Pestilence and power: the smallpox epidemic of 1780-1782 and intertribal relations on the northern great plains.
The 1780-82 smallpox epidemic, the first known outbreak of that deadly European-introduced virus to scour the entirety of the northern Great Plains, was a pivotal event in that region's history. The vast changes resulting from this epidemic are perhaps most visible when one examines how the ravages of smallpox altered balances of power between Native groups. In particular, the smallpox epidemic of 1780-82 marked a turning point in the struggles between westward-expanding Sioux groups and the semisedentary tribes that lived along the upper Missouri in present-day North and South Dakota, the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras. By causing much greater population losses and discord among the semisedentary villagers than the more mobile Sioux peoples, this outbreak enabled western Sioux groups to become the most influential Native power on the northeastern Plains by the time that the United States purchased that region in 1803. The 1780-82 epidemic, therefore, helped to shape the northern Plains into the land that agents of the United States government explored and conquered during the nineteenth century by bringing some Native peoples to the forefront while marginalizing others.
Historians have considered the effects of smallpox and other pathogens on the balance of power between northern Plains Native groups, but they typically place greater emphasis on the influence of two other products of European colonialism, the horse and the gun. Frank Raymond Secoy, for instance, traces how the concurrent spread of horses (from the Southwest) and guns (from the Northeast) across the Plains during the eighteenth century revolutionized Native warfare and empowered some tribes while weakening others. (4) While Secoy's analysis does not consider infectious diseases, Anthony McGinnis provides readers with a look at how smallpox epidemics, including that of 1780-82, complemented the horse and gun as agents of change,s Nevertheless, the effects of pathogens on Native societies and warfare remain at the periphery of McGinnis' narrative. Colin G. Calloway's recent history of the Native American West, as well as Elizabeth A. Fenn's study of the entire 1775-82 smallpox epidemic, highlight the impact of the 1780-82 outbreak on the northern Plains, by discussing Indian population losses, demographic shifts, and changes in regional power dynamics. (5) Although both treatments offer little more than a brief overview of that epidemic within the context of a much larger story, they draw attention to a much overlooked subject and lay a foundation for a future in-depth examination to build upon.
The purpose of this examination, then, is to deepen and enrich the historiography of the northern Great Plains by placing infectious diseases at the center of the narrative. But by doing so, this essay does not challenge the fact that the integration of horses and guns into Plains societies had a dramatic effect on Native warfare patterns and balances of power. Rather, it asserts that "Old World" diseases must be considered alongside those other colonial products as an agent of vast, if destructive, change on the northern Plains. Clearly, horses and guns helped to determine the course of northern Plains history before 1780, and then continued to do so afterward, but evidence suggests that pathogens, especially smallpox, were just as influential.
To support this argument, this study examines how the smallpox epidemic of 1780-82 affected intertribal relations on the northeastern Plains, between western Sioux groups and the semisedentary villagers, the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras. Scholars point out that smallpox depopulation among the villagers of the upper Missouri played a pivotal role in Sioux expansion, but their brief treatments obscure the complexity of post-epidemic intertribal relationships on the northern Great Plains. (7) The decline of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara populations does not fully explain shifts in the balance of power, as the historical record suggests that economic, political, and social stresses beset the efforts of the semisedentary villagers to resist Sioux encroachment. These pressures, coupled with what was nothing less than a demographic catastrophe, forged the northeastern Plains that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark visited during the first decade of the nineteenth century and set the gears in motion for the western Sioux to eventually become the most powerful Native people on the entire northern Plains.
The following analysis is organized into four parts. The first shows how Sioux domination of the northern Plains was far from inevitable by examining how horses and guns fueled the early stages of western Sioux expansion, but did not enable those peoples to overpower the semisedentary villagers who stood in their way. Consequently, a fragile balance of power stood in place when smallpox struck in 1780. Part two then discusses how the "uneven" impact of that epidemic across northern Plains populations, particularly among the western Sioux bands, Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras, broke this stalemate. The third and fourth parts highlight the underlying stresses that further stimulated Sioux expansion. Part three reveals how the ravages of smallpox made semisedentary villagers into "refugees" by compelling them to consolidate and relocate their villages in an effort to withstand intensified Sioux pressure. It is here that the political and social trauma generated by the 1780-82 epidemic becomes clear, as conflicts stemmed from efforts to coalesce the bands that composed individual tribes, as well as to unite different tribes. Finally, the fourth part examines the economic and military dimensions of smallpox depopulation among the villagers to explain why the French-Canadian trader Pierre Antoine Tabeau remarked that the Arikaras were enmeshed in "the slavery of the Sioux." (8)
This general story is not unique to the northeastern Great Plains. Alfred W. Crosby and David E. Stannard conclude the arrival of Old World pathogens in the "New World" decimated Native populations and thereby fueled European colonialism. (9) Yet, the ecological or biological conquest of the Americas did not always immediately involve or benefit European powers. As many scholars point out, smallpox and other diseases profoundly influenced balances of power among Native groups throughout North America.
The works of James H. Merrell and Paul Kelton examine how smallpox depopulation went hand in hand with trade and warfare to weaken some Native groups and empower others in the colonial Southeast. (10) Merrell's research on the Piedmont region reveals how visitations of smallpox and other Old-World diseases decimated individual tribes throughout the Piedmont, forcing them to join one another and eventually become identified as the Catawba. Even though those tribes united, their weakened state made them prey to their stronger enemies and the balance of power in the colonial Southeast shifted. Kelton's study of the colonial Southeast as a whole illustrates how the economic development of that region, fueled by the Native slave trade, acted synergistically with warfare and infectious diseases to produce considerable refugee settlements and thereby alter existing balances of power.
A rich body of scholarship demonstrates how smallpox epidemics sparked similar changes in the Great Lakes region. Richard White discusses how the deadly combination of Iroquois attacks and smallpox epidemics displaced many Native peoples, such as Fox, Sauk, and Potawatomis, from their traditional homelands, compelling them to take refuge among other war- and disease-stricken tribes. (11) Consequently, the Great Lakes region "became a hodgepodge of peoples, with several groups often occupying a single village" as various tribes endeavored to protect themselves from their common enemies. (12) Yet, schisms produced by the merging of Native groups often complicated such efforts and sometimes even led to bloodshed. The works of Daniel K. Richter highlight similar trends, but also reveal how they surfaced in the colonial Northeast, where, for instance, Wampanoags seized the opportunity to drive disease-weakened Narragansetts from their territory. (13) At the same time, groups elsewhere such as the Creeks, Cherokees, and Wyandots came into existence only after diseases and persistent enemy attacks made the integration of allied groups a necessity. Nevertheless, such mergers did not prevent these peoples' rivals from harassing them and, in the process, reconfiguring balances of power.
