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and that is to give an order for us to return to White Clay Creek. Here are your written words; and if you don't give this order, and everything here is not on wheels inside of ten days, I'll order my young men to tear down and burn everything in this part of the country! I don't want to hear anything more from you, and I've got nothing more to say to you :” and he turned his back on the commissioner and walked away. Such language as this would not have been borne from unarmed and helpless Indians ; but when it came from a chief with four thousand armed warriors at his back, it was another affair altogether. The order was written. In less than ten days everything was “on wheels,” and the whole body of these Sioux on the move to the country they had indicated ; and the Secretary of the Interior says, naïvely, in his Report for 1868, “ The Indians were found to be quite determined to move westward, and the promise of the Government in that respect was faithfully kept.”
The reports from all the bands of Sioux for the past two years have been full of indications of their rapid and encouraging improvement. · The most decided advance in civilization has been made by the Ogallalla and Brulé Sioux," says the Report of the Indian Bureau for 1879. “Their progress during the last year and a half has been simply marvellous.”
And yet this one band of Ogallalla Sioux has been moved, since 1863, eight times. Is it not a wonder that they have any heart to work, any hope of anything in the future?
“It is no longer a question,” says this same report, “whether Indians will work. They are steadily asking for opportunities to do so, and the Indians who to-day are willing and anxious to engage in civilized labor are largely in the majority ; *** there is an almost universal call for lands in severalty ; * ** there is a growing desire to live in houses ; the demand for agricultural implements and appliances, and for wagons and
harness for farming and freighting purposes, is constantly increasing."
That all this should be true of these wild, warlike Sioux, after so many years of hardships and forced wanderings and removals, is incontrovertible proof that there is in them a native strength of character, power of endurance, and indomitable courage, which will make of them ultimately a noble and superior race of people, if civilization will only give them time to become civilized, and Christians will leave them time and peace to learn Christianity.
In 1803 Captain Lewis and Lieutenant Clarke, of the First United States Infantry, were commissioned by Congress to explore the river Missouri from its mouth to its source, to “ seek the best water communication from thence to the Pacific Ocean,” and to enter into conference with all the Indian tribes on their route, with a view to the establishment of commerce with them. They report the “Poncars “ the remnant of a nation once respectable in point of numbers; they formerly resided on a branch of the Red River of Lake Winnipeg; being oppressed by Sioux, they removed to the west side of the Missouri, on Poncar River, where they built and fortified a village, and remained some years ; but, being pursued by their ancient enemies, the Sioux, and reduced by continual wars, they have joined and now live with the Mahas (Omahas), whose language they speak.” Their numbers are estimated by Lewis and Clarke as being only about two hundred, all told; but this small estimate is probably to be explained by the fact that at this time the tribe was away on its annual buffalo-hunt, and their village had been so long empty and quiet that a buffalo was found grazing there. A few years later the tribe is reckoned at four hundred : in a census of the Indian tribes, taken by General Porter in 1829, they are set down at six hundred. The artist Catlin, who visited them a few years later, rated them little less. He gives an interesting account of the chief of the tribe, named Shoo-de-ga-cha (Smoke), and his young and pretty wife, Hee-la’h-dee (the Pure Fountain), whose portraits he painted.
He says: “The chief, who was wrapped in a buffalo-robe, is a noble specimen of native dignity and philosophy. I conversed much with him, and from his dignified manners, as well as from the soundness of his reasoning, I became fully convinced that he deserved to be the sachem of a more numerous and prosperous tribe.
He related to me with great coolness and frankness the poverty and distress of his nation—and with the method of a philosopher predicted the certain and rapid extinction of his tribe, which he had not the power to avert. Poor, noble chief, who was equal to and worthy of a greater empire! He sat on the deck of the steamer, overlooking the little cluster of his wigwams mingled among the trees, and, like Caius Marius weeping over the ruins of Carthage, shed tears as he was descanting on the poverty of his ill-fated little community, which he told me had once been powerful and happy ; that the buffaloes which the Great Spirit had given them for food, and which formerly spread all over their green prairies, had all been killed or driven out by the approach of white men, who wanted their skins; that their country was now entirely destitute of game, and even of roots for food, as it was one continuous prairie; and that his young men, penetrating the countries of their enemies for buffaloes, which they were obliged to do, were cut to pieces and destroyed in great numbers. That his people had foolishly become fond of fire-water, and had given away everything in their country for it; that it had destroyed many of his warriors, and would soon destroy the rest; that his tribe was too small and his warriors too few to go to war with the tribes around them; that they were met and killed by the Sioux on the north, by the Pawnees on the west, by the Osages and Konzas on the south, and still more alarmed from the constant advance of the pale faces—their enemies from the east-with whiskey and small-pox, which already had destroyed four-fifths of his tribe, and would soon impoverish and at last destroy the remainder of them.' In this way did this shrewd philosopher
lament over the unlucky destiny of his tribe, and I pitied him with all
heart.” The day before Catlin arrived at this village this old chief's son-the young Hongs-kay-de--had created a great sensation in the community by accomplishing a most startling amount of bigamy in a single day. Being the chief's son, and having just been presented by his father with a handsome wigwam and nine horses, he had no difficulty whatever in ingratiating himself with the fathers of marriageable daughters, and had, with ingenious slyness, offered himself to and been accepted by four successive fathers-in-law, promising to each of them two horses—enjoining on them profound secrecy until a certain hour, when he would announce to the whole tribe that he was to be married. At the time appointed he appeared, followed by some of his young friends leading eight horses. Addressing the prospective father-in-law who stood nearest him, with his daughter by his side, he said, “You promised me your daughter : here are the two horses.' A great hubbub immediately arose ; the three others all springing forward, angry and perplexed, claiming his promises made to them. The triumphant young Turk exclaimed, “ You have all now acknowledged your engagements to me, and must fulfil them. Here are your horses.” There was nothing more to be said. The horses were delivered, and Hongs-kay-de, leading two brides in each hand, walked off with great dignity to his wigwam.
This was an affair totally unprecedented in the annals of the tribe, and produced an impression as profound as it could have done in a civilized community, though of a different character -redounding to the young prince's credit rather than to his shame—marking him out as one daring and original enough to be a Big Medicine.” Mr. Catlin says that he visited the bridal wigwam soon afterward, and saw the “ four modest little wives seated around the fire, seeming to harmonize
well." Of the prettiest one—“Mong-shong-shaw” (the Bending Wil