Indian Histories, from Cadotte to Drags Wolf (30 Individuals) as told to Col. A. B. Welch

 Indian Histories, from Cadotte to Drags Wolf,

30 Individuals

(Click a name to go right to their post)


Cadotte Family (Close Relatives of Chief John Grass)

Charges Alone (Killed 33 Germans in 30 days, France, 1918)

Charging Thunder (a ‘Great Man’ and Follower of Sitting Bull)

Chase Flying (Several Stories of Daring Deeds)

Chasing Arrow (1911 Photos)

Chasing Bear (1904 Photo)

Cherry Mouth (1872 Photo, Fort Berthold)

Circling Bear (‘He Displays his Bravery’)

Circling Hawk (Story of the Sword and Little Big Horn Battle)

Cloud Bear (Some old customs discussed)

Coffee (Story of His Indian Medicine and its Rarity)

Cold Hand (1870’s Indian Scout)

Corn Stalk (1942 Newspaper Photo)

Cottonwood (1920’s Photo of a little girl)

Crawler, Mr. & Mrs., (Was 5 times Great Chief among Sitting Bull’s people)

Crazy Bull (Under-Chief of Gros Ventre, 1872 Photo)

Crazy Horse (How he got his name and other Stories)

Creighton, Chip (How he got his name and other Stories)

Cross, Auntie (Sister of Chief John Grass)

Crow (Why he wears Stripped Feathers in his Hair)

Crow Dog (Several War Stories)

Crow Flies High (1925 News Story of his Exploits)

Crow Ghost (Several Interesting Stories from his Past)

Crow King (half Blackfeet and Hunkpapa)

Crows Breast (Fort Berthold, 1872, photo)

Crows Heart (..’the best way to have peace was to kill troublemakers’)

Curley (Custer Scout, Curley, was never in the Little Big Horn fight)

Dean, William (1924 Photo of Arikara Interpreter)

Douglas, Jacob (World War I, France, 1918)

Drags Wolf, 

        His Story of “Scorched Village,”

        His story of the “Massacre of the inhabitants of Sperry Village,”

        His story of  “Travels of the Gros Ventre (Hidatsa),”

        His Hidatsa “Story of the Flood,”

        His Story of “Twin Buttes,”

         Drags Wolf goes to his first battle,

         Drags Wolf does the Sun Dance,

         Drag’s Wolf performs the Pipe Ceremony, Feb. 10, 1934,

         Knife River Villages,

         Grave of Sakakawea,

         He helps capture ten tipis of hostile Sioux


Cadotte Family (Close Relatives of Chief John Grass)

Letters to Welch, p1


Letters to Welch, p2


Letters to Welch, p3


Letters to Welch, p4


Letters to Welch, p5


Letters to Welch, p6


Letters to Welch, p7


Letters to Welch, p8




“Charges Alone”(Killed 33 Germans in 30 days, France, 1918)

One of my boys, an Arikara whose Indian name was Charges Alone, but who enlisted under the name of Rogers, became such a good night-raider and sniper that he was sent back to the U.S. as instructor, but not before he had been twice cited for bravery by the Commanding Officer of the First Division. He was credited with killing 33 Germans in 30 days at the front!

Charges Alone (Tom Rogers)biog45-charges-alone-photo



 “Charging Thunder” (a ‘Great Man’ and Follower of Sitting Bull)

All Yellow talks to Welch, July 27th, 1927:

“The people who followed Sitting Bull selected four men to be leaders.  Sitting Bull was a Medicine Man.  These four men were

Charging Thunder  – who had many battle wounds.

Gall  – who was a very brave soldier.

Crow King  – He was brave, too.


“These men were to be respected and obeyed in the order which they are named above.  Charging Thunder was a very great man and you gave his name away for him, to that Frenchman Head Soldier, Marashall Foch.”

Excerpt from Preparations for the Reception of Marashal Ferdinand Foch, Nov. 27th, 1921:

….The evening before, we had a council in the hotel and decided what we would do.  The songs were sung over and the name to be given him was decided to be Wakia Watakpe (Charging Thunder).  Red Tomahawk thought that name was all right.  He said they had two ways of giving a name to a brave man.

One was the name of some old man or the man’s grandfather or uncle or other relative.

The other way was to name him after some one who was still alive and who had done something like the man who was to receive the new name.

He said that at a time when the Dakotah were attacking the palisade at Fort Berthold that the traders or soldiers had a cannon pointed at the Dakotah, and that Wakia Watakpe, who is still alive at Fort Yates, ran up to the gun and stood against it, saying “Shoot me, but do not shoot my people with this.  So he made peace that time, that way and he was a brave man.”



“Chase Flying” (Several Stories of Daring Deeds)

He talks to Welch, Mandan, N.D., Sept. 29th, 1923 …

Interpreter: Martin See Walker:

This old man is 78 years old, so he says.  His father was Hunkpapa and named His Two Spears.  His mother was Hunkpati.  So Chasing Fly would be known as a Teton.  He is almost blind, but in the days of his prime he must have been a splendid specimen of the Dakotah.  He says:

“I want to say something.  I have wanted to say this for many times.  But I am hungry now.  I believe it is all right to say something.  Wamble Ska (White Eagle) and Mato Nopa (Two Bear) had the same father.  He was an old man when he died.  He was not killed.  It was by that place where there were soldiers (Fort Abraham Lincoln).  There were none there when he died.  We were traveling north.  He was carrying two babies.  He fell down and died there.  He died quick.  We placed him on a platform.  We wrapped him in a good blanket there.  That was a small creek just this side.  There was some brush and small trees there. (This is the creek south of Mrs. Matilda Welch’s farm house.  The Fort Lincoln road crosses it on a small bridge today).  We went on.”

“I was born in Beaver Creek place (Emmons County, N.D.).  I am 78 winters.  The name of the Winter when I was born is called ‘Their Knives were all bloody winter.’  (My count shows this as 1840-41…this would make him 83 years old, but they often dispute the names of years as far back as that).  Two winters before that time a Dakotah named Eagle Dog (Wamble Sunka) killed a white buffalo.  He rode a bob-tailed horse then.  Sometimes we call that winter ‘Bob Tailed Horse Winter’ (this is 1838-39 on my same count).”

“When I was fourteen years old, there were some soldiers got together at Frandreau place.  You call him that now.  The head man was called Putinska (White Beard).  I don’t know his name you call him (My record shows “White Beard,” a white man, held the Indians together winter 1855-56).  Putinska gathered many people there.  There were about ten tribes there together.  The white people and the Indians made Two Bear Chief of all the Indians east of the Missouri river.  They put him in the middle of the floor.  They gave him a hoe and a spade and told him he must tell all the people to plant a little stuff in the ground.  They could eat it all then.  They gave him a white medal too, about planting something in the ground.  I have this medal now.”

