Lewis and Clark meet the Teton Sioux


This page details the first encounter between of the Lewis and Clark and the Teton Sioux


Home >> United States History >> Lewis and Clark >> Teton Sioux Territory


Lewis and Clark

Tour the EPIC Lewis and Clark Journey
Lewis and Clark Interactive
Lewis and Clark Discoveries
Lewis and Clark Summary
Corps of Discovery
Meriwether Lewis
William Clark
Thomas Jefferson
Lewis and Clark Online Activities
Lewis and Clark Printable Activities
Lewis and Clark Videos
Make Your Own Lewis and Clark Map!

Related Historical Events

Louisiana Purchase
Westward Expansion

The Epic Journey

Summer 1804 – Into the Wild
Late 1804 – Teton Sioux Territory
Winter 1804-1805 – the Mandans
April 1805 – Grizzly Country
Summer 1805 – Great Falls of the Missouri River
August 1805 – Shoshone Country
Fall 1805 – the Bitteroots
November 1805 – Columbia River
Winter 1805-1806 – Fort Clatsop
1806 – Return Trip

American Bison

American Bison in South Dakota

As the Corps entered the Great Plains, new animals previously unknown such as the coyote and antelope were recorded for the first time. In addition, it was in South Dakota where Lewis and Clark first recorded large herds of buffalo that came to symbolize the Great Plains.

As the Corps sailed north, they met up with the Teton Sioux Indians near present-day Pierre, South Dakota. The Teton Sioux had previously been documented as powerful and aggressive by French fur-traders and often required payments or tributes to traders or other native groups for safe passage up the river. When the Corps first encountered the Teton Sioux, they attempted to demonstrate power and might by firing one of their air guns and parading in uniform. The Teton Sioux, however, were neither frightened nor impressed, and demanded one of Corps’ boats as a toll for moving farther upriver. A fight nearly ensued, but was defused by the diplomacy of a chief named Black Buffalo after the Corps of Discovery offered tobacco as a tribute. For three more anxious days, the expedition stayed with the tribe, where there were celebrations, misunderstandings, and an overall lack of communication, as neither side properly understood the other. During this time, William Clark took detailed notes about the Teton Sioux, remarking that they were generally thin and ill-looking in appearance. He also took notes describing a "scalp dance" performed by the tribe after a war victory over the rival Omahas.

Lewis and Clark meet the Teton Sioux


Did You Know?

The Corps of Discovery recorded over 300 different kinds of plants and animals for the first time, like this Western Meadowlark.

Click here to learn more about these discoveries.



NEXT: Winter with the Mandans