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Title: Indian Child Life
Author: Eastman, Charles Alexander, 1858-1939
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Indian Child Life" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)

[Illustration: Snana called loudly to her companion turnip-diggers.
Frontispiece. _See page_ 123.]








_Copyright, 1913_,

_All rights reserved_


Transcriber's Note: In the name "Hak[=a]dah" the [=a] represents an
"a" with a macron above it.


DEAR CHILDREN:--You will like to know that the man who wrote these true
stories is himself one of the people he describes so pleasantly and so
lovingly for you. He hopes that when you have finished this book, the
Indians will seem to you very real and very friendly. He is not willing
that all your knowledge of the race that formerly possessed this
continent should come from the lips of strangers and enemies, or that
you should think of them as blood-thirsty and treacherous, as savage
and unclean.

War, you know, is always cruel, and it is true that there were stern
fighting men among the Indians, as well as among your own forefathers.
But there were also men of peace, men generous and kindly and
religious. There were tender mothers, and happy little ones, and a home
life that was pure and true. There were high ideals of loyalty and
honor. It will do you good and make you happier to read of these

Perhaps you wonder how a "real, live Indian" could write a book. I will
tell you how. The story of this man's life is itself as wonderful as a
fairy tale. Born in a wigwam, as he has told you, and early left
motherless, he was brought up, like the little Hiawatha, by a good
grandmother. When he was four years old, war broke out between his
people and the United States government. The Indians were defeated and
many of them were killed. Some fled northward into Canada and took
refuge under the British flag, among them the writer of this book, with
his grandmother and an uncle. His father was captured by the whites.

After ten years of that wild life, now everywhere at an end, of which
he has given you a true picture in his books, his father, whom the good
President Lincoln had pardoned and released from the military prison,
made the long and dangerous journey to Canada to find and bring back
his youngest son. The Sioux were beginning to learn that the old life
must go, and that, if they were to survive at all, they must follow
"the white man's road," long and hard as it looked to a free people.
They were beginning to plow and sow and send their children to school.

Ohiyesa, the Winner, as the boy was called, came home with his father
to what was then Dakota Territory, to a little settlement of Sioux
homesteaders. Everything about the new life was strange to him, and at
first he did not like it at all. He had thoughts of running away and
making his way back to Canada. But his father, Many Lightnings, who had
been baptized a Christian under the name of Jacob Eastman, told him
that he, too, must take a new name, and he chose that of Charles
Alexander Eastman. He was told to cut off his long hair and put on
citizen's clothing. Then his father made him choose between going to
school and working at the plow.

Ohiyesa tried plowing for half a day. It was hard work to break the
tough prairie sod with his father's oxen and the strange implement they
gave him. He decided to try school. Rather to his surprise, he liked
it, and he kept on. His teachers were pleased with his progress, and
soon better opportunities opened to him. He was sent farther east to a
better school, where he continued to do well, and soon went higher. In
the long summer vacations he worked, on farms, in shops and offices;
and in winter he studied and played football and all the other games
you play, until after about fifteen or sixteen years he found himself
with the diplomas of a famous college and a great university, a
Bachelor of Science, a Doctor of Medicine, and a doubly educated
man--educated in the lore of the wilderness as well as in some of the
deepest secrets of civilization.

Since that day, a good many more years have passed. Ohiyesa, known as
Doctor Charles A. Eastman, has now a home and six children of his own
among the New England hills. He has hundreds of devoted friends of both
races. He is the author of five books which have been widely read, some
of them in England, France and Germany as well as in America, and he
speaks face to face to thousands of people every year. Perhaps some of
you have heard from his own lips his recollections of wild life. You
may find all the stories in this book, and many more of the same sort,
in the books called "Indian Boyhood," and "Old Indian Days," published
by Doubleday, Page and Company, of Garden City, L.I., who have kindly
consented to the publication of this little volume in order that the
children in our schools might read stories of real Indians by a real




CHAPTER                                                PAGE

  I. "THE PITIFUL LAST"                                   1

 II. EARLY HARDSHIPS                                      9

III. AN INDIAN SUGAR CAMP                                19

 IV. GAMES AND SPORTS                                    26

  V. AN INDIAN BOY'S TRAINING                            37

 VI. THE BOY HUNTER                                      48

VII. EVENING IN THE LODGE                                58



  I. WINONA'S CHILDHOOD                                  75

 II. WINONA'S GIRLHOOD                                   83

III. A MIDSUMMER FEAST                                   93

 IV. THE FAITHFULNESS OF LONG EARS                      103

  V. SNANA'S FAWN                                       118

 VI. HAKADAH'S FIRST OFFERING                           131

VII. THE GRAVE OF THE DOG                               145


Snana called loudly to her companion turnip-diggers     _Frontispiece_

So he bravely jumped upon the nest                          PAGE   32

"Oh, what nice claws he has, uncle!" I exclaimed eagerly           69

He began to sing a dirge for him                                  140





What boy would not be an Indian for a while when he thinks of the
freest life in the world? This life was mine. Every day there was a
real hunt. There was real game.

No people have a better use of their five senses than the children of
the wilderness. We could smell as well as hear and see. We could feel
and taste as well as we could see and hear. Nowhere has the memory been
more fully developed than in the wild life, and I can still see wherein
I owe much to my early training.

Of course I myself do not remember when I first saw the day, but my
brothers have often recalled the event with much mirth; for it was a
custom of the Sioux that when a boy was born his brother must plunge
into the water, or roll in the snow naked if it was winter time; and if
he was not big enough to do either of these himself, water was thrown
on him. If the new-born had a sister, she must be immersed. The idea
was that a warrior had come to camp, and the other children must
display some act of hardihood.

I was so unfortunate as to be the youngest of five children who, soon
after I was born, were left motherless. I had to bear the humiliating
name "Hak[=a]dah," meaning "the pitiful last," until I should earn a
more dignified and appropriate name. I was regarded as little more than
a plaything by the rest of the children.

The babe was done up as usual in a movable cradle made from an oak
board two and a half feet long and one and a half feet wide. On one
side of it was nailed with brass-headed tacks the richly embroidered
sack, which was open in front and laced up and down with buckskin
strings. Over the arms of the infant was a wooden bow, the ends of
which were firmly attached to the board, so that if the cradle should
fall the child's head and face would be protected. On this bow were
hung curious playthings--strings of artistically carved bones and hoofs
of deer, which rattled when the little hands moved them.

In this upright cradle I lived, played, and slept the greater part of
the time during the first few months of my life. Whether I was made to
lean against a lodge pole or was suspended from a bough of a tree,
while my grandmother cut wood, or whether I was carried on her back, or
conveniently balanced by another child in a similar cradle hung on the
opposite side of a pony, I was still in my oaken bed.

This grandmother, who had already lived through sixty years of
hardships, was a wonder to the young maidens of the tribe. She showed
no less enthusiasm over Hakadah than she had done when she held her
first-born, the boy's father, in her arms. Every little attention that
is due to a loved child she performed with much skill and devotion. She
made all my scanty garments and my tiny moccasins with a great deal of
taste. It was said by all that I could not have had more attention had
my mother been living.

Uncheedah (grandmother) was a great singer. Sometimes, when Hakadah
wakened too early in the morning, she would sing to him something like
the following lullaby:

    Sleep, sleep, my boy, the Chippewas
      Are far away--are far away.
    Sleep, sleep, my boy; prepare to meet
      The foe by day--the foe by day!
    The cowards will not dare to fight
      Till morning break--till morning break.
    Sleep, sleep, my child, while still 'tis night;
      Then bravely wake--then bravely wake!

The Dakota women were wont to cut and bring their fuel from the woods
and, in fact, to perform most of the drudgery of the camp. This of
necessity fell to their lot because the men must follow the game during
the day. Very often my grandmother carried me with her on these
excursions; and while she worked it was her habit to suspend me from a
wild grape vine or a springy bough, so that the least breeze would
swing the cradle to and fro.

She has told me that when I had grown old enough to take notice, I was
apparently capable of holding extended conversations in an unknown
dialect with birds and red squirrels. Once I fell asleep in my cradle,
suspended five or six feet from the ground, while Uncheedah was some
distance away, gathering birch bark for a canoe. A squirrel had found
it convenient to come upon the bow of my cradle and nibble his hickory
nut, until he awoke me by dropping the crumbs of his meal. It was a
common thing for birds to alight on my cradle in the woods.

After I left my cradle, I almost walked away from it, she told me. She
then began calling my attention to natural objects. Whenever I heard
the song of a bird, she would tell me what bird it came from, something
after this fashion:

"Hakadah, listen to Shechoka (the robin) calling his mate. He says he
has just found something good to eat." Or "Listen to Oopehanska (the
thrush); he is singing for his little wife. He will sing his best."
When in the evening the whippoorwill started his song with vim, no
further than a stone's throw from our tent in the woods, she would say
to me:

"Hush! It may be an Ojibway scout!"

Again, when I waked at midnight, she would say:

"Do not cry! Hinakaga (the owl) is watching you from the tree-top."

I usually covered up my head, for I had perfect faith in my
grandmother's admonitions, and she had given me a dreadful idea of this
bird. It was one of her legends that a little boy was once standing
just outside of the teepee (tent), crying vigorously for his mother,
when Hinakaga swooped down in the darkness and carried the poor little
fellow up into the trees. It was well known that the hoot of the owl
was commonly imitated by Indian scouts when on the war-path. There had
been dreadful massacres immediately following this call. Therefore it
was deemed wise to impress the sound early upon the mind of the child.

Indian children were trained so that they hardly ever cried much in the
night. This was very expedient and necessary in their exposed life. In
my infancy it was my grandmother's custom to put me to sleep, as she
said, with the birds, and to waken me with them, until it became a
habit. She did this with an object in view. An Indian must always rise
early. In the first place, as a hunter, he finds his game best at
daybreak. Secondly, other tribes, when on the war-path, usually make
their attack very early in the morning. Even when our people are moving
about leisurely, we like to rise before daybreak, in order to travel
when the air is cool, and unobserved, perchance, by our enemies.

As a little child, it was instilled into me to be silent and reticent.
This was one of the most important traits to form in the character of
the Indian. As a hunter and warrior it was considered absolutely
necessary to him, and was thought to lay the foundations of patience
and self-control.



One of the earliest recollections of my adventurous childhood is the
ride I had on a pony's side. I was passive in the whole matter. A
little girl cousin of mine was put in a bag and suspended from the horn
of an Indian saddle; but her weight must be balanced or the saddle
would not remain on the animal's back. Accordingly, I was put into
another sack and made to keep the saddle and the girl in position! I
did not object, for I had a very pleasant game of peek-a-boo with the
little girl, until we came to a big snow-drift, where the poor beast
was stuck fast and began to lie down. Then it was not so nice!

This was the convenient and primitive way in which some mothers packed
their children for winter journeys. However cold the weather might be,
the inmate of the fur-lined sack was usually very comfortable--at least
I used to think so. I believe I was accustomed to all the precarious
Indian conveyances, and, as a boy, I enjoyed the dog-travaux ride as
much as any. The travaux consisted of a set of rawhide strips securely
lashed to the tent-poles, which were harnessed to the sides of the
animal as if he stood between shafts, while the free ends were allowed
to drag on the ground. Both ponies and large dogs were used as beasts
of burden, and they carried in this way the smaller children as well as
the baggage.

This mode of travelling for children was possible only in the summer,
and as the dogs were sometimes unreliable, the little ones were exposed
to a certain amount of danger. For instance, whenever a train of dogs
had been travelling for a long time, almost perishing with the heat and
their heavy loads, a glimpse of water would cause them to forget all
their responsibilities. Some of them, in spite of the screams of the
women, would swim with their burdens into the cooling stream, and I was
thus, on more than one occasion, made to partake of an unwilling bath.

I was a little over four years old at the time of the "Sioux massacre"
in Minnesota. In the general turmoil, we took flight into British
Columbia, and the journey is still vividly remembered by all our
family. A yoke of oxen and a lumber-wagon were taken from some white
farmer and brought home for our conveyance.

How delighted I was when I learned that we were to ride behind those
wise-looking animals and in that gorgeously painted wagon! It seemed
almost like a living creature to me, this new vehicle with four legs,
and the more so when we got out of axle-grease and the wheels went
along squealing like pigs!

The boys found a great deal of innocent fun in jumping from the high
wagon while the oxen were leisurely moving along. My elder brothers
soon became experts. At last, I mustered up courage enough to join them
in this sport. I was sure they stepped on the wheel, so I cautiously
placed my moccasined foot upon it. Alas, before I could realize what
had happened, I was under the wheels, and had it not been for the
neighbor immediately behind us, I might have been run over by the next
team as well.

This was my first experience with a civilized vehicle. I cried out all
possible reproaches on the white man's team and concluded that a
dog-travaux was good enough for me. I was really rejoiced that we were
moving away from the people who made the wagon that had almost ended my
life, and it did not occur to me that I alone was to blame. I could not
be persuaded to ride in that wagon again and was glad when we finally
left it beside the Missouri river.

The summer after the "Minnesota massacre," General Sibley pursued our
people across this river. Now the Missouri is considered one of the
most treacherous rivers in the world. Even a good modern boat is not
safe upon its uncertain current. We were forced to cross in
buffalo-skin boats--as round as tubs!

The Washechu (white men) were coming in great numbers with their big
guns, and while most of our men were fighting them to gain time, the
women and the old men made and equipped the temporary boats, braced
with ribs of willow. Some of these were towed by two or three women or
men swimming in the water and some by ponies. It was not an easy matter
to keep them right side up, with their helpless freight of little
children and such goods as we possessed.

In our flight, we little folks were strapped in the saddles or held in
front of an older person, and in the long night marches to get away
from the soldiers, we suffered from loss of sleep and insufficient
food. Our meals were eaten hastily, and sometimes in the saddle. Water
was not always to be found. The people carried it with them in bags
formed of tripe or the dried pericardium of animals.

Now we were compelled to trespass upon the country of hostile tribes
and were harassed by them almost daily and nightly. Only the strictest
vigilance saved us.

One day we met with another enemy near the British lines. It was a
prairie fire. We were surrounded. Another fire was quickly made, which
saved our lives.

One of the most thrilling experiences of the following winter was a
blizzard, which overtook us in our wanderings. Here and there, a family
lay down in the snow, selecting a place where it was not likely to
drift much. For a day and a night we lay under the snow. Uncle stuck a
long pole beside us to tell us when the storm was over. We had plenty
of buffalo robes and the snow kept us warm, but we found it heavy.
After a time, it became packed and hollowed out around our bodies, so
that we were as comfortable as one can be under those circumstances.

