About the Expedition
Rivers, Forests & Prairies
Links We Like
Book: Adventuring Along the Lewis and Clark Trail
Join an Outing!
The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For October 29:
Captain Clark (current)
|<< Previous Entry (10/28/1804)||(10/31/1804) Next Entry >>|
A fair fine morning. After breakfast we were visited by the old chief of the Big Bellies. This man was old and had transferred his power to his son, who was then out at war against the Snake Indians, who inhabit the Rocky Mountains. At 10 o'clock the S.W. wind rose very high. We collected the chiefs and commenced a council, under an awning and our sails stretched around to keep out as much wind as possible. We delivered a long speech, the substance of which was similar to what we had delivered to the nations below.
The old chief of the Gros Ventres was very 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. At the end of the speech, - we mentioned the Arikara who accompanied us to make a firm peace. They all smoked with him. I gave this chief a dollar of the American coin, as a medal, with which he was much pleased. In council, we presented him with a certificate of his sincerity and good conduct, &c. We also spoke about the fur which was taken from two Frenchmen by a Mandan, and informed of our intentions of sending back the French hands.
After the council, we gave the presents with much ceremony, and put the medals on the chiefs we intended to make, viz., one for each town, to whom we gave coats, hats, and flags, one grand chief to each nation, to whom we gave medals with the President's likeness. In council, we requested them to give us an answer tomorrow, or as soon as possible, on some points which required their deliberation. After the council was over, we shot the air gun, which appeared to astonish the natives much. The greater part then retired soon after.
The Arikara chief, Arketarnashar, came to me this evening and tells me that he wishes to return to his village and nation. I put him off, saying tomorrow we would have an answer to our talk to their satisfaction and send by him a string of wampum informing what had passed here. An iron, or steel corn mill which we gave to the Mandans was very thankfully received. The prairie was set on fire (or caught by accident) by a young man of the Mandans. The fire went with such velocity that it burned to death a man and woman, who could not get to any place of safety. One man, a woman, and child much burned, and several narrowly escaped the flame.
A boy half white was saved unhurt in the midst of the flame. These ignorant people say this boy was saved by the Great Medicine Spirit because he was white. The cause of his being saved was a green buffalo skin thrown over him by his mother, who perhaps had more foresight for the protection of her son, and less for herself, than those who escaped the flame. The fire did not burn under the skin, leaving the grass around the boy. This fire passed our camp last night about eight o'clock, P.M. It went with great rapidity and looked tremendous.
We sent the presents intended for the grand chief of the Minnetaree, or Big Belly, and the presents, flag, and wampum by the old chief, and those intended for the chief of the lower village by a young chief.
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.