West of the Mississippi River, epidemic diseases also affected intertribal relationships. In the Arkansas Valley, as Kathleen DuVal points out, outbreaks of pathogens such as smallpox caused some chiefdoms to collapse and others to relocate. (14) Pekka Hamalainen stresses that infectious disease outbreaks were part of the reason that Comanches were able to expand their hegemony in the Southwest and on the southern Plains during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as the Apaches and their other rivals endured economic and political collapses in the wake of devastating epidemics. (15) The parallels between Hamalainen's findings and those of this study are heightened by the fact that the Apaches were a semised-entary people who lost power to the mobile bison-hunting Comanches. While Kathleen L. Hull's work on Native California emphasizes how Euroamerican colonial endeavors profited from deadly pathogens ravaging the Yosemite Indians, it does point out that depopulation likely caused "[s]hifts in external relations," as disease-stricken tribes relocated and competed with one another for resources. (16)
The above discussion allows this study to be considered within its larger context, the general Native American experience with infectious disease epidemics which accompanied European colonialism. At the same time, the fact that Old World diseases had a similar effect on intertribal relationships throughout the diverse landscape of colonial America reinforces the point that pathogens must be considered alongside horses and guns as major influences on the history of the northern Plains. So, what follows is essentially a microcosm of a larger story. But the narrow focus of this study, on the decline of three Indian societies and the rise of another on the northeastern Plains, provides an in-depth look at the complex processes at work behind Native power struggles and the ways that smallpox affected the course of a region's history.
One final note is necessary regarding the sources that inform this study. The following analysis utilizes a pool of documents produced by British, French, and American explorers and traders. Where possible, Native sources, such as winter counts, are consulted, but the dearth of such records necessitates a reliance upon the journals and narratives of Euroamerican visitors to the northern Plains. These documents, written in many cases by men who were deeply interested in the indigenous cultures that they encountered, contain passages that capture some essence of the Native voice, but explorers and traders carried preconceptions about Indians with them onto the Plains, in addition to a vastly different culture, both of which compromise the accuracy and adequacy of their descriptions of Natives and their words. The following pages are therefore informed by a careful and critical consideration of those sources.
That Sioux peoples would become the most dominant Natives on the northeastern Plains by the early nineteenth century, and on the northern Plains as a whole in the following decades, was hardly inexorable. Throughout much of the eighteenth century, as Sioux groups migrated westward onto the Plains, they lived in the shadows of the powerful semisedentary tribes that inhabited the upper Missouri, the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras. With further Sioux expansion virtually blocked, they and the non-Sioux villagers engaged in an ambiguous blend of trade and warfare, maintaining a precarious balance of power that endured until smallpox struck in 1780.
Relations between Sioux groups and the semisedentary villagers commenced during the early eighteenth century. Pushed from the upper Mississippi River region by their Cree, Assiniboine, and Ojibwa enemies, as well as pulled by the prospects offered by the bison-rich Plains, three of the four main branches of the Sioux, the Lakota, Yankton, and Yanktonai, migrated onto the eastern Plains during the late 1600s and into the 1700s while the fourth, the Santee or Dakota, remained in present-day Minnesota. Organized into bands, political bodies reinforced by kinship ties (i.e., Oglalas, Hunkpapas, etc.), and further divided into smaller groups that rarely united with one another, Lakota Sioux peoples reached the Missouri River Valley by the late 1730s and were soon followed by their Yankton and Yanktonai kin. Western Sioux groups, supplied with firearms by their eastern kin who had access to French and English fur traders, were among the first Natives to carry guns onto the Plains. The military advantages afforded by the gun could only go so far, however, for Sioux bands as yet had few horses and were outnumbered by the vast Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara populations living along the upper Missouri. Before the 1780-82 smallpox epidemic, the Mandans and Hidatsas each numbered approximately 9,000 people inhabiting about thirteen villages in total, while the Arikaras had an estimated population of 24,000 distributed throughout at least eighteen villages. Historian George E. Hyde estimates that, as of 1760, the Arikara population was equal to that of the entire Sioux Nation, comprising the Lakotas, Yanktons, and Yanktonais, as well as the Dakotas. (17)
Settled in stationary villages established on bluffs overlooking the Missouri and surrounded by fortifications comprised of a combination of trenches and "a kind of stockade, principally made of driftwood," the numerous Arikaras, Mandans, and Hidatsas had little trouble warding off early Sioux incursions. (18) The defensive works surrounding one Mandan village so impressed the French explorer Verendrye that he remarked that "[t]heir fortification, indeed, has nothing savage about it." (19) These semisedentary peoples subsisted by cultivating corn, squash, and other crops, conducting communal bison hunts, and trading surplus produce to neighboring bison-hunting groups for additional meat and hides. Located at an advantageous geographic position, the upper Missouri villages were the axis of a vast indigenous trade network that reached far beyond the northern Plains, into the Rockies, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, the Great Lakes, and the Southeast. Through this system, the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras obtained Euroamerican firearms from Crees and Assiniboines from the northeast, while Crows and others from the south and west supplied another coveted commodity, horses. During most of the eighteenth century, then, the prosperous semisedentary villagers stood in the way of Sioux expansion. (20)
The upper Missouri villagers, however, offered no united front against Sioux invaders. Although the Mandans and Hidatsas maintained a longstanding alliance, conflict marked those tribes' relations with the Arikaras, who lived downstream. For centuries, dating at least as far back as the twelfth century A.D., peoples who eventually became known as the Arikaras were enemies of those who entered the historical record as the Mandans and Hidatsas. These rival tribes employed similar means of subsistence and occasionally traded goods with one another, but their exchanges were generally military in nature. This long history of hostile relations proved problematic as the shadow of Sioux expansion stretched over the Plains, especially after the 1780-82 smallpox epidemic. (21)
Because the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras wielded considerable military strength, early Sioux-villager relations consisted of a complex mixture of trade and warfare. Sioux war parties often raided the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras in an effort to procure material goods and whittle away at their manpower. At the same time, the Missouri villagers dispatched war parties to avenge Sioux provocations and capture guns. While hostility more often than not marked Sioux bands' relations with the Mandans and Hidatsas, some Sioux, particularly Lakota groups, conducted trade with Arikaras when they were not at war. Through their trade with Arikaras, Sioux bands obtained many of their horses and made a transition to equestrian bison-hunting and warfare during the eighteenth century. In fact, a portion of the Oglala Sioux band resided in an Arikara village before 1780 and attempted to become a horticultural people. Most Sioux groups, however, continued to live in small, mobile camps that relied upon game rather than produce for survival. This way of life proved invaluable when smallpox reached the Plains. (22)
After midcentury, as more Sioux peoples migrated onto the Plains and acquired greater numbers of horses and guns through trading and raiding, they developed a formidable style of equestrian warfare. This development encouraged Sioux groups to pursue their expansionist aims more aggressively, and they became increasingly hostile toward the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras. Although Lakota bands continued to utilize an ambiguous blend of trade and warfare in their relations with the villagers, the Yanktons and Yanktonais were relentless in their attacks. In response to this pressure, the Mandans moved their villages closer to those of their Hidatsa allies for the sake of mutual defense. Sometimes, Arikara warriors joined Sioux war parties that set out against the Mandans and Hidatsas, hoping to gain the upper hand in that ancient rivalry. (23)
By the mid-1760s, though, the tide of Sioux expansion ground to a halt. The outcome of the Seven Years' War in 1763 forced French traders out of present-day Canada, thereby briefly crippling the fur trade and reducing the flow of guns and ammunition onto the Plains. More Sioux peoples continued to move westward, for the adventurer Jonathan Carver reported in the late 1760s that, of the eleven total Sioux bands in America, eight lived on the Plains. (24) The Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras, however, still outnumbered them, possessed greater numbers of horses, and inhabited defensively imposing villages. It was little wonder, then, that, regarding the Mandans, William Clark of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition remarked that before 1780, "all the nations ... [were afraid] of them." (25) On the eve of the 1780-82 smallpox epidemic, intertribal relations on the northeastern Plains between the western Sioux and the semisedentary villagers were at an impasse and a fragile balance of power stood in place.
