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Nez Perce

Information on the Nez Perce Culture
Recorded by Members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
1805-1806

The following excerpts from the journals of Lewis and Clark and their men present a picture of the Nez Perce (Ne-Me-Poo) as the Anglo-Americans saw them. The modern reader must be careful to understand that what these white men saw was not necessarily correct from the Indian perspective. The reader must remember that the Nez Perce literally saved the lives of the explorers after their ordeal in the Bitterroot Mountains in September 1805. In addition, the lives of the men were spared by an old Nez Perce woman. When cries came from the warriors in council to kill these strange new beings (most Nez Perce had never seen a white man before) the woman, who had been captured by another tribe and eventually traded to some kindly Anglos, then later returned to her homeland, remembered her kind treatment and begged that the explorers' lives be spared.

The Nez Perce showed the explorers an efficient way to make dugout canoes, fed and housed them, nursed them back to health, and cared for their horses during the winter of 1805-1806. Upon their return to Nez Perce country in the spring of 1806, the explorers settled into "Camp Chopunnish," which was the longest camp of any save their three winter encampments. The Corps had to wait until the snow melted in the mountains so that they could pass over the Continental Divide and return to the east. During this period they freely interacted with the Nez Perce, learning many of their customs and playing many types of games with them, including footraces and "prisoner's base." The horses of the explorers were returned to them, well looked-after by the Nez Perce during the winter. The Nez Perce also provided guides to the explorers for their overmountain trek. Without the assistance of the Nez Perce the Lewis and Clark Expedition would have been a failure. Their later history was central to the story of the West and North American Indians. Four of their young men sought information on the Christian religion in 1830, traveling to St. Louis to meet with the Catholic bishop there. Although two died of disease, the others returned to their people with reports of the Anglo world and religious thought. The visit of these men to St. Louis touched off a wave of missionaries who traveled into the West, including the Lees, the Spaulding, the Whitmans and the blackrobes such as father Jean Paul DeSmet.

In 1877, as the U.S. Government prepared to confine them to a reservation, the Nez Perce made a forced march toward Canada, battling the U.S. Army in a brilliant campaign. Finally cornered just 30 miles short of their goal, the Nez Perce surrendered, with their chief, Joseph, delivering one of the most profound and moving speeches ever made, with the oft-quoted line: "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever." The Nez Perce, now prisoners of war, were herded to Kansas, then Indian Territory, far from their beloved mountains. Many died in these foreign lands.

Today, the Nez Perce live on a reservation in north central Idaho on some of the same lands where the Corps of Discovery met them. Others live on the Colville Reservation in the State of Washington. The history of the Nez Perce people is interpreted to the public at several units of the Nez Perce National Historical Park, part of the National Park System.

The following passages have been freely adapted and excerpted from the original texts, and the spelling has been corrected to make them easier to read. For students wishing to quote these passages, the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Gary Moulton and published by the University of Nebraska Press, is the recommended source.Of course, the very best source is the people themselves.


Contact Information:
www.nezperce.org

Chairperson, Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee
P.O. Box 305
Lapwai, Idaho 83540
*****


Journal Excerpts:

[Clark]
Course Dist. Friday 20th Sept. 1805
Road as bad as usual, no game or sign today. West 3 miles to an Indian camp in a level, rich, open plain. I met 3 boys who I gave a piece of ribbon to each & sent them to the villages. I soon after met a man whom I gave a handkerchief and he escorted me to the grand chief's lodge, who was with the most of the nation gone to war. Those people treated us well, gave us to eat roots, dried roots made in bread, roots boiled, one salmon, berries of red haws, some dried. My arrival raised great confusion, all running to see us. After a delay of an hour I determined to go lower & turn out & hunt. A principal man informed me his camp was on my way and there was fish. I concluded to go to his village, and set out accompanied by about 100 men, women & boys. 2 miles across the plains, & halted. Turned out 4 men to hunt. He gave us a salmon to eat. I found that his situation was not on the river as I expected, & that this salmon was dried, & but few. This course is N. 70' W. 2 miles across a rich level plain in which great quantities of roots have been gathered and in heaps. Those roots are like onions, sweet when dried, and tolerably good in bread. I ate much & am sick in the evening. Those people have an immense quantity of roots, which is their principal food. The hunters discovered some signs but killed nothing.

[Clark]
Wednesday [Friday] 20th September 1805
At the distance of 1 mile from the lodges I met 3 boys. When they saw me [they] ran and hid themselves in the grass. I dismounted, gave my gun & horse to one of the men, searched in the grass and found 2 of the boys. Gave them small pieces of ribbon & sent them forward to the village. Soon after a man came out to meet me with great caution & conducted (me) us to a large, spacious lodge which he told me (by signs) was the lodge of his great chief, who had set out 3 days previous with all the warriors of the nation to war on a southwest direction & would return in 15 or 18 days. The few men that were left in the village [were] aged, great numbers of women gathered around me with much apparent sign of fear, and appear pleased. They (those people) gave us a small piece of buffalo meat, some dried salmon, berries & roots in different states. Some round and much like an onion which they call (Pas she co) quamash the bread or cake is called Pas-she-co sweet. Of this they make bread & supper. They also gave us the bread made of this root, all of which we ate heartily. I gave them a few small articles as presents, and proceeded on with a chief to his village 2 miles in the same plain, where we were treated kindly in their way and continued with them all night. Those two villages consist of about 30 double lodges, but few men, a number of women & children. They call themselves Cho pun-nish or Pierced Noses. Their dialect appears very different from the (Flatheads) Tushapaws, although originally the same people. They are darker than the (Flatheads) Tushapaws (I have seen). Their dress similar, with more beads, white & blue principally, brass & copper in different forms, shells and wear their hair in the same way. They are large, portly men, small women & handsome featured. Immense quantity of the quawmash or Pas-shi-co root gathered & in piles about the plains. Those roots grow much [as] an onion, in marshy places. The seeds are in triangular shells on the stalk. They sweat them in the following manner i.e. dig a large hole 3 feet deep, cover the bottom with split wood, on the top of which they lay small stones of about 3 or 4 inches thick, a second layer of splinted wood & set the whole on fire which heats the stones. After the fire is extinguished they lay grass & mud mixed on the stones, on that dry grass which supports the Pash-Shi-co root, a thin coat of the same grass is laid on the top. A small fire is kept when necessary in the center of the kiln &c. I find myself very unwell all the evening from eating the fish & roots too freely. Sent out the hunters, they killed nothing. Saw some signs of deer.

[Clark]
Sept. 21st Saturday 1805
A fine morning. Sent out all the hunters early in different directions to kill something and delayed with the Indians to prevent suspicion & to acquire as much information as possible. One of them drew me a chart of the river & nations below. Informed of one falls below which the white men lived from whom they got white beads cloth &c. &c. The day proved warm, 2 chiefs of bands visited me today. The hunters all returned without anything. I collected a horseload of roots & 3 salmon & sent Reubin Field with one Indian to meet Capt. Lewis. At 4 o'clock set out with the other men to the river, passed through a fine pine country, descended a steep, rugged hill very long to a small river which comes from our left and I suppose it to be [blank] River. Passed down the river 2 miles on a steep hillside. At 11 o'clock P.M. arrived at a camp of 5 squaws, a boy & 2 children those people were glad to see us & gave us dried salmon. One had formerly been taken by the Hidatsas of the north & seen white men. Our guide [Old Toby] called the chief who was fishing on the other side of the river, whom I found a cheerful man of about 65. I gave him a medal.

[Clark]
Thursday [Saturday] 21st Sept. 1805
A fine morning. Sent out all the hunters in different directions to hunt deer. I myself delayed with the Chief to prevent suspicion and to collect by signs as much information as possible about the river and country in advance. The Chief drew me a kind of chart of the river, and informed me that a greater Chief than himself was fishing at the river half a days march from his village called the Twisted Hair, and that the river forked a little below his camp and at a long distance below & below 2 large forks, one from the left & the other from the right the river passed through the mountains, at which place was a great fall of the water passing through the rocks. At those falls white people lived, from whom they procured the white beads & brass &c. which the women wore. A Chief of another band visited me today and smoked a pipe. I gave my handkerchief & a silver cord with a little tobacco to those Chiefs. The hunters all returned without anything. I purchased as much provisions as I could with what few things I chanced to have in my pockets, such as salmon, bread, roots & berries, & sent one man, Reubin Field, with an Indian to meet Capt. Lewis. At 4 o'clock P.M. set out to the river, met a man at dark on his way from the river to the village, whom I hired and gave the neck handkerchief of one of the men, to pilot me to the camp of the Twisted Hair. We did not arrive at the camp of the Twisted Hair but opposite, until half past 11 o'clock P.M. Found at this camp five squaws & 3 children. My guide [Old Toby] called to the Chief who was encamped with 2 others on a small island in the river. He soon joined me. I found him a cheerful man with apparent sincerity. I gave him a medal &c. and smoked until 1 o'clock A.M. and went to sleep. The country from the mountains to the river hills is a level, rich, beautiful pine country badly watered, thinly timbered & covered with grass. The weather very warm. After descending into the low country, the river hills are very high & steep, small bottoms to this little river which is Flathead & is 160 yards wide and sholey. This river is the one we killed the first colt on near a fishing weir. [Twisted Hair's name was walamo'lktdynih, "with hair carelessly tied."]

