Indian Histories, from Tall Horse to Zahn (39 Individuals) as told to Col. A. B. Welch

Indian Histories: Tall Horse to Zahn,

39 individuals

(Click a name to go right to their post)

 “Tall Horse,” (a little Arikara History)

Welch notes, undated:

Crow Ghost told me that he had another grandfather  – Tall Horse, by name, and that he was a head man in 1823, being also a member of Col. Leanvenworth’s force against the Grand River Arikara in that year.  Tall Horse was given a flag with 13 stripes and 24 stars.


“Talks with the Spirit Clouds” (Story behind his Feather)

Talks with the Spirit Clouds

Welch Comments on back of photo


Welch comments on back of photo:



“The Dummy” (Sitting Bull’s son)



“Three Foxes” (old Indian Scout)

Charges Alone, Three Foxes, Bears Belly,

Mandan, 1924



“Two Bears, Basil,” (a Sioux-Arikara battle about 1860)

The death of two sons of Chief Two Bears and other Dakotah, told by Frances Red Tomahawk to Welch, October 7, 1920:

“I want to tell you a story of how the two sons of Two Bears, together with four other Dakotah, met their deaths at the hands of some of the northern people.  This story has been told to me by the only one of the party who escaped death that day.  He is still alive and is some relation of Crazy Walking.

Basil Two Bears


“This was before my time (note  – since he was born in 1850, and the fight took place about 1860,  he must be referring to ‘his warrior time.’).  This party of six Dakotah were out there near the mouth of the Little Missouri river.  It was in the winter time.  The party was discovered by some Arikara and they pursued them so hard that the small party took refuge upon the summit of a butte with a flat top and steep sides, where they fought them until night time came.  From their safe place they had killed a large number of the enemy.  There were Arikaras, Mandans, Gros Ventres and some Assiniboine in the attacking party.  Their arrows were used up and they gave up hope of getting away.  The enemy could not get to the top of the butte, but the brave Dakotah decided to fight them below and, if they died, the story would be told about their bravery.

“So, they all slid down the steep bank together into the midst of the enemy who were waiting for the day to come.  They fought well and bravely but were finally all killed, one of them almost getting away but he was killed some distance away.  The enemy were so furious at losing so many men that they mutilated them terrible and cut them into strips.

“The man who survived and finally reached home, had slipped into a hole in the snow as he came down and was covered up with snow so he was not seen.  He laid there all the time and could hear everything.  When he succeeded in getting out of the hole it was daytime and the enemy were all gone away.  He could not tell his friends from the enemy as everyone was cut up, but he counted twenty-one dead bodies there in the trampled, bloody snow at the foot of the bluff.  He left the place hastily and started south.  During that day he met an Assiniboine who was afoot and had evidently been in the fight as he had a knife sticking in his back where he could not reach it and he was reeling along.  The two men passed each other at a respectful distance and both went on their way.

“That night the Dakotah came to a place where the party had made a hasty camping place on the way up into that country.  He went into one of the hastily constructed shelters of boughs and prepared to sleep.  He was soon disturbed by voices and listened.  He was surprised to hear his own comrades talking:  “Well, here is the place and here is our brother who has beaten up here.”  Frightened by these ‘spirit voices,’ he started once more for the south and two days later joined his own people in the porcupine country.  He does not remember how he got there or anything about that journey.

Welch Note: I have been on the ground where this fight took place.  The north Indians have erected stones at the places where they found the dead.  The place is about five miles north of the mouth of the river.  The Arikara have a stone of a certain; The Mandans another color and so on, but the places where the Dakotah were killed has a mound of all kinds of stones there over the spot.  This fight took place about sixty years ago and all the people know about it.


Emeron White, Dakotah, educated, Fort Yates, talks about this fight, August 17th , 1922:

“I have just returned from a visit among those people up north. Here is a lead bullet which I picked up on the butte where they had a fight with the Sioux.  It was like this:

“The three tribes up there and the Assiniboine and Crows were on the north or east bank of the Missouri river across from the mouth of the Little Missouri river.  Some Dakotah came around to steal horses.  They chased them up on top of a high butte.  This butte is three miles north of the mouth of the Little Missouri and one mile south of Saddle Buttes.  It was in the winter time.  The first man to get killed on the other side was a man named White Horse, an Arikara.  He was anxious to get a war honor.  A Sioux man was killed where they could see and he climbed up there to strike his first coup and get first honors.  But another Sioux was hiding behind a rock and shot him dead.  The Sioux killed a good many of the enemy, but finally they (the enemy) killed them all but one, who got away.  I think Two Bears’ son was there.

“I have found out the names of the Sioux at this fight now.  The older men knew them and told me.  They were:

Feared His Horse (Tasunka Kokipapi), fired the first shot.  This man was the son of Two Bears and the brother of Mrs. Frank Gates.

