Old Indian Days
Charles Eastman [#3 in our Eastman series]
Part 3 out of 4
tomahawks over their heads. I urged my horse
to his best speed, for I felt that if they should
overtake me, nothing could save me! My
friend, White Elk, here, was one of that war-
"I saw that I had a fair lead and the best
horse, and was gaining upon them, when about
two miles out I met some more of the party
who had lingered behind the rest. I was sur-
"I turned toward the north, to a deep gulch
that I knew I should find there, and I led my
horse along a narrow and slippery ridge to a
deep hole. Here I took up my position. I
guarded the pass with my bow and arrows, and
they could not reach me unless they should fol-
low the ridge in single file. I knew that they
would not storm my position, for that is not the
Indian way of fighting, but I supposed that
they would try to tire me out. They yelled and
hooted, and shot many bullets and arrows over
my head to terrify me into surrender, but I re-
mained motionless and silent.
"Night came, with a full round moon. All
was light as day except the place where I stood,
half frozen and not daring to move. The bot-
tom of the gulch was as black as a well and
almost as cold. The wolves howled all around
me in the stillness.
At last I heard the footsteps of horses re-
treating, and then no other sound. Still I dared
not come out. I must have slept, for it was
dawn when I seemed to hear faintly the yelling
of warriors, and then I heard my own name.
"'Zuyamani, tokiya nunka huwo?' (Where
are you, Zuyamani?) they shouted. A party
of my friends had come out to meet me and had
followed our trail. I was scarcely able to walk
when I came out, but they filled the pipe and
held it up to me, as is done in recognition of
distinguished service. They escorted me into
the post, singing war songs and songs of brave
deeds, and there I delivered up his letters to the
Again the drum was struck and the old men
cheered Zuyamani, who added:
"I think that Poor Dog was right, for the
Great Father never gave me any credit, nor did
he ever reward me for what I had done. Yet
I have not been without honor, for my own
people have not forgotten me, even though I
went upon the white man's errand."
THE GRAVE OF THE DOG
The full moon was just clear of the high
mountain ranges. Surrounded by a
ring of bluish haze, it looked almost
as if it were frozen against the impalpable blue-
black of the reckless midwinter sky.
The game scout moved slowly homeward,
well wrapped in his long buffalo robe, which was
securely belted to his strong loins; his quiver
tightly tied to his shoulders so as not to impede
his progress. It was enough to carry upon his
feet two strong snow-shoes; for the snow was
deep and its crust too thin to bear his weight.
As he emerged from the lowlands into the
upper regions, he loomed up a gigantic figure
against the clear, moonlit horizon. His pic-
turesque foxskin cap with all its trimmings was
incrusted with frost from the breath of his nos-
trils, and his lagging footfall sounded crisply.
The distance he had that day covered was enough
for any human endurance; yet he was neither
faint nor hungry; but his feet were frozen into
the psay, the snow-shoes, so that he could not
run faster than an easy slip and slide.
At last he reached the much-coveted point--
the crown of the last ascent; and when he smelled
fire and the savory odor of the jerked buffalo
meat, it well-nigh caused him to waver! But he
must not fail to follow the custom of untold ages,
and give the game scout's wolf call before enter-
Accordingly he paused upon the highest point
of the ridge and uttered a cry to which the
hungry cry of a real wolf would have seemed
but a coyote's yelp in comparison! Then it was
that the rest of the buffalo hunters knew that
their game scout was returning with welcome
news; for the unsuccessful scout enters the camp
A second time he gave the call to assure his
hearers that their ears did not deceive them. The
gray wolves received the news with perfect un-
derstanding. It meant food! "Woo-o-o-o!
woo-o-o-o!" came from all directions, especially
from the opposite ridge. Thus the ghostly, cold,
weird night was enlivened with the music from
many wild throats.
Down the gradual slope the scout hastened;
his footfall was the only sound that broke the
stillness after the answers to his call had ceased.
As he crossed a little ridge an immense wolf
suddenly confronted him, and instead of retreat-
ing, calmly sat up and gazed steadfastly into
"Welcome, welcome, friend!" the hunter
spoke as he passed.
In the meantime, the hunters at the temporary
camp were aroused to a high pitch of excitement.
Some turned their buffalo robes and put them
on in such a way as to convert themselves into
make-believe bison, and began to tread the snow,
while others were singing the buffalo song, that
their spirits might be charmed and allured within
the circle of the camp-fires. The scout, too, was
singing his buffalo bull song in a guttural, lowing
chant as he neared the hunting camp. Within
arrow-shot he paused again, while the usual cere-
monies were enacted for his reception. This
done, he was seated with the leaders in a chosen
"It was a long run," he said, "but there were
no difficulties. I found the first herd directly
north of here. The second herd, a great one,
is northeast, near Shell Lake. The snow is deep.
The buffalo can only follow their leader in their
"Hi, hi, hi!" the hunters exclaimed solemnly
in token of gratitude, raising their hands heaven-
ward and then pointing them toward the ground.
"Ho, kola! one more round of the buffalo-
pipe, then we shall retire, to rise before daybreak
for the hunt," advised one of the leaders. Si-
lently they partook in turn of the long-stemmed
pipe, and one by one, with a dignified "Ho!"
departed to their teepees.
The scout betook himself to his little old buf-
falo teepee, which he used for winter hunting
expeditions. His faithful Shunka, who had been
all this time its only occupant, met him at the
entrance as dogs alone know how to welcome a
lifelong friend. As his master entered he
stretched himself in his old-time way, from the
tip of his tail to that of his tongue, and finished
by curling both ends upward.
"Ho, mita shunka, eat this; for you must
be hungry!" So saying, the scout laid before
his canine friend the last piece of his dried buf-
falo meat. It was the sweetest meal ever eaten
by a dog, judging by his long smacking of his
lips after he had swallowed it!
The hunting party was soon lost in heavy
slumber. Not a sound could be heard save the
gnawing of the ponies upon the cottonwood
bark, which was provided for them instead of
hay in the winter time.
All about Shell Lake the bison were gathered
in great herds. The unmistakable signs of the
sky had warned them of approaching bad
weather. The moon's robe was girdled with the
rainbow wampum of heaven. The very music
of the snow under their feet had given them
warning. On the north side of Shell Lake there
were several deep gulches, which were the homes
of every wanderer of the plains at such a time
at this. When there was a change toward severe
weather, all the four-footed people headed for
this lake. Here was a heavy growth of reeds,
rushes, and coarse grass, making good shelters,
and also springs, which afforded water after the
lake was frozen solid. Hence great numbers of
the bison had gathered here.
When Wapashaw, the game scout, had rolled
himself in his warm buffalo robe and was sound
asleep, his faithful companion hunter, the great
Esquimaux wolf dog, silently rose and again
stretched himself, then stood quiet for a moment
as if meditating. It was clear that he knew well
what he had planned to do, but was considering
how he should do it without arousing any sus-
picion of his movements. This is a dog's art,
and the night tricks and marauding must always
be the joy and secret of his life!
Softly he emerged from the lodge and gave
a sweeping glance around to assure him that
there were none to spy upon him. Suspiciously
he sniffed the air, as if to ascertain whether
there could be any danger to his sleeping master
while he should be away.
His purpose was still a secret. It may be that
it was not entirely a selfish one, or merely the
satisfying of his inherited traits. Having fully
convinced himself of the safety of the unguarded
camp, he went forth into the biting cold. The
moon was now well up on the prairies of the sky.
There were no cloud hills in the blue field above
to conceal her from view. Her brilliant light
set on fire every snow gem upon the plains and
hillsides about the hunters' camp.
Up the long ascent he trotted in a northerly
direction, yet not following his master's trail.
