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Wah-kee-nah and her people. The curious customs, traditions, and legends of the North American Indians Strong, James C[lark] 1893

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The Knickerbocker Press 
1893 COPYRIGHT, 1893 
Entered at Stationers' Hall, London
By G. P. Putnam's Sons

Elect retyped, Printed and Bound by
The Knickerbocker Press. New York
G. P. Putnam's Sons PREFACE.
WHEN the white man first came to make his
home in the New World, that portion of it
which now constitutes the United States
and its Territories was inhabited by probably upwards of a million Indians, who, so far as we know,
were the aborigines of the country. Their numbers
are now reduced to about two hundred and fifty
thousand, and none of these can be properly called
"Wild Indians," as all of them are now gathered
upon reservations, under the charge of agents of the
United States, and supplied at certain periods, with
food and clothing furnished by the Government.
Those in British Columbia are also gathered upon
reservations and cared for by the Canadian Government.
I began to live among the Indians upon the Pacific
Coast in 1850, learned one of their languages, and for
six years travelled with and among them.
Like most others who have lived with them and
become familiar with their folk-lore, habits, and home
life, my sympathies became strongly enlisted in their
behalf. The exceptions to this state of feeling I
have found chiefly among those who, living with or
in IV
near them, have coveted their land, and as a rule
scrupled at nothing as a means of obtaining it; and,
to ease their conscience, or justify their conduct,
have decried and vilified the Indian as a monster in
human shape which they were justified in exterminating.
It does not seem to me that these are as competent
to testify to the true character of the Indian as those
who have lived among them as friends, with no motive other than that of studying this remarkable but
unfortunate primitive race.
This book was begun at the solicitation of friends,
who desired me to put in writing my experience
among the " Wild Indians' of forty years ago, together with the traditions and legends related to me
by their aged men and women, whose memories ran
back to a time when no white man had made his
appearance upon the Pacific Coast, except in Alaska.
In doing this, and as I recalled my life among the
Indians and remembered that wherever I had found
them in their primitive state they were kind and
hospitable, always more ready to do a favor than an
injury, the question forced itself upon me, Why is it
that after a short association with the whites, these
people became changed in character ? and this question has led to a review of the treatment received by
them at the hands of the white men. In this I have
endeavored to look upon the events narrated, from
the Indian's point of view—through his eyes, as it
were,—and thus to appreciate more clearly the natural
effect which such events would be likely to have upon
s^ Preface.
the feelings and actions of any other man in his
I have written of these people as I have found
them in my life among them; have related my personal experience with them; and have treated of
their habits, customs, traditions, and legends as I
have seen and heard them.
Although not originally written for publication, I
have concluded to place these pages before my
countrymen and countrywomen, hoping that they
may not only entertain the reader, but also serve to
lessen the blame attached to the Indian for the acts
of retaliation (often savage and brutal, it must be
admitted) which the white man's treatment of him
has incited; and with the further hope of inducing
those who read, to think upon one of the great questions of the day—how to solve the Indian problem.
Much that is herein written has been gathered
from original sources and personal experience; but
for the brief outlines of Indian history from the time
that these people first became known to the white
man down to the year 1850, I am indebted to the
historians of the American continent—an indebtedness which I take pleasure in thus generally
I have called this book | Wah-kee-nah and Her
People," in grateful memory of a beautiful Indian
maiden who saved my life at imminent risk of her
own, and whose story forms a brief episode herein.
J. C. s.
Buffalo, N. Y,  •flu.
Introduction—Character   of  primitive   Indians—Interesting
incidents—Massacre of the Pequots—King Philip's war.    .       .      i
Incidents continued—Effect upon the Indians—Sources of
trouble—Capt. John Smith and Pocahontas—Marriage and death
of the Indian princess—Indian chief killed for taking a tin can
to make a tobacco-box—The Ho-de-no-sau-nee, Iroquois, or Six
Nations—Their "totems"—Wampum belts, how made; their
use—Progress in agriculture—Councils—The calumet and its
use—Councils for the women—Marriage—Indian's argument in
favor of easy divorce.        .        .        .        .        .
Dances—Ancient war dance—Liberating a live bird as a part
of the burial ceremony—Religious belief—A chief's reason for
not embracing the white man's religion—Totem or record post—
Game of ball with the Eries—Foot-race—Wrestling for life—
The vanquished tomahawked by his infuriated chief—Battle between the Eries and the Iroquois—Sa-go-ye-wat-ta—His speech
—Tah-gah-jute—His love for the whites—His family butchered
--His revenge—His speech.      .......
29 Vlll
Superstitions—Soi-en-ga-rah-ta's dream—How he was outwitted—Joseph Brant, the Mohawk chieftain—How he saved
the lives of the white women and children after the battle of
Springfield—Indian's dress—How it was made before the whites
came—How ornamented—Children — Pappoose board, how
carried and how disposed of—Indians west of the Iroquois—
Their habits—Simon Kenton—How he stole the Indians' horses
—How he was captured—Running the gauntlet—His escape—
Western tribes—Their religious belief—Their war dance—Other
GclllCCS* ••••••••••
The Sioux, or Dakotas—Their strength—Weapons—Singular
cap—Their reasons for taking scalps—Their reason for not taking them—Their belief in regard to the appearance of persons in
the spirit land—Curious manner of insulting the enemy—Language of feathers—How they dispose of their dead—The red
hand—How the young men wooed their brides—Stealing a bride
—Marriage ceremony in high life—Superstitions in regard to the
ceremony—Superstitions relating to idiots and insane persons—
How Prof. Hayden was benefited by this—Doctors, or medicine
men—How made—How called for—The sacred rattle—How
made—How the medicine men heal the sick—The spirit of an
animal in the body—How drawn out and forced into a piece of
bark—How the spirit is shot and burned—The doctor's troubles.
Story of Wi-jun-jon—How he kept count of the white men's
houses on his journey to Washington—His disgust—His metamorphose—The superstition in regard to him on his return to his
own country—Had learned to lie like white men—How the evil
spirit in him was overcome with the bale of an old iron pot—
Stoicism—How children are taught to be stoics—Battle with the
hornets—Oratory of the chief "Two Stars"—The Mandans— Contents.
Their belief that the eyes in a portrait moved—Their curious
ideas relating to it—Buffalo hunting—The usual manner of
catching and taming the wild horse—The Comanches—Their
mode of breaking in wild horses.        ......    79
The northern Indians—How they built their houses—Windows
made of ice—How they caught deer—The "kaiak"—Their
fires—How made—Their unique manner of killing the polar
bear — Marriage — The Koniagas — Their ornaments — The
I parka>" how made—The Aleuts—Their weapons and domestic
implements—How they caught the bear—Games—The Thlin-
keets—Peculiar hat—Slaves—Stone pipes—Marriage ceremony
lasting four weeks.    ........
The Tinneh family—Superstitions in regard to dancing—Superstition in regard to cutting the finger nails of a female child—
Hiaquas as money—Efficacy of a chief's teepee, and his clothes—
When the doctors must return the fee—Slavery—Widow compelled to mount the funeral pyre of her husband, as in India—
When allowed to escape burning to death—How the husband's
ashes are disposed of for two years—Pottery, how made—Binding
the feet of female infants, as in China—Their reasons for going to
war—The Haidahs—How labor is divided—Salt—Hunting the
whale—Complexion—Houses high in the air—Singular harpoons—How they make their bows—Pipes carved from stone—
Immense canoes, how made—Musical instruments—Blankets,
how woven—Peculiar breed of dogs that they sheared like
sheep—Superstitions in regard to marriage—Ceremony on the
water—How they gambled—The Nootkas—Short hair—Flattening the head—Adornment of the women—When they considered
themselves old, and ceased such adornment—Amusements—Love
powder and its uses—Puget Sound Indians—How they caught
wild fowl.	
106 X
The Chinooks—"Aunt Sally"—Exciting occurrence while
fastening a whale—Salmon, how caught—Expedition to the Cascades for slaves—Attempted suicide of a chief's daughter, rather
than become a slave—What she found on arriving at her captor's
home—Buying freedom—Story of two slave boys who were to be
killed to wait upon their master in the spirit land—Burial of
their master—Little slave boy tied to the death post—How
rescued—" Must I eat all this ?"—The belief of the Chinooks in
spirits—Legend in regard to mountains—Legend of the Cascades
—Submerged forests—Mount St. Helen's " got angry."     .       . 122
Indians' fidelity to friends—Wah-kee-nah—Her costume—
Shooting her first deer—How she saved the life of my brother's
little boy—Her perilous adventure with mountain wolves—
Attacked by a panther—Her escape—How she saved my life at
the risk of her own—Her lover Le-lim—His persistency rewarded
—Wah-kee-nah the bride of the chieftain's son.
Yakima war—Quotations from Maj. Genl. Wool's report of
that war—Bravery of a white woman and her daughter—How
the husband and father was killed—Their house set on fire with
fire arrows—How the women killed four Indians—The mother
struck with an arrow—Their miraculous escape—A little Indian
boy killed by a white man for trying to defend his mother—Story
of an Indian who was shot by a white man because he would not
trade horses.      ..........
Marriage ceremony among the river Chinooks—How it differed from that in the mountainous country—Exciting race on
horseback for a bride—Four suitors in the race—The one who Contents.
first caught her to have her—Her wedding ceremony—Evil omens
—How propitiated—Wedding presents—No credit in connubial
matters—How Indians hide their tracks—How they leave signs
for friends to follow—An elk hunt—How I found the guides—
Gambling—Indian's offer to wager his wife against my canoe
upon-a game with beaver's teeth—How I won the beaver's teeth—
Why Indians gamble.        ........
Incident relating to the Indians south of the thirty-third parallel
of north latitude—Indians apt scholars in the art of treachery—
How taught them—Identity of woman's mind—Wanton cruelty
toward the Indians—Woman chief—Her necklace of pearls—
What became of it—She taken prisoner and held as a hostage by
the whites—Her escape—Burning Indians at the stake by the
whites to make them tell where the gold mines were—Cutting
both hands off all the chiefs.      .......
The Miccosukies—William Bartram—Scenes at a great chief's
death-bed—Dr. Henry Perrine—Hiding his family under a
wharf-—Their experience when the wharf took fire—Dr. Perrine's
death—Miraculous escape of the family—Laws of the Seminoles
as to marriage—Death for marrying a white person—Singular
custom of the Pawnees—How they cut their hair before the introduction of knives or shears—Growing the scalp lock—Beauty
of their wild horses—Pawnee agriculture—Flattening the head
among the Chocktaws and Chickasaws—The Comanches—Reports in regard to their primitive character—Reports of their
present character.      .        .        .        .        .        .        .        .        .194
Anahuac, or Maheco — Arrival of Cortes — An unnatural
mother—A cazique's daughter made a slave—Rescued by accident—Becomes an interpreter—Indian General Tuetile—Indian xu
Governor Pilpato—Singular salutation—Description of the
presents brought by the Indian general—His speech on presenting them—How the whites displayed their power—Indian artists
—Indian system of chirography—Gold a cure for disease of the
heart—More presents—Description of them—Indian general's
speech—Reply—The Indian's anger—Cazique of Cempoala—
How to make brave soldiers—Destruction of the Cempoalan's
idols—The wonderful legend in regard to Quetzalcoatl—The
belief that he or his descendants would return—His return feared
by the rulers—Battle between the whites and the Tlascalans—
Indian belief that the whites derived their power from the sun—
Battle in the night—Cutting off the hands of the Indians by the
whites. 209
Peace made with the Tlascalans—Speech of the Tlascalan
general—Reply—More presents from the Indian emperor—Description of them—Fine agriculture—Stone arched bridge—
Description of the Indian reception at Tlascala—Evergreen
arches, festoons, etc.—Description of the city—Four hundred
Indian maidens given to the white soldiers—Indian advice showing true friendship—Six thousand Tlascalan soldiers join the
whites—Description of the country between Tlascala and Cho-
lula—The entry into the city of Cholula—Description of the
Cholulans—Conspiracy to destroy the Spaniards—Their guardian
angel—Conspiracy discovered—The slaughter of five thousand
Indians—The emperor's fear—Extract from the speech made
at his accession to the throne—Description of more of his
presents—Agriculture and horticulture in the valley—Description
of the valley—The emperor's resolve not to oppose the whites
—More presents, and a large bribe 226
Town over the water—Stone houses—Indians shot down—
Cazique of Texcuco—His palanquin—Presentation of pearls-
Causeways—Floating gardens—Iztapalapan—Its architecture— Contents.
Beautiful gardens—Garden reservoir and fountain—Cortes met
by several hundred Indian chiefs—Drawbridge—Approach of
the emperor—His palanquin—Description of the ceremony on
meeting—Description of the emperor—The entry into the
capital—Description of the Indians in the city—Visit of the
emperors-Description of the gifts he brought—Firing the artillery—Dismay of the Indians—Visit to the emperor—Manner of
approaching him—The emperor's reply to the speech of the
whites—Description of the palace—Description of the city—
Dishes, how made—Dresses of the women.        .... 242
Division of the presents among the whites—Their value in
dollars, and pounds sterling—Arrest of the emperor—The burning alive of a cazique, his son, and fifteen chiefs, by the Spaniards—Butchery of several hundred Indians while attending a
festival—Death of the emperor while a prisoner—The whites
driven from the city—They recapture the city, by the aid of
caziques who still believe the whites to be descendants of the
" God of the Air "—Guatemozin, the ruler after the death of the
emperor—Tortured and hanged after being promised protection—Sacrifice of human beings by the whites—Indian records
and books burned—Growth of civilization among the Indians—
What the United States and Canada are doing for the Indians—
Broken promises the cause of Indian wars—Why they should be
made citizens—How now situated—Indian judges and juries—
Assistant farmers—How one of them planted turnips—Schools
for Indian children—Indian agents—White crows—Motive for
becoming an Indian agent—Reasons for putting the Indians
under the care of the War Department—Agricultural schools—
Conclusion.       ..........
THE researches and discoveries of the anthropologist prove conclusively that North America has
been inhabited by human beings for countless
ages. It is, however, outside of my purpose, and of
the scope of this volume, to enter into any discussion
of the facts upon which that conclusion is based.
" Originally, for a savage wilderness, there was
here a dense population. Before the advent of
Europeans, America counted its aborigines by millions ; among whom might be found every phase of
primitive humanity, from the reptile-eating cave-
dweller of the Great Basin, to the Aztec and Maya-
Guiche civilization of the table-land ;—a civilization
characterized by Dr. Draper as one ' that might have
instructed Europe, a culture wantonly crushed by
Spain, who therein destroyed races more civilized
than herself.'"
Mr. Bancroft says : " In the study of mankind,
everything connected therewith becomes of import-
x Wah-kee-nah
ance. There is not a feature of primitive humanity
without significance, nor a custom or characteristic
of savage nations, however mean or revolting to us,
from which important lessons may not be drawn. It
is only from the study of barbarous and partially
cultivated nations that we are able to comprehend
man as a progressive being, and to recognize the
successive stages through which our savage ancestors
have passed, on their way to civilization. In our
study of humanity, the lower races of men are as
essentially important as the higher; our present
higher races being but the lower types of generations yet to come. The nations now most civilized
were once barbarians. Our ancestors were savages,
who, with tangled hair, glaring eyes, and blood-
besmeared hands devoured man and beast alike."
From this point of view, does not a study of the
North American Indians become of great interest
to us?
The first knowledge we have of America or its
inhabitants, outside of the prehistoric, is derived
from various visits of the Norsemen, between the
years 994 and 1012. The origin of the native Indians is yet an unsettled question. It is my purpose to deal with them only from the beginning of
authentic history.
For the purpose of accounting for the change in
the character of the Indians from " quiet, peaceable
people," as they were always at first reported to be,
to what they were afterwards termed—savages,—I
may be permitted to cite a few facts  in  history And Her People.
regarding the treatment they have received at the
hands of the whites from their earliest acquaintance
with them.
It is well known that when Columbus, upon his
first voyage in 1492, discovered land, he supposed he
had reached India by a western passage, and, finding the land inhabited by a race of people unlike any
he had ever seen or heard of, he called them Indians
—a name which has since remained the distinguishing cognomen of all the native inhabitants of America.
He found them a quiet, peaceable people, as is shown
by one of his biographers, Andres Bernaldez, an intimate friend under whose hospitable roof Columbus
had often been entertained, both before and after
his voyages.    He informed Bernaldez that:
" These people were all simple, peaceable, liberal,
and well-disposed, sharing with each other, making
free with whatever they possessed, and giving without
stint. Those that came to the ships, after they had
recovered from their fears, showed toward our people
much love and good-will; and for whatever was given
them they returned many thanks and received it
with much gratitude, and gave whatever they had in
return. This was not in consequence of their simplicity or lack of understanding, for they are a very
subtle race, of much acuteness, and they navigate all
the neighboring seas, and it is wonderful to hear the
account they give of everything, except that they
never heard of people wearing clothes, or of such
vessels as those of the Spaniards."
From this we may see what the native Indians 4
were, as they were found by Columbus, prior to any
association with the | civilization of Europe " ; and
if, in our further contemplation of their character
and habits, we find them changed, we may be able
to fix the responsibility for such change where it
rightfully belongs.
Upon the second voyage of Columbus, we find
that he began treating these simple natives in a
manner by no means in accord with the hospitality
with which they had received him. His biographer
says: " He made incursions into the interior and
captured vast numbers of natives; and the second
time that his vessels returned to Spain, he sent five
hundred Indian men and women, all in the flower of
their age, between twelve years and thirty-five, or
thereabouts. They were delivered at Seville to Don
Juan de Fonseca, and sold as slaves, but proved of
little service, for the greater part of them soon
died." Wg-     y
We see here the beginning of that inhuman and
un-Christian conduct towards the Indian which has
so changed his character.
In 1497 John Cabot, with his son Sebastian, visited
the northern coast. They were more considerate or
more modest than Columbus, for they only kidnapped three Indians, whom they took as curiosities
to Henry VII. of England.
In 1500 Caspar Cortereal, a Portuguese admiral,
sailed along the northeastern coast. " He returned,"
says his historian, 1 with glowing reports of the
fruitfulness of the country in herbage and in trees And Her People.
fit for shipbuilding, and with a number of captive
Indians, whom he sold as slaves."
Numerous voyages were made by Europeans to
the New World between the last mentioned date and
the permanent settlement of the country. Among
these was that of Bartholomew Gosnold, in 1602, who
reported in regard to the Indians found by him, that
"these people are exceeding courteous, gentle of
disposition, and well-conditioned."
Another voyage was that of George Waymouth,
in 1605.-- Of the Indians he says: " When we came
on shore they most kindly entertained us, taking us
by the hand, and brought us to sit down by their
fire. They filled their pipes, and gave us of their
excellent tobacco as much as we would." One day
two canoes, each carrying three Indians, came out to
the ship, and three of the visitors were induced to
go on board. What then happened is thus related
by Waymouth : " Because we could not entice the
other three on board, we gave them a can of peas
and bread, which they carried to the shore to eat.
When our captain was come we considered how to
catch the other three at shore, which we performed
thus: We manned the light boat with seven or eight
men; the one standing in front carried our box of
merchandise, as we were wont to do when we went
to traffic with them, and also a platter of peas, which
food they loved ; but before we were landed one
withdrew himself into the wood. The other two met
us on shore to receive the peas, with whom we went
up the cliff to their fire and sat down with them, and Wah-kee-nah
while we were discussing how to catch the third man
who was gone, I opened the box and showed them
the trifles to exchange, thinking thereby to have banished fear from the other, and draw him to return ;
but when we could not, we used little delay, but
suddenly laid hands upon them, and it was as much
as five or six of us could do to get them into the
boat, for they were strong, and so naked that our
best hold was by the long hair on their heads. Thus
we shipped five savages and two canoes, with all
their bows and arrows."
This was the return they made for all the confiding kindness and hospitality of these " savages."
Savages indeed there were ; but in this case, as in so
many others, they were not the red men !
In 1614 one Thomas Hunt, master of a vessel,
kidnapped twenty Indians at Plymouth and seven
at Cape Cod, whom he carried to Spain and sold as
Thus we see that nearly every expedition visiting
their country returned the kindness and hospitality
of the Indians by kidnapping some of their number
and* carrying them away from their kinsmen and
native land, to suffer and die among strangers, as
prisoners or as slaves. Is it any wonder that their
race, proud and unforgetting, should eventually turn
upon their wanton persecutors to wreak vengeance
for the wrongs they had suffered ?
Many attempts had been made to plant colonies
in the New World, but the permanent settlement of
this part of the country began with the Puritans, And Her People.
who arrived off Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, on
the eleventh day of November, 1620, and made a
landing for permanent settlement on December 22d.
They found the Indians a peaceful and well disposed
people, willing to aid and succor the new-comers to
the extent of their ability, but shy and timid.
The Puritans numbered one hundred men, women,
and children, out of which number fifty-one died
during the first winter. Had the Indians been otherwise than friendly, they could have destroyed the
little band of forty-nine very easily. But instead of
offering them harm, Massasoit, the chief of the
Wampanoags, in whose country the whites had
settled, came voluntarily and made a treaty of peace
with them, which this tribe kept sacred and inviolate
for fifty-four years.
It must be remembered that America was inhabited by a great number of different tribes or
nations of Indians (since ascertained to have been
over four hundred), each tribe having a different
name and language, and living entirely distinct and
separate from the others, and not infrequently
waging war, at the end of which the victors always
laid the vanquished tribe under immediate tribute ;
so that while one tribe was peaceful, another might
be disposed to go on the war-path.
The Narragansetts (which, judging from their
position on the coast, was the tribe from which Waymouth had captured his five " savages") felt unfriendly, and one day their chief sent a bunch of
newly made arrows, wrapped in a snake's skin, to 8
the Puritan settlement. This was a notice of declaration of war. Although the Puritans had previous
to this been reinforced to some extent by the
arrival of a ship from England, they could not muster
more than forty or fifty fighting men. But to show
fear, meant annihilation for the entire settlement; so
they filled the snake's skin with powder and bullets,
and returned it to the chief with this message : " If
you want war, you may come whenever you like,
and get your fill of it." The Indians were very
much afraid of the § pooh-guns that smoke," as they
called the muskets, and when the Narragansett chief
saw that the | pale-faces' were not afraid, but
showed fight, his respect for the " pooh-guns"
deterred him from beginning the war.
In 1633, the whites had begun to enlarge the
bounds of their settlements, and some had gone as
far south and west as the Connecticut River, a distance of about one hundred miles. Here they found
beautiful and exceedingly fertile lands, occupied by
the Pequots. They wanted them ; and that seemed
sufficient reason for taking any means necessary to
get them.
In that year, the governor of Plymouth Colony,
having heard these reports, sent a committee to examine the Connecticut River and its banks. This
committee reported that the land was partially
cleared and under cultivation by the Indians; that
the streams abounded in fish, and the forests in game ;
that the fox, otter, beaver, wolf, bear, deer, and
moose, with many other wild animals, held possession And Her People.
of the territory in common with the Indians; that
.immense flocks of pigeons tenanted the woods, and
innumerable water-fowl the streams. After describing the character of the soil, timber, etc., they say :
" Providence led us to that place. It is indeed
far away from our plantations, and the Canaanites
and the Amalekites dwell in that valley, and if they
have any attachment to any spot on earth, must delight to live there. But the land must be ours. Our
people have strong hands and pious hearts, and can
overcome all difficulties. Let us go and possess the
land, and in a few years you will hear more boast in
this colony, that that land is better for flocks and
herds than could ever be justly said of the land of
Goshen, or any part of the land of Canaan."
A short time after the reception of this glowing
report, these men with " pious hearts ' mustered all
their forces, stealthily surrounded a large village of
the Pequots, and surprised and completely massacred
them in one night. The whites had it all their own
way, and, when the morning broke, rejoiced their
" pious hearts " in counting six hundred and ninety-
five Indian men, women, and children weltering in
their own blood.
This inhuman butchery so overawed the Indians,
who had never known or dreamed of such fearful
slaughter, that for many years no one of them dared
lift his hand against a white man, no matter what the
provocation might be ; and these men, who left the
persecutions of the Old World that they might enjoy
liberty of conscience, had no further trouble in settling IO
upon the beautiful lands of the Pequots, without
money and without price.
The Indians were denounced as cruel savages, but
Mr. Willard, of Deerfield, Massachusetts, who wrote
in  1790, says :
" The Indians committed no offences without
provocation, their offences were always in retaliation ; and in comparison with the long black catalogue of crimes committed in Christian nations, but
few are found to occur among Indians. Is ingratitude
among the number of their sins ? The most eminent
and glorious examples of the opposite are on record.
Did Indians ever sell wooden nutmegs and cucumber
seeds, horn flints, or imitation powder? Did the
Indians ever hang a poor Mrs. Richardson, simply
because she was a Quaker and differed from them in
religious belief?
" The Pilgrim fathers were stern and hardy men,
upon whose character so many of us delight to dwell,
but that character suffers in some respects by a comparison with that of the sons of the forest, who had
only the light of nature'to guide them.
" Time has shown us that the longer the Indians
reside in the vicinity of white men, the more vicious
and corrupt they become, and that they were always
the objects or subjects of the white man's fraud and
imposition, and there can be little doubt that more
acts of cruelty have been committed on this continent by the Spanish, French, and English, or by
their instigation, than by the natives."
It may perhaps be said that the end to be attained
justified this wholesale destruction of the Indians; And Her People.
that it is better for the world to have civilization
progress, even though it be by the annihilation of
uncivilized races. But we must remember that in
judging Indian character, and as to whether they
were justified in acting as they have acted, we should
look at all the events touching them through their
eyes—from their point of view, not ours.
In 1660 Wamsutta, the successor of Massasoit, the
chief of the Wampanoags, came into power, and,
while returning to his home after a visit to the
whites, and before he had left their settlements,
sickened and died. His brother, Metacom, whom
the whites called | King Philip," succeeded him as
chief. King Philip was of the opinion that his
brother had been poisoned, and this, added to the
wrongs of the ever-increasing encroachments of
the whites upon his lands, made him resolve upon
Knowing the fate of the Pequots, and that his
tribe alone could not successfully fight the whites,
he prevailed upon some of the surrounding tribes to
make common cause with him, and when he thought
the confederacy strong enough to annihilate the
1 pale-faces," he began the conflict known in history
as " king Philip's war," on the 24th day of June,
1675. This war resulted in serious loss to the whites,
and, as ever, great slaughter to the Indians—not less
than a thousand of the Narragansetts being killed
on one Sabbath afternoon. At another time, three
hundred of the Nipmuck tribe were surprised near
the falls of the Connecticut River, and every one
filled.    In the same year Major Talcott, of Hart- 12
ford, massacred four hundred at one time, near that
place. The whites adopted the rule of taking no
prisoners, and killed every man, woman, and child
that fell into their hands; King Philip was shot on
the 12th day of August, 1676, and | his severed head
sent to Plymouth, where it was mounted on a pole
and exposed aloft on the village green."
This ended the war, and many Indians came in and
surrendered themselves. The whites seized a dozen
of the chiefs who had thus surrendered, and hanged
or shot them in the presence of the populace, and
shipped hundreds of other Indians who had surrendered with their chiefs to the West Indies to be
sold into slavery, among the latter being the wife and
little nine-year-old son of King Philip.
Professor John Fiske says : " While King Philip's
war wrought such damage to the English, it was for
the Indians themselves utter destruction. Most of
their warriors were slain, and to the survivors the
conquerors showed scant mercy. The Puritan, who
conned his Bible so earnestly, had taken his hint
from the wars of the Jews, and swept his New England Canaan with a broom that was pitiless and
searching. Henceforth the red man figures no more
in central or southern New England, and as an element of disturbance or a power to be reckoned with,
he disappears forever."
In the South and West, however, the Indians still
existed in great numbers. Let us, then, turn our
attention in that direction, and see if they were receiving any kindlier treatment at the hands of the
white settlers there, CHAPTER  II.
IN 1584 Sir Walter Raleigh fitted out two vessels
and sent them to the New World. They landed
at the Roanoke River, in Virginia, and after engaging in profitable trade with the Indians returned
to England, reporting that they " found the native
Indians so affable, kind, and good-natured, so innocent and ignorant of all manner of politics, tricks,
and cunning, and so desirous of the company of the
English, that they seem rather to be like soft wax,
ready to take an impression, than anyways likely to
oppose the settling of the English near them."
They did not, however, continue in this condition
for any great length of time.
One of the most prolific sources of trouble between the Indians and the whites, pertaining to all
the settlements to a greater or less degree, was the
abuse by the white men of the native women. Before the advent of the whites, an Indian woman
could roam the woods day or night with entire safety
and freedom from molestation by any man. These
women were comely in form and feature, and seemed
to be very attractive to the white men ; and they
were frequently abused, even to the extent of kid-
J m
napping and keeping them in the settlements. This
led to many murders; for if an Indian's wife or
daughter was thus outraged and in revenge therefor
he killed a white man, the whites would in retaliation kill one or more Indians, to impress upon the
natives the idea that they could never kill a white
man without suffering retaliation in kind, regardless
of the provocation that caused them to do so. The
insults to the Indians were never taken into consideration. These acts were followed by their natural
consequence—an inveterate hatred on the part of
the Indians, leading to murder whenever opportunity
offered—so that when a white man fell into the
hands of the Indians he seldom escaped death.
One notable case of deliverance from death, which
has been described in prose and sung in poetry,
wherever the history of Virginia has been told, was
that of Captain John Smith, one of the leading men
of that colony. He was a man of great energy and
courage, and possessed a spirit of adventure seldom
Not satisfied with remaining at the settlement, he
pushed on into the interior. This alarmed the Indians, giving them the impression that the whites
were seeking to overrun their entire country. He
was attacked and all his men were killed, he alone
being taken a prisoner to Powhatan, who was the
great head chief of all that section. Powhatan had
heard of Captain Smith, and knew he was one of the
great chiefs of the " pale-faces," so he was at a loss
to know what to do with him, having a fear that if And Her People.
he put him to death the whites would wreak terrible
vengeance upon his nation. He therefore kept him
a prisoner for six weeks, treating him with great
kindness. Finally, however, he determined that the
captive must die, and gave his orders to that effect.
Two of the warriors bound the prisoner's hands and
feet and laid his head upon the rock. At a signal
from the chief, two other warriors, each armed with
the deadly war-club, stepped forward and stood
grim and still at the head of the prostrate victim,
awaiting the signal to deal the fatal blow.
At this moment a wild scream pierced the air, and
Pocahontas, the beautiful daughter of Powhatan, a
girl of thirteen years, flew to the captive, threw herself upon his prostrate form, and, staying the arm of
one of the warriors with her own, laid her head upon
that of the prisoner, so that if the blow fell it must
be upon her own head.
Powhatan was dumbfounded. He dearly loved
his little daughter; but he was a great chief, and his
orders must be obeyed. After a moment's hesitation
he took her by the hand and raised her to her feet,
when, with tearful eyes, she implored her chieftain
father to spare the captive's life. Her plea was
most eloquent, and Powhatan listened in mute
astonishment. When it was finished, and while the
sobbing girl was clinging to his knee, her streaming
eyes fixed on his, the chief gave the order to unbind
the captive and return him to his people.
Pocahontas always remained a true friend of the
" pale-faces," and twice, while yet in her " teens," she i6
stealthily informed the whites of attacks contemplated by the Indians, thus saving many lives.
The whites returned these acts of kindness by kidnapping her when she was about eighteen years old,
and carrying her a prisoner to the settlement, where
they kept her for two years, while they were endeavoring to make a treaty of peace with her father,
thinking he would the more readily yield to their
demands if they held his daughter in their power.
During this time Pocahontas, who had now become a beautiful woman, made the acquaintance of
Mr. John Rolfe, an English gentleman of some
wealth and position, and became engaged to marry
him. Powhatan being informed of these facts vouchsafed his consent, and upon their marriage concluded
a peace, although declining to attend the wedding
for fear of treachery on the part of the whites. Mr.
Rolfe took his Indian bride to England, and Captain Smith, in a letter to Queen Anne, made known
the leading events in her life, and the Queen received
her at court with all the honor due to the daughter
of a king. After remaining for some time she started
to return with her husband to her native land, but
sickened and died before leaving England, at the
early age of twenty-three.
The death of Pocahontas was a sad disappointment to the colonists, who had indulged the hope
that her marriage with one of their leading men
would secure a lasting peace with the Indians. Their
disappointment was also accompanied by a fear that
the Indians would seek to retaliate upon them for
ss^M And Her People.
her death, under the suspicion that she had been
poisoned, a suspicion that the Indians always entertained when any of their people died suddenly while
visiting the whites.
But it was of no poison known to the toxicologist
that Pocahontas died. This royal daughter of the
forest had loved Captain Smith ever since in her
girlhood she had laid her head upon his to save him
from death.
Her engagement and marriage to Rolfe were contracted in the belief that the man she loved and
by whom she was beloved, was dead, and it was only
during her visit to England that she learned that
she had been deceived. The poison which ended her
young life was that which comes of a broken heart.
In the parish register at Gravesend, where she
died, may be seen the following entry:
I 1616, May 21, Rebecca Wrothe, Wyff of Thomas
Wroth gent, a Virginia lady borne, here was buried,
in ye chancell."
Pocahontas had been baptized and given the name
of Rebecca.
The selfish fears of the colonists were groundless,
however. The Indians kept the faith, and abstained
from all hostilities for many years.
Several attempts were made to plant colonies in
Pennsylvania; one by the Hollanders, or Dutch, in
1631; one by the Swedes in 1638; another by the
Dutch in 1645 \ and finally the English succeeded in
permanently establishing one in 1664.
The Dutch settlement on the Delaware, called by i8
them the 1 Valley of the Swans," was burned by the
Indians. The cause of its destruction was peculiar.
The arms of Holland painted on a piece of tin had
been set up by the colonists. The glitter of this rude
escutcheon had attracted the attention of an Indian
chief, who, in his ignorance, took it to make a tobacco
box. This act the settlers construed as an insult to
their native country, and sought out and killed the
offending chief. The honor of their country was
vindicated, but the vindication proved most costly.
The friends of the murdered chief watched for their
opportunity and gained possession of the fort by
despatching the guard while the settlers were absent
at work. Upon the return of the unsuspecting whites
in the evening, they were all massacred, and the
buildings were burned.
When William Penn became the leading spirit of
the English colony in 1683, he adopted a new policy
in dealing with the Indians, which culminated in j the
famous treaty that was never sworn to and never
broken." By his policy the rights of the Indians
were considered and respected, and by reason of his
wisdom and honesty the people of Pennsylvania
enjoyed unbroken peace for many years.
In writing home, Governor Penn said : " We have
agreed that in all differences between the colonists
and the Indians, six of each side shall end the matter. Do not abuse them, but let them have justice,
and you win them."
This is the only instance we have on record in
which the Indians were treated squarely and hon-
mss^s And Her People.
estly by the colonists; and it furnishes a practical
illustration of what might have been expected of
them had they been thus treated in all cases.
It is unnecessary to adduce further testimony as to
the disposition of the native Indians when the white
man first came to settle among them. We have seen
how Columbus found them in the West Indies, how
the Puritans found them in New England, and how
the other English settlers found them in Virginia
and Pennsylvania. All concur that they were kind
and peaceable, and disposed to be friendly with their
visitors. We have seen that in New England it took
but a few years of association with the Puritans to
change their character entirely; that in Virginia
wholesale massacres began after a contact of only
twenty-six years; while in Pennsylvania all troubles
ceased entirely after the just policy of Governor
Penn was adopted. Is it possible for any doubt to
exist as to where the responsibility lies for the
change that has taken place in the character of
the American Indians, and can we wonder at the
change ?
In 1608, which precedes by twelve years the settlement in New England of which we have spoken,
Henry Hudson discovered the river which bears his
name in what is now the State of New York, and
sailed up as far as the forty-third parallel of north
latitude. He sold this country, or such right as he
had acquired in it, to the Hollanders, or Dutch, who
in 1614 built a fort on the river, one hundred and
fifty-five miles above its mouth, at Albany, and an- 20
other on the island of Manhattan. The latter settlement, called by them New Amsterdam, is now the
city of New York, the metropolis of the American
continent. There was great controversy and some
fighting over this country between the Dutch and
the English, but it finally came permanently into the
possession of the English.
They found the country thickly inhabited by Indians who constituted the Iroquois Confederacy,
composed of five distinct nations or tribes. These
were the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas,
the Cayugas, and the Senecas. At first the Indians
treated the white settlers with great kindness, but in
a few years troubles began between them similar to
those which took place between the Puritans and
the Indians in New England, and arising from like
The Iroquois were very powerful, and were more
advanced in civilization, if we may use that term,
than the tribes around them. They had almost a
perfect form of republican government, and exercised
through their confederacy so much power as to hold
many of the surrounding nations under tribute. They
controlled a vast territory, and much of it was consequently at a great distance from their seat of government. In 1647 they could muster many thousand
warriors, well armed and equipped.
I have lived near them many years, and have become familiar with and carefully collated and studied
their ancient legends; and in this way I have acquainted myself with much relating to their history And Her People.
and personal life that has not heretofore been
The confederacy now under consideration was
called by the French | The Iroquois." The English
knew it as " The Six Nations," the number of tribes
having been increased by the coming in of the Tus-
caroras, in 1715. They called themselves Ho-de-no-
sau-nee, that is, | People of the Long House," of
which the Mohawks guarded the eastern and the
Senecas4;he western door.
I have said that their ancient government was republican, in form and principle. There was a general council composed of representatives from the
different tribes in the confederacy, the number from
each tribe being fixed in accordance with the number
of persons therein, counting both men and women.
The Mohawks had nine, the Oneidas nine, the Onon-
dagas fourteen, the Cayugas ten, and the Senecas
eight, making a council of fifty.
The government I am describing was that which
existed prior to the Tuscaroras being admitted into
the confederacy. These representatives were elected
by the viva voce votes of both the men and the
women of the tribe that sent them, and were always
selected indiscriminately from among the sachems
and chiefs of the tribe. The women were entitled
to vote upon the election of all officers.
This council elected a sachem as presiding officer,
who thus became the head sachem of the entire
confederacy. The laws made by the general council  constituted  the  supreme code   by which  the 22
confederacy was governed. In their own tribe, the
chiefs chosen as representatives to the general
council constituted, with the other chiefs of the
tribe, the national or tribal council, and their presiding chief was the head chief of the tribe. All the
sachems and chiefs held their offices during life or
good behavior. There were many other chiefs besides those mentioned. Each tribe was divided into
eight clans, each clan having two head officers, a
sachem and a chief, who constituted the medium
through which all laws and orders were conveyed to
the people, so that each tribe always had eight
sachems and eight chiefs. The clans were named
alike in every tribe respectively, Wolf, Beaver, Snipe,
Hawk, Bear, Turtle, Deer, and Heron, and a picture
or other representation of the animal or bird for
which it was named was the 1 totem " of the clan.
It was the duty of the sachem to look after all
matters pertaining to the state ; while the chief was
supreme in time of war. In rare instances, by reason
of great merit, both these offices were conferred upon
one individual. But if a sachem took the war-path,
he must resign his sachemship for the time being.
Where, even in these days of advanced civilization,
will we find a higher or better type of representative
government than that of the ancient Iroquois?
Among them there was no periodic scramble for
office; no dividing of political spoils among the
wire-pullers and " workers " of the successful party.
Birth gave an advantage, but merit was the only
consideration that secured the chieftaincies. It seems And Her People.
to me that some enlightened republics of to-day
might well take a lesson in pure government from
these untutored " savages."
The Iroquois had no written language, but passed
their history, etc., from generation to generation by
memorized tradition. They had a system of
mnemonics to assist them in this. Every great
event, in fact everything they thought of sufficient
importance to remember, was associated with a belt
or string of " wampum," and, strange as it may appear, they could, by looking at such a belt, rehearse
with accuracy everything that occurred at the time
that belt was first put into use. These wampum
belts were made in different widths. Small shells
were strung on strings of deer skin or sinew, and the
strings woven together. The shells were of various
colors, and their shade and position in the belt
served to convey to the mind the ideas with which
they were associated.
These tribes had made some progress in agriculture. The journal of De Nonville, who commanded
a French expedition against the Iroquois in 1687,
speaks of large villages, especially among the Sene-
cas. He counted three hundred and twenty-four
houses in four villages, and destroyed one million
two hundred thousand bushels of corn, besides great
quantities of beans, squashes, and other vegetables,
in these four villages alone.
The Onondagas, being near the centre of the confederacy, or I Long House," were the council-fire
keepers, as well as the custodians of the record belts 24
of wampum. It was in their domain that the
general councils were always held.
Although the tribes composing the confederacy
covered a vast territory, the members of the council
could be reached very quickly by means of a system
of very fleet fj runners," of great endurance. The
trails of these runners through the forests were
always most direct; and as the swift messengers
were simultaneously despatched in all directions,
only a very short time was required to convene a
The first thing in order at a council was to smoke
the " calumet," or pipe of peace. This practice was
symbolic among all the tribes upon the continent.
