Indians

Osage Indians

Osage Warrior in profile

They were "certainly the most gigantic men we have ever seen," Jefferson wrote to Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin on 12 July 1804. A dozen Osage men and two boys, the first of three Indian delegations to visit Mr. Jefferson during his two administrations, had arrived in Washington City the previous day, escorted by Peter Chouteau, a prominent St. Louis fur trader and the government's first agent to the Osages.

Blackbird, Omaha Chief

Romantic painting of a  hill above the Missouri River

In his paraphrase of the captains' journals, Nicholas Biddle somewhat expanded Clark's journal entry concerning the event that took place early on the morning of August 11, 1804. The boats came to at the foot of a hill on the west side of the Missouri River some eight miles northwest of Blue Lake, Iowa. The two captains and ten of the enlisted men climbed the hill to visit the grave of one of the most notorious and controversial leaders of the Omaha Nation, whose name was Washinga Sahba—Blackbird.

Elevation of Devilish Spirits

Brown, autumn grasses and plants before a small, conical hill

The visit to Spirit Mound was among the more bizarre sidelights of the whole expedition, but evidently it was not entirely unexpected. Seventy-six years earlier, explorer Pierre La Véndrye called the place the "Dwelling of the Spirits" and reported sparkling stones and gold-colored sand . . . .

Image map with same links as elsewhere on this page

The expedition spent the winter of 1804–05 among the Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsa Nations. Now known as the Three Affiliated Tribes, they were already key farmers and traders well before Lewis and Clark arrived. The Captains knew they needed to make a good impression for several reasons . . . .

What do we know about the most popular member of the Expedition. Follow her story starting at Fort Mandan and continuing with the way we memorialize her today . . . .
Sacajawea proudly showing her baby to her brother

The youngest member of the expedition traveled with Lewis and Clark from Fort Mandan to the Pacific Ocean and then back to Fort Mandan. After the expedition, Clark offered to oversee the raising of the young child. Jean Baptiste's life of adventure was just beginning . . . .

Historic painting of Meriwether Lewis by Memin

Lewis and Clark spent nearly a month among the Lemhi Shoshone caching the canoes, moving cargo over the Continental Divide, making friends, and trading for the horses they needed to continue to the Pacific Ocean. Their journals tell us about that nation in 1805 . . . .

Logo: Salish Perspectives by Ron Therriault

Immediately the Americans took a genuine liking to the Salish, who responded in kind. "They are the likelyest and honestest we have seen and are verry friendly to us," wrote Sergeant Ordway, "and appeared to wish to help us as much as lay in their power." Today, the Salish tell their own story . . . .

Bare-chested warrior sitting on a horse

Lewis and Clark spent more time among the Nez Perce than any other Indian nation. The Nez Perce people, when they saw them, weren't quite sure what these creatures were. They'd heard of white people, but they'd never seen one . . . .

Life in the Columbia Gorge centered around salmon. It was the great trading mart of the Pacific Northwest and visited by all the tribes that bordered it. The Wishram and Wasco resided there all year. Lewis and Clark were the first white men to explore the falls and rapids that left the salmon vulnerable. Understanding the people that lived there would be more difficult . . . .

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