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Gerard Baker Interview

Why are we drawn to the story of L&C?

The appeal is that it's, obviously from the history books it was know as "Opening the west," opening the, finding the water route to the west coast. Meeting with tribes, scientific value, this type of stuff. From the, from the Native American point of view I think, I think we're drawn to it because it was, and was and is part of our history. We still have relatively quite a few stories in fact about that, about the first meeting and, and that, that whole era, I guess, of different explorers that came through. And, and, so to us it's history, to us it's not only history, but also a, it's more of a learning from our, from our real traditional style, original way of life that we had back then.

What's the biggest misconception about L&C?

I think the biggest misconception about Lewis and Clark is the fact that they discovered things. I think if, maybe to themselves, but everybody thinks, "Well, nobody was ever out there." And I think if you talk to alot of people throughout the United States they seem like, nothing was there, they were the first ones there, which is untrue. The Indians were there, obviously, be it the nomadics or be it the agriculturalists, living in earth lodges. There are also alot of people there--the Frenchmen, the British, Hudson Bay Company was in there already. And so, so to me that, to me that's most misconception, is that they were, they were the first ones there, they discovered it. No, they didn't discover anything. They discovered it for themselves, basically, and that was it.

Is that really the story of L&C--about self-discovery?

I think it is, I think it is. And I think they came by it in the right way, which, which we've lost a little bit. They came by it with peace in mind, I think they came about it with a value system, that they weren't trying to disrupt the, the Indian way of life, which they did. They didn't want to introduce very much new things it seems like, which they did. And so that was, that's, that's the whole, you know, basic thing concept for me.

We tend to think of these sturdy pioneers going into the wilderness, but this is not a wilderness.

No, not at all. There, there were, there were villages, there were, there were towns in the area. When they got there, there, Mandan villages, particularly Mandan-Hidatsa, what they call a five village, there was 4,500 people living there. And, and, so that, that, that's a city. And, and, so I don't believe they expected that. They heard about it from, from early explorers I think, but they didn't expect to find any people there.

How were L&C greeted by the Mandans and Hidatsas?

They greeted them like they greeted, I believe, all the early explorers, with open arms. With, with trust. Probably with respect. And, and they also had the idea that they were going to gain something from it. And, and it wasn't just a, it wasn't just a chance meeting. The Indians knew that this folks were coming up the river for, I think, many days before they actually got there by their scouts. And by word of mouth. And so, so they greeted them with open arms.

The explorers called themselves explorers and not traders. That was different from who they met before. How did they relate to L&C?

I think with some wonderment, actually. Wonderment in that, for one thing, they were used to even simple things like transportation. They were, they were used to traders coming in there with, with canoes or bull(?) boats or what have you, and when these folks came up with keel boats, they were, they were bigger, more impressive, you know, I think they were still actually in the back of their minds I still believe that the, the village Indians thought that they, it was a chance to trade and that's why they were there. And, and if you really look at it, that's why they were there, was, was to open up the, the, the trading area, and also to explore new things. But still to the Indians it was trading.

L&C gave a speech about a new "Great Father" in Washington. What did the Indians think about this?

I don't think they would of a whole lot. They might of for a little bit. Mainly because those are the folks there that did the same thing, before them. The Frenchmen came in for example, the British came in for example from Hudson Bay territory, what is now Canada, and did the same thing. They gave them, they gave them flags. Even during that time of course, the British and the French knew something was happening so they gave them flags and medals and everything else. And I think by then they had been visited by quite a few people, and, and so it wasn't a, a big thing, but I think by then they realized it was a routine that they had to go through. They would listen to the speeches and, and accepting the medals, accepting different, different gifts, and, and in fact, the tribe at that time expected gifts, and they expected everybody to get one, get something. And, and I know in one instance, I think the ???? talked about not having everybody get everything and so they were upset about that. And so by then they had already started to.

Cut please.
What do you think Big White did with his peace medal?

What, what I want to think, and because Indians even back in those days weren't always, they're not stoic and they're not serious all the time, I want to think that he took his medal back to his lodge and as soon as he walks, soon as he comes in the front door of his lodge, his wife gets a ???? from the buffalo robe, goes over to a rawhide container, for example, lifts it up and he throws it in with the rest of the medals that he had gotten from previous explorers. I, I think in, in, he probably kept it and used it as a symbol of that, of that peace, but I think they were, they were given quite a few and I think he was probably getting used to it by then.

Can you put me in that Mandan village that fall when L&C come up that river?

