Three Years on the Plains - Observations of Indians, 1867-1870
by Edmund B. Tuttle
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"Like an old pine-tree, I am dead at the top."

Speech of an old chief



Respectfully Dedicated.



June 13th, 1870.


DEAR SIR,—I have your letter of June 8th, and do not, of course, object to your dedicating your volume on Indians to me. But please don't take your facts from the newspapers, that make me out as favoring extermination.

I go as far as the farthest in favor of lavishing the kindness of our people and the bounty of the general government on those Indians who settle down to reservations and make the least effort to acquire new habits; but to those who will not settle down, who cling to their traditions and habits of hunting, of prowling along our long, thinly-settled frontiers, killing, scalping, mutilating, robbing, etc., the sooner they are made to feel the inevitable result the better for them and for us.

To those I would give what they ask, war, till they are satisfied.

* * * * *

Yours truly,

W. T. SHERMAN, General.


List of Illustrations xi

Introduction 11

Where did the Indians come from? 13

Despoiling the Grave of an old Onondaga Chief 16

The Fidelity of an Indian Chief 22

Big Thunder—a Winnebago Chief 26

Indian Tradition—the Deluge 27

Tribes on the Plains 32

The Author a "Medicine-man" 47

The Sioux Sun Dance—Scene on the Plains of Young Warriors exhibiting Fortitude and Bravery in Torturing Pains—a Horrible Scene 48

Julesburg 52

A Brave Boy and some Indians 55

An Indian Meal 56

Shall the Indians be exterminated? 59

Indians don't believe half they hear 65

Army Officers 66

What shall be done? 68

A Good Joke by Little Raven 71

How the Indian is cheated 72

Burial of a Chief's Daughter 72

An Indian Raid on Sidney Station, Union Pacific Railroad 75

Why do Indians scalp their Enemies? 77

Indian Boy's Education 79

Making Presents 81

Indians making Signals 81

Merciful Indians 82

A Scene at North Platte 82

Across the Plains 87

Why does not the Indian meddle with the Telegraph? 89

Plum Creek Massacre 90

Pawnee Indians—Yellow Sun and Blue Hawk 91

A Trip to Fort Laramie 92

Moss Agates 95

A Young Brave 97

The Head Chief—Red Cloud 100

Red Cloud's Journey 106

Phil. Kearney Massacre 107

Perilous Adventure—Pursuit of a Horse-Thief 121

Hanging Horse-Thieves 128

An Indian Fight at Sweetwater Mines 131

Indian Attack on the Stage-Coach going to Denver—Rev. Mr. Fuller's Account of Two Attempts upon his Life 135

Chaplain White says there's a time to Pray and a time to Fight 143

Legend of "Crazy Woman's Fork" 145

Phil. Kearney Massacre 149

Mauvaises Terres, or Bad Lands, Dakota 150

Natural History—Animals on the Plains 153

A Night Scene 158

The Mission-House 160

Indian Language, Counting, etc. 160

Indians attack Lieutenant W. Dougherty—Fight between Forts Fetterman and Reno 161

Speech of "White Shield," Head Chief of the Arickarees 162

Indian Trading 164

Red Cloud, Spotted Tail, and their Friends in Washington 167

Conclusion 201

Lord's Prayer in Sioux Language 205

Apostles' Creed 206

Distances 206


The Death of Johnson in Colorado frontispiece


Issac H. Tuttle Indian Boys Indian Burial Bishop Clarkson Group of Converted Indians Spotted Tail and his Son


Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska xii-xiii


The interest which boys are taking in all that relates to our Indian tribes, and the greediness they manifest in devouring the sensational stories published so cheaply, filling their imaginations with stories of wild Indian life on the plains and borders, without regard to their truthfulness, cannot but be harmful; and therefore the writer, after three years' experience on the plains, feels desirous of giving youthful minds a right direction, in a true history of the red men of our forests. Thus can they teach their children, in time to come, what kind of races have peopled this continent; especially before civilization had marked them for destruction, and their hunting-grounds for our possession.

The RIGHTS and WRONGS of the Indians should be told fairly, in order that justice may be done to such as have befriended the white men who have met the Indians in pioneer life, and been befriended often by the savage, since the Mayflower landed her pilgrims on these shores some two hundred and fifty years ago.

The writer proposes now only a history of Indians since he began to know the "Six Nations" in Western New York, about forty years ago. Since then, these have dwindled down to a handful, and do not now exist in their separate tribal relations, but mixed in with others, far away from the beautiful lakes they once inhabited.


The origin of the native American Indian has puzzled the wisest heads.

The most plausible theory seems to be that they are one of the lost tribes of Israel; that they crossed a narrow frith from the confines of Asia, and that their traditions, it is said, go far to prove it.

For instance, the Sioux tell us that they were, many moons ago, set upon by a race larger in number than they, and were driven from the north in great fear, till they came to the banks of the North Platte, and finding the river swollen up to its banks, they were stopped there, with all their women, children, and horses. The enemy was pursuing, and their hearts grew white with fear. They made an offering to the Great Spirit, and he blew a wind into the water, so as to open a path on the bed of the river, and they all went over in safety, and the waters, closing up, left their enemies on the other side. This, probably, is derived from a tradition of their forefathers, coming down to them from the passing of the children of Israel through the Red Sea.

Elias Boudinot, many years ago, and a minister in Vermont also, published books to show that the American Indians were a portion of the lost tribes, from resemblances between their religious customs and those of the Israelites. Later still, a converted Jew named Simon, undertook to identify the ancient South American races, Mexicans, Peruvians, etc., as descendants of ancient Israel, from similarity of language and of civil and religious customs. These authors have taken as their starting-point the resolution which, Esdras informs us (in the Apocrypha), the ten tribes took after being first placed in the cities of the Medes, viz., that they would leave the multitude of the heathen and go into a land wherein never mankind dwelt, that they might there keep their laws, which God gave them; and they suppose that, in pursuance of this resolution, the tribes continued in a northeasterly direction until they came to Behring Straits, which they crossed, and set foot on this continent, spreading over it from north to south, until, at the discovery of it by Columbus, they had peopled every part. It must be admitted that this theory is very plausible, and that if our Indians are not the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel, they show by their traditions and customs a knowledge of the ancient religion, such as calling the Great Spirit Yo-he-wah, the Jehovah of the Scriptures, and in many festivals corresponding to the Mosaic law.[1] The country to which the ten tribes, in a journey of a year and a half, would arrive, from the river Euphrates, east, would be somewhere adjoining Tartary, and intercourse between the two races would easily lead to the adoption of the religious ideas and customs of the one by the other.

[1] Labagh.

The gypsy tribes came from Tartary, and in my intercourse with these wandering people, I found they had a custom somewhat like our Indians' practice, in removing from place to place. For instance, the gypsies, when they leave a part of their company to follow them, fix leaves in such wise as to direct their friends to follow in their course. This is called "patteran" in Romany or gypsy language. And the Indian cuts a notch in a tree as he passes through a forest, or places stones in the plains in such a way as to show in what direction he has gone. An officer saw a large stone, upon which an Indian had drawn the figure of a soldier on horseback, to indicate to others which way the soldiers had gone.

Origin of Evil.—They have a tradition handed down that the Great Spirit said they might eat of all the animals he had made, except the beaver. But some bad Indians went and killed a beaver, and the Great Spirit was angry and said they must all die. But after awhile he became willing that Indians should kill and eat them, so the beaver is hunted for his skin, and his meat is eaten as often as he suffers himself to be caught.


On-on-da-ga was the name of an Indian chief, who died about the year 1830, near Elbridge, a town lying north of Auburn, in the State of New York. This Indian belonged to the Onondagas, one of the tribes called "the Six Nations of the IROQUOIS" (E-ro-kwa), a confederacy consisting of the MOHAWKS, ONEIDAS, SENECAS, CAYUGAS, ONONDAGAS, and TUSCARORAS or CHIPPEWAS. I was a lad at the time of this chief's death, having my home in Auburn, New York, where my father was the physician and surgeon to the State prison. My father had a cousin, who was also a doctor and surgeon, a man of stalwart frame, raised in Vermont, named Cogswell. He was proud of his skill in surgery, and devoted to the science. He had learned of the death of the Onondaga chief, and conceived the idea of getting the body out of the grave for the purpose of dissecting the old fellow,—that is, of cutting him up and preserving his bones to hang up on the walls of his office; of course, there was only one way of doing it, and that was by stealing the body under cover of night, as the Indians are very superstitious and careful about the graves of their dead. You know they place all the trappings of the dead—his bow and arrows, tomahawk and wampum—in the grave, as they think he will need them to hunt and supply his wants with on his journey to the happy hunting-grounds. They place food and tobacco, with other things, in the grave.

Dr. Cogswell took two men one night, with a wagon, and as the distance was only twelve miles, they performed the journey and got back safely before daylight, depositing the body of the Indian in a barn belonging to a Mr. Hopkins, in the north part of the town. It was soon noised about town what they had done, and there lived a man there who threatened to go and inform the tribe of the despoiling of the chief's grave, unless he was paid thirty dollars to keep silence. The doctor, being a bold, courageous man, refused to comply with a request he had no right to make, because it was an attempt to "levy black mail," as it is called.

Sure enough, he kept his word, and told the Onondagas, who were living between Elbridge and Syracuse. They were very much exasperated when they heard what had been done, and threatened vengeance on the town where the dead chief lay.

The tribe was soon called together, and a march was planned to go up to Auburn by the way of Skaneateles Lake,—a beautiful sheet of water lying six miles east of Auburn. They encamped in the pine woods,—a range called the "pine ridge,"—half-way between the two villages, and sent a few of the tribe into Auburn for the purpose of trading off the baskets they had made for powder and shot; but the real purpose they had in view was to find out just where the body was (deposited in the barn of Mr. Josiah Hopkins), intending to set fire to the barn and burn the town, rescuing the dead chief at the same time.

For several days the town was greatly excited, and every fireside at night was surrounded with anxious faces; the children listening with greedy ears to narratives of Indian cruelties perpetrated during the war with the English about Canada, in 1812; and I remember how it was told of a cruel Indian named Philip, that he would seize little babes from their mothers' arms and dash out their brains against the wall! No wonder we dreamed horrid dreams of the dusky faces every night.

