Wednesday, January 30, 2019

An Ambush by Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902)

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) Ambush

Matthew Biagell explains in his book Albert Bierstadt that,"Athough Bierstadt made probing studies of individual Indians during his travels in the West, he usually generalized their appearances & activities in his paintings. He placed them, as he placed European peasants in earlier works, in the middle distance, so that we witness their presence in a landscape setting rather than focus on their movements." Many of his landscapes including Native Americans are the western equivalent of his European generalized landscapes & reveals Bierstadt's consistent attitude toward subject matter regardless of its locale human subjects are engaged in seemingly unrelated activities. His paintings, bathed in a golden glow, often suggest nostalgia for a previous age when Native Americans were thought to have lived harmoniously with nature. Here they are not wily, wicked, or predatory, but are engaged instead in peaceful domestic industry. Works such as this are obviously part of the broad western European tradition of Arcadian scenes, but in its American version the tradition assumes a particular complexity & ambivalence. His painting including Natives often portray the nobility of the Indians before their contact with Europeans & subsequent debasement. Paintings displaying this attitude undoubtedly provided the public with the images it wanted to see, especially during the years Indians were systematically being driven from their lands. Suchromanticized paintings might also be considered retardataire; the Indian, noble or otherwise, no longer engaged many serious 19C writers after the 1850s, & precise anthropological & linguistic analyses of Indian tribes were already being included in the Pacific railroad reports by that time.

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) was best known for these lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Bierstadt, was born in Solingen, Germany. He was still a toddler, when his family moved from Germany to New Bedford in Massachusetts. In 1853, he returned to Germany to study in Dusseldorf, where he refined his technical abilities by painting Alpine landscapes. After he returned to America in 1857, he joined an overland survey expedition traveling westward across the country. Along the route, he took countless photographs & made sketches & returned East to paint from them. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1859-1864, at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861-1879, & at the Boston Art Club from 1873-1880. A member of the National Academy of Design from 1860-1902, he kept a studio in the 10th Street Studio Building, New York City from 1861-1879. He was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902, when he died.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Indians Fishing by Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902)


Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) Indians Fishing


Matthew Biagell explains in his book Albert Bierstadt that,"Athough Bierstadt made probing studies of individual Indians during his travels in the West, he usually generalized their appearances & activities in his paintings. He placed them, as he placed European peasants in earlier works, in the middle distance, so that we witness their presence in a landscape setting rather than focus on their movements." Many of his landscapes including Native Americans are the western equivalent of his European generalized landscapes & reveals Bierstadt's consistent attitude toward subject matter regardless of its locale human subjects are engaged in seemingly unrelated activities. His paintings, bathed in a golden glow, often suggest nostalgia for a previous age when Native Americans were thought to have lived harmoniously with nature. Here they are not wily, wicked, or predatory, but are engaged instead in peaceful domestic industry. Works such as this are obviously part of the broad western European tradition of Arcadian scenes, but in its American version the tradition assumes a particular complexity & ambivalence. His painting including Natives often portray the nobility of the Indians before their contact with Europeans & subsequent debasement. Paintings displaying this attitude undoubtedly provided the public with the images it wanted to see, especially during the years Indians were systematically being driven from their lands. Suchromanticized paintings might also be considered retardataire; the Indian, noble or otherwise, no longer engaged many serious 19C writers after the 1850s, & precise anthropological & linguistic analyses of Indian tribes were already being included in the Pacific railroad reports by that time.

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) was best known for these lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Bierstadt, was born in Solingen, Germany. He was still a toddler, when his family moved from Germany to New Bedford in Massachusetts. In 1853, he returned to Germany to study in Dusseldorf, where he refined his technical abilities by painting Alpine landscapes. After he returned to America in 1857, he joined an overland survey expedition traveling westward across the country. Along the route, he took countless photographs & made sketches & returned East to paint from them. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1859-1864, at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861-1879, & at the Boston Art Club from 1873-1880. A member of the National Academy of Design from 1860-1902, he kept a studio in the 10th Street Studio Building, New York City from 1861-1879. He was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902, when he died.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Indian Fishermen by Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902)

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) Indian Fishermen

Matthew Biagell explains in his book Albert Bierstadt that,"Athough Bierstadt made probing studies of individual Indians during his travels in the West, he usually generalized their appearances & activities in his paintings. He placed them, as he placed European peasants in earlier works, in the middle distance, so that we witness their presence in a landscape setting rather than focus on their movements." Many of his landscapes including Native Americans are the western equivalent of his European generalized landscapes & reveals Bierstadt's consistent attitude toward subject matter regardless of its locale human subjects are engaged in seemingly unrelated activities. His paintings, bathed in a golden glow, often suggest nostalgia for a previous age when Native Americans were thought to have lived harmoniously with nature. Here they are not wily, wicked, or predatory, but are engaged instead in peaceful domestic industry. Works such as this are obviously part of the broad western European tradition of Arcadian scenes, but in its American version the tradition assumes a particular complexity & ambivalence. His painting including Natives often portray the nobility of the Indians before their contact with Europeans & subsequent debasement. Paintings displaying this attitude undoubtedly provided the public with the images it wanted to see, especially during the years Indians were systematically being driven from their lands. Suchromanticized paintings might also be considered retardataire; the Indian, noble or otherwise, no longer engaged many serious 19C writers after the 1850s, & precise anthropological & linguistic analyses of Indian tribes were already being included in the Pacific railroad reports by that time.

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) was best known for these lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Bierstadt, was born in Solingen, Germany. He was still a toddler, when his family moved from Germany to New Bedford in Massachusetts. In 1853, he returned to Germany to study in Dusseldorf, where he refined his technical abilities by painting Alpine landscapes. After he returned to America in 1857, he joined an overland survey expedition traveling westward across the country. Along the route, he took countless photographs & made sketches & returned East to paint from them. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1859-1864, at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861-1879, & at the Boston Art Club from 1873-1880. A member of the National Academy of Design from 1860-1902, he kept a studio in the 10th Street Studio Building, New York City from 1861-1879. He was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902, when he died.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Alfred Boisseau (Paris-born American painter, 1823–1901) paints a Choctaw Woman in Louisiana

Alfred Boisseau (Paris-born American painter, 1823–1901) A Choctaw Woman in Louisiana.

The Choctaw are a Native American people native to Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, & Louisiana in the American South. Most Choctaw supported the United States during the American Revolutionary War, & the Choctaw never went to war with the USA. They were some of the first tribes to be moved west of the Mississippi River under the Indian Removal Act, & they were given some of the most favorable lands in the Indian Territory, while those in Mississippi were given US citizenship in 1831. The Choctaw supported the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, & they would be part of the US Army's code-talkers during World War I.

Choctaw Indian Nation traces its ancestry to Mississippi & some sections of Alabama. Legends tell that the Choctaw people originated from "Nanih Waya," a sacred hill near what is now known as Noxapter, Mississippi. "Nanih Waiya" means "Productive Mound" and is often referred to as "The Mother Mound." Culturally, the Choctaws honored their women as the head of the family household. They were the care-takers of tribe children, elders, and the home.

The Choctaws were the 1st of the 5 southern tribes of the United States to be moved to Oklahoma by the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830. Over 20,000 Choctaws moved on this long journey, with many of the Choctaw people not surviving this removal on what has come to be called "THE TRAIL OF TEARS."  The Choctaws adjusted quickly to their new homeland. Missionaries were sent to Oklahoma Territory including Southern Baptists, Congregationalists, & Presbyterians. These missionaries established good rapport with the Choctaws, & early impressed upon the Choctaws the importance & need for formal education, if they were to co-exist with the invading settlers.

At that time there were 3 districts in Oklahoma where the Choctaws resided; Pushmataha, Apukshunubbee and Mushulatubbee. Here, largely through the efforts of early missionaries, the Choctaws accepted an alien religion & code of morals; established a completely foreign educational system; adopted the constitution & legal system; & modified their agricultural & commercial practices to conform with the US economic system.