The others were: Black Tomahawk, Holy Voice Crow, Travelling all over Warrior, Standing Bull (Buffalo),  and Wounded with Arrows.

“These men  were all killed except the last one, who came home alive and told about it.  I have been on this same butte and sung a song up there for those brave men who were in the fight.

“Wounded with Arrows is dead now.  He was a Hunkpati and the brother of Iron Thunder (Wahkiyan M—) of Two Bears’ band.

Frank Young Bear, Mandan, N.D., Oct. 26th, 1926 talks to Welch about Two Bears, et al:

 (Welch note  – Frank Young Bear is a young man and talks English well, and served during the World War with the U.S.Forces.)

“My mother wanted me to tell you about her,” he said, “for she is a blood daughter of Chief Two Bears.  She has told me this about him being named Chief.  There were some officers with the Indians, and they shouted ‘Who is Chief of these people?’  Well, there was one or two real chiefs there then, but they were afraid and said nothing.  This young man, Two Bears, was a big fellow and well-dressed and good looking, and they shoved him out to meet the soldiers.  He went, because he had several brave deeds to his credit and was not afraid.  So those officers gave him a medal and named him Chief when they reported back to Washington.  So he was always Chief after that time.  They told him to name about 20 sub-chiefs and he did that.  Among those he named were my grandfather, the father of my father.  His name was Bad Bird, I think.  He was quite a strong medicine man and they say that a man could shoot him and he would spit the bullet out of his mouth.  He had a dream of a bear so he named my father Young Bear.

“Two Bears had two women as wives, but for some reason he turned them loose and married the daughters of a man, there were four of those daughters, and my mother was one and her sister was the other, those two are still living.  My mother’s name was Tasinahiwastewin (Pretty Feather Shawl Woman) and she married my father Young Bear.  The other living sister is now Mrs. Frank Gates, and her Indian name was Bogawin (Spreading or Boiling Cloud woman) and she is 73 years old now.  They used to call her Princess Two Bears.  My mother is now 64 years old.  She was the daughter of the best-liked wife, while Mrs. Gates was the oldest girl in the family.

“Two Bears lived across the river (Emmons County, N.D.) from Fort Yates on that flat there, but he died and was buried on the west side of the river, just south of Porcupine Creek north of Ft. Yates, where the hills are and the main road crosses the creek.  About a mile north of where the Standing Rock used to be before it was moved to Yates.  After a while a Priest took his body up and buried it in the Catholic Cemetery at Fort Yates and he is there now.

“When they took the Sioux horses after the Custer fight, they told Two Bears to take his own personal horses away before they came after them.  But he said that those were his people and he would take what the rest got.  So they took his horses, too, but gave him back one team.

“Basil Two Bears’ mother married my mother’s brother.  When he died Feather Necklace married her.  So he was Basil’s step-father.  Chief Two Bears was my grandfather.

How Two Bears became a Chief of the Yanktonaise, By Basil Two Bears, his grandson, Mandan, N.D., February 4th, 1928

(Welch note  – I had read somewhere that Two Bears had been pushed out toward an official commission, as the real chief, whereas he was not in fact.  Without tipping off my story to Basil, he volunteered the following.)

“There was some officials out here.  Soldiers, I believe they were.  After they had talked a long time, the head man of the white party said: “Now, who is your head man here?  We want to know.”

“So, these Indians were afraid then about that thing.  They thought that the white men wanted the Chief in order to kill him.  So they talked among themselves.  No one wanted to go as the chief.  But my grandfather was a brave young man.  He finally said, ‘I will go to them as the Chief.’  So he did that.  He thought he was going to be killed then.  He walked to them.  He said, ‘I am Two Bears.  I am Chief of these Yanktonaise people here.’  The others with him said, ‘Yes. This man is our Chief.’

“Then the white officers talked among themselves.  Finally they gave Two Bears a present and went away without killing him.  The Yanktonaise did not understand it.  Two Bears was a fine-looking young man.  He had on good white buckskins.  He was also a brave young man, but not a chief, neither was his father a chief.  But he had given himself up as a Chief to be killed for the people.  He was brave for that.

“Then when the white officers got back to Washington, they said that they had talked with the Chief.  That’s what they thought.  His name was Two Bears.  So they wrote a paper then and in this paper was the name of Two Bears, Chief of the Yanktonaise.  He was big surprise when he found that out.  Washington made him a Chief so he was always a Chief after that time, and the Yanktonaise accepted him because he was brave and had been named at Wasington.  That’s how Two Bears became Chief of the Yanktonaise.


