Sans Arc / Itazipcho

Sans Arc / Itazipcho wiki

The Sans Arcs, 1850-1870
by Kingsley M. Bray

In 1850 Thaddeus Culbertson observed that the Sans Arc (Itazipcho, or Without Bows) division of the Teton Lakota, consisted of three bands:

1. Sans Arc proper chief: Crow Feather
2. Minisa chief: Lazy Bear
3. Ham Eaters chief: Medicine Man

This is probably a new Crow Feather II, son to the first who was active in the period 1815-40.

At this time the Sans Arcs were rated at about 1000 people, one of the smaller of the seven Teton tribal divisions. Their hunting range was to the north and east of the Black Hills, extending east to the Missouri River. They claimed the same lands as the Miniconjou. By this period they also enjoyed a close link to the Hunkpapa, often hunting and travelling with Hunkpapa hosts in the country north of Grand River. I detect a pattern of generational shifts across the period 1750-1875, with the Sans Arcs alternately enjoying their prime relationship with:
a) the Miniconjou, frames 1750-85; 1815-45.
b) the Hunkpapa, frames 1785-1815; 1845+.
I wonder if this is connected to the succession of Calf Pipe Keepers, reflecting the affiliations, marriages, etc. of individual Keepers. My provisional list of Keepers' dates for this period is as follows:

Elk Head I, ca. 1815-46 (noted by Catlin, 1832; Nicollet, 1839; death noted in ---- winter count)
Hollow Horn, 1846-76/7 (noted by Gen. Harney, 1855)
Elk Head II, 1877-1915 

During the period 1850-80 up to eight bands made up the Sans Arc tribe (chiefs as period 1865-80):

1. Itazipco-hca, Sans Arc Proper
2. Minisa, Red Water (Black Hawk?)
3. Sina-luta-oin, Red Cloth Ear-ring (Black Eagle)
4. Woluta-yuta, Ham Eaters (Blue Coat)
5. Mazpegnake, Metal Hair Ornaments (Brown Thunder)
6. Tatanka-cesli, Bull Dung (Spotted Eagle, Red Bear, Looks Up)
7. Siksicela, Bad Ones (Elk Head, Martin Charger)
8. Tiyopa-ocannumpa, Pipe at Door

A number of Sans Arc bands are listed by Josephine Waggoner, but not reported elsewhere, as follows:
Waggoner list KMB transl. Remarks
Wipasabyote Many Black-Topped Tipis ?Miniconjou
Sunka-yutesni Eat No Dogs Miniconjou
Tiyopa-sa-yuha Owns Red Door ?=Pipe at Door
Lejeglatkan Drink Own Urine Miniconjou 1850
Oohe-nompa Two Kettle
Owesica ?Bad Wound

In 1855 Harney noted two main Sans Arc chiefs, Crow Feather II and Hollow Horn - the latter the Calf Pipe Keeper until Elk Head assumed the keepership in 1877. The Sans Arc chiefs recognized by Harney in 1856 were:
1. Crow Feather II 6. Red-Tailed Eagle II (Burnt Face)
2. Big Brain 7. Black Magpie
3. Grass Dog 8. The Wear Out
4. Yellow Hawk I 9. The One That Leaves Alone
5. Bull Man 10. The High One

Hayden, ca. 1857, tabulated two Sans Arc bands, the Minisa, rated at 80 lodges and led by Crazy Heart; and the Plenty Horses (not subsequently noted), 75 lodges, led by Crow Feather. The Minisa were more identified with the eastern end of the Sans Arc range, within the mainstem Missouri valley; while the nickname Plenty Horses indicates a more westerly distribution, with access to the horse trade region south and west of the Black Hills. This band therefore had closer links, through Upper Miniconjou relatives, to Southern Teton trade partners.

Crow Feather died in 1858. His son was then eighteen years old, and although his father's certificates and papers were bequeathed to Crow Feather III, he was not recognized as a chief until October 1865, when he signed the Fort Sully treaty. 

