this place, and consult the oracle as
to the issue of their enterprise. Lamenting and howling, they approach
the hill, smoke their medicine pipes, and pass the night near the spot.
On the following morning they copy the figures on the stone upon a
piece of parchment or skin, which they take to the village, where the
old men give the interpretations. New figures are undoubtedly drawn
from time to time on this stone, near to which the celebrated ark, in
which part of the nation was saved in the great deluge, formerly stood.

The Mandans have many other medicine establishments in the vicinity
of their villages, all of which are dedicated to the superior
powers. Mr. Bodmer has made very accurate drawings of those near
Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush, one of which consists of four poles placed in the
form of a square; the two foremost have a heap of earth and green turf
thrown up round them, and four buffalo skulls laid in a line between
them, while twenty-six human skulls are placed in a row from one of the
stakes at the back to the other; some of these skulls are painted with
a red stripe. Behind the whole a couple of knives are stuck into the
ground, and a bundle of twigs is fastened at the top of the poles with
a kind of comb, or the teeth of a rake, painted red.[306] The Indians
repair to such places when they desire to make offerings or put up
petitions; they howl, lament, and make loud entreaties, often for many
days together, to the lord of life, which the French Canadians call
weeping, though no tears are shed. A similar medicine establishment is
represented,[307] where a couple of human figures, very clumsily made
of skins, {382} were fixed upon poles, representing, as we were told,
the sun and moon, probably the lord of life and the old woman who never
dies. Wormwood, of which they generally fasten a bunch to the poles, is
a sacred medicine herb, to which they ascribe various effects.

Dreams, as I have before said, afford the usual motives for such
actions, and for the penances which they impose upon themselves, and
they believe all that appears in their dreams to be true. They were
not yet acquainted with fire-arms, when one of the Indians dreamt of a
weapon with which they could kill their enemies at a great distance,
and soon afterwards the white men brought them the first gun. In the
same manner they dreamt of horses before they obtained any. Even the
Whites who live among them are infected with this belief in dreams, and
other superstitions. They frequently promise, on undertaking anything,
the joint of a finger, which they cut off at once, and keep in a
handful of wormwood; this I myself saw among the Blackfeet, where, at
that time, it was a sign of mourning. It is also done at the time of
the Okippe in May and June. Almost all the Mandans and Manitaries have
lost one or two joints of the fingers, and several of them more. There
are numerous superstitious ideas and prejudices among these Indians.
Thus, they believe that a person to whom they wish ill must die, if
they make a figure of wood or clay, substituting for the heart, a
needle, an awl, or a porcupine quill, and bury the image at the foot of
one of their medicine poles. When a child is born, the father must not
bridle a horse, that is to say, he is not to fasten the halter to the
lower jaw, otherwise the child would die in convulsions. If the wife
be pregnant, this circumstance is often the cause of much ill fortune
to the husband, and he is frequently unsuccessful in hunting. If an
Indian, in such cases, wounds a buffalo, without being able to kill it
quickly, he endeavours to carry the heart of a buffalo home, and makes
his wife discharge an arrow at it; he then again feels confidence in
his weapons, that they will speedily kill. The Indians affirm that a
pregnant woman is very lucky at a game called billiards. Many consider
it a bad omen when a woman, while several Mandans are smoking together,
passes between them. If a woman is lying on the ground between the
men who are smoking, a piece of wood is laid across her, to serve as
a communication between the men. The strongest man now living among
the Mandans, who has been the victor in several wrestling matches with
the Whites, always takes hold of his pipe by the head, for, were he
to touch it in another part, the blood would suddenly rush from his
nostrils. As soon as he bleeds in this manner, he instantly empties his
pipe, and throws the contents into the fire, where it explodes like
gunpowder, and the bleeding immediately stops. Nobody, they say, can
touch this man's face, without at once bleeding at the nose and mouth.
A certain Indian affirms that, whenever another offers him a pipe to
smoke, out of civility, he immediately has his mouth full of worms,
handfuls of which he throws into the fire. The medicine of another man
consists in making a snow-ball, which he rolls a long time between
his hands, so that it at length becomes hard, and is converted into
a white stone, which, when {383} struck, emits fire. Many persons,
even Whites, pretended they had seen this, and it is utterly useless
to attempt convincing them to the contrary. The same man pretends
that, during a dance, he plucked white feathers from a certain small
bird, which he rolled between his hands, and formed of them, in a
short time, a similar white stone. Sometimes an Indian takes it into
his head to make his gun medicine, or to consecrate it, which he does
not dare afterwards to part with. With this view he generally makes
a yearly feast in the spring. The crier (kettle-tender, or marmiton)
must invite a certain number of guests, and receive an equal number
of small sticks, which he delivers to them, as a sign of their being
invited; nay, now, European playing cards are actually sent round for
this purpose. The guests appear, lay their guns aside, and take their
places, on which the drum and schischikué go round, and every guest
sings, and plays the drum and rattle. While this music is going on,
they eat the food which has been dressed, nor are they allowed to
leave any of it. The host then takes his gun, cuts a piece of flesh,
and with it rubs the barrel, and flings the meat into the fire; this is
repeated thrice. He then takes up some of the water in which the meat
was boiled, rubs the whole length of the barrel with it, pours the rest
of the broth into the fire; and, lastly, takes fat, with which he rubs
the whole of his gun, and then throws the remainder into the fire.

A great many Mandans and Manitaries believe that they have wild animals
in their body; one, for instance, affirmed he had a buffalo calf, the
kicking of which he often felt; others said they had tortoises, frogs,
lizards, birds, and so forth. Among the Manitaries we saw medicine
dances of the women, where one pretended that she had a head of maize
in her body, which she cast out by dancing, and then ate, after it had
been mixed with wormwood. Another discharged blood, but of this we
shall speak in the sequel. Similar feats are seen among the Mandans
also. They likewise relate a number of foolish stories of miraculous
and supernatural events. Thus, a girl refused to marry, and had no
intercourse with the other sex. One night, while she was asleep, a
man lay down by her side, on which she awoke, and saw him go away in
a white buffalo robe. As he returned on the two succeeding nights,
she resolved to mark him, and stained her hand with red. He appeared,
and she gave him a blow, with her hand, on his back, not being able
to hold him. On the following day she examined all the robes in the
whole village, but could not find the mark of her hand, till at length
she discovered it on the back of a large white dog. Some months after,
as the Indians are fully persuaded, she was delivered of seven young
dogs. The people consider owls as medicine birds, and pretend to hold
conversations with them, and to understand their attitudes and voices;
often, indeed, they keep these animals alive in their huts, and look
upon them as soothsayers. I shall, subsequently, have occasion to speak
of the manner in which they catch all kinds of birds of prey, which
feed on the flesh of dead animals, particularly eagles, which they
sometimes preserve alive. They frequently look upon them as medicine.

{384} Many instruments used by the Whites, especially mathematical,
are a great medicine, or charm, in their eyes, because they do not
comprehend the use of them. Thus, the Indian women were frequently
embarrassed when we looked at them through a telescope, because they
believed that we had the power of penetrating their inmost thoughts,
and of discovering their past and future actions.

The division of time, especially that of the year into months, is
pretty conformable to nature; they count the years by winters, and
say so many winters have passed since such an event. They are able to
reckon the winters either by numbers, or on their fingers, for their
numerals are very complete.

  1. The month of the seven cold days, answering to our January.

  2. The pairing month--February.

  3. The month of weak eyes--March.

  4. The month of game. Some call it the month of the wild geese.
    It is likewise often called the month of the breaking-up of the
    ice--April.

  5. The month in which maize is sown, or the month of
    flowers--May.

  6. The month of ripe service berries.

  7. The month of ripe cherries.

  8. The month of ripe plums.

  9. The month of ripe maize.

  10. The month of the falling leaves.

  11. The month in which the rivers freeze.

  12. The month of slight frost.[308]

Here and there other names are given to the months, but the above are
the most common.

The chief occupations of the Indians, besides adorning and painting
their persons, looking in the glass, smoking, eating, and sleeping,
are the chase and war, and these fill up a great part of their time.
The principal beast of chase is the buffalo, or, rather, the buffalo
cow. The men generally go hunting in a body, on horseback, in order
to be the more secure against a superior force of their enemies. The
equipments of their horses are much like those of the Blackfeet, and
their saddle resembles the Hungarian; though, now, they sometimes
obtain saddles from the Whites, which they line and ornament with red
and blue cloth. In riding, they never leave hold of their whip, the
handle of which is made of wood, and not of elk's horn, as among the
more western nations. They never wear spurs. In the summer time, if the
herds of buffaloes are dispersed to great distances in the prairie,
the chase, of course, requires more time and exertion; but in winter,
when they approach the Missouri, and seek shelter in the woods, a great
number are {385} often killed in a short time.[309] On these hunting
excursions the Indians often spend eight or ten days; generally they
return on foot, while the horses are laden with the spoil.[310] The
buffaloes are usually shot with arrows, the hunters riding within ten
or twelve paces of them. If it is very cold, and the buffaloes keep at
a distance in the prairie (which happened in the winter of 1833-34),
they hunt but little, and would rather suffer hunger, or live only on
maize and beans, than use any exertion; and when, towards spring, many
drowned buffaloes float down the river with the ice, the Indians swim
or leap with great dexterity over the flakes of ice, draw the animals
to land, and eat the half putrid flesh, without manifesting any signs
of disgust. It is remarkable how instantly their famished dogs know
and take advantage of the hunting excursions of their masters. When
the horses return laden with the spoils of the chase, the children in
the village utter a cry of joy, of which the dogs seem perfectly to
understand the import, for they simultaneously set up a loud howl,
run towards the prairie, the scene of the chase, and partake, with
their relations, the wolves, of what the hunters have left behind.
When a hunter has killed an animal, he generally eats the liver, the
kidneys, and the marrow of the large thigh bones, raw. If an Indian has
procured some game he usually shares it with others. The entrails and
skin always belong to the person who shot the animal. If an eminent
man, who has performed some exploit, comes up when the animal has
been just killed, and demands the tongue, or some other good part, it
cannot be refused him. Dogs are not employed in hunting by the Mandans
and Manitaries. They shoot deer and elks in the forests, antelopes
and bighorns in the prairies, the Black Hills, and the neighbouring
mountains. They make parks, as they are called, to catch antelopes,
but not buffaloes. Brackenridge says, that the Indians drive the
antelopes into the water and kill them with clubs;[311] but this can
only have happened in isolated places when some accident gave them the
opportunity. The Manitaries make these cabri parks more frequently
than the Mandans. They choose a valley, between two hills, which ends
in a steep declivity. On the summit of the hills, two converging
lines, one or two miles in length, are marked out with brushwood.
Below the declivity they erect a kind of fence, fifteen or twenty
paces in length, composed of poles, covered and filled up with hay and
brushwood. A number of horsemen then drive the cabris between the ends
of the lines marked out by the brushwood, which are very distant from
each other, and ride rapidly towards them. The terrified animals hasten
down the hollow, and at length leap into the enclosure, where they are
killed with clubs, or taken alive.[312] There are not many bears in
this country; and the Indians are not fond of hunting them, because
it is often dangerous, and the flesh, when roasted, is not very good.
Brackenridge is mistaken when he says, that these Indians always shout
before they enter the forest, in order to frighten the bears.[313] If
they did so they would, at the same time, frighten all other kinds of
animals, and we see at once, from this statement, that that traveller
was no sportsman.

{386} The wolf and the fox are sometimes shot with a gun, as well as
the white hare, in the winter time, or they are caught in traps. They
set for the wolves very strong traps. The prairie wolf is not easily
caught, being very cautious. Foxes are caught in small traps, which are
covered with brushwood and buffaloes' skulls, to conceal them. Many
such traps are seen everywhere in the prairies, which are surrounded
with small stakes, that the animals may not enter them sideways.
Beavers are now caught, in great numbers, in iron traps, which they
procure from the Whites. Small animals, such as the ermine, are caught
with horse-hair springes, set before their burrows. The manner in which
birds of prey are caught is said to be very remarkable. The birdcatcher
lies down at full length in a narrow pit made on purpose, and exactly
large enough to hold him. As soon as he has lain down, the pit is
covered with brushwood and hay, pieces of meat are laid upon it, and a
crow, or some such bird, fastened to it. The eagle, or other bird of
prey, is said to descend, and to sit down, in order to eat, on which
the birdcatcher seizes it by the legs. I would not believe this had not
men worthy of credit given me their word for it. In this manner they
catch the eagle, called, by the English, the war-eagle, and the golden
eagle (_Aquila chrysaetos_), the Quiliou, or _oiseau de medicine_, of
the Canadians, which I was not so fortunate as to meet with, and which
they highly value, as I have already stated.[314]

Next to the chase, war is the chief employment of the Indians, and
military glory the highest object of their ambition. It is well known
that Indian bravery is very different from that of the Whites; for
wilfully to expose themselves to the enemy's fire would, in their
eyes, not be bravery, but folly. Cunning and stratagem give them the
advantage over the enemy; their strength lies in concealing their
march, and surprises at daybreak. He who kills many enemies without
sustaining any loss is the best warrior.

