Horse Thief, White Cloud, Auntie Cross & Leo Cadotte tell of Long Ago, Wakpala, SD, Nov. 11, 1941 (Col. A. B. Welch’s last entry under “Celebrations”)

Auntie Cross (Sister of Chief John Grass) was a favorite “Auntie” of Col. Welch.  She was a gold-mine of Sioux History and must have felt very kindly to this adopted son of her Brother.


I arrived at this Indian village in the range of the Sihasapa about 11:00 am after an interrupted drive from Mandan.  I went directly to the house where Auntie Cross (sister of Chief Grass) lives, on Oak Creek.  She seemed very well  – her aged, weather-beaten face (probably never shaded by a hat in her lifetime) lit up with such a “I-knew-you-would-come” expression that it touched the heart-strings of me;  she was alone in the house; the entire two rooms had been freshly scrubbed (the floor was still wet); no tin cans about the yard and no dirty dishes or pans about  – neat, that’s what I call it.


Auntie Cross, sister of Chief John Grass



We talked awhile and I gave her the coffee, sugar, canned cream, a fresh beef flank and a big kidney with the “white fat” on it; some bread; a double sweater which I had worn in France, underwear, a pair of heavy woolen, northern-woods type socks and 7 yards of some heavy dress stuff for a winter dress.  She crooned and almost wailed  – she was so happy.  At least she showed me the road up the hills to the home of John Cadotte, and I left for the latter place.

There I found all the family at home and waiting for me.  We ate dinner  – salt pork  – mashed potatoes, no bread; but John’s wife stirred up some dough and fried some bread in deep fat in a skillet.  I gave them the flour, sugar, tobacco, coffee and meat I had brought.  Also a lot of shirts and other clothing.  Leo Cadotte at once put on one of the shirts.

During the day we had a talk with a very old Sihasapa by the name of Horse Thief (Steals the Horses).  This old man was with the Sihasapa at the Battles of Big Mound, Dead Buffalo Lake, Broken Wagon Wheels and Stoney Lake.  I had two interpreters, and soon found out that Horse Thief was not a “yes-man.”  He said:

“The Sihasapa and Oohenopa are really the same people, they were always together and were Number 1 Tetons in everything; that’s why the French married into our people.  There were five lodges of Sihasapa lived with the Iyanktonwanna  (Yanktonaise); we ran across buffalo south of Horse Head Lake (bears the same name today and is northeast of Steele, N.D.) and were driving them to Dead Buffalo Lake to swamp them for the butchering (he esplained that there was good grass there as well as water and mire to flounder the animals in). A scout told of the coming of Wopetu Hanska (Long Trader  – the Indian name of Gen. Sibley, who maintained a trader’s store at the mouth of the St. Peters river (across from Ft. Snelling, Minn).  There were many other Sihasapa there then  – hunting, too.  I always belonged with Used as a Shield’s or Siowipi’s bands (This is the father of Chief Grass and Grass, himself  – Horse Thief used his nickmane of Sated Prairie Chicken or Full of Prairie Chicken).”

“The names of the camps which lived with the Yanktonaise were:

  • Bear Standing (Mato Naji)
  • Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa)…Black Stag in some treaties.
  • Iron Eyes (Ista Maza).
  • Good Thunder or Bald Head (Wakayan Wasta or Kasla).
  • Brave Heart (Cante Ohitika).

“These five I remember  – but there were other camps.  The winter before I lived with my father’s camp together with many Sihasapa.  It was a starving winter.  Buffalo were all on the east side of the river  – deer were driven out on the prairies by the hunting soldiers (he used the name Minihanska  – “Long Knives” for Ft. Rice).   We were at Minihanska.  Many soldiers caught many rats at night, then they throw them over the bank in the morning.  We ate those rats.  Then the horses they had eat corn.  We sorted out the corn which had not been digested, washed it, and made hominy of it.  I have never starved since then  – so never was compelled to eat corn first eaten by horses.  I remember that Red Horse (Sunkpapaluta) was among them, too (with the Yanktonaise).

Bear Standing led those camps when the fight started at Big Mound  (Paha Tonka); Brave Bear was my father.  He was one of the scouts who saw the soldiers coming.

“Before 1868 there were many Sihasapa going about between Devils Lake (Minni Wakan) and Long Lake (Mde Hanska).  I do not know where they went after Wepatu Hanska fought us that time.  I do not know why Fire Heart did not take the place of a great Chief; he was appointed by some Big Soldier (Harney?) but he was not aggressive like Grass was  – so he did not become a big man.

“After that fight at the Palani (Arikara) village over there (pointing east toward the Missouri) (This was the Leavenworth Expedition)  – that Soldier Chief appointed Little Bear (Mato Chigalla) to be the big chief of the Sihasapa.  I think Little Bear was a great Chief, too, when I was young man.

“That fort down west of the south end of the Black Hills (Paha Sapa) was known to us by the name of Big Water (Minni tonka) (Note: The Niobrara was called that name, too).”  Asked what the name among them for Major Galpin  – he replied that “We called him Maga Sica (Goose).

Asked about the different names for the Sihasapa, he replied; “We were the Siounes then and Black Feet, too.  We were always progressive and the other people had a nickname for us and the Oohenopas  – that was Mazasan (White Iron or Silver).”