[Lewis]
Sunday September 22nd 1805.
On our approach to the village, which consisted of eighteen lodges, most of the women fled to the neighboring woods on horseback with their children, a circumstance I did not expect as Capt. Clark had previously been with them and informed them of our pacific intentions towards them, and also the time at which we should most probably arrive. The men seemed but little concerned, and several of them came to meet us at a short distance from their lodges unarmed.

[Clark]
September 22nd Sunday 1805
A fine morning. I proceeded on down the little river to about 1½ mile & found the Chief in a canoe coming to meet me. I got into his canoe & crossed over to his camp on a small island at a rapid. Sent out the hunters, leaving one to take care of the baggage, & after eating a part of a salmon I set out on my return to meet Capt. Lewis with the Chief & his son. At dark met Capt. Lewis encamped at the first village, men much fatigued & reduced. The supply which I sent by Reubin Field was timely. They all ate heartily of roots & fish. 2 horses lost 1 day's journey back.

[Clark]
Friday [Sunday] 22nd Sept. 1805
I left them on the island and set out with the Chief & his son on a young horse for the village, at which place I expected to meet Capt. Lewis. This young horse in fright threw himself & me 3 times on the side of a steep hill & hurt my hip much. Caught a colt which we found on the road & I rode it for several miles until we saw the Chief's horses. He caught one & we arrived at his village at sunset, & himself and myself walked up to the 2nd village where I found Capt. Lewis & the party encamped, much fatigued & hungry, much rejoiced to find something to eat of which they appeared to partake plentifully. I cautioned them of the consequences of eating too much &c. The plains appeared covered with spectators viewing the white men and the articles which we had. Our party weak and much reduced in flesh as well as strength. The horse I left hung up they received at a time they were in great want, and the supply I sent by Reubin Field proved timely and gave great encouragement to the party with Capt. Lewis. He lost 3 horses, one of which belonged to our guide [Old Toby]. Those Indians stole out of Reubin Field's shot pouch his knife, wipers, compass & steel, which we could not procure from them. We attempted to have some talk with those people but could not for the want of an interpreter through which we could speak. We were compelled to converse altogether by signs. I got the Twisted Hair to draw the river from his camp down, which he did with great cheerfulness on a white elk skin. From the 1st fork, which is a few seven miles below, to the large fork on which the Shoshone or Snake Indians fish, are south 2 sleeps. To a large river which falls in on the northwest side and into which the Clark's River empties itself is 5 sleeps. From the mouth of that river to the falls are 5 sleeps. At the falls he places establishments of white people &c. and informs that great numbers of Indians reside on all those forks as well as the main river. One other Indian gave me a like account of the country. Some few drops of rain this evening. I procured maps of the country & river with the situation of Indians, to come from several men of note separately which varied very little.

[Ordway]
Sunday 22nd Sept. 1805.
We proceeded on over a mountain and descended it down into a valley which is smooth and mostly handsome plains. Some groves of handsome, tall, large pitch pine timber. About 3 miles further we came to a large Indian village of the Flathead [Nez Perce] nation. They appeared very glad to see us, ran meeting us with some root bread which they gave us to eat. We camped by a branch near the village. The natives gave us dried salmon and different kinds of their food. Capt. Clark joined us this evening and informed us that they had been on a branch of the Columbia River where he expected it is navigable for canoes and only 15 or 20 miles from this place &c. These natives have a large quantity of this root bread which they call camas. The roots grow in these plains. They have kilns ingenuously made where they sweat these roots and make them sweet and good to the taste.

[Whitehouse]
Sunday 22nd Sept. 1805.
Arrived at an Indian village in a delightful plain, large pitch pine around it. These savages was very glad to see us, the men, women & children ran meeting us & seemed rejoiced to see us. We camped near a village at a small branch. The natives gave us such food as they had to eat, consisting of roots of different kinds which was sweet and good, also red & black haws &c. The principal roots which they made use of for food are plenty. These prairies are covered with them; they are much like potatoes when cooked, and they have a curious way of cooking them. They have places made in the form of a small coal pit, & they heat stones in the pit, then put straw over the stone, then water to raise a steam. Then they put on large loaves of the pounded potatoes, and 8 or 10 bushels of potatoes on at once, then cover them with wet straw and earth. In that way they sweeten them until they are cooked, and when they take them out they pound some of them up fine and make them in loaves and cakes. They dry the cakes and string them on strings in such a way that they would keep a year & handy to carry [on] any journey. Capt. Clark arrived here this evening, and informed us that he had been on a branch of the Columbia River where it was navigable for canoes, and only about 8 & half miles from this place & a good road. The hunters stayed at the river to hunt. One of them had killed 2 deer at the river. The natives gave us some excellent fat salmon to eat with the root or potato bread.

[Clark]
Saturday [Monday] 23rd Sept. 1805
We assembled the principal men as well as the Chiefs and by signs informed them where we came from, where bound, our wish to inculcate peace and good understanding between all the red people &c. which appeared to satisfy them much. We then gave 2 other medals to other Chiefs of bands, a flag to the Twisted Hair, left a flag & handkerchief to the grand Chief. Gave a shirt to the Twisted Hair & a knife & handkerchief with a small piece of tobacco to each. Finding that those people gave no provisions today we determined to purchase [some] with our small articles of merchandise. Accordingly we purchased all we could, such as roots dried, in bread, & in their raw state, berries of red haws & fish, and in the evening set out and proceeded on to the 2nd village 2 miles distant where we also purchased a few articles, all amounting to as much as our weak horses could carry to the river. The Twisted Hair invited Capt. Lewis & myself to his lodge, which was nothing more than pine bushes & bark, and gave us some broiled dried salmon to eat. Great numbers about us all night at this village. The women were busily employed in gathering and drying the Pas-she co root of which they had great quantities dug in piles.

[Ordway]
Monday 23rd Sept. 1805.
We purchased considerable of salmon and camas roots from the natives. These savages are now laying up food for the winter and in the spring they are going over on the Medicine River and Missouri River to hunt the buffalo. Some of them have fine copper kettles and different kinds of trinkets hanging about them. Also they are fond of any kind of merchandise, but the blue beads they want mostly. Our officers gave the chiefs of this nation a flag, a medal, and some other small articles. There is another village about 2 miles further down the plain. They gave the chief of that village a flag and medal also. These natives have a great many horses and live well, are well dressed in elk, deer and mountain sheep skins, well dressed. They have but a few buffalo robes. The most of them have leather lodges and are now making flag [cattail] lodges &c.

[Gass]
Monday 23rd. We stayed here some time to procure provisions from the natives, for which we gave them in exchange a number of small articles. The provisions which we got consisted of roots, bread and fish. Their bread is made of roots which they call camas, and which resemble onions in shape, but are of a sweet taste. This bread is manufactured by steaming, pounding and baking the roots on a kiln they have for the purpose. About 4 o'clock we renewed our journey, and went 2 miles to another small village, through a beautiful rich plain, in which these roots grow in abundance.

[Whitehouse]
Monday 23rd Sept. 1805.
We purchased a considerable quantity of salmon and root or potato bread from the natives. These natives are now at war with some other nation to the west, and the most of the warriors are mostly gone to war, and the women are engaged laying up food for the winter, as they tell us that they intend going over to the Missouri in the spring after the buffalo &c. Some of the natives have copper kettles, and beads, a few knives &c., which they tell us that they got from the traders to the west, which must have come from the western ocean. They are very fond of our merchandise. The large blue beads they are the fondest of, but are glad to get anything we have. A small piece of red cloth, as wide as a man's hand, they gave as much for as they would for double the value in any other article. Our officers gave the chiefs of this village a flag & one to the chief of the next village about 2 miles further on our road, which they hoisted. These natives live well, are very kind and well dressed in mountain sheep & deer & elk skins well dressed. They have buffalo robes but are very choice of them. These savages at this village live the same as those at the other village. They are numerous and talk loud & confused. They live in much comfort in their villages. Several lodges all join, the most of them have leather lodges, and are making flags [cattail or rush] lodges &c.

[Ordway]
Tuesday 24th Sept. 1805.
We went to look for our horses, but found them much scattered and mixed among the Indian horses, which were numerous. Saw a number of squaws digging camas roots in the plain, the soil very rich and lays delightful for cultivation.

[Clark]
Monday [Wednesday] 25th of September 1805
I set out early with the Chief and 2 young men to hunt some trees calculated to build Canoes, as we had previously determined to proceed on by water. I was furnished with a horse and we proceeded on down the river. One of the young men took his gig and killed 6 fine salmon, two of them were roasted and we ate. Two canoes came up loaded with the furniture & provisions of 2 families. Those canoes are long, steady and without much rake. One of the Indian canoes with 2 men with poles set out from the forks at the same time I did and arrived at our camp on the island within 15 minutes of the same time I did, not withstanding 3 rapids which they had to draw the canoe through in the distance.

