Lewis and Clark Meet the Shoshone
Find facts about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Native American Tribes Their journey began on May 14, and ended on September 23, inevitable that they would encounter many Native American tribes along the way. and Preparation for the Lewis and Clark Expedition · The Lewis and Clark Expedition Meets The Lewis and Clark Expedition came in contact with nearly fifty Native American tribes and soon learned that the various groups had different On their return trip Lewis and Clark again benefited from the generosity of the Nez. During their journey to the Pacific Ocean, Lewis and Clark traveled through three different Among the Plains tribes Lewis and Clark met were the Osage, Sioux, The most important of the presents were certificates, American flags, and.
In appreciation, Lewis and Clark named a branch of the Missouri for Sacagawea several days later. Clark, in particular, developed a close bond with Sacagawea as she and Baptiste would often accompany him as he took his turn walking the shore, checking for obstacles in the river that could damage the boats.
She could identify roots, plants and berries that were either edible or medicinal. This eased tensions that might otherwise have resulted in uncooperativeness at best, violence at worst. After reaching the Pacific, Sacagawea returned with the rest of the Corps and her husband and son—having survived illness, flash floods, temperature extremes, food shortages, mosquito swarms and so much more—to their starting point, the Hidatsa-Mandan settlement, on August 14, Louis, where Charbonneau was taking the kind-hearted Clark up on an offer: Clark would provide the Charbonneau family with land to farm if the parents would agree to let Clark educate Baptiste.
Louis with Clark—now his godfather—in April so that they could join a fur-trading expedition. Denig lived 20 years on the Missouri in the early period. Introduction to the life of Indians of the Great Plains. Grade 7 and up. Indians of the Western Range. Illustrated abridged version of Catlin's "Letters and notes on the manners, customs, and condition of the North American Indians.
One-volume edition of the journals written by this famous painter from his trip up the Missouri. An excellent account of the Plains cultures before disintegration by while intrusion. Catlin is at least as good a writer and observer as he is a painter.
David Hurst Thomas et al. The Mandans, Hidasas, and Arikaras. An Interpretation of Mandan Culture History. Plains Anthropologist 19 The Origins of the Hidatsa Indians: National Park Service, Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden. Minnesota Historical Society Press. Details of Hidatsa agriculture and food ways. A "juvenile" book that is a full and detailed account of Hidatsa life as told by Buffalo Bird Woman. Excellent for ages 10 through adult. Very well illustrated - if you want to know how to rig a dog travois, it's here.
Catalog of exhibit of Gilbert Wilson's work, with book length explanatory material. Women of the Earth Lodges: Tribal Life on the Plains. University of Oklahoma Press,pages. High school to college level. Dakota Sioux The Sioux. Teton Sioux esp - The Winning of the West: Journal of American History 65, no 2, Univ Nebraska Press, Black Elk, Joseph Epes Brown ed.
Black Elk Speaks is a notable book as well, although converning the a period well after the expedition. Animals of the Soul: Sacred Animals of the Ogalala Sioux. The Blackfeet Raiders of the Northwestern Plains. From the Heart of Crow Country. Plenty Coups Chief of the Crow. Wildshut, William and John C Ewers. Am Musuem Am Indian, vol. Trenholm, Virginia Cole, and maurine Carley. From the Divide West: Do Them No Harm: Legacy House; Caxton Press Do Them No Harm!
It's told from the Indians' point of view, based on oral and written history collected after much research by Ms. Memoirs of the Am Anthrop.
University of Idaho Press,pages. University of Chicago Press, University of Oklahoma Press, ; The Chouteaus and their circle of friends and relatives quickly sought out the explorers.
Social calls at Pierre's house combined good food, friendly company, and valuable information. Clark went so far as to boast that the Chouteau house became a virtual Corps of Discovery outpost during the winter. There was so much information available that Lewis found it necessary to draft a form letter to give the data some structure. As he explained to Jefferson, "I have proposed many quiries under sundry heads to the best informed persons I have met with at St.
Louis and within the vicinity of that place; these gentlemen have promised me answers in due time. While most of the questions referred to white settlers and their current economic and political situation, there was room to comment on Indians and trade matters.
Chief among those were John Hay and James Mackay. He also spoke French, and when Lewis visited St. Even more important, Hay provided the link to James Mackay. Mackay was perhaps the most widely traveled of the many traders Lewis and Clark met during the Camp Dubois winter. By the mids the Scot had switched his political loyalties and was employed by the St.
