The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, November 12, 1804

Clark, November 12, 1804

12th November Monday 1804

a verry Cold night early this morning the Big White princapal Chief of the lower Village of the Mandans Came Down, he packd about 100 W. of fine meet on his Squar for us, we made Some Small presents to the Squar, & Child gave a Small ax which She was much pleased- 3 men Sick with the ____ Several, Wind Changeable verry cold evening, freesing all day Some ice on the edges of the river.

Swans passing to the South, the Hunters we Sent down the river to hunt has not returned

The interpeter Says that the Mandan nation as they old men Say Came out of a Small lake where they had Gardins, maney years ago they lived in Several Villages on the Missourie low down, the Smallpox destroyed the greater part of the nation and reduced them to one large Village and Some Small ones, all nations before this maladey was affrd. of them after they were reduced the Sioux and other Indians waged war, and killed a great maney, and they moved up the Missourie, those Indians Still continued to wage war, and they moved Still higher, untill they got in the Countrey of the Panias, whith this ntn. they lived in friendship maney years, inhabiting the Same neighbourhood untill that people waged war, They moved up near the watersoons & winataree where they now live in peace with those nations, the mandans Specke a language peculial to themselves

they can rase about 350 men, the Winatarees about 80 and the Big bellies about 600 or 650 men. the mandans and Seauex have the Same word for water-The Big bellies Winitarees & ravin Indians Speake nearly the Same language and the presumption is they were origionally the Same nation The Ravin Indians have 400 Lodges & about 1200 men, & follow the Buffalow, or hunt for their Subsistance in the plains & on the Court not & Rock Mountains, & are at war with the Sioux Snake Indians

The Big bellies & Watersoons are at war with the Snake Indians & Seauex, and were at war with the Ricares untill we made peace a fiew days passd.- The Mandans are at War with all who make war on them, at present with the Seauex only, and wish to be at peace with all nations, Seldom the agressors-