October 29, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

October 29, 1804


29th of October 1804    a fine morning    after Brackfast we were Visited by the Old Chief of the Big Bellies or me ne tar res , [1]    this Man has Given his power to his Son who is now on a war party against the Snake Indians who inhabit the Rockey Mountains, [2] the S W wind verry high—    we met in Council under an orning and our Sales Stretched round to keep out as much wind as possible & Delivered a long Speach Similar to what had been Said to the nations below, the old Chief was restless before the Speech was half ended, observed his Camp was exposed & could wait no longer &c.    at the Conclusion of the Speach we mentioned the Ricaras & requested them to make a peace & Smoke out of the Sacred Stem with their Chief which I intreduced and gave him the pipe of peace to hand around, they all Smoked with eagerness out of the pipe held by the Ricara Chief Ar-ke-tar-na-Shar    we mentioned our hands that were to be discharged here, also the roberrey commited on th 2 french men below, & requested them to answere us tomorrow, gave the Chief Small preasents and a fiew presents for each village    Shot the air gun which both Surprised and astonished the nativs, and Soon dispersed—

our Ricara Chief Came told me he wished to return to his nation tomorrow    I put him off & Said we would Send a talk by him after the Chiefs had Spoken to us—    we gave a Steel mill [3] to the mandans which was verry pleasing to them

The Chief who recved Medals to Day are as follows viz-in Council [4]

1s Mandan village Ma-too-ton ka
  1s Chief Sha-ha-ka Big White [5]
  2nd Ka-goh-ha-me little Crow [6]

2 do village Roop tar-hee
  1s & grand Chief Poss-cop-sa-he    Black Cat
  2d Chief Car-gar-no-mok-she raven man Chief

Mah har-ha village
  1s Chief Ta-tuck-co pin re has , white Buffalow Skin unfolded

Little Menetarre village
  1s Chief Omp-Se-ha-ra    Black mockerson. [7]
  2d Chief Oh-harh little Fox.

The Grand village of Manetarres, The One Eye is the principal Chief and he is out on a hunting party. [8]    we Send by the Grape all the articles for this grand Chief and all the Village what goods was intended for that Village— [9]    The Prarie got on fire and went with Such Violenc & Speed as to Catch a man & woman & burn them to Death, Several escapd. among other a Small boy who was Saved by getting under a green Buffalow Skin, this boy was half white, & the Indians Say all white flesh is medisan, they Say the grass was not burnt where the boy Sat &c. &.    this fire passed us at 8 oclock, and lookd truly tremendious.


a fair fine morning    after Brackfast we were visited by the old Cheaf of the Big bellies or [blank]    this man was old and had transfered his power to his Sun, who was then out at war against the Snake Indians who inhabit the rockey mountains—    at 10 oClock the S W. wind rose verry high, we Collected the Chiefs and Commened a Council ounder a Orning and our Sales Stretched around to Keep out as much wind as possible, we delivered a long Speech the Substance of which Similer to what we had Delivered to the nations below.    the old Chief of the Grossanters was verry restless before the Speech was half ended    observed that he Could not wait long that his Camp was exposed to the hostile Indians, &c. &.    he was rebuked by one of the Chiefs for his uneasiness at Such a time as the present, we at the end of the Speech mentioned the Ricare who Accompanied us to make a firm peace, they all Smoked with him (I gave this Cheaf a Dollar of the American Coin as a Meadel with which he was much pleased)    In Councel we prosented him with a Certificate of his Sincrrity and good Conduct &c.    we also Spoke about the fur which was taken from 2 french men by a Mandan, and informd of our intentions of Sending back the french hands—    after the Coun[c]i[l] we gave the presents with much Sere-money, and put the Meadels on the Cheifs we intended to make viz. one for each Town to whome we gave Coats hats & flags, one Grand Cheif to each nation to whome we gave meadels with the presidents likeness    in Councel we requested them to give us an answer tomorrow or as Soon as possible to Some points which required their Deliberation—    after the Council was over we Shot the Air gun which appeared to assonish the nativs much, the greater part them retired Soon after—

The Ricare Cheaf Ar-ke-tar-na-shar Came to me this evening and tells me that he wishes to return to his Village & nation, I put him off Saying tomorrow we would have an answer, to our talk to the Satisfaction & Send by him a String of wompom informing what had passed here.    a Iron or Steel Corn Mill which we gave to the Mandins, was verry Thankfully recived—    (☞The Prarie was Set on fire (or Cought by accident) by a young man of the Mandins, the fire went with Such velocity that it burnt to death a man and woman, who Could not Get to any place of Safty, one man a woman & Child much burnt and Several narrowly escaped the flame—    a boy half white was Saved un hurt in the midst of the flaim, Those ignerent people Say this boy was Saved by the great Spirit medisin because he was white— The Cause of his being Saved was a Green buffalow Skin was thrown over him by his mother who perhaps had more fore Sight for the pertection of her 〈self〉 Son, and [l]ess for herself than those who escaped the flame, the Fire did not burn under the Skin leaving the grass round the boy

