Artifact and Analysis

Document 4
Depreciation of the medals

We are called chiefs but we are only chiefs in name. Our power has departed we no longer have influence with our tribe. The young men are fools have no ears for they no longer listen to us. . . . Our Grand Father gave us medals. We were proud of them. They commanded respect and gave us influence with our people but the traders soon flooded the country with medals giving and selling them to the young men until they have quite all become chiefs and great men. They have refused to listen to our advice but do as they please. We have laid aside our medals as they are no longer of any use to us.

Smutty Bear, a Yankton Sioux chief, to an Indian agent, 1848