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History of Saskatchewan and The Old North West
Chapter VII - Indian Religion and Folklore


Difficulty in Ascertaining tin: Facts—Animism and Early Mythologies—Transition Through Pantheism Towards Monotheism— Demigods—Subordinate Manitous—Indian Mystery Men— Herbalists; Waiqcnos; The Jessakkids; The Mides—Fasts and Penances at Puberty—Admission to Religious Orders—Feats and Functions of Indian PrieSts—Consulting the Great Turtle—Beliefs Regarding the Soul—Dreams—Tin: Treatment of Disease—Legend of the White Stone Canoe—Legend of the Origin ok the Evil Spirit—William Henry on Indian Eloquence—An Iroquois Legend.

Regarding the religion of the Aborigines, much has been written, but unfortunately much of the information has been erroneous or misleading. The Indian's almost ineradicable reticence, especially with regard to topics upon which he has reason to suspect that the white man will look with ridicule, has made the facts hard to discover; and our own religious and philosophic standpoint is so far removed from that of the race of children of whom we are speaking that the whites have the intensest difficulty in grasping Indian religious conceptions and ideas, consequently we tend to read into Indian lore notions really attributable to our own religious inheritance and quite foreign to that of the Red Man. Moreover, ever since the advent of the whites, the institutions of the Aborigines have been sinking into decay, and have been subject to insidious transformation resulting from intercourse with the pale-faces.

Every intelligent observer of childhood will have noticed that at a certain stage of development little children tend to treat all things in their environment as if possessed of life and intelligence. Here we have a clue to animism underlying Indian religious conceptions in their least developed forms. Upon Animism proper followed the development of mythologies in which it is noteworthy that most of the characters are considered as mythic animals rather than mythic men. Some of these arc the first ancestors of the animals of today; others are the spirits of mountains, winds and other natural phenomena: while yet others of these deities include fire and the heavenly bodies, notably the sun. That great luminary came to be regarded as the symbol of a divine intelligence and in Indian picture writing, the figure of the sun denoted the Great Spirit. Largely owing to the influence of the "White Men, the ancient animal mythology has gradually degenerated into mere fairy tales and folk stories, told for the amusement of children and their elders.

Among some of the Indian tribes, notably the Iroquoian, we may trace a gradual growth toward Monotheism by way of Pantheism. Among numerous Algonquin tribes, also, we see distinct approaches to the conception of a single supreme being, but it is impossible to define to what extent the mythology of even these pagan tribes has been moulded by Christian influences.

All over America, native races have held in veneration various religious heroes or demigods, who reformed the institutions of mankind, and then retired temporarily or permanently from intercourse with the nations. The great Ojibway hero is Nana-bo-zho; among the Crees it is Wis-a-ket-chak. The Sioux demigod was Ic-tin-i-ke. The Blackfeet hero was Na-piw, and that of the Iroquois rejoiced in the alarming name of Te-hor-on-hi-a-wak-hon.

The Algonquin mythology manifests a firm belief in a cosmic mystery or a manitou present throughout all nature.1 Nana-bo-zho is the creator of the world and of everything it contains, and the author of the institutions and religious ceremonies of Algonquin society. He is also the central figure in a great deluge legend, common in one form or other in very many races. Numerous other manitous of varying degrees of importance also re ceived the homage of the Indians.

In the valley of the Qu'Apelle River, Mr. Hind mentions that he frequently saw offerings to manitous or fairies suspended to branches of trees. They consisted of bits of cloth, strings of beads, shreds of painted buffalo hide, bear's teeth and claws, and the like. This custom was general in the Valley of Lake Winnipeg, and along parts of the Red River. Such offerings were never molested by other Indians or half-breeds.

The Indian Priests are generally known by the misleading title of Medicine-Men. Mystery Men would be a better name; and in reading books about the Indians one will gain a more intelligent grasp of Indian notions if one mentally substitutes the word "magic" for the word "medicine" wherever it occurs.

There was indeed an important class of persons commonly denoted as medicine-men who were herbalists. These were simply persons really or supposedly versed in the mysterious properties of various plants.

Among the Ojibway Indians there were three distinct classes of mystery-men proper, the Mide, the Jessakkid and the Wabeno. The Wabenos, unlike the other mystery-men, did not constitute an organized society. They relied chiefly for their prompting upon dreams superinduced by long fasting. Their magic was supposed to promote the success of hunting expeditions, love affairs and the like. The grateful beneficiaries commonly repaid them by feasts given in their honor. These were always celebrated at night and associated with singing and dancing. In the course of the programme the Wabeno would entertain the company by further exhibitions of his magic. By the use of mysterious herbs he was enabled, apparently, to handle with impunity red-hot stones and bathe his hands in boiling water or syrup.

The Jessakkid was much superior in dignity to the Wabeno. lie was a seer or prophet described by the Indians as a revealer of hidden truths. The mysterious powers of the Jessakkid were supposed to be received direct from the Thunder God at the time of the Sacred Fasts observed upon entering manhood.

