Page images



Father Douay, of

up to the Canadian frontier in canoes.
this party, thus speaks of the Missouri :-

"On the north-west, the famous river of the Massourites or Osages, at least as large as the river into which it empties; it is formed by a number of known rivers, everywhere navigable, and inhabited by many populous tribes, as the Panimaha, who had but one chief and twenty-two villages, the least of which has two hundred cabins; the Paneassa, the Pana, the Paneloga, and the Matotantes, each of which, separately, is not inferior to the Panimaha. They include also the Osages, who have seventeen villages on a river of their name, which empties into that of the Massourites, to which the maps have also extended the name of Osages."* In these Indian names it is easy to recognize the tribes known by us as different divisions of Pawnees and Mahas. Father Douay says, also, that the Arkansas Indians formerly inhabited one of the upper valleys of the Missouri, but were driven down to the valley of the Arkansas river by cruel wars with the Iroquois.

In 1680, La Salle established fort Crêve Coeur, on Illinois river, of easy access from the mouth of the Missouri, and from this time probably its valley was visited by French traders.

In the somewhat notorious letter of La Hontan, dated Mackinaw, May 28, 1689, he describes an expedition of his

*Father Douay in Shea, as above, p. 222.

own, which, if it were possible, would have made him the discoverer of NEBRASKA. He professes to have gone down to the Mississippi by the Wisconsin river, and then sailed westward for several days, by the "Long river," till he came to the neighborhood of waters flowing into the Pacific. Had he done this, he would have been the first white man in Nebraska.

But the Long river does not exist, and his narrative refutes itself by describing his voyage in detail, as made in January, in the parallel of 46° north latitude. In fact, all rivers of that region are closed with ice for several of the winter months. And the detail of the narrative, therefore, is enough to discredit the story as completely a romance.

His map of the Missouri indicates, however, that he had received from the savages correct general information as to its course, to a point more than a hundred miles west of its mouth, and above the mouth of the Osage river, where, he says, he burned an Indian village.

Not long after, the French establishment at St. Louis was founded. At home the valley of the Mississippi became one of the regions of romantic speculation. In 1712, Louis XV. granted the whole valley of the Mississippi to Crozat. In that grant he changed the name of the Missouri to the river St. Philip, which name, however, it never retained. In 1717, Crozat abandoned this grant, and Law's famous Mississippi scheme was started. A great impulse at once was given to emigration and exploration.



The immense funds raised in France were, in part, devoted to the purposes of the Louisiana colony. Many settlers were sent over, and efforts made to establish additional communication with the interior. To this gigantic scheme of finance and fraud we owe the discovery of the territory of KANZAS.

M. Dutisne, a French officer, was sent from New Orleans, in 1719, by Bienville, the governor, into the territory west of the Mississippi. He visited the village of the Osage Indians, five miles from the Osage river, at eighty leagues above its mouth. Thence he crossed to the north-west one hundred and twenty miles, over prairies abounding in buffalo, to the villages of the Panionkees or Pawnees. Here were two villages, of about one hundred and thirty cabins, and two hundred and fifty warriors each, who owned nearly three hundred horses. They were not civilized, he says, but readily accessible on receiving a few presents. Fifteen days more westward marching brought him to the Padoucahs, a very brave and warlike nation. Here he erected a cross, with the arms of the king, Sept. 27th, 1719. In his report of his expedition he gives the details which we have quoted, and notices the salines and masses of rock salt found to this day in the region he travelled over.

He found the Osage villages at the spot which they still occupy.

If his measurements were exact, his first Pawnee or Panionkee village was near the mouth of Republican Fork. Fifteen days westward travel must have been up the

valleys of one of the forks of Kanzas river; but the name of the Padoucah Indians is now lost.

From the time he reached the Osage villages, Dutisne was exploring the territory of Kanzas. A report of an invasion of its Indians by Spaniards, in the same year, probably belongs really to the year 1722; and Dutisne, therefore, may be regarded as the discoverer of Kanzas to the civilized world.

[ocr errors]


Native tribes-General divisions - The Dahcotah or Sioux race- Pawnees Pahdoucahs Arapahoes - Rapids Blackfeet Emigrant Indians from the East-Aboriginal Indians - Population and customs of Knistineaux or Crees, Ojibwas, Assineboins, Gros-Ventres, Blackfeet, Mandans, Sioux, Crows, Puncas, Omahas, Ottoes, Pawnees, Kanzas, Osages — The past condition and present prospects of the race.

FROM the period when thus discovered by the first white explorers, up to the present time, the valleys of the Missouri and of its western tributaries, comprising the territories of Kanzas and Nebraska, have been constantly visited by white traders, hunters or trappers. The French hunters from Louisiana and Canada were the first explorers; but, after the establishment of the British North West Company, its agents dealt with the Indians in these wildernesses. On the transfer of the Louisiana purchase to the United States, in 1803, the fur trade began to come into the hands of American merchants; and, from that time, there have been American traders among those who resorted to these territories. The great exploration by Capts. Lewis and Clarke, in 1805, 1806, 1807, gave a key to the geog

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »