Camping With the Sioux: Fieldwork Diary of Alice Cunningham Fletcher

 

October 6, 1881

Wakened early, clouds and rain. Buffalo-chip and wife made fire, got warm and in the midst of my aching bones, got another nap. Breakfast - Struck camp and off at 9 A.M. The clouds in heavy lines. We bade adieu to a place where ennui had nearly come abreast. Just as we were driving off, Mr. T. told us that we had been on the camping ground of Doc Middleton’s gang, and the woman who had given us the milk &c. was a sister to one of the gang, her brother now serving his time in the penitentiary - A select place and company.

When Buffalo-chip got up he waived a little stick, muttered and sang, then when he went out he shouted and called and sang. All this to the "Rabbit", for good weather. As I was eating my breakfast, he said to me, "When the Indian travels he offers the first of his bread upward, the first of his coffee, makasaba, on the ground, same his water. This is in memory of the dead, who are in the ground about us, that they may know that we do not forget them". He is medicine man and fully believes in all these things.

As we camped at noon, in reply to what the Rabbit had said, "there would be four days of rain, then the best bird would fly this way and he would kill it and then we should have fair weather", I responded, "Orda". Praying for rain in Germany.

Saw my first village of prairie dogs. They sat barking at us, queer little chaps.

Mud and quicksand and gumbo. Stopped at a store on the top of a hill seen in the picture of our camp at Keyapaha. Buffalo-chip brings me the plant which they use to make yellow paint. The leaves are crushed - sa-ze-the-a.


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