The highest class of the mystery-men was that of the Mide. While the power of the Jessakkid consisted in bringing calamities upon one's enemies, that of the Mide lay in the averting of evil.

"The lodge used by this class of men consists of four poles stuck in the ground, forming a square of three or four feet, and upward in diameter, around which are wrapped birch bark, robes, or canvas, in such a way as to form an upright cylinder. Communion is held with the Turtle, who is the most powerful Man'ido of the Jessakkid, and through him, with numerous other malevolent Man'idos, especially the Animiki, or thunder-bird. The fact is that there is not the slightest connection between .the practice. of the Jessakkid, and that of the Mide'wiwin, and it is seldom, if at all, that a Mide becomes a Jessakkid, although the latter sometimes gains admission into the Mide'wiwin, chiefly with the intention of strengthening his power with the tribe."-

The chief divinity of the Ojibway is called Kit-chi-man-i-do, or the Great Spirit, and the second in rank is Dzhe-Man'ido, who is the guardian of the Mide Society, and the author of their sacred rites. The name Kit-chi-man-i-do is always spoken with reverence. Indeed, its use is avoided except in connection with the rites of the Mide'wiwin or a sacred feast or the offering up of tobacco.

An event of extreme importance in the life of an Ojibway youth was his first religious fast, undertaken at puberty. Long abstinence from food produced at last the desired vision of some object—perhaps an animal, perhaps some exceedingly commonplace object—which was accepted as embodying or representing the guardian spirit of the individual, and was never mentioned by him without a preliminary sacrifice. A small effigy of this manitou was thenceforward carried suspended by a string about the Indian's neck or in his "medicine hag." Almost every male Indian had such a bag. It was usually made of leather, and was about two feet long and one foot broad. It contained the image representing the bird, beast or other being which was considered the peculiar residence of the individual's tutelary spirit. With it were kept a variety of other trinkets looked upon by the Indians as sacred.

When a youth applied for admission into the secret society of the Mide priests, if his admission was approved, be was assigned a special instructor, and sometimes spent several years in preparation for the first of the four separate and distinct degrees of the Mide'wiwin.

"It has always been the custom of the Mide priests to preserve birch-bark records bearing delicate incised lines to represent pictorially the ground plan of the number of degrees to which the owner is entitled. Such records or charts are sacred and are never exposed to public view."

These sacred charts are now exceedingly rare and valuable. Powell gives a very minute description of one representing a "pictorial resume of the traditional history of the origin of the Mide wiwin. This curious birch-bark document was mere than seven feel long and eighteen inches in width."

When a candidate is being initiated, be takes four ceremonial vapor baths in the sutatory or sweating house. During the last of these the camp would resound with the beating of drums and the cries of many dancers, while the officiating priest was propitiating and invoking the presence of Kit-chi-man-i-do. Late in the night the candidate would retire to his own wigwam, and the next day his initiation would occur amid impressive ceremonies.

The Mide priests were experts in many mystifying feats. ()ne of the most astonishing of them consisted in making a medicine bag move on the ground as if it were alive—probably by the temporary retention within the bag of some small animal. Many of the performances of these sorcerers were so inexplicable to the uninitiated that the belief has been confidently held even by many white men that the Indian priests were really in league with evil spirits. The Bishop of Montreal in 1848, writing upon these topics,4 refrains from denying the possibility of demoniacal assistance, but relates an incident which throws a sidelight upon the real nature of the apparent miracles performed:

"That in many instances the performances of the sorcerers are mere juggling cheats, is matter beyond dispute, and a remarkable example of this nature was related to me bv a gentleman to whom I have already owned myself indebted for much information, lie was present when one of these fellows pretended to conjure back and produce to view bullets which he had Powder.

I told some of the Indians to throw with all their might into the river. He was either naked or stripped for the purpose, and his very hair was searched in order to ascertain that he had no bullets in it. The factor, observed, however, that in executing his various movements and gesticulations to operate the charm, he passed his hands over his face, and was convinced that by a piece of well concealed dexterity, he took the bullets from his mouth, and the factor privately desired one of the other Indians when the exhibition was about to be repeated, to make a little notch in his bullet by which it might be recognised. The bullet produced by the conjuror was, of course, without the mark and the cheat was detected."

One of the most important functions of the Mide was that of consulting on behalf of his people the Great Turtle or Guardian Spirit of the Ojibways. Alexander Henry, writing about 1764, has given us one of the most circumstantial accounts of such a ceremony. From it the following extract is taken :

"For invoking and consulting' the Great Turtle, the first thing to be done was the building of a large house or wigwam, within which was placed a species of tent, for the use of the priests and reception of the spirit. The tent was formed of moose-skin, hung over a frame of wood-work. Five poles or rather pillars, of five different species of timber, about ten feet in height and eight inches in diameter were set in a circle of about four feet in diameter. The holes made to receive them were about two feet deep, and the pillars being set, the holes were filled up again with the earth which had been dug out. At top, the pillars were bound together by 'a circular hoop or girder. Over the whole of this edifice were spread the moose-skins covering it at the top and around the sides, and made fast with thongs of the same; except that on one side a part was left unfastened to admit of the entrance of the priest.

