Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of North American Indians
by George Catlin
(First published in London in 1844)
ROCK ISLAND, UPPER MISSISSIPPI.
It will be seen by this, that I am again wending my way towards home. Our neat little "dug out," by the aid of our paddles, has at length brought my travelling companion and myself in safety to this place, where we found the river, the shores, and the plains contiguous, alive and vivid with plumes, with spears, and war-clubs of the yelling red men.
We had heard that the whole nation of Sacs and Foxes were to meet Governor Dodge here in treaty at this time, and nerve was given liberally to our paddles, which had brought us from Traverse de Sioux, on the St. Peters river; and we reached here luckily in time to see the parades and forms of a savage community, transferring the rights and immunities of their natural soil, to the insatiable grasp of pale faced voracity.
After having glutted our curiosity at the fountain of the Red Pipe, our horses brought us to the base of the Côteau, and then over the extended plain that lies between that and the Traverse de Sioux, on the St. Peters with about five days' travel.
In this distance we passed some of the loveliest prairie country in the world, and I made a number of sketches"Laque du Cygne, Swan Lake," was a peculiar and lovely scene, extending for many miles, and filled with innumerable small islands covered with a profusion of rich forest trees. A drawing exhibits the Indian mode of taking muskrats, which dwell in immense numbers in these northern prairies, and build their burrows in shoal water, of the stalks of the wild rice. They are built up something of the size and form of haycocks, having a dry chamber in the top, where the animal sleeps above water, passing in and out through a hole beneath the water's surface. The skins of these animals are sought by the Traders, for their fur, and they constitute the staple of all these regions, being caught in immense numbers by the Indians, and vended to the Fur Traders. The mode of taking them is seen in the drawing; the women, children and dogs attend to the little encampments, while the men wade to their houses or burrows, and one strikes on the backs of them, as the other takes the inhabitants in a rapid manner with a spear, while they are escaping from them.
Another drawing shows a party of Sioux, in bark canoes (purchased of the Chippeways), gathering the wild rice, which grows in immense fields around the shores of the rivers and lakes of these northern regions, and used by the Indians as an useful article of food. The mode of gathering it is curious, and as seen in the drawingone woman paddles the canoe, whilst another, with a stick in each hand, bends the rice over the canoe with one, and strikes it with the other, which shells it into the canoe, which is constantly moving along until it is filled.
The next drawing is a representation of one of the many lovely prairie scenes we passed on the banks of the St. Peters river, near the Traverse de Sioux.
Whilst traversing this beautiful region of country, we passed the bands of Sioux, who had made us so much trouble on our way to the Red Pipe but met with no further molestation.
At the Traverse de Sioux, our horses were left, and we committed our bodies and little travelling conveniences to the narrow compass of a modest canoe, that must most evidently have been dug out from the wrong side of the logthat required us and everything in it, to be exactly in the bottomand then, to look straight forward, and speak from the middle of our mouths, or it was "t'other side up" in an instant. In this way embarked, with our paddles used as balance poles and propellers (after drilling awhile in shoal water till we could "get the hang of it"), we started off, upon the bosom of the St. Peters, for the Fall of St. Anthony.
Sans accident we arrived, at ten o'clock at night of the second dayand sans steamer (which we were in hopes to meet), we were obliged to trust to our little tremulous craft to carry us through the windings of the mighty Mississippi and Lake Pepin, to Prairie du Chien, a distance of 400 miles, which I bad travelled last summer in the same manner.
"Oh the drudgery and toil of paddling our little canoe from this to Prairie du Chien we never can do it, Catlin."
"Ah well, never mind, my dear fellowwe must 'go it'there is no other way. But think of the pleasure of such a trip, ha? Our guns and our fishing-tackle will we have in good order, and be masters of our own boatwe can shove it into every nook and crevice; explore the caves in the rocks; ascend 'Mount Strombolo,' and linger along the pebbly shores of Lake Pepin, to our hearts' content." "Well, I am perfectly agreed; that's fine, by Jupiter, that's what I shall relish exactly; we will have our own fun, and a truce to the labour and time; let's haste and be off." So we catered for our voyage, shook hands with our friends, and were again balancing our skittish bark upon the green waters of the Mississippi. We encamped (as I had done the summer before), along its lonely banks, whose only music is the echoing war-song that rises from the glimmering camp-fire of the retiring ravage, or the cries of the famishing wolf that sits and bitterly weeps out in tremulous tones, his impatience for the crumbs that are to fall to his lot.