[Gass]
Thursday 26th. This band of the Flatheads have a great many beads and other articles, which they say they got from white men at the mouth of this river; or where the salt water is. They have a large stock of horses. Their buffalo robes and other skins they chiefly procure on the Missouri, when they go over to hunt, as there are no buffalo in this part of the country and a very little other game. The most of the men of this band are at present on a war expedition against some nation to the northwest, that had killed some of their people; as we understood in our imperfect communications with them.

[Gass]
Tuesday 1st Oct. 1805. All the men are now able to work; but the greater number are very weak. To save them from hard labor, we have adopted the Indian method of burning out the canoes.

[Clark]
October 5th (Friday) Saturday 1805
Wind easterly and cool. Had all our horses, 38 in number, collected and branded. Cut off their fore top and delivered them to the 2 brothers and one son of one of the chiefs who intends to accompany us down the river. To each of those men I gave a knife & some small articles &c. They promised to be attentive to our horses until we should return. [The two chiefs were Twisted Hair and Tetoharsky of the Nez Perce].

[Whitehouse]
Monday October 7th
This morning we had clear pleasant weather, all our party that were able were employed in getting the other three new canoes into the river, which they effected. They got everything in readiness on board of them and got them loaded. About 3 o'clock P.M. we set out on our way to descend the river, & the 2 Indians of the Snake Nation [Old Toby and son] that came to pilot us across the mountains, agreed to continue with us. We also had a chief & one Indian [Twisted Hair and Tetoharsky] from the last town we came through who also agreed to accompany us. These two last Indians set off down the river by land to go some distance, & intend to join our party again. We then proceeded on our voyage, and crossed a number of bad rapids where our canoes got fast, & obliged us to get out in the water (that was cold) and haul them off.

[Ordway]
Tuesday 8th Oct. 1805.
About 12 o'clock we halted at some Indian camps, about 6 lodges of well looking savages who had several small canoes and catch considerable of salmon. We bought some from them, 2 dogs also. We proceeded on a short distance and halted at some more camps at the foot of an island and rapids where we bought some more salmon and some white roots &c., then proceed on. Descended a rocky rapid at the foot of an island where was several Indian camps. One of the canoes struck a rock in the middle of the rapid and swung round and struck another rock and cracked her so that it filled with water. The waves roared over the rocks and some of the men could not swim. There they stayed in this doleful situation until we unloaded one of the other canoes and went and released them. 2 Indians went in a canoe to their assistance also. We got the men and the most of the baggage safe to shore. A few articles lost, one tomahawk and a few light things. We put the baggage out and camped on the starboard side at high plains. A number of savages visited us this evening. Had come about 18 miles today.

[Ordway]
Wednesday 9th Oct. 1805.
The natives brought fresh salmon and traded with us. The natives are very troublesome to us, two sentinels placed to keep them from stealing from us, as the baggage was exposed. We got the canoe repaired in the evening. We bought a considerable quantity of salmon, a little camas roots. In the evening some of our party fiddled and danced, which pleased the natives very much. One of their women was taken with fit by one of our fires. She began singing Indian and to giving all around her some camas roots, and bracelets which hung about her. One of our party refused to take them from her. She then appeared angry, threw them in the fire. Took a sharp flint from her husband and cut both of her arms in sundry places so that the blood gushed out. She scraped the blood in her hand and ate it, and so continued in this way about half an hour, then fainted or went into a fit some time, then came to by their putting water on her and seemed to take great care of her &c.

[Whitehouse]
Wednesday 9th Oct. 1805.
After dark we played the fiddle and danced a little. The natives were pleased to see us. One of their women was taken with the crazy fit by our fire. She set to singing Indian and gave all around her some roots, and all she offered had to take from her. One of our men refused to take them from her. She then was angry and hove them in the fire, and took a sharp flint from her husband and cut her arms in sundry places so that the blood gushed out. She wiped up the blood and ate it, then tore off some beads and pieces of copper &c. which hung about her and gave out to them that were round her a little to each one. Still kept her singing and making a hissing noise. She then ran around, went to the water. Some of her kindred went after her and brought her back. She then fell into a fit and continued stiff and speechless some time. They poured water on her face until she came to. Capt. Clark gave her some small things, which pleased her.

[Clark]
October 10th (Wednesday) Thursday
We passed a few miles above this riffle 2 lodges and an Indian bathing in a hot bath made by hot stones thrown into a pond of water. On this fork a little above its mouth resides a Chief who as the Indians say has more horses than he can count and further sayeth that Louise's River is navigable about 60 miles up, with many rapids, at which places the Indians have fishing camps and lodges built of an oblong form with flat roofs. The Indians came down all the courses of this river on each side on horses to view us as we were descending. The man whom we saw at the rugged rapid and expressed an inclination to accompany us to the great rapids came up with his son in a small canoe and persisted in his intentions. The Cho-pun-nish or Pierced Nose [Nez Perce] Indians are stout, likely men, handsome women, and very dressy in their way. The dress of the men is a white buffalo robe or elkskin dressed with beads which are generally white, seashells - i.e. the mother of pearl hung to their hair & on a piece of otter skin about their necks, hair queued in two parcels hanging forward over their shoulders, feathers, and different colored paints which they find in their country, generally white, green & light blue. Some few wore a shirt of dressed skins and long leggings, & moccasins painted, which appear to be their winter dress, with a plat of twisted grass about their necks. The women dress in a shirt of ibex, or (Goat) skins which reach quite down to their ankles with (out) a girdle. Their heads are not ornamented, their shirts are ornamented with quilled brass, small pieces of brass cut into different forms, beads, shells & curious bones &c. The men expose those parts which are generally kept from view by other nations, but the women are more particular than any other nation which I have passed in secreting the parts. Their amusements appear but few as their situation requires the utmost exertion to procure food. They are generally employed in that pursuit, all the summer & fall fishing for the salmon, the winter hunting the deer on snowshoes in the plains and taking care of their immense numbers of horses, & in the spring cross the mountains to the Missouri to get buffalo robes and meat &c. at which (it) time they frequently meet with their enemies & lose their horses & many of their people. Their disorders are but few and those few of a scrofulous nature. They make great use of sweating, the hot and cold baths. They are very selfish and stingy of what they have to eat or wear, and they expect in return something for everything given as presents or the services which they do, let it be however small, and fail to make those returns on their part.

[Ordway]
Thursday 10th Oct. 1805.
The two guides who came with us from the Snake Nation [Old Toby and son] left us yesterday, and we expect they have returned back again. We set out early and proceeded on down, passed over a number of bad rapids, took water in the canoes by the waves. Passed several camps of Indians where they had large fisheries; we bought some from them. They have plenty of small canoes for the purpose of fishing.

[Whitehouse]
Thursday October 10th
We passed several Indian fishing camps where the natives were fishing. We halted at them a short time, & purchased some salmon from them. Those Indians had a number of small canoes lying along the shore. About 11 o'clock A.M. we came to a very bad rocky rapid, where we halted & took one canoe over at a time. One of our canoes run fast on a rock, & broke a hole in her side, & it was with much difficulty we got her to the shore, where we unloaded and repaired her. Some natives that were below where this accident happened caught the oars & poles belonging to our canoes, which we lost in the rapids as we came along. They brought them to us, & we purchased from them some salmon & 2 dogs for provisions. About 2 o'clock P.M. we proceeded on, & passed several more fishing camps & down some very bad rapids, which were shallow.

[Clark]
October 11th (Thursday) [Friday] 1805
We set out early and proceeded on, passed a rapid at two miles, at 6 miles we came to at some Indian lodges and took breakfast. We purchased all the fish we could and seven dogs of those people for stores of provisions down the river. At this place I saw a curious sweathouse under ground, with a small hole at top to pass in or throw in the hot stones, which those in threw on as much water as to create the temperature of heat they wished. At different places on the river saw Indian houses and slabs & split timber raised from the ground, being the different parts of the houses of the natives when they reside on this river for the purpose of fishing. At this time they are out in the plain on each side of the river hunting the antelope as we are informed by our Chiefs. (At) near each of those houses we observe graveyards picketed, or pieces of wood stuck in promiscuously over the grave or body which is covered with earth.

[Gass]
Saturday 12th. Two of the Flathead chiefs remained on board with us, and two of their men went with the stranger in a small canoe, and acted as pilots or guides. Some of the Flathead nation of Indians live all along the river this far down. There are not more than 4 lodges in a place or village, and these small camps or villages are 8 or 10 miles apart: at each camp there are 5 or 6 small canoes. Their summer lodges are made of willows and flags [cattails], and their winter lodges of split pine, almost like rails, which they bring down on rafts to this part of the river where there is no timber.

[Ordway]
Sunday 13th Oct. 1805
Saw a great number of fishing camps where the natives fish every spring. They raft all their wood down the river a long distance and they put it up on scaffolds and take great care of it.

[Clark]
October 14th (Sunday) Monday 1805
At this rapid the canoe astern, steered by Drewyer, struck a rock, turned. The men got out on a rock. The stern of the canoe took in water and she sunk. Those Chiefs, one of them was in the canoe, swam in & saved some property. The Indians have buried fish on this island which we are cautious not to touch.

