September 2, 1833
2 September: Early in the morning, very cool. Overcast sky, much wind. At 7:30, [— —] °F. Many Indians were in the fort early. During the night they had broken a hole in the wall of the Indian store and stolen seven complete outfits for the chiefs. The perpetrator must have remained hidden behind a building in the fort. About seven o’clock we heard shooting, and the band of Kutonä́pi (le Vieux Kootenai) advanced, about sixty to seventy men strong. They marched en front, and three chiefs or principal men were at their head. Mr. Mitchell took the latter into his room and gave them whiskey. While we were having breakfast, old Tátsicki-Stomíck (le Boeuf du Milieu) sat near us and received coffee and meat. Later Bodmer took him into our room to draw him. He hurried away but wanted to have all kinds of presents and begged as all these people do. When he was gone, Nínoch-Kiä́iu was sketched and likewise portrayed very well.
In the meantime, six chiefs were with Mr. Mitchell:
among them le Boeuf du Milieu, la Langue de Biche, l’ Enfant [— —], who were all newly dressed.[Page 2:253] They received red uniform overcoats with blue, black, or green flaps, lapels, and collars with silver or golden braid, as well as a round red or black felt hat with several colorful plumes, a shield with an eagle in front and a metal band around the top, red trousers trimmed with little bells, a colorful calico shirt, a similar scarf with [a] blue and whitish design, [and] a round mirror to hang around their necks (Child [l’ Enfant] [received] a silver medal with President Jackson’s picture); in addition, a knife, generous portions of tobacco, bullets, and powder. They let themselves be dressed, like children, and it was most comical when an attempt was made to press their enormous masses of long strands of hair into hats that were sometimes too tight. A large hair bundle was formed that [had to be] pushed into the top of the hat. According to the company’s prices here, just one such set of apparel costs ninety dollars. Child was the only one to receive a coat that was half red and half blue: the red half with blue lapels, the blue half with red lapels.
Two chiefs—the old Kootenai and Spotted Bear (Ours Caïe), were not here now; they are to be fitted out later. Mr. Mitchell had someone tell them that they could see how much it cost the company to please them. He still had all kinds of goods ready for them, if this winter, after a good hunt, they would trade their beaver here. They should consider, however, that now he had generally received only a very few beaver, therefore he had nothing for all these things he was giving them, and he hoped they would compensate him on their next visit. I requested Mr. Mitchell to ask the old principal chief whether I could safely make the journey to the falls of the Missouri, whereupon he replied that from the Piegans I would undoubtedly have nothing to fear. But the Blood Indians (Kaë́nnas) and the Blackfoot (Siksikas) were fools, as he put it. One had to guard oneself against them. They had recently been shooting at the Piegans here, [so] one can imagine what kind of security there would be out there.
Even Our horses would be stolen even by the Piegans, all the more so by the other tribes; indeed, [horses] were stolen here, close to the fort.
Trading continued today on a small scale. Several horses were brought for sale. At twelve o’clock, 65°F [18.3°C]. Natáh-Otann, who recently had been severely wounded, appeared in the fort again today, drunk, so it appeared; he made a lot of noise and sang. The wounded all seemed to be recovering. Possibly one young man might yet die. Of those (whom I saw) there were in all seven men and a woman; four women and two children had died. Several of the wounded may well have been taken to other places; about them I learned nothing. All the Indians whom we met or who sold us any kind of item always begged for tobacco or other things after they had been satisfied. This is the common or base nature of the Blackfoot; they are accused [of this] by all the other nations. In this regard the Crows, as already mentioned, are the most generous. On various occasions they often very liberally gave presents to the Blackfoot; [yet] when they visited the [Blackfoot] again, they did not receive anything. On the contrary, they were again subjected to begging, something that infuriates the other nations against the Blackfoot.
Toward evening the Indians near the fort were very troublesome. Several had attempted to shoot at the whites on the stockade and were only restrained from doing so by the others. They had broken in at various places and stolen [things]. In the rear blockhouse, they had actually taken a chest and attempted to steal a gun. As already mentioned, they had pilfered many articles of clothing from the store. Mr. Mitchell had the guns loaded with ball and ordered the sentry to keep a close lookout and to shoot immediately as soon as any Indian climbed the stockade. He suggested to the chiefs that they might want to make their young men aware of this.
At six o’clock there was an alarm that about one thousand Assiniboines were approaching. A great many Indians were said to have been seen across the river. The Blood Indians called over that they wanted to come tomorrow to trade; Mr. Mitchell advised against this because Nínoch-Kiä́iu was still in the vicinity and told them [that] they might come the day after tomorrow. After six o’clock all the Indians vanished, and the guards were posted on the roofs with loaded guns. Our horses were suffering from hunger. They could not be driven out to pasture, and in the quadrangle of the fort, they were given only some hay. The evening was cool and unpleasant, the sky overcast, yet bright enough so that our guards could see.[Page 2:254]