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Friday, October 29, 2004

The Corps Of Discovery, October 29, 1804

This fall I started reading the abridged version of the journals of Lewis and Clark by Anthony Brandt and each morning read what Lewis and Clark wrote that day. By October 26, 1804 the Corps of Discovery had made contact with the Mandan tribes in present day North Dakota and on October 29th Clark wrote:

"We collected the chiefs and commenced a council under an awning and our sails stretched around to keep out as much wind as possible. We delivered a long speech, the substance of which was similar to what we had delivered to the nations below [they had already come in contact with the Arikara, Hidasta, Yankton Sioux, Omaha, and Missouri]...After the council we gave presents with much ceremony and put the medals on the chiefs we intended to make, one for each town, to whom we gave coats, hats, flags, and one grant chief for each nation, to whom we gave medals with the President's likeness."

As was their custom they also fired Lewis's air gun that always astonished the Indians. Clark then goes on to talk about a prairie fire that killed a man and a woman and how a young half white boy was saved when his mother threw a buffalo skin over him. The Indians thought he had been saved "by the Great Spirit medicine because he was white".

At this point the Corps was almost ready to setup their winter camp and had scouted for good wood a few days previously but hadn't found much as the land was mostly prairie.