At that time the military did not amount to much. There was a company of citizen soldiers there, called the "AUBURN GUARDS," numbering about forty men, with a captain whose name I forget, but who became suddenly seized with the idea of his unfitness to defend the town against the threatened Indian invasion, and did the wisest thing he could, and resigned his commission on a plea of "sudden indisposition." The doctor walked the street as bold as a lion, but acting also with the shrewd cunning of the fox. And now, my young friends, instead of weaving a bloody romance in the style of the "Dime Novels," depicting the terrible massacre, which might have happened, with so great a wrong to provoke the hostility of the poor Indians, I am about to tell you how the town was saved, and how the doctor outwitted them. If you pause here, and guess, I think you will be far from the mark in reaching the shrewdness of the surgeon, who had not been bred among the hills of old Vermont for nothing.

As I said, at Auburn there is a State prison, and when the convicts die, their bodies, unless claimed by relatives or friends within twenty-four hours after death, are at the disposal of the surgeon for dissection.

As good luck would have it, a negro convict died at the time of our story; and the doctor conceived the idea of getting out of his difficulty by transferring the dead body of the negro Jim to the despoiled empty grave of Onondaga! This done, he easily persuaded the Indians to go back and find the body of their chief all right: and so he succeeded in humbugging the weak-minded Indians, while the bones of old Onondaga were duly prepared and hung up to show students how Indians and all men are made of bone and muscle. The doctor thought he had done a good thing; but when I went into the office and saw the horrid skull grinning at me, I was thankful that the spirit of old Onondaga could not say of me, "You did it!"


The most notable of the chiefs belonging to the Six Nations were Hiawatha, Thayendanega (or Brant, his English name), Sagoyewatha, or Red Jacket,—the most intelligent of the chiefs, and who is said to have been the uncle of General Parker, a full-blood Chippewa, and at one time Indian Commissioner at Washington. (Parker served as an aide of General Grant during the war. In early life, he was a pupil at the normal school, in Albany; and was reckoned quite a proficient in music by Prof. Bowen.)

Most of these tribes, inhabiting the country bordering on the Mohawk River, Onondaga Lake, Skaneateles, Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca, Ontario, and Erie, migrated at an early day to Green Bay, and to the Straits of Mackinaw. As remnants of the Onondagas were passing through Auburn, they often slept on the floor of our kitchen, and they never stole anything or did us any harm. One day, they were passing the American Hotel, and, as usual, begged a few sixpences of all they met. A gentleman sitting on the porch said to one of them, "No, you'll spend it for whisky."

"Oh, no," he replied; "give it to my wife,—he's a Methodist woman!"

I met a tribe of Chippewas at Marquette, a short time since, on Lake Superior, whither they had migrated from Green Bay. An-ges-ta, the chief, was a tall, noble-looking fellow. He wanted the church to help his people, who were very poor.

Said he, "We lived in Green Bay a great while, but when I looked into our cabins and saw so many of them empty, and into the graveyard, and counted more graves than we had living, my heart was sad, and I went away farther toward the setting sun!"

He made an eloquent speech to the Prince of Wales on his visit to the West, and it was pronounced a fine piece of natural oratory.

A few remnants of the New York tribes are living not far from Buffalo, on a reservation, where they cultivate farms and have schools and churches.

Such were the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas, Mohawks, and Chippewas. Only one band is left in New York State now, that of the Onondagas.

The present generation of grown people have read with delight the beautiful novels of J. Fenimore Cooper, Esq., but they have been disappointed in not finding any living examples of his noble heroes. As a general thing, the Indian of our day is an untidy lord of the soil, over which he roams unfettered by any laws of society, and often—in his wild state—not controlled by its decencies or in possession of its privileges. But I think this is the fault of Christians more interested in foreign pagans, while neglecting these heathen at our own doors.


The following story about an Oneida chief is told by Judge W——:

Early in the settlement of the western part of New York, the judge was living in Whitesboro', four miles west of Utica. All around was an unbroken forest of beech, maple, and other trees, held by wild tribes of Indians, who had been for ever so long owners of the soil. Judge W——, feeling how much he was at their mercy in his lonely place, was anxious to keep on good terms with them, and secure their friendship in return.

Many of the chiefs had heard of his friendly ways, and went to see him, carrying presents, because of the gifts he had sent them; but he was much troubled that an old chief of the tribe, having great influence with his people, had never come to see him, or sent him any presents, or shown any signs of welcome. After awhile the judge made up his mind to go and see the sachem in his wigwam, and thus secure a friendship he might rely on in case of any difficulty. His family was small,—only his daughter, a widow, and her only child, a fine boy, five years old. So, one day he went to pay the chief a visit, taking the widow and her son along with him. He found him seated at the door of his tent, enjoying a nice breeze of a fine summer's morning, and was welcomed by the old chief with kind manners and the word "Sago," meaning, "How do you do?" Judge W—— presented his daughter and her little boy to the old chief, and said they had come to live in his country; they were anxious to live in peace with them, and introduce among them the arts of civilization. Listening to these words, the chief said,—

"Brother, you ask much and promise much; what pledge can you give of your good faith?"

Judge.—"The honor of a man who never knew deceit."

Sachem.—"The white man's word may be good to the white man, yet it is but wind when spoken to the Indian."

Judge.—"I have put my life into your hands by coming hither; is not this a proof of my good intentions? I have trusted the Indian, and I will not believe that he will abuse or betray my trust."

"So much is well," said the chief; "the Indian repays trust with trust: if you will hurt him, he will hurt you. But I must have a pledge. Leave this boy with me in my wigwam, and I will bring him back to you in three days with my answer."

If an arrow had pierced the bosom of the young mother, she could not have felt a sharper pang than that which the Indian's proposal had caused her.

She flew towards her boy, who stood beside the chief looking into his face with pleased and innocent wonder, and, snatching him to her arms, would have rushed away with him.

A gloomy frown came over the sachem's brow, and he remained silent.

The judge knew that all their lives depended upon a right action at once; and following his daughter, who was retreating with her child into the woods, he said to her, "Stay, stay, my daughter; bring back the child, I beg of you! I would not risk a hair of his head, for he is as dear to me as to you,—but, my child, he must remain with the chief! God will watch over him, and he will be as safe in the sachem's wigwam as in your arms beneath your own roof." She yielded, and her darling boy was left; but who can tell the agony of the mother's heart during the following days?

Every night she awoke from her sleep, seeming to hear the screams of her child calling upon its mother for help. How slowly and heavily passed the hours away. But at last the third day came. The morning waned away, and the afternoon was far advanced, yet the chief came not. There was sorrow over the whole home, and the mother, pale and silent, walked her room in despair. The judge, filled with anxious doubts and fears, looked through the opening in the forest towards the sachem's abode.

At last, as the rays of the setting sun were thrown upon the tops of the tall trees around, the eagle feathers of the chief were seen dancing above the bushes in the distance. He came rapidly, and the little boy was at his side. He was gayly attired as a young chief: his feet dressed in moccasins, a fine beaver-skin thrown over his shoulders, and eagle's feathers stuck in his hair. He was laughing and gay, and so proud of his honors that he seemed two inches taller than before. He was soon clasped in his mother's arms, and in that brief moment of joy she seemed to pass from death to life.

"The white man has conquered!" said the chief; "hereafter let us be friends. You have trusted the Indian; he will repay you with confidence and kindness."

And he was true to his word. Judge W—— lived many years, laying there the foundation of that flourishing community which has spread over a wide extent of western New York.

The Far West, in my childhood, meant the "Genesee country," as far as the falls of Niagara.


The Winnebago Indians migrated from Belvidere, Illinois, on the Kish-wau-kie River, to Minnesota, and thence to the Omaha reservation, in Nebraska. At Belvidere, there is a mound on which Big Thunder when he died was set up, his body supported by posts driven in the ground. This was done at his dying request, and in accord with his prophecy to his tribe: "That there was to be a great and terrible fight between the white and red men. And when the red men were about to be beaten in the battle, he would come to life again, and rising up with a shout, would lead his people to victory!" His tribe would visit the spot once a year, where his body was drying away, and leave tobacco as an offering; and the white young men would surely go there soon after and stow the plugs away in their capacious pockets. As the town became settled, visitors would carry off the bones as mementos of the old chief. After they were all gone, some wags would place the bones of some dead sheep for relic-hunters to pick up and carry home as the bones of a noble chief.

I have seen the stakes, which was all that remained of "Big Thunder" after he was dried up and blown away.


The Oneidas have a tradition about the deluge, which is very singular. According to their story, an unlimited expanse of water covered the whole space now occupied by the world we live in.

At this time the whole human family dwelt in a country situated in the upper regions of the air. Everything needed for comfort and pleasure was found. The people did not know what death was, nor its attendant, sickness or disease; and their minds were free from jealousy, hatred, or revenge.

At length it happened that all of this was changed, and care and trouble came to them.

A certain youth was seen to withdraw himself from the circle of social amusements, and he wandered away alone in the groves, as his favorite resort.

Care and sorrow marked his countenance, and his body, from long abstinence from food, began to make him look to his friends like a skeleton of a man. Anxious looks could not solve the mystery of his grief; and by-and-by, weakened in body and soul, he yielded to his companions, and promised to disclose the cause of his trouble, on condition that they would dig up by the roots a certain pine-tree, lay him in his blanket by the edge of the hole, and place his wife by his side; at once all hands were ready. The fatal tree was taken up by the roots; in doing which the earth was opened, and a passage made into the abyss below. The blanket was spread by the hole; the youth lay upon it the wife also (soon to be a mother) took her seat by his side. The crowd, anxious to know the cause of such strange and unheard-of conduct, pressed close around; when, all of a sudden, to their horror and surprise, he seized upon the woman and threw her headlong into the regions of darkness below! Then, rising from the ground, he told the people that he had for some time suspected that his wife was untrue to him, and so, having got rid of the cause of his trouble, he would soon recover his health and spirits.