This fire passed our Camp last about 8 oClock P. M.    it went with great rapitidity and looked Tremendious

The following Chiefs were made in Councel to day

Mar-too-ton-ha or Lower Village of the Mandans
  1st Cheif Sha-ha-ka or Big White
  2    do    Ka-goh-ha-mi or Little raven

Roop-tar-hee or Second Village of the Mandans
  1st and Grand Cheif—Pass-cop-sa-he or black Cat
  2nd Cheif Car-gar-no-mok-She    raven man Cheaf

Mah-har-ha    3rd Village
  Chief Ta-tuck-co-pin-re-ha (white Buffalow robe unfolded)
  〈 Man resse-sar-ra-ree or Neighing horse

Me-ne-tar-re Me-te har-tar
  1st Cheif— Omp-se-ha-ra . Black Mockersons
  2    do.    Oh-harh or Little fox

we Sent the presents intended for the Grand Chief of the Mi-ne-tar-re or Big Belley, and the presents flag and wompoms by the Old Chief and those, and those intended for the Cheif of the Lower Village by a young Cheif—

The following Cheifs were recommended in addition to those    Viz.—

1st Village
   Oh-hee-nar    Big Man—    [NB: a Cheyenne prisoner adopted by them] a Chien
  Sho-ta-hat ro-ra

2d Village
   Taw nish-e-o —    Bel-lar sa ra [10]
   Ar-rat-ta na-mock-She —    Wolf Man Chief [11]

3rd Village
  〈 Te-tuck-co-pin-re-ha —    white Buffalow Skin unfolded[12]
   Min-nis-Sur-ra-ree (Neighing horse[)]
   Lo-tong-gar-ti hat —    old woman at a distance

4th Village
   Mar-nob-tah    the big Steeler 〈(out at war)〉[NB: (who was then out at war & was killed afd)]
   Man-se-rus-se —    tale of Callumet bird

5th Village
   Shā hakó ho pin nee    Little Wolfs medisons
   Ar-rat-toe-no mook-gu    (man wolf Chief[)] (at war[)] [13]
   Cal-tar cō tá — ( Cherry grows [NB: ing] on a bush) old Chief and father to the above mentd.
  Chief Maw-pah'-pir-re-cos-sa too[14]    This chief is near this hunting and a verry Considerable man

To the 1st Chiefs we gave a medal with the Imp. of the President of the U S.

To the 2d Chiefs a medal of weaveing Domestic animals.

To the 3rd Chiefs a medal with the impression of a man Sowing wheat. [15]

4th Village
  1 Ea pa no pa —    Two taled Calumet bird young Chief
  2 War he ras sa    the red Shield young Chief of Big belley—big town [16]


On the stard. shore at council camp, about half a mile above the upper Mandan Village.

Observed meridian Altd. of ☉'s U. L. with Sextant by the fore observation 58° 55' 15"

Latitude deduced from this observation    N. 47° 22' 56.7"

☞ The Chronometer ran down today. I was so much engaged with the Indians, that I omited winding her up.—


Monday 29th Oct.    a clear & pleasant morning.    we expect the Indians to assemble to day for to hold a Council with our officers.—    especially the chiefs & warries of 3 nats.    at 11 oClock the counsel commenced    a Gun was fired from our Bow peace when our officers took the chiefs by the hand    Capt. Lewis delivered a Speech to them through Intreperters, & counseled with the Manden Grovantrs & Weta Soaux [18] nations, the counsel was ended about 4 oC. P. M.    another Gun was fired, & then our officers Gave the or each head chief a meddel & a flag and made a 1st & 2nd chief to each village & Gave the head chiefs a Suit of cloaths and a quantity of Small Goods for their nations, cocked hats & feathers &.C. &.C    Gave also a Steel corn mill to the Manden nation which pleased them verry much    the captains requested them to assemble again tomorrow if possable to Give us answer to what we had Sd. to them respecting makeing peace with the Rickarees and all other nations & whether they mean to Go to See their Great father &.C.    Capt. Lewis Shot the air Gun which pleased them much    they returned home to their village.    hoisted the flag we Gave them as well as the officers Gave an american flag for each village &.C. &.C.—


Monday 29th.    We had again a clear day, and some of the principal men came from each village of the Mandans, from the Watasoons, [19] Sioux, [20] and one from the Grossventers; and all sat in council together. At 11 o'clock, when the Council met, a shot was fired from our bow piece, and the commanding officers took the chiefs by the hand. Captain Lewis, through an interpreter, delivered a speech; gave a suit of clothes to each of the chiefs and some articles for their villages. He also sent a suit to the chief of the Grossventers. At three o'clock another gun was fired at the breaking up of the council, and they all appeared satisfied. Captain Lewis gave an iron mill to the Mandan nation to grind their corn, with which they were highly pleased.


