Pictures and Illustrations.
From the original and hitherto unpublished manuscript in the library of the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The original and present name of the Sauk Indians, proceeds from the compound word Sakie alias, A-saw-we-kee literally Yellow Earth.
The Fox Indians call themselves Mess-qua-kee alias Mess-qua-we-kee literally Red Earth, thus it is natural to suppose, that those two nations of Indians were once one people, or part of some great nation of Indians, and were called after some place or places where they then resided, as yellow banks, and red banks, etc. Both the Sauk and Fox Indians acknowledge, that they were once Chipeways, but intestine quarrels, and wars which ensued separated one band or party from another, and all became different in manners, customs and language. The Sauk Indians, are more immediately related to the Fox Indians than any other nation of Indians, whose language bears an affinity to theirs, such as the Kicapoos and Shawanoes to whom they (the Sauks and Foxes) claim a relationship by adoption. The Kicapoos and Shawanoes call the Sauk and Fox Indians their Younger Brothers, the Sauks call the Foxes (and the Foxes call them) their kindred.
The earliest tradition of a particular nature among them, is the landing of the whites on the shores of the Atlantic, somewheres about the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Sauk and Fox Indians have been at war formerly
184with the Iroquois, and Wyandotts,
The Sauk and Fox Indians repeatedly told me that from depredations continually committed on them by the Sioux Indians of the interriour (the Yanctons and Scissitons [I.e., Sisseton] bands) they (the Sauk and Fox Indians) thro the solicitations of their young men, they commenced a war against the above mentioned Sioux Indians in the Spring of the year 1822, but the General Council held at Pirarie du Chiens in August 1825 put a final stop to that war, otherwise, not a Sioux Indian would have been seen south of St. Peters River,
185in twelve months after the termination of that council.
Belts, Alliances, etc.
The wampum belts are woven together by thread made of the deer's sinews,
The Sauk and Fox nations of Indians are governed by hereditary chiefs, their power descending to the oldest male of the family, which on refusal extends to the brothers or nephews of the chief and so on thro the male relations of the family. They have no war chiefs, any individual of their nations may lead a party to war, if he has enfluence to raise a party to redress any real or supposed grievance.
The chiefs interfere and have the sole management in all their national affairs, but they are enfluenced in a great measure by their braves or principal men in matters of peace or war. The province of the chief is to direct, the braves or warriors to act. The authority of the chiefs is always supreme in peace or war. There are no female chiefs among the Sauk and Fox nations of Indians, a boy (if a chief) is introduced into the councils of the nation, accompanied by some older branch of the family capable of giving him instructions. When the chiefs direct the head or principal brave of the nation to plant centinels for any particular purpose, if they neglect their duty or fail to effect the purpose, they are flogged with rods by the women publicly. There is no such thing as a summary mode of coercing the payment of debts, all contracts are made on honor, for redress of civil injuries an appeal is made to the old people of both parties and their determination is generally acceded to. In case of murder, it is determined by the relations of the deceased, they say, that by killing the murderer, it will not bring the dead to life, and it is better to receive the presents offered by the relations of the murderer than want them. Horses, merchandise
187and silver works sometimes to a very large amount are given to the relations of a murdered person, and indeed in some instances the murderer will marry or take to wife the widow of the person whom he has killed.
Sometimes it may happen, that the relations of the deceased will refuse to receive any thing for the lots of a murdered relation, the chiefs then interfere, who never fail to settle the business. There is nothing that I know of that an Indian may be guilty what is considered a national offence, except aiding and assisting their enemies, such a person if taken in war is cut to pieces, such things rarely happen.
The Sauk and Fox Indians are not thievish, they seldom steal any thing from their traders, they sometimes Steal a few horses from a neighboring nation of Indians, and formerly they used to steal many from the white settlements and their excuse is always that they were in want of a horse, and did not take all they seen. Stealing horses from their enemies is accounted honorable, the women will sometimes steal trifling articles of dress or ornament, the men very seldom. The traders feel perfectly safe among them, so much so, that they seldom or ever close their doors at night, but give them free access to come in and go out at all hours day and night. All questions relating to the nations are settled in council by the Chiefs, and when it is necessary that the council must be a secret one,
Council Fire at Brownstown in Michigan Territory
It is hard for me to say at this late day where and when the council fire originated, but I believe it to have originated immediately after the reduction of Canada by the British. A similar one is supposed to have existed on the Mohawk River at Sir William Johnston's place of residence previous to our Revolution. The first knowledge I have of it, is when it existed at old Chilicothe in the State of Ohios, and from the Indian war that took place subsequently to the peace of 1783 the council fire was by unanimous consent removed to Fort Wayne thence afterwards to the foot of the rapids of the Miamie River of the Lakes, where it remained until 1796 when it was removed to Brownstown where it now is. The British in confederacy with the Shawanoes, Delawars, Mingoes, Wyandots, Miamies, Chipeways, Ottawas and Pottawatimies offensive and defensive are the members of the council fire. The first nation of Indians who joined were the Shawanoes and Delawars and the other nations fell in or joined afterwards.
The British as head of the confederacy have a large belt of white wampum of about six or eight inches wide at the head of which is wrought in with blue grains of a diamond shape, which means the British Nation: the next diamond in the belt is the first Indian Nation who joined in alliance with the British by drawing the belt thro their hands at the council fire and so on, each nation of the confederacy have their diamond in the belt, those diamonds are all of the same size and are placed in the belt at equal distances from each other. When any business is to be done that concerns the confederacy it must be done at this council fire where are assembled as many chiefs as can be conveniently collected. At any
189meeting at this council fire,
190the Shawanoe nation were formerly the leading nation, that is to say, the Shawanoes had the direction of the wars that the parties might be engaged in, the power of convening the allies, etc. Since the late war, the Chipeways are at the head of those affairs and no doubt receive occasional lessons from their British father. All Indians in forming alliances with each other, select a central spot to meet every two or three years, to commemorate and perpetuate, their alliances. It is very well known that for many years an alliance has existed between the Chipeways, Ottawas and Pottawatimies, and their chiefs encourage intermarriages with each other, for the purpose of linking themselves strongly together, and at a future period to become one people. These alliances are strictly attended to by all the parties concerned, and should there be any neglect to visit the council fire (by deputies or otherwise), to commemorate their alliances, it is considered as trifling with their allies. In 1806 or 7, the Chipeway, and Ottawa chiefs sent a speech to the Pottawattimies Indians, saying that for many years they had not sent deputies to the Island of Mackinac to the council fire according to custom, and if they declined sending deputies the ensuing summer, their part of the council fire would be extinguished: the Pottawatimies fearful of the consequences sent deputies the following year to Mackinac which satisfied all parties.
Names and Number of Tribes [I.e., clans] among the Sauk Nation
|4||Mac-co. Pen-ny-ack||or||Bear Potatoe|
|5||Kiche Cumme||"||Great Lake|
War and its Incidents
193can number 500 men each. The Kees-ko-quis or long hairs are commanded by the hereditary brave of the Sauk Nation named Keeocuck
194the third a Kees-ko-qui and so on. The first male child of an Osh-cush is also an Osh-cush the second is a Kees-ko-qui and so on as among the Kees-ko-qui's. When the two bands or parties turn out to perform sham battles, ball playing, or any other diversion the Rees-ko-quis paint or daub themselves all over their bodies with white clay. The Osh-cushes black their bodies on same occasions with charcoal. The Sauk and Fox Indians have no mode of declaring war, if injured by another nation they wait patiently for a deputation from the nation who committed the injury, to come forward and settle the business, as a Fox Chief told me some years ago, "the Sioux Indians have killed of[f] our people four different times, and according to our custom, it is time for us to prepare for war, and we will do so, as we see the Sioux chiefs will not come forward to settle matters." Sometimes a nation of Indians may be at peace with all others when they are invited by a neighbouring nation to assist them in a war, by promising them a portion of the enemy's country they may conquer. Young Indians are always fond of war, they hear the old warriours boasting of their war exploits and it may be said, that the principle of war is instilled into them from their cradles, they therefore embrace the first opportunity to go to war even in company with strange nations so that they may be able to proclaim at the dance, I have killed such a person, etc. One or more Indians of the same nation and village may at same time fast, pray, consult their Munitos or Supernatural Agents about going to war. The dreams they may have during their fasting, praying, etc., determine every thing, as they always relate in public the purport of their lucky dreams to encourage the young Indians to join them. Those Indians who prepare for war by dreams, etc., may be any common Indian in the nation, and if the
195warriours believe in his dreams, etc., he is never at a loss for followers, that is to say, after a partizan is done fasting, and praying to the great Spirit, and that he continues to have lucky dreams, he makes himself a lodge detached from the village, where he has tobacco prepared, and in this lodge a belt of blue wampum painted red with vermillion, or a stripe of scarlet cloth hanging up in his lodge, and each warriour who enters the lodge smokes of the partizan's tobacco and draws the wampum or scarlet cloth thro his hands, as much as to say, he is enlisted in his service. If a nation of Indians or a village are likely to be attacked, every one turns out for the general defence.