[Lewis]
Wednesday April 2nd 1806.
This morning we came to a resolution to remain at our present encampment or somewhere in this neighborhood until we had obtained as much dried meat as would be necessary for our voyage as far as the Chopunnish [Nez Perce], to exchange our pirogues for canoes with the natives on our way to the great falls of the Columbia or purchase such canoes from them for elkskins and merchandize as would answer our purposes. These canoes we intend exchanging with the natives of the plains for horses as we proceed until we obtain as many as will enable us to travel altogether by land. At some convenient point, perhaps at the entrance of the southeast branch of the Columbia, we propose sending a party of four or five men ahead to collect our horses that they may be in readiness for us by our arrival at the Chopunnish. Calculating by thus acquiring a large stock of horses we shall not only secure the means of transporting our baggage over the mountains but that we will also have provided the means of subsisting. For we now view the horses as our only certain resource for food, nor do we look forward to it with any detestation or borrow, so soon is the mind which is occupied with any interesting object reconciled to its situation.

[Clark]
Friday 18th April 1806
Early this morning I was awoke by an Indian man of the Chopunnish [Nez Perce] Nation who informed me that he lived in the neighborhood of our horses. This man delivered me a bag of powder and ball which he had picked up this morning at the place the goods were exposed yesterday.

[Lewis]
Wednesday April 30th 1806.
We exchanged one of our most indifferent horses for a very good one with the Chopunnish [Nez Perce] man who has his family with him. This man has a daughter new arrived at the age of puberty, who being in a certain situation [menses] is not permitted to associate with the family but sleeps at a distance from her father's camp and when traveling follows at some distance behind. In this state I am informed that the female is not permitted to eat, nor to touch any article of a culinary nature or manly occupation.

[Lewis]
Saturday May 3rd 1806.
Here we met with We-ark-koomt whom we have usually distinguished by the name of the Bighorn Chief from the circumstance of his always wearing a horn of that animal suspended by a cord to his left arm. He is the 1st Chief of a large band of the Chopunnish Nation. He had 10 of his young men with him. This man went down Lewis's River by land as we descended it by water last fall, quite to the Columbia, and I believe was very instrumental in procuring us a hospitable and friendly reception among the natives. He had now come a considerable distance to meet us. We made but a scant supper and had not anything for tomorrow; however We-arkkoomt consoled us with the information that there was an Indian lodge on the river at no great distance where we might supply ourselves with provision tomorrow. Our guide and the three young Walla Wallas left us this morning rather abruptly and we have seen nothing of them since.

[Lewis]
Sunday May 4th 1806.
On the river a little above this creek we arrived at a lodge of 6 families of which Weark-koomt had spoken. We halted here for breakfast and with much difficulty purchased 2 lean dogs. The inhabitants were miserably poor. We obtained a few large cakes of half cured bread made of a root which resembles the sweet potatoes. With these we made some soup and took breakfast. The lands through which we passed today are fertile, consisting of a dark rich loam. A great portion of the Chopunnish we are informed are now distributed in small villages through this plain collecting the quawmash and cous; the salmon not yet having arrived to call them to the river. After dinner we continued our route up the west side of the river 3 miles opposite to 2 lodges, the one containing 3 and the other 2 families of the Chopunnish Nation. Here we met with Te-toh ar sky, the youngest of the two chiefs who accompanied us last fall to the great falls of the Columbia. Here we also met with our pilot who descended the river with us as far as the Columbia. These Indians recommended our passing the river at this place and ascending the Kooskooskee on the northeast side. They said it was nearer and a better route to the forks of that river where the Twisted Hair resided, in whose charge we had left our horses; thither they promised to conduct us. We determined to take the advice of the Indians and immediately prepared to pass the river, which with the assistance of three Indian canoes we effected in the course of the evening, purchased a little wood and some bread of cous from the natives and encamped, having traveled 15 miles only today. We-ark-koomt, whose people resided on the west side of Lewis's River above, left us when we determined to pass the river and went on to his lodge. The evening was cold and disagreeable, and the natives crowded about our fire in great numbers insomuch that we could scarcely cook or keep ourselves warm. At all these lodges of the Chopunnish I observe an appendage of a small lodge with one fire, which seems to be the retreat of their women in a certain situation. The men are not permitted to approach this lodge within a certain distance and if they have anything to convey to the occupants of this little hospital they stand at the distance of 50 or 60 paces and throw it towards them as far as they can and retire.

[Lewis]
Monday May 5th 1806.
At the second lodge we passed an Indian man; gave Capt. Clark a very elegant gray mare for which he requested a phial of eye-water which was accordingly given him. While we were encamped last fall at the entrance of the Chopunnish River Capt. Clark gave an Indian man some volatile lineament to rub his knee and thigh for a pain of which he complained. The fellow soon after recovered and has never ceased to extol the virtues of our medicines and the skill of my friend Capt. Clark as a physician. This occurrence added to the benefit which many of them experienced from the eyewater we gave them about the same time has given them an exalted opinion of our medicine. My friend Capt. Clark is their favorite physician and has already received many applications. In our present situation I think it pardonable to continue this deception for they will not give us any provision without compensation in merchandise and our stock is now reduced to a mere handful. We take care to give them no article which can possibly injure them. We found our Chopunnish guide at this lodge with his family. The Indians brought us Capt. Clark's horse from the opposite side of the river and delivered him to us while here. This horse had by some accident separated from our other horses above and had agreeably to Indian information been in this neighborhood for some weeks. While at dinner an Indian fellow very impertinently threw a poor half starved puppy nearly into my plate by way of derision for our eating dogs and laughed very heartily at his own impertinence. I was so provoked at his insolence that I caught the puppy and threw it with great violence at him and struck him in the breast and face, seized my tomahawk and showed him by signs if he repeated his insolence I would tomahawk him. The fellow withdrew, apparently much mortified, and I continued my repast on dog without further molestation. We encamped on the lower side of this creek at a little distance from two lodges of the Chopunnish Nation, having traveled 20 miles today. One of these lodges contained eight families, the other was much the largest we have yet seen. It is 156 feet long and about 15 wide, built of mats and straw, in the form of the roof of a house having a number of small doors on each side, is closed at the ends and without divisions in the intermediate space. This lodge contained at least 30 families. Their fires are kindled in a row in the center of the house and about 10 feet asunder; all the lodges of these people are formed in this manner. We arrived here extremely hungry and much fatigued, but no articles of merchandize in our possession would induce them to let us have any article of provision except a small quantity of bread of cous and some of those roots, dried. We had several applications to assist their sick, which we refused unless they would let us have some dogs or horses to eat. A man whose wife had an abscess formed on the small of her back promised a horse in the morning provided we would administer to her. Accordingly Capt. Clark opened the abscess, introduced a tent, and dressed it with basilicon. I prepared some doses of the flour of sulfur and cream of tartar which were given with directions to be taken on each morning. A little girl and sundry other patients were offered for cure but we postponed our operations until morning; they produced us several dogs but they were so poor that they were unfit for use. This is the residence of one of 4 principal Chiefs of the nation whom they call Neesh-ne-park-ke-ook or the Cut Nose from the circumstance of his nose being cut by the Snake Indians with a lance in battle. To this man we gave a medal of the small size with the likeness of the President. He may be a great chief but his countenance has but little intelligence and his influence among his people seems but inconsiderable. A number of Indians beside the inhabitants of these lodges gathered about us this evening and encamped in the timbered bottom on the creek near us. We met with a Snake Indian man at this place, through whom we spoke at some length to the natives this evening with respect to the objects which had induced us to visit their country. This address was induced at this moment by the suggestions of an old man who observed to the natives that he thought we were bad men and had come most probably in order to kill them. This impression if really entertained I believe we effaced; they appeared well satisfied with what we said to them, and being hungry and tired we retired to rest at 11 o'clock. We-ark-koomt rejoined us this evening. This man has been of infinite service to us on several former occasions and through him we now offered our address to the natives.

[Ordway]
Monday 5th of May 1806.
At this village the dogs are very poor, and these natives have but little to eat except roots which the women are engaged pounding and make it in cakes and put it up over the fire to dry to take with them for provision across the Rocky Mountains. This village is all in one joining for about 100 yards long and have different fires & doors but live much compacted and agreeable together. We could not purchase anything to eat except a few of those roots or bread which they value high. In the evening several of the natives which was diseased & sick came to our officers to be healed who gave & applied medicine.

[Lewis]
Tuesday May 6th 1806.
This morning the husband of the sick woman was as good as his word, he produced us a young horse in tolerable order which we immediately killed and butchered. The inhabitants seemed more accommodating this morning; they sold us some bread. We received a second horse for medicine and prescription for a little girl with the rheumatism. Capt. Clark dressed the woman again this morning, who declared that she had rested better last night than she had since she had been sick. Sore eyes is an universal complaint with all the natives we have seen on the west side of the Rocky Mountains. Capt. Clark was busily engaged for several hours this morning in administering eye-water to a crowd of applicants. We once more obtained a plentiful meal, much to the comfort of all the party. I exchanged horses with We-ark-koomt and gave him a small flag with which he was much gratified. The sorrel I obtained is an elegant, strong, active well broke horse perfectly calculated for my purposes. At this place we met with three men of a nation called the Skeets-so-mish who reside at the falls of a large river discharging itself into the Columbia on its east side to the north of the entrance of Clark's River. These people are the same in their dress and appearance with the Chopunnish, though their language is entirely different, a circumstance which I did not learn until we were about to set out and it was then too late to take a vocabulary. At 3 P.M. we set out, accompanied by the brother of the Twisted Hair and We arkkoomt.

