Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Survey Report Says Nothing To See Here

Leslie Nielsen's "Lt. Frank Drebin" from the 1988 comedy classic, "The Naked Gun." In this scene, Drebin tells people, "Move along. There's nothing to see here. Please disperse."
Survey Report Doesn't Say Much
"Move Along. There's Nothing To See Here."
By Dakota Wind 
Bismarck, N.D. (TFS) - Last November I submitted letters and copies of bibliographical information and primary resource documents to several agencies regarding the Class III survey report submitted to the North Dakota State Historic Preservation Office in January 2016. 

The contrast of information excluded from the report is far greater than what the report actually contains. The report minimizes the cultural, historical, and military occupations of a significant landmark on the Missouri River: the Cannonball River. 

Here are one dozen distinct events (a detailed explanation and complete bibliography can found in at "Remembering A River:" 

The Big River Village, a Huff phase Mandan Indian occupation as early as 1400 C.E. The site that has been disturbed by the drill pad on the north bank of the Cannonball River is known to the Mandan as "Big River Village," and to the State Historical Society of North Dakota as the "North Cannonball Village." 

The 1762-1763 Sičháŋǧu (Burnt Thigh; Brulé) and Cheyenne Fight, an inter-tribal conflict in which the Cheyenne retaliated and set fire to the prairie which caught and burned their enemy giving them the designation Sičháŋǧu. 

English explorer John Evans, who mapped the Missouri River from St. Louis to Knife River in 1796, includes the Cannonball River as the "Bomb River," in reference to the cannonballs.

The inter-tribal between the Mandan, Hidatsa, Húŋkpapȟa and Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna that began at the mouth of the Cannonball River concluded at the mouth of the Heart River in 1803. 

The Corps of Discovery Expedition remarked on the "La Bullet" River and took a cannonball concretion, Oct. 18, 1804. 

Botanist John Bradbury collected flax from the Cannonball River in 1811. A significant difference in the flax samples necessitated a second trip to the Cannonball River in 1819 for additional collection. 

War of 1812 tensions resulted in conflict on the Missouri River between the Arikara, Cheyenne, and the American Fur Company. There was a conflict at the mouth of the Cannonball River in 1812. 

A devasting flood in 1825 on the Missouri River floodplain resulted in the drowning deaths of over one hundred Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna men, women, elders, and children, and several hundred of their horses. All were buried on a hill across the river from the north bank Big River Village. This hill is sometimes submerged in Lake Oáhe, and is now located roughly halfway across the span of the present lake. 

Prince Maximillian von Wied-Neuwied spent probably the most time at the Cannonball River, describing what he saw, more than any other explorer or trader to date, and noted significant geological findings there in 1833. 

In 1837, the Húŋkpapȟa camp was struck by an epidemic of smallpox there on the flood plain, the west side of the Missouri River, at the Cannonball River confluence. 

After constructing Fort Rice in the summer of 1864, Gen. Alfred Sully began his punitive campaign against the "Sioux" at the mouth of the Cannonball River, July 29, 1864. 

The historic Cannonball Ranch, established at the same time as Fort Rice, was instrumental in developing the ranching traditions and western lifestyle on the Northern Great Plains. This historic ranch was inducted into the ND Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1999.

None of this is mentioned in the Class III survey report. Reports are supposed to be exhaustive: "An intensive inventory is a systematic, detailed field inspection done by, or under the direction of professional architectural historians, historians, archeologists, and/or other appropriate specialists." 

The ND SHPO has updated their Cultural Resources Identification, Recording and Evaluation page to reflect their process. "A location of five or fewer artifacts and identified by the archaeologist(s) as representing an area of very limited past activity may be recorded as an isolated find." The Class III Survey Report submitted by Energy Transfer flags over forty artifacts recorded by the survey team in the mouth of the Cannonball area alone.

ND SHPO continues: 
A location of five or fewer artifacts and identified by the archaeologist(s) as representing an area of very limited past activity may be recorded as an isolated find. The map detailing the Dakota Access Pipeline's route where the pipeline is to cross under Lake Oáhe flags fifty artifacts on both sides of the river. I can not publish an image of the map because it may result in "disturbance of the resource."

Site leads refer to resources that lack sufficient information to fully record and complete all necessary data fields on the North Dakota Cultural Resources Survey (NDCRS) site forms. Examples of site leads include: (1) locations recorded from various historic documents, (2) locations reported by a landowner or other non-professional, (3) a location with five or fewer surface visible artifacts which, in the professional judgment of the archaeologist(s), is likely to be a limited surface expression of a former occupation area where most of the artifacts are still buried, and/or (4) locations recorded by a cultural resource specialist outside of their project area(s), and thus not fully recorded. Clearly the Cannonball River is more than a "site lead," with over a dozen native and non-native primary resource documents, and at least two Ph.D.'s who've written about the Cannonball in their works, one a world-renowned archaeologist, and the other won a Pulitzer Prize in 2016 about the Mandan and their earliest record of that historic nation at the Cannonball River. 