All those amphibious animals which now inhabit this world then roamed through the watery waste to which this woman, in her fall, was now hastening. The loon first discovered her coming, and called a council in haste to prepare for her reception,—observing that the animal which approached was a human being, and that earth was necessary for its accommodation. The first thing to be thought of was, who should support the burden?

The sea-bear first presented himself for a trial of his strength. At once the other animals gathered round and jumped upon his back; while the bear, unable to bear up such a weight, sank beneath the water, and was by all the crowd judged unequal to support the weight of the earth. Several others presented themselves, were tried, and found wanting. But last of all came the turtle, modestly tendering his broad shell as the basis of the earth now to be formed. The beasts then made a trial of his strength to bear by heaping themselves on his back, and finding by their united pressure they could not sink him below the surface, adjudged him the honor of supporting the world on his back.

Thus, a foundation being found, the next subject of thought was how to procure earth. Several of the most expert divers plunged to the bottom of the sea and came up dead; but the mink at last though he shared the same fate, brought up in his claws a small quantity of dirt. This was placed on the back of the turtle.

In the mean while the woman kept on falling, till at last she alighted on the turtle's back. The earth had already grown to the size of a man's foot where she stood, with one foot covering the other. By-and-by she had room for both feet, and was able to sit down. The earth continued to expand, and when its plain was covered with green grass, and streams ran, which poured into the ocean, she built her a house on the sea-shore. Not long after, she had a daughter, and she lived on what grew naturally, till the child was grown to be a woman. Several of the animals wanted to marry her, they being changed into the forms of young men; but the mother would not consent, until the turtle offered himself as a beau, and was accepted. After she had lain herself down to sleep, the turtle placed two arrows on her body, in the shape of a cross: one headed with flint, the other with the rough bark of a tree. By-and-by she had two sons, but died herself.

The grandmother was so angry at her death that she threw the children into the sea. Scarcely had she reached her wigwam when the children had overtaken her at the door. She then thought best to let them live; and dividing the body of her daughter in two parts, she threw them up toward the heavens, when one became the sun, the other the moon. Then day and night first began. The children soon grew up to be men, and expert with bow and arrows. The elder had the arrow of the turtle, which was pointed with flint; the younger had the arrow pointed with bark. The first was, by his temper and skill and success in hunting, a favorite of his grandmother. They lived in the midst of plenty, but would not allow the younger brother, whose arrow was insufficient to kill anything but birds, to share with their abundance.

As this young man was wandering one day along the shore, he saw a bird perched on a limb hanging over the water. He aimed to kill it, but his arrow, till this time always sure, went aside the mark, and sank into the sea.

He determined to recover it, and made a dive for the bottom. Here, to his surprise, he found himself in a small cottage. A fine-looking old man sitting there welcomed him with a smile, and thus spoke to him: "My son, I welcome you to the home of your father! To obtain this meeting I directed all the circumstances which have combined to bring you hither. Here is your arrow, and an ear of corn. I have watched the unkindness of your brother, and now command you to take his life. When you return home, gather all the flints you can find, and hang up all the deer's horns. These are the only things which will make an impression on his body, which is made of flint."

Having received these instructions, the young Indian took his leave, and, in a quarrel with his brother, drove him to distant regions, far beyond the savannas, in the southwest, where he killed him, and left his huge flint form in the earth. (Hence the Rocky Mountains.) The great enemy to the race of the turtle being thus destroyed, they sprang from the ground in human form, and multiplied in peace.

The grandmother, roused to furious resentment at the loss of her favorite son, resolved to be revenged.

For many days she caused the rain to descend from the clouds in torrents, until the whole surface of the earth, and even the highest mountains, were covered. The inhabitants escaped by fleeing to their canoes. She then covered the earth with snow; but they betook themselves to their snow-shoes. She then gave up the hope of destroying them all at once, and has ever since employed herself in inflicting smaller evils on the world, while her younger son displays his good and benevolent feelings by showering blessings on his race.

[For this tradition I am indebted to N. P. Willis, Esq., whose visits to my house in New York were among the events of early days never to be forgotten.]


The Indian tribes on the plains, altogether, with those of New Mexico, Texas, California, and Arizona, do not exceed 300,000, including Indians, squaws, and papooses. They are as follows:

Dakota.—Sioux (pronounced Soos), of these there are several bands, under chiefs for each band, called Yanktons, Poncas, Lower Brules, Lower Yanctonais, Two Kettle Sioux, Blackfeet, Minneconjons, Uncpapas, Ogallahs, Upper Yanctonais, Sansarc, Wahpeton Sioux, Arickarees, Gros Ventres, Mandans, Assinaboins, Sipetons, Santee.

This nation is the most numerous and warlike, numbering 31,534. They range from Kansas, on the Republican River, to Winnepeg, on the north. A treaty was made with these in 1868, between General Sherman, General Harney (an old Indian fighter), General Augur, General Sanborn, General Terry, Colonel Tappan, and Mr. Taylor, Commissioner, all of the Peace Commission, on the part of the government, at Fort Laramie, now Wyoming Territory, with Ma-za-pon-kaska, Tah-shun-ka-co-qui-pah, Heh-non-go-chat, Mah-to-non-pah, Little Chief, Makh-pi-ah-hi-tah, Co-cam-i-ya-ya, Can-te-pe-ta, Ma-wa-tan-ni-hav-ska, He-na-pin-na-ni-ca, Wah-pa-shaw, and other chiefs and headmen of different tribes of Sioux. This treaty, among other things, contained an agreement that, "If bad men among the whites should commit any wrong on the property or persons of Indians, the United States would punish them and pay for all losses.

"If bad men among the Indians shall do wrong to white men, black, or Indian, the Indians making the treaty shall deliver up the wrong-doer to the government, to be tried and punished; also agreeing about certain lands for reservations, farms, annuities of goods, etc., to be paid them instead of money, thus:

"For each male person over fourteen years of age, a suit of good substantial woolen clothing, etc.

"Each female over twelve, a flannel skirt, or goods to make it, a pair of woolen hose, twelve yards calico, and twelve yards cotton domestics, etc.

"Ten dollars in money for those who roam and hunt, twenty for those who engage in farming. For such as farm, a good American cow and one pair broken oxen.

"1. The Indians agreed to withdraw all opposition to railroads built on the plains.

"2. They will not attack any persons at home, or traveling, nor molest or disturb any wagon trains, coaches, mules, or cattle belonging to the people of the United States, or to persons friendly therewith.

"3. They will never capture or carry off from the settlements white women or children.

"4. They will never kill or scalp white men, nor attempt to do them harm. The government agrees to furnish to the Indians a physician, teachers, carpenter, miller, engineer, farmer, and blacksmiths, and ten of the best farmers shall receive five hundred dollars a year who will grow the best crops."

The names of the chiefs who signed the treaty are as follows:

Brule Sioux.

Ma-za-pon-kaska, his x mark, Iron Shell. Wah-pat-thah, Red Leaf. Hah-tah-pah, Black Horn. Zin-tak-gah-lat-skah, Spotted Tail. Zin-tah-skah, White Tail. Me-wah-tak-ne-ho-skah, Tall Mandas. He-cha-chat-kah, Bad Left Hand. No-mah-no-pah, Two and Two.

Spotted Tail, who was at Fort D. A. Russell in 1868, just after the treaty, wore a coon-skin cap,—hence called Spotted Tail. Each chief gets his peculiar name from some event in his life, or some peculiarity of person, as for instance,—

Tah-shun-ka-co-qui-pah, Man-afraid-of-his-horses. His horse stampeded one day, when his tribe was fighting some other one, and ran into the ranks of the enemy. When his owner got back again, he left his horse behind and went in (as we say), on foot, to fight again. It is not a term of reproach, as he was not a coward, but did not want to lose his horse,—hence called "Man-afraid-of-his-horses."


Tah-shun-ka-co-qui-pah, his x mark, Man-afraid-of-his-horses. Sha-ton-skah, his x mark, White Hawk. Sha-ton-sapah, his x mark, Black Hawk. E-ga-mon-ton-ka-sapah, his x mark, Black Tiger. Oh-wah-she-cha, his x mark, Bad Wound. Pah-gee, his x mark, Grass. Wah-non-reh-che-geh, his x mark, Ghost Heart. Con-reeh, his x mark, Crow. Oh-he-te-kah, his x mark, The Brave. Tah-ton-kah-he-yo-ta-kah, his x mark, Sitting Bull. Shon-ka-oh-wah-mon-ye, his x mark, Whirlwind Dog. Ha-hah-kah-tah-miech, his x mark, Poor Elk. Wam-bu-lee-wah-kon, his x mark, Medicine Eagle. Chon-gah-ma-he-to-hans-ka, his x mark, High Wolf. Wah-se-chun-ta-shun-kah, his x mark, American Horse. Mah-hah-mah-ha-mak-near, his x mark, Man that walks under the ground. Mah-to-tow-pah, his x mark, Four Bears. Ma-to-wee-sha-kta, his x mark, One that kills the bear. Oh-tah-kee-toka-wee-chakta, his x mark, One that kills in a hard place. Tah-tonka-skah, his x mark, White Bull. Con-ra-washta, his x mark, Pretty Coon. Ha-cah-cah-she-chah, his x mark, Bad Elk. Wa-ha-ka-zah-ish-tah, his x mark, Eye Lance. Ma-to-ha-ke-tah, his x mark, Bear that looks behind. Bella-tonka-tonka, his x mark, Big Partisan. Mah-to-ho-honka, his x mark, Swift Bear. To-wis-ne, his x mark, Cold Place. Ish-tah-skah, his x mark, White Eyes. Ma-ta-loo-zah, his x mark, Fast Bear. As-hah-kah-nah-zhe, his x mark, Standing Elk. Can-te-te-ki-ya, his x mark, The Brave Heart. Shunka-shaton, his x mark, Day Hawk. Tatanka-wakon, his x mark, Sacred Bull. Mapia-shaton, his x mark, Hawk Cloud. Ma-sha-a-ow, his x mark, Stands and Comes. Shon-ka-ton-ka, his x mark, Big Dog. Tah-ton-kak-ta-miech, The Poor Bull. Oh-huns-ee-ga-non-sken, Mad Shade. Thah-ton-oh-na-an-minne-ne-oh-minne, Whirling Hand. Mah-to-chun-ka-oh, Bear's Back. Che-ton-wee-koh, Fool Hawk. Wah-ho-ke-zah-ah-hah, One that has the Lance. Shon-gah-manni-toh-tan-kak-seh, Big Wolf Foot. Eh-ton-kah, Big Mouth.

