« AnteriorContinuar »
from the earliest period only the habitations
[The Eagle's Eyries.] of savages.”—Ibid. p. 56.
" At a little distance below the Falls
stands a small island, of about an acre and [The Hieroglyphics of the Cave of Wakon
a half, on which grows a great number of teebe — or, the Dwelling of the Great oak trees, every branch of which, able to Spirit.]
support the weight, was full of eagles' nests. “ ABOUT thirty miles below the Falls of The reason that this kind of birds resort in St. Anthony, at which I arrived the tenth such numbers to this spot is, that they are day after I left Lake Pepin, is a remarkable here secure from the attacks either of man cave of an amazing depth. The Indians or beast, their retreat being guarded by term it Wakon-teebe, that is, the dwelling the Rapids, which the Indians never attempt of the Great Spirit. The entrance into it to pass. Another reason is, that they find is about ten feet wide, the height of it five a constant supply of food for themselves feet. The arch within is near fifteen feet and their young from the animals and fish high and about thirty feet broad. The bot- which are dashed to pieces by the Falls and tom of it consists of fine clear sand. About driven on the adjacent shore.”—Ibid. p. 71. twenty feet from the entrance begins a lake, the water of which is transparent, and extends to an unsearchable distance; for the darkness of the cave prevents all attempts
[Blue Clay Paint-a Mark of Peace.] to acquire a knowledge of it. I threw a “ This country likewise abounds with small pebble towards the interior part of it milk-white clay, of which China ware might with my utmost strength : I could hear that be made equal in goodness to the Asiatic; it fell into the water, and notwithstanding it and also with a blue clay that serves the was of so small a size, it caused an astonish- Indians for paint. With this last they ing and horrible noise that reverberated contrive, by mixing it with red stone through all those gloomy regions. I found powdered, to paint themselves of different in this cave many Indian hieroglyphicks, colours. Those that can get the blue clay which appeared very ancient, for time had here mentioned, paint themselves very
much nearly covered them with moss, so that it with it, particularly when they are about was with disliculty I could trace them. They to begin their sports and pastimes. It is were cut in a rude manner upon the inside also esteemed by them a mark of peace, as of the walls, which were composed of a stone it has a resemblance of a blue sky, which, so extremely soft that it might be pene- with them, is a symbol of it, and made use trated with a knife: a stone every where to of in their speeches as a figurative expresbe found near the Mississippi. The cave is sion to denote peace. When they wish to only accessible by ascending a narrow, steep shew that their inclinations are pacific topassage that lies near. At a little distance wards other tribes, they greatly ornament from this dreary cavern is the burying-place both themselves and belts with it.”—Ibid. of several bands of the Naudowesoie In- , p. 101. dians : though these people have no fixed residence, living in tents, and abiding but a few months on one spot, yet they always
[Rattle-Snakes— Water Lilies—and Water bring the bones of their dead to this place;
Snakes.] which they take the opportunity of doing “ THERE are several islands near the west when the chiefs meet to hold their councils end of it so infested with rattle-snakes, that and to settle all public affairs for the en- it is very dangerous to land on them. It is suing summer.”—Ibid. 63. 84.
impossible that any place can produce a
greater number of all kinds of these reptiles same in length, and whilst I was passing than this does, particularly of the water- over it, which took me up near twenty-four snake. The lake is covered near the banks hours, it thundered and lightened during of the islands with the large pond-lily; the the greatest part of the time to an excessive leaves of which lie on the surface of the degree. water so thick as to cover it entirely for “ There appeared to be no visible reason many acres together; and on each of these for this that I could discover, nor is the lay, when I passed over it, wreaths of water- country in general subject to thunder; the snakes basking in the sun, which amounted hills that stood around were not of a reto myriads."?-Ibid. p. 167.
markable height, neither did the external parts of them seem to be covered with any sulphureous substance. But as this phæno
menon must originate from some natural [The Hissing Snake.]
cause, I conjecture that the shores of the “ The most remarkable of the different
bay or the adjacent mountains are either species that infest this lake is the hissing- impregnated with an uncommon quantity snake, which is of the small speckled kind, of sulphureous matter, or contain and about eighteen inches long. When any metal or mineral apt to attract in a great thing approaches, it flattens itself in a mo- degree the electrical particles that are hourly ment, and its spots, which are of various borne over them by the passant clouds.”— dyes, become visibly brighter through rage; Ibid. p. 145. at the same time it blows from its mouth with great force a subtile wind, that is reported to be of a nauseous smell; and if [Indian Designation of the Months.] drawn in with the breath of the unwary “They call the month of March (in which traveller, will infallibly bring on a decline
their year generally begins at the first new that in a few months must prove mortal, moon after the vernal equinox) the worm there being no remedy yet discovered which
month or moon; because at this time the can counteract its baneful influence.”—Ibid.
worms quit their retreats in the bark of the trees, wood, &c. where they have sheltered themselves during the winter.
