October 28, 1804
37.77% Complete
Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

October 28, 1804


28th of October 1804    the wind So hard from the S. W.    We could not meet the Indians in Councils, those who visited us we Sent to the nearest village, Consulted the Black Cat M Chief [1] about the Chiefs of the Different Villages, who gave his Oppinion to us.


a windey Day, fair and Clear    many of the Grosvantres [(]or Big Bellies) and Watersons Came to See us and hear the Council    the wind being So violently hard from the S. W. provented our going into Councel, (indeed the Chiefs of the Manodans from the lower Village Could not Cross, we made up the presents and entertained Several of the Curious Cheifs whome, wished to See the Boat which was verry Curious to them viewing it as great medison, [NB: (whatever is mysterious or unintelligible is called great medicine)] as they also viewed my black Servent    The Black Cat Grand Chief of the Mandans, Capt Lewis & my Self with an Interpeter walked up the river about 1½ miles    our views were to examine the Situation & Timbers for a fort, we found the Situation good but the Timber Scerce, or at least Small timbr Such as would [NB: not] answer us—,

we Cunsulted the Grand Chief in respect to the other Chiefs of the Defferent Villages    he gave the names of 12—    George Drewyer Cought 2 Beaver above our Camp last night, we had Several presents from the Woman of Corn boild homney, Soft Corn &c. &c.    I prosent a jar [NB: earthern jar glazed] to the Chiefs wife who recved it with much pleasure our men verry Chearfull this evening—    we Sent the Cheifs of the Gross Vantres to Smoke a pipe with the Grand Chef of the Mandins in his Village, & told them we would Speek tomorrow.


Sunday 28th Oct.    a clear morning    all things made ready to hold a counsel    the wind blew verry high from the N. W. So the Indians did not assemble, but the prinsible men of the tribe called the Big Belleys [2] came down to this village in order to be at the counsel.    the form of these Savvages burrying their dead is after they have disceased they fix a Scaffel on & raised 4 forks abt 8 or 10 feet from the Ground.    they lye the dead body on the Sd. Scaffel Raped up in a Buffalow Robe a little distance from their villages—    their villages are close compact & picketed in.    when any of them loose a partickulor friend or relation they morn and cry for Some time after.


Sunday 28th. The day was clear, and we remained here; but could not sit in council, the wind blew so violent.


Sunday October 28th    This morning, we had fine clear weather, which continued the whole day, the wind commenced blowing and blew so hard, that we could not sit in Council with the Savages, The officers had the Flag of the United States hoisted, which continued flying the whole of this day & we remain'd still at our encampment on the Beach

1. His Indian name was Posecopsahe, variously spelled. It is from the Mandan term, púskapsi, "black cat." The captains were impressed with this chief's intelligence and friendliness, and thought he would be useful to American interests. British traders found him equally hospitable and helpful, but he made a point of displaying the American flag Lewis and Clark had given him when visited by North West Company traders in 1806. He and The Coal were supposed to be rivals, so perhaps Black Cat's authority was not as supreme as the captains imagined. His residence was at Rooptahee village. Masson, 1:366–67; Coues (NLEH), 1:324–29; Wood & Thiessen, 137 n. 13, 265–66; Ronda (LCAI), 81–90, 115–16; Thwaites (EWT), 23:231–32. (back)
2. A designation for the Hidatsa Indians. See Clark's entry for October 27. (back)