“Well.  We went to the Rocky Mountains.  I was young but I went along with the men.  Wamble Ska and Mato Nopa went.  Many men went with them.  They talked to the Kangi Wicasa (Crow People), Shehayela (Cheyenne), Hohe (Assiniboine), Hahtowan (Chippewas), We Wicase (I do not know who these people were.  He described where they live, but I, was well as the interpreter got lost and could not identify the tribe),  (Note: in identifying this tribe I asked if there were Snakes.  He said they might have been as they saw a lot of ‘Flying Snakes’ near there. Perhaps, someone’s dream), Pokdoka (Flat Heads), Padani (Arikara), Mowatani (Mandan) and the Hewaktokta (Gros Ventre).  Two Bears told them all that they could have some land, now.  He told them that they should raise something to eat out of the ground.

“Then White Beard gave Two Bears a white medal.  I have it.  I also have a revolver.  Sitting Bull gave it to me two years before he was killed.  I want you to keep these for me.  I will always know where they are.  I will come and see them sometimes.”

Upon inquiry as to where they, the Dakotah, lived when they first learned of the Padani (Arikara) being on the Missouri river, he said: “We were over in the Minisota (Smoky Water) Minnesota, I think.  The Isantee were east of us somewhere in the woods.  My people were in Yellow Medicine River country when we first saw them.  My grandfather told me that his grandfather told him.  It was a long time passed from now time.  The Tintonwan got many horses from them.”

Then he unwrapped a bag from a lot of cloth and handed the bag to me.  In it was a nickel-plated, hammerless revolver, with a date of ‘Patent applied for, dated 1893.’  So it could not have been a gun ever handled by Sitting Bull, as he was killed in 1890.  The medal was also in the bag, wrapped in a mat of shredded hair of the buffalo.  It has some dirty ribbons hanging from it and is a silver medal with the relief of President Grant thereon, date 1871.  This would make him to have been 40 years old and not 14.  This medal was, undoubtedly, given to someone during the many treaties of about that time, over troubles arising out of the Oregon Trail and the Montana roads, when Red Cloud was a dominant factor and a great war leader of the Sioux.  He called Sitting Bull Chiyenya, or Older Brother.


Welch’s autobiography, written in April 1928, highlights Chase Flying’s revenge for the deaths of his family:

I was informed today by, Thomas Metz, of the Cannon Ball country, that my old Indian friend, Kinyan Kuwapi (Chase Flying … Kinyan, Flying; Kuwapi, Chasing) died about three weeks ago, which would make the date about March 28th, 1928.  I was depressed to hear this.  The old man was one of my staunch friends.  He was nearly blind during the past few years, but has ridden with me upon many parades and ceremonies during the past.  His was always a pleasant face, though strongly Indian.  He always wore one feather in his hair, which, he said, represented his greatest coup in war.  He was about 80 years old, which places him among the old time hostiles against the army and government authority.

He was one of two men who had a camp near the mouth of the Little Heart river, with his two wives and families and some old people.  They were securing elk hides for winter clothing, and he and his pal rode up the river for several days with pack horses, finally returning to find that every woman, child and old person had been killed and his supplies and skin tipis burned.  He dug out a bullet from one of the women and, finding it to be of the type used by soldiers at Fort Rice, a few miles below, he made a vow to get revenges, and was a terror to herders, hunters, trappers and solitary soldiers for many years.

When he obtained 50 deaths for revenge, he said he stopped.  Was a member of the Hunkpapa at Little Big Horn Fight.  A savage gentleman, dignified and reserved but a friend of mine.



Chasing Arrow (1911 Photos)

Chasing Arrow, 1911





“Chasing Bear” (1904 Photo)



“Cherry Mouth” (1872 Photo, Fort Berthold)

Sioux Dog (left) and Cherry Mouth (right), 1872, Fort Berthold


Welch notes on back of 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.


“Circling Bear” (‘He Displays his Bravery’)

A splendid, old Hunkpapa who died in the winter of 1914-1915, Circling Bear displays his bravery:

….Other forms carried in coup ceremonial dances.  I once noticed an old man with a very odd form of square made of twigs tied together.  This was a four-sided affair and the bark was on the sticks.  I asked High Eagle what it meant and he said that the old man who carried it, Circling Bear, was entitled to carry that because in the old times he had shown great bravery.

Some Arikara had stolen many horses from the Sioux.  They had successfully taken them to the east bank of the Missouri river on the ice.  When this theft was discovered and the trail picked up, the ice was already breaking up under the spring raise and it was thought to be impossible to cross the river.  In any event it was danger of the gravest sort to venture out among the swiftly floating, grinding, pitching ice floes. But Mato Canhkeska rode his horse into the river and gained the opposite side in safety.  He then followed the horse thieves and succeeded in getting all the horses back to their owners.  This story about him is still often told and the old fellow has a safe niche in Dakotah.

For that brave deed he is allowed to carry something which represents a raft  – which at once brings to mind his deed.  Other men often carry things which show braves deeds and not necessarily coups.


“Circling Hawk” (Story of the Sword and Little Big Horn Battle)

November 3rd, 1925, at Little Eagle,

Left Mandan with Roy Dow in auto for Little Eagle about ten o’clock in the morning and arrived at the above sub-agency on the Grand River, via Solen, Fort Yates, McLaughlin, at 4:30 PM.  Went directly to the residence of the Sub-Agent, Antoine de Rocky Brain, where I was welcomed by a committee, headed by Long bull.  Among them were Many Elk, Circling Hawk.  Had supper at the trader’s store, can of sardines, a chunk of cheese and some crackers and a bottle of pop.  Then came the dance that evening.  About 250 people were there.  Introduced by Frances Red Tomahawk; the drummers sung a song in my honor and I led the dance at the proper time.  Then many dances and speech-making and compliments, and feast.  Boiled fresh beef and bread.

Circling Hawk, the Brave.

This man was dressed in buffalo head dress, horns and all.  Wore a white shirt with tail hanging out, and carried a ‘coup’ sword.  This was a regulation cavalry saber and the story he told me is as follows:

“That Chief Soldier gave it to me (this was either Sheridan or Terry, I think).  I am 88 years old now.  I was thirty-five when he did this thing (this makes the date of the sword as 1875).  This was one winter before Pahanska (Custer) was killed by us out there in Montana.  This Soldier Chief told me to go to Canada after that the get Sitting Bull to come back.  So I, with other men, went and told him there.  He came back and got on the steamboat then.  I came, too.  We came down the Minnishoshe (Missouri) to here.”

I asked him to give me the sword when he died and he said it was mine.  So if I can know when the old warrior passes on, and get word to his relatives, they will give it to me.

