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The ExpeditionYellowstone River ReturnFrancois Larocque
Abominable Country

Sheheke's Map

uring the winter at Fort Mandan, Clark drew the above sketch from information provided by the Mandan chief, Sheheke, or "Big White," who dined with the captains on January 7, 1805, and gave him "a Scetch of the Countrey as far as the high mountains, & on the South side of the River Rejone [Roche Jaune; Yellowstone]." Clark added, "he Says that the river rejone recves 6 small rivers on the s. Side, & that the Countrey is verry hilley and the greater part Covered with timber, Great numbers of beaver &c." Gary Moulton has concluded that some of the tributaries were added to the map after Clark covered the route in 1806.1

The comprehensive map Clark compiled at Fort Mandan that winter shows "The War Path of the Big Bellies Nation" extending westward from the mouth of the Knife River and crossing the Yellowstone at the mouth of O'Fallon Creek (Coal Creek, or Oak-tar-pon-er). It is impossible to say whether this was supposed to be identical with the route shown on Sheheke's map, because Clark drew both from Indian information before he explored the ground personally.

--Joseph Mussulman

1. Moulton, ed., Atlas, map 31b.
Abominable Country

From Discovering Lewis & Clark ®, http://www.lewis-clark.org © 1998-2014
by The Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, Washburn, North Dakota.
Journal excerpts are from The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Gary E. Moulton
13 vols. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-2001)