[Lewis]
Wednesday May 7th 1806.
This morning we collected our horses and set out early, accompanied by the brother of the Twisted Hair as a guide; Wearkkoomt and his party left us. A man of this lodge produced us two canisters of powder which he informed us he had found by means of his dog where they had been buried in a bottom near the river some miles above. They were the same which we had buried as we descended the river last fall. As he had kept them safe and had honesty enough to return them to us we gave him a fire steel by way of compensation. Neeshneparkeeook overtook us and after riding with us a few miles turned off to the right to visit some lodges of his people who he informed me were gathering roots in the plain at a little distance from the road. Our guide conducted us through the plain and down a steep and lengthy hill to a creek which we called Mosquito Creek in consequence of being infested with swarms of those insects on our arrival at it. The Chopunnish bury their dead in sepulchres formed of boards like the roofs of houses. The corpse is rolled in skins and laid on boards above the surface of the earth. They are laid in several tiers, one over another, being separated by a board only above and below from other corpses. I did observe some instances where the body was laid in an indifferent wooden box which was placed among other carcasses rolled in skins in the order just mentioned. They sacrifice horses, canoes and every other species of property to their dead. The bones of many horses are seen laying about those sepulchres.

[Lewis]
Thursday May 8th 1806.
We are informed that the natives in this quarter were distressed for food in the course of the last winter; they were compelled to collect the moss which grows on the pine which they boiled and eat; near this camp I observed many pine trees which appear to have been cut down about that season which they inform us was done in order to collect the seed of the longleafed pine which in those moments of distress also furnishes an article of food. Neesh-ne-park-kee-ook and several other Indians joined us this morning. We gave this chief and the Indians with us some venison, horse beef, the entrails of the four deer, and four fawns which were taken from two of the does that were killed. They eat none of their food raw, though the entrails had but little preparation and the fawns were boiled and consumed hair, hide and entrails. These people sometimes eat the flesh of the horse though they will in most instances suffer extreme hunger before they will kill their horses for that purpose. This seems rather to proceed from an attachment to this animal, than a dislike to its flesh, for I observe many of them eat very heartily of the horse beef which we give them. The relation of the Twisted Hair and Neeshneparkkeook gave us a sketch of the principal watercourses west of the Rocky Mountains, a copy of which I preserved. The road led us up a steep and high hill to a high and level plain, mostly untimbered, through which we passed parallel with the river about 4 miles when we met the Twisted Hair and a party of six men. To this Chief we had confided the care of our horses and a part of our saddles when we descended the river last fall. The Twisted Hair received us very coolly, an occurrence as unexpected as it was unaccountable to us. He shortly began to speak with a loud voice and in an angry manner. When he had ceased to speak he was answered by the Cutnose Chief or Neeshneparkkeook; we readily discovered that a violent quarrel had taken place between these chiefs but at that instant knew not the cause; we afterwards learnt that it was on the subject of our horses. This controversy between the chiefs detained us about 20 minutes; in order to put an end to this dispute as well as to relieve our horses from the embarrassment of their loads, we informed the chiefs that we should continue our march to the first water and encamp. Accordingly we moved on and the Indians all followed. The Twisted Hair informed us that according to the promise he had made us when he separated from us at the falls of the Columbia he collected our horses on his return and took charge of them, that about this time the Cutnose or Neeshneparkkeook and Tun-nach-emoo-toolt or the Broken Arm returned from a war excursion against the Shoshones on the south branch of Lewis's River which had caused their absence when we were in this neighborhood. That these men became dissatisfied with him in consequence of our having confided the horses to his care and that they were eternally quarreling with him insomuch that he thought it best, as he was an old man, to relinquish any further attention to the horses. That they had consequently become scattered; that most of the horses were near this place, a part were in the forks between the Chopunnish and Kooskooskee rivers, and three or four others were at the lodge of the Broken Arm about half a days march higher up the river. He informed us with respect to our saddles that on the rise of the water this spring the earth had fallen from the door of the cache and exposed the saddles. He being informed of their situation had taken them up and placed them in another cashe where they were at this time; he said it was probable that a part of them had fallen into the water but of this he was not certain. The Twisted Hair said if we would spend the day tomorrow at his lodge which was a few miles only from hence and on the road leading to the Broken Arm's lodge, he would collect such of our horses as were near this place and our saddles, that he would also send some young men over the Kooskooskee to collect those in the forks and bring them to the lodge of the Broken Arm to meet us. He advised us to go to the lodge of the Broken Arm as he said he was a chief of great eminence among them, and promised to accompany us thither if we wished him. We told him that we should take his advice in every particular, that we had confided the horses to his care and expected that he would collect them and deliver them to us, which when he performed we should pay him the two guns and ammunition we had promised him for that service. He seemed much pleased and promised his utmost exertions. We sent Drewyer to the Cut Nose, who also came to our fire and smoked with ourselves and the Twisted Hair. We took occasion in the course of the evening to express our regret that there should be a misunderstanding between these chiefs; the Cut Nose told us in the presence of the Twisted Hair that he the Twisted Hair was a bad old man, that he wore two faces, that instead of taking care of our horses as he had promised us that he had suffered his young men to ride them hunting and had injured them very much; that this was the cause why himself and the Broken Arm had forbid his using them. The other made no reply. We informed the Cutnose of our intention of spending tomorrow at the Twisted Hair's lodge in order to collect our horses and saddles and that we should proceed the next day to the Broken Arm's lodge. He appeared well satisfied with this arrangement and said he would continue with us, and would give us any assistance in his power; he said he knew the Broken Arm expected us at his lodge and that he had two bad horses for us, metaphorically speaking a present of two good horses. He said the Broken Arm had learned our want of provision and had sent four of his young men with a supply to meet us but that they had taken a different road and had missed us. About 10 P.M. our guests left us and we lay down to rest.

[Lewis]
Friday May 9th 1806.
At the distance of 6 miles we arrived at the lodge of the Twisted Hair; this habitation was built in the usual form with sticks, mats and dried hay, and contained 2 firs and about 12 persons. Even at this small habitation there was an appendage of the solitary lodge, the retreat of the tawny damsels when nature causes them to be driven into Coventry. Here we halted as had been previously concerted, and one man with 2 horses accompanied the Twisted Hair to the canoe camp about 4 miles in quest of the saddles. The Twisted Hair sent two young men in search of our horses agreeably to his promise. The cous is a knobbed root of an irregularly rounded form not unlike the ginseng in form and consistence. This root they collect, rub off a thin black rind which covers it and pounding it expose it in cakes to the sun. These cakes ate about an inch and ¼ thick and 6 by 18 in width, when dried they either eat this bread alone without any further preparation, or boil it and make a thick muselage; the latter is most common and much the most agreeable. The flavor of this root is not very unlike the ginseng. This root they collect as early as the snows disappear in the spring and continue to collect it until the quawmash supplies its place, which happens about the latter end of June. The quamash is also collected for a few weeks after it first makes its appearance in the spring, but when the scape appears it is no longer fit for use until the seeds are ripe, which happens about the time just mentioned, and then the cous declines. The latter is also frequently dried in the sun and pounded afterwards and then used in making soup. About the same time the young men arrived with 21 of our horses. The greater part of our horses were in fine order. Five of them appeared to have been so much injured by the Indians riding them last fall that they had not yet recovered and were in low order. Three others had sore backs. We had these horses caught and hobbled. The Cutnose lodged with the Twisted Hair; I believe they have become good friends again. Several Indians slept about us.