I noticed that he wore three ‘wound marks’ on his white shirt and asked him about those honors.  He would not tell me until I had also told him that I bore wounds received in war.  He said:

“I was the first Sioux shot by the Crow people that time.  One of those marks is that wound.  I also got the top of my right ear shot off.  Then, another time, I had all the tips of my right fingers shot badly.  They are bent now, but I have them yet.  That time of the Crow fight was a bad one.  We killed them all.  But one was not dead.  He got away.  He walked away from us.  We let him go without killing him.”

And the old man got up and danced the pantomime of the Crow fight.  33 Crows were killed in the ‘Stone Fort,’ a few miles up stream from the present Bull Head.  This old Circling Hawk was one of the Ghost Dancers with Sitting Bull, when he was killed, Dec 15-1890, and survived the Wounded Knee affair a few days after that.  He was decorated with paint and a white painted circle was around his right eye orbit.  A very interesting trip and interesting Sioux there.

Welch notes, August 31, 1929:

Frances Red Tomahawk said that old Circling Hawk was living yet.  He is quite old.  He said that his wife had taken the old man in hand and blamed him for not giving me the sword at that time (1928).  But she told everyone that the sword was mine and that I could get iw when I was there.  Frances said that the sword and a uniform had been given to Circling Hawk and he had been sent up into Canada to convince the hostiles that they should return.

Welch notes, June 3, 1932:

Old Circling Hawk dies and I lose the sword:  Circling Hawk lived upon the Grand river.  He always carried a sword in the dances.  It was a cavalry saber and he had promised that I should have it when he died.  But he died about a month ago, and his daughter burned the sword according to ancient rites.  Frances Red Tomahawk told me about it, and said he would try to get what remains for me.







“Cloud Bear” (Some old customs discussed)

 Rev. Welsh, Standing Rock Reservation, Sihasapa, November 12th, 1919, Mandan, N.D.:

This man is an Episcopal Minister.  His father was half brother to Chief Grass’ father, so they were cousins.  He is about six feet six inches tall and talks English very well. He said:

“Chief John Grass’ own father’s name was Wahacankayapi (Shields All)….also Peji or Grass.  Grass’ grandfather was Oglala, Teton.  I do not think his name was Mato Watakpe.”

Old Custom of giving thanks to a person:  “My father’s name was Haye and it means drawing your hand over your face, touching the forehead, and then down to below the chin.  This is the old way of saying Thanks to any one.  It is a good thanks and all the old people would understand it.  You ‘Haye’ when you do this.  This is what my father’s name meant.”

Winter Camping Custom:  “They selected places where there was much wood for the winter place.  It was not in the same place every year.  For instance, the Sihasapa would camp here; the Hunkpapa would have a camp, perhaps as far or as near as two or four miles away; and maybe the Miniconjou would camp across the river on the other side.  Then the men would go away for buffalo, maybe as far as four days or five.  They had many ponies and they would cut the meat and take to camp.  The women then prepared the meat and skins and did most of the work around camp.  When the man came home, he would lay down in the tipi and she would take off his clothes and rub his feet and attend to him like that.  Then, he sat around and smoked and talked about what he wanted to do and ate a good deal.”

“My father told me that I was born on the James river some little ways up stream from where Aberdeen is now.  He said that I was seven winters old when Custer was killed (so he was born in 1869).”  I asked him what the name of the year was, but he did not know.  He said the winter counts of the different divisions of the Nation were different.

“Dancing is bad for the Indian.  I call the drum the saloon.  When they hear there will be a dance they say ‘Well, I will go and camp there and wait for the dance.  So they stay sometimes five days for that dance.  They leave their haying and all their work and go there.  If they would give away bead and skin work, that would be all right, but they give money and horses and stock and it keeps them poor.”


“Coffee” (Story of His Indian Medicine and its Rarity)






“Cold Hand” (1870’s Indian Scout)



“Corn Stalk” (1942 Newspaper Photo)



“Cottonwood” (1920’s Photo of a little girl)



“Crawler, Mr. & Mrs.” (Was 5 times Great Chief among Sitting Bull’s people)

Notes on back of Photograph taken in 1906:

Crawler, 1906

Chief Crawler, age 77 years.  Was 5 times Great Chief among Sitting Bull’s people.  Taken at Bull Head, S.D., Standing Rock Indian Reservation.


Crawler was a Sihasapa or Blackfeet Teton.  His wife was named Sun Flower Face.  Crawler was born in 1830 on the Moreau river.  He was from the family of a chief and he attained great note and influence among the Tetons.  He was alive, but frail, in 1908.  He lived at Laughing Woods on the Grand river, some eight miles above the location of the sub-station called Bull Head on the Standing Rock.  This is the exact place where Mrs. Frances Wiggins Kelly was bought of the Hunkpapas from Brings Plenty, who owned her at that time.  Crawler was the man who went into the tipi and offered the horses for her.  The Blackfeet got away with her and turned her over to the whites at Fort Sully in the fall of 1864.

Several Indians have told me that Crawler was a member of the Fool Soldiers Band of Warriors.


Stories told by the wife of Crawler.

Dec. 17th, 1939.  Present: Mrs. Eva Little Chief and her husband.  Told by Eva Little Chief.

“Mrs. Crawler was sick one time.  I went to see her that time.  She was very sick.  She told me that one time she had a nephew, the son of her brother, who was a cripple.  She took care of him.  He had a bad backbone.  She carried him around with a dog travois.  She placed him on those poles.  The dog then dragged him around that way.  She got awful tired of looking after him.  She told him that he never would walk; that it would be better if he were dead.  He said, “Yes.”  They got to the Little Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn).  The soldiers were going to fight them that time..  She said to the cripple boy, “If you died someplace you would just be dead.  If you were killed by the enemy you would be brave.  Then I could sing for you.”  He said, “Yes.”  So when the soldiers came she placed him upon the dog travois.  She put him out there in the middle where the soldiers would kill him.  But they ran all around him and did not kill him.  She killed a soldier then too.  She hit him with a stone club.  By and by the soldiers did kill the boy.  That made him a brave man.  She often would sing a song for him and call out his name among the people.”


“Crazy Bull” (Under-Chief of Gros Ventre, 1872 Photo)

Badger & Red Bear called them: CRAZY BULL (Left) and PRAIRIE CHICKEN,

Crazy Bull, left and Prairie Chicken, right, under chiefs of the Gros Ventre, 1872, Fort Bertholdbiog62-crazy-bull-and-prairie-chicken



“Crazy Horse” (How he got his name and other Stories)

Crazy Horse, where buried…authority James All Yellow, Cannon Ball, N.D., Apr 23, 1923:

Welch:“We were talking about American Horse, Red Cloud and other old men of the Nation.  Do you know where Crazy Horse is buried?

