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Title: A Study of Siouan Cults - Eleventh Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the - Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1889-1890, - Government Printing Office, Washington, 1861, pages 351-544
Author: Dorsey, James Owen
Language: English
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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.

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                        A STUDY OF SIOUAN CULTS.


                           JAMES OWEN DORSEY.


CHAPTER I.--Introduction                                             361
    Definitions of “Cult” and “Siouan”                               361
    Siouan Family                                                    361
    Authorities                                                      361
    Alphabet                                                         363
    Abbreviations                                                    364
CHAPTER II.--Definitions                                             365
    Alleged belief in a Great Spirit                                 365
    Phenomena divided into human and superhuman                      365
    Terms for “mysterious,” “lightning,” etc.                        366
    Other Omaha and Ponka terms                                      367
    Significance of personal names and kinship terms                 368
    Myth and legend distinguished from the superhuman                368
CHAPTER III.--Cults of the Omaha, Ponka, Kansa, and Osage            371
    Beliefs and practices not found                                  371
    Omaha, Ponka, and Kansa belief in a wakanda                      372
    Seven great wakandas                                             372
    Invocation of warmth and streams                                 372
    Prayer to wakanda                                                373
    Accessories of prayer                                            373
    Omaha and Kansa expressions about wakanda                        374
    Ponka belief about malevolent spirits                            374
    An old Omaha custom                                              375
    The sun a wakanda                                                376
        Invocations                                                  376
        The offering of tobacco                                      377
        The Ponka sun dance of 1873                                  378
    The moon a wakanda                                               378
    Berdaches                                                        378
    Stars as wakandas                                                379
    The winds as wakandas                                            380
        Invocation                                                   380
        Kansa sacrifice to the winds                                 380
        Osage consecration of mystic fireplaces                      380
    The thunder-being a wakanda                                      381
        Omaha and Ponka invocation of the thunder-being              381
        Thunder-being invoked by warriors                            382
        Ictasanda custom                                             383
        Kansa worship of the thunder-being                           385
    Subterranean and subaquatic wakandas                             386
    The indaȼiñga                                                    386
    Other Kansa wakandas                                             387
    Omaha invocations of the trap, etc.                              387
    Fasting                                                          390
    Mystic trees and plants                                          390
    Iȼa‘eȼĕ                                                           392
    Personal mystery decorations                                     394
    Order of thunder shamans                                         395
    Generic forms of decoration                                      397
    Specific forms of decoration                                     398
    Corn and the buffalo                                             403
    Other Omaha mystery decorations                                  403
    Kansa mystery decorations                                        405
    Omaha nikie decorations                                          407
    Omaha nikie customs                                              410
    Governmental instrumentalities                                   411
    Omaha and Ponka taboos                                           411
    Fetichism                                                        412
        Fetiches of the tribe and gens                               413
            Omaha tribal fetiches                                    413
            Osage tribal fetiches                                    414
            Kansa tribal fetiches                                    415
        Personal fetiches                                            415
    Sorcery                                                          416
    Jugglery                                                         417
    Omaha and Ponka belief as to a future life                       419
    Kansa beliefs respecting death and a future life                 421
CHAPTER IV.--┴ciwere and Winnebago cults                             423
    Authorities                                                      423
    Term “Great Spirit” never heard among the Iowa                   423
    The sun a wakanta                                                423
    The winds as wakantas                                            423
    The thunder-being a wakanta                                      424
    Subterranean powers                                              424
    Subaquatic powers                                                424
    Animals as wakantas                                              425
    Apotheoses                                                       425
    Dwellings of gods                                                425
    Worship                                                          425
    Taboos                                                           426
    Public or tribal fetiches                                        427
    Symbolic earth formations of the Winnebago                       427
    Personal fetiches                                                428
    Dancing societies                                                428
        The Otter dancing society                                    429
        The Red Medicine dancing society                             429
        The Green Corn dance                                         429
        The Buffalo dancing society                                  429
    ┴ɔiwere traditions                                               430
    Belief in a future life                                          430
CHAPTER V.--Dakota and Assiniboin cults                              431
    Alleged Dakota belief in a Great Spirit                          431
    Riggs on the Taku wakan                                          432
    Meaning of wakan                                                 433
    Daimonism                                                        433
    Animism                                                          433
    Principal Dakota gods                                            434
    Miss Fletcher on Indian religion                                 434
    Prayer                                                           435
    Sacrifice                                                        435
    Use of paint in worship                                          438
    The unkteḣi, or subaquatic and subterranean powers               438
        Character of the unkteḣi                                     438
        Power of the unkteḣi                                         439
        Subordinates of the unkteḣi                                  439
        The mystery dance                                            440
        The miniwatu                                                 440
    The Wakiⁿyaⁿ, or thunder-beings                                  441
    The armor gods                                                   443
    The war prophet                                                  444
    The spirits of the mystery sacks                                 445
    Takuśkaŋśkaŋ, the Moving deity                                   445
    Tunkan or Inyan, the Stone god or Lingam                         447
    Iŋyaŋ śa                                                         448
    Mato tipi                                                        448
    The sun and moon                                                 449
        Nature of concepts                                           449
        The sun dance                                                450
        A Dakota’s account of the sun dance                          450
            Object of the sun dance                                  451
            Rules observed by households                             451
            The “u-ma-ne”                                            451
            Rules observed by the devotee                            452
        Tribes invited to the sun dance                              452
        Discipline maintained                                        452
        Camping circle formed                                        453
        Men selected to seek the mystery tree                        453
        Tent of preparation                                          454
        Expedition to the mystery tree                               455
        Felling the tree                                             456
        Tree taken to camp                                           457
        Raising the sun pole                                         457
        Building of dancing lodge                                    458
        The Uuȼita                                                   458
        Decoration of candidates or devotees                         458
        Offerings of candidates                                      459
        Ceremonies at the dancing lodge                              460
            The dance                                                460
            Candidates scarified                                     460
            Pieces of flesh offered                                  462
            Torture of owner of horse                                462
        End of the dance                                             462
        Intrusive dances                                             463
        Captain Bourke on the sun dance                              464
    Berdaches                                                        467
    Astronomical lore                                                467
    Day and night                                                    467
    The dawn                                                         468
    Weather spirit                                                   468
    Heyoka                                                           468
        The concepts of Heyoka                                       468
        Heyoka feast                                                 469
        Story of a Heyoka man                                        469
        Heyoka women                                                 471
    Iya, the god of gluttony                                         471
    Ikto, Iktomi, or Unktomi                                         471
    Ćaŋotidaŋ and Hoḣnoġića                                          473
    Anuŋg-ite                                                        473
    Penates                                                          475
    Guardian spirits                                                 475
    Beliefs about the buffalo                                        475
        Prevalence of the beliefs                                    475
        Origin of the buffalo                                        476
        The Tataŋgnaśkiŋyaŋ, or Mythic buffalo                       477
    The bear                                                         477
    The wolf                                                         477
    Horses                                                           479
    Spiders                                                          479
    Snake lore                                                       479
    The double woman                                                 480
    Deer women                                                       480
    Dwarfs or elves                                                  481
    Bogs                                                             481
    Trees                                                            482
    Customs relating to childhood                                    482
    Puberty                                                          483
    Ghost lore and the future life                                   484
        Meaning of wanaġi                                            484
        Assiniboin beliefs about the dead                            485
        Ghosts not always visible                                    485
        Death and burial lore                                        485
            Why the Teton stopped burying in the ground              486
            Importance of tattooing                                  486
        Ceremonies at the ghost lodge                                487
        Good and bad ghosts                                          489
        Intercourse with ghosts                                      489
        Ghost stories                                                489
            The ghost husband                                        489
            The solitary traveler                                    489
            The ghost on the hill                                    489
            The Indian who wrestled with a ghost                     489
            The man who shot a ghost                                 492
        Assiniboin beliefs about ghosts                              492
        Prayers to the dead, including ancestors                     493
        Metamorphoses and transmigration of souls                    493
    Exhortations to absent warriors                                  493
    Mysterious men and women                                         493
    Gopher lore                                                      496
    Causes of boils and sores                                        496
    Results of lying, stealing, etc.                                 497
    Secret societies                                                 497
    Fetichism                                                        498
        Public or tribal fetiches                                    498
        Private or personal fetiches                                 498
    Ordeals, or modes of swearing                                    499
    Sorcery and jugglery                                             499
    Omens                                                            500
        Bodily omens                                                 500
        Animal omens                                                 500
        Omens from dreams                                            500
CHAPTER VI.--Cults of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sapona                501
    Authorities                                                      501
    Alleged belief in a Great Spirit                                 501
    The great mystery a modern deity                                 501
    Polytheism                                                       502
    Worship                                                          502
        Fasting                                                      502
        Sacrifice                                                    502
            The Okipa                                                502
            The Daḣpike                                              503
        Cult of the Yoni                                             505
        Absaroka fear of a white buffalo cow                         505
    Mandan cults                                                     506
        Mandan divinities                                            506
        Guardian spirits                                             507
        Mandan belief about serpents and giants                      507
        Thunder lore of the Mandan                                   508
        Astronomical lore                                            508
    Mystery objects and places of the Mandan and Hidatsa             508
        The mystery rock                                             508
        Dreams                                                       510
        Oracles                                                      510
        Fetiches                                                     510
        Folklore                                                     511
        Sorcery                                                      511
        Jugglery                                                     512
        Ghost lore                                                   512
        The future life                                              512
        Four as a mystic number among the Mandan                     513
    Hidatsa cults                                                    513
        Hidatsa divinities                                           513
        Animism                                                      514
        Worship of the elements, etc.                                514
        Serpent worship                                              514
        Fetiches                                                     515
            Tribal fetiches                                          515
            Personal fetiches                                        515
            Oracles                                                  516
        Dreams                                                       516
        Berdaches                                                    516
        Astronomical lore                                            517
        Food lore                                                    517
        Four souls in each human being                               517
        Sorcery                                                      517
        Disposal of the dead                                         518
        Hidatsa belief as to future existence                        518
    Sapona cults                                                     518
CHAPTER VII.--Concluding remarks                                     520
    Peet on Indian religions                                         520
    The author’s reply                                               521
    Cults of the elements                                            522
    The four quarters                                                524
    Symbolic colors                                                  527
    Colors in personal names                                         533
    The earth powers                                                 534
    Earth gentes                                                     534
    The fire powers                                                  534
    Fire gentes                                                      536
    The wind-makers                                                  536
    Wind gentes                                                      537
    Each quarter reckoned as three                                   537
    Names referring to other worlds                                  537
    The water powers                                                 537
    Water people                                                     538
    Cautions and queries                                             538
    Composite names                                                  539
    Personal names from horned beings                                541
    Names derived from several homogeneous objects or beings         542
    Return of the spirit to the eponym                               542
    Functions of gentes and subgentes                                542
    The “Messiah craze”                                              544
    Epilogue                                                         544


PLATE   XLIV. Siouan tents (_A_, tent of Ԁejequta; _B_, tent of
              Mazi-jiñga (man in the sun); _C_, tent of Heqaga; _D_,
              tent of Kaxe-ȼaⁿba’s father; _E_, tent of Hupeȼa,
              Sr.,  and Agaha-wacuce)                                361
         XLV. Camping circle at the time of the sun dance            454
        XLVI. The dancing lodge                                      458
       XLVII. Scarification of candidates (1, Okáska nażin; 2,
              Ptepa kin waći)                                        460
      XLVIII. The sun dance                                          462
        XLIX. A suspended devotee                                    464
           L. The double woman                                       480

FIG. 156. George Miller’s personal mystery decoration                394
     157. A variant of Fig. 156                                      394
     158. Robe of Wanukige                                           395
     159. Tent of Wanukige                                           396
     160. Robe of Ȼaqube                                             396
     161. Robe of Ԁahe-ʇap‘ĕ                                         397
     162. Generic decoration referring to night, etc.                397
     163. Tent of Aⁿpaⁿ-ska, Sr.                                     398
     164. Robe of Aⁿpaⁿ-ska, Sr.                                     399
     165. Tent of Mazi-jiñga (ghost vision)                          399
     166. A tent of Nikuȼibȼaⁿ                                       399
     167. Another tent of Nikuȼibȼaⁿ                                 399
     168. Blanket of Cuʞa maⁿȼiⁿ                                     400
     169. Tent of ┴esaⁿ; vision of a cedar                           401
     170. Tent of ┴esaⁿ; sun and rainbow vision                      401
     171. Cornstalk decoration of the tents of Fire Chief and Waqaga 402
     172. Robe of Ni-ȼactage                                         403
     173. Duba-maⁿȼiⁿ’s father’s tent                                403
     174. Maⁿtcu-naⁿba’s tent                                        403
     175. Wackaⁿhi’s tent                                            404
     176. Tent of an unknown Omaha                                   404
     177. Tent of ┴ebi‘a                                             405
     178. Tent of a Kansa who had an eagle vision                    405
     179. Kansa decorated tent                                       406
     180. Kansa decorated tent                                       406
     181. Maⁿze-guhe’s robe                                          406
     182. Maⁿze-guhe’s tent                                          407
     183. Duba-maⁿȼiⁿ’s father’s blanket                             407
     184. Iñke-sabĕ tent decoration                                  408
     185. Iñke-sabĕ tent decoration                                  409
     186. Waqaga’s robe                                              409
     187. Sacred tent in which the pole was kept                     413
     188. Bear Butte, South Dakota                                   449
     189. The “u-ma-ne” symbol                                       451
     190. Eagle-wing flute                                           455
     191. The tent of preparation and the dancing lodge              459
     192. The ghost lodge                                            487
     193. The Ȼatada gentile circle                                  523
     194. The four elements, etc.                                    523
     195. Kansa order of invoking winds, etc.                        525
     196. Tsiɔu (Osage) order of placing the four sticks, etc.       525
     197. Paⁿɥka (Osage) order of placing the four sticks, etc.      526
     198. Kaⁿ[s]e (Osage) order of circumambulation                  526
     199. Showing how the Osage prepared the scalp for the dance     526
     200. Omaha lightnings and the four quarters                     527

Bureau of Ethnology.                  Eleventh Annual Report. Plate XLIV
                                                          GAST LITH. CO.
                            SIOUAN TENTS.]

                        A STUDY OF SIOUAN CULTS.

                         BY JAMES OWEN DORSEY.

                               CHAPTER I.


                  DEFINITIONS OF “CULT” AND “SIOUAN.”

§ 1. Cult, as used in this article, means a system of religious belief
and worship, especially the rites and ceremonies employed in such worship.
The present article treats of the cults of a few of the Siouan
tribes--that is, with two exceptions, of such tribes as have been visited
by the author.

“Siouan” is a term originated by the Bureau of Ethnology. It is derived
from “Sioux,” the popular name for those Indians who call themselves
“Dakota” or “Lakota,” the latter being the Teton appellation. “Siouan”
is used as an adjective, but, unlike its primitive, it refers not
only to the Dakota tribes, but also to the entire linguistic stock or

                             SIOUAN FAMILY.

The Siouan family includes the Dakota, Assiniboin, Omaha, Ponka,
Osage, Kansa, Kwapa, Iowa, Oto, Missouri, Winnebago, Mandan, Hidatsa,
Crow, Tutelo, Biloxi, Catawba, and other Indians. The Sapona, who are
now extinct, probably belonged to this family.

The author was missionary to the Ponka Indians, in what is now part of
Nebraska, from 1871 to 1873. Since 1878 he has acquired native texts
and other information from the Omaha, Ponka, Osage, Kansa, Winnebago,
Iowa, Oto, Missouri, and Dakota.

In seeking information respecting the ancient beliefs of the Indians
the author has always found it expedient to question the Indian when no
interpreter was present.


§ 2. This study is based for the most part upon statements made
by Indians, though several publications were consulted during the
preparation of the fifth and sixth chapters.

The following Indians had become Christians before the author met them:
Joseph La Flèche, Frank La Flèche, John Big Elk, and George Miller,
all Omaha. Joseph La Flèche, who died in 1888, was the leader of the
civilization party in the Omaha tribe after 1855. He was at one time
a head chief. He spoke several Indian languages, having spent years
among other tribes, including the Pawnee, when he was in the service
of the fur company. His son, Frank, has been in the Indian Bureau at
Washington since 1881. The author has obtained considerable linguistic
material from the father and son. The father, with Two Crows, aided
the author in the summer of 1882 in revising his sociologic notes,
resulting in the preparation of “Omaha Sociology,” which was published
in the third annual report of the director of the Bureau of Ethnology.
John Big Elk, a full Omaha, of the Elk gens, furnished an article
on “Sacred Traditions and Customs,” and several historical papers,
published in “Contributions to North American Ethnology, Vol. VI.”
George Miller, of the Ictasanda or Thunder gens, is a full Omaha, from
whom was obtained nearly half of Chapter III, including most of the
Omaha illustrations.

The following Indians were not Christians: Gahige, Two Crows,
Ԁaȼiⁿ-naⁿpajĭ, and Samuel Fremont, all Omaha; Nudaⁿ-axa, a Ponka; and
the Kansa, Osage, Missouri, Iowa, and Winnebago informants.

Two Crows has been connected in several ways with the ancient
organizations of his people. He has been a head man, or nikagahi, being
thus an ex-officio member of the class which exercised the civil and
religious functions of the state. He has been a policeman during the
buffalo hunt. He has acted as captain, or war chief, and he is the
leading doctor in the order of Buffalo shamans, being the keeper of the
“sweet medicine.”

Ԁaȼiⁿ-naⁿpajĭ, or He-who-fears-not-the-sight-of-a-Pawnee, is a member
of the Black Bear subgens, and he is also one of the servants of the
Elk gens, it being his duty to be present at the sacred tent of that
gens, and to assist in the ceremonies pertaining to the invocation of
the Thunder Beings.

Gahige was the chief of the Iñke-sabĕ, a Buffalo gens, and at the
time of his death he was the keeper of the two sacred pipes.

Samuel Fremont is a member of the Eagle subgens. He came to Washington
in the autumn of 1888 and assisted the author till February, 1889.

Nudaⁿ-axa is a chief of a part of the Thunder-Being gens of the Ponka.
The author has known him since 1871.

The other Indian authorities need not be named, as they are in
substantial agreement.

The following authorities were consulted in the preparation of the
Dakota and Assiniboin chapter:

     BRUYIER (JOHN), a Dakota, MS. Teton texts. 1888. Translated by
        himself. Bureau of Ethnology.
     BUSHOTTER (GEORGE), a Dakota, MS. Teton texts. 1887-’88.
        Translated by J. Owen Dorsey. Bureau of Ethnology.
     FLETCHER (Miss ALICE C.), The Sun-dance of the Ogalalla Sioux. In
       Proc. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Montreal meeting, 1882, pp. 580-584.
     FLETCHER (Miss ALICE C.), several articles in Rept. Peabody
        Museum, vol. 3, 1884, pp. 260-333.
     HOVEY (Rev. H. C.), “Eyay Shah,” in Am. Antiquarian, Jan., 1887,
        pp. 35, 36.
     LONG (Maj. S. H.), Skiff Voyage to Falls of St. Anthony. In Minn.
        Histor. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 1, pp. 18, 19, 55.
     LYND (J. W.), Religion of the Dakotas. In Minn. Histor. Soc.
        Coll., vol. II, pt. 2, pp. 57-84.
     POND (G. H.), Dakota Superstitions. In Minn. Histor. Soc. Coll.,
        vol. II, pt. 3, pp. 32-62.
     RIGGS (S. R.), Theogony of the Sioux. In Am. Antiquarian, vol. II,
        No. 4, pp. 265-270.
     ----. In Am. Antiq., vol. V, 1883, p. 149.
     ----. In Am. Philolog. Assoc. Proc., 3d An. Sess., 1872, pp. 5, 6.
     ----. Tah-koo Wah-kon, or, The Gospel Among the Dakotas, 1869.
     SAY (THOS.), in James (E.), Account of Long’s Exped. Rocky Mts.,
        vol. I, Phil., 1823.
     SHEA (J. GILMARY), Am. Cath. Missions, N. Y. (after 1854).
     SMET (Rev. P. J. DE), Western Missions and Missionaries, N. Y.
        (n. d.).
     WOODBURN (Dr. J. M., Jr.), MS. Letter and Teton Vocabulary, 1890.
        Bureau of Ethnology.


§ 3. With the exception of seven letters taken from Riggs’s Dakota
Dictionary, and which are used only in the Dakota words, the characters
used in recording the Indian words occurring in this paper belong to
the alphabet adopted by the Bureau of Ethnology.

[TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: many of the letters in the original book cannot be
represented faithfully in the character set available. The following
table explains the conventions used to represent such characters. In
the table, ‘x’ and ‘y’ are used to mean “any letter”.

  Symbol Symbol in book
  ‘      Inverted comma, to the left of a letter and raised above the
         baseline, like a single opening quotation mark.
  ’      Comma, to the right of a letter and raised above the baseline,
         like a single closing quotation mark.
  ´      “Accent mark”--a diagonal slash indicating a stressed syllable.
  [x]    The letter upside-down. This is used for upside-down
         lower-case ‘p’, because an upside-down lower-case p looks too
         much like a ‘d’; and for upside-down ‘s’, which looks too much
         like a right-side-up ‘s’; and for an upside-down upper-case K,
         because I don’t think that character exists in Unicode.
  ȼ      A lowercase ‘c’ with an acute accent and a mark below.
  Ȼ      An uppercase ‘c’ with an acute accent and a mark below.


  a, as in _father_.
  ‘a, an initially exploded a.
  ă, as in _what_, or as _o_ in _not_.
  ‘ă, an initially exploded ă.
  ä, as in _hat_.
  c, as _sh_ in _she_. See ś.
  ɔ, a medial _sh_, a sonant-surd.
  ć (Dakota letter), as _ch_ in _church_.
  ç, as _th_ in _thin_.
  [ç], a medial ç, sonant-surd.
  ȼ, as _th_ in _the_.
  e, as in _they_.
  ‘e, an initially exploded e.
  ĕ, as in _get_.
  ‘ĕ an initially exploded ĕ.
  g, as in _go_.
  ġ (in Dakota), _gh_. See x.
  ɥ (in Osage), an h after a pure or nasalized
    vowel, expelled through the mouth
    with the lips wide apart.
  ḣ (in Dakota), _kh_, etc. See q.
  i, as in _machine_.
  ‘i, an initially exploded i.
  ĭ, as in _pin_.
  j, as _z_ in _azure_, or as _j_ in the French
  ʞ a medial k, a sonant-surd.
  k’, an exploded k. See next letter.
  ḳ (in Dakota), an exploded k.
  ŋ (in Dakota), after a vowel has the sound
    of _n_ in the French _bon_. See ⁿ.
  ɯ (in Kansa), a medial m, a sound between
    m and b.
  ñ, as _ng_ in _sing_.
  hn, its initial sound is expelled from the
    nostrils and is scarcely heard.
  o, as in _no_.
  ‘o, an initially exploded o.
  [p], a medial b or p, a sonant-surd.
  p’, an exploded p.
  q, as German _ch_ in _ach_. See ḣ.
  [s], a medial z or s, a sonant-surd.
  ś (in Dakota), as _sh_ in _she_. See c.
  ʇ, a medial d or t, a sonant-surd.
  t’, an exploded t.
  u, as _oo_ in _tool_.
  ‘u, an initially exploded u.
  ŭ, as _oo_ in _foot_.
  ṵ, a sound between o and u.
  ü, as in German _kühl_, _süss_.
  x, _gh_, or nearly the Arabic _ghain_. See ġ.
  ź (in Dakota), as _z_ in _azure_. See j.
  dj, as _j_ in _judge_.
  tc, as _ch_ in _church_. See ć.
  tc’, an exploded tc.
  ʇɔ, a medial tc, a sonant-surd.
  ts’, an exploded ts.
  ʇ[s], a medial ts, a sonant-surd.
  ai, as in _aisle_.
  au, as _ow_ in _how_.
  yu, as _u_ in _tune_, or _ew_ in _few_.

The following have the ordinary English sounds: b, d, h, k, l, m, n,
p, r, s, t, w, y, and z. A superior n (ⁿ) after a vowel (compare the
Dakota ŋ) has the sound of the French n in bon, vin, etc. A plus
sign (+) after any letter prolongs it.

The vowels ‘a, ‘e, ‘i, ‘o, ‘u, and their modifications are styled
initially exploded vowels for want of a better appellation, there being
in each case an initial explosion. These vowels can not be called
“breaths,” as no aspiration is used with any of them; nor can they be
spoken of as “guttural breaths,” as they are approximately or partially
pectoral sounds. They have been found by the author not only in the
Siouan languages, but also in some of the languages of western Oregon.
In 1880 a brother of the late Gen. Armstrong, of Hampton, Va., who was
born on one of the Hawaiian islands, informed the author that this
class of vowel sounds occurred in the language of his native land.


The abbreviations in the interlinear translations are as follows:


                              CHAPTER II.



§ 4. It has been asserted for several hundred years that the North
American Indian was a believer in one Great Spirit prior to the coming
of the white race to this continent, and that, as he was a monotheist,
it was an easy matter to convert him to Christianity. Indians have
been represented as speaking of “The Great Spirit,” “The Master of
Life,” etc., as if the idea of the one and only God was familiar to our
aborigines during the pre-Columbian period.

While the author is unwilling to commit himself to a general denial
of this assertion, he has been forced to conclude that it needs
considerable modification, at least so far as it refers to the tribes
of the Siouan stock. (See §§ 7, 15, 21-43, 72-79, 92-99, 311, 312,
322-326, 341-346.)

On close investigation it will be found that in many cases Indians
have been quick to adopt the phrases of civilization in communicating
with white people, but in speaking to one another they use their own
terms. The student of the uncivilized races must ever be on his guard
against leading questions and their answers. The author has learned by
experience that it is safer to let the Indian tell his own story in
his own words than to endeavor to question him in such a manner as to
reveal what answers are desired or expected.

§ 5. In 1883 the author published an article on “The Religion of the
Omahas and Ponkas,” in The American Antiquarian of Chicago. Since then
he has obtained additional data, furnishing him with many undesigned
coincidences, which lead him to a broader view of the subject.


§ 6. In considering the subject from an Indian’s point of view,
one must avoid speaking of the supernatural as distinguished from the
natural. It is safer to divide phenomena as they appear to the Indian
mind into the human and the superhuman, as many, if not most natural
phenomena are mysterious to the Indian. Nay, even man himself may
become mysterious by fasting, prayer, and vision.

One fruitful source of error has been a misunderstanding of Indian
terms and phrases. It is very important to attempt to settle the exact
meanings of certain native words and phrases ere we proceed further
with the consideration of the subject.


§ 7. The attention of the author having been called to the article
on “Serpent Symbolism” of the Iroquoian languages, by Mr. Hewitt[1] of
the Bureau of Ethnology, a similar investigation of the Siouan terms
was made, the results of which are now presented. In connection with
the terms for “serpent,” Mr. Hewitt showed how they are related in the
languages with which he was familiar with other terms, such as “demon,”
“devil,” “wizard,” “witch,” “subtile,” “occult,” “mysterious,” and

In Dakota we find the following: Wakaⁿ, mysterious, wonderful,
incomprehensible, often rendered “holy” by the missionaries; wakaⁿ-hdi
(in Santee), wakaⁿ-kdi (in Yankton), lightning, perhaps containing
a reference to a zigzag line or forked lightning; wakaⁿ etcoⁿ, to
practice sleight of hand; and waⁿmducka, serpent. There are many
derivatives of wakaⁿ, among which are, Taku Wakaⁿ, literally “something
mysterious,” rendered “some one mysterious,” or “holy being,” and
Wakaⁿ-tañka, literally, “Great mysterious (one),” both of which terms
are now applied to God by the missionaries and their converts, though
Wakaⁿ-tañka is a name for the Thunder-being.

In Riggs’s alphabet (Contr. N. A. Ethn., Vol. VII), these words are
thus written: Wakaŋ, wakaŋhdi, wakaŋkdi, wakaŋ ećoŋ, waŋmduśka, Taku
Wakaŋ, and Wakaŋtaŋka. One of the Dakota words for “aged” is kaⁿ (kaŋ
in Riggs’s alphabet); but though this refers to persons we can not tell
whether it is related to wakaⁿ (or wakaŋ).

In the Ȼegiha, the language spoken by the Ponka and Omaha, Wakanda
means “the mysterious” or “powerful one,” and it is applied in several
senses. It is now used to denote the God of monotheism. Some of the old
people say that their ancestors always believed in a supreme Wakanda
or Mysterious Power. It sometimes refers to the Thunder-being. On one
occasion, a Ponka shaman, Cramped Hand, said to the author: “I am a
Wakanda.” Wakandagi, as a noun, means a subterranean or water monster,
a large horned reptile mentioned in the myths, and still supposed to
dwell beneath the bluffs along the Missouri River. With this term
compare the Dakota Uñkteqi (Uŋkteḣi, of Riggs) and the Winnebago
Waktceqi, the latter having given a name to the Water Monster gens
(Waktceqi ikikaratcada). Wakandagi is sometimes used adverbially, as,
si wakandagi, he is wonderfully stingy! E wakandagi, he (a small child)
speaks surprisingly well (for one so young)! ┴aⁿȼiⁿ wakandagi, he runs
very well (for one so young)! Maⁿȼiⁿ wakandagi, he (a small child)
walks very well! Wakandiȼe, to be in great haste, perhaps contains the
idea of putting forth a great effort in order to accomplish something
speedily. Wĕs‘ă, a serpent, is not related to the others just given.
Nor can the word for “wizard” or “conjurer” be found related to them.
In Kansa, Wakanda is used of superhuman beings or powers, as in
Omaha and Ponka, but the author never heard a shaman apply the term
to himself. Wakandagi has another meaning, mysterious, wonderful,
incomprehensible, as, nika wakandagi, mysterious man, shaman, juggler,
doctor; nanüŭⁿba wakandagi, mysterious or sacred pipe; wakandagi
wagaxe, the sleight-of-hand tricks of the mysterious men and women.
Wakanda qudje, the gray mysterious one, the elephant. Wakaⁿ does not
mean serpent, but pumpkin, answering to the Omaha and Ponka, wataⁿ, and
to the Osage, wakqaⁿ and watqaⁿ. [M]yets‘a (almost, Byets‘a) is the
Kansa word for a serpent.

In Osage, Wakaⁿʇa answers to the Kansa Wakanda, and Waɥkaⁿ-ʇa-ʞi is the
same as the Kansa, Wakandagi. Wets‘a is a serpent. In Kwapa, Wakaⁿʇaʞi
seems to answer to the Kansa Wakandagi.

In ┴ɔiwere (Iowa, Oto, Missouri), Wakaⁿʇa is the same as the Kansa
Wakanda. Wakaⁿ means a serpent. Wakaⁿ kiʞraʇɔe, the Serpent gens.
Wa-hu-priⁿ, mysterious, as a person or animal; but wa-qo-nyi-taⁿ,
mysterious, as an inanimate object.

In the Winnebago, three names for superhuman beings have been found.
One is Waʞuⁿse or Waguⁿze, which can not be translated; another is
Maⁿ‘uⁿ-na, Earth-maker, the third being Qo-piⁿ-ne qe-te-ră, Great
Mysterious One. Qopiⁿne seems related to waqopini (with which compare
the ┴ɔiwere, wahupriⁿ), a term used to distinguish people of other
races from Indians, just as in Dakota wacitcuⁿ (in Riggs’s alphabet,
waśićuŋ), now used for “white man,” “black man,” etc., retains in the
Teton dialect its ancient meaning of superhuman being or guardian
spirit. Wakawaⁿx, in Winnebago, denotes a witch or wizard. Wakaⁿ-na
is a serpent, and wakaⁿ ikikaratca-da, the Serpent gens; Wakaⁿtca, or
Wakaⁿtca-ra, thunder, the Thunder-Being; Wakaⁿtcañka-ra, a shaman or
mysterious man.

                      OTHER OMAHA AND PONKA TERMS.

§ 8. Other terms are given as being pertinent to the subject. They
occur in the language of the Omaha and Ponka. Qube, mysterious as a
person or animal (all animals were persons in ancient times); but a
mysterious inanimate object is spoken of as being “waqube.” Uqube
means the mysteriousness of a human being or animal. Uqubeaʇaȼicaⁿ,
pertaining to such mysteriousness. Wakandaʇaȼicaⁿ, pertaining or
referring to Wakanda. Nikie is a term that refers to a mythical
ancestor, to some part of his body, to some of his acts, or to some
ancient rite ascribed to him. A “nikie name” is a personal name of
such a character. Iȼa‘eȼĕ, literally, “to pity him on account of it,
granting him certain power.” Its primary reference is to the mysterious
animal, but it is transferred to the person having the vision, hence,
it means “to receive mysterious things from an animal, as in a vision
after fasting; to see as in a vision, face to face (not in a dream);
to see when awake, and in a mysterious manner having a conversation
with the animal about mysterious things.”

§ 9. The names for grandfather, grandmother, and old man are terms of
veneration, superhuman beings having these names applied to them in
invocations. (See §§ 15, 99.)


In a note upon “The Religious Ceremony of the Four Winds or
Quarters, as Observed by the Santee Sioux,” Miss Fletcher[2] remarks:
“A name implies relationship, and consequently protection; favor and
influence are claimed from the source of the name, whether this be the
gens or the vision. A name, therefore, shows the affiliation of the
individual; it grades him, so to speak, and he is apt to lean upon its
implied power.  *  *  *  The sacred import of a name in the mind of the
Indian is indicated in that part of the ceremony where the “Something
that moves” seems to overshadow and inclose the child, and addresses
the wakan man as father. The wakan man replies, calling the god, child,
at the same time invoking the supernatural protection and care for
the boy, as he lays at the feet of the messenger of Unseen Power the
offerings of gifts and the honor of the feast. The personal name[3]
among Indians, therefore, indicates the protecting presence of a
deity, and must, therefore, partake of the ceremonial character of the
Indian’s religion.”

In this ceremony the superhuman being is addressed by the term
implying _juniority_, and the human being, the wakan man, by that
associated with _seniority_, an apparent reversal of the usual custom;
but, doubtless, there can be found some explanation for this seeming
exception to the rule.


§ 10. The Omaha, Ponka, and cognate tribes distinguish at the present
day between the myth (higaⁿ, higu) and the legend or story (iuȼa, etc.)
on the one hand; and what on the other hand is called “Wakandaʇaȼicaⁿ,”
“uqubeaʇaȼicaⁿ,” and “iȼa‘eȼĕaʇaȼicaⁿ.” The former are told only for
amusement and are called, “iusictaⁿ iuȼa,” lying tales. They are
regarded as “iqawaȼĕaʇaȼicaⁿ,” pertaining to the ludicrous. With this
may be compared the statements of Lang:[4]

“Among the lowest and most backward, as among the most advanced races,
there coexist the mythical and the religious elements in belief. The
rational factor (or what approves itself to us as the rational factor)
is visible in religion; the irrational is prominent in myth.”  *  *  *
“The rational and irrational aspects of mythology and religion may be
of coeval antiquity for all that is certainly known, or either of
them, in the dark backward of mortal experience, may have preceded the
other.” The author has found certain Indian myths which abound in what
to the civilized mind is the grossest obscenity, and that too without
the slightest reference to the origin of any natural phenomena. Myths
of this class appear to have been told from a love of the obscene.
Nothing of a mysterious or religious character can be found in them.
Perhaps such myths are of modern origin; but this must remain an enigma.

§ 11. The Omaha and Ponka are in a transition state, hence many of
their old customs and beliefs are disappearing. Some have been lost
within the past fifty years, others within the last decade, according
to unimpeachable testimony. The Ponka are more conservative than the
Omaha, and the Kansa and Osage are more so than the Ponka, in the
estimation of the author.

§ 12. Though it has been said that the Indians feared to tell myths
except on winter nights (and some Indians have told this to the
author), the author has had no trouble in obtaining myths during the
day at various seasons of the year.

§ 13. James Alexander, a full Winnebago of the Wolf gens and a
non-Christian, told the author that the myths of the Winnebago, called
wai-kaⁿ-na by them, have undergone material change in the course of
transmission, and that it is very probable that many of them are
entirely different from what they were several generations ago. Even in
the same tribe at the present day, the author has found no less than
three versions of the same myth, and there may be others.

The myth of the Big Turtle is a case in point.[5] The narrator
acknowledged that he had made some additions to it himself.

§ 14. No fasting or prayer is required before one can tell a myth.
Far different is it with those things which are “Wakandaʇaȼicaⁿ,” or
are connected with visions or the secret societies. This agrees in
the main with what Mr. James Mooney, of the Bureau of Ethnology, has
learned from the Cherokee of North Carolina. Mr. Frank H. Cushing has
found that the Zuñi Indians distinguish between their folk-lore and
their cult-lore, i.e., between their legends and mythic tales on the
one hand, and their dramatized stories of creation and their religious
observances on the other, a special name being given to each class of
knowledge. To them the mythic tales and folk-lore in general are but
the fringe of the garment, not the garment itself. When they enact
the creation story, etc., they believe that they are repeating the
circumstances represented, and that they are then surrounded by the
very beings referred to in the sacred stories. Similar beliefs were
found by Dr. Washington Matthews, as shown in his article entitled “The
Prayer of a Navajo Shaman,” published in the American Anthropologist of
Washington, D.C., for April, 1888.

§ 15. At the same time there seems to be some connection between
certain myths and the personal names called, “nikie names.” This will
be considered in detail in a future monograph on “Indian Personal
Names,” now in course of preparation. One example must suffice for the
present. In the [K]aⁿze gens of the Omaha there is a nikie name, Ԁasi
duba, Four Peaks. The author did not understand its derivation until he
studied the myth of Haxige and observed the prayers made in gathering
the stones for the sweat-bath. Each stone was invoked as a venerable
man (see § 9), the Four Peaks were mentioned several times, and the two
superior deities or chief mysterious ones (Wakanda ʇañga agȼañʞaⁿhaⁿ
hnañkace) were invoked.[6]

This last refers to the Wakanda residing above and the one in
the ground. It is therefore possible that in past ages the
Siouan tribes did not differentiate between the myth and what is
“Wakandaʇaȼicaⁿ.” But we have no means of proving this.

§ 16. Most of the Omaha governmental instrumentalities (“wewaspe”) were
“Wakandaʇaȼicaⁿ,” but there were things that were “Wakandaʇaȼicaⁿ,”
which were not “wewaspe,” such as the law of catamenial seclusion.


[Footnote 1: Am. Anthropologist, April, 1889, pp. 179, 180.]

[Footnote 2: Op. cit., p. 295.]

[Footnote 3: And also the kinship term in some cases.]

[Footnote 4: Myth, Ritual, and Religion, pp. 328, 329.]

[Footnote 5: See Contr. N. A. Ethn. Vol. VI, 271-277.]

[Footnote 6: Contr. N. A. Ethn., Vol. VI, pp. 234, 242]

                              CHAPTER III.



§ 17. There are certain beliefs and practices which have not been
found among the four tribes whose cults are treated of in this chapter.
Ancestors were not worshiped. They were addressed reverently when
alive, and when they died it was not contrary to custom to refer to
them by name, nor did their deaths involve the change of name for a
single object or phenomenon. It was a very common occurrence for
the name of the deceased to be assumed by a surviving kinsman.
This is shown by genealogical tables of a few Siouan tribes, the material
for which was collected by the author, and which will form part
of his monograph on “Indian Personal Names,” now in course of
preparation for publication by the Bureau of Ethnology.

§ 18. They never heard of Satan or the devil until they learned of him
from the white people. Now they have adopted the terms, “Wanáxe piäjĭ,”
“Iñgȼaⁿxe piäjĭ,” and “Wakanda piäjĭ.” The first is used by the Omaha
and Ponka, the others were heard only among the Ponka. They have a
certain saying, applicable to a young man who is a liar, or who is bad
in some other way: “Wanáxe piä´jĭ égaⁿ áhaⁿ,” i.e. “He is like the bad
spirit!” This becomes, when addressed to the bad person, “Wanáxe piä´jĭ
éȼikigaⁿ´-qti jaⁿ´,” i.e. “You act just like the (or a) bad spirit.”

§ 19. Though it has been said that hero worship was unknown among the
Omaha and Ponka, it has been learned that Omaha mothers used to scare
their unruly children by telling them that Icibajĭ (a hero of the
┴e-sĭnde gens) or his friend ┴exujaⁿ (a hero of the [K]aⁿze gens) would
catch them if they did not behave. There was no worship of demigods, as
demigods were unknown. Two Crows and Joseph La Flèche said that phallic
worship was unknown, and they were surprised to hear that it had
been practiced by any tribe. (See § 132, 164.) As the Ponka obtained
the sun-dance from their Dakota neighbors, it is probable that they
practiced the phallic cult.

§ 20. Totems and shamans were not worshiped, though they are still
reverenced. Altars or altar-stones were unknown. Incense was not
used, unless by this name we refer to the odor of tobacco smoke as it
ascended to the Thunder-being, or to the use of cedar fronds in the
sweat lodge. There were no human sacrifices, and cannibalism was not


§ 21. According to Two Crows and Joseph La Flèche, the ancestors of
the Omaha and Ponka believed that there was a Supreme Being, whom they
called Wakanda. “Wakanda t‘aⁿi tĕ eȼegaⁿi, they believed that Wakanda
existed.” They did not know where He was, nor did they undertake
to say how He existed. There was no public gathering at which some
of the people told others that there was a Wakauda, nor was there
any general assembly for the purpose of offering Him worship and
prayer. Each person thought in his heart that Wakanda existed. Some
addressed the sun as Wakanda, though many did not so regard him. Many
addressed Wakanda, as it were, blindly or at random. Some worshiped the
Thunder-being under this name. This was especially the case when men
undertook to go on the war path. [7] Mr. Say recorded of the Kansa:
“They say that they have never seen Wakanda, so they cannot pretend to
personify Him; but they have often heard Him speak in the thunder. They
often wear a shell which is in honor or in representation of Him, but
they do not pretend that it resembles Him, or has anything in common
with his form, organization, or size.”

                         SEVEN GREAT WAKANDAS.

§ 22. Ԁaȼiⁿ-naⁿ-pajĭ said that there were seven great Wakandas, as
follows: “Ugahana[p]aze or Darkness, Maxe or the Upper World, ┴ande
or the Ground, Iñgȼaⁿ or the Thunder-being, Miⁿ or the Sun, Niaⁿba
or the Moon, and the Morning Star. The principal Wakanda is in the
upper world, above everything.” (This was denied by Joseph La Flèche
and Two Crows; see § 93.) The author thought at first that these were
the powers worshiped by Ԁaȼiⁿ-naⁿpajĭ and the members of his gens or
subgens; but subsequent inquiries and statements occurring in the
course of texts furnish cumulative evidence favoring the view that some
or all these powers had many believers among the Omaha and the cognate


§ 23. Ԁaȼiⁿ-naⁿpajĭ said that Macte or Warmth was a good Wakanda. Ni
ȼiⁿ, the flowing Stream, according to him, was thus addressed by a man
who wished to ford it: “You are a person and a Wakanda. I, too, am a
person. I desire to pass through you and reach the other side.” Two
Crows denied this, saying that his people never prayed to a stream; but
George Miller said that it was true, for his father, Little Soldier,
prayed to a stream when he was on the war path, and that such
invocations were made only in time of war.

                           PRAYER TO WAKANDA.

§ 24. Prayer to Wakanda, said La Flèche and Two Crows, was not made for
small matters, such as going fishing, but only for great and important
undertakings, such as going to war or starting on a journey. When a
man wished to travel he first went alone to a bluff, where he prayed
to Wakanda to help him and his family by protecting them during his
absence and by granting him a successful journey. At a time when the
Ponka were without food, Horse-with-yellow-hair, or Cañge-hiⁿ-zi,
prayed to Wakanda on the hill beyond the Stony Butte. The latter is
a prominent landmark in northern Nebraska (in what was Todd county,
Dakota, in 1871-’73), about 7 miles from the Missouri River and the
Ponka Agency (of 1870-’77)[8]. Several Omaha said that the places
for prayer were rocks, high bluffs, and mountains. “All Omaha went
to such places to pray, but they did not pray to the visible object,
though they called it Grandfather.”--(Frank La Flèche.) They smoked
towards the invoked object and placed gifts of killickinnick, etc.,
upon it. Compare with this the Dakota custom of invoking a bowlder on
the prairie; calling it Tŭñkaⁿcidaⁿ (Tuŋkaŋśidaŋ), or Grandfather,
symbolizing the Earth-being.[9] Though it has been said that a high
bluff was merely a place for praying to Wakanda, and that it was not
itself addressed as Wakanda, the author has learned from members of the
Omaha and Pouka tribes that when they went on the warpath for the first
time, their names were then changed and one of the old men was sent
to the bluffs to tell the news to the various Wakandas, including the
bluffs, trees, birds, insects, reptiles, etc.[10]

                         ACCESSORIES OF PRAYER.

Among the accessories of prayer were the following: (_a_) The action
called ȼistube by the Omaha and Ponka, riçtowe by the three ┴ɔiwere
tribes, and yuwiⁿtapi (yuwiŋtapi) by the Dakota, consisting of the
elevation of the suppliant’s arms with the palms toward the object
or the face of the being invoked, followed by a passage of the hand
downward toward the ground, without touching the object or person (see
§§ 28, 35, 36). (_b_) The presentation of the pipe with the mouthpiece
toward the power invoked (see §§ 29, 35, 40). (_c_) The use of smoke
from the pipe (See §§ 27, 36), or of the odor of burning cedar needles,
as in the sweat lodge. (_d_) The application of the kinship term,
“grandfather,” or its alternative, “venerable man,” to a male power,
and “grandmother” to a female power (see §§ 30, 31, 35, 39, 59, 60,
etc.). (_e_) Ceremonial wailing or crying (Xage, to wail or cry--Dakota
ćeya. See § 100).[11] (_f_) Sacrifice or offering of goods, animals,
pieces of the suppliant’s flesh, etc. In modern times the Kansa have
substituted the lives of animals, as deer, grouse, etc., for those of
human enemies (see §§ 28, 33, etc.).


§ 25. Samuel Fremont said that before the advent of the white race the
Omaha had certain expressions which they used in speaking of Wakanda.
When an Indian met with unexpected good fortune of any sort the people
used to say, “Wakanda has given him some assistance.”[12] Or they might
say, “Wakanda knows him.”[13] Sometimes they said, “Wakanda has planned
for his own (i. e., for his friend, relation, or subject).”[14] If a
Kansa prospers, he says, “Wakan´da aká aⁿmaⁿ´yüxü´dje aka´ eyaú,” i.
e., “Wakanda has indeed been looking at me!” And in speaking of the
success of another, he says, “Wakan´da aká níka yiñké uyü´xüdje aká
eyaú,” i. e., “Wakanda has indeed been looking at the man.”

Samuel Fremont said that when an animal detected the approach of the
hunter and consequently fled from him, the man prayed thus:

  Hau´ Wakan´da,  wani´ta  wiⁿ  aⁿȼá‘i    éiⁿte    cĭ     iⁿȼégȼize
  Ho,   Wakanda, quadruped one  you gave  perhaps  again  you take
                                  to me                    yours
                                                          from me

    égaⁿ.     Cĭ   wiⁿ´   waȼíɔnaaⁿȼákiȼe    kaⁿbȼégaⁿ,
  somewhat  again  one  you cause to appear   I hope
                               to me

i. e., “Ho, Wakanda, you may have given me an animal, but now it seems
that you have taken it from me. I hope that you will cause another to
appear to me.” But if the hunter shot at an animal and missed it, he
said nothing.


§ 26. About eighteen years ago, the author was told by the Ponka,
whose reservation was then in southern Dakota, that they believed death
to be caused by certain malevolent spirits, whom they feared. In order
to prevent future visits of such spirits, the survivors gave away all
their property, hoping that as they were in such a wretched plight the
spirits would not think it worth while to make them more unhappy. At
the burial of Mazi-kide, an Omaha, the author observed that some one
approached the corpse and addressed it. In referring to this in 1888,
Samuel Fremont said that the speaker said, “Wakanda has caused your
death.” In telling this, Fremont used the singular. “Wakanda aka.” On
repeating this to George Miller, the latter said that it should have
been “Wakanda ama,” in the plural, “the Mysterious Powers,” as the
Omaha believed in more than one Wakanda before they learned about the
one God of monotheism.

This agrees with what was learned about the Dakota by the late
missionaries, Messrs. S. R. Riggs and G. H. Pond, and by the late James
W. Lynd, as stated in chapter V.

                          AN OLD OMAHA CUSTOM.

§ 27. “Abicude,” said Samuel Fremont, “is a word which refers to an
old Omaha and Ponka custom, i.e., that of blowing the smoke downward
to the ground while praying. The Omaha and Ponka used to hold the pipe
in six directions while smoking: toward the four winds, the ground,
and the upper world.” The exact order has been forgotten by Fremont,
but Lewis and Clarke have recorded the corresponding Shoshoni custom.
Capt. Lewis tells how the Shoshoni chief, after lighting his pipe of
transparent greenstone (instead of catlinite), made a speech, after
which he pointed the stem of the pipe toward the four points of the
heavens, beginning with the east and concluding with the north. After
extending the stem thrice toward Capt. Lewis, he pointed it first
toward the heavens and then toward the center of the little circle
of guests, probably toward the ground, symbolizing the subterranean

In addressing the four winds, a peculiar expression is employed by the

  ┴a[p]é  dúba    híȼaȼĕ     ȼáȼiⁿcé, iⁿ  wiñ´ʞaⁿi-gă, Thou who causest
   Wind   four   you cause  you (sing.)    help ye me.
                it to reach  who move

the four winds to reach a place, help ye me! Instead of the singular
classifier, ȼaȼiⁿce, the regular plural, nañkácĕ, ye who sit, stand, or
move, might have been expected. (See § 33.)

In smoking toward the ground and upper world, the suppliant had to
say, “I petition to you who are one of the two, you who are reclining
on your back, and to you who are the other one, sitting directly above
us. Both of you help me!” “Here,” said Fremont, “the ground itself was
addressed as a person.” Two Crows said that some Omaha appealed to a
subterranean Wakanda when their word was doubted, saying, “Iⁿc‘áge
hídeaʇa aká aⁿná‘aⁿi,” “The venerable man at the bottom hears me.” The
author is unable to say whether this was ┴ande or Wakandagi. (See § 37.)

The following was recorded of the Omaha, and refers to a custom
relating to the buffalo hunt.[16]

     On coming in sight of the herd, the hunters talk kindly to their
     horses, applying to them the endearing names of father, brother,
     uncle, etc. They petition them not to fear the bisons, but to run
     well and keep close to them, but at the same time to avoid being
     The party having approached as near to the herd as they suppose
     the animals will permit without taking alarm, they halt to give
     the pipe bearer an opportunity to perform the ceremony of
     smoking, which is considered necessary to their success. He lights
     his pipe, and remains a short time with his head inclined, and the
     stem of the pipe extended toward the herd. He then smokes, and
     puffs the smoke toward the bisons, and the earth, and finally to
     the cardinal points successively.

                           THE SUN A WAKANDA.

§ 28. In the Osage traditions the “mysterious one of day” is invoked
as “grandfather.”[17]

He replies that he is not the only Wakanʇa. That the Kansa worshiped
the sun as a Wakanda appears from the following: “On one occasion, when
the Kansa went against the Pawnees, the stick was set up for the mystic
attack or ‘waqpele gaxe.’ The war captain addressed the rising sun thus:

  “Páyiⁿ    áqli    kŭⁿ´bla   eyaú.  Cŭñ´ge  wábliⁿ    alí     kŭⁿ´bla
  Pawnee  I stun by  I wish  indeed.  Horse  I have   I have   I wish
            hitting                           them   come back

  eyaú.     Wayü´qpe    ckí  kŭⁿ´bla   eyaú.       Haléje      uɯíblage.
  indeed.  Pulling down  too  I wish   indeed. Calico (shirt)  I tell you
             (a foe)                                            about it.

  Haqiⁿ´  uɯíblage.   Haská    cki  Páyiⁿ    áqli-daⁿ´     mík’ü
  Robe    I tell you  Blanket  too  Pawnee   I stun when  I give to
           about it.                        by hitting      you

   tá   miñke,  Wákanda-é,          é gü´aⁿyakiyé-daⁿ.   “I wish to kill
  will  I who   O Wakanda!  that you cause me to  when.
        (sit)                   be returning

[Transcriber's note: the hyphen in “gü´aⁿyakiyé-daⁿ” was at the end of
a line; the word may have been “gü´aⁿyakiyédaⁿ” or “gü´aⁿyakiyé-daⁿ”.]

a Pawnee! I desire to bring horses when I return. I long to pull down
an enemy! I promise you a calico shirt and a robe. I will give you a
blanket also, O Wakanda, if you allow me to return in safety after
killing a Pawnee!” When warriors performed the “waqpele gaxe” or the
attack on the stick representing the foe, no member of the Lṵ or
Thunder gens could participate. On such an occasion the warrior turned
to the east and said:     “Aⁿmaⁿ´pye      kŭⁿ´bla aú.  Haská
                        To follow me(?)   I wish   .  Blanket
                       or We follow it(?)

     uɯíblage       aú, Wákanda-é,” i.e., I wish my party to pass along
  I tell you of it    .  O Wakanda

the road to the foe(?). I promise you a blanket, O Wakanda (if I
succeed?).” On turning to the west he said: “Uⁿ´hŭⁿ

     uɯíblage       aú,  Wákanda-é,” i.e., “I promise you a feast, O
  I tell you of it   .   O Wakanda

Wakanda (if I succeed?).”

When it was decided to perform the “waqpele gaxe,” the dudaⁿhañga or
war captain made one of the lieutenants carry the sacred bag, and two
of the kettle tenders took bundles of sticks, which they laid down in
the road. The four remaining kettle tenders remained at the camping
place. The next morning all the warriors but those of the Lṵ gens went
to the place where the sticks had been laid, drew a circle around the
bundles, set up one of the sticks, and attacked it, as if it were a
Pawnee. This ceremony often caused the death of real enemies.

Among the Osage and Kansa prayer was made toward the rising sun in the
morning and towards the setting sun in the afternoon and evening.

Among the Omaha and Kansa the head of a corpse is laid towards the
east. For this reason no Omaha will consent to recline with his head
towards that point. The Kansa lodges also are orientated, and so were
those of the Omaha (see § 59). The east appears to symbolize life or
the source thereof, but[18] the west refers to death; so among the
Osage the course of a war party was towards the mythic or symbolic
west, towards which point the entrances of the lodges were turned[19]
(see §§ 83 and 384).

Gahige, the late Omaha chief, said that when he was young all the Omaha
prayed to the sun, holding up their hands with the palms towards the
sun and saying, “Wakan´da, ȼá‘eaⁿ´ȼa-gă,” etc., i. e., “O Wakanda, pity
me!” They abstained from eating, drinking, and (ordinary) smoking from
sunrise to sunset; but after sunset the restrictions were removed.[20]

For four nights the men who thus prayed did not sleep at home. At the
end of that period the task was finished. “Íwackaⁿ gáxai,” i. e., they
made or gained superhuman power. They could thus pray at any time from
the appearance of grass in the spring until the ground became frozen.

                        THE OFFERING OF TOBACCO.

§ 29. In 1889 George Miller gave an account of what he called “Niní
bahaí tĕ,” i. e. the offering or presentation of tobacco. Whether this
phrase was ever used except in a religious or superhuman connection
is more than the author is able to say. Whenever the Indians traveled
they used all the words which follow as they extended the pipe with
the mouthpiece toward the sun: “Haú, niní   gakĕ´ Wakan´da, Miⁿ´  ȼé
                                Ho  tobacco that  Wakanda   Sun  this
                                           lg. ob.

   niñkĕ´cĕ!   Ujañ´ge ȼiȼíʇa   kĕ    égaⁿqti    uáha     té  ă.
  you who sit   Road   your    the   just so  I follow  will !
                             lg. ob.          its course

    Iñgáxa-gă!   Edádaⁿ ctécte   údaⁿqti      ákipañkiȼa´-gă!   Edádaⁿ
  Make it for me  What  soever  very good  cause me to meet it   What

   júajĭ    wiⁿ´    ĕdedíte    ʞĭ´ íbetaⁿañkiȼá-gă!   Ȼi´-naⁿ
  inferior  one   it is there  if  cause me to pass  Only thou
                                      around it

    ámusta    waȼíɔna    ȼagȼiⁿ´, ní-uȼan´da  ȼéȼaⁿ    ȼéȼaⁿska  édegaⁿ,
   directly  in sight  you sit    island    this   this large   but
  above (us)                                place

  edádaⁿ   waníta   ʇan´de    uckaⁿ´ckaⁿ    ȼaⁿ  bȼúgaqti  níkaciⁿga
   what  quadruped ground  mv. on it here  the    all      person
                            and there

  ȼaⁿ´  ctĕwaⁿ´  wiⁿ´ aⁿ´ba ataⁿ´   íȼaɔni´gȼaⁿ     ʞĭ,  égaⁿ-naⁿ.
  the   soever  one   day   how   you decide for  when  always so.
                           long       him

     Ádaⁿ      wi´ʞa-naⁿ     maⁿ´  hă, Wakan´da” This may be rendered
  Therefore  I ask a favor  alone  .   Wakanda
                of you

freely thus: “Ho, Mysterious Power, you who are the Sun! Here is
tobacco! I wish to follow your course. Grant that it may be so! Cause
me to meet whatever is good (i. e., for my advantage) and to give a
wide berth to anything that may be to my injury or disadvantage.
Throughout this island (the world) you regulate everything that
moves, including human beings, when you decide for one that his last
day on earth has come, it is so. It can not be delayed. Therefore, O
Mysterious Power, I ask a favor of you.”

                      THE PONKA SUN DANCE OF 1873.

In the summer of 1873, when the author was missionary to the Ponka
in what was Todd County, Dakota, that tribe had a sun dance on the
prairie near the mission house. The scarifications and subsequent
tortures and dancing lasted but three hours instead of a longer
period, owing to the remonstrances of Bishop Hare, the agent, and the
missionary. The head chief, White Eagle, was tied to his pony, after he
had been scarified and fastened to the sun pole. Some of his policemen,
armed with whips, lashed the pony until it leaped aside, tearing out
the lariat that fastened the chief to the sun pole, and terminating his
participation in the ceremony. (See Pl. XLVI and § 187.) For obvious
reasons the author did not view the sun dance, but he was told about it
by some of the spectators. As the chief, Standing Buffalo, had said to
Bishop Hare in the council previous to the sun dance, “You white people
pray to Wakanda in your way, and we Indians pray to Wakanda in the sun
dance. Should you chance to lose your way on the prairie you would
perish, but if we got lost we would pray to Wakanda in the sun dance,
and find our way again.”

                          THE MOON A WAKANDA.

§ 30. No examples of invocations of the moon have yet been found
among the Omaha and Ponka. But that the moon is “qube” appears from the
decorations of robes and tents. (See §§ 45-47.)

The moon is addressed as a “grandfather” and is described as the
“Wakanʇa of night” in “Osage Traditions,” lines 55-59.[21]


The Omaha believe that the unfortunate beings, called “Miⁿ-qu-ga,” are
mysterious or sacred because they have been affected by the Moon Being.
When a young Omaha fasted for the first time on reaching puberty, it
was thought that the Moon Being appeared to him, holding in one hand
a bow and arrows and in the other a pack strap, such as the Indian
women use. When the youth tried to grasp the bow and arrows the Moon
Being crossed his hands very quickly, and if the youth was not very
careful he seized the pack strap instead of the bow and arrows, thereby
fixing his lot in after life. In such a case he could not help acting
the woman, speaking, dressing, and working just as Indian women used
to do. Louis Sanssouci said that the miⁿ-quga took other men as their
husbands. Frank La Flèche knew one such man, who had had several men
as his husbands. A Ponka child once said to the author, “Miⁿjiñga-ma
nujiñga ama ʇi-gaxe-nandi, miⁿquga, ai,” i.e., “If boys make a practice
of playing with the girls they become (or are called) miⁿquga.” This
term may be rendered “hermaphrodite” when it refers to animals, as “ʇe
miⁿquga,” a hermaphrodite buffalo. It must have been of this class of
persons, called “Miⁿ-quge” by the Kansa that Say wrote when he said:

     Many of the subjects of it (i.e., sodomy among the Kansa) are
     publicly known, and do not appear to be despised or to excite
     disgust. One was pointed out to us. He had submitted himself to it
     in consequence of a vow he had made to his mystic medicine, which
     obliged him to change his dress for that of a woman, to do their
     work, and to permit his hair to grow.[22]

After giving an account of the Miⁿquga which agrees with what has been
written above, Miss Fletcher[23] tells of “a man who had the misfortune
to be forced to this life and tried to resist. His father gave him a
bow and some arrows, but the penalty of his vision so wrought upon his
mind that, unable to endure the abnormal life, he committed suicide.”
(See §§ 212, 353.)

                           STARS AS WAKANDAS.

§ 31. That the Omaha and Ponka regarded the stars as Wakandas seems
probable from the existence of nikie names and the personal mystery
decorations. (See §§ 45, 47, and 52.) There are star names in the
Night gens of the Kansa, and they point to the mythical origin of the
gens. The Kansa made offerings to the morning star. Among the Osage
the traditions of the Tsiɔu Wactaʞe and Bald Eagle people mention
several Wakanʇas among the stars. These are as follows: Watse ʇuʞa,
a “grandfather;” Watse miⁿʞa, a “grandmother;” Miⁿkak’e peȼŭⁿ[p]a,
the Seven Stars (Pleiades?), a “grandfather;” the constellation
Ta ȼa[p]ȼiⁿ or the Three Deer, a “grandfather;” the morning star,
Miⁿkak’e tañʞa (literally, large star), a “grandfather;” the small
star, a “grandfather;” the bowl of the Dipper, called “Wa[p]aha
ȼiñkce; the Funeral Bier,” a “grandfather,” and the Female Red Bird,
a “grandmother,” the eponym of the Tsiɔu Wactaʞe or “Red Eagle” gens.
She, too, was probably a star.[24]

§ 32 Gaⁿ  edádaⁿ  ȼiⁿ´  ctĕwaⁿ  ȼahaⁿ´-naⁿi ni´aciⁿ´ga  ama´,  [p]ahe´
     And   what   the   soever   usually      Indian    the     hill
                  col.         prayed (to)              pl.
                  ob.                                  sub.

  ʇañga´  ȼiⁿ,  ctĕwaⁿ´. “Wakan´da  bȼu´gaqti  wi´ʞai   ă,”  e´-naⁿi.
  large   the  soever     Wakanda      all    I ask a  !    they said
          col.                               favor of        usually

  “Hau, ┴an´de   niñkĕ´  cĕ,  ʞa´ci jiñ´ga  e´gaⁿ a´witaⁿ   te´  ă,”
   Ho   Ground  you who  sit  some  little   so   I tread  will  !
                              time                on you

  ai´  ni´kaciⁿ´ga  ama´.   ┴ade´  ui´ȼĕ      du´baha  tĕ´ ctĭ
  say    Indians    the    Whence the wind    in four  the too
                  pl. sub. is sent hither(?)  places

  ȼahaⁿ´-naⁿi.    “┴ade´ ui´ȼĕ     du´baha   nañka´cĕ,  iⁿwiñ´ʞaⁿi-gă.”
  they usually   Whence the wind   in four  ye who are    help ye me
    pray (to)  is sent hither(?)   places

  Gaⁿ´     gage´giȼaⁿ´i   ni´aciⁿ´ga uke´ȼiⁿ    ama´,  Wakan´da
  and  they speak in that  Indian   ordinary  the pl.  Wakanda
       manner to (one)                         sub.

    wa´ȼahaⁿi   tĕ´di. “The Indians used to invoke various objects,
  they pray to  when

including the mountains, saying, ‘O, all ye mysterious powers, I ask a
favor of you!’ They prayed to the ground, saying, ‘O, you who are the
ground! May I tread you a little while longer!’ i. e., ‘May my life on
earth be prolonged!’ When one prayed to the four winds, he would say,
‘Ho, ye four winds, help me!’ Thus did speak when they prayed to the
Wakandas.”--(George Miller.)

