Legends of the Northwest
Hanford Lennox Gordon

Part 3 out of 3

Tall he grew and like his father,
And they called the boy the Raven--
Called him Kak-kah-ge--the Raven.
Happy hunter was the Panther.
From the woods he brought the pheasant,
Brought the red deer and the rabbit,
Brought the trout from Gitchee Gumee--

Brought the mallard from the marshes,--
Royal feast for boy and mother:
Brought the hides of fox and beaver,
Brought the skins of mink and otter,
Lured the loon and took his blanket,
Took his blanket for the Raven.

Winter swiftly followed winter,

And again the tekenagun
Held a babe--a tawny daughter,
Held a dark-eyed, dimpled daughter;
And they called her Waub-omee-mee,--
Thus they named her--the White-Pigeon.
But as winter followed winter
Cold and sullen grew the Panther;
Sat and smoked his pipe in silence;
When he spoke he spoke in anger;
In the forest often tarried
Many days, and homeward turning,
Brought no game unto his wigwam:
Only brought his empty quiver,
Brought his dark and sullen visage.

Sad at heart and very lonely
Sat the Sea-Gull in the wigwam;
Sat and swung the tekenagun,
Sat and sang to Waub-omee-mee;
Thus she sang to Waub-omee-mee,
Thus the lullaby she chanted:

Wa-wa, wa-wa, wa-we-yea;
Kah-ween, nee-zheka ke-diaus-ai,
Ke-gah nau-wai, ne-me-go s'ween,
Ne-baun, ne-baun, ne-daun-is-ais,
Wa-wa, wa-wa, wa-we-yea;

Ne-baun, ne-baun, ne-daun-is-ais,

E-we wa-wa, wa-we-yea,
E-we wa-wa, wa-we-yea,


Swing, swing little one, lullaby;
Thou'rt not left alone to weep;
Mother cares for you,--she is nigh;
Sleep, my little one, sweetly sleep;
Swing, swing, little one, lullaby;
Mother watches you--she is nigh;
Gently, gently, wee one swing;
Gently, gently, while I sing

E-we wa-wa--lullaby,
E-we wa-wa--lullaby.

Homeward to his lodge returning
Kindly greeting found the hunter,
Fire to warm and food to nourish,
Golden trout from Gitchee Gumee,
Caught by Kak-kah-ge--the Raven.
With a snare he caught the rabbit--
Caught Wabose, the furry footed, [7]
Caught Penay, the forest drummer; [7]
Sometimes with his bow and arrows,
Shot the red deer in the forest.
Shot the squirrel in the pine top,
Shot Ne-ka, the wild goose, flying.
Proud as Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior,
To the lodge he bore his trophies
So when homeward turned the Panther
Ever found he food provided,
Found the lodge-fire brightly burning,
Found the faithful Sea-Gull waiting.
"You are cold," she said, "and famished;
Here are fire and food, my husband."
Not by word or look he answered;
Only ate the food provided,
Filled, his pipe and pensive puffed it,
Smoked and sat in sullen silence.

Once--her dark eyes full of hunger--
Thus she spoke and thus besought him:
"Tell me, O my silent Panther,
Tell me, O beloved husband,
What has made you sad and sullen?
Have you met some evil spirit--
Met some goblin in the forest?
Has he put a spell upon you--
Filled your heart with bitter waters,
That you sit so sad and sullen,
Sit and smoke, but never answer,
Only when the storm is on you?"

Gruffly then the Panther answered:
"Brave among the brave is Panther,
Son of Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior,
And the brave are ever silent;
But a whining dog is woman,
Whining ever like a coward."

Forth into the tangled forest,
Threading through the thorny thickets,
Treading, trails on marsh and meadow,
Sullen strode the moody hunter.
Saw he not the bear or beaver,
Saw he not the elk or roebuck;
From his path the red fawn scampered,
But no arrow followed after;
From his den the sly wolf listened,
But no twang of bow-string heard he.
Like one walking in his slumber,
Listless, dreaming walked the Panther;
Surely had some witch bewitched him,
Some bad spirit of the forest.

When the Sea-Gull wed the Panther,
Fair was she and full of laughter;
Like the robin in the spring-time,
Sang from sunrise till the sunset;
But the storms of many winters
Sifted frost upon her tresses,
Seamed her tawny face with wrinkles.

Not alone the storms of winters
Seamed her tawny face with wrinkles.
Twenty winters for the Panther
Had she ruled the humble wigwam;
For her haughty lord and master
Borne the burdens on the journey,
Gathered fagots for the lodge-fire,
Tanned the skins of bear and beaver,
Tanned the hides of moose and red deer;
Made him moccasins and leggings,
Decked his hood with quills and feathers--
Colored quills of Kaug, the thorny, [8]
Feathers from Kenew--the eagle. [8]
For a warrior brave was Panther;
Often had he met the foemen,
Met the bold and fierce Dakotas;
Westward on the war-path met them;
And the scalps he won were numbered,
Numbered seven by Kenew-feathers.
Sad at heart was Sea-Gull waiting,
Watching, waiting in the wigwam;
Not alone the storms of winters
Sifted frost upon her tresses.

Ka-be-bon-ik-ka, the mighty, [9]
He that sends the cruel winter,
He that turned to stone the Giant,
From the distant Thunder-mountain,
Far across broad Gitchee Gumee,
Sent his warning of the winter,
Sent the white frost and Kewaydin, [10]
Sent the swift and hungry North-wind.
Homeward to the South the Summer
Turned and fled the naked forests.
With the Summer flew the robin,
Flew the bobolink and blue-bird.
Flock wise following chosen leaders,
Like the shaftless heads of arrows
Southward cleaving through the ether,
Soon the wild geese followed after.

One long moon the Sea-Gull waited,
Watched and waited for her husband,
Till at last she heard his footsteps,
Heard him coming through the thicket.
Forth she went to meet her husband,
Joyful went to greet her husband.
Lo behind the haughty hunter,
Closely following in his footsteps,
Walked a young and handsome woman,
Walked the Red Fox from the island--
Gitchee Menis--the Grand Island,--
Followed him into the wigwam,
Proudly took her seat beside him.
On the Red Fox smiled the hunter,
On the hunter smiled the woman.

Old and wrinkled was the Sea-Gull,
Good and true, but old and wrinkled.
Twenty winters for the Panther
Had she ruled the humble wigwam,
Borne the burdens on the journey,
Gathered fagots for the lodge-fire,
Tanned the skins of bear and beaver,
Tanned the hides of moose and red deer,
Made him moccasins and leggings,
Decked his hood with quills and feathers,
Colored quills of Kaug, the thorny,
Feathers from the great war-eagle;
Ever diligent and faithful,
Ever patient, ne'er complaining.
but like all brave men the Panther
Loved a young and handsome woman;
So he dallied with the danger,
Dallied with the fair Algonkin, [11]
Till a magic mead she gave him,
Brewed of buds of birch and cedar. [12]Madly then he loved the woman;
Then she ruled him, then she held him
Tangled in her raven tresses,
Tied and tangled in her tresses.

Ah, the tail and tawny Panther!
Ah, the brave and brawny Panther!
Son of Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior!
With a slender hair she led him,
With a slender hair he drew him,
Drew him often to her wigwam;
There she bound him, there she held him
Tangled in her raven tresses,
Tied and tangled in her tresses.
Ah, the best of men are tangled--
Sometime tangled in the tresses
Of a fair and crafty woman.

So the Panther wed the Red Fox,
And she followed to his wigwam.
Young again he seemed and gladsome,
Glad as Raven when the father
Made his first bow from the elm-tree,
From the ash tree made his arrows,
Taught him how to aim his arrows,
How to shoot Wabose--the rabbit.

Then again the brawny hunter
Brought the black bear and the beaver,
Brought the haunch of elk and red-deer,
Brought the rabbit and the pheasant--
Choicest bits of all for Red Fox.
For her robes he brought the sable,
Brought the otter and the ermine,
Brought the black-fox tipped with silver.

But the Sea-Gull murmured never,
Not a word she spoke in anger,
Went about her work as ever,
Tanned the skins of bear and beaver,
Tanned the hides of moose and red deer,
Gathered fagots for the lodge-fire,
Gathered rushes from the marches;
Deftly into mats she wove them;
Kept the lodge as bright as ever.
Only to herself she murmured,
All alone with Waub-omee-mee,
On the tall and toppling highland,
O'er the wilderness of waters;
Murmured to the murmuring waters,
Murmured to the Nebe-naw-baigs--
To the spirits of the waters;
On the wild waves poured her sorrow,
Save the infant on her bosom
With her dark eyes wide with wonder,
None to hear her but the spirits,
And the murmuring pines above her.
Thus she cast away her burdens,
Cast her burdens on the waters;
Thus unto the Mighty Spirit,
Made her lowly lamentation:
"Wahonowin!--Wahonowin!" [13]
Gitchee Manito, bena nin!
Nah, Ba-ba, showain nemeshin!