The Choctaw "public school" system was started in 1821, before removal to what became Oklahoma.  The Wheelock Academy was founded in 1831. One of the most prominent of the Choctaw schools was established in 1843, known as Armstrong Academy situated in the vicinity north of Bokchito, Bryan County, Oklahoma. When the Civil War broke out, the Choctaws moved their capitol to the Armstrong Academy, so that it would be removed from the war zone. By 1883, the Choctaw Capitol had moved to Tuskahoma, and Armstrong Academy was again used as a boarding school for orphaned Choctaw boys. By 1894, Calvin Institute, another school for Indian youths, was established in Durant, Bryan County, Oklahoma. By 1899, it had attracted an enrollment of 300. The school eventually became known as Oklahoma Presbyterian College, which closed in 1960.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Lewis & Clark - 1804-5 Journals on Native American Encounters

George Catlin, Bird's-eye View of the Mandan Village, 1800 Miles above St. Louis, 1837-1839 Smithsonian American Art Museum. Caitlin wrote, “I have this morning, perched myself upon the top of one of the earth-covered lodges . . . and having the whole village beneath and about me, with its sachems---its warriors---its dogs---and its horses in motion---its medicines (or mysteries) and scalp-poles waving over my head---its piquets---its green fields and prairies, and river in full view, with the din and bustle of the thrilling panorama that is about me. I shall be able, I hope, to give some sketches more to the life than I could have done from any effort of recollection . . . The groups of lodges around me present a very curious and pleasing appearance, resembling in shape (more nearly than anything else I can compare them to) so many potash-kettles inverted. On the tops of these are to be seen groups standing and reclining, whose wild and picturesque appearance it would be difficult to describe. Stern warriors, like statues, standing in dignified groups, wrapped in their painted robes, with their heads decked and plumed with quills of the war-eagle.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 12, 1841)

Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery
Members of the Expedition & Indian Nations
Wintering With the Mandan Indian Tribe

The following excerpts from various journals kept by several members of the expedition combine to paint a vivid picture of the winter Lewis & Clark spent with the Mandan/Hidatsa tribes. While almost all of the Indian tribes provided the Captains & their men with valuable assistance, in many cases it was often a reciprocal arrangement, e.g. the expedition frequently exchanged unique goods & services for provisions.

Interestingly enough, one of the few times the Lewis & Clark expedition was prepared to use armed force was during the winter with they spent with the Mandan tribes. Interpreter George Drouillard & Privates Robert Frazer, Silas Goodrich & John Newman departed Fort Mandan to hunt for fresh meat on 14 February 1805. About 25 miles downstream, a large party of Sioux Indians robbed the soldiers. After the chastened quartet made their way back to the fort with this bad news, a force of twenty volunteers was quickly assembled. At dawn on 15 February, under the leadership of Captain Lewis, the soldiers set off in pursuit. The next morning they spotted a column of smoke rising into the frigid air. The Sioux, after spending the night in deserted Mandan lodges, had made this signal when they set fire to lodges as they departed. Not finding the Sioux when they arrived at the deserted village, the expedition's attention once again turned to peacefully replenishing their supply of fresh meat.

The journal entries were excerpted from the original texts, & the spelling has been corrected to make them easier to read. For literal quotes, see the Journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition , edited by Gary Moulton & published by the University of Nebraska Press, is the authoritative source. For those who wish more in-depth information about Lewis & Clark's relations with various Indian tribes, including background from the Indian perspective, the best book is James P. Ronda's Lewis & Clark among the Indians. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.

Note: Mandan/Hidatsa Tribe: When Lewis & Clark visited the area of modern Stanton, North Dakota there were two Mandan villages on the Missouri River, & three Hidatsa villages further up the Knife River. The Hidatsas have been known by many names, & were called many different names in the Journals of Lewis & Clark. The name Gros Ventres , for example, was apparently derived from Plains Indian sign language, which used both hands to indicate an expanded stomach. " Gros Ventres " is the French term for  Big Bellies .

Journal Entries

[Clark] entry for 20 October 1804:  I saw an old remains of a village on the side of a hill which the guide with us tells me that nation [Mandans] lived in. A number of villages on each side of the river & the troublesome Sioux caused them to move about 40 miles higher up, where they remained a few years & moved to the place they now live. 

[Clark] entry for 24 October 1804: Passed an old [village] of a band of Me ne tarres [Hidatsas] called Mah har ha where they lived 40 years ago Came to on an island caused by the river cutting through a narrow point 7 years ago. On this island we were visited by the Grand Chief of the Mandans, a second Chief & some other, who were camped on the island. Those Chiefs met our Arikara Chief with great cordiality, & smoked together. Capt. Lewis visited the camps, 5 lodges, & proceeded on & camped near a 2d camp of Mandans on the starboard side nearly opposite the old Arikara & Mandan Village which the Arikaras abandoned in the year 1789 .Capt. Lewis with the interpreter went with the Chiefs to his lodges at one mile distant. After his return we admitted the Grand Chief & his brother for a few minutes on our boat. Proceeded on a short distance & camped on the starboard side below the old village of the Mandans & Arikaras. Soon after our landing four Mandans came from a camp above, the Arikara Chief went with them to their camp. 

[Clark] entry for 25 October 1804:  Proceeded on, passed the third old Village of the Mandans, which has been deserted for many years. This village was situated on an eminence of about 40 feet above the water on the larboard side. Back for several miles is a beautiful plain. At a short distance above this old village on a continuation of the same eminence was situated the (Arikaras Village) which have been evacuated only six years. Above this village a large & extensive bottom for several miles, in which the squaws raised their corn, but little timber near the villages. On the starboard side below is a point of excellent timber, & in the point several miles above is fine timber. Several parties of Mandans rode to the river on the starboard side to view us. Indeed, they are continually in sight, satisfying their curiosities as to our appearance &c We were frequently called on to land & talk to parties of the Mandans on the shore. Several Indians came to see us this evening, amongst others the son of the late great Chief of the Mandans.

[Ordway] entry for Friday, 26 October 1804:  At 10 o'clock we halted at a hunting camp of the Mandans, consisting of men women & children. Here we found an Irishman who was here trading with them from the Northwest Company of Traders. We delayed about an hour with them, & proceeded on. Took two of the natives on board with their baggage in order to go to their village. The greater part of that camp kept along shore going up to the villages. We camped on the starboard side below the first village at an old field where the Mandan nation had raised corn the last summer, & sunflowers &c., of which they eat with corn. Capt. Lewis walked up to the village this evening, found the nation very friendly &c. 

[Clark] entry for 27 October 1804:  We set out early & came to at the [first] village [Matootonha] on the larboard side where we delayed a few minutes. I walked to a chief's lodge & smoked with them, but could not eat, which did displease them a little. Here I met with a Mr. Jusseaume, who lived in this nation 18 years. I got him to interpret & he proceeded on with us. We proceeded on to a central point opposite the Knife River, & formed a camp on the starboard side above the second Mandan village & opposite the Mah-har-ha village & raised a flagstaff. Capt. Lewis & the Interpreters walked down to the second village of Mandans, & returned in about an hour. We sent three sheafs of tobacco to the other villages & invited them to come down & council with us tomorrow. We endeavor to procure some knowledge of the principal chiefs of the different nations &c. well. A number of Indians bring their wives &c. to the camps of our party on shore &c. 

[Gass] entry for 27 October 1804:  These Indians have better complexions than most other Indians, & some of the children have fair hair. This place is 1,610 miles from the mouth of the River du Bois, where we first embarked to proceed on the expedition. There are about the same number of lodges, & people, in this village as in the first. These people do not bury their dead, but place the body on a scaffold, wrapped in a buffalo robe, where it lies exposed. 

[Clark] entry for 28 October 1804:  Many of the Gros Ventres & Watersoons came to see us & hear the council. We made up the presents & entertained several of the curious chiefs who wished to see the boat, which was very curious to them, viewing it as great medicine, as they also viewed my black servant [York]. The Black Cat, Grand chief of the Mandans, Capt. Lewis & myself with an interpreter walked up the river about 1½ miles. Our views were to examine the situation & timbers for a fort. I presented a jar to the chief's wife who received it with much pleasure. Our men very cheerful this evening. We sent the chiefs of the [Hidatsa] to smoke a pipe with the Grand chief of the Mandans in his village, & told them we would speak tomorrow. 

[Clark] entry for 29 October 1804:  After breakfast we were visited by the old chief of the Gros Ventres or Me ne tar res [Hidatsa]. This man has given his power to his son who is now on a war party against the Snake [Shoshone] Indians who inhabit the Rocky Mountains. The southwest wind very high. We met in council under an awning & our sails stretched round to keep out as much wind as possible & delivered a long speech similar to what had been said to the nations below. The old chief was restless before the speech was half ended, observed his camp was exposed & could wait no longer &c. At the conclusion of the speech we mentioned the Arikaras & requested them to make a peace & smoke out of the sacred stem with their chief which I introduced & gave him the pipe of peace to hand around. They all smoked with eagerness out of the pipe held by the Arikara chief  Ar-ke-tar-na-Shar   Gave the chief small presents & a few presents for each village. Shot the air gun, which both surprised & astonished the natives, & soon dispersed. Our Arikara chief came [and] told me he wished to return to his nation tomorrow. I put him off & said we would send a talk by him after the chiefs had spoken to us. We gave a steel mill to the Mandans which was very pleasing to them. 

