The Arickaree, Ricaree, or Ree, as variously written, call themselves Sanish, or Tanish, meaning “the people,” a common form of expression among Indians to indicate their superiority. They were originally the same people as the Pawnees of the Platte River, their language being nearly the same. That they migrated upwards along the Missouri from their friends below is established by the remains of their dirt-villages, which are yet seen along that river, though at this time mostly overgrown with grass. At what time they separated from the parent stock is not correctly known, though some of their locations appear to have been of very ancient date, at least previous to the commencement of the fur-trade on the Upper Missouri. At the time when the old French and Spanish traders began their dealings with the Indians of the Upper Missouri, the Arickaree village was situated a little above the mouth of Grand River, since which time they have made several removals, and are now located at Fort Clark, in a former village of the Mandan.
The cabins or huts of the Arickaree and other stationary tribes are built by planting four posts in the ground in the form of a square, the posts being forked at the top to receive transverse beams. Against the beams other timbers are inclined the lower extremities of which describe a circle, or nearly so, the interstices being filled with small twigs, the whole thickly overlaid with willows, rushes, and grass, and plastered over with mud laid on very thick. A hole is left in the top for smoke to pass out, and another at the side for a door. The door opens a few steps distant from the main building on the surface of the ground, from which, by a gradual descent through a covered passage, the interior of the hut is reached. The door is of wood, and the aperture large enough to admit a favorite horse to the family circle, which is often done. These buildings are located within fifteen or twenty feet of each other without any regard to regularity.
They cultivate considerable land, each family separating its little farm from their neighbors’ by rush fences. Corn is their principal dependence, of which they raise considerable quantities. The work is done entirely by the women, the primitive hoe being their only implement. They generally have quite a surplus, which they trade to the Dakotas and to the fur companies.
The Arickaree are quite expert in manufacturing a very serviceable kind of pottery, neatly shaped, and well adapted for cooking purposes. They are of clay, hand wrought, but not glazed.
At the present time they number 900, and are associated with 600 Gros Ventre and 420 Mandan at the Fort Berthold agency on the Upper Missouri, where 13,000 square miles has been set apart for them as their reservation. They have 500 acres under cultivation, and are receiving considerable assistance from the Government in the way of improved implements. Many houses are being built, and the more progressive Indians are abandoning the old mud-lodges for them.
List of illustrations
1042. Ku-Nugh-Na-Give Nuk. Rushing Bear.
Head chief; age, 56; height, 5.8½; head, 22¾; chest, 39½.
1044. E-Gus-Pah. Bull Head.
Age, 57; height, 5.4½; head, 23¼; chest, 42½.
1043. Che-Wa-Koo-Ka-Ti. Black Fox.
Son of Black Bear, a great chief of the tribe. Age, 23; height, 5.5; head, 24; chest, 36¼.
717. Black Buffalo.
718. Long Knife.