Ka-be-bon-ik-ka, the mighty, [9]
He that sends the cruel winter,
From the distant Thunder-mountain,
On the shore of Gitchee Gumee--
On the rugged northern limit,
Sent his solemn, final warning,
Sent the white wolves of the Nor'land [14]
Like the dust of stars in ether--
In the Pathway of the Spirits. [15]
Like the sparkling dust of diamonds,
Fell the frost upon the forest,
On the mountains and the meadows,
On the wilderness of woodland.
On the wilderness of waters.
All the lingering fowls departed--
All that seek the South in winter,
All but Shingebis, the diver. [16]
He defies the Winter-maker,
Sits and laughs at Winter-maker.

Ka-be-bon-ik-ka, the mighty,
From his wigwam called Kewaydin,--
From his home among the ice-bergs,
From the sea of frozen waters,
Called the swift and hungry North-wind.
Then he spread his mighty pinions
Over all the land and shook them,
Like the white down of Waubese [17]
Fell the feathery snow and covered,
All the marshes and the meadows,
All the hill-tops and the highlands.
Then old Peboan--the winter--[18]
Laughed along the stormy waters,
Danced upon the windy headlands,
On the storm his white hair streaming,--
And his steaming breath, ascending,
On the pine-tops and the cedars
Fell in frosty mists refulgent,
Sprinkling somber shades with silver,
Sprinkling all the woods with silver.

By the lodge-fire all the winter
Sat the Sea-Gull and the Red Fox,
Sat and kindly spoke and chatted,
Till the twain seemed friends together.
Friends they seemed in word and action,
But within the breast of either
Smouldered still the baneful embers--
Fires of jealousy and hatred,--

Like a camp-fire in the forest
Left by hunters and deserted;
Only seems a bed of ashes,
But the East-wind, Wabun noodin,
Scatters through the woods the ashes,
Fans to flame the sleeping embers,
And the wild-fire roars and rages,
Roars and rages through the forest.
So the baneful embers smouldered,
Smouldered in the breast of either.

From the far-off Sunny Islands,
From the pleasant land of Summer,
Where the spirits of the blessed
Feel no more the fangs of hunger,
Or the cold breath of Kewaydin,
Came a stately youth and handsome,
Came Segun the foe of Winter. [19]
Like the rising sun his face was,
Like the shining stars his eyes were,
Light his footsteps as the Morning's.
In his hand were buds and blossoms,
On his brow a blooming garland.
Straightway to the icy wigwam
Of old Peboan, the Winter,
Strode Segun and quickly entered.
There old Peboan sat and shivered,
Shivered o'er his dying lodge-fire.

"Ah, my son, I bid you welcome;
Sit and tell me your adventures;
I will tell you of my power;
We will pass the night together."
Thus spake Peboan--the Winter;
Then he filled his pipe and lighted;
Then by sacred custom raised it
To the spirits in the ether;
To the spirits in the caverns
Of the hollow earth he lowered it.
Thus he passed it to the spirits,
And the unseen spirits puffed it.
Next himself old Peboan honored;
Thrice he puffed his pipe and passed it,
Passed it to the handsome stranger.

"Lo I blow my breath," said Winter,
"And the laughing brooks are silent;
Hard as flint become the waters,
And the rabbit runs upon them."

Then Segun, the fair youth, answered:
"Lo I breathe upon the hill-sides,
On the valleys and the meadows,
And behold, as if by magic--
By the magic of the Spirits,
Spring the flowers and tender grasses."

Then old Peboan replying:
"Nah! [20] I breathe upon the forests,
And the leaves fall sere and yellow;
Then I shake my locks and snow falls,
Covering all the naked landscape."

Then Segun arose and answered:
"Nashke! [20]--see!--I shake my ringlets;
On the earth the warm rain falleth,
And the flowers look up like children
Glad-eyed from their mother's bosom.
Lo my voice recalls the robin,
Brings the bobolink and blue-bird,
And the woods are full of music.
With my breath I melt their fetters,
And the brooks leap laughing onward."

Then old Peboan looked upon him,
Looked and knew Segun, the Summer,
From his eyes the big tears started
And his boastful tongue was silent.

Now Keezis [21]--the great life-giver,
From his wigwam in Waubu-nong [21]
Rose and wrapped his shining blanket
Round his giant form and started;
Westward started on his journey,
Striding on from hill to hill-top.
Upward then he climbed the ether--
On the Bridge of Stars [22] he traveled,
Westward traveled on his journey
To the far-off Sunset Mountains--
To the gloomy land of shadows.

On the lodge-poles sang the robin,--
And the brooks began to murmur.
On the South wind floated fragrance
Of the early buds and blossoms.
From old Peboan's eyes the teardrops
Down his pale face ran in streamlets;
Less and less he grew in stature
Till he melted doun to nothing;
And behold, from out the ashes,
From the ashes of his lodge-fire,
Sprang the Miscodeed [23] and, blushing,
Welcomed Segun to the North-land.

So from Sunny Isles returning,
From the Summer-Land of spirits,
On the poles of Panther's wigwam
Sang Opee-chee--sang the robin.
In the maples cooed the pigeons--
Cooed and wooed like silly lovers.
"Hah!--hah!" laughed the crow derisive,
In the pine-top, at their folly,--
Laughed and jeered the silly lovers.
Blind with love were they, and saw not;
Deaf to all but love, and heard not;
So they cooed and wooed unheeding,
Till the gray hawk pounced upon them,
And the old crow shook with laughter.

On the tall cliff by the sea-shore
Red Fox made a swing. She fastened
Thongs of moose-hide to the pine-tree,
To the strong arm of the pine-tree.
like a hawk, above the waters,
There she swung herself and fluttered,

Laughing at the thought of danger,
Swung and fluttered o'er the waters.
Then she bantered Sea-Gull, saying,
"See!--I swing above the billows!
Dare you swing above the billows,--
Swing like me above the billows?"

To herself said Sea-Gull--"Surely
I will dare whatever danger
Dares the Red Fox--dares my rival;
She shall never call me coward."
So she swung above the waters--
Dizzy height above the waters,
Pushed and aided by her rival,
To and fro with reckless daring,
Till the strong tree rocked and trembled,
Rocked and trembled with its burden.
As above the yawning billows
Flew the Sea-Gull like a whirlwind,
Red Fox, swifter than red lightning,
Cut the cords, and headlong downward,
Like an osprey from the ether,
Like a wild-goose pierced with arrows,
Fluttering fell the frantic woman,
Fluttering fell into the waters--
Plunged and sank beneath the waters!
Hark!--the wailing of the West-wind!
Hark!--the wailing of the waters,
And the beating of the billows!
But no more the voice of Sea-Gull.

In the wigwam sat the Red Fox,
Hushed the wail of Waub-omee-mee,
Weeping for her absent mother.
With the twinkling stars the hunter
From the forest came and Raven.
"Sea-Gull wanders late" said Red Fox,
"Late she wanders by the sea-shore,
And some evil may befall her."

In the misty morning twilight
Forth went Panther and the Raven,
Searched the forest and the marshes,
Searched for leagues along the lake-shore,
Searched the islands and the highlands;
But they found no trace or tidings,
Found no track in marsh or meadow,
Found no trail in fen or forest,
On the shore sand found no foot-prints.
Many days they sought and found not.
Then to Panther spoke the Raven:
"She is in the Land of Spirits--
Surely in the Land of Spirits.
High at midnight I beheld her--
Like a flying star beheld her--
To the waves of Gitchee Gumee,
Downward flashing through the ether.
Thus she flashed that I might see her,
See and know my mother's spirit;
Thus she pointed to the waters,
And beneath them lies her body,
In the wigwam of the spirits--
In the lodge of Nebe-naw-baigs." [24]

Then spoke Panther to the Raven:
"On the tall cliff by the waters
Wait and watch with Waub-omee-mee.
If the Sea-Gull hear the wailing
Of her infant she will answer."

On the tall cliff by the waters
So the Raven watched and waited;
All the day he watched and waited,
But the hungry infant slumbered,
Slumbered by the side of Raven,
Till the pines' gigantic shadows
Stretched and pointed to Waubu-Nong--[21]
To the far off land of Sunrise;
Then the wee one woke and famished,
Made a long and piteous wailing.