When a young man desires to establish his reputation in the field, he
fasts for four or seven days, as long as his strength permits him, goes
alone to the hills, complains and cries to the lord of life, calls
incessantly to the higher powers for their aid, and only goes home,
sometimes, in the evening, to sleep. A dream suggests his medicine to
him. If the lord of life makes him dream of a piece of cherry-tree
wood, or of an animal, it is a good omen. The young men who take the
field with him have then confidence in his medicine. If he can perform
an exploit his reputation is established. But whatever exploits he may
perform, he acquires no respect if he does not make valuable presents;
and they say of him, "He has indeed performed many exploits, but yet
he is as much to be pitied as those whom he has killed." A man may
have performed many exploits, and yet not be allowed to wear tufts of
hair on his clothes, unless he carries a medicine pipe, and has been
the leader of a war party. When a young man, who has never performed
an exploit, is the first to kill an enemy on a warlike expedition, he
paints a spiral line round his arm, of whatever colour he pleases,
and he may then wear a whole wolf's tail at the ankle or heel of one
foot. If he has first killed and touched the {387} enemy he paints
a line running obliquely round the arms and another crossing it in
the opposite direction, with three transverse stripes. On killing
the second enemy he paints his left leg (that is, the leggin) of a
reddish-brown. If he kills the second enemy before another is killed
by his comrades, he may wear two entire wolves' tails at his heels.
On his third exploit he paints two longitudinal stripes on his arms,
and three transverse stripes. This is the exploit that is esteemed the
highest; after the third exploit no more marks are made. If he kills an
enemy after others of the party have done the same, he may wear on his
heel one wolf's tail, the tip of which is cut off. In every numerous
war party there are four leaders (partisans, karokkanakah), sometimes,
seven, but only four are reckoned as the real partisans; the others are
called bad partisans (karokkanakah-chakohosch, literally, _partisans
galeux_).[315] All partisans carry on their backs a medicine pipe in a
case, which other warriors dare not have. To become a chief (Numakschi)
a man must have been a partisan, and then kill an enemy when he is
not a partisan. If he follows another partisan for the second time,
he must have first discovered the enemy, have killed one, and then
possessed the hide of a white buffalo cow complete, with the horns, to
pretend to the title of chief (Numakschi). Dipauch, who related these
particulars, had himself done all these, and was an eminent man among
his people, but had never assumed that title. He had given five horses
for his white buffalo hide. All the warriors wear small war pipes round
their necks, which are often very elegantly ornamented with porcupine
quills.[316]

As soon as they advance to attack the enemy every one sounds his pipe,
and all together utter the war whoop, a shrill cry, which they render
tremulous by repeatedly and suddenly striking the mouth with the hand.
Those who fast and dream, in order to perform an exploit, are entitled
to wear a wolf's skin. A warrior has a right to wear as many eagles'
feathers as he has performed exploits. All Indians, on their military
expeditions, erect, in the evening, a sort of fort, in which they
are, in some measure, secure against a sudden attack. In Major Long's
expedition to the Rocky Mountains, it is stated, that they often make
_caches_ (hiding-places) in these forts; but we did not observe any
such on the Missouri.[317] The Indians, on their expeditions, always
set a watch by night as soon as they are near the enemy, and often
send out scouts to considerable distances. At such a post the Indians
are very vigilant and active; after an engagement they do not bury the
dead, but, if they have not time to carry them away, leave them on
the spot where they fell. The scalps, called, by the Canadians, _les
chevelures_, are often preserved for a long time stretched upon small
hoops, and the hair is afterwards used as an ornament to the dress of
the men. The skin of the scalp is generally painted red. The Mandans,
Manitaries, and Crows, never torture their prisoners like the Pawnees
and the eastern nations. When a prisoner has arrived at the village,
and eaten maize, he is considered as one of their own nation, and no
person ever thinks of molesting him. Often, however, the women hasten
out to meet {388} the prisoners ere they reach the village, and kill
them; this is especially an act of revenge for their husbands or sons
who may have fallen in the battle.

When a young man desires to become a leader, or partisan, he first
gains, by gifts, the favour of the other young men, and then dedicates
a medicine pipe, which is a plain, unornamented tube. This ceremony is
accomplished by a four days' fast, and supplications for assistance
to the lord of life, the first man, &c. &c., and other supernatural
beings. He then addresses the young men, and calls upon them to give
him their support in his undertakings. If a sufficient number testify
their readiness to accompany him in a warlike expedition, and such an
expedition is determined upon, they dance and feast in the medicine
lodge for several successive nights, from whence, too, they generally
march off by night.

The women never accompany these expeditions. On setting out the men
are badly clothed, and not painted. They do not depart in a body,
but, for the most part, singly, or in small detached parties. At a
certain distance from the village they halt upon an isolated hill, open
their medicine bags, and, after the men have sat down in a circle,
the partisan produces his medicine pipe, which all present smoke; the
person who smokes last, then spreads his medicines on the ground, or
hangs them up, and from them foretells the fate of the expedition. The
Indians manifest much gravity and decorum on solemn occasions like
these.

When the warriors return from their expedition, the scalps are carried
on in advance, on high poles: if they have performed any exploits,
they paint their faces black; very frequently the whole body is thus
disfigured. The women and children go out to meet them, and they enter
the village performing the scalp dance. This dance is then repeated
four successive nights in the medicine lodge, and is subsequently
danced in the open space, in the centre of the village. If the campaign
took place in the spring, it is danced, at intervals, till the fall
of the leaf in autumn; if in the autumn, it is danced till spring,
but should any of the nation be killed in the interim all festivities
immediately cease. In the scalp dance the Indians paint themselves in
various ways, form a semicircle, advance, and retreat amid the din of
singing, the beating of the drum and schischikué. The wives of those
men who have obtained the scalps carry them on long rods.[318]

All the distinguished deeds performed by a war party are placed to the
account of the partisan. All the scalps that are taken belong to him,
and also the horses that they have captured. He who has killed an enemy
is a brave man, and reckons one exploit; but the partisan rises the
highest on that account, even though he had not seen any of the enemies
who have been slain. When he returns home, the old men and women meet,
and sing the scalp song, on which he must make them all presents of
value. He gives away all the captured horses, and valuable articles,
and is afterwards a poor man, but his reputation is great. Successful
partisans afterwards become chiefs, and are highly respected by their
nation. The Indian youths go to war when they are only fourteen or
fifteen years of age. Sometimes they make excursions on horseback in
the winter.

{389} The Mandans and Manitaries make excursions as far as the Rocky
Mountains, against their enemies, the Blackfeet, and against the
Chippeways, to the country of Pembina.[319] Their other enemies are the
Sioux, the Arikkaras, the Assiniboins, and the Chayennes (spelt, by
the English, Shiennes). They are at peace with the Crows.

The weapons of the Mandans and Manitaries are, first, the bow and
arrow. The bows are made of elm or ash, there being no other suitable
kinds of wood in their country. In form and size they resemble those
of the other nations; the string is made of the sinews of animals
twisted. They are frequently ornamented. A piece of red cloth, four
or five inches long, is wound round each end of the bow, and adorned
with glass beads, dyed porcupine quills, and strips of white ermine. A
tuft of horse-hair, dyed yellow, is usually fastened to one end of the
bow. Pehriska-Ruhpa has such a weapon in his hand.[320] The quiver, to
which the bow-case is fastened, is made of panther or buffalo skin; in
the first case, with the hair outwards, the long tail hanging down,
and, as among the Blackfeet, lined with red cloth, and embroidered in
various figures with white beads. Their handsome quivers are made of
otter skin, which are much esteemed. A very beautifully ornamented one,
belonging to the Crows, is represented.[321] Narrow strips of skin
hang down at both ends of the quiver. The arrows of the Mandans and
Manitaries are neatly made; the best wood is said to be that of the
service berry (_Amelanchier sanguinea_). The arrows of all the Missouri
nations are much alike,[322] with long, triangular, very sharp, iron
heads, which they themselves make out of old iron: it is but slightly
glued to the shaft of the arrow, which is rather short, and generally
remains in the body of the wounded animal. They know nothing of
poisoning their arrows. The arrow-heads were formerly made of sharp
stones: when Charbonneau first came to the Missouri, some made of
flint were in use, and in the villages they are still met with, and in
all those parts of the United States where the expelled or extirpated
aborigines formerly dwelt. We were told that, in the prairie, near the
Manitari villages, there is a sand hill, where the wind has uncovered
a great number of such stone arrow-heads. Almost all the Mandans and
Manitaries now have guns, which they ornament with bits of red cloth,
on the brass rings of the ramrod, and at the butt-end {390} with brass
nails. Besides the ramrod belonging to the gun, the Indians always
carry another long ramrod in their hands, which they generally use.
The pouch is made of leather, or cloth, often beautifully ornamented
with beads, or porcupine quills, and is hung on the back by a piece
of skin, or a broad strip of cloth of some lively colour. Their clubs
and tomahawks are of various kinds. Many have a thick egg-shaped stone
fastened to a handle, covered with leather, or without leather.[323]
Others have small iron tomahawks,[324] but not tomahawks with pipes
fixed to them. The large club with the broad iron point[325] is called
manha-okatanha, or mauna-schicha. A simple, knotty, wooden club is
called mauna-panischa.[326]

[Illustration: Stone club, with handle]

[Illustration: A knotted wooden club]

[Illustration: Arikkara bird-cage gourds]

Many Mandans likewise carry lances, and I was told that they had a
remarkably handsome one, of which, however, I did not obtain a sight.
These Indians have shields, which do not differ from those of the
tribes already mentioned. They all wear, in their girdle, behind, their
large knife, which is indispensable to them in hunting and in war. Some
use, for the handle of the knife, the lower jaw of a bear, with the
hair and teeth remaining.[327] The bow and arrows are, even now, much
esteemed by all the nations living on the Missouri, while those that
have been entirely driven from that river (the Osages) greatly prefer
the gun; the former, therefore, are capital archers, which cannot
be affirmed of the Osages. The Mandans and Manitaries are said to
fight well in their manner, and there have been frequent instances of
individual bravery. One of their most distinguished warriors, at this
time, is Mato-Topé, of whom we shall often have to speak in the sequel.
He has killed more than five chiefs of other nations. The father of
Mato-Topé, whose name was Suck-Schih (the handsome child), behaved
exactly {391} in the same manner as the Manitari chief, Kokoahkis,
mentioned by Say.[328] He went, one evening, wrapped up in his robe,
into a hut of the hostile Arikkaras, as the young men of the village
often do, ate with his face covered, so that he was taken for a young
Arikkara; then laid himself down by the side of a woman, and afterwards
cut off a lock of her hair, with which he retired. He might have killed
the woman, as Kokoahkis did, but refrained from doing so.

Wounds appear to be healed with remarkable ease. In cases of arrow
wounds, they like to force the arrow quite through, that the iron
head may not remain in the wound. Men and women are often scalped, in
battle, who afterwards come to themselves, and are cured. Such a large
wound on the head is rubbed with fat; the medicine man fumigates it,
singing at the same time. Disorders are not uncommon among the Indians.
The Mandans and Manitaries often suffer from diseases in the eyes;
many are one-eyed, or have a tunicle over one eye. In inflammation of
the eye they have a custom of scratching the inner eye with the leaf
of a kind of grass, resembling a saw, which causes them to bleed very
much, and this may often occasion the loss of the eye. Rheumatism,
coughs, and the like, are frequent, because they go half naked in
the severest cold, and plunge into ice water. Much benefit is often
derived from their steam-baths, in a well closed hut, where a thick
steam is produced by pouring water on hot stones. They then immediately
go into the cold, roll themselves in the snow, or plunge into a river
covered with drifting ice, but do not return to a warm hut, as the
Russians do. Many Indians are said to have died on the spot by trying
this remedy. Some suffer from gout; but all who survive these violent
remedies are stronger and more hardy. Another remedy is trampling on
the whole body, especially the stomach, as is practised also among the
Brazilians. This operation is performed with such violence, as often to
occasion hard swellings in the intestines, or ulcers, especially in the
liver. The steam-bath is used as a remedy in all kinds of disorders.
Vaccination, the application of which met with no difficulties among
several nations on the great lakes, especially the Chippeways, is not
yet practised among the Mandans and Manitaries. Spitting of blood is
said to be frequent, but not pulmonary consumption. Gonorrhoea is very
common; they affirm that all venereal disorders come to them from the
Crows beyond the Rocky Mountains. For such disorders they often seat
themselves over a heated pot, but very frequently burn themselves.
They cut open buboes, lengthwise, with a knife, and then run for a
couple of miles as fast as they can. The jaundice is said not to occur
among them. It appears that they are not acquainted with emetics, but,
if they feel anything wrong in the stomach, they thrust a feather down
the throat, and thus produce vomiting. Their purgatives are obtained
from the vegetable kingdom. The poison-vine often produces swellings,
especially in children. As rattlesnakes are rare in the vicinity of
the villages, it is, of course, seldom that any one is bitten by them;
these Indians are said, however, to have very good remedies against the
bite. Frozen limbs are rubbed with snow. {392} When blindness arises
from the dazzling brightness of the snow, which it very frequently does
in March, they bathe the eyes with a solution of gunpowder and water.
They often have recourse to bleeding, which they perform with a sharp
flint, or a knife. They often apply to the Whites for medicine, and
willingly follow their prescriptions. These Indians have also various
remedies for their horses; thus, when a horse has the strangury, they
give it a piece of a wasp's nest.

When a Mandan or Manitari dies, they do not let the corpse remain long
in the village; but convey it to the distance of 200 paces, and lay it
on a narrow stage, about six feet long, resting on four stakes about
ten feet high, the body being first laced up in buffalo robes and a
blanket.[329] The face, painted red, is turned towards the east. A
number of such stages are seen about their villages, and, although
they themselves say that this custom is injurious to the health of the
villages, they do not renounce it. On many of these stages there are
small boxes, containing the bodies of children wrapped in cloth or
skins. Ravens are usually seen sitting on these stages, and the Indians
dislike that bird, because it feeds on the flesh of their relations.
If you ask a Mandan why they do not deposit their dead in the ground,
he answers--"The lord of life has, indeed, told us that we came from
the ground, and should return to it again; yet we have lately begun to
lay the bodies of the dead on stages, because we love them, and would
weep at the sight of them." They believe that every person has several
spirits dwelling in him; one of these spirits is black, another brown,
and another light-coloured, the latter of which alone returns to the
lord of life. They think that after death they go to the south, to
several villages which are often visited by the gods; that the brave
and most eminent go to the village of the good, but the wicked into a
different one; that they there live in the same manner as they do here,
carry on occupations, eat the same food, have wives, and enjoy the
pleasures of the chase and war. Those who are kind-hearted are supposed
to make many presents and do good, find everything in abundance, and
their existence there is dependent on their course of life while in the
world.[330] Some of the inhabitants of the Mandan villages are said
not to believe all these particulars, and suppose that after death they
will live in the sun or in a certain star.