Oh! but we enjoyed those moments, (did we not, Wood? I would ask you, in any part of the world, where circumstances shall throw this in your way) those nights of our voyage, which ended days of peril and fatigue; when our larder was full, when our coffee was good, our mats spread, and our musquito bars over us, which admitted the cool and freshness of night, but screened the dew. and bade defiance to the buzzing thousands of sharp-billed, winged torturers that were kicking and thumping for admission. I speak now of fair weather, not of the nights of lightning and of rain! We'll pass them over. We had all kinds though, and as we loitered ten days on our way, we examined and experimented on many things for the benefit of mankind. We drew into our larder (in addition to bass and wild fowls), clams, snails, frogs, and rattlesnakes; the latter of which, when properly dressed and broiled, we found to be the most delicious food of the land.
We were stranded upon the Eastern shore of Lake Pepin, where headwinds held us three days; and, like solitary Malays or Zealand penguins, we stalked along and about its pebbly shores till we were tired, before we could, with security, lay our little trough upon its troubled surface. When liberated from its wind-bound shores, we busily plied our paddles, and nimbly sped our way, until we were landed at the fort of "Mount Strombolo," (as the soldiers call it), but properly denominated, in French, La Montaigne que tromps a l'eau. We ascended it without much trouble; and enjoyed from its top, one of the most magnificent panoramic views that the Western world can furnish; and I would recommend to the tourist who has time to stop for an hour or two, to go to its summit, and enjoy with rapture, the splendour of the scene that lies near and in distance about him. This mountain, or rather pyramid, is an anomaly in the country, rising, as it does, about seven hundred feet from the water, and washed at its base, all around, by the river; which divides and runs on each side of it. It is composed chiefly of rock, and all its strata correspond exactly with those of the projecting promontories on either side of the river. We at length arrived safe at Prairie du Chien; which was also sans steamer. We were moored again, thirty miles below, at the beautiful banks and bluffs of Cassville; which, too, was sans steamerwe dipped our paddles againand
We are now six hundred miles below the Fall of St. Anthony, where steamers daily pass; and we feel, of course, at home. I spoke of the Treaty. We were just in time, and beheld its conclusion. It was signed yesterday; and this day, of course, is one of revel and amusementsshows of war-parades and dances. The whole of the Sacs and Foxes are gathered here, and their appearance is very thrilling, and at the same time pleasing. These people have sold so much of their land lately, that they have the luxuries of life to a considerable degree, and may be considered rich; consequently they look elated and happy, carrying themselves much above the humbled manner of most of the semi-civilized tribes, whose heads are banging and drooping in poverty and despair.
In a former epistle, I mentioned the interview which I had with Kee-o-kuk, and the leading men and women of his tribe, when I painted a number of their portraits and amusements as follow:
Kee-o-kuk (the running fox), is the present chief of the tribe, a dignified and proud man, with a good share of talent, and vanity enough to force into action all the wit and judgment he possesses, in order to command the attention and respect of the world. At the close of the "Black Hawk War," in 1833, which bad been waged with disastrous effects along the frontier, by a Sac chief of that name; Kee-o-kuk was acknowledged chief of the Sacs and Foxes by General Scott, who held a Treaty with them at Rock Island. His appointment as chief, was in consequence of the friendly position he had taken during the war, holding two-thirds of the warriors neutral, which was no doubt the cause of the sudden and successful termination of the war, and the means of saving much bloodshed. Black Hawk and his two sons, as well as his principal advisers and warriors, were brought into St. Louis In chains, and Kee-o-kuk appointed chief with the assent of the tribe. In his portrait I have represented him in the costume, precisely, in which he was dressed when be stood for it, with his shield on his arm, and his staff (insignia of office) in his left hand. There is no Indian chief on the frontier better known at this time, or more highly appreciated for his eloquence, as a public speaker, than Kee-o-kuk; as he has repeatedly visited Washington and others of our Atlantic towns, and made his speeches before thousands, when he has been contending for his people's rights, in their stipulations with the United States Government, for the sale of their lands.
