August 4, 1898.

Inaugurating the Features of the Great Indian

Early in the history of the Exposition it was proposed by President Wattles
that an Indian Congress of the principal tribes of North American Indians
should be one of the distinctive features of the exposition.  That as all of
the Transmississippi territory had, but a comparatively few years past, been
occupied by these Indian tribes, and that as they were fast disappearing and
their modes of life and customs were gradually changing with the onward march
of civilization, it would perhaps be the last time that the primitive life of
these tribes could ever be successfully illustrated.  As many eastern people
had never seen Indians in their semi-savage state, it was argued that this
Indian Congress would be a great drawing feature that would bring many eastern
people to visit the Exposition.

A bill was introduced in Congress authorizing the assemblage of these Indian
tribes and providing an appropriation of $40,000 to defray the expenses.  Much
delay was experienced in the passage of this measure and finally Manager
Rosewater was prevailed upon to go to Washington and lend his efforts to those
of Congressman Mercer and Senators Allen and Thurston in securing the desired
legislation.  When the bill was finally passed it was too late to assemble the
Indians for the opening of the exposition and before the encampment was
complete on the exposition grounds the first of August had passed.  On the day
set for the grand parade of Indian tribes which should mark the opening of the
Indian Congress, there was encamped on the north tract of the exposition
grounds a goodly number of the following tribes:

Chippewas, Rosebud, Lower Brule, Cheyennes, Sisertons, Flandreau, Standing
Rock, Crow, Creek, Sioux, Sacs, Foxes, Assiniboines, Omahas, Winnebagos,
Blackfeet, Arapahoes, Jicarilla, Apaches, Nez Perces, Comanches, Wichitas,
Bannocks, Pueblos, Osages, Iroquois and Poncas.  The Indians were in charge of
Captain Mercer.  The morning was spent in arranging their camps and in raising
the flag, which was accompanied with much ceremony and wild cheering.  In the
afternoon the parade was formed and marched through the Midway over the North
Viaduct and down the Bluff Tract to the Horticultural Building, countermarching
back to the Grand Plaza.  Several bands formed a part of the parade and the
Indians were dressed in the fantastic manner indigenous to their respective
tribes.  After the parade and a short rest, the afternoon was spent in weird
dances, horse racing and other Indian amusements.  The day was a great success
in point of attendance and from this, the opening day of the Indian Congress,
until the close of the exposition, the Indians proved a great attraction.

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