tv Lewis and Clark Expedition in South Dakota CSPAN October 7, 2017 10:21pm-10:31pm EDT
programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. c-span, where history unfolds daily. created as aan was public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> behind me is the oahe dam that sits just to the north of the city of pierre. it was built in 1962 by the army corps of engineers, 160 years after lewis and clark had made their way up the missouri river through this area. come with us to the south dakota cultural heritage center to learn more about their journey. >> although the lewis and clark
expedition is key in u.s. history, the idea of the expedition was to encourage more american travel up the missouri river, and more american trade with the american indians. what the story is in south dakota, there is some interesting tales. first of all, when you come into south dakota, you have -- sergeant floyd had just died where the current city of sioux city is. but it was when they got to what is now the city of elk point, south dakota, they elected patrick gass as the new sergeant. it was the first election held in south dakota. interestingly enough, clark's slave, york, was allowed to vote in that election, highly unusual situation. farther up the river, they found a mound, supposed to be inhabited by devils. of course they had to see these devils. but once they got to the top of spirit mountain, what did they see?
their first bison. there was acres and acres of bison on this flatland. you have got to remember, these are men coming from me eastern united states, who were used to trees and forests, and hills and rocks. so this open plane was like a farmers delight as well as a hunter's delight, with all these buffalo. and as they, the river farther, george cannon, the youngest member of the expedition, 17, got lost. but the most important thing in south dakota was the encounter with the teton lakota. here in the fort pierre area in central south dakota. many historians believe it could have been the end of the expedition, because it was a confrontation. it was a great misunderstanding between the non-indians, lewis and clarke, and the indian people here at the confluence of the bad river and missouri river. lewis and clark were walking into a very difficult political
situation amongst the american indians here. lewis and clark assumed these were just simple people, simple lives, and they were going to tell them what needed to be told, we could move on and life was happy. well, these were very sophisticated people, too. they were having a rivalry for leadership, between buffalo medicine, black buffalo, and the partisan, they were competing on who was going to represent the tribe to these explorers, coming up the missouri river. they also wanted to control the trade up and down the missouri river. it was in the lakota's best interests to not allow free trade up and down the missouri river. they got paid more goods from the explorers and traders and trappers than the indians of the river. of course, the american explorers, lewis and clark, they said no, we want to trade with you. we want more trade. and it wasn't in in the best
interests of the lakota to do that. so there was this competition between black buffalo, the partisan, and buffalo medicine. that kind of confrontation, they just didn't understand. the other thing lewis and clark did was they left their best interpreter behind with the lakota people, who earlier on they had a great relationship with. so here we are, lewis preparing to give what they dubbed his indian speech and they did not have a proper translator, so the speeches were not effective. gifts andut wonderful they give more gifts to black buffalo, because they see him as the head chief. that is doing things with the buffalo medicine or the partisan. they were angry because they were just as important as black buffalo, and so they wanted more goods. that didn't go so well. so lewis and clark said, let's take them out on the boat, that will impress him. so they loaded him up on the
boat and go out to the river and everything. and when they are coming back, buffalo -- the partisan's men grab a hold of the rope and symbolically say, you cannot leave. you cannot leave until you give us more things, more goods. and clark immediately got mad. he ordered guns raised. guns got raised. well, along the shores, you have to imagine, both sides of the river are filled with these american indians, men, women, children, watching what is going on, being part of the day. and weapons get drawn on that side. well, the good thing is that, at this moment in time, the leadership of black buffalo really shows. he steps forward, tells the warriors to let go of the rope, and they do. there is a pause. the tension goes away, and the moment of potential confrontation disappears.
when president thomas jefferson sent lewis and clarke out on their expedition, they knew they were going to encounter american indians, and they wanted to provide a friendly appearance with the american indians, because it was going to be key in the development of this country to work with the american indians that were living here. when they came up the missouri river, lewis and clark had peace medals with them, we refer them as jefferson peace medals. on the front of the medal is an image of president thomas jefferson, and on the back it has two hands clasped in friendship. those medals were given out to the leaders, or the people they identified as the leaders, of the american indians they met along the route. very important, in terms of the gifting they gave. these were given to the people they saw as the leadership of the tribes, and the key people they had to influence. especially when talking about this man, thomas jefferson,
whose images on this medal, and who is head of this country and now your new leader, too. that was important in the whole diplomatic aspect of the expedition. the diplomatic side i think was important, and i think it was something they took great pains to be good at doing. the military part -- it was a military expedition. they were dressed in military uniforms whenever they met with tribal leaders. that was pretty clear. they showed their guns. they showed their mighty guns. they love the aspect of discovering new things, but the diplomatic part of their whole mission was the most important from the standpoint that they were letting people know there was a new owner, quote, of this land, and it happened to be the united states of america. not only to the american indians who were here, but also to the trappers and traders living among the american indians, and encouraging trade.
in central south dakota, fort pierre, south dakota, it is the heart of the lewis and clarke story. it is so important about their connections with american indians and how that went and how it could have gone. pushing of the diplomacy, the pushing of trade, the economy, the pushing of military strength. and the scientific exploration. it is all about what is important to the lewis and clark expedition, their whole core of discovery of what they were all about. announcer: this weekend, we are featuring the history of pierre, south dakota together with our cable partners. learn more about peer and other stops on our cities tour at c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3.
cracks during world war ii, the army air corps first motion picture unit produced over 300 training films. the unit was composed entirely of industry professionals and many featured hollywood stars, like james stewart, ronald reagan, clark gable. next on american history tv the national archives hosted this hour-long event. >> today we are broadcasting live from the national archives building in washington, d.c. welcome. glad you are here with us either youtube.r online on before wein