(This was the first Indian I saw at North Platte, when we came there in 1867. Looking out of the car window, I called my wife's attention to a big Indian, and said, "Did you ever see such a big mouth before?" Sure enough, it was the chief, and he was killed in a drunken row in Dakota recently, having been shot by Spotted Tail.)

Ma-pa-che-tah, Bad Hand. Wah-ke-gun-shah, Red Thunder. Wak-sah, One that cuts off. Cham-nom-qui-yah, One that presents the Pipe. Wah-ke-ke-yan-puh-tah, Fire Thunder. Mah-to-nenk-pah-ze, Bear with Yellow Ears. Con-reh-teh-kah, The Little Crow. He-hup-pah-toh, The Blue War Club. Shon-kee-toh, The Blue Horse. Wam-balla-oh-conguo, Quick Eagle. Ta-tonka-juppah, Black Bull. Mo-to-ha-she-na, The Bear Hide.


Mah-to-non-pah, his x mark, Two Bears. Mah-to-hna-skin-ya, his x mark, Mad Bear. He-o-pu-za, his x mark, Lousy. Ah-ke-che-tah-che-ca-dan, his x mark, Little Soldier. Mah-to-e-tan-chan, his x mark, Chief Bear. Cu-wi-h-win, his x mark, Rotten Stomach. Skun-ka-we-tko, his x mark, Fool Dog. Ish-ta-sap-pah, his x mark, Black Eye. Ih-tan-chan, his x mark, the Chief. I-a-wi-ca-ka, his x mark, The One who tells the Truth. Ah-ke-che-tah, his x mark, The Soldier. Ta-shi-na-gi, his x mark, Yellow Robe. Nah-pe-ton-ka, his x mark, Big Hand. Chan-tee-we-kto, his x mark, Fool Heart. Hog-gan-sah-pa, his x mark, Black Catfish. Mah-to-wah-kan, his x mark, Medicine Bear. Shun-ka-kan-sha, his x mark, Red Horse. Wan-rode, his x mark, The Eagle. Can-hpi-sa-pa, his x mark, Black Tomahawk. War-he-le-re, his x mark, Yellow Eagle. Cha-ton-che-ca, his x mark, Small Hawk, or Long Fare. Shu-ger-mon-e-too-ha-ska, his x mark, Tall Wolf. Ma-to-u-tah-kah, his x mark, Sitting Bear. Hi-ha-cah-ge-na-skene, his x mark, Mad Elk.


Little Chief, his x mark. Tall Bear, his x mark. Top Man, his x mark. Neva, his x mark. The Wounded Bear, his x mark. Whirlwind, his x mark. The Fox, his x mark. The Dog Big Mouth, his x mark. Spotted Wolf, his x mark.


Heh-non-ge-chat, One Horn. Oh-pon-ah-tah-e-manne, The Elk that bellows Walking. Heb-ho-lah-reh-cha-skah, Young White Bull. Wah-cha-chum-kah-coh-kee-pah, One that is afraid of Shield. He-hon-ne-shakta, The Old Owl. Moe-pe-a-toh, Blue Cloud. Oh-pong-ge-le-skah, Spotted Elk. Tah-tonk-ka-hon-ke-schne, Slow Bull. Shunk-a-nee-skah-skah-a-tah-pe, The Dog Chief. Mah-to-tab-tonk-kah, Bull Bear. Wom-beh-le-ton-kah, The Big Eagle. Ma-to-eh-schne-lah, his x mark, the Lone Bear. Mah-toh-ke-su-yah, his x mark, The One who remembers the Bear. Ma-toh-oh-he-to-keh, his x mark, the Brave Bear. Eh-che-ma-heh, his x mark, The Runner. Ti-ki-ya, his x mark, The Hard. He-ma-za, his x mark, Iron Horn. Sorrel Horse. Black Coal. Big Wolf. Knock-Knee. Black Crow. The Lone Old Man. Paul. Black Bull. Big Track. Black White. Yellow Hair. Little Shield. Black Bear. Wolf Moccasin. Big Robe. Wolf Chief. Friday. The Foot. And lastly, "Stinking Saddle-Cloth!"

Uncpapa Sioux.

Co-kam-i-ya-ya, his x mark, The Man that goes in the Middle. Ma-to-ca-wa-weksa, his x mark, Bear Rib. Ta-to-ka-in-yan-ke, his x mark, Running Antelope. Kan-gi-wa-ki-ta, his x mark, Looking Crow. A-ki-ci-ta-han-ska, his x mark, Long Soldier. Wa-ku-te-ma-ni, his x mark, The One who shoots Walking. Un-kea-ki-ka, his x mark, The Magpie. Kan-gi-o-ta, his x mark, Plenty Crow. He-ma-za, his x mark, Iron Horn. Shun-ka-i-na-pin, his x mark, Wolf Necklace. I-we-hi-yu, his x mark, The Man who Bleeds from the Mouth. He-ha-ka-pa, his x mark, Elk Head. I-zu-za, his x mark, Grind Stone. Shun-ka-wi-tko, his x mark, Fool Dog. Ma-kpi-ya-po, his x mark, Blue Cloud. Wa-mln-pi-lu-ta, his x mark, Red Eagle. Ma-to-can-te, his x mark, Bear's Heart. A-ki-ci-ta-i-tau-can, his x mark, Chief Soldier.

Blackfeet Sioux.

Can-te-pe-ta, his x mark, Fire Heart. Wan-mdi-kte, his x mark, The One who kills Eagle. Sho-ta, his x mark, Smoke. Wan-mdi-ma-ni, his x mark, Walking Eagle. Wa-shi-cun-ya-ta-pi, his x mark, Chief White Man. Kan-gi-i-yo-tan-ke, his x mark, Sitting Crow. Pe-ji, his x mark, The Grass. Kda-ma-ni, his x mark, The One that rattles as he Walks. Wah-han-ka-sa-pa, his x mark, Black Shield. Can-te-non-pa, his x mark, Two Hearts.

Ogallalla Sioux.

To-ka-in-yan-ka, his x mark, The One who goes ahead Running. Ta-tan-ka-wa-kin-yan, his x mark, Thunder Bull. Sin-to-min-sa-pa, his x mark, All over Black. Can-i-ca, his x mark, The One who took the Stick. Pa-tan-ka, his x mark, Big Head.

Two-Kettle Band.

Ma-wa-tan-ni-han-ska, his x mark, Long Mandan. Can-kpe-du-ta, his x mark, Red War Club. Can-ka-ga, his x mark, The Log.

Sansareh Sioux.

He-na-pin-wa-ni-ca, his x mark, The One that has neither Horn. Wa-inlu-pi-lu-ta, his x mark, Red Plume. Ci-tan-gi, his x mark, Yellow Hawk. He-na-pin-wa-ni-ca, his x mark, No Horn.

Santee Sioux.

Wa-pah-shaw, his x mark, Red Ensign. Wah-koo-tay, his x mark, Shooter. Hoo-sha-sha, his x mark, Red Legs. O-wan-cha-du-ta, his x mark, Scarlet all over. Wau-mace-tan-ka, his x mark, Big Eagle. Cho-tan-ka-e-na-pe, his x mark, Flute-player. Ta-shun-ke-mo-za, his x mark, His Iron Dog.

In Washington Territory are five bands, such as the Spokans, Pend d'Oreilles, etc., in all 9,285

California.—Seven bands, such as Wylackies, etc. 25,225

Arizona.—Apaches, Yumas, Mohaves, etc. 31,570

Oregon.—Walla-Wallas, Cayuses, etc. 10,942

Utah.—Utahs and Utes 25,250

Nevada.—Pi-utes, Shoshones, Bannacks, Washoes, etc. 8,200

New Mexico.—Navajoes, Pueblos, Jicarilla Apaches, etc. (with 2000 captives held in peonage,—i.e. slavery) 20,036

Colorado.—U-in-tak, Utes 5,000

Dakota, including Wyoming, set off from Dakota: Yancton Sioux 2,500 Poncas 979 Lower Brules 1,600 Lower Yanctonais 2,250 Two-Kettle Sioux 750 Blackfeet 1,200 Minneconjons 3,060 Uncpapas 3,000 Ogallallas 3,000 Upper Yanctonais 2,400 Sansarc 720 Wahpeton Sioux 1,637 Arickarees 1,500 Gros Ventres 400 Mandans 400 Assinaboins 2,640 Sissetons and other Sioux 3,500 ——— 31,534

Montana.—Piegans, Blackfeet, Flatheads, Gros Ventres, Kootenays, Crows, etc. 19,560

Nebraska and Kansas.—Winnebagoes, Omahas, Pawnees, Sacs and Foxes of Missouri, Iowas, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Sautee Sioux 17,995

Central Agency, in Kansas and Indian Territory.—Pottawatamies, Shawnees, Delaware, Osages, Senecas, Kaws, Kickapoos, Ottawas, Comanches, Arapahoes, Cheyennes, and Apaches 17,422

Southern Agency, Cherokee Country.—Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles, Wichitas, Keechies, Wolves, Tuscaroras, Caddoes, Shawnees, Delawares, etc. 48,145

Green Bay Agency.—Oneidas, Menominees, and Munsees 3,036

Wisconsin.—Chippeways of Mississippi 6,179

Lake Superior.—Chippewas, etc., wandering 6,114

Mackinac.—Pottawatamies, etc. 8,099

New York State.—Cattaraugas, Cayugas, Onondagas, with Senecas, Allegany, Tonawandas, Tuscaroras, Oneidas, Onondagas 4,136 ———- Total 298,528

Friday was found on the Plains many years ago, while a lad, by Father de Smet, a Jesuit missionary, and taken to St. Louis, where he was educated. He returned again to his tribe, and leads a roving life. In November, 1869, he came to our post with Medicine-Man, Little Wolf, Sorrel Horse, and Cut-Foot, having been brought down by General Augur, Commander of the Department of the Platte, to go up the Union Pacific Railroad, as far as Wind River Valley, to meet old Waskakie, head chief of the Shoshones, and to make a treaty with his tribe, fearing the southern Sioux and Cheyennes would make war upon Friday's band, which numbered only fifteen hundred. Not finding Waskakie on his reservation, they waited several weeks for his return from the mountains, where he was gone on a hunt for his winter's supply of buffalo and deer meat. After waiting as long as they could, the Arapahoes left some of their arrows for Waskakie, that he might know they had been there, and also brought back some of the Shoshones' arrows, to convince the Arapahoe Indians that they had fulfilled their mission.

