Crossing the Indian Country, 1804 1806
What was Known? 1804 Mandan Winter Salish Rescue Nez Perce Refuge Chinook Country Columbia River Two Dead Blackfeet New Indian Experts


Mandan Buffalo Calling Ceremony

This description of the Americans’ attendance at a Red Stick or Buffalo Calling ceremony during their winter with the Mandans appeared in the first history of the expedition. Unable to comprehend its larger meaning, the explorers at the time had simply recorded what they saw. Nine years later, Nicholas Biddle, the Philadelphia scholar who had been charged with producing the official report of the expedition, called the event “ludicrous.” Out of modesty, he shifted to Latin when describing the ceremony’s sexual aspects.

Click to read descriptions of the Buffalo Calling ceremony by Nicholas Biddle and by William Clark.