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Title: Legends of The Kaw - The Folk-Lore of the Indians of the Kansas River Valley
Author: Voe, Carrie de
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 "Legends of The Kaw - The Folk-Lore of the Indians of the Kansas River Valley" ***

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Copyright, 1904, by
Kansas City, Mo.




     The heroes of Kansas in the early days.--The first
     inhabitants.--Pathos of Indian traditions and their tragic
     interest.--Interpretation of myths.--Tradition of the Mississippi
     Valley.--Theory of a dual soul.--Ancient religion of the North
     American Indians.--Ideas of Divinity.--Spirits.--Communication with
     the unseen world.--Description of heaven, found in the diary of
     Rev. S. M. Irvin.--Algonquin prayer to Father Allouez.--The
     _totem_.--The folk-lore of the Indian his literature.--Myth of a
     prehistoric world.--The transformation.--The burning
     earth.--Formation of the stars.--The Water-Maiden.--The
     Earth-Maiden.--Michabou.--Worship of the heavenly
     bodies.--Sacrifices.--Relation of dogs to the moon.--The Horned
     Serpent.--The Prince of Rattlesnakes.--Hiawatha, the Indian
     Messiah.--The Red Swan.--The Pipe of Peace.--Thunder and
     lightning.--The Storm Giant.--Rainmakers.--The Wild Parsnip.--The
     Spirit of Fire.--Fire legend of the Navajos.--The Shawnee and
     Delaware type of life.--The imagery of the red man.--Knowledge of
     the fundamental truths of nature.--Earliest record of the Middle
     West.--Dominant tribes.--The Paducas.--The emigrant nations. 15



     Wanderings in Kansas and Nebraska.--Origin.--The word
     "Pani."--Imitation of wolves.--Bands.--Tuhk-pah-huks-taht.--
     in ancient times.--Weapons.--Utensils.--Government.--Dress.--
     Lodges.--Music.--Courtship and marriage.--Religious ceremonies.--
     The Buffalo Dance.--Departure for semi-annual buffalo hunt.--The
     surround.--Ti-rá-wa, the Pawnee Deity.--The Na-hú-rac.--Sacrifices.
     --The wonderful horse.--Homes of the Nu-hú-rac.--The Nu-hú-rac
     doctors.--Medicine men and priests.--Belief in a prehistoric race.
     --Destruction of the giants.--Human sacrifices.--A Legend of
     Kansas.--Pit-a-le-shar'-u.--Hostilities against other
     nations.--Villages of the Iowas and Sacs.--War with the Iowas,
     1839.--Battle amid the sunflowers.--Sale of Pawnee lands.--Removal
     to the Indian Territory.--Success in agriculture. 34



     Early home.--Wanderings in the Mississippi Basin.--Present
     location.--Origin of name.--Meaning of word
     "Dakota."--Pantomime.--Divisions of nation.--Relation of chief to
     people.--Disposition of bodies of the dead.--Eagle Eye and Scarlet
     Dove.--Slavery of women.--Vanity of men.--Language of the
     feather.--Decoration of the person.--Plural marriage.--Story of
     Anepetusa.--Belief in four souls.--A typical
     prayer.--Omens.--Worship.--Animals in Dakota
     Giants.--Giant's party.--Feasts.--The Wa-keen.--Initiation of the
     medicine men.--War parties.--War Dance.--Sun Dance.--Moral code.--
     Degree of manhood.--Incidents in the Life of Ta-ton-ka-I-o-ton-ka.
     --Spotted Tail and Red Cloud.--Betrothal and death of daughter of
     Spotted Tail.--Water Carrier, the wife of Lone Elk.--Present
     condition of the Sioux. 67



     Origin.--Manners and customs.--Savage proclivities.--Village of
     American Chief.--Village of Fool Chief.--Removal to Council
     Grove.--The Victory that made Wa-hon-ga-shee a famous Chief.--The
     War Dance.--Paying off old scores.--Osages and Kaws on police
     duty.--Superstitions.--Funeral ceremonies.--Creation story of the
     Osages.--Territory.--Cessions.--Feasts.--Present condition. 89



     Lineage.--Language.--The term "Lenape."--Subjugation by the
     Iroquois.--Peace treaty with William Penn.--Migrations.--Legends
     preserved by missionaries.--The virgin who fell from
     heaven.--Kikeron.--The tortoise in Algonquin pictography.--Symbol
     of the earth.--The pristine age.--The earth submerged.--The
     ancient turtle.--Rescue of the survivors.--Land supported by a
     turtle.--First home of the Lenape.--Travels and conquests.--Land of
     giants.--Fortifications of the enemy.--Mounds.--Divisions of the
     nation.--Legend of the Hairless Bear.--Pictograph
     system.--Rafinesque.--Walam Olum.--Wanderings of the
     Delawares.--Tamenend.--The Lover's Leap.--Onoko.--Lenape in
     Kansas.--The Battle of the Plains.--Removal to the Indian
     Territory. 103



     Origin.--Location at the time of the discovery of
     America.--Alliance with the Senecas.--Termination of peace.--Hatred
     of the Iroquois.--Settlement at Detroit.--Settlement in Ohio and
     Michigan.--Clans.--Government.--Religion.--Gods.--Prayer of the
     Huron.--Legend of Sayadio.--The White Panther.--Hurons leaders in
     the councils of nations.--Keepers of the Council Fire.--Wampum
     belts.--Corn Dance.--Clan names.--Visions of the Wyandot
     maiden.--Wyandots in the War of
     1812.--Roundhead.--Warrow.--Walk-in-the-Water.--Big Tree.--War with
     Cherokees--Chief Splitlog.--Last religious feast and dance of the
     Wyandots.--William Walker.--Silas Armstrong.--Matthew
     Walker.--Governor Walker.--Matthias Splitlog.--Emigration to
     Kansas.--Intelligence and education.--Accomplishments.--Belle of
     the nation.--Sense of humor.--Elder Dennison and John
     Grayeyes.--The Triumph of Chudaquana over the Power of
     Witchcraft.--Romance of a Wyandot girl.--Present location of the
     people.--Tribal relations.--Absorption by the white race. 127



     Descent.--Alliances.--Branches.--Location.--Part in War of
     1812.--Suna-we-wone.--Treaty of peace.--Cessions.--Emigration to
     Kansas.--Present location.--Belief in Kitchenonedo and
     Matchemondo.--First inhabitants of the earth.--Submersion.--New
     World.--Legend of the five young men.--Menweshma.--Encounter with
     the Pawnees.--Wa-baun-see.--Story of the Flat-Boat.--Defeat by the
     Osages.--Revenge upon the Osage chief.--Wa-baun-see's journey to
     Washington.--Death. 155



     First emigrant tribe in Kansas.--Ancient home of the
     nation.--Defeat by the Iroquois.--Flight
     southward.--Return.--Settlement near Cape Girardeau.--Removal to
     Kansas.--Removal to the Indian Territory.--Shawnees of Algonquin
     stock.--Gypsies of the wilderness.--Creation theory.--Doctrine of
     pre-natal existence.--An incident of war with the Pawnees.--Belief
     in descent from one of the lost tribes of Israel.--Holy of
     Holies.--Language.--Adventures of a trader.--Mauné, the Chippewa
     Girl.--A Fragment of History from the War of the Races.--Chinwa,
     the White Warrior.--The Tragic Death of the Son of Chief
     Lay-law-she-kaw. 167


  Scene in the Kansas Valley           Frontispiece

  A Pawnee Buffalo Hunt                          40

  Pit-a-le-shar'-u                               64

  Ta-ton-ka-I-yo-ton-ka (Sitting Bull)           80

  Sioux Infant                                   88

  Wa-hon-ga-shee (No Fool)                       96

  Ni-co-man                                     114

  Tecumseh                                      190

  The Shawnee Prophet                           202

  Che-la-tha                                    210

  "Ye whose hearts are fresh and simple,
  Who have faith in God and Nature,
  Who believe, that in all ages,
  Every human heart is human,
  That in even savage bosoms,
  There are longings, yearnings, strivings,
  For the good they comprehend not,
  That the feeble hands and helpless,
  Groping blindly in the darkness,
  Touch God's right hand in that darkness,
  And are lifted up and strengthened;--
  Listen to this simple story."



A legend, according to Webster, is any story, be it truth or fiction,
which dates back to early days. In this connection, it may be of
interest to the reader to know that the stories of adventure in this
volume are founded upon real events; but, wherever it has seemed best,
names have been changed. In committing to paper the histories of Maune´,
the Chippewa girl, and Henry Rogers, there has been practically no
deviation from the facts as related by their descendants.

The incidents described in the last story were narrated by the daughter
of an Indian agent, who lived many years with the Shawnees. The writer
has spent a portion of her life in the West, and having been located for
a number of years in an old mission town, has witnessed the bean dance,
the corn dance and the war dance. Her small strength has been exerted,
more than once, to assist in beating back the edges of a great fire,
which threatened to creep over the narrow strip of plowed ground
outside the fences enclosing a prairie home. Reliable information has
been obtained through conversation with old settlers and their families.
An army officer, whose long life in the Indian country renders his
statements of great value, detailed many facts concerning the Sioux.
Interviews with the natives and their descendants have brought out
strange traditions and superstitions. The works of Henry R.
Schoolcraft--regarding the habits, customs and languages of the
aborigines,--the writings of George Bird Grinnell and Daniel G. Brinton
have proved exceedingly helpful.

Although statistics show, within the last few years, an apparent
increase of the Indian population of the United States, comparatively
few included therein, are of purely Indian extraction. The red race, as
a separate people, is fading from the earth; and there will come a time
when the mythology of America will be almost as eagerly studied as that
of Greece and Rome.

The general public has an erroneous idea of the Indian of the present
time. He has passed through the first period--that of wildness and
barbaric splendor,--and, emerging from the second epoch--the state of
drunken semi-civilization,--has entered upon a career of greater mental
activity. With the exception of a few strong inherited tendencies, he
now differs but little from his paler-faced brother. The prevailing
notion concerning the natives has been formed from the worst class--the
idle, uncleanly beggars. It is unjust to judge a whole people by the
most degraded specimens. Through intermarriage, the remnants of the
aborigines are rapidly becoming a part of the white race and engrafting
upon it, not only their peculiarities of temperament but also their
strength and determination.

It is a source of regret to those who are awake to the knowledge that
there is a valuable field of literature in Indian folklore, that so
little has been recorded. Even the best libraries contain few works upon
the subject.

Inspired with a desire to contribute an atom to this slowly accumulating
literature; to preserve the stories which herein appear in print for the
first time; and to awaken a deeper interest in the old, oft-recounted
traditions--the author, trusting to the indulgence of the public,
ventures to submit the following.




The history of Kansas has been of peculiar interest to the world at
large, by reason of the struggles of ante-bellum days. The adventures of
John Brown of Osawatomie and the achievements of General Lane, Governor
Robinson, and other heroes of that period have formed the nucleus of
many a story and song. All honor to the men who labored so successfully
in the cause of freedom! There is another, equally brave, though less
fortunate, race that wandered over the rolling prairies of the Sunflower
State and camped along its rivers; a race stern, taciturn, and ever
ready to do battle for home and liberty. Like the buffalo, former
monarch of the plains, it has gradually diminished in numbers.
Extinction or amalgamation is now a question of only a few brief years.
This nation furnishes a romantic background, full of rich though somber
color, to the later record of the great West.

Who can say that the traditions of the red man lack pathos, or that his
character is devoid of the elements of nobleness, self-sacrifice and
even martyrdom? Rude, wild and imperfect though it be, his folklore
tells the story of a people, barbarous, it is true, but strong in their
attachments and devoted to their faith. Many Indian myths, adventures
and scraps of history are full of deep--often tragic--interest to one
who delves in legendary lore. Like the tales of ancient Greece, as
explained by Ruskin in _Queen of the Air_, each weird story admits of
more than one interpretation. Sometimes a great spiritual truth lies
hidden in its quaint phrases--sometimes a scientific fact.

There was an idea, current among the Indians who roamed over the central
portion of the United States, that at one time in the long past, the
rivers of the Mississippi basin filled the entire valley, and only great
elevations were visible. Geology substantiates this teaching. The
theory of a dual soul approached very close to the teachings of modern
psychologists. While one soul was supposed to remain in the body, its
companion was free to depart on excursions during sleep. After the death
of the material man, it went to the Indian elysium and might, if
desirous, return, in time, to earth, to be born again.

Like that of all uncivilized races, the ancient religion of the North
American Indian was incoherent. Association with Europeans produced
changes. Doctrines before unknown to the red man were engrafted upon his
faith. Some writers maintain that it is doubtful if the idea of a single
divinity had been developed previous to intercourse with missionaries.
Brinton asserts that the word used by the natives to indicate God, is
analogous to none in any European tongue, conveying no sense of personal
unity. It has been rendered Spirit, Demon, God, Devil, Mystery and
Magic. The Dakota word is _Wakan_ (above), the Iroquois, _Oki_; the
Algonquin, _Manito_. God and heaven were probably linked together
before there was sufficient advancement to question whether heaven were
material and God spiritual; whether the Deity were one or many. Good
Spirit and Great Spirit are evidently of more recent origin and were,
perhaps, first suggested by missionaries, the terms being applied to the
white man's God, and adopted by the Indian and applied to his own. The
number of spirits was practically unlimited, communication being usually
in the hands of the medicine men, although the unseen world was often
heard from directly in dreams.

A description of heaven--by Wampasha, an Iowa Indian--was found in the
diary of Reverend S. M. Irvin, a devoted missionary among the Iowas and
Sacs. It reads:

"The Big Village (heaven) is situated near the great water, toward the
sunrise, and not far from the heads of the Mississippi River. None go
there until after they die. A smart person can make the journey in three
or four days; if, however, his heart be not right at death, the journey
will be prolonged and attended with difficulties and stormy weather
till he reaches the land of rest. Infants, dying, are carried by
messengers sent for them; the old or infirm are borne upon horses; they
have horses, plenty, and fine grass, and infirmities will all be healed
in that village. The blind will receive new eyes; they have plenty of
good eyes and ears there. Good people will never die again, but the bad
may die three or four times and then turn into some bird."

Father Allouez, one of the first missionaries among the Algonquins,
entered a village never before visited by a white man. He was invited to
a council, and the old men, gathering around him, said:

"It is well, Blackrobe, that thou dost visit us; thou are a Manito; we
give thee to smoke. The Iroquois are devouring us. Have mercy upon us.
Hear us, O Manito! we give thee to smoke. Let the earth yield us corn;
the rivers give us fish; sickness not slay us; nor hunger so torment us.
Hear us, O Manito! we give thee to smoke."

Birds and beasts were selected as guardians. Everyone considered his
_totem_ a protector, and refrained from killing it. Whole clans were
believed to be descended from a common _totem_ and information was
conveyed by means of omens.

The character of a nation is engraven upon its literature, which, like a
mirror, reflects the thoughts, emotions and progress of a people. The
folklore of the North American Indians was their literature. The myth,
grounded upon the unchanging laws of the universe, was conscious,
however vaguely, of great principles that are forever true. Physical
existence formed the basis of each important fable. The earth, air,
water and other elements were personified. Every image had its moral

Mythology has been said to be simply the idea of God, expressed in
symbol, figure and narrative. That of primitive America was founded upon
the conviction that there was, in pre-historic times, another world
inhabited by a people strong and peaceable. So long as harmony reigned,
comfort and happiness were theirs, but when discord entered this Eden,
conflict succeeded conflict, until, to punish his disobedient children,
the Master of Life transformed them, one by one, into trees, plants,
rocks and all the living creatures. It was said that each person became
the outward embodiment of what he had previously been within himself.
For instance, from the head of one sprang an owl, from another a
buzzard, a third became an eagle, and in this manner was the present
world with its three kingdoms, vegetable, animal and mineral, evolved.

Another tradition says that in the days of turmoil, a powerful man, or
demi-god, ran to the place where the earth and sky meet, and with a
lighted torch, set fire to the tall grass, igniting the earth itself.
Those worthy of preservation were caught up to a place of safety.
Sparks, rising from the flames, and finding lodgment high above, became
the twinkling "sky-eyes," which, in the language of the white man, are
called stars.

After the conflagration had subsided, one whose duty in the upper sphere
had been to provide water, carried it in a basket; and as she walked,
drop after drop fell through upon the parched region below, causing it
to revive. Awakened Nature blossomed into new beauty, and all who had
escaped the terrible fire fiend, returned to take possession of the
country. The Water-Maiden still carries the basket; and its contents,
which never grow less, still fall in gentle showers, to refresh the

Among the beautiful creation myths, is that of the Earth-Maiden, who,
through being looked upon by the sun, became a mother, giving birth to a
wonderful being, a great benefactor. By reason of his benign influence,
mankind lives and prospers. This benefactor is really the warm, wavering
light, to be seen between the virgin earth, his mother, and the sun.

There are numerous narratives in which heat, cold, light and darkness
appear as leading actors. A powerful god of the Algonquins was the
maker of the earth, Michabou (light), toward whom the Spirit of Waters
was ever unfriendly.

In Mexico, the worship of the sun and other heavenly bodies was
practiced, sacrifices of men and women with white faces and hair being
particularly acceptable.

Almost all aboriginal people believed that dogs occupied a peculiar
position with regard to the moon, possibly because of the canine habit
of baying at that planet.

The bird and the serpent were especially honored. The former, no doubt,
because of its power of floating through the air and the latter for its
subtlety. The Hurons told the early Jesuits of a serpent with a horn
capable of penetrating rocks, trees and hills--everything it
encountered. The person fortunate enough to obtain a portion for his
medicine bag was sure of good luck. The Hurons informed the missionaries
that none of their own people had ever seen the monster; but the
Algonquins occasionally sold them small portions of its horn for a very
high consideration. The Shawnees, who had unquestionably practiced on
the credulity of their neighbors, led roving lives and had become
familiar with the myths of many nations. It is not unlikely that the
serpent fable originated with the Creeks and Cherokees, who thought the
immense snake dwelt in the waters. Tradition says that old people stood
on the shores and sang sacred songs. The creature came to the surface,
showing its horns. The magicians cut one off and continued to chant. The
serpent again appeared, and the other horn was secured and borne away in

These tribes asserted that in the fastnesses of their mountains was the
carefully guarded palace of the Prince of Rattlesnakes. On the royal
head shone a marvelous jewel. Warriors and priests endeavored in vain to
get possession of the glittering trophy. Finally, one more thoughtful
than the rest encased himself in leather, passed through the writhing,
hissing court, unharmed by poisoned fangs; tore the coveted charm from
the head of the prince, and carried it home. The gem was ever preserved
with great care and brought forth only on state occasions.

The story of Hiawatha (Hi-a-wat-ha), which Schoolcraft gives as an
Iroquois legend, is found among the traditions of many tribes, the
leading character being called by different names. In the East he was
known as Glooskap, about the lakes as Manabozho, in other localities as
Chiabo; but, as in certain Aryan myths--of which this may be one--the
principal features of the story are the same in all nations. Their hero
came to them as did Buddha to the East Indian, and Christ to those
prepared to receive the gospel, bearing messages of peace, good will to
men; teaching justice, patience, conformity to truth, and to the laws of
the red man; instructing them in various manual arts, and destroying
hideous monsters that lurked in the woods and hills, or lay concealed
amid the tall prairie grass. He lived as a warrior, hunted, fished and
battled for right, changing when necessary, to any animal or plant.
While seated in his white stone canoe on one of the Great Lakes, he was
swallowed by the King of Fishes. Undaunted, he beat its heart with a
stone club until it was dead, and when birds of prey had eaten the
flesh, and light shone through, climbed out with the magic boat.

The struggle with fire-serpents, in order to reach the wicked Pearl
Feather, whom he fought the livelong day, has been recounted again and
again. How a woodpecker flew overhead, screaming "Shoot at his
scalp-lock!" How, obeying this admonition, Hiawatha saw the enemy fall
in the throes of death, and dipping his finger in the blood, touched the
bird, and to this day a red mark is found on the head of the woodpecker.
He slew the Prince of Serpents, traveled from village to village
performing good works, and having wedded a beautiful Dakota woman,
presented a perfect example of faithfulness and devotion. A league of
thirteen nations was formed through the influence of this remarkable
man; and as he stood among the assembled chiefs, addressing them with
supernatural eloquence, encouraging them in a voice of sweetness and
power to lives of rectitude, the summons came. Promising to return at
some future time, Hiawatha stepped into his white stone canoe and was
lifted heavenward, the air trembling with soft music as he floated from
sight. To this final pledge are attributable many ghost dances and
outbreaks against the whites, notably that at Pine Ridge Agency, when
the coming of the Messiah was expected with full confidence.

The well-known legend of the Red Swan was a satisfactory explanation of
the crimson glow that spread over the water at sunset. Three brothers
set out in different directions, upon a hunting expedition, to see who
would procure the first game. They decided to kill no animal except the
kind that each was in the habit of shooting. Odjibwa, the youngest,
caught sight of a bear, which was exempt according to agreement.
Nevertheless, in his eagerness, the hunter pursued and shot it with an
arrow, taking the skin. In a moment, the air became tinged with red and
a wild piercing cry was audible, like and yet unlike a human voice.
Odjibwa followed the sound and came to the shore of a beautiful lake,
upon which rested a graceful red swan. Its plumage glittered in the last
bright rays of the sinking sun. Possessed with a desire to try his skill
again, the young man used every available arrow in the vain endeavor to
hit the wonderful object; then remembering that in the medicine sack of
his deceased father were three magic arrows, he ran home, opened the
sacred pouch and secured them. The third one struck the mark; and the
injured bird, rising slowly from the lake, floated away toward the
western horizon. From that time forth, just at sunset, the blood of the
wounded swan cast a blush, like the rich color of a maiden's cheek, over
the surface of the waters.