From afar where sky and waters
Meet in misty haze and mingle,
Straight toward the rocky highland,
Straight as flies die feathered arrow,
Straight to Raven and the infant
Swiftly flew a snow white sea-gull.--
Flew and touched the earth a woman.
And behold, the long-lost mother
Caught her wailing child and nursed her,
Sang a lullaby and nursed her.

Thrice was wound a chain of silver
Round her waist and strongly fastened.
Far away into the waters--
To the wigwam of the spirits,--
To the lodge of Nebe-naw-baigs,--
Stretched the magic chain of silver.

Spoke the mother to the Raven:
"O my son--my brave young hunter,
Feed my tender little orphan;
Be a father to my orphan;
Be a mother to my orphan,--
For the Crafty Red Fox robbed us,--
Robbed the Sea-Gull of her husband,
Robbed the infant of her mother.
From this cliff the treacherous woman
Headlong into Gitchee Gumee
Plunged the mother of my orphan.
Then a Nebe-naw-baig caught me,--
Chief of all the Nebe-naw-baigs--
Took me to his shining wigwam,
In the cavern of the waters,
Deep beneath the might waters.
All below is burnished copper,
All above is burnished silver
Gemmed with amethyst and agates.
As his wife the Spirit holds me;
By this silver chain he holds me.

When my little one is famished,
When with long and piteous wailing
Cries the orphan for her mother,
Hither bring her, O my Raven;
I will hear her,--I will answer.
Now the Nebe-naw-baig calls me,--
Pulls the chain,--I must obey him."

Thus she spoke and in the twinkling
Of a star the spirit-woman
Changed into a snow-white sea-gull,
Spread her wings and o'er the waters
Swiftly flew and swiftly vanished.

Then in secret to the Panther
Raven told his tale of wonder.
Sad and sullen was the hunter;
Sorrow gnawed his heart like hunger;
All the old love came upon him,
And the new love was a hatred.
Hateful to his heart was Red Fox,
But he kept from her the secret--
Kept his knowledge of the murder.
Vain was she and very haughty---

Oge-ma-kwa [25] of the wigwam.
All in vain her fond caresses
On the Panther now she lavished;
When she smiled his face was sullen,
When she laughed he frowned upon her;
In her net of raven tresses
Now no more she held him tangled.
Now through all her fair disguises
Panther saw an evil spirit,
Saw the false heart of the woman.

On the tall cliff o'er the waters
Raven sat with Waub-omee-mee,
Sat and watched again and waited,
Till the wee one faint and famished,
Made a long and piteous wailing.
Then again the snow-white Sea-Gull
From afar where sky and waters
Meet in misty haze and mingle,
Straight toward the rocky highland,
Straight as flies the feathered arrow,
Straight to Raven and the infant,
With the silver chain around her,
Flew and touched the earth a woman.
In her arms she caught her infant--
Caught the wailing Waub-omee-mee,
Sang a lullaby and nursed her.

Sprang the Panther from the thicket--
Sprang and broke the chain of silver!
With his tomahawk he broke it.
Thus he freed the willing Sea-Gull--
From the Water-Spirit freed her,
From the Chief of Nebe-naw-baigs.

Very angry was the Spirit;
When he drew the chain of silver,
Drew and found that it was broken,
Found that he had lost the woman,
Very angry was the Spirit.
Then he raged beneath the waters,
Raged and smote the mighty waters,
Till the big sea boiled and bubbled,
Till the white-haired, bounding billows
Roared around the rocky head-lands,
Roared and plashed upon the shingle.

To the wigwam happy Panther,
As when first he wooed and won her,
Led his wife--as young and handsome.
For the waves of Gitchee Gumee
Washed away the frost and wrinkles,
And the Spirits by their magic
Made her young and fair forever.

In the wigwam sat the Red Fox,
Sat and sang a song of triumph,
For she little dreamed of danger,
Till the haughty hunter entered,
Followed by the happy mother,
Holding in her arms her infant.
Then the Red Fox saw the Sea-Gull--
Saw the dead a living woman,
One wild cry she gave despairing,
One wild cry as of a demon.
Up she sprang and from the wigwam
To the tall cliff flew in terror;
Frantic sprang upon the margin,
Frantic plunged into the water,
Headlong plunged into the waters.

Dead she tossed upon the billows;
For the Nebe-naw-baigs knew her,
Knew the crafty, wicked woman,
And they cast her from the waters,
Spurned her from their shining wigwams;
Far away upon the shingle
With the roaring waves they cast her.
There upon her bloated body
Fed the cawing crows and ravens,
Fed the hungry wolves and foxes.

On the shore of Gitchee Gumee,
Ever young and ever handsome,
Long and happy lived the Sea-Gull,
Long and happy with the Panther.
Evermore the happy hunter
Loved the mother of his children.
Like a red star many winters
Blazed their lodge-fire on the sea-shore.
O'er the Bridge of Souls together [26]
Walked the Sea-Gull and the Panther.
To the far-off Sunny Islands--
To the Summer-Land of Spirits,
Where no more the happy hunter
Feels the fangs of frost or famine,
Or the keen blasts of Kewaydin.
Where no pain or sorrow enters,
And no crafty, wicked woman,
Sea-Gull journeyed with her husband.
There she rules his lodge forever,
And the twain are very happy,
On the far-off Sunny Islands,
In the Summer-Land of Spirits.

On the rocks of Gitchee Gumee--
On the Pictured Rocks--the Legend
Long ago was traced and written,
Pictured by the Water Spirits;
But the storms of many winters
Have bedimmed the pictured story,
So that none can read the legend
But the Jossakeeds, the prophets. [27]


* * * * *


Note: The Dakota name for this beautiful lake is _Me-ne-a-tan-ka_--Broad
Water. By dropping the a before tanka, we have changed the name to _Big

I sit once more on breezy shore, at sunset in this glorious June.
I hear the dip of gleaming oar. I list the singer's merry tune.
Beneath my feet the waters beat and ripple on the polished stones.
The squirrel chatters from his seat: the bag-pipe beetle hums and drones.
The pink and gold in blooming wold,--the green hills mirrored in the lake!
The deep, blue waters, zephyr-rolled, along the murmuring pebbles break.
The maples screen the ferns, and lean the leafy lindens o'er the deep;
The sapphire, set in emerald green, lies like an Orient gem asleep.
The crimsoned west glows like the breast of _Rhuddin_ [a]
when he pipes in May,
As downward droops the sun to rest, and shadows gather on the bay.

[a] The Welsh name for the robin.

In amber sky the swallows fly, and sail and circle o'er the deep;
The light-winged night-hawks whir and cry; the silver pike and salmon leap.
The rising moon, the woods aboon, looks laughing down on lake and lea;
Weird o'er the waters shrills the loon; the high stars twinkle in the sea.
From bank and hill the whippowil sends piping forth his flute-like notes,
And clear and shrill the answers trill from leafy isles and silver throats.
The twinkling light on cape and height; the hum of voices on the shores;
The merry laughter on the night; the dip and plash of frolic oars,--
These tell the tale. On hill and dale the cities pour their gay and fair;
Along the sapphire lake they sail, and quaff like wine the balmy air.

'Tis well. Of yore from isle and shore
the smoke of Indian teepees [a] rose;
The hunter plied the silent oar; the forest lay in still repose.
The moon-faced maid, in leafy glade, her warrior waited from the chase;
The nut-brown, naked children played, and chased the gopher on the grass.
The dappled fawn, on wooded lawn, peeped out upon the birch canoe,
Swift-gliding in the gray of dawn along the silent waters blue.
In yonder tree the great _Wanm-dee_ [b] securely built her spacious nest;
The blast that swept the land-locked sea [c]
but rocked her clamorous babes to rest.
By grassy mere the elk and deer gazed on the hunter as he came;
Nor fled with fear from bow or spear;--"so wild were they that they were

[a] Lodges.
[b] Wanm-dee--the war-eagle of the Dakotas.
[c] Lake Superior.

Ah, birch canoe, and hunter, too, have long forsaken lake and shore:
He bade his father's bones adieu and turned away forevermore.
But still, methinks, on dusky brinks the spirit of the warrior moves;
At crystal springs the hunter drinks, and nightly haunts the spot he loves.
For oft at night I see the light of lodge-fires on the shadowy shores,
And hear the wail some maiden's sprite above her slaughtered warrior pours.
I hear the sob on Spirit Knob [a] of Indian mother o'er her child;
And on the midnight waters throb her low _yun-he-he's_ [b] weird and wild.
And sometimes, too, the light canoe glides like a shadow o'er the deep
At midnight, when the moon is low, and all the shores are hushed in sleep.