Monday October 29th    This morning we had fine clear weather.    some of the Head Chiefs and Warriors of the Mandan Indians & the Gross Vaunters & Water Souix Chiefs came to our Encampment, in Order to hold a Council with our Officers.    At 11 oClock A. M. the Council commenced, and One of our Swivels was fired off—

Our officers then took the Chiefs of the Indians by the hand, and Captain Lewis 〈made〉 deliver'd a Speech to them, all, which lasted some time, and was Interpreted by our Interpreter to them,—   at which they seemed highly pleased    The Council being over, he gave presents among them of Goods & Cloathing and to each Nation he gave an American Flag, he also gave to the Mandan Chiefs a Steel Corn Mill, and by Interpreter explained the use of it, in grinding of Corn, instead of pounding it, which was the only way they had of making Corn Meal.—    In the Evening the Indians left our Camp and seemed well pleased

1. Variously called Caltarcota, Cherry Grows on a Bush, Chokecherry, Cerina Grape, and The Grape, this elderly Hidatsa chief had supposedly turned over his authority to his son, Man Wolf Chief. Nevertheless, he appears prominently in accounts by visitors to the tribe at this period. Coues (NLEH), 1:367–68, 376–78, 388–89, 390, 395; Wood & Thiessen, 166–67 and n. 29; Ronda (LCAI), 82–84. An undated copy by Clark of a "Speech of the Cherry" (perhaps from this date) is on a loose sheet in the Voorhis Collection, Missouri Historical Society. See Indian Speeches, Miscellaneous Documents of Lewis and Clark, Appendix C. It is badly mutilated, with many words unclear or missing, and is not reproduced here. The council of this day is discussed in Ronda (LCAI), 82–84. (back)
2. Shoshonean tribes living about the headwaters of the Missouri and just across the Continental Divide. (back)
3. A steel corn mill, which Alexander Henry the Younger later found broken up to be used for arrow barbs and other purposes. Coues (NLEH), 1:329. (back)
4. Some of these names (also from the codex entry) may be identified linguistically:
Sha-ha-ka ( šáhaka), etymology uncertain, possibly related to ha, "cloud"
Ka-goh-ha-me (kéka xámanhe), "little raven"
Car-gar-no-mok-she (kékanuŋmaŋkši), "chief raven" (literally, "raven good man")
Ta-tuck-co pin re has , possibly a compound of Dakota t'at'aŋka, "buffalo bull" and Mandan xopiníŋrehas, "the holy separated thing"
Man resse-sar-ra-ree (miníŋsarare), "neighing horse"
Omp-Se-ha-ra (húŋpsihara), "blackens moccasin"
Oh-harh ( óxa), "fox"
Oh-hee-nar ( óhiŋr), "to be full"
Sho-ta-har ro-ra ( šotaharore), "it's a white cloud"
Bel-lar sa ra (werosara), "bellowing bull"
Ar-rat-ta na-mock-She (xarate núŋmaŋkši), "chief wolf"
Lo-tong-gar-ti har (rókaŋkatiŋxa), "old woman appears over the horizon"
Mar-noh-tah (máŋnuŋxta), "thief" (literally, "big stealer")
Man-se-rus-se (máŋsiruše), "grasps the yellow eagle-like bird"
Sha hako ho pin nee (sehékoxopiriŋ ), "medicine coyote"
Ar-rat-toe-no mock-gu (xárate núŋmaŋke), "wolf man"
Maw-pah'-pir-re-cos-sa too (máŋhpapirakaŋsetu), "there are some horned weasels"
Ea pa no pa (ípanunpa), "two bird tails"
War he ras sa (wó'kire sa), "red shield" (back)
5. Principal chief of the lower Mandan village, Matootonha; his proper name (Sheheke), variously spelled, is commonly translated "Coyote." The name Big White, or Big White Man, was given by whites because of his supposed resemblance to whites and his size—he was notably obese. He accompanied Lewis and Clark to Washington on their return journey in 1806. Returning him to his people became a major problem to the captains in their later capacities as governor and Indian superintendent; because of Sioux and Arikara hostility he did not reach home until 1809. The Mandans did not believe his tales of the wonders he had seen, and he lost much of his prestige and influence; perhaps his long absence had in any case allowed rivals to supplant him. He is reported as expressing a desire to return to the whites and live among them, but he was killed in a Sioux raid on his village in 1832. Hodge, 2:518–19; Clark to Toussaint Charbonneau, August 10, 1806, Lewis to Jefferson, September 23, 1806, Jackson (LLC), 1:315, 323–25 and n. 7; Ronda (LCAI), 87–88, 247–50; Thwaites (EWT), 5:151, 162–64, 6:137, 152; Coues (NLEH), 1:330–31, 333; Thompson, 171, 179–80; Abel (CJ), 20; Foley & Rice (RMC). (back)