During 1779 and 1780, Native groups engaged in warfare and trade facilitated the spread of smallpox from Mexico to the northern Great Plains. It appears that Comanche war parties contracted the virus when they raided infected Mexican settlements in the Southwest, and then transmitted it to their Shoshone relatives through commercial exchanges. Shoshones then carried smallpox onto the northwestern Plains and passed it on to their trading partners, as well as their enemies in war. Since the incubation period of the disease typically ranged from ten to fourteen days, infected Natives could travel long distances and unknowingly spread it to unsuspecting neighbors before any symptoms of illness emerged. Consequently, smallpox quickly engulfed the entirety of the northern Plains, decimating Indian societies that not only lacked immunity to the virus, but had little or no concept of disease contagion. (26) As Tabeau remarked, "among the Sioux and still more among the Ricaras, there prevails no natural sickness, as all sickness is either the result of the vengeance of some angry spirit or a succession of evil deeds of a magician." (27) That Native Americans generally attributed the diffusion of an illness to the work of spirits rather than a biological process prevented them from limiting its spread.
As a result of this extreme biological and cultural susceptibility, no northern Plains tribe escaped the smallpox epidemic of 1780-82 unscathed. The Shoshones, as well as their Blackfoot enemies (who first contracted the disease when they raided a smallpox-stricken Shoshone camp), lost between one-third and one-half of their numbers. The Crows, another northwestern Plains people, sustained comparable losses after they traded horses with an infected Shoshone group. Crees and Assiniboines, who lived on the far northeastern Plains and in the parklands along the Saskatchewan River, also witnessed upwards of one-third of their people perish after one of their war parties attacked a contaminated Mandan or Hidatsa village. (28)
The tribes that linked those of the northwestern and northeastern Plains, the Missouri villagers, suffered by far the greatest losses during the 1780-82 smallpox epidemic. When smallpox reached their stationary, densely populated villages, probably through trading parties from the western Plains, an estimated seventy to eighty percent of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara populations perished. (29) Early in the nineteenth century, North West Company trader Alexander Henry learned that prior to the 1780-82 epidemic, the Hidatsas inhabited some 900 lodges, but, at the time of his visit, they occupied but 130. (30) At about the same time, Tabeau reported that the Arikaras, who once fielded more than four thousand warriors, now had approximately five hundred. (31) Highlighting a similar collapse among the Mandans, Clark noted that those people once maintained seven large villages, but after smallpox struck, they consolidated their surviving population into two settlements. (32)
On the other hand, mobile bison-hunting peoples, such as western Sioux groups, lost relatively few people. Since they lived in smaller groups that met with one another infrequently, smallpox nearly wiped out some entire camps while others evaded the disease altogether. Furthermore, when a disease struck, Sioux groups, not tied to a particular locale by subsistence needs, could diffuse in an effort to minimize its spread and mortality. Winter counts, Native picture records that note the most significant event each year for an individual group, indicate that several Sioux groups contracted the virus between 1780 and 1782. (33) Of the seven western Sioux winter counts which report that smallpox "used them up," six note that the epidemic raged during consecutive years. The lack of winter count records for every Sioux band, however, as well as concrete figures regarding population losses, obscure the extent of Sioux mortality during the 1780-82 epidemic. In addition to their mobility and organization into small groups, western Sioux also had previous contact with Euroamerican diseases while living to the east. They therefore had a better idea how to react when smallpox appeared among them than did the semisedentary villagers. Consequently, as historian Richard White points out, "[Sioux] losses were slight when compared to those of the Arikaras, Mandans, and Hidatsas." (34)
So, by the time the 1780-82 smallpox epidemic completed its circuit of the northern Great Plains, it had not only vastly reduced the region's total Native population, but it caused much greater losses among the upper Missouri villagers than their Sioux antagonists. Such tremendous losses severely crippled the military strength of the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras as the Sioux resumed their westward push after 1782. Although the depopulation of the semisedentary villages tipped the balance of power in favor of western Sioux groups, the fallout of the epidemic further disoriented the villagers, thereby stimulating Sioux expansion.
In the aftermath of the smallpox epidemic of 1780-82, as Sioux pressure resumed, the remaining semisedentary villagers addressed their newfound vulnerability. Ultimately, they adopted two measures to ensure their survival. First, the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras each consolidated their own villages, meshing the remnants of many weakened settlements into a few stronger ones. The formation of such "refugee camps," as W. Raymond Wood and Thomas D. Thiessen refer to them, enabled the villagers to better protect their surviving populations. (35) Tabeau wrote that the Arikaras once filled eighteen large villages, but consolidated into three "mediocre" ones following the 1780-82 epidemic. (36) The observations of Missouri Company trader Jean Baptiste Truteau paint an even bleaker picture, as he learned that the Arikaras once "counted thirty-two populous villages, now depopulated and almost entirely destroyed by the smallpox ... [a] few families only, from each of these villages, escaped; these united and formed the two villages now here, which are situated about half a mile apart." (37) Although the Mandans occupied six or seven villages prior to 1780, explorer James McKay reported that, as of 1787, they lived in three while Lewis and Clark found them inhabiting only two in 1806. (38) Likewise, the Hidatsas consolidated the remains of their approximately six villages into two settlements. (39)
This merging of villages, however, generated considerable tension threatening tribal unity and therefore enabled Sioux groups to carry out their expansionist aims in the face of often divided opposition. Among the Arikaras, for instance, conflicts arose from social and political disruptions produced by the coalescence of "ten different tribes and of as many chiefs without counting an infinity of others who have remained, after the disaster, captains without companies." (40) Consequently, Tabeau noted that the Arikaras shared no single dialect and that there existed a "division of spirit" which was "baneful to them." (41) The desire for power among the many chiefs produced discord and precluded consensus regarding group actions. On some occasions, factionalism led to some bands splintering. For instance, Truteau learned that just before his arrival, a pair of Arikara chiefs, envious of two others' influence, led their clans away, one to live with the Mandans, the other downstream to join the Mahas on the central Plains. (42)
Occasionally, this strife caused even greater problems by causing conflict between neighboring tribes. As Truteau observed, factionalism among the Arikaras sometimes "[gavel young men the occasion to make trouble and attack nations, which otherwise would wish for peace and union." (43) These outbursts resulted in more enemies for the Arikaras and, consequently, increased warfare. For instance, Tabeau learned of an incident that nearly shattered peace talks between the Arikaras on one side, and the Mandans and Hidatsas on the other. As the Mandans extended an offer of peace to the Arikaras, one band of the latter, named the Laocatas, stole some Mandan horses in an effort to demonstrate its "independence." Despite this act of aggression, the Mandans did not withdraw their peace proposal. Nevertheless, the other nine Arikara bands threatened to destroy the Laocatas for their treachery. (44)
Such episodes contributed to an atmosphere of deep distrust and hostility between the Mandans and Hidatsas on one side, and the Arikaras on the other. For instance, when Henry visited the Mandans in 1806, he watched as the arrival of some Arikara peace emissaries caused a "great uproar." (45) During the previous spring, Henry learned, some Arikaras accompanied a Sioux war party that killed five Mandans. The Mandans and Hidatsas retaliated by killing a few Arikaras, but swore further revenge, as Henry wrote that, "both the Mandanes and [Hidatsas] were determined to exterminate every [Arikara] they could find, and lay their villages even with the ground." (46) Now, even though the Arikaras sought to end the quarrel, the wary Mandans and Hidatsas distrusted their representatives and treated them coldly. Although the Mandans and Arikaras made peace and lived together sometime between 1782 and 1806, by the time Henry visited the upper Missouri they were again the "most inveterate enemies." (47) With the villagers divided, the Sioux found it easier to overpower each group piecemeal.
