Abbildungen der Seite

It must be understood that most of the Dahcotah or Sioux tribes are scattered among the valleys of the Upper Missouri; although some, like that visited by Mr. Parkman, range in the neighborhood of the mountains in the western part of Kanzas. Those of the Upper Missouri are divided into the -Prulle band, one hundred and fifty lodges, the most southerly. Yancton band, three hundred and seventy-five lodges, from White river up to Fort Pierre, on both sides of the river. Two Kettle band, one hundred and sixty-five lodges, on the Little Missouri. Yanctonais band, east of the Missouri. Blackfeet Sioux, one hundred and fifty lodges, and Oukpa-pas, two hundred and eighty lodges, from the Cannonball river, one hundred and fifty or two hundred miles south-west. Sans Arcs band, one hundred and sixty lodges, and Minne Conzus, two hundred and twenty-five lodges, north of Washteg river, and running back to the Black Hills. In calculating the population, about nine persons may be estimated as the average number in each lodge. The Dahcotah language has been carefully studied. Its grammar, and a vocabulary, edited by Rev. S. R. Riggs, are among the Smithsonian Institution’s “Contributions to Science.”


The Crow Indians, or Upsarokas, inhabit the country on the waters of the Yellowstone. In September, 1851, when they entered into a treaty with the government they numbered four hundred lodges, but, in the same year, they suffered under a very severe visitation of small pox, which reduced their number four hundred. They have never cultivated the soil, but subsist entirely upon buffalo, deer, elk, and antelope, with which their country abounds. They are eager to accumulate horses, and own large numbers, as many as twenty to a lodge. Like the other prairie tribes, they marry several wives, – each man having from two to five, it is said. One of these is the favorite, who is, in a measure, exempt from labor. The drudgery of the lodge falls upon the others.

Below the Indians known as Dahcotahs, on the Missouri river, are the Puncas, Omahas, and Ottoes, all speaking kindred dialects of Dahcotah origin. The Puncas are most northerly. They are but a handful, their once powerful tribe having been almost exterminated by small pox. Next them are the Omahas, whose country is opposite to Iowa, stretching northerly from Council Bluff. The temptations afforded by the white settlements are unfortunately too strong for them; — the agent complains that he cannot check the traffic in liquor. The Omahas raised corn enough for their winter's supply, last year; and the agent reported that the judicious use of an annuity of five thousand dollars, due them from government, would save them from suffering during the winter and spring. With the Ottoes are confederated the Missouris. Their country is on the Missouri, from the Little Nemaha to the Nebraska. They are reduced to wretched poverty, from a series of circumstances, first among which the agent places the failure of the government to fulfil its treaties with them. Their game is driven off by the emigrants to Utah, California and Oregon, and they have never received the agricultural implements to which they are entitled. If, meanwhile, they trespass on the territory of other tribes to hunt, they are driven back with loss of life and property. Even what is called their hunting-ground is not safe from incursions of northern Sioux who rob and kill them. The first tribe known to the whites in this region was the Pawnees, who were visited by Dutisme, as we have seen, in 1719. They were, for a century, divided into four villages: the Republican Pawnees, who gave its name to Republican Fork of the Kanzas, the Loup Pawnees, the Tappage Pawnees, and the Grand Pawnees. A warlike tribe numbering some twenty-five thousand, they claimed Sway, thirty years ago, over the whole region watered by the Nebraska river, from the Rocky Mountains to its mouth. The Ottoes, Omahas, Missouris and Puncahs, at last acknowledged their superiority, and lived under their protection. In 1882, however, all these tribes were ravaged by the small pox, and it is said that the Pawnees then lost


half of their population. On the ninth of October, the next year, they disposed of all their land lying south of the Nebraska river, and agreed to locate themselves north of that river, and west of the Missouri. This they did. The government assisted them, and provided them with comfortable houses, good farms, mechanic shops, and a schoolhouse, and the new village seemed to prosper. But large bodies of Dahcotahs came down on the new settlement, burned the Pawnees' houses, carried off their horses, mules and other stock, drove away the blacksmiths and teachers,

and the poor Indians were compelled to retreat to the South side of the Nebraska; some to their allies the Ottoes, some to their old villages. They are now settled near the Ottoes and Omahas. Like them, they suffer by the loss of their game, which is driven off by emigrants. More unfortunate than they, they cannot obtain from government the agricultural implements promised them in the treaty, apparently because they have returned to the south side of the river, to the lands which they then abandoned. Within three or four years only it is said that they have lost half their number by sickness, and by the murderous assaults of the Sioux and other tribes. They are dependent altogether upon hunting, stealing and begging from the emigrants. The Pawnee children are represented more largely than any others at the school of the Ottoe and Omaha mission.

Their language is entirely distinct from that of any other Indian nation.

We have thus named, in order, from the north, the various native tribes, till we have come to the reservations of the Indians removed from the east by the general government. These fragments of tribes have been already described. West of them, around the forks of Kanzas river, is the hunting-ground of the Kanzas tribe, from whom this river and territory have their names. This name is spelled by different writers in many different ways. Cansas, Conzas, Konsas, Kansas, and Kanzas, are the most frequent. The tribe has always existed in this vicinity. The Santa Fé road passes through their country, and the temptation which the emigration gives to their stealing propensities seems to afford their principal occupation. They are a wild, roving people, wholly careless of civilized arts. “I am unable to say whether they have been improved by the efforts of the missionaries,” is the bitter report of the government agent, “who have labored for them for the last thirty years, or not; if they have been, I am inclined to think they were a miserable set of beings when the missionaries began.” They have a school, but will not send their daughters to it, and take the boys away as soon as they are old enough to hunt. Some years ago the government had three hundred acres of land prepared for planting. - Early in the spring, a few Indians began to plough, under the direction of their teach

ers; but the chiefs sent out their braves, cut up the harness,

« ZurückWeiter »