They mourn for the dead a whole year; cut off their hair, cover their
body and head with white or grey clay, and often, with a knife or sharp
flint, make incisions in their arms and legs in parallel lines, in
their whole length, so that they are covered with blood. For some days
after death the relations make a loud lament and bewailing. Often a
relative, or some other friend, covers the dead, as they express it:
he brings one or two woollen cloths, of a red, blue, white, or green
colour, and, as soon as the body is laid on the stage, mounts upon the
scaffolding, and conceals the body beneath the covering. A friend who
will do this is, in token of respect, presented, by the family of the
deceased, with a horse. If it is known beforehand that a person intends
doing this honour to the dead, a horse is at once tied near the stage,
and the friend, having performed {393} this last office, unties the
animal and leads it away. If a Mandan or Manitari falls in battle, and
the news of his death reaches the family, who are unable to recover
the body, a buffalo skin is rolled up and carried to the village. All
those who desire to lament the deceased assemble, and many articles
of value are distributed among them. The mourners cut off their hair,
wound themselves with knives, and make loud lamentations. Joints of the
fingers are not cut off here, as among the Blackfeet, as a token of
mourning, but as signs of penance and offering to the lord of life and
the first man.[331]

[Illustration: Map of neighborhood of Fort Clark

  _a._ Scaffolds for the dead, and poles with offerings. Plates
    14 and 25 (see accompanying atlas, our volume xxv).
  _b._ The Mandan village--Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush.
  _c._ The open space in the centre of the village.
  _d._ The ark of the first man.
  _e._ The stream in which the dishes are washed.]

The English and French find the pronunciation of the Mandan language
extremely difficult; while to a German, or a Dutchman, it is
considerably easier, because it contains very many gutturals, like
_ach_, _och_, _uch_, in German. The nasal sounds, on the contrary,
are few, but they frequently speak in a very indistinct way, having
the mouth scarcely opened. The vowels are often softened, and much
depends on the way in which the accent falls. The vowels _a_ and _u_
are often only half pronounced, but occur very frequently. I collected
many words, as specimens of the language, and wrote down phrases,
and made an attempt to compile a grammar of the Mandan language, but
the completion of it was, unfortunately, hindered by unfavourable
circumstances.[332] Several old persons assured me that they perfectly
remembered that, in their youth, many resemblances between the Mandan
and Manitari languages did not then exist, which have since gradually
crept in; the two languages being then quite different, which, indeed,
they are still, in the main. As nations and allies, however, they
have reciprocally adopted many words and expressions, and hence there
is a better understanding among them now than heretofore, and their
intercourse is greatly facilitated. Time will, undoubtedly, produce a
still closer approximation.[333] It is a remarkable fact, and proves
how easily the separation of single tribes, and even villages, of one
and the same nation, leads to changes in the language, and transitions
into other dialects. An example of this kind was presented in the two
Mandan villages, where many diversities of language had already taken
place. I collected several specimens of this kind, and, to me, it
was highly interesting. The Mandans are more apt in learning foreign
languages than many other nations. Thus, the majority of them speak
the Manitari language, whereas but few of the latter understand the
Mandan language. Most of the American nations, at least, those on the
Missouri, are said to have no maledictory words or terms of abuse; the
Mandans have nothing of the kind but the expression--"bad people." The
article is wanting in the Mandan language, and there is no distinction
of gender, except in addressing a man or a woman. For my observations
on the Mandan language, I am chiefly indebted to the kindness and
patience of Mr. Kipp, who had lived eleven years among that people,
had married an Indian wife, and had attained a perfect knowledge of
the language. The Mandan names always have a signification, and are
often equivalent to whole sentences: all surrounding objects are made
use of in giving {394} names. I subjoin a few singular specimens: "The
bear which is a spirit;" "The bull which is a spirit;" "I hear somebody
coming;" "There are seven of them married to old women," &c.

In conclusion I would say that some have affirmed that they have found,
in North America, Indians who spoke the Gaelic language; this has been
said of the Mandans; but it has long been ascertained that this notion
is unfounded, as well as the assertion that the Mandans had a fairer
complexion than the other Indians.[334]


FOOTNOTES:

[207] Maximilian must have been misinformed in regard to the
Canadian-French form for the name of this tribe. Probably the earliest
account is that of La Vérendrye, who visited them in 1738-39. See
Douglas Brymner, _Canadian Archives_, 1889, pp. 2-29, for the journal
of this expedition. La Vérendrye had been informed by the Assiniboin,
that the Mandan, whom he called "Mantannes," were a different race from
the Indians; he was therefore disappointed when upon meeting them he
discovered their similarity to other known tribesmen. He was conducted
in much state to their villages, of which there were five along the
Missouri, and remained among them several weeks, reaching his fort on
the Assiniboin January 10, 1739, upon the return journey.--ED.

[208] There is evidence both from the number of deserted Mandan
villages on the Missouri, and from the accounts of the early
travellers--and this accords with Mandan tradition--that the numbers of
the tribe had formerly been larger and their villages more numerous;
Bougainville, in his _Mémoire sur la Nouvelle France_ (1757), cited
in _Northern and Western Boundaries Ontario_ (Toronto, 1878), p. 83,
speaks of seven fortified villages; and David Thompson, who visited
them in 1797-98, found the same number. Lewis and Clark reported that
forty years before their visit, there had been nine, and that the
population had wasted before the attacks of the Sioux and the ravages
of smallpox.--ED.

[209] La Vérendrye (_Canadian Archives_, 1889, p. 5) gives their
aboriginal name as Ouachipouanne.--ED.

[210] Warden is mistaken when he says (Vol. III. p. 559), that the
Mandans are descended from the Crows; for this is applicable to the
Manitaries, of whom we shall speak afterward.--MAXIMILIAN.

[211] For Heart River see our volume v, p. 148, note 91. The modern
North Dakota town of Mandan takes its name from the traditional Mandan
village near its site.--ED.

[212] Lewis and Clarke write this name Rooptahee, which is incorrect.
(See Account of their Journey, Vol. I. p. 120.) These celebrated
travellers passed the winter among the Mandans, and give many
particulars respecting them, which, on the whole, are correct; but
their proper names and words from the Mandan and Manitari languages
are, in general, inaccurately understood and written. It is said,
they derived their information from a person named Jessáume, who
spoke the language very imperfectly, as we were assured everywhere on
the Missouri. Of this kind are many of the names mentioned by those
travellers, which neither the Indians nor the Whites were able to
understand; for instance, Ahnahaways (Vol. I. p. 115), a people who are
said to have formerly dwelt between the Mandans and the Manitaries;
likewise Mahawha, where the Arwacahwas lived (_ibid._); the fourth
village is said to have been called Metaharta, and to have been
inhabited by Manitaries (_ibid._); of all these names, except, perhaps,
Mahawha, which ought probably to be Machaha, nobody could give us
the slightest information, not even Charbonneau, though he has lived
here so many years. It is necessary to be much on your guard against
bad interpreters, and I acted in this respect with much caution. All
the information given by me, respecting Indian words and names, was
carefully written down from the statements of sensible, well-informed
men of these nations. I have endeavoured to write down their language
exactly, according to its real pronunciation, in doing which, the
German guttural sounds were of great assistance to me, as it is that of
the Missouri Indians. Mr. Kipp and Charbonneau, with some of the others
who have lived long among these Indians, daily assisted me, during a
long winter, with much patience and kindness, in this work.--MAXIMILIAN.

[213] See Dr. Morse's Report, p. 252. He speaks (p. 349) of the
Mandans, Blackfeet, Rapid (Fall) Indians, and Assiniboins. His
tables of the Indian population of the United States are in page
362.--MAXIMILIAN.

[214] Say, who, in general, gives a very accurate description of the
North American Indians (see Major Long's Travels), lays too much
stress, as it appears to me, on the character of the receding of
the forehead; for, by a comparison of a great many skulls, I have
fully convinced myself of the contrary. Say affirmed, also, that the
facial angle is not so small as Professor Blumenbach supposes. The
Indian features, as far as my experience reaches, cannot be called
either Mongol or Malay, the latter of which is more perceptible in
the Brazilians, notwithstanding the manifest affinity with the North
Americans. The learned traveller, Augustus de St. Hilaire, even
attributes to the Brazilians a conformation of the skull, according to
which those people are endowed with inferior intellectual faculties.
(See Voyages dans les Districts de Diamande). The missionary, Parker,
in his Travels to the Columbia River, p. 155, expresses himself, in
this respect, entirely in accordance with my views; and D'Orbigny
confirms them in respect to the South Americans, in the conformation of
whose skulls he found considerable diversities.--MAXIMILIAN.

[215] La Vérendrye (_Canadian Archives_, 1889, p. 21) says, "This
nation is mixed white and black. The women are fairly good-looking,
especially the white, many with blond and fair hair." All later
travellers, also, note the presence of grey eyes and hair among the
Mandan. If this arose from admixture with Caucasians, it probably was
due to French _coureurs des bois_, who ranged far among the Western
tribes. See, however, on this subject, Matthews, _Hidatsa_, pp. 43-45,
who thinks fairness of skin but a variation of the usual Indian
type.--ED.

[216] François le Vaillant (1753-1824) was born in Dutch Guiana, where
his father held an official position. Returned to Holland at the age
of ten, he completed his education in Paris, and embarked (1780) for
the exploration of Africa. His two journeys lasted five years, but
their results were more valuable to the other natural sciences than
to geographic discovery. He published _Voyages dans l'interior de
l'Afrique_ (Paris, 1790-96).

François Péron (1775-1810), a younger naturalist, served first in the
Revolutionary armies (1792-95). In 1800-04 he accompanied Baudin on his
voyage to Southern lands and waters, publishing the results as _Voyage
de découvertes aux terres australes_ (Paris, 1811-16). His collections
of natural history, both plants and animals, were noted.--ED.

[217] Haec deformitas a viris ipsis ut dicunt, tractibus sæpe repetitis
producitur. In nonnullis labia externa in orbem tres ad quatuor digitis
transversos prominent; in aliis labia interna valde pendent; immo
virorum ars in partibus ipsis figuras artificiose fictas format.

Foemina hac raritate curens parvi oestimata, et neglecta est.

Moris est in Mandans, Moennitarris, et in Crows, magis autem in
Moennitarris; in Mandans, a mulieribus dissolutis, magis quam ab
uxoribus hic mos perversus adhibitur.--MAXIMILIAN.

[218] Volney has many inaccuracies in what he says of the colour of
the Indians (Vol. II. p. 435). According to him, the children are born
quite white like the Europeans; that the women are white on the thighs,
hips, and lower parts of the body, where the skin is covered by the
clothing; that it is wholly erroneous to suppose that the copper colour
is natural to them, &c. Mr. Von Humboldt has long since refuted all
these assertions.--MAXIMILIAN.

[219] See p. 267 for plan of hand looking-glass.--ED.

[220] See Plate 50, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[221] Such feathers are represented in Plate 54, figures 13, 14, in the
accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[222] See Plate 46, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv, "which,"
Maximilian says, "is the best representation hitherto given of it."--ED.

[223] See his portrait, Plate 47, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[224] See journal of La Vérendrye, _Canadian Archives_, 1889, p. 13: "I
acknowledged that I was surprised [upon meeting the Mandan], expecting
to see a different people from the other Indians, especially after the
account given me. There is no difference from the Assiniboines; they
are naked, covered only with a buffalo robe, worn carelessly without a
breech clout."--ED.

[225] There is a print of such a robe in Major Long's Expedition to
the Rocky Mountains, and another in Plate 54, Fig. 1., of my atlas
[See our volume xxv]. The original was painted by Mato-Topé himself,
and the figures on it represent some of his principal exploits,
in which he killed, with his own hand, five chiefs of different
nations.--MAXIMILIAN.

_Comment by Ed._ See James's _Long's Expedition_, in our volume xiv,
p. 202. See also group of painted robes in Catlin, _North American
Indians_, ii, pp. 240-249; on the entire subject see Garrick Mallery,
"Picture Writing of American Indians," in Bureau of Ethnology _Report_,
1888-89.

[226] For description of this ornament see our volume xiv, p. 235.--ED.

[227] See our volume xv, p. 71.--ED.

[228] The early travellers speak of the fortifications of the Mandan
villages. La Vérendrye (_Canadian Archives_, 1889, p. 17) mentions
"ramparts" and "trenches." Bougainville (_Northern and Western
Boundaries of Ontario_, p. 83) says the villages are surrounded by
staked earthworks with a moat; Catlin (_North American Indians_, i, p.
81) describes this village as picketed upon one side only--that exposed
to the prairie.--ED.

[229] See p. 267 for illustration of this peculiar cylinder of planks,
used as a religious emblem. Catlin, _North American Indians_, i, p. 88,
says it was called the "Big Canoe."--ED.

[230] See p. 267 for illustration of Mandan huts. Alexander Henry
(_Henry-Thompson Journals_, i, pp. 337-339) gives an account of the
process of building these huts. The Mandan houses were the most
elaborate Indian dwellings north of New Mexico, and characterized the
tribal stage of industrial development. The energy required to cut
and prepare the timbers with the rude implements in vogue, indicates
an advance upon the industry of the wandering prairie tribes. See
L. H. Morgan, "Houses and House Life of American Aborigines," in
Geographical and Geological Survey of the Territories, _Contributions
to Ethnology_, 1881, iv, pp. 125-130. A few of these huts may still be
seen on the Fort Berthold reservation, North Dakota. See O. D. Wheeler,
"Last of the Mandans," in _Wonderland_, 1903, who suggests that these
Mandan dwellings were the forerunners of the sod-houses of the early
settlers.--ED.

[231] See Bodmer's drawing of the interior of the hut of Dipauch, Plate
52, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[232] See p. 285 for illustration of a Mandan bed. La Vérendrye
(_Canadian Archives_, 1889, p. 21) speaks of these beds as "made like
tombs surrounded with skins." Catlin gave a more detailed description,
in _North American Indians_, i, pp. 82, 83. A buffalo skin stretched
upon the poles, with the fur side uppermost, made a comfortable
reclining place. The curtains were frequently adorned with Indian
embroidery or picture writing.--ED.

[233] See our volume xiv, pp. 188-190, 208.--ED.

[234] It was into these caches, which he speaks of as "caves," that
La Vérendrye's bag of Indian presents disappeared upon his first
visit to their villages in 1738-39; _Canadian Archives_, 1889, p. 17.
Furthermore he says (p. 21), "Their fort is full of caves, in which
are stored such articles as grain, food, fat, dressed robes, bear
skins."--ED.

