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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1856
([1856])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [3]-24 PDF (10.1 MB)


Page 7

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
common hunting ground provided by the treaty has produced bene- 
ficial results, and the conflicts of war and rapine have given place 
among them to the exchange of horses, peltry, and other articles of 
barbarous commerce. The Blackfeet, although absolutely barbarous, 
are said to be intelligent and tractable, and ample provision is made 
by the treaty for their instruction in the arts of civilized life. 
Hitherto difficulties have attended the delivery of the annuity goods 
to the Crows, who inhabit the country bordering on the Powder, Big 
Horn, and Yellow Stone rivers. They are warlike, possess large 
bands of horses, and depend upon the chase for the means of subsist- 
ence. Under instructions from the superintendent, the agent will 
meet them at their hunting grounds, and consult with them as to the 
future place at which their annuities shall be delivered. 
The Assinaboines speak a Sioux dialect, and inhabit a country on 
the north side of the Missouri river, opposite the mouth of the Yellow 
Stone. They are expert hunters, subsist by the chase, possess few 
horses, and use the Esquimaux dogs as beasts of burden. 
The Gros Ventres, of the Missouri, reside on the north side of that 
river, below the mouth of the Yellow Stone. They speak the Crow 
dialect. On the south side of the Missouri, and a few miles below 
the Gros Ventres, the villages of the Mandans and Arickarees are 
situate. These three small tribes cultivate more corn, beans, and 
other vegetables, than are requisite for their subsistence. In the 
warm season they inhabit dirt lodges; but as soon as their crops are 
gathered and "cached," they betake themselves to their skin lodges
in the timber, preparatory to hunting and preparing their buffalo 
robes and meats. The Mandans speak a language dissimilar to their 
neighbors, and are represented as intelligent and quite dignified. 
The Arickarees speak. the Pawnee language. These three tribes con- 
struct their own boats, which consist -f buffalo skins drawn over a 
circular frame-work of willow. They expose or bury their dead on 
scaffolds. The superintendent is of opinion, in which I concur, that 
a separate agency should be established for the Crows, Assinaboines, 
Gros Ventres, Mandans, and Arickarees. 
The country on the north side of the Missouri river, from the re- 
gion of the Gros Ventres to the mouth of the Big Sioux river, is 
claimed by the Yanctonees and the Yancton bands of Sioux. In con- 
sequence of the hostilities that exist between the Yanctonees and the 
half-breeds of Pembina, it is suggested that a well-defined line should 
be established between them. Both the Yanctonees and Yanctons 
cultivate the soil to some extent, but the former rely chiefly on the 
hunt for support. 
On the south side of the Missouri, the Unc Papas, San Arcs, Two 
Kettles, and Blackfeet Sioux reside; and the Brul6, Minnecongue, 
and Ogalallah bands of Sioux occasionally penetrate that region from 
the country adjacent to the Platte. All these bands are insolent and 
audacious, and depend upon the chlse for subsistence. 
Agent Twiss has resumed the duties of his agency; and the an- 
nuity goods for the Sioux, Arrapahoes, and Cheyennes, had arrived 
at Fort Laramie. You are referred to his reports for information in 
relation to several horrible massacres that have occurred in that re- 
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