He was large and formidable in strength, com-
bining the features of his wild brothers of the
plains with those of the dogs who keep company
with the red men. His jet-black hair and sharp
ears and nose appeared to immense advantage
against the spotless and jeweled snow, until pres-
ently his own warm breath had coated him with
After a time Shunka struck into his master's
trail and followed it all the way, only taking a
short cut here and there when by dog instinct
he knew that a man must go around such a point
to get to his destination. He met many travelers
during the night, but none had dared to approach
him, though some few followed at a distance,
as if to discover his purpose.
At last he reached Shell Lake, and there be-
held a great gathering of the herds! They stood
in groups, like enormous rocks, no longer black,
but white with frost. Every one of them emitted
a white steam, quickly frozen into a fine snow
in the air.
Shunka sat upon his haunches and gazed.
"Wough, this is it!" he said to himself. He
had kept still when the game scout gave the wolf
call, though the camp was in an uproar, and
from the adjacent hills the wild hunters were
equally joyous, because they understood the
meaning of the unwonted noise. Yet his curios-
ity was not fully satisfied, and he had set out to
discover the truth, and it may be to protect or
serve his master in case of danger.
At daybreak the great dog meekly entered his
master's rude teepee, and found him already pre-
paring for the prospective hunt. He was filling
his inside moccasins full of buffalo hair to serve
as stockings, over which he put on his large buf-
falo moccasins with the hair inside, and adjusted
his warm leggings. He then adjusted his snow-
shoes and filled his quiver full of good arrows.
The dog quietly lay down in a warm place, mak-
ing himself as small as possible, as if to escape
observation, and calmly watched his master.
"Ho, ho, ho, kola! Enakanee, enakanee!"
shouted the game herald. "It is always best
to get the game early; then their spirits can take
flight with the coming of a new day!"
All had now donned their snow-shoes. There
was no food left; therefore no delay to prepare
"It is very propitious for our hunt," one ex-
claimed; "everything is in our favor. There is
a good crust on the snow, and the promise of a
good clear day!"
Soon all the hunters were running in single
file upon the trail of the scout, each Indian closely
followed by his trusty hunting dog. In less than
two hours they stood just back of the low ridge
which rounded the south side of Shell Lake.
The narrow strip of land between its twin
divisions was literally filled with the bison. In
the gulches beyond, between the dark lines of
timber, there were also scattered groups; but the
hunters at once saw their advantage over the
herd upon the peninsula.
"Hechetu, kola! This is well, friends!" ex-
claimed the first to speak. "These can be forced
to cross the slippery ice and the mire around the
springs. This will help us to get more meat.
Our people are hungry, and we must kill many
in order to feed them!"
"Ho, ho, ho!" agreed all the hunters.
"And it is here that we can use our companion
hunters best, for the shunkas will intimidate and
bewilder the buffalo women," said an old man.
"Ugh, he is always right! Our dogs must
help us here. The meat will be theirs as well
as ours," another added.
"Tosh, kola! The game scout's dog is the
greatest shunka of them all! He has a mind near
like that of a man. Let him lead the attack of
his fellows, while we crawl up on the opposite
side and surround the buffalo upon the slippery
ice and in the deceitful mire," spoke up a third.
So it was agreed that the game scout and his
Shunka should lead the attack of the dogs.
"Woo, woo, woo!" was the hoarse signal
from the throat of the game scout; but his voice
was drowned by the howling and barking of the
savage dogs as they made their charge. In a
moment all was confusion among the buffalo.
Some started this way, others that, and the great
mass swayed to and fro uncertainly. A few were
ready to fight, but the snow was too deep for a
countercharge upon the dogs, save on the ice just
in front of them, where the wind had always full
sweep. There all was slippery and shining! In
their excitement and confusion the bison rushed
upon this uncertain plain.
Their weight and the momentum of their rush
carried them hopelessly far out, where they were
again confused as to which way to go, and many
were stuck in the mire which was concealed by
the snow, except here and there an opening above
a spring from which there issued a steaming
vapor. The game scout and his valiant dog led
on the force of canines with deafening war-cries,
and one could see black heads here and there pop-
ping from behind the embankments. As the
herd finally swept toward the opposite shore,
many dead were left behind. Pierced by the ar-
rows of the hunters, they lay like black mounds
upon the glassy plain.
It was a great hunt! "Once more the camp
will be fed," they thought, "and this good for-
tune will help us to reach the spring alive!"
A chant of rejoicing rang out from the op-
posite shore, while the game scout unsheathed
his big knife and began the work which is ever
the sequel of the hunt--to dress the game; al-
though the survivors of the slaughter had
scarcely disappeared behind the hills. The dogs
had all run back to their respective masters, and
this left the scout and his companion Shunka
alone. Some were appointed to start a camp
in a neighboring gulch among the trees, so that
the hunters might bring their meat there and eat
before setting out for the great camp on the Big
All were busily skinning and cutting up the
meat into pieces convenient for carrying, when
suddenly a hunter called the attention of those
near him to an ominous change in the atmos-
"There are signs of a blizzard! We must
hurry into the near woods before it reaches us!"
Some heard him; others did not. Those who
saw or heard passed on the signal and hurried
toward the wood, where others had already ar-
ranged rude shelters and gathered piles of dry
wood for fuel.
Around the several camp-fires the hunters sat
or stood, while slices of savory meat were broiled
and eaten with a relish by the half-starved men.
"Ho, kola! Eat this, friend!" said they to
one another as one finished broiling a steak of
the bison and offered it to his neighbor.
But the storm had now fairly enveloped them
in whirling whiteness. "Woo, woo!" they
called to those who had not yet reached camp.
One after another answered and emerged from
the blinding pall of snow. At last none were
missing save the game scout and his Shunka!
The hunters passed the time in eating and tell-
ing stories until a late hour, occasionally giving
a united shout to guide the lost one should he
chance to pass near their camp.
"Fear not for our scout, friends!" finally ex-
claimed a leader among them. "He is a brave
and experienced man. He will find a safe rest-
ing-place, and join us when the wind ceases to
rage." So they all wrapped themselves in their
robes and lay down to sleep.
All that night and the following day it was
impossible to give succor, and the hunters felt
much concern for the absent. Late in the second
night the great storm subsided.
"Ho, ho! Iyotanka! Rise up!" So the
first hunter to awaken aroused all the others.
As after every other storm, it was wonderfully
still; so still that one could hear distinctly the
pounding feet of the jack-rabbits coming down
over the slopes to the willows for food. All dry
vegetation was buried beneath the deep snow,
and everywhere they saw this white-robed crea-
ture of the prairie coming down to the woods.
Now the air was full of the wolf and coyote
game call, and they were seen in great numbers
upon the ice.
"See, see! the hungry wolves are dragging
the carcasses away! Harken to the war cries of
the scout's Shunka! Hurry, hurry!" they urged
one another in chorus.
Away they ran and out upon the lake; now
upon the wind-swept ice, now upon the crusted
snow; running when they could, sliding when
they must. There was certainly a great concourse
of the wolves, whirling in frantic circles, but con-
tinually moving toward the farther end of the
lake. They could hear distinctly the hoarse bark
of the scout's Shunka, and occasionally the muf-
fled war-whoop of a man, as if it came from
under the ice!
As they approached nearer the scene they
could hear more distinctly the voice of their
friend, but still as it were from underground.
When they reached the spot to which the wolves
had dragged two of the carcasses of the buffalo,
Shunka was seen to stand by one of them, but
at that moment he staggered and fell. The hunt-
ers took out their knives and ripped up the
frozen hide covering the abdominal cavity. It
revealed a warm nest of hay and buffalo hair
in which the scout lay, wrapped in his own
He had placed his dog in one of the carcasses
and himself in another for protection from the
storm; but the dog was wiser than the man, for
he kept his entrance open. The man lapped the
hide over and it froze solidly, shutting him se-
curely in. When the hungry wolves came
Shunka promptly extricated himself and held
them off as long as he could; meanwhile, sliding
and pulling, the wolves continued to drag over
the slippery ice the body of the buffalo in which
his master had taken refuge. The poor, faithful
dog, with no care for his own safety, stood by
his imprisoned master until the hunters came up.
