September 4, 1833
4 September: In the morning, cool; slightly overcast sky. At 7:30, 62°F [16.7°C]. Several Piegans came into the fort early. At 9:30 the band of Blood Indians, which had been camped here since yesterday, moved close to the fort. The chiefs—la Dépouille de Boeuf M47Stomíck-Sosáck. and a medicine man and chief of the same bandM48His name was Celui Qui s’Appelle l’Aigle, Pehtónista. entered and sat down in the mess hall, where they were given whiskey and something to smoke. Soon the two leaders of the Blackfoot war party arrived; the first of [them] was a tall, handsome man, le Collier Loup. M49Makúie-Kinn (‘e’ full quality). Old Dépouille de Boeuf is a very good man who saved Mr. Mitchell’s life last year when an Indian wanted to kill him with his lance. He is the chief of the small band of Blood Indians that for some time had been living near the Piegans, and he also wanted to remain loyal to this fort here. On his chest the chief wore a medal from President Jefferson. His face had a very pleasant, calm expression. He regretted the incident when his son had shot young Martin to death here in the fort and said, when Mr. Mitchell had him questioned about this matter, that it happened by accident and certainly was not deliberate. He spoke much about his love for the French, always called Mr. Mitchell his son, and said he has always greatly regretted that, because of the unfortunate incident with Nínoch-Kiä́iu, he could only view the fort from a distance. This evening he will strike camp and move to the Teton in order not to give cause for a quarrel with the Piegans.
One of the two Blackfoot [men] took off all his clothes, including an especially fine jacket, and gave them to Mr. Mitchell as a gift. They do not hesitate to sit there completely naked, but the old Blood Indian chief later gave [the Indian] his buffalo robe. These latter Indians did not have more than seventeen beaver in all, and no robes to trade, either. They asked to have everything that one was willing to give them delivered today, because they would be leaving in the evening. Mr. Mitchell received several very
beautiful good horses.M50At noon, 68°F [20°C].
Many Indians came into the fort individually. The begging and pestering for tobacco and whiskey went on incessantly; there was no respite from them. They were strong men with characteristic features. The faces of most of them were painted vermilion, others black. Some wore single feathers in their hair; others had medicine hides decorated with little bells, shiny buttons, yellow clasps, glass beads, feathers, and the like. Some had very beautiful clothing. Their weapons [were] mostly guns and bows and arrows. The guns are covered at each end of the brass ramrod pipes with red cloth and often ornamented with yellow nails. Many wore pendants of shells and glass beads in three places in their ears (the shells are dentalia or mother of pearl from bivalve lake mussels). Several of them were very curious; [they] clambered around everywhere and wanted to see everything. One was a bad person. He forced his way in with the chiefs, and he was informed several times through them that he must leave, but he could not be prevailed upon. His face was painted yellow and red. On his head he wore an ornamented pelt and several feathers; the expression on his features revealed him to be a genuine barbarian. Two years ago, during the peace treaty, he had immediately made a drawing on a hide for Berger, showing how he had already killed five whites, and boasted about it.
Old Dépouille de Boeuf was in a great hurry to get away; for this reason his portrait, which was begun, could not be finished. He wanted to sell in a hurry what he had to dispose of and wanted to have whiskey for it. All afternoon one saw [him] carrying around kegs and pots. Several other Piegan chiefs were also constantly in the fort. La Langue de Biche and L’Enfant did not go away; they all begged for whiskey. Because a quarrel could easily arise, we very much wanted to see the Blood Indians go away. In this respect, everything went well. And, as usual in the evening, with the approach of dusk, all the Indians were shown out of the fort.
Deschamps, his brother, Papin, and Louis Vachard were ordered tonight, as soon as the heavily waning moon had risen, to take eleven or twelve horses from here down to Fort Union. They were supposed to find their way along the other riverbank downstream along the Missouri. There is a rumor circulating that the Indians have already made plans for the theft of our horses. Perhaps this way one can forestall them.[Page 2:256] As long as these men are nearby, one cannot put the horses out to pasture, and there is practically no more hay, since the Indians have burned what remained. The evening was pleasant, but the cool autumn nights are already here.