                         THE WINDS AS WAKANDAS.

§ 33. The Omaka and Ponka invoked the winds, as has been stated in
part of the preceding section. See also the statement of Samuel Fremont
(§ 27).[25]

In preparing for the pipe dance the tobacco pouch, two gourd rattles,
and the ear of corn have a figure drawn on each of them with green
paint; it is the cross, indicating the four quarters of the heavens or
the four winds.[26]

                     KANSA SACRIFICE TO THE WINDS.

“In former days the Kansa used to remove the hearts of slain foes
and put them in the fire as a sacrifice to the four winds. Even now
(1882) offerings are made to every Wakanda by the Kansa, to the
power or powers above, to those under the hills, to the winds, the
thunder-being, the morning star, etc. As Aliⁿkawahu and Pahaⁿlegaqli
are Yata men (i. e., members of gentes camping on the left side of the
tribal circle), they elevate their left hands and begin at the left
with the east wind, then they turn to the south wind, then to the west
wind, and finally to the north wind, saying to each, ‘Gá-tcĕ, Wakan´da,
mik’ü´ eyau´,’ i. e., ‘O Wakanda, I really give that to you.’ In former
days they used to pierce themselves with knives and splinters of wood,
and offer small pieces of their flesh to the Wakandas.”[27]


The author considers that the following statement of the Osage
chief, [K]ahiʞe-waʇayiñʞa (of the Tsiɔu Wactaʞe gens), refers to the
invocation of the four winds. It appears to have been associated with
fire or hearth worship. Whenever a permanent village of earth lodges
was established among the Osage and Kansa, there was a consecration of
a certain number of fireplaces before the ordinary fireplaces could be
made by the common people. The consecrated fireplaces were made in two
parallel rows, beginning at the west and ending at the east. Among the
Kansa there were seven on one side and six on the other, but among the
Osage there seem to have been seven on each side. Among the Osage, the
Tsiɔu Wactaʞe and Paⁿɥka gentes were the ‘roadmakers,’ i. e., those who
consecrated the two rows of fireplaces. [K]ahiʞe-waʇayiñʞa said, “When
the old Tsiɔu man made his speech, he went into details about every
part of a lodge, the fireplace, building materials, implements, etc.
Four sticks were placed in the fireplace, the first one pointing to the
west (see §§ 40, 84). When the first stick was laid down, the Tsiɔu
leader spoke about the west wind, and also about a young buffalo bull
(Tseʇṵ-ɔiñʞa), repeating the name, Wanie-skă (meaning not gained). When
the stick pointing to the north was laid down he spoke of Tsehe-qṵʇ[s]e
(gray buffalo horns), or a buffalo bull. When the stick at the east was
laid down, he spoke of Tse-ʇṵʞa-tañʞa (a large buffalo bull). On laying
down the fourth stick, pointing to the south, he spoke of Tse miⁿʞa (a
buffalo cow). At the same time a similar ceremony was performed by the
aged Paⁿɥka man for the gentes on the right side of the tribal circle.
In placing the stick to the east, he mentioned Taʇ[s]e [K]aqpa tsĕ (the
east wind) and Tahe ca[p]e (dark horned deer). In placing that to the
north, Taʇ[s]e Ԁa[s]aⁿ tsĕ (the north wind, literally, ‘the pine wind’)
and Tahe qṵʇ[s]e (the deer with gray horns) were mentioned. In placing
that pointing to the west, Taʇ[s]e Maⁿha tsĕ (the west wind) and an
animal which makes a lodge and is with the Tahe pa[s]iʞe (probably a
deer name) were mentioned. In placing the stick pointing to the south,
he spoke of Taʇ[s]e Ak’a tsĕ (the south wind) and Ta wañka he aʞȼaɔi
skutañʞa (probable meaning, a large white female deer without any

§ 34. In time of war, prayers were made about the fire (§ 287), when a
warrior painted his face red, using the “fire paint,” a custom of the
left or Tsiɔu side of the tribe. Those on the right or Hañʞa side used
“the young buffalo bull decoration,” and probably offered prayer in
connection therewith, in order to be filled with the spirit of their
“little grandfather” (the young buffalo bull), as they rushed on the
enemy. This will be seen from the words employed by the warrior: “My
little grandfather is always dangerous as he makes an attempt. Very
close do I stand, ready to go to the attack!”[28]

                      THE THUNDER-BEING A WAKANDA.


§ 35. Among the Omaha and Ponka, when the first thunder was heard in
the spring of the year, the Black bear people went to the sacred
tent of the Elk gens, and there they assisted the Elk people in
the invocation of the Thunder-being. At a similar gathering of the
Ponka, the Ponka Black bear people said, “Hau, iⁿc‘áge, ȼiʇúcpa ȼéȼu
añ´ga-taⁿ ganáxiwaȼáȼai. Maⁿciáʇahá maⁿȼiñ´gă,” i. e., “Ho, venerable
man! by your striking (with your club) you are frightening us, your
grandchildren, who are here. Depart on high.”[29]

[Transcriber’s note: The hyphen in “añ´ga-taⁿ” was at the end of a
line; the word may have been “añ´gataⁿ” or “añ´ga-taⁿ”.]


The Thunder-being is invoked by all present during the feast
preparatory to starting on the warpath, when there is a small party of
warriors. Each one addresses the Thunder-being as “Nudaⁿhañga,” leader
in war, or war captain.[30]

When a large war party is desired, the Thunder-being is invoked
(See history of Wabaskaha, in Contr. N. A. Ethn., Vol. VI, p. 394).
Wabaskaha himself prayed, saying, “Oh, Wakanda, though foreigners
have injured me, I hope that you may help me.” All who heard him knew
that he desired to lead a large war party. When the four captains
were chosen, they had to cry incessantly at night as well as by day,
saying, “Oh, Wakanda! pity me! help me in that about which I am in a
bad humor.” During the day they abstained from food and drink; but they
could satisfy their thirst and hunger when night came.

At the feast preparatory to starting off as a large war party, the
keepers of the sacred bags sing thunder songs as well as other sacred
songs. One of the thunder songs used on such an occasion begins thus:

               “Wi-ʇí-gaⁿ naⁿ´-pe-wá-ȼĕ é-gaⁿ,
                Wi-ʇí-gaⁿ naⁿ´-pe-wá-ȼĕ é-gaⁿ,
                Wé-tiⁿ kĕ gȼi-haⁿ´-haⁿ ʞĭ,
                Naⁿ´-pe-wá-ȼĕ ----.”
               “As my grandfather is dangerous,
                As my grandfather is dangerous,
                Dangerous when he brandishes his club,
                Dangerous ----.”

When he had proceeded thus far, Ԁaȼiⁿ-naⁿpajĭ stopped and refused to
tell the rest, as it was very “waqube.” He said that the principal
captains of a large war party tied pieces of twisted grass around their
wrists and ankles, and wore similar pieces around their heads. But
Two Crows, who has been a captain, says that he never did this. (See,
however, the Iowa custom in § 75.)

                           ICTASANDA CUSTOM.

The following “nikie” or ancient custom of the Ictasanda gens was
related by George Miller:

  Najiⁿ´ daⁿ´ctĕaⁿ´  ʞĭ,  naⁿ´pai   ʞĭ, gaⁿ´      Wakan´da-ma
  Rain    perhaps    if  they fear  if  so   the Wakandas (pl. ob.)
                        seen danger

   nini´    uji´   wa‘i´i    tĕ.     Gaⁿ´  nini´    uji´    wa‘i´i
  tobacco  put in  they   the (past  and  tobacco  put in  they gave
                  gave to    act)                           to them

  tĕ´di    e´giȼaⁿ´i    tĕ:     Ȼéȼu  waqpa´ȼiⁿ-qti   a´ȼiⁿhe´,
  when  they said to   the     Here   very poor    I who move
           (one)    (past act)

[Transcriber’s note: the hyphen in “waqpa´ȼiⁿ-qti” was at the end of a
line; the word may have been “waqpa´ȼiⁿqti” or “waqpa´ȼiⁿ-qti”.]

   aⁿwaⁿ´waʇa´ȼicaⁿ  cte´ctewaⁿ    ȼiúde ti´gȼe        gáxai-gă,
  in what direction    soever    to become abandoned   make ye

  ʇigaⁿ´ha.        Ĕ´dedi´ ȼa´ȼiⁿcé  (é) jaⁿmiⁿ´.
  O grandfather.  You are mv. there   I suspect.

       Ȼigȼíze-maⁿ´ȼiⁿ,       ĕ´dedí  ȼáȼiⁿcé   (é) jaⁿmiⁿ´.
  Walking Forked-lightning,  you are mv. there   I suspect.

       Ȼiaⁿ´ba-ti´gȼe,      ĕ´dedí ȼa´ȼiⁿcé.  (é) jaⁿmiⁿ´.
  Sheet-lightning flashes  you are mv. there   I suspect.

       Ȼiaⁿ´ba-gí-naⁿ,       ĕ´dedi´ ȼáȼiⁿcé  (é) jaⁿmiⁿ´.
  Sheet-lightning is often  you are mv. there  I suspect.
       returning hither.

      Gáagigȼédaⁿ       ĕ´dedí ȼáȼiⁿcé   (é) jaⁿmiⁿ´.  Gaⁿ´
   (a name referring  you are mv. there   I suspect.  And
  to passing thunder)

     gatégaⁿ       gáxa-bájĭ  ʞĭ´ctĕ níaciⁿ´ga  ciⁿȼiqáde   ȼégaⁿ
  in that manner  he does not   if     man     (See Note.)  thus

  najiⁿ´i,  maqpi´     kĕʇáȼicaⁿ       xagé   najiⁿ´i. Gaⁿ´ Wakan´da
  stands,  cloud  toward the lg ob.  crying  stands.  And  Wakanda

      amá         wégi[p]ahaⁿ´-bi,        aí.    Níkaciⁿ´ga
  the pl. sub.  that they know about  they say.   Person
                  them, their own

  taⁿ´waⁿgȼaⁿ  wédajĭ      amá          aȼiⁿ´          naⁿ´pai,
     gens    elsewhere  the pl. sub.  to have it  they fear seen danger,

  ijáje       gĕ´        ctĕwaⁿ.   Águdi´ctĕ    níkaciⁿ´ga      amá
  name  the pl. in. ob.   even.  In some places   person    the pl. sub.
                                 (not specified.)

       iȼa‘e´ȼĕ amá             Icta´sanda  úckaⁿ   eʇai´     tĕ   e´gaⁿ
  those who have visions, etc.  Ictasanda   custom  their  the ob.  so

  ga´xai.   Waaⁿ´      ĕ´qti       ga´xai    daⁿ´ctĕ        giaⁿ´
  they do.  song  they themselves they make  perhaps  singing their own

    najiⁿ´i.  Nini´ba    kĕ        uji´    aȼiⁿ´i   e´gaⁿ maqpi´
  they stand.  Pipe  the lg. ob.  filled  they have  as   cloud

       kĕʇáȼicaⁿ        úgaqȼe    baha´       najiⁿ´i.  Ni´kaciⁿ´ga
  towards the lg. ob.  facing  holdingoutto they stand.  Person

      ama´         a´ji    ctĭ   ga´xe-naⁿ´i.   Ataⁿ´ctĕ  nini´ba
  the pl. sub.  different  too  they often do.  Sometimes  pipe

     aȼiⁿ´-bajĭ    gaⁿ´  waaⁿ´  si´aⁿȼe´ daⁿ´ctĕ    najiⁿ´-naⁿi.     Kĭ
  they do not have  so  singing  alone  perhaps  they stand often.  And

  ni´kaciⁿ´ga     ama´       ȼe´  i´ȼa‘e´ȼĕ ama´   úckaⁿ eda´daⁿ údaⁿ
     person   the pl. sub.  this  those who have  deed   what  good
                                   visions, etc.

          uha´           ‘i´ȼĕ   tai´ ʞĭ´ctĕ i´bahaⁿ´i,   cĭ    úckaⁿ
  to follow the course  promise  will  even  they know,  again  deed

   júajĭ        a´kipa tai´  ʞĭ´ctĕ  i´bahaⁿ´i.  Gaⁿ ni´kaciⁿ´ga   ȼiⁿ
  unsuitable  they will meet  even   they know.  And   person      the
                                                                 mv. one

      aⁿwaⁿ´waʇa         gaqȼaⁿ´    maⁿȼiⁿ´ ctĕwaⁿ´  nini´    uji´
  in what direction  large hunting  walks  soever  tobacco  puts in

    ‘i´i   e´gaⁿ    waȼi´gȼañkiȼai´.     E‘aⁿ´ ujañ´ge     uha´  tai
  gives to  as  causes him to prophesy.  How    road  he will follow its
    him                                                   course

  ʞĭ´ctĕ i´bahaⁿ     gi´gaⁿȼai´   e´gaⁿ   waañ´kiȼai´.       Kĭ
   even  to know  wishes for him   as  causes him to sing.  And

   ataⁿ´ctĕ  ni´kaciⁿ´ga    ama´      e´gaⁿi,      a´ȼade-naⁿ´i,
  sometimes    person   the pl. sub.  just so,  they often pronounce,

   wani´ta  daⁿ´ctĕ  ube´[s]niⁿ  ʞĭ,  wani´ta  d‘u´ba   aⁿ‘i´i   hă, e´
  quadruped  perhaps  they find  if  quadruped  some   they have  .  he
                        out                           given to me   says


383, 4, et passim. Ȼaȼiⁿce ejaⁿmiⁿ, contracted in rapid pronunciation
to, ȼaȼiⁿcejaⁿmiⁿ.

383, 4-6. Ȼigȼize-maⁿȼiⁿ, Ȼiaⁿba-tigȼe, Ȼiaⁿba-gínaⁿ, and Gaagigȼedaⁿ
are “nikie names” of the Ictasanda or Thunder gens of the Omaha. They
may refer to four Thunder beings, one at each point of the compass, or
one dwelling in the direction of each of the four winds.

383, 8. Ciⁿȼiqade, with the arms elevated and the hands stretched out,
palms down, towards the clouds.

383, 9-10. Nikaciⁿga wedajĭ ama, etc. Other gentes of Omaha fear to
mention these Ictasanda names, or to bestow them on members of their

383, 11. Agudictĕ ... iȼa‘eȼĕ ama, etc. Refers to the Iñgȼaⁿ iȼa‘eȼĕ
ama, or the Thunder shamans, of the other Omaha gentes.


When the Ictasanda people become fearful during a shower, they fill a
pipe with tobacco and offer it to the Thunder-beings. And when they
offer the tobacco, they speak thus: “O grandfather! I am very poor
here. In some direction or other cause a place to be abandoned by those
(who would injure me?). I think that you are there O Ȼigȼize-maⁿȼiⁿ! I
think that you are there. O Ȼiaⁿba-tigȼe! I think that you are there. O
Ȼiaⁿba-gi naⁿ! I think that you are there. O Gaagigȼedaⁿ! I think that
you are there.”

And when they do not offer the tobacco, they stand with the arms
elevated and the hands stretched out, palms down, as they cry towards
the clouds. And they say that the Thunder-beings know about them, their

The Omaha of the other gentes fear to mention these Ictasanda nikie
names, or to bestow them on members of their gentes, as well as to
invoke the Thunder-being or beings, unless they belong to the order of
Thunder shamans. In that case, they can do as the Ictasanda people do.
They make songs about the Thunder-beings, and stand singing their own
songs. They fill the pipe with tobacco, and stand, holding it with the
mouth-piece toward the clouds, as they gaze towards them.

These shamans often act otherwise. Sometimes they do not fill the
pipe, and then they stand singing the Thunder songs, without offering
anything to the Thunder-beings.

And these shamans know when anything promises to result in good or
evil to the person undertaking it. So when a person wishes to join a
large hunting party, he fills a pipe with tobacco, and offers it to
a shaman, thus causing him to prophesy. As he wishes him to know the
result of following a certain course, (i. e., of traveling in a certain
direction), he induces the shaman to sing (sacred songs). And sometimes
the shaman predicts the very occurrence which comes to pass; if, for
instance, he foretells that the inquiring man will kill game, he may
say, ‘The Thunder-beings (?) have given me some quadrupeds.’


§ 36. The following was a custom of the Lṵ or Thunder-being gens. At
the time of the first thunder-storm in the spring of the year, the Lṵ
people put a quantity of green cedar on a fire, making a great smoke.
The storm ceased after the members of the other gentes offered prayers.
The Buffalo or Tcedŭñga gens aided the Lṵ gens in the worship of the
Thunder-being, by sending one of their men to open the sacred bag of
gray hawk skin and remove the mystery pipe. These objects were kept by
a Lṵ man, Kinuyiñge, who was not allowed to open the bag.

Pahaⁿle-gaqli, of the Large Hañga gens, and Aliⁿkawahu, of the Small
Hañga, are the leaders in everything pertaining to war. Pahaⁿle-gaqli
furnished the author with a copy of his war chart, on which are
represented symbols of the mystery songs. In the middle of the chart
there should be a representation of fire, but Pahaⁿle-gaqli said
that he was afraid to draw it there, unless he fasted and took other
necessary precautions. The songs used in connection with the chart
are very “wakandagi,” or mysterious. They are never sung on common
occasions, or in a profane manner, lest the offender should be
killed by the Thunder-being. One of the three songs about the sacred
pipe, sung when the wrappings are taken from the pipe (See § 85) by
Aliⁿkawahu is as follows:

                        “Ha-há! tcé-ga-nú ha-há!
                        Ha-há! tcé-ga-nú ha-há!
                        Ha-há! tcé-ga-nú ha-há!

(Unintelligible to the author. Said when Aliⁿkawahu presses down on the
covers or wrappings of the pipe.)

                     “Yu! yu! yú! Hü-hü´! Hü-hü´!”

(Chorus sung by all the Large and Small Hañga men.)

This last line is an invocation of the Thunder-being. The arms, which
are kept apart and parallel, are held up toward the sky, with the
palms of the hands out. Each arm is then rubbed from the wrist to the
shoulder by the other hand.[31]

After the singing of these three songs, Pahaⁿle-gaqli carries the
sacred clam shell on his back.

The second figure on the chart is that of the venerable man or Wakanda,
who was the first singer of all the Hañga songs. When Aliⁿkawahu and
Pahaⁿle-gaqli are singing them, they think that this Wakanda walks
behind them, holding up his hands toward the Thunder-being, to whom he
prays for them.

When the war pipe is smoked by any Hañga man, he holds the pipe in his
right hand, and blows the smoke into the sacred clam shell, in his
left. The smoke ascends from the clam shell to the Thunder-being, to
whom it is pleasant.

The Kansa used to “cry to” the Thunder-being before going on the
warpath. When the captain (the head of the Large Hañga gens) smoked his
pipe, he used to say, Haú,  Wákanda-é,  Páyiⁿ-máhaⁿ miⁿ´  ts’e  kŭⁿ´bla
                      Ho?   O Wakanda!      Skidi   one  to die  I wish

  eyau,” i. e. “Ho, Wakanda! I really wish a Skidi” (or, Pawnee Loup)

“to die!”

The men of the two Hañga gentes unite in singing songs to stop rain,
when fair weather is needed, and songs to cause rain when there has
been a drought. (See § 43.)


§ 37. The Omaha and Ponka believe in the Wakandagi, monsters that
dwell beneath the bluffs and in the Missouri river. These monsters have
very long bodies, with horns on their heads. One myth relates how an
orphan killed a Wakandagi with seven heads.[32]

The Omaha have a tradition that a Wakandagi was seen in the lake
into which Blackbird creek empties, near the Omaha agency. It is
impossible to say whether the Wakandagi and the ┴ande or Ground were
differentiated (See § 27). The Kansa Mi-á-lṵ-cka were somewhat like
the Wakandagi, though in one respect they resembled the mythical
Ԁá-[s]nu-ta of the Omaha, i. e., in having enormous heads. The Kansa
speak of the Mialṵcka as a race of dreadful beings with large heads and
long hair.[33] They dwelt in remote places, to which they were supposed
to entice any unwary Indian who traveled alone. The victim became crazy
and subsequently lived as a miⁿquga or catamite. Some of the Mialṵcka
dwelt underground or in the water, sitting close to the bank of the
stream. The ancient Mialṵcka was a benefactor to the Indians, for he
took some wet clay and made first a buffalo calf and then three buffalo
bulls, which he ordered the Indians to shoot, after teaching them how
to make bows and arrows and to use them.

                             THE INDAȻIÑGA.

§ 38. The Ponka, in 1871, told the author of a being whom they called
the Ĭndáȼiñga. This being was a superhuman character, who dwelt in the
forests. He hooted like an owl, and he was so powerful that he could
uproot a tree or overturn a lodge. The Ponka had a song about him,
and mothers used to scare their children by saying, “Behave, else the
Ĭndaȼiñga will catch you!” Joseph La Flèche had heard it spoken of
as a monster in human shape, covered with thick hair. As the Ponka
for wearing a mask is “Ĭndáȼiñga gáxe,” or “to act the Ĭndáȼiñga,” it
may be that this character was an aboriginal bogy. Compare the Dakota
Ćaŋotidaŋ, Hoḣnoġića, Uŋgnaġićala, etc. (§ 232.) Omaha mothers used
to scare their children by telling them that if they did not behave,
Icibajĭ (a hero of the ┴e-sĭnde gens) or ┴exujaⁿ (a hero of the [K]aⁿze
gens) would catch them.[34] Another fearful being was Ĭnde-naⁿba, or
Two Faces, the very sight of whom killed a woman who was enceinte.[35]
This being resembled, in some respects, Ictinike, the deceiver,[36]
though Ictinike was usually the counterpart of the Dakota Ikto, Iktomi,
or Uŋktomi. (See §§ 228-231.) As a worker of evil Ictinike may be
compared with the Dakota Anŭŋg-ite or Two Faces, and the latter in turn
resembled the Ĭndáȼiñga of the Ponka. (See §§ 233, 234.)

                         OTHER KANSA WAKANDAS.

§ 39. The third figure on the Kansa war chart is[37] that of the Wakanda
or aged man who gives success to the hunter. He is thus addressed by
Aliⁿkawahu and Pahaⁿle-gaqli: Ts‘áge-jiñ´ga haú!     Dáble
                              Venerable man  Ho!    To hunt
                                                  large quadrupeds

  maⁿ´yiⁿ-aú! Dádaⁿ wadjü´ta  níkaciⁿga ckédaⁿ     wáyakípa-bá[p]aⁿ
   walk thou  What  quadruped  person   soever you meet them  and

[Transcriber’s note: the hyphen in “maⁿ´yiⁿ-aú” was at the end of a
line; the word may have been “maⁿ´yiⁿaú” or “maⁿ´yiⁿ-aú”.]

     kill ye   !

[Transcriber’s note: the last hyphen in “ts’éya-bána-hau” was at
the end of a line; the word may have been “ts’éya-bánahau” or

i.e., “Venerable man, go hunting! Kill whatever persons or quadrupeds
meet you!” They think that this being drives the game towards the

In the war chart there are seven songs of the Wakanda who makes night
songs. Fig. 16 of that chart refers to a song of another Wakanda who is
not described. Fig. 18 refers to two shade songs. Shade is made by a
Wakanda. Fig. 19 is a dream song. There is a Wakanda who makes people
sleepy, an Indian Somnus.

               § 40. OMAHA INVOCATIONS OF THE TRAP, ETC.

   Jábe     daⁿ´ctĕ     úji   ʞĭ,   makaⁿ´   ígaxe   maⁿȼiⁿ´i  ʞĭ,   é
  Beaver  for instance  he    if,  medicine  making  he walks  if,  that
                       traps                for that
                        it                   purpose

    niní     bahá    eʇá  tĕ   é. (The invisible being who first made
   tobacco  showing  his  the  it.

   the medicine was thus addressed:) Níkaciⁿga pahañ´ga makaⁿ´
                                      Person    first  medicine

   ícpahaⁿ  niñkĕ´cĕ, [p]éjehíde ckaⁿzé niñkĕ´cĕ,   niní    gakĕ´! Ȼéȼu
  you knew   you who   medicine    you   you who  tobacco   that   Here
              (sit),              taught  (sit),           lg. ob.

  edádaⁿ    ckaⁿzé    gĕ    iȼápahaⁿ-majĭ´-qti   wiⁿ´ áiȼágaȼaȼiⁿhé
   what  you taught  the  I do not know at all  one  I am carrying on
                      pl.                             my arm and in my
                    in. ob.                            hand as I move

  ȼaⁿ´ja,  caⁿ´edádaⁿ  ctécte    íwamakáaȼĕ         té   ă.   Niní
  though,  yet  what   soever  I get it easily by  will  !  Tobacco
                                    means of

   gakĕ´,  aí  níaciⁿga  amá. (He then prays to the beaver:) Haú,  Jábe!
   that,  says   person  the mv.                             Ho, Beaver!
  lg. ob.,                sub.

   Niní   gakĕ´!  Úbahi   e‘aⁿ´  ckáxai    gĕ  bȼúgaqti  ugígȼacaⁿ´i-gă!
  Tobacco  that! Feeding  how   you made  the    all   travel ye in your
                  place           them    pl.                 own!
                                         in ob.

   Niní   gakĕ´! (Next, to the medicine:) Haú, Ԁéjehíde,    niní  gakĕ´!
  Tobacco  that!                          Ho,  Medicine,  tobacco  that!
          lg. ob.                                                lg. ob.

   ‘Aⁿ´qti ctécte    waníta    wiⁿ    uhé eaⁿ´ȼĕ     taté,    eȼégaⁿ
  No matter how it  quadruped  one  pass me on the  shall,  thinking it
  is (_or_ At any                   road (to the
           rate)                           trap)

  najiñ´-gă. ‘Aⁿ´qti ctécte [p]áqȼuge   aⁿ´ȼaⁿská        taté,
  stand thou.  At any rate   nostrils  large enough     shall,
                                      for me (i. e., to
                                          smell me.)

     eȼégaⁿ     najiñ´-gă.   Niní  gakĕ´! (Invocation of the trap:) Haú,
  thinking it  stand thou.  Tobacco  that!                          Ho,
                                    lg ob.

  Maⁿ´zĕ    nañkácĕ!    niní   gakĕ´!  ‘Aⁿ´qti ctécte  wiⁿ´ wat’éaȼĕ
   Iron  ye who (sit)  tobacco  that!    At any rate   one  I kill it
                               lg. ob.

   tá   miñke,   eȼégaⁿ    gȼiⁿ´i-gă. (Invocation of the pack-strap:)
  will  I who, thinking it  sit ye.

  Haú,    Wé‘iⁿ      niñkĕ´cĕ!     niní    gakĕ´! Aⁿ´qti ctécte  wí
  Ho,  Packstrap  you who (sit)!  tobacco  that!   At any rate   I
                                     lg. ob.

   waníta   áhigi  weát‘ĕ,  eȼégañ-gă.  Haú,  ┴ijébe      íɔnugaʇá
  quadruped  many  I touch  think thou.  Ho,  Entrance  at the right
                    them,                                   side

  ȼátaⁿcé!   niní   gakĕ´! ‘Aⁿ´qti ctécte  wí   waníta    aⁿȼaⁿ´bakĭn´de
  you who  tobacco  that!   At any rate    I  quadruped  brushing by me
   stand!          lg. ob.

   anájiⁿ   tá   miñke, eȼégañ-gă.  Haú,   ┴e-sĭn´de      ugácke
  I stand  will  I who  think thou.  Ho,  Buffalo-tail  tied to it

  ȼátaⁿcé!   niní   gakĕ´! ‘Aⁿ´qti ctécte  wí   waníta     aⁿʇáp‘ĕ
  you who  tobacco  that!    At any rate    I  quadruped  near to me
   stand!   lg. ob.

   anájiⁿ   tá   miñke, eȼégañ-gă.  Haú,    Unéȼĕ    niñkĕ´cĕ!  niní
  I stand  will  I who  think thou.  Ho,  Fireplace  you who  tobacco
                 (sit),                               (sit)!

  gakĕ´! ‘Aⁿ´qti ctécte wi   waníta     aⁿ´naaí    agȼiⁿ´  tá   miñke,
   that!   At any rate   I  quadruped  drops over  I sit  will  I who
  lg. ob.                             on me (from               (sit)
                                       the kettle)

  think thou.


Told by George Miller. In the last invocation, he began to dictate thus:

  “Haú,  Náwiⁿxe   dúba    ákipasan´de    nañkácĕ!” i. e., “Ho, ye
   Ho,  Firebrand  four  meet at a common  ye who

four firebrands that meet at a common point (i. e., in the middle of
the fireplace)!” He subsequently changed it to an invocation of the
fireplace itself. But it is very probable that there was an invocation
of the four firebrands, resembling the ceremonies of the Kansa and
Osage (see § 33). George has given all that he remembers of the
invocations, but he does not recollect the exact order.

     387, 3. [p]eje-hide, “lower part,” or “roots of grass,” an archaic
     name for “makaⁿ”, medicine. Nini gakĕ--the classifier kĕ shows that
     a long object, the pipe, is referred to, the tobacco being in the
     pipe when it is offered to the powers.

     388, 1. aiȼagaȼaȼiⁿhe, contr. from áiȼágaȼa áȼiⁿhé, used here in
     the sense of “abȼiⁿ,” I have.

     388, 12. aⁿȼaⁿbakĭnde, eq. to aⁿȼaⁿbista ȼéwaȼĕ, to send them
     (through) when they are so close that they touch me.


The invisible being who first made the beaver medicine and taught
its use to mankind, was thus addressed: “Oh, Thou who didst teach how
to make the medicine, here is tobacco! Though I have your medicine, the
nature of which I do not understand at all, grant that I may easily
acquire something or other by means of it! Here is tobacco!”

When he addressed the beavers, he said, “Ho, ye Beavers! Here is
tobacco! Let all of you travel in your feeding places which you have
made. Here is tobacco!” To the beaver medicine itself, he said, “Ho,
Medicine! Here is tobacco! Stand thinking thus, ‘At any rate an animal
shall surely pass me and be caught in the trap, and its nostrils shall
be large enough to smell me.’” The trap itself was thus addressed: “Ho,
ye pieces of iron! Here is tobacco! Sit ye and think thus: ‘At any
rate I will kill one!’” To the pack-strap was said, “Ho, pack-strap!
Here is tobacco! Think thou, ‘At any rate I shall press against many
quadrupeds.’” The right side of the entrance to the tent (?) was thus
addressed: “Ho, Thou who standest at the right side of the entrance
to the tent! (§ 232) Here is tobacco! Think thou, ‘At any rate I shall
continue to have some one bring dead animals on his back and send
through me suddenly, rubbing against me as they pass through.’” To the
principal tent pole these words were said, “Ho, Thou who standest with
the buffalo tail tied to thee! Here is tobacco! Think thou, ‘At any
rate, I shall have a quadruped to come near me.’” When the man invoked
the fireplace, he said, “Ho, Fireplace! Here is tobacco! Think thou,
‘At any rate I shall sit and have the water fall on me in drops as it
boils over from the kettle containing the quadruped.’”

These invocations may be compared with what the prophet Habakkuk tells
us about the Chaldeans, in the first chapter of his prophecy. In his
prayer to God, he says, “These plunderers pull out all men with the
hook, draw them in with their casting net, and gather them with their
draw net, and rejoice and are glad in it. Therefore they make offerings
to their casting net, and burn incense to their draw net, for through
them their catch is rich and their food dainty.”[38]


§ 41. This topic naturally precedes that of visions or dreams about
mystery, animals, and objects. Two Crows and Joseph La Flèche heard
the following spoken of as an ancient custom. It was told them in
their youth by some of the old men of that day, who had received it
from their elders as having been practiced by the tribe for unnumbered
generations. When old men had sons, sisters’ sons, or grandsons, who
approached manhood, they used to direct those youths to abstain from
food and drink, and to put clay on their faces, saying: “Qaⁿxa´ʇa
                                                         Far away

   xage´ maⁿȼiⁿ´i-gă. Aⁿ´ba  ȼa´bȼiⁿ  du´ba  jaⁿ´  ʞĭ,  waȼáta-bajíi-gă,
  crying  walk ye.    Day    three   four  sleep  if,  do not eat (pl.),

   kĭ   ní    ȼataⁿ´-bajíi-gă.    Ȼiqu´bajĭ  cte´ctĕwaⁿ,  caⁿ´  Wakan´da
  and water  do not drink (pl.)  You are not  even if,   still  Wakanda

    aká     uȼi´ʞaⁿ   tá aka.     Wa´ȼawaqpáni     maⁿɔniⁿ´i  ʞĭ,
  the sub.  he will  aid you.  You act as if poor  you walk  if,

  waɔnáhaⁿ-de    ȼaxáxage ʞĭ, uȼi´ʞaⁿ ta´ aka,” i. e., “Walk ye in remote
  you pray when  you cry  if  he will aid you.

places, crying to Wakanda. Neither eat nor drink for three or four
days. Even though you do not acquire personal mysterious power, Wakanda
will aid you. If you act as poor men, and pray as you cry, he will help

When their throats became dry, their voices gave out. When they had
completed their fasts, they went home, being exceedingly emaciated. At
that time they could not swallow solid food, so they were obliged to
subsist on mush mixed with much water, till by degrees they became able
to eat what they pleased. Many thought that this fasting enabled them
to have superhuman communications with Wakanda.

Fasting was practiced at other times, but always in order to obtain
superhuman assistance or to acquire a transfer of superhuman power. A
Ponka war captain exhorted each of his followers thus: “Ahaú! Wackaⁿ´
egañ´-gă! Qu´bekiȼa´-bi ȼiⁿhe´!” i.e., “Oho! Do exert yourself! Be sure
to make yourself the possessor of superhuman power by the aid of the
animal that you have seen in your vision after fasting!”[39] Members
of a small war party had to fast four days, counting from the time
that they started on the warpath.[40] Before the large war party was
formed to avenge the wrongs of Wabaskaha, the four prospective captains
fasted.[41] When the Kansa captain fasted, he could not visit his
family, but a small fasting lodge was erected for him at some distance
from his own house.[42]

                        MYSTIC TREES AND PLANTS.

§ 42. The Omaha have two sacred trees, the ash and the cedar. The
ash is connected with the beneficent natural powers. Part of the sacred
pole of the Omaha and Ponka is made of ash, the other part being of
cottonwood. The stems of the niniba weawaⁿ, or “sacred pipes of
friendship,” are made of ash. But the cedar is linked with the
destructive agencies, thunder, lightning, wars.[43]

When the seven old men took the pipes around the Omaha tribal circle,
the bad Maⁿȼiñka-gaxe people wore plumes in their hair and wrapped
branches of cedar around their heads, being awful to behold. So the old
man passed them by and gave the pipe to the other Maⁿȼiñka-gaxe, who
were good. In the Osage traditions, cedar symbolizes the tree of life.
When a woman is initiated into the secret society of the Osage, the
officiating man of her gens gives her four sips of water, symbolizing,
so they say, the river flowing by the tree of life, and then he rubs
her from head to foot with cedar needles three times in front, three
times at her back, and three times on each side, twelve times in all,
pronouncing a sacred name of Wakanʇa as he makes each pass. Part of
the Paⁿɥka gens of the Osage tribe[44] are Red Cedar people. The Pañka
gens of the Kansa tribe is called “Qŭndjalaⁿ,” i.e., “wearers of cedar
(branches) on the head.” Cedar is used by the Santee Dakota in their
ceremony of the four winds. (See § 128.) The Teton Dakota believe in
the efficacy of the smell of cedar wood or of the smoke from cedar in
scaring away ghosts. (See § 272.) In the Athapascan creation myth of
Oregon, obtained by the author in 1884, the smoke of cedar took the
place of food for the two gods who made the world, and the red cedar is
held sacred as well as the ash, because these two trees were the first
to be discovered by the gods.[45]

That the Hidatsa have a similar notion about the red cedar is shown by
their name for it, “midahopa,” mysterious or sacred tree. Compare what
Matthews tells about the Hidatsa reverence for the cottonwood with what
is recorded above about the Omaha sacred pole.[46] (§ 344.)

The cottonwood tree also seems to have been regarded as a mystic tree
by the Omaha and Ponka, just as it is by the Hidatsa. The sacred pole
of the two tribes was made from a tall cottonwood.[47] When the lower
part of the sacred pole became worn away, about 8 feet remained, and
to this was fastened a piece of ash wood about 18 inches long. In
preparing for the dance called the Hede watci, the Iñke-sabĕ people
sought a cottonwood tree, which they rushed on, felled, and bore to
the center of the tribal circle, where they planted it in the “ujeʇi.”
Mystic names taken from the cottonwood are found in the Ȼixida and
Nika[p]aɔna, the two war gentes of the Ponka tribe, and in the Ȼatada
and [K]aⁿze gentes of the Omaha.[48]

That there were other mystic trees and plants, appears from an
examination of the personal names of the Omaha, Ponka, and cognate
tribes. For instance, ┴ackahigȼaⁿ, a nikie name of the ┴a[p]a, or Deer
gens of the Omaha, conveys some reference to a white oak tree, ʇackahi;
and in the Nuqe, a Buffalo gens of the Ponka tribe, we find the name
┴abehi, from a plant, bush, or tree found in Nebraska, the leaves of
which, resembling those of red cherry trees, are used by the Omaha for
making a tea. Further study may show that the Winnebago, who have the
name Waziʞa, Pine Person, reverence a pine tree. (Query: May not this
name be Cedar Person, rather than Pine Person?)

Among the Iowa, Oto, and Missouri, we find several cedar, corn, and
pumpkin names. Several corn and pumpkin names occur in the name list
of the Kansa tribe. Corn, elm, and black hawthorn names are found in
the Osage name list, as well as cedar names; and their traditions
tell of the cedar, red oak, and sycamore, as well as of the corn and
pumpkin.[49] (See § 49.)


§ 43. This term has been defined in Chapter II (§ 8). It is very
probable that fasting for several days tended to produce the condition
of mind and body requisite for the supposed superhuman communications.
According to Ԁaȼiⁿ-naⁿpajĭ and other Omaha, some persons thought that
they saw or heard ghosts or various animals. Sometimes men were roused
from sleep, imagining that they heard mysterious voices. They claimed
to have interviews with U-ga-ha-na-[p]a-ze, or the Ancient of Darkness;
Ma-qpi, or the Ancient of Clouds; ┴ande, or the Ground Being; Iñgȼaⁿ,
or the Thunder-being; the Sun, the Moon, the Morning Star, the Ancient
of Rattlesnakes, the Ancient of Grizzly Bears, the Ancient of Black
Bears, the Ancient of Buffaloes, the Ancient of Big Wolves, and the
Ancient of Prairie Wolves. Each being or animal thus seen in a dream
or vision seems to have been regarded as the special guardian spirit
of the person claiming to have had interviews with him. The Iñgȼaⁿ
iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma, or Those who had interviews with the Thunder-being, never
danced at the meetings of their society. They invited one another to
feast, and they sang as they remained seated. The songs referred to the
Thunder-being. When they finished eating and singing the ceremonies
ended. This order of Thunder shamans claimed the power to make rain
(see § 36).

According to Ԁaȼiⁿ-naⁿpajĭ and Little Village Maker, these shamans
could also make circles of seven colors around the sun and moon, and
the two men just named said that they had seen this done. Joseph La
Flèche and Two Crows gave the following explanation: “When there are
clouds that obscure the moon, a circle is seen around the moon, and it
sometimes resembles a rainbow.” Though Two Crows belongs to the Buffalo
society (┴e iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma, or Order of Buffalo shamans--see § 89), he said
that he had never had an interview with a mysterious buffalo, but that
his work in the order was confined to the practice of surgery, he being
the keeper of the “makaⁿ skiȼĕ,” or sweet medicine. Notwithstanding
this, there are certain buffalo songs, the property of the order, and
which they claim to be powerful charms capable of working cures, when
used by the surgeons of their order. Said Two Crows to the author,
“If they had sent for the doctors of our order we could have cured
President Garfield.” The author obtained two of these Buffalo songs
from an Omaha, but they are recorded only in singing notation.[50]

Among the Omaha societies are the Cañge iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma, the Horse
shamans,[51] the Caⁿʇañga iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma, the Big Wolf shamans,[52] and the
Maⁿtcu iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma, the Grizzly Bear shamans.[53]

According to Francis La Flèche,[54]

     “There are three degrees of powers which come to men through
     visions: First, when the vision takes the form of an animal which
     addresses the man, he will then have acquired a power which will
     stead him in danger, and give him success in life. Second, if the
     vision assumes the appearance of a cloud, or a human shape having
     wings like an eagle, and a voice addresses the man, he will have
     the additional power of being able to foretell events. Third,
     when the vision comes without any semblance and only a voice is
     heard, the man is given not only the power to achieve success and
     foretell events, but he can foresee the coming of death. Should
     a man endowed with the third degree so elect, he can in due form
     join the Ghost Society; or, if he prefers, he can practice his
     powers individually.”

His father, the late Joseph La Flèche, told the author in 1882 that
the Ghost Dance formerly belonged to the Ponka tribe, from whom the
Omaha took it; though it has not been used by the Omaha since about A.
D. 1850.[55] The only inference which the author can draw from this
statement of the father is that if the Omaha obtained the Ghost Dance
from the Ponka, the Ghost Society or order of Ghost shamans is not an
original Omaha society. That the two are closely connected is proved
by the names, Wanaxe iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma, the (order of) Ghost shamans (or, The
Ghost Society), and Wanaxe iȼa‘eȼĕ watcigaxe, The dance of those who
have visions of ghosts, or, The Ghost Dance.

The Kansa have the Tce wactce, or Buffalo shaman, and an order of
such shamans. When a Kansa had a vision or dream (i-ya-k’e-ye) of an
animal, etc., he painted the mystery object on his shield. An old woman
used to “iyak’eye” of a flying serpent, the [M]yets‘a táji lícka. The
remains of such enormous serpents are found in the Black Hills, “and
if one finds such a reptile, he must die.” For an account of the Kansa
“wakandagi” see § 66.

The Kwapa or Ukaqpa Indians speak a dialect more closely allied to
that of the Omaha and Ponka than to those of the Kansa and Osage. With
them, to have superhuman communications is called dȼa-q‘é-dȼĕ; shamans
and doctors are níka qúwĕ, mysterious men, and among their societies
of such men are the following: Te dȼáq‘edȼĕ, Those having superhuman
communications with the Buffalo; the Maⁿtú dȼaq‘édȼĕ, Those having
interviews with the Grizzly Bear; the Iⁿtaⁿ´dȼaⁿ tañ´ʞa dȼaq‘édȼĕ,
Those having interviews with the Panther; and the Jawé dȼaq‘édȼĕ,
Those having interviews with the Beaver. There were doubtless other
orders, but they are unknown to the author’s Kwapa informant, Alphonsus
Valliere, of the Wajiñʞa or Bird gens.[56]


§ 44. The Omaha and Ponka have certain personal mystery decorations,
some of which are worn on garments, and others appear on the tents
of their owners. The makers and wearers of such decorations must be
members of one of the orders of shamans. George Miller’s father, Little
Soldier, used to wear a buffalo robe decorated in the style shown in
Figs. 156 and 157. It was his personal mystery decoration, which no
one else could use. Even members of his gens (the Ictasanda, a Thunder
and Reptile gens) feared to imitate it. The father promised to paint
this decoration on four white blankets for his son George, but he died
before he could paint the fourth one.

[Illustration: FIG. 156.--George Miller’s personal mystery decoration.]

George received the first one when he was about seventeen years of
age. Before he married he had worn out three. He still has the right
to decorate and wear the fourth blanket, according to his father’s
intention. He could decorate other white blankets in this style, and
wear them, if he wished, but he could not transmit to any one of his
children (the grandchildren of Little Soldier) the right to make and
wear such a decoration, unless George himself should hereafter see the
objects in a dream or vision.

[Illustration: FIG. 157.--A variant of Fig. 156.]

The right to use such designs on a buffalo robe, blanket, tent, etc.,
must originate with one who has had a vision or dream in which the
mystery objects are manifested. Those who could use the class of
designs represented in the accompanying illustrations (Figs. 156-161)
were members of the order of Thunder shamans (Iñgȼaⁿ iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma).

                       ORDER OF THUNDER SHAMANS.

§ 45. This order is composed of those who have had dreams or visions,
in which they have seen the Thunder-being, the Sun, the Moon, or some
her superterrestrial objects or phenomena.

When a person saw the Thunder-being or some other mystery object, he
kept the matter a secret for some time. He took care to join the first
war party that went from his camp or village. When the party reached
the land of the enemy or got into some trouble the man told of his
dream or vision. Should the dreamer or seer kill or grasp a foe while
a member of the expedition he made a Thunder song. He who brought back
one of the enemy’s horses also had the right to make a Thunder song.
Some time having elapsed after the return of the warriors, the seer
painted the mystery objects on a robe or blanket, and prepared a feast,
to which he invited all the members of the order of Thunder shamans.
When the guests had assembled the robe was hung up and shown to them.
Then all who were present rejoiced. From that time onward the host was
a member of the order, and he could wear the robe with safety.

[Illustration: FIG. 158.--Robe of Wanukige.]

He could give his son the right to wear such a robe, but unless that
son had a similar vision he could not transmit the right to one of
the next generation. Little Soldier painted a buffalo robe with his
personal mystery decoration, and gave it to Two Crows, whose father
had been one of the leaders of the order of Thunder shamans. So Two
Crows wore the robe, and he can make another like it; but he can not
transmit the right to his son, Ga‘iⁿ-bajĭ. Two Crows would have
been afraid to wear the robe or to copy the decoration on it had he not
been a member of the order by direct inheritance from his father. A
father can clothe his son in such a robe when that son is large enough
to go courting. The man can not give such a robe to his daughter, but
he can give one to his son’s son, or to his daughter’s son, should that
grandson be a large youth, who has neared or reached the age of puberty.

[Illustration: FIG. 159.--Tent of Wanukige.]

If a man who became eligible by his vision to membership in the order
of Thunder shamans ventured to wear the decorated robe without inviting
the members of the order to a feast, he incurred the anger of the
members and misfortune was sure to follow. Should a man wear such a
decorated robe without having had a vision of the mystery object, he
was in danger (if the object was connected with the Thunder-being,
etc.) of being killed by lightning. Every Omaha feared to decorate
his robe, tent, or blanket with an object seen by another person in a
dream or vision. For instance, George Miller would not dare to have
bears’ claws, horses’ hoofs, etc., on his robe, because neither he nor
his father ever saw a bear or horse mysteriously. There are penalties
attached to violations of the prohibitions of the other orders, but
George Miller did not know about them.

[Illustration: FIG. 160.--Robe of Ȼaqube.]

Besides the personal mystery decoration of the robe or blanket, is that
of the tent. Pl. XLIV, E is a sketch of a tent, furnished to the author
by Dried Buffalo Skull, an old man of the Ȼatada gens of the Omaha.
The decoration of this tent was the personal mystery or “qube” of
Hupeȼa, Sr., father of Hupeȼa, Jr. (now known as ┴enugaʇañga), of the
Wasabe-hit‘ajĭ or Black Bear sub-gens of the Ȼatada. After the death
of Hupeȼa, Sr., the decoration became the property of his kinsman,
Agaha-wacuce, of the same sub-gens, and father of Ԁaȼiⁿnaⁿpajĭ. The
circle at the top, representing a bear’s cave, is sometimes painted
blue, though Agaha-wacuce had it reddened. Below the four zigzag lines
(representing the lightnings of different colors) are the prints of
bears’ paws. The lower part of the tent was blackened with ashes or
charcoal. Among the four zigzag lines, red, according to Mr. Francis La
Flèche, symbolizes the east.

[Illustration: FIG. 161.--Robe of Ԁahe-ʇap‘ĕ.]

Wanukige, a chief of the Ictasanda gens, had a vision of the aurora
borealis, so he depicted this on his robes and tent, as shown in Figs.
158 and 159. On the tent were seven stripes, three on each side of the
entrance and one in the rear. Each robe that he wore had seven stripes.

Fig. 160 represents the personal mystery decoration of Ȼaqube of the
[K]aⁿze gens. George Miller’s father could wear this decoration, but
the right to it could not be transmitted by him to any one else.
Ԁahe-ʇap‘ĕ, of the [K]e-‘iⁿ subgens of the Ȼatada gens, once had a
vision of two stars and the new moon. Consequently he decorated his
buffalo robe, as shown in Fig. 161, and joined the order of Thunder
shamans. He died when the author was at the Omaha agency (between 1878
and 1880).

                      GENERIC FORMS OF DECORATION.

[Illustration: FIG. 162.--Generic decoration referring to night, etc.]

§ 46. There are examples of generic forms of decoration, as well
as those of specific forms. For instance, when a person had a
vision of the night, or of the Thunder-being, or one of some other
superterrestrial object, he blackened the upper part of his tent and a
small portion on each side of the entrance, as shown in Fig. 162.

It was given thus by George Miller:

  Níaciⁿga amá  águdi  ctĕ    haⁿ´    daⁿ´ctĕ     íȼa‘eȼé   amá   ʇí
   People  the  where  ever  night  for example  they have  the  tent
           pl.                                    visions
           sub.                                    of it

  ugȼiⁿ´i ʞĭ,   wiⁿdétaⁿ       sábeȼaí,    kĭ    ci   águdí   ctĕ
   they   if  one-half the  they blacken  and  again  where  ever
  dwell         length

  níkaciⁿga  amá     iñgȼaⁿ´   íȼa‘eȼé     amá      cĭ   égaⁿ
    people  the pl.  thunder  they have  the pl.  again  so
             sub.    being     visions     sub.
                                of it.

  they dwell in,
    they say.

                     SPECIFIC FORMS OF DECORATION.

A specific form related to the generic one just described is shown in
Fig. 163. The blackened part of the tent represents the night, and the
star denotes the morning star. There was a star on the left hand at the
back of the tent, and another star on the right side. Black and blue
are occasionally interchangeable in Omaha symbolism; hence we find that
the night is represented by a blue band on a coyote skin worn by the
elder Aⁿpaⁿ-skă, and subsequently by his son and namesake, when
the latter was a small boy. The blue band was worn next the shoulders
of the owner (Fig. 164).

[Illustration: FIG. 163.--Tent of Aⁿpaⁿ-skă, Sr.]

[Illustration: FIG. 164.--Robe of Aⁿpaⁿ-skă, Sr.]

The decoration refers to his “qube” or “sacred vision.” Little Cedar,
of the Maⁿȼiñka-gaxe (Omaha) gens, belonged, we are told, to the Miⁿ
iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma, or order of Sun and Moon shamans, probably identical with
the order of Thunder shamans. Fig. 165 represents a vision which Little
Cedar once had, described thus by George Miller:

  Gaⁿ´ níaciⁿga aká    íȼa‘eȼá-bi egaⁿ´     ȼetégaⁿ     ʇi     ugá    tĕ
  And     man   the  having had a vision,  like this  tent  painted  the
                sub.      they say         std. ob.

  ugȼiⁿ´-biamá.   Mázi-jiñ´ga ijáje   aȼiⁿ´-biamá. Sábe   tĕ    haⁿ´
  he dwelt in,  Cedar Little his name  had, they   Black  the  night
    they say,                             say

    kĕ    é   gáxai; niaⁿ´ba  ȼaⁿ     éȼaⁿbe   tĕ  gáxai. Niaⁿ´ba
    the  that  made   moon  the cv.  emerging  the  made.  Moon
  lg. ob.                     ob.

   uȼan´da  ȼan´di níkaciⁿga  ugȼiⁿ´ gáxai, gañ´ʞĭ   íȼa‘eȼaí    ȼiñké
   in the  in the  person  sitting  made    and  one seen in  the one
  midst of   part              in                  a vision     who

    é   tĕ. Niaⁿ´ba  éȼaⁿbe       atí-nandi     náqȼiⁿ
  that  the  Moon    emerging  comes regularly,  blazes
                                   when       (sends up

      égaⁿ-naⁿ´i.     The black band refers to the night; the circle, to
  somewhat usually.

the moon; the circumscribed figure is a ghost that he saw in the moon;
and the dots above the moon refer to the “white which stands above the
rising sun or moon.” Pl. XLIV B shows another tent decoration of the
same man. The red circle represents the sun, in which stands a man
holding the ʇa-cá-ge, or deer rattles, made of the hard or callous
knobs found near the hoofs of the deer. These knobs are split, hollowed
out, and strung on sticks. The tent being very large, the figure of the
man was almost life size, and a real feather was tied to his head. The
blue band at the bottom may represent night, but there is no certainty
about it.

[Illustration: FIG. 165.--Tent of Mazi-jiñga--ghost vision.]

[Illustration: FIG. 166.--A tent of Nikuȼibȼaⁿ.]

§ 47. Fig. 166 is the decoration of one of the tents of Ni-ku-ȼi-bȼaⁿ,
father of the present Wackaⁿ-maⁿȼiⁿ (Hard Walker), an ex-chief of the
Omaha. Nikuȼibȼaⁿ was one of the two leaders of the order of Thunder
shamans, and was regarded as being very “qube” or mysterious. The black
band at the bottom refers to the night, and above it are seen the moon
and a star. The old man named one of his grandchildren Haⁿakipa (Meets
the Night), after the vision to which the tent decoration refers.

George Miller furnished the description of Nikuȼibȼaⁿ’s tent, obtained
from an old woman, who is his widow:

  “Gaⁿ   wíqti  ʇaⁿ´ba-májĭ ȼaⁿ´ja,   uȼaí    égaⁿ ana´‘aⁿ hă. Gaⁿ´
   And     I    I did not  though  they have  as   I have     And
         myself  see him           told about     heard it.

  iñgȼaⁿ´ⁿ    íȼa‘eȼá-biamá,       ádaⁿ    ʇuɔniñ´ge  gáxai   tĕ
  Thunder  he had a vision of  therefore  rainbow  made it  the
   Being    him, they say                                  (past

    gátĕ.   ┴íhuʞaⁿ     ȼaⁿʇá    bagȼéjai   tĕ,    é    uȼaí   hă
  that ob.  Smoke-hole  at the  painted in  the  that  told it  .
               part    spots     (past

  wa‘újiñga  igáqȼaⁿ     aká.   Maⁿ´ciaʇá  aȼiⁿ´    akíi,   á-biamá.
  old woman  his wife  the sub.  On high  having    had    he said,
                                           him    reached  they say.
                                        there again

   Eʇá   ctĭ  majaⁿ´ ȼé   égaⁿ,   á-biamá.         Qubĕ´qti     gáxai
  There  too  land  this  like  he said, they   Very mysterious  they
                                   say.                       made him

  níaciⁿga,    ádaⁿ     ʇí     ugá     tĕ áwatégaⁿ  gáxe    gaⁿ´ȼai
    man     therefore  tent  painted  the   how   to make  he wished

   ʞĭ,    gaⁿ´  égaⁿ  gáxai.        Bagȼéjai    tĕ  mási    é    wakaí
  when  at any   so  he made it.  Made spotted  he  hail  that it meant
  rate                             by painting

  the (past

That is, “I myself did not see him, but I have heard what was told.
They say that he had a vision of the Thunder-being, so he made that
rainbow which appears in the figure (Fig. 167). The old woman,
his widow, has told that he painted the top of the tent, near the
smoke-hole, in spots. They say that he said that the Thunder-being
had carried him up on high, and that the place there resembled this
world. The man was regarded as very mysterious; therefore he decorated
his tent according to the pattern that he wished to make. The painted
spots represent hail.” Many years ago, Nikuȼibȼaⁿ said that he had
been carried up into the world above this one, and that he found it
resembled the world in which we live. The rainbow and hail depicted on
the tent formed part of the vision, but their exact significance has
not been explained.

[Illustration: FIG. 167.--Another tent of Nikuȼibȼaⁿ.]

[Illustration: FIG. 168.--Blanket of Cuʞa-maⁿȼiⁿ.]

Cu-ʞa maⁿ-ȼiⁿ, an Omaha, had a vision which gave him the right to use
the decoration given in Fig. 168. The meanings of the different marks
have not been learned. Cuʞa maⁿȼiⁿ bequeathed the blanket to his son,
[K]axe-giaⁿ (Flying Crow), now known as Gilbert Morris.

[Illustration: FIG. 169.--Tent of ┴e-saⁿ; vision of a cedar.]

[Illustration: FIG. 170.--Tent of ┴e-saⁿ; sun and rainbow vision.]

§ 48. The old chief ┴e-saⁿ (Ta sone of Maj. Long), Distant-white
Buffalo, father of the chiefs Standing Hawk and Fire Chief, had a
vision of a cedar tree, which he painted on each side of his tent, as
seen in Fig. 169. The next sketch (Fig. 170) shows the back part of
another tent of ┴e-saⁿ. The blue band near the top is called “sabe”
(black); below this is the sun and a blue rainbow; near the bottom are
two horsetails. The only decorations on the front of the tent are two
horsetails, one on each side of the entrance. This tent was used by
Standing Hawk after the death of his father. This decoration may have
been made after a vision of horses, as Standing Hawk was a member of
the order of Horse Shamans (Cañge iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma). George Miller speaks
thus about it:

  Gaⁿ´ níaciⁿga   aká    níkagahí  átai  egaⁿ´ íȼa‘éȼĕ daⁿ´etĕaⁿ´i
  And    man    the sub.  chief   he was  as  he had a   perhaps
                                  beyond        vision

       tĕ,   miⁿ´  ȼaⁿ     ugaí,        íʇi.          Cĭ   cañ´gĕ sĭn´de
  the (past  sun  the   he painted  he painted the  Again  horse   tail
       act)      cv. ob.            tent with it.

  ctĭ   gáxai,   hidé   kĕ´di.   ┴íhuʞaⁿ    [p]así     ȼaⁿ
  too  he made  bottom  at the  Smoke hole  tip end  the part

     sábĕȼai.   That is, “As the man was a head chief, he may have had a
  he blackened.

vision, for he occupied a tent on which he painted the sun, and he also
decorated it with horse-tails at the lower part. He painted the border
of the smoke-hole a dark blue (ʇu sabĕ, which is some-times called,

    “Iȼádi       amá        daⁿ´ctĕ  égaⁿ gáxai tĕ´di, ijiñ´ge   amá
  His father  the pl. sub.  perhaps   so   did  when   his son  the pl.

    íȼa‘éȼa-bájĭ    ctĕwaⁿ´ égaⁿ  gáxe-naⁿ´-biamá,     ádaⁿ   égaⁿ
  they did not have  even   so   usually did, they  therefore  so
    visions of it                        say

  gáxai.” That is, “When the fathers decorate their tents in consequence
  he did

of their respective visions, their sons (who succeed them) usually
imitate them (or dwell in the decorated tents), even when they
themselves have not had visions of the objects. Therefore he (i.e.,
Standing Hawk) did so.”

George Miller told the following about Ԁede-gahi or Fire Chief, another
son of ┴e-saⁿ:

    Cĭ  égaⁿ Ԁéde-gáhi   aká   ugȼiⁿ´i  waʇaⁿ´be. Wataⁿ´zihi   íʇi
  Again  so  Fire Chief  the  he sat in  I saw   Corn-stalk  painted
                         sub     it                          on the

  waʇaⁿ´be  ȼaⁿ´ja,   áwatégaⁿ    iȼápahaⁿ-májĭ ȼaⁿ´ja, níkagáhi égaⁿ
   I saw    though  of what sort  I knew not   though   chief   like

  égaⁿ  ugȼiⁿ´i   tĕ. Wataⁿzi  ȼiⁿ´    ctĭ   waqu´be     gáxai.   Kĭ
   so  he sat in  the  Corn  the col.  too  mysterious  he made  and
                 (past         ob.                        it

   cĭ´   Ԁéde-gáhi   aká taⁿ´waⁿgȼaⁿ  eʇá amá  Wajiñ´ga-ȼatájĭ    amá
  again  Fire Chief  the    gens    his the pl.  Bird  eat not  the pl.
                     sub.                 sub.                    sub.

     wahába    pahañ´ga ju´t‘aⁿ  tĕ´di  ȼatá-bajĭ      wahába
  ear of corn    first  matures  when  they do not  ear of corn

    ȼiⁿ´,  níkaciⁿga  amá     naⁿ´wape   ȼaté tai   tĕ´.  Ȼataí ʞĭ,
  the col.   people  the pl.  fear them  they will  the   They  if
    ob.               sub.                  eat    (act)   eat

    wahába      ȼiⁿ´,  wajiñ´ga ȼasniⁿ´  weʞubaí.      Iñké-sabĕ
  ear of corn  the col.  bird   devour  they fear  Shoulder black
                 ob.                     them

  ákadí  ctĭ  égaⁿ    gáxe-naⁿ-biamá      ʇí     ugá.      Hañ´ga
  among  too  so  make usually they say  tent  painting.  Foremost
   the                                                     the

  ákadí  ctĭ  égaⁿ    gáxe-naⁿ´-biamá      ʇí     ugá.
  among  too   so  make usually they say  tent  painting.

This refers to Fig. 171, and may be thus rendered: “And I have likewise
seen the tent of Fire Chief. It was decorated with cornstalks, but I
do not know the reason for it. He dwelt in such a tent because he was
a chief. Corn was regarded as “waqube,” mysterious. In the sub-gens
of Fire Chief, the Wajiñga-ȼatajĭ, or, those who eat no small birds,
the people feared to eat the first ears of corn that matured, lest the
small birds (particularly blackbirds) should come and devour the rest
of the crop. There was a similar tent decoration in the Iñke-sabĕ and
Hañga gentes.” In the former, it was used by Waqaga (see § 53). The
cornstalks and ears were green, the tips of the ears were black. There
were two similar cornstalks on the back of the tent.

[Illustration: FIG. 171.--Cornstalk decoration of the tents of Fire
Chief and Waqaga.]

                         CORN AND THE BUFFALO.

§ 49. Corn is regarded as a “mother” and the buffalo as a “grandfather”
among the Omaha and other tribes.[57] In the Osage tradition, corn was
bestowed upon the people by four buffalo bulls or “grandfathers.”[58]
Dr. Washington Matthews tells of a similar Arikara belief about an ear
of corn.[59] (See § 42.)

[Illustration: FIG. 172.--Robe of Ni-ȼactage.]

[Illustration: FIG. 173.--Duba-maⁿȼiⁿ’s father’s tent.]

[Illustration: FIG. 174.--Maⁿtcu-naⁿba’s tent.]


§ 50. Among the members of the order of Buffalo (┴e iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma) was
Niȼactage, whose robe is shown in Fig. 172. The red band is at the
top. The black spots represent the places where the buffaloes play
“buffalo wallows.” Buffalo hoofs are in blue.

Duba-maⁿȼiⁿ’s father had a vision of horses, hence he wished to depict
horse-tails and tracks on his tent, as found in Fig. 173; but he died
before he finished it.

The father of Maⁿtcu-naⁿba had a vision of horses, and bequeathed to
his son Maⁿtcu-naⁿba the right to decorate his tent in the style shown
in Fig. 174. The yellow was connected with the vision. When the owner
dwelt in an earth-lodge, the horse-tail was tied to a long pole, which
was thrust through the opening at the top of the lodge. So when he used
his skin tent, the horse-tail hung from the top of a long pole above
the smoke-hole.

When the Omaha dwelt near the present town of Homer, Nebr., and
Wackaⁿhi was a young child, he went out to play, and fell asleep. He
said that he was aroused by the sounds made by many chickens crowing
and cackling. In those days (_fide_ George Miller) there were no
white people in that neighborhood; but now in that very place where
Wackaⁿhi had the vision, there is a wealthy family living, and besides
large herds they have a great many chickens. In remembrance of that
occurrence, Wackaⁿhi painted his tent with his personal decoration as
given in Fig. 175.

[Illustration: FIG. 175.--Wackaⁿhi’s tent.]

[Illustration: FIG. 176.--Tent of unknown Omaha.]