In the fall, in October, it would have been getting colder, obviously, they would have got through with their harvest. They would have been busy going out and getting food in the, in the form of antelope and, and deer and bison when they could find them, and I think it would have been very busy. People would have been going through their cache pits, making sure things were safe from the animals. And I think would have been, it would have been, there would have been fires, you would of had wood smoke smell. It would have been a real warm environment and also a scary one too, because at that time you had a lot of so-called enemy tribes coming up, and so you're always on alert, you always had your scouts out, you always had your, your fox society(?) people out there who were the, were the warriors watching out for the enemies, particularly the, the Sioux, the Lakota, and different tribes that were, that were enemies. So I think there was, there was a little bit of anxiousness, if you can call it that, around the village as well. And especially with the folks there.

And yet them L&C and give them winter quarters...

Right, right. Again, if you look at the tradition of the Mandan- Hidatsas, especially Mandans, is that, you know, and in fact the whole philosophy of our religion is based upon respect and is based upon being open. And also because they were traders. They'd been traders, you know, for years, for centuries basically, with other tribes, and I think that, that taught them more, being open and, and being good business people basically.

What was that winter like between the exploration and the Mandan-Hidatsa?

I think it was, it was a, I know according to some of things I've heard from the old people, it was, it was, it was one they didn't forget about, you know, because there was people living with them, and it wasn't the first time people lived with them. Obviously, you know, people like Charbonneau was there a long time. Other, other Frenchmen and British were there also. But in this one here I think they felt something that was something new, it was, it was a new country. It was, it was a new, maybe a new, the first time maybe they heard a term of, "The Great White Father." And they couldn't understand that very well I don't think, unless someone put it to them in various stories is what that meant. So it was, it was, it was a good time, I think it was a, I think there was alot of conversations between families about what was going on, that's, that's what I would think was happening.

Could this expedition have survived without the help of the Mandan?

Not at all. I really don't believe so, because if had the Mandan been a, either a poor tribe or had their gardens not produced as they did, even in that case, they probably would have a hard time surviving. But, you know, the Mandans fed them, the Mandans, the Mandans would bring them into their, into their shelters, into their lodges and give them companionship, I think, which was very important back in those days, especially out in that so-called wild territory. And, and, so they taught them survival.

The Indian people are critical to the survival of the expedition throughout this journey.

Right. The Indian people, you know, up and down the Missouri, were the ones that opened up our own country, I guess if you can call it that. Because they're the ones that, that had open arms for people. First of all, they trusted them. They trusted them in that, usually with traders, usually the traders had something that they wanted and so they would trade and therefore they had to make sure the traders stayed healthy, ok, in order to survive. When Lewis and Clark came in there, and again they saved them or they helped them, I should say, shouldn't say saved them, but they helped them survive the winter. They were, people were very good to them, you know, and took them in.

What's the reaction to the new technology they're seeing--the guns, the rifles, etc..??

I think you're gonna, I think you would have, for the, for the things that they would see coming up, the boats, the guns, the new technology that they would see, I think there would have been two reactions. I think the first reaction would have been, it was very positive, it was something that they could help them hunt, help them survive, help them in warfare, even as far as some of the tools they would get as far as cutting, new knives and this type of thing. But at the same time, I think you had a element there that was a very strong, traditional element. I think alot of the people seen what was happening, talking about the elders, the ones that held the medicines, and the ones that were important to the tribe. I think they seen what was happening. I think they also saw in the future because some of them, you know, didn't want anything to do with them, didn't want anything to do with the traders and this kind of thing, stayed completely away from them and, and they didn't want to lose their life, their way of life, I should say. Because once you start losing that, for example, when you bring in, the traders brought in stuff, the metal pails and so forth, you lose something that's alive, going from a buffalo stomach, coming from a live animal, coming from something that has spirit, going to a pail, a metal object, you lose that, and I think alot of the old people seen that. So there was two, there was two ways of thinking with that.

What's big medicine?

The man?

The force. Did they see this as power, as the medicine that the traders had.

Ok, ok, I see what you mean. The medicine that they saw or the power that they saw with the traders coming in, or, or the, the, what they refer to as the big medicine coming in, they were scared of it, they were scared of it. I think they were scared of it because it wasn't just a fact that they were there, they seen new things, but it was a fact that even in their traditional way of life, they were taught since birth to respect, and to be scared of, things that looked real powerful or things like the, like the, even as far as York goes, you know, he was, he was completely different. And, and, therefore he was considered, I'm not going to say holy or sacred by anything of that, but he was really respected, as more so than, than, than the regular human or regular man, if we put it that way.

