The Asiniboin were originally part of the Wazi-kute gens of the Yanktonai (Ihañktoⁿwaⁿna) Dakota. According to the report of E.T. Denig to Governor I.I. Stevens,1 "the Asiniboin call themselves Dakota, meaning Our people." The Dakota style them Hohe, "rebels," but Denig says the term signifies "fish eaters," and that they may have been so called from the fact that they subsisted principally on fish while in British territory.

Lists of the gentes of this people have been recorded by Denig, Maximilian, and Hayden, but in the opinion of the present writer they need revision.

Asiniboin gentes

Denig Maximilian Hayden
We-che-ap-pe-nah, 60 lodges, under Les Yeux Gris. Itscheabinè, Les gens des filles. Wi-ić-ap-i-naḣ, Girl's band.
E-an-to-ah, Stone Indians, the original appellation for the whole nation; 50 lodges, under Premier qui Volle. Jatonabinè, Les gens des roches, the Stone Indians of the English. Call themselves "Eascab." Iʹ-an-toʹ-an. (Either Iⁿyaⁿ toⁿwaⁿ, Stone Village, or Ihanktoⁿwaⁿ, End village or Yankton. J.O.D.)
Wah-to-pan-ah, Canoe Indians, 100 lodges, under Serpent. Otaopabinè, Les gens de canots. Waḣ-to'-pap-i-naḣ.
1Schoolcraft, Indian Tribes, vol.II, 182, Philadelphia, 1852.
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2Manuscript in the archives of the Bureau of Ethnology.
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Asiniboin gentes–Continued

Denig Maximilian Hayden
Wah-to-pah-han-da-toh, Old Gauché's gens, i.e., Those who row in canoes; 100 lodges, under Trembling Hand. Watópachnato, Les gens de l‘age. Waḣ-toʹ-paḣ-an-da-to, Gens du Gauche or Left Hand.
Wah-ze-ah we-chas-ta, Northern People (so called because they came from the north in 1839); 60 lodges, under Le Robe de Vent. O-see-gah (of Lewis and Clark, Discoveries, p. 43, 1806). Waḣ-zi-ah, or To-kum-pi, Gens du Nord.

The following gentes have not been collated: Of Maximilian's list, Otopachgnato, les gens du large, possibly a duplication, by mistake, of Watopachnato, les gens de l‘age; Tschantoga, les gens des bois; Tanintauei, les gens des osayes; Chábin, les gens des montagnes. Of Hayden's list, Minʹ-i-shi-nakʼ-a-to, gens du lac.

The correct form in the Yankton dialect of the first name is Witciⁿyaⁿpina (Wiciŋyaŋpina), girls; of the second, probably Iⁿyaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ (Iŋyaŋ toŋwaŋ); the third and fourth gentes derive their names from the verb watopa, to paddle a canoe; the fifth is Waziya witcacta (Waziya wićaṡta). Tschan in Tschantoga is the German notation of the Dakota tcan (ćaŋ), tree, wood. Cha in Chábin is the German notation of the Dakota word ḣe, a high ridge of hills, a mountain.

In his report to Governor Stevens, from which the following information respecting the Asiniboin is condensed, Denig used the term "band" to denote a gens of the tribe, and "clans" instead of corporations, under which latter term are included the feasting and dancing societies and the orders of doctors, shamans, or theurgists.

These bands are distinct and occupy different parts of the country, although they readily combine when required by circumstances, such as scarcity of game or an attack by a large body of the enemy.

The roving tribes call no general council with other nations; indeed, they are suspicious even of those with whom they have been at peace for many years, so that they seldom act together in a large body. With the exception of the Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara, who are stationary and live in a manner together, the neighboring tribes are quite ignorant of one another's government, rarely knowing even the names of the principal chiefs and warriors.

In all these tribes there is no such thing as hereditary rank. If a son of a chief is wanting in bravery, generosity, or other desirable qualities, he is regarded merely as an ordinary individual; at the same time it is true that one qualification for the position of chief consists in having a large number of kindred in the tribe or gens. Should there be two or more candidates, equally capable and socially well connected, the question would be decided on the day of the first removal of the camp, or else in council by the principal men. In the former

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case, each man would follow the leader whom he liked best, and the smaller body of Indians would soon adhere to the majority.

Women are never acknowledged as chiefs, nor have they anything to say in the council. A chief would be deposed for any conduct causing general disgust or dissatisfaction, such as incest (marrying within his gens) or lack of generosity. Though crime in the abstract would not tend to create dissatisfaction with a chief, yet if he murdered, without sufficient cause, one whose kindred were numerous, a fight between the two bodies of kindred would result and an immediate separation of his former adherents would ensue; but should the murdered person be without friends, there would be no attempt to avenge the crime, and the people would fear the chief only the more. To preserve his popularity a chief must give away all his property, and he is consequently always the poorest man in the band; but he takes care to distribute his possessions to his own kindred or to the rich, from whom he might draw in times of need.