It was a sign of friendship, and constituted a mutual
pledge of amity. The bowl of the pipe was usually
made of stone finely wrought, the stem was two and
a half feet in length, made of some strong reed and
decorated profusely with feathers and shells. The
ceremony was opened by the head sachem, who
took a few whiffs and then passed the pipe to the
person next to him upon his left, who, after taking
•a few whiffs, passed it to the next upon his left, and
so on around the circle, until it again came to the
head sachem, who then quietly placed it upon the
ground at his right side. If any one refused the
calumet, his action demanded immediate explanation.
Councils were sometimes held in the special interests of the women of the confederacy. The
women were the workers, who tilled the soil, dressed And Her People.
the skins, wove the wampum belts, and did all the
household labor, but they were well treated. They
had a voice in the choice of sachems and chiefs,
and of themselves elected officers who were denominated "Women's Men," and whose duty was to
look after and protect the interests of the women.
If they desired to have any matter considered, they
could call a council of their clan, and, if it was a
matter of general interest, then a council of their
tribe or nation; and in case the opinion of the women
of the other nations of the confederacy was deemed
necessary, a general council was called to attend to
their interests, as readily and quite as much as a
matter of course as one for the consideration of
matters in which the men were specially concerned.
The women were never admitted to the councils
of the men, but in the councils for the women they
were not only admitted, but called upon to represent
their grievance, or to speak upon whatever subject
the council had been called to consider. The men,
however, decided the matter by a vote among themselves.
Marriages among the Iroquois were not always
based upon affairs of the heart. There was a law
among them inhibiting marriages between members
of the same clan. Such were regarded as brothers
and sisters, even though no blood relationship subsisted between them. The mothers were the " matchmakers," and sometimes acted without the slightest
regard for the feelings of those most interested,
though the maiden was usually consulted. 26
When a young man or maiden wished to marry,
or when a mother desired a marriage for her son or
daughter, the grandmother, if living, or, if not, the
mother (or, when there was no grandmother or
mother, the eldest female relative upon the mother's
side), made the proposition by leaving a present in
a basket at the door of the wigwam where the young
man or maiden (whichever was to be wooed) resided.
This gave notice to all that a marriage was contemplated. The relatives of a maiden could make
the proposition to the mother of the desired young
man with as much propriety as those of a young
man to the mother of the maiden. If the proposition was agreeable, the basket was taken into the
wigwam, and if its contents proved acceptable it
was returned with a present, which action left the
way open for further negotiations. But if the proposal was rejected, the basket would be left untouched, to be carried away by the one who brought
it. This was a flat refusal. After the acceptance of
the first present, the negotiator took a second of
greater value, and entered the lodge herself and consulted with the women of the family with whom she
sought an alliance. If all were in favor of the marriage, each family informed the son or daughter;
after which a meeting of the women was arranged at
which the young man and maiden would be present,
and listen to serious advice concerning the respective
duties of husband and wife.
The final ceremony of marriage was quite simple.
A seat having been prepared in the wigwam of the And Her People.
bridegroom,-the friends of the young people joined
in a march from the house of the bride to that of
the groom, and having arrived there the bride and
groom, in presence of all the company, joined hands
and seated themselves.    This ended the ceremony.
In the case of second marriage the parties were at
liberty to negotiate for themselves.
The fathers had no actual ownership of the children ; these belonged to the clan and tribe of the
mother. If a marriage proved unhappy the parties
to it were permitted by custom to separate at will
and each was at liberty to marry again, but the
mother had the sole right to the disposal of the children, and kept them all if she chose. She retained
control also of whatever property belonged to her at
the time of her marriage, and could dispose of it as
she pleased without the husband's consent, either
while living with him as wife or after separation.
As in other Indian tribes, the Iroquois man could
have more than one wife if he pleased, but on account of the ease with which any marriage compact
could be dissolved, this seldom happened. The Indian who valued the peace of his household knew
better than to jeopardize it by the presence of two
or more women standing in the same relation to
him, and felt that his chance of comfort and happiness was far better with one at a time, in which he
doubtless displayed much wisdom.
A missionary was once talking to one of these Indians in regard to the sin of such easy separation,
and received from him this sententious reply : | You 28
marry white woman ; she know you have to keep
her always, so she scold, scold, scold, and no cook
your venison ; I marry squaw ; she know I leave her
if she no good, so she no scold, she cook my venison, and we live long happy together." It was his
way of saying that the chain galls least that binds
most lightly.
The Indian women were very affectionate—much
more so apparently than the men. There is nothing
an Iroquois mother would not do for her child, even
to the sacrifice of her life ; and when she loved her
husband, she would do anything or endure anything
for him. ■rttis.
THE Iroquois were very fond of dancing, always
indulging in it  as a part of their religious
ceremonies, as well as upon festival occasions.
Their religious dances were performed with slow and
solemn tread, while their festive dances were in light
and lively measure.
The great dance, however, which called forth all
the energy, endurance, and enthusiasm of the performers, and threw them, as well as the spectators,
into the wildest excitement, was the war dance.
Every Indian nation indulged in it, but nearly every
tribe had a different manner of executing this highly
dramatic performance. That of the Iroquois gave
free license to each individual to make himself as
frightful in appearance as possible, and to illustrate
any act of daring that might be conjured in his excited brain. None but the warriors took part in this
dance, and each dressed himself in the most hideous
costume (principally paint) that his fancy could devise, the leading idea being that his terrible appearance in battle would tend to fill his enemy with
dismay, and thus make victory more easy. In this
we see a close resemblance to those Old-World war-
29 3o
iib ■
riors of not many centuries ago, who covered their
armor with the skins of wild beasts, leaving head
and ears erect, and open mouths showing savage
teeth to terrify the foe. The Indian added to this
frightful make-up the blood-curdling war-whoop;
and I will say, having had some experience in the
matter, that if there is any sound on earth that will
take the color from the white man's cheek quicker
or more effectually than the war-whoop of the
Indian breaking upon his waking ear, I have yet to
hear it.
The dance itself was an imitation battle ; arrows
flew thick and fast; the tomahawk was wildly brandished on high to imitate its deadly work; each
scalp suggested the death-struggle with its original
possessor, and that struggle was all gone through
with again in pantomime. By the effect of paint
and scalps, the battle-field was covered with the
dead and dying enemy. When the warriors had
become nearly exhausted, at a signal from the chief
the war-whoop was changed to the shout of victory,
and all retired to partake of the feast prepared by
the women for the mimic victors.
The Iroquois disposed of their dead by burial, but
not until the body had lain for ten days upon a
raised platform. During this time the relatives of
the deceased kept a fire burning constantly near by
and kept watch over the body. This was done for
two reasons : first, that no one should be buried
alive ; and second, because these people believed that
the spirit of the dead hovered around the body for
sss And Her People.
ten days after death, before taking its flight to the
happy hunting-grounds, and by this fire and constant
watch they expressed their affection. At the expiration of the ten days, the body was buried. If it
were that of a woman, a plentiful supply of food and
all her kettles and cooking utensils were put into the
grave ; if that of a hunter, his bow and arrows; and
if that of a warrior, his bow and arrows, tomahawk,
and scalping-flint. The body was always placed in
the grave in a sitting posture, which was the position
assumed by the listener at councils or gatherings of
any kind ; and as it was believed that the first thing
to be done on arrival in the spirit-land was to listen
to the counsel of friends who had gone before, the
newly buried one would thus be in the proper attitude. Just as the body was being lowered into the
grave, a live bird was placed upon it and released, to
symbolize by its flight that the spirit of the dead
then took its flight to the spirit-land ; and, as it was
firmly believed that there the good were far more
happy than in this life, mourning for the dead ceased
with the burial, and the grief manifested thereafter
was for the loss the living had sustained in the removal of their relative. When a chief died, the
burial ceremony was attended with great formality
and pomp.
The Iroquois firmly believed in a state of future
rewards and punishments, and that in the other
world the good are separated from the bad. Their
experience led them to look upon the whites as bad,
and they rejoiced in the hope and faith that they 32
should find there a blessed country which no white
man's foot would ever be permitted to profane.
That desire was one thing that operated against
the missionaries in their efforts to " convert" the
An old chief expressed the deep-seated feeling of
his people when, solicited upon his death-bed to
accept the Christian religion, he said : " No ;—get
white man's religion—then, when die, go where white
man go—no want to."
Their idea was that there was eternal life beyond
the grave, and that friends would recognize each
other in the next world the same as in this. They
believed in one God, and that He made the earth and
everything in it that was good, and they ascribed to
Him all good. They also believed in an evil spirit,
corresponding to the Biblical devil, who was ever
going about doing evil. They attributed to this evil
spirit creative powers also; believing that he created
all monsters, snakes, and poisonous plants :—reasoning that a God who was all goodness would never
have made anything that would harm His children.
There was no religious division among them, and
they had no need for priests or ministers; for they
all worshipped the same God, and in the same manner. Their worship was a spiritual one; they had
no idols. A post, or totem, set up in the centre of
the village and occasionally in other places, and upon
which were inscribed many records and hieroglyphics,
was sometimes carved in representation of a grotesque face, arms, etc.; and this carving and  the And Her People.
veneration in which the posts were held led some of
the early historians to believe that they were idols.
But those who became acquainted with the language
found them to be merely totems, or record posts.
The Iroquois being a powerful and warlike people,
the nations of the Confederacy had many warriors
who, like the standing armies of to-day, were idle,
with no chance to win laurels unless engaged in
hostilities. The result was, that idleness bred restlessness, for (except the war dance) they had nothing
of even the small relief afforded the soldier of the
present day by drills and manoeuvres; whence they
were almost continuously engaged in war.
Their traditions tell us that their Confederacy was
formed a number of years prior to the settlement of
the white man on this continent. They also inform
us that the first contest of the Confederacy, in which
the warriors of the whole five nations joined forces
and fought side by side, was with the Eries, a large
and powerful tribe residing on the south shore and
at the lower end of the great lake that still bears
their name, their principal village being located near
what is now the city of Buffalo.
The Eries had learned of the formation of the
Confederacy and were greatly troubled thereby. So,
in order to find out whether the five nations would
really act together, they sent a challenge to them to
select one hundred of their most athletic young men
to meet a like number chosen from the Eries, in a
friendly game of ball for a wager. Upon receiving
this challenge, the Iroquois called the council  to- 34
gether, and after some debate it was decided not to
accept it, and a message to that effect was sent to
the Eries. The challenge was sent a second time,
and again declined. A third challenge was sent,
and by this time the young men had become so
excited that the older ones could not restrain them,
and it was finally decided to accept the challenge. A
hundred of the best players in the five tribes were
selected, and under the leadership of an experienced
chief and without arms, they went to meet the Eries,
carrying with them a large quantity of costly wampum
belts, beautifully ornamented moccasins, rich beaver
robes, and other articles of great value in the eyes of
the Indian, and which the Iroquois chief caused to
be deposited in a pile on the field where the game
was to be played. These were all carefully matched,
piece by piece, by the chief of the Eries. The game
was played with great vigor on both sides, but it
became evident, almost from the start, that the Eries
were over-matched, not only in skill but in the
strength, swiftness, and endurance of the players,
and the Iroquois triumphantly bore off the prize. This
ended the first day.
On the following morning the Iroquois prepared
for departure; but the Erie chief said that although
they had been fairly beaten in the ball game, their
young men would not be satisfied unless they could
have a foot-race, and he proposed to match ten of
their number against an equal number whom the
Iroquois chief should pick from his party. This was
finally acceded to, the runners were selected, the race And Her People.
was run amid much excitement, and the Iroquois
were again the winners.  This ended the second day.
Early on the morning of the third, the Iroquois
started for home. But the chief of the Eries, not
concealing his dissatisfaction with the result of the
two contests, stopped them, and proposed as a final
trial of skill, strength, and prowess, to select ten of
his men to be matched against an equal number of
picked men of the Iroquois in a wrestling match,
and that the victor should dispatch his adversary on
the spot with the tomahawk, and bear off his scalp as
a trophy. This proposition was flatly refused by the
Iroquois chief; but upon its being repeated, with
taunts as to their lack of courage, the Iroquois decided to accept the sanguinary challenge, but determined in their own council that should they come
off victorious they would not perform the last act
called for by the proposition. A lithe, handsome
Iroquois of the Seneca tribe first stepped forward,
and, after a short but fierce struggle, laid his competitor upon his back. The chief of the Eries at
once presented the victor with a tomahawk with
which to brain his adversary, who lay prostrate at
his feet. This he refused to do; but quick as
thought, and with flaming eyes, the chief seized the
tomahawk and buried it in the skull of his own warrior. The quivering body was quickly dragged aside,
and another champion of the Eries presented himself.
He was a fine specimen of athletic manhood in the
flower of youthful vigor, and in his dark eyes shone
the baleful light of desperate determination ; for he Ill
knew that his only chance of life was to dash down
his adversary. The well-knit Iroquois who met him
quickly realized that it was no woman's arm that was
thrown around him in that embrace for life or death.
The Erie champion seemed to put his utmost strength
into his first effort to bear his antagonist at one dash
and by sheer force to the earth. The Iroquois, apparently not fully prepared for the sudden fierceness
of the attack, was forced quickly backward, even
while rigidly maintaining the firm arch of his powerful back. But he was still borne backward, despite of
all his strength, and seemed unable to recover himself. Hope revived in the faces of the Eries, while
those of the Iroquois party remained stolid and immovable, only their chief looked troubled. At this
point the Erie wrestler made a quick attempt to get
his right foot behind the heel of his backward-moving
adversary, and, by thus tripping him, end the struggle. Fatal attempt! The wiry Iroquois seemed
waiting for this; for, gathering himself with a supreme effort as the Erie's foot left the ground he
swayed his own powerful body quick as a flash to the
right, and with a slight backward movement laid the
Erie first upon his side and then flat upon his back.
Again the deadly tomahawk did its bloody work in
the hands of the infuriated chief, and the second
victim was dragged aside.
A third champion of the Eries stepped forward.
He seemed to have little confidence of success, and
looked like a man doomed to death. His athletic
antagonist quickly and easily twisted him to the
'J^s And Her People.
earth. Then the chief of the Iroquois sprang forward to intercede for the life of the vanquished warrior, but he was too late; the Erie chief had killed
his third champion. Then the Iroquois chief said
there should be no more wrestling, and gave the
signal for his warriors to retire ; and without further
parley the victorious band turned their faces homeward. But on their dark faces a shadow rested—the
shadow of life wantonly sacrificed.
The events of these three days convinced the
Eries that it would be futile for them to cope with
the aggregated strength of the confederated Iroquois,
and fearing that they might soon be attacked by
them, and knowing that their only hope was to destroy the tribes separately, they determined at once
to raise a powerful war party and by a vigorous and
sudden movement to surprise and destroy the Sene-
cas, who were the nearest to them of the confederated
There was living at this time among the Eries a
Seneca woman who had been taken prisoner by them
in her girlhood, and who, being adopted into the
tribe, had married an Erie warrior who soon after
died, leaving her without children. Seeing the extensive preparations for a bloody onslaught upon
her own people, this brave and loyal woman determined to apprise the Senecas of their danger. Awaiting her opportunity, she stole away on a dark night
and went down the Niagara River to the great Falls,
and from there to Lake Ontario. Here she was so
fortunate as to find a canoe drawn up on the beach,
J 3«
and launching it she coasted along the shore until
she came to the mouth of a river, near which was a
large village of her own people. Landing here, she
made her way, footsore and weary, to the abode of
the head chief, to whom she quickly made known
the object of her visit.
Runners were dispatched at once to all the tribes,
summoning their chiefs to meet in immediate council. When convened, the Seneca chief informed
them of the intended invasion of the Eries, and all
agreed that preparations must be made with all
possible speed to meet the foe. A body of five
thousand warriors was quickly got together, with a
reserve of one thousand young men who had never
been in battle. The head war-chief of the Confederacy took command, and spies were sent out ahead
to look for the enemy. The main body of warriors
had scarcely passed the last settlement of the Sene-
cas when the spies returned, bringing word that the
Eries were coming in great force, less than two days'
march ahead.
The Eries had not the least suspicion of the
approach of the Iroquois forces. They were relying
upon the secrecy and celerity of their own movements to surprise and destroy the Senecas almost
without resistance. The Iroquois formed in ambush,
but were discovered, and the opposing forces met on
the banks of a small stream. The Eries were greatly
surprised at meeting the enemy under such circumstances, but nothing could daunt their courage or
exceed their impetuosity.    They rushed across the And Her People.
stream and fell upon the Iroquois with tremendous
fury. The battle raged fearfully. No quarter was
asked or given on either side. The Eries were
proud, and had been victorious hitherto over all
their enemies. They knew how to conquer, but not
how to yield. On the other hand, the united forces
of the weaker nations, now made strong by union
and brought together for the first time as allies in
battle, fought with a spirit of emulation, excited to
the highest degree among the warriors of the differ-
ent tribes. Though staggered by the first furious
onslaught of the Eries, they quickly rallied and made
a determined stand. Then the battle raged with
the utmost fury. The war-club, the tomahawk, and
the scalping-flint, wielded by powerful dusky arms,
each did its terrible work of death. Seven times
had the Eries been driven back across the stream,
and as many times had they regained their ground.
During the hottest of the fight the head chief of the
Iroquois executed a brilliant strategic movement.
The reserve of a thousand young men, who had not
yet shown themselves in the conflict, were, under
cover of the underbrush, massed on the other side of
the stream, in the rear of the Eries; and when the
latter were driven back for the eighth time, this fresh
reserve, at a signal from their leader, rushed with a
tremendous yell upon the now almost exhausted
Eries, and quickly decided the fortunes of the bloody
day. The victors gave their enemies no rest, but
pursued them in their flight until they were almost
entirely annihilated.    Only a few swift runners and 4Q
stragglers of the vanquished Eries escaped to carry
the news of their terrible defeat to the women and
children and the old men who remained at home.
After thus conquering the Eries, the confederated
nations took possession of their territory, which
brought them in contact with the Hurons. Having
learned their power, they from this time forward inaugurated a campaign of conquest, and did not rest
until they had subdued many of the nations as far
west as the Mississippi River. On the south they
extended their conquests to the Gulf of Mexico ;
on the north to Hudson Bay ; and on the east to the
Atlantic Ocean. This left them the masters of an
immense territory—the finest on the continent.
This was the condition of the Iroquois when the
whites first settled here ; and it so remained until
they took sides in the wars between the French and
English, and later between the English and American colonies. The tribes they had conquered merely
paid them tribute in corn and skins, which added to
their wealth and ease of living, but not to their
The steady and rapid encroachments of the white
men soon took from them the greater portion of the
soil which was their natural heritage, and penned
them up on reservations. As has been forcibly and
truly said of them : " The infectious air of civilization penetrated to the remotest corner of their
solitudes. Their ignorant and credulous nature,
unable to cope with a superior race, absorbed only
its worst features, yielding up their own simplicity And Her People.
and nobleness for the white men's vices, diseases,
and death." They are now reduced to about seven
thousand, and are much scattered, living on various
reservations in the United States and Canada.
There were but two roads to distinction among
the Iroquois—one war, the other oratory. They
held their oratorical sachems in great honor. The
one best known and most celebrated among the
whites was Sa-go-ye-wat-ta, meaning "He keeps
them awajte." He was known among the whites
as " Red Jacket," having received that name from
the fact that an English officer had once given him
a red coat, which Red Jacket always wore on great
occasions and of which he was very proud. He was
a man of great ability and remarkable powers of
oratory. He was born in 1750, and was on the stage
of action during the trouble between England and
the colonies. He always opposed the Indians'
taking up the hatchet on either side. He foresaw
the destruction of his people, and thought the taking up of arms upon behalf of the white man's
quarrel would hasten that destruction. He had
noted how they were being surrounded by civilization, and wasting away, and in one of his speeches,
alluding to this condition, he said :
" We stand upon a small island in the bosom of
the great waters. We are encircled—we are encompassed. The Evil Spirit rides upon the blast, and
the waters are disturbed. They rise, they press
upon us; and the waves once settled over us, we
disappear forever.   Who then lives to mourn for us? 42
None. What marks our extermination ? Nothing.
We shall be mingled with the common elements."
On another occasion, addressing an assemblage of
whites, he said :
" Your forefathers crossed the great water and
landed upon this continent. Their numbers were
small. They found friends, and not enemies.
They told us they had fled from their own country
on account of wicked men, and had come here
to enjoy their religion. They asked for a small
seat. We took pity on them and granted their request, and they sat down among us. We gave them
corn and meat; they gave us ■" fire water" in
Red Jacket died in 1830, and was buried in the
Indian burial-ground near the city of Buffalo, New
York. In 1884—the city having spread beyond this
little patch of ground, sacred only to the Indians—
the owners of the adjacent property bought the land
and had all the bodies removed. Some citizens,
thinking that Red Jacket deserved more than an unknown grave, had his remains reinterred in the beautiful cemetery known as " Forest Lawn," and a fine
bronze monument erected to his memory, at a cost
of ten thousand dollars.
Another of their orators was Tah-gah-jute, called
" Logan' by the whites. He had always advised
his nation not to join either side in the war between
the whites. His wigwam was known far and near
as the abode of hospitality, friendship, and kindness.
Although a Cayuga, he married a Shawnee woman, And Her People.
and went with her tribe in the west. His
wigwam was upon the bank of the Ohio River, near
where the city of Wheeling, West Virginia, now stands,
and there also he became a great favorite with the
white settlers. He had always declared he would
never lift his tomahawk against the white man. It
happened, however, that in the spring of 1774 a difficulty arose between the whites and Indians in that
section of country. It was called " Cresap's war."
Logan remained quietly at home joining neither side.
Colonel Cresap with a company of armed settlers,
while on their way to join other forces that were
gathering to fight the Indians, camped for the night
not far from Logan's home. Some of the party
wanted to do an act of daring to show their courage
and immortalize their names, and therefore they set
out during the night for Logan's wigwam. It did
not matter to them whose it was ; it was enough to
know that it was an Indian's. Logan was not at
home, and they in cold blood murdered his two
younger brothers, his wife, and all his little ones, and
left them weltering in their blood upon the floor of
his cabin. Logan returned in the morning to find
his home tenanted only by the dead ; and then at
once, for the first time, thirst for vengeance filled his
soul, and from that moment he became the settlers'
deadly foe. He immediately joined the Indians and
fought for revenge, not only in the " Cresap war,"
but also during the early part of the long and bloody
war between England and the colonies (called the
Revolutionary war), filling the land with mourning. 44
When the war ended and the Indians were conquered, Logan was the last chief to sign the treaty
of peace, and he signed then only upon the earnest
solicitation of all the other chiefs. While before the
commission on this occasion he rose slowly from his
seat, and, with unspeakable sadness depicted upon
his countenance, spoke the following words :
" I appeal to any white man to say if ever he
entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him no
meat; if ever he came cold or naked and he clothed
him not. During the course of the long and bloody
war between the whites, Logan joined neither side,
but remained in his cabin, an advocate of peace.
Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said Logan is the
friend of the white man. Colonel Cresap, in cold
blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of
Logan, not even sparing my wife and children. There
runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any
living being. This called on me for revenge. I
have sought it. I have killed many. I have fully
glutted my vengeance. For my country I rejoice
at the beams of peace. But do not harbor a thought
that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear.
He would not turn on his heel to save his life. Who
is there now to mourn for Logan ?    Not one."
When he had finished this pathetic address he sank
down upon his seat, a picture of despair; and, covering his face with his hands, wept bitter, scalding tears.
Then, recovering his composure, he arose majestically,
signed the treaty, and strode from the place, And Her People.
There are several conflicting accounts as to when,
where, and under what circumstances Logan made
this speech, but all agree that it was made by him.
Up to the time of the slaughter of his family, Logan could not be induced to taste spirituous liquor;
but after signing this treaty he sought relief from
sorrow in the mind- and soul-destroying cup, and the
great orator and noble-hearted man became a wreck.
He died in 1780, and a fine monument is erected
to his memory near Sandusky, Ohio.
I have dwelt thus at length upon the Iroquois, because (excepting, perhaps, the Aztecs, in Mexico)
their history is better known than that of any other
nation upon the continent, because they exercised
sovereignty over a vast territory, and because they
are in many respects a type of most of the other
Indians north of the thirty-third parallel of north
latitude. CHAPTER IV.
LIKE all unenlightened people, the Iroquois had
many superstitions. One of the strongest of
these was the significant importance which
they attached to dreams. So great was this, that if
any one had a clearly defined dream it was believed
that it must be realized if possible, or dire calamity
would follow. One illustration of the strength of
this superstition will suffice :
Sir William Johnson, an English baronet, had settled among the Mohawks, and held wonderful sway
over the Iroquois. He had a fine coat, highly ornamented and decorated, to impress the Indians with
his greatness. This he wore on all state occasions.
One day the head chief of the Mohawks, Soi-en-ga-
rah-tah, who, on account of his great power and
influence, was called by the whites " King Hendricks," came to Sir William and told him he had
dreamed that Sir William gave him that coat.
Sir William, having lived long among them and
well knowing that to obstruct the realization of the
chief's dream would greatly weaken his influence
among the Indians, immediately gave him the coat.
Not long afterwards Sir William sent for the chief
^ Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
and informed him that he had just had a remarkably
vivid dream to the effect that the chief had given
him such and such lands, naming a valuable tract
containing some three thousand acres. The chief
saw at once that he was beaten at his own game, and
for a moment hung his head. Then, slowly raising
his eyes, which had in them a little twinkle, he said:
"Well, Sir William, I will give you the land; but
don't dream again ! "
This chief joined the English in the war with the
French, and was killed in battle in I755> when he
was about seventy years of age.
After the death of " King Hendricks," Joseph
Brant, whose Indian name was Tha-yen-dah-na-gea,
was, although not in the direct line of succession,
made by universal consent the head chief of the
Mohawks. He was born in 1742, and while a young
boy was taken in charge by Sir William Johnson.
At the age of thirteen he took part in the battle of
Lake George, where the French under Baron Dieskau
were defeated by the English forces under command
of Sir William Johnson. Brant also accompanied
Sir William in many expeditions against the French
during this war. He was placed in school by Sir
William at Lebanon, Connecticut, where he received
an English education. Later he took part in the
war with Pontiac and the' Ottawas, and for many
years after this led a quiet life, as secretary to Sir
William and also to Sir Guy Johnson, who succeeded
to the agency after Sir William's death.
When the war broke out between the American 48
colonies and Great Britain, Brant adhered to his
patron, Sir Guy Johnson, and, with as many Mohawks as he could induce to go with him, joined the
British. In the fall of 1775 he was commissioned a
captain in the British army, and went to England
for a personal interview with the officers of the home
government. He was there an object of much interest and at times attracted great attention by
appearing in full native costume, elegantly made,
and decorated in the height of Indian fashion. On
his return to America, he entered actively into the
war, fully espousing the British cause, and urging
upon his people the ill-treatment the Iroquois had
received at the hands of the colonists. The latter
used every endeavor to induce Brant to join them,
as did the English to retain him. He was told by
the colonists that the king would surely be beaten,
as he had to bring all his soldiers across the great
water; and that when the British were driven out,
as they were sure to be, the colonists would drive
him and his people from the country, in case he
adhered to the cause of Great Britain.
On the other hand he was told by Sir Guy Johnson that the king was rich and powerful, both in
money and subjects; that his rum was as plentiful
as the water in Lake Ontario, and his men as numerous as the sands upon its shore ; that if he and his
people would persist in their friendship for the king
till the war was over, they would never want for
goods or money. The bargain was struck with the
British, and each warrior was presented with a suit And Her People.
of clothes, a brass kettle, an iron tomahawk, a scalp-
ing-knife, and a small sum of money.
Brant at once became the chief commander of the
Indian forces of the British in the east, and terrible
indeed was the work done by him. When personally
present, he was humane to prisoners. At the battle
of Springfield, near Otsego Lake, in the State of
New York, after capturing the town and killing or
taking prisoners all the men, he collected all the
women and children in one house and left them unharmed, while he caused all the other buildings to
be burned.
There are many conflicting reports and opinions
as to the humanity or cruelty of this great chief.
As the leader of the Indians upon the side of the
British, he was of course blamed for all the massacres
that took place, whether he had any personal knowledge of them or not; and in many instances it is impossible to determine whether he was present or not.
It is equally impossible to decide upon the truth or
falsity of many of the stories that have been told,
because of the excitement and prejudice that existed
at the time. It is, however, beyond contradiction
that in many instances the lives of women and children were spared by his efforts ; and it is fair to presume that he thus acted in all cases where he was
personally present. He was unquestionably a man
of great courage and ability.
After the close of the war of the Revolution, he
left the United States and went into Canada with
his followers, settling upon lands given them by the
!\ I
British Government, and died there in 1807. A fine
monument has been erected to his memory in the
city of Bradford, in the province of Ontario.
The dress of the Indian, prior to the advent of the
whites, was made entirely of the skins of animals,
tanned with the hair or fur on or off, as best pleased
the wearer. Some of their garments consisted merely
of the tanned skin of some animal, wrapped around
the body; while others were regularly cut out and
sewed together in the shape and style desired. The
needles used for this purpose were fishes' bones, and
the thread, when fine, was from the inner bark or
roots of some tree, and when coarse, was cut from
deer or elk skins or made from the animal's sinew.
Some of these garments were quite pretty. They
had an unique way of ornamenting them with bright-
colored porcupine quills and shells, sometimes intermingled with colored grasses and feathers. They
understood to a considerable extent the art of dyeing in brilliant colors, principally the various shades
of red, green, and yellow. Red was their prime
favorite. They also showed considerable skill and
taste in blending and harmonizing the colors which
they used.
They were well skilled in the art of tanning, and
spent much time in the process of scraping and rubbing the skin over round sticks and between the
hands, thus making it as soft and pliable as cloth.
All work of this sort was done by the women. This
mode of dressing and ornamenting skins was common to all the Indians upon the continent, showing
H And Her People.
that with them, as with other races of men, necessity
was the mother of invention, and that among all
races similar circumstances suggest similar action.
Since the coming of the whites, and more particularly in sections where game has become scarce,
the clothing of the Indian has been in great measure
changed to cloths, blankets, and flannels. Beads of
all colors have taken the place of porcupine quills,
shells, etc., for ornamentation.
The women had entire charge of the children from
birth to rnarriage, and they were kindly cared for.
They had nothing to do but amuse themselves, until
they became of sufficient age—the boys to accompany their fathers in the chase, and the girls to help
their mothers.
When a young man arrived at the age of twenty,
he might marry, provided he had secured by his own
efforts—or his father would provide him with—sufficient skins, bows and arrows, canoes, or other
property for acceptable wedding presents to the
family of the bride. Girls were marriageable from
about fourteen years of age ; and as it cost the young
man nothing to furnish meat by hunting—a source
of pleasure and amusement to him,—and his wife
would raise all the corn and vegetables, besides dressing the skins and making the clothing, it was a very
easy matter for the young man to support a family ;
whence nearly all married at an early age.
The pappoose-board, or cradle, was made in various
ways, the most common being a straight board about
two and a half feet long, fifteen inches wide at the 52
top and nine inches at the bottom, made from cedar
or some other wood that would split straight and
easy. It was worked down with stone scrapers and
ornamented with paint to suit the more or less artistic
taste of the mother. Over the top was a hoop, under
which the infant's head was placed. The little one
was wrapped in furs and skins like a mummy, its tiny
arms bound close to its body with the wrappings.
Then this baby bundle was laid upon its back on the
board and fastened by lashings passed through holes
near the edges of the board and firmly laced. The
hoop over the top was to protect the head of the
child from bruises, in case the cradle should fall. The
cradle with its baby load was carried by the mother
upon her back, a strap made of woven bark or tanned
skin passing across her forehead and having the ends
fastened to the board. When the mother was at
work at home she would stand the cradle up against
the side of the wigwam ; but when working in the
field it was hung on a convenient bough of a tree, out
of reach of the wolves. This was an easy matter for
her, for all Indians could climb like squirrels, and the
infant being upon her back, held only by the strap
about her own head, did not interfere in the least
with her climbing.
I have seen from one to half a dozen or more specimens of this kind of fruit hanging upon a single tree,
while the mothers were picking berries. Strange as
it may seem, these children seldom cry, neither are
they easily frightened. Should you approach one of
them he would fasten his keen black eyes on yours And Her People.
for an instant and then turn to his mother, if she
were near, keeping his eyes vibrating between his
mother and the stranger, but showing no signs of fear.
If the mother was not present, the child would keep
his little'eyes continually fixed on yours with a gaze
of intense interest. The child is kept upon the board
for several months, or until his legs are strong enough
to walk. Possibly it is this treatment that gives the
Indian so erect a figure—a characteristic so universal
as to justify the familiar phrase " straight as an
The country west of that occupied or overrun by
the Iroquois was occupied by numerous tribes of
Indians and quite thickly peopled to the Rocky
Mountains, which formed a dividing line between
these Indians and the tribes of the Pacific Coast.
The settlement of the white men among these Indians was attended with atrocities similar to those
which characterized their advent among the Indians
in the East, and to such an extent that murder became the seeming pastime of both races ; and to go
into the details of it would be but to repeat, with
slight change of circumstances, what has already
been narrated concerning the Atlantic Coast. I shall
therefore confine myself to the character, habits,
beliefs, etc., of these tribes.
We learn from their traditions that before the white
settlers came there were at different times among
these Indians confederations similar to the great confederation of the Iroquois. Some of these were in
fact still in existence when the whites first appeared. 54
They had some valiant leaders. Among those
known to history were Tecumseh, Black Hawk, and
Keokuk. In person, the men who inhabited this
section of the country were of large frame, compactly
built, and very muscular. The women, too, were large
and well formed, as befitted the consorts of such
men. As far as can be ascertained, these people
prior to the advent of the whites were humane in
their treatment of prisoners of war, some being
adopted into the tribe and others held as slaves.
The oldest man could remember of but one prisoner
who was burned at the stake, and that was said to
have been in retaliation for a like treatment of one of
their warriors taken prisoner by the whites down in
the southern country.
It is exceedingly difficult to locate the various
tribes as they were in the olden times. Some, who
were very powerful at one time in certain regions,
were overpowered and driven from their lands, to
settle in*some distant section, there to become strong
again, and perhaps make conquest of neighboring
tribes. Owing to this uncertainty of location, it will
be more satisfactory to treat of these Indians in the
main collectively, although in some points the tribes
differed widely from each other.
The Shawnees with other tribes at one time occupied what is now the State of Ohio. It was among
this tribe that Simon Kenton, a celebrated scout,
had a remarkable series of adventures.
Kenton, at the age of seventeen, fled from Virginia to Kentucky, the then " Far West," to escape And Her People.
punishment for killing his rival in the affections of a
country belle. During the war of the Revolution he
was employed as a scout, and performed some very
daring deeds. At one time he was sent into the
country of the Shawnees to ascertain their position
and numbers. This he accomplished by going to
their villages under pretence of being a friend, smoking the pipe of peace, and receiving their hospitalities. After thus obtaining all the information that
was required, he started to return with his report.
He had with him two friends who were bold and
adventurous spirits, ready for anything that might
come up. On their route they fell in with a few
Shawnees who were keeping guard over quite a
large herd of horses. Kenton suggested that they
capture the entire herd and drive them home as a
rich prize. This was readily agreed to, and the Indians, entirely unsuspecting, were quickly disposed
of. I 1|
Some of the horses were then caught as leaders,
and Kenton's comrades started off at good speed,
while he drove up the laggards from the rear. They
made directly for the Ohio River, dashing forward
during the entire night without a halt. In the
morning they stopped on a fine prairie where there
was plenty of grass, to let the horses graze and rest
a little. Setting out again, they travelled all that
day and the following night, reaching the river far
in advance of any pursuit. But the wind was blowing almost a hurricane, and they found the water so
rough that with their utmost efforts they could not 56
force the horses to swim the river. Hoping that
their pursuers would not reach them before the
waters subsided, they lay down on the bank to wait.
But during the twenty-four hours of this enforced
halt, the Indians in swift pursuit were covering the
ground the whites had traversed the day before, and
came upon them in the early morning.
Kenton's gun missed fire, and he took to the
woods. He was hotly pursued, however, and soon
made prisoner. One of his friends was killed, but
the other succeeded in making his escape. The
Indians fastened Kenton to a tree, calling him a
thief, a horse-stealer, and a rascal; and he knew
their language well enough to comprehend the force
of these choice epithets.
In the morning the party started on their homeward march. For their amusement the Indians
bound Kenton upon the back of an unbroken colt in
real Mazeppa style, while at night he took his rest
lashed to a tree as before. It took three days to
reach their first village, where they bound him to a
stake to be burned. They danced around him till
midnight, whooping, yelling, and striking him with
their hands and with switches; but for some reason
unknown to him they did not apply the torch.
The next morning they unbound the captive, and,
stripping him entirely naked, made him " run the
gauntlet " between two rows of men and boys armed
with switches, clubs, tomahawks, and other convenient implements of torture. At the end of the
double row of Indians, which was about a quarter of And Her People.
a mile in length, stood the council-house, while at its
entrance was an Indian beating a rude drum
was understood that if the prisoner could escape the
weapons and get into the house he was to be safe for
the time being. This Kenton succeeded in doing,
greatly to the astonishment of his captors. But his
troubles were by no means ended. His offence had
been too great to warrant his receiving any mercy.
He had killed three or four of the Shawnees, and,
what was^nearly as bad, had stolen their horses,
after smoking with them the pipe of peace and partaking of their hospitality.
On that day the Indians held a council to vote
upon the question whether they should burn the
prisoner at the stake there and then, or take him
around and exhibit him in the other villages. The
chiefs and warriors seated themselves in a ring and
passed a war-club from one to another. Those in
favor of enjoying the fireworks immediately were to
strike the ground with the club before passing it,
while those whose generosity inclined them to give
the other villages the benefit of the exhibition were
to pass the club in silence. Never was a candidate
so interested in the vote of any club as was Kenton
in the progress of this one. He watched it with
eager eyes, and breathed freer when he counted a
majority in favor of putting him on exhibition. It
was not a cheerful prospect at best, but he knew
this would give him at least a few more days—perhaps weeks—of life.
They put a rope around his neck, and led him thus 58
from village to village, the time occupied being
nearly a month. At each village he was obliged to
run the gauntlet for the entertainment of the people,
and was vigorously switched on each occasion. In
fact, during that month it may be said that running
the gauntlet was his chief occupation. He did not
find it nearly so pleasant as killing a rival lover,
shooting Indians, or stealing horses. Even scouting
would have pleased him better. While sitting in the
council-house of one of the villages, after having had
his usual daily " run," and in expectation that the
next thing would be to bind him to the post for
burning, a white man came in with some prisoners
and scalps. This proved to be the famous outlaw,
Girty, who had deserted the whites and joined the
Indians, and who excelled the latter in brutality and
savagery. But he knew Kenton. In former years
he had been a spy with him, had shared the same
dangers and slept under the same blanket with him.
That was enough; and Girty, brute and traitor as
he was, began at once to plead for the life of his
friend. In this he succeeded so far as to get him a
respite of three weeks, during which time Kenton
lived with him. At the end of the three weeks, and
on the arrival of some other Indians from another
branch of the tribe, another council was held, and
even Girty's pleadings were in vain. It was determined to take the prisoner to Sandusky, and there
burn him. On arriving at the place of execution,
however, an English Indian agent interceded in
Kenton's behalf,—simply  for the purpose,  as he And Her People.
alleged, of getting information from him for the
British commandant at Detroit, and promising to
return the prisoner as soon as he had accomplished
that object.
The Indians finally, with great reluctance, gave
Kenton into the agent's charge, who sent him immediately to Detroit. From there, by aid of an Indian
woman, the wife of an English trader, he escaped;
and by travelling by night and lying quiet during
the day he-reached his home in Louisville, Kentucky, in thirty days. Kenton lived to be eighty-
two years old and to see the country over which he
was dragged a prisoner covered with the farms and
dotted with the towns and cities of the white man.
Among the tribes in this section were, besides
the Shawnees, the Hurons, Algonquins, Assiniboins,
Sioux, Apaches, Ojibways, Pawnees, Cheyennes, and
Arapahoes. These tribes differed considerably from
the Iroquois in their religious beliefs and in their
Some of them believed that after death the spirit
had to cross a deep and rapid river to reach the
happy hunting-grounds ; and that over this stream,
as the only means of crossing, the Great Spirit had
placed a very long pole, which the current kept in
rapid and irregular motion. Those who had led
good lives on earth were enabled to walk across in
safety; while those who had been wicked would be
shaken off and carried down the surging stream and
over a high precipice extending between the hunting-
grounds of the good and those of the wicked, and 6o
separating them for ever. The place reserved for
the good was provided with every conceivable thing
that could conduce to joy and happiness ; while the
wicked were condemned to live for all time in discomfort and misery.
They did not, like the Iroquois, ascribe creative
powers to the Evil Spirit, although they believed
that he exercised great power over their destinies
and every-day life. But in their belief everything
had a spirit—the corn, the apple-tree, the cave, the
water, the wind, the thunder, the lightning—all were
possessed of their especial spirit; and the Indians
burned incense or made sacrifices to appease or propitiate each one, as circumstances dictated. They
prayed only to the Evil Spirit; believing that the
Good God would always befriend them without
being asked or even thanked.
