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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 78

themselves, and of cultivatiug the soil, and show a restlessness to see 
the day of emancipation dawn upon them, to be helped out-of the land 
of Egypt, and to be guided to the land of promise. 
I then proceeded to Fort Pierre, where I arrived June 28. There 
I met the larger portion of the principal men of the other bands of the 
Sioux, but was sorry to find them accompanied by so few of their 
people, notwithstanding they were notified by me at the grand coun- 
cil held with them by General Harney in March last, that their an- 
nuity presents would be delivered to them at that post, and that they 
must hold themselves in readiness to receive them on the arrival of 
the boat. The chiefs informed me that their people were within a 
few days' travel, and that they would forthwith send out messengers 
to them and urge them to come in. I informed them that I should 
have to leave for other points on the Missouri before they could effect 
this, but that I would leave their presents in charge of Captain Davis, 
of the United States army, who was in charge of Fort Pierre, pro tern., 
who had very kindly volunteered to deliver them to the respective 
bands as they arrived. The result of this arrangement I have .not 
yet learned. 
, A portion of the Yanctonais, headed by the "Little Soldier,"
built a permanent village on the left bank of the Missouri, about one 
hiundred miles below Fort Clarke. To them I made a respectable 
present, which was most thankfully received. It was a matter of re- 
gret to me that the goods of this small band could not be delivered to 
them in their own country, as it would have obviated the necessity of 
their coming to Fort Pierre at the very time when their crops needed 
their attention. Between their village and Fort Clarke I met a band 
of the Yanctonais, headed by their chief, The Two Bears, and to them 
I gave a similar present. 
On the 5th of July we arrived at Fort Clarke; here the Arickarees 
had gathered together men, women, and children. I distributed to 
them their presents, which they received with their usual demonstra- 
tions of regard and rejoicing. Not the slightest dissatisfaction was 
expressed, either by word or action. 
The same day I distributed presents to the Mandans, a small tribe, 
of whom I cannot say too-much in praise. They are peaceable and 
quiet, and have always heeded my counsel. They still occupy their 
village, about four miles above Fort Clarke. They are few in num- 
bers, only some 250 souls, having suffered more severely in years past 
from the pestilential scourges, small-pox and cholera, than any of the 
other tribes under my charge. They are now, however, on the in- 
crease, and, if properly fostered, may become a considerable people. 
In my conference with them they expressed the greatest fear lest 
their terrible enemies, the small-pox and cholera, might come among 
them again; and they appealed most earnestly to me to beg their 
Great Father to banish these diseases from their country for ever. 
On the 6th of July we arrived at the Minaterre or Gros Ventres vil- 
lage, which is in the vicinity of Fort Berthold. When we arrived, 
the principal chief, with some of his men, was on the opposite side of 
the river, hunting ; but the shrill whistle of the steamer soon brought 
them in. They all soon congregated on the bank of the river, shout- 

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