August 30, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 30, 1804


30th August Thursday 1804    A Foggeie morning    I am much engagd.    after Brackfast we sent Mr. Doroun in a Perogue to the other Side i'e' L S. [2] for the Chiefs and (w]arriers of the Soues, he returned at 10 oClock with the Chiefs, at 12 oclock I finished and we delivered a Speech to the Indians expressive of the wishes of our government and explaining of what would be good for themselves, after delivering the Speech we made one grand Chief    1 2d Cheif and three third Chiefs and deliverd. to each a few articles and a Small present to the whole    the grand Chief a Parole [commission], Some wampom & a flag in addition to his present, they with Drew and we retired to dinner, Mr. Durions Sun much displeased that he could not dine with Cap Lewis and my Self—    the number of Soues present is about 70 men—    Dressed in Buffalow roabes a fiew fusees, [3] Bows and arrows, and verry much deckerated with porcupine quills, a Society of which only four remains is present, this Society has made a vow never to giv back let what will happen, out of 22 only 4 remains, those are Stout likely men who Stay by them Selves, fond of mirth and assume a degree of Superiority— [4] the air gun astonished them verry much    after night a circle was forrm around 3 fires and those Indians danced untill late, the Chiefs looked on with great dignity    much pleased with what they had, we retired late and went to bead.    wind hard from the South.


a verry thick fog this morning    after Prepareing Some presents for the Chiefs which we 〈made〉 intended make by giving Meadals, and finishing a Speech what we intend'd to 〈mak〉 give them, we Sent Mr. Dorion in a Perogue for the Chiefs & warreirs to a Council under an Oak tree near wher we had a flag flying on a high flag Staff    at 12 OClock we met and Cap L. Delivered the Speach & thin made one great Chiff by giving him a meadal & Some Cloathes one 2d. Chief & three third Chiefs in the Same way, They recvd. those thing with the goods and tobacco with pleasure    To the Grand Chief we gave a Flag and the parole [NB: (certificate)] & wampom with a hat & Chiefs Coat, we Smoked out of the pipe of peace, & the Chiefs retired to a Bo[NB: war]urey [5] made of bushes by their young men to Divide their presents and Smoke eate and Council    Capt Lewis & my Self retired to dinner and Consult about other measures—    Mr. Daurion Jr. much displeased that we did not invite him to dine with us (which he was Sorry for after wards)—    The Souix is a Stout bold looking people, (the young men hand Som) & well made, the greater part of them make use of Bows & arrows, Some fiew fusees I observe among them, not with Standing they live by the Bow & arrow, they do not Shoot So well as the Northern Indians [6]    the Warriers are Verry much deckerated with Paint Porcupin quils & feathers, large leagins & mockersons, all with buffalow roabs of Different Colours.    the Squars wore Peticoats & and a white Buffalow roabes with the black hair turned back over their necks & Sholders

I will here remark a Society which I had never before this day heard was in any nation of Indians—    four of which is at this time present and all who remain of this Band—    Those who become members of this Society must be brave active young men who take a Vow never to give back let the danger be what it may; in War Parties they always go foward without Screening themselves behind trees or any thing else    to this Vow they Strictly adheer dureing their Lives—    an instanc which happened not long Since, on a party in Crossing the R Missourie on the ice, a whole was in the ice imediately in their Course which might easily have been avoided by going around, the foremost man went on and was lost — the others wer draged around by the party—    in a battle with the 〈Crow〉 [X: Kite] Indians who inhabit the Coul Noir or black mountain [7] out of 22 of this society 18 was Killed, the remaining four was draged off by their 〈friends〉 Party    Those men are likely fellows    the Sit together Camp & Dance together—    This Society is in imitation of the Societies of the 〈de Curbo or Crow〉 [NB: 〈 (de Corbeau)〉 Kite] [8] Indians from whome they imitate—


On the Lard. Shore at the lower point of Calumet Bluff.