Louis-based and Spanish-controlled Missouri Company. Even more important, he had sent his Welsh lieutenant, John Evans, to the Mandans and had entertained notions of sending Evans across the mountains to the Pacific.Mini Documentary Lewis and Clark Meet the Indians
Mackay's call at Camp Dubois on January 10,brought a lifetime of information on native people and Indian-white relations on the northern plains. Although Clark did not record what passed between the two explorers, there can be little doubt that their conversation was enlivened by Mackay's rich supply of experiences with the Indians.
But there were other sources of information in St. Louis, men of the river perhaps less literate but with more immediate experience among Indians. Lewis and Clark needed that sort of firsthand knowledge. As Lewis explained it to Jefferson, "Some of the traders of this country from their continued intercourse with the Indians, possess with more accuracy many interesting particulars in relation to that people, than persons in a higher sphere of life. Lewis had already circulated such forms by late December and felt certain that his plan would yield important data.
The questionnaires may have proved successful, but unfortunately, neither blank forms nor completed ones have survived. Friendly meetings brought maps and journals produced by earlier expeditions up the Missouri. Of all the written material the explorers were able to study, none was more valuable for its Indian content than the journals and notes produced by James Mackay and John Evans.
In a letter to Jefferson, Lewis reported that he had obtained Evans and Mackay's journal material dating from to Those entries, written in French, were being translated by the ever-useful John Hay. Taken together, the Evans-Mackay file made several major points. There was the prospect of a rich trade to be exploited among both villagers and nomads. But success in that trade hinged on a reliable system with dependable Indian partners.
Lewis and Clark could not have missed Evans and Mackay's singling out of the Mandans as the Indians most helpful to traders. French, Spanish, and English interests were already on the river, and reading Evans and Mackay reminded the explorers that their diplomacy would be for high stakes.
Mackay's observation that courting the Mandans could "put a Stop to the unjust progress of the English" was written for Spanish eyes, but its meaning was not lost on the Americans. The Omahas, Arikaras, and some of the Sioux bands had already made life miserable for traders bound upriver. Lewis and Clark would have to deal with Indians who assumed it was their right to collect tolls on the Missouri highway. The Evans and Mackay materials were of such great importance that Lewis and Clark probably took along Hay's translation of Mackay's journal.
It is more certain that a second document from Mackay made the transcontinental passage. Sometime during the winter at Camp Dubois Mackay's "Notes on Indian Tribes" came into the possession of the expedition.
That twelve-page report summarized the trader's early experiences with the Piegans and his visit to the Mandans. In the "Notes" Mackay offered a blend of current opinion on the origin and condition of the Indians and his own observations of their ways.
He had something chatty to say on everything from religion to burials. Most important for the expedition's purposes, the trader made astute comments on the lives of the Missouri River villagers.
Drawing on his own visit to the Mandans and Evans's experiences with the Arikaras and MandansMackay briefly described the construction of earth lodges, the layout of towns, and the yearly patterns of farming and hunting. Mackay's "Notes" was yet another text in Lewis and Clark's education. Louis source but came to Lewis and Clark from Jefferson. In his November 16 letter to Lewis, the president sent along extracts from the Missouri River trade journal attributed to Jean Baptiste Truteau.
Working for the Company of Explorers of the Upper Missouri, Truteau traded upriver as far as the Arikaras from to What Jefferson sent was a compilation of the tribes living along the Missouri and its tributaries. By studying the list, Lewis and Clark could gain further information about their numbers and locations. Many tribes that figured in the expedition's future were briefly noted in the journal.
Although the extracts did not plainly spell out the complex relations between those groups, Lewis and Clark were at least beginning to fix peoples and places in the mental geography of the expedition. When Clark gathered and compared maps, he was primarily in search of information to guide the expedition over the best route to the Pacific. But Clark, who emerged as the expedition's cartographer, could not have missed the substantial body of Indian data contained in many of the maps he studied.
Three maps in particular held valuable information on village sites and native populations. Those maps gave visual expression to the written material coming into Lewis and Clark's hands. Among the maps that the explorers looked at was one Lewis described as "a general map of Uper Louisiana.
