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3. Fisherman Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea. 
1. Fisherman Why, as men do a land : 

The great ones eat the little ones. 



22d Infantry, U. S. A. 







Military Order Instructions from Office of Indian Affairs 
Study of the Map Indefinite Knowledge of Sioux 
Indian Country Arrival in Sioux City ... 9 


Tortuous Course of Missouri Distance by River and by 
Stage Discomforts of Travel Arrival in Yankton 17 


Yankton, D. T Interview with Governor and Ex-officio 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs -Difficulties in Navi 
gating the Missouri River An Impatient Savage - 22 


Arrival at Whitestone Creek Reservation Its Location and 
Description Extent of the Sioux Reservation under 
Treaty of 1868 Different Bands Number of Sioux 
supplied at Whetstone 29 


Inspection of Property for Use of Indians -Agricultural 
Implements Rations Cultivated Land, its Products 
Want of Interest by Indians First Attempt to Cul 
tivate the Soil - - - .35 




Announcing Arrival Indian Council Appearance of 
Chief s-The "Talk" . , 40 

Manner of Issuing Food to the Indians Cost of Same - 45 


Indians Looking for Annuity Goods Large Number of 
Indians and Small Quantity of Goods - A Dissatisfied 
Nomad - . "52 


Pawnee Scouts destroy Sioux Camp Mourning Women 
and Men Pawnee Scalps, Triumphal Procession - 58 


Issue of Ready-made Clothing Treatment of Same by the 
Indians Expensive Experiment - ... -64 


Sioux and Poncas Make Peace How Indians make Treaties 
with Each Other and Break Them 67 


Churches and School-houses Indian Religion and Super 
stitionTotal Eclipse of 1869 73 


Intoxicating Liquor Among Indians Their Usual Temper 
ate Habits The Chief Big Mouth Receives his Death - 
wound from Spotted Tail - - 78 

Death of Big Mouth - - 89 



Texas Beef Cattle How Managed Indians iii Pastoral 
Life in place of Agricultural Pursuits - - 94 


Distinguished Chiefs Arrive at the Agency for the Winter 
Pawnee Killer and Buck Surveying Party Indians 
and Indians 101 


Discontent Expeditions to Explore the Black Hills and 
Wolf Mountains - 108 


Dakota Blizzard Arrival of a Large Quantity of Indian 
Goods Talks About Cultivating the Soil - 112 


Spotted Tail as a Farmer His Camp at a Distance from 
the Agency Its Contentment Away from Civilizing 
Influences - 117 


Winter, How Passed Young Braves Dreaming of Scalps 
and Stealing Horses No Taste for Farming - 126 


Rumors of Discontent Among Sioux Indians Spotted Tail 
and Others Invited to Washington by the President - 133 

Chiefs Consent to Go Preparations En-route to Yankton 139 


Effects of Short Associations Among Whites Arrival at 
Sioux City Interview Palace Car In Chicago - 144 



Sumptuous Surroundings Views of Those "Remote from 
Indians How Dealt With in the Past How They 
Should be Treated Now Arrival in Washington - 151 


Visitors at Their Hotel Invitations to Fairs and Exhibi 
tions Their Israelitish Descent Cherokees and White 
Blood . - 155 


First Interview with the Commissioner Visits at General 
Sherman s Smithsonian Institute and Mount Vernon 159 


Meeting of Spotted Tail and Red Cloud Call at the White 
House. - - 164 


Call on Secretary of the Interior Visit the Capitol when 
House is in Session - . - - . - -^ - 170 


Visit the Arsenal and Navy Yard Under Direction of the 
Secretary of War and Navy 175 


Levee at Presidential Mansion Given to Indians - - 181 


Leave Washington Stop at Philadelphia Union League 
U. S. Mint - - - 188 


Visits in New York Broadway and Central Park On 
Board French Frigate - - - - - 194 



Return Home Stop in Chicago Purchase of Horses and 

Clothing Arrival at the Agency - ... 203 


Affairs at the Agency Difficulty in Suppressing Whiskey 
Traffic Visit from Wm. Welsh Fire Thunder- 
Change of Agency 209 


Sioux Indians as Historians Hunting on the Republican 
in Kansas -Number of Beef Cattle on Hand Wolf 
Hunt of Medicine Men - 217 


Leave the Sioux After Eighteen Months Intercourse Some 

Reflections on the Indian Question .... 225 
Appendix ----...._ 231 





JN May, 1869, while stationed at McPherson 
Barracks, Atlanta, Ga,, having just passed 
through one of the convulsions resulting in 
consolidation of the army by Congress, I re 
ceived the following order from the Head- 
quarters of the Army : 

WASHINGTON, May 7, 1869. ) 
General Orders 

No. 49. 

By orders received from the War Depart 
ment the following named officers, left out of 
their regimental organizations by the consolida 
tion of the infantry regiments, are, under and 
by authority of an Act of Congress organizing 
the Indian Department, approved June 30, 
1834, hereby detailed to execute the duties of 
Indian Superintendents and Agents, and imme- 


diately on receiving notice of this order, will 
report by letter to the Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs, Hon. E. S. Parker, Washington, D. C., 

for assignment to duty and for instructions. 
* * * * * 

By command of 


Adjutant General. 

After having reported, in accordance with 
this order, there followed from the Interior 
Department a letter of instructions, which can 
best be understood by reading the following: 


WASHINGTON, D. C., June 14, 1869. 
SIR : Under authority conferred by the 4th 
section of the Act of Congress, approved June 
30, 1834, for the organization of the Department 
of Indian Affairs, and making it competent for 
the President of the United States to require 
any military officer to execute the duties of In 
dian Agent; and in accordance with General 
Orders 49, issued from the Head Quarters of 
the Army, at Washington, dated May 7, 1869, 
detailing you for such duty and directing you 
to report to this office for assignment thereto 
and for instructions, you are hereby notified 
that you are assigned to the position of Agent 


for Indians in the Sioux District, located upon 
a reservation at Whetstone Creek, Dakota Ter 

Having reported here agreeably to the order 
referred to, you are now instructed to proceed, 
without unnecessary delay, to your agency, 
and enter upon duty. You will report to 
* * * Governor and ex-officio Superintend 
ent of Indian Affairs for Dakota Territory, 
through whom your official correspondence 
must be conducted, and through whom you 
will receive from this office such instructions 
as from time to time maybe deemed necessary. 

You will promptly and fully advise the De 
partment of all matters of interest and import 
ance relating to the condition of your agency, 
make such suggestions or recommendations in 
reference thereto as in your judgment may be 
proper, and carry faithfully into effect the 
regulations of the Department and the instruc 
tions that may be given by the Secretary of the 
Interior, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 
and your Superintendent. As the great object 
of the Government is to civilize the Indians by 
locating them in permanent abodes upon suit 
able reservations, and assisting them that they 
may sustain themselves, and engage in the pur 
suits of civilized life, you are earnestly re 
quested to use your best endeavor to advance 
this humane and wise policy. Hence, you will 


use every means practicable to inform yourself 
as fully as possible respecting the condition of 
the Indians in your charge, and inform the In 
dian mind, upon every favorable opportunity, 
with this view and desire of the Government, 
and thus prepare them to submit to the inevit 
able change of their mode of life to that more 
congenial to a civilized state. You will en 
deavor to keep before their mind the benevolent 
institutions of the Government, and in your 
intercourse with them seek to obtain their con 
fidence, and by honest and just dealings secure 
that peace which it is the wish of all good citi 
zens to establish and maintain. Your success 
in the accomplishment of the object desired will 
depend greatly upon the efficiency and discre 
tion to be exercised by you, and in the eco 
nomical expenditures of the means that may 
be placed at your disposal ; and it is confi 
dently hoped that the result will prove the 
wisdom and expediency of your appointment 

for duty so responsible. 

# * * * * 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 



Having digested the order and instructions, 
and having packed my personal effects and 
made ready for a start, I turned to the maps to 


learn something of my new field of operations. 
A large space, mark el Dakota, was a blank, 
except the rather erratic black line which marks 
the progress of the muddy Missouri, as, start 
ing from the southwest in Montana Territory, 
it follows nearly all the points of the compass 
until it gradually tends towards the southeast 
on its way to the Gulf; and a few old Indian 
trading posts, dignified by the name of military 
stations, Fort So-and-So, but posts which had 
never sheltered a soldier returning from dan 
gerous scout or the weary tramp of explora 
tion, and the three genuine United States posts 
Fort Sully, Fort Randall and Fort Eice. 
Fort Buford might have claimed a place, but 
then, as now, was generally ignored by map- 
makers for Fort Union, an abandoned Indian 
trading post, which had its liveliest existence 
half a century ago. But any point established 
within the last decade was a blank. Turning 
to personal inquiry, I elicited about the same 
amount of information. The few who had any 
knowledge of the land of the Dakotas would 
say : " It s a terribly cold country in winter and 
melting hot in summer; no rain; you can t 
raise anything, and, if you do, the grasshop 
pers will eat it up." Also, however, that when 
there was a good season the garrison at Fort 
Randall raised a fine crop of vegetables, and 
the troops added largely to their company 


funds by sales to steamboats, and to the pros 
pectors and miners who floated down the river 
from Montana in mackinacs and dugouts. 

I also remembered reading rather glowing 
accounts of how the Nomads had been moved 
from the Platte River and nearness to the Union 
Pacific Railroad by that gallant soldier and 
eminent Indian manager, General Harney, and 
located upon the rich alluvial soil of the bot 
tom lands of the Missouri in Dakota ; of what 
progress they had made in the pursuits of agri 
culture, the thousands of acres ploughed, the 
quantity of grain which would be raised the 
coming season, and something near a sugges 
tion that at no distant time they would be 
sending a surplus of products to market But, 
then, more was to be learned on this subject 
from the Governor and ex-officio Superintend 
ent, whom I was to meet farther on. 

Military orders are to be obeyed, and four 
teen hundred miles Of railroad brought me to 
Sioux City, the "jumping off place" of that 

From here the stage must be used, or the 
steamboat of the Missouri, made to run on 
water or moist mud, as the case might be. The 
stage was daily, the steamboat not anything as 
to time, but casting loose her lines for a trip 
up the river whenever a sufficient load was on 
board to make it pay, and taking such passen- 


gers as might apply and were content to take 
the chances of departure. The Sioux City of 69 
could not boast of palatial hotels, but was sup 
plied with a few places which might come under 
the head of u accommodation for man and 
beast," the St. Elmo and Northwestern leading 
in dividing the patronage of the traveling pub 
lic. Stopping at either at this time was sug 
gestive of the thought that it would have been 
far better to have gone to the other. 

General Harney, with his assistants, was 
quartered at the Northwestern. Thinking I 
might gain some valuable hints from him as to 
my new duties, I sought an interview, and 
found him fond of praising the Indians traits of 
character, nevertheless heartily glad to escape 
from their immediate presence and companion 
ship, at the same time giving a hint of his 
friendly interest in these people by saying, 
" They are children, sir, and you must deal 
with them as such." When asked if he in 
tended to visit the Indians on the Missouri 
again, he was most eloquent and decided in his 
peculiar way in replying that he did not; as he 
had already made too many promises he could 
not fulfill, and did not propose to continue in that 
line any longer. The Indians might expect to 
see him with a quantity of horses, cows and 
chickens for them, but they would not, and 
did not. 


John H. Charles, genial, good natured and 
accommodating, kept the principal store that 
supplied the wants of dwellers on the banks of 
the upper Missouri. He had everything that 
officer, soldier, steamboatman and ranchman 
needed, or, if not in store, knew precisely where 
to get it, how to send it, and when and how it 
could be paid for. He gathered in all the gossip 
from up-river forts and agencies, and delighted 
in telling the newly arrived the latest bon mots, 
and recounting the changes that had taken 

Coming from the East, Sioux City presented 
at this time but few attractions other than the 
evidence of its growing importance as the out 
let of the upper Missouri country, and the ter 
minal point of a railroad connecting with East 
ern civilization. 





THE tortuous course of the Missouri is 
illustrated by the difference in distance 
between Sioux City and Yankton by river and 
by stage road. By the former it is two hun 
dred and fifty miles, and by the latter sixty- 

The distance by river is only estimated, for 
so changing is the channel of this erratic stream 
that a steamboat never finds it the same in two 
consecutive trips, and even during a single trip 
she crosses and re-crosses the river so many 
times, that her course can only be compared to 
that of the man who went home late from his 
club, and complained that it was not the length 
of the way, but the width of it, that troubled 

The channel, with all its irregularities, pre 
serves one general law, and that is to go from 
bank to bank at as acute an angle as possible, 


so a steamboat is constantly zig-zaging between 
the two shores, with such variations of angles 
as the ever-changing sand bars make necessary. 
These sand bars are innumerable in low water 
(which usually prevails), and cause the new 
comer to exclaim, u How much dry land there 
is in this water !" 

Deciding, then, upon the stage as the most 
reliable mode of reaching Yankton, the capital 
city of Dakota, I am, by previous arrangement 
with mine host, awakened at the witching hour 
of three A. M. , and with many yawnings and 
stretchings, prepare for the day s work. 

The u mud wagon/ complimented by the 
name of stage, makes its appearance in due 
time, and it having called around for stray pas 
sengers before arriving at the St. Elmo, I find I 
must consider myself fortunate to obtain a seat 
inside or out. It actually accommodates four 
inside and one outside with the driver, but any 
where from six to a dozen passengers usually 
present themselves to be wedged into seats, and 
occupy the limited space as best they may. 

The stage agent leaves us to jam and crowd 
each other to our hearts content, while the 
driver impassively nods in his seat, until the 
magic words, u All right !" pronounced by the 
former, set us in motion. We wriggle and 
twist, draw in one foot and shove out another, 
but finally, with elbows pinioned and sullen 


looks, settle down to the morning ride in 
silence ; for fifteen good English miles are to be 
gone over before breakfast, and who wants to 
talk before coffee? Thus solidly packed, we 
sway from side to side, or jounce into a slough 
and out in unison with our vehicle, the head 
and neck moving upon the shoulders being the 
only indication of life. 

A stop. The driver exclaims, "Mail!" and 
at the same moment a leathern bag strikes the 
ground with a thud, near the door by our side. 
An easy-going- individual, emerging from a 
typical Western ranch, takes it and disappears. 
The driver is down from his seat, his horses are 
watered, we inside twist our necks a little more 
than usual, until some one explains, "Mail 
station ; half way to breakfast," and then 
solemn silence again. The mail bag is returned, 
the driver once more in his seat, and we are off. 
After napping and nodding a weary time we 
make another stop, and here we have a change 
of horses, and, at last ; breakfast. The more 
recent arrivals from the East look around for 
washing facilities, and find a tin basin sitting 
on a bench outside the house, water to be 
dipped from a barrel close at hand, and a gen 
eral towel which is continually revolved in the 
search for a dry spot, or one which has not 
done too much previous duty. The towel has 
a horsey smell, showing that the stablemen do 


not have all the modern improvements in their 
retiring rooms. 

Breakfast is announced, and, without the least 
sign of ceremony, each particular passenger 
hurries to the tables as fast as his legs can 
carry him, and seating himself, eagerly scans 
the different dishes. Some of all within reach 
is soon transferred to his plate and dispatched 
with no show of dalliance. Muddy coffee, fried 
pork and potatoes, and bread and butter form 
the repast, eagerly relished and cheerfully paid 
for at such price as would secure in the East a 
sumptuous meal. 

Fresh horses are attached, the passengers re 
packed, each slyly striving to secure more 
room to the detriment of his neighbor, and we 
are once more on the road. 

The stage road leads over the fiat, monoto 
nous bottom land of the Missouri, which 
usually extends back some four or five miles, 
but is occasionally narrowed down by the en 
croaching bluffs, which, at Elk Point, Vermil- 
lion and Yankton, reach to the water s edge. 

The passengers occasionally awake to some 
little conversation, always commonplace, but 
our chief interest centers in the frequent 
sloughs, the safe crossing of which is always 
more or less a matter of speculation. As we 
approach one the driver tightens his reins, 
flourishes his whip, and then in we go. The 


wheels sink lower and lower to the hubs ; our 
motion is gradually retarded, and there is a 
general rising of interest among the passengers ; 
we nearly stop, then floundering, and splash 
ing, slowly move on, the rims of the wheels 
carrying great clods of mud and grass. Finally 
we reach more solid ground, and the gentle trot 
of our horses speeds us on our way. We pass 
Elk Point, Vermillion and Thompson s, "the 
Boss Ranch ;" we have changes of mail and 
changes of horses; and finally, as the sun sends 
its last slanting rays over the broad prairie, 
distant bluffs and strips of woodland, it is an 
nounced that we are approaching Yankton. 

A sharp turn or two in the road, indicative 
of future streets; a faster trot of our horses; a 
sudden stop by a plank platform in front of a 
house, and we are at the Merchants Hotel of 
69. A number of persons emerge from the 
hotel, nearly filling the walk, and scan with in 
terest each passenger as we awkwardly leave 
the stage and set foot in the Capital of Dakota. 

Though farther from the base of supplies, 
this hotel was an improvement on any in Sioux 
City ; a fair table and comfortable rooms were 
welcomed after a hard day s ride. 






YANKTON, with perhaps eight hundred 
or a thousand souls, had within it the 
spirit and enterprise which have built towns 
and cities here and there, across our continent, 
and it needed no prophetic vision to forecast 
the time when it would be a point of import 
ance as the outlet of trade from the upper coun 
try. It would be the natural terminus of a rail 
road, and the headquarters of steamboats used 
in the mountain trade of Montana, taking the 
place that Leaven worth, Council Bluffs and 
Sioux City had each held in its turn. 

Here I was to pay an official visit to the Gov 
ernor and ex-officio Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs, and accordingly I lost no time in seek 
ing the small dwelling on the river bank, which 
I was informed was his headquarters. The 
genius of our institutions was illustrated in the 
unostentatious surroundings of a territorial 


Governor, representing, as he did, the power 
and dignity of the general Government, but far 
from the artificial requirements of metropolitan 
taste. The office which I now entered was a 
plain, uncarpeted room, furnished with a table, 
a desk, a revolving chair (gubernatorial), one 
or two common chairs and a huge spittoon cen 
trally situated. On introducing myself I was 
cordially greeted by the Governor, whom I 
found to be a genial and kindly disposed 

Naturally, we at once reverted to the Indians 
on the reservation at Whetstone Creek, and 
I expected to hear some wise suggestions with 
regard to their management, and interesting 
accounts of them generally. Much to my sur 
prise, the Governor and ex-officio Superintend 
ent of Indian affairs acknowledged but a slight 
acquaintance with them, and knew nothing 
personally, as he had never been at the Agency. 
He had had experience with the Omahas in 
Nebraska, but the wild Sioux of his Territory 
were a very different people. 

I noticed at this time one fact which was 
afterward confirmed, that those who had been 
some time associated with Indians assumed to 
know little of their character, and usually had 
no plans for their management, or fixed views 
as to how our Government should treat them. 
At some time these persons might have luul 


plans and policies, but actual contact had 
shaken their faith in making Indians first-class 
citizens and Christians during the time of one 
administration or even of one life. But a newly- 
appointed attache of the Indian Bureau, born 
and raised in the New England States, perhaps, 
will unhesitatingly mark out a course to pursue, 
which will transform a savage into an enlight 
ened citizen, surely within the period of his 
administration. Thus " distance lends enchant 
ment to the view." 

In the midst of our interesting conversation 
a steamboat whistle was heard. In an instant 
the Governor seized his hat and was hastening 
toward the door. I asked what was the matter, 
expecting to hear that his office was in flames, 
or some like accident. 

"Didn t you hear that whistle?" he ex 
claimed. u There s a steamboat coming ; come 
on." I joined him, and we hurried toward the 
river, where a steamboat could be seen in the 
distance, making slow headway against the 
current, though under full head of steam, as 
shown by the black smoke rolling out of her 
chimneys, and the white puffs of steam issuing 
from her escape pipes. 

The whole town seemed to be approaching 
the landing, and I was informed that they 
always turned out when a boat arrived from 
below ; some having actual business, some 


moved by curiosity, and all impelled by the 
desire for some excitement which this event 
seemed to supply. 

The " Evening Star," as the steamer proved 
to be, was en-route for Fort Sully, and having 
had sufficient experience with the stage, I con 
cluded to try the river. The "Evening Star," 
to be sure, had been a week on the way from 
Sioux City, and no one knew how long it would 
take her to reach Whetstone Creek reserva 
tion ; but the saving of time ceases to be an 
object as you recede from civilization. The 
tri- weekly stage made the distance from Yank- 
ton to Fort Randall, about seventy -five miles, 
within fifteen hours, but the steamboat prom 
ised more comfort, if less speed. 

I found the Missouri River steamboat was 
not commodious, nor luxuriously furnished in 
any way for the accommodation of passengers. 
The small stateroom s had scarcely enough in 
them for comfort ; while the table was supplied 
with the coarsest food ; fried liver and onions, 
fried bacon, thick coffee and hot, sodden bis 
cuits formed the principal articles of diet. Milk 
and butter were luxuries by no means common. 

A s we progressed up the river, the captain, 
pilot, mate and all hands seemed to direct their 
entire attention towards making the " Evening 
Star" push her way over sand bars, and to 
finding that part of the river which contained 


the greatest depth of water. This was often a 
hidden mystery, requiring for its solution hours 
of diligent search in a small boat manned with 
a crew and pilot, who, with sounding pole in 
hand, fathomed all parts of the river, while the 
steamboat "lay to" with her nose gently 
pushed against the bank, and her wheels kept 
in just sufficient motion to hold her against the 
strong current. The pilot, having fully recon- 
noitered, would return to his elevated house 
and jingle a bell. A louder noise of puffing 
steam would be heard, and an attempt at fur 
ther progress made. Often this selected chan 
nel would prove a failure ; the boat would 
gradually " slow up" as she came in contact 
with the sandy bottom, and then come to a dead 
stop. But the master of the craft was equal to 
the occasion, and would issue the startling 
order, "Plant a dead man !" 

At this a boat would be manned and a log 
carried on shore some distance above the point 
where the steamboat was stuck. Here a line 
from the steamboat was made fast to the log, 
which was firmly buried in a deep hole dug for 
the purpose. The end of the line on board was 
made fast to the capstan, a full head of steam 
applied to the latter, and drawing heavily upon 
the line, which was wound up on the rapidly 
revolving capstan, we would be gradually 
dragged over the sand bar. 


This failing, recourse was had to the huge 
wooden spars, shod with iron points, which 
were suspended by lines and pulleys on either 
side of the forward deck. When needed, their 
lower ends were thrown overboard, the lines 
from their upper ends fastened by a system of 
blocks and pulleys to the donkey engine, and 
the latter put in motion by an order to " Go 
ahead on the nigger." In this way the steam 
boat was on legs for the time being. 

With these auxilaries, the k deadman" and 
capstan, the spars and donkey engine, the craft 
was generally " grasshoppered " over the sand 
bars, but when these failed downright disap- 
j)ointment brooded over the navigator s face, 
and u double tripping" was the last resort. 
This was the simple process of leaving half the 
freight on shore ; after which the lightened 
steamboat could pass over the shallow water to 
a point above. Here the remainder of the 
freight must be unloaded, while she went 
back for the first half ; and then on her re 
turn, of course, all must be once more taken 
on board. A slow and laborious process, which 
it was no wonder was the dread of the river 

The passengers all seemed to take the live 
liest interest in the boat js progress, and many 
were the comments on the probability of arriv 
ing at some woodyard at a certain time ; or the 


passing of some bad place in the river, with 
which they had had previous experience. 

And so amid many doubts and uncertainties 
we held to our course, passing Bon Homme, 
Santee Sioux agency, Ponca agency, and Yank- 
ton Sioux agency, and finally arriving at Fort 
Randall, where we landed some freight and 
were visited by its occupants, officers and men 
of the 22nd Infantry. 

Here I met Captain A. E. Woodson, who had 
preceded me at the Agency, and who was act 
ing Commissary for issuing supplies there. He 
gave me my first insight into the condition of 
affairs among the Indians ; the want of suitable 
shelter for supplies on hand and to arrive ; the 
number of the Indians and their various wants ; 
and their anxiety to see their new agent, who 
they supposed was coming with all manner of 
good things to make their "hearts glad." He 
also exhibited a couple of leaden bullets, picked 
up in his sleeping room. They had been fired 
through the door from a rifle in the hands of 
some impatient savage, who thus showed his 
disgust at the management of affairs in general, 
and the manager in particular. 

Not an over-bright picture of a quiet and 
peaceful life, while teaching the aborigines the 
beneficence of the Government. 




STILL following the fortunes of the u Even 
ing Star, I once more embarked, and 
next day, toward evening, the low, uncouth 
buildings of Whetstone Creek reservation ap 
peared. Whites and Indians could be seen 
making their way leisurely toward the land 
ing, moved by the curiosity which seems to 
pervade all dwellers on the Missouri River, 
to see a steamboat of any size or description, 
and more especially one coming from below. 

This spot was utterly devoid of the wild 
picturesqueness supposed to be incident to its 
location and inhabitants. The "first bench," 
or level ground extending immediately back 
from the river, was some eighty rods wide, 
and covered in most places with a thick 
growth of willows interlaced with wild vines. 
A sharp rise of six or eight feet led to the 


"second, bench," another level stretch of 
ground which extended back to the bluffs, 
covered near the river with an undergrowth 
of oak, but soon running into prairie. This 
rich bottom* land followed the course of the 
river for some four miles, but was cut off 
above and below by the bluffs, which at these 
points circled into the very bank. Whetstone 
Creek, fringed with a very small growth of 
timber, broke through the range of bluffs from 
the west and joined the Missouri, while farther 
south Scalp Creek did the same. These creeks 
contained running water only after severe rains, 
soon subsiding, and having nothing in their 
dry beds save u water holes " at long distances. 
An island in the river, a short distance from the 
agency, furnished cottonwood logs for fuel and 
for building. The pocket of land thus enclosed 
by the river and the bluffs, contained about two 
thousand acres of rich alluvial soil, and, in 
addition to this, Whetstone Creek bottom 
lands, suitable for cultivation, extended some 
distance farther back. 

Near the edge of the second bench a row of 
rough log buildings was ranged, the carpen 
ter s shop, blacksmith s shop, two medium- 
sized storehouses, an office and council room in 
one, a dispensary, the barn and stables, and, to 
the left and towards the river, the saw mill ; 
these comprising all the agency buildings. 


Immediately back some irregularly located log 
huts occupied the ground, exciting a faint sus 
picion that there was some intention of a street. 
The rest of the ground back to the bluffs was 
occupied by Indian Tepees. The trader s store, 
holding a central position, was by far the most 
pretentious building of all. 

This spot of ground with its buildings was 
known in Dakota as the Whetstone Agency, 
and was regarded by most persons as the 
reservation of the Indians located there. Even 
in the Interior Department it seemed to be 
understood that the Indians here were confined 
within narrow and well-defined bounds. My 
instructions stated that I was to be agent for 
Indians in the Sioux District, located upon a 
reservation, etc. With the Poncas or the San- 
tee Sioux, whose reservations contained only a 
few thousand acres each, agency and reserva 
tion were almost synonymous terms. With 
the Indians at Whetstone it was entirely differ 
ent. My first information after coming in con 
tact with them, was that in place of being pent 
up within narrow bounds, they claimed, and 
rightfully, all the land from the northern 
boundary of Nebraska to the forty-sixth par 
allel of latitude, and from the right bank of the 
Missouri to the one hundredth and fourth de 
gree of longitude west ; a vast area of land, 
containing at a low estimate forty-six thousand 


square miles, or nearly thirty millions of acres, 
over which they were free to roam at will. 

Under the treaty of 1868 they held this 
reservation in common with those other bands 
of the Sioux nation who had had their homes 
west of the Missouri. The estimated number 
of the nations was at this time twenty-eight 
thousand, which would be about one person to 
every thousand acres, or each man, woman and 
child could occupy an area of nearly two square 
miles. A division by families would give much 
more elbow room. A large estimate would 
make only h ve thousand six hundred homes 
required, and thus give an allowance of over 
five thousand acres to each family. Of what 
use would such vast area be in teaching 
Nomads the first principles of civilization, and 
helping them to form permanent homes? As 
a hunting park it was equally a failure. The 
buffalo ranged south, west and north of this 
tract of country ; and the Indians could not 
subsist upon the small game, such as antelope, 
deer and mountain sheep, which were found 
in moderation. This was apparently under 
stood by the framers of the treaty, as it was 
expressly provided therein, that whenever the 
buffalo could be found on any lands north of 
the North Platte and on the Republican Fork 
of the Smokey Hill River, the Indians should 
be allowed to hunt them. 