The second means of addressing smallpox depopulation and Sioux incursions, taken by the Mandans and Arikaras, was to relocate their villages in an effort to escape their Sioux enemies. The most visible example of such a migration was that of the Mandans, who retreated up the Missouri from the Heart River country during the 1780s and 1790s, leaving behind a series of abandoned villages for explorers to find. As Lewis and Clark observed, "after [the Mandans] were reduced the Seaux and other Indians waged war, and killed a great many, and they moved up the Missourie, those Indians Still continued to wage war, and they moved Still higher." (48) By 1804, the Mandan and Hidatsa villages sat less than five miles from one another in the Knife River country. (49) When they visited one Mandan village, Lewis and Clark discovered why its close proximity to the Hidatsas was necessary, for despite consolidation, "this village is small and contains but flew inhabitants." (50) On the other hand, evidence suggests that the Hidatsas did not move downstream to meet the advance of their allies. As Lewis and Clark noted, "their tradition relates that they have always resided at their present villages." (51) Evidently, the Hidatsas suffered relatively less from the epidemic than the Mandans and, in all probability, they already inhabited a strong defensive position by 1780.
Nevertheless, living so close to one another generated occasional conflict between the Mandans and Hidatsas. Henry observed that as a result of their greater numbers, the Hidatsas often imposed their will upon their weaker allies and "this causes continued jealousy, and one day may break out in war ... [o]pen rapture has, in fact, frequently been imminent, though by the interference of persons of consideration it has thus far been prevented, but seldom without bloodshed, and perhaps a death or two on each side." (52) Thus, arrangements made by the villagers in an attempt to offset the devastating impact of the 1780-82 smallpox epidemic stressed not only the ambiguous relations between the Mandan-Hidatsa alliance and Arikaras, but also the longstanding friendship between the Mandans and Hidatsas.
Downstream from the deserted Mandan villages, Lewis and Clark discovered a similar succession of abandoned Arikara settlements. The explorers reported that "[t]he remains of the villages are to be seen on many parts of the Missouri, from the mouth of the [Teton] River to the Mandans." (53) After 1782, the Arikaras moved northward in order to escape mounting Sioux pressure. As they relocated, however, they moved into the path of other westward-expanding Sioux groups and the vicious cycle began anew. When their trade with tribes to the south and west such as the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Kiowas faltered during the 1790s because of their northward migration and problems with the Mandans and Hidatsas persisted, the Arikaras again moved down the Missouri. (54)
Although these adaptations hardly slowed the wave of Sioux expansion, they helped to preserve what remained of the semisedentary villager populations. For instance, Henry's Mandan hosts told him of how, sometime during the 1790s, a Sioux war party cut one of their villages off from the nearby river and opened an attack on it. Although the Sioux warriors might have been able to overwhelm the Mandans had they been isolated, the Hidatsas "came to the assistance of their neighbors, and a severe battle was fought on the level plain between the village and high bank." (55) The odds thus evened, the battle continued until a group of the Mandans' and Hidatsas' Crow allies arrived and circled around to the flanks and rear of the Sioux. Faced with this unexpected threat, the Sioux assault collapsed and the war party retreated from the Missouri. (56)
Fortunately for Sioux groups, they were not compelled to eliminate the remaining Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara villages. With the semisedentary villages so vastly reduced in size and number by smallpox, Sioux bands could simply circumvent them in order to penetrate and, eventually, dominate the bison-rich lands west of the Missouri. The fallout of that epidemic also forced Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras to reconsider their approach to military affairs, as the "uneven" impact of smallpox made it impossible for them to continue to prosecute warfare, particularly offensive warfare, as they did before. Nevertheless, it remained in the best interests of Sioux groups to maintain a presence along the Missouri. After 1782, then, Sioux groups tightened their grip on the Missouri, subjugating the Mandans, Hidatsas, and, especially, the Arikaras, in an effort to dominate the growing trade along that waterway. Thus, the smallpox epidemic of 1780-82 also produced tremendous military and economic hardships among the semisedentary villagers of the upper Missouri that accelerated the pace of Sioux expansion.
Their military strength crippled by the 1780-82 smallpox epidemic, the semisedentary villagers became increasingly oriented toward defensive rather than offensive warfare. Gone were the days when the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras routinely launched war parties to harass Sioux camps or avenge a recent attack. Unable to risk men in combat, the villagers, for the most part, kept them at home to defend against possible enemy raids. (57) The Mandans especially became known for their aversion to dispatching war parties. As Lewis and Clark observed, "[t]he Mandans are at war with all who make war [on them, at present with the Seaux], and wish to be at peace with all nations, Seldom the ogressors." (58) On the other hand, when the Mandans had to defend themselves, regardless of how badly they might be outnumbered, Henry wrote, "they scorn to fly, and fight to the last man." (59) The Hidatsas and Arikaras still sent out some war parties, but their reduced numbers ensured that these were infrequent and small in size. Nevertheless, they kept a wary eye on their vulnerability by maintaining the defensive works surrounding their villages and, in the case of the Hidatsas, preserving their alliance with the Mandans. Such works were, of course, not a new innovation, but with fewer warriors available to repel Sioux attacks than in the past, they became increasingly vital. (60) As North West Company trader John Macdonell observed of the Mandans, "[t]hese Indians live in settled villages fortified round about with Palisades which they seldom ever abandon." (61)
As renewed Sioux expansion intensified warfare on the northeastern Plains after 1782, the semisedentary villagers adopted measures to ensure their safety while conducting everyday business, such as tending crops and hunting. Their livelihood already challenged by smallpox depopulation, they understood that additional losses to opportunistic enemies would further endanger their position. Tabeau, for one, noted that such caution was necessary, because "[n]either in any place or at any time do they enjoy perfect security... [n]ear their village or camp, in their fields of maize, and even in the village itself, individuals are massacred by small parties." (62) Therefore, it was little surprise that when Henry approached a Mandan village, his group "soon met a Mandane, well armed with his gun, etc; he accompanied a party of women hoeing corn, and served as their guard." (63) Likewise, explorer John Bradbury noted that the Arikaras "scarcely ever appear without arms beyond the limits of the town." (64) Sioux raids, real and threatened, impeded the villagers' efforts to farm and, therefore, to procure subsistence and surplus to channel into trade with other tribes and Euroamerican traders.