As so much is known of this man, amongst the citizens of the United States, there is scarcely need of my saying much more of him to them; but for those who know less of him, I shall say more anon. I have made a portrait of the wife of Kee-o-kuk, and of his favourite son, whom he intends to be his successor. These portraits are both painted, also, in the costume tunics precisely in which they were dressed. This woman was the favourite one, (I think) of seven, whom he had living, (apparently quite comfortably and peaceably,) in his wigwam, where General Street and I visited him in his village on the Des Moines river. And, although she was the oldest of the "lot," she seemed to be the favourite one on this occasionthe only one that could be painted; on account, I believe, of her being the mother of his favourite son. Her dress, which was of civilized stuffs, was fashioned and ornamented by herself, and was truly a most splendid affair; the upper part of it being almost literally covered with silver broaches.
The Sacs and Foxes, who were once two separate tribes, but with a language very similar, have, at some period not very remote, united into one, and are now an inseparable people, and go by the familiar appellation of the amalgam name of "Sacs and Foxes."
These people, as will be seen in their portraits, shave and ornament their heads, like the Osages and Pawnees, of whom I have spoken heretofore; and are amongst the number of tribes who have relinquished their immense tracts of lands, and recently retired West of the Mississippi river. Their numbers at present are not more than five or six thousand, yet they are a warlike and powerful tribe.
Muk-a-tah-mish-o-kah-kaik (the black hawk) is the man to whom I have above alluded, as the leader of the "Black Hawk war," who was defeated by General Atkinson, and held a prisoner of war, and sent through Washington and other Eastern cities, with a number of others, to be gazed at.
This man, whose name has carried a sort of terror through the country where it has been sounded, has been distinguished as a speaker or councellor rather than as a warrior; and I believe it has been pretty generally admitted, that "Nah-pope" and the "Prophet" were, in fact, the instigators of the war; and either of them with much higher claims for the name of warrior than Black Hawk ever had.
When I painted this chief, he was dressed in a plain suit of buckskin, with strings of wampum in his ears and on his neck, and held in his hand, his medicine-bag, which was the skin of a black hawk, from which he had taken his name, and the tail of which made him a fan, which he was almost constantly using.
Another painting shows the eldest son of Black Hawk, Nah-se-us-kuk (the whirling thunder), a very handsome young warrior, and One of the finest-looking Indians I ever saw. There is a strong party in the tribe that is anxious to put this young man up; and I think it more than likely, that Kee-o-kuk as chief may fall ere long by his hand, or by some of the tribe, who are anxious to reinstate the family of Black Hawk.
Wah-pe-kee-suck (the white cloud), called "the Prophet," is a very distinguished man, and one of the principal and leading men of the Black Hawk party, and studying favour with the whites, as will be seen by the manner in which he was allowing his hair to grow out.
Wee-sheet (the sturgeon's head), this man held a spear in his hand when he was being painted, with which be assured me he killed four white men during the war; though I have some doubts of the fact.
Ah-mou-a (the whale and his wife), are also fair specimens of this tribe. Her name is Wa-quo-the-qua (the buck's wife, or female deer), and she was wrapped in a mackinaw blanket, whilst he was curiously dressed, and held his war-club in his hand.
Pash-ee-pa-ho (the little stabbing chief), a very old man, holding his shield, staff and pipe in his hands; has long been the head civil chief of this tribe; but, as is generally the case in very old age, he has resigned the office to those who are younger and better qualified to do the duties of it.
Besides the above-mentioned personages, I painted also the following portraits, which are now in my Collection.
I-o-way (the Ioway), one of Black Hawk's principal warriors; his body curiously ornamented with his "war-paint;" Pam-a-ho (the swimmer), one of Black Hawk's warriors; No-kuk-qua (the bear's fat); Pash-ee-pa-ho (the little stabbing chief, the younger), one of Black Hawk's braves; Wah. pa-ko-las-kuk (the bear's track); Wa-saw-me-saw (the roaring thunder), youngest son of Black Hawk; painted while prisoner of war.
Kee-o-kuk, on horseback. After I had painted the portrait of this vain man at full length, and which I have already introduced, he had the vanity to say to me, that he made a fine appearance on horseback, and that he wished me to paint him thus. So I prepared my canvass in the door of the hospital which I occupied, in the dragoon cantonment; and lie flourished about for a considerable part of the day in front of me, until the picture was completed. The horse that he rode was the best animal on the frontier; a fine blooded horse, for which he gave the price of 300 dollars, a thing that he was quite able to, who had the distribution of 50,000 dollars annuities, annually, amongst his people. He made a great display on this day, and hundreds of the dragoons and officers were about him, and looking on during the operation. His horse was beautifully caparisoned, and his scalps were carried attached to the bridle-bits. (1)
The dances and other amusements amongst this tribe are exceedingly spirited and pleasing; and I have made sketches of a number of them, which I briefly introduce here, and leave them for further comments at a future time, provided I ever get leisure and space to enable me to do it.