Observed equal Altds. of the ☉, with Sextant

  h    m      s       h    m      s
A. M. 8    14    51   P. M. 2    49    24
  "    16    22     "    50    59
  "    18      3     "    52    38

Altd. given by Sextant at time of obstn. 70° 42' —"


Thursday 30th    A foggy morning, a heavy diew last night. Shannon nor Colter did not come to us last night.    the fog remained on the River late this morning & So thick that we could not See the Indians camp on the opposite Shore.—    at about 8 oClock the fog went away. Some of the Indians Swam across the river to git Some breakfast with us, at the hour of 9 oClock the commanding officers had all things in readiness to hold a counsel with the chiefs and warries of the Souix nation, they Sent a pearogue across for them, they all [c]ame into our Camp in the most friendly manner &C    their was four of them which were always a Singing & playing on their curious Instruments which were as follows, viz.    they had each of them a Thrapple [10] made of a fresh buffelow hide dressed white with Some Small Shot in it and a little bunch of hair tied on it, the head man of the[m] was painted white, the rest of them were painted different colours.    when they arived at our Camp & took the Commanding officers by the hand    2 Guns was fired from our bow peace.    the colours displaying &-C—    Each man of our party Gave the 4 men of Band a peace of Tobacco, they Sang around our camp during the time of the counsel. Each man of those Musicians had War hoop    it was made of thickest buffelow hides dressed white covered with thin Goat Skin dressd. white & ornamented with porcupine quills & feathers &.C. and in Such a defensive manner that a M. Ball could not penetrate through it    they wore them on their Backs when at practice, But when in attack at war they wear them on their right arm tied fast, the talk was finished by our Comdg. officers about 4 oClock, they made five Chiefs & Gave Each a Medel & Gave the whole Some preasants, they Gave the Grand Chief which they call in Indian weucha, [11] La librator in french, a red laced coat & a fine cocked hat & red feather & an american flag & a white Shirt &.C. all of which he was much pleased with, they recd. all their presents verry thankfully, & divided them among one another &c—    the captains Gave the young Boys Some beeds to Shoot for with their Bows & arrows, their was one in particular that beat all the rest. Stuck his arrow everry time in the mark &.C—.    after dark we Made a large fire for the Indians to have a war dance, all the young men prepared themselves for the dance. Some of them painted themselves in curious manner    Some of the Boys had their faces & foreheads all painted white &C    a drum was prepared, the Band began to play on their little Instruments, & the drum beat & they Sang.    the young men commenced dancing around the fire.    it always began with a houp & hollow & ended with the Same, and in the intervales, one of the warries at a time would rise with his weapen & Speak of what he had done in his day, & what warlike actions he had done &.c.    this they call merrit &.C    they would confess how many they had killed & of what nation they were off & how many horses they had Stole &-C—they Camped along Side of us & behaved honestly & cleaver &C. &C—

N. B. The Chiefs had time untill next morning to give answers to the questions which had been asked them by Capt. Lewis & Capt. Clark

1st that they Should make peace with their neighbours the Zottous, & Missouris, as for the Mahars and them are at peace with each other.

2nd that the head Chief We-ucha and four or five more of their nation Should go to visit the Seat of Government in the ensuing Spring, that they might See their Great Father the presidant & receive his Counsel &C to which they agreed to and expresed a wish to see their G. father.


Thursday 30th.    A foggy morning, and heavy dew. At nine o'clock the Indians came over the river. Four of them, who were musicians, went backwards and forwards, through and round our camp, singing and making a noise. After that ceremony was over they all sat in council. Captain Lewis and Captain Clarke made five of them chiefs, and gave them some small presents. At dark Captain Lewis gave them a grained deer skin to stretch over a half keg for a drum. When that was ready they all assembled round some fires made for the purpose: two of them beat on the drum, and some of the rest had little bags of undressed skins dried, with beads or small pebbles in them, with which they made a noise. These are their instruments of musick. Ten or twelve acted as musicians, while twenty or thirty young men and boys engaged in the dance, which was continued during the night. No Squaws made their appearance among this party.


Thursday 30th    the fog is So thick on the river this morning that we could not See across the river, untill late in the morning.    about 9 oClock the Indians was brought across the river in our pearogue    our Captains counseled with them read a Speech to them, & made 5 of them chiefs & Gave them all Some Marchandize &c—    &c—    they Received them verry thankfully divided them out among themselves, & play on their juze harps, Sung &c.    they Boys Shot with their Bows and arrows for Beeds and appeared to be merry, and behaved well among our parte[y].—    Capt. Lewis Shot his air gun    told them that their was medician in hir & that She would doe Great execution, they were all amazed at the curiosity, & as Soon as he had Shot a fiew times they all ran hastily to See the Ball holes in the tree    they Shouted aloud at the Site of the execution She would doe &c.    The Captains Gave them provisions &c.    as Soon as it was dark a fire was made    a drum was repaired among them.    the young men painted themselves different ways.    Some with their faces all white others with their faces part white round their forehead, & breasts &c—    then they commenced dancing in curious manner to us.    their was a party that Sung and kept time with the drumm.    they all danced or all their young men espacilly.    they Gave a houp before they commenced dancing, they would dance around the fire for Some time and then houp, & then [r]est a fiew minutes.    one of the warrirs would git up in the centre with his arms & point towards the different nations, & make a Speech, telling what he had done, how many he had killed & how many horses he had Stole &c—    all this make them Great men & fine warrirs, the 〈greater〉 Larger rogues the best men &c or the Bravest men & them that kills most gets the greatest honoured among them.

