Topic: Assiniboine

Assiniboin Indian Research

Assiniboin Indians (Chippewa: ŭ’sini, stone’ ŭ’pwäwa ‘he cooks by roasting’: ‘one who cooks by the use of stones.’-W. J.). A large Siouan tribe, originally constituting a part of the Yanktonai. Their separation from the parent stem, to judge by the slight dialectal difference in the language, could not have greatly preceded the appearance of the whites, but it must have taken place before 1640, as the Jesuit Relation for that year mentions the Assiniboin as distinct. The Relation of 1658 places them in the vicinity of Lake Alimibeg, between Lake Superior and Hudson bay. On Jefferys’ map of 1762 this


The Dakota are mentioned in the Jesuit Relations as early as 1639-40; the tradition is noted that the Ojibwa, on arriving at the Great Lakes in an early migration from the Atlantic coast, encountered representatives of the great confederacy of the plains. In 1641 the French voyageurs met the Potawatomi Indians flying from a nation called Nadawessi (enemies); and the Frenchmen adopted the alien name for the warlike prairie tribes. By 1658 the Jesuits had learned of the existence of thirty Dakota villages west-northwest from the Potawatomi mission St Michel; and in 1689 they recorded the presence of tribes apparently

1837 Smallpox Epidemic

No disease which has been introduced among the tribes, has exercised so fatal an influence upon them as the smallpox. Their physicians have no remedy for it. Old and young regard it as if it were the plague, and, on its appearance among them, blindly submit to its ravages. This disease has appeared among them periodically, at irregular intervals of time. It has been one of the prominent causes of their depopulation. Ardent spirits, it is true, in its various forms, has, in the long run, carried a greater number of the tribes to their graves; but its effects have

Fig. 23. Parfleche Pattern.

Plains Indians Use of Rawhide

The Use of Rawhide. In the use of rawhide for binding and hafting (handle or strap), the Plains tribes seem almost unique. When making mauls and stone-headed clubs a piece of green or wet hide is firmly sewed on and as this dries its natural shrinkage sets the parts firmly. This is nicely illustrated in saddles. Thus, rawhide here takes the place of nails, twine, cement, etc., in other cultures. The Partleche A number of characteristic bags were made of rawhide, the most conspicuous being the parfleche. Its simplicity of construction is inspiring and its usefulness scarcely to be over-estimated.

Blackfoot Medicine Pipe

Religion and Ceremonies of the Plains Tribes

The sacred beliefs of these Indians are largely formulated and expressed in sayings and narratives having some resemblance to the legends of European peoples. There are available large collections of these tales and myths from the Blackfoot, Crow, Nez Perce, Assiniboin, Gros Ventre, Arapaho, Arikara, Pawnee, Omaha, Northern Shoshoni, and less complete series from the Dakota, Cheyenne, and Ute. In these will be found much curious and interesting information. Each tribe in this area has its own individual beliefs and sacred myths, yet many have much in common, the distribution of the various incidents therein forming one of the important

Fig. 35. A Dog Dancer. Hidatsa. (After Maximilian.)

Government and Societies of the Plains Tribes

The political organization of plains tribes was rather loose and in general quite democratic. Each band, gens, or clan informally recognized an indefinite number of men as head men, one or more of whom were formally vested with representative powers in the tribal council. Among the Dakota, there was a kind of society of older men, self-electing, who legislated on all important matters. They appointed four of their number to exercise the executive functions. The Omaha had a somewhat similar system. The Cheyenne had four chiefs of equal rank and a popularly elected council of forty members. Among the Blackfoot

Assiniboin Indian Clans, Bands and Gens

Many tribes have sub-tribes, bands, gens, clans and phratry.  Often very little information is known or they no longer exist.  We have included them here to provide more information about the tribes. Chabin (from ge ‘mountain’). A division of the Assiniboin. Maximilian, Trav., 194, 1843. Eagle Hills Assiniboin. A band of Assiniboin of 35 lodges living in 1808 between Bear hills and South Saskatchewan r., Assiniboia Canada. Henry Thompson Jour., Coues ed., ii, 523. 1897 Gens de Pied (French: foot people). A former band of Assiniboin in 33 lodges w. of Eagle hills, Assiniboia, Canada. Henry (1808) in Coues, New