The slave-dance is a picturesque scene, and the custom in which it is founded a very curious one. This tribe has a society which they call the "slaves," composed of a number of the young men of the best families in the tribe, who volunteer to be slaves for the term of two years, and subject to perform any menial service that the chief may order, no matter how humiliating or how degrading it may be; by which, after serving their two years, they are exempt for the rest of their lives, on war-parties or other excursions, or wherever they may befrom all labour or degrading occupations, such as cooking, making fires, &c. &c.
These young men elect one from their numbers to be their master, and all agree to obey his command whatever it may be, and which is given to him by one of the chiefs of the tribe. On a certain day or season of the year, they have to themselves a great feast, and preparatory to it the above-mentioned dance.
Smoking horses is another of the peculiar and very curious customs of this tribe. When General Street and I, arrived at Kee-o-kuks village, we were just in time to see this amusing scene, on the prairie a little back of his village. The Foxes, who were making up a war-party to go against the Sioux, and had not suitable horses enough by twenty, had sent word to the Sacs, the day before (according to an ancient custom), that they were coming on that day, at a certain hour, to "smoke" that number of horses, and they must not fail to have them ready. On that day, and at the hour, the twenty young men who were beggars for horses, were on the spot, and seated themselves on the ground in a circle, where they went to smoking. The villagers flocked around them in a dense crowd, and soon after appeared on the prairie, at half a mile distance, an equal number of young men of the Sac tribe, who had agreed, each to give a horse, and who were then galloping them about at full speed; and, gradually, as they went around in a circuit, coming in nearer to the centre, until they were at last close around the ring of young fellows seated on the ground. Whilst dashing about thus, each one, with a heavy whip in his hand, as he came within reach of the group on the ground, selected the one to whom he decided to present his horse, and as he passed him, gave him the most tremendous cut with his lash, over his naked shoulders; and as he darted around again he plied the whip as before and again and again, with a violent "crack!" until the blood could be seen trickling down over his naked shoulders, upon which he instantly dismounted, and placed the bridle and whip in his hands, saying, "here, you are a beggarI present you a horse, but you will carry my mark on your back." In this manner, they were all in a little time "whipped up," and each had a good horse to ride home, and into battle. His necessity was such, that he could afford to take the stripes and the scars as the price of the horse, and the giver could afford to make the present for the satisfaction of putting his mark upon the other, and of boasting of his liberality, which he has always a right to do, when going into the dance, or on other important occasions.
The Begging Dance is a frequent amusement, and one that has been practiced with some considerable success at this time, whilst there have been so many distinguished and liberal visitors here. It is got up by a number of desperate and long-winded fellows, who will dance and yell their visitors into liberality; or, if necessary, laugh them into it, by their strange antics, singing a song of importunity, and extending their hands for presents, which they allege are to gladden the hearts of the poor, and ensure a blessing to the giver.
The Sacs and Foxes, like all other Indians, are fond of living along the banks of rivers and streams; and like all others, are expert swimmers and skilful canoemen.
Their canoes, like those of the Sioux and many other tribes, are dug out from a log, and generally made extremely light; and they dart them through the coves and along the shores of the rivers, with astonishing quickness. I was often amused at their freaks in their canoes, whilst travelling; and I was induced to make a sketch of one which I frequently witnessed, that of sailing with the aid of their blankets, which the men carry; and when the wind is fair, stand in the bow of the canoe and hold by two corners, with the other two under the foot or tied to the leg; while the women sit in the other end of the canoe, and steer it with their paddles.
The Discovery Dance has been given here, amongst various others, and pleased the bystanders very much; it was exceedingly droll and picturesque, and acted out with a great deal of pantomimic effectwithout music, or any other noise than the patting of their feet, which all came simultaneously on the ground, in perfect time, whilst they were dancing forward two or four at a time, in a skulking posture, overlooking the country, and professing to announce the approach of animals or enemies which they have discovered, by giving the signals back to the leader of the dance.