[Lewis]
Saturday May 10th 1806.
At 4 in the afternoon we descended the hills to Commearp Creek and arrived at the Village of Tunnachemootoolt, the chief at whose lodge we had left a flag last fall. This flag was now displayed on a staff placed at no great distance from the lodge. Underneath the flag the Chief met my friend Capt. Clark who was in front and conducted him about 80 yards to a place on the bank of the creek where he requested we should encamp. I came up in a few minutes and we collected the chiefs and men of consideration, smoked with them and stated our situation with respect to provision. The Chief spoke to his people and they produced us about 2 bushels of the quawmash roots dried, four cakes of the bread of cous and a dried salmon trout. We thanked them for this store of provision but informed them that our men not being accustomed to live on roots alone we feared it would make them sick, to obviate which we proposed exchanging a good horse in rather low order for a young horse in tolerable order with a view to kill. The hospitality of the chief revolted at the idea of an exchange, he told us that his young men had a great abundance of young horses and if we wished to eat them we should be furnished with as many as we wanted. Accordingly they soon produced us two fat young horses one of which we killed, the other we informed them we would postpone killing until we had consumed the one already killed. This is a much greater act of hospitality than we have witnessed from any nation or tribe since we have passed the Rocky Mountains. In short be it spoken to their immortal honor it is the only act which deserves the appellation of hospitality which we have witnessed in this quarter. We informed these people that we were hungry and fatigued at this moment, that when we had eaten and refreshed ourselves we would inform them who we were, from whence we had come and the objects of our researches. A principal Chief by name Hohastillpilp arrived with a party of fifty men mounted on elegant horses. He had come on a visit to us from his village which is situated about six miles distant near the river. We invited this man into our circle and smoked with him, his retinue continued on horseback at a little distance. After we had eaten a few roots we spoke to them as we had promised; and gave Tinnachemootoolt and Hohastillpilp each a medal; the former one of the small size with the likeness of Mr. Jefferson and the latter one of the sewing medals struck in the presidency of Washington. We explained to them the design and the importance of medals in the estimation of the whites as well as the red men who had been taught their value. The chief had a large conic lodge of leather erected for our reception and a parcel of wood collected and laid at the door after which he invited Capt. Clark and myself to make that lodge our home while we remained with him. We had a fire lighted in this lodge and retired to it accompanied by the chiefs and as many of the considerate men as could crowd in a circle within it. Here after we had taken a repast on some horse beef we resumed our council with the Indians which together with smoking the pipe occupied the balance of the evening. As these people had been liberal with us with respect to provision I directed the men not to crowd their lodges in search of food in the manner hunger has compelled them to do at most lodges we have passed, and which the Twisted Hair had informed me was disagreeable to the natives. But their previous want of hospitality had induced us to consult their inclinations but little and suffer our men to obtain provision from them on the best terms they could. The village of the Broken Arm as I have heretofore termed it consists of one house only which is 150 feet in length, built in the usual form of sticks, mats and dry grass. It contains twenty four fires and about double that number of families. From appearances I presume they could raise 100 fighting men. The noise of their women pounding roots reminds me of a nail factory. The Indians seem well pleased, and I am confident that they are not more so than our men who have their stomachs once more well filled with horse beef and mush of the bread of cous. The house of coventry is also seen here.

[Ordway]
Saturday 10th of May 1806.
Some of the women pitched a leather lodge and brought wood & made a fire in it and chiefs invited our officers to stay in it, and talked together. Our officers told them our business &c. In the evening we played the fiddle & danced awhile. A number of Indians came from other villages to see us.

[Lewis]
Sunday May 11th 1806.
The last evening we were much crowded with the Indians in our lodge, the whole floor of which was covered with their sleeping carcasses. We arose early and took breakfast. At 8 A.M. a Chief of great note among these people arrived from his village or lodge on the south side of Lewis's River. This is a stout fellow of good countenance, about 40 years of age, and has lost the left eye. His name is Yoom-park'-kar-tim.' To this man we gave a medal of the small kind. Those with the likeness of Mr. Jefferson have all been disposed of except one of the largest size which we reserve for some great Chief on the Yellowstone River. We now pretty fully informed ourselves that Tunnachemootoo it, Neeshneparkkeeook, Yoomparkkartim and Hohastillpilp were the principal Chiefs of the Chopunnish Nation and ranked in the order here mentioned. As all those chiefs were present in our lodge we thought it a favorable time to repeat what had been said yesterday and to enter more minutely into the views of our government with respect to the inhabitants of this western part of the continent, their intention of establishing trading houses for their relief, their wish to restore peace and harmony among the natives, the strength, power and wealth of our nation &c. To this end we drew a map of the country with a coal on a mat in their way and by the assistance of the Snake boy and our interpreters were enabled to make ourselves understood by them, although it had to pass through the French, Hidatsa, Shoshone and Chopunnish languages. The interpretation being tedious it occupied nearly half the day before we had communicated to them what we wished. They appeared highly pleased. After this council was over we amused ourselves with showing them the power of magnetism, the spy glass, compass, watch, air-gun and sundry other articles equally novel and incomprehensible to them. They informed us that after we had left the Hidatsas last spring that three of their people had visited that nation and that they had informed them of us and had told them that we had such things in our possession but that they could not place confidence in the information until they had now witnessed it themselves. A young man, son of a conspicuous chief among these people who was killed not long since by the Hidatsas of Fort de Prairie [Atsinas], brought and presented us a very fine mare and colt. He said he had opened his ears to our councils and would observe them strictly, and that our words had made his heart glad. He requested that we would accept this mare and colt which he gave in token of his determination to pursue our advice. Many of the natives apply to us for medical aid which we gave them cheerfully so far as our skill and store of medicine would enable us. Scrofula, ulcers, rheumatism, sore eyes, and the loss of the use of their limbs are the most common cases among them. The latter case is not very common but we have seen three instances of it among the Chopunnish. It is a very extraordinary complaint. A Chief of considerable note at this place has been afflicted with it for three years. He is incapable of moving a single limb but lies like a corpse in whatever position he is placed, yet he eats heartily, digests his food perfectly, enjoys his understanding, his pulse are good, and has retained his flesh almost perfectly, in short were it not that he appears a little pale from having lain so long in the shade he might well be taken for a man in good health. I suspect that their confinement to a diet of roots may give rise to all those disorders except the rheumatism & sore eyes, and to the latter of these, the state of debility incident to a vegetable diet may measurably contribute. The Chopunnish, notwithstanding they live in the crowded manner before mentioned, are much more cleanly in their persons and habitations than any nation we have seen since we left the Otos on the River Platte. The Twisted Hair brought us six of our horses.

[Lewis]
Monday May 12th 1806.
This morning a great number of Indians collected about us as usual. We took an early breakfast and Capt. Clark began to administer eyewater to a crowd of at least 50 applicants. The Indians held a council among themselves this morning with respect to the subjects on which we had spoken to them yesterday. The result as we learnt was favorable. They placed confidence in the information they had received and resolved to pursue our advice. After this council was over the principal Chief or the Broken Arm, took the hour of the roots of cous and thickened the soup in the kettles and baskets of all his people. This being ended he made a harangue, the purport of which was making known the deliberations of their council and impressing the necessity of unanimity among them and a strict attention to the resolutions which had been agreed on in council. He concluded by inviting all such men as had resolved to abide by the decrees of the council to come and eat and requested such as would not be so bound to show themselves by not partaking of the feast. I was told by four men who was present, that there was not a dissenting voice on this great national question, but all swallowed their objections if any they had, very cheerfully with their mush. During the time of this loud and animated harangue of the Chief the women cried, wrung their hands, tore their hair and appeared to be in the utmost distress. After this ceremony was over the Chiefs and considerate men came in a body to where we were seated at a little distance from our tent, and two young men at the instance of the nation presented us each with a fine horse. We caused the chiefs to be seated and gave them each a flag, a pound of powder and fifty balls. We also gave powder and ball to the two young men who had presented the horses. Neeshneeparkkeeook gave Drewyer a good horse. The band of Ten-nach-e-moo-toolt have six guns which they acquired from the Hidatsa and appear anxious to obtain arms and ammunition. After they had received those presents the Chiefs requested we would retire to the tent whither they accompanied us. They now informed us that they wished to give an answer to what we had said to them the preceding day, but also informed us that there were many of their people waiting in great pain at that moment for the aid of our medicine. It was agreed between Capt. Clark and myself that he should attend the sick as he was their favorite physician while I would [remain] here and answer the Chiefs. The father of Hohastillpilp was the orator on this occasion. He observed that they had listened with attention to our advice and that the whole nation were resolved to follow it, that they had only one heart and one tongue on this subject. He said they were fully sensible of the advantages of peace and that the ardent desire which they had to cultivate peace with their neighbors had induced his nation early last summer to send a pipe by 3 of their brave men to the Shoshones on the south side of Lewis's River in the Plains of Columbia. That these people had murdered these men, which had given rise to the war expedition against that nation last fall; that their warriors had fallen in with the Shoshones, had killed 42 of them with the loss of 3 only on their part at that time, and that this had satisfied the blood of their deceased friends and that they would never again make war against the Shoshones, but were willing to receive them as friends. That they valued the lives of their young men too much to wish them to be engaged in war. That as we had not yet seen the Blackfoot Indians and the Hidatsa of Fort de Prairie [Atsinas] they did not think it safe to venture over to the Plains of the Missouri, where they would fondly go provided those nations would not kill them. That when we had established our forts on the Missouri as we had promised, they would come over and trade for arms, ammunition &c. and live about us. That it would give them much pleasure to be at peace with these nations although they had shed much of their blood. He said that the white men might be assured of their warmest attachment and that they would always give them every assistance in their power; that they were poor but their hearts were good. He said that some of their young men would go over with us to the Missouri and bring them the news as we wished, and that if we could make a peace between themselves and their enemies on the other side of the mountain their nation would go over to the Missouri in the latter end of the summer. On the subject of one of their chiefs accompanying us to the land of the white men they could not yet determine, but that they would let us know before we left them. That the snow was yet so deep in the mountains if we attempted to pass we would certainly perish, and advised us to remain until after the next full moon when they said the snow would disappear and we could find grass for our horses. When the old man had concluded I again spoke to them at some length with which they appeared highly gratified. After smoking the pipe which was about 2 P.M. they gave us another fat horse to kill which was thankfully received by the party. Capt. Clark now joined us having just made an end of his medical distribution. We gave a phial of eyewater to the Broken Arm, and requested that he would wash the eyes of such as might apply for that purpose, and that when it was exhausted we would replenish the phial. He was much pleased with this present. We now gave the Twisted Hair one gun and a hundred balls and 2 pounds of powder in part for his attention to our horses and promised the other gun and a similar quantity of powder and lead when we received the balance of our horses. This gun we had purchased of the Indians below for 2 elkskins. The Indians formed themselves this evening into two large parties and began to gamble for their beads and other ornaments. The game at which they played was that of hiding a stick in their hands which they frequently changed, accompanying their operations with a song. This game seems common to all the nations in this country, and does not differ from that before described of the Shoshones on the southeast branch of Lewis's River.