An unknown Omaha had a vision of deer, so he decorated his tent
accordingly. (See Fig. 176.) George Miller could not furnish the man’s

§ 51. Among the members of the order of Grizzly Bear shamans was an
Omaha named ┴ebi‘a (Frog). The top of his tent was painted yellow,
as shown in Fig. 177. There was no other decoration; but this yellow
evidently was connected with a grizzly bear vision, as it appears
in the decoration adopted by the father of Two Crows, who was not
only one of the two leaders of the order of Thunder shamans (Iñgȼaⁿ
iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma) but also a member of the orders of Buffalo and Grizzly
Bear shamans (┴e iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma and Maⁿtcu iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma). (See Pl. XLIV, D,
in which a grizzly bear is depicted as emerging from his den. The blue
part represents the ground.)

This decoration (of the tent of Two Crows’ father) is thus described by
George Miller:  Maⁿtcú        iȼa‘eȼaí    egaⁿ´ ʇí    tĕ    égaⁿ gáxai.
              Grizzly bear    they have    as  tent  the    so   they
                            visions of it          std. ob.     make it

     Maⁿtcú       wadaⁿ´bai    tĕ´di ʇan´de  kĕ   maⁿ´taʇa  éȼaⁿbe    tí
  Grizzly bear  they see them  when  ground  the  within  emerging  come
                                           lg. ob.

    wadaⁿ´bai,   gaⁿ´ égaⁿ gáxai  ʇí   tĕ.  ┴an´de  kĕ      ʇúȼĕ-naⁿ´i,
  they see them  and   so  they  tent  the  Ground  the    they usually
                          make it      std.       lg. ob.   paint blue

   ʇí   hébe   kĕ     zíȼĕ-naⁿ´i.” That is, “When they have had visions
  tent  part  the   they usually
            lg ob.  paint yellow.

of grizzly bears, they decorate their tents accordingly. When they see
grizzly bears, they behold them coming out of the ground, and so they
paint the tents. They always (or usually) paint the ground blue,
and part of the tent they paint in a yellow band.” This shows the
conventional use of colors. See Pl. XLIV, E, for the sketch of another
tent representing the vision of a grizzly bear.

[Illustration: FIG. 177.--Tent of ┴ebi‘a.]

[Illustration: FIG. 178.--Tent of a Kansa who had an eagle vision.]

                       KANSA MYSTERY DECORATIONS.

§ 52. Three Kansa decorations follow. They are taken from an original
sketch made by a Kansa man, known to the white people as Stephen
Stubbs. The first tent (Fig. 178) is that of a man who had fasted
and held mysterious communication with an eagle which gave him some
feathers. He had danced the pipe dance once for some one. At the base
of this tent are seen two peace pipes on each side of the entrance. At
the back are a black bear and a large turtle. The second tent (Fig.
179) is that of a man who had danced the pipe dance three times.
Buffalo tails are fastened to the tops of the triangular pieces
forming the shelter of the smoke-hole, feathers hang from the two
shields, and the stars are above and on the base of the tent skins.
Feathers, shields, and stars are also on the back of this tent.

[Illustration: FIG. 179.--Kansa decorated tent.]

[Illustration: FIG. 180.--Kansa decorated tent.]

[Illustration: FIG. 181.--Maⁿze-guhe’s robe.]

Fig. 180 is the tent of a man who has danced the pipe dance four times.
It is very probable, judging from the stars on the tents, that the
owners of the second and third Kansa tents had had visions. The Kansa
say that when a man has danced the pipe dance twice, his tent can be
decorated with two cornstalks at the front (one on each side of the
entrance), and two more at the back. The pipes used in the calumet or
pipe dance are regarded as “Wakandaʇaȼicaⁿ” by the Omaha and Ponka, and
the inference is that the Kansa and Osage had a similar belief about
these pipes and the accompanying dance. Perhaps there was a time when
no man could undertake the pipe dance unless he had a vision of some

                        OMAHA NIKIE DECORATIONS.

§ 53. As the gentes of the Omaha and Ponka are regarded as being
“Wakandaʇaȼicaⁿ,” the “nikie” and “nikie names” have a religious
significance. George Miller has furnished the author with a few nikie
decorations, which are now given.

Maⁿze-guhe, an Omaha, belonged to the Waȼigije sub-gens of the
Iñke-sabĕ gens. The decoration of his robe (Fig. 181) marks the nikie
of the sub-gens, as it consisted of spiral forms known as “waȼigije.”
That of the tent (Fig. 182) refers to the nikie of the entire gens. In
the latter case, the buffalo head was painted on the back of the tent.

[Illustration: FIG. 182.--Maⁿze-guhe’s tent.]

Duba-maⁿȼiⁿ, who has a nikie name referring to the buffalo, belongs to
the Waȼigije sub-gens. His father wore a black blanket embroidered with
beadwork in two rows of spirals, between which was a star. All these
figures were made of white beads. (See Fig. 183.)

[Illustration: FIG. 183.--Duba-maⁿȼiⁿ’s father’s blanket.]

In the Pipe sub-gens of the Iñke-sabĕ there were several tent
decorations. Of the first, George Miller speaks thus:

  Níkaciⁿ´ga-ma   taⁿ´waⁿgȼaⁿ´-ma   niníba t‘aⁿ´  amá       Iñké-sabĕ
    The people  those in the gentes  pipe  have  the pl.  Black shoulder

  akádi  ʇí   ugaí, niníba     íʇi.      Kĭ      wédajĭ-ma
  among tent  they   pipe  painted the  And  those elsewhere
   the        paint         tent with

     wédahaⁿ-májĭ,      añ´ka-bájĭ     ebȼégaⁿ.   Iñké-sabĕ     akádi
  I do not know them  they are not so  I think. Black shoulder  among

  níkagáhi   aká    égaⁿ gáxai ebȼégaⁿ,   aⁿ´ctĕwaⁿ´       gáxa-bájĭ
   chief   the sub.  so  made  I think  of any pattern  he did not make

  ebȼégaⁿ. Niníba   waqúbe   gáxai   ʞĭ, niníba  jaⁿ´ kĕ  bȼáska gáxai,
  I think.  Pipe  mysterious  made  when  pipe  wood  the  flat  made
                    thing                           lg. ob.

     uȼískai,    wajiñ´gadá    ájii    tĕ,     ʇáhiⁿ    jíde
  put porcupine  bird heads  put many  the  “deer fur”  red
  work around it              on it  past act

  tied to it.

That is, “Those persons who belong to the Iñke-sabĕ sub-gens known
as Keepers of the Pipes, paint their tent(s) with the pipe decoration.
I do not know of any other persons, members of other gentes, using this
decoration; I think that no others use it. I think that the Iñkesabĕ
chief decorates his tent in this manner, and that he did not decorate
it in any way he pleased. When the sacred pipes were made (on the tent)
the pipestem was made flat, porcupine work was put around it, several
heads of birds were fastened on it, and tufts of reddened horses’ hair
were tied to it at intervals.” (See Fig. 184 and Pl. XLIV, C.) This
Iñke-sabĕ tent had only two pipes on it--one on each side of the

[Illustration: FIG. 184.--Iñke-sabĕ tent decoration.]

The second Iñke-sabĕ tent decoration is thus described by the same

  Aⁿjiñ´ga   tĕ´di   ʇi´-ugȼiⁿ´     waʇaⁿ´be    ʞĭ,    ȼekégaⁿ
  The small  when  tent dwelt in  I saw them  when  like this
                                                     lg. ob.

   ugȼiⁿ´i.  Niníba mácaⁿ    ugȼé      íʇi    waʇaⁿ´be Niníba t‘aⁿ´
  they dwelt  Pipe  quill  attached  painted  I saw   Pipe   had
      in           feather  to at   the tent
                            right     with

  akádi,  Waqága  égaⁿ   íʇi     waʇaⁿ´be. Niníba waqúbe   kĕ
  among   Burrs   so  painted  I saw them  Pipe  sacred  the lg.
   the             the tent                                ob.

   ékigaⁿ´qti   ȼaⁿ´ja,   e    mácaⁿ       ugȼé      gáxai, niníba
  just like it  though  that  quill     attached to   made   pipe
                             feather  at right angles

  wéawaⁿ      akéĕ    hă. Ȼaⁿ´ja niníba   kĕ      é        ínikagáhi
  calumet  that is it  .  Though  pipe  the lg.  that      chief by
                                          ob.  aforesaid  means of it

   ʞiʞáxai, níaciⁿ´ga  amá     átaqti       gáxai  niníba waqúbe.
  they make  people  the pl.  exceedingly  make it  pipe  sacred
  themselves          sub.

  Níaciⁿ´ga  amá    píäjĭ´qti    ctéctĕwaⁿ´,    ukít‘ĕ     ákikiȼáqti
   People  the pl.  very bad  notwithstanding  foreign    contending
            sub.                               nation  fiercely together

   maⁿȼiⁿ´i     ctéctĕwaⁿ´,    kikídĕqti      maⁿȼiⁿ´i      ctéctĕwaⁿ´,
  they walk  notwithstanding  shooting often  they walk  notwithstanding
                                 and fiercely

  niníba   kĕ     éȼaⁿbe  aȼiⁿ´ ahíi     ʞĭ,   uȼúci   kĕ      uhá
   pipe  the lg.  coming  they take it  when  in the  the   following
          ob.     forth    thither            middle  lg.  its course

  aȼiⁿ´ aȼai´ ʞĭ,   múkictaⁿ    tai´.   Téqi   gáxai  níaciⁿ´ga
    they     when  they stop  will   Precious  they    people
   take it        shooting at                 make it
                  one another

  the pl. sub.

That is, “When, in my childhood, I saw the tents in which the people
dwelt, they were of this sort. (See Fig. 185.) I saw the tent decorated
with the pipes having feathers attached to each pipe at right angles.
I saw a tent of this sort when it was occupied by Waqaga of the Pipe
sub-gens. (See another tent decoration of this man, § 48.) Though these
pipes closely resemble the peace pipes (niniba waqube), they are made
with the feathers attached to the stems at right angles. These are
the pipes used in the pipe dance. By means of the pipes the people
made for themselves that which was equivalent to (or, lead to) the
chieftainship. So they regarded the sacred pipes as of the greatest
importance. Even when the people were very bad, even when different
tribes continued to struggle with one another; even when they shot
often at one another, when some persons came forth with the peace
pipes, and bore them to a place between the opposing forces, carrying
them all along the lines, they stopped shooting at one another. The
Indians regarded the pipes as precious.”

[Illustration: FIG. 185.--Iñke-sabĕ tent decoration.]

A ┴a[p]a nikie tent decoration is shown in the tent of Heqaga. (Pl.
XLIV, C.) This tent had two pipes on each side of the tent, double the
number on the Iñke-sabĕ tent (Fig. 184).

[Illustration: FIG. 186.--Waqaga’s robe.]

Fig. 186 is given as the nikie decoration of a robe belonging to
Waqaga. The bird on the robe is an eagle. Members of the Pipe sub-gens
of the Iñke-sabĕ have eagle birth names. And we know that Waqaga
belonged to that sub-gens.

The author understood Joseph La Flèche and Two Crows to say, in
1882, that while nikie names possessed a sacredness, it was only the
sacredness of antiquity, and that they were not “Wakandaʇaȼicaⁿ.”

But the author now thinks that such a statement needs modification;
for, besides what appears at the beginning of this section, we know
that among the Osage and Kansa the nikie names are associated with the
traditions preserved in the secret society of seven degrees, and that
this applies not only to names of gentes and sub-gentes, but also to
personal nikie names. The author frightened an Osage in January, 1883,
by mentioning in public some of this class of names.

                          OMAHA NIKIE CUSTOMS.

§ 54. Among the nikie of the Omaha, the following may be mentioned:
The Wajiñga-ȼatajĭ, or “Blackbird people,” had a curious custom during
the harvest season. At that time the birds used to devour the corn, so
the men of this sub-gens undertook to prevent them, by chewing some
grains of corn which they spit around over the field.[60] During a
fog, the [K]e-‘iⁿ men would draw the figure of a turtle on the ground,
with its head to the south. On the head, tail, middle of the back, and
each leg, were placed small pieces of a (red) breechcloth with some
tobacco. They imagined that this would make the fog disappear very
soon.[61] The [K]aⁿze gens, being Wind people, flap their blankets to
start a breeze when mosquitoes abound.[62] The ┴a-[p]a gens have a
form for the naming of a child on the fifth morning after its birth,
according to Lion, one of the chiefs of that gens.[63] In the feast on
the hearts and tongues,[64] the Hañga men who belong to the sub-gens
keeping the sacred pole, eat the buffalo tongues, though the buffalo
is their “grandfather” and the eponym of their gens; but they can not
eat the “ʇa” or buffalo sides. However, the other Hañga men, who can
not eat the tongues, are allowed to eat the consecrated buffalo sides,
after the ceremonies connected with the thanksgiving and anointing of
the sacred pole.[65] No Omaha child had its hair cut until it had been
taken to an old man of the Ictasanda gens, to have the first locks cut,
the first moccasins put on the child’s feet, and prayers to be said
over it. Sometimes the old man said “┴ucpáha,     Wakan´da
                                   O grandchild,  Wakanda

   ȼa‘éȼiȼé-de       ʞáci    maⁿȼiñ´ka  sí    áȼagȼé     tate,” i.e., "O
  pity you when  a long time   soil   foot  you set it  shall,
                                             erect on

grandchild, may Wakanda pity you, and may your feet rest a long time
on the ground!” Another form was sometimes used--“Wakanda ȼa‘eȼiȼe
tate. Maⁿȼiñka si aȼagȼe tate. Gudihegaⁿ ne tate,” i.e., “May Wakanda
pity you! May your feet tread the ground! May you go ahead (or, live

§ 55. When there is a “blizzard,” the other Kansa beg the members of
the Tcihaciⁿ or Kaⁿze gens to interpose, as they are Wind people.

  “[M]i´tcigu-e´, haⁿ´ba ya´li kŭⁿ´bla   eyau´. Ciñ´gajiñ´ga yi´ta
   O grandfather,   day  good  I desire  indeed.   Child     your
                       be decorated (_or_

   kik’ŭⁿ´yakiye´    tce  au´[64], a´be  au´.” i.e., “They say, ‘O
  you cause him to   will  .       they   .
  be decorated (_or_                say

grandfather (said to one of the Kaⁿze gens), I wish good weather.
Please cause one of your children to be decorated!’” Then the
youngest son of one of the Kaⁿze men, say one over 4 feet high, is
chosen for the purpose, and painted with red paint (I´gamaⁿ jü´dje
i´kik’ŭⁿ´kiya´be au). The youth rolls over and over in the snow and
reddens it for some distance all around him. This is supposed to stop
the storm.


§ 56. Among the Omaha governmental instrumentalities which are
“Wakandaʇaȼicaⁿ” are the chiefs, the keepers of the three sacred
tents, the keepers of the sacred pipes, the gentes, sub-gentes, and
taboos, none of which can be regarded as fetiches, and the following
which appear to be fetiches: The sacred pipes (including the war pipes
of the Elk gens, the two peace pipes kept by the Iñke-sabĕ gens, the
mysterious objects kept by the “keepers of the pipes” in the Ȼatada,
[K]aⁿze, Maⁿȼiñka-gaxe, ┴e-sĭnde, ┴a-[p]a, and Ictasanda gentes, and
the weawaⁿ or pipes used in the calumet dance), the sacred pole, the
sacred hide of a white buffalo, the sacred arrows of divination, and
the sacred clam shell of the Elk gens.[67]

                     § 57. OMAHA AND PONKA TABOOS.

Buffalo skull not touched by--
    1. ┴e-[p]a it‘ajĭ sub-gens of Ȼatada (Omaha).
    2. Waȼigije sub-gens of Iñke-sabĕ (Om.).
    3. ┴e-sĭnde gens (Om.).
    4. Part of the Wacabe gens (Ponka).
    5. Part of Necta gens (P.).

Buffalo tongue not eaten by--
    1. Waȼigije sub-gens of Iñke-sabĕ (Om.).
    2. Hañgaqti or Wacabe sub-gens of Hañga (Om.).
    3. Part of Nika[p]aɔna gens (P.).
    4. Part of Wacabe gens (P.).
    5. Part of Necta gens (P.).

Buffalo (black) horns not touched by part of Iñke-sabĕ gens (Om.).

Buffalo sides (when consecrated), not eaten by ┴a waqube ȼatajĭ
sub-gens of Hañga gens (Om.).

Buffalo rib (lowest one, ʇeȼiʇ-ucagȼe), not eaten by ┴e-sĭnde gens

Buffalo and domestic calf not eaten when the hair is red, but can be
eaten when the hair turns black, by ┴e-sĭnde gens (Om.).

Buffalo calf can not be touched, when its hair is “zi” (yellow or red), by
a sub-gens of the Necta gens (P.).

Buffalo calf can not be eaten at any time by--
    1. Iñgȼe-jide gens (Om.).
    2. Part of Wacabe gens (P.).
    3. Part of Necta gens (P.).

Deer not eaten by-- 1. Part of Hisada gens (P.). 2. Part of
Nika[p]aɔna gens (P.).

Male deer not eaten by Elk gens (Om.); but Deer gens can eat venison.

Skin of any animal of the deer family can not be touched by ┴ada gens

Flesh of male elk not eaten by Elk gens (Om.).

Bladder and sinew of male elk not touched by Elk gens (Om.).

Elk not eaten by part of Nika[p]aɔna gens (P.).

Turtles not eaten by Turtle sub-gens (Om.).

Black bear skin not touched by--
    1. Black bear sub-gens (Om.).
    2. Black bear sub-gens (P.).

Wild-cat skin, not touched by pipe sub-gens of Deer gens (Om.).

Cranes and swans not eaten by part of Hañga gens (Om.).

Swans not touched (formerly?) by Miⁿxasaⁿ wet‘ajĭ sub-gens of
Maⁿ-ȼiñka-gaxe gens (Om.).

Small birds not eaten by Wajiñga-ȼatajĭ (Blackbird or Small bird)
sub-gens of the Ȼatada gens (Om.). They can eat wild turkeys, ducks,
geese, swans, cranes. When members of this sub-gens are sick they can
eat grouse.

(Small birds) blackbirds, (_black_ ones), swallows, and grouse not
eaten by part of Hisada gens (P.).

Reptiles neither touched nor eaten by--
    1. Ictasanda gens (Om.).
    2. Wajaje gens (P.).

Blood not touched by part of the Ȼixida gens (P.), hence their name,
Wami it‘ajĭ.

Red corn not eaten by a sub-gens of the Iñke-sabĕ gens (Om.).

Charcoal not touched by--
    1. A sub-gens of the Iñke-sabĕ gens (Om.).
    2. The Pipe sub-gens of the Deer gens (Om.).
    3. A sub-gens of the Ȼixida gens (P.).
    4. The Pipe sub-gens of the Wajaje gens (P.).

Verdigris not touched by--
    1. [K]aⁿze gens (Om.).
    2. Pipe sub-gens of Deer gens (Om.).
    3. Part of the Ȼixida gens (P.).
    4. Pipe sub-gens of the Wajaje gens (P.).


§ 58. According to Dr. Tylor, “Fetichism is the doctrine of spirits
embodied in, or attached to, or conveying influence through, certain
material objects.”[68]

Fetiches may be regarded as of two kinds--those pertaining to the
tribe or gens, and those belonging to individual members of the social
organization. Some fetiches are amulets, others are charms.

                    FETICHES OF THE TRIBE AND GENS.

§ 59. _Omaha tribal fetiches._--The sacred pole and white buffalo hide,
in the keeping of the Hañga gens until a few years ago, but now in the
Peabody Museum of Archæology and Ethnology at Cambridge, Mass., were
regarded by the Omaha as “wakanda egaⁿ,” i.e., “like Wakandas,” or
“partaking of the nature of deities.” During the public thanksgiving
after the buffalo hunt, prayer was made towards the sacred pole.[69]

The sacred tent in which the sacred pole of the two tribes was kept was
never painted. When the people remained in their permanent villages of
earth lodges, the entrance of the sacred tent faced the sunrise; but
when the tribe migrated, the entrance of the tent faced the direction
in which they traveled. The pole was never exposed to dew, rain, or
snow, but was kept within the lodge, during any kind of bad weather.
It was never laid down, but was tied to a tent pole. In good weather
it was exposed to view. Sometimes it was tied to one of the tent poles
near the entrance, as shown in Fig. 187. When not tied thus, it rested
on a forked post set in the ground, either in the rear of the tent or
in front of it. The top of the pole, to which the scalp was fastened,
projected beyond the forked post. When this post was in the rear of the
tent, the top of the pole pointed towards the tent; but when the post
was set up in front, the pole pointed in the direction to be traveled.
The place for the pole in good weather was determined by its keeper.

[Illustration: FIG. 187.--Sacred tent in which the pole was kept.]

The people feared the pole, and they would not dare to tread on the
tent or its tent-poles. Should a horse tread on a tent-pole of this
tent, its legs were sure to be broken subsequently. George Miller knew
of two horses that did this, and their legs were broken when the people
were surrounding a herd of buffalo.

Frank La Flèche has told the author about some sacred stone arrows
which were used for purposes of divination. Hence, the nikie name, Maⁿ
pĕjĭ, Bad Arrow, i.e. _Good_ Arrow, a personal name of the Hañga gens.
Other objects, which may have been fetiches, have been named in § 56.
In addition to all which have been mentioned must be named the waȼixabe
or mysterious bags. While these are not governmental instrumentalities,
they are “waqube” mysterious things, and on certain occasions they
are addressed as “grandfathers.” There used to be five of these bags
among the Omaha, but only three are now in existence. Those which could
be carried in time of war were made of the skins and feathers of the
gȼedaⁿ or pigeon hawk, the iⁿbe-jañka or fork-tailed hawk, and the
nickucku or swallow.[70]

┴ade uȼeȼĕ, according to Big Elk (but denied by Joseph La Flèche and
Two Crows) is the mystic rite performed by the principal captain when
near the camp of the enemy. It is thus described by Big Elk (See § 62):

     “Four times he untied the bag which he had made sacred. He caused
     the wind to waft the odor of the medicine toward the lodges. When
     the medicine arrived there, it made the Pawnees forget their
     warlike temper; it made them forget their weapons.”[71]

That there was some foundation for this statement, compare what is said
in Omaha Sociology, p. 321:

     “When the principal captains wish to open their sacred bags, they
     assemble their followers in a circle, making them sit down. Any of
     the followers or servants may be ordered to make an “ujeʇi” in the
     center of the circle by pulling up the grass, then making a hole
     in the ground (the “U-ma-ne” of Miss Fletcher[72]). Then the
     sacred bags are laid at the feet of the principal captains, each
     one of whom opens his own bag (i.e. the one borrowed by him from
     its keeper), holding the mouth of the bird toward the foe, even
     when some of the warriors are going to steal horses.”

During the ordeal of the “wastegistu,” as the Omaha call it, the
successful warriors were called up, one by one, and as each man stood
over one of the sacred bags, he addressed the bag itself thus:

  “Hau´, iⁿc‘a´ge-ha, eda´daⁿ uwi´bȼa tá miñke  ȼaⁿ´ja,
    Ho!   old man  !    what   I will tell you  though

  iȼáusi´ctaⁿ-ma´jĭ uwi´bȼa   ta´  miñke,” i.e., “Ho, venerable man!
   I tell a   I not  I will  tell  you

though I will tell you something, I will not lie when I tell it to
you.” As he spoke he let a small stick drop on the bag. It was supposed
that if the stick rested on the bag instead of rolling off, the man had
told the truth (Om. Soc., p. 328).

§ 60. _Osage tribal fetiches._--The corresponding Osage custom has
been described by the author:[73] The old men assembled at the war
tent. The sacred bags were brought into the tent to test the warriors,
who were watched very closely by the old men. All the old men who had
been distinguished in war were painted with the decorations of their
respective gentes.  *  *  *  Each warrior had four sticks about 6 inches
long, and he was required to lay them in succession on the sacred bag.
The warriors were taken in the following order: First, the captain,
next the lieutenants, then the heralds, after whom came the man who
had struck the first blow, then he who gave the second blow, and so
on. As each captain laid his first stick on the bag he said, “Ho, O
grandfather! I lay this down on you because I am the one who has
killed a man.” On laying down the second stick, he said, “Ho, O
grandfather! I wish to be fortunate in stealing horses! I wish our
children, too, to be as fortunate as we have been!” When he put
down the third, he said, “Ho, O grandfather! I wish to raise a
domestic animal. I wish to succeed in bringing it to maturity.” By
this he meant _a son_. The prayer made when the last stick was laid
down was as follows: “Ho, O grandfather! May we continue a people
without sustaining any injuries!” Similar petitions were made by the
lieutenants and heralds. He who gave the first blow said, as he laid
down the first stick, “Ho, O grandfather! I lay this down on you as
one who has caused another to stun a foe!” The rest of his petitions
were those made by the captains. He who struck the second blow said as
follows, on laying down the first stick: “Ho, O grandfather! I place
this on you because I was the next one to strike and stun a man!” The
other petitions follow, as given above. The first petition of each of
the remaining warriors is as follows: “Ho, O grandfather! I lay this on
you as a token that I have aided in overcoming the enemy.”

§ 61. _Kansa tribal fetiches._--Among the Kansa, the following
fetiches belong to the two Hañga gentes: The war pipe and the war clam
shell. The war pipe was kept in 1882 by Pahaⁿle-wak’ü, the son of
Aliⁿkawahu, for the two Hañga gentes. This pipe has an eye on each
side, so that it may see the enemy! There is no pipestem, but there is
one hole to which the mouth is applied, and in the bowl is another hole
in which the tobacco is placed. The pipe, which is all in one piece,
is of catlinite, about as thick as two hands. It is never taken from
the wrappings, except when all the men of the two Hañga gentes assemble
at the lodge of the chief Aliⁿkawahu. The sacred clam shell was kept
in 1882 by Pahaⁿle-gaqli, the chief of the other Hañga gens. It is
wrapped in five coverings, similar to those around the war pipe. They
are as follows: (1) The innermost covering, the bladder of a buffalo
bull; (2) next covering, made of the spotted fur of a fawn; (3) made
of braided rushes or “sa;” (4) a very broad piece of deerskin; (5) the
outermost covering, made of braided hair from the head of a buffalo

                           PERSONAL FETICHES.

§ 62. Ԁaȼiⁿ-naⁿpajĭ said that there were some Omaha who considered
as “waqube” the skins of animals and the skins and feathers of birds
used in making their “waȼixabe” or mystery bags. Among these birds
and animals he named the eagle, sparrow hawk, yellow-backed hawk,
green-necked duck, great owl, swallow, otter, flying squirrel, mink,
miʞa skă (“white raccoon” sic), and mazaⁿhe. The last is an animal
resembling an otter. It is covered with thick black and reddish-yellow
hair, and its tail is bushy. Samuel Fremont said (in 1889) that this
animal was not found in that part of Nebraska where the Omaha dwelt,
but that he had heard of its being found among the Dakota. Two Crows
and Joseph La Flèche never heard of the miʞa skă and mazaⁿhe among
their own people; but they said that when the Omaha traveled, some used
to take with them their respective “makaⁿ” or medicines, evidently
their personal fetiches, for they used to say, “Our medicines are wise;
they can talk like men, and they tell us how many horses we are to
receive from the people to whom we are going.”

When the Omaha went against the Pawnee during the boyhood of the
present Big Elk, one of the captains, named Gi‘aⁿhabi, had a war club
of the kind called “weaqȼade.” He made this club “waqube,” in order to
use it mysteriously. When near the camp of the enemy he brandished the
club four times toward the Pawnees. This was followed by the use of the
sacred bag, as related in § 59.

It is probable that the medicines of the Watci Waȼupi, Wase-jide
aȼiⁿ-ma, and the Ԁaȼiⁿ-wasabĕ watcigaxe ikagekiȼĕ, of the Omaha,[74]
the Red Medicine of the Kansa, and the Red Medicine of the Osage Makaⁿ
ɔüʇ[s]e watsiⁿ or Red Medicine Dance, were used as fetiches, as they
conferred wonderful powers on those who used them. When the author was
at the Omaha Agency, in 1878, he obtained the following: Rocky Mountain
beans, which are scarlet, and are called “Makaⁿ jide” or Red Medicine,
confer good luck on their owners. If the beans like their owners, they
will never be lost; even if dropped accidentally, they will return to
the possession of their owners. Ni-k’ú-mi, an aged Oto woman, told one
of her granddaughters (then Susette La Flèche, known as Bright Eyes
after 1879, and now the wife of T. H. Tibbles) of her own experience
with one of these beans. She had dropped it in the grass, but she found
it on retracing her steps. It is impossible to say whether this scarlet
bean was identical with the Red Medicine of the Iowa (§ 87), Kansa, and
Osage; but it certainly differed from that of the Wase-jide aȼiⁿma of
the Omaha.

There are sacred or mystery rites practiced by the dancing societies,
including those to which the wazeȼĕ or doctors belong. Two Crows said
that he did not know those of his society, the ┴e iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma. As
initiation into one of these societies is very expensive, it is
unreasonable to suppose that Two Crows would communicate the secrets of
his order for a small sum, such as $1 a day.


§ 63. There have been sorcerers, i.e., such as prepared love potions
for those who bought them, and who were thought to cause the death of
those persons who had incurred their displeasure. The author has been
told that the sorcerers give a high price for a small quantity of the
catamenial discharge of a virgin. It is mixed with a love potion, and
when the compound is administered to a man he can not help courting the
woman, even when he knows that he does not love her.


§ 64. Ickade or sleight of hand exists not only in the secret societies
but also along with the practice of medicine, government, and religion.
Some of the Omaha and Ponka doctors of the first class (the wazeȼĕ,
not the makaⁿ aȼiⁿ-ma or root doctors) pretend to draw sticks from the
bodies of their patients, or worms from aching teeth, saying that those
things are the causes of the diseases. Every disease is a “nie” or
“pain,” and there must be a cause for that pain.

§ 65. In 1872 Big Grizzly Bear, a subordinate Ponka chief, told the
following to the author: “One day Whip, a head chief, said, ‘I am
going to make the sun blue.’ And he did so. Then he said, ‘I am going
to pull out some of the hair of the man in the moon.’ He held up his
hands to show that they had no hair in them. Then he began to sing.
Suddenly he had some bloody hair in each hand. Ga-ʇi-de maⁿ-ȼiⁿ and a
great many others were witnesses. Once, when the Ponka were destitute
of food, Buffalo Bull, the father of Grizzly Bear’s Ear, said, ‘I will
use magic.’ His wife replied, ‘Please do so.’ So he made a pile of earth
about 2 feet high and shot four arrows into it. A large deer was slain,
furnishing them with plenty to eat.”

In 1871 the author saw an exhibition of the skill of Cramped Hand and
Bent Horn, two Ponka shamans. One afternoon, near sunset, about two
hundred persons, mostly Indians, stood in a large circle around a tent
in which sat the shamans and their assistants. Presently the shamans
and the aged chief, Antoine Primeau, came out of the tent and stood
within the circle. One of the shamans, Cramped Hand, danced along the
inner side of the circle, exhibiting a revolver (Allen’s patent), one
chamber of which he seemed to load as the people looked on. After he
had put on the cap, he handed the weapon to the chief, who fired at
the shaman. Cramped Hand fell immediately, as if badly wounded. Bent
Horn rushed to his relief and began to manipulate him. It was not long
before Cramped Hand was able to crawl around on his hands and knees,
though the bullet had apparently hit him in the mouth. He groaned and
coughed incessantly, and after a tin basin was put down before him he
coughed up a bullet which fell in the basin, and was shown in triumph
to the crowd. This is told merely to show how the Indian juggler has
adopted some of the tricks of his white brother. In a few moments Bent
Horn danced around, showing to each of us an object which appeared to
be a stone as large as a man’s fist, and too large to be forced into
the mouth of the average man. Cramped Hand stood about 10 or 15 feet
away and threw this stone toward Bent Horn, hitting the latter in the
mouth and disappearing. Bent Horn fell and appeared in great pain,
groaning and foaming at the mouth. When the basin was put down before
him, there fell into it, not one large stone, but at least four small
ones. We were told that the chief, Antoine, had to give a horse for the
privilege of shooting at the shaman.

It is probable that some of the Omaha shamans performed similar tricks,
though the author has been unable to obtain any accounts of them.

§ 66. He was fortunate, however, in making the acquaintance of the
chief “wakandagi,” or shaman of the Kansa, when at Kaw Agency, in the
winter of 1882. This man, Nixüdje-yiñge, was very communicative. He
said that there used to be ten shamans in the tribe, and all had round
pebbles which they blew from their mouths against the persons whom they
“ʞilŭⁿxe” or “shot in a mysterious manner.” The arrow of the
shamans was called “Mi-pa-ha,” which is a name of the Buffalo gens.
This missile was made of part of the red-breasted turtle.

A woman named Saⁿ-si-le had two “makaⁿ” (medicines, fetiches?)
which she used for “ickade” or “wakandagi wagaxe” (magic, shamanistic
legerdemain). She could swallow a knife; and when she swallowed a
certain kind of grass she drew a green snake from her mouth. John
Kickapoo’s father had a red medicine, which was used for women who
desired to become enciente, for horses, and for causing good dreams.
Nixüdje-yiñge’s mother, who was a shaman, has a small pebble and a clam
shell, which she used in her mystery acts.

Pagani had a “sika-hyuka” or “needle” (so represented by Nixüdje-yiñge,
but it may not have been a steel needle), which he swallowed and
voided through the urethra. Gahige-wadayiñga used to stab himself with
a “mahiⁿsü” or arrow-point, about 6 inches long, causing the blood
to spurt from his left shoulder as he danced. The other shamans used
to spurt water on his back from their mouths, while he held his arms
horizontally from his body, with the forearms pointing upward. When
they finished no wound could be found. One shaman had a fish called “hu
blaska” or flat fish, to which he talked. He made a necklace of the
skin, and he used it for “ʞilŭⁿxe.”

Wakanda-zi had the skin of a small black bear as his sacred bag. As he
danced he held it by the tail and shook the skin. After shooting the
round pebble from his mouth at a person he thrust the bear skin at the
wounded man, drawing it back very quickly. The round pebble was drawn
into the mouth of the bear and dropped on the ground when the skin bag
was held with the tail up.

He who wished to be shot at handed a gun to some one, who shot him in
the side, much blood escaping. He seemed to be dead; but the shamans
assembled and manipulated him. One put the mouth of the otter (of the
otterskin sacred bag) to the mouth of the patient in order to perform
the act called “lüpayiⁿ” (to raise up or resuscitate his own). Then,
“Zü´be aká eyaú tuhnañ´ge aká,” i.e., when the bag was drawn away
rapidly, the otter made the sound “zübe,” as when one draws in the
breath, and the bullet was in its mouth. On the patient’s recovery he
gave a horse to the man who shot at him.

Mañge-zi had a clam shell and a snake that he used in his
sleight-of-hand acts. He also swallowed “mahiⁿ-tu,” a kind of green
grass about a foot long and as thick as a pencil. Before swallowing
this, he warmed it at a fire. He rubbed himself on his chest after
swallowing it, saying, “Let all look at me!” Then he called to him a
man to act as his assistant. He coughed and in the assistant’s hand
there was a snake, which he took around the circle of spectators,
showing it to every one, though no one handled it. On his returning
the snake to Mañge-zi, the latter swallowed it and coughed up the long

Nixüdje-yiñge said that there were eight objects used by the shamans
for “shooting,” the needle; flint (?) arrow head; beaver teeth; the
half of a knife blade, i.e., that part next to the point; the fish-fan,
made of “huqtci” or “real fish;” the red medicine; the hiyádadáxe or
medicine bag that was caused to fly; and the tuhnañge, or otter skin
bag. (See §§ 292-295, 307.)


§ 67. They have a very crude belief. Each person is taught to have a
wanaxe or spirit, which does not perish at death. According to Joseph
La Flèche and Two Crows, the old men used to say to the people, “Ȼiudaⁿ
ʞĭ, wanaxe udaⁿ-maʇa ci tate. Ȼipiäjĭ ʞĭ, wanaxe piäjĭ-maʇa ci tate,”
i.e., “If you are good, you will go to the good ghosts. If you are bad,
you will go to the bad ghosts.” Nothing was ever said of going to dwell
with Wakanda, or with demons.[75]

Rev. William Hamilton found a belief that retribution is in this life,
and he says, “Their notions are exceedingly crude.”

§ 68. Frank La Flèche told the author before 1882 that he had heard
some old men relate a tradition that years ago a man came back to
life and told about the spirit land. He said that for four nights
after death the ghost had to travel a very dark road, but that after
he reached the Milky Way there was plenty of light. For this reason,
said he, the people ought to aid their deceased friends by lighting
fires at the graves, and by keeping them burning for four nights in
each case. After going along the Milky Way, the ghost came at last to
a place where the road forked; and there sat an aged man, clothed in a
buffalo robe with the hair outside. (See § 359½.) He said nothing,
but pointed to each inquirer the road for which he asked. One road was
a very short one, and he who followed it soon came to the place where
the good ghosts dwelt. The other road was an endless one, along which
the ghosts went crying. The spirits of suicides could not travel either
road; but they hovered over their graves. But Joseph La Flèche and Two
Crows (in 1882) said that the road of the ghosts was not the Milky Way,
and they regarded the account of the endless road as a modern addition,
which is very probable. The latest statements of Frank La Flèche are
given in the Jour. Amer. Folk-Lore, vol. II, No. 4, pp. 10, 11:

     There are a variety of beliefs concerning the immediate action
     of the spirit upon its withdrawal from the body. Some think that
     the soul at once starts upon its journey to the spirit land;
     others, that it hovers about the grave as if reluctant to depart.
     Because of this latter belief, food and water are placed at the
     head of the grave for several days after the burial. The spirit
     is supposed to partake of this food. No Indian would touch any
     article of food thus exposed; if he did, the ghost would snatch
     away the food and paralyze the mouth of the thief, and twist his
     face out of shape for the rest of his life; or else he would be
     pursued by the ghost, and food would lose its taste, and hunger
     ever after haunt the offender. There is a belief in the tribe that
     before the spirits finally depart from men who died of wounds or
     their results, they float toward a cliff overhanging the Missouri,
     not far from the present Santee Agency, in Nebraska, and cut upon
     the rocks a picture showing forth their manner of death. A line
     in the picture indicates the spot where the disease or wound was
     located which caused the death. After this record is complete,
     the spirit flies off to the land of the hereafter. It is said
     that these pictures are easily recognized by the relatives and
     friends of the deceased. This place is known as Iñ-gȼaⁿ´-xe
     ʞi-ʞá-xai ȼaⁿ,[76] or, Where the spirits make pictures of
     themselves. A suicide ceases to exist; for him there is no
     hereafter. A man struck by lightning is buried where he fell, and
     in the position in which he died. His grave is filled with earth,
     and no mound is raised over one who is thus taken from life.

In 1873 some of the Ponka said they had the following beliefs
concerning a murderer: (1) The ghosts surround him and keep up a
constant whistling; (2) he can never satisfy his hunger, though he eat
much food; (3) he must not be allowed to roam at large lest high winds

It is important to compare this whole section with the Dakota beliefs
found in §§ 266-278.

The author was told by the Omaha that when a man was killed by
lightning, he ought to be buried face downwards, and the soles of his
feet had to be slit. When this was done, the spirit went at once to
the spirit land, without giving further trouble to the living. In one
case (that of a Wejiⁿcte man, Jadegi, according to George Miller
and Frank Le Flèche)[77] this was not done, so it was said that the
ghost _walked_, and he did not rest in peace till another person (his
brother) was slain by lightning and laid beside him.

When Joseph La Flèche and Two Crows heard what Frank had told about
the Milky Way, etc., they remarked, “We have never been to the spirit
land, so we can not tell what is done there. No one has ever come back
and told us.” All that they had ever heard was the old story about the
forked road.

§ 69. Gahige, the late chief of the Iñke-sabĕ (a buffalo gens), told
the author about the address made to a member of his gens, when dying.
According to him, the person was addressed thus: “You are going to the
animals (the buffalos). You are going to your ancestors. Ánita dúbaha
hné (which may be rendered, You are going to the four living ones, if
not, the four winds). Wackañ´-gă (Be strong).” Gahige was understood to
speak of four spirits or souls to each person, but Joseph La Flèche and
Two Crows said that the Omaha did not believe that a person had more
than one spirit. Two Crows gave the following as the address to a dying
member of his gens, the Hañga, another buffalo gens: “Waníʇa    etáʇaⁿ
                                                     Quadruped  from

  ȼatí. Gaⁿ   ĕʇa      ȼagȼé  taté  hă. Gaⁿ  dúduȼagaqȼajĭ    te   hă.
  you  And  thither  you go  shall  .  And  you do not face  will  .
  have                                        this way    (please)

     Hné tĕʇa    caⁿ´caⁿ maⁿȼiñ´-gă há,” i.e., “You came hither from the
  you go to the  always  walk thou  !

animals. And you are going back thither. Do not face this way again.
When you go, continue walking.” The last sentence is a petition to the
departing spirit not to return to this earth to worry or injure the
survivors. That the dead are referred to as still existing, and as
having some knowledge of what is happening here, may be seen from the
address to a Ponka chief at his installation: “Ȼiádi gáhi, ȼijiⁿ´ȼĕ
gáhi, ȼiʇígaⁿ gáhi, ámustáqti ȼidaⁿ´be maⁿ´ȼiⁿ tai;” i.e., “Your father
was a chief, your elder brother (i.e., his potential elder brother,
Ubiskă, a former head chief of the Ponka) was a chief, and your
grandfather was a chief; may they continue to look directly down on

§ 70. Those who boil sacred food, as for the warpath, pour some of the
soup outside the lodge, as an offering to the ghosts. (Omaha custom.)

There has been no belief in the resurrection of the body, but simply
one in the continued existence of the ghost or spirit. While some of
the Iowas expressed to Mr. Hamilton a belief in the transmigration of
spirits, that doctrine has not been found among the Omaha and Ponka,
nor has the author heard of it among other Siouan tribes.

Not all ghosts are visible to the living. They may be heard without
being seen. One Omaha woman, the mother of Two Crows, told how she had
been in a lodge with many persons, who were invisible from the knees


§ 71. When the author was at Kaw Agency, Indian Territory, in
the winter of 1882-’83, a man named Ho-sa-sa-ge died. After the
representatives of all the gentes had assembled at the house, Wakanda
(named after the Thunder-being), the father-in-law of the deceased,
removed the lock of hair called the “ghost,” and took it to his own
house, weeping as he departed.

When Mr. Say was among the Kansa[80] he obtained the following
information about their beliefs concerning death and the future life:

     When a man is killed in battle the thunder is supposed to take him
     up, they do not know whither. In going to battle each warrior
     traces an imaginary figure of the thunder on the soil; he who
     represents it incorrectly is killed by the thunder. A person saw
     this thunder one day on the ground, with a beautiful moccasin on
     each side of it. Having need of a pair, he took them and went his
     way; but on his return to the same spot the thunder took him off,
     and he has not since been heard of.

     They seem to have vague notions about the future state. They think
     that a brave man or a good hunter will walk in a good path; but
     a bad man and a coward will find a bad path. Thinking that the
     deceased has far to travel, they bury with his body moccasins,
     some articles of food, etc., to support him on the journey. Many
     persons, they believe, who have revived have been, during their
     apparent death, to strange villages, where they were not treated
     well by the people, so they returned to life.

The author, when among the Kansa, in the winter of 1882-’83, learned
the following, which differs from anything he has ever obtained
elsewhere: “The Kansa believe that when there is a death the ghost
returns to the spirit village nearest the present habitat of the
living. That is to say, all Indians do not go to one spirit village or
‘happy hunting ground,’ but to different ones, as there is a series of
spirit villages for the Kansa, beginning with the one at Council Grove,
where the tribe dwelt before they removed to their present reservation
in Indian Territory, and extending along both sides of the Kansas
River to its mouth, thence up the Missouri River, as far as the tribe
wandered before meeting the Cheyennes (near the State line), thence
down the river to the mouth of Osage River, and so on, down to the
mouths of the Missouri and Ohio rivers,” etc.


[Footnote 7: See James, Account Exped. to Rocky Mountains, vol. I, p.

[Footnote 8: See Jour. Amer. Folk-lore, vol. I, No. 1, p. 73.]

[Footnote 9: See §§ 132-136, and Tuŋkaŋśila, in Riggs’s
Dakota-English Dictionary, Contr. N.A. Ethnology, vol. VII.]

[Footnote 10: See Contr. N.A. Ethn., vol. VI, pp. 372, 373, 376, and
Omaha Sociology, in 3d Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethnology, pp. 324, 325.]

[Footnote 11: Contr. N.A. Ethn., Vol. VI, p. 394, lines 10-19; p. 395,
lines 14-16.]

[Footnote 12: Wakanda aka uiʞaⁿi egaⁿ.]

[Footnote 13: Wakanda aka ibahaⁿi.]

[Footnote 14: Wakanda aka igiȼigȼaⁿi.]

[Footnote 15: Lewis and Clarke, Expedition, ed. Allen, Dublin, vol. I,
1817, pp. 457, 458; also M’Vickar’s abridgment of the same, Harpers, N.
Y. vol. I, 1842, p. 303.]

[Footnote 16: James’s Account of Long’s Exped., Phila., vol, I, 1823,
p. 208.]

[Footnote 17: Ha, witsiʞue. 6th Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p. 385, line
50; p. 389, line 50; p. 391, line 4, etc.]

[Footnote 18: Am. Naturalist, Feb. 1884, p. 126; _Ibid._, July, 1885,
p. 670.]

[Footnote 19: Ibid., Feb. 1884, pp. 115, 116, 117, 120, 123, 125.]

[Footnote 20: A similar rule about fasting obtained among the Kansa
when mourning for the dead. See Amer. Naturalist, July, 1885, pp. 670,
672, 679.]

[Footnote 21: See 6th Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 385, 389.]

[Footnote 22: James’ Account Long’s Exped., Phil., vol. I, 1823, p.

[Footnote 23: Rept. Peabody Museum, Vol. III, p. 281, note.]

[Footnote 24: See “Osage Traditions,” pp. 384-395, in 6th Ann. Rept.
Bur. Ethn.]

[Footnote 25: For an account of the offering of meat to the four winds,
see Om. Soc., 3d Ann. Rept., Bur. Ethn., p. 284.]

[Footnote 26: See Miss A. C. Fletcher on the “Wawan or Pipe Dance of
the Omahas,” Rept. Peabody Museum. Vol. III, p. 311, note 11, and the
author’s paper, Om. Soc., pp. 278, 279.]

[Footnote 27: Pahaⁿle-gaqli and Waqube-k’iⁿ gave this information
in the winter of 1882-’83. Compare the self-inflicted tortures of the
Dakota and Ponka in the sun dance (§§ 29, 181-3, 185, 187).]

[Footnote 28: Account of the war customs of the Osages: in Amer.
Naturalist, Vol. XVIII, No. 2, February, 1884, p. 133.]

[Footnote 29: See Omaha Sociology, § 24, 3d. Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p.

[Footnote 30: Omaha Sociology, in 3d. Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p. 316.]

[Footnote 31: This song and the invocation of the Thunder-being are
used by the Ponka as well as by the Kansa. According to Miss Fletcher,
the “sign of giving thanks” among the Hunkpapa Dakota is made by moving
the hands in the opposite direction, i. e., “from the shoulder to the
wrist.” See “The White Buffalo Festival of the Uncpapas,” in Peabody
Museum Rept., vol. III, p. 268.]

[Footnote 32: Contr. N. A. Ethn., vol. VI, pp. 108-131.]

[Footnote 33: Compare the hair of the Thunder-men, in Contr. N. A.
Ethn., vol. VI, pp. 187, 188.]

[Footnote 34: Contr. N. A. Ethn, vol. VI, p. 390. See also § 19.]

[Footnote 35: Ibid., p. 207.]

[Footnote 36: Ibid., pp. 40, 134, etc.]

[Footnote 37: Am. Naturalist, July, 1885, vol. 19, Pl. XX, p. 676.]

[Footnote 38: Geikie’s paraphrase, in “Hours with the Bible,” vol. V,
p. 357.]

[Footnote 39: Contr. N. A. Ethn., vol. VI, pp. 370, 371.]

[Footnote 40: Om. Sociology, in 3d. Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p. 317.]

[Footnote 41: Ibid, p. 319.]

[Footnote 42: “Kansas Mourning and War Customs,” in Am. Naturalist,
July 1886, p. 672.]

[Footnote 43: Miss Fletcher, in Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Proc., vol.
XXXIII, pt. 2, 1885, pp. 616, 617. Francis La Flèche, ibid., p. 614.]

[Footnote 44: Osage Traditions, in 6th Ann. Rept. of the Director Bur.
Ethn., 1888, p. 377.]

[Footnote 45: Am. Anthropologist, vol. II., No. 1, 1888, p. 59.
(“January, 1889.”)]

[Footnote 46: U. S. Geol. and Geogr. Survey, Hayden; Miscel. Publ., No.
7, 1877; Matthews’ Ethnography and Philology of the Hidatsa, 1877, p.

[Footnote 47: Om. Soc., p. 234. Contr. N. A. Ethn., vol. VI, 468, line

[Footnote 48: Om. Soc., p. 297. Contr. N. A. Ethn., vol. VI, 471, lines

[Footnote 49: Osage Traditions, in 6th Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 377,
379, 390.]

[Footnote 50: See Jour. Am. Folk-lore, vol. I, No. 3, p. 209; and Om.
Sociology, in 3d Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 347-8.]

[Footnote 51: Om. Sociology, p. 348.]

[Footnote 52: Ibid, pp. 348, 349.]

[Footnote 53: Ibid, p. 349.]

[Footnote 54: “Death and Funeral Customs among the Omahas,” in Jour.
Amer. Folk-lore, vol. II, No. 4, p. 3.]

[Footnote 55: Om. Soc., p. 353.]

[Footnote 56: This Kwapa information was obtained in January, 1891,
some time after the preparation of the greater part of this paper. In
such a combination as dȼ the ȼ is scarcely heard.]

[Footnote 57: See Om. Soc., in 3d Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn. §§ 123, 163,
and several myths in Contr. to N. A. Ethnology, vol. VI.]

[Footnote 58: See Osage Traditions, in 6th Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p.

[Footnote 59: U. S. Geol. and Geogr. Surv., Hayden, Miscell. Publ., No.
7, 1877; Ethnography and Philology of Hidatsa Indians, p. 12.]

[Footnote 60: Om. Soc., in 3d Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p. 238.]

[Footnote 61: Ibid., p. 240.]

[Footnote 62: Ibid., p. 241.]

[Footnote 63: Ibid., pp. 245, 246.]

[Footnote 64: Ibid., pp. 290, 291.]

[Footnote 65: Ibid., p. 295.]

[Footnote 66: For detailed accounts, see “Glimpses of Child-life among
the Omaha Indians,” by Miss A. C. Fletcher, in Jour. Am. Folk-lore,
vol. I, No. 2, pp. 115-118; and Omaha Sociology, in 3d Ann. Rept. Bur.
Ethn., pp. 249, 250.]

[Footnote 67: See pp. 221-251 and Chap. XI of Omaha Sociology, in 3d
Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn.]

[Footnote 68: Prim. Culture, vol. II. p. 132.]

[Footnote 69: See Om. Soc., in 3d. An. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p. 295.]

[Footnote 70: See Om. Soc., p. 320.]

[Footnote 71: Contr. N. A. Ethn., Vol. VI, p. 404.]

[Footnote 72: Rept. Peabody Museum, Vol. III, p. 263, note 8.]

[Footnote 73: In the Am. Naturalist, Feb., 1884, pp. 128, 129.]

[Footnote 74: See Om. Soc., pp. 349-351.]

[Footnote 75: Compare the Oregon story: No Indians go after death to
the upper world to dwell with Qawaneca. Am. Anthropologist, Jan., 1889,
p. 60.]

[Footnote 76: This name is given in the notation of the Bureau of
Ethnology, not as published by Mr. La Flèche.]

[Footnote 77: See Jour. Am. Folklore, Vol. II, No. 6, p. 190.]

[Footnote 78: Om. Soc., p. 360.]

[Footnote 79: See “Death and Funeral Customs of the Omahas,” by Francis
La Flesche, in Jour. Am. Folk-lore, Vol. II, No. 4, pp. 4, 5.]

[Footnote 80: See James’s Account Exped. to Rocky Mountains, Vol. I.,
p. 125.]

                              CHAPTER IV.

                    ┴[C]IWERE AND WINNEBAGO CULTS.

§ 72. The Rev. William Hamilton, who was a missionary to the Iowa and
Sac Indians of Nebraska, from 1837 to 1853, is the authority for most
of the Iowa material in this chapter. About the year 1848, he published
a series of letters about the Iowa Indians in a Presbyterian weekly
newspaper, and with his permission the present writer transcribed these
letters in 1879, for his own future use.

Other information about the three ┴ɔiwere tribes (Iowa, Oto and
Missouri) was obtained by the author from Ke-ʞre[ç]e, an Oto;
Ckaʇɔinye, a Missouri; and the delegation of Iowa chiefs that visited
Washington in 1882.

The principal Winnebago authority was James Alexander, a full-blood and
a member of the Wolf gens.


Mr. Hamilton wrote thus in one of his letters:

     It is often said that the Indians are not idolaters, and that
     they believe in one Supreme Being, whom they call the Great
     Spirit. I do not now recollect that I ever heard the Iowas use
     the term Great Spirit since I have been among them. They speak
     of God (Wakanta), and sometimes of the Great God or Bad God. But
     of the true character of God they are entirely ignorant. Many of
     them speak of God as the creator of all things, and use a term
     that signifies “Creator of the earth.” Sometimes they call him
     “Grandfather” (hiⁿtuka). But they imagine him to be possessed of
     like passions with themselves, and pleased with their war parties,
     scalp dances, thefts, and such like sin.  *  *  *  They sometimes
     speak of the sun as a god, because it gives light and heat. The
     moon they sometimes speak of as a god, because it seems to be to
     the night what the sun is to the day. I asked an Indian the other
     day how many gods the Iowas had, and he promptly replied, ‘Seven.’

                           THE SUN A WAKANTA.

§ 73. An Iowa told Mr. Hamilton that he had once killed a bear, which
he offered to the sun, allowing the animal to lie where he had killed

                         THE WINDS AS WAKANTAS.

§ 74. An Iowa told Mr. Hamilton that Tatce, or Wind, was one of the
seven great gods of his tribe. Another told him that he had made
offerings to the South Wind, who was considered a beneficent Wakanta.
But the North-east Wind was a maleficent one.

Judging from some of the Winnebago personal names, it is probable that
the winds were regarded as powers by that people.

                      THE THUNDER-BEING A WAKANTA.

§ 75. Among the Iowa and Oto, the Tcexita is the eagle and thunderbird
gens, and Mr. Hamilton was told by the Iowa that the Thunder-being was
called Tcexita, and Wakanta, the latter being its peculiar title. “They
supposed the Thunder-being to be a large bird. When they first hear the
thunder in the spring of the year, they have a sacred feast in honor of
this god.”

The Winnebago called the Thunder-being “Wakaⁿtca-ra,” and one
division of the Bird gens is the Wakaⁿtca ikikaratca-da, or
Thunder-being sub-gens. The Thunder-beings are the enemies of the
Waktceqi or Submarine Wakantas. One person in the Thunder-being
sub-gens is named Five-horned Male, probably referring to a
Thunder-being with five horns! Other personal names are as follows:
Green Thunder-being, Black Thunder-being, White Thunder-being, and
Yellow Thunder-being; but James Alexander, a full-blood Winnebago of
the Wolf gens, says that these colors have no connection with the four
winds or quarters of the earth (See § 381).

The Iowa told Mr. Hamilton of a Winnebago who saw a Thunder-being
fighting a subaquatic power. Sometimes the former bore the latter
up into the air, and at other times the subaquatic power took his
adversary beneath the water. The Winnebago watched them all day, and
each Power asked his assistance in overcoming the other, promising him
a great reward. The man did not know which one to help; but at last he
shot an arrow at the subaquatic power, who was carried up into the air
by the Thunder-being, but the wounded one said to the man, “You may
become a great man yourself, but your relations must die.” And so they
say it happened. He became very great, but his relatives died.

When the warriors returned home from an expedition against their
enemies, they plaited grass and tied the pieces around their arms,
necks, and ankles. Sometimes to each ankle there was a trailing piece
of plaited grass a yard long. This was probably associated, as were all
war customs, with the worship of the Thunder-being (See Chap. III, §

                          SUBTERRANEAN POWERS.

§ 76. An Indian became deranged from the use of whisky, and ran wild
for several days. The Iowa supposed that his madness was caused by a
subterranean power, whom he had seen, and whose picture he had drawn on
the ground, representing it with large horns.

                           SUBAQUATIC POWERS.

§ 77. Some Iowa claim to have seen them. No Heart (Natce-niñe) told
Mr. Hamilton that he had seen a “water god in the Missouri river, when
a man was drowned. When a person is drowned they sometimes say that
the god who lives in the water has taken him for a servant. Not a year
since, some Iowa went over the river for meat. A young girl sat down in
the canoe with her load on her back. When near the shore the canoe was
upset accidentally, and the girl was drowned. The men thought that they
heard a god halloo in the water, and that he had taken her. One told me
that the gods of the air (i. e. the Thunder-beings) fought the gods of
the water, and when the latter came out of the water, the former stole
upon them and killed them.”

The subterranean and subaquatic powers are called “waktceqi” by the
Winnebago, and this tribe has a gens called Waktceqi ikikaratcada.
The Winnebago say that the waktceqi dwell under the ground and the
high bluffs, and in subterranean water, that they are caused to
uphold the earth, trees, rivers, etc., and that they are the enemies
of the Thunder-beings (§ 386). In the Winnebago Waktceqi gens are
the following personal names: Black Waktceqi, White Waktceqi, Green
Waktceqi, “Waktceqi that is saⁿ” (which may be gray or brown), Four
Horned Male, Two Horned Male, and Lives in the Hill.

                          ANIMALS AS WAKANTAS.

§ 78. Mr. Hamilton wrote that the Iowa often spoke about the buffaloes,
whom they regarded as gods, addressing them as “Grandfathers.” He also
told of a doctor whom he met one day; the doctor seized a joint-snake
that was handed him by another doctor, calling it his “god,” spoke of
it as being good medicine, and after putting its head into his mouth,
he bit it twice.


§ 79. “They also seem to think that human beings may become gods, and
in this respect they are like the Mormons.”

                           DWELLINGS OF GODS.

§ 80. “High rocks are supposed by the Iowa to be the dwellings of
gods.” “There is a Winnebago tradition that a woman carrying her child
was running from her enemies, so she jumped down a steep place and
was turned into a rock. And now when they pass that place they make
offerings to her.”


§ 81. “One of their most common acts of worship, and apparently one
of daily occurrence, is observed when a person is about to smoke his
pipe. He looks to the sky and says, ‘Wakanta, here is tobacco!’ (See
§§ 29, 40, ‘Nini bahai tĕ.’) Then he puffs a mouthful of smoke up
towards the sky, after which he smokes as he pleases.” “They also make
offerings of tobacco by throwing a small quantity into the fire.”
“They frequently offer a small portion of food at their feasts, before
they begin eating.”

Mr. Hamilton saw dogs hung by their necks to trees or to sticks planted
in the ground, and he was told that these dogs were offerings. “No
Heart told me that when the smallpox raged among them about fifty years
ago” (i. e. about 1798), “and swept off so many, that they made a
great many offerings.” Said he, “We threw away a great many garments,
blankets, etc., and offered many dogs to God. My father threw away a
flag which the British had given him. When we had thrown away these
things, the smallpox left us.” These offerings to God (literally, to
Wakanta) were the means of checking it. “To throw away,” in Iowa, is
the same as “to offer in sacrifice.”


§ 82. Mr. Hamilton was told by the Iowa that no member of any gens
could eat the flesh of the eponymic animal.

The author gained the following taboos from a Missouri, Ckaʇɔe-yiñe or
Ckaʇɔinye, who visited the Omaha in 1879: The members of the Tunaⁿp’iⁿ,
a Black Bear gens in the Oto and Nyut’atci (or Missouri) tribes can not
touch a clam shell. The Momi people, now a subgens of the Missouri Bird
gens, abstain from small birds which have been killed by large birds,
and they can not touch the feathers of such small birds.

                     PUBLIC OR TRIBAL FETICHES.[81]

§ 83. Among these are the sacred pipes, the sacred bags, or waruxawe,
and the sacred stone or iron. The sacred pipes are used only on solemn
occasions, and they are kept enveloped in the skin wrappers. The
sacred bags, or waruxawe, are made from the skins of animals. They are
esteemed as mysterious, and they are reverenced as much as Wakanta.
Among the Winnebago (and presumably among the ┴ɔiwere tribes) no
woman is allowed to touch the waruxawe. There used to be seven waruxawe
among the Iowa, “related to one another as brothers and sisters,” and
used by war parties. On the return from war the seven bags were opened
and used in the scalp dance. They contained the skins of animals and
birds with medicine in them, also wild tobacco and other war medicine,
also the war club. There used to be seven war clubs, one for each
waruxawe, but during the last expedition of the Iowa, prior to the date
of Mr. Hamilton’s letters, the war club and pipes or whistles were
lost from the principal bag. The next kind of sacred bags, the Waci
waruxawe, numbered seven. They were the bad-medicine bags, by means of
which they professed to deprive their enemies of power, when they had
discouraged them by blowing the whistles. Owing to this enchantment,
they said, their enemies could neither shoot nor run, and were soon
killed. The next kind were the Tce waruxawe, or buffalo medicine bags.
They were not used in war, but in healing the wounded. These bags
contain medicine and the sticks with the deer hoofs attached which
they shake while treating the sick; also a piece of buffalo tail, and
perhaps a piece from the skin covering the throat of an elk.

The Ta waruxawe, or deer medicine bags, contain the sacred otter skins
used in the Otter dance. (See § 86.)

In some of the sacred bags are round stones, which the warriors rub
over themselves before going to war, to prevent their being killed or

The waruxawe is always carried with the same end foremost, the heads of
the animals or birds being placed in the same direction, and care is
taken to keep them so. (See § 28.) On one occasion a leader broke up a
war party by turning the bag around.

The Iowa claim to have a mysterious object by which they try men, or
make them swear to speak the truth. This mysterious iron or stone had
not been gazed upon within the recollection of any of the Iowa living
in 1848. It was wrapped in seven skins. No woman was allowed to see
even the outer covering, and Mr. Hamilton was told that he would die if
he looked at it.

Ckaʇɔinye, the Missouri, told the author that there were four
Tu-naⁿp’iⁿ men who kept sacred pipes (raqnowe waqonyitaⁿ), their names
being Weqa-nayiⁿ, Cŭⁿ-ʞiqowe, Naⁿ[ç]ra[ç]raʇɔe, and Naⁿʇɔe-yiñe. It is
probable that two of these men belong to the Tunaⁿp’iⁿ gens of the Oto
tribe and two to the Tunaⁿp’iⁿ gens of the Nyut’atci tribe, as these
two tribes have been consolidated for years. In the Aruqwa or Buffalo
gens of the Oto, ┴ɔe-ʇo-nayiⁿ and ┴ɔe-wañeʞihi are the keepers of the
sacred pipes of that gens.


     § 84. The Winnebago tent used for sacred dances is long and
     narrow; not more than 20 feet wide and varying from 50 to 100 feet

     In the Buffalo dance, which is given four times in the month of
     May and early June, the dancers are four men and a large number of
     women. As the dancers enter each woman brings in a handful of fine
     earth and in this way two mounds are raised in the center at the
     east--that is, between the eastern entrance and the fire, which is
     about 15 feet from the eastern entrance. The mounds thus formed
     are truncated cones. An old man said to me, “That is the way all
     mounds were built; that is why we build so for the buffalo.”

     The mounds were about 4 inches high and not far from 18 inches in
     diameter. On top of the mounds were placed the head-gear worn by
     the men, the claws, tails, and other articles used by the four
     leaders or male dancers.