But it was too late, for he had received more
than one mortal wound.
As soon as the scout got out, with a face more
anxious for another than for himself, he ex-
"Where is Shunka, the bravest of his tribe?"
"Ho, kola, it is so, indeed; and here he lies,"
replied one sadly.
His master knelt by his side, gently stroking
the face of the dog.
"Ah, my friend; you go where all spirits live!
The Great Mystery has a home for every living
creature. May he permit our meeting there!"
At daybreak the scout carried him up to one
of the pretty round hills overlooking the lake,
and built up around him walls of loose stone.
Red paints were scattered over the snow, in ac-
cordance with Indian custom, and the farewell
song was sung.
Since that day the place has been known to
the Sioux as Shunkahanakapi--the Grave of the
WINONA, THE WOMAN-CHILD
Hush, hushaby, little woman!
Be brave and weep not!
The spirits sleep not;
'Tis they who ordain
To woman, pain.
Hush, hushaby, little woman!
Now, all things bearing,
A new gift sharing
From those above--
To woman, love.
"Chinto, weyanna! Yes, indeed; she
is a real little woman," declares the old
grandmother, as she receives and crit-
ically examines the tiny bit of humanity.
There is no remark as to the color of its hair
or eyes, both so black as almost to be blue, but
the old woman scans sharply the delicate pro-
file of the baby face.
"Ah, she has the nose of her ancestors! Lips
thin as a leaf, and eyes bright as stars in mid-
winter!" she exclaims, as she passes on the furry
bundle to the other grandmother for her inspec-
"Tokee! she is pretty enough to win a twinkle
rom the evening star," remarks that smiling
"And what shall her name be?
"Winona, the First-born, of course. That
is hers by right of birth."
"Still, it may not fit her. One must prove
herself worthy in order to retain that honorable
"Ugh," retorts the first grandmother, "she
can at least bear it on probation!"
"Tosh, tosh," the other assents.
Thus the unconscious little Winona has
passed the first stage of the Indian's christen-
Presently she is folded into a soft white doe-
skin, well lined with the loose down of cattails,
and snugly laced into an upright oaken cradle,
the front of which is a richly embroidered buck-
skin bag, with porcupine quills and deers' hoofs
suspended from its profuse fringes. This gay
cradle is strapped upon the second grand-
mother's back, and that dignitary walks off with
"You must come with me," she says. "We
shall go among the father and mother trees, and
hear them speak with their thousand tongues,
that you may know their language forever. I
will hang the cradle of the woman-child upon
Utuhu, the oak; and she shall hear the love-sighs
of the pine maiden!"
In this fashion Winona is introduced to nature
and becomes at once "nature-born," in accord
with the beliefs and practices of the wild red
"Here she is! Take her," says the old
woman on her return from the woods. She pre-
sents the child to its mother, who is sitting in
the shade of an elm-tree as quietly as if she had
not just passed through woman's severest or-
deal in giving a daughter to the brave Cheton-
"She has a winsome face, as meek and in-
nocent as the face of an ermine," graciously adds
The mother does not speak. Silently and al-
most reverently she takes her new and first-born
daughter into her arms. She gazes into its vel-
vety little face of a dusky red tint, and uncon-
sciously presses the closely swaddled form to her
breast. She feels the mother-instinct seize upon
her strongly for the first time. Here is a new
life, a new hope, a possible link between herself
and a new race!
Ah, a smile plays upon her lips, as she realizes
that she has kissed her child! In its eyes and
mouth she discerns clearly the features she has
loved in the strong countenance of another,
though in the little woman's face they are soft-
ened and retouched by the hand of the "Great
The baby girl is called Winona for some
months, when the medicine-man is summoned
and requested to name publicly the first-born
daughter of Chetonska, the White Hawk; but
not until he has received a present of a good
pony with a finely painted buffalo-robe. It is
usual to confer another name besides that of
the "First-born," which may be resumed later
if the maiden proves worthy. The name Wi-
nona implies much of honor. It means char-
itable, kind, helpful; all that an eldest sister
The herald goes around the ring of lodges
announcing in singsong fashion the christening,
and inviting everybody to a feast in honor of
the event. A real American christening is al-
ways a gala occasion, when much savage wealth
is distributed among the poor and old people.
Winona has only just walked, and this fact is
also announced with additional gifts. A well-
born child is ever before the tribal eye and in the
tribal ear, as every little step in its progress
toward manhood or womanhood--the first time
of walking or swimming, first shot with bow and
arrow (if a boy), first pair of moccasins made
(if a girl)--is announced publicly with feasting
and the giving of presents.
So Winona receives her individual name of
Tatiyopa, or Her Door. It is symbolic, like
most Indian names, and implies that the door
of the bearer is hospitable and her home attrac-
The two grandmothers, who have carried the
little maiden upon their backs, now tell and sing
to her by turns all the legends of their most noted
female ancestors, from the twin sisters of the
old story, the maidens who married among the
star people of the sky, down to their own
mothers. All her lullabies are feminine, and
designed to impress upon her tender mind the
life and duties of her sex.
As soon as she is old enough to play with
dolls she plays mother in all seriousness and
gravity. She is dressed like a miniature woman
(and her dolls are clad likewise), in garments
of doeskin to her ankles, adorned with long
fringes, embroidered with porcupine quills, and
dyed with root dyes in various colors. Her lit-
tle blanket or robe, with which she shyly drapes
or screens her head and shoulders, is the skin
of a buffalo calf or a deer, soft, white, embroi-
dered on the smooth side, and often with the
head and hoofs left on.
"You must never forget, my little daughter,
that you are a woman like myself. Do always
those things that you see me do," her mother
often admonishes her.
Even the language of the Sioux has its fem-
inine dialect, and the tiny girl would be greatly
abashed were it ever needful to correct her for
using a masculine termination.
This mother makes for her little daughter a
miniature copy of every rude tool that she uses
in her taily tasks. There is a little scraper of
elk-horn to scrape rawhides preparatory to tan-
ning them, another scraper of a different shape
for tanning, bone knives, and stone mallets for
pounding choke-cherries and jerked meat.
While her mother is bending over a large
buffalo-hide stretched and pinned upon the
ground, standing upon it and scraping off the
fleshy portion as nimbly as a carpenter shaves
a board with his plane, Winona, at five years of
age, stands upon a corner of the great hide and
industriously scrapes away with her tiny instru-
ment! When the mother stops to sharpen her
tool, the little woman always sharpens hers also.
Perhaps there is water to be fetched in bags
made from the dried pericardium of an animal;
the girl brings some in a smaller water-bag.
When her mother goes for wood she carries one
or two sticks on her back. She pitches her play
teepee to form an exact copy of her mother's.
Her little belongings are nearly all practical,
and her very play is real!
Thus, before she is ten years old, Winona be-
gins to see life honestly and in earnest; to con-
sider herself a factor in the life of her people--a
link in the genealogy of her race. Yet her effort
is not forced, her work not done from necessity;
it is normal and a development of the play-in-
stinct of the young creature. This sort of train-
ing leads very early to a genuine desire to serve
and to do for others. The little Winona loves
to give and to please; to be generous and gra-
cious. There is no thought of trafficking or
economizing in labor and in love.
"Mother, I want to be like the beavers, the
ants, and the spiders, because my grandmother
says those are the people most worthy of imita-
tion for their industry. She also tells me that
I should watch the bee, the one that has so many
daughters, and allows no young men to come
around her daughters while they are at work
making sweets," exclaims the little maiden.
