Lewis and Clark Today Logo

On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

While wintering at Fort Mandan, Gass and Whitehouse describe how the Mandan venerate buffalo skulls. A misunderstanding between Charbonneau's wives takes place when York is ordered to give stewed fruit and tea to the one that is sick.

From the journals...

after we were done eating they presented a bowlful to a buffaloe head, saying, "eat that." Their superstitious credulity is so great, that they believe by using the head well the living buffaloe will come and that they will get a supply of meat.

Patrick Gass

Buffalo (Bison) robe in a Mandan Lodge

Cermonial buffalo robe hanging in a Mandan lodge

Photo: July 30, 2013 at Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, U.S. National Park Service.