     The men imitate the buffalo in his wild tramping and roaring, and
     dance with great vigor. They are followed by a long line of gaily
     decked women in single file. Each woman as she dances keeps her
     feet nearly straight and heels close together, and the body is
     propelled forward by a series of jerks which jars the whole frame,
     but the general effect on the long, closely packed line is that
     of the undulating appearance of a vast herd moving. The women
     dance with their eyes turned toward the ground and with their
     hands hanging closely in front, palms next to the person. The
     track left by their feet is very pretty, being like a close-leaved
     vine. It is astonishing to notice how each woman can leap into
     her predecessor’s track. Water is partaken of and the entire
     dance is clearly indicative of the prayer for increase and plenty
     of buffalo. The two mounds remind one of larger structures and
     suggest many speculations, particularly when taken in connection
     with the manner of their building.

     In the great mystery lodge, whence so many of the sacred societies
     among other tribes professedly take their rise and inspiration,
     the fire is at the east, and is made by placing four sticks
     meeting in the center and the other ends pointing to the four
     points of the compass.[83] Just at that part of the initiation of
     the candidate when he is to fall dead to the old life, be covered
     as with a pall, and then be raised to the new life, the remains
     of the four sticks are taken away and the ashes raised in a sharp
     conical mound, again suggesting hints of a peculiar past.

     Upon the bluffs of the Missouri, on a promontory  *  *  *  is a
     little depression cut in the ground, circular in form, with an
     elongated end at the east. The depression is 1 foot in diameter
     and about 6 inches deep. Placing my compass in the center, the
     long end or entrance was found to be exactly to the east. To the
     south of this sacred spot, for it is cleared and cleaned  *  *  *
     every year, stood a large cedar tree, now partly blown down. This
     was the sacred tree on which miraculous impersonation of visions
     lit; and here the spirits tarried as they passed from one resting
     place to another going over the country. About every 50 miles
     there is one of these strange, supernatural resting places.

                           PERSONAL FETICHES.

§ 85. All medicines were regarded as mysterious or sacred. The heart
of a slain enemy was sometimes dried and put in the medicine bag to be
pulverized and mixed with the other medicines. “One or two days before
a war party started from the village of the Iowa, the man who was to
carry the sacred bag hid it while the others busied themselves with
preparing sacred articles” (probably their personal fetiches). “The
hunters often brought in deer, after eating which, the warriors painted
themselves as they would do if they expected to see an enemy. Next, one
of their number measured a certain number of steps in front, when each
man took his place, and knelt down. As soon as the word was given, each
one pulled away the grass and sticks, moving backwards till he came
to the poles, when he arose. Then each placed his own sacred objects
(personal fetiches?) before him, and began his own song. While singing,
they opened their sacred objects, asking for good luck. They sang one
song on opening them (as among the Kansa, see § 36), and another while
putting them back into their places, a song being supposed necessary
for every ceremony in which they engaged. In the conversations which
ensued, they were at liberty to jest, provided they avoided common or
vulgar terms.”

                           DANCING SOCIETIES.

There is very probably some connection between these societies and the
cults of the tribes now under consideration. (See §§ 43, 62, 111, 113,
120, et passim.)

                       THE OTTER DANCING SOCIETY.

§ 86. The members of this order shot at one another with their
otterskin bags, as has been the custom in the Wacicka dancing society
of the Omaha (Om. Soc., pp. 345, 346). Some have said that they waved
their otter-skin bags around in order to infuse the spirit of the otter
into a bead in its mouth, and that it was by the spirit of the otter
that they knocked one another down. Each one who practiced this dance
professed to keep some small round object in his breast to cough it
up before or during the dance, and to use it for shooting one of his
companions in the neck. He who was thus shot did in turn cough up the
mysterious object, and at the end of the dance each member swallowed
his own shell or pebble.


§ 87. The Indians used to obtain in the prairies, towards the Rocky
Mountains, an object about the size of a bean or small hazelnut and of
a red color. Mr. Hamilton was told that it grew on bushes, and that
it was considered to be alive, and they looked on it as a mysterious
animal. In the red medicine dance the person who makes the medicine
kills the animals by crushing the beans and boiling them in a large
kettle filled with water. This drink is designed for or appropriated
by a few members, and they drink the liquid when it is quite hot. The
more that they drink the more they desire, and they seem able to drink
almost any quantity. It produces a kind of intoxication, making them
full of life, as they say, and enabling them to dance a long time. (See
§ 62.)

                           GREEN CORN DANCE.

§ 88. This dance did not originate with the Iowa. It is said that the
Sac tribe obtained it from the Shawnee. It is held after night. Men
and women dance together, and if any women or men wish to leave their
consorts they do it at this dance and mate anew, nothing being urged
against it.

                        BUFFALO DANCING SOCIETY.

§ 89. The Iowa have the buffalo dance, and by a comparison of Mr.
Hamilton’s description of it, and his account of the buffalo doctors,
and of the medicine or mystery bag of buffalo hide, with what has been
learned about the Omaha order of buffalo shamans (see § 43), it seems
probable that among the Iowa this dance was not participated in by any
but those who had had visions of the buffalo, and that there was also
some connection between all three--the dancing society, the buffalo
doctors, and the mysterious bag of buffalo hide. As among the Omaha,
the buffalo doctors of the Iowa are the only surgeons.

                         ┴[C]IWERE TRADITIONS.

§ 90. The ┴ɔiwere tribes have traditions of their origin similar to
those found among the Osage, Kansa, and Ponka, and these traditions are
considered as “waqonyitaⁿ,” or mysterious things, not to be spoken of
lightly or told on ordinary occasions.

As among the Osage and Kansa, the traditions tell of a period when the
ancestors of the present gentes dwelt, some in the upper world, and
others in the ground (or in the world beneath this one).

Mr. Hamilton’s informant said, “These are sacred things, and I do not
like to speak about them, as it is not our custom to do so except when
we make a feast and collect the people and use the sacred pipe.” These
traditions were preserved in the secret societies of the tribes. They
explain the origin of the gentes and subgentes, of fire, corn, the
pipes, bows and arrows, etc.

It is probable that similar secret societies exist among the Winnebago.
James Alexander, a Winnebago of the Wolf gens, told a part of the
secret tradition of his gens, in which appear some resemblances to the
┴ɔiwere traditions, such as the creation of four kinds of wolves, and
their dwelling underground, or in the world beneath this one. (See §§
381, 383.)

                         BELIEF IN FUTURE LIFE.

That the ┴ɔiwere believed in the existence of the ghost or spirit after
death is evident from what Mr. Hamilton observed:

     They often put provisions, a pitcher of water, and some cooking
     utensils on the grave for the use of the spirit for some time
     after burial.  *  *  *  At the time of burial, they often put
     new clothing and ornaments on the corpse, if they are able, and
     place by its side such things as they think necessary. I once
     saw a little child with some of its playthings which its mother
     had placed by it, in her ignorance, thinking that they would be
     pleasing to it.  *  *  *  They are generally careful for a year
     or so, to keep down all the weeds and grass about the grave,
     perhaps for  10 feet around.


[Footnote 81: See § 58.]

[Footnote 82: Miss Fletcher in Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Proc. Minneapolis
meeting, 1883. Salem, 1884. pp. 396, 397.]

[Footnote 83: See §§ 33 and 40.]

                               CHAPTER V.

                      DAKOTA AND ASSINIBOIN CULTS.


§ 92. That the Dakota tribes, before the advent of the white race,
believed in one Great Spirit, has been asserted by several writers;
but it can not be proved. On the contrary, even those writers who are
quoted in this study as stating the Dakota belief in a Great Spirit,
also tell us of beliefs in many spirits of evil. Among the earlier
writers of this class is Say, who observes:

     Their Wahconda seems to be a protean god; he is supposed to appear
     to different persons under different forms. All who are favored
     with his presence become medicine men and magicians in consequence
     of their having seen and conversed with Wahconda, and of having
     received from him some particular medicine of wondrous efficacy.

The same writer records that “Wahconda” appeared sometimes as a grizzly
bear, sometimes as a bison, at others as a beaver, or an owl, or some
other bird or animal.[84] It is plain that Say mistook the generic
term, “Wahconda,” for a specific one. (See §§ 6, 21-24.)

Shea says:

     Although polytheism did not exist, although they all recognized
     one Supreme Being, the creator of all,  *  *  *  they nowhere
     adored the God whom they knew.  *  *  *  The demons with which
     they peopled nature, these alone, in their fear they sought to
     appease.  *  *  *  Pure unmixed devil-worship prevailed
     throughout the length and breadth of the land.[85]

§ 93. Lynd made some very pertinent remarks:

     A stranger coming among the Dakotas for the first time, and
     observing the endless variety of objects upon which they bestow
     their devotion, and the manifold forms which that worship assumes,
     at once pronounces them pantheists. A further acquaintance with
     them convinces him that they are pantheists of no ordinary
     kind--that their pantheism is negative as well as positive, and
     that the engraftments of religion are even more numerous than
     the true branches. Upon a superficial glance he sees naught
     but an inextricable maze of gods, demons, spirits, beliefs and
     counter-beliefs, earnest devotion and reckless skepticism,
     prayers, sacrifices, and sneers, winding and intermingling with
     one another, until a labyrinth of pantheism and skepticism
     results, and the Dakota, with all his infinity of deities appears
     a creature of irreligion. One speaks of the medicine dance with
     respect, while another smiles at the name--one makes a religion
     of the raw fish feast, while another stands by and laughs at his
     performance--and others, listening to the supposed revelations of
     the circle dance, with reverent attention, are sneered at by a
     class who deny in toto the wakan nature of that ceremony.[86]

     In common with all nations of the earth the Dakotas believe in a
     Wakantanka or Great Spirit. But this Being is not alone in the
     universe. Numbers of minor deities are scattered throughout space,
     some of whom are placed high in the scale of power. Their ideas of
     the Great Spirit appear to be that He is the creator of the world
     and has existed from all time; but after creating the world and
     all that is in it He sank into silence and since then has failed
     to take any interest in the affairs of this planet. They never
     pray to Him, for they deem Him too far away to hear them, or as
     not being concerned in their affairs. No sacrifices are made to
     Him, nor dances in His honor. Of all the spirits He is the Great
     Spirit; but His power is only latent or negative. They swear by
     Him at all times, but more commonly by other divinities.[87]

Yet Lynd is not always consistent, for he says on another page (71) of
the same work: “No one deity is held by them all as a superior object
of worship.”

§ 94. Pond writes:

     Evidence is also wanting to show that the Dakotas embraced in
     their religious tenents the idea of one supreme existence, whose
     existence is expressed by the term Great Spirit. If some clans
     at the present time entertain this idea it seems highly probable
     that it has been imparted to them by individuals of European
     extraction. No reference to such a being is found in their feasts,
     fasts, or sacrifices. Or if there is such a reference at the
     present time it is clear that it is of recent origin and does not
     belong to their system. It is indeed true that the Dakotas do
     sometimes appeal to the Great Spirit when in council with white
     men, but it is because they themselves have embraced the Christian
     doctrines. Still, it is generally the interpreter who makes
     the appeal to the Great Spirit, when the Indian speaker really
     appealed to the Taku Wakan, and not to the Wakantanka. It is true
     that  *  *  *  all the Dakota gods  *  *  *  are mortal. They are
     not thought of as being eternal, except it may be by

The author agrees with Pond in what he says about the average Indian
interpreter of early days, who seldom gave a correct rendering of what
was spoken in council. But at the present time great improvement has
doubtless been observed.

It should be remembered that Messrs. Riggs and Pond were missionaries
to the Dakotas, while Messrs. Say, Shea, and Lynd must be classed among
the laity. Yet the missionaries, not the laymen, are the ones who make
the positive statements about the absence of a belief in one Great

                        RIGGS ON THE TAKU WAKAN.

§ 95. Riggs remarks:

     The religious faith of the Dakota is not in his gods as such. It
     is an intangible, mysterious something of which they are only the
     embodiment, and that in such a measure and degree as may accord
     with the individual fancy of the worshiper. Each one will worship
     some of these divinities and neglect and despise others; but the
     great object of all their worship, whatever its chosen medium, is
     the TA-KOO WAH-KON, which is the supernatural and mysterious. No
     one term can express the full meaning of the Dakota’s Wakan. It
     comprehends all mystery, secret power, and divinity.  *  *  *
     All life is Wakan. So also is everything which exhibits power,
     whether in action, as the winds and drifting clouds, or in
     passive endurance, as the bowlder by the wayside.[89]

                          MEANING OF “WAKAN.”

     In the mind of a Dakota  *  *  *  this word Wah-kon (we write,
     wa-kan) covers the whole field of their fear and worship. Many
     things also that are neither feared nor worshiped, but are simply
     wonderful, come under this designation. It is related of Hennepin
     that when he and his two companions were taken captive by a Sioux
     war party, as they ascended the upper Mississippi one of the men
     took up his gun and shot a deer on the bank. The Indians said,
     “Wah-kon chi?”--Is not this mysterious? And from that day
       *  *  *  the gun has been called Mah-za wah-kon, mysterious
     iron. This is shortened into Mah-za-kon. The same thing we may
     believe is true when, probably less than two centuries ago, they
     first saw a horse. They said “Shoon-ka wah-kon,” wonderful dog.
     And from that day the horse has been called by the Sioux
     wonderful dog, except when it has been called big dog, Shoon-ka
     tonka. These historical facts have satisfied us that the idea of
     the Great Spirit ascribed to the Indians of North America does
     not belong to the original theogony of the Sioux, but has come
     from without, like that (sic) of the horse and gun, and probably
     dates back only to their first hearing of the white man’s

_Taku Wakan._--This is a general term, including all that is wonderful,
incomprehensible, supernatural--what is wakan; but especially covering
the objects of their worship. Until used in reference to our God, it is
believed that the phrase was not applied to any individual object of
worship, but was equivalent to “the gods.”[91] As tuwe, _who_, refers
to persons, and taku, _what_, to things, the correctness of Riggs’s
conclusion can hardly be questioned, provided we add that the Dakota
term, Taku Wakan, could not have conveyed to the Dakota mind the idea
of a _personal_ God, using the term _person_ as it is commonly employed
by civilized peoples.


§ 96. Lynd says:

     The divinities of evil among the Dakotas may be called legion.
     Their special delight is to make man miserable or to destroy him.
     Demons wander through the earth, causing sickness and death.
     Spirits of evil are ever ready to pounce upon and destroy the
     unwary. Spirits of earth, air, fire, and water (see § 36) surround
     him upon every side, and with but one great governing object in
     view--the misery and destruction of the human race.[92]


§ 97. Their religious system gives to everything a soul or spirit. Even
the commonest sticks and clays have a spiritual essence attached to
them which must needs be reverenced; for these spirits, too, vent their
wrath upon mankind. Indeed, there is no object, however trivial, but
has its spirit.[93]

In his article on the Mythology of the Dakotas,[94] Riggs says of the

     They pray to the sun, earth, moon, lakes, rivers, trees, plants,
     snakes, and all kinds of animals and vegetables--many of them say,
     to everything, for they pray to their guns and arrows--to any
     object, artificial as well as natural, for they suppose that every
     object, artificial as well as natural, has a spirit which may hurt
     or help, and so is a proper object of worship.

Lynd says:

     The essentially physical cast of the Indian mind (if I may be
     allowed the expression) requires some outward and tangible
     representation of things spiritual before he can comprehend
     them. The god must be present, by image or in person, ere he
     can offer up his devotions.  *  *  *  Similar to this “belief in a
     spiritual essence” is the general Dakota belief that each class of
     animals or objects of a like kind possesses a peculiar guardian
     divinity, which is the mother archetype.  *  *  *  Sexuality is a
     prominent feature in the religion of the Dakotas. Of every species
     of divinity, with the exception of the Wakantanka, there is a
     plurality, part male and part female. Even the spirits, which
     are supposed to dwell in the earth, twigs, and other inanimate
     substances, are invested with distinctions of sex.[95]

§ 98. Pond asserts that “evidence is wanting to show that these people
divide their Taku-wakan into classes of good and evil. They are all
simply wakan.”[96]

                         PRINCIPAL DAKOTA GODS.

The gods of the Dakotas are of course innumerable; but of the superior
gods these are the chief: The Unkteḣi, or god of the water; the
Wakinyan, or thunder god; the Takuśkanśkan, or moving god; the Tunkan,
Inyan, or stone god; the Heyoka god; the Sun; the Moon; the Armor god;
the Spirit of the Medicine Sack; and the Wakantanka, who is probably an
intrusive deity.[97]


§ 99. The following remarks are those of a later writer, Miss Fletcher:

     The Indian’s religion is generally spoken of as a nature and
     animal worship. The term seems too broadcast and indiscriminate.
     Careful inquiry and observation fail to show that the Indian
     actually worships the objects which are set up or mentioned by
     him in his ceremonies. The earth, four winds, the sun, moon,
     and stars, the stones, the water, the various animals, are all
     exponents of a mysterious life and power encompassing the Indian
     and filling him with vague apprehension and desire to propitiate
     and induce friendly relations. The latter is attempted not so much
     through the ideas of sacrifice as through more or less ceremonial
     appeals. More faith is put in ritual and a careful observance of
     forms than in any act of self-denial in its moral sense, as we
     understand it. The claim of relationship is used to strengthen
     the appeal, since the tie of kindred among the Indians is one
     which can not be ignored or disregarded, the terms grandfather and
     grandmother being most general and implying dependence, respect,
     and the recognition of authority. (See §§ 9, 100.)

     One of the simplest and most picturesque explanations of the use
     of the varied forms of life in the Indian worship was given to me
     by a thoughtful Indian chief. He said: “Everything as it moves,
     now and then, here and there, makes stops. The bird as it flies
     stops in one place to make its nest, and in another to rest in its
     flight. A man when he goes forth stops when he wills. So the god
     has stopped. The sun, which is so bright and beautiful, is one
     place where he has stopped. The moon, the stars, the winds, he has
     been with. The trees, the animals, are all where he has stopped,
     and the Indian thinks of these places and sends his prayers there
     to reach the place where the god has stopped and win help and a

     The vague feeling after unity is here discernible, but it is like
     the cry of a child rather than the articulate speech of a man. To
     the Indian mind the life of the universe has not been analyzed,
     classified, and a great synthesis formed of the parts. To him
     the varied forms are equally important and noble. A devout old
     Indian said: “The tree is like a human being, for it has life and
     grows; so we pray to it and put our offerings on it that the god
     may help us.” In the same spirit the apology is offered over a
     slaughtered animal, for the life of the one is taken to supplement
     the life of the other, “that it may cause us to live,” one formula
     expresses it. These manifestations of life, stopping places of the
     god, can not therefore be accurately called objects of worship
     or symbols; they appear to be more like media of communication
     with the permeating occult force which is vaguely and fearfully
     apprehended. As a consequence, the Indian stands abreast of
     nature. He does not face it, and hence can not master or coerce
     it, or view it scientifically and apart from his own mental and
     emotional life. He appeals to it, but does not worship it.[98]


§ 100. Every power is prayed to by some of the Dakota and Assiniboin.
Among the accessories of prayer the Dakota reckons the following:
(_a_) Ceremonial wailing or crying (ćéya, to weep, wail; whence,
ćékiya, to cry, to pray, and woćékiye, prayer), sometimes accompanied
by articulate speech (§§ 177, 208); (_b_) the action called yuwiⁿtapi
(yuwiŋ´tapi) described in § 24; (_c_) holding the pipe with the
mouthpiece toward the power invoked, as the Heyoka devotees sometimes
do (§§ 223, 224); (_d_) the use of smoke from the pipe or the odor
of burning cedar needles (§§ 159, 168); (_e_) the application of the
kinship terms, “grandfather” (or its alternative, “venerable man”) to a
male power, and “grandmother” to a female one (§§ 99, 107, 239); (_f_)
sacrifice, or offering of goods, animals, or pieces of one’s own flesh,
etc. (see § 185).


§ 101. The radical forms of worship among the Dakota, according to
Lynd, are few and simple. One of the most primitive is that of Wocnapi
(Wośnapi) or Sacrifice. To every divinity that they worship they
make sacrifices. Even upon the most trivial occasions the gods are
either thanked or supplicated by sacrifice. The religious idea it
carries with it is at the foundation of the every-day life of the
Dakota. The wohduze or taboo has its origin there; the wiwaŋyag
waćipi or sundance (§§ 141-211) carries with it the same idea;
the wakaŋ wohaŋpi or sacred feast (feast of the first-fruits)
is a practical embodiment of it; and haŋmdepi or god-seeking of
the extreme western tribes is but a form of self-sacrifice. No Dakota
in his worship neglects this ceremony. It enters into his religious
thoughts at all times, even at the hour of death. The sacrifices
made upon recovery from sickness are never composed of anything very
valuable, for the poverty of the Indian will not permit this. Usually
a small strip of muslin, or a piece of red cloth, a few skins of
some animals, or other things of no great use or value are employed.
Sometimes a pan or kettle is laid up for a sacrifice. But after a short
time, the end for which the sacrifice was made is attained, and it is
removed. Those in need of such things as they see offered in sacrifice
may take them for their own use, being careful to substitute some other
articles. Perhaps the most common forms of sacrifice are those which
are made in the hunt. Particular portions of each animal killed are
held sacred to the god of the chase or some other deities. If a deer
is killed, the head, heart, or some other part of it is sacrificed by
the person who has slain it. The part sacrificed differs with different
individuals. In ducks and fowls the most common sacrifice is of the
wing, though many sacrifice the heart, and a few the head. This custom
is called wohduze, and is always constant with individuals, i. e., the
same part is always sacrificed. The other wohduze or taboo is connected
with the wotawe or armor,[99] and will be described hereafter (§ 125).

§ 102. _Haŋmdepi or god-seeking._--Haŋmdepi or god-seeking
is a form of religion among the Dakotas that points back to a remote
antiquity. The meaning of the word, in its common acceptation, appears
to be greatly misunderstood by some. Literally, it means only to dream,
and is but another form of haŋma; but in its use it is applied
almost wholly to the custom of seeking for a dream or revelation,
practiced by the Sisitonwan, Ihanktonwanna, and Titonwan (Sioux), and
by the Crow, Minnetaree, Assiniboin, and other western Dakota. In this
respect it has no reference whatever to the common dreams of sleep, but
means simply the form of religion practiced.

If a Dakota wishes to be particularly successful in any (to him)
important undertaking, he first purifies himself by the Inipi or steam
bath, and by fasting for a term of three days. During the whole of
this time he avoids women and society, is secluded in his habits, and
endeavors in every way to be pure enough to receive a revelation from
the deity whom he invokes. When the period of fasting is passed he is
ready for the sacrifice, which is made in various ways. Some, passing
a knife through the breast and arms, attach thongs thereto, which
are fastened at the other end to the top of a tall pole raised for
that purpose; and thus they hang, suspended only by these thongs, for
two, three, or even four days, gazing upon vacancy, their minds being
intently fixed upon the object in which they desire to be assisted by the
deity, and waiting for a vision from above. Once a day an assistant is
sent to look upon the person thus sacrificing himself. If the deities
have vouchsafed him a vision or revelation, he signifies the same by
motions, and is released at once; if he be silent, his silence is
understood, and he is left alone to his reverie.

Others attach a buffalo hair rope to the head of a buffalo just as it
is severed from the animal, and to the other end affix a hook, which
is then passed through the large muscles in the small of the back,
and thus fastened they drag the head all over the camp, their minds
meanwhile being fixed intently, as in the first instance, upon the
object in which they are beseeching the deity to assist them.

A third class pass knives through the flesh in various parts of the
body, and wait in silence, though with fixed mind, for a dream or
revelation. A few, either not blessed with the powers of endurance or
else lacking the courage of the class first named, will plant a pole
upon the steep bank of a stream, and attaching ropes to the muscles of
the arm and breast, as in the first instance, will stand, but not hang,
gazing into space, without food or drink, for days.

Still another class practice the haŋmdepi without such horrid
self-sacrifice. For weeks, nay, for months, they will fix their minds
intently upon any desired object, to the exclusion of all others,
frequently crying about the camp, occasionally taking a little food,
but fasting for the most part, and earnestly seeking a revelation from
their god.[100]

§ 103. Similar testimony has been given respecting the Mandan, Hidatsa,
and Arikara, though this last tribe belongs to the Caddoan stock. Smet
wrote thus about them:

     They cut off their fingers and make deep incisions in the fleshy
     parts of the body before starting for war, in order to obtain the
     favors of their false gods. On my last visit to these Ricaries,
     Minataries, and Mandans I could not discern a single man at all
     advanced in years whose body had not been mutilated, or who
     possessed his full number of fingers.[101]

In treating of the religious opinion of the Assiniboin, Smet says:

     Some burn tobacco, and present to the Great Spirit the most
     exquisite pieces of buffalo meat by casting them into the fire;
     while others make deep incisions in the fleshy parts of their
     bodies, and even cut off the first joints of their fingers to
     offer them in sacrifice.[102]

Lynd says:

     § 104. Frequently the devout Dakota will make images of bark or
     stone, and, after painting them in various ways and putting sacred
     down upon them, will fall down in worship before them, praying
     that all danger may be averted from him and his. It must not be
     understood, however, that the Dakota is an idolater. It is not the
     image that he worships,  *  *  *  but the spiritual essence which
     is represented by that image, and which is supposed to be ever
     near it.[103]

This plausible distinction has been made by persons of different
nations at various periods in the world’s history, but it seems to be
of doubtful value.

                        USE OF PAINT IN WORSHIP.

§ 105. In the worship of their deities paint forms an important
feature. Scarlet or red is the religious color for sacrifices, while
blue is used by the women in many of the ceremonies in which they
participate (§§ 374, 375). This, however, is not a constant distinction
of sex, for the women frequently use red or scarlet. The use of paints
the Dakotas aver was taught them by the gods.[104]

For accounts of the Sun-dance and a sacrifice to the Dawn, see §§ 141,
211, 215.


§ 106. The gods of this name, for there are many, are the most powerful
of all. In their external form they are said to resemble the ox, only
they are of immense proportions. They can extend their horns and
tails so as to reach the skies. These are the organs of their power.
According to one account the Unkteḣi inhabit all deep waters, and
especially all great waterfalls. Two hundred and eleven years ago, when
Hennepin and Du Luth saw the Falls of St. Anthony together, there were
some buffalo robes hanging there as sacrifices to the Unkteḣi of the

§ 107. Another account written by the same author informs us that the
male Unkteḣi dwell in the water, and the spirits of the females animate
the earth. Hence, when the Dakota seems to be offering sacrifices to
the water or the earth, it is to this family of gods that the worship
is rendered. They address the males as “grandfathers,” and the females
as “grandmothers.” It is believed that one of these gods dwells under
the Falls of St. Anthony, in a den of great dimensions, which is
constructed of iron.[106]

§ 108. “The word Unkteḣi defies analysis, only the latter part giving
us the idea of _difficult_ [sic], and so nothing can be gathered from
the name itself of the functions of these gods. But Indian legend
generally describes the genesis of the earth as from the water. Some
animal, as the beaver [compare the Iowa and Oto Beaver gentes, Paça
and Paqça.--J. O. D.] living in the waters, brought up, from a great
depth, mud to build dry land.”[107] According to the Dakota cosmogony,
this was done by the Unkteḣi, called in the Teton dialect Ŭñktcexila
or Uŋkćeġila. (Compare the Winnebago, Waktceqi ikikaratcada or
water-monster gens, and the Wakandagi of the Omaha and Ponka, see §§ 7,

§ 109. The Iowa and Oto tribes have among their nikie names,
Niwaⁿcike, Water Person, and Niwaⁿcikemi, Water Person Female. If
these do not refer to the beaver, they may have some connection with
the water monsters or deities. An Omaha told the author a Yankton
legend about these gods of the waters. The wife of the special Unkteḣi
coveted an Indian child and drew it beneath the surface of the river.
The father of the child had to offer a white dog to the deity in order
to recover his son; but the latter died on emerging from the water, as
he had eaten some of the food of the Unkteḣi during his stay with the
deity. After awhile the parents lost a daughter in like manner, but as
she did not eat any of the food of the Unkteḣi, she was recovered after
an offering of four white dogs.[108]

Smet tells of offerings made by the Assiniboin to “the water” and “the
land,” but it is probable that they were made to the Unkteḣi.[109]

§ 110. The Dakota pray to lakes and rivers, according to Riggs,[110]
but he does not say whether the visible objects were worshiped or
whether the worship was intended for the Unkteḣi supposed to dwell in
those lakes and rivers.

                        POWER OF THE UNKTEḢI.

§ 111. These gods have power to send from their bodies a wakan
influence which is irresistible even by the superior gods. This
influence is termed “tonwan.” This power is common to all the Taku
Wakan. And it is claimed that this tonwan is infused into each mystery
sack which is used in the mystery dance. A little to the left of the
road leading from Fort Snelling to Minnehaha, in sight of the fort, is
a hill which is used at present as a burial place. This hill is known
to the Dakota as “Taku Wakan tipi,” the dwelling place of the gods. It
is believed that one of the Unkteḣi dwells there.

§ 112. The Unkteḣi are thought to feed on the spirits of human beings,
and references to this occur in the mystic songs. The mystery feast and
the mystery dance have been received from these gods. The sacrifices
required by them are the soft down of the swan reddened with vermilion,
deer skins, dog, mystery feast and mystery dances.

In Miss Fletcher’s article on “The Shadow or Ghost Lodge: A ceremony
of the Ogallala Sioux,” we read that 2 yards of red cloth are “carried
out beyond the camp, to an elevation if possible, and buried in a hole
about 3 feet deep. This is an offering to the earth, and the chanted
prayer asks that the life, or power in earth, will help the father” of
the dead child “in keeping successfully all the requirements of the
ghost lodge.”[111] (See § 146.)

                    SUBORDINATES OF THE UNKTEḢI.

The subordinates of the Unkteḣi are serpents, lizards, frogs, ghosts,
owls, and eagles. The Unkteḣi made the earth and men, and gave the
Dakota the mystery sack, and also prescribed the manner in which some
of those pigments must be applied which are rubbed over the bodies of
their votaries in the mystery dance, and on the warrior as he goes into


§ 113. Immediately after the production of the earth and men, the
Unkteḣi gave the Indians the mystery sack and instituted the Wakan
waćipi or mystery dance. They ordained that the sack should consist of
the skin of the otter, raccoon, weasel, squirrel, loon, one variety
of fish, and of serpents. It was also ordained that the sack should
contain four species of medicines of wakan qualities, which should
represent fowls, medicinal herbs, medicinal trees, and quadrupeds.
The down of the female swan represents the first, and may be seen at
the time of the dance inserted in the nose of the sack. Grass roots
represent the second, bark from the roots of the trees the third, and
hair from the back or head of a buffalo the fourth. These are carefully
preserved in the sack. From this combination proceeds a wakan influence
so powerful that no human being, unassisted, can resist it.

Those who violated their obligations as members of the Mystery dance,
were sure of punishment. If they went into forests, the black owl was
there, as a servant of the Unkteḣi; if they descended into the earth,
they encountered the serpent; if they ascended into the air, the eagle
would pursue and overtake them; and if they ventured into the water,
there were the Unkteḣi themselves.[112] An account of the mystery or
medicine dance is given by Pond, op. cit., pp. 37-41.

“Those Dakotas,” said Lynd, “who belong to the medicine dance esteem
the Unkteḣi as the greatest divinity. Among the eastern Dakotas the
medicine dance appears to have taken the place of these more barbarous
ceremonies (i. e., the self-tortures of the hanmdepi, piercing of the
flesh, etc.)--among the Winnebagoes entirely.”

The Omaha do not have the sun dance, but the wacicka aȼiⁿ, answering to
the Dakota mystery dance, is said to be of ancient use among them.

“Indeed, the medicine dance, though an intrusive religious form, may be
considered as an elevating and enlightening religion in comparison with
the hanmdepi.”[113]

                             THE MINIWATU.

§ 114. The Teton Dakota tell of the Miniwatu, Wamnitu,[114] and Mini
waśiću, all of which are probably names for the same class of
monsters, the last meaning “Water God or Guardian Spirit.” These powers
are said to be horned water monsters with four legs each. “They make
waves by pushing the water toward the lowlands; therefore, the
Indians prefer to encamp on or near the bluffs. They fear to swim the
Missouri River on account of the water monsters, who can draw people
into their mouths.” Can these be the Unkteḣi, whom the Teton call

§ 115. “Long ago,” according to Bushotter, “the people saw a strange
thing in the Missouri River. At night there was some red object,
shining like fire, making the water roar as it passed upstream. Should
any one see the monster by daylight he became crazy soon after,
writhing as with pain, and dying. One man who said that he saw the
monster described it thus: ‘It has red hair all over, and one eye. A
horn is in the middle of its forehead, and its body resembles that of
a buffalo.’[115] Its backbone is like a cross-cut saw, being flat and
notched like a saw or cog wheel. When one sees it he gets bewildered,
and his eyes close at once. He is crazy for a day, and then he dies.
The Teton think that this matter is still in the river, and they call
it the Miniwatu or water monster. They think that it causes the ice on
the river to break up in the spring of the year.”[116]

The Teton say that the bones of the Uŋkćeġila are now found in the
bluffs of Nebraska and Dakota.


§ 116. The name signifies the flying ones, from kinyan, to fly. The
thunder is the sound of their voices. The lightning is the missile or
tonwan of the winged monsters, who live and fly through the heavens
shielded from mortal vision by thick clouds. By some of the wakan
men it is said that there are four varieties of the form of their
external manifestation. In essence, however they are but one. One of
the varieties is black, with a long beak, and has four joints in his
wing. Another is yellow, without any beak at all; with wings like
the first, except that he has six quills in each wing. The third is
scarlet, and remarkable chiefly for having eight joints in each of its
enormous pinions. The fourth is blue and globular in form, and it is
destitute of both eyes and ears. Immediately over the places where the
eyes should be there is a semicircular line of lightning resembling an
inverted half moon from beneath which project downward two chains of
lightning diverging from each other in zigzag lines as they descend.
Two plumes like soft down, coming out near the roots of the descending
chains of lightning, serve for wings.[117]

These thunderers, of course, are of terrific proportions. They created
the wild rice and a variety of prairie grass, the seed of which bears
some resemblance to that of the rice. At the western extremity of the
earth, which is supposed to be a circular plain surrounded by water,
is a high mountain, on the summit of which is a beautiful mound. On
this mound is the dwelling of the Wakinyan gods. The dwelling opens
toward each of the four quarters of the earth, and at each doorway is
stationed a sentinel. A butterfly stands at the east entrance, a bear
at the west, a reindeer [sic, probably intended for a deer.--J. O. D.]
at the north, and a beaver at the south [the beaver seems out of place
here as a servant of the Wakinyan gods, for, judging from analogy, he
ought to be the servant of the Unkteḣi (see § 108)--J. O. D.].

Except the head, each of these wakan sentinels is enveloped in scarlet
down of the most extraordinary beauty.[118]

§ 117. The Teton texts of Bushotter state the belief that “some of
these ancient people still dwell in the clouds. They have large curved
beaks resembling bison humps, their voices are loud, they do not open
their eyes except when they make lightning, hence the archaic Teton
name for the lightning, Wakinyan tunwanpi, “The thunder-beings open
their eyes.” They are armed with arrows and “maza wakan” or “mysterious
irons” (not “guns”), the latter being of different kinds. Kaŋġitame,
stones resembling coal, are found in the Bad Lands, and they are said
to be the missiles of the Thunderers. When these gods so desire they
kill various mysterious beings and objects, as well as human beings
that are mysterious. Their ancient foes were the giant rattlesnakes and
the prehistoric water monsters (Uŋkćeġila: see §§ 108, 114, 115).

§ 118. Long ago the Teton encamped by a deep lake whose shore was
inclosed by very high cliffs. They noticed that at night, even when
there was no breeze, the water in the middle of the lake was constantly
roaring. When one gazed in that direction, he saw a huge eye as
bright as the sun, which caused him to vomit something resembling
black earth moistened with water, and death soon followed. That very
night the Thunderers came, and the crashing sounds were so terrible
that many people fainted. The next morning the shore was covered with
the bodies of all kinds of fish, some of which were larger than men,
and there were also some huge serpents. The water monster which the
Thunderers had fought resembled a rattlesnake, but he had short legs
and rusty-yellow fur.

§ 119. The Thunderers are represented as cruel and destructive in
disposition. They are ever on the war path. A mortal hatred exists
between them and the family of the Unkteḣi. Neither has power to resist
the tonwan of the other if it strikes him. Their attacks are never
open, and neither is safe except he eludes the vigilance of the other.
The Wakinyan, in turn, are often surprised and killed by the Unkteḣi.
Many stories are told of the combats of these gods. Mr. Pond once
listened to the relation, by an eyewitness (as he called himself), of
a story in substance as follows: A Wakinyan measuring 25 to 30 yards
between the tips of his wings was killed and fell on the bank of the
Blue Earth river (Minnesota).

From the Wakinyan the Dakota have received their war implements, the
spear and tomahawk, and many of the pigments, which, if properly
applied, will shield them from the weapons of their enemies.[119]

§ 120. When a person dreams of the Thunderers, it is a sign that he and
they must fight. The Wakinyan are not the only gods of war; there are
also the Takuckaⁿckaⁿ (Takuśkanśkan) and the Armor gods. (See
§§ 122-3, 127-9.)

Of the circle dance, Riggs says (in Amer. Antiq., II, 267): “They cut
an image of the great bird from bark and suspend it at the top of the
central pole, which is shot to pieces at the close of the dance.” (He
probably means that the image of the great bird, a Thunder bird, is
shot to pieces, not the pole.) Sacrifices are made to the Wakinyan and
songs are sung both to the Wakinyan and the Unkteḣi.

§ 121. There seems to be some connection between the Heyoka gods and
the Wakinyan; but it is not plain. The Heyoka god uses a small Wakinyan
god as his drumstick. (See § 218.) The Wakinyan songs are sung by
members of the Heyoka dancing order.

Smet was told that the Dakota--

     Pretend that the thunder is an enormous bird, and that the muffled
     sound of the distant thunder is caused by a countless number of
     young (thunder) birds. The great bird, they say, gives the first
     sound, and the young ones repeat it; this is the cause of the
     reverberations. The Sioux declare that the young thunderers do all
     the mischief, like giddy youth who will not listen to good advice;
     but the old thunderer or big bird is wise and excellent; he never
     kills or injures any one.[120]

Next to the Sun, according to Smet, Thunder is the great deity of the
Assiniboin. Every spring, at the first peal of thunder, they offer
sacrifices to the Wakinyan.[121]

The Assiniboin, according to Maximilian, ascribed the thunder to an
enormous bird.[122]

                            THE ARMOR GODS.

§ 122. As each young man comes to maturity a tutelar divinity,
sometimes called “Waśićuŋ” (see § 236), is assigned to him.
It is supposed to reside in the consecrated armor then given to him,
consisting of a spear, an arrow, and a small bundle of paint. It is the
spirit of some bird or animal, as the wolf, beaver, loon, or eagle. He
must not kill this animal, but hold it ever sacred, or at least until
he has proved his manhood by killing an enemy. Frequently the young man
forms an image of this sacred animal and carries it about with him,
regarding it as having a direct influence upon his everyday life and
ultimate destiny. Parkman says (in his “Jesuits in North America,” p.
LXXI, note) that the knowledge of this guardian spirit comes through
dreams at the initiatory fast. If this is ever true among the Dakota,
it is not the rule. This knowledge is communicated by the “war
prophet.”[123] (See §§ 120, 127, 129, 305, etc.)

Ashley tells us that among the Sisseton and Wahpeton Dakota the
warrior, as such, was forbidden by custom of law to eat the tongue,
head, or heart of many beasts. There were other animals of which the
heads might be eaten, but not the tongues. A warrior about to go on the
war path could not have intercourse with women, but must go through
the purification of the inipi or sweat bath, which lasts four days.
A married warrior could not touch his own weapons until he had thus
purified himself.[124]

§ 123. The Armor god and the Spirit of the mystery sack are sometimes
spoken of as if they were individual and separate divinities; but they
seem rather to be the god-power which is put into the armor and sack
by consecration. They should be regarded as the indwelling of the
Unkteḣi or of the Takuśkanśkan. A young man’s war weapons are wakan
and must not be touched by a woman. A man prays to his armor in the
day of battle. In the consecration of these weapons of war and the
hunt a young man comes under certain taboo restrictions. Certain parts
of an animal are sacred and must not be eaten until he has killed an

                            THE WAR PROPHET.

§ 124. The war prophet has been referred to. In this capacity the wakan
man is a necessity. Every male Dakota 16 years old and upward is a
soldier, and is formally and mysteriously enlisted into the service of
the war prophet. From him he receives the implements of war, carefully
constructed after models furnished from the armory of the gods, painted
after a divine prescription, and charged with a missive virtue--the
tonwan--of the divinities. From him he also receives those paints
which serve as an armature for the body. To obtain these necessary
articles the proud applicant is required for a time to abuse himself
and serve him, while he goes through a series of painful and exhausting
performances which are necessary on his part to enlist the favorable
notice of the gods. These performances consist chiefly of vapor baths,
fastings, chants, prayers, and nightly vigils. The spear and the
tomahawk being prepared and consecrated, the person who is to receive
them approaches the wakan man and presents a pipe to him. He asks a
favor, in substance as follows: “Pity thou me, poor and helpless,
a woman, and confer on me the ability to perform manly deeds.” The
prophet gives him the weapons and tells him not to forget his vows to
the gods when he returns in triumph, a man. The weapons are carefully
preserved by the warrior. They are wrapped in cloth, together with the
sacred pigments. In fair weather they are laid outside of the lodge
every day. They must never be touched by an adult female.[126]

§ 125. Lynd’s account is slightly different, though in substantial
accord with the preceding one:

     When a youth arrives at the age proper for going on the warpath he
     first purifies himself by fasting and the inipi or steam bath for
     three days, and then goes, with tears in his eyes, to some wakan
     man whose influence is undoubted, and prays that he will present
     him with the wotawe or consecrated armor. This wakan man is
     usually some old and experienced zuya wakan or sacred war leader.
     After a time the armor is presented to the young man, but until
     it is so presented he must fast and continue his purifications
     incessantly. It is a singular fact that nothing but the spear of
     this armor is ever used in battle, though it is always carried
     when the owner accompanies a war party. At the same time that the
     old man presents the armor he tells the youth to what animal it is
     dedicated, and enjoins upon him to hold that animal wakan. He must
     never harm or kill it, even though starvation threaten him. At all
     times and under all circumstances the taboo or wohduze is upon it,
     until by slaying numerous enemies it is gradually removed. By some
     the animal is held sacred during life, the taboo being voluntarily
     retained.[127] (See §§ 101, 127.)


§ 126. These are similar to the armor gods, in that they are divinities
who act as guardian spirits. Each of these powers is appropriated by
a single individual, protecting and aiding him, and receiving his
worship. These spirits are conferred at the time of initiation into the
order of the Mystery Dance, and of course are confined to the members
of that order.[128] Each spirit of the mystery sack is not a separate
god, but a wakan power derived from the Unkteḣi, according to a
later statement of Riggs.[129]


§ 127. This is a form of the wakan which jugglers, so-called mystery
men, and war prophets invoke. In their estimation he is the most
powerful of their gods; the one most to be feared and propitiated,
since, more than all others, he influences human weal and woe. He is
supposed to live in the four winds, and the four black spirits of night
do his bidding. The consecrated spear and tomahawk (see § 124) are
its weapons. The buzzard, raven, fox, wolf, and other animals are its
lieutenants, to produce disease and death.[130] (Compare this with some
of the pictographs on the war chart of the Kansa tribe: Fig. 4, Wind
songs; the connection between the winds and war is shown in § 33. Fig.
8, Deer songs. Fig. 9, an Elk song. Fig. 10, seven songs of the Wakanda
who makes night songs. Fig. 11, five songs of the Big Rock. This is a
rough red rock near Topeka, Kans. “This rock has a hard body, like that
of a wakanda. May you walk like it.” Fig. 12, Wolf songs. The wolf
howls at night. Fig. 13, Moon songs. Fig. 14, Crow songs. The crow
flies around a dead body which it wishes to devour. Fig. 18, Shade
songs. There is a Wakanda who makes shade. Fig. 20, song of the Small
Rock. Fig. 22, songs of the young Moon. Fig. 23, songs of the Buffalo
Bull. Fig. 27, Owl songs. The owl hoots at night.[131])

§ 128. Miss Fletcher has given us a very interesting account of “The
Religious Ceremony of the Four Winds or Quarters, as observed by the
Santee Sioux.” “Among the Santee (Sioux) Indians the Four Winds are
symbolized by the raven and a small black stone, less than a hen’s egg
in size.” “An intelligent Santee said to me: ‘The worship of the Four
Winds is the most difficult to explain for it is the most complicated.’
The Four Winds are sent by the ‘Something that Moves.’”[132] There is
a “Something that Moves” at each of the four directions or quarters.
The winds are, therefore, the messengers or exponents of the powers
which remain at the four quarters. These four quarters are spoken of as
upholding the earth,[133] and are connected with thunder and lightning
as well as the wind.[134]  *  *  *

“My informant went on to tell me that the spirits of the four winds
were not one, but twelve, and they are spoken of as twelve.”[135] (See
§ 42.)

§ 129. In Tah-koo Wah-kon, pp. 64, 65, Riggs says:

     This god is too subtle in essence to be perceived by the senses,
     and is as subtle in disposition. He is present everywhere. He
     exerts a controlling influence over instinct, intellect, and
     passion. He can rob a man of the use of his rational faculties,
     and inspire a beast with intelligence, so that the hunter will
     wander idiot-like, while the game on which he hoped to feast his
     family at night escapes with perfect ease. Or, if he please, the
     god can reverse his influence. He is much gratified to see men
     in trouble, and is particularly glad when they die in battle or
     otherwise. Passionate and capricious in the highest degree, it
     is very difficult to retain his favor. His symbol and supposed
     residence is the bowlder (see Big Rock and Small Rock, § 127), as
     it is also of another god, the Tunkan.

Pond assigns to him the armor feast and inipi or vapor bath (called
steam or sweat bath). He says:[136]

     The armor feast is of ordinary occurrence when the provisions
     are of sufficient abundance to support it, in which the warriors
     assemble and exhibit the sacred implements of war, to which they
     burn incense around the smoking sacrifice.

§ 130. In October, 1881, the late S. D. Hinman read a paper before the
Anthropological Society of Washington, entitled “The Stone God or
Oracle of the Pute-temni band of Hunkpati Dakotas.” He said that
this oracle had been seen by him while on an expedition with some
Dakotas across the James River valley in Dakota Territory. A Hunkpati
man of the party gave the history of the stone and an account of its
miraculous movement from the Sacred Hill to the old dirt lodge village.
This oracle was called the Takuśkaŋśkaŋ.

§ 131. But the Takuśkaŋśkaŋ assumed other shapes. Said
Bushotter, in one of his Teton texts:

The Lakotas regard certain small stones or pebbles as mysterious, and
it is said that in former days a man had one as his helper or servant.
There are two kinds of these mysterious stones (i.e., pebbles, not
rocks). One is white, resembling ice or glass (i.e., is probably
translucent; compare the translucent pebbles of the Iⁿ-ʞugȼi order of
the Omaha, see Om. Soc., p. 346); the other resembles ordinary stones.
It is said that one of them once entered a lodge and struck a man, and
people spoke of the stones sending in rattles through the smoke hole of
a lodge. When anything was missed in the village the people appealed
to the stones for aid, and the owner of one of the stones boiled food
for a mystery feast, to which the people came. Then they told the stone
of their loss and the stone helped them. It is said that the stones
brought back different messages. If anyone stole horses the stones
always revealed his name. Once the Omahas came to steal horses, but the
stones knew about them and disappointed their secret plans; so that
the Lakotas learned to prize the stones, and they decorated them with
paint, wrapped them up, and hung a bunch of medicine with each one.

It is very probable that the Assiniboin also worshipped the
Takuśkaŋśkaŋ; for they reverenced the four winds, as Smet tells us.[137]


§ 132. It has been said by Lynd[138] that the western tribes (probably
the Teton, Yanktonai, Yankton, etc.), neglect the Unkteḣi, and pay
their main devotion to Tunkan or Invan, answering to the Hindoo Lingam.

     Tunkan, the Dakotas say, is the god that dwells in stones and
     rocks, and is the oldest god. If asked why he is considered the
     oldest, they will tell you because he is the hardest--an Indian’s
     reason. The usual form of the stone employed in worship is round,
     and it is about the size of the human head. The devout Dakota
     paints this Tunkan red, putting colored swan’s down upon it, and
     then he falls down and worships the god that is supposed to dwell
     in it or hover near it.[139] The Tunkan is painted red (see § 136)
     as a sign of active worship.[140] In cases of extremity I
     have ever noticed that they appeal to their Tunkan or stone god,
     first and last, and they do this even after the ceremonies of the
     medicine dance have been gone through with. All Sioux agree in
     saying that the Tunkan is the main recipient of their prayers; and
     among the Tetons, Mandans, Yanktons, and Western Dakotas they pray
     to that and the spirit of the buffalo almost entirely.[141]

§ 133. Riggs says:[142]

     “The Inyan or Toon-kan is the symbol of the greatest force or
     power in the dry land. And these came to be the most common
     objects of worship. Large bowlders were selected and adorned with
     red and green (sic) paint, whither the devout Dakota might go
     to pray and offer his sacrifice. And smaller stones were often
     found, set up on end and properly painted, around which lay
     eagles’ feathers, tobacco, and red cloth. Once I saw a small dog
     that had been recently sacrificed. In all their incantations and
     dances, notably in the circle dance, the painted stone is the god
     supplicated and worshipped with fear and trembling.”

§ 134. Long tells of a gigantic stone figure resembling a human
being, which he found on the bank of Kickapoo Creek. The Indians made
offerings to it of tobacco and other objects.[143]

                               IŊYAŊ ŚA.

§ 135. Rev. Horace C. Hovey says:[144]

     “It was the custom of the Dakotas to worship bowlders when in
     perplexity and distress. Clearing a spot from grass and brush
     they would roll a bowlder on it, streak it with paint, deck it
     with feathers and flowers, and then pray to it for needed help
     or deliverance. Usually when such a stone had served its purpose
     its sacredness was gone. But the peculiarity of the stone now
     described is that from generation to generation it was a shrine to
     which pilgrimages and offerings were made. Its Indian name, ‘Eyah
     Shah,’ simply means the ‘Red Rock,’ and is the same term by which
     they designate catlinite, or the red pipe clay. The rock itself
     is not naturally red, being merely a hard specimen of granite,
     symmetrical in shape, and about 5 feet long by 3 feet thick. The
     Indians also called it ‘waukon’ (mystery) and speculated as to its
     origin.  *  *  *  The particular clan that claimed this rude altar
     was known as the Mendewakantons. Although being but 2 miles below
     the village of the Kaposias, it was to some extent resorted to by
     them likewise.[145] The hunting ground of the clan was up the St.
     Croix, and invariably before starting they would lay an offering
     on Eyah Shah. Twice a year the clan would meet more formally, when
     they would paint the stone with vermilion, or, as some say, with
     blood, then trim it with flowers and feathers, and dance around
     it before sunrise with chants and prayers. Their last visit was
     in 1862, prior to the massacre that occurred in August of that
     year. Since that date, the stripes were renewed three years ago. I
     counted the stripes and found them twelve in number, each about 2
     inches wide, with intervening spaces from 2 to 6 inches wide. By
     the compass, Eyah Shah lies exactly north and south. It is twelve
     paces from the main bank of the Mississippi, at a point 6 miles
     below St. Paul. The north end is adorned by a rude representation
     of the sun with fifteen rays.”

§ 136. Bushotter writes thus:

     “Sometimes a stone, painted red all over, is laid within the lodge
     and hair is offered to it. In cases of sickness they pray to the
     stone, offering to it tobacco or various kinds of good things, and
     they think that the stone hears them when they sacrifice to it.
     As the steam arose when they made a fire on a stone, the Dakotas
     concluded that stones had life, the steam being their breath, and
     that it was impossible to kill them.”

                               MATO TIPI.

§ 137. Eight miles from Fort Meade, S. Dakota, is Mato tipi, Grizzly
bear Lodge, known to the white people as Bear Butte. It can be seen
from a distance of a hundred miles. Of this landmark Bushotter writes

     “The Teton used to camp at a flat-topped mountain, and pray to
     it. This mountain had many large rocks on it, and a pine forest
     at the summit. The children prayed to the rocks as if to their
     guardian spirits, and then placed some of the smaller ones between
     the branches of the pine trees. I was caused to put a stone up
     a tree. Some trees had as many as seven stones apiece. No child
     repeated the ceremony of putting a stone up in the tree; but on
     subsequent visits to the Butte he or she wailed for the dead, of
     whom the stones were tokens.” (See § 304.)

[Illustration: FIG. 188.--Bear Butte, South Dakota. (Copyright by
Grabill, 1890.)]

                           THE SUN AND MOON.

§ 138. The sun as well as the moon is called “wi” by the Dakota and
Assiniboin tribes. In order to distinguish between the two bodies, the
former is called aŋpetu wi, day moon, and the latter, haŋhepi wi or
haŋyetu wi, night moon. The corresponding term in Ȼegiha is miⁿ, which
is applied to both sun and moon, though the latter is sometimes called
niaⁿba. “The moon is worshiped rather as the representative of the sun,
than separately. Thus, in the sun dance, which is held in the full of
the moon, the dancers at night fix their eyes on her.”[146]

§ 139. According to Smet[147]--

     The sun is worshiped by the greater number of the Indian tribes as
     the author of light and heat. The Assiniboins consider it likewise
     to be the favorite residence of the Master of Life. They evidence
     a great respect and veneration for the sun, but rarely address it.
     On great occasions, they offer it their prayers, but only in a
     low tone. Whenever they light the calumet, they offer the sun the
     first whiffs of its smoke.

This last must refer to what Smet describes on p. 136 as the great
“festival lasting several days,” during which the “high priest” offers
the calumet to "the Great Spirit, to the sun, to each of the four
cardinal points, to the water, and to the land, with words analogous to
the benefits which they obtain from each.

§ 140. Bushotter, in his Teton text, says:

     They prayed to the sun, and they thought that with his yellow eye
     he saw all things, and that when he desired he went under the

Riggs states in Tah-koo Wah-kon (p. 69):

     Although as a divinity, the sun is not represented as a malignant
     being, yet the worship given him is the most dreadful which the
     Dakotas offer. Aside from the sun dance, there is another proof of
     the divine character ascribed to the sun in the oath taken by some
     of the Dakotas: “As the sun hears me, this is so.”

                             THE SUN DANCE.

§ 141. Pond[148] gave an account of the sun dance obtained from Riggs,
in which occurs the following: “The ceremonies of the sun dance
commence in the evening. I have been under the impression that the time
of the full moon was selected, but I am now (1867) informed that it is
not essential.” Neither Capt. Bourke (§§ 197-210) nor Bushotter speaks
of the time of the full moon. In Miss Fletcher’s account of the Oglala
sun dance of 1882,[149] she says: “The festival generally occurs in the
latter part of June or early in July and lasts about six days. The time
is fixed by the budding of the _Artemisia ludoviciana_.” (See §§ 138,

§ 142. Lynd writes:[150]

     The wiwanyag wacipi, or worship of the sun as a divinity, is
     evidently one of the most radical bases of Dakota religion. It
     has a subordinate origin in the wihanmnapi, or dreaming, and
     is intimately connected with the hanmdepi, or vision hunting.
     This most ancient of all worships, though it is of very frequent
     occurrence among the Dakotas, does not take place at stated
     intervals, as among the old nations of the East, nor does the
     whole tribe participate in the ceremonies. It is performed by one
     person alone, such of his relatives and friends assisting in the
     ceremonies as may deem fit or as he may designate. Preparatory
     to this, as to all the other sacred ceremonies of the Dakotas,
     are fasting and purification. The dance commences with the rising
     of the sun and continues for three days, or until such time as
     the dreaming worshiper shall receive a vision from the spirit or
     divinity of the sun. He faces the sun constantly, turning as it
     turns, and keeping up a constant blowing with a wooden whistle. A
     rude drum is beaten at intervals, to which he keeps time with his
     feet, raising one after the other, and bending his body towards
     the sun. Short intervals of rest are given during the dance. The
     mind of the worshiper is fixed intently upon some great desire
     that he has, and is, as it were, isolated from the body. In this
     state the dancer is said to receive revelations from the sun,
     and to hold direct intercourse with that deity. If the worshiper
     of this luminary, however, should fail to receive the desired
     revelation before the close of the ceremonies, then self-sacrifice
     is resorted to, and the ceremonies of the hanmdepi become a part
     of the worship of the sun.


§ 143. Several accounts of the sun dance have been published within the
past twenty years, but they have, without exception, been written by
white persons. The following differs in one respect from all which have
preceded it; it was written in the Teton dialect of the Dakota, by
George Bushotter, a Teton. As he did not furnish his description of
the dance in a single text, but in several, which were written on
different occasions, it devolved on the present writer to undertake
an arrangement of the material after translating it. The accompanying
illustrations were made by Mr. Bushotter.

§ 144. _Object of the sun dance._--The Dakota name for the sun dance is
“Wi waⁿ-yañg wa-tci-pi (Wi waŋyaŋg waćipi),” literally, “Sun looking-at
they-dance.” The following are assigned as the reasons for celebrating
this dance: During any winter when the people suffer from famine or an
epidemic, or when they wish to kill any enemy, or they desire horses
or an abundance of fruits and vegetables during the coming summer,
different Indians pray mentally to the sun, and each one says, “Well, I
will pray to Wakantanka early in the summer.” Throughout the winter all
those men who have made such vows take frequent baths in sweat lodges.
Each of these devotees or candidates invites persons to a feast, on
which occasion he joins his guests in drinking great quantities of
various kinds of herb teas. Then the host notifies the guests of his
vow, and from that time forward the people treat him with great respect.

§ 145. _Rules observed by households._--The members of the households
of the devotees always abstain from loud talking and from bad acts of
various kinds. The following rules must be observed in the lodge of
each devotee: A piece of the soil is cut off between the back of the
lodge and the fireplace, and when virgin earth is reached vermilion is
scattered over the exposed place. When the men smoke their pipes and
have burned out all of the tobacco in their pipe bowls, they must not
throw away the ashes as they would common refuse; they must be careful
to empty the ashes on the exposed earth at the back of the lodge. No
one ventures to step on that virgin earth, and not even a hand is ever
stretched toward it. Only the man who expects to participate in the
sun-dance can empty the ashes there, and after so doing he returns each
pipe to its owner.

     § 146. _The “U-ma-ne.”_--“The mellowed earth space, U-ma-ne in
     Dakota, and called by some peculiar names in other tribes, has
     never been absent from any religious exercise I have yet seen or
     learned of from the Indians. It represents the unappropriated
     life or power of the earth, hence man may obtain it. The square
     or oblong, with the four lines standing out, is invariably
     interpreted to mean the earth or land with the four winds standing
     toward it. The cross, whether diagonal or upright, always
     symbolizes the four winds or four quarters.”[151]

[Illustration: FIG. 189.--The “U-ma-ne” symbol.]

Miss Fletcher uses this term, “U-ma-ne,” to denote two things: the
mellowed earth space (probably answering to the u-jé-ʇi of the Omaha
and Ponka) and the symbol of the earth and the four winds made within
that mellowed earth space. A sketch of the latter symbol is shown
in Fig. 189. (See §§ 112, 155, etc.; also Contr. N. A. Ethn., Vol.

§ 147. _Rules observed by the devotee._--During the time of preparation
the devotee goes hunting, and if he kills a deer or buffalo he cuts
up the body in a “wakan” manner. He skins it, but leaves the horns
attached to the skull. He reddens the skin all over, and in the
rear of the lodge, in the open air, he prepares a bed of wild sage
(_Artemisia_), on which he lays the skull. He erects a post, on
which he hangs a tobacco pouch and a robe that is to be offered as a
sacrifice. When the devotee takes a meal everything which he touches
must be perfectly clean. He uses a new knife, which no one else dares
to handle. Whatever he eats must be prepared in the best possible
manner by the other members of the household. They make for him a new
pipe ornamented with porcupine work, a new tobacco pouch, and a stick
for pushing the tobacco down into the bowl, both ornamented in like

§ 148. The devotee must not go swimming, but he can enter the
sweat-lodge. There he rubs his body all over with wild sage; he cannot
use calico or cotton for that purpose. No unclean person of either
sex must go near him. The devotee is prohibited from fighting, even
should the camp be attacked. He must not act hastily, but at all times
must he proceed leisurely. He has his regular periods for crying and

§ 149. All his female kindred make many pairs of moccasins and collect
money and an abundance of all kinds of goods, in order to give presents
to poor people at the time of the sun dance. Then they can make gifts
to whomsoever they please, and on that account they will win the
right to have a child’s ears pierced. The goods or horses, on account
of which the child’s ears are to be pierced, are reserved for that
occasion at some other place. The man whose office it will be to pierce
the children’s ears has to be notified in advance that his services
will be required. (See § 205.)

                    TRIBES INVITED TO THE SUN-DANCE.

§ 150. When the devotees have performed all the preliminary duties
required of them, messages are sent to all the neighboring tribes,
_i. e._, the Omaha, Pawnee Loup, Cheyenne, Ree, Hidatsa, Blackfeet,
Nez Percé, Winnebago, Yankton, and Santee. The latter part of June is
fixed upon as the time for the dance. (See §§ 138, 141.) The visitors
from the different nations begin to come together in the spring, each
visiting tribe forming its separate camp. Though some of the visitors
are hereditary enemies, it matters not during the sun-dance; they
visit one another; they shake hands and form alliances. In this manner
several weeks are spent very pleasantly.

                         DISCIPLINE MAINTAINED.

§ 151. Policemen are appointed, and a crier proclaims to each lodge
that at a specified place there is a broad and pleasant prairie where
all are expected to pitch their tents. The overseers or masters
of ceremonies have guns, and their orders are obeyed; for if one
disobeys his horses and dogs are killed by the policemen. This
punishment is called akićita wićaktepi, or, in common parlance,

All who join the camp must erect the upright (or conical) tents, as no
low rush or mat tents, such as are found among the Osage and Winnebago,
are allowed in the camp circle.

                         CAMPING CIRCLE FORMED.

§ 152. At length orders are given for all the people to pitch
their tents in the form of a tribal circle, with an opening to the
north.[153] (See Pl. XLV.) It takes several days to accomplish this,
and then all the men and youths are required to take spades and go
carefully over the whole area within the circle and fill up all the
holes and uneven places which might cause the horses to stumble and


§ 153. Though Bushotter has written that this work requires several
days, it is probable, judging from what follows in his manuscript, that
only two days are required for such work. For he continues thus:

     On the third day some men are selected to go in search of the
     Ćan-wakan or Mystery Tree, out of which they are to form the
     sun pole.[154] These men must be selected from those who are
     known to be brave, men acquainted with the war path, men who have
     overcome difficulties, men who have been wounded in battle, men of
     considerable experience.

§ 154. The men selected to fell the mystery tree ride very swift
horses, and they decorate their horses and attire themselves just as if
they were going to battle. They put on their feather war bonnets. They
race their horses to a hill and then back again. In former days it was
customary on such occasions for any women who had lost children during
some previous attack on the camp, to wail often as they ran towards the
mounted men, and to sing at intervals as they went. But that is not the
custom at the present day. Three times do the mounted men tell of their
brave deeds in imitation of the warriors of the olden times, and then
they undertake to represent their own deeds in pantomime.

§ 155. On the fourth day, the selected men go to search for the mystery
tree. They return to camp together, and if they have found a suitable
tree, they cut out pieces of the soil within the camping circle, going
down to virgin earth. (See § 146.) This exposed earth extends over a
considerable area. On it they place a species of sweet-smelling
grass (a trailing variety) and wild sage, on which they lay the
buffalo skull.

                          TENT OF PREPARATION.

§ 156. After this there is set up within the camping circle a good tent
known as the tent of preparation.[155] When the managers wish to set up
the tent of preparation, they borrow tent skins here and there. Part of
these tent skins they use for covering the smoke hole, and part were
used as curtains, for when they decorate the candidates they use the
curtains for shutting them in from the gaze of the people and when they
finish painting them they throw down the curtains.

In the back part of this tent of preparation are placed the buffalo
skulls, one for each candidate. A new knife which has never been used
is exposed to smoke. A new ax, too, is reddened and smoked.

