August 17, 1833
17 August: Beautiful, clear morning. At 7:30, 68°F. Quite early in the morning, one heard the Indians howling and weeping in the [tipis] behind the fort. The murdered man’s corpse was brought into the fort, bound on a travois and wrapped in a red blanket and a buffalo hide; the travois [was] fastened to the back of a horse. A large number of Indians—women and children and an old man—followed, crying and wailing. An old woman had cut off a joint of a finger, which was still bleeding. To stop the bleeding, [she] held the stump concealed in a handful of wormwood leaves. [After] the men of the fort had taken the corpse down from the travois between the two gates and brought it into the Indian area, a young man, the chief’s brother, delivered a short speech to the Indians standing there lamenting. He said to them, “Why are you crying? See, I am not crying. He has gone into the other country, and we cannot wake him up again, but at least two Blood Indians must go with him and serve him there.”
Yesterday and all night the corpse had lain in the open, and it gave off a strong odor; one had to act quickly to dispose of it, and Mr. Mitchell gave the necessary orders to do so. The dead Indian’s brother, a boy, had also died last night. They said the murder victim had taken him away, and they presented the boy’s corpse [as well] to Mr. Mitchell. Because a child of [Mr. Mitchell's] had died at birth, we had three corpses in the fort today.
Toward noon we saw a large number of Indians descending the opposite hills [leading] their loaded travois, some on dogs [and] some on horses. [They] were members of the Piegan band announced by Berger. At twelve o’clock, 75°F [23.9°C]. The three dead persons—two Indians and Mr. Mitchell’s little child—were buried this morning. A grave had been dug. The Indians were wrapped in a red wool blanket and buffalo hide, [and] a piece of colorful cloth provided by Mr. Mitchell was placed over them. The grave was lined underneath, all around, and above with boards. On top of [the boards], several of the deceased’s belongings were placed, and earth on top of these. His riding gear, whip, and the like were buried with him.
In the afternoon shooting was heard, and about six Indians of Middle Bull’s band and his son arrived. They were brought over, and men from the fort brought their baggage into the mess hall. [When] they learned that one was not safe from the Blood Indians, someone was sent across the river to bring over their horses. One [man] was in a red and blue uniform with silver braid. Another had cut off his hair straight above his cheeks, probably because of mourning. Several had a number of tufts of hair on their leather shirts, and one also had a bundle of ermine strings.M22One of these Indians carried the sign of the Society des Corbeaux ([——]), a pole decorated with cloth with a large number of white and black eagle feathers hanging down, between which there are strings of leather with ornaments.
Today the buffalo robes on hand had been packed together and pressed into bales of ten pieces each and tied. Before the fort, wood was stacked for the preparation of charcoal, which, with wood of this kind (cottonwood), should be completely charred in six to eight days. In the afternoon a strong wind had come up; otherwise it was very warm.[Page 2:233] All around the fort, a 4 to 5-foot-high plant [— —], which I preserved today, was now blooming massively. Otherwise we could not go [far] from the immediate vicinity of the fort, since nothing good could be expected from the Blood Indians. Therefore our collections, except for the very precious Indian curiosities, were in a sad, debilitated condition.