[Clark] entry for 29 October 1804:  The old chief of the Gros Ventres was very restless before [Lewis'] speech was half ended, [and] observed that he could not wait long, that his camp was exposed to the hostile Indians, &c. &c. He was rebuked by one of the chiefs for his uneasiness at such a time as the present. We at the end of the speech mentioned the Arikara who accompanied us to make a firm peace. They all smoked with him (I gave this chief a dollar of the American coin as a medal with which he was much pleased). In council we presented him with a certificate of his sincerity & good conduct &c .After the council we gave the presents with much ceremony, & put the medals on the chiefs we intended to make, viz., one for each town to whom we gave coats hats & flags, one grand chief to each nation to whom we gave medals with the President's likeness in council. We requested them to give us an answer tomorrow or as soon as possible to some points which required their deliberation. After the council was over we shot the air gun, which appeared to astonish the natives much, the greater part them retired soon after. 

[Ordway] entry for 29 October 1804:  The council was ended about 4 o'clock P.M., another gun was fired, & then our officers gave the or each head chief a medal & a flag & made a 1st & 2 nd Chief to each village & gave the head chiefs a suit of clothes & a quantity of small goods for their nations, cocked hats & feathers &c. &c. [Note: Lewis & Clark mistakenly believed that Indian chiefs were rank ordered according to their  position  which led to terms such as  1 st Chief  &  2 nd Chief ] Gave also a steel corn mill to the Mandan nation which pleased them very much. The captains requested them to assemble again tomorrow if possible to give us answer to what we had said to them respecting making peace with the Arikaras & all other nations & whether they mean to go to see their Great Father &c. Capt. Lewis shot the air gun which pleased them much. They returned home to their village. Hoisted the flag we gave them as well as the officers gave an American flag for each village &c. &c. 

[Clark] entry for 31 October 1804:  The main chief of the Mandans sent two chiefs for (us) to invite us to come to his lodge, & hear what he has to say. I with two interpreters walked down, & with great ceremony was seated on a robe by the side of the chief. He threw a robe, highly decorated, over my shoulders, & after smoking a pipe with the old men in the circle, the chief spoke. "He believed all we had told him, & that peace would be general, which not only gave himself satisfaction but all his people. They now could hunt without fear & their women could work in the fields without looking every moment for the enemy. As to the Arikaras addressing himself to the chief with me, you know we do not wish war with your nation. You have brought it on yourselves. That man pointing to the  2 nd   Chief & those two young warriors will go with you & smoke in the pipes of peace with the Arikaras. I will let you see my father addressing me that we wish to be at peace with all & do not make war upon any." I answered the speech, which appeared to give general satisfaction, & returned to the boat. In the evening the chief visited us dressed in his new suit, & delayed until late. The men danced until 10 o'clock, which was common with them. 

[Whitehouse] entry for 31 October 1804:  The men that went with Captain Clark found among the Indians at this village corn, beans, simblins [sic], & many kinds of garden vegetables. They & the Arikara nation are the only Indians that we saw that cultivated the earth that reside on the Missouri River. Their village consisted of about 200 lodges built in the manner that the Arikara build their lodges. This village we supposed contained 1,500 souls. A chief called the Black Cat governed them. They behaved extremely kind to the party, & the only animal that was among them was some horses, which are stout serviceable animals. This village <is> was situated on a large high plain, & they plant in a bottom lying below it & to appearance are a very industrious set of people. 

[Ordway] entry for 1 November 1804:  Capt. Lewis, myself & several more of the party halted at the first village of the Mandans in order to get some corn. The head chief told us that they had not got the corn ready, but if we would come tomorrow they would have it ready. They gave us three kinds of victuals to eat which was very good. They were very friendly, gave the pipe round every few minutes &c. They live very well, have plenty of corn, beans, squashes, meat &c. 

[Ordway] entry for 11 November 1804:  A Frenchman's squaw [Sacagawea ] came to our camp who belonged to the Snake nation. She came with our Interpreter's wife & brought with them four buffalo robes & gave them to our officers. They gave them out to the party. I got one fine one myself. 

[Clark] entry for 20 November 1804:  Several Indians came down to eat fresh meat. Three chiefs from the second Mandan Village stayed all day. They are very curious in examining our works [the expedition had completed Fort Mandan]. 

[Clark] entry for 25 November 1804:  Capt. Lewis, two interpreters & six men set out to see the Indians in the different towns & camps in this neighborhood. Two chiefs came to see me today, one named Wau-ke-res-sa-ra, a Big Belly [Hidatsa] & the first of that nation who has visited us since we have been here. I gave him a handkerchief, paint & a saw band, & the other some few articles, & paid a particular attention, which pleased them very much. The interpreters being all with Capt. Lewis I could not talk to them. 

[Ordway] entry for 27 November 1804:  Capt. Lewis & command brought with them three chiefs from the upper villages of the Gros Ventres [Hidatsa]. They appear to be very friendly. Gave us a little corn & were glad to come & see us. They said that the Mandan Nation told them that we would do them harm, & that was the reason they had not been to see us before. We had a dance this evening. 

[Clark] entry for 30 November 1804:  This morning at 8 o'clock an Indian called from the other side & informed that he had something of consequence to communicate. We sent a pirogue for him & he informed us as follows. Viz: "five men of the Mandan Nation out hunting in a southwest direction about eight leagues was surprised by a large party of Sioux & Panies [Arikara]. One man was killed & two wounded with arrows & 9 horses taken. Four of the Watersoon Nation [Hidatsa] was missing, & they expected to be attacked by the Sioux &c. &c.["] We thought it well to show a disposition to aid & assist them against their enemies, particularly those who came in opposition to our councils, & I determined to go to the town with some men, & if the Sioux were coming to attract the nation to collect the warriors from each village & meet them. Those ideas were also those of Capt. Lewis. I crossed the river in about an hour after the arrival of the Indian express with 23 men, including the interpreters, & flanked the town & came up on the back part. The Indians not expecting (not) to receive such strong aide in so short a time was much surprised, & a little alarmed at the formidable appearance of my party. The principal chiefs met me some distance from the town (say 200 yards) & invited me into town. I ordered my party into different lodges & I explained to the nation the cause of my coming in this formidable manner to their town was to assist & chastise the enemies of our dutiful children. I requested the Grand Chief to repeat the circumstances as they happened, which he did, as was mentioned by the express in the morning. I then informed them that if they would assemble their warriors & those of the different towns I would to meet the Army of the Sioux & chastise them for taking the blood of our dutiful children &c. After a conversation of a few minutes amongst themselves, one chief, the Big Man Chien said they now saw that what we had told them was the truth, when we expected the enemies of their nation was coming to attack them, or had spilt their blood were ready to protect them, & kill those who would not listen to our good talk. His people had listened to what we had told them & carelessly went out to hunt in small parties, believing themselves to be safe from the other nations, & have been killed by the Panies & Sioux. "I knew," said he "that the Panies were liars, & told the old chief who came with you (to confirm a peace with us) that his people were liars & bad men & that we killed them like the buffalo, when we pleased. We had made peace several times & your nation (& they) have always commenced the war. We do not want to kill you, & will not suffer you to kill us or steal our horses. We will make peace with you as our two fathers have directed, & they shall see that we will not be the aggressors, but we fear the Arikaras will not be at peace long.["] "My father, those are the words I spoke to the Arikara in your presence. You see they have not opened their ears to your good councils but have spilt our blood." Two Arikaras whom we sent home this day for fear of our people's killing them in their grief, informed us when they came here several days ago, that two Towns of the Arikaras were making their Moccasins, & that we had best take care of our horses &c." A number of Sioux were in their towns, & they believed not well disposed towards us. Four of the Watersoons are now absent. They were to have been back in 16 days they have been out 24. We fear they have fallen. My father, the snow is deep & it is cold. Our horses cannot travel through the plains. Those people who have spilt our blood have gone back. If you will go with us in the spring after the snow goes off we will raise the warriors of all the towns & nations around about us, & go with you." I told this nation that we should be always willing & ready to defend them from the insults of any nation who would dare to come to do them injury during the time we would (stay) remain in their neighborhood, & requested that they would inform us of any party who may at any time be discovered by their patrols or scouts. I was sorry that the snow in the plains had fallen so deep since the murder of the young chief by the Sioux as prevented their horses from traveling. I wished to meet those Sioux & all others who will not open their ears, but make war on our dutiful children, & let you see that the warriors of your great father will chastise the enemies of his dutiful children the Mandans, Watersoons & Minitarees, who have opened their ears to his advice. You say that the Panies or Arikaras were with the Sioux; some bad men may have been with the Sioux. You know there is bad men in all nations, do not get mad with the Arikaras until we know if those bad men are countenanced by their nation, & we are convinced those people do not intend to follow our councils. You know that the Sioux have great influence over the Arikaras & perhaps have led some of them astray. You know that the Arikaras are dependant on the Sioux for their guns, powder, & ball, & it was policy in them to keep on as good terms as possible with the Sioux until they had some other means of getting those articles &c. &c. You know yourselves that you are compelled to put up with little insults from the Christinoes & Oss' abo' (or Stone Indians), because if you go to war with those people, they will prevent the traders in the north from bringing you guns, powder & ball & by that means distress you very much. But when you will have certain suppliers from your Great American Father of all those articles you will not suffer any nation to insult you &c. After about two hours conversation on various subjects, all of which tended towards their situation &c. I informed them I should return to the fort. The chief said they all thanked me very much for the fatherly protection that I showed towards them, that the village had been crying all the night & day for the death of the brave young man who fell. But now they would wipe away their tears, & rejoice in their father's protection, & cry no more. I then paraded & crossed the river on the ice & came down on the north side. The snow so deep, it was very fatiguing. The chief frequently thanked me for coming to protect them & the whole village appeared thankful for that measure. 