§ 157. Wild sage (_Artemisia_) is used in various ways prior to and
during the sun dance. Some of it they spread on the ground to serve
as couches, and with some they wipe the tears from their faces. They
fumigate with the plant known as “ćaŋ śilśilya,” or else they use
“walipe waśtema,” sweet-smelling leaves. Day after day they fumigate
themselves with “waćaŋġa,” a sweet-smelling grass. They hold every
object which they use over the smoke of one of these grasses. They
wear a kind of medicine on their necks, and that keeps them from being
hungry or thirsty, for occasionally they chew a small quantity of it.
Or if they tie some of this medicine to their feet they do not get
weary so soon.[156]

§ 158. When the tent of preparation is erected, there are provided for
it new tent pins, new sticks for fastening the tent skins together
above the entrance, and new poles for pushing out the flaps beside the
smoke hole. These objects and all others, which had to be used, are
brought into the tent of preparation and fumigated over a fire into
which the medicine has been dropped. By this time another day has been
spent. Now all the candidates assemble in the tent of preparation,
each one wearing a buffalo robe with the hair outside. One who acts as
leader sits in the place of honor at the back part of the tent, and the
others sit on either side of him around the fireplace. They smoke their
pipes. When night comes they select one of the songs of the sun dance,
in order to rehearse it. Certain men have been chosen as singers of
the dancing songs, and, when one set of them rest, there are others to
take their places. The drummers beat the drum rapidly, but softly (as
the Teton call it, kpaŋkpaŋyela, the act of several drummers hitting in
quick succession).

Bureau of Ethnology.                   Eleventh Annual Report. Plate XLV
                                                          GAST LITH. CO.

Three times do they beat the drums in that manner, and then they beat
it rapidly, as at the beginning of the sun dance. At this juncture,
as many as have flutes--made of the bones of eagles’ wings,
ornamented with porcupine quills, and hung around their necks, with
cords similarly ornamented, with some eagle down at the tip ends of the
flutes--blow them often and forcibly as they dance. While the drum is
beaten three times in succession (kpaŋkpaŋyela, as has been described),
all the candidates cry aloud (ćeya), but when it is beaten the fourth
time, they cry or wail no longer, but dance and blow their flutes or

[Illustration: FIG. 190.--Eaglewing flute. (From original, loaned by
Capt. J. G. Bourke, U. S. A.)]

§ 159. When the candidates take their seats in the tent of preparation,
they select a man to fill the pipe with tobacco. When they wish to
smoke, this man passes along the line of candidates. He holds the pipe
with the mouthpiece toward each man, who smokes without grasping the
pipe stem.[157]

When the candidates are allowed to eat, the attendant feeds them. No
one can be loquacious within the tent of preparation. If a dog or
person approaches the tent, the offender is chased away before he
can reach it. No spectators are allowed to enter the tent. And this
regulation is enforced by blows, whenever anyone attempts to violate it.


§ 160. The next morning, which is that of the fifth day, they prepare
to go after the tree that is to serve as the sun pole.[158] The married
and single men, the boys, and even the women, are all ordered to go
horseback. Whoever is able to move rapidly accompanies the party. When
the chosen persons go to fell the mystery tree they rush on it as they
would upon a real enemy, just as tradition relates that the Omaha and
Ponka rushed on their sacred tree. (See § 42.)[159] Then they turn
quickly and run from it until they arrive at the other side of the
hill (nearest to the mystery tree), after which they return to the
tree.[160] They tie leaves together very tightly, making a mark of the
bundle, assaulting it in turn as a foe.

§ 161. The tree is reached by noon. The persons chosen to fell it
whisper to one another as they assemble around it. They approach some
one who has a child, and take hold of him. Then they bring robes and
other goods which they spread on the ground, and on the pile they seat
the child, who is sometimes a small girl, or even a large one.

                           FELLING THE TREE.

§ 162. Each of the chosen men takes his turn in striking the tree.
Every one must first tell his exploits, then he brandishes the ax three
times without striking a blow, after which he strikes the tree once,
and only once, making a gash. He leaves the ax sticking in the tree,
whence it is removed by the next man. He who leaves the ax in the
tree is by this act considered to make a present of a horse to some
one. As soon as he gives the blow, his father (or some near kinsman)
approaches and hands him a stick, whereupon the young man returns it,
asking him to give it to such a one, calling him by name. For instance,
let us suppose that a young man, Mato ćuwi maza, Grizzly bear with an
Iron Side, requests that his stick be given to Psića waŋkantuya, or
Leaping High. The old man who is employed as the crier goes to the
camp and sings thus: “Mato ćuwi maza í-ya-ha-he+! Mato ćuwi maza
í-ya-ha-he+!”. The last word is a sign of a brave deed on the part of
the donor, and it is so understood by every one. On reaching the tent
of the other man, the crier says, “Psića waŋkantuya śuŋkawakaŋ waŋ hiyo
u ye+! Mato ćuwi maza ćaŋ-wakaŋ kaksa ȼa taśuŋke waŋ hiyo u ye+!”
i. e., “O Leaping High, a horse is brought to you! A horse is brought
to you because Mato ćuwi maza has given a blow to the mystery tree!”
On hearing this, Psića waŋkantuya says, “Há-ye,” or “Thanks!” as he
extends his hands with the palms towards the crier; and he brings them
down toward the ground and takes the stick representing the horse. Then
the crier passes along around the circle, singing the praises of the
donor, and naming the man who has received the present.

§ 163. After all the chosen men have told of their deeds, and have
performed their parts, the women select a man to speak of what generous
things they have done, and when he has spoken, the larger women who are
able to fell trees rise to their feet, and take their turns in giving
one blow apiece to the tree. By the time that all the women have struck
the tree it falls, and all present shout and sing. Many presents are
made, and some of the people wail, making the entire forest echo their
voices. Then those men who are selected for that purpose cut off all
the limbs of the tree except the highest one, and they do not disturb
the tree top. Wherever a branch is cut off they rub red paint on the

§ 164. They make a bundle of some wood in imitation of that for which
they have prayed, and hang it crosswise from the fork of the tree.
Above the bundle they suspend a scarlet blanket, a buffalo robe or
a weasel skin, and under the bundle they fasten two pieces of dried
buffalo hide, one being cut in the shape of a buffalo, and the other in
that of a man.

Though Bushotter did not state the circumstance, it is remarkable
that both the figures have the membrum virile rigid. The author
learned about this from two trustworthy persons, who obtained all the
paraphernalia of the sun dance, and one of them, Capt. John G. Bourke,
U. S. Army, showed him the figures of the man and buffalo used at the
sun dance at Red Cloud Agency, in 1882. In the former figure, the
lingam is of abnormal size. The connection between the phallic cult and
the sun is obvious to the student. (See §§ 19, 132, 146, 155, 169, 170,

                        THE TREE TAKEN TO CAMP.

§ 165. No one of the company dare to touch the sun pole as they take it
to the camp. Before wagons were available, they made a horse carry most
of the weight of the pole, part of it being on one side of him and part
on the other, while the wakaŋ men chosen for the purpose walked on
both sides of the horse in order to support the ends of the pole. (See
§ 317.) At the present day, a wagon is used for transporting the sun
pole to the camp.[161] While they are on the way no person dares to go
in advance of the pole, for whoever violates the law is in danger of
being thrown from his horse and having his neck broken.

The married men and youths carry leaf shields on their backs, and some
of the riders make their horses race as far as they are able. Any
member of the party can appropriate the small branches which have been
cut from the mystery tree.

When they reach the camp circle, all of the party who carry branches
and leaves drop them in the places where they intend erecting their
respective tents.

§ 166. Judging from Mr. Bushotter’s first text, the tents are not
pitched when the people return with the sun pole. But as soon as they
lay the pole in the place where it is to be erected, the tents are
pitched again. Then all the objects that are to be attached to the sun
pole are tied to it, and some of the men take leather straps, such as
the women use when they carry wood and other burdens, and fasten them
to the sun pole in order to raise it into position.

                         RAISING THE SUN POLE.

§ 167. This raising of the sun pole seems to be symbolic of the four
winds, the tatúye tópa, or “the four quarters of the heavens,” as Dr.
Riggs translates the Dakota term. Those who assist in raising the sun
pole must be men who have distinguished themselves. They raise the
pole a short distance from the ground, and then they shout, making
an indistinct sound; they rest awhile and pull it a little higher,
shouting again; resting a second time, they renew their efforts,
pulling it higher still. They shout the third time, rest again, and
at the fourth pull the pole is perpendicular. Then the men around the
camping circle fire guns, making the horses flee. Those who raised the
pole have a new spade, and they use it one after another in throwing a
sufficient quantity of earth around the base of the pole, pressing the
earth down firmly in order to steady the pole.

                       BUILDING OF DANCING LODGE.

§ 168. Next follows the building of the dancing lodge. (See Pl. XLVI.
and § 317.) Forked posts are set in the ground in two concentric
circles. Those posts forming the circle nearer the sun pole are a
few feet higher than the posts in the outer circle, thus making a
slant sufficient for a roof. From the inner circle of posts to the
sun pole there is no roof, as the dancers who stand near the pole
must see the sun and moon. From each forked post to the next one in
the same circle is laid a tent pole; and on the two series of these
horizontal tent-poles are placed the saplings or poles forming the
roof. In constructing the wall of the dancing lodge they use the leaf
shields, and probably some poles or branches of trees, the shields and
leaves stuck in the wall here and there, in no regular order, leaving
interstices through which the spectators can peep at the dancers. A
very wide entrance is made, through which can be taken a horse, as well
as the numerous offerings brought to be given away to the poor. Then
they smoke the pipe, as in that manner they think that they can induce
their Great Mysterious One to smoke.

§ 169. All having been made ready, the aged men and the chief men of
the camp kick off their leggins and moccasins, and as many as have
pistols take them to the dancing lodge, around the interior of which
they perform a dance. As they pass around the sun pole, all shoot at
once at the objects suspended from the pole (§ 164), knocking them
aside suddenly. Leaving the dancing lodge, they dance around the
interior of the camping circle till they reach their respective tents.

                            THE UUȻITA.

§ 170. This is followed by the “uuȼita.” Each man ties up the tail of
his horse and dresses himself in his best attire. When they are ready,
they proceed two abreast around the interior of the camping circle,
shooting into the ground as they pass along, and filling the entire
area with smoke. There are so many of them that they extend almost
around the entire circle. If any of the riders are thrown from their
horses as they dash along, the others pay no attention to them, but
step over them, regarding nothing but the center of the camping circle.
(See Pl. XLV.)

§ 171. By this time it is nearly sunset. The young men and young women
mount horses and proceed in pairs, a young man beside a young woman,
singing as they pass slowly around the circle. The young men sing
first, and the young women respond, acting as a chorus. That night the
tent of preparation is again erected. The candidates dance there. The
people gaze towards that tent, for it is rumored that the candidates
will march forth from it.

                                                          GAST LITH. CO.
                          THE DANCING LODGE.]


§ 172. The candidates spend the night in decorating themselves. Each
one wears a fine scarlet blanket arranged as a skirt and with a good
belt fastened around his waist. From the waist up he is nude, and on
his chest he paints some design. Sometimes the design is a sunflower. A
man can paint the designs referring to the brave deeds of his father,
his mother’s brother, or of some other kinsman, if he himself has done
nothing worthy of commemoration. If a man has killed an animal, he can
paint the sign of the animal on his chest, and some hold between their
lips the tails of animals, signifying that they have scalped their
enemies. Others show by their designs that they have stolen horses from

§ 173. Each one allows his hair to hang loosely down his back. Some
wear head-dresses consisting of the skins of buffalo heads with the
horns attached. Others wear eagle war-bonnets. Each candidate wears a
buffalo robe with the thick hair outside. He fills his pipe, which is a
new one ornamented with porcupine work, and he holds it with the stem
pointing in front of him. Thus do all the candidates appear as they
come out of the tent of preparation. As they march to the dancing lodge
the leader goes first, the others march abreast after him. He who acts
as leader carries a buffalo skull painted red. All cry as they march,
and on the way they are joined by a woman who takes the place of her
“hakata,” or cousin; and sometimes they are joined by a horse that is
highly prized by his owner.

                        OFFERINGS OF CANDIDATES.

§ 174. The first time that they emerge from the tent where they sleep
they march around it four times, and they make offerings of four
blankets, which they suspend from as many posts set up in the form
of a square within which the tent is erected. When they proceed from
the tent of preparation to the dancing lodge, one of their servants
sets up sticks at intervals, forming a straight line from the tent of
preparation to the dancing lodge, and on these sticks he places their
offerings of blankets and tobacco pouches. After the gifts are thus
suspended, none of the spectators can cross the line of sticks.

[Illustration: FIG. 191.--The tent of preparation and the dancing

§ 175. Capt. J. G. Bourke has a wand that was used by one of the
heralds, or criers, during the sun dance. It was about 5 feet long, and
was decorated with beadwork and a tuft of horse hair at the superior
extremity. Whenever the crier raised this wand the people fell back,
leaving an open space of the required area.


§ 176. On reaching the dancing lodge, the candidates pass slowly around
the exterior, starting at the left side of the lodge and turning
towards the right. They do this four times and then enter the lodge.
They stretch their hands towards the four quarters of the heavens as
they walk around the interior of the lodge. They sit down at the back
part of the lodge, and then they sing.

Between them and the pole they cut out the soil in the shape of a
half-moon, going down to virgin earth, and on this bare spot they
place all the buffalo skulls. After this they paint themselves anew
with red paint, on completing which they are lifted to their feet by
their attendants. Again they walk around the interior of the lodge,
stretching out their hands towards the four quarters of the heavens.

§ 177. A song of the sun dance is started by one of the candidates,
and the others join him, one after another, until all are singing.
Meanwhile the men who have been selected for the purpose redden their
entire hands, and it devolves on them to dance without touching
anything, such as the withes connected with the sun pole or the buffalo
skulls; all that they are required to do is to extend their hands
towards the sun, with the palms turned from them.

At this time all the candidates are raised again to their feet, and
brought to the back part of the lodge, where they are placed in a row.
They soon begin to cry, and they are joined by the woman who has taken
the place of her elder brother.

§ 178. It is customary, when a man is too poor to take part himself
in the sun dance, for a female relation to take his place, if such a
woman pities him. She suffers as the male candidates do, except in one
respect--her flesh is not scarified. This woman wears a buckskin skirt,
and she lets her hair fall loosely down her back. She carries the pipe
of her brother or kinsman in whose place she is dancing.

§ 179. As the drums beat, the candidates dance and blow their flutes.
The woman stands, dancing slowly, with her head bent downward, but with
shoulders erect, and she is shaking her head and body by bending her
knees often without raising her feet from the ground. She abstains from
food and drink, just as her brother or kinsman would have done had he
participated in the dance. In fact, all the candidates have to fast
from the time that the sun pole is cut, and from that time they cry and
dance at intervals.

§ 180. If the owner of a horse decides that his steed must take part
in the dance, he ties the horse to one of the thongs fastened to the
sun pole, and stands near the animal. Whenever he wishes he approaches
the horse, takes him by the lower jaw as he stands and cries, and then
he, too, joins in the dance. This horse is decorated in the finest
manner; he is painted red, his tail is rolled up into a bundle and tied
together, and he wears feathers in the tail and forelock.

§ 181. _Candidates scarified._ When the time comes for scarifying
the candidates,[162] if one wishes to dance in the manner about to
be described, he is made to stand between four posts arranged in the
form of a square, and his flesh on his back being scarified in two
places, thongs are run through them and fastened to them and to the
posts behind him. His chest is also scarified in two places, thongs
are inserted and tied, and then fastened to the two posts in front of
him (see Pl. XLVII, 1, Okaśka naźin, or “He stands fastened to” or
“within”). Bushotter says nothing about the skewers used in torturing
the dancers; but Capt. Bourke obtained three ornamental ones which had
been run through the wounds of some of the devotees, in order to be
stained with blood and kept thereafter as souvenirs of the bravery of
the dancers. Besides these were the regular skewers which were thrust
horizontally through the flesh; and to the ends of these skewers were
fastened the thongs that were secured by the opposite ends to the sun
pole. The last dance allowed by the Government was in 1883, and it
would be difficult now to find any of these skewers. (See § 204.)

Bureau of Ethnology                 Eleventh Annual Report. Plate XLVII.
                                                     GAST LITH. CO. N.Y.
                 1. PTEPA KIN WACI.--2. OKASKA NAZIN.]

Another man has his back scarified and a thong inserted, from which
a buffalo skull is suspended, as shown in Pl. XLVII, 2, Pte-pa ḳin
waći, or “He dances carrying a buffalo skull on his back.” He dances
thus, thinking that the weight of the skull will soon cause the thong
to break through the flesh. The blood runs in stripes down his back.

§ 182. Another man decides to be fastened to the sun pole. For the use
of such dancers there are eight leather thongs hanging down from the
pole, being fastened to the pole at a point about midway from the top.
For each man tied to the pole it is the rule to take two of the thongs
and run them through his flesh after the holes are made with the knife
(see Pl. XLVIII). After the thongs are fastened to him, the dancer is
required to look upward. When the candidate is a short man, his back is
scarified and his attendants push him up high enough from the ground
for the thongs to be inserted and tied. In this case the weight of the
man stretches the skin where the thongs are tied, and for a long time
he remains there without falling (see Pl. XLIX).

§ 183. A very long time ago it happened that the friends of such a
short man pitied him, so they gave a horse to another man, whom they
directed to release their friend by pulling at the thongs until they
broke out. So the other man approached the dancer, telling of his
own deeds. He grasped the short man around the body, threw himself
violently to the ground, breaking off the thong, which flew upward, and
bringing the short man to the ground. Then the kindred of the short
man brought presents of calico or moccasins and another horse, with
other property, and they made the old women of the camp scramble for
the possession of the gifts. The horse was given away by the act called
“Kaḣol yeyapi,” or “They threw it off suddenly.” The father of the
dancer stood at the entrance of his tent, holding a stick in his hand.
He threw the stick into the air, and the bystanders struggled for its
possession. Whoever grasped the stick, and succeeded in holding it, won
the horse. If a forked stick is thrown up and caught it entitles the
holder to a mare and her colt.

§ 184. When a young man has his flesh pierced for him, if he is beloved
by his female relations, they furnish him with many objects decorated
with porcupine quills, and these objects are suspended from the pierced
places of his flesh, this being considered as a mark of respect shown
by the women to their kinsman. Very often the women by such acts
deprive themselves of all their property.

§ 185. _Pieces of flesh offered._--When the candidates have their flesh
pierced for the insertion of the thongs, a number of men who do not
intend to dance approach the sun pole and take seats near it. With a
new knife small pieces of flesh are cut out in a row from the shoulders
of each of these men, who hold up the pieces of their own flesh,
showing them to the pole. They also cover the base of the pole with
earth. If some of the women desire to offer pieces of their flesh, they
come and do so.

§ 186. Very soon after this the people who are outside of the dancing
lodge sing a song in praise of the devotees of all kinds, and the old
women are walking about with their clothing and hair in disorder, the
garments flapping up and down as they dance. The attendants hold the
pipes for the candidates to smoke, and they decorate them anew. After
they decorate them, the dancing is resumed. By this time it is past
noon, so the girls and boys whose ears are to be pierced are collected
in one place, and presents are given to all the poor people.[163]
After the children’s ears have been pierced, the attendants make the
candidates rise again and continue the dance.

§ 187. _Torture of owner of horse._--The man whose horse has taken part
in the dance is tied to the tail of his horse, and his chest is pierced
in two places and fastened by thongs to the sun pole. Some of the
attendants whip the horse several times, making him dart away from the
pole, thereby releasing the man, as the thongs are broken by the sudden
strain (see § 29).

§ 188. The devotees dance through the night, and when it is nearly
midnight they rest. Beginning at the left side of the dancing lodge,
every devotee stops and cries at each post until he makes the circuit
of the lodge. By this time it is midnight, so the attendants make them
face about and stand looking towards the east, just as in the afternoon
they had made them face the west.

Bureau of Ethnology                Eleventh Annual Report. Plate XLVIII.
                                                          GAST LITH. CO.
                            THE SUN-DANCE.]

                           END OF THE DANCE.

§ 189. At sunrise they stop dancing and they leave the dancing lodge.
As they come forth, they pass out by the right side, and march four
times around the exterior of the lodge. After which they proceed
directly to the lodge of preparation, around which they march four
times prior to entering it.

§ 190. When the devotees emerge from the dancing lodge, one of their
attendants places more gifts on the line of sticks between the two
lodges, and after the procession has moved on there is considerable
disputing among the small boys of the camp for the possession of the

§ 191. After leaving the lodge of preparation, the exhausted devotees
are taken back to their own tents, where each one is given four sips
of water and a small piece of food, and by the time that he gets
accustomed to food after his long fast, he eats what he pleases, enters
the sweat lodge, rubs himself with the wild sage, and thenceforward he
is regarded as having performed his vow.

§ 192. The spectators scramble for the possession of the blankets and
long pieces of calico left as sacrifices at the dancing lodge, and
some of them climb to the top of the sun pole and remove the objects
fastened there. The sun pole is allowed to remain in its place. The
author saw a sun pole at Ponka Agency, then in Dakota, in 1871. It had
been there for some time, and it remained till it was blown down by a
high wind.

At the conclusion of the dance the camp breaks up and the visitors
return to their respective homes.

§ 193. All who participate in the dance must act according to rule for
if one slights part of the rites they think that he is in great danger.
The men selected as overseers or managers are the persons who act as
the attendants of the candidates.

The candidates think that all their devotions are pleasing to the sun.
As they dance, they pray mentally, “Please pity me! Bring to pass all
the things which I desire!”

                           INTRUSIVE DANCES.

§ 194. During the sun dance, other dances--intrusive dances, as Lynd
terms them--are going on in the camp. Among these are the following:
The Mandan dance, performed by the Ćaŋte ṭiŋza okolakićiye, or the
Society of the Stout-hearted Ones; the Wakaŋ waćipi or mystery dance,
the Peźi mignaka waćipi or the dance of those wearing grass in their
belts, the ghost dance, the buffalo dance, and the Omaha kiyotag a-i,
popularly called the grass dance.

§ 195. When a man joins the Mandan dance as a leader, he wears a
feather headdress of owl feathers, a scarf, called “Waŋźi-ićaśke,” is
worn around his neck and hangs down his back, and he carries a pipe, a
bow, and arrows. In the Peźi mignaka waćipi, both young men and young
women take part. All these dances are held outside the lodge of the
sun dance, within which lodge only the one dance can be performed. The
grass dance is named after the Omaha tribe. As many men as are able
to participate in that dance march abreast until they reach the camp
of some gens, where they sit down facing the people whom they visit,
hence the name, meaning, “the Omaha reach there and sit down.” Then
the visitors sing while a noise is made by hitting the ground with
sticks, etc. The singers and dancers sit looking at the tents of the
gens that they have visited, and remain so until property and food are
brought out and given to them. Then they arise and probably dance. They
think that if they ask Wakantanka for anything after the conclusion of
the sun dance they will receive it. So they call on him in different
songs, thus: “O Wakantanka, please pity me! Let me have many horses!”
Or, “O Wakantanka, please pity me! Let there be plenty of fruits and
vegetables!” Or, “O Wakantanka, please pity me! Let me live a long

§ 196. During the sun dance they sing about some old woman, calling her
by name. They can sing about any old woman on such an occasion.

One of these songs has been given by Mr. Bushotter, but the writer must
content himself in giving the words without the music.

  “Winŭŋ´ḣća ḳuŋ tókiya lá huŋwo´? He´-ye-ye+!
  Yatíla ḳuŋ´ śuŋ´ka wíkinićápe. Hé-ye-ye+!
  E´-ya-ya-ha´ ya´-ha ya´-ha yo´-ho he´-ye-ye+!
  E´-ya-ya-ha´ ya´-ha ya´-ha yo´-ho he´-ye-yâ!”

That is: “Old woman, you who have been mentioned, whither are you
going? When they scrambled for the stick representing a horse, of
course you were on hand! How brave you are!”

They sing this in a high key, and when they cease suddenly, they call
out, “Ho´wo! Ho´wo! E´-ya-ha-he+! E´-ya-ha-he+!” “_Come on! Come on!
How brave you are! How brave you are!_” When they have said this
repeatedly an old woman enters the circle, making them laugh by her
singing and dancing.

Thus ends the Bushotter account of the sun dance, which was read at a
meeting of the Anthropological Society of Washington, May 6, 1890.

                     CAPT. BOURKE ON THE SUN-DANCE.

§ 197. After the reading of the paper, Capt. John G. Bourke, U.S. Army,
remarked that he had seen the sun dance of the Dakota several times,
and once had enjoyed excellent opportunities of taking notes of all
that occurred under the superintendence of Red Cloud and other medicine
men of prominence. Capt. Bourke kindly furnished the author with the
following abstract of his remarks on this subject:

     In June, 1881, at the Red Cloud Agency, Dakota, there were some
     twenty-eight who went through the ordeal, one of the number being
     Pretty Enemy, a young woman who had escaped with her husband from
     the band of Sitting Bull in British North America, and who was
     going through the dance as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to
     the spirits.

     The description of the dance given in the account of Bushotter
     tallies closely with that which took place at the Red Cloud
     ceremony, with a few very immaterial exceptions due no doubt to
     local causes.

Bureau of Ethnology                  Eleventh Annual Report. Plate XLIX.
                                                          GAST LITH. CO.
                         A SUSPENDED DEVOTEE.]

     § 198. At Red Cloud, for example, there was not a separate
     buffalo head for each Indian; there were not more than two, and
     with them, being placed erect and leaning against a frame-work
     made for the purpose, several elaborately decorated pipes,
     beautiful in all that porcupine quills, beads, and horsehair
     could supply. Buffaloes had at that time disappeared from the face
     of the country within reach of that agency, and there was also an
     increasing difficulty in the matter of procuring the pipestone
     from the old quarries over on the Missouri River [sic].[164]

     § 199. First, in regard to securing the sacred tree, after the
     same had been designated by the advance party sent out to look for
     it. The medicine men proclaimed to the young warriors that all
     they were now to do was just the same as if they were going out
     to war. When the signal was given, the whole party dashed off at
     full speed on their ponies, and as soon as we arrived at the tree,
     there was no small amount of singing, as well as of presents given
     to the poor.

     Next, a band of young men stepped to the front, and each in
     succession told the story of his prowess, each reference to the
     killing or wounding of an enemy, or to striking _coup_, being
     corroborated by thumping on the skin which served the medicine men
     as a drum.

     § 200. The first young man approached the sacred tree, swung
     his brand-new ax, and cut one gash on the east side; the second
     followed precisely the same program on the south side; the third,
     on the west side, and the fourth, on the north side, each cutting
     one gash and no more.

     § 201. They were succeeded by a young maiden, against whose
     personal character, it was asserted, not a breath of insinuation
     could be brought, and she was decked in all the finery of a long
     robe of white antelope skin almost completely covered with elks’
     teeth, as well as with beads. She seized the ax, and, with a few
     well-directed blows, brought the tree to the ground.

     § 202. In carrying the tree to the camp it was placed upon skids,
     no one being allowed to place a hand upon the tree itself. Upon
     reaching the summit of the knoll nearest the camp the tree was
     left in charge of its immediate attendants while the rest of the
     assemblage charged at full speed upon the camp itself.

     § 203. When the tree had been erected in place, it was noticed
     that each of those who were to endure the torture had been
     provided with an esquire, while there was also a force of men,
     armed with guns to preserve order, criers to make proclamations,
     and heralds and water-carriers armed with long staves tipped with
     bead-work and horse-hair. These water-carriers did not carry
     water for the men attached to the tree, they were not allowed to
     drink, but if they happened to faint away the medicine men would
     take a mouthful of water apiece and spray it upon the body of the
     patient, producing coldness by the evaporation of the water.

     § 204. All the Indians on that occasion were attached to the tree
     itself by long ropes of hair or by thongs, fastened to skewers run
     horizontally under the flesh. (See § 181.)

     § 205. The young woman, Pretty Enemy, was not tied up to the tree,
     but she danced with the others, and had her arms scarified from
     the shoulders to the elbows. All this scarification was done by a
     medicine man, who also slit the ear of the babies born since the
     last sun dance.

     § 206. The young men were scarified in the following manner: Their
     attendants, whom I have called esquires, seized and laid them on
     a bed of some sagebrush at the foot of the sacred tree. A short
     address was made by one of the medicine men; then another, taking
     up as much of the skin of the breast under the nipple of each
     dancer as could be held between his thumb and forefinger, cut a
     slit the length of the thumb, and inserted a skewer to which a
     rope was fastened, the other end of the rope being tied to the

     § 207. The young men placed eagle pipes, as they were called, in
     their mouths. These pipes were flutes which were made each from
     one of the bones in an eaglet’s wing. They had to be sounded all
     the time the young man was dancing. This dancing was done in the
     manner of a buck jump, the body and legs being stiff and all
     movement being upon the tips of the toes. The dancers kept looking
     at the sun, and either dropped the hands to the sides in the
     military position of “attention,” with the palms to the front, or
     else held them upward and outward at an angle of 45 degrees, with
     the fingers spread apart, and inclined towards the sun.

     § 208. When laid on the couch of sagebrush before spoken of,
     each young man covered his face with his hands and wailed. I was
     careful to examine each one, and saw that this wailing was a
     strictly ceremonial affair unaccompanied by tears.

     § 209. Before approaching the tree the victims were naked, with
     the exception of blue cloth petticoats and buffalo robes worn with
     the fur outside, giving them the appearance of monks of the olden
     time. The buffalo robes were, of course, thrown off when the young
     men were laid on the sagebrush, preparatory to the scarification.
     One young man was unable to tear himself loose, and he remained
     tied up to the tree for an hour and seven minutes by my watch.
     He fainted four times. The medicine man put into his mouth some
     of the small red, bitter, salty seeds of the _Dulcamara_, while
     the women threw costly robes, blankets, articles of beadwork and
     quillwork, and others of the skin of the elk and antelope upon the
     rope attaching him to the tree, in the hope of breaking him loose.
     The articles thus attached to the rope were taken away by the poor
     for whom they were given. There was any amount of this giving of
     presents at all stages of the dance, but especially at this time,
     and the criers were calling without ceasing, “So and so has done
     well. He is not afraid to look the poor women and children in the
     face! Come up some more of you people! Do not be ashamed to give!
     Let all the people see how generous you are!” or words to that
     effect. (I had to rely upon my interpreter, who was reputed to be
     the best and most trustworthy at the agency).

     § 210. One of the prime movers in the organization of this
     particular dance, Rocky Bear, at the last moment, for some
     particular reason, decided not to go through the terrible ordeal.
     He explained his reasons to the tribe, and was excused. He gave
     presents with a lavish hand, and it was understood that on some
     subsequent occasion he would finish the dance. There was no sign
     of dissatisfaction with his course, and everyone seemed to be on
     the best of terms with him. All through the ceremony there was
     much singing by the women and drumming by the medicine men, and a
     feast of stewed dog, which tastes very much like young mutton, was
     served with boiled wild turnips.

§ 211. By a comparison of the accounts of Miss Fletcher, Capt. Bourke,
and Bushotter it will be noticed that while there are several points of
disagreement which, as Capt. Bourke remarks, are “due no doubt to local
causes,” the accounts are in substantial agreement. Miss Fletcher says
that the opening of the camp circle was toward the east; but Bushotter
gives it as toward the north. She states that the tent of preparation
was erected on the first day after sunset; but Bushotter says it was
set up on the fourth day. She represents the selection of the men who
go to seek the tree, the departure to fetch the tree, the felling of
the tree, the bringing it and setting it up within the camp circle as
all taking place on the fourth day. Bushotter states that the men were
selected on the third day; they went to seek the tree on the fourth
day; they went to fell the tree on the fifth day, and on the same day
they brought it to the camp and set it in place. Capt. Bourke saw four
men and one girl employed in felling the tree. Miss Fletcher mentions
that five men and three girls did this in 1882; but Bushotter recorded
that several men and women took part in this performance. The ears of
the children were pierced on the fourth day after the raising of the
sun pole, according to Miss Fletcher; but Bushotter says that this
did not occur till after the devotees had been scarified and fastened
to the pole and posts, on the sixth day. Bushotter agrees with Miss
Fletcher in saying that on the sixth day the earth was “mellowed,” the
devotees scarified, and they danced with the thongs fastened to the
pole, etc., and attached to the skewers running under their flesh.


§ 212. These unfortunate beings, who have been referred to as miⁿquga
and miⁿquge in Chapter III (§ 30), are called wiŋkta by the Santee and
Yankton Dakota, and wiŋkte by the Teton. They dress as women and act
in all respects as women do, though they are really men. The terms for
sodomy, wiŋktapi and wiŋktepi, are significant, and go to prove that
the berdaches should not be called hermaphrodites. It is probable that
the Dakota regard the moon as influencing these people. (See § 353.)

                           ASTRONOMICAL LORE.

§ 213. Ho-ke-wiŋ-la is a man who stands in the moon with outstretched
arms. His name is said to mean Turtle Man. When the Teton see a short
man with a large body and legs they generally call him “Ho-ke-la,”
after the man in the moon.

The Teton do not like to gaze at the moon, because at some past time a
woman, who was carrying a child on her back, gazed a long time at the
moon, till she became very weak and fell senseless.

No Teton dare look at the stars and count even “one” mentally. For
one is sure to die if he begin to count the stars and desist before
finishing. They are also afraid to point at a rainbow with the index
finger, though they can point at it with the lips or elbow. Should one
forget, and point with the index finger, the bystanders laugh at him,
saying, “By and by, O friend, when your finger becomes large and round,
let us have it for a ball bat.”

                             DAY AND NIGHT.

§ 214. One of Bushotter’s Teton texts reads thus:

Indians are often singing “The day and night are mysterious” or
“wakaŋ.” They do so for the following reasons: While the day lasts
a man is able to do many wonderful things at different times, and
he kills so many animals, including men, and sometimes he receives
presents, and besides he is able to see all things. But he does not
fully understand what the day is, nor does he know what makes the
light. Though the man can do various things during the day, he does not
know who makes or causes the light. Therefore he believes that it was
not made by hand, i.e., that no human being makes the day give light.
Therefore the Indians say that the day is “wakaŋ.” They do not know who
causes all these things, yet they know that there is some one thing
having power, and that this thing does it. In their opinion, that is
the sun. So they pray to the sun; and they respect both the day and the
sun, making them “wakaŋ.” On that account they usually sing some songs
about them. Then they say that the night is “wakaŋ.” When it is night,
there are ghosts and many fearful objects, so they regard the night as
“wakaŋ,” and pray to it.

                               THE DAWN.

§ 215. When Bushotter’s younger brother was sick on one occasion
he was made to pray to Anpao, The Dawn. The tent skins were thrown
back from the entrance and the sick boy was held up with the palms
of his hands extended towards the light, while he repeated this
prayer: “Wakaŋ´taŋka, uŋ´śimála yé! Téhaŋ wauŋ´ kte,” i. e., “O Great
Mysterious One, please pity me! Let me live a long time!” Then the
patient was laid back on his couch. While the sick boy prayed a blanket
was held up, and the next morning it was hung from the top of the tent.
When the invalid recovered the blanket and a tobacco pouch were taken
to a hill and left there as sacrifices. The boy got well, and the
people believed that some mysterious power had cured him.

                            WEATHER SPIRIT.

§ 216. The Teton say that a giant, called Waziya, knows when there is
to be a change of weather. When he travels his footprints are large
enough for several Indians to stand while they are abreast; and his
strides are far apart, for at one step he can go over a hill. When
it is cold the people say, “Waziya has returned.” They used to pray
to him, but when they found that he did not heed them they desisted.
When warm weather is to follow Waziya wraps himself in a thick robe,
and when it is to be cold he goes nude. The members of the Heyoka or
Anti-natural Society love the acts of Waziya; so they imitate him in
always saying or doing the opposite of what might be expected under
the circumstances. Riggs says,[165] “Waziya, the god of the north, and
Itokaga, the god of the south, are ever in conflict and each in turn is


§ 217. Waziya and Heyoka are not fully differentiated. Heyoka,
according to Riggs,[166] is “the antinatural god.” He is said to exist
in four varieties, all of which have the forms of small men, but all
their desires and experiences are contrary to nature. In the winter
they stand on the open prairie without clothing; in the summer they sit
on knolls wrapped in buffalo robes, and yet they are freezing. Each of
them has in his hands and on his shoulders a bow and arrows, rattles,
and a drum. All these are surcharged with lightning, and his drumstick
is a little Wakinyan. The high mounds of the prairies are the places of
his abode. He presides over the land of dreams, and that is why dreams
are so fantastic.

§ 218. In speaking of the Heyoka gods, Pond says:[167]

     Like the Wakinyan, there are four varieties of them, all of which
     assume in substance the human form, but it would be unnecessarily
     tedious to note the differences of form, especially as the
     differences are unimportant. They are said to be armed with the
     bow and arrows, and with deer-hoof rattles, which things are
     charged with electricity. One of the varieties carries a drum,
     which is also charged with the same fluid. For a drumstick he
     holds a small Wakinyan god by the tail, striking on the drum with
     the beak of the god. This would seem to us to be an unfortunate
     position for a god, but it must be remembered that it is “wakan,”
     and the more absurd a thing is, the more “wakan.”

     § 219. One of these gods in some respects answers to the whirlwind
     zephyr of Greek mythology. It is the gentle whirlwind which is
     sometimes visible in the delicate waving of the tall grass of the

     By virtue of their medicine and tonwan powers the Heyoka render
     aid to such men as revere them, in the chase, or by inflicting
     and healing diseases, especially those resulting from the
     gratification of their libidinous passions.

                             HEYOKA FEAST.

§ 220. Lynd gives an account of the Heyoka feast. He says:[169]

     They assemble in a lodge, wearing tall, conical hats, being nearly
     naked, and painted in a strange style. Upon the fire is placed a
     huge kettle full of meat, and they remain seated around the fire
     smoking until the water in the kettle begins to boil, which is
     the signal for the dance to begin. They dance and sing around
     it excitedly, plunging their hands into the boiling water, and
     seizing large pieces of hot meat, which they devour at once. The
     scalding water is thrown over their backs and legs, at which they
     never wince, complaining that it is cold. Their skin is first
     deadened, as I am creditably informed, by rubbing with a certain
     grass; and they do not in reality experience any uneasiness from
     the boiling water--a fact which gives their performances great
     mystery in the eyes of the uninitiated.

§ 221. Dr. Brinton has confounded the Heyoka with the Wakinyan. The two
are distinct classes of powers, though there is some connection between
them, as may be inferred from the following stories in the Bushotter

§ 222. No Indian belonging to the Heyoka Society ever tells of his own
personal mystery. Such things are “wakaŋ,” and not even one man can be
induced to sing the Heyoka songs upon an ordinary occasion; because if
they sing one of those songs except at the proper time they say that
the Thunder-beings would kill the entire households of the offenders.
Therefore they object to singing the Heyoka songs and they do not like
to speak about them.

                         STORY OF A HEYOKA MAN.

§ 223. It is said that the people of the olden times knew when they
were about to die, and they used to dream about their deaths and how
they would be when the time drew near. One of those men said, “When the
first thunder is heard next spring, I and my horse shall die.”

For that reason his kindred were weeping from time to time, this
man who had dreamed of his death decorated the legs of his horse by
moistening light gray clay and drawing zigzag lines down the legs. In
like manner he decorated the neck and back of the horse, and he made
similar lines on his own arms. Then he would walk about the prairie
near the camp, singing and holding a pipe with the stem pointing toward
the sky.

When the leaves opened out in the following spring, the first
thundercloud was seen. Then the man said, “Ho, this is the day on
which I am to die!” So he tied up his horse’s tail in a rounded form,
put a piece of scarlet blanket around the animal’s neck, and spread a
fine blanket over his back, as a saddlecloth, with the ends trailing
along the ground. He painted himself and his horse just as he had been
doing formerly, and, taking the pipe, he walked round and round at
some distance from the camp, pointing the pipestem towards the clouds
as he sang the Heyoka songs. The following is given as a song of the
human Heyoka man, but it is said to have been sung originally by the
mysterious and superhuman Heyoka in the thundercloud:

      Ko-la, o-ya-te kin, ko-la, wan-ni-yaŋg u-pe e-ye he+!
      Ko-la, o-ya-te, kin, ko-la, wan-ni-yaŋg u-pe e-ye he+!
                      Ko-la, lo-waŋ hi-bu we!
                       Ko-la, će-ya hi-bu we!
                    O-ya-te waŋ-ma-ya-ka-pi ye.
             Ta-muŋ-ka śni ḳuŋ e-ye-ye he+!

In this song, “oyate” means the Thunder-beings; “kola,” the Heyoka
men here on earth, whom the Thunder-beings threatened to kill; “oyate
waŋmayakapi,” ordinary Indians who are not wakan; “He-he-he! tamuŋka
śni ḳuŋ,” i. e., “Alas! I hate to leave them (living Indians),” means
that the singer expects to be killed by the Thunder-beings.

The whole song may be rendered freely thus:

             My friends, the people are coming to see you!
             My friends, the people are coming to see you!
                My friends, he sings as he comes hither!
                My friends, he cries as he comes hither!
              You people on earth behold me while you may!
                           Alas! alas! alas!
                     I hate to leave my own people!

On the day referred to the Heyoka man had not been absent very long
from the camp when a high wind arose, and the rain was so plentiful
that a person could not see very far. Then the Thunder-beings looked
(i. e., there was lightning) and they roared; but still the man and
his horse continued walking about over there in sight of the camp.
By and by there was a very sudden sound as if the trees had been
struck, and all the people were much frightened, and they thought that
the Thunder-beings had killed them. Some of the women and children
fainted from fear, and the men sat holding them up. Some of the people
thought that they saw many stars, and there seemed to be the sound,
“Tuŋ+!” in the ears of each person.

When the storm had lasted a long time, the Thunder-beings were
departing slowly, amid considerable loud roaring. When it was all over
the people ventured forth from their lodges. Behold, the man and his
horse had been killed by the Thunder-beings, so his relations were
crying ere they reached the scene of the disaster.

The horse had been burnt in the very places where the man had decorated
him, and his sinews had been shriveled by the heat, so he lay with each
limb stretched out stiff. The man, too, had been burnt in the very
places where he had painted himself. The grass all around appeared as
if the Thunder-beings had dragged each body along, for it was pushed
partly down on all sides. So the people reached there and beheld the

As the men in former days used to know events beforehand, as has just
been told, it has long been the rule for no one to reveal his personal
mystery, which he regards as “wakan.”

                             HEYOKA WOMEN.

§ 224. Bushotter gave the following account of a female Heyoka who was
killed by lightning:

     A certain woman whom I saw after she had been killed by lightning
     belonged to the Heyoka Society. When she walked, she carried a
     pipe with the mouthpiece pointing upward, as she thought that the
     Thunder-beings would put the mouthpiece into their mouths, though
     the act would immediately cause her death.

     § 225. “Women used to dream about the Thunder-beings, just as the
     men did, and in those dreams the Heyoka man or woman made promises
     to the Thunder-beings. If the dreamers kept their promises, it was
     thought that the Thunder-beings helped them to obtain whatever
     things they desired; but if they broke their promises, they were
     sure to be killed by the Thunder-beings during some storm. For
     this reason the Heyoka members worshiped the Thunder-beings, whom
     they honored, speaking of them as wakan.”

§ 226. Some of the women sing, and some do not; but all let their hair
hang loosely down their backs, and their dresses consist of a kind of
cloth or a robe sewed down the middle of the back. Sometimes the cloth
is all blue, at other times half is red and half is blue. Some times
there is beadwork on the dress. Even the Heyoka women wear the long red
cloth trailing on the ground before and behind them, in imitation of
the young dandies of the tribe.

                       IYA, THE GOD OF GLUTTONY.

§ 227. Lynd speaks of the “vindictive Iya” as driving the hunters “back
from the hunt to the desolation of their lodges”.[170]

And Riggs has written:[171]

     A people who feast themselves so abundantly as the Dakotas do,
     when food is plenty, would necessarily imagine a god of gluttony.
     He is represented as extremely ugly, and is called E-ya. He has
     the power to twist and distort the human face, and the women still
     their crying children by telling them that the E-ya will catch

                       IKTO, IKTOMI, OR UNKTOMI.

§ 228. Ikto or Iktomi (in the Teton dialect) or Unktomi (in the Santee)
are the names now given to the spider by the Dakota; but the names
once belonged to a mythical character, who resembles in many respects
the Ictinike of the Omaha and Ponka, and the Ictciñke of the Iowa, Oto,
and Missouri tribes. “Ikto,” say the Teton, “was the first being who
attained maturity in this world. He is more cunning than human beings.
He it was who named all people and animals, and he was the first to use
human speech. Some call him the Waunća or Mocker, a name now applied
to the monkey.[172] If we see any peculiar animals at any place, we
knew that Iktomi made them so. All the animals are his kindred, and
they are obliged to act just as he commanded them at the beginning.”

§ 229. In enumerating the powers that delight in working ill to the
Indians, Lynd mentions Unktomi thus:

     “The ubiquitous Unktomi tortures the Indians in their hunger by
     bringing herds of buffaloes near the camp, which they no sooner
     start to pursue than he drives away by means of a black wolf and a
     white crow.”[173]

§ 230. Though Ikto was very cunning, he was sometimes deceived by
other beings. One day he caught the rabbit, and the latter was about
to fare hard, when a thought occurred to him. He persuaded his captor
to release him on condition that he taught Ikto one of his magic arts.
Said the rabbit, “Elder brother, if you wish snow to fall at any time,
take some hair such as this (pulling out some rabbit fur) and blow
it in all directions, and there will be a blizzard.” The rabbit then
made a deep snow in this manner, though the leaves were still green.
This surprised Ikto, who thought that he had learned a wonderful
accomplishment. But the foolish fellow did not know that _rabbit_ fur
was necessary, and when he tried to make snow by blowing his own hair,
he was disappointed.

§ 231. On another occasion, Ikto reached a stream which he could not
ford. So he stood on the bank and sang thus:

  [Illustration [musical notation]]
  Tó-kin     ko-wá-ka-tan    ma-ká-ni,  e-chin´chin  na-wá-zhin!
  I stand,  thinking often,  Oh that I  might reach  the other side!]

Presently a long object passed, swimming against the current. When it
reached him it said, “I will take you across, but you must not lift
your head above the water. Should you notice even a small cloud warn
me at once, as I must go under the water.” Ikto was then told to give
the warning thus: “Younger brother, your grandfather is coming.” Before
the other bank was reached Ikto gave the warning, and so sudden was
the commotion that Ikto became unconscious. On recovering, he found
that the thunder was roaring, and the water was dashing high, but the
monster had disappeared.

It is shown in the section on Spider lore (§ 249) how the name Iktomi
has been transferred from the mythical character to the insect, who, in
turn, is invoked as “grandfather.”

                        ĆAŊOTIDAŊ AND HOḢNOĠIĆA.

§ 232. These powers have been scarcely differentiated; and some writers
speak of them as identical. They seem to have been of the nature of
bogies or boggarts. Says Lynd:[174]

     Ćaŋotidaŋ draws the hungry hunters to the depths of
     the wood by imitating the voices of animals, or by the nefarious
     “_Cico! cico!_” (_i. e._, I invite you to a feast! I invite you
     to a feast!) when he scares them out of their senses by showing
     himself to them.

On the same page he distinguishes between the Ćaŋotidaŋ and
the Oḣnoġića thus:

     “The stray lodge becomes the delight of the wild Ohnogica,”
     implying that such lodges were haunted by this spirit for the
     purpose of frightening any unwary traveler who ventured there
     without a companion.

In Tah-koo Wah-kon (p. 75, note), Riggs speaks of the “Chan-o-te-dan or
Hoh-no-ge-cha. The former is a fabulous creature, dwelling usually in
the woods as the name indicates. The latter name would seem to give it
a place by the door of the tent.” With this we may compare the Omaha
invocation, “O thou who standest at the right side of the entrance!
Here is tobacco!” (§ 40). The name also reminds us of “The Dweller upon
the Threshold” in Bulwer’s “Zanoni.”

Riggs, in his “Theogony of the Sioux,” p. 270, writes thus of the

     This means, Dweller in the woods. Sometimes he is called
     Oh-no-ge-cha, which would seem to assign him to a place in the
     tent. Whether these are one and the same, or two, is a question in
     dispute. But they are harmless household gods. The Chan-o-te-na is
     represented as a little child, only it has a tail. Many Indian men
     affirm that they have seen it, not only in night dreams, but in
     day visions.

The name Hoḣnoġića or Oḣnoġića is called by the Teton, Uŋgnaġićala,
which is the name of the screech-owl. As the Ponka Indaȼiñga dwells in
the forest, and is said to resemble an owl, he must be identical with
the Dakota Ćaŋotidaŋ or Uŋgnaġićala. (See § 38.)


§ 233. Wonderful stories of beings with two faces are found among the
Dakota as well as among the Omaha. Lynd[175] states the belief of the
Dakota (_i. e._, those speaking the Santee dialect) that “women with
child are but torturing sports for the vengeful Anog-ite.”

In the Omaha legend of Two Faces and the Twins[176] the pregnant mother
of the Twins died as soon as she had gazed at Two Faces. In the Teton
legend of He-who-Has-a-Sword and Ha-ke-la, the latter is said to have
met a giant, Anuŋg-ite, or Two Faces, who pretended to be an Indian
woman nursing an infant. The infant had been stolen from its parents
by the Anuŋg-ite, who drew a rose brush across its face to make it
cry. As soon as this was done the Two Faces said, in a woman’s voice,
“A-wo! A-wo! A-wo!” that being the expression used by Teton women when
they wish to soothe crying infants.

§ 234. The Indians used to hear an Anuŋg-ite or Two Faces pass
along kicking the ground. When he kicked the ground with one foot bells
used to ring and an owl hooted, and when he kicked with the other it
seemed as if a buffalo bull was there, snorting as he does when about
to charge. At the next step a chickadee was heard, and when he moved
the other foot he made all kinds of animals cry out. The Indians had
heard this Anuŋg-ite and were afraid of him. Now and then when a
man who thought himself strong was alone when he met the Anuŋg-ite
the latter surprised him by catching him and throwing him into one of
his ears. These ears were so large that each could hold three men. No
person knew where the Anuŋg-ite made his abode, and no one cared to
follow him; no one dared to go out of doors at night. Now, there was
an old man and his wife who had a lodge to themselves, and their only
child was a willful boy. One night he was particularly ill-behaved, and
when his mother told him to do something he disobeyed her. So she said:
“I will put you out of the lodge and the Anuŋg-ite will toss you
into his ear.” She did not believe this, and merely said it to frighten
her son into obedience. Finding him heedless, she seized his arm and,
though he began to cry, pushed him out of the lodge and fastened the
entrance securely. The poor boy ran crying around the lodge, but soon
there was silence. The mother in turn began to cry, and went to seek
him, but she did not find him outside the lodge. The next morning she
and her husband, weeping, went to seek him among the people in the
neighboring camp, asking every one about him, but no one had seen him.
So they returned to their lodge, and they wept many days for their son.
One night the mother was weeping. Suddenly she heard some one say,
“Hiⁿ! hiⁿ! You said to me: Ghost, take that one. Hiⁿ! hⁿ!”
This was said often, and she noticed a rattling of small bells as the
being walked along. Just then she said: “Husband, I think now that a
ghost has taken my son.” The husband said: “Yes; you gave the boy to
the ghost, and, of course, the ghost took him. Why should you complain?
It serves you right.” Then the mother cried aloud, so that her voice
might have been heard at a distance. Then said she: “Husband, to-morrow
night I will lie hid by the wood-pile, and if the ghost comes I will
have a knife in my hand, and after I catch it by the leg I will call
to you. Be ready to come at once. You must aid me, and I will recover
my son, because I know that he threw him into his ear.” So the next
night she lay in wait for the monster. By and by something was coming,
crying out “Hiⁿ!” and making all kinds of birds and animals cry out
as it walked. She saw a very large being come and stand by the lodge.
He was very tall, his head being above the smoke-hole, down which he
peeped into the lodge. Suddenly the mother called to her husband, and
seized one leg of the monster with both hands. Then she and her husband
gashed the legs in many places, and, after tying a thong to one leg,
they pulled down the monster and bound him securely. They guarded him
till it was day. Then they beheld a hideous monster covered with thick
hair, except on his faces. They split his ears with a knife, and within
one they found their long-lost son, who was very lean and unable to
speak. He had a thick coat of long hair on him from his legs up to his
head, but his head and face were smooth. And he would have become an
Anuŋg-ite had he not been rescued. He did not survive very long.
After the parents had taken their son from the ear of the monster they
put many sticks of wood on a fire, and on this they laid the monster.
He soon was in flames, and they stood looking on. Many things were
sent flying out of the fire in all directions, just like sparks. These
were porcupine quills, bags, all kinds of feathers, arrows, pipes,
birds, axes, war-clubs, flints, stones for sharpening knives, stone
balls resembling billiard balls, necklaces of _tuki_ shells, flints for
striking tinder, flint hide-scrapers, whips, tobacco-pouches, all kinds
of beads, etc.[177]


§ 235. It has been supposed that the Dakotas had no penates or
household gods; but according to Riggs,[178] “such have come into the
possession of the missionaries. One of these images is that of a little
man, and is inclosed in a cylindrical wooden case, and enveloped in
sacred swan’s down.”

                           GUARDIAN SPIRITS.

§ 236. Each Teton may have his special guardian spirit. If such spirits
are remembered they confer great power on their favorites. The latter
may be surrounded by foes and yet escape, either by receiving great
strength, enabling them to scatter their enemies, or by being made
invisible, disappearing like a ghost or the wind. Sometimes it is said
that one is rescued by being turned into a small bird that flies off
in safety. (See §§ 122, 325.) This refers to those who “ihaŋbla” (have
intercourse with spirits) or who have guardian spirits (tawaśićuŋpi) as
servants. Bushotter’s stepfather has a guardian spirit who enabled him
to tell about lost animals, etc., and bad deeds, even when the latter
were committed in secret. So Bushotter and the other children of the
household were afraid to do wrong after they had been detected several
times by the aid of the guardian spirit.

                       BELIEFS ABOUT THE BUFFALO.

§ 237. In several of the Siouan tribes the buffalo is considered a
“grandfather.” He figures in the traditions of the Osage.[179] Gentes
and sub gentes are named after him. His image plays an important part
in the sun dance (§ 164).

§ 238. Miss Fletcher[180] mentions a prayer used during the White
Buffalo Festival of the Hunkpapa Dakota, in which are remembered the
“powers of the earth, wind, sun, water, and the buffalo.” And in her
article on “The Shadow or Ghost Lodge; a Ceremony of the Ogallala
Sioux,” she states that 2 yards of red cloth are (were) “lifted and
offered to the buffalo, with a prayer that good may (might) be granted
to the father” (i. e., of the dead child) “during the period of the

§ 239. In her article on the “Elk Mystery of the Ogallala Sioux”[182]
is given an important note:

     Among the Santees in past times, a man who should dream of buffalo
     must announce it in the following manner: He takes the head of a
     buffalo he has killed, carefully removes the skin, preserving it
     as nearly whole as possible, and throws away the skull and the
     flesh. He then restores the skin to its natural shape and lets it
     cure. When this has taken place, a few feet square of earth is set
     apart at the back of the lodge, the sods cut off, and the exposed
     earth made fine. This is the “U-ma-ne.” Upon this earth a new
     blanket, formerly a robe, is spread. The blanket or robe must not
     belong to a woman. The buffalo head is placed in the center of the
     blanket, and one side of the head (is) painted blue, and the other
     (side) red. Upon the blue side, tufts of white swan’s down are
     tied to the hair of the head. Sometimes small eagle feathers are
     substituted, and, very rarely, large feathers. Upon the red side,
     tufts of down-colored red are similarly tied. These decorations
     look like “a woman’s sunbonnet,” as they cover the head and
     fall to the shoulders. The pipe is only filled and presented to
     the head. The feast kettle is hung over the fire. When all is
     in readiness, the man who prepared the head thus addresses it:
     “Grandfather! Venerable man! Your children have made this feast
     for you. May the food thus taken cause them to live, and bring
     them good fortune.” An Indian of remarkable intelligence, whose
     father before him had been a priest of the higher class, explained
     that in some religious festivals the buffalo and the earth were
     spoken of as one, and (were) so regarded. “Therefore if any one
     should revile or ridicule the buffalo, ever so softly, the earth
     would hear and tell the buffalo, and he would kill the man.”

Bushotter furnished two articles on the buffalo, translations of which
are appended.

                         ORIGIN OF THE BUFFALO.

     § 240. The buffalo originated under the earth. It is said that
     in the olden times, a man who was journeying came to a hill
     where there were many holes in the ground. He explored them, and
     when he had gone within one of them, he found plenty of buffalo
     chips, and buffalo tracks were on all sides; and here and there
     he found buffalo hair which had come out when the animals rubbed
     against the walls. These animals were the real buffalo, who dwelt
     underground, and some of them came up to this earth and increased
     here to many herds. These buffalo had many earth lodges, and
     there they raised their children. They did many strange things.
     Therefore when a man can hardly be wounded by a foe, the people
     believe that the former has seen the buffalo in dreams or visions,
     and on that account has received mysterious help from those
     animals. All such men who dream of the buffalo, act like them and
     dance the buffalo (bull) dance. And the man who acts the buffalo
     is said to have a real buffalo inside him, and a chrysalis lies
     within the flat part of the body near the shoulder-blade; on
     account of which the man is hard to kill; no matter how often they
     wound him, he does not die. As the people know that the buffalo
     live in earth lodges, they never dance the buffalo dance in vain.


     § 241. It is said that a mythic buffalo once attacked a party of
     Indians, killing one of them. The others fled and climbed a tree,
     at which the buffalo rushed many times, knocking off piece after
     piece of the tree with his horns till very little of it was left.
     Then one of the Indians lighted some tinder and threw it far off
     into the tall grass, scorching the buffalo’s eyes, and seriously
     injuring his horns, causing the hard part of the latter to slip
     off, so that the animal could no longer gore any one. But as he
     was still dangerous, one of the men determined to fight him at
     the risk of his own life, and so he slipped down from the tree,
     armed with a bow and some arrows. He finally gave the buffalo a
     mortal wound. Then all the men came down the tree and cut up the
     buffalo after flaying him. They were about to carry off the body
     of their dead comrade in a robe, when they were obliged to climb
     a tree again because another mythic buffalo had appeared. He did
     not attack them, but went four times around the body of the slain
     man. Then he stopped and said, “Arise to your feet.” All at once,
     the dead man came to life. The buffalo addressed him, saying,
     “Hereafter you shall be mysterious, and the sun, moon, four winds,
     day and night shall be your servants.” It was so. He could assume
     the shape of a fine plume, which was blown often against a tree,
     to which it stuck, as it waved repeatedly.

                               THE BEAR.

     § 242. The Assiniboin address prayers to the bear.[183] They offer
     it sacrifices of tobacco, belts, and other esteemed objects. They
     celebrate feasts in its honor, to obtain its favors and to live
     without accidents. The bear’s head is often preserved in the
     camp during several days, mounted in some suitable position and
     adorned with scraps of scarlet cloth, and trimmed with a variety
     of necklace collars, and colored feathers. Then they offer it the
     calumet, and ask it that they may be able to kill all the bears
     they meet, without accident to themselves, in order to anoint
     themselves with his fine grease and make a banquet of his tender

                               THE WOLF.

§ 243. Smet says, “The wolf is more or less honored among the Indians”
(_i. e._ the Assiniboin) “Most of the women refuse to dress its skin
for any purpose. The only reason that I could discover for this freak
is, that the wolves sometimes go mad, bite those they meet and give
them the hydrophobia. It is doubtless to escape this terrible disease
and to avoid the destruction of their game, that the Indians make it”
(the wolf) “presents, and offer it supplications. In other cases, he is
little feared.” The “little medicine wolf” is in great veneration among
the Assiniboin. As soon as an Indian hears his barks, he counts the
number; he remarks whether his voice is feeble or strong, and from
what point of the compass it proceeds. All these things are regarded as
good or bad omens. If the undertakings of the Indians result, as they
occasionally do, in success, after hearing the barking of the little
wolf, this animal is honored by a grand feast after the return of the

§ 244. That some of the Dakota reverenced the wolf is evident from the
fact that there is a society, called the Wolf Society, but known among
the white people as the Dog Society. That society has many beautiful
songs, according to Bushotter, and its membership is confined to young
men. All the wolf stories belong to this society. Three of these
stories follow this section.

§ 245. The man who met the ghost woman after fleeing from the two ghost
men[185] encountered a wolf, who pitied him and showed him the way to a
camp, where he was received and adopted into the tribe. This man always
remembered the wolf as a kind animal, and when he killed any game, he
threw a portion outside of the camp, as an offering to the wolf.

§ 246. There was once a handsome young Teton, whose wife’s father
disliked him and plotted against him. He dug a pit within his lodge,
covering it with skins. Then he invited his son-in-law to a feast.
The son-in-law met a wolf, whom he saluted, asking him the way to the
village. The young man was persuaded to recline on the skins, which
gave way, precipitating him into the pit. The father-in-law and his
two single daughters covered the skins with earth, and removed their
tent elsewhere on the morrow, when all the people started on a journey.
After some days, the wolf who had met the man went to the deserted
camping place in search of food. On reaching the place where the
accident (?) had happened, he heard a human cry. So he dug away the
earth, removed the skins, and found the man, whom he recognized. The
wolf pitied him, and said, “As you did not kill me when we met, you
shall now be saved.” So he howled, and very soon many wolves appeared.
They found a lariat, which they lowered into the pit, and by grasping
the other end with their teeth, they pulled the man up. He was very
grateful, promising never to harm a wolf. Just then a weeping woman
appeared, gazing in surprise at the man, as he was very thin, looking
like a ghost. She was his wife, and her heart was soon made glad when
he told her of his rescue.

§ 247. Once upon time a man found a wolf den, into which he dug to
get the cubs. The mother came, barking, and she finally said to him,
“Pity my children;” but he paid no attention to her. So she ran for her
husband, who soon appeared. Still the man persevered. Then the wolf
sang a beautiful song, “O man, pity my children, and I will instruct
you in one of my arts.” He ended with a howl, causing a fog. When the
wolf howled again the fog disappeared. Then the man thought, “These
animals have mysterious gifts,” and he tore up his red blanket into
small pieces, which he put as necklaces on the cubs, whom he painted
with Indian red, restoring them to their place in the den. Then the
grateful father exclaimed, “When you go to war hereafter, I will
accompany you, and bring to pass whatever you wish.” So they parted as
friends. In the course of time the man went on the war path. As he came
in sight of a village of the enemy, a large wolf met him, saying, “By
and by I will sing and you shall steal their horses when they least
suspect danger.” So they stopped on a hill close to the village, and
the wolf sang. After this he howled, making a high wind arise. The
horses fled to the forest, many stopping on the hillside. When the wolf
had howled again, the wind died away, and a mist arose; so the man took
as many horses as he pleased.


§ 248. These are well named “Cŭñka wakaⁿ (Śuŋka wakaŋ)” for they are
indeed wakaŋ. Consequently the Dakota have the Cŭñg olowaⁿ (Śuŋg
olowaŋ) or Horse Songs, and they pray to the horses (ćewićakiyapi). If
any one paints a horse in a wakaŋ manner, when he has no right to do
so, he is sure to pay the penalty: he will encounter misfortune of some
sort, or he will fall ill, or he will be slain by a foe, or he will
have his neck broken by being thrown from a horse.


§ 249. The Teton pray to gray spiders, and to those with yellow legs.
When a person goes on a journey and a spider passes, one does not
kill it in silence. For should one let it escape, or kill it without
prayer, bad consequences must ensue. In the latter case, another spider
would avenge the death of his relation. To avoid any such misfortune,
when the spider is encountered, the person must say to it, “Iktómi
Tuŋkaŋśila, Waʞiŋyaŋ niktepe lo,” i. e., “O Grandfather Spider, the
Thunder-beings kill you!” The spider is crushed at once, and his spirit
believes what has been told him. His spirit probably tells this to the
other spiders, but they can not harm the Thunder-beings. If one thus
addresses a spider as he kills it, he will never be bitten by other

§ 231. One of the Dakota myths tells how Unktomi killed himself,
causing his limbs to shrivel up till they assumed the appearance of
spiders’ limbs.