[a] Spirit Knob is a small hill up on a point in the lake in full view
from Wayzata. The spirit of a Dakota mother whose only child was drowned
in the lake during a storm, many, many years ago often wails at midnight
(so the Dakotas say), on this hill. So they called it _Wa-na-gee
Pa-ze-dan_--Spirit Knob. (Literally--little hill of the spirit.)
[b] Pronounced _Yoon-hay-hay_--the exclamation used by Dakota women
in their lament for the dead, and equivalent to "woe is me."

Alas--Alas!--for all things pass; and we shall vanish, too, as they;
We build our monuments of brass, and granite, but they waste away.


1 Called in the Dakota tongue "Hok-see-win-na-pee Wo-han-pee"--Virgins
Dance (or Feast).

2 One of the favorite and most exciting games of the Dakotas is
ball-playing. A smooth place on the prairie, or in winter, on a frozen lake
or river, is chosen. Each player has a sort of bat, called
"Ta-kee-cha-pse-cha," about thirty two inches long with a hoop at the lower
end four or five inches in diameter, interlaced with thongs of deer-skin,
forming a sort of pocket. With these bats they catch and throw the ball.
Stakes are set as bounds at a considerable distance from the centre on
either side. Two parties are then formed, and each chooses a leader or
chief. The ball (Ta-pa) is then thrown up half way between the bounds, and
the game begins, the contestants contending with their bats for the ball as
it falls. When one succeeds in getting it fairly in the pocket of his bat
he swings it aloft and throws it as far as he can towards the bound to
which his party is working, taking care to send it, if possible, where some
of his own side will take it up. Thus the ball is thrown and contended for
till one party succeeds in casting it beyond the bound of the opposite
party. A hundred players on a side are sometimes engaged in this exciting
game. Betting on the result often runs high. Moccasins, pipes, knives,
hatchets, blankets, robes and guns are hung on the prize-pole. Not
unfrequently horses are staked on the issue, and sometimes even women. Old
men and mothers are among the spectators praising their swift-footed sons,
and young wives and maidens are there to stimulate their husbands and
lovers. This game is not confined to the warriors, but is also a favorite
amusement of the Dakota maidens who generally play for prizes offered by
the chief or warriors. See Neill's Hist. Minn. pp 74-5; Riggs' "Takoo
Wakan," pp 44-5, and Mrs Eastman's Dacotah, p 55.

3 Pronounced Wah-zee-yah. The god of the North, or Winter. A fabled spirit
who dwells in the frozen North, in a great teepee of ice and snow. From his
mouth and nostrils he blows the cold blasts of winter. He and "I-to-ka-ga
Wi-cas-ta"--the spirit or god of the South (literally the "South Man"),
are inveterate enemies, and always on the war-path against each other. In
winter Wa-zi-ya advances southward and drives "I-to-ka-ga Wi-cas-ta" before
him to the Summer-Islands. But in Spring the god of the South, having
renewed his youth and strength, in the "Happy Hunting Grounds," is able to
drive Wa-zi-ya back again to his icy wigwam in the North. Some Dakotas say
that the numerous granite boulders, scattered over the prairies of
Minnesota and Dakota, were hurled in battle by Wa-zi-ya from his home in
the North at "I-to-ka-ga Wi-cas-ta." The Wa-zi-ya of the Dakotas is
substantially the name as "_Ka-be-bon-ik-ka_"--the "Winter-maker" of
the Ojibways.

4 Mendota--(meeting of the waters) at the confluence of the Mississippi and
Minnesota rivers. See view of the valley-front cut. The true Dakota word is
Mdo te--applied to the mouth of a river flowing into another,--also to the
outlet of a lake.

5 Pronounced Wee-wah-stay; literally--a beautiful virgin, or woman.

6 Cetan-wa-ka-wa-mani--"He who shoots pigeon-hawks walking"--was the full
Dakota name of the grandfather of the celebrated "Little Crow"
(Ta-o-ya-te-du-ta.--His Red People) who led his warriors in the terrible
outbreak in Minnesota in 1862-3. The Chippewas called the grandfather
"Ka-ka-kee"--crow or raven--from his war-badge, a crow-skin; and hence the
French traders and _courriers du bois_ called him "_Petit
Corbeau_"--Little Crow. This sobriquet, of which he was proud, descended
to his son, Wakinyan Tanka--Big Thunder, who succeeded him as chief; and
from Big Thunder to his son Ta-o-ya-te-du-ta, who became chief on the death
of Wakinyan Tanka. These several "Little Crows" were successively Chiefs
of the Light-foot, or Kapoza band of Dakotas. Kapoza, the principal village
of this band, was originally located on the east bank of the Mississippi
near the site of the city of St. Paul. Col. Minn. Hist. Soc., 1864, p. 29.
It was in later years moved to the west bank. The grandfather, whom I, for
short, call Wakawa, died the death of a brave in battle against the
Ojibways (commonly called Chippewas)--the hereditary enemies of the
Dakotas. Wakinyan Tanka.--Big Thunder, was killed by the accidental
discharge of his own gun. They were both buried with their kindred near the
"Wakan Teepee," the sacred Cave--(Carver's Cave). Ta-o-ya-te-du-ta, the
last of the Little Crows, was killed July 3, 1863, near Hutchinson,
Minnesota, by one Lamson, and his bones were duly "done up" for the
Historical Society of Minnesota. For a part of the foregoing information I
am indebted to Gen. H. H. Sibley. See Heard's Hist. Sioux War, and Neill's
Hist. Minnesota, Third Edition.

7 Harps-te-nah. The first-born _daughter_ of a Dakota is called
Winona; the second, Harpen; the third, Harpstina; the fourth. Waska; the
fifth, Weharka. The first born _son_ is called Chaske; the second,
Harpam; the third, Hapeda; the fourth, Chatun; the fifth, Harka. They
retain these names till others are given them on account of some action,
peculiarity, etc. The females often retain their child-names through life.

8 Wah-pah-sah was the hereditary name of a long and illustrious lineof
Dakota Chiefs. Wabashaw is a corrupt pronounciation. The name is a
contraction of "Wa-pa-ha-sa," which is from "Wa-ha-pa," the standard or
pole used in the Dakota dances, and upon which feathers of various colors
are tied, and not from "Wa-pa"--leaf or leaves, as has been generally
supposed. Therefore Wapasa means the Standard--and not the "Leaf-Shaker,"
as many writers have it. The principal village of these hereditary Chiefs
was Ke-uk-sa, or Ke-o-sa,--where now stands the fair city of Winona.
Ke-uk-sa signifies--The village of law-breakers; so-called because this
band broke the law or custom of the Dakotas against marrying blood
relatives of any degree. I get this information from Rev. Stephen R. Riggs,
author of the Dakota Grammar and Dictionary, "_Takoo Wakan_," etc.
Wapasa, grandfather of the last Chief of that name, and a contemporary of
Cetan-Wa-ka-wa-mani, was a noted Chief, and a friend of the British in the
war of the Revolution. Neill's Hist. Minn., pp. 225-9.

9 E-ho, E-to--Exclamations of surprise and delight.

10 Mah-gah--The wild-goose.

11 Tee-pee--A lodge or wigwam, often contracted to "tee."

12 Pronounced Mahr-pee-yah-doo-tah--literally, Cloud Red.

13 Pronounced Wahnmdee--The War-Eagle. Each feather worn by a warrior
represents an enemy slain or captured--man, woman or child; but the
Dakotas, before they became desperate under the cruel warfare of their
enemies, generally spared the lives of their captives, and never killed
women or infants, except in rare instances, under the _lex talionis_.
Neill's Hist. Minn., p. 112.

14 Mah-to--The polar bear--_ursus maritimus_. The Dakotas say that, in
olden times, white bears were often found about Rainy Lake and the Lake of
the Woods, in winter, and sometimes as far south as the mouth of the
Minnesota. They say one was once killed at White Bear Lake (but a few miles
from St. Paul and Minneapolis), and they therefore named the lake Mede
Mato--White Bear Lake.

15 The Ho-he (Ho-hay) are the Assiniboins or "Stone-roasters." Their home
is the region of the Assiniboin river in British America. They speak the
Dakota tongue, and originally were a band of that nation. Tradition says a
Dakota "Helen" was the cause of the separation and a bloody feud that
lasted for many years. The Hohes are called "Stone roasters," because,
until recently at least, they used "Wa-ta-pe" kettles and vessels made of
birch bark in which they cooked their food. They boiled water in these
vessels by heating stones and putting them in the water. The "wa-ta-pe"
kettle is made of the fibrous roots of the white cedar, interlaced and
tightly woven. When the vessel is soaked it becomes watertight.
[Snelling's] Tales of the North west, p 21. Mackenzie's Travels.