What was the reaction to York.

One of the stories obviously, comes from the journals, that they took, different tribes would take dirt, and I remember my father telling me about this story, taking dirt and try to go up to him and rub that black off. And when they found out they couldn't rub it off, that he was a man, of course he was very, he was very muscular and he was a big man, apparently, and so they had alot of respect for that, and he was, he was followed around all the time by the, by the children and, and by the women, because he was powerful, you know, and people respect that. And he was different. He was different. The Indian way teaches us that just because you're different, doesn't mean it's wrong. You be, you could be, you could be handicapped some way, mentally or physically, or you could have a, just like York came as, as a first black man they ever seen, and that was different. So he was very worship, he wasn't ostracized by any means at all. In fact, he was just the opposite.

Did the Indians share their wives to gain some power?

Sure. It's tough to, tough to understand that nowadays, about the...let me start over. The Indian people back in those days had many different customs. One of them was sharing their wives to, not only gain power but also to, to show respect. In this day and age of Christianity it's hard to understand those things, but again we're talking about a time when, when, when we didn't have that type of Christianity. And so, we had various ceremonies, in fact, Buffalo Bull Ceremony during the Okeepa(?), where young men would give their wives to the older men and, and bringing on the intelligence, bringing on the energies, bringing on everything else that the old people had with them. So this was no different. They would, they would definitely do that.

How did Sacagawea end up in the Hidatsa and Mandan village?

Sacagawea, there's two different stories to her, ok. There's two different theories. Sacagawea, first of all the modern or the contemporary story is that Sacagawea came, was a Shoshoni and that the Mandan or the Hidatsas or the Hidatsas raided them and stole her when she was a kid. And all this business. And that's why she knew...

Let's stop for one second. Is that (beep) you?
Let's stop and start again. Tell me about Sacagawea.

Ok, Sacagawea, and I'm gonna repeat that pronunciation, it's SaKagawea, not Sashcawea. Sacagawea being a Hidatsa term meaning "Birdwoman." Sacagawea, we know of two different theories, the modern theory or the theory that most people believe, that she was a Shoshoni. She was captured by the Hidatsa in a war raid, they were war party, which was common. They would capture the women and children. And not necessarily make slaves out of them, but take them into the tribe and marry them and they would live with them. Well, we all know that story. The Hidatsa side, the Hidatsa story to that is that Sacagawea was actually Hidatsa. She was, she was born in a village, in a Little Missouri River, village by the name of ??? or Night Walkers Butte. Pardon me. And she was, she was captured by the Shoshoni when the, when the young men went away to hunt, the Shoshoni came and captured her, her brother, some other kids, and some women, took them back to Shoshoni country. And while she was there, she was old enough, she had been captured when she was old enough to understand that she wasn't from the Shoshonis, that she wasn't from that village. And so she would get very lonesome, and for a number of time she would go out in the evenings, and she would look to the east, look towards her village and cry, and miss her people and so forth. Well this old lady finally got there and noticed that, and this old lady came and told her, "You know, I've been watching you for a long time. And I know you miss your people and you don't belong here, you belong back with your people." And so she said, "You come out here tomorrow night and you watch to the east, and whatever shows up, you follow that, and it will take you back to your people." Well, what showed up the night after that was the wolf, and so the wolves brought her back to the Hidatsa. And when she was getting ready to go, she went and told her brother, who was gonna be the leader and all of the Shoshoni and she asked him to go with them, "We're gonna go home." And he said, "You know, I'm not from there. I was, I might have been captured there, but I was raised here and I don't know anybody but these people, these are my people." That's why he stayed and that's why they had contacts that way. And the, so she went back.

Cut please.
Seems that the real star of this story is the seems that the Indian peoples along the route knew and felt the significance of the land. What is that about?

For the Indian people up and down the river, especially with the Mandan-Hidatsas, the feeling for the land was, was and is, great. For one thing, the, first of all the Mandan-Hidatsas were agriculturalists, so they depended more on the land than other tribes. And I'm not gonna, I'm not saying it wasn't important to other tribes. Other tribes depended on it as well for hunting, for example, for gathering and so forth. But the Mandan-Hidatsa depended on it more because they were agriculturalists. And, and the land, the, the belief in the philosophy of that time was that everything's alive. And it wasn't just the fact that it was green in the spring and goes to a brown and goes to a white in the winter time, but it was a fact that literally everything was alive. That when the creators made it, the land, the water, the rocks, the trees, everything, including the animals and the people, is that they not only put something there to help the people, they also put something there that would be alive because they blew some of their spirit into it. And so literally everything was alive. And, and, that's why they depend on the land, that's why they had all the ceremonies and the prayers and the songs, alot of times to various aspects of the land, be it the rivers, be it the fish in the river, be it the buffalo and so forth.

