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Entries For May 28:
Captain Clark (current)
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The Chopunnish held a council in the morning of the 12th, among themselves, in respect to the subject on which we had spoken to them the day before. The result, as we learned, was favorable. They placed confidence in the information they had received, and resolved to pursue our advice. After this council was over, the principal chief, or The Broken Arm, took the flour of the roots of cows and thickened the soup in the kettles and baskets of all his people. This being ended, he made a harangue, the purpose of which was making known the deliberations of their councils and impressing the necessity of unanimity among them, and a strict attention to the resolution which had been agreed on in council. He concluded by inviting all such men as had resolved to abide by the decree of the council to come and eat, and requested such as would not be so bound to show themselves by not partaking of the feast. I was told by one of our men who was present in the house that there was not a dissenting voice on this great national question, but all swallowed their objections if any they had, very cheerfully with their mush.
During the time of this loud animated harangue of the chief, the women cried, wrung their hands, tore their hair, and appeared to be in the utmost distress. After this ceremony was over, the chiefs and considerable men came in a body to where we were seated at a little distance from our tent, and two young men at the instance of the nation presented Captain Lewis and myself each a fine horse, and informed us that they had listened with attention to what we had said and were resolved to pursue our counsels, &c. That as we had not seen the Blackfoot Indians and the Minnetarees of Fort de Prairie, they did not think it safe to venture over to the plains of the Missouri, where they would fondly go provided those nations would not kill them. That when we had established a trading house on the Missouri as we had promised, they would come over and trade for arms, ammunition, &c., and live about us. That it would give them much pleasure to be at peace with those nations although they had shed much of their blood. They said that they were poor but their hearts were good.
Reprinted by permission of the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia.
The complete text can also be downloaded for printing from their website.