August 21, 1806
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August 21, 1806


Musquetors very troublesom in the early part of last night and again this morning    I directed Sergt. Ordway to proceed on to where there was Some ash and get enough for two ores which were wanting. Men all put their arms in perfect order and we Set out at 5 a. m.    over took Sergt. ordway with wood for oars &c.    at 8 A. M. Met three french men Comeing up, they proved to be three men from the Ricaras two of them Reevea & Greinyea [1] wintered with us at the mandans in 1804    we Came too, those men informed us that they were on their way to the Mandans, and intended to go down to the Illinois this fall.    one of them quit a young lad requested a passage down to the Illinois, we concented and he got into a Canoe to an Ore. [2] Those men informed us that 700 Seeoux had passed the Ricaras on their way to war with the Mandans & Menitarras and that their encampment where the Squaws and Children wer, was Some place near the Big Bend of this river below.    no ricaras had accompanied them but were all at home, they also informed us that no trader had arived at the Ricaras this Season, and that they were informed that the Pania or Ricara Chief who went to the United States last Spring was a year, died on his return at Smoe place near the Sieoux river &c. [3]    〈after〉 those men had nether [NB: powder] nor lead we gave them a horn of powder and Some balls and after a delay of an hour we parted from the 2 men Reevey & Grienway and proceeded on.    the wind rose and bley from the N. W.    at half past 11 a. m. we arived in view of the upper Ricara villages, [4] a Great number of womin Collecting wood on the banks, we Saluted the village with four guns 〈on St〉 and they returned the Salute by fireing Several guns in the village, I observed Several very white Lodges on the hill above the Town which the ricaras from the Shore informed me were Chyennes who had just arived—.    we landed opposit to the 2d Village [5] and were met by the most of the men women and children of each village as also the Chyennes they all appeared anxious to take us by the hand and much rejoiced to See us return. I Steped on Shore and was Saluted by the two great Chiefs, whome we had made or given Medals to as we assend this river in 1804, and also Saluted by a great number both of Ricaras & Chyennes, as they appeared anxious to here what we had done &c. as well as to here Something about the Mandans & Minetarras. I Set my self down on the Side of the Bank and the Chiefs & brave men of the Ricaras & Chyennes formed a Cercle around me. [6]    after takeing a Smoke of Mandan tobacco which the Big white Chief who was Seated on my left hand furnished, I informed them as I had before informed the Mandans & Menitarras, where we had been what we had done and Said to the different nations in there favour and envited Some of their Chiefs to accompany us down and See their great father and receve from his own mouth his good Councils and from his own hands his bountifull gifts &c. telling pretty much the Same which I had told the mandans and menitarras.    told them not to be afraid of any nation below that none would hurt them &c. a man of about 32 years of age was intreduced to me as 1st Chief of the nation    this man they Call the grey eyes [7] or [blank]    he was absent from the Nation at the time we passed up, the man whome we had acknowledged as the principal chief [8] informed me that the Grey eyes was a greater Chief than himself and that he had given up all his pretentions with the Flag and Medal to the Grey eyes—    The principal chief of the Chyenne's [NB: Ricaras ] [9] was then introduced he is a Stout jolley fellow of about 35 years of age whome the Ricaras Call the Grey Eyes I also told the ricaras that I was very Sorrey to here that they were not on friendly terms with their neighbours the Mandans & Menetarras, and had not listened to what we had Said to them but had Suffered their young men to join the Sieoux who had killed 8 Mandans &c.    that their young men had Stolen the horses of the Minetarras, in retaliation for those enjories the Mandans & Menetarras had Sent out a war party and killed 2 ricaras.    