These two Ph.D's have found enough material, physical and historical, and most importantly, significant, enough to include data and construct narrative about the Cannonball River Village sites. It's for the ND SHPO to say, "Move along. There's nothing to see here. Please disperse." 

The preliminary evaluation of all cultural resources identified within the study area should be made in sufficient detail to provide an understanding of the historical values that they represent...Only the lead agency and North Dakota State Historic Preservation Office, through consultation, can provide a final determination of eligibility (DOE) on cultural resources in North Dakota. 

The class III survey report has raised no flags. The events mentioned above can be found in various resources at the ND State Archives, ND State Library, the Stanley Ahler collection at the ND SHPO, on the ND Studies website, and as books for sale at the ND Heritage Center and State Museum Gift Store. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Changing Landscape, How To Pronounce Oahe

Oahe Reservoir Area, Missouri River, North & South Dakota, NPS.
A Changing Landscape
Displacement And Site Names

By Dakota Wind
Cannonball, N.D. (TFS) – The only time the Mníšoše (Water-Astir; Missouri River) should not flow, is after Wazíya (The Power Of The North) has blown his cold wind across the land and has frozen the waterways. That is the natural cycle of the earth.

In 1872, Thomas Riggs, an Indian missionary, arrived in Dakota Territory and established Hope Mission. Two years later, Riggs moved the mission to Peoria Bottoms and referred to this new mission as the Oahe Indian Mission. The mission school served students from Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, and Rosebud until it closed in 1914. (Note: see glossary to learn how to pronounce "Oahe".)

Riggs’ name for the Oahe Indian Mission, was inspired by his father, Stephen Riggs, also a missionary and author of A Dakota-English Dictionary. A possible explanation for Riggs’ naming of his mission was that the meaning of Oahe is similar to the naming of Simon to Peter, who is renamed in Matthew 16:18: “…and on this Rock will I build my church.” The Dakota word for Foundation is Oáhe, meaning, “Something To Stand On.”

Oahe Indian Mission at Peoria Bottom, Dakota Territory. NPS

A likelier possibility for Riggs’ mission name may come from the fact that his mission was established at a well-used steamboat landing on the floodplain of the Missouri River at Peoria Bottom, S.D. The steamboat landings were called: Wátapȟeta Oáhe (lit. “Boat-Fire Something-To-Stand/Land On”).

The Mníšoše was a whirling river, dangerous to those who didn’t know it or respect its waters. It swirled where tributaries converged with it, and river crossings were made upstream of the whirlpools. The river ran brown because of all the sediment picked up by the stirrings. Steamboat traffic referred to the river as the “Big Muddy.” Water drawn from the river had to settle a day before using it. 

Herd of bison on the Missouri River by Karl Bodmer. 

The first nations who lived along the river were well aware of the annual spring floods. The sedentary tribes built their villages above the flood plain and farmed the rich bottomlands. The spring floods were difficult to anticipate too. The tragic flood of 1825, at the point opposite of the mouth of Íŋyaŋ Iyá Wakpá (“Talking Stone River”), also called Íŋyaŋwakaǧapi Wakpá (“Stone-Makes-For-Itself River”), or the Cannonball River, is a testament to the unpredictability of the river. 1825 is remembered by the Húŋkpapȟa as Mní wičhát’tÁ, or “Many Died By Drowning.”

The location of the flood was known after as Étu Pȟá Šuŋg t’Á, or “Dead Horse Head Point,” in memory of all the horses that drowned in a line there. Their deceased loved ones and their dead horses were interred where the camp was located, which was on a rise in the Mníšoše valley, opposite of the Cannonball River. That rise would later become an island which is sometimes submerged under the waters of Lake Oahe. 

Ronald Campbell at Pierre, S.D., where the Missouri River once ran free, July 1958. 

In 1948, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began construction of the Oahe Dam and finished in 1959. The Oahe Indian Mission was moved to an area above the projected floodplain overlooking the dam, and the dam took its name from the mission. During those eleven years, salvage archaeology surveys were conducted where the lake was projected to submerge them.

The dams were constructed with an eye towards flooding reservation bottomlands. The only tribal consultation the USACE did with first nations was to inform tribes dams were going to be built to control the annual flooding and to offer tribes a one-time payment for the federal land grab. There was no negotiation. In fact, the first nations didn't even have some of the most basic rights as Americans. Pipelines and power lines were put in place without tribal consultation. The first nations had no political voice in the process.

