The Journals of Lewis & Clark: August 18, 1806

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
August 17, 1806
August 19, 1806

August 18, 1806

Monday 18th August 1806. moderate rain last night, the wind of this morning from the S. E. as to cause the water to be So rough that we Could not proceed on untill 8 a.m. at which time it fell a little & we proceeded on tho the waves were yet high and the wind Strong. Saw Several Indians on either Side of the river. at 9 A.M. I saw an Indian running down the beech and appd. to be anxious to Speak to us I derected the Canoes to land. this Indian proved to be the brother of the Chief we had on board and Came down from his Camp at no great distance to take his leave of his brother. the Chief gave him a par of Legins and took an effectunate leave of his brother and we procedeed on haveing previously Sent on 2 canoes with hunters to kill Some meat at 2 P. M we overtook the Canoe hunters, they had killed three deer which was divided and we halted and Cooked Some dinner on the Sandbar. wind Still high and from the Same point. The Chief pointed out Several places where he Said his nation formerly lived and related Some extroadinary Stories of their tredition. after Dinner we proceeded on, to a point on the N E. Side opposit the remains of an old Mandan village a little below the enterance of Chiss-che for River and the place we Encamped as we assended this river 20th of October 1804 haveing come 40 miles today. after landing which was a little before night the hunters run out into the bottom and Killed four deer. The winds blew hard from the S. E. all day which retarded our progress very much after the fires were made I set my self down with the big white man Chiefe and made a number of enquiries into the tredition of his nation as well as the time of their inhabiting the number of Villages the remains of which we see on different parts of the river, as also the cause of their evacuation. he told me his nation first Came out of the ground where they had a great village. a grape vine grew down through the Earth to their village and they Saw light Some of their people assended by the grape vine upon the earth, and Saw Buffalow and every kind of animal also Grapes plumbs &c. they gathered Some grapes & took down the vine to the village, and they tasted and found them good, and deturmined to go up and live upon the earth, and great numbers climbed the vine and got upon earth men womin and children. at length a large big bellied woman in climbing broke the vine and fell and all that were left in the Village below has remained there ever Since (The Mandans beleive when they die that they return to this village) Those who were left on earth made a village on the river below and were very noumerous &c. he Said that he was born in the Village Opposit to our Camp and at that time his nation inhabited 7 villages as large as that and were full of people, the Sieoux and Small pox killed the greater part of them and made them So weak that all that were left only made two Small villages when Collected, which were built near the old Ricaras village above. their troubles with the Scioux & Pawnees or Ricaras Compelled them to move and build a village where they now live.

he Said that the Menitarras Came out of the water to the East and Came to this Country and built a village near the mandans from whome they got Corn beens &c. they were very noumerous and resided in one village a little above this place on the opposit Side. they quarreled about a buffalow, and two bands left the village and went into the plains, (those two bands are now known bye the title Pounch, and Crow Indians.) the ballance of the Menetaras moved their village to where it now Stands where they have lived ever Since-