Antoine of Oregon - James Otis

A Sioux Encampment

A Sioux lodge is made of poles lightly stuck into the ground, in a circle of about ten feet in diameter; the tops come together within less than twelve inches, this opening being left for the smoke to pass out, because in stormy weather the Sioux women do all their cooking under cover, when a fire is built in the center of the tepee. Herein they differ considerably from the Pawnees, who seem to think it disgraceful to seek shelter, save in the most bitter weather of winter.

Over the framework of poles are buffalo robes, tied together with sinews until the covering will shed water and resist wind. Inside, the floor is covered thickly with skins of many kinds, on which by day the occupants lounge or cook, play or gamble, as best suits their fancy, and at night the same furs serve as a bed for all the family.

It was at Fort Laramie that I was met by certain members of the American Fur Company, who had in the older days been well acquainted with my father, and had seen me more than once when I was with him.

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

They paid their respects to my mother, and she and I, in company with John Mitchell and Susan, were invited to dinner with the gentlemen. We had cold corned beef and biscuit, with plenty of milk to drink, which fare was to us a luxury.