In a discussion with Lekší Kevin Locke, Lake Oahe, has a darker connotation. When the flood came, it rose and receded, then rose more with each passing year. During the rising flood, buildings that were left behind on the bottomlands gradually fell apart leaving only the foundations, or Oáhe. 

A stone similar to this Standing Rock was placed on a pedestal in Fort Yates, N.D.

Back at the mouth of Íŋyaŋ Iyá Wakpá, there lived a Húŋkpapȟa man called Čhaŋtópȟeta (“Fireheart”). Agent McLaughlin selected Čhaŋtópȟeta to bring Íŋyaŋ Wosláta, the actual Standing Rock, into Fort Yates, the agency headquarters, so that it would serve as some kind of memorial. Instead, Čhaŋtópȟeta brought in a regular stone to fool the wašíču.

During the reservation era, the creek that converges with Iŋyáŋ Iyá Wakpá near the Mníšoše confluence was named Čhaŋtópȟeta Wakpála, or “Fireheart Creek,” after the man.

The first nations have stood in defiance of extinction and continuous dispossession of land, water, and sky. The settler has taken hold of Makȟóčhe Wašté (The Beautiful Country) and renamed the landscape and waters. This process is called oblivion, an intentional generational process of forgetting the landscape as the indigenous knew it, and replacing it until it is utterly forgotten. Some places still keep their names as the indigenous called them, mispronounced and bastardized, these contemporary place names are spoken. 

The ancestal homeland of the Yanktonai lay east of the Missouri River. Taken in Cannonball, N.D.

Regarding the rampant mispronunciation of traditional landscape names, Lekší Louie Garcia says this, “These news guys go out of their way to get the correct pronunciation of all these world leaders and places, but when it comes to our Native [sic] names- anything goes. I hope you and other Lakota speakers will start a campaign to correctly pronounce Oáhe.”

The late Rev. Innocent Good House (Húŋkpapȟa), an Episcopal minister for several years on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation recalled the Mníšoše of his youth, “An Indian believes the waters of a river should flow.” The river and lake are blue today. In summer they sparkle in the summer sun and in winter gleam like a knife's edge. There are recreation opportunities on the lake, but the living memory of the whirling river is nearly gone. 

Any development on the Mníšoše are land grabs and come at the expense of the first nations. The USACE were bold aggressors in the 1950’s, and are insincere on their promises at the present time. 

GLOSSARY of Lakȟóta terms and names:
Čhaŋtópȟeta (chahn-TOH-phay[glottal on “h”]-tah): “Fireheart.” Never “CAN-toh-pet-ah.”

Čhaŋtópȟeta Wakpála (chahn-TOH-phay[glottal on “h”]-tah wahk-PAH-lah): “Fireheart Creek.”

Étu Pȟá Šuŋg t’Á (ay-TOO PHA[glottal on “H”] shoong t’AH): “Dead Horse Head Point.”

Húŋkpapȟa (HOONK-pahp-hah[glottal on first “h” of this syllable]). “Head Of The Camp Circle.” Hunkpapa. Never “HUNK-pah-pah.”

Íŋyaŋ Iyá Wakpá (EEN-yahn ee-YAH wahk-PAH): “Talking Stone River.” Cannonball River.

Íŋyaŋwakaǧapi Wakpá (EEN-yahn-wah-kah-gah[glottal on “g”]-pee wahk-PAH): “Stone Makes For Itself [as in “production”] River.” Cannonball River.

Íŋyaŋ Wosláta (EEN-yahn wohs-LAH-tah): “Rock Standing-Upright.” Standing Rock.

Lekší (lek-SHEE): “Uncle.”

Makȟóčhe Wašté (mah-KHO[glottal on “H”]-chay wash-TAY): “The Beautiful Country.” This is the Lakȟóta way of saying “North America,” or “The Great Plains.” Contemporary Lakȟóta are rather inclined to use Khéya Wíta, “Turtle Island,” for North America.

Mníšoše (mih-NEE-sho-shay): “The Water-Astir.” The Missouri River.

Mní wičhát’tÁ (mih-NEE wee-CHAHT TAH): “Water They-Died.” They drowned.

Oáhe (oh AH-hay): “Something To Stand On.” Foundation. Never “O-wah-hee.”

Wašíču (wah-SHEE-chu): “A non-native person or people.” Anglo.

Wátapȟeta Oáhe (WAH-tah-pay[glottal on “p”]-tah oh-AH-hay): “Fire Boat Foundation.” Steamboat Landing.

Wazíya (wah-ZEE-yah): “Power Of The North.” The North Wind.


Cerny, Jan. Lakota Sioux Missions, South Dakota. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia, 2005.

Riggs, Stephen, ed. A Dakota-English Dictionary. 1890 Reprint ed. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1992.

