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Games of the Plains Tribes

Amusements and gambling are represented in collections by many curious devices. Adults rarely played for amusement, leaving such pastime to children; they themselves played for stakes. Most American games are more widely distributed than many other cultural traits; but a few seem almost entirely peculiar to the Plains. A game in which a forked anchor-like stick is thrown at a rolling ring was known to the Dakota, Omaha, and Pawnee. So far, it has not been reported from other tribes. Hoop Game Another game of limited distribution is the large hoop with a double pole, the two players endeavoring to place the poles so that when the hoop falls, it will make a count according to which of the four marks in the circumference are nearest a pole. This has been reported for the Arapaho, Dakota, and Omaha. Among the Dakota, this game seems to have been associated with magical ceremonies for ” calling the buffalo 7 and also played a part in the ghost dance movement. The Arapaho have also a sacred hoop game associated with the sun dance. Other forms of this game in which a single pole is used have been reported from almost every tribe in the Plains. It occurs also outside this area. Yet, in the Plains it takes special forms in different localities. Thus the Blackfoot and their neighbors used a very small spoked ring with an arrow for the pole, the Mandan used a small plain ring but with a very long pole, while the Comanche used a large life-preserver like hoop with a sectioned club for a pole. Netted Hoop Game...

Indians of the Great Western Prairies

Upon the Yellowstone, and about the headwaters of the Missouri, the most noted tribes are the Crows and Blackfeet. Bordering upon them at the north and northeast are their enemies, the Ojibbeways, Knisteneaux, and Assinaboins, of some of whom brief mention has been made in former chapters. In 1834 the Blackfeet were computed to number over thirty thousand, but when the small-pox swept over the western country, in 1838, they were frightfully reduced. By the returns of 1850, they were represented as amounting to about thirteen thousand. As these Indians are among the farthest removed from the contaminating influence of the whites, and as the prairie abounds in all that is requisite for their subsistence, viz., horses and buffalo, they present fine specimens of the aboriginal race. They are of manly proportions, active, and capable of great endurance: their dress is particularly comfortable and ornamental, bedecked with all the embroidery and fringes characteristic of savage finery. The style of dress, dwellings, means of subsistence, &c., among the Indians of the western prairies, is in many respects so similar, that we shall only avoid wearisome repetition by omitting minute descriptions in speaking of the different tribes. Their Summer and Winter Lodges The summer lodge, necessarily made movable to suit their migratory habits, is a tent of buffalo-skins, supported by pine poles brought from the distant mountains. These skins are neatly and substantially stitched together, and often highly painted and ornamented. The tent is trans ported by tying the poles in two bundles, the small ends of which, bound together, are hung over the shoulders of a horse, while the butts...

Fort Peck Reservation

Fort Peck Agency Report of Special Agent Jere E. Stevens on the Indians of Port Peck reservation, Port Peck agency, Montana, December 1890, and January 1891. Names of Indian tribes or parts of tribes occupying said reservations: Assinaboine, Brule, Santee, Teton, Unkpapa, and Yanktonai Sioux. The unallotted area of this reservation is 1,776,000 acres, or 2,775 square miles. The reservation has not been surveyed, it was established, altered, or changed by treaty of October 17, 1855 (11 U. S. Stats., p. 657); unratified treaties of’ July 18, 1866, and of July 13 and 15 and September 1, 1868; executive orders, July 5, 1873, and August 19, 1874; act of Congress approved. April 15, 1874 (18 U. S. Stats., p. 28); executive orders, April 13, 1875, and July 13, 1880, and agreement made December 28, 1886, approved by Congress May 1, 1888 (25 U. S. Stats.,p. 113). Indian population 1890: Assinaboine Sioux, 719; Yankton or Dakota Sioux (including 110 Gros Ventres), 1,121; total, 1,840. Fort Peck Reservation Port Peck reservation is located in northeastern Montana, on the north bank of the Missouri River, and is crossed by the Great Northern Railroad. The agency is on the reservation. The name of the railroad station is Poplar, and the name of the post office is Poplar Creek Agency, making it somewhat difficult to determine just where to locate it. The Indians at this agency consist of 2 tribes, the Assinaboine Sioux and the Yankton or Dakota Sioux (including 100 Gros Ventres), and all may be classed as belonging to the Sioux Nation. The agency buildings, including those at Wolf Point, a sub-agency,...

Fort Belknap Reservation

Fort Belknap Agency The report of Special Agent Jere E. Stevens on the Indians of Fort Belknap reservation, Fort Belknap agency, Montana, December 1800. Names of Indian tribes or parts of tribes occupying said reservation; (a) Assinaboine and Gros Ventre. The unallotted area of this reservation is 537,600 acres, or 840 square miles. This reservation has not been surveyed. It was established, altered, or changed, by treaty of October 17, 1855 (11 U. S. Stats., p.657); unratified treaties of July 18, 1866, and of July 13 and 15 and September 1,1868; executive orders, July 5, 1873, and August 19, 1874; act of Congress approved April 15, 1874 (18 U. S. State., p. 28); executive orders, April 13, 1875, and July 13, 1880, and agreement made January 21, 1887, approved by Congress May 1, 1888 (25 U. S. Stats. page 113). Indian population 1890: Assinaboine, 952;, Gros Ventre, 770; total, 1,722. Fort Belknap Reservation The agency of this reservation is located on the south bank of the Milk River, 4 miles south of Harlem, a station on the line of the Great Northern railway and the nearest post office. The agency has been located here about a year, having been removed from the old site when the reservation was reduced in size. The Assinaboine live principally along the Milk River, which forms the northern boundary of the reservation, while the greater number of the Gros Ventres live in and near the mountains which form the southern boundary of the reservation, there being a distance of about 30 miles between the two settlements. These two bands are very different in their...

