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Biography of Bloody Knife

A famous Arikara warrior and chief, who was long in the Government service. His father was a Hunkpapa Sioux and his mother an Arikara. He was born on the Hunkpapa Reservation, North Dakota, but as he approached manhood his mother determined to return to her people and he accompanied her. Prior to the building of the Northern Pacific R. R. the mail for Ft Stevenson, North Dakota, and other Missouri River points, was carried overland from Ft Totten. The high country east of the Missouri was at that time a hunting ground for hostile Sioux who had been driven west from Minnesota after the massacre of 1862, and so often were the mail carriers on this route killed that it became difficult to find anyone to carry the mails. Bloody Knife undertook the task, and traversing the country with Indian caution almost always got the mail through on time. Soon after the establishment of Ft Abraham Lincoln, North Dakato, a number of Arikara scouts were engaged for service at the post, and of these Bloody Knife was the chief. He was with Gen. Stanley on the Yellowstone Expedition of 1873 and took part in the fighting of that trip; he also accompanied Custer to the Black Hills in 1874, and was one of the scouts with Custer and Terry’s expedition in 1876. On the day of the Custer fight he was with the other scouts with Reno’s command, took part in the effort made by them to check the Indians who were charging Reno’s force while crossing Reno Creek, and was killed there, fighting...

Treaty of July 18, 1825

To put an end to an unprovoked hostility on the part of the Ricara Tribe of Indians against the United States, and to restore harmony between the parties, the President of the United States, by Brigadier-general Henry Atkinson, of the United States’ Army, and Major Benjamin O’Fallon, Indian Agent, Commissioners duly appointed and commissioned to treat with the Indian tribes beyond the Mississippi river, give peace to the said Ricara Tribe; the Chiefs and Warriors thereof having first made suitable concessions for the offence. And, for the purpose of removing all further or future cause of misunderstanding as respects trade and friendly intercourse between the parties, the above named Commissioners on the part of the United States, and the undersigned Chiefs and Warriors of the Ricara Tribe of Indians on the part of said Tribe, have made and entered into the following articles and conditions, which, when ratified by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall be binding on both parties, to wit: Article I. Henceforth there shall be a firm and lasting peace between the United States and the Ricara tribe of Indians; and a friendly intercourse shall immediately take place between the parties. Article II. It is admitted by the Ricara tribe of Indians, that they reside within the territorial limits of the United States, acknowledge their supremacy, and claim their protection. The said tribe also admit the right of the United States to regulate all trade and intercourse with them. Article III. The United States agree to receive the Ricara tribe of Indians into their friendship,...

Arikara Indians

Arikara Indians. Signifying “horns,” or “elk,” and having reference to their ancient manner of wearing the hair with two pieces of bone standing up, one on each side of the crest; -ra is the plural suffix. Also called: Ă da ka’ da ho, Hidatsa name. Ah-pen-ope-say, or A-pan-to’-pse, Crow name. Corn eaters, given as their own name. Ka’-nan-in, Arapaho name, meaning “people whose jaws break in pieces.” O-no’-ni-o, Cheyenne name. Padani, Pani, applied to them by various tribes. Ree, abbreviation of Arikara. Sanish, “person,” their own name, according to Gilmore (1927). S’gŭǐes’tshi, Salish name. Stâr-râh-he’ [tstarahi], their own name, according to Lewis and Clark (1904-05). Tanish, their own name, meaning “the people,” according to Hayden (1862). Perhaps a misprint of Sanish. Wa-zi’-ya-ta Pa-da’-nin, Yankton name, meaning “northern Pawnee.” Arikara Connections. The Arikara belonged to the Caddoan linguistic stock and were a comparatively recent offshoot of the Skidi Pawnee. Arikara Location. In historic times they have occupied various points on the Missouri River between Cheyenne River, South Dakota, and Fort Berthold, North Dakota. (See also Montana and Nebraska.) Arikara Subdivisions and Villages The Arikara are sometimes spoken of as a confederacy of smaller tribes each occupying its own village, and one account mentions 10 of these, while Gilmore (1927) furnishes the names of 12, including 4 of major importance under which the others were grouped. These were as follows: Awahu, associated with which were Hokat and Scirihauk. Hukawirat, with which were associated Warihka and Nakarik. Tusatuk, with which were associated Tsininatak and Witauk. Tukstanu, with which were associated Nakanusts and Nisapst. Earlier sources give other names which do not agree...