Relatives of Chief Two Bears:

The father of Two Bears had four sons.  Their mother was a Hunkpapa woman and belonged to the Sihasapa tribe of Chief Grass.  The names of these sons were:

See Walker, White Eagle, Two Bear, Shakowin, often called Kange Wakuwah (Chasing Crow)

Welch Notes on back of Queen Marie of Romania’s photo

Two Bears grandson, also named Two Bears


Believe this is Two Bears in photo … this man was present at the Queen Marie adoption ceremony in 1924 as an interpreter.  Is the grandson of the famous Chief, Two Bears, who was at the head of the Indians at battle of White Stone.  Therefore, he is the hereditary chief of the Yanktonaise by virtue of succession.


Chief John Grass told me that Two Bears was killed in 1869.  He was a Yanktonaise Chief.  In 1870 John Grass was sent with 200 warriors to avenge his death.  They attacked Fort Berthold in the winter but were repulsed with cannon fire.


Yellow Horse talks to Welch, Feb. 25th , 1921.  Miss Van Solen, interpreter

“When White Beard asked us at that council at Chamberlain who the chief was so he could talk to him, the men got together and named Two Bears because he was a fine, upstanding fellow and a warrior and was dressed well, too.  So he talked for us and White Beard said that he would make him Chief, too.  So, afterward he got some papers from Washington which said that Two Bears was chief.  He was a great man after that and that is the way he got to be chief.  Bone Necklace was the man who made the speech to White Beard about Two Bears being the chief.  This year is called ‘Held for Council Winter.’”  (Blue Thunder’s winter count 1854-55.)


September 1932 interview with unnamed Indian:

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


“Two Bears, Benny,” (The Story of Little Benny)


Little Benny was an Indian boy.  His father was the grandson of the famous Sioux Chief named Two Bears, who led General Sully such merry chases around, over the prairies of North Dakota in the 1860’s.

When the old Chief Two Bears passed over the grey hills and into the valleys where the ‘Ghostly Campfires’ gleam, and after Sully had made history by writing his self-bestowing praise of the manner in which he had forced the great warrior and his clouted men to run so rapidly into the red and yellow wildernesses of the farthest Bad Lands of the unknown regions of the Little Missouri river  – after the grass had grown tall and luxurious at certain numerous, scattered clumps in too many well-nourished spots upon the slopes of the Little Big Horn; and the timid antelope had ventured to return to the valley of the stream where a thousand Dakotah fires had gleamed in 1876; after the Great Father, who lived in the big white house in Washington and represented a munificent and benevolent (pronounced ‘malevolent’ by the Sioux) government, had presented many iron plows and very slow and untrained oxen to the Sioux, by virtue of a nicely-written inscription engraved upon strong-white paper with a splendid picture of an eagle at the top and a lot of red ribbons dangled from the lower left hand corner; and shiny, parallel lines of steel led out across the Minnishoshe and reached into the brilliant west  – it was then that the dignified Chief Two Bears, wrapped his tattered buffalo robe about him and, unafraid, lifted the flap and entered the lodge where dwelt the Wakantonka of the Dakotah’s.

When Two Bears was to be seen no more among the living of his people, Ista Maza (Iron Eyes) the grandson, who had been christened ‘Basil,’ attended an Indian dance between two high hills just south of the mouth of the Iyan Wkan Gapi Wakpe (Cannon Ball river) and received the name of his warrior grandfather.

In the course of natural events the new Two Bears, baptized Basil, took a wife, whose father had been a white man, from the lodges of the Yanktonaise.  This woman brought a boy named Hehaka Mani (Walking Elk) whose father, Pezhi, was the son of the Sihasapa Chief Mato Watakpe (Charging Bear), to the new lodge fire of Two Bears, baptized Basil.

Then, after a while, Benny came to brighten the lodge of Two Bears and his woman and, at last, Hehaka Mani went across the ocean to Soissons and died there in the open field amid the flying steel, with the war cry of the Sioux upon his lips, as befitting a grandson of the Sihasapa Chief, Mato Watakpe, sometimes called Grass.

And little Benny, with fearless, unflinching eyes, watched a Major of Field Artillery (a friend of his mother, the Yanktonaise woman, the woman of Two Bears) in an army uniform point to a dotted line where she signed her name receipting for the returned body of Hehaka Mani, wrapped in a rotted army overcoat with mud upon it, and sealed in an olive-drab steel casket, and he saw that imposing steel casket lowered into a hole in a pitiful Indian graveyard, upon the gloriously sunny slopes of ‘The Holy Hill,’ upon the Standing Rock Reservation.

