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Chief Black Buffalo

An actor as Chief Black Buffalo of the Teton Sioux
It was imperative that the expedition treat the Teton Sioux, “in the most friendly & conciliatory manner” (Clark’s words), as the Teton controlled access to the upper Missouri River.

But on September 25, 1804, when the expedition prepared to continue upriver after contentious meetings with the Teton, a large crowd of well-armed Teton warriors and Chief Black Buffalo challenged them, demanding a toll of tobacco. The expedition members drew weapons and prepared to fire.

Finally, the expedition granted the Teton some tobacco and Black Buffalo waved his men off, averting what would likely have been an early and deadly end to the expedition.

Photograph by Mark Thiessen

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