Tlie possession of this princely domain was 
the cause of much misunderstanding and dis 
content. It was given to these uncivilized 
Indians in solemn treaty, stipulating that no 
person except officers and agents of the Gov 
ernment should ever be permitted to pass 
over, settle upon or reside in the territory de 
scribed. But already in one short year was 
proved the utter impossibility of keeping in 
good faith, and protecting from encroachment, 
the terms of this immense contract. Another 
difficulty was the inability to make the Indians 
understand anything of imaginary geographical 
lines. They knew nothing of such nice dis 
tinctions, but had a general idea that their pos 
sessions extended west as the crow flies, to the 
Wind River mountains of Wyoming, and 
northwest through the eastern part of Montana 
to the British possessions. 

The Brulo and Ogallala Sioux at the agency 
numbered at this time about fifteen hundred 
souls. Most of them, having separated them 
selves from their former chiefs, were known as 
the " loafer band," and were living in huts and 
adjacent tepees under the chieftainship of Big- 
mouth, the most loquacious and persistent 
beggar that ever walked. A short distance 
above the agency was a small collection of 
tepees ruled by Swift Bear ; below were Stand 
ing Elk, a Brulo, and his band, while a mile or 


so back from the agency, on Whetstone Creek, 
Fire Thunder, an Ogallala, swayed by his elo 
quence and valor the inhabitants of fifteen or 
twenty tepees. A few Cheyennes were inter 
married with these different bands, and affili 
ated with them. Mingled with all the bands 
were a number of white men who had married 
with the Indians, and were recognized by them 
as entitled to share in any grants or donations 
of the Government. These white men had been 
associated with the Sioux for a number of 
years, coming among them at first as hunters 
and trappers for fur companies, afterward as 
guides to military and other expeditions, and 
then as traders and interpreters. 

Spotted Tail, a Brule Sioux, who had always 
held himself aloof from the "loafers" at the 
agency, kept his camp of from three hundred 
and fifty to four hundred lodges at a point as 
remote as the necessity of procuring supplies 
would permit, usually from thirty to fifty miles 
distant. I soon became acquainted with the 
principal members of these different com 





AMONG my first duties after arriving at the 
agency was the inspection of the prop 
erty, in store and in use, belonging to the Gov 
ernment and for the benefit of the Indians. 
This survey revealed very many useful articles, 
such as would be required in the erection of 
buildings, and the permanent establishment of 
a community, such as a growing Western vil 
lage. There were material for furnishing black 
smith s shop and saw mill, and connections for 
grinding corn ; ordinary wagons and carts, and 
huge log carts with immense wheels. These 
latter articles were a little superfluous, as the 
wheels were so far apart that they would not 
track in any known roadway, and a log corre 
sponding to the size of the truck could not be 
found in the Territory. Besides these were 
great wagons known as " prairie schooners," 


with a carrying capacity of eighty hundred 
weight or more. A large assortment of agri 
cultural implements clearly indicated the de 
sire on the part of the purchaser for the speedy 
arrival of the red man at a most advanced stage 
of scientific farming. There were patent corn 
planters and grain drills, reapers and horse 
rakes for harvesting the grain, threshing 
machines and fanning mills, cultivators and 
harrows, breaking ploughs and cross ploughs, 
scythes, pitchforks and rakes. In fact, some 
of everything contained in a first-class agricul 
tural implement establishment. A good assort 
ment of drugs and medicines arrayed on shelves 
in the dispensary showed that the healing art 
had not been neglected. Two storehouses were 
filled with substantial provisions, consisting of 
flour, corn, bacon, sugar, coffee, salt and soap. 
There were also yokes of oxen and horses and 
mules. The expenditures had been lavish, if 
not always judicious. A number of acres had 
been broken in various parts of the agency 
ground, and the different plats surrounded by 
fences, all the work of the Government em 
ployes, as an encouraging start for the Indians. 
Some of these plats of ground were worked by 
the white men before mentioned, whose squaw 
wives attracted an endless number of relatives 
around their homes, only limited by the amount 
of provisions on hand. The lord of the forest 


and prairie was often seen watching the pro 
cess of ploughing and cultivating performed by 
his white relation, as he leaned against the 
fence or lay on the ground in the shade, as un 
concerned a looker-on as could be found ; 
seemingly with no thought of ever being obliged 
to engage in such pursuit himself. 

The formidable array of agricultural imple 
ments seemed also to fail to awaken any enthu 
siasm in the red man s breast ; never in all my 
subsequent experience did I see one observing 
the construction of the more intricately con 
trived machines, nor standing behind a plough 
(as who has not seen a farmer at a country fair) 
holding its handles while turning it from side 
to side, with a countenance expressive of the 
longing to see the mellow soil roll away from 
its polished share. 

An inspection of the agency farm, to be sure, 
showed a sickly array of the products of hus 
bandry. The wheat, after due preparation of 
the ground, had been sown early, and had 
sprung up bountifully under the warm sun and 
spring rains, but by the middle of June the 
rains ceased, the ground became parched and 
dry, and the wheat having attained a height of 
four or five inches, headed out and completed 
its growth in this dwarfed state ; the straw 
being so short that it could not be harvested 
with the most approved machine. The corn 


Held was more promising. Here the Indian s 
interest was aroused, for green corn is one of 
his failings^ and this crop must succeed. So 
he threw all his energy into this branch of 
farming, and sent his squaw forth to labor in 
planting and hoeing and caring for the same. 
The corn furnished for planting was the variety 
known as Ree, or squaw corn. It has adapted 
itself to the short and fitful season of the 
Northwest, coming to perfection for roasting 
ears in six weeks, and thus escaping the mid 
summer droughts and early frosts. But, alas ! 
a portion of a large army of grasshoppers de 
scended from the skies, and in less than half a 
day devoured the corn, leaving the stalks as 
bare as fishing rods. Potatoes had also been 
planted, but the potato bug was on hand, 
apparently having been waiting from time 
immemorial for the appearance of his well- 
loved vine. 

Nature seems to resent the first attempts to 
cultivate the soil in this far-off land, and 
turns upon the hardy intruder her whole bat 
tery of weapons. Terrible rain storms delug 
ing the land, and often mixed with hail of 
sufficient size to destroy vegetation and en 
danger animal life ; the waterspout and wild 
tornado ; the scourge of the locust, the grass 
hopper and the beetle. 

But if he be patient, and continue to turn 


aside the water-shed of nature formed by the 
close-matted roots and grass of the broad 
prairie, uncovering the rich black mold, he 
will be rewarded by a gradual change in cli 
mate ; for the rain absorbed by the cultivated 
soil will be given back into the air, again re 
turning in dews and gentle showers. But this 
is a lesson not easily taught the Indian, who 
has a childlike interest in the present and 
small care for the future. 





A CCORDINGf to custom, a council of the 
J\. principal chiefs and warriors must be 
called, to announce my arrival in a formal 
way. Word was sent to the various represent 
atives through the interpreter; and the old med 
icine man of the village was also employed to 
visit the different camps, and, as he journeyed, 
to announce in his stentorian voice the desire of 
the agent for a council. There was no danger 
of a failure as to audience. Besides the incent 
ive offered by the opportunity for forensic dis 
play, always attractive to these people, there 
was the accompanying feast. 

Preparations were made by erecting a council 
lodge, and issuing extra rations of beef and 
coffee. The latter were prepared by the squaws 
and carried to the lodge, where they were taken 
in charge by some of the young aspirants for 
future honors. 

A general stir among the denizens of the 


agency marked an unusual degree of interest 
in the coining event. Extra paint was applied, 
and the gayest attire donned, together with the 
usual complement of weapons, consisting of 
bows and quivers and the latest improved fire 
arms. Spotted Tail having arrived from the 
prairie with some of his principal braves, all 
assembled at the appointed place. The chiefs 
on such occasions were exceedingly punctilious 
as to their seats in council, the principal one 
always taking the highest place, and the others 
following in order of their importance, which 
was tacitly recognized according to the number 
of their followers. 

Having entered the lodge, they seated them 
selves on the ground upon their blankets and 
buffalo robes, and patiently waited to be served 
with plates and tin cups. The meat and coffee, 
which make the feast, were then passed around 
by humble followers of the chiefs. After due 
time the plates and kettles were removed, and 
the pipe, filled and lighted, passed from one to 
another for a smoke, each taking a few whiffs 
before parting with it. The feasting and smok 
ing were done in a very deliberate manner, the 
chiefs often speaking with each other in low 
tones, as if exchanging some views on the com 
ing discussion. This running conference grad 
ually dropped into a dead silence, when it was 
understood the talk was to commence. Being 


called upon, I related to them the old story ; 
that their Great Father in Washington desired 
to do all in his power for them ; that he wished 
them to remain at some fixed point, learn to 
cultivate the soil, and have permanent homes, 
where they could be taught the ways of the 
white man, have churches and school houses, 
and eventually become prosperous and happy. 
This "part of my talk elicited many "hows" 
from the audience, as visions of ease and abund 
ance always did, but I met with less approval 
when I went on to make them acquainted with 
orders lately received from Washington, to the 
effect that they must remain on their reserva 
tion, and should they leave it, would do so at 
the peril of being driven back by soldiers. All 
this was duly interpreted into the Sioux lan 
guage, sentence by sentence, by the interpreter. 
After a suitable time the principal chief, Spot 
ted Tail, rose from his seat and made the first 
remarks, of course in his native language. 
Spotted Tail, though never very eloquent, was 
direct and forcible, and usually to the point. 
He was glad to see his new agent, and wanted 
the horses, oxen and cows promised to his peo 
ple in the treaty ; he wanted some powder and 
lead for his camp, to use in hunting deer, ante 
lope, etc. ; he had had an agent while on the 
Platte River who had given him everything he 
had asked for, and he hoped I would prove 


equal to him ; that his people were poor, and 
needed blankets, clothes, axes and kettles. 

These remarks were received with many 
"hows " from Spotted Tail s party. The other 
chiefs then followed in a similar strain, and 
with such variations as their native oratory 
could invent. I promised to do all in my 
power, and the council broke up with seeming 
good will on both sides. 

Many of these untutored savages showed 
themselves models of manly bearing and de 
portment. The chiefs were generally above the 
average height of white men, erect, full-chested, 
strong limbed, and with small hands and feet. 
They were natural orators, and always at home 
as they rose to speak in council ; standing in a 
finely poised attitude, their blankets drawn 
over one shoulder, the other left bare, giving 
full play to their graceful gestures. They 
dealt largely in metaphor, drawn from their 
associations with natural objects, and, when 
speaking of the wants ol their simple lives and 
of past promises still unfulfilled, were truly 
eloquent, and seldom failed to impress their 
views of right upon those in council, whether 
at their own homes, or, as I subsequently learnt, 
in the presence of the chief authorities at 
Washington. In this and following councils 
they invariably acted with great decorum, and 
conducted their deliberations with due regard 


for the feelings of others, provided the subject 
under consideration was one that in any way 
tended to the advancement of their present in 
terests. Some remote benefit did not interest 
them. A divided council was often disturbed 
by its young members, after the manner of 
their more cultivated white brethren. 

The older chiefs, however, had much leniency 
for the young men. A young brave, having 
returned from a successful foray, and his ex 
ploits having been duly announced in camp by 
the songs of the women and the devotees of the 
scalp dance, would feel his new made honors, 
and appearing in council would be accorded a 
place and an opportunity to make his maiden 
speech. Although the aspirant often failed, 
his hearers treated him with great considera 
tion, and seldom intimated that he was not 
equal to the occasion. 




AN all-important part of my duty, and one 
which had to be entered upon at once, 
was issuing food from the store houses. The 
Indians knew that it was stored away for their 
use, and, following out their improvident habits 
of eating to repletion when they had abundance, 
regardless of how more could be obtained when 
the present supply was exhausted, did not rel- 
lish being placed on a regular allowance. It 
was a constant source of annoyance to me, on 
account of the continual complaints that the 
amount received fell far short of their actual 
necessities ; and, as there was a well-founded 
belief that they were receiving sufficient, many 
and long were the interviews on the subject. 

Big Mouth, an Ogallala chief and a relative 
of the renowned Red Cloud, being the nominal 
chief of the " loafer" Indians at the agency, 
was always eloquent upon the subject. He was 
round and plump as any city alderman, yet his 
favorite theme was to enlarge upon the fact 


that lie was starving, and gradually fading 
away from lack of food. 

The Supply Department had fixed the daily 
ration for each person, irrespective of age, as 
follows : 

One and one-half pounds of fresh beef, one- 
quarter of a pound of corn or meal, one-half of 
a pound of flour, four pounds of sugar to one 
hundred persons, two pounds of coffee to one 
hundred persons, and one pound of salt and 
one pound of soap when necessary. Four 
times each month three-quarters of a pound of 
bacon to each person was issued in lieu of beef. 

Big Mouth did not possess the authority 
necessary to dictate a proper subdivision, so, in 
order to secure an equal division, and to 
provide for the old and infirm and the young 
and helpless at the agency, a census of families 
was taken, and as complete a record of num 
bers was kept as possible. Rations were issued 
every five days. Before the issue, each head 
of a family was required to procure a ticket 
at the agency office, upon which was stated the 
number of persons in his family and the gross 
amount of each part of the ration due ; and on 
its being -received and taken to the store house, 
the amount called for could be obtained. An 
ordinary family of, say, seven persons, would 
receive, each five days, fifty-two and one-half 
pounds of fresh beef, or, in lieu of beef, 


twenty-six and one-quarter pounds of bacon ; 
seventeen and one-half pounds of Hour ; eight 
and three-quarters pounds of meal or corn ; 
seven pounds of sugar, and three and one-half 
pounds of coifee, etc. As some members of 
such a family were usually young children, it 
will be seen that this allowance gave a very 
fair play to the gastronomic abilities of the 
adults. The women invariably attended to 
procuring the supplies and conveying them to 
the tepees, the head of the family making his 
appearance only when he thought the amount 
received was not equal to the number of per 
sons to be fed in his lodge. This was the 
order of proceeding with Big Mouth s band. 

Swift Bear, having his people separated from 
the others, and having full authority over them, 
was allowed to have the gross amount of his 
rations each five days, and subdivided the same 
in his camp. Fire Thunder was granted the 
same privilege for the same reason. These two 
sub-chiefs were continually drawing away from 
the authority of Big Mouth such as became 
dissatisfied with his influence at the agency. 
Obtaining their supplies separately gave them 
great advantage over him, as they were on this 
account able to give grand feasts. Thus I was 
enabled to suppress the doughty warrior and 
chief, and curb his arrogance. 

Spotted Tail and his sub-chiefs, Two Strike, 


Black Bear and others, were no less interested 
in the supplies for their camp. These rations 
were not only given to them, but transported 
by the Government for them to their camp, 
which was generally at least fifty miles distant. 
This transportation was always a matter of dis 
cussion. There were from one to two thousand 
ponies constantly in possession of Spotted 
Tail s people, which could have been used in 
packing the rations to his camp. But I never 
succeeded in interesting him in the subject, and 
was obliged to continue the employment of a 
I/rain of wagons for the purpose. 

Spotted Tail s rations were issued once in ten 
days, and a day or two before the issue he 
usually arrived with his retinue to suggest 
changes in the amounts of the different parts 
of the ration. Neither he nor his people could 
understand why an exact amount of each ar 
ticle should be issued to each person, regard 
less of preferences. Some did not want meal 
or corn, but in their place more beef; some 
wanted more bacon and less beef, or more coffee 
and sugar as equivalent for less flour. 

But with the Supply Department a ration 
meant the fixed quantity of each article, and 
any deviation from it would have been a never- 
ending source of trouble in the settlement of 
my accounts, no matter how much I might 
have saved by decreasing and increasing accord- 


ing to circumstances, keeping at the same time 
within the aggregate. Spotted Tail always 
clamored for more beef cattle and bacon, and 
always had plausible reasons why more should 
be sent him, ably seconded in this by his at 
tendants. He showed true trafficking qualities, 
asking for an increase of ten or fifteen head of 
cattle and three or four sides of bacon, and 
gradually coming down to be quite satisfied 
with one or two cattle and half a side of bacon. 
But, in spite of my utmost efforts, the issues 
had a gradually increasing tendency. 

The "talks," having to be interpreted from 
side to side, consumed a great deal of time. 
They took place in the agency office, and were 
also attended by the agency chiefs, Big Mouth, 
Swift Bear, Fire Thunder and Standing Elk, 
who smoked and conversed with their friends 
from the prairie. Generally, after Spotted Tail 
and his party had departed, they would take a 
hand themselves at trying to get an increase of 
rations for their people, thus showing the latter 
how zealous they were in looking after the 
interests of their adherents. 

These discussions in reference to rations 
were usually good-natured, but occasionally 
Big Mouth would insinuate that all the rations 
in the store house belonged to the Indians, or, 
if there were no other chief of importance pres 
ent, he would boldly announce that they all 


belonged to him, and that if I were not more 
liberal lie would go and help himself. But he 
always changed his mind before carrying this 
threat into effect, for Fire Thunder and 
Swift Bear would be informed of his design, 
and would immediately set a guard of their 
own over the store houses and take occasion to 
squelch Big Mouth for his temerity. 

If Spotted Tail had this feeling about his 
allowance, he never showed it, and, when met 
with the argument that large additions to the 
amount due to his people would perhaps de 
prive others of their supply, would express 
himself satisfied with such small increase as I 
could justly make. 

Hospitality was certainly one of the cardinal 
virtues of these people,- and often led to a 
scarcity of supply at some lodge, where it had 
been too bountifully practiced. But, then, the 
inmates knew that others had abundance, and 
they would make the rounds, going from camp 
to camp, and thus make matters equal. 

There were many arrivals at Spotted Tail s 
camp and at the agency from Red Cloud s 
camp, and from other agencies, besides con 
stant going to and fro of Indians from the hos 
tile camps at this time in existence, all of which 
tended to disturb the food supply, and ren 
dered it almost impossible to keep an accurate 
census. There were estimated to be in Spotted 


Tail s camp two thousand and fifty Indians, 
and at the. agency one thousand five hundred 
and fifty, including half breeds and whites, 
making a total of three thousand seven hundred 
men, women and children. This number was 
soon increased to four thousand. 

These rations were issued to these Indiaite at 
a cost to the Government of about thirty thou 
sand dollars a month. But this grand benefi 
cence was never appreciated by them. They 
seemed to take it as a matter of course. There 
was no question in their minds as to the con 
tinuance of the supply ; the only thing that 
troubled them was the restriction to a daily 
allowance. They would have preferred to 
make one grand feast, and trust to luck for 
more. They had given up the buffalo, and 
their Great Father *was bound to feed them, 
because they seemed to think he had gotten the 
best of the bargain ; and, as this was part of 
the policy now in operation that it was 
cheaper to feed them than to fight them per 
haps the Indians were right in their conclusions. 





I WAS soon made aware that the Indians 
had been promised an abundance of blank 
ets and Indian goods, which they had been 
looking for since the opening of navigation, and 
now it was midsummer and still they had not 
come. Upon investigation it was found that, 
although Indians were Miown to be in exist 
ence at this point, none had been purchased for 
them, much less shipped. The Indians at 
Yankton agency, some forty miles down the 
river, were receiving their annual supply, or 
" annuities ;" so also were their friends up the 
river at the Crow Creek agency, a hundred 
miles away, and of course these facts were well 
known to the Indians at Whetstone. 

After a strenuous effort on my part, and the 
representation of the fact that the Indians 
would almost certainly abandon the agency if 
they were thus slighted, the matter was taken 


in hand by the Governor and ex-officio Superin 
tendent of Indian Affairs. He came up the 
river on the steamboat on which the annuities 
for Crow Creek were loaded, and, meeting a 
downward bound boat some distance above 
Whetstone, transferred a portion of the goods 
to it, and they were finally landed at the latter 
point. This conciliated the Indians, who had 
begun to feel that their hearts were growing 
bad on account of the neglect of their Great 
Father in Washington, who was the only 
authority superior to the agent whom they ever 
mentioned ; Superintendent, Commissioners 
and Secretary being totally ignored by them. 
The arrival of the annuities was soon known 
among the different camps, and there was at 
once a perceptible increase in numbers, the 
same kind of liberality being customary on 
these occasions as is shown when an unusual 
supply of food is on hand. They presented 
their guests with some portion of their gifts, 
always expecting an equivalent in return should 
the opportunity present itself, the polite thing 
being to increase a little the return gift. 

The Sioux treaty provided that these people 
should be not only fed, but clothed for a period 
of three years ; after which it was supposed by 
some exceedingly sanguine individuals (re 
maining at a long distance and necessarily 
drawing a long bow) that they would become 


self-supporting from the surplus products of 
farming. Accordingly, they had a right to ex 
pect these annuities. 

There were at the agency, and in Spotted 
Tail s camp, as has been said, three thousand 
seven hundred Indians, fully two-thirds of 
whom were men and women grown to such 
estate as to require blankets. Of these two 
thousand four hundred, there were probably 
one thousand two hundred women who would 
want, in addition, new dresses. The goods, 
when opened, were found to consist of two 
hundred and fifty-six blankets, five hundred 
and forty -eight yards of calico, and a small 
number of axes, hatchets, kettles and butcher 
knives. The disparity between the number of 
Indians to be supplied and the quantity of 
goods received made an exceedingly interesting 
problem to be solved, each one of these people 
having the natural desire to receive some gift. 
They had been promised to be clothed, and 
according to their ideas this meant, for the man 
a blanket, some dark blue cloth for leggins, and 
a narrow strip of red cloth to bind about the 
loins, of sufficient length to trail upon the 
ground ; and for the woman a short, loose 
frock, close-fitting leggins, and a blanket, if 
she could get it, it being understood that the 
man must be properly dressed first. 

The quantity of goods being so small, I de- 


cided to make the distribution to tlie lodges 
without particular reference to the number in 
each. In this manner each family might re 
ceive something. Accordingly, the chiefs were 
called upon to give the number of tepees in 
their respective camps, and, as is invariably the 
case on such occasions, all, without exception, 
magnified largely their numbers ; but as they 
did it in about the same proportion, the result 
was not materially affected. 

These preliminaries having been completed, a 
day was appointed for the distribution, and the 
forms of law complied with by advising and 
asking the commanding officer of the nearest 
military post to be present and witness the dis 
tribution. At the appointed time the chiefs 
and head men presented themselves with their 
followers in large numbers, with the exception 
of Spotted Tail, who came with only a few war 
riors to escort his share to his camp, where he 
would himself distribute it. The goods were 
taken to a large open space, and placed in lots 
corresponding to the number of chiefs, whose 
people, principally represented by squaws, 
occupied the foreground of the circle, which 
was large enough for all to witness the distribu 
tion and enjoy the full benefit of publicity. 
Each chief, entering the circle with a few of his 
warriors, made the distribution to his own peo 
ple, calling each representative of a family by 


name, and giving him such share as he thought 
proper. At the same time the squaws accom 
panied the distribution with their discordant 

Although the Indians had exhibited a vast 
amount of interest upon the receipt of their 
goods, and had advocated their respective 
claims to large shares of the same ; counted the 
number of packages on arrival and watched 
over them while in store, and up to their final 
disposal ; yet when the distribution was once 
made, small as was the share which fell to each 
family, it proved generally satisfactory, and 
little complaint was made. The chiefs also ex 
pressed themselves satisfied when signing the 
papers to show they had received the articles 

One head of a family, however, felt himself 
aggrieved by his chief, who had not satisfied 
his cupidity, and manifested his resentment 
in rather a disagreeable manner. At daybreak 
Captain Woodson and myself, who occupied 
adjoining rooms in a log building, were 
aroused by the report of a rifle and the pecu 
liar whiz and pat of a ball, which passed 
through my door, knocked the mud and chink 
ing out of the partition wall between our 
rooms, and finally rolled on the floor. It was 
followed by two others, which careered about 
our apartments until they spent themselves, 


fortunately not doing mucli damage. The fusil 
lade was accompanied by a short speech in 
Sioux, but as neither of us understood the lan 
guage, that part was lost. Upon inquiry of 
the interpreter, however, it was found to be 
anything but complimentary to the agent. 

After this little outbreak the Indian folded 
his tepee, and silently stole away to some of 
the hostile camps, existing in Montana, in the 
Rosebud and Powder River valleys. 




DURING the month of July an unusual ex 
citement was created among the Indians 
by the arrival of a number of their friends in 
great distress, the survivors of a small camp 
that had been attacked and destroyed by some 
Pawnee scouts in the employ of the Govern 

A few Sioux, with their friends the Chey- 
ennes, supposing that they had the right to 
hunt buffalo on the Republican River in West 
ern Kansas (as they had under their treaty), 
had gone with their families and lodges from 
Spotted Tail s camp and the agency to hunt. 
While so engaged, and after having accumu 
lated quite a quantity of buffalo meat and 
robes, they had been surprised and attacked by 
their hereditary enemies, the Pawnees, a num 
ber of them killed, and their lodges and the 
products of the chase destroyed. Those who 
escaped returned to the agency in great desti- 


tution, and related their misfortunes to their 
friends, whose violent sympathy well illus 
trated the habits of these people when in grief. 
The squaws who were related to those killed, 
and their female friends, commenced the 
mourning by singing or chanting their funeral 
dirges. Their powerful voices were raised in 
piercing cries, more animal than human, and 
they gave emphasis to their deep sorrow by a 
peculiar quavering of the voice when dwelling 
upon the highest and most prolonged notes, 
filling the air with discordant sounds, more 
wild than the howl of prairie wolves. 

This noisy demonstration was usually com 
menced by one voice proceeding from some 
lodge, and this was a sign that the principal 
person in it had been sadly bereaved, and that 
his favorite squaw was ready to begin the 
usual ceremonies. Sympathizing women at 
once gathered around the tepee and joined in 
the funeral chant. While it continued the 
squaw inside proceeded to give them the con 
tents of the lodge, robes, blankets, pots, ket 
tles, and provisions in fact everything it con 
tained, all the time singing the praises of the 
departed. The women as they received these 
mourning gifts swelled still louder their pierc 
ing cries, and remained until everything was 
disposed of, sometimes the very lodge itself. 

To a disinterested spectator of these scenes, 


it looked as if those engaged in them were not 
moved by pure sympathy alone in their 
demonstrations of grief, Jbut were influenced by 
a desire to obtain what were to them valuable 

The real mourner was the man. He often 
cut off his long hair in which he took great pride, 
allowed his ponies and his best blanket to be 
given away, and appeared in a buffalo robe or 
blanket of the poorest quality, old and worn. 
His bright-beaded leggins were discarded, to 
gether with his finely embroidered moccasins. 
Bare-legged, bare-footed, without paint, his 
face, arms, and legs often smeared with mud, 
he fasted, and seldom appeared in public, try 
ing to seclude himself from the world, and 
could truly be said to wear " sackcloth and 

After the first demonstrations of grief were 
over, the women had spasmodic periods of 
mourning, commencing their cries apparently 
when some incident recalled the memory of 
the departed. In addition to their noisy 
demonstrations, they often, as a farther token 
of grief, gashed their arms and legs, with 
knives, making the blood flow freely. 

The death of an Indian at the hands of an 
enemy was sure to arouse a spirit of revenge 
among the whole band to which he belonged, 
and measures were at once inaugurated to wipe 


out their sorrow and bring joy and gladness to 
the camp by shedding the blood of their ene 
mies. The young men secluded themselves in 
a medicine lodge, presided over by a medicine 
man Here they clandestinely met and made 
medicine, preparing themselves for the war 
path by long dances and by the incantations of 
the medicine man, who fortified them for the 
dangers of the deadly encounter by continually 
demonstrating to them that they could not be 
killed. He would follow them through camp 
discharging his loaded rifle at them, the ball, of 
course, always failing to hit the mark; or, com 
ing upon one of them suddenly, he would shoot 
at point blank range of a few feet with the 
same happy result. To them the medicine was 
good, and they thus became invulnerable. 