The song of "The Peace Pipe," by Longfellow, was founded upon the belief
of the Northern Indians that when the earth was still in her childhood,
the Master of Life assembled the nations upon the crags of the famous
Red Pipestone Quarry, and breaking a fragment from the rock, moulded a
huge calumet--the emblem of peace. He smoked over the people to the
east, the west, the north and the south; and the great white cloud
ascended until it touched heaven. Then, having told the warriors that
the stone was red, like their flesh, and should be used for their pipes
of peace, the spirit became enveloped in smoke and was seen no more. The
rock was glazed with heat and two large ovens or caverns opened
underneath. In a blaze of fire, two women entered, as guardians of the
place, where, to this day, they answer the prayers of the medicine men
who make pilgrimages to that locality.

The phenomena of thunder and lightning were variously explained by
different tribes. Some believed every storm to be a struggle between the
God of Waters and the Thunderbird. Others affirmed that thunder was the
voice of the Great Spirit reminding them of the approach of
corn-planting season; that lightning kindled sacred fires, and,
striking, penetrated the earth, forming such stones as flint, from
which fire can be drawn.

Mrs. Eastman tells of the belief of the Sioux in a storm giant, to whom
heat was cold and cold heat; who laughed when sad and groaned when
merry; who wore horns to represent lightning and hurled meteors with his
hands; he used one of the four winds as a drumstick to produce thunder.

In seasons of drought, the rainmaker of the Lenape sought a retired
spot, and drawing upon the ground the figure of a cross, pointing to the
cardinal points, made offerings of tobacco and other articles, to the
Spirit of Rains.

The Blackfeet massed stones upon the prairies, in the form of a cross,
in honor of the "Old Man who sends the wind."

The Creeks also called upon the four winds, whose duty it was to
distribute showers.

The Wild Parsnip was a bad man, going around doing harmful deeds, until,
by transformation, compelled to stay in one place, he could no longer
cause damage except by killing people when they ate him.

The Spirit of Fire was supposed to ride, bow in hand and face blackened
with rage, in a cloud of smoke. When he drew the bow, quickly the flames
spread over the prairie.

The Navajos thought that fire was first brought to earth through the
efforts of the coyote, the bat, and the squirrel. The coyote attached
some splinters to his tail, ran quickly through the fire and fled with
his prize. Being pursued, he was compelled to run rapidly and became
exhausted, whereupon, the bat relieved him. The squirrel assisted him at
the last, to carry it to the hearths of the Navajos.

In some tribes fire was considered a type of life. The Shawnee prophet
said to his followers:

"Know that the life in your body and the fire on your hearth proceed
from one source."

The greatest feast of the Delawares was to their "grandfather, fire."
Referring to the immortality of their gods, the Algonquins said: "Their
fire burns forever."

The imagery of the red man compares favorably with that of other races.
The Indian lived near to the very heart of Nature and understood her
fundamental truths. To him, all things were divided into the animate and
inanimate. Everything endowed with life or capable of action was thought
to possess intelligence and reason. There were lessons in the movements
of the winds and waves; in flying clouds and in the azure skies; the
countless stars had a language of their own; and even the comet,
sweeping across the heavens, told a story with a strong moral.

The earliest record of the Indians of the Middle West, that of Father
Marquette, has been preserved at St. Mary's College, Montreal, Canada.
The document refers to the Kaws, Osages and Pawnees, as the dominant
tribes. The Padoucas, of whom little is known, then dwelt near the head
waters of the Kansas River. They were strong and numerous, and ranged
the country southwest, in Colorado and New Mexico. The nation and
language were unknown in other parts of the continent; and no
relationship could be traced to the four principal Indian families. The
habits of the people were different from those of any other tribe. They
lived in houses in villages with streets regularly laid out; but raised
no grain, depending for subsistence chiefly upon the products of the
chase. Certain students of ethnology have asserted that the Kiowas are
their somewhat degenerate descendants.

As years went by, all was changed. The Padoucas became extinct and the
Pawnees reduced in numbers; the Osages ceded nearly all of their
territory in Missouri to the United States and were allowed a
reservation in Kansas. A few years later, a large percentage of their
lands and that of the Kaws was purchased by the Government, to be used
as a home for the Eastern Indians. The Delawares, Wyandots,
Pottawatomies and Shawnees were the emigrant nations of the Kansas River



When the Territory of Louisiana was still the property of France; when
the United States was endeavoring to subdue the savages within its own
domain; a wild and unsophisticated people, to whom the vices of
civilization were as yet unknown, traversed the broad prairies of Kansas
and Nebraska.

The Pawnees, or Pani, were, according to tradition, of southern origin.
The white man found them established in villages along the Platte River,
whence they sallied forth, roving over the entire region extending from
the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains and carrying terror to all who
ventured opposition. None were more relentless in war or more ready to
seek revenge. The word Pani, meaning "horn," was supposed to have
reference to a peculiar custom of wearing the scalp-lock dressed to
stand upright like a horn. The Pawnees were often called "wolves," on
account of a singular aptitude in imitating those animals. When desirous
of noting the movements of the enemy without being detected in so doing,
they frequently put on the skins of wolves and dropped upon hands and
knees as soon as near enough to be observed. Becoming common objects of
the landscape, they remained unnoticed.

The nation was composed of three bands, federated under one chief. In
order of importance, they were the Chau´-i (In-the-Middle),
Kit-ke-hahk´-i (On-the-Hill), and Pit-hau´-erat (Down-the-Stream). These
names were given with reference to the relative position of the
villages. The Ski-di, or Loups, whose history is somewhat obscure,
united with the tribe at some period after it had become settled along
the Platte River. Western men called the different bands the Grand,
Republican, Tapage and Wolf Pawnees. The Ski-di were more intelligent
and fierce than their neighbors. After they united with the tribe, there
were four important villages. The Tuhk-pah-huks´-taht (Pumpkin-vine
Village) derived its name from the fact that once, during the absence
of the people upon a long summer hunt, the pumpkin vines grew until they
climbed over the lodges, almost hiding them from view. This was
considered a miraculous occurrence.

One cold winter, when food was scarce, a band went into camp near the
Loup River. Just below the village large numbers of buffaloes came to
cross upon the ice. The Indians succeeded in killing so many of the
animals that, having dried all the meat required, they preserved the
skins only, leaving the bodies to be devoured by wolves. About this time
a member of a starving band arrived and expressed great wonderment as to
the way in which they had obtained so much meat. Taking him down to the
river, his friends pointed out the spot on the ice where wolves,
standing in a pool of water caused by a slight thaw, were feasting upon
the buffaloes. Going back to his own band, the Ski-di told of plenty in
the other camp, and when questioned as to its location, replied:
"Ski-di-rah´-ru" (Where the wolves stand in the water). From this
incident the second village took its name. The third and fourth were
Tuh-wa-hok´-a-sha (Village-on-a-Ridge) and Tu-hi-'ts-pi-yet

In ancient times the Pawnees had no horses and went hunting on foot.
Arrow heads were made of flint or deer horns. Until a recent date, the
old stone arrow heads were believed to have supernatural power. White
traders introduced those made of iron. The warriors were skillful
marksmen and the bow and arrow remained the favorite weapon as long as
there were buffaloes to kill. The endurance of the Pawnees, when
hunting, was remarkable. In the first place, scouts were sent out to
look up a herd. Having discovered one, they returned with information
regarding its location. The hunters, disguised as wolves, advanced in a
body until within sight, then scattered, forming a large circle, which
gradually became less, as they closed in upon the animals. When near
enough to begin the attack, a man shouted to attract attention, and the
startled buffaloes ran, some one way and some another. Wherever they
turned, an Indian, casting off his wolf skin, sprang up and drove them
back. At length, the Pawnees, yelling and waving blankets and shooting
in the midst of the herd, wore them out. The great beasts, when too
tired to run, were easily despatched.

[Illustration: A PAWNEE BUFFALO HUNT.]

Before the advent of the trader, all portions of the buffalo were
utilized. Hoes were made from the shoulder blades, needles from bone,
spoons and ladles from the horns, ropes from the hair, lariats from
raw-hide, clothing from the dressed skins, and blankets and tents from
the robes. Pottery was formed from clay mixed with pounded stone,
moulded in hollows in stumps of trees, and baked. Wooden mortars and
bowls were hollowed out by fire.

The Pawnee nation was ruled by a head chief of the Chau´-i band. The
office was hereditary but became difficult to retain if the chief were
unpopular. Each band was governed by four chiefs. Important affairs
were discussed in council, by chiefs, head men and warriors. Personal
character determined position, and the opinions of the majority
prevailed. There was a servant class, composed of young men and boys,
who lived in the families of men of prominence and performed menial

Breech-clouts, leggings, moccasins and blankets or buffalo robes
comprised the clothing of the men. Their heads were shaved, with the
exception of a narrow strip extending from each forehead to the back of
the head. The ridge of hair, less than an inch in length, was stiffened
to stand upright. From this fell the scalp-lock. The women were
accustomed to wear sleeveless shirts and skirts reaching below the
knees; also robes or blankets when necessary. There was no head
covering, except on great occasions, when some of the men donned
chaplets of eagle feathers. Red and yellow paint were used on breasts
and faces for ornament, while black paint was reserved for war. Boys
were permitted to go nude until ten or twelve years of age; but girls
dressed in little shirts almost as soon as they could walk. Infants were
placed upon boards.

A visitor at the home of a Pawnee chief, in the village on the Kansas
River, about the year 1839, described the toilet of the host's son as
extremely fanciful. On days when there was no hunt, the dandy began at
eight o'clock in the morning, by greasing his entire person with fat,
and painting his face red. Earrings and wampum necklaces were worn, and
yellow stripes adorned breast and shoulders. Armlets were placed above
his elbows and rings upon his fingers. Handsomely decorated moccasins,
scarlet leggings fastened to a belt, and bead garters four inches wide,
formed important parts of the costume. One of the women led his horse
before the tent. Its forehead and shoulders were painted red and a
feather fastened in its tail. Chains of steel were attached to the
bridle and bells to the reins. A scarlet mantle was thrown over the
young man's shoulders, and thus arrayed, with a large turkey feather
fan in one hand, and a whip upon his wrist, he ambled through the
encampment, eliciting admiration on all sides.

At a social gathering, the guest sang for the entertainment of the
Indians, and requested them to give him an example of their songs. The
white man portrayed the result in the following language:

"All rose at once. Each singer began by strange and uncouth sounds, to
work his mind and lungs up to the proper pitch of excitement; and when,
at length, the shrill and terrible cry rose to its full height, its
effect was astounding and sufficient to deafen a delicate ear."

The song, to which the savages kept time with heads and bodies, was
allowed to fall into monotonous cadence, then burst forth into full
chorus, with mingled howls and yells.

In the early part of the nineteenth century, Pawnee courtships were
peculiar. The lover first went to the father's tent, uninvited, and sat
in a corner of the mat for some time, then rose and departed without
speaking. A few days later, he returned, wearing his buffalo robe hair
side out, and sat silent. This was a regular proposal. If the father
desired to reject him at once, no skin was placed for him to sit upon
and no meat was offered him. If the suit met with approval, the rites of
hospitality were extended and feasts were given to obtain the consent to
the marriage, of the relatives of both families. The young man next
presented himself to his bride at the door of her tent, turned and
walked slowly toward his own. She arose and followed him. The ceremony
of marriage was then complete. Presents of horses, blankets and other
valuables were sent to the father of the young woman.

Plural marriage was practiced, the husband being entitled to wed the
younger sisters of his first wife.

In the permanent villages on the Platte River, circular lodges were
built of sod. Every house had a wall seven or eight feet in height,
around which, upon the floor, the inmates slept, each bed being
partitioned or curtained off. Hanging upon the wall or in the space back
of the bed, were the belongings of its occupant. The center of the house
was reserved for cooking, smoke escaping through an aperture in the
roof. Skin lodges were used when traveling or upon the semi-annual hunt.
Each family had many dogs.

After spring planting, the people abandoned their villages for the
summer hunt, returning in time for harvest. Religious ceremonies, with
fervent prayers to Ti-ra´-wa, the invisible yet ever-present Creator,
preceded departure. The Buffalo Dance, executed by the younger warriors,
came next. This continued for three days, when the line of march was
taken up. Tents, cooking utensils and the entire property of the tribe
having been packed on ponies and removed to the vicinity of a large herd
of buffaloes, camp was established and preparations made for curing the
meat when it should be brought in. Approaching to make the attack, a
limited number of chosen men, led by standard-bearers with sacred poles
wrapped in bright colored cloth and ornamented with bead-work and
feathers, advanced first. The remainder of the hunters followed. After
the slaughter, the squaws, with their sharp knives, amid much merriment,
cut and bore away to the camp the most desirable portions of meat.

Ti-ra´-wa, the Pawnee deity, was not personified, being intangible and
in and of everything. The nation did not adore any material substance,
but, like all aboriginal people, attributed to animals an intelligence
sometimes exceeding that of man. As the messengers of God, the
Na-hu´-rac received miraculous power through him, hence were often
implored to intercede with Ti-ra´-wa. In cases of great emergency,
direct intercession became necessary. A party prayed for success and
made sacrifices before starting on the war-path. Victory was
acknowledged by thanksgiving offerings. War parties were made up by
anyone with a grievance, if he had sufficient influence to secure
followers. Frequently scalps taken from the heads of enemies were
burned with much ceremony.

One of the best-known legends, related by George Bird Grinnell,
illustrates the power of animals in changing the fortunes of those who
listened to their behests.

An old woman lived on the outskirts of a village located on the bank of
the Platte River. At one time she had been the wife of a brave hunter
and warrior. During his life there was always a comfortable lodge, as
well as plenty of buffalo meat and robes. No one of the nation was more
successful in stealing horses from the enemy, which was considered a
highly honorable feat. He was killed in a great battle with the Sioux,
and the poor woman had never ceased to mourn. Now, in old age, there
remained but one relative, a grandson of sixteen years. Being reduced to
poverty, they were in the habit, when the tribe moved, of following in
the rear, in order to pick up anything that might have been left behind
as worthless. Once, to the delight of the boy, an old dun horse was
abandoned by its owner. The animal was blind in one eye and had a sore
back and a swollen leg; but was nevertheless valuable to the poor woman,
inasmuch as it could carry the cooking utensils and the worn-out skin
used for a lodge when traveling.

The village was moved to Court House Rock. Soon after arrival the young
men sent out to look for buffaloes returned with information that there
was a large herd in the vicinity, and among the animals was a spotted

The head chief had a young and beautiful daughter. He announced that
whosoever should kill the spotted calf should marry the girl. Since the
buffaloes were only four miles away, it was decided that the charge
should be made from the village. The one who had the fastest steed would
be most likely to obtain the calf. The poor boy made preparations to
ride the old dun horse. He was ridiculed to such an extent that he
withdrew to the bank of a creek, nearby. The animal turned its head and

"Plaster me all over with mud. Cover my head, neck, body and legs."

The boy obeyed and the horse then ordered that he remain where they were
and make the charge from the creek. The men were drawn up in line and at
the word _Loo ah_ (go), leaned forward, yelled and galloped away. At one
side, some distance away, the dun horse flew over the ground; he seemed
young and strong of limb and sure of foot. As they neared the buffaloes,
he dashed in among the herd and stopped beside the spotted calf. His
rider killed it, and taking another arrow, shot a fat cow, then
dismounting, secured the spotted skin. Cutting out certain portions of
the meat, the boy packed them upon the horse. Putting the skin on top of
the load, he led the animal back to camp. It pranced and curveted and
showed much spirit. The warriors were filled with astonishment. A rich
chief rode up to the boy and tried to buy the spotted robe, but without

Some of the hunters reached the village in advance and informed the old
woman of her grandson's triumph. She could hardly believe the story,
and wondered if they were still ridiculing her boy. His appearance with
the coveted robe and more meat than they had had for many a long day,
ended her doubts; and there were great rejoicings in the tent.

At night the horse spoke to the boy, saying:

"To-morrow the Sioux are coming. There will be a battle. When they are
drawn up in line, jump on me and ride as hard as you can up to the head
chief and kill him and ride back. Ride up to them four times and kill
four of the bravest Sioux; but do not go the fifth time or you will get
killed or lose me."

The next morning, just at day-break, the Sioux rode over the top of the
hill and drew up in line of battle. They were attired in all the
trappings of war, and looked ferocious in their paint. The Pawnees had
no time for decoration, but hastily seized their weapons, cut the
lariats that bound their ponies, sprang upon them and rushed out of the
camp, when at the proper distance, forming in battle array opposite the

It was the custom of these tribes, when ready for a fight, to confront
one another in two long lines. After a few moments of silence, some man,
desiring to distinguish himself, rode out from the attacking party and
exhorted his people, telling them of brave deeds in the past and of what
he now intended to do; then, turning quickly, he dashed toward the
enemy, hanging over the side of his pony and riding along in front of
the foe, discharging one arrow after another, in rapid succession. If
the brave were killed, his own people made no sign, until a man rode out
from the other side to challenge; but if he were fiercely set upon, they
united in a general attack.

The boy mounted the dun horse and joined the warriors. They looked
askance but were too excited to make comment. The wonderful horse
galloped out from the line and made for the head chief of the Sioux. The
boy quickly despatched the leader and rode back to the Pawnees. Four
times he went forward, and each time killed one of the bravest of the
enemy. Then, forgetting the warning, the boy charged again. An arrow
struck his horse and the rider had a narrow escape from death. The Sioux
cut and chopped the horse in pieces.

After a spirited conflict, the Pawnees were victorious. The following
day the boy went out to where the horse lay. Gathering up the pieces of
flesh, he put them in a pile, and wrapping himself in his blanket, sat
on the top of a hill not far away. He drew the robe over his head and
mourned. A storm arose suddenly. The wind blew and rain fell. Removing
the blanket from his face, the boy saw the pieces coming together and
taking form. Another storm succeeded. When it cleared away, he beheld a
slight movement of the horse's tail. Then the animal lifted its head
from the ground. After a fourth storm had spent its fury, the horse
arose and its owner hastened down the hill and led it home. It
cautioned him to render perfect obedience in the future, and said:

"Lead me away from the camp, behind that hill. Leave me there to-night
and come for me in the morning."

The boy did as directed and found, standing beside his old friend, a
beautiful white horse.

Leaving the dun horse a second night, the owner discovered a fine black
gelding in the morning. After ten nights, there were ten horses, each of
a different color. The boy was now rich and married the daughter of the
chief. Many years later he became the head of the nation. The old
grandmother was well cared for, and the dun horse, being considered
sacred, was never mounted except at a doctor's dance; but was led around
with the chief wherever he went.

The Pawnees believed that the Na-hu´-rac held council in five places. At
Pa-huk´ (White Island) on the south side of the Platte River, opposite
Fremont, Nebraska; under an island in the Platte River, near Central
City (Dark Island), on the Loup Fork, opposite the mouth of Cedar River
(White Bank); and on the Solomon River, Kitz-a-witz´-uk,
(Water-on-a-Bank). This was a mound with a hole in the middle, through
which water might be seen. Articles were thrown in, as offerings to
Ti-ra´-wa. The fifth place, a hole in the side of a hill, was in Kansas.
It was indicated by a rock called Pa-hur´ (Hill-that-points-the-Way).

An old story, current among the people, says that in the early days, in
one of the Pawnee tribes, was a boy, smaller than others of his age. He
refused to play with the children, preferring to spend much time alone.
His manner was strange and the child was frequently in tears. The father
and mother observed that he often pasted mud upon his head. This was the
sign of a doctor and designated faith in the earth. As the boy grew to
be a young man he appeared to have something constantly on his mind and
would fast for days, smoking and praying to Ti-ra´-wa during that time.
He doctored those who were ill, and, although rapidly becoming great,
was not proud. Nevertheless, the doctors of the tribe were jealous, and
one of them, a member of another clan, came to visit him. They ate,
talked and smoked together. The older man said:

"Now we will smoke my tobacco."

They did so, and he departed. As the summer weather came on, the young
healer began to feel sick. It was evident that the doctor had poisoned
him. He swelled up with a new disease and prayed almost unceasingly to
Ti-ra´-wa for relief. The people went on a hunt. He ascended a hill to
think and pray; and after making burnt offerings, mounted a horse which
the father had left behind, and journeyed east, instead of following the

A few days later, the horse was sacrificed to Ti-ra´-wa and cut down the
back, so that animals could feed upon it. The unhappy young man called
upon the Na-hu´-rac to intercede for him. He traveled east to Pa-huk´
and fell asleep. A strange voice asked what he was doing there. No one
was in sight. The same thing occurred next night. The sick man answered
the voice this time, and begged for pity, but received no reply. The
fourth night something touched him and said:

"What are you doing here?"

There stood a big elk, with black eyes. It informed him that they were
directly over the home of the Na-hu´-rac. One night not long afterward a
bird came, saying:

"Come, let us go to the edge of the cut bank."

