Indian Histories, from Rain in the Face to Struck by the Ree (43 Individuals) as told to Col. A. B. Welch

Indian Histories, from Rain-in-the-Face to Struck-by-the-Ree

  • 43 Individuals

(Click a name to go right to their post)


Rain in the Face, (Biographical Information)

Red Bear,  (Arikara Scout Stories)

Red Bear, (Hunkpapa Bravery Stories)

Red Bow, (Confrontations with General Sully)

Red Cloud, (He was Entitled to Eighty Coups)

Red Cow, (Ist Chief of Mandans, 1872 Photo)

Red Fish, (Biography, Stories, Pictographs)

Red Fox, (Sun Dance participation)

Red Hail, (Tells of his Father’s Adventures in 1820’s)

Red Leaf, (Monument to an 1853 Action)

Red Star, (Relating his Biography)

Red Tomahawk, (Biographical Summary)

Reed, (Mandan, 1924 Photo)

Rogers Tom, (World War I, France 1918, Heroic Actions)

Running Antelope, (Sioux Chief on Last Great Buffalo Hunt)

Running Face, (Fort Berthold, 1872 Photo)

Running Wolf, (Brief Biography)

Sand Hill Crane, (His Several Deeds as a Scout)

Sakakawea, (her grandson talks to Welch)

Scabby Head, (May have been a pseudonym of Chief Grass)

Scarlet Leg, (Old Indian Scout)

Scarlet Point, (a Fierce Leader of the Sante, aka Inkpaduta)

Scattering Bear, (The Tragic Tale of the Crippled Cow)

See Walker, (Brief Biography)

Shave Head, (One of the Indian Police killed at the death of Sitting Bull)

Shoot Holy, (Several Interesting Stories)

Shoots First, (Welch borrowed his Horse)

Shoots Well, (“I was a scout for Long Hair.  I was at Fort Lincoln a long time ago”)

Short Bull, (….”he said he was the Messiah, himself, on earth”)

Sitting Bull, (Sitting Bull’s stories are very extensive and will be reported in a separate Category)

Sitting Bear, (Arikara Family Stories)

Sitting Crow, (The Last Mandan Chief)

Sioux Dog, (Fort Berthold, 1872 Photo)

Soldier, (Arikara History Stories)

Snow Bird, (Mandan, 1924 Photo)

Son of Crows Breast, (Gros Ventre Warrior, 1872)

Spotted Tail, (the Sad Tale of the Loss of the Black Hills to White Man’s Greed)

Standing Buffalo, (His Battle to the Death)

Carrie Standing Soldier, (A Carlisle Graduate’s photo)

Stevensen Adelaide, (Mandan 1924 Photo)

Star, (World War I, France, 1918, and a Story of his Father)

Strikes the Knife, (Fort Berthold, 1872 Photo)

Strikes Two, (Stories in the 1860’s)

Struck by the Ree (I), (Stories in the 1860’s)

Struck by the Ree (II), (Mexican War, 1915, and World War I, France, 1918, aka Meade Steele)

“Rain in the Face” (Biographical Information)

Welch Biographical Introduction of Rain in the Face


Rain in the Face: Photo No. 1, probably a year or so before 1880


Rain in the Face: Photo No. 2, taken in 1880


Rain in the Face: Photo No. 2, comments on back of postcard


Rain in the Face: Photo No. 3, much later than 1880, as he has gained a lot of weight


Bill Wade worked at Standing Rock and knew Rain in the Face, His Comments


W. C. Gooding worked at Fort Abraham Lincoln and knew Rain in the Face, His Comments …. especially the Sun Dance


Gooding’s Comments, page 2


Rain in the Face’s Warrior Shield


Rain in the Face’s Warrior Shield explanation



“Red Bear”  (Arikara Scout Stories)

Red Bear, An Arikara, 70 years of age, visited me today (early 1920’s):

“My father was Red Bear or Red Man.  He got into a fight at Fort Lincoln.  He was a scout.  He got killed by the Sioux that time.  Boy Chief got killed, too.  He got killed there by that stone by the road side.

Little Crow, Red Bear and Running Wolf.

Welch seated in front


“Then I was his son.  I wanted to be a scout then.  I wanted his brave name too.  I made the Sun Dance for that thing.  So that is my name.  I got to be a scout too.  I hunted the Sioux hard.  They killed my father.  I do not know where he had his hand or ear cut off.  He was all blood.  They cut him for coups.  I was a scout for Custer and was in the fight with the Sioux in Montana.  Custer got killed.  Bloody Knife, Short Bull and Little Warrior were killed there.  Enemy Heart died last month.  We are dying fast now.  I hope they bury me with the other scouts at the Berthold Village.  I want a stone.  I was a brave scout and ought to have one.  I don’t want it yet.  When I die I want it.”

Welch notes from Strikes Two, a scout:  The fight in which Red Bear and Boy Chief were killed by the Sioux, almost under the guns of Lincoln, was  in the fall of 1872, probably October.  Red Bear and Paint had gone out to do scout duty, were discovered by the Sioux and Red Bear was killed.  Paint got back alive.  Boy Chief went out to avenge his father’s death and was also killed close to his body.  The other Arikara killed in the fight were Crows Tail, Spotted Eagle and Ree Standing Among the Hidatsa.

Welch notes about Red Bear (Arikara), undated:

An Arikara, born at Fort Clark, September 1853.  His father was Red Man or Red Bear and was killed in the fight at Fort Lincoln in 1872.  His father was born among the Pawnee in 1793.  His mother was White Corn, born in 1837 at Rock Village across from Expansion.  Her father was a white man, a trader, at that village.  White Corn’s mother was Pretty Stalk of Corn and died at Fort Berthold about the time it broke up.

Red Bear’s early name was Pretty Elk.  His father gave Chief Owl two large decorated buffalo robes to name him….also a large pile of dried meat.  Red Bear went through the Sun Dance after his father died, so he could represent his brave father.  He married Shell Woman in 1876 and separated after two years.  In 1883 he married Pretty Goods and they were also separated and he then married one of Sitting Bear’s wives, as according to law they could have but one and the Sitting Bear had more than that and it let them out of a bad predicament. Her name was Sioux Woman and she died in 1890.  He then married Julia Bull Neck.  He was Judge of Indian Offense of the Arikara.  He went to Washington with Enemy Heart in 1910.


Welch note about Red Bear (Arikara),  September 1932:

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


 “Red Bear”  (Hunkpapa Bravery Stories)

Mandan, N.D., May 1st, 1926…met with Red Bear, from Bull District, Frances Bull Head and Good Eagle:

Red Bear is 80 years old and belongs to the Hunkpapa tribe of the Teton Dakotah.  His father was Tatonka Maza (Iron Bull).  He (meaning Red Bear) belonged to the restless band of Sitting Bull.  I found him sitting in an old Ford machine in front of the Post Office, and shook hands with him and told him that I was Charging Bear.

He was much please and, at once, told me that he was the man who scalped the Arikara Scout, Red Bear or Red Ears or Red Man, at Fort Lincoln.  He said that Bull Head or Mato Kipapi (this man was Lieut. of Police and shot Sitting Bull in Dec., 1890) was the one who actually killed him, but that he had been doing the chasing and the men with him at the time when they caught the Scout, insisted that he take First Coup, so he did that.

He said that his father was a very brave man, a ‘hero,’ and he was just like him.

Bull Head said that he had told them of the fight as they came along the draw where the fight had occurred and that he recognized the spot, although he had not seen it for fifty years.

Red Bear said that he had not been here for about fifty years, that the last time he was here he was after some game meat.  Now, there was a great city here and it must be big, “for I can’t see the end of it.”

Bull Head and Good Eagle had brought him up to have a treatment of Mr. Ness, the “Spirit Healer.”  He was paralyzed on left side years ago, and could not walk or hold his stick in his left hand.  I took them to Ness’s house, and, after treatment he came out walking and using his cane well.  He said, “That man is good.  That is my religion.”  He was not charged a cent by Ness.

He thought that it was a wonderful thing that I knew he was the man who had counted coup on Red Ears, and said that he was a ‘famous man.’

Red Bear, the Hunkpapa, kills Red Bear, the Arikara, as told by Emeron White (Dakotah), Fort Yates, August 4th, 1922:

“Blue Thunder told me this story.  There is a stone by the road out of Mandan to St. Anthony and Solen.  It is near Fort Lincoln.  You have seen it:

“My father-in-law’s name was Kills the Enemy.  He had a brother named Red Bear.  They were Dakotah.  They were with a war party and discovered an Arikara U.S.Scout in that country, and they pursued him hard.  The scout was mounted upon a very fast horse of the soldiers (Note: the soldiers of the 7th Cav. Were provided with Kentucky horses).  It was good for a short distance but the Indian pony was good for a long race over the prairie.  Kills the Enemy and Red Bear drew nearer to the scout as his horse tired.  The Scout horse was wounded at last by an arrow and could not go any more.  Kills the Enemy rode up and struck the scout.  He took hold of him and turned him around, throwing him to the ground.  He killed him there then.  Striking him while alive, first, gave first war coup to Kills the Enemy.  After that Red Bear got second coup on him.  The rest of the war party saw it as they came up.  Everybody knows this thing.  My father-in-law named his Daughter Pulls the Enemy Down in honor of his first coup. I married her.”

“Blue Thunder told me that the soldiers found his body there and carried it to the top of the hill where they buried it and he said there is a lot of rocks around where the grave is up there.”

Welch note:  The name of this Padani U.S.Scout was Red Bear and also Red Man.


Welch notes:  The Stone by the Roadside … This stone is sandstone about three feet high and cut as a steep truncated pyramid, with steep sides.  About eight inches square at top and a foot or more at bottom.  On the east side is carved a shield.  Supposed to have been placed there in early days to indicate a corner of the military reserve of Fort Abraham Lincoln.  It is on the west side of the Solen road, almost due west of Lincoln site, and just out of the roadside ditch.

Additional data from William Zahn, Solen, N.D., old soldier, authentic:

“This stone, I think, was set up by the Government as a corner marker for the land of Fort Abraham Lincoln.  It was right at that rock where some Sioux caught a U.S.Scout and killed him.  His name was Red Ears and not Red Bear.  The Sioux cut off his ear and his right hand to carry on a coup stick.  I saw these after that.”



“Red Bow” (Confrontations with General Sully)

Welch notes about Red Bow, 1932:

Red Bow was also taken, with Holy Horse, as a hostage, to Fort Snelling by Gen. Sully and retained there one year in the 60’s.

