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Indian Tribes West of the Mississippi and North of Missouri, 1822
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Having taken a brief survey of the Indians east of the Mississippi 1 pass over that river, and in the order of the Table, give such information of the numerous tribes west of it, to the Pacific Ocean, as I have been able to collect. No measures have been taken to convey the blessings of civilization and of the Gospel, to any of these tribes, (if we except what a few Catholic Priests have done among some of the northern nations) till within the last two years. During this period, Education Families have been established among the Osages, and a portion of the Cherokee tribe, who have lately migrated and settled on Arkansaw river; and another large family are prepared to plant themselves at the Council Bluffs.1 These will be noticed in their place. I begin with
Of these tribes I have received, in a letter from Mr. Daniel Harmon, an Indian Trader, the following summary information. ” From 1800 to 1806, I resided in that extensive plain country, which lies between the Mississippi, Missouri, Red and Se-se-satch-ewine rivers, bounded west by the Rocky Mountains. This country lies between 44°, and 52° N. Lat. The climate is about the same as in Canada. The soil, generally, is good. There is on it but little timber, or wood of any kind. There are plains of more than one hundred miles in extent, on which there is not a shrub to be seen. The natives, when travelling over these plains, use Buffalo dung, which burns like peat, for fuel.
Scattered over this wide tract of country, there may be 12 or 15,000 Indians, some say more, of the following tribes, viz. Crees or Kristineaux, Assiniboins, Mandans, Rapids, Blackfeet, Blood Indians, Sursees, and a few of the Coutouns. The body of the latter tribe are spread over the Rocky Mountains, and west of them.2
” I know of no Indians,” says Mr. H. ” who I think would more readily receive Education Families among them, than those above mentioned. The Crees, indeed, are more than half civilized already. When Canada fell into the hands of Great Britain, there were, at that period, two Catholic Priests among these Indians; and in 1817 or 18, there went another, who still resides on the Red River, where Lord Selkirk has attempted to establish a colony, of which an account is given in the Appendix.3
Since the above letter was received, Mr. Harmon has published his Journal. From this and other sources, some further account of these Indians is given in the Appendix.4
From the information Mr. Harmon has given of the dispositions of these Indians, we may hope, that the way is already prepared for introducing among them the blessings of civilization, and the Gospel.
Of the Tribes between the Missouri and Red rivers, west of the Mississippi, and east of the Rocky Mountains.
By a reference to the Table, it will be seen, that within the’ limits above specified, there are more than 100,000 Indians. In different and very advantageous positions, in the midst of this population, are planted already three Education Families, one at very numerous, about 30,000 souls, and formerly occupied the fine Buffalo country north of the Missouri, along the Rocky Mountains. But the Blackfeet Indians, about 10,000 souls, living east of the Shoshonees, on the waters of Assinaboin River, meeting with the British fur traders, obtained of them fire arms. With these they attacked the Shoshonees, who having no. other weapons of defense than bows and arrows, were driven into, and even across, the Rocky Mountains. They now dwell miserably in these mountains, and fire hundred miles beyond them, in a country, with few exceptions, barren and rugged in the extreme, and without game. They barely subsist on fish, and a great variety of roots, found in different places, have no huts, are attached to no place, have no home. The climate is very fine, the cold moderate, the heat not oppressive, and rain very uncommon.
|Tribes west of the Mississippi and north of Missouri||Population||Location|
|Leaf Tribe||600||On the Mississippi, above Prairie du Chien.|
|Red Wing's band||100||On Lake Pepin.|
|Little Raven's band||500||15 miles below St, Peters,|
|Pineshow's band||150||15 miles up the St. Peters,|
|Band of Six||300||30 miles up the St. Peters.|
|Others||250||At Little Rapids and St. Peters.|
|Other villages||1,200||White Rock,|
|Great Village of the Yonktons, branch of the Sioux||1,000||On both sides of the Mississippi, above St. Anthony's Falls|
|Sioux of the Missouri|
|Tetons of the Burnt Woods||1,500||This band of the Sioux rove on both sides of the Missouri, White, and Teton Rivers.|
|Teton Okandanda or Chayenne Indians||2,500||On both sides of the Missouri, above and below Chayenne River|
|Tetons Saone||1,500||On both sides of the Missouri, below the Warrenconne River.|
|Yonktons of the Plains or Big Devils||2,500||Rove on the heads of the Sioux, Jacques, and Red Rivers.|
|Sistasoone||750||On the headwaters of St. Peters river|
|Kristinoux, called for the sake of brevity Crees.||These tribes, Says Mr. Harmonn (who resided among them 9 years, from 1800 to 1806) dwell in a plain or prairie country, between the Mississippi, Missouri, Red, and Se-se-satch-wine Rivers, extending west to the Rocky mountains, spreading from latitude 44° to 51° north. The climate is similar to that of lower Canada. Generally, throughout this tract of Country, the soil is good, it has very little timber. Some of the prairies are 100 miles in length, on which not even a shrub is to be seen.|
|Gros Ventres of the Prairie||2,000|
Sec Rev. Mr. Badger’s letter, Appendix B b. ↩
These are probably the same nation, described to me by Capt. Ramsay Crooks, under the name of Shoshonee, or Snake Indians. They are, he states, very numerous, about 30,000 souls, and formerly occupied the fine Buffalo country north of the Missouri, along the Rocky Mountains. But the Blackfeet Indians, about 10,000 souls, living east of the Shoshonees, on the waters of Assinaboin River, meeting with the British fur traders, obtained of them fire arms. With these they attacked the Shoshonees, who having no. other weapons of defense than bows and arrows, were driven into, and even across, the Rocky Mountains. They now dwell miserably in these mountains, and fire hundred miles beyond them, in a country, with few exceptions, barren and rugged in the extreme, and without game. They barely subsist on fish, and a great variety of roots, found in different places, have no huts, are attached to no place, have no home. The climate is very fine, the cold moderate, the heat not oppressive, and rain very uncommon. ↩
Appendix C. ↩
Appendix D. ↩
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