how could they expect other nations would be at peace with them when they themselves would not listen to what their great father had told them. I further informed them that the Mandans & 〈RicarasMenetaras had opened their ears to what we had Said to them but had Staid at home untill they were Struk that they were Still disposed to be friendly and on good terms with the ricaras, they then Saw the great Chief of the Mandans by my Side who was on his way to see his great father, and was derected by his nation & the Menetaras & Maharhas, to Smoke in the pipe of peace with you and to tell you not to be afraid to go to their towns, or take the Birds in the plains that their ears were open to our Councils and no harm Should be done to a Ricara. The Chief will Speak presently—. The Grey eyes Chief of the ricaras made a very animated Speach in which he mentioned his williness of following the councels which we had given them that they had Some bad young men who would not listen to the Councels but would join the Seioux, those men they had discarded and drove out of their villages, that the Seioux were the Cause of their Misunderstanding &c. that they were a bad peoples.    that they had killed Several of the Ricaras Since I Saw them. That Several of the chiefs wished to accompany us down to See their great father, but wished to see the Chief who went down last Sumer return first, he expressed Some apprehention as to the Safty of that Chiefs in passing the Sieoux.    that the Ricaras had every wish to be friendly with the Mandans &c.    that every mandan &c. who chose to visit the ricares should be Safe that he Should Continue with his nation and See that they followed the Council which we had given them &c.— The Sun being very hot the Chyenne Chief envited us to his Lodge which was pitched in the plain at no great distance from the River. I accepted the invitation and accompanied him to his lodge which was new and much larger than any which I have Seen    it was made of 20 dressed Buffalow Skins in the Same form of the Sceoux and lodges of other nations of this quarter.    about this lodges was 20 others Several of them of nearly the Same Size. I enquired for the ballance of the nation and was informed that they were near at hand and would arive on tomorrow and when all together amounted to 120 Lodges—. after Smokeing I gave a medal of the Small size to the Chyenne Chief &c. which appeared to alarm him, he had a robe and a fleece of fat Buffalow meat brought and gave me with the meadel back and informed me that he knew that the white people were all medecine and that he was afraid of the midal or any thing that white people gave to them. [10] I had previously explained the cause of my gveing him the medal & flag, and again told him the use of the medal and the caus of my giveing it to him, and again put it about his neck delivering him up his preasent of a roab & meat, informing him that this was the medecene which his Great father directed me to deliver to all the great Chiefs who listened to his word and followed his councils, that he had done So and I should leave the medal with him as a token of his cincerity &c.    he doubled the quantity of meat, and received the medal

The Big White chief of the Mandans Spoke at some length explainin the Cause of the misunderstanding between his nation and the ricaras, informing them of his wish to be on the most freindly termes &c.    the Chyennes accused both nations of being in folt. I told to them all that if they eve wished to be hapy that they must Shake off all intimecy with the Seioux and unite themselves in a Strong allience and attend to what we had told them &c. which they promesed all to do and we Smoked and parted on the best terms, the Mandan Chief was Saluted by Several Chiefs and brave men on his way with me to the river—    I had requested the ricaras & Chyennes to inform me as Soon as possible of their intentions of going down with us to See their great father or not.    in the evening the Great Chief requested that I would walk to his house which I did, he gave me about 2 quarts [NB: carrots] of Tobacco, 2 beaver Skins and a trencher of boiled Corn & beans to eat (as it is the Custom of all the Nations on the Missouri to give Something to every white man who enters their lodge Something to eat)    this Chief informed me that none of his Chiefs wished to go down with us they all wished to See the cheif who went down return first, that the Chyennes were a wild people and were afraid to go.    that they Should all listen to what I had Said. I gave him Some ribon to Suspend his Medal to and a Shell which the Snake indians gave me for which he was very much pleased.