Their war dance differed materially from that of
the Iroquois. Instead of imitating a battle, they
set up a great post, and the warriors formed in a
circle around it. Then one of them, painted as for
war, would rush to the post, strike it with his whip
or coup-stick, and in a loud voice relate his individual
experience, exhibit the scalps he had taken, and in
pantomime go through the struggle with each victim
precisely as it had originally occurred. If in any
part of the ceremony the performer should exaggerate, or lie, any one present who knew he was doing
so was at liberty to step forward and throw dirt in
his face, thus symbolizing that he ought to hide his
face in shame for being guilty of such an offence.
K And Her People.
This custom had the effect of keeping enthusiastic
young warriors generally within bounds in the relation of their deeds of daring. On the other hand, if
any warrior had achieved so many victories and had
so many, scalps that, to relate all his adventures
would take too much time, the chief who had been
selected to act as master of ceremonies would go to
the post and place his hand over the mouth of the
warrior, who would then at once retire. Such an act
on the part of the chief was esteemed a great honor,
for it bore eloquent though silent testimony that the
warrior had performed so many valiant deeds that
to recount them all would not only consume too
long a time, but also tend to abash the younger warriors, whose showing would appear so meagre in
comparison with his. The exhibition of scalps was
an evidence of prowess that could not be disputed.
The ceremonies of the dance were always followed
by a great feast.
The tribes of this section indulged in a great
variety of dances, some of them having different
names for the same dance. Among them were the
Scalp Dance, Medicine Dance, Green-corn Dance,
Sun Dance, Begging Dance, Sign Dance, Eating
Dance, Kissing Dance, and many other social dances.
The social dances were attended with great merriment. CHAPTER V.
THE Sioux, or Dakotas, as they sometimes called
themselves, occupied the northwestern part of
the country last described. They were numerous and powerful. Their numerical strength was, in
1846 (as stated by General Pike), 21,675, of whom
thirty-eight hundred were warriors ; and it is claimed
by them that they were formerly very much more
It is the opinion of some writers that the Sioux
belong to a race distinct from any other upon the
continent; this view being based upon the evident
difference in their physiognomy and language from
those of all other known tribes ; as well as upon
their supplications and sacrifices to the " Unknown
God," their meat- and burnt-offerings, and their
preparation and burning of incense. I merely make
this statement, without any intention of discussing
it; my purpose being simply to give an account of
the Indians as I found them.
Wild horses were plenty in this section of the
country, and most of the tribes were expert horsemen
and generally fought on horseback. This accounts for
their custom of striking the post with their whips in
Bi Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
the war dance, indicating the insult to an enemy,
which will be spoken of hereafter. Instead of the
tomahawk, these warriors used a lance as their principal weapon, keeping the tomahawk at their belts
to be used in case the lance should be broken or
when they came into close quarters.
The dress of all the tribes in this section was quite
similar to that of the Iroquois, except that the men
of rank wore a singular cap made of soft deer skin,
fitting the head quite closely and having a pendant
or tail extending down the back to the heels. This
pendant was made in two pieces, and between these
were fastened feathers, long ones at the head and
others of gradually decreasing length to the heel.
Fighting as they did on horseback, such an appendage was not burdensome, and this peculiar headdress was often worn in battle when the rest of the
body was covered only with paint. It was a matter
of rejoicing if one of these caps was taken with a
scalp, for it indicated that the wearer had been a
man of importance.
To the Indian warrior an enemy's scalp, taken in
battle, was what a captured flag is to the soldier of
I civilized warfare,"—a proud trophy of his valor.
Before scalping-knives were furnished them by the
white traders, the Indians cut the scalp from the
head of a vanquished enemy with a sharp flint. It
was a feat requiring great prowess, for the victorious
warrior during the time he was removing it remained
exposed to onslaughts of the enemy,—it being one
of the sacred tenets of all tribes never to let the body 64
of a slain warrior fall into the hands of the enemy if
they could prevent it. Whenever one of their number was seen to fall, others rushed immediately upon
the victor to prevent his getting the scalp, whence
the taking of it required great dexterity as well as
courage,—both of which qualities were held in the
highest estimation by all Indians. It is by no
means strange, then, that the best evidence of a
warrior's prowess was the number of these ghastly
trophies in his possession.
With some of the tribes, however, there was a
further reason for scalping an enemy. This was the
belief that the loss of the scalp destroyed the immortal part, and secured the eternal annihilation of
him from whom it was taken ; and thus by scalping
their enemies here, they would have just so many the
less in the other world.
Another belief prevailing to some extent among
them was that the dead entered the other world
exactly as they left this, and for that reason they
wished to be dressed in their finest clothes when
they died. It was thought also that every one who
died would bear his wounds or deformities into the
other world ; and this was why they sometimes refrained from scalping a slain white man, filling his
body with arrows instead ; in the belief that, not
being scalped, he would go into the other world,
where he would be eternally tormented by the
wounds the arrows had caused. This we would
regard as a reckless waste of ammunition, but to
them it appeared a wise provision for the future life. And Her People.
Another curious custom, for the following of
which the warrior would be highly honored, was
that of striking the dead body of an enemy with the
coup-stick or whip. This was regarded as a taunt and
an insult,, and the most strenuous exertions were
made to prevent it. For this reason it was that in
battle each side endeavored always to get the bodies
of their slain beyond the reach of the enemy. One
of the most dreaded calamities which could befall a
tribe was the necessity that would compel them to
leave any of their dead in the hands of their hated foes.
Feathers plucked from the wings of the war eagle
were worn by all warriors in their caps or hair. They
also tied them in the foretop and tail of their horses.
Those worn upon the head were painted or cut in
such a manner as to signify certain events, so that
much of a warrior's record could be read upon his
head. For example, the number of feathers with a
spot of black paint upon them indicated the number
of enemies he had slain; those with a V-shaped
notch cut in the long side of the feather, the number
of scalps he had taken ; those split through the
centre, how many times he had been wounded;
those with three notches cut in the top, how many
times he had insulted the enemy by striking the dead
bodies of their warriors ; while others, cut in various
ways, indicated other daring exploits. The marked
feathers occupied the most conspicuous place, while
plain ones were used to fill out this fantastic headdress, according to the taste of the wearer. Possibly
it is this ancient custom of the Indian that originated 66
the familiar expression : J That puts another feather
in your cap."
The tribes in this section disposed of their dead by
placing the body on a raised platform, and hanging
around it the utensils or arms used by the deceased
while living. All these articles were spoiled for
earthly use, that they might not tempt the cupidity
of any one. Holes were made in all the kettles and
dishes, the bows and arrows were broken, and the
skins cut. They believed that the spirit would need
all these things in the other world, and that a spirit
touch would make them whole. They venerated
their dead, and their greatest sorrow was to be
driven from the spot made sacred by the bones of
their forefathers and friends.
If a warrior was killed in battle or in a private
feud, his eldest son took it upon himself to avenge
his father's death. If he succeeded, and hung the
scalp so taken upon the father's grave, he was entitled to paint a red hand upon his clothing, which
was a very high honor.
Generally, marriage among the people of these
tribes was an affair of the heart; although it occasionally happened that a rich suitor, unable to win
the maid's affections, but determined to have her,
would induce the parents, by valuable presents, to
compel her to marry him. But such cases were not
numerous; and the young man had usually to win
the girl's affections. The girls were not allowed to
have their grandmothers make proposals to the
young men  in their behalf,  as were the Iroquois
sss And Her People.
maidens, but relied upon their personal charms to
win a lover; and " the old, old story which is ever
new " was told to them much in the same way as
among the civilized peoples of the world. The
young men wooed very much in the same way as
young men have done and are likely to continue to
do through all time. They made themselves as attractive as possible, took walks by moonlight with
the girl of their choice, and serenaded her on nights
when they^ could not walk with her. They had a
sort of flute, made from a hollow reed, and upon
this the lover, in the still hours of the night, would,
play outside the wigwam of the maiden he loved. If
his suit prospered they would take long daylight
rambles in the grand old native woods, where he
would pour into her willing ear his protestations of
love; tell her of his many exploits in tracking the
wary game, or cause her cheek to blanch with the
story of his more daring and dangerous adventures
upon the war-path. He would fill her trusting soul
with sweet promises of the future, until at last she
yielded the consent he sought. Returning hand in
hand to the village both families would be told of
the engagement, and it would very soon be known
to all the village. On the morrow, if the young
man was unable to make a suitable present to the
girl's parents, he would endeavor to obtain their
consent without the customary gifts. Should he
fail in this,.however, he would arrange to steal his
sweetheart; and she, with a charming willingness to
be stolen, would lend him every assistance. 68
When everything was made ready—and it is
scarcely necessary to say that no time was wasted
in the process—the young man wrapped his buffalo
robe around him, thus concealing his bow and
arrows, tomahawk, and flint knife, and strode away
into the woods as naturally as if nothing was going
to happen. The maiden also, when the way was
clear for her, wrapped herself in her buffalo robe,
under which she concealed a kettle and the wooden
dish in which the food was placed, and stole away
to the place agreed upon for meeting her lover.
From there they proceeded to the nearest village in
which the young warrior had relatives, and with
them they remained as husband and wife until they
saw fit to return to their own village. There they
would be received by the parents with open arms;
for it was the custom among these people, where a
couple thus ran away and became husband and wife,
that all opposition to their union should end. In
fact the " stealing " of the bride was little more than
a fiction, the carrying out of which no one made, as
a rule, any serious effort to prevent.
A formal marriage in Indian " high life " was,
however, quite a different affair. After the young
man had wooed and won the maiden of his love, the
engagement was at once announced; and the next
day (for there were no dangerously long engagements) the expectant bridegroom loaded a horse
with presents, and led it in person to the door of
the wigwam of the bride's parents. Here, without
entering or saying a word, he proceeded to unload And Her People.
the presents, leaving them near the door. If it was
near nightfall, or there seemed to be any probability
of a storm, the gifts were taken in and cared for.
Then a consultation was held among the relatives
of the maiden, which etiquette demanded should
continue for at least three days, even though the
decision was made at once. If this decision were
adverse, the young man was informed that he might
take away his goods; but if it were favorable, he was
advised of the acceptance of his gifts, and a time was
fixed when he should receive his bride. When this
time arrived, which was usually the same day on
which the favorable answer was communicated, the
relatives formed a procession headed by the parents
of the bride, and she, dressed in her best attire,
followed immediately behind them. In silence they
marched to within a short distance of the bridegroom's wigwam, and there halted. In a minute or
two a warrior, selected by the groom, and whom we
might call his " best man," came out to meet them,
and placing himself directly in front of the parents,
turned his back to them and faced the wigwam of
the groom.
Then the parents stepped aside and the bride
sprang upon the warrior's back, holding herself there
by clinging to his neck; and he, with slow and
measured tread, moved toward the. wigwam of the
groom and upon reaching it the door was promptly
thrown open by a relative of the groom. The bride's
feet were not permitted to touch the ground until
she had crossed the threshold, nor must he who car- 7o
ried her assist her in any manner to hold herself on.
On alighting inside, she rushes to her lover and seats
herself beside him on the bench wThere he has sat
during the entire time the procession has been
coming, with a countenance as stolid and immovable
as if he had not the slightest interest in the proceedings. Not until the bride had thus seated herself
and placed her hand in that of her lover was the
ceremony complete. As soon as they had joined
hands they became husband and wife, and at once the
tongues of the relatives and friends were unloosed.
The hilarity of the occasion began, and it ended
with a feast prepared by the relatives of the
The riding of the bride into the groom's wigwam
upon the back of his representative, or best man, was
intended to symbolize the entire dependence of the
wife upon her husband ; that where he goes, she must
go ; that she could do nothing without his consent;
as, being upon his back, she became a part of him
and subject to his will. Her action in springing
upon his back and clinging there was to show her
entire willingness to become part of him, and that
thenceforth his will should be her will. It was the
Indian way of promising to " love, honor, and obey."
The Indian abounds in superstitions. Had any
unpropitious thing happened—had a white dog
howled or an owl hooted while the wedding procession was marching, the procession would have turned
back to the wigwam of the bride, and the ceremony
would have been delayed until the following day. And Her People.
Thus we cast a shower of rice or a worn slipper after
the departing bride and groom, that they may have
happiness and good fortune. Is there so very much
difference in the superstitions ?
One of the superstitions of the Indians promoted
humanity. They had but few cases of idiocy or insanity among them ; but they believed that if they
injured or maltreated one thus afflicted the Great
Spirit would be angry and visit dire calamity upon
them. For this reason persons thus afflicted were
always very kindly cared for.
This superstition was once of very great service to
Professor Hayden, of the United States Geological
Survey. One day while engaged in gathering specimens in this section of country, after filling his saddlebags and pockets with pieces of various kinds of rock,
he found he had wandered far from his party, and
started to search for them. Seeing some men on
horseback, and supposing they were his friends, he
rode toward them, but, to his horror, discovered that
they were Indians. Knowing that he was in the
country of hostiles, he turned his horse and attempted
to escape. But his saddle-bags and every pocket
were full to overflowing, as was also the tin box containing bugs and insects which hung at his side, and
thus handicapped he made but poor headway. The
Indians soon overtook him and in sign language
ordered him to dismount. They proceeded at once
to make an inspection of his possessions. He had
nothing with which to defend himself, his outfit being a pocket-knife, hammer, chisel, and watch. These 72
they took, and then began to plunge their hands into
his pockets, bringing them out filled with the rock
specimens. Again and again they did this, until
pockets, pouch, and saddle-bags were all empty ; and
as the pile of stones increased upon the ground beside him they burst into loud laughter. Finally they
opened the tin box, and when they saw nothing in that
but bugs and other insects they quickly closed it, and,
looking at each other and then very closely at him,
touched their foreheads with the forefinger and made
the sign signifying crazy (mind gone). Then they
gave back all his things, even picking up the specimens and replacing them carefully in his pockets,
pouch, and saddle-bags, and in the sign language
told him to mount his horse and go on, which he
did with a feeling of thankfulness which can readily
be imagined.
Their strongest superstitions were connected with
their doctors, or " medicine men," as they called
them. They believed them to be supernaturally endowed, and to possess the power of communicating
with and exorcising the spirits which caused sickness.
They also believed them able to cast a spell over any
one at will, thus causing the subject to fall ill or to
have bad luck. Great consideration and respect
were therefore shown them, not from any love or real
regard, but entirely through fear.
Not every one could become a medicine man. In
order to reach that distinction the candidate had to
be taken in charge by the older medicine men, and
pass through a most trying ordeaj.    He was taken And Her People.
into the deep forest, and there subjected to a fast
which brought him to the verge of starvation; and
also subjected to self-inflicted cuttings and tortures
of various kinds, to the satisfaction of the old practitioners, until he had dreams of spirits and received
communications from them. If in this preparatory
process he fainted, or if he failed in any respect, he
could never attain the goal of his ambition. What
the spirits communicated to him in dreams he was
required, if possible, to carry out. After passing
successfully through all the minutiae of this terrible
ordeal, the old medicine men communicated to him
the mysteries of the profession, and he returned to
the village a mere skeleton. But he was then a full-
fledged 1 medicine man," and as such was allowed to
begin his practice.
Taking advantage of the fear they inspired, the
medicine men were usually great rogues, and made
the most selfish use of their extraordinary opportunities.
When they became ill the Indians ordinarily used
decoctions of various herbs, rOots, barks, and berries,
which were prepared and administered by the
women relatives of the sick. The medicine man was
not called until the usual remedies had been tried
and failed to bring relief, and the case came to be
regarded as beyond their control. Then he was sent
for in great haste.
The runner who acted as messenger carried with
him a pipe filled with Klin-a-can-ic (the preparation
ysed as smoking-tobacco), and the fee, which might
I 74
consist of a bow and quiver of arrows, a buffalo robe,
beaver skins, or any other articles of value in keeping
with the financial circumstances of the sick person.
On entering the wigwam of the medicine man the
runner at once handed him the pipe, which taking,
he at once began to smoke. As soon as the pipe
was finished the messenger presented the fee and informed the medicine man as to who was in need of
his services. If that functionary did not think the
fee offered was of sufficient value, he refused to attend the patient until it was made satisfactory; and
the runner then returned for more goods. If, however, the fee sent was acceptable, the medicine man
at once took his sacred rattle, the only thing needful, and repaired to the wigwam of the sick person.
As this enchanted rattle was the one potent instrument of the medicine man, it is entitled to a description in detail. It was usually about five or six inches
in diameter, and was made in various ways. Sometimes it consisted of two pieces of wood hollowed
like a gourd, the rattles being placed in the hollow
and the pieces fastened together; and sometimes of
a turtle shell. But the rattles most esteemed were
of raw elk or buffalo hide, wet and stretched over a
ball of clay. When the skin had become dry and
hard, the clay was dug out at the place where strips
of skin had been left for the purpose of fastening
upon a handle. Before the handle was attached, the
skin, which now firmly retained its ball-shape, was
filled with the sacred and enchanted articles to which
the virtues of the  rattle were attributed.    These And Her People.
articles consisted in part of the finger-bones and
toe-bones of some slain enemy (the more of these, the
more efficacious the rattle); teeth of the beaver and
porcupine ; tip-ends of the horns of the buffalo, deer,
and elk ; claws and teeth of the bear ; shells, agates,
and other stones of various shapes and colors, especially such as had holes through them. This rattle
was priceless ; no amount of property would induce
the medicine man to part with it. Hung in his
wigwam, it protected him from all harm, and was
the medium through which he communicated with
friendly spirits, and the charm that kept away all
that were unfriendly.
Armed with this rattle, then, the medicine man
proceeded with slow and solemn tread towards the
wigwam of the patient. Now and again he would
take long strides sidewise and backwards, peering
here and there, making frightful faces, and occasionally making woful howls. Sometimes he wore a
hideous mask and a dress of skins, made to appear
most frightful. This was done in order that, should
any of the spirits afflicting the sick person happen
to be passing that way, they would see what disastrous fate they might expect should they venture
to return ; and also (and chiefly) that the people of
the village might be impressed with the mighty
power and importance of the great medicine man.
On entering the wigwam the medicine man
divested himself of his superfluous clothing, took a
seat as far as possible from the patient, and began
shaking his sacred rattle, first faintly, but with rapid- \
ly increasing vigor. He also sung his sacred chants,
in order to charm the evil spirit that had possession
of the patient. He kept this up till he was tired,
and then stopped and smoked awhile, returning with
renewed energy to his rattling and singing. This
was repeated several times, after which, if the sufferer
did not feel better, the medicine man tried his more
vigorous measures. He rushed at the victim and
with violent contortions sucked with his lips the
part affected. This operation was sometimes performed with such violence as to draw blood. The
medicine man then arose, groaning and writhing and throwing himself into all sorts of postures,
as if suffering intense agony. Finally he plunged
his head into a bowl of water and was relieved by the
passing of the spirit sucked from the sick person into
the water. I must not omit to mention that the water
had been previously prepared for this purpose by
being colored with red clay, in order that the bystanders might not see the spirit as it came from his
mouth ; for no human eye could safely look upon it.
If the patient did not find himself improved by this
proceeding, the medicine man concluded that some
animal must "have possession of the sick one, and
then had recourse to his great and final remedy.
After once more resting and smoking, he procured
a piece of bark and marked upon it with red clay a
picture of the animal whose spirit was troubling his
patient. He next dug a hole in the ground outside
the wigwam, filled the hole with water colored with
red clay, and irnmersed the piece of bark therein, and And Her People.
then returned to the wigwam. After many horrible
contortions, accompanied with howls and a vigorous
shaking of the sacred rattle, he plunged at the patient
with a deafening yell, and slapped, pounded, and
rubbed him violently from head to foot. During this
rather vigorous massage treatment he continued his
howls, contortions, and grimaces until nearly exhausted ; then seizing some part of the patient's body
with his teeth, he shook his head like a dog killing a
rat, and pretended to tear out a piece of the flesh.
This done, he put his hands to the ground and ran " on
all fours" out of the wigwam. There he thrust his
head into the water in which he had placed the bark,
taking care to thoroughly stir up the red clay, so
that no one should see the animal's spirit enter the
picture he had made of it on the bark. When he
arose the bark floated upon the surface of the water,
and he ordered some warrior relative of the patient
to shoot the spirit, which was done by sending an
arrow through the bark. The bark was burned, and
the medicine man took his departure.
If the patient recovered, the medicine man
received the credit, and was exalted accordingly; if
he died, the medicine man admitted that he had
made a wrong diagnosis; had failed to hit upon the
right animal; that whereas he had taken the spirit
possessing the patient to be that of a beaver, it must
have been that of a porcupine, and as he did not
treat the patient for porcupine, he had died. Was it
a vision of the bacilli of modern science that the
aboriginal medicine man had in his mind ? 78
Usually none but the relatives of the patient are
permitted to be present during the visit of the medicine man; but by dint of much persuasion and a
present of a five-point blanket to the practitioner, I
once obtained the privilege of seeing a man doctored
for a severe cold attended with high fever. It was
an obstinate case, and all the remedies were employed. The animal in that patient was an otter,
and, strange to say, the treatment was efficacious ;
the patient recovered, and the medicine man often
boasted to me afterwards of his wonderful power.
He certainly earned his fee, if bodily exertion and
fatigue are to be paid for.
But life is not altogether rose-colored, even for
the medicine man. It would sometimes happen that
he lost more patients than he cured ; and then the
superstitions of his tribe worked against him. In
such cases they thought he had not only lost his
power, but that evil spirits had overcome and taken
possession of him, and that thereafter his sacred
rattle would frighten away the good spirits instead
of the evil. When this opinion became prevalent,
the medicine man was doomed ; for it was then lawful for relatives of any of the patients he had lost to
kill him on sight and burn his rattle, and in most
cases some of them did it.
Among some tribes the medicine man was the
highest power; his word was law. Among others
he had the women do the howling and some young
man do the rattling or else pound on the tom-tom,
contenting himself with merely chanting incantations over the sick. CHAPTER VI.
THE superstitions of the  Indians extended to
other matters besides those I have heretofore
mentioned.      Mr. George Catlin is  my  authority for the following story of Wi-jun-jon, whose
portrait he painted.
Wi-jun-jon was the son of the highest chief of the
Assiniboins, a brave warrior, young, proud, handsome, and graceful. He had fought many battles;
many laurels were his, and he had a just claim to the
highest honors his nation could bestow. He was
selected by Major Sanford, Indian Agent, to represent his tribe in a delegation which visited the city
of Washington in 1832. He had promised his people
that he would count all the white men's houses he
saw ; and in accordance with this promise as he came
to them on his journey he began registering their
number by cutting a notch on the stem of his pipe
for each house. At first the cabins were few and far
between and gave him no trouble ; but they increased
in number as he descended the Missouri River. Soon
his pipe stem was covered with notches and he began
to notch his war club. This was soon filled also, and
when the boat stopped again Wi-jun-jon cut a long
79 8o
stick, peeled the bark from it, and when the boat
started on its way, began notching the stick. But
this filled up rapidly with notches, and every time
the boat made a landing he would go ashore and get
more sticks, until at length the accumulation of
notched sticks began to trouble him. When at last
the boat arrived at St. Louis, then a town of about
fifteen thousand inhabitants, Wi-jun-jon was completely dumbfounded, and looked upon the great
number of buildings in mute astonishment. After
gazing awhile and evidently realizing the impossibility of keeping up his notch record any longer, he
bundled up his sticks, and with an " Ough!" of disgust pitched them all overboard.
After his visit to Washington, Mr. Catlin accompanied him to his native country. Wi-jun-jon when
he returned to his people was a very different-looking person from the handsome young Indian Wi-jun-
jon as he appeared on setting out to visit the city of
the " Great Father." He had exchanged his beautiful Indian costume for a full-dress military suit
trimmed with gold lace and further adorned with
two immense epaulettes, a shining black stock as
stiff as a board, a pair of high-heeled boots, a bright
red sash, a heavy sword dangling at his side, white
kid gloves upon his hands, and his whole gorgeous
make-up surmounted by a tall beaver hat with a
broad silver-lace band, and a long red feather in its
front. Added to all this magnificence was a blue-cot-
ton umbrella and a large gaudily painted fan. He had
also learned to love the fire-water of the white man. And Her People.
All this change was brought on Wi-jun-jon by his
brief contact with civilization. Of course the metamorphosis in his dress was the work of some white
man who desired to possess his handsome Indian
On reaching home in this fantastic garb he was
looked at by the people of his tribe in perfect
amazement. After the first salutations were over
he began telling them of what he had seen. At first
they listened respectfully and in wide-eyed wonder;
but it was-too much for them. They began calling
him a liar, and said he had been among the white
men, who were all great liars, and had become like
them. He sank rapidly into disgrace, and all his
prospects of advancement vanished. He was looked
upon as a great liar, a character utterly despicable
among the Indians. They called him the greatest
liar in the nation, and every one shunned and
despised him.
After a time he began also to be feared, for they
thought he must have received some wonderful
power from the Evil Spirit, to be able to invent such
stories of novelty and wonder. Their awe, dread,
and terror of him became so great that they began
to conspire to rid the world of a monster whose
superhuman talents must be cut off in order to avert
dire calamity to the nation. They held many consultations, for they were at loss to know how they
might kill him. Believing that an evil spirit had
possessed him, they thought he would be proof
against any ordinary arrow, lance, or bullet.   Finally
6 82
one of the young warriors volunteered to undertake
his execution. After weeks of hesitation, he had a
dream which solved all his difficulties. He dreamed
that he must procure by stealth the handle of an old
iron pot from the store in the white man's fort, and
that that implement would possess the power to
overcome the evil spirit. He loitered about the fort
for many days, trying to secure the coveted pot-
handle. It would not do to ask for it or buy it; to
be efficacious it must be stolen. At last he was successful, and, going into the woods, he spent a whole
day straightening and filing the handle so that it
would fit into the barrel of his gun. Then with his
weapon thus loaded he stealthily approached his
victim from behind, placed the muzzle of the gun
close to the back of his head, and pulled the trigger.
The explosion which followed was like that of a cannon, and it is needless to say that the iron pot-handle
overcame the evil spirit, while the recoil nearly killed
the gunner as well.
Thus miserably perished poor Wi-jun-jon, a victim
to the superstition of his people. Too much knowledge—too high a civilization—had been his undoing.
The stories told by him of the sights he had seen
were not exaggerations, and it is probable that had
he returned to his tribe in his native costume they
would in time have come to believe what he said, but
the stories and the marvellous dress he wore were
utterly beyond their acceptance.
The bearing of pain, even when most intense, without making the slightest sign, was one of the proud And Her People.
characteristics of all Indian men. They were taught
this from childhood, and some of the tribes had
peculiar methods of cultivating stoicism in their
A warrior who found a hornets' nest in the woods
would inform the villagers. Then all the boys from
seven to sixteen years of age would meet and select
a leader. Each boy gathered a supply of sticks and
stones, and on the next rainy day (hornets are "at
home " on rainy days) the boys, divested of all their
clothing, even to their moccasins, followed the hunter
guide and marched forth to battle with the hornets.
Many of the older villagers accompanied them to see
the sport, but kept at a respectful distance when the
battle began. When they arrived at the spot, the
leader placed his young warriors in the most advantageous position for the attack. When all was ready
he gave the signal, and the air was soon filled with
sticks and stones. It does not take long for hornets
to ascertain whence such missiles come, whether
thrown by Indians or white boys (as I well know),
and they at once began the defence of their castle.
The naked bodies of the boys afforded the hornets
a fine opportunity for attack, and they improved it
with a vigor known only to hornets. It was considered ignominious for any boy to retreat until the
nest was entirely demolished. When that had.been
done the leader gave the signal to his victorious army,
and all returned to the village. In case any boy had
been stung about the eyes so as to blind him, he was
led home by his  companions.    If a boy cried or Wah-kee-nah
showed other sign of pain (and a hornet's sting is
much more painful than that of a bee), his companions and the older warriors would cry: " Shame,
shame; you are a baby; you are a girl; you will
never make a warrior"—which, as we can readily
understand, had a powerful influence in making
him apparently indifferent to pain. The boys went
quickly to their wigwams, where their hurts were
dressed by their mothers, and they soon recovered
from the effects of the campaign.
Oratory seems to have received less attention
among these tribes than among the Iroquois. It is
certain that there was little occasion for its practice
in their intercourse with the whites, for the latter
had become so numerous and powerful by the time
they reached this section of the country that scant
ceremony was employed in taking the Indians' lands.
There was, however, among the Sioux, a chief
named " Two Stars," whose fiery speech is worthy
of notice. The occasion was a negotiation of a treaty
between his nation and the whites. In opposition
to the consummation of this treaty, " Two Stars *'
addressed his fellow chiefs in the following terms:
" I have lived near the whites and have never been
their pensioner. I have suffered from cold in the
winter, and never asked clothing; from hunger,
and have never asked food. I will live and die on
the lands of my forefathers, without asking a favor
of an enemy. They call themselves the friends of
the Sioux. They are our friends when they want
our lands or our furs.    They are our worst enemies. And Her People.
They have trampled us under foot. We do not chase
the deer on the prairies as eagerly as they have
hunted us down. They steal from us our hunting-
grounds, and then win us over by fair words and
promises. They furnish us with | fire-water," telling
us it is good. They lie. They do this that they may
steal our senses and make us fools, so that they may
get our lands and furs for nothing. Had not our
warriors become women, and learned to fear them, I
would gladly raise the war-cry and shout it in their
ears. The Great Spirit has indeed forsaken his
children, when their warriors and wise men talk of
yielding to their foes.    I hate them."
One of the tribes inhabiting this section was so unlike all the others, that it seems proper to give some
account of the peculiarities of its members. This
tribe, known as the Mandans, numbered only about
eighteen hundred, and lived in two villages about
three miles apart on the bank of the Missouri River.
In the matter of complexion as well as in the color
and texture of the hair the Mandans were unique
among all the Indians of the continent. There is
that in their traditions and language which leads to
the belief that they were descended from the Welsh
voyager, Prince Madoc, and his followers, who sailed
from their native country in 1170, and were never
afterwards heard from. It is supposed that they sailed
up the Mississippi River, and that their vessels becoming disabled or unseaworthy, they intermingled
with the natives and finally formed a new tribe.
The evidence in support of this supposition is the 86
hair and complexion, already spoken of, the frequency of blue eyes among them, and the close resemblance of many words in their language to the
Welsh. A list of these words was made by Mr.
Catlin, and when compared with words in Welsh
having the same meaning the resemblance was so
apparent that, as he informs us, " almost any theory
would be more credible than that such affinity was
the result of accident."
The Mandan villages were strongly fortified, being
surrounded from the precipitous bank of the river
by a strong stockade of heavy logs, having a deep
ditch in front of it. Their houses were partly sunk
in the ground, and were built upon strong posts from
six to eight feet high, across the tops of which were
laid the beams which supported the roof. This roof
was covered with clay and soil to such a depth as to
shed rain perfectly and also to render the structure
absolutely proof against the fire-arrows of an enemy.
It was also so strong as to afford a favorite lounging
place for the occupants of the dwelling. Mr. Catlin
" One is surprised when he enters these houses to
see the neatness, comfort, and spacious dimensions
of the earth-covered dwellings. They all have a
circular form, and are from forty to sixty feet in diameter. An excavation in the centre is used as a fireplace, with a hole in the roof over it for the escape
of smoke. The furniture consists of rude bedsteads,
with sacking of buffalo skins, and with an ornamental
buffalo robe hung in front for a curtain And Her People.
the beds are posts with pegs, upon which the clothing,
as well as the arms and accoutrements of the warriors were hung. This arrangement of beds, clothing
of different colors, furs and trinkets of various kinds,
together,with the happy, story-telling groups smoking their pipes, wooing their sweethearts, and embracing their little ones, about the peaceful firesides
surrounded with earthen pots and kettles of their
own manufacture, presented one of the most picturesque scenes imaginable."
In the centre of each of the villages was a large
common in which they exercised and trained their
horses, trained and played with their dogs, ran footraces, and indulged in other out-of-door sports.
Their costumes were brilliant and fanciful, ornamented with plumes and colored porcupine quills.
Those of the wealthy were exceedingly rich. They
were made entirely of skins; a coat of buck-skin,
leggins and moccasins of the same, all beautifully
fringed and embroidered, and an outer garment of a
young buffalo's skin. The head-gear was very elaborate and highly ornamental, being made of ermine
skins and the feathers of the war eagle. Some of
the chiefs had attained a renown which entitled
them to add to their head-dress a pair of buffalo
horns, reduced in size and weight, and arranged as
they grew upon the animal. The buffalo horns thus
worn symbolized courage and power.
Mr. Catlin, who was an artist, wished to paint the
portraits of some of their chiefs and warriors. At
first he had much difficulty in inducing them to sit ss
for him, as Indians were naturally afraid of new
things. Having, however, overcome these fears so
far as to get the portrait of one of the chiefs, they
were all greatly delighted until they chanced to discover that the eyes of the chief upon the canvas followed them wherever they went. This frightened
them exceedingly. They could see it was only a
piece of cloth, yet they declared it had life or it
could not thus move its eyes. They concluded that
some portion of the life of the person represented
must have been extracted by the painter, and that
consequently the life of that one would be shortened
just that much. They also thought that inasmuch
as the picture would continue in existence after the
death of the original, the quiet of his grave might be
disturbed. But the artist finally succeeded in allaying these suspicious fancies, and secured all the
sitters he wanted.
The Mandans were cleanly in person, and there
were no drunkards or beggars among them. The
tribe is now entirely extinct. The smallpox was
introduced among them by some white traders,
and swept the whole tribe from the face of the
earth. Other tribes suffered from the disease at
the same time. Major Pilcher, who was then the
Indian Superintendent at St. Louis, estimated that
no less than twenty-five thousand Indians perished
in that section of the country in the course of four
or five months. It can readily be imagined that
their medicine men would have little power to stay
the ravages of such a disease. II
And Her People.
This section of country, as well as that to the
southward, was inhabited by vast herds of buffalo
and wild horses. The Indians tamed great numbers
of these horses and became expert horsemen. In
order to kill a buffalo with bow and arrows or lance,
the hunter had to be within a few feet of him, and
as both hands were required to handle the bow, the
horses were trained to guide by pressure of the knee
or an inclination of the body. They soon became
accustomed to this, so that the rider had no difficulty
in thus completely commanding their movements.
Buffalo hunting was very exciting, not only on
account of the size of the game, but also from the
danger involved. The speed of the horse excelled
that of the buffalo, but in order to keep his horse
fresh the hunter approached the herd as stealthily
as possible, and when discovered, dashed after the
game at break-neck speed. The buffalo seemed to
realize that it was a race for life, and exerted himself
to the utmost; the Indians used only their fleetest
and most enduring horses for this work, for the
chase was usually a long and trying one. When
near enough for the purpose, the hunter aimed an
arrow at the heart of his game. The bows used for
this purpose were of tremendous power, and such
was the force with which the arrow was driven, that,
although the full-grown buffalo is as large as the
tame ox, the arrow frequently passed completely
through the body.
But the buffalo, sometimes before and sometimes
after being wounded, would turn with the quickness 90
of thought upon the hunter and try to impale him
with his horns. Against such an attack the hunter
had to trust entirely to the sagacity and swift movements of his horse. The quickness with which the
horse would discern the slightest motion on the part
of the buffalo to turn upon his pursuer was wonderful. Although going at full speed, he would always
be ready to dodge. The hunter must be very expert
and agile to avoid being thrown by a sudden and
unexpected side-spring of his horse ; for if unhorsed
he would be gored and trampled to death in a moment by the infuriated buffalo. The Indians sometimes covered themselves with wolf skins and crept
within shooting distance of the buffalo on their
hands and knees.
The catching of wild horses furnished these Indians with fine sport. They used a lasso, or lariat,
about fifty feet long, sometimes made of hair, but
usually of braided rawhide, rubbed until it was as
soft and pliable as rope. This they could throw
with great precision.
The men and boys, and sometimes the more
courageous of the girls, had great sport breaking in
these wild horses to ride. They fastened a rope
made of rawhide around the lower jaw of the horse
with a " clove hitch," and then blindfolded him. They
next fastened another rope around his body, leaving it
just loose enough for the rider to put his knees under
it. It is a singular fact that a wild horse would not
stir while he was blindfolded. When the rider was
mounted and ready, the blind was removed;  the' And Her People.
rider applied the whip or quirt, and away went the
frightened horse, bounding over the prairie like a
startled deer. The rider could not be thrown,
because the rope over his knees held him fast, yet,
if the horse should fall, he could easily free himself.
The horse was guided by striking him on either side
of the head with the whip, and when he was nearly
exhausted his rider would make him return to the
starting-point. After a few such experiences the
horse would be thoroughly broken.
It sometimes happened that when the rider was
mounted and the blind removed, the horse, instead
of starting off on a run, would stand and jump,
coming down with his legs as stiff as rails. This
was called " bucking," and was great sport for the
spectators, but not for the unfortunate rider. The
terrible jolting soon gave him such a pain in the side
that he was glad to jump or roll off, and his evolutions in the air and scrambling on the ground to get
out of the way of the horse afforded much amusement to his companions.
The Comanche was a daring horseman. In battle
he would hang at the side of his horse leaving nothing except his foot visible on the other side, and at
the same time fire his arrows at the foe from under
his horse's neck while running at full speed. He was
enabled to do this by having a short piece of lasso
passed around the neck of his horse and each end
firmly braided into the mane at the withers, thus
forming a loop into which he could slip his elbow
to sustain the weight of his body while balancing 92
Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
himself by means of one foot thrown over the horse's
back. This also enabled him at any time to regain
his position. By the use of these tactics he was protected by the body of his horse from the arrows of
the foe. In order to kill him the enemy must first
disable his horse, and while they were doing that
the Comanche could get in a good deal of bloody
The Comanches had a different method from that
already described for breaking in the wild horses.
Having caught one with the lasso, they drew the
noose tight around the captive's throat, choking him
until he fell. Then dismounting, they blindfolded
him and tied his front feet together. After doing
this they patted him and handled him all over,
breathed in his nostrils, and worked kindly with him
until the horse became accustomed to the treatment ; and, strange as it may seem, in an hour or
two they would loosen his feet, and one of the party
would mount and ride him home. CHAPTER VII.
THAT portion of  North America west of the
Rocky Mountains and north of the thirty-
third parallel was also inhabited by numerous
tribes or nations of Indians, alike in general aspect,
but differing widely in certain particulars.
Those in the extreme north were called Esquimo.
Indeed, this same race, each tribe varying but little
from the others, occupied the entire northern portion
of the continent, from Greenland to Behring Sea.
They were short of stature, slovenly, and untidy.
Not so warlike as the Indians to the south of them,
they were very suspicious of strangers, but kind and
hospitable after becoming acquainted. Brownell
says: " The Esquimo received little better treatment
at the hands of the early European discoverers than
did their brethren farther south. It is strange to
read of the coolness with which those adventurers
speak of the emormities not unfrequently committed
against the unoffending and ignorant natives. The
meeting of several ' wild men' (as the adventurers
called them) and the killing of one of them to make
the rest tractable, is mentioned as a passing and
ordinary event."
:i 94
The dwellings of the Esquimo were of two kinds.
Those used in summer were movable, and built of
poles and skins, similar to those of the southern
Indians; while their winter habitations were constructed of blocks of ice, cut and shaped with
astonishing precision. They were familiar with the
principle of the arch, and made use of it with the
key-stone shaped in blocks of ice. These dwellings
were almost hermetically tight, as all the interstices
between the layers of ice, and the small holes here
and there, were filled with snow, and water was
dashed upon these until the whole became one mass
of solid ice. They were thus made quite warm, and
but for the filthy habits of the people, they would
have been comfortable, notwithstanding the intensely cold weather. Thin, and nearly transparent
cakes of ice were inserted here and there in the roof
for the admission of light. The Esquimo lived on
oil and blubber obtained from the whale, walrus,
and seal, together with the meat of the reindeer,
musk-ox, and water-fowl, besides fish. The only
vegetable foods they had were a species of willow
which they ground in a mortar, the leaves of the
sorrel, a few berries, and some roots which they also
pounded up. The lean meat of the whale, seal, and
such other as they obtained, was dried, smoked, and
pounded up with some fat into a dry mixture called
" pemmican," which would keep for use during their
long, dark winter.
They built large canoes in which to carry the
family and goods, and exhibited great dexterity in And Her People.
the manufacture and management of the style of
canoe called by them " kaiak." This would carry
but one person. It was a light, frail structure, having small pieces of wood for the frame, and covered
top and bottom, with small seal-skins so neatly and
strongly sewed together as to be perfectly watertight above and below. The structure was usually
twenty to twenty-five feet long, two feet wide, and
about a foot deep. In the centre a hole was cut
through the skin just large enough for a man to get
in and have his body completely fill it. He used a
paddle with a blade at each end. In this frail craft
the Esquimo would go long distances out to sea and
attack the seal with a harpoon having a buoy of sealskin fastened to the end of the line to prevent the
seal from sinking when killed. In case of a capsize,
which seldom happened, the boatman could easily
right himself with his paddle. The kaiak was a safe
boat with an Esquimo, but woe to any white man
who attempted its use.