All Yellow: “I have seen that place where he lays now.  It is about 18 or 20 miles north of the Agency, Pine Ridge.  It is on the Wounded Knee Creek, where they had that fight.  The hostiles went there that winter.  The grave is on a high cut-bank above the water.  He is just one man buried there, I think. He’s a pretty good soldier for Indians.  I’ve seen that place, where he is now.”  (This is in Shannon Co. ,S.D.)



“Creighton, Chip” (with General Reno at Little Big Horn Battle)



“Cross, Auntie” (Sister of Chief John Grass)

Aunty Cross, 1939



“Crow” (Why he wears Stripped Feathers in his Hair)

Elk talks to Welch, Sept. 12th, 1922:  “…the man, Crow, whose picture you show me wears those things in his hair.  They are stripped feathers.  He was shot by two arrows once.  He pulled them both through.  He did not break them off.  So he can wear the quill of the eagle’s feathers for each one.

Crow, 1880’sbiog64-crow-photo


“Crow Dog” (Several War Stories)

 Welch notes about Crow Dog, undated:

Crow Dog was Chief of a band of Oglala.  He did not take any active part in the troubles of 1876.  In a disturbance in 1881, he shot Spotted Tail, was tried before a jury and sentenced to be hanged.  He was ordered released by the United States Supreme Court on writ of Habeas Corpus, under the ruling that the Federal Courts had no jurisdiction over persons committing crime upon Indian Reservations secured to tribes by treaty.

His was a fearless nature, and when a treaty was made which cut down the reservation limits and rations to be issued (1889), he fled with a desperate band of hostiles and joined the Ghost Dancers in the Bad Lands, where they defied Gen. J.A.Brook’s entire Brigade.  Some friendly Indians tried to persuade him to yield and he covered his face with a blanket so as not to see those of his band who caught up their rifles to shoot the friendly intercessors.  The troops still refrained from fire, however, and he, seeing the utter hopelessness of his position, led his followers back to the reservation in December 1890.


Spotted Tail was killed by another chief named Crow Dog, near the 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 him.  Hollow Horn Bear arrested Crow Dog for the murder of Spotted Tail.


“Crow Flies High” (1925 News Story of his Exploits)

Bear on a Flat, about 70 yrs., talks with Welch, March 25, 1927:

Crow Flies High, 1880’sbiog66-crow-flies-high-photo

Shown this photo of Crow Flies High, the Gros Ventre Chief said: “That is Crow Flies High.  He is Hidatsa.  He is buried on the rocky hill west of Shell Village.  That were he is now.  Many Gros Ventre are lying there.  He was a Chief of the Hidatsa.”

Interpreter, Dean, an educated Gros Ventre.

Newspaper Article, Van Hook Reporter, December 17, 1925, page 1


Newspaper Article, Van Hook Reporter, December 17, 1925, page 2


Newspaper Article, Van Hook Reporter, December 17, 1925, page 3



“Crow Ghost” (Several Interesting Stories from his Past)

Kangi Wanagi (Crow Ghost)  talks to Welch, Sept. 20th, 1915:

I was born the year that Four Horses was killed (note  – see Blue Thunder count no. 69, 1850).  My brother was Grey Bear who died at Mandan (see Blue Thunder count no. 115).  I had seven brothers and twelve sisters.  One was the pretty woman at the Big Fair in Chicago (i.e. Mrs. Iron Roads, known as Last Woman in 1893).

Dakotah men sometimes have more than one wife.  But they cannot do it any more.  But those old men who have two now can keep them until they die.

Crow Ghost, 1924biog71-crow-ghost-photo

I bled in the dance two times (Sun Dance).  Once in the back and once in the breast.  They hung me up to a post that time in the breast.  My father was in the parade at Bismarck.  He dressed like Uncle Sam and the people all took pictures of him.

I make you a present of this old time buckskin coat.  It took four men to make the hair on it (four scalps).

Note—This man and his wife came the next day with a beaded shirt and gave it to me and I took them to a grocery to make them a present.  They selected fruit, watermelons, sugar, coffee, some meat and onions and some gum.


…….My father was Hairy Chin, an Arikara, who lived in an earth lodge at Fort Berthold Indian Village in 1866.  I lived there too…..



Kangi Wanagi is now a resident of the Cannon Ball Reservation, 1920. He is not a chief but quite a noted warrior of the old times.  He has about one quarter Arikara blood and talks the Ree language.

His grandfather’s name was Iron White Man, so called from the shape some fog assumed, as it lay upon the ground, and was sent swirling when the sun struck it’s white mass.  “It took the form  of a man.  It was white and staid a long time.”

He 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 Leavenworth’s force against the Grand River Arikara in that year. Tall Horse was given a flag with thirteen stripes and twenty-four stars.  We made a flag like that and gave him July 7th, 1915.

Mr. & Mrs. Crow Ghost, 1915

…….My father was Hairy Chin, an Arikara, who lived in an earth lodge at Fort Berthold Indian Village in 1866.  I lived there too…..

Crow Ghost told me the story of the war with the Arikaras in 1823, in which his grandfather was a member of the Teton Allies of Leavenworth.  We made a flag like the U.S. flag of that date, with thirteen stripes and 25 stars, 5 x 8 feet and gave it to him on Sept 8th, 1915.  A young woman was the interpreter.  His wife brought out the “holy cross” given to his grandfather either by Leavenworth or Pilcher after the destruction of the defense of the Rees at Grand river in 1823.  It was a coppery colored crucifix about one and one half inches high and showed much wear as the arms were almost worn away.  It appears to be authentic.

He said, “the flag is the same thing as my grandfather got.  Padomi (thanks).  That was a great fight there.  The grandfathers of your father, Chief Grass, Fireheart and myself were all there and each chief got a flag and a holy cross.  The flags have all been lost.  This cross was my grandfather’s cross.”

The Dakotah burned the Palani villages this side of the mouth of the Grande river.  We attacked first and it became dark.  The Palani villages had walls around them of trees standing in the ground.  The Rees went away and crossed the Minisosa Wakpe.  The Dakotah went after them and killed forty of them there.  Then they came back.  The big guns of the soldiers killed some more, my grandfather said.  The Dakotah got plenty of horses and much corn they had gathered together so they went away into the hills where they found some more Palani.

After the soldiers went away in boats, we went back and burned the villages because the white man with us told us to.  We got a lot of things there first and found an old woman there.

After that we kept the Arikara out of the Grand river country and lived there ourselves.