[Clark] entry for 7 December 1804:  The Big White, Grand Chief of the 1st Village, came & informed us that a large drove of buffalo was near & his people was waiting for us to join them in a chase. Capt. Lewis took 15 men & went out joined the Indians, who were at the time he got up killing the buffalo on horseback with arrows, which they done with great dexterity. His party killed 14 buffalo, five of which we got to the fort by the assistance of a horse in addition to what the men packed on their backs. One cow was killed on the ice after drawing her out of a vacancy in the ice in which she had fallen, & butchered her at the fort. Those we did not get in was taken by the Indians under a custom which is established amongst them, i.e. any person seeing a buffalo lying without an arrow sticking in him, or some particular mark, takes possession. Many times (as I am told) a hunter who kills many buffalo in a chase only gets a part of one, all meat which is left out all night falls to the wolves which are in great numbers, always in the buffaloes. 

[Ordway] entry for 10 December 1804:  One of the Mandan Indians who had been wounded by the Sioux came to our officers to be cured. 

[Clark] entry for 21 December 1804:  A woman brought a child with an abscess on the lower part of the back, & offered as much corn as she could carry for some medicine. Capt. Lewis administered &c. 

[Clark] entry for 23 December 1804:  Great numbers of Indians of all descriptions came to the fort, many of them bringing corn to trade. The Little Crow loaded his wife & son with corn for us. Capt. Lewis gave him a few presents, as also his wife. She made a kettle of boiled [per]simmons, beans, corn & chokecherries with the stones, which was palatable. This dish is considered as a treat among those people. The chiefs of the Mandans are fond of staying & sleeping in the fort .

[Ordway] entry for 2 January 1805:  Capt. Lewis & the greater part of the party went up to the second village of the Mandans a frolicking, after the same manner as yesterday at the first village. A number of Indians & squaws came to the fort from the first village. Brought us corn to pay our blacksmiths for repairing their squaw axes, bridles &c. The most of the men returned toward evening & said that the Indians were much diverted at seeing them dance. They used them very friendly &c. 

[Clark] entry for 16 January 1805:  One of the 1st war chiefs of the Gros Ventres Nation [Hidatsa] came to see us today with one man & his squaw to wait on him. We shot the air gun, & gave two shots with the cannon which pleased them very much. The Little Crow, 2nd chief of the lower village, came & brought us corn. This war chief gave us a chart in his way of the Missouri. He informed us of his intentions of going to war in the spring against the Snake Indians. We advised him to look back at the number of nations who had been destroyed by war, & reflect upon what he was about to do, observing if he wished the happiness of his nation he would be at peace with all, by that by being at peace & having plenty of goods amongst them & a free intercourse with those defenseless nations, they would get on easy terms a great number of horses, & that nation would increase. If he went to war against those defenseless people, he would displease his Great Father, & he would not receive that perfection & care from him as other nations who listened to his word. This chief, who is a young man, 26 years old, replied that if his going to war against the Snake Indians would be displeasing to us he would not go, he had horses enough. We observed that what we had said was the words of his Great Father, & what we had spoken to all the nations which we saw on our passage up. They all promise to open their ears & we do not know as yet if any of them has shut them (we are doubtful of the Sioux). If they do not attend to what we have told them their Great Father will open their ears. This chief said that he would advise all his nation to stay at home until we saw the Snake Indians & knew if they would be friendly, he himself would attend to what we had told him. 

[Lewis] entry for 6 February 1805:  The blacksmiths take a considerable quantity of corn today in payment for their labor. The blacksmiths have proved a happy resource to us in our present situation, as I believe it would have been difficult to devise any other method to have procured corn from the natives. The Indians are extravagantly fond of sheet iron of which they form arrow-points & manufacture into instruments for scraping & dressing their buffalo robes. 

[Clark] entry for 19 February 1805:  Visited by several of the Mandans today. Our smiths are much engaged mending & making axes for the Indians for which we get corn.

[Clark] entry for 7 March 1805:  The Coal visited us with a sick child, to whom I gave some of Rush's Pills. Charbonneau returned this evening from the Gros Ventres & informed that all the nation had returned from the hunting. 

[Lewis] entry for 16 March 1805:  Mr. Gurrow, a Frenchman who has lived many years with the Arikaras & Mandans, showed us the process used by those Indians to make beads. The discovery of this art these nations are said to have derived from the Snake Indians who have been taken prisoners by the Arikaras. The art is kept a secret by the Indians among themselves & is yet known to but few of them. 

[Clark] entry for 29 March 1805:  The river rose 13 inches the last 24 hours [as the winter ice began melting]. I observed extraordinary dexterity of the Indians in jumping from one cake of ice to another for the purpose of catching the buffalo as they float down. Many of the cakes of ice which they pass over are not two feet square. The plains are on fire in view of the fort on both sides of the river. It is said to be common for the Indians to burn the plains near their villages every spring for the benefit of their horses, & to induce the buffalo to come near to them. 

[Clark] entry for 6 April 1805:  Visited by a number of Mandans. We are informed of the arrival of the whole of the Arikara nation on the other side of the river near their old village. We sent an interpreter to see with orders to return immediately & let us know if their chiefs meant to go down to see their great father. 

[Whitehouse] entry for 7 April 1805:  We proceeded on & encamped on the north side of the Missouri River, opposite to the first Village of the Mandan Nation. This village lies on the south side of the river & contains 300 lodges. The land adjoining it is prairies, which gradually rise from the river. The soil is very rich, producing Indian corn, pumpkins, squashes & beans in abundance. The natives have large fields, which they cultivate & which produce plentifully. They have likewise gardens, which they plant & have several kinds of garden vegetables in it, such as lettuce, mustard &c. They have likewise growing in their gardens gooseberries, which is superior in size to any in the United States & currants of different kinds. They are in general peaceable, well-disposed people, & have less of the savage nature in them than any Indians we met with on the Missouri River. They are of a very light color, the men are very well featured & stout; the women are in general handsome. This town or village contains from the best calculation we could make 2,000 inhabitants. They are governed by a chief called the Big White & the Indians here live to a very old age, numbers being 100 years old. 

Conclusion
At 4PM on 7 April 1805, Corporal Richard Warfington & a small party of men headed east aboard the keelboat. Warfington was charged by Lewis with delivering to President Jefferson all of journals completed to date by the expedition, as well as numerous specimens of plant & animal life. The rest of the men, led by Lewis & Clark, continued on their epic journey to the Pacific Northwest westward along the river aboard 6 newly constructed canoes & the 2 pirogues.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

On the Plains at Sunset by Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902)

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) On the Plains at Sunset

Matthew Biagell explains in his book Albert Bierstadt that,"Athough Bierstadt made probing studies of individual Indians during his travels in the West, he usually generalized their appearances & activities in his paintings. He placed them, as he placed European peasants in earlier works, in the middle distance, so that we witness their presence in a landscape setting rather than focus on their movements." Many of his landscapes including Native Americans are the western equivalent of his European generalized landscapes & reveals Bierstadt's consistent attitude toward subject matter regardless of its locale human subjects are engaged in seemingly unrelated activities. His paintings, bathed in a golden glow, often suggest nostalgia for a previous age when Native Americans were thought to have lived harmoniously with nature. Here they are not wily, wicked, or predatory, but are engaged instead in peaceful domestic industry. Works such as this are obviously part of the broad western European tradition of Arcadian scenes, but in its American version the tradition assumes a particular complexity & ambivalence. His painting including Natives often portray the nobility of the Indians before their contact with Europeans & subsequent debasement. Paintings displaying this attitude undoubtedly provided the public with the images it wanted to see, especially during the years Indians were systematically being driven from their lands. Suchromanticized paintings might also be considered retardataire; the Indian, noble or otherwise, no longer engaged many serious 19C writers after the 1850s, & precise anthropological & linguistic analyses of Indian tribes were already being included in the Pacific railroad reports by that time.