Did L&C sense that?

I'm sure they did. I'm sure they did. I'm sure they came in there in different times that, if they seen a new, a new part. They went around the bend, for example, and seen a magnificent hill or a magnificent cliff or, or, whatever. I'm sure they would have sensed it. But I think for alot of times, it, it was a job. I think for alot of times, it was, it was their livelihood basically. Yeah, they were gonna, they were doing something new, but they, if anything, I think, alot of people of that time period, and maybe even today, still miss the sense that, that their spirit's within the land. And I don't think they understood that, they didn't, they didn't grow up that way, for one thing. And so they would of missed it with that.

In a nutshell, what happened to your people in the years after L&C?

In a nutshell, what happened to our people in the years after Lewis and Clark is that we went downhill. In a nutshell, we lost. Like, like all the other tribes that Lewis and Clark, not only opened up a route, established a waterway and established a new country and did scientific value for, after Lewis, after the Louisiana Purchase. But, they, they changed the people. We, we, we started going from a dependency on the environment, on the spiritualism of the land, to a dependency on the traders and the military and everything else that came after Lewis and Clark. So it, it, we, we, we essentially lost.

So we see L&C as the beginning, but Indian people see them as the beginning of the end.

The Indian people see the expedition, especially today, that yes, it was the beginning of an end. We already start seeing dependencies going from a traditional way of life to, to more of a European style. We already see them, I'm not gonna to say lose respect, but maybe losing, lose a small identity towards, towards the environment, by Lewis and Clark coming. It was, it was a good time for that year, for 1804-1805, but there's been alot of changes, there's been alot of negative changes after that. It wasn't, you know, they didn't know it was going to be that way I guess for the future. They had no idea to see the future, and it's been gone ever since.

So for Indian people there's nothing to celebrate with L&C.

For Indian people there's not much to celebrate with Lewis and Clark. If we can, if we can find something to celebrate, that would be the fact that we need to, we need to re-identify ourselves as to how we were at that particular time when Lewis and Clark were there. We need to reidentify ourselves with the fact that, yes, we do need to encourage and enhance that respect we had for the land. We need to teach, we need to teach our young people that, "Hey, it happened. I mean this is, this is actually what happened. Lewis and Clark were here, this is what changes that occurred. But there's also nothing we can do about it at this point--it's already happened. So what we gotta do now is make the best of it, and be educated, and, and, and also not forget our culture, not forget the culture that was portrayed when Lewis and Clark were there in 1804-1805.

Tell me about that first winter.

It was a, it was a hard winter, it was a very cold winter, but if you, if you read the journals, you know, the Indian people were pretty much used to it. I mean, Lewis and Clark would continually see people that were, and kids, that were wearing little or nothing, maybe just a breech cloth and moccasins, playing on the ice and, and being in war camps and so forth. And, and it was a cold, hard winter, but the people were used to it. I think it was a cold, hard winter for Lewis and Clark, there's no question about that, and they wrote about that. But it wasn't bad for the Indians, they were used to it, that was part of their life.

How did they live? What were their winter quarters?

The Indians? The winter quarters for the Mandan-Hidatsa is, there were smaller earth lodges. They were very well sheltered, I mean they had everything they could think of, they had your earth lodge that consisted of not only cottonwood trees but alot of dirt, almost like a subterranean type, although it wasn't subterranean. They had family there. They had blankets in the form of buffalo hides. And I think, and I mentioned family briefly, let me get back to that. That's the, that's the best thing they had to keep them alive, and to keep them well, and to keep happy, and to keep them warm, was family. And alot of times when we start thinking about Lewis and Clark and who they met and as far as what they wrote about was the leaders they met and individuals they met, they pretty much failed to recognize families. They failed to recognize the young kids that were running around that lodge and making people laugh, and giving that warm feeling, and I think that's what kept them. So it wasn't just a matter of a structure, that was alive as well, and everybody inside had spirits and even the lodge posts had spirits. And so, there was a whole big combination, it's not cut and dry, there was a combination of things that made people survive.

Do you think the Indian people regret the kind of friendship they gave to L&C?

