August 14th, 1833
14 August: In the morning, bright, beautiful sunshine. At 7:30, 65°F [18.3°C]. Early in the morning a certain Bird, who had formerly worked for the Fur Company and later went over to the Hudson’s Bay Company, appeared on the hills with several Indians. Mr. Mitchell rode out with an interpreter and several men to speak with him.[Page 2:229] Only about twenty-three Indian [tipis] were now standing around the fort. Opposite, on the riverbank, three or four [tipis] of the Gros Ventres had been erected. Niätóhsä, the Gros Ventre chief, who recently was the first to come to us on the boat, visited us in the fort and was well received, because Mr. Mitchell has a high regard for these Indians. He wanted whiskey for himself and for several of his friends. Mr. Bodmer had sketched him on the ship. Mr. Mitchell returned. He brought Bird with him, who had not just come from the north, as had been said earlier, but from the Yellowstone. [He] brought letters from Mr. Mc Kenzie. Everything was going well at Fort Union.
At ten o’clock Mr. Patton left here for Fort Union with eleven men in a large pirogue; the boat was heavily loaded and had no more space in it. The entire forenoon was spent with entertainment and conversations with individual Indians. One saw many drunken Indians everywhere; entire families came and begged incessantly for whiskey. I saw two men on horseback, both on the same horse, drunk; the one in front rattled his chichikué, sang, and shrieked; the one behind was the old man who had recently delivered the speech in the fort to Biche Caïe; he hung down and was very drunk. A woman led the horse, and several children walked along beside it. Several Indians brought us women and girls to barter them for whiskey and other things, as is customary. At twelve o’ clock, 71°F [21.7°C]. It was very hot today.
Bird had ridden off again toward noon; at present he was not employed by any company but instead hunted and trapped for himself. He is a half-Indian [and] looks brown, though his hair is crinkled. He speaks the language of the Indians perfectly; he knows and lives with them constantly. [He] is, moreover, a bad, deceitful man who can become very dangerous. He rode away with Biche Caïe, who wants to camp some distance away from here down along the river. Night, starlit and windy.
Biche Caïe had been grievously offended again this evening, because he was refused whiskey when he demanded it for the fourth time. He wanted to withdraw immediately with all his people and also demanded [his] gift of beaver back again; the Indians can frequently be so silly and childish, and ungrateful besides. Mr. Mitchell remained firm and told him he should leave. That evening he let it be known that he had thought it over, and if Mr. Mitchell gave him just a small glass of whiskey the next morning, so that his people saw that he had not been completely forgotten, he would retract everything he had said and quarrel no more.