                              SNAKE LORE.

§ 250. Some Dakota will not kill snakes by hitting them. He who
violates the law in this respect will dream horrible dreams about
various kinds of snakes; and occasionally it happens that such a man
has a horse bitten by a snake. The Siŋteḣla taŋka, or the Ancient of
Rattlesnakes, was one of the enemies of the Thunder-beings.

“There are some things about which it is most unlucky to dream. Snakes
are said to be terrible; they seek to enter a man’s ears, nose, or
mouth” (i.e., in the dream); “and should one succeed, it is a sure sign
of death. ‘No good comes from snakes.’”[186]

                           THE DOUBLE WOMAN.

§ 251. In the olden times there was what they called “Wiŋyaŋ
nuŋ-papi-ka,” or the The Double Woman, consisting of two very tall
females who were probably connected by a membrane. They wore horned
headdresses decorated with feathers, and bunches of feathers hung from
the right shoulder of one and from the left shoulder of the other.
Instead of heel tags, each female had a turtle trailing from the heel
or quarter of one moccasin, and a feather from that of the other. In
the sketch as given by Bushotter there is a pale blue stripe around
the bottom of each skirt, and half of each trailing feather is of
that color. Each body, above the top of the blanket, is painted with
blue dots on a yellow ground. There is a blue stripe across the right
shoulder of the woman on the right, and one across the left shoulder
of the other woman, each stripe curving downward towards the opposite
side. (See Pl. L.)

They dwelt in a lodge on a very high black cliff. They were always
laughing immoderately, as if they were strangers to sorrow. On pleasant
evenings they stood on a hill, where they amused themselves by
swinging. Should any Indian see them, when he reached home he vomited
something resembling black earth, and died suddenly. These women were
skillful dancers, and they used to reflect rays of light by means of
their mirror, just as the young Indian men do in sport. They jumped
many times and sang this song:
  [Illustration [musical notation]]
  Će´-paŋ-śi ku-wa´-ni-to´ Tu´-wa le´-ći śi´-na mi´-ćo-ze´.

“Cousin, please come over here! Some one waves a robe over in this
direction at me. Ha! ha! ha!” Then they walked about. No one knew from
what quarter the Double Woman was coming, and how the two lived was a
mystery. There are many tall women found now among different Indian
tribes who imitate the behavior of the Double Woman.

John Bruyier and other Teton at Hampton, Va., regard this story of the
Double Woman as manufactured by Bushotter. But this character figures
in two Santee myths in Rev. S. R. Riggs’s collection, about to be
published by the Bureau of Ethnology.[187] (See § 394.)

                           THE DOUBLE WOMAN.]

                              DEER WOMEN.

§ 252. Deer women of the Teton resemble the Wolf women of the Pawnee.
Both tempt unwary youths whom they encounter away from the camp in
solitary places. Should a youth yield to the woman’s solicitations the
result will be a sad one. As soon as he leaves her she will resume her
natural shape. The youth will appear as if drunk or insane, and he will
reach home with difficulty. His health will become impaired, and he
will soon die. So now the hunters avoid any female that they see on the
way. They hate the Deer women. The Deer women never speak, but in all
other respects they resemble Indian women.

                            DWARFS OR ELVES.

§ 253. Dwarfs or elves are probably referred to in the following;

     This [_i. e._ the object sought by Lewis and Clarke’s party] was
     a large mound in the midst of the plain, about N. 20° W. from the
     mouth of Whitestone River, from which it is 9 miles distant. The
     base of the mound is a regular parallelogram, the longest side
     being about 300 yards, the shorter 60 or 70; from the longest
     side it rises with a steep ascent from the north and south to the
     height of 65 or 70 feet, leaving on the top a level plain of 12
     feet in breadth and 90 in length. The north and south extremities
     are connected by two oval borders, which serve as new bases, and
     divide the whole side into three steep but regular gradations
     from the plain. The only thing characteristic in this hill is
     its extreme symmetry, and this, together with its being wholly
     detached from the other hills, which are at the distance of 8 or
     9 miles, would induce a belief that it was artificial; but as the
     earth and loose pebbles which compose it are arranged exactly
     like the steep grounds on the borders of the creek, we concluded
     from this similarity of texture that it might be natural. But the
     Indians have made it a great article of their superstition; it
     is called the Mountain of the Little People, or Little Spirits,
     and they believe that it is the abode of little devils in the
     human form, of about 18 inches high, and with remarkably large
     heads; they are armed with sharp arrows, with which they are very
     skillful, and are always on the watch to kill those who should
     have the hardihood to approach their residence. The tradition
     is that many have suffered from these little evil spirits, and,
     among others, three Maha Indians fell a sacrifice to them a few
     years since. This has inspired all the neighboring nations, Sioux,
     Mahas, and Ottoes, with such terror that no consideration could
     tempt them to visit the hill.[188]


§ 254. Bogs are very mysterious. There are various strange objects
covered with thick hair which remain at the bottom of a bog. These
objects have no eyes, but they are able to devour anything, and from
their bodies water is ever flowing. When one of these beings wishes,
he abandons his abode and reclines under ground at another place; then
there is no water issuing from the place where he used to lie, but
a spring gushes forth from the new resting place. The water of this
spring is warm in winter, but as cold as ice in summer, and before
one dares to drink of it he prays to the water, as he does not wish
to bring illness on himself by his irreverence. In the olden days one
of these strange beings was pulled up out of a bog and carried to the
camp, where a special tent was erected for him. But water flowed all
around him, which drowned almost all of the people. Then the survivors
offered him food, which he held as he sat motionless, gazing at them.
The food disappeared before the spectators were aware of it, though
they did not see the being eat it.


§ 255. The Dakota prayed to trees, because it was reported that in
former days a tree had sung at intervals. A man claimed to have
witnessed this, and from that time they have been regarded as


§ 256. The Teton sing on account of the unborn child, and set up a pole
inside the lodge, at the part opposite the entrance, fastening eagles’
down to the top of the pole, just as they do when a boy has advanced
toward manhood.

§ 257. Soon after birth they paint the face of the infant, whether it
be a boy or a girl, with vermilion, in the “Huŋka” style.[189]
Should they neglect to do this, it is said that the infant would become
blear-eyed or it would suffer from some kind of sickness.

§ 258. When the navel string is cut, a small bag is made of deerskin,
cut in the shape of a small tortoise, known as patkaśala. In this
bag is placed a piece of the navel string and sweet-smelling leaves,
with which the bag is filled. The infant has to carry this bag on its
back. Part of the navel string is buried, and when the child is large
enough to get into mischief they say, “He is hunting for his navel

§ 259. Prior to the naming of the infant is the ceremony of the
transfer of character. Should the infant be a boy, a brave and
good-tempered man, chosen beforehand, takes the infant in his arms and
breathes into his mouth, thereby communicating his own disposition to
the infant, who will grow up to be a brave and good-natured man. It is
thought that such an infant will not cry as much as infants that have
not been thus favored. Should the infant be a girl, it is put into the
arms of a good woman, who breathes into its mouth.

§ 260. Twins are a mystery to the Teton, who believe that they are of
superhuman origin, and must come from Twin-land. As they are not human
beings, they must be treated very politely and tenderly, lest they
should become offended and die in order to return to Twin-land.

In his MS. Teton vocabulary, sent to the Bureau of Ethnology in July,
1890, Dr. J. M. Woodburn, Jr., recently physician at Rosebud Agency,
S. Dak., makes the following statement which seems worthy of notice:
“Twins are lucky as regards themselves only; the mother is looked upon
as unfortunate. The twins may die, but they are sure to be born again
into separate families. No ordinary human being can recognize them as
twins after the new births; but twins themselves are able each
to recognize the other as his fellow-twin in a previous state of
existence. Medicine men often claim that their supernatural powers are
due to a previous existence as twins.” (See §§ 267, 287.)

§ 261. When a child is able to walk, they say that “He kicks out the
teeth of his elder brother” (or “sister,” as the case may be). The
teeth of the elder child which have been shed, probably the first set,
are buried under the entrance to the lodge so that other teeth may come
in their place. Whoever steps over the spot where the teeth have been
buried will soon have other teeth in his mouth.


§ 262. Among the Oglala Dakota, according to Miss Fletcher,[190] the
rites incident to the puberty of girls take place on the fourth day of
the sun-dance festival. In a note on page 260 of the Peabody Museum
Report, vol. III, the same authority says:

     Through the kindness of Rev. A. L. Riggs I learn that among the
     bands of Eastern Sioux living near Fort Sully, Dak., a feast,
     called the reappearance of the White Buffalo Skin, is held for the
     consecration of a girl on her arriving at puberty. The feast is
     sacred and costly, and not everyone can afford it. Those who have
     once made the feast become the privileged guests at every such
     feast, occupy the feast tent, and are served first. A prominent
     feature in the feast is the feeding of these privileged persons,
     and the girl in whose honor the feast is given, with choke
     cherries, as the choicest rarity to be had in the winter. The
     feast can be held at any time. Bull berries, or, as the Dakotas
     call them, “rabbits’ noses,” may be substituted, or finely pounded
     meat mixed with fat, in case no berries are to be had. In the
     ceremony, a few of the cherries are taken in a spoon and held over
     the sacred smoke, then fed to the girl. The spoon is filled anew,
     incensed as each person is fed. As each one is given the cherries,
     he is addressed thus: “Wi-ća-śa-ya-ta-pi wo-yu-te de ya-tiŋ kte,”

[Transcriber’s note: the last hyphen in “wo-yu-te” was at the end of a
line; the word may have been “wo-yute” or “wo-yu-te”.]

     i.e., “You will eat this chief’s food.” The eaters are not chiefs;
     they only partake of chiefs’ food.

§ 263. Initiation to manhood took place in one of two ways: (1) By the
wohduze ceremony, or, (2) by the bear dance, as witnessed by Long.

The former has been referred to in §§ 122-125 of this article; the
latter has been described by Long[191] as

     a ceremony which they are in the habit of performing when any
     young man wishes to bring himself into particular notice, and it
     is considered a kind of initiation into the state of manhood.
     There is a kind of flag made of fawn skin dressed with the hair
     on, suspended upon a pole. Upon the flesh side of it are drawn
     certain figures indicative of the dream which it is necessary the
     young man should have dreamed before he can be considered a proper
     candidate for this kind of initiation. With this flag a pipe is
     suspended by way of sacrifice. Two arrows are stuck up at the foot
     of the pole, and fragments of painted feathers, etc., are strewed
     upon the ground near it. These pertain to the religious rites
     attending the ceremony, bewailing and self-mortification. The
     young man who has had the dream acts the bear in this dance, and
     is hunted by the other young men; but the same man can not act the
     bear more than once in consequence of his dreams.

§ 264. Miss Fletcher says:[192]

     The maturity of the sexes is a period of serious and religious
     experiences which are preparatory by their character for the
     entrance of the youth or maiden into the religious and secular
     responsibilities of life, both individual and tribal. Among
     the tribes which hold especial public ceremonies announcing
     the maturity of a girl, these rights are held not far from the
     actual time of puberty, and indicate the close of childhood and
     entrance of the person into the social status of womanhood. The
     public festival has, however, been preceded by private religious
     rites. With young men the religious training precedes and follows
     puberty, and the entrance is publicly announced by the youth
     joining in the dangers and duties of tribal life. According to the
     old customs, a young man did not take a wife until he had proved
     his prowess, and thus became enrolled among the manly element,
     or braves, as they are sometimes spoken of. The initial fasts of
     warriors have been mistaken sometimes for ceremonials of puberty.

                    GHOST LORE AND THE FUTURE LIFE.

                         MEANING OF WANAĠI.

§ 265. The word “wa-na-ġi” means more than “apparition.” The living
man is supposed to have one, two, or more “wanaġi,” one of which
after death remains at the grave and another goes to the place of the
departed. The writer has been told that for many years no Yankton
Dakota would consent to have his picture taken lest one of his “wanaġi”
should remain in the picture, instead of going after death to the
spirit land. The Teton Dakota apply the name of “ghost” or “shadow” to
the lock of hair cut from the forehead of the deceased and kept for
some time by the parents; and till that lock is buried the deceased is
supposed to retain his usual place in the household circle.

§ 266. Lynd[193] says that to the human body the Dakota give four

     The first is supposed to be a spirit of the body, which dies with
     the body. The second is a spirit which always remains with or near
     the body. Another is the soul which accounts for the deeds of the
     body, and is supposed by some to go to the south, by others to
     the west, after the death of the body. The fourth always lingers
     with the small bundle of the hair of the deceased, kept by the
     relatives until they have a chance to throw it into the enemy’s
     country, when it becomes a roving spirit, bringing death and
     disease to the enemy in whose country it remains. From this belief
     arose the practice of wearing four scalp feathers for each enemy
     slain in battle, one for each spirit.

§ 267. “Some Sioux claim a fifth scalp feather, averring that there is
a fifth spirit, which enters the body of some animal or child after
death. As far as I am aware, this belief is not general, though they
differ in their accounts of the spirits of man, even in number.

Some of these metempsychosists go so far as to aver that they have
distinct recollections of a former state of existence and of the
passage into this. The belief, as before stated, does not appear to be
general.” (See §§ 260, 287.)

§ 268. With regard to the place of abode of the four spirits of each
man--though they believe that the true soul which goes south or west
is immortal--they have no idea, nor do they appear to have any
particular care as to what may become of them after death. It may be
remarked, that the happy hunting grounds, supposed to belong to every
Indian’s future, are no part of the Dakota creed--though individual
Dakota may have learned something like it from the white men among them.


§ 269. The Assinniboin “believe that the dead migrate toward the
south,[194] where the climate is mild, the game abundant, and the
rivers well stocked with fish. Their hell is the reverse of this
picture; its unfortunate inmates dwell in perpetual snow and ice and in
the complete deprivation of all things. There are, however, many among
them who think that death is the cessation of life and action and that
there is naught beyond it.[195]

“The Assinniboine believe that their dead go to a country in the south,
where the good and brave find women and buffaloes, while the wicked or
cowardly are confined on an island, where they are destitute of all the
pleasures of life. The corpses of brave men are not deposited in trees,
but on the ground, as they will help themselves, and they are covered
with wood and stones to protect them from the wolves.”[196]

                       GHOSTS NOT ALWAYS VISIBLE.

§ 270. The ghosts of the departed are not always visible to the living.
Sometimes they are heard but not seen, though in the lodge with a
mortal. Occasionally they become materialized, taking living husbands
or wives, eating, drinking, and smoking, just as if they were ordinary
human beings.

                         DEATH AND BURIAL LORE.

§ 271. As ghosts visit the sick at night it is customary to drive them
away by making a smoke from cedar wood, or else cedar is laid outside
the lodge. Sometimes a piece of cedar is fastened up at the smoke-hole.
(See § 42.) One Teton story shows how a female ghost disliked a bad
odor and fled from it. When they hear a ghost whistling, some one
leaves the lodge and fires a gun. Before death the lodge is surrounded
by ghosts of deceased kindred that are visible to the dying person.

All the dead man’s possessions are buried with him; his body is dressed
in good clothing. The favorite horse is decorated and saddled, and to
this day various articles belonging to the deceased are fastened to
him. The horse is shot and part of his tail is cut off and laid near
the head of the burial scaffold, as it is thought that in such a case
the ghost can ride the ghost of the horse and use all the articles
carried by that animal.

§ 272. _Why the Teton stopped burying in the ground._--Long ago the
people buried some men on a hill and then removed camp to another
place. Many winters afterwards a man visited this burial place, but
all traces of the graves had disappeared. So many men came and dug
far down into the hill. By and by one said, “A road lies here.” So
they dug in that direction and made a fire underground. And there they
found a tunnel large enough for men to walk in by stooping, with many
similar intersecting ones. They followed the main one and finally came
to a place whither a strange animal, the Waḣaŋksića, had dragged the
corpses. For this reason the Lakota became unwilling to lay their dead
in the ground, so they began to bury on scaffolds which could not be
reached by beasts of prey. At the present day the Teton gives three
reasons for not burying in the ground: (1) Animals or persons might
walk over the graves; (2) the dead might lie in mud and water after
rain or snow; (3) wolves might dig up the bodies and devour them.

§ 273. _Importance of tattooing._--In order that the ghost may travel
the ghost road in safety it is necessary for each Lakota during his
life to be tattooed either in the middle of the forehead or on the
wrists. In that event his spirit will go directly to the “Many Lodges.”
The other spirit road is said to be short, and the foolish one who
travels it never reaches the “Many Lodges.” An old woman sits in the
road and she examines each ghost that passes. If she can not find the
tattoo marks on the forehead, wrists, or chin, the unhappy ghost is
pushed from a cloud or cliff and falls to this world. Such is the lot
of the ghosts that wander o’er the earth. They can never travel the
spirit road again; so they go about whistling, with no fixed abode.

§ 274. If a quiet and well-behaved person dies his ghost is apt to be
restless and cause trouble, but the ghost of a bad person who dies a
natural death is never feared. The ghost of a murdered person is always

§ 275. If a ghost calls to a loved one and the latter answers, he or
she is sure to die soon after. If some one is heard weeping outside of
a lodge, it is a sign that a person dwelling in that lodge is doomed
to die. If a sister dies, she has a strong desire to return and carry
off a beloved brother. So in the event of a death in the family a gun
is fired or medicine is thrown on a fire to raise a smoke. If one who
is alone encounters a ghost, the latter will be apt to pull his mouth
and eyes until they are crooked. This danger is encountered only by one
who has dreamed of a ghost. He who has been harmed by a ghost always
faints, and it is long before he revives. Mothers scare bad children by
saying, “Well, wait a bit and I will tell a ghost to come and carry you
off.” Some one who has dreamed of ghosts will draw one on a skin, etc.,
to frighten the children. Such a person is said to draw his own ghost
just as he will appear in future. No one else dares to draw a ghost.
(See § 299.)

                  CEREMONIES AT THE GHOST LODGE.[197]

§ 276. When a son dies the parents with a knife cut off some hair
from the top of the head, just above the forehead, placing the hair
in a deerskin cover. Then they set up three poles, fastened together
at the top and forming a sort of tripod. A cord hung over the top of
these holds up the white deerskin pack containing the hair of the
deceased. This hair is called the ghost or shade (or wa-na-ġi) of the
dead person. The deerskin pack hangs horizontally from the poles and
the skin is worked with porcupine quills in many lines, and here and
there are various kinds of red and blue circular figures sewed on it.
All the sod had been cut away from the ground beneath the pack, and on
this bare or virgin earth they put a bowl and a drinking vessel, each
ornamented with porcupine work. Three times a day do they remember the
ghost, for whom they put the choicest food in the bowl and water in the
drinking vessel. Every article is handled carefully, being exposed to
the smoke of sweet-smelling herbs. The pack said to contain the ghost
is put in the ghost lodge with the knife which he used during life.

[Illustration: FIG. 192.--The ghost lodge.]

The Indians always have observed the custom of smoking pipes and eating
while sitting in the ghost lodge. At the back of the lodge they prepare
a seat and in the middle they set up two poles similar to those erected
outside the entrance to the tents. Before they eat in the lodge, they
sacrifice part of the food. Whenever they move the camp or single tent
from one place to another all these sacred objects are packed and
carried on a horse kept for this special purpose. This horse is called
“Wanaġi taśuŋkewakaŋ,” i.e., “The ghost’s horse.” This horse has his
tail and mane cut off short; the hair on the body is shaved very close;
his body is rubbed all over with yellow clay. Some one then rubs paint
on the fingers, touching the rump gently several times, as well as the
forehead and around the neck and breast. A feather is tied to the end
of the tail. On his back they place a saddlecloth and a saddle, each
ornamented with porcupine quills. The horse must mourn--i.e., keep his
hair short--as long as the ghost remains unburied; but as soon as the
hair is removed from the pack and buried the horse’s hair is allowed to
grow long again. As soon as the people stop to encamp the ghost lodge
is set up before any of the others. The articles which are kept there
remain for a specified time, perhaps for several years, during which
period certain ceremonies are performed. At the end of the allotted
time comes the ghost feast, the Waéćŭŋpi or Wakíćaġápi, when the ghost
pack is opened and the ghost taken out and buried. Then all the people
assemble, setting up their tents near the ghost lodge. The kindred
of the deceased weep and bring food to the place. All this food has
been boiled. They set up in the ground some forked sticks, such as
are used for digging wild turnips, and straight poles are laid along
the forked sticks. On the poles are hung moccasins, and in the space
between the forked sticks are piled blankets, buffalo robes, calico,
untanned skin bags, tanned bags, porcupine quills, wild turnips, and
fruits.[198] These are distributed by women, and the people spend the
time pleasantly. They also give presents to the young women. If the
deceased was a male and a member of an order of young men, all who
belong to it are invited to a feast (there was a similar custom among
the Ponka, in 1872), where they sing songs. When they stop singing
they sit with bodies erect, but with bent head and stooping shoulders.
Then the parents of the dead youth enter the lodge, weeping as they
pass around the circle, and each one places both hands on the head
of each guest, because the son, who regarded the men as his friends,
is no longer present. If the deceased is a female, only the women
assemble, except some men who lead the singing. If horses take part in
the ceremonies, their manes and tails are shaved short, and they, too,
receive gifts. Here and there one of the kindred of the deceased gives
away all his property, and then the bag is opened and the hair or ghost
is taken out and buried. From this time the parting with his parents
is absolute. They think that, until the hair is buried, the deceased
is really present with the household, and that when this burial takes
place he dies a second time. After this burial the kindred put on their
usual clothing, and while they weep for the dead at intervals they are
at liberty to anoint and decorate themselves according to fancy.

Another account of Bushotter states that when they prepare for the
ghost feast they redden the sack containing the hair and hang the war
bonnet of feathers on the three poles at right angles with the ghost
sack. They wish to remember his deeds in war, so they also stick one
end of his war spear in the ground, with its top leaning against the
tops of the three poles. His shield is suspended from one of the poles.
The three pipes on the shield in a colored sketch prepared by Bushotter
denote that on so many expeditions the deceased warrior carried a war
pipe. The red stripes declare how many of the enemy were wounded by
him, and the human heads show the number of foes that he killed. The
half-moon means that he shouted at his foes on a certain night. Once
he threw aside his arms and engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle with a
foe; this is shown by the human hand. The horse-tracks indicate that he
ran off with so many horses. If his name was Black Hawk, for instance,
a black hawk was painted in the middle of his shield.

All these things are arranged before they open the bag containing the
hair. Then they enter the lodge, and there they open all the things
that they have brought. The kindred of the deceased are the only ones
to enter the lodge, and when they see the hair taken from the sack
they scream suddenly for a minute or two. It is at this time that they
distribute the gifts. Food has been boiled in many kettles, and is
now divided among the people not the kindred of the deceased, who are
scattered around the ghost lodge, and some food is usually given to the
young men of the order to which the deceased belonged.

A woman who attends to collecting the food, calico, bags, clothing,
etc., turns to the four posts of the scaffold in succession, and utters
one of the following sayings or prayers at each post: “If the ghosts
eat this, may I live long!” or “May the ghosts eat this, and I obtain
many horses!” or “If my nephew (or niece) eats this, may someone give
me many presents!” This woman is careful to put the best part of the
food on the bowl or dish, under the scaffold near the head of the
corpse.[199] Should any one eat before the food has been put aside for
the ghost, all the ghosts become angry with him, and they are sure to
punish him; they will make him drop his food just before it reaches
his mouth, or they will spill the water when he tries to drink, and
sometimes they cause a man to gash himself with a knife.

                          GOOD AND BAD GHOSTS.

§ 277. Some ghosts are beneficent, but most of them are maleficent.
They know all things, even the thoughts of living people. They are glad
when the wind blows. Bushotter’s younger brother was crazy at one time,
and a doctor or peźuta wićaśa said that the sickness had been caused by
a ghost.

                        INTERCOURSE WITH GHOSTS.

     § 278. Lynd says: The belief in the powers of some Dakotas to call
     up and converse with the spirits of the dead is strong in some,
     though not general. They frequently make feasts to those spirits
     and elicit information from them of distant friends and relatives.
     Assembling at night in a lodge, they smoke, put out the fire, and
     then, drawing their blankets over their heads, remain singing
     in unison in a low key until the spirit gives them a picture.
     This they pretend the spirit does; and many a hair-erecting
     tale is told of the spirit’s power to reveal, and the after

                             GHOST STORIES.

A few ghost stories of the Teton collection will now be given.

§ 279. _The ghost husband._--A young Lakota died just before marrying
a young girl whom he loved. The girl mourned his death, so she cut her
hair here and there with a dull knife, and gashed her limbs, just as
if she had been an old woman. The ghost returned and took her for his
wife. Whenever the tribe camped for the night the ghost’s wife pitched
her tent at some distance from the others, and when the people removed
their camp the woman and her husband kept some distance behind the main
body. The ghost always told the woman what to do; and he brought game
to her regularly, which the wife gave to the people in exchange for
other articles. The people could neither see nor hear the ghost, but
they heard his wife address him. He always sent word to the tribe when
there was to be a high wind or heavy rain. He could read the thoughts
of his wife, so that she need not speak a word to him, and when she
felt a desire for anything he soon obtained it for her.

§ 280. _The solitary traveler._--Once a solitary traveler was overtaken
by a tremendous thunderstorm near a forest. So he remained there
for the night. After dark he noticed a light in the woods, and when
he reached the spot, behold, there was a sweat lodge, in which were
two persons talking. One said, “Friend, some one has come and stands
without. Let us invite him to share our food.” The listener fled
suddenly, as they were ghosts, and they pursued him. Though he looked
behind now and then, he could not see them; so he ran with all his
might towards a hill, and escaped from them. As he was ascending a
divide of the Bad Lands, all at once he heard the cry of a woman.
He was very glad to have company for the rest of the journey; but
no sooner had he thought about the woman than she appeared by his
side, saying, “I have come because you have just wished to have my
company.” This frightened the man, but the ghost woman said, “Do not
fear me, else you will never see me again.” So they went on silently
till daybreak. Then the man looked at her, but her legs could not be
seen, though she was walking without any apparent effort. Then the
man thought, “What if she should choke me?” Immediately the woman
disappeared like the wind. (See § 245).

§ 281. _The ghost on the hill._--One day, when the people were hunting
the buffalo, a strange man appeared on a hill. He wore a winter robe,
with the hair outside. When he was descending the hill the people
became alarmed, but he continued to advance. The young men rushed to
meet him, taking bows and arrows. They could not see his face. They
tried to shoot him, but each arrow passed by him on one side or the
other. So they finally fled, as he was a ghost.

§ 282. _The Indian who wrestled with a ghost._--A young man went alone
on the warpath. At length he reached a wilderness, encountering many
difficulties, which did not deter him from his undertaking. One day,
as he was going along, he heard a voice, and he thought, “I shall have
company.” As he was approaching a forest he heard some one halloo.
Behold, it was an owl. By and by he drew near another forest, and as
night was coming on he had to rest there. At the edge of the forest he
lay down in the open air. At midnight he was aroused by the voice of a
woman, who was wailing, “My son! my son!” Still he remained where he
was, and continued putting wood on the fire. He lay with his back to
the fire, placing his flint-lock gun in readiness before him. He tore a
hole in his blanket large enough to peep through.

Soon he heard the twigs break under the feet of one approaching, so he
peeped without rising. Behold, a woman of the olden days was coming.
She wore a skin dress with long fringe. A buffalo robe was fastened
around her at the waist. Her necklace was composed of very large
beads, and her leggins were covered with beads or porcupine work. Her
robe was drawn over her head, and she was snuffling as she came. The
man lay with his legs stretched out, and she stood by him. She took
him by one foot, which she raised very slowly. When she let it go it
fell with a thud, as if he was dead. She raised it a second and third
time. Still the man did not move himself. Then the woman pulled a very
rusty knife from the front of her belt, seized his foot suddenly, and
was apparently about to lift it and gash it, when up sprang the man,
saying, “What are you doing?” Without waiting for a reply he shot at
her suddenly, and away she went, screaming “Yuŋ! yuŋ! yuŋ!
yuŋ! yuŋ! yuŋ!” Then she plunged into the forest and was
seen no more.

Once again the man covered his head with his blanket, but he did not
sleep. When day came he raised his eyes, and, behold, he saw a human
burial scaffold, with the blankets, etc., ragged and dangling. He
thought, “Is this the ghost that came to me?” On another occasion he
came to a forest where he had to remain for the night. He started a
fire, by which he sat. Suddenly he heard some one making the woods
ring as he sang. The man shouted to the singer, but the latter paid
no attention to him. The man had a small quantity of wasna (grease
mixed with pounded dried buffalo meat and wild cherries) and plenty
of tobacco. So when the singer, who was a male ghost, came to him and
asked him for food, the man replied, “I have nothing whatever;” but the
ghost said, “Not so; I know that you have some wasna.” Then the man
gave some of it to the ghost and filled the pipe for him. After the
meal, when the ghost took the pipe and held it by the stem, the man saw
that his hand had no flesh, being nothing but bones. As the ghost’s
robe had dropped from his shoulders to his waist all his ribs were
visible, there being no flesh on them. Though the ghost did not open
his lips as he smoked, the smoke was pouring out through his ribs. When
he finished smoking the ghost said to the man, “Ho! we must wrestle
together. If you can throw me, you shall kill a foe without hindrance,
and steal some horses.” The young man agreed to the proposition; but
before beginning he gathered plenty of brush around the fire, on which
he put an armful. Then the ghost rushed at the man, seizing him with
his bony hands, which pained the man, but this mattered not. He tried
to push off the ghost, whose legs were very powerful. When the ghost
was brought near the fire, he became weak, but when he managed to pull
the man towards the darkness, he became very strong. As the fire got
low the strength of the ghost increased. Just as the man began to grow
weary the day broke. Then the struggle was renewed. As they drew near
the fire the man made a desperate effort, and with his foot he pushed
a firebrand suddenly into the fire. As the fire blazed again, the
ghost fell just as if he was coming to pieces. So the man won, and the
ghost’s prophecy was fulfilled; he subsequently killed a foe, and stole
some horses. For that reason people have believed whatever the ghosts
have said.

§ 283. _The man who shot a ghost._--In the olden time a man was
traveling alone, and in a forest he killed several rabbits. After
sunset he was in the midst of the forest, so he made a fire, as he
had to spend the night there. He thought thus: “Should I encounter
any danger by and by, I have this gun, and I am a man who ought not
to regard anything.” He cooked a rabbit and satisfied his hunger.
Just then he heard many voices, and they were talking about their own
affairs, but the man could see nobody. So he thought, “It seems that
now at length I have encountered ghosts.” Then he went and lay under
a fallen tree, which was at a great distance from the fire. He loaded
his gun with powder only, as he knew by this time that they were really
ghosts. They came round about him and whistled, “Hyu, hyu, hyu!” “He
has gone yonder,” said one of the ghosts. They came and stood around
the man, just as people do when they hunt rabbits. The man lay flat
beneath the fallen tree, and one ghost came and climbed on the trunk of
that tree. Suddenly the ghost gave the cry uttered on hitting an enemy,
“Aⁿ-he!” and he kicked the man on the back. But before the ghost
could get away, the man shot at him and wounded him in the legs; so
the ghost gave the male cry of pain, “Au! au! au!” And finally he went
off crying as females do, “Yuŋ! yuŋ! yuŋ!” And the other
ghosts said to him; “Where did he shoot?” And the wounded one said: “He
shot me through the head and I have come apart.” Then the other ghosts
were wailing on the hillside. The man decided to go to the place where
they were wailing. So, as the day had come, he went thither, and found
some graves, one of which a wolf had dug into so that the bones were
visible, and there was a wound in the skull.


§ 284. Smet says:[202]

     The belief in ghosts is very profound, and common to all these
     tribes. Indians have often told me that they have met, seen, and
     conversed with them, and that they may be heard almost every night
     in the places where the dead are interred. They say that they
     speak in a kind of whistling tone. Sometimes they contract the
     face [of a human being whom they meet] like that of a person in an
     epileptic fit.[201] The Assinniboines never pronounce the name
     of Tchatka [i.e., Ćatka, or, Left Hand, a former chief] but
     with respect. They believe that his shade guards the sacred tree;
     that he has power to procure them abundance of buffalo and other
     animals, or to drive the animals from the country. Hence, whenever
     they pass they offer sacrifices; they present the calumet to the
     tutelary spirits and manes of Tchatka. He is, according to their
     calendar, the Wah-kon-tangka par excellence, the greatest man or
     genius that ever visited their nation.[202]


§ 285. Riggs says[203] that the Dakota pray to the spirits of their
deceased relatives. [See §§ 67-71.] And in his account of the
Assinniboin, Smet says:

     The Assinniboines esteem greatly a religious custom of assembling
     once or twice a year around the graves of their immediate
     relatives. These graves are on scaffolds about 7 or 8 feet above
     the surface of the ground. The Indians call their dead by name and
     offer to them meats carefully dressed, which they place beside
     them. The ceremony of burying the dead is terminated with tears,
     wailings, howlings, and macerations of all present. They tear the
     hair, gash the legs, and at last they light the calumet, for that
     is the Alpha and Omega of every rite. They offer it to the shades
     of the departed and entreat them not to injure the living. During
     their ceremonious repasts, in their excursions, and even at a
     great distance from their graves, they send to the dead puffs of
     tobacco smoke and burn little pieces of meat as a sacrifice to
     their memory.

     § 286. Before consulting the tutelary spirits [see § 34] or
     addressing the dead, they begin by kindling the sacred fire.
     This fire must be struck from a flint, or it must reach them
     mysteriously by lightning, or in some other way. To light the
     sacred fire with a common fire would be considered among them as a
     grave and dangerous transgression.[204]


     § 287. They believe in transformations, such as are described in
     Ovid, and they think that many of the stars are men and women
     translated to the heavens. They believe in the transmigration
     of souls. Some of the medicine men profess to tell of what
     occurred to them in bodies previously inhabited for at least six
     generations back. [See §§ 260, 267.]


§ 288. Among the Teton it has been customary for those remaining at
home to make songs about the absent warriors, calling them by name, as
if they could hear the speakers. This Dakota custom agrees with what
has been recorded of the Omaha.[205]

Bushotter has told of another Teton custom. The kindred of a slain
warrior make songs in his honor, and sing them as they mourn for his

                       MYSTERIOUS MEN AND WOMEN.

§ 289. Lynd says:

     Certain men profess to have an unusual amount of the wakan
     or divine principle in them. By it they assume the working
     of miracles, laying on of hands, curing of the sick, and
     many wonderful operations. Some of these persons pretend to a
     recollection of former states of existence, even naming the
     particular body in which they formerly lived. Others assert their
     power over nature, and their faculty of seeing into futurity, and
     of conversing with the deities. A third class will talk of the
     particular animals whose bodies they intend to enter when loosed
     from their present existence [§§ 260, 267, 287]. In endeavoring
     to sustain these pretensions they occasionally go through
     performances which are likely to deceive the ignorant throng.[206]

Pond wrote thus of the Dakota wakaŋ men:[207]

     They do not spring into existence under ordinary operations of
     natural laws, but, according to their faith, these men and women
     (for females, too, are wakan) first arouse to conscious existence
     in the form of winged seeds, such as the thistle, and are wafted
     by the  *  *  *  influence of the four winds till they are
     conducted to the abode of some Taku Wakan, by whom they are
     received into intimate communion. They remain there till they
     become acquainted with the character and abilities of the class of
     gods whose guests they happen to be, and until they have imbibed
     their spirits, and are acquainted with all the chants, feasts,
     dances, and rites which the gods deem necessary to impose on men.
     Thus do some of them pass through a series of inspirations with
     different classes of divinities, till they are fully wakanized
     and prepared for human incarnation. They are invested with the
     invisible wakan powers of the gods, their knowledge and cunning,
     and their omnipresent influence over mind, instinct, and passions.
     They are taught to inflict diseases and heal them, discover
     concealed causes, manufacture implements of war, and impart to
     them the ton-wan power of the gods; and also the art of making
     such an application of paints that they will protect from the
     powers of the enemies. This process of inspiration is called
     “dreaming of the gods.” Thus prepared and retaining his primitive
     form, the demi-god rides forth on the wings of the wind over
     *  *  *  the earth, till he has carefully observed the characters
     and usages of the different tribes of men; then, selecting his
     location, he enters one about to become a mother, and, in due
     time, makes his appearance among men.  *  *  *  When one of these
     wakan men dies he returns to the abode of his god, from whom he
     receives a new inspiration, after which he passes through another
     incarnation as before, and serves another generation. In this
     manner they pass through four incarnations,  *  *  *  and then
     return to their original nothingness.

§ 290. There are different persons who regard themselves as wakaŋ,
says Bushotter. Among these are those who practice medicine, those who
act as Heyoka, those who boil for the grizzly bear feasts, those who
take part in the mystery dance, those who foretell the future, those
who detect wrong-doers and find what has been lost or stolen, and those
who do various things in a cunning manner. It happens thus to them:
A man hears a human voice during the day and he does what the voice
directs to be done, or on a certain night a tree converses with him,
and the two talk about their own affairs, and what the tree tells him
to do, that he does, so he says, or, it orders him to keep some law or
custom as long as he lives. Among these superstitious notions are the
following: Some men direct the pipe to be handed around the lodge from
the left side to the right, and others vice versa. Some men dare not
gash a firebrand with a knife; and should a visitor do so heedlessly,
they say that he “cuts his finger.” Others will not kill a swallow,
lest thunder and hail ensue. Some do not allow a knife to be passed
above a kettle.

§ 291. The wakan men claim that they are invulnerable. To prove this
they assemble at stated intervals, having painted themselves in various
styles. Each one has a flute suspended over the chest by a necklace.
They wear long breechcloths, and march in single file. Two men armed
with bows and arrows rush suddenly towards the waken men and shoot
at them; but instead of wounding them they merely bend the arrows!
Sometimes the men fire guns at them, but the bullets fall to the
ground, and when they are examined they are flattened! No visible mark
of a wound can be found on the bodies of these wakan men, though when
they were hit by the bullet or arrow blood pours from their mouths.
After they wash off the paint from their bodies their flesh becomes
tender and is vulnerable. This is the excuse urged when an ordinary
person succeeds in wounding a wakan man. It is supposed that the wakan
men rub themselves with some kind of medicine known only to themselves,
making them invulnerable, and that perhaps the bullets or arrows are
rubbed with the medicine prior to the shooting. It is also supposed
that the playing of the flute aids in rendering them invulnerable. (See
§ 306, etc.)

§ 292. Bushotter names two kinds of Dakota doctors--the Mato wapiya,
or Grizzly Bear doctor, who is very wakan, and the Peźuta wapiya,
or Peźuta wićaśa, the doctor who prescribes roots. The person
who practices medicine claims to have had interviews with the spirits,
but he never reveals what the spirits have told him, though he says
that immediately after the revelation made him by the spirit he begins
to act according to its directions. And in some cases of sickness
this doctor takes the flesh of the patient into his mouth and makes a
sucking sound while inhaling, and from the patient’s side he pretends
to remove something. When he has made the sucking sound after taking
the flesh into his mouth, or when he has taken blood or something else
from the side of the patient, he spits it from his mouth. Then he sees
the patient’s mother, whom he tells what is the cause of the disease,
and whether the patient will recover or die. Such doctors pretend to
have within themselves one of the following: A small red hawk, a common
woodpecker, a real buffalo, a rattlesnake, or a grizzly bear. And when
one of these doctors kicks on the ground there is heard something
within him, singing in a beautiful voice; and so the people believe
what the doctors say about diseases.

§ 293. When the doctor has sucked the patient’s flesh a long time
without removing anything, he asks a favor of the mysterious being
dwelling within himself, and then that being cries out often, and the
doctor succeeds in his efforts. It is by the aid of these mysterious
beings that the doctors are enabled to practice medicine. In the
olden time one of the doctors was very mysterious. Once, when he was
practicing, a bowl of water was set down before him. He vomited into
the bowl and a water-snake appeared in it. But when the doctor opened
his mouth again the snake glided gently into it and disappeared down
his throat. Such exhibitions by the doctors have been observed by
the Indians, who are constrained to believe what the doctors claim
for themselves. And because they believe that the doctors are very
mysterious, the latter are able to gather together many possessions
as pay for their services. Therefore the men and women doctors try to
excel one another in their skill, as it pays them so well.

§ 294. A “peźuta wicaśa” told Bushotter to say to his step-father
that his son, Bushotter’s younger brother, had been made crazy by a
ghost. The doctor came and fumigated the patient, and after he felt a
little better he sucked at the boy’s chest and drew out some blood.
He resumed the operation, and then declared that there was in the
boy’s side a flat object resembling a serpent, the removal of which
would insure the boy’s recovery. The doctor was promised a horse if he
would attend the patient until he cured him. Acting by his directions,
Bushotter’s elder brother caught a large catfish, of the species called
“howasapa,” and handed it to his step-father, who offered a prayer and
marked the fish with a knife on the top of the head. After this the
fish was cooked, and the sick boy ate it and recovered his health. It
was after this that the same boy was cured by invoking the Dawn and
offering sacrifice, as related in § 215.

                              GOPHER LORE.

§ 295. Scrofulous sores on the neck under the jaw are said to be caused
by gophers. These animals can shoot at persons in a magical way with
the tip of a species of grass, wounding them very mysteriously, the
injured person being unconscious of the harm done till some time has
elapsed. The place swells, splits open, and becomes very bad, affecting
even the face of the sufferer. Few doctors can cure it. He who can
relieve the patient pretends to extract pieces of grass from the neck,
and then the person begins to recover. The people are so afraid of
gophers that they go around the camp with their hands over their jaws.
No one dares to go near a gopher hill except he or she be a mysterious
person. Such a one can go near it and even touch it with impunity, as
he has different remedies at his command.

                       CAUSES OF BOILS AND SORES.

§ 296. Whoever gets into the habit of eating the large intestine of
cattle, known as the taśiyaka, is sure to “be hit by a śiyaka,” _i.
e._, he will have a boil.[208] Śiyaka is the name of the grebe or
dabchick, but what connection there is between the bird and the boil
has not been learned. The boil will be on some covered part of the
body, not on the hands or face. The Teton fear to go outside of their
lodges at night lest the cause of boils be blown to them. If a man eats
the liver of a female dog, or if a woman eats that of a male dog, the
face of the offender will break out in sores.

                    RESULTS OF LYING, STEALING, ETC.

§ 297. Warts betray a bad person, one given to stealing. If the skin of
the hard palate peels off, it is said that the person is untruthful.
When the Teton doubt a man’s word, they ask him to open his mouth and
let them see his hard palate. He who makes a practice of eating the
calves of the legs of any species of animal will have a cramp in the
muscles of his own legs. When one wishes to extract the marrow from a
bone, he takes care not to split the bone in two, lest his own legs
should be in frequent pain, or he should become lame.

                           SECRET SOCIETIES.

§ 298. The Dakota use “ihaŋbla” or “ihaŋmda” as the Omaha and Ponka do
“iȼa‘eȼĕ,” to describe the mysterious communications received from the
animals and spirits (§§ 8, 43-52).

     Among the Siouan family of Indians there are societies, religious
     in character, which are distinguished by the name of some animal.
     Each society has a ritual composed of chants and songs to be sung
     during different parts of the ceremonies, having words describing
     in simple and direct terms the act which accompanies the music.
     These musical rituals, it is often claimed, have been received in
     a mysterious or supernatural manner, and are therefore regarded
     as possessing a religious power  *  *  *  Some societies admit
     women to membership, through their own visions, or occasionally
     by those of their husbands’, but more generally by means of the
     visions of male relatives.  *  *  *  Membership in these
     societies is not confined to any particular gens, or grouping of
     gentes, but depends upon supernatural indications over which the
     individual has no control. The animal which appears to a man in a
     vision during his religious fasting determines to which society
     he must belong.[209]

§ 299. Those having visions or revelations from ghosts are called
Wanaġi ihaŋblapi kiŋ. It is such persons who can draw
pictures of ghosts with impunity. It is also said that the only persons
who have their faces drawn awry by the ghosts are the members of this
order. (See § 275.)

§ 300. Bushotter’s step-father belongs to the Tataŋg ihaŋblapi kiŋ, or
the Society of those who have Revelations from the Buffalo, answering
to the Omaha ┴e iȼa‘eȼĕ-ma (§§ 43, 50). In one of his visions he saw a
buffalo with cocklebur down in his hair, so the man subsequently put
such down in his own hair in imitation of the buffalo. One night he saw
(probably in a vision) a bison going toward the south with a hoop on
his head. So the man painted a small hoop red all over and wore it on
his head, giving his nephew the name Ćaŋgleśka waŋyaŋg mani, He Walks
In-sight-of a Hoop.

§ 301. Some Dakota belong to the Hećiŋśkayapi ihaŋblapi kiŋ, or the
Society of those who have Revelations from Goats. Goats are very
mysterious, as they walk on cliffs and other high places; and those who
dream of goats or have revelations from them imitate their actions.
Such men can find their way up and down cliffs, the rocks get soft
under their feet, enabling them to maintain a foothold, but they close
up behind them, leaving no trail. Members of the Wakaŋ waćipi, or the
Order of the Mystery Dance, commonly called the medicine dance, are
also reckoned among the mysterious or “wakaŋ” people (see § 113). One
of Bushotter’s texts relates to this order. Another of his articles
tells of the Miwatani okolakićiye kiŋ or The Mandan Society, which used
to be called Ćaŋte ṭiŋza okolakićiye, or Society of the Stout Hearted
Ones. It is now known as Kaŋġi yuha, Keeps the Raven. For a notice of
this order, see §§ 194, 195.

§ 302. The report of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and
Ethnology for 1884 contains an article on the Elk Mystery or Festival
of the Oglala, a division of the Teton Dakota (pp. 276-288). Those who
have visions of the elk are the Heḣaka ihaŋblapi kiŋ. Bushotter has
recorded articles on different societies as follows: Big Belly Society,
Iḣoka and Tokala (animal) Societies, Dog Society, Kaṭela or Taniġa iću
Society, Grizzly Bear Dance, and Night Dance; but we have no means of
learning whether any or all of them are composed of persons who had
visions of animals.


                       PUBLIC OR TRIBAL FETICHES.

§ 303. Among these may be included the Bear Butte, referred to in §
137; and any white buffalo hide, such as has been described in “The
White Buffalo Festival of the Uncpapas.”[210]

Smet gives a description of a gathering of all the Assiniboin, and a
religious festival lasting several days:

     Offerings are placed on perches that are fastened to the tops
     of posts supporting certain buffalo skin lodges. A tall pole is
     erected in the middle of the circle (it is between 30 and 40 feet
     high), and to it they fasten the medicine bags, containing the
     idols, their arrows, quivers, trophies won from their enemies,
     especially scalps. Men, women, and children join in raising and
     planting the pole, amid the acclamations of the tribe.[211]

                     PRIVATE OR PERSONAL FETICHES.

§ 304. Smet also tells us that “A Sioux chief has his war wakaŋ, the
colored picture of the Russian general, Diebitsch.”[212] In speaking of
the Assinniboin, the same author states:

     Each savage who considers himself a chief or warrior possesses
     what he calls his wah-kon, in which he appears to place all his
     confidence. This consists of a stuffed bird, a weasel’s skin,
     or some little bone or the tooth of an animal; sometimes it is
     a little stone or a fantastical figure, represented by little
     beads or by a coarsely painted picture. These charms or talismans
     accompany them on all their expeditions for war or hunting--they
     never lay them aside. In every difficulty or peril they invoke
     the protection and assistance of their wah-kon, as though these
     idols could really preserve them from all misfortunes. If any
     accident befalls an idol or charm, if it is broken or lost, it is
     enough to arrest the most intrepid chief or warrior in his
     expedition, and make him abandon the most important enterprise in
     which he may be engaged.[213]

We may also reckon among the personal fetiches the wohduze of each
warrior (see the Armor god, §§ 122-5), and perhaps the use of the
initipi or sweat lodge, and the wild sage or Artemisia, by each of
which personal purification is supposed to be effected.

                     ORDEALS OR MODES OF SWEARING.

§ 305. While there are no oaths or curses as we have them, the Teton
can invoke higher powers. Thus one may say: “The Thunderers hear me”
(Waʞiŋ´yaŋ namáḣuŋwe ló, The Flying one really hears me!), and if he is
lying the Thunderers or one of their number will be sure to kill him.
Sometimes the man will put a knife in his mouth, and then if he lies he
will be stuck by a knife thereafter, and death must follow. Or, he will
say, “The horse heard me” (Śuŋ´kawakaŋ´ namáḣuŋ we ló), knowing that
the penalty for falsehood will be certain death from a horse that will
throw him and break his neck. When one says, “The Earth hears me” (Maká
kiŋ lé namáḣuŋ we ló), and he lies, he is sure to die miserably in a
short time, and his family will also be afflicted.

Smet says:[214]

     The objects by which an Assinniboine swears are his gun, the skin
     of a rattlesnake, a bear’s claw, and the wah-kon that the Indian
     interrogates. These various articles are placed before him, and
     he says, “In case my declaration prove false, may my gun fire
     and kill me, may the serpent bite me, may the bears tear and
     devour my flesh, and may my wah-kon overwhelm me with misery.”
     In extraordinary and very important affairs, which demand formal
     promises, they call upon the Thunder to witness their resolution
     of accomplishing the articles proposed and accepted.

                         SORCERY AND JUGGLERY.

§ 306. As among the Omaha and other Siouan tribes, so among the Dakota
do we find traces of the practice of sorcery, and there is a special
word in the Dakota dictionary: “ḣmuŋġa, to cause sickness or death,
as the Dakotas pretend to be able to do, in a supernatural way--to
bewitch--kill by enchantment.” The syllable “ḣmuŋ” seems to convey the
idea of humming, buzzing, or muttering.

Jugglery or sleight-of-hand performances are resorted to by the
mysterious men and women. (See §§ 64-66, 291-4.) Some of these
practitioners claim to possess the art of making love-charms, such
potions being sold to women who desire to attract particular men of
their acquaintance. When a woman obtains such a medicine, she uses it
in one of two ways. Sometimes she touches the man on his blanket with
the medicine, at others she persuades the man to give her a piece of
chewing gum, which she touches with the medicine. Then she seizes him,
and he can not escape from her, even should he wish to leave her. So he
is obliged to marry her.


                             BODILY OMENS.

§ 307. Ringing in one ear signifies one of two things. Some one will
come without his family, and he must be entertained, or you will hear
news. The direction whence the person or news will come is shown by the
ear that is affected.

If the eye twitches involuntarily some one will weep. If any other part
of the body twitches involuntarily some one will hit the person there
or he will be stabbed or shot there. If the palm of the hand twitches
often he will soon strike some one, or else he will become angry. When
a woman has a son sick somewhere, or if he has been killed on the way
home, her breasts are often very painful.

If one sneezes once his special friend or fellow, his son or his wife
has named him; so the sneezer calls out, “My son.” If he sneezes twice
he exclaims, “My son and his mother!”

                             ANIMAL OMENS.

§ 308. When whip-poor wills sing together at night, saying, “Hohiŋ,
hohiŋ,” one says in reply, “No.” Should the birds stop at once it
is a sign that the answering person must die soon. But if the birds
continue singing the man will live a long time.[215]

The uŋgnaġíćala (gray screech owl) fortells cold weather. When the
night is to be very cold this owl cries out, so the Teton say, just as
if a person’s teeth chattered. When its cry is heard, all the people
wrap themselves in their thickest robes and put plenty of wood on the

The Ski-bi-bi-la is a small gray bird, with a black head, and spotted
here and there on the breast. It dwells in the forest, and is said to
answer the person who calls to it. When this bird says, “Glí huŋ wó,”
i.e., “Has it returned?” the people rejoice, knowing that the spring
is near. When a boy hears this bird ask the question, he runs to his
mother and learns from her that he must reply, “No; it has not yet
returned.” The reason for giving this reply has not been obtained.

When the people first hear the cry of the night hawk in the spring,
they begin to talk of going to hunt the buffalo, because when the night
hawks return the buffalo have become fat again, and the birds bring the
news, for they never cry in vain.

                           OMENS FROM DREAMS.

     § 309. There are some animals which are esteemed as bringing
     better fortunes than others. Hawks are lucky. Bears are not so
     good, as the bear is slow and clumsy, and apt to be wounded; and
     although savage when cornered, is not as likely as some animals to
     escape harm. Among some tribes in this family of Indians to dream
     of the moon is regarded as a grave calamity.[216] See § 30.


[Footnote 84: Say, in James’s Account of Long’s Exped. Rocky Mts., Vol.
I, 268.]

[Footnote 85: Shea, Amer. Cath. missions, p. 25.]

[Footnote 86: Lynd, Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol. II, pt. 2, p. 63.
Compare these seeming contradictions with those observed among the
Omaha and Ponka, especially §§ 21-24.]

[Footnote 87: Ibid, pp. 64-65.]

[Footnote 88: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol. II, pt. 3, p. 34.]

[Footnote 89: Riggs, Tah-koo Wah-kon, pp. 56, 57.]

[Footnote 90: Riggs in Am. Antiq., Vol. II, No. 4, p. 265; and in Am.
Philolog. Assoc. Proc., 1872, pp. 5, 6.]

[Footnote 91: Riggs, in Am. Antiq., vol. II, No. 4, p. 266. Pond, Minn.
Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 3, p. 33. Smet, op. cit., 120, note.]

[Footnote 92: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 2.]

[Footnote 93: Lynd, Ibid., p. 67.]

[Footnote 94: Am. Antiq., vol. V, 149.]

[Footnote 95: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. I, pt. 2, pp. 67, 68.]

[Footnote 96: Ibid., pt. 3, p. 33.]

[Footnote 97: Riggs, Tah-koo Wah-kon, p. 61, et passim.]

[Footnote 98: Rept. Peabody Museum, vol. III, p. 276, note.]

[Footnote 99: Lynd, Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol. II, pt. 2, p. 72.]

[Footnote 100: Lynd, Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol. II, pt. 2, pp. 72,
76, 77.]

[Footnote 101: Smet, Western Missions and Missionaries, p. 92.]

[Footnote 102: Ibid., p. 134.]

[Footnote 103: Lynd, Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol. II, pt. 2, p. 67.]

[Footnote 104: Lynd, Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 2, p. 80.]

[Footnote 105: Riggs, in Am. Antiq., vol. II, p. 266.]

[Footnote 106: Riggs, Tah-koo Wah-kon, p. 62. See Maza or Iron names of
Indians in the author’s forthcoming monograph on Indian Personal Names.]

[Footnote 107: Riggs, in Am. Antiq., vol. II, p. 267.]

[Footnote 108: Contr. N. A. Ethn. vol. VI, pp. 357-358.]

[Footnote 109: Missions and Missionaries, p. 136.]

[Footnote 110: Am. Antiq., vol. V, p. 149.]

[Footnote 111: Rept. Peabody Museum, vol. III, p. 297.]

[Footnote 112: Pond, Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll, vol. II, pp. 35-38.]

[Footnote 113: Lynd, Ibid., pt. 2, pp. 71-77. Riggs, in Amer. Philolog.
Assoc. Proc, 1872., p. 6.]

[Footnote 114: A picture of “Wah-Menitu, the spirit or god in the
water,” is given on p. 161 of Lloyd’s translation of Maximilian,
London, 1843.]

[Footnote 115: According to Omaha tradition, two buffalo gentes are of
subaquatic origin. See Om. Soc., pp. 231-233.]

[Footnote 116: From an unpublished text of Bushotter.]

[Footnote 117: The Thunderers in the Omaha myth have hair of different
colors. One has white hair, the second has yellow, the third, bright
red, and the fourth, green hair. See Contr. N. A. Eth., vol. VI, p.

[Footnote 118: Pond, Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol. II, pt. 2, 41-42.]

[Footnote 119: Pond, Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 3, p. 43.
Riggs, Tah-koo Wah-kon, pp. 62-64.]

[Footnote 120: Missions and Missionaries, p. 143.]

[Footnote 121: Smet. op. cit., p. 134.]

[Footnote 122: Maximilian, Travels in North America, p. 197.]

[Footnote 123: Riggs, Tah-koo Wah-kon, pp. 69, 70.]

[Footnote 124: Rev. E. Ashley, MS. letter to Dorsey, March 24, 1884.]

[Footnote 125: Riggs, in Am. Antiq., vol. II, No. 4, p. 270.]

[Footnote 126: Pond, Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt 3, p. 53.]

[Footnote 127: Ibid., pt. 2, p. 73.]

[Footnote 128: Riggs, Tah-koo Wah-kon, pp. 70, 71.]

[Footnote 129: Am. Antiq., Vol. II, No. 4, p. 270.]

[Footnote 130: Riggs in Am. Antiq., Vol. II, p. 268.]

[Footnote 131: Mourning and War Customs of the Kansas, in Am.
Naturalist, July, 1885, pp. 676, 677.]

[Footnote 132: That is, the Takuśkaŋśkaŋ.]

[Footnote 133: Geikie, in his Hours with the Bible (New York: James
Pott. 1881), Vol. I, p. 55, has the following quotation from Das Buch
Henoch, edited by Dillmann, Kap. 17, 18: “And I saw the cornerstone of
the earth and the four winds which bear up the earth, and the firmament
of heaven.”]

[Footnote 134: Note that both the Takuśkaŋśkaŋ, the “Something that
Moves,” and the Wakiŋyaŋ or the Thunder-beings, are associated with
war.--J. O. D.]

[Footnote 135: Rept. Peabody Museum, Vol. III, p. 289, and note 1. The
use of the number twelve in connection with the ceremony of the Four
Winds finds a counterpart in the Osage initiation of a female into the
secret society of the tribe; the Osage female is rubbed from head to
foot, thrice in front, thrice on each side, and thrice behind, with
cedar needles.--J. O. D.]

[Footnote 136: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol. II, pt. 3, p. 44.]

[Footnote 137: Op. cit., p. 136.]

[Footnote 138: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 3, p. 71.]

[Footnote 139: Ibid., p. 79.]

[Footnote 140: Ibid., p. 81.]

[Footnote 141: Ibid., p. 84.]

[Footnote 142: Am. Antiq., vol. II, p. 268.]

[Footnote 143: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 1, pp. 55.]

[Footnote 144: Hovey on “Eyah Shah” in Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Proc.,
vol. XXXIV, Buffalo Meeting, 1886. Salem, 1887, p. 332. Also in Am.
Antiq., Jan., 1887, pp. 35, 36.]

[Footnote 145: Mr. Hovey appears ignorant of the fact that the Kapoźa
(“Kaposias”) are a division of the Mdewakantonwan. The latter had six
other divisions or gentes.]

[Footnote 146: Riggs, Tah-koo Wah-kon, p. 69.]

[Footnote 147: Western Missions and Missionaries, p. 138.]

[Footnote 148: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol. II, pt. 3.]

[Footnote 149: Proc. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Montreal meeting, Vol. XXXI,
p. 580.]

[Footnote 150: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol. II, pt. 2.]

[Footnote 151: Miss Fletcher, in Rept. Peabody Museum, vol. III, p.
284, note.]

[Footnote 152: Compare Miss Fletcher, in Proc. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci.,
1882, p. 581.]

[Footnote 153: Miss Fletcher says, in Proc. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci., 1882,
p. 580, “The people camp in a circle, with a large opening at the east.
In 1882 over 9,000 Indians were so camped, the diameter of the circle
being over three-quarters of a mile wide.”]

[Footnote 154: Miss Fletcher’s account (Proc. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci.,
p. 582) names the fourth day as that on which they sought for the sun

[Footnote 155: Miss Fletcher (Proc. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci., 1882, p. 580)
states that “the tent set apart for the consecrating ceremonies, which
take place after sunset of the first day, was pitched within the line
of tents, on the site formerly assigned to one of the sacred tents.”]

[Footnote 156: The author heard about this medicine in 1873, from a
Ponka chief, one of the leaders of a dancing society. It is a bulbous
root, which grows near the place where the sun pole is planted.]

[Footnote 157: With this compare the Omaha act, uiȼaⁿ, in the Iñke-sabĕ
dance after the sham fight, Om. Soc., in 3d. Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p.

[Footnote 158: See Miss Fletcher, Proc. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci., 1882, p.

[Footnote 159: See § 28, the Kansa ceremony of the waqpele gaxe, and
Om. Soc., in 3d An. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 234, 297.]

[Footnote 160: Contr. N. A. Ethn., vol. VI, 470, 12-15; and Om. Soc.,
p. 296.]

[Footnote 161: Miss Fletcher states that the sun pole is carried to the
camp on a litter of sticks, and must not be handled or stepped over.
Op. cit., p. 582.]

[Footnote 162: See Miss Fletcher’s account, Proc. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci.,
1882, p. 584.]

[Footnote 163: Miss Fletcher, _op. cit._, p. 583.]

[Footnote 164: The famous pipestone quarry was near the Big Sioux river
in Minnesota.]

[Footnote 165: Concerning Dakota Beliefs, in Proc. Amer. Philol.
Assoc., 3d An. Session, 1872, p. 5.]

[Footnote 166: Theogony of the Sioux, p. 269.]

[Footnote 167: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 2, p. 44.]

[Footnote 168: Compare the Maⁿnaⁿhiⁿdje sub-gens of the Kansa tribe,
and part of the wind gens, as the [K]aⁿze gens of the Omaha, Kansa and
Osage may be associated with the Takuṡkaŋśkaŋ of the Dakota.]

[Footnote 169: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 2, pp. 70, 71.]

[Footnote 170: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 2, p. 67.]

[Footnote 171: Theogony of the Sioux, p. 270.]

[Footnote 172: With this compare the belief of some African tribes that
the monkey has the gift of speech, but fears to use it lest he should
be made a slave.]

[Footnote 173: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 2, p. 66.]

[Footnote 174: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 2, p. 66.]

[Footnote 175: Ibid., p. 66.]

[Footnote 176: Cont. N.A. Ethnol., vol. VI, pp. 207-219.]

[Footnote 177: Translated from the original MS. in the Bushotter
collection. Tuki is the Teton name for a univalve shellfish said to
come from the Great Lakes.]

[Footnote 178: Tah-koo Wah-kon, p. 71.]

[Footnote 179: Osage Traditions, in 6th An. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 379,
380. Am. Naturalist, February, 1884, pp. 113, 114, 133. Ibid, July,
1885, p. 671, Om. Soc., in 3d An. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 228, 233, 244,

[Footnote 180: Rept. Peabody Museum, vol. III, p. 264. Note how in
the sun dance the sun, the four winds, and the buffalo are referred
to (§§ 147, 164, 167, 173, and 181, and Pl. XLVIII), and ceremonies
are performed connected with the earth, such as mellowing the earth
(§§ 146, 155, and 176) and the “Uuȼita,” in which they shoot into the
ground (§ 170).]

[Footnote 181: Op. cit., p. 297.]

[Footnote 182: Op. cit., p. 282, note.]

[Footnote 183: Smet, Western Missions and Missionaries, p. 139.]

[Footnote 184: Smet, Western Missions and Missionaries, p. 140.]

[Footnote 185: See Ghost Lore, § 280.]

[Footnote 186: Miss Fletcher, Elk Mystery of the Ogalalla Sioux, in
Rept. Peabody Museum, vol. III, p. 281, note.]

[Footnote 187: Contr. to N. A. Ethn., vol. IX, Dakota Grammar, Texts,
and Ethnography. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1893. pp. 131,
141, 144, 148.]

[Footnote 188: Lewis and Clarke, Expedition, ed. Allen, Dublin, 1817,
vol. I, pp. 65, 66.]

[Footnote 189: See “Calumet Dance,” in Om. Sociology, 3d Am. Rept. Bur.
Ethn., p .280.]

[Footnote 190: Proc. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Montreal meeting, 1882, p.

[Footnote 191: Skiff Voy. to Falls of St. Anthony, in Minn. Hist.
Coll., II, pt. 1, pp. 18-19.]