These smallpox-stricken societies also found it difficult to carry out hunting activities. Whereas the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras conducted routine communal and smaller-scale bison hunts prior to 1780, it became more challenging to do so after smallpox reduced their manpower. Dispatching hunting expeditions put those in the party at risk, as well as those who remained in the village, for even fewer warriors were now available to defend them. Consequently, when hunting parties set out, they typically did not stray far from home, as Lewis and Clark noted that both the Mandans and Arikaras "hunt immediately in their neighborhood." (65) Since game did not always congregate nearby, however, the villagers sometimes mounted large expeditions to hunt elsewhere. Upon encountering a party of some 500 Mandans on the hunt, explorer Henry Marie Brackenridge noted that "[t]hey sometimes go on hunting parties by whole villages." (66) Such large expeditions, of course, helped to ensure the safety of the hunters and their fellow villagers.
While Sioux relations with the Mandans and Hidatsas remained largely military in nature, Sioux-Arikara relations continued to be ambiguous, although the Sioux clearly held the upper hand after 1782. By the time Lewis and Clark visited them, the Arikaras "claim[ed] no land except that on which their villages stand and the fields they cultivate ... [t]he [Sioux] claim the country around them," adding that Sioux "rob [Arikaras] of their horses, plunder their gardens and fields, and sometimes murder them, without opposition." (67) Truteau noted that a band of Sioux lived for some time among the Arikaras and that the latter "humored them through fear and to avoid making too many enemies among the Sioux, who would inevitably overpower them." (68) Nevertheless, those Sioux eventually left that village and periodically returned to raid it. The Sioux became so ruthless that Truteau observed that "their very name causes terror" among the Arikaras. (69) Notwithstanding their considerable numerical disadvantage, the Arikaras maintained their reputation as a fierce people by sometimes launching retaliatory war expeditions. On occasion, Sioux war parties recruited Arikaras to join expeditions against their old Mandan and Hidatsa enemies, although such instances became rarer after the 1780-82 smallpox epidemic. Nevertheless, the few occurrences served to preserve the ages-old divide between the Arikaras and Mandan-Hidatsa alliance. (70)
Although they frequently warred on one another, the Arikaras and Sioux groups carried on what Lewis and Clark termed a "partial trade." (71) This term suggests that the commerce between the two, much like their warfare, was heavily skewed in favor of the Sioux. Tabeau's testimony supports this assertion, for he remarked that "It]he commodities of the Ricaras attract almost all the year a large crowd of Sioux from whom the Ricaras have to endure much without deriving any real benefit." (72) The Sioux, reported Tabeau, fixed the price of their goods at high values and demanded great quantities of Arikara goods in return. If the Arikaras dared to challenge Sioux demands, the latter used the threat of force to gain their compliance. (73)
Nevertheless, the Arikaras made intermittent efforts to forge an alliance with the Mandans and Hidatsas. Tabeau remarked that during his visit to the Arikaras, they sent overtures to the Mandans so that they could make peace and finally escape what he called "the slavery of the Sioux." (74) At the same time, Lewis and Clark noted that the Arikaras "express an inclination to be at peace with all nations," particularly with the Sioux, who had "great influence over the Rickeres poison their minds and keep them in perpetual dread." (75) The Sioux naturally opposed such a coalition between the semisedentary villagers, for they understood that if the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras joined forces against them, they would have a more difficult time maintaining control over the villagers. As Tabeau explained, "the union of the three nations would become formidable to them" and "they would lose, in the Ricaras, a certain kind of serf, who cultivates for them and who, as they say, takes, for them, the place of women." (76) Although the semisedentary villagers periodically established peace among themselves between 1782 and 1810, such agreements were short-lived. (77)
Sioux pressure compelled the upper Missouri villagers to become increasingly reliant upon trade with Euroamerican visitors to procure much-needed material goods. Although Native interest in the fur trade blossomed earlier in the eighteenth century as the tremendous advantages offered by the horse and gun encouraged them to engage in commerce, the devastating effects of smallpox made Indians view these items in a new light. Trade was no longer simply a means of acquiring a few helpful weapons and mounts, then passing the surplus on to their neighbors for a handsome profit. It was now necessary to accumulate these commodities for the sake of survival. Consequently, post-epidemic trading along the upper Missouri took on an air of necessity rather than one of mere profitability. The villagers recognized that treating white visitors, especially traders, with hospitality might provide them with economic and material advantages that they desperately needed after smallpox weakened them. Of all the semisedentary villagers, Lewis and Clark found the Mandans to be "the most friendly, well disposed Indians inhabiting the Missouri." (78) Reflecting on his visit to the Mandans in 1795-96, explorer John Evans wrote how "they received me will all the Affability possible, many of their Chiefs Came to Meet me, at some distance from their village, and would not permit me to enter their village on foot, they carried me between four men in a Buffaloe Robe, to the Chiefs tents." (79) Similarly, when Mackenzie reached the Hidatsa villages in 1804, he marveled that "the natives flew in crowds to meet us." (80) Brackenridge found his Arikara hosts so eager to please his party that the Natives offered their women to them. (81) Tabeau correctly deduced the intentions of the Arikaras, commenting that "[h]ospitality and the protection of one's hosts, according to established usage, give an incontestable right to extractions without limit and entail excessive expenses." (82)
The 1780-82 smallpox epidemic, however, diminished the trade potential of the upper Missouri villages by vastly reducing the number of middlemen and consumers living in them. Consequently, when the St. Louis-based fur trade picked up during the final decade of the eighteenth century, company agents often disregarded the semisedentary villagers altogether, as they sought to establish direct contact with the larger bison-hunting groups. (83) In response, the semisedentary villagers eagerly and, sometimes, forcefully, persuaded traders to deposit as many goods as possible in their villages. For instance, when he traveled up the Missouri, John Evans found that the Arikaras "would not permit me to pass their Village and carry any Goods to those nations that reside above them, they said, they were themselves in want of Goods & c. finding then that all me Efforts were in vain, to get on, I was obliged to stay among them." (84) A decade later, Tabeau found the situation little changed, for he commented that the Arikaras looked "upon the whites as beneficent spirits who ought, since they can, to supply all its needs and it looks upon the merchandise, brought to the village, as if destined for and belonging to it." (85)