Being informed that the Indians under my 
charge were preparing to avenge the killing of 
their friends by the Pawnee scouts, I took 
measures to dissuade them from such a course 
by calling a council, and reminding the chiefs 
of the order about leaving the reservation with 
out permission for hunting or any other pur 
pose. They became satisfied that their friends 
had been injudicious in hunting so far away 
from the agency, but at the same time could 
not be prevailed upon by any inducement 
oifered to interfere with the young men s 
preparations for the war path ; nor could it be 


found out who were really to engage in the 
undertaking. The matter was duly reported 
to the Department, and for a time the excite 
ment subsided. 

It was renewed by the arrival of some Indian 
women who had been captured at the time of 
the destruction of the camp, and who were 
returned to the agency from the Department of 
the Platte. The women renewed their mourn 
ing cries, and among the young men a fresh 
desire for revenge broke forth. 

The next intimation of the affair received at 
the agency was the return of a successful war 
party, who had gone down to the outskirts of 
the Pawnee reservation, and, attacking a herd 
ing party, had killed and scalped five Pawnees, 
returning to the agency without loss to them 

Mourning was now turned to joy, and, while 
the young men joined in the scalp dance, the 
women trilled their piercing anthems of praise, 
extolling the bravery of their friends and 
deriding the cowardly actions of their ene 
mies, as, with the scalps dangling from the 
ends of long poles, and with wreaths of 
oak leaves adorning their heads, they marched 
in procession through the village, chanting 
as they went. 

This blood for blood appeased their resent 
ment, but knowing the vindictive spirit of 


their enemies, they constantly anticipated a 
counter attack, and several times the camp was 
aroused by the report that the Pawnees had 
been seen on the neighboring bluffs. The young 
warriors would then mount in hot haste and 
charge in the direction of the supposed enemy. 
On one occasion, when such an alarm was 
spread at evening, a skirmish line was formed 
outside the village and a brisk fire from their 
rifles was kept up for some time. When asked 
why they wasted so much ammunition, they had 
the poor excuse that they wanted the Pawnees 
to know that they were on the watch, showing 
that the Indian s courage needs a little tinker 
ing for the occasion by the medicine man, par 
ticularly after dark. 





THE first issue of annuity goods made to the 
Indians, as has been shown, was entirely 
insufficient, the majority of them not receiving 
anything ; consequently, I made an effort to 
procure more, stating the number of blankets, 
yards of Indian cloth, kettles, butcher knives, 
buckskin needles and quantity of tobacco, 
which would be required to satisfy in part their 
desires. Without being consulted in the mat 
ter, I was informed that a shipment of ready- 
made clothing had been made, that it would 
soon arrive at the agency, and that it consisted 
of- fifteen hundred pairs of pants, the same 
number of dress coats, seven hundred great 
coats, and one hundred hats. 

The Indians had never expressed to me any 
desire to change their style of dress ; all of 
them, without exception, clung to the fashion 
of their forefathers. The half breeds, indeed, 
had adopted in part the habit of the whites, 


and the white men, who had married squaws, 
still retained their old dress ; but the whole 
number of these two classes was little more 
than seventy. Clearly, the supply was too 
large for them, and, of course, the Department 
had decreed a grand reform for the wild, un 
subdued Sioux. His beaded blanket, in which 
he took the utmost pride ; his ornamented leg- 
gins and plain breech cloth, were to be dis 
carded, and he was to be arrayed in attire suit 
able to his advance in civilization, and thus be 
better prepared to handle the plough and ma 
nipulate those agricultural implements when 
the spring time came around. 

The ready-made clothing arrived. The male 
portion of the Indians took some interest in the 
affair, being influenced partly by curiosity and 
partly by their unswerving desire to be the re 
cipients of anything. The arrangements were 
much the same as when the other presents were 
distributed, although, for obvious reasons, the 
women were undemonstrative, and did not en 
liven the occasion with their usual chants. 

The number of suits of clothing was so great 
that a decided change in the appearance of the 
males was naturally expected. But alas for 
human hopes ! I was never able to see its real 
ization. The clothing was originally intended 
for the defenders of our country, but had been 
turned aside from its purpose and colored a 


dark blue, thus making a more stylish citizen 
dress. An Indian in this costume would be 
far from poorly attired, although no shirts were 
provided ; but it did not come up to his ideas, 
and he proceeded at once to improve upon it. 
So the legs of the pants were cut off, making 
rather poor leggins, and the whole upper part 
discarded. The overcoats were ripped up and 
appropriated by the women for making skirts. 
Some of the young bucks did appear in the 
dress coats, with the skirts and sleeves cut off, 
thus making a sleeveless jacket, the military 
buttons being replaced by buttons procured 
from the trader and fastened upon the impro 
vised garment in all directions. The hats were 
thrown away. Thus this plan of immediate 
civilization failed; and many good men, who 
believed that it was not necessary to plod 
through a generation or two of these people to 
change their mode of dress to that of their en 
lightened benefactors, were doomed to disap 
pointment. The experiment cost more than 
twenty-five thousand dollars, and was for the 
time perhaps a misdirected expenditure. 




TT7HETSTONE agency was situated in the 
VV south-eastern part of the Sioux reserva 
tion, and consequently was near to the white 
settlements in Northern Nebraska and South 
ern Dakota; at the same time it was so isolated 
as to be under none of the constraints of civil 

The Yankton Sioux reservation, upon the 
opposite side of the Missouri, and some forty 
miles below, was limited in extent, and its 
people more or less under the influence of white 
men. These Indians were supposed to be fast 
approaching the finishing touches of new-made 
citizens under the best of religious and secular 
instructors. Theoretically they were inclined 
to discard their native dress, and to dispense 
with the yearly sun dance, and other barbar 
ous and sinful practices. 

Still further down the river were located the 
Santee Sioux, still more advanced, for they had 


actually abandoned their former dress, attended 
schools and churches, and had among their 
number many young Indians who had been 
educated in the East. They were indeed 
angels compared to what they were a few years 
before, when, with rifle and bloody knife, they 
had murdered men, women, and children . and 
destroyed peaceful homes along the western 
borders of Minnesota. 

Both these bands affiliated with the Brules 
and Ogallalas, and spoke the same language 
with only a slight variation, using the D sound, 
when those west of the Missouri used L, as 
Dakota and Lakota. They were fond of pay 
ing friendly visits to theii country cousins at 
Whetstone, where they could enjoy a reunion, 
join in the feast, and, throwing off their semi- 
civilized dress, with nearly naked bodies 
painted as in the good old days, indulge in the 
music of the sonorous drum and the wild de 
lights of the scalp dance Far away from dull 
teachers and religious instructors, they were 
once more noble red men. 

During the summer and fall of <>9, these 
visits were quite frequent, and were always the 
occasion for a clamorous demand for additional 
food, the Indians at the agency representing 
that the visitors were their friends whom it 
made their hearts glad to see, and that it would 
be a breach of hospitality not to be thought of, 


to neglect to prepare for them a feast. These 
requests were usually granted, for I knew that 
they would soon be even with their friends. 

The visits were interesting, showing as they 
did, the true inwardness of these Indians, who 
were at heart just as much savages as ever, 
being only glossed over with a thin coating of 
civilization, and this coating being made pos 
sible only because they had been beaten in the 
field of battle a few years before, imprisoned, 
and all their leaders ignominiously hung. 

The Poncas, speaking a different language 
from the Sioux, and a remnant of a once pow 
erful band of Indians, allied to the Omahas, 
occupied a small reservation in the extreme 
southeast portion of Dakota, west of the 
Missouri. The Sioux treaty of 1868 wiped out 
the reservation, but the Poncas still occupied 
it, being too much reduced in numbers to be 
thought worthy of much consideration by the 
Government. The Sioux of Whetstone paid 
them more or less attention, contending that the 
Poncas had no right to their reservation, which 
the Sioux were bound to respect, and so occa 
sionally killed one or more who had ventured 
too far from their agency buildings, or amused 
themselves by stealing a few of their ponies at 
odd times. 

The Poncas knew of the visits of the Yank- 
tons and Santees to Whetstone, and so con- 


eluded that it would be policy for them also to 
propitiate these up-country potentates. Ac 
cordingly, the principal chief with a few fol 
lowers came to the agency to reconnoiter, and 
make complaint as to their treatment, at -the 
same time stating "that they desired above all 
things to become fast friends of the Sioux, 
and to live at peace with them in the future." 
For this purpose he wanted permission to make 
a visit with a greater number of his followers 
at an early day, and he asked me to intercede 
for him with Spotted Tail and other chiefs. The 
.latter proved agreeable to this proposition, and 
it was finally arranged that the Poncas should 
come and make the visit without danger to 
themselves or families. 

Upon the appointed day a hundred or more 
men and women made their appearance, and 
were welcomed first by the agency Indians, 
who, of course, had the usual feast procured in 
the usual way. 

After this most interesting ceremony was over, 
the drums were made to sound, the dance com 
menced, and the song and wild whoop, common 
to all tribes, could be heard far into the night. 

The next morning there was the council, in 
which the Sioux at the agency and the Poncas 
promised eternal fidelity and friendship, and 
the latter showing with much eloquence how 
they were cooped up on a small reservation, 


and were poor and needy ; the former made 
them presents, and led them rejoicing on 
their way to Spotted Tail s camp. The lat 
ter chieftain had made great preparations for 
a feast, and was ready to receive them with due 
state. They remained at his camp about two 
days, and before their return to the agency it 
was announced there, with much delight, that 
they had made a lasting peace with Spotted 
Tail s people. 

As they neared the agency on their return, 
all the Indians there joined in honoring their 
new-made friends by going out to meet them 
the squaws, mounted on their ponies, singing 
anthems of praise. They all entered the 
agency in a procession, and there followed in 
their train a goodly number of ponies by ac 
tual count one hundred and ten, which, to 
gether with blankets, robes and trinkets, the 
Poncas had received as presents from their new 
allies. Thus these hereditary enemies were, 
under fortunate circumstances, joined together 
in the bond of friendship and brotherly love, 
and the Poncas went home to sleep in peace 
and security. 

According to custom, a few Sioux returned 
this friendly visit and enjoyed the hospitality 
of the Poncas, thus having good opportunity 
to make a friendly inspection of the possessions 
of the latter. 


Before long I was informed, through the 
agent of the Poncas, that they were losing by 
theft, not the small Indian ponies given them 
by the Sioux, but some fine American horses, 
much prized, and each of more value than 
many ponies. The Ponca chief visited the 
agency, reminded his new-made friends of their 
treaty of peace, and asked for his stolen horses, 
which had been tracked in that direction ; but, 
of course, they could not be found. However, 
more ponies were given in further ratification 
of friendship. But the Poncas soon lost all 
their best horses, and when they were gone the 
ponies followed, until, after a few months, it 
was generally understood that the compact of 
eternal fidelity and friendship had died a na 
tural death, and that the relation of the two 
tribes of Indians was the same as it had always 

Not unlike civilized States, where treaties 
have been consummated for similar causes, and 
similar results have followed the stronger tak 
ing advantage of the weaker. 





npHERE were no school houses or churches at 
J_ Whetstone, neither teachers nor minis 
ters. My predecessor did ask me to receipt for 
a school house when receiving the Government 
property on my arrival, but upon inspection I 
found that it existed only in imagination. There 
were a few rough hewn logs collected upon a 
designated spot of ground, considered an elig 
ible site for a school house, but the structure 
had not assumed form, except on paper, which 
would hardly do for the real thing. The trees 
were still standing from which the church 
should be built. 

The whites engrafted upon the Indians often 
spoke of their desire for the school, having a 
hope, perhaps, that the training therein ob 
tained might improve the morals of their half 
breed progeny, as, indeed, almost any life other 
than that they were leading would. The In 
dians only spoke of them incidentally as hav- 


ing been promised them, and anything that had 
been promised they wanted, whether they could 
use it or not being a question of no importance. 
The Department would furnish a teacher when 
the school house was completed; but, as it pro 
vided nothing for building such structure, the 
teacher was not wanted. 

So far as the church and minister were con 
cerned, the Indians were not anxious. They 
were already provided with a religion of their 
own, under whose tenets they constantly 
preached and practiced ; the medicine man 
being their minister, the blue sky and high 
bluffs their church edifice. Their religion was 
one naturally suited to their wants, correspond 
ing to their ideas of morality and their views 
of justice ; satisfying their longings after im 
mortality, and expressing their views of happi 
ness in the hereafter, and representing their 
conception of the attributes of the inscrutable 
and omnipotent Spirit, who rules and governs 

Upon all the more prominent bluffs near the 
agency could be found evidences of their wor 
ship, usually willow sticks five or six feet long, 
which were set in the ground on the highest 
elevation, and to which were attached little 
sacks, made of cloth or dressed skin, contain 
ing tobacco, paints, sugar or some little trinket. 
These were left to sway in the wind and decay, 


being held sacred from molestation by the In 
dians, as they were offerings to the Great 
Spirit. A curiously formed rock or stone 
found on the prairie was always a shrine of 
worship, covered with rude figures of wild ani 
mals, and with medicine sacks and trifling orna 
ments hidden in its crevices. 

I have seen them at their feasts cast some of 
their food upon the ground before partaking of 
it, thus giving to the Great Spirit some portion 
of each article of food, and then each one in 
turn asking in an audible voice to be protected 
and guided in his undertakings. They were 
constantly propitiating their good spirits, and 
doing penance to drive away the bad spirits. 
The young men still practiced cruel tortures to 
their flesh in the annual sun dance, to fit them 
selves to endure the hardships and barbarities 
of the relentless warfare waged against all their 

I saw nothing in their religion but entire sel 
fishness and vindictiveness. They desired even 
more than "an eye for an eye and a tooth for 
a tooth." They prayed that their enemies 
might be utterly destroyed, while they them 
selves might live and have abundance. The 
new gospel of peace must be planted in barren 
ground, indeed, among these people. 

They were full of superstition. The flight 
of birds, the howling of wolves and the barking 


of dogs governed their movements. When an 
Indian was dying in camp, his male friends re 
mained just ontside the lodge, and when the 
death was announced discharged their rifles in 
the air, thus driving away the evil spirit, Death. 
The medicine men practiced upon their imagi 
nation to a great extent, not only in preparing 
them for the dangers of the battle field, but in 
relieving them from bodily pain. On one oc 
casion Blue Horse, an Ogallala brave, exhibited 
to me one of the cutting teeth of the beaver, 
three or four inches in length. He said, with 
the utmost sincerity, that a medicine man had 
with much difficulty, a few minutes before, ex 
tracted it from his back, where it had caused 
him much pain, but that he was all right now. 

Some days before the great eclipse of August, 

] 869, Dr. C , physician for the Indians at 

the agency, concluded to try his skill as a ma 
gician, and impress the Indians with his magic 
art, inseparably connected in their minds with 
the healing art. 

The doctor announced to some of the prin 
cipal chiefs and warriors the coming event, tell 
ing them the precise time (taken from an al 
manac) when the sun would be obscured and 
darkness follow, until he saw fit to have it pass 
away. When the day and the hour arrived, the 
doctor had his audience in readiness, duly 
armed with smoked glass. Being within the 


line of totality, and having a cloudless sky and 
the clear, delightful atmosphere of the plains, 
the phenomenon was observed under the most 
favorable circumstances. There was no mis 
take as to time ; the moon gradually crossed 
the disc of the sun, a black, spherical mass, 
surely putting out its light. 

The Indians were impassive lookers on, until, 
as the eclipse reached its culmination, leaving 
only a narrow, bright rim around the outer 
edge of the sun, the deepening steel-gray 
shadows attracted their attention, as well as 
that of beasts and birds. Then, concluding 
that the exhibition had gone far enough, and 
that they must drive away the evil spirits, they 
commenced discharging their rifles in the air. 
The light of the sun gradually returning, they 
were thoroughly convinced that it was the re 
sult of their efforts, and that the Indians medi 
cine was better than the white man s. 

The doctor could predict the eclipse, but they 
could drive it away and prevent any evil conse 
quences arising from it. So the doctor failed 
in fully establishing himself as a big medicine 




TT7HETSTOJSTE Agency, although at least fifty 
VV miles from any white settlement, was not 
exempt from the baneful influence of the un 
scrupulous ranchman, who follows in the wake 
of our most advanced military posts, and 
hovers around secluded Indian agencies, locat 
ing as near their boundary lines as possible, 
often cnJy a few feet without the jurisdiction of 
either. Ho has, as a squatter sovereign, an eye 
for a handsome tract of land, and, at the same 
time, locates his ranch on some well-known 
road or trail, where he can offer shelter to the 
traveler who may pass his way, and dispense 
" forty rod" whiskey and other fiery drinks to 
the adventurer and desperado, who make his 
habitation their headquarters. 

Although the general laws as to the sale of 
intoxicating liquor upon a reservation were 
very strict, and provided severe penalties for 


disposing of it to Indians on or off the same, 
yet, owing to the sentiments favoring this traffic 
which prevailed among the ranchmen men 
tioned, detection was well nigh impossible, and 
conviction of the crime very infrequent. While 
the laws for the protection of the Indian were 
ample, could they be executed, a coloring of 
permission was given by the same power which 
framed them, by granting to any one, upon the 
payment of twenty -live dollars, a license to deal 
in ardent spirits. Armed with such a license, 
signed by an officer of the Government, the 
dealer felt justified in vending when and where 
opportunity offered, unless immediate and forci 
ble means were used to suppress him. These 
ranchmen usually held such license, and, by 
clandestine intercourse with half-breeds, carried 
on a more or less profitable trade with Indians, 
in this way obtaining their ponies at a low rate, 
together with furs and peltries, which were 
taken to white settlements and disposed of. 

In my intercourse with Sioux Indians, I 
found little dissipation among them as a class 
very much less than would be found among the 
same number of white men. There were at the 
agency a dozen, perhaps, who would become 
drunk whenever they could find the material, 
while many of the half-breeds seemed to con 
sider it their bounden duty to indulge at every 
opportunity, becoming wildly demonstrative. 


and imitating the gay and festive ranchman 
and desperado with whom they came in con 
tact, and whom, being white men, they had so 
often heard praised as enjoying the blessings 
of civilization. 

The chiefs and headmen often denounced the 
traffic, and Spotted Tail used it constantly as 
an argument against moving into the agency, 
saying that he wanted to keep his young men 
from such temptation. Big Mouth was accused 
of enjoying strong drink at times, but he never 
appeared in public when much under its influ 
ence. On one occasion he was accused before me 
of having indulged too freely under the follow 
ing circumstances: 

Some fifteen miles from the reservation, on 
the east side of the Missouri, was a lonely ranch 
conveniently located, being equi-distant be 
tween Yankton and Whetstone Agency. It 
was a rude log cabin completely unfurnished, 
except by a few improvised benches around the 
fire-place and a barrel of Avhiskey on tap in one 
corner, and was kept by the usual style of 
ranchman, with a Yankton squaw for a wife. 
This man came to my office one morning, and 
stated that the night before Big Mouth and a few 
companions Had forced their way into his ranch, 
driven himself and wife into the brush, helped 
themselves to his whiskey ad libitum, dis 
charged their rifles into the brush where he was 


secreted, demolished the door of his cabin, 
broken the sash and glass in the window, and 
allowed the whiskey to run completely to 
waste ; all the time dancing and yelling. He 
further stated that he wanted damages, and 
fixed the amount at one hundred dollars. 
Big Mouth, who was in the office, complacently 
smoked while the charges were interpreted to 
him, and, as he had no appearance of having 
been on a spree, I supposed he would deny it. 
On the contrary, he calmly admitted that he 
had thus amused himself, but added that, as he 
had no money, he could not pay for it. 

The ranchman signified his willingness to 
take ponies, but Big Mouth was just out of 
them, and really could not see what the com 
plainant was going to do about it. He, how 
ever, offered him a smoke from his own pipe, a 
few whiifs of which was all the ranchman ever 
collected. Big Mouth s self-complacency fre 
quently carried him to the verge of facetious- 

His most prominent characteristics, however, 
were boastful egotism and arrogance. In his 
own estimation he was a mighty chieftain, and 
the head of the Ogallala Sioux a model for 
his people and a representative of his race, 
whom civilized white men might admire. He 
called attention to himself as leading his fol 
lowers toward changing the manner of their 


lives, as the great father desired, and often said 
that, if he had had all that had been promised 
him, he and his people would be surrounded 
by cultivated fields and herds of cattle, and 
that their wives and children would not want. 
He would boldly represent in council that, in 
his desire to cultivate the soil, he had dug up the 
ground with his fingers, for lack of some better 
implement, while in truth he was never known 
to do anything in that direction, except occa 
sionally to listlessly watch his squaws, as they 
hoed a small patch of corn near by his lodge. 

In fact, he was an impracticable and insub 
ordinate leader, whom it had been long in con 
templation to depose, by recognizing a better 
Indian as chief of the loafer band. Having 
some intimatioi] of this, and feeling that 
Spotted Tail, chief of the Brules, was gradually 
increasing in power and influence, by the num 
ber of his followers and the deference paid him 
when at the agency, Big Mouth manifested 
his ill feeling and discontent at the tendency 
to ignore his own importance by trying to dis 
parage Spotted Tail s authority, and boasting 
that he had only to call upon his relative, Red 
Cloud, and the latter would seat him firmly in 
power. This feud continued for some months, 
being a more or less disturbing element in the 
management of the Indians at the agency, as was 
also the more frequent introduction of whiskey 5 


at which. Big Mouth, in his ambitious scheme 
to rule or ruin, connived. A culmination was 
reached during the night and following morn 
ing of October 28th, 1869. Spotted Tail, 
with some of his warriors, was visiting the 
agency upon his usual errand. The agency 
people had been unusually noisy in their noc 
turnal songs and beating of drums a pretty 
sure evidence that whiskey had been intro 

About daylight I was aroused by a loud knock 
ing at my door, and was excitedly informed hy 
my visitor, the man in charge of the train 
loaded with supplies for Spotted Tail s camp, 
that the Indians were fighting, and that they 
had ordered him not to move out with his train. 
Upon going outside, I found a brisk discharge 
of firearms was progressing, the bullets whiz 
zing through the air in various directions and 
producing an untranquilizing effect. 

While I was talking with the teamster, and 
advising him to go ahead with the train, he 
suddenly exclaimed, "There they come ! " and 
disappeared. Looking in the direction indi 
cated, I saw two bodies of Indians approaching, 
fully armed with rifles and revolvers, and with 
their bows strung ; evidently they meant mis 
chief. I was alone, and had not the advantage 
wished for by the party in a tight place, who only 
desired some one with a reputation for bravery 


to run, and he would try to keep up with him. 
As the Indians came nearer, I observed that 
they were divided into two parties, one headed 
by Spotted Tail, and the other by Blue Horse, 
a brother of Big Mouth. Before I could make 
up my mind which way to absent myself, I was 
surrounded, and, by gestures, directed to go 
into the usual council room, which I did, fol 
lowed by the chiefs and warriors. The situ 
ation was awkward and constrained. I did not 
know the intentions of the red men, but, as it 
had often been intimated that they could kill 
all the whites at their leisure and then leave 
for parts unknown, I had an uncomfortable 
suspicion that the killing was about to com 
mence, and that, for obvious reasons, I should 
be the victim, being the only white man present. 
Not understanding the language, I could not 
tell what they said, should they offer me any 
choice as to the manner of my taking off. To 
add to the confusion, the discharge of tire arms 
continued outside, and every shot might bring 
a scalp. 

Immediately upon entering the council room, 
Blue Horse commenced a furious tirade ad 
dressed, as far as I could understand, to the 
Brule warriors. He added to the dramatic 
effect by dropping his blanket, and thus ex 
posing his naked form painted for war, a quiver 
full of arrows slung to his back, in one hand 


his strung bow, and in the other a Winchester 
rifle, which lay across the hollow of the arm 
holding the bow. A scalping knife and two 
navy revolvers strapped to his waist completed 
his armament. 

In the midst of his wild harangue, as he 
bounded about upon the floor gesticulating 
fiercely, Spotted Tail, who was seated near me, 
quietly reached down under his blanket, un 
noticed by Blue Horse, and cocked his rifle. 
Evidently now there was to be a desperate 
encounter between the two factions, Brules 
and Ogallalas. Confined in a small room, with 
all ways of egress stopped by sullen warriors, 
each armed with the contents of a small arsenal, 
I, a neutral white man, would be the first slain. 

This wild scene continued for some time, 
when a movement outside indicated an arrival, 
and there was ushered into the room a white 
man, pale and agitated, whom I knew under 
stood the Sioux language, and could tell me 
what was going on. 

Blue Horse kept the floor until he gradually 
ran down and stopped. I then expected to 
hear from the interpreter the fate of the white 
men at the agency; that the Indians were tired 
of the restraints imposed upon them by the 
employes of the Government, and intended to 
incontinently murder all of them, help them 
selves to rations to their heart s content, and 


then journey to their friends in the hostile 
camps. But he was given no chance to tell me 
the substance of Blue Horse s tirade, for 
" Thigh," an Ogallala warrior whom I had 
always considered rather inoffensive, rose, and 
through the interpreter, addressed some re 
marks to me. In the first place, he said, a 
large quantity of whiskey had been brought 
to the agency, and some of his friends had 
taken a little too much. But who made the 
whiskey ? The Indians didn t ; but the white 
men did. 

I had to nod assent to this proposition, and 
he continued that, as the white man made 
whiskey, and the Indians bought and used it, 
it made their hearts bad ; and that he was 
sorry to say that his friend Big Mouth had 
been shot, and now lay dying from the effects 
of his wound. Furthermore, that Spotted Tail 
was the man who had committed the act. 

So now I had some clue to the unusual 
excitement. Thigh continued his remarks for 
some time, denouncing the agency and the 
ways of white men generally, but more especi 
ally the making of whiskey ; closing with a 
short eulogy on Big Mouth. While talking, 
he held in his hand a loaded revolver at full 
cock, to assist him in his gesticulations and 
enforce his points, and as most of the time it 
was pointed towards me, and within a few feet 


of my head, I was rather glad when he could 
think of nothing more to say. 

Spotted Tail had remained seated from the 
time of his entrance as unconcerned as a statue, 
his only movement being the cocking of his 
rifle when Blue Horse was speaking. He was 
fresh from the melee, but his iron nerves were 
unshaken. He now rose, and, having first 
delivered a short temperance lecture, acknowl 
edged that he had shot Big Mouth, excusing 
his action only so far as to say that he was 
sorry. He then said that the object of their 
early visit was to lay the whole matter before 
me, for me to decide what should be done. 

This turn of affairs was calculated to restore 
my confidence, making me, as it did, a judge 
in place of victim. I was not particularly 
sorry that Big Mouth was passing away, but 
took the poet s license to say that I was ; 
eulogized him as a true friend of his people 
and of the white man (as I had often heard 
him say he was), and expressed the hope that 
they would not allow the matter to go further ; 
for it would be much better to kill their 
enemies, and not each other who were friends. 

This brought forth some "hows" from the 
braves, and I felt encouraged, and went on to 
say that, as Spotted Tail had said he was 
sorry, he would as a matter of course pay 
Blue Horse, the brother of Big Mouth, some 


ponies, suggesting ten as about the proper 
number ; and that, as most of them had made 
a night of it, they had better go to their tepees 
and sleep, and think over what had been said. 
Greatly to my satisfaction they agreed to 
this proposition, and took their departure. 




T7ERY soon after the departure of the painted 
V savages, who had honored me with this 
early morning visit, Bine Horse returned, and 
confided to me that he felt the loss of his noble 
brother very deeply, and thought that he should 
be obliged to mourn, meaning to divest himself 
of paint, arms and ornaments, and show the 
bereavement usual at the loss of so near a rela 
tive. Thinking that it might be the cause of 
still further demonstration on the part of his 
friends, I persuaded him by a present of two 
blankets, which he readily accepted, to delay 
action until some future day. He then left, 
and for the lirst time I had an opportunity to 
learn the nature of his remarks when on the 
war path in the council. I found that he had 
been denouncing Spotted Tail for his murderous 
act in giving the death-wound to his brother, 
and had invited him to continue killing Big 
Mouth s relatives, if he thought best ; that he, 
Blue Horse, was ready and prepared for the 


conflict when it came his turn. As intimated, 
however, his speech, full of pleasant sugges 
tions, produced no particular effect. 

