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Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

May 27, 1806


Tuesday May 27th 1806.

Early this morning we sent Reubin Fields in surch of the horse which the indians had given us to kill.    at 10 in the morning he returned with the horse and we killed and butchered him; he was large and in good order. Hohâstillpilp told us that most of the horses we saw runing at large in this neighbourhood belonged to himself and his people, and whenever we were in want of meat he requested that we would kill any of them we wished; this is a peice of liberallity which would do honour to such as bost of civilization; indeed I doubt whether there are not a great number of our countrymen who would see us fast many days before their compassion would excite them to a similar act of liberallity. Sergt. Pryor and the party ordered to the indian Village set out early this morning.    in the evening he returned with Gibson and Sheilds.    the others remained at the village all night; they brought a good store of roots and bread.    we also sent Sergt. ordway and 2 men [1] this morning over to Lewis's river for salmon, which the indians inform us may be procured in abundance at that place, and that it is but half a days ride, nearly south.—    Drewyer, Cruzatte, and Labuish returned at 4 P. M. with five deer which they had killed at some distance up Collins's Creek on this side; that stream still continues so high that they could not pass it.—    Charbono's son is much better today, tho' the swelling on the side of his neck I believe will terminate in an ugly imposthume a little below the ear. [2]    the indians were so anxious that the sick Cheif should be sweated under our inspection that they requested we would make a second attept today; accordingly the hole was somewhat enlarged and his father a very good looking old man, went into the hole with him and sustained him in a proper position during the operation; we could not make him sweat as copiously as we wished.    after the operation he complained of considerable pain, we gave him 30 drops of laudanum which soon composed him and he rested very well.—    this is at least a strong mark of parental affection.    they all appear extreemly attentive to this sick man nor do they appear to relax in their asceduity towards him notwithstand he has been sick and helpless upwards of three years.    the Chopunnish appear to be very attentive and kind to their aged people and treat their women with more rispect than the nations of the Missouri.—    There is a speceis of Burrowing squirrel [EC: Spermophilus columbianus] [3] common in these plains which in their habits somewhat resemble those of the missouri but are a distinct speceis.    this little animal measures one fot five and ½ inches from the nose to the extremity of the tail, of which the tail occupys 2¼ inches only; in the girth it is 11 In.    the body is proportionably long, the neck and legs short; the ears are short, obtusely pointed, and lie close to the head; the aperture of the ear is larger proportionably than most animals which burrow.    the eyes are of moderate size, the puple black and iris of a dark sooty brown.    the teeth are like those of the squirrel as is it's whole contour.    the whiskers are full, long and black; it also has some long black hairs above the eyes.    it has five toes on each foot; the two inner toes of the fore feet are remarkably short, and have short blont nails.    the remaining toes on those feet are long, black, slightly curved, and sharply pointed.    the outer and inner toes of the hind feet are not short yet they are by no means as long as the three toes in the center of the foot which are remarkably long but the nails are not as long as those of the fore feet tho' of the same form and colour.    the hair of the tail tho' of the same form and colour.    the hair of the tail tho' thickly inserted on every part rispects the two sides only.    this gives it a flat appearance and a long ovol form.    the tips of the hair which form the outer edges of the tail are white.    the base of the hairs are either black or a fox red.    the under disk of the tail is an iron grey, the upper a redish brown.    the lower part of the jaws, under part of the neck, legs and feet from the body down and belley are of a light brick red.    the nose as high as the eyes is of a darker brick red.    the upper part of the head neck and body are of a curious brownish grey colour with a cast of the brick red.    the longer hair of these parts being of a redish white colour at their extremities, fall together in such manner as to give it the appearance of being speckled at a little distance.    these animals form large ascociations as those of the Missouri, occupying with their burroughs one or sometimes 200 acres of land.    the burrows are seperate and are each occupyed perhaps by ten or 12 of those animals.    there is a little mound in front of the hole formed of the earth thrown out of the burrow and frequently there are three or four distinct holes forming what I term one burrow with their mouths arround the base of this little mound which seems to be occupyed as a watch-tower in common by the inhabitants of those several holes. these mounds are sometimes as much as 2 feet high and 4 feet in diameter, and are irregularly distributed over the tract they occupy at the distance of from ten to thirty or 40 yds.    when you approach a burrow the squirrels, one or more, usually set erect on these mounds and make a kind of shrill whistleing nois, something like tweet, tweet, tweet, &c.    they do not live on grass as those of the missouri but on roots.    one which I examined had in his mouth two small bulbs of a speceis of grass, [4] which resemble very much what is sometimes called the grassnut.    the intestins of those little animals are remarkably large for it's size.    fur short and very fine.—    the grass in their villages is not cut down as in those of the plains of the missouri. I preserved the skins of several of these animals with the heads feet and legs entire. The Black woodpecker [5] which I have frequently mentioned and which is found in most parts of the roky Mountains as well as the Western and S. W. mountains. I had never an opportunity of examining untill a few days since when we killed and preserved several of them.    this bird is about the size of the lark woodpecker of the turtle dove, tho' it's wings are longer than either of those birds. the beak is black, one inch long, reather wide at the base, somewhat curved, and sharply pointed; the chaps are of equal length.    arround the base of the beak including the eye and a small part of the throat is of a fine crimson red.    the neck and as low as the croop in front is of an iron grey.    the belly and breast is a curious mixture of white and blood reed which has much the appearance of having been artifically painted or stained of that colour.    the red reather predominates.    the top of the head back, sides, upper surface of the wings and tail are black, with a gossey tint of green in a certain exposure to the light.    the under side of the wings and tail are of a sooty black.    it has ten feathers in the tail, sharply pointed, and those in the center reather longest, being 2½ inches in length.    the tongue is barbed, pointed, and of an elastic cartelaginous substance.    the eye is moderately large, puple black and iris of a dark yellowish brown.    this bird in it's action when flying resembles the small redheaded woodpecke common to the Atlantic states; [6] it's note also somewhat resembles that bird.    the pointed tail seems to assist it in seting with more eas or retaining it its resting position against the perpendicular side of a tree.    the legs and feet are black and covered with wide imbricated scales.    it has four toes on each foot of which two are in rear and two in front; the nails are much curved long and remarkably keen or sharply pointed.    it feeds on bugs worms and a variety of insects.—

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Summary | 1 Annotation
The Indians were so anxious that the Sick Chief (who has lost the use of his limbs) Should be Sweted under our inspection they requested me to make a 2d attempt to day; accordingly the hole was enlargened and his father a very good looking old man performed all the drugery &c.    we could not make him Swet as copously as we wished.    being compelled to keep him erect in the hole by means of Cords.    after the oppiration he complained of Considerable pain, I gave him 30 drops of Laudnom which Soon composed him and he rested very well—. I observe the Strongest marks of parental affection.    they all appear extreemly attentive to this Sick man, no do they appear to relax in their ascituity towards him not withstanding he has been Sick and helpless for near 5 years.
2020/09/06 02:23