Fort Raymond on the mouth of the Big Horn River in Montana
I limped slightly as I followed Masheka into the trading post with Wind Chaser at my heels. The log trading post consisted of two rooms and made me feel closed in. Inside were many rows of furs hanging from the ceiling, beads of all sizes and colors, seashells, pans, fishhooks, tobacco, knives and hatchets, and many other things I’d never seen before.
Masheka trapped beavers, a fox and a mink and I prepared the furs before we set out for the post. Although trading was a common practice among tribes, it was never done within an enclosed log structure such as this.
Five Crow warriors were in the trading post and I was afraid there would be trouble. I froze but Masheka glanced at me. “Fighting between tribes is not allowed at trading posts,” he said.
He placed his buckskin and antelope hides on the counter. Two Wasichus, just as I had seen in my dream, were behind it. Their pale faces were covered with bushy hair. The hair on their heads came only to their shoulders not down their back like our men. But it was the colors of their hair made me stare. One had brown hair and the other red. Their skin was much lighter than ours and their eyes were the color of a blue jay. I stared at them in wonderment. I knew none of my people would believe me if I told them there were people who looked so different from us.
Their clothing was also different. The men’s breechcloth and leggings appeared to be one piece and their shirts were of some kind of material I’d never seen before. On their heads were leather headcoverings. It was a lot to take in all at once. I wanted to leave this place with its unfamiliar log walls, strange-looking men and dangerous Crow warriors.
One of the Wasichus looked at me with interest as I studied them. The owner of the trading post pointed to himself and said, “Manuel Lisa.” He pointed to the other man and said, “John Colter.” In sign language he asked what Masheka wanted.
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