Two or more partizans may join their parties together, and may or may not divide when near the enemies' country. The business of the partizan is to shew his followers the enemy, and they are to act, the partizan may if he pleases go into the fight. In going to war, the Indians always travel slowly, and stop to hunt occasionally, where they deposit their jerked meat for their return, in going off the partizan leads the party, carrying his Mee-shome or medicine sack on his back, and on leaving the village sings the She-go-dem or war song, I.e. the partizan takes up his medicine sack and sings words to the following effect: "We are going to war, we must be brave, as the Great Spirit is with us." The warriours respond by singing heugh! heugh! heugh! in quick time dancing round the partizan. Sometimes a certain place distant from the villages is appointed for the party to rendevous at, in this case, every one as he departs from his residence sings his war song, and on the departure of the whole from the general rendevous, they sing the She-go-dem or general war song as described above.
The form of a war encampment is this, small forks
196the size of a mans arm are planted in two rows about five or six feet a part and about four feet out of the ground, on which are laid small poles, these rows extend in length proportionate to the number of warriours, and the rows are about fifteen feet apart, thro the center are other forks set up on which other poles are placed, these forks are about six feet out of the ground, and them with the poles are stoughter then the side forks and poles. The warriours lay side by side with their guns laying against the side poles if the weather is fair, if wet they place them under their blankets.
The Indian who carries the kettle is the cook for the party and when encamped the warriours must bring him wood and water, furnish meat, etc., the cook divides the vituals, and has the priviledge of keeping the best morsel for himself. The partizan and warriours when preparing for war, are very abstemious, never eating while the sun is to be seen, and also abstemious from the company of women, after having accepted the wampum or scarlet cloth before spoken of the[y] cease to cohabit with their wives, and they consider the contrary a sacrilidge, A woman may go to war with her husband, but must cease during the period to have any connection. Before making an attack they send forward some of their smartest young men as spies, the attack is generally made a little before day light, the great object is to surprise, if defeated, every one makes the best of his way home stopping and taking some of the meat jerked and hurried on the way out. If a party is victorious the person who killed the first of the enemy heads the party back, by marching in front, the prisoners in the center and the partizan in the rear. On the arrival of a victorious party of Indians at their village they dance round their prisoners by way of triumph after which the prisoners
197are disposed of: elderly prisoners are generally killed on the way home, and their spirits sent as an atonement to that of their deceased friends. Young persons taken in war are generally adopted by the father or nearest relation of any deceased warriour who fell in the battle or child who died a natural death and when so adopted, are considered the representatives of the dead, prisoners who are slaves are bought and sold as such. When they grow up the males are encouraged by the young men of the nation they live with, to go to war, if they consent and kill one of the enemy the slave changes his name and becomes a freeman to all intents and purposes. The female slaves are generally taken as concubines to their owners and their offspring if any are considered legal.
Sometimes an owner will marry his female slave, in that case, she becomes a freewoman, but whether a slave or free, the Sauks and Fox Indians treat their prisoners with greatest humanity, if they have the luck to get to the village alive, they are safe and their persons are considered sacred. I never heard except in the war with the Ninneways
198war, they are apt at that age to have young men sons or sons-in-law to provide for them: they pals the latter part of their days in peace (except the village is attacked). A good hunter and warriour will meet with no difficulty in procuring a wife in one of the first families in the nation. I know a half-breed now living among the Sauk Indians who had the three sisters for wives, they were the daughters of the principal chief of the Nation. I have always observed that the half-breeds raised among the Indians are generally resolute, remarkably brave and respectable in the nation.
199nations who live in the way such as the Ottos,
200on the Miamie River, of the lakes down that river some distance, thence north to St. Joseph and Chicago also all the country lying south of River de Moine down (perhaps) to Missouri River was inhabited by a numerous nation of Indians who called themselves Linneway and called by other Indians, Ninneway (literally men) this great nation of Indians were divided into several bands and inhabited different parts of an extensive country as follows. The Michigamians, the country south of River de Moine; the Cahokians, the country east of the present Cahokia in the state of Illinois; the Kaskaskias, east of the present Kaskaskia; the Tamorois had their village near St. Phillip, nearly central between
201Cahokia and Kaskaskia; the Piankishaws, near Vincennes; the Weahs up the Wabash; the Miamies, on the head waters of the Wabash and Miamie of the lakes, on St. Joseph River and also at Chicago; the Piankishaws, Weah, and Miamies must have hunted in those days south towards and on the banks of the Ohio River. The Peorias (being another band of the same nation) lived and hunted on Illinois River: also the Masco or Mascotins called by the French Gens des Pirarie lived and hunted in the great Piraries lying between the Illinois River and the Wabash. All those different bands of the Ninneway Nation spoke the language of the presnt Miamies, and the whole considered themselves as one and the same people, yet from the local situation of the different bands and having no standard to go by, their language assumed different dialects, as at present exists among the different bands of the Sioux and Chipeway Indians. Those Indians (the Ninneways) were attacked by a general confederacy of other nations of Indians such as the Sauks and Foxes who then resided at or near Green Bay and on Ouisconsin River, the Sioux Indians whose frontiers extended south and on the River des Moine, the Chipeways and Ottawas from the lakes and the Pottawatimies from Detroit as also the Cherrokees, Chickashaws and Chactaws from the south. This war continued for a great many years, until that great nation (the Ninneways) were destroyed except a few Miamies and Weahs on the Wabash and a few who are now s[c] attered among strangers. Of the Kaskaskia Indians from their wars, their great fondness for spirituous liquor and frequent killing each other in drunken frolics, there remains but a few of them say 30 or 40 souls, of the Peorias near St. Geneveve about 10 or 15 souls, of the Piankishaws 40 or 50 souls. The Miamies are the most numerous band. They did a few
202years ago consist of about 400 souls, they don't exceed in my opinion at the present day more than 500 souls of the once great Ninneway Nation of Indians. Those Indians (the Ninneways) were said to be very cruel to their prisoners, they used to burn them, and I have heard of a certain family among the Miamies who were called man eaters
From enormities, the Sauk and Fox Indians, when they took any of the Ninneways, they give them up to the women to be buffeted to death. They speak of the Mascota or Mascotins at this day with abhorance for their cruelties. In the history of the Sauks and Foxes, they speak of a severe battle having been fought opposite the mouth of Ihowai River, about 50 or 60 miles below the mouth of Rocky River.
The Sauk and Fox Indians descended the Mississippi River in canoes, from their villages on Ouisconsin River, and landed at the place abovementioned, and started east towards the enemy's country, they had not gone far, before, they were attacked by a party of Mascota or Mascotins, the battle continued nearly all day, the Sauks and Foxes gave way for want of amunition, and fled to their canoes. The Mascotins pursued, fought desperately and left but few of the Sauks and Foxes to return home to tell the story. The Sauk Indians attacked
203a small village of Peorias about 40 or 50 years ago, this village was about a mile below St Louis, and has been said by the Sauks themselves that they were defeated in that affair. At a place on the Illinois River called the Little Rock there were killed by the Chipeways and Ottowas a great number of men, women and children of the Ninneway Indians. In 1800 the Kickapoos made a great slaughter among the Kaskaskia Indians. The celebrated Main Poque
204untill after they (the Kicapoo Indians) left the Wabash River which is now about 50 or 60 years ago and made war against the band of Kaskaskias. I do not mean to say that all the Kicapoos left the Wabash at the same time above mentioned as Joseph L'Reynard and a few followers never would consent to leave the Wabash, and go into the Piraries, and it is well known that he directed that after his death that his body must be burried in a Coal Bank on the Wabash, so that if the Kicapoos sold the lands after his death, they would also sell his body, and their flesh, such was his antipathy to sell any land.
I never heard of any peace having been made between two nations of Indians (when war had properly commenced) except when the government of the United States interfered, and that the Indians were within reach of the power of the United States to compel them to keep quiet, for when war once commenced, it always led to the final extermination of one or the other of the parties.
Some years ago a war commenced between the Sauk and Fox Indians against the Ossage Indians. The Sauks and Foxes being a very politic and cunning people, managed matters so well, that they procured the assistance of the Ihowais, Kicapoos, and Pottawatimies headed by the celebrated Main Poque, and in passing by the Sauk village on Rocky River in one of his war expeditions he was joined by upwards of one hundred Sauk Indians, this happened in 1810, the government interfering, put a final stop to the war, otherwise before this there can be no doubt the whole of the Ossages would have been driven beyond reach, as some of the Chipeways and Ottawa Indians accompanied the Main
205Poque. This confederacy, would have gained strength daily. It is true we hear of belts of wampum and pipes accompanied with presents in merchandise as peace offerings sent with conciliatory talks to make peace, but such a peace is seldom or never better than an armistice, witness the Sioux and Chipeway Indians, they have been at war for the last 60 or 80 years, the British government thro their agents, General Pike
Death and its Incidents
When an Indian is sick and finds he is going to die, he may direct the place and manner of his interment, his request is religeously performed. The Sauk and Fox Indians bury their dead in the ground and sometimes have them transported many miles to a particular place of interment. The grave is dug similar to that of white people, but not so deep, and a little bark answers for a coffin, the body, is generally carried to the grave by old women, howling at intervals most pitiously. Previous to closing the grave one or more Indians who attend the funeral will make a motion with a stick or war-club called by the Indians Puc-ca-maw-gun speaking in an audible voice, "I have killed so many men in war, I give their spirits to my deceased friend who lies there (pointing to the body) to serve him as slaves in the other world." After which the grave is filled up with earth, and in a day or two afterwards a kind of cabin is made over the grave with split boards something like the roof of a house, if the deceased was a brave a post is planted at the head of the grave, on which is painted with vermillion the number of scalps and prisoners he had taken in war, distinguishing the sexes in a rude manner of painting peculiar to themselves. The Indians bury their dead as soon as the body becomes cold, after the death of an adult all the property
207away to the relations of the deceased and the widow or widower returns to his or her nearest relations, if a widow is not too old, after she is done mourning, she is compelled to become the wife of her deceased husband's brother, if he wishes. Sometimes an Indian will take the wife of his deceased brother, and dismiss his other wife or wives from all obligations to him, or he may keep them all. Many may mourn for the loss of a relation
208but the widows are always the principal mourners, they are really sincere, they are to be seen all in rags, their hair disheveled, and a spot of black made with charcoal on the cheeks, their countenance dejected, never seen to smile but appears always pensive, seldom give loose to their tears unless it is alone in the woods, where they are out of the hearing of any person, there they retire at intervals and cry very loud for about fifteen minutes, they return to their lodges quite composed. When the[y] cease from mourning which is generally at the suggestion of their friends, they wash themselves put on their best clothes and ornaments, and paint red. I have heard Indians say, that, the spirit of a deceased person, hovers about the village or lodge for a few days, then takes its flight to the land of repose.