The next day the storm ceased, and we discovered a large herd of
buffaloes almost upon us. We dug our way out, shot some of the
buffaloes, made a fire and enjoyed a good dinner.

I was now an exile as well as motherless; yet I was not unhappy. Our
wanderings from place to place afforded us many pleasant experiences
and quite as many hardships and misfortunes. There were times of plenty
and times of scarcity, and we had several narrow escapes from death. In
savage life, the early spring is the most trying time and almost all
the famines occurred at this period of the year.

The Indians are a patient and a clannish people; their love for one
another is stronger than that of any civilized people I know. If this
were not so, I believe there would have been tribes of cannibals among
them. White people have been known to kill and eat their companions in
preference to starving; but Indians--never!

In times of famine, the adults often denied themselves in order to make
the food last as long as possible for the children, who were not able
to bear hunger as well as the old. As a people, they can live without
food much longer than any other nation.

I once passed through one of these hard springs when we had nothing to
eat for several days. I well remember the six small birds which
constituted the breakfast for six families one morning; and then we had
no dinner or supper to follow! What a relief that was to me--although I
had only a small wing of a small bird for my share! Soon after this, we
came into a region where buffaloes were plenty, and hunger and scarcity
were forgotten.

Such was the Indians' wild life! When game was to be had and the sun
shone, they easily forgot the bitter experiences of the winter before.
Little preparation was made for the future. They are children of
Nature, and occasionally she whips them with the lashes of experience,
yet they are forgetful and careless. Much of their suffering might have
been prevented by a little calculation.

During the summer, when Nature is at her best, and provides abundantly
for the savage, it seems to me that no life is happier than his! Food
is free--lodging free--everything free! All were alike rich in the
summer, and, again, all were alike poor in the winter and early spring.
However, their diseases were fewer and not so destructive as now, and
the Indian's health was generally good. The Indian boy enjoyed such a
life as almost all boys dream of and would choose for themselves if
they were permitted to do so.

The raids made upon our people by other tribes were frequent, and we
had to be constantly on the watch. I remember at one time a night
attack was made upon our camp and all our ponies stampeded. Only a few
of them were recovered, and our journeys after this misfortune were
effected mostly by means of the dog-travaux.

The second winter after the massacre, my father and my two older
brothers, with several others, were betrayed by a half-breed at
Winnipeg to the United States authorities. As I was then living with my
uncle in another part of the country, I became separated from them for
ten years. During all this time we believed that they had been killed
by the whites, and I was taught that I must avenge their deaths as soon
as I was able to go upon the war-path.



With the first March thaw the thoughts of the Indian women of my
childhood days turned promptly to the annual sugar-making. This
industry was chiefly followed by the old men and women and the
children. The rest of the tribe went out upon the spring fur-hunt at
this season, leaving us at home to make the sugar.

The first and most important of the necessary utensils were the huge
iron and brass kettles for boiling. Everything else could be made, but
these must be bought, begged or borrowed. A maple tree was felled and a
log canoe hollowed out, into which the sap was to be gathered. Little
troughs of basswood and birchen basins were also made to receive the
sweet drops as they trickled from the tree.

As soon as these labors were accomplished, we all proceeded to the bark
sugar house, which stood in the midst of a fine grove of maples on the
bank of the Minnesota river. We found this hut partially filled with
the snows of winter and the withered leaves of the preceding autumn,
and it must be cleared for our use. In the meantime a tent was pitched
outside for a few days' occupancy. The snow was still deep in the
woods, with a solid crust upon which we could easily walk; for we
usually moved to the sugar house before the sap had actually started,
the better to complete our preparations.

My grandmother did not confine herself to canoe-making. She also
collected a good supply of fuel for the fires, for she would not have
much time to gather wood when the sap began to flow. Presently the
weather moderated and the snow began to melt. The month of April
brought showers which carried most of it off into the Minnesota river.
Now the women began to test the trees--moving leisurely among them, axe
in hand, and striking a single quick blow, to see if the sap would
appear. Trees, like people, have their individual characters; some were
ready to yield up their life-blood, while others were more reluctant.
Now one of the birchen basins was set under each tree, and a hardwood
chip driven deep into the cut which the axe had made. From the corners
of this chip--at first drop by drop, then, more freely--the sap
trickled into the little dishes.

It is usual to make sugar from maples, but several other trees were
also tapped by the Indians. From the birch and ash was made a
dark-colored sugar, with a somewhat bitter taste, which was used for
medicinal purposes. The box-elder yielded a beautiful white sugar,
whose only fault was that there was never enough of it!

A long fire was now made in the sugar house, and a row of brass kettles
suspended over the blaze. The sap was collected by the women in tin or
birchen buckets and poured into the canoes, from which the kettles were
kept filled. The hearts of the boys beat high with pleasant
anticipations when they heard the welcome hissing sound of the boiling
sap! Each boy claimed one kettle for his especial charge. It was his
duty to see that the fire was kept under it, to watch lest it boil
over, and finally, when the sap became sirup, to test it upon the snow,
dipping it out with a wooden paddle. So frequent were these tests that
for the first day or two we consumed nearly all that could be made; and
it was not until the sweetness began to pall that my grandmother set
herself in earnest to store up sugar for future use. She made it into
cakes of various forms, in birchen molds, and sometimes in hollow canes
or reeds, and the bills of ducks and geese. Some of it was pulverized
and packed in rawhide cases. Being a prudent woman, she did not give it
to us after the first month or so, except upon special occasions, and
it was thus made to last almost the year around. The smaller candies
were reserved as an occasional treat for the little fellows, and the
sugar was eaten at feasts with wild rice or parched corn, and also with
pounded dried meat. Coffee and tea, with their substitutes, were all
unknown to us in those days.

Every pursuit has its trials and anxieties. My grandmother's special
tribulations, during the sugaring season, were the upsetting and
gnawing of holes in her birch-bark pans. The transgressors were the
rabbit and squirrel tribes, and we little boys for once became useful,
in shooting them with our bows and arrows. We hunted all over the sugar
camp, until the little creatures were fairly driven out of the
neighborhood. Occasionally one of my older brothers brought home a
rabbit or two, and then we had a feast.

I remember on this occasion of our last sugar bush in Minnesota, that I
stood one day outside of our hut and watched the approach of a
visitor--a bent old man, his hair almost white, and carrying on his
back a large bundle of red willow, or kinnikinick, which the Indians
use for smoking. He threw down his load at the door and thus saluted
us: "You have indeed perfect weather for sugar-making."

It was my great-grandfather, Cloud Man, whose original village was on
the shores of Lakes Calhoun and Harriet, now in the suburbs of the city
of Minneapolis. He was the first Sioux chief to welcome the Protestant
missionaries among his people, and a well-known character in those
pioneer days. He brought us word that some of the peaceful sugar-makers
near us on the river had been attacked and murdered by roving Ojibways.
This news disturbed us not a little, for we realized that we too might
become the victims of an Ojibway war party. Therefore we all felt some
uneasiness from this time until we returned heavy laden to our village.



The Indian boy was a prince of the wilderness. He had but very little
work to do during the period of his boyhood. His principal occupation
was the practice of a few simple arts in warfare and the chase. Aside
from this, he was master of his time.

It is true that our savage life was a precarious one, and full of
dreadful catastrophes; however, this never prevented us from enjoying
our sports to the fullest extent. As we left our teepees in the
morning, we were never sure that our scalps would not dangle from a
pole in the afternoon! It was an uncertain life, to be sure. Yet we
observed that the fawns skipped and played happily while the gray
wolves might be peeping forth from behind the hills, ready to tear them
limb from limb.

Our sports were molded by the life and customs of our people; indeed,
we practiced only what we expected to do when grown. Our games were
feats with the bow and arrow, foot and pony races, wrestling, swimming
and imitation of the customs and habits of our fathers. We had sham
fights with mud balls and willow wands; we played lacrosse, made war
upon bees, shot winter arrows (which were used only in that season),
and coasted upon the ribs of animals and buffalo robes.

No sooner did the boys get together than, as a usual thing, they
divided into squads and chose sides; then a leading arrow was shot at
random into the air. Before it fell to the ground a volley from the
bows of the participants followed. Each player was quick to note the
direction and speed of the leading arrow and he tried to send his own
at the same speed and at an equal height, so that when it fell it would
be closer to the first than any of the others.

It was considered out of place to shoot by first sighting the object
aimed at. This was usually impracticable in actual life, because the
object was almost always in motion, while the hunter himself was often
upon the back of a pony at full gallop. Therefore, it was the off-hand
shot that the Indian boy sought to master. There was another game with
arrows that was characterized by gambling, and was generally confined
to the men.

The races were an every-day occurrence. At noon the boys were usually
gathered by some pleasant sheet of water, and as soon as the ponies
were watered, they were allowed to graze for an hour or two, while the
boys stripped for their noonday sports. A boy might say to some other
whom he considered his equal:

"I can't run; but I will challenge you to fifty paces."

A former hero, when beaten, would often explain his defeat by saying:
"I drank too much water."

Boys of all ages were paired for a "spin," and the little red men
cheered on their favorites with spirit.

As soon as this was ended, the pony races followed. All the speedy
ponies were picked out and riders chosen. If a boy declined to ride,
there would be shouts of derision.

Last of all came the swimming. A little urchin would hang to his pony's
long tail, while the latter, with only his head above water, glided
sportively along. Finally the animals were driven into a fine field of
grass and we turned our attention to other games.

The "mud-and-willow" fight was rather a severe and dangerous sport. A
lump of soft clay was stuck on the end of a limber and springy willow
wand and thrown as boys throw apples from sticks, with considerable
force. When there were fifty or a hundred players on each side, the
battle became warm; but anything to arouse the bravery of Indian boys
seemed to them a good and wholesome diversion.

Wrestling was largely indulged in by us all. It may seem odd, but
wrestling was done by a great many boys at once--from ten to any number
on a side. It was really a battle, in which each one chose his
opponent. The rule was that if a boy sat down, he was let alone, but as
long as he remained standing within the field, he was open to an
attack. No one struck with the hand, but all manner of tripping with
legs and feet and butting with the knees was allowed. Altogether it was
an exhausting pastime--fully equal to the American game of football,
and only the young athlete could really enjoy it.

One of our most curious sports was a war upon the nests of wild bees.
We imagined ourselves about to make an attack upon the Ojibways or some
tribal foe. We all painted and stole cautiously upon the nest; then,
with a rush and war-whoop, sprang upon the object of our attack and
endeavored to destroy it. But it seemed that the bees were always on
the alert and never entirely surprised, for they always raised quite as
many scalps as did their bold assailants! After the onslaught upon the
nest was ended, we usually followed it by a pretended scalp dance.

On the occasion of my first experience in this mode of warfare, there
were two other little boys who were also novices. One of them
particularly was really too young to indulge in an exploit of that
kind. As it was the custom of our people, when they killed or wounded
an enemy on the battle-field, to announce the act in a loud voice, we
did the same. My friend, Little Wound (as I will call him, for I do not
remember his name), being quite small, was unable to reach the nest
until it had been well trampled upon and broken and the insects had
made a counter charge with such vigor as to repulse and scatter our
numbers in every direction. However, he evidently did not want to
retreat without any honors; so he bravely jumped upon the nest and

"I, the brave Little Wound, to-day kill the only fierce enemy!"

[Illustration: So he bravely jumped upon the nest. _Page 32._]

Scarcely were the last words uttered when he screamed as if stabbed to
the heart. One of his older companions shouted:

"Dive into the water! Run! Dive into the water!" for there was a lake
near by. This advice he obeyed.

When we had reassembled and were indulging in our mimic dance, Little
Wound was not allowed to dance. He was considered not to be in
existence--he had been killed by our enemies, the Bee tribe. Poor
little fellow! His swollen face was sad and ashamed as he sat on a
fallen log and watched the dance. Although he might well have styled
himself one of the noble dead who had died for their country, yet he
was not unmindful that he had _screamed_, and this weakness would be
apt to recur to him many times in the future.

We had some quiet plays which we alternated with the more severe and
warlike ones. Among them were throwing wands and snow-arrows. In the
winter we coasted much. We had no "double-rippers" or toboggans, but
six or seven of the long ribs of a buffalo, fastened together at the
larger end, answered all practical purposes. Sometimes a strip of
bass-wood bark, four feet long and about six inches wide, was used with
considerable skill. We stood on one end and held the other, using the
slippery inside of the bark for the outside, and thus coasting down
long hills with remarkable speed.

The spinning of tops was one of the all-absorbing winter sports. We
made our tops heart-shaped of wood, horn or bone. We whipped them with
a long thong of buckskin. The handle was a stick about a foot long and
sometimes we whittled the stick to make it spoon-shaped at one end.

We played games with these tops--two to fifty boys at one time. Each
whips his top until it hums; then one takes the lead and the rest
follow in a sort of obstacle race. The top must spin all the way
through. There were bars of snow over which we must pilot our top in
the spoon end of our whip; then again we would toss it in the air on to
another open spot of ice or smooth snow-crust from twenty to fifty
paces away. The top that holds out the longest is the winner.

We loved to play in the water. When we had no ponies, we often had
swimming matches of our own, and sometimes made rafts with which we
crossed lakes and rivers. It was a common thing to "duck" a young or
timid boy or to carry him into deep water to struggle as best he might.

I remember a perilous ride with a companion on an unmanageable log,
when we were both less than seven years old. The older boys had put us
on this uncertain bark and pushed us out into the swift current of the
river. I cannot speak for my comrade in distress, but I can say now
that I would rather ride on a swift bronco any day than try to stay on
and steady a short log in a river. I never knew how we managed to
prevent a shipwreck on that voyage and to reach the shore.

We had many curious wild pets. There were young foxes, bears, wolves,
raccoons, fawns, buffalo calves and birds of all kinds, tamed by
various boys. My pets were different at different times, but I
particularly remember one. I once had a grizzly bear for a pet, and so
far as he and I were concerned, our relations were charming and very
close. But I hardly know whether he made more enemies for me or I for
him. It was his habit to treat every boy unmercifully who injured me.



Very early, the Indian boy assumed the task of preserving and
transmitting the legends of his ancestors and his race. Almost every
evening a myth, or a true story of some deed done in the past, was
narrated by one of the parents or grand-parents, while the boy listened
with parted lips and glistening eyes. On the following evening, he was
usually required to repeat it. If he was not an apt scholar, he
struggled long with his task; but, as a rule, the Indian boy is a good
listener and has a good memory, so that the stories were tolerably well
mastered. The household became his audience, by which he was
alternately criticized and applauded.

