Topic: Gros Ventre

Transportation of Plains Indians

Before the introduction of the horse, the Plains Indians traveled on foot. The tribes living along the Mississippi made some use of canoes, according to early accounts, while those of the Missouri and inland, used only crude tub-like affairs for ferry purpose. When first discovered, the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara had villages on the Missouri, in what is now North Dakota, but they have never been credited with canoes. For crossing the river, they used the bull-boat, a tub-shaped affair made by stretching buffalo skins over a wooden frame; but journeys up and down the bank were made on foot. Many of the Eastern Dakota used small canoes in gathering wild rice in the small lakes of Minnesota, though the Teton-Dakota have not been credited with the practice. It seems probable that the ease of travel in the open plains and the fact that the buffalo were often to be found inland, made the use of canoes impractical, whereas along the great lakes the broad expanse of water offered every advantage to their use. Since almost every Plains tribe used some form of the bull-boat for ferrying, and many of them came in contact with canoe-using Indians, the failure of those living along the Missouri to develop the canoe can scarcely be attributed to ignorance. When on the march, baggage was carried on the human back and also by...

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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...

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An Empty Saddle – Pvt. Clarence Spotted Wolf

“If I should be killed, I want you to bury me cession. It is pleasing to fancy the spirits of One of the hills east of the place where my brave warriors long departed watching benign grandparents and brothers and sisters only from the Happy Hunting Grounds, Other relatives are buried. As for the empty saddle — who knows? “If you have a memorial service, I want the soldiers to go ahead with the American flog. I want cowboys to follow, all on horseback. I want one of the cowboys to lend one of the wildest of the T...

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Agreement of July 27, 1866

Articles of agreement and convention made and concluded at Fort Berthold in the Territory of Dakota, on the twenty-seventh day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six, by and between Newton Edmunds, governor and ex-officio superintendent of Indian affairs of Dakota Territory; Major General S. R. Curtis, Orrin Guernsey and Henry W. Reed, commissioners appointed on the part of the United States to make treaties with the Indians of the Upper Missouri; and the chiefs and headmen of the Arickaree tribe of Indians, Witnessed as follows: Article I. Perpetual peace, friendship, and amity shall hereafter exist between the United States and the said Arickaree Indians. Article II. The said Arickaree tribe of Indians promise and agree that they will maintain peaceful and friendly relations toward the whites; that they will in future, abstain from all hostilities against each other, and cultivate mutual good will and friendship, not only among themselves, but toward all other friendly tribes of Indians. Article III. The chiefs and headmen aforesaid acting as the representatives of the tribe aforesaid and being duly authorized and hereunto directed, in consideration of the payments and privileges hereinafter stated, do hereby grant and convey to the United States the right to lay out and construct roads, highways, and telegraphs through their country, and to use their efforts to prevent them from annoyance...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Plains Indians Use of Rawhide

The Use of Rawhide. In the use of rawhide for binding and hafting (handle or strap), the Plains tribes seem almost unique. When making mauls and stone-headed clubs a piece of green or wet hide is firmly sewed on and as this dries its natural shrinkage sets the parts firmly. This is nicely illustrated in saddles. Thus, rawhide here takes the place of nails, twine, cement, etc., in other cultures. The Partleche A number of characteristic bags were made of rawhide, the most conspicuous being the parfleche. Its simplicity of construction is inspiring and its usefulness scarcely to be...

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Religion and Ceremonies of the Plains Tribes

The sacred beliefs of these Indians are largely formulated and expressed in sayings and narratives having some resemblance to the legends of European peoples. There are available large collections of these tales and myths from the Blackfoot, Crow, Nez Perce, Assiniboin, Gros Ventre, Arapaho, Arikara, Pawnee, Omaha, Northern Shoshoni, and less complete series from the Dakota, Cheyenne, and Ute. In these will be found much curious and interesting information. Each tribe in this area has its own individual beliefs and sacred myths, yet many have much in common, the distribution of the various incidents therein forming one of the...

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Hunting and Food of the Plains Tribes

Since this is a discussion of the general characteristics of Plains Indians, we shall not take them up by tribes, as is usual, but by topics, Anthropologists are accustomed to group the facts of primitive life under the following main heads: material culture (food, transportation, shelter, dress, manufactures, weapons, etc.), social organization, religion and ceremonies, art, language, and physical type. Food The flesh of the buffalo was the great staple of the Plains Indians, though elk, antelope, bear and smaller game were not infrequently used. On the other hand, vegetable foods were always a considerable portion of their diet,...

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Industrial Arts of the Plains Tribes

Under this head the reader may be reminded that among most American tribes each family produces and manufactures for itself. There is a more or less definite division between the work of men and women, but beyond that there is little specialization. The individuals are not of equal skill, but still each practices practically the whole gamut of industrial arts peculiar to his sex. This fact greatly increases the importance of such arts when considered as cultural traits. Fire making The methods of making fire are often of great cultural interest. So far as our data go, the method...

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Government and Societies of the Plains Tribes

The political organization of plains tribes was rather loose and in general quite democratic. Each band, gens, or clan informally recognized an indefinite number of men as head men, one or more of whom were formally vested with representative powers in the tribal council. Among the Dakota, there was a kind of society of older men, self-electing, who legislated on all important matters. They appointed four of their number to exercise the executive functions. The Omaha had a somewhat similar system. The Cheyenne had four chiefs of equal rank and a popularly elected council of forty members. Among the...

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Household Utensils of the Plains Indians

In a preceding section, reference was made to baskets, which in parts of the Plateau area on the west, often served as pots for boiling food. They were not, of course, set upon the fire, the water within being heated by hot stones. Pottery was made by the Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara, and probably by all the other tribes of the Village group. There is some historical evidence that it was once made by the Blackfoot and there are traditions of its use among the Gros Ventre, Cheyenne, and Assiniboin; but, with the possible exception of the Blackfoot, it...

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