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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

The day is very cold with ice on the edges of the Missouri River. Big White, a chief from the Lower Mandan Village, visits Fort Mandan and relates the Mandan creation story. He also gives the populations of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Crow.

From the journals...

the Mandan nation as they old men Say Came out of [NB: Subterraneous village & a lake] where they had Gardins, maney years ago they lived in Several Villages on the Missourie low down, the Smallpox destroyed the greater part of the nation and reduced them to one large Village and Some Small ones, all nations before this maladey was affrd. of them after they were reduced the Sioux and other Indians waged war, and killed a great maney, and they moved up the Missourie

William Clark

Bird's-eye View of the Mandan Village

Historic painting of a Mandan village

Painting by George Catlin circa 1832.

early this morning the Big White princapal Chief of the lower Village of the Mandans Came Down, he packd about 100 W. of fine meet on his Squar for us, we made Some Small presents to the Squar, & Child    gave a Small ax which She was much pleased—

William Clark

Ax and trade blanket

Tomahawk on a blanket