The spirit on its way arrives at a very extensive Pirarie, over which they see the woods at a great distance appearing like a blue cloud, the spirit must travel over the Pirarie and when arrived at the further border, the Pirarie and woodland are separated by a deep and rapid stream of water, across this stream is a pole which is continually in motion by the rapidity of the water, the spirit must attempt to cross on the pole, if he or she has been a good person in this world, the spirit will get safe over and will find all of his or her good relations who died formerly. In those woods are all kinds of game in plenty, and there the spirits of the good live in everlasting happiness, if on the contrary, the person has done bad in this life, his or her spirit will fall off the pole into the water, the current of which will carry the spirit to the residence of the evil spirit, where it will remain for ever in indigence and extreame missery. If convenient, the graves of deceased Indians are often visited, they hoe away the grass all about and sweep it clean, and place a little vituals occasionally with some tobacco near the grave. All Indians are very fond of their children and a sick Indian is loth to leave this world if his children are young, but if grown up and married they know they are a burden to their children and don't care how soon they die. An Indian taken prisoner in war, or so surrounded by his enemies that he cannot escape, or that he is to suffer for murder, he will smile in the face of death, and if an opportunity offers he will sell his life dear. In burying Indians they place all their ornaments of the deceased, sometimes his gun and other implements for hunting, also some tobacco in his grave, paint and dress the dead body as well as possible previous to interment.
Birth and its Incidents
A couple marrying the offspring belong to the tribe of the father, therefore are named from some particular thing or incident that has relation to the name of the tribe: for example, if the man belongs to the Bear Tribe, he takes the name of the child from some part of the bear, or the bear itself. A few days after a child is born and some of the old relations of the father or mother's side are near, the mother of the child gives a feast and inviting a few of her or her husband's oldest relations, she having previously hinted to some or all of them the nature of the feast, one of the oldest relations gets up while the others are sitting on the ground in a ring with a dish containing some vituals before each person (the mother and child being present but do not taste of the feast) and makes a speech to the following purport. "We have gathered together here to day in the sight of the Great Spirit, to give that child a name; we hope the Great Spirit will take pity on our young relation (if a male) make him a good hunter and warriour and a man of good cense, etc. (if a female) that she may make an industrious woman, etc., and we name him or her."
This name cannot be changed untill he goes to war, when an Indian commonly changes his name from some fete [i.e., feat] in war, which has no analogy to the tribe he belongs to. A female after marriage may change her name, perhaps a dream may occasion a woman to change her name or some incident that has happened may do so. An Indian may change his name half a dozen times without being to war more than once, an Indian who has been to war and returns home after travelling towards the enemy's country for a few days, may change his name, and very often in changing their names, take the name of one of their ancestors so that
211those names may be handed down to posterity. I know a Fox Indian whose name is Muc-co-pawm which is in English language Bear's Thigh or ham, he belongs to the Bear Tribe. A Sauk Indian named Muc-it-tay Mish-she-ka-kake in English the Black Hawk,
The Eagle Tribe have a peculiar monumental way of designating their dead from others by placing the trunk of a fallen tree at the head of their graves, with the roots upwards. The other tribes have also a peculiar way of marking their graves but I am not acquainted in what manner. All Indians that I am acquainted with are always unwilling to tell their names except when immediate necessity require it before many people, if you ask an Indian what his name is, he will not answer you, some other Indian present will generally answer for him: it is considered impolite to ask an Indian his name promptly: in speaking of an Indian not present, his name is mentioned, but if present the Indians will say, him, that man. If a few old acquaintances meet, they call one another comrade, uncle, nephew, brave, etc. Children while young are altogether under the guidance of their mothers, they seldom or ever whip their children particularly the boys. The mother reports to their children all the information she possesses relating to any great event that she recollects or has heard of. When a boy grows up to be able to hunt they follow their father a hunting, he shews them the different tracks of animals, and the art of hunting different animals, and the mode of preparing the medicine for the Beaver Traps and how to apply it, etc.
A female always keeps close to her mother until she gets married who teaches her how to make mocosins, dress skins, make or construct a lodge, etc. Males after marriage or being once to war are considered men, yet if a young Indian has to serve for a wife, he has nothing to say in the disposial of his hunt until after the birth of the first child, after which he considers himself his own master, and master of his wife. In delivering to the Indians annuities or presents for the whole it is divided
213among the poorer class of the Indians, the chief and braves seldom keep any of the annuities or presents for themselves. Old people are a very great incumbrance to their relations except the[y] live exclusively on the bank of rivers or creeks, where they may be easily transported in canoes. A great many of the old people of the Sauk and Fox Indians may be seen passing the winter on the banks of the Mississippi, they live on corn, pumpkins and such other provision as a boy or two can procure such as wild fowl, raccoons, etc. They are very indigent in the absence of their relations in the interiour of the country yet never complain. All adopted children are treated as real children and considered in same light, it is often the case, a man may adopt his nephew whom he calls his son, and the nephew calls the uncle father. All young Indian children are tied up in an Indian cradle, I know of no difference made between the children untill the boys begin to hunt, then the mother shews a preference to the best hunter or the oldest (as it generally happens that they are all hunters in time) in giving them good leggins, mocosins, etc. The young females are also very industrious in attending on their brothers, as they well know the hardships their brothers endure in hunting. When young Indians grow up to seventeen or eighteen and their fathers are hard to them, they leave their parents, but when the young Indian begins to kill deer, they are seldom spoken harsh to, on the contrary, they are flattered with silver works, wampum, vermillion and other ornaments.
In the event of an Indian dying and leaving a family of children, the relations take care of them untill they are married, if the orphan children have no relations their situation is bad, but it is almost impossible for a child or children in the Sauk and Fox nations not to
214have relations. The mother always takes care of her children, legitimate or illegitimate. It seldom happens that Indian women have more than one child at a birth, and I never heard of any Indian woman having more than two.
An Indian girl may become loose, and if she happens to be taken off by a young Indian in a summer hunting excursion (as it frequently happens) on his return he will give her parents part of his hunt, probably a horse, or some goods and a little whiskey, telling them that he means to keep their daughter as his wife: if the old people accept of the presents, the young couple live peaceably together with his or her relations, and so end that ceremony. A young Indian may see a girl whom he wishes for a wife, he watches opportunities to speak to her, if well received, he acquaints his parents: his parents not wishing to part with their son if he is a good hunter, the old people make an offer of goods or horses for the girl, and if they succeed they take home their daughter-in-law. On the contrary if the parents of the girl will not agree to receive property but insist on servitude, the young Indian must come to hunt for his wife's parents for same one, two, or three years as may be agreed on before the parents will relinquish their right to their daughter. I do not know of any marriage ceremony except the contract between the parties. An Indian may have two, three or more wives, but always prefer sisters as they agree better together in the same lodge, the eldest has generally the disposal of the hunt, purchase all the goods and regulate all the domestic affairs. Adultery among the Sauk and Fox Indians is punished by cutting off the ears, or cutting or biting off the nose of the woman, the punishment is generally performed
215by the husband on the wife, however this seldom happens, and altho there are many loose girls among them, the married women are generally very constant. An Indian will not be blamed for committing the act, if he has not made use of force, the old women will say, he is a Kit-che-Waw-wan-ish-caw, I.e. a very worthless rake, however the injured husband might in a fit of jealousy kill both of them.
An Indian's wife is his property, and has it in his power to kill her if she acts badly without fear of revenge from her relations. There is no such thing as divorces, the Indians turn off their wives, and the wives leave their husbands when they become discontented, yet the husband can oblidge his wife to return if he pleases. Women seldom leave their husbands and the Sauk and Fox Indians as seldom beat or maltreat their wives. An Indian will listen to a woman scold all day, and feel no way affected at what she may say. Barreness is generally the cause of separation among the Indians.