Assiniboin Indians

Assiniboin Indians. From a Chippewa term signifying “one who cooks by the use of stones.” E-tans-ke-pa-se-qua, Hidatsa name, from a word signifying “long arrows” (Long, 1823). Guerriers de pierre, French name. Hohe, Dakota name, signifying “rebels.” Sioux of the Rocks, English name. Stonies, or Stone Indians, English name translated from the Indian. Tlu’tlama’eka, Kutenai name, signifying “cutthroats,” the usual term for Dakota derived from the sign language. Weepers, given by Henry (1809). Assiniboin Connections. The Assiniboin belonged to the Siouan linguistic family, and were a branch of the Dakota (see South Dakota), having sprung traditionally from the Yanktonai whose dialect they spoke. Assiniboin Location. The Assiniboin were most prominently associated historically with the valleys of the Saskatchewan and Assiniboin Rivers, Canada. In the United States they occupied the territory north of the Milk and Missouri Rivers as far east as the White Earth. (See also North Dakota) Assiniboin Subdivisions The latest list is that given by Professor Lowie (1939). He states that, anciently, there were three principal tribal divisions, viz: Ho-‘ke (Like-Big-Fish) Tu-waa’hudaa (Looking-like-Ghosts) Sitcoa’-ski (Tricksters, lit. “Wrinkled-Ankles”). Lowie obtained the names of the following smaller bands: Tcanxta’daa, Uaska’ha (Roamers), Wazi-‘a wintca’cta, (Northern People), Wato-‘paxna-on wan or Wato’paxnatun, Tcan’xe wintca’cta (People of the Woods), Tani°’ta’bin (Buffalo-Hip), Hu’deca-‘bine (Red-Butt), Waci-‘azI hya-bin (Fat-Smokers), Witci-‘abin, In’yanton’wanbin (Rock People), Wato-‘pabin (Paddlers), Cuñtce-‘bi (Canum Mentulae), Cahi-‘a iye’ska-bin (Speakers of Cree (Half-Crees) ), Xe’natonwan (Mountain People), Xe-‘bina (Mountain People), Icna’umbisa, (Those-who-stayalone), and Ini’na u’mbi. Hayden (1862) mentions a band called Min’-i-shinak’-a-to, or Lake People, which does not seem to be identifiable with any of the above. This last may be the band called by Henry...

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 Assiniboin Tribe

The Assiniboin were, until comparatively recent times, a part of the Yanktonai, from whom they may have separated while living in the forest region of the northern section of the present State of Minnesota. Leaving the parent stock, they joined the Cree, then living to the northward, with whom they remained in close alliance. Gradually they moved to the valleys of the Saskatchewan and Assiniboin Rivers and here were encountered by Alexander Henry in 1775. Interesting though brief notes on the structures of the Assiniboin as they appeared in 1775 and 1776 are contained in the narrative of Henry’s travels through the great northern country. In 1775, when west of Lake Winnipeg, Henry wrote: “At eighty leagues above Fort de Bourbon, at the head of a stream which falls into the Sascatchiwaine. and into which we had turned, we found the Pasquayah village. It consisted of thirty families, lodged in tents of a circular form, and composed of dressed ox-skins, stretched upon poles twelve feet in length, and leaning against a stake driven into the ground, in tho centre. On our arrival, the chief, named Chatique or the Pelican, came down upon the beach, attended by thirty followers, all armed with bows and arrows and with spears.”1 Fort de Bourbon stood at the northwest corner of Lake Winnipeg, and the Assiniboin village of Pasquayah was on the present Carrot River, which flows parallel with the Saskatchewan before joining the larger stream. This was in the eastern part of the province of Saskatchewan. Early the following year Henry made a visit to an Assiniboin village, to reach which he crossed...

Atsina Tribe

Atsina Indians (Blackfoot: ăt-se´-na, said to mean ‘gut people.’). A detached branch of the Arapaho, at one time associated with the Blackfeet, but now with the Assiniboin under Ft Belknap agency, Montana

Blackfoot Tribe, Past and Present

Fifty years ago the name Blackfoot was one of terrible meaning to the white traveler who passed across that desolate buffalo-trodden waste which lay to the north of the Yellowstone River and east of the Rocky Mountains. This was the Blackfoot land, the undisputed home of a people which is said to have numbered in one of its tribes the Pi-k[)u]n’-i 8000 lodges, or 40,000 persons. Besides these, there were the Blackfeet and the Bloods, three tribes of one nation, speaking the same language, having the same customs, and holding the same religious faith. But this land had not always been the home of the Blackfeet. Long ago, before the coming of the white men, they had lived in another country far to the north and east, about Lesser Slave Lake, ranging between Peace River and the Saskatchewan, and having for their neighbors on the north the Beaver Indians. Then the Blackfeet were a timber people. It is said that about two hundred years ago the Chippeweyans from the east invaded this country and drove them south and west. Whether or no this is true, it is quite certain that not many generations back the Blackfeet lived on the North Saskatchewan River and to the north of that stream.1 Gradually working their way westward, they at length reached the Rocky Mountains, and, finding game abundant, remained there until they obtained horses, in the very earliest years of the present century. When they secured horses and guns, they took courage and began to venture out on to the plains and to go to war. From this time on, the Blackfeet...
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