He was also called Wayaka (Prisoner).

Red Bow’s drawing of fight at Iyan Ska (White Stone) shows a white soldier leading away an Indian on horseback.  This indicated 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 Missouri, afoot.


“Red Cloud” (He was Entitled to Eighty Coups)

Welch notes about Red Cloud, probably around 1915:

This great Dakotah warrior was a principal chief of the Oglala tribe of the Teton Dakotah.  He stood as the first warrior of the entire Nation, being entitled, so I am told by Chief Grass, to eighty coups.

Red Cloud, Chief of the Oglala Tribe



The name was probably bestowed after he had become a chief and leader.  He was born at the forks of the Platte river in 1822 and died at Pine Ridge Agency in December 1909.  He was not a hereditary chief but gained prominence through his own force and prowess.  In 1865 he headed the opposition against the Government-built roads into Montana and the Black Hills gold fields, and, at one time, he held a small detachment of soldiers virtually prisoners, with his band of Oglala and Cheyennes.  He finally liberated them, but refused to attend the council called by the Government.

The year after this another council was called at Fort Laramie which he did attend but refused to have anything to do with cutting up the hunting grounds of his people.  Soldiers then appears and he was told that they had come to build forts and open roads.  Whereupon he defied them and, with his entire force, he marched out of the council.  Carrington then started to build Fort Reno on the Powder River; Fort Phil Kearney and Fort C.F.Smith, the last-named being situated on the Big Horn, Montana.  Red Cloud protested to Carrington again but, of course, to no avail.

Red Cloud then surrounded the troops and working forces and cut them off so completely that they were not even able to hunt game or get hay from the prairies.  On December 21st, 1866, with two thousand warriors, he cut off Captain Fetterman and eighty-one men and all were killed.

Note  – Why is it that every battle in which the Dakotah is the winner, the whites always refer to as a ’Massacre?”

Again, on August 1st, 1867, another severe fight took place.  Red Cloud did not permit a single wagon to get over the road and in 1868 another commission was appointed to treat with Red Cloud.  He demanded that the three posts be abandoned and the attempt to open the road to cease.  An agreement was finally reached on this basis and also defining the limits of the Dakotah as claimed by them, and he was not to sign the Treaty until the forts had been evacuated.  In other words, he was entirely successful and brought the Government to a treaty, for once, based on the Indian’s  dictation and enforced by the Indian’s force of arms.  He kept his promise and did not take part in the 1876 troubles, unless secretly.  But, he did sign the treaty of 1876.  He also took no part in the Ghost Dance Messiah craze of 1890-91.

Chief Grass pays him high honor and says he is entitled to 80 coups.  He was a great orator and statesman, as well as a born general; was prominent in treaties and councils; several times a delegate to Washington; and natural-born gentleman and very courteous.  The old man was nearly blind when he died at the age of 87.

Children of Red Cloud:


Wawapahawin (Her Bonnet)… Mrs. Long Soldier

Sunskaotawin (Many Dogs) … Mrs. Slow Bear (Too Many Dogs)

Tokahewin (First Woman) … Mrs. Goodtaker

Anatanpiwin (Rushing Woman) … Mrs. Kills Above

Okayakapiwin … Mrs. Big Road

Wakeya Cola (Thunder) … Jack Red Cloud

Speeches of Red Cloud may be found in the report of the Board of Indian Commissioners of 1870.  Also in appendix of report of the Commission for relinquishment of the Black Hills in report of Indian Affairs of 1876….and in the minutes of the Council held at Fort Pierre by General Harney, March 1856.

Welch note, undated:

His daughter (no name given) became the wife of One Stab, who had a band in a village of seven lodges in the Black Hills country in 1875.


“Red Cow” (Ist Chief of Mandans, 1872 Photo)

Sitting Crow visits Welch, Mandan, N.D., March 1-2-3, 1928, and talks about Red Cow:

He said that his people (Mandans) years ago, before he was born even, had white skins and eyes of different colors, as they have today.

Red Cow was the father of Pretty Woman, who was the mother of Sitting Crow.  Son of Red Cow is also a son of Red Cow, and a brother of Sitting Crow’s mother.

Red Cow was First Chief of the Mandans in 1872.

Red Cow and Bad Gun,

Ist and 2nd Chiefs of the Mandans, 1872


The Son of Red Cow was called Ita Napapi (Running Face) and he is the father of Arthur Mandan.

Son of Red Cow and Little Bull,

Mandan Warriors, 1872


As we conversed in the language of the Sioux, he not speaking English and I not speaking Mandan, the name of Running Face, as given above, is Sioux.


“Red Fish” (Biography, Stories, Pictographs)

 Welch notes about Red Fish, probably mid 1920’s:

Hogan Luta (Red Fish), a son of the Red Fish who was an Oglala Chief in 1849 and who lost his influence and position on account of the failure of his war party against the Crows, lives on the Cannon Ball River on the Standing Rock, N.D., and has often come the entire distance to Bismarck and Mandan to see me and talk.

Red Fish Photo

and Information on the Back



He is a chief of a small band, not easily identified now, but he has little power or direct influence, especially among the younger element but considerable among the older people.  On dance occasions I have frequently seen him with a buffalo head-dress, and he often dances on the extreme outside of the circle, and watches the distance and shades his eyes as he watches; at other times he glares scowlingly at the sun, because, as he tells me:

“I am the bravest man among them and so I have the right to dance on the outside of the circle so I will be the first to meet any enemies who may come around from men or spirits.”

Red Fish’s Warrior Shield

and Interpretation of it’s Meaning



Red Fish had two wives in 1915, which the government allowed him to keep as he had them both a long time.  One died in 1919.

Welch asks Sam Halsey:  “Why does Red Fish wear the buffalo head-dress when he dances?”

Answer by Halsey:  “I do not know.  He did something big one time.  I am too young to fight then.  I do not know what all his feathers and the head-dresses mean.  They mean something though and the old people can read them.  Think sometime he did something big with some enemy with buffalo horns on his head.  The old people know what he did.  He is brave mans too.  He belong some war soldier society.  Think they make him President.  Maybe so.  He great dancer.  He wear buffalo to show something.  Maybe he tell you.”

Pictographs made by Red Fish, showing his bravery:

Number 1  – While Red Fish was on the war path with a party of Sioux against the Crows, a Crow warrior shot at him with two arrows.  Red Fish shot the enemy with a bullet in his breast and he fell down dead.  Red Fish made first coup on him and took his scalp.  In this picture Red Fish is represented in warrior’s clout and eagle feather buffalo head-dress and face and body painted red.  The Crow enemy has the regular pompadour hair and the dash of red paint shows his scalp was taken.  The two arrows are the one shot by the enemy.  The ‘first coup’ is taken by Red Fish in this instance, by the rifle.  The Crow has dark clout and leggings, while Red Fish is dressed in clout only.


Number 2  – Red Fish’s name is painted at the end of the line running from his mouth.  He is in buffalo head-dress with clout and medicine necklace of antelope hoofs.  He is armed with club and gun.  This depicts an incident of a war party against the Crows.  They clubbed eight of the enemy.  The rifle was not used as it is still upon his shoulder.  The squaw was captured.  There were three lodges in the enemy camp and they took the scalps of all the men.  Red Fish is seen making a stroke coup upon at least one of them.  There is some dispute about this incident.  Some old men say that he killed them all alone.  The pictograph so indicates as his stroke covers all of them.  Others tell me he did not do all of the killing but that other men were with him.  Red Fish claims that he was alone in this fight and counted coup eight times.


Number 3  – This is a story with real thrills.  Once in a fight with the enemy, another Sioux was unhorsed in the midst of the fighting.  His name was Shield Necklace, as depicted on his shield.  He was wounded but Red Fish went into the flying arrows as indicated and, after taking Shield Necklace upon his horse, escaped with him to safety. The feathers upon Shield Necklace’s head indicate that he was wounded with arrows, so I am told.  They are running swiftly as the backward flying arrows upon the shield indicate.  This took place a long time ago but it is often recounted in the circle of old men in the evening, as a very brave act of Red Fish.


Number 4  – Red Fish is here upon the war path against the Crows.  He is armed with a gun.  He shot a Crow enemy and the Crow ran a long distance as indicated by bloody foot prints.  But he was pursued by Red Fish upon his horse as indicated by the prints of the horse’s hoofs along the same trail as the bloody foot prints.  The three straight marks upon the leg of the Crow would indicate a pursuit or ‘use of the leg’ for three days.  Red Fish came upon him while still alive, as there is running blood; made first coup by stroke and took his scalp.



Today, June 8th, 1928, Mrs. Crow Ghost and Mrs. Iron Roads came to see me, and I took them to the house for dinner.  Mrs. Crow Ghost brought me an old trade tomahawk and a red stone pipe.   They also told me that Red Fish was buried yesterday.  I knew he was sick for his daughter, Mrs. Eva Little Chief, wrote me to that effect a few days ago, and I had then send him some meat for soup.  One of his wives was named Tatiopa Dutawin (Red Lodge Woman) and she is the mother of Eva Little Chief.


Eva Little Chief told me today (Feb. 14th, 1942) that her father’s first name was Mahpiya Howaste (Good Voice Cloud)  – but when he was made Chief his name was changed to Red Fish.  Red Fish’s father’s name was Black All Over.

Red Fish talks about the Flag of the Seven Fires Council,  early to mid 1920’s:

“We had a flag of our own a long time ago.  The man from Washington (Dr. J.Kossuth Dixon) was wrong when he told us and the people that we never had had a flag of our own, and that he was there to give us one.  We have always had a flag before we ever saw the white man’s flag.  It was often carried on long trips.  We like our flag better than the United States flag.  I want you to make a flag like our old one.  I will tell you how it is done.  I want to put it in front of my lodge.”

Flag of the Seven Councils

drawn by Red Fish for Welch


“I has the same white and red stripes your flag has.  In the corner where your stars are, is a black eagle.  He holds a pipe and tobacco pouch in his left foot and in his right he has a bow and some arrows.  Above him is a circle of seven stars.  These stars represent the ‘Seven Fires Council.’  The pipe is for peace and the arrows are for war.  So we can give either peace or war.

Chief Grass said that the field in the upper left hand corner is green.  The seven stars are white ones.  The eagle is black.  He said the pipe was held in the left foot because that was the weaker foot.  The strong one, the right, holds the weapons of war.