The Indian women never have more than one husband at a time, nor does an Indian ever marry the mother and daughter, they look with contempt on any man that would have connection with a mother and her daughter, he would be called a worthless dog. The relationship among Indians is drawn much closer than among us, for instance, brother's children consider themselves and call one another brothers and sisters and if the least relationship exists between an Indian and a girl it will prevent them from being married. An old Sauk chief who died a few years ago named Masco, told me that he was then upwards of ninety years of age, I hesitated to believe him, but he insisted on what he said to be true, he spoke of the taking of Canada by the British also about the French fort at Green Bay on Lake Michigan, mentioned
216the French commandant's name Monsieur Marrin
There are few women among the Sauk and Fox Indians who are sterile: the proportion of sterile women to them who bear children, are about one to 500, it will not be too much to say, that each married woman on an average have three children. Girls seldom arrive at the age of sixteen without being married, fourteen is the usual age of getting married for the young girls, and we often see a girl of fourteen with her first child on her back, Indian women generally have a child the first year after marriage, and one every two years subsequent, they allow their children to suck at least twice as long as a whitewoman do, they generally leave off child bearing about the age of thirty.
Family Government, etc.
The duties of an Indian is to hunt, to feed and clothe his wife and children, to purchase arms and amunition for himself and sons, purchase kettles, axes, hoes, etc., to make canoes, paddles, poles, and saddles, to assist in
217working the canoes also in hunting, saddling and driving the horses.
The duties of the women
218and to do all the drudgery. They will scold their husbands for getting drunk or parting with a favorite horse or wasting any property to purchase spiritous liquor, will scold their children for wasting or destroying any property. It is a maxim among the Indians that every thing belong to the woman or women except the Indian's hunting and war implements, even the game, the Indians bring home on his back. As soon as it enters the lodge, the man ceases to have anything to say in its disposal, properly speaking, the husband is master, the wife the slave, but it is in most cases voluntary slavery as the Indians seldom make their wives feel their authority, by words or deeds, they generally live very happy together, they on both sides make due allowances.
The Sauk and Fox Indians are much troubled with the pleuricy and sore eyes, one proceeds from their fatigue and exposure in hunting and war, the other I suppose from smoke in their lodges. They understand the use of medicine
219complaints, they are subject to, they make the use of purgatives and emetics, some of them operate promptly, some of the Indians understand the art of bleeding, and make use of the lancet or penknife for that purpose, they make use of decoctions of roots, and there are few die for want of medicines, probably some die from taking to much.
I am informed that the Indians in general are much better acquainted with the anatomy of the human body, than the commonalty of white people, and in many instances, making surprising cures, they are very successful in the treatment of wounds: I have known many to have been cured after having been shot in the body with ball and arrows, they are rather rough in their surgical operations, they cut away with a small knife, and I have seen them make use of a pair of old scissors, to extract an arrow point stuck in the thigh bone, and succeeded after much carving to get at it. Every Indian is acquainted either more or less with the use of common medicines, in extreame cures [sc. cases], they apply to some of their most celebrated jugglers, they in addition to their medicine make use of superstitious ceremonies, to impress on the minds of the sick, or the persons present, that he makes use of supernatural means for the recovery of the person sick: also that the sick persons is bewitched and will work away making use of the most ludicrous experiments all of which is swallowed by the credulous Indians. The conjuror or Manatoo -- Caw -- So
220or doctor are feared by the bulk of the Indians, and never dare to do any thing to displease them.
The general opinion of all Indians is, that the earth is flat, and [they] appear to be acquainted with several stars, they know all the fixed stars, and have names for them all, also for others that apparently change their position, the[y] regulate their seasons as well by the stars as by the moon. The year the[y] divide into four seasons, as we do. Spring-Man-no-cum-ink. Summer-Pen-a-wick. Autumn-Tuc-quock. Winter-Pap-po-en. Also into twelve moons as follows:
|Tuc-wot-thu||Keeshis||First frosty moon||commencing in||Sept|
|Kiche Muqua||"||Big Bear||"||December|
|Chuckee Muqua||"||Little Bear||"||January|
|Pa-la-nee||"||First summer or flowering moon||"||June|
Their year is quoted as the[y] are placed in the above list of moons, commencing with the moon that changes in September, being the time the[y] usually leave their villages (after saving their corn) to go westward to make their fall and winter's hunt. The Sauk and Fox Indians say that the Great Spirit made every thing, the earth, moon, sun, stars, etc., all kinds of birds, beasts, and fishes, and all for the use of the Indians. As a proof they say, that it is only in their country that the buffaloe, elk, deer, bear, etc., are to be found, therefore they were specially intended for the Indians. To the
221white people the Great Spirit gave the book, and taught them the use of it, which the Great Spirit thought was absolutely necessary for them to guide them through life: he also shewed them how to make blankets, guns, and gunpowder, all of which were special gifts to the whites. The use of letters particularly astonish them, and the[y] hold writing of any sort in great esteem, they have many papers among them of sixty and seventy years old in the French and Spanish languages, they take care of all old papers, without knowing any thing of the purport of them: the old papers are generally recommendations formerly written by French and Spanish commandants, commonly called patents by the French and Spaniards.
The Indians do not like to see eclipses of the sun or moon, they say that some bad munitoo is about to hide and devour the sun or moon, the Indians always fire at the eclipse to drive away the munitoo, which they think they succeed in when the eclipse is over. The Indians also fire ball at any comet, or bright star, which they think are munitoos.
All Indians can count as far as 1,000, which they call a big hundred, a great many can count to 10,000. They know as much of arithmetic as is sufficient to do their own business, altho they have no particular mark to represent numbers. The method the Indians describe north, east, south, and west, is as follows. They point to the north (or at night to the north star which they call the immoveable star) which they call the cold country: south the warm country, east the rising sun, west the setting sun. The Indians are excellent judges of the weather, and I have known them prepare for rain, when I could observe no signs whatever. Met[e]ors they cannot comprehend, they call them munitoos. In making
222calculations for the appearance of the new moon, they say, in so many days the present moon will die, and in so many more days, the next moon will hang in the firmament (or the moon will be visible).
Few of the Indians know any thing of Europe, or the ocean, the little they know, they have learned it from the traders.
The only musical instruments the Sauk and Fox Indians make use of, is the flute, made of a piece of cane of two pieces of soft wood hallowed out and tied together with leather thongs, also a drum, which they beat with a stick, the flute they blow at one end, and except the key it is something like a flagelet. They beat the drum at all kinds of feasts, dances, and games, they dance keeping time with the tap of the drum, their tunes are generally melancholly, they are always on a flat key, and contain many variations, they have a peculiar mode of telling stories, elegantly illustrated with metaphor and similie, in telling their stories they always retain something to the last, which is necessary to explain the whole.
The Sauk and Fox Indians believe in one great and good Spirit,
223munitoos permitted by the Great Spirit to interfere in the concerns of the Indians.
They believe the thunder presides over the destinies of war, also Mache -- muntitoo or bad Spirit is subordinate to Kee -- shay -- Munitoo or the Great Spirit, but that the bad Spirit is permitted (occasionally) to revenge himself on mankind thro the agency of bad medicine, poisonous reptiles, killing horses, sinking canoes, etc., every accident that befalls them, they impute to the bad Spirit's machinations, but at same time, conceive it is allowed to be so, in atonement for some part of their misdeeds. All Indians believe in ghosts, and when they imagine they have seen a ghost, the friends of the deceased immediately give a feast and hang up some clothing as an offering to pacify the troubled spirit of the deceased; they pray by singing over certain words before they lay down at night, they hum over a prayer also about sunrise in the morning. The Sauk and Fox Indians are very religious so far as ceremony is concerned, and even in passing any extraordinary cave, rock, hill, etc., they leave behind them a little tobacco for the munitoo, who they suppose lives there. There is a particular society among the Sauk and Fox Indians (and I believe among some other nations of Indians), the particulars of which, I understand is never divulged by any of the society. They hold their meetings in secret, and what ever passes among them at their meetings, is never spoken of by any of them elsewhere, this society is composed of some of the best and most sencible men in the two nations.
224much trouble to find out the particulars of this society, but have been able to succeed in a very small part only. The Indians of this society are called the Great Medicine men, and when a young Indian wish to become one of the society, he applies to one of the members to intercede for him, saying "you can vouch for me as
225being a good Indian, etc.," the friend of the applicant mentions the circumstance to the headman of the society, who gives an answer in a few days after consulting others of the society, if the applicant is admitted, his friend is directed to prepare him accordingly, but what the preparation, etc., is, I never could find out, but no Indian can be admitted untill the expiration of one year, after application is made. This society or Great Medicine consists of four roads (or as we would call them, degrees) and it requires to do something to gain the first road, and so on to the second, third, fourth roads or degrees. It costs an Indian from forty to fifty dollars in goods, or other articles to be initiated or admitted into this society, and am told there are but few of them who can gain the end of the fourth road. A trader once, offered fifty dollars in goods to a particular Indian friend of his, who is the head or principal man of this society among the Sauk and Fox Indians, to be allowed to be present at one of their meetings, but was refused. Age has nothing to do with an applicant who wishes to become a member of this society, as I have been told the Minnominnie Indians admit boys of fourteen and fifteen years of age, but the Sauk and Fox Indians will not admit any so young. The Sauk and Fox Indians believe in wizards and witches and none but their jugglers have power to allay them.
