Gros Ventre

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Gros Ventre

(grō văN`trə) [Fr.,=big belly], name used by the French for two quite distinct Native North American groups. One was the Atsina, a detached band of the ArapahoArapaho
, Native North Americans of the Plains whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages).
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, whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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); the other was the HidatsaHidatsa
, Native North Americans, also known as the Minitari and the Gros Ventre. Their language belongs to the Siouan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages).
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, whose language belongs to the Siouan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock. The Native American sign language designated the two groups by somewhat similar gestures on the torso, one referring to the Hidatsa chest tattoos and the other, designating the Atsina, conveying the meaning of hunger. In the 18th cent. the Atsina roamed the plains between the Missouri and the Saskatchewan rivers under the protection of the powerful Blackfoot to the west. Today the Atsina live with the Assiniboin on the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana, established in 1888. There were some 2,800 Atsina in the United States in 1990.

Bibliography

See R. Flannery, The Gros Ventres of Montana (2 vol., 1953–57).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Thackeray uses the narrator's age, 32, as primary evidence for this interpretation, explaining that it is at this age that tests for maturity or manhood begin among the Gros Ventre. For Thackeray, then, Winter in the Blood is about coming to maturity in Gros Ventre terms, and the narrator's progress through the novel marks his passage through preparations necessary for ceremonial initiation into the Crazy Lodge.
They indicate his bondage within a system that is precisely not Gros Ventre, and that is not home, even if it is the realm of lived experience which provokes his own dense misrecognition.(23) The torture -- physical first, perhaps imaginative in all the secondary instances in which the character tries to remember or decipher a cause of his present disfigurement -- of returning is provoked precisely by the lived negotiation between these competing symbolic orders.
A second example of the elision of references that complicates the Gros Ventre paradigm are found in Thackeray's remarks on the significance of the color white.
Schilz cites Johnson, 294-299 (Schilz, "The Gros Ventres and the Canadian Fur Trade," 52).
In focusing on the Gros Ventre in the Canadian fur trade Schilz has chosen an intriguing historical problem.
Actually, Cocking's published journal (which Schilz cites) does not identify any Gros Ventre chief by name.
In 1984 Schilz identified White Eagle as "the most important leader of the plains tribes in Canada."7 In 1990 he described White Eagle as a middleman in the fur trade who "was so powerful that Cocking's Cree guides refused to let him trap beaver because they believed it would offend White Eagle's people and damage commercial relations between the Archithinues and the Crees."(8) These suggestions that Gros Ventre leaders may have acted as powerful brokers in the fur trade in 1772 have not appeared in any other scholarly literature.
Professor Schilz also makes insupportable statements about certain Gros Ventre, Cree, and Blackfoot chiefs who are mentioned in relevant primary documents.
In that reference Alexander Henry described him and seven other Gros Ventre as "troublesome in their demands for rum" during an October 1810 visit to Rocky Mountain House.(10) There are no other references to Flesh Eater in any of the other published documents used by Schilz.
Schilz's errors become more significant in his discussion of events surrounding Gros Ventre attacks on fur traders.
The confusion continues when he describes Gros Ventre attempts to reconcile with the Hudson's Bay Company traders following the attacks.
The Hudson's Bay Company trader Peter Fidler, who identified A kas kin as the preeminent Gros Ventre chief in 1802, appears to have been very suspicious of him.