This sort of teaching at once enlightens the boy's mind and stimulates
his ambition. His conception of his own future career becomes a vivid
and irresistible force. Whatever there is for him to learn must be
learned; whatever qualifications are necessary to a truly great man he
must seek at any expense of danger and hardship. Such was the feeling
of the imaginative and brave young Indian. It became apparent to him in
early life that he must accustom himself to rove alone and not to fear
or dislike the impression of solitude.

It seems to be a popular idea that all the characteristic skill of the
Indian is instinctive and hereditary. This is a mistake. All the
stoicism and patience of the Indian are acquired traits, and continual
practice alone makes him master of the art of wood-craft. Physical
training and dieting were not neglected. I remember that I was not
allowed to have beef soup or any warm drink. The soup was for the old
men. General rules for the young were never to take their food very
hot, nor to drink much water.

My uncle, who educated me up to the age of fifteen years, was a strict
disciplinarian and a good teacher. When I left the teepee in the
morning, he would say: "Hakadah, look closely to everything you see";
and at evening, on my return, he used often to catechize me for an hour
or so.

"On which side of the trees is the lighter-colored bark? On which side
do they have most regular branches?"

It was his custom to let me name all the new birds that I had seen
during the day. I would name them according to the color or the shape
of the bill or their song or the appearance and locality of the
nest--in fact, anything about the bird that impressed me as
characteristic. I made many ridiculous errors, I must admit. He then
usually informed me of the correct name. Occasionally I made a hit and
this he would warmly commend.

He went much deeper into this science when I was a little older, that
is, about the age of eight or nine years. He would say, for instance:

"How do you know that there are fish in yonder lake?"

"Because they jump out of the water for flies at mid-day."

He would smile at my prompt but superficial reply.

"What do you think of the little pebbles grouped together under the
shallow water? and what made the pretty curved marks in the sandy
bottom and the little sand-banks? Where do you find the fish-eating
birds? Have the inlet and the outlet of a lake anything to do with the

He did not expect a correct reply at once to all the questions that he
put to me on these occasions, but he meant to make me observant and a
good student of nature.

"Hakadah," he would say to me, "you ought to follow the example of the
shunktokecha (wolf). Even when he is surprised and runs for his life,
he will pause to take one more look at you before he enters his final
retreat. So you must take a second look at everything you see.

"It is better to view animals unobserved. I have been a witness to
their courtships and their quarrels and have learned many of their
secrets in this way. I was once the unseen spectator of a thrilling
battle between a pair of grizzly bears and three buffaloes--a rash act
for the bears, for it was in the moon of strawberries, when the
buffaloes sharpen and polish their horns for bloody contests among

"I advise you, my boy, never to approach a grizzly's den from the
front, but to steal up behind and throw your blanket or a stone in
front of the hole. He does not usually rush for it, but first puts his
head out and listens and then comes out very indifferently and sits on
his haunches on the mound in front of the hole before he makes any
attack. While he is exposing himself in this fashion, aim at his heart.
Always be as cool as the animal himself." Thus he armed me against the
cunning of savage beasts by teaching me how to outwit them.

"In hunting," he would resume, "you will be guided by the habits of the
animal you seek. Remember that a moose stays in swampy or low land or
between high mountains near a spring or lake, for thirty to sixty days
at a time. Most large game moves about continually, except the doe in
the spring; it is then a very easy matter to find her with the fawn.
Conceal yourself in a convenient place as soon as you observe any signs
of the presence of either, and then call with your birchen doe-caller.

"Whichever one hears you first will soon appear in your neighborhood.
But you must be very watchful, or you may be made a fawn of by a large
wild-cat. They understand the characteristic call of the doe perfectly

"When you have any difficulty with a bear or a wild-cat--that is, if
the creature shows any signs of attacking you--you must make him fully
understand that you have seen him and are aware of his intentions. If
you are not well equipped for a pitched battle, the only way to make
him retreat is to take a long sharp-pointed pole for a spear and rush
toward him. No wild beast will face this unless he is cornered and
already wounded. These fierce beasts are generally afraid of the common
weapon of the larger animals,--the horns,--and if these are very long
and sharp, they dare not risk an open fight.

"There is one exception to this rule--the gray wolf will attack
fiercely when very hungry. But their courage depends upon their
numbers; in this they are like white men. One wolf or two will never
attack a man. They will stampede a herd of buffaloes in order to get at
the calves; they will rush upon a herd of antelopes, for these are
helpless; but they are always careful about attacking man."

Of this nature were the instructions of my uncle, who was widely known
at that time as among the greatest hunters of his tribe.

All boys were expected to endure hardship without complaint. In savage
warfare, a young man must, of course, be an athlete and used to
undergoing all sorts of privations. He must be able to go without food
and water for two or three days without displaying any weakness, or to
run for a day and a night without any rest. He must be able to traverse
a pathless and wild country without losing his way either in the day or
night time. He cannot refuse to do any of these things if he aspires to
be a warrior.

Sometimes my uncle would waken me very early in the morning and
challenge me to fast with him all day. I had to accept the challenge.
We blackened our faces with charcoal, so that every boy in the village
would know that I was fasting for the day. Then the little tempters
would make my life a misery until the merciful sun hid behind the
western hills.

I can scarcely recall the time when my stern teacher began to give
sudden war-whoops over my head in the morning while I was sound asleep.
He expected me to leap up with perfect presence of mind, always ready
to grasp a weapon of some sort and to give a shrill whoop in reply. If
I was sleepy or startled and hardly knew what I was about, he would
ridicule me and say that I need never expect to sell my scalp dear.
Often he would vary these tactics by shooting off his gun just outside
of the lodge while I was yet asleep, at the same time giving
blood-curdling yells. After a time I became used to this.

When Indians went upon the war-path, it was their custom to try the new
warriors thoroughly before coming to an engagement. For instance, when
they were near a hostile camp, they would select the novices to go
after the water and make them do all sorts of things to prove their
courage. In accordance with this idea, my uncle used to send me off
after water when we camped after dark in a strange place. Perhaps the
country was full of wild beasts, and, for aught I knew, there might be
scouts from hostile bands of Indians lurking in that very neighborhood.

Yet I never objected, for that would show cowardice. I picked my way
through the woods, dipped my pail in the water and hurried back, always
careful to make as little noise as a cat. Being only a boy, my heart
would leap at every crackling of a dry twig or distant hooting of an
owl, until, at last, I reached our teepee. Then my uncle would perhaps
say: "Ah, Hakadah, you are a thorough warrior!" empty out the precious
contents of the pail, and order me to go a second time.

Imagine how I felt! But I wished to be a brave man as much as a white
boy desires to be a great lawyer or even President of the United
States. Silently I would take the pail and endeavor to retrace my
foot-steps in the dark.

With all this, our manners and morals were not neglected. I was made to
respect the adults and especially the aged. I was not allowed to join
in their discussions, nor even to speak in their presence, unless
requested to do so. Indian etiquette was very strict, and among the
requirements was that of avoiding the direct address. A term of
relationship or some title of courtesy was commonly used instead of the
personal name by those who wished to show respect. We were taught
generosity to the poor and reverence for the "Great Mystery." Religion
was the basis of all Indian training.



There was almost as much difference between the Indian boys who were
brought up on the open prairies and those of the woods, as between city
and country boys. The hunting of the prairie boys was limited and their
knowledge of natural history imperfect. They were, as a rule, good
riders, but in all-round physical development much inferior to the red
men of the forest.

Our hunting varied with the season of the year, and the nature of the
country which was for the time our home. Our chief weapon was the bow
and arrows, and perhaps, if we were lucky, a knife was possessed by
some one in the crowd. In the olden times, knives and hatchets were
made from bone and sharp stones.

For fire we used a flint with a spongy piece of dry wood and a stone to
strike with. Another way of starting fire was for several of the boys
to sit down in a circle and rub two pieces of dry, spongy wood
together, one after another, until the wood took fire.

We hunted in company a great deal, though it was a common thing for a
boy to set out for the woods quite alone, and he usually enjoyed
himself fully as much. Our game consisted mainly of small birds,
rabbits, squirrels and grouse. Fishing, too, occupied much of our time.
We hardly ever passed a creek or a pond without searching for some
signs of fish. When fish were present, we always managed to get some.
Fish-lines were made of wild hemp, sinew or horse-hair. We either
caught fish with lines, snared or speared them, or shot them with bow
and arrows. In the fall we charmed them up to the surface by gently
tickling them with a stick and quickly threw them out. We have
sometimes dammed the brooks and driven the larger fish into a willow
basket made for that purpose.

It was part of our hunting to find new and strange things in the woods.
We examined the slightest sign of life; and if a bird had scratched the
leaves off the ground, or a bear dragged up a root for his morning
meal, we stopped to speculate on the time it was done. If we saw a
large old tree with some scratches on its bark, we concluded that a
bear or some raccoons must be living there. In that case we did not go
any nearer than was necessary, but later reported the incident at home.
An old deer-track would at once bring on a warm discussion as to
whether it was the track of a buck or a doe. Generally, at noon, we met
and compared our game, noting at the same time the peculiar
characteristics of everything we had killed. It was not merely a hunt,
for we combined with it the study of animal life. We also kept strict
account of our game, and thus learned who were the best shots among the

I am sorry to say that we were merciless toward the birds. We often
took their eggs and their young ones. My brother Chatanna and I once
had a disagreeable adventure while bird-hunting. We were accustomed to
catch in our hands young ducks and geese during the summer, and while
doing this we happened to find a crane's nest. Of course, we were
delighted with our good luck. But, as it was already midsummer, the
young cranes--two in number--were rather large and they were a little
way from the nest; we also observed that the two old cranes were in a
swampy place near by; but, as it was moulting-time, we did not suppose
that they would venture on dry land. So we proceeded to chase the young
birds; but they were fleet runners and it took us some time to come up
with them.

Meanwhile, the parent birds had heard the cries of their little ones
and come to their rescue. They were chasing us, while we followed the
birds. It was really a perilous encounter! Our strong bows finally
gained the victory in a hand-to-hand struggle with the angry cranes;
but after that we hardly ever hunted a crane's nest. Almost all birds
make some resistance when their eggs or young are taken, but they will
seldom attack man fearlessly.

We used to climb large trees for birds of all kinds; but we never
undertook to get young owls unless they were on the ground. The hooting
owl especially is a dangerous bird to attack under these circumstances.

I was once trying to catch a yellow-winged woodpecker in its nest when
my arm became twisted and lodged in the deep hole so that I could not
get it out without the aid of a knife; but we were a long way from home
and my only companion was a deaf-mute cousin of mine. I was about fifty
feet up in the tree, in a very uncomfortable position, but I had to
wait there for more than an hour before he brought me the knife with
which I finally released myself.

Our devices for trapping small animals were rude, but they were often
successful. For instance, we used to gather up a peck or so of large,
sharp-pointed burrs and scatter them in the rabbit's furrow-like path.
In the morning, we would find the little fellow sitting quietly in his
tracks, unable to move, for the burrs stuck to his feet.

Another way of snaring rabbits and grouse was the following: We made
nooses of twisted horse-hair, which we tied very firmly to the top of a
limber young tree, then bent the latter down to the track and fastened
the whole with a slip-knot, after adjusting the noose. When the rabbit
runs his head through the noose, he pulls the slip-knot and is quickly
carried up by the spring of the young tree. This is a good plan, for
the rabbit is out of harm's way as he swings high in the air.

Perhaps the most enjoyable of all was the chipmunk hunt. We killed
these animals at any time of year, but the special time to hunt them
was in March. After the first thaw, the chipmunks burrow a hole through
the snow crust and make their first appearance for the season.
Sometimes as many as fifty will come together and hold a social
reunion. These gatherings occur early in the morning, from daybreak to
about nine o'clock.

We boys learned this, among other secrets of nature, and got our
blunt-headed arrows together in good season for the chipmunk

We generally went in groups of six to a dozen or fifteen, to see which
would get the most. On the evening before, we selected several boys who
could imitate the chipmunk's call with wild oat-straws and each of
these provided himself with a supply of straws.

The crust will hold the boys nicely at this time of the year. Bright
and early, they all come together at the appointed place, from which
each group starts out in a different direction, agreeing to meet
somewhere at a given position of the sun.

My first experience of this kind is still well remembered. It was a
fine crisp March morning, and the sun had not yet shown himself among
the distant tree-tops as we hurried along through the ghostly wood.
Presently we arrived at a place where there were many signs of the
animals. Then each of us selected a tree and took up his position
behind it. The chipmunk-caller sat upon a log as motionless as he
could, and began to call.

Soon we heard the patter of little feet on the hard snow; then we saw
the chipmunks approaching from all directions. Some stopped and ran
experimentally up a tree or a log, as if uncertain of the exact
direction of the call; others chased one another about.

In a few minutes, the chipmunk-caller was besieged with them. Some ran
all over his person, others under him and still others ran up the tree
against which he was sitting. Each boy remained immovable until their
leader gave the signal; then a great shout arose, and the chipmunks in
their flight all ran up the different trees.

Now the shooting-match began. The little creatures seemed to realize
their hopeless position; they would try again and again to come down
the trees and flee away from the deadly aim of the youthful hunters.
But they were shot down very fast; and whenever several of them rushed
toward the ground, the little redskin hugged the tree and yelled
frantically to scare them up again.

Each boy shoots always against the trunk of the tree, so that the arrow
may bound back to him every time; otherwise, when he had shot away all
of them, he would be helpless, and another, who had cleared his own
tree, would come and take away his game, so there was warm competition.
Sometimes a desperate chipmunk would jump from the top of the tree in
order to escape, which was considered a joke on the boy who lost it and
a triumph for the brave little animal. At last all were killed or gone,
and then we went on to another place, keeping up the sport until the
sun came out and the chipmunks refused to answer the call.



I had been skating on that part of the lake where there was an
overflow, and came home somewhat cold. I cannot say just how cold it
was, but it must have been intensely so, for the trees were cracking
all about me like pistol-shots. I did not mind, because I was wrapped
up in my buffalo robe with the hair inside, and a wide leather belt
held it about my loins. My skates were nothing more than strips of
basswood bark bound upon my feet.

I had taken off my frozen moccasins and put on dry ones in their

"Where have you been and what have you been doing?" Uncheedah asked as
she placed before me some roast venison in a wooden bowl. "Did you see
any tracks of moose or bear?"