Q  – When did Used as a Shield die?

A  – I do not remember the winter (winter count story).  I think it was 67 years ago.

Q  – How was he buried?

A  – He died with the soldiers.  They put him in a box and then into the ground.

Q  – Do you know how Sicola died and was buried?

A  – No, I don’t know.

Q  – Did you know War Eagle in the Air?

A  – Yes.

Q  – Is that the same man as High Eagle, the father of Robert High Eagle?

A  – No.  They are two men.  War Eagle in the Air  – that means that there was an eagle

somewhere in the air.  High Eagle means that there was a eagle very high up.  They are

different men.

Q  – Did the Teton belong to the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Fires Council)?

A  – Yes.  They called all the Teton one tribe of people.  But there were six tribes of us

(Note: he evidently called the Sihasapa and Oohenopa as one tribe.  Otherwise there

would be seven tribes of the Teton).  But in the names of the Seven Tribes, all the six

tribes of the Isanti were named and the seven tribes of the Tetons were called one.


Alone with the Cadotte family, I gleaned the following:  That Good Voice Bull took care of and fed the woman who “returned from sojourns with another tribe after her marriage to the Siounes:” that here feet, upon which she had white tanned moccasins, were blackened by walking through a fire-swept country  – and through that episode, the Siounes became known as the Blackfeet (Sihasapa).  (Note  – I am positive that a group of Tetons were known as Sihasapa, long before Good Voice Bull was heard of  – and I discard the story as not correct).

In examining the picture from the Harney Collection showing Lone Horn (Hewanjica), Pipe (Canopa Wakan yuha  – literally He Has the Holy Pipe or Medicine Pipe), Barefooted (Sicolaun  – literally Always Barefooted) and Young Elk (Hehaka Cincala):

Lone Horn was the uncle of One Bull and White Bull, both living at this date and nephews of Sitting BullLone Horn was a Minniconjou Chief in 1861.

Pipe was a Oohenopa Chief in 1861.

Barefooted was a Oohenopa Chief in 1861.

Young Elk was a Pabaska (division of the Yanktonaise, meaning Cut Heads).

That there were 42 divisions of the Dakota (small groups going by the names of their Chief) but only 6 tribes in the Isanti and 7 tribes in the Teton or Prairie Dakota.

Horse Thief said that Lone Horn had a son named Give Him Room (Keyakumpe).  He also identified the picture of Lone Horn and Barefooted.

The Cadottes and Horse Thief decided that: at the time of the death of Sicolaun, it was the universal custom to leave cadavers either in a lodge, with his best things spread out in order before him (lodge and belongings being in the nature of sacrifices), or tied upon a scaffold of poles or in a tree.  They decided that, on account of the importance of Sicolaun, he most probably was left within a lodge stretched out upon a robe; that he died at or vicinity of old Fort Sully; that he died from old age; and that his age was quite likely to have been ninety years (This is their decision but the surmises are not proven).

I did not learn any answers to the following items:

Why the Yanktonaise Chief was at the Battles with Sibley.

How the fight started.

Where the different bands went immediately after the battles.

(We do know, however, that Inkpaduta and his band turned north along the left, or eastern, banks of the Missouri, and slipped around Sibley’s right flank and went into the Devils Lake area).

Who Killed the Doctor and the two soldiers at Sibley’s camp below the present Fort Lincoln.  (Red Tomahawk told me that he saw the body of the Doctor, with his chin scalped as he was bald).

What woman hid the wounded ‘boy soldier’ beneath a pile of brush on the bottoms of the river during the fight there.


Story by End of Cloud or White Cloud, Nov. 11, 1941, present  – a deaf and dumb Sihasapa, Leo Cadotte, a Shihasapa, two other Sihasapa, A.B.Welch.   Interpreter: Leo Cadotte:

“I was out with Horse Thief and Swift Cloud.  We were west of Timber Lake.  We were just looking about and killing a few buffalo.  Horse Thief and Swift Cloud went to look over a hill, to see if there was anything about.  I went along the lower country.  My horse pricked up his ears; he became nervous.  He was tell me to watch out now, Brother.  Something, she is going to happen.  So, I saw a man on a horse; he stood below the line of sky; but I could make him out.  I am not afraid, so I go toward him.  He went away from there.  Then I stopped; I looked about me; two men came at me, fast; they fired guns at me; I moved and shot too; then reloaded and held that shot.  These two men shot me in the shoulder.  Pretty soon there were more men coming; they rode about; I was surrounded then; they came in pretty close; I was selecting the one to shoot; then one called out, ‘Who are You?’  I then sang a brave song  – ‘I am Sihasapa; I can call your relatives names.’  Then they rode in fast. ‘You are Sihasapa,’ they said, ‘we thought you were some enemy.’  They were Minniconjou soldiers of the Has Crows (Kanga Yuha) Society.  We all laughed a lot about that time.  I felt very nice because I was riding a good buffalo trained American (large) horse; I didn’t want them to have the horse and I wanted to live a long time, too.  I couldn’t paint that on my lodge because they were relatives who shot me.”

(Who says that Indians have no modesty and are nothing but braggarts?)