During the period 1856-65 the Northern Teton bands were polarised into anti- and pro-U.S. factions. In summer 1858 the Northern Tetons were angry at news of the Yankton land cession, and the Sans Arcs in particular were said to be "in open hostility to the U.S." (CoIA AR 1858: SDHC XXVII, p. 245). In fall 1860 Agent Twiss reported from the Upper Platte that the Sans Arcs and the Hunkpapas, although their chiefs and headmen remained in favour of the U.S. alliance, were controlled by young men - probably chapters of the Strong Heart society. In 1862 (ibid p. 299) "the portion of the Sans Arcs who were opposed to intercourse with the Government" assassinated Hunkpapa head chief Bear Ribs. The alternating year pattern is strongly suggestive of a warrior society - surely the Strong Hearts - being elected to police duties on a one-year on, one-year off basis. 

It may be that the last four Shirt Wearers recognized by the Sans Arcs:
 Black Eagle Scarlet Cloth Earring band born 1829
 Blue Coat Ham Eaters band
 Looks Up Bull Dung band
 Elk Head Siksicela band born ca. 1825
were seated at this time (Sun Dance 1860?). None of these men was a Harney chief or later associated with the agency, suggesting an alternative non-treaty leadership. Perhaps the 1858 death of Crow Feather II contributed to this situation. 

Among the Sans Arc (and Hunkpapa) these factional divisions were mapped onto the existing west-east band dichotomy outlined above. We can detect ideological shifts by families and perhaps tiyospayes, however. Thus the keepership of the Calf Pipe ran in a family within the Minisa band, at the eastern, or pro-US end of the Sans Arc distribution. In 1832 and 1839 Elk Head (Keeper 6: ca. 1810-ca. 1850) had been named as a Sans Arc chief, and was doubtless the contemporary Keeper. In 1855 Harney noted Hollow Horn (Keeper 7: ca. 1846-77) as the next chief in this dynasty, but he is absent from the ten Sans Arc leaders recognized by Harney the following year. This suggests that Hollow Horn was disenchanted with the tribal council's bid to appease Harney. Elk Head lived in the Siksicela band (married-in?) when he was made a Shirt Wearer (1860's?). Conversely Crow Feather III, after being made a chief in 1865, gradually switched allegiance to the eastern, pro-US bands.

A small Sans Arc faction, stated to be only 26 lodges in 1865, continued to accept annuities after the crisis of 1862 (when 'hostile' Sans Arc warriors assassinated Bear Ribs, the Hunkpapa leader of the Teton peace faction). In September 1862 the friendly Yanktonai and Teton gathered at Fort Pierre, the Sans Arcs being represented by Yellow Hawk I and Red-Tailed Eagle II. The former was married to Julia Deloria/Des Lauriers, the daughter of a Frenchman and a Dakota woman. Charger (born ca. 1833), of the Siksicela band of Sans Arcs, was a leading man in this camp, a co-founder of the Fool Soldiers, a pro-U.S. akicita force drawn from the Sans Arc and Two Kettle 'friendly' contingent.

At Fort Sully, October 11, 1865, the treaty commission met the Sans Arcs in council. Two chiefs were present, Red Tailed Eagle and Dog Grass [Grass Dog in Harney list of chiefs], plus several warriors. They said that in their camp, i.e. the main 'friendly' camp of Sans Arcs, were present Big Head and Yellow Hawk. Crow Feather was dead and his son was not yet a chief. Of the Harney chiefs, Bull Man, Black Magpie, The Wear Out, The One that Leaves Alone, and High One, are not mentioned at all. They mention one unnamed chief (Yellow Hawk?) who started out with them, but who had to turn back because his horse was injured. Therefore it looks as if most of the unnamed chiefs are to be identified with the 'hostile' faction in 1865. They also state that the Sans Arcs had six bands, but also mention eight "head chiefs", plus another fourteen "soldiers" who were counted among the (total of twenty-two) chiefs. Since Harney recognized ten chiefs, including the late Crow Feather II, it may be that one more of the Harney chiefs had died too, resulting in the eight chiefs mentioned. 

Also present on October 11 were the following warriors:

Afraid of Bear (head soldier) (man of this name in lodge next but one to Burnt Face 1871, so probably Red-Tailed Eagle's head soldier)
Black Dog (soldier) (man of this name in Black Hawk's band 1875)
Bull Eagle (soldier)
Black Woodpecker (warrior)
Crow Eagle (warrior: Oglala who lives with Sans Arcs)

On October 20, three chiefs signed the treaty: 
1. Red-Tailed Eagle
2. Yellow Hawk (now present)
3. Fool Dog. 