His wife then offered Mrs. Welch a beautifully painted hide but when she also admired a doeskin dress, Crow Ghost said, “If you like that dress, it is yours.”  But the dress was worth so much money that it was not accepted.  He gave me an old time buckskin coat, porcupine quill worked and long fringe, decorated with human hair representing his scalps taken.  I gave him some tobacco and the children some colored crayons for drawing, which they thought was candy and the woman ate a stick of it before I could stop her.  He also gave me a beaded belt and gauntlet cuffs, tying them on himself.  They are either Chippewa of Yanktonai design, but Chief Grass told me they were Sioux, as they are probably made by some

The War Shield of Crow Ghost. Presented to me by Crow Ghost, November 27th, 1926:

This is made of hide and represents some war experiences of Crow Ghost and other well-known characters of the Sioux.  In the center is a circle, which represents the top of a hill, upon whice several Crow Indians had taken refuge from Crow Ghost and his “Elder Brother” – Bears Coat (Ogala Mato).   Bears Coat is seen with blue shaps and black coat at the right of the picture.  He is making coup on a group of Crows on the hill,  with a long black stick or lance.  The Sioux inside the circle is Crow Ghost making coup on a Crow Indian.


In the upper right on spotted horse, is shown Chief Two Bears (Mato Nopa).  He has placed one arrow in a Crow who is armed with a gun.  Two Bears’ horse is wounded in the left foreshoulder and blood is running from his nostrils.

At the top of the shield, in yellow coat, is depicted Iron Roads (Ocanku Maza) in a battle with a Crow Indian.  Both are armed with knives and Iron roads is wounded in the left hand, but succeeded in counting coup on the enemy.  The Crows’ horse is close by, in black.

At left of shield, is depicted the father of Crow Ghost, Hairy Chin, in eagle feather bonnet and wounded in left side with blood running from his mouth.  He has a gun in his hands and the Crow enemy has been wounded in his right shoulder and also has blood streaming from his nose and mouth.  Lower down is shown Bears Coat again in another fight with a Crow.  He carries a gun and the Crow is prostrate upon the ground, and shows a big wound in the chest.

At the bottom, Crow Ghost counts coup upon a wounded Crow by shooting him in the chest with an arrow.  The enemy’s yellow horse is standing by and Crow Ghost has dismounted from his red and white pinto for another shot in the fallen body of the Crow.

Top of shield is indicated by the attached pendant feathers, while one feather is tied in at the extreme bottom.


Welch’s affidavit of events in the death of Crow Ghost:

A few days before the death of Crow Ghost, Welch had been named by the Fair Board at Mandan, to oversee the sports and participation of the Indians at the fair that he did so, killing beef and issuing coffee, sugar, bread and tobacco; paying prize money to winners in Indian sports, and paying the Indian Camp Police and others.  That Crow Ghost was his paid “Crier” together with Bears Heart.

That he went to the camp site the morning after the Fair was over and found a small number of tents which he ordered to break and return to their homes.  Upon coming to the tent of Crow Ghost and Two Bulls, he found Crow Ghost sick, lying upon and ground and in general bad condition; that he went to town and took Dr. Spellman to examine Crow Ghost, and the result was he was taken to the Hospital at Mandan for treatment.

He received the best of care possible, and some of his relatives camped close by, until he died.  That he cause the body to be removed to an undertaking establishment and immediately phoned the Superintendent of the Standing Rock Reservation, the facts, and asked that a casket be furnished, which was done.

The body was decently and lawfully taken care of and then he, together with the driver of the Government truck, took the body to the home on Standing Rock.  There he personally made all arrangements for the interment of the body at Cedar Church.

That before Crow Ghost died, he asked to have his will made out, and a lawyer was secured (Mr. Cooley, Mandan, N.D.) who went to the hospital and, in the presence of his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Iron Roads, and Mr. and Mrs. Two Bulls, and the said A.B.Welch, the will was drawn according to the wishes of said Crow Ghost, with no suggestions at all having been made by any one present, and no intimations or other ill-bred or selfish remarks having been made to influence Crow Ghost in any manner at all.  That Crow Ghost voluntarily made known his desire to repay said A.B.Welch for store accounts unpaid and for money advanced at various times and which had never been repaid, by the devisement of the above mentioned parcel of land, in full settlement of all indebtedness.  That the will was witnessed by Chas. D. Cooley, Gulvana Kolstoe and Andrew Iron Roads and that Lawrence Crow Ghost voluntarily made his mark as signature, by thumb, and that he willingly and happily declared that it was his last will and testament, and was dated September 10, 1927.

The Will of Crow Ghost, September 10th, 1927:

Today, Crow Ghost was in the Mandan Hospital, where I had taken him on the 8th inst., suffering with pneumonia and gall trouble.  He had asked to make his will, and so I took Lawyer Cooley with me.  These are his bequests:

To his wife, he gave the house and quarter of land upon which it stands; to myself he willed the SE ¼ Section 33 Township 134 Range 81  – 160 acres.  Also he gave verbal instructions that when he died I should be given all his buckskin clothes and eagle feather head dresses.  He will away all his lands and other interests to his relatives, Two Bulls and Iron Roads, whose wives are his blood sisters.  (Note  – title to the 160 acres was never granted to Welch).

The Burial of Crow Ghost and presents made then:

Crow Ghost was buried at Cedar Church, near his own house, on Sunday, September 18th, 1927.  I had taken his body to his house via truck the day before.

His widow’s name was Zuyahiyayewin (Goes to War Woman).  She and Crow Ghost had been married 59 years.  Married at Cheyenne Agency by Catholic Priest named Black Beard.  She was of Chief Minnishala’s (Red Water), Hunkpapa Band.

She presented me, in the presence of all the people, the following:

The war bonnet of her husband.

His buckskin coat, with fringe, yellow porcupine work and ermine skins.

His buckskin leggings, with beaded war bonnets pictograph.

His splendid pipe and tobacco bag, entirely beaded.

His coup stick with many feathers.

To Mrs. Welch, she presented her own

Buckskin dress, beautifully beaded.

Beaded woman’s leggings.


Beaded dress belt.

To the Sacred Heart Society, she gave a long bone bead dress ornament with 333 beads.  I purchased this from the Society for $20.80.


Of the Standing Rock Reservation in the County of Sioux and State of North Dakota made and published the 10th day of September in the year of our Lord One thousand nine hundred and twenty seven.  IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN:

I, Lawrence Crow Ghost of the Standing Rock Reservation in the County of Sioux and State of North Dakota, of the age of 76 years, and being of sound and memory, do hereby make, publish and declare this my LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, in the manner following, that is to say:

FIRST  – It is my will that my funeral expenses and all my just debts be fully paid.

SECOND  – I give and devise to my wife, Annie Crow Ghost, the quarter section of land upon which my house stands, described as follows: NE¼ of Sec 33, in Twp 134 N of R 81 W of the 5th P.M. in Sioux County, N.Dak.