"Truly their industry helps us much, for we
often take from their hoard," remarks the
"That is not right, is it mother, if they do
not wish to share with us?" asks Winona.
"But I think the bee is stingy if she has so much
and will not share with any one else! When I
grow up, I shall help the poor! I shall have a
big teepee and invite old people often, for when
people get old they seem to be always hungry,
and I think we ought to feed them."
"My little daughter will please me and her
father if she proves to be industrious and skillful
with her needle and in all woman's work. Then
she can have a fine teepee and make it all cheer-
ful within. The indolent woman has a small
teepee, and it is very smoky. All her children
will have sore eyes, and her husband will soon
become ill-tempered," declares the mother, in all
"And, daughter, there is something more
than this needed to make a cheerful home.
You must have a good heart, be patient, and
speak but little. Every creature that talks too
much is sure to make trouble," she concludes,
One day this careful mother has completed a
beautiful little teepee of the skin of a buffalo
calf, worked with red porcupine quills in a row
of rings just below the smoke-flaps and on each
side of the front opening. In the center of each
ring is a tassel of red and white horse-hair. The
tip of each smoke-flap is decorated with the same
material, and the doorflap also.
Within there are neatly arranged raw-hide
boxes for housekeeping, and square bags of soft
buckskin adorned with blue and white beads.
On either side of the fireplace are spread the
tanned skins of a buffalo calf and a deer; but
there is no bear, wolf, or wildcat skin, for on
these the foot of a woman must never tread!
They are for men, and symbolical of manly vir-
tues. There are dolls of all sizes, and a play
travois leans against the white wall of the minia-
ture lodge. Even the pet pup is called in to
complete the fanciful home of the little woman.
"Now, my daughter," says the mother, "you
must keep your lodge in order!"
Here the little woman is allowed to invite
other little women, her playmates. This is
where the grandmothers hold sway, chaperoning
their young charges, who must never be long out
of their sight. The little visitors bring their
work-bags of various skins, artistically made and
trimmed. These contain moccasins and other
garments for their dolls, on which they love to
The brightly-painted rawhide boxes are re-
served for food, and in these the girls bring va-
rious prepared meats and other delicacies. This
is perhaps the most agreeable part of the play
to the chaperon, who is treated as an honored
guest at the feast!
Winona seldom plays with boys, even her own
brothers and cousins, and after she reaches
twelve or fourteen years of age she scarcely
speaks to them. Modesty is a virtue which is
deeply impressed upon her from early childhood,
and the bashfully drooping head, the averted
look, the voice low and seldom heard, these are
graces much esteemed in a maiden.
She is taught to pay great attention to the
care of her long, glossy locks, combing, plaiting,
and perfuming them with sweet-scented leaves
steeped in oil. Her personal appearance is well
understood to be a matter of real moment, and
rich dress and ornaments are highly prized.
Fortunately they never go out of fashion, and
once owned are permanent possessions, unless
parted with as ceremonial gifts on some great
occasion of mourning or festivity.
When she reaches a marriageable age her
father allows her to give a feast to all the other
girls of her immediate clan, and this "Feast of
Virgins" may only be attended by those of spot-
less reputation. To have given or attended a
number of them is regarded as a choice honor.
Tatiyopa, by the time she is fifteen, has al-
ready a name for skill in needlework, and gen-
erosity in distributing the articles of her own
making. She is now generally called Winona--
the charitable and kind! She believes that it
is woman's work to make and keep a home that
will be worthy of the bravest, and hospitable to
all, and in this simple faith she enters upon the
realities of her womanhood.
WINONA, THE CHILD-WOMAN
Braver than the bravest,
You sought honors at death's door;
Could you not remember
One who weeps at home--
Could you not remember me?
Braver than the bravest,
You sought honors more than love;
Dear, I weep, yet I am not a coward;
My heart weeps for thee--
My heart weeps when I remember thee!
--Sioux Love Song.
The sky is blue overhead, peeping
through window-like openings in a
roof of green leaves. Right between
a great pine and a birch tree their soft doeskin
shawls are spread, and there sit two Sioux maid-
ens amid their fineries--variously colored por-
cupine quills for embroidery laid upon sheets
of thin birch-bark, and moccasin tops worked
in colors like autumn leaves. It is Winona and
her friend Miniyata.
They have arrived at the period during which
the young girl is carefully secluded from her
brothers and cousins and future lovers, and re-
tires, as it were, into the nunnery of the woods,
behind a veil of thick foliage. Thus she is
expected to develop fully her womanly qualities.
In meditation and solitude, entirely alone or
with a chosen companion of her own sex and
age, she gains a secret strength, as she studies
the art of womanhood from nature herself.
Winona has the robust beauty of the wild
lily of the prairie, pure and strong in her deep
colors of yellow and scarlet against the savage
plain and horizon, basking in the open sun like
a child, yet soft and woman-like, with droop-
ing head when observed. Both girls are beau-
tifully robed in loose gowns of soft doeskin,
girded about the waist with the usual very wide
"Come, let us practice our sacred dance,"
says one to the other. Each crowns her glossy
head with a wreath of wild flowers, and they
dance with slow steps around the white birch,
singing meanwhile the sacred songs.
Now upon the lake that stretches blue to the
eastward there appears a distant canoe, a mere
speck, no bigger than a bird far off against the
"See the lifting of the paddles!" exclaims
" Like the leaping of a trout upon the
water!" suggests Miniyata.
"I hope they will not discover us, yet I would
like to know who they are," remarks the other,
The birch canoe approaches swiftly, with two
young men plying the light cedar paddles.
The girls now settle down to their needle-
work, quite as if they had never laughed or
danced or woven garlands, bending over their
embroidery in perfect silence. Surely they would
not wish to attract attention, for the two sturdy
young warriors have already landed.
They pick up the canoe and lay it well up on
the bank, out of sight. Then one procures a
strong pole. They lift a buck deer from the
canoe--not a mark upon it, save for the bullet
wound; the deer looks as if it were sleeping!
They tie the hind legs together and the fore
legs also and carry it between them on the pole.
Quickly and cleverly they do all this; and
now they start forward and come unexpectedly
upon the maidens' retreat! They pause for an
instant in mute apology, but the girls smile their
forgiveness, and the youths hurry on toward the
Winona has now attended her first maidens'
feast and is considered eligible to marriage. She
may receive young men, but not in public or in
a social way, for such was not the custom of the
Sioux. When he speaks, she need not answer
him unless she chooses.
The Indian woman in her quiet way preserves
the dignity of the home. From our standpoint
the white man is a law-breaker! The "Great
Mystery," we say, does not adorn the woman
above the man. His law is spreading horns,
or flowing mane, or gorgeous plumage for the
male; the female he made plain, but comely,
modest and gentle. She is the foundation of
man's dignity and honor. Upon her rests the
life of the home and of the family. I have
often thought that there is much in this philos-
ophy of an untutored people. Had her husband
remained long enough in one place, the Indian
woman, I believe, would have developed no
mean civilization and culture of her own.
It was no disgrace to the chief's daughter in
the old days to work with her hands. Indeed,
their standard of worth was the willingness to
work, but not for the sake of accumulation, only
in order to give. Winona has learned to pre-
pare skins, to remove the hair and tan the skin
of a deer so that it may be made into moccasins
within three days. She has a bone tool for each
stage of the conversion of the stiff raw-hide into
velvety leather. She has been taught the art
of painting tents and raw-hide cases, and the
manufacture of garments of all kinds.
Generosity is a trait that is highly developed
in the Sioux woman. She makes many mocca-
sins and other articles of clothing for her male
relatives, or for any who are not well provided.