Affairs about the agency were far from satis 
factory. The employes were driven from then- 
work by the too close proximity of an occa 
sional bullet, fired from the rifle of some Indian. 
Some of them, considering discretion the better 
part of valor, crossed to the opposite side of the 
Missouri, and found a place of safety. Spotted 
Tail s supply train was still held in abeyance, 
the teamsters thinking the risk to their scalps 
too great to hazard a departure without the 
consent of the Indians. The young bucks, dis 
satisfied with the morning s deliberation, threat 
ened to take matters into their own hands. 
Being without any adequate means of protec 
tion, I dispatched a trusty messenger to Fort 
Randall, about thirty miles distant, asking for 
a small detachment of troops and a howitzer 
to guard the supplies and protect the whites in 
case matters went from bad to worse. 

Big Mouth, though mortally wounded, was 
still living, and the squaws and medicine men 
were gathered about him in great numbers, the 
former shrilly wailing, and the latter beating 
drums, discharging fire arms, and keeping up a 
continuous racket. Although they were fa 
miliar enough with wounds to know that their 
chieftain could not live, word was sent to me 


that they wanted Dr. C - to try his healing 
powers. It was far from a pleasant undertak 
ing to thread our way through this mob of 
howling savages to the dying Big Mouth. 

Upon the approach of the doctor and myself, 
they made way for us, but redoubled their cries 
and uproar, whether to give assurance that we 
would be safe or be scalped we could not tell. 
We found Big Mouth lying in one corner of a 
log hut, to which he had been carried after he 
was shot. The doctor probed the ugly wound 
in the head of the doughty Ogallala, and con 
vinced himself that he would soon be on his 
way to the happy hunting ground. 

The medicine men and squaws in attendance 
having closely watched the doctor s examina 
tion, and being ignorant of a. surgeon s duty, 
accused him of speeding Big Mouth to his death, 
thus increasing the danger of our visit. 

But fortunately we escaped meeting, on our 
way back to the agency office, any Indian whose 
heart had been made bad by this incident. In 
a short time the death of Big Mouth was an- 

The day, which had commenced with a trag 
edy, was passed in much uncertainty as to the 
eventual termination of affairs. When night 
came I had the employes gathered into an iso 
lated building, which was barricaded as well as 
possible; and here, supplied with such arms as 


could be found, we awaited, with no particular 
sense of security, the arrival of the troops, 
which very promptly made their appearance at 

The next morning the presence of troops 
served to curb the unruly and suppress the in 
solent. One white man and two half-breeds, who 
had been instrumental in introducing whiskey, 
were arrested. Ten or a dozen work oxen were 
shot and killed by the Indians during the day, 
but order was restored, the troops, with their 
prisoners, returned to Fort Randall, and affairs 
moved on again as usual. 

The dead chief Big Mouth was swathed in 
his best blanket, furnished with bow and 
quiver, pipe and tobacco, for use in the happy 
hunting ground, and duly elevated to a 
scaifold to sleep with his fathers. The honor 
of filling his place as chief was divided between 
Blue Horse and Thigh. 

I endeavored to obtain from Spotted Tail an 
account of his affair with Big Mouth, but he 
would not talk about it, his conduct in this 
respect being quite exceptional. Generally 
the Indian chief is boastful to a disagreeable 
extent. Not so Spotted Tail. He never men 
tioned himself when it could be avoided, and 
would never relate his adventures and bloody 
conflicts, which, his friends said, were many. 

From the best information of the affair which 


I could obtain, Big Mouth was entertaining 
Spotted Tail on the fatal night, and had, beside 
the usual feast, some whiskey in his lodge. 
This he tried to induce Spotted Tail to drink, 
setting the example himself, but failed. They 
related stories and sung their Indian songs in 
company with their respective friends nearly 
all night, and when, in the early morning, 
Spotted Tail left the lodge, Big Mou th folio wed* 
him, and presenting a loaded revolver to his 
breast, attempted to discharge it ; but fortun 
ately the cap failed to explode. Spotted Tail, 
having had warning of his intentions, was pre 
pared, and sent a ball from his revolver crash 
ing through Big Mouth s brain. 

As the latter fell and attempted to rise, two 
of Spotted Tail s warriors struck him with their 
revolvers in token of their approval of the act. 
The friends of both chiefs rallied to their 
assistance, and had some slight altercation, 
but did not continue the conflict, marching 
sullenly instead to the council to eventually 
accept blood money in place of retribution. 

Spotted Tail gave Blue Horse the required 
number of ponies, and thus Indian laws were 
vindicated after the manner of our own remote 





AMONG the objects of greatest interest to 
the Indians were the beef cattle kept for 
issue to them. The cattle for Big Mouth s 
band were slaughtered and prepared by a pro 
fessional butcher, and this work always claimed 
their undivided attention. Mounted upon 
their ponies they would assist in driving in 
from the general herd the requisite number of 
cattle, and remain interested spectators of the 
killing, having their squaws in attendance to 
carry home such parts as were rejected by their 
civilized brother, but by them considered great 

Fire Thunder and Swift Bear received their 
beef on the hoof, and their young bucks took 
a wild delight in treating them like buffalo. 
They would drive the cattle near to their camps, 
and, riding at full speed, shoot them with 
rifles or bows and arrows, according to fancy; 
thus for the time enjoying the pleasures of the 


chase. As has been said, Spotted Tail steadily 
refused to interest himself in transporting to 
his camp his supplies of bacon, sugar, coffee, 
etc., but with his cattle it was a different thing. 
His young warriors were always on hand to 
receive them, usually from fifty to sixty head 
at a time, and took pleasure and interest in 
driving them to their camp, whatever the dis 
tance. At this time none but Texas cattle were 
purchased for the Indians. They were brought 
from their native prairies, and were wild as any 
untamed animal. They had the wide, branch 
ing horns, long legs and lank bodies peculiar 
to their breed, seldom weighing, at best, over 
a thousand pounds gross weight. They were 
as fleet as an elk, and as easily frightened. 
The approach of a wolf or a strange dog would 
often start a whole herd to running, causing a 
stampede, when it took a good horse and bold 
rider to overtake them. 

But the Mexican herders who had accom 
panied them from the southern plains were 
equal to the emergency. One of them riding 
up to the side of the leader would apply the 
stinging lash of his long whip to the animal s 
side, forcing him to sheer off from a direct 
line, and the rest of the herd following, he 
soon had them all running in a circle. This 
was called the "mill," and would be made 
gradually smaller and smaller, until the 


animals impeded each other s further pro 
gress, their long horns knocking against each 
other in wild confusion, and they finally 
stopped, or, in professional language, u were 
brought to a round up." Then one would be 
allowed to quietly escape in the right direc 
tion, and the rest would follow. 

At this time traveling on the west side of the 
Missouri was not considered safe, especially 
for parties with whom the Indians were not 
familiar. In consequence of this, the con 
tractors supplying beef cattle to the various 
agencies and military posts on the Missouri, 
usually crossed their herds to the eastern side 
of the river at or below Fort Randall, thus 
securing a more frequented route north, and 
one comparatively safe. The cattle destined 
for Whetstone Agency generally came by this 
route, and had to recross the river at the 
Agency by swimming. To induce them to do 
"this was an undertaking attended with many 
difficulties. Like most other animals, whether 
wild or domestic, they became very much 
alarmed when first coming in the vicinity of 
wild Indians. A knowledge of this fact is of 
great value to the Indians in their stealing 
expeditions. Their wild whoop and shaking 
of blanket or robe, together with their peculiar 
smoky odor, will set the most sober-sided 
horse or cow on a perfect rampage. 


When a herd was to be crossed at Whetstone, 
the usual proceeding was to find a bold bluff, 
intersected by a wide ravine which led to the 
water s edge. The herders would drive the 
cattle to the head of this ravine and start them 
gently toward the river, increasing their speed 
until, as they were about entering the stream, 
the leaders were at a full run. They would 
then be plunged into the swift current by their 
own inertia and by their followers closely 
packed in their rear. The opposite bank 
would be kept clear of Indians, and often a 
few staid work oxen placed near its edge as 
decoys ; while on the shore from which the 
cattle were starting, mounted men would be 
stationed who, by shouting and discharging 
fire arms, would try to keep the animals mov 
ing in a line to the opposite bank. 

A few feet from the first plunge into the 
w ater the cattle would be swimming, breasting 
the rapid current, but the leaders, getting a 
first whiff of the tainted Indian air from the 
agency, would invariably turn their course and 
swim back toward the bank which they had 
just left. In spite of the screaming of those 
on shore, the sharp cracking of whips and the 
discharging of fire arms, the half-crazed leaders 
would blindly return, and, coursing along the 
bank to a second ravine, dash through it and 
out on to the prairie, followed, into the river 


and out again, by the whole herd of five or 
six hundred. 

After a long chase the herd would be 
" rounded to," and driven to the head of the. 
ravine to repeat the same manoeuver. This 
was often done again and again, in the hope 
each time that some animal would conclude to 
cross to the opposite shore, and thus set an ex 
ample which the others would surely follow. 

In the fall and spring, when the water was 
cold, which added to the difficulty, I have 
spent three or four days in trying to "make a 
crossing," as it is called, being assisted by the 
practical lore of the professional herder, the 
knowledge of the frontiersman, and by the In 
dians, who were the most expert of all. Any 
one of the last would ride boldly into the water 
among the struggling animals, and swimming 
his pony to the side of one of the leaders, jump 
astride his back, and try to keep him in a 
direct course for the opposite bank by knock 
ing with a club on his long horns when he at 
tempted to turn, which he generally did. When 
fairly on the way to the shore, and beyond the 
possibility of turning, the Indian would draw 
his pony to his side by his long lariat, remount 
and extricate himself from the swimming mass 
of infuriated animals. The white men follow 
ing on the flanks, and swimming their horses 
into the water, would come to the shore shak- 


ing with cold, while the Indians and half-breeds 
would be unaffected, although naked except 
the kilts about their loins. 

After many and various attempts at crossing, 
the same herd would be brought to the river, 
driven in, and, without any apparent cause, 
would strike out for the opposite shore, seem 
ingly thinking further opposition useless. 

The forcible manner of driving would some 
times be varied, after a day s rest, by taking 
advantage of one of the peculiarities of these 
animals. A herder would ride out in front of 
them, and by singing in a low voice a melo 
dious song, or whistling in a minor key, he 
could often lead the whole herd in any direc 
tion he wished, apparently charming them by 
his really musical notes. 

The waters of the Missouri, with their ever 
varying channel, like the ghost in "Hamlet," 
u now here, now there," rendered the finding 
of a landing for a steamboat a matter of experi 
ment, and it was often necessary to land stores 
two or three miles from the agency. The In 
dians always found their way to the temporary 
landings, and, seating themselves on prominent 
points of observation, were seemingly passive 
lookers on, but really they were intensely in 
terested as to the number of bales of blankets, 
boxes of tobacco, barrels of sugar and sacks of 


Handling these supplies and hauling them to 
shelter from threatening storms were often 
questions of great moment, but under no cir 
cumstances was I ever able to get the Indians 
to assist in this labor. My own example passed 
for nothing. This was to them hewing of 
wood and drawing of water, and, according to 
the laws of their customs, women s work, far 
beneath their dignity as lords of creation. 

The Sioux are not indolent and lazy after the 
manner of Hottentots, for, when called upon to 
perform what they consider man s work, they 
exhibit remarkable endurance and activity. 
Unequaled in the hunt and chase, when pro 
viding for their families; unsurpassed in horse 
manship; bold scouts and faithful couriers; 
masters of their various weapons; fitted to en 
dure the winter s cold and summer s heat; and 
fully partaking of the characteristics of all 
born to the rigors of a northern climate, their 
energy, if properly directed, would carry them 
into much more useful and surer fields of 
advancement than does the policy in their 
treatment heretofore indicated. 

Why endeavor to make of poor material 
unwilling agriculturists, in place of leading 
them to a pastoral life, for which they show 
considerable inclination, and which has always 
come first in the regular state of advancement 
from barbarism to civilization ? 






THE routine of affairs at the agency during 
the winter was occasionally relieved by 
the arrival of some distinguished chieftain, 
with a more or less numerous following, who 
had passed the summer and fall in raiding on 
stock and taking scalps in the direction of the 
Platte River, or with congenial friends in the 
Powder River country, or the Rose Bud, and, 
now that cold weather had come, visited the 
agency to spy out the land, and see how it 
fared with their brethren who were making 
pretensions- to " learn the ways of white men," 
as the Indians expressed it. 

One of these chiefs was Red Leaf. He had 
the reputation of being a bold warrior and gal 
lant leader, and of having taken a leading part 
in the Port Phil. Kearney massacre of 1866. 

Red Leaf s followers, men, women and chil 
dren, had a much wilder appearance than their 


Mends at the agency. In place of woolen 
blankets and calico dresses, indicative of con 
tact with an agency and annuity goods, they 
wore gaily painted and ornamented robes, buck 
skin leggins, and garments made of dressed 
deer and antelope skins, decorated with beads 
and bright - colored porcupine quills. This 
dress, corresponding to their wild habits, added 
much to their novelty and picturesqueness. 

Their presence carried with it the impress of 
their wild, native independence. Their manner 
had more of ease and confidence, their step was 
more elastic and firm, and their eyes more keen 
in the quick glance of observation, than the 
agency Indians. Beside them the latter ap 
peared to be in a stage of semi-somnambulism, 
from over-feeding and want of exercise. They 
were in the torpor of the chrysalis state, waiting 
to come forth, under the peace policy, full fledged 
white men in manners and habits. At present 
the wilder sons of the prairie had the advantage 
in point of appearance. 

If they were thus attractive to me, it was not 
strange that their own kith and kin should be 
still more interested in them, and should show 
them, still true representatives of their race, 
every mark of admiration and esteem. 

Their coming was always announced days 
beforehand by Indian couriers, who were con 
stantly carrying news from camp to camp, and 


tlieir arrival waited for with impatience. The 
agency Indians killed the fatted calf and sung 
and danced before them, and in their zeal to 
help their friends made inordinate demands for 
blankets, tobacco, powder and lead the cov 
eted wants of all Indians. As I had none of 
these articles in store, they could not be sup 
plied, and the next demand would be for a 
large quantity of food. The latter was given, 
after assurance by the new comer that it was 
his present intention to locate near the agency, 
or with Spotted Tail, and, as a matter of course, 
remain at peace. 

Another visitor was Roman Nose, a Minne- 
conjou Sioux, celebrated among the Indians as 
the active leader in many bold forays against 
their enemies. He, with a number of lodges, 
made his appearance when snow began to fly, 
and wanted rations and quiet for the winter 
under the usual promise. 

Roman Nose wore at this time a hunting 
jacket made of dressed skins, which was 
trimmed about the neck and shoulders with 
scalp locks taken from those he had killed. 
The hair was long and much too fine for that 
of Indians. Some poor white women had paid 
the penalty of following their husbands into 
the sparsely settled parts of Kansas and Ne 
braska, thus encroaching on the hunting ground 
of this noble savage. 


Whistler, an Ogallala, who had made him 
self rather notorious during the summer months 
on the Republican and Platte Rivers, turned 
his course towards Spotted Tail s camp, causing 
the latter to ask for an increased supply of 
cattle, bacon, etc. 

And last, though not least, Pawnee Killer, 
an Ogallala brave, made his appearance at the 
agency with a small following. This chieftain 
was well known on the Republican, and at 
Forts Laramie and Fetterman. He announced 
that he had been operating in the field with a 
small force during the summer, and implied 
that he had come to the agency for rest and 
recreation for the winter. 

So far as villainy can be depicted in the 
human countenance, it was to be found in 
Pawnee Killer s. His face had a lean and 
hungry look; he was long and lank, and re 
minded one of a prowling wolf. He seldom 
smiled while talking with his companions, but 
stalked about with his blanket closely wrapped 
around him, as if expecting at each turn to 
pounce upon an enemy, or be himself attacked. 
He had a murderous looking set of followers, 
and all indications pointed to the fact that they 
had come red handed from killing an innocent 
party of white men on the Republican River, 
in Nebraska. During the month of August, 
1869, Mr. Nelson Buck, in charge of a survey- 


ing party, consisting of twelve persons, was 
making surveys of Government land in Ne 
braska, when the party was attacked by In 
dians and all of them killed. Pawnee Killer 
and his friends were supposed to have been en 
gaged in the affair, and to know the particu 
lars, which the friends of Mr. Buck and others 
were anxious to obtain, as also their bodies for 
decent burial. It was made my duty to investi 
gate the matter. 

Through the influence of a supply of rations 
and a gift of tobacco, Pawnee Killer was in 
duced to relate this version of the affair, which 
was corroborated by his friends. That he, 
with a number of other Indians, while hunting 
on the Republican, in Nebraska, during the 
past summer, had discovered a party of sur 
veyors engaged at work, and near by their 
temporary camp, in which were tents and a 
wagon, which the Indians supposed contained 
provisions. A man was engaged cooking at a 
camp fire near the wagon, and some of the 
young men of Pawnee Killer s party ap 
proached him with the intention of asking for 
food, as they were hungry. While they were 
asking for something to eat, some of the sur 
veying, party approached, and, while partially 
concealed in a clump of brush, fired upon them, 
wounding one of the Indians. 

This commenced the fight in which eight, of 


the party of twelve, surveyors were killed, 
while the Indians lost three killed. Four of 
Mr. Buck s party, who had entrenched them 
selves, they were unable to dislodge, so, after 
destroying the camp and wagon and such 
surveying instruments as they could find, they 
retired from the scene of conflict. The re 
maining four surveyors, Pawnee Killer sup 
posed were killed by another party of Indians 
known to be near there. 

Pawnee Killer excused the act on the ground 
that the white men commenced the fight, and 
enraged his young men so that he could not 
restrain them. This was all the information I 
could gain. There was no further proof that 
he himself was one of the murderers of the 
Buck party, but I never thought he was any 
too good to be. 

I found that there were Indians and Indians. 
But many people living at a distance judge 
them as all one class. When reading accounts 
of the cruel brutality with which some of the 
murders of white men are committed, they 
jump to the conclusion that all Indians, wher 
ever found, are murderers, and should be 
exterminated. This judgment, I believe, would 
not be given upon a more intimate acquaint 
ance with these people, for there are undoubt 
edly many among them who have never com 
mitted outrages except in a state of war, and 


then, under their tribal system, all must 
become involved as a matter of self-preserva 

We must remember the brutal outrages com 
mitted every day by white men in civilized 
communities. This universal condemnation of 
an unenlightened people has resulted in great 
injustice to them. Indians have been merci 
lessly shot down simply because they were 

When this indiscriminate condemnation is 
so common among civilized people, it is not 
strange to find it almost universal with the 
savage. If an Indian is enraged by a real or 
supposed injury from a white man, he swears 
vengeance on the whole race, and one white 
man s scalp is as good as another. 




DURING the fall of 18.59 and winter of 1870, 
more than usual discontent appeared 
among the Indians, due to various causes, one 
of the principal of which was the lack of suit 
able clothing and shelter in the severe winter 
weather of that latitude. Their tepees were 
thin and worn, and no canvas had arrived to 
renew them, while the distribution of ready- 
made clothing had been anything but satis 
factory. They had no idea of exchanging their 
native dress for the cheap clothing of soldiers, 
dyed to conceal its original design. The goods 
suitable to their wants, for which I had asked 
so long ago, had not arrived, and I was obliged 
to listen to many uncomplimentary remarks 
regarding my efficiency as an agent, and even 
some reflections on my character for truthful 

The wild and turbulent spirits which the 
approach of winter had brought among them 


helped to increase the discontent and dissatis 
faction by their accounts of the bold raids, the 
startling attacks upon their enemies and the 
pleasures of the chase, which they had enjoyed 
during their free and independent summer life. 
The old habits never lost their charm, and 
beside them their present life seemed tame and 

The ranchman became more bold in his ne 
farious trade, owing to the failure to convict in 
the courts some of the most notorious venders 
of intoxicating drink. In spite of the best pre 
cautions possible under the circumstances, 
there was considerable whiskey consumed at 
the agency, greatly to the detriment of the 
Indians and their associates. 

They were still smarting under the chastise 
ment of their friends by the Pawnee Scouts, 
and the young men meditated further ven 

They had again asked permission to hunt on 
the Republican, under the stipulations of their 
treaty, and to be accompanied by some reliable 
white man, who should govern their movements 
and see that they did not molest settlers. This 
request had been refused, and, considering 
that an injustice had been done them, they 
constantly referred to the subject in their 
talks. It was indeed a serious matter to them, 
for the buffalo is a perfect store house of family 


supplies. His robe more than takes the place 
of the white man s blanket; his dressed and 
smoked hide make better material for lodges 
than canvas ; the rich marrow of his bones 
furnishes butter; his dried sinews their thread; 
his hoofs and horns the glue to strengthen and 
embellish their bows and complete their arrows; 
while his flesh is their natural food the year 
round, that which is not wanted for immediate 
use being dried without salt in the pure air of 
the plains and preserved for future use. 

Another grievance was that they learned, 
through the whites engrafted on them, of 
meetings in eastern cities which were ad 
dressed by speakers giving glowing accounts 
of the richness of the country which the Sioux 
occupied. These individuals drew entirely 
upon their imagination for these facts, exag 
gerating in proportion to their ignorance of the 
real resources of the country. They pictured 
a new Eldorado in the Big Horn Mountains 
and Black Hills, and called upon the adven 
turers and enterprising to join expeditions 
which were to start in the spring from Laramie 
in the south, and from some point in Montana 
in the north-west, and fight their way through 
to their destination in spite of hostile Indians. 

The Northern Pacific Railroad was projected, 
and newspapers gave glowing accounts of the 
rich lands west of the Missouri to be opened 


to the agriculturist, and of the beds of coal 
and mines of gold and silver. These matters 
were discussed in meetings and by newspapers 
without the slightest reference to the rights 
and possessions of the Indians guaranteed by 
solemn treaty. The same unsettled state of 
affairs as at Whetstone extended to all the 
agencies on the Missouri. The Indians became 
more and more clamorous and demonstrative, 
and I determined to ask for a small detachment 
of troops to be permanently stationed at the 
agency. I required some adequate means to 
arrest white offenders against the intercourse 
laws, as well as to curb the Indians. 

The young bucks did not look with favor 
upon the arrival of troops. Naturally enough 
they did not wish to be restrained in the least, 
but it seemed likely to prove good discipline 
for them. The elder and more conservative 
Indians looked upon the matter with indiffer 

So the guard of troops arrived, and some 
months later a permanent garrison was estab 
lished, and had a beneficial effect. 





rpHEKE had been several Dakota blizzards 
1 during the winter. These storms are pe 
culiar to the plains; the air is filled with fine 
particles of sharp, cutting ice and snow, which 
are driven and whirled with blinding force by 
a gale of wind, often obscuring the sun and 
even objects but a few feet distant, the mercury 
at the same time standing many degrees below 

The Indians have learned to remain in their 
lodges during these storms, or, if traveling, to 
move with their families and ponies into some 
sheltered ravine, and there await the subsidence 
of the gale; but the inexperienced traveler, who 
endeavors to keep on his journey, is blinded 
by the fury of the blast, loses his way, and 
often perishes of cold and hunger. 

These storms usually last three days, and 
then the wind dies down to a gentle breeze, the 
sun shines out warm and clear in a cloudless 


sky, and those who live in the land can come 
forth and look over their losses of cattle and 
horses, buried in snow drifts and dead from 
suffocation and cold, if not to mourn the loss 
of some too adventurous friend, who has per 
ished by the way side. 

Under many difficulties a fence had been 
built around one of the principal cultivated 
fields at the agency. The trees had been felled 
and the logs hauled to the saw mill, where they 
were made into fence boards; cedar posts had 
been rafted from an island in the river above 
the agency; and the whole, when finished, was 
looked upon with much pride by the head 
farmer, as being a mile and a half of good 
board fence, as it was. I had repeatedly called 
the attention of the Indians to it, and asked 
them to watch over it and see that it was not 
injured, as, when spring came, it would be 
wanted to protect the corn and grain which 
were to be cultivated. During one of these 
blizzards of the highest type, there were four 
days during which none of the agency em 
ployes ventured out, and when they did it was 
to discover that the much admired board fence 
had almost entirely disappeared. The squaws 
had appropriated boards and posts, and cut 
them up for their lodge fires. The men must 
have been aware of it, but, as the squaws ordi 
narily had to pack all their wood on their backs 


from an island half a mile or more distant, they 
probably winked at the depredation, and, when 
they saw the fence boards brought in and piled 
upon the blazing fire, took the chances of hav 
ing another fence built of green cottonwood 
boards, which would be dry enough for tepee 
fires next winter. I took the first occasion to 
speak of the loss of the fence, but they failed 
to shed tears or feel deeply depressed at the 
rather expensive way their squaws had taken 
to keep them comfortable during the storm. 

In February there .appeared a train of wagons 
from below, loaded with the long-expected 
blankets, etc. The delay in their arrival di 
minished greatly the effect of the beneficence. 
Over six months of waiting from day to day 
would destroy the heart of a more patient 

These goods were among the first purchased 
under the supervision of the peace commission 
ers, and the blankets and cloths were all of the 
best quality. The quantity was large, and sup 
plied all with articles which they had long 
needed. Thirty-one thousand yards of canvas 
gave them new lodges, eight hundred blankets 
gave one to each warrior, seventeen thousand 
yards of calico gratified female wants and vani 
ties, and fifty boxes of tobacco solaced chiefs 
and warriors as they smoked and meditated. 
For the time their hearts were glad. I im- 


proved the opportunity to remind them of the 
desire of their Great Father that they should 
learn to cultivate the soil. They made the 
usual promise, and said that they were perfectly 
willing to do so provided they had the means. 
All they wanted was plenty of hoes and seed 
corn; I should see. But this talk I had already 
discovered amounted to nothing so far as they 
were individually concerned, as each particular 
talker in council (the women were never allowed 
even to listen) meant, when expressing a will 
ingness to work, that he would put his squaws 
at it, and nothing more. I never saw but one 
Indian man working in the field while at this 
agency. He was old and superannuated, and 
had lost all regard for the pomps and vanities of 
this world. 

Swift Bear had received a good number of 
blankets and a quantity of tepee cloth, and 
was inclined to be rather eloquent on the sub 
ject of agriculture. He even went so far as to 
say that he wanted a ploughed field to himself, 
with a good house near at hand, where he could 
sit and watch his corn and potatoes growing, 
while his people could look on, admire, and 
perhaps imitate his example. 

I took him at his word. A few acres were 
broken and fenced about on a spot selected by 
himself, and a comfortable log house erected 
as he desired. But it never pleased him. He 


was no better than the rest, and turned his 
squaws out to labor, while he made use of his 
house only by moving his canvas tepee near it. 
Thus he realized his dreams of being a husband 





WHILE he was visiting at the agency, Spotted 
Tail was approached on the important sub 
ject of settling down and cultivating the soil. 
He was offered plenty of ploughed ground, a 
good log house, and all the farming implements 
he wanted, but he either evaded the subject 
altogether or declined the offers, on the ground 
that he did not like the situation at the present 
agency, nor, in fact, any other point upon the 
Missouri. He wanted an agency located upon 
the White Earth River, or at almost any point 
except the present one. While talking to him 
on the subject of farming, he seemed to take 
about as much real interest in the matter as a 
well-to-do farmer would were he asked to adopt 
the habits and fashions of a Sioux Indian. It 
was the same with most of the Indians under 
his control. They often compared their man 
ner of living very favorably with that of the 


white men with whom they came in contact, 
whose manners and customs they could not see 
were any improvement upon their own. In 
many instances they were not far out of the 

There were, as has been mentioned, a number 
of white men at the agency who had married 
Sioux women, but at this time none of them 
dwelt in Spotted Tail s -camp. I knew but one 
white man that did. He was a hard-looking 
specimen, much more untidy in appearance 
than the Indians with whom he lived. I never 
learned where they picked him up, but he was 
seemingly contented with his lot, though he 
was simply tolerated among them, and treated 
as a menial, being required to bring wood and 
water and fetch coals of fire to light their pipes. 
This man had some education, and I tried to 
employ him, as he lived in their camp, to give 
me some information as to the number of people 
in the village a subject guarded by them with 
jealous care. But either from indolence or from 
fear of the Indians he was never of any assist 
ance, and I soon dropped him. 