The duties of a leading chief are to study the welfare of his people, by whom he is regarded as a father, and whom he addresses as his children. He must determine where the camp should be placed and when it should be moved; when war parties are advisable and of whom they should be composed—a custom radically different from that of the Omaha and Ponka,—and all other matters of like character. Power is tacitly committed to the leading chief, to be held so long as he governs to general satisfaction, subject, however, to the advice of the soldiers. Age, debility, or any other natural defect, or incapacity to act, advise, or command, would lead a chief to resign in favor of a younger man.

When war is deemed necessary, any chief, soldier, or brave warrior has the privilege of raising and leading a war party, provided he can get followers. The powers of a warrior and civil chief may be united in one person, thus differing from the Omaha and Ponka custom. The leading chief may and often does lead the whole band to war; in fact, it devolves on him to lead any general expedition.

The Akitcita (Akicita), soldiers or guards (policemen), form an important body among the Asiniboin as they do among the other Siouan tribes. These soldiers, who are chosen from the band on account of their bravery, are from 25 to 45 years of age, steady, resolute, and respected; and in them is vested the power of executing the decisions of the council. In a camp of 200 lodges these soldiers would number from 50 to 60 men; their lodge is pitched in the center of the camp and is occupied by some of them all the time, though the whole body is called together only when the chief wishes a public meeting or when their hunting regulations are to be decided. In their lodge all tribal and intertribal business is transacted, and all strangers, both white men and Indians, are domiciled. The young men, women, and children are not allowed to enter the soldiers' lodge during the time that tribal matters are being considered, and, indeed, they are seldom, if ever,

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seen there. All the choicest parts of meat and the tongues of animals killed in hunting are reserved for the soldiers' lodge, and are furnished by the young men from time to time. A tax is levied on the camp for the tobacco smoked there, which is no small quantity, and the women are obliged to furnish wood and water daily. This lodge corresponds in some degree to the two sacred lodges of the Hañga gens of the Omaha.

Judging from the meager information which we possess concerning the Asiniboin kinship system, the latter closely resembles that of the Dakota tribes, descent being in the male line. After the smallpox epidemic of 1838, only 400 thinly populated lodges out of 1,000 remained, relationship was nearly annihilated, property lost, and but few, the very young and very old, were left to mourn the loss. Remnants of bands had to be collected and property acquired, and several years elapsed ere the young people were old enough to marry.

The names of the wife's parents are never pronounced by the husband; to do so would excite the ridicule of the whole camp. The husband and the father-in-law never look on each other if they can avoid it, nor do they enter the same lodge. In like manner the wife never addresses her father-in-law.

A plurality of wives is required by a good hunter, since in the labors of the chase women are of great service to their husbands. An Indian with one wife can not amass property, as she is constantly occupied in household labors, and has no time for preparing skins for trading. The first wife and the last are generally the favorites, all others being regarded as servants. The right of divorce lies altogether with the husband; If he has children by his wife, he seldom puts her away. Should they separate, all the larger children—those who require no further care—remain with the father, the smaller ones departing with the mother. When the women have no children they are divorced without scruple.

After one gets acquainted with Indians the very opposite of taciturnity exists. The evenings are devoted to jests and amusing stories and the days to gambling. The soldiers' lodge, when the soldiers are not in session, is a very theater of amusement; all sorts of jokes are made and obscene stories are told, scarcely a woman in the camp escaping the ribaldry; but when business is in order decorum must prevail.

The personal property of these tribes consists chiefly of horses. Possession of an article of small value is a right seldom disputed, if the article has been honestly obtained; but the possession of horses being almost the principal object in life of an Indian of the plains, the retention of them is a matter of great uncertainty, if he has not the large force necessary to defend them. Rights to property are based on the method of acquirement, as (1) articles found; (2) those made by themselves (the sole and undisputed property of the makers); (3) those stolen from enemies, and (4) those given or bought. Nothing is given except with

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a view to a gift in return. Property obtained by gambling is held by a very indefinite tenure.

Murder is generally avenged by the kindred of the deceased, as among the Omaha and Ponka. Goods, horses, etc, may be offered to expiate the crime, when the murderer's friends are rich in these things, and sometimes they are accepted; but sooner or later the kindred of the murdered man will try to avenge him. Everything except loss of life or personal chastisement can be compensated among these Indians. Rape is nearly unknown, not that the crime is considered morally wrong, but the punishment would be death, as the price of the woman would be depreciated and the chances of marriage lessened. Besides, it would be an insult to her kindred, as implying contempt of their feelings and their power of protection. Marriage within the gens is regarded as incest and is a serious offense.