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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 67

mouth for boats drawing thirty inches. The fur company having 
abandoned their post at the mouth of the Ros. Bud, there is now no 
trading post or other white settlement on the Yellowstone or its 
The Crow Indians inhabit the country bordering on the Powder, 
Big Horn, and Yellowstone rivers. They possess large herds of horses, 
are warlike, and depend exclusively upon the chase for the means of 
subsistence. Hitherto, difficulties have attended the delivery of the 
annuity goods to the Crows, and their agents has been instructed to 
meet the tribe at their hunting-grounds, and cousult their choice as to 
the future place of delivery-whether at the mouth of the Yellowstone 
or at Fort Laramie. 
The Assinaboines, speaking a Sioux dialect, iuhabit a country on 
the north side of the Missouri, opposite the mouth of the Yellowstone. 
They are expert hunters, and subsist exclusively by the chase; pos- 
Sessing few horses, they use the Esquimaux dogs as beasts of burden, 
and make their "surrounds" on foot. 
On the north side of the Missouri river, below the mouth of the 
Yellowstone, resides a tribe formerly known as the Minnitarees, now 
called the Gros Ventres of the Missouri; they speak a Crow dialect. 
From their principal village, near Fort Berthold, which is situated 
about 480 30' north, to the settlements at Pembina, on the Red river, 
the distance does not exceed two hundred miles, in an eastern course. 
This will probably be found the easiest and most expeditious route for 
transportation to and from the Red river settlements. 
On the south side of the river, a few miles from the Gros Ventres, 
are the villages of the -Mandans and Arricarees. These three small 
tribes, each, cultivate more corn, beans, and other vegetables than 
are requisite for their subsistence. During the spring and summer 
they inhabit "dirt lodges," but as soon as their crops are gathered
andI "cached" they betake themselves to their skin lodges in the
timber, for the purpose of hunting and preparing their buffalo robes 
and meat. 
The Mandans are a highly intelligent and dignified people, speak- 
ing a language entirely dissimilar from that of their neighbors. 
The Arrickarees speak the Pawnee lanauage. These three last men- 
tioned tribes expose their dead on scaffolds; they are the only tribes 
in this superintendency that construct their own boats, which consist 
of buffalo skins drawn over circular frames of willow. The vicinity 
of the Mandan village would be a desirable location for the establish- 
ment of a mission and manual labor schools, where the children of 
those tribes might be instructed in useful knowledge. 
I would recommend a separate agency for the Crows, Assinaboines, 
Gros Ventres, Mandans, and Arrickarees, from the sources of the up- 
per Missouri; and the appointment of an additional agent for the 
The country bordering on the north side of the Missouri river, from 
the Gross Ventres to the mouth of the Big Sioux, is claimed and 
sparsely occupied by the Yanctonees and Yancton bands of Sioux. 
.In consequence-of the repeated hostilities of the Yanctonees against 
the half-breeds of Pembina, on the Rei river, it seems to be very. 
Aj. I 

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