The interpreter informed me that the Cheifs of those villages had no intention of going down.    one the Cheifs of the Village on the island talkd. of going down. I returned to the boat where I found the principal Chief of the lower vilege who had Cut part of his hair and disfigured himself in Such a manner that I did not know him, he informed me the Sieux had killed his nephew and that Was in tears for him &c.    we deturmind to proceed down to the Island and accordingly took the chief on board and proceeded on down to the 1sd village [11] at which place we arived a little before dark and were met as before by nearly every individual of the Village, we Saluted them and landed imediately opposit the town. The one arm 2d Cheif of this village whome we had expected to accompany us down Spoke to the mandan Cheif in a loud and thretening tone which Caused me to be Some what alarmed for the Safty of that Cheif, I inform the Ricaras of this village that the Mandans had opened their ears to and fold. our Councils, that this Cheif was on his way to see their Great Father the P. of U S. and was under our protection that if any enjorey was done to him by any nation that we Should all die to a man. I told the Ricaras that they had told us lies, they promised to be at peace with the mandans & Menetarras.    that our back was Scrcely turned before they went to war & Killd. them and Stole their horses &c—    The Cheif then envited me & the Mandan Chief to his house to talk there. I accompanied him, after takeing a very Serimonious Smoke the 2d Cheif informd. me that he had opened his ears to what we had Said to him at the time we gave him the medal that he had not been to war against any Natn. Since, that once been to See the mandans and they were going to kill him, they had not killed the Mandans, it was the Seeoux who killed them and not the ricaras, he Said that the Mandan Cheif was as Safe as if he was in his own Vilg that he had opened his ears and Could here as well as the mandans. I then informd them what I had told the upper villages and we all become perfectly reconsiled all to each other and Smoked in the most perfect harmony we had invatations to go into their lodges and eate. I at length went to the grand Chiefs Lodge by his particelar invitation, the Mandan Chief Stuck close to me the Chief had prepd. a Supper of boiled young Corn, beens & quashes of which he gave me in Wooden bowls.    he also gave me near 2 quarts of the Tobacco Seed, & informed me he had always had his ears open to what we had Said, that he was well convinced that the Seeoux was the caus of all the trouble between the Mandans & them    the Ricars had Stolen horses from the Mandan which had been returned all except one which could not be got, this mischief was done by Some young men who was bad.    along Converseation of explanations took place between the Ricara & mandan Chiefs which appeared to be Satisfactory on both Sides.    the Chief gave a pipe with great form and every thing appeared to be made up. I returned to the river & went to bead. [12]    the Indians contd on board.    made 22 miles to day only.


Thursday 21st August 1806.    a fair morning.    we Set out eairly and proceed. on    Soon met three frenchmen one by the name of Revey    they have been trapping as high as the river Roshjone but have made out but poorly and have been living at the Rickarees and are now going to the Mandans for their traps and then they Say they will return to St. Louis. So we proced. on    about 11 A. M. we arived at the upper village of Rickarees where we halted after fireing our blunderbusses.    they gathered on the bank verry numerous    a party of the Chiens [13] are here trading with these natives for corn    give buffaloe meat dryed meat in return    three frenchman are living here & one Spanyard. [14] they informed us that 15 hundred of the Souix nation had gone up to war with the Mandans.    our officers gave a principal man of the chien nation a meddle.    he gave in return Some fat dryed buffaloe meat.    our officers tryed to git Some of these natives to go down with us but they did not incline to go as they Said they had Sent one with Mr. Gravveleen [15] and he had not returnd.    this nation of chien or dog Indians live at the heads of chien river towards the black hills.    they Say they are afraid of the white people and of any thing they have for they think it to be great medicin. Still Say that they have a great deal of fur in their country and have no trade for it &C.    in the evening we mooved down to the lower village of Rickarees and Camped    Ross [Roii?] joined us in order to go down with us.    we traded for Robes & Mockasons Some of which was handsome &C.


Thursday 21st.    We proceeded on early and had a fine morning. At 10 o'clock we arrived at the first village of the Rickarees, [16] and halted. In our way here we met three Frenchmen in a canoe; one of them a young man who formerly belonged to the North west Company of traders, wished to go with us to the United States; which our Commanding Officers consented to and he was taken on board one of our canoes. When we halted and landed at the villages, the natives generally assembled, and Captain Clarke held a council with them; when they declared they would live in peace with all nations; but that their chiefs and warriors would not go to the United States at present, as they had sent one chief already, and he had not returned. There are also a great many of the Chien, or Dog nation encamped here, in large handsome leather lodges; and who have come to trade with the Rickarees for corn and beans, for which they give in exchange buffaloe meat and robes. They are a very silly superstitious people. Captain Clarke gave one of their chiefs a medal, which he gave back with a buffaloe robe, and said he was afraid of white people, and did not like to take any thing from them: but after some persuasion he accepted the meadal, [17] and we left them. Here a Frenchman [18] joined us to go to St. Louis, who was in the service of Commanding Officers; and we dropped down to the village on the island, and encamped for the night. [19]