At this time, Friday had a beautiful set of arrows, bow and quiver, which I desired to purchase and carry east, to show Sunday-school children the weapons of Indian warfare, and how they kill their game, Friday would not sell his "outfit," as it is called, for money, but was willing to "trade" for a revolver, with which he said he could hunt buffalo. At first, the Indian agent said it was unlawful to sell firearms and ammunition to the Indians. This I told Friday. He then said, "Well, let's trade on the sly." This I declined to do. But after a few days, I got permission, and took Friday into Cheyenne, to select the pistol. After picking out a good one, he then begged for bullet-mould, lead, powder, and caps. A trade is never complete with an Indian as long as he sees anything he can get added to the bargain.

General Duncan, of the 5th Cavalry, tells me of one of his trades with a red man at Fort Laramie. His little boy took a fancy to an Indian pony one day, and the general offered to exchange a nice mule for the pony. This was soon done and settled, as the general supposed. But next day the Indian came back and demanded some tobacco, sugar, flour, etc. "What for?" demanded the general. The Indian gave him to understand that he did trade horses, but as the mule had little or no tail, and the pony a long one, "he wanted the sugar, tobacco, and flour to make up for the tail!" After Friday and his fellow-chiefs had left us, some one wrote this to a Chicago paper, as follows:


The Indians sometimes confer "brevets" on distinguished individuals as marks of favor, though they do not, or have not as yet, scattered them in like profusion, as in the army, so that the whole thing has become a farce.

Mr. Catlin, or Mr. Schoolcraft (Indian writers and painters), was made a regular chief of the Chippewas in the time of Red Jacket, a big chief at Tonawanda. In the month of November, 1869, five Arapahoe chiefs came to Fort Russell,—"Friday," "Little Wolf," "Cut-Foot," "Sorrel Horse," and "Head Medicine-Man." On account of many little kindnesses to them while remaining, Friday invited the writer to go up with the party to their home among the Black Hills, where he could be initiated into the forms of a civil chief. Friday said, "These fellows"—meaning his companions—"think a big heap of you, and want you to go home with them." As the ceremony includes a dog feast, it was postponed for awhile. They called me "The White Medicine-Man,"—and the feast has been partaken of at different times by some officers on the plains, who say dog's meat tastes much like mutton. A feast was made, it is said, at Fort Laramie for the Peace Commission, which met there in 1868. There were Generals Sherman, Harney, Augur, Terry, Sanborn, and Col. Tappan present. A big chief had given the entertainment of dog, in soup, roast, etc. Having only one big tin dish to serve the soup in, and it being rather dirty, the old squaw seized a pup to wipe it out with. But the old chief felt mortified at it, and so he tore off a piece of his shirt and gave the pan an extra wipe!


Red Cloud, a head chief, lives in what is called the Powder River country, above Fort Fetterman. But the Sioux nation roam for hundreds of miles all over the plains, and are sure to turn up just when and where they are least expected.

These Sioux, the most numerous of all the Indian tribes, have a festive performance, which is regarded by all civilized people with horror and abhorrence, and one which few can look upon with nerve enough to see the end.

It is a sort of religious dance, in which the young braves test their fortitude and stoicism in resisting pain and torture without wincing. A young officer, who witnessed the "Sun Dance" last year, at the Cheyenne agency, a few miles above Fort Sully, on the Missouri River, gives the following account:

"The Indians manifested considerable opposition to having any whites present. When several officers belonging to the 17th United States Infantry came up, Red Leaf—a chief of Red Cloud's band—leaped over a breastwork of logs and ordered the troops away. After parleying with the chief some time, the soldiers fell back and took a position which was not objectionable to the Indians, but from which they could obtain only a partial view of the performances. There was a large lodge, built in shape of an amphitheatre, with a hole in the centre. The sides and roof were covered with willows, forming a tolerable screen, but not so dense as to obstruct entirely the view. The performances began with low chants and incantations. Five young men were brought in and partially stripped, their mothers being present and assisting in the ceremony.

"Then the 'Medicine-man' began his part by cutting slits in the flesh of the young men and taking up the muscles with pincers. The old squaws assisted in lacerating the flesh of the boys with sharp knives. The squaws would at the same time keep up a howling, accompanied with a backward-and-forward movement. When the muscles were lifted out by pincers on the breast, one end of a kind of lariat (used for fastening horses while grazing), or buffalo thong, was tied to the bleeding flesh, while the other end was fastened to the top of the pole in the middle of the lodge. The first young man, when thus prepared, commenced dancing around the circle in a most frantic manner, pulling with all his might, so as to stretch out the rope, and by his jerking movements loosening himself by tearing out the flesh. The young man's dance was accompanied by a chant by those who were standing around, assisted by the thumping of a hideous drum, to keep the time. The young brave who was undergoing this self-torture finally succeeded in tearing himself loose, and the rope relaxed from its sudden tightness and fell back toward the centre pole with a piece of the flesh to which it was tied. The victim, who, up to this point, did not move a muscle of his face, fell down on the ground, exhausted from the pain, which human weakness could not further conceal. A squaw then rushed in and bore the young brave away. He had undergone the terrible ordeal, and amid the congratulations of the old men, would be complimented as a warrior of undoubted pluck and acknowledged prowess.

"Another of the young men, named Charles, was cut in two places under the shoulder blade; the flesh was raised with pincers, and thongs tied around the flesh and muscles thus raised. The thongs reached down below the knees and were tied to buffalo skulls. With these heavy weights dangling at the ends of the thongs, the young man was required to dance around the circle, to the sound of the drum and chants of the bystanders, until the skulls became detached by tearing out the flesh. They continued the performance until one of the skulls broke loose, but the other remained. The mother of the young man then rushed into the ring, leading a pony, and tied one end of the lariat which was around the pony's neck to the skull, which was still fastened to the young Indian. The latter then followed the pony round the ring, until nearly exhausted he fell on his face, and the skull was thereby torn out of the flesh. The sufferer's voice grew husky from joining in the chant; he groveled on the ground in violent contortions for a few minutes, and was then removed to the outside of the lodge.

"A third man had the lariat of the pony hitched to the raised muscles of his back, and was dragged in this way several times round the ring; but the force not being sufficient to tear loose from the flesh, the pony was backed up, and a slack being thus taken on the lariat, the pony was urged swiftly forward, and the sudden jerk tore the lariat out of the flesh."

Our informant having seen enough of these horrid performances to satisfy his curiosity, left with his companions, "without waiting to see the dance through." The dance, with its bloody orgies, lasted three whole days. This Sun Dance is not as common as formerly, and as the Indians settle on reservations, it is wholly done away with. The origin of the custom is uncertain.


My experience on the plains dates from September, 1867. The government ordered me to report to Fort Sedgwick, a post on the south side of the Platte River, three hundred and seventy-seven miles west of Omaha. This post lies four miles south of Julesburg, then the end of the Union Pacific Railroad. There were five thousand people there, and it was said to be the most wicked city in the world. Thieves and escaped convicts came here to gamble and lead bad lives, as they had done in Eastern cities, until driven away for fear of punishment; and often three or four would be shot down at night in drunken rows with their companions in vice and crime.

A mammoth tent was erected for a dance-house and gambling purposes. It was called "The King of the Hills," and was filled up with handsome mirrors, pianos, and furniture, and was the scene of all kinds of wickedness. It rented for six hundred dollars a day!

Here hundreds of men, engaged as freighters, teamsters, and "bull-whackers,"—as they were called, and who were in the employ of Wells, Fargo & Co. in freighting goods in large wagons to Idaho, Montana, Salt Lake, and California,—would congregate at night and gamble and carouse, spending all their three months' earnings, only to go back, earn more, and spend it again in this foolish and wicked manner.

One day I came over to the city, and while driving from the express office, heard pistol-shots, and soon saw the men, women, and children running in every direction. I got out of the way, fearing danger, and listened, till I had heard at least twenty shots, and then all was still. I went round to ascertain the cause, and soon found myself among a crowd of excited persons. I learned that a bad young man had robbed a poor negro boy of one hundred and thirty dollars he had earned at the railroad station, and had laid it by to go to his home in Baltimore. The fellow denied it, and said "he'd shoot any one who tried to arrest him." A police officer followed him into a saloon, when the thief at once turned and fired at the officer, wounding him in his right elbow, so he could not reach his pistols in his belt. But some friend handed him one, and with it he knocked the villain down, behind a stove. He then begged for his life, saying he would give up the money and a thousand dollars for his life. But it was too late. The officer shot him in the forehead, and when I entered, he was weltering in a pool of blood. All said, "Served him right!" This is a law of Western life. If two men get into a dispute, and one puts his hand to his pocket, as if to draw a weapon, the other is sure to shoot his enemy, as the law is, "a life for a life."

JULESBURG took its name from a small place just below Sedgwick, where a Frenchman named Jules built a ranch and raised cattle a long time before the railroad was built. Here passengers to Denver would get their meals, and the horses were changed on the stage route to Denver and to Salt Lake. Some Indians it is said killed the old man Jules, and his ranch having been taken possession of by the Indians, was shelled by cannon from Fort Sedgwick, and burned down. Mr. Greeley must remember this station, which he and Mr. Colfax and Gov. Bross, of Illinois, passed on their overland trip to California some ten years ago, and where they dined upon the universal fare,—corn-bread, coffee, and bacon.

