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Their principal trade is with the British trading-houses, and their hunting-grounds within the British territory.

The Assineboins give the name to the Assineboin river, which flows east into the Lake of the Woods, just north of the parallel of 49°. This name means stone-boilers." For this tribe, from want of better utensils, had formerly the habit of boiling their meat in holes made in the ground, lined with hide. The meat and water were put in these holes. Large stones, heated red hot, were then dropped in successively, until the meat was cooked, and the tribe took the name of "Stone-boilers" accordingly. An acquaintance, however, with the Mandans, who made earthen pottery, and their trade with the whites, have done away with this custom, except at public festivals, where it is still preserved.

The Assineboin language is a dialect of the Dahcotah.

The Gros-Ventres, Paunch, Fall or Rapid Indians, range over the northern and western parts of Nebraska. They number four hundred and twenty lodges, each lodge averaging nine inhabitants. Their language is said to be the same as the Arrapahoes', who live in the neighborhood of the Arkansas. They are a wild, roving people, subsisting entirely by hunting. Mr. Catlin supposes that they intermarry with the Blackfeet, who are the enemies of every other race of Indians. This is not the impression of Mr. Vaughn, the Indian agent for the Upper Missouri.

The Blackfeet are the largest and most warlike nation of



all the native tribes. The traders, in former years, have fixed their number as high as fifty thousand, but this is undoubtedly an exaggeration. Mr. Vaughn thinks it is not more than eleven or twelve thousand. They live altogether by the chase, roving in every direction, as far as the head waters of the rivers of Hudson's Bay on the north, and as far as the Great Salt Lake to the south-west. They are rich in horses, bold in war, and the avowed enemies of all the other tribes, unless the Gros-Ventres be an exception. The whole eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, north of the Platte river, may be regarded as their country, though their roving life admits of no fixed home.

Neither they nor the Gros-Ventres have ever entered into any treaty with the United States government. Several years since, however, they made a friendly treaty with Messrs. Pierre Chouteau, Jr., & Co., to trade with them near the falls of the Missouri.

So adventurous are the warriors of this nation that it is said there is among them a great preponderance of women. But few of the men have less than two wives, the common number is four, and many have ten.

A few of the Gros-Ventres have separated themselves from the great body of the tribe, and pay some attention to agriculture in villages near the Missouri river. The Ri-caras or Arick-a-rees do the same, and the small remnant of the unfortunate Mandans, in their village on the Missouri, is the most civilized native tribe in the whole region.


The history, customs and position of this remarkable tribe, now so nearly extinct, are so singular as to deserve a fuller notice than their present population would seem to demand.

Their history is known, from civilized authorities, as far as a hundred years ago. They were then settled in nine villages, seven on the west, and two on the east side of the Missouri, eighty miles south of the Fort Mandan of Lewis and Clarke. Their life being in a fixed locality, they were constantly exposed to the attacks of other tribes; and, gradually wasting away before the Sioux, they removed again and again, till, in 1805, Lewis and Clarke found them in two villages, one on each side of the river, near the point called Fort Mandan, where those explorers spent the year of 1805-6. Their population was then estimated at one thousand two hundred and fifty; they numbered three hundred and fifty fighting men.

They had a decided superiority over any of the other western tribes in the arts of domestic life. Their pottery was quite convenient, and they relied, without fear, upon their crops of corn, squashes and pumpkins. They did not make war, unless attacked, but fortified their positions with skill and care.

They presented an additional peculiarity in the frequent whiteness of their skin, and light color of their hair. Many of them, who are full-blooded, have beautiful white complexions.

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These singularities have undoubtedly given rise to the very general impression which prevailed during the latter part of the last century, that a tribe of "Welsh Indians " existed on the waters of the Missouri. On that impression Mr. Southey was tempted, in part, to found his celebrated poem Madoc. Mr. Catlin, who spent much time among the Mandans, and was greatly interested by them, believes the impression that they are descended from Madoc's colony well founded. He says that remains of villages like theirs may be found all down the valley of the Missouri and along the Ohio. His impression is that Madoc and his followers formed a settlement in the valley of the Ohio; that they intermarried with the natives, and lost some of the distinctive characteristics of their race. He supposes that they were gradually driven from these seats, lower and lower down the Ohio river, till they were obliged to cross the Mississippi; that then the same course of emigration brought them to their present home.

He sustains his theory by an examination of their language. Mr. Gallatin, whose authority we have uniformly followed in classifying the Indian languages, says that the fabulous account of a Welsh origin to the tribe is entirely set aside by a knowledge of its language; and it is regarded by him as a dialect of the Dahcotah. Mr. Catlin, however, gives a few Mandan and Welsh words, from familiar language, together; which certainly sustain, in part, his hypothesis. These are,

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There can be no doubt that the chief element of the language as spoken to-day is Dahcotah. But the chief part of the language spoken by cultivated Welshmen, in Wales, is English. All that could be expected in the case of the relic of a Welsh colony would be that a few words should be preserved. The women of such a colony would be mostly Indians; and, in the changes of nearly a thousand years, the Welsh element of language would fare ill.

A more decisive argument against the Welsh origin of this interesting people, is the silence of their own traditions regarding it. They call themselves "the people of the pheas

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