If you look at it nowadays, yes.

My question's not in it.

If, if Indian, when they look back at the expedition now, not only Lewis and Clark's but alot of people, today we, today we regret it. Today we regret it ever happened. But we need to learn how to use it for our benefit. But, yeah, there's been alot of, alot of regrets, I believe.

One of the things we're drawn to is the sense of cohesion and family--working as one unit.

The Lewis and Clark expedition were very, was very cohesive. I think one of the biggest elements that made them cohesive was probably fright. Because they didn't know what there was around the next bend, they didn't know if there was friendly Indians there, or, or warrior-types that were gonna get them. And so, they need to stick together. They had no choice.

What moment in their journey would you most like to have witnessed?

The meeting of the, the first time they met with all the different leaders of those, of those villages. They tried the first day, the ones to the south, it was really windy so they couldn't come up there. And so, the next day, when they got to villages, I would of loved to been there, sitting there watching and not really listening, not really listening because I think what they were saying was said before. And, and what the Indians heard was what they heard before. But actually watching not only Lewis and Clark, obviously, but watching the tribal members. Watching their body language. Watching how they communicated with one another, you know. Because I think you can see that if you could, you know, just almost look at when somebody and say, "Hey, these guys are saying the same thing we heard last year from whoever." You know, or "Here, this again." Whatever. And I think that would have been fun to watch. And, and it would have gave, and I wish Lewis and Clark would have wrote about that. I really wished they would have wrote more about even body language or little things that happened in the background, and little, what the kids were doing, what the women were doing, whatever.

L&C really thought they could forge a peace among the warring tribes. Was that naive?

Lewis and Clark were, when they looked at other tribes and tried to form peace among them, to a certain extent it was naive, I think. But they came with the attitude of the early government, and maybe the attitude of, you know, of sometimes of today's government, of the "Great White Father." And these, these people that are in their territory now, are their children. And so therefore the need to make sure the children all work together and all got along together. That was the attitude. But they didn't understand the traditional territorial fights they had. They didn't understand the culture. And, so yeah, they were very naive in that sense, coming in there and trying to say, ok, get along with your brother or get along with the Arikara who were enemies at that time in the south. And so, yeah they did have some, came with some naive understandings.

Why do you think, now that we've had this conversation, why are we drawn to this story?

The appeal of this story of Lewis and Clark goes beyond, goes beyond the philosophy of "What's around the next bend? What's there?" I mean that's real strong, too. But I think the appeal is, for alot of people, the various tribes they met, the various hardships they incurred, and for some people, it's the appeal of Sacagawea being the, being the, according to them, the savior of the expedition, which by no means she was, you know. She was a passenger. And so some appeal is to that. The biggest appeal is that we all want to believe as Americans, I don't care if we're Indians or whites, the biggest appeal is we want to believe that there's still things undiscovered, I think. That they, we want to, we want to go around the bend and be the first ones there. And even this, I think in this day and age, that's more so than anything else.

Cut. Terrific.
What the role of the Indian people in general is in the success of this expedition.

The role of Indian people was the survival of Lewis and Clark's expedition. Without the Indian people, they wouldn't have made it. Simple as that. Simple as that.

At every step.

At every step of the way, from feeding them to winterizing them at the Mandan villages, to the, to the getting horses with the Shoshonis, and even on the west coast helping them out. So, without them, they wouldn't did it.

Talk to me about that famous Great Father in Washington speech.

The, the speech that Lewis and Clark gave the tribes, the Mandans and Hidatsas, and as far as that goes, probably all the tribes that they did give their speech to, there was alot of promises in there. There was promises of friendship. There was promises of helping each other survive. There was a, there was a promise of, "This is your territory, we're not gonna interfere with it. This is your lives, not gonna interfere with it. You now have a leader. You now have a Great White Father." And I guess that's the closest they could get to and that's an example of what they meant. It was, it was relatively new, as I mentioned, there was people and countries in the past that probably gave them the same type of speeches, but this meant more because it was a turning point that the United States saw. That Thomas Jefferson saw. And, and, I think the people were excited about it. I think the Mandan-Hidatsa people were excited about that, because they, again they've been middle men or they've been traders for years and years and years, and they see a new avenue. They seen a new business. And, so they believed them. They believed them. I think that's why they had them with, that's why they welcomed with open arms and even after that speech was over, when they got their gifts.

Were they betrayed?