"No, grandmother, I have only been playing at the lower end of the
lake. I have something to ask you," I said, eating my dinner and supper
together with all the relish of a hungry boy who has been skating in
the cold for half a day.

"I found this feather, grandmother, and I could not make out what tribe
wear feathers in that shape."

"Ugh, I am not a man; you had better ask your uncle. Besides, you
should know it yourself by this time. You are now old enough to think
about eagle feathers."

I felt mortified by this reminder of my ignorance. It seemed a
reflection on me that I was not ambitious enough to have found all such
matters out before.

"Uncle, you will tell me, won't you?" I said, in an appealing tone.

"I am surprised, my boy, that you should fail to recognize this
feather. It is a Cree medicine feather, and not a warrior's."

"Then," I said, with much embarrassment, "you had better tell me again,
uncle, the language of the feathers. I have really forgotten it all."

The day was now gone; the moon had risen; but the cold had not
lessened, for the trunks of the trees were still snapping all around
our teepee, which was lighted and warmed by the immense logs which
Uncheedah's industry had provided. My uncle, White Footprint, now
undertook to explain to me the significance of the eagle's feather.

"The eagle is the most war-like bird," he began, "and the most kingly
of all birds; besides, his feathers are unlike any others, and these
are the reasons why they are used by our people to signify deeds of

"It is not true that when a man wears a feather bonnet, each one of the
feathers represents the killing of a foe or even a _coup_. When a man
wears an eagle feather upright upon his head, he is supposed to have
counted one of four _coups_ upon his enemy."

"Well, then, a _coup_ does not mean the killing of an enemy?"

"No, it is the after-stroke or touching of the body after he falls. It
is so ordered, because oftentimes the touching of an enemy is much more
difficult to accomplish than the shooting of one from a distance. It
requires a strong heart to face the whole body of the enemy, in order
to count the _coup_ on the fallen one, who lies under cover of his
kinsmen's fire. Many a brave man has been lost in the attempt.

"When a warrior approaches his foe, dead or alive, he calls upon the
other warriors to witness by saying: 'I, Fearless Bear, your brave,
again perform the brave deed of counting the first (or second or third
or fourth) _coup_ upon the body of the bravest of your enemies.'
Naturally, those who are present will see the act and be able to
testify to it. When they return, the heralds, as you know, announce
publicly all such deeds of valor, which then become a part of the man's
war record. Any brave who would wear the eagle's feather must give
proof of his right to do so.

"When a brave is wounded in the same battle where he counted his
_coup_, he wears the feather hanging downward. When he is wounded, but
makes no count, he trims his feather, and in that case it need not be
an eagle feather. All other feathers are merely ornaments. When a
warrior wears a feather with a round mark, it means that he slew his
enemy. When the mark is cut into the feather and painted red, it means
that he took the scalp.

"A brave who has been successful in ten battles is entitled to a
war-bonnet; and if he is a recognized leader, he is permitted to wear
one with long, trailing plumes. Also those who have counted many
_coups_ may tip the ends of the feathers with bits of white or colored
down. Sometimes the eagle feather is tipped with a strip of weasel
skin; that means the wearer had the honor of killing, scalping and
counting the first _coup_ upon the enemy all at the same time.

"This feather you have found was worn by a Cree--it is indiscriminately
painted. All other feathers worn by the common Indians mean nothing,"
he added.

"Tell me, uncle, whether it would be proper for me to wear any feathers
at all if I have never gone upon the war-path."

"You could wear any other kind of feathers, but not an eagle's,"
replied my uncle, "although sometimes one is worn on great occasions by
the child of a noted man, to indicate the father's dignity and

The fire had gone down somewhat, so I pushed the embers together and
wrapped my robe more closely about me. Now and then the ice on the lake
would burst with a loud report like thunder. Uncheedah was busy
re-stringing one of uncle's old snow-shoes. There were two different
kinds that he wore; one with a straight toe and long; the other shorter
and with an upturned toe. She had one of the shoes fastened toe down,
between sticks driven into the ground, while she put in some new
strings and tightened the others. Aunt Four Stars was beading a new
pair of moccasins.

Wabeda, the dog, the companion of my boyhood days, was in trouble
because he insisted upon bringing his extra bone into the teepee, while
Uncheedah was determined that he should not. I sympathized with him,
because I saw the matter as he did. If he should bury it in the snow
outside, I knew Shunktokecha (the coyote) would surely steal it. I knew
just how anxious Wabeda was about his bone. It was a fat bone--I mean a
bone of a fat deer; and all Indians know how much better they are than
the other kind.

Wabeda always hated to see a good thing go to waste. His eyes spoke
words to me, for he and I had been friends for a long time. When I was
afraid of anything in the woods, he would get in front of me at once
and gently wag his tail. He always made it a point to look directly in
my face. His kind, large eyes gave me a thousand assurances. When I was
perplexed, he would hang about me until he understood the situation.
Many times I believed he saved my life by uttering the dog word in

Most animals, even the dangerous grizzly, do not care to be seen when
the two-legged kind and his dog are about. When I feared a surprise by
a bear or a gray wolf, I would say to Wabeda: "Now, my dog, give your
war-whoop!" and immediately he would sit up on his haunches and bark
"to beat the band," as you white boys say. When a bear or wolf heard
the noise, he would be apt to retreat.

Sometimes I helped Wabeda and gave a war-whoop of my own. This drove
the deer away as well, but it relieved my mind.

When he appealed to me on this occasion, therefore, I said: "Come, my
dog, let us bury your bone so that no Shunktokecha will take it."

He appeared satisfied with my suggestion, so we went out together.

We dug in the snow and buried our bone wrapped up in a piece of old
blanket, partly burned; then we covered it up again with snow. We knew
that the coyote would not touch anything burnt. I did not put it up a
tree because Wabeda always objected to that, and I made it a point to
consult his wishes whenever I could.

I came in and Wabeda followed me with two short rib bones in his mouth.
Apparently he did not care to risk those delicacies.

"There," exclaimed Uncheedah, "you still insist upon bringing in some
sort of bone!" but I begged her to let him gnaw them inside because it
was so cold. Having been granted this privilege, he settled himself at
my back and I became absorbed in some specially nice arrows that uncle
was making.

"Oh, uncle, you must put on three feathers to all of them so that they
can fly straight," I suggested.

"Yes, but if there are only two feathers, they will fly faster," he

"Woow!" Wabeda uttered his suspicions.

"Woow!" he said again, and rushed for the entrance of the teepee. He
kicked me over as he went and scattered the burning embers.

"En na he na!" Uncheedah exclaimed, but he was already outside.

"Wow, wow, wow! Wow, wow, wow!"

A deep guttural voice answered him. Out I rushed with my bow and arrows
in my hand.

"Come, uncle, come! A big cinnamon bear!" I shouted as I emerged from
the teepee.

Uncle sprang out, and in a moment he had sent a swift arrow through the
bear's heart. The animal fell dead. He had just begun to dig up
Wabeda's bone, when the dog's quick ear had heard the sound.

"Ah, uncle, Wabeda and I ought to have at least a little eaglet's
feather for this! I too sent my small arrow into the bear before he
fell," I exclaimed. "But I thought all bears ought to be in their
lodges in the winter time. What was this one doing at this time of the
year and night?"

"Well," said my uncle, "I will tell you. Among the tribes, some are
naturally lazy. The cinnamon bear is the lazy one of his tribe. He
alone sleeps out of doors in the winter, and because he has not a warm
bed, he is soon hungry. Sometimes he lives in the hollow trunk of a
tree, where he has made a bed of dry grass; but when the night is very
cold, like to-night, he has to move about to keep himself from
freezing, and as he prowls around, he gets hungry."

We dragged the huge carcass within our lodge. "Oh, what nice claws he
has, uncle!" I exclaimed eagerly. "Can I have them for my necklace?"

[Illustration: "Oh, what nice claws he has, uncle!" I exclaimed
eagerly. _Page 69._]

"It is only the old medicine-men who wear them regularly. The son of a
great warrior who has killed a grizzly may wear them upon a public
occasion," he explained.

"And you are just like my father and are considered the best hunter
among the Santees and Sissetons. You have killed many grizzlies, so
that no one can object to my bear's-claw necklace," I said appealingly.

White Foot-print smiled. "My boy, you shall have them," he said, "but
it is always better to earn them yourself." He cut the claws off
carefully for my use.

"Tell me, uncle, whether you could wear these claws all the time?" I

"Yes, I am entitled to wear them, but they are so heavy and
uncomfortable," he replied, with a superior air.

At last the bear had been skinned and dressed and we all resumed our
usual places. Uncheedah was particularly pleased to have some more fat
for her cooking.

"Now, grandmother, tell me the story of the bear's fat. I shall be so
happy if you will," I begged.

"It is a good story and it is true. You should know it by heart and
gain a lesson from it," she replied. "It was in the forests of
Minnesota, in the country that now belongs to the Ojibways. From the
Bedawakanton Sioux village a young married couple went into the woods
to get fresh venison. The snow was deep; the ice was thick. Far away in
the woods they pitched their lonely teepee. The young man was a
well-known hunter and his wife a good maiden of the village.

"He hunted entirely on snow-shoes, because the snow was very deep. His
wife had to wear snow-shoes too, to get to the spot where they pitched
their tent. It was thawing the day they went out, so their path was
distinct after the freeze came again.

"The young man killed many deer and bears. His wife was very busy
curing the meat and trying out the fat while he was away hunting each
day. In the evenings she kept on trying the fat. He sat on one side of
the teepee and she on the other.

"One evening, she had just lowered a kettle of fat to cool, and as she
looked into the hot fat she saw the face of an Ojibway scout looking
down at them through the smoke-hole. She said nothing, nor did she
betray herself in any way.

"After a little she said to her husband in a natural voice:
'Marpeetopah, some one is looking at us through the smoke-hole, and I
think it is an enemy's scout.'

"Then Marpeetopah (Four-skies) took up his bow and arrows and began to
straighten and dry them for the next day's hunt, talking and laughing
meanwhile. Suddenly he turned and sent an arrow upward, killing the
Ojibway, who fell dead at their door.

"'Quick, Wadutah!' he exclaimed; 'you must hurry home upon our trail. I
will stay here. When this scout does not return, the war-party may come
in a body or send another scout. If only one comes, I can soon dispatch
him and then I will follow you. If I do not do that, they will overtake
us in our flight.'

"Wadutah (Scarlet) protested and begged to be allowed to stay with her
husband, but at last she came away to get re-inforcements.

"Then Marpeetopah (Four-skies) put more sticks on the fire so that the
teepee might be brightly lit and show him the way. He then took the
scalp of the enemy and proceeded on his track, until he came to the
upturned root of a great tree. There he spread out his arrows and laid
out his tomahawk.

"Soon two more scouts were sent by the Ojibway war-party to see what
was the trouble and why the first one failed to come back. He heard
them as they approached. They were on snow-shoes. When they came close
to him, he shot an arrow into the foremost. As for the other, in his
effort to turn quickly his snow-shoes stuck in the deep snow and
detained him, so Marpeetopah killed them both.

"Quickly he took the scalps and followed Wadutah. He ran hard. But the
Ojibways suspected something wrong and came to the lonely teepee, to
find all their scouts had been killed. They followed the path of
Marpeetopah and Wadutah to the main village, and there a great battle
was fought on the ice. Many were killed on both sides. It was after
this that the Sioux moved to the Mississippi river."

I was sleepy by this time and I rolled myself up in my buffalo robe and
fell asleep.





    Hush, hushaby, little woman!
    Be brave and weep not!
    The spirits sleep not;
    'Tis they who ordain
    To woman, pain.

    Hush, hushaby, little woman!
    Now, all things bearing,
    A new gift sharing
    From those above--
    To woman, love.

        _--Sioux Lullaby._

"Chinto, wéyanna! Yes, indeed; she is a real little woman," declares
the old grandmother, as she receives and critically examines the tiny
bit of humanity.

There is no remark as to the color of its hair or eyes, both so black
as almost to be blue, but the old woman scans sharply the delicate
profile of the baby face.

"Ah, she has the nose of her ancestors! Lips thin as a leaf, and eyes
bright as stars in midwinter!" she exclaims, as she passes on the furry
bundle to the other grandmother for her inspection.

"Tokee! she is pretty enough to win a twinkle from the evening star,"
remarks that smiling personage.

"And what shall her name be?

"Winona, the First-born, of course. That is hers by right of birth."

"Still, it may not fit her. One must prove herself worthy in order to
retain that honorable name."

"Ugh," retorts the first grandmother, "she can at least bear it on

"Tosh, tosh," the other assents.

Thus the unconscious little Winona has passed the first stage of the
Indian's christening.

Presently she is folded into a soft white doeskin, well lined with the
loose down of cattails, and snugly laced into an upright oaken cradle,
the front of which is a richly embroidered buckskin bag, with porcupine
quills and deer's hoofs suspended from its profuse fringes. This gay
cradle is strapped upon the second grandmother's back, and that
dignitary walks off with the newcomer.

"You must come with me," she says. "We shall go among the father and
mother trees, and hear them speak with their thousand tongues, that you
may know their language forever. I will hang the cradle of the
woman-child upon Utuhu, the oak; and she shall hear the love-sighs of
the pine maiden!"

In this fashion Winona is introduced to nature and becomes at once
"nature-born," in accord with the beliefs and practices of the wild red

The baby girl is called Winona for some months, when the medicine-man
is summoned and requested to name publicly the first-born daughter of
Chetonska, the White Hawk; but not until he has received a present of a
good pony with a finely painted buffalo-robe. It is usual to confer
another name besides that of the "First-born," which may be resumed
later if the maiden proves worthy. The name Winona implies much of
honor. It means charitable, kind, helpful; all that an eldest sister
should be!

The herald goes around the ring of lodges announcing in singsong
fashion the christening, and inviting everybody to a feast in honor of
the event. A real American christening is always a gala occasion, when
much savage wealth is distributed among the poor and old people. Winona
has only just walked, and this fact is also announced with additional
gifts. A well-born child is ever before the tribal eye and in the
tribal ear, as every little step in its progress toward manhood or
womanhood--the first time of walking or swimming, first shot with bow
and arrow (if a boy), first pair of moccasins made (if a girl)--is
announced publicly with feasting and the giving of presents.

So Winona receives her individual name of Tatiyopa, or Her Door. It is
symbolic, like most Indian names, and implies that the door of the
bearer is hospitable and her home attractive.