He obeyed, and the bird said:

"When I dive down, follow me."

Passing through the water, they soon stood at the entrance of a lodge
and could see a fire within. As they entered, the Na-hu´-rac made their
different noises. A bear was stationed at one side of the entrance and a
snake at the other. The head doctor was a white beaver. As they sat
down, the bird said:

"I have brought this man here and want you to take pity on him."

Taking the man's pipe, the bird held it out to the beaver. The white
beaver hesitated, but finally took the pipe. All the animals made a
sound, as if to say, "_Loo-ah_" (good). The beaver passed the pipe to
the other Na-hu´-rac and each one made a speech, saying that he had not
power to heal. None had the power. The elk then took the man to another
lodge but he was not cured. From there they went to the Loup River, to
the island in the Platte River and at last to the lodge under Center
Island; but without avail. The principal doctor said that the lodge at
Pa-huk´ was the head. The bird took the man back.

The white beaver stood up and announced that he had sent the man to
others in order to see if they were equal to the lodge at Pa-huk´; then
going to the ground-dog, he extended the pipe. The ground-dog reached
out its paws, took the pipe, smoked and commanded the Pawnee to go and
sit opposite the fire. He was ordered to stand up while the Na-hu´-rac
sang and the ground-dog danced. Next they told him to lie down with his
feet toward the door. The head ground-dog jumped over him and was
observed to have a large piece of flesh in his mouth. Another dog
followed, and another, each eating a piece of flesh, until all had
passed over. This was kept up until they had eaten the swelling. The man
seemed to be dead. The head doctor spoke to the bears; they arose and
sang, then jumped on the body, shaking and pulling it around. After a
while the blood began to flow and the man breathed. He was entirely
restored to health and remained some time with the Na-hu´-rac, learning
their medical secrets. They told of the sky-house of Ti-ra´-wa and said:

"He made us; he made everything. Blow a smoke to each of the four
doctors; but blow four smokes to Ti-ra´-wa."

The man went home and got beads, pipes, tobacco and buffalo meat and
taking them back, threw them into the river to be carried down to the
Na-hu´-rac lodge at Pa-huk´; then he went to visit the doctor who had
made him ill. He said:

"When you visited me, we smoked your tobacco. To-day we will smoke

After smoking, the young medicine man went down to the river and blew
upon the ice, and in a moment, the river was full of blood. It was the
blood of the wicked doctor, whose dead body was found in the lodge,
perfectly hollow. The blood had gone into the river. The favorite of the
animals eventually became one of the most famous healers ever known in
the nation.

Priests and doctors were not identical. Priests were the mediums of
communication with Ti-ra´-wa and knew what was inside the sacred
bundles. The medicine man was called upon in case of sickness or injury.
The sacred bundles, many of which were of great age, hung opposite the
door of every house. On certain occasions, the contents formed a part of
religious ceremonies.

The Pawnees believed that the earth was first inhabited by a race of
giants, so large that they could carry buffaloes upon their backs. These
people did not acknowledge Ti-ra´-wa and grew more and more wicked. He
was angry and caused the water to rise and the ground to become soft
and the giants sank into the mud. The large bones found at different
times were thought to be their skeletons. A new race was created, from
which all nations sprang.

The Ski-di band offered human sacrifices to the morning star. A young
captive, taken in war, was selected and fattened, being treated kindly
during the days of preparation. He was permitted to know nothing of the
fate in store, until the four days' feast and dance. Old men at the ends
of the village called upon each male person to prepare bow and arrow and
be ready for the sacrifice. When the fatal day arrived, every woman had
a lance or stick, and every man held a pipe in one hand and bow and
arrow in the other.

At the west side of the village, two posts with cross poles were set up,
to which the captive was bound, hand and foot. Behind him came a man
carrying a buffalo heart and tongue, followed by a warrior with a
blazing stick, one with a bow and sacred arrow of flint, and another
with a stuffed owl. Wood was piled around upon the ground beneath the
cross poles. The man with a blazing stick lighted the fire. When it had
burned to the center of the pile, below the captive, the warrior with
bow and arrow stepped forward and shot him through, under the arms, so
that the blood would drip down upon the fire. The buffalo heart and
tongue were then placed upon the blaze. The man with the owl seized a
torch and burned the body four times, after which each male person
present shot an arrow into it, and each woman struck it with a stick.
The flesh was consumed by fire, while the people prayed.

John Greenleaf Whittier left, among his papers, a poem that has


Night had fallen upon the broad prairie--a moonless night. The chill air
vibrated with noise of barbarous laughs and yells. The measured tramp of
heavy feet and the Hoo-ah, Hi-yah of excited dancers seemed fiendish.
Dark, weird-looking figures might be seen, dimly, by the light of a
camp-fire; and in the center of the frenzied throng was a maiden, silent
and defiant. Around her feet was piled fuel for the sacrifice, for had
not the wise men of the Pawnees, who hold communion with the other
world, decreed that she should die by slow torture, to atone for
cruelties practiced by her father, a fierce chief of the Kansas Indians?
The innocent girl might not hope for pity at the hands of her nation's
bitterest foes; but she could show them how fearlessly her father's
daughter could face a horrid death; could shame their sons and warriors
by a brave, unmoved demeanor; and even now, as a small blaze started up
from the outer edge of the pile of sticks and began to creep slowly
toward the captive, the clear tones could be heard above the din,
chanting her own funeral hymn--the death song of her people.

Once in a while some old, decrepit squaw, with shrill and penetrating
voice, would heap fresh taunts upon the victim; and as the fire
brightened, upon the dusky faces might be seen the gleam of savage
hatred and of satisfied revenge. Wilder grew the howls; and still the
mournful tones resounded above the shouts of triumph. The flames closed
in around her, and they leaped up higher, toward the cross poles to
which she was bound, flashes of light revealed more fully the pale set
face of the doomed one. Now, she could feel the hot breath of fire.
Where was the Kansas chief? Had he taken refuge in the mountains of the
West and left his helpless daughter at the mercy of the enemy? Was all
hope lost? No, her quick ear caught the sound of horse's hoofs, muffled
by the soft prairie grass. The captors, with senses dulled by liquor,
kept up their shrieks of exultation. Though her heart was beating
loudly, she dared not cease the song. A moment and a brave young rider,
on his father's swiftest steed, dashed in among the dancers, hurled the
firebrands from around her and cut the thongs that bound the maiden. A
moment more, and they were safe without the startled crowd, flying over
the flower-strewn prairie, toward the country of the Kaws. In the words
of the great poet:

  "Where the Kansas wanders free
  By the willowy Siskadee
  There their pictured tent is spread,
  With the soft fur carpeted;
  And that sweet young mother there
  Smiling through her lavish hair,
  Oft shall sing her hunter's glory,
  Oft shall tell his daring story,
  Till the listening Kansas maid,
  Lying listless in the shade,
  Dreams, perchance (for wild or tame
  Woman's romance is the same),
  Of some hero's circling arm
  Shielding her from deadly harm;
  And the Indian boy anear,
  Leaning on his fishing spear,
  Sees that same coy maiden bound
  On the Pawnee's hunting ground--
  He, upon his father's steed,
  Hurrying at her cry of need--
  Feels her arms around him thrown,
  Feels her heart beat with his own,
  And her soft breath, quick and low,
  O'er his dark cheek come and go--
  Hears behind the Pawnee yell
  Fainter on the breezes swell--
  Sees with joy the morning's beam
  Flashing from his native stream,
  As he drops his courser's rein
  By the Kansas tent again."

John B. Dunbar, who, in relating the story, asserts that the captive was
a Comanche girl, has preserved the Indian song in honor of
Pit-a-le-shar´-u, the hero. The oft recurring portion

  Lu! ti-wak´-o-le

when translated, reads:

  Well, he exclaimed,
  You see I am come,
  I, Pit-a-le-shar´-u.

Although among the fiercest of the prairie Indians, the Pawnees never
carried on an organized war against the Government. They were, however,
always on hostile terms with the Sioux, Kaws, Osages, Iowas, Sacs and

[Illustration: PIT-A-LE-SHAR´-U.]

In a beautiful wooded region, near the Missouri River, were the villages
of the Iowas and Sacs. A vast extent of prairie reached west and
southward. The Indians lived in huts of bark stretched over poles.
Implements for out-door work consisted of the "squaw-axe" and hoe,
purchased from traders. Iron camp kettles, wooden bowls and ladles were
the only utensils for domestic use. The tribes still clung to barbarous
customs when the Highland mission was founded; and their teacher
narrated that, at one time, a great feast was given in his honor. The
principal article of food was a savory soup. He mentally congratulated
himself on having been presented with a dish so pleasing to the taste
that he might show due appreciation of the honor conferred upon him.
Suddenly one of the hosts, in broken English, said:

"Dig deep, dig deep!" The guest did so, and dipped up a ladleful of
white worms.

Missionaries found it difficult to check the wild propensities of their
pupils; and the war of extermination continued until stopped by the
United States Government. The diary of Father Irvin, who established the
school, makes special mention of a war in 1839, and a skirmish in which
nine Pawnees were slain near Arago, Nebraska. This was, doubtless,
considered of great importance, inasmuch as the prowess of the Pawnees
made it a difficult matter for less formidable warriors to win a
victory, if the sides were equally divided as to numbers. Highland
University is now located upon the war trail over which the party

Like others of the Sioux family, the Iowas indulged in dances before
setting forth on the war-path; and upon the return, the women executed
the Scalp Dance, in which they carried, attached to poles, not only the
scalps of enemies, but also fingers, toes and other mutilated portions
of bodies.

During the period of general, if not united, efforts against the
Pawnees, there was a conflict in which a small band was besieged on all
sides, supposedly by the Sioux. The weaker party took refuge in a
ravine, where the sunflowers grew tall, and, protected by the thick
stalks, which turned the balls aside, made a brave fight for life. After
repeated attacks, the assailants withdrew, bearing the body of their
leader, who had been killed in the struggle. The Pawnees regained their
town without the loss of a man.

As immigration increased, settlers took possession of parts of their
reservation. It was the old, pitiful tale. The tribe, reduced by war and
famine, relinquished its land and reluctantly departed for the Indian
Territory. Being an agricultural as well as a courageous people, the
last of the Pawnees have developed into excellent farmers. Maize, which
was called A-ti´-ra (mother), proved, after all, to be their best



Although Minnesota has been called the "Land of the Dakotas," the Sioux,
as well as the Pawnees, roamed over the entire Mississippi Basin,
previous to its settlement; and were found, at different times, in
Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. They are now located principally in
South Dakota.

The word "Sioux" is of French origin. The tribes to whom it was applied
called themselves "Dakotas" meaning "allied," or "joined together." The
Indians in general, alluded to them as "cut-throats," drawing the hand
across the throat in pantomime reference.

There were three great divisions of the nation; the I-san-ya´-ti,
I-hank-ton´-wan, or Yankton, and the Ti-ton´-wan. Each division had its

Among these Arabs of America, the chiefs were not possessed of undue
power. They might suggest, but seldom enforced; and usually depended
for influence upon popularity with the people. The Indian is by far the
most ardent advocate of liberty.

If a Dakota died, his nearest friend killed an enemy. The dead were laid
upon scaffolds and allowed to remain a certain length of time, after
which burial took place. The grief and devotion of a savage wife are
brought out in the old legend of Eagle Eye and Scarlet Dove.

Eagle Eye was the son of a famous war prophet who lived many years ago.
The young brave was a bitter foe, a warm friend and a wise counsellor.
Scarlet Dove, whom he chose as a wife, was distinguished for goodness as
well as for beauty; and in the eyes of her father, was worth the finest
of horses and blankets. Eagle Eye did not hesitate to pay the required
price; and, according to custom, prepared a lodge for his bride. Only a
few moons after the marriage they joined a hunting party passing down
the Mississippi River.

One day as the husband, watching for deer, crouched behind some bushes,
a comrade accidentally shot an arrow into his heart. The lamentations of
Scarlet Dove could be heard from afar. She cut and lacerated her flesh
in a terrible manner; and wrapping the body of her loved one in skins,
put it upon a temporary scaffold and sat beneath. The hunting party
moved. She carried the dead upon her back, and at every camp erected a
scaffold. At length they reached home, the sorrowing bride still bearing
her precious burden. She procured forks and poles and built a strong
scaffold. Hanging from this, was discovered a few days later, the body
of Scarlet Dove.

Mirrors, when first introduced among the Dakotas, were regarded as
sacred; and women were denied the privilege of gazing therein. As a
consequence, the young men of the nation became the more remarkable for
vanity, decking themselves out to an unusual degree with savage finery.
An eagle feather, with a red spot, denoted the killing of an enemy. A
notch cut in the edges of a feather painted red indicated that the
throat of an enemy had been cut. One who had seen a fight, even though
he might not have participated, was allowed to mount a feather. Horses'
tails, beads, wampum and a variety of paints were also used by way of

The women were hard-working and submissive. Plural marriages being
fertile sources of discontent, suicides were not infrequent.

Anepetusa was an unfortunate wife, whose sad story has become a part of
the traditional history of Minnesota. When young and beautiful she
became the bride of a Dakota hunter. For a time all was peace and
contentment in the lodge. Anepetusa was a happy wife, and her joy was
increased by the birth of a child. The boy grew strong and handsome, as
the years passed by; but, at length, a deep shadow fell across the
threshold of the forest home. A second wife was purchased, and came to
share the humble habitation. All the world seemed dark to the
now-neglected woman. The child was her sole remaining comfort. An
expression of deep sorrow settled upon the once beautiful features, yet
no murmur escaped her lips. Grieving in silence, she followed her lord
and master upon a hunting expedition. He appeared utterly indifferent to
this devotion. They approached the Falls of St. Anthony. Taking the
child by the hand, Anepetusa walked out into rapid water and entered a
canoe. As they pushed into the swift current she chanted an unearthly
dirge. A moment afterward the astonished husband saw her go over the
falls. His heart was stricken with terror by the wild ringing of a death
song that could be plainly distinguished above the roaring of the

From that time forth, so the Dakotas said, the spirit of an Indian wife,
with a child clinging around her neck, might be seen darting into the
spray; and her death song was heard in the moaning of the winds and the
raging of the waters.

Each Dakota was supposed to have four souls. At the extinction of
physical life, one remained in or near the body, another was lodged in a
bundle containing hair and clothes of the deceased, kept by relatives
and thrown into the enemy's country, the third passed into the spirit
land, and the fourth entered the body of a child, plant or animal.

The following petition, translated by a United States interpreter, was a
typical prayer of these primitive people:

"Spirits, or ghosts, have mercy on me; and show me where I can find a

All unusual occurrences were regarded as good or evil omens. In crossing
a lake or other body of water, the Dakotas filled their pipes and
invoked the winds to be calm. According to Schoolcraft, they did not
believe in the transmigration of souls. Worship was in a natural state.
There were no images of wood. A stone was picked up, placed a few rods
from the lodge, an offering of tobacco or feathers was made, and an
entreaty for protection from some threatened evil.

O-an-tay´-hee, the supreme god, was regarded with the utmost reverence.
His name, like that of Jehovah of the Israelites, was seldom spoken. He
created the earth. Assembling the aquatic tribes, he commanded them to
bring up dirt from beneath the water, at the same time proclaiming death
to the disobedient. This would indicate that the Indian, as well as the
modern scientist, realized the fact that the earth was in a liquid state
at one period. The beaver and other animals forfeited their lives. At
last the muskrat went down and, after a long delay, returned with some
dirt, from which the earth was formed.

Taking one of his own offspring, O-an-tay´-hee ground him to powder and
sprinkled it upon the earth; many worms came forth; they were collected
and scattered again and matured into infants; these, having been
collected and scattered, became full-grown Dakotas. The bones of the
mastodon were assumed to be those of O-an-tay´-hee; and in some
medicine bags, small portions were preserved among the sacred articles.

Hay-o-kah was a powerful deity, who could kill anything he looked upon,
with his piercing eyes. There were four persons in this godhead. The
first was tall and slender, with two faces. In his hands were a bow
streaked with red lightning and a rattle of deer claws. The second, a
little old man with a cocked hat and large ears, held a yellow bow. The
third had a flute suspended from his neck; and the fourth, invisible and
mysterious, was the gentle breeze which "swayed the grass and rippled
the water."

Taku-shkan-shkan, unseen but ever present, was a revengeful,
dissimulating, wicked searcher of hearts. His favorite resorts were the
four winds.

Wah-keen-yan, a god in the form of a huge bird whose flapping wings made
thunder, lived in a tepee on a mound rising from a mountain-top in the
far West. His tepee, guarded by sentinels clothed in red down, had four
openings. A butterfly was stationed at the east, a bear at the west, a
fawn at the south and a reindeer at the north. He fashioned the first
spear and tomahawk and attempted to kill the offspring of O-an-tay´-hee,
his bitter enemy. When lightning struck, it was supposed that the latter
was near the surface of the earth and Wah-keen-yan had fired a hot
thunderbolt at him.

Captain Eastman writes of Unk-ta-he, the God of Water, and
Chah-o-ter´-dah, the Forest God, who lived in a tree on a high eminence.
His house was situated at its base. By a strange power of attraction, he
drew birds, who performed the duties of guards.

Chah-o-ter´-dah was the relentless foe of the Thunder God. Indian fancy
has pictured many a spirited battle between the two. It was said that
the God of Thunder often came racing along, hurling lightning at a tree,
to kill the Forest God, who, having been warned, had taken refuge in the
water. Then Chah-o-ter´-dah ascended a tree and hurled his lightning at
his adversary to bring him down to submission. The Forest God possessed
a crooked gun, with which it was possible to shoot in any direction
around the earth.

The God of the Grass, Whitte-kah-gah, was formed from a weed,
_pa-jee-ko-tah_, which had the power of causing men to have fits, as
well as to give success in hunting.

Wa-hun-de-dan (Aurora Borealis, or Old Woman) was the goddess of war.

The Dakotas believed in numerous fairies of the land and water, in the
shape of animals, with ability to perform various services for mankind;
and in frightful giants, in whose honor were established many feasts and
dances. There was a clan called the "Giant's Party." Men only
participated in the ceremonies of this organization. On stated
occasions, they went hopping and singing around the fire, over which
kettles of meat were boiling. Every few moments, one would put in a hand
and pull out a piece of meat, which he ate, scalding hot. After it was
all eaten, the dancers splashed hot water on one another's backs, crying
out "Oh, how cold it is!"

The impression among the people was that the god would not permit his
clan to be injured by these rites.

In some feasts of the Dakotas, everything was sacred. Not a morsel of
meat was permitted to fall to the ground, otherwise the spirits would be
displeased and some calamity might befall. Bones were gathered up and
burned, or thrown into the water, out of reach of the dogs and so they
could not be trampled on by the women. Sometimes a present was bestowed
upon the one who ate his dishful first. This caused much haste, as soon
as eating began, accompanied by a great blowing, stirring and grunting.

The Medicine Dance, instituted by O-an-tay´-hee, was conducted as the
proceedings of a secret society. War prophets and medicine men, _waw
keen_, were revered as demi-gods. They were believed to have led
spiritual existences, enclosed in seeds, something like those of the
thistle, which were wafted to the abode of the gods, with whom the _waw
keen_ sustained confidential relations. They received instruction in
the magic of the spirit-land and went out to study all nations; then,
selecting a location, were born into the world.

When, at the proper time, a person signified his desire to join the
priesthood, he was initiated by the Medicine Dance. First, the candidate
must take a hot bath, four days in succession; then he was taught the
uses of medicine and its mysteries by the old men of the society; after
which, he was provided with a dish and spoon. On one side of the dish
was carved the head of some animal, in which lived the spirit of Eeyah,
the Glutton God. The owner always thereafter carried the dish to the
Medicine Dance. He was taught the use of paints and must always appear
in the dance, decorated in the same manner. The paint was supposed to
have supernatural virtue and caused an object to become invisible or
invulnerable. In battle, it was regarded as a life preserver.

Before beginning the dance of initiation, ten or twenty prominent
members spent the night dancing and feasting. In the morning, the tent
was opened. The candidate, painted and nude, with the exception of
breech-cloth and moccasins, was seated on a pile of blankets, an elder
being stationed in the rear. The master of ceremonies, bag in hand,
approached, ejaculating, "_Heen, heen, heen!_" and raising the bag to a
painted spot upon the breast of the novice. Suddenly the latter was
pushed forward and covered with blankets. The dancers collected around
him. The leader, throwing off the covering, chewed a piece of the bone
of O-an-tay´-hee and sprinkled it over him. Dancing around the
candidate, the members patted his breast until he heaved up a shell,
which had been placed in his throat. Life was now fully restored; and
the shell was passed from hand to hand for examination. Ceremonies
closed with more dancing, continued until four sets of singers, with
gourds, drums and rattles, had been exhausted.

War parties were made up by anyone injured. The head of the party was a
great medicine man or prophet, or one distinguished in some way. The
war chief made a dance every three or four nights, before the party
marched. All who chose might join, and anyone was at liberty to return,
should he so desire, after the party started. War paint was red and
black in color, and the dance was executed by men.

Women performed the Scalp Dance, in which scalps, mounted upon poles,
were carried. The Sun Dance was another popular festivity, and has been
said to be the cause of the weak eyes, noticeable among the devotees.