[235] For such a sledge drawn by dogs see Plate 29, in the accompanying
atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[236] See Plate 54, figure 4, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[237] See p. 247 for drawing of head of this animal.--ED.

[238] See p. 105 for illustration of a horn drinking-cup or spoon.--ED.

[239] I brought to Europe specimens of the several kinds of maize grown
among the Mandans; these have been sown, but only the early species
were ripe in September, 1835. The heads have by no means attained the
same size, on the Rhine, as in their native country. There the plant
attains a height of five or six feet, and the colours of the grains are
very various, bright, and beautiful: while, on the Rhine, the plant
grew to the height of four or four and a half feet. The later sorts
grew to the height of ten feet, and were not quite ripe at the end of
October. (See Bradbury, [our volume v, p. 158, note 96], for an account
of the maize of the Mandans.)

According to Tanner (page 180), an Ottowa Indian first introduced
the cultivation of maize on the Red River, among the Ojibuas, or
Chippeways.--MAXIMILIAN.

[240] La Vérendrye presumably first introduced the tobacco of the
whites to these people. Upon first meeting the Mandan chief, he
"presented me with a gift of Indian corn in the ear, and of their
tobacco in rolls, which is not good, as they do not know how to cure
it like us. It is very like ours, with this difference, that it is not
cultivated and is cut green, everything being turned to account, the
stalks and leaves together. I gave him some of mine, which he thought
very good."--ED.

[241] For a good description of pemmican see Franchère's _Narrative_,
our volume vi, p. 380, note 197.--ED.

[242] The only form of cannibalism practiced among the North American
Indians, after they were known to the whites, was the custom of eating
the heart or the flesh of a brave enemy, in order to acquire the
victim's courage or other desirable qualities. As torture of prisoners
was more common among Eastern than Western tribes, this practice may be
the one referred to by Maximilian. Consult Livingston Farrand, _Basis
of American History_ (New York, 1904), pp. 226, 243.--ED.

[243] Catlin (_North American Indians_, i, pp. 118-120) finds apologies
for the custom of polygamy, which he says is chiefly confined to the
chiefs and medicine men of the tribe.--ED.

[244] Lewis and Clark describe this process of primitive bead-making,
related to them by Garreau, the Arikkara interpreter, in _Original
Journals_, i, pp. 272-274; see also Catlin, _North American Indians_,
ii, p. 261. If the Mandan acquired this art from the Snake Indians, as
tradition avers, their pounded glass was probably obsidian from the
cliffs of the upper Yellowstone. See also Matthews, _Hidatsa Indians_,
pp. 22, 23.--ED.

[245] The Mandan art of ceramics, with its similarity to the
productions found in the mounds of the Eastern states, has been
frequently noted. Compare _Henry-Thompson Journals_, i, p. 328;
Catlin, _North American Indians_, i, p. 116; ii, pp. 260, 261; and
W. H. Holmes, "Aboriginal Pottery of the Eastern United States," in
United States Bureau of Ethnology _Report_, 1898-99, pp. 197-201, with
illustrations.--ED.

[246] See Plate 48, with buffalo boats in the foreground, in the
accompanying atlas, our volume xxv. For a description of the process of
making these bull-boats, see _Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark
Expedition_, v, pp. 325, 326; for a vivid account of the manner of
navigating them, see _Henry-Thompson Journals_, i, pp. 331, 332.--ED.

[247] Consult on the subject of courtship and marriage, Catlin, _North
American Indians_, i, pp. 120, 121. Matthews, _Hidatsa Indians_, pp.
52-54, claims that the custom of the more reputable families is not
mere wife-purchase, but is based upon mutual respect, and the ability
of the husband as a hunter and provider.--ED.

[248] Matthews, _Hidatsa Indians_, p. 15, criticises Maximilian
for this statement, saying "Why boast of a deed which was no great
achievement?" Catlin likewise extols the chastity of girls in
respectable families. The evidence of Alexander Henry is in the
opposite direction. Consult also Bradbury, in our volume v, p. 166.--ED.

[249] See Plate 54, figure 6, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[250] Consult Matthews, _Hidatsa Indians_, pp. 54-57. Communication
with the mother-in-law was formerly considered improper.--ED.

[251] The berdash was noted by most early travellers among Western
Indians. Marquette found them among the Illinois (Thwaites, _Jesuit
Relations_, lix, p. 129). See also _Henry-Thompson Journals_, i, pp.
53, 348.

For Mc Kenzie see Franchère's _Narrative_, in our volume vi, p. 185,
note 4. Tanner is noted in our volume xxii, p. 390, note 367. George
Henry, Baron von Langsdorff (1774-1852), was a German scientist and
traveller who entered Russian service, making several journeys in
the interest of that power. In 1803-07, he visited Kamschatka and
Russian America as far as California, returning overland through
Siberia. Maximilian here refers to his description of this journey,
published first as _Bemerkungen auf einer Reise um die Welt in 1803-07_
(Frankfort, 1812), and translated as _Voyages and Travels in various
parts of the World during the years 1803-07_ (London, 1813-14).
Langsdorff later visited Brazil under the auspices of the Russian
government.--ED.

[252] For these two savants see our volume xxii, notes 27 and 87
respectively.--ED.

[253] See Plate 55, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv, and p.
285 for illustration of Mandan letter in hieroglyphics.--ED.

[254] The dentalium shells were by intertribal exchange brought from
the Pacific Ocean; the Mandan prized them so highly that white traders
began to import them, and Matthews reports (_Hidatsa_, p. 28) that ten
of these shells would buy a superior buffalo robe.--ED.

[255] See the amusing description by Catlin (_North American Indians_,
i, pp. 197, 198) of a horse-race in which he participated.--ED.

[256] The following account by Maximilian of the societies or bands
among the Mandan is the most complete description by any early
traveller, of these peculiar social organizations. J. O. Dorsey, "Omaha
Sociology," in United States Bureau of Ethnology _Report_, 1881-82,
pp. 342-355, classifies these societies or corporations according to
their purpose--as those organized for sacred ends, for bravery or war,
or simply for social pleasure. According to Maximilian's account these
purposes would appear to be commingled, and several of the bands to
have been organized for general police and governmental purposes.--ED.

[257] See our volume xxiv.--ED.

[258] See p. 113 for badge of Raven band.--ED.

[259] See Plate 56, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[260] See Plate 51, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[261] See account of buffalo dance of the Omaha (Dorsey, _op. cit._,
in note 256, pp. 347, 348), also in James's _Long's Expedition_, our
volume xv, p. 127. This is not the same ceremony as that intended to
attract the buffalo, or the buffalo-medicine dance, for which see
_post_.--ED.

[262] A similar dance was practiced among the Omaha, by whom it was
known as the grizzly bear dance. See Dorsey, _op. cit._, p. 349.--ED.

[263] The bow-lance is a large bow, to one end of which the iron point
of a lance is fastened. It serves only for show, and is never used in
serious combat. It is very handsomely adorned with eagle's feathers,
frequently with red cloth also, and, when completely decorated, is
worth from 100 to 250 florins. It descends from father to son, and
cannot be obtained except at a high price. Sometimes a horse or more
must be given for it.--MAXIMILIAN.

[264] For a representation of this dance see Plate 28, in the
accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[265] See our volume xxii, p. 361, for illustrations of Mandan
pipes.--ED.

[266] For Indian music compare Bradbury's _Travels_, in our volume v,
p. 116, and accompanying note.--ED.

[267] See Dorsey's description of this game, _op. cit._, pp. 337,
338; Catlin also speaks of it as "Tchung-kee," and remarks upon the
grace and agility developed by it. For a description of this game as
practiced among the Pawnee, see our volume xv, pp. 214, 215.--ED.

[268] See Plate 81, figure 14, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[269] See p. 285 for illustration of a child's dart of stag-horn.--ED.

[270] The hoop and the stick are represented in Plate 81, figure 15, in
the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[271] The North American Indians are conceded to have been in that
state of religious or superstitious development known as "animism;"
consult Farrand, _Basis of American History_, pp. 248-250; and E. B.
Tylor, _Primitive Culture_ (New York, 1871). For the primitive cults of
the Mandan and Minitaree, Maximilian is an approved authority; consult
on this subject, J. O. Dorsey, "Study of Siouan Cults," in United
States Bureau of Ethnology _Report_, 1889-90, particularly chapter
vi.--ED.

[272] This conjecture is adopted by Dr. Edwin James, the learned author
of Tanner's Life among the Indians, p. 357 of that work. I refer to
this interesting book for the remarkable hieroglyphics of the people of
the Algonquin tribe.--MAXIMILIAN.

[273] Alcide Dessalines D'Orbigny (1802-57), a French naturalist and
palæontologist. In 1826 he was sent to South America, where for eight
years he travelled and made observations, which were embodied in his
_Voyages dans l'Amérique méridionale_ (1834-47); he also published
_L'Homme Américain consideré sous ses rapports physiologique et
moreaux_ (Paris, 1839). In 1853 he was appointed to the chair of
palæontology in the Jardin des Plantes, Paris.

Felix d'Azare (1746-1811), a Spanish soldier, traveller, and
naturalist, spent twenty years (1781-1801) in South America. His
published work was _Voyage dans l'Amérique méridionale_ (1809). Tylor
calls attention to D'Orbigny's strictures on Azare's statements.--ED.

[274] Dipauch is a very distinguished man, and might have been a
chief long ago if he had pleased, as he possesses all the necessary
qualifications. His father was shot by the Sioux during Lewis and
Clarke's winter residence among these Indians. Those travellers offered
to assist the Mandans against their enemies, and to take the field with
them, to which, however, they would not consent.--MAXIMILIAN.

_Comment by Ed_. See _Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark
Expedition_, i, pp. 229-232. It is somewhat misleading to say that the
Mandan would not accept the aid of the explorers. The snow was too
deep, and the cold too severe to permit pursuit of the Sioux.

[275] Brackenridge, p. 71, is very much mistaken in believing that the
Mandans and Manitaries worship only buffalo heads, for, if the latter
are medicine, it is incontrovertibly true that they believe in a number
of superior beings who make a figure in their mythology.--MAXIMILIAN.

_Comment by Ed._ Our author is citing Brackenridge, _Views of
Louisiana_ (Pittsburgh, 1814).

[276] Catlin calls this spirit Okeeheedee, and identifies him as the
devil. It is he who creates the great disturbance on the third day of
the Okippe; see _post_.--ED.

[277] Catlin gives a variant of this legend, in _North American
Indians_, i, pp. 179-180.--ED.

[278] Numank-Machana autem, partis naturalis loco cauda vacuna usus
erat: incolæ loci, valde stupefacti præstantes et assiduas primi
hominis vires admirarunt.--MAXIMILIAN.

[279] Deluge-myths are very widespread among the American aborigines.
D.G. Brinton, _Myths of the New World_ (Philadelphia, 3rd ed., 1896),
pp. 234-249, finds over thirty-four tribes among whom distinct traces
of deluge myths were prevalent.--ED.

[280] See variants of this tradition in _Original Journals of the
Lewis and Clark Expedition_, v, pp. 346, 347; Catlin, _North American
Indians_, i, pp. 178, 179.--ED.

[281] This is not White Earth River of North Dakota, but the one in
South Dakota now usually known as White River; see our volume xxii, p.
302, note 259. For Moreau River consult Bradbury's _Travels_, in our
volume v, p. 127, note 82.--ED.

[282] The Minitaree had a creation-myth similar to that of the Mandan,
by which they were represented as climbing from a lake when a tree
broke, the remainder of the tribe being left below.--ED.

[283] See Plate 49, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv, for a
view of Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush, of which the ground plan is found on p.
363, _ante_.--ED.

[284] This belief in the influence of dreams and in a guardian spirit
was widespread among the aborigines of North America; consult J. Long's
_Voyages_, in our volume ii, pp. 123-126; also J. O. Dorsey, "Siouan
Cults," p. 475.--ED.

[285] See Plate 54, figure 3, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[286] For sacred pipes among the Omaha, see Dorsey, "Omaha Sociology,"
pp. 221-224.--ED.

[287] The ceremony of adoption was frequent among North American
Indians. It was of vast service in preserving the lives of white
captives, and in promoting intercourse between whites and Indians. For
typical instances consult Lewis H. Morgan, _League of the Iroquois_
(Rochester, 1851), pp. 341-346; J. Long's _Voyages_, in our volume ii,
pp. 82-86; and _Henry-Thompson Journals_, i, pp. 388-390.--ED.

[288] Consult on this subject, Brinton, _Myths of the New World_, pp.
304-334.--ED.

[289] See Catlin's description of the purchase of a white buffalo robe
from the Blackfeet--a matter of public concern to the entire tribe--and
its dedication to the Great Spirit, in _North American Indians_, i, pp.
133, 134.--ED.

[290] These are represented in Plate 58, in the accompanying atlas, our
volume xxv.--ED.

[291] The author refers to a letter on this subject, written by Mr.
Catlin, and published in a New York paper; but this is by no means so
complete as that given in his valuable work published last year.--H.
EVANS LLOYD.

_Comment by Ed._ Catlin's letter, dated at the Mandan village, August
12, 1832, was published in the _New York Spectator_, and a German
translation incorporated in the first edition of Maximilian's work
published at Coblentz in 1841 (ii, pp. 658-667). Upon the issue of
Catlin's _North American Indians_, (1841), the fuller account of
Okippe therein given caused Maximilian's English translator to omit
from his work Catlin's first description. Catlin's veracity in this
description was impugned both by Schoolcraft and David D. Mitchell, and
their criticism was embodied in an authorized government publication.
Catlin thereupon (1866) appealed both to Kipp and Maximilian, who
both unhesitatingly endorsed his account as correct. See evidence in
Smithsonian Institution _Report_, 1885, part ii, pp. 368-383. Catlin
then published _O-kee-pa_ (London, 1867), with colored illustrations of
the ceremony.

[292] The ceremony of Okippe was for many years celebrated annually;
but as the numbers of the tribe decreased it occurred less frequently,
and has now with the progress of missionary work become extinct. See,
however, description of the celebration in Henry A. Boller, _Among
the Indians, Eight Years in the Far West_ (Philadelphia, 1868), pp.
100-111.--ED.

