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. 

Dakota Wind is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He is currently a university student working on a degree in History with a focus on American Indian and Western History. He maintains the history website The First Scout.

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. 

Dakota Wind is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He is currently a university student working on a degree in History with a focus on American Indian and Western History. He maintains the history website The First Scout.

GLOSSARY of Lakȟóta terms and names:

(* indicates a glottal accent)Čhaŋtópȟeta (chahn-TOH-ph*ay-tah): “Fireheart.” Never “CAN-toh-pet-ah.”

Čhaŋtópȟeta Wakpála (chahn-TOH-ph*ay-tah wahk-PAH-lah): “Fireheart Creek.”

Étu Pȟá Šuŋg t’Á (ay-TOO PH*AH shoong t’AH): “Dead Horse Head Point.”

Húŋkpapȟa (HOONK-pahp-h*ah). “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-g*ah-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-KH*O-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-p*ay-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 Wičhá 
KhízA, or “Boar [as in 'a Male Bear'] Fight”), 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.