The city of Julesburg, as it was called in 1867, was visited by a party of editors from Chicago, Cleveland, etc. They came in one of Pullman's palace cars to see the contractor of the Union Pacific Railroad lay the track, as many as four miles each day. Being anxious to write home to their papers all the wonderful things they saw and heard, they came across a strange, wild-looking man named "Sam Stanton," dressed in a buckskin suit, with a broad-brimmed hat. Sam was a returned California miner, of long experience on the plains. Him they invited to come into the beautiful car, to tell them some stories of pioneer life; and, in order to incite him, or excite his imagination to do so, they invited him to drink some champagne wine. As it happened, Sam had never before tasted any stimulants but common whisky, and the champagne getting into his head, made him a little tipsy.

"You want me to show you how we put out the lights in the ranches, I suppose?"

"Yes," they said; "tell us anything of Western life."

"Well, here goes," he said, and at once drew his revolver and began popping away at the beautiful globe lamps which adorned the car! Of course all the party stampeded for the door. They had had enough of Sam's stories.

It is a rule for the last one that gets into bed to put out the light; but a lazy fellow will crawl into bed and, taking aim, extinguish the light by firing off his pistol at the flame!

A "Ranch" is simply a one-story log-house, with two or three rooms, and a thatched roof of straw. Sometimes they are made of a-do-be,—a kind of dried clay-brick, such as are found in Mexico and some parts of California and Texas.


When the railroad had been built as far as Plum Creek, two hundred and thirty miles west of Omaha, in 1866, the track-layers saw a lot of Indians coming toward them from over the bluffs; and the poor Irishmen, dreading nothing so much as the sight of a red-skin, at once took to their heels to hide from the foe. Along with these men were needed covered wagons, with which they carried tools, etc., and in which at night they slept. In one of them a boy was sitting, about twelve or fourteen years of age. He saw nothing of the stampede of workmen, but soon was aroused by the yell of the Indians. He seized a Spencer rifle lying close by him, and, putting the muzzle through a slit of the canvas cover, took good aim at the foremost Indian, and when within a few yards, he shot off his rifle and felled him to the ground. Another rode up, and met the same fate. Several then rushed up and dragged off the bodies of the two Indians slain, and all at once made a quick retreat!

The Indians seeing several wagons there, supposed each one contained armed soldiers or men; and they were quick to see that the white man's skill was more than their bows and arrows. And yet there was only that brave little fellow, who saved the whole "outfit," and whose name ought to be recorded as a true hero.


Boys would be surprised to see how much an Indian can eat at a single meal. A "big chief" can eat a whole goose or turkey at one sitting. The Indians eat right along, till they have gorged themselves and can eat no more. Perhaps it is because they seldom get what is called "a square meal," and so when plenty offers they make the most of it. One day, four chiefs of the Ar-ap-a-hoe tribe came to Fort Russell, to see about getting rations for three hundred of their tribe. They soon found their way to the commanding officer, at headquarters. He gave each one a cigar, which they puffed away at for some time. At last one of them made a motion to his mouth, signifying they were "hungry." Nearly all the tribes of wild Indians convey their ideas more by signs than by words. But the general would not take the hint. He said if he fed them once, they would come every day. A lady, however, took pity on them, and said to me, "Let us make contributions from each family, and give the poor fellows something to eat." Some brought meat, some biscuit and bread, and I made them some coffee, after inviting them to come into my yard. The children, boys and girls, assembled to see the four chiefs sitting around the table in the yard devour the food we had prepared for them.

There was no milk in the coffee, but I knew Indians were not used to it, and all things being ready, the coffee hot and the bacon smoking and smelling savory, I expected they would fall to and eat like good fellows. But I was surprised that one of them looked at the pail of coffee and gave a grunt of disapprobation. I supposed from what I had heard that an Indian would drink coffee, swallowing the grounds and all. But on a close look, I discovered about a dozen flies were floating on top. I took a spoon and removed them, and tasting it myself, passed it round to each one in a bowl; and this time they gave another grunt,—but it was one of approbation. They ate and ate till we thought they'd split, and then asked permission to carry off in a bag what they could not stow away in their capacious stomachs!

An Indian seldom shows any signs of joy or of sorrow in any emotion whatever. But when they meet a white friend, or are surprised at anything, they exclaim, "How! how!" and shake hands all round.

An Indian trader told me at North Platte some anecdotes of their characteristics. They are all very fond of sugar, and very fond of whisky. They will often sell a buffalo robe for a bowl of sugar, and at any time would give a pony for a gallon of rye or rum.

He told me that he once saw an Indian choke a squaw to get a lump of sugar out of her mouth which he coveted! And a storekeeper at Julesburg (Mr. Pease) said he sold a big pup to an Indian for a robe, and the Indian seized the dog, cut his throat, and, soon as dead, threw pup into a kettle to boil up for soup!


This is the cry of Western men. It is very easy to talk of "extermination." General Harney, an old Indian fighter, told General Sherman that a general war with the Indians would cost the government $50,000,000 a year, and stop for a long time the running of the Pacific Railroad. They fight only at an advantage,—when they outnumber the whites. They fight, scatter away, and reunite again; hide away in canons (canyons), gorges, and mountain fastnesses, where no soldier can find them. It would be a war of fifty years' duration.

General Sherman is reported to have said at a meeting of the Indian Peace Commissioners, at Fort Laramie, with several tribes, "Say to the head chief that President Grant loves the red men and will do all he can for them. But they must behave themselves, and if they don't, tell him I'll kill them!" The old chief began to mutter away something to himself and others.

"What does he say?" said the general.

"Why," said the interpreter, "he says, 'catch 'em first, then kill them!'"

Have they never been wronged by white men? Have you never heard of the Sand Creek massacre?

There had been some trouble between the Cheyennes and Arapahoes and some soldiers near Fort Lyon, in 1864, south of Denver, Colorado, where these Indians have a reservation. The origin of the trouble is uncertain. Major Anthony was sent out to fight them; but on his arrival he found them peaceable,—they had given up their prisoners and horses.

[Indians take their squaws and papooses with them when they go on hunting expeditions. The squaws prepare all the meat, dry all the game for winter food, and tan the buffalo- and deer-hides to sell. They live in tents or lodges, called "Tepees," made of tanned buffalo-skins, and usually hold about five persons, in which they cook and sleep. On the war-path, they leave their squaws and papooses in their villages. This was the case when Colonel Chivington (formerly a preacher) charged that they were hostile, as an apology for his wholesale slaughter.]

Five hundred Indians of all ages flocked, soon as attacked, to the head chief's camp,—"Black Kettle,"—and he raised the American flag, with a white truce beneath. This, you know, is respected in all civilized warfare. Then the slaughter began.

One who saw it said, "The troops (mainly volunteers) committed all manner of depredations on their victims,—scalped them, knocked out their brains. The white men used their knives, cutting squaws to pieces, clubbed little children, knocking out their brains and mutilating their bodies in every sense of the word." Thus imitating savage warfare by nominally Christian men.

Robert Bent testified thus:

"I saw a little girl about five years of age, who had been hid in the sand; two soldiers discovered her, drew their pistols and shot her, and then pulled her out of the sand by her arm," etc.

This occurred at the time government officials in Denver had sent for them,—had a "talk" with them,—advising them to go just where they were. Before he was killed, Black Kettle, one of the chiefs, thus addressed the governor at Denver:

"We have come with our eyes shut, following Major Wynkoop's handful of men, like coming through the fire. All we ask is, that we may have peace with the whites. We want to hold you by the hand. You are our father. We have been traveling through a cloud. The sky has been dark ever since the war began.

"These braves who are here with me, are willing to do all I say. We want to take good news home to our people, that they may sleep in peace.

"I have not come here with a little wolf-bark! But have come to talk plain with you. We must live near the buffalo or starve. When I go home, I will tell my people I have taken your hand, and all of the white chiefs in Denver, and then they will feel well, and so will all the tribes on the plains, when we have eaten and drank with them."

And yet one hundred and twenty friendly Indians were all slain, and the war that followed cost $40,000,000.

A council of Indians was held previous to the "Chivington massacre," which stamped the character of Black Kettle, the Cheyenne chief, as noble and brave. It seems that he had purchased from an Arapahoe band two girls named Laura Roper, aged eighteen, and Belle Ewbanks, aged six years, who were captured by the Indians, after attacking Roper's ranch, on the Little Blue River, in July, 1864. Two little boys were also captured at the same time. They were carried off to the Republican River, and Black Kettle bought them for five or six ponies, to give them to their parents. Certainly a generous act. He gave them up, and met the Commissioners in council, together with several Arapahoe chiefs of small bands, all of whom were confederate together to kill the Commissioners and bring on a general war.

Black Kettle knew it, and was determined to expose the plot and break it up. But the party of white officials, with Colonel E. W. Wynkoop, were in the dark about their evil intentions. The Indians called Colonel W. "The Tall Chief that don't lie."

"Black Kettle"—Mo-ke-ta-va-ta—Colonel Tappan says, "was the most remarkable man of the age for magnanimity, generosity, courage, and integrity. His hospitality to destitute emigrants and travelers on the plains for years, had no limit within the utmost extent of his means; giving liberally of his stores of provisions, clothing, and horses. His fame as an orator was widely known. He was great in council, and his word was law. Hundreds of whites are indebted to him for their lives.... He held Colonel Chivington's men at bay for seven hours, and carried to a place of safety three hundred of his women and children,—twenty of his braves and his own wife pierced with a dozen bullets.

"Previous to the conflict, after his two brothers had been shot down and cut to pieces before his eyes (while approaching the troops to notify them of the friendly character of the Indians), he aided three white men to escape from the village, one of them a soldier. They were his guests, whom he suspected of being spies, 'but did not know it,' and they are now living to the eternal fame and honor of the chieftain. From Sand Creek he fled to the Sioux camp, where it was determined to make war upon the whites in retaliation. He protested against interfering with women and children, and insisted upon fighting the men. He was overruled. Thereupon he resigned his office as chief, and assumed the garb of a brave. He soon after made peace for his tribe, which was faithfully kept until the burning of their village two years afterward. A war again ensued, in which he took no part, having promised never again to raise his hands against the whites. He was the first to meet the Peace Commissioners at Medicine Lodge Creek. His many services and virtues plead like angels trumpet-tongued against the deep damnation of his taking off."