She loves to see her brother the best dressed
among the young men, and the moccasins espe-
cially of a young brave are the pride of his
Her own person is neatly attired, but ordi-
narily with great simplicity. Her doeskin gown
has wide, flowing sleeves; the neck is low,
but not so low as is the evening dress of so-
Her moccasins are plain; her leggins close-
fitting and not as high as her brother's. She
parts her smooth, jet-black hair in the middle
and plaits it in two. In the old days she used
to do it in one plait wound around with wam-
pum. Her ornaments, sparingly worn, are
beads, elks' teeth, and a touch of red paint. No
feathers are worn by the woman, unless in a
She is supposed to be always occupied with
some feminine pursuit or engaged in some social
affair, which also is strictly feminine as a rule.
Even her language is peculiar to her sex, some
words being used by women only, while others
have a feminine termination.
There is an etiquette of sitting and standing,
which is strictly observed. The woman must
never raise her knees or cross her feet when
seated. She seats herself on the ground side-
wise, with both feet under her.
Notwithstanding her modesty and undemon-
strative ways, there is no lack of mirth and
relaxation for Winona among her girl compan-
In summer, swimming and playing in the
water is a favorite amusement. She even imi-
tates with the soles of her feet the peculiar,
resonant sound that the beaver makes with her
large, flat tail upon the surface of the water.
She is a graceful swimmer, keeping the feet
together and waving them backward and for-
ward like the tail of a fish.
Nearly all her games are different from those
of the men. She has a sport of wand-throwing
which develops fine muscles of the shoulder and
back. The wands are about eight feet long,
and taper gradually from an inch and a half to
half an inch in diameter. Some of them are
artistically made, with heads of bone and horn,
so that it is remarkable to what a distance they
may be made to slide over the ground. In the
feminine game of ball, which is something like
"shinny," the ball is driven with curved sticks
between two goals. It is played with from two
or three to a hundred on a side, and a game be-
tween two bands or villages is a picturesque
A common indoor diversion is the "deer's
foot" game, played with six deer hoofs on a
string, ending in a bone or steel awl. The ob-
ject is to throw it in such a way as to catch one
or more hoofs on the point of the awl, a feat
which requires no little dexterity. Another is
played with marked plum-stones in a bowl,
which are thrown like dice and count according
to the side that is turned uppermost.
Winona's wooing is a typical one. As with
any other people, love-making is more or less
in vogue at all times of the year, but more espe-
cially at midsummer, during the characteristic
reunions and festivities of that season. The
young men go about usually in pairs, and the
maidens do likewise. They may meet by chance
at any time of day, in the woods or at the
spring, but oftenest seek to do so after dark,
just outside the teepee. The girl has her com-
panion, and he has his, for the sake of propriety
or protection. The conversation is carried on
in a whisper, so that even these chaperons do
At the sound of the drum on summer even-
ings, dances are begun within the circular rows
of teepees, but without the circle the young men
promenade in pairs. Each provides himself
with the plaintive flute and plays the simple
cadences of his people, while his person is com-
pletely covered with his fine robe, so that he
cannot be recognized by the passerby. At
every pause in the melody he gives his yodel-like
love-call, to which the girls respond with their
musical, sing-song laughter.
Matosapa has loved Winona since the time
he saw her at the lakeside in her parlor among
the pines. But he has not had much opportu-
nity to speak until on such a night, after the
dances are over. There is no outside fire; but
a dim light from within the skin teepees sheds
a mellow glow over the camp, mingling with
the light of a young moon. Thus these lovers
go about like ghosts. Matosapa has already
circled the teepees with his inseparable brother-
friend, Brave Elk.
"Friend, do me an honor to-night!" he ex-
claims, at last. "Open this first door for me,
since this will be the first time I shall speak to a
"Ah," suggests Brave Elk, "I hope you have
selected a girl whose grandmother has no cross
"The prize that is won at great risk is usually
valued most," replies Matosapa.
"Ho, kola! I shall touch the door-flap as
softly as the swallow alights upon her nest. But
I warn you, do not let your heart beat too loudly,
for the old woman's ears are still good!"
So, joking and laughing, they proceed toward
a large buffalo tent with a horse's tail suspended
from the highest pole to indicate the rank of
the owner. They have ceased to blow the flute
some paces back, and walk noiselessly as a pan-
ther in quest of a doe.
Brave Elk opens the door. Matosapa enters
the tent. As was the wont of the Sioux, the
well-born maid has a little teepee within a tee-
pee--a private apartment of her own. He
passes the sleeping family to this inner shrine.
There he gently wakens Winona with proper
apologies. This is not unusual or strange to
her innocence, for it was the custom of the peo-
ple. He sits at the door, while his friend waits
outside, and tells his love in a whisper. To this
she does not reply at once; even if she loves
him, it is proper that she should be silent. The
lover does not know whether he is favorably
received or not, upon this his first visit. He
must now seek her outside upon every favorable
occasion. No gifts are offered at this stage
of the affair; the trafficking in ponies and "buy-
ing" a wife is entirely a modern custom.
Matosapa has improved every opportunity,
until Winona has at last shyly admitted her will-
ingness to listen. For a whole year he has
been compelled at intervals to repeat the story
of his love. Through the autumn hunting of the
buffalo and the long, cold winter he often pre-
sents her kinsfolk with his game.
At the next midsummer the parents on both
sides are made acquainted with the betrothal,
and they at once begin preparations for the com-
ing wedding. Provisions and delicacies of all
kinds are laid aside for a feast. Matosapa's
sisters and his girl cousins are told of the ap-
proaching event, and they too prepare for it,
since it is their duty to dress or adorn the bride
with garments made by their own hands.
With the Sioux of the old days, the great
natural crises of human life, marriage and birth,
were considered sacred and hedged about with
great privacy. Therefore the union is publicly
celebrated after and not before its consum-
mation. Suddenly the young couple disappear.
They go out into the wilderness together, and
spend some days or weeks away from the camp.
This is their honeymoon, away from all curious
or prying eyes. In due time they quietly return,
he to his home and she to hers, and now at last
the marriage is announced and invitations are
given to the feast.
The bride is ceremoniously delivered to her
husband's people, together with presents of rich
clothing collected from all her clan, which she
afterward distributes among her new relations.
Winona is carried in a travois handsomely dec-
orated, and is received with equal ceremony.
For several days following she is dressed and
painted by the female relatives of the groom,
each in her turn, while in both clans the wedding
feast is celebrated.
To illustrate womanly nobility of nature, let
me tell the story of Dowanhotaninwin, Her-
Singing-Heard. The maiden was deprived of
both father and mother when scarcely ten years
old, by an attack of the Sacs and Foxes while
they were on a hunting expedition. Left alone
with her grandmother, she was carefully reared
and trained by this sage of the wild life.
Nature had given her more than her share
of attractiveness, and she was womanly and win-
ning as she was handsome. Yet she remained
unmarried for nearly thirty years--a most un-
usual thing among us; and although she had
worthy suitors in every branch of the Sioux na-
tion, she quietly refused every offer.
Certain warriors who had distinguished them-
selves against the particular tribe who had made
her an orphan, persistently sought her hand in
marriage, but failed utterly.
One summer the Sioux and the Sacs and
Foxes were brought together under a flag of
truce by the Commissioners of the Great White
Father, for the purpose of making a treaty with
them. During the short period of friendly in-
tercourse and social dance and feast, a noble
warrior of the enemy's tribe courted Dowan-
Several of her old lovers were vying with
one another to win her at the same time, that she
might have inter-tribal celebration of her wed-
Behold! the maiden accepted the foe of her
childhood--one of those who had cruelly de-
prived her of her parents!
By night she fled to the Sac and Fox camp
with her lover. It seemed at first an insult to
the Sioux, and there was almost an outbreak
among the young men of the tribe, who were
barely restrained by their respect for the Com-
missioners of the Great Father.