Albert Grass, grandson of Chief John Grass

Welch brought his body back from France, 1918


 And he saw his mother, the woman of Two Bears, baptized Basil, hack off her hair and slash her arms with a knife in grief, and he listened to the weird savage wails of the Sioux as they chanted the Death Song for a dead, fighting man of the people, and an old warrior laid an eagle’s feather bonnet upon the grave; and the people ate up the six cattle at the feast, and the Government paid the mother One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) and wrote ‘Killed in Action’ after the name of Hehaka Mani, the soldier called Albert Grass, grandson of the Sihasapa Chief called Chief John Grass by the white-skinned settlers who came in after old Two Bears had seen the strong, white paper and the red ribbons, where it said that the Sioux would have plows and school teachers, sometime.

Mrs. Two Bears

Mother of Albert Grass


And now Benny, the son of Two Bears, baptized Basil, and his woman who also bore the soldier Hehaka Mani, who lies in Mother Earth upon the slopes of Holy Hill, upon the Standing Rock, is dead.

He was a little fellow, but “Bright,” the agent said, “considering the fact that he is nothing but an Indian.”  He had the soothing manner of some Indian Agents and always said the correct thing at the right time, did this Agent.

Little Benny had the same upright bearing that Hehaka Mani had had and there was a fearless way about him, for behind his steady eyes lived the soul of a great warrior Chief, that of Two Bears, who went into the wild, red and yellow canyons of the Bad Lands along the Little Missouri, when he desired rest and peace.

“My mother,” he said, to the woman of Two Bears, baptized Basil, “Please wash my body now and take my best clothes from the painted par-flesche box. I am going to die pretty soon now and I want you to put my best clothes upon me, after I am very clean.  Then place me close by Hehaka Mani, the Soldier.”

And the gentle hands of the Indian mother lovingly performed the service, and tears of sorrow, but pride, fell upon the wasted body of Little Benny, who had brightened the lodge of the father, who was the grandson of Chief Two Bears of the Sioux.  Then the “Black Robe” came with his oils and water and anointed the little Indian boy Benny, and administered the ceremonies of Holy Church.

“I will sit over by the fire where it is warm,” said Little Benny, and sitting there in the dark, he watched the colors come and go in the live ashes of the wood fire, but he did not tell what visions he saw there.  Perhaps they brought thoughts of his great ancestor, the brave Two Bears, who saw Wakantonka in the sunset.  Maybe he drew pictures of the soldier, Albert Grass, of the records of the First Division, A.E.F., and of his brave passing in the trampled, bloody what field at Soissons, south of the Chemin de Dames.  Were he old enough to know the searing sorrows of his people who had been free in times remote, and would be now if Tunkasila, who dwells in the big white house at Washington, had but time to think of them, he would have thought of those things, too.

But his eyes became very bright as he sat there before the fire of wood and watched the opalline changes, and the spirit of Two Bears, who smoked a red-stone pipe when he prayed, and reverently blew the fragrant white cloud of smoke toward Wakantonka, as a sacrifice, stood by his side and said, “Come, my grandchild.”

“Papa,” he said to Two Bears, baptized Basil, “come and hold me in your arms.  I am going to leave you, now.  Do not forget, Papa, I want  – to be  – close by  – Hehaka Mani.  I am  – going  now.”

They buried Benny in the little, pitiful, Indian graveyard, which is splashed with sunshine in the summer time, upon the slopes of ‘The Holy Hill,’ facing the Minnishoshe, where the first rays of the rising sun touch, with fingers of golden light, the faded flag which whips in the prairie winds about the mound beneath which lies the torn body of the soldier of the First Division, A.E.F., Albert Grass  – Hehaka Mani of the Sioux and grandson of the Sihasapa Chief Mato Watakpe, sometimes called Grass.  And Two Bears and his woman of the gentle hands and pitiful grief, walked slowly through the winter’s early gloom, back to the lodge  – and an old Indian woman of the happy buffalo days, stood apart and chanted a warriors song in a minor key, of the bravery of Two Bears who worshipped in the red and yellow Bad Lands, and of Hehaka Mani who struck the enemy  – and of Little Benny, who looked with fearless eyes at the pictures which he saw in the  changing colors of the wood fires in the lodge of Two Bears, baptized Basil, grandson of Two Bears of the Sioux.

Benny Two Bears died January 27, 1925 at Cannon Ball, N.D.


“Two Bulls,” (Hunkpapa Stories, 1870’s)

Two Bulls (Tatonka Nopa),  He talks to Welch, October 14th, 1915:

“Wamble Copa (Afraid of Eagle) was my father.  Bear Rib and High Eagle (his son is Robert High Eagle of Fort Yates) were brothers of mine.  They were Hunkpapa.  The first named was appointed by Tunkasila (President) as head chief of the Hunkpapa in 1871.  Bear Rib was a great favorite with the soldiers at Fort Pierre and they gave him many presents at that time.  This made the other of the Hunkpapa jealous and two men asked him to walk away from the fort with them to talk.  He went with them and they beat him and he died.  He is buried at Fort Pierre in the Catholic cemetery there.