Garcia, Louie. Oahe., February 8, 2017.

High Dog. The High Dog Winter Count. n.p., 1911. Muslin cotton. State Historical Society of North Dakota.

National Park Service. “Oahe Reservoir: Archeology, Geology, History.” September 2008. Accessed February 9, 2017.

Locke, Kevin. Something To Stand On. August 2013.

Balmer, Randall. “Torpedo The Dams - And Free The Rivers.” December 15, 2012. Accessed February 9, 2017.

Friday, February 3, 2017

A 2017 Lakota Moon Calendar

The Lakȟóta call her, the moon, Haŋwíŋ. The Húŋkpapȟa say that when the full moon wanes, a large mouse with a long nose is nibbling away at her lodge. When her lodge is completely gone, Haŋwíŋ then reconstructs her lodge until full again. 
A 2017 Lakota Calendar
Thirteen Months In Year

By Dakota Wind
Fort Yates, ND (TFS) – Before the reservation era, each Thítȟuŋwaŋ (Teton; Western Sioux, or Lakȟóta) band had a winter count keeper. The keeper kept track of the years with a pictographic record (the winter count), and kept track of the months with a stick, or sticks.

Raymond Winters (Standing Rock; Matȟó KhízA Wičhá, or “Man Fighting Bear”), known in the art world by his signature of "Fighting Bear," served as an advisor for the beautifully illustrated children’s book “Moonstick: The Seasons of The Sioux.” According to Winters, one stick was used, and with each wit’é (the new moon), a notch was cut into the stick at one end. 

Gratify yourself and get a copy today. Not just for children, this book is informational for grown adults as well.

When the new year begins differs from band to band. Some say the new year begins and ends with the first snowfall of winter. Some say that the new year begins with the summer solstice. Others say the new year begins in the spring when the geese have returned, when the bison cows have their calves, when the leaves begin to unfold, when the ice breaks, or when the meadowlark sings aloud, “O’iyókiphiyA! Ómakȟa Théča Yeló! [Take pleasure! The earth is made anew!].”

No matter what each band may consider when the new year begins or ends, one thing is certain. The year is regarded by all as waníyetu (a winter), for winter is the longest season on Makȟóčhe Wašté (The Beautiful Country).

This writer has constructed a 2017 calendar based on the traditional thirteen lunar month system of the Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta and Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna Daȟóta people. Each month begins with wit’é. This calendar is for educational purposes only, and not for sale. It is for use by the general public. 

A morning sundog appears above the Missouri River (Lake Oahe) in front of the Standing Rock Administrative Building in Fort Yates, ND. 

A winter evening at the north end of the Burnt Hills range on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. 

Near this natural feature along the Missouri River, the White Buffalo Calf Woman came to the Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta in the hour of their need and gave them bison calling songs. 

Canadian Geese make their return to the Great Plains in this wallpaper image. 

Hokšíčhekpa (A Child's Navel), or Pasque Flower blooms in springtime on the Great Plains. An ice age flower, she blooms sometimes when snow is still on the ground. She is also known as Wanáȟča Unčí (Grandmother Flower). 

Buttes reach the heavens between Wakpala S.D. and McLaughlin S.D. on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. 

Killdeer Mountain rises from the prairie like a step to heaven. A sacred place for generations and the site of the July 1864 General Sully assault on Lakȟóta who had nothing to do with the 1862 Minnesota Dakota Conflict. 

My grandmother's tree located between Kenel S.D. and Wakpala S.D. on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. 

According to the Lakota Language Consortium's New Lakota Dictionary, an eclipse is called Aháŋzi (Shadow) or AóhanziyA (To Cast A Shadow Upon). The Húŋkpapȟa call this event Maȟphíya Yapȟéta (Cloud On Fire; Fire Cloud). There will be a solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. 

The North Dakota Badlands is featured here. It was a hot, hazy day. 

A spotted black horse grasses on what little grass is available along Long Soldier Creek on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation.

The annual Leonid Meteor Shower will be on Nov. 17 & 18, 2017. Don't miss it. 

They say that when a ring is around the moon, Haŋwíŋ has vigorously stirred her pot and light has spilled out and around her lodge. 

Download a zip file of this calendar. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Origin Of Counting Coup

According to The Flame Winter Count, the "Uncpapa kill two Rees," 1799-1800. The bow over their heads indicates that they also counted coup on the two Arikara. The Arikara were designated by their distinctive hair, or by an ear of corn.
The Origin of Counting Coup
Honor Began With Birds
By Dakota Wind
Great Plains, N.A. (TFS) – The traditional war honor of counting coup reaches back to a time before the First Nations walked upon Mak
ȟóčhe Wašté (Beautiful Country; North America). When the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Seven Council Fires; the Great Sioux Nation, or “Sioux”) arrived, they learned to survive by first observing nature.