THIRD  – I give and devise to my friend, A.B.Welch, of Mandan, N.D., the SE¼ of Sec 33 in Twp 134 of R 81 W of the 5th P.M., in Sioux County, N.D. in full settlement of all indebtedness to him.

FOURTH  – I give and devise to Eugene Thunderhawk and Wiley Thunderhawk, sons of Merle Thunderhawk, share and share alike, the forty acres I own in the Cannonball Valley, given me in lieu of 40 acres of my land taken for church purposes.

FIFTH  – I give and devise to Michael Many Horses and Louise Many Horses, share and share alike, the NW¼ of Sec 33 in Twp 134 of R 81 W of the 5th P.M. in Sioux County, N.D.

SIXTH  – I give and devise to my sisters, Mary Iron Road and Annie Two Bulls, share and share alike, the 160 acres of land which I own in South Dakota in the vicinity of McLaughlin, S.D.

SEVENTH  – I give and devise to John (later scratched and initialed by witnesses) Hairy Chin, all my right, title and interest in and to the estate of John Red Fox, deceased, and all real property of the said John Red Fox in which I many have an inheritable interest.

EIGHTH  –  I give and devise and bequeath to my wife, Annie Crow Ghost, all my personal property of every name, nature and description.


Gifts from Mrs. Crow Ghost, October 1928:

Mrs. Crow Ghost and Mrs. Two Bull came to see us at the house.  They both wanted to see the buckskins and feathers of Crow Ghost, for someone had said we had sold them for much money.  I got them and laid them down on the floor.  They both caught them up and wailed for some time .. I was afraid that the neighbors would think I was killing my wife.  Then they brought out the following gifts:

Mr. & Mrs. Crow Ghost with Welch, 1924biog71-crow-ghost-and-wife-photo

A large hide dish, with a stone mortar in it; used for making wasna.  Also the shorthanded, white stone pestle.  Then a buffalo hide, painted par fleshe bag; a deer hide bag; a steer hide bag; an elk horn scraper with iron in it; another scraper for green hides; several packets of colored porcupine quills; a small pipe which was the property of her father; several portions of sinew for sewing; and several horn paint sticks, for painting robes in the old way.  These are made from the pith of elk horn, which soak the paint and release it like a fountain pen, when applied to a hide.  Some are blue, some red, green, yellow.  A very interesting collection of articles actually used by her for many years.


“Crow King” (half Blackfeet and Hunkpapa)

Photo given to Welch by Beede Using Arrow, Yanktonaise, Mandan, N.D., November 26th, 1924.  Crow King was half Blackfeet and Hunkpapa and is buried at the Catholic Cemetery at Fort Yates, N.D.

Crow King, 1880’sbiog82-crow-king-photo


“Crows Breast” (Fort Berthold, 1872, photo)



“Crows Heart” (the best way to have peace was to kill troublemakers)

Crows Heart tells how Indians upheld peace in olden times, June 13th, 1934:

Today I want again to Elbowoods and gave the speech officially opening the Elbowoods Bridge across the Missouri river to vehicular traffic.  A great crowd was present…think about 200 automobiles.  Below is the speech given by Crows Heart:

Crows Heart, 1934biog81-crows-heart-photo

“I am old now.  I stand here and tell you that I have always been a man to hold up peace.  Four Bears was that kind of man, too.  We both believed that the best way to have peace was to kill troublemakers.  Four Bears did it that way.  So did I.  One time some enemies came and stole our horses.  We tracked them then.  I saw them first of all.  I had a good horse.  I ran them then.  The horses scattered about.  I ran them until I was close.  One shot my horse dead.  I ran on foot then.  I came up on a little hill.  An enemy sat close by.  I shot him.  I took his scalp then.  This is the knife I used.  I shot two more.  I took their hair.  I knew a good white man.  His name was Long Beard (This was the trader, Grinnell, who lived many years among them and raised an Indian Family.  His granddaughter cut the ribbons across the bridge when opened…W).  I gave him one of the scalps.  I made three first coups that day.  I made two second coups.  I have been a big man since that day.  That was my way of keeping peace.  People were careful how they made trouble after that.  So I am living today.”


“Curley” (Custer Scout, Curley, was never in the Little Big Horn fight)

Curly, (Shuh-shee-ahsh) Scout for Custer, by W. A. Falconer, Bismarck, N.D. April 27, 1923

“Curly recently was awarded a pension by the Government.  He no doubt received this pension for being a scout for the government during the years 1876-77, and not on account of being an alleged sole survivor of the Custer Battle.

Curley, 1880’sbiog83-curley-photo

There were no survivors of the Custer tragedy, except a horse found on the battlefield two days later by Captain Nowlan who recognized the horse as Comanche, owned by Captain Keogh, who was killed with Custer’s battalion.  Curley was never in the fight.  He hid in a ravine and watched the fight until the soldiers were all killed.  He stole away after dark, and two days later on the morning of June 27th, he found the steamer, Far West, at the mouth of the Little Big Horn River, and by means of the sign language, he told the men on board the Far West of the disaster which befell Custer and his battalion.  Later, when an interpreter was procured, Curly told a cock and bull story about picking up two Sioux blankets during the fight; that we went to Custer and told him to throw one of the blankets over his head and that he would help him to escape.  This story of Curly’s was published over 46 years ago in Gen. Custer’s Memoirs, Sheldon & Co., New York.

No one took any stock in Curly’s story because any one who knows how Sioux fought in those days, knows that they were stripped to the skin, with only a breech clout, and they did not have any blankets around them on that hot day of June 25th, 1876, and there were no blankets on the battlefield for Curly to pick up if he had been there.

Another thing, Curly never knew nor had never seen Custer until about three days before the battle.  Curly made a true statement which was published in the June 1916 number of the Teepee Book, Sheridan, Wy.  Curly says in this statement:

I was a young fellow.  I was only sixteen or seventeen and didn’t know much about fighting at that time.  If I had been older when they had the war I might have done something, and if I had been older I wouldn’t have run off.  After I got off the high hill, I rode where the steamboat was.

Before Custer left the mouth of the Rosebud River on June 22nd, 1876, Lieut. Bradley, who had charge of the Crow Indian Scouts, selected six of his Crow scouts and turned them over to General Custer.  Hairy Moccasin, one of these Crow scouts, afterward made a statement which was published in the Teepee Book.  He said:

Custer said, you go and find that village.  I went to a butte on the head of Reno Creek from where I could see the village.  I went and reported the camp to Custer.  He asked if there were any running away from the camp.  I said, no.  When we separated, Half-Yellow-Face and White-Swan, Runs-Him, Curly and myself were ordered with Custer.  From the high point north of where Reno later entrenched himself, we could see the village and could see Reno fighting.  We four scouts turned and charged north to where Custer was headed for, and we saw no more of Curly after that.  I don’t know where he went.  Custer told Mitch Bouyer, the guide, to tell us to go back to the pack train, which we did.