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) was best known for these lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Bierstadt, was born in Solingen, Germany. He was still a toddler, when his family moved from Germany to New Bedford in Massachusetts. In 1853, he returned to Germany to study in Dusseldorf, where he refined his technical abilities by painting Alpine landscapes. After he returned to America in 1857, he joined an overland survey expedition traveling westward across the country. Along the route, he took countless photographs & made sketches & returned East to paint from them. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1859-1864, at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861-1879, & at the Boston Art Club from 1873-1880. A member of the National Academy of Design from 1860-1902, he kept a studio in the 10th Street Studio Building, New York City from 1861-1879. He was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902, when he died.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

1860s George Catlin (1796 –1872) A Cheyenne Warrior Resting His Horse

1860s George Catlin (1796 –1872) A Cheyenne Warrior Resting His Horse

George Catlin (1796 –1872) A Dog Feast - Sioux

George Catlin participated in a Sioux Indian ceremony of friendship at which a meal of dog meat was the center of the festivities. He explained the significance of this meal in his journal: “This feast was unquestioningly given to us as the most undoubted evidence they could give of their friendship. Knowing the spirit in which it was given, we could not but treat it respectfully, and receive it as anything but a high and marked compliment. The dog feast is truly a religious ceremony. The Indian sees fit to sacrifice his faithful companion to bear testimony to the sacredness of his vows of friendship.” 

“Some few days after the steamer had arrived, it was announced that a grand feast was to be given to the great white chiefs, who were visitors amongst them; and preparations were made accordingly for it. The two chiefs . . . brought their . . . tents together, forming the two into a semi-circle, enclosing a space sufficiently large to accommodate 150 men; and sat down with that number of the principal chiefs and warriors of the Sioux nation . . . while the rest of the company all sat upon the ground, and mostly cross-legged, preparatory to the feast being dealt out . . . In the centre of the semi-circle was erected a flag-staff, on which was waving a white flag, and to which also was tied the calumet, both expressive of their friendly feelings towards us. Near the foot of the flag-staff were placed in a row on the ground, six or eight kettles, with iron covers on them, shutting them tight, in which were prepared the viands for our voluptuous feast.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 28, 1841; reprint 1973)
1860s George Catlin (1796 –1872) A Dog Feast - Sioux

From Catlin - "A DOG FEAST (Sioux). This feast was offered by the Sioux chiefs of the Upper Missouri, in 1832, to Mr. Sanford (the Indian agent), Pierre Choteau, K. McKenzie, and the author. The greatest pledge of respect and friendship which the Indians can give to strangers in their country is given in the “Dog Feast,” in which the flesh of their favorite dogs must necessarily be served." 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862) Jemima Boone's Abduction

Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862 a painter of the American West was also known as Charles Wimar & Carl Wimar) Boone abduction

Jemima Boone & the Callaway girls were captured by a Cherokee-Shawnee raiding party. After the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, violence increased between American Indians & settlers in Kentucky. American Indians, particularly Shawnee from north of the Ohio River, raided the Kentucky settlements, hoping to drive away the settlers, whom they regarded as trespassers. The Cherokee, led by Dragging Canoe, frequently attacked isolated settlers & hunters, convincing many to abandon Kentucky. This was part of a 20-year Cherokee resistance to pioneer settlement. By the late spring of 1776, fewer than 200 Americans remained in Kentucky, primarily at the fortified settlements of Boonesborough, Harrodsburg, & Logan's Station in the southeastern part of the state.

On July 14, 1776, a raiding party caught 3 teenage girls from Boonesborough, as they were floating in a canoe on the Kentucky River. They were Jemima, daughter of Daniel Boone, & Elizabeth & Frances, daughters of Colonel Richard Callaway. The Cherokee Hanging Maw led the raiders, 2 Cherokee & 3 Shawnee warriors. Boone organized a rescue party, as the captors hurried the girls north toward the Shawnee towns across the Ohio River. The 3rd morning, as the Indians were building a fire for breakfast, the rescuers arrived. As one Indian was shot, Jemima said, "That's Father's gun!" The Indians retreated, leaving the girls to be taken home by the settlers. The incident was portrayed in 19C literature & paintings. James Fenimore Cooper created a fictionalized version of the chase in The Last of the Mohicans (1826).

A German-born immigrant to the United States, Charles Wimar painted The Abduction of Daniel Boone's Daughter by the Indians while working in Düsseldorf with the famed history painter Emmanuel Leutze. Fascinated by the American frontier, Wimar focused during this period on images of Native American conflicts with settlers, in particular the theme of captivity & abduction, as portrayed here. This theme appeared widely in the popular literature & visual arts of the 18C & 19C, in which it was fashionable to mythologize the struggles of the frontier with exotic portrayals of the West & Native Americans. 

When he died from tuberculosis at the age of 34, he left about 50 paintings, Indians Approaching Fort Union, Flatboatmen on the Mississippi & The Abduction of Daniel Boone’s Daughter by the Indians among them. In 1843, he traveled to St. Louis, a fur-trading frontier town at the time. Between 1846 & 1850, he was apprenticed to the artist Leon de Pomarede, & accompanied him on a journey up the Mississippi, to St. Anthony Falls in Minnesota. In 1852, Wimar returned to Germany; & for 4 years, he studied with with Emmanuel Leutze & Josef Fay in Düsseldorf. After his return to the United States, Wimar took several journeys up the Mississippi River and, in 1858, up the Yellowstone River – documented in various sketchbooks.  

Wimar's paintings, like others of the time, reinforced notions of Native Americans as savage & white settlers as cultivated & divinely ordained - a notion that helped justify white colonization of the West. Inspired by Virginian Daniel Bryan's (ca. 1789–1866) 1st book, the 1813 epic poem The Mountain Muse, Wimar here depicted 3 natives seizing Jemima Boone as she picked wildflowers along the Kentucky River. Also drawing on traditional religious imagery, Wimar portrayed the captive young woman in the pose of a praying saint or martyr, further promoting the piety & innocence of Christian Europeans & the aggressiveness & barbarity of Native Americans.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

George Catlin (1796-1872) He Who Jumps Over All, A Crow Chief.

George Catlin (1796-1872) He Who Jumps Over All, Crow.  BA-DA-AH-CHON-DU (He Who Outjumps All); A Crow Chief on Horseback Showing His Rich Costume and the Trappings of His Horse (Primary Title)

While touring the U.S. Midwest, Catlin was a guest of the Crow and the Minnetaree on the upper Missouri River. He marveled at their extraordinary feats of horsemanship on the plains of present-day North Dakota. Describing this painting of a Crow chief, Catlin wrote: "I have painted him as he sat for me, balanced on his leaping wild horse with his shield and quiver slung on his back, and his long lance decorated with the eagle’s quills, trailed in his right hand. His shirt and his leggings, and moccasins, were of the mountain-goat skins . . . their seams everywhere fringed with a profusion of scalp-locks taken from the heads of his enemies slain in battle. His long hair, which reached almost to the ground whilst he was standing on his feet, was now lifted in the air and floating in black waves over the hips of his leaping charger. On his head, and over his shining black locks, he wore a magnificent crest or head-dress, made of the quills of the war-eagle and ermine skins; and on his horse’s head also was another of equal beauty and precisely the same in pattern and material. Added to these ornaments there were yet as many others which contributed to his picturesque appearance, and amongst them a beautiful netting of various colours, that completely covered and almost obscured the horse’s head and neck, and extended over its back and its hips, terminating in a most extravagant and magnificent crupper,  embossed and fringed with rows of beautiful shells and porcupine quills of various colours." (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, letter 24)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

1832 Native Wars with the US Army - Black Hawk

Múk-a-tah-mish-o-káh-kaik, Black Hawk, George Catlin, 1832 Smithsonian American Art Museum