The Esquimo used dogs as their beasts of burden,
and did all travelling with them after the water had
frozen so that they could not go in boats. The runners of their sleds were made of pieces of wood, or
sometimes of the jawbones of the whale, fastened
together at a distance of about two feet apart, with
cross-pieces and thongs upon which a skin was
stretched and the load deposited. The dogs were
attached to separate tethers of different lengths, the
leader being sometimes as far as twenty feet from
the sledge.    How they managed to drive them in 96
this way without getting them entangled is a mystery to white men. They used a whip with a short
stock and a lash long enough to reach the leader, and
would make sixty miles a day with a load averaging
one hundred pounds for each dog. They made the
sledge run easy by turning it up and pouring water
upon the runners and letting it freeze, thus forming
shoes of ice. Great distances were often travelled
over the frozen waters, and great loads transported.
Snow-shoes were also used to some extent in
The clothing of the Esquimo consisted wholly of
furs. The inner garments were worn with the fur
next the body, and the outer garments with fur outside. These garments were neatly and strongly sewn
together, and made quite ornamental by tastefully
mixing different colored furs ; teeth of animals were
hung in the borders, and foxes' noses sewed on like
buttons. They all wore high waterproof boots made
of sealskin. The women wore the same kind of
underclothing as the men, while their outer dress
consisted of a moderately close-fitting waist or jacket,
together with a short skirt and trousers. They practised tattooing, which was done by drawing a thread
saturated with oil and soot under the skin.
The only fires used by the Esquimo for warmth or
cooking were made by suspending a piece of blubber
over a shallow stone dish, around the edge of which
twisted moss was so placed as to form a wick. The
heat extracted the oil from the blubber, and as it
dripped into the dish a continual supply of fuel was And Her People.
kept up. They kept the temperature of their houses
a little below freezing, for if it rose higher the roof
would be melted. Always accustomed to this temperature indoors, they could endure intense cold
while m,oving about outside. Their weapons were
bows and arrows, lances, and harpoons, all of which
were quite ingeniously made. As regards religion,
Mr. Parry says : " They do not appear to have any
idea of the existence of one Supreme Being, nor,
indeed, can they be said to entertain any notions on
this subject which may be dignified with the name
of religion." They had quite a number of dances ;
and they were not warlike, but quite domestic in
their habits and tastes, very contented, and, in their
way, happy.
In complexion the Esquimo are fair, almost white.
They are of medium stature, good proportion, muscular, and active, while their feet and hands were
small and of fine shape. They seldom mingled or
associated with any of the tribes to the south, and
therefore have remained almost without change from
generation to generation. They differed from the
Esquimo upon the eastern coast in disposition and
in their treatment of children. This was perhaps
due to the fact that they had not so severe a struggle
for existence as did their eastern brethren, and hence
had more time for leisure and amusement. They
had three months of winter, during which time they
did not see the sun; three months of continuous day
during which the sun never set; and three months
of twilight at the end of these seasons.
m 98
They displayed considerable ingenuity in catching
game. For taking the reindeer they made corrals of
turf, rubbish, or drift-wood, and also made piles of
turf to represent men, standing them a short distance
apart in two rows diverging from the mouth of the
corral, sometimes to the distance of two miles. They
then drove the deer into the broad opening between
these two rows, and followed them up to the corral.
The deer, taking the piles of turf for men, would not
attempt to pass out between them, and were thus
driven into the corral, where it was impossible for
them to escape the arrows of the hunters.
But their manner of hunting and killing the polar
bear was unique. Knowing the bear to be fond of
blubber, they took a piece of it as large as a man's
fist, and after letting it freeze hollowed out the centre sufficiently to admit a strip of whalebone coiled
into a spring. This was covered with more blubber
and the whole again frozen. Dressing themselves to
look like seals (the bear's favorite food) the hunters
took several of these frozen balls and started out.
When a bear was discovered they approached near
enough for him to see them. As he began to creep
stealthily toward them they slowly retreated, dropping a number of the balls in such a way that the bear
in following them must surely come upon the balls.
Bruin seeing these delicate morsels swallowed them
whole and continued his stealthy chase of the supposed seals. But he did not progress far before the
blubber melted and released the whalebone springs.
These new " works '   in his internal economy soon And Her People.
put him in such agony that he rolled and tumbled
upon the ice, and became an easy victim to the
weapons of the hunters.
The young Esquimo who desired to marry had
first to obtain the consent of the mother of the girl
he wished to woo, after which he was at liberty to
present her with furs for a suit of clothes. If she
accepted the gift the act constituted a formal engagement ; and when she made up the furs and put
them on she became, without further ceremony or
formality, his wife.
The Koniagas lived to the southward of the Esquimo. They were much larger in stature than the
Esquimo, and their skin was much whiter than that
of the Indians farther south. They were also well
formed, and would have been fine-looking but for
the horrible fashion they had of deforming their ears,
nose, and under lip with what they considered
The dress of the poorer class among the Koniagas
was made of skins somewhat after the manner of the
Esquimo; but some who were in better circumstances wore a garment called a " parka." This was
a cloak, made of bird skins neatly sewed together.
It required as many as a hundred skins to make a
parka. As needles they used certain bones from
fish, and it was surprising to see what fine work they
did with only bits of sinew for thread. The parka
was fringed and ornamented at top and bottom, but
the elaborate work was upon the girdle about the
waist.   This was beautifully embroidered.   Only the 100
rich could afford this kind of garment. If caught
out in bad weather in this their gala dress they protected the feathers with a waterproof cloak made
from the intestines of the walrus and seal, tanned,
rubbed pliable, and sewed together so neatly as to
be impervious to water, even at the seams. They
also made high boots of the skin from the neck of
the seal, and soled them with the thick skin of the
whale. These boots were also waterproof and very
They had no marriage ceremony. Marriage was a
simple agreement between the parties, and as soon
as it was approved by the father of the maiden the
lovers became husband and wife.
The Aleuts inhabited the Aleutian Archipelago,
and numbered twenty-two different clans, or divisions, nearly every island having its own clan. Our
earliest knowledge of them comes from the Russian
explorer, Novodsikoff, who visited the archipelago
in 1745. As soon as he returned to his native land
and published the story of the wonderful number
and variety of fur-bearing animals he found there,
the waters in that region became alive with Russian
adventurers. They swarmed upon the islands, laid
tribute upon the Indians, and treated them so cruelly
and wickedly that their numbers were quickly
reduced from ten thousand to barely a thousand.
In appearance the Aleuts resembled the Koniagas.
Their features were strongly marked, and those who
saw them as they originally appeared were impressed
with the intelligent  and benevolent expression of And Her People.
their faces. A missionary who lived ten years among
them says that during all that time there was not a
single fight among the natives. This is evidence of
the quiet and peaceful disposition which rendered
them an easy prey to the Russian invaders. Their
dress was similar to that of the Koniagas, with the
addition of a high peaked hat, made of wood or
leather. This hat had a long brim in front to protect the eyes'of the wearer from the glare of the sun
upon the water and snow, and was ornamented at
the back"by hanging upon it the beards of sea-lions.
The front was usually carved to represent some animal. They lived during the long winter in permanent
houses, but in the summer a canoe turned bottom
upward formed their only shelter. They built their
canoes of skins in the same way as the Esquimo.
Good planks and boards were made by them by
splitting cedar logs and working the slabs down
straight and smooth with the aid of fire, stone axes,
and stone scrapers.
They made much use of this kind of lumber in
building their winter houses, and in constructing
traps for bears. To make a bear-trap they took a
plank about two feet square and drove firmly into it
many sharp bones, upon the projecting ends of
which a barb had been cut. They then buried the
plank thus prepared under leaves and other light
rubbish in the track of the bear. When the unsuspecting animal stepped upon it, his great weight
drove the barbed bones deep into his foot; the pain
at once caused him to use the other foot to relieve 102
the first, and that soon became fastened also. Next
the hind feet came to relieve those already imprisoned, and it was not long until he was a prisoner
with all four feet pinned to the plank, and an easy
prey to the hunters who had been watching the
The Aleuts had some religious ceremonies, the
women taking the most active part in them. In the
winter they were accustomed to amuse themselves
by a variety of games. Among these, one of the
greatest favorites was an imitation of the chase, in
which one party of young men and maidens acted
the part of hunters, and another party that of game.
By some historians the Esquimo, Koniagas, and
Aleuts are all called Esquimo. I do not, however,
concur in so classing them. It is true that there are
many points of resemblance ; but they differed very
materially in stature, in features, and in language ;
many of their customs were different; they did not
associate or intermarry with each other; and they
were occasionally at war.
The next large family, or tribe, to the southward
were the Thlinkeets ; and whatever may be the prevailing opinion in regard to the three tribes just
mentioned, the Thlinkeets were so different from
any of the three that they cannot with any propriety
be classed as Esquimo.
The Thlinkeets inhabited a vast territory of which
the climate as a whole was temperate, or not subject
to any great extremes either of heat or cold. These
Conditions led to more extended wanderings and a And Her People.
greater amount of physical exercise, and tended to
expand the mind and develop the body. The skin
of the Thlinkeets was much whiter than that of the
Indians who lived farther south ; and if they had not
distorted their features by piercing their ears, nose,
and lips, and filling them with bones and shells, they
would have been quite comely, for nature had. done
much to make them so. But this hideousness was
called beautiful by them ; and the Thlinkeet girl who
aspired to be a belle must wear as many of these
"decorations' as possible, and the larger the lip
ornament the more beautiful she was esteemed.
Slave women and their children were not allowed
the privilege of having their ears, nose, or lips pierced,
and some of them were really handsome.
The Thlinkeets made their canoes of wood, usually
of the white cedar, which grows plentifully and of large
size all over the northwestern portion of the continent. They were skilled in the manufacture of war
implements, bows and arrows, lances, shields, flint
knives, etc. Their arrows and lances were tipped
with flint, or, sometimes with copper, as that metal
was found in their country and they knew how to
work it to some extent. In case a point was lost
from an arrow or a lance, and they had not the opportunity to replace it, they would harden the end
by putting it into the fire, and then scrape it to a
point. They also showed much ingenuity in the
manufacture of domestic implements from stone,
wood, and grasses. They made baskets so thick and
closely plaited that they would hold water.    In such io4
a basket they cooked their food, making the water
boil by putting in heated stones. From black slate
they made bowls, pipes, and other utensils. The
carving on their pipes was unique and beautiful. I
have seen some of these as much as fifteen or eighteen inches in length, three or four inches broad, and
three quarters of an inch in thickness, which were
one continuous mass of carvings of animals, birds,
and men, the whole held together by the ingenious
intertwining of the arms, legs, and bodies of the different figures. Frequently the heads of the men and
animals were carved in ivory and cemented into the
neck of the stone figure cut in the pipe.
Their marriage was by agreement, and presents
were exchanged. The ceremony consisted of a general assembling of the friends of the contracting parties at a grand feast. Presents were distributed, and
when the feast was over the bride and groom joined
hands and seated themselves upon one bench. They
were then married ; but this was only the beginning
of their troubles. Custom required them to fast two
days; then, after taking a little food, to fast two
days more, after which they associated together only
in the same way as they had done prior to their marriage. This they were obliged to endure for four
weeks, at the end of which they could begin living
together as husband and wife.
The Thlinkeets were fond of music, and indulged
in much dancing in the winter. They burned their
dead, placing their ashes in a box on platforms elevated upon poles.    They also showed them great And Her People.
reverence, and made grand feasts a part of the
funeral ceremony. They were cruel to prisoners
and slaves, and were inveterate gamblers; but they
were brave, intelligent, and industrious, and very
respectful to the aged and to women. KS5S35F
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BP  /T:■&$?£
THE Tinneh family comprised thirty-four different tribes, some large and powerful, and
some small. They inhabited a large section of
the country to the eastward of that occupied by the
tribes last mentioned. Their lands did not reach the
Arctic Ocean, and barely touched the Pacific at
Cook's Inlet. They differed but slightly from the
Among the tribes of the Tinneh family marriages
were unaccompanied by any ceremony, and were
made either by agreement between the parties or by
purchase of the maiden. If made by purchase, the
girl had nothing whatever to say about the matter,
but must go with the purchaser, no matter what her
feelings toward him might be. Many a Tinneh girl
has taken her own life rather than become a wife to
the man who bought her.
These tribes had all their dances at night as there
prevailed among them a strong superstition against
dancing in the sunlight. They were an indolent
people, but hospitable and amusement-loving. The
finger nails of their female children were never cut
until they had reached the age of four years, lest
they should  grow   up to be lazy women.    Lazy
jo6 . Wah-kee-nah and Her People. 107
women were not tolerated in Indian society. The
case was somewhat different with the men.
The " hiaqua "—a shell shaped like an elephant's
tusk, but only about one eighth of an inch in thickness atx the base, and from one to two and a half
inches long—constituted their currency, as it did
also that of the Indians of the coast. Every one obtained as many as possible of these shells the same
as white people accumulate dollars. One hundred
and fifty to two hundred hiaquas would buy as fine
a girl as there was in the tribe for a wife ; from fifty
to seventy-five would buy a female slave, and an
addition of twenty-five hiaquas would make a sum
sufficient to buy a man slave.
A person who had killed another, either by accident or design, was safe from the vengeance of the
relatives of the murdered one if he could get into
the wigwam of a chief, provided the chief would
allow him to remain there; and if he was permitted
to wear some part of the chief's clothing, he was
safe so long as he had that on, regardless of where
he was. This gave him time usually to negotiate
with the relatives of the person he had killed, and,
by a payment of goods or hiaquas, to save himself
harmless. This custom had a great tendency to
strengthen the power of the chief; as every one
desired to have his good-will, so that should he or
one of his relatives under any circumstances kill any
person, the chief, recognizing his friendship, would
not turn him from the asylum of his wigwam, should
he flee to it for protection, io8
The Tinneh tribes, like the Thlinkeets, were inveterate gamblers, frequently staking all they possessed—even their wives. Their principal game was
played with marked beaver teeth. These were
thrown into the air, and those that fell with the
marks up counted. They had other games for gambling, one of which was hiding sticks.
Among these tribes, if the medicine man did not
heal the sick one, he was obliged to return the fee
which had been paid him. Slavery existed in its
worst forms. Upon the death of a slave-owner, one
or more of his slaves were killed to accompany him
and wait upon him in the spirit land. In the case of
a chief, two at least were sacrificed.
They burned their dead, and, strangely, they had
a custom similar to that which formerly prevailed in
India in regard to the widow. She was compelled
to mount the burning pile upon which lay her husband's body and throw herself upon him ; but she
was allowed to escape after her hair had been burned
off. After escaping from the funeral pyre she was
obliged, regardless of pain, to tend and keep it burning. After the body was consumed the ashes were
gathered and placed in a bag which was carried constantly by the widow for two years. During all this
time she must dress in rags and mourn her loss.
When the period of her mourning had expired, the
bag of ashes was buried, the people of her village
made a feast for her, and thenceforth she was free
to marry again if she desired.
These  Indians  possessed  many   good   qualities. And Her People.
They were brave, frank, and candid, and were also
strong and fine-looking. Considerable attention was
given by them to personal cleanliness. Most of the
men were above six feet in height, and the women
were comely. The Chinese custom of bandaging the
feet of the female infants to make them small prevailed among them to some extent. The women
outlived the men by an average of fifteen years.
They made pottery from clay, moulding it by hand,
drying it in the sun, and afterwards baking it in the
fire. They made a good quality of glue from the
feet of the elk and deer. Their canoes were made
of strips of bark sewed together with fine roots
pounded to fibre, and the seams were made tight by
means of pitch from fir and spruce trees.
The men of these tribes, by means of their size
and strength, were famous warriors. In long marches
and hand-to-hand contests these qualities were of
great advantage to them. Like most Indians, they
had three general reasons for going to war; first, revenge for some real or fancied injury; second, avarice,
which impelled them to capture slaves to use or sell;
and, third, to weaken their enemies by destroying
their resources. This last was their reason for killing
the women and children of their foemen, when they
could not make them prisoners ; for, they argued, the
women, if left alive, would bear children, and the male
children would eventually become warriors, whom
they would some time have to fight. We must admit
the soundness of their logic, however much we may
question the system of ethics on which it was based. no
Returning to the coast, the next nation of note
south of the Thlinkeets was that of the Haidahs,
whose principal tribes inhabited Queen Charlotte's
Island and the adjacent coast of the mainland. They
numbered some thirty different tribes in their family,
and occupied a country about three hundred miles
long by one hundred miles wide. Their country was
divided from that of the eastern Indians by the Cascade Mountains, which range extends north and
south through British America, down to and into
California, at a distance of one hundred to one hundred and fifty miles from the Pacific Ocean. The
climate differed materially on the east and west sides
of this mountain range, and this fact had a marked
effect upon the Indians inhabiting the two sections.
On the west, from the foothills to the coast, the
temperature, owing to the warm currents of the
ocean, never reached extremes of either heat or cold.
In this equable climate there was little to incite the
people to any great exertion. Hence it was that,
although the country was finely wooded and
abounded in game, the Haidahs hunted but little—
just enough to furnish skins for clothing and bedding. Fish were abundant in the ocean and the
rivers, and as it was quite in accord with the indolent habits of these people to subsist on that which
was obtained with least exertion, their food consisted principally of fish, berries, and roots. The
women and female slaves gathered and dried the
berries for winter use, while the men and male slaves
caught the fish and turned them over to the women to And Her People.
be cared for. The heads and tails of the salmon and
halibut were cut off and eaten during the summer,
while their bodies were split in two and hung up in
the sun and smoked to cure for winter use. They
knew-nothing of salt until the whites came, and even
then preferred fish dried without it. The climate
was so mild that they did not need to feed their
bodily furnaces with the fat of blubber, as did the
Esquimo ; so this was only used for fire and light.
They^ hunted the whale, because its blubber, oil,
and bone were available in traffic with their northern
neighbors. With these they could purchase slaves
and skins. They were the most expert whale fishers
upon the coast. This showed them to be as courageous and enterprising as the inland tribes who
lived by hunting; for it required no less skill and
daring to capture the whale in his native element
than to kill the bear, panther, and elk in the forest.
Both occupations seemed to have an elevating effect
upon the faculties of the Indians who pursued them;
for they were certainly superior, mentally as well as
physically, to those Indians who lived solely by
fishing in inland waters.
The Haidahs were tall and well formed, the peers
in personal appearance of any Indians on the coast.
They were quite light of complexion, some of them
being almost as fair as Europeans, with hair of a
light brown instead of the usual black of other tribes.
They frequently wore the hair short, to save the
labor of taking care of it. Poole says of them that
"some of the women have exceedingly  handsome n
faces and symmetrical figures," and that he was
" impressed by the manly beauty and bodily proportions of the Queen Charlotte Islanders." Vancouver
says: 1 The prominence of their countenances and
the regularity of their features resembled the northern Europeans." Dunn says that he saw " a chief
of gigantic proportions, stately air, manly bearing,
and all the external characteristics of dignity, with a
symmetrical figure and a perfect order of European
contour." I have seen some of these Indians whose
race would not be suspected in a company of whites
by reason of any difference in color or in contour of
features, and whom it would require close inspection
to recognize as Indians, if dressed in the garb of the
white man.
Some of their houses were built on the tops of
posts, twenty-five or thirty feet high. Access was
gained to such houses by means of a ladder formed
of a log or small tree, in which deep notches were
cut. The posts were often carved to represent grotesque human figures, beasts, or birds. Such posts
have been mistaken for idols by early discoverers,
but it is now certain that no form of idolatry ever
existed among these Indians. Vancouver saw one
of their houses that was built on a platform thirty
feet from the ground. The house was forty-five feet
wide and one hundred and five feet long, with a
nearly flat roof raised ten or twelve feet above the
platform. This was made of planks split from cedar
trees. They did not, however, build all their houses
in the air.    Many of them were much smaller, and And Her People.
built on the ground. This was the method of build-
ing in many of their villages, when the dwellings
stood in rows similar to those in a city street. They
had also other styles of architecture. Poole mentions
a house fifty feet square and fifty in height, ten feet
of which was under ground. The houses built upon
elevated platforms were supposed to be for refuge
in case of an attack.
The weapons of the Haidahs were well made, and
were of much the same style as those of others that
have been described. The harpoon with which they
captured the whale or seal was ingeniously contrived.
A thong was tied around the centre of the barb and
extended to the handle, some four or five feet from
its lower end ; and when the point had penetrated
the skin of the animal, a sharp pull on the thong
served to turn the barb sidewise in the flesh, and
prevented its tearing out. The spears used for
taking salmon and halibut were much smaller, but
supplied with the same device. These people had at
the time the whites first came among them a few
harpoons, spears, and arrow-heads tipped with iron,
and it has been a matter of much speculation where
they obtained the metal for this purpose. The oldest
men among them could not tell wliere it came from ;
but simply said they had always had it. It is supposed that it came from Russia or from wrecks along
the coast. The Haidahs made bows from the wood
of the yew tree, gluing strips of sinew over the back
to give additional strength and elasticity. I have in
my possession one of these bows with which I have U4
seen an Indian throw an arrow nearly a thousand
feet. They made strong serviceable fishing-nets
from wild hemp and the fibre of cedar bark. Their
household utensils, which were quite numerous, were
made of wood, bone, stone, and horn. Like the
Thlinkeets, they carved beautiful pipes from stone
and ivory, excelling in this art all other tribes. They
used both ivory and pearl for inlaying these pipes.
The thing for which these Indians were most noted
however, was the size and beauty of their canoes. It
was really surprising to see what they could do in
this line, with their rude tools. Having selected
such a tree as they wanted to use for the canoe, they
felled it by burning, and cut off the trunk to the
proper length, again utilizing fire for the purpose.
If the canoe was to be a comparatively small one,
they would, before proceeding further, split the log
through the centre, using wooden or elk-horn wedges
for the purpose. But if they were building a large
canoe, they would, without splitting the log, build
fires in several places on the upper side of it as it lay
on the ground, allowing the burning to go on until
enough of the wood was charred to begin the process
of cutting out with stone axes, chisels, and scrapers.
This burning, digging, and scraping was continued,
both inside and out, until the canoe was fashioned
to their liking. The skill and ingenuity displayed
in the whole process was remarkable. Not only
would the canoe be most graceful in shape, but of a
perfectly even thickness, not exceeding one inch at
the sides and two inches at the bottom, and the And Her People.
whole so nicely balanced that it would of itself ride
the water on a perfectly even keel. In the case of
extra large canoes, the prow and stern were made of
separate pieces, extending much above the sides and
strongly fastened with dowel pins and bark or sinew
lacings. Usually the prow and stern were artistically carved, after some animal, fish, or bird, the prow
representing the head and the stern the tail. These
carvings were sometimes very elaborate, especially
on the largest war canoes, and when painted in their
fantastic ~style presented an appearance both formidable and grotesque. They were propelled with
single-bladed paddles, each oarsman having one.
They had canoes from a size only sufficient to carry
one man, up to a size that would carry seventy-five
to a hundred. I once counted sixty-eight men and
several women and children in one of their larger
canoes, and there was not the slightest suggestion of
its being overloaded. They did not hesitate at all
about going out upon the ocean in these boats, and
they navigated the coast for long distances. They
had no knowledge of sails and their use, until taught
by the whites.
In the matter of musical instruments they had a
drum similar to that used by other Indians; a tambourine, made by stretching a wet skin over hoops
of different sizes and thus letting it dry; and. a flute
made from slate stone. They drilled a hole through
the entire length of the stone, by means of a piece
of sharp flint secured to the end of a reed or rounded
stick.    The slate used by them was quite soft when n6
first taken from its bed, and yielded easily to the drill.
Poole says he " saw a flute, two of the keys representing frogs in a sitting posture, the carving of
which would have done credit to an European
modeller." Simpson says that he found " very accurate charts of the adjacent Pacific coasts made by
this tribe." Hale says they had " very fine cups,
plates, pipes, little images, and various ornaments,
wrought with surprising elegance and taste." This
artistic skill and knowledge of practical drawing
show that these people were capable of making very
material advances in civilization.
There was in their country a peculiar breed of
white dogs with very long hair. These dogs the
Indians sheared each year, like sheep, and the hair
thus obtained, when mixed with the fibre of wild
hemp and cedar roots, was woven into blankets and
robes of very good quality. The fibre spoken of was
made by first boiling the hemp or cedar roots and
then pounding between flat stones. The woody part
thus separated, was carefully picked out, after which
the fibre was twisted into fine or coarse threads as
desired. Their method of weaving closely resembled
that of the old Egyptians.
Among the Haidahs the chieftaincies were, as in
many other tribes, mostly hereditary; from which it
sometimes happened that a woman became a chief.
A superstition prevailed among them that all well-
starred marriages must be celebrated upon the water.
After gifts are presented and accepted, as among
other tribes, the friends build a platform on canoes And Her People.
at a moderate distance from the shore. After the
completion of this work the bride and her friends,
dressed in their best attire, proceed in canoes to the
floating platform ; while the groom and his friends,
also dressed in gala attire, approach it from an opposite direction. Meeting upon the platform,-more
presents are given, and the groom passes from his
side of the platform to the side of the bride, takes
her hand, and leads her over to his side. Then
follows a-xlance in which all but the bride and groom
take part; and while this is progressing the groom
places his bride in his own canoe, and paddling to
the shore, takes her to his wigwam. The dancing
ended, the bride's party return to the land, putting
the presents in the place occupied by the bride on
the outward trip.
The Haidahs, like all Indians, were great gamblers.
Their principal game was a very simple one of " odd
and even." Each player had from forty to fifty
round sticks, and each in turn would hide as many
as he chose under a mat or blanket, the others
simply guessing " odd " or " even." It was purely a
game of chance. He who guessed right took as
many sticks as were hidden ; if he guessed wrong he
was obliged to give his opponent the same number.
The game was ended when one had won all his
adversary's sticks. They would sometimes stake all
they had in the world on this simple game. They
had no intoxicating drinks prior to the coming of
the whites, and personal quarrels between members
of the same tribe were almost unknown. n8
The next nation to the southward was that of the
Nootkas. This family was composed of thirty-seven
tribes. They were somewhat smaller than the Haidahs, and a shade darker. They all wore their hair
long, and it was a disgrace for a man or woman to
have short hair—the mark of a slave. The women
took great care of their hair, braiding it neatly,
arranging it in many curious ways, and decorating it
with shells and various ivory ornaments.
The singular custom of flattening the head obtained
among these Indians, though not to the same extent
as with the Chinooks, of whom an account will be
given in the next chapter. When the child was four
days old it was bound upon the pappoose-board (identical in style with that of the Iroquois, heretofore
described), and underwent the flattening process. In
a few months the head of the child would not be
more than two inches thick from front to back at
the crown, but would be spread sidewise to a great
extent. As the child grew older, the head would
resume something of its natural shape, and by the
time it was full grown, the head was much more
rounded; but the effect of the flattening process
always remained unmistakably visible. This custom
was not universal among the Nootkas; but, unquestionable deformity as it was, it was among them a
mark of nobility. No person born a slave ever had
the honor of having the head flattened.
In warm weather these Indians dressed chiefly in
paint, the men much more elaborately than the
women.    After the age of twenty-five the women And Her People.
ceased to adorn themselves with paint. They no
longer considered themselves young, and therefore
yielded the palm of beauty to the more youthful
maidens. In cold weather the dress was a square
blanket,, with a hole in the middle, through which
the head of the wearer was thrust. The garment
thus rested upon the shoulders, and was sometimes
held in at the waist by a belt. The blankets of the
rich were bordered with fine fur, and quite richly
decorated, but those of the poor were of coarse material, without any decoration. The head was
usually left uncovered.
The principal sustenance of the Nootkas was fish,
which they caught with net, spear, and hook. They
had an ingenious plan of covering the bottom of the
streams in certain places with white stones, so that
they could more clearly see and readily spear the fish
as they crossed. They used wooden canoes, similar
to those of the Haidahs, but were not so skilful in
building them. Slavery obtained among them, and
the slave-trade formed the principal part of their
dealings with other tribes. War and stealing, or
kidnapping, were the principal sources of supply.
The amusement of the Nootkas consisted mainly
of feasting, dancing, and gambling. They had
athletic games, among which were hooking their
little fingers together and pulling, as a test of
strength, jumping, wrestling, running and swimming
races on a wager. They were strong believers in
dreams, witchcraft, and evil spirits; and through
this belief their medicine  men, who practised all 120
kinds of sorcery, obtained great power. They claimed
that all sickness was caused by the anger of the evil
spirits, and their treatment was directed to appeasing
such spirits. Very poor persons and slaves were
allowed to die quietly, as they had nothing with
which to pay a fee to the doctor.
This tribe had some superstitions similar to those
which have found a place among white races in different ages of the world. One of these was that
love could be incited by certain potions or powders.
A love-lorn Nootka maiden would seek an opportunity to stealthily sprinkle her love powder into the
food of the young brave of her choice, and if successful was very happy, and would spend much of the
day in dressing her luxuriant hair and adorning herself with paint. When the sun went down and the
soft, cool evening came, she stationed herself where
she thought her wished-for lover would see her, and,
—singing low and sweet her song of love, awaited his
coming. If she was fortunate, and he made his appearance, her happiness was complete. If he failed
to come that way, she thought some evil spirit had
overcome her love-potion, and as its spell lasted but
one day she would have to try again.
Still journeying southward, we come to Puget
Sound, an inlet of the ocean many miles in extent,
quite broad, and filled with islands and long promontories. Around this sound were many tribes of
Indians, but they differed so slightly from the Nootkas that I shall have but little to say about them. And Her People.
They made use of the torch to catch game—a device entirely unknown among the more northern
Indians. They hunted elk and deer at night, attracting them within bow-shot by the bright lights.
At certain points on the coast where great flocks of
water-fowl flew from point to point, they erected tall
poles and on them stretched nets made of cords
manufactured from wild hemp and cedar roots. Getting behind these at night, they would raise their
torches, and it was astonishing to see what numbers
of birds would fly against the nets and drop to the
ground, stunned by the force of the collision and
thus rendered powerless to escape the hunters. In
all other matters these tribes so closely resembled
the Nootkas that no further description of them is
necessary. CHAPTER  IX.
WHEN, upwards of forty years ago, I first
became acquainted with the Indians inhabiting California and Oregon, they were
all much alike and no one tribe was dominant.
There were many large and some small tribes
having their homes in the country west of the
Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains and north of
the thirty-third parallel of north latitude. Inasmuch,
however, as their habits and customs did not vary
sufficiently among themselves or from other Indians
to make a separate account necessary, I shall confine
myself to a description of the Chinooks, upon the
Columbia River, in Oregon, as a representative tribe
of this whole section.
The Chinooks then occupied the banks of the
Columbia near its mouth, and were probably the
best representatives of the Indians inhabiting the
section of country mentioned in the preceding paragraph. All these tribes were more or less related
by trade, manners, customs, and dialect. Just prior
to the advent of the whites upon the western coast
of North America, as near as can be ascertained from
the traditions of the Indians, the Chinooks were the
122 i
Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
dominant nation throughout all this section of the
country. In 1850 they were on the decline, the
smallpox having a few years before almost swept
them away. Some of those then living were very
old, and from them I obtained much of the history
of the tribe and of the others that surrounded them.
My knowledge of their language, which I could speak
fluently, enabled me to learn during my sojourn
among them many of their traditions, and much,
not only7of their own earlier life, but also of that of
the other tribes composing the Chinook family.
An old woman, called by the whites " Aunt
Sally," and who was the wife of the head chief of
the Chinooks when Lewis and Clark made their first
visit to that country in 1806, and is mentioned by
them, well remembered their coming. I have spent
many hours in conversation with her about the old
times, listening with intense interest to her stories
of " her people," as she always called the Chinook
nation. She thought herself over a hundred years
old, and perhaps she was right, but if so, she was a
wonderful woman, for her mind was as clear and
her memory as bright as those of two score less winters than those numbered by her. There were also
old warriors in the other tribes, particularly among
the Chehalis, Cowlitz, Klikatats, and Yakimas, who
corroborated many of the stories and traditions told
me by Aunt Sally.
The Chinook family consisted of many tribes,
most of whom subsisted principally upon fish, the
exceptions being those who occupied the mountain- 124
ous country back from the Columbia River. The
tribe living at the mouth of the river and along its
banks to the distance of some fifty miles was known
as the Chinooks, while the other tribes of the family
had each a different name. The Cathlamets and
Wahkiacums also lived in this section, but they were
of the same general family.
Previous to the coming of the whites, the Chinooks were in the habit of going out to sea in their
large canoes to capture whales, crossing the bar at
the mouth of the river, a thing which in after years
the best white navigators feared to do. After killing a whale with harpoons, they would tow it to
Clatsop Beach, a long, wide, beautiful stretch of
sand, just south of the river, taking advantage of the
incoming tide to land it well up. Here they would
make fast the harpoon lines to stakes driven in the
sand, so that the ebbing tide might not carry their
catch out to sea. As soon as the tide receded, all
went to work at cutting up the prize, and when the
water rose again there would be nothing left of the
whale to be carried out. The process of fastening
the whale on the beach was accompanied with no
small amount of danger to life and limb. The coast
proper was a ledge of perpendicular rocks, varying
from twenty to forty feet in height, and if, while
they were landing a whale, a tide came in somewhat
higher than usual, it would sweep whale, Indians,
and everything against these rocks, and as there
were only a few crevices through which the Indians
could climb to the top, it was a hazardous under- And Her People.
taking, especially if the wind blew fresh when the
tide was running high.
Aunt Sally recounted to me that many Indians
had lost their lives there ; and that at one particular
time, many years ago, she went to the beach to see
her people land a whale. There were evidences of
a storm, and every available man and canoe had
gone out to help draw the whale to the beach. The
shore was crowded with women and children watching the operation. The hunters had towed the
whale in so that it touched bottom, and were waiting as usual for the tide to rise sufficiently to enable
them to pull it up and secure it where it would lie
high and dry when the tide went out. Every time
the whale floated they would tow it up a little
farther, until they had it almost where they wanted
to stake it; when suddenly and without warning the
wind changed to a terrific gale, and a tremendous
wave swept in with such terrible force that it hurled
the whale, the canoes, and the Indians helplessly
against the ledge of rocks. The wave " poured over
its own top," she said, capsizing and swamping the
canoes, and dashing the occupants to their death
against the jagged rocks. The water came over the
top of the ledge in many places, and upwards of
fifty of the men were drowned before the horrified
eyes of their wives and children. She said nothing
like it had ever been known before or since. When
the tide went out the whale went with it; but about
a week afterwards they found it washed ashore some
twenty miles down the coast. 126
The canoes of the Chinooks were of the same kind
as those of the Haidahs, but after their numbers
became so much reduced by disease the Chinooks
ceased to make the larger sizes. They were made
by burning and scraping, after the manner heretofore described. It took a man about three months
to make a canoe that would carry three persons.
Their weapons and fishing tackle were similar to
those of the Haidahs. It was a very easy matter
for them to live, as the Columbia River was filled
with fish of all kinds, salmon and sturgeon being the
largest varieties. With little labor they could catch
enough salmon during their season to give them an
ample supply through the longest winter.
It was their custom to catch and dry not only
enough for their own use, but also a vast quantity
for the purpose of trade with the inland and mountain tribes. Every fall they loaded their canoes
with dried salmon and sturgeon, and quantities of
hiaquas and went to the Cascades (the rapids of the
Columbia River, about one hundred and fifty miles
from its mouth), where they met the Indians from
the mountains and plains and bartered their dried
fish and hiaquas for slaves and for the skins and
meat of the buffalo. They used the buffalo skins for
making their summer wigwams, and their winter
clothing and beds. The gray seal, beaver, and otter
were abundant in and about the mouth of the
Columbia and its tributaries ; and bear, panther, elk,
and deer roamed the forests at will, but the Chinooks
were fishermen, not hunters, and killed only enough of the land game to partially supply them with meat
and skins.
The salmon is a fine fish, weighing all the way
from ten to seventy pounds. The usual weight is
from twenty to thirty pounds each. The Indians
caught them with spear and net, as they cannot be
taken with hook and line after reaching fresh water.
Whenever we wanted to catch salmon with the hook,
we were obliged to go outside the bar and a short
distance into the ocean. There they would bite,
and we ntrely returned without a satisfactory catch.
In the olden times the Chinooks dealt very largely
in slaves. Trading as they did with the inland
Indians—who were much of the time at war with
each other and, making slaves of their prisoners,
desired a market that would take these slaves as far
as possible from their native country,—the Chinooks
had a fine opportunity to purchase and bring these
slaves to the coast. There they sold them to the
tribes both north and south, realizing a handsome
profit, and becoming the wealthiest nation in all that
part of the country.
Aunt Sally told me that when she was quite a
little girl she accompanied her father, one of the
chiefs of the nation, to the Cascades, on one of these
trading expeditions. He purchased there a considerable number of slaves, among whom was a
handsome woman about twenty years old. On the
return trip this woman made two attempts to end
her life by drowning; and after that the chief gave
orders to have her bound every night to a tree, to 128
prevent the accomplishment of her purpose. She
was proud and high-spirited, and fully determined
that she would not live to become a slave.
It had happened that two years earlier this chief had
brought home a young man who spoke an entirely
different language from that of the Chinooks and
one that Aunt Sally as a child had never before
heard. This young man was retained by the chief
for his own use, and so it came about that the chief's
bright little daughter saw much of the fine-looking
young captive, and partially learned his, to her,
peculiar language. When upon this first trading
trip of Aunt Sally's she heard that one of the slave
women had jumped into the river and been bound
to a tree to prevent her doing it again, her girlish
curiosity was aroused and she determined to go and
see this strange woman. As she drew near she discovered that the captive was crying and talking to
herself. Some of the words seemed familiar to the
child, and to her great surprise she soon recognized
them as words she had learned from the young slave
of her father at home. As soon as she found that
the young woman saw her, she began repeating some
of the other words she had learned from the young
man. The prisoner instantly stopped crying and
gazed at her visitor in astonishment. She knew by
the little girl's flat head that she was not of her tribe
or any tribe she had ever been acquainted with.
But the chief's daughter, by means of the words she
had learned and by the use of the sign language
which all understand, made known to the woman And Her People.
that there,was a young man of her tribe at her
father's home. The captive at once dried her tears,
and afterwards made no further attempt at suicide,
but sought by every means in her power to aid in
accelerating the journey. On arriving home, Aunt
Sally found the young man and brought him to see
the new slaves. The young woman hesitated not a
moment when she saw him, but with a little scream
of joy bounded into his arms. It was her own
husband, whom she had believed to have been killed
in battle, two years before.
Sometimes slaves were permitted to buy their
freedom; and through the persuasion of his little
daughter, the old chief consented to give this young
man the privilege of thus freeing himself and wife.
Most gladly did he avail himself of this gracious
offer, and with the love of his high-spirited wife to
inspire him they were soon free. They were adopted
into the Chinook tribe ; for it was deemed by all an
impossibility for them ever to reach their native
country, on " the rising-sun side of the big mountains." The young man was the eldest son of the
head chief of his tribe, and upon his father's death
would have taken his place. Nevertheless he would
always have remained a slave but for the kindness of
that little girl who, when she told me the story, was
a white-haired woman who numbered perhaps a
hundred years.
Like all Indian nations who held slaves, the
Chinooks treated them with harshness, even cruelty.
Their services, their person, their lives even, were 130
the absolute property of their owners, and subject to
their caprice. An owner might take the life of his
slave without the slightest liability to punishment or
question. Upon the death of one who owned slaves
it was the usual custom to put at least one of them
to death, to wait upon the master in the spirit land.
One day, while looking out upon the Columbia
River, my attention was attracted by two Indian
boys, who landed on the beach and drew their canoe
up into the woods, whence they returned with boughs
and tried to erase all their tracks in the sand. This
proceeding excited my curiosity, and I determined
to ascertain what it meant. I followed the boys into
the woods, and after a long search found them
hidden in the hollow of a tree. They were crouching
down in a place scarcely large enough to hold one
of them. Upon inducing them to talk, which I did
with difficulty, I learned that they were slaves.
Their master had recently died, and they were to
be killed to serve him in the other world; so, to
save their lives, they had run away.
I took them to the house, put them up-stairs, and
again seated myself at the window, to watch and
await results. It was not long before I saw four
Indians coming up the river in a canoe. They kept
close to the shore, which they were apparently
scrutinizing very carefully. When they reached the
place where the boys had hauled up their canoe, the
Indians landed, just as confidently as if they had
seen the boys when they made their landing. What
they saw to indicate the place I could not under- And Her People.
stand, as every vestige of the boys' visit had apparently been wiped out. They went immediately into
the woods, and a short time afterwards I heard a rap
at the door of the house. Opening it, I saw the four
Indians, who told me of the escape of the slaves, and
that they had traced them to my door. There was
not the slightest use in denying this, for I well knew
that Indians could track slaves like bloodhounds; so
I said that the two boys had come to me, and that
if they were slaves I wanted to buy them. They
said they would not sell them ; that they were the
property of a chief who had died, and who was a
brother of one of the four; that they wanted the
boys, and would have them. After much discussion,
and firm refusal of their demands upon my part,
they became very angry, drew their knives, and
threatened to kill me if I did not surrender the boys
at once.
