The trapper describes a Christmas dinner feast at the end of his book with Snake Indians and other foreigners. The feast included stewed elk meat, boiled deer meat, boiled flour pudding prepared with dried fruit, 4 quarts of sour berry and sugar juice, cakes and sweetened coffee.
December 25, 1842
Journal of a Trapper
Decr. 25th It was agreed on by the party to prepare a Christmas dinner but I shall first endeavor to describe the party and then the dinner. I have already said the man who was the proprietor of the lodge in which I staid was a French man with a flat head wife and one child The inmates of the next lodge was a half breed Iowa a Nez percey wife and two children his wifes brother and another half breed next lodge was a half breed Cree his wife a Nez percey 2 children and a Snake Indian The inmates of the 3d lodge was a half breed Snake his wife (a Nez percey and two children). The remainder was 15 lodges of Snake Indians Three of the party spoke English but very broken therefore that language was made but little use of as I was familiar with the Canadian French and Indian tongue. About 1 oclk we sat down to dinner in the lodge where I staid which was the most spacious being about 36 ft. in circumference at the base with a fire built in the center around this sat on clean Epishemores all who claimed kin to the white man (or to use their own expression all that were gens d'esprit) with their legs crossed in true Turkish style - and now for the dinner The first dish that came on was a large tin pan 18 inches in diameter rounding full of Stewed Elk meat The next dish was similar to the first heaped up with boiled Deer meat (or as the whites would call it Venison a term not used in the Mountains) The 3d and 4th dishes were equal in size to the first containing a boiled flour pudding prepared with dried fruit accompanied by 4 quarts of sauce made of the juice of sour berries and sugar Then came the cakes followed by about six gallons of strong Coffee already sweetened with tin cups and pans to drink out of large chips or pieces of Bark Supplying the places of plates. on being ready the butcher knives were drawn and the eating commenced at the word given by the landlady as all dinners are accompanied with conversation this was not deficient in that respect The principal topic which was discussed was the political affairs of the Rocky Mountains The state of governments among the different tribes, the personal characters of the most distinguished warriors Chiefs etc One remarked that the Snake Chief Pah da-hewak um da was becoming very unpopular and it was the opinion of the Snakes in general that Moh woom hah his brother would be at the head of affairs before 12 mos as his village already amounted to more than 300 lodges and moreover he was supported by the bravest men in the Nation among whom were Ink a tush e poh Fibe bo un to wat su and Who sha kik who were the pillars of the Nation and at whose names the Blackfeet quaked with fear. In like manner were the characters of the principal Chiefs of the Bonnak Nez percey Flathead and Crow Nations and the policy of their respective governments commented upon by these descendants of Shem and Japhet with as much affected dignity as if they could have read their own names when written or distinguish the letter B from a Bulls foot. Dinner being over the tobacco pipes were filled and lighted while the Squaws and children cleared away the remains of the feast to one side of the lodge where they held a Sociable tite a tite over the fragments. After the pipes were extinguished all agreed to have a frolic shooting at a mark which occupied the remainder of the day.