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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...

Treaty of October 17, 1855

Articles of agreement and convention made and concluded at the council-ground on the Upper Missouri, near the mouth of the Judith River, in the Territory of Nebraska, this seventeenth day of October, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-five, by and between A. Cumming and Isaac I. Stevens, commissioners duly appointed and authorized, on the part of the United States, and the undersigned chiefs, headmen, and delegates of the following nations and tribes of Indians, who occupy, for the purposes of hunting, the territory on the Upper Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, and who have permanent homes as follows: East of the Rocky Mountains, the Blackfoot Nation, consisting of the Piegan, Blood, Blackfoot, and Gros Ventres tribes of Indians. West of the Rocky Mountains, the Flathead Nation, consisting of the Flathead, Upper Pend d’Oreille, and Kootenay tribes of Indians, and the Nez Percé tribe of Indians, the said chiefs, headmen and delegates, in behalf of and acting for said nations and tribes, and being duly authorized thereto by them. Article 1. Peace, friendship and amity shall hereafter exist between the United States and the aforesaid nations and tribes of Indians, parties to this treaty, and the same shall be perpetual. Article 2. The aforesaid nations and tribes of Indians, parties to this treaty, do hereby jointly and severally covenant that peaceful relations shall likewise be maintained among themselves in future; and that they will abstain from all hostilities whatsoever against each other, and cultivate mutual good-will and friendship. And the nations and tribes aforesaid to furthermore jointly and severally covenant, that peaceful relations shall be maintained with and...

Treaty of July 16, 1855

Articles of agreement and convention made and concluded at the treaty-ground at Hell Gate, in the Bitter Root Valley, this sixteenth day of July, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-five, by and between Isaac I. Stevens, governor and superintendent of Indian affairs for the Territory of Washington, on the part of the United States, and the undersigned chiefs, head-men, and delegates of the confederated tribes of the Flathead, Kootenay, and Upper Pend d’ Oreilles Indians, on behalf of and acting for said confederated tribes, and being duly authorized thereto by them. It being understood and agreed that the said confederated tribes do hereby constitute a nation, under the name of the Flathead Nation, with Victor, the head chief of the Flathead tribe, as the head chief of the said nation, and that the several chiefs, head-men, and delegates, whose names are signed to this treaty, do hereby, in behalf of their respective tribes, recognize Victor as said head chief. Article 1. The said confederated tribe of Indians hereby cede, relinquish, and convey to the United States all their right, title, and interest in and to the country occupied or claimed by them, bounded and described as follows, to wit: Commencing on the main ridge of the Rocky Mountains at the forty-ninth (49th) parallel of latitude, thence westwardly on that parallel to the divide between the Flat-bow or Kootenay River and Clarke’s Fork, thence southerly and southeasterly along said divide to the one hundred and fifteenth degree of longitude, (115°,) thence in a southwesterly direction to the divide between the sources of the St. Regis Borgia and...

Jocko Reservation

Flathead Agency Report of Special Agent Horatio L. Seward on the Indians of the Jocko reservation, Flathead agency, Montana, December 1890, and January 1891. Names of Indian tribes or parts of tribes occupying said reservation:1 Bitter Root, Carlos band, Flathead, Kutenay, Lower Kalispal, and Pend d’Oreille. The unallotted area of this reservation is 1,433,600 acres, or 2,240 square miles. The reservation has been partly surveyed. It was established, altered, or changed by treaty of July 16, 1855 (19 U. S. Stats., p. 075). Indian population 1890: Pend d’Oreilles, Pmt nays, and Flatheads, 1,608; Carlos band and Bitter Root Flatheads, 146; Lower Kalispel, 57; total, 1,811. Jocko Agency The agency is situated in the southwestern portion of the Jocko Valley, which is 10 to 12 miles long and 5 to 6 miles wide. The mountains on either side are heavily timbered with white pine, very large and straight. The Indians are nearly all Roman Catholics. There is a neat little church at the agency, which is well attended. Nearly all of these Indians are self-supporting, with good farms well fenced and substantial pine houses. Some, however, live in tepees, especially in summer. Louison, a Flathead or Salish Indian, lives on the agency’s reservation, has a big herd of cattle and horses, and is worth $15,000 or $20,000. Eight per cent only of the Indians of the confederated tribes of the Flatheads, Pend d’Oreilles, and Kutenays are to a more or less extent dependent upon the government for maintenance. Assistance is also rendered to deserving Indians, especially in the matter of implements, clothing, and tools. The provisions and blankets are mostly...

Condition of the Idaho Indians in 1890

Early the summer of 1877 troubles arose in regard to the occupancy of the Wallowa valley by white settlers, it having been withdrawn in 1875 as a reservation under treaty of 1873, because of the failure, of the Indians to permanently occupy it. An Indian belonging to a band of non-treaty Indians under Chief Joseph was killed by some settlers; then the Indians insisted upon the removal of the settlers and the restitution of the valley to them. Upon the refusal of the government to do this, and after further efforts to compel all the non-treaty Indians to come into the reservation at Lapwai, an outbreak occurred, under the leadership of Joseph, which resulted in a number of pitched battles, with great loss. He was compelled to retreat, the forces under General Howard pursuing him eastwardly across the headwaters of the Snake River and through the Yellowstone national park, where the pursuit was taken up by the threes under General Terry, resulting finally in the capture of Joseph and his band. On the morning or September 30, 1877, Chief Joseph and his Nez Perces were met and surrounded by Colonel Nelson A. Miles and his command in the valley of Snake creek, northern Montana. On the 4th of October 1877, they surrendered. The length of this raid, the march of the troops, and the tact displayed by Joseph form one of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of Indian outbreaks, Eighty-seven warriors, 184 squaws, and 117 children surrendered. They were sent under guard to Fort Abraham Lincoln, North Dakota, thence to Fort Leavenworth, and afterward located in the...

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