6. Clark ranks him as second chief of the lower Mandan village, Matootonha; he was also called Little Raven. He was to have accompanied Big White to Washington in 1806, but he changed his mind. He was still prominent among the Mandans nearly thirty years later. Thwaites (EWT), 24: 22 and n. 14; Ronda (LCAI), 69, 246–47. (back)
7. The captains considered Black Moccasin head chief of the second Hidatsa village, Metaharta. In 1833, at a great age, he recalled them fondly; sitting for a portrait by George Catlin, he asked the painter to carry his regards to Clark in St. Louis. Thwaites (EWT), 5:167; 6:140; Ronda (LCAI), 70, 91–92; Catlin (NAI), 1:186–87 and n., plate 72. (back)
8. For the formidable One Eye, or Le Borgne, see below, March 9, 1805. (back)
9. With this sentence the Field Notes entry of October 29 continues on document 63. Biddle's note at the top of the page reads "Octo. 29 and nov. 13 1804." (back)
10. It is not clear in the journals whether these two names represent one man or two. Biddle's History indicates two, the translations of whose names the captains were unable to learn. Coues (HLC), 1:183. (back)
11. Since he appears as a chief at the Mandan village of Rooptahee, he is apparently not the Hidatsa leader Man Wolf Chief. There may have been an error on the part of Clark or an interpreter. Mandan chiefs with similar names occur in writings thirty years later; the name may have been common, or possibly it was a title rather than a proper name. Abel (CJ), 127; Catlin (NAI), 1:92, plate 49; Bowers (HSCO), 224; Thwaites (EWT), 22:345 n. 318, 24:17; Bowers (MSCO), 137. (back)
12. It apparently was Biddle who crossed out this line with red ink. (back)
13. This young chief of the Hidatsas was the son of Cherry Grows on a Bush, who had reportedly turned over most of his power to the younger man. Other sources call him Wolf Chief or Chief of the Wolves. He was a noted warrior and war leader. This same fall a war party under his direction killed some Canadian traders on the Saskatchewan River, allegedly because they mistook them for enemy Indians. Coues (NLEH), 1:368, 379; Thwaites (EWT), 5:163 and n. 99; Masson, 1:306–7, 342–43, 344; Wood & Thiessen, 166–67 n. 29, 233, 243–44. (back)
14. The "Horned Weasel" who was "not at home" to Lewis on November 27, 1804. (back)
15. The medals "with the Imp. of the President" were, of course, Jefferson portraits. The others were the so-called "Washington Season Medals" designed by the artist John Trumbull during Washington's administration but not completed until John Adams's term of office. Struck in both silver and copper, with a 45 mm. diameter, they portrayed domestic scenes that presumably represented the civilization to which the government wished to convert the Indians. As Clark indicates, one showed a woman weaving on a loom, another pictured cattle and sheep, and another a man sowing wheat. Prucha (IPM), 17, 89–95. (back)
16. Clark's "4th Village" was Metaharta (see Atlas map 29). At a later date Red Shield reportedly killed Le Borgne, or One Eye. Thwaites (EWT), 5:162, 15:97, 23:219–20, 24:23. (back)
17. Lewis's observation from Codex O. (back)
18. Gros Ventres , "big bellies," is the French term for the Hidatsas, who were also called Watersoons (variously spelled, as Ordway demonstrates) as well as other designations. Again, see Clark's entry for October 27. (back)
19. The Awaxawi Hidatsas; see Clark's October 27, 1804, entry and note for the involved nomenclature of this group. (back)
20. Clark does not mention the presence of any Sioux on this occasion. It may be McKeehan's misreading of Gass. Whitehouse's copyist writes it "Water Sioux." (back)