But her aged grandfather explained the mat-
ter publicly in this fashion:
"Young men, hear ye! Your hearts are
strong; let them not be troubled by the act of
a young woman of your tribe! This has been
her secret wish since she became a woman. She
deprecates all tribal warfare. Her young heart
never forgot its early sorrow; yet she has never
blamed the Sacs and Foxes or held them re-
sponsible for the deed. She blames rather the
customs of war among us. She believes in the
formation of a blood brotherhood strong enough
to prevent all this cruel and useless enmity. This
was her high purpose, and to this end she re-
served her hand. Forgive her, forgive her, I
In the morning there was a great commotion.
The herald of the Sacs and Foxes entered the
Sioux camp, attired in ceremonial garb and
bearing in one hand an American flag and in the
other a peace-pipe. He made the rounds singing
a peace song, and delivering to all an invitation
to attend the wedding feast of Dowanhotaninwin
and their chief's son. Thus all was well. The
simplicity, high purpose, and bravery of the girl
won the hearts of the two tribes, and as long
as she lived she was able to keep the peace be-
The Little Missouri was in her spring
fullness, and the hills among which
she found her way to the Great Muddy
were profusely adorned with colors, much like
those worn by the wild red man upon a holiday!
Looking toward the sunrise, one saw mysteri-
ous, deep shadows and bright prominences,
while on the opposite side there was really an
extravagant array of variegated hues. Between
the gorgeous buttes and rainbow-tinted ridges
there were narrow plains, broken here and there
by dry creeks or gulches, and these again were
clothed scantily with poplars and sad-colored
bull-berry bushes, while the bare spots were pur-
ple with the wild Dakota crocuses.
Upon the lowest of a series of natural ter-
races there stood on this May morning a young
Sioux girl, whose graceful movements were not
unlike those of a doe which chanced to be lurk-
ing in a neighboring gulch. On the upper plains,
not far away, were her young companions, all
busily employed with the wewoptay, as it was
called--the sharp-pointed stick with which the
Sioux women dig wild turnips. They were
gayly gossiping together, or each humming a
love-song as she worked, only Snana stood some-
what apart from the rest; in fact, concealed
by the crest of the ridge.
She had paused in her digging and stood fac-
ing the sun-kissed buttes. Above them in the
clear blue sky the father sun was traveling up-
ward as in haste, while to her receptive spirit
there appealed an awful, unknown force, the
silent speech of the Great Mystery, to which it
seemed to her the whole world must be listen-
"O Great Mystery! the father of earthly
things is coming to quicken us into life. Have
pity on me, I pray thee! May I some day be-
come the mother of a great and brave race of
warriors!" So the maiden prayed silently.
It was now full-born day. The sun shone
hot upon the bare ground, and the drops stood
upon Snana's forehead as she plied her long
pole. There was a cool spring in the dry creek
bed near by, well hidden by a clump of choke-
cherry bushes, and she turned thither to cool
her thirsty throat. In the depths of the ravine
her eye caught a familiar footprint--the track
of a doe with the young fawn beside it. The
hunting instinct arose within.
"It will be a great feat if I can find and take
from her the babe. The little tawny skin shall
be beautifully dressed by my mother. The legs
and the nose shall be embossed with porcupine
quills. It will be my work-bag," she said to
As she stole forward on the fresh trail she
scanned every nook, every clump of bushes.
There was a sudden rustle from within a grove
of wild plum trees, thickly festooned with grape
and clematis, and the doe mother bounded away
as carelessly as if she were never to return.
Ah, a mother's ruse! Snana entered the
thorny enclosure, which was almost a rude tee-
pee, and, tucked away in the furthermost corner,
lay something with a trout-like, speckled, tawny
coat. She bent over it. The fawn was appar-
ently sleeping. Presently its eyes moved a bit,
and a shiver passed through its subtle body.
"Thou shalt not die; thy skin shall not be-
come my work-bag!" unconsciously the maiden
spoke. The mother sympathy had taken hold
on her mind. She picked the fawn up tenderly,
bound its legs, and put it on her back to carry
like an Indian babe in the folds of her robe.
"I cannot leave you alone, Tachinchala.
Your mother is not here. Our hunters will soon
return by this road, and your mother has left
behind her two plain tracks leading to this
thicket," she murmured.
The wild creature struggled vigorously for
a minute, and then became quiet. Its graceful
head protruded from the elkskin robe just over
Snana's shoulder. She was slowly climbing the
slope with her burden, when suddenly like an
apparition the doe-mother stood before her.
The fawn called loudly when it was first seized,
and the mother was not too far away to hear.
Now she called frantically for her child, at the
same time stamping with her delicate fore-feet.
"Yes, sister, you are right; she is yours; but
you cannot save her to-day! The hunters will
soon be here. Let me keep her for you; I will
return her to you safely. And hear me, O sis-
ter of the woods, that some day I may become
the mother of a noble race of warriors and of
fine women, as handsome as you are!"
At this moment the quick eyes of the Indian
girl detected something strange in the doe's
actions. She glanced in every direction and be-
hold! a grizzly bear was cautiously approach-
ing the group from a considerable distance.
"Run, run, sister! I shall save your child if
I can," she cried, and flew for the nearest scrub
oak on the edge of the bank. Up the tree she
scrambled, with the fawn still securely bound to
her back. The grizzly came on with teeth ex-
posed, and the doe-mother in her flight came
between him and the tree, giving a series of
indignant snorts as she ran, and so distracted
Mato from his object of attack; but only for a
few seconds--then on he came!
"Desist, O brave Mato! It does not become
a great medicine-man to attack a helpless woman
with a burden upon her back!"
Snana spoke as if the huge brute could un-
derstand her, and indeed the Indians hold that
wild animals understand intuitively when ap-
pealed to by human beings in distress. Yet he
replied only with a hoarse growl, as rising upon
his hind legs he shook the little tree vigorously.
"Ye, ye, heyupi ye!" Snana called loudly
to her companion turnip-diggers. Her cry soon
brought all the women into sight upon a near-by
ridge, and they immediately gave a general
alarm. Mato saw them, but appeared not at
all concerned and was still intent upon dislodg-
ing the girl, who clung frantically to her
Presently there appeared upon the little knoll
several warriors, mounted and uttering the usual
war-whoop, as if they were about to swoop down
upon a human enemy. This touched the dignity
of Mato, and he immediately prepared to accept
the challenge. Every Indian was alive to the
possibilities of the occasion, for it is well known
that Mato, or grizzly bear, alone among animals
is given the rank of a warrior, so that whoever
conquers him may wear an eagle feather.
"Woo! woo!" the warriors shouted, as
they maneuvered to draw him into the open
He answered with hoarse growls, threatening
a rider who had ventured too near. But arrows
were many and well-aimed, and in a few minutes
the great and warlike Mato lay dead at the foot
of the tree.
The men ran forward and counted their coups
on him, just as when an enemy is fallen. Then
they looked at one another and placed their
hands over their mouths as the young girl de-
scended the tree with a fawn bound upon her
"So that was the bait!" they cried. "And
will you not make a feast with that fawn for
us who came to your rescue? "
"The fawn is young and tender, and we have
not eaten meat for two days. It will be a gen-
erous thing to do," added her father, who was
"Ye-e-e!" she cried out in distress. "Do
not ask it! I have seen this fawn's mother. I
have promised to keep her child safe. See!
I have saved its life, even when my own was in
"Ho, ho, wakan ye lo! (Yes, yes, 'tis holy
or mysterious)," they exclaimed approvingly.
It was no small trouble for Snana to keep her
trust. As may well be supposed, all the dogs
of the teepee village must be watched and kept
at a distance. Neither was it easy to feed the
little captive; but in gaining its confidence the
girl was an adept. The fawn soon followed her
everywhere, and called to her when hungry
exactly as she had called to her own mother.