Two Bulls


I was a scout in 1890, soon after the trouble with Sitting Bull.  Mato Witko was a policeman at that time and was a guard at the Grand River School when Sitting Bull was killed.  I think Shave Head killed Sitting Bull.

Mrs. Two Bulls, right


Wamble Copa carried mail from Pierre to Fort Rice in those times.  He traveled on the east side of the river as the west side was very dangerous and they would have killed him.  He shot his gun when he got there and the soldiers came with boats to get him and his mail.

High Eagle got the soldiers to build the fort houses on the location where Fort Yates is now.

Father De Smit baptized me.  I was a little fellow and John Grass was a big young man as that time.  I am 63 years old.  I have been the white man’s friend since I was nine years old and was a policeman for them too.”



“Two Dog,” (World War I, France, 1918)



“Two Horses,” (World War I, France, 1918)



“Two Moons,” (Fought against Custer)



“Two Parents,” (How Cut Head Yanktonaise got their Name)

Two Parents (Hunka Nopa), He talks to Welch, Feb. 15, 1921:

“I am a Cut Head Yanktonaise.  My father’s name was also Two Parents, which means two fathers and two mothers.  I am blind now, for many years.  I was six years old when I went out to play and the frost went into my eyes and they broke open.  So, I don’t see now.  I am on my way to Bismarck, to the hospital there, for pray with Claude Brave Bull.  He’s sick.”

 “You ask how we got that name, Cut Heads.  A long time ago in the old times, some people go fight the enemy.  Them enemy, Crow People, Montana there.  Fight the enemy.  One man he catch an enemy man.  He cut him on the neck and carry away that head.  So they called us Cut Heads, that family, and we belong to the Ihanktonawan or Yantonais Sioux people.  They call us Wica Pabaksa (Out the enemy Head) call us.”

“The Red River of the North was in our country then.  Our name for that river, which flowed north, was Mini Dusa  – Swift Water.”

“Also the river now called the James River was ours, too, and we called that river Chan-san-san or Red Wood Water Place.”


“Two Stars,” (a little Sisseton History)

Welch very early notes, 1907:

Said to have been an hereditary chieftain of the Sisseton.  Born near Lac qui Parle, Minnesota, in 1827.

Early in life he came under the influence of Drs. Riggs and Williamson and became a Christian.  He was a scout in the outbreak of 1862, with the Federal Troops.

He is still living at the Sisseton Agency in 1907.


“Two Strikes,” (a Sioux Chief)



“Uses for Eye,” (a Minniconjou War Story)

Mrs. Amanda Grass (wife of Chief John Grass) tells a story about her brother, Uses for Eye


Mrs. Amanda Grass talks to Welch, Mandan, May 8th, 1921, continues her story:

“When my brother was in the camp of boughs, where the Miniconjou had left him to die after being shot with an arrow through the ankle, he had much time to think about things.  He prayed to Wakantonka to let him leve and get home.  He said:

Mrs. Amanda Grass,

wife of Chief John Grass


‘Wakantonka, let me live.  I want to see my people again.  Don’t let me die now.  If you let me live I will do things for your honor.  I will smoke for you for three nights and three days.  I will bleed for you in three hundred places.  I will dance for you without food and water.  I will do these three things in your honor.  Wakantonka, let me walk and live.’

“So Wakantonka let him walk and live.  He sent a wolf to talk with him about people coming along.  He got home.  I have told you about that.  When the looking at the Sun Dance time came, he smoked three days and nights to Him.  He sang songs to Him.  He prepared to bleed three hundred times.  It was a great honor to bleed so many times as three hundred.  It was a great promise he made to Him.  He had many friends and relatives.  They wanted to take some of the bleeding for him.  So they made him many presents and took the bleeding.  They each one took ten cuts in their arms.  He danced in the dance then.  He did not eat or take water.  He made a great dance that time.  He made his vow good.”



“Uses Him as a Shield,” (Father of Chief John Grass)



“Van Solen, Lucille” (Stories of Father DeSmet, 1860’s)

Miss Lucille Van Solen talks about Father DeSmet, Cannon Ball, N.D., March 6th, 1923:

(Welch note  – she is the grand daughter of Wambdi Autapewin, who married Honore Picotte, and after his death, became the wife of Charles Galpin, a trader among the Dakotah)

“My grandmother went as a guide and interpreter, together with her husband, Mr. Galpin, with Father DeSmet, to visit among the hostiles.  She, of course, was well known among all the Indians and was a natural leader, with very much influence among them.  They respected her.  She was also a wonderful trader and was always looking after the interests of her husband in an honorable manner.