When the Sioux were in a complete state of barbarism, strange as it may
seem, they maintained a high standard of morality. Violation of the code
was invariably followed by complete loss of rights in the tribe. At
certain celebrations, maidens proclaimed their purity by joining in the
dance. Coming in contact with the white race, the Indians first adopted
their vices, then, as civilization advanced and the younger members of
the tribes returned from schools and colleges, they began to emulate
the virtues of their conquerors.

Taking the Degree of Manhood was a savage custom adhered to by the
Dakotas until a recent date. When youths had attained proper age, they
proved a right to the degree by torturing themselves in different ways.
Sometimes a skewer was driven through the arm and heavy articles hung
upon the projecting ends. The flesh was cut and bruised. If an aspirant
bore the pain without flinching, he was deemed worthy of all privileges
accorded to men. These practices have been discontinued by order of the
United States Government.

[Illustration: TA-TON-KA-I-YO-TON-KA.

(Sitting Bull.)]

Travelers in the Sioux country are frequently entertained with recitals


Sitting Bull, the famous commander at the Custer massacre, was, during
his prosperous years, the chief of chiefs, or supreme head of the
nation. He first inherited the office, and was able to retain it
because of mental superiority and by reason of the fact that, until the
last hope was gone, he assumed an uncompromising position in regard to
the encroachment of the whites. Then, too, Ta-ton-ka-I-yo-ton-ka was a
medicine man, capable of arousing religious fervor. That he was cruel
toward the enemies of his people cannot be denied; but, according to the
red man's philosophy, that was simple bravery and loyalty.

The authority of a leader was seldom questioned, although a petty chief
was privileged to disregard orders, should he so desire.

Sitting Bull left an autobiography in pictograph. It contained a
description of conflicts in which the hero had counted _coup_ on
numerous enemies, both white and Indian, and secured their scalps. There
were also records of horse-stealing. The signature consisted of the
picture of a buffalo in a sitting posture. Little is known of the early
history of the chief; his own accounts vary; he seemed to be well
educated, and could converse fluently in French and English, as well as
in the different Indian languages.

The Custer massacre took place in 1877. After the Sioux war had ended
and the savages had surrendered, placing themselves under the protection
of the Government, they were retained as prisoners at Fort Randall,
South Dakota. The commandant caused a stockade to be erected, but
Sitting Bull refused to enter it, selecting, in preference, a strip of
bottom land close to the river, for winter quarters, in order that there
might be plenty of fire-wood near at hand. In summer, a pleasant
location about three hundred yards from the garrison, was chosen, where
a guard, composed of one non-commissioned officer and nine men, was
stationed. At that time a majority of the prisoners had not learned
cleanliness, and for the purpose of improving sanitary conditions, the
quarters were inspected daily by the post surgeon and the officer of the
day. Every one was compelled to wash each morning. A soldier asserts
that some of the Indians appeared heart-broken and became sick and
died. Might it not be more just to explain that daily baths in the
river, in a cold climate, were the causes of mortality?

A death was followed by the customary rites. On every hill in the
vicinity of the camp a woman might be seen and heard, mourning and
howling, in the hope that the departed would return to make an
assignment of his effects, which were few, inasmuch as the most valuable
articles had been lowered into the grave. Among them were usually placed
a knife, tin cup, moccasins, blanket and piece of buckskin. The ancient
rule of laying the dead upon a scaffold was not permitted to be put into

Burials took place in the day, and at night grand dances were held.
Indians on the opposite side of the river were invited to participate.
Tin cans, which had been collected and taken to the tepees, served as
musical instruments. The noise and confusion were sometimes deafening,
dances being kept up almost continuously. Both men and women spent much
time in making arrow tips from old iron hoops.

While at Fort Randall, Sitting Bull received an order from the
quartermaster for three sacks of hay. Accompanied by a slave wife and a
favorite, he presented the order. The large army bed sacks were calmly
handed to the man in charge, who refused to fill them, telling the
Indian to attend to that himself. The Sioux then turned to the slave
wife, commanding her to perform the menial office. She did so with most
abject humility, tying the bundle with a piece of rawhide; then the poor
creature crawled beneath the huge mass, pushing her head under it first
and gradually forcing the burden upon her back. This accomplished, she
rose slowly upon hands and knees and at last regained her feet. Being
asked, indignantly, why he did not assist the woman, the great chief
answered with an expressive grunt.

An army officer, Major McLaughlin, secured several autographs of the
celebrated leader, but found it impossible to induce him to sit for a
photograph, until he had obtained twenty-five dollars and a white shirt.
The shirt proved too small, but the chief fastened it at the back of the
neck with a buckskin string. Despite these weaknesses, he was dignified
in behavior and apparently unmoved by curiosity, although the room of
the officer contained many objects new and strange to him.

During a severe storm, lightning struck a tree near the Indian camp,
forty or fifty yards from the tent of Ta-ton-ka-I-yo-ton-ka. He
immediately broke camp and removed to summer quarters, saying the evil
spirit was after his people. Nothing could convince him that the Great
Spirit was not angry with him for leaving Canada, when he crossed to the
American side and surrendered, after the Custer massacre, at the Little
Big Horn. He said that all the water in the Missouri River could not
wash out the white man's stains of crime.

Spotted Tail and Red Cloud were also dangerous to the peace of the
northwestern country. Spotted Tail had two attractive daughters, one of
whom died on the way to Fort Laramie, while the Indians were going in to
surrender. Thomas Dorion, the man who went out as a messenger of peace,
desired to marry the girl and she expressed a willingness to become his
wife. It was largely due to her influence with her father, that he and
Red Cloud consented to accompany the emissary to Fort Laramie to hold
council and make a treaty. Her sad life and premature death, which was,
no doubt, the result of exposure and the vicissitudes of war, aroused
great sympathy. The other daughter, Water Carrier, was much admired by
the army officers and received many valuable presents. One of her
relatives asserts that the officers seemed infatuated, but that she
never manifested any reciprocity. Water Carrier was deeply attached to
her father's people and became the wife of Lone Elk. They live at the
Rosebud Agency, South Dakota.

The Sioux, like all tribes, are rapidly discarding their ancient
beliefs. Government schools have done effective work; and while the
number of "squaw men," or those who marry into the nation, is less than
in the tribes of the Indian Territory, there is yet a liberal infusion
of white blood. The dances, in a revised form, are, of recent years,
indulged in by way of recreation or for the amusement of spectators.




The Dakotas were strongly represented in the Kaw Valley and vicinity by
the Kansas or Kaw Indians and the Osages. In some respects there was a
similarity of manners and customs between these branches and the
original stock, in others a radical difference was noted.

The practice of shaving all of the head except a small place around the
crown--the scalp lock, which was reserved for the enemy, should he be
able to secure it--was adhered to by the Kaws and the Osages, while the
old Sioux law seems to have sanctioned scalping the entire head.
However, when compelled to hurry, they took a small section from any
part of the head. For the purpose of decorating themselves, many of the
Kansas cut the upper and outer edge of each ear, drawing it down so as
to form a large ring, reaching to the shoulder. To this circle
ornaments were attached. The tribe retained savage proclivities long
after their neighbors had become partially or altogether reconciled to
the habits of the pale-face; and were tall of stature and physically
well developed, but decidedly inferior in mind and morals, being a
constant source of annoyance to both the white citizens and more
civilized Indians.

One day a golden-haired girl stood by the side of her father, at the
door of their home in Kansas City, Kansas, (then Wyandotte) when a
number of Kaws filed through the gate and up to the house. Their chief,
through an interpreter, formally tendered a horse and several fine
blankets in exchange for the "squaw with the hair like the rising sun."
Receiving an indignant refusal, he emitted a disappointed "Ugh! ugh!"
and turning slowly, rode down the street with his warriors.

A lady who resided at Westport when it was a hamlet of not more than
eight or ten houses, was surprised, on entering her kitchen one morning,
to see, standing before the stove warming himself, a huge Kaw, entirely
nude save for the blanket extended across his outspread arms. Almost in
terror, the woman gasped out, "_Puck-a-chee! puck-a-chee!_" (go away).
Deliberately, and with evident amusement at her fright, the savage took
his departure.

The main village of the Kaws, that of American Chief, was situated two
miles east of Manhattan, Kansas. It was composed of one hundred and
twenty dirt lodges, of good size. A large portion of the tribe was
located, with Fool Chief, on the north bank of the Kansas River, in and
near Topeka. Later, by a treaty with the United States, this land, with
the exception of a few hundred acres reserved and divided among those in
whom white blood predominated, was ceded to the Government. The majority
of the people removed, first, to Council Grove, and then to the Indian

[Illustration: WA-HON-GA-SHEE.

(No Fool.)]

They delighted, for many years, to talk of


There had been frequent, hard-fought battles with the Pawnees, who,
being superior in numbers, had usually obtained the victory. However,
the Great Spirit punished them when, at last, a small band was
discovered, just at nightfall, by a strong party of Kaws.

Revenge, always sweet to the barbarian, was now assured. Surrounding the
foe under cover of darkness, the Kaws, commanded by Wa-hon-ga-shee (No
Fool), waited patiently for daylight.

Twenty-four hours before going on the war-path a council had been held
in the celebrated grove from which the present city takes its name, and
every warrior who had joined the preliminary dance, had fasted from that
time until the moment of departure. Their leader, together with the
medicine men, had long abstained from food, in anticipation of the
event. Other matters having been arranged, the line of men rode out
of the village, carrying many an anxious good-speed from wives and
mothers. Children, half-clothed, huddled together in awe-stricken
groups, or sought maternal protection. Old men and maidens gazed with
hopeful pride on sons and sweethearts.

Over the plains passed the braves, almost from view, when, by some
mischance, their chief slipped and fell. Quickly recognizing an
unfavorable omen, he gave the signal for return, and the entire
community joined in incantations to dispel future disaster. Again the
war party went forth, coming upon the Pawnees, who, all unconscious of
approaching danger, lay encamped for the night. Guards had been
stationed at proper intervals, and the ponies corralled, in order that
they might not wander away.

All seemed quiet until near morning. Faintly the sounds of awakening
Nature broke the silence of the prairie. The Kaws began to close in upon
the enemy, crawling stealthily through the grass. Gray dawn appeared;
then a red streak became visible in the east. The assailants rose with
a terrible war-whoop and rushed upon their sleeping victims. Even the
guards were surprised. Reports of rifles and fierce shouts from
infuriated men mingled with the shrieks of the wounded and dying. Knives
struck pitilessly into the breasts of the Pawnees, who, stupefied by the
sudden attack, were easily overcome. Blood flowed freely. Deftly a small
circle was described upon the head of each one, the scalp torn off, and
the reeking trophy attached to the belt of the slayer. Then, when
destruction was complete, and death had swept the camp, leaving not a
member of the little band alive, the victors gathered up the spoils and
journeyed home in triumph. Ninety dead bodies, mutilated examples of the
effects of savage warfare, were scattered over the field of battle.

Now, preparations for the dance were in progress. Musicians brought
forth flutes and tom-toms--rude drums made from powder kegs with
raw-hides stretched over the ends--while the women busied themselves in
making ready and cooking meat and cereals for the feast.

The warriors, in a circle, commenced the celebration with low
ejaculations and slow movements not unlike a march, gradually increasing
speed, and changing step until it became a wild rush of many feet,
accompanied by howls of exultation. Then all was still for a moment, and
two beautiful girls, dressed in almost Oriental costume, and carrying
red fringed umbrellas, broke into the center of the ring and danced with
the utmost grace and abandon. Next followed the process of paying debts.
It was the custom for creditors to allow debtors the privilege of paying
off old scores, at a dance of triumph, by standing in the center of the
circle and submitting to sound beatings, at one dollar a blow.

An old squaw had tried in vain to collect the sum of twelve dollars from
a young man. Desiring to end her importunities for money, he advanced
and stood, the object of all eyes, in stoical forbearance, while she
administered, to the full extent of her power, the requisite amount of

As usual, the Kaws had buried their most valuable goods previous to
undertaking the foregoing expedition. First, a large cavity had been
made in the ground and the articles placed inside. These were covered
with sticks and branches, earth being piled on top and stamped down. In
a violent effort to bestow the last blow effectively, the old woman
caused this structure to give way and sank into the chasm, to the great
diversion of spectators--for the Indians, among themselves, on such a
day, were prone to cast dignity to the winds.

Frequently, Osages and Kaws were employed to perform special police
duty. It gave them a sense of responsibility that had a tendency to
prevent mischief. Even in this capacity, they were governed by
superstition. At night, when ready to give place to another watchman,
each brave, before going home, went to the fire, gathered a handful of
ashes and rubbed it on his head to keep away the witches.

Death was mourned, not only by relatives, but by professionals, hired
for a period of two weeks. Pasting the hair on top of the head with mud,
they united in a series of groans and wails, dismal beyond description.
These strange songs had words, probably recounting the virtues and
wonderful deeds of the dead. Wrapped in his blanket and provided with
food and drink, trinkets and valuables, with all that he considered most
desirable, the warrior was lowered to his last resting-place, a favorite
horse having been killed that the spirit might ride to the Happy Hunting

The Osages were once the most powerful people west of the Mississippi
River. They owned a vast territory and had remained in possession over
three hundred years; but were forced eventually to cede the greater
portion to the Government. Nevertheless they are the wealthiest of the
Indians. The tribe was divided originally into three bands, the Little
Osages, the Grand and the Black Dog Band. They were tall and
fine-looking, the young, able-bodied men being hunters and warriors,
while the old men were doctors and cooks. Upon entering a village, a
stranger was expected to present himself first at the lodge of the
chief, and there partake of food. A general feast followed. The cook
stood outside and called, in a loud voice:

"Come and eat. White Hair (or whomsoever it might be) gives a feast."

When traveling, the Osages made lodges in the shape of wagon-tops, of
bent trees covered with skins or blankets.

A native orator, speaking of the good qualities of his people, said:

"Are we brave and valiant? Behold Dakota scalps drying in the smoke of
our cabins. Are we strong? Here is the bow of an Osage boy--bend it. Are
our women beautiful? Look at them and be convinced."

Despite the fact that civilization has penetrated even remote portions
of the United States, and its effects are felt in a greater or less
degree by every savage nation, the Osages in the Indian Territory have
returned to many of the old barbarous customs. They had a unique
creation story. Old people used to talk of a man, the first of the race,
who came out of a shell. They said:

"The father of our nation was a snail, who passed a quiet, happy
existence on the banks of our own river. His wants were few and well
supplied. He seldom hunted, going out only when driven by hunger to seek
food, and taking whatever could be most easily obtained. Thus lived our
great forefather, the snail."

According to the tradition, there was a storm and the river burst over
its banks and swept everything before it. The snail, seated on a log,
was carried along down the stream and deposited at last upon a bed of
slime. He was contented and had enjoyed the travel, since it had
required no exertion. Now, he found himself in a strange country. It was
very warm and the sun came out and baked the earth in which he was
embedded. It was impossible to move. Then, feeling a change, he began
to grow and developed into a man, tall, strong and perfect. At first,
the new being was stupefied; but with returning memory, he realized that
he had once been a snail, and immediately set out for his former home.

Arrived on the banks of the Osage River, he became faint from hunger.
Game was plenty, but he knew not how to catch it. There were birds and
fish, but no means of reaching them. He lay down to die. A soft voice
broke the silence. The man looked up and saw, mounted on a noble,
snow-white animal, a being like nothing seen on earth. It was tall and
mighty, having eyes like stars. The Osage trembled. The gentle voice

"Why does he who is the kernel of the snail look terrified? Why is he
faint and weary?"

"I tremble because I fear thy power and quail before the lightning of
thine eye. I am faint because I lack food."

Then said the Great Spirit: "Be composed. The Master of Breath punishes
not till sin is committed. Thou hast not sinned; be calm. But art thou

"I have eaten nothing since I ceased to be a snail."

The Great Spirit drew from under his robe a bow and arrows, and taught
the man to shoot. He killed a deer and was told to cover himself with
its skin. The Great Spirit made fire and told him to use it for cooking
the meat.

One day, when hunting, the man went to a river to drink, and saw, in the
water, a beaver hut, on which the chief of the family was sitting. The
animal asked who he was and what he was looking for; and was informed
that the Osage had no home and came to the river to quench his thirst.
The beaver said:

"You seem to be a reasonable man. You may come and live with me. My
family is large and there are many daughters. Should any of them be
pleasing in your sight, you may marry." The Indian accepted the offer
and married one of the beaver's daughters. They had many children, from
whom the Osage people are descended. To this day, the members of the
tribe refrain from killing the beaver, which is regarded as sacred.




The Delaware Indians, or Lenape, as they called themselves, are of
Algonquin lineage. Their language, which is soft and musical, bears a
strong resemblance to that of the Shawnees and Pottawatomies, who are
descended from the same people. The word Lenape has been translated
"men" or "fathers of men." This bears some significance, since the early
traditions of the Delawares declare them to be the parent stock. They
were the natives with whom William Penn held council, on the ground
occupied at the present time by the city of Philadelphia.

The nation had been subjugated by the Iroquois, and bearing the name of
"women" was at peace with the world. Although the domination of the
other tribes was only temporary, the famous treaty with the Quakers was
never broken, during the subsequent years of warfare.

The Delawares were a migratory people. Most of their legends have been
preserved by missionaries. The Algonquin myth of the virgin who fell
from heaven and became the mother of twins, one light and the other
dark, was found among the Lenape, and may be explained as referring to
the dawn, which gives birth to day and night.

The divinity Kikeron, the synonym for life, light and action, or energy,
was believed to be the first factor of the universe. He originated all
things, through the instrumentality of the tortoise, which, in Algonquin
pictography, was the symbol of the earth. There was an unexpected depth
to this native philosophy. The earth is all-producing, and from it
proceeds, directly or indirectly, all animate existence. The tortoise
had power to produce everything. From its back a tree had sprung, upon
the branches of which grew men.

In the pristine age, the world lived at peace; but an evil spirit came
and caused a great flood. The earth was submerged. A few persons had
taken refuge on the back of a turtle, so old that his shell had
collected moss. A loon flew over their heads and was entreated to dive
beneath the water and bring up land. It found only a bottomless sea.
Then the bird flew far away, came back with a small portion of earth in
its bill, and guided the tortoise to a place where there was a spot of
dry land.

The Delawares thought the land was an island, supported by a great
turtle, the one that had been their preserver. There was a tradition
that many hundreds of years ago their forefathers dwelt in a distant
country, far to the west. They traveled east, and at the Mississippi
River encountered a race of giants. The wanderers desired to settle
between the river and the mountains; but the request was refused.
However, they obtained permission to pass through the country. While in
the midst of the strange land they were fiercely attacked by the huge
people, who were very powerful. Many battles ensued. The enemy erected
fortifications; but large numbers of their warriors were killed. The
dead were placed in heaps and covered with earth. The giants were
finally defeated, and fled, passing down the Mississippi River. The
victors took possession of the country.

The nation was then divided into three tribes. One settled on the shore
of the Atlantic, one remained in the conquered land, and the third lived
west of the Mississippi River. The Atlantic coast Delawares were
composed of three clans, the Turtle (Unâmi), the Turkey (Unalâchtgo) and
the Wolf (Minsi). Other tribes, the Mohicans and Nanticokes among them,
sprang from the Lenape.

The legend of the hairless bear is one of the oldest Delaware stories.
It was narrated that in the past, at some remote period, the country was
infested with a ferocious bear of immense size. Its skin was bare, with
the exception of a single tuft of perfectly white hair on its back. The
animal possessed a keen sense of smell, but its sight was defective. The
heart of the bear was so small that only an expert hunter could hope to
strike it. The people held council and finally decided that the best
plan would be to break its back. Experienced hunters formed a party to
rid the earth of the monster. They discovered its retreat, made a great
noise to attract attention, and scaled a high rock. The bear could not
climb the rock but tore at it in a fury. The men discharged arrows and
threw stones at the creature until it was dead.

Indian mothers were wont to frighten their children into obedience, by

"The naked bear will eat you."

The pictograph system, which was perfectly intelligible to all tribes,
was based upon gesture speech. Rafinesque, a learned but somewhat
erratic Frenchman, claimed to have seen a set of wooden tablets, on
which was engraved the history of the Lenape, both in picture and in
song. The eccentric archeologist prepared a translation of the strange
document, which is called the Walam Olum, or Painted Record. Brinton
seems inclined to believe it a genuine native production, given orally
and written down by some one not thoroughly conversant with the Delaware
language. There is a possibility that the priests or medicine men,
realizing that their own downfall would come with the adoption of
Christianity, were jealous of the missionaries. Having learned to read
and write, from the white men, and hoping to gain new power, they may
have transmitted the story to wood, in such form as to be readily
understood, both by educated and uneducated Indians. The song is
rhythmical, and describes the formation of the universe by the great

At first there was a fog and a watery waste; then the land and sky were
formed and the heavens cleared. Each statement is accompanied by a rude
drawing or picture. The first part reads:

1. At first, in that place, at all times, above the earth,

2. On the earth, an extended fog, and there the great Manito was.

3. At first, forever, lost in space, everywhere, the great Manito was.

4. He made the extended land and the sky.

5. He made the sun, the moon, the stars.

6. He made them all to move evenly.

7. The wind blew violently and it cleared, and the water flowed off far
and strong.

Men and animals were created, and lived peaceably until the coming of an
evil spirit, in the form of a serpent, which introduced war, sickness
and premature death. Strife and wanderings commenced. The evil Manito
brought a flood. A few people, escaping to the back of a turtle, were
preserved by Nanabush, or Manabozho. Their protector caused the water to
recede and the serpent to depart.

