Camping With the Sioux: Fieldwork Diary of Alice Cunningham Fletcher

Agent's home, Rosebud Agency. Photo Lot 24, Inv. 00510200

 

 

 

October 12, 1881

A bitter cold night, water froze by my head. I slept poorly. To breakfast at Asanpi's married daughter’s clean log house, two or three rooms - the walls lined with set patterns of calico, sewing machine, stove, table and chairs, clock, and pictures from newspapers. Buffalo meat, bread, molasses and coffee. I ate of the latter.

I had determined to call on the agent but found he had sent a messenger telling me to report.

I took all the party, Asanpi included, and went to the stockade. A horrid looking fellow, heavily armed, with a big nose and mouth, and supposed to be terrible hailed us. When he came out he unbuckled the gate but gave us no authority to enter. I smiled and bowed to him. He looked good naturedly at me. Then we all stood without this locked up enclosure. Bye and bye a white man came out of one of the buildings, I asked if Mr. Cook was at home? He said, "Yes". I said, "I want to see him". He opened the gate, I walked in with all the party. We made our way to the house, but a man was seen waving his arm and Asanpi was alarmed at my going to the house. A woman came to the door, I asked if Mr. Cook was at home? She said, "Yes". She offered to send for him, but as the Indians were in terror I went on. Again another fence and a gate which I opened and knocked at the door of a queer house. The door was opened by a man. I asked for Mr. Cook. Seated at a desk was a long haired, shrewd faced, uncultured man. He received me well enough. I introduced S. and Mr. T. When I mentioned the latter he passed on to "How" the Indians. When he got through, I then formally introduced Mr. T. I stated that I arrived last evening too tired to call on him but came early this A.M. to present my letters that he might know my mission. I remarked that the weather was very unpleasant here and he said, "I regulate everything here but the weather". I did not take at that time his grand speech, I laughed and said, "Do you, that is pleasant" or the like. When I showed him the letter from the Secretary, he quite changed his tone - showed me the various offices; the outer one where he transacts business had several desks, 3 or 4. At the one in the corner sat a lad apparently some 15 or 16 but really 19, I believe. He is the miller - draws his salary, but there is no mill to work.

The second room opens off at the right side of the back wall and is halved and pigeonholed, here records and stationery are kept. The other end of this division is the agent’s private office - a high door opens into what he calls his council room. The Indians come there and talk to him &c. &c. He gave me a key to enter the stockade.

There are public criers, old men. They often wear a handkerchief about their head tied in front. They called to feasts, dances, announce the giving away of horses, return the thanks of the receiver. When a camp is to move they call the order and time.

When I was at Spotted-tail’s and he gave the order for a dance, the crier, an old man, got up and went out. When we reached the Feast, he went out and cried, and told those who were coming to hurry, as there seemed to be some tardy ones.
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