October 31, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

October 31, 1804


31st of October Wednesday 1804    The main Chief of the mandans Sent 2 Cheifs for 〈us〉 to envite us to Come to his Lodge, and here what he has to Say    I with 2 interpetes walked down, and with great Cerimony was Seated on a Robe by the Side of the Chief; he threw a Robe highly decoraterd over my Sholders, and after Smokeing a pipe with the old men in the Circle, the Chief Spoke    "he belived all we had told him, and that peace would be genl. which not only gave himself Satisfaction but all his people; they now Could hunt without fear & their women could work in the fields without looking every moment for the ememey, as to the Ricaras addressing himself to the Chief with me    you know we do not wish war with your nation, you have brought it on your Selves, that man Pointing to the 2d Chief and those 2 young warriers will go with you & Smoke in the pipes of peace with the Ricaras—    I will let you see my father addressing me that we wish to be at peace with all and do not make war upon any—["]    he continud to Speak in this Stile (refer to notes) [1]    he delivered 2 of the Traps to me which was taken from the french men, gave me 2 bushels of Corn,

I answered the Speech which appeared to give general Satisfaction—and returned to the boat, In the evening the Chief Visited us Dressed in his new Suit, & delayed until late    the men Dancd until 10 oClock which was common with them    wrote to the N W Copanys agent on the Ossinniboin River [2] by a Mr. McCruckin.


a fine morning, the Chief of the Mandans Sent a 2d Chief to invite us to his Lodge to recive Some Corn & here what he had to Say    I walked down and with great ceremoney was Seeted on a roab by the Side of the Chief, he threw a handsom Roabe over me and after smokeing the pipe with Several old men arround, the Chief Spoke

Said he believed what we had told them, and that peace would be general, which not only gave him Satisfaction but all his people, they now Could hunt without fear, & ther womin Could work in the fields without looking everry moment for the Enemey, and put off their mockersons at night, [NB: sign of peace undress] as to the Reares we will Show you that we wish peace with all, and do not make war on any without Cause, that Chief pointing to the 2d and Some brave men will accompy. the Ricare Chief now with you to his village & nation, to Smoke with that people, when you Came up the Indians in the neighbouring Villages, as well as those out hunting when they heard of you had great expectations of reciving presents    they those hunting imediately on hearing returned to the Village and all was Disapointed, and Some Dessatisfied, as to himself he was not much So but his Village was—    he would go and See his great father &c. &c.

he had put before me 2 of the Steel traps which was robed from the french a Short tim ago.    about 12 bushels of Corn which was brought and put before me by the womin of the Village    after the Chief finished & Smoked in great cerrimony, I answered the Speech which Satisfied them verry much and returned to the boat.    met the princapal Chief of the 3d Village and the Little Crow both of which I invited into the Cabin and Smoked & talked with for about one hour. Soon after those Chiefs left us the Grand Chief of the Mandans Came Dressed in the Clothes we had given with his 2 Small Suns, and requested to See the men Dance which they verry readily gratified him in,—    the wind blew hard all the after part of the day from the N E and Continud all night to blow hard from that point, in the mornig it Shifed N W.    Capt Lewis wrote to the N W Companys agent [NB: fort &c there] on the Orsineboine River [NB: about 150 miles hence] abt. 〈9 Days march〉 [3] North of this place


black Cat or Pose-cop-sa-he 1st Chief of the Mandans & 2d Village

"I believe what you have told us in Council, & that peace will be general, which not only givs me pleasure, but Satisfaction to all the nation, they now Can hunt without fear, and our womin Can work in the fields without looking every moment for the enimey—"    as to the Ricares we will Show you that we wish piace with all, and do not make [war] on any with out Cause, that Chief pointing to the 2d of the Village and Some young men will accompany the Ricrea Chief home to his Nation to Smoke with that people—    When the Indians of the Different Villages heard of your Comeing up they all Came in from hunting to See, they expected Great presents.    they were disapointed, and Some dissatisfied—    as to my Self I am not much So, but my Village are—    he believed the roade was open; and he would go and See his great fathe —    he Delivered up 2 Traps which had been taken from the french, & gave me a roabe & about 12 bushels of Corn—    & smoked &c

I answered the Speech it explained, many parts which he Could not understand—of the Speech of yesterday.


The river being very low and the season so far advanced that it frequently shuts up with ice in this climate we determined to spend the Winter in this neighbourhood, accordingly Capt. Clark with a party of men reconnoitred the countrey for some miles above our encampment; he returned in the evening without having succeed in finding an eligible situation for our purpose.—


Wednesday 31st Oct.    a Clear & pleasant morning.    the wind Blew high from the South.    the Savvages has not Gave us an answer yet.    about 12 oClock Capt. Clark & Some of the men went down to the 2nd village.    the chiefs Gave them 9 or 10 Bushels of corn & 1 or 2 Buffalow Robes &C


Wednesday 31st.    A pleasant morning. We remained here also to day, the Indians having given no answer. At 12, Captain Clarke and some of the men went down to the village, and the chief gave 9 or 10 bushels of corn, and some buffaloe robes.


Wednesday October 31st    This morning we had fine pleasant Weather, the Indians not having sent our Officers an answer to their request yet.    about 12 o'Clock A. M. Captain Clark and several of our Men went down to the Second 〈Town〉 Village of the Mandan Indians, [6] The head Chiefs of this Village gave Captain Clark between 9 & 10 bushels of Indian Corn and some Buffalo Robes, and behaved to him very friendly.—

The Men that went with Captain Clark found among the Indians at this Village, Corn, Beans, Simlins, and many kind of Garden Vegetables, They & the Rick a Ree nation are the only Indians that we saw that cultivated the Earth, that reside on the Mesouri River.— [7]    Their Village consisted of about 200 Lodges built in the manner, that the Rick a Ree build their lodges.—    This Village we supposed contained 1500 Souls.    they were Govern'd by a Chief called the Black Cat, They behaved extreamly kind to the party, and the only animal that was among them, was some horses, which are stout servicable Animals, This Village 〈is〉 was situated, on a large high plain, and they plant in a Bottom lying below it and to appearance are a very Industrious sett of people,

1. Clark evidently refers to notes of speeches by Indian chiefs which are printed here under their proper dates. This meeting is discussed in Ronda (LCAI), 85–87. (back)
2. Charles Chaboillez, born in Montreal, entered the service of the North West Company in 1793, and at this time was in charge of the company's operations on the Assiniboine River, as bourgeois of Fort Assiniboine. He visited the Mandans and Hidatsas himself in 1806, but was not enthusiastically received. Lewis and Clark to Chaboillez, October 31, 1804 (the letter referred to here), Jackson (LLC), 1:213–14; Masson, 1:300, 307, 328, 340, 383–85, 391; Coues (NLEH), 1:60–61 n. 61, 202; Wallace, 432. (back)
3. It was apparently Biddle who crossed out these words with red ink. (back)
4. This transcript is on a loose sheet in the Voorhis Collection, Missouri Historical Society. See Indian Speeches, Miscellaneous Documents of Lewis and Clark, Appendix C. The date was established from remarks in this day's regular entry. (back)
5. Lewis's note from Codex O, but not the customary astronomical observations. (back)
6. Ruptáre, McLean County, North Dakota, called the Black Cat site after the village chief of Lewis and Clark's time. (back)
7. The Otos, Missouris, Omahas, and Poncas all practiced agriculture, but either the party did not meet them or Whitehouse did not see their villages. (back)