Treaty of September 17, 1851

Articles of a treaty made and concluded at Fort Laramie, in the Indian Territory, between D. D. Mitchell, superintendent of Indian affairs, and Thomas Fitzpatrick, Indian agent, commissioners specially appointed and authorized by the President of the United States, of the first part, and the chiefs, headmen, and braves of the following Indian nations, residing south of the Missouri River, east of the Rocky Mountains, and north of the lines of Texas and New Mexico, viz, the Sioux or Dahcotahs, Cheyennes, Arrapahoes, Crows, Assinaboines, Gros-Ventre Mandans, and Arrickaras, parties of the second part, on the seventeenth day of September, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one. Article I. The aforesaid nations, parties to this treaty. having assembled for the purpose of establishing and confirming peaceful relations amongst themselves, do hereby covenant and agree to abstain in future from all hostilities whatever against each other, to maintain good faith and friendship in all their mutual intercourse, and to make an effective and lasting peace. Article II. The aforesaid nations do hereby recognize the right of the United States Government to establish roads, military and other posts, within their respective territories. Article III. In consideration of the rights and privileges acknowledged in the preceding article, the United States bind themselves to protect the aforesaid Indian nations against the commission of all depredations by the people of the said United States, after the ratification of this treaty. Article IV. The aforesaid Indian nations do hereby agree and bind themselves to make restitution or satisfaction for any wrongs committed, after the ratification of this treaty, by any band or individual of their...

Houses of the Arikara Tribe

When or where the Arikara separated from their kindred tribe, the Pawnee, may never be determined, but during the years which followed the separation they continued moving northward, leaving ruined villages to mark the line of their migration. Sixty years ago it was said: “That they migrated upward, 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 now 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 Arikara 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, the former village of the Mandans.”1 The beginning of the last century found the Arikara living in three villages, all on the right bank of the Missouri. In the journal of the French trader Le Rare are brief references to the villages, together with some notes on the manners and customs of the inhabitants. April 22, 1802, he wrote: ” The Ricaras or Rus have three villages, situated on the south bank of the Missouri, in the great bend of the river. The lower village is on a large bottom covered with cotton wood, and contains about fifty huts.” He then...

1837 Smallpox Epidemic

No disease which has been introduced among the tribes, has exercised so fatal an influence upon them as the smallpox. Their physicians have no remedy for it. Old and young regard it as if it were the plague, and, on its appearance among them, blindly submit to its ravages. This disease has appeared among them periodically, at irregular intervals of time. It has been one of the prominent causes of their depopulation. Ardent spirits, it is true, in its various forms, has, in the long run, carried a greater number of the tribes to their graves; but its effects have been comparatively slow, and its victims, though many, have fallen in the ordinary manner, and generally presented scenes less revolting and striking to the eye. This malady swept through the Missouri Valley in 1837. It first appeared on a steamboat, (the St. Peters) in the case of a mulatto man, a hand on board, at the Black-Snake Hills, a trading post, 60 miles above Fort Leavenworth, and about 500 miles above St. Louis. It was then supposed to be measles, but, by the time the boat reached the Council Bluffs, it was ascertained to be small-pox, and had of course been communicated to many in whom the disease was still latent. Every precaution appears to have been taken, by sending runners to the Indians, two days ahead of the boat; but, in spite of these efforts, the disease spread. It broke out among the Mandans about the 15th of July. This tribe, which consisted of 1600 persons, living in two villages, was reduced to 31 souls. It next attacked...

Tipi and Earth Lodges of the Plains Tribes

One of the most characteristic features of Plains Indian culture was the tipi. All the tribes of the area, almost without exception, used it for a part of the year at least. Primarily, the tipi was a conical tent covered with dressed buffalo skins. A carefully mounted and equipped tipi from the Black-foot Indians stands in the center of the Plains exhibit. Everywhere the tipi was made, cared for, and set up by the women. First, a conical framework of long slender poles was erected and the cover raised into place. Then the edges of the cover were staked down and the poles supporting the “ears” put in place. The “ears” are wings, or flies, to keep the wind out of the smoke hole at the top; they were moved about by the outside poles. The fire was built near the center and the beds spread upon the ground around the sides. The head of the family usually sat near the rear, or facing the door. While in essential features the tipis of all Plains tribes were the same, there were nevertheless some important differences. Thus, when setting up a tipi, the Blackfoot, Crow, Sarsi, Hidatsa, Omaha, and Comanche first tie four poles as a support to the others; while the Teton-Dakota, Assiniboin, Cheyenne, Gros Ventre, Arapaho, Kiowa, Plains-Cree, Mandan, and Pawnee use three, or a tripod foundation. For the remaining tribes, we lack data, but it seems safe to assume that they follow one or the other of these methods. The three-pole foundation gives the projecting tops of the poles a spiral appearance while the four-pole beginning tends...
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