Hidatsa Memorial Day, Shell Village, May 30, 1923. Col. A. B. Welch as a Guest of the South Side Antelope Society

This is called by that name (South Side Antelope Society) as the Mandans, whose Society it is, live on the south side of the Missouri river, which flows easterly at that point.


Their main meeting place is at Crows Heart Camp, near the mouth of the Little Missouri river.  In their hall there were many feather decorations for initiation, consisting of the “hip feathers” decoration.  I was their guest on Decoration Day, 1923.  The Secretary is Thomas Hawk, Elbowoods, N.D. and the President is Crows Heart, Elbowoods, N.D.

This society owns 160 acres of ground at that point.  One a high butte in the southeast quarter of that quarter is the grave of Old Mouse, a World War Veteran, and a mound which stands for the grave of another Veteran named Chase, who is buried at his father’s place some miles away.

They held a special council while I was there, and decided to do just what I advised, regarding the grave of Old Mouse, who the Gros Ventre want to remove to Shell Village.  They said they would give the land to me or to the State.  I advised giving it to the State and told them that I would see the authorities and get them to accept it.

The land is in this condition:  Mrs. Henry Wolf Chief, whose mother’s name is Strikes Many Women, a Mandan, inherited the land from her husband.  She gave a warranty deed to the Society, but the paper is not yet of record. The Society is not incorporated, so cannot convey.  She could convey directly to the State without conflict of title.  The Secretary is to forward me the patent fee, so we can know the description of the  land.  At present it is used as a pasture for the guests of the Society.  Also, on the northwest quarter of the quarter, is situated the “Fortification Against the Flood” of the Mandan.

Crows Heart, Second Chief, Black Chest, Sitting Crow, First Chief, and others made speeches to me.

Crows Heart wore a tail of a horse on a stick, in his belt, at the rear.  The tail was worn straight up, falling down in a graceful sweep.  He told me that one time some enemy shot and killed his horse while on the war path, and that he, therefore, had the right to wear this tail to represent that event of his “horse being killed.”

Sitting Bear was the Master of Ceremonies at that dance at Crows Heart’s camp.  They danced in my honor and also danced the Gahomny Dance and had a feast about one o’clock in the morning.

A. B. Welch, on horseback, leads the Shell Village Memorial Day Parade, May 30, 1923


A. B. Welch addresses the gathering at the Decoration of Graves at Shell Village, May 30, 1923