Little Stories of the Dakota Territory in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s

Story No. 1…SITTING BULL AND  THE BOTTLE OF HORSE RADISH    

Story No. 2…CHIEF JOHN GRASS COMMENTS TO WELCH (1915) ON THE EVILS OF WHISKEY AND ADULTERY    

Story No. 3…LITTLE BRAVE AND HIS PINTO PONY    

Story No. 4…HOW “BRISTLING” GOT HIS NAME    

Story No. 5...HOW BLOODY KNIFE DIED WITH CUSTER    

Story No. 6...ALBERT GRASS DIED A TRUE WARRIOR IN THE TRENCHES OF FRANCE, 1918    

Story No. 7...MRS. WELCH DINES WITH SITTING BULL    

Story No. 8...He-Yo-Ka    

Story No. 9…SIOUX VENGEANCE    

Story No. 10…THUNDERBIRD – (Red Fish Pictograph, 1915)    

Story No. 11…THE SIOUX ADOPT A BRAVE ENEMY    

Story No. 12 ...CROW MAN EXPLAIN S THE “COUP” TO ME, 1921    

Story No. 13...COUPS OF CHIEF JOHN GRASS    


 

 

Story No. 1 

SITTING BULL AND  THE BOTTLE OF HORSE RADISH:

It is told of him that, while a guest at some officer’s dinner party (probably Fort Yates in the mid 1880’s), he saw a bottle of fresh horse radish on the table.  He helped himself liberally, with the assistance of the blade of his knife, and put the entire ‘load’ into his mouth.  He then passed the bottle around to the other Indians who each took a knife blade full and ate it.  Great tears rolled down their cheeks, but not a word was said by any of them until the last Indian had taken a mouthful of the stinking root.  Then they all broke out laughing and talking and joking one another.

 

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “Sitting Bull his last days”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

Story No. 2

CHIEF JOHN GRASS COMMENTS TO WELCH (1915) ON THE EVILS OF WHISKEY AND ADULTERY

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Photo of John Grass, 1917

 

Two Indian men and one woman were in the penitentiary at Bismarck: one of the men for horse stealing, and the other and the woman for adultery.  After we had gone through the pen and were again at the office, John Grass sent for the Indian inmates and the Warden had them brought to the office.  Grass gave them a good lot of advice.  In his talking to them he told them that:

 “There are two things which the Dakotah people should be careful about.  They are the two worst evils of all: running off with another man’s wife and whiskey.”

 “If a man did not drink whiskey, he probably would not run off with another man’s wife, so drinking is perhaps the worst evil of the two.”

 “When you feel like you want another man’s woman,” he said, “go down into the timber where the little trees grow.  Cut a nice little one, and then switch it a while and it will  not be so anxious to go.”

 

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “Chief John Grass”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

 

Story No. 3

LITTLE BRAVE AND HIS PINTO PONY

Fort Berthold visit, October 1921, by Welch:

After walking through the ruined village we went to the grave of the Scouts to the northeast of the old site.  These graves of 102 Scouts, who served the United States Army in the early days, all lie together in a well-kept plot.  The flag flies on important days from a tall staff and each grave is marked by a U.S. headstone.  The Scouts Little Brave, Bob Tail Bull and Bloody Knife were all killed with Custer and their bodies were buried where found.  The stones, however, are erected at Berthold.

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Pictograph of Little Brave and his Pony

Later in the ceremonies, the people sung a song about Little Brave, which ran something like this:

The pinto horse came home alone.

Little Brave never came again.

 They told me that Little Brave had ridden a pinto pony, which long after the fight on the Little Big Horn, came into the camp from across the river and walked around, neighing, and seemed to be hunting for the Indian Scout.  They treated the horse very well and never allowed any one to ride it but a brave man after that.

 

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “Survivors of the Little Big Horn speak”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

 

 Story No. 4

HOW “BRISTLING” GOT HIS NAME

little-story-no-4-bristling

Photo of Bristling

 

Bristling (Hobu) is a name referred to by Elk in a talk with Welch, September 12th, 1922:

Hobu (Bristling) got his name this way.  He was shot by the enemy so many times.  He had a lot of arrows sticking in him.  He was a great warrior then.  They called him Bristling for that.  Some other people call him Wahinkpe Mani (Walking Arrow).

 

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “Indian Biographies”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

 

Story No. 5

HOW BLOODY KNIFE DIED WITH CUSTER

little-story-no-5-bloody-knife-and-custer

Emeron White, Dakota, educated, Fort Yates, August 17, 1922 talks to Welch: The Sioux people sing a song about a Ree Scout who died with Custer.  They call him Makpia Tatonka (Buffalo Cloud).  He rode a swift horse but it was wounded and they got around him.  The scout begged for his life and named the first born of the families of these Hunkpapa who were around him.  This is sacred to the people to name the first born and they always let an enemy get away when they do that.  But, this time everyone was excited and so they killed him there.  I think maybe that it was Bloody Knife, his other name.  They are all sorry for that thing now and sing this song in his honor:

 “The horse came alone

Where is his rider?

Where is Buffalo Cloud?

Here he lays.”

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “Survivors of the Little Big Horn speak”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

 

 

Story No. 6

ALBERT GRASS DIED A TRUE WARRIOR IN THE TRENCHES OF FRANCE, 1918

Part of address given by Major A. B. Welch, May 19, 1921,  in honor of Albert Grass, grandson of Chief John Grass….Welch brought Albert’s body back from France

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Photo of Albert Grass, 1918

“……….no cool skill or frenzied personal bravery could save him on that July day in 1918, when savage death rode through the air and tore at the earth, upon the wings of a swirling tornado of infernal destructiveness and fierce Hunnish frightfulness, which swept the hills and wheat fields west of the Paris-Soissons Road.

