They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one - They promised to take our land...and they took it. -- Chief Red Cloud

Stories about Dakota~Lakota~Nakota

Chief Buffalo Medison

    The below is excerpted from Lewis and Clark's travel diaries.

    25th of September 1804 off Teton River
    Raised a flagstaff and formed an awning & shade on a sandbar in the mouth of the Teton River to council under, the greater portion of the party to continue on board. About 11 o'clock the 1st & 2nd Chief arrived. We gave them to eat; they gave us some meat, (we discover our interpreter does not speak the language well). At 12 o'clock the council commenced & after smoking agreeable to the usual custom [Capt. Lewis] delivered a written speech to them, I some explanations &c. All party paraded. Gave a medal to the grand Chief, in Indian Un-ton gar-Sar bar, or Black Buffalo. 2nd Torto-hongar, Partisan (Bad fellow), the 3d Tar-ton-gar-wa-ker, Buffalo Medicine. We invited those Chiefs & a Soldier on board our boat, and showed them many curiosities, [with] which they were much surprised. We gave them ½ a wineglass of whiskey, which they appeared to be exceedingly fond of. They took up an empty bottle, smelled it, and made many simple gestures and soon began to be troublesome. The 2d Chief, affecting drunkenness as a cloak for his villainous intentions (as I found afterwards,) reeled or fell about the boat. I went in a pirogue with those Chiefs, who left the boat with great reluctance. My object was to reconcile them and leave them on shore. As soon as I landed 3 of their young men seized the cable of the pirogue, one Soldier hugged the mast and the 2d Chief was exceedingly insolent both in words and gestures to me, declaring I should not go off, saying he had not received presents sufficient from us. I attempted to pacify (him) but it had a contrary effect, for his insults became so personal and his intentions evident to do me injury, I drew my sword (and ordered all hands under arms). At this motion Capt. Lewis ordered all in the boat under arms, the few men that was with me having previously taken up their guns with a full determination to defend me if possible. The Grand Chief then took hold of the cable & sent all the young men off. The Soldier got out of the pirogue and the 2nd Chief walked off to the party at about 20 yards back, all of which had their bows strung & guns cocked. I then spoke in very positive terms to them all, (but) principally addressing myself to the 1st Chief, who let the rope go and walked to the Indian party. I again offered my hand to the 1st Chief who refused it - (all this time the Indians were pointing their arrows). I proceeded to the pirogue and pushed off and had not proceeded far before the 1st & 3rd Chief & 2 principal men walked into the water and requested to go on board. I took them in and we proceeded on about a mile, and anchored near a small island, I call this island Bad Humored Island.

    25th Sept.
    All well, raised a flagstaff & made an awning or shade on a sandbar in the mouth of Teton River for the purpose of speaking with the Indians under. The boat crew on board at 70 yards distance from the bar. The 5 Indians which we met last night continued, about 11 o'clock the 1st & 2d Chief Came. We gave them some of our provisions to eat, they gave us great quantities of meat, some of which was spoiled. We feel much at a loss for the want of an interpreter; the one we have can speak but little. Met in council at 12 o'clock and after smoking, agreeable to the usual custom, Capt. Lewis proceeded to deliver a speech which we [were] obliged to curtail for want of a good interpreter. All our party paraded. Gave a medal to the Grand Chief called in Indian Un ton gar Sar bar, in French Beefe nure Black Buffalo, said to be a good man, 2nd Chief Torto hon gar, or the Partisan. The 3rd is the Beffe De Medison [NB: Beuffle de Medicine] his name is Tar ton gar wa ker.

    1. Contesabe [NB: Considerable] man War zing go
    2. do Second Bear = Ma to co que pan

    Invited those Chiefs on board to show them our boat and such curiosities as was strange to them. We gave them ¼ a glass of whiskey which they appeared to be very fond of, sucked the bottle after it was out & soon began to be troublesome, one, the 2d Chief, assuming drunkenness as a cloak for his rascally intentions. I went with those Chiefs (which left the boat with great reluctance) to shore with a view of reconciling those men to us. As soon as I landed the pirogue three of their young men seized the cable of the pirogue. The Chief's Soldier hugged the mast, and the 2d Chief was very insolent both in words & gestures declaring I should not go on, stating he had not received presents sufficient from us. His gestures were of such a personal nature I felt myself compelled to draw my sword. At this motion Capt. Lewis ordered all under arms in the boat. Those with me also showed a disposition to defend themselves and me. The Grand Chief then took hold of the rope & ordered the young warriors away. I felt myself warm & spoke in very positive terms. Most of the warriors appeared to have their bows strung and took out their arrows from their quivers. As I was not permitted to return, I sent all the men except 2 [interpreters] to the boat. The pirogue soon returned with about 12 of our determined men ready for any event this movement (in the last instance after landing pointed their arrows blank &c which) caused a number of the Indians to withdraw at a distance. Their treatment to me was very rough & I think justified roughness on my part. They all left my pirogue and counseled with themselves; the result I could not learn and nearly all went off. After remaining in this situation some time I offered my hand to the 1 & 2 Chiefs who refused to receive it. I turned off & went with my men on board the pirogue. I had not progressed more the 10 paces before the 1st Chief, 3rd & 2 Brave men waded in after me. I took them in & went on board (proceeded on 1 mile &c.) We proceeded on about 1 mile & anchored out off a willow island. Placed a guard on shore to protect the cooks & a guard in the boat. Fastened the pirogues to the boat. I call this island Bad Humored Island as we were in a bad humor._

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