Soulard prepared the Spanish version in —95 at the direction of Governor Carondelet to guide the explorations of Jean Baptiste Truteau. Sometime after the journeys of Mackay and Evans, Soulard drafted versions of the map with English and French legends. Soulard's map demonstrated with remarkable accuracy the locations of western Indians at the end of the eighteenth century.
Using simple circle and triangle symbols, the surveyor general noted Arikara and Mandan villages and the territories of nomadic SiouxCheyennesand Assiniboins. Farther north Soulard sites the Blackfeet and Chipewyans. The Crow and Snakes Shoshonis marked the western limit of St. Looking at Soulard's map must have been a reassuring experience for the explorers: Louis traders were on the map and in the expected places. This was not a map to chart a daily course on the river, but it did offer the sort of overview of the tribes that the explorers would need for much of their diplomacy.
And because such diplomacy was closely linked to trade, Soulard's careful delineation of trade routes was a valuable bonus. But at its best Soulard's creation did not reflect the kinds of immediate river and Indian contact the explorers sought.
That sort of information could come only from maps drawn by James Mackay and John Evans. After Clark wrote to Indiana territorial governor William Henry Harrison seeking his help in locating accurate western maps, Harrison sent Mackay's chart of the Missouri from St.
Charles to the Mandan villages. While having a far narrower range than the Soulard map, Mackay's work did offer a precise, firsthand view of tribes and villages along the river. Whatever its geographical misconceptions, the Mackay map brought Lewis and Clark another step closer to knowing what Indians were around the next bend in the river.
But a map made by John Evans became what one recent scholar has called a major "road map" for the expedition for no less than seven hundred miles. Those places along the river frequented by Sioux bands were also noted. By examining the Evans map along with the ones by Soulard and Mackay, Lewis and Clark could know with some certainty what Indian would be encountered next.
The Evans map was taken on the voyage and became an invaluable tool for both navigation and diplomacy. All these maps completed what might be termed the expedition's academic education in the Indian geography of the Missouri Valley.
Native American Indians and their Encounters with the Lewis and Clark Expedition
The maps, journals, and river talk could not lessen the shock of encounter that lay ahead, but they might at least give the explorers a sense of the predictable in an uncertain land.
The first test of that education came even before leaving Camp Dubois. The Indian presents so carefully purchased in Philadelphia needed to be organized in some logical order. It made good sense to package trade goods, medals, flags, and fancy dress uniforms in the order in which they were to be distributed.
Here again John Hay proved indispensable. As an experienced trader he knew the finer points of packaging and merchandising. It was probably Hay who suggested putting a variety of gifts into bags protected by waterproof fabric. Those bags were first divided into two general groups, one for the Indians on the river up to the Mandans and a second set for "foreign nations. As Hay worked on packing in late Aprilthe explorers showed that they had learned their lessons well.
Bundles were made up for the Otos, Poncas, and Omahas. Knowing the great power of Omaha leaders like the late Chief Blackbird, they set aside a separate part of one bag for the leading Omaha chief. That bag had everything from a pair of scarlet leggings to a military officer's coat and American flag. There were similar bags for the Arikaras and Mandans. For those Indians beyond the Mandans there were five bales stuffed with peace medals, fancy handkerchiefs, hat bands, and mirrors.
On paper, at least, they knew the human contours of the land ahead. Those neatly tied packages should have been reassuring. But Clark was not confident. Just one day before leaving Camp Dubois he looked at the presents and thought they were "not as much as I think necessary for the multitude of Indians thro which we must pass on our road across the Continent. Armed with calico shirts, peace medals, and blank vocabulary sheets, the expedition seemed ready to carry out its many Indian missions.
But there was still one unanswered question, one nagging doubt that no talk, map, or journal could resolve. How would the explorers cope with the inevitable tensions hidden in dozens of encounters with the Indians? Clark had long recognized the dangers. While working out travel schedules, he admitted that the accuracy of those time tables depended on "the probability of an oppisition from roving parties of Bad Indians which it is probable may be on the R[iver].
Perhaps the greatest uncharted space ahead was a human space. Into that emptiness went men of diverse backgrounds and unknown temperaments.
Young frontiersmen recruited by Clark might have been crack shots, but would memories of Indian warfare on the dark and bloody ground of Kentucky boil up whenever they saw Indians?