Well, when the council assembled, among them were about a dozen chiefs of Arapahoes, Cheyennes, etc.; the worst of whom was Neva,—Long-nose,—an Arapahoe with one eye, and that a very ugly one. He was an outlaw, commanding twenty or thirty warriors. All were seated in a tent, and this fellow became boisterous, and wrangled, clamoring for a general war against all whites. It was a most exciting time. The chiefs stripped almost naked, and worked themselves up into a great excitement. At last, Black Kettle rose up, and pointing his finger at Neva, thus addressed him:

"You, you call yourself brave! I know what you mean. You come here to kill these white friends whom I have invited to come and have a talk with us. They don't know what you mean, but I do. You brave! (sneeringly.) I'll tell you what you are: your mouth is wide, so (measuring a foot with his hands),—your tongue so long (with his forefinger marking six inches on his arm),—and it hangs in the middle, going both ways. You're a coward, and dare not fight me." Here all the Indians gave a grunt of approbation. "Now, go," said he, "and begone! This council is broken up; I have said it; you hear my words; begone!" And they slunk off, completely cowed down.

Dog-soldiers were with them, well equipped for a big fight, and these white men beguiled, would all have been slain only for Mo-ke-ta-va-ta. A "dog-soldier" is a youth who has won, gradually, by successful use of the bow and arrow, a position to use the gun, and stand to the warriors just as our police force do to us, in guarding property, etc. These boys have a stick, called a "coo," on which they make a notch for everything they kill,—a kind of tally,—and when the coo is of a certain length, they are promoted to the rank of a "dog-soldier."


When several chiefs are allowed to visit Washington on errands for their tribes, to get more given them, they tell their people how numerous are the children of their Great Father they have met on their way, and what big guns they saw, etc. But those at home believe it is a lie, gotten up by the "white man's medicine," as they call it. All have heard of a young chief whose father gave a stick, on which he should cut a notch for every white man he met. But it soon got full, and he threw it away.

The most amusing experience is told of a lot of Indians having been induced to go into a photographer's and have their likenesses taken. The operator asked a chief to look at his squaw (sitting for her phiz) through the camera. It looks as though one was sitting, or rather standing on his head,—reversing one's position. The chief was very angry at seeing his squaw in such an uncomely attitude, and he walked over and beat her. She denied it, but he saw it. He looked again, and again she was turned upside down. He said it was the white man's medicine, and would have nothing to do with it!

An Indian boy was asked some questions by one of the Peace Commissioners about some trouble, and he said to a chief, "Does the boy tell the truth?"

"Yes," replied the chief, "you may believe what he says; he never saw a white man before!"


The army officers are generally friends of the Indians. They are certainly, as a rule, just to the well-behaved Indians, and ready to sacrifice their lives in punishing bad ones.

General W. S. Harney, a retired army officer, is among the most noted. His life will be a most interesting one, full of adventure with the red men. General Harney graduated at West Point when nineteen years old, was sent out to the frontier, where he has lived fifty years. Grown gray in their companionship, and cradled in experience with the Indian tribes, says "I never knew an Indian chief to break his word!"

Major-General George H. Thomas, who commanded at Camp Cooper, Texas, some ten years ago, made a forced march of a hundred miles, with one hundred and twenty cavalry, to protect a village of Comanches from Baylor and three thousand rangers that were marching to destroy them. General Thomas was successful. He then marched in rear of the Indians hundreds of miles to shield them from the Texans. This gallant and chivalric officer died with a reputation dear to our country.

Major-General John Sedgwick, who fell during the war of the rebellion, rendered similar services on the plains, in defense of the Arapahoes, at about the same time; and Colonel Edward W. Wynkoop, five years later, in behalf of the Cheyennes.

Other officers might be mentioned for similar services, among them Generals Z. Taylor, W. S. Harney, and Alfred H. Terry. The last mentioned, two years ago, with a strong head, heart, and hand, squelched a conspiracy in Montana to exterminate the Crow Indians. Again, the next summer, flying across the plains, and up the Missouri river as fast as steam could carry him, to rescue a Sioux village from the border settlers. This splendid officer was removed from the command of the Department of Dakota, to make room for Hancock.

Captain Silas S. Soule, in Colorado, a few years ago, and Lieutenant Philip Sheridan, in Oregon, ten years since, might also be referred to in this connection, as drawing their swords in defense of the Indians and the right.


The question is, How can the problem be solved, so as to best protect and secure the rights of the Indians, and at the same time promote the welfare of both races?

Within the memory of the writer, the tomahawk once reflected the light of burning cabins along the Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri Rivers, and the scalping-knives dripped with the blood of our border settlers, as we have driven the Indians back, back, to the setting sun!

But behold the change to-day, where the church has missions, and the red men are treated like immortal beings, with souls to be saved.

Mr. Wm. Welsh says of what he saw in Nebraska: "The blanket and bow discarded; the spear is broken, and the hatchet and war-club lie buried. The skin-lodge (tepee) has given place to the cottage and the mansion. Among the Santee Sioux, on Niobrara River, in Nebraska, the Episcopal Church has a mission, where one can see the murderous weapons and the conjuror's charms, by aid of which the medicine-man wrought his fiendish arts.

"That is the pipe-stem,—never smoked except on the war-path,—always blackened, being associated with deeds of darkness.

"These," he says, "are laid at the feet of our Christian missionaries, such as Bishops Whipple and Clarkson, and Rev. Mr. Hinman; where school-houses abound, and the feet of many thousand little children, thirsting after knowledge, are seen entering those vestibules of science; while churches, consecrated to the Christian's God, reflect for miles the sun's rays, tokens of a brighter light to their darkened heathen souls!

"Dear children, thanks to our holy religion, a few faithful men, taking their lives in their hands, have gone forth at the church's call,—bearing precious seed,—struggled and toiled, endured severe privations, afflictions, and trials, and saved in tears the germs of light, truth, and hope, which to-day have ripened into a glorious harvest of intelligence and Christian civilization! Christ said, 'It must needs be that offenses come, but woe unto that man by whom the offense cometh.'"

Now, if the wrongs accumulated, done to the poor, ignorant pagan Indians for years and years since the Mayflower landed her pilgrims on these shores, are to be redressed in this world (for there is no repentance for nations after), and if a God of justice so require that we atone to them, or suffer greater torments from their children, who shall say it is not a righteous retribution?

If we find them fierce, hostile, and revengeful, if they are cruel, and sometimes perpetrate atrocities that sicken the soul, and almost paralyze us with horror,—burning and pillaging,—let us remember that two hundred and fifty years of injustice, oppression, and wrong, heaped upon them by our race, with cold, calculating, and relentless perseverance, have filled them with the passion of revenge and made them desperate. If you and I, boys, were Indians, we would do just as Indians do. Their tender mercies are cruel, but there is a reason why it is so.

The former Indian agents, on a salary of eighteen hundred dollars a year, got very rich in a short time. How could they do so but by swindling the poor Indians, who have no idea of the relative value of money, or the cost of goods?

Not long since a tribe just above us was paid off their annuities in shoddy blankets; they were bought back again with whisky, and another tribe was paid with the same blankets; and one agent took out several thousand "elastics" (girls know what I mean) to pay the Indians (among other things), and yet no wild Indian ever wore a stocking!

Again, as the Indian is crowded back beyond the tide of emigration, and hanging like the froth of the billows upon the very edge is generally a host of law-defying whites, who introduce among the Indians every form of demoralization and disease with which depraved humanity in its most degraded form is afflicted. These the Indian see more of than anybody else (except the military, whom they look upon mostly as protectors), as good people come along, the Indian must push on, still farther toward the setting sun!


Little Raven, an Arapahoe chief, laughed heartily when we told him something about heaven and hell; remarking, "All good men—white and red men—would go to heaven; all bad men, white or red, would go to hell." Inquiring the cause of his merriment when he had recovered his breath, he said, "I was much pleased with what you say of those two places, and the kind of people that will go to each when they come to die. It is a good notion,—heap good,—for if all the whites are like the ones I know, when Indian gets to heaven but few whites will trouble him there; pretty much all go to t'other place!"


It is true, as General Harney remarked, "Better to board and lodge them at the Fifth Avenue Hotel than to fight them, as a matter of economy." Besides depleting the Indian appropriation fund, voted annually by Congress, of millions of dollars, but which was used to carry on elections, and the Indian got what was left; which may be compared to cheese-parings and cheese, or skim-milk and cream. The Indian gets the parings and the skim-milk!

The Quaker agents, as they are called, are doing a good work, because they see that honest dealings are had with the annuities paid them. If the President had done little else, this feature of reform will redound to his credit forever.


Spotted Tail, the head chief of the Brule Sioux, sent a request to the commanding officer at Fort Laramie, saying "his daughter had died in Powder River country (fifteen days' journey), and had begged her father to have her grave made among the whites." Consent was given, she having been known to the officers for several years, and her death was brought on by exposure to the hardships of wild Indian life, and also from grief, that her tribe would go to war.

He was met outside the "Post" by the officers, with the honors due his station. The officer in command spoke in words of comfort, saying, "he sympathized with him, and was pleased at this mark of confidence in committing to his care the remains of his loved child. The Great Spirit had taken her, and he never did anything except for some good purpose. Everything should be prepared for the funeral at sunset, and as the sun went down, it might remind him of the darkness left in his lodge when his daughter was taken away; but as the sun would surely rise again, so she would rise, and some day we would all meet in the land of the Great Spirit."

The chief exhibited great emotion at these words, and shed tears; a thing quite unusual in an Indian. He took the hand of the officer and said, "This must be a dream for me to be in such a fine room, and surrounded by such as you. Have I been asleep during the last four years of hardship and trial, dreaming that all is to be well again? or is this real? Yes, I see that it is,—the beautiful day, the sky blue, without a cloud; the wind calm and still, to suit the errand I came on, and remind me that you offer me peace! We think we have been much wronged, and entitled to compensation for damage done and distress caused by making so many roads through our country, driving and destroying the buffalo and game. My heart is very sad, and I cannot talk on business. I will wait and see the counselors the Great Father will send."