When the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ learned warfare, they were prepared for the First Battle by Tȟokéya (the very First man), aided by Iŋktómi (the Spider Nation in this instance, not the legendary trickster) and Ziŋtkála (the Bird Nation).

With a heavy heart, Tȟokéya gave the first bow and arrows to men. “Misúŋkala (Little Brother/s),” said Tȟokéya, “the time to give you weapons is now and I am sorry to do so. Now, at last there is war in the hearts of animals and man.” According to Ohíyesa (The Winner; aka Dr. Charles Eastman) and his work Wigwam Evenings, Tȟokéya gave them a spear as well and showed them how to use these tools.

The late Paul Goble illustrated this scene from his "The Great Race." In the story of the first battle, the First Man threw a rock up which then came down as a wall of stone. 

Iŋktómi fashioned stone tools for arrows, spears, and knives, then scattered these things across 
Makȟóčhe Wašté for the people to find and use. They say that Iŋktómi continued to knap stone up until recent times. The high-pitched ring of stone on stone was heard by Lakȟóta men and women on Standing Rock. “Some people have heard him at work, but could never see him. I have, myself, heard him at work, chipping stones. It was a small hole south of Fort Yates where I heard him working. He went slow (chip chip). We got within a few feet of the hole, when he would stop and we could not find him then. When we went away he worked again,” said Bull Bear to Col. A. Welch in 1926.

In the First Battle, the Ziŋtkála had chosen the side of the animals. In another story, there was a Great Race around Ȟesápa (the Black Hills) between man and animal, to decide who would hunt who. Ziŋtkála stood with man, because like man, Ziŋtkála has two legs. 

A snippet of Mails illustration of a war party on the Great Plains. Each carries a coup stick.

The Očhéthi Šakówiŋ observed how Ziŋtkála defended their nests from one another and from other threats. In 1919, Siŋté Wakíŋyaŋ (Thunder Tail; Oglála) shared that all Ziŋtkála are alike in the regard they have for their young. When approached, Ziŋtkála cries out vigorously, and if the interloper still advances, only then do they fly out and give chase. “...iwíčhačupi čhíŋpi šni hé uŋ héčhapi (...they do not want their children taken, that’s why they do this),” said Siŋté Wakíŋyaŋ.

Siŋté Wakíŋyaŋ continued: “Wóeye kiŋ le othéȟike lápi: ‘Blihíč’iyapo! Ziŋtkála waŋ iyé wípȟe yuhá šni yéš čhiŋčá awíčhakikšiža,’ eyápiča na hé tóna okíčhize él opȟápi kiŋ hená líla óta waóŋtoŋyaŋpi ktA ogná škaŋpi nakúŋ t’ápi eyáš na oyáte kiŋ hé uŋ awáŋiglakapi (They have a determined saying: ‘Take courage! Birds have no weapons and yet they keep their young,’ they said. They fight determinedly and wound their many enemies, sometimes killing them to protect what is theirs).”

“Heháŋl íčhinuŋpa wóeye kiŋ: ‘Ziŋtkála owé oyásiŋ kiŋyáŋpi na okté šičápi.’ Hé uŋ oyáte kiŋ okíčhize él ziŋtkála iyéčhel škaŋpí (They have a second saying: ‘All the birds fly and strike the bad ones.’ In battle, the people are like birds).”

Counting coup then, can be taken by way of touching the enemy with one’s own hand, with a stick, quirt, lance, bow, staff, or even a rifle. The 
Očhéthi Šakówiŋ call this honor: Tȟóka Kté ("Strike/Kill an enemy"). The coup stick is called Čhaŋwápaha. Recounting these deeds is called WaktóglakA. The victory dance is a Waktégli Wačhípi. 

The 1715-1716 entry on the Baptiste Good Winter Count recalls the enemy astride a horse entering camp who stabbed a boy near the lodge. 

The Baptiste Good Winter Count (Sičháŋǧu; aka Brulé) recalls a curious development in warfare. In the entry for 1714-1715 a warrior astride a horse, carrying a pine lance, came to attack, but killed nothing. According to Dr. Corbusier’s notes, this mounted attack was the first of its kind experienced by the Sičháŋǧu. The rider certainly didn’t come to joust. He came to collect war honor, not to kill. 

Red Dragonfly counts coup on the enemy with a bow.

The Rosebud Winter Count (Sičháŋǧu) mentions coup a few times, the earliest of which will be shared here. In 1774-1775, a man named Red Dragonfly counted coup using a bow on a Crow Indian. A winter count entry was selected because it was outstanding. Counting coup was bold and daring, and young men were expected to be so as well. Not every war party went to count coup. In fact, some had coup counted on them, and the unlucky returned in humiliation. There was something exceptional about this particular deed that needed to be remembered. 