Spotted Tail and those associated with him 
were much interested in the arrival of the an 
nuity goods, and, in order to have them quickly 
delivered at their camp and also to supply 
themselves with tepee poles, the frame work of 
their dwellings, moved their camp to within 


twenty-five miles of the agency. The new 
camp was toward the northwest, and near the 
Missouri, so that they were but a short distance 
from an island, upon which was a small growth 
of cedar of proper size for the squaws to make 
into tepee poles. As each tepee required about 
fifteen poles to pitch it properly, and as from 
constant use they often became broken and un 
serviceable, this was a matter of great import 
ance. The new blankets having been donned, 
and the new canvas made into tepees, Spotted 
Tail was inclined to be proud of these acquisi 
tions, and invited me to visit his camp and see 
how comfortably he and his people were living. 
As their new outfit had been obtained prin 
cipally through his persistent exertions, he 
claimed rightfully the honor it brought with it. 

Accordingly, one bright spring morning, I set 
out for the Indian village, accompanied by my 
interpreter. By following a well defined trail, 
made by the trains which transported supplies, 
and by the passage of moving families with 
packed -ponies, and tepee poles trailing on the 
ground, we had no difficulty in finding our way 
over the otherwise level and trackless prairie. 

As we approached the village, we found a 
more broken country, our trail leading over 
high buttes and across deep ravines. Making 
a few short turns at the base of the buttes, and 
ascending the side of a ravine, we came in view 


of the camp. Scattered in rather irregular 
order were about three hundred and fifty lodges. 
An open space in the centre answered the pur 
pose of a public square, and overlooking this 
was the council lodge, and, in close proximity 
to it, Spotted Tail s tepees, three in number. 
We were escorted to one o these, and as we 
approached he emerged and welcomed us, in- 
viling us to dismount and enter. Upon doing 
so we were immediately offered coffee and meat 
to refresh us after our morning ride. My inter 
preter had warned me that feasting would be 
the principal entertainment, so I governed my 
self accordingly and did not partake too freely 
the first time. 

Like other great rulers, Spotted Tail had his 
little annoyances, known only to those behind 
the throne. Being the principal chieftain, he 
was constantly called upon by those wanting 
counsel and advice, and custom demanded, that 
all callers should have something offered them 
to eat, so that his larder had constant drafts 
made upon it. In order to sustain his dignity 
in this respect, I sent him extra coffee, bacon and 
sugar by each supply train, the articles being 
left without comment in his lodge. This was 
in addition to his regular share. On this very 
day there were no less than five or six warriors 
in the lodge, who were replenishing themselves 
from the boiling pot suspended oyer the fire. 


The interior of the tepee showed no marks of 
princely state, or tokens of power and wealth. 
It was of ordinary size, of the well-known 
conical shape of all Sioux Indian lodges, and 
so iilled in around the edge with family stores 
of various kinds that but little room was left for 
the occupants. In the center was the fire, the 
smoke from which escaped through a hole in 
the top, and around it were robes and blankets 
spread upon the ground. On these you could 
lounge with your back against the stores, and 
your feet at a comfortable distance from the 
fire. The smoke of the Indian tobacco (com 
posed of one-third tobacco and two-thirds of 
the inner bark of the red willow, dried), to 
gether with a portion of the smoke from the 
fire, usually fills the upper part of a tepee, and 
gives its contents a not unpleasant smoky odor. 

Spotted Tail s favorite wife was doing the 
honors. It was said that he possessed three 
others, but he did not take sufficient pride in 
them to have them call around on this occasion. 

Going outside and looking around the village, 
I foimd everywhere an air of quiet content 
ment. It was situated in a sheltered place, 
and the rays of the spring sun were warm, so 
most of the Indians were out of doors ; the 
elder ones smoking as they basked in the sun, 
the young bucks, divided into two parties, 
enjoying their favorite game of foot ball, and 


the boys whipping tops or practicing with their 
bows and arrows. The women were working 
and gossiping, always at a distance from the 
men, and the girls too small to carry burdens 
were playing with their rude dolls or acquiring 
knowledge of the needle with dried sinews 
for thread. Some of the young maidens, I 
noticed, lingered a little as they carried wood 
and water, casting shy glances on the young 
athletes running after the ball. In the distance 
herds of ponies grazed on the prairie, watched 
by sentinels posted on high buttes to see that 
they did not stray too far, and to give timely 
warning should an enemy approach. 

The whole was a pleasant scene of primitive 
life. Here was a community ruled by chiefs 
and sub-chiefs who had gained their positions 
by their bravery in battle and discretion in 
council, and who maintained them partly by 
their prowess and partly by a certain acquies 
cence in the wishes of the majority. If simple 
contentment be the aim of life, why should 
they be made c to sweat and groan under a 
weary load?" 

Upon further investigation I found that the 
camp was conveniently located for wood and 
water. Being new it was cleanly, and the 
white canvas contrasted finely with the fresh 
unbroken green sward of the prairie. For a 
summer camj) it was finely situated. Their 


previous camp, from which they had just 
moved, had been very differently located in a 
secluded valley, where it was sheltered from 
the biting winter wind by the surrounding 
bluffs, and with plenty of dry wood at hand 
for fires, and also green cotton wood limbs, 
whose succulent bark forms the only food for 
their ponies when deep snows cover the ground. 

After looking about the village for some 
time we proceeded to the council lodge, 
which had floating from its peak an empty 
flour sack. Upon inquiry I found that this 
was intended for the Stars and Stripes, and 
was referred to as such by the speakers in the 
talk which followed. Upon entering the lodge 
we found the chiefs and warriors awaiting us. 
The most noted of them were Spotted Tail, 
Two Strike and Red Leaf of the Brules, and 
Black Bear, Whistler and Pawnee Killer of 
the Ogallalas. 

They had made a little more than the usual 
feast, and in my honor had killed the fatted 
calf and prepared a dainty dish much relished 
by themselves. One of their customs requires 
that a guest must eat of each dish that is set 
before him, and the entire amount to which he 
is helped, otherwise an implied slight is cast 
upon the repast, and a present must be given 
to the host. The morning ride in the bracing 
air had fortunately fortified me with a good 


appetite and keen relish for almost anything 
in the shape of wholesome food. The coffee 
was served, and a big kettle brought in and 
placed where all could see when its savory 
contents should be disclosed. This interesting 
moment had arrived, and one of the warriors, 
using a stout stick for a fork, ran it into the 
steaming kettle and drew forth a good-sized 
dog ! It had been denuded of its hair, and 
parts of its legs were gone, but that there 
should be no doubt about it, as is the custom 
with our fine cooks when placing before us 
some rare bird or fish, the head and tail were 
left on the body entire. 

I took my share and with many misgivings 
tried to eat some of it. It really tasted about 
the same as young pig, but to me " the scent of 
the roses clung to it still," and I willingly paid 
the forfeit which some of the warriors soon 
claimed. The Indians a]l partook with the 
utmost gusto and relish. The talk which fol 
lowed did not elicit much that was new. 
While they were satisfied with the last dis 
tribution of annuity goods, they still indicated 
their uneasiness for want of assurances, which 
I could not give, that they would remain un 
disturbed in their present possessions. They 
still desired to hunt buffalo, and did not con 
sider that they were sufficiently revenged upon 
the Pawnees. 


Though Spotted Tail brought these matters 
in review, he announced, in the presence of all, 
his intention to remain at peace, and to urge 
his young men to do the same. 

Two Strike, an active leader among the 
warriors, intimated that as every effort had 
been made to gain permission to hunt in the 
Republican River country, and without suc 
cess, it was possible they might go without it. 
He again referred to the killing of their friends 
there, and spoke in no very complimentary 
terms of the Pawnee Scouts and of the Govern 
ment which employed them. 

The other chiefs contented themselves with 
applauding such parts of Spotted Tail s and 
Two Strike s remarks as coincided with their 
views. The council over, I was invited to visit 
the tepees of the other chiefs. 

Upon entering each one, some food was 
offered, but, after the dog feast, I constantly 
made, myself liable to the customary penalty 
-for not eating what was set before me. 

These visits over, and after the usual hand 
shakings and "hows," I remounted and with 
my interpreter rode briskly back to the agency. 
I enjoyed the visit, affording, as it did, the 
opportunity to see the Indians at home and 
undisturbed by the presence of white men, 
whose customs and manners are so widely at 
variance with their own, 





THE winter had been spent in listening to the 
complaints of the Indians upon nearly 
every subject connected with their manner of 
life; in looking after the stores for issue, Capt. 
Woodson, Acting Commissary, having been re 
lieved and sent to other fields of duty; in hear 
ing complaints of white men who came to the 
agency from the white settlements in Nebraska, 
looking for stolen horses, as they said, but who 
had all the appearance of a class who are not 
averse to taking a hand at stealing an unpro 
tected horse themselves; in hearing recitals of 
depredations by Indians against white men, 
and of white men against Indians, and en 
deavoring to adjust their differences ; called 
upon frequently to attend a night council in an 
unfrequented lodge, gotten up by some schem 
ing warrior who had an enterprise on foot, 
which, should he succeed in having it carried 


out, might add to his importance when brought 
before the general public. 

The northern spring was welcomed with more 
than usual delight, affording, as it did, an op 
portunity to escape indoor work, and to visit 
the- fields, which, theoretically, were to bud 
and blossom under the cultivation of the In 
dians. The interest taken in agriculture by the 
chiefs was, as heretofore explained, a minus 
quantity, but then others, not holding exalted 
positions, might be induced to go into the fields 
if a proper example were shown them, and com 
mence the long road marked out for their ad 

Great efforts were made, with the limited ap 
pliances at hand, to rebuild the fence destroyed 
by the squaws in the winter. All the work oxen 
that had not been maliciously killed were yoked 
to ploughs to break up new ground; horses 
were harnessed to cross ploughs, and the old 
fields prepared for seeding and planting. This 
preparatory work was attended to with interest 
and alacrity by the employes. The Indians 
were invited to watch the work as it progressed, 
and to go with me while I held a plough or drove 
a team; but the force of example was still a 
failure. The squaws again came to the rescue, 
and when the time came worked diligently in 
their rude way, while the men smoked and 
dreamed, and some lamented that they were 


too old to change their ways for those of white 
nien. Instead of the brown, dried grass or the 
black surface of the burnt prairie, fresh 
green covered bluffs and buttes and val 
leys, and the young bucks, who dreamed of 
glory and renown and future chieftainships, 
were stirred to action as usual at this time of 
year. There were horses to be stolen and scalps 
to be taken, and they knew where to find them. 
Mounted on their ponies, completely armed 
and with a small amount of provision tied to 
their saddles, leading their best war horses to 
be mounted only at the critical moment, they 
were prepared for any journey. Some secluded 
valley, with its running brook and willow- 
covered banks, would afford them shelter and 
rich pasturage for their hardy animals after a 
day or night of travel. Should success crown 
their efforts they were sure of a welcome when 
they returned; their names and their deeds 
would be remembered in the songs of the 
women; they could shout their exploits in the 
scalp dance, and wear their new-made honors 
in council. 

To settle down and quietly cultivate the soil 
was farthest from their thoughts. 

In the midst of the spring work word came to 
me one day that Spotted Tail and two hundred 
warriors were on their way to the Pawnee 
reservation, in Nebraska. At the same time it 


was stated that he was led to this by the refusal 
of his young men to take his advice and remain 
at home; as he could not stop them, he would 
lead them to see that they did not molest white 

The chief had been at the agency on the same 
day on which the information was given as to 
his contemplated movement, but had not, ac 
cording to custom, called upon me, and had 
taken his departure very suddenly for the pur 
pose stated. 

Ponca Creek takes its rise in a northwesterly 
direction, and in its course south runs some 
twenty-five miles back from the agency, parallel 
to the Missouri; then, tending towards the 
southeast, joins the Mobrara River. It is a 
beautiful, clear, pebbly -bottomed stream, with 
a sparse growth of wood here and there upon 
its banks. An Indian trail had long run near 
its course, made by the hostile Sioux on their 
raids toward the south, and my informant indi 
cated a point on the creek where Spotted Tail 
and his people would camp for the night. 
After having notified the Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs of the supposed movement of 
the Indians, I started with a half-breed inter 
preter for the place, a ride of about thirty 
miles, homing to meet Spotted Tail, if he were 
really on the war path, and to persuade him 
and his followers to return. 


On arriving at Ponca Creek, much, to our sur 
prise we found no signs of the war party. 
Shortly after we were joined by two Indians 
from Spotted Tail s camp, but the interpreter 
could gain no information from them. They 
did not appear to enjoy our company, but evi 
dently had no intention of leaving us. I had 
brought a small lunch to share with my inter 
preter. Our new-found guests came in for a 
very large half, so the original party did not 
suffer from indigestion. 

Near sun-down a furious rain storm set in, 
and the night becoming so dark that we could 
not retrace our trail to the agency, we had to 
resort to a "wick-i-up," made with wdllow 
sticks and our saddle blankets. Our new 
friends were not backward, and crawled in with 
us. I have passed more comfortable nights 
than the one watching war parties on the banks 
of Ponca Creek. 

I found out afterward that our uninvited 
guests were watching my movements. 

The next morning I returned, with my inter 
preter, cold and hungry, to the agency, to learn 
that Spotted Tail was in his camp. Some of 
his young men had gone south in spite of his 
remonstrances, but my expedition was entirely 
too late. 

The following letter, received in consequence 
of their running forays, shows by implication 


that the agent was held responsible for the con 
duct of the Indians under his charge and sup 
posed to be under his control. The good man 
who wrote it evidently had implicit faith that 
the Pawnees did not go upon the war path, and 
thought that their scouts after stray camps of 
Sioux, hunting buff alo on the Republican, were 
not a cause of irritation to the former. The 
Pawnee scouts, it is true, were lighting under 
the United States flag and by order of the Gov 
ernment, but the Sioux could not understand 
this distinction, and considered the assault as 
coming from their hereditary enemies, and to 
be revenged accordingly: 


To the Agent at Whetstone Agency. 

MY FKTEND : I write to inform you that a 
party of Indians, supposed to belong to your 
agency, and variously estimated from one hun 
dred and fifty to two hundred, made a raid 
upon the Pawnees early on the morning of the 
6th instant, killing three Indian women. They 
were pursued by the Pawnees and United States 
soldiers, under Captain Egan, and one of their 
number killed. These raids are quite frequent, 
and always made up in part with Indians of 
your agency. I was informed by a white man, 
who says he was at your agency about the time 
the last raiders previous to these returned, that 


the particulars of the raid were generally known 
there. I then wrote to the agent in regard to 
it, but never received an answer. 

I use every effort in my power to prevent 
the Pawnees from making raids upon other 
agencies, and when they have I require them 
to return the ponies stolen. No complaint 
has been made to me of any Indians being 
killed by the Pawnees except in resisting these 
raids, whilst nine Indians have been killed by 
the Sioux since I took charge of them on the 
1st of 6th mo., 1869. 

Very respectfully, 

Indian Agent. 





AS the season advanced, increasing rumors of 
hostilities prevailed throughout the Sioux 
country, and various communications were re 
ceived upon the subject. One, from the con 
sulate at Winnipeg, in a British province, stated 
that five hundred well-armed and clothed war 
riors had started thence on the war path for the 
Missouri River. Others from Fort Buford, in 
the northwest, gave warning that signal fires 
had been lighted on the prairies, and that a 
council was to be held in June to unite the 
hostile bands in an effort to drive the whites 
from the Missouri River. Two additional regi 
ments of infantry were distributed at various 
military stations and Indian agencies on the 
river. At Whetstone there was no apparent 
change in the disposition of the Indians other 
than a general uneasiness for reasons that have 
been stated. I was called upon by the authori 


ties more frequently for reports as to the future 
designs of the Indians, so far as they could be 
understood, and ordered to give timely warning 
of any movements. I was also told to again 
admonish the Indians that they must not go 
south towards Kansas and the Union Pacific 
Railroad, and that should they be found there 
they would be driven back by soldiers, and 
that hunting on the Republican would be upon 
dangerous and forbidden ground. 

While engaged in carrying out these instruc 
tions, I received an order from the President to 
come without delay to Washington, bringing 
with me Spotted Tail, Swift Bear, two principal 
warriors, and an interpreter. As this promised 
a change, I was prepared to obey the order with 
alacrity. I was glad to be relieved from the 
disagreeable duty of choosing the chiefs who 
should be honored with an opportunity to visit 
their Great Father, whose name they had so 
many times used in council, but I must make 
selection of the two warriors and an interpreter. 
There were plenty of warriors to choose from, 
all of whom would be perfectly willing to be 
recognized as principal, and who would feel 
aggrieved were they overlooked in the selection. 
There were a number of interpreters also. 

I first selected an interpreter, Charles E. 
Gueru, a Frenchman from France (a term used 
on the river in contradistinction to a French- 


man from Canada), who had long been asso 
ciated with the Sionx, having first come among 
them under the auspices of the old North- West 
ern Fur Company. He was perfectly familiar 
with their language and customs, and, having 
married a Brule Sioux woman, was looked 
upon as belonging to that band. With his as 
sistance I chose the warriors, somewhat with 
reference to their known friendship for Spotted 
Tail. Swift Bear was also a firm friend of the 

I then sent word to the chiefs and warriors 
concerned that I wanted to see them, and, upon 
their arrival, informed them for the first time 
of the order- which I had received. I was some 
what astonished to hear that they did not care 
to visit their Great Father in Washington, who, 
as they understood, lived a great way off, much 
farther than they cared to go; if he wanted to 
see them, he might at least come half way. 
They remained steadfast in this decision, and 
finally departed without giving their consent to 
make the visit. Spotted Tail, however, went 
back to his camp with the understanding that 
he should return in a few days. 

The subject was allowed to rest, although it 
was soon noised abroad that the Great Father 
desired to see some of the principal chiefs and 
warriors, and I had to listen to several applica 
tions, made by ambitious braves, who thought 


that they were as good representatives as the 
ones already invited who did not desire to go. 
Fortunately, there was but one answer to make, 
which lessened complications, and this was that 
the President had sent for the ones whom he 
wished to see, and that I could not take any 
one else until he should order me to do so. 

At the end of three days Spotted Tail was 
again at the agency, and I had an interview with 
him by himself upon* the subject of the visit; 
but he was still disinclined to accept the invita 
tion. His principal reason for refusing was, 
that he would probably see a great many things 
which would be new and strange to him, and 
upon his return his friends would come to his 
lodge and ask him to tell what he had seen, 
and that, while he might give a true account, 
his hearers, after they had listened a while, 
would leave his lodge, one by one, and say to 
his friends, " Spotted Tail tells lies since he has 
been to the Great Father s country, and the 
white men that he has seen have made bad 
medicine for him," and that in the end there 
would be none coming to his lodge, and he 
would be left alone meaning that he would 
lose his chieftainship. 

I reminded him that he had often told me of 
his desire to help his people, but now, when he 
had the opportunity to do so, he seemed disin 
clined to make good his assertions, and that he 


could go and see the Great Father and many 
things new and strange to him, but that he 
need not talk about them on his return, but 
merely tell his friends what the Great Father 
had said, and that any promises the Great 
Father might make I was sure would be ful 

He was inclined to be persuaded, but wanted 
an interview with Swift Bear before fully decid 
ing. The next day he called, and informed 
me that he and Swift Bear had decided to go. 
There was no trouble about the warriors; they 
would follow the chiefs. 

Before the time appointed for our departure 
Spotted Tail brought in Two Strike from his 
village, and expressed his desire that the latter 
should accompany the party, while Swift Bear 
brought his friend and neighbor, Fire Thunder, 
with a similar request. 

While I had no doubt but that this addition 
to the party would be advantageous, I could 
not comply for the reasons before stated; but 
softened my refusal by representing to the ap 
plicants the necessity of some chiefs remaining 
at home who would have sufficient authority 
to govern, not only their people, but those left 
without a chief by the absence of Spotted Tail 
and Swift Bear. 

The warriors selected were Fast Bear, a Brule, 
and Yellow Hair, an Ogallala. The former 


was known as an influential warrior in Spotted 
Tail s camp, while Yellow Hair had made him 
self conspicuous, a short time before, by an en 
counter in Fire Thunder s camp, in which he 
had killed his assailant, and had thus still fur 
ther established his reputation among the In 
dians as a great warrior. 





THE consent of the chiefs having been gained, 
the other arrangements were soon made. 
The Indians were offered clothing similar to 
that of white men, but preferred their own. 
The exposure of the copper-colored skin of the 
Sioux warrior does not seem out of place in his 
own home; but, now that he was to journey 
to another land, and among people whose ideas 
of dress differed entirely from his own, some 
additions must be made to his ordinary cos 
tume of blanket, leggins, breech cloth and 
moccasins, in order to make him presentable. 
So shirts were provided, and, as the Indians 
put them on as flowing robes, with no part 
tucked away, they made a considerable cover 
ing. They did not harmonize with the native 
costume, particularly while the wearers were 
still among their friends, but use soon familiar 
ized the change. Some cover for the head was 
suggested, but that was too much of an innova 
tion for the present. 


Transportation by the river was uncertain, as 
it was early in the season and steamboats had 
not yet completed their long trips up the river 
so as to be returning. There was no stage, but 
one was improvised out of a rough lumber 

On the 17th of May, the day appointed for 
our departure, the party presented themselves, 
each carrying a small sack made of dressed hide, 
and containing personal effects, but of what 
particular kind I was never able to discover. 
We were escorted to the bank of the river, 
which we were to cross, by a large concourse 
of Indians, mostly women, prominent among 
whom were the wives of the travelers. All the 
squaws chanted farewells in their usual pierc 
ing voices, which could be heard long after we 
had reached the further bank of the Missouri, 
and were on our way across the prairie. 

Our first halting place was White Swan, 
directly opposite to Fort Randall, and about 
twenty-three miles from Whetstone Agency. 
White Swan could boast of an Indian trader s 
store and one authorized ranch, the latter being 
the headquarters of the stage company and the 
end of the route from Yankton. 

A few tepees were scattered in the brush 
near by, belonging to the Yankton Sioux, 
whose reservation extended to this point, al 
though their agency buildings were fifteen 


miles down the river. The Indian families 
located here were of the lowest kind a de 
moralized set who hang around frontier garri 

Our host the ranchman furnished fair meals, 
but the beds could not be praised, except as 
offering a rich field of inquiry to an entomolo 
gist. This dismal halting place was gladly left 
behind at break of day. We had fifteen miles 
to ride before breakfast at Yankton Agency, 
and, if fresh morning air and about three 
hours of shaking up would give an appetite, 
we certainly should have one. The actual ex 
periment proved, on arrival, that we did possess 
the real article, which was appeased at the 
agency ranch by food of the kind known as 
plain and substantial. 

The Yankton Indians called upon Spotted 
Tail and others of our party, holding neces 
sarily a short interview, as we had sixty miles 
more to make that day before reaching Yank- 
ton. The principal chief of the Yankton 
Sioux, Strike-the-Ree, had many things to say, 
and various messages to send by Spotted Tail 
to his Great Father. He also loaned a pipe to 
be used in the council at Washington. His 
interview was only terminated by our depart 

Our next stop was at Bon Homme, where we 
had the ranchman s square meal. Thence on 


to Yank ton, arriving at the latter point late in 
the evening. Thus far the Indians had seen 
nothing particularly new; the same stretches 
of prairie, dotted here and there with buttes, 
and crossed by running streams on their course 
to the Missouri. They had never been over 
the road, but showed their knowledge of prairie 
craft by indicating, as far as the eye could 
reach, the location of streams and woodland 
and the general contour of the land, and hav 
ing an almost intuitive knowledge of camping 

Yankton was the largest town ever seen by 
any of them except Spotted Tail, who had 
some years before been confined as a prisoner 
of war at Fort Leaven worth. 

At Yankton they were for the first time sur 
rounded by a plurality of white men, turning 
the tables on their life-long associations. Here 
were presented to their view the works of men, 
which, by their extent and grandeur as com 
pared to their own, were to be a constant 
source of increasing wonder as they continued 
their journey eastward. 

Although it was late in the evening when we 
arrived at Yankton, we were subjected to our 
first interview. The show had commenced. 
The official dignitaries must, of course, see the 
Indians, together with the sovereigns the 
people generally. The Indians shook hands 


and said "how," but gradually put on their 
most approved stoical looks and undemonstra 
tive manner. During the day they had been 
talking and laughing and observing everything, 
but now they went into their shells and staid 
there, and were not to be drawn out by any re 
marks of the visitors, some of which were com 
plimentary, some pitying, and some savage. 

The last questions were asked and the last 
suggestions made after midnight, when the 
party were allowed to retire. 





A SHOUT association with white men had 
produced one visible effect upon the trav 
elers, for on their appearance next morning 
they asked for an addition to their dress, in the 
shape of hats. These were procured, of the 
soft felt kind usually worn in the West, the 
stove pipe hat of the East not having penetrated 
to Yankton. 

The party had still sixty-five miles to travel 
by stage before reaching Sioux City and the 
railroad. While the stage company was per 
fectly willing to accept our six fares, they 
would not guarantee seats, but proposed merely 
the same privileges that they offered to the 
general public, namely, to get a seat anywhere 
on the conveyance, inside or out, or to walk or 
run while holding on behind. The honored 
chiefs and warriors of an aboriginal State could 
not be subjected to such vicissitudes, while the 
guests of an enlightened nation; therefore pri- 


vate conveyances were obtained, and we were 
soon on our way to a land where stages were 
fast going out of fashion. 

A short ride and we crossed the James River 
(commonly called " the Jim"), which courses 
north and south nearly the whole length of 
Dakota, and upon whose banks many camps 
have been made by those cousins of the Brules 
and Ogallalas who live east of the Missouri; 
then we passed through the Indian -named 
towns, Vermillion and Elk Point, and finally, 
after a tiresome ride, crossed the Big Sioux 
River, into which, only four or five years be 
fore, many a Yank ton Sioux had ridden his 
pony to drink, while hunting buffalo a short 
distance above, and had camped upon its banks 
while his wives prepared his robes for use. 
Now the white man occupied the land, and the 
busy hum of industry had driven the buffalo 
to the more quiet prairies north and west. 

The pipe stone quarries, where material for 
the red stone pipe is found in abundance, are 
near the banks of this stream, a hundred miles 
or so north from where we crossed. This pipe 
is extensively used by the Indians of the plains. 
It is said that the quarry was neutral to all the 
different tribes, but it is probably nearer the 
truth that the Indians of Minnesota and East 
ern Dakota had a monopoly of the quarry, and 
bartered the pipes made from the red soft 


stone with those with whom they came in con 

The Sioux have both traded and fought with 
their neighbors from time out of mind, being 
like white men in this respect. 

Crossing the Big Sioux, we drive into Sioux 
City. Here we pass a night at the St. Elmo, 
with about the same experience as at Yankton, 
and next morning take passage on the cars 
drawn by the Indian s "fire horse." Spotted 
Tail and Swift Bear had, a few years before, 
been honored by short rides on the Union Pa 
cific road at North Platte Station; but the war 
riors, Fast Bear and Yellow Hair, had never 
traveled faster than a pony s gallop. The last 
two looked about them with some curiosity, 
but the general observer would not have dis 
covered any unusual excitement. Jhe visiting 
party had, from the time of starting, a thorough 
appreciation of the dignity of deportment re 
quired by their position as representative men 
and Indians. 