After the deluge the race found itself in a strange northern climate.
The people journeyed south, arriving at "Snakeland." They conquered the
region; and a long list of chiefs, migrations and wars are recorded.
Abundance followed. Then there was a division, some of the nation going
south and some east to the salt sea. The three subtribes of the Lenape
eventually became established along the Delaware River. The song closes
with the advent of the white man.

In 1683 there were six thousand Delawares. Within a century their
numbers greatly diminished. In 1724 the white settlements had increased
to such an extent that the former owners of the land began to seek homes
in Western Pennsylvania.

It was at New Britain, Pennsylvania, that Tamenend--the Delaware chief
for whom the Tammany Society, of New York, was named--committed suicide.
He had become old and feeble and had been deserted by the tribe. Having
failed in an attempt to stab himself, the unhappy old man threw burning
leaves over his body, and in that manner, died.

A princess of the Lenape caused a cliff on Mount Tammany to be called
Lover's Leap. Her affection for a European was unrequited and, in
despair, the girl made the leap of death.

Not far from Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, was a clear and sparkling lake.
On its bank stood a village of the Delawares. Among the wigwams was one
larger than the rest and more commodious. There dwelt the successful
young chief, Onoko, a man of wonderful size, strength and daring.
Unaided, he had destroyed the bear on Mauch Chunk (Bear Mountain). Happy
was Wenonah when he sought her in marriage. Her heart swelled with pride
as she entered the richly decorated lodge.

The victories of Onoko in love, in war and in the chase aroused the
anger and jealousy of Mitche Manito. One day, as the young people were
floating idly upon the lake in their canoe, the terrible Manito arose
among the mountains, with a dark look of hatred upon his face and the
thunder rolling and crashing about his head, and while lightning darted
from his eyes, smote the hills with a mighty hand covered by the magic
mitten. The earth shook and a great chasm opened, through which poured a
volume of foaming water.

At first alarm, the lovers, glancing upward, beheld the wrathful
features, and seeing no hope, awaited death, clasped in a close embrace.
The light canoe was swept rapidly away by the deluge; and the Manito, in
gloomy satisfaction, retired to the hills. Ever since that time the
Lehigh has flowed through the chasm that he made. The name of Onoko was
bestowed upon a cascade and glen in the vicinity of Mauch Chunk.

The Lenape gradually drifted to the streams in Central and Eastern Ohio.
The epoch of peace had passed and they were no longer "women"; but took
a prominent part in the War of the Races. Removing to the valley of the
White Water River, in Indiana, they founded six towns. The treaty of
Vincennes guaranteed the title to the land forever, nevertheless it was
"ceded" to the United States only ten years afterward. The fugitives
then sought a home west of the Mississippi; and eventually received a
tract at the mouth of the Kansas River. They never fought against the
Government after that time. Other nations arrived. The Lenape lived at
peace with all except the wild prairie tribes. The old warlike spirit,
strong in every Indian, whether civilized or semi-civilized, was
appeased by fierce battles far beyond their reservation. Even after the
territory had become the property of the white man, the Delawares took
pride in detailing such victories as


Nestled among the hills, where the Kansas River empties into the
Missouri, lay a village of the once prosperous Lenape, who gloried in
the knowledge that, with the exception of a brief period, their people
had, from time immemorial, been successful in war. Belonging to the
East, they had drifted toward the setting sun, until the early part of
the nineteenth century found them, still adhering to antique customs, in
Eastern Kansas. Though but the shadow of its former greatness, the
nation still retained sufficient numerical strength to keep up
hostilities with its ancient enemies, the Sioux. At times, after
seasons of rest and recuperation, well-equipped parties had sallied
forth, going as far as Nebraska, Colorado or Dakota, in quest of
adventure. A furious renewal of the old contest succeeded emigration to
the Middle West, and all was made ready for an expedition. Religious
rites were performed, and the medicine men promised an easy victory.

[Illustration: NI-CO-MAN.]

Among the Delawares was a chief, who bade fair to equal in fame, the
most distinguished of his predecessors. Not many moons before, Ni-co-man
had awakened from a dream of conquest and beheld, in the pale light, a
shadowy figure wrapped in a blanket of snowy white. Its bony finger
motioned the chief to arise and follow. Mechanically, like one asleep,
he obeyed the phantom warrior, the strange chill that crept over him
increasing with each step. On they went, beyond the confines of the
village, toward one of the highest points along the river that shone
like silver with reflected brightness. Pausing upon a spot from where
the undulating prairie could be seen, reaching for miles to westward,
the spirit chief stretched out a ghostly arm and addressed the
awe-struck leader.

"Go thou, Ni-co-man, noblest of thy people, and lead them on to glory.
Take all thy bravest warriors. Journey west; there shalt thou find, upon
the distant plains, our enemies, the Sioux. Rest not until thou hast
avenged my death, for by their hands was I, thy father's father, slain."

Slowly he vanished, and Ni-co-man, pondering over these words, returned
to his abode. Thenceforward he agitated the question of an advance, with
full assurance of meeting and overcoming the murderous Sioux.

Around the council-fire were plans perfected. The pipe of peace was
passed from hand to hand. Old men led the discussion while their juniors
listened in silent respect. When all the wiser heads had given advice,
the youthful braves, in turn, expressed opinions. The latter being
unanimously in favor of adopting extreme measures, the council of
Ni-co-man prevailed; and having completed arrangements, the flower of
the nation, mounted upon mettlesome ponies, went forth, as did the
challengers of old, to seek renown.

Over the rolling prairies, the tall grass waving in the sunlight, rode
the dusky knights, heavy war-paint giving greater fierceness to faces
already glowing with excitement.

The second day, a long distance from the starting place, they stopped at
night beside a flowing stream. The tired ponies, relieved of their
burdens, were turned out to graze, a guard being stationed nearby. After
a meal of savory buffalo meat, and a quiet smoke around the camp-fire,
the Delawares, drawing their blankets over their heads, threw themselves
upon the ground and were soon wrapped in profound slumber.

At early dawn, ere they had proceeded many leagues, a fresh breeze
started from the Southwest, and close to the horizon a faint rose color
tinged the sky. This suddenly changed to a lurid hue, as a sheet of
flame, accompanied by volumes of smoke, swept rapidly toward them.

"Fly! _Tun-dahe Wel-seet-num-et_ (The God of Fire)!" shouted the
Indians, as, turning on the trail, they lashed the horses to the highest
possible speed, while the fire made steady headway.

On rushed the fugitives, bending every energy to reach the water; but
the breath of the Fire God was at their shoulders. Then the hardy little
ponies made a final heroic dash and landed in the creek--safe, all but
one. As the terrible cloud passed swiftly over the half suffocated band,
they saw the angry spirit in the great, dark, curling chariot, bend low
and smite their comrade; and when the seething whirlwind had gone by, he
lay, face down, a lifeless heap, upon the blackened cinders. A hasty
burial, with few of the usual ceremonies, and the party was traversing
the now desolate region, in the direction of the far-away mountains.

They entered what the white man calls the Great American Desert. A level
country, the short-grass district, extended as far as the eye could see,
on every side. Its monotony was broken by an occasional "draw," where
wandering tribes often found refuge in defeat, or lay in ambush, ready
to spring out at the approach of foes. These draws were caused by
erosion, and may have been the beds of rivers, long since dried up.

The plains were dotted with wild flowers, for in Kansas each weed, at
some season of the year, bursts forth in all the glory of rich or
delicate blossoms. The fall had brought its wealth of gold and purple,
and the buffalo grass, more nutritious when "cured" by the sun and hot
winds of summer, had turned to a rich brown, the ruling note of color.
Birds, and even the prairie dogs, barking and chattering at the
entrances to their underground towns, conformed to the prevailing tint.

The "Loco" weed had gone to seed, and the Indians, well knowing its
dangerous properties, kept their horses, while grazing, away from the
plant, which is said to cause animals to become "locoed," or insane. A
similar effect is produced on human beings, by the use of certain herbs
compounded by the medicine men.

Winding through the sandy territory, was the Arkansas River, in the
autumn a seemingly harmless layer of reddish brown soil with apparently
stagnant water here and there upon its surface. Underneath the quicksand
flowed a deep stream, promising certain death to him who essayed to
cross with any but the lightest of vehicles.

The travelers had reached the heart of the buffalo country, and an
abundance of game was found on every hand. A buffalo hunt, according to
an Indian's views, was second only to victorious battle, therefore
Ni-co-man called a halt and the entire company joined in a grand

The hunters, familiar with the habits of the animals, first arranged
themselves in groups in one of the draws, at the foot of a steep
embankment or precipice, taking care to be well sheltered. Then a
warrior, grotesquely arrayed, and astride a strangely caparisoned steed,
galloped toward the herd, frantically waving a bright-hued blanket. The
leader, an immense creature, scented danger and took his stand in front
of the rest. However, curiosity, which is one of the characteristics of
the buffalo, prompted him to draw cautiously nearer the queer figure.
The herd followed. Gradually the decoy backed toward the precipice,
still gesticulating violently.

At last, the animals, thoroughly frightened, stampeded, accelerating
speed as they approached the embankment, over which they rolled and
tumbled in the mad effort to escape. Those not injured in the fall,
recovered their feet and dashed away to the opposite slope, being easily
shot in attempting the toilsome ascent. Thus, the majority were at the
mercy of the red men.

The wanton destruction of these beasts at the hands of both Indians and
white men is to be deplored. Where, two score years ago, thousands
roamed the plains, now nothing remains to prove their having existed
save slight depressions in the earth called "wallows," and large numbers
of horns, scattered over the ranches. Once in a while the buffalo ring
may be seen, still barren of grass. Here the ever watchful sentinel had
tramped around and around in a circle. A feast succeeded the favorable
termination of the hunt. Only the finest portions of the meat, which
resembles beef in flavor, were reserved as food. Tongues were considered
a great delicacy.

Up to this time, a few straggling Comanches and Arapahoes were observed,
but as yet no traces of the Sioux appeared. Ni-co-man, remembering his
vision, still had faith that here, upon the plains, would the enemy be

Early one morning a scout came in with the news that, far to the north,
a stray band of Sioux had encamped the previous night. In a moment all
was excitement. As soon as possible the entire cavalcade, well armed
and ready for the fray, was galloping in the direction indicated. At
sunset the Delawares halted for rest and food, waiting for darkness to
make an attack. But the enemy, too, were watchful; and knowing the
presence of danger almost by intuition, had prepared for encounters.

They were in a deep cut, not easily accessible. Where the natural
defenses are limited, the natives learn to take advantage of every means
of protection. Piling up large masses of hard earth, that had fallen
from one portion of the crumbling bank, they had built a rude
fortification, which extended entirely across the entrance. In the rear
was a narrow pass, with a steep acclivity on either side. Guards were
stationed here and on the highest ridges. These gave the alarm as the
Delawares, in three divisions, came silently forward at midnight.

Ni-co-man sent a detachment of good marksmen to the top of the
embankment overlooking the Sioux, the second was despatched to the rear
to force a way through the narrow passage, while he boldly led the
remainder to attempt the low earthworks at the entrance. The war-cry of
the Lenape now filled the air.

The Sioux, crouching behind the fort and before the opening at the back
of the camp, fought savagely. Occasionally marksmen on the elevation
picked off one of their men, though it was a somewhat difficult task in
the semi-darkness.

Ni-co-man, being taller than his companions, and always at the front,
was a welcome target for his wild opponents. Again and again a shadowy
figure intervened as the bullets sped toward him. He bore, in truth, a
charmed life. As the moon passed under a cloud, for the elements were
preparing for a conflict, the Delawares rushed forward, climbing
recklessly over the heaps of hardened earth, scattering great lumps
right and left. Some of the braves fell, mortally wounded--some pressed
upon the retreating Sioux, who found themselves in a trap. The shadowy
figure, invisible to all but the chief, was ever present, hewing down
the enemy with his great tomahawk.

The sun rose upon a frightful scene. The carnage was over, but ghastly
upturned faces, smeared with war-paint and distorted with terror, even
in death, told the tale of the night's work. Ere long it sought
retirement, and the day grew dark. Ni-co-man gazed at the heavens in
wonder. Did the Great Spirit manifest displeasure? A storm followed.
Lightning flashed and the ground seemed to shake with thunder. Rain fell
in torrents, a most unusual occurrence in that locality.

When the atmosphere had cleared, and the drenched warriors again beheld
the battle-field, lo! all blood was washed away. The Great Spirit had
stamped with approval the triumph of his chosen people, the Lenape.

Lawrence, a town of more than ordinary historic interest, now the site
of the Kansas State University, was built upon land that formerly
belonged to the Kaws. At a more recent date the Delawares were
established in that vicinity. Haskell Institute, a flourishing Indian
school, is now located there. A majority of the nation, at the time of
immigration, adhered to tribal costume, and while harmless as far as
their white neighbors were concerned, presented a most ferocious
appearance. Many of the early settlers of Lawrence were from Eastern
cities, where the red man was known by reputation only. The Indians had
a fear-inspiring way of peering into the windows of houses, and in order
to obtain a better view, would spread out their blankets so as to
exclude the light. Not infrequently a white family, while dining, would
observe that the room had become unusually dark; and glancing toward the
window from which the sunlight had vanished, would behold a hideously
painted face, with piercing eyes looking through the glass, in keen
interest. This was not at all contrary to Indian etiquette.

The wife of a resident who had the good fortune to secure the firm
friendship of White Turkey, a Delaware chief, sat sewing one day, in her
rocking chair. It was a tranquil morning in early summer and the air
was still. Suddenly a shadow crossed the light, and to her intense
fright, three huge Delawares, in all the horror of their picturesque
native dress, loomed up before the window. The lady, who had recently
arrived from New York City, fainted; and the disappointed visitors
sought her husband, informing him that they had merely called to
announce the birth of a son--the future chief--named "Solomon White
Turkey" in honor of the pale-face family. Years later, the gentleman,
while traveling through the Indian Territory, was approached by an aged
Delaware, surrounded by his friends, and introduced to a tall,
prepossessing young man, who proved to be Chief Solomon White Turkey.

Kansas had been supposed to be permanently secured to the Indians; but
the emigrant ever followed in their footsteps, and again the land of the
Delawares was sold to the United States, and the people, few in number,
took up their abode in the Indian Territory.



The Wyandots, or Hurons, are of Northern origin, and descended from a
branch of the Iroquois. At the time of the discovery of America, their
villages were located near the Senecas, on the banks of the St. Lawrence
River. When Cartier appeared, a small band of Delawares first observed
the ships of the Frenchmen on the gulf, and sent messengers to announce
the presence of "great white-winged animals, spitting out fire and
speaking with voices of thunder."

The Wyandots and Senecas were closely allied and lived in amity many
years. It is said that the long peace terminated and hostilities began
through the influence of a woman. One version of the story is that a
Seneca maiden loved a young man, whose father, a powerful chief, opposed
his son's taking her as a wife. Other suitors were rejected. Then it was
declared that the hand of the maiden would be bestowed upon him, only,
who should slay the chief. A Wyandot fulfilled this condition and became
her husband.

The enraged Senecas flew to arms. An interminable war followed. Their
neighbors moved to the vicinity of Niagara Falls. A series of migrations
succeeded. At one epoch a portion of the tribe settled near Lake Huron,
which was named for them. A part of the Bear Clan always remained in

For some unknown reason, the other tribes of the Five Nations joined the
enemies of the Wyandots. Cooper's novels contain numerous allusions to
the undying hatred of the Iroquois toward the Hurons, as they were
called by the French, although Wyandot is the proper term.

Always pursued by the Senecas, a majority of the nation became
wanderers. In 1701, seeking a new home, they embarked in canoes and
passed out of Lake Huron, and into and beyond Lake St. Clair. In the
distance a group of white tents was visible. This comprised the city of
Detroit. Landing, by order of the head chief, the Indians were received
kindly by the governor of the colony. Accepting the protection offered,
they found a home in that locality.

After the French territory had passed into the hands of the English,
some of the Wyandots settled in parts of Ohio and Michigan. They were
divided into clans, named for animals, conspicuous among which were the
deer, bear, turtle, porcupine, snake and wolf. The nation originally had
twelve of these divisions. Two or more formed a band. It was against the
law to marry in one's own clan. Children belonged to the mother's clan;
and women were accorded the privilege of voting for chiefs and council.

The head chief, or king, was the highest officer. The succession
belonged to the Big Turtle and Deer clans; and every heir to the throne
must be of pure Wyandot blood. The last head chief, Suts-taw-ra-tse,
lived in the latter part of the eighteenth century.

The primitive religion of the Wyandots was somewhat similar to that of
other aboriginal nations. The Great Spirit ruled supreme. There was a
God of the Forest, called Sken-ri-a-taun. Once a year a night feast was
held, in memory of the departed. Dancing was dispensed with, but all
joined in condolence with some lately bereaved family. It was thought
that after death, the soul must cross a deep, swift river, on a bridge
made of a slight tree, and be compelled to defend itself, repeatedly,
from the attacks of a dog. The Dakotas also believed this, but affirmed
that the bridge was formed from the body of an immense snake. The prayer
of the Huron to a local god--as recited verbatum by Father
Brebeuf--throws some light upon the subject of their conception of

"Oki, thou who livest in this spot, I offer thee tobacco. Help us, save
us from shipwreck, defend us from our enemies, give us a good trade and
bring us back safe and sound to our villages."

The teachings of the Jesuits were early engrafted upon the original

Few of the oldest Wyandot legends have been preserved. The literary
world is indebted to Schoolcraft for the narration of the experience of
Sayadio, which gives a glimpse into the spirit world as pictured by
Indian fancy.

The heart of Sayadio was heavy with sorrow. His young and beautiful
sister had died and he refused to be comforted. Desirous of bringing her
back, the young man embarked upon a long and difficult journey to the
land of souls. When ready to give up in despair, after many adventures,
he met an old man who gave him a magic calabash with which to dip up the
spirit, when it should be found. This man, who proved to be the keeper
of that part of the land where the maiden dwelt, also gave him her
brains, which had been carefully kept.

On reaching the place of departed souls, Sayadio was surprised that they
fled at his approach. Tarenyawgo assisted him. The spirits had
assembled for a dance and he attempted to embrace his sister, but she
straightway vanished with the others. Tarenyawgo then provided him with
a mystical rattle to call them back. The _taiwaiegun_, or drum, sounded,
and the notes of the flute could be heard. Immediately the air was full
of floating figures, and Sayadio, dipping up the damsel with the magic
calabash, despite the efforts of the imprisoned soul to liberate itself,
returned to earth.

Friends were invited to the lodge, and the dead body brought from its
place of burial to be restored to life. Just before the moment of
reanimation, a curious old woman looked into the calabash, and the
spirit took flight. Sayadio gazed heavenward but could see nothing.
Then, with downcast eyes, he sat in the lodge, deploring that idle
curiosity had rendered of no avail his travels to the land of the

Peter Clarke, a native writer, was undoubtedly one of the most reliable
sources of information regarding the ancient history of the Wyandots,
whose descendants, absorbed by the white race, have permitted the
customs and many of the traditions of their forefathers to die out.
Until a comparatively recent period many firmly believed


On the shore of Lake Huron, long years ago, was a deep pool, or spring,
in the midst of marshy ground. An outlet into a river allowed the
discharge of surplus water. Reeds and tall grasses almost obscured the
pond from view, and the scream of the loon and the cry of the reed-bird
alone disclosed its presence, until the traveler found himself upon its
very verge.

The Wyandots knew of this place, and had little doubt that it was
inhabited by a mysterious spirit. Sometimes the water rose and fell, as
if stirred by the breathing of an immense animal beneath its surface,
then grew suddenly calm. A benighted hunter, passing that way, told of a
wondrous light, sparkling like the glow of a thousand fireflies; and of
a rumbling sound that shook the earth, announcing that an evil spirit
was at work.

A party of the Prairie Turtle Clan camped one day at the spring,
established an altar and offered burnt offerings to the strange god.
Articles of value, silver ornaments and wampum belts, were cast into the
pool and Ce-zhaw-yen-hau was chosen to call up the spirit. Standing in
the marsh, with a bow in one hand and a bunch of arrows in the other, he
chanted a song; while his companions, in homage to the _Hoo-kee_, or
wizard of the spring, burned tobacco. He invoked the spirit to come
forth. A loon arose, screaming and flapping its wings.

"Not you," said Ce-zhaw-yen-hau, and the loon vanished. Next came an

"Not you," said the Indian, "begone! Come forth, you wizard!"

The water rose, as if agitated by some huge body, and a white panther
emerged, looking eastward. Piercing its side with an arrow, the conjurer
quickly extended a small vessel to catch the blood which trickled from
the creature's side. The moment the pan filled, the wounded animal
disappeared, and the air vibrated with a rumbling, muttering sound, like
distant thunder. Volumes of turbid water came to the surface, indicating
the course the monster had taken in passing down the river. Never again
was it seen at the pool.

The Prairie Turtle Clan, which had always been considered refractory in
disposition, and inclined to be rebellious toward the Good Spirit, now
formed a society and deified the white panther. Anyone who divulged the
secrets of the association was instantly put to death. The blood in the
small vessel coagulated and became dry. This was broken into pieces and
distributed among the members to be placed in their medicine bags. The
medicine bag was usually made from the whole skin of an otter, a mink,
or other diminutive animal. Those who had been led by fanaticism to seek
new gods were repeatedly warned by the Catholic priest to renounce the
evil spirit, or it would cause their destruction.