[293] According to Catlin these drums were supposed to be filled with
water enclosed in them at the time of the deluge, and thus were objects
of much veneration. For one of them he offered goods to the amount of
one hundred dollars, but was refused, they being deemed "medicine" or
mystery objects. Captain Maynardier, who witnessed this ceremony in
1860, and thought he was the first to describe it (see _Senate Ex.
Docs._, 40 Cong., 1 sess., No. 77, pp. 149-151), also testifies that
the drums were supposed to be filled with water; but he believed they
were stuffed with hair.--ED.

[294] According to Catlin, "the first man" collects an edged tool from
each lodge, since the "big canoe" was made therewith, and in another
deluge these would be needed.--ED.

[295] That is, they dance twice to each of the four quarters of the
globe, four being a sacred number. See plates of the costume in Catlin,
_O-kee-pa_, nos. v, vi.--ED.

[296] See _O-kee-pa_, plate viii, for the rattlesnake man.--ED.

[297] An exact description of the representation by Catlin, _op. cit._,
plate ix. According to the painter, this evil spirit does not appear
until the fourth day of the ceremony.--ED.

[298] When these Indians fast for three or four days together, they
dream very frequently of the devil, and, in this case, they believe
that they have not long to live. The narrator had once fasted for a
long time at this festival, and suffered himself to be hung up by
the back. During the night he dreamed of the devil, who appeared far
more frightful and taller than he could ever be represented. His
plume of feathers reached to the clouds, and he ran about as quick
as lightning. On several other occasions he dreamed of this devil,
but now he is resolved not to fast any more, that he might not die
prematurely. He added, that he had often looked without apprehension,
and with pleasure, on the mask representing the devil; but he now
regarded the matter in a different light, for, the more he thought
of him, the taller and the more frightful did he appear to him, and,
under these circumstances, the spirit had been very near him, and,
if he had but once touched him, he certainly should have been dead
already.--MAXIMILIAN.

[299] See _O-kee-pa_, plate viii, for a representation of the masker
imitating the beaver.--ED.

[300] Represented in _O-kee-pa_, plate vii; also another, intended to
symbolize the dawn, or the rays of the morning.--ED.

[301] Catlin's account of the tortures is more detailed than that
of Maximilian, but presents similar features. Upon inquiry, the
former learned that but one young man was known to have died from the
exhaustion consequent thereupon. Consult also the _Henry-Thompson
Journals_, i, pp. 364, 365.--ED.

[302] Compare _Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition_,
i, p. 245; and James's _Long's Expedition_, in our volume xv, pp. 129,
130.--ED.

[303] See our volume xiv, pp. 127, 128.--ED.

[304] Compare _Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition_, i,
pp. 257, 258, on the use of rattlesnake joints as medicine.--ED.

[305] For the mention by Lewis and Clark see _Original Journals_, i, p.
264; also our volume xv, pp. 57-59.--ED.

[306] See Plate 14, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[307] See Plate 58, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[308] Matthews, _Hidatsa Indians_, pp. 71, 72, takes exception to this
list, and from his own observation thinks that the Mandan and Minitaree
have no formal names for the lunar periods, and that they are aware
that twelve do not quite complete the year.--ED.

[309] For representation of a buffalo hunt, see Plate 64, in the
accompanying atlas,' our volume xxv.--ED.

[310] The economy of the buffalo in the life of the plains Indians is
well known; its flesh was the staple for food, its skin for shelter,
dress, and utensils of many sorts, its horn for implements, and its
sinews for strings and thread. The sedentary aborigines of the Missouri
were scarcely less dependent upon this animal than their plains
kinsmen, their agricultural products forming but a small supplement
to the food supply. Hunting the buffalo was thus the chief employment
of the male Indians. For this purpose guns were but little used, they
being reserved for war or occasional encounters with grizzly bears.
Compare descriptions of Mandan buffalo hunts in _Original Journals
of the Lewis and Clark Expedition_, i, pp. 234, 278; _Henry-Thompson
Journals_, i, pp. 336, 337; Palliser, _Solitary Rambles_ (London,
1853), pp. 111-114; and Boller, _Among the Indians_, pp. 78-80.--ED.

[311] H. M. Brackenridge, _Views of Louisiana_, p. 56.--ED.

[312] For this method of taking antelope compare _Original Journals of
the Lewis and Clark Expedition_ i, pp. 313, 314; and H. M. Chittenden
and A. T. Richardson, _Life, Letters, and Travels of Father De Smet_,
iv, pp. 1396, 1397. Frequently Indians pursued the antelope on swift
horses, driving them in zig-zags until they were exhausted. See
_Original Journals_, ii, pp. 345, 346.--ED.

[313] _Op. cit._, in note 311, p. 56.--ED.

[314] See Matthews, _Hidatsa Indians_, p. 58. This is the eagle
sometimes known as _Aquila canadensis_, although it has a wide range
of habitat. It is the royal or calumet eagle of Lewis and Clark--one
of the two North American eagles, the other being the bald-headed
(_Haliætus leucocephalus_).--ED.

[315] See a good description of war-parties led by partisans in our
volume xv, pp. 78-85.--ED.

[316] See Plate 54, figure 9, and Plate 81, figure 14, in the
accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[317] See our volume xv, p. 92. These hiding places are described as
prepared by the squaws in case of an unexpected attack, warriors only
retreating thereto if hard-pressed.--ED.

[318] Brackenridge (1811) witnessed the return of an Arikkara war-party
and the subsequent scalp-dance, which he vividly describes in volume vi
of our series, pp. 142-145.--ED.

[319] Pembina is said to mean the fruit of the high-bush cranberry. The
river of that name, an affluent of Red River from the west, disembogues
near the British-American boundary line, its mouth being the site of
several early trading-posts and settlements. Between 1790 and 1796
Peter Grant, a Nor' Wester, built a trading-post opposite the mouth
of the river, near the site of the present St. Vincent, Minnesota.
Charles Chaboillez, another trader for the same company, wintered
(1797-98) at the mouth of Pembina River on the south-west side. Four
years later Alexander Henry built a post in the north-west angle,
the site of the modern town of Pembina, North Dakota, where he made
his headquarters until 1808, and whence (1806) he visited the Mandan
villages. In 1812 Lord Selkirk had a post built at this site, which
from one of his titles was named Fort Daer. This being on the verge
of the timber-land, and hence convenient to buffalo herds, was the
wintering place of his Red River colonists. The North West Company
had a rival post in the near vicinity. After the troubles of the Red
River colonists with the North West employés (1814-16), a company of
troops, guided by John Tanner, was sent (1817) by Selkirk to avenge his
settlers. These captured the North West fort at Pembina, and restored
Fort Daer, which was maintained until 1823; when, on being found to
be south of the international boundary, it was dismantled and removed
some miles farther north. Meanwhile a small settlement of métis had
grown up on the site; Long (1823) found here about sixty log-cabins,
and three hundred and fifty people. Communication was maintained both
with Fort Garry, lower down on Red River, and with Fort Snelling, at
St. Paul. About 1842 the agents of the American Fur Company established
a cart-route to Pembina, where in 1870 the United States government
erected a fort, but the place is no longer occupied by troops.--ED.

[320] See his portrait in Plate 56, in the accompanying atlas, our
volume xxv.--ED.

[321] See Plate 81, figure 16, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[322] Though all their arrows appear, at first sight, to be perfectly
alike, there is a great difference in the manner in which they are
made. Of all the tribes of the Missouri the Mandans are said to make
the neatest and most solid arrows. The iron heads are thick and solid,
the feathers glued on, and the part just below the head, and the lower
end, are wound round with very even, extremely thin sinews of animals.
They all have, in their whole length, a spiral line, either carved
or painted red, which is to represent the lightning. The Manitaries
make the iron heads thinner, and not so well. They do not glue on the
feathers, but only tie them on at both ends, like the Brazilians.
The Assiniboins frequently have very thin and indifferent heads to
their arrows, made of iron-plate. Mr. Say (Major Long's Expedition)
says, that the arrow-wood (_viburnum_) is used for their arrows by
the Indians on the Lower Missouri and the neighbouring prairies. I
conjecture that this shrub is the alistier (_Cratægus torminalis_) of
the Upper Missouri, which is sometimes used for bows, but very seldom
for arrows.--MAXIMILIAN.

[323] See p. 355 for illustration of stone club, with handle.--ED.

[324] See portrait of Mato-Topé, Plate 47, in the accompanying atlas,
our volume xxv.--ED.

[325] _Ibid._, Plate 81, figure 4.--ED.

[326] See p. 355 for illustration of a knotted wooden club.--ED.

[327] See p. 105 for illustration of a Grosventre dagger.--ED.

[328] Concerning Mato-Topé see our volume xxii, p. 345, note 318. For
this incident see our volume xv, p. 97. Kakoakis was Le Borgne, for
whom see our volume v, p. 162, note 98.--ED.

[329] These burial scaffolds were noted by most travellers on the
Missouri, and Catlin gives a drawing of a Mandan cemetery, in _North
American Indians_, i, pp. 89-92. Bradbury, in our volume v, p.
160, describes a scaffold in detail. According to James's _Long's
Expedition_, our volume xv, pp. 66, 67, the Omaha buried their dead.
The burial customs of all the Dakotan tribes would appear to have been
fluctuating, inclining to aerial sepulture. Of late years, on the
Fort Berthold reservation, this method is declining; and during the
smallpox epidemic of 1838 the Mandan buried their dead; see Audubon's
_Journals_, ii, pp. 14, 15. On the entire subject consult H. C. Yarrow,
_Introduction to Study of Mortuary Customs among the North American
Indians_ (Washington, 1880); and "Further Contributions to the study of
Mortuary Customs among the North American Indians," in United States
Bureau of Ethnology _Report_, 1879-80, pp. 87-203.--ED.

[330] The belief in the plurality of souls appears to have been
widespread among Dakotan tribes. Matthews (_Hidatsa_, p. 50) says that
the Minitaree believe in four for each person, and that he has heard
this faith disputed with the Assiniboin, who believe in but one. The
Teton Sioux think one spirit is of the body and dies with it; the
second remaining with or near the body--hence the offering of food to
the deceased; the third goes to the spirit home in the south; and the
fourth abides with the lock of hair cut from the head of the corpse--if
this is thrown into an enemy's camp, the ghost harasses the hostiles
in time of war. See Dorsey, "Siouan Cults," p. 484. The belief in a
home of spirits is indefinite and ill-defined--most Dakotan people
think of an ancestral home to which spirits return, but the distinction
between abodes for the good and the wicked appears imported, not
indigenous.--See _Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition_,
v, p. 347.--ED.

[331] Compare the accounts of mourning in James's _Long's Expedition_,
our volume xv, pp. 66-68, and Boller, _Among the Indians_, p. 70.
Mutilation was practiced by many tribes as a sign of mourning; see
Yarrow, "Further Contributions to the Study of Mortuary Customs."--ED.

[332] See Indian Vocabularies, in our volume xxiv.--ED.

[333] Compare on this point Matthews, _Hidatsa_, pp. 18, 84, who
claims that on the Fort Berthold reservation there appears no tendency
to coalescence, and that Mandan, Minitaree, and Arikkara are still
linguistically distinct.--ED.

[334] A tradition of white-bearded Indians living far to the westward
was rife among the French traders and explorers in the early eighteenth
century, and when he visited the Mandan in 1738 La Vérendrye sought
"that nation of whites so much spoken of." The variation in color of
complexion, hair, and eyes among the Mandan (see note 215, _ante_)
led to various theories of their origin. Among these that of Welsh
derivation gained much currency. The alleged American adventure in the
twelfth century of Prince Madoc from Wales, and the consequent blending
of his followers with the aborigines was a current theory among English
ethnographers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
Catlin enthusiastically adopted it to account for Mandan peculiarities;
see his _North American Indians_, i, pp. 205-207; ii, pp. 259-261.
For a bibliography of this theory, which Maximilian's scientific
sense rejected, see Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History of
America_ (Boston, 1889), i, pp. 109-111; see also B. F. Bowen, _Welsh
in North America_ (Philadelphia, 1876), especially chapter xi.--ED.



CHAPTER XXVI

OBSERVATIONS ON THE TRIBE OF THE MANITARIES, OR GROS VENTRES


The name, Manitaries, by which this tribe is now generally known, was
given by the Mandans, and signifies, "those who came over the water."
The French give them the singular designation of Gros Ventres, which
is no more appropriate to them than to any other of the Indian tribes:
the Anglo-Americans also frequently use this name.[335] This people was
formerly a part of the nation of the Crows, from which it is said they
separated, in consequence of a dispute about a buffalo that had been
killed, and removed to the Missouri.[336] They are near neighbours,
and have been for many years allies of the Mandans. They have long
resided in three villages on the Knife River, two on the left bank,
and the third, which is much the largest, on the right bank.[337] Much
confusion and misunderstanding have been occasioned by the variety of
names given to these villages by the inhabitants, as well as by other
tribes. 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. The more considerable part of the nation,
the Crows, are still exclusively a people of hunters, who cultivate no
kind of useful plants: even tobacco is now seldom planted, because they
prefer that which they obtain from the traders. They still, however,
preserve their own species of this plant for the purpose I have before
mentioned.