After several days, when her fright at the
encounter with the bear had somewhat worn off,
Snana took her pet into the woods and back to
the very spot in which she had found it. In
the furthest corner of the wild plum grove she
laid it down, gently stroked its soft forehead,
and smoothed the leaflike ears. The little
thing closed its eyes. Once more the Sioux
girl bent over and laid her cheek against the
fawn's head; then reluctantly she moved away,
hoping and yet dreading that the mother would
return. She crouched under a clump of bushes
near by, and gave the doe call. It was a reckless
thing for her to do, for such a call might bring
upon her a mountain lion or ever-watchful silver-
tip; but Snana did not think of that.
In a few minutes she heard the light patter
of hoofs, and caught a glimpse of a doe running
straight toward the fawn's hiding-place. When
she stole near enough to see, the doe and the
fawn were examining one another carefully, as
if fearing some treachery. At last both were
apparently satisfied. The doe caressed her nat-
ural child, and the little one accepted the milk
In the Sioux maiden's mind there was tur-
moil. A close attachment to the little wild
creature had already taken root there, contend-
ing with the sense of justice that was strong
within her. Now womanly sympathy for the
mother was in control, and now a desire to
possess and protect her helpless pet.
"I can take care of her against all hunters,
both animal and human. They are ever ready
to seize the helpless fawn for food. Her life
will be often exposed. You cannot save her
from disaster. O, Takcha, my sister, let me
still keep her for you!" she finally appealed to
the poor doe, who was nervously watching the
intruder, and apparently thinking how she might
best escape with the fawn.
Just at this moment there came a low call
from the wood. It was a doe call; but the
wild mother and her new friend both knew that
it was not the call of a real doe.
"It is a Sioux hunter!" whispered the girl.
"You must go, my sister! Be off; I will take
your child to safety!"
While she was yet speaking, the doe seemed
to realize the danger. She stopped only an
instant to lick fondly the tawny coat of the
little one, who had just finished her dinner;
then she bounded away.
As Snana emerged from the bushes with her
charge, a young hunter met her face to face,
and stared at her curiously. He was not of her
father's camp, but a stranger.
"Ugh, you have my game."
"Tosh!" she replied coquettishly.
It was so often said among the Indians that
the doe was wont to put on human form to mis-
lead the hunter, that it looked strange to see
a woman with a fawn, and the young man could
not forbear to gaze upon Snana.
"You are not the real mother in maiden's
guise? Tell me truly if you are of human
blood," he demanded rudely.
"I am a Sioux maiden! Do you not know
my father?" she replied.
"Ah, but who is your father? What is his
name?" he insisted, nervously fingering his
"Do not be a coward! Surely you should
know a maid of your own race," she replied re-
"Ah, you know the tricks of the doe! What
is thy name?"
"Hast thou forgotten the etiquette of thy
people, and wouldst compel me to pronounce
my own name? I refuse; thou art jesting!"
she retorted with a smile.
"Thou dost give the tricky answers of a doe.
I cannot wait; I must act before I lose my nat-
ural mind. But already I am yours. Whatever
purpose you may have in thus charming a poor
hunter, be merciful," and, throwing aside his
quiver, he sat down.
The maiden stole a glance at his face, and
then another. He was handsome. Softly she
reentered the thicket and laid down the little
"Promise me never to hunt here again!"
she said earnestly, as she came forth without
her pretty burden, and he exacted another prom-
ise in return. Thus Snana lost her fawn, and
found a lover.
It was a long time ago, nearly two hundred
years ago, that some of our people were
living upon the shores of the Great Lake,
Lake Superior. The chief of this band was
called Tatankaota, Many Buffaloes.
One day the young son of Tatankaota led a
war-party against the Ojibways, who occupied
the country east of us, toward the rising sun.
When they had gone a day's journey in the
direction of Sault Ste. Marie, in our language
Skesketatanka, the warriors took up their posi-
tion on the lake shore, at a point which the
Ojibways were accustomed to pass in their
Long they gazed, and scanned the surface of
the water, watching for the coming of the foe.
The sun had risen above the dark pines, over
the great ridge of woodland across the bay. It
was the awakening of all living things. The
birds were singing, and shining fishes leaped
out of the water as if at play. At last, far off,
there came the warning cry of the loon to stir
their expectant ears.
"Warriors, look close to the horizon! This
brother of ours does not lie. The enemy
comes!" exclaimed their leader.
Presently upon the sparkling face of the water
there appeared a moving canoe. There was but
one, and it was coming directly toward them.
"Hahatonwan! Hahatonwan! (The Ojib-
ways! the Ojibways!)" they exclaimed with one
voice, and, grasping their weapons, they hastily
concealed themselves in the bushes.
"Spare none--take no captives!" ordered
the chief's son.
Nearer and nearer approached the strange
canoe. The glistening blades of its paddles
flashed as it were the signal of good news, or
a welcome challenge. All impatiently waited
until it should come within arrow-shot.
"Surely it is an Ojibway canoe," one mur-
mured. "Yet look! the stroke is ungainly!"
Now, among all the tribes only the Ojibway's
art is perfect in paddling a birch canoe. This
was a powerful stroke, but harsh and un-
"See! there are no feathers on this man's
head!" exclaimed the son of the chief. "Hold,
warriors, he wears a woman's dress, and I see
no weapon. No courage is needed to take his life,
therefore let it be spared! I command that
only coups (or blows) be counted on him, and
he shall tell us whence he comes, and on what
The signal was given; the warriors sprang
to their feet, and like wolves they sped from
the forest, out upon the white, sandy beach
and straight into the sparkling waters of the
lake, giving the shrill war-cry, the warning of
The solitary oarsman made no outcry--he
offered no defense! Kneeling calmly in the
prow of the little vessel, he merely ceased pad-
dling and seemed to await with patience the
deadly blow of the tomahawk.
The son of Tatankaota was foremost in the
charge, but suddenly an impulse seized him to
stop his warriors, lest one in the heat of excite-
ment should do a mischief to the stranger. The
canoe with its occupant was now very near, and
it could be seen that the expression of his face
was very gentle and even benignant. None
could doubt his utter harmlessness; and the
chief's son afterward declared that at this mo-
ment he felt a premonition of some event, but
whether good or evil he could not tell.
No blows were struck--no coups counted.
The young man bade his warriors take up the
canoe and carry it to the shore; and although
they murmured somewhat among themselves,
they did as he commanded them. They seized
the light bark and bore it dripping to a hill
covered with tall pines, and overlooking the
waters of the Great Lake.
Then the warriors lifted their war-clubs over
their heads and sang, standing around the canoe
in which the black-robed stranger was still
kneeling. Looking at him closely, they per-
ceived that he was of a peculiar complexion,
pale and inclined to red. He wore a necklace
of beads, from which hung a cross bearing the
form of a man. His garments were strange,
and most like the robes of woman. All of these
things perplexed them greatly.
Presently the Black Robe told them by signs,
in response to their inquiries, that he came from
the rising sun, even beyond the Great Salt Water,
and he seemed to say that he formerly came
from the sky. Upon this the warriors believed
that he must be a prophet or mysterious man.
Their leader directed them to take up again the
canoe with the man in it, and appointed the
warriors to carry it by turns until they should
reach his father's village. This was done ac-
cording to the ancient custom, as a mark of re-
spect and honor. They took it up forthwith,
and traveled with all convenient speed along the
lake shore, through forests and across streams
to a place called the Maiden's Retreat, a short
distance from the village.
Thence the chief's son sent a messenger to
announce to his father that he was bringing
home a stranger, and to ask whether or not he
should be allowed to enter the village. "His
appearance," declared the scout, "is unlike that
of any man we have ever seen, and his ways
When the chief heard these words, he imme-
diately called his council-men together to decide
what was to be done, for he feared by admitting
the mysterious stranger to bring some disaster
upon his people. Finally he went out with his
wisest men to meet his son's war-party. They
looked with astonishment upon the Black Robe.
