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

[Central superintendency],   pp. 65-131 PDF (28.8 MB)

Page 76

them. They even passed through the camp of the Gros Ventres and 
Piegans, and when they found the young men of those tribes did not 
join them, ridiculed them for listening to the advice of the whites ; 
but they soon discovered that the other tribes were determined to 
conduct themselves according to the terms of the treaty, became 
alarmed and put a stop to the war. They stole a few horses, destroyed 
one lodge of Crows, and killed five Assinaboines; for all this they 
should be compelled to make restitution. 
They promise well now; but, as I have before stated, no dependence 
can be placed upon them, unless the offenders are punished. They 
will be constantly making trouble, and may eventually, if left to go 
unpunished, induce some of the other tribes to join them. 
The Blackfeet number about two hundred lodges. The principal 
chiefs are The Three Bulls, Cootenais, The Hair Collar, The Bull 
That Turns Around, The Swan, The Sun, and Stum-uk-kris-pee-my. 
The two first named chiefs, with a few lodges, were present at the 
council held at the mouth of the Judith last October, but during the 
winter I have seen all the chiefs and headmen of the tribe. They 
appeared much pleased with the treaty, which was carefully explained 
to them, and said it should be faithfully observed on their part. 
During the summer of 1843, and winter of 1843 and 1844, they had 
considerable trouble with the fur company, probably brought on by evil 
disposed Indians from the north. An extract ftom the private journal 
of a man, now dead, who was at that time in the employ of the com- 
pany, reads thus: .February 19, 1844. Fight with the north Black- 
feet, in which fight we killed six and wounded several others ; took 
two children prisoners. The fruits of our victory were four scalps, 
twenty-two horses, three hundred and forty robes, and guns, bows, 
and arrows," &c., &c. Since this unfortunate affair, few of
have visited the trading posts within the territory of the United 
States until the present winter. They are much poorer than the 
other three tribes, and were greatly pleased when informed that they 
were to receive a portion of the benefits resulting from the late treaty.
The Gros Ventres, Piegans, and Bloods have many horses, will 
average, at least, ten head to the lodge-some individuals owning 
upwards of two hundred head. The Blackfeet have but few, owing 
to the frequent incursions of the Crees and Assinaboines of the north. 
They all use the gun and bow in hunting, and an Indian of the Black- 
feet nation is seldom seen out of his lodge without the gun in his 
hand and bow and quiver on his back. The Piegans, Bloods, and 
Blackfeet occupy the country north of the Missouri, the Piegans near- 
est the river, (hunting on the south side during the summer,) the 
Bloods next, and the Blackfeet the most northern portion ; but there 
is no definite boundary between them, and they are often found camp- 
ing and hunting together. In their manners, costume, religion, &c., 
they do not differ materially from other prairie tribes, which have 
been too often described to be of interest to the department. They 
annually destroy much more game than they require to subsist and 
clothe themselves, but as there is yet no sensible decrease in the num- 
ber of buffalo in their country, it is impossible, at present, to induce
them to become more economical. 

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