General Manners and Customs
The Sauk and Fox Indians (like all other Indians) did formerly eat human flesh, and in their war excursions would always bring home pieces of the flesh of some of their enemies killed in battle, which they would eat, but for the last forty or fifty years they have abandoned that vile practice, and sometimes will yet bring home a small piece of human flesh of their enemies for
226their little children to gnaw, to render them brave as they say. The Sauk and Fox and all other Indians that I am acquainted with have no particular salutation in meeting or parting from each other, with the whiteman they will shake hands in deference to our custom. The Sauk Indians pay great respect to their chiefs when assembled in council, but the Fox Indians are quite to the contrary, they pay no respect to their chiefs at any time, except necessity compels them, but as there are so much equality among all Indians, the chiefs seldom dare insult a private individual.
227him. They never laugh at him but rather pity him. After an Indian returns home from hunting he will throw his game at the door of the lodge, enter in, put away his gun, undress his leggins and mocosins, and sit down without speaking a word with his head between his knees: immediately some thing to eat is placed before him, after eating heartily he looks at his wife or friends, smiles, and enters into conversation with them about what he has seen extraordinary during the day a hunting. Their power of recollection don't seem to be as strong as ours, many circumstances that have occurred within my recollection they have totally forgot. The Indians have only one way of building their bark huts or summer residences, they are built in the form of an oblong, a bench on each of the long sides about three feet high and four feet wide, paralel to each other, a door at each end, and a passage thro the center of about six feet wide, some of those huts, are fifty or sixty feet long and capable of lodging fifty or sixty persons. Their winter lodges are made by driving long poles in the ground in two rows nearly at equal distances from each other, bending the tops so as to overlap each other, then covering them with mats made of what they call puc-wy
228center and the smoke omits thro the top. The Indians are acquainted with the various ways in which different nations of Indians encamp, and when they happen to come to an old encampment they can tell by the signs, the peculiar mode of making spits to roast their meat on, etc., whether it was their own people or whom and how many days old the encampment was, also which way they came and which way they went. The reasons that the Indians spare the lives of snakes is thro fear of offending them, they wish to be friendly with the whole family of snakes particularly the venemous kinds, they frequently throw them tobacco and to the dead ones they lay a few scraps of tobacco close to their heads.
Food, Mode of Living, Cooking Meals, etc.
There are few animals a hungry Indian will not eat, but the preference is always given to venison or bear's meat, and are the chief kinds of meat they eat, they feel always at a lots without corn, even in the midst of meat. Corn with beans and dryed pumpkins well prepared, and sweet corn boiled with fat venison, ducks, or turkies, are delicious in the extreme. The Sauk and Fox Indians eat but few roasts, as they raise an immensity of corn, they sometimes make use of the wild potatoe a-pin, and the bear potatoe or Muco-co-pin also wah-co-pin or crooked root, Wab-bis-see-pin or Swan root.
229do not make much use of wild rice, because they have little or none in their country, except when they procure some from the Winnebagoes or Minnominnie Indians. They most generally boil every thing into soup. I never knew them to eat raw meat, and meat seems to disgust them when it is not done thoroughly. They use fish only when they are scarce of tallow in summer, then they go and spear fish both by night and day, but it appears they only eat fish from necessity. The old women set the kettle a boiling in the night, and about day break all eat whatever they have got, they eat in the course of the day as often as they are hungry, the kettle is on the fire constantly suspended from the roof of the lodge, every one has his wooden dish or bowl and wooden spoon
230along with them when they are invited to feasts. Their cooking are not very clean, they seldom wash their kettles, dishes or meat, the old women will sometimes by way of cleanliness wipe the dish with her fingers.
Games, Dances, etc.
The Sauk and Fox Indians have many games, such as the mocosin, the platter, etc. Their most active game is what they call Puc-a-haw-thaw-waw, it is not unlike what we call shinny or bandy, they make use of a yarn ball covered with leather, the women also play this game, also the platter which is exclusively theirs. Running foot races and horses they are very fond of. The Sauk and Fox nations have dances peculiar to themselves, also others they have adopted from other nations. The[y] dance the buffallow-dance and the otter dance, in dancing the buffallow-dance, they are dressed with the pate of a buffallow skin with the horns, they imitate the buffallow by throwing themselves into different postures, also by mimicing his groans, attempting to horn each other, keeping exact time with the drum, the women often join in these dances, but remain nearly in the same spot (while dancing) and singing in a shrill voice above the men. The medicine dance or Mit-tee-wee, all those who belong to that fraternity, are made
231acquainted by some of the head persons, that on a certain day, the whole will assemble at a particular place; on the day appointed they make a shade, both males and females make their best appearance, they have two drums on the occasion, the business is opened with a prayer from one of the members, after which the drummers sing a doleful ditty, beating at same time on their drums, each person male and female are provided with a sac or pouch of the whole skin of some animal as the raccoon, mink, marten, fisher, and otter, but generally of the last mentioned: one of the elders get up and commence dancing round the inside of the lodge, another follows, and so on untill they are all in motion, as they pats by each other, they point the nose of the sacs or pouches at each other blowing a whiff at the same time, the person so pointed at, will fall down on the ground apparently in pain, and immediately get up again and touch some other one in turn, who will do the same in succession, etc. The Sauk and Fox Indians play at cards, and frequently play high, they bet horses, wampum, silver works, etc. They frequently in the summer season have sham battles, a party of footmen undertake to conduct to their village some friends, they on their journey are attacked by a party of horsemen who rush on them from the woods and surround them, the footmen throw themselves into the form of a hollow square, the horsemen are armed with pistols, the footmen receive them with a volley, and beat them off, and are again attacked from another quarter and so on alternately untill they succeed in bringing their friends safe to their village. In those encounters many get thrown from their horses and sometimes, the footmen get trampled on by the horses, but during the whole of the transaction nothing like anger makes its appearance,
232they all retire on the best terms with each other, and it would be considered as shameful and to much like a woman for a man to become angry in play.
International Law of Relations
The Sauk and Fox Nations of Indians are in very strict alliance with each other, indeed their affinity are
233doubly rivited by intermarriages, similarity of manners and customs as also in the similarity of language. I have never heard where their council fire is but believe it to be at the Sauk Village on the Rocky River, it may be elsewhere. The alliance between the Sauk and Fox Indians and the Ossages was made at the Ossage village on the Ossage River which falls into the Missouri River. The alliance between the Sauk and Fox Nations and the Kicapoo Nation of Indians, was formed at the Sauk Village as above described. All those Nations of Indians except the Ossages have long since joined the General Confederacy at Browns Town in Michigan Territory, and it still exists. The Sauk and Fox Indians have no national badge that I know, they call the Shawanoes and Kicapoos their elder brothers. Every nation of Indians think themselves as great as any other, and I never heard of any relative rank among the different nations of Indians, except what has been said about the council fire at Brownstown.
About the middle of September (some years later) the Sauk and Fox Indians all begin to move from their villages to go towards the country the[y] mean to hunt during the ensuing winter, they generally go westwards in the interiour on the head waters of Ihoway and Demoine Rivers and some go beyond those rivers quite in the interiour of the country. There are some who have no horses as also many old people who descend the Mississippi River in canoes as far as the Ihoway, Scunk and other rivers and ascend those rivers to the different places where they mean to pass the winter a hunting. Those Indians who have a sufficiency of horses to transport their families and baggage go as far westward in their hunting excursions as the Missouri River and
234sometimes are invited by the Kansez and other Indians to cross the Missouri River and hunt in this country as far westward on small streams that fall into Arkansaw River. They generally stop hunting deer when the winter begins to be severe and forms themselves into grand encampments to pals the remainder of the winter or severe weather. They at this time are visited by their traders who go and receive their credits and also trade with them.
The Sauk and Fox Indians will on great emergencies hold a general feast throughout their nations, to avert
235some expected general calamity, while the magicians are praying to the Great Spirit and making use of numerous ceremonies.
It is a very mistaken idea among many of the white people to suppose, that the Indians have not hair on every part of their body, that they have both males and females: they pull it out with an instrument made of brass wire in the form of a gun worm. They consider it indecent to let it grow.
The Sauk and Fox Indians shave their heads except a small patch on the crown, which they are very fond of dressing and plaiting, the[y] suspend several ornaments to it of horse or deer's hair died red as also silver ornaments, feathers of birds, etc., they paint their faces red with vermillion, green with verdigrease and black with charcoal, their prevailing colour is red, except before or after coming from war, after returning from war they divest themselves of all their ornaments, wear dirt on their heads, and refrain from using vermillion for one year. The women tye their hair in a club with some worsted binding, red, blue, or green but the former is prefered leaving two ends to hang down their backs.
The Indians admire our manufactories but more particularly guns and gunpowder, but many old Indians say they were more happy before they knew the use of fire arms, because, they then could kill, as much game as they wanted, not being then compelled to destroy game to purchase our merchandise as they are now oblidged to do.
