The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, May 12, 1806

Lewis, May 12, 1806

Monday May 12th 1806. This morning a great number of indians collected about us as usual. we took an early breakfast and Capt. C. began to administer eyewater to a croud of at least 50 applicants. The Indians held a council among themselves this morning with rispect to the subjects on which we had spoken to them yesterday. the result as we learnt was favourable. they placed confidence in the information they had received and resolved to pusue our advise. after this council was over the principal Cheif or the broken Arm, took the flour of the roots of cows and thickened the scope 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 councill; 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 shew themselves by not partaking of the feast. I was told by one of our 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 Cheif the women cryed wrung their hands, toar their hair and appeared to be in the utmost distress. after this cerimony was over the Cheifs 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 cheifs 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 Minnetaries and appear anxious to obtain arms and amunition. after they had received those presents the Cheifs 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 preceeding day, but also informed us that there were many of their people waiting in great pain at that moment for the aid of our medecine. it was agreed between Capt. C. and myself that he should attend the sick as he was their favorite phisician while I would here and answer the Cheifs. The father of Hohastillpilp was the orrator on this occasion. he observed that they had listened with attention to our advise 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 neighbours had induced his nation early last summer to send a pipe by 3 of their brave men to the Shoshonees on the S. 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 shoshonees at that time and had killed 42 of them with the loss of 3 only on their part; that this had satisfyed the blood of their disceased friends and that they would never again make war against the Shoshonees, 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 black foot Indians and the Minnetares of Fort de Prarie 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 Amunition &c. and live about us. that it would give them much pleasure to be at peace with these nations altho they had shed much of their blood. he said that the whitemen might be assured of their warmest attatchment and that they would alwas 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 enimies 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 cheifs accompanying us to the Land of the whitemen 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 mountain if we attempted to pass we would certainly perish, and advised us to remain untill after the next full moon when the said the snow would disappear and we could find grass for our horses.- when the oald man had concluded I again spoke to them at some length with which they appeared highly gratifyed. 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 C. now joined us having just made an end of his medical distrabution. we gave a phiol 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 phiol. he was much pleased with this present. we now gave the Twisted hair one gun and a hundred balls and 2 lbs. 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 ballance of our horses. this gun we had purchased of the indians below for 2 Elkskins. this evening three other of our original stock of horses were produced, they were in fine order as well as those received yesterday. we have now six horses out only, as our old guide Toby and his son each took a horse of ours when they returned last fall. these horses are said to be on the opposite side of the river at no great distance from this place. we gave the young men who had delivered us the two horses this morning some ribbon, blue wampum and vermillion, one of them gave me a hansome pare of legings and the Broken Arm gave Capt. C. his shirt, in return for which we gave him a linin shirt.- we informed the indians of our wish to pass the river and form a camp at some proper place to fish, hunt, and graize our horses untill the snows of the mountains would permit us to pass. they recommended a position a few miles distant from hence on the opposite side of the river, but informed us that there was no canoe at this place by means of which we could pass our baggage over the river, but promised to send a man early in the morning for one which they said would meet us at the river by noon the next day. 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 acompanying their opperations with a song. this game seems common to all the nations in this country, and dose not differ from that before discribed of the Shoshonees on the S. E. branch of Lewis's river. we are anxious to procure some guides to accompany us on the different routs we mean to take from Travellers rest; for this purpose we have turned our attention to the Twisted hair who has several sons grown who are well acquainted as well as himself with the various roads in those mountains. we invited the old fellow to remove his family and live near us while we remained; he appeared gratifyed with this expression of our confidence and promissed to do so.- shot at a mark with the indians, struck the mark with 2 balls. distn. 220 yds.