Visit by prominent Dakotahs, Chief Red Fish, Basil Two Bears, Jerome Cottonwood, Feb. 9th, 1923:

Chief Red Fish (Yanktonaise), Basil Two Bears (grandson of Yanktonaise Chief Two Bears), Jerome Cottonwood (son of Chief Cottonwood)…all of Cannon Ball

They were on their way to Fort Peck, Montana, to talk over Waanata Earth Dish.  Old Red Fish says:

“The high hill south of the flat lake, north of Steele, N.D., is called by us Canpakmiyan Iyeyapi (Finding Wagon).  We found a wagon there once so we call it that way.”  He said that this hill was right on the old trail from Yates and vicinity to Devils Lake Country.

“The River (James River) is called by us Can Sa-Sa; and it means that the wood there is reddish gray.” (Note: this is spelled sometimes Tchan-San-San, but is nothing but an effort to spell the Dakotah correctly.  Tchan  – Wood.  Correct spelling Can, the ‘C’ having the ch sound as in ‘chaw.’  San is correctly spelled Sa, the ‘S’ having a dot over it and sounded as ‘Shawl.’)

“The place where the city of Jamestown is now, we called Itazipa Okakse  – meaning Cut Bows.  We called it that because we went ther to get wood to make bows with.”  (Note:  this means to ‘Cut a bow by striking.’)

When I showed him pictures of the Arikara and Mandan villages, taken fifty years ago, he said:

Sacred Cedar Tree and Stone of the Arikara, 1872


“These are village people.  I went with a friendly number of visitors there one time long ago.  This is their Holy Tipi.  We went into that lodge.  They had a ceremony.  It was a medicine ceremony.  A woman covered with a white buffalo hide with horns on it.  The Medicine Man cut her arm off at the elbow with a knife and threw the arm and hand away,  on a pile of old buffalo feet and legs.  He covered her again and when he took the robe off, she had her arm again.  All right.  Then he shot another woman through her body.  Just above her hips.  The blood shot out of the two wounds and her nose and mouth.  She died then.  He breathed into her mouth.  The blood shot out again.  She got all right then.  He had a hot iron from a wagon.  He passed it clear through his head from one ear through the other.  It did not hurt him.  He chopped a man’s arm off against a post.  It did not hurt him.  He put it back on again.  He was a very Holy Man.  He talked with Spirits all the time.”

Red Fish’s Poetic Obituary



 “Red Fox,” (Sun Dance participation)

Red Fox (Tokala Luta), Welch notes, undated:

He took part in a sun dance after he killed his first enemy when he was a young man.  He was cut seven times below the elbow and two places above each ear; making 18 wounds.

“I gave my blood for Wakantonka.”

Once on the war path his party found six Sioux killed by the Crows.  He remembers the names of but four:  Mato Inapa (Bear Appears), Kangi Sunka (Crow Dog), Maza Ska (White Iron or Metal) and Egna Inyanke (Runs Amidst).


“Red Hail,” (Tells of his Father’s Adventures in 1820’s)

Welch notes about Red Hail, undated:

Wasu Luta (Red Hail), son of Supe (Guts) a Sioux Indian born in 1776, died about 1876, was an old friend of mine.  I have his ceremonial moccasins, beaded on the body and soles.  He lived to be very old and died in recent years.  He was the father of No Two Horns.

Red Hail told the following story to Dr. Beede:

“When my father was old he told me his stories.  He said that when he was about twenty years of age (1796) he made a journey along the Missouri river.  He went up the great stream on the south, or west, side (right bank in military terms).  He came back on the north, or east, side (left bank in military terms).  He went up the river as far as the mountains.”

“On this exploration trip, which took all one summer, from the time before the ice had run out until freezing time, my father saw many wonderful things.  He had adventures with strange animals and warlike people.  He always got out alive.  He came back.  His medicine was very good.  He told me that he saw many people dead.  In trees they buried them.  That is the way they did in that time.  He counted thirty bodies of white people.  They had been carefully and reverently tied in the trees when they were dead people.  He did not know who they were.  But they were white people.  There were white people among the Indians long before the white people’s history began to be written.  He said that he thought they were white who came from the south.  They were treated all right and lived with the Indian Nations where they were, in friendship.”

Note  – Many stories and legends and circumstances indicate that whites came among the upper Missouri tribes long before Verendrye (1738).  Lewis and Clark picked up two white trappers at the mouth of the Cannon Ball river in the fall of 1804; they selected two Canadian-French at the Mandan villages to act as guides and engagees in the spring of 1805. My image of a household god of the Mayas, in my collection, and which was unearthed in vicinity of the city of Mandan, several years ago.  I have always contended and believe that traders from Mexico and even further south, penetrated into this country in remote early times, even before the expedition of Alvarado came into the Platte river country in 1841.  How natural that dissatisfied Spanish of Cortes’ forces and immediately later, would hear stories of the north and venture into the upper Missouri river country.


“Red Leaf,”(Monument to an 1853 Action)

Welch notes about Red Leaf,  on visit to Fort Berthold, Oct. 12-15, 1921:

Note…We then walked to the place where the monument is.  There were six gigantic tracks of a horse coming from the southeast.  These tracks are about two feet across the heel and the track is made by cutting out the sod six inches wide and the same deep.  From the direction of the village were foot tracks,  a foot long and six inches wide and deep.  There were sixteen of these great steps.  At the closest place of approach to the horse trail (10 feet) there were two foot prints set side by side and three feet apart.  This denotes the place where the brother Red Leaf was standing over the dead body of Left Hand and also denotes the place where the reckless Sioux warrior met his death.  A broken iron kettle, a stick with some faded artificial flowers upon it and a stick with a rag of red cloth, were at this place, denoting prayers and songs.  A hole in the ground also denoted the place where the shot fired at White Crow by the advancing Sioux warrior, hit the ground.  These marks commerating the entire action, which took place in 1853, are plainly marked and as soon as filled with flowing dirt or growth of grass, they are carefully renewed by the Arikara in order to preserve this story of the brave Mandan ally and the death of the reckless, hard-riding Sioux.

Red Leaf’s Valor Portrayed on a Strange Monument



“Red Star,”(Relating his Biography)

Welch about Red Star notes, undated:

This man was also called Strikes the Bear and he was born at old Fort Clark in 1838.  His father, who had the same name, was also born at that place in 1828 and died there about 1860.  Red Star’s mother, Woman goes into every House, was born at that place about 1851.  She and her little girl, Owl Woman, were killed in an attack of the Dakotah on one of the two villages across from old Fort Berthold.

Red Star says that when the soldiers fired upon the double villages at the mouth of Grand River in 1823, many of the Arikara villagers went down to their relatives, the Pawnee, and some went up the river to the Mandan villages at Fort Clark.  His mother’s family went to this village.  Her father’s name was Man that drives Horses Away.  Big Star was Red Star’s foster grandfather and he was born at the Arikara village at the mouth of the Cannon Ball.  His grandfather, White Goose, was the son of Star and the father of Big Star was Looking for Kettle.  He had a brother named Red Willow and a sister Owl Woman.

Red Star went with Young Hawk to enlist at Fort Lincoln.  The officer in charge of the scouts was a Lieut Varnum, they called him Peaked Face.  A scout who did not get up in time for breakfast, did not get any.  Also the scout who did not get wood and water when told to, went without meals.  A scout who got drunk lost his horse and had to go on foot.  A scout found asleep on duty went afoot the rest of the day.  Scouts did not drill.  Roll call was taken at evening on horseback.  During the Custer affair he was called Strikes the Bear, which was changed after that time to Red Star.


“Red Tomahawk” (Biographical Summary)

Welch Biographical Summary of Red Tomahawk, August 1931:

Born  – “The winter when we found a dead Indian in a log House.”  My Winter Count shows this to be 1849-1850.

Age  – “I was 16 years of age when we ran off those cattle at Fort Rice.”  That was in 1866.

Father  – Strikes the Earth (Maka Apape), a Sihasapa Sioux. (Sept. 1915 he refers to his father as Iron Tail, a Sihasapa Sioux)

Mother  – Was a Hunkpapa. (Oct 9, 1915 he refers to his mother as a Sissetonwana).

Married  – First wife was Blue Earth Woman (Maka Towin), a Hunkpapa.  She was of the family of Rain in the Face, being daughter of his youngest sister.  Her father was Red Thunder (Wahkiya Luta)  – but not the one who was father of Waaneta.

Family  – 13 children by at least three wives.  Francis, his son, is the son of the first wife.  At this date, August 7th, 1931, there are three sons and three daughters left.

Died  – At Cannon Ball, August 7th, 1931.

Buried  – At Cannon Ball Catholic Cemetery, August 11th.  I made a speech and was a pall bearer.  White Horse Riders were in charge. Pall Bearers  – White Horse Riders Society (Col. A.B.Welch, John Gates, John Little Crow), Members of Tribal Council (Izaak Hawk, Paul Long Bull, John Iron Boulder, William Hawk).


Conversations with Red Tomahawk, Sept and Oct 1915 …

“I can show my fathers back for a long time.  Back to Waneta. So can Chief Grass.  So we were relatives a long time ago, the same as now.  My grandmother and the grandmother of Chief Grass were sisters.  I got my name from my grandfather after doing some deed once.  There was a fight between the Dakotah and the enemy close to the ‘Lake of the Broken Axe’ (now Painted Woods Lake) and a girl was taken away from the enemy and finally married into the family of Red Thunder  – from them I came.”

Red Tomahawk interview with Welch, 1915: Told by Tacankpe Luta, a Hunkpapa, at Fort Yates, N.D. that he is the man who killed Sitting Bull, and the white man’s translation of his name is Red Tomahawk.  It really means Red War Club.

“I was a Sergeant of the Indian Police.  Sitting Bull was my friend.  I killed him like this.”

(With aid of a rough Indian Map, which I own, he followed the story)  (Editor Note:  this map is lost)

“We went together with the soldiers.  They stayed away about a mile from the camp in the hills.  It was on the Grand River.  We police went toward the camp of the hostiles.  We came up behind a corral with horses.  No one saw us yet.  We went to a log house and I tied my horse to the corner of it.  We opened the door and went in.  Sitting Bull was there and he got awake then.  He had been singing and dancing and was tired and sleepy, I guess.  We told him to go with us.  I had hold of his left arm and I had my gun in my hand, too.  I told him not to make cry for his people.  We would kill him first.  We got outside and he made a loud cry as his son came around the corner of the house, and then the hostiles came.  His son, Crow Foot, came and was killed right away.  He went down these tracks and died.  (Pointed to the trail depicted on the map).  I shot Sitting Bull in the left side.  He fell with his face down.  I shot him again in the back of the neck then.  He was dead then.  There were lots of shots then.  We had a battle with the hostiles.  Bull Head, Shave Head, Warriors Fear Him, Broken Arm, Hawk Man were all killed.  They were police like I am.  Many hostiles were killed.  The soldiers came up fast and shot twice with a cannon.  They shot off the hind part of my horse tied to the house.  They wanted to kill the police, too, it looked like.  The soldiers took what Sitting Bull had on to keep for medicine.  One soldier hit him in the face after he was dead, with a neck yoke.  We piled him and the police dead into the wagons and went to Fort Yates with them.  He is buried there.  That is where he lies where I point.  I was under orders so I killed him.  He should not have hollered.”