"Throw away the baneful substance which came to you from the devil in
the form of a panther," he said, "for just as certain as you continue to
keep it among you, the time is not far distant when you will be ruined
by it, body and soul."

The unmanageable society, however, persisted in worshipping the white
panther; and the substance obtained from the demon of the spring, which
was used in witchcraft, eventually consumed the members themselves.

Not many years after the episode at the pool, Ce-zhaw-yen-hau turned
traitor to the nation, and joined the Senecas. When leading a war-party
against his own people, during the absence of the men, he saw two young
women working in a field adjacent to the village. In a frenzy of
enthusiasm for new friends and of hatred of the old, he slew the two
girls, and fled precipitately.

The warriors, returning, pursued with fury, and overtook the murderers,
crossing a miry creek. The entire band was destroyed, with the
exception of two Senecas. Putting out the eyes of one and cutting off
the thumbs of the other, the Wyandots sent them back to their nation to
tell the story.

The white panther worshippers were now made objects of revenge, being
hunted down and killed, if suspected of carrying the ruinous substance.
The Prairie Turtle Clan finally became extinct. Its fate was considered
an evidence of the evil effects of being led by superstition to adopt
unknown gods.

The Hurons, keen and skeptical, became acknowledged leaders in the
councils of nations. When the Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawatomies and
Wyandots formed an alliance for mutual protection, the latter were
appointed keepers of the council fire, and the inter-national archives
were committed to their care.

Wampum belts designated agreements. Wampum was manufactured from a
species of sea-shell and was composed of tubes one-eighth of an inch in
diameter and one-half an inch in length. These were fastened together
with strong cords or ligaments. Each belt represented a compact, the
conditions of which were retained in memory by the chiefs and warriors
of the tribe. The beaver belt of the Mohawk, Captain Brant, emblematic
of secret enmity, was deemed a pledge, on the part of those who accepted
it, to assist in exterminating the Wyandots. A dark colored bead belt,
with a red tomahawk upon it, indicated, when exhibited in council, that
warfare was in contemplation. These tokens, as well as parchments and
other records, were taken to Kansas in 1843, but became scattered and
are now the property of private parties.

The Green Corn Dance was celebrated each year, in the month of August.
Festivities opened with a great banquet in which corn was the principal
element. After all had partaken generously of corn soup, corn bread and
meat boiled with corn, the men formed in a circle and the dance began. A
wild chant, or Hoo-ah, accompanied the music of the tom-tom and cedar
flute; and dried deer hoofs, tied around the legs of the warriors,
rattled as they kept time. The cedar flute, a much valued instrument,
was composed of two cylindrical pieces of wood, tied together with
buckskin thongs. At intervals a sudden change of step and outward
turning of faces occurred, every movement possessing deep religious

At the annual corn feast, children and those adopted into the nation,
received names, bestowed by the clans instead of by the parents. Each
clan had a list of names that it was required to keep in use. A Wyandot
historian tells a singular story, which illustrates the belief of the
tribe in the necessity of observing this law.

While living, with the rest of her people, at Lower Sandusky, a young
girl, gathering strawberries a short distance from the village, was
taken prisoner by a party of white scouts. On the second night of her
journey in their company, a queer-looking Indian appeared in a vision,
and said:

"I come to tell you that to-morrow about noon these white men will meet
a party of Indians on the war-path, and have a fight. Then will be your
chance to escape and return home. I am not one of your race; I am a
frog, although appearing in human shape. Your race has often rescued one
of our kind from the jaws of the snake, therefore, it is with grateful
feeling that I come to tell you of an opportunity to escape from the
hands of these snoring white men, lying around here."

Next morning the march was continued. About noon, as predicted, the
Indians came in view and immediately made an attack. In a moment of
excitement, the prisoner was forgotten. Without waiting to learn the
outcome of the struggle, she ran into the woods and was soon beyond
reach of enemies. At dark, the tired and hungry maiden crept into a
hollow sycamore tree, through an aperture at its base, and fell asleep.
An Indian woman became visible in a dream, and said:

"The day after to-morrow you will meet a party of warriors from your
village. Follow their war path northward. I am not one of your race; I
am a bear. Say to the people that there are three names belonging to
your clan, the Bear Clan, that are not now among you. Keep these names
in use hereafter."

The famishing girl spent another night in the woods, and at dawn resumed
her travels, striking the war path at mid-day. When the shadows began to
lengthen, she met the Wyandots upon this trail. Providing food and
replacing the torn clothing and worn-out moccasins with the best that
could be obtained in such an emergency, they started her toward home,
where a glad welcome awaited the wanderer, and perfect willingness to
heed the admonition of her dreams.

In the war of 1812, a portion of the tribe adhered to Great Britain,
while the remainder espoused the American cause. Roundhead
(Staw-ye-tauh), who lived at the largest Wyandot village in Michigan,
and Warrow, the leading chief on the Canadian side of the Detroit
River, took an active part on behalf of the British, and were
conspicuous in the battle of the River Raisin. Walk-in-the-Water
(Mey-ye-ra), maintained strict neutrality, although in sympathy with the

Big Tree, a Wyandot whose eventful life has made his name a familiar
one, warred against the Americans, beginning, when a boy, at Braddock's
defeat. He belonged to the Bear Clan and was noted for strength and
activity. During a war with the Southern Indians, he was taken prisoner
by the Cherokees, in a battle on the Kentucky River. The contest was a
bloody one, the combatants laying aside guns, bows and arrows and
fighting with tomahawks. Night ended the struggle and both sides retired
from the field.

Big Tree was taken from one place to another; at last to the mouth of a
river, unknown to him. The Cherokees held council and concluded to burn
the prisoner. Before the sentence could be executed, a woman whose sons
had been killed in the battle, stepped forward and claimed him. She

"You took all my sons with you. Now they are dead and I am left alone
without any help. I claim this young man as my son. Will you pity my age
and helplessness and release him to me?"

He was given to the widow, but could not forget his own people and was
always looking for a chance to escape. The opportunity came while he was
out hunting. For three days and nights the Cherokees pursued. The
fugitive became faint from want of food. Reaching the Ohio River, he
paused a moment and prayed:

"O Great Spirit, help a poor prisoner to swim this river, that he may
get home to his own country." Then, tying his gun on his head, plunged
into the water and succeeded in getting to the opposite shore. He killed
a deer, cooked a part of the meat and rested. After three moon's
traveling, the wanderer arrived home.

In his old age, Big Tree became a devout Christian, and often related
how he had tried to follow the advice of the old people in the worship
of the Great Spirit; how he had feared the "Man in the Clouds"; and had
followed, first, the Seneca Prophet, next the Shawnee Prophet, then had
gone back to the religion of his fathers; and finally, through the
teachings of Stewart, the colored preacher, had gone down on his knees,
with the petition:

"_O Homendezue, tamentare, tamentare_ (O Great Spirit, take pity on me,
take pity on me)."

Chief Splitlog (To-oo-troon-too-ra), a brother of Roundhead, and also a
Royalist, was one of the last to give up the habits of his progenitors.
Although a Roman Catholic, he retained, to a great extent, the ancient
beliefs of his people. One who was thoroughly familiar with the history
of Splitlog, describes the last effort on the part of the chief to
observe the old customs, in the following language:

"One day, a few years before he died, after the last council wigwam was
demolished (wigwam, or we-go-wam, is a Chippewa word for any kind of a
house), and the ground on which it stood had been ploughed up, he called
together at his residence, the few who still adhered to the ancient
customs of the tribe. It was his last feast, and the last dance song of
this feast sounded mournful to the ears of the distant passer, who knew
what it was.

"Two Indians, with whole snapping turtle shells, having some hard
substance inside to make a rattling sound, sat on the ground, with two
folded deer skins, pelt side out, between them, on which they beat with
the turtle shells, while singing for the dance. The necks of the turtles
were stretched out to their utmost length and stiffened, for handles.
After the dance, the musicians were allowed to walk off with the deer
skins as their compensation."

Much has been said concerning the bravery and adventures of Chief
Splitlog, not only in the battles against General Wayne, but also in the
war of 1812.

William Walker, the father of Governor Walker, was one of General
Harrison's scouts at that time. Having been captured, several years
before, by the Delawares, and traded to the Wyandots, he had become,
both by marriage and adoption, a member of the latter nation. During the
heat of battle he was taken prisoner by the British and carried along
with the army, his wife, also a prisoner, being placed on board an
English warship.

In 1842 Silas Armstrong and Matthew Walker, whose Indian name,
translated, was "Twisting the Forest," were sent beyond the Mississippi
to locate a new home, and went as far west as Salina, Kansas, with the
intention of buying a large tract of land. A thorough investigation,
however, resulted in their securing from the Delawares a comparatively
small tract, seven or eight miles in extent, and the Wyandots
established themselves at the mouth of the Kaw River.

William Walker, afterward Provisional Governor of Nebraska Territory,
had previously traveled west, having this removal in mind, and examined
the lands. He was a man of education and great strength of character--an
acknowledged leader in the nation, as well as a writer of merit.

Matthias Splitlog was identified with the early commercial interests of
Kansas City. Leaving Canada about the year 1840, he resided for some
time at Neosho, Missouri, and was the projector of a small railroad, now
a portion of the Pittsburg & Gulf line. He removed to Wyandotte, Kansas,
became interested in numerous financial ventures and was known as the
wealthiest of the Indians. Shrewd business men and corporations rendered
his later life a series of law suits; and much property was sacrificed.

This silent and reserved man lived, for many years, simply, in a log
house. His wife was unable to converse in English. Finally, accompanying
the remnant of the tribe to the Indian Territory, he built a mansion,
with modern conveniences, in the reservation of the Senecas.

At the time of emigration to Kansas, a majority of the people were of
superior intelligence, had long adopted the arts of civilization and,
through the influence of missionaries, had become converted to
Methodism. They were distinguished for regularity of feature and grace
of movement, keeping perfect measure in the dance. The women were adepts
in the art of needle-work. At the home of a lady of Wyandot lineage, is
exhibited an elaborate piece of beading, of great age, in fleur-de-lis
pattern. The center of each leaf is of pale pink, encircled with dark
green, skillfully shaded to delicate tints. A variety of colors were
introduced, yet the whole produced a most harmonious effect.

The belle of the nation in the '40s is said to have been so beautiful
and cultured that, on the occasion of a visit to New Orleans, she was
supposed to be a French lady, and the most exclusive society of the city
extended courtesies. The handsome young woman reigned supreme for a
short period. On the return trip, three or four squaws boarded the
steamer, and after standing quietly back for a brief space, silent
witnesses of her numerous conquests, one of them came forward and said:

"Her squaw, like me--heap big squaw."

Contrary to general opinion, the Indians possessed a keen sense of humor
and thoroughly enjoyed a laugh at the expense of one of their number.

In the olden days, Elder Dennison conducted services in the Methodist
Church, through an interpreter. One Sunday, owing to the illness of the
latter, a well-educated Wyandot named Browneyes, was engaged as
substitute. Browneyes, not being religiously inclined, had partaken too
freely of firewater. However, he appeared on the scene well dressed in
honor of the event. A huge cravat, faultlessly tied, and a dark green
coat, resplendent with brass buttons, were prominent features of his
attire. Unfortunately, a large flask protruded from his hip pocket, and
it was quietly decided that Mr. Armstrong should officiate. Browneyes
sat down in a front seat, apparently humiliated on account of being
supplanted. The sermon proceeded smoothly for a time, then he remarked,

"Sile, you are not telling a word of truth, and you know it."

No attention was paid to the interruption, but when the discourse became
more eloquent, he averred, loudly and decidedly:

"Sile, that's a lie, and you know it."

Elder Dennison, discontinuing the address, said:

"Let us pray."

Descending from the rostrum, he placed one hand in the back of
Browneyes' cravat, twisted it until the man's tongue hung out, and
prayed long and loudly. It is needless to say this was the last time the
services were interfered with while the elder presided.

A strange story is related concerning


For some reason, Chudaquana had gained the enmity of a certain old woman
of the community; perhaps he had unwittingly slighted her; perhaps a
family feud existed; at any rate, the evil black eyes seemed to follow
him from place to place. It was reported that this woman had the faculty
of changing herself into a dog. Chudaquana noticed that a
stealthy-looking canine was constantly at his heels. Day after day, and
week after week, the animal was to be seen skulking near. The eyes were
certainly those of the witch. Fearing some great misfortune might ensue
if this continued, he decided to be rid of the nuisance once and

In order to kill a witch it was necessary to use silver bullets. Having
procured these, Chudaquana went about his ordinary pursuits, keeping a
sharp lookout, meantime, for the enemy. It could be seen in the rear, at
some distance, tracing his footsteps. The man sought shelter behind a
tree. On came the wild-looking animal, sniffing at the ground. As it
paused directly opposite, there was a sharp report, an unearthly howl,
and the witch was no more. The silver bullet had fulfilled its mission.
The old woman, so rumor said, carried to the day of her death, festering
and sore, the mark of a bullet in her side.

Romantic courtships and marriages between Wyandot maidens and white
settlers were not infrequent.

Before the entire tribe had discarded its picturesque costume, a young
man of Caucasian descent located among the Wyandots for the purpose of
trade. One clear October morning, looking from the door of the small
frame building in which he conducted business, he saw a graceful figure
approaching, and a moment later, an Indian girl of thirteen or fourteen
years, arrayed in all the finery of her people, stepped lightly across
the threshold and stood, glancing confusedly and with decided coquetry,
at the young merchant. Her slight form was clothed with a loose crimson
waist, or shirt, and a short skirt ornamented with embroidery and
notched ribbons. Beaded moccasins covered the little feet, and
broadcloth leggings extended to the knees. Her black hair was confined
by a silk handkerchief. The color came and went in the dark cheeks, and
bright eyes flashed admiration from under long lashes. He hastened to
respond to orders given timidly in the universal language of signs.

Again and again Markrete visited the store, purchasing brilliant hued
calicoes, beads and blankets, and receiving little presents from the
trader, who endeavored in this manner to win her regard. At last he was
compelled to employ an interpreter, who attempted to persuade her to
accept an offer of marriage.

For some time the girl turned a deaf ear to all overtures. She was too
young to give up freedom; and marriage, to an Indian woman, meant
slavery. She climbed fences and rode horses; on one occasion, when
there was no ferry, swimming her horse across the river in order to
visit a relative.

However, after protracted efforts under many difficulties, the young man
was victorious; and acquired rights in the nation, an Indian name, and
last, but not least, pretty Markrete.

The Wyandots have been gradually absorbed by the white race, and those
who maintain tribal relations are located in the Indian Territory. Many
prominent residents of Kansas City are descended from the Wyandots.



The Pottawatomies were of Algonquin descent and were termed
"Firemakers," in reference to their secession from the Odjibwas and
becoming the makers of their own fires. The Odjibwa tradition says that
there were two brothers at St. Mary's Falls. The fishing-rod of the
younger was taken into the rapids by the other and accidentally broken.
A quarrel ensued. The elder brother went south. This was the origin of a
new tribe. The Pottawatomies of the Woods, located in Wisconsin and
Michigan; and the Prairie Bands, of Illinois and Indiana, formed the two
principal divisions of the nation, whose homes were scattered from the
shores of Lake Superior to the Illinois River. In language and customs,
the Pottawatomies were similar to the Ottawas and Chippewas, with whom
they were closely allied. They crowded the Miamis from the vicinity of

In the war of 1812, the Prairie Bands, under the leadership of
Suna-we-wone, fought against the Americans, and were at the massacre at
Fort Dearborn. The United States effected a treaty of peace with them in
1815, and afterward purchased a portion of their land. Eighteen years
later, the cession known as the Platte Purchase was made, in
consideration of which the Government granted 576,000 acres adjoining
the Shawnees and Delawares, in Kansas. Subsequently, the tribe became
widely scattered. Portions located in Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas and the
Indian Territory.

The Pottawatomies believed in two Great Spirits, Kitchenonedo, Good
Spirit, and Matchemondo, Evil Spirit. Kitchenonedo made the world and
its first inhabitants; they looked like people, but were wicked
ungrateful dogs that never lifted their eyes from the ground, to return

In punishment, the Creator dropped the earth, with everything upon it,
into a great lake, from which it emerged only after the destruction of
the race. Then a handsome young man appeared, who seemed sad because of
loneliness. Kitchenonedo pitied him and sent a sister to brighten his
life. Many years later the young man had a dream. Telling it to his
sister, he said:

"Five young men will come to your lodge door this night. The Great
Spirit forbids you to answer or even look up and smile at the first
four, but when the fifth comes, you may speak and laugh and show that
you are pleased."

She obeyed his directions. The first who arrived was named U-sa-ma, or
Tobacco, and being repelled, he fell down and died; the next, Wa-pa-ko,
or Pumpkin, meeting a like reception, followed his example; the third,
Esh-kos-si-min, or Melon, and the fourth, Ko-kees, or Bean, had the same
misfortune; but she smiled upon the fifth, who was named Tamin, or
Montamin (Maize), and opened the lodge door that he might enter. They
were married; and from them are descended the North American Indians.

Tamin buried his ill-fated rivals; and from their graves sprang tobacco,
melons, beans and pumpkins; and the Pottawatomies said that was the way
in which the Good Spirit furnished his people something to put into
their _a-keeks_, or kettles, with the meat, and something to offer as a
gift at feasts and ceremonies.

Long after a majority of the nation had become Christianized, they
clung, in a great measure, to the ancient superstitions.

Not many miles distant from the place where Topeka now stands, lived a
chief called Menweshma. Menweshma was a believer in the Indian doctrine
of transformation, and gravely asserted that he could turn his four
hundred and eighty pounds of flesh into a bird or beast. Tradition says
that it was a favorite pastime of his, to assume the form of an owl.

Being an inveterate gambler, he at one time became the victim of a
scheme by which he was defrauded. This so enraged the Pottawatomie that
he killed the seven Indians who participated in the trick, and
according to the laws of the tribe, was called upon to pay a heavy
ransom or submit to death. After surrendering all his possessions,
Menweshma was yet indebted to the amount of five hundred dollars. This
sum was borrowed from the trader, and year after year passed and the
chief continued to disregard the solicitations of the white man to pay.

One night, after Menweshma had appeared particularly annoyed by these
requests, the settler and his family were disturbed by the hooting of an
owl. Seizing a rifle, the man shot in the darkness at what appeared to
be the outline of the bird, and saw an object fall to the ground. On
reaching the spot, he stooped to pick it up--and the nocturnal visitor
could not be found.

At nine o'clock next morning came a messenger with the request that he
go at once to Menweshma, who was dying. Entering the hut, he was left
alone with the medicine man and the dying chief. The Pottawatomie,
disclosing a great wound in his side, said:

"Didn't you shoot an owl at your house, last night? I was that owl, and
had gone there to poison your children."

Queer explanations were accepted without question, by the Indians, and
often white folks were puzzled to account for strange events.

Even the most warlike tribes did not hesitate to resort to deception,
if, perchance, a victory were to be gained without striking a blow.

Below the junction of the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers was a
reservation of the Pottawatomies. Just without its limits, the Pawnees,
always at war and straying from rightful boundaries, were wont to lie in
wait for their less courageous neighbors.

On a sunny afternoon in the spring of 1856, seven or eight hunters and
trappers, going westward from Fort Riley, were confronted by a
panic-stricken band of several hundred Pottawatomies. The fugitives,
galloping toward the reservation, shouted, "Pawnee! Pawnee!" Later in
the day, the plainsmen came upon the Pawnees, a party of fifty men,
celebrating with great satisfaction, their success in putting the foe to
flight. The latter, in the morning, had camped not far from a large
hill, or bluff, behind which the enemy were holding consultation as to
the best mode of attack. In order to give the impression of numerical
strength, the fifty braves filed around and around the bluff, seemingly
an interminable line, then, with blood-curdling war-whoops, dashed
toward the camp. The Pottawatomies fled precipitately, leaving the
entire supplies to fall into the hands of the strategists, who took
advantage of every opportunity to intimidate the more pacific nations of
eastern or southern origin, removed west by the Government.

With the exception of the Shawnee Prophet, the cruel and vindictive
war-chief, Wa-baun-see, was, doubtless, the most famous Indian among the
emigrant nations. His brave deeds have formed the subject of many
interesting anecdotes. Notable among them is


Near the close of the eighteenth century, the Americans again commenced
to encroach upon Indian territory, and some of them proceeded
southwestward down the Ohio River in large boats about thirty-five or
forty feet in length and ten or twelve feet in breadth, with barricaded
decks. The rightful owners of the soil, determined to prevent further
settlement, disputed every mile of progress by all possible means.