The two grandmothers, who have carried the little maiden upon their
backs, now tell and sing to her by turns all the legends of their most
noted female ancestors, from the twin sisters of the old story, the
maidens who married among the star people of the sky, down to their own
mothers. All their lullabies are feminine, and designed to impress upon
her tender mind the life and duties of her sex.

As soon as she is old enough to play with dolls, she plays mother in
all seriousness and gravity. She is dressed like a miniature woman (and
her dolls are clad likewise), in garments of doeskin to her ankles,
adorned with long fringes, embroidered with porcupine quills, and dyed
with root dyes in various colors. Her little blanket or robe, with
which she shyly drapes or screens her head and shoulders, is the skin
of a buffalo calf or a deer, soft, white, embroidered on the smooth
side, and often with the head and hoofs left on.

"You must never forget, my little daughter, that you are a woman like
myself. Do always those things that you see me do," her mother often
admonishes her.

Even the language of the Sioux has its feminine dialect, and the tiny
girl would be greatly abashed were it ever needful to correct her for
using a masculine termination.

This mother makes for her little daughter a miniature copy of every
rude tool that she uses in her daily tasks. There is a little scraper
of elk-horn to scrape raw-hides preparatory to tanning them, another
scraper of a different shape for tanning, bone knives, and stone
mallets for pounding choke-cherries and jerked meat.

While her mother is bending over a large buffalo-hide stretched and
pinned upon the ground, standing upon it and scraping off the fleshy
portion as nimbly as a carpenter shaves a board with his plane, Winona,
at five years of age, stands upon a corner of the great hide and
industriously scrapes away with her tiny instrument. When the mother
stops to sharpen her tool, the little woman always sharpens hers also.
Perhaps there is water to be fetched in bags made from the dried
pericardium of an animal; the girl brings some in a smaller water-bag.
When her mother goes for wood she carries one or two sticks on her
back. She pitches her play teepee to form an exact copy of her
mother's. Her little belongings are nearly all practical, and her very
play is real!



    Braver than the bravest,
      You sought honors at death's door;
    Could you not remember
      One who weeps at home--
    Could you not remember me?

    Braver than the bravest,
      You sought honors more than love;
    Dear, I weep, yet I am not a coward;
      My heart weeps for thee--
    My heart weeps when I remember thee!

        _--Sioux Love Song._

The sky is blue overhead, peeping through window-like openings in a
roof of green leaves. Right between a great pine and a birch tree their
soft doeskin shawls are spread, and there sit two Sioux maidens amid
their fineries--variously colored porcupine quills for embroidery laid
upon sheets of thin birch-bark, and moccasin tops worked in colors like
autumn leaves. It is Winona and her friend Miniyata.

They have arrived at the period during which the young girl is
carefully secluded from her brothers and cousins and future lovers, and
retires, as it were, into the nunnery of the woods, behind a veil of
thick foliage. Thus she is expected to develop her womanly qualities.
In meditation and solitude, entirely alone or with a chosen companion
of her own sex and age, she gains a secret strength, as she studies the
art of womanhood from nature herself.

"Come, let us practise our sacred dance," says one to the other. Each
crowns her glossy head with a wreath of wild flowers, and they dance
with slow steps around the white birch, singing meanwhile the sacred

Now upon the lake that stretches blue to the eastward there appears a
distant canoe, a mere speck, no bigger than a bird far off against the
shining sky.

"See the lifting of the paddles!" exclaims Winona.

"Like the leaping of a trout upon the water!" suggests Miniyata.

"I hope they will not discover us, yet I would like to know who they
are," remarks the other, innocently.

The birch canoe approaches swiftly, with two young men plying the light
cedar paddles.

The girls now settle down to their needle-work, quite as if they had
never laughed or danced or woven garlands, bending over their
embroidery in perfect silence. Surely they would not wish to attract
attention, for the two sturdy young warriors have already landed.

They pick up the canoe and lay it well up on the bank, out of sight.
Then one procures a strong pole. They lift a buck deer from the
canoe--not a mark upon it, save for the bullet wound; the deer looks as
if it were sleeping! They tie the hind legs together and the fore legs
also and carry it between them on the pole.

Quickly and cleverly they do all this; and now they start forward and
come unexpectedly upon the maidens' retreat! They pause for an instant
in mute apology, but the girls smile their forgiveness, and the youths
hurry on toward the village.

Winona has now attended her first maidens' feast and is considered
eligible to marriage. She may receive young men, but not in public or
in a social way, for such is not the custom of the Sioux. When he
speaks, she need not answer him unless she chooses.

It was no disgrace to the chief's daughter in the old days to work with
her hands. Indeed, their standard of worth was the willingness to work,
but not for the sake of accumulation, only in order to give. Winona has
learned to prepare skins, to remove the hair and tan the skin of a deer
so that it may be made into moccasins within three days. She has a bone
tool for each stage of the conversion of the stiff rawhide into velvety
leather. She has been taught the art of painting tents and rawhide
cases, and the manufacture of garments of all kinds.

Generosity is a trait that is highly developed in the Sioux woman. She
makes many moccasins and other articles of clothing for her male
relatives, or for any who are not well provided. She loves to see her
brother the best dressed among the young men, and the moccasins
especially of a young brave are the pride of his woman-kind.

Her own person is neatly attired, but ordinarily with great simplicity.
Her doeskin gown has wide, flowing sleeves; the neck is low, but not so
low as is the evening dress of society.

Her moccasins are plain; her leggins close-fitting and not as high as
her brother's. She parts her smooth, jet-black hair in the middle and
plaits it in two. In the old days she used to do it in one plait wound
around with wampum. Her ornaments, sparingly worn, are beads, elks'
teeth, and a touch of red paint. No feathers are worn by the woman,
unless in a sacred dance. She is supposed to be always occupied with
some feminine pursuit or engaged in some social affair, which also is
strictly feminine as a rule.

There is an etiquette of sitting and standing, which is strictly
observed. The woman must never raise her knees or cross her feet when
seated. She seats herself on the ground sidewise, with both feet under

Notwithstanding her modesty and undemonstrative ways, there is no lack
of mirth and relaxation for Winona among her girl companions.

In summer, swimming and playing in the water is a favorite amusement.
She even imitates with the soles of her feet the peculiar, resonant
sound that the beaver makes with her large, flat tail upon the surface
of the water. She is a graceful swimmer, keeping the feet together and
waving them backward and forward like the tail of a fish.

Nearly all her games are different from those of the men. She has a
sport of wand-throwing, which develops fine muscles of the shoulder and
back. The wands are about eight feet long, and taper gradually from an
inch and a half to half an inch in diameter. Some of them are
artistically made, with heads of bone and horn, so that it is
remarkable to what a distance they may be made to slide over the
ground. In the feminine game of ball, which is something like "shinny,"
the ball is driven with curved sticks between two goals. It is played
with from two or three to a hundred on a side, and a game between two
bands or villages is a picturesque event.

A common indoor diversion is the "deer's foot" game, played with six
deer hoofs on a string, ending in a bone or steel awl. The object is to
throw it in such a way as to catch one or more hoofs on the point of
the awl, a feat which requires no little dexterity. Another is played
with marked plum-stones in a bowl, which are thrown like dice and count
according to the side that is turned uppermost.

Winona's wooing is a typical one. As with any other people, love-making
is more or less in vogue at all times of the year, but more especially
at midsummer, during the characteristic reunions and festivities of
that season. The young men go about usually in pairs, and the maidens
do likewise. They may meet by chance at any time of day, in the woods
or at the spring, but oftenest seek to do so after dark, just outside
the teepee. The girl has her companion, and he has his, for the sake of
propriety or protection. The conversation is carried on in a whisper,
so that even these chaperons do not hear.

At the sound of the drum on summer evenings, dances are begun within
the circular rows of teepees, but without the circle the young men
promenade in pairs. Each provides himself with the plaintive flute and
plays the simple cadences of his people, while his person is completely
covered with his fine robe, so that he cannot be recognized by the
passer-by. At every pause in the melody he gives his yodel-like
love-call, to which the girls respond with their musical, sing-song

Matosapa has improved every opportunity, until Winona has at last shyly
admitted her willingness to listen. For a whole year he has been
compelled at intervals to repeat the story of his love. Through the
autumn hunting of the buffalo and the long, cold winter he often
presents her kinsfolk with his game.

At the next midsummer the parents on both sides are made acquainted
with the betrothal, and they at once begin preparations for the coming
wedding. Provisions and delicacies of all kinds are laid aside for a
feast. Matosapa's sisters and his girl cousins are told of the
approaching event, and they too prepare for it, since it is their duty
to dress or adorn the bride with garments made by their own hands.

The bride is ceremoniously delivered to her husband's people, together
with presents of rich clothing, collected from all her clan, which she
afterward distributes among her new relations. Winona is carried in a
travois handsomely decorated, and is received with equal ceremony.



The Wahpetonwan village on the banks of the Minnesota river was alive
with the newly-arrived guests and the preparations for the coming
event. Meat of wild game had been put away with much care during the
previous fall in anticipation of this feast. There was wild rice and
the choicest of dried venison that had been kept all winter, as well as
freshly dug turnips, ripe berries and an abundance of fresh meat.

Along the edge of the woods the teepees were pitched in groups or
semi-circles, each band distinct from the others. The teepee of Mankato
or Blue Earth was pitched in a conspicuous spot. Just over the entrance
was painted in red and yellow a picture of a pipe, and directly
opposite this the rising sun. The painting was symbolic of welcome and
good will to men under the bright sun.

A meeting was held to appoint some "medicine-man" to make the balls
that were to be used in the lacrosse contest; and presently the herald
announced that this honor had been conferred upon old Chankpee-yuhah,
or "Keeps the Club," while every other man of his profession was

Towards evening he appeared in the circle, leading by the hand a boy
about four years old. Closely the little fellow observed every motion
of the man; nothing escaped his vigilant black eyes, which seemed
constantly to grow brighter and larger, while his glossy black hair was
plaited and wound around his head like that of a Celestial. He wore a
bit of swan's down in each ear, which formed a striking contrast with
the child's complexion. Further than this, the boy was painted
according to the fashion of the age. He held in his hands a miniature
bow and arrows.

The medicine-man drew himself up in an admirable attitude, and
proceeded to make his short speech:

"Wahpetonwans, you boast that you run down the elk; you can outrun the
Ojibways. Before you all, I dedicate to you this red ball. Kaposias,
you claim that no one has a lighter foot than you; you declare that you
can endure running a whole day without water. To you I dedicate this
black ball. Either you or the Leaf-Dwellers will have to drop your eyes
and bow your head when the game is over. I wish to announce that if the
Wahpetonwans should win, this little warrior shall bear the name
Ohiyesa (winner) through life; but if the Light Lodges should win, let
the name be given to any child appointed by them."

The ground selected for the great game was on a narrow strip of land
between a lake and the river. It was about three quarters of a mile
long and a quarter of a mile in width. The spectators had already
ranged themselves all along the two sides, as well as at the two ends,
which were somewhat higher than the middle. The soldiers appointed to
keep order furnished much of the entertainment of the day. They painted
artistically and tastefully, according to the Indian fashion, not only
their bodies but also their ponies and clubs. They were so strict in
enforcing the laws that no one could venture with safety within a few
feet of the limits of the field.

Now all of the minor events and feasts, occupying several days' time,
had been observed. Heralds on ponies' backs announced that all who
intended to participate in the final game were requested to repair to
the ground; also that if any one bore a grudge against another, he was
implored to forget his ill-feeling until the contest should be over.

The most powerful men were stationed at the half-way ground, while the
fast runners were assigned to the back. It was an impressive spectacle
a fine collection of agile forms, almost stripped of garments and
painted in wild imitation of the rainbow and sunset sky on human
canvas. Some had undertaken to depict the Milky Way across their tawny
bodies, and one or two made a bold attempt to reproduce the lightning.
Others contented themselves with painting the figure of some fleet
animal or swift bird on their muscular chests.

At the middle of the ground were stationed four immense men,
magnificently formed. A fifth approached this group, paused a moment,
and then threw his head back, gazed up into the sky in the manner of a
cock and gave a smooth, clear operatic tone. Instantly the little black
ball went up between the two middle rushers, in the midst of yells,
cheers and war-whoops. Both men endeavored to catch it in the air; but
alas! each interfered with the other; then the guards on each side
rushed upon them. For a time, a hundred lacrosse sticks vied with each
other, and the wriggling human flesh and paint were all one could see
through the cloud of dust. Suddenly there shot swiftly through the air
toward the south, toward the Kaposias' goal, the ball. There was a
general cheer from their adherents, which echoed back from the white
cliff on the opposite side of the Minnesota.

As the ball flew through the air, two adversaries were ready to receive
it. The Kaposia quickly met the ball, but failed to catch it in his
netted bag, for the other had swung his up like a flash. Thus it struck
the ground, but had no opportunity to bound up when a Wahpeton pounced
upon it like a cat and slipped out of the grasp of his opponents. A
mighty cheer thundered through the air.

The warrior who had undertaken to pilot the little sphere was risking
much, for he must dodge a host of Kaposias before he could gain any
ground. He was alert and agile; now springing like a panther, now
leaping like a deer over a stooping opponent who tried to seize him
around the waist. Every opposing player was upon his heels, while those
of his own side did all in their power to clear the way for him. But it
was all in vain. He only gained fifty paces.

Thus the game went. First one side, then the other would gain an
advantage, and then it was lost, until the herald proclaimed that it
was time to change the ball. No victory was in sight for either side.

After a few minutes' rest, the game was resumed. The red ball was now
tossed in the air in the usual way. No sooner had it descended than one
of the rushers caught it and away it went northward; again it was
fortunate, for it was advanced by one of the same side. The scene was
now one of the wildest excitement and confusion. At last, the northward
flight of the ball was checked for a moment and a desperate struggle

The ball had not been allowed to come to the surface since it reached
this point, for there were more than a hundred men who scrambled for
it. Suddenly a warrior shot out of the throng like the ball itself!
Then some of the players shouted: "Look out for Antelope!" But it was
too late. The little sphere had already nestled into Antelope's palm
and that fleetest of Wahpetons had thrown down his lacrosse stick and
set a determined eye upon the northern goal.

Such a speed! He had cleared almost all the opponents' guards--there
were but two more. These were exceptional runners of the Kaposias. As
he approached them in his almost irresistible speed, every savage heart
thumped louder in the Indian's dusky bosom. In another moment there
would be a defeat for the Kaposias or a prolongation of the game. The
two men, with a determined look approached their foe like two panthers
prepared to spring; yet he neither slackened his speed nor deviated
from his course. A crash--a mighty shout!--the two Kaposias collided,
and the swift Antelope had won the laurels!