                                                                                                                     Red Tomahawk’s pictograph signature


Question: “Does his spirit ever come back here?”

Answer: “Yes, sometimes.  He rides in on an elk spirit.”

Question: “I want to go to his grave.  Come with me.”

Answer: “No. I do not go.  I am afraid.

There are mysterious flowers upon his grave every year.

We do not know where they come from.

They are wankan.  They should bury him in a church yard.”

Welch notes about Red Tomahawk, undated:

I once saw Marcellus Red Tomahawk at the trial of his nephew, the younger Cold Hand, for unlawful cohabitation, before the Federal Court in Bismarck.  Cold Hand drew thirty days and a fine of $100.00.  While he was in the Marshall’s Office waiting to be taken to jail to begin serving his sentence, old man Tomahawk stood and looked at his nephew.  Not a movement of his face muscles took place, but great tears rolled down his cheeks and he afterward told me that that made him feel ’awful bad.’


Chief Joseph was a personal friend of Chief John Grass and Red Tomahawk.


When Sitting Bull was to be arrested by the Indian Police, Red Tomahawk rode to several different points along the river from Fort Yates, to collect the police together.  He rode the distance from the post to the camp on the Grand River, over forty miles, in four hours and a quarter.


The Story of Atlantis:  Marcellus Red Tomahawk was visiting me once in Bismarck, and asked me to tell him a long story for him to take home to tell to the people.  I told him the story of ‘The Lost Atlantis.’  When I had finished, he surprised me by saying that, ‘his people had known that story, always.’

July 4th, 1920 … Red Tomahawk conducts himself before old enemies:

….There were many Gros Ventre, Mandan and Arikara and one old man named Walking Sun and two other men and a woman, Pawnees from Oklahoma.  I told the committee to treat them kindly as they were afraid they would not be treated well as they were old enemies of the Dakotah.  So, shortly after I arrived, I was asked to go with Red Tomahawk to visit these people.  They were in a large ceremonial tipi belonging to Brave Bull and we entered and sat down.

The old Pawnee signified his desire to talk in the sign language and in that way told them that he had been a scout under General Miles when they took the ponies from Red Cloud (1876); that he had fought with the Sioux and that this was the first time he had ever been in a Sioux camp.

Tomahawk gave him ten dollars in money and told him that they would have meat; that the tipi was theirs to sleep and stay in; they would have bed clothing and should make themselves at home in the camp and ceremonies.  Soon, Basil Two Bears came in and we had an interpreter by him through the young Pawnee.  I introduced Tomahawk as the slayer of Sitting Bull and Two Bears as the son of the great Chief Two Bears who fought General Sully.

Tomahawk told them there had been a great Chief among the Dakotah.  His name was Mato Watakpe.  When he wanted to eat or smoke that was all right.  If he said to move camp that was all right.  If he went to war that was all right.  He was wise and they all listened when he spoke to them and treated him with great respect.  He had an adopted son.  He sat there (pointing at me).

Now that the old Chief had gone to Wakantonka, his son was now Chief.  What he said they would do.  He was a soldier and an orator.  He had said to treat the visitors kindly.  They would do that then.  No one would hurt them now.  They had been enemies.  He had fought them himself.  He thought they had not been very brave, that if he had coughed in the night time they would have run away.  They would have meat and tobacco and gifts.

Reception of Marshall Foch, Supreme Commander of Allied Armies, World War I, France, 1918


Reception of Marshall Foch, November 27, 1921, page 1


Reception of Marshall Foch, November 27, 1921, page 2



“Reed” (Mandan, 1924 Photo)

Reed, Arikara



 “Rogers Tom”  (World War I, France 1918, Heroic Actions)

Rogers, Tom (Charges Alone), Biographical Information:

Enlisted under Capt. A. B. Welch in 2nd N.D.Infantry;  sent to First Division.  Marashall Foch (Commander of the French Armies) called him “The Bravest Soldier in France.”

Tom Rogers (Charges Alone), 1918


Welch notes on Photo taken Nov. 15th, 1926:

A younger and college-educated Indian.  Enlisted in the World War, served with the 18th Infantry, First Division.  Was a night raider and sniper and received two citations for bravery at the face of the enemy.

Tom Rogers (Charges Alone), 1926


Is a member of the Dead Grass Society of the Arikara (1926). 

Appointed by the President, by Executive Order, to a position in the Postal Service in 1926, and is employed at Mandan, N.D. Postoffice (Welch was postmaster at that time).  This, in recognition of his splendid war record.

Tom Rogers, the Indian Sharpshooter who “Got” 33 Boches in 33 Days during World War I in France



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World War I, France, Bravery Citation for Tom Rogers (Charges Alone)


Is keeper of the President’s Testimonial for the Arikara Tribe.



“Running Antelope” (Sioux Chief on Last Great Buffalo Hunt)

Welch notes concerning Running Antelope, undated:

Chief Grass advised that Running Antelope, in the opinion of the Indians, probably eclipsed John Grass as an orator.

Running Antelope was chief on the last great Buffalo Hunt, Sept– Oct. 1883.

He died about 1894 and is buried at Little Eagle, on the Standing Rock Reservation.

Running Antelope



Bede Using Arrow, Yanktonaise, talks to Welch, Nov 24, 1926:

This really means Runner of Antelope.  His father was a Hunkpapa Teton and his mother was of the Teton branch, the Sihasapa, or Black feet.

He had six brothers, one of whom was Rain in the Face.  Of these seven men, five of them became Chiefs during their lifetime.



“Running Face”(Fort Berthold, 1872 Photo)

Running Face (Son of Red Cow)



“Running Wolf” (Brief Biography)

Welch notes concerning Running Wolf, undated:

Born at Fort Clark village in 1856.  Father was Gun Pointing to Breast, mother was Chief Woman Village.  Mother’s father was The Only Crow Head.

Both his parents had small pox at Clark in 1837.

Running Wolf


Married to Young Calf Woman.  Is a member of the War Dance Society of Arikara.

Three hundred Sioux came once and invited his village to fight.  During that fight five Arikara were killed and one Mandan, but no Dakotah.


“Sand Hill Crane”(His Several Deeds as a Scout)

He talks to Welch about Facing Down Four Sioux and Bringing Them back to Fort Buford, undated:

“I was a scout at Fort Buford this time.  Colonel Crawford was there.  He was the 15th Infantry.  I was a Sergeant.  I liked that too.  One day the Commanding Officer called me in to see him.  I went.  He said, “I have some good medicine.  There is a party of Sioux coming this way.  I want you to go and bring them in here to me.”

So I got on my horse and rode north that time.  I rode twelve miles or more.  Then I turned west and made a big circle.  There were no Sioux tracks.  I went back.  I told him that I had found none.  He said, “You go again.  I know that they are on the way.  I want them.  Don’t come back without them.”  So I got on my horse and rode north again.  I went twenty miles or more that time.  I crawled to the top of a big hill for seeing.  It was warm and I went to sleep then.  My horse woke me up.  He pulled on the rope around my foot.  I looked up.  Way off there was a party, coming.  There were two carts with two wheels and some travois and people.  I got on my horse and went toward them for talk.  I rode right up to them.  I had a gun.  The party was with a French half-breed by the name of Eugene Brugiere.  I knew that fellow.  They asked what I wanted.  I told them that I had orders for them to go with me.  They talked together.  I said, “Well, you can kill me, I am only one.  But I am on soldier’s duty.  This is my day.  If I die it is all right now.  But I will take four with me.  You go with me and you go straight.  We will go to Buford now.”

They didn’t like that.  They said, in Sioux, “We go where we want to go.  We are Dakotah.  We go to Pine Ridge.  Don’t get in the way.”  I said, “All right.”  I got on my horse.  I rode off about 100 feet.  I got off.  I slapped my horse on the nose and he run away.  I was afoot, alone, there then.  That was brave.  But that was my day.  That was the day for me to die.  They would sing about me then.  I held three bullets in my hand.  I had one in the gun.  I said, “Now come on.  Here I am.  This is the place now.  I will fight.  You will kill me but I will take four with me.  Then the soldiers will kill you all for that thing.  You take the road and follow me.  Come on.  Fight or follow.”

They talked some among themselves.  I was afraid when there was no one talking.  I said, “All right.  Who will fight?  Let’s do it right away.”  But no one wanted to fight.  So I walked before them.  They followed me.  Night came.  I saw the lights of the post.  We came walking.  I said, “You stay here.” I went in to the Colonel.  “What you say?” he said.  “Well, I’ve got them, those Sioux,” I said.  “Where are they.”  “Out in front,” I said.  So he told me to take them to the Sergeant of the Guard and put them in the guard house, all of them.. So I did that.  They kept them for ten days there.  Then the Colonel sent them back to Fort Peck Country.  He would not give them a pass to walk around down to Pine Ridge.  I felt pretty good after that time.  It was brave to do that way.  When you are a soldier you do what they tell you to do  – you bet.”

He talks to Welch, Nov. 6, 1924, Mandan, N.D., about chasing some Sioux who had stolen mules, found the mules, but no Sioux to take back to Fort Buford. No love expressed for the Sioux of old times:

“Another time, we were down hunting ducks.  We had a buckboard wagon.  It had six mules to it.  Then one night, a man came running.  He said the Sioux had stolen the mules.  The rope was cut where they had been tied.  They were gone.  So I was told to go get them.  That meant a fight.  So I took Drags Wolf and two other scouts.  We got away quick.  We followed the trail in the grass.  The horse’s track were small, so they were Sioux or breeds.  We went about twelve miles then turned toward the south.  Well we followed.  It came night time.  I told Drags Wolf to place a stick on the tracks the way they were going then.  He did that.  Then we went off a mile or two and stayed where there was some water.  We ate our bread and let the horses rest.  Before sun up I said, “Well, come on.  I have made medicine.  We will find those mules in a short ride now.  They are half-breeds who got them.  I have held the pipe high.  I have spoken to the ground and to the sky.  Now we go.”  Then we went to the stick where it pointed that way   I had Drags Wolf go to one side a mile.  I had the others go to the other side a mile.  I rode on the trail.  Pretty soon Drags Wolf rode a circle.  So then we all went to him.  There were other tracks.  We went on.  Pretty soon we saw the mules.  We got off.  We crawled up there then.  We ran in.  There was no fight.  The breeds were gone.  It was too bad.  We always killed the Sioux when we found them.  If the breeds were there, they would shoot.  But they were gone.  We took the mules back to camp then.  The Colonel gave me a beef for that.  I was a soldier and got pay.  The others were not soldiers and did not get pay.  I gave them the beef for going along with me.  I like to tell that story.  It is pretty good to go after thieves.”

