of Family, Rosebud Reservation, 1880. Photo Lot 24, Inv. 00508800.
of buildings at Rosebud Agency, South Dakota. Photo Lot 24,
BAE 4598 #1-6, Inv. 00561800.
Bade good bye to Mr. Cleveland and family. He urges me not
to venture, but Mr. and Mrs. T. eager to go and Wajapa said
our horses had already eaten a stack of Asanpi's hay and we
must be off. They were for hustling me quite suddenly, but I
wanted to get a few items, so I said I would follow. Fortunately,
the trader, one Mr. Pratt at Fort Randall loaned Mr. Cleveland
his buffalo robe to use on his way home and so I could have
it for the long journey across country and Mr. Pratt get his
robe back speedily.
Wajapa was to come for my bag, hamsack and robe. Mrs. Cleveland
gave me a roll of pamphlets to leave at a Mr. Raymonds
on Turtle Creek at the crossing. Definite directions, but everything
is in that way. They were kindly and Miss Cleveland insisted
on my taking her mittens and mailing them to her on my arrival
- Where? The Lord knows. I know nothing of my future.
Went to the agency to buy meat - Mr. Cook not there, think
I saw his long hair, for a man with like villainous locks was
talking to Spotted Tail, Jr., in the yard.
I told Mr. Leland my errand. He was most polite and gave me
the order for 25 pounds refusing pay. One of the Yankton Chiefs
I surrendered the key to the stockade, reminded Mr. L. of his
promise to collect things for me and started, an employee going
with me to let me out.
The Interpreter, Louis R., said he would give me the meat for
he thought all was issued.
I hurried over to the log house, met Asanpi and his wife on
the way, shook hands and bade them good bye. Arrived at the
house to find no one there but Ga-ha. She made me understand
that Mr. and Mrs. T. W. and B-c, had gone to Spotted Tails.
So there I was not knowing what to do. I endorsed the meat order
in a note for Mr. T. and started back to pay the washing bill
at Mr. Smiths which I had forgotten.
Called at Mr. Shaws to enquire the way. The women are
unused to directions and I cant find out till Mr. S. returns
and I get on my - finds his wife wants earrings, he offers to
buy - I give. It may or may not help him to remember my commission.
On by the little yellow foot paths between the tall weeds,
up the banks and down the gullies across the creeks to Mr. Smiths.
He lives in a log cabin, one large room - said he wanted to
make two but couldnt get the wood. The white men at the
Black Hills stole his horses so he could draw none and therefore
there was nothing to do but get on as best he could. Tried to
get his daughter to tell me how much the clothes washing was.
She was rather a pretty girl, tall and seemly. She would blush
and laugh and say nothing. The senseless laugh of the women
is very trying. Everything has its compensation and I suppose
the women must laugh when the men are morose - pity they cant
be shaken up together.
It was rather provoking not to get a sensible answer when I
had but a few minutes. Mr. S. tried to make her speak, said,
"Well, you are the most bashful girl!" and laughed
and talked in broken English and as fractured Indian, I suppose.
I worried at the matter - knew she washed for 1/2 a day for
the Clevelands and tried to find out how long it took her. Indians
seem unable except after long training to get at a definite
idea not their own. I paid her 75 cents for washing that was
a curiosity of bad workmanship. Pity the Indian women cant
be taught to wash. They do none. Wear their clothes and
articles till they throw them away. I saw little or nothing
that indicated washing and ironing. Then, I came back over the
horrid, desolate path.
All the Indian dogs were out and yelping, and a queer little
group of children watched me, and then one - I cant make
out whether a boy or girl, ran toward me shouting, "How,
How!" or something like it and holding out a little brown
arm and fist - dirty! - looked as if one could raise flowers
on it, but with such a pleasant jolly little face that I halted
while the child sped toward me. I shook hands and it was but
an instant that I touched the child for it ran back up the hill
to its astounded companions while I passed on.