The turmoil and commotion at the victors' camp were indescribable. A
few beats of a drum were heard, after which the criers hurried along
the lines, announcing the last act to be performed at the camp of the
"Leaf Dwellers."

The day had been a perfect one. Every event had been a success; and, as
a matter of course, the old people were happy, for they largely
profited by these occasions. Within the circle formed by the general
assembly sat in a group the members of the common council. Blue Earth
arose, and in a few appropriate and courteous remarks assured his
guests that it was not selfishness that led his braves to carry off the
honors of the last event, but that this was a friendly contest in which
each band must assert its prowess. In memory of this victory, the boy
would now receive his name. A loud "Ho-o-o" of approbation reverberated
from the edge of the forest upon the Minnesota's bank.

Half frightened, the little fellow was now brought into the circle,
looking very much as if he were about to be executed. Cheer after cheer
went up for the awe-stricken boy. Chankpee-yuhah, the medicine-man,
proceeded to confer the name.

"Ohiyesa (or Winner) shall be thy name henceforth. Be brave, be patient
and thou shalt always win! Thy name is Ohiyesa."



Away beyond the Thin Hills, above the Big Lone Tree upon the Powder
river, the Uncpapa Sioux had celebrated their Sun Dance, some forty
years ago. It was midsummer and the red folk were happy. They lacked
for nothing. The yellowish green flat on either side of the Powder was
studded with wild flowers, and the cottonwood trees were in full leaf.
One large circle of buffalo-skin teepees formed the movable village.

The tribal rites had all been observed, and the usual summer
festivities enjoyed to the full. The camp as it broke up divided itself
in three parts, each of which had determined to seek a favorite

One band journeyed west, toward the Tongue river. One followed a
tributary of the Powder to the south. The third merely changed camp, on
account of the grazing for ponies, and for four days remained near the
old place.

The party that went west did not fail to realize the perilous nature of
their wanderings, for they were trespassing upon the country of the
warlike Crows.

On the third day at sunrise, the Sioux crier's voice resounded in the
valley of the Powder, announcing that the lodges must be razed and the
villagers must take up their march.

Breakfast of jerked buffalo meat had been served and the women were
adjusting their packs, not without much chatter and apparent confusion.
Weeko (Beautiful Woman), the young wife of the war-chief Shunkaska, who
had made many presents at the dances in honor of her twin boys, now
gave one of her remaining ponies to a poor old woman whose only beast
of burden, a large dog, had died during the night.

This made it necessary to shift the packs of the others. Nakpa, or Long
Ears, her kitten-like gray mule, which had heretofore been honored with
the precious burden of the twin babies, was to be given a heavier and
more cumbersome load. Weeko's two-year-old spotted pony was selected to
carry the babies.

Accordingly, the two children, in their gorgeously beaded buckskin
hoods, were suspended upon either side of the pony's saddle. As Weeko's
first-born, they were beautifully dressed; even the saddle and bridle
were daintily worked by her own hands.

The caravan was now in motion, and Weeko started all her ponies after
the leader, while she adjusted the mule's clumsy burden of kettles and
other household gear. In a moment:

"Go on, let us see how you move with your new load! Go on!" she
exclaimed again, with a light blow of the horse-hair lariat, as the
animal stood perfectly still.

Nakpa simply gave an angry side glance at her load and shifted her
position once or twice. Then she threw herself headlong into the air
and landed stiff-legged, uttering at the same time her unearthly
protest. First she dove straight through the crowd, then proceeded in a
circle, her heels describing wonderful curves and sweeps in the air.
Her pack, too, began to come to pieces and to take forced flights from
her undignified body and heels, in the midst of the screams of women
and children, the barking of dogs, and the war-whoops of the amused
young braves.

The cowskin tent became detached from her saddle, and a moment later
Nakpa stood free. Her sides worked like a bellows as she stood there,
meekly indignant, apparently considering herself to be the victim of an
uncalled-for misunderstanding.

"I should put an arrow through her at once, only she is not worth a
good arrow," said Shunkaska, or White Dog, the husband of Weeko. At his
wife's answer, he opened his eyes in surprised displeasure.

"No, she shall have her own pack again. She wants her twins. I ought
never to have taken them from her!"

Weeko approached Nakpa as she stood alone and unfriended in the face of
her little world, all of whom considered that she had committed the
unpardonable sin. As for her, she evidently felt that her misfortunes
had not been of her own making. She gave a hesitating, sidelong look at
her mistress.

"Nakpa, you should not have acted so. I knew you were stronger than the
others, therefore I gave you that load," said Weeko in a conciliatory
tone, and patted her on the nose. "Come, now, you shall have your own
pet pack," and she led her back to where the young pony stood silently
with the babies.

Nakpa threw back her ears and cast savage looks at him, while
Shunkaska, with no small annoyance, gathered together as much as he
could of their scattered household effects. The sleeping brown-skinned
babies in their chrysalis-like hoods were gently lowered from the
pony's back and attached securely to Nakpa's padded wooden saddle. The
family pots and kettles were divided among the pack-ponies. Order was
restored and the village once more in motion.

"Come now, Nakpa; you have your wish. You must take good care of my
babies. Be good, because I have trusted you," murmured the young mother
in her softest tones.

"Really, Weeko, you have some common ground with Nakpa, for you both
always want to have your own way, and stick to it, too! I tell you, I
fear this Long Ears. She is not to be trusted with babies," remarked
Shunkaska, with a good deal of severity.

But his wife made no reply, for she well knew that though he might
criticize, he would not actually interfere with her domestic

He now started ahead to join the men in advance of the slow-moving
procession, thus leaving her in undivided charge of her household. One
or two of the pack ponies were not well trained and required all her
attention. Nakpa had been a faithful servant until her escapade of the
morning, and she was now obviously satisfied with her mistress'
arrangements. She walked alongside with her lariat dragging, and
perfectly free to do as she pleased.

Some hours later, the party ascended a slope from the river bottom to
cross over the divide which lay between the Powder River and a
tributary stream. The ford was deep, with a swift current. Here and
there a bald butte stood out in full relief against the brilliant blue

"Whoo! whoo!" came the blood-curdling signal of danger from the front.
It was no unfamiliar sound--the rovers knew it only too well. It meant
sudden death--or at best a cruel struggle and frantic flight.

Terrified, yet self-possessed, the women turned to fly while yet there
was time. Instantly the mother looked to Nakpa, who carried on either
side of the saddle her precious boys. She hurriedly examined the
fastenings to see that all was secure, and then caught her swiftest
pony, for, like all Indian women, she knew just what was happening, and
that while her husband was engaged in front with the enemy, she must
seek safety with her babies.

Hardly was she in the saddle when a heartrending war-whoop sounded on
their flank, and she knew that they were surrounded! Instinctively she
reached for her husband's second quiver of arrows, which was carried by
one of the pack-ponies. Alas! the Crow warriors were already upon them!
The ponies became unmanageable, and the wild screams of women and
children pierced the awful confusion.

Quick as a flash, Weeko turned again to her babies, but Nakpa had
already disappeared!

When the Crows made their flank charge, Nakpa apparently appreciated
the situation. To save herself and the babies, she took a desperate
chance. She fled straight through the attacking force.

When the warriors came howling upon her in great numbers, she at once
started back the way she had come, to the camp left behind. They had
travelled nearly three days. To be sure, they did not travel more than
fifteen miles a day, but it was full forty miles to cover before dark.

"Look! look!" exclaimed a warrior, "two babies hung from the saddle of
a mule!"

No one heeded this man's call, and his arrow did not touch Nakpa or
either of the boys, but it struck the thick part of the saddle over the
mule's back.

"Whoo! whoo!" yelled another Crow to his comrades, "the Sioux have
dispatched a runner to get reinforcements! There he goes, down on the
flat! Now he has almost reached the river bottom!"

It was only Nakpa. She laid back her ears and stretched out more and
more to gain the river, for she realized that when she had crossed the
ford the Crows would not pursue her farther.

Now she had reached the bank. With the intense heat from her exertions,
she was extremely nervous, and she imagined a warrior behind every
bush. Yet she had enough sense left to realize that she must not
satisfy her thirst. She tried the bottom with her forefoot, then waded
carefully into the deep stream.

She kept her big ears well to the front as she swam, to catch the
slightest sound. As she stepped on the opposite shore, she shook
herself and the boys vigorously, then pulled a few mouthfuls of grass
and started on.

Soon one of the babies began to cry, and the other was not long in
joining him. Nakpa did not know what to do. She gave a gentle whinny
and both babies apparently stopped to listen; then she took up an easy
gait as if to put them to sleep.

These tactics answered only for a time. As she fairly flew over the
lowlands, the babies' hunger increased and they screamed so loud that a
passing coyote had to sit upon his haunches and wonder what in the
world the fleeing long-eared horse was carrying on his saddle. Even
magpies and crows flew near as if to ascertain the meaning of this
curious sound.

Nakpa now came to the Little Trail creek, a tributary of the Powder,
not far from the old camp. There she swerved aside so suddenly as
almost to jerk her babies out of their cradles. Two gray wolves, one on
each side, approached her, growling low--their white teeth showing.

Never in her humble life had Nakpa been in more desperate straits. The
larger of the wolves came fiercely forward to engage her attention,
while his mate was to attack her behind and cut her hamstrings. But for
once the pair had made a miscalculation. The mule used her front hoofs
vigorously on the foremost wolf, while her hind ones were doing even
more effective work. The larger wolf soon went limping away with a
broken hip, and the one in the rear received a deep cut on the jaw
which proved an effectual discouragement.

A little further on, an Indian hunter drew near on horseback, but Nakpa
did not pause or slacken her pace. On she fled through the long dry
grass of the river bottoms, while her babies slept again from sheer
exhaustion. Toward sunset, she entered the Sioux camp amid great
excitement, for some one had spied her afar off, and the boys and the
dogs announced her coming.

"Whoo, whoo! Weeko's Nakpa has come back with the twins! Whoo, whoo!"
exclaimed the men. "Tokee! tokee!" cried the women.

Zeezeewin, a sister to Weeko, who was in the village, came forward and
released the children, as Nakpa gave a low whinny and stopped.

"Sing a Brave-Heart song for the Long-Eared One! She has escaped alone
with her charge. She is entitled to wear an eagle's feather! Look at
the arrow in her saddle! and more, she has a knife-wound in her jaw and
an arrow-cut on her hind leg.--No, those are the marks of a wolf's
teeth! She has passed through many dangers and saved two chief's sons,
who will some day make the Crows sorry for this day's work!"

The speaker was an old man, who thus addressed the fast gathering

Zeezeewin now came forward again with an eagle feather and some white
paint in her hands. The young men rubbed Nakpa down, and the feather,
marked with red to indicate her wounds, was fastened to her mane.
Shoulders and hips were touched with red paint to show her endurance in
running. Then the crier, praising her brave deed in heroic verse, led
her around the camp, inside of the circle of teepees. All the people
stood outside their lodges and listened respectfully, for the Dakota
loves well to honor the faithful and the brave.

During the next day, riders came in from the ill-fated party, bringing
the sad news of the fight and heavy loss. Late in the afternoon came
Weeko, her face swollen with crying, her beautiful hair cut short in
mourning, her garments torn and covered with dust and blood. Her
husband had fallen in the fight, and her twin boys she supposed to have
been taken captive by the Crows. Singing in a hoarse voice the praises
of her departed warrior, she entered the camp. As she approached her
sister's teepee, there stood Nakpa, still wearing her honorable
decorations. At the same moment, Zeezeewin came out to meet her with
both babies in her arms.

"Mechinkshee! mechinkshee! (my sons, my sons!)" was all that the poor
mother could say, as she all but fell from the saddle to the ground.
The despised Long Ears had not betrayed her trust.



The Little Missouri was in her spring fulness, and the hills among
which she found her way to the Great Muddy were profusely adorned with
colors, much like those worn by the wild red man upon a holiday!
Between the gorgeous buttes and rainbow-tinted ridges there were narrow
plains, broken here and there by dry creeks or gulches, and these again
were clothed scantily with poplars and sad-colored bull-berry bushes,
while the bare spots were purple with the wild Dakota crocuses.

Upon the lowest of a series of natural terraces there stood on this May
morning a young Sioux girl, whose graceful movements were not unlike
those of a doe which chanced to be lurking in a neighboring gulch. On
the upper plains, not far away, were her young companions, all busily
employed with the wewoptay, as it is called--the sharp-pointed stick
with which the Sioux women dig wild turnips. They were gayly gossiping
together, or each humming a love-song as she worked, only Snana stood
somewhat apart from the rest; in fact, concealed by the crest of the

It was now full-born day. The sun shone hot upon the bare ground, and
the drops stood upon Snana's forehead as she plied her long pole. There
was a cool spring in the dry creek bed near by, well hidden by a clump
of choke-cherry bushes, and she turned thither to cool her thirsty
throat. In the depths of the ravine her eye caught a familiar
footprint--the track of a doe with the young fawn beside it. The
hunting instinct arose within.

"It will be a great feat if I can find and take from her the babe. The
little tawny skin shall be beautifully dressed by my mother. The legs
and the nose shall be embossed with porcupine quills. It will be my
work-bag," she said to herself.

As she stole forward on the fresh trail she scanned every nook, every
clump of bushes. There was a sudden rustle from within a grove of wild
plum trees, thickly festooned with grape and clematis, and the doe
mother bounded away as carelessly as if she were never to return.

Ah, a mother's ruse! Snana entered the thorny enclosure, which was
almost a rude teepee, and, tucked away in the further-most corner, lay
something with a trout-like, speckled, tawny coat. She bent over it.
The fawn was apparently sleeping. Presently its eyes moved a bit, and a
shiver passed through its subtle body.

"Thou shalt not die; thy skin shall not become my work-bag!"
unconsciously the maiden spoke. The mother sympathy had taken hold on
her mind. She picked the fawn up tenderly, bound its legs, and put it
on her back to carry like an Indian babe in the folds of her robe.

"I cannot leave you alone, Tachinchala. Your mother is not here. Our
hunters will soon return by this road, and your mother has left behind
her two plain tracks leading to this thicket," she murmured.

The wild creature struggled vigorously for a minute, and then became
quiet. Its graceful head protruded from the elk-skin robe just over
Snana's shoulder. She was slowly climbing the slope with her burden,
when suddenly like an apparition the doe mother stood before her. The
fawn called loudly when it was first seized, and the mother was not too
far away to hear. Now she called frantically for her child, at the same
time stamping with her delicate forefeet.