“The month of April is termed by them [Thunler Bay. ]
the month of plants. May, the month of “ NEARLY half way between Soganaum flowers. June, the hot moon. July, the Bay and the North-West corner of the
Their reason for thus denoLake lies another, which is termed Thunder minating these is obvious. Bay. The Indians, who have frequented “August, the sturgeon moon; because in these parts from time immemorial, and every
this month they catch great numbers of European traveller that has passed through
that fish. it, have unanimously agreed to call it by “September, the corn moon; because in this name, on account of the continual that month they gather in their Indian corn. thunder they have always observed here. “ October, the travelling moon; as they The bay is about nine miles broad, and the
leave at this time their villages, and travel towards the places where they intend to
hunt during the winter. 1 I have watched the common snake resting its head on lilies and water weeds and taking flies, month the beavers begin to take shelter in
“November, the beaver moon; for in this by hundreds, on a small lake in Sjælland. QuÆRE? Do not all snakes take to the water in their houses, having laid up a sufficient store very hot weather? J. W. W.
of provisions for the winter season.
“ December, the hunting moon, because part they expect to act against their enethey employ this month in pursuit of their mies in the field. During this they hold game.
their sharp knives in their hands, with which, “ January, the cold moon, as it generally as they whirl about, they are every moment freezes harder, and the cold is more intense in danger of cutting each other's throats, in this than in any other month.
and did they not shun the threatened mis“February they call the snow moon; be- chief with inconceivable dexterity, it could cause more snow commonly falls during this not be avoided. By these motions they inmonth than any other in the winter.”—Ibid. tend to represent the manner in which they
kill, scalp, and take their prisoners. To heighten the scene, they set up the same hideous yells, cries, and war-whoops they use
in time of action: so that it is impossible to [Life and Death of the Moon.]
consider them in any other light than as an “They pay a great regard to the first assembly of demons.”—Ibid. p. 269. appearance of every moon, and on the occasion always repeat some joyful sounds, stretching at the same time their hands towards it.
[The Wakon-Kitchewah—or Initiation into “When the moon does not shine they say
the Friendly Society of the Spirit.] the moon is dead; and some call the three “ One of the Indians was admitted into last days of it the naked days. The moon's a society which they denominated Wakonfirst appearance they term its coming to life Kitchewah, that is, the Friendly Society of again.”—Ibid. pp. 250. 252.
the Spirit. This society is composed of persons of both sexes, but such only can be admitted into it as are of unexceptionable
character, and who receive the approbation [The War-Dance.]
of the whole body. It was performed at “The War Dance, which they use both the time of the new moon, in a place approbefore they set out on their war parties and priated to the purpose near the centre of on their return from them, strikes terror the camp, that would contain about two into strangers. It is performed, as the others, hundred people. About twelve o'clock they amidst a circle of the warriors; a chief ge- began to assemble; when the sun shone nerally begins it, who moves from the right bright, which they considered as a good to the left, singing at the same time both omen, for they never by choice hold any of his own exploits, and those of his ancestors. their public meetings unless the sky be clear When he has concluded his account of any and unclouded. A great number of chiefs memorable action, he gives a violent blow first appeared, who were dressed in their with his war-club against a post that is fixed | best apparel; and after them came the headin the ground, near the centre of the as- warrior, clad in a long robe of rich furs that sembly, for this purpose.
trailed on the ground, attended by a retinue “Every one dances in his turn, and re- of fifteen or twenty persons, painted and capitulates the wondrous deeds of his fa- dressed in the gayest manner. Next folmily, till they all at last join in the dance. lowed the wives of such as had been already Then it becomes truly alarming to any admitted into the society; and in the rear stranger that happens to be among them, a confused heap of the lower ranks, all conas they throw themselves into every hor- tributing as much as lay in their power to rible and terrifying posture that can be make the appearance grand and showy. imagined--rehearsing at the same time the “When the assembly was seated, and si
lence proclaimed, one of the principal chiefs more calculated to still the quick than to arose, and in a short but masterly speech raise the dead. During these extraordinary informed his audience of the occasion of applications, the speaker continued his hatheir meeting. He acquainted them that rangue, desiring the spectators not to be one of their young men wished to be ad- surprised, or to despair of the young man's mitted into their society; and taking him recovery, as his present inanimate situation by the hand presented him to their view, proceeded only from the forcible operations asking them, at the same time, whether they of the spirit on faculties that had hitherto had any objection to his becoming one of been unused to inspirations of this kind. their community
“The candidate lay several minutes with“No objection being made, the young out sense or motion; but at length after candidate was placed in the centre, and four receiving many violent blows, he began to of the chiefs took their stations close to him; discover some symptoms of returning life. after exhorting him, by turns, not to faint These, however, were attended with strong under the operation he was about to go convulsions, and an apparent obstruction in through, but to behave like an Indian and his throat. But they were soon at an end; a man, caused him to kneel, another placed for having discharged from his mouth the himself behind him so as to receive him | bean, or whatever it was that the chief had when he fell, and the last of the four retired thrown at him, but which on the closest into the distance of about twelve feet from spection I had not perceived to enter it, he him exactly in front. This disposition being soon after appeared to be tolerably recocompleted, the chief that stood before the vered. This part of the ceremony being kneeling candidate began to speak to him happily effected, the officiating chief diswith an audible voice. He told him that robed him of the cloaths he had usually he himself was now agitated by the same worn, and put on him a set of apparel enspirit which he should in a few minutes com- tirely new. When he was dressed, the municate to him; that it would strike him speaker once more took him by the hand dead, but that he would instantly be restored and presented him to the society as a reguto life; to this he added, that the commu- lar and thoroughly initiated member, exhortnication, however terrifying, was a necessary ing them at the same time to give him such introduction to the advantages enjoyed by necessary assistance as, being a young memthe community into which he was on the ber, he might stand in need of. He also point of being admitted.
