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Le Soldat Du Chene, Osage Chief

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Le Soldat Du Chene

Le Soldat Du Chene
An Osage Chief

The name of this chief, as pronounced in the tongue of his own people, has not reached us; we know it only in the French translation, which introduces him to us as “The Soldier of the Oak.” The name refers, we understand, to a desperate fight, in which, having sheltered himself behind a large oak, he successfully de fended himself against several enemies. His portrait was taken in Philadelphia, in 1805 or 1806, while he was on a visit to the President of the United States, under charge of Colonel Choteau, of St. Louis, and was presented to the American Philosophical Society, in whose valuable collection we found it.

He was an Osage chief of high reputation, and is mentioned by Pike in his travels. The Osages inhabit the prairies lying south of the Missouri River, and west of the states of Missouri and Arkansas. The buffalo is found in their country, and the wild horse roams over the plains immediately beyond them. They are horse men, therefore, and not only manage the steed with dexterity, but bestow great pains upon the appearance and equipment of their horses. Living in a sunny climate, and roving over plains covered with rich verdure, and well stocked with game, they present a striking contrast to the unhappy Chippewa, to whom they are superior in stature, in cheerfulness, and in social qualities. The privations of the northern Indian subdue his spirit, while the Osage exhibits all the pride, and all the social elevation of which the savage is capable. The difference between them results solely out of the disparity in their respective physical comforts; but it is so great as to be obvious to the most casual observer, and goes far towards demonstrating how much of the savage character is the consequence of poverty, and the want of the common comforts of life.

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