The Mandans also recognized their need for traders' goods in the wake of the smallpox epidemic. As a result, Euroamerican traders found that Mandans sometimes tried to obstruct their dealings with other tribes in order to maintain their villages' status as the central trading hubs of the northern Plains. (86) As Mackenzie observed, the Mandans "asserted that if the white people extended their dealings to the Rocky Mountains, the Mandans would thereby become the great sufferersas they ... would lose all benefit which they had hitherto derived from their intercourse with those distant tribes." (87) Furthermore, individual Mandan villages competed with one another for traders' business. For instance, when Henry's party attempted to leave one Mandan village to visit another, they found that since "every village being ambitious of getting as many European articles as they can, particularly arms and ammunition," their hosts would not help them transport their goods across the river. (88) Henry, however, acknowledged that this was a "good policy," for each Mandan village needed all the goods it could get to help its inhabitants ward off their enemies, particularly the Sioux. (89)
The economic plight of the semisedentary villagers resulted not only from traders' responses to smallpox depopulation, but also the actions of their Sioux enemies. Wisely, Sioux groups worked to ensure that the villagers did not conduct business with Euroamerican traders, as well as other Plains peoples. By depriving the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras of guns, ammunition, and other goods that they used to defend themselves, Sioux groups could more easily dominate them. Lewis and Clark observed that the Yankton Sioux "will not suffer any trader to ascend the river, if they can possible avoid it; they have, heretofore, invariably arrested the progress of all those they have met with, and generally compelled them to trade at the prices, nearly which they themselves think proper to fix on their merchandise." (90) Truteau experienced this firsthand when he traversed the Missouri during the mid-1790s to reach the Arikaras. After meeting a Yankton camp, his trading party found their further progress blocked, whose chief told him that the "French did very wrong to carry powder and balls to the Arikaras ... this powder would be used to kill the Sioux." (91) Bradbury later had a similar encounter, when some Yankton and Lakota Sioux halted his expedition's advance and informed him that they had a "decided intention of opposing our progress, as they would suffer no one to trade with the Ricaras, Mandans, and [Hidatsas], being at war with those nations." (92) Eventually, the traders convinced the Sioux that they intended to see their "brothers," or other Sioux, and the Yankton-Lakota group let them pass. (93) Likewise, Sioux labored to intercept any Natives who tried to trade with the villagers, such as Crows, Assiniboines, Crees, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Kiowas. (94) The decline in villager strength after the epidemic, which enabled Sioux bands to move west of the Missouri, allowed them to carry out this policy. Of course, this approach worked to weaken those other Sioux enemies as well. Thus, the Sioux conquest of the northeastern Plains resulted from military as well as economic developments.
The smallpox epidemic of 1780-82 constituted a major turning point in the history of the northern Great Plains. The near collapse of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara populations, combined with enduring social, political, economic, and military stresses, irrevocably tipped the regional balance of power in favor of westward-expanding Lakota, Yankton, and Yanktonai Sioux peoples. The villagers of the upper Missouri, unable to conduct offensive warfare as they had before 1780, were compelled to adopt a predominantly defensive stance that little troubled Sioux invaders after smallpox drastically reduced their populations and, therefore, fighting strength. Moreover, actions undertaken by the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras to consolidate their remaining populations for the sake of survival produced conflicts within their individual tribes and among them which plagued efforts offer a united front against the Sioux. Seizing the initiative, Sioux groups conducted merciless warfare against the semisedentary villagers, both military and economic, to take control of the bison-rich Plains west of the Missouri, as well as maintain a strong presence along that river in an effort to monopolize the growing fur trade. This story, of the dynamic and complex relationship between pestilence and power, demonstrates that Old World infectious diseases had just as great of an impact on Native history as any material good that Europeans introduced to the New World, horses and guns included. After all, it was smallpox, not the gun, the horse, nor even alcohol, that the nineteenth-century artist George Catlin dubbed "the dread destroyer of the Indian race." (95)
Although the 1780-82 smallpox epidemic left a lasting imprint on the human history of the northern Plains, outbreaks of infectious diseases continued to reshape the region well into the nineteenth century. The 1837-38 smallpox epidemic, for instance, left little more than one hundred Mandans alive, while it further reduced what remained of the Hidatsa and Arikara populations. (96) Furthermore, it decimated the Blackfoot Nation, which had been the dominant power on the northwestern Plains since the late eighteenth century, after the 1780-82 smallpox epidemic precipitated the Shoshones' retreat into the Rockies. After the 1837-38 epidemic, western Sioux bands capitalized on this development, pushing onto the northwestern Plains and becoming the preeminent force on the entire northern Plains, as well as the powerhouse that the United States Army confronted during the second half of the nineteenth century. Any attempt to understand the complex history of the interactions between the United States government and northern Plains Natives, then, must consider the effects of the 1780-82 smallpox epidemic and its successors. For instance, smallpox depopulation helps to explain why, during the so-called "Sioux Wars," Arikara warriors enlisted in the United States Army as scouts, using their powerful new ally to strengthen their hand in an enduring intertribal struggle. (97)
Finally, it might be worthwhile to reemphasize that the significance of this study's findings not only resonates well beyond the eighteenth century, but also beyond the northern Plains. The trends highlighted in this article developed throughout colonial America, from New England and the Southeast to the Pacific coast. Some differences do emerge when one compares the findings of this analysis with the works mentioned in the above historiographical discussion. For instance, unlike the Mandans, Arikaras, and Hidatsas, who retained their individual tribal identities when they coalesced and relocated their villages after 1782, the different groups that came together to form the Catawbas, Wyandots, Cherokees, and others took on an entirely new identity. Throughout the diverse landscape of colonial America, however, similar trends emerged. Infectious disease epidemics, usually of smallpox, caused tremendous demographic shifts, as well as economic, political, and social strife. Furthermore, outbreaks of Old-World pathogens reconfigured balances of power throughout colonial America, shaping and reshaping lands that would one day become part of the United States. This essay, then, contributes to a growing body of literature that demonstrates how the human drama that unfolded in the New World after 1492 was partly the story of a biological process at work.
(1.) James McKay, "Captain McKay's Journal," in Abraham P. Nasatir, ed., Before Lewis and Clark: Documents Illustrating the History of the Missouri, 1785-1804, vol. 2, Lincoln, NE: U. of Nebraska P., 1990, 490-5: 494.
(2.) Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82, New York: Hill & Wang, 2001, 3, 272, 274. Loretta Fowler, "The Great Plains from the Arrival of the Horse to 1885," in Bruce G. Trigger and Wilcomb E. Washburn, eds, The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas: North America, vol. 1, part II, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996, 1-56: 20-1; Colin G. Calloway, ed., Our Hearts Fell to the Ground: Plains Indians Views of How the West Was Lost, Boston, MA: St. Martin's, 1996, 40.