16 Hey-o-ka is one of the principal Dakota deities. He is a Giant, but can
change himself into a buffalo, a bear, a fish or a bird. He is called the
Anti-natural God or Spirit. In summer he shivers with cold, in winter he
suffers from heat; he cries when he laughs and he laughs when he cries, &c.
He is the reverse of nature in all things. Heyoka is universally feared and
reverenced by the Dakotas, but so severe is the ordeal that the Heyoka
Wacipee (the dance to Heyoka) is now rarely celebrated. It is said that the
"Medicine-men" use a secret preparation which enables them to handle fire
and dip their hands in boiling water without injury, and thereby gain great
_eclat_ from the uninitiated. The chiefs and the leading warriors
usually belong to the secret order of "Medicine-men," or "Sons of
Unktehee"--the Spirit of the Waters.

17 The Dakota name for the moon is Han-ye-tu-wee--literally, Night-Sun. He
is the twin brother of An-pe-tu-wee--the Day Sun. See note 70.

18 The Dakotas believe that the stars are the spirits of their departed

19 Tee--Contracted from teepee, lodge or wigwam, and means the same.

20 For all their sacred feasts the Dakotas kindle a new fire called "The
Virgin Fire." This is done with flint and steel, or by rubbing together
pieces of wood till friction produces fire. It must be done by a virgin,
nor must any woman, except a virgin, ever touch the "sacred armor" of a
Dakota warrior. White cedar is "Wakan"--sacred. See note 50. Riggs' "Tahkoo
Wakan," p. 84.

21 All Northern Indians consider the East a mysterious and sacred land
whence comes the sun. The Dakota name for the East is
Wee-yo-hee-yan-pa--the sunrise. The Ojibways call it Waub-o-nong--the white
land or land of light, and they have many myths, legends and traditions
relating thereto. Barbarous peoples of all times have regarded the East
with superstitious reverence, simply because the sun rises in that quarter.

22 See Mrs. Eastman's Dacotah, pp. 225-8, describing the feast to Heyoka.

23 This stone from which the Dakotas have made their pipes for ages, is
esteemed "wakan"--sacred. They call it I-yan-ska, probably from "iya," to
speak, and "ska," white, truthful, peaceful,--hence, peace-pipe, herald of
peace, pledge of truth, etc. In the cabinet at Albany, N.Y., there is a
very ancient pipe of this material which the Iroquois obtained from the
Dakotas. Charlevoix speaks of this pipe-stone in his History of New France.
LeSueur refers to the Yanktons as the village of the Dakotas at the
Red-Stone Quarry, See Neill's Hist. Minn., p. 514.

24 "Ho" is an exclamation of approval--yea, yes, bravo.

25 Buying is the honorable way of taking a wife among the Dakotas. The
proposed husband usually gives a horse or its, value in other articles to
the father or natural guardian of the woman selected--sometimes against her
will. See note 75.

26 The Dakotas believe that the _Aurora Borealis_ is an evil omen and
the threatening of an evil spirit, (perhaps Waziya, the Winter-god--some
say a witch, or a very ugly old woman). When the lights appear, danger
threatens, and the warriors shoot at, and often slay, the evil spirit, but
it rises from the dead again.

27 Se-so-kah--The Robin.

28 The spirit of Anpetu-sapa that haunts the Falls of St. Anthony with her
dead babe in her arms. See the Legend in Neill's Hist. Minn., or my "Legend
of the Falls."

29 Mee-coonk-shee--My daughter.

30 The Dakotas call the meteor, "Wakan-denda" (sacred fire) and
Wakan-wohlpa (sacred gift.) Meteors are messengers from the Land of
Spirits, warning of impending danger. It is a curious fact that the "sacred
stone" of the Mohammedans, in the Kaaba at Mecca, is a meteoric stone, and
obtains its sacred character from the fact that it fell from heaven. 31
Kah-no-te-dahn--The little, mysterious dweller in the woods. This spirit
lives in the forest in hollow trees. Mrs. Eastman's Dacotah, Pre. Rem.
xxxi. "The Dakota god of the woods--an unknown animal said to resemble a
man, which the Dakotas worship; perhaps, the monkey." Riggs' Dakota Dic.

32 The Dakotas believe that thunder is produced by the flapping of the
wings of an immense bird which they call Wakinyan--the Thunder-bird. Near
the source of the Minnesota River is a place called "Thunder-Tracks" where
the foot-prints of a "Thunder-bird" are seen on the rocks twenty-five miles
apart. Mrs. Eastman's Dacotah, p. 71. There are many Thunder-birds. The
father of all the Thunder-birds--"Wakinyan Tanka"--or "Big Thunder," has
his teepee on a lofty mountain in the far West. His teepee has four
openings, at each of which is a sentinel; at the east, a butterfly; at the
west, a bear; at the south, a red deer; at the north, a caribou. He has a
bitter enmity against Unktehee (god of waters) and often shoots his fiery
arrows at him, and hits the earth, trees, rocks, and sometimes men.
Wakinyan created wild-rice, the bow and arrow, the tomahawk and the spear.
He is a great war-spirit, and Wanmdee (the war-eagle) is his messenger. A
Thunder-bird (say the Dakotas) was once killed near Kapoza by the son of
Cetan-Wakawa-mani, and he there upon took the name of "Wakinyan
Tanka"--"Big Thunder."

33 Pronounced Tah-tahn-kah--Bison or Buffalo.

34 Enah--An exclamation of wonder. Eho--Behold! see there!

35 The Crees are the Knisteneaux of Alexander Mackenzie. See his account of
them, Mackenzie's Travels, (London 1801) p. xci. to cvii.

36 Lake Superior. The only names the Dakotas have for Lake Superior are
Mede Tanka or Tanka Mede--Great Lake, and Me-ne-ya-ta--literally,

37 April--Literally, the moon when the geese lay eggs. See note 71.

38 Carver's Cave at St. Paul was called by the Dakotas "Wakan
Teepee"--sacred lodge. In the days that are no more, they lighted their
Council-fires in this cave, and buried their dead near it. See Neill's
Hist. Minn., p. 207. Capt. Carver in his _Travels_, London, 1778, p.
63, et seq., describes this cave as follows: "It is a remarkable cave of an
amazing depth. The Indians term it Wakon-teebe, that is, the Dwelling of
the Great Spirit. The entrance into it is about ten feet wide, the height
of it five feet, the arch within is near fifteen feet high and about thirty
feet broad. The bottom of it consists of fine clear sand. About 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 to acquire a knowledge of it. I threw a small pebble towards
the interior parts of it with my utmost strength. I could hear that it fell
into the water, and notwithstanding it was of so small a size, it caused an
astonishing and horrible noise that reverberated through all those gloomy
regions. I found in this cave many Indian hieroglyphics, which appeared
very ancient, for time had nearly covered them with moss, so that it was
with difficulty I could trace them. They were cut in a rude manner upon the
inside of the walls, which were composed of a stone so extremely soft that
it might be easily penetrated with a knife: a stone everywhere to be found
near the Mississippi. This cave is only accessible by ascending a narrow,
steep passage that lies near the brink of the river. At a little distance
from this dreary cavern is the burying-place of several bands of the
Naudowessie (Dakota) Indians." Many years ago the roof fell in, but the
cave has been partially restored and is now used as a beer cellar.

39 Wah-kahn-dee--The lightning.

40 The Bloody River--the Red River was so-called on account of the numerous
Indian battles that have been fought on its banks. The Chippewas say that
its waters were colored red by the blood of many warriors slain on its
banks in the fierce wars between themselves and the Dakotas.

41 Tah--The Moose. This is the root-word for all ruminating animals;
Ta-tanka, buffalo--Ta-toka mountain antelope--Ta-hinca, the
red-deer--Ta-mdoka, the buck deer--Ta-hinca-ska, white deer (sheep).

42 Hogahn--Fish. Red Hogan, the trout.

43 Tipsanna (often called _tipsinna_) is a wild prairie turnip used
for food by the Dakotas. It grows on high, dry land, and increases from
year to year. It is eaten both cooked and raw.

44 Rio Tajo, (or Tagus), a river of Spain and Portugal.

"* * * * Bees of Trebizond--
Which from the sunniest flowers that glad
With their pure smile the gardens round,
Draw venom forth that drives men mad."