[Lewis]
Tuesday May 13th 1806.
This morning Capt. Clark as usual was busily engaged with his patients until eleven o'clock. In the evening we tried the speed of several of our horses. These horses are active strong and well formed. These people have immense numbers of them; 50, 60 or a hundred head is not unusual for an individual to possess. The Chopunnish are in general stout, well formed, active men. They have high noses and many of them on the aquiline order with cheerful and agreeable countenances; their complexions are not remarkable. In common with other savage nations of America they extract their beards but the men do not uniformly extract the hair below, this is more particularly confined to the females. I observed several men among them whom I am convinced if they had shaved their beards instead of extracting it would have been as well supplied in this particular as any of my countrymen. They appear to be cheerful but not gay; they are fond of gambling and of their amusements which consist principally in shooting their arrows at a bowling target made of willow bark, and in riding and exercising themselves on horseback, racing &c. They are expert marksmen and good riders. They do not appear to be so much devoted to baubles as most of the nations we have met with, but seem anxious always to obtain articles of utility, such as knives, axes, tomahawks, kettles, blankets and moccasin awls. Blue beads however may form an exception to this remark; this article among all the nations of this country may be justly compared to gold or silver among civilized nations. They are generally well clothed in their style. Their dress consists of a long shirt which reaches to the middle of thigh, long leggings which reach as high as the waist, moccasins, and robes. These are formed of various skins and are in all respects like those particularly described of the Shoshones. Their women also dress like the Shoshones. Their ornaments consist of beads, shells and pieces of brass variously attached to their dress, to their ears, around their necks, wrists, arms &c. A band of some kind usually surrounds the head; this is most frequently the skin of some fir animal as the fox, otter &c. though they have them also of dressed skin without the hair. The ornament of the nose is a single shell of the wampum. The pearl and beads are suspended from the ears. Beads are worn around their wrists, necks and over their shoulders crosswise in the form of a double sash. The hair of the men is queued in two rolls which hang on each side in front of the body as before described of other inhabitants of the Columbia. Collars of bear's claws are also common; but the article of dress on which they appear to bestow most pains and ornaments, is a kind of collar or breastplate. This is most commonly a strip of otterskin of about six inches wide taken out of the center of the skin, its whole length including the head. This is dressed with the hair on; a hole is cut lengthwise through the skin near the head of the animal sufficiently large to admit the head of the person to pass. Thus it is placed about the neck and hangs in front of the body, the tail frequently reaching below their knees; on this skin in front is attached pieces of pearl, beads, wampum, pieces of red cloth and in short whatever they conceive most valuable or ornamental. I observed a tippet worn by Hohastillpilp, which was formed of human scalps and ornamented with the thumbs and fingers of several men which he had slain in battle. Their women braid their hair in two tresses which hang in the same position of those of the men. They also wear a cap or cup on the head formed of beargrass and cedar bark. The men also frequently attach some small ornament to a small plat of hair on the center of the crown of their heads.

[Lewis]
Wednesday May 14th 1806.
We have found our stone horses so troublesome that we endeavored to exchange them with the Chopunnish for mares or geldings but they will not exchange although we offer 2 for one. We came to a resolution to castrate them and began the operation this evening. One of the Indians present offered his services on this occasion. He cut them without tying the string of the stone as is usual, and assures us that they will do much better in that way; he takes care to scrape the string very clean and to separate it from all the adhering veins before he cuts it. We shall have an opportunity of judging whether this is a method preferable to that commonly practiced as Drewyer has gelded two in the usual way. The Indians after their feast took a pipe or two with us and retired to rest much pleased with their repast. These bear are tremendous animals to them; they esteem the act of killing a bear equally great with that of an enemy in the field of action. I gave the claws of those which Collins killed to Hohastillpilp.

[Lewis]
Sunday May 18th 1806.
Early this morning the natives erected a lodge on the opposite side of the river near a fishing stand a little above us, no doubt to be in readiness for the salmon, the arrival of which they are so ardently wishing as well as ourselves. This stand is a small stage, a wharf constructed of sticks and projecting about 10 feet into the river and about 3 feet above the surface of the water. On the extremity of this the fisherman stands with his scooping net, which differ but little in their form from those commonly used in our country it is formed thus [drawing]. The fisherman exercised himself some hours today but I believe without success. At 3 P.M. Joseph Field returned very unwell having killed nothing. Shortly after an old man and woman arrived; the former had sore eyes and the latter complained of a lax and rheumatic affectations. We gave the woman some cream of tartar and flour of sulfur, and washed the old man's eyes with a little eyewater.

[Lewis]
Thursday May 22nd 1806.
It is astonishing to see these people ride down those steep hills which they do at full speed. Two Indians who were just arrived at our camp informed us that these salmon trout remained in this river the greater part of the winter, that they were not good at this season which we readily discovered, they were very meager. These Indians also informed us that there were at this time a great number of salmon at no great distance from hence in Lewis's River, which had just arrived and were very fat and fine.

[Lewis]
Friday May 23rd 1806.
At noon we were visited by 4 Indians who informed us they had come from their village on Lewis's River at the distance of two day's ride in order to see us and obtain a little eyewater. Capt. Clark washed their eyes and they set out on their return to their village. Our skill as physicians and the virtue of our medicines have has been spread it seems to a great distance. I sincerely wish it was in our power to give relief to these poor afflicted wretches.

[Lewis]
Saturday May 24th 1806
4 of our party passed the river and visited the lodge of the Broken Arm for the purpose of trading some awls which they had made of the links of small chain belonging to one of their steel traps, for some roots. They returned in the evening having been very successful, they had obtained a good supply of roots and bread of cous.

[Lewis]
Tuesday May 27th 1806.
The Indians were so anxious that the sick Chief should be sweated under our inspection that they requested we would make a second attempt today; accordingly the hole was somewhat enlarged and his father, a very good looking old man, went into the hole with him and sustained him in a proper position during the operation. We could not make him sweat as copiously as we wished. After the operation he complained of considerable pain, we gave him 30 drops of laudanum which soon composed him and he rested very well. This is at least a strong mark of parental affection. They all appear extremely attentive to this sick man, nor do they appear to relax in their assiduity towards him, notwithstanding he has been sick and helpless upwards of three years. The Chopunnish appear to be very attentive and kind to their aged people and treat their women with more respect than the nations of the Missouri.

[Lewis]
Wednesday May 28th 1806.
The sick chief was much better this morning; he can use his hands and arms and seems much pleased with the prospect of recovering, he says he feels much better than he has for a great number of months. I sincerely wish these sweats may restore him; we have consented that he should still remain with us and repeat these sweats. He sat up a great proportion of the day.

[Ordway]
Thursday 29th May 1806.
Frazer got 2 Spanish milled dollars from a squaw for an old razor. We expect they got them from the Snake Indians who live near the Spanish country to the south.

Note: This story and the implications of the transaction is told in James P. Ronda, "Frazier's Razor, The Ethnohistory of a Common Object," We Proceeded On 7 (August 1981): 12 -13.

[Lewis]
Monday June 2nd 1806.
Our horses, many of them have become so wild that we cannot take them without the assistance of the Indians who are extremely dexterous in throwing a rope and taking them with a noose about the neck. As we frequently want the use of our horses when we cannot get the assistance of the Indians to take them, we had a strong pound formed today in order to take them at pleasure. Drewyer arrived this evening with Neeshneparkkeeook and Hohastillpilp who had accompanied him to the lodges of the persons who had our tomahawks. He obtained both the tomahawks, principally by the influence of the former of these chiefs. The one which had been stolen we prized most as it was the private property of the late Sgt. Floyd and Capt. Clark was desirous of returning it to his friends. The man who had this tomahawk had purchased it from the Indian that had stolen it, and was himself at the moment of their arrival just expiring. His relations were unwilling to give up the tomahawk as they intended to bury it with the deceased owner, but were at length induced to do so for the consideration of a handkerchief, two strands of beads, which Drewyer gave them and two horses given by the chiefs to be killed agreeably to their custom at the grave of the deceased. The bands of the Chopunnish who reside above the junction of Lewis's River and the Kooskooskee bury their dead in the earth and place stones on the grave. They also stick little splinters of wood in between the interstices of the irregular mass of stone piled on the grave and afterwards cover the whole with a roof of board or split timber. The custom of sacrificing horses to the deceased appears to be common to all the nations of the plains of Columbia. A wife of Neeshneeparkkeeook died some short time since, himself and her relations sacrificed 28 horses to her. My sick horse being much reduced and appearing to be in such an agony of pain that there was no hope of his recovery I ordered him shot this evening. The other horses which we castrated are all nearly recovered, and I have no hesitation in declaring my belief that the Indian method of gelding is preferable to that practiced by ourselves.