Thursday August 30th    This morning was so foggy that we could not see across the River, untill it was late, about 9 o'Clock A. M. the Indians were brought across the River in a pettyauger.    Our Captains held a council with them & deliver'd a speech to them, (which was interpreted by a frenchmen) [12]    our Captains made 5 of them chiefs, and gave them medals, On the Talk being finish'd, they gave them all presents of Goods & they thankfully receiv'd them

They put all the presents that they got, together, and divided them among their whole party equally.—    The Indians after the goods were divided, was very merry; they play'd on the Jews harps & danced for us for Beads that we gave them.—    they behaved well to us.—    The Indian Boys shot with their Bows for some small trifles we gave them.—    After they had finished dancing Captain Lewis took his Air Gun and shot her off, and by the Interpreter, told them that there was medicine in her, and that she could do very great execution, They all stood amazed at this curiosity; Captain Lewis discharged the Air Gun several times, and the Indians ran hastily to see 〈if to see〉 the holes that the Balls had made which was discharged from it.    at finding the Balls had entered the Tree, they shouted a loud at the sight and the Execution that was done surprized them exceedingly.—    The shooting with the Air Gun being over, the Indians were supplied with Provisions.    As soon as dark set in, and a drum was prepared among them, The Young Indian Men painted themselves in different ways.    some of them painted their faces all over with white paint, others painted half their faces, and round their foreheads & breasts with white paint also, when they had finish'd painting they then commenced their dancing, in a curious manner before us; one party of them sung & kept time with the drum, whilst the remainder of them danced, especially the Young men commencing their dancing by a loud Whoop which they gave.—

The Indians continued to dance round the fire some time, and then would stop & whoop.    in a few minutes after some one of their Warriors would get up in the Centre, where all their Warriors stood with his Arms; and point towards where the different Indian nations lived, and make a speech, telling what feats he had done, how many he had killed, & how many Horses he had stole from them &ca    all of which among these Indians, make them great Men, and Warriors; and much esteem'd by their nation.    The dance being finish'd the Indians retir'd to their Camp.—

1. Biddle's notation at the top of this sheet, document 48 of the Field Notes, reads, "Aug. 30 to Sept. 1st." (back)
2. This appears to read "L S." but the camp was on the larboard (Nebraska) side of the river, so the "other side" must be the starboard (South Dakota) side. (back)
3. "Fusils"—the French for "musket"—probably the smoothbore Indian trade gun variously known as the Hudson's Bay "fuke," the Northwest gun, and other names. The British trading companies in Canada sold it as one of their principal trade items, and American traders copied it almost exactly. Inaccurate compared with a rifle, it was simple, sturdy, and suited to the needs of an Indian hunter who might have little opportunity for having it repaired. Russell (GEF), 104–30; Russell (FTT), 64–70; Hanson. (back)
4. One of the akicita, or warrior, societies which were a characteristic feature of Sioux and plains Indian culture. Generally each society had certain special requirements dictated by its particular "medicine"—a supernatural source of power. These groups also acted as civil police in times of peace. Hassrick, 85. (back)
5. A bower, or bowery, is a shelter made of brush. Indians often held councils in such structures, which provided shade on the treeless plains. (back)
6. Perhaps the Great Lakes tribes, or those of the Old Northwest generally, the only "Northern" Indians he would have known well at this time. (back)
7. The Crows (Corbeaux) had been driven from the Black Hills of South Dakota by the Sioux some time before this. However, the captains understood the term "Black Hills" as covering all the eastern outlying ranges of the Rockies which include the Laramie range as well. Allen, 240, 240 n. 18, 383; Hyde (IHP), 150. (back)
8. Biddle has written his emendations in red in this entry and apparently crossed out the preceding four words. (back)
9. Lewis's observation from Codex O. (back)
10. Referring to the windpipe and perhaps to the Jew's harp as noted by Whitehouse this day, but Ordway seems to describe a rattle or tambourine. (back)
11. Clark identifies the principal chief as "Shake Hand," a name that bears no apparent relation to Ordway's rendition of the Dakota or French. See Ordway's next entry for a discussion of the identity of the Indian chiefs. (back)
12. The word "frenchman" is written over an illegible erasure, perhaps the name of the interpreter. (back)