“When Father DeSmet went among the hostiles, a heavy guard was sent along with him, too.  A guard of Tetons.  When they got in the vicinity of the hostile camps, she said to Mr. Galpin, “Do not think that you are protected by being with me or because you are my husband.  They will kill you as quickly as anyone.  Wait here with the rest of the party.”  She then entered the camp alone.  What she told the people, we do not know, but they treated the priest with great consideration and honor, and he stayed there a short time, and performed certain church duties.  When his party went on their way, the hostiles sent a large guard with them, until they had passed over certain territory which was considered very dangerous for any whites or strange Indian people.  I have heard my mother tell about this many times (Welch note  – 1868?),

“Father DeSmet presented my grand mother with a black crucifix and this is now in my possession.  It is about ten inches long, and the end of the cross is broken off a little.  It is still wrapped in the original handkerchief with which it was covered then.  This handkerchief is a very dainty affair, but large.  It is embroidered, perhaps by the Sisters of some convent, with his name in one corner.”

Names of relatives of Miss Van Solen:

Her great grandmother, the mother of Mrs. Galpin, bore the Dakotah name of Iysoahinapewin, meaning The Rosy Light of Dawn.

Her gramdmother, Mrs. Galpin, whose first husband was Honore Picotte, the Frenchman, bore the Dakotah name of Wambdi Autapewin, meaning Eagle Woman that all look at.

Miss Van Solen’s own Dakotah name is the name of her grandmother, Eagle Woman that all look at.

Lucille Van Solen obituary,  News Article, August 29, 1929



“Van Solen, Louise” (How the Two Kettle Oohenopa got their Name)

Mrs. Van Solen talks to Welch, May 28th, 1917: 

 How the “Two Kettles” Tribe got their name

“My grandfather was a great chief of the Oohenopa, named Long Lance.

When he was tired and wanted to rest, the entire tribe would rest too.  When he was ready to go on, they would proceed.

They used to kill something, like a buffalo, and the people would stand around for something to eat.  What kind do you want?, they would say to each other.

So when they asked this man what kind of meat he wanted, he said, “I would like two boilings,” meaning two kettles full.  So, this became their name, Oohenopa which means “Two Boilings.”

(Welch note  – The whites translated it as “Two Kettles.”  This is probably the correct story of how these people got their name.  They are Tintonwanna.”)

Welch notes, 1922:

Below is printed a peculiar name, in Dakotah.  It is an old name and was the one by which Mrs. Van Solen, mother of Lucille, was known:

Tuncan oicage topa sitomni sapa tatonka oikapas mani win.

Rock generations four all-over black buffalo scratches himself walking woman.

A free translation would be:  The rock of four generations, the entirely black buffalo which scratches himself as he walks, woman.

The feminine ending “win,” indicates the name to be that of a woman.



“Waaneta,” (a History of Waaneta I, II and III)

Thomas Frosted talks family history with Welch, Mandan, N.D., November 10th, 1927:

White Bear had just returned from Fort Totten where he had been visiting for some weeks.  He called on me and the following history was given today:

“That Waaneta, who is buried at Fort Totten, was the son of the old man Waaneta  who fought with that “Red Head” of the English (This is Robt. Dixon of the War of 1812).  The old man Waaneta had two sons.  The first (Chaska) was called Hogan Sapa (Black Fish).  This man died of something wrong with his heart, four miles south of where Jamestown is now, on the James River.

“Then Waaneta, the old man, son of Red Thunder, had a second son.  His name was Waaneta.  He was 76 years old when he was killed by a war party of Crows, north of the Grand River.  This is the father of the Waaneta who died and is buried at Fort Totten.

“This old man Waaneta’s son, named Black Fish, had a daughter (Winona).  She married a Hunkpapa man named Tatonka Naji (Standing Buffalo).  I am their son.  So, Black Fish, the son of Waaneta, was  my grandfather and the old man Waaneta was my great-grandfather.  The old man Waaneta married a French woman.  Black Fish was one part Sioux and one part white.  His daughter, my own mother, was three parts Sioux and one part white.  I have seven parts of Sioux and one part of white.


“Waggoner, Josephine,” (a Little Sioux History)

Welch notes about visit with Josephine Waggoner, a champion of Sitting Bull



“Walking Bull” (Photo of a Young Man)



“Waters,” (Photo of Old Sioux Warriors)

Note on back of photo:  Old Sioux Warriors. 