Nothing can describe the lack of cleanliness and order of Rosebud
Agency. Cattle are slaughtered on the hills here, and then the
bones left here to bleach - bones and debris are about every
house and one must be careful not to step into worse filth.
The people eat chokecherries and one can tell it for one runs
on the effect upon their bowels. It is too bad that no one can
help them or will try persistently. The Missionary is hampered
by the agent and others are too busy making money. No one tells
them how to place their houses, which they build, each man as
best he can, making his experiment and his final effort at another
and same time. The creeks which supply them with water are so
far away often from the tent or houses that it takes some time
for the women and children to carry water for the cooking. One
dont blame them for not washing their clothes or themselves.
They have only iron pails and tin pans - if any one washes he
must use his eating utensils.
In the camp washing water is warmed in the frying pan. Nothing
but dire necessity and sickness brought me to the use of it.
Now how can Indians do better, hemmed in as they are at the
agency deprived of their native life, poor enough but having
its compensation and not fully introduced to our ways, they
are stranded between two modes of life.
It is not unusual for all to eat out of the pan or kettle helping
themselves or the man and wife out of one dish. I understand
this is not mere vileness but in out of door life, food cools
almost instantly and becomes unpleasant, so they keep it in
the mass to hold the heat. This my camping experience has shown,
for I have had to have my meat warmed.
Bade good bye to all. Asanpi wanted his eldest grandson given
to me, but the father said the child was too young. This confidence
touched me deeply.
After a long delay - a horrid dinner, we were off. Buffalo-chip
did not grease his wagon and the wheels were singing lustily.
At the top of the hill stopped and then and there it was greased
and we pushed on. A motley crew we were. At a fork in the road
no advice was asked or given and consequently we went out of
our way. No one had looked to it that the Indians had carried
wood as we started - a motley set, I think.
No wood, very cold, afraid of storm. Water froze in our tent,
ground hard, very ill. A desolate camp - miles and miles of
vista - prairie fire to our right.
October 19, 1881.
Camped at 5.30 P.M. - a place void of wood, bleak, the hills
stretch far away. The creek winds round the headlands, these
some 5 or 6 feet high. The low lands were black with fire and
short lines of fire were creeping off toward the west. Hay stacks
were visible here and there. On the top of the hills were piles
of stones. These stood sheer against the sky. Wajapa and Buffalo-chip
said that they meant that Indians claimed land where they stood.
All hunted for wood - a few brush and chips were found. Ga-ha
put up the tent, leaving out a pole to burn. The tent was set,
horses hobbled and lariated and after a supper on dirty dishes
we turned in. The Buffalo robe a great blessing. Had a nervous
chill - my cough hard and lungs painful. A fearful night, sleep
but little, pain all over, dream of wild scenes. Lay and longed
for day - sang in thought, St. Paul from Elisha, "Watchman
will the night soon pass?"
The tent door blew open - lay and watched the east toward which
it looked. Horses whinnied and knew something the matter. Wajapa
got up and went out. Buffalo-chips ponies had made off.
He hurried out and against the tent opening the sky lined in
growing color. Wajapas form stood out chopping wood, our
tent pole and feeding box. The wind was blowing hard and when
I peered out from under the robe could see no stars and feared
a blizzard, but the good Lord ordained otherwise.
As we sat at breakfast Wajapa said all tribes had a story of
how once they had no wood and cooked their meat with one arrow.
Wajapa suggested, it may have been one tent pole as in our case.
It was a horrible night of suffering and torment. I thought
my end might be near. The vile smell of the manure being burned
in the fire, the dirty dishes, the mess pot of meat and scrapings
as well, made the whole thing horrid, together with the Indian
drum beating in our ears, though miles away.
We were in this forlorn phase just because no one looked to
see that the Indians took wood, and secondly, when we came to
a fork in the road Mr. T. did ask and the Indians did not hail
him, so we did not camp by the blacksmiths. Everything
seems awry and with ill temper on one side and my misery it
takes all my pluck to go on.