The Manitaries do not much differ in their personal appearance from
the Mandans; but it strikes a stranger that they are, in general,
taller. Most of them are well-formed and stout; many are very tall,
broad-shouldered, and muscular; the latter may, indeed, be said of the
greater proportion of the men. Their noses are more or less arched, and
sometimes quite straight. I also met with several whose countenances
perfectly resembled those of the Botocudos.[338] The women {396} are
much like the Mandans; many are tall and stout, but most of them are
short and corpulent. There are some pretty faces among them, which,
according to the Indian standard of beauty, may be called handsome.
As they have long lived in close connexion with the Mandans, the
two nations have adopted the same costume, though there is, at the
same time, a greater attention to neatness and adornment among the
Manitaries than their neighbours. Their necklaces of bears' claws, for
which they often give a high price, are very large and well finished:
they often contain forty claws, are attached to each shoulder, and form
a semicircle across the breast. Their lock of hair on the temples
is often long and curiously entwined with ornaments, and fringed at
the point with small red feathers, or strips of ermine. They wear
their hair in long flat braids, hanging down upon the back like the
Mandans; sometimes it is plastered over with clay, and not unfrequently
lengthened by gluing false locks to it. The flat ornament in the shape
of the rule hanging from the back, which I have mentioned in speaking
of the Mandans, is often very tastefully ornamented with porcupine
quills, set in neat patterns. They seldom wear leather shirts, like
the Crows and Blackfeet, but, generally speaking, have nothing under
the buffalo robe: frequently their arms and whole body are variously
painted. Their leggins do not differ from those of the Mandans. The
breechcloth generally consists of a piece of white woollen cloth with
dark blue stripes. Their leather shoes are ornamented in various ways,
sometimes with a long stripe, or a rosette of dyed porcupine quills.
The girdle is of leather, into which the knife and sheath are stuck at
the back. They often wear narrow bright steel bracelets at the wrists,
which they purchase from the Company. Much taste and extravagance are
lavished on the buffalo robe, the main article of their attire. The
style in which they are painted is similar to that of the Mandans,
and very high prices are paid for these robes. Many of the men are
tattooed, especially on one side of the body only, for instance, the
right half of the breast, and the right arm, sometimes down to the
wrist; nay, the old chief, Addih-Hiddish, had the whole of his right
hand tattooed in stripes.[339] They paint their body in the same manner
as the Mandans.

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.[340] {397} They have about 250 or 300 horses in
their three villages, and a considerable number of dogs.

When a Manitari invites his friends to a feast which is especially
devoted to the table, each guest brings a dish, which is filled, and
which he is expected to empty; if he is unable to do this, he passes
it on to his neighbour, and, as a sort of reward, gives him some
tobacco. If his neighbour accepts it, he undertakes thereby the often
not pleasant task of emptying the dish. At a war feast each guest is
obliged to eat whatever is placed before him.[341] When a child is
to be named they proceed as follows: the father first sets out on a
buffalo hunt, and returns with a good deal of game. He loads himself
with ten or twelve large pieces of meat, at the top of which he places
the child. Stooping and panting under the burden, he proceeds to the
hut of the medicine man who is to give the name, and to whom he
delivers the meat as a present or fee.

Like the Mandans, the Manitaries have their bands, or unions, which are
distinguished by their songs, dances, and badges. Of these bands there
are eleven among the men and three among the women.

Besides these bands, they have two distinct dances:--1st. The dance
of the old men, which is executed only by those who are far advanced
in years, and no longer take the field. 2nd. The scalp dance; this is
danced by the women, who carry the scalps upon poles.[342] In their
hands they likewise bear guns, hatchets, clubs, &c. Some among the men
beat the drum and rattle the schischikué; the warriors, meanwhile,
sitting in a row, and beating time with their feet.

Their games, too, are like those of the Mandans, for if there were
any with which they were not originally acquainted they have since
adopted them. These people likewise set a high value on the hide of
a white buffalo cow, for which they often give fifteen horses, guns,
cloth, blankets, robes, and other articles of considerable value.[343]
The owner having proclaimed, from the top of his hut, to the whole
assembled village, that he has obtained such a robe, keeps it for
about four years. The members of the family sometimes wear it on
state occasions, and narrow strips are cut off and used as ornaments,
especially as head bands. When this time is elapsed the hide is offered
to one of the divinities, a medicine man being hired to perform the
necessary ceremonies. During {398} the four years, valuable articles
of all kinds, such as those before-mentioned, have been collected and
are kept in readiness. A hut is built, to be used as a sudatory (as
will be related below). A large quantity of food is distributed among
the spectators; a bundle of brushwood is fastened to the top of a long
pole, and the beautiful white hide is wrapped round it. It is then
set up in some spot chosen by the owner, and there left to rot. The
medicine man who performs the ceremonies receives, for his trouble,
the valuables which have been mentioned--sometimes 150 robes, and
other things, part of which he distributes among the persons present.
Sometimes they ride, with the white hide, into the prairie, spread
on the ground a blue or red blanket, and lay the hide upon it. If it
is intended to offer a horse at the same time, they bind his feet
together, put a muzzle on his mouth, and leave all together in this
situation. If another Indian were to steal the horse, they would say
he is a fool for robbing the lord of life. Other mysteries (medicines)
and superstitions of the Manitaries are so interwoven with their early
traditions and legends, that it is necessary to premise something on
the subject.

Formerly there existed water only, and no earth: a large bird, with
a red eye, dived. The man who does not die, or the lord of life
(Ehsicka-Wahaddish, literally the first man),[344] who lives in the
Rocky Mountains, had made all, and sent the great bird to fetch up
earth. Another being, worthy of veneration, is the old woman whom they
call grandmother, and who roams about all over the earth. She, too, has
some share in the creation, though an inferior one, for she created the
sand-rat and the toad. She gave the Manitaries a couple of pots, which
they still preserve as a sacred treasure, and employ as medicines,
or charms, on certain occasions. She directed the ancestors of these
Indians to preserve the pots, and to remember the great waters, from
which all animals came cheerful, or, as my old narrator expressed it,
dancing. The red-shouldered oriole (_Psaracolius phoeniceus_) came, at
that time, out of the water, as well as all the other birds which still
sing on the banks of the rivers. The Manitaries, therefore, look on
all these birds as medicine for their plantations of maize, and attend
to their song. At the time when these birds sing, they were directed
by the old woman to fill these pots with water, to be merry, to dance
and bathe, in order to put them in mind of the great flood. 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.

The sun, or, as they call it, "the sun of the day," is likewise
considered as a great medicine. They do not know what it really is, but
that it serves to sustain and to warm the earth. When they are about to
undertake some enterprise, they make offerings to it, as well as to the
moon, which they call "the sun of the night." The morning star, Venus,
they consider the child of the moon, and account it likewise a special
medicine. They affirm that it was originally a {399} Manitari, and is
the grandson of the old woman who never dies. The "great bear" is said
to be an ermine, the several stars of that constellation indicating,
in their opinion, the burrow, the head, the feet, and the tail of that
animal. They likewise call the "milky way" the ashy way; and, like the
Mandans, believe that thunder is occasioned by the flapping of the
wings of the large bird, which causes rain, and that the lightning
is the glance of his eye, in search of prey. The rainbow is called
by the Manitaries "the cap of the water," or "the cap of the rain."
Once, say they, an Indian caught, in the autumn, a red bird, which
mocked him; this gave offence to the man, who bound the feet of his
prisoner together with a fish line, and then let him fly. The bird of
prey saw a hare and pounced upon it, but the hare crept into the skull
of a buffalo which was lying in the prairie, and as the line, hanging
from the claws of the bird, formed a semicircle, they imagine that the
rainbow is still thus caused.

The old chief, Addih-Hiddish, gave me the following account of the
situation of men after death:--There are two villages, one large and
the other smaller, whither the Manitaries go when they die. The wicked,
or cowardly, go to the small village; the good, or brave, to the
larger one.[345] A party of Manitaries once went to war, and one of
their number, a chief, was killed by the enemy; he was buried and his
grave covered with large trunks of trees. After his death he went to
the large village, from whence a great many men came to meet him and
to escort him into it. He was alarmed when he saw them coming towards
him, and turned back, wounded as he was. A white man had given him, in
that country, a paper, by means of which he was enabled to return to
his own village on earth, and live there many years; but my informant
was quite unable to tell me the contents of this paper. After this,
when he played at what they call billiards, he rubbed his hands with
the talisman, and nobody could ever win a game from him; he was always
called by his fellows "the dead man."

When the Manitaries were created by the first man they formed one
nation with the Crows. A medicine woman among them had three sons, each
of whom built a village. The eldest went, with his people, down the
Missouri, and it is not known what became of them. The second went to
the mountains, and founded the village now inhabited by the Crows. The
third established the tribe now called Manitaries by the Mandans, which
tribe subsequently erected the three villages now existing. At that
time their total number was only 1000 men.

The Manitaries are as superstitious, and have as much faith in their
medicines, or charms, as the Mandans. Among these medicines are
included every kind of wolf and fox, especially the former; and,
therefore, when they go to war, they always wear the stripe off the
back of a wolf's skin, with the tail hanging down over their shoulders.
They make a slit in the skin, through which they put their head,
so that the skin of the wolf's head hangs down upon their breast.
Buffaloes' heads are likewise medicine. In one of their villages they
preserve the neck bones of a buffalo, as the Crows also are said to
do; and this is done with a view to prevent the buffalo herds {400}
from removing to too great a distance from them. At times they perform
the following ceremony with these bones: they take a potsherd with
live coals, throw sweet-smelling grass upon it, and fumigate the bones
with the smoke. They have medicine stones and medicine trees, like the
Mandans, and offer to the heavenly powers at such places red cloth,
red paint, and other things. Like the Mandans, too, they also offer
articles of value, wail, moan, do penance to conciliate their favour,
and to ask their aid to obtain certain wishes and objects. Say relates
that the wolf chief of the Manitaries sat for five days together on
an isolated rock, without taking any food.[346] This was done on the
Prairie Hill, to which the Mandans also resort in similar cases. They
hold out till their strength fails them, and creep by night into a
neighbouring cave, where they sleep and dream. Among the original
traditions of this people is that of the two children, which Say
relates. A party going to war saw two children sitting on two isolated
hills, who vanished when they endeavoured to approach them. These two
hills, which are near together, are called the Children's Hills; they
are not on Knife River, as Say says, but on Heart River. The women go
to one of these hills to do penance and lament when they desire to have
children.[347]

Mr. Say relates another tradition very correctly, of a boy who lived
and grew in the belly of a buffalo. They also assert that the bones
of the buffaloes in the prairie sometimes come to life again.[348]
Say likewise describes the corn dance, or rather the corn feast, for
the consecration of the crops. They adopted it from the Mandans, and
now celebrate it in the same manner.[349] The great medicine feast
for attracting the herds of buffaloes will be described in the next
chapter, as well as some of the incantations of the women. They
likewise celebrate the Okippe (which they call Akupehri), but with
several deviations. Thus, instead of the so-called ark, a kind of high
pole, with a fork on the summit, is planted in the centre of the open
circle. When the partisans of the war parties intend to go on some
enterprise in May or June, the preparations are combined with the
Okippe of several young men, who wish to obtain the rank of the brave,
or men. A large medicine lodge is erected, open above, with a division
in the middle, in which the candidates take their places. Two pits are
usually dug in the middle for the partisans, who lie in them four days
and four nights, with only a piece of leather about the waist. The
first partisan usually chooses the second, who undergoes the ceremony
with him. There are always young people enough ready to submit their
bodies to torture, in order to display their courage and firm resolve.
They fast four days and nights, which leaves them faint and weak. Many
of them begin the tortures on the third day; but the fourth day is that
properly set apart for them. To the forked pole of the medicine lodge
is fastened a long piece of buffalo hide, with the head hanging down,
and to this a strap is fastened. An old man is then chosen, who is to
see to the torturing of the candidates, which is executed precisely in
the same manner as among the Mandans. The sufferers often faint; they
are then taken by the hands, lifted up, and encouraged, and they begin
afresh. When they have dragged about the buffalo skull long enough,
hanging to their flesh and skin, a large circle is formed, as among
{401} the Mandans, in which they are made to run round till they drop
down exhausted, when they are taken to the medicine lodge. The medicine
man receives from one of the spectators the knife with which the
operation is to be performed. He has called out to "have compassion
with him, and to give him a knife," on which one of the persons
standing round throws one at his feet. The partisan is bound to build
the medicine lodge. During the ceremony the spectators eat and smoke;
the candidates take nothing, and, like the partisans, are covered all
over with white clay. The latter, when they dance during the ceremony,
remain near their pits, and then move on the same spot, holding in
their hands their medicines, a buffalo's tail, a feather, or the like.
None but the candidates dance, and the only music is striking a dried
buffalo's hide with willow rods. There have been instances of fathers
subjecting their children, only six or seven years of age, to these
tortures. We ourselves saw one suspended by the muscles of the back,
after having been compelled to fast four days. No application whatever
is subsequently made for the cure of the wounds, which leave large
swollen weals, and are much more conspicuous among the Manitaries than
the Mandans. Most of the Manitaries have three or four of these weals,
in parallel semicircular lines, almost an inch thick, which cover the
entire breast. Similar transverse and longitudinal lines, arising from
the same cause, are seen upon the arms, nay, the whole length of the
limb is often disfigured by them.[350] The medicine stone has already
been mentioned, when treating of the Mandans. Lewis and Clarke also
speak of it, saying that "the Manitaries have a stone of a similar
kind;" but this is not quite correct, for it is the self-same stone to
which the two people have recourse, and make use of similar ceremonies
with it.

Another very remarkable institution of the Manitaries is the sudatory.
When a man intends to undertake anything, and to implore by medicine
the aid of the higher powers, he builds a small sudatory of twigs,
which is covered all over with buffalo hides. Before the entrance is
a straight path, forty feet long and one broad, from which the turf
is taken off and piled up in a heap at one end opposite the hut. Near
this heap a fire is kindled, in which large stones are made red hot.
Two rows of shoes, sometimes thirty or forty pair, are placed along the
path. As soon as the stones are hot, they are borne into the hut, where
a hearth has been dug, on which the hot stones are laid. The whole
population sit as spectators on either side of the path, where are
placed a number of dishes with provisions, such as boiled maize, beans,
meat, &c. An old medicine man is appointed to conduct the ceremonies.
He walks from the heap of turf over the shoes, taking care always to
set his feet upon them, to the sudatory. The young man, for whom the
ceremony is performed, stands with only his breechcloth at the entrance
of the sudatory, where for some time he wails and laments. The medicine
man comes out of the hut, with a knife or arrow head, and cuts off a
joint of his finger, which he throws away, as an offering to the lord
of life, or to some other object of superstition, in which the young
man has placed his confidence. After this operation the magician takes
a willow twig, goes to the dishes containing {402} the provisions, dips
the twig in each, and throws a portion of the contents in the direction
of the four cardinal points, for the lord of life, the fire, and the
divers supernatural powers, of which he makes open proclamation. The
provisions are then distributed among the men, women, and children who
are present. The older men go into the sudatory, the women carefully
cover it, and water is sprinkled with bunches of wormwood, from
vessels standing ready without upon the hot stones, which throws the
persons present into a profuse perspiration; the men, meanwhile, all
singing at once to the rattling of the schischikué. When they are
satisfied they call to the women on the outside to remove the hides.
After this, a buffalo head, with the snout foremost, is carried over
the row of shoes to the heap of turfs, where it is placed in the same
direction. The ceremony is now complete. The robes with which the hut
was covered, often sixty or eighty in number, are given by the young
man to the magician for his trouble, who distributes some of them among
the spectators. The persons who have submitted to the operation put
on their robes, and remain in the open air till their bodies are dry,
this medicine being generally performed in the summer. In the winter
they prepare such steam baths in their own huts, but at that season
they are not medicine, and the men and women assemble together. The
grand ceremony just described is instituted especially when they wish
to ask success for a military expedition, or for some other important
enterprise. They then purchase a red blanket or a piece of blue cloth,
which they offer to the divinity, hanging it on a pole behind the
sudatory, where it is left to be destroyed by the wind and weather.

