Sioux Gathering at Fort Yates, Sept 1-3, 1932. Celebrating the Release of Sitting Bull and His People from Various Prisons in 1882. Col. A. B. Welch invited.

 Col. Welch speaks to a Gathering of 3,000 Sioux Indians and Their Old Foes, and Describes Extremely Interesting and Important Events in Their Lives.  Fort Yates, N.D., September 1-3, 1932


Sitting Bull and his hostile people, who fled to Canada after the Custer Fight in Montana, surrendered to U.S. authorities and came into Fort Union (Buford) in 1881; came down river and were held as prisoners at various river places; finally liberated on the new reservation at Fort Yates in 1882.  A celebration was held to commemorate this event at Fort Yates on dates given above.  The whole affair was managed by the Indian Committees, of which I was the only white member.

On August 30th, I flew down with one of my old soldiers of Co. “I,” 2nd N.D.Inf., (Bertleson of Steele, N.D.) in his Curtis Robin cabined plane, landing just west of the grave of Sitting Bull, in the old Fort Cemetery.  Bull Bear and wife had been selected to take care of my lodge, and they erected both my painted lodge and my larger white lodge. I lived in the white lodge; kept the painted tipi for ceremonial calls of visiting Chiefs.  These were erected in front of the Yanktonaise from the Cannon Ball  – Two Bears’ old followers.

     One Bull and White, 1936


There was a large camp, about 400 lodges; about 3000 Indians; Little Eagle people under Tatonka Wanjila (One Bull), the Hunkpapa (the only living nephew of Sitting Bull); Bull Head’s Hunkpapa under Tatonka Ehanna (Old Bull, one of Sitting Bull’s chief headmen in the past) and a real hereditary chief; the Sihasapa  (Blackfeet  – Chief John Grass’ old followers) under a descendant of Chante Peta (Fire Heart), camped as close to my lodges as possible, as they consider me to be a Sihasapa; Shields district was camped together; the Agency Indians (those living near the Fort) were camped in a long line on the north of the entrance; Kenel was represented by many lodges; Red Fish’s people were together under his son.  My duties were those of Judge of races, bull-dogging, steer riding, calf roping and tying, bother bare back and saddle buckers.  Best time for bull-dogging steers was about 10 seconds.  There were some wonderful buckers and splendid riding by Indians, mostly.

My interest was mostly take up by the visits of warriors and singers to my lodges.  Old men sat all day and smoked by my painted tipi, and many Indians were telling the stories of the drawings upon it:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Welch Tipi, 1923


Red Bow’s drawing of fight at Iyan Ska (White Stone) shows a white soldier leading away an Indian on horseback (also called Wayake or prisoner).  This indicates the battle of White Stone near Ellendale in about 1863, between Gen. Sully’s column and Indians.  Red Bow was captured and taken to Fort Snelling where he was held as a hostage for a year and then liberated to find his way back to the Missiouri afoot.

Mato Cinsica (Mad Bear, Hunkpapa) was there and told his story of fighting, from a wounded horse, a bunch of many Crow Indians. His is a very old and greatly respected man and a Chief.

Red Bear, the Arikara Scout from Fort Lincoln, I found out, was killed by Mato Wanagi (Bear Ghost).

Wahacanka Maza is Iron Shield

Mato Nopa with White Earings  – is the son of the old Chief Two Bears, and was killed in a fight upon Two Bear Creek near the Confederated Towns (Berthold), by Fights the Bear, an Arikara Warrior. This fight took place about  – No, this is wrong  – he was killed in a fight between Arikara led by Son of the Star’s eldest son (probably Swift Runner, now known as Patrick Star, living) and a band of Sioux, about where Washburn now is, close by Painted Lake or Painted Woods (Chan Owape), 1869 or 1870.

Tatonka oyo Tokeca, drawing on tipi, is Different Track Bull.

Visitors received at my lodges, in my capacity as Chief (last son of Chief Grass) were: Otoes and Pawnees from Oklahoma; Crows from Montana; Mandans, Arikaras and Gros Ventres from Elbowoods reservation; Sheyennes from Crow Creek reservation; many headmen and all the Chiefs of the Sioux in N.D. reservations, and Standing Buffalo’s bands from Montana (Sioux).


Welch Article giving background on the upcoming ceremony in Local Dakota Paper




Warriors of the Plains and “Bluecoats” Gather at Fort Yates, N.D., to Celebrate the Semi-Centennial of the Homecoming of the Sioux from Canada, Where They Fled After the Custer Battle at Little Big Horn.


Minneapolis Tribune Article, Sept. 25, 1932