The scene, it is added, was the most impressive I ever saw, and all the Indians were awed into silence. A scaffold was erected (see print) at the cemetery, and a coffin was made. Just before sunset, the body was carried, followed by the father and other relatives, with chaplain,[2] officers, soldiers, and Indians. The chaplain read the beautiful burial-service, interpreted by another to them.

[2] Rev. A. Wright, post-chaplain, U. S. A.

One said, "I can hardly describe my feelings at witnessing here this first Christian burial of an Indian, and one of such consideration among her tribe. The hour, the place, the solemnity, even the restrained weeping of the mother and other relatives, all combined to affect me deeply."

It is added: the officers, to gratify Monica's father, each placed an offering in her coffin. Colonel Maynadier, a pair of gauntlets, to keep her hands warm (it was winter), Mr. Bullock gave a handsome piece of red cassimere to cover the coffin. To complete the Indian ceremony, her two milk-white ponies were killed and their heads and tails nailed on the coffin. These ponies the Indians supposed she would ride again in the hunting-grounds whither she had gone.


In the month of April, 1868, while returning from the East, we took dinner at Sidney Station, on the railroad, four hundred and fourteen miles west of Omaha, at noon. While we were there, two freight conductors brought in their trains and dined at the same time we did, and when we started they were on the platform and said good-by to us. They concluded to go out a fishing, a mile or two from the settlement, behind one of the bluffs. We had not left on our way to Cheyenne more than about an hour, when we learned by telegraph at "Antelope Station" (thirty-seven miles), that a band of twenty or thirty Sioux Indians had come suddenly upon the two conductors, named Cahoone and Kinney, and, after a severe conflict, had shot both through with arrows, and scalped one of them (Cahoone), besides killing some of the railroad hands at work repairing the road near by the scene of conflict. Presently we met a special train, consisting of engine and caboose-car, coming with tremendous speed,—one mile a minute,—containing Dr. Latham, surgeon of the railroad from Cheyenne. It seems that the soldiers—a small company—were completely surprised, and not being mounted, could only protect the station, but could not follow up the Indians to punish them for their audacity.

There were nearly two hundred and fifty people, including one hundred infantry soldiers, at the station; and the alarm of "Indians" being given, the whole population turned out with such arms as they could lay hold of. The sight of so many persons disconcerted the Indians, and they checked their horses within a respectable distance of the station. About two hundred shots were fired,—many of them in the wildest manner, and mostly hurting nobody.

The Indians rode round the upper side of Sidney—i.e. west—after the affray with the conductors, and attacked the section-men, circling round and round (as usual in their mode of Indian warfare, to draw out the fire of their enemies, till they exhaust their ammunition), till they had killed several of the poor Irishmen at work. These men had with them a hand-car, and the boss had a rifle with him, and only one charge or cartridge in his gun. He did the best he could, however, by jumping on the car and taking aim at his enemies, and keeping the gun pointed towards them, while the men worked the hand-car safe into Sidney Station. He escaped with his life, and several of his comrades.

These two conductors had about seven arrows shot into each of them, several going right through their bodies, and which had to be broken off to draw them out. One—Thomas Cahoone—was scalped twice, on the top and back of his head. The other—William Kinney—kept his captor at bay by a pistol he had, and thus aiming at the Indian, saved his hair. Both were brought up carefully in the caboose-car to Cheyenne, and next day I saw them under Dr. Latham's treatment. All thought that both would surely die, but both got well; and the one who was scalped is now living at a station on the Union Pacific Railroad. It is a terrible operation to be scalped, and few survive it. But, thanks to the surgeon's skill, these men are living, and feel very much like taking vengeance on their tormentors,—if they ever catch them!


I have been a good deal puzzled to know the origin of this custom, of always scalping a foe in battle, both among themselves and in fighting white people. A negro is never scalped by the Indians. In conversing with Major A. S. Burt, of 9th United States Infantry, at our post, who has had much experience among the Indians on the plains, I learn some things which give a clue to the matter, which agree with all I can hear. He says that each Indian wears a "scalp-lock" (see engraving), which is a long tuft of hair, into which the Indian inserts his medicine, which consists generally of a few quills of eagle's feathers. This "medicine" is simply a "charm," as we call it, gotten by purchase of the medicine-man of the tribe. The medicine-man is the most influential man in each tribe. He professes to be able to conjure, by his arts and influence with the Great Spirit, certain articles, which he sells to the Indians of his tribe. This "medicine" the superstitious believe will cure diseases, and help him against his enemy in battle. Hence, in scalping a fallen foe, the victor deprives him of his charm, and shows it in triumph, as a token of his skill in battle. If you visit an Indian in his tent, and ask him to show you his "medicine," he will do so, if you pay him in such things as he needs to make therewith a feast, both for himself and an offering to his medicine idol; but as the idol can't eat, it goes of course into the stomach of the live Indian![3]

[3] The Indian keeps his "medicine" hung up in his tent, and prays to it,—dreams about it,—and if his dream is of good luck, he acts accordingly. This applies to hunting, going on war expeditions, etc.; in short, it is his sort of saint, to which he pays idolatrous worship.

Another idea: the Indian believes that the spirit of the enemy he slays enters into himself, and he is thereby made the stronger; hence he slays all that he can. I have seen young warriors in the streets of Cheyenne, with their hair reaching down almost to their heels; and all along it you'd see strung round pieces of silver, from the size of a silver dollar to a tea-saucer; each one of which was a tell-tale of the number of the scalps the young fellow had taken. It was what the ladies would call a "waterfall!"

Speaking of this, as revealing the pride of Indians in showing their prowess, I learned of a young buck, coming into a post and walking round, dressed in the top of Indian fashion,—i.e. with paint on his face, feathers in his hair, and brass ornaments on his leggins. These young fellows put on all the gewgaws they can to make a show of importance. Well, he finally walked into the post-trader's store, and asked Mr. Bullock if he didn't think it made the officers faint when they saw him? "Yes," said he, "I think you'd better take off some of your things (pointing to his trappings), they will scare somebody."


When an Indian gets to be eighteen years old, it is expected that he will strike out for himself, and do some act to show his bravery; and that begins in striking somebody to kill them (a white or Indian of a hostile tribe), and to steal stock, a horse, or mule, or cattle.

No young warrior can get a wife till he has taken the scalp of a white man or Indian, and have stolen a horse or pony. This being a law of the Sioux, so in proportion as he scalps and steals horses so does his number of wives increase, and the greater a warrior does he become. In short, he becomes "a big heap chief." What to us becomes a murder or a theft,—the very first act of a young Indian,—in his own tribe is a great and praiseworthy deed. So you see what blood has been shed, and other acts of cruelty caused by Spotted Tail, Red Cloud, and others, who have imbrued their hands in the blood of innocent victims with a fiendish delight that savages only know and take pleasure in.

As the arrows tell of the tribe to which they belong,—colored near the end,—green for the Sioux, blue, Cheyenne, red or brown, Arrapahoes, black feathers, Crow,—so the tribe to which an Indian murderer belongs is known by the method (usually) by which the victim is scalped. The Cheyennes remove a piece not larger than a silver dollar from immediately over the left ear; the Arrapahoes take the same from over the right ear. Others take from the crown, forehead, or nape of the neck. The Utes take the entire scalp from ear to ear, and from forehead to nape of neck.


A grocer in Julesburg had married a squaw; after awhile she left him and joined her tribe. Coming that way again, she came and looked in upon her former husband at the back-door, while all her relations stood staring around to see if she would be welcomed back again. But he took no notice of her. One of his friends said to him, "Joe, why don't you go and call her in, you know you are glad to see her back again; you certainly want her?"

"No, no," said he, "I ain't going to make any fuss over her at all. If I do, the whole crowd of her relations, uncles, aunts, and cousins, will come in to shake hands, and congratulate me with 'How, how,' expecting each one to have a pound of sugar. No, no, you don't catch me."


The Indians can make signals to the distance of eight or ten miles to their confederates. This is done in two ways: first, by lighting one or more fires; secondly, by flashing the sunlight by small mirrors from one bluff to another. Thus, by day or by night, they can communicate at great distances. They have "field-glasses" also.

If an Indian is benighted on the plains, he can make himself quite comfortable, where a white man would perish in the winter with cold. He will gather some buffalo chips, and strike a fire with a flint, sitting close to it, and throwing his blanket around him in shape of a tent, and let the smoke go out of a hole at the top. He thus looks at night like a stump on fire.


A poor old German was traveling in Colorado with his wagon, when he was set upon by a lot of Indians. They drew their bows to shoot him, when he dropped upon his knees and began to pray vehemently. "Oh," said he, "mine goot friends, please don't shoot me! I'm joost the best friends what you have got. I never killed not nobody, and please don't shoot a poor fellow like me." The Indians did not understand a word he said, but he acted in such a ludicrous manner, they thought he was crazy, and so they let him pass unharmed. They seemed to have a sense of the ludicrous, as they went off laughing at the poor Dutchman quite heartily.


After the treaty with the Indians at Fort Laramie, in 1868, the Peace Commission adjourned, part to go with General Sherman to New Mexico, a part to meet at Fort Rice, Dakota, with General Terry, part to go up to Fort Bridger, in Wyoming, with General Augur, and another with Commissioner Taylor at North Platte, Nebraska, to meet different tribes not present at Laramie. There I went to see Spotted Tail's band, and learn all I could of Indian life. Spotted Tail was off on the Republican River, in Kansas, hunting buffalo with White Bear and Man-who-owns-his-Horses, nephew of Spotted Tail. Mr. Goodell, of Chicago, was there, to see if he could not induce the Indians to undertake the weaving of blankets and shawls, etc. by hand-looms, such as are in use in the Ohio Penitentiary. I went with him to hear what they would say. Rolled up in a blanket were specimens of woolen yarn of bright colors, and a piece of cloth partly woven, and he had a picture of a girl sitting at the loom in the act of weaving. Around us gathered all the young squaws, who expressed great delight at the whole thing and seemed to comprehend it; while young Indian lads stood at a distance and only gave a grunt of qualified satisfaction, or reservation. I should think there would be no difficulty in introducing such work, as the squaws will readily labor on anything that promises to add to their comfort or adornment of their persons.

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