Primary Sources


Oto Council Description

"Oto Council" description, October 4th in An Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, performed in the years 1819-20, by order of Hon. J. C. Calhoun, Sec.y of War under the command of Major Stephen H. Long, compiled by Edwin James, Botanist and Geologist for the expeditions.

Oto Council
October 4th. At ten o'clock, the hour appointed for the council, the Indians, headed by their chiefs, arrived; and after shaking us all by the hand took their seats. There were about one hundred Ottoes, seventy Missouries, and fifty or sixty Ioways. They arranged themselves, agreeably to their tribes, on puncheon benches, which had been prepared for them, and which described a semicircle, on the chord of which sat the whites, with Major O'Fallon and his interpreters in the centre [sic]. Sentinels walked to and fro behind the benches; and a handsome standard waved before the assembly. The council was opened by a few rounds from the howitzers. A profound silence reigned for a few minutes, when Major O'Fallon arose, and in a very animated and energetic manner addressed his Indian auditors. Suitable replies were given by Shonga-tonga, the Crenier and others, with all the extravagant gesticulation which is one of the prominent features of Indian oratory.

At the termination of the council, presents were made of blankets, kettles, strouding, tobacco, guns, powder and ball,

&c. The Big Horse and the Crenier only were acknowledged as chiefs, and to the latter, who did not possess a large medal, one was given in exchange for a smaller one which he possessed. No chief was acknowledged amongst the Missouries, as it was the wish of Major O'Fallon to extinguish as much as possible national prejudices between these two nations or tribes.

Cut-nose now presented to the agent his crow and bison robe ornamented with hieroglyphicks [sic]. The Little Black Bear presented his robe of white wolf and bison skin, and a pair of handsome leggings. The Black Bird presented a robe and the serrated instrument of music before mentioned, observing, significantly that the latter was then the only weapon he possessed with which he could defend his father.



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Last updated June 2, 2005