Definitely. They were definitely, ok, they were... The river Indians, Mandans-Hidatsas, other tribes were in the long run betrayed by the false promises they heard in these speeches. And they was, it was the beginning of the, of that time period when they did heard alot of speeches, up until the last treaty. One of the last ones being Fort Larrame, and they broke that. And so yeah, they were definitely betrayed. At the time they didn't know it. At the time they didn't know it, but I think later on they realized it.

Did L&C believe the promises?

Did Lewis and Clark, did believe their promises that they were making. I think they made them in earnest. They made them, obviously following orders and following instructions from their boss, but I believe they were, I think they were good men. I think they were very honest and the reason I say that is that the fact that after they made their trip even, they were, they were sickened by what happened along the river. What happened to their friends Indians up there with the smallpox epidemics and all that. And so to me, that indicates that they were, they had true feelings towards the river and towards the Indians.

Something special happened that winter--the way the Indians came together. Tell me about that.

The way the Indians came together with the, with the Lewis and Clark expedition and vice versa, was brought together by alot of different things. Brought together by the elements, first of all. Cold, cold winter, ok. And windchills, I would imagine. And also by the loneliness that can be portrayed with the cold and portrayed along the bottom when nothing is alive. They brought them together, I think that brought them together as well. They came together to do everything from socially visiting, to eating together, to dancing together. I think the Indians, obviously, got a huge kick out of watching the European dances, especially when men dance with men. Because in those days, like today, you don't dance with partners when you do it in a Native American tradition. So they got a kick out of that. And I think humor was a big thing. I don't think Lewis and Clark wrote enough about the humor that was portrayed, and there must have been alot of it, there must have been alot of it in those, because they had alot of, they alot of nights of storytelling, alot of nights of just telling what happened within the past year. And I'm sure Lewis and Clark were there hearing these stories. And so alot of that had to been done with humor, had to been done with eating together, with, with trying to visit even children, this kind of stuff.

It almost seems that this was a vision of how it could have been.

Definitely. And how it was at that time. But Lewis and Clark expected, as well the tribes did, that things would be, would be perfect, from there on in, and people live together in harmony, and it just didn't happen. But I think that winter was, there was times in that winter when it was beautiful. When it was absolutely beautiful.

Tell me about grizzly bears.

One of the elements that Lewis and Clark, and the tribes had, along the river, was the animal world. One of them, the most powerful I think of the animal world at that time ??? was the plains grizzly. And I do know that the tribes themselves had various ceremonies and had various societies that were attached to the grizzlies. It was very unusual for the men to hunt grizzlies. It was very unusual for the men to go out and actually stalk them, because they were very powerful. So the people just stayed away from them as much as possible. But they were there, that was just another element, just another danger. And if you didn't do things right, you know, the grizzlies would come, basically.

How could this expedition survive?

The way that the Lewis and Clark expedition survived, besides being on the lucky side, ok, was from the people. Was from the tribes. That's how they survived. They, they, if you remember the journals, they always had somebody with them, or they were always meeting somebody or, or, they're the ones that helped them survive. And also I really do think that they, that they had a very good team concept going and team, family concept going when they were together as, as the Lewis and Clark expedition. And when they got more people on like Charbonneau and Sacagawea, they just enhanced or enhanced the family, and that's how they survived.

So finally, what's the significance of the L&C expedition to American history.

The significance of American history, in American history, by the Lewis and Clark expedition, expedition, is that, people who study it, be it in classroom situations or, or as hobbies or whatever, need to understand that it wasn't just the opening of the west that people claimed it was, that it was a learning experience about new cultures. And the significance is, the significance is is that we must, when we look at those new cultures, even today, and see how we changed them, there's both negative and positive things to that. See how we changed them. See how they were. And therefore using those to maybe learn how to live together. And, and help each other out.

In your tradition, how are L&C remembered.

Lewis and Clark is remember in my, in my, with my culture of Mandan-Hidatsa as explorers. That the ones that start changing a way of life. And also that they were, that they were good people, that they were good people. You know, we never, obviously because we never taxed them, we never, we never stopped them anyway at all.

Thanks. What is the Mandan word for white man and what does it mean.

Well one of the word...

Remember my question is not in it...

That's right, that's right. Let's go with the Hidatsa. The, the, ok the word that's along the river for White People or White Man is the term that we say, "Mashee." Mashee, according to some, means "because they were friendly" and they were friends towards that in that time period towards the early White Man, is that what that means, it means a friend or a good person, is what I understand. And, to tell you the truth, the Mandan, I don't know--I just know the Hidatsa.

OK, thank you.