An entry from the Long Soldier Winter Count. The two men return with scalps on their coup sticks. A copy is available to view at the Sitting Bull College Library in Fort Yates, ND.

The Long Soldier Winter Count (Húŋkpápȟa) mentions coup in the entry for 1816-1817, "2 Sioux killed 2 Crows and scalped them and blackened their own faces for gladness and came home [sic]."

For the Húŋkpapȟa, there are four coups: first coup is for the one who struck the enemy first, alive or dead, second coup is for the one who struck second, third coup for third strike, and fourth coup for fourth strike. A coup must be substantiated by an eyewitness. 

Mails illustrated this image of the scalp (the first coup) on this horse. Get yourself a copy of the profusely illustrated Mystic Warriors of The Plains.

According to Matȟó Watȟákpe (John Grass), first coup is designated by an eagle tail feather with the quill painted red, bound in red cloth, or embroidered with quillwork. A first coup feather may be colored or notched to include second, third, or fourth coup. A rider would designate first coup with a horse tail affixed beneath the horse’s bridle bit. Other methods of showing one’s first coup included attached a streamer of horsehair to the tip of an eagle feather, or a small tuft of plumage was carefully glued to the tip of the feather.

Second, third, and fourth coup would be evidenced by stripes, perhaps on a shirt, leggings, or even painted on a horse when riding to meet the enemy.

Living narrative of the coup designations survives today in lekší (uncle) Wilbur Flying By.  "Amongst our Hunkpapa relatives the first to count coup wore a center eagle tail feather straight up. [The] second to count coup wore an eagle feather to the right. [The] third to count coup wore an eagle feather to the left, and the fourth to count coup wore a buzzard feather."

The coup stick might have the crown (the scalp) of an enemy attached to it. The swirl, or crown, of hair represented the soul to the Lakȟóta. Taking the crown, or scalping the enemy meant taking the soul of the enemy.

Counting coup wasn’t limited to touching just the enemy. Sometimes a warrior made a run through an enemy village, on his pass through, he might reach out and touch a painted lodge, stealing the other’s medicine and take it home with him to put on his lodge. 

Another illustration by Mails. This coup stick resembles the one described by Mr. Leo Caddotte of Wakpala, SD to Col. Welch. 

Sometimes a man would gather his honors, his feathers, and had he accumulated enough, created a wápaha, a kind of banner or staff, sometimes adorned with cloth. Other banners or staves, were long and crooked on one end, and wrapped in otter fur. The feathers were arranged to adorn either wápaha.

An esteemed warrior might even invite his kȟolákičhiyapi, his brothers-in-arms or society, to his wife’s lodge for a meal. Then they would recount the stories of each feather earned, then the man might make a wapȟáha, a warbonnet or headdress.

The honor of the coup could also be gifted to another. This honor can be the one feather or more, a warshirt, a staff, or even a headdress. When this honor was gifted, it was also accompanied by a song and a feast.

The most important symbol of the leader, according to the Hunkpapa, was the staff. 

In 1941, Col. Welch was visiting Húŋkpápȟa friends at Wakpála, SD on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. Welch inquired about the significance of the wičhápȟaha ógle (the warshirt), the wápaha, and the wapȟáha. The Húŋkpápȟa told Welch the most important symbol of the itȟáŋčhaŋ (chief), was the wápaha. Specifically, the kind of staff that was crooked. They detailed to Welch a staff that was squared and painted white on two sides and red on the others. High Reach said that the white represented purity of purpose, and the red symbolized honor. A blue band was painted at the halfway point of this staff, which stood for the everlasting sky above. The feathers hung down on one side of the staff and a five-pointed star hung from the crook. 

Conflict wasn’t about taking life, but securing personal honor and demonstrating courage. Warfare, according to Ohíyesa, “... was held to develop the quality of manliness and its motive was chivalric or patriotic, but never the desire for territorial aggrandizement or the overthrow of a brother nation.”

Good read. McGinnis bucks the trend of historians and begins his timeline at 1738, and the typical year that most historians say the horse arrived on the nothern Great Plains, which is typically said to be at "about 1750."  

Lakȟóta military strategy was carefully planned to avoid unnecessary risks.

In 1879, a young Lt. William Philo Clark was stationed in Dakota Territory. There he was charged with learning the Plains Indian sign language. Clark recorded the sign for counting coup as: hold the left hand, back to left and outwards, in front of the body, index finger extended and pointing to front and right, others [remaining fingers] and thumb closed; bring right hand, back to front, just in rear of left [hand] and lower, index finger extended, pointed downwards and to the left, right index finger under left, other fingers and thumb closed; raise right hand, and turn it by wrist action so that end of right index strikes sharply against [the] side of the left as it passes.