“For three days he had fought with his Battalion in such a battle as the Americans had never known before then.  With roar of hundreds of heavy guns in his ears; the stunning crash of rending shells; the maniacal chatter of machine guns; the steady undertone of rifle fire; with the ever-present danger of low flying enemy planes and with the grass bending low before the sweeping deluge of sudden death  – this man volunteered to supply his few remaining living and wounded comrades with water.  In this he undertook an act of valor to perform, beyond that which could be expected from any brave man.  And in that self-imposed mission of loyalty, he heroically lost his life.  With the battle cry of his fathers upon his lips and with his rifle hot in his hands, his life was torn from him as swiftly as by a stroke of lightning.  And there upon the shell-wrecked ground, made sacred to us by the very fact of his blood thus shed for principle and freedom, he lay dead upon the altar of devotion and sacrifice.”

 

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “Indian Histories”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

 

Story No. 7

MRS. WELCH DINES WITH SITTING BULL:

little-story-no-7-mrs-welch-dines-with-sitting-bull-general-crook

Col. Welch relates:   At one time my wife, Adelaide,  Mrs. Welch, was a guest of General Crook at Fort Yates (probably sometime in the 1880’s).  Sitting Bull and several other influential Sioux sat at the table for dinner.  Sitting Bull was clothed in the customary breech cloth and leggins.  He very gravely unfolded his napkin, spread it out neatly upon the chair, and sat down upon it.  (Note: Mrs. Welch was at least 10 years older than Col. Welch, probably born mid 1860’s)

 

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “Survivors of the Little Big Horn speak”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

 

Story No. 8

He-Yo-Ka….

Welch interview, undated (probably mid 1920’s), with His Holy Road (Ihankton):

Photo of His Holy Road

little-story-no-8-his-holy-road

He-Yo-Ka is the name of a Dakotah mythical character…a sort of strangely acting ‘spirit.’

He is exactly opposite of the natural order of things.  He wears a heavy buffalo robe in the hot weather and goes naked in the winter time.  When people cry with sorrow, he laughs with glee.  He mourns when people are happy.

He is supposed to be a small man and lives in a hill called Heyokati (Lodge of Heyoka), which is the name of a little hill about ten miles east of Lac-qui-parle.  Other little hills are also supposed to be his abode.

 

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “Mythology”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

 

Story No. 9

SIOUX VENGEANCE

James All Yellow says, Sept., 1915:

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“Once a man was away hunting.  When he came back he found his father, mother and some more relatives killed by some soldiers from Fort Rice.

He was very mad and made a promise to kill many whites.  His name was Grey Bear.  He is dead now.  He had a friend who promised that thing, too.

When they saw a white man, they go and kill him.  They kill one here.  They kill one over there, too.  Flying By was his friend.  He is alive now.

Grey Bear killed thirty one white people and Flying By killed about fifty white people for that thing they did.  They were both very brave.”

 

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “Indian Histories”

 

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Story No. 10

THUNDERBIRD – (Red Fish Pictograph, 1915)

little-story-no-10-thunderbird

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “Swords and Shields”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

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Story No. 11

THE SIOUX ADOPT A BRAVE ENEMY

Story told by Coffee, an old Mandan Scout out of Fort Lincoln, June 1923:

Photo of Coffee, 1924

little-story-no-11-coffee

”One time Hollow Horn Bear, a Sioux, came with many men to fight us at the Fish Hook Village.  We saw them cross the river. They came close to the village.  Our young men were anxious to fight them.  There was one Sioux killed close to one of our lodges.  We fought so hard that they could not carry him away.  We drove them away from him.  They did not want any of us to make coup upon him.”

“Then many men tried to count coup upon him.  But one young man named Moves Slowly was very brave. He said he would count coup upon him or die there.  He wrapped a blanket around his arm and rushed out among the enemy.  He went on.  He got close.  He went on then.  He was there.  He struck the enemy.  He came back then. The Sioux carried the dead man away with them.”

“That night they sent an invitation to Moves Slowly to visit their camp.  He thought they would kill him.  But he went.  A Chief had invited him.  He was brave.  He had made coup on them.  He walked among their lodges that night time.  He sat down among them there. He ate their meat.”

“Then Sitting White Buffalo, a Sioux, adopted Moves Slowly.  Because he was a brave man.  He made him his son.  He gave him his own name then.  We gave him a new name too.  We called him after that Ie-he-na-wi-i (Adopted).

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “War Drums, The Sioux Fight at Berthold”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

 

 Story No. 12 ...

CROW MAN EXPLAIN S THE “COUP” TO ME, 1921:

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“There are four coup honors.  This is to strike the enemy. 

The first man to strike an enemy man is entitled to first coup and can wear a white feather straight up in his hair.

The second man to strike him has second coup honors and can wear the feather leaning to one side for that.

The third man to strike him has third coup honors and can wear the feather crosswise.

The fourth to strike him gets fourth coup honors and can wear the feather hanging down.”

“If you are wounded you can wear a feather, a red one, in your head for that thing.  It is shaved and looks like a flower.  Maybe you call that ‘split’ feather.  All the people can read these coup honors or wounded feathers and no one can wear them who is not entitled to them, for all the people then would make fun of him.”

 

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “Customs”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

 

Story No. 13…

Coups of Chief John Grass

little-story-no-13-john-grass-coups

FROM welchdakotapapers.com

In the Master Index, click “War Drums”

 (source: Major A. B. Welch collection)

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