One day the scouts, led by Wa-baun-see, watched a floating fort from the
north bank of the river. An attack was feasible, since the pilot kept
well to the middle of the stream, beyond reach. The Indians consulted as
to the best method of overcoming this difficulty. Word was sent to the
main body of warriors to conceal themselves at a certain point that
jutted out into the water, at some distance below their present
location. They were also instructed to be prepared for battle when the
boat should go ashore. Meantime, despite all efforts to the contrary on
the part of the pilot, the raft showed a decided tendency to approach
the river bank. The man at the helm was admonished again and again, but
insisted that he had been doing all in his power to keep off from shore.
The pilot then made a careful examination of the boat on the side next
to land. A black object bobbed up occasionally, then disappeared. Closer
scrutiny revealed a nude Indian, swimming under water and tugging away
at a rope held in his teeth. The other end was fastened to the boat.
Once in a while the swimmer was compelled to come to the surface for

Quietly obtaining his bayonet, the pilot watched the water with
interest. Again the dark head and shoulders emerged. They were those of
the war-chief. Quick as a flash, the bayonet plunged downward into his
back. Wa-baun-see sank out of sight, keeping under water until he
reached the shore. The braves conveyed him to a place of safety and
carefully dressed the dangerous wound. The daring chief recovered.

When the Osages were strong and powerful, and claimed thousands of broad
acres south of the Missouri River, they were frequently at war with the
Pottawatomies. During a battle, Wa-baun-see was routed, in addition to
losing a friend in the sally. The proud spirit of the war-chief was
injured; and the humiliation caused by defeat and the death of the brave
rankled in his mind after other warriors had seemingly forgotten the
circumstances. He determined to seek revenge, should it ever become
possible. Years passed without the gratification of his wishes. Then
came the news that, at an appointed time, a delegation of Osages would
visit a certain western fort. Wa-baun-see, with some of his best men,
repaired to the post, and, after a formal interview, withdrew. They
galloped a few miles away and waited for darkness. The Osages feared
treachery and communicated their suspicions to the commandant.
Permission to sleep inside the fortifications was asked and granted.

In the night, when all was silent, Wa-baun-see rode quietly toward the
place. He stationed his men at a safe distance and went forward to
inspect the defenses. It was necessary to employ the utmost caution, in
order to avoid the guards. Approaching, he threw himself upon the ground
and crept around the walls, finding, at last, an embrasure, almost too
small to permit the passage of a man's body. The chief was seeking
revenge and was not to be daunted, therefore, after a long and painful
effort, succeeded in writhing through the aperture, and warily sought
out the adversaries of his people. They were sleeping soundly, feeling
secure in the protection afforded by the presence of soldiers. Wrapped
in a blanket, and lying upon the ground a short distance from the group,
was the head chief. Crawling through the grass, the Pottawatomie reached
his side. There was no disturbance, only a dull thud, as the tomahawk
buried itself in the head of the slumberer. Securing the scalp,
Wa-baun-see retired as noiselessly as he had come.

In the morning the Osages were greatly surprised and enraged to learn
that the enemy had been in their midst.

The impression that the relentless chief was the most ferocious Indian
of his time, was confirmed by the frightful punishment of one of his
wives, accused by another wife, probably a favorite, of cruelty to his
children. Without giving the poor woman an opportunity to plead her
cause, he commanded the accuser to split open her skull.

Wa-baun-see accompanied his tribe to Kansas in 1846, and during the
latter part of that year, went to Washington, with other influential
men, to conclude a treaty with the Government. The stage-coach, in which
they passed through Missouri on the way home, overturned near Boonville,
and Wa-baun-see sustained severe injuries, which ultimately resulted in



The capital of Kansas now occupies a portion of the former
hunting-grounds of the Kaw and Shawnee Indians. The Shawnees were the
first emigrant tribe to arrive in the Territory. The ancient home of the
nation was near the Cumberland River. Early in the Seventeenth century,
the Iroquois invaded that region and vanquished its owners, who fled
south and became scattered, settling in Carolina and Florida. At a later
period, the divisions of the tribe reunited and returned to the vicinity
of their old home, taking possession of a more extended country and
founding towns in the Ohio Valley. When they were driven west, the Baron
De Carondelet granted them land near Cape Girardeau.

As the white people entered Louisiana, the Shawnees sought new homes,
again and again. Finally, they relinquished all claims in Missouri, in
consideration of a large purchase in Kansas. In 1854 a treaty was
signed, disposing of all their land except two hundred thousand acres,
which were divided among individuals; and in 1869 the remnant of the
tribe removed to the Cherokee country, in the Indian Territory.

A migration tradition says that once, when the Shawnees lived in the far
East, on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, they were surprised to see,
riding along on the back of a large fish, a creature that looked like a
man, although it had long green hair like weeds, a face like a porpoise
and a beard the color of ooze. Around its neck were strings of
sea-shells, and in its hand was a staff made from the rib of a whale;
and, most astonishing of all, the strange being had the bodies of two
fishes for legs. He stopped near shore and sang of the beautiful things
in the depths of the sea. The people heard, in amazement, for he spoke
their language.

Day after day and week after week, the Man-Fish might be seen, seated on
the water, with his legs curled up under him; and all the time he sang
of new countries; and the people, charmed, left their work and listened.
Men forgot to go hunting and the women no longer busied themselves
around the wigwams, but stood on the beach and watched. Repeatedly, the
creature sang: "Come, follow me"; but they refused to go. At last the
supply of food in the village was exhausted. Hunters entered a boat and
tried to catch fish, but without success. The Man-Fish flirted water
over them with his legs, and laughed at their trouble, chanting a melody
about the wonderful Spirit Island, in the midst of the Great Salt Sea.
The Shawnees said:

"Can you show us anything better than we have--good wives, good
children, good dogs and plenty of deer?"

But the stranger reminded them of storms in the Moon of Falling Leaves,
of snow and ice, of hunger and constant danger from wild animals and
painted warriors, saying:

"Come with me and I will show you a land where the air is always warm
and soft, and the flowers are always in bloom; where you will find as
many deer as are among your icy hills, and great herds of animals called
bison; where the men grow tall and the women beautiful as the stars of

The Shawnees were afraid, and attempted to go toward shore, but were
held back by an unknown hand. They consulted among themselves. The
Man-Fish bobbed up his head and sang: "Follow me." They decided to obey.

Out on the water, a mighty storm arose. The Great Spirit could be heard
hissing in the depths of the ocean. The boat rocked and swayed on the
billows; but the protector was near and told them not to fear. He
brought food and a shell of fresh water from the bottom of the sea. Two
moons passed before land appeared. It was the glittering Spirit Island,
with big trees and high mountains. From some of them lightning seemed to
shoot. Along the shores were seals and ducks. The inhabitants fled into
the woods, when they saw the Man-Fish, who went to find the Spirit of
the Island. He entered a cave and soon returned, accompanied by a being
as strange as himself. It had a head like a goat, with horns and beard,
and moss-colored hair. Its legs and feet were covered with handsomely
decorated leggings and moccasins. Speaking with the voice of a man, it

"I will take you, men of the Land of Snows, to a beautiful place, where
you will find all that could be desired."

The Man-Fish departed, and under the guidance of their new friend, the
strangers reached the interior of the Spirit Island. They married the
maidens of the country and grew into a bold, strong and valiant nation,
overcoming all tribes east of the River of Rivers.

The Shawnees were of Algonquin stock and were the roving clans, the
gypsies of the wilderness, described by William Penn, belligerent under
ill-treatment but peaceable when dealt with justly. Referring to the
creation, they said:

"The Master of Life made the Shawnees first, from his brain, and gave
them all his knowledge. Other red people descended from them. He made
the French and English from his breast, the Dutch from his feet and the
Long-knives (Americans) out of his hands."

One of the most interesting legends is that which has reference to the
origin of the Piqua Shawnees. The word "Piqua" signifies "Man Made from

It seems that long ago, in the dim past, the nation made a talk against
the Walkullas, who lived not far away, on the shore of the Great Salt
Lake. The older men opposed a war; but Mad Buffalo and the young
warriors refused to listen to their counsel.

"We are strong," said they, "and the Walkullas are weak."

A party, eager for a fight, went out from the village. Two moons passed
and there were no tidings of the young men. The Walkullas were distant
only six suns journey. The third moon went by; and Chenos, the oldest
and wisest man of the tribe, called the people together in council; he
told them that the young warriors had been slain. There was a shriek of
horror and the women began to lament for their husbands and sons.

"Yet," said Chenos, "there is one left, who has had vengeance on the
enemy and has drunk their blood; he will soon be here."

Even as he spoke, the Mad Buffalo entered the Council Wigwam. One arm
was tied up with a piece of deer skin; and there was dried blood upon
his body. Attached to a pole, over his shoulder, were seven scalps. Six
of them had long black hair, but the seventh was the color of sunshine,
and curling. He told them how the braves had crept up to the enemy and
watched them prepare a feast to the Great Spirit; then, when all was in
readiness, the war-cry had been sounded. The Shawnees had killed many,
but the foe had been visited by people with skins as white as the
clouds, who had taught them to use thunder and lightning in battle. Mad
Buffalo's men had done well, but were slain, at last.

Chenos told the leader that he should not have gone at a time when the
Walkullas were making sacrifices. The relatives of the dead warriors
called out for vengeance. The wise men counseled as to what would most
surely appease the Master of Breath. Chenos said:

"The Mad Buffalo must give up that which is most dear."

The leader, casting a fierce glance toward him, said he would offer none
of his own blood, but would kill a deer. Then Chenos said:

"The Mad Buffalo has not told all. There is another, a prisoner, with
trembling heart."

The warrior replied:

"Mad Buffalo never lies; he has a prisoner"; and with that, he went out
of the Council Wigwam and brought in a woman. He motioned her to lift
the veil that covered her face. The wild men of the forest gazed
entranced. She had a skin white as snow, and cheeks, red, but not with
paint, like the Indian's. More beautiful than the flowers, than the
sun, moon or clouds, was the maiden. The Mad Buffalo claimed her as his
own, telling how he had saved her and carried her in his arms.

The relatives of the dead men cried out for blood. Chenos forbade the
sacrifice, saying that perhaps she had come from the Great Spirit. Then
the wicked ones left the place and sought the aid of a bad man named
Sketupah. Sketupah said the beautiful woman must be sacrificed; he
directed that certain religious rites be performed, with a wolf, a
tortoise and a rattlesnake.

A large ball rolled up the hill and unwound itself. A queer little old
man with green eyes, stepped out. The ball was made from his own hair,
which was the color of moss, and so long that when blown around by the
wind, it seemed like the tail of a star. The little old man, who was the
Evil Spirit, commanded them to bring forth the beautiful woman and tie
her to a stake. They did so, and piled sticks around her feet. As the
flames arose, the Mad Buffalo, giving his war-cry, ran forward against
the Evil Spirit. A breath from the powerful one, and he lay stricken
with death. Chenos called on the Master of Life for help. The Ruler of
All came, his eyes visible from afar, shining like two great stars. The
evil one grew small, and his power failed when the Great Spirit
advanced. The beautiful woman was spared and the Master of Life said:

"Men of the Shawnee nation, the pale-faced people from over the Great
Salt Lake are your brothers."

He told them that he had made all races; that the Indian was red because
fear never entered his breast; that the heart of the white man was so
chilled that the blood was scared from his cheeks; that the Shawnee had
been brought from the land of the pale-face, long ago, but had lost his
paleness. Then he said:

"Rake the ashes of the sacrificial fire; and when the Star of the
Evening rises, put in the body of Mad Buffalo and cover it over with
wood; keep the fire burning for two whole moons; bring out the beautiful
woman and place her near the ashes. This is the will of the Great

The people obeyed these commands, and when the time had been fulfilled,
there was a disturbance in the ashes, and a man, tall, strong and
perfect, came forth. He walked up to the maiden and looked into her
eyes. Chenos gave her to him as a wife; and from them were the Piquas

A Shawnee religious belief, the doctrine of a pre-natal existence, bears
some resemblance to that of the Buddhists, and reminds one of the fact
that all nations have a common ancestor in the Aryan race. The following
incident, related by an Indian agent, proves the implicit faith reposed
in this particular belief.

When the United States Government removed the tribe to Kansas, the
Pawnees waged incessant war against the new arrivals. Many times, ere
the country became their home, had war parties of the Shawnees
traversed the rolling prairie, passed out upon the plains, battled with
the wild Indians of the West, and returned, sometimes laden with booty,
to their reservation east of the Mississippi.

The red man never forgets what he considers an indignity. The spirit of
revenge is always an incentive to action; hence, the recent comers were
under the necessity of keeping themselves in readiness for an encounter
at any moment. Rumors of an attack by the enemy floated into the
settlements, and the head chief marshaled out his men to check the
advancing warriors. After a ride of one hundred miles to the northwest,
the scouts, far to the front, espied in the distance, what appeared to
be a great number of small black objects, outlined against the sky. A
nearer view disclosed the fact that the Pawnees were approaching.
Information was carried to the main body.

Both parties called a halt. Then, the war-chief of the Shawnees,
accompanied by an aide, rode forward, signifying that he desired a
conference. He was met in the open space between the lines, by an
opponent, a fierce-looking Indian, and by his side a brave of unusual
size and strength. Contrary to custom, it was agreed, after a parley,
that two of the most skillful warriors should meet upon the prairie, in
the presence of both sides, and decide the battle by a hand-to-hand

Returning to their men, the chiefs called for volunteers. A quick
response, and the chosen ones rode to the central ground, dismounted,
and consigned their ponies to the waiting assistants, to be led back to
the lines. There was a moment of hesitation--of suspense to the
spectators. The warriors regarded one another with looks of astonishment
and recognition. Then La-ma-to-the, the Shawnee, spoke:

"Know you not, Pawnee, that we have met, far back in the past, the past
that appears to us now as the distant mountains when wrapped in smoke
from heaven's pipe of peace?"

"Yes," replied the other, "I remember the blue sky and the broad
prairie, covered with sweet grasses, where the rest of our kind fed
quietly, or, scenting danger, galloped wildly from place to place."

"Pawnee, we were bison, then (Puk-wah-chee-m'-tho-tho), belonging to the
same herd and following the same leader. Let us go back to our people
and tell them we were brothers in the other world."

They separated, and the war chiefs, understanding well, looked upward,
in reverence to the Great Being who had transformed them all in the time
long ago, then returned in silence to their villages.

Many Shawnees and Pottawatomies claim that they are of the lost tribes
of Israel. Certain customs that have descended to them from time
immemorial, seem to bear out this theory. Their Holy of Holies
corresponds to the Ark of the Covenant, of the Israelites. Its contents
were known only to its possessor, and, under penalty of death, all
others, except the medicine men, were forbidden to touch the sacred
relic, which was wrapped and re-wrapped with bark until it became a
good-sized bundle.

The Shawnee language is a dialect of the Algonquin, which possesses all
the vowel sounds. The letters f, r, and v are wanting. X is also wanting
in all Algonquin languages except the Delaware and Mohican. There is a
strong affinity between the Shawnee and the Mohican dialects. Verbs are
full and varied in their inflections. The meanings of whole words are
concentrated upon a few syllables or upon a single letter. The prefix
tah, indicates futurity. Everything is considered as divided into two
classes--animate and inanimate. Terminations change accordingly.
Divested of their appendages, words become monosyllables. The syllable
e-bun is added to the name of one deceased. This is equivalent to the
words "has been" and is a delicate way of indicating a person's demise.
For instance, Tecumseh, after death, becomes Tecumseh-e-bun or "Has Been

A wealthy trader who married the descendant of a French officer
stationed in Canada during Colonial days and the daughter of a chief of
the Chippewas, passed through many strange experiences while sojourning
among the Shawnees.

One moonlight night, riding from Westport, now a part of Kansas City, to
Uniontown, on the present site of Valencia, he left the beaten road and
took a short cut for home over a seldom used Indian trail. A ghostly
stillness prevailed, which was broken, ere he had proceeded far, by a
series of blood-curdling groans, sometimes clear and distinct, sometimes
like the rushing of the wind, but always seeming to follow in his wake.
Drawing a revolver and wheeling to confront the enemy, he found only
empty air--while the pale moon still shone serenely down upon the
unbroken prairie. Again the terrible sounds became audible; and the
horse was urged to its highest rate of speed without avail. A sensation
of horror creeping over him, the pioneer turned into a path leading to
an Indian hut--the noise sweeping by like the breath of a cyclone--and
inquired the cause. His host, well versed in explanations of the
medicine men, replied:

"Had you remained upon that trail, the route of a rambling night spirit,
you would have surely died before the break of day."

Doubtless these interpretations often served to cover murderous designs.

On another occasion he was urged by a friendly Indian, a member of a
secret society, not to undertake his usual journey, as, at a gulley
south of Martin's Hill, danger lay in wait. True enough, at that place a
large gray wolf sprang out and made a fierce lunge, inflicting deep
wounds upon the horse. The traveler fired but missed the animal. Again
and again the ferocious creature jumped at him, each time failing to
reach the man and burying its teeth in the horse. After a furious
conflict, in which the rider succeeded in beating back the wolf with the
butt of his pistol, he urged forward the wounded steed and was enabled
to outrun his wild adversary.

A Shawnee, descended from the principal characters described, is
authority for the following story, of


Near the city of Quebec, so long ago as the time of the French and
Indian War, lived a dark-eyed girl of the Chippewa tribe, in whose sweet
face bloomed a dusky beauty that distinguished her from other maidens of
the nation and caused her to become an object of admiration to the
gallant young officers who were struggling to maintain the supremacy of
France. Had it not been for the brilliant victory of General Wolfe, and
the noble sacrifices of the British and Colonial troops, there were no
sad story to record, for with the advent of England came an exodus of
the French soldiery from the Dominion, and crushing sorrow to Maune´,
whose heart had been captured by the handsomest officer in the vicinity
of their village.

She was the daughter of a great chief, renowned among his people for
deeds of bravery in war, therefore, it had occasioned small surprise
when the noble Colonel Beauchamie selected _la petite_ Maune´ as his
Indian bride. In time, two fine boys brought new sunshine into the rude
quarters which, in those primitive days, served as home, though to the
young mother, the rich furs and blankets and pretty trinkets with which
she was endowed, seemed the very acme of luxury.

Life was full of sweet contentment, until, one clear, cold morning, the
French looked out in astonishment upon the army of General Wolfe, drawn
up in battle array. How it had ascended the steep cliffs was a mystery
to those within the walls.

General Montcalm, resting his faith in superior numbers, risked a battle
outside the fortifications. The heroism and patriotism of the opposing
generals, their glorious death, the celebrated victory of the English
with its important results, and the final expulsion of the French from
that portion of the New World, are all matters of history.

Colonel Beauchamie was ordered back to France with his regiment. The
question now obtruded itself, "What should be done with Maune´?" He
could not present an Indian wife to friends at home, neither was he
willing to leave his sons in Canada. After prolonged consultation with a
few brother officers, it was quietly arranged that the children should
be spirited away and placed on board a ship destined to transport the
soldiers back to their native land; and the devoted woman was to be

Maune´, suspecting these designs, crept quietly behind the partition
that screened the officers from view, and listened to the development of
the plan. Her affectionate heart sank as she became aware of her
husband's perfidy. Love, grief and determination followed in rapid
succession. Sadly she stole away and prepared for flight. A canoe was
stored with provisions and the sleeping children placed inside; then,
with mingled feelings of affection and the hatred and resolution
peculiar to her race, she bade farewell to home, happiness, country, all
that made life dear, except the slumbering babes. For their sakes she
would struggle through the wilderness to a more favored land. Where, she
knew not. The Great Spirit would guide and protect her; and the blood of
fierce warriors, which flowed in the veins of this child of Nature, gave
strength and courage in the hour of need.

Up the river she proceeded, keeping close to shore; when at a safe
distance from pursuit, landing for rest and for the purpose of adding to
their scant amount of provisions. From the river into the lakes, slowly,
cautiously, Maune´ made her way, passing through untold hardships,
always caring tenderly for the dependent little ones. Cold, hunger, wild
beasts and the fierce storms of the Northern lakes were alike
disregarded; and at last, long after English rule had been firmly
established in Canada, and Quebec and Montreal converted into British
headquarters; after the cruel conquerors had banished the simple
Acadians from their land--Maune´, weak, emaciated and fainting with
starvation, was found by a wandering party of Shawnees, upon the
Illinois shore.

By almost superhuman efforts, the heroic woman had preserved her
children; and the hardships of the journey had produced no serious
effects upon their sturdy constitutions. Adopted into the tribe, she
found a habitation with the friendly Shawnees.

Though the image of her pale-faced husband was never erased entirely
from the heart of the faithful Chippewa, and a lingering sadness and
silence kept her in partial isolation, she lived many years in quiet and
saw her sons, as they grew to manhood, regarded as the boldest and most
successful of the tribe, in times of peace and war.

Advancing age brought with it the suspicion of witchcraft. Maune´ was of
a strange nation; and her adherence to unknown customs aroused fear in
the breasts of the ignorant Shawnees. Finally, the leading medicine man
decreed that she must die. Her sons were powerless to resist the tide of

A bundle of sticks was produced, and the unfortunate creature tied to a
stake. Then the horrible torture commenced. Frantic Indians, chanting
their weird melodies, danced round the fire, as it slowly consumed the
ill-fated Chippewa. Not a sound of terror or of anguish escaped the
woman in this moment of exquisite suffering. At last, a merciful breath
of flame severed the thread of life, and all that remained of the bright
little maiden, who had been the idol of her brave Canadian people, was a
disfigured mass of charred flesh and bones.

Surely the Great Spirit whom she worshipped, and the tender Mother of
Christ, whom the Jesuits had taught her to implore, looked down in
pitying love, and recompensed, in the Spirit Land, this child of
misfortune--Maune´ _la misérable_.