The Očhéthi Šakówiŋ learned to survive by observing nature. Especially Ziŋtkála (the bird nation). Ziŋtkála built nests at certain times of the year, and defended their young and their m
akȟóčhe (country; territory) when needed. Ziŋtkála even help each other sometimes; the meadowlark never reminds the prairie chicken of the time they defended their ground nests from a common foe. Ziŋtkála doesn't disparage the ways of other Ziŋtkála. When the seasons change, each respects its time and calling. 

Eastman, Charles A., Dr., and Elaine Goodale Eastman. Wigwam Evenings: 27 Sioux Folktales. Dover ed. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2000.

Welch, A. B., Col. "Life on The Plains in The 1800's." Welch Dakota Papers. November 2, 2011. Accessed January 5, 2017.

Stars, Ivan, Peter Irin Shell, and Eugene Buechel. Lakota Tales And Texts. Edited by Paul Manhart. Pine Ridge, SD: Red Cloud Lakota Language and Cultural Center, 1978.

Lakota Winter Counts Online. March 3, 2005. Accessed January 12, 2017.

Flying By, Wilbur. Interview by Charles I. Walker. Lakota Traditions. Wakpala, SD, 2001.

The Year The Stars Fell: Lakota Winter Counts At The Smithsonian. Edited by Candace S. Greene and Russell Thornton. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2007.

Clark, W. P. The Indian Sign Language. First ed. Lincoln: U of Nebraska, 1982.

Mails, Thomas E. The Mystic Warriors of the Plains. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

First Treaty With Great Sioux Nation

Edward Hicks painted this scene depicting William Penn's great treaty. The only native depicted without a woodlands headdress, the one holding the pipe, resembles the Dakota headman known as Strong Hand as pictographed by Sitting Bull.
Treaty With Great Sioux Nation
1682 Penn Treaty With Indians

By Dakota Wind
BISMARCK, ND – The Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 & 1868 are generally held to be treaties between the United States and “The Great Sioux Nation.” Some might look further back to the 1825 Treaty of Prairie du Chien when the boundaries of the Dakȟóta were recognized by the United States.

Treaties are agreements between two or more nations, usually around trade, commerce, travel, aid, and taxes. The first treaty between the United States and First Nations took place at Fort Pitt, September, 1778. The treaty recognized the Delaware as a sovereign nation and allowed for U.S. military passage through Delaware lands, and even for the Delaware to provide able-bodied warriors to assist the United States. In exchange, the US was to construct a fort to protect the Delaware women, children, and elders from hostile retaliation, textiles, clothing, and the means to defend themselves.

Not surprisingly, the US broke the Treaty of Fort Pitt before the year was out.

There are treaties between First Nations and the Old World countries which pre-date the United States. An example of a pre-US treaty is the Two Row Wampun Treaty between the Dutch and the Iroquois Confederacy in 1618. The treaty was founded on mutual respect, to live in peace on the land, and to respect one another’s laws and customs. 

Benjamin West depicted his version of Penn's Treaty with the Indians. Hicks based his interpretation on West's. The individual seated with his left hand gripping his pipe resembles the pictograph Sitting Bull drew of Strong Hand. The Delaware are clearly depicted in this scene. A point of interest is the native man behind William Penn who appears to be wearing something similar to the Plains Indian shaved horn headdress. This painting is on permanent display at the Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts. 

Between 1682 and 1685, William Penn entered into amity, or formal agreement, with nineteen First Nations, to acquire land for what would become known as Pennsylvania. The 1682 formal agreement between two nations was memorialized in the oil painting The Treaty of Penn with The Indians around 1771-1772. The painting depicts a meeting between William Penn, representing the United Kingdom, and Tamanend, representing the Delaware, near the share of an elm tree by the community of Shackamaxon (present-day Kensington, PA). 

A belt of wampum delivered by the Indians to William Penn at the Great Treaty under the elm tree at Shackamaxon in 1682. The Leni Lenapi "history belt" recalls their meeting in good faith with William Penn. A second belt was handed down to Leni Lenapi chief Killbuck, who lost it on a run for safety to Fort Pitt in 1782. 

Penn is attributed to have said, “We meet on the broad pathway of good faith and good-will; no advantage shall be taken on either side, but all shall be openness and love. We are the same as if one man’s body was to be divided into two parts; we are of one flesh and one blood.”

Nicholas Gevelot created this sculpture of Tamanend's meeting with William Penn. The difference between the paintings and this sculpture is that it is Tamanend who is holding the pipe. The sculpture can be seen in the capital rotunda at Harrisburg, PA.