The Manitaries likewise make offerings at times to the great serpent
which lives in the Missouri, by placing in the river poles, to which
robes or coloured blankets are attached.[351] This practice is founded
on a story like that which is current among the Mandans, but with some
differences. A war party was on its way to the Upper Missouri to meet
the enemy: when they had proceeded a considerable distance two young
men turned back, and found, at a certain spot, a large serpent coiled
up. After looking at the animal for some time, one of them kindled a
fire, in which they burnt the serpent. The man who had made the fire
took up the remains, smelt them, and affirmed that the smell was so
inviting, he could not refrain from eating a part, and, though his
comrade dissuaded him, he ate a small portion of the roasted flesh. In
the evening, when they were going to lie down to rest for the night,
he took off his shoes, and, to his great astonishment, found that his
feet were striped like the serpent which they had killed. He told his
friend, and said, "This is delightful; when I go home, I will pull
off my shoes, and everybody will look at my feet." On the following
day his legs were striped up to the knees. He said, laughing, "This
is admirable; I shall no longer have occasion to mark my exploits by
stripes, for nature herself furnishes me with them." On the third day
he was striped up to his hips. They slept on the evening of that day,
and on the fourth day he was completely converted into a serpent. "Be
not afraid of me," said he to his friend, "I have neither arms nor
legs, and cannot move from the spot; carry me {403} to the river."
His friend dragged him to the Missouri, being unable to carry him on
account of his length and weight. The serpent immediately swam, dived
below the surface, and called to his friend, who was mourning on the
bank, "Weep not, my friend; be comforted and go home in peace; four
things, however, I must beg of you to bring me; first, bring me a white
wolf; secondly, a polecat; thirdly, another painted red; and fourthly,
a black pipe." His friend went home, and after some time returned
with the objects required, and lamented a whole day on the bank of
the river. The serpent then appeared: "It is well that you have kept
your word," said he; "you will go to war and kill as many enemies as
you have brought objects to me. But first come here and lament, for I
am medicine for all futurity." The Indian went out the same day and
killed an enemy; but the serpent had previously told him that its head
would be at the old Mandan village, and its tail reach to the mouth of
the Yellow Stone River; that with one ear it would be able to hear to
the distance of the Maison du Chien, a hill in the prairie two days'
journey from the north bank of the Missouri, and with the other to the
Crête Côte, likewise two days' journey from the other bank. The friend
went four times to war, and each time killed an enemy. The Manitaries,
who firmly believe this story, still go to the river when the fancy
strikes them, and set up an offering. They relate that a man once went
to the river to see the serpent; he lamented for a long time, at length
it appeared, on which he called it his father. But the serpent said,
"You are not my son; I have only one son, whose name is----, he who has
no arms; but you are the son of him who shall be chief of the village
to which I have destined him. When you ride out to hunt the buffalo
you will kill your enemies, and some of your people will likewise be
killed."

In cases of difficult parturition, which, however, seldom occur, they
are accustomed to give the medicine man one, two, or even four horses.
He comes to the hut of the lying-in woman, smokes with her husband,
then takes a fox or wolf skin cap, and strokes the woman with it on
the back, or some other part of the body, singing, and rattling the
schischikué. Often he touches or rubs her with a tortoise shell, as the
Botocudos in Brazil do, often merely with a feather.

Like the Mandans they sometimes keep owls in their huts, which they
consider as soothsayers, and whose notes they pretend to understand.
This is the large grey owl, without doubt the _Strix Virginiana_. The
war eagle (_Aquila chrysactos_) is likewise kept alive for the sake
of the tail feathers, which they so highly prize. Some individuals
among them have strange superstitious ideas and practices; thus, a
certain man smokes very slowly, no person is allowed to speak nor
to move a single limb of his body, except to take hold of the pipe.
Neither women, children, nor dogs, are suffered to remain in the hut
while he is smoking, and some one is always stationed to keep the door.
If, however, there are exactly seven persons present to smoke, all
these precautionary measures are done away with, and they may smoke
as quickly as they please. {404} When he clears his pipe and shakes
the ashes into the fire, it blazes up, doubtless because he puts some
gunpowder, or similar combustible, into the pipe. When any person has
a painful or a diseased place, the same man puts his pipe upon it and
smokes. On these occasions he does not swallow the smoke, as is the
Indian custom, but affirms that he can extract the disorder by his
smoking, which he pretends to seize with his hand, and to throw into
the fire.

The division of the year into months is not very dissimilar from that
of the Mandans, though I have never been able to obtain two accounts
which precisely correspond. But little is to be said of the hunting
and war of the Manitaries which has not been already related of the
Mandans. They are reported as being very skilful in making the cabri
parks, which, in the month of April, they can do in half a day, though
they have not made any such for some time past. The skin of the cabri
is used for shoes.

The Manitaries are at present friendly towards the Whites in the
vicinity of the Missouri; but, if a white man happens to encounter
one of their war parties in the prairie, he is generally plundered.
In the north, on the Red River, they often act in a hostile manner to
the Whites and Half-breeds residing there. Their enemies properly so
called are the Blackfeet, the Assiniboins, the Sioux, the Pawnees, the
Arikkaras, the Shiennes or Chayennes, the Crees, and the Arrapahos;
their allies are the Mandans and the Crows.

All these Indians treat the bodies of their slain enemies in the most
barbarous manner. Charbonneau remembers that the Manitaries, for
several months, kept the body of an Assiniboin, who was killed in the
winter, which they daily used as a mark to shoot at. Mutilation is very
common among them. Want of feeling towards their prisoners is common to
all uncivilized people; the nations of hunters especially do not regard
the tortures of living creatures; and the Brazilian savage does not
in this respect differ from the North American, and the Gaucho in the
south of this continent, or, indeed, from man in a state of nature in
every part of the habitable globe.

The Manitaries appear to have but a very slight acquaintance with
medicine; they mostly have recourse to the drum, the schischikué, and
the singing of the medicine men, for the cure of diseases. As a remedy
for wounds they burn scented grass (_Anthoxanthum odoratum_), hold
their hands in the smoke, and then, at some distance, over the wound,
after which they lay tallow upon it. The cure of some men who recovered
after being scalped, and many large scars on the bodies of these
Indians, are proofs of the natural vigour of their constitutions. The
medicine men have a particular song, without words, which is employed
as the last resource to recover a person at the point of death. The
magician alone then sings, accompanied by his schischikué.

The Manitaries always lay their dead upon stages or scaffolds. As the
lord of life is displeased when they quarrel and kill each other, those
who do so are buried in the earth, that they {405} may be no longer
seen. In this case a buffalo's head is laid upon the grave, in order
that the buffalo herds may not keep away, for, if they were to smell
the wicked, they might remove and never return. The good are laid upon
stages, that they may be seen by the lord of life.

The language of the Manitaries is very different from that of the
Mandans, and is far more difficult to pronounce correctly. Like that,
it has many gutturals, especially the _ch_, as in Dutch and German.
The difficulty of the pronunciation lies chiefly in the accent. What
may in German be expressed in a few words, requires several; a proof
of the poverty of the language. Lewis and Clarke say--"the dialect of
the Mandans differs widely from those of the Arikkaras and Manitaries;
but their long residence near each other has insensibly blended their
manners, and occasioned some approximation in language, especially in
objects of daily occurrence." This is correct, for I was assured by
both nations that, when they first lived together, their languages were
totally different, and respectively unintelligible to each other.

FOOTNOTES:

[335] Consult Matthews, _Hidatsa_, pp. 33, 34, on the origin of these
names. The Minitaree tradition relates that when they reached the
east bank of the Missouri, the latter inquired who they were. Not
understanding, the newly-arrived tribe supposed they were asked what
was wished, to which they replied "minitari"--to cross the water.
Thereupon the Mandan gave the new-comers this name. See also _Original
Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition_, v, p. 348.--ED.

[336] For the Crow and Minitaree legend of the separation of the
two branches of the tribe, see Matthews, _Hidatsa_, pp. 39, 40. The
Minitaree name for the Crows signified "They who refused the paunch"
(_i. e._, of the buffalo). According to Lewis and Clark (_Original
Journals_, v, p. 297), "they quarreled about a buffalo, and two bands
left the village and went into the plains, (those two bands are now
known by the title Pounch [Paunch] and Crow Indians.)" See also
_Original Journals_, vi, pp. 103, 104, where the Paunch Indians are
made a separate band. This was probably the division of the Crows known
as Aelekaweah. See Smithsonian Institution _Report_, 1885, part ii, p.
113.--ED.

[337] For the site of these villages see our volume xxii, p. 300, note
326.--ED.

[338] For the Botocudo see our volume xxii, p. 219, note 132.--ED.

[339] See his portrait, which Maximilian calls "a striking
resemblance," in Plate 57, in the accompanying atlas, our volume
xxv.--ED.

[340] See Plate 59, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[341] La Vérendrye (_Canadian Archives_, 1889, p. 21), speaking of
these feasts, says: "They are for the most part great eaters; are eager
for feasts. They brought me every day more than twenty dishes of wheat,
beans, and pumpkins, all cooked. Mr. de la Marque, who did not hate
feasts, went to them continually with my children."--ED.

[342] See Plate 60, in the accompanying atlas, our volume xxv.--ED.

[343] The Mandans affirm, that the Manitaries adopted from them their
veneration for the white buffalo cow, and attribute the origin of this
custom to the following circumstance:--When the Manitaries, after
crossing the river, first met with them, the Mandan chief exclaimed,
"I am chief, and my name is the Buffalo Robe with the Beautiful Hair!"
to which the Manitari chief replied, "That is likewise my name," for
they both wore white robes. The numerous Indians now proceeded in a
body to hunt the buffalo. When the Manitari asked, "Will the Mandans
follow their chief?" the Mandan replied, "As a sign that I speak the
truth, all my people shall go over the summit of yonder hill." Hereupon
he spread out his robe on the top of the hill, the whole nation passed
over it, and each man took away a tuft of the hair. Two very old men
came last, and, when they approached the two chiefs, one of them said,
"All who have preceded us have taken some of the hair of the robe,
but we will take the robe itself." So saying, he threw it over his
shoulders, and since that time the white buffalo skin is highly valued
among the Manitaries.--MAXIMILIAN.

[344] Compare Matthews, _Hidatsa_, pp. 47, 48, where the object
of greatest reverence is said to be the "First Made," or "Old Man
Immortal." See also Henry's account of the Minitaree creation myth in
_Henry-Thompson Journals_, i, pp. 351, 352.--ED.

[345] Compare with this account of the future state that given in
James's _Long's Expedition_, our volume xv, p. 65.--ED.

[346] See our volume xv, p. 63. The Wolf chief is noted in Bradbury's
_Travels_, our volume v, p. 163, note 99.--ED.

[347] Related in our volume xv, pp. 59, 60. Heart River, as the
original Mandan home and probably the site of the Minitaree's settling
among them, acquired something of a sacred character in the eyes of
both tribes; see _Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition_,
i, p. 201. The present sacred seat is near Knife River, being a cavern
rather than a hill, and known as the "House of the Infants." Matthews,
_Hidatsa_, p. 51.--ED.

[348] These myths are related in our volume xv, pp. 63, 64.--ED.

[349] The corn dance is described in our volume xv, pp. 127, 128.
It is not analogous to the celebrated green-corn dance of the Creek
Indians, for which see A. S. Gatschet, _Migration Legend of the Creek
Indians_ (Philadelphia, 1884), pp. 181, 182. The latter is, in essence,
a thanksgiving for the first fruits, the former a ceremony to secure
the fertilization of seed-corn. Catlin (_North American Indians_ pp.
188-190), describes another Minitaree dance upon the harvest of the
corn, which he thinks bears resemblance to that of the Creeks.--ED.

[350] See the description of this festival in our volume xv, pp.
61-63. Matthews (_Hidatsa_, pp. 45-47) thinks that Maximilian is
here describing the Dahkipe (or Nahkipe), a ceremony analogous in
its tortures to the Okippe of the Mandan, but in allegory radically
different, that of the Minitaree being a preparation for bravery in
war. Scarcely a Minitaree is to be seen without the wales made by
some form of self-torture; see _Henry-Thompson Journals_, i, pp.
363-365.--ED.

[351] Serpent worship had much vogue among many North American tribes.
The Algonquian believed in a great serpent in the Great Lakes which
raised storms, and destroyed canoes. Among Siouan tribes the snake was
a holy or at least mysterious being. See Dorsey, "Siouan Cults," p.
366. Upon the whole subject of serpent worship consult Brinton, _Myths
of the New World_, pp. 129-143.--ED.