From where the Crow scouts left Custer and to the point where Custer was killed was over three miles.  As stated, Curly never went into the battle, and he was no more a survivor than the three other Crow scouts who were nearer the battlefield than Curly was, and these three scouts have never claimed to be survivors of the Custer Battle.

As one writer aptly puts it – “It is the accounts of solo survivors of Custer’s command that have given writers the greater amount of mis-information subsequently published as historical truths.  Solo survivors have been plentiful, they have cropped up in every part of the country, lived for a time as the hero of the hour, and have inevitably passed into oblivion.”

End of Article

 Welch Note:  W. A. Falconer is one of the very oldest settlers now alive and knows what he says is true.  Just recently another so called survivor has been discovered somewhere in the east.  His story is that he was struck in the head with a stone club during the fight; that he lost all memory until this month; that he suddenly came into his right mind and now wants to draw a pension on the strength of that story.  1923


“Dean, William” (1924 Photo of Arikara Interpreter)



“Douglas, Jacob” (World War I, France, 1918)

Soldier serving with Major Welch in France, WWI

Jacob Douglas photo taken about July 1918biog83-douglas-jacob-photo



“Drags Wolf”


Photo taken at Fargo, N.D., Feb. 10th, 1934.  Head Chief of the Hidatsa (Gros Ventre).  Lives at the Shell Village on the Missouri river, south of Van Hook, N.D.  About 65 years of age.  His father was Crow Flies High, who selected the site of the village.

Drags Wolf, 1934biog83-drags-wolf-photo

Drags Wolf talks to Welch, Feb. 10, 1934

Present:  Chief Drags Wolf, Hidatsa Chief (Head), Chief Bears Arm, Hidatsa Chief (Second), Good Bird, Interpreter.

His Story of “Scorched Village”

“This village was close to Washburn, on a little creek there.  That was a long time ago. It was a Gros Ventre Village.  It got its name this way.  One time an arrow came from the sky.  It fell inside the village.  It went into the ground very deep.  A little of it stuck up through the earth.  That part of it looked like it had been burned.  It had come so fast.  Well, the Creator took off the stone head of an arrow and came down to us as the ead of the arrow.  He lived with us there for a considerable length of time.  He was very wise.  He taught us many things.  Among those things, he brought us the red pipe and taught us how to use it.  There are certain men who may go through that ceremony.  He taught us to use it both for war and peace.  We always used the pipe with reverence.  After he had taught us those things, he went away the same way  – up in the air.”

His story of the “Massacre of the inhabitants of Sperry Village”

“A Mandan village stood on a flat place, where a creek came out of the hills.  It was on the east banks of the Missouri.  It is the first one above the site you call “The Double Ditch.”  There is a ranch there now.  The people who lived there were the Ruptar.  The Mandans had two large bands.  These were the Ruptar(e).  They had not lived there but a life time.  The Hidatsa lived north of them and on the opposite side of the river.  We heard one time that a large war party of Sioux were cleaning them out and killing them.  We got ready then.  We went down there to save those people.  When we arrived there, the Sioux were gone away.  They had taken many prisoners with them  – women and children.  Many dead men were lying all about the village place.  We pursued the enemy trail south to where they crossed the river to the west.  Our scouts could not fine them.  We returned to the village then.  There were only about thirty or forty people saved from death.  It was very sad and we mourned with them there.  We say many young men dead and some old people too.  The Mandans always had the Sacred Corral after the flood.  The Hidatsa were saved at the same time.  They had one just like it too.  But the Mandans saved theirs.  It is very holy.  It was kept at this village where the Ruptar(e) were annihilated.  It stood down close to the timber lands.  It had the red cedar post in it yet.  We found it there.  It had not been disturbed.  The Dakota were afraid to harm that.  Then in another part of the village we found the four sacred turtles of the Mandans.  We kept them all and gave them back to the Mandan people.  They have them all yet.  It is a good thing that the Dakotas did not harm that ting.  They would all have met accidental deaths then.  No one should be unkind to it.  But place sacrifices there.  All the people know this.  So after that the Ruprar went across to the other side of the river.  They have lived there every since that time.”

His story of  “Travels of the Gros Ventre (Hidatsa)”

“When we left the Devils Lake to travel (note: the tribe arose from the depths of this lake), we went south and finally settled for several years at a lake which is now called ‘Spirit Wood Lake.’ We lived there until the game was all gone away and then moved on.  We went toward the Missouri river then.  Our scouts had discovered that river.  When we got to the east bank of that river we discovered the Mandan Indians living at a village.  That was at the east foot of a great hill.  This hill has always been known to us at ‘The Birds Bill, or Beak, Hill.’ (Note: this is the village I always call the south village.  Lewis and Clark do not mention  it as they perhaps did not see it, the river not flowing close to that bank then).  So we finally made friends with them.  We crossed over the river and were the first to build the village you call ‘Leaning Lodges.’  Sometimes we call it ‘Slant Village.’ It was on sloping ground.  We call Bismarck that name yet, for it is also on sloping ground.  Some think that it was a Mandan village.  But it was Hidatsa.  We lived there many generations of children.  At last we moved north because Good Fur Robe told us to do so.  He was not a Mandan but a Hidatsa.  A very wise man.  There were only five villages at the mouth of the Heart river.  Leaning Lodges was one of them.  It was the first one we built.  We had other villages which we erected every fall, down in the timber places.  We would live there in the winter times.  Then the spring floods would destroy them.”

His Hidatsa “Story of the Flood”

“There were always more of the Hidatsa than of the Mandans.  We were stronger than they were.  A long time ago, a Hidatsa woman lived way up north.  She had five sons.  One was named Magpie.  One was the East Wind, one the South Wind, one the West Wind and one the North Wind.  The last four were buffalo people.  Once while away looking around, the Creator informed Magpie that a water would go all over the ground everywhere.  So he told his mother.  She warned them all and sent magpie down to tell the Mandans.  Her other four sons started to swim when the water came.  They swam and swam.  They kept drowning until just one was left.  This was the South Wind Buffalo.  They had tied the old woman in his mane when they started so they would not get separated.  When South Wind reached land, it was Birds Bill Hill. He was exhausted.  But he lived.  When they untied the old woman, she had turned into an ear of red corn spotted with yellow.  Then what Hidatsa were there and what Mandans wanted to, went into the Medicine Corral, and the Creator saved those people. The others perished miserably.  The Mandans always kept that Sacred Object every since.  That is how the Hidatsa received corn. They always raised it after that time.  Also they gave tobacco to the white people.  Now it is smoked all over the world and among all people.”

