The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Lewis, May 2, 1805

Thursday May 2ed 1805

The wind continued violent all night nor did it abate much of it's violence this morning, when at daylight it was attended with snow which continued to fall untill about 10 A.M. being about one inch deep, it formed a singular contrast with the vegitation which was considerably advanced. some flowers had put forth in the plains, and the leaves of the cottonwood were as large as a dollar. sent out some hunters who killed 2 deer 3 Elk and several buffaloe; on our way this evening we also shot three beaver along the shore; these anamals in consequence of not being hunted are extreemly gentle, where they are hunted they never leave their lodges in the day, the flesh of the beaver is esteemed a delecacy among us; I think the tale a most delicious morsal, when boiled it resembles in flavor the fresh tongues and sounds of the codfish, and is usually sufficiently large to afford a plentifull meal for two men. Joseph Fields one of the hunters who was out today found several yards of scarlet cloth which had been suspended on the bough of a tree near an old indian hunting camp, where it had been left as a sacrefice to the deity by the indians, probably of the Assinniboin nation, it being a custom with them as well as all the nations inhabiting the waters of the Missouri so far as they are known to us, to offer or sacrefice in this manner to the deity watever they may be possessed off which they think most acceptable to him, and very honestly making their own feelings the test of those of the deity offer him the article which they most prize themselves. this being the most usual method of weshiping the great sperit as they term the deity, is practiced on interesting occasions, or to produce the happy eventuation of the important occurrances incident to human nature, such as relief from hungar or mallady, protection from their enemies or the delivering them into their hands, and with such as cultivate, to prevent the river's overflowing and distroying their crops &c. screfices of a similar kind are also made to the deceased by their friends and relatives. the are was very piercing this evening the water friezed on the oars as they rowed. the wind dying at 5 P.M. we set out.

every thing which is incomprehensible to the indians they call big medicine, and is the opperation of the presnts and power of the great sperit. this morning one of the men shot the indian dog that had followed us for several days, he would steal their cooked provision.