Tragedies were every-day occurrences among the natives, in those days,
and there were times when fanaticism swept all before it; but that the
great men of the Indians were not unworthy of the admiration and
respect of their enemies, is shown in


On a picturesque cliff overlooking the Mad River, in what is now the
State of Ohio, was located, more than a century ago, the Indian village
of the Piqua Shawnees.

The settlement was prosperous and fully two hundred acres of land were
in cultivation. A log fort, surrounded with pickets, had been built, and
the Shawnees were prepared for defense in the event of an attempt to
capture the town.

This beautiful spot was the birth-place of the famous Tecumseh--Shooting
Star--the most illustrious Indian that ever battled for the rights of
his people. Eloquent, powerful in mind and body, and possessing the soul
of a hero, the patriotic chief was, at the opening of the nineteenth
century, deep in plans for the advancement of his race. Is it a
matter of surprise that he should oppose, with ceaseless energy, the
encroachment of the white man? That his talents should be unsparingly
used in the hopeless endeavor to stay the westward progress of
civilization? He had seen the red man repeatedly deprived of land, under
almost compulsory treaties with the Government. His independent spirit
rebelled against the authority of the pale-face; and the circumstances
of his father's death, during the troublous times when the celebrated
Cornstalk waged war, had made a lasting impression.

[Illustration: TECUMSEH.]

The far-seeing leader realized that without a combined effort on the
part of the natives, extinction was certain. Fired with determination to
break the growing power of the Long-knives (as the Americans were
called), he formed a federation of nations for the purpose of putting a
stop to emigration, claiming that their possessions were common property
and could not be transferred without the consent of all.

He incited the Indians to hostilities, going from one part of the
country to another, accompanied by two warriors of exceptional bravery.
Sa-wa-co-ta (Yellow Cloud) and Wa-se-go-bo-ah (Stand Firm) were the sons
of a Chippewa mother. Their father, a French officer, had gone back to
his own land at the close of the French and Indian War. Prior to his
departure, the unfortunate wife, learning of the proposed desertion, and
discovering that her children were to be placed on board the ship which
would soon sail across the seas, fled with the babes and found a refuge
among the Shawnees, where the boys grew to manhood. Tall, straight and
commanding, with all the intensity of the Latin races, and the wildness
and stoicism of the aborigines, they were well fitted for positions of
trust under Tecumseh.

Indian traits predominated in Sa-wa-co-ta, the older of the brothers.
His dark complexion, high cheek bones and flashing eyes bespoke, to a
marked degree, a savage lineage; while the open countenance of
Wa-se-go-bo-ah showed a stronger tendency toward the father's kindred.
From early childhood, there had been in his manner, a refinement and
superiority that denoted a long line of cultured ancestors from the
nobility of France. Here, even in the wilds of America, was that
distinction observed and respected by a barbarous people.

Young and old alike listened with quiet approval when the lips of
Wa-se-go-bo-ah opened to give advice, and the sister of Tecumseh,
Tecumapease, heard with trembling joy the words his eyes had long since
spoken, and betrothal followed. But there was one of dark and evil face
and strange demeanor, the older brother of Tecumapease, who gazed with
hatred on her future lord, and would, if possible, prevent the nuptials.
The prophet, Elkswatawa (Loud Voice), fearing the influence of the
warrior Stand Firm might exceed his own, opposed the union.

Tecumseh, having returned from a pilgrimage to a distant tribe, was
seated in his cabin, awaiting the coming of the prophet. He regarded
with contempt the luxuries of life, and when at home in the new Piqua
village, resided in a log hut chinked with mud. The ancient town had
been destroyed by white soldiers, and its namesake founded near the
Great Miami River. A nose ring with three silver crosses, and a few
stripes of brilliant paint gave a look of ferocity to the bright
intelligent face of the chief; and a medallion of George the Third, on a
wampum string, hung around his neck. Buckskin leggings, moccasins
decorated with porcupine quills, a deerskin jacket and a blue
breech-cloth completed the odd uniform.

Elkswatawa entered, clad in garments made from the skins of wild
animals. In addition to these, a kind of turban surmounted with bunches
of feathers, a nose ring, large earrings, hideously painted cheeks, and
a sightless eye, the other gleaming with malignant fire, were well
calculated to inspire terror. The man was an object of superstitious awe
to the Northwestern Indians.

In vain he sought to change the mind of him who had decided to bestow
Tecumapease upon the most beloved of all the braves. The wily Prophet
appealed without effect to that innate love of power, strong in persons
that are born to rule. The Shooting Star looked deep beneath the
surface, and discerned, within the heart of Loud Voice, envy and
unfounded dread of the growing popularity of Wa-se-go-bo-ah.

The Prophet left in anger; and collecting a few followers, betook
himself to a new locality, the present site of Greenville, where he
established a town.

Attracted by stories of wonderful deeds, savages from different
directions flocked to the place. It was rumored that the seer could make
pumpkins as large as wigwams come up out of the ground, and that one ear
of his corn would feed six men; that he was invulnerable, and had all
knowledge of the present, past and future. Many of the Shawnees
considered Elkswatawa an impostor and refused to enter into any plans
against the Government. Tecumseh frowned upon them, and spent much
time, when not upon his travels, at the Prophet's town.

General Harrison, Governor of the Territory of Indiana, became alarmed
and sent a letter to the brothers, inviting them to Vincennes, for the
purpose of making known their grievances. To the intense fright of the
inhabitants, they responded with an escort of four hundred fully armed
warriors. At the appointed hour, on the morning of the Twelfth of
August, 1808, Tecumseh advanced, with thirty chosen men, to the place of
meeting in front of the Governor's residence. By his side were Stand
Firm, now the husband of Tecumapease, and Yellow Cloud. An aid-de-camp
pointed to a seat by General Harrison, and addressing the chief, said:

"Your father requests you to take a seat."

Drawing his blanket more closely around him, Tecumseh replied:

"The Sun is my father and the Earth is my mother; on her bosom will I
repose"; and flung himself upon the ground.

His speech at the council has gone down in history as one of the most
remarkable on record, for native oratory. A spirited answer, with a
refusal to return the lands in question, aroused the braves, who, at a
signal, seized their war clubs. Tomahawks were brandished in a
threatening way. Bloodshed was averted only by the coolness and tact of
the Governor.

In the confusion which resulted, Wa-se-go-bo-ah fell heavily forward,
stricken down, supposedly, by a white foe. The unconscious man was borne
to the Indian camp. As no wound could be discovered on first
examination, the Americans were accused of employing supernatural power.
Then a small bruise was found at the base of the brain, similar to one
produced by a missile. Gradually the favorite of the people recovered;
and as he lay upon the grass, enveloped in a thick blanket, he turned,
and suddenly beheld a terrible figure, with horns and one fierce
gleaming eye, burning like a coal of fire, creep stealthily toward him.
Its hand was raised to strike, and in the claw-like fingers was clutched
a glittering knife. Frozen with horror, he remained for a moment
immovable, then, quick as thought, rolled under the arm of the crouching
demon--evading the blade almost by miracle--and struck against its
breast. A desperate struggle ensued, in which Stand Firm secured
possession of the weapon. Holding it aloft, he caught at the throat of
the hairy-faced monster and the mask came off, disclosing the features
of the Prophet.

"Elkswatawa, N-tha-thah (my brother), why do you seek my life? Go, for
the sake of her whose eyes are as the stars of heaven, unharmed. Their
light shall guide me into paths of peace. Her love shall teach me to
forgive your murderous wrath."

The creature slunk away; and the noble conqueror dreamed that night of
the little Piqua village, where Tecumapease, with trustful heart,
besought the great Master of Life to preserve him, who, even while she
prayed, escaped the grasp of death. But the Mighty Being who controls
the destiny of humanity, from the highest even to the lowest, punished
the treacherous seer, when, on the sixth of November, 1811, the Indians,
in direct violation of a truce, advanced upon the United States troops
under General Harrison, encamped within a mile of the Prophet's Town.

The Magic Bowl, the Sacred Torch and the Holy String of Beans were
touched, and the savages, believing themselves invulnerable, rushed upon
the tents of the Americans at four o'clock in the morning. Tecumseh was
absent upon a visit to the Creeks, Choctaws and Chickasaws. The cowardly
Prophet stood, at a safe distance from the battle-ground, going through
religious mummeries and singing a war song.

Complete victory established the fame of General Harrison; and the
Battle of Tippecanoe was one of the most important in results, of that
period. The destruction of their village scattered the tribes over a
large area. Elkswatawa took refuge with a few Wyandots on Wild Cat
Creek. Eventually, he removed to Kansas and died in Shawnee Township,
Wyandotte County. His grave has no headstone, and those interested in
the early history of the State have sought in vain for some
distinguishing mark.

The really great Tecumseh, returning to find all his schemes defeated,
became an ally of the British. Much of the trouble with the white
settlers had been occasioned through their agency. The two friends of
the rebellious chief faithfully followed his fortunes. If Fate dealt
hardly with him, they shared the danger and disappointment. If kindly,
the triumph was theirs, also.

Sa-wa-co-ta was killed at Frenchtown, by a ball intended for his
superior. The Americans, closely pursued, had sought shelter behind
houses and fences on the south side of the River Raisin. The Indians, by
a detour, had gained the woods in the rear and were protected.
Disdaining to skulk from tree to tree, the fiery warrior, with Tecumseh
and a small number of brave men, pressed boldly upon the fugitives.
Observing that their leader was singled out by the enemy, his
companions closed in around the chief to shield him, at the moment that
Yellow Cloud stepped in front, for the same purpose. The latter fell,
heart and brain penetrated by bullets. Thus nobly ended the life of
Sa-wa-co-ta, of whose achievements, even the noted chiefs, Roundhead,
Panther and Blue Jacket, might well be proud.

History has recorded the outcome of the struggle, and traced the
wanderings of those who, deprived of their inheritance and driven to
desperation, united with the foes of America.

General Proctor, discouraged by Perry's victory on Lake Erie, that
occurred some time later, fled from Malden, where he was stationed at
the time, with eight hundred soldiers and two thousand Indians. General
Harrison overtook the combined forces near the River Thames. During the
battle, Colonel Johnson and the Kentucky cavalry were ordered to charge.
Galloping forward, they broke through the lines and formed again, when
the English surrendered. Tecumseh began the conflict with fury, fighting
more fiercely than ever before. His voice could be heard above the din,
inspiring the men to make every exertion; but the day was lost. Colonel
Johnson, engaged in a hand-to-hand contest with a fine, well-built
Indian, was wounded by another, as soon as he had despatched the first.
The second assailant then sprang toward him with a tomahawk, when the
officer drew a pistol and killed his antagonist. The rest of the
savages, losing hope, gave way.

Night came on, but the heavens were dark. The Shooting Star would never
more be seen. The ringing voice was silent; and Tecumapease, his sister,
waited in vain for the return of her lord. Stand Firm, "faithful unto
death," had fallen beside the chief. Next morning, the bodies of two
warriors, with dignity of face and form, were found, not far apart, upon
the bloody field.

Tecumseh was the greatest, most magnanimous, and bravest man the red
race had ever known. Now that his brilliant oratory no longer swayed
the multitudes, organized resistance to settlement north of the Ohio
River ceased. Tecumapease, to whom had been entrusted the care of her
brother's child, died a few years later, and the boy, together with her
son, drifted, with the Shawnees, from reservation to reservation. For
many years they lived in Eastern Kansas, where the descendants of
Tecumapease still reside, and relate, with pardonable pride, the
exploits of their forefathers.

[Illustration: THE SHAWNEE PROPHET.]

The tardiness of the red race in accepting civilization, has long been a
subject of comment. Yet the barbarian should not be censured, in view of
the fact that paler-faced youth, with all the benefits accruing from
past generations of culture, have, in many instances, taken readily to
aboriginal customs. It was a part of the religion of all Indian nations
to increase their number by adoption. Frequently white children were
spirited away from home and carried from place to place, in order to
evade pursuit. Almost invariably, after a lapse of time, they not only
became reconciled to savage modes of living, but preferred them. A
notable case was that of


In the early part of the nineteenth century, before the Shawnees had
emigrated to the Valley of the Kaw, there was a famous old chief named
Black Fish, who was untiring in activity against the white settlers.
During one of the numerous periods of hostility, Chinwa, the only son of
this warrior, was killed; and the grief-stricken father said to his

"Go, go and find me a boy to replace my son."

Putting on their black paint, the Indians went over the Alleghanies into

In a prosperous settlement in Western Virginia lived a wealthy planter
named Rogers. His family consisted of himself, his wife and two young
sons. One quiet evening in early fall, the boys were allowed to go for
the cows unaccompanied by the servant who ordinarily acted as body
guard. The beautiful autumn woods were aglow with color, and the
children's exuberance of spirits burst forth in shouts and other noisy

As little Henry lingered to seize a brilliant spray of rich-tinted
foliage, two hideous black-painted savages sprang from the bushes and
caught him before he had time to call for assistance. The frightened
child was borne hastily away, through the forest, over the mountains, to
an Indian village where Black Fish received him with open arms, saying:

"Don't be afraid; you are now my son--my Chinwa. Here, take his bow and
arrows; here are his gun and knapsack. Some day you will be a great

Henry was adopted into the tribe, and forgetting his former home,
learned to be content with the wild life of the Shawnees. A fine horse
and saddle were a constant source of pleasure, and persistent practice
made the boy expert in the use of bow and arrows.

As he grew older, Chinwa became a successful hunter, and was looked upon
with pride and admiration by his sisters. The youngest of these, pretty
little Chelatha, was sought in marriage by many braves; but old Black
Fish, waiting for the day when Chinwa should declare his love, repulsed
their advances with disdain. At length the young chief could no longer
conceal his regard from the object of his affection, and implored her to
become his bride. She replied with indignation:

"You are my brother. I could not be my brother's wife."

After a long conference with Watmeme, the mother, in which the entire
circumstances were explained, Chelatha said:

"If father says so, I will marry Chinwa."

Amid great rejoicing, the pale-face took her to his habitation, and the
tribe celebrated the event with feasting and strange ceremonies.

Excitement prevailed in the Rogers household when Henry was captured,
and a search had been prosecuted wherever a clue could be obtained. Long
years after the disappearance of her younger son, sorrow still reigned
in the heart of the bereaved mother; and it was with fear and trembling
at last, that the older brother, receiving tidings of the lost one,
traced him over the mountain ranges, into the beautiful blue-grass
country, to the land of Daniel Boone.

The meeting was a happy one, though marked by some constraint--the
result of years of separation and widely different surroundings. Henry
was persuaded to leave his western home and repair to the aged mother,
now prostrated by severe illness. Once more within the confines of
civilization, he abandoned the insignia of savage life, and adopted the
garb of his own people. Unusual festivities followed; the mother,
recovering strength, employed every art to retain him, but without
success. In vain the pretty maidens of the village exerted all their
power to please. Memories of a happy life in the wilderness were always
present, and he said:

"Mother, I have learned to love the Indians; there I am free. I love my
two children and my dark-haired wife."

The next morning the colored servant was commanded to bring his horse,
and Chinwa, the warrior, in all the splendor of beads and buckskin, bade
farewell to the home of his infancy. How fresh and sweet was the breath
of the woods, as he dashed into her depths! The delicate blossoms of
spring lifted their dainty heads and scattered perfume along the narrow
trail. The cloudless sky and the distant mountains seemed to beckon him
on to the loved ones who at that moment were waiting, longing for the
wanderer's return.

Time sped by on rapid wings, and soon Chelatha--sitting lonely in her
doorway, said to her little ones:

"Listen, I hear the voice of your father."

Again the faint call was borne through the distance and reverberated in
her anxious heart. Then its beatings responded to the sound of horse's
hoofs, and the next moment, Chinwa, the brave, sprang to the ground and
caught her in his arms, saying:

"I have come home--home to my Chelatha, never to leave her more."

[Illustration: CHE-LA-THA.]

All the pleasures, all the riches which the world can give are as
nothing when weighed in the balance against the sincere love of one
devoted heart.

The Shawnees, like other Indian tribes, were firm believers in evil
spirits; and when it was thought that one had become possessed of a
demon, did not hesitate to employ heroic measures to drive it out. To
such superstitions may be ascribed


When the present site of the city of Topeka was the hunting-ground of
the Shawnee Indians there was a fierce war with the Pawnees.

Chief Lay-law-she-kaw (He Who Goes Up the River) had been successful in
many battles and pursued the enemy far into their own territory. At
length, in desperation, the Pawnees gathered strength, and making a
final effort for the preservation of their homes, surprised the
victorious Shawnees while encamped among the hills along the river.

In the thick of the fight, Pa-che-ta, the son of Lay-law-she-kaw, sprang
to the side of the old chief, just as a powerful warrior raised his
tomahawk to cleave his skull. In another moment the leader would have
fallen, had not the young brave, with the utmost coolness, lifted his
rifle, taken quick aim and fired. With a horrible yell, the Pawnee sank
to the ground. Attracted by his cry, three others appeared. Again the
rifle did sudden duty, while Lay-law-she-kaw engaged the nearest enemy.
Two more were despatched, and now Pa-che-ta turned to face the
remaining Pawnee, who had approached too near for rifles, and
endeavored to use the tomahawk. This was dashed from his hand. The two
grappled fiercely, each striving to get the knife out of his belt. At
last Pa-che-ta succeeded in holding down his adversary, and plunged the
knife deep into his heart. Blinded by the blood, which spurted up into
his face, the Shawnee staggered to his feet and ran forward a short
distance, only to find himself in the midst of the attacking Indians.
Desperately he fought his way out, striking right and left, wounded and
faint. Then, seeing a gulley surrounded with bushes, he rolled into it,
and creeping painfully to the edge of a pond, waded into the water.

The Pawnees lost the trail. They looked here and there while the main
body pursued old Lay-law-she-kaw and his braves to the country of the
Kaws. Night fell; and still Pa-che-ta lay concealed in the lake among
the tall grass. At the end of the second day the search was abandoned.

Then the prisoner, half starved and half demented, dragged himself
slowly homeward. A few berries and roots had been his sole food, and the
burning rays of the sun had beaten down upon his head, until reason

The people went wild with enthusiasm when their hero, emaciated but
triumphant, appeared in the village. He was taken to Lay-law-she-kaw's
habitation and provided with nourishment, but sank into a stupor from
which the medicine men, with all their skill, could not arouse him.

After many days he awakened; great was the rejoicing. His father
appointed a day of feasting; and the tribe gathered to do honor to him
who had fought so bravely in the face of defeat. Cattle were
slaughtered, fires were kindled, and strange dances were in progress
when Pa-che-ta approached. Demonstrations of joy greeted his appearance.

Among the children on the outer edge of the circle, stood little
N-tha-thah, gazing proudly at the big brother who would one day be his
chief. As the excitement increased, his heart swelled with pride, and
the next moment found him, bow and arrows in hand, the center of the
charmed circle.

Pa-che-ta gazed at the child with a strange look in his piercing black
eyes. Then, with a stealthy movement, he turned and slowly reached for
the rifle which rested against the stump of a tree.

Lay-law-she-kaw, keen witted and alert, noticed the sudden change that
came over the face of his eldest son. What was the cause of that cruel,
crafty expression? Had bad spirits entered the brain of Pa-che-ta, whose
noble deeds would ever after be celebrated by the nation? Now the brave
was creeping cautiously toward the little one, who stood motionless, in
round-eyed wonder. Deliberately he placed the weapon to his shoulder and
took aim--but the crack of another rifle broke the awful hush which had
fallen upon the people, and when the smoke cleared away, Pa-che-ta lay
in a pool of blood. The father had fired in time to preserve his young

For many years the old women of the tribe told, in accents of awe, how
evil spirits had gone into the brain of their noblest warrior and looked
out of his eyes with terrible glances of murderous hatred, in the moment
of his greatest triumph. How they had been driven out with a rifle ball,
and Lay-law-she-kaw, _O-kee-nah_ (the chief), sorrowing for his first
born, had that day been called by the Great Spirit to enter the Happy
Hunting Grounds.

       *       *       *       *       *

The North American Indian was of a strange, somewhat contradictory
character: in war, daring, cunning, boastful, ruthless; in peace,
cheerful, dignified, superstitious, revengeful; clinging as far as
possible, to the customs of his forefathers. Civilization came almost as
a destroyer. Future generations will know him only as a dim, historic
figure, around which clusters the mythology of ancient America.

Whence came these legends and traditions? The children of Nature read
them in the leafy woodlands, on the broad prairie, in the blue vault of
heaven, the crimson sunset, the dark storm-threatening clouds, in every
gentle breeze or sweeping hurricane. Each story lived in the hearts of
the people, and here and there a mighty forest tree bore a quaint

  "Full of hope and yet of heart-break,
  Full of all the tender pathos
  Of the Here and the Hereafter."

"The stars, and hills and storms are with us now, as they were with
others of old; and it only needs that we look at them with the
earnestness of those childish eyes, to understand the first words spoken
of them by the children of men, and then, in all the most beautiful and
enduring myths, we shall find, not only a literal story of a real
person, not only a parallel imagery of moral principle, but an
underlying worship of natural phenomena, out of which both have sprung,
and in which both forever remain rooted."


    Transcribers Note:

    Several words in this book were inconsistently hyphenated, I have
    left all the hyphens as written. In particular the contents tables
    often use different hyphenation and accents to the main text.

    Some names were also spelt differently in the contents tables and in
    the main text. I have left these differences as they were written.

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