Towering over them all as a frontiersman was George Drouillard. Born of French and Shawnee parents, he had spent years in the Illinois country. Woodsman, tracker, adept at sign language, Drouillard emerged as the expedition's chief hunter and scout. Young John Colter could not have had a better teacher. New Hampshire-born John Ordway quickly caught the captains' attention and became the Corps of Discovery's sergeant major.
And there was York, Clark's slave, whose blackness would fascinate and frighten so many Indians. Finally, there were the captains themselves.
Native Americans and the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Hospitality and Hostility
Despite Jefferson's assertion that Lewis was chosen for his "familiarity with the Indian character," the young officer had neither fought Indians nor lived with them. Jefferson's library might have been filled with books about Indians, but there is no direct evidence that Lewis read any of those volumes.
His contacts with Benjamin Rush and other Philadelphia students of native cultures were all too brief. In fact, Lewis's frontier experience was limited to travel in the Ohio country on missions for army paymasters and recruiters.
Those journeys gave Lewis firsthand knowledge of the officer corps—one of the reasons Jefferson selected him as private secretary—but they did not fit him to negotiate with confident chiefs and experienced warriors.
Clark's life as soldier and surveyor did bring him into direct contact with Indians. Unlike many in his position, he had become an acute observer of native life and a confidant of chiefs and warriors—both ethnographer and diplomat. In ways that are beyond easy explanation, he enjoyed the company of Indians. Throughout his life Clark courted them, smoked with them, and shared food and stories with them. But this personal history was just a beginning.
The expedition was to challenge each man in ways yet unimagined. Surveying their untested crew and themselves, Lewis and Clark could only hope that the patience, skill, and courage of some would sustain all until the Corps of Discovery found its own soul.
The "road across the Continent" began in mid-May as the expedition steadily left behind the familiar sights of Camp Dubois and St. In the days that followed there was time for a green crew to learn the dangers of falling banks, swirling currents, and hidden sawyers that could rip and overturn a craft. Those first weeks on the river brought reminders that the fur trade already reached far up the Missouri.
The explorers saw rafts and canoes filled with furs from the Omaha and Pawnee villages. River traffic also brought the expedition some valuable information. A prominent member of the Missouri Fur Company, he was on his way back downriver after establishing a post to garner the Sioux and Arikara trade.
He may well have urged the explorers to obtain additional aid from his partners Pierre Antoine Tabeau and Joseph Garreau at their Cedar Island post. The expedition was not well prepared to deal with translation problems, especially those involving important conferences with the Sioux.
Pierre Cruzatte knew a few words and phrases and there were Drouillard's signs. Coming upon another St. Louis-bound party of traders, the captains met Pierre Dorion. The Frenchman had spent some twenty years with the Yankton Sioux and their neighbors. He was just the sort of agent Lewis and Clark needed to interpret at crucial conferences and to organize important delegations.
Dorion was promptly hired with the understanding that he would remain with the Yanktons to promote the expedition's Indian policy. Mosquitoes, gnats, and a prairie landscape were all unmistakable signs of the expedition's progress.
Information gathered at St. On July 20, camped above present-day Nebraska City, Nebraska, Clark speculated that from his location a man could walk in two days to the Pawnees on the Platte and in one day to the Otos. Those Indians ought to be close at hand. Perhaps it was Labiche or Cruzatte who told Clark that at this time of year most river folk left their villages to hunt buffalo.
Those hunts threatened to scuttle expedition diplomacy even before it was launched. From that spot the explorers planned to send out parties to invite Indians for formal talks. Some signs, undisclosed in expeditionary records, suggested that at least a few river Indians had returned from hunting to obtain additional corn supplies. Taking this as a hopeful sign, Lewis and Clark confidently raised a flagstaff and waited anxiously for their native guests.
Those preparations ended suddenly two days later when Drouillard and Cruzatte returned with unwelcome news. They had quickly found the major Oto town but it was quite empty.
There were some traces of a small Indian party in the area, but neither scout could locate it. Disappointed and concerned, Lewis and Clark decided to press upriver in the hope that they might still come upon some Indians. Once back at the expedition's camp, the Indian revealed that his own band was quite small, no more than twenty lodges.
Their numbers now seriously depleted by smallpox, the surviving Missouris lived with the Otos. The main body of Otos was still out hunting. The expedition planned to continue upriver and the Otos could find them farther along.