"Dispatch him! Dispatch him! Show him
no mercy!" cried some of the council-men.
"Let him go on his way unharmed. Trouble
him not," advised others.
"It is well known that the evil spirits some-
times take the form of a man or animal. From
his strange appearance I judge this to be such
a one. He should be put to death, lest some
harm befall our people," an old man urged.
By this time several of the women of the
village had reached the spot. Among them was
She-who-has-a-Soul, the chief's youngest daugh-
ter, who tradition says was a maiden of much
beauty, and of a generous heart. The stranger
was evidently footsore from much travel and
weakened by fasting. When she saw that the
poor man clasped his hands and looked skyward
as he uttered words in an unknown tongue, she
pleaded with her father that a stranger who has
entered their midst unchallenged may claim the
hospitality of the people, according to the an-
"Father, he is weary and in want of food.
Hold him no longer! Delay your council until
he is refreshed!" These were the words of
She-who-has-a-Soul, and her father could not
refuse her prayer. The Black Robe was re-
leased, and the Sioux maiden led him to her
Now the warriors had been surprised and in-
deed displeased to find him dressed after the
fashion of a woman, and they looked upon him
with suspicion. But from the moment that she
first beheld him, the heart of the maiden had
turned toward this strange and seemingly un-
fortunate man. It appeared to her that great
reverence and meekness were in his face, and
with it all she was struck by his utter fearless-
ness, his apparent unconsciousness of danger.
The chief's daughter, having gained her
father's permission, invited the Black Robe to
his great buffalo-skin tent, and spreading a fine
robe, she gently asked him to be seated. With
the aid of her mother, she prepared wild rice
sweetened with maple sugar and some broiled
venison for his repast. The youthful warriors
were astonished to observe these attentions, but
the maiden heeded them not. She anointed the
blistered feet of the holy man with perfumed
otter oil, and put upon him a pair of moccasins
beautifully worked by her own hands.
It was only an act of charity on her part, but
the young men were displeased, and again urged
that the stranger should at once be turned away.
Some even suggested harsher measures; but
they were overruled by the chief, softened by
the persuasions of a well-beloved daughter.
During the few days that the Black Robe
remained in the Sioux village he preached ear-
nestly to the maiden, for she had been permitted
to converse with him by signs, that she might
try to ascertain what manner of man he was.
He told her of the coming of a "Great
Prophet" from the sky, and of his words that
he had left with the people. The cross with
the figure of a man he explained as his totem
which he had told them to carry. He also said
that those who love him are commanded to go
among strange peoples to tell the news, and that
all who believe must be marked with holy water
and accept the totem.
He asked by signs if She-who-has-a-Soul be-
lieved the story. To this she replied:
"It is a sweet story--a likely legend! I do
Then the good father took out a small cross,
and having pressed it to his heart and crossed
his forehead and breast, he gave it to her.
Finally he dipped his finger in water and touched
the forehead of the maiden, repeating mean-
while some words in an unknown tongue.
The mother was troubled, for she feared that
the stranger was trying to bewitch her daugh-
ter, but the chief decided thus:
"This is a praying-man, and he is not of
our people; his customs are different, but they
are not evil. Warriors, take him back to the
spot where you saw him first! It is my desire,
and the good custom of our tribe requires that
you free him without injury!"
Accordingly they formed a large party, and
carried the Black Robe in his canoe back to
the shore of the Great Lake, to the place where
they had met him, and he was allowed to depart
thence whithersoever he would. He took his
leave with signs of gratitude for their hospi-
tality, and especially for the kindness of the
beautiful Sioux maiden. She seemed to have
understood his mission better than any one else,
and as long as she lived she kept his queer
trinket--as it seemed to the others--and per-
formed the strange acts that he had taught her.
Furthermore, it was through the pleadings
of She-who-has-a-Soul that the chief Tatankaota
advised his people in after days to befriend the
white strangers, and though many of the other
chiefs opposed him in this, his counsels pre-
vailed. Hence it was that both the French and
English received much kindness from our peo-
ple, mainly through the influence of this one
Such was the first coming of the white man
among us, as it is told in our traditions. Other
praying-men came later, and many of the Sioux
allowed themselves to be baptized. True, there
have been Indian wars, but not without reason;
and it is pleasant to remember that the Sioux
were hospitable to the first white "praying-
man," and that it was a tender-hearted maiden
of my people who first took in her hands the
cross of the new religion.
One of the most remarkable women of
her day and nation was Eyatonkawee,
She-whose-Voice-is-heard-afar. It is
matter of history among the Wakpaykootay
band of Sioux, the Dwellers among the Leaves,
that when Eyatonkawee was a very young
woman she was once victorious in a hand-to-
hand combat with the enemy in the woods of
Minnesota, where her people were hunting the
deer. At such times they often met with stray
parties of Sacs and Foxes from the prairies of
Iowa and Illinois.
Now, the custom was among our people that
the doer of a notable warlike deed was held in
highest honor, and these deeds were kept con-
stantly in memory by being recited in public,
before many witnesses. The greatest exploit
was that one involving most personal courage
and physical address, and he whose record was
adjudged best might claim certain privileges,
not the least of which was the right to interfere
in any quarrel and separate the combatants.
The peace-maker might resort to force, if need
be, and no one dared to utter a protest who
could not say that he had himself achieved an
There was a man called Tamahay, known to
Minnesota history as the "One-eyed Sioux,"
who was a notable character on the frontier in
the early part of the nineteenth century. He
was very reckless, and could boast of many a
perilous adventure. He was the only Sioux who,
in the War of 1812, fought for the Americans,
while all the rest of his people sided with the
British, mainly through the influence of the Eng-
lish traders among them at that time. This
same "One-eyed Sioux" became a warm friend
of Lieutenant Pike, who discovered the sources
of the Mississippi, and for whom Pike's Peak
is named. Some say that the Indian took his
friend's name, for Tamahay in English means
Pike or Pickerel.
Unfortunately, in later life this brave man
became a drunkard, and after the Americans
took possession of his country almost any one
of them would supply him with liquor in recog-
nition of his notable services as a scout and
soldier. Thus he was at times no less dangerous
in camp than in battle.
Now, Eyatonkawee, being a young widow,
had married the son of a lesser chief in Tama-
hay's band, and was living among strangers.
Moreover, she was yet young and modest.
One day this bashful matron heard loud war-
whoops and the screams of women. Looking
forth, she saw the people fleeing hither and
thither, while Tamahay, half intoxicated, rushed
from his teepee painted for war, armed with
tomahawk and scalping-knife, and approached
another warrior as if to slay him. At this sight
her heart became strong, and she quickly sprang
between them with her woman's knife in her
"It was a Sac warrior of like proportions
and bravery with your own, who, having slain
several of the Sioux, thus approached me with
uplifted tomahawk!" she exclaimed in a clear
voice, and went on to recite her victory on that
famous day so that the terrified people paused
Tamahay was greatly astonished, but he was
not too drunk to realize that he must give way
at once, or be subject to the humiliation of a
blow from the woman-warrior who challenged
him thus. The whole camp was listening; and
being unable, in spite of his giant frame and
well-known record, to cite a greater deed than
hers, he retreated with as good a grace as pos-
sible. Thus Eyatonkawee recounted her brave
deed for the first time, in order to save a man's
life. From that day her name was great as a
peace-maker--greater even than when she had
first defended so gallantly her babe and home!
Many years afterward, when she had at-
tained middle age, this woman averted a serious
danger from her people.
Chief Little Crow the elder was dead, and as
he had two wives of two different bands, the
succession was disputed among the half-brothers
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