or Ma-Chu-Nu-Zhe (Standing Bear). Photograph by Charles Milton
Bell. Photo Lot 24, Neg. 4176-a.
River. Sept. 30, Oct 1 and 2.
Up early and Mrs. Riggs all aglow with hospitable thoughts.
We packed - I leaving every extra article at Mrs. Riggs until
my return. Just as we were ready I learned that the mate of
the yellow mare had been gored by an ox and we must travel with
the refactory mare. Wajapa walking. We determined to push on
. Mrs. Riggs gave us dinner and lunch daintily put up and with
her good wishes we started. The trunk had been left behind and
my gifts and extra clothing put in a box.
The roads were very heavy - We followed the bottom - the clay
bluffs were often like cliffs, and the various colored clays
made them gay in color. Flowers were on every hand and grass
taller than our heads as we sat in the wagon. The yellow sunflowers
were darkened faces as we passed them. "Gumbo" Mr.
T. called the mud, which stuck in lumps to the wheels. After
some seven miles we came to a hill. S. and I got out and walked
with Wajapa over the hill and the horses and wagon went round
Wajapa was delighted to use the Opera-glass, he said, "This
will be good when we get far away from houses and then when
any one is coming we can see who they are, whether friend or
enemy!" A delicious bit of barbarous remains.
We bought some corn of an Indian who had served two years in
the war. Afterward when we had camped he came down with a gift
of milk. He said he thought of going and taking a farm with
the Poncas because they had good title to their lands. The one
thing the Indian craves is a title to his land that he may be
free and remain as a white man at home. Forded my first stream
with quicksands and on to Niobrara through a willow shaded road.
The town keeps down the fires and the trees begin to grow
reach the town which is on the move since the flood.
As we crossed the creek dividing the old side from the new,
i.e. at the foot of the "2nd bench" Wajapa, who was
walking behind met some Indians riding our way. They stopped
and greeted each other, in a few moments further Indians had
driven ahead of us. The wagon stopped and the Indians jumped
out and came, saying, "How!" and taking off their
hats shook hands with Mr. T. Wajapa rode through the new town
with them and after a mile or two, Wajapa left them and joined
us, our ways parting. Wajapa retailed the conversation. "What
are you all doing?" asked the Indian. "Going to visit".
"What is that woman doing?" "Going to visit the
Indians". "Who is the man?" "The one who
helped the Poncas". "Ah, he is the only good man,
Ive wanted to see him", and then it was that the
Indian, a Sioux jumped out and came to us.
After they returned to the wagon, conversation on the woman
ensued, concerning me. Wajapa said, "She is a christian
woman, I hear she is one of the very good ones but I have not
known her long enough yet to tell myself!" We all heartily
enjoyed this recital and voted it to be put upon the minutes.
In the evening Wajapa told us of the Indian constellations.
The Great Dipper is a [ ? ] the handle the three horses, the
cup, the two poles with the buffalo skin like a bag carrying
the sick. A circle of stars shown, the tent circle.
Heard the wild geese flying overhead. Many thoughts and little
sleep. Oh, the desolation of life when the heart has no echo.
I wonder as I write at the vanity and solitariness of life.
After dinner Standing Bears wife went with Susette and
me and we called on a large number of the families. In the tent
drawn on the preceding page lived, a man and his two wives,
the old wife sat on the left side, the younger wife on the right
as you enter. The little baby sat on a skin while the mother
was looking over things in a trunk. The baby laughed and crowed
at me and was a jolly little fellow. The father lay on his back,
his hands under his head, beside his old wife - two other children,
now to which was the mother I know not. It was a singular experience.
Women were grinding, cooking. Children made play tents.
No stated occupation - women wore many rings, [brass?] bracelets
like bangles, drops made of tassels of beads where the hair
was tied together on the married women and at the end of the
pendent braids on young girls. Men wore bears-skin bound about
their front hair braided or twisted at the side.