Black Hawk, 26 April - 30 September 1832. A faction of Sauk & Fox Indians, living in eastern Iowa & led by Black Hawk, threatened to go on the warpath in 1832 when squatters began to preempt Illinois lands formerly occupied by the two tribes. The faction held that cession of these lands to the Federal Government in 1804 had been illegal. Black Hawk asserted he would remove the squatters forcibly & attempted without success to organize a confederacy & make an alliance with the British. Finally, when Black Hawk's followers, including some 500 warriors, crossed the Mississippi into Illinois in early 1832 & refused to return, the 1st & 6th Infantry under Brig. Gen. Henry Atkinson, together with Illinois militia, set out in pursuit up the Rock River. A volunteer detachment suffered heavy losses in a skirmish on 14 May 1832 near present-day Dixon, Illinois, & Atkinson had to pause to recruit new militia. On 21 July a volunteer force severely chastised Black Hawk's band at Madison, Wisconsin, & Atkinson completely defeated what remained of it at the confluence of the Mississippi & Bad Axe on 2 August 1832, capturing Black Hawk & killing 150 of his braves.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Mandan Village, above St. Louis 1837

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872) Bird's-eye View of the Mandan Village, above St. Louis 1837

The Mandan are a Native American tribe of the Great Plains who have lived primarily for centuries in what is now North Dakota. The Mandan historically lived along the banks of the Missouri River & its tributaries—the Heart & Knife Rivers—in present-day North & South Dakota. Speakers of Mandan, a Siouan language, developed a settled, agrarian culture. They established permanent villages featuring large, round, earth lodges, some 40 feet in diameter, surrounding a central plaza. The Mandan traded corn surpluses with other tribes in exchange for bison meat. They established permanent villages featuring large, round, earth lodges, some 40 feet (12 m) in diameter, surrounding a central plaza. The Mandan were divided into bands. The bands all practiced extensive farming, which was carried out by the women, including the drying & processing of corn. The Mandan-Hidatsa settlements, called the "Marketplace of the Central Plains" were major hubs of trade in the Great Plains Indian trading networks. Crops were exchanged, along with other goods that traveled from as far as the Pacific Northwest Coast. Investigation of their sites on the northern Plains have revealed items traceable as well to the Tennessee River, Florida, the Gulf Coast, & the Atlantic Seaboard.

The Mandan gradually moved upriver, & consolidated in present-day North Dakota by the 15C. From 1500 to about 1782, the Mandan reached their apogee of population & influence. Their villages showed increasing densities as well as stronger fortifications, for instance at Huff Village. It had 115 large lodges with more than 1,000 residents.

The bands did not often move along the river until the late 18th century, after their populations plummeted due to smallpox & other epidemics.The Mandan were a great trading nation, trading especially their large corn surpluses with other tribes in exchange for bison meat & fat. Food was the primary item, but they also traded for horses, guns, & other trade goods.

The Koatiouak, mentioned in a 1736 letter by Jesuit Jean-Pierre Aulneau, are identified as Mandans. Aulneau was killed before his planned expedition to visit the Mandans could take place. The known first European known to visit the Mandan was the French Canadian trader Sieur de la Verendrye in 1738. The Mandans carried him into their village, whose location is unknown.It is estimated that at the time of his visit, 15,000 Mandan resided in the nine well-fortified villages on the Heart River; some villages had as many as 1,000 lodges. According to Vérendrye, the Mandans at that time were a large, powerful, prosperous nation who were able to dictate trade on their own terms. They traded with other Native Americans both from the north & the south, from downriver.

Horses were acquired by the Mandan in the mid-18C from the Apache to the South. The Mandan used them both for transportation, to carry packs & pull travois, & for hunting. The horses helped with the expansion of Mandan hunting territory on to the Plains. The encounter with the French from Canada in the 18th century created a trading link between the French & Native Americans of the region; the Mandan served as middlemen in the trade in furs, horses, guns, crops & buffalo products. Spanish merchants & officials in St. Louis (after France had ceded its territory west of the Mississippi River to Spain in 1763) explored the Missouri & strengthened relations with the Mandan (whom they called Mandanas). They wanted to discourage trade in the region by the English & the Americans, but the Mandan carried on open trade with all competitors.

A smallpox epidemic broke out in Mexico City in 1779/1780. It slowly spread northward through the Spanish empire, by trade & warfare, reaching the northern plains in 1781. The Comanche & Shoshone had become infected & carried the disease throughout their territory. Other warring & trading peoples also became infected. The Mandan lost so many people that the number of clans was reduced from thirteen to seven; three clan names from villages west of the Missouri were lost altogether. They eventually moved northward about 25 miles, & consolidated into two villages, one on each side of the river, as they rebuilt following the epidemic. Similarly afflicted, the much reduced Hidatsa people joined them for defense. Through & after the epidemic, they were raided by Lakota Sioux & Crow warriors.

In 1796 the Mandan were visited by the Welsh explorer John Evans, who was hoping to find proof that their language contained Welsh words. In July 1797 he wrote to Dr. Samuel Jones, "Thus having explored & charted the Missurie for 1,800 miles & by my Communications with the Indians this side of the Pacific Ocean from 35 to 49 degrees of Latitude, I am able to inform you that there is no such People as the Welsh Indians."British & French Canadians from the north carried out more than 20 fur-trading expeditions down to the Hidatsa & Mandan villages in the years 1794 to 1800.

By 1804 when Lewis & Clark visited the tribe, the number of Mandan had been greatly reduced by smallpox epidemics & warring bands of Assiniboine, Lakota & Arikara. The nine villages had consolidated into two villages in the 1780s, one on each side of the Missouri. But they continued their famous hospitality, & the Lewis & Clark expedition stopped near their villages for the winter because of it. In honor of their hosts, the expedition dubbed the settlement they constructed Fort Mandan. It was here that Lewis & Clark first met Sacagawea, a captive Shoshone woman. Sacagawea accompanied the expedition as it traveled west, assisting them with information & translating skills as they journeyed toward the Pacific Ocean. Upon their return to the Mandan villages, Lewis & Clark took the Mandan Chief Sheheke (Coyote or Big White) with them to Washington to meet with President Thomas Jefferson. He returned to the upper Missouri. He had survived the smallpox epidemic of 1781, but in 1812 Chief Sheheke was killed in a battle with Hidatsa.

In 1825 the Mandans signed a peace treaty with the leaders of the Atkinson-O'Fallon Expedition. The treaty required that the Mandans recognize the supremacy of the United States, admit that they reside on United States territory, & relinquish all control & regulation of trade to the United States. The Mandan & the United States Army never met in open warfare.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Native Wars with the US Army - Cheyennes 1878-79

Frederic Remington (1861-1909) August, 1897 issue of Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Final battle of the army during the Fort Robinson massacre of the Cheyenne who escaped from the fort.

After the extensive surrenders in 1877 of the hostile Northern Cheyennes, in the Departments of Dakota & the Platte, a number were sent under guard to the Cheyenne & Arapaho Agency, at Fort Reno, Indian Territory, on 8 August 1877. Subsequent to that date other small parties surrendered & some died, so that on 1 July 1878, the number of Northern Cheyennes, at Fort Reno amounted to more than 940. An attempt had been made by General Pope, commending the Department of the Missouri, to disarm & dismount these Indians, so as to place them on the same footing with the Southern Cheyennes, but as it was found this could not be done without violation of the conditions of their surrender, they were permitted to retain their arms & ponies.

A large part of the Northern Cheyennes found friends among the Southern Cheyennes, mixed with them, & joined the various bands. About one-third of the Northern Cheyennes, however, under the leadership of "Dull Knife," "Wild Hog," "Little Wolf," & others, comprising about 375 Indians, remained together & would not affiliate with the Southern Cheyennes. Dissatisfied with life at their new agency, they determined to break away, move north, & rejoin their friends in the country where they formerly lived. Their intention to escape had long been suspected & their movements were consequently watched by the troops, but by abandoning their lodges, which they left standing, about 89 warriors, & slightly less than 250 women & children escaped from the agency on 9 September 1877.

Although troops were dispatched from several posts to intercept & return them to the agency, the Indiana eluded their pursuers & continued north raiding settlements for stock & committing other depredations. On 21 September a minor skirmish took place between the Indians & Army troops assisted by citizens. Six days later, Colonel Lewis' command overtook the Cheyennes on "Punished Woman's Fork" of the Smoky Hill River, where the Indians were found very strong entrenched & waiting for the troops. Colonel Lewis attacked them at once & was mortally wounded while leading the assault. In the clash, 3 enlisted men were wounded, one Indian killed; 62 head of stock were captured.