In the meantime I had stepped out of the house
a short distance and planted my back against a tree,
to prevent their getting behind me, and when they
drew their knives I drew my revolver, telling them
to put up their weapons or I would shoot. They
knew what a revolver was, and quickly put their
knives back into their belts. I then began bargain-
ing for the boys, telling the Indians that under no
circumstances would they be given up, but that I
would pay them all they were worth in blankets ; and
finally offering ten blankets for each boy. I told
them that was a high price for boys of that age, and
that with such a number of blankets the dead chief 132
could certainly buy two boys in the spirit land. My
argument, backed as it was by a formidable-looking
six-shooter, finally prevailed, and they accepted my
terms. I gave them an order on a store not far
away, where they went and obtained the blankets.
The chief was to be buried the next day ; and as
it was only about thirty miles from where I lived, I
went to see the burial. They cut five of the blankets
into strips and wound them around the body of the
dead chief, covering them by wrapping several mats
over them. They then placed the body in a canoe
the bottom of which was perforated with holes, and
lashed another canoe, similarly perforated, over it.
The whole was then conveyed to a platform which had
been erected in the woods at some distance from the
village, and which stood ten or twelve feet from the
ground. After the body in its canoe-casket had been
placed upon the platform, a fire was built near the
place, and the remainder of the blankets together
with many other things which had belonged to the
chief were thrown, one by one, upon the fire, until
all were consumed.
Their belief was that the smoke would waft all the
burned things to the dead chief in the spirit land.
The two boys were now safe, for they belonged to
me, and no one had any right to touch them without
my permission.
My brother was once travelling in the country of
the Nootkas, and stopped overnight at a village
where the people were mourning for the young son
of the head chief who had died that day.    He found And Her People.
a slave boy about ten years old fastened to a stake
and awaiting the ceremonies which were to precede
his being put to death, to accompany his master's
little son to the spirit land. My brother succeeded
in purchasing this boy for five blankets and an ornament which he wore upon his watch chain. At the
burial they broke the ornament and placed the fragments upon the breast of the little chief, and burned
the blankets. My brother brought the slave boy
home with him to the Columbia River.
It was the custom among all Indians to throw food
to their slaves, just as we do to dogs. If they failed
to eat all that was given the master would say : " If
you don't eat what I give you, it will be a long time
before you get any more." And so it would; for
often he would not give them another mouthful for
two or three days. My brother arrived home with
his purchase, on the occasion mentioned above, just
before supper, and after the family had finished their
meal, the little fellow was seated at a table and
helped bountifully. My brother's wife, coming into
the room, saw that his plate was empty and had it
refilled. This occurred three or four times. The
last time, the boy said something to her which she
could not understand; and calling to me she said:
" Do come here, and see what this boy wants; I am
afraid he will kill himself eating." As soon as I
made my appearance he looked at me most beseechingly. " Mammook nika muckamuck conaway
okook ?' " Must I eat all this ? ' he asked in a
plaintive voice ; and when I told him he need not eat 134
any more than he wished now and should have all he
wanted the next day, whether he ate this or not, he
was greatly relieved and seemed very happy. This
boy lived with my brother until he was eighteen.
years old when he died. He was a good and faithful boy; and he died a firm believer in the white
man's God, and a true and devoted Christian.
The Chinooks believed in a good and an evil
spirit of nearly equal power. These spirits had
many contests as to which should control the destinies
of the Indian, and therefore the Chinook was always
striving to propitiate the one and appease the other.
Hence, the attendance of good or bad fortune in his
transactions determined in his mind which spirit
was, for the time at least, most powerful.
Like many other tribes they believed that everything had its own spirit—the wind, the water, the
thunder, the lightning, the trees,—all, according to
their notion, had a spirit that governed them, as the
spirit which occupies a man's body controls his
actions. They could not understand how anything
which has life or motion, as a tree that grows, water
or wind that moves, or thunder that roars, can fail
of having some inner life, or spirit, to cause the
activities which they daily saw and heard. They
also believed that great immovable objects, such as
mountains, caves, etc., were possessed of a presiding
As to the formation of mountains, rivers, etc.,
they believed that, in the long ago, the surface of
the earth was quite smooth and level; that after And Her People.
dwelling long in harmony the different spirits quarrelled, and the water spirits were strong enough to
sink portions of the surface for the rivers to run in,
and larger portions for the lakes and seas to lie in;
that the spirits of the levels had power to hold their
own in the contest; while the mountain spirits were
vanquished and pushed up out of the way, and there
obliged forever to remain.
In the early spring of 1854 I was spending some
time in hunting in the Yakima country, and there
begame acquainted with an old Yakima from whom
I learned many things regarding Indian life and beliefs in that section. He told me that when he was
a child, his grandfather, then an old man, told him
that he remembered perfectly well when the Columbia River at the Cascades ran under the land, and
there were no rapids. In other words, there was a
natural bridge across the river at that point.
Mount Hood, an extinct volcano, 11,226 feet high,
lies to the southward of the Cascades, and but a few
miles distant. Mount Saint Helen's is also a volcanic mountain, 9750 feet above the level of the sea,
lying but a few miles northwesterly, and even yet
occasionally emitting volumes of smoke. A legend
told by the old Yakima was that the spirits of these
two great mountains used to cross the river by this
natural bridge to visit each other, until St.
Helen's, in anger, shook it down.
The face of nature at and around the Cascades
has not preserved any of the footprints of .the spirits,
but it has every other indication necessary to estab- 136 Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
lish the truth of the story of the old Yakima. The
banks on each side of the river at that point look as
if they had been broken down, instead of being
formed like the others along that portion of the
stream. Just above the Cascades and for a distance
of twenty or thirty miles may be seen acres of what
was once bottom land covered with trees, now submerged to the depth of ten to twenty feet. The
trees still stand there under the water just as they
once stood in the primeval forest, except that their
tops have been cut off to a level with the water by
the ice.
This submerged land with its standing trees proves
beyond question that, in the not distant past, the
river was suddenly dammed at what is now the Cascades, and the water backed up over these lands.
No one examining the place with care can arrive at
any other conclusion than that at some time in the
earth's history, and probably not much more than a
century ago, there was a natural bridge there, and
that it was probably thrown down by a volcanic
eruption of one or both mountains, accompanied by
an earthquake. The Indian's tradition, that Mount
St. Helen's "got angry," indicates forcibly that the
eruption took place in that mountain. CHAPTER X.
IT has been charged that the Indians are a treacherous race. In the matter of warfare, or in
transactions with one whom they believe would
deceive or take unfair advantage of them, I think
the charge can be sustained. They believe in the
old adage that " All is fair in love and war." They
have no scruples about making promises of good
behavior for the purpose of drawing an enemy into
an ambush or into some condition or situation where
he would be at a disadvantage; but they will never
betray a friend. I have known many instances
where they have undergone hardships and. defied
danger to warn and protect their friends. One such
instance related to myself.
And this brings me to the story of Wah-kee-nah—
Wah-kee-nah the beautiful; Wah-kee-nah the fearless ; Wah-kee-nah the true-hearted !
From 1850 to 1855 it was difficult in Oregon to
get house servants, even at one hundred dollars a
month, which was sometimes paid. During a trip
into the Yakima country in 1850, my brother, of
whom I have heretofore spoken, saw a bright, pretty
Yakima girl—a daughter of one of the chiefs—of
137 138
some fifteen or sixteen years. She appeared so unusually intelligent and so perfectly neat withal, that
it occurred to him that his wife might teach her to
be very helpful about the house. So after getting
her consent to go and live with him at his home on
the Columbia River, sixty miles from her own
country, he gave her parents the same amount in
presents as if he was buying her for a wife, which
was much more than he would have had to pay
for a slave girl, and took her home with him. This
was Wah-kee-nah (signifying " most beautiful "), and
never was an Indian maiden more fitly named. In
face, form, and lissome grace she was peerless among
her race. We were all charmed with her. She was
apt in learning the duties of the household and of
great assistance to my brother's wife. I lived with
my brother at the time, and took great satisfaction
in teaching her English, while she was of valuable
assistance to me in learning her language. She lived
in the family for many years.
When Wah-kee-nah came to us she presented a
striking picture. She was dressed in the usual summer costume of the mountain Indian girl of that
section—a costume which disclosed rather than concealed her beautiful figure. About her waist was a
girdle some two and a half inches in width, and into
this were skilfully woven four rows of cords, made
from the fibre of bark and roots, which hung down
nearly to her knees and constituted her skirt. Her
only covering from the waist up was her very luxuriant black hair, which not only grew very thick, but And Her People.
hung almost to her knees. If to the above be added
the daintily embroidered moccasins which shod her
feet, we have the entire costume—in which we first
saw her. But she had that simple native modesty
which saw no impropriety in such a dress. She had
worn such a one as long as she could remember, and
had never seen an Indian girl dressed in any other
in the summer; and it never had occurred to her
unsophisticated mind that any girl could wear anything better or more becoming. My brother's wife
immediately fixed up one of her own dresses for the
young savage, and though she had considerable difficulty in persuading Wah-kee-nah to put on a " white
woman's dress," she finally succeeded, and after that
some new dresses were made for her, and Wah-kee-
nah appeared no more about the house in the startling costume in which she came. When, however,
she went to visit her own people she resumed her
native costume, saying that all her friends would
laUgh at her if she wore the dress of the pale-face.
Moreover, she continued to wear her own summer
costume under her new style of dress for a long time
and until she had learned to read and write. Then
she began to take pride in being like white people,
and adopted more fully the white girl's dress.
She looked very jaunty and handsome in her native winter costume. This consisted of a pair of
leggins, made of buckskin, beautifully worked with
beads and porcupine quills, and fastened around the
waist. Over these she wore a skirt, also of buckskin
and very elaborately embroidered, which reached a 140
little below the knee and in shape was not unlike those
worn by white girls. This skirt was also heavily
fringed around the bottom. The costume was completed by a jacket, or waist, of embroidered buckskin,
which in cut and shape was almost identical with the
" surplice waist j of our own fashionable ladies in
this present year of 1893. It was a very sensible and
pretty costume.
Wah-kee-nah was a well-grown girl when she first
came to us, but in her new life her tall, lithe figure
rapidly rounded into superb womanhood. Her hands
and feet were small and elegantly shaped, and her
eyes, larger than is usual with her race, were very
dark and lustrous. She was fleet-footed as a deer,
and, while retaining all the quickness and alertness
of the Indian, she soon added to these the grace of
a queenly woman. She was an expert in the use of
the bow and arrow when she came to us, but knew
little of the use of fire-arms. In those early days in
Oregon it was quite necessary that a woman, no less
than a man, should know how to use the rifle and the
revolver, and the ladies frequently joined in the sport
of shooting at a mark with both these weapons.
Wah-kee-nah often participated in the sport, and her
keen eye and steady nerve soon made her an expert
My brother's duties as Judge of the United States
Court did not occupy the whole of his time, and he
had taken up a claim of 640 acres on the north side
of the Columbia River, and, after building his house
upon it, had begun clearing up the lan4T And Her People.
One day he accompanied the men who were cutting
timber upon a distant part of the claim, telling his
wife to send Wah-kee-nah with dinner for all hands
about twelve o'clock. Wah-kee-nah was duly despatched upon this errand, but she soon returned to
the house, saying that the Judge had told her to
hurry right back and fetch him a rifle, as they had
just seen a fine deer pass through the clearing.
The girl was panting from rapid running and excitement, and al] her Indian blood was alive at the prospect of the chase, while her eyes were fairly blazing
with joyous expectancy. Her excitement was infectious. I caught it at once, and, giving Wah-kee-
nah one of the rifles, I took another, and we started
for the clearing. I was a pretty good walker in those
days, but it gave me about all I wanted to do to keep
up with this swift-footed and enthusiastic young
When we reached the clearing my brother told us
that the deer had gone into the woods on the side
towards the river, but he thought by careful pursuit
he might yet get a shot at him. Wah-kee-nah begged
my brother to let her go after the deer, as she had
never yet had a shot at one. She was so anxious
about it that I seconded her request, saying that if
anybody could get him Wah-kee-nah was sure to do
it. The Judge readily consented, and the girl started
with a quick yet noiseless step into the woods. It
was not very long before we heard the crack of her
rifle. We started at once in the direction from which
the report had come, but we could not find any traces 142
of Wah-kee-nah. We called to her, but received no
reply save the echo of her name. Concluding that
if she had wounded the deer he would make for the
river, we bent our steps in that direction, calling from
time to time as we proceeded. After a time we heard
her answering shout, and found her at the river's
bank. She told us she had wounded the deer and
had tracked him to that place, and that he must have
swum over to the island. We could see for ourselves
where he had gone into the water, for his tracks were
plainly visible in the mud.
Wah-kee-nah was a splendid swimmer, and she at
once proposed to swim over to the island after him.
We tried to dissuade her from this idea, and induce
her to wait until I could go to the house and get a
boat; but she was so fearful that he would leave the
island and swim to the mainland on the other side of
the river; was so confident that she had wounded
him; and pleaded so earnestly withal, that my
brother finally consented to let her go. She did not
waste any time. Divesting herself of her outer dress
—thus leaving her attired in her Indian summer
costume only—she tied her powder-horn upon the
top of her head with the braids of her luxuriant
hair. Then she put some bullets into her mouth,
took the rifle in her left hand, and went quickly into
the river. It was a stirring sight to see this fearless
daughter of the forest buffeting with her superb
dusky limbs the placid waters of the Columbia, while
she held safely aloft her rifle with an arm that might
well have served as a model for a sculptor.    Not And Her People.
Leander, eager to meet his beautiful Hero on the
other side of the Hellespont, ever cleft the waters
with stronger or more efficient strokes than did this
Indian Diana swimming after her more humble
prize. Steadily and quite rapidly she made her way
to the island, and after walking a short distance
along the bank she signalled to us that she had found
the trail, and with her rifle ready for a shot began
cautiously creeping into the underbrush, and soon
disappeared from view. We waited quite a long
time before we heard again the ring of her rifle, and
then in a few minutes she appeared upon the bank
with a glad shout and told us that she had killed
the deer. I told her to wait there until I could get
the boat and bring her home, and she seated herself
contentedly on the bank to await my coming. It
was a proud girl that met me and pulled the prow of
my boat a little way up on the shore. Her eyes
were fairly dancing with pleasure.
"What do you think of Wah-kee-nah now?" she
" Wah-kee-nah is a brave hunter," I said, approvingly ; " but are you sure you have killed the
deer? "
" Come and see for yourself," she answered with a
laugh; and leading the way inland, rifle in hand
(she had reloaded it immediately after shooting), she
soon brought me to the place where lay her game.
On the way she told me that her first shot had
struck his shoulder and only lamed him ; but the
second shot had hit him in the head and finished 144
him at once. This proved to be the case. Her
second shot had entered just below and forward of
the left ear, and he could scarcely have made a move
afterwards. Together we dragged him to the boat,
and I brought Wah-kee-nah and her first deer in
triumph to the house. My brother's wife was warm
in her praises of the girl's prowess, and Wah-kee-nah
had a very happy afternoon.
But it was not very long after this episode that
my brother's wife had occasion to compliment Wah-
kee-nah again on her skill and daring; and this time
for an act that forever endeared the girl to the heart
of her mistress, and to all of us.
My brother's house was built upon a bluff, or
rocky cliff, on the bank of the river, some ten or
fifteen feet above the water at low tide. He had
built a picket fence around his yard and garden, to
secure the safety of the children. One day, however, his three-year-old boy found a loose picket in
the fence along the edge of the bluff, and crawling
through, tumbled over into the river. Fortunately
—or was it providentially ?—Wah-kee-nah happened,
a moment afterwards, to come out of the house.
She did not see the little fellow fall over the bank,
but she did see the opening in the fence, and, being
no less prudent than she was brave, went at once to
fix it. As soon as she reached the fence she saw the
baby in the water. He was clinging spasmodically
to a piece of drift-wood, and being whirled round
and round in an eddy formed by some projecting
rocks.    Wah-kee-nah grasped the situation instantly. And Her People.
She did not faint with fear; she did not scream ;
she did not even run off for assistance. What
she did was to tear off two more of the pickets
with one sweep of her strong arms, and bound
through the opening to the edge of the bank.
Even as she reached it she saw the child lose
his hold and sink beneath the whirling waters.
But Wah-kee-nah never hesitated for a single instant. Marking with quick eye the spot where she
wanted to strike the water, she made a " cut-water "
of her two hands and plunged headlong into the
river. The impetus of her falling weight carried her
to the very bottom ; but she did not find the boy. For
one instant, her brave heart sank within her, as she
thought that she had made a miscalculation. But
it was only for an instant. The eddy had not permitted the boy to sink to the bottom, and as she
looked up she saw him in the water almost directly
above her head. Wah-kee-nah came to the surface
with the child in her arms. He was partly strangled ;
but Wah-kee-nah, sustaining herself upon a projection of one of the rocks which was partly submerged,
held him up in safety. The water came out of his
mouth, the air revived him, and in a moment he was
all right, and did not seem to be a bit frightened.
Then she drew him around so that he rested on her
back with his arms clinging tightly to her neck, and,
swimming around the point of rocks to the little
dock where the boats were kept, she brought the
child all dripping to his mother, before she had even
missed him. 146
The boy was not disturbed in the slightest degree
by his perilous adventure. Wah-kee-nah had often
given him his bath in the bathing-tub, where he
would splash around in great glee. After his wet
clothing had been removed and his mother had cried
and laughed over him, and kissed and embraced him
and Wah-kee-nah by turns, the little fellow started
to run out-of-doors. When Wah-kee-nah intercepted
him, he looked up at her, with his little, chubby
face all aglow, and said : 1 Tub—Wah-tee, Kee-nah,
tub—Wah-tee. Tome!' He wanted another bath
in the great Columbia River, thinking it far more
jolly than his tub.
This act of Wah-kee-nah's made a strong impression upon all of us. We fully realized that but for
her bravery and alertness our little household would
have been in mourning. Every one had been pleased
with her before ; but henceforth she was a member
of the family.
Wah-kee-nah was always ready for any emergency,
and her courage was unbounded ; indeed, it may be
truthfully said of her that she was entirely without
About the same time that my brother took up his
claim, three or four other families also took up
claims some three miles back from the Columbia
River and in the valley of the E-lo-ha-min, a small river
that emptied into the Columbia near my brother's
house. They had cut a road following the bank of
the river through the woods to their settlement; but
by going through the woods across the small spur of And Her People.
a mountain, a person could save about half a mile of
the distance.
One of these farmers had an Indian girl to help
his wife, and she and Wah-kee-nah frequently exchanged visits. On one occasion Wah-kee-nah went
to spend the afternoon with her friend and failed to
return at the usual time. We felt somewhat anxious
about her as the time passed, but finally concluded
that she must for some reason have decided to remain overnight, although she had never before done
so without, asking permission.
She came home quite early on the following morning, and we then learned the cause of her detention,
and the story of her thrilling all-night experience.
She had started early enough to reach home before
dark, but stopped at the foot of the spur to pick
berries. The time flew so fast that she did not realize how late it was, until suddenly she noticed that
it was quite dark. Then she started in haste for
home, but had gone only a little way when she heard
the howling of wolves in the woods. As they seemed
to be coming in her direction she hurriedly climbed
a tree and seated herself upon a limb. It was but a
little while before seven large mountain wolves made
their appearance under the tree. None of us ever
went into the woods in those days without a revolver,
and Wah-kee-nah had not forgotten hers. She made
prompt use of it, and shot the wolf that seemed to
be the leader of the pack; but this did not frighten
the others away. They were hungry and they
kept prowling around the foot of the tree until it 148
became so dark that Wah-kee-nah did not dare to
come down and continue her journey. She had looked
in the chamber of her revolver after she shot the wolf
and found that there were but two shots left, and
she wisely concluded that she had better keep those
for use in case a panther or a bear should come upon
the scene and attempt to climb the tree. There was
nothing for her to do then but fix herself to spend
the night in the tree. So she climbed farther up
among the branches until she found a safe and comfortable seat, and there settled Jierself for the night,
with naught but the hungry wolves and the dismal
screech-owls to keep her company. She heard the
baffled wolves many times during the night, sometimes at a distance and sometimes under the tree,
scenting their dead leader. And thus this lion-
hearted girl of eighteen spent the summer
night. At daybreak, while stretching her tired limbs
into a more comfortable position, she caught sight
of another visitor creeping through the underbrush
towards her tree. The wolves had not been heard
for quite a long time, and it took but one quick
glance to assure the girl that it was a sleek and
sinuous panther that was approaching for this early
morning call. Wah-kee-nah glanced at her revolver
and saw that it was secure in her belt. Then she
prepared to give her unbidden guest a warm reception. With but two shots at her command she
could not afford to risk the chance of wasting even
one of them upon the panther while he was upon
the ground.    There was no other tree near enough And Her People.
for him to climb and thus spring upon her. He
would have to climb her tree, and she must wait
until he did it. But she had no notion of letting
her unwelcome visitor select their place of meeting.
She well knew that if he obtained a foothold upon a
limb of the tree he could then spring upon her,
whereas, while climbing the body of the tree he
could make no spring. Lightly and very quickly
she swung herself down to the lowest limb, and
plantingjierself securely thereon with her head close
to the body of the tree, pistol in hand, she waited
his coming. She had not long to wait, for the panther wasted no time. As soon as he reached the
tree, he, cat-like, began slowly and cautiously climbing it, while Wah-kee-nah's dark head hung over
toward the side on which he came, as if to meet him
half-way. Their eyes met—the panther's were eager,
burning, fascinating,—but Wah-kee-nah's dark orbs
were not disturbed. On came the panther, steadily,
cautiously, but confidently. ' He had already covered
half the distance between her and the ground, but
Wah-kee-nah held her fire. As the brute came still
closer and when she could almost have reached
down and touched his paw, the girl glanced along
her pistol-barrel. Her aim was at one of those
burning eyes that had not left her own. A shot
rang out on the still morning air, and an instant later
the panther lay kicking feebly on the ground, while
Wah-kee-nah still had one shot left!
But there was no need for a second shot.    The
aim had been true, and the panther soon ceased his mi
struggles. Wah-kee-nah remained in the tree until
after sunrise, to make sure that there were no more
panthers or wolves about; then she came down, and
soon reached home without further adventure. We
had the animals skinned. Both were large and fine
specimens of their species.
I come now to that story of Wah-kee-nah which
is most intimately connected with my own life.
Just prior to the breaking out of the Yakima war,
in 1856, I was hunting in the Yakima country, and
knew nothing of the troubles that were bringing on
a war. One night while lying wrapped in my
blanket under a wide-spreading cedar and not yet
asleep, I saw indistinctly some one approaching me.
I felt rather nervous and apprehensive, for I had
noticed for two or three days that the Indians had
gathered in groups and engaged in earnest conversation, and that some of them seemed to look at me
in an unusual—not to say uncomfortable—way.
This had given me the impression that something
was wrong, but I could not find out what it was.
On asking them what made them talk so much and
look so disturbed, they had told me that panthers
were very numerous in the woods that year, and had
killed a young chief of another village, and that they
were worried on that account.
I had overheard something during the day that
had caused me to discredit the panther story and to
feel so disturbed that I could not sleep. So when I
saw this nocturnal visitor approaching so noiselessly,
I grasped and cocked my revolver.   When the Indian And Her People.
had approached to within a few feet of me, I heard
my name softly spoken in a voice that I recognized at
once.    My unexpected visitor was Wah-kee-nah.
I greeted her warmly and started to rise, but
kneeling' quickly beside me, and pushing me gently
back, she put a hand softly over my mouth and told
me to keep perfectly quiet. I obeyed her injunction, and she, remaining in such position as to have
the appearance of a stump, to any one who might
happen tojbe passing, told me in low tones of what
had happened during my absence, and which she
said had determined her people to take the war-path.
The outbreak she said was very near at hand ; in
fact the Yakimas were only awaiting the return of
the head war-chief, who had gone on a mission to
some of the neighboring tribes to get them to join in
the war, and that they would begin killing the whites
as soon as he came back ; and that if I remained there
I would probably be the first victim. I felt that Wah-
kee-nah was right. I knew that the sagacious girl was
reliable in her information—indeed it was fully corroborated by my own observations. I was a good
deal excited, and saying I would go at once with
her, started to rise. But once more she placed her
hand firmly upon my shoulder and said " No." She
explained that it would not do at all for us to go
away together; and that we would be almost certain
to be discovered, in which case the lives of both
would be forfeited. Even should we be able to
travel unseen for the remainder of the night, my absence, she said, was sure to be noticed early in the 152
morning, and pursuit and death would certainly
follow. " We could kill some," she said ; " but there
would be too many for us; and besides," she added,
" I don't like to shoot my own people."
I saw the full force of what she said, and could not
doubt that her views were correct. " But what is to
be done?" I asked. Then this simple child of the
mountain forest unfolded to me a plan so simple and
yet so feasible for my getting away, that when I heard
it I wondered why I had not thought of it at once.
She said I must be sick in the morning, not so sick
that I could not ride, but sick enough to demand the
care of my white doctor, and must tell the Indians
that I would have to go to him at once, but would
return in a few days and finish the hunt. I must
not, she said, on any account remain in the village
another day. Even while Wah-kee-nah was telling
me this, I had outlined in my own mind just how I
could carry out her plan, and I felt no little exultation in the thought that my safety was assured,
unless the war-chief should return before I got away,
which was not probable, as Wah-kee-nah said they
did not expect him under two days. Then it
occurred to me that Wah-kee-nah herself was in
great danger; for should her tribe learn what she
had done they would surely kill her. I told her this,
and that I could not let her go alone. But she
promptly reminded me that these were her own
people, whom she was in the habit of visiting quite
frequently, and added quite naively that her only
danger was in being seen with me. A nd Her People.
" That is true," I said ; " I will do what you say;
and now you must go quickly."
" Yes," she replied ; 11 shall see you at home day
after to-morrow." Then with a noiseless tread she
stealthily vanished from my sight in the thick wood.
I watched her lithe, retreating figure as with swift,
noiseless footsteps she disappeared in the thick darkness of the wood. Then, for the first time, I fully
realized what she had done,—how much she had risked
for me,—and my heart was very full. It is nearly
forty years since that February night when I lay
looking up at the stars whose coy glances twinkled
through the cedar branches, and the blood does
not course as swiftly through my veins as in those
earlier years. But I have not forgotten that on that
night I wiped away a silent tear as in my inmost
soul I breathed a fervent prayer that the good God
who created all races of men would watch over and
protect the savage maid whose form had just
mingled with the shadows. '
The hours seemed long before morning came, for
I was ill at ease, and sleep but dallied with my eyelids. I think I never felt better physically, however,
in my life, but I soon grew desperately sick. And
in order that I might look it as well as act it, I took
the precaution to swallow some tobacco ; and any
of my masculine readers who remember their experience in learning to " chew," will realize that I
not only looked sick, but felt so. The Indians seeing how very pale I looked, began asking me what
was the matter.    I told them I had been taken very 154
ill in the night and must go to a doctor. They at
once offered to summon their medicine man, but I
said I knew what was the matter, as I had been
troubled with such attacks before, and the white
doctor always brought me out all right. So, I said, I
would go to him, and his medicine would fix me all
right in two or three days, when I would return and
finish the hunt. I saw them holding a long council,
lasting until into the afternoon before any one went
to bring me a horse ; but finally they brought one,
and it is needless to say that I made good use of him
until I reached the river. There I took a canoe and
arrived home in safety on the following morning,
where I was welcomed with great rejoicing. It is
perhaps unnecessary to add that I did not return to
finish the hunt in the Yakima country.
It was only after my return that I learned the details of Wah-kee-nah's coming to me in the woods.
She undertook to rescue me from my imminent
though unconscious danger entirely upon her own
motion; and when she had made her plans she confided her intention to my brother and his wife, and
received from both their hearty approval. This
noble girl paddled a canoe up the river thirty miles,
and then travelled about twenty-five miles through
the dense forest, on foot and alone, to save my life.
This incident, though it is more than usually
striking by reason of its principal actor being a girl,
is but a typical illustration of the depth and sincerity
of Indian friendship, of which, as I have said before,
I have known numerous instances.    It is upon such And Her People.
acts that I found my belief that there does not exist
upon the face of the earth a race that is less treacherous or more true to a friend than the Indian.
My readers will naturally want to know what became of the beautiful Indian girl of whose life I have
sketched some of the leading incidents, as I knew
A little while before the breaking out of the
Yakima war,—from being possibly the first victim
of whictuWah-kee-nah so heroically rescued me,—
the eldest son of the head chief of the Yakimas,
a fine-looking young Indian, named Le-lim, came
several times to see Wah-kee-nah. He courted her
assiduously, but she always refused his offer of marriage. I asked her one day why she did this. Her
dusky cheek flushed a little richer red as she replied :
" I do not want to leave my pleasant home. I am
happy here. I like the whites better than the Indians,
and if I ever marry I want to marry a white man."
When the war broke out all friendly communication between the Yakimas and the whites was
naturally broken off, and I saw no more of the handsome young chief. I left Oregon immediately after
the war; but I learned that Le-lim soon after renewed his visits to Wah-kee-nah. He was a persistent lover, and evidently one who believed that 1 Faint
heart never won fair lady"—or Indian maid. His
unremitting and earnest wooing finally brought its
great reward. He won for his bride the peerless
beauty of his tribe, and Wah-kee-nah returned to
her own people the wife of the chieftain's son. 156 Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
I know not whether now she be living or dead;
but I do know that never a whiter soul, never a
braver heart, were incarnated than the heart and soul
which dwelt in the beautiful body of Wah-kee-nah.
When this little volume leaves the press I shall try
to have it find her if she be living, or find her descendants if she shall have gone to the spirit land ;
for I would like to have her know, and have them
know, that years have not dimmed the memory or
blunted the gratitude of the friend for whom she
risked her life; and that he pays her this sincere and
loving tribute. CHAPTER XL
WITHIN a day or two after my return from
the Yakima country, as narrated in the foregoing chapter, the Indians began murdering the white settlers, thus inaugurating the Indian
war which took place in Oregon and Washington
territories in 1856, and was known as the Yakima
war. It was brought on by causes similar to those
which have occasioned every other war between the
Indians and whites that I have ever known or heard
of. But it has been said that the Indians themselves
began this war—that they struck the first blow, and
were therefore clearly the aggressors: Yes, without
doubt—the immediate aggressors; but only after
they had submitted to outrages and villainies on the
part of the whites, until patience ceased to be a
virtue and further endurance was impossible.
Major-General John E. Wool, who commanded
the forces of the United States in this war, says in
his official report to the War Department:
" If one half the money appropriated for the
Indians in California had been properly and judiciously expended, it appears to me we would have
liad no trouble with them."
i57 158
Speaking of the hanging of an Indian by a party
of whites, he uses this strong language : " The sub-
Indian agent ought to have been arrested and confined for permitting or sanctioning so great an
Referring to a certain settlement of white men,
he remarks: " The Indians living near there are continually exposed to the brutal assaults of drunken
and lawless white men ; their women are assaulted ;
and if the assault is resented, the Indians are beaten
and often shot. So great is their dread that, upon
the approach of the whites, the women run to the
mountains and hide until the whites have left. % A
great many cases of ill-treatment might be mentioned
and they are so common here as scarcely to excite
comment. If there had been the same desire to do
justice to the Indians and to maintain peace, that
there was to make war and plunder the Indians of
their lands, horses, and cattle, we should have been
relieved of all trouble, and the United States of a
very large expenditure of money."
In regard to a case in which the Indians had killed
a white man, he says : " I will simply remark that
the death of Sub-Agent Wright was caused by an
old grudge against him for attempting, before he
was appointed Agent, to poison a whole band of
Noticing further the causes which had led the
Indians to take up arms, he says :
" Another source is the outrages which are committed on the persons of friendly Indians, from re- And Her People.
venge or mere wantonness. A few days since, an
old Indian was most wantonly shot in the town of
Steilacoom. . . . Not long since, two Indians
who had been arrested and were in chains, were shot
down in Olympia. These several murders have
caused great excitement among the Indians. . . .
Three friendly Sno-qual-a-mie Indians were atrociously murdered near Seattle, and one at Mound
The extracts quoted are all from the General's
report to the Secretary of War. I personally know
of some most inhuman and outrageous murders. In
one case, a father and mother were shot down while
defending their daughter from the assaults of two
white men.
These disgraceful and inhuman atrocities make a
bad showing for the settlers of those territories.
There were as good people residing there, however,
as ever inhabited any part of the globe ; but it must
be remembered that the gold-excitement of 1849-50
had drawn to the Pacific Coast a vast number of adventurous and lawless men,—a horde which the
better element was totally unable to control during
the first few years; and when these outrages were
committed, the law-abiding citizens were absolutely
powerless to arrest and punish the perpetrators.
These lawless men had no settled home, and when
they committed a crime, if they saw the smallest
probability of punishment they would mount their
ponies and go to some mining camp or other place
where they could not be found. i6o
By the Indians the whites are all regarded as
brothers. We are all as one great tribe to them.
Hence if a white man killed an Indian, the Indians
considered it perfectly proper and just to retaliate
by killing any white man who fell into their power,
without regard to his having had any direct connection with the crime against them. This of course
could not be tolerated by the white settlers. They
could not be disinterested spectators to the murder
of some innocent citizen in retaliation for the act of
a lawless, wanton scoundrel. Had the Indians confined themselves to seeking out and killing the
miserable villains who had injured them, there would
have been no war. But looking at the matter from
the Indians' point of view, can we fail to see that,
according to their lights, they were fully justified in
making war ? The whites suffered heavily in this
war; but it resulted, as all Indian wars have resulted, in greater disaster to the Indians themselves.
First and last, they have always been the greatest
Indian wars have always been fraught with terrible calamity to the white settlers in their vicinity;
for, when on the war-path, Indians are cruel and
without mercy, and death is much to be preferred
to falling alive into their hands.
Many heroic deeds and hair-breadth escapes occurred among the settlers during the Yakima war.
One which I will relate illustrates the fortitude and
courage of woman in the face of deadly peril.
A man who was living on a ranch some six miles And Her People.
distant from the nearest village, in order to secure
the safety of his wife and daughter, started to go to
the village to make arrangements for moving them
there before the war should reach his section. He
had been gone from the ranch but a short time,
when his wife saw ten Indians all in war paint (which
was a sure indication of their purpose) approaching
the house. This woman and her sixteen-year-old
daughter were accustomed, like most women in that
country, to handling the rifle, and they each seized
one and fired upon the approaching warriors. The
weapons had been well aimed, and two of the
Indians bit the dust. The others fled precipitately
to a piece of woods back of the house and about
three hundred feet distant, and began firing their
arrows into the windows. The women kept good
watch, and whenever an Indian showed himself they
fired on him. In this way they succeeded in killing
two more of their foes during the afternoon. The
Indians tried to set fire to the house with fire-
arrows, and just at nightfall succeeded in doing so.
But the brave mistress of the beleaguered house was
equal to the emergency. She promptly gained the
roof and extinguished the fire, her courageous
daughter bringing the water to her. During this
time the mother received an arrow in her side, but,
regardless of the pain, remained on the roof till the
fire was out; she would undoubtedly have been
killed but for the partial darkness.
Coming down from the  roof,  the  women  fired
several shots into the woods to let their besiegers
O 162
know they were still in fighting trim. Then under
cover of the darkness they, each with her trusty
rifle, crept stealthily out of the house by the front
door, keeping the house between them and the Indians until they reached the woods. They groped
their way through the thick darkness of the woods,
until they reached a little stream which they knew
ran through the village, and following this, reached
the village about daylight the next morning.
A party immediately started to learn the fate of
the husband, and found that this band of Indians
had met him shortly after he left the ranch, and had
killed him. His body was found on the road about
two miles from his home, pierced with arrows. There
was every indication that when he became aware of
the presence of the Indians he had turned his horse
and attempted to get back to his family. The prints
of the horse's feet were plainly visible in the road,
first going toward the village at an easy gait, then
back for about half a mile, on a run. How he became apprised of the presence of the Indians and
how they could kill him, he being mounted and they
on foot, can only be conjectured ; but the probability
is that he was ambushed.
The mother's wound was not very serious, and
she soon recovered. After they had left the house
the Indians burned it—probably setting it on fire
again with fire-arrows, and consoling themselves
with the thought that they were avenging the death
of their four brother-warriors, by the roasting of the
two plucky women whose prowess had sent them to And Her People.
the spirit-land. I looked at this little mother with
perfect astonishment while she was telling me her
story, and marvelled greatly that so much courage
and " clear grit " could exist in so frail a body.
The sufferings of the whites during Indian wars
are well known; but there is no record of those of
the Indians. They have no hospitals to care for
their wounded, no anaesthetics to relieve pain. If
their sufferings during the war, and those caused by
the whites in times of peace could all be told, they
would show an aggregate of misery that could not
fail to wring pity from a heart of flint.
A Chehalis Indian (who had not joined in the war,
but had with others moved close to a white settlement in order to be known and recognized as friendly
Indians) told me that one day his wife with her
three children, the eldest a boy of ten, went into the
woods to pick berries. While there two white men
came along and assaulted her. While she was struggling with them her boy struck one of the men with
a stick no thicker than a man's thumb, whereupon
the wretch drew his revolver and shot the little fellow, the ball entering his shoulder and passing down
into his body. The poor boy lived eleven days, suffering the most intense agony. While the stricken
father was telling me this story, the tears coursed
down his cheeks and his body trembled from head
to foot. I My poor little boy, how.he suffered ! " he
said ; " Oh ! my poor little boy ! " and his voice was
stifled in sobs. My own eyes were wet as I listened,
and thought of the sufferings endured by that poor 164
little child during those eleven long days before
death mercifully came to release him. The brave
little fellow's only crime was that he had sought to
defend as best he could the mother he loved from
the brutality of a " civilized " white man.
One more story from the many tales of wrong and
suffering that came to my knowledge must suffice.
I was riding one afternoon with three friends, and
when about six miles from the village we saw an
old broken-down horse feeding by the side of the
trail. His back was very sore, and one of our party
made the remark that any one who would use a horse
until he was in such a condition ought to be punished. While talking, we heard a groan, and, moving on a little farther, came upon an Indian lying on
the ground, and apparently in great agony. I asked
him what had happened, and he told me that he
had that morning met here a white man riding the
old horse we had just seen. The white man told
him he wanted to trade horses with him, but as the
Indian had a good horse and the horse the man was
riding was good for nothing, he said he would not
trade, and rode on toward the village. But he had
gone only a few paces when the white man shot him
in the back. He fell from his horse, which the
white man then mounted and rode away. I examined
the wound and found that a large pistol bullet had
entered his back just under the shoulder-blade, and
passed entirely through his body. I ascertained that
his home was about seven miles distant, and when I
told him that I would go and inform his people, he And Her People.
seemed greatly pleased. So we made a bed of
grass and laid him carefully upon it, and while my
friends remained to watch over him, I rode off to
his wigwam. When I arrived there I inquired for
his brother, and as soon as he came, related what
had happened.
His expression I shall never forget. Intense
grief and anger were so mingled in that dusky face
that it photographed itself indelibly upon my mind.
He called to one of the women not far away, and a
few brief words apprised her of what had occurred
to her husband. She cried aloud in her great grief,
and her two children joined in the crying.
Then four Indians mounted their ponies and,
leaving the weeping mother and children, followed
me at a rapid pace back to the place where I had
left my friends and their charge. But the wounded
man was beyond human aid. He had died only a
few minutes before we reached the place. They
wrapped the body in a blanket, and putting it upon
one of the ponies, bore it back to the widowed
mother and her children. I draw a veil over the
scene at that wigwam; and it is needless to attempt
to put in words the feelings toward white men which
such cowardly butchery would naturally inspire in
the hearts of the family and tribe of the victim.
We tried to ascertain who it was that had committed this most cowardly murder.- It was believed
to have been a Mexican, who had been for a day or
two in the village, and who was travelling from one
inining camp to another.    A party started out upon 166 Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
his trail the next morning, but after following it for
two days, came back unsuccessful.
Volumes have been written regarding " Indian
atrocities," and the "red devils" who perpetrated
them have been painted as without mercy and without feeling; as fiends incarnate; but the whole
damning story of white atrocities against the Indians
must forever remain unwritten. The Indians wrote
no history, had no literature ; but they were not
devoid of human feeling and a sense of justice.
They knew and remembered the bitter wrongs of
their race, and, so far as they could, avenged them. ||£p&2^"
If Tip
3»'«Bb53F P^E
WS fv.
