lewis and clark: floating buffalo


My last post for now on interesting segments from the journals of Lewis and Clark. There is still much more to read so I may post more at a later date.

The group would never have made it to the coast and back without help from native Americans all along the way. Lewis talks about one group of natives that did not trust the traveling white men. He said,

“I told [the Indian chief] that I was sorry to find that they put so little confidence in us, that I knew they were not acquainted with whitemen and therefore could forgive them, that among whitemen it was considered disgracefull to lye or entrap an enimy by falsehood.”
August 15, 1805. Meriwether Lewis

I assume Lewis was being forthright in what he believed, but today this is cringe-worthy, thinking about all the broken treaties and promises to come from the white men.

Clark describes an Indian method of capturing buffalo during the spring thaw.

But few Indians visit us to day they are watching to catch the floating buffalow which brake through the ice in crossing, those people are fond of those animals … and catch great numbers every spring.
March 28, 1805. William Clark

Lewis also makes interesting comments about the treatment of women among the natives in the Pacific Northwest.

“…notwithstanding the survile manner in which they treat their women they pay much more rispect to their judgement and oppinions in many rispects than most indian nations; their women are permitted to speak freely before them, and sometimes appear to command with a tone of authority…”
January 6, 1806. Meriwether Lewis



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