--_Thomas Moore_

46 Skee-skah--The Wood duck.

47 The Crocus. I have seen the prairies in Minnesota spangled with these
beautiful flowers in various colors before the ground was entirely free
from frost. The Datotas call them frost-flowers.

48 The "Sacred Ring" around the feast of the Virgins is formed by armed
warriors sitting, and none but a virgin must enter this ring. The warrior
who knows is bound on honor, and by old and sacred custom, to expose and
publicly denounce any tarnished maiden who dares to enter this ring, and
his word cannot be questioned--even by the chief. See Mrs Eastman's
Dacotah, p. 64.

49 Prairie's Pride.--This annual shrub, which abounds on many of the sandy
prairies in Minnesota, is sometimes called "tea-plant," "sage-plant," and
"red-root willow." I doubt if it has any botanic name. Its long plumes of
purple and gold are truly the "pride of the prairies."

50 The Dakotas consider white cedar "Wakan," (sacred). They use sprigs of
it at their feasts, and often burn it to destroy the power of evil spirits.
Mrs Eastman's Dacotah, p. 210.

51 Tahkoo-skahng-skang.--This deity is supposed to be invisible, yet
everywhere present; he is an avenger and a searcher of hearts. (Neill's
Hist. Minn., p. 57.) I suspect he was the chief spirit of the Dakotas
before the missionaries imported "Wakan Tanka"--(Great Spirit).

52 The Dakotas believe in "were-wolves" as firmly as did our Saxon
ancestors, and for similar reasons--the howl of the wolf being often
imitated as a decoy or signal by their enemies, the Ojibways.

53 Shee-sho-kah--The Robin.

54 The Dakotas cail the Evening Star the "_Virgin Star_," and believe
it to be the spirit of the virgin wronged at the feast.

55 Mille Lacs. This lake was discovered by DuLuth, and by him named Lac
Buade, in honor of Governor Frontenac of Canada, whose familyname was
Buade. The Dakota name for it is Mde Waksan--Spirit Lake.

56 The Ojibways imitate the hoot of the owl and the howl of the wolf to
perfection, and often use these cries as signals to each other in war and
the chase.

57 The Dakotas called the Ojibways the "Snakes of the Forest," on account
of their lying in ambush for their enemies.

58 Strawberries.

59 See-yo--The Prairie-hen.

60 Mahgah--The Wild-goose. _Fox-pups_. I could never see the propriety
of calling the young of foxes _kits_ or _kittens_, which mean
_little cats_. The fox belongs to the _canis_, or dog family and
not the _felis_, or cat family. If it is proper to call the young of
dogs and wolves _pups_, it is equally proper to so call the young of

61 When a Dakota is sick, he thinks the spirit of an enemy or some animal
has entered into his body, and the principal business of the "medicine
man"--_Wicasta Wakan_--is to cast out the "unclean spirit," with
incantations and charms. See Neill's Hist. Minn., pp. 66--8. The Jews
entertained a similar belief in the days of Jesus of Nazareth.

62 Wah-zee-yah's star--The North-star. See note 3.

63 The Dakotas, like our forefathers and all other barbarians, believe in
witches and witchcraft.

64 The Medo is a wild potato, it resembles the sweet potato in top and
taste. It grows in bottom-lands, and is much prized by the Dakotas for
food. The "Dakota Friend," for December, 1850.

65 The meteor--Wakan denda--Sacred fire.

66 Meetahwin--My bride.

67 Stoke--The body of a tree. This is an old English word of Saxon origin,
now changed to _stock_.

68 The _Via Lactea_ or Milky Way. The Dakotas call it
_Wanagee-Tach-anku_--The path-way of the spirits and believe that over
this path the spirits of the dead pass to the Spirit-land. See Riggs'
Tah-koo Wah-kan, p. 101.

69 Oonk-tay-hee--There are many Unktehees, children of the Great Unktehee,
who created the earth and man and who formerly dwelt in a vast cavern under
the Falls of St. Anthony. The Unktehee sometimes reveals himself in the
form of a huge buffalo-bull. From him proceed invisible influences. The
Great Unktehee created the earth. "Assembling in grand conclave all the
aquatic tribes he ordered them to bring up dirt from beneath the waters,
and proclaimed death to the disobedient. The beaver and otter forfeited
their lives. At last the muskrat went beneath the waters, and, after a long
time appeared at the surface, nearly exhausted, with some dirt. From this,
Unktehee fashioned the earth into a large circular plain. The earth being
finished, he took a deity, one of his own offspring, and grinding him to
powder, sprinkled it upon the earth, and this produced many worms. The
worms were then collected and scattered again. They matured into infants
and these were then collected and scattered and became full-grown Dakotas.
The bones of the mastodon, the Dakotas think, are the bones of Unktehees,
and they preserve the with the greatest care in the medicine bag." Neill's
Hist. Minn., p. 55. The Unktehees and the Thunder-birds are perpetually it
war. There are various accounts of the creation of man. Some say that at
the bidding of the Great Unktehee, men sprang full grown from the caverns
of the earth. See Riggs' "Tah-koo Wah-kan," and Mrs Eastman's Dacotah. The
Great Unktehee and the Great Thunder-bird had a terrible battle in the
bowels of the earth to determine which should be the ruler of the world.
See description in Legend of Winona.

70 Prononced Ahng-pay-too-wee--The Sun; literally the Day Sun, thus
distinguishing him from Han-ye-tuwee (Hahng-yay-too-wee) the night sun,
(the moon). They are twin brothers but Anpetuwee is the more powerful
Han-ye-tuwee receives his power from his brother and obeys him. He watches
over the earth while the Sun sleeps. The Dakotas believe the sun is the
father of life. Unlike the most of their other gods, he is beneficent and
kind; yet they worship him (in the sun-dance) in the most dreadful manner.
See Riggs' "Tah-koo Wah-kan," pp. 81-2, and Catlin's Riggs' "Okee-pa." The
moon is worshipped as the representative of the sun; and in the great
Sun-dance, which is usually held in the full of the moon, when the moon
rises the dancers turn their eyes on her (or him). Anpetuwee issues every
morning from the lodge of Han-nan-na (the Morning) and begins his journey
over the sky to his lodge in the land of shadows. Sometimes he walks over
on the Bridge (or path) of the Spirits--Wanagee Ta-chan-ku,--and sometimes
he sails over the sea of the skies in his shining canoe; but
_somehow_, and the Dakotas do not explain how, he gets back again to
the lodge of Hannanna in time to take a nap and eat his breakfast before
starting anew on his journey. The Dakotas swear by the sun. "_As
Anpe-tu-wee hears me, this is true_!" They call him Father and pray to
him --"_Wakan! Ate, on-she-ma-da._" "Sacred Spirit,--Father, have
mercy on me." As the Sun is the father, so they believe the Earth is the
mother, of life. Truly there is much philosophy in the Dakota mythology.
The Algonkins call the earth "_Me-suk-kum-mik-o-kwa_"--the
great-grandmother of all. Narrative of John Tanner, p. 193.

71 The Dakotas reckon their months by _moon_. They name their moons
from natural circumstances. They correspond very nearly with our months, as

January--Wee-te-rhee--The Hard Moon, i.e.--the cold moon.

February--Wee-ca-ta-wee--The Coon Moon.

March--Ista-wee-ca-ya-zang-wee--the sore eyes moon (from snow blindness.)

April--Maga-oka-da-wee--the moon when the geese lay eggs; also called
Wokada-wee--egg-moon, and sometimes Wato-papee-wee, the canoe moon, or moon
when the streams become free from ice.

May--Wo-zu-pee-wee--the planting moon.

June--Wazu-ste-ca-sa-wee--the strawberry moon

July--Wa-sun-pa-wee--moon when the geese shed their feathers, also called
Chang-pa-sapa-wee--Choke-Cherry moon, and
sometimes--Mna-rcha-rhca-wee--"The moon of the red blooming lilies",
literally, the red-lily moon.

August--Wasu-ton-wee--the ripe moon, i.e. Harvest Moon.

September--Psin-na-ke-tu-wee--the ripe rice moon.

October--Wa-zu-pee-wee or Wee-wa-zu-pee--the moon when wild rice is
gathered and laid up for winter.

November--Ta-kee-yu-hra-wee--the deer-rutting moon.

December--Ta-he-cha-psung-wee--the moon when deer shed their horns.

72 Oonk-to-mee--is a "bad spirit" in the form of a monstrous black spider.
He inhabits fens and marshes and lies in wait for his prey. At night he
often lights a torch (evidently the _ignis fatuus_ or Jack-a-lantern)
and swings it on the marshes to decoy the unwary into his toils.

