Tab​-​ba​-​bone

from by Sara Bouchard

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lyrics

Lewis: Sunday August 11th, 1805.

The track which we had pursued last evening soon disappeared.
I therefore resolved to proceed to the narrow pass on the creek
in hopes that I should again find the Indian road at the place,
I sent [George] Drewyer to keep near the creek to my right,
[John] Shields to my left, with orders to surch for the road.

After having marched in this order for about five miles
I discovered an Indian on horseback coming down the plain toward us.
With my glass I discovered from his dress
that he was of a different nation from any that we had yet seen,
and was satisfyed of his being a Sosone [Shoshone].

His arms were a bow and quiver of arrows,
and was mounted on an eligant horse without a saddle,
and a small string attatched to the underjaw
answered as a bridle.

I was overjoyed at the sight of this stranger
and had no doubt of obtaining a friendly introduction
provided I could get near enough to him
to convince him of our being whitemen.

He mad[e] a halt which I did also
and unloosing my blanket from my pack,
I mad[e] him the signal of friendship,
which is by holding the [blanket] in your hands at two corners,
th[r]owing [it] up in the air higher than the head
bringing it to the earth as if in the act of spreading it,
thus repeating three times.

This signal had not the desired effect,
he still kept his position
and seemed to view with an air of suspicion
Drewyer an[d] Shields now comiming in[to] sight on either hand,

I wo[u]ld willingly have made them halt
but they were too far distant to hear me
and I feared to make any signal to them.
I therefore haistened to take out of my sack
some b[e]ads a looking glas and a few trinketes
and leaving my gun advanced unarmed towards him.

[When] I arrived in about 200 paces of him
he turn[ed] his ho[r]se about
and began to move off slowly from me;

I now called to him in as loud a voice as I could command
repeating the word tab-ba-bone,
which in their language signifyes white-man.
But lo[o]king over his sholder
he still kept his eye on Drewyer and Sheilds still advancing.

I now made a signal to halt,
Drewyer obeyed but Shields kept on.
The Indian halted again
and turned his ho[r]se about.

I again repepeated the word tab-ba-bone
and held up the trinkits in my hands
and striped up my shirt sleve to [show] him the colour of my skin
but he did not remain.

He suddonly turned his ho[r]se about,
gave him the whip leaped the creek
disapeared in the willow brush in an instant
and with him vanished all my hopes of obtaining horses for the present.

credits

from Songs of Lewis & Clark, released November 8, 2008

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Sara Bouchard Brooklyn, New York

I am a multi-disciplinary artist and songwriter with a strong foothold in American roots. My work explores the intersection between sound, story and environment. I perform solo and with my band Salt Parade.

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