Arikara Memorial Day, Armstrong, May 30, 1922, Col A. B. Welch invited. Decorated Old Scouts graves and how Boy Chief treated his cancer

These were Arikara Indians, who are of Caddoan stock.  They call themselves ‘Sanish’ and the Sioux call them the ‘Palani.’ 



They are greater strangers and farther from their original haunts, which was the Mexican border country, than the Cheyennes, who are of Algonquin stock, east of the Great Lakes country.  The Sioux call the Gros Ventre the ‘Hewaktokta.’

The graves, 102 of them, had been decorated in the forenoon.  They are the graves of scouts who served with Custer at Fort Lincoln and on the Big Horn Campaign.  They were waiting in the dance hall of the Dead Grass Society and, after a feast of bread, fried bread, coffee and boiled beef, I spoke to them.  My interpreter was Mr. Wild, a breed.  They frequently applauded me with great ‘Haos’ and once or twice with clapping of hands.

They were to have a dance, but did not, out of respect to one of the old Scouts, Boy Chief, who was near death with a cancer in a nearby log house.  They had a coffin all ready for him then.  I went to visit him and he knew me.  He had tried to cut out the cancer, himself, with a jack knife.  It was in his back.  Of course all he did was to spread it.

The next morning I crossed the Missouri river in a skiff with two Indians.  The river was in June flood and very swift, with great trees floating down the current.  From Ree I caught an auto and went to Beulah and home.

A. B. Welch copies a Roster of Living, Old, U.S. Volunteer, Indian Scouts of Fort Berthold Post No. I, dated May 30, 1922 and afterward updated.