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Native NationsMeeting the Salish
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Nineteen years after the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Alexander Ross, of the Hudson's Bay Company, and his party of 55 fur trappers followed the Indian roads up the Bitterroot Valley and into the Big Hole, over into the Salmon River country, and back. At the very place where Lewis and Clark and the Salish had had their happy encounter, he wrote: "We are at the end of the river, and impossible mountains surround us in every direction. This gloomy and discouraging spot we reached on the 12th of March, 1824, and named the place 'The Valley of Troubles, Ross Hole.' "RossMeadow.GIF (7730 bytes)

But the meeting with Lewis and Clark and their company at that place remained a good memory among the Salish people, for a while. In June of 1834 a man named William Marshall Anderson was with trapper William Sublette's party at the Rocky Mountain Fur Company rendezvous on the Green River in Wyoming. Anderson, who was a nephew-in-law of William Clark, recorded an unexpected meeting on the 16th:

Mr. Sublette has just returned from Fitzpatrick's camp bringing with him the Little Chief, Insillah. . . . This amiable little fellow was looking intently at my white hair which Sublette observing, pronounced Gen. Clark's Flathead name, Red Head Chief, and putting the first fingers of his right hand on his tongue, intimated that we were relatives (the white head and the red head) or had drawn sustenance from the same breast. He immediately pressed me to his side, and rapidly related his boy-hood recollections of the Clark and Lewis expedition.1

--Joseph Mussulman

1. Albert J. Partoll, "Anderson's Narrative of a Ride to the Rocky Mountains in 1834," Frontier and Midland, Vol. XIX, No. 1 (1938), 61.

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From Discovering Lewis & Clark ®, http://www.lewis-clark.org © 1998-2014
by The Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, Washburn, North Dakota.
Journal excerpts are from The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Gary E. Moulton
13 vols. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-2001)