THE marriage ceremony differed considerably
among the various tribes composing the Chinook family. In one which I witnessed near the
Columbia River, the groom had made his proposal to
the maid of his choice, aged about seventeen; the usual
presents had been proffered and accepted; and all was
in readiness for the wedding when I arrived in the
village. The groom opened the ceremony. He was
dressed in gala costume, and carried a blanket. This
he threw on the grass at a short distance from the
wigwam of the bride and seated himself upon it with
an expression upon his face as melancholy as if he
was there to be shot. He was soon surrounded by
his friends; but this living circle was left open on
the side nearest the wigwam of the bride. She soon
appeared in front of the wigwam, looking very pretty
in a costume which comprised all the finery she
possessed. Standing there a few minutes until all
her family and friends had joined her, she started at
a slow pace toward the groom, who now looked, if
possible, more dejected than before. Her friends
followed her closely in procession, all chanting
monotonously, while  the bride walked   in  silence.
167 i68
When about twenty feet from the groom the little
procession came to a halt, the bride keeping her eyes
steadily fixed upon the ground. Then the groom's
party began chanting, and one of their number
stepped forward and presented a blanket to the
chief master of ceremonies, the father of the bride.
Following this presentation the bride's party joined
in the singing, all chanting in chorus, while the bride
tripped briskly forward to the groom and seated herself beside him at his left hand. Then the father of
the bride, advancing with stately tread, threw the
blanket that had been given him over the heads of
the couple, covering them completely. Up to this
time the groom had not raised his eyes from the
ground; but whether he continued to remain so demure while under the blanket I will not presume
to say.
As soon as the bride's father resumed his place
among his own party, the chanting of both parties
became louder, and all began dancing around the
couple in the most fantastic style. After about ten
minutes the chanting and dancing came to an end,
and both parties formed a line, the groom's friends
upon the right and the bride's upon the left. The
father of the groom, who was master of ceremonies
for his side, then advanced and removed the blanket
that had covered the " happy pair," and while they
were still sitting made a speech of some length in
which he recited the principal duties of a wife to her
husband, and those of a husband to his wife. Both
listened with downcast eyes? but it was noted that And Her People.
the groom had lost his melancholy expression under
the blanket, and I thought I caught a little twinkle
in the bride's shy eyes. When the speaker had
finished he uttered a loud guttural sound—a sort of
Indian " Amen."
Thereupon the husband and wife (as they now
were) arose. The groom's father placed the blanket
which had covered them upon the shoulders of the
bride and the other blanket upon the shoulders of
the groom. Then, stepping out in front, he gave
the signal and all started for the groom's wigwam,
the newly married pair marching between the two
lines. On arriving at the future residence of the
couple they halted, and the groom's father raised the
door of the wigwam. Quickly turning, the bride
sprang lithely upon the back of the groom, and, amid
the most vociferous chanting of all present, was
carried by him into his wigwam. As soon as they
had crossed the threshold the father dropped the
curtain, and all dispersed, to gather later in the
afternoon and participate in a feast at the home of
the newly married. In the early evening I paid my
respects, and had quite a chat with them. They
seemed very happy. This was a " marriage in high
life," and I was informed that it was purely a love-
The ceremony I have just described was a very
pretty one ; but of a far more exciting nature was
an engagement and marriage I once witnessed among
the mountain Indians. The tribes living near the
Columbia River did their travelling in canoes, and had 170
but few horses; but the mountain Indians had many
horses and were expert riders.
It sometimes happened that a very pretty girl,
especially if she were a chief's daughter, would have
many suitors vying with each other for the possession of her heart and hand. Occasionally duels grew
out of such rivalry, but this was not of frequent occurrence, as the older people usually managed to avert
so serious a termination of affairs, by proposing some
game of chance or deed of daring, in which he who
won should also be the winner of the maiden. In
other words she became the high stake for which they
In the case I now speak of, the maiden was a
chief's daughter and a beauty. She had four suitors.
They had each been sending presents, and these were
all accepted by the parents, which signified that so
far as they were concerned there was no preference.
It was the custom, however, to return all gifts except
those from the suitor who should win the girl. A
chase on horseback was proposed as the method by
which the contest should be decided—the maiden to
marry the lucky man who should catch her in the
This most exciting love-chase took place on a
bright June afternoon. The Indian village where
the chief lived was located at the base of the mountains, in a beautiful grove skirting the large prairie
where the ponies fed. The girl was allowed to make
her choice of horses, and she selected one that she
thought the fleetest—a fine black; and as I carefully And Her People.
looked at the animal it seemed to me that she had
chosen wisely. The young men had their own
horses. It was agreed that the maiden should be
given several minutes, before the young men should
be allowed to start.
I made inquiry as to which one of these young
men was supposed to be favored by the chief's
daughter, and was informed that it was he with the
bay horse. He was a handsome young warrior and
the most intelligent-looking of the four, though they
were all fine specimens of athletic youth. The girl
looked very handsome mounted upon her spirited
black. She was attired in the usual summer costume
of the mountain Indian girl which showed to advantage her large and well developed figure, but she
had put on also a closely fitting and beautifully
embroidered buckskin jacket, and her heavy black
hair was braided up and confined closely to her
head. As she rode at an easy pace out over the
prairie, she looked an object well worthy of pursuit;
but there was a determined look in her snapping
black eyes as she rode away which indicated that
this was to be a very real race.
When the time came for the pursuers to mount
and start, I gave special attention to the bay horse,
and was annoyed not a little to see the rascal commence bucking the moment his rider was on his
back. By the time he started the others were far in
advance. But the girl was evidently looking over
her shoulder to see how matters were going, and
when she saw the bay so far behind she began 172
adroitly to guide her horse in a circle which would
naturally give the bay a chance to " cut across " and
get even with his competitors; but they were all
too far ahead to have this ingenious little scheme
succeed to any extent. The others quickly changed
their course, and the girl was about being intercepted, when she turned and ran her horse at the
top of his speed towards the upper end of the
Her horse was much the best runner, and she was
able to keep them all at a distance, unless the black
should tire under her—it being an undoubted fact
that a woman can never get as much work out of a
horse as a man is able to obtain. I was on horseback, as were many of the Indians, and we hurried
to the upper end of the wood when we saw her
evidently making for that point.
But when she reached the wood she seemed to
find the trees so thick as to impede her progress,
and her pace slackened to a slow trot.
On came her pursuers, two of them far in advance
and nearly abreast of each other. It is a critical
moment. They are gaining upon the girl at every
step, and now but the distance of a few rods
separates her from the triumphant grasp of a man
for whom she has no love. Alas, unhappy maid !
and alas, thrice unhappy rider of the treacherous
bay ; your happiness is lost! You must helplessly
see another win the prize your prowess should have
gained ! It is now only a question of which of the
two leaders shall secure a beautiful though unwilling And Her People.
bride. My heart stands still in pity. The black
horse and his rider seem to make no progress in the
thicker wood, while their pursuers are rapidly lessening the intervening space.
Forward they dash, neck and neck, each horse and
rider straining every nerve to be first at the side of
the steaming black and his beautiful rider, now but
a few yards ahead. At this juncture the sorely
pressed maiden casts one swift glance over her
shoulder. Never shall I forget the expression of
that face. Her dusky cheeks are tinged a deeper
red, her teeth are tight set, while her full red lips are
drawn over them in a straight hard line; and her
eyes! surely it is no look of despair that blazes out
from those dark magnificent eyes ! What can it
mean ? In an instant she had reined her horse a
little to the left, and passed between two great trees
into what was nearly an open space beyond. A
moment later, and the full import of her look
became clear to me.
Upon either side of the narrow opening through
which she had so deftly passed, the low-growing
branches of the great trees and the thick underbrush
formed for some distance an impenetrable barrier.
The opening between the trees was not wide enough
for two horses to pass abreast t The two eager
suitors evidently realized the situation, but the prize
for which they struggled was the flower of Indian
beauty; their blood was up, and neither would give
way. They urged their horses to their utmost speed,
and both rode straight at the opening.    In the par- 174
tial turn that had to be made, the rider on the left
gained a slight advantage, and it seemed for one
brief moment, as his panting horse put his nose between the trees, that he would slip through ahead.
But what he had gained in distance the rider on the
outer curve had gained in momentum. With a terrific yell he drove his horse right into the narrow
opening ! There was a crash, mingled with yells of
rage and pain, and men and horses went down together in a helpless struggling heap. Two of the
lovers of this plucky girl were effectually disposed
of. Woman's strategy had scored its first great
triumph in this remarkable race.
According to the Indian idea, it would be a reproach and a disgrace should she allow herself to be
caught without, apparently at least, making every
possible effort to avoid it; so she must now seem to
elude the one to whom she would willingly surrender, no less than those by whom she would not
be caught. The bay and the gray on which the
two remaining pursuers rode were very evenly -
matched, and at this moment emerged from the
woods and came riding down upon her, nearly neck
and neck, and not an eighth of a mile away. But
she was ready for the race, and not only kept good,
but widened, the intervening distance. She had a
clear head and a quick eye, and if her horse held
out, was evidently mistress of the situation. With
two of her lovers disabled in the woods, she seemed
easily able to elude the other two.
At times she would run in a circle, and if one of And Her People.
her pursuers started to cut it she would whirl and
go the other way, very much to his discomfiture
and the advantage of him who had held to a straight
course; so they both became very chary about
cutting corners. This part of the race was all upon
the level open prairie, and this beautiful young
savage won warm admiration by her equestrian dash
and daring. It seemed that her pursuers could not
outrun her, and they certainly could not outmanoeuvre her. There was an understood rule
applying to such races, that after the lapse of a certain time—about an hour—the girl might, if she
chose, return to the village, and if she arrived there
without being captured by any of her pursuers, she
was safe, and the lovers were laughed at unmercifully. Whether because she noticed that her horse
was tiring or because she had had enough of it for
herself, the heroine of the present contest concluded
to end it by taking advantage of this rule. So,
watching a favorable opportunity, she started straight
for the village. Both lovers divined her intention
and both urged their steeds to the utmost. The
girl glanced backward and saw that the gray horse
was a little in advance of the bay, and then she plied
her whip fast and furiously. But the black was
getting tired, and now showed it very plainly. Again
I became anxious and excited. It looked as if, after
all the strategy and daring displayed by this spirited
girl to enable the man she loved to win her, he was
now going to fail at the last moment; and, what was
worse still, it seemed more than probable that she 176
would fall into the hands of the unloved suitor.
Both were gaining upon her, but the gray horse was
now at least ten feet ahead of the bay. Just as I had
given up all as lost, I saw the gray stumble and fall.
He had stepped in a hole, and being on so keen a
I run and nearly exhausted, had been unable to regain
his balance and fell, throwing his rider flat upon the
prairie. A quick glance over the shoulder revealed
the situation to the flying girl. She was still more
than a quarter of a mile outside the safety line, and
she did not cease to ply her whip; but I thought
that I could see that the blows had grown lighter,
far lighter than they were when both men were in
pursuit; and while apparently urging her steed to
the utmost, she was overtaken by the bay a few rods
outside of the safety line.
As he came up beside her he put his strong right
arm around her waist, and gently, but very quickly,
bore her from her horse and seated her in front of
him upon his own; and the black horse came in
without a rider, while the bay bore a double load.
Had this race taken place among white people,
the excitement would have been wild, and the enthusiasm unbounded. The grove and the village would
have rung with shouts and cheers. And it would
have been the same with the Indians but for my
presence. There was evident pleasure shown by the
friends of the man who won his bride, but there was
no shouting or cheering. This illustrates a striking
phase of the Indian's character: they repress all
signs of emotion when in presence of the whites. And Her People.
The -wedding took place on the following afternoon, and the ceremony was quite similar to that
among the river Indians, described earlier in this
chapter. The following are the points of difference.
In this case instead of all the friends forming a ring
and dancing around the couple while under the
blanket, they formed a double line and marched
slowly seven times around the couple, devoting each
round to a particular spirit, and chanting an invocation to him.
The first round was to propitiate the Great Spirit,
and in the chant they implored him to be -always
with the bride and groom and to do them good.
The second round was to appease the Evil Spirit,
the chant beseeching him to do them no harm.
The third round was to the Spirit of the
Woods, that he would furnish them with game in
The fourth round was to the Spirit of the Water,
that he would guide the fish into their nets.
The fifth round was to the Spirit of the Air, that
he would give them wild fowl in plenty.
The sixth round was to the groom, that he would
be good to his wife.
The seventh round was to the bride, that she would
be good to her husband.
Should anything unpropitious happen during the
marching of the procession, it was supposed to augur
that the spirit in whose round it occurred would not
be friendly to the young couple. Should the unpropitious omen occur during the round for the groom i78
the procession at once halted and the master of ceremonies in behalf of the bride advanced to the couple
and, raising the blanket, told the groom what had
happened, and then put the direct question to him :
"Will you be good to her?" and if he answered
affirmatively the evil omen was thus counteracted,
and the march and chant were continued. Should
the omen occur during the round to the bride, the
groom's master of ceremonies proceeded in the same
way, asking her if she would be good to her husband,
and her affirmative reply had the desired effect.
The chanting during the bride's round was done
entirely by her friends, who extolled her virtues and
goodness in the highest degree. In the round to
the groom, his friends did the chanting in his praise.
When the march and chant were finished,the ceremony
proceeded to the end as with the river Chinooks.
My readers will see that this was an exceedingly
elaborate as well as a very beautiful ceremony, taking
place as it did in the open air, and on the soft green
turf under the light of the glad sunshine, the fantastic
and brilliant costumes of the participants made it
most picturesque, while the solemnity and decorum
with which it was conducted made it very impressive.
This, however, was the ceremony for people in high
life. The more humble were married by mere agreement or by purchase, in which case, when the price
had been paid, and when the so-called gifts were
satisfactory, the man took the girl to his home and
she was thenceforth his wife. No further ceremony
was required. And Her People.
The presents were sometimes given in instalments,
the young man not being able to furnish all at once ;
and in such cases he could not have his bride until
the last article had been delivered—there being no
credit extended in matters connubial.
Owing to their mode of life and their training
from childhood, all Indians possessed wonderful
sagacity and acuteness in many things.
It was exceedingly difficult to follow them through
the woods when they did not wish to be followed.
They usually, in such cases, sought a stream and
walked in its waters in the course they wished to
pursue, until some rocks were found upon which they
could step and walk for quite a distance. The sun
and wind would soon dry the rocks, leaving no trace
to indicate where they left the water. If, on the
contrary, they desired to be followed by friends,
they would leave many signs. They sometimes
stripped the outer bark from a tree near which they
had camped, and with hieroglyphics informed the
following party of all that had occurred, and also the
course they intended to pursue. The most common
mode of giving the information, however, was by
driving a stick with two splits in its top into the
ground at every place where they camped, and
placing two pointed sticks in it. The upper stick
pointed to where the sun was when they left; if
before daylight, it pointed down to where they supposed the sun to be at the time; if in the day, it
pointed directly toward the sun, so the following
party would know  just how long they had been i8o
gone, if it was the same day. If longer than that,
they judged by the appearance of the ashes and
footprints, and generally correctly. The lower stick
pointed in the direction they had gone. Then, as
they passed along, they would break a twig or branch
here and there, making it point in the direction they
were going. If they changed their course, they
would break two branches near together, one pointing like the others, the other in the direction to
which they had turned.
The knowledge of this last sign was of good service to me at one time. A friend and myself were
once in the forest far from civilization, hunting elk,
with Indian guides. One day, when quite tired, we
told the guides to go on and we would follow when we
were rested. They told us to come to a grassy knoll,
some three miles beyond, and there wait, as we would
camp there. After resting, we went to the knoll.
Here we saw many fresh signs of elk, and in a conspicuous place found a split stick driven into the
ground, the upper pointer showing that our guides
had left there about an hour before, the lower one
giving us the direction. I had lived with the Indians
long enough fro understand that they wanted us to
follow them, instead of remaining there, and we did
so, shouting occasionally at the top ojf. our voices.
We found little branches broken here and there, and
had no difficulty in following. In about an hour
and a half we received a reply to our shout, and soon
found our guides skinning a fine elk. They said they
wounded him while he was feeding at the grassy 1
And Her People.
knoll, and had tracked him all that distance before
getting a final shot. Feeling confident that they
would get him, after his being so badly wounded,
and knowing we should want to camp wherever he
fell, they left the directions for us to follow.
Gambling, as I have said before, was the great vice
of the Indians. It prevailed among the Chinooks,
as well as with the other tribes inhabiting this section
of country.
I was ^>nce travelling in my canoe, and seeing a
good camping-place, had my Indians paddle to it
for the purpose of camping for the night. On reaching it, I fourid some eight or ten Klickatat Indians
there. After supper I went over to their camp.
Several of the men were gambling with a set of
beaver's teeth. They at once commenced bantering
me to join them, which I declined to do. After a
while, one of them brought his wife, a very pretty
young woman, and challenged me to have a game
with him, he to put up his wife as a wager, against
my canoe. This generous offer I also respectfully
declined. He had a fine set of beaver's teeth, all
smoked, marked, and properly dedicated to the deity
of good luck. I tried to buy them of him, but he
did not wish to sell. He offered to play a game with
me for them, I to put up the value of four beavers'
skins (four dollars). I hesitated, for I feared losing
my four dollars. The Indians began bragging about
their skill, and jocosely taunted me as to the white
man's lack of it, until finally I felt called upon to defend the honor of my race, and at it we went.    For-
A 182 Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
tune favored me, and I won the beaver's teeth. I
gave him the four dollars, however, (which was all
the teeth were worth, except in his imagination, as
he believed them to be an especially lucky set) and
we parted good friends.
This universal passion for gambling which exists
among all Indians, arises I think, chiefly from two
causes: first, the prevailing belief in fate, luck,
chance, or whatever it may be termed—that unknown something which each believes will come to
him in whatever he undertakes and bring him success ; and second, the abundant leisure which the
Indian's indolent life leaves on his hands. Naturally
he seeks some diversion for his idle hours, and his
mind turns easily to games of chance. Games requiring skill and bodily exertion do not interest him
so much.
I have witnessed a great deal of gambling among
the Indians, yet I never saw a quarrel over any
game, nor have I ever seen one Indian attempt to
cheat another. In their play Chance is the divinity
they worship, and they submit loyally to his edicts.
The loser will accept his fate with true Indian stoicism, even if he lose his all—an example which the
gambling fraternity of the white races might do well
to follow. CHAPTER  XIII.
OF the four grand geographical divisions into
which for convenience I divided the Indians
of North America, two have been considered ; and we will now return to the Atlantic coast
for the purpose of taking up the consideration of the
third division, which embraces all those south of the
thirty-third parallel of north latitude and east of the
Rocky Mountains.
It seems quite certain that Columbus was not the
first European who discovered the great Western
continent, as the Norsemen undoubtedly preceded
him by some four hundred years. But without any
unnecessary discussion on that point, it suffices to
say that it was the discovery of Columbus that gave
an impetus to settlement, and therefore, whether first
in point of time or not, his was the first discovery
that was followed by any practical results.
In 1508, Ponce de Leon, a Spanish discoverer,
visited the island of Porto Rico, and after procuring
considerable gold from the natives,^ sailed for home.
But not being satisfied with what he had procured
by barter, he returned the next year with an armed
force, and reduced the defenceless Indians to vas-
183 184
salage, ruling with great severity, and robbing the
natives of everything of value which they possessed.
In 1512 he left Porto Rico, and landed upon the
continent of North America. He arrived upon the
coast on the twenty-seventh day of March, of that
year, but did not land until April 2d ; and because
he found the country so fair and beautiful, it being
in its finest verdure, and arriving there on Palm Sunday, the Spanish name for which is " Pascua Florida,"
he called the country " Florida," which name it has
ever retained. Some authorities hold that he was
the first discoverer of that country, discrediting all
others laying claim to that distinction.
He was received with great kindness by the Indians, and spent several months cruising around the
coast, in search of the " Fountain of Youth," which
he believed existed somewhere in the New World,
and in whose wonderful waters he hoped to bathe
and become young forever! In return for their
kindness he, on sailing for home, forcibly captured
and carried away several native men and women.
The next year he returned at the head of an expedition for the purpose of reducing the Indians of
Florida to the status of vassals, as he had those of
Porto Rico. In this, however, he was unsuccessful,
and not until 1521 did he again make his appearance,
and this time he brought a much larger force. But
he was met with determined hostility, the Indians
gathering their forces and fighting with such tact and
bravery that he could not even land. In one of the
attempts to do so, he received a wound, which re- And Her People.
suited in his death a few days afterwards, and thus
his scheme to subjugate the Indians of Florida came
to an inglorious end.
In 1520, one Lucas Vasques de Ayllon, a Spanish
officer of some distinction, landed on the Florida
coast, and was received with great kindness by the
Indians. He made feasts, gave the Indians gifts, and
made every profession of friendship. By these means
he enticed one hundred and thirty of the natives on
board his vessel, locked them under hatches, and
sailed for Spain, intending to reap a large profit by
selling them as slaves. But his inhuman project
ended in disaster. Two of the vessels floundered at
sea and went down with all on board. The other
arrived in Spain, but he received no profit from the
sale of the Indians, because they nearly all died of
grief. Exasperated at his lack of success he determined to try again. It was not until 1524, however,
that he succeeded in procuring three vessels. These
he loaded with soldiers, intending this time to do
away with all artifice and carry out his project by
force of arms. Arriving on the coast, he landed, and
was again received with great kindness and hospitality by the Indians. The Indians affected great
cordiality and pleasure at his return. They had
taken from him a lesson in "civilized" diplomacy,
and they had learned it well. They were so friendly
as to completely disarm De Ayllon of suspicion, and
he congratulated himself upon the ease with which
he was going to accomplish his purpose. While enjoying this feeling of security, and laying his plans
1 —■
for future action, he sent a party of two hundred
soldiers some distance back into the country for
the purpose of spying out the land. The Indians
entertained and feasted them there for four days, and
then suddenly and unexpectedly attacked and put
them to death, not leaving even one to tell the tale.
They then made a vigorous assault upon the Spaniards at the coast, killing the greater part of them.
The few who were able to reach the ships quickly
made sail and left the coast. De Ayllon was numbered among the slain.
The Indians had well learned the lesson of duplicity and treachery he had taught them. They had
visited upon him terrible retribution, and glutted
their vengeance for the loss of the one hundred and
thirty of their nation, who had been stolen by him
upon his first voyage, and whose death he had ruthlessly caused.
It seems, as near as can be ascertained from the
traditions of the Indians, that during the century
just preceding the coming of the whites, there were
many powerful tribes inhabiting the territory which
I have called the third grand division. I shall only
mention such, however, as possessed some peculiarity,
or among whom has occurred some incident worthy
of special notice. The Iroquois had overrun some
of the territory lying between the Atlantic Ocean and
the Mississippi River, below the thirty-third parallel,
and held some of the tribes living there under tribute;
but, in the main, the tribes inhabiting this vast region
were independent and strong.    They were not so And Her People.
warlike or brave as their northern neighbors. Climate
had much to do with this. The bravest and most
warlike tribes were located where the weather was
neither very hot nor very cold—either extremes
seemed to enervate and weaken the race. Had
the Indians inhabiting this section of the country
been like the Iroquois, the Shawnees, the Sioux, or
other tribes in their division, the Spaniard Narvaez
could not have marched through their country as he
did in 1528, with only three hundred men and eighty
horses. At first he was kindly received, but his conduct and that of his men so enraged the Indians
that they soon became his enemies. They did not
annihilate his force, however, (as the northern Indians
would certainly have done) although they had from
the fourteenth of April, to the twenty-second of
September in which to accomplish it. The Spaniards
finally became discouraged and left the country in
some boats of their own construction, and all perished
except five—Cabeca de Vaca and four others—Narvaez being among those who succumbed to the
vicissitudes of the voyage.
It was during this expedition of Narvaez that
there occurred another instance of a woman's successful plea for mercy somewhat similar to that of Pocahontas. The Indians captured Juan Ortiz, a young
man only eighteen years old. The chief ordered him
to be killed, as he was terribly enraged against the
white men for the injuries his mother had received
at their hands. While the preparations were in
progress for putting Ortiz to death, the daughter of raw
this chief, who was about the same age as the prisoner, threw herself at her father's feet and pleaded
so earnestly for the captive's life that the old chief
reluctantly consented to spare it. Some months after
this it happened that his life was again in jeopardy,
and his girl deliverer again interposed, warned him
of his peril, and advised him to flee to Mucoso, a
neighboring chief of the same tribe, and in the darkness of the night took him some distance on his way,
placed him in the right path, and, giving him a true
woman's blessing, with kind wishes for his welfare,
bade him waste no time. He reached Mucoso in
safety, and was protected by him. The maiden was
affianced to this Chief Mucoso, which accounts for
the white prisoner's being so well received.
The next white man to come into this territory was
De Soto,who landed upon the western coast of Florida
on the twenty-fifth day of May, 1539, with about one
thousand men and three hundred horses. From some
captured women De Soto learned that a white man
was a prisoner not far away, and, guided by them, a
party of horse started in search of him. They met
him making his way to their camp. We can only
imagine his feelings upon thus meeting a party of his
own countrymen, after having been a prisoner among
the Indians for twelve years, with scarcely a ray of
hope of ever again reaching his native land.
De Soto remained in the country for three years,
going up and down through it in search of gold,
which he and his followers believed to exist somewhere in that section in great quantity, and as they And Her People.
could not get the Indians to tell them where it was,
(except a little in the mountains of what is now the
State of Georgia) they sought for it unremittingly
until, exhausted with the fruitless effort, they were
forced to abandon the search.
During these three years De Soto treated the Indians with the utmost brutality, supporting his thousand men and three hundred horses by robbing the
corn and vegetable fields during the summer and fall,
and in the winter he would make raids and seize all
the grain and vegetables that the Indians had laid
up for their own use. Many Indians starved to death,
because every particle of food they had secured for
winter use was taken by De Soto's soldiers and carried away to their camp, not leaving even a vestige
for the Indians, whom they knew could not exist
without it. De Soto also captured a large number
of Indians and compelled them to carry all the baggage of his army. If any one of them refused to
carry his load, a chain was put around his neck and
he was dragged, either by four or five men or by a
horse, until he was dead, or would consent to get up
and have the load lashed upon his back.
De Bry, who wrote an account of De Soto's jour-
neyings, says that at one time they took many women,
and that the captain selected two or three of the
handsomest for the commander, and apportioned
the others to himself and the rest that went with
him. He also relates that on another occasion the
Spaniards found two Indian men and one Indian
woman gathering beans, and that although both the 190
men might have escaped, one of them, the husband
of the woman, would not leave her, but fought most
bravely and to the death to protect her.
In the course of his wanderings, De Soto came to
the country of a woman chief, who is described as
young, beautiful, and amiable. Upon De Soto's approach, he was met by an ambassadress, a sister of
her majesty, who delivered a speech of welcome. In
a little while the queen came out, borne upon a chair
carried by her courtiers, who brought her to a river,
upon the opposite bank of which De Soto was encamped. Here she entered a large canoe, and, accompanied by numerous other canoes containing her
principal men, was taken to De Soto's camp. On
arriving, she landed and presented De Soto with rich
presents of skins, and also a beautiful string of pearls
which she took from her own neck; after which she
cordially invited him to enjoy the hospitality of her
country. He accepted the invitation, and wras handsomely entertained for some time. On his departure,
he repaid her kindness by robbing the graves of the
dead of all the pearls that had been buried with them,
and making the queen herself a prisoner and holding
her as a hostage for the good behavior of all the Indians. After remaining in captivity for several days,
and being taken a long distance from her own country, she one day out-witted her guards and escaped.
It is said that one of the Spaniards assisted her in
this, and went with her to her own country.
After a battle, in which the Indians had shown
much courage and which had cost the lives of some And Her People.
of his men, De Soto took all the chiefs he had captured, and with an axe severed both hands from their
arms at the wrists. The surgeons tied up the arteries,
so as not to let the poor sufferers have the relief of
bleeding to death, and then allowed them to return
to their families handless and helpless. At another
time he had one hundred prisoners tied to trees and
shot. At still another time he captured three Indians, and, because they did not tell him where he
could find gold in the fabulous quantities he expected, he caused one to be tied to a stake, and, in
in the presence of all, slowly burned to a crisp, in the
hope of thus extorting the desired information from
him or from the others.
And who was it that committed all these atrocities
upon a simple people whom they found originally
not only inoffensive but hospitable and kind ? It
was men who called themselves Christians—men
who, as their first act upon landing on these shores,
raised and planted the holy cross, a symbol of the
blessed religion of Jesus Christ, a religion of love,
mercy, and justice. Men who had with them twelve
priests,who, every morning and every evening, erected
an altar around which De Soto and all his followers
bent the knee to Him who taught,," Do ye unto others
as ye would they should do unto you " !
When we see men like these, professing to be
civilized and even Christianized, committing such
cruel atrocities, how can we blame the poor uneducated Indian for the cruelties practised by him, when
he had never had the advantages of civilization or
1 192
even heard of the sweet, justice-loving religion of
our Saviour?
De Soto did not live to return to his native land.
He was taken sick with a fever on the banks of the
great Mississippi River, and died on the twenty-first
day of May, 1542, at the early age of forty-two years.
Had he lived until the twenty-fifth day of the month,
he would have been in this country just three years
His followers, fearing the Indians would desecrate
his body in retaliation for the many wrongs he had
done them, should they bury him on land, wrapped
him in his mantle, and, by the dim light of the stars,
conveyed him to the middle of the river, and secretly
buried him beneath its waters.
After the death of their leader, the only desire of
the followers of De Soto was to return to their native country. At first they tried to reach Mexico
by following the course taken by Cabeca de Vaca,
but becoming discouraged, they returned to the Mississippi, and built seven large boats, forging the iron
bolts, nails, etc., which were required in building
them, from " the chains they had for leading the
Indians." They then floated down the Mississippi
River to the Gulf of Mexico, and coasting along to
the westward, finally reached a Spanish settlement
called Panuco. There were only three hundred and
eleven survivors of the thousand men who three
years before had landed upon that coast. All their
horses that had not died from exhaustion had been
killed for food, and the expedition left the country
without having found the gold they sought, broken
and dispirited, but leaving behind them a track of And Her People.
bloodshed, - heartless cruelty, misery, and death.
Had the Indians an historian to record the sufferings inflicted upon them by these civilized savages, the record would indeed be a most dreadful
The Spaniards made some further attempts to explore Florida, notable among which was that of De
Luna, in 1559. His force was composed of fifteen
hundred soldiers, and a large number of friars and
preachers^ but his expedition, like all the others of
his countrymen, ended in failure.
In 1562, when Charles IX. was King of France,
Admiral de Chastellon was the head of the Protestant party, and conceived the idea of founding an
empire in the new world, which might afford a refuge
for the Huguenots should it ever become expedient
for them to leave France. He fitted out an expedition consisting of two vessels, and placed it under
the command of Captain Jean Ribaut, an officer of
much experience. Ribaut landed upon the coast of
Florida, near what is now the village of St. Augustine, but almost immediately sailed to the northward,
and entered the River St. John, which he named the
I River May," that being the month in which he discovered it. Here he erected a monument, upon
which he engraved the arms of France. He then
continued to sail northward until he arrived at the
harbor which is now called Port Royal. Here he
erected a fort, in which he placed twenty-five men
under the command of Captain Albert, and supplying him with an abundance of ammunition and
provisions, returned to France.
ill  1 194 Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
The French in their dealings with the Indians
adopted a policy which differed very widely from
that of the Spaniards. They were cordially received,
and returned the Indians' hospitality with kindness.
Fairbanks says : " The French seem to have a peculiar faculty of ingratiating themselves, and had most
remarkable success in conciliating and securing the
friendship of the Indians. The secret consists most
probably in the peculiarly adaptable and versatile
talent of the French, enabling them to accommodate
themselves with ease to any customs or usages, and
putting them at once at home wherever they may
happen to be placed. Another reason is, that they
are skilled in the art of pantomime, the only language at all available upon first meeting with a tribe
whose language is unknown. The Frenchman, with
his varying gestures, his expressive shrug, his flexible
features, his animated manner of expressing himself,
would soon be on a good footing, and smoking a
pipe with the chief, where the stately Spaniard
would be expressing his pleasure in pure Castilian,
and making gestures at the end of his lance ; or the
Englishman, with his phlegmatic temperament, would
be attempting a direct negotiation."
Whether this explanation be correct or not, it is a
fact that the French had far less trouble than other
nationalities with the Indians. But the French attempts to settle in Florida met with dire disaster.
The inhumanly brutal Spanish leader, Mendez, after
inducing the French to surrender under promise of
protection, tied their hands behind them, and cruelly
butchered them all. J
TH E Indians of Florida suffered many vicissitudes,
as that country became a battle-ground between
the French and Spaniards in the earlier years,
and afterwards between the Spaniards, British, and
Americans, until finally it fell permanently into the
hands of the Americans. The Miccosukies were
the most powerful tribe of Florida Indians in the
earlier days, and the Seminoles, an offspring of the
Miccosukies, in the later time.
William Bartram, a celebrated botanist who spent
along time in their country, thus writes of the Seminoles in 1773 :
"They possess all of East Florida, and a large
part of West Florida, countries which, divided as
they are by nature into innumerable islands, hills,
and marshes, marked by many rivers, lakes, streams,
and vast prairies, offer a great number of desirable
localities convenient for settlement. This country,
so irregular in its form, and so well watered, furnishes,
besides, so great a quantity of the means of subsistence for wild animals, that I do not hesitate to
say that no part of the world contains so much game
and so many animals suitable for the support of man.
ill 196
Surrounded with this great abundance, the Semi-
noles are contented and happy, and are as free from
care as the birds. They present a picture of perfect
happiness. The only disquietudes they entertain,
are caused by the continued progress of the white
Although this was written in 1773, it would probably have been a good description of the nation in
1508, when Ponce de Leon first arrived among them ;
but as no one had then penetrated their country, to
tell us how they lived, we shall never know; yet I
think we have a right to conclude that they must
have been as contented and happy a race then, as
they were found to be nearly three centuries later.
How different was their condition after the war
which lasted from 1832 to 1840.
Oseola was the leading chief of the Seminoles
during this war with the United States. The white
settlers were clamoring for their lands, and the
United States proposed that the Seminoles leave
Florida and go to lands west of the Mississippi
Oseola, who was then thirty-one years of age, opposed the measure most bitterly. At a conference
held with the Indians by General Thompson of the
United States army, for the purpose of negotiating
a treaty by the terms of which they were to abandon
their lands in Florida and accept lands in the West
in return, Oseola became angry, and in the greatest
excitement drew his sCalping-knife and driving it with
great force into the table upon which the treaty lay, 4nd Her People.
said: " The only treaty I will ever sign, obliging us
to leave our lands, is with this."
He proved a most powerful enemy, but was captured toward the close of the war by the bad faith of
General Jesup, who violated the usages of civilization by seizing him when he came in under a flag of
truce to negotiate a settlement of the difficulties.
General Jesup excused himself by claiming that
Oseola was an escaped prisoner, he once before having been in the hands of the whites and having made
his escape. He was confined in Fort Moultrie at
Charlestown, South Carolina, where he soon became
dejected and low spirited, and gradually pined away,
even unto death.
Much has been written of this renowned chief of
the Seminoles. He was possessed of noble traits of
character. His manner was dignified and courteous,
and upon the field he proved himself a brave and
gallant leader. He always instructed his warriors to
spare women and children. He said, " It is not upon
women and children that we make war and draw the
scalping-knife, it is upon men, and let us act like
men." Unfortunately for the whites his instructions
were not always obeyed by his followers.
He died while yet a prisoner at Fort Moultrie, and
we are told by eye-witnesses that a short time before
the end came he seemed to realize that he was
dying, and although unable to speak, he made known
by signs tha/t he wished his wife (who had been permitted to remain with him) to dress him in the
clothes he always wore at war councils, to gird on
m 198
his war-belt and lay his bullet-pouch, powder-horn,
and scalping-knife beside him. He also asked for
his red paint and looking-glass, which she held before
him while he deliberately painted one half of his
face, neck, throat, wrists, backs of his hands, and the
handle of his knife, a custom practised by his tribe
when the irrevocable oath of war and destruction is
taken. He then placed his knife in its sheath under
his war-belt, and carefully arranged his turban upon
his head, with the three feathers he was in the habit
of wearing in it. Being thus prepared, he rested
for a few moments to recover strength, and then indicated by signs that he wished to see the other
chiefs who were prisoners with him, and also the
officers of the fort and his two little children. Just
before they arrived, he had his wife bolster him up
in a sitting posture, and when they came in, he, with
a pleasant smile, extended his hand to each of the
officers and chiefs, and shook hands with all in silence.
Then turning to his wife and little children he bade
them a most affectionate farewell; after which he
signalled to be laid down upon his bed, which was
done. He then slowly drew his scalping-knife from
his war-belt, and holding it firmly in his right hand,
quietly folded his hands upon his breast, and, without a struggle or a groan, died with a smile upon his
It will be remembered that the war originated in
the attempt of the whites to compel the Seminoles
to vacate their country and migrate to lands west of
the Mississippi River ; and the policy of the United 5SSSR55SSSKJS5SRSSSS555555SS55SS5SSSSSSSSSS
And Her People.
States all through this long war was to send all the
prisoners to those lands. In this way the number
of the Indians was reduced to the merest remnant.
These hid in the swamps, and from their hiding-
places would sally forth occasionally and do much
Many murders and not a few hair-breadth escapes
grew out of these raids of the Indians. One most
exciting adventure happened to the family of Dr.
Henry Perrine, a celebrated botanist in the employ
of the United States government, who was living on
an island called Indian Keys, lying near the coast of
Florida. He was under the impression that the Indians would not disturb the people on that island,
and therefore made no preparations for leaving. I
have the narrative from the Doctor's son, Mr. Henry
E. Perrine (Mrs. Grover Cleveland's step-father),
who is now living in the city of Buffalo, New York.
His father's family had lived upon the island but two
years, and at the time of the attack consisted of his
father and mother, two sisters and himself. He was
thirteen years old, and vividly remembers everything
that occurred.
About two o'clock on the morning of August
seventh, 1840, the family were awakened by the
sound of muskets, and the yells of Indians. Dr.
Perrine's house stood upon the beach, and what was
usually the cellar in other houses, was an excavation
into which the sea water could flow through an opening in the wall leading directly under the wharf. This
wharf was covered with planks, but the sides were 200
walled with stone for some distance from the house,
and the part leading out into the deep water, had
sticks driven around the sides and end. The sticks
were also placed across under the wharf in front of
the walled portion, thus separating the space under
the wharf into two parts. The front part was used
as a turtle corral.
When the yells of the Indians became louder, and
it was evident that they were approaching the house,
Dr. Perrine hurried his family down through a trapdoor into the water, saying, " I will go back and see
what I can do," probably intending to get his Colt's
rifle, which was good for sixteen shots. His son
then remembered that on his last hunt he had used
every one of the cartridges, and called to his father,
telling him so ; but he answered, " I know it, but I
will see what I can do." His father then put the
trap-door over the family and drew a large chest
over it. The family waded through the water to the
hole in the wall leading under the wharf. It was
high tide, and there was only a foot of space between
the surface of the water and the planks above their
heads, the water being about four and a half feet
deep. It was not long before they heard the Indians leaping upon the wharf directly over their heads,
and they held their breath for fear of discovery. He
heard his father talking to them, after which, hearing
nothing more for awhile, he supposed the Indians
had gone away. Soon, however, the loud yelling
commenced again, and they heard the Indians battering in the doors and windows.    Then they hearcj !&mmmmvmm^mm<mmmv^
And Her People.
a voice say in English, " They are all hid, but the
old man is up-stairs." This proved that there was a
renegade white man with them, and such were
known always to be much more savage and brutal
than the Indians. They soon heard a terrific pounding on the door leading to the cupola, and after a
fearful crash came most vociferous yells and shouts,
which proclaimed to their listening and affrighted
ears, the death of the husband and father.
For a long time after this they could hear the Indians dragging things out of the house upon the
wharf, and loading them into canoes. At one time,
one of the Indians raised the trap-door of the turtle
corral and looked in, but the partition of sticks prevented his seeing the frightened and trembling
refugees, who were in the other part. They were in
breathless suspense while he was looking, fearing their
white night-clothes would reveal their position. Some
hours after daylight, the smoke came rolling in under
the wharf where they were, and they began to hear
the crackling sound of flames, which indicated that
the house was on fire. The tide was then so low
that there was only a few inches of water under their
end of the wharf, and the smoke became so dense
that they were almost suffocated. They held their
mouths near the surface of the water, and drew their
breath through their wet clothing. The wharf also
caught fire, and they could see the-little tongues of
flame eating through between the planks over their
heads. Seeing that they must be burned if they
remained there, young Henry made a, desperate at-
iliil tm
tempt to break the partition, and finally succeeded
in getting through into the turtle corral. Looking
through the crevices between the piles and seeing
that all was quiet, he quickly raised the trap-door,
got upon the wharf, and dropped into the water. It
was now low tide, and he waded around the point
and over to the other wharf, not far away, looking for
a boat which he knew was kept there. He found it
already half filled with plunder by the Indians, who,
he afterwards learned, were at that very time in a
store not two hundred feet away, occupied in gathering goods to put into this very boat. On looking
up, he was delighted to see that his mother and sisters had also forced their way through the partition,
and scrambled out of the trap-door. It was now a
little past noon, but they could not possibly remain
under the wharf any longer, as the live coals were
beginning to fall on them from the burning planks.