The death of James Kipp, Fort Clark Trader:

“This man was a trader at Fort Clark.  He had a Mandan woman for a wife.  He had a son, too.  He died among the Blackfeet of Montana.  He became an old man and died of sickness there.  His son died there too.”

His account of the Little Big Horn Fight and opinion of General Reno, undated:

“Yes, I was at the Little Big Horn Fight.  I was on a hill.  I was not with the coward, Reno.  He ought to put on a woman’s dress.  I was with Captain Tom Custer in the morning.  Then I went after the Sioux horses.  I caught several that day.  My uncle, Bloody Knife, got killed there.”

How the Crows became separate from the Hidatsa:

“I have been down with our relatives, the Crows.  They talk almost the same as Hidatsa.  They went away from us.  Below the Knife River, this was.  They killed a beef (buffalo).  Two bands wanted the guts with the tallow.  The band then went away and down into the Black Hills country.  That’s the Crows now.”

Harry A. Eaton talks to Welch, Mandan, N.D., Nov. 6th, 1934…witnesses: Eaton’s daughter, Little Crow and Wife:

This man is a full-blooded Hidatsa, and has been a scout for General Custer and other officers of the early days.  Now a member of the “Old Scout” Society.

His Indian name is Sand Hill Crane and he sometimes goes by the name of One Eye.  He took his name, Eaton, from an officer who took him east when a young man and educated him.  He is about the oldest full blood who talks English fairly well.

His story about Theodore Roosevelt’s Two Indian wives, ‘Brown Head’ and ‘See the Woman’:

“Yes, I know about Roosevelt and the Gros Ventre woman he took.  He got her.  That was the way we did it then.  He gave some horses for her.  Her name was Brown Head.  She was Hidatsa.  She’s dead now.  After he left her here, a Hidatsa, named Foolish Woman, got her for a wife then She died.  That woman was my cousin.”

“Then he got another one.  Her name was See the Woman.  She was one-half French and one-half Hidatsa.  She’s alive yet up at Shell Creek.  Yes, I knew him well.  He was all right.  When he went away he gave the women some horses and things.  So he went away.  Then he became a big man.  We never said anything about these women to anyone.  That’s the way the white men did then in the country.  It was all right.”


Sakakawea, (her grandson talks to Welch)


Written as result of interview with Bull’s Eye, Shell Village, May 29, 1923

His Indian name is Tatan Tatonka, and he is the second son of Otter Woman, who was the second child of Sakakawea, the Bird Woman of 1804-05-06 who guided the Lewis & Clark Expedition.  He died of heart trouble March 20, 1928 at Shell village on the Elbowoods Reservation.


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“Scabby Head” (May have been a pseudonym of Chief Grass)

Welch notes about Scabby Head, undated, probably 1944:

John Grass may have used this name at the Little Big Horn Fight.


“Scarlet Leg ”  (Old Indian Scout)

Welch notes about Scarlet Leg, undated:

Old Indian Scout, died Dec. 24, 1932 (that’s him in the coffin).  Brother of Mrs. Crow Ghost.



“Scarlet Point” (a Fierce Leader of the Sante, aka Inkpaduta)

Yellow Horse talks to Welch, May 29, 1920:

I was talking to Miss Lucille Van Solen and happened to mention the name of Inkpaduta or Scarlet Point.  Yellow Horse and his wife were sitting on the kitchen floor, and he said, “Mato Watakpe must know something about Inkpaduta.  He speaks his name.  I think he was Sisseton.  He did not have many men but they were all bad men he did have.  He killed white people down in southern Minnesota country.  He came up here.  No, he was not in the fighting when they made us cross the river at Bismarck.  I know, for I was there myself.  My father, Roll the Hoop, was killed that time on the little creek (Apple Creek).  I saw one soldier killed there and saw only one.  After we crossed the river we went west for a while and then came back.


Welch notes, undated, Relating to Yellow Horse’s story above:

Inkpaduta or Scarlet Point was a fierce leader of the hostile Sante in 1862; fought with a small band of his renegades with the Sihasapa, Hunkpapa and Sissetons against Gen. Sibley, at the Battles of the Big Mound and the Crossing of the Missouri river.  After this crossing he went back to the east bank and dogged Sibley’s column until he struck buffalo herds in the vicinity of Steele, where he stayed.

Scarlet Point’s participation in the Battle of the Little Big Horn:

I am told by Chief Grass that he commanded the Isante and Yanktonai at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876 and fled into Canada with Sitting Bull after the scattering of the Dakotah then.  He probably died there as I do not hear of him since that time.


 “Scattering Bear”(The Tragic Tale of the Crippled Cow)

Mrs. Josephine McCarthy Wagoner talks to Welch, September 7th, 1942, Bismarck, N.D.:

The Tragic Tale of the Crippled Cow:

“When the Sioux Mato Wahuya (Bear that Scatters  – she called him; and this is supposedly the man often called Scattering Bear  – Disturbing Bear and other such names) was named to be Head Chief of the entire Sioux (by Army orders  – so carelessly oblivious of the custom of the Sioux in making Chiefs) he predicted his own early death because of that unwelcome distinction.  This became fact in 1854:

A Minniconjou Indian killed a head of oxen which had been deserted by its wagon owners along that Salt Lake-Oregon-California-Gold Fields trail, because its hoofs had been worn down to the quick.  This was a cow left by a band of Mormons  – who later came to see if it could travel.  They found it killed, and immediately informed the Commander at Fort Laramie, not far distant.

The Minniconjou wanted to settle the affair by paying $10.00 but the owner demanded $25.00, which was not forthcoming, and Lieut. Grattan requested to be sent to bring in the cow-killer.

The officer was inexperienced and hot-headed…probably wanted to make a mark for himself.  He took a Sergeant, thirty men and two howitzers, planted the men and guns in the camp circle and demanded of Scattering Bear that the cow-killer be given up.

Those Brules and Oglalas in the camp did not know anything about it and were not able to produce the man, and proposed that Grattan wait until the Agent came who would settle the whole affair.  The Chief collected eight head of horses to pay for the worn-out cow, but this offer was refused.

Grattan ordered his men to fire on the camp;  numbers of Indians were killed…all innocent, and the Brule Chief, Scattering Bear, was killed by three bullet wounds.  Naturally made mad at this outrage, the Indians rallied and put to death every man in the military detachment.  This is often spoken of as the massacre of Lieut. Grattan and his force.

Scattering Bear was a friend of the whites and to carry out his peaceful program had several times, killed Indians of his own people; he was honored by his people as a brave man and ‘hard to go against.’

The Battle of Ash Hollow:

Col. William S. Harney was sent up from Leavenworth the next year (1855) to chastise the Indians for this terrible massacre.  On the way up he ran across a camp of Brule (Sicangu) Tetons north of the Platte River.  This was a camp under Little Thunder (Wakiyan Cigalla). Before Little Thunder could get his camp on the trail, Harney  appeared and demanded the slayers of Lieut. Grattan.  The Chief, of course, had had nothing to do in that affair, and could not deliver the men responsible.  So the fight began;  Harney’s official report says that 86 Indians were killed and about 70 women and children captured.  This is known as the Battle of Ash Hollow.  (Nice work, Harney…brave deed, indeed).  Harney continued on to Laramie, demanded the murderers of Lieut. Grattan; several of the leaders came in, singing their death chant, and offered themselves as hostages.  They, together with their wives and children, were sent to Leavenworth to prison.

Then Harney held a council with the Sioux at Fort Pierre, still hunting the man who had killed the crippled cow.  He forced the Indians to make reparations which they wanted to make long before.  At Laramie a chief named Mato Wakinyan (Thunder Bear) owned two white women and wanted to liberate them to the white garrison  – so he allowed them to escape.  At the fort, the two woman pleaded for thunder Bear  – the soldiers were deaf to their entreaties and hanged all three of them; their bodies were left hanging all summer, swinging in the wind and blackened by decay and wind and sun.  Spotted Tail planned a revenge and led a detachment of soldiers into a trap, killing them all, two years after Ash Hollow.


“See Walker” (Brief Biography)

Welch notes about See Walker, undated:

He was a brother by blood of the Chief Two Bears and acted as one of the Eagle Parents.



 “Shave Head” (One of the Indian Police killed at the death of Sitting Bull)

One of the Indian Police killed at the death of Sitting Bull.




“Shoot Holy” (Several Interesting Stories)

Mandan, May 13th, 1926.  These two old men of the Yanktonaise, the first, Shoot Holy,  80 years of age and His Road 70 years, visited me yesterday and I made plans to go with them to see Governor Sorlie at Bismarck.  We went over on the bus and the two old Indians dressed up in their feathers and gear and we called upon the Governor.  Shoot Holy carried two braided twists of sweet grass and had several medicinal roots tied to his buckskin coat.

They both talked well about their lands east of the Missouri river, and wanted their names placed upon the rolls of the Yanktonaise, so they would receive their share of the money from the Government, if it is ever paid to the Yanktonaise. They said that they saw many railways, roads, stores and automobiles, and that all the white people looked prosperous and appeared to have plenty to eat, and that they got all this happiness out of their land, and they, the Yanktonaise had a right to be treated well, especially as they had both signed the Treaty of Long Lake—which is what they call Fort Rice.

June 11th, 1930.  Shoot Holy talks about his father’s bravery … his fight with a grizzly bear … his medicine which helps old men make water.

Old Shoot Holy called upon me today.  In our talk I found out that his half-Sioux-Mandan’s father was a Mandan named Turns His Face and another name was Turning Bear.

This man came to a Yanktonaise camp somewhere in the vicinity of the present James town and boldly walked into the camp and asked for something to eat.  Snow was on the ground.  This act indicated bravery as the two peoples were at war at all times.  The Yanktonaise fed him and, in consideration of his bravery, they presented him with a Sioux woman named Black Stone Woman.  Shoot Holy was the outcome of this kind act.