In spite of all precautions, the Cheyennes managed to escape & continue north. Two Cheyennes who had been taken prisoner by cowboys told authorities the fugitives had intended to reach the Cheyennes, supposed to be at Fort Keogh, Montana, where, if permitted to stay, they would surrender, otherwise they would try to join Sitting Bull, who still remained in Canada. The prisoners also said that the escaping Cheyennes had lost 15 killed in the various fights subsequent to their escape from Fort Reno.

On 23 October, two troops of the 3d Cavalry captured 149 of the Cheyennes & 140 head of stock. "Dull Knife," "Old Crow," & "Wild Hog" were among the prisoners. Their ponies were taken away, together with such arms as could be found, but the prisoners said they would die rather than be taken back to Indian Territory. "Little Wolf" & some of his followers escaped and, in January 1879, additional members of the tripe escaped to join "Little Wolf" after a skirmish with troops near Fort Robinson.

Some of the escaping Cheyennes strongly positioned on some cliffs were intercepted, but again they escaped. However, two days later they were again located near the telegraph line from Fort Robinson to Hat Creek, where they were entrenched in a gully. Refusing to surrender, they were immediately attacked & the entire party either killed or captured. "Dull Knife" their leader was among those killed.

On 25 March "Little Wolf" & his band were overtaken near Box Elder Creek by a force made up of two troops of Cavalry, a detachment of Infantry, a field gun, & some Indian scouts. The Indians were persuaded to surrender without fighting & gave up all their arms & about 250 ponies, & marched with the troops to Fort Keogh. The band numbered 33 men, 43 squaws, & 38 children.

The earliest known written record of the Cheyenne comes from the mid-17C, when a group of Cheyenne visited the French Fort Crevecoeur, near present-day Peoria, Illinois. The Cheyenne at this time lived between the Mississippi River & Mille Lacs Lake in present-day Minnesota. The Cheyenne economy was based on the collection of wild rice & hunting, especially of bison, which lived on the prairies 70–80 miles west of the Cheyenne villages.

According to tribal history, during the 17C, the Cheyenne had been driven by the Assiniboine (“rebels”) from the Great Lakes region to present-day Minnesota & North Dakota, where they established villages. The most prominent of the ancient Cheyenne villages is Biesterfeldt Village, in present-day eastern North Dakota along the Sheyenne River. The tribal history also relates that they 1st reached the Missouri River in 1676. A more recent analysis of early records posits that at least some of the Cheyenne remained in the Mille Lac region of Minnesota until about 1765, when the Ojibwe defeated the Dakota with firearms - pushing the Cheyenne, in turn, to the Minnesota River, where they were reported in 1766.

On the Missouri River, the Cheyenne came into contact with the neighboring Mandan, Hidatsa ("people who have soil houses"), & Arikara people (Ónoneo'o), and shared cultural characteristics. They were first of the later Plains tribes into the Black Hills & Powder River Country. About 1730, they introduced the horse to Lakota bands (Ho'óhomo'eo'o - “the invited ones (to Cheyenne lands i.e. the Black Hills)”). Conflict with migrating Lakota & Ojibwe peoples forced the Cheyenne further west; & they, in turn, pushed the Kiowa to the south.

By 1776, the Lakota had overwhelmed the Cheyenne & taken over much of their territory near the Black Hills. In 1804, Lewis & Clark visited a surviving Cheyenne village in North Dakota. Such European explorers learned many different names for the Cheyenne, not recognizing that the different segments were forming a unified tribe.

The Cheyenne Nation reportedly is descended from 2 related tribes, the Tsétsêhéstâhese/Tsitsistas (Cheyenne proper) and Só'taeo'o/Só'taétaneo'o (better known as Suhtai or Sutaio) who may have joined the Tsétsêhéstâhese in the early 18C. Their oral history relays that both tribal peoples are characterized & represented by two cultural heroes or prophets who received divine articles from their god Ma'heo'o.

After being pushed south & westward by the Lakota, the unified Cheyenne people began to create & expand a new territory of their own. Sometime around 1811 the Cheyenne made a formal alliance with the Arapaho people (Hetanevo'eo'o – "People of the Sky“, also known as Héstanėheo'o – “people, mankind, tribe of people”), which would remain strong throughout their history. The alliance helped the Cheyenne expand their territory which stretched from southern Montana, through most of Wyoming, the eastern half of Colorado, far western Nebraska, & far western Kansas. As early as 1820, traders & explorers reported contact with Cheyenne at present-day Denver, Colorado & on the Arkansas River. They were probably hunting & trading in that area earlier. They may have migrated to the south for winter. The Hairy Rope band is reputed to have been the first band to move south, capturing wild horses as far south as the Cimarron River Valley. In response to the construction of Bent’s Fort by Charles Bent, a friend of the Cheyenne who established a popular trading area for the Cheyenne, a large portion of the tribe moved further south & remained around the area. The other part of the tribe continued to live along the headwaters of the North Platte & Yellowstone rivers. The groups became the Southern Cheyenne, known as Sówoníă (Southerners) & the Northern Cheyenne, known as O'mǐ'sǐs (Eaters). The separation of the tribe was only a geographic & the two groups had regular & close contact.


In the southern portion of their territory, the Cheyenne & Arapaho warred with the allied Comanche, Kiowa, & Plains Apache. Numerous battles were fought including a notable fight along the Washita River in 1836, with the Kiowa resulting in the death of 48 Cheyenne warriors of the Bowstring society. In summer 1838, many Cheyenne & Arapaho attacked a camp of Kiowa & Comanche along Wolf Creek in Oklahoma causing heavy losses on both sides. Conflict with the Comanche, Kiowa, & Plains Apache ended in 1840, when the tribes made an alliance with each other. The new alliance allowed the Cheyenne to enter the Llano Estacado in the Texas & Oklahoma panhandles & northeastern New Mexico to hunt bison & trade. Their expansion in the south & alliance with the Kiowa led to their first raid into Mexico in 1853. The raid ended in disaster with heavy resistance from Mexican lancers, causing all but 3 of the war party being killed. To the north the Cheyenne made a strong alliance with the Lakota Sioux, which allowed them to expand their territory into part of their former lands around the Black Hills. They managed to escape the smallpox epidemics, which swept across the plains from white settlements in 1837-39, by heading into the Rocky Mountains; but they were greatly affected by the Cholera epidemic in 1849. Contact with Euro-Americans was mostly light, with mountain men, traders, explorers, treaty makers, & painters.  

Sunday, January 13, 2019

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Uintah (Ute) Medicine Man, a Warrior, and a Woman.1855/1869

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Uintah (Ute) Medicine Man, a Warrior, and a Woman.1855/1869

Utes have lived in the Great Basin in the northwestern Utah region for over 10,000 years. From 3000 BCE to around 500 BCE, they lived along the Gila River in Arizona. People of the Fremont culture lived to the north in western Colorado, but when drought struck in the 13th century, they joined the Utes in San Luis Valley, Colorado.  The Ute people are the oldest residents of Colorado, inhabiting the mountains & vast areas of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Eastern Nevada, Northern New Mexico & Arizona. 

The language of the Utes is Shoshonean, a dialect of that Uto-Aztecan language. It is believed that the people who speak Shoshonean separated from other Ute-Aztecan speaking groups, such as the Paiute, Goshute, Shoshone Bannock, Comanche, Chemehuevi & some tribes in California. The Utes were a large tribe occupying the great basin area, encompassing the Numic speaking territories of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Eastern California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado & Northern Arizona & New Mexico.  Tribes living in this area, ancestors of the Utes were the Uto-Aztecs, who spoke one common language; they possessed a set of central values, & had a highly developed society. Traits commonly attributed to people possessing a civilization. The Ute civilization spoke the same language, shared values, observed the same social & political practices, in addition to inhabiting & holding a set territory.

The Utes settled around the lake areas of Utah, some of which became the Paiute, other groups spread north & east & separated into the Shoshone & Comanche people, & some traveled south becoming the Chemehuevi & Kawaiisus. The remaining Ute people became a loose confederation of tribal units called bands.

Prior to acquiring the horse, the Utes would travel & camp in familiar sites & use well established routes such as the Ute Trail that can still be seen in the forests of the Grand Mesa.  As the Utes traveled the vast area of the Great Basin, large bands would breakup into smaller family units that were much more mobile. Camps could be broken down faster making travel from one location to another a more efficient process. Because food gathering was an immense task, the people learned that by alternating hunting & food gathering sites the environment would have time to replenish. The Nuche only took what they required, never over harvesting game or wild plants. These principles were closely adhered to in order for the people to survive.  In early spring & into the late fall, men would hunt for large game such as elk, deer, & antelope; the women would trap smaller game animals in addition to gathering wild plants such as berries & fruits. Wild plants such as the amaranth, wild onion, rice grass, & dandelion supplemented their diet. Some Ute bands specialized in the medicinal properties of plants & became expert in their use, a few bands planted domestic plants.