Tamanend is said to have responded, “We will live in love with William Penn and his children as long as the creeks and rivers run, and while the sun, moon, and stars endure.”

Pennsylvanian historians would argue that there exists no record of William Penn’s great treaty. Those historians probably focus their research on the written word as artifact. A record did in fact exist, just not in conventional writing, and not in any place historically associated with the Delaware Indians.

In 1879, at Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan, the Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta were refugees, waiting on Canadian authorities to accept them there (they weren’t accepted, but treated as an “Indian Problem”), and debating amongst themselves to return to their traditional homelands in the US. 

Fort Walsh (pictured above) with a Sibley Tent encampment outside the wall. 

Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake, reknowned as Sitting Bull, met with the Indian Fighter and US military scout, Fred. M. Hans, known amongst the Lakȟóta as Wičháȟpi Waŋžíla (Only-One Star), for his travels through their country by himself, and for his habit of entering their camps after sunset with the “suddenness of a descending star.” Hans observed that if he entered camps after sunset, the likelihood of his death upon entering a camp unannounced decreased.

Hans met with the Lakȟóta at Fort Walsh in July, 1879. Somehow, Hans ingratiated himself into the company of Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake and in their discussions about the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, the Seven Council Fires (“Great Sioux Nation”) and their dealings with white men. 

Sitting Bull wears a military issued blanket over one shoulder in a tradition that means he has something particular to say, an address. 

Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake recalled for Hans, a treaty between Onáse (Big Game Hunt), the name given to William Penn by a head chief, at that time, of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. That head chief was remembered among the Lakȟóta as Napé Waš’ákA (Strong Hand). Hans mistranslated Strong Hand as “Strong Arm” instead.

An illustration of a likeness of Napé Waš’ákA (Strong Hand) appears in Hans' The Great Sioux Nation, page 413. Hans seems to have based this illustration on the likeness of Chief Pontiac. 

Hans, neither a scholar or linguist, tied the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ to the Delaware Indian tribe. The Delaware speak an Algonquian related language, not Siouan. There are two tribal nations, however, who are Siouan, the Catawba and the Woccon, who lived in the vicinity of the Delaware. Hans wrote that Napé Waš’ákA was a Delaware chief, which is possible as tribes across North America frequently adopted enemies or married into “enemy” tribes. 

The meeting of Strong Hand and William Penn as rendered by Sitting Bull. The Delaware are not represented in Sitting Bull's tale. 

The treaty as Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake laid out in pictograph for Hans detailed a leafless tree, designating the time of year (fall) when the treaty took place. The number of black dots thereon represent the number of winters (years) since the treaty between Onáse and Napé Waš’ákA, which by 1879, was 196 years previous, or 1682. According to Lakȟóta testimony, a black dot was added each year that passed following the treaty with Penn. 

The John K. Bear Winter Count, a pictographic mnemonic device, begins in 1682. The first entry of this record is: Wičhókičize tȟáŋka (They-fought great [battle]), they fought in a great battle. James H. Howard's interpretation of the entry points to conflict the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ had with the Cree and Assiniboin "up north." Other winter counts reaching back to the turn of 1700 do not elude to an agreement with the English, but that doesn't mean that none didn't take place.

Hans' writings isn't a critical work. It's full of embellishment and bias, but it is historical and embraces its own tone like a badge of honor. It is a writing of its time, reflecting a man of its time. One thing is certain, Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake was known for his steadfast character and was not prone to embellish any history he recounted. In the oral tradition, Mr. Ernie LaPointe (Oglála) the direct lineal great-grandson of Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake, the Lakȟóta kept their promise not to fight the white man until their survival was at stake, and then, it was soldiers who were the first aggressors.

The treaty between the English and the First Nations and the terms of peace Penn agreed to lasted until the 1755 Penn’s Creek conflict when some Indians, allegedly Delaware, killed all but one settler. The lone survivor’s testimony recalled the Indians identifying themselves as “Allegheny” or Seneca Indians.

According to Hans, “our government [the US federal government] record shows that the tribal rules of the Sioux have kept the record without error.”

A monument to Penn’s treaty stands today at Penn Treaty Park in Philadelphia, PA. It reads, “Treaty Ground of William Penn and the Indian Natives 1682 Unbroken Faith.”


Penn Treaty Museum

Hans, Fred M., The Great Sioux Nation. Chicago, IL: MA Donahue, 1907.
Chapter 26: The Only Unbroken Treaty. 

Howard, James H. "Yanktonai Ethnohistory and The John K. Bear Winter Count." Plains Anthropologist: Journal of The Plains Conference 21, no. 73, Part 2, Memoir 11 (1976): 20.

LaPointe, Ernie, Sitting Bull: His Life and Legacy. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2009.