Shoot Holy got him name by reason of a fight with eleven Crows, which a small body of Sioux attacked.  His gun got four of them and never missed, and so they named the young man Shoot Holy.

He told me again of his great bear fight.  This was on the Heart River in the first big hills west of present Mandan.  There was a “white bear” (grizzly) and two cubs.  The cubs grabbed him around the legs but did not bite.  The old one came on and grabbed him around the body, but he got his right hand into the bear’s mouth and the tongue was across her teeth.  It hurt her so much that she did not close her mouth.  His knife was on his right side and he could not reach it.  One of his companions then got close with a rifle and shot her dead.  But he carried scars upon his sides and back for many years after that.  The man who shot the bear was Fool Bear (Mato Witko).  He died about three years ago.

Shoot Holy says he has a medicine which always helps “old men make water.” 

He once rescued White Cow Walking from the enemy when he was unhorsed.

The brass tomahawk I got from His Road today, has been in his possession for 45 years, says Shoot Holy.  Some Sioux traded corn for it to some steamboat people.  The corn they traded for from the among the Arikarees at Fort Clark Mandan Village.

Shoot Holy presented me with a nice pair of moccasins, done in blue mostly (beads).  He said that he liked them for they were very strong and sewed with sinew.


Bill Zahn of Solen said that Shoot Holy told him his Indian name was Ista To-to or Blue Eyes.


“Shoots First” (Welch borrowed his Horse)

Welch notes about Shoots First, October 1915:

He says the horse I rode in the adoption ceremonies was his own horse and he wants a photo of it.  He lives at McLaughlin, October, 1915.  His father-in-law is No Two Horns.



 “Shoots Well”(“I was a scout for Long Hair.  I was at Fort Lincoln a long time ago”)

An old Custer Scout tells his story to Welch, 1915:

Okute (Shoots Well … or sometimes called He Was Shot At) wants to know why he did not get a pension:

“I was a scout for Long Hair.  I was at Fort Lincoln a long time ago.  I am an old man now.  I was young and strong then.  I have some papers which I wish to show to you (discharge papers and enlistments).  (Across the last discharge was written in red ink … unworthy).  That red shows that I was a good man, but they sent them back from Washington and would not give me pension for scout work.  I want to know why they did not give me pension.”

Question by Welch”  “Did you ever do anything bad when you were soldier?


“Did you hurt some man?”

“No, I was a good man.”

“Did you take a woman with you?”

“Yes, I bought a Ree woman when Sitting Bull had some.  I had her with me in a tipi.  But she was all right and made me money.  The soldiers paid me money to stay with her.”

“Can’t you think of any time you were bad?  Don’t lie to me.”

“Once they told me to clean the stables.  I was a scout and that was not my work to do that.  They had mules there and they kicked me.  I was afraid of them.  They made a Ree scout get on a wagon and go to the river for water.  He was the one to clean the stables.  He was a Ree.  I was a Dakotah.  I got him off the wagon and made him clean the stables.  I got the water, myself.  That night I sleep in a tent with other Dakotah scouts.  Someone shot at us from the outside to kill us through the tipi.  I shot at a man I saw running and he died.  They took me in and made those red marks on my paper.  He was a Ree.  The red showed my coup.  I was glad to get my coup upon my paper.  I want a pension.”

Note:  Red on a feather or stick or paint is color of honor.  It denotes a coup.  But on a discharge paper from the Army, it means dishonor.  Welch.



“Short Bull” (….”he said he was the Messiah, himself, on earth”)

Welch notes on Short Bull, undated:

A Sicangu or Brule, born on the Niobrara river about 1845.  In 1890 he was appointed a delegate to visit Wovoka, the Piute Messiah and went to Pyramid Lake, Nevada on that account.

On his return he represented himself to be the special vicar of Wovoka and, after he had been imprisoned by the Army authorities, he said he was the Messiah, himself, on earth.

He was much followed by the people during the Ghost Dance craze but finally fell into disrepute among them.

He was the brother of Crow Ghost’s wife.


“Sitting Bull” (Sitting Bull’s stories are very extensive and will be reported in a separate Category)

Sitting Bull’s stories are very extensive and will be reported in a separate Category


“Sitting Bear” (Arikara Family Stories)

Sitting Bear, Chief of the Arikara,  talks to Welch, Nov. 21st, 1921;

“My father was the last great chief.   His name was Sitting Bear.  His father was Son of the Star and his father was Star.  My grandmother’s name was Sun Flower.  She would be 93 years old now but she is dead.

“My grandmother was with the Arikara when they lived at the village called ‘Rock on the Hill Village.’  It was down below Fort Yates place (probably the Grande River village).  A long time ago people lived there.  They had some trouble with some soldiers and the Sioux helped the soldiers.  The people went away from that place after this fight.  They came back in about a month but did not stay long as the village was destroyed.  They went to visit their relatives, the Pawnees.  They speak the same language, only it is a little different.  They stayed with the Pawnee for eight years.  Then they started north.  They went west of the river in the Bad Land country.  After they had traveled a long ways and took a long time, they came to a Butte called Roseberry Butte.  They made a winter camp there.  Some Gros Ventre and Mandan Indians came to them there and asked them to come and live with them.  So they did that.  They went to the village at Fort Clark.  They have been with them ever since then.

“I lived in a round house at Fort Berthold.  There were not so many houses there but they were big and many people lived in each one of them.  I can remember that time.  The Sioux used to come around pretty close sometimes.

“The way my great grandfather got the name Star was that he wore a buffalo robe once.  It had a big star painted on the back of it.  A trader saw it and gave him the name of for that thing.

“The graves you tell me about (Graves of Two Face Village).  They are Mandan graves I think.  Those holes were two of them in each house.  One on each side of the doorway.  They put corn in there and covered it up.  If they left the house for a time, maybe if anyone came there, they would not know about the holes and so they would not take the corn.  They were small at the top and big at the bottom.  I think someone came along after that village was gone and died.  Then the people with him put him into those holes there.  That village was Mandan Village.”


 “Sitting Crow” (The Last Mandan Chief)

 Welch notes about Sitting Crow, Nov. 1926:

Now First Chief of the Mandans.  A man of great leadership ability.

His grandfather was Red Cow Buffalo, who was the son of Chief Four Bears of the Mandans, and who entertained the members of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, during the winter of 1804-05.  Four Bears was painted in oil by Bodmer, the portrait painter who accompanied Maximilian, Prince of Wied, and who spent the winter of 1833 with the Mandan people at their village of Mihtuttahanghush, a few miles north of the present city of Mandan.

Sitting Crow, last Mandan Chief



He talks with Welch, March 1-2-3, 1928, Mandan, N.D.:

He was born in 1866 at the Mandan and Gros Ventre village, Fort Berthold.  Says that he was born in the same year in which the Arikaras came into the village, and that he is now 61 years of age.

Asked how many full-blooded Mandans there are now?  He said, “There are only four.  Many are full-blood Indians, but mixed with Gros Ventre, Crow and Arikara.  The four are Sitting Crow, Ben Benson (Bull Head), White Calf and Little Owl.

He said that the ceremonies this summer for myself will be a great affair.  We had him to dinner and he appeared to be as easy as any white man would be in a strange house to dinner.  His hands were clean and his clothes pressed and he wore regular shoes.  He is a tall well-formed man, dignified and with serious mien.  He said that his people, years ago, before he was born even, had white skins and eyes of different colors, as they have today.

Red Cow was the father of Pretty Woman, who was the mother of Sitting Crow.  Son of Red Cow is also a son of Red Cow, and a brother of Sitting Crow’s mother.



“Sioux Dog” (Fort Berthold, 1872 Photo)

Welch notes on back of Sioux Dog’s photo:


Red Bear (11-20-22) called them Sioux Horse and Crow Wing. Foolish Woman identified them as Enemy Dog and Cherries in the Mouth.



“Soldier” (Arikara History Stories)

Soldier, an Arikara, talks to Welch about the History of the Arikara, undated, but probably early 1920’s:

“I was born in 1831 on the Grand River country.  We call it Broad River country.  In 1832 we all went away to the Pawnee country.  They are our relatives (they were connected in the past).  We went by way of the Black Hills, where we saw some white men who had powerful medicine to kill their enemies with.  Then we went on to Painted Butte, across the Elk river (Yellowstone river).  The next spring we hunted with the Hidatsa at the ‘Five Villages.’  There were two villages, one on each side of Branching River (Knife River).

“In 1837, in the fall, we went from the Hidatsa and winter-camped across from where Washburn now is, on the Missouri river.  Many of the people died from small pox there.  I lived with my parents at Antelope Village, or Upper Village, of the Mandans then, and the sickness came to us there too.  My parents and sister died.  Then I went to the Lower Village of the Mandans (Fort Clark village) with my grandmother.  Her name was Skunk Woman.  Many of the people left the villages and died along the river trails and were left there.

“I lived at Fort Clark Village for 24 years.  Close by there, on a creek, was a trading store. The white man was called Big Knife.  He married Lucky Woman, an Arikara, daughter of Star and Son-of-Star.  There was a white man doctor here, too, and he vaccinated Young Hawk’s wife, who was Chief Woman by name.  Gerrard was interpreter for the white doctor.  That same year, 1837, a steamboat came up the river and landed at this village.  There were other white men there, also.  The white trader, Big Knife, died at Fort Clark and was buried there.  His son, Bears Arm, and his daughter, Anne Snow, are still living, 1920.  Another trader came, his name was Dawson and, after him, Gerrard was the next trader there.

“There was a Hidatsa village up the river a short distance, too.  In 1838 the village at Fort Clark was abandoned and we moved up to Fort Berthold.  This was the trading post which left the Clark Village.  It was about a quarrel with some Dakotahs and the Hidatsa sided with Gerrard.  The traders went on boats and went up river.  It was a long ways for us to go then.  So we moved up there too.  White Shield led us then, and I lived at Berthold in a round house until the place broke up.  Later, there were two villages of the Arikara opposite Berthold.