[Footnote 192: Rept. Peabody Museum, vol. III, pp. 277, 278.]

[Footnote 193: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 2, pp. 68, 80.]

[Footnote 194: A similar belief has been held by the Athapascans now on
the Siletz reservation, Oregon. This has been published by the author
in The American Anthropologist for January, 1889, p. 60.]

[Footnote 195: Smet, Western Missions and Missionaries, p. 142.]

[Footnote 196: Maximilian, Travels in North America, p. 197.]

[Footnote 197: Read in this connection the article by Miss Fletcher on
“The Shadow; or, Ghost Lodge: a Ceremony of the Ogallala Sioux,” Rept.
of Peabody Museum, vol. II, pp. 296, 307.]

[Footnote 198: These things are probably given by the kindred of the
deceased, but Bushotter has not so informed us.]

[Footnote 199: In one of his papers Bushotter says that it is the
mother of the deceased person who deposits the food under the scaffold
and utters the prayers. John Bruyier, a half-blood Teton from Cheyenne
River Agency, South Dakota, never heard the petition about the horses,
for if parents obtained horses after the death of their son, they gave
them away.]

[Footnote 200: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 2, p. 69.]

[Footnote 201: Western Missions and Missionaries, p. 140.]

[Footnote 202: Western Missions and Missionaries, p. 204.]

[Footnote 203: Am. Antiq., vol. V, 1883, p. 149.]

[Footnote 204: Western Missions and Missionaries, p. 243.]

[Footnote 205: Om. Sociology, Third Ann. Rept. Bur. Eth., p. 325.]

[Footnote 206: Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. II, pt. 2, p. 70.]

[Footnote 207: Pond, in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, vol. VI, pp. 652.

[Footnote 208: See Contr. to N. A. Ethn. vol. IX, pp. 146, 149.]

[Footnote 209: Miss Fletcher: Elk Mystery of the Ogallala Sioux; in
Ann. Rept. Peabody Museum, 1884, pp. 276, 277.]

[Footnote 210: Miss Fletcher in Rept. Peabody Museum, Vol. II, pp.

[Footnote 211: Western Missions and Missionaries, p. 136.]

[Footnote 212: Ibid., p. 46.]

[Footnote 213: Western Missions and Missionaries, p. 141.]

[Footnote 214: Ibid., p. 143.]

[Footnote 215: This is also an Omaha belief.]

[Footnote 216: Miss Fletcher, “Elk Mystery of the Ogalalla Sioux,” in
Rept. Peabody Museum, Vol. III, p. 281 note.]

                              CHAPTER VI.



§ 310. This chapter contains no original material, but is a compilation
made from the following works for the convenience of the reader:

     Byrd (Wm.), History of the Dividing line (1729), vol. I. Reprint:
     Richmond, Va., 1866.

     U. S. Geol. and Geogr. Surv., Miscell. Publ., No. 7, 1877: Ethnog.
     and Philol. of Hidatsa Indians. By Washington Matthews.

     James’s Account of Long’s Exped., to Rocky Mountains, Phil., 1823,
     vol. I.

     Lewis and Clarke’s Exped., ed. Allen, Dublin, 1817, vol. I.

     The George Catlin Indian Gallery  *  *  *  Thomas Donaldson:
     Smithson. Rept., 1885, pt. 2, appendix.

     Travels in  *  *  *  North America, by Maximilian, Prince of Wied.
     Trans. by H. Evans Lloyd, London, 1843.


§ 311. As among the Dakota, so among the Mandan and Hidatsa, we find
that some of the earlier writers assert that the religion of the
Indians under consideration “consists in the belief in one Great

But such assertions are closely followed by admissions which explain
the mistake of the writer: “Great Spirit” is synonymous with “Great
Medicine,” a name applied to everything which they do not comprehend.
Among the Mandan, “each individual selects for himself the particular
object of his devotion, which is termed his medicine, and is either
some visible being, or more commonly some animal.”


Matthews states of the Hidatsa:

     Many claim that the Great Spirit, or, more properly, the Great
     Mystery, is a deity of the modern Indian only. I have certainly
     heard some old and very conservative Minnetarees speak of Mahopa
     as if they meant thereby an influence or power above all other
     things, but not attaching to it any ideas of personality. It
     would now be perhaps impossible to make a just analysis of their
     original conceptions in this matter.[218]


Instead of believing in one Great Spirit, the Mandan and Hidatsa
“believe in a multitude of different beings in the heavenly bodies;
offer sacrifices to them; invoke their assistance on every occasion;
howl, lament, fast, inflict on themselves acts of penance to propitiate
these spirits; and, above all, lay very great stress upon dreams.”[219]

§ 312. The most sacred objects in the eyes of the Crow or Absaroka,
a nation closely related to the Hidatsa, are “the sun, the moon, and
tobacco,” that is, the leaves of the genuine tobacco (_Nicotiana_); and
all their children wear a small portion of this herb, well wrapped up,
round their neck, by way of an amulet.[220]


§ 313. Full information respecting worship has not been obtained; but
we know that among its accessories are the following: prayer, fasting,
and sacrifice. The different writers tell us of petitions offered to
the gods for help.


§ 314. When a young Mandan wishes to establish his reputation as a
brave man, he fasts for four or seven days, as long as he is able, goes
to the bluffs, cries to the Omahank-Numakshi, calls incessantly on the
higher powers for aid, and goes home at night to sleep and dream. They
fast before taking part in the Okipa, before organizing a war party,


§ 315. Said a Mandan to Lewis and Clarke, “I was lately owner of
seventeen horses, but I have offered them all up to my medicine, and
am now poor.” He had taken all his horses to the plain, where he
turned them loose, committing them to the care of his “medicine,” thus
abandoning them forever.[222]

“Around the burial scaffolds of the Mandans were several high poles,
with skins and other things hanging on them, as offerings to the lord
of life, Omahank-Numakshi, or to the first man, Numank-Machana.”[223]

§ 316. _The Okipa._--That form of self-sacrifice called Okipa by the
Mandan has been described in detail by Catlin and Maximilian. It
differs in some respects from the sun dance of the Dakota and Ponka, as
well as from the Daḣpike or Naḣpike of the Hidatsa.[224]

§ 317. _The Daḣpike._--According to Matthews, the most important
ceremony of the Hidatsa is that of--

The Daḣpike or Naḣpike, which formerly took place regularly once a
year, but is now celebrated every second or third year only. On the day
when it is determined to begin this ceremony, some of the men, dressed
and mounted as for a war-party, proceed to the woods. Here they select
a tall, forked cottonwood, which they fell, trim, and bark; to this
they tie lariats, and, by the aid of horses, drag it to the village. In
the procession, the man who has most distinguished himself in battle,
mounted on the horse on whose back he has done his bravest deeds, takes
the lead; others follow in the order of the military distinction; as
they drag the log along, they fire guns at it, strike it with sticks,
and shout and sing songs of victory. The log, they say, is symbolical
of a conquered enemy, whose body they are bringing into the camp in
triumph. [See §§ 28, 42, 160.] When the log is set up, they again go to
the woods to procure a quantity of willows. A temporary lodge of green
willows is then built around the log, as the medicine lodge, wherein
the ceremony is performed [see § 168.] The participants fast four
days with food in sight, and, on the fourth day, submit to tortures
which vary according to the whim of the sufferer or the advice of the
shamans. Some have long strips of skin separated from different parts
of their bodies, but not completely detached. Others have large pieces
of the integument entirely removed, leaving the muscles exposed. Others
have incisions made in their flesh, in which raw-hide strings are
inserted; they then attach buffalo-skulls to the strings and run round
with these until the strings becomes disengaged by tearing their way
out of the flesh. Other have skewers inserted in their breasts, which
skewers are secured by raw-hide cords to the central pole, as in the
Dakota sun dance; the sufferer then throws himself back until he is
released by the skewers tearing out of the flesh. Many other ingenious
tortures are devised.[225]

§ 318. In the narrative of Long’s expedition to the Rocky Mountains,
we find an account of the latter part of this ceremony, prepared, as
Matthews thinks, from the statements of Mr. Dougherty or Mr. Lisa, as
the expedition did not go near the Minnetaree country. All the torments
there described, and more, are inflicted to this day. That account is
as follows:[226]

     Annually in the month of July the Minnetarees celebrate their
     great medicine dance.  *  *  *  On this occasion a considerable
     quantity of food is prepared.  *  *  *  The devotees then dance
     and sing to their music at intervals for three or four days
     together in full view of the victuals without attempting to
     taste them. But they do not, even at this time, forego their
     accustomed hospitality. And if a stranger enters, he is invited
     to eat, though no one partakes with him. On the third or fourth
     day, the severer  *  *  *  tortures commence.  *  *  *  An
     individual presents himself before one of the  *  *  *  magi,
     crying and lamenting, and requests him to cut a fillet of skin
     from his arm, which he extends for that purpose. The operator
     thrusts a sharp instrument through the skin near the wrists, then
     introduces the knife and cuts out a piece of the required length,
     sometimes extending the cut entirely to the shoulder. Another
     will request bands of skin to be cut from his arm. A third will
     have his breast flayed so as to represent a full-moon or crescent.
     A fourth submits to the removal of concentric arcs of skin from
     his breast. A fifth prays the operator to remove small pieces of
     skin from various indicated parts of his body.  *  *  *  An
     individual requests the operator to pierce a hole through the skin
     on each of his shoulders, and after passing a long cord through
     each hole, he repairs to a burial ground at some distance from the
     village, and selects one of the bison skulls collected there. To
     the chosen skull he affixes the ends of his cords, and drags it to
     the lodge, around which he must go with his burden before he can
     be released from it. No one is permitted to assist him, neither
     dare he to put his hands to the cords to alleviate his sufferings.
     If it should so happen that the horns of the skull get hooked
     under a root or other obstacle, he must extricate it in the best
     manner he can by pulling different ways, but he must not touch the
     cords or the skull with his hands, or in any respect attempt to
     relieve the strain upon his wound until his complete task is

     Some of the penitents have arrows thrust through various muscular
     parts of their bodies, as through the skin and superficial muscles
     of the arms, leg, breast, and back.

     A devotee caused two arrows to be passed through the muscles of
     his breast, one on each side near the mammae. To these arrows
     cords were attached, the opposite ends of which were affixed to
     the upper part of a post which had been planted in the earth
     for the purpose. He then threw himself backward into an oblique
     position, his back within about 2 feet of the ground, so as to
     depend with the greater part of his weight by the cords. In this
     situation of agony he chanted and kept time to the music of the
     gong (sic), until he fainted from long abstinence and suffering.
     The bystanders then cried out, “Courage! courage!” After a short
     interval of insensibility, he revived and proceeded with his
     self-tortures as before, until nature being completely exhausted
     he again relapsed into insensibility, upon which he was loosed
     from the cords and carried off amidst the acclamations of the
     whole assembly.

     Another Minnetaree in compliance with a vow he had made, caused
     a hole to be perforated through the muscles of each shoulder.
     Through these holes cords were passed, the opposite ends of
     which were attached as a bridle to a horse which had been penned
     up three or four days without food or water. In this manner he
     led the horse to the margin of the river. The horse, of course,
     endeavored to drink, but it was the province of the Indian to
     prevent him, and that only by straining at the cords with the
     muscles of the shoulder, without resorting to the assistance of
     his hands. And, notwithstanding all the exertions of the horse to
     drink, his master succeeded in preventing him, and returned with
     him to his lodge, having accomplished his painful task.

§ 319. In describing the Hidatsa, Prince Maximilian says:[227]

     They likewise celebrate the Okippe (which they call Akupehri), but
     with several deviations. Thus, instead of a so-called ark, a kind
     of high pole with a fork on it, is planted in the center of the
     open circle. When the partisans (i. e. war captains) intend to go
     on some enterprise in May or June, the preparations are combined
     with the Okippe (i. e., Okipa) of several young men, who wish to
     obtain the rank of brave. A large medicine lodge is erected open
     above, with a division in the middle, in which the candidates
     take their places. Two pits are usually dug in the middle for the
     partisans, who lie in them four days and four nights, with only
     a piece of leather around the waist. The first partisan usually
     chooses the second, who undergoes the ceremony with him. There are
     always young people enough to submit their bodies to torture, in
     order to display their courage. They fast four days and nights,
     which leaves them faint. Many of them begin the tortures on the
     third day; but the fourth day is that properly set apart for
     them. To the forked pole of the medicine lodge is fastened a long
     piece of buffalo hide, with the head hanging down, and to this a
     strap is fastened. An old man is then chosen, who is to see to
     the torturing of the candidates, which is executed precisely in
     the same manner as among the Mandans. The sufferers often faint.
     They are then taken by the hands, lifted up, and encouraged,
     and they begin afresh. When they have dragged about the buffalo
     skull long enough,  *  *  *  a large circle is formed, as among
     the Mandans, in which they are made to run round till they drop
     down exhausted, when they are taken to the medicine lodge. The
     medicine man receives from one of the spectators the knife with
     which the operation is to be performed. The partisan is bound to
     build the medicine lodge.

     During the ceremony the spectators eat and smoke; the candidates
     take nothing, and, like the partisans, are covered all over with
     white clay. The latter, when they dance during the ceremony,
     remain near their pits, and then move on the same spot, holding
     in their hands their medicines, a buffalo tail, a feather, or
     the like. None but the candidates dance, and the only music is
     striking a dried buffalo hide with willow rods. There have been
     instances of fathers subjecting their children, only 6 or 7 years
     of age, to these tortures. We ourselves saw one suspended by the
     muscles of the back, after having been compelled to fast four
     days. No application whatever is subsequently made for the cure
     of the wounds, which leave large swollen weals, and are much more
     conspicuous among the Hidatsa than among the Mandan. Most of the
     Hidatsa have three or four of these weals in parallel semicircular
     lines almost an inch thick, which cover the entire breast. There
     are similar transverse and longitudinal lines on the arms.

Referring to Maximilian’s description just given, Matthews observes:

At this time, the Hidatsa call the Mandan ceremony akupi (of which word
probably akupehi is an old form); but they apply no such term to their
own festival. Maximilian did not spend a summer among those Indians,
and, therefore, knew of both ceremonies only from description.[228] If
the Minnetaree festival to which he referred was, as is most likely,
the Naḣpike, he is, to some extent, in error. The rites resemble one
another only in their appalling fasts and tortures. In allegory, they
seem to be radically different.

                           CULT OF THE YONI.

§ 320. An account of the great buffalo medicine feast of the Hidatsa
(“instituted by the women”) has been recorded by Maximilian. Prayers
are made for success in hunting and in battle. When the feast had
continued two hours, the women began to act the part, which bore a
slight resemblance to what Herodotus tells of the women in the temple
of Mylitta.[229]

When the dance of the half-shorn head was sold by its Mandan
possessors, they received in part payment the temporary use of the
wives of the purchasers, each woman having the right to choose her

Lewis and Clarke have given accounts of two of the Mandan dances, the
buffalo dance and the medicine dance, at the conclusion of which were
rites that astonished the travelers, but they were told that in the
medicine dance only virgins or young unmarried females took part.[231]


§ 321. The Absaroka or Crow Nation have a superstitious fear of a
white buffalo cow. When a Crow meets one, he addresses the sun in the
following words: “I will give her (i. e., the cow) to you.” He then
endeavors to kill the animal, but leaves it untouched, and then says to
the sun, “Take her, she is yours.” They never use the skin of such a
cow, as the Mandan do.[232]

                             MANDAN CULTS.

                           MANDAN DIVINITIES.

§ 322. According to one of Maximilian’s informants, the Mandan believe
in several superior beings. (1) The first is Ohmahank-Numakshi, the
Lord of Life. He is the most powerful. He created the earth, man, and
every existing object. They believe that he has a tail, and appears
sometimes in the form of an aged man and, at others, in that of a young
man. (2) Numank-Machana, the First Man, holds the second rank; he was
created by the Lord of Life, but is likewise of a divine nature. He
resembles Nanabush or Manabozho of the Ojibwa and cognate tribes. (3)
Ohmahank-Ohika, the Lord of Evil, is a malignant spirit, who has much
influence over men; but he is not as powerful as Ohmahank-Numakshi and
Numank-Machana. (4) Rohanka-Tauibanka, who dwells in the planet Venus,
protects mankind on earth. The name of the fifth power has not been
gained, but he is ever moving, walking over the earth in human form.
They call him, “The Lying Prairie Wolf.” (6) Ochkih-Hadda[233] is a
spirit that it is difficult to class. They believe that one who dreams
of him is sure to die very soon thereafter. This spirit is said to have
come once into their villages and taught them many things, but since
then he has not appeared. They fear him, offer him sacrifice, and in
their villages they have a hideous image representing him.

§ 323. The sun is thought to be the residence of the Lord of Life. In
the moon dwells, as they say, the Old Woman who Never Dies. They do
not know much about her, but they sacrifice to her as well as to the
other spirits. She has six children, three sons and three daughters,
who inhabit certain stars. The eldest son is the Day, the second is the
Sun, the third is the Night. The eldest daughter is the star that rises
in the east, the Morning Star, called, “The Woman Who Wears a Plume.”
The second daughter, called “The Striped Gourd,” is a star which
revolves the polar star. The third daughter is the Evening Star, which
is near the setting sun.[234]

§ 324. _The Old Woman who Never Dies._--The cult of this spirit
is observed in what Say calls “the corn dance of the Manitaries.”
Maximilian declares that Say is quite correct in his account of it, and
that the Mandan practice it as well as the Hidatsa.

     It is the consecration of the grain to be sown, and is called the
     corn dance feast of the woman. The Old Woman who Never Dies sends,
     in the spring, the waterfowl, swans, geese, and ducks, as symbols
     of the kinds of grain cultivated by the Indians. The wild goose
     signifies corn; the geese, the gourd, and the duck, beans. It is
     the old woman who causes these plants to grow, and, therefore,
     she sends these birds as her representatives. It is seldom that
     eleven wild geese are found together in the spring; but, if it
     happens, this is a sign that the crop of corn will be remarkably
     fine. The Indians keep a large quantity of dried meat in readiness
     for the time in the spring when the birds arrive, that they may
     immediately celebrate the corn feast of the women. They hang the
     meat before the village on long scaffolds made of poles, three or
     four rows, one above another, and this, with other articles of
     value, is considered as an offering to the Old Woman who Never
     Dies. The elderly women of the village, as representatives of
     that old woman, assemble about the scaffolds on a certain day,
     each carrying a stick, to one end of which an ear of corn is
     fastened. Sitting in a circle, they plant their sticks in the
     ground before them, and then dance around the scaffolds. Some old
     men beat the drum and shake the gourd rattles. The corn is not
     wetted or sprinkled, as many believe, but on the contrary, it is
     supposed that such a practice would be injurious. While the old
     women are performing their part, the younger ones come and put
     some dry pulverized meat into their mouths, for which each young
     woman receives in return a grain of the consecrated corn, which
     she eats. Three or four grains of the consecrated corn are put
     into their dish, and are afterwards carefully mixed with the seed
     corn, in order to make it yield an abundant crop. The dried meat
     on the scaffolds is the perquisite of the aged females, as the
     representatives of the Old Woman who Never Dies. But members of
     the Dog Society have the privilege of taking some of this meat
     from the scaffolds without opposition from anybody.

     A similar corn feast is held in the autumn, but at that season it
     is held for the purpose of attracting the herds of buffaloes and
     of obtaining a large supply of meat. Each woman then carries an
     entire cornstalk with the ears attached, pulling up the stalk by
     the roots. They designate the corn as well as the birds by the
     name of the Old Woman who Never Dies, and call on them saying,
     “Mother, pity us; do not send the severe cold too soon, lest we do
     not gain enough meat. Prevent the game from departing, so that we
     may have something for the winter!”

     In autumn, when the birds migrate to the south, or, as the Indians
     say, return to the Old Woman, they believe that they take with
     them the dried meat hung on the scaffolds, and they imagine that
     the Old Woman partakes of it.

     The Old Woman who Never Dies has very large patches of corn, kept
     for her by the great stag and the white-tailed stag. She has,
     too, many blackbirds which help to guard her property. When she
     intends to feed these keepers, she summons them, and they fall on
     the corn, which they devour with greediness. As these corn patches
     are large, the Old Woman requires many laborers, hence she has the
     mice, moles, and stags to perform such work for her. The birds
     which fly from the seashore in the spring represent the Old Woman,
     who then travels to the north to visit the Old Man who Never Dies,
     who always resides there. She generally returns to the south
     in three or four days. In former times the Old Woman’s hut was
     near the Little Missouri River, where the Indians often visited
     her. One day twelve Hidatsa went to her, and she set before them
     a kettle of corn, which was so small that it did not appear
     sufficient to satisfy the hunger of one of the party. But she told
     them to eat, and, as soon as the kettle was emptied it was filled
     again, and all the men had enough.[235]

                           GUARDIAN SPIRITS.

§ 325. The Mandan undertake nothing without first invoking their
guardian spirits, which appear to them in dreams (see § 236). When a
man wishes to choose his guardian spirit, he fasts for three or four
days, and sometimes longer, retires to a solitary place, does penance,
and sometimes sacrifices joints of his fingers. He howls and cries to
the Lord of Life, or to the First Man, beseeching him to point out
the guardian spirit. He continues in this excited condition until he
dreams, and the first animal or other object which appears in the dream
is the guardian spirit. Each man has such a spirit. There is on the
prairie a large hill, where they remain motionless many days, lamenting
and fasting. Not far from this hill is a cave, into which they creep
at night. The choice and adoration of guardian spirits is said to have
been taught the people many years ago by the Ochkih-Hadda. It was he
who taught them the art of tattooing, and who instituted medicine


§ 326. The Mandan believe that there is a huge serpent which inhabits a
lake three or four days’ journey from their village, and to which they
make offerings. The tradition relates how two Mandan youths encountered
a giant, who carried them to a village of giants. The latter part,
which tells how one of the youths was changed into a huge serpent after
killing and eating a serpent, resembles a Winnebago tradition.[237]

                      THUNDER LORE OF THE MANDAN.

§ 327. The Mandan believe that thunder is produced by the wings of a
gigantic bird. When the bird flies softly, as is usually the case, he
is not heard; but when he flaps his wings violently, he occasions a
roaring noise. This bird is said to have two toes on each foot, one
behind and one before. It dwells on the mountains, and builds nests
there as large as one of the forts. It preys upon deer and other large
animals, the horns of which are heaped up around the nest. The glance
of its eyes produces lightning. It breaks through the clouds and makes
way for the rain. The isolated and peculiarly loud claps of thunder are
produced by a large tortoise which dwells in the clouds.

                           ASTRONOMICAL LORE.

§ 328. The stars are deceased men. When a child is born a star descends
and appears on earth in human form; after death it reascends and
appears again as a star in the heavens.

The rainbow is a spirit which accompanies the sun. Many affirm that
the northern lights are occasioned by a large assembly of medicine men
and distinguished warriors of several northern nations, who boil their
prisoners and slain enemies in huge cauldrons.[238]


§ 329. The mystery rock of the Mandan and Hidatsa is thus described by
Lewis and Clarke:[239]

     This medicine stone is the great oracle of the Mandans, and
     whatever it announces is believed with implicit confidence. Every
     spring and, on some occasions during the summer, a deputation
     visits the sacred spot, where there is a thick, porous stone 20
     feet in circumference, with a smooth surface. Having reached the
     place, the ceremony of smoking to it is performed by the deputies,
     who alternately take a whiff themselves, and then present the pipe
     to the stone; after which they retire to an adjoining wood for the
     night, during which it may be safely presumed that all the embassy
     do not sleep. In the morning they read the destinies of the nation
     in the white marks on the stone, which those who made them are at
     no loss to decipher.

The same stone, as worshiped by the Hidatsa, is thus described by

     The Me-ma-ho-pa or medicine stone  *  *  *  is a large, naked, and
     insulated rock situated in the midst of a small prairie, about
     a two days’ journey southwest of the village of that nation. In
     shape it resembles the steep roof of a house. The Minnetarees
     resort to it for the purpose of propitiating their Man-ho-pa or
     Great Spirit by presents, by fasting and lamentation, during the
     space of from three to five days. An individual who intends to
     perform this ceremony takes some presents with him,  *  *  *  and
     also provides a smooth skin upon which hieroglyphics may be drawn,
     and repairs to the rock accompanied by his friends and the magi.
     On his arrival he deposits the presents there, and, after smoking
     to the rock, he washes a portion of its face clean, and retires
     with his fellow devotees to a specified distance. During the
     principal part of his stay, he cries aloud to his god to have pity
     on him, to grant him success in war and hunting, to favor his
     endeavors to take prisoners, horses, and scalps from the enemy.
     When the time for his  *  *  *  prayer has elapsed he returns to
     the rock; his presents are no longer there, and he believes them
     to have been accepted and carried off by the Man-ho-pa himself.
     Upon the part of the rock which he had washed he finds certain
     hieroglyphics traced with white clay, of which he can generally
     interpret the meaning, particularly when assisted by some of the
     magi, who are no doubt privy to the whole transaction. These
     representations are supposed to relate to his future fortune, or
     to that of his family or nation; he copies them off  *  *  *  upon
     the skin which he brought with him for that purpose, and returns
     home to read from them to the people the destiny of himself or
     them. If a bear be represented with its head directed toward the
     village, the approach of a war-party or the visitation of some
     evil is apprehended. If, on the contrary, the tail of the bear be
     toward the village, nothing but good is anticipated, and they
     rejoice. They say that an Indian on his return from the rock
     exhibited  *  *  *  on his  *  *  *  chart the representation of a
     strange building, as erected near the village. They were all much
     surprised and did not perfectly comprehend its meaning; but four
     months afterward the prediction was, as it happened, verified, and
     a stockade trading house was erected there by the French trader

Matthews refers thus to this “oracle” of the Hidatsa and Mandan:[241]

     The famous holy stone or medicine rock (Mihopaś, or Mandan,
     Mihopiniś)  *  *  *  was some two or three days’ journey from
     their residence. The Hidatsa now seldom refer to it, and I do not
     think they ever visit it.

§ 330. According to Maximilian:[242]

     The Mandans have many other medicine establishments in the
     vicinity of their villages, all of which are dedicated to the
     superior powers.  *  *  *  Of those near Mitutahankuś, one
     consists of four poles placed in the form of a square; the two
     foremost have a heap of earth and green turf thrown up round them,
     and four buffalo skulls laid in a line between them, while
     twenty-six human skulls are placed in a row from one of the rear
     poles to the other, and on some of these skulls are painted single
     red stripes. Behind the whole two knives are stuck into the
     ground, and a bundle of twigs is fastened at the top of the poles
     with a kind of comb, or rake, painted red. The Indians repair to
     such places when they desire to make offerings or petitions; they
     howl, lament, and make loud entreaties, often for many days
     together, to the Omahank-Numakshi. Another “medicine
     establishment” consisted of a couple of human figures, very
     clumsily made of skins, fixed on poles, and representing, as was
     told to Maximilian, the sun and moon, but in his opinion, probably
     the Omahank-Numakshi and the Old Woman that Never Dies.

§ 331. If a Mandan possesses a “medicine pipe” (i. e., what the Omaha
and Ponka call a niniba weawaⁿ) he sometimes decides to adopt a
“medicine son.” The young man whom he is to choose appears to him in a
dream; but it is necessary that he should be of a good family, or have
performed some exploit.[243]


     § 332. Dreams afford the motives for many of their actions, even
     for the penances which they impose on themselves. They think
     that all which appears in their dreams must be true. Before they
     became acquainted with firearms, a Mandan dreamed of a weapon with
     which they could kill their enemies at a great distance, and soon
     after the white men brought them the first gun. In like manner
     they dreamed of horses before they obtained any. In many cases
     the guardian spirit is revealed to the fasting youth in a dream.
     If the Lord of Life makes him dream of a piece of cherry wood or
     of an animal, it is a good omen. The young men who follow such a
     dreamer to the battle have great confidence in his guardian spirit
     or “medicine.”[244]


§ 333. The Mandan and Hidatsa consider the large gray owl a mystery
bird, with whom they pretend to converse and to understand its
attitudes and voice. Such owls are often kept alive in lodges, being
regarded as soothsayers. They have a similar opinion of eagles.[245]


§ 334. The skin of a white buffalo cow is an eminent fetich in the
estimation of the Mandan and Hidatsa. The hide must be that of a young
cow not over 2 years old, and be taken off complete, and tanned, with
horns, nose, hoofs, and tail. It is worn on rare occasions.

When the owner wishes to sacrifice such a skin to the Omahank-Numakshi
or to the Numank-Machana, he rolls it up, after adding some artemisia
or an ear of corn, and then the skin remains suspended on a pole until
it decays.[246]

Besides the white buffalo skins hung on tall poles as sacrifices, there
were other strange objects hung on tall poles near the villages of
the Mandan and Hidatsa. These figures were composed of skin, grass,
and twigs, which seemed to represent the sun, moon, and perhaps the
Omahank-Numakshi and the Numank-Machana. The Indians resorted to them
when they wished to petition for anything, and sometimes howled for
days and weeks together.[247]

For a reference to trees and stones, see § 348.

“Charata-Numakshi (the Chief of Wolves),” a Mandan, had a painted
buffalo dress, which was his fetich. He valued it highly as a souvenir
of his brother, who had been shot by the enemy.[248]


§ 335. When a child is born the father must not bridle a horse, that
is, he must not fasten a lariat to the horse’s lower jaw, otherwise the
infant would die in convulsions. Should the wife be enceinte when the
husband bridled the horse ill luck would be sure to follow, frequently
in the form of a failure to kill any game. If an Indian in such cases
wounds a buffalo without being able to kill it quickly, he tries to
take the buffalo’s heart home and makes his wife shoot an arrow through
it; then again he feels confidence in his weapons that they will kill

The Indians affirm that a pregnant woman is very lucky at a game
resembling billiards. If a woman passes between several Mandan who are
smoking together it is a bad omen. Should a woman recline on the ground
between men who are smoking a piece of wood is laid across her to serve
as a means of communication between the men.

The strongest man now living among the Mandan, who has been the victor
in several wrestling matches with the white people, always takes hold
of his pipe by the head, for were he to touch another part of it the
blood would suddenly rush from his nostrils. As soon as he bleeds in
this manner he empties his pipe, throwing the contents into the fire,
where it explodes like gunpowder, and the bleeding stops immediately.
They say that nobody can touch this man’s face without bleeding at nose
and mouth.

A certain Mandan affirms that whenever another offers him a pipe to
smoke, out of civility, his mouth becomes full of worms, which he
throws into the fire by handfuls.

Among the Hidatsa, when a certain man smoked very slowly no person
in the lodge was allowed to speak nor to move a single limb, except
to grasp the pipe. Neither women, children, nor dogs were allowed to
remain in the hut while the man was smoking, and some one was always
placed as a guard at the entrance. If, however, there were just seven
persons present to smoke none of these precautions were observed. When
the particular man cleared his pipe and shook the ashes into the fire
it blazed up, perhaps because he had put into the pipe some gunpowder
or similar combustible. When any person had a painful or diseased place
this same man put his pipe upon it and smoked. On such occasions he did
not swallow the smoke, as is the Indian custom, but he affirmed that he
could extract the disease by his smoking, and he pretended to seize it
in his hand and to throw into the fire.[249]


§ 336. They believe that a person whom they dislike must die, if
they make a figure of wood or clay, substituting for the heart an awl,
a needle, or a porcupine quill, and bury the image at the foot of one
of their “medicine poles.”[250]


§ 337. The “medicine of one man consists in making a snow ball, which
he rolls a long time between his hands, so that at length it becomes
hard and is changed into a white stone, which, when struck, emits a
fire. Many persons, even whites, pretended they had seen this, and
they can not be convinced to the contrary. The same man pretends that,
during a dance, he plucked white feathers from a certain small bird,
which he rolled between his hands, and formed of them in a short time a
similar white stone.  *  *  *  A great many Mandan and Hidatsa believe
that they have wild animals in their bodies; one, for instance,
affirmed that he had a buffalo calf, the kicking of which he often
felt; others said that they had tortoises, frogs, lizards, birds, etc.
*  *  *  Among the Hidatsa were seen medicine dances of the women,
where one claimed to have an ear of corn in her body, which she ejected
from her mouth during the dance, and then ate, after it had been mixed
with Artemisia.  *  *  *  Another female dancer caused blood to gush
from her mouth at will.”[251]

                              GHOST LORE.

§ 338. The Mandan believe that each person has several spirits
dwelling within him; one of which is black, another brown, and a third
light-colored, the last alone returning to the Lord of Life. They think
that after death they go to the south, to several villages which are
visited by the gods; that their existence there is dependent on their
course of life while in this world; that the brave and kind-hearted
carry on the same occupation, eat similar food, have wives, and enjoy
the pleasures of war and the chase. Some of the Mandan are said not to
believe all these particulars, but to suppose that after death their
spirits will dwell in the sun or in certain stars.

                            THE FUTURE LIFE.

§ 339. The Mandan belief in a future state is connected with the
tradition of their origin: The whole nation resided in one large
village under ground, near a subterraneous lake. Some of the people
climbed up to this earth by means of a grape-vine, which broke when a
corpulent woman essayed to climb it. Therefore the rest of the people
remained in the subterranean village. When the Mandan die they expect
to return to the original seats of their forefathers, the good reaching
the ancient village by means of the lake, which the burden of the sins
of the wicked will not enable them to cross.[252] The concluding clause
of the last sentence can hardly be of Indian origin; it is very
probably due to white influence.


§ 340. According to Catlin:[253]

     The Okipa invariably lasts four days; four men are selected by
     the first man to cleanse out and prepare the mystic lodge for the
     occasion; one of these men is called from the north part of the
     village, another from the east, a third from the south, and the
     fourth from the west (see § 373). The four sacks of water, in the
     forms of large tortoises, resting on the floor of the lodge, seem
     to typify the four cardinal points. The four buffalo skulls and as
     many human skulls on the floor of the lodge, the four couples of
     dancers in the buffalo dance and the four intervening dancers in
     the same dance, deserve our study. The buffalo dance in front of
     the mystic lodge, repeated on the four days, is danced four times
     on the first day, eight times on the second, twelve times on the
     third, and sixteen times on the fourth. There are four sacrifices
     of black and blue cloths erected over the entrance of the mystic
     lodge. The visits of the Evil Spirit were paid to four of the
     buffalo in the buffalo dance. In every instance the young man who
     submitted to torture in the Okipa had four splints or skewers run
     through the flesh on his leg, four through his arms, and four
     through his body.

                             HIDATSA CULTS.

                          HIDATSA DIVINITIES.

§ 341. The Hidatsa believe in the Man who Never Dies, or Lord of Life,
Ehsicka-Wahaddish,[254] literally, the first man, who dwells in the
Rocky Mountains. He made all things. Another being whom they venerate
is called the Grandmother. She roams over the earth. She had some
share in creation, though an inferior one, for she created the toad
and the sand-rat. She gave the Hidatsa two kettles, which they still
preserve as a sacred treasure and employ as charms or fetiches on
certain occasions. She directed the ancestors of the present Indians
to preserve the kettles and to remember the great waters, whence came
all the animals dancing. The red-shouldered oriole (_Psaracolius
phoeniceus_) came at that time out of the water, as well as the
other birds which still sing along the banks of rivers. The Hidatsa,
therefore, look on all these birds as “medicine” for their corn
patches, and attend to their songs. When these birds sing the Hidatsa,
remembering the direction of the Grandmother, fill the two kettles
with water, dance and bathe, in order to commemorate the great flood.
When their fields are threatened with a great drought they celebrate
a “medicine” feast with the two kettles, as they beg for rain. The
shamans are still paid, on such occasions, to sing for four days
together in the huts, while the kettles remain full of water.

§ 342. The sun, or as they term it, “the sun of the day,” is a great
power. They do not know what it really is, but when they are about to
undertake some enterprise they sacrifice to it and also to the moon,
which they call “the sun of the night.” The morning star, Venus, they
regard as the child of the moon, and they account it as a great power.
They affirm that it was originally a Hidatsa, being the grandson of the
Old Woman who Never Dies.[255]

§ 343. Matthews[256] found that the object of the greatest reverence
among the Hidatsa was, perhaps, the Itsika-mahidiś, the First Made,
or First in Existence. They assert that he made all things, the stars,
sun, the earth, the first representatives of each species of animals
and plants, but that no one made him. He also, they say, instructed the
forefathers of the tribes in all the ceremonies and mysteries now known
to them. They sometimes designate him as Itaka-te-taś, or Old Man


     § 344. If we use the term worship in its most extended sense it
     may be said that  *  *  *  (the Hidatsa) worship everything in
     nature. Not man alone, but the sun, the moon, the stars, all
     the lower animals, all trees and plants, rivers and lakes,
     many bowlders and other separated rocks, even some hills and
     buttes which stand alone--in short, everything not made by human
     hands, which has an independent being, or can be individualized,
     possesses a spirit, or, more properly, a shade.

     To these shades some respect or consideration is due, but not
     equally to all. For instance, the shade of the cottonwood, the
     greatest tree of the Upper Missouri Valley, is supposed to possess
     an intelligence which may, if properly approached, assist them in
     certain undertakings; but the shades of shrubs and grasses are of
     little importance. When the Missouri, in its spring-time freshets,
     cuts down its bank and sweeps some tall tree into its current,
     it is said that the spirit of the tree cries while the roots
     yet cling to the land and until the tree falls into the water.
     Formerly it was considered wrong to cut down one of these great
     trees, and, when large logs were needed, only such as were found
     fallen were used; and to-day some of the more credulous old men
     declare that many of the misfortunes of the people are the result
     of their modern disregard for the rights of the living cottonwood.
     The sun is held in great veneration, and many valuable sacrifices
     are made to it.[257]

                     WORSHIP OF THE ELEMENTS, ETC.

§ 345. This is in substantial accord with what Maximilian was told, as
will be seen from the following:

In the sweat bath the shaman, after cutting off a joint of the
devotee’s fingers, takes a willow twig, goes to the dishes containing
food, dips the twig in each and throws a part of the contents in the
direction of the four winds, as offerings to the Lord of Life, the
fire, and the divers superhuman powers.[258]

                            SERPENT WORSHIP.

§ 346. The Hidatsa make occasional offerings to the great serpent that
dwells in the Missouri River by placing poles in the river and
attaching to them sundry robes or colored blankets. The tradition
of this great serpent resembles the Mandan tradition, but with some

§ 347. _Daimonism._--The Hidatsa believe neither a hell nor in a devil,
but believe that there are one or more evil genii, in female shape,
who inhabit this earth, and may harm the Indian in this life, but
possess no power beyond the grave. Such a power or powers they call
Mahopa-miiś. The Mahopa-miiś dwells in the woods and delights in doing
evil. She is supposed to strangle such children as, through parental
ignorance or carelessness, are smothered in bed.[260]


§ 348. Among the fetiches of the Hidatsa are the skins of every kind,
of fox and wolf, especially the latter; and, therefore, when they go to
war, they always wear the stripe off the back of a wolf skin, with the
tail hanging down the shoulders. They make a slit in the skin through
which the warrior puts his head, so that the skin of the wolf’s head
hangs down upon his breast.

_Tribal fetiches._--Buffalo heads also are fetiches. In one of their
villages they preserved the neck bones of the buffalo, as do the Crow
or Absaroka, and this is done with a view to prevent the buffalo herds
from removing to too great a distance from them. At times they perform
the following ceremony with these bones: They take a potsherd with live
coals, throw sweet-smelling grass upon it, and fumigate the bones with
the smoke.

There are certain trees and stones which are fetiches, as among the
Mandan. At such places they offer red cloth, red paint, and other
articles to the superhuman powers.[261] (See § 334.)

In the principal Hidatsa village, when Maximilian visited it, was
a long pole set up, on which was a figure of a woman, doubtless
representing the Grandmother, who first gave them kettles. A bundle of
brushwood was hung on the pole, to which were attached the leathern
dress and leggins of a woman. The head of the figure was made of
_Artemisia_, and on it was a cap of feathers.[262]

§ 349. _Personal fetiches._--Matthews uses the term amulet instead of
personal fetich, in speaking of the Hidatsa:

     Every man in this tribe, as in all neighboring tribes, has his
     personal medicine, which is usually some animal. On all war
     parties, and often on hunts and other excursions, he carries
     the head, claws, stuffed skin, or other representative of his
     medicine with him, and seems to regard it in much the same light
     that Europeans in former days regarded--and in some cases still
     regard--protective charms. To insure the fleetness of some
     promising young colt, they tie to the colt’s neck a small piece of
     deer or antelope horn. The rodent teeth of the beaver are regarded
     as potent charms, and are worn by little girls on their necks to
     make them industrious.[263]

The “Medicine Rock” of the Mandan and Hidatsa has been described in §

§ 350. _Oracles._--Matthews speaks of another oracle, to which the
Hidatsa now often refer, the Makadistati, or house of infants, a
cavern near Knife River, which they supposed extended far into the
earth, but whose entrance was only a span wide. It was resorted to by
the childless husband or the barren wife. There are those among them
who imagine that in some way or other their children come from the
Makadistati; and marks of contusion on an infant, arising from tight
swaddling or other causes, are gravely attributed to kicks received
from his former comrades when he was ejected from his subterranean

§ 351. James says:

     At the distance of the journey of one day and a half from Knife
     Creek  *  *  *  are two conical hills, separated by about the
     distance of a mile. One of these hills was supposed to impart a
     prolific virtue to such squaws as resorted to it for the purpose
     of lamenting their barrenness. A person one day walking near the
     other hill, fancied he observed on the top of it two very small
     children. Thinking that they had strayed from the village, he ran
     towards them to induce them to return home, but they immediately
     fled from him.  *  *  *  and in a short time they eluded his
     sight. Returning to the village, the relation of his story
     excited much interest, and an Indian set out the next day, mounted
     on a fleet horse, to take the little strangers. On the approach
     of this person to the hill he also saw the children, who ran away
     as before, and though he tried to overtake them by lashing the
     horse to his utmost swiftness, the children left him far behind.
     These children are no longer to be seen, and the hill once of such
     singular efficacy in rendering the human species prolific has lost
     this remarkable property.[265]

Matthews[266] says that this account seems to refer to the Makadistati,
but, if such is the case, he believes that the account is incorrect in
some respects.


§ 352. The Hidatsa have much faith in dreams, but usually regard
as oracular only those which come after prayer, sacrifice, and


§ 353. The French Canadians call those men berdaches who dress in
women’s clothing and perform the duties usually allotted to women in an
Indian camp. By most whites these berdaches are incorrectly supposed to
be hermaphrodites. They are called miati by the Hidatsa, from mia,
a woman, and the ending, ti, to feel an involuntary inclination,
i. e., to be impelled against his will to act the woman. See the
Omaha miⁿquga, the Kansa miⁿquge, and the Dakota wiŋkta and
wiŋkte (§§ 30, 212.)

                           ASTRONOMICAL LORE.

§ 354. Ursa major is said to be an ermine, the several stars of that
constellation indicating, in their opinion, the burrow, the head, the
feet, and the tail of that animal. They call the milky way the “ashy

They think that thunder is caused by the flapping of the wings of the
large bird, which causes rain, and that the lightning is the glance of
his eye when he seeks prey.

They call the rainbow, “the cap of the water,” or “the cap of the
rain.” Once, say they, an Indian caught in the autumn a red bird that
had mocked him, releasing it after binding its feet together with a
fish line. The bird saw a hare and pounced upon it, but the hare crept
into the skull of a buffalo lying on the prairie, and as the line
hanging from the bird’s claws formed a semicircle, they imagine that
the rainbow is still caused by that occurrence.[268]

                               FOOD LORE.

§ 355. They have queer notions respecting the effects of different
articles of diet; thus: an expectant mother believes that if she eats
a part of a mole or shrew, her child will have small eyes; that if she
eats a piece of porcupine, her child will be inclined to sleep too much
when it grows up; that if she partakes of the flesh of the turtle, her
offspring will be slow or lazy, etc.; but they do not suppose that such
articles of food affect the immediate consumer.

                    FOUR SOULS IN EACH HUMAN BEING.

§ 356. “It is believed by some of the Hidatsa that every human being
has four souls in one. They account for the phenomena of gradual death
where the extremities are apparently dead while consciousness remains,
by supposing the four souls to depart, one after another, at different
times. When dissolution is complete, they say that all the souls are
gone, and have joined together again outside of the body. I have heard
a Minnetaree quietly discussing this doctrine with an Assinneboine, who
believed in only one soul to each body.”[269]


§ 357. “They have faith in witchcraft, and think that a sorcerer may
injure a person, no matter how far distant, by acts upon an effigy or
upon a lock of the victim’s hair.”[270]

                         DISPOSAL OF THE DEAD.

§ 358. The Hidatsa always lay their dead upon scaffolds. As the Lord of
Life is displeased when they quarrel and kill one another, those who do
so are buried in the earth, that they may be no longer seen. In this
case a buffalo head is laid on the grave, that the herds of buffalo may
not keep away, for, if they were to smell the wicked, they might remove
and never return. The good are laid upon scaffolds, that they may be
seen by the Lord of Life.[271]

The Crows have no fear of death, but they have a horror of being buried
in the ground.[272]


§ 359. They think that after death they will be restored to the
mansions of their ancestors under ground, from which they are
intercepted by a large and rapid watercourse. Over this river, which
may be compared to the Styx of the ancients, they are obliged to pass
on a very narrow footway. Those Indians who have been useful to the
nation, such as brave warriors or good hunters, pass over with ease
and arrive safely at A-pah-he, or ancient village. But the worthless
Indians slip off from the bridge or footway into the stream which
*  *  *  hurries them into oblivion.[273]

     Their faith concerning a future life is this: When a Hidatsa dies
     his shade lingers four nights around the camp or village in which
     he died, and then goes to the lodge of his departed kindred in the
     Village of the Dead. When he has arrived there, he is rewarded for
     his valor, self-denial, and ambition on earth by receiving the
     same regard in the one place as in the other; for there, as here,
     the brave man is honored and the coward despised. Some say that
     the ghosts of those who commit suicide occupy a separate part of
     the village, but that their condition differs in no wise from that
     of the others. In the next world, human shades hunt and live on
     the shades of the buffalo and other animals that have here died.
     There too there are four seasons, but they come in an inverse
     order to the terrestrial seasons. During the four nights that the
     ghost is supposed to linger near his former dwelling, those who
     disliked or feared the deceased, and do not wish a visit from
     the shade, scorch with red coals a pair of moccasins, which they
     leave at the door of the lodge. The smell of the burning leather,
     they claim, keeps the ghost out; but the true friends of the dead
     man take no such precautions.  *  *  *  They believe in the
     existence and advisability of human and other ghosts, yet they
     seem to have no terror of graveyards and but little of mortuary
     remains. You may frighten children after nightfall by shouting
     noḣidaḣi (ghost), but will not scare the aged.[274]

                             SAPONA CULTS.

§ 359½. The following account of the religion of the Sapona, a
tribe related to the Tutelo, was given in 1729 by Col. William Byrd,
of Westover, Va.[275] While much of it appears to be the white man’s
amplification of the Indian’s narrative, it is plain that the account
contains a few aboriginal beliefs. For this reason, and because it is
the only known account of the Sapona religion, it is now given in full:

     “In the evening we examined our friend Bearskin concerning the
     religion of his country, and he explained it to us, without any
     of that reserve to which his nation is subject. He told us he
     believed there was one supreme God, who had several subaltern
     deities under him. And that this Master-God made the world a long
     time ago. That He told the sun, the moon and stars their business
     in the beginning, which they, with good looking after, have
     faithfully perform’d ever since. That the same Power that made all
     things at first has taken care to keep them in the same method and
     motion ever since. He believed God had form’d many worlds before
     He form’d this, but that those worlds either grew old or ruinous,
     or were destroy’d for the dishonesty of the inhabitants. That
     God is very just and very good--ever well pleas’d with those men
     who possess those God-like qualities. That He takes good people
     under His safe protection, makes them very rich, fills their
     bellies plentifully, preserves them from sickness and from being
     surpriz’d or overcome by their enemies. But all such as tell lies
     and cheat  *  *  *  He never fails to punish with sickness,
     poverty and hunger, and after all that, suffers them to be knockt
     on the head and scalpt by those that fight against them. He
     believed that after death both good and bad people are conducted
     by a strong guard into a great road, in which departed souls
     travel together for some time till, at a certain distance this
     road forks into two paths[276], the one extremely levil, the other
     stony and mountainous. Here the good are parted from the bad by
     a flash of lightning, the first being hurry’d away to the right,
     the other to the left. The right hand road leads to a charming
     warm country, where the spring is everlasting, and every month is
     May; and as the year is always in its youth, so are the people,
     and particularly the women are bright as the stars, and never
     scold. That in this happy climate there are deer, turkeys, elk,
     and buffaloes innumerable, perpetually fat and gentle, while the
     trees are loaded with delicious fruit quite throughout the four
     seasons. That the soil brings forth corn spontaneously, without
     the curse of labour, and so very wholesome, that none who have the
     happiness to eat of it are ever sick, grow old or dy. Near the
     entrance into this blessed land sits a venerable old man on a mat
     richly woven, who examins strictly all that are brought before
     him, and if they have behav’d well, the guards are order’d to open
     the crystal gate and let them enter the land of delights. The left
     hand path is very rugged and uneven, leading to a dark and barren
     country, where it is always winter. The ground is the whole year
     round cover’d with snow, and nothing is seen upon the trees but
     icicles. All the people are hungry, yet have not a morsel to eat
     except a bitter kind of potato, that gives them the dry-gripes,
     and fills their whole body with loathsome ulcers, that stink and
     are insupportably painful. Here all the women are old and ugly,
     having claws like a panther, with which they fly upon the men that
     slight their passion. For it seems these haggard old furies are
     intolerably fond, and expect a vast amount of cherishing. They
     talk much, and exceedingly shrill, giving exquisite pain to the
     drum of the ear, which in that place of torment is so tender, that
     every sharp note wounds it to the quick. At the end of this path
     sits a dreadful old woman on a monstrous toadstool, whose head
     is cover’d with rattlesnakes instead of tresses, with glaring
     white eyes, that strike a terror unspeakable into all that behold
     her. This hag pronounces sentence of woe upon all the miserable
     wretches that hold up their hands at her tribunal. After this
     they are deliver’d over to huge turkey-buzzards like harpys, that
     fly away with them to the place above mentioned. Here, after they
     have been tormented a certain number of years, according to their
     several degrees of guilt, they are again driven back into this
     world, to try if they will mend their manners, and merit a place
     next time in the regions of bliss.”


[Footnote 217: Lewis and Clarke’s Exped., ed., Allen, vol. I, p. 174.]

[Footnote 218: U. S. Geol. and Geogr. Surv., Hayden, Miscell. Publ.,
No. 7, 1877: Ethnog. and Philol. of Hidatsa Indians, p. 48.]

[Footnote 219: Maximilian, Travels  *  *  *  in North America, p. 359.]

[Footnote 220: Ibid, p. 176.]

[Footnote 221: Ibid, pp. 369, 374, 386, 388, 400.]

[Footnote 222: Ibid, p. 174.]

[Footnote 223: Ibid, p. 173.]

[Footnote 224: Ibid, pp. 373, 377. O-kee-pa: A Religious Ceremony
*  *  *  by George Catlin, Phil., 1867, 25 pp. Smithson. Rept., 1885,
pt. 2, pp. 353-368.]

[Footnote 225: U.S. Geol. and Geogr. Surv., Hayden, Miscell. Publ., No.
7, 1877: Ethnog. and Philol. of Hidatsa Indians, pp. 45, 46.]

[Footnote 226: James’s account of Long’s Expedition to Rocky Mountains,
vol. I, pp. 276-278.]

[Footnote 227: Travels  *  *  *  in North America, pp. 400, 401.]

[Footnote 228: Yet Maximilian says, “We ourselves saw one suspended,

[Footnote 229: Travels  *  *  *  in North America, pp. 419-422.]

[Footnote 230: Ibid, pp. 426-428.]

[Footnote 231: Ibid, vol. I, pp. 189, 190.]

[Footnote 232: Ibid, p. 175.]

[Footnote 233: O-kee-hee-dee of Catlin.]

[Footnote 234: Maximilian, Travels  *  *  *  in North America, pp. 359,

[Footnote 235: Maximilian, Travels *  *  *  in North America, pp. 378-380.]

[Footnote 236: Maximilian, Travels  *  *  *  in North America, p. 369.]

[Footnote 237: Ibid., pp. 380, 381.]

[Footnote 238: Ibid., p. 361.]

[Footnote 239: Lewis and Clarke, Exped., ed. Allen, Vol. I, p. 205.]

[Footnote 240: James’s Account of Long’s Exped. to Rocky Mountains,
Vol. I, p. 273.]

[Footnote 241: U. S. Geol. and Geogr. Surv., Hayden, Miscell. Pub., No.
7, 1877: Ethnog. and Philol. of Hidatsa Indians, pp. 50, 51.]

[Footnote 242: Travels  *  *  *  in North America, pp. 381, 382.]

[Footnote 243: Travels  *  *  *  in North America, p. 370.]

[Footnote 244: Ibid, pp. 382, 386.]

[Footnote 245: Ibid, pp. 383, 403.]

[Footnote 246: Ibid, pp. 371, 372.]

[Footnote 247: Ibid., p. 372.]

[Footnote 248: Travels  *  *  *  in North America, p. 178.]

[Footnote 249: Ibid., pp. 403, 404.]

[Footnote 250: Maximilian, Travels  *  *  *  in North America, p. 382.]

[Footnote 251: Ibid, pp. 382, 383, 423, 424.]

[Footnote 252: Lewis and Clarke, Expedition, ed. Allen, Vol. 1, p. 175.]

[Footnote 253: Catlin, in Smithsonian Rept., 1885, pt. 2, p. 372.]

[Footnote 254: So called by Maximilian, same as the Itsika-mahidiś
of Matthews.]

[Footnote 255: Maximilian, Travels  *  *  *  in North America, p. 398.]

[Footnote 256: U. S. Geol. and Geogr. Surv., Hayden, Miscell. Publ.,
No. 7, 1877: Ethnog. and Philol. of Hidatsa Indians, p. 47.]

[Footnote 257: Ibid., pp. 48, 49.]

[Footnote 258: Maximilian, Travels  *  *  *  in North America, p. 402.]

[Footnote 259: Maximilian, Travels  *  *  *  in North America, p. 402.]

[Footnote 260: U. S. Geol. and Geogr. Surv., Hayden, Miscell. Publ. No.
7, 1877: Ethnol. and Philol. of Hidatsa Indians, pp. 49, 184.]

[Footnote 261: Maximilian, Travels  *  *  *  in North America, pp.

[Footnote 262: Ibid, p. 396.]

[Footnote 263: Maximilian, Travels  *  *  *  in North America, p. 50.]

[Footnote 264: Ibid, p. 51.]

[Footnote 265: James’s Account of Long’s Exped. to Rocky Mountains,
vol. I, pp. 274, 275.]

[Footnote 266: U. S. Geol. and Geogr. Surv., Hayden, Miscell. Publ.,
No. 7, 1877: Ethnog. and Philol. of Hidatsa Indians, p. 51.]

[Footnote 267: Ibid, p. 50.]

[Footnote 268: Maximilian, Travels  *  *  *  in North America, p. 399.]

[Footnote 269: U. S. Geol. and Geogr. Surv., Hayden, Miscell. Publ.,
No. 7, 1877: Ethnog. and Philol. of Hidatsa Indians, p. 50.]

[Footnote 270: Ibid, p. 50.]

[Footnote 271: Maximilian, Travels  *  *  *  in North America, pp. 404,

[Footnote 272: Ibid, p. 176.]

[Footnote 273: Lewis and Clarke’s Exped., edited by Allen, vol. I, p.

[Footnote 274: U. S. Geol. and Geogr. Surv., Hayden, Miscell. Publ.,
No. 7, 1877: Ethnog. and Philol. of Hidatsa Indians, p. 49.]

[Footnote 275: Byrd, history of the dividing line (1729), vol. I,
106-108. Reprint: 1866.]

[Footnote 276: See the Omaha belief, in § 68.]

                              CHAPTER VII.

                          CONCLUDING REMARKS.

                       PEET ON INDIAN RELIGIONS.

§ 360. In the Journal of the Victoria Institute of Great Britain for
1888,[277] is an article containing the following statements, which
were not seen by the writer until he had completed the preceding
chapters of this paper.

Referring to Mr. Eells, the Nez Percé missionary, and to Mr. Williams,
who has been laboring among the Chippewas, Mr. Peet observes:[278]

     There are four or five points on which both missionaries seem
     to be agreed  *  *  *  These four doctrines--the existence of
     God, immortality of the soul, the sinfulness of man, and the
     necessity of sacrifice--seem to have been held in various
     modified forms by all the tribes in North America.

On the next page[279] he gives a classification of native religions, by
which he means those of America. He says that these religions may be
divided by geographical districts into several classes:

(1) Shamanism, by which he seems to mean the worship of the wakan
men and women. “Among the Eskimos, Aleuts, and other hyperborean
nations, who subsist chiefly by fishing.” (2) Animism, by which he
probably means the worship of “souls” or “shades,” including ghosts,
as every object, whether animate or inanimate, is thought to have a
“shade.” This belief, he says, is found in its highest stage among
tribes that formerly dwelt in British North America, between Hudsons
Bay and the Great Lakes. These tribes subsist by hunting. (3) Animal
worship, practiced by a class partly hunters, partly farmers, dwelling,
say, between 35° and 48° N. lat. (4) Sun worship, the cult of the
tribes south of 35° N. lat., and extending to the Gulf of Mexico.
(5) Elemental worship, which he defines as “the worship of rain,
lightning, the god of war and death,” found in Mexico and New Mexico.
(6) Anthropomorphism, a religion which gave human attributes to the
divinities, but assigned to them supernatural powers. This prevailed in
Central America.

                          THE AUTHOR’S REPLY.

§ 361. But what do we find prevalent among the tribes under
consideration in this paper?

I. _Idea of God._--The Siouan tribes considered in this paper were not
monotheists (§§ 26, 94, 95, 311). The statement recorded in § 21 about
a crude belief in a Supreme Being, which the Omaha called Wakanda,
was accepted by the author as the belief of his informants; but we
must remember that the Omaha tribe has been in a transition state for
many years, certainly since 1855, and possibly since the days of Maj.
Long’s visits to them. (2) That these Indians believed in a Great
Spirit who was supreme over all other superhuman powers needs more
evidence. The only assertion of such a belief which the author has
gained was obtained from an Omaha (see § 22), but this assertion was
denied by two other members of that tribe. (3) In those cases alleged
as proving a belief in one Great Spirit, a closer study of the language
employed reveals the fact that a generic term has been used instead of
a specific one, and, in almost every instance, the writer who tells
of one Great Spirit supplements his account by relating what he has
learned about beliefs in many gods or spirits. (4) These tribes had
cults of many powers; everything animate and inanimate was regarded as
having a “shade.”

II. _Belief in immortality._--The author finds no traces of a belief
in the immortality of human beings. Even the gods of the Dakota were
regarded as being mortal, for they could be killed by one another
(§ 94). They were male and female; they married and died, and were
succeeded by their children. But if for “immortality” we substitute
“continuous existence as shades or ghosts” there will be no difficulty
in showing that the Siouan tribes referred to held such a belief
respecting mankind, and that they very probably entertained it in a
crude form prior to the advent of the white race to this continent (§§
67-71, 91, 338).

III. _Idea of sin._--The scriptural idea of sin seems to be wanting
among these tribes. There have been recorded by the author and others
many acts which were deemed violations of religious law, but few of
them can be compared with what the Bible declares to be sins. It was
dangerous to make a false report to the keeper of the sacred tent of
war or to the directors of the buffalo hunt, in the estimation of the
Omaha, for the offender was sure to be struck by lightning or bitten
by a snake or killed by a foe or thrown by a horse or have some other
disaster befall him.[280] It was dangerous to break the taboo of any
gens or subgens, or to violate any other ancient custom.[281] (See §§
45, 68, 222, and 286 of this paper.)

IV. _Idea of sacrifice._--The idea of sacrifice as atoning for sin has
not yet been found by the author among these Siouan tribes. In no
instance of sacrifice recorded in this paper has the author detected
any notion of expiation for sin against a just and holy Being. But
sacrifice, whether in the form of fasting, self-torture, or the
offering of property, was made in order to win the favor of a god, to
obtain a temporal advantage (§§ 28, 29, 101, 144, etc.), or to avert
the anger of demons, as when the people were suffering from famine or
an epidemic (§ 144).

V. _Shamanism._--While there have been shamans and various orders of
shamans among these tribes, no trace of a worship of shamans as gods
has yet been found. On one occasion the author met a Ponka shaman,
Cramped Hand, who exclaimed, “I am a wakanda.” But no other Ponka ever
said that he or she worshiped Cramped Hand as a wakanda.

VI. The other beliefs named by Dr. Peet have been found, in some
tribes, side by side. Animism, or a form of animism, was held by those
who worshiped the sun, animals, etc. “Everything had a soul” (§§ 97,
136, 137, 265-288, 344, etc.). Certain animals were worshiped (§§ 24,
43, 78, 92, 326, etc.). The sun was invoked, not only in the sun dance
(§§ 139-212), but on other occasions (§§ 28, 43, 73, 312, 323). Stars,
too, were regarded as gods (§§ 31, 43). Elemental worship had a wider
significance among these tribes than Dr. Peet assigns it (§§ 27, 33-35,
43, 44, 74-77, 363, etc.). And there are traces of anthropomorphism,
for some of the gods are in human form (§§ 217, 235); others are
supposed to inhale the odor of tobacco smoke, which is pleasant to
them; they eat, breathe, use weapons against one another as well as
against human beings, and on one occasion an Indian was called on to
aid one or the other of two contending gods; they hear, think, marry,
die, and are succeeded by their children (§§ 25, 29, 35, 36, 72, 75,
94, 109, 112, 117, 119, 136, 217, 322, etc.).[282]

§ 362. The cults affected the social organization of the tribes that
had gentes bearing mystic names (see §§ 57 and 82 of this paper, and
Om. Soc., in 3d An. Rept. Bur. Eth., Chap. iii, and pp. 356, 359-361);
orders of shamans and other secret societies were intimately associated
with them (§§ 43-45, 86, 87, and 89; and Om. Soc., pp. 342-355);
personal names still refer to them (§§ 31, 47, 53, 59, 74, 75, and 77;
and Om. Soc., pp. 228, 232, 236, 238-244, 246-248, 250, and 251); and
almost every act of the daily life of the people was influenced by them
(§§ 23, 24, 27, 28-30, 32, 33-36, 39-41, 54, 101, etc.; and Om. Soc.,
Chap. vi, and pp. 267, 274, 286, 287, 289-291, 293-299, 316, 319-325,
327, 328, 357, 368-370).

                         CULTS OF THE ELEMENTS.

§ 363. Prior to writing this paper, the author had observed what Dr.
Foster stated in his Indian Record and Historical Data respecting the
division of the Winnebago tribe into four groups, named after the
earth, air, fire, and water, respectively, i.e., Foster claimed that
the Winnebago had people named after land animals, others after birds
and the winds, others after the thunder-beings, and others after the
Waktceqi or water monsters.[283] (See § 96.)

During the year 1890 the author obtained from the three principal
Ponka chiefs the classification of their gentes by phratries, and the
character of the mystic songs peculiar to each phratry.

On comparing this information with that which has been related about
the Dakota gods, there seemed to be good reasons for inferring that
not only the Dakota tribes, but also the Omaha, Ponka, Winne-bago, and
others of the same stock, divided their gods into four classes, those
of the earth, wind-makers, fire, and water.

§ 364. Among the Omaha, Iowa, and cognate tribes, we find that when a
gens assembled as a whole, for council purposes, they sat around the
fire in the order shown in the accompanying diagram, Fig. 193:

     _Legend._--1, Black Bear subgens; 2, Small Bird subgens; 3, Eagle
     subgens; 4, Turtle subgens; 5, fireplace; 6, entrance.

[Illustration: FIG. 193.--The Ȼatada gentile circle.]