We had to make more southing from Sioux 
City, until, at Missouri Valley Junction, we 
struck at a right angle the Northwestern Rail 

Here the Indians were introduced to that 
modern luxury of travel, a sleeping car, and 
had a state room to themselves, the privacy of 
which they thoroughly enjoyed, as in their 


short ride from Sioux City they had been sub 
jected to much annoyance from inquisitive pas 
sengers. Many of these being Western men, 
and in their own opinion familiar with Indians, 
tried to engage them in conversation, but al 
ways signally failed. An Indian s stolidity 
would take the pith out of the most inveterate 
questioner. Failing to obtain the least reply 
from the Indians, they next turned upon the 
interpreter, who, with the imperturbable good 
nature of a Frenchman, repeated the same 
story as many times as it could possibly be 
told in the five hours run to Missouri Valley 

The presence of the Indians aroused the ire 
of the hardy frontiersman, as it did the cu 
riosity of other passengers. He was, perhaps, 
still stinging under losses at the hands of In 
dians, and gave his opinion of how they should 
be treated; usually in the direction of the 
speediest extermination. He would hang them, 
shoot them, burn them, or anything else to 
eliminate them, closing these gentle sugges 
tions with a few oaths and a glare upon those 
present, as much as to say he was looking for 
the man who differed from him. 

In the state room of the sleeping car the In 
dians escaped these annoyances, and passed the 
time in their usual way chatting, story telling, 
and observing what was going on around them. 


After eighteen hours on the Northwestern 
road, we arrived in Chicago, and were well 
cared for at the old Tremont; the prince of 
hotels before the great fire of 1871. Here the 
Indians, for the first time, came in contact with 
the results of metropolitan tastes, most of which 
are well represented in a modern hotel; spacious 
halls, reception and dining rooms, pier glasses 
which magnified in number the costly embel 
lishments, and a table furnished to repletion 
with every dainty, were a surprise and comfort 
to a white man coming from the West 
after a long sojourn on the frontier. What 
would it be to Indians who had never even im 
agined anything of the kind ? So far as any 
outward manifestation could be an indication, 
they produced no effect whatever. These 
savages entered the spacious dining hall for 
the first time, with the same composure that 
they would a council lodge. Walking single 
file, according to rank, they took their seats at 
the table with all the nonchalance of the best- 
bred white man in the land. I knew that the 
table furniture was entirely new to them, but 
their quick eye and keen observation enabled 
them to follow instantly the manners of those 
with whom they were associated. The use of 
the knife and of the silver fork were con 
founded a little at first; but then in Europe, 
the fountain of our table manners, it is an open 


question which shall be used in conveying food 
from the plate to the mouth. The Sioux eti 
quette requires only a knife, the fingers taking 
the place of the fork. A good-sized piece, cut 
from the roast or stew, is grasped at one end 
by the fingers and seized by the teeth at the 
other, while a sharp knife is brought down 
upon the morsel, severing it at a proper dis 
tance from the mouth. This process is repeated 
until the remainder is of the proper size for an 
ordinary mouthful, and requires more dexterity 
than the proper use of knife and fork. 

The napkin was at first a mystery to the 
travelers, but observation soon taught them to 
use it instead of the back of the hand, as was 
their custom at home. After a little experience 
they ate slowly and rather sparingly of what 
was set before them, and awaited the arrival of 
the various courses with as much ease and 
composure as any high-bred individual who 
takes no note of time. 

The table manners of the Indians were a great 
disappointment to the general public. 

Whenever they entered a dining halL they 
attracted the gaze of all in the room, while the 
extra waiters and female attaches of the hotel 
crowded the side doors, and gazed and gazed, 
much to the annoyance of the (in this respect) 
better bred Indians. I often heard the excla- 
mation, " Why, these Indians eat just like 


white people!" Michael and Biddy, fresh 
from the other side, expected them to feed like 
wild animals. 






T EAVINGr Chicago we proceed on our jour- 
Jj ney in the same comfortable manner ; the 
Indians occupying a state room in the Pullman 
car. They are fast becoming educated in their 
tastes, but in any just appreciation of their 
surroundings are children still. They have no 
conception of the fact that each hour they are 
traveling what would be to them an ordinary 
day s journey on their ambling ponies. It 
never enters their minds to make any compari 
son between their present luxurious surround 
ings of polished wood, rich tapestries and 
gilded cornices and the rude interior of their 
smoky tepees. 

To them the horse is still the perfection 
of means of locomotion, and the tepee unsur 
passed as a haven of rest and comfort. What 
care they for railroads and gorgeous uphol 
stery. These contrivances of white men, so 


wonderful in their perfection, arouse no more 
than a slight curiosity. Their origin and the 
means applied to bring them to perfection are 
no more to these savages, than the origin of 
the eternal hills, or the running streams of the 

We are now passing through States whose 
inhabitants have long since forgotten the sav 
age war whoop and bloody trail familiar to 
their ancestors. By the policy of that day 
and the treaties of that time, the Indians had 
been removed from occupation of this land to 
the unknown West, there, in time, to harass 
by their presence another generation of fron 
tiers men, who, in their turn, strive to drive the 
red men still farther west from what has now 
become a neighboring State. The original 
inhabitants of these States, so far as they were 
concerned, solved the ever-recurring Indian 
question by having the Indian removed from 
their own immediate neighborhood, and their 
descendants eventually forgot his existence, 
save in history and legendry. 

So, now, our visiting party are interviewed 
by a more kindly-disposed people, who begin 
to talk entirely of the wrongs done to the 
Indian, how he has been cheated by the Gov 
ernment and his agent, and robbed and killed 
by the pioneer, and more than intimate that he 
would make a good friend and neighbor, if he 


had not been cheated and driven away from his 
home, and could now live there in the moral 
atmosphere of the present. The past has 
always been entirely wrong in its treatment 
of the Indian. Agricultural implements and 
seeds and morality are all that are needed now 
to change the savage, held at bay somewhere 
in the west, to a peaceful and law-abiding citi 
zen. A far-off view of the original occupant of 
the land enables them to see both sides of the 
question, and to realize that the Indian has 
been driven from boundary to boundary across 
each State until, now that he can go no farther, 
he has turned back again to shame past genera 
tions, who were governed too much by interest 
and not enough by the philanthropic views of 
the present inhabitants of the land. Another 
indication of the distance we have traveled is 
shown in the rural interviewer, who wants to 
know if these Indians are real " Si-oxes," a 
mistake in pronunciation which would not have 
occurred farther west. We find, too, an in 
creasing desire to see real wild Indians from 
the plains, who have not lost the art of killing 
and scalping. Did they know that the Indians 
each carry a good-sized revolver and sharp 
scalping knife in their belts, they would be still 
more anxious to see them. 

We finally reach Pittsburgh, where we make 
a short halt, and meet Hon. Felix Bruno, a 


philanthropist, and member of the Peace Com 
mission, who is making an earnest effort to 
ameliorate the present condition of the Indians 
in the far west. Spotted Tail and the others 
do not take much interest in Mr. Bruno s ex 
pressed desire to improve their present state of 
affairs. The former has heard from a great 
many others that he is never to be cheated any 

At Harrisburg we make our easting, and 
change our course to the south for Baltimore 
and Washington, and arrive at our jouney s 
end after one week of travel. The Indians are 
fifteen hundred miles from their homes, in a 
city where they are to be impressed with the 
dignity and power of the country of their 
Great Father, whom they have come so far to 
interview. An unpretentious hotel, connected 
with the Washington House, is designated as 
the resting place for the delegation, who now 
learn, for the first time, that they are to be 
joined by some of their brothers and neighbors 
under the famous chief Red Cloud. 





SPOTTED TAIL and Ms friends were some 
what worn with the fatigues of the long 
journey, and were given a day of rest in their 
hotel before they paid any official visits. But 
they were not allowed much real rest or quiet, 
and received many calls. Some of their visitors 
had been among Indians upon the plains, and 
felt an interest in all red men ; others had a 
slight knowledge of the Sioux language, and 
wanted to bring it to a test by an interview ; 
others desired to make inquiry about a chief 
or warrior whom they had known. Invitations 
of every kind were received, by which the dele 
gation were urged to visit some exhibition, art 
gallery or photographic establishment. These 
invitations were usually delivered in person, 
and if they were declined the party tendering 
them seemed to consider it equivalent to an im 
plied intention, on the part of those having 


the Indians in charge, to favor some unknown 
rival. There were invitations to church festi 
vals and charitable fairs, offering inducements 
to the Indians in the way of strawberries and 
fine floral displays. One such invitation spoke 
of the display of flags of all nations which 
would be made, and which, the writer said, 
would probably be very interesting to the 
Indians, reminding them also, that the benevo 
lent association to be assisted, was worthy the 
support of all good men. 

When Spotted Tail was asked if he desired 
to attend these festivities he invariably de 

After a day or so of waiting this chief 
became impatient, and complained that he had 
not come to Washington to be made a show of, 
but to see the Great Father, which he wanted 
to do and then go home to his people. Appar 
ently he was not interested in sight seeing, or 
fond of being the center of the public gaze. 

The party refused to visit a photographer 
and be photographed. Spotted Tail, with all 
his intelligence, was Indian enough to say that 
he considered it bad medicine to sit for a pic 
ture, meaning that it would bring him bad 
luck ; and whatever he said was followed by 
the others. A gentleman from the Smith 
sonian Institute labored long and faithfully to 
obtain a plaster of Paris model of Spotted 


Pail s head. The interpreter endeavored to ob 
tain his consent to submit to the preliminaries, 
and offered himself to be experimented upon 
to show the process. The Indians watched with 
the greatest interest while the interpreter lay 
prostrate with quills stuck in his nostrils and 
the coating of plaster upon his face. They con 
sidered the operation great fun, but decided 
that it was bad medicine, and no amount of 
persuasion could change their minds. 

A reverend gentleman called to pay his 
respects, and being admitted to the room 
in which the Indians were seated, passed 
from one to another making some remark 
to each ; commenting on their journey hither, 
hoping that they were enjoying themselves 
and trusting that they wotild tind their visit 
pleasant and profitable in eveiy way. He 
then took a position in the center of the room, 
and commenced a lecture, opening by remark 
ing that it afforded him great pleasure to see 
them and talk with them, as he had long held 
the theory that they were descendants of the 
ancient Israelites ; that many of their present 
customs were similar to those of the latter, and 
he was just going on to explain the route which 
the Israelites must have taken to reach this con 
tinent, when I interrupted the lecturer to in 
form him that the Indians did not understand 
the English language, and that any remarks ho 


had to make would have to be interpreted. 
This was quite a surprise to the gentleman, but 
he was introduced to the interpreter, through 
whom he continued his discourse, and the lat 
ter had to translate many strange words into 
the Sioux language. The chiefs and warriors 
made no reply whatever. To all appearance 
they would have been as much interested in 
the demonstration of a problem from Euclid, 
as in the question of their Jewish descent. 
Spotted Tail was searching for more supplies 
and a new agency and not after the origin of 
his ancient progenitors, whoever they might 

There was no end to their visitors. A dele 
gation of Cherokees from the Indian Territory 
called and had to enter into a description of 
themselves through the interpreter, to con 
vince the Dakota delegation that they were 
real Indians. The blood of the Cherokees had 
been mingled with that of white men until but 
little of the former was left ; but they still 
talked of unfulfilled treaties with the white 
men s Government, so there was this bond of 
common interest between them and the Sioux. 




SOON after their arrival the delegation were 
invited to call on the Commissioner of In 
dian Affairs. The ceremonies were short. After 
handshaking all around, the Indians seated 
themselves and filled the pipe of peace, such 
as desired taking a few whiffs as it passed 
around. Spotted Tail never used tobacco on 
any occasion, either here or at his home. 

The Commissioner expressed himself as being 
glad to see his visitors, commended the peace 
ful relations existing between them and the 
Government, and said that the President had 
sent for them, to see himself what they wanted 
in order to continue the good will, and would 
hold an interview with them and friends as 
soon as Red Cloud arrived. 

Spotted Tail, as usual, was the spokesman. 
He did not express any particular amount of 
happiness over the interview, but said that 


when he was more rested from his journey he 
would make known his wants. He accepted, 
with some show of pleasure, an invitation for 
the party to visit General Sherman at his resi 
dence, for both he and Swift Bear had met the 
General on the plains. At evening the party 
were driven in carriages to the Genera? s house, 
where they were cordially entertained. They 
were much interested in looking over his col 
lection of Indian curiosities from all parts of 
the country, and of weapons and trinkets from 
Japan and from the barbarous peoples of the 
South Sea Islands. Mrs. Sherman and her 
daughters showed every attention to their 
blanketed guests, and feasted them upon straw 
berries, ice cream and cake articles too ethereal 
to be much sought after by the Indians, but 
apparently enjoyed by them on this occasion. 

Instructions had been given me to allow the 
Indians every opportunity to see all objects of 
interest which they might desire to. As far as 
could be ascertained, they did not desire to see 
anything, and so I selected such places as I 
thought might amuse and instruct them. 

The Smithsonian Institute afforded them a 
day of entertainment in looking over the stuffed 
birds and animals, and the various arms and 
utensils collected from different parts of the 
world. Any animal or bird with which they 
were familiar reminded them of their prairie 


home, and caused many animated discussions. 
Catlin s collection of portraits of Western In 
dians made a study for them. They readily 
singled out the members of different tribes, 
many of whom it would have afforded them 
great pleasure to kill and scalp, could they 
have been found lurking about the Institute in 
flesh and blood. 

They visited the theater for the first time, 
and amid brilliant lights and the bright colors 
of the decorator s art, and in the presence of 
the audience, were calm and stoical as usual. 
The stormy passion of the hero in the play, and 
the stealthy tread of the heavily whiskered, 
rouged and armed villain, interested them; and 
the subsequent encounter between the two, with 
swords clashing together with such force as to 
bring sparks of fire from their blades, fixed 
their attention; or when fire-arms were the 
weapons in the deadly contest, and discharged 
at such an elevation above the victim as would 
lead them to suppose that his vulnerable parts 
were hidden away somewhere in the flies, they 
were amused and astonished to see the victim 
fall dead at the discharge; but they were not 
wrought up to any degree of emotion. Their 
medicine men could handle a long knife or a 
gun more dexterously to deceive, and the whole 
scenic effect fell far below the wild pantomime 
of the war dance. 


They were taken a pleasant sail down the 
Potomac as far as Mount Vernon, where they 
passed part of a day in viewing the grounds 
and lounging under the shade of the trees, en 
joying an undisturbed siesta. They saw the 
tomb of the first Great Father, but did not, as 
was said at the time, reach through the grating 
of the iron door to shake hands with him and 
say "How." 

They passed through the old mansion and 
looked at its mementoes, and while so doing- 
were decoyed into a reception room, where the 
good woman in charge of the Mount Yernon 
estate took them in hand, after a fashion similar 
to their reverend friend interested in their re 
mote ancestors, the Israelites. She commenced 
telling Spotted Tail and Swift Bear what the 
women of the country were trying to do in the 
way of purchasing the ground where rested 
the mortal remains of the father of his country, 
and was so much interested in her subject that 
it was with difficulty she could be stopped, and 
informed, as usual in such cases, that the In 
dians could not understand her remarks unless 
they were interpreted into the Sioux language. 
As the Indians were rather pleased with the 
lady s attentions, and were seemingly inter 
ested, she was inclined to continue her remarks 
in spite of remonstrances to the contrary; but 
finally the interpreter interposed, and gave the 


Indians an idea of the great work which the 
women had in hand, and of the desire of this 
lady that they should become interested in the 
scheme and contribute, but the remarks did 
not have the desired effect. The chieftains did 
not order drafts upon their royal exchequers, 
nor drop coin from their hands, for the reason 
that they did not possess one or the other. 
Had they been importuned at their homes, 
they might have contributed ponies, buffalo 
robes, or bows and, arrows, their principal ar 
ticles of wealth and mediums of exchange, for 
they are far from miserly with their posses 
sions. It is doubtful, however, if they could 
ever have been greatly interested in the scheme 
to purchase Mount Vernon. 

We returned to the city and visited the Bo 
tanical Garden and the Patent Office buildings. 
The former place, with its bright flowers and 
rich scent of roses, was looked over unnoticed, 
their aesthetic tastes being entirely unculti 
vated. At the latter place the great collection 
of all conceivable articles that in any way enter 
into the economy of civilization failed to inter 
est the guests of the nation. 

They began to manifest a dislike to the re 
straints of civilization, and were impatient to 
come to an understanding with the Government 
and return to their native prairies. 





THE renowned Red Cloud, Chief of the Ogal- 
lala Sioux, with a number of his warriors 
and their wives, had arrived. There had been 
an intimation that this Chief would manifest 
resentment towards Spotted Tail when they 
should meet, for the part the latter had taken 
in the affray with the late Big Mouth, but there 
was no demonstration of feeling. The Chief of 
the Ogallalas greeted the Chief of the Brules with 
all the seeming cordiality that is usually shown 
when friendly Indians meet. They advanced 
towards each other, shook hands with some 
show of warmth, and each said " How," when 
the greeting was over, and they subsided into 
pleasant chit-chat, as though no long separa 
tion had taken place. It was understood by 
Red Cloud that Spotted Tail had sufficiently 
condoned for his act in killing one of the .house 
of Red Cloud, by making prompt payment of a 
stipulated number of ponies to Blue Horse, the 


next of kin, and whatever resentment might 
exist was silenced by the fact that aboriginal 
law had been vindicated. 

General Smith had brought Red Cloud and 
his party from Fort Fetterman. They were 
provided for at the same hotel with Spotted 
Tail, so they mingled together freely and dis 
cussed their common interests, their complaints, 
which were uppermost in their minds. After 
the arrival of Red Cloud, Spotted Tail and his 
friends were accorded an interview with the 
President, the design being made apparent that 
the latter Chief should be recognized first and 
given the place of honor. 

When Spotted Tail and Swift Bear and their 
warriors were informed that the President de 
sired to see them, they exhibited more interest 
than they had at any other occurrence. They 
were solicitous about their personal appear 
ance, and examined themselves critically in 
their little hand mirrors, which the Indians 
carry at all times as an indispensable article. 
The Chiefs had passed beyond the age of using 
paint to any great extent, in making their 
toilets, although where the hair was parted a 
dash of red was applied. Any stray whiskers, 
that had grown to sufficient length to be seized, 
were pulled out with small steel tweezers, 
which they have for this purpose. Their hair 
was arranged as usual, with a small braided 


scalp lock gathered up from the crown of the 
head, to which an eagle feather is attached, 
while a side lock, bound with strips of otter 
skin, is trained to hang forward on the shoul 
der. This was all readjusted, and the toilets 
of the two Chiefs were completed. The war 
riors made similar preparations, but added a 
modest allowance of color to their faces. 

The party arrived at the White House in car 
riages, and were immediately granted a private 
audience by the President. The Secretary of 
War and the Secretary of the Treasury were 
present at first, but did not remain long. After 
the usual handshaking, the Indians were 
shown seats, and the President talked to them 
in a plain, direct way, that engrossed their 
attention from the commencement. He assured 
them of his intention to do all in his power to 
provide for them under their treaty, and ex 
plained to them that he was dependent upon 
Congress to furnish the money to be expended 
for them, but hoped that sufficient would be 
given to meet their wants. He reminded them 
of what was expected on their part, that they 
must remain at peace, and if they themselves 
could not learn to cultivate the soil and become 
self supporting, that they must bring up their 
children to do so. 

The Indians signified their assent to this 
talk from their Great Father with many 


u Hows." President Grant s manner of ex 
pressing himself produced a lasting impression 
upon them, and they undoubtedly remember 
the interview to this day. 

Both Spotted Tail and Swift Bear were a 
little embarrassed, the only time I ever saw 
them so in the least degree. The latter com 
menced to fill the pipe furnished by Strike-the- 
Ree for this occasion, but Spotted Tail said 
something to him which made him stop, and it 
was not used. Spotted Tail, being called upon, 
made a very fair statement of his case. He was 
in the presence of the Great Father, where he 
had never been before, and as he undoubtedly 
had the interest of his people at heart, he was 
fully imbued with the importance of his task, 
and very desirous to make the best of his 
opportunity ; so lost much of his usual self- 
contained manner. 

He reminded the President of some of the 
provisions of the treaty made with them, and 
among other things, desired to have his agency 
at some other point than Whetstone. He 
wanted it away from the Missouri River, where 
he said there was too much whiskey. By going 
back from the river, he would be where bad 
white men could not trade with his people, and 
demoralize them with intoxicating drink. He 
made no allusion to himself, but talked of 
his people and their wants, and was a most 


faithful advocate. The President promised 
Spotted Tail that he should have an agency 
anywhere he wanted it, within the Sioux re 

The ladies of the White House were present, 
and were interested spectators. The President 
gave Spotted Tail a handsome meerschaum 
pipe, with his monogram carved upon it, while 
the ladies presented tobacco and a silver match 
box. The Indians were very much pleased with 
the interview and its results. 

From the White House they went to the 
Treasury building, and were conducted through 
its various departments. They were shown vast 
sums of money stowed away in vaults, and 
taken in an elevator to the top of the building 
to see the process of printing bank bills, and 
the working of the hydraulic press of many 
tons power. Thence through General Spin 
ner s Department, where they watched with in 
terest the fair women counting and sorting 
various denominations of bank bills and frac 
tional currency. 

After their return to the hotel the party were 
quite talkative, and dilated upon the experi 
ences of the day. Spotted Tail was very much 
impressed with his interview with President 
Grant, but he and Swift Bear could not under 
stand how the President was waiting to receive 
money from Congress, as he had said, when 


they had just seen a large building full of it, 
which belonged to him. 

The financial problem was explained to them 
by the interpreter, but they still expressed 
their inability to comprehend it. Their day s 
visit had suggested another thought. Spotted 
Tail wanted to know, for the benefit of himself 
and party, how it was that the President had 
but one wife, as he had been informed, when 
they had seen so many handsome women to 
choose from in the Treasury. The interpreter 
had to again come to the rescue and explain 
that the white man s laws allowed only one 
wife at a time, and that even if he were Presi 
dent, he could not increase the number. 

The Chiefs and warriors thought their cus 
toms in this respect were better. 

The day had been satisfactory in its results, 
and now that their object was accomplished, 
the Indians wanted to know when they could 
go back to their homes, 




addition of the Red Cloud party in- 
L creased the number of Indians by twenty, 
so that the upper part of the old Beverly 
House was well filled with nomads. The walk 
in front of the hotel was thronged with specta 
tors who wished to see wild Indians, and it 
often required the assistance of the police to 
clear a passage to the carriages, when they 
went out for an official visit or on a sight-see 
ing expedition. 

The two delegations were invited to call 
upon the Commissioner, where they would 
see the Secretary of the Interior. The increase 
in the number of Indians, and the growing in 
terest in them, augmented the spectators wher 
ever they went, and on this occasion the dele 
gations had much difficulty in passing through 
the packed hallways of the Interior building, 
the chiefs being somewhat ruffled by the jost 
ling of the crowd. 


After entering the room the Indians were 
seated, and the Commissioner introduced the 
Secretary. The Secretary addressed the circle 
of Indians as follows : 

u When we heard that the Chiefs of the 
Sioux nation wanted to come to Washington 
to see the President, and the officers of the 
Government, we were glad. We were glad 
that they themselves said they wanted to come. 
We know that when people are so far apart as 
we are from the Sioux, it is very hard to see 
each other and to know what each one wants. 
But when we see each other face to face, we 
can understand better what is really right, and 
what we ought to do. The President and my 
self, and all the officers of the Government, 
want to do the thing that is right. While you 
are here, therefore, we shall want you to tell 
us what is in your own hearts, all you feel, 
and what your condition is, so that we may 
have a perfect understanding, that we may 
make a peace that shall last forever. In com 
ing here you have seen that this is a very great 
people, and we are growing all the time. We 
want to find out the condition of things in the 
Sioux country, so that we may make satisfac 
tory treaties. In a day or two the President 
himself will see the chiefs, and, in the mean 
time, we want them to prepare to tell him what 
they have to say, and we will make our answer, 


honestly as we mean. We want also to use 
our influence so that there shall not only be 
peace between the Indians and whites, but so 
that there shall be no more trouble about diffi 
culties between different bands of Indians." 

The Secretary then addressed a few words to 
Spotted Tail, thanking him for being present 
at the interview, and telling him that he was 
glad of the good will he had for the whites. 

This was supposed to be the end of the inter 
view, but Red Cloud had something to say, 
and spoke in his usual arrogant style, as fol 
lows : 

u My friends, I have come a long way to see 
you and the Great Father, but somehow, after I 
have reached here, you do not look at me. 
When I heard the words of the Great Father per 
mitting me to come, I came right away, and left 
my women and children. I want you to give 
them rations and a load of ammunition to kill 
game with. I wish you would telegraph to my 
people about it. Tell them I arrived all right." 

The Secretary promised to telegraph Red 
Cloud s people that he had arrived safely, and 
that his other requests would receive careful 

Red Cloud felt the slight in not having been 
invited to see the President when Spotted Tail 
had his interview, and this is what he meant 
when he said that his friends did not seem to 


see him, now that he had arrived. This chief 
is a typical representative of his race, who are 
often egotistical, arrogant, and abounding in 

After leaving the Interior Building, such of 
the party as desired to do so visited the Capi 
tol, the House being in session and considering 
the Indian appropriation bill. They filed into 
the gallery, and taking front seats, looked 
down upon the President s Council, as they 
called it, attracting much attention from the 
members, who could see the chieftains compla 
cently fanning themselves, while the former 
voted their supplies. 

The party were taken to the dome of the 
capitol, where they could have an extended 
view of the city and adjacent country, and 
within of the rotunda. They realized that 
they were a long distance from the ground, 
and soon desired to retrace their steps, and be 
upon solid earth once more. The reception 
room of the President, furnished in marble, 
was looked at, and the bronze and gilt of 
the chandeliers were to them the most at 
tractive features here. Some marble busts of 
Indians attracted their attention on account 
of the subject. 

They utterly failed to realize the accumulated 
amount of toil and treasure represented in this 
vast building. Their uncultivated minds passed 


it by without study or thought. Nevertheless, 
these same savages were the leaders of a people, 
who, stirred by the magic of their rude elo 
quence and personal prowess, could put a fight 
ing force into the field, the recountal of whose 
horrid deeds would stir the nation, and to sup 
press which would cost in treasure far more 
than this magnificent building. So, why should 
they not be conciliated ? 




WORD was sent to me that the Indians were 
to be shown through the Arsenal and 
Navy Yard, the object being to impress them 
with the power and greatness of the Govern 
ment, and its many appliances for destroying- 
its enemies. 

Under the direction of the Secretary of the 
Interior and the Commissioner of Indian Af 
fairs, the two delegations were first taken to 
the Arsenal, and shown through the grounds 
by the Secretary o f War. In everything per 
taining to warfare the Indians took a lively in 
terest, and examined minutely all implements 
that came under their keen observation. A 
twenty-inch Columbiad, mounted on its im 
mense iron carriage, was in position on the 
banks of the Potomac, and was mano3uvred by 
a squad of artillery men for the delectation of 
the Indian guests. The mammoth powder used 
in loading this huge cannon was shown to the 


red men, and elicited some astonishment on 
account of the size of its grains, almost as large 
as nut coal, and very different from the coveted 
tine-grained rifle powder in use among them. 
They were still more surprised when they saw 
a hundred pound sack of this coarse powder 
ffsed for a single charge, and the thousand 
pound solid shot hoisted to the cannon s mouth 
by means of machinery, and then allowed to 
roll to the bottom of the bore. 

The machinery for loading did not work 
smoothly, and much time was consumed before 
the cannon was ready for discharge. 

The Indians watched the operation, and com 
mented upon the length of time it took for 
loading. They united in condemning the huge 
destroyer as being of no practical use. As 
they expressed it, they could ride all around 
such a big gun and over the hills and far away 
before it could be loaded and discharged; be 
sides, it was so heavy it could not be moved, and 
they did not see why any one should want to 
come near the monster and waif to be killed. 
Their own mode of warfare is perfection to 
them, and sea-coast defense has not been one 
of their studies. 

They were promised by the interpreter a loud 
noise when the piece should be discharged one 
that would startle them but here again they 
were disappointed. The mammoth powder 


burnt slowly, and did not produce a sharp, 
ringing- shock in the air, but a deep diapason 
not unpleasant to the ear, which reverberated 
along the shores of the Potomac, and was prob 
ably heard twenty miles away, but was lost 
upon the Indians. Had the concussion knocked 
them off their feet, its power would have im 
pressed them. 