Dance to the Berdashe is a very funny and amusing scene, which happens once a year or oftener, as they choose, when a feast is given to the "Berdashe," as he is called in French, (or I-coo-coo-a, in their own language), who is a man dressed in woman's clothes, as he is known to to, be all his life, and for extraordinary privileges which he is known to possess, he is driven to the most servile and degrading duties, which he is not allowed to escape; and he being the only one of the tribe submitting to this disgraceful degradation, is looked upon as medicine and sacred, and a feast is given to him annually; and initiatory to it, a dance by those few young men of the tribe who can, as in the sketch, dance forward and publicly make their boast (without the denial of the Berdashe), that Ahg-whi-ee-choos-cum-me hi-anh-dwax-cumme-ke on-daig-nun-ehow ixt. Che-ne-a'hkt ah-pex-ian I-coo-coo-a wi-an-gurotst whow-itcbt-ne-axt-ar-rah, ne-axt-gunhe h'dow-k's dow-on-daig-o-ewhicht nun-go-was-see.
Such, and such only, are allowed to enter the dance and partake of the feast, and as there are but a precious few in the tribe who have legitimately gained this singular privilege, or willing to make a public confession of it, it will be seen that the society consists of quite a limited number of "odd fellows."
This is one of the most unaccountable and disgusting customs, that I have ever met in the Indian country, and so far as I have been able to learn, belongs only to the Sioux and Sacs and Foxesperhaps it is practiced by other tribes, but I did not meet with it; and for further account of it I am constrained to refer the reader to the country where it is practiced, and where I should wish that it might be extinguished before it be more fully recorded.
Dance to the Medicine of the Brave. This is a custom well worth recording, for the beautiful moral which is contained in it. In this picture is represented a party of Sac, warriors who have returned victorious from battle, with scalps they have taken from their enemies, but having lost one of their party, they appear and dance in front of his wigwam, fifteen days in succession, about an hour on each day, when the widow bangs his medicine-bag on a green bush which she erects before her door, under which she sits and cries, whilst the warriors dance and brandish the scalps they have taken, and at the same time recount the deeds of bravery of their deceased comrade in arms, whilst they are throwing presents to the widow to heal her grief and afford her the means of a living.
The Sacs and Foxes are already drawing an annuity of 27,000 dollars, for thirty years to come, in cash; and by the present Treaty just concluded that amount will be enlarged to 37,000 dollars per annum. This Treaty with the Sacs and Foxes, held at Rock Island, was for the purchase of a tract of land of 256,000 acres, lying on the Ioway river, West of the Mississippi, a reserve which was made in the tract of land conveyed to the Government by Treaty after the Sac war, and known as the "Black Hawk purchase." The Treaty has been completed by Governor Dodge, by stipulating on the part of Government to pay them seventy-five cents per acre for the reserve, (amounting to 192,000 dollars), in the manner and form following:
Thirty thousand dollars to be paid in specie in June next, at the Treaty ground; and ten thousand dollars annually, for ten years to come, at the same place, and in the same manner; and the remaining sixty-two thousand, in the payment of their debts, and some little donations to widows and half-breed children. The American Fur Company was their principal creditor whose account for goods advanced on credit, they admitted, to the amount of nearly fifty thousand dollars. It was stipulated by an article in the Treaty that one half of these demands should be paid in cash as soon as the Treaty should be ratifiedand that five thousand dollars should be appropriated annually, for their liquidation, until they were paid off.
It was proposed by Kee-o-kuk in his speech (and it is a fact worthy of being known, for such has been the proposition in every Indian Treaty that I ever attended), that the first preparatory stipulation on the part of Government, should be to pay the requisite sum of money to satisfy all their creditors, who were then present, and whose accounts were handed in, acknowledged and admitted.
The price paid for this tract of land is a liberal one, comparatively speaking, for the usual price heretofore paid for Indian lands, has been one and a half or three quarter cents, (instead of seventy-five cents) per acre, for land which Government has since sold out for ten shillings.
Even one dollar per acre would not have been too much to have paid for this tract, for every acre of it can be sold in one year, for ten shillings per acre, to actual settlers, so desirable and so fertile is the tract of country purchased. These very people sold to Government a great part of the rich states of Illinois and Missouri, at the low rates above-mentioned; and this small tract being the last that they can ever part with, without throwing themselves back upon their natural enemies, it was no more than right that Government should deal with them, as they have done, liberally.
As an evidence of the immediate value of that tract of land to Government, and, as a striking instance of the overwhelming torrent of emigration, to the "Far West," I will relate the following occurrence which took place at the close of the Treaty:After the Treaty was signed and witnessed, Governo: Dodge addressed a few very judicious and admonitory sentences to the chiefs, and braves, which he finished by requesting them to move their families, and all their property from this tract, within one month, which time he would allow them, to make room for the whites.
