Bears Arm & Drags Wolf tell of old times to Col. A. B. Welch, Mandan, ND, Aug. 8, 1933

Welch is invited to the Dedication Ceremony of the Four Bears Bridge at Elbowoods,  September 8th, 1933

 

 Present:

Arthur Mandan, interpreter.

Drags Wolf, son of Crow Flies High, Chief of Gros Ventre.

Bears Arm, Chief of Gros Ventre band.

One Other, Gros Ventre.

All a committee to select monument to be unveiled at the dedication of the Four Bear Bridge across the Missouri at Elbowoods, to be held on September 8th, 1933.

The visit today was very ceremonious.  Yesterday the committee had appeared during the naming of the Exalted Ruler of the Elks, and I was too busy to more than talk with them.  However, after the above rites, I met them at the marble works and assisted them in selection of a monument.  Today, after a slow smoke, Drags Wolf arose and shook hands with me and made a speech. It was very complimentary to me and ended with an invitation to be one of the speakers at the dedication.  He then shook hands and sat down.  Then Bears Arm did the same thing.

Bears Arm                                       Drags Wolf

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Information received thru these speeches:

“None of us were born then.  We were all born in the Berthold village.  When Four Bears, the Chief of the Hidatsa, took this journey, it was a wild country and full of dangers.  War parties sometimes went as far as south of the Black Hills at that time, but we do not know if they knew the way to Fort Laramie.  They took their bravest men on that trip.  They all made a vow that, if anything happened to their Chief, they would die there with him.  They finally reached that fort.  There were many people there.  They represented many tribes.  They signed the treaty (1851).  They returned to our village.  The Gros Ventre had lived at that new village seven winters then.  Four Bears left in the summertime.  The Mandans had lived there with us for three winters.  The Sanish (Arikara) still lived in the old villages at Fort Clark and by the Knife river (the present Fort Clark and Stanton).  The Hidatsa always were peaceful toward the white people.  We served in the armies, too.  We always were careful not to kill whites unless they stepped over our pipes.  Some bad white men might do something bad, but we were always careful.  As this is an affair with us and as we were always good to the soldiers, we would like for you to come in full uniform that day….”

They asked me to use my medal as a model for the stone and to ascertain who signed the treaty.

 

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