They say that the white people's thirst after land is so great that they are never contented untill they have a belly full of it, the Indians compare a white settlement in their neighbourhood to a drop of raccoon's grease falling on a new blanket the drop at first is scarcely perceptible, but in time covers almost the whole blanket. The Sauk and Fox Indians do almost all their carrying on horseback and in canoes, if any carrying is oblidged to be done for want of horses, the women have to shoulder it. Among the Sauk and Fox Indians the young men are most generally handsome, well made, and extreamely modest.
The young men and women, when they begin to think of marrying use vermillion. I have observed in the course of my life, that Indians are not now so stout and robust as formerly, in general they are very atheletic with good constitutions, yet whatever may be the cause, they have not the strength we have. Their general heighth is about five feet, eight inches, a great many of the old people are much taller, however they are not in my opinion degenerating. It is impossible to ascertain the proportion of births to the deaths but it is well known they are on the increase.
237the Sauk and Fox Indians (and a Sauk by birth) last summer (1826) he told me the Sauk Nation could furnish twelve hundred warriours, three fourths of which were well armed with good rifles and remainder with shot guns and some few with bows and arrows. The Sauk and Fox Indians encourage polygamy and the adoption of other Indians in their nations, which serves to augment their nations rapidly. All belts of wampum are presented in council (after speaking) by the principal
238chiefs, the principal brave or chief of the soldiers also delivers his speech and wampum in public council when it is a national affair or that they wish to do any thing permanent. They make use of no heiroglyphicks except painting on a tree or rock or on a post at the head of graves,
239of it as a friendly message or invitation from one nation to another for the purpose of opening the way to an adjustment of differences or any other subject of importance. Blue wampum painted red, with tobacco in the same manner denotes hostility or a solicitation to join in hostility against some other power. Those strings or belts of wampum are accompanied by speeches to be repeated verbatim or presenting them to the person or persons to whom they are sent, should the terms offered or the purport of the message be acceeded to the parties accepting the wampum smoke of the tobacco thus tied to it and return their answer in a similar way. A belt of wampum sent to a neighboring nation for assistance in war, is made of blue wampum, at one end is wrought in with white grains the figure of a tomyhawk, presented towards a dimond of white grains also both painted red with vermillion. Should the nation accept the message, they work their dimond of white grains of wampum in the same way.
The Sauk and Fox languages are guttural and nosal the following letters are made use in their language as well as other sounds that cannot be represented by any letters in an alphabet -- A, B, C, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, S, T, U, W, Y, Z, are letters of our alp [h] abet that are sounded in their language: the accent is generally placed on the second syllable and often on the first. They place a very strong emp[h]asis on the superlative degree of their ajectives also their adverbs of quality and interjections. They designate the genders thus --
|Man, Ninny||Woman, Hequa|
|Men, Ninnywuck||Women, Hequa-wuck|
|Buck, Iawpe||Doe, A-co|
|Deer [plural?], Pay-shakes-see|
The genders of all other animals are formed by placing the word [for] male or female before them. The plurals of substantives are formed by the termination of uck or wuck
|Child, A-pen-no||Children, A-pen-no-wuck|
|Chief, O-ke-maw||Chiefs, O-ke-maw-wuck|
|Indian, Me-thu-say-nin-ny||Indians, Me-thu-say-nin-ny-wuck|
|also the termination of y or wy to the name of an animal is the proper name of its Skin.|
|Buckskin, I-aw-pe-wy||Buckskins, I-aw-pe-wy-uck|
|Muskrat [skin], Shusk-wy||Muskratskins, Shusk-wy-uck|
|French, Mith-o-cosh||Blanket, Mi-co-say|
|Powder (gun), Muck-i-tha||Sun, Keeshis|
|Flint, Sog-o-cawn||Otter, Cuth-eth-tha|
|Whiskey or rum, Scho-ta-wa-bo||Beaver, Amic-qua|
|Cow, Na-no-ee||Elk, Mesh-shay-way|
|Cat, Caw-shu||Bear, Muc-qua|
|Cat (wild), Pis-shew||Wild goose, Alick-qua|
|Fowls, Puck-a-ha-qua||Duck, She-sheeb|
|Looking glass, Wa-ba-moan||Eagle, Mick-is-seou|
|Silver, Shoo-ne-aw||Owl, We-thuc-co|
|Knife, Mau-thiss||Swan, A-ha-wa|
|Dog, A-Iem-mo||Pidgeon, Mee-mee|
|Saddle, Tho-me-a-cul||Eye, Os-keesh-oc-qua|
|Bridle, So-ke-the-na-pe-chu-cun||Hand, Neek|
|Canoe, It-che-maun||Mouth, Thole|
|Paddle, Up-we||Nose, co-mouth|
|Water, Neppe||Teeth, Wee-pee-thul|
|Legs, Cau-then||Devil, Mache-man-nit-too|
|Arms, Nitch||Fire, Scho-tha|
|Head, Weesh||Boy, Qui-es-ea|
|Foot, Couth||Girl, Squa-cy|
|Hair (of the head), We-ne-sis||Tobacco, Say-maw|
|Hair (of animals), We-se-an||Sail, Caw-tha-sum|
|Corn, Thaw-meen||Thought, Es-she-thai|
|Tree, Ma-thic-quai||Courage, A-e-qua-me|
|Moon, Kee-shis||Hatred, Es-kin-a-wa|
|Stars, A-law-queek||Fear, Co-suc-kea|
|Day, Keesh-o-co||Love, Tip-pawn-nan|
|Night, Tip-pic-quoc||Eternity, Caw-keek|
|Father, Oce||Happiness, Men-we-pem-au-this-see|
|Mother, Kea||Strength, We-shic-is-see|
|Sister, Ni-thuc-quame||Beauty, Wa-wan-is-see|
|Brother (elder), Si-say||Insanity, Waw-wen-au-this-se-ow|
|Brother (younger), Se-ma||Revenge, Ash-e-tho-a-caw-no|
|Sister (elder), Ne-mis-sa||Cowardice, Keesh-kee-tha-hum|
|Sister (younger), Chu-me-is-sum||Hunger, Wee-shaw-pel|
|Son, Quis||Round, wa-we-i-au|
|Daughter, Thaunis||White, Wa-bes-kiou|
|Grandfather, Mish-o-miss||Black, Muck-et-tha-wa|
|Grandmother, Co-miss||Yellow, As-saow|
|Friend, Cawn||Green, Ski-buc-ki-a|
|Yesterday, O-naw-co||Red, Mus-quaou|
|To-day, He-noke||Blue, We-pec-qua|
|Tomorrow, wa-buck||Song, Nuc-a-moan|
|Warriour, Wa-taw-say||Feast, Kay-kay-noo|
|Spring, Man-no-cum-me||Salt, See-wee-thaw-gun|
|Rock, As-sen||Sugar, Sis-sa-bac-quat|
|Sand, Na-kow||White Oak, Mec-she-mish|
|Wood, Ma-thi-a-cole||Red Oak, Ma-thic-wa-mish|
|Mississippi, Mes-is-se-po||Cedar, Mus-qua-aw-quck|
|Wind, No-then||Pine, Shin-qua-quck|
|Snow, Ac-coen||Cottonwood, Me-thew-wuck|
|Rain, Kee-me-a||Sycamore, Keesh-a-wock-quai|
|Thunder, An-a-mee-kee||Grass, Mus-kis-kee|
|Dance, Ne-mee||Hill, Mes-is-sauk|
|Path, Me-ow||Island, Men-nets|
|River, Seepo||Poor, Kitch-a-moc-is-see|
|Flat, Puc-puc-kis-kia||Good, Wa-wun-nitt|
|Alive, Pematiss||Better, Na-kai-may-wa-won-nitt|
|Dead, Nippo||Best, One-wak-men-we-wa-won-nitt|
|Sick, Oc-co-muth||Bad, Me-aw-nith|
|Well, Nes-say||Worse, A-ne-kai-may-me-aw-nith|
|Tired, je-qua||Worst, A-me-kaw-she-me-aw-nith
|Lazy, Naw-nee-kee-tho||Boat, Mis-se-gock-it-che-man|
|Early, Maw-my||Flute, Paw-pe-guen|
|Late, A-maw-quas||Boards, Miss-see-gock|
|I, Neen||We, Neenwaw|
|Thou or you, Keene||Ye, Keenwaw|
|He, she, or it, Weene||They, Weenwaw|
|Mine or my, Nichi Enim
|Thy or thine, Kiche Enim||Yours, Keen-ane-othi-enim|
|His or hers, O-thi-Enim||Theirs, Ween-waw-othi-enim|
|I love, ne-neen-wen-a-maw||We love, Neen-wa-ke-men-a-kia|
|Thou lovest, Ke-men-wen-a-maw-kia||Ye or you love, Keen-wa, etc.|
|He loved, O-men-wen-a-maw-kia||They love, Ween-wa, etc.|
|One, Necouth||Four, Ne-a-we|
|Two, Neesh||Five, Nee-aw-neen|
|Three, Ness||Six, Ne-coth-wa-sick|
|Seven, No-wuck||12. Mittausway Neshway nissee|
|Eight, Nip-wash-ick||13. Mittausway Ness-way Nissee|
|Nine, Shauck||20, Neesh Wap-pe-tuck|
|Ten, Mit-taus||30, Ness Wap-pe-tuck|
|11, Mittausway Necouth a nissee||100, Necouth-wock-qua|
|1,000, Mittaus wock-qua or necouth kichi wock|
|10,000, Mit-taus Kichi wock or ten great hundreds|
The Sauk and Fox and I believe all other Indians count decimally.
|Come with me||Ke-we-thay-me|
|Go to him||E-na-ke-haw-loo|
|I will fight for you||Ke-me-caw-thu-it-thum-one|
|Come in with me||Pen-the-kay-thaun|
|Let us wade thro the water||Pee-than-see-e-thawn|
|He shoots badly||Me-awn-os-show-whai|
|He eats much||Kichu-o-we-sen-ne|
|The River rises rapidly||Kichu-mos-on-hum-o-see-po|
|Not you but me||A-qua-kun-neen|
|Neither you nor I||A-qua-necoth I-O|
The above is submitted to your better Judgment of Indian Manners and Customs by your obedient servant THOMAS FORSYTH.