Left to right, Little Eagle, S.D., April 13, 1934…Good Dog, Waters, Kills Pretty Enemy, One Bull



“White Bear” (Mandan, 1924 Photo)




“White Body Woman” (September 1933 Photo)

Dedication of Four Bears Monument, Sept. 8, 1933




“White Bull” (Nephew of Sitting Bull, 1936 Photo)

White Bull’s Biography included with “One Bull,” his brother



“White Calf” (Mandan, 1924 Photo)



“White Cloud” (Initiation, as a boy, into the Bear Society)

White Cloud talks to A. B. Welch Oak Creek, S.D., May 6, 1941, at the home of Mr. &  Mrs. John Cadotte;

Dakotah Societies, Indoctrination of Boys

White Cloud joins a Society:  “Owns Spotted and I were ordered to join the Bear Society.  We were each given a knife and told to kill anything which crossed our trail.  So we rode around the camp circle.  If anything crossed us we were to kill it and eat it raw.  But nothing crossed us.  We were afraid that some of our relatives would cross the trail and we would have to kill them  – but they did not.  We were glad about that.”

“After we had made the circuit of the camp we were ordered to take a bath.  After that they made a play; we were mounted; taken to one edge of the circle and turned around facing the other side; then a certain lodge was pointed out and we were to race across and try to be the first one to strike the tipi.  This was called a coup.”

“Because I did not make the first strike, my father punished me.  He made me spend a night upon the top of a hill where there were graves of people.  I feared to go there.  I was afraid of Wanagi (Ghosts  – W.)  but I went with him there.  He placed four sticks in the ground, one at each corners (Directions  – W.).  I prayed to Wakantonka to protect me.  I stayed there some time; noises had ceased in the camp; I started down the bluff; after I had gone some distance I heard ‘Shoo-oo’ ‘Shoo-oo’ – then I ran back.  After a while I tried to leave again, but again I heard this unearthly sound and ran back.  I lay down between the sticks my father had placed in the ground; it was the safest place. “

“About daylight, my father came.  He told me that he had made the owl sounds to drive me back.  He wanted me to be brave.  At daybreak, I saw a horse coming.  That was what my vision was.  Then my father cut himself on the arms with a knife; he took fifty ‘bleeds,’ and I took 25 of them.  The flesh was held up with an awl, then cut off with a knife; held up to the people to see the bleed, and thrown away then.  That was a blood sacrifice.  Ho-minniktepe he yelo (Kills in the Water says this  – W).”


(Welch’s direct interpretation from Kills in the Water of White Cloud’s story)



“White Cow Walking,(Fought in Little Big Horn Battle)

See his story under the “Little Big Horn” category



“White Crow” (His Speech to the Indian People of North Dakota, 1943)

 This is the original script of a speech delivered before the Joint Assembly of the North Dakota Legislature at Bismarck, Capital Bld., January 18th, 1943.  In his own hand and name signed by himself.  White Crow (Miles Horn) is an Arikara Indian of the Elbowoods Reservation, ND

White Crow (Miles Horn)


 White Crow’s Speech, page 1


Speech, page 2


Speech, page 3


Speech, page 4


Speech, page 5


Speech, page 6



“White Eagle” (World War I, France, 1918)

Soldier serving with Major Welch in France, WWI, Photo taken about July 1918



“White Swan” (Mrs. John Grass talks about her father, White Swan)

Mrs. John Grass talks about her family, April 27, 1921:

“My father’s name was White Swan.  He was a chief of the Miniconjou Dakotah.  We lived south of the Black Hills.  He died when I was 14 years old.  I am 69 now.  He was 52 (i.e. born in 1814).  His father’s name was White Swan, too.  He died when he was 102 years old.  He crawled around on the ground like a baby.  He was very old.

“There were four chiefs of the Miniconjou.  White Swan was first; One Horn was second chief; Black Shield was third chief; Eagle Parent was fourth chief.  When I was a girl there were many tipis.  I think there were over 1000 people of the Miniconjou.

“White Swan had two wives.  They were cousins of each other.  One Horn had four wives.  His father, One Horn, had ten wives.  I knew seven of them.  I never saw the others.  Maybe they were dead.  I do not know.  Black Shield had three wives.  Eagle Parent had a wife.  She ran away.  She went with another man.  Then she came back he took her back.  He did not do the right thing in this.  He was not chief any more then.  One Horn had a wife and she ran away too.  He took her back.  He was not chief after that time.  He died then.  Black Shield died too.  That way made my father the head chief of the Miniconjou.

“When my father died on tongue River, he was the principal Chief of the Miniconjou.  The other three had died or lost chieftainship.  He was a famous man then.  Seven tribes mourned for him.  These tribes were: Miniconjou, Hunkpapa, Itazepchos (Sans Arcs), Oglala, Shehelaya (Cheyennes), Sicangu (Burnt Thighs), Quluwie (Note: this is the first time I have heard of this tribe.  She explained that there were two divisions of the Burnt Thighs.  They were Sicangu and Quluwie, meaning High and Low Burnt Thighs, respectively.  This division is not mentioned in the HandBook of North American Indians  – W.).

