Saturday, December 07, 2002

Lewis did all this with the utmost seriousness. It never occurred to him that his actions might be characterized as patronizing, dictatorial, ridiculous, and highly dangerous. From what we know from old Dorion, these Yanktons were peaceable, at least compared with their neighbors and relatives, the Teton Sioux, farther upriver. But his idea of how to make them allies was to give them worthless medals and wardrobe trappings rather than the guns and powder they needed. And to make one chief the big chief was to meddle in the intertribal politics about which he knew nothing. In general, it would be impossible to say which side was more ignorant of the other.

Stephen Ambrose, Undaunted Courage (163)

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