26th of October 1804 wind from the S. E we Set the Ricara Chief on Shore with Some Mandans, many on each Side veiwing of us, we took in 2 Chiefs (Coal and Big Man)  and halted a feiw minits at their Camps,  on the L. S. fortified in their way, here we Saw a trader from the Ossinniboin River Called McCracken,  this man arrived 9 day ago with goods to trade for horses & Roabs one other man with him— we Camped on the L. Side a Short distanc below the 1st mandan village on the L. S.  many men women & Children flocked down to See us— Capt Lewis walked to the Village with the Chief and interpeters, my Rheumitism increasing prevented me from going also, and we had Deturmined that both would not leave the boat at the Same time untill we Knew the Desposition of the Nativs, Some Chieef visited me & I Smoked with them— they appeared delighted with the Steel Mill  which we were obliged to use, also with my black Servent, Capt Lewis returned late—
Set out early wind from the S W proceeded on Saw numbers of the Mandins on Shore, we Set the Ricare Chief on Shore, and we proceeded on to the Camp of two of their Grand Chiefs where we delayed a fiew minits, with the Chiefs and proceeded on takeing two of their Chiefs on board & Some of the heavy articles of his house hole, Such as earthen pots & Corn, proceeded on, at this Camp Saw a [NB: Mr] McCracken Englishmon from the N. W [NB: Hudson Bay] Company this mana Came nine Days ago to trade for horses & Buffalo robes,— one other man Came with him. the Indians Continued on the banks all day— but little wood on this part of the river, many Sand bars and bad places, water much devided between them—
for the 26th. Octr.  we came too and Camped on the L. S. about ½ a mile below the 1st. Manddin Town on the L. S. Soon after our arrival many men women & Children flocked down to See us, Capt Lewis walked to the village with the principal Chiefs and our interpters, my rhumatic Complaint increasing I could not go— if I was well only one would have left the Boat & party untill we new the Disposition of the 〈party〉 Inds. I Smoked with the Cheifs who Came after. Those people apd much pleased with the Corn mill which we were obliged to use, & was fixed in the boat.
|N. 45° W.||1||me. to a tree in the bend to the Larboard Side|
|N. 70° W.||1||me. to a pt. on the S. S.|
|S. 26 W.||2||mes. to a wood in the bend Camp of Mandan L. S.|
|West||1||mes. to to a tree in bind L. S. passed a Small Creek|
|N. 27° W.||3||mes. to the pt. Fort Mandan Stard Passing a bluff of indft.
Coal L. S.
|N. 55° W.||1||me. to a pt. on the L. S.|
|S. 60° W.||2||me. to the 1st Village of the Mandins Situated on the L. Side
in an open Plain
Friday 26th Oct. a clear morning. we Set off eairly. passed a large willow Bottom on S. S. high land on N. S. we proceeded on at 10 oClock we halted at a hunting camp of the Mandens, consisting of men women and children. here we found an Irishman  who was here tradeing with them from the N. W. Company of Traders. we delayd about an hour with them, & proceedd on. took 2 of the natives on board with their Baggage in order to go to their Village. the Greater part of that Camp kept along Shore Going up to the villages. we Camped on the S. S. below the 1st village  at an old field where the manden nation had raised corn the last Summer, & Sun flowers &.C. of which they eat with corn. Capt. Lewis walked up to the village this evening. found the nation verry friendly,—&.C.
Friday 26th. We set out early and had a clear morning; passed a large Willow bottom on the south and high land on the north side. The Mandan Indian left us early in the morning. At 10, we came to a hunting party of the Mandans, consisting of men, women and children. There was an Irishman with them, who had come from the North West Company of traders. We remained here an hour, and then proceeded. A number of the Indians kept along the shore opposite the boat all day, on the south side, on which side we encamped. Some of them remained with us till 12 at night and then returned to their village.
Friday October 26th This morning we had clear & pleasant Weather, We set off early, at 10 oClock we came too, where a party of the Mandan Indians were hunting, & they were encamped in a River bottom which was cover'd with heavy Timber, on the South side of the River,— We found with those Indians an Irishman that belonged to the Northwest Company of Traders. We stop'ed with those Indians about one hour, and then proceeded on our way 'till Night, and encamped, on the South side of the River, Some of the Mandan Indians who we found a hunting this day came and staid with us this night
In addition to their farming and hunting, the Mandans were important as middlemen in intertribal trade. They were generally peaceful and accommodating in their relations with whites, as with Lewis and Clark, and were less aggressive in their relations with other Indians than their allies the Hidatsas. The presence among them of prominent men of Cheyenne and Arikara birth suggests a relatively low degree of ethnocentrism. They had a rich ceremonial and religious life, of which Lewis and Clark saw only a small part.
The tribe had suffered in the smallpox epidemic of the 1780s; the epidemic of 1837 reduced them to a handful. Thereafter they lived by necessity with the Hidatsas and inter-married with them. At the present time there are believed to be no full-blooded Mandans, though they are counted as one of the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara) at Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota. Hodge, 1:796–99; Ronda (LCAI), 67–112; Bowers (MSCO); Tyrrell, 171–80; Meyer; Catlin (NAI), 80–184, 203–7; Williams; Masson , 1:327–93; Abel (CJ); Coues (NLEH), 1:323–403.(back)