(3.) Charles Mackenzie, "Charles Mackenzie's Narratives," in W. Raymond Wood and Thomas D. Thiessen, eds., Early Fur Trade on the Northern Plains: Canadian Traders Among the Mandan and Hidatsa Indians, 1738-1818, Norman, OK: Oklahoma UP, 1985, 221-96: 234.
(4.) Frank Raymond Secoy, Changing Military Patterns on the Great Plains, Seattle, WA: U. of Washington P., 1953.
(5.) Anthony McGinnis, Counting Coup and Cutting Horses: Intertribal Warfare on the Northern Plains, 1738-1889, Evergreen, CO: Cordillera Press, 1990.
(6.) Colin G. Calloway, One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, NE: U. of Nebraska P., 2003; Fenn, Pox Americana.
(7.) Donald J. Lehmer, "Epidemics Among the Indians of the Upper Missouri," in W. Raymond Wood, The Selected Writings of Donald J. Lehmer, Lincoln, NE: J&L Reprint Co., 1977, 105-11; Richard White, "The Winning of the West: The Expansion of the Western Sioux in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," The Journal of American History 2, 1978, 319-43; Fenn, Pox Americana; Colin G. Calloway, One Vast Winter Count; Jeffrey Ostler, The Plains Sioux and U.S. Colonialism from Lewis and Clark to Wounded Knee, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004, 23.
(8.) Pierre Antoine Tabeau, Tabeau's Narrative of Loisel's Expedition to the Upper Missouri, Annie Heloise Abel, trans. Rose Abel Wright, Norman, OK: Oklahoma UP, 1939, 1968, 128.
(9.) Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900, New York: Cambridge UP, 1986; Alfred W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492, Second ed., Westport, CT: Praeger, 1972, 2003; David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World, Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992.
(10.) James H. Merrell, The Indians' New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal, New York: Norton, 1989; Paul Kelton, Epidemics and Enslavement: Biological Catastrophe in the Native Southeast, 1492-1714, Lincoln, NE: U. of Nebraska P., 2007.
(11.) Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991.
(12.) Ibid., 14.
(13.) Daniel K. Richter, The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization, Chapel Hill, NC: U. of North Carolina P., 1992; Daniel K. Richter, Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America, Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2001.
(14.) Kathleen DuVal, The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent, Philadelphia, PA: U. of Pennsylvania P., 2006.
(15.) Pekka Hamalainen, The Comanche Empire, New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2008.
(16.) Kathleen L. Hull, Pestilence and Persistence: Yosemite Indian Demography and Culture in Colonial California, Berkeley, CA: U. of California P., 2009.
(17.) George E. Hyde, Red Cloud's Folk: A History of the Oglala Sioux Indians, Norman, OK: U. of Oklahoma P., 1957, 16-19; Calloway, One Vast Winter Count, 419, 421; White, "Winning of the West," 323-4; Pierre Gaultier de Varennes de la Verendrye, Journals and Letters of Pierre Gaultier de Varennes de la Verendrye and his Sons, trans. Lawrence J. Burpee, New York: Greenwood Press, 1968, 321; Fowler, "Great Plains," 16.
(18.) Alexander Henry and David Thompson, New Light on the Early History of the Greater Northwest: The Manuscript Journals of Alexander Henry and David Thompson, ed. Elliot Coues, vol. 1, New York: EP. Harper, 1897, 362.
(19.) Verendrye, Journals, 340.
(20.) Roy W. Meyer, The Village Indians of the Upper Missouri: The Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras, Lincoln, NE: U. of Nebraska P., 1977, 15-16; John C. Ewers, Indian Life on the Upper Missouri, Norman, OK: U. of Oklahoma P., 1968, 20-3; Calloway, One Vast Winter Count, 12-13, 410; Fowler, "Great Plains," 3-4; Donald J. Lehmer, "The Other Side of the Fur Trade," in W. Raymond Wood, The Selected Writings of Donald J. Lehmer, Lincoln, NE: J&L Reprint Co., 1977, 91-104: 91, 95, 99; Fenn, Pox Americana, 201.
(21.) Meyer, Village Indians, 5-9; Douglas B. Bamforth, "Indigenous People, Indigenous Violence: Precontact Warfare on the North American Great Plains," Man 1, 1994, 95-115: 102-13.
(22.) Ronald T. McCoy, "Winter Count: The Teton Chronicles to 1799," unpubl. Ph.D. diss., Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University, 1983, 6-7; White, "Winning of the West," 322-4; Fowler, "Great Plains," 5, 16; Calloway, One Vast Winter Count, 309; Hyde, Red Cloud's Folk, 14, 18; Fenn, Pox Americana, 201.
(23.) Secoy, Changing Military Patterns, 73-4; Hyde, Red Cloud's Folk, 14; Fowler, "Great Plains," 16; Meyer, Village Indians, 26; Calloway, One Vast Winter Count, 309; White, "Winning of the West," 323.
(24.) Jonathan Carver, Travels through the Interior Parts of North America, in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768, Minneapolis, MN: Ross and Haines, 1956, 59-60; White, "Winning of the West," 323-4; Hyde, Red Cloud's Folk, 17-19; Fowler, "Great Plains," 16.
(25.) Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, ed. Reuben Gold Thwaites, vol. 1, New York: Antiquarian Press, 1959, 220.
(26.) David Thompson, David Thompson's Narrative, 1784-1812, Richard Glover, Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1962, 49; Fenn, Pox Americana, 15-18, 213-14; Lehmer, "Epidemics," 106; George E. Hyde, Indians of the High Plains: From the Prehistoric Period to the Coming of Europeans, Norman, OK: U. of Oklahoma P., 1959, 164; Calloway, One Vast Winter Count, 416, 419; Crosby, Columbian Exchange, 46; Fenn, Pox Americana, 220-1.
(27.) Tabeau, Narrative, 183-4.
(28.) Thompson, Narrative, 92, 245-6; Henry and Thompson, New Light, vol. 2, 530; Colin G. Calloway, "Snake Frontiers: The Eastern Shoshones in the Eighteenth Century," Annals of Wyoming 3, 1991, 82-92: 88-9; Frederick E. Hoxie, Parading through History" The Making of the Crow Nation in America, 1805-1935, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995, 75; Calloway, One Vast Winter Count, 419-21; William W. Warren, History of the Ojibway People, St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1984, 261; Wagner E. Steam and Allen E. Stearn, The Effect of Smallpox on the Destiny of the Amerindian, Boston, MA: Bruce Humphries, 1945, 48-9.
(29.) Lehmer, "Epidemics," 107; Lehmer, "Other Side," 100; Calloway, One Vast Winter Count, 419; W. Raymond Wood and Thomas D. Thiessen, Early Fur Trade on the Northern Plains: Canadian Traders Among the Mandan and Hidatsa Indians, 1738-1818, Norman, OK: U. of Oklahoma P., 1985, 6; Henry E Dobyns, "Native American Trade Centers as Contagious Disease Foci," in John W. Verano and Douglas H. Ubelaker, Disease and Demography in the Americas, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992, 215-22: 215; Fenn, Pox Americana, 216-17.
(30.) Henry and Thompson, New Light, vol. 1, 348.