They had plastered marl over their hair and shoulders, as best they could, to keep from being burned ;
but one of the sisters will bear upon her shoulders to
her dying day the scars made by the burning coals.
Henry told them of the boat, and guided them
around the point, wading in the water all the way,
as that was the quickest way of reaching it. His
sister Sarah, who had been so ill that she had not
left her bed for two weeks, now became exhausted
and said she could go no farther, and begged them
to leave her and save themselves. But that, of course,
they would not think of doing, so they supported
her until they reached the boat; then gently laying And Her People.
her down in it, his mother, his other sister, and himself pulled the boat off the shore. In it they found
one oar, one paddle, and two poles, and with these
they pushed, pulled, and paddled for dear life, toward
a schooner out in the bay. The Indians soon discovered them, gave chase, and came near overtaking
them before the people on the schooner saw them.
As soon as they were seen from the schooner, a boat
was lowered, and the men pulled toward them with
powerful strokes, knowing the lives of the refugees
depended upon their reaching them before the Indians. As the pursuers were on the point of overtaking them, the men in the boat opened fire upon
the Indians, which caused them to turn and flee ; and
that brave little thirteen-year-old boy placed his
mother and sisters safely on the vessel's deck.
This is one of the incidents that show how young
our Republic is, for that heroic boy now walks the
streets of the city of Buffalo every day, hale and
hearty, and is far from being an old man. Mr. Perrine says that when he thinks of it, the whole scene
comes before him as vividly as if it had taken place
but yesterday.
This attack was made, as before stated, in 1840,
after the Indians had been pursued by the army for
eight years and had become desperate and in great
need of almost everything, and, as there was a fine
store on this island, they probably made the attack
more for plunder than for murder. The house, shop,
and negro quarters of a Mr. Howe were not burned,
and Mr. Perrine says the reason for that was uncer- wm
tain, but it was thought to be because before the war,
when the Indians were in the habit of coming to the
island to trade, Mr. Howe lived there and had treated
them kindly and thus won their friendship.
Had every one pursued such a course with the Indians, how different would have been the history of
the settlement of this country !
These Indians had not come to the island during
the war, and therefore Dr. Perrine was unknown to
The United States government, in 1841, finally
compromised with the few Seminoles still remaining
in Florida, and agreed that they should remain there
upon a small reservation, but that none of those who
had been transported west of the Mississippi River
should be allowed to return, so that only a few hundred now occupy the reservation. Yet they are so
proud that they despise the whites, and will have
nothing to do with them except in the way of necessary barter and trade; they will not allow a white
person to live on their reservation, and are so tenacious of their blood that, should one of their nation
intermarry with one of the detested white race, they
would kill upon sight the unworthy Seminole who
had thus brought disgrace upon them all, and their
laws would sanction the murder.
Between the Mississippi River and the Rocky or
Sierra Nevada Mountains lived many tribes. Some
of them, as the Konzas, the Pawnees, and some others,
had the singular custom of cutting all the hair from
the heads of the men, with the exception of the scalp- A nd Her People.
lock. In the early days, before the introduction of
knives, they burned off the hair with hot stones,
always leaving a patch at the top of the head some
three inches wide and four inches long. The hair
upon this spot they would tend with great care,
making it grow to the greatest possible length. They
usually wore it braided, hanging down the back, and
ornamented with paint and feathers. It was a disgrace to have this hair cut short, for it indicated, in
their estimation, a lack of courage not to have a good
long scalp-lock for an enemy to bear off as a trophy.
With some of the tribes this custom was universal,
in others it was only occasional, while in others still
it did not exist at all.
This section of country was most beautiful, being
divided into prairies and timber land in convenient
proportion; and in 1832, when Mr. Catlin passed
through it, it seemed to be alive with buffaloes and
wild horses, bands of both being visible every day.
There is no animal on the prairie so wild and sagacious
as the horse, and none more difficult to capture. His
eye is so keen that he can see an enemy at a great
distance, and when once started he does not stop for
several miles. Mr. Catlin made many attempts to
paint pictures of these horses while they were grazing
or playing. He never succeeded except in a single
instance, and that was when he crept through a
ravine for two miles, with the wind- blowing from the
horses toward him; and then, from the shelter afforded by a little hedge of bushes, which effectually
screened him, he was able to make a fine sketch.   He 206
says: " They were of all colors, some white as milk,
some jet black, others sorrel, and bay, and cream-
color, while some were pied, having a variety of
colors on the same horse. Their manes were very
profuse, and hanging in the wildest confusion over
their necks and faces, while their long tails swept the
ground. I do not know of a prettier sight than a band
of wild horses at play. I have watched them through
a glass, which gave me a fine view, and sometimes
joined the Indians in the chase, and attempted to
lasso them, but generally with very poor success
personally, but the chase was exciting, and seeing
the Indians catch and tame them, interesting."
I have had some of the same experience, with
about the same personal success, but as Mr. Catlin
says, riding with the Indians while chasing and
catching them is exceedingly exciting.
The Pawnees were a large tribe who, since the advent of the whites, have devoted themselves more
to agriculture than any other tribe in this section.
As early as 1828, they had large fields of corn, pumpkins, squashes, and beans, and with a great abundance
of buffalo-meat easily obtainable were amply supplied
with food.
The Kioways, another tribe inhabiting this section,
were distinguished from the others, as they were a
much finer-looking race of men and women. They
were tall and erect, with a great abundance of hair,
so long in many cases as to nearly reach the ground.
It is a curious fact that the flattening of the head,
as practised by the Chinooks heretofore described, And Her People.
prevailed in this section among the Choctaws and
Chickasaws, and not among the adjoining tribes.
Here, some two or three thousand miles from the
Chinooks, with not a tribe between them practising
the singular custom, we find it prevailing in two
large tribes and accomplished in the same way and
for the same purpose ; and another fact that should
be mentioned is, that there is not the slightest
similarity in the language of the Choctaws or Chica-
saws to J:hat of the Chinooks, whence the theory,
that the one may have been an offshoot of the other,
is out of the question.
The Comanches, a large and powerful tribe, also
inhabited this section of country. They lived in
large villages containing as many as six or eight
hundred lodges, or wigwams, covering from three to
four thousand persons. They built them almost entirely of skins drawn over poles in the way I have
described in connection with the Sioux. They were
very much like the Sioux, and were adepts in tanning skins and making them soft. They were also
expert horsemen. They did most of their fighting
on horseback, throwing themselves upon the opposite side of the horse while at full run, and thus
protecting themselves from the enemy's arrows.
They were offshoots of the Shoshonees, of whom I
have spoken as inhabiting the country farther to the
northward. All travellers who visited them in their
primitive state give them a good character. Among
such I would cite Rev. Mr. Parker, Lewis and
Clark, Captain Bonneville, and Mr. Catlin.   The latter f 208 Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
says: " I allege it to be a truth, that the reason we
find them as they are usually described, a kind and
inoffensive people, is that they have not as yet been
abused—that they are in their primitive state, as the
Great Spirit made and endowed them, with good
hearts, and kind feelings, unalloyed and untainted
by the vices of the money-making world."
This was in 1832, and without doubt he spoke
truly in relation to their character; and yet, from
reading the reports of the wars that have taken place
between them and the whites since the white man
began to crave and settle upon their lands, driving
the Indians from them, we might suppose the Co-
manches were Devils incarnate; for they have fought
like heroes for the protection of their homes and
Alas for them, civilization has planted her iron
heel upon them, crushed them into submission to its
dictates, and crowded them into the narrow limits of
a few reservations, upon which to eke out a miserable
existence, dependent upon the honesty (?) of Contractors and Indian Agents. >■          —
■ft-2^ /
\wir %
TH\^3h7 Wm'w 1   K^vvlli///*?!_i    mVt^s
AT a time preceding most of the events herein
narrated that transpired upon the Atlantic
coast in that part of the country now known
as the United States of America, the Spaniards were
engaged in making voyages of discovery, and some
expeditions had landed on the coast of the southern
portion of North America, in a country called by
some of the natives Anahuac, and by others, Maheco,
which latter name was changed into Mexico, the
name which it still bears.
In 1519, when Hernando Cortes first visited this
country, it was inhabited by various tribes of Indians, all classed, however, as Aztecs, who were more
advanced in civilization than any other Indians
upon the continent of North America. All but one
or two of these tribes were subjects of the powerful
monarch, Montezuma.
Cortes, on his way to Mexico, had stopped at the
river Grijalva in Yucatan, where he had a battle
with the Indians, conquered them, and among the
presents they sent him were twenty women slaves.
Among these was one whose name will be handed
down to future generations, as long as the story
*4 209
lii 2IO
of the conquest of Mexico by Cortes is told. She
was the daughter of one of the caziques, the Aztec
name for the governor of a province or state.
Her mother had married, after the death of her
first husband, another cazique, by whom she had
a son.
Influenced by the wishes of her second husband,
who desired to have for his son the property and
power this girl would inherit, she was prevailed
upon to allow him to give away her daughter to
some one belonging to another tribe. This being
done, the unnatural mother deceived her friends and
relatives with the story that she had died.
The person to whom she had been given sold her
to the Tobascans, a tribe living in Yucatan. Here
she lived as a slave for many years, and thus happened to be one of the twenty given to Cortes. As
she was finely formed, and in all respects a handsome
woman, Cortes immediately took her to himself, and
she afterwards proved of the greatest service to him
as an interpreter. He had her baptised and named
Marina, and it is no exaggeration to say that had
she not been faithful and loyal to him he would
never have been able to conquer the Aztecs. When
Cortes landed at the Island of Cozumel, he found a
Spaniard by the name of Aquilar, who had been
shipwrecked eight years before, and, having lived
with the Indians during all that time, had acquired
the Tobascan language.
By means of these two persons Cortes was provided with a perfect means of communication with And Her People.
the people from the moment he landed in Mexico ;
for he could speak to Aquilar in Spanish, he in
Tobascan to Marina, and she to the Aztecs in their
own language, which was her native tongue. She
proved so apt a scholar that in a remarkably short
time she had so far mastered the Spanish language,
that Aquilar's services were dispensed with.
Cortes arrived in Mexico on " Holy Thursday,"
1519, and met with a friendly reception from the
In a few days he was waited upon by Tuetile, the
general in command of the troops of the Emperor
Montezuma, accompanied by Pilpato, the governor
of the province in which he had landed. The)7
were attended by a large retinue of officers, and
numerous slaves. Cortes was informed of their
coming, and met them with all the pomp at his
command. They approached him with great
ceremony, their salutation being made by one advancing holding and swinging a golden dish filled
with burning incense, and at the same time placing
upon the censer small straws the ends of which
had been dipped in his own blood. This was the
customary salutation when meeting an equal. When
meeting a superior, the right hand was carried to
the ground and then to the head, signifying, " My
head is upon the ground before you." Just behind
this censer-bearer came the general and governor,
who, through Marina, asked Cortes where he came
from, and for what purpose he visited their coast ?
Cortes replied that he came as an ambassador from 212
Don Carlos, the great monarch of the East, and
asked to see their sovereign.
At the command of the general, thirty Indians
came forward loaded with provisions, fine cloth,
beautiful feathers of various colors, and a large box
containing many pieces of curiously wrought gold,
and laid them upon palm leaves which had been
spread before Cortes. Then the general, addressing
Cortes, said: " I pray you to accept these small
presents from two slaves of King Montezuma, who
have had orders to entertain such strangers as should
come upon his coast; but you must immediately
prosecute your voyage, it being no easy matter to
speak to the King; and I am doing you no small service in thus undeceiving you, before experience makes
you sensible of the difficulty of your pretensions."
The general had not doubted that his order, that
the Spaniards immediately leave the country, would
be obeyed at once, and was greatly alarmed when
Cortes replied, that " Kings always received ambassadors, and he should not leave the country until he
had seen his King, Montezuma."
Tuetile and the governor were so surprised at
this speech, that for a few moments they remained
silent; but they finally informed Cortes that they
would send to their monarch for his answer.
Cortes, to impress his visitors with his power and
importance, marshalled all his force, men, cannon,
and horses, upon the beach, placing the gayest
caparisons upon the horses, firing his cannon, and
sending the balls flying through the limbs of the trees And Her People.
upon the shore, in order that the general and the
governor might see what havoc they could make.
These officers had artists with them who were so
skilled in painting as to be able to accurately represent upon cotton cloth everything they saw. They
could draw and paint whatever could be thus
represented, and by hieroglyphics, signs, and figures
describe the whole scene so as to make it fully intelligible. It was afterwards ascertained that they
had books written in this way, thus preserving and
passing down to future generations the learning and
history of the previous age.
When Cortes saw what these painters were doing,
he made every display possible, and they accurately
represented it upon their canvas, with pictures, hieroglyphics, signs, and figures.
This proves conclusively that the Indians living in
Mexico had advanced so far in civilization as to have
an intelligent system of chirography. That the
Spaniards did not understand it, and could not read
it, proves nothing against that fact. Had their
descriptions been made in the characters of our
present system of stenography, the Spaniards would
have thought it a mere conglomeration of unintelligible hieroglyphics, although it is as accurate and
intelligible as any other system of writing.
After this display of his resources, Cortes gave a
banquet to the Indian officers, and during the conversation ordered one of the pieces of gold that was
among the presents to be brought to him, and,
showing it to the general, asked if his King had
ili 214
much of that metal. Receiving an affirmative answer, he said, " Let him send it to me, for I and my
companions have a complaint, a disease of the heart,
which this metal will cure." The Indians have
found to their sorrow that this " complaint " was not
confined to Cortes and his companions, but is quite
universal among white men.
On the departure of the officers, Cortes sent some
presents to their King. They returned in seven
days with one hundred slaves loaded with presents,
which, after the proper ceremony of salutation, were
placed upon palm leaves before Cortes, as upon the
former occasion. " There were various sorts of cotton robes, well wove, and so fine that they could not
be known from silk, but for the feelings ; a quantity
of plumes and other curiosities made of feathers,
whose beautiful and natural variety of colors the
Indian artists knew how to mix and dispose of with
so much skill that, without making use of artificial
colors or of the pencil, they could draw pictures, and
would undertake to imitate nature."
" They next produced a great number of arms,
bows and arrows, and targets made of extraordinary
woods ; also two very large plates of a circular form,
the one of gold, which by its embossing represented
the sun ; the other of silver, representing the moon ;
and lastly a considerable quantity of jewels, pieces
of gold, and precious stones; collars of gold, rings,
pendants, and other ornaments of great weight, in
the shape of birds and beasts, so curiously wrought
that, notwithstanding the great value of the metal,
the workmanship seemed to exceed it." And He'r People.
When these presents had been laid upon the palm
leaves, the general, accompanied by the governor
and some other officers, advanced, and turning to
Cortes said : " The great Emperor Montezuma has
sent you these things in return for your presents,
and to show how much he values your King's friendship ; but it is not convenient, nor is it possible at this
time, according to the present state of affairs, to
grant the permission you ask of passing forward to
his Court."
When-he had finished speaking, Cortes replied:
" The principal motive my King has in offering his
friendship to Montezuma is the obligation Christian
princes are under to oppose the errors of idolatry,
and the desire he has to instruct the Mexican King
in the knowledge of the truth, and under no circumstances shall I leave, until I have seen the country
and its King."
This reply angered the Indian general, and turning unceremoniously and sharply toward Cortes,
said, " Hitherto the King has treated you courteously and as a guest, but if you continue obstinate,
it will be your own fault if you find yourself treated
as an enemy."
He exhibited great anger, and as soon as he had
finished speaking abruptly turned his back upon
Cortes and haughtily walked away, followed by the
governor and all his attendants.
Cortes did not like this unpleasant termination of
the interview, and immediately prepared himself for
defence. The next morning he was surprised to find
that the Indians, who had been encamped around
III 2l6
him in great numbers and from whom he had purchased supplies, had disappeared; not a single one
was to be found, and this he at once construed as an
indication of trouble.
It is evident at a glance that the Indians with
whom we are now dealing were far more advanced
in civilization than any we have yet spoken of. We
find them versed in the art of painting and mechanics,
and adepts in the art of diplomacy. We find them
also possessed of a system of chirography which
enabled them to write books and to pass their history
down from generation to generation, in the same
manner as the people inhabiting Europe had done
until about eighty-four years previous, when the art
of printing came into use.
The magnificent presents given by Montezuma
dazzled the eyes of Cortes and his followers, and had
a directly opposite effect from that intended and
hoped for by the giver. Instead of changing his
purpose, Cortes became more than ever desirous to
proceed into the country. The presents had filled
his heart and that of his companions with the wildest emotions, and excited their avarice beyond control. There was not enough gold yet received to
heal the "complaint' of even one of the invaders,
and there were several hundred who were suffering
from the malady.
Shortly after the messengers of Montezuma left him
in anger to report to their sovereign, Cortes received
a message from the cazique of Cempoala (a province
on the Gulf of Mexico about forty miles north of And Her People.
his present location), offering him a permanent residence in his province, which offer he accepted. He
afterwards moved to that province and founded a
town, calling it Vera Cruz, a name it still bears.
It was at this place that Cortes discovered a conspiracy forming against him among his own soldiers.
He put two of the ringleaders to death, and then
resolved to burn his ships, and thus make brave soldiers of his men by destroying any hope they might
entertain of returning to Spain; reasoning that,
having no means of escape, they must fight to conquer or to die. After taking the sails, cordage, etc.,
from the ships, he gave the order to apply the torch,
and the last vestige of hope in the breasts of the
disaffected sank to the bottom of the Gulf.
These Indians, although far in advance of their
northern brethren in civilization, were worshippers of
idols, and had upon their escutcheon the dark stain
of sacrificing human beings in their religious ceremonies. This was very repugnant to Cortes, and in
a few days he sent a body of troops and hurled the
idols from the temples. This greatly incensed the
natives, who at once rushed to arms to avenge the
insult to their gods. Cortes immediately seized the
cazique and all the principal chiefs, and declared
that they should be put to death if any harm was
done the Spaniards. The threat had the desired
effect, and the natives were awed into submission.
While Cortes was at Vera Cruz, the collectors of
Montezuma came into the province to collect the
tribute.    Cortes seized them, and ordered that no 2l8
tribute should be paid. This greatly pleased the
Cempoalans, and made them his fast friends.
The reason why the cazique of Cempoala invited
Cortes to his province, and why the people so readily
forgave him his great insult to their gods, is found
in their belief in a prevailing legend—a legend connected with the mythology of their country, and implicitly believed in by the entire nation, both rulers
and people. The people believed it with joy, and
the rulers with fear; but like the great majority of
Indians, many of the rulers were content to accept
what they considered the inevitable, and to submit
to it.
Indians as a class are fatalists, and yield without
a struggle to what they believe to be the inevitable.
The Emperor Montezuma was tainted with this superstition as much as any of his subjects, and the
Spaniards owe their success to his belief and the
universal belief in this legend.
The legend runs as follows :
In the long ago, Quetzalcoatl (God of the Air)
was a divinity who, during his residence on earth,
instructed the people in the use of metals, in agriculture, in many of the arts, in astronomy, and in
government. During his earthly sojourn, fruits,
flowers, and corn grew spontaneously. Cotton grew
not only white, but variegated in all the colors of
the rainbow. The " God of the Air " made everything beautiful; life was one unalloyed round of
pleasure and delight. After a time, the other gods
became jealous of the adoration and love the " God {S9S5S3NKKSNKXS58
And Her People.
of the Air ' was receiving from all the people, and
joining together, compelled him to abandon the
country. On his way to the East, he stopped at the
city of Cholula, where a temple was built for him
and dedicated to his worship, the massive ruins
of which still form one of the most interesting relics
of antiquity in Mexico. The other gods were not
content with his remaining even in one city, but
compelled him to pursue his journey to the eastward.
When he reached the Gulf of Mexico, he took leave
of his followers, who were from all parts of the country, but promised them that he or his descendants
would visit them again at some future time; and
that when he or his descendants should come, they
would take possession of the country and govern it
in such a manner that the inhabitants would be restored to all the blessings they had enjoyed while he
resided among them.
After making this promise, he entered his canoe
made of serpents' skins, embarked on the great ocean,
and was lost to view in the distant East. He had a
white skin, dark hair, and a flowing beard.
The Mexicans waited in confident and happy expectation for the return of their beloved deity, and
it was this wonderful legend, so firmly believed in
and so deeply cherished, that opened the way for
The Spaniards came from the East and had " white
skins," "dark hair' and "flowing beards," all the
external features which the descendants of the " God
of the Air '   would naturally possess.    Therefore all 220
the people wished to welcome the white strangers,
and were willing and prepared to receive them with
open arms.
Not so, however, with some of the rulers. On the
return of the " God of the Air," all kings and rulers
would be overthrown, and he alone would rule in
peace and plenty. The rulers therefore feared and
dreaded his coming, as it would sound the death-
knell of their power. Many of the caziques, however, were so influenced by this belief, that they
thought it foolish and worse than useless to fight
against the men with the " white skin," as they
would surely triumph in the end, and then the " God
of the Air " would punish severely all those who had
opposed his children.
It was this belief that prompted the cazique of
Cempoala to invite Cortes to his province, and his
people to forgive his insult to their gods and become
his fast friends.
On the fifteenth day of August, 1519, Cortes
started on his march towards the City of Mexico,
the residence of the great King of wThom he had
heard so much, and from whom he had received
such magnificent presents. His force consisted of
four hundred Spaniards, thirteen hundred Cempoalan
warriors, and one thousand carriers to draw his
cannon, carry his baggage, etc.
The first opposition he met was from the Tlascalans, a tribe occupying a province that had ever
maintained its independence of the, Aztec monarch.
Cortes sent  messengers to the  rulers of Tlascala, And Her People.
asking permission to pass through their country on
his way to the City of Mexico.
A council was at once convened, at which the
question was discussed. Some of the leading men
argued that the "white skins ' must surely be the
descendants of the 1 God of the Air," and should be
allowed to pass unmolested, as they desired. Others,
however, maintained that whether they were such
descendants or not, they should be opposed and
driven from the country, if possible, as all rulers
would be hurled from power if the " white skins j
were successful. A compromise was finally reached
between these opposing factions, by which it was
determined that their army should fall upon the
Spaniards and crush them if possible; and if they
should be victorious, it would prove that the " pale
faces I were not gods, or the descendants of the
j God of the Air," and if the " white skins " should
gain a victory, the council could act afterwards.
They detained the couriers Cortes had sent, so that
their army could reach him before he could know
the result of their mission. The Indians poured
upon Cortes in almost countless numbers, but they
found him fully prepared. They had never been
confronted with fire-arms before, and therefore advanced in dense columns, expecting to crush Cortes
with the force of mere numerical strength ; but, at the
first discharge of the cannon and musketry, they
were mown down by hundreds. They were utterly
dumfounded by the shock and fearful slaughter, but
rallied and made charge after charge, until the fate 222
of the Spaniards trembled in the balance. Cortes
saw his men weakening, but by wonderful personal
daring encouraged and rallied them, until finally the
cannon and musketry were victorious, and the Indians retreated.
The common warriors were almost naked, but the
caziques and chiefs were clothed in quilted cotton
armor, two inches thick, fitting closely to their entire
bodies. Over this the wealthier ones wore cuirasses
of gold or silver plate. Their legs were covered
with leather boots trimmed with gold. Some of
them had a beautiful mantle decorated with feathers,
and upon their heads a cap of wood or leather
representing the head of some wild animal, somewhat similar to that worn by the Thlinkeets, which
I have heretofore described. From the top of this
cap floated a beautiful plume made of richly variegated feathers, indicating by its form and color the
rank and family of the wearer.
This cotton armor would doubtless have been
serviceable against arrows and lances, but it formed
no defence against cannon-balls, and little if any
against the bullets of the musketry. It was afterwards adopted by the Spaniards, as being equal to
their own against arrows and spears, and having the
great advantage of being much lighter.
After this terrible defeat, and a slaughter such as
they had never before known, the Tlascalans held
another council, into the deliberations of which they
called their priests. The priests maintained that
the strangers were not gods, but were children of And Her People.
the sun, and derived their strength from it; and that
if they were attacked in the night, when there was
no sun to help them, they could be easily vanquished.
The party who were still of the belief that the
" white skins " were the descendants of the " God of
the Air," pointed to the fearful slaughter caused by
so few against so many, and maintained that none
other than children of a God could make the thunder
and lightning fight for them. They could compare
the roar- and flash of the artillery to nothing but
thunder and lightning. This party still asserted that
it was worse than useless to fight against destiny,
and advised peace; but the oracles, as delivered
through the priests, had the most influence upon the
minds of the councillors, and the general of the army
was ordered to make a night attack.
Selecting a bright moonlight night, he rushed his
army upon the camp of the strangers with an impetuosity almost overpowering. It was in this
attack that an Indian is said to have severed the
head of one of the horses completely from its body
with one blow of a peculiar sword of Indian manufacture. But Cortes was again prepared, and the
Indians met with as signal a defeat as that which
had attended them under the full glare of the sun.
Another council was held, and it was therein
agreed, with practical unanimity, that the strangers
must be the descendants of the " God of the Air,"
and it was further decided to make peace with them
upon the best terms obtainable.    A small body of 224
Indians dressed in white, to indicate that their mission was one of peace, were sent to the Spanish camp
and were admitted. They brought some provisions
and a few presents, and said they were sent by the
Tlascalan general to say that he was weary of the
war and desired peace; and that, if agreeable, he
would come himself in a few days and complete
the arrangements. After a day or two, some of
these Indians left the camp, while about fifty
remained. Cortes suspected that they were spies,
and ordered their hands cut off, and in this maimed
and helpless condition sent them away with a message to their general that the Tlascalans might come
by day or night, and they would find the Spaniards
ready for them. The return of these men to their
countrymen, in this mutilated condition, did much
toward dispelling the belief that the strangers were
the descendants of the good " God of the Air."
They could not account for such cruelty.
We can never know whether Cortes had good
ground for his suspicions, but knowing as we now do
the condition of the Indians, and that they had already determined to make peace with the strangers
prior to sending these men to Cortes' camp, the
probabilities are all against their being spies ; and it
seems likely that Cortes indulged in this heartless
barbarity more to impress the Indians, than from
fear of any actual damage that these Indians might
do him by spying upon his camp. The mere fact of
his letting them go, knowing that they could tell all And Her People.
they had seen as well without hands as with, seems
conclusive proof that his act was one of mere wanton
cruelty, like the similar one of De Soto. In either
case, putting the victims to death would have shown
far less of barbarity and cruelty.
ON the second day following the events narrated
in the last chapter, the Tlascalan general came
to the camp, with a numerous train of attendants. The Spaniards gazed admiringly upon this
valiant chief as he advanced with firm and fearless
tread, as if coming to bid defiance rather than to sue
for peace. He was a large man, with a fine physique,
and about thirty-five years of age. When he came
into the presence of Cortes, he saluted by touching
the ground with his hand and carrying it to his head
(the salute to a superior), while the sweet incense of
aromatic gums arose in clouds from the censers carried by his slaves.
The salutations ended, he made a speech to Cortes
(interpreted by Marina), in which he said : " I considered the white men enemies, for they came with
the Cempoalans, who are the allies and vassals of
King Montezuma. I love my country, and wish to
preserve the independence she has maintained through
her long wars with the Aztecs. I have been beaten.
You may be the strangers who, it has been so long
predicted, would come from the East, to take possession of the country.    I hope you will use your
226 Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
victory with moderation, and not trample upon the
liberties of my country. I come now in the name of
my nation to tender its obedience, assuring you that
you will find my countrymen as faithful in peace as
they have been brave in war."
Cortes replied : " I am willing to bury in oblivion
your past bad conduct in fighting me, and will receive
the Tlascalans as vassals to the Emperor, my master.
If you prove true, I will remain your friend : if false,
I will wreak speedy vengeance upon you."
At the^ conclusion of the speeches, the general
withdrew with as much ceremony as he had approached.
Before the Tlascalans had left the camp, an embassy arrived from King Montezuma. Couriers had
kept him thoroughly posted in regard to the doings
of the Spaniards, and he knew how terribly the Tlascalans had been slaughtered by the little band of
white men. These things had put him in mortal
fear, for he was a firm believer in the legend, and
thought he saw in the " white skin, black hair, and
flowing beards ' of the Spaniards the " men of destiny " who were to take possession of his sceptre.
In his alarm he had sent a new embassy to the
Spanish camp. It consisted of five great nobles,
with two hundred slaves. They carried a present
of three thousand ounces of gold in grains and some
curiously manufactured articles in gold, besides several hundred mantles and dresses Of cotton, finely
embroidered, and much beautiful feather work.
After the presentation of the presents, one of the 228
nobles stepped forward and, turning to Cortes, said :
" We have come to present you with these few gifts,
and to offer you the congratulations of King Montezuma, upon the victories you have won. He also
instructed us to say, that it was still out of his power
to receive you at his capital, as the people are so
unruly that your safety would be placed in jeopardy."
Cortes replied: " I have orders from the great Emperor of the East to visit the capital of your sovereign, and communicate with him face to face,
and under no circumstances can his orders be
The ambassadors seeing the determination of
Cortes, and that their arguments had no weight with
him, offered a tribute to the Spanish sovereign, if
Cortes would relinquish his intended visit to the
This offer of a tribute at once revealed fear upon
the part of Montezuma, which Cortes was not slow
to perceive, and he reiterated that by reason of the
commands of his sovereign he would be obliged to
disregard the wishes of Montezuma. At the same
time he expressed the most profound respect for the
Aztec sovereign, and said that although he had not
the means at the present time to requite his munificence, he hoped and trusted he would have the opportunity at some future day to repay him with
" good works."
We will see hereafter with what " good works " he
repaid him.
Several of the ambassadors returned at once to the And Her People.
City of Mexico to inform their sovereign of the
result of their mission, while others remained with
Cortes. After a few days he marched into the City
of Tlascala, about eighteen miles distant.
His line of march led through a hilly region, exhibiting in every arable patch of ground evidences
of laborious cultivation. Over one of the ravines
was an arched stone bridge on which Cortes crossed
with all his army. They passed quite a number of
small towns, and as they approached the city were
met by arrimmense throng of men, women, and children, with bunches and wreathes of roses and various
other beautiful flowers, which they presented to the
Spaniards. Priests in their white robes mingled with
the crowd, sending up volumes of incense from their
burning censers. The crowd was so great that it
was difficult for the native police to clear and keep
open a passage-way for the white army. The houses
were festooned with flowers, and arches of evergreen
boughs, intertwined with roses and honeysuckles,
were built over the streets. The procession moved
through the principal streets, and came to a halt in
front of the mansion of the most aged of the rulers
of the country, whose son was the general of the
Army. This ruler was nearly blind, and to satisfy
his curiosity in regard to the wonderful white men,
passed his hand over the face and person of Cortes.
He then led the way to a spacious hall in the mansion, where he had had a banquet prepared for the
Spaniards, and they all partook of it. After the
feast they were shown  to  their  quarters in build-
<*i«9 230
ings and grounds surrounding one of the large
And these were Indians, and Cortes was in an
Indian city, where no white man had ever set his
foot before ; Indians who had never learned anything
of architecture, government, or civility, except
through the development of their own brain.
Did not their diplomacy, speeches, giving of
flowers, festooning of the houses, and building of
evergreen and floral arches over the streets, denote
civilization and even high culture ?
While in this city, Cortes wrote a letter to the
Spanish Emperor, in which he compares Tlascala
with Granada. He said-: " It is larger, stronger,
and more populous than the Moorish capital, and
quite as well built. The better class of houses are
built of stone and lime, others of brick dried in the
sun. The doors and windows are made of mats, with
pieces of copper or something which by its tinkling
sound will give notice of any one's entrance. Thirty
thousand people are often gathered together upon
the plazas upon fair- or market-days, which occur
every fifth day. They excel in pottery, and the inhabitants from the surrounding country bring in their
wares and provisions to sell or exchange. They
also have barber-shops and baths, both of vapor and
hot water, and the inhabitants make great use of
This indicates a very decided advance in civilization.
The city was divided  into four distinct quarters, And Her People.
separated by high stone walls. A swift running
stream coursed through it, which as it entered furnished water for the inhabitants, and as it left was
utilized as a sewer for the city. The Tlascalan led a
life of temperance and toil, earned his bread by the
sweat of his brow, and was patriotic and independent.
For several days the Spaniards were entertained
at the hospitable boards of the four great rulers, and
during this time the rulers presented Cortes with
three or-four hundred maidens, among whom were
several daughters of the caziques. His religious
scruples would not allow him to accept them until
they were baptised, so a great ceremony was held,
and each maiden was formally baptised, and given a
new name. The ceremony ended, Cortes assigned
the daughters of the caziques to his officers, and the
remainder of the maidens he distributed among his
Christian soldiery.
While still in this city, Montezuma sent another
embassy to Cortes, this time changing his tone entirely, inviting him to his capital, and asking him
to take the route through the friendly city of Cholula,
where by his royal orders arrangements would be
made for his reception.
The Tlascalans tried to dissuade him from going
to the City of Mexico, or putting any trust in Montezuma, saying that his armies spread over every part
of the country, and that in his capital, on account
of its insular position, the Spaniards could easily be
entrapped.    They said : " Trust not his fair words,
■I 232
his courtesies and his gifts, his professions are false."
This affords another illustration of the true friendship of Indians for those whom they consider friends.
After listening quietly to all they had to say,
Cortes replied: " I know from what I have heard
that Montezuma is a great King, and has large armies,
but he is not invincible, as you well know, for you
yourselves have beaten him in many battles, and have
maintained your own independence of him for many
years. I have commands from my sovereign to
proceed to the capital, and my sovereign is so much
greater and so much more powerful than Montezuma,
that his commands cannot be disobeyed, and I know
I can withstand all the armies Montezuma can send
against me."
He also very adroitly insinuated that if they would
join their army with his they would reap great benefit, for in that way they would see Montezuma humbled, and would make their independence of him
doubly sure.
This thought pleased the Tlascalans, and thousands
of their warriors volunteered to accompany him, many
more than he thought best to take. He selected six
thousand of their best fighting and best-armed men,
and on the appointed day started.
Bernald Diaz, who was with Cortes, says: " On
the way we found rich products of various climes
growing side by side, fields of fine large maize, the
juicy aloe, the pepper, and large plantations of the
cactus, on which the cochineal feed. We did not see
a rood of arable land that was not under cultivation. And Her People.
In many places the soil was irrigated by numerous
streams and artificial canals."
This description is given by one of the first white
men who ever saw that country, and where in the
civilized world can be found a better system of
agriculture, or more thorough farming, than existed
among the Indians of Mexico ?
When Cortes arrived at Cholula he camped just
outside the city, where he was met by the caziques.
The Cholulans objected to having their enemies, the
Tlascalans, enter the city, and Cortes, appreciating
their objection, had them remain outside, while he
and his Spaniards entered, attended only by enough
Cempoalans to draw the cannon and carry the baggage.
The Tlascalans gave him many cautions about the
Cholulans, telling him that he could not trust them,
and earnestly advising him to be on the constant lookout for them, as they were treacherous and cunning.
The reception given Cortes at Cholula was similar
to that at Tlascala—crowds, flowers, festooned buildings, evergreen arches, etc.
The Spaniards were surprised to find the Cholulans
a superior-looking people to any they had yet seen.
They were better dressed, the richer classes wearing
fine embroidered mantles resembling the graceful
Moorish cloak. The people were more quiet and orderly, and seemed to be under better discipline and
government. The Spaniards were astonished at the
cleanliness of the city, and the great width and regularity of the streets, which had evidently been laid
Ik °w
out on a well-settled plan; also with the size and
solidity of the houses, and the number and size of
the temples. Their dimensions can be imagined from
the fact that the Spaniards, numbering about four
hundred, with their Cempoalan attendants, numbering about one thousand, as well as the four hundred
maidens, were all quartered in the court of one of
They were visited by all the great nobles, who
provided most bountifully for their table, and expressed so much solicitude for their welfare and
comfort that it completely disarmed them of all
suspicions of treachery.
After a few days of this rest and feasting, some messengers arrived from Montezuma and told Cortes that
his approach to the City of Mexico was causing much
disquietude, and after conferring with the ambassadors of Montezuma who had remained in Cortes' camp,
withdrew, taking one of the ambassadors with them.
After this, everything was changed. The nobles
ceased to visit the Spaniards, and when invited would
excuse themselves on the ground of illness. Cortes
knew that this boded no good, and was exceedingly
troubled. Some of the Cempoalans in their walks
through the city had seen some of the streets barricaded, and large piles of stones on the flat roofs of
some of the houses; others had discovered holes dug
across the street in places, and covered so as to avoid
detection, and that these holes had upright, stakes
planted in the bottom of them; others had seen great
numbers of women and children leaving the city. And Her People.
All these reports confirmed Cortes in the belief
that some hostile scheme was on foot.
Marina was a most faithful friend of Cortes, and
she now proved his guardian angel. During their
stay at Cholula, a wife of one of the caziques had
become much interested in her, often inviting her to
visit at her home, which she did. On one occasion
the wife intimated to her that she had better leave
the Spaniards and come to her house. Marina had
a fine, bright mind, and at once surmised that something was going to happen, so in order to gain the
secret, she pretended she was heartily tired of being
held a prisoner among the Spaniards, and would
rejoice in their destruction. She was so adroit and
seemed so sincere in.what she said as to completely
deceive the woman and disarm her of all suspicion,
so that she unfolded to Marina the entire plan.
She said that Montezuma had sent rich presents
to the caziques, her husband among the rest, to get
them to destroy the Spaniards. They were to be
assaulted as they marched out of the city, and a
great many things had been done to prevent their
marching in any order or haste. Montezuma had
already sent a force of twenty thousand men, who
were now encamped not far from the city, to assist
in the attack, and she thought the " pale faces"
would all be killed, as they would be taken unawares.
As soon as possible Marina informed Cortes of all
she had learned. Cortes then bribed two priests,
with some of the rich presents Montezuma had sent 236
him, to tell him all the details of the plot, which
they did. He then sent word to the caziques that
he should leave the city on the morning of the next
In the morning he started, and soon saw several
thousand men standing in the streets and open
places, all armed. He at once opened fire upon
them with great slaughter, piling the ground with
the slain. They thought Cortes would suppose the
warriors had been gathered for an honorary escort
to him, and this sudden and unexpected attack and
fearful slaughter threw them into the wildest dis-
order and confusion, and, at a preconcerted signal,
the six thousand Tlascalans, ever the hated enemies
of the Cholulans, poured upon the flying warriors
with terrible fury. So great was the dismay and
terror caused by this sudden, unexpected, and fearful
discharge of cannon and musketry, something their
ears had never heard nor their eyes seen, that it was
impossible to rally them, and the Tlascalans had a
fine opportunity to wreak vengeance upon their old
and hated foes.
The flying Cholulans, rushing into the camp in
such fearful disorder and fright, carried dismay to
Montezuma's forces, and soon all were flying before
the victorious army of Cortes.
The Spaniards and Tlascalans then ransacked and
pillaged the city. Order was finally established, by
prevailing upon some of the Cholulan caziques to
return, and through them the people. There were
about five thousand Cholulan warriors slain. And Her People.
This was the first time the natives had felt the
white man's vengeance. They had met him in
battle and been conquered, but there the slaughter
had ended. Here terrible vengeance had been
wreaked upon them for daring to conspire against
the Spaniards. They had been slaughtered by
thousands, and their city pillaged and robbed of
everything of value. No wonder the natives believed the white men " gods," little thinking that it
was only powder and ball that gave them this
superior power.
This affair created fearful consternation throughout the entire empire. The Indians were now convinced that the men with the " white skin " were not
only invincible in arms, but that they possessed an
attribute of the gods—the foreknowledge of events.
It was a mystery to them how Cortes could have
known of the conspiracy to destroy him, before a
single arrow had been shot or the slightest intimation given of such an intention. The result was that
many caziques immediately sent envoys to the
Spanish camp, tendering their allegiance and suing
for favor by rich presents of gold and slaves.
Montezuma trembled upon his throne. He was
amazed, bewildered. His mind turned gloomily to
the reference to the legend made in the speech at
his accession. This speech has been literally translated, and the allusion to the legend was as follows:
" Perhaps you~are dismayed at the prospect of the
terrible calamities that are one day to overwhelm us ;
calamities foreseen and foretold, though not felt by
J Wah-kee-nah
our forefathers ; when the destruction and desolation
of the Empire shall come ; when all shall be plunged
into darkness; when the hour shall arrive in which
they shall make us slaves throughout the land, and
we shall be condemned to the lowest and most
degrading offices."
This is an exact translation from their records. It
shows us what a strong hold that legend had taken
upon the minds and hearts of the people of that
empire. They firmly believed it, and that was the
reason why some of the caziques thought it worse
than useless to contend against the " white skins,"
for if not successful (which they fully believed they
would not be), they would be terribly punished for
having done so.
