The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, May 28, 1806
Clark, May 28, 1806
Wednesday May 28th 1806
We sent Goodrich to the Village of the broken Arm for hair to Stuff Saddle pads. Jo. & R. Fields Set out this morning to hunt towards the mountains. at noon Shabono York and Lapage returned. they had obtained 4 bags of the dried roots of Cowse and Some bread. in the evening Collins, Shannon & Cotter returned with 8 deer. they fortunately discovered a ford on Collin's Creek where they were enable to pass it with there horses and had hunted at the quawmash Grounds where we first met with the Chopunnish last fall. deer were verry abundant they informed us, but there was not many bear. The Sick Chief is much better this morning he can use his hands and arms and Seems much pleased with the prospects of recovering, he Says he feels much better than he has done for a great Number of Months. I Sincerly wish that the Swetts may restore him. I have Consented to repeet the Sweets.
The Country along the rocky mountains for Several hundred Miles in length and about 50 in width is leavel extremely fertile and in many parts Covered with a tall and opult. growth of the long leafed pine. near the Watercourses the hills are lofty tho are covered with a good Soil and not remarkably Stoney and possess more timber than the leavel country. the bottom lands on the Water courses are reather narrow and confined tho fertile and Seldom inundated. this Country would form an extensive Settlement; the Climate appears quit as mild as that of a Similar latitude on the Atlantic Coast; & it cannot be otherwise than healthy; it possesses a fine dry pure air. the grass and maney plants are now upwards of Knee high. I have no doubt that this tract of Country if Cultivated would produce in great abundance every article esentially necessary to the comfort and Subsistence of civillized man. to it's present inhabitents nature Seems to have dealt with a liberal hand, for she has distributed a great variety of esculent plants over the face of the Country which furnish them a plentiful Store of provisions; those are acquired but little toil; and when prepared after the method of the nativs afford not only a nutricious but an agreeable food. among other roots those Called by them the Quawmash and Cows are esteemd. the most agreeable and valuable as they are also the most abundant in those high plains.
The Cows is a knobbed root of an erregularly rounded form not unlike the Gensang in form and Consistence; this root they Collect, rub off a thin black rhind which Covers it and pounding it exposes it in cakes to the Sun. these Cakes are about an inch and 1/4 thick and 6 by 18 in wedth, when dry they either eat this bread alone without any further preperation, or boil it and make a thick Musilage; the latter is most common & much the most agreeable. the flower of this root is not very unlike the gensang-. this root they Collect as early as the Snow disappears in the Spring, and Continues to collect it untill the Quawmash Supplies it's place which happins about the Middle of June. the quawmash is also Collected for a fiew weeks after it first makes it's appearance in the Spring, but when the scape appears it is no longer fit for use untill the Seed are ripe which happens about the time just mentioned. and then the Cows declines. The Cows is also frequently dried in the Sun and pounded afterwards and used in thickening Supe and Makeing Mush.
The Chopunnish held a Council in the morning of the 12th among themselves in respect to the Subject on which we had Spoken to them the day before, the result as we learnt was favourable, they placed Confidence in the information they had recived and resolved to pursue our advise. after this Council was over the principal Chief or the broken arm, took the flour of the roots of Cows and thickened the Soup in the Kitiles and baskets of all his people, this being ended he made a harangue the purpote of which was makeing known the deliberations of their councils and impressing the necessity of unanimity among them, and a strict attention to the resolution which had been agreed on in Councell; he concluded by enviting all such men as had resolved to abide by the decree of the councill to come and eat, and requested Such as would not be So bound to Show themselves by not partakeing of the feast. I was told by one of our men who was present in the house, that there was not a decenting voice on this great National question, but all Swallowed their objections if any they had, very cheerfully with their mush-. dureing the time of this loud animated harangue of the Chief the women Cryed wrung their hands, tore their hair and appeared to be in the utmost distress. after this cerimoney 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 Capt L. and myself each a fine horse. and informed us that they had listened with attentioned to what we had Said and were resolved to pursue our Counsels &c.- That as we had not seen the Black foot Indians and the Minetarries of Fort dePrarie they did not think it safe to venter over to the plains of the Missouri, where they would fondly go provided those nations would not kill them. that when we had established a tradeing house 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 those nations altho they had Shed much of their blood-. They Said that they were pore but their hearts were good. we might be assured of their sincerety. Some of their brave men would go over with us to the Missouri and bring them the news as we wished, and if we Could make a peace between them and their enimies on the other Side of the mountains 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 that if we attempted to pass, we would Certainly perish, and advised us to remain untill after the next full Moon when the Snow would disappear on the South hill sides and we would find grass for our horses.-. Shabonos Child is better this day that he was yesterday. he is free from fever. the imposthume is not So large but Seems to be advanceing to meturity-.