Considerable excitement was created among the chiefs and braves, by this suggestion, and a hearty laugh ensued, the cause of which was soon after explained by one of them in the following manner:
"My father, we have to laughwe require no time to movewe have all left the lands already, and sold our wigwams to Chemokemons (white men)some for one hundred, and some for two hundred dollars, before we came to this Treaty. There are already four hundred Chemokemons on the land, and several hundred more on their way moving in; and three days before we came away, one Chemokemon sold his wigwam to another Chemokemon for two thousand dollars, to build a great town."
In this wise is this fair land filling up, one hundred miles or more West of the Mississippinot with barbarians, but with people from the East, enlightened and intelligentwith industry and perseverance that will soon rear from the soil all the luxuries, and add to the surface, all the taste and comforts of Eastern refinement.
The Treaty itself, in all its forms, was a scene of interest, and Kee-o-kuk was the principal speaker on the occasion, being recognized as the head chief of the tribe. He is a very subtle and dignified man, and well fitted to wield the destinies of his nation. The poor dethroned monarch, old Black Hawk, was present, and looked an object of pity. With an old frock coat and brown hat on, and a cane in his hand, he stood the whole time outside of the group, and in dumb and dismal silence, with his sons by the side of him, and also his quondam aide-de-camp, Nah-pope, and the prophet. They were not allowed to speak, nor even to sign the Treaty. Nah-pope rose, however, and commenced a very earnest speech on the subject of temperance! but Governor Dodge ordered him to sit down, (as being out of order), which probably saved him from a much more peremptory command from Kee-o-kuk, who was rising at that moment, with looks on his face that the Devil himself might have shrunk from. This Letter I must end here, observing, before I say adieu, that I have been catering for the public during this summer at a difficult (and almost cruel) rate; and if, in my over-exertions to grasp at material for their future entertainment, the cold hand of winter should be prematurely laid upon me and my works in this Northern region, the world, I am sure, will be disposed to pity, rather than censure me for my delay.
(1) About two years after the above was written, and the portrait painted, and whilst I was giving Lectures on the Customs of the Indians, in the Stuyvesant Institute in New York, Kee-o-kuk and his wife and son, with twenty more of the chiefs and warriors of his tribe, visited the City, of New York on their way to Washington City, and were present one evening at my Lecture, amidst an audience of 1500 persons. During the Lecture, I placed a succession of portraits on my easel before the audience, and they were successively recognized by the Indians as they were shewn; and at last I placed this portrait of Kee-o-kuk before them, when they all sprung up and hailed it with a piercing yell. After the noise had subsided, Kee-o-kuk arose, and addressed the audience in these words:"My friends, I hope you will pardon my men for making so much noise, as they were very much excited by seeing me on my favourite war-horse, which they all recognized in a moment."
I had the satisfaction then of saying to the audience, that this was very gratifying to me, inasmuch as many persons had questioned the correctness of the picture of the horse; and some had said in my Exhibition Room, "that it was an impositionthat no Indian on the frontier rode so good a horse." This was explained to Kee-o-kuk by the interpreter, when he arose again quite indignant at the thought that any one should doubt its correctness, and assured the audience, "that his men, a number of whom never had heard that the picture was painted, knew the horse the moment it was presented; and further, he wished to know why Kee-o-kuk could not ride as good a horse as any white man?" He here received a round of applause, and the interpreter, Mr. Le Clair, rose and stated to the audience, that he recognized the horse the moment it was shown, and that it was a faithful portrait of the horse that he sold to Kee-o-kuk for 300 dollars, and that it was the finest horse on the frontier, belonging either to red or white man.
In a few minutes afterwards I was exhibiting several of my paintings of buffalo-hunts, and describing the modes of slaying them with bows and arrows, when I made the assertion which I had often been in the habit of making, that there were many instances where the arrow was thrown entirely through the buffalo's body; and that I had several times witnessed this astonishing feat. I saw evidently by the motions of my audience, that many doubted the correctness of my assertion; and I appealed to Kee-o-kuk, who rose up when the thing was explained to him, and said, that it had repeatedly happened amongst his tribe; and he believed that one of his young men by his side had done it. The young man instantly stepped up on the beach, and took a bow from under his robe, with which he told the audience he had driven his arrow quite through a buffalo's body. And, there being forty of the Sioux from the Upper Missouri also present, the same question was put to them, when the chief arose, and addressing himself to the audience, said, that it was a thing very often done by the hunters in his tribe.