1. The first of these may be François Rivet, one of the expedition engagés of 1804. The identity of "Greinyea" is uncertain, but he is thought to be a man named Grenier, an employee of Joseph Gravelines and probably one of the two men the party met on October 18, 1804, who had been robbed by the Mandans. Ordway says that they had been trapping as far as the "river Roshjone" (Yellowstone). For Rivet, see Appendix A. (back)
2. Gass, in his entry for this day, says the young man had formerly worked for the North West Company. (back)
3. In fact, this chief died in Washington. The Arikaras' suspicions as to the cause of his death led to hostilities with the Americans. On the question of his identity, see October 9 and November 6, 1804. Jefferson to the Arikaras, April 11, 1806, Jackson (LLC), 1:306 and n. 2. (back)
4. The Arikara villages, shown on Atlas map 25, were in Corson and Campbell counties, South Dakota, above the mouth of Grand River; see October 8, 1804. The sites are now inundated by Oahe Reservoir. MRC map 45. (back)
5. Since the first village, in the captains' reckoning, was that on Ashley Island (see October 8, 1804), the second was presumably on the north bank of the Missouri River in Corson County. There exists some confusion as to whether the captains viewed the Arikaras in that vicinity as living in one village or two (see October 9, 1804), but this probably does not affect the general location of the "2d Village" in this instance. However, whether the party landed at this village, or villages, in Corson County, or opposite in Campbell County, may be questioned since Clark's use of the word "opposite" is not always clear. (back)
6. Apparently Clark was speaking for both captains, as among the Mandans and Hidatsas, indicating that Lewis was still unable to move about because of his wound. (back)
7. Grey Eyes evidently took precedence over the other Arikara chiefs, whether or not he was "principal chief" in the white man's sense of the term. In 1807 Nathaniel Pryor, on his unsuccessful mission to return Big White to his people, gave Grey Eyes a large government peace medal. In 1811 the chief was trading with Wilson Price Hunt, leader of the overland Astorians, and with Manuel Lisa. In 1823 his son was killed in a skirmish with Missouri Fur Company traders. The same year the Arikaras attacked William Ashley's trapping brigade at the tribe's villages; in this battle John Collins, of the Corps of Discovery, died. This prompted a punitive expedition of U.S. troops from Fort Atkinson led by Colonel Henry Leavenworth. When Leavenworth's artillery bombarded the villages on August 10, 1823, Grey Eyes was killed. Pryor to Clark, October 16, 1807, Jackson (LLC), 2:434, 438 n. 5; Bradbury, 130–31; Meyer, 48–49, 54; Chittenden, 2:589; Berry, 26, 40, 43–45, 55; Ronda (LCAI), 249; Ney, 173–80. (back)
9. Biddle's later interpolation would appear to be an error, induced by the Arikaras' calling this Cheyenne by the Arikara chief's name. The two may have exchanged names, thus establishing a ritual brotherhood. (back)
10. Alexander Henry found that the Hidatsas had a similar attitude toward the medals and flags given out by Lewis and Clark, preferring to give these articles to their enemies in hopes the bad medicine would fall upon them. At this early stage of Indian-white contact special powers were often attributed to whites, which could be beneficial or malign according to the intentions of the giver. Coues (NLEH), 1:349–50. The chief was probably given the 55 mm Jefferson medal. (back)
11. The village of Sawa-haini on Ashley Island, above the mouth of Grand River; see October 8, 1804. Atlas map 25; MRC map 45. (back)
12. Apparently at Ashley Island, between Campbell and Corson counties, now under Oahe Reservoir. Atlas map 25; MRC map 45. (back)
13. Meaning Cheyennes, but the term does not derive from the French chien, "dog." (back)
14. One of them may have been the "Ross" (or "Roii?") mentioned later in this entry. He may be an expedition member of 1804, Peter (or Pierre) Roi. See Clark's entry of August 22, 1806. (back)
15. Gravelines. For a discussion of the death of the Arikara chief see Clark's entries of October 8 and 9, 1804, and for this day. (back)
16. Clark gives this as the second village, but it was the first going downriver. This was the Arikara village, or villages, on the north bank of the Missouri in Corson County, South Dakota, above the mouth of Grand River. (back)
17. See Clark's account of the incident on this date. (back)
18. Evidently the Roie, or Ross, noted by Ordway on this day. Clark refers to him the next day, calling him Rokey. He was probably the former expedition engagé Pierre Roi; see Appendix A. (back)
19. McKeehan's note: "We think that some further proof is necessary to establish the weakness and superstition of these Indians. Had the chief persevered in his rejection of the medal, we, instead of thinking him silly and superstitious, would have been inclined to the opinion, that he was the wisest Indian on the Missouri." (back)