June 2, 1833
2 June: Early in the morning, bright, beautiful sunshine, pleasant; at noon, hot in the sun, cool in the wind. The Indians visited us very early. Later we went into several of their [tipis]. I bought various articles from them, including bows, arrows, quivers, a saddlebag of painted parchment, a pipe, a hoop game with four sticks, and particularly the beautifully painted buffalo hide that the woman whom Mr. Bodmer had painted was wearing. In a [tipi] that we first entered and where we passed our pipe around to smoke, several tall, impressive men made their appearance. The head of the house was a handsome, rather lightly colored man with a very friendly expression. His wife was very attractively dressed in ornamented leather, and her summer hide cloak was beautifully painted. She wanted too much for all these things.M13Oahat-sanka ('sanka' short and without stress)in the Dacota language. We got one shield and a pipe, for which we traded glass beads (they like the blue and white ones best) and several other things. At the inner edge of the [tipi], behind the hides on which we were sitting, there were all kinds of interesting things, including two children’ s cradles, of which the larger one was equipped with especially fine wide leather straps. These straps go straight across the body of the child; another big one, over the head. They were very attractively embroidered with brightly colored quills in the most vivid colors and included one on a snowwhite background with vermilion figures of men and black dogs.
We saw how the women made their attractive pieces, embroidered shoes, and the like. They had soaked some of the leather in a bucket and stretched it out lengthwise with their teeth. In the middle of the [tipi], a small fire burns; rather close to it is the middle pole of the [tipi], on which a wooden hook hangs that supports the cooking kettle over the fire. All of them had iron kettles. Before most [tipis], on several poles attached to each other, hung several bundles wrapped in colorfully painted parchment: medicine bags that they open when they go to war. At another [tipi] we saw skins that were already tanned being scraped with rough stones and a piece of iron and also [being] pulled to and fro over a string stretched across a stake to make them more pliant.M14Say was one of the first to describe the procedure for preparing hides among the Missouri Indians.
In all the [tipis] there were packs of dogs, which the Dacotas eat. They often keep puppies, which play with the children. Very small children already had two holes in each ear, one in the lobe and the other at the upper edge; most of them already wear strings of glass beads in [their ears]. Some of the old women were exceptionally ugly and dirty. They have to do all the work, the women in general, and the men lead a very easy and comfortable life once they have provided food. [Page 2:104]They sit around all day, smoke their pipes, or walk about leisurely. On the way home, we saw the young Ponca Indian and a Dacota playing the hoop game.M15 Hoop game (sakodeska-kutepi). They rolled a thick hoop along the ground, and each of them threw two sticks into this hoop, which was marked with certain symbols. The winnings are determined according to the position of the sticks. They have the strange custom of placing their dead on scaffolds, sometimes barely a few hundred paces from their [tipis], where they have to endure the sight and even the odor.
Today bales of bison hides [were] loaded into the Yellow Stone all day long, probably 7, 000 hides. Tomorrow morning we expect the Assiniboine here at our bank; the first-named ship is to start downstream tomorrow.