Places in the circle were assigned according to kinship; thus, the
Black Bear and Small Bird people are spoken of as “sitting on the same
side of the fireplace,” as they are full kin, while they are only
partially related to those who sit on the other side (Nos. 3 and 4).
That the fireplace was sacred, there being traces of a hearth cult,
has been shown in §§ 33 and 40. Furthermore, the Ȼatada circle is
remarkable not only for its arrangement according to kinship, but for
its symbolic character; because the Black Bear people are associated
with the ground or earth, as is shown by their personal names; the
Small Bird people are Thunder-beings or Fire people; the Eagle subgens
consist of “Wind-maker” people; and the Turtle subgens is composed of
Water people.

[Illustration: FIG. 194.--The four elements, etc.]

§ 365. This suggests another diagram, Fig. 194, in which the author has
put the names of four classes of Dakota gods, with what he suspects to
be their appropriate colors, _R_ standing for red, _B_ for black, _Y_
for yellow, and _Bl_ for blue.

Earth people serve or assist Fire people (§ 35 and perhaps § 36). Do
Water people ever serve Wind-maker people (see address to a stream in
time of war, § 23)? The Fire powers are hostile to the powers of the
Water (§§ 75, 77, 117-119); we have yet to learn whether, in any gens,
a subgens named after the Thunder-being sits on the same side of the
gentile fireplace with a subgens named after a power of the Water.
Is there a warfare going on between the powers of the Earth and the
Wind-makers? The Fire powers and Wind-makers are concerned in all kinds
of suffering, including war, disease, and death (§§ 117, 119, 127,
129), and there is no hostility existing between them.[284]

The Kaⁿ[s]e gens of the Osage has several names, Wind people,
South-wind people, Those who light the pipes (in council), and Fire

The powers of the Earth and Water are interested in the preservation
of life, and so we may consider them the patrons of peace. “Peace,”
in Omaha, Ponka, and ┴ɔiwere, means “The land is good,” and “to make
peace” is expressed by “to make the land good.” The words for “water”
and “life” are identical in some of the Siouan languages, and they
differ but slightly in others.

It is interesting to note what has been said by Mr. Francis La
Flesche[285] about water: “Water seems to hold an important place in
the practice of this medicine society, even when roots are used for
the healing of wounds. The songs say: ‘Water was sent into the wound,’
‘Water will be sent into his wound,’ etc.” The mystic songs of the
doctors of the order of buffalo shamans tell of the pool of water in a
buffalo wallow where the wounded one shall be treated.

But we must note some apparent inconsistencies. While the Unkteḣi
created the earth and the human race (§ 112), they are believed to
feed on human spirits or ghosts; though ghosts are reckoned among the
servants of the Unkteḣi! And while the powers of the Fire and Water are
enemies, one is surprised to observe that in the war gens of the Omaha
as well as in the two war gentes of the Kansa, there is the sacred clam
shell as well as the war pipe! (See § 36 and Om. Soc., p. 226.)

                           THE FOUR QUARTERS.

§ 366. According to the tradition of the Iñke-sabĕ, an Omaha buffalo
people, the ancestral buffaloes found the East and South winds bad
ones; but the North and West winds were good. From this the author
infers that the Omaha associated the East with the Fire powers or the
sun, the South[286] with the Air powers, the North with the Earth
powers, and the West with the Water powers.

On the other hand, an Iowa man told Mr. Hamilton that the South
wind was a beneficent one, while the Northeast wind was maleficent
(§ 74). This variation may have been caused by a difference in the
habitats of the tribes referred to.

§ 367. Among the Kansa, Pahaⁿle-gaqli and Aliⁿkawahu, when they invoked
the four winds, began at the left (as they were Yata people) with the
East wind (Bazaⁿta, Toward the Pines), next they turned to the South
wind (Ak’a, whence one of the names of the Kaⁿze gens), then to the
West wind (Ak’a jiñga or Ak’uye), and lastly to the North wind (Hnita,
Toward the Cold).[287] (See Fig. 195.)

[Illustration: FIG. 195.--Kansa order of invoking the winds, etc.]

[Illustration: FIG. 196.--Tsiɔu (Osage) order of placing the four
sticks, etc.]

It should be noted that those Kansa war captains, Pahaⁿle-gaqli and
Aliⁿkawahu, belong to gentes on the left side of the tribal circle.
They were facing the South before they began the invocations to the
various powers including the four winds. See § 200 for the order (E, S,
W, N) observed in felling the tree to be used as a sun pole. The same
order was observed by the Dakota “priest” in the ceremonies pertaining
to the White Buffalo festival of the Hunkpapa, as related by Miss
Fletcher: in placing cherries on the plate, in pouring water on the
piles of cherries, in placing tufts of swan’s down on the plate[288],
in rotating the plate, in circling the heap of black earth[289], and
in giving the four pinches of consecrated meat to the four sons of the
owner of the white buffalo hide.[290]

§ 368. The Tciɔu old man of the Osage tribe consecrated each mystic
hearth by placing four sticks in the form of a cross, beginning at
the west, as shown in Fig. 196, then laying the sticks at the north,
east, and south, as he named the four mystic buffaloes (§ 33). This
Tsiɔu man belonged to the peace side of his tribe, and he began with
the quarters referring to the peace elements. But the Paⁿɥka old man
of the same tribe, when he consecrated the mystic fireplaces for his
half-tribe, began on the right, with the stick at the east, as shown in
Fig. 197. He belonged to the war side of the tribe, though his gens was
a peace-making gens!

§ 369. The Maⁿyiñka and ṵpaⁿ gentes of the Kansa tribe consecrated
the mystic fireplaces for their people; but we have not obtained the
particulars of the Kansa ceremony, which probably resembled that in
which the T[s]iɔu and Paⁿɥka old men took part.

According to Two Crows and the late Joseph La Flèche, there
were four sacred stones in the custody of the Maⁿȼiñka-gaxe or
Earth-lodge-makers’ gens of the Omaha: red, black, yellow, and

§ 370. Whenever the Osage warriors came in sight of their village on
returning from an expedition against the enemy, they were met outside
the village by the principal man of the Kaⁿ[s]e (the Wind or South
wind gens.) This Kaⁿ[s]e man walked around the warriors, performing a
ceremony as he started from the north, repeating it at each quarter,
and ending with the east, as shown in Fig. 198.

[Illustration: FIG. 197.--Paⁿɥka (Osage) order of placing the four
sticks, etc.]

[Illustration: FIG. 198.--Kaⁿ[s]e (Osage) order of circumambulation.]

§ 371. Assuming that we have a correct grouping of the four elements in
Fig. 194, it appears that Pahaⁿle-gaqli and Aliⁿkawahu began with the
quarters associated with war; that the T[s]iɔu old man began with those
referring to peace, and the Paⁿɥka old man with those pertaining to
war, and the principal man of the Kaⁿ[s]e gens with those on the peace

[Illustration: FIG. 199.--Showing how the Osage prepared the scalp for
the dance.]

§ 372. In cutting off the under skin from a scalp, the Osage war

     stood facing the East  *  *  *  Holding the scalp in one hand,
     with the other he placed the knife-blade across it, with the point
     toward the South (see Fig. 199). Then he turned the knife with the
     point toward the East. Next, with the blade resting on the scalp,
     the point to the South, he moved the knife backward and forward
     four times, cutting deeper into the scalp on each occasion. Then
     he made four similar cuts, but with the point to the East. After
     this, the flat part of the blade being on the scalp, its edge
     was put against one of the four corners made by the previous
     incisions (1, 2, 3, and 4), beginning with No. 1. He cut under
     each corner four times, singing a sacred song each time that he
     changed the position of the knife.  *  *  *  The scalp was
     stretched and fastened to a bow, which was bent and formed into
     a hoop. This hoop was tied to a pole, which was carried by the
     principal kettle-bearer.[292]

Observe that in this ceremony the South and East were the mystic
quarters, answering to the “bad winds” of the Iñke-sabĕ tradition.

When the Dakota “priest,” referred to in § 367, wished to rotate the
plate containing the cherries and down, he grasped the plate with his
right hand (note that the right side of the Osage circle was the war
side) between the east and south piles of cherries and his left hand
(compare with custom of T[s]iɔu gens of Osage, § 368) held the plate
between the west and north piles.[293]

In the Hede-watci, the Omaha women and girls danced from the east to
the south, and thence to the west and north, while the men and boys
proceeded in a different order, beginning at the west, and dancing
toward the north, and thence toward the east and south.[294]

                            SYMBOLIC COLORS.

§ 373. On the tent of Hupeȼa (Pl. XLIV, E), a black bear man, were
represented four kinds of lightning--blue, red, black, and yellow. This
was a mystery decoration (§ 45), and if the colors were associated with
the four quarters, the powers were probably invoked in the order shown
in Fig. 200. (See §§ 340, 369.)

[Illustration: FIG. 200.--Omaha lightnings and the four quarters.]

§ 374. Blue is assumed to be the earth symbol for two reasons: (1)
In the decorations of those who have had visions of bears, there is
a broad blue band, representing the earth, out of which the bear is
sometimes depicted as issuing; (2) and, furthermore, the Indians seldom
distinguish between blue and green, hence, blue may symbolize grass and
other vegetation, springing from the earth. In apparent contradiction
of this use of blue, we are told by Lynd that “the Tunkan is painted
red as a sign of active worship” (see § 132), and by Riggs (§ 133)
that large bowlders were adorned with red and green paint, though the
use of the two colors may have depended on a composite cult. In this
connection attention is called to the battle standards represented on
the tent of Ԁejequta, an Omaha. These painted standards had red and
blue stripes, denoting the stripes of Indian cloth, sometimes used
instead of feathers on the real standards. The latter were carried by
the leaders of war parties, and each standard could be used on four
such expeditions. When the warriors approached the hostile camp, the
keeper of the standard removed the scarf of blue and red cloth from the
shaft and wore it around his neck as he went to steal horses (see Pl.
XLIV, A, the name Bowlder Thunder-being in § 390, also § 388).

§ 375. Red is known to be the Omaha color for the east. Among the
Dakota the spear and tomahawk, the weapons of war, were said to have
been given by the Wakinyan, the Thunder-being or Fire power; hence they
are painted red (§ 105).

The late Dr. S. R. Riggs informs us that--

     In the tiyotipi were placed the bundles of the black and red
     sticks of the soldiers.[295]

     Toward the rear of the tent, but near enough to the fire for
     convenient use, is a large pipe placed by the symbols of power.
     These are two bundles of shaved sticks about 6 inches long. The
     sticks in one bundle are painted black and in the other red. The
     black bundle represents the real men of the camp--those who have
     made their mark on the warpath. The red bundle represents the boys
     and such men as wear no eagle feathers.[296]

     They shave out small round sticks all of the same length, and
     paint them red, and they are given out to the men. These are to
     constitute the tiyotipi.  *  *  *  Of all the round shaved
     sticks, some of which were painted black and some painted red,
     four were especially marked. They are the four chiefs of the
     tiyotipi that were made.[297]

§ 376. Black is assumed to be the symbolic color for the Takuśkanśkan,
the Wind-makers, whose servants are the four winds and the four black
spirits of night. Black as a war color is put on the face[298] of the
warrior. The Santee Dakota consider the raven (a black bird) and a
small black stone, less than a hen’s egg in size, symbols of the four
winds or quarters. Among the Teton Dakota, the Takuśkanśkan symbols,
are small pebbles of two kinds, one white, and, according to the
description, translucent; the other “resembles ordinary pebbles,”
probably in being opaque.

§ 377. Yellow is assumed to be the color symbolizing water, the west,
and the setting sun. The Dakota, Omaha, Ponka, and ┴ɔiwere tribes have
been familiar for years with the color of the water in the Missouri
river. In a Yankton Dakota legend[299] recorded by the author it is
said that when two mystery men prepared themselves to visit a spirit
of the water in order to recover an Indian boy, one of the men painted
his entire body black, and the other painted himself yellow (this seems
to refer to the south and west, the windmakers and the spirits of the

In certain Omaha tent decorations we find that the tent of a Turtle
man (Fig. 161) has a yellow ground. A similar yellow ground on the
tent of Maⁿtcu-naⁿba of the Hañga gens (Fig. 174) may be connected with
the tradition that the Hañga gens came originally from beneath the
water. Too much stress, however, must not be placed upon the colors of
such mystery decorations, as they may be found hereafter to have had
another origin. It is conceivable, although we have no means of proving
it, that he who had a vision, depicted on his robe and tent not only
the colors pertaining to the objects seen in the vision, but also the
color peculiar to the eponymic ancestor or power that was the “nikie”
(§ 53). As some men were members of more than one order of shamans,
their tent and robe decorations may refer to the one order rather than
to the other, and sometimes there may be a reference to both orders.
The yellow on the top of the tent of Frog, an Ictasanda man, was said
to refer to a grizzly bear vision (_fide_ George Miller, an Omaha--see
Fig. 177.) But when we compare it with Pl. XLIV, D, showing the tent of
a Hañga man, who was a Buffalo shaman as well as a Grizzly Bear shaman,
we find that the top of the latter tent has a yellow band (apparently
pointing to the Hañga tradition of an aquatic origin), as well as a
blue band at the bottom (referring to the grizzly bear vision).

§ 378. From what has been said respecting the figures 194-199, we are
led to make the following provisional coördinations:

  | Dakota god.        | Element.    | Quarter. | Color. |
  |Tunkan              | Earth       | North    | Blue   |
  |Wakinyan            | Fire        | East     | Red    |
  |Takuśkanśkan        | Wind-makers | South    | Black  |
  |Unkteḣi             | Water       | West     | Yellow |

     NOTE.--The names of the Dakota gods are given because we have
     more information about them, and the exact Omaha equivalent for
     Takuśkanśkan has not been obtained.

§ 379. Miss Fletcher gave, in 1884, a list of symbolic colors, which
differs somewhat from that which the author has suggested in the
preceding section. She said:

     White, blue, red, and yellow possess different meaning, yet are
     not very clearly determined by all tribes.[300] Among the Dakotas
     the following interpretation prevails: White is seldom used
     artificially; when it occurs in nature, as the white buffalo,
     deer, rabbit, etc., and on the plumage of birds, it indicates
     consecration. The sacred feathers and down are always white,[301]
     the former being taken from the underpart of the eagle’s wing
     and are soft and downy. This meaning of white holds good with
     the Omahas, Poncas, etc., and seems to have a wide application
     among the Indians. Blue represents the winds, the west, the moon,
     the water, the thunder, and sometimes the lightning.  *  *  *
     Red indicates the sun, the stone, the forms of animal and
     vegetable life, the procreative force. Yellow represents sunlight
     as distinguished from the fructifying power of the sun.[302]

The author has never observed this use of white as a symbolic color.
In speaking of albino animals, we infer that to the Siouan mind they
are consecrated because they are rare. In fact, Miss Fletcher says:

     The white buffalo is rare and generally remains near the center of
     the herd, which makes it difficult of approach. It is therefore
     considered as the chief or sacred one of the herd; and it is
     consequently greatly prized by the Indians.[303]

While the author is convinced of the great value of Miss Fletcher’s
investigations, he inquires concerning the veracity of her
interpreters. He would like to see more detailed evidence before
he accepts as the Dakota classification one which puts in the same
category not only the winds and thunder, but also the water, the west,
and the moon. He also asks why should the moon be separated from the
sun (see § 138), and why should the west be the only quarter symbolized
by a color? Besides, the Dakota shamans say that the Thunder-beings are
of four colors, black, yellow, scarlet, and blue (see § 116).

In response to the wish of the author, Miss Fletcher has kindly
furnished him with the following letter of explanation, received after
the rest of the paper had been written:

     Consecration as applied to the color white in the article you have
     quoted needs a few words of explanation.

     The almost universal appropriation of white animals to religious
     ceremonies is unquestionable; whether this selection rests wholly
     upon the rarity of this color is a little doubtful. The unusual
     is generally wakan; this feeling, however, is not confined to
     a color, and although the white buffalo and the white deer are
     not often met with, other white animals, as the rabbit, are not
     uncommon, nor are white feathers. It is true these white feathers
     are often colored for ceremonial uses, but the added colors have
     their particular meanings, and these do not seem to override the
     primal signification that the feathers selected to bear these
     symbolic colors are white. The natural suggestion that a white
     ground would best serve to set off the added lines may have been
     in the distant past the simple reason why white feathers were
     chosen; and this choice adhered to for generations would at last
     become clothed with a mysterious significance. If this were ever
     true, this reason for choosing white feathers is not recognized
     to-day. I have been frequently told, the feathers must be white.

     While I should now hesitate to say that white symbolizes
     consecration, still, after continued study, I find the idea
     clinging about the color, which, as I said then, is seldom
     artificially used.

     Various symbolic colors are not infrequently placed upon one
     object, so that the combining of symbols,[304] or even their
     occasional exchange, does not seem discordant to the Indian mind;
     this fact among others renders it difficult to draw a hard and
     fast line about any one color or symbol.

     Further research has shown me that green and blue and black are
     related and that to a degree green and blue are interchangeable.
     Blue is regarded as a darkened green; that is, green removed
     from the light, not deepened in hue. Blue, therefore, stands
     intermediate between green which has the light on it; and blue
     shaded into black, which has no light on it. In some ceremonies
     green typifies the earth; in others blue is the symbol. The sky is
     sometimes represented by green, and again blue is used, while blue
     darkened to black stands for the destructive elements of the air.
     I have found a subtle connection between the elements of earth and
     air that answers somewhat to the blending of the symbolic colors
     just spoken of. This connection is revealed in the reciprocal or
     complementary functions of gentes belonging to these two great
     divisions represented in the tribal structure, as well as in the
     reactionary character of the elements themselves as portrayed in
     the myths and typified in some ceremonies. For instance, the eagle
     mythically belongs to the air, and is allied to the destructive
     powers of the element and to wars upon the earth, yet the Eagle
     gens, although connected with the air division of the gentes, is
     in some tribes a peace gens. An enemy escaping to the tent of
     an Eagle man is safe and cannot be molested. In symbols eagle
     feathers are not only the pride and emblem of the warrior but they
     are essential in certain ceremonies of amity and peace-making.

     A study of the position of gentes belonging to the divisions of
     earth and air, their tribal and ceremonial duties, together with
     their mythological significance, shows lines connecting the gentes
     of the earth with the gentes of the air which are vertical, so
     to speak, and might be represented as running north and south on
     the tribal circle, and indicating mediating offices as between
     contending or opposite forces.

     It would occupy too much space to fully set forth my reasons for
     thinking blue-black to be the symbol of the thunder rather than
     red and yellow. Although thunder is allied to the four quarters,
     to the four elemental divisions and partakes of their symbolism,
     still a study of thunder myths, thunder-names, and the tribal
     offices of thunder gentes seems to me, at my present understanding
     of them, to indicate the blue-black as the persistent symbol.

     I would not at this date make any unqualified statement giving
     green, blue, or black as the symbol of the west, the water, or
     the moon; and although in some instances these colors occur in
     connection with these objects of reverence, I am now inclined to
     class these as incidental rather than as representative of the
     color symbols.

     One word regarding red and yellow. Red not only represents the
     sun and the procreative forces (yet black is sometimes used in
     the latter), but the color carries with it the idea of hope, the
     continuation of life. The dawn of the day, the east, is almost
     without exception in these tribes denoted by red. This red line,
     forceful, aggressive, yet life giving and hope-inspiring, starts
     from a war division of the tribal circle and fades into yellow as
     it passes into an opposite peace division in the west. Red and
     yellow bear to each other a relation somewhat resembling that
     of blue and black, only reversed; the red loses its intensity
     in yellow, the aggressive force symbolized in the red is not
     expressed in the yellow. If the Indian’s world were arched with
     his symbolic colors, we should see a brilliant band of red start
     from the east and fade to yellow in the west; while the green-blue
     line from the north would deepen to the black of the south. In the
     first the intense color would rush from war into the mild light of
     peace; the second bright hue would spring from peace to be lost
     in the darkness of war. Thus the two hold the tribe within the
     opposing yet complementary forces which constitute the mystery of
     the relation between life and death.

     I will not go further into this interesting subject nor revert
     to the revolution of these symbolic colors as throwing light on
     tribal migrations and history.

     Thanking you for this opportunity to modify some of my statements
     written nine years ago,

     I remain, cordially yours,
                                                   ALICE C. FLETCHER.
           _Cambridge, Mass., January 3, 1891_.

In the Word Carrier of November, 1890, published by A. L. Riggs, at
Santee Agency, Nebr., is an article on page 30, from Mary C. Collins,
who is evidently one of the mission workers. She says: “I went into
the sacred tent and talked with Sitting Bull. He sat * * * opposite
the tent door. Hands and wrists were painted yellow and green; face
painted red, green, and white.” (Did the four colors refer to the
elements?) “As I started toward him he said, ‘Winona,[305] approach me
on the left side and shake my left hand with your left hand.’” (Does
the gens of Sitting Bull camp on the left side of the tribal circle,
occasioning the use of the left in all ceremonies, as among the Tsiɔu
gentes of the Osage? Or is the left the war side among the people of
Sitting Bull, as among the Kansa? See §§ 33 and 368.)

§ 380. The following are the symbolic colors of the North Carolina
Cherokee, the Ojibwa, the Navajo, the Apache, the Zuñi, and the Aztec:

             |           |      Ojibwa.    |          Navajo.     |
   Quarter,  | Cherokee. +--------+--------+------------+---------+
     etc.    |    [a]    |  [b]   |  [c]   |    [d]     |   [e]   |
             |           |        |        |            |         |
  East       | Red, 1.   | White. | Red.   | White, 1.  | Yellow. |
  South      | White, 4. | Green. | Green. | Blue, 2.   | Red.    |
             |           |        |        |            |         |
  West       | Black, 8. | Red.   | White. | Yellow, 3. | Blue.   |
  North      | Blue, 2.  | Black. | Black. | Black, 4.  | White.  |
  Upperworld |    ...    |   ...  |   ...  | Blue.      |   ...   |
             |           |        |        |            |         |
  Lowerworld |    ...    |   ...  |   ...  | White and  |   ...   |
             |           |        |        | black in   |         |
             |           |        |        | spots.     |         |
  Sunlight   |    ...    |   ...  |   ...  | Red.       |   ...   |

     _a_ Mooney, in Jour. Am. Folklore, Vol. III, No. 8, Jan.-Mar.,
     1890, pp. 49, 50.

     _b_ Hoffman, in Am. Anthropologist, July, 1889, pp. 217, 218; from
     Sicosige, a second-degree Mide of White Earth, Minn.

     _c_ Hoffman, in ibid., p. 218; from Ojibwa, a fourth-degree Mide,
     from another locality.

     _d_ Matthews, in 5th An. Rept. Bur. Eth., p. 449.

     _e_ Mallery, from Thos. V. Keam’s catalogue of relics of the
     ancient buildings of the southwest table-lands--quoted in Trans.
     Anthrop. Soc. of Washington, Vol. III, 141, 1885.

             |      Apache.       |            |
   Quarter,  |---------+----------+   Zuñi.    |  Aztec.
     etc.    |   [f]   |   [g]    |    [h]     |   [i]
             |         |          |            |
  East       | Black.  | Yellow.  | White, 4.  | Yellow.
  South      | White.  | Green    | Red, 3.    | White.
             |         | or Blue. |            |
  West       | Yellow. | Black.   | Blue, 2.   | Blue.
  North      | Blue.   | White.   | Yellow, 1. | Red.
  Upperworld |   ...   |   ...    | All        |
             |         |          | colors, 5. |
  Lowerworld |   ...   |   ...    | Black, 6.  |
  Sunlight   |   ...   |   ...    |    ...     |

     _f_ Gatschet, on Chiricahua Apache sun circle, in Trans. Anthrop.
     Soc. of Washington, Vol. III, 147, 1885.

     _g_ Capt. J. G. Bourke, in a letter to the author, Dec. 4, 1890.
     In Nov., 1885, he obtained from a San Carlos (Pinal) Apache green
     as the color for the north.

     _h_ Mrs. M. C. Stevenson, in 5th An. Rept. Bur. Eth., p. 548.
     According to Dr. J. Walter Fowkes the Hopi or Moki have a similar
     order of colors, the west having green (or blue).

     _i_ Kingsborough, Antiquities of Mexico, Vol. VII (_fide_ Capt. J.
     G. Bourke).

According to Gatschet the Chiricahua Apache call the sun, when in the
east, “the black sun,” and a tornado or gust of wind also is called
“black.” (See § 378.)

Matthews says that in rare cases white is assigned to the north and
black to the east, and that black represents the male and blue the
female among the Navajo. (See § 105 of this paper.)

§ 381. The author calls special attention to the colors of the four
sacred stones of the Omaha Wolf gens, red, black, yellow, and blue i.
e., E., S., W., N.; (see § 369), and to those on the tent of an Omaha
Black Bear man (see § 373, and PL. XLIV, E, where the colors are given
in the order N., E., S., W.). He has not yet gained the colors for
the upper and lower worlds, though the Omaha offer the pipe to the
“venerable man sitting above” and to the “venerable man below lying on
his back.” (§ 27.)

In the tradition of the T[s]iɔu wactaʞe gens of the Osage there is an
account of the finding of four kinds of rocks, black, blue or green,
red, and white. And from the left hind legs of four buffalo bulls
there dropped to the ground four ears of corn and four pumpkins.[306]
The corn and pumpkin from the first buffalo were red, those from the
second were spotted, those from the third were ca[p]e, i.e., dark or
distant-black, and those from the fourth were white.

Green, black, white, and gray are the traditional colors of the
ancestral wolves, according to the Wolf people of the Winnebago, though
for “green” we may substitute “blue,” as the corresponding name for the
first son in that gens is Blue Sky. Among the personal names in the
Thunder-being subgens of the Winnebago are the four color names, Green
Thunder-being, Black Thunder-being, White Thunder-being, and Yellow
Thunder-being (instead of Gray). James Alexander, a member of the Wolf
gens, said that these four Thunder-being names did not refer to the
four quarters. This seems probable, unless white be the Winnebago color
for the east and gray or yellow that for the west.

In November, 1893, more than two years after the preceding sentence was
written, a Winnebago told the author that among his people white was
associated with the north, red with the west, and green with the south.
Of these he was certain. He thought that blue was the color for the
east, but he was not positive about it.

                       COLORS IN PERSONAL NAMES.

§ 382. The following shows the color combinations in a list of
forty-six objects taken from the census schedules of the Dakota,
Hidatsa, and Mandan tribes (U. S. Census of 1880), the lists of Dakota
names given in the Fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, pp.
175, 177-180, and the list of Winnebago names collected by the author.
Blue or green, (chiefly blue), 26; red, 25; black, 31; yellow, 30;
scarlet, 38; white, 37; gray, 18; saŋ or distant-white (whitish), 4;
rusty-yellow or brown (ġi), 18; spotted, 17; and striped, 8. Objects
combined with two colors, 7; with three colors, 7; with four colors,
4; with five colors, 5; with six colors, 5; with seven colors, 6; with
eight colors, 6; with nine colors, 5; with ten colors, 1; with all
eleven colors, none. It should, however, be remembered that the lists
consulted did not contain all the personal names of the Siouan tribes
which have been mentioned, and that it is probable there would be found
more color combinations if all the census schedules were accessible. We
can not say whether each of the colors (including spotted and striped)
has a mystic significance in the Siouan mind. Perhaps further study
may show that red (śa) and scarlet (duta, luta) have the same symbolic
meaning, and rusty-yellow (ġi) may be an equivalent of yellow (zi).

                           THE EARTH POWERS.

§ 383. The Tunkan or bowlder, the Dakota name for the Earth powers, is
also called the Lingam by Riggs (§ 132), as if connected with a phallic
cult (§§ 164, etc.). The Earth powers (Tunkan) and the Wind-makers
(Takuśkanśkan) are said by the Dakota to have a common symbol; but
is not the symbol of the Takuśkanśkan a pebble (§ 376)? In the Kansa
war chart (see § 127) does the large (red) rock refer to the Earth
powers? And does the small rock refer to the Wind-makers? The Earth
powers and the Wind-makers seem to be associated in some degree: (_a_)
In the use of the rock symbol (if the Takuśkanśkan symbol be a true
rock), and (_b_) in the use, among the Omaha, of eagle birth names in
the social divisions called “Keepers of the pipes.” This latter rests
upon the assumption that the Iñke-sabĕ is a buffalo gens which should
be regarded as having some connection with the Earth cult. When the
Omaha chiefs assembled in council the two sacred pipes were filled by
the Ictasanda keeper (a member of a Fire and Water gens); but they were
carried around the council lodge by the Iñke-sabĕ and ┴e-[p]a-it‘ajĭ
keepers. The Iñke-sabĕ keeper started around the lodge with one of the
pipes; when he had gone halfway (i.e., as far as the entrance) the
┴e-[p]a-it‘ajĭ keeper started from the back of the lodge with the other
pipe, taking care to keep behind the Iñke-sabĕ keeper just half the
circumference of the circle.[307] The ┴e-[p]a-it‘ajĭ man belonged to
the Eagle or Wind-makers subgens and the Iñke-sabĕ man to one that we
term provisionally an Earth gens. (See Fig. 194.) The Iñke-sabĕ, it is
true, have a tradition that they came originally from the water; but
the buffalo is specially associated with the earth. Among the Dakota
the buffalo and the earth are regarded as one. (§ 239.)

                             EARTH GENTES.

The Earth gentes, as far as we can judge, are as follows: Iñke-sabĕ and
Hañga (_?_), two Buffalo gentes, and the Wasabe-hit‘ajĭ, a Black bear
subgens, among the Omaha; the Wacabe and Makaⁿ (Buffalo gentes,) among
the Ponka; the Maⁿyiñka (Earth) and Wasabe (Black bear), of the Kansa;
the Earth and Black bear of the Osage; Black bear, and perhaps Wolf,
among the Iowa and Oto; Black bear, of the Missouri; and Black bear
and Wolf of the Winnebago. The Black bear people of the Winnebago were
the only men of that tribe who enforced discipline in time of war and
acted as policemen when there was peace. The tradition of the Winnebago
Wolf gens names four brothers that were created. The first was green
[sic] and was named Blue Sky (referring to day). The second was black,
and his name referred to night. The third was white and the fourth
was gray. The green, black, and white wolves have remained in their
subterranean abodes. They are never seen by mankind. The gray wolf was
the ancestor of all the wolves which are seen above ground. (See § 90.)
These four colors are evidently symbolic; but the author has not yet
learned whether they have any reference to the four quarters. (See §

                            THE FIRE POWERS.

§ 384. Among these were the Thunder-beings and the Sun. The former were
usually considered maleficent powers, as distinguished from the Sun,
the beneficent Fire power; but occasionally the Thunder-beings were
addressed as “grandfathers,” who could be induced to gratify the wishes
of the suppliants by granting them success in war (§§ 35, 36). It was
probably with reference to the Sun that the East was considered the
source of light and life, the West being associated with the taking of
life in the chase or on the war path (see § 28). Red among the Omaha
is the color symbol of the East, but red is also symbolic of war. The
“fire paint” among the T[s]iɔu gentes of the Osage tribe is red. It
is applied when the fire prayers are said. Red is a war color among
the Dakota, Omaha, Kansa, and Osage. The T[s]iɔu crier received in his
left hand a knife with the handle painted red. The Hañʞa crier received
in his right hand a hatchet with the handle reddened. On the death
of a comrade the surviving Osage removed the bark from a post oak,
say, about 5 feet from the ground, painted the blazed tree red, broke
four arrows and left them and some paint by the tree.[308] Whenever
the author saw Pahaⁿle-gaqli, one of the war chiefs of the Kansa, he
noticed that the man’s face was painted red all over. In the middle of
the war chart of Pahaⁿle-gaqli was a fire symbol; but the chief feared
to represent it in the copy which he made for the author. It probably
consisted of the four firebrands placed at right angles and meeting at
a common center. The Omaha must have had such a symbol at one time (see
§ 33). The Osage had it, according to their tradition (see §§ 40, 365).
The successful warriors among the Omaha could redden their weapons when
they joined in the dance.[309]

The Dakota give the following as the sentinels for the Wakinyan: The
deer at the north, the butterfly at the east, the beaver at the south,
and the bear at the west (§ 116). If these were arranged to conform to
the order of Fig. 194 the bear would be at the north, the beaver at the
west, the deer at the east, and the butterfly at the south. But there
may be a special order of grouping the servants of each class of powers
differing from the order of the four powers themselves. The Dakota
wakan men say that the Wakinyan are of four colors, black, yellow,
scarlet, and blue (§ 116). The Thunder men of the Omaha legend had hair
of different colors, the first having white hair, the second red, the
third yellow, and the fourth green hair.[310]

                              FIRE GENTES.

The following appear to be the Fire gentes: Thunder-being people of the
Omaha tribe, Elk gens, Small-bird subgens, Deer, and Ictasanda (Reptile
and Thunder-being) gentes; the Hisada and Black bear gentes of the
Ponka; the Lṵ or Gray hawk people (also called Thunder-being people)
of the Kansa tribe, with whom are associated the Deer and Buffalo
gentes in the singing of the Thunder songs (§ 36); the [K]ȼŭⁿ[311] or
Thunder-being gens, on the Tsiɔu, Buffalo, or Peace side of the Osage
tribe (!!), perhaps the Tcexiʇa, a bird gens of the Iowa tribe; part of
the Tcexiʇa gens of the Oto and Missouri tribes; and the Wakaⁿtcară or
Thunder-being subgens of the Winnebago.

Four Thunder-beings were invoked by the Ictasanda gens (§ 35):
Ȼigȼize-maⁿȼiⁿ, Ȼiaⁿba-tigȼe, Ȼiaⁿba-gi-naⁿ, and Gaagigȼedaⁿ. Was each
of these supposed to dwell at one of the four quarters?

Among the Osage and Kansa tribes there is a gens known as the Miⁿ k’iⁿ
(from miⁿ, the sun, and k’iⁿ, to carry a load on the back), rendered
“Sun Carriers.” Some of the Osage insisted that this name referred
to the buffalo instead of the sun, as that animal carries a robe or
plenty of hair on his back; and they maintained that the Miⁿ k’iⁿ was a
buffalo gens. That there is some connection in the Indian mind between
the sun and the buffalo is shown in the sun dance, in which the figure
of a buffalo bull (§ 164) and buffalo skulls (§§ 147, 173, 176, 177,
181, and 198, and Pl. XLVIII) play important parts.

                            THE WIND-MAKERS.

§ 385. The Takuśkanśkan of the Dakotas has been described in a previous
chapter (§§ 127-131). The Omaha tribe has the order of the Iⁿ-kugȼi or
the translucent stone, in which order the Wind-makers were probably
invoked. The T[s]iɔu old man addressed the four winds and as many
mystic buffaloes when he laid down the four firebrands. And at a
similar ceremony the old man of the Paⁿɥka gens addressed the four
winds and as many mystic deer (§ 33). The Omaha evidently had a prayer,
“Ho, ye four firebrands that meet at a common point!” (§ 40.) With this
there may have been addresses to the winds. Four firebrands were used
in a Winnebago ceremony (§ 84).

The Iñke-sabĕ (Omaha) belief as to the four winds has been related in
§ 366.[312] The winds and the sun were associated in the ceremony of
raising the sun pole, judging from what Bushotter has written (§ 167).
There was also some connection in the Dakota mind between the winds
and the buffalo. Compare the figure of the winds on a buffalo skull as
described by Miss Fletcher[313] in her account of the sun dance.

                              WIND GENTES.

The following social divisions are assigned to this category:
The [K]aⁿze, or Wind people, and the ┴e-[p]a-it‘ajĭ,
Touch-not-a-buffalo-skull, or Eagle people, of the Omaha tribe; the
Ȼixida and Nika[p]aɔna gentes of the Ponka; the Kaⁿze (Wind or South
Wind-people), Qüya (White eagle), Ghost, and perhaps the Large Hañga
(Black eagle), among the Kansa; the Kaⁿ[s]e (also called the Wind and
South Wind people), and perhaps the Hañʞa utaȼanʇ[s]e (Black eagle)
gens of the Osage; the Pigeon and Buffalo gentes of the Iowa and Oto
tribes; the Hawk and Momi (Small bird) subgentes of the Missouri tribe;
the Eagle and Pigeon, and perhaps the Hawk subgens of the Winnebago
Bird gens.


Each wind or quarter is reckoned as three by the Dakota[314] and
presumably by the Osage (see § 42), making the four quarters equal to
twelve. Can there be any reference here to a belief in three worlds,
the one in which we live, an upper world, and a world beneath this
one? Or were the winds divided into three classes, those close to the
ground, those in mid air, and those very high in the air? The Kansa
seem to make some such distinction, judging from the names of the
divisions of the Kaⁿze or Wind gens of that tribe.


References to a world supposed to be above that one in which we
dwell occur in some of the personal names of the Dakota, in the U.
S. Census list of 1880. There we find such names as, Wolf Up-above,
Hawk Up-above, Grizzly-bear Up-above, and Buffalo-bull Up-above.
Grizzly-bear Up-above should be taken in connection with the tradition
of the Black-bear people of the Osage tribe. These people tell how
their ancestors descended from the upper world, bringing fire.[315]
The tradition of the Wolf people of the Winnebago tribe tells of the
creation of their ancestors as wolves in a subterranean world, and of
a belief that many wolves remain there still. The Winnebago have, too,
the name, Second Earth Person, referring to a waktceqi or watermonster,
as the waktceqi are supposed to dwell in the world beneath this one.
They call this world The First World, and the subterranean one The
Second World.

                           THE WATER POWERS.

§ 386. The Unkteḣi of the Dakota answers to the Wakandagi of the Omaha
and Ponka, and the Waktceqi of the Winnebago. One of the Omaha myths
relates to a Wakandagi with seven heads. The Waktceqi have the Loon as
a servant, and in this respect they resemble the tyrant U-twa´-ʞe of
the ┴ɔiwere myth. The name utwaʞe is now given to the muskrat. The male
Water powers inhabit streams, and the females dwell under the ground,
presumably in subterranean streams. According to Winnebago belief, they
support the weight of the hills. Some of the Omaha thought that these
powers dwelt under the hills (§§ 77, 107). The monsters supposed to
inhabit bogs were probably a species of water spirits (§ 254). Streams
were invoked as “Wakanda” by the Omaha (§ 23). Though the natural
habitat of the buffalo is the surface of the earth, and the Dakota
believe the animal to be of subterranean origin, he is of subaquatic
origin according to the traditions of the Iñke-sabĕ and Hañga gentes of
the Omaha.[316] But no traces of such a belief have been found among
the buffalo gentes of cognate tribes. “One day, when the principal man
of the people not known as the Waȼigije subgens of the Iñke-sabĕ, was
fasting and praying to the sun-god,[317] he saw the ghost of a buffalo,
visible from the flank up, arising from a spring.”[318]

                             WATER PEOPLE.

The Water people among the Omaha are the Turtle subgens, parts (if
not all) of the Iñke-sabĕ and Hañga (Buffalo) gentes, and perhaps
a part of the Ictasanda gens. Those among the Ponka have not yet
been ascertained; but they may be the Wajaje and part of the Hisada.
Among the Kansa they are the Turtle people. In the Osage tribe are
the Turtle Carriers, Ke ʞatsü (said to be a turtle, but probably a
Water-monster), Fish, Beaver, and, perhaps, the Tsewaȼe or Pond Lily
people. Among the Iowa and Oto are the Beaver gentes. And the Winnebago
have the Water-monster gens.

                         CAUTIONS AND QUERIES.

§ 387. There are many gentes and subgentes which can not be assigned to
any of the four categories of elemental powers for want of evidence. It
is unsafe to argue that, because two buffalo gentes of the Omaha claim
a subaquatic origin, all buffalo gentes should be regarded as Water
people. Certain cautions should be kept in mind.

§ 388. The power of each of the four classes of elemental gods extends
beyond its special element. For instance, the Unkteḣi, who rules in
the water, has for his servants or allies, the black owl in the forest
(Query: Has this any connection with the fire or thunder?), eagles in
the air, and serpents in the earth. And the Thunder-beings have as
their servants, the bear, whose abode is in the ground, the beaver, who
is associated with the water, the butterfly, who lives in the air; and
the deer.

§ 389. The servants of a class of elemental gods do not necessarily
belong to that element which those gods regulate. Thus, the Black
bear people of the Omaha, an earth people, assist the Elk people in
the worship of the Thunder; and among the Kansa, the Buffalo people
perform a similar service for the Lṵ or Thunder-being people (§§ 35,

Those who belong to the same phratry, belong to the same social
division; but while they “sing the mystery songs together,” they need
not be assigned to the same elemental category.

§ 390. As the order of Thunder shamans is composed of those who have
had dreams or visions of the sun, moon, stars, Thunder-beings, or some
other superterrestial objects or phenomena, may not all superterrestial
beings, including those of the “upper world,” be regarded as
Thunder-beings by the Indians? (See § 45 and the Thunder-being names in
§ 393.)

That is to say, may not the eagles, and other birds of the “upper
world” be Eagle Thunder-beings, Crow Thunder-beings, etc., though their
special element is not the fire but the “wind-makers,” and the grizzly
bears who reside under ground in that upper world, have given rise to
the personal name, Grizzly-bear Thunder-being? If this be correct, then
Bowlder Thunder-being may refer to a bowlder in the upper world, unless
the supposition respecting composite names (in § 392) be true.

§ 391. The following appears at first sight to be the proper
classification of the subgentes of a Bird gens in a few of the
Siouan tribes: Thunder-bird, Eagle, Hawk, and Pigeon. But a study of
personal names has led to a modification of this grouping: for we find
such names as Eagle Thunder-being, Hawk Thunder-being, and Pigeon
Thunder-being, as distinguished from ordinary eagles, hawks, and
pigeons. Hence, we may find on further study that in some tribes there
are eagle, hawk, and pigeon names for gentes and subgentes whose patron
gods are Thunder-beings. For instance, the Lṵ gens of the Kansa tribe
has two names for itself, Ledaⁿ nikaciⁿga, Gray hawk People, and Lṵ
nikaciⁿga, Thunder-being People.

                            COMPOSITE NAMES.

§ 392. There are other composite names, most of which are found in the
census lists of the Dakota tribes, whose gentes are said to have no
animal names, and a few have been obtained from the personal name lists
of the Omaha, Ponka, and Kansa, and the census lists of the Mandan, and
Hidatsa, that give animal names to some or all of their gentes. In the
Winnebago name list no such personal names have been found, though that
people has animal names for its gentes.

Each of these composite names may refer to a vision of a composite
being, who was subsequently regarded as the guardian spirit of the
person who had the dream or vision. Or the bearer of such a name may
have had a dream or vision of two distinct powers. In the pictograph of
such a name, the powers (or symbols of the two powers) represented in
the name are joined (see § 374).

§ 393. The following is a list of composite names which may be found
to symbolize the four elements. The elements are designated by their
respective abbreviations: E for earth, F for fire; A for air, and W for
water. The interrogation mark after any name denotes a provisional or
conjectural assignment.

     Turtle Grizzly-bear (W + E).
     Grizzly-bear Small-bird (E + A).
     Cloud Grizzly-bear (F? + E).
     Grizzly-bear Buffalo-bull (E + ?).
     Fire Grizzly-bear (F + E).
     Sun Grizzly-bear (F + E).
     Ghost Grizzly-bear (? + E).
     Grizzly-bear Weasel, given as “Weasel Bear” in 4th An. Rept. Bur.
       Eth., Pl. LXIX, No. 174.
     Iron Grizzly-bear (“Iron” is generally denoted by blue in the
       Dakota pictographs. See § 107.)
     Bald-eagle Grizzly-bear (A? + E).
     Shield Grizzly-bear. (The shield is on the bear’s side, 4th Eth.,
       Pl. LXIII, No. 62.)
     Crow Grizzly-bear.
     Whirlwind Grizzly-bear. (The whirlwind precedes in the pictograph,
       4th Eth., Pl. LVIII, No. 77.)
     Hawk Thunder-being.
     Pigeon Thunder-being. (A ┴ɔiwere name--not yet found in Dakota.)
     Buffalo-bull Thunder-being.
     Grizzly-bear Thunder-being (E + F).
     Fire Thunder-being (F + F).
     Elk Thunder-being.
     Pipe Thunder-being. (4th Eth., Pl. LXXI, No. 179, a winged pipe.)
     Cloud Thunder-being.
     Horse Thunder-being.
     Iron Thunder-being. (See § 107.)
     Earth Thunder-being (E + F.)
     Black-Bird Eagle.
     Eagle Hawk. (4th Eth., Pl. LVI, No. 53.)
     Eagle Small-bird. (4th Eth., Pl. LXVI, No. 116.)
     Grizzly-bear Eagle. (4th Eth., Pl. LXIX, No. 170; a bear with an
       eagle’s tail.)
     Horse Eagle. (4th Eth., Pl. LXVIII, No. 153; horse body and
       eagle’s tail.)
     Dog Eagle. (4th Eth., Pl. LII, No. 9; dog with eagle’s tail.)
     Eagle Swallow. (4th Eth., Pl. LXXIX, No. 282; eagle with forked
       tail of a swallow).
     Cloud Eagle.
     Iron Deer.
     Cloud Dog.
     Buffalo-bull Small-bird.
     Mountain Buffalo-bull.
     Crow Buffalo-bull.
     Buffalo-bull Dog.
     Cloud Buffalo-bull.
     Buffalo-bull Man (i. e., Indian).
     Buffalo-bull Ghost.
     Stone Buffalo-bull.
     Buffalo-bull Buffalo-cow (the only name in which both sexes are
     Iron Buffalo-bull. (See § 107.)
     Buffalo-bull Wind.
     Buffalo-cow Eagle.
     Iron Buffalo. (N. B.--It is uncertain to which element the buffalo
       should be assigned. He seems to be associated with all of them.)
     Sun-dog (F? + E?).
     Eagle Thunder-Being (A? + F).
     Elk Eagle. (4th Eth., Pl. LXX, No. 178; an elk’s horns and eagle’s
     Sun Eagle (F + A).
     Star Eagle (F? + A).
     Stone Eagle (E? + A).
     Iron Eagle.
     Crow Eagle.
     Owl Eagle.
     Weasel Eagle.
     Grizzly-bear Hawk.
     Fire Hawk.
     Scarlet Hawk Whirlwind.
     Hawk Ghost.
     Iron Hawk. (4th Eth., Pl. LVI, No. 47; the hawk is blue.)
     Iron Wolf.
     Wolf Ghost.
     Fire Wind (F + A).
     Fire Lightning.
     Iron Lightning.
     Iron Star.
     Iron Boy. (4th Eth., Pl. LVIII, No. 81; a boy painted blue.)
     Iron Crow. (4th Eth., Pl. LVI, No. 47; a crow painted blue.)
     Crow Ghost.
     Iron Elk.
     Female-elk Boy. (4th Eth., Pl. LVII, No. 66; the head and
       shoulders of a boy joined to a female elk.)
     Iron Dog.
     Dog Ghost.
     Bowlder Thunder-Being (E + F).
     Iron Whirlwind.
     Iron Beaver.
     Small-bird Beaver.
     Iron Owl.
     Cloud Hail.
     Iron Cloud.
     Fire Cloud.
     Iron Wind.
     Stone Ghost.
     Cloud Black-bear.
     Hermaphrodite Ghost(!)
     Iron Kingfisher.
     Cloud Horse.
     Iron Horse.
     Lightning Horse.
     Earth (or Ground) Horse.
     Wind Horse.
     Fire Horse.
     Black-bird Horse.
     Small-bird Man (or, Indian; 4th Eth., Pl. LIV, No. 28; bird’s head
       and wings on a man’s body).
     Dog Rattlesnake.

There are several “Waśićun” names: Cloud Waśićun, Fire
Waśićun, Night Waśićun, and Iron Waśićun. The last
one has for its pictograph a man with a hat, i. e., a white man, and
can hardly have any mystic significance. The name, Waśićun,
originally meant “guardian spirit,” but it is now applied to white
people (§ 122). In the absence of the pictographs, we can not
tell whether Cloud Waśićun, Fire Waśićun, and Night
Waśićun refer to guardian spirits (in which case they are mystic
names connected with cults) or to white men.

Most of the above names are taken from the Dakota census lists. The
┴ɔiwere lists furnish only two composite names of this character: Iron
Hawk Female, and Pigeon Thunder-being. The Kansa list has Moon Hawk
and Moon Hawk Female, the latter name, which is found in the Omaha
and Ponka list, suggesting the Egyptian figure of a woman’s body with
a hawk’s head, surmounted by a crescent moon. Horse Eagle appears to
be a sort of Pegasus. Buffalo-bull Eagle may refer to the myth of the
Orphan and the Buffalo-woman, in which we learn that the Buffalo people
ascended through the air to the upper world.[319]


§ 394. The Dakota lists have several names of horned beings, as
follows: Horned Grizzly-bear, Horned Horse (4th Eth., Pl. LIV, No.
29, and Pl. LXXI, No. 193), Horned Dog, Horned Eagle, Gray Horned
Thunder-Being, Horned Deer, Black Horned Boy, and Snake Horn. No
attempt to explain these names has been made. Among the Winnebago, the
following names refer to water monsters, and belong to the Waktceqi
or Water-monster gens: Horn on one side (equivalent to the Dakota,
He-saŋnića), Horns on both sides, Two Horns, Four Horns, and
Five Horns.

The Winnebago list has the name Four Women (in one), with which compare
what has been said about the Double-Woman (§ 251).


An examination of the personal name lists reveals such names as First
or One Grizzly-bear, Two Grizzly-bears, Three Grizzly-bears, Four
Grizzly-bears, Many Grizzly-bears; One Path, Two Paths, Four Paths
Female, Many Paths; One Cloud, Two Clouds, Three Clouds, Many Clouds;
One Crow, Two Crows, Three Crows, Four Crows, Many Crows. The author
suspects that these names and many others of a similar character are
symbolic of the four quarters and of the upper and lower worlds, and
that the Indian who was named after the larger number of mystic objects
enjoyed the protection of more spirits than did he whose name referred
to the smaller number. This accords with the Cherokee notion described
by Mr. Mooney in his article on the Cherokee theory and practice of
medicine:[320] The shaman is represented as calling first on the Red
Hawk from the east, then on the Blue Hawk in the north, the two hawks
accomplishing more by working together. Still more is effected when the
Black Hawk from the west joins them, and a complete victory is won when
the White Hawk from the south joins the others.

Compare with this the Osage opinion that the man who could show seven
sticks (representing seven brave or generous deeds) was of more
importance than he who could show only six sticks.


§ 395. In two of the buffalo gentes of the Omaha (the Iñke-sabĕ
and Hañga) there is a belief that the spirits of deceased members of
those gentes return to the buffaloes. Does the abode of the disembodied
spirit differ in the gentes according to the nature of the eponymic
ancestor? For instance, is there a belief among the Elk people that
their spirits at death return to the ancestral Elk?


§ 396. In several tribes there seems to have been a division of labor
among the gentes and subgentes, that is, each social division of the
tribe had its special religious duties.

In the Omaha tribe we find the following: the Elk gens regulated war;
it kept the war tent, war pipes, and the bag containing poisons; it
invoked the Thunder-being, who was supposed to be the god of war, and
it sent out the scouts. The Iñke-sabĕ and Hañga gentes were the leading
peace gentes; they regulated the buffalo hunt and the cultivation
of the soil. The Hañga gens had the control of the peace pipes, and
a member of that gens lighted the pipes on all ceremonial occasions
except at the time of the anointing of the sacred pole.[321] The
Iñke-sabĕ gens kept the peace pipes, and a member of that gens acted as
crier on many occasions, the other crier being a member of the [K]aⁿze
or Wind gens. An Ictasanda man usually filled and emptied the pipes;
but a Hañga man filled them when the sacred pole was anointed. The
┴e-[p]a-it‘ajĭ keeper of a sacred pipe really kept instead the sacred
tobacco pouch and buffalo skull. The Iñke-sabĕ and ┴e-[p]a-it‘ajĭ
keepers carried the two pipes around the circle of chiefs. The Black
bear people aided the Elk people in the worship of the Thunder-being in
the spring of the year.

§ 397. The following division of labor existed in the Ponka tribe:
The Wasabe-hit‘ajĭ and Hisada gentes led in the worship of the
Thunder-being. The Ȼixida and Nika[p]aɔna gentes led in war. The
Wacabe, Makaⁿ, and Nuqe, all buffalo gentes, regulated the buffalo
hunt. The Wajaje (Reptile people) with whom used to be the Necta or Owl
people, appear to have been servants of the subaquatic powers.

§ 398. In the Kansa tribe we find that the Earth Lodge and Elk
gentes consecrated the mystic fireplaces whenever a new village was
established; that the Earth Lodge people consecrated the corn, and
regulated the buffalo hunt as well as farming; that the Elk people
directed the attack on the buffalo herd; that the Ghost people
announced all deaths; that the two Hañga gentes led in war and in
mourning for the dead; that the Tciju wactage was a peace-making gens;
that a member of the Deer gens was the crier for the tribe; that the
member of the Lṵ or Thunder-being gens could not take part in the
waqpele gaxe. (§ 28) and must remain in the rear of the other warriors
on such an occasion; and that the Wind people, who had to pitch their
tents in the rear of the other gentes had a ceremony which they
performed whenever there was a blizzard (§ 55).

§ 399. In the author’s account of Osage war customs he relates the
following incidents: On the first day of preparation for the warpath
the Black bear people bring willows and kindle a fire outside the war
tent. On the same day some other Hañʞa people deposit branches of dried
willow in some place out of sight of the war tent, and the Ȼuqe men
(part of the Buffalo-bull gens) bring in those branches. On the next
day men of the Night gens (a sort of Black bear people) set the willow
branches on fire, and they and the Elder Osage people say prayers.
After this there is a struggle to secure pieces of the charcoal. An
Elk man and a Kaⁿ[s]e man act as criers. On the third day an Osage man
brings in the sacred bag for the Hañʞa or Waɔaɔe mourner (the gens of
each man is not specified, but both men belong to the right or war
side of the tribe), and a Sinʇ[s]aʞȼe man brings in a like bag for the
mourner belonging to the T[s]iɔu or peace side of the tribe. On the
fourth day a woman of a Buffalo gens on the right or Hañʞa side of the
tribe lays down two strips of buffalo hide so that the warriors may
take the first step on the warpath. After the warriors start, a Ȼuqe
man is taken ahead of them in order to perform some ceremony which has
not been recorded.

On the return of the war party the warriors are met outside of the
village by an old man of the Kaⁿ[s]e or Wind gens. He performs certain
ceremonies as he walks around the party (beginning at the north and
ending at the east), and then he tells them whether they can enter the
village. The clothing of the returning warriors becomes the property of
the old Kaⁿ[s]e man and his attendant.

The Kaⁿ[s]e gens of the Osage tribe is called the I[p]ats‘ĕ, because
it devolves on a member of that gens to fill the peace pipes. The
corresponding gens of the Kaⁿze tribe is called Ibatc‘ĕ or Hañga-jiñga.

                          THE “MESSIAH CRAZE.”

§ 400. Since the present article was begun there has arisen the
so-called “Messiah craze” among the Dakota and other tribes of Indians.
The author does not feel competent to describe this new form of Indian
religion, but he suspects that some features of it are either willful
or accidental perversions of the teachings of the missionaries.

       *       *       *       *       *

§ 401. In presenting this study of Siouan cults to the scientific world
the author has a painful sense of its incompleteness, but he hopes
that the facts here fragmentarily collated may prove helpful to future
investigators. The inferences, provisional assumptions, and suggestive
queries in this chapter are not published as final results. Even should
any of them prove to be erroneous the author’s labor will not be in
vain, for through the correction of his mistakes additional information
will be collected, tending to the attainment of the truth, which should
be the aim of all mankind.


[Footnote 277: Rev. S. D. Peet, on the tradition of aborigines of North
America, in Jour. Vict. Inst., Vol. XXI, pp. 229-247.]

[Footnote 278: Ibid., p. 232.]

[Footnote 279: Ibid., p. 233.]

[Footnote 280: Om. Soc., 3d Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethnol., §§ 136, 137.]

[Footnote 281: Ibid., §§ 19, 21, 31, 97, etc.]

[Footnote 282: See Am. Naturalist, July, 1885, pp. 673, 674, Figs. 3
and 4.]

[Footnote 283: The reader is cautioned against supposing that “air” as
used in this section is employed in the scientific sense, because the
Indians were ignorant of the nature of the atmosphere. They distinguish
between the “Something-that-moves” (which we term the “Wind-maker,”
“Wind-makers” in the plural) and the winds, and they also had distinct
names for the clouds and “upper world.” They also had special names for
the Four Quarters (Dakota, tatuye topa; Ȼegiha, tade uiȼĕ dubaha).]

[Footnote 284: See § 33 where there is an account of the invocation of
the winds at the consecration of the fireplaces.]

[Footnote 285: The Omaha Buffalo Medicine-Men, in Jour. Amer.
Folk-lore, No. X, p. 219, and note.]

[Footnote 286: It is interesting to observe in this connection that the
Director of the Bureau of Ethnology, in an address entitled “Outlines
of the philosophy of the North American Indians.” New York, 1877, (p.
10), spoke of “the god of the south, whose breath is the winds.”]

[Footnote 287: Am. Naturalist, July, 1885, p. 676.]

[Footnote 288: An. Rept. Peabody Museum, vol. III, p. 267.]

[Footnote 289: Ibid, p. 268.]

[Footnote 290: Ibid, pp. 272, 273.]

[Footnote 291: Om. Soc., 3d An. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p. 242.]

[Footnote 292: Osage War Customs, in Am. Naturalist, Feb., 1884, pp.
131, 132.]

[Footnote 293: The west and north are supposed to be the peace
quarters, and the east and south the war quarters. See Fig. 194 and §

[Footnote 294: Om. Soc., p. 299.]

[Footnote 295: Contr. to N. A. Ethnol., vol. IX, Dakota Grammar, Texts,
and Ethnography, p. 193.]

[Footnote 296: Ibid., p. 197.]

[Footnote 297: From Renville’s account of the tiyotipi, in ibid., pp.
200, 202.]

[Footnote 298: Om. Soc., p. 317. Osage War Customs, pp. 118, 119, 124,

[Footnote 299: Contr. N. A. Ethnol., vol. VI, The Ȼegiha Language, p.

[Footnote 300: The author accepts this without hesitation.]

[Footnote 301: Yet these feathers and down are often colored: see §§
112, 116, 132, 239, 242, and 263.]

[Footnote 302: An. Rept. Peabody Museum, Vol. III, p. 285, note 10.
Written in 1882.]

[Footnote 303: An. Rept. Peabody Museum, Vol. III, p. 260.]

[Footnote 304: As it was customary for gentes of the same phratry to
exchange personal names, a (Kansa) Deer name, for instance, being given
to a (Kansa) Buffalo man, and _vice versa_, the author thinks that an
exchange of symbolic colors might be expected. Compare what Matthews
tells about the exchange of white and black among the Navajo, in § 380.]

[Footnote 305: Winona, name of the first child if a daughter, not
“first daughter.”]

[Footnote 306: Osage Traditions, in 6th An. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p. 379.]

[Footnote 307: Om. Soc., in 3d An. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 223, 224.]

[Footnote 308: Osage war customs, in Am. Naturalist, Feb., 1884, pp.
118, 126, 132.]

[Footnote 309: Om. Soc., in 3d An. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 329, 330.]

[Footnote 310: Contr. N. A. Ethn., Vol. VI, p. 187.]

[Footnote 311: A Kansa saying: Lṵ, Tcedŭñga, Taqtci aba cki wanaxe
kinukiye, abe au, _They say that the Thunder-being, Buffalo, and Deer
gentes cause a ghost to “kinu,”_ referring to some effect on a ghost
which can not be explained.]

[Footnote 312: Om. Soc., in 3d An. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p. 229.]

[Footnote 313: Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci. Proc., Vol. 31, p. 583. See, too,
An. Rept. Peabody Museum, Vol. III, p. 262, lines 15-18.]

[Footnote 314: Compare An. Rept. Peabody Museum, Vol. 3, p. 289, note

[Footnote 315: Osage War Customs, in Amer. Naturalist, Feb. 1884, p.

[Footnote 316: Om. Soc., in 3d. An. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 229, 233.]

[Footnote 317: Symbolizing the fire.]

[Footnote 318: This seems to point to a subaquatic origin. See Om.
Soc., p. 231.]

[Footnote 319: Contr. N. A. Ethn., Vol. VI, pp. 142, 146.]

[Footnote 320: Jour. Am. Folk-lore, Vol. III, No. VIII, pp. 49, 50.]

[Footnote 321: Om. Soc., in 3d An. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 222, 223.]

       *       *       *       *       *


In the Indian language as presented here, as in English, there are
hyphenated words. In the original, some hyphens occurred at the end
of a line. E.g., in § 28., there appears the word ‘gü´aⁿyakiyé-’ at
the end of a line, followed on the next line by ‘daⁿ’. In cases like
this, where it is not possible to determine by looking at similar words
whether the word contained a hyphen or was simply split over two lines,
the hyphen has been retained and a note has been added.

Inconsistencies in diacritical marks have been corrected when there is
an overwhelming majority of examples of a given word having the same
marks, as in the case of “Uuçita” which appears three times with a dot
under the “c” and once without, and left as is otherwise.

The same is true for inconsistencies in spelling.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been retained.

Obvious mistakes in punctuation have been corrected.

Most of the sections in the original started with a section sign (§)
followed by a space followed by the section number. A few were missing
the space; the space has been put in all sections, for consistency.

Some of the illustrations had explanatory text both above and below
the image; that is depicted here like this:

[Text which was above the image]
[Text which was below the image]]

In Footnote 4 there is a reference to what must be “Myth, Ritual, and
Religion” by Andrew Lang; the original has “Myth.  Ritual, and

On p. 376 there is a quotation starting “On one occasion...” Because of
injudicious use of quotation marks, it is impossible to tell where the
quotation ends.

On p. 375, the quotation of Samuel Fremont about the word “abicude” is
not closed; it cannot be determined whether he spoke one sentence or

In footnote 27 there is a mark after the ‘k’ in the third word. It may
be an accent mark or it may be the closing single quote used to
describe an “exploded k” as described in § 3. It does not look much
like either. But as there are no other instances of an accent mark
after a ‘k’ in the book, it has arbitrarily been made a closing single

On p. 384, the “Translation” had a double-quote (”) at the end but not
at the beginning; as there are double-quotes within the translation,
the double-quote at the end has been removed.

On p. 390, in § 41, the phrase “you do not acquire personal mysterious
power” had “myterious” in the original.

On p. 391, in § 42, the phrase “what Matthews tells about the Hidatsa
reverence” had “tell” in the original.

On p. 402, in § 48, the phrase “they themselves have not had visions of
the objects” had “obects” in the original.

On p. 410, about “OMAHA NIKIE CUSTOMS”, there were seven footnotes,
numbered 1 to 7, but the anchors appeared in the order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 7, 5. They are now numbered 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, and 66, and the
anchors appear in the order 60. 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 64. That
is, two separate places in the text have pointers to footnote 64.

On p. 431, in § 93, the word “counter-beliefs” was split over two
lines: “counter-” and “beliefs”. “Counter-beliefs” was arbitrarily
chosen over “counterbeliefs”.

On p. 436, in § 101, the phrase “some other part of it is sacrificed by
the person” had “sacrified” in the original.

On p. 436, in § 101, in the phrase “and is always constant with
individuals” had “individuls” in the original.

On p. 449 there is a quotation from Smet starting “the Great Spirit, to
the sun”; there is no ending quotation mark for this.

On p. 455, in § 160, the word “horseback” was split over two lines in
the original: “horse-” and “back”. “horseback” was arbitrarily chosen
over “horse-back”.

In footnote 157 the original had “Bept.” instead of “Rept.”

Footnote 201, “Western Missions and Missionaries, p. 140” has two

On p. 479, there is a section numbered 231 between section 249 and
section 250. It starts: “One of the Dakota myths tells how Unktomi
killed himself”.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Study of Siouan Cults - Eleventh Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the - Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1889-1890, - Government Printing Office, Washington, 1861, pages 351-544" ***

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