Montezuma feared the time had come for the fulfilment of this prophecy. Everything looked like
it. His courage and prowess, that had enabled him
to conquer province after province and add them to
his empire, now forsook him entirely. He was beginning to think the white strangers invincible, as
everything seemed to indicate that they were the
agents of destruction referred to in the ancient
prophecy. He again sent envoys to Cortes, bearing,
as before, rich presents of gold plate and ornaments
of gold, among which were beautifully carved birds
wrought in this precious metal, and many garments
made of the finest and most delicate fabrics. These
were sent, the envoys said, merely to reassure Cortes
of the Emperor's good wishes.
A little more than two weeks after Cortes' arrival And Her People.
at Cholula, he again started on his march for the
City of Mexico. He found the land under the same
state of cultivation that had existed between Tlascala
and Cholula. Large and luxuriant plantations extended on every side, watered by natural streams or
irrigated by artificial canals. On the mountain passes
were commodious stone buildings which the government had placed here and there, for the accommodation of travellers and government couriers passing
over these cold and bleak mountains. As they
descended upon the other side, they were surprised
to see a beautiful valley " spread out like a gay
panorama." Stretching far at their feet were large
fields of maize and also of maguey, intermingled with
orchards and blooming gardens. Flowers were even
more abundant in this valley than in the other parts
of the country they had passed, and considerable
attention seemed to have been given to their cultivation and arrangement in beds, with reference to
ornamentation in the blending of colors. The centre of this valley was filled with lakes, their borders
thickly studded with towns and hamlets, and in the
midst of these lakes—1 Like some Indian empress
with her coronal of pearls "—stood the fair city, with
her white towers and massive temples, reposing, as
it were, on the bosom of the waters—the far-famed
City of Mexico—the " Venice of the Aztecs." The
hill of Chapultepec, upon which was the summer
residence of the- monarch, rose high over the city,
and extended to the shore of the lake.
Such was the beautiful vision that broke upon the 240
eyes of the Spaniards. They saw in all this the
evidence of a civilization and power far superior to
anything they had yet encountered.
When Montezuma heard that these strange men,
so invincible in war, so impregnable to bribes, had
really crossed the mountains and were in the valley
near his capital, he went into a paroxysm of despair,
shut himself up in his palace, refused food, and
sought relief in prayer. He was now convinced
that these were they whose coming had been foretold.
At last he called a council. His nobles were divided in opinion. Some advised receiving the strangers courteously, as ambassadors of a great sovereign;
others advised gathering his army at once and fighting to the death.
But Montezuma was completely under the spell of
the ancient prophecy, and with downcast eye, and
dejected mien, said : I Of what avail is resistance
when the gods have declared themselves against us ?
Yet I mourn most for the old and infirm, the women
and the children, too feeble to fight or to fly. For
myself and the brave men around us, we must bare
our breasts to the storm, and meet it as we may."
After the council was dismissed, Montezuma concluded to try once more to conciliate the Spaniards.
He immediately sent another embassy, consisting of
several Aztec nobles, bearing as usual large presents
of gold and robes of beautiful furs and feathers.
This time he offered a large bribe to them if they
would return and not visit his capital.    He prom- And Her People.
ised four loads of gold to the General, and one to
each of the captains, with a yearly tribute to their
sovereign. Thus effectually had the lofty and naturally courageous spirit of the Indian monarch been
subdued by the influence of superstition. His firm
belief in the prophecy had taken away all his spirit
and courage.
Cortes received the gifts in a courteous manner,
but, as might have been expected, replied that it was
impossible for him to disobey the commands of his
sovereign, who had ordered him to visit the capital
of the renowned Aztec monarch and confer with him
face to face. He also informed the ambassadors
that he came in the spirit of peace, and that Montezuma would be convinced of that fact by his actions.
16 K^^O^r^g
THE Spaniards had remained two days at a town
containing many thousand inhabitants, and
upon their departure the cazique gave them
gold to the amount of three thousand " castella-
nos." After leaving this place, they passed through
large plantations of maize and maguey, which latter
may be called the Aztec vineyards.
Cortes next stopped at a town built over the
water. The canals which intersected the city in lieu
of streets were full of boats loaded with provisions,
various kinds of merchandise, etc., going to and fro.
The Spaniards were struck with the style and commodious structure of the houses, built chiefly of
stone, and having the general appearance of wealth
and luxury. The sentries, fearful of treachery, shot
down fifteen or twenty Indians the first night.
The next morning the cazique of Texcuco, who
was the next in rank to Montezuma, came to visit
Cortes. He was brought in a palanquin, richly
decorated with plates of gold and precious stones
and having a canopy of green plumes supported by
curiously wrought pillars, borne upon the shoulders
of his carriers. He was also accompanied by a large
number  of  nobles  and  attendants.    When he ap-
242 S&^S^^^^^S^S
Wah-kee-nah and Her People. 243
proached Cortes, he descended from his palanquin,
and his slaves swept the ground before him as he
advanced. He was a young man, about twenty-five
years of age, of fine presence, erect and stately in
his deportment. After making the usual salutation
to persons of high rank, he informed Cortes that he
came as the representative of Montezuma to bid the
Spaniards welcome to the capital. He then presented Cortes with three pearls of uncommon size
and lustre. Cortes presented him with a chain of
cut glass, and assured him of his friendly intentions.
The Indian prince then took his departure. The
Spaniards were impressed with his state and bearing.
The nearer they came to the throne the more superior were the men they met.
After the prince had departed, Cortes resumed his
march. His army passed through orchards filled
with rich and strange fruits, and through cultivated
fields irrigated by canals bringing water from a
neighboring lake. The whole country showed a
careful and economical husbandry.
A causeway four or five miles in length, ten or
twelve feet in width in its narrowest part, and wide
enough for eight horsemen to ride abreast, was the
next object of interest. It was a solid structure
of stone and lime, running directly through the lake,
a most remarkable piece of work. Here they saw
floating gardens, that looked like islands of flowers
and vegetables moving over the waters. All around
the margin of the lake, at times extending quite
a distance  into and   over   the   water,   were   little 244
towns and villages, half concealed by the foliage.
The Spaniards were amazed at the scene. They
could compare it to nothing they had ever known,
for it seemed more like fairy-land, than anything
in real life.
Midway across the lake was a town, composed
of more beautiful houses than any they had yet
seen. Here Cortes halted for refreshments. Proceeding on his journey, he came to a place called
Iztapalapan, containing " some twelve or fifteen
thousand houses, the residence of a brother of
King Montezuma, and the ruler of the place. He,
after giving Cortes a present of gold and other
articles, invited him with his men to a banquet
served in one of the great halls of his palace.
Cortes, writing to the King of Spain, says of this
place: " The architecture is excellent, and I do
not hesitate to say that some of the buildings are
equal to the best in Spain. They are of stone,
and the spacious apartments have roofs of odorous
cedar wood, and the walls are hung with tapestry
of fine cottons with brilliant colorings."
| The pride of Iztapalapan," on which its lord
had freely lavished his care and revenues, was its
beautiful gardens. They covered an immense tract
of land ; were laid out in regular squares, and the
paths intersecting them were bordered with trellises, supporting creepers and aromatic shrubs that
filled the air with their perfumes. The gardens
were stocked with fruit-trees imported from distant places, and with the gaudy family of flowers And Her People.
which belong to the Mexican flora, scientifically
arranged, and growing luxuriantly in the equable
temperature of the table-land. The natural dryness of the atmosphere was counteracted by means
of aqueducts and canals, which carried water into
all parts of the grounds.
In one quarter was an aviary filled with numerous
kinds of birds, remarkable in this region for brilliancy of plumage. The gardens were intersected
by a canal communicating with the lake Texcuco,
and of sufficient size for barges to enter from the
latter. But the most elaborate piece of work was
a huge reservoir of stone, filled to a considerable
height with water well supplied with different
kinds of fish. This reservoir was four thousand
eight hundred feet in circumference, and was surrounded by a walk, made also of stone, wide
enough for four persons to walk abreast. The
sides were curiously sculptured, having a flight of
steps leading to the water below. Many fountains
added their beauty to the scene.
Such are the accounts of these beautiful gardens,
at a period when similar horticulture was unknown
in Europe. We cannot doubt their existence, as
they were matters of such notoriety at the time, and
are so thoroughly attested.
Cortes remained in this town over night. His
force consisted of about seven thousand, of whom
less than four hundred were Spaniards. His cavalry
amounted to fifteen horses. Another causeway
connected the town of Iztapalapan with the City of 246
Mexico. This was wide enough for ten horsemen to
ride abreast. It was solidly built of stone, laid in
cement, and astonished the Spaniards with its mechanical construction, and geometrical precision. At
the distance of one and a half miles from the capital,
a solid work of stone, twelve feet high, was built
directly across the causeway, strengthened by towers
at each end, and in the centre was a gateway for the
passage of the troops.
Here he was met by a large number of Aztec chiefs,
who came to announce the approach of Montezuma.
They were richly and gaily dressed. About their
necks and upon their arms were collars and bracelets
of turquoise mosaic, with which delicate plumage was
curiously mingled. Each cazique saluted Cortes with
the salutation due a superior, and there were so many
of them that the ceremony delayed him more than
an hour. This finished, he marched on until he came
to a wooden drawbridge which was just in front of
the walls of the city. As soon as they had passed
the bridge, they saw the glittering retinue of the
Emperor coming down the wide street of the city.
Montezuma came in a palanquin blazing with
burnished gold, preceded by three nobles bearing
golden wands. Over the palanquin was a canopy of
gaudy featherwork, interspersed with jewels and
fringed with silver. It was borne upon the shoulders
of nobles of high rank, and the canopy was also carried by nobles. The nobles bearing the palanquin
and canopy were all barefooted, and walked with a
slow and measured tread, and with eyes bent upon And Her People.
the ground. % When within a convenient distance,
Montezuma alighted and came forward, leaning upon
the arms of the chiefs of Iztapalapan and Texcuco, his
brother and nephew, both of whom had already been
introduced to Cortes.
As the monarch advanced, the canopy was carried
over his head, and attendants placed cotton tapestry
before him, so that his imperial feet should not touch
the ground. His subjects of high degree, who lined
the sides of the causeway, stood with heads bowed
low, and their eyes resting on the ground. Those of
low degree prostrated themselves before him.
I Montezuma wore the girdle and ample square
cloak of his nation. It was made of the finest cotton, with the embroidered ends gathered in a knot
around his neck. His feet were defended hy sandals
having soles of gold, and the leather thongs that
bound them to his ankles were embossed with the
same metal. Both the cloak and sandals were
decorated with pearls and precious stones, among
which the emerald and the chalchivitl (a green stone
of higher estimation than any other among the
Aztecs) were conspicuous. On his head he wore a
cap of plumes of the royal green which floated down
his back, the badge of military rather than regal
rank. He was at this time about forty years of age,
was tall and thin, but well proportioned. His hair,
which was black and straight, was not very long.
His beard was thin, and his complexion somewhat
paler than was often seen among his copper-colored
race.    His features, though serious in their expres- 248
sion, did not wear the look of melancholy or dejection.
He moved with dignity, and his whole demeanor,
tempered by an expression of benignity, was worthy
of a great prince.
" When he approached, Cortes dismounted, and,
attended by a few of his principal officers, advanced
to meet him. It was a strange sight to both, but
particularly to the Aztec Emperor, who saw a 1 white
face " for the first time, and in that white face saw
the strange being whose history seemed to be so
mysteriously connected with his own ; the predicted
one of his oracles, whose achievements proclaimed
him something more than human.
I But whatever the monarch's feelings may have
been, he so far suppressed them as to receive his
guest with princely courtesy, and to graciously welcome him to his capital. Cortes responded with the
most profound expressions of respect, and made
ample acknowledgments for the substantial proofs
which, the Emperor had given the Spaniards of his
munificence. He then hung around Montezuma's
neck a sparkling chain of colored crystals, accompanying this act with a movement as if to embrace
him, when he was restrained by two of the Aztec
nobles, who were shocked at the menaced profanation of the sacred person of their monarch.
" After the civilities were finished, Montezuma
instructed his brother to conduct the Spaniards to
their quarters in the city, and entering his palanquin
was borne off amid prostrate crowds, in the same
stately manner in which he had come," IJNMNrajSS?^
And Her People.
The Spaniards soon followed, and with music and
flying colors marched to the quarters prepared for
them in the southern quarter of the great capital
of Mexico, which they had so longed to see and
It is strange how historians differ in their accounts
of newly discovered nations.
Lord Macaulay says that, " The victories of Cortes
had been gained over savages who had no letters,
who were ignorant of the use of metals, who had not
broken in a single animal to labor, who wielded no
better weapons than those that could be made out
of sticks, flints, and fish bones, and who regarded
a horse-soldier as a monster, half man and half
Other historians, and the facts, differ widely from
this estimate.
Prior to the arrival of Cortes, no white man had
ever been among these people. We therefore
have no description of the natives of this country,
prior to that written by the men who accompanied
him. That they did not exaggerate, is proven by
the fact that they tire corroborated by other writers
of the same century, and by the few ancient manuscripts, hieroglyphics, and picture-writings of the
natives, which fortunately escaped the general destruction and which have been interpreted by those
whose only ambition has been to get at the truth.
All these historians contradict Lord Macaulay, and
agree in saying that the Mexican Indians were a vast
people ; " that they were not like the Indians of the 250
islands, living in huts, but lived in substantial stone
houses, and formed a mighty kingdom, mighty at
least in appearance, with dependant states that paid
tribute to King Montezuma; that these Indians were
possessed of a fierce and pertinacious bravery ; that
their weapons were bows and arrows, a formidable
sword, and javelins tipped with copper, and that they
would not have been contemptible anywhere in a
previous age ; that they were expert marksmen—it
not being an unusual thing for archers to assemble
together and throw an ear of maize into the air, at
which they immediately shot with such quickness
and dexterity, that before it reached the ground it
would be struck with many arrows." Horses were
unknown to the Mexican Indians and it was no
wonder they looked upon the horse-soldiers of Cortes
as monsters.
That does not show (as Lord Macaulay seemed to
think) that the Mexican Indians were very far from
being civilized. The old Romans were quite advanced in civilization, yet their legions were overcome
by fear, and thrown into the greatest confusion, by
the strange appearance of the elephants in their first
engagement with Pyrrhus.
The descriptions given of the houses, cultivation
of lands, and the customs of the native Indians whom
Cortes met, showed that they were far advanced in
civilization. It is indeed a question whether they
were not further advanced than their conquerors.
True, they were idolators, and the black stain of
human sacrifice was upon their hands ; a thing to sasss
And Her People.
us most abhorrent, but with them robbed to a great
extent of its sting by the prevailing superstition
"that he who died in battle, or upon the altar of the
gods, went directly to heaven." This belief was so
prevalent and so firmly rooted in the minds of the
people, that many, of their own free will, offered
themselves to the priests for sacrifice.
Putting aside this one great blot, we find a nation
far advanced in architecture, art, astronomy, chirog-
raphy, and government; and these constitute civilization. We have seen what fine architecture the
Spaniards found throughout the country, and in this
the capital, the residence of their monarch, it was
even more beautiful and massive. A palace built by
Montezuma's father, and which had stood about fifty
years, was appropriated to the Spaniards. When
they arrived, the Emperor was there in the courtyard waiting to receive them. He had with him a
beautiful vase of flowers, and a massive collar made
of gold, equal in workmanship to anything the goldsmiths in Europe could make, and costly shells,
which were set in gold and fastened together with
heavy links of the same metal; also eight heavy
golden pendants wrought in curious shapes and designs, and of delicate workmanship. Montezuma
hung the collar around the neck of Cortes, at the
same time making him a present of the palace and
its grounds, after which he took his departure.
The building-was spacious, one story in height,
except in the centre, where it was two. The apartments were of great size, affording accommodations
ik 252
for the whole of Cortes' army. The best apartments
were hung with gay draperies, and the floors covered
with mats. There were stools or chairs made of
wood, elaborately carved, and in most of the apartments were beds made of palm leaves woven
into a thick mattress, with coverlets and canopies of
Montezuma visited them again the next day, and
asked many questions about the Spaniards—where
they came from, what they came for, etc. Before
leaving, he presented Cortes with clothing for every
man in his army, including the allies, and also with
gold chains and other ornaments in great profusion.
He then withdrew, leaving the Spaniards deeply impressed with his munificence and affability, so unlike
what they had been led to expect.
Cortes, ostensibly to celebrate the arrival of his
army in the City of Mexico, but in reality to let the
inhabitants of the city know that he still had the
thunder and lightning with him, as soon as it became dark ordered a general discharge of his artillery. I The thunders of the ordnance, reverberating
among the buildings, and shaking them to their
foundations, the stench of the sulphurous vapor that
rolled in volumes above the walls of the court-yard,
reminded the inhabitants of the explosions of the
great volcanoes, and filled the hearts of the Aztecs
with dismay. It told them that they had, in the
bosom of their city, those dread beings whose path
had been marked with desolation, who could call
down the thunderbolts to consume their enemies." SSMS
And Her People.
Cortes did it undoubtedly for the express purpose
of impressing the natives, at the outset, with awe of
the supernatural powers of the Spaniards.
The next day Cortes returned the visit of the Emperor. He found the Emperor's palace an extensive
group of stone buildings not exceeding one story in
height. It was so spacious (says one who was with
Cortes), that although he visited it more than once
for the express purpose, he had been too much fatigued each time by wandering through the apartments ever to see the whole of it. It was built of
stone put together with cement, and was ornamented
with marble, and on the facade over the principal
entrance were sculptured the arms of Montezuma,
an eagle bearing an ocelot in his talons.
In the courts many fountains of crystal water were
playing, and they supplied more than a hundred
baths in the interior of the palace. Crowds of Aztec
nobles were sauntering about in these squares and
outer halls, in their attendance upon the court. The
apartments were of immense size, though not lofty.
The ceilings were of various sorts of odorous woods
ingeniously carved, and the floors were covered with
mats made of the palm leaf. Some of the walls were
hung with richly colored tapestry, some with the
skins of wild animals, and others with gorgeous
draperies of featherwork wrought in imitation of
birds, insects, and flowers, that would compare favorably with the tapestries of Flanders. Spices and
incense made the air fragrant.
The visitors were obliged to cover their gay attire 254
with a coarse cloak and to remove their shoes before
being presented. Advancing in this condition, and
with downcast eyes, they approached the Emperor,
whom they found at the farther end of a spacious
apartment, the walls of which were hung with
beautiful tapestries, and the wooden ceiling exquisitely carved.
Cortes made a long speech to the Emperor upon
the duties of his religion, but it had little or no effect
upon Montezuma, for he was wedded to his own,
having been a priest when he was elected emperor.
He listened with silent attention until Cortes had
finished, and then replied in the following language:
" I know you have talked like this wherever you
have been. I doubt not that your God is a good
being. My gods are also good. What you say
about the creation of the world, is the same as I
have been taught to believe. It is not worth while
to further discuss the matter. My ancestors were
not the original proprietors of this land. They have
occupied it but a few ages. They were led here by
a great being, who, after giving them laws, and ruling
over the nation for a time, withdrew to the regions
where the sun rises. He declared on his departure,
that he, or his descendants, would again visit this
country and resume his empire. Your wonderful
deeds, your fair complexion, and the quarter from
whence you come, all show that you are his descendants. If I have resisted your visit to the capital, it
was because I heard such accounts of your cruelties ;
that you sent the lightning to consume my people, And Her People.
or crushed them to death under the feet of ferocious
animals. I am now convinced that these were idle
tales, and that you are kind and generous in your
natures; that you are mortals, but of a different
race, wiser and more valiant, and for this I honor
Then smiling, he added : " You, too, have been
told, perhaps, that I am a god, and dwell in palaces
of gold and silver. But you see it is false. My
houses, though large, are of stone and wood like
those of others, and as to my body, you see it is
flesh and bone like yours. It is true, I have a great
empire, inherited from my ancestors, lands, and gold,
and silver. But your sovereign beyond the waters
is, I know, the rightful lord of all. I rule in his
name. You are his ambassador. You and your
brethren shall share these things with me. Rest now
from your labors. You are here in your own dwellings, and everything shall be provided for your subsistence. I will see that your wishes shall be obeyed
in the same way as my own."
On finishing his speech, the once proud and
haughty monarch's eyes were filled with tears.
Before dismissing his visitors, Montezuma, as
usual, made them handsome presents, amounting,
says Bernald Diaz (who was one of the party) to at
least two heavy collars of the precious metal for the
share of the poorest soldier.
Diaz also says: " We were all touched by the
emotion displayed by Montezuma^, as well as by his
princely spirit of liberality, and on the way to our 256
quarters Could talk of nothing but the gentle breeding and courtesy of the Indian monarch."
" In the appearance of the capital, its massive, yet
elegant architecture, its luxurious social accommodations, and its activity in trade, Cortes saw and
recognized the proofs of the intellectual progress,
mechanical skill, and enlarged resources of an old
and opulent community."
There was a square set apart for a market, large
enough to accommodate forty thousand people.
There, on market-days, could be found persons from
every part of the empire, with their wares for sale or
exchange. The goldsmiths and jewellers, the potters,
the painters, the stone-cutters, the hunters, the
fishermen, the fruiterers, the mat- and chair-makers,
and the florists,—each with a separate place assigned
them. The workmanship of the artists in gold and
silver, also those in embroidery, tapestry, curtains,
coverlets, etc., equalled, if it did not surpass, that
of Europe.
Their money was a piece of metal resembling tin,
stamped or made into the shape of the Roman letter
T, and quills filled with gold dust.
There was also in the city a menagerie, owned by
the government, in which were to be seen specimens
of all the wild beasts and birds of the country.
This collection was so large that it required the services of five hundred men daily to take care for it.
Aqueducts brought water into the city for the use
of the entire populace. The number of inhabitants
in the city was variously estimated at from two to And Her People.
three hundred thousand. The dishes used by the
common people were made of clay, and those of the
Emperor were of gold and silver. The women were
dressed in loose garments reaching from the neck to
the feet, and held at the waist by a girdle. The
skirt was sometimes bordered with beautiful fringes.
A light flowing drapery was occasionally worn over
this, reaching from the shoulders to the ankles in
front, and trailing upon the ground behind, a dress
that would be becoming in any civilized land.
IT will be remembered that Cortes promised at one
time to repay Montezuma for his munificent
presents in " good works." His indebtedness was
large, for while in the City of Mexico he divided the
spoils among his officers and men, and upon appraising them for such division they were found to
amount to one hundred and sixty-two thousand
" pesos de oro," independent of the fine ornaments
and jewelry, the value of which Cortes computes at
five hundred thousand ducats more. There were
also five hundred marks of silver, in plate, drinking
cups, and other articles of luxury.
The whole amount reduced to the currency of the
United States, and making allowance for the difference in the value of gold since the beginning of the
sixteenth century, was about six million, three hundred thousand dollars, or in English currency, one
million, four hundred and seventeen thousand pounds
Cortes repaid this debt, besides the one of gratitude he owed to Montezuma for his kind reception
and care upon reaching the capital, by arresting the
Emperor, and making him a prisoner in his camp,
upon the slight pretence that he had connived at
258 Wah-kee-nah and Her People.
the act of a cazique upon the coast in the murder of
two of the Spanish soldiers left at the little fort at
Villa Rica.
After making the Emperor a prisoner, he obliged
him to order the arrest of this cazique, and have him
brought to the capital. When the cazique arrived,
the Emperor was compelled to turn the cazique, his
son, and fifteen chiefs who accompanied him, over
to Cortes to be dealt with by him; and this " Christian soldier" condemned them all to be burned alive
in the area before the palace, which was done. This
was an act of cruelty worse than any ever committed
by Indians, because it was done by men claiming to
be civilized.
So unjustifiably barbarous was this act, that it nearly annihilated the belief in the minds of many of the
natives that the Spaniards were the descendants of
the good " God of the Air," and would have resulted
in an immediate uprising, had not Montezuma, by
the command of Cortes, issued orders which quieted
the populace.
But another wanton and cruel butchery soon
brought on the crisis. Cortes left the city for
a visit to the coast. He placed one of his officers,
Alvarado, in command during his absence. While
Alvarado was in command, the Aztecs desired to hold
a customary annual festival in the court-yard of the
great temple. As the city was then under command
of the Spaniards, they asked permission of Alvarado,
which was granted on condition that they should
bear no arms, and have no sacrifices. 26o
On the appointed day, the Aztecs assembled to
the number of about six hundred (some writers say
a thousand). The company was composed almost
entirely of the rich and the officials of the city, attired in their gala dress and wearing gold necklaces,
armlets, anklets, and precious stones in profusion.
Alvarado and his Spanish soldiers, fully armed,
attended as spectators; some remained outside the
walls, some at the gates as if by chance, and others
mingled with the crowd. The fact of the Spaniards
being armed excited no suspicion, as they always
carried their arms when about the city. When the
Aztecs became fully engrossed in the dances, at a
given signal Alvarado and his men rushed upon
them, slaughtering their unarmed victims without
the slightest pity or mercy. Those who ran to the
gates were hewn down by the soldiers stationed
there, while those who climbed the wall were shot
by the soldiers stationed on the outside for that
purpose. I The pavement," says a writer who witnessed it, " ran with streams of blood, like water in
a heavy shower." Not an Aztec of all that gay
company was left alive, and after the slaughter the
civilized and Christianized Spaniards rifled the dead
of their valuable ornaments.
This most inhuman and atrocious act opened the
eyes of the deluded Aztecs living in the City of
Mexico, to the fact that the Spaniards were most assuredly not the descendants of the good "God of the
Air," and from that moment the old tradition began
to lose its hold upon their  minds.     The Emperor And Her People.
Montezuma having died while a prisoner, the citizens, on the night of July 1, 1520, rose in their
might and drove the Spanish invaders out of their
city with fearful slaughter. The attack occurred
after Cortes had returned to the city, and that any
of the Spaniards escaped with their lives is undoubtedly due to his generalship.
Cortes had been reinforced by the soldiers, horses,
and cannon of Narvaez, so that he had at that time
about one thousand foot-soldiers and one hundred
horses, and ten large and small cannon.
Of this force, he lost on the night he was driven
from the city, four hundred and fifty Spaniards, all
but twenty of his horses, and all his cannon.
I think this event proves conclusively that had it not
been for the supineness of the Emperor, caziques,
and people, caused by the tradition, or prophecy,
in regard to the good " God of the Air," and their
belief that the Spaniards were his descendants, Cortes could never have advanced far into the country
of the Aztecs.
It was this belief, which still lingered in the minds
of the caziques, chiefs, and people of the country,
that enabled Cortes to raise another army after his
expulsion from the capital, and finally to conquer
Guatemozin, the chief who had assumed full command after the death of Montezuma.
Cortes promised this chief personal protection, if
he would capitulate and cease fighting, but in place
of such protection, he delivered Guatemozin to his
men to be tortured, in the hope of compelling him 262
to tell where the supposed vast wealth of the city
had been buried,—he from the first protesting that
he did not know, except that one large dial of gold
had been thrown into the garden-pond at his palace.
They burned his feet with slow fire, and tortured
him most unmercifully but he told of nothing more,
for the reason, as he said, that he did not know the
whereabouts of any other treasure.
Cortes subsequently gave another evidence of his
manner of keeping sacred promises, by hanging the
chief, with several of his nobles, to a tree by the
The fall of the City of Mexico, which Cortes accomplished with the aid of the natives who yet
believed in the legend, practically ended the existence of the Aztecs.
The Spaniards having conquered and obtained
possession, began flocking into the country, and
established a government not a step in advance of
the one they had destroyed ; and in regard to the
sacrifice of human life, revolting as it is, it is
quite questionable whether a greater number of
victims can be charged to the Aztecs, or the Spaniards, when we take into the account all who were
put to death in Spain, in the Netherlands, and in
every other country in which the Spaniards ever had
power or influence; and in the manner of the killing the Aztecs were far in advance of the Spaniards
in the scale of humanity. They executed their victims in the quickest possible manner, with the body
nlaced in the most convenient position for doing it And Her People.
speedily and with the least suffering; while the
Spaniards caused their victims to suffer the untold
tortures of the rack, slow fire, and numberless other
most exquisite, ingenious, and excruciating modes
of torture. The method that would keep the poor
victim alive the longest, under the most severe suffering, was always the favorite with them. Both
sacrificed their victims in the name of religion, as
an act pleasing to the deities they worshipped, but
the Spaniards were far more fiendish and cruel
than the Indians, although they called themselves
The Aztecs were completely crushed, so that the
few who remain to-day are mere nomads in the country that was once their own, and the seat of the most
extensive agriculture and remarkable horticulture
then known to the world.
The evidences of their civilization have nearly all
been scattered to the winds. Even their histories
and writings, with few exceptions, were gathered in
piles on the plazas in the different cities and burned
by the so-called civilized and enlightened Spaniards.
But from the few records that escaped destruction,
and from the other signs of civilization, as exhibited
in the accounts we have of their government, architecture, horticulture, religious belief, and system of
education, I am firmly of the opinion that, had
America never been discovered by Europeans, the
civilization existing in Mexico would in time have
grown to the same perfection it has now attained in
Europe and America, and spread until it had brought 264
every nation, tribe, and people of this continent
within its healthful and enlightened influence.
There can be no doubt that our own ancestors were
once as ignorant and wild as any of the tribes of
North America, and that they passed through the
various stages of semi-civilization we have seen existing here ; yet, in the course of time, they emerged
from that barbarism and mental darkness into the
light and civilization of the present day. They had
no help or light from others ; it was all accomplished
through the workings of their own brain; and no
one will dispute the fact that the Indians of North
America have exhibited as strong and powerful intellects as any human beings ever possessed prior to
education and culture.
In the United States and Canada, the respective
governments have to some extent tried to ameliorate
the forlorn condition of the Indians within their
The government of the United States adopted the
plan of dealing with them as " dependent nations,"
making treaties with them as with a foreign power.
Owing to the weakness of the " dependent nations,"
and their not being able to enforce their " treaty
rights," this system has proved a grand farce.
The government has violated the provisions of
these " solemn treaties | whenever it suited its convenience to do so.
When the Indians were placed upon reservations,
where it wras impossible for them to obtain food and
clothing for themselves, the government, in payment And Her People.
for the land ceded to it by the Indians, " solemnly "
provided in the treaties to furnish them with these
It must be remembered that one of the sacred
promises in every treaty has been that white men
should be kept from settling or trespassing upon the
reservations, and that the Indians should be protected
from the white man's avarice, fraud, and assaults.
How well the government has kept these promises
the Indian wars during the past few years attest.
The great majority, if not all of them, have arisen
from the white man's trespasses, or from the fact that
the Indians were starving upon the reservations, and
in many of their appeals to the government they
have said that they had rather die upon the war-path
than by the slow, lingering tortures of starvation.
It is a well-known fact that when an Indian has
plenty to eat he is a quiet individual, and, from my
personal acquaintance with them, I think I may safely
assert that there would not have been any wars had
the government faithfully kept its promises in these
two particulars alone.
I am corroborated in this statement by Professor
Seelye, formerly United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, who said : " There has not been a war
in fifty years in which the whites have not been the
The other grievances could have been settled by
giving time for arbitration, but an empty stomach
brooks no delay. It cannot wait for the slow process
of negotiation. 266
The dealing with them as | nations," instead of as
citizens, for many years past, has been the source of
much misunderstanding. It is true, they could not
have been admitted at once to full citizenship, but
they might have enjoyed a restricted citizenship.
Canada has dealt with the Indians within her borders as "subjects of the crown' for many years.
They are under the power and control of her laws,
and entitled to the rights and privileges of " subjects,"
with a few restrictions suited to their condition. The
result has been that she has had scarcely any trouble
with them. She has also been careful in making
promises, making fewer than the United States, but
strictly keeping such as she did make.
The Indians charge all the frauds and outrages
committed upon them by the agents, contractors,
inspectors, and trespassers, to the government, for
they do not understand why a government cannot
control those in its employ.
It is useless to discuss the question as to whether
the Indians could have been, twenty-five years ago,
made citizens, with some restrictions, but there can
be no question that it could have been done as soon
as they had been placed upon reservations.
As now situated upon the reservations, they are
practically without law. Their chiefs are almost
powerless, and there is no government to take their
place. An attempt has been made at some of the
agencies to establish Indian courts, and the effort
has met with some success. It is a step in the right
direction.    In my judgment, a better method than And Her People.
the one now being tried would be to have a regularly
appointed district judge who should hold court at
every agency within his district at least once in six
months, with an Indian judge as associate, such Indian judge to be appointed for each agency. All
juries passing upon matters between white men and
Indians should be composed of an equal number of
white men and Indians. The Indian judge should
be empowered to hear and try all petty matters between the Indians, and have an Indian jury. The
agent should be empowered to carry out the decisions
of the court. This plan, it seems to me, would insure justice, and teach the Indians our laws and the
manner of their enforcement, thus gradually accustoming them to our laws and our mode of administering
Everything done with regard to the Indians should
be with the ulterior motive of making them citizens
at the earliest possible moment.
The government is also trying to induce the Indians to become farmers. , This is also a step in the
right direction, but it is foiled to a great extent by
the present manner of teaching them. An act of
Congress provides that assistant farmers shall be
sent among the Indians to teach them farming.
Plow this has been done is well illustrated by what
was told me within the past year by a Senator of the
United States, who was one of a committee appointed
to investigate this subject. He said they found one
of these teachers who, when asked how to plant
turnips, said :    " Cut them into small pieces and put 268
a few of the pieces in a hill." How long would it
take Indians to become self-supporting farmers under
such instruction ? The difficulty is that such appointments are frequently made for political reasons, and
with entire disregard to any fitness of the appointee
for the wrork.
The law provides for the inspection of supplies;
but, from some hidden cause, the goods that are
served to the Indians fall far short of the quality
paid for by the government. It is not so with supplies furnished the army.
The government of the United States has established and maintains two hundred and forty-six
schools for the Indians, and there are several other
schools that take Indian children under contract with
the Indian Bureau, and, during the year 1890, the
government appropriated one million three hundred
and sixty-four thousand dollars for the education of
Indian children, and in 1892 increased the sum to
two million two hundred and sixteen thousand
But it is not my purpose to give statistics, I mention the above merely to show what is being done
within the United States and its territories for the
education of the Indians.
Neither do I intend to charge all Indian agents
with dishonesty or unfaithfulness. There may be
some honest and honorable ones (naturalists tell us
there are white crows), but when the fact is patent
—established beyond dispute—that the Indians are
everywhere cheated and swindled, we cannot but sus- S8SSS58
And Her People.
pect the persons who would naturally profit pecuniarily by such swindling. It is natural to look for
the motive governing men's actions; and what honest motive could induce a man to banish himself and
family from all the blessings, privileges, and enjoyments of civilization, for the mere pittance of fifteen
hundred dollars a year, when most, if not all of which
would have to be expended in living, is beyond my
ken ; unless, indeed, he goes partly as a missionary,
expecting to receive the balance of his earnings when
he reaches the " Happy Hunting-Grounds."
I have been among Indians while they were yet
in their primitive state, and can fully corroborate the
reports made concerning them by those who first
visited this continent, that in their primitive state
they are a good-natured, quiet people, well disposed
towards white men, and in my opinion, had they
been fairly dealt with, they would never have given
the whites any trouble or annoyance.
I also believe that had the treatment inaugurated
by Governor Penn been, universally adopted from
the first, the Indians, as fast as civilization reached
them, would have mingled with us and become a
part of the body politic, like the Negro, only upon
a higher plane, for no such race prejudice ever existed against them as has always existed against the
Negro. There was nothing to prevent their becoming a part of our people, except the bitter hatred engendered in their bosoms by the unjust and cruel
treatment they received at the hands of the whites ;
a hatred that would, if possible,  last beyond the 270
grave, as was said by the old Indian chief of whom
I have before spoken.
They would have made good and useful citizens,
instead of being what they are now—isolated communities having little governments of their own, or
shut up on reservations in a semi-civilized condition,
and under charge of the government as wards.
They have shown themselves capable of civilized
self-government, as witness the Aztecs in Mexico in
early times, and the Senecas in the State of New
York, the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and
others that might be mentioned, of the present day.
As to those who have not yet entered upon a
civilized life, there is no question that, with but few
exceptions, their minds are filled with animosity
against us ; and as we cannot justly blame them for
this, and as it is impossible to redeem the past, we
must deal with them as they now are, having due
regard to their future as well as their present good.
Our judgment in determining what is for their good
is much better than their own, and they must submit
to it.
Those who are opposed to having their children
attend school or receive instruction in mechanical or
agricultural pursuits, must be compelled to submit
to our better judgment in the matter.
I cannot too strongly reiterate my belief that it
would be for the best interest of the Indians, no less
than for the government, to make them citizens as
soon as possible, amenable to, and protected by the
same laws as the white citizen, with perhaps some And Her People.
few exceptions, particularly in regard to the alienation of land.
I am heartily in favor of giving the War Department of the government full and entire control of
the Indians, for several reasons :
First—The officers of the army are appointed for
life, conditioned upon good behavior; and this
relieves them from the temptation of trying to
become rich in haste, lest they be removed from
office on the incoming of a new administration.
Second—These officers would have every incentive
to conduct matters in such a manner as to avoid
hostilities. The army suffers great trials and hardships in case of an Indian war, and there is no glory
to be won in fighting Indians. The great majority
of army officers, and I think I may say all who have
had any experience with Indians, are of the same
opinion as Major-General Wool (from whose report
I have quoted)—" that if the Indians were fairly and
justly dealt with, we would have no trouble with
Third—There would be no more Indian agents
whose only qualifications for the place consist in
being good political wire-pullers.
Fourth—All provisions and supplies for the Indians
would pass through the same inspection as supplies
for the army, and there would then be none of the
present inspectors who, for reasons known to themselves (and surmised by others), allow the contractors
to purchase poor, old, and worthless cattle at from
three to five dollars per head (about what their hides 272
are worth), and furnish them to the Indians under
a contract with the government which called for
good fat cattle, and at a price adequate for that
It would also put a stop to the furnishing of inferior blankets, and to the notorious inferiority in
all other supplies for which the government pays
prices that should secure good articles.
Fifth—It would be much less expensive to the
government. The army is paid whether active or
idle, and the employment of some of its officers as
bureau officials and Indian agents, and some of its
non-commissioned officers and men as assistants,
would save much of the money now paid to others
doing that work, and it would be more economically
performed in every way, even though the army list
should be increased to furnish the necessary number
of officers.
I am also in favor of establishing practical agricultural schools at many, if not all of the Indian
agencies, and compelling all the Indians between
certain ages to attend them a sufficient length of
time to learn how to cultivate a farm successfully.
The more schools established, the sooner the desired
result would be attained.
I am opposed to the allotment of land in severalty,
except to those Indians who are sufficiently educated in the art of farming to till their allotment
reasonably well, and who would be able to make a
living from it for themselves and family.
Putting an Indian upon a piece of land with the And Her People.
necessary implements, before he knows enough about
farming to till the land properly, and then telling
him to go to work and make a living for himself and
family, or starve, would be like putting the proper
materials and tools into the hands of one of us who
does not understand electricity, and telling him to
make a dynamo, or starve—I think most of us would
be likely to starve. Yet the latter proposition is as
reasonable as the former.
The argument against agricultural schools would
be the expense. It would be tedious to give a list
of figures to show that this argument should have
little weight. Suffice it to say, that the money the
government now has in its treasury belonging to the
Indians, the amount of which is one hundred and
thirteen million dollars, with that which would be
received from the sale of the surplus lands after the
allotments were made, would be amply sufficient to
cover all the expenses.
It may be said we have no right to use the money
belonging to the Indians.
In answer to this permit me to say that I deem
it not only the right, but the positive duty of
the government to use the money belonging to
Indians in such a way as will accomplish their
greatest good; and how can it be used to give
to them and their posterity a greater or more
lasting benefit than in teaching them practical mechanics, and how to properly till the soil, thus
preparing them to be self-supporting citizens in the
not far-distant future. 2 74
It has been my endeavor in these pages to re^
fresh the memories of my readers in regard to a
few of the many wrongs which the Indians have
suffered at the hands of the white men, and to
bring them to view these things from their stands-
point, looking at events through their eyes ; hoping
thus to lessen the blame attached to them for their
acts of retaliation. And I have had in mind the
further purpose of so enlisting your sympathies,
that all the influence you each possess may be
used to urge upon the government the necessity
of changing the present management of the Indians,
and of adding to the number of manual-training
schools for them, and to hasten also the establishment of practical agricultural schools at many (if
not all) of the Indian agencies in the land,—as
the surest, cheapest, quickest, most humane, and
most practical way of solving the Indian problem.
We are a great and powerful people—mighty
among the nations of the earth. On account of
one great national sin we have passed through an
ordeal of chastisement and suffering which cost us
rivers of blood, and millions of treasure—an ordeal
from which one section of our country has not even
yet, after the lapse of more than a quarter of a
century, entirely recovered. Let us no longer rest
under the shadow of another national- sin, against
another unfortunate race.
The Red-men are fast passing away. The beautiful land of their nativity will soon know them no
more.    It is beyond our power to undo the wrongs And Her People.
inflicted upon them by our ancestors; but we can,
and ought to be just—even generous—towards the
few who are still with us. Let us hasten to remove from our national escutcheon its one foul blot
—the stigma of inhumanity and injustice towards
the proud but hapless Indian.
THE END.     


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