[Lewis]
Tuesday June 3rd 1806.
At 2 P.M. the Broken Arm and 3 of his warriors visited us and remained all night. Today the Indians dispatched an express over the mountains to Traveler's Rest or the neighborhood of that creek on Clark's River in order to learn from the Oote-lash-shoots a band of the Flatheads who have wintered there, the occurrences that have taken place on the east side of the mountains during that season. This is the band which we first met with on that river. The mountains being practicable for this express we thought it probable that we could also pass, but the Indians informed us that several of the creeks would yet swim our horses, that there was no grass and that the roads were extremely deep and slippery; they inform us that we may pass conveniently in twelve or fourteen days.

[Lewis]
Wednesday June 4th 1806.
About noon the Chiefs left us and returned to their villages. While they were with us we repeated the promises we had formerly made them and invited them to the Missouri with us. They declined going until the latter end of the summer and said it was their intention to spend the ensuing winter on the east side of the Rocky Mountains. They gave us no positive answer to a request which we made, that two or three of their young men should accompany me to the Falls of the Missouri and there wait my return from the upper part of Maria's River where it was probable I should meet with some of the bands of the Hidatsa from Fort de Prairie that in such case I should endeavor to bring about a good understanding between those Indians and themselves, which when effected they would be informed of it though the young men thus sent with me, and that on the contrary should I not be fortunate enough to meet with these people nor to prevail on them to be at peace they would equally be informed through those young men, and they might still remain on their guard with respect to them until the whites had it in their power to give them more effectual relief. The Broken Arm invited us to his village and said he wished to speak to us before we set out, and that he had some roots to give us for our journey over the mountains; Capt. Clark promised to visit him as he wished the day after tomorrow.

[Lewis]
Thursday June 5th 1806
Colter and Bratton were permitted to visit the Indian villages today for the purpose of trading for roots and bread; they were fortunate and made a good return. We gave the Indian chief another sweat today, continuing it as long as he could possibly bear it; in the evening he was languid but appeared still to improve in the use of his limbs.

[Lewis]
Friday June 6th 1806.
This morning Frazer returned, having been in quest of some roots and bread which had left at the lodge of the Twisted Hair, when on his way to the fishery on Lewis's River. The Twisted Hair came with him but I was unable to converse with him for the want of an interpreter, Drewyer being absent with Capt. Clark. This Chief left me in the evening and returned to his village. Capt. Clark visited the Broken Arm today agreeably to his promise; he took with him Drewyer and several others. They were received in a friendly manner. The Broken Arm informed Capt. Clark that the nation would not pass the mountain until the latter end of the summer, and that with respect to the young men whom we had requested should accompany us to the Falls of the Missouri, were not yet selected for that purpose nor could they be so until there was a meeting of the nation in council. That this would happen in the course of ten or twelve days as the whole of the lodges were about to remove to the head of the Commeap Creek in the plain near Lewis's River, that when they had assembled themselves they would hold a council and select the young men. That if we set out previously to that period the men would follow us. We therefore do not calculate on any assistance from them as guides, but depend more upon engaging some of the Ootlashshoots in the neighborhood of Traveler's Rest Camp for that purpose. The Broken Arm gave Capt. Clark a few dried quamash roots as a great present, but in our estimation those of cous are much better, I am confident they are much more healthy. The men who were with Capt. Clark obtained a good store of roots and bread in exchange for a number of little notions, using the Yankee phrase, with which their own ingenuity had principally furnished them. On examination we find that our whole party have an ample store of bread and roots for our voyage, a circumstance not unpleasing. They returned at 5 P.M., shortly after which we were visited by Hohastillpilp, the two young chiefs who gave us the horses in behalf of the nation some time since, and several others, who remained all night.

[Lewis]
Saturday June 7th 1806.
Hohdstillpilp passed the river today and brought over a horse which he gave Frazer, one of our party who had previously made him a present of a pair of Canadian shoes or shoe-packs.

[Lewis]
Sunday June 8th 1806.
The Cut Nose visited us today with ten or twelve warriors; two of the latter were Y-e-let-pos [X: Willetpos] a band of the Chopunnish Nation residing on the south side of Lewis's River whom we have not previously seen. The band with which we have been most convergent call themselves pel-late-pal-ler. One of the Yeletpos exchanged his horse for an indifferent one of ours and received a tomahawk to boot; this tomahawk was one for which Capt. Clark had given another in exchange with the Clahclellah Chief at the rapids of the Columbia. We also exchanged two other of our indifferent horses with unsound backs for much better horses in fine order without any consideration but the horse itself. Several foot races were run this evening between the Indians and our men. The Indians are very active; one of them proved as fleet as <our best runner> Drewyer and Reubin Field, our swiftest runners. When the racing was over the men divided themselves into two parties and played prison base, by way of exercise which we wish the men to take previously to entering the mountains; in short those who are not hunters have had so little to do that they are getting rather lazy and slothful. After dark we had the violin played and danced for the amusement of ourselves and the Indians. One of the Indians informed us that we could not pass the mountains until the full of the next moon or about the first of July, that if we attempted it sooner our horses would be at least three days travel without food on the top of the mountain. This information is disagreeable inasmuch as it causes some doubt as to the time at which it will be most proper for us to set out. However, as we have no time to lose we will risk the chances and set out as early as the Indians generally think it practicable, or the middle of this month.

[Lewis]
Monday June 9th 1806
This morning we had all our horses brought up and endeavored to exchange five or six with the Indians in consequence of their having unsound backs, but succeeded in exchanging one only. Hohastillpilp, with several of the natives who visited us yesterday took leave of us and set out for the plains near Lewis's River, where the nation are about to assemble themselves. The Broken Arm made us a short visit this morning and took leave of us, being about to set out with his village today in order to join the nation at their rendezvous on Lewis's River. The Cut Nose or Neeshneeparkkeeook borrowed a horse and rode down the Kooskooskee River a few miles this morning in quest of some young eagles which he intends raising for the benefit of their feathers. He returned soon after with a pair of young eagles of the gray kind; they were nearly grown and pretty well feathered. In the evening the young chief who gave both Capt. Clark and myself a horse some time since came to our camp accompanied with a party of young men and remained all night. This evening one of our party obtained a very good horse for an indifferent one by giving the Indian an old leather shirt in addition.

[Lewis]
Wednesday June 25th 1806.
Last evening the Indians entertained us with setting the fir trees on fire. They have a great number of dry limbs near their bodies which when set on fire creates a very sudden and immense blaze from bottom to top of those tall trees. They are a beautiful object in this situation at night. This exhibition reminded me of a display of fireworks. The natives told us that their object in setting those trees on fire was to bring fair weather for our journey. . . At this place I met with a plant, the root of which the Shoshones eat. It is a small knob root, a good deal in flavor and consistency like the Jerusalem Artichoke. It has two small oval smooth leaves placed opposite on either side of the peduncle just above the root. The scape is only about 4 inches long is round and smooth. The roots of this plant formed one of those collections of roots which Drewyer took from the Shoshones last summer on the head of Jefferson's River. After dinner we continued our route to Hungery Creek and encamped about one and a half miles below our encampment of the 16th instant. The Indians continued with us and I believe are disposed to be faithful to their engagement. I gave the sick Indian a buffalo robe he having no other covering except his moccasins and a dressed Elkskin without the hair.

[Lewis]
Friday June 27th 1806.
About one mile short of this encampment on an elevated point we halted by the request of the Indians a few minutes and smoked the pipe. On this eminence the natives have raised a conic mound of stones of 6 or eight feet high and on its summit erected a pine pole of 15 feet long. From hence they informed us that when passing over with their families some of the men were usually sent on foot by the fishery at the entrance of Colt Creek in order to take fish and again meet the main party at the quamash glade on the head of the Kooskooskee River. From this place we had an extensive view of these stupendous mountains principally covered with snow like that on which we stood. We were entirely surrounded by those mountains from which to one unacquainted with them it would have seemed impossible ever to have escaped; in short without the assistance of our guides I doubt much whether we who had once passed them could find our way to Traveler's Rest in their present situation for the marked trees on which we had placed considerable reliance are much fewer and more difficult to find than we had apprehended. These fellows are most admirable pilots; we find the road wherever the snow has disappeared though it be only for a few hundred paces. After smoking the pipe and contemplating this scene sufficient to have dampened the spirits of any except such hardy travelers as we have become, we continued our march. The Indians inform us that there is [NB: in the mountains a little to our left] an abundance of the mountain sheep or what they call white buffalo. We saw three black-tailed or mule deer this evening but were unable to get a shot at them. We also saw several tracks of those animals in the snow. The Indians inform that there is great abundance of elk in the valley about the fishery on the Kooskooskee River.

Did You Know?

The insertion of the last piece of the Gateway Arch

The Gateway Arch at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial was completed on October 28, 1965. To learn more about the construction of the Gateway Arch click here. More...