"Yes, sister, you are right; she is yours; but you cannot save her
to-day! The hunters will soon be here. Let me keep her for you; I will
return her to you safely. And hear me, O sister of the woods, that some
day I may become the mother of a noble race of warriors and of fine
women, as handsome as you are!"

At this moment the quick eyes of the Indian girl detected something
strange in the doe's actions. She glanced in every direction and
behold! a grizzly bear was cautiously approaching the group from a
considerable distance.

"Run, run, sister! I shall save your child if I can," she cried, and
flew for the nearest scrub oak on the edge of the bank. Up the tree she
scrambled, with the fawn still securely bound to her back. The grizzly
came on with teeth exposed, and the doe-mother in her flight came
between him and the tree, giving a series of indignant snorts as she
ran, and so distracted Mato from his object of attack; but only for a
few seconds--then on he came!

"Desist, O brave Mato! It does not become a great medicine-man to
attack a helpless woman with a burden upon her back!"

Snana spoke as if the huge brute could understand her, and, indeed, the
Indians hold that wild animals understand intuitively when appealed to
by human beings in distress. Yet he replied only with a hoarse growl,
as rising upon his hind legs he shook the little tree vigorously.

"Ye, ye, heyupi ye!" Snana called loudly to her companion
turnip-diggers. Her cry soon brought all the women into sight upon a
near-by ridge, and they immediately gave a general alarm. Mato saw
them, but appeared not at all concerned and was still intent upon
dislodging the girl, who clung frantically to her perch.

Presently there appeared upon the little knoll several warriors,
mounted and uttering the usual war-whoop, as if they were about to
swoop down upon a human enemy. This touched the dignity of Mato, and he
immediately prepared to accept the challenge. Every Indian was alive to
the possibilities of the occasion, for it is well known that Mato, or
grizzly bear, alone among animals is given the rank of a warrior, so
that whoever conquers him may wear an eagle feather.

"Woo! woo!" the warriors shouted, as they maneuvered to draw him into
the open plain.

He answered with hoarse growls, threatening a rider who had ventured
too near. But arrows were many and well-aimed, and in a few minutes the
great and warlike Mato lay dead at the foot of the tree.

The men ran forward and counted their _coups_ on him, just as when an
enemy is fallen. Then they looked at one another and placed their hands
over their mouths as the young girl descended the-tree with a fawn
bound upon her back.

"So that was the bait!" they cried. "And will you not make a feast with
that fawn for us who came to your rescue?"

"The fawn is young and tender, and we have not eaten meat for two days.
It will be a generous thing to do," added her father, who was among

"Ye-e-e!" she cried out in distress. "Do not ask it! I have seen this
fawn's mother. I have promised to keep her child safe. See! I have
saved its life, even when my own was in danger."

"Ho, ho, wakan ye lo! (Yes, yes, 'tis holy or mysterious)," they
exclaimed approvingly.

It was no small trouble for Snana to keep her trust. As may well be
supposed, all the dogs of the teepee village must be watched and kept
at a distance. Neither was it easy to feed the little captive; but in
gaining its confidence the girl was an adept. The fawn soon followed
her everywhere, and called to her when hungry exactly as she had called
to her own mother.

After several days, when her fright at the encounter with the bear had
somewhat worn off, Snana took her pet into the woods and back to the
very spot in which she had found it. In the furthest corner of the wild
plum grove she laid it down, gently stroked its soft forehead, and
smoothed the leaf-like ears. The little thing closed its eyes. Once
more the Sioux girl bent over and laid her cheek against the fawn's
head; then reluctantly she moved away, hoping and yet dreading that the
mother would return. She crouched under a clump of bushes near by, and
gave the doe call. It was a reckless thing for her to do, for such a
call might bring upon her a mountain lion or ever-watchful silver-tip;
but Snana did not think of that.

In a few minutes she heard the light patter of hoofs, and caught a
glimpse of a doe running straight toward the fawn's hiding-place. When
she stole near enough to see, the doe and the fawn were examining one
another carefully, as if fearing some treachery. At last both were
apparently satisfied. The doe caressed her natural child, and the
little one accepted the milk she offered.

In the Sioux maiden's mind there was turmoil. A close attachment to the
little wild creature had already taken root there, contending with the
sense of justice that was strong within her. Now womanly sympathy for
the mother was in control, and now a desire to possess and protect her
helpless pet.

"I can take care of her against all hunters, both animal and human.
They are ever ready to seize the helpless fawn for food. Her life will
be often exposed. You cannot save her from disaster. O, Takcha, my
sister, let me still keep her for you!" she finally appealed to the
poor doe, who was nervously watching the intruder, and apparently
thinking how she might best escape with the fawn.

Just at this moment there came a low call from the wood. It was a doe
call; but the wild mother and her new friend both knew that it was not
the call of a real doe.

"It is a Sioux hunter!" whispered the girl. "You must go, my sister! Be
off; I will take your child to safety!"

While she was yet speaking, the doe seemed to realize the danger. She
stopped only an instant to lick fondly the tawny coat of the little
one, then she bounded away.

As Snana emerged from the bushes with her charge, a young hunter met
her face to face, and stared at her curiously. He was not of her
father's camp, but a stranger.

"Ugh, you have my game."

"Tosh!" she replied coquettishly.

It was so often said among the Indians that the doe was wont to put on
human form to mislead the hunter, that it looked strange to see a woman
with a fawn, and the young man could not forbear to gaze upon Snana.

"You are not the real mother in maiden's guise? Tell me truly if you
are of human blood," he demanded rudely.

"I am a Sioux maiden! Do you not know my father?" she replied.

"Ah, but who is your father? What is his name?" he insisted, nervously
fingering his arrows.

"Do not be a coward! Surely you should know a maid of your own race,"
she replied reproachfully.

"Ah, you know the tricks of the doe! What is thy name?"

"Hast thou forgotten the etiquette of thy people, and wouldst compel me
to pronounce my own name? I refuse; thou art jesting!" she retorted
with a smile.

"Thou dost give the tricky answers of a doe. I cannot wait; I must act
before I lose my natural mind. But already I am yours. Whatever purpose
you may have in thus charming a poor hunter, be merciful," and,
throwing aside his quiver, he sat down.

The maiden stole a glance at his face and then another. He was
handsome. Softly she reëntered the thicket and laid down the little

"Promise me never to hunt here again!" she said earnestly, as she came
forth without her pretty burden, and he exacted another promise in
return. Thus Snana lost her fawn, and found a lover.



"Hakadah, coowah!" was the sonorous call that came from a large teepee
in the midst of the Indian encampment. In answer to the summons there
emerged from the woods, which were only a few steps away, a boy,
accompanied by a splendid black dog. There was little in the appearance
of the little fellow to distinguish him from the other Sioux boys.

He hastened to the tent from which he had been summoned, carrying in
his hands a bow and arrows gorgeously painted, while the small birds
and squirrels that he had killed with these weapons dangled from his

Within the tent sat two old women, one on each side of the fire.
Uncheedah was the boy's grandmother, who had brought up the motherless
child. Wahchewin was only a caller, but she had been invited to remain
and assist in the first personal offering of Hakadah to the "Great

It had been whispered through the teepee village that Uncheedah
intended to give a feast in honor of her grandchild's first sacrificial
offering. This was mere speculation, however, for the clear-sighted old
woman had determined to keep this part of the matter secret until the
offering should be completed, believing that the "Great Mystery" should
be met in silence and dignity.

The boy came rushing into the lodge, followed by his dog Ohitika, who
was wagging his tail promiscuously, as if to say: "Master and I are
really hunters!"

Hakadah breathlessly gave a descriptive narrative of the killing of
each bird and squirrel as he pulled them off his belt and threw them
before his grandmother.

"This blunt-headed arrow," said he, "actually had eyes this morning.
Before the squirrel can dodge around the tree it strikes him in the
head, and, as he falls to the ground, my Ohitika is upon him."

He knelt upon one knee as he talked, his black eyes shining like
evening stars.

"Sit down here," said Uncheedah to the boy; "I have something to say to
you. You see that you are now almost a man. Observe the game you have
brought me! It will not be long before you will leave me, for a warrior
must seek opportunities to make him great among his people.

"You must endeavor to equal your father and grandfather," she went on.
"They were warriors and feast-makers. But it is not the poor hunter who
makes many feasts. Do you not remember the 'Legend of the Feast-Maker,'
who gave forty feasts in twelve moons? And have you forgotten the story
of the warrior who sought the will of the Great Mystery? To-day you
will make your first offering to him."

The concluding sentence fairly dilated the eyes of the young hunter,
for he felt that a great event was about to occur, in which he would be
the principal actor. But Uncheedah resumed her speech.

"You must give up one of your belongings--whichever is dearest to
you--for this is to be a sacrificial offering."

This somewhat confused the boy; not that he was selfish, but rather
uncertain as to what would be the most appropriate thing to give. Then,
too, he supposed that his grandmother referred to his ornaments and
playthings only. So he volunteered:

"I can give up my best bow and arrows, and all the paints I have,
and--and my bear's claws necklace, grandmother!"

"Are these the things dearest to you?" she demanded.

"Not the bow and arrows, but the paints will be very hard to get, for
there are no white people near; and the necklace--it is not easy to get
one like it again. I will also give up my otter-skin head-dress, if you
think that it not enough."

"But think, my boy, you have not yet mentioned the thing that will be a
pleasant offering to the Great Mystery."

The boy looked into the woman's face with a puzzled expression.

"I have nothing else as good as those things I have named, grandmother,
unless it is my spotted pony; and I am sure that the Great Mystery will
not require a little boy to make him so large a gift. Besides, my uncle
gave three otter-skins and five eagle-feathers for him and I promised
to keep him a long while, if the Blackfeet or the Crows do not steal

Uncheedah was not fully satisfied with the boy's free offerings.
Perhaps it had not occurred to him what she really wanted. But
Uncheedah knew where his affection was vested. His faithful dog, his
pet and companion--Hakadah was almost inseparable from the loving

She was sure that it would be difficult to obtain his consent to
sacrifice the animal, but she ventured upon a final appeal.

"You must remember," she said, "that in this offering you will call
upon him who looks at you from every creation. In the wind you hear him
whisper to you. He gives his war-whoop in the thunder. He watches you
by day with his eye, the sun; at night, he gazes upon your sleeping
countenance through the moon. In short, it is the Mystery of Mysteries,
who controls all things, to whom you will make your first offering. By
this act, you will ask him to grant to you what he has granted to few
men. I know you wish to be a great warrior and hunter. I am not
prepared to see my Hakadah show any cowardice, for the love of
possessions is a woman's trait and not a brave's."

During this speech, the boy had been completely aroused to the spirit
of manliness, and in his excitement was willing to give up anything he
had--even his pony! But he was unmindful of his friend and companion,
Ohitika, the dog! So, scarcely had Uncheedah finished speaking, when he
almost shouted:

"Grandmother, I will give up any of my possessions for the offering to
the Great Mystery! You may select what you think will be most pleasing
to him."

There were two silent spectators of this little dialogue. One was
Wahchewin, the other was Ohitika. The woman had been invited to stay,
although only a neighbor. The dog, by force of habit, had taken up his
usual position by the side of his master when they entered the teepee.
Without moving a muscle, save those of his eyes, he had been a very
close observer of what passed.

Had the dog but moved once to attract the attention of his little
friend, he might have been dissuaded from that impetuous exclamation:
"Grandmother, I will give up any of my possessions!"

It was hard for Uncheedah to tell the boy that he must part with his
dog, but she was equal to the situation.

"Hakadah," she proceeded cautiously, "you are a young brave. I know,
though young, your heart is strong and your courage is great. You will
be pleased to give up the dearest thing you have for your first
offering. You must give up Ohitika. He is brave; and you, too, are
brave. He will not fear death; you will bear his loss bravely.
Come,--here are four bundles of paints and a filled pipe,--let us go to
the place!"

When the last words were uttered, Hakadah did not seem to hear them. He
was simply unable to speak. To a civilized eye, he would have appeared
at that moment like a little copper statue. His bright black eyes were
fast melting in floods of tears, when he caught his grandmother's eye
and recollected her oft-repeated adage: "Tears for woman and the
war-whoop for man to drown sorrow!"

He swallowed two or three big mouthfuls of heartache and the little
warrior was master of the situation.

"Grandmother, my Brave will have to die! Let me tie together two of the
prettiest tails of the squirrels that he and I killed this morning, to
show to the Great Mystery what a hunter he has been. Let me paint him

This request Uncheedah could not refuse, and she left the pair alone
for a few minutes, while she went to ask Wacoota to execute Ohitika.

Every Indian boy knows that, when a warrior is about to meet death, he
must sing a death dirge. Hakadah thought of his Ohitika as a person who
would meet his death without a struggle, so he began to sing a dirge
for him, at the same time hugging him tight to himself. As if he were a
human being, he whispered in his ear:

[Illustration: He began to sing a dirge for him. _Page 140._]

"Be brave, my Ohitika! I shall remember you the first time I am upon
the war-path in the Ojibway country."

At last he heard Uncheedah talking with a man outside the teepee, so he
quickly took up his paints. Ohitika was a jet-black dog, with a silver
tip on the end of his tail and on his nose, beside one white paw and a
white star upon a protuberance between his ears. Hakadah knew that a
man who prepares for death usually paints with red and black. Nature
had partially provided Ohitika in this respect, so that only red was
required and this Hakadah supplied generously.

Then he took off a piece of red cloth and tied it around the dog's
neck; to this he fastened two of the squirrels' tails and a wing from
the oriole they had killed that morning.

Just then it occurred to him that good warriors always mourn for their
departed friends, and the usual mourning was black paint. He loosened
his black braided locks, ground a dead coal, mixed it with bear's oil
and rubbed it on his entire face.

During this time every hole in the tent was occupied with an eye. Among
the lookers-on was his grandmother. She was very near relenting. Had
she not feared the wrath of the Great Mystery, she would have been
happy to call out to the boy: "Keep your dear dog, my child!"

As it was, Hakadah came out of the teepee with his face looking like an
eclipsed moon, leading his beautiful dog, who was even handsomer than
ever with the red touches on his specks of white.

It was now Uncheedah's turn to struggle with the storm and burden in
her soul. But the boy was emboldened by the people's admiration of his
bravery, and did not shed a tear. As soon as she was able to speak, the
loving grandmother said:

"No, my young brave, not so! You must not mourn for your first
offering. Wash your face and then we will go."

The boy obeyed, submitted Ohitika to Wacoota with a smile, and walked
off with his grandmother and Wahchewin.