charged the newly-elected brother to re“As he spake this he appeared to be ceive with humility, and to follow with greatly agitated till at last his emotions be- punctuality the advice of his elder brecame so violent, that his countenance was thren."-Ibid. distorted, and his whole frame convulsed. At this juncture he threw something that appeared both in shape and colour like a small bean at the young man, which seemed
[The Red-painted Hatchet of War.] to enter his mouth, and he instantly fell as “The manner in which the Indians demotionless as if he had been shot. The chief clare war against each other is by sending that was placed behind him received him a slave with a hatchet, the handle of which in his arms and, by the assistance of the is painted red, to the nation which they inother two laid him on the ground to all
tend to break with; and the messenger, appearance bereft of life.
notwithstanding the danger to which he is “Having done this, they immediately be- exposed from the sudden fury of those whom gan to rub his limbs, and to strike him on he thus sets at defiance, executes his comthe back, giving him such blows as seemed mission with great fidelity.
“Sometimes this token of defiance has clares how many of their own party are such an instantaneous effect on those to lost; the number of war-whoops, the numwhom it is presented, that in the first trans- ber of prisoners they have taken. It is difports of their fury a small party will issue ficult to describe these cries, but the best forth, without waiting for the permission of idea I can convey of them is, that the forthe elder chiefs, and slaying the first of the mer consists of the sound whoo, whoo whoop, offending nation they meet, cut open the which is continued in a long shrill tone, body and stick a hatchet of the same kind nearly till the breath is exhausted, and then as that they have just received, into the broken off with a sudden elevation of the heart of their slaughtered foe. Among the voice; the latter of a loud cry, of much the more remote tribes this is done with an ar- same kind, which is modulated into notes row or spear, the end of which is painted by the hand being placed before the mouth. red. And the more to exasperate, they dis- Both of them might be heard to a very conmember the body, to show that they es- siderable distance.”—Ibid. P.
331. teem them not as men but as old women." -Ibid. p. 307.
“All that are captivated by both parties [The Death-Song of the Indians.] are either put to death, adopted, or made “ Tuose who are decreed to be put to
slaves of. And so particular are every nadeath by the usual torments, are delivered
tion in this respect, that if any of their tribe, to the chief of the warriors : such as are to
even a warrior, should be taken prisoner, be spared are given into the hands of the
and by chance be received into the house chief of the nation : so that in a short time
of grace, either as an avlopted person or a all the prisoners may be assured of their slave, and should afterwards make his esfate; as the sentence now pronounced is cape, they will by no means receive him, or irrevocable. The former they term being acknowledge him as one of their band.
“ The condition of such as are adopted consigned to the house of death, the latter to the house of
differs not in any one instance from the grace.
children of the nation to which they now “ The prisoners destined to death are soon led to the place of execution, which is belong. They assume all the rights of those generally in the centre of the camp or vil
whose places they supply, and frequently lage; where, being stript, and every part of make no difficulty of going in the war-partheir bodies blackened, the skin of a crow
ties against their own countrymen. Should, or a raven is fixed on their heads. They lowever, any of these by chance make their are then bound to a stake, with faggots escape, and afterwards be retaken, they are heaped around them, and obliged for the
esteemed as unnatural children and unlast time to sing their death-song.”—Ibid. grateful persons, who have deserted and pp. 336, 337.
made war upon their parents and benefactors, and are treated with uncommon severity."--Ibid. p. 345.
[Indian War-Whoop.] "When the warriors are arrived within
The Carcajou. hearing, they set up different cries, which “This creature, which is of the cat kind, communicate to their friends a general his- | is a terrible enemy to the preceding four tory of their success of the ex on. The species of beasts. He either comes upon number of the death-cries they give, de- | them from some concealment unperceived,