Before they acquired the horse, the Utes used basic tools & weapons which were made of stone & wood. These tools included digging sticks, weed beaters, baskets, bows & arrows, flint knives, arrow heads, throwing sticks, matates & manos for food preparation. They traded with the Puebloans for pottery to use for food & water storage & transport. They became very skilled at basket weaving, making coiled containers sealed with pitch for water storage. As expert hunters they used all parts of the animal. Elk & deer hides were used for shelter covers, clothing & moccasins. The hides the Utes tanned were prized & a sought after trade item. The Ute women became known for their beautiful quill work, which decorated their buckskin dresses, leggings, moccasins, & cradleboards.

Late in the fall, family units would begin to move out of the mountains into sheltered areas for the cold winter. Generally, the family units of a particular Ute band would live close together. The family units could acquire more fuel for heating & cooking. The increased family units would also allow for a better line of defense form enemy tribes seeking supplies for the harsh winter weather. The Caputa, Mouache & Weenuchiu wintered in northwestern New Mexico; the Tabeguache (Uncompahgre) camped near Montrose & Grand Junction; the Northern Utes would make their winter camps along the White, Green & Colorado Rivers.  Winter was a time of rejuvenation & the Utes would gather around their evening fires visiting & exchanging stories about their travels, social, & religious events. This was a time to reinforce tribal custom, as well as repairing tools, weapons & making new garments for the summer.

A primary event that marked the beginning of spring was the annual Bear Dance. The Bear Dance is still considered a time of rejuvenation by the tribe. It is in essence, the Tribes’ New Year, when Mother Earth begins a new cycle, plants begin to blossom, animals come out of their dens after a long cold winter.  The Bear awakens from his winter’s sleep & celebrates by dancing to welcome the spring. This dance was given to the Ute people by the bear. The Bear Dance is the most ancient dance of the Ute people & continues to be observed by all Ute bands. When many of the various bands gathered for the Bear Dance it allowed relatives to socialize, while at the same time providing an opportunity for the young people to meet & for marriages to be negotiated. On the last day of the Bear Dance, the Sundance Chief would announce dates of the Sundance.

They obtained soap from the root of the yucca plant. The yucca was used to make rope, baskets, shoes, sleeping mats, & a variety of household items. The three leaf sumac & willow were used to weave baskets for food & water storage. They learned how to apply pitch to ensure their containers were water-tight. They made baskets, bows, arrows, other domestic tools, & reinforcements for shade houses.  Chokecherry, wild raspberry, gooseberry, & buffalo berry were gathered & eaten raw.  Occasionally juice was extracted to drink & the pulp was made into cakes or added to dried seed meal and eaten as a paste or cooked into a mush. Ute women would use seeds from various flowers or grasses and add them to soup. The three leaf sumac would be used in tea for special events.  The people would harvest roots with a tool called a digging stick. The digging stick was pointed and about three to four feet long. Roots collected were the sego (mariposa) lily, yellow pond lily, yampa or Indian carrot. The amaranth plant was gathered and the seeds were obtained with a tool called a seed beater, similar to winnowing. Amaranth seeds were often eaten raw, the Indian potato (Orogenia linearifolia) and wild onion were used in soups or eaten raw. They could be dried for later use or ground into a flour to make stews thicker. Utes would use earthen ovens to cook food.  They would prepare the food items and place them into a four-foot deep hole lined with stones. A fire was built on top of the stones and the food was placed in layers of damp grass & heated rocks. These items would then be covered with dirt to cook over night. The prickly pear cactus was another food source. The flower & fruit were either eaten raw or boiled or roasted.  The inner bark of the tree is very nutritious & was yet another food source for the people. The Utes harvested the inner bark of the ponderosa pine for making healing compresses, tea & for healing. The scarred ponderosa trees are still visible in Colorado forests. The healing trees are evidence of the Utes early presence in the land & their close relationship to their ecosystem.

A medicinal plant used by the Utes is Bear root (Ligusticum portieri) also commonly known as osha. Bear root grows throughout the Rocky Mountains, in elevations over 7,000 feet. The plant has antibacterial & antiviral powers & continues to be used to treat colds & upper respiratory ailments. It can be chewed or brewed into teas. It can be used topically, in baths, compresses, & ointments to treat indigestion, infections, wounds & arthritis. Some southwest tribes use it before going into the desert areas to deter rattlesnakes. The Utes have a special relationship with the plant & treat it with great respect, harvesting only what they need & always giving prayers before they harvest.  Ute elders knew which plants should be gathered & which plants were dangerous. One has to be very careful when harvesting wild plants as many toxic plants can be mistaken for wild onion or bear root. Poison hemlock (Conium macalatum) appears much the same as the bear root but is dangerous. Peppermint & wild tobacco were collected & used in many important ceremonies.

The routes the Utes established were used by other Native American tribes & Europeans. The Ute Trail became known as the Spanish Trail used by Spanish explorers as early as the fifteenth century when Alvar Nunez Caveza de Vaca (1488-1558) & Juan de Onate (1550-1630) were sent from Spain to explore the uninhabited areas of Texas & New Mexico, claiming vast lands for their Spanish rulers.  During the sixteenth century Spaniards began to colonize New Mexico, establishing their domination wherever possible. As the Spanish advanced northward into Ute territory, the customs, livestock, & language they brought began to influence the Ute’s way of life. These changes were to have far reaching impacts upon the Ute people. Not only did the European bring livestock & tools, they also brought small pox, cholera & other diseases that would decimate the population of the Ute people. The European’s never-ending quest for land was in direct contrast to the Native American’s reverence for Mother Earth. The Utes believed that they didn’t own the land, but that the land owned them. Contact with the European was to end a way of life the people had known for centuries.  Contact between the Southern Utes & the Spanish continued, with trade soon developing. Utes were known for their tanned elk & deer hides which they traded along with dried meat tools & weapons. However, as the Spanish became more aggressive conflicts began to arise. When Santa Fe was established as the northern capital of the Spanish colonists they captured Utes & other Native Americans as slave laborers to work in their fields & homes. Around 1637 Ute captives escaping from the Spanish in Santa Fe fled, taking with them Spanish horses, thus making the Utes one of the first Native American tribes to acquire the horse. However, tribal historians tell of the Utes acquiring the horse as early as the 1580s.  Already skilled hunters, the Utes used the horse to become expert big game hunters. They began to roam further away from their home camps to hunt buffalo that migrated over the vast prairies east of their mountain homes, & explore the distant lands.  The Utes began to depend upon the buffalo as a source for much of their items. It took only one buffalo to feed several families, & fewer hides were required to make structures & clothing.

The Utes already had a reputation as defenders of their territories now became even fiercer warriors. Women & children were also fierce & were known to pick up a lance & defend their camps from attacking enemies. Ute men were described by the Spanish as having fine physiques, able to withstand the harsh climate, & live off the land in sharp contrast to the European who often had to depend upon Native Americans & their knowledge about plants, animals & the environment. They became adept raiders preying upon neighboring tribes such as the Apache, Pueblos & Navajo. Items obtained from their raids were used to trade for household items, weapons, horses & captives. Owning horses increased one’s status in the tribe.

Encounters with the Spanish began to occur more frequently, & trade increased to include Spanish items such as metal tools & weapons, cloth, beads & even guns. The bounty collected from raiding expeditions was used to trade for horses, which were considered a valuable commodity. Captives from raids were also used as barter items.  In November 1806 Zebulon Pike entered the eastern boundaries of Ute lands proclaiming one of the Ute’s most sacred sites as “Grand Peak”, now known as Pike’s Peak. Prior to this, Ute territory had not been explored on a large scale because of the rugged terrain & high mountain passes.  Europeans began to take notice of the land’s bounty, timber, wildlife & abundant water. What they did not take into account was that the land was already inhabited by the Ute people, who considered the land their home.  As westward expansion increased & eastern tribes were displaced & relocated to barren lands in the west, pioneers began to travel west. Gold & silver were discovered in the San Juan Mountains & the Utes soon found themselves in a losing battle to retain their homelands.  In the 1700s the Ute & Comanche tribes began peace negotiations to ensure peace between two powerful tribal allies that reigned over the southwestern plains, however, peace talks were interrupted & a fifty-year war followed. On December 30, 1849 a peace treaty was signed between the United States & the Utes at Abiquiu, New Mexico. The treaty forced the Utes to officially recognize the sovereignty of the United Sates & established boundaries between the U.S. & the Ute nation.