“Once a miner’s boat came and the miners stayed at Gerrard’s all night.  This was the year when the soldiers fought the Sioux (Sibley in 1864).  Gerrard sent Howling Bear and myself to see what happened to the boat and told them that the gold was in little sacks in each end of the boat behind a little door.  Red Bear, Bull Head and Bull Neck went also.  We went on west side of river to keep away from the Yanktonais Sioux.  Across from the mouth of the Heart river we found many white bodies on a sandbar.  That was a mile and a half above where the N.P, bridge is now.  I found a coffee pot full of yellow gold like Gerrard showed us. Other gold was poured out of sacks where the Dakotah had ripped them open.  We gathered it up.  It weighed as much as a sack of flour and we gave it to Gerrard.  There were nine or ten dead white men and, in a tipi in a glen among the trees, we found a Dakotah lodge with a dead Sioux in it who had been killed (Note: it might have been Ista Sapa, the father of No Two Horns.).

“I belonged to the Crow Society, Foolish Dogs, Black Mouths and the Buffalo Society.  In 1904 I was made Chief and was given a war shirt by Dogs Backbone, who had resigned.  This shirt came from Soup, the former Chief.  Others who can were the shirts are Bears Teeth, Strikes Two, Standing Soldier and Sitting Bear.  I was wounded close to Dickinson by the Dakotah in 1854 and ten of us were killed and a trader’s wagon was burned then.

My grandfather was He Holds the Enemy Back.

My father was Bears Arm, born about 1767 and died at Fort Clark 1837.

My Mother was Assiniboine Woman, born 1787 and died 1837.

My Uncles were Many Bears and Angry Horse

My Brother was Good Day.


 “Snow Bird” (Mandan, 1924 Photo)



 “Son of Crows Breast” (Gros Ventre Warrior, 1872)

Badger’s notation: THE MARAUDER,(left) and SON OF CROW’S BREAST (right), Warriors of the Gros Ventre, 1872, Fort Berthold




“Spotted Tail” (the Sad Tale of the Loss of the Black Hills to White Man’s Greed)

Welch sketch about Spotted Tail and the Sad Tale of the Loss of the Black Hills to White Man’s Greed for Gold, 1920:

A chief of the Brule Teton Dakotah.  Born about 1833 somewhere out west, so the Indians tell me.  The Hand Book of North American Indians give it as at Fort Laramie, Wyoming.  He was not a chief by birth but was raised above and over the older men of the tribe on account of his fighting abilities.  He won his wife in a duel with another Indian and did other acts of bravery which made him famous.

He was in the Grattan massacre at Fort Laramie under Swift Bird, and became conspicuous on account of an affair, which, in a way, started the bloody fight.  A detachment of soldiers came to camp to produce a man who had taken an old ox from some emigrants.  I am told that this was an old, worn-out animal and that he did not know that anyone wanted it.  Evidently the animal had been abandoned.  After this affair he became a scourge to travelers along the ‘Oregon Trail.’

In 1855 the hostiles under Spotted Tail were severely punished at the battle of Ash Hollow by Gen. Harney, who demanded the surrender of the hostile chief Spotted Tail.  This man surprised the entire garrison by suddenly appearing with two other principal men, arrayed in all their finery and chanting their Death Song, and gave themselves up to captivity in order that the tribe might be spared.

Some time after he regained his freedom and became the chief of the lower Brules and, in 1865, when a commission treatied with the Dakotah for a right of unmolested way through Montana, he appeared among them.  He was in favor of this treaty although he did not sign it.  Later Red Cloud formed war parties and caused much trouble on account of the treaty.

On April 25th, 1868 he signed the treaty which gave to the Tetons all the country west of the Missouri river and, consenting to the construction of a rail road, the government acknowledging as unceeded Indian Territory, the sections of Montana and Wyoming north of the Platte river as far west as the Big Horn Mountains, and abandoning the roads to mines and also the Fort Phil Kearny where the massacre of Lieut. Col. Fetterman’s command occurred on December 21st, 1866, and Fort Reno which was near the head of the Powder River.

This was a real victory for the Dakotah as the government acknowledged that this great territory now belonged to the Sioux and also abandoned two very strong positions where it was already well-established.

When gold was discovered in the Black Hills, this man, Spotted Tail, went into the Hills, himself, to see what was taking place there and he, at once, conceived a tremendous valuation for the Black Hills.  He and Red Cloud went to Washington together to sell the country, but it was held in Washington that, under the terms of the 1868 treaty, they would not be allowed to sell the Indians land that had been granted by treaty.

Later a commission was appointed to go out to see the Hills country and they found that Spotted Tail had raised the value of the territory to sixty million dollars, so the sale fell through.

Miners flocked to the Black Hills the next year, and were protected by soldiers.  Bismarck became a seething outfitting place or, rather, the end of civilization, and machinery was brought up the river by steamers and taken overland from that point.  The deep trails made that year are still plainly to be seen, winding over the hills and across the unbroken prairie, southwest of Bismarck in 1920.

The Dakotah protested that the white men had no right to go into the Black Hills country, under the terms of the treaty of 1868.  All the young men joined hostile bands and the trail became very dangerous indeed.  Parties had to go in large trains and keep well together.  Red Cloud was suspected of disloyalty and, in the course of the campaign which followed the Custer fight in 1876, Spotted Tail was appointed chief of the Indians at Spotted Tail and Red Cloud Agencies, by the Government.  In the spring of 1877, Crazy Horse, a hostile, and his nephew came in under the terms of a settlement he made.  Crazy Horse had been out on the Powder River.

Spotted Tail was killed by another chief, named Crow Dog, near Rosebud Agency, S.D.  Spotted Tail was in disfavor with many Indians at this time, and Crow Dog gained much power and succeeded in killing the subject of this sketch.


Undated notes: 

Hollow Horn Bear arrested Crow Dog for the murder of Spotted Tail.

In 1874 Spotted Tail called at Big Mouth’s lodge and, when Big Mouth appeared, two of Spotted Tail’s warriors seized him and their chief shot him dead.

Crazy Horse was Spotted Tail’s nephew


“Standing Buffalo” (His Battle to the Death)

Dr. Chas. Eastman (Ohiyesa), Ihanktonaise, talks to Welch, January 25th, 1925, Bismarck, N.D.:

This Standing Bull or Buffalo, was a great chief of the Yanktonaise and his bands habitat in the late 1860’s was in the Fort Peck country, Montana.  Eastman was with them until he was about 17 years of age, and spent winters with them, trapping muskrats and other furs in the Winnipeg country for the Hudson’s Bay Company; and one winter, he said, they were on the Souris (Mouse river) and other winters they spent roaming or in camp at other northern places in the Fort Peck country.

In speaking of the death of Tatonka Najin, Dr. Eastman said:

“I remember about that.  We were in several war parties then.  That is the way we mostly went, in small bands of people.  One of these bands, with Tatonka Najin, was suddenly in the presence of the enemy  – the Stoney Gros Ventre.  Sometimes these people are called the Assiniboine.  They fought Indian style.  Tatonka Najin found himself with his men being driven back, and he was being left in the rear.  He dismounted to make a stand there and held his horse by its rope.  His son came to him and he said, “Go on, my son.  Do not stay here to be killed.  Our people have gone and left us, but I will stay and die here now.  Go away and do not die.”  The enemy were coming on fast now, and one of them came afoot to make coup upon Tatonka Najin.  He struck at the chief once, twice.  But the second time he struck he could not withdraw his tomahawk-pipe club.  It was deeply imbedded in the bone of Tatonka Najin.  The exultant enemy withdrew then, leaving the stone tomahawk sticking in his head.  Tatonka Najin was dead.”

“The next year our people made a journey into that place to pick up the bones of Tatonka Najin, and they came at last to the place.  The bones were there, scattered around somewhat.  The stone tomahawk-pipe club was still sticking in the head of our old chief.”


Welch notes, undated … Death of Standing Buffalo as told to me by an Indian who said he knew what he was talking about, but I have forgotten his name:

He said that Standing Buffalo was killed to the north of Fort Peck some miles, close to a little gully, by either the Assiniboines or the Mandans and Gros Ventres.  He could have gotten away but he had stuck his staff into the ground and would not run, but was killed there.  His people did not carry his body away, and this man saw the bones there a year after that time.


S.D.Hist, Vol II, p347 … notes that Standing Buffalo killed in 1866 by Crows.

All Yellow talks to Welch, 8-8-22 (this version of Standing Buffalo’s death approved by Chief Red Fish, Feb 6th, 1923):

This was the Chief of the Sissetons and who lived at Poplar Creek in Montana.  The Sissetons were camped about sixty miles west of the creek, in a hunting camp.  They were attacked by the Hohe (Assiniboine) and in the fierce fighting, Tatonka Najin was killed.  His body was not buried and lay where it fell.  In the running fight, which naturally followed the attack upon the camp of the Sissetons, the trail led away, and when the people returned, the wolves had eaten the bodies of the dead, and the remains of Tatonka Najin were not identified from the bones of the others.  The bones were left where they were scattered.  This was the Chief who led the Sissetons into the country of the upper Minisose.  The place was then, and is now, called by the Dakotah, ‘Rock in the Hills.’


Alex Iron Cloud talks to Welch, Devils Lake, 9-6-’23: Regarding Standing Buffalo, grandson of the old Standing Buffalo:

“This man still lives at Fort Quapelle, Canada.  His people never came back into the United States.  His first name is Julius.  He is wrong in many things which he writes.”


 “Carrie Standing Soldier” (A Carlisle Graduate’s photo)



“Adelaide Stevensen” (Mandan 1924 Photo)



“Star”(World War I, France, 1918, and a Story of his Father)

Told by Star, an ex-serviceman of Elbowoods reservations, Mandan, May 15th, 1926:

This young man came to visit me today.  His wife was in Bismarck being examined for physical defects.  We were talking of old Fort Clark Village.  This boy’s father was Star, son of Son of the Star, an Arikara.

“My mother’s step-father’s name was Bears Opinion.  He was a brave man, too.  I tell you.  One time about 50 years ago, so my grandfather, Bears Opinion, says he was with twenty Arikara on a hunt.  They were west of the Missouri, when they were jumped by a band of Sioux.  They saw they were overpowered as to numbers, and started out to cross the river to Fort Berthold village.  My grandfather was riding a spotted horse.  One of the men yelled to him that his brother was killed. He whirled about and to where his brother was lying.  He got off his horse and sent him away.  He threw away his rifle.  He had borrowed it and the other fellow’s medicine would not let him shoot it straight.  He drew out his big knife and ran toward the Sioux.  He felt several bullets and arrows pass him close, but he ran on.  Then a Sioux on a big horse ran across him.  He laid down flat then right in front of the Sioux horse.  The horse fell down and threw its rider.  Before he could get up my grandfather was on top of him and had pinned him to the ground with his knife through his throat.  He killed that Sioux there.  He was on foot, too. He had no rifle either.  He had his knife.  The Sioux like a brave man, too.  They rode around him, but did not shoot him.  They finally rode away from there.”