St. Louis, 15th January, 1827
[Addressed:] GENERAL WILLIAM CLARK,
Early in the eighteenth century an alliance was formed by the Wyandotts, Chippewa, Ottawas, and Potawatamies for their mutual protection against the incursions of hostile western tribes; the French made a fifth party to this alliance -- which before many years fell through. About 1720 those four tribes made an arrangement as to the respective territories which they were to occupy -- each tribe, however, to have the privilege of hunting in the territory of the others. The Wyandotts were made the keepers of the international council-fire (a figurative expression, meaning their international archives), and arbiters, in their general council, of important questions that concerned the welfare of all the four tribes. "From that period might be dated the first introduction of the wampum belt system, representing an agreement among the four nations. The belt was left with the keepers of the council-fire. From that time forward until the year 1812 (when the council-fire was removed from Michigan to Canada) every wampum belt representing some international compact was placed in the archives of the Wyandott nation. Each belt bore some mark, denoting the nature of a covenant or contract entered into between the parties, and the hidden contents of which was kept in the memory of the chiefs." About 1842 part of the Wyandotts left Canada, to join their tribesmen in Ohio, and with them remove to Kansas, to which territory they sent (1843) their archives; but when these were desired (about 1864) by the eastern Wyandotts it was found that most of the belts and documents were dispersed and lost. The last general council of those tribes, at which the belts were displayed and their contents recited, was held in Kansas in 1846. Brownstown (later called by the whites Gibraltar) was thus named for a noted chief of the Wyandotts, Adam Brown, who was captured in Virginia by one of their scouting parties about 1755, and taken to their village near Detroit; he was an English boy, then about eight years old. He was adopted by a Wyandott family belonging to one of the ruling clans, and afterward married a Wyandott woman; he was finally made a chief, and was greatly esteemed by that tribe, and died after the War of 1812. He was a compasionate and honorable man, and never approved the attacks made by Indian parties on the whites in their homes. See Origin and Traditional History of the Wyandotts (Toronto, 1870), by Peter D. Clarke, himself a grandson of Adam Brown. -- ED.
"In the days when the tribe was much larger there were numerous gentes. It may be that as many as fourteen gentes are yet in existence. These are: Trout, Sturgeon, Bass, Great Lynx or Water monster, Sea, Fox, Wolf, Bear, Bear-Potato, Elk, Swan, Grouse, Eagle, and Thunder. It seems that at one time there was a more rigid order of rank both socially and politically than at present. For example, chiefs came from the Trout and Sturgeon gentes, and war chiefs from the Fox gens; and there were certain relationships of courtesy between one gens and another, as when one acted the role of servants to another, seen especially on the occasion of a gens ceremony."
These were two great social groups: Kishkoa and Oshkasha. "A person entered into a group at birth, sometimes the father, sometimes the mother determining the group into which the child was to enter. The division was for emulation in all manner of contests, especially in athletics. The Sauk never developed a soldier society with the same degree of success as did the Foxes, but they did have a buffalo society; it is said that the first was due to contact with the Sioux, and it is reasonable to suppose that the second was due to influence also from the plains. There was a chief and a council. The chiefs came from the Trout and Sturgeon gentes, and the council was an assembly of all the warriors. Politically the chief was nothing more than figurehead, but socially he occupied first place in the tribe. Furthermore, his person was held sacred, and for that reason he was given royal homage." -- WILLIAM JONES, in Handbook Amer. Indians.
The sixth in Forsyth's list of Fox clans is called by Morgan Na-na-ma-kew-uk (Ancient Society, 170). He also mentions the buffalo clan, Na-nus-sus-so-uk, as among the Sauk and Foxes. -- ED.
Keokuk, the noted Sauk leader, was born on Rock River, Ill., about 1780. "He was not a chief by birth, but rose to the command of his people through marked ability, force of character, and oratorical power. His mother is said to have been half French." He was ambitious to become the foremost man in his tribe, and by affability and diplomacy gradually attained great popularity among them; he lost much of this prestige, however, by his passive attitude regarding the St. Louis treaty of 1804, by which a small band of Sauk who wintered near that post agreed to cede the Rock River country to the U.S. government. The rest of the tribe refused to confirm this agreement, and part of them decided to take up arms against its enforcement. Not finding Keokuk favorable to this action, they turned to Black Hawk as their leader; and he was forced to begin hostilities with a much smaller force than he had expected, as Keokuk with his adherents joined the Foxes -- whose union with the Sauk had been already broken, largely through the intrigues of Keokuk. After the war was over, Keokuk was made chief of the Sauk, an act which "has always been regarded with ridicule by both the Sauk and the Foxes, for the reason that he was not of the ruling clan. But the one great occasion for which both the Sauk and the Foxes honor Keokuk was when, in the city of Washington, in debate with the representatives of the Sioux and other tribes before government officials, he established the claim of the Sauk and Foxes to the territory comprised in what is now the state of Iowa. He based this claim primarily on conquest." Keokuk died in 1848, in Kansas, after residing there three years; in 1883 his remains were removed to Keokuk, Iowa, and a monument was erected over his grave by the citizens of that town. His authority as chief passed to his son, Moses Keokuk -- a man of great ability, intellectual force, eloquence, and strong character, who won high esteem from his tribe. He was converted to the Christian faith, late in life; and died near Horton, Kans., in 1903. -- WILLIAM JONES, in Handbook Amer. Indians.
In the Forsyth Mss., vol. ii, doc. 7 (pressmark "2T7") is a list of the Sauk and Fox half-breeds claiming land according to the treaty made at Washington, Aug. 4, 1824. It contains thirty-eight names. Another and similar list (doc. 8) gives thirty-one names, and fourteen others which are considered doubtful. Among the (presumably) rightful claimants appears Maurice Blondeau, mentioned in note 49. -- ED.
There is much evidence that from far prehistoric times the Indians were familiar with vast regions of territory besides these of their own abode, and made long journeys over well-defined routes of travel. The great river-systems of the continent, whose headwaters often interlocked together, and their numerous tributaries furnished the easiest routes in the extensive forest regions of the north and east, which were penetrated by canoes or dugouts; on the plains and prairies well-worn trails still remain to indicate the lines of aboriginal travel and trade. These paths also existed along or between the river routes, many of them originally made by the tracks of deer or buffalo in their seasonal migrations or in search of water or salt. These same early trails (which generally followed the lines of least natural resistance) have since been utilized in many cases by the whites as lines for highways and railroads. "The white man, whether hunter, trader, or settler, blazed the trees along the Indian trails in order that seasonal changes might not mislead him should he return." -- J. D. McGUIRE, in Handbook Amer. Indians.
It is remarkable how the old plainsmen who laid out the Santa Fe trail across the State of Kansas and on into New Mexico, were able to follow the grades so well and get such a straight road. They simply used their eyes, for in those days there were no engineers on the western plains. "We tried to best it with our own engineering," W. B. Strang said, "but we finally ended by following the old trail made by the wheels of the wagon trains. Eleven times our engineers surveyed other lines, but they finally concluded that the grades made by the men without the knowledge of mathematics fifty years ago were the most practical, and hence we are keeping very near the old Santa Fe trail in the building of our line to the west from Kansas City." -- Chicago Record -- Herald, Jan. 2, 1910
The Indians certainly believe in a future life, but their ideas of its nature and location were vague and undefined. "Nor does it appear that belief in a future life had any marked influence on the daily life and conduct of the individual. The American Indian seems not to have evolved the idea of hell and future punishment." -- HENRY W. HENSHAW, in Handbook Amer. Indians, art. "Popular fallacies."
For particulars of his life and of the "Black Hawk War" see Wis. Hist. Colls., vols. i, iv, v, x, xii; also Forsyth's own account (Forsyth Mss., vol. ix), "Original causes of the troubles with a party of Sauk and Fox Indians under the direction or command of the Black Hawk who is no chief." He says that the treaty of 1804 was signed only by two Sauk chiefs, one Fox chief, and one warrior; and that those tribes were not consulted and knew nothing about it (see note 291). Squatters came upon their lands, and robbed and abused the Indians, besides selling them whisky, regardless of the objections made to this by the chiefs, especially Black Hawk. They were not allowed to hunt on the lands alleged to have been ceded by them to the government, although this privilege was granted to them by the treaty of 1804. In 1830 they decided to remove to their lands in Iowa, and Forsyth (at their own request) asked for certain action on this by Gen. Clark, who paid no attention to the matter -- neglect which Forsyth blames as causing the later hostilities with Black Hawk. He praises that leader as always a friend to the whites, and says that when he came back to Illinois in 1832 with his people he had no intention of fighting, and did so only because they were first attacked by the whites and naturally undertook to defend themselves. -- ED.
