Speech of the Four Bears to the Rees and Mandans

My friends, all you that are here listen to what I say:

Since I can recollect, I have loved the whites. I have lived with them and never have I done them any injury. On the contrary, I have always protected them from the insults of my people: let them deny it if they can.

The Four Bears never saw a white man in distress but he done all in his power to assist him. If he was hungry I fed him; if he was fatigued my lodge was always open for him to rest and make himself at home in; and I was ready to die for them.

And how have I been repaid? By the more ingratitude. I never called the whites dogs, but today I do pronounce them real dogs, with hearts black and rancorous against poor unfortunate beings -- whose only sin -- is to have been too good to them.

They have deceived me. Those whom I considered as brothers have proved my most bitter enemies. I have been in many battles and often wounded; but the wounds I received from my enemies I glory in. Today I am wounded and by whom? -- by those dogs of whites that I considered my friends.

I do not fear death, you all know my friends. But to see my face so disfigured that the wolves, when they see me, would recoil with horror and say to themselves: There is the Four Bears, the friend of the white man, is past all endurance.

This is the last time here that you will hear me. I pray you therefore to listen to what I say. Think of your wives, your children, your fathers, your mothers. Think of all you hold most dear on earth when they are dead or dying by that dreadful curse brought among us by those dogs, the whites.

And are we tamely to submit to this? No, let us rise in a body. Let vengeance be the watchword. And before the sun has set I hope -- those -- will not one of them be alive.

The Four Bears will do his share.


He died that day without being able to put his threats in execution, and was buried near Fort Clark. On a long pole near his tomb may be seen with scalps as Trophies of his exploits which he took from his enemies in the many encounters he had with them.

A. R. Bouis

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.