73 The Dakotas have their stone idol, or god, called Toon-kan--or In-yan.
This god dwells in stone or rocks and is they say, the _oldest god of
all_--he is grandfather of all living things. I think, however that the
stone is merely the symbol of the everlasting, all pervading, invisible
_Ta-ku Wa-kan_--the essence of all life,--pervading all nature,
animate and inanimate. The Rev. S. R. Riggs who, for forty years, has been
a student of Dakota customs, superstitions etc., says, "Tahkoo Wahkan," p.
55 et seq. "The religious faith of the Dakota is not in his gods as such.
It is in an intangible, mysterious something of which they are only the
embodiment, and that in such measure and degree as may accord with the
individual fancy of the worshipper. Each one will worship some of these
divinities, and neglect or despise others, but the great object of all
their worship, whatever its chosen medium, is the _Ta-koo Wa-kan_,
which is the _supernatural_ and _mysterious_. No one term can
express the full meaning of the Dakotas _Wakan_. It comprehends all
mystery, secret power and divinity. Awe and reverence are its due, and it
is as unlimited in manifestation as it is in idea. All life is
_Wakan_; so also is everything which exhibits power, whether in action
as the winds and drifting clouds; or in passive endurance, as the boulder
by the wayside. For even the commonest sticks and stones have a spiritual
essence which must be reverenced as a manifestation of the all-pervading
mysterious power that fills the the universe."

74 Wazi-kute--Wah-ze-koo-tay; literally--Pine-shooter--he that shoots among
the pines. When Father Hennepin was at Mille Lacs in 1679-80, Wazi-kute was
the head Chief (Itancan) of the band of Isantees. Hennepin writes his name-
Ouasicoude and translates it--the "Pierced Pine." See Shea's Hennepin p.
234, Minn. Hist. Coll. vol. I. p. 316.

75 When a Dakota brave wishes to "propose" to a "dusky maid", he visits her
teepee at night after she has retired, or rather, laid down in her robe to
sleep. He lights a splinter of wood and holds it to her face. If she blows
out the light, he is accepted; if she covers her head and leaves it
burning, he is rejected. The rejection however is not considered final till
it has been thrice repeated. Even then the maiden is often bought of her
parents or guardian, and forced to become the wife of the rejected suitor.
If she accepts the proposal, still the suitor must buy her of her parents
with suitable gifts.

76 The Dakotas called the Falls of St. Anthony the Ha-Ha--the _loud
laughing_, or _roaring_. The Mississippi River they called Ha-Ha
Wa-kpa--River of the Falls. The Ojibway name for the Falls is
Ka-ka-bih-kung. Minnehaha is a combination of two Dakota words--Mini--water
and Ha-Ha--Falls; but it is not the name by which the Dakotas designated
that cataract. Some authorities say they called it I-ha-ha pronounced
E-rhah-rhah--lightly laughing. Rev. S. W. Pond, whose long residence as a
missionary among the Dakotas in this immediate vicinity makes him an
authority that can hardly be questioned, says "they called the Falls of
Minnehaha "Mini-i-hrpa-ya dan," and it had no other name in Dakota. It
means Little Falls and nothing else." Letter to the author.

77 The game of the Plum-stones is one of the favorite games of the Dakotas.
Hennepin was the first to describe this game in his "Description de la
Louisiane," Paris, 1683, and he describes it very accurately. See Shea's
translation p. 301. The Dakotas call this game _Kan-soo Koo
tay-pe_--shooting plum-stones. Each stone is painted black on one side
and red on the other; on one side they grave certain figures which make the
stones "Wakan." They are placed in a dish and thrown up like dice; indeed
the game is virtually a game of dice. Hennepin says: "There are some so
given to this game that they will gamble away even their great coat. Those
who conduct the game cry at the top of their voices when they rattle the
platter and they strike their shoulders so hard as to leave them all black
with the blows."

78 Wa'tanka--contraction of Wa-kan Tanka--Great Spirit. The Dakotas had no
Wakan Tanka--or Wakan-peta--fire spirit--till whitemen imported them. There
being no name for the Supreme Being in the Dakota tongue (except Ta-ku
Wakan--See note 73)--and all their gods and spirits being Wakan--the
missionaries named God in Dakota--"_Wakan Tanka_"--which means _Big
Spirit_, or _The Big Mysterious_.

79 The Dakotas called Lake Calhoun--Mde-mdo-za--Loon Lake. They also called
it--_Re-ya-ta-mde_--the lake back from the river. They called Lake
Harriet--Mde-unma--the other lake--or (perhaps) Mde uma-Hazel-nut Lake. The
lake nearest Calhoun on the north--Lake of the Isles--they called Wi-ta
Mde--Island-Lake. Lake Minnetonka they called Me-me-a-tan-ka--_Broad

80 The animal called by the French _voyageurs_ the _cabri_ (the
kid) is found only on the prairies. It is of the goat kind, smaller than a
deer, and so swift that neither horse nor dog can overtake it. (Snelling's)
"Tales of the Northwest," p. 286. note 15. It is the gazelle, or prairie
antelope, called by the Dakotas Tato-ka-dan--little antelope. It is the
_Pish-tah-te-koosh_ of the Algonkin tribes, "reckoned the fleetest
animal in the prairie country about the Assinneboin." Captivity and
Adventures of John Tanner, p. 301.

81 The Wicastapi Wakanpi (literally, _men supernatural_) are the
"Medicine-men" or Magicians of the Dakotas. They call themselves the sons,
or disciples of Unktehee. In their rites, ceremonies, tricks and
pretensions they closely resemble the Dactyli, Ida and Curetes of the
ancient Greeks and Romans, the Magi of the Persians, and the Druids of
Britain. Their pretended intercourse with spirits, their powers of magic
and divination, and their rites are substantially the same, and point
unmistakably to a common origin. The Dakota "Medicine-Man" can do the
"rope-trick" of the Hindoo magician to perfection. The teepee used for the
_Wakan Wacipee_--or Sacred Dance--is called the _Wakan Teepee_--
the Sacred Teepee. Carver's Cave at St. Paul was also called Wakan Teepee,
because the Medicine-men or magicians often held their dances and feasts in
it. For a full account of the rites, etc., see Riggs' "Tahkoo Wahkan",
Chapter VI. The _Ta-sha-ke_--literally, "Deer-hoofs"--is a rattle made
by hanging the hard segments of deer-hoofs to a wooden rod a foot
long--about an inch in diameter at the handle end, and tapering to a point
at the other. The clashing of these horny bits makes a sharp, shrill sound
something like distant sleigh-bells. In their incantations over the sick
they sometimes use the gourd-shell rattle.

The Chan-che-ga--is a drum or "Wooden Kettle." The hoop of the drum is from
a foot to eighteen inches in diameter, and from three to ten inches deep.
The skin covering is stretched over one end making a drum with one end
only. The magical drum sticks are ornamented with down, and heads of birds
or animals are carved on them. This makes them Wakan.

The flute called _Cho-tanka_ (big pith) is of two varieties--one made
of sumac, the pith of which is punched out, etc. The second variety is made
of the long bone of the wing or thigh of the swan or crane. They call the
first the _bubbling chotanka_ from the tremulous note it gives when
blown with all the holes stopped. Riggs' Tahkoo Wahkan, p. 476, et seq.

E-ne-pee--vapor bath is used as a purification preparatory to the sacred
feasts. The vapor bath is taken in this way: "A number of poles the size of
hoop-poles or less are taken, and their larger ends being set in the ground
in a circle, the flexible tops are bent over and tied in the centre. This
frame work is then covered with robes and blankets, a small hole being left
on one side for an entrance. Before the door a fire is built, and round
stones about the size of a man's head are heated in it. When hot, they are
rolled within, and the door being closed, steam is made by pouring water on
them. The devotee, stripped to the skin, sits within this steam-tight dome,
sweating profusely at every pore, until he is nearly suffocated. Sometimes
a number engage in it together and unite their prayers and songs." "Tahkoo
Wakan," p. 83. Father Hennepin was subjected to the vapour-bath at Mille
Lacs by Chief Aqui-pa-que-tin, two hundred years ago. After describing the
method Hennepin says: "When he had made me sweat thus three times in a
week, I felt as strong as ever." Shea's Hennepin, p. 228. For a very full
and accurate account of the Medicine men of the Dakotas, and their rites
etc., see Chap. II, Neill's Hist. Minnesota.