Red-Tailed Eagle stated that he represented 26 lodges of Sans Arcs that accepted annuities under the 1851 Treaty, and that among them were eight soldiers then present. It looks as if the above three chiefs were all headmen of a single band, which I suggest is the Sans Arc proper band. Possibly Fool Dog is the same man as Dog Grass. Six (nb. not eight) "chief soldiers" also signed (note they do not overlap with the warriors present on the 11th):
Bear's Heart
Afraid of Nothing (man of this name in Hurts Himself's band 1875; man of this name also in Straight Head's band, 1876 Reg.)
Nine (man of this name in Black Eagle's band, Red Cloth Earrings, 1875)
Bear's Ears (Yellow Hawk I's son)
Black Hoop
Bird Necklace (Yellow Hawk's band)

Later Crow Feather III [born ca. 1840] arrived and, now noted as a chief, he participated in the council of October 28. With him were Gray Hair [born 1816, rated chief 1875], Red Hair, Eagle Shield, and Black Bear (status undefined), all of whom added their marks to the treaty. 

Winter 1865-66, 20 lodges of Sans Arcs camped near Fort Sully.

On June 7, 1866 45 Sans Arc lodges were at Fort Sully for new talks with the treaty commission, chief Yellow Hawk. Note, however, that when substantive talks opened on June 11, Burnt Face and Yellow Hawk both spoke for the Sans Arcs. On June 21 the commission met more chiefs at Fort Rice, including three lodges of Sans Arcs, chief Angry Heart.

Winter 1866-67, 38 lodges of Sans Arcs camped near Dirt Lodges above old Fort Sully. This would be the Peoria Bottom location later settled by the Yellow Hawk tiyospaye. Several Sans Arc leaders went to Washington early in 1867, inc. Yellow Hawk, Red-Tailed Eagle and Charger. Yellow Hawk and Red-Tailed Eagle were at Fort Sully June 1867. Burnt Face (aka Red-Tailed Eagle) was at Fort Sully in March, 1868, indicating that his band had wintered 1867-68 nearby, as did key 'friendly' players such as Grass (Sihasapa), Iron Horn (Miniconjou), and Long Mandan (Two Kettle). Most of these bands planted at Little Bend in May 1868.

The 1868 treaty was signed at Fort Rice by four Sans Arc leaders:

1. One that has Neither Horn
2. Red Plume (i.e. Red-Tailed Eagle II)
3. Yellow Hawk
4. No Horn.

In July 1869 46 Sans Arc lodges were enrolled at Cheyenne River, including chief Burnt Face (Red-Tailed Eagle); 5 lodges were at Grand River Agency. In August 1869 Col. Stanley reported that one-third of the Sans Arcs was “peaceable”, equivalent to ca. 65 lodges; the remaining two-thirds (130 lodges) were “hostile”. In November 1869 Crow Feather and 20 lodges were at Grand River Agency, and issued 7 days' rations on Nov. 5. In November 1871 90 Sans Arc lodges were tallied at Cheyenne River Agency, including Burnt Face and Fool Dog. (Note that Fool Dog was tallied as a Sans Arc headman, with 5 lodges, at Spotted Tail Agency, winter 1873-74.) This means that, assuming a total Sans Arc population of 195 lodges (as in 1870), in excess of 100 Sans Arc lodges were elsewhere. In September 1871 the Grand River agent reported that 120 lodges of Sans Arcs were then (visiting) at his agency. In 1873 Grand River (now removed to Standing Rock) continued to report the presence of visiting Sans Arcs. 

After 1868 Yellow Hawk's tiyospaye was at Peoria Bottom. Note that Harney had had some warehouses and cabins erected at Peoria Bottom during the winter of 1868-69, intending to locate an agency there. When this plan was scrapped, Yellow Hawk was given one of the cabins, which was still standing in 1951. Yellow Hawk died ca. 1870, to be succeeded by his son Yellow Hawk II (born ca. 1844), who was supported by his younger brother Bear Ears. This tiyospaye was successfully missionised by the Riggs mission which established itself at Oahe, farming successfully. They formed the core of the 'progressive' faction of Sans Arcs

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