CHAPTER XXVII

A FEW WORDS RESPECTING THE ARIKKARAS


The Arikkaras on the Missouri are a tribe which, many years ago,
separated from the Pawnees, and settled on the Lower Missouri, where
they inhabited two villages.[352] At the time of Lewis and Clarke's
travels these Indians lived on friendly terms with the Whites; but, in
consequence of subsequent misunderstandings, they became their most
inveterate enemies, and killed all the traders who ventured into the
vicinity of their territory. After they had defeated the keel-boats of
General Ashley, and the unsuccessful expedition of Colonel Leavenworth,
they became more insolent than ever; and, as they had no longer
any prospect of trading on the Missouri, and other circumstances
unfavourable to them took place, they removed, in the year 1832, and
settled at a great distance in the prairie, where they are said to
dwell, on the road to Santa Fe, above the sources of the river La
Platte. Their villages on the Missouri have been entirely abandoned and
desolate since that time.[353]

The Arikkaras are tall, robust, well-made men; some of them are
nearly six feet (Paris measure) in height. Their physiognomy does not
materially differ from that of the neighbouring tribes, especially
of the Mandans and Manitaries, and their women are said to be the
handsomest on the Missouri, but also the most licentious.[354] Their
costume is likewise not very different from that of the Mandans;
their robes are mostly painted of a reddish-brown colour. They have
renounced the costume, and the greater part of the customs of the
Pawnees. At the time when they left the Missouri, they amounted to
between 3000 and 4000 souls, of whom 500 were warriors, and possessed
a great many horses and dogs; they can now bring 600 men into the
field, and are still a warlike people. Ross Cox, in his journey to
the Columbia, calls them a powerful tribe, which is, perhaps, rather
too strong an expression. The most detailed accounts respecting
this people, with which I am acquainted, are in Brackenridge's and
Bradbury's travels;[355] yet they are very meagre, though the former
had opportunities of observing them for {407} some time, on friendly
terms. Perhaps he had not an interpreter sufficiently acquainted with
the language. I will state what I have learned from some Mandans,
especially from Mato-Topé, who lived a long time among the Arikkaras.

Brackenridge gives an imperfect description of the construction of
their huts, which does not much differ from that of the Mandans. This
writer says that the villages of the Arikkaras were very dirty, and
compares them with some old European towns. As it must, however, be
supposed that Brackenridge had never seen European towns, where the
police are more strict than in American towns, his comparison does not
hold good. Both Brackenridge and Bradbury were very well received by
these people, and some white men were living among them, who served
as interpreters. When a stranger was once in their villages he was
hospitably treated, and invited to many of their festivals. When he
left, however, he had to be on his guard, especially against the war
parties, who seldom spared a white man.

The agriculture of the Arikkaras was the same as that of their
neighbours. In the education of their children they are said to have
been more strict, for, when the children behaved ill, they were
severely corrected. Among the more northern nations also, a better
system prevails than among the Mandans and Manitaries: it frequently
happens, among the Chippeways, that, when a boy rudely passes before
the older men, they take him by the arm and give him a good thrashing.
If a young man is idle, and will not go hunting, his father has been
known to drive him before him a mile, beating him all the way, and then
telling him that, if he returns without any game, he shall be punished
still more severely. Like most of the Indian tribes, the Arikkaras
have their bands, or unions, and likewise distinct dances. They are as
follows:--

1. The band of the bears. It consists of old men, who, in their dance,
wear some parts of the bear's skin, a necklace of bears' claws, &c.

2. The mad wolves. They wear a wolf's skin on their back, with a slit,
through which they put the head and arm.

3. The foxes wear fox skins on different parts of their body.

4. The mad dogs carry a schischikué in their hand when they dance.

5. The mad bulls. These are the most distinguished men, and wear, in
their dance, the skin of a buffalo's head, with the horns.

6. The soldiers.

Besides these bands, the Arikkaras have, at least, seven different
dances.

1. The hot dance, or the black arms.

2. The dance of the bird's egg. They wear, on the forehead, the skin of
a screech-owl.

3. The dance of the youngest child. Both the young and the old bands
may have this dance, and wear, at the back of the head, a piece of
swan's skin, with a crow's feather.

4. The dance of the prairie foxes. They wear a kind of apron of red or
blue cloth; behind, {408} the skin of a prairie fox; short leggins,
just above the knee; at the back of the head, two crows' tails crossed;
and on their leggins, bells, which they make themselves out of tin
kettles.

5. The white earth dance. They wear a cap made of ermines' tails,
hanging down; at the back of their head, two war eagles' feathers
crossed; at the small of the back, a piece of leather like a tail,
ornamented with strips of ermine and bells; they carry a large
bow-lance, decorated with the feathers of the war eagles. Their robe is
trimmed with fox skin and strips of ermine.

6. The dance of the spirits. A large cap of owls' feathers hangs down
behind, and goes even round the body. They have a war pipe suspended
round the neck, and in their hands the skin of their medicine animal.

7. The dance of the extended robe. If anything is given to them during
this dance, they receive it with their guns pointed at the giver. They
dress as if they were going to battle, and only the bravest warriors
are admitted among them. If any one accepts a present, another, who has
performed more exploits, pushes him away, enumerates his own deeds,
till another comes and treats him in the same manner, and so on, till,
at length, the bravest takes possession of the gift. They imitate in
their dance the various attitudes of fighting, and, with one arm, hold
their robe before them like a shield, as if to defend themselves. All
the wounds they have received are marked on the body with red paint.
These bands and dances are bought and sold in the same manner as among
the Manitaries, Crows, and Mandans. The purchasers are obliged to offer
and give up their wives to the discretion of the fathers, that is, the
sellers.

Their games are nearly the same as among the other tribes. The skin
of a young white buffalo cow is likewise highly valued by them. They
have the same distinctions as the Mandans for their military exploits,
and the partisans observe the same ceremonies, only the Arikkara
partisan has a head of maize at his breast, which they consider as a
great medicine. If they are obliged to retreat they never throw aside
their girdle, as the other nations do, however hot the weather may be.
It is said that when many Arikkaras are together they do not fight
very well, but when there are only a few they show much more bravery.
No tribe has killed so many white men as the Arikkaras. The Pawnees
formerly tortured their prisoners, till their chief, Petulescharu, as
Say relates,[356] abolished the custom,[357] and the Arikkaras likewise
renounced it when they separated from the Pawnees.

Their religious ideas and traditions are in general the same as those
of the Mandans. They give to the first man a name which is likewise
the appellation of the wolf. They formerly reverenced the ark of the
first man, but they have given up that custom. Like all the Indians
on the Missouri, they have their medicine feasts and all manner of
superstitious practices. The Okippe, properly speaking, is not known
among them; they torture themselves, however, though {409} not so
cruelly as their neighbours. All kinds of animals are considered by
them as medicine, and they choose it as the other tribes do. They
never fast so long as the Mandans and the Manitaries; at the most for
one day. When they would do penance and kill buffaloes, they never
load their horses with the flesh of the animals they may have killed,
but often bring home a large quantity, on their head and back, from a
great distance. He who bears the greatest burden sometimes gives the
flesh to a poor old man, who then sings medicine songs for him, in
order that he may have much success in hunting and in war, and by such
actions he acquires great esteem. The lord of life told the Arikkaras
that, if they gave to the poor in this manner, and laid burdens upon
themselves, they would be successful in all their undertakings. It is
said that they have given up all their former religious traditions
except the last. This may, perhaps, be partly ascribed to the influence
of the Whites--a conjecture which occurs to unprejudiced persons
when they consider the simple mythology of the Mandans. The maize is
one of the principal medicines of the Arikkaras, for which they show
their reverence in various ways. One of their greatest medicine feasts
is that of the bird case, which they have faithfully retained; they
esteem this medicine as highly as Christians do the Bible. It is the
general rule and law, according to which they govern themselves. This
instrument is hung up in the medicine lodge of their villages, and
accompanies them wherever they go. It consists of a four-cornered case,
made of parchment, six or seven feet long, but narrow, strengthened
at the top with a piece of wood. It opens at one end, and seven
schischikués of gourds are fixed at the top, ornamented with a tuft
of horse-hair dyed red. See the annexed[358] woodcut, designed by
Mato-Topé. Inside of the box there are stuffed birds of all such kinds
as they can procure; that is to say, only such species as are here in
summer. Besides these the box contains a large and very celebrated
medicine pipe, which is smoked only on extraordinary occasions and
great festivals. If an Arikkara has even killed his brother, and then
smoked this pipe, all ill-will towards him must be forgotten. With
this singular apparatus a ceremony is performed as soon as the seed
is sown and the first gourds are ripe. The blossoms of the gourd are
guarded, that no one may injure them; and, as soon as the first fruit
is ripe, some distinguished warriors are chosen, who must come to the
assembly. Articles of value are presented to them; the first fruit is
cut and given them to eat. For this they must take down and open the
bird case, on which occasion medicine songs are sung, and the large
pipe is smoked. In the summer-time, {410} when the trees are green,
they take an evergreen tree, such as a red cedar, peel the trunk, and
paint it with blue, red, and white rings, and then plant it before the
medicine lodge; the case is taken down, and the ceremony performed.
This bird case is of special efficacy in promoting the growth of the
maize and other plants; and he who carries this magic case to a great
distance, and with considerable exertion, obtains the highest place
in the favour of the lord of life. The strongest men among these
Indians are said sometimes to carry a whole buffalo, without the head
and the intestines, to present it as an offering to the bird case.
This offering is considered very meritorious; and, when they have
made it four times, it is believed that they will never be in want of
buffaloes. At the beginning of the world, the Mandans, it is said,
inhabited the village of Ruhptare, together with the Arikkaras. At that
time the lord of life came to them in the form of a child, and directed
them to celebrate the Okippe every year, like the Mandans, but not
their ceremony with the bird case. Quarrels and affrays arose on this
subject between the Mandans of Ruhptare and the Arikkaras, during which
the lord of life remained among the former. He thought of going to the
other party, which he was advised not to do, because they would kill
him; to which he answered, "They cannot kill me." He then went to a
stream, took out of it a piece of salt, with which he rubbed his whole
body, and threw a part of it among the Arikkaras, by which a great
many of them were poisoned. The two parties afterwards separated; the
Arikkaras retained their bird case, the Mandans the Okippe, as the lord
of life had enjoined them. In consequence of this event the Arikkaras
were angry with the lord of life, and called him "the prairie wolf."

This bird case is likewise a calendar for the Arikkaras, for they
reckon the seven cold months by the seven schischikués, beginning to
count by the middle one for the coldest month. On the left hand they
reckon three months till the warm weather, which lasts five months,
and which they pass over, to begin at the end of the schischikués with
the other cold months, proceeding to the centre where the greatest
degree of cold recurs. Leaving out the five months of warm weather,
May, June, July, August, and September, those which are reckoned by the
schischikués are--

1. The month in which the leaves fall; October.

2. The month of the nose of the little serpent; November.

3. The month of the nose of the great serpent; December.

4. The month of the seven cold nights; January.

5. The month which kills or carries off men; February.

6. The month in which the wild geese return; March.

7. The month in which vegetation begins; April.

The Arikkaras practise a number of strange tricks and juggleries.
They are remarkably dexterous in sleight-of-hand performances, which
they are said to have learned from a celebrated {412} juggler. They
institute medicine feasts at which entire comedies are performed. One,
for instance, disguised in a bear's skin, with the head and claws,
imitates the motions and the voice of the animal so accurately that
he cannot be distinguished from a real bear. He is shot; the wound
is plainly to be seen, and blood flows; he drops down and dies; the
skin is stripped off, and at last the man appears safe and sound. On
another occasion, a man's head is cut off with a sabre and carried
out. The body remains bleeding, without the head, and this headless
trunk dances merrily about. The head is then replaced, but with the
face at the back. The man continues to dance, but the head is seen in
its right position, and the man who was beheaded dances as if nothing
had happened to him. The bleeding wound is rubbed with the hand, it
disappears, and all is in order again. Men are shot; the blood flows;
the wounds are rubbed, and they come to life again. The Arikkaras
perform all these tricks with such consummate address, that the
illusion is complete, so that most of the French Canadians believe in
the reality of all these wonders. No Arikkara will break a marrow-bone
in his hut; this must always be done in the open air; they believe
that, if they neglect this precaution, their horses will break their
legs in the prairie.

These people have at present a great many enemies. The Mandans, the
Manitaries, the Crows, the Sioux, the Blackfeet, the Assiniboins, the
Arrapahos, and the Pawnees.

The Arikkaras affirm that God said to them that they were made of
earth, and must return to earth; on which account they bury their
dead in the ground. Various things are sometimes cast into the graves
of eminent men; the corpse is dressed in the best clothes, the face
painted red, and sometimes a good horse is killed on the grave. If the
deceased has left a son, he receives his father's medicine apparatus;
if not, it is buried with him in the grave.

The language of the Arikkaras differs totally from those of the Mandans
and Manitaries; there is more harshness in the sound; the guttural
_ch_ occurs frequently, and there are very many German terminations,
such as _natsch_, _ratsch_, _ass_, _oss_, _uss_, &c. &c., which are
much harsher than the terminations of the Manitari language. Germans
pronounce it easily and correctly. Many words again end with the
syllable, _hahn_, _rahn_, _wahn_, pronounced as in German. Their manner
of giving names to their children does not differ from that of the
Mandans and other Indians of the Missouri, and the western plains at
the foot of the Rocky Mountains. They are often harmonious, and are
changed on special occasions, such, for instance, as having performed
some feat of valour, when arrived at manhood.

FOOTNOTES:

[352] For an account of the Arikkara see Bradbury's _Travels_, in our
volume v, p. 113, note 76.--ED.

[353] See _ante_, notes 175-178.--ED.

[354] See Brackenridge's description of the Arikkara, and the chastity
of the young women, in our volume vi, pp. 120-132.--ED.

[355] Volumes v and vi of our series.--ED.

[356] See our volume xv, pp. 150-157.--ED.

[357] From John Irving's Indian Sketches it appears that Petulescharu
did not succeed in wholly abolishing this custom.--MAXIMILIAN.

_Comment by Ed._ John T. Irving, Jr., accompanied United States
Commissioner Henry L. Ellsworth, who was sent (1833) to arrange with
the Pawnee for the well-being of the remnant of the Delaware tribe,
that had been removed to the west of the Mississippi. His adventures,
entitled _Indian Sketches taken during an Expedition to the Pawnee
Tribes_, appeared in Philadelphia in 1835.--ED.

[358] See p. 355 for illustration of Arikkara bird-cage gourds.--ED.



Transcriber's Notes:


    Simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors were
    silently corrected.

    Anachronistic and non-standard spellings retained as printed.

    Italics markup is enclosed in _underscores_.





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