“All of them were Tetonwanna.  The Sihasapa were not there.  They did not come so far south then.  There were great ceremonies and much mourning.  We tied him in a tree. After it got warm we buried him in the ground   (Note: evidently he died in 1866).

“Twenty days after the mourning for the Chief White Swan, the fighting men attacked a place.  There were soldiers there.  It was on one of the branches of the Missouri river.  There was a fort there.  The Indians killed all the soldiers there.  They killed a hundred.  Many Indians were wounded.  My brother was wounded.  His name was His War.  He was hit in the leg with a large iron.  This was at White Butte.  It was north a long ways.


Long Bull talks to Welch, May 7th, 1926:

He told me that Flying By was a leader of a band of Miniconjou at the battle of the Little Big Horn, but that the real leader of the Miniconjou was Maga Ska (White Swan), and after him came Hump.  This is the White Swan who was the father of my foster mother, the wife of Chief John Grass.


“Wise Spirit” (a Benefit of Giving Eagle Bonnets)

Welch Note, 1926: An English-speaking, old time Sioux.  Has made gifts of several eagle bonnets and has the right to draw them on his tipi.

Wise Spirit



“Wolf Lies Down” (1937 Photo of Three Old Warriors)

Note on back of Photo:  Drags Wolf, Four Dance, Wolf Lies Down, Feb. 1st, 1937.  Presented by Wolf Lies Down.



“Yellow Fat” (World War I, France, 1918, Veteran, his Cabin)

Yellow Fat’s Cabin



“Yellow Wolf” (Fort Berthold, 1872, Photo)

Photo taken at Fort Berthold, 1872



“Young Bear” (Magic with a Bullet)

Welch Notes, November 1926:

A noted son of the famous Chief of the Yanktonaise, Bad Bird.  Once allowed a medicine man to shoot him with a rifle and then he spit the bullet out of his mouth.


“Young Hawk” (War World I, France, 1918, Heroic Action news article)

Welch letter copied by Newspaper, probably July 1918:


Young Hawk’s father, Forked Horn,  born 1859, was in the Battle of the Little Big Horn with Custer’s Command.

Postcard home from France, 1918, about Joe Young Hawk losing a leg


Postcard home from France, 1918, about Joe Young Hawk’s recovery



“Young Man Afraid of His Horses” (How He Prevented a Massacre)

How Young Man Afraid of His Horses prevented a massacre of the Treaty Commission in 1865, Fort Sully, D.T.

This story was told to me by several Indians who were there and by a white man whose name I cannot recall, who had been detailed to accompany the Hunkpapa and Blackfeet to the Council, with wagons.  He said that he expected to be killed every minute while there, but John Grass and Red Cloud finally got the people under control, with the help of Young Man Afraid of his Horses.

The Tetons traveled down there.  John Grass was the speaker for the people.  Things did not go right.  The terms did not suit the Sioux.  The Commission had a tipi of their own and allowed but one Indian in there at a time.  Things looked pretty bad.  One day we saw many Indians riding around rapidly off some distance.  Pretty soon the tipi of the Commission was surrounded and there were many Indians there with guns pointed to the places where every man sat. At least three guns for every Commissioner.  An Indian came walking to the tipi and entered unannounced.  He was in breech cloth and carried a gun.  When he entered he said, “I have come to kill a white man.”  The interpreter gave his words.  An Indian on duty as a police inside the tipi, covered him with a gun and said, “If you make another move I will kill you.”  Then a big noise was made outside and a lot of Indians came riding very fast toward the Commissioner’s tipi.  They rode hard.  They circled the tipi between the Indians with guns on the outside.  The young warrior who was the leader was the miss-interpreted man called Young Man Afraid of his Horses.  He told the people that he was there to protect the whites and would do so with his men with him.  This put a stop to a bed situation.  The man inside was to shoot the white man and, following this signal, all the warriors outside were to fire into the tipi, killing all the Commissioners.


Welch notes, undated:

Tasunka Kokipapi.  A chief of the same time as Red Cloud.  He was of the Oglala and a principal actor in the troubles following the building of roads into Montana in 1866.

His name is not properly translated, for it really means that he was so brave and terrible that even his enemies were afraid of his horses.  It should be The Young Man Whose Horses they are Afraid of.  After the treaty of 1868 he lived on Pine Ridge Agency and died there.


“Zahn, Bill” (White Soldier who married a Dakotah Woman)

Conversation with Bill Zahn, Solen, N.D., June 4, 1921:

This man is a white man, who came into this country as a soldier; served in the Indian country many years; learned the Dakotah language; was discharged here; married a Dakotah woman; raised a family and has lived here ever since.  At present lives near Solen, N.D.


“Zahn, Frances” (Zahn Family and Standing Rock History)(World War I, France, 1918)