Camping With the Sioux: Fieldwork Diary of Alice Cunningham Fletcher


Sunday, September 18, 1881

Started off at 8 A.M. Hot and sunny - a long muddy ride. The air clear. Saw a hawk over a mile off and his shadow on the bare bluff.

Stopped at Decatur for feed, every one staring. Susette and Mr. T. not well pleased with it. Entered the Omaha Reserve at 1.15 P.M., crossing the creek which divides the white and red line.

Passed Henry Fontenelles house at the right, a small painted house, the usual sheds of stakes and straw roof and sides &c.

Passed Indian on the way - was told he was an old man. He was gay. A small red and black shawl, plaid, wound like a turban around his head. A wood colored checked shirt, buckskin leggings, a shawl wound in some curious way so as to form breeches. His skin is reddish brown, hair straight and black, nose large and spread shaped, [shirt?] stained and seems experienced, but I am inclined to think that expression must be sought for in different lines than in the white face. Shall study that. Camped by the wood side under a large ash and Susette built the fire. See sketch some pages on. Indians built the fire by having long sticks or logs coming to a center like spokes toward the hub. Then as these logs burn up they are shoved in. In this way fire is kept up all night. Indians can tell a white man’s fire - the ashes show the white men to use green wood, Indians the dry wood. White men make the sticks to lie in an oblong, Indians the sticks lie in a circle, when fire burns out so the ashes and portions of the sticks, the race is told.

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