"The men did all the hunting, fishing, and trapping, which in savagery are always toilsome, frequently dangerous, and not rarely fatal, especially in winter. The man alone bore arms, and to him belonged the chances and dangers of war." It was men also who attended to the making and administration of laws, the conduct of treaties, and the general regulation of tribal affairs, "though in these fields, women also had important prerogatives" and important ceremonies and religious rites, and the memorizing of tribal records, and of treaties and rituals, were intrusted to the men. "The chief manual labor of the men was the manufacture of hunting and war implements, an important occupation that took much time." They also made the canoes, and often dressed the skins of animals, and sometimes even made the clothing for their wives. "Thus, in Indian society, the position of woman was usually subordinate, and the lines of demarcation between the duties of the sexes were everywhere sharply drawn. Nevertheless, the division of labor was not so unequal as it might seem to the casual observer, and it is difficult to understand how the line could have been more fairly drawn in a state of society where the military spirit was so dominant. Indian communities lived in constant danger of attack, and their men, whether in camp or on the march, must ever be ready at a moment's warning to seize their arms and defend their homes and families." -- HENRY W. HENSHAW, in Handbook Amer. Indians.
Many of the medicinal roots of eastern and southern United States were adopted by the whites from the Indian pharmacopeia; some of these are still known by their native names, and about forty are quoted in current price lists of crude drugs. Indians formerly gathered medicinal roots to supply the trade that arose after the coming of the whites. Many roots were exported, especially ginseng, in which there was an extensive commerce with China; and, curiously enough, the Iroquois name for the plant has the same meaning as the Chinese name." -- WALTER HOUGH, in Handbook Amer. Indians.
See the list of trees and plants used for medicinal purposes by the Chippewa in Minnesota, in Hoffman's "Midç'wiwin of the Ojibwa," in Seventh annual Report of the Bureau of Amer. Ethnology, 198-201. -- ED.
W. J. Hoffman says in his paper on the above-named "Grand Medicine Society" of the Chippewa (or Ojibwa) -- which was published in the Seventh annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology (1885-1886), 143-299 -- in speaking of the opposition made by the medicine-men (often called sorcerers), from the outset, to the introduction of Christianity: "In the light of recent investigation the cause of this antagonism is seen to lie in the fact that the traditions of Indian genesis and cosmogony and the ritual of initiation into the Society of the Midç' constitute what is to them a religion, even more powerful and impressive than the Christian religion is to the average civilized man. This opposition still exists among the leading classes of a number of the Algonkian tribes, and especially among the Ojibwa, many bands of whom have been more or less isolated and beyond convenient reach of the church. The purposes of the society are twofold: first, to preserve the traditions just mentioned, and, second, to give a certain class of ambitious men and women sufficient influence through their acknowledged power of exorcism and necromancy to lead a comfortable life at the expense of the credulous. The persons admitted into the society are firmly believed to possess the power of communing with various supernatural beings -- manidos -- and in order that certain desires may be realized they are sought after and consulted" (page 151). Hoffman made personal investigations among the Ojibwa during the years 1887-1889, at Leech Lake, Minn., to obtain data for this paper, and much of his information was furnished directly by the shamans ("medicine-men") themselves. -- ED.
Lake Puckaway, in Green Lake County, Wis., is evidently named for this Plant. -- ED.
Spoons and ladles were used among all tribes of the United States; they were made of a great variety of materials -- stone, shell, bone, horn, wood, gourd, pottery, etc. -- and in size were larger than European utensils of this sort. Wood was the most usual material for these articles; and some of the tribes on the northwest coast made them of highly artistic form and decoration. Among the eastern and southern Indians from New York to Florida they were made with the pointed bowl, a form which occurs in no other part of the United States. "Gourds were extensively used and their forms were often repeated in pottery." Spoons of shell were common where shells were available, and artistically wrought specimens have been found in the mounds. -- WALTER HOUGH, in Handbook Amer. Indians.
"Among the more primitive tribes, who often pass through periods of want, capacity for food is larger than in the average whites. Real excesses in eating are witnessed among such tribes, but principally at feasts. On the reservations, and under ordinary circumstances, the consumption of food by the Indian is usually moderate. All Indians readily develop a strong inclination for and are easily affected by alcoholic drinks. The average Indian ordinarily passes somewhat more time in sleep than the civilized white man; on the other hand, he manifests considerable capacity for enduring its loss."
"Dreams are frequent and variable. Illusions or hallucinations in healthy individuals and under ordinary conditions have not been observed. . . The sight, hearing, smell, and taste of the Indian, so far as can be judged from unaided but extended observation, are in no way peculiar. . . The physical endurance of Indians on general occasions probably exceeds that of the whites. The Indian easily sustains long walking or running, hunger and thirst, severe sweating, etc.; but he often tires readily when subjected to steady work. His mental endurance, however, except when he may be engaged in ceremonies or games, or on other occasions which produce special mental excitement, is but moderate; an hour of questioning almost invariably produces mental fatigue." -- Handbook Amer. Indians.
"From the earliest form of picture-writing, the imitative, the Indian had progressed so far as to frame his conceptions ideographically, and even to express abstract ideas. Later, as skill was acquired, his figures became more and more conventionalized till in many cases all semblance of the original was lost, and the ideograph became a mere symbol. While the great body of Indian glyphs remained pure ideographs, symbols were by no means uncommonly employed, especially to express religious subjects, and a rich color symbolism likewise was developed, notably in the southwest." Usually the Indian glyphs "are of individual origin, are obscured by conventionalism, and require for their interpretation a knowledge of their makers and of the customs and events of the times, which usually are wanting" -- hence the need of great caution, and frequent failure, in trying to explain them. Nevertheless, "their study is important. These pictures on skin, bark, and stone, crude in execution as they often are, yet represent the first artistic records of ancient, though probably not of primitive man. In them lies the germ of achievement which time and effort have developed into the masterpieces of modern eras. Nor is the study of pictographs less important as affording a glimpse into the psychological workings of the mind of early man in his struggles upward." -- HENRY W. HENSHAW, in Handbook Amer. Indians.
Sog-o-nosh, appears to be derived from the gallic word Sasenaugh, which as I am well informed, means Saxon. The manner in which the Indians became acquainted with this word is as follows. At an early period, perhaps, in the latter part of the seventeenth, or the beginning of the eighteenth century, the British were about to make an attack on Quebeck; some Scotchmen who were officers in the French army, at that place, told the Indians to be strong, and they, combined with the French, would kill all those bad Sasenaghs (meaning the British Army) who dared come against them. The Indians took the word, and pronounced it as now spoken, Sog-o-nosh. Both words as Wem-ty-goush and Sog-o-nosh originated with the lake Indians.
Kit-chi-mo-co-maun or Big Knife is of a more recent origin, than the two former names. In some one of the many battles between the settlers of the then province (now State) of Virginia, the Indians were attacked by a party of white men on horseback, with long knives (swords), and were ever after called Big Knives by the Indians in that quarter, which name reached the more northern Indians, and the name of Big Knife has ever since been given by the Indians to every American. The Indians in Lower Canada used to call the New England people Pos-to-ney which I presume was borrowed from the French Bostone, but at the present day and for many years back, all Indians call all Americans, Kit-chi-mo-co-maun, i.e., Big Knives. -- T. FORSYTH (among memoranda following his memoir).
Many curious names were given by the aboriginal peoples to the white men, "appellations referring to their personal appearance, arrival in ships, arms, dress, and other accouterments, activities, merchandise and articles brought with them, as iron, and fancied correspondence to figures of aboriginal myth and legend." In some cases the term for men of one nation was afterward extended to include all white men whom they met. Thus, "the Chippewa term for ‘Englishman,’ shâganâsh (which probably is connected with ‘spearman,’ or the ‘contemptible spearman.’ -- WM. JONES, 1906) has been extended to mean ‘white man.’" The Americans (i.e., the inhabitants of the English colonies which are now part of the United States) were called, in and after the Revolutionary period, various names by the Indians to distinguish them from the British and French. "Probably from the swords of the soldiery several tribes designated the Americans as ‘big knives,’ or ‘long knives.’ This is the signification of the Chippewa and Nipissing chimo'koman. . . The prominence of Boston in the early history of the United States led to its name being used for ‘American’ on both the Atlantic and the Pacific coast. Another Algonquian term for Frenchman is the Cree wemistikojiw, Chippewa wem?t?gosh?, probably akin to the Fox wämç't? gow?s?ta, one who is identified with something wooden, probably referring to something about clothing and implements. The Fox name for a Frenchman is wäm?'t?goshia (WM. JONES, 1906); Menominee, wameqtikosiu; Missisauga, wamitigushi, etc. The etymology of this name is uncertain." -- A. F. CHAMBERLAIN, in Handbook Amer. Indians, art. "Race names."
In a letter to the editor, Dr. F. W. Hodge says: "Forsyth's Wem-ty-goush is from the Chippewa wemitigoshi, meaning ‘people of the wooden canoes.’" -- ED.