“When my grandfather was 18 years old, he said that there was the most prettiest woman among the Arikara.  She was a chief’s daughter.  She was a pure girl with men.  A good hunter offered six horses to be with her, but she would not.  A warrior offered ten horses for but she would not.  A son of a chief offered a lot of horses but she would not.  That night she died, quick.  I don’t know why.  She was buried there at Fort Clark with her whole dress done in real elk teeth.  I don’t know where, but not far.  You will find her some time.  The Arikara always buried in the earth.  At Fort Berthold it was to the northeast of the graveyard there now.  There were always a lot of Mandans on scaffolds, but after they moved away, the prairie fires burned them up.”


“Strikes the Knife” (Fort Berthold, 1872 Photo)



“Strikes Two” (Stories in the 1860’s)

Welch notes of talk with Strikes Two, undated:

Born 1844 at Fort Clark Village.  Father was Arikara Chief and mother was Young Woman Village.  Father’s father was Holding Medicine and mother’s father was Old Elk.  Father’s mother was People they know Her and mother’s mother was Old Woman Mist.

“In 1861 we left Clark and, before the ice broke in the spring, built two villages across from Fort Berthold.  During that summer we were bothered so much by the Dakotah that we crossed the river and joined the people at Berthold.  In the winter of 1861 Berthold was attacked by the Sioux and driven away by Gerrard and a few men  – Pierre Garreau, Dawson’s son, Hair on Upper Lip, a negro and the following Arikara:  Black Road, One Horn Wandering, Paint, White Face Bear, Young Fox, Bull Neck, Strikes Enemy, Rough Horn, Spotted Horse, Weasel Tail, He Hawk, Bull Head and Stabbed.  Hidatsa present were Snake Cane, Hay Wolf, Hard Horn, Pan, Many Bears and Pointed Knife.  Mandans present were White Bear, Leggins, Bald Headed Gun and Bad Gun.”

“One day, while a scout, Strikes Two rode out from Fort Lincoln looking for some Dakotah to kill.  They killed his horse and wounded him with a shot just above the knee.  Standing Soldier (Young War Eagle) took him on his own horse and got him back to the fort.  Elk Tongue and Wolf Looking (Arikara scouts) were both killed in this fight.  The white soldiers went out then and drove off the Sioux.  The white doctor wanted to cut off his leg, but War Woman and White Basket Woman (both Arikara), helped him dig out the bullet.  He went back to Berthold and had to use a cane for the rest of that winter.”

Another talk with Strikes Two:

“About five days after this fight, when Red Bear and the others were killed, I got to Fort Lincoln as a scout and with me were Enemy Heart, Bull Neck, Four Rings, Elk Face, White Eagle, Pain and Skunk.  Afraid of No One, Pretty Crow, Elk Tongue, Looking back Wolf, Buffalo, Bull Walking through Village, Bravest Man and Skunk Head.  We saw where the men had been killed.  There was dry blood there yet where they had lain.”

“The day after we got there and had been examined and made scouts, we went out to look for the Dakotahs.  Strikes Two (myself) was afoot but some one gave me a horse then.  We met the Dakotah and one of them dashed up and struck my horse, killing it.  I got behind some rocks and shot at them then.  One bullet shot me in the leg above the knee.  Standing Soldier (Young War Eagle) took me to camp on his horse.  Elk Tongue and Wolf Looking, who were on foot, were killed then.  The white soldiers came and drove the Dakotah away then.”

“The wife of Bears Arm, a scout, by the name of War Woman, helped me cut out the bullet from my leg, and it made me lame so I walked with a stock.”

Welch note:  Strikes Two died 1922.


“Struck by the Ree (I)” (Stories in the 1860’s)

Struck by the Ree (Podani Opapi),  Welch notes, undated:

Struck by the Ree was head chief of the Yankton Dakotah in 1859 and, until the time of his death, on July 29th, 1888.  He was born at the place which is now Yankton, S.D., Aug. 30th, 1804, while Lewis and Clark were camped there on their exploration expedition to the Pacific Coast.  Captain Clark, hearing that a child had been born, sent for it and wrapped it in an American flag, declaring it to be a ‘real American.’  Struck by the Ree was very proud of this and always remained a staunch friend of the whites through this influence.

In 1862, during the Minnesota Massacres, he kept his tribe from active participation in them and even placed his warriors between the hostile Sante Indians and the white settlements, thus saving many lives of settlers and emigrants.

I knew this man, personally.  He is said to have been scalped by his enemies and lived through it.  It is a fact that, when he was taken into the Catholic church, he refused to remove a skull cap which he always wore.  He is also said to have taken an oath, or made a vow, to permit his nails to grow through his clenched hand until he had had sufficient revenge for the loss of his scalp.  This thing he did.  He and Joseph Renville were great friends.


 “Struck by the Ree (II)”  (Mexican War, 1915, and World War I, France, 1918, aka Meade Steele)

Welch notes, appear to recap a presentation, written early 1920’s:

Podani Opapi II, the great grandson of Podani Opapi, Yankton Sioux chief, who single-handed held back the full tide of the Sioux Nation’s strength in 1862 and averted the annihilation, if not the massacre, of Minnesotan settlers, is following in the footsteps of his great namesake and grandparent.  To his Sioux brothers, he is the descendant of the noted councilor and warrior who, as his name signifies, was Struck by the Ree, but Podani Opapi II has undergone a metamorphosis.  Meade Steele is as American in speech and logic as he is in blood.  Seven years of service in the American Army has given him this, he avers.

Steele was in Columbus, N.M. the night of March 9, 1915, when Villa made his raid and killed 32 Americans.  He was a member of the 13th Cavalry Troop that made up a part of Pershing’s ‘Flying Column,’ into Mexico.  He served overseas with the 18th Infantry of the First Division.  He was mustered out in 1920 and is a member of the Cooley McCullough American Legion Post No. 22, Washington, D.C.  These experiences account, in part, for his being a leader in the National Indian Protective Association of America movement.  In effect, a Podani Opapi again casts his shadow at the Sioux council fires.

Steele, a former vice president of the Indian Protective Association, founded as a state organization in Montana three years ago and since made a national body at Great Falls, Mont., makes his home at the Fort Peck Reservation, Wolf Point, Mont., and is secretary of the Reservation Council.

He recently visited relatives on the Standing Rock Reservation in the Cannon Ball River country and, on his return to Wolf Point, Mont., spent a short visit with Major A. B. Welch, Mandan Postmaster, and with others in Mandan and Bismarck.

The Protective Association, stated Mr. Steele, has as its object the uniting of Indian efforts to better their own position along lines of education, health and citizenship.  The platform of the Association is partly incorporated in a bill introduced in Congress recently.  Under its provisions, all sums appropriated by the national government for the care, hospitalization and medical attention, for the control and prevention of communicable and infectious diseases, and for the general sanitation among the Indians would be administered through each state’s board of health.  All sums appropriated for the construction and maintenance of schools and education would be administered through the State Board of Administration, subject to the approval of the Secretary of Interior; and all sums appropriated for the relief of the aged, infirm, and indigent Indians would be administered through the State Children’s bureau.

More state regulation of the Indian’s health, education, and care would enable better understanding and remedying of any local situations.  Incidentally, in time all Indians, through education, could enjoy the full rights of their state citizenship, believes Mr. Steele.

Although Steele’s presentation of the Indian situation and the purposes of the Indian Protective Association were incisively clear and interesting, the conversation carried on by Major A. B. Welch, versed in Indian affairs and himself an adopted Sioux Chief, and Meade Steele, brought out vivid sketches of Sioux history.

Podani Opapi has drawn from his leather brief case three pictures, copies of negatives in the Smithsonian Institution.  One of his great grandfather, who sits bolt upright with an otter cap set squarely upon his head, a tomahawk grasped in his right hand which rests across his knees.  A second picture is that of Hekhoka Nashin (Standing Elk), Meade Steele’s grandfather; the third picture is that of Standing Elk’s brother.

Steele and Welch discuss, for a moment, the Indian relics and records at the Smithsonian Institution.  An incident, showing that even scientists err, is recounted incidentally by Major Welch.  He tells of being shown two bronze busts at the Institution, one being of Gall, the great Sioux war leader and conqueror of Custer, the other being of John Grass, a friendly Sioux and the father, by adoption, who adopted Major Welch by tribal custom as his son.

The curator, showing Welch the busts, accredited Grass with planning the Little Big Horn massacre, for the names of the chiefs on the busts were reversed.  Not a little diplomacy on Major Welch’s part was required to convince the curator that he knew John Grass, his step father, and also Gall, who he had seen alive.

Podani Opapi, Steele’s great grandparent, a chief of the Yankton Sioux, first saw light nearly a century and a quarter ago.  He was born on the night that Captain Clark, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, arrived at the camp of the Yankton Sioux on the site of old Fort Randall.  Podani Opapi’s loyalty to the whites is traced from the day of his birth.  Account has it that Captain Clark wrapped the new born babe in an American flag and declared him the ‘First American.’

The otter cap that graces Podani Opapi’s head in the picture was worn constantly until his death (ed note: no picture located).  It covers the source of both the great councilor’s name and mortification.  He won his name as a young warrior when, struck down by a ‘Ree’ or Arikara enemy, he lost his scalp, yet survived that greatest shame a warrior can undergo.  He was given the name, which means literally Struck by the Ree.  So mortified was Podani Opapi at his loss that he never removed the otter cap.  Even upon his baptism into the Catholic faith the priest had to waive the custom of removing headgear.

When the Yanktonaise and other Sioux sought the Yankton Sioux for aid in the onslaught upon Minnesota settlements in 1862, Podani Opapi, chief of the Yanktons, Charles Picotte, a French-Indian trader (who was brother of Mrs. Charles Van Solen, pioneer white settler living today at Solen, N.D), alone stood out against the Yankton’s participation.  The Yankton chief curbed the chafing, young warriors of his tribe and, incidentally, the failure of the Yanktons to take up the hatchet threw a barrier between the anxious and powerful war tribe of Tetons to the west of them and the eastern Dakotas who slew and ravished in Minnesota.  The Tetons did not engage.

Podani Opapi lived to be 84 years old, dying in July 1888.  Charles Picotte (son of Honore Picotte) lived to become sergeant-at-arms at the first territorial convention, held at Yankton, S.D.

So Meade Steele has the hereditary right to espouse his brother’s cause as an American speaking English and thinking in modern terms to promote the Indian Protective Association of America.