The shot struck the water some three miles 
down the river, and threw up jets of water as it 
ricocheted over the surface, ending in a final 
splash and plunge. 

Next a light field battery of four guns was 
rapidly loaded and fired at a target in the river, 
and, as the solid shot and shell and canister 
threw up the water near the target, the savage 
visitors were highly delighted, and acknowl 
edged that it would make matters very lively for 
them to come in contact with such a battery on 
the prairie. 

The Museum was visited, where the various 
arms in use, past and present, were exhibited; 
also the arms of foreign nations. Some models, 
dressed to show the different uniforms of sol 
diers in this and other countries, entertained 
them for a while. 

From the Arsenal they were escorted to the 
Navy Yard, to be royally entertained by the 
Secretary of the Navy. The marines were in 
full dress, and so also were the officers of the 


navy stationed there. The marines were pa 
raded in line, and presented arms to the princely 
visitors, while their band discoursed music. 
All the machinery in the yard was in operation, 
showing, among other things, the different pro 
cesses in the manufacture of howitzers, and the 
various kinds of fixed ammunition for small 
arms the leaden bullet, copper shell, percus 
sion and powder. The huge trip hammer was 
set in motion, and used in forging an immense 
sheet anchor. Its mighty weight came down 
with such force as to shake the ground, and 
sent out huge scintillating sparks on all sides; 
but the Indians looked on with stoical indiffer 
ence. They could not comprehend the wonder 
ful mechanical contrivances exhibited before 

After they had examined the various shops, 
they returned through one where howitzers 
were being turned down on a lathe, a sharp 
steel point cutting a thin, narrow strip of brass, 
which coiled up and dropped down as waste 
material. These bright ringlets attracted the 
notice of Spotted Tail and Red Cloud, and they 
asked permission to take some of them Of 
course this was granted,, and all the Indians 
helped themselves, stowing away the bits of 
metal in the hidden mysteries of their blankets, 
as much pleased as any children. They had 
seen nothing else in the whole Navy Yard that 


aroused so much admiration as these bright 
strips of brass. 

An iron-turreted monitor was lying at the 
wharf, with steam on hand sufficient to turn her 
turret, and the Indians were invited to inspect 
her. When told that the vessel was made en 
tirely of iron, they doubted the statement, say 
ing it was impossible for iron to float in water, 
and remained incredulous until it was sug 
gested to them that they could try and cut the 
deck, which was within reach of the wharf, 
with their knives. Both Spotted Tail and Red 
Cloud tried the experiment, and having found, 
much to their astonishment, that the vessel was 
really all iron, they doubted the advisability of 
going on board, as there was danger of her 
sinking. They held quite a long consultation 
among each other on the subject, but finally de 
cided to do so provided I would take the lead. 

The chiefs followed very close upon my heels 
while on board, particularly when going below 
decks. The vessel was down in the water 
within a couple of feet of the upper deck, and, 
as they had noticed this, they concluded, when 
going down the steps of the companion way, 
that they must be under water, and insisted 
upon retracing their steps to the upper deck. 
None of the Indians wanted to stay long on 
board, and all were glad to step on shore when 
the inspection "was over. 


After they had gone through the yard, the 
party were invited to the commanding officer s 
quarters to partake of a collation which he 
had ready for his guests, who, cl tiring their 
whole visit, had been as well entertained as 
any foreign prince or potentate could have 




ON the morning of June 6th, Spotted Tail 
and Red Cloud were notified that the 
President would see them and their respective 
followers at the White House that evening at 
seven o clock. This was to be the great event 
to the Indians during their visit to Washing 
ton, and they spent most of the afternoon in 
arranging their toilets. Spotted Tail and friends 
having already seen the Great Father, did not 
fail to show their greater importance in conse 
quence, and gave the Red Cloud party the bene 
fit of their superior knowledge, by informing 
them of some points of etiquette which they 
thought might be useful to the latter. 

Spotted Tail and party did not make any 
great change in their usual dress, contenting 
themselves with putting on clean white shirts, 
rearranging their hair with its simple eagle s 
feather, and applying a modest quantity of 
paint. They scrutinized themselves carefully 
in their hand mirrors, using the tweezer when 


necessary, and were ready for the entertain 

But the Ogallalas shook out their eagle 
feather head dresses, and adjusted them to see 
if they were all right for the occasion. These 
grotesque head dresses, or war bonnets, are 
made of eagles feathers, usually sewed into red 
flannel, and have a train extending from the 
head to the ground. With rude surroundings 
they are not only odd, but picturesque ; but 
under the glare of gaslight and in sumptuous 
drawing rooms, they were rather too primitive 
to be admired. There were three or four of 
these fantastic head dresses in the Red Cloud 
party, and the latter daubed themselves more 
plentifully with paint than the Brules had 
done. All the Indians wore their usual dark- 
blue blankets embroidered with beads, and 
leggins and moccasins similarly adorned. The 
four squaws were thickly painted on their 
faces, and were attired in plain short calico 
dresses, leggins, moccasins and blue blankets 
without embroidery or other ornamentation. 
They thus followed the usual law of nature, 
the male appearing in the more gorgeous plum 

The delegation were driven to the White 
House in open barouches, and upon arrival 
were shown immediately into the East Room, 
which was decorated with flowers and brilliantly 


illuminated. The owners of the war bonnets, 
which were too cumbersome to be worn in a 
carriage, now carefully adjusted them, and all 
had a short time to view the room with its 
Turkish carpets, rich curtains and massive 
chandeliers, whose pendent prisms reflected a 
hundred lights. Soon the folding doors from 
the hall were thrown open, and the President 
entered, accompanied by his wife and daughter, 
the Cabinet Ministers and their wives, the 
Diplomatic Corps and their wives, and a few 
Senators and Representatives. 

The Indians were seated on chairs and sofas, 
taking up nearly the whole south-east side of 
the large drawing-room. The Presidential 
party took position opposite to them, and upon 
an intimation from the Commissioner the inter 
preter introduced the Indians to the President 
and others, commencing with Spotted Tail. As 
they filed past each shook hands and gave the 
usual salutation "how ! " first to the President 
and then to the other guests. This ceremony 
over the Indians retired to their side of the 
room, and the President, leading the way with 
a lady on his arm, addressed, through the 
interpreter, each of his Indian guests, while 
his white guests followed suite. Soon all were 
mingled together, some of the whites and 
Indians trying to hold conversation without an 
interpreter, but with poor success. 


The chiefs, warriors and squaws were objects 
of the liveliest interest, especially to the foreign 
ministers and their wives, who evidently en 
joyed the novel scene. The grotesque dress 
and rude ornaments and trinkets worn by the 
Indians were minutely examined, while the 
squaws in their turn showed the usual interest 
of their sex by admiring the dresses of the 
white women present. They were especially 

attracted by Madame Gr , an Italian beauty, 

who wore a dress beautifully ornamented with 
Uoman pearls. This lady noticing their ad 
miration, tore off the rich pearl fringe and 
gave some to each of them. They were highly 
pleased, and immediately deposited the orna 
ments within the folds of their blankets. 

The contrast between the white women and 
the Indian women was extreme. The former 
lithe and graceful, delicately formed, with 
finely cut features, the peers and companions 
of man ; the latter heavy and awkward, coarse 
featured and overworked, the menials and 
slaves of their male companions. The elevation 
of women by civilization and enlightenment, 
and her low estate under the rule of savages 
were here boldly outlined. 

After an hour or so of mutual examin 
ation, the doors were thrown open into the 
broad hall, and the green, blue and red rooms, 
and thence into the State dining-room, where 


another surprise met the gaze of the savages. 
The State dining table was handsomely decor 
ated and mirrored by a glass partially hidden 
by its rich gold and silver ornaments, dishes, 
glasses, flowers #nd bouquets, and covered with 
fruits, ices, creams and confections. It was a 
tempting feast to the eye of the civilized 
guests, but in strange contrast to any that the 
mind of the savage could conceive. Neverthe 
less, when ranged about the table and helped 
from its bountiful dishes, the Indians were far 
from reluctant in partaking of luxuries which 
they had never tasted before. They were 
shown every attention by their white friends. 
The President s wife and daughter, and the 
wives of the foreign ministers were assiduous 
in helping Spotted Tail, Red Cloud and the 
warriors to the good things from the table ; 
while the President himself and other high 
functionaries waited upon the squaws. The 
Indians showed good taste in drinking sparing 
ly of the wine oifered them. Their deportment 
in this respect corresponded with their usual 
dignified and courtly bearing when in the 
presence of strangers. The repast over, the 
guests repaired again to the east room, and 
mingled freely together for a time. Miss 
Nellie Grant and a young lady friend pre 
sented each one with a bouquet. The Indians 
hardly knew what to do with them, but man- 


aged to keep them in their hands in imitation 
of the other guests. President Grant inquired 
of Spotted Tail the number of his children, 
and was answered eleven He then said that 
he would take one of the boys and have him 
educated and taken care of by the Govern 

Spotted Tail said he would think about it. 
The only son old enough at this time to leave 
the parental tepee had, although only sixteen 
years of age, gained lasting glory among his 
people by killing and scalping a Pawnee, and 
was on the high road to a chieftainship a dis 
tinction more prized by his father than the 
tame life offered by the President in the paths 
of education. 

I subsequently reminded Spotted Tail several 
times of this offer, but he was never inclined to 
move in the matter. 

As the time for the Indians to take their 
leave drew near, they expressed themselves as 
well pleased with the evening, and, after again 
shaking hands all around, were driven back to 
the hotel. Thus ended what was to the guests 
of both races an unusual reception, and one 
not likely to again occur at the White House. 
After their return to the hotel, the Indians 
talked the affair over among themselves, and 
Spotted Tail said that the white men had many 
more good things to eat and drink than they 


ever sent out to the Indians. He was told that 
that was because the white man had quitted 
the war path and gone to farming. The chief 
exclaimed that he would do the same provided 
he could be as well treated and live in as big a 




U. S. MINT. 

SPOTTED TAIL and his party having seen 
most of the notable objects in and about 
Washington, and having had a number of in 
terviews with the President, the Secretary of 
the Interior, and the Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs, stated that the object of their visit was 
accomplished, and that they now desired to be 
on their way home. So a final interview was 
held with the Secretary and the Commissioner, 
and the former asked Spotted Tail if he had 
anything further to say before leaving. The 
Chief replied that he only wished to ask again 
that his young men might have Government 
protection in their annual buffalo hunt ; that 
they must either hunt or starve, and in 
order to avoid collisions with other tribes, or 
with the whites, he wished some Government 
agent to go with them and keep them from 
The Secretary told him that he should teach 


his young men farming and other ways of 
living, so that when there were no buffalos 
they could have something else to eat. Very 
good advice, but Spotted Tail was not inclined 
to indorse the sentiment. In the course of the 
talk the Secretary told him that he must expect 
some trouble in his life ; that white men had 
trouble; whereupon the Chief laughingly ex 
claimed : 

" If you had had as much trouble in your life 
as I have had in mine, you would have cut your 
throat long ago. The Chief must have a stout 

He also said that the last chiefs who had 
visited the Great Father, had returned home 
barefooted, and that their people had all 
laughed at them. At this the Secretary said 
that they should go home on horseback, and 
the interview concluded to the satisfaction of 
the Indians. 

The party returned to the hotel to make pre 
parations for their departure, and to say good 
bye to their friends, the Ogallalas, from whom 
they were now to separate. My instructions 
were to take them home by way of Philadel 
phia and New York, and to such other points 
as would impress them with the extent of -the- 
country and the number of its people. The 
visiting party arrived in Philadelphia late in 
the evening, and drove to the Continental, 


where they were greeted by a large concourse 
of people, who crowded the hallways and cor 
ridors of the hotel so that it was with the 
utmost difficulty that an entrance was effected. 

The spectators were so eager to see the 
Indians, that it was only after much crowding 
and jostling, that they were finally secured in 
their rooms free from molestation for the night. 

The next morning they were visited by a large 
number of interested people who went through 
the usual handshaking with the Indians, but 
the latter gave no special welcome to any but 
Mr. William Welsh. This gentleman, form 
erly President of the Peace Commission, had 
resigned that position to take independent 
charge of the Sioux on the Missouri River, and 
was doing most excellent work for them. 

At about ten o clock the delegation under 
conduct of Mr. Welsh were driven to the 
United States Mint. A large crowd had assem 
bled outside and stared eagerly at the Indians 
as they passed into the office of the director, 
who made a short speech of welcome, and pre 
sented to each of the Indians a silver medal 
bearing the profile portraits of Washington 
and Grant, with which they were much pleased. 
They were then conducted through the various 
departments, the operations of which were 
briefly explained to them. Having become 
somewhat accustomed to sight-seeing, they ap- 


parently took an interest in the explanations of 
the operation of coining money from bars of 
bullion. They were allowed to lift a box con 
taining several thousand dollars in gold. In 
the assaying room the Governor showed them 
the process of separating silver from water, 
which especially attracted their attention. 
Spotted Tail remarked : 

u You show us how to do it, but you don t 
teach us." Spotted Tail was like Polonius, 
still harping on his daughter, and wondered 
why it was, when the Great Father had so much 
money, that he did not pay them more. In the 
upper part of the building is the adjusting- 
room, where the employees are women. Mr. 
Guern made Spotted Tail say that the gold and 
silver were pretty to look at, but that he would 
rather look at the squaws. From the Mint the 
party were taken to view the picture, "Sheri 
dan s Ride," and while there the poem on the 
subject was recited, but the Indians were like 
Casca coming from Cicero s oration in Greek- 
it was all Greek to them. 

They were next driven to the Union League 
House and handsomely entertained. After 
being shown through the various beautifully 
furnished rooms of the club, they were taken 
to the reception room, where Signor Blitz, who 
was present, performed some of his most bril 
liant feats, for their benefit. Spotted Tail was 


taken in hand to assist in one of the slight-of- 
hand tricks. The signer produced a small 
walking cane, which he requested Spotted Tail 
to hold firmly with both hands, a short dis 
tance from either end. He then asked for a ring 
from any one in the audience, and, on its being- 
produced, placed it against the cane, covering 
it with a handkerchief ; he then quickly with 
drew the handkerchief, and left the ring rapidly 
revolving upon the cane, greatly to the amaze 
ment of Spotted Tail. The Indians were al 
lowed to examine the ring to see if there was 
any opening or secret spring, but failed to find 
one, and were completely nonplussed. A num 
ber of tricks were performed, with which the 
Indians were highly pleased, and they pro 
nounced the signor a great medicine man. 
They also said that they had been bountifully 
feasted since they left home, but that this was 
the first amusement they had enjoyed. It was 
suggested that the signor would make a good 
Peace Commissioner, his feats of legerdemain 
having the power to break through the apparent 
stolidity of the Indians as nothing else had. 
After a fine collation the party took their de 
parture, the entire aifair at the Union League 
House having been a most agreeable one, which 
left pleasant and lasting impressions upon the 
minds of the distinguished savages. 

A large crowd collected in front of Independ- 


ence Hall, and remained until a late hour in the 
afternoon, in the hope of seeing the Indian 
chiefs; but Spotted Tail and his friends pre 
ferred the seclusion of their rooms to making 
any more visits. 

The inhabitants of the City of Brotherly Love 
were almost too demonstrative for the comfort 
of their Indian guests. 





A FTER a day spent in the city peopled by the 
t\. descendants of those who, in their dealings 
with red men, had said, " We are met on the 
broad pathway of good faith and good will, 
so that no advantage is to be taken on either 
side, but all to be openness, brotherhood and 
love," the Indians were taken by rail to New 
York, to be still further impressed with the ex 
tent of the white man s country, and the num 
ber of its people. 

On arrival they were provided for at the 
Astor House, from whose steps could be heard 
the rumble and roar of the ceaseless train of 
vehicles passing over the hard paved streets, 
and where could be seen the vast throng of 
pedestrians eagerly pressing onward in an end 
less stream. Here the Indians could see and 
gain some knowledge of the number of white 
men in their Great Father s country. They 


were shown views of Broadway, the grandest 
street in the world, it is said, with its long un 
dulating perspective, and grand panorama of 
human activity and industry. They looked 
upon the scene with their usual stoicism. Spot 
ted Tail could not be drawn into any expression 
of opinion, but Swift Bear announced his con 
viction that these were the same people, who 
had followed their party from Chicago to Wash 
ington,. Philadelphia, and now to New York. 
He could not tel] how they were transported, 
but was firm in his belief that they were the 
same individuals. 

There was some excuse for this strange idea; 
for the Indians had been kept busy in viewing 
new sights and scenes until they were some 
what dazed. There was a similarity too in the 
individuals who gazed upon and jostled them 
whenever they left the cars, and who crowded 
the walks when they made their appearance 
from the hotel. In every city the young street 
Arabs ran alongside of the carriages when the 
Indians were out for a drive, and shouted and 
yelled, and called the attention of their friends 
to the unusual sight in just the same way. The 
inhabitants of an Indian village have such 
numbers of ponies, anywhere from six to two 
dozen to each family, that they are always 
ready to move in a body. An hour s time would 
suffice to put a number of thousands of them 


under way, with their families, household goods 
and dwellings. 

Swift Bear may have thought that the so- 
called superior white men had superior facil 
ities for moving his towns and dwellings, and 
that thousands of them could follow a few In 
dians. Egotism is a dominant characteristic 
of the savage, and the idea of a fixed and per 
manent home for a people does not enter into 
his philosophy. 

The military drama - 4 Not Guilty " was being 
performed at Niblo s, and was a play calcu 
lated to interest the Indians in its scenic effects, 
so they were taken there and were well pleased. 
The sight of one hundred and fifty soldiers, 
with regimental band and drum corps, filled 
their idea of an entertainment. The embark 
ation of the volunteers for India, and the field 
of battle during an engagement, were presented 
with such scenic surroundings as to make effec 
tive tableaux, which were fully understood and 
enjoyed by the red men, but they were as un 
demonstrative as living creatures could be. 

The following Sunday, June 12th, being a 
delightful summer day, and the streets being 
comparatively quiet, carriages were procured, 
and the Indians driven the length of Broadway 
and Fifth Avenue to Central Park. The park 
was clothed in its freshest summer dress, leaves 
and grass and tiowers looking their brightest. 


The nomads were here presented with a scene 
of fairy land, the perfection of an ideal land 
scape, the work of man, which they could com 
pare with their own boundless park, the prairie, 
dotted with wild flowers, its outlines broken 
by high buttes and strips of woodland, the 
work of nature. While viewing the former 
they could have pleasant dreams of the latter. 

Spotted Tail, who was in the carriage with 
me, *was asked to look at a particularly tine 
view of the city from a high elevation in the 
park, and was found to be dreaming indeed. 
The soft cushions of the carriage, and its gentle 
motion over the smooth roadway, had rocked 
him to sleep, while I had supposed that he was 
being fully impressed with the grandeur of the 
workr of white men. 

On our return to the hotel Mr. Stetson brought 
into the room, where the Indians were enjoying 
their siesta, a toy velocipedist, and set it in 
motion. The chiefs and warriors were intensely 
delighted with it, and all enjoyed a hearty 
laugh over and over again as it was wound up 
and set going. Spotted Tail expressed a de 
sire to possess such a toy, and was highly de 
lighted when Mr. Stetson presented him with 

The next day the Indians were invited by 
Admiral Lafebre to visit the French frigate 
" Magicienne," lying at anchor off the Battery. 


This invitation was accepted. When the party 
arrived at the Battery they were immediately 
surrounded by the usual crowd, and only by 
shoving and pushing did we manage to gain 
the stairway leading from the Battery to the 
water. Here the Admiral s cutter was lying, 
manned by a crew of eight oarsmen, with a 
young officer in charge. We were quickly 
seated in the stern sheets, and the men giving 
way on their oars, were soon rapidly nearing 
the frigate. 

This was an entirely new experience to the 
Indians, and as the water was a little rough, 
and rocked the boat as she cut through the 
waves, propelled by the strong arms of the 
crew, they held on to the gunwales with their 
hands, rather nervously, but their faces had 
the same expression they would have borne 
had they been crossing the turbid Missouri in 
one of their own familiar dug-outs, and they 
must have given to the subjects of a foreign 
nation who were rowing them, the impression 
that a ride of this kind was an every- day occur 
rence to them. 

Having arrived alongside the frigate, the 
visiting party were received by the admiral and 
his officers, and were shown to the admiral s 
cabin, where all were hospitably entertained. 
Mr. Gfuern was kept busy translating conversa 
tions from English into French and French into 


Sioux, according- to the wants of the company. 
After cake and wine, the admiral and his offi 
cers conducted the visitors over the ship. Her 
heavy broadside guns were loaded with blank 
cartridges, and the Indians were invited to dis 
charge them The small arms were exhibited, 
including cutlasses, boarding pikes, revolvers 
and rifles. The latter were of the Chassepot 
pattern, in use by the French nation, the breech- 
loading arrangements of which are quite differ 
ent from those of the various arms in use in this 
country. The mechanism of this gun was ex 
plained to the Indians, and it was loaded and 
discharged as rapidly as possible to show its 
effectiveness in this respect. But they were 
each possessed of a Winchester Magazine rifle, 
which could be loaded and discharged even 
more rapidly, and was a better-looking and 
better finished arm, so they were not impressed 
by the Chassepot. If the Indian is too un 
tutored to understand the real merit of white 
men s industry in building cities and beautify 
ing the landscape, he is thoroughly alive when 
he comes in contact with their implements of 
warfare, and on every occasion minutely in 
spects their mechanism, and is quick to perceive 
any advantages they may possess. The Sioux 
warrior is as well armed as any in the world, as 
dexterous in the use of his weapons, and as so 
licitous in the care of them, which was, per- 


haps, one reason why this delegation was visit 
ing on board a French frigate in New York 

After a somewhat lengthy but informal in 
spection of the frigate, the visitors bade good 
bye to their pleasant entertainers, and returned 
to the hotel. 

The next visit was to the Herald building, 
where the Indians were shown through the 
various departments, and the machinery of the 
press room put in motion for their benefit. 
This was a marvel and a mystery to the no 

I had been delegated to supervise the pur 
chase of jsome presents for the Indians, the ar 
ticles to be selected by themselves, but not to 
exceed a certain amount in total value. For 
this purpose I took them to a wholesale house 
on Broadway which dealt in Indian goods, and 
here they found many things that they coveted. 
They each selected blankets, beads, paint, um 
brellas, fans and dolls. The dolls were for their 
children, who were not forgotten by their much- 
traveled fathers, but the umbrellas and fans 
were for themselves and not for their faithful 
squaws, as one might suppose. The hewers of 
wood and drawers of water have no time to 
loiter under umbrellas or to fan themselves 
while gossiping, and these articles belong 
strictly to the male attire, Swift Bear and the 


two warriors each indulged in a roll of German 
silver plate, which is used by the Indians for 
making rude breast-plates and ornaments to 
suspend from the neck. It is also used by 
some of the warriors for ornamenting the scalp 
lock, being made in this case into a series of 
graduated circles, the largest about six inches 
in diameter and the smallest about two These 
circles are fastened together by strips of tanned 
skin, and when worn the largest circle is at 
tached to the scalp lock, and the smaller end 
trails near the ground. In addition to their 
various selections of goods, each Indian was 
provided with a trunk in which to pack his new^ 
possessions. The Indians were invited to visit 
many places of interest in the city and harbor, 
but they were becoming impatient of the delay 
in the East, and constantly asked to be taken 
back to their friends on the prairie, to once 
more enjoy its boundless freedom. The visit 
of the delegation to the cities of New York and 
Philadelphia had developed an unexpected 
kindness on the part of the people towards 
these Indians, which indicated that the masses 
were in full sympathy with any efficient move 
ment to ameliorate their condition and advance 
them on the road to civilization. 





THE Indians having become surfeited with 
scenes and incidents of Metropolitan life, 
I believed that it would not add to their stock 
of information to keep them against their in 
clinations, and decided to take them home by 
the most expeditious route. 

Accordingly on the evening of June 13th, we 
left New York, and commenced the journey 

In addition to the presents received in New 
York, the chiefs and warriors had the promise 
that they should go home on horseback. A 
promise of this kind is never forgotten by an 
Indian, and the party were true to their 
instincts. Before they had been on the road 
many hours, they reminded me of the promise 
of Secretary Cox, and began to scrutinize the 
different horses seen en route, and to advise me 
as to the kind of animals they wished me to 
purchase. They showed the effect of associa- 


tion with white men, and isolation from their 
Mends, and the life they led on their native 
prairies, by informing me that they wanted to 
meet their people, not only mounted on fine 
horses with handsome trappings, but also 
dressed in complete suits of clothing, so that 
their friends could see at a glance how the 
Great Father s people dressed and appeared. 
This was rather an unexpected request, coming 
from those who a few months before had 
treated the gift of a large quantity of coats, 
pants and hats with marked disdain, and had 
intimated that it was far from their intention to 
appear before their adherents clothed in such 

This desire for change of costume seemed an 
indication that if these simple-minded people 
were brought into more intimate relations with 
civilization, and were surrounded by a pre 
ponderance of the white race in their daily life, 
a change of dress and habits would soon be 
realized, and their hold upon savage life would 
be loosened. 

We made our first halt in Chicago, where 
1 informed the Indians I could purchase their 
horses to better advantage than at any point 
farther west, but that they would have to fol 
low after us in freight cars, and that it would 
be some days before they would be received. 
The Indians displayed their usual childish im- 


patience by not wanting any delay of the kind, 
So the horses were not purchased, but the 
Indians selected their saddles and bridles, 
which they were privileged to carry with them 
as baggage. 

Having plenty of spare time they were shown 
about the city, being taken as usual in car 
riages. While viewing the different points of 
interest they exhibited their knowledge of the 
world and their new-made ideas by comment 
ing upon the buildings and parks, and compar 
ing them with those they had lately seen in the 
East. In driving about the city we came 
to one of the tunnels running under the river. 
When it was explained to the Indians that they 
were about to ride under the water, they not 
only exhibited much interest in the work, but 
tiatly refused to pass through the tunnel. 
The street running through dipped down at 
such a curve that they could not see their way 
through, and they peered suspiciously in to the 
opening and concluded it was not safe. It was 
something unheard of to ride under a river, and 
there might be some hidden danger. I re 
minded them that my chances of injury were 
the same as theirs, and, finally, with the top of 
the carriage thrown back, that they might bet 
ter see all that was going on about them, they 
consented to drive through. But they did not 
like it, and were evidently relieved when it was 


over. They had often passed through the 
dangers of battle, and would willingly do so 
again, but an unknown and unseen danger re 
quired moral Courage, which is not possessed 
by savages. 

Twenty -four hours of railroading brought as 
to Sioux City, where the Indians began to feel 
more at home. On the streets could be seen a 
stray Winnebago, on leave from his reserva 
tion in Nebraska, the well-known half-breed, 
and familiar ranchman; while tied to the banks 
of the turbulent Missouri was the not unusual 
stern-wheel steamboat, which brought their 
supplies to the agency. They threw off some 
of their reserve, and conversed more freely with 
those about them. 

Here the horses were to be purchased, and 
the market was inspected for suitable ones; not 
ponies, but American horses a name applied 
in the West to the ordinary horse in use 
among white men. The dealers in these useful 
animals were soon aware that four were wanted, 
and a perceptible rise in the market was no 
ticed. The usual trials of the gait and speed of 
the horses were undertaken, and quite an 
amount of time consumed in dickering over 
the prices to be paid, but iinally differences 
were adjusted and the Indians supplied with 
their coveted horses, upon which they intended 
to appear before their friends at home. A full 


suit of clothing was bought for each Indian, 
and taken to the hotel. In the seclusion of 
their rooms they donned the dress of white 
men, but could not make up their minds to ap 
pear in public. They were already too far west 
for the change, so the suits were packed in the 
trunks among the other novelties. The party 
submitted to the blandishments of a photog 
rapher whom they had seen up the river, and 
consented to sit for their pictures, which was a 
great departure for them. Spotted Tail, how 
ever, would not look at the object-glass of the 
camera during the sitting, as therein was hid 
den the bad medicine. The old question had 
to be settled, whether to embark on a steam 
boat or take an overland conveyance. Spotted 
Tail had heard rumors of the sickness of his 
favorite wife in the Brule camp, and he was 
anxious to make the balance of the journey as 
quickly as possible, so recourse was had to pri 
vate conveyances, and a day s journey brought 
us to Yankton. The newly-purchased horses 
had their first treatment at the hands of In 
dians, arid, being led behind our vehicles, the 
sixty -four mile journey reduced their spirited 
antics of the morning. 