82 The sacred _O-zu-ha_--or Medicine-sack must be made of the skin of
the otter, the coon, the weasel, the squirrel, the loon, a certain kind of
fish or the skins of serpents. It must contain four kinds of medicine (or
magic) representing birds, beasts, herbs and trees, viz: The down of the
female swan colored red, the roots of certain grasses, bark from the roots
of cedar trees, and hair of the buffalo. "From this combination proceeds a
Wakan influence so powerful that no human being unassisted can resist it."
Wonderful indeed must be the magic power of these Dakota Druids to lead
such a man aa the Rev. S. R. Riggs to say of them: "By great shrewdness,
untiring industry, and more or less of _actual demoniacal possession_,
they convince great numbers of their fellows, and in the process are
convinced _themselves_, of their sacred character and office." Tahkoo
Wakan, pp. 88-9

83 Gah-ma-na-tek-wahk--_the river of many falls_--is the Ojibway name
of the river commonly called Kaministiguia, near the mouth of which is
situate Fort William, on the site of DuLuth's old fort. The view on
Thunder-Bay is one of the grandest in America. Thunder-Cap, with its
sleeping stone-giant, looms up into the heavens. Here
_Ka-be-bon-ikka_--the Ojibway's god of storms, flaps his huge wings
and makes the Thunder. From this mountain he sends forth the rain, the
snow, the hail, the lightning and the tempest. A vast giant, turned to
stone by his magic, lies asleep at his feet. The island called by the
Ojibways the _Mak-i-nak_ (the turtle) from its tortoise-like shape,
lifts its huge form in the distance. Some "down-east" Yankee, called it
"Pie-Island," from its (to his hungry imagination) fancied resemblance to a
pumpkin pie, and the name, like all bad names, _sticks_. McKay's
Mountain on the main-land, a perpendicular rock more than a thousand feet
high, up-heaved by the throes of some vast volcano, and numerous other bold
and precipitous head lands, and rock-built islands, around which roll the
sapphire-blue waters of the fathomless bay, present some of the most
magnificent views to be found on either continent.

84 The Mission of the Holy Ghost--at La Pointe on the isle
Waug-a-ba-me--(winding view) in the beautiful bay of Cha-quam-egon-was
founded by the Jesuits about the year 1660, and Father Rene Menard was the
first priest at this point. After he was lost in the wilderness, Father
Glaude Allouez permanently established ihe mission in 1665. The famous
Father Marquette, who took Allouez's place, Sept. 13. 1669, writing to his
Superior, thus describes the Dakotas: "The Nadouessi are the Iroquois of
this country, beyond La Pointe, _but less faithless, and never attack
till attacked._ Their language is entirely different from the Huron and
Algonquin. They have many villages, but are widely scattered. They have
very extraordinary customs. They principally use the calumet. They do not
speak at great feasts, and when a stranger arrives give him to eat of a
wooden fork, as we would a child. All the lake tribes make war on them, but
with small success. They have false oats, (wild rice) use little canoes,
_and keep their word strictly_." Neill's Hist. Minn., p. 111.

85 Michabo--the Good, Great Spirit of the Algonkins. In Autumn, in the moon
of the falling leaf, ere he composes himself to his winter's sleep, he
fills his great pipe and takes a god-like smoke. The balmy clouds from his
pipe float over the hills and woodland, filling the air with the haze of
"Indian Summer." Brinton's Myths of the New World, p. 163.

86 Pronounced _Kah-thah-gah_--literally, _the place of waves and
foam_. This was the principal village of the Isantee band of Dakotas two
hundred years ago, and was located at the Falls of St. Anthony, which the
Dakotas called the _Ha-ha_--pronounced _Rhah-rhah_--the _loud,
laughing waters_. The Dakotas believed that the Falls were in the centre
of the earth. Here dwelt the Great Unktehee, the creator of the earth and
man; and from this place a path led to the Spirit-land. DuLuth undoubtedly
visited Kathaga in the year 1679. In his "Memoir" (Archives of the Ministry
of the Marine) addressed to Seignelay, 1685, he says: "On the 2nd of July,
1679, I had the honor to plant his Majesty's arms in the great village of
the Nadouecioux called Izatys, where never had a Frenchman been, etc."
_Izatys_ is here used not as the name of the village, but as the name
of the band--the Isantees. _Nadouecioux_ was a name given the Dakotas
generally by the early French traders and the Ojibways. See Shea's
Hennepin's Description of Louisiana pp. 203 and 375. The villages of the
Dakotas were not permanent towns. They were hardly more than camping
grounds, occupied at intervals and for longer or shorter periods, as suited
the convenience of the hunters: yet there were certain places, like Mille
Lacs, the Falls of St. Anthony, Kapoza (near St. Paul), Remnica, (where the
city of Red Wing now stands), and Keuxa (or Keoza) on the site of the city
of Winona, so frequently occupied by several of the bands as to be
considered their chief villages respectively.


1 Kay-oshk is the Ojibway name of Sea-Gull.

2 Gitchee--great,--Gumee--sea or lake,--Lake Superior; also often called
Ochipwe Gitchee Gumee, Great Lake (or sea) of the Ojibways.

3 Ne-me-Shomis--my grandfather. "In the days of my Grandfather" is the
Ojibway's preface to all his traditions and legends.

4 Waub--white---O-jeeg,--fisher, (a furred animal.) White Fisher was the
name of a noted Chippewa Chief who lived on the south shore of Lake
Superior many years ago. Schoolcraft married one of his descendants.

5 Ma-kwa or mush-kwa--the bear.

6 The Te-ke-nah-gun is a board upon one side of which a sort of basket is
fastened or woven with thongs of skin or strips of cloth. In this the babe
is placed, and the mother carries it on her back. In the wigwam the
tekenagun is often suspended by a cord to the lodge-poles and the mother
swings her babe in it.

7 Wabose--the rabbit. Penay, the pheasant. At certain seasons the pheasant
drums with his wings.

8 Kaug, the porcupine. Kenew. the war-eagle.

9 Ka-be-bon-ik-ka is the god of storms, thunder, lightning, etc. His home
is on Thunder-Cap at Thunder-Bay, Lake Superior. By his magic, the giant
that lies on the mountain was turned to stone. He always sends warnings
before he finally sends the severe cold of winter, in order to give all
creatures time to prepare for it.

10 Kewaydin or Kewaytin, is the North-wind or North-west wind.

11 Algonkin is the general name applied to all tribes that speak the
Ojibway language or dialects of it.

12 This is the favorite "love-broth" of the Ojibway squaws. The warrior who
drinks it immediately falls desperately in love with the woman who gives it
to him. Various tricks are devised to conceal the nature of the "medicine"
and to induce the warrior to drink it; but when it is mixed with a liberal
quantity of "fire-water" it is considered irresistable.

13 Translation:
Woe-is-me! Woe-is-me!
Great Spirit, behold me!
Look, Father; have pity upon me!
Woe-is-me! Woe-is-me!

14 Snow-storms from the North-west.

15 The Ojibways, like the Dakotas, call the _Via Lactea_ (Milky Way)
the Pathway of the Spirits.

16 Shingebis, the diver, is the only water-fowl that remains about Lake
Superior all winter. See Schoolcraft's Hiawatha Legends, p. 113.

17 Waub-ese--the white swan.

18 Pe-boan, Winter, is represented as an old man with long white hair and

19 Se-gun is Spring or Summer. This beautiful allegory has been "done into
verse" by Longfellow in _Hiawatha_. I took my version from the lips of
an old Chippewa Chief. I have compared it with Schoolcraft's version, from
which Mr. Longfellow evidently took his.

20 Nah--look, see. Nashke--behold.

21 Kee-zis--the sun,--the father of life. Waubunong--or Waub-o-nong--is
the White Land or Land of Light,--the Sun-rise, the East.

22 The Bridge of Stars spans the vast sea of the skies, and the sun and
moon walk over on it.

23 The Miscodeed is a small white flower with a pink border. It is the
earliestblooming wild-flower on the shores of Lake Superior, and belongs to
the crocus family.

24 The Ne-be-naw-baigs, are Water-spirits; they dwell in caverns in the
depths of the lake, and in some respects resemble the Unktehees of the

25 Ogema, Chief,--Ogema-kwa--female Chief. Among the Algonkin tribes women
are sometimes made chiefs. Net-no-kwa, who adopted Tanner as her son, was
Oge-ma-kwa of a band of Ottawas. See John Tanner's Narrative, p. 36.

26 The "Bridge of Souls" leads from the earth over dark and stormy waters
to the Spirit-land. The "Dark River" seems to have been a part of the
superstition of all nations.

27 The Jossakeeds of the Ojibways are sooth-sayers who are able, by the aid
of spirits, to read the past as well as the future.


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