The boy and his grandmother descended the bank, following a tortuous
foot-path until they reached the water's edge. Then they proceeded to
the mouth of an immense cave, some fifty feet above the river, under
the cliff. A little stream of limpid water trickled down from a spring
within the cave. The little watercourse served as a sort of natural
staircase for the visitors. A cool, pleasant atmosphere exhaled from
the mouth of the cavern. Really it was a shrine of nature, and it is
not strange that it was so regarded by the tribe.

A feeling of awe and reverence came to the boy. "It is the home of the
Great Mystery," he thought to himself; and the impressiveness of his
surroundings made him forget his sorrow.

Very soon Wahchewin came with some difficulty to the steps. She placed
the body of Ohitika upon the ground in a life-like position and again
left the two alone.

As soon as she disappeared from view, Uncheedah, with all solemnity and
reverence, unfastened the leather strings that held the four small
bundles of paints and one of tobacco, while the filled pipe was laid
beside the dead Ohitika.

She scattered paints and tobacco all about. Again they stood a few
moments silently; then she drew a deep breath and began her prayer to
the Great Mystery:

"O, Great Mystery, we hear thy voice in the rushing waters below us! We
hear thy whisper in the great oaks above! Our spirits are refreshed
with thy breath from within this cave. O, hear our prayer! Behold this
little boy and bless him! Make him a warrior and a hunter as great as
thou didst make his father and grandfather."

And with this prayer the little warrior had completed his first



The full moon was just clear of the high mountain ranges when the game
scout moved slowly homeward, well wrapped in his long buffalo robe,
which was securely belted to his strong loins; his quiver tightly tied
to his shoulders so as not to impede his progress.

As he emerged from the lowlands into the upper regions, he loomed up a
gigantic figure against the clear, moonlit horizon. His picturesque
foxskin cap with all its trimmings was incrusted with frost from the
breath of his nostrils, and his lagging footfall sounded crisply. The
distance he had that day covered was enough for any human endurance;
yet he was neither faint nor hungry; but his feet were frozen into the
psay, the snow-shoes, so that he could not run faster than an easy slip
and slide.

At last he reached the much-coveted point--the crown of the last
ascent; and when he smelled fire and the savory odor of the jerked
buffalo meat, it well-nigh caused him to waver! But he must not fail to
follow the custom of untold ages, and give the game scout's wolf call
before entering camp.

Accordingly he paused upon the highest point of the ridge and uttered a
cry to which the hungry cry of a real wolf would have seemed but a
coyote's yelp in comparison! Then it was that the rest of the buffalo
hunters knew that their game scout was returning with welcome news; for
the unsuccessful scout enters the camp silently.

In the meantime, the hunters at the temporary camp were aroused to a
high pitch of excitement. Some turned their buffalo robes and put them
on in such a way as to convert themselves into make-believe bison, and
began to tread the snow, while others were singing the buffalo song,
that their spirits might be charmed and allured within the circle of
the camp-fires. The scout, too, was singing his buffalo bull song in a
guttural, lowing chant as he neared the hunting camp. Within arrow-shot
he paused again, while the usual ceremonies were enacted for his
reception. This done, he was seated with the leaders in a chosen place.

"It was a long run," he said, "but there were no difficulties. I found
the first herd directly north of here. The second herd, a great one, is
northeast, near Shell Lake. The snow is deep. The buffalo can only
follow their leader in their retreat."

"Hi, hi, hi!" the hunters exclaimed solemnly in token of gratitude,
raising their hands heavenward and then pointing them toward the

"Ho, kola! one more round of the buffalo-pipe, then we shall retire, to
rise before daybreak for the hunt," advised one of the leaders.
Silently they partook in turn of the long-stemmed pipe, and one by one,
with a dignified "Ho!" departed to their teepees.

The scout betook himself to his little old buffalo teepee, which he
used for winter hunting expeditions. His faithful Shunka, who had been
all this time its only occupant, met him at the entrance as dogs alone
know how to welcome a lifelong friend. As his master entered he
stretched himself in his old-time way, from the tip of his tail to that
of his tongue, and finished by curling both ends upward.

"Ho, mita Shunka, eat this; for you must be hungry!" So saying, the
scout laid before his canine friend the last piece of his dried buffalo
meat. It was the sweetest meal ever eaten by a dog, judging by his long
smacking of his lips after he had swallowed it!

The hunting party was soon lost in heavy slumber. Not a sound could be
heard save the gnawing of the ponies upon the cottonwood bark, which
was provided for them instead of hay in the winter time.

When Wapashaw, the game scout, had rolled himself in his warm buffalo
robe and was sound asleep, his faithful companion hunter, the great
Esquimaux wolf dog, silently rose and again stretched himself, then
stood quiet for a moment as if meditating. It was clear that he knew
well what he had planned to do, but was considering how he should do it
without arousing any suspicion of his movements. This is a dog's art,
and the night tricks and marauding must always be the joy and secret of
his life!

Softly he emerged from the lodge and gave a sweeping glance around to
assure him that there were none to spy upon him. Suspiciously he
sniffed the air, as if to ascertain whether there could be any danger
to his sleeping master while he should be away.

Up the long ascent he trotted in a northerly direction, yet not
following his master's trail. He was large and formidable in strength,
combining the features of his wild brothers of the plains with those of
the dogs who keep company with the red men. His jet-black hair and
sharp ears and nose appeared to immense advantage against the spotless
and jewelled snow, until presently his own warm breath had coated him
with heavy frost.

After a time Shunka struck into his master's trail and followed it all
the way, only taking a short cut here and there when, by dog instinct,
he knew that a man must go around such a point to get to his
destination. He met many travellers during the night, but none had
dared to approach him, though some few followed at a distance, as if to
discover his purpose.

At last he reached Shell Lake, and there beheld a great gathering of
the herds! They stood in groups, like enormous rocks, no longer black,
but white with frost. Every one of them emitted a white steam, quickly
frozen into a fine snow in the air.

Shunka sat upon his haunches and gazed. "Wough, this is it!" he said to
himself. He had kept still when the game scout gave the wolf call,
though the camp was in an uproar, and from the adjacent hills the wild
hunters were equally joyous, because they understood the meaning of the
unwonted noise. Yet his curiosity was not fully satisfied, and he had
set out to discover the truth, and it may be to protect or serve his
master in case of danger.

At daybreak the great dog meekly entered his master's rude teepee, and
found him already preparing for the prospective hunt. He was filling
his inside moccasins full of buffalo hair to serve as stockings, over
which he put on his large buffalo moccasins with the hair inside, and
adjusted his warm leggins. He then adjusted his snow-shoes and filled
his quiver full of good arrows. The dog quietly lay down in a warm
place, making himself as small as possible, as if to escape
observation, and calmly watched his master.

Soon all the hunters were running in single file upon the trail of the
scout, each Indian closely followed by his trusty hunting dog. In less
than two hours they stood just back of the low ridge which rounded the
south side of Shell Lake. The narrow strip of land between its twin
divisions was literally filled with the bison. In the gulches beyond,
between the dark lines of timber, there were also scattered groups; but
the hunters at once saw their advantage over the herd upon the

"Hechetu, kola! This is well, friends!" exclaimed the first to speak.
"These can be forced to cross the slippery ice and the mire around the
springs. This will help us to get more meat. Our people are hungry, and
we must kill many in order to feed them!"

"Ugh, he is always right! Our dogs must help us here. The meat will be
theirs as well as ours," another added.

"Tosh, kola! The game scout's dog is the greatest Shunka of them all!
He has a mind near like that of a man. Let him lead the attack of his
fellows, while we crawl up on the opposite side and surround the
buffalo upon the slippery ice and in the deceitful mire," spoke up a
third. So it was agreed that the game scout and his Shunka should lead
the attack.

"Woo, woo, woo!" was the hoarse signal from the throat of the game
scout; but his voice was drowned by the howling and barking of the
savage dogs as they made their charge. In a moment all was confusion
among the buffalo. Some started this way, others that, and the great
mass swayed to and fro uncertainly. A few were ready to fight, but the
snow was too deep for a countercharge upon the dogs, save on the ice
just in front of them, where the wind had always full sweep. There all
was slippery and shining! In their excitement and confusion the bison
rushed upon this uncertain plain.

Their weight and the momentum of their rush carried them hopelessly far
out, where they were again confused as to which way to go, and many
were stuck in the mire which was concealed by the snow, except here and
there an opening above a spring from which there issued a steaming
vapor. The game scout and his valiant dog led on the force of canines
with deafening war-cries, and one could see black heads here and there
popping from behind the embankments. As the herd finally swept toward
the opposite shore, many dead were left behind. Pierced by the arrows
of the hunters, they lay like black mounds upon the glassy plain.

It was a great hunt! "Once more the camp will be fed," they thought,
"and this good fortune will help us to reach the spring alive!"

A chant of rejoicing rang out from the opposite shore, while the game
scout unsheathed his big knife and began the work which is ever the
sequel of the hunt--to dress the game; although the survivors of the
slaughter had scarcely disappeared behind the hills.

All were busily skinning and cutting up the meat into pieces convenient
for carrying, when suddenly a hunter called the attention of those near
him to an ominous change in the atmosphere.

"There are signs of a blizzard! We must hurry into the near woods
before it reaches us!" he shouted.

Some heard him; others did not. Those who saw or heard passed on the
signal and hurried toward the wood, where others had already arranged
rude shelters and gathered piles of dry wood for fuel.

Around the several camp-fires the hunters sat or stood, while slices of
savory meat were broiled and eaten with a relish by the half-starved

But the storm had now fairly enveloped them in whirling whiteness.
"Woo, woo!" they called to those who had not yet reached camp. One
after another answered and emerged from the blinding pall of snow. At
last none were missing save the game scout and his Shunka!

The hunters passed the time in eating and telling stories until a late
hour, occasionally giving a united shout to guide the lost one should
he chance to pass near their camp.

"Fear not for our scout, friends!" finally exclaimed a leader among
them. "He is a brave and experienced man. He will find a safe
resting-place, and join us when the wind ceases to rage." So they all
wrapped themselves in their robes and lay down to sleep.

All that night and the following day it was impossible to give succor,
and the hunters felt much concern for the absent. Late in the second
night the great storm subsided.

"Ho, ho! Iyotanka! Rise up!" So the first hunter to awaken aroused all
the others.

As after every other storm, it was wonderfully still; so still that one
could hear distinctly the pounding feet of the jack-rabbits coming down
over the slopes to the willows for food. All dry vegetation was buried
beneath the deep snow, and everywhere they saw this white-robed
creature of the prairie coming down to the woods.

Now the air was full of the wolf and coyote game call, and they were
seen in great numbers upon the ice.

"See, see! the hungry wolves are dragging the carcasses away! Harken to
the war-cries of the scout's Shunka! Hurry, hurry!" they urged one
another in chorus.

Away they ran and out upon the lake; now upon the wind-swept ice, now
upon the crusted snow; running when they could, sliding when they must.
There was certainly a great concourse of the wolves, whirling in
frantic circles, but continually moving toward the farther end of the
lake. They could hear distinctly the hoarse bark of the scout's Shunka,
and occasionally the muffled war-whoop of a man, as if it came from
under the ice.

As they approached nearer the scene they could hear more distinctly the
voice of their friend, but still as it were from underground. When they
reached the spot to which the wolves had dragged two of the carcasses
of the buffalo, Shunka was seen to stand by one of them, but at that
moment he staggered and fell. The hunters took out their knives and
ripped up the frozen hide covering the abdominal cavity. It revealed a
warm nest of hay and buffalo hair in which the scout lay, wrapped in
his own robe!

He had placed his dog in one of the carcasses and himself in another
for protection from the storm; but the dog was wiser than the man, for
he kept his entrance open. The man lapped the hide over and it froze
solidly, shutting him securely in. When the hungry wolves came Shunka
promptly extricated himself and held them off as long as he could;
meanwhile, sliding and pulling, the wolves continued to drag over the
slippery ice the body of the buffalo in which his master had taken
refuge. The poor, faithful dog, with no care for his own safety, stood
by his imprisoned master until the hunters came up. But it was too
late, for he had received more than one mortal wound.

As soon as the scout got out, with a face more anxious for another than
for himself, he exclaimed:

"Where is Shunka, the bravest of his tribe?"

"Ho, kola, it is so, indeed; and here he lies," replied one sadly.

His master knelt by his side, gently stroking the face of the dog.

"Ah, my friend; you go where all spirits live! The Great Mystery has a
home for every living creature. May he permit our meeting there!"

At daybreak the scout carried him up to one of the pretty round hills
overlooking the lake, and built up around him walls of loose stone. Red
paints were scattered over the snow, in accordance with Indian custom,
and the farewell song was sung.

Since that day the place has been known to the Sioux as
Shunkahanakapi--the Grave of the Dog.



Be-day-wah´-kan-ton, lake-dwellers.

Cha-tan´-na, fourth son.

chin´-to, certainly.

Che-ton´-skah, white hawk.

Chank-pay´-yu-hah, carries the club.

coo´-wah, come here!

ha-nah´-kah-pee, grave.

he-yu´-pee-yay, come all of you!

hay´-chay-tu, it is well.

Hah-kay´-dah, the last-born.

he-nah´-kah-gah, the owl.

Kah-po´-se-yah, Light Lodges (a band of Sioux).

Ko´-lah, friend.

Man-kah´-to, blue earth.

Mah-to´, bear.

Mah-to´-sap-ah, black bear.

Mah-pee´-to-pah, four heavens.

Me-ne-yah´-tah, beside the water.

Me-chink´-shee, my son.

Nak-pah´, ears (of an animal).

O-o´-pay-han´-skah, bluebird.

o-hit´-e-kah, brave.

shun´kah, dog.

Sna´-na, rattle.

shunk-to´-kay-chah, wolf.

She-cho´-kah, robin.

Shun´-kah-skah, white dog.

tee´-pee, tent.

tak-chah´, deer.

to-kee´, well, well!

Ta-tee´-yo-pah, her door.

Un-chee´-dah, grand-mother.

u-tu´-hu, oak.

wa-kan´, holy, wonderful.

Wah-coo´-tay, shooter.

Wah-pay´-ton, dweller among the leaves.

Wah-chee´-win, dancing woman.

Wee-ko´, beautiful woman.

Wa-doo´-tah, scarlet.

we´-yan-nah, little woman.

We-no´-nah, first-born girl.

Wah-be-day´, orphan.

Zee-zee´-wee, yellow woman.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Indian Child Life" ***

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