The Indians were now a little less than a 
hundred miles from their homes and friends, 
and expressed all the eagerness of children to 
press forward to their destination. The ride 


from Yankton to Whetstone Agency was over 
the familiar prairie that abounds in Dakota. 
The distance was so great that we had to halt 
for the night en route at a lone ranch, which 
furnished the substantial meals of the locality, 
and that was about all. The mosquito season 
was at its height, and there was no rest for 
man or beast. Mosquito bars were not fur 
nished by our host, so that sleep under the 
mud roof was impossible. The Indians covered 
themselves completely with their blankets and 
bivouacked for the night, apparently enjoying 
an undisturbed slumber ; but the white men 
vainly contended against the assaults of 
myriads of full-grown vigorous mosquitoes, 
who increase in strength, activity and biting- 
powers as you journey towards the north. 
We found that it required some experience 
to cover oneself completely, head and foot, 
with a, blanket of a hot night and still sleep. 
The mosquitoes attacked our animals so vigor 
ously that smudges had to be started, the 
smoke from which relieved them of some of 
their tormentors and kept them from breaking 
away from their tethers. 

Not finding rest at the ranch it was left 
behind at break of day. A short stop was 
made at Yankton Agency, where the chief of 
the Yank tons, " Strike- the-ree," had an op 
portunity of interviewing Spotted Tail and 


learning the result of his mission. At Fort 
Randall Spotted Tail heard of the death of 
his favorite wife, which dampened what other 
wise proved to be a pleasant ending of a long 
journey. The grand entree of the chiefs and 
warriors, mounted and newly clad in white 
men s dress, was abandoned. When the party 
arrived at the agency, Swift Bear, Yellow Hair 
and Fast Bear disappeared among their friends, 
while Spotted Tail journeyed alone to his camp 
in sadness and sorrow. He gave away his line 
new horse, saddle and bridle, his beaded 
blanket, leggins and moccasins, while his well- 
packed trunk, tilled with presents, was also 
u thrown upon the prairie," as the Indians say, 
in the abandonment of his overwhelming grief. 
The chiefs and warriors never appeared in 
their suits of clothing. The predominance of 
Indian modes and customs had restored their 
ideas of dress to their normal condition, and 
they were all once more Indians among Indians. 





UPON returning to the agency after an 
absence of over a month in the East with 
the visiting delegation, about the same state of 
affairs existed as before. The garrison of 
troops had shelter for themselves, made from 
rough sawed logs, and had built block houses 
of the same material at opposite angles of a 
stockade, inclosing the new buildings, thus 
making a defensive retreat in case of an out 
break among the wards of the Government. 
This gave a sense of security not before en 
joyed to such employees of the Government as 
were obliged to remain in contact with the 

The season had advanced, and the results of 
the cultivation of the soil were visible. The 
beetle had destroyed the potato vines, but the 
grasshoppers had spared the corn. The white- 
men with Indian wives had been reasonably 


industrious, and fair crops were the result of 
their labor. At the same time they had by 
their example and influence given a lesson in 
agriculture to their brothers-in-law and other 
Indian relatives, which would have been of 
great importance had the latter shown the least 
desire to be instructed, but it was entirely 
thrown away, and the squaws were still the 

About this time Mr. William Welsh, of Phil 
adelphia, a practical philanthropist, came to 
the agency on a visit. He had an earnest de 
sire to elevate the material and spiritual condi 
tion of the Indians. His plan was to come 
among them, and by making himself familiar 
with their actual condition, to be able to sug 
gest to the authorities such means as he 
thought best to accomplish the good sought. 
Spotted Tail, Swift Bear, and the warriors who 
had met Mr. Welsh at Philadelphia, greeted 
their benefactor with more than ordinary 
heartiness, and in their primitive way made an 
effort to entertain him. 

In the Council that was held the various 
chiefs and headmen represented to Mr. Welsh 
the evil effects produced by the introduction of 
intoxicating liquors among their friends, and 
pictured with eloquence scenes in their quiet 
lives when they were away from its baneful in 
fluence, and from association with such white 


men as brought it among them. In this con 
nection a circumstance occurred which illus 
trates the difficulty of controlling this class of 

The land situated on the left bank of the 
Missouri river was known as Ceded land, and 
there was no law to prevent a squatter settling 
upon it, and requiring a title when it should be 
for entry or sale by the Government. If the 
original occujjant could not thus obtain an im 
mediate title, he had by possession a recognized 
claim, which his friends and neighbors re 
spected. To "jump" such a claim might bring 
into use the shotgun and rifle; the sympathy of 
the community being always on the side of the 
original occupant ; so under the primitive law 
of the locality a man staked out his claim and 
built his log hut without fear of being dispos 
sessed, taking care while doing so to have his 
claim conform to the legal sub-divisions of land 
known as " forties" and "eighties." 

A squatter had established himself opposite 
the agency on three "forties," which made 
a tract of land a quarter of a mile deep 
and three-quarters long, lying immediately 
on the river bank. Here he built a ranch 
on a prominent point overlooking the agency 
grounds, and soon became notorious in the 
neighborhood as the principal vendor of villain 
ous whiskey, a bold, unscrupulous man, who 


by his secret traffic accumulated a good deal of 
the currency in circulation about the agency. 
The chiefs denounced this man, and wanted 
him removed. Mr. Welsh promised to have it 
done, and as he could not invoke the law, did 
the next best thing, and very generously 
bought the log cabin, and the shadow of title 
held by the ranchman on the three " forties," 
exacting, as part of the bargain, a pledge from 
the man that he would leave the country. 
This was all very well, and apparently a good 
bargain, ridding the Indians of a mischievous 

But soon after Mr. Welsh s departure for the 
East, the ranchman returned with a wagon load 
of whiskey, staked out a new claim of three 
4 k forties, next to those which he had sold, and 
put up a ranch, which was quite as convenient 
for his business as the first one. After fully 
establishing himself, he sent word to the 
agency that he would like to sell out again, 
and as it was reported that he had received 
twelve hundred dollars from Mr Welsh for his 
former ranch and claim, he could for once 
be believed, and he had no takers. 

During Mr. Welsh s visit a large quantity of 
annuity goods were received, and he inspected 
the quality and quantity of the goods, and wit 
nessed their distribution. In a council he spoke 
at considerable length of the efforts being made 


to procure, from this time on, the best of 
blankets and provisions for the use of the 
Indians, and his remarks met with constant 
expressions of approbation and approval from 
his hearers ; but when he went on to tell of his 
great desire to establish schools and churches 
among them, and to have them become Chris 
tians, I was constrained to notice that his elo 
quence elicited no " hows," and was listened to 
with the most stolid indifference by those whom 
he wished to benefit. In the course of his 
remarks Mr. Welsh spoke of having lately 
seen the President in Washington, and in tell 
ing them of the latter s interest in listening to 
plans to send them the best of supplies, and 
ministers and teachers for them and their chil 
dren, he said that he had the ear of the Great 
Father, who listened to his words spoken for 
them. Fire Thunder was present, but had not 
received any particular amount of attention, 
and being opposed to the making of any per 
manent improvements at the agency, and to 
changing his nomadic life, he was inclined to 
find fault if possible. Accordingly when 
every one was through talking, he announced 
that he had something to say to Mr. Welsh. 
He commenced by asking the latter if he really 
intended to send out better blankets and beef 
cattle, and to build churches and school houses 
for the Indians. Mr. Welsh replied that he 


certainly did. Then Fire Thunder wished to 
know if he had the Great Father s ear, as he 
had said. Again Mr. Welsh answered in the 
affirmative, "Then," said Fire Thunder, "if 
you have the Great Father s ear, let s see it!" 
In vain Mr. Welsh tried to explain that it was 
only a figure of speech. Fire Thunder having 
announced to the Indians that Mr. Welsh was 
a liar, and like all white men made a great 
many promises but did not fulfill them, drew 
his blanket about him, and stalked out of the 
council room. 

Through the instrumentality of Mr. Welsh, 
church service was held at the agency for the 
first time in its history, one end of a partially 
filled store house doing duty as chapel. He 
also succeeded in establishing a school and 
having a teacher appointed, thus fulfilling im 
mediately his promise to the Indians, and giv 
ing them proof of his earnest desire to place 
before them instrumentalities for gaining knowl 
edge of a better life. 

Mr. Welsh remained at the agency for i\ 
number of days, and was much impressed with 
the primitive life of the Indians, and the great 
work to be accomplished to bring them to real 
ize that they must abandon their present savage 
life for that civilized life offered by white men. 
He left the agency with the best wishes of a IT 
for the success of his philanthropic plans. 


General D. S. Stanley, of the army, also 
visited the agency. He commanded the mili 
tary district within whose boundary were lo 
cated the Sioux Indians of Dakota, both those 
who were fed and clothed at the agencies upon 
the Missouri River and those who still pro 
claimed their hostility, and remained at a dis 
tance in camps on the tributaries of the Yellow 
stone River. The General was well known 
among the Sioux, both friendly and hostile, 
and held in good esteem by them. It was the 
common report on the river that he never 
turned a deaf ear toward an Indian when seek 
ing counsel, nor allowed him to depart from 
his door when needy, without some substantial 
gift of food or clothing. 

This contributed to mutual good will, which 
was productive of substantial benefit in his 
dealings with these people. 

Spotted Tail having recovered from the effects 
of the loss of his favorite wife, began to recall 
the promises made to him while at Washing 
ton, and to make inquiries as to the time when 
he should be allowed to select the location for 
an agency on White River. It was understood 
that this was not purely a movement of Spotted 
Tail and his people, or of the Indians at the 
agency, but that the whites and half-breeds 
at the latter place were interested in having the 
change accomplished, as it would involve hav- 


ing all the supplies transported overland from 
the Missouri River about a hundred and fifty 
miles, and about the same distance from the 
Union Pacific Railroad. Of course this would 
have to be paid for by the Government, at a 
cost of many thousands of dollars every year. 
There was a ling formed to reap the benefit of 
this outlay, and, strange to say, it was outside 
of Washington influences, although connected 
with Indian affairs. There was also a desire 
on the part of the whites associated with the 
Indians to work their way toward the compara 
tively unknown El Dorado supposed to be in 
the vicinity of the Black Hills. 

The matter of locating the new agency, and 
the plans for its accomplishment, had to go 
through the Department and its immediate 
channels for approval a difficult route to navi 
gate, requiring much time. 




Sioux Indians do not possess knowledge 
that enables them to make lasting records 
of events. They erect no monuments, neither 
transcribe upon paper, plate or parchment, 
episodes in their existence that can be de 
ciphered by succeeding generations. Their 
rude hieroglyphics painted upon buffalo robes, 
rocks or tepees, may recall some idea of the 
succession of events in the history of some 
individual or band belonging to a tribe ; but as 
a record to be translated by others than the 
actors or their cotemporaries they are of no 
use. So far as I was able to understand, their 
only history was in the legends passed from 
one to another. It was one of their favorite 
pastimes to recount these inau then tic narra 
tives, and groups of the men would often be 
seen, one leading in the recountal of some 
daring deed of an individual or of some en- 


counter with their hereditary enemies the 
Pawnees or Crows, the others listening with 
many marks of interest and even excitement ; 
for among themselves the Sioux are far from 
stoical or undemonstrative. Incidents re 
counted in this way soon become changed, and 
the narrators tell the wildest and most improb 
able stories with little or no inteat on of exag 
geration. It was something in this way that 
Spotted Tail, upon his return from Washing 
ton, created a false impression upon his listen 
ers on at least one subject. He had kept no 
record of events during a long journey 
crowded with strange scenes and incidents, 
and he had spoken so often while in Washing 
ton on the subject of his people being allowed 
to leave their reservation to hunt buffalo on 
the Republican, that it is not to be wondered 
at that he finally came to believe that his re 
quest had been granted, while in truth no 
direct reply had been given. It was on this 
subject that he was most eagerly questioned 
on his return, and it was the theme of many 
councils. Finding that there was a strong 
impression that permission had been given, I 
referred the subject to Washing ton,, and an 
official denial in writing at last put an end to 
the question, 

Soon after my return from the East, a change 
was made in.the manner of purchasing supplies 


for the daily food of the Indians, the business 
being again placed under the control of the 
same department that administered upon their 
affairs. This largely increased the responsi 
bilities of the agent, and gave him abundant 
opportunity for the display of executive ability. 
Heretofore the stores had been under the con 
trol of an officer, who was not only responsible 
to the Commissary Department of the Army, 
but, in addition, had the verification of the 
quantity of the articles which arrived at the 
agency, and was required to see that they Avere 
properly stored. He then issued them from 
time to time as called upon by the agent. 
Under the regime of the Commissary Depart 
ment, the beef cattle had been kept by the 
contractor until wanted, the commissary officer 
receiving only such number as would be re 
quired to fill the orders of the agent for the 
time being, thereby placing the cost and risk of 
maintenance upon the contractor, and dividing 
the accountability between the commissary 
officer and the agent. But there are different 
modes of transacting public business, and any 
comparisons might be invidious. 

The Indians could not hunt buffalo, but they 
could feast their eyes upon a herd of two 
thousand head of broad-horned cattle that 
dotted the prairie hard by their habitations, 
and gave promise of an abundance of food. 


Under orders I had received this number, and 
of course had to account for them ; also to see 
that they were properly herded and kept on 
good grazing ground ; that their valuable flesh, 
bought and paid for by the Government, should 
not be lessened from lack of proper sustenance 
before they were issued and consumed by the 
Indians. It was one thing to receive fat cattle 
and another to keep them so for months upon 
the prairie grass of Dakota, commencing in 
July, when the hot winds and scorching sun 
had destroyed much of the vegetation. The 
large herd had to be divided into at least three, 
with a corps of herders with each, and kept 
from twenty to thirty miles away from the 
agency, for the Indians had on hand nearly 
fifteen hundred ponies, who consumed all the 
grass in the vicinity, Frequent visits were 
necessary to inspect the different herds, to 
verify their numbers, and to watch a not over 
scrupulous set who would not guard the inter 
ests of the Government any too faithfully with 
the best overseeing. Then, too, there were 
stories afloat in the buoyant atmosphere which 
surrounds an Indian agency that these cattle, 
having been received at Whetstone, were to be 
driven to other agencies to be receipted for 
again, which was by no means a physical im 
possibility, and altogether a more probable 
proceeding than many of the dishonest tricks 


charged to those who have the fortune to be 
agents for the ubiquitous Indians. 

An Episcopal minister from Sioux City, who 
was spending a part of his summer vacation at 
the agency, enjoying the wild life and the 
removal from every-day scenes, accompanied 
me on one of my inspecting tours, together 
with the physician at the agency. We had a 
delightful ride over the prairie in the direction 
of Ponca Creek, along whose banks was the 
best of pasturage, and whose waters furnished 
the coolest of draughts. It was late in the day 
before the object of our visit was accomplished, 
and we had to camp for the night and partake 
of a herder s meal. The latter consisted of 
" jerked beef," cooked by placing a piece of 
it upon the end of a stick, and holding it near 
a camp fire until roasted, a slice of bacon pre 
pared in the same way, coffee and hard biscuit, 
and altogether made a delightful repast, 
relished after a ride of thirty miles in the 
pure bracing air of the prairie. 

After the siesta and smoke in the twilight, 
by the flickering light of the camp fire, enliv 
ened by song and story, we retired to our tent, 
spread our blankets, and were soon soundly 
sleeping. About midnight my two friends were 
aroused from their slumber by the noise un 
usual to them, of the crying of a pack of wolves, 
who had taken position on the opposite bank 


of the creek, and who barked and howled their 
lamentations to such an extent as to dispel all 
sleep for the time. Finding that their un 
earthly noises did not drive us away, they finally 
retired, but not so my guests. There was no 
more sleep for them, and they spent the re 
mainder of the night in listening to every slight 
noise without our tent, imagining it was the 
approach of a stealthy wolf. At last they 
were sure that they heard one dragging his tail 
through the tall grass. The two doctors peered 
into the darkness, through a crack in the door 
of the tent, one above the other, each with rifle 
ready. Nearer and nearer came the skulking 
animal. By a whispered conference, it was 
agreed that they should fire together at a given 
signal. About this time I roused up, and, seeing 
them on the watch, inquired the cause of their 
unusual excitement. They told me to listen to 
the wolf dragging his tail in the grass near at 
hand. I boldly announced that wolves did not 
drag their tails, and suggested that it might be 
one of our horses, who had gotten loose, and 
was dragging his lariat. A more careful recon 
noitre proved this to be the case. My interfer 
ence came none too soon, for in another minute 
the two medicine men would have buried the 
contents of their rifles in the side of one of our 
best horses. 

On our return to the agency next day, 


they shared the honors of their wolf hunt. 
In due time the iinal arrangements were com 
pleted for the movement of the Indians to their 
new agency on White River, and the first pro 
visions, including cattle, were forwarded to that 
point, which was to be designated for the time 
being their permanent home. 

The Indians entered upon the new movement 
with apparent delight, their instincts leading 
them always in the direction of change. Old 
hearth-stones or familiar scenes, with hallowed 
memories, do not enter into their ken, and a 
home permanently located has no charm for 
them. Any spot on the broad prairie, which 
will supply a few natural wants, will be made 
in an hour or two their local habitation. So, 
still clinging to their nomadic habits, they fol 
lowed, with alacrity, after the new base of sup 
plies. The bottom lands of White River and 
its tributaries possessed no more arable land 
than those of Whetstone Cieek and the Mis 
souri; but the cultivation of the soil, with all 
the inducements offered, was only a matter to 
be discussed in council, and kept an open ques 
tion, to be again and again resorted to as a pos 
sible future contingency. 

They had been abundantly supplied with ex 
cellent food and a reasonable amount of cloth 
ing, but they were not satisfied. Conciliatory 
measures dominating among those in authority, 


a change was considered necessary, regardless 
of cost, and their wishes were gratified. 

The chiefs and warriors who had been 
favored with an opportunity of seeing the 
works of white men were not zealous in expa 
tiating upon the wonders seen in the East. I 
think they refrained from telling their ex 
perience, fearing that they would lose caste 
among their less enlightened associates a re 
sult predicted by Spotted Tail. Their visit was 
never referred to except incidentally, and then 
only in connection with some promise that had 
been made. 

Nevertheless, it was a little of the leaven, 
which might eventually leaven the whole lump. 




TN December, 1870, I took leave of the Sioux 
Indians, and returned to my usual duties. 
In the eighteen months of my intercourse with 
them, I had seen many things to make my 
association far from disagreeable. Their simple 
form of government, their picturesque dress 
and habitations, their patriarchal surround 
ings, their hospitality, the bravery and endur 
ance of the men, and the virtue and faithful 
ness of the women, were to be admired. 

I had seen them in their villages, removed 
from disturbing influences, living in quiet and 
peaceful contentment. They were easily per 
suaded and governed. 

But a disturbing element as old as the dis 
covery of the continent, was at hand. The 
white man, a representative of a superior race, 
armed with greater knowledge, created discon 
tent and brought confusion into their councils, 
and made the administration of Indian affairs 


an unsatisfactory work from which I was glad 
to escape. The superior race, moved by an un 
controlled and restless spirit of enterprise, will 
carry civilization and its accompaniments 
throughout the extent of our country, and in 
its rapid progress, ever encroaches ruthlessly 
upon the domains of the Indians, in spite of 
treaties and promised protection. Policies are 
inaugurated and pursued according to the dic 
tates of the ruling sentiment of the hour. The 
philanthropist with Utopian ideas, would have 
the Indian secluded from contact with the 
pioneer, who is engaged in planting the seeds of 
future civilization near the Indians posses 
sions, and the pioneer finding the latter a trou 
blesome neighbor, cumbering the ground, would 
have him exterminated ; while the spirit of fair 
play, dominant in the Anglo-Saxon race, sug 
gests means to ameliorate the asperities inci 
dent to the inevitable conflict, various views are 
advocated, and the results of wide discussion 
are crystalized into laws, the application of 
which make the actual plan followed in deal 
ing with the Indians, who being the weaker 
party must accept the consequences if remain 
ing within their jurisdiction. , The Sioux are 
still a no contemptible power, and when further 
encroachments shall compel them to act, have 
the means to save their customs and mode of 
life from the inexorable fate which will over- 


take the weaker tribes. The strong and active 
are not likely to surrender their cherished 
habits without a struggle, after which they may 
fold their tepees, and journeying over well 
known trails, join their friends and relations 
across our northern boundary, and find a new 
hunting park in a not unfamiliar land, where 
the encroachments of the settler do not make 
such rapid strides, and a fixed policy secures 
the fulfillment of all promises made. 

The various duties and responsibilities of the 
Indian agent, doing duty in the far west, have 
been touched upon in this narrative. Without 
the boundaries of civilization, isolated from the 
associations and comforts of a home, pestered 
and tormented by some of the worst specimens 
of white humanity, seeing the credulity of the 
Indians imposed upon, and the good effects of 
honorable dealing neutralized, often traduced 
and villified by men whom he may have 
thwarted in some nefarious scheme, made to 
share the consequences of deficiency in sup 
plies over which he never had control,* and 
made responsible by the public for any out 
break among the. untamed and tantalized sav 
ages under his charge, his lines are not cast in 
pleasant places. 

It has come to be believed that association 
with the Indian leads to dishonesty. On the 
contrary, I believe the tendency is the other 


way; the simple confidence which, the Indian 
places in his agent, makes the latter his pro 
tector, and, unless a very depraved character, 
he will naturally guard him and his rights. 

The theoretical rules for the transaction of 
the affairs of the Indians are one thing, and the 
practical application of the rules when mingling 
with them in the every day discharge of duty, 
is another. Usually the Indian agent comes in 
contact with his duties perfectly unprepared 
by experience. He has a few lines of vague 
generalities about the beneficence of the Gov 
ernment, and a book of regulations containing 
the theoretical rules for his guidance. With 
these he is expected to cope with difficulties 
and effect grand improvements. 

The amount of money annually expended at 
each of the large agencies in the West, would in 
the ordinary affairs of life demand ability in 
the agent, which would have a market value of 
at least three-fold the amount now allowed by 
law to an Indian agent. Any mercantile house 
in the East, having a branch in some isolated 
locality in the far West, which transacted a 
business amounting to half a million of dollars 
a year, would see to it that they not only had 
an experienced and competent agent, but that 
he was fully compensated for the trials and 
vicissitudes incident to his location and the 
duties which he performed. He would be often 


visited, his accounts scrutinized, and his duties 
supervised. He would be encouraged in the 
direction of making him a good and faithful 
representative of his employers, and would be 
assured of reward for faithful service done. 

The reverse of this usually awaits the Indian 
agent; he is occasionally visited by parties fol 
lowing the scent of some supposed rascality, 
but left to himself and his labors, if he escapes 
the usual charge of dishonesty; and his faith 
ful service is m ore than likely to be rewarded 
by summary dismissal to make place for his 

According to the laws of compensation, the 
Indian agent is about what he is made by his 
employers, and the latter obtain what they bar 
gain for. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe 
that a more intimate acquaintance with the 
actual condition of affairs among the Indians, 
by those who control the actions of the agent in 
their midst, and a more thorough system of 
accountability, an increased salary, and longer 
term of office for the agent, with some surety 
of reward for faithful service, would be of im 
mense gain, and would take but a moiety from 
the millions of dollars annually expended by a 
beneficent Government upon the Indians of the 


D. S. STANLEY, U. S. A. 


August, 20, 1869. ) 

General : 

I have the honor to report the following as 
the Indian tribes and bands in this district with 
approximate numbers of each, and nearest mili 
tary post or agency to which the several bands 
resort ; also their division into hostile and 
peaceable : 

1. Gros Ventres, Mandans, and Rees, two 
thousand; Fort Stevenson and Berthold. Peace 

2. Upper Yanctonais, three thousand ; Forts 
Rice and Grand River ; range to Yellowstone. 
Mostly peaceable. 

3. Oncpapas, two thousand ; Forts Rice and 


Grand River. Fifteen hundred hostile; five 
hundred peaceable. 

4. Blackfeet Sioux, nine hundred ; Grand 
River. Two hundred hostile ; seven hundred 

5. Two Kettles, fifteen hundred ; Forts Sully 
and Thompson. Five hundred hostile ; one 
thousand peaceable. 

6. Sans Arcs, fifteen hundred ; Fort Sully. 
One thousand hostile; five hundred peaceable. 

7. Minneconjoux, two thousand; Forts Sully 
and Grand River. Sixteen hundred hostile; 
four hundred peaceable. 

8. Upper Brules, fifteen hundred ; Fort 
Sully and White River. Eight hundred hos 
tile ; seven hundred peaceable. 

9. Lower Yanctonais, one thousand ; Fort 
Thompson. Peaceable. 

10. Brules of the Platte, fifteen hundred; 
Whetstone. Supposed peaceable. 

11. Ogallalas, two thousand; Whetstone. 
Fifteen hundred hostile ; five hundred peace 

12. Yanctons, twenty-five hundred; Fort 
Randall. Peaceable. 

The Gros Yentres, Mandans, and Rees are 
well behaved, and give no trouble. They are 
at war with the friendly Sioux, but have peace 

APPENDIX. . 233 

with the hostile Oncpapas and Minneconjoux, 
and carry on a trade with them. 

The Upper Yanctonais, ruled by the chiefs 
"Two Bears" and "Black Eyes," are perhaps 
the best behaved Indians on the river. 

The Oncpapas are turbulent and mischiev 
ous. Those who pretend to be friendly live at 
Grand River reservation, but give so much 
trouble that it is doubtful whether the agency 
can be kept on that side. Their chief is "Bear 

The Blackfeet Sioux are quiet and well be 
haved. Their principal chief is "The Grass. " 

The Two Kettles, Sans Arcs and Minnecon 
joux draw rations at Cheyenne. The first two 
are quiet ; the Minneconjoux are turbulent and 
very insolent. The chief of the Two Kettles is 
the " Tall Mandan ;" of the Sans Arcs, " Burnt 
Face;" of the Minneconjoux, the " Iron Horn" 
and "Little White Swan." 

The Lower Brules have a reservation and 
cultivate at White River ; draw rations at Fort 
Thompson. They acknowledge no chief ; are 
perfect Ishmaelites, wandering in small bands 
thousands of miles over the prairies ; are 
treacherous beyond all other Sioux, and com 
mit most of the rascalities which occur in this 

The Lower Yanctonais are peaceable, and are 
trying to farm at Fort Thompson. 


The Brules of the Platte generally stay from 
twenty to one hundred miles ont from Whet 
stone, coming into that place for their pro 
visions. Their disposition is very suspicions, 
and, like their brethren, the Upper Brules, are 
not to be trusted. 

The Ogallalas, at Whetstone, are well be 

At the agencies established for the Sioux, 
there is one class of Indians which has been 
friendly for four or five years, and are nearly 
permanent residents, only leaving from time 
to time to hunt or pick wild fruit. With this 
class there is no trouble. There is another 
class passing half their time at these agencies 
and half in the hostile camps. They abuse 
the agents, threaten their lives, kill their cattle 
at night, and do anything they can to oppose 
the civilizing movement, but eat all the pro 
visions they can get, and thus far have taken 
no lives. 

If the agencies were removed east of the 
Missouri we could suppress these violent and 
troublesome fellows. The hostiles have re 
presentatives from every band ; but the lead 
ing band in hostility is the Oncpapas. 

During the winter for the past two years, 
almost the entire hostile Sioux have camped 
together in one big camp on the Rosebud, near 
the Yellowstone. In the summer time they 


break up and spread over the prairies either to 
hunt, plunder, or come into the posts to, beg. 

I am, very respectfully, 
Your obedient servant, 

Col. 22d Infantry, Bvt. Maj. Gen. 

Bvt. Brig r General O. D. GREENE, U.S.A., 

Asst. Adjt. Gen. Dept. of Dakota. 



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