(31.) Tabeau, Narrative, 123-4.
(32.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 5, 347.
(33.) Linea Sundstrom, "Smallpox Used Them Up: References to Epidemic Disease in Northern Plains Winter Counts, 1714-1920," Ethnohistory 2, 1997, 305-43: 314; McCoy, "Winter Count," 217-24; Garrick Mallery, Picture-Writing of the American Indians, vol. 1, 308, vol. 2, 589; White, "Winning of the West," 325; Fenn, Pox Americana, 217-19.
(34.) White, "Winning of the West," 325.
(35.) Wood and Thiessen, Early Fur Trade, 8.
(36.) Tabeau, Narrative, 123-4.
(37.) Jean Baptiste Truteau, "Journal of Truteau on the Missouri River, 1794-1795," in Abraham P. Nasatir, Before Lewis and Clark: Documents Illustrating the History of the Missouri, 1785-1804, vol. 1, Lincoln, NE: U. of Nebraska P., 1990, 269-311: 299.
(38.) McKay, "Journal," 492; Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 5, 347; Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 90.
(39.) McGinnis, Counting Coup, 19, 21; Wood and Thiessen, Early Fur Trade, 8; John Taylor, "Sociocultural Effects of Epidemics on the Northern Plains: 1734-1850," The Western Canadian Journal of Anthropology 4, 1977, 55-81: 60; Fowler, "Great Plains," 21.
(40.) Tabeau, Narrative, 124.
(41.) Tabeau, Narrative, 126.
(42.) Truteau, "Journal," 299; Tabeau, Narrative, 126; Lehmer, "Epidemics," 108; White, "Winning of the West," 325.
(43.) Truteau, "Journal," 299.
(44.) Tabeau, Narrative, 127-9.
(45.) Henry and Thompson, New Light, vol. 1, 333-4.
(47.) Ibid., 330.
(48.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 220.
(49.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 1, 200-5; Henry and Thompson, New Light, vol. 1, 323; McKay, "Journal," 492; White, "Winning of the West," 325; Ewers, Indian Life, 48; Meyer, Village Indians, 27.
(50.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 1, 208.
(51.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 91.
(52.) Henry and Thompson, New Light, vol. 1, 372.
(53.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 89.
(54.) Tabeau, Narrative, 130; Henry and Thompson, New Light, vol. 1, 330, 334; Fowler, "Great Plains," 16-17; Hyde, Indians of the High Plains, 186-7; Ben Innis, Bloody Knife: Custer's Favorite Scout, Richard E. Collin, Bismarck, ND: Smoky Water Press, 1994, 4-5; White, "Winning of the West," 325-6.
(55.) Henry and Thompson, New Light, vol. 1, 361.
(56.) Ibid., 361-2.
(57.) McGinnis, Counting Coup, 12.
(58.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 1, 220.
(59.) Henry and Thompson, New Light, vol. 1, 372-3.
(60.) McKay, "Journal," 492; Wood and Thiessen, Early Fur Trade, 6-8; McGinnis, Counting Coup, 15, 21.
(61.) John Macdonell, "John Macdonell's 'The Red River,'" in W. Raymond Wood and Thomas D. Thiessen, eds, Early Fur Trade on the Northern Plains: Canadian Traders Among the Mandan and Hidatsa Indians, 1738-1818, Norman, OK: Oklahoma UP, 1985, 77-92: 85.
(62.) Tabeau, Narrative, 204.
(63.) Henry and Thompson, New Light, vol. 1, 324.
(64.) John Bradbury, Travels in the Interior of America, Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1966, 163.
(65.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 89, 90.
(66.) Henry Marie Brackenridge, "Journal of a Voyage Up the River Missouri, Performed in 1811," in Reuben Gold Thwaites, Early Western Travels, vol. 6, Cleveland, OH: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1904, 27-152: 136.
(67.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 89.
(68.) Truteau, "Journal," 310.
(69.) Ibid., 296.
(70.) Ibid., 295; Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 89; McGinnis, Counting Coup, 15, 19; Tabeau, Narrative, 130-31; Innis, Bloody Knife, 5.
(71.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 89.
(72.) Tabeau, Narrative, 151.
(73.) Ibid., 131; Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 89.
(74.) Tabeau, Narrative, 128.
(75.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 1, 189.
(76.) Tabeau, Narrative, 130.
(77.) Henry and Thompson, New Light, vol. 1,330; McGinnis, Counting Coup, 19.
(78.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 90.
(79.) John Evans, "Extracts of Mr. Evans Journal," in Abraham P. Nasatir, ed., Before Lewis and Clark: Documents Illustrating the History of the Missouri, 1785-1804, vol. 2, Lincoln, NE: U. of Nebraska P., 1990, 495-9: 496.
(80.) Mackenzie, "Narratives," 231.
(81.) Brackenridge, "Journal," 129.
(82.) Tabeau, Narrative, 145.
(83.) Bradbury, Travels, 94; Lehmer, "Other Side," 99-101; Lehmer, "Epidemics," 109-10.
(84.) Evans, "Extracts," 495-6.
(85.) Tabeau, Narrative, 134.
(86.) Francois-Antoine Larocque, "Francois-Antoine Larocque's 'Missouri Journal,'" in W. Raymond Wood and Thomas D. Thiessen, Early Fur Trade on the Northern Plains: Canadian Traders Among the Mandan and Hidatsa Indians, 1738-1818, Norman, OK" Oklahoma UP, 1985, 129-55: 135.
(87.) Mackenzie, "Narratives," 244.
(88.) Henry and Thompson, New Light, vol. 1, 329-30.
(90.) Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 96.
(91.) Truteau, "Journal," 270.
(92.) Bradbury, Travels, 83.
(93.) Ibid., 88.
(94.) Ibid., 127; Lewis and Clark, Original Journals, vol. 6, 89-90; Hyde, Indians of the High Plains, 186-87; Innis, Bloody Knife, 4-5, 8; Secoy, Changing Military Patterns, 75.
(95.) George Catlin, North American Indians, ed. Peter Matthiessen, New York: Penguin, 1989, 96.
(96.) Michael K. Trimble, "The 1837-1838 Smallpox Epidemic on the Upper Missouri," in Douglas W. Owsley and Richard L. Jantz, eds., Skeletal Biology in the Great Plains: Migration, Warfare, Health, and Subsistence, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994, 81-90: 84; Clyde D. Dollar, "The High Plains Smallpox Epidemic of 1837-38," Western Historical Quarterly 8, January 1977, 15-38.
(97.) Thomas W. Dunlay, Wolves for the Blue Soldiers: Indian Scouts and Auxiliaries with the United States Army, 1860-90, Lincoln, NE: U. of Nebraska P., 1982.
Adam Hodge is a doctoral student in the Department of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He would like to thank Kevin Adams, Lesley J. Gordon, Kim M. Gruenwald, Leonne M. Hudson, Kellie Buford, Gregory R. Jones, Andrew Tremel, and the anonymous readers for their invaluable comments.
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|Date:||Sep 22, 2010|
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