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Lewis and Clark
SHOWING RECORD: 2 of 4   Teton Sioux Indians
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image: Teton Sioux Indians
Photograph by Alexander Gardner/Bettmann/Corbis
Teton Sioux Indians

First Noted by Expedition
September 25, 1804

By the time Lewis and Clark encountered them near present-day Pierre, South Dakota, the Teton branch of the Sioux Nation were masters of the plains on both sides of the Missouri River. Nomadic and warlike, the Teton attacked the region's sedentary peoples at will and were determined to control trade on the river.

It was imperative, Clark wrote, that the expedition treat the Teton Sioux "in the most friendly & conciliatory manner."

But on September 25, 1804, when the expedition prepared to head 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.

On his return down the Missouri in August 1806, Clark was still angry enough with the Teton that he forbid any contact with the tribe across the river.

Over time, war and epidemic decimated the population of Sioux. Today there are Sioux reservations in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Montana, as well as reserve lands in Canada.

From the Expedition Journals

"the chief Sayed he had warriers too and if we were to go on they would follow us and kill and take the whole of us by degrees. ..."
image: Teton Sioux Indians
Photograph from Bettmann/Corbis

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