His Story of “Twin Buttes”

“When the Creator made the Heart River and the world, he had two handsfull of mud left.  So he made these two hills west of Mandan.  We call them ‘Twin Buttes.’

“A buffalo hunt had been arranged by our head men.  The scouts told us of a great herd across by Washburn.  We were living at that time at Fish Hook village (Fort Berthold).  So we started.  We found the herd.  We arranged the way to run them.  I was not hungry just then.  I did not want to kill cows.  I wanted a big bull.  Great hunters kill bulls.  It is dangerous hunting.  I rode along.  I saw a splendid big fellow.  I had a good trained buffalo horse.  He began to follow this one bull.  I rode along his side.  On the right side I rode.  Always kill buffalo bulls from that side.  You can shoot arrows better.  I picked out the spot to sink my arrow.  I shot.  I made the hit I wanted, but the arrow did not reach his heart.  The buffalo made a very quick turn.  He caught my horse and three him into the air.  While he was tearing his guts out, I got away afoot.  I was among the animals.  They were scared and running fast.  The dust was thick.  The roar of the feet was terrible. No one could reach me. I grabbed a cow by the hair of her neck.  I ran along by her side.  She was afraid of me and soon she was outside the main herd.  I go away then.  I did not kill her because she had been good to me.  I lost my horse.  The old bull did not run far.  He was shot in the heart and was bleeding bad from his nose and mouth now.  He stood apart alone, and died standing up.  I got the biggest hide then.  That is a hunting story.”

 Drags Wolf goes to his first battle

“The old men were going n a war party.  I was 12 years old.  I wanted to go.  I kept still and followed them.  When they were a long time from the village, I showed myself.  They were angry with me.  I said ‘I want to fight too.’  So they let me go along and soon got a horse for me.  This was in the summer time.  We rode then.  In the winter we go afoot.  Whenever we camped in some draw or trees, I got the water for them.  If they were thirsty, I always went for water.  That’s what I did all the time we were away.  Finally some enemy were discovered.  We watched them and knew what they intended to do.  So the fight was planned.  I rode into it with the rest of the men that time.  Several enemy were killed.  They were the Piegans (Montana Blackfeet).  I helped to round up the enemy horses and struck several of the dead men.  I rode an enemy horse when we entered the village upon our return.  I was young but that was my first fight.”

 Drags Wolf does the Sun Dance

“One time we hunted buffalo.  They cut off two heads at the throat.  They left the hide on with the tail attached.  They cut me in the back.  They tied in the heavy green heads.  I walked all around with them then.  I walked thirty miles I think.  I lost much blood.  I have these marks today.  It was an honorable thing to sacrifice that way.  I think that is one reason why they named me Head Chief of my people, because I was a strong man and brave.  My father’s name was Crow Flies High.  He was Chief too.  He is buried west of Shell Village on the high hills there.”

Drag’s Wolf performs the Pipe Ceremony, Feb. 10, 1934;

I asked Drags Wolf, First Hidatsa Chief, if he would perform the pipe ceremony in place of the usual invocation at the Agricultural College at Fargo, N.D., upon the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the found of the Little Theatre Movement. He said, “Everyone can not do this thing.  It is a sacred ceremony.  But I am the only one here who may do this. I will do that for you.  I have the right.”  So I gave my pipe into his keeping and that evening, before several hundred people in the Little Theatre, he performed the rite.  After my introduction of the old Chief, he stepped forward and …….

Holding the unlighted pipe in both hands, the left toward the mouthpiece  – his right grasping the red stone bowl, he held it pointed up at an angle of about 45 degrees, toward the south, then this motion and elevation of the pipe was made toward the west; then the same movement to the northern sky and also toward the east, with his hands reversed in the last motion toward the east.

Then he faced the north (where the audience sat) and held it up to the Great Mystery for a second or two, and then pointed the stem toward the earth.

He then held the pipe across his body with the stem pointed across his left shoulder, and with closed eyes, he chanted the sacred song which accompanies the ceremony.

All this was done slowly and deliberately, with a pronounced reverential expression, and the entire rite was very dignified and impressive.

He explained to me that he called upon all the people and good influences in each part of the world to witness the action, when he held the pipe to the four quarters of the world; that he presented the pipe with all his prayers to God; that the motion toward the earth was meant to call upon all the good influences of Mother Earth to be present, and that, if there had been earth there instead of a wooden floor, he would have washed his hands in earth before the ceremony began; that the song was an ancient one which he always sung when he performed the ceremony and that there were no words in the song.

The Hidatsa interpreter, Good Bird, told me that he had never seen the ceremony performed before that time, and that he was 24 years old.  However, he understood that it was a common rite among his people, as it is among the other plains tribes, and that it was a sacred thing to do.

Knife River Villages

Drags Wolf and Bears Arm, both Hidatsa, told me that there were five villages in that vicinity.  Three were Hidatsa and two were Mandan.  One was north of the Knife; and on the ridge where Stanton, N.D., now is situated, and one south of that.  The Mandan villages were between that place and the present Fort Clark.  The one where Stanton now is was called Awahaway because it looked like a picture in the sky, as it was higher than the immediate surrounding terrain.  Any other village sites found there now were winter quarters as they moved into the timber in the winter time.  Awahaway means ‘Sharp Earth.’”

Grave of Sakakawea

Both Chiefs claimed to me that they knew exactly where Sakakawea was buried; that she was killed by enemies in Montana; that it was close to a trader’s place on a creek in Montana, and that the name of the trader was Culbertson. (Note  – I did not prompt them as to this name.  We know that this man was out along the Yellowstone and Missouri in early days, and he is a well-known character of that time).  They say that they will take me to the spot next summer, and that Bulls Eye’s story is correct.  He is the son of Otter Woman, a daughter of Sakakawea.


October 26, 1936 interview with Chief Drags Wolf:

Present:  A.B.Welch and Foolish Bear and his woman

He helps capture ten tipis of hostile Sioux

“There were four of us  – Chiefs and sons of Chiefs.  My father, Crow Fly High, myself (a young man then), Black Crow and Lean Bull.  Some hunters told us that there was a band of Sioux coming north, on the south (right bank) of the Missiouri.. My father got us together and we raised forty Gros Ventre soldiers and went out to fight them.  There was one Mandan with us  – Lean Bull.  We crossed the river and waited for them in a good place to fight.  They put up their camp.  There were ten tipis of them.  We rode in on them.  We killed several of them.  We tore down their tipis.  We secured their horses.  Some of the enemy got away from us.  They got back to their home camp as soon as they could.  We chased some of them as far as the Heart River that time.  We all got much honor.  We captured their lodges and killed their Chief Leader, whose name was Hejute Sapa (Black Medicine).  This was a good fight.  All the people know about it.”