"The ceremonies did not commence but with the approach of night. To give light within the house, several fires were kindled around the tent. Nearly the whole of the village assembled in the house, and myself among the rest. It was not long before the priest appeared, almost in a state of nakedness. As he approached the tent, the skins were lifted up as much as was necessary to allow of his creeping under them on his hands and knees. His head was scarcely inside, when the edifice, massy as it has been described, began to shake; and the skins were 110 sooner let fall, than the sounds of numerous voices were heard beneath them, some yelling, some barking as dogs, some howling like wolves: and in this horrible concert were mingled screams and sobs, as of despair, anguish and sharpest pain. Articulate speech was also uttered, as if from human lips; but in a tongue unknown to any of the audience.

"After some time, these confused and frightful noises were succeeded by a perfect silence; and now a voice, not heard before, seemed to manifest

the arrival of a new character in the tent. This was a low and feeble voice, resembling the cry of a young puppy. The sound was no sooner distinguished, than all the Indians clapped their hands for joy, exclaiming that this was the Chief Spirit, the Turtle, the Spirit that never lied. Other voices which they had discriminated from time to time they had previously hissed, as recognising them to belong to evil and lying spirits which deceive mankind.

"New sounds came from the tent. During the space of half an hour, a succession of songs were heard, in which a diversity of voices met the ear. From his first entrance till these songs were finished, we heard nothing in the proper voice of the priest; but now he addressed the multitude, declaring the presence of the Great Turtle, and the Spirit's readiness to answer such questions as should be proposed.

"The questions were to come from the chief of the village, who was silent, however, till after he had put a large quantity of tobacco into the tent, introducing it at the aperture.

"The questions of public interest being resolved, individuals were now permitted to seize the opportunity of inquiring into the condition of their absent friends, and the fate of such as were sick. I observed that the answers given to these questions allowed of much latitude of interpretation. . . . The Great Turtle continued to be consulted till near midnight, when the crowd dispersed to their respective lodges. I was on the watch through the scene I have described to detect the particular contrivances by which the fraud was carried on; but such was the skill displayed in the performance, or such my deficiency of penetration, that I made no discoveries, but came away as I went, with 110 more than those general surmises which will naturally be entertained by the reader."

Schoolcraft declares that the Algonquins believed that every person had two souls, one of which had the power of leaving the body in dreams, while the other remained in it until after the burial. Provision was made for the egress of this second soul, the lid or cover of the receptacle of the body being merely tied down, and never nailed, and the rope or string being left loose. Over the grave was placed a cover of cedar bark to shelter it from the rain, and in this an aperture was also left to allow the soul to escape.

Dreams were esteemed as highly important by all Indians, and were encouraged by long fasting. A young Indian's initial fast, marking the end of childhood and the attainment of maturity, was viewed with special solemnity. Schoolcraft says, indeed, that it was as important among Indians as is baptism among Christians. It was looked upon as a free-will rite, in which the individual dedicated himself to the religious duties of manhood.

It is impossible to separate the rites and ceremonies supposedly connected with the healing of disease by magic means from the other religious and

semi-religious usages observed among the Indian peoples. The customary incantations and the barbarous treatment to which the sufferers were subjected must very seriously have augmented the death role. Alexander Ilenry may again be quoted for an interesting description of the means used in the hope of recovering the sick:

"I was once present at a performance of this kind, in which the patient was a female child of about twelve years of age. Several of the elder chiefs were invited to the scene, and the same compliment was paid myself on account of the medical skill for which they were pleased to give me credit.

"The physician (so to call him), seated himself on the ground and placed before him on a blanket was a basin of water, in which were three bones, the larger ones, as it appeared to me of a swan's wing. In his hand he had his shishiquoi, or rattle, with which he beat time to his medicine song. The sick child lay on a blanket near to the physician. She appeared to have much fever and a severe oppression of the lungs, breathing with difficulty and betraying the last stages of consumption.

"After singing for some time, the physician took one of the hones out of the basin ; the bone was hollow, and one end being applied to the breast of the patient, he put the other into his mouth in order to remove the disorder by suction. Having persevered in this as long as he thought proper, he suddenly seemed to force the bone into his mouth and swallow it. lie now acted the part of one suffering severe pain, but, presently finding relief, he made a long speech, and after this returned to singing to the accompaniment of his rattle. With the latter during his song he struck his head, breast, sides and back; at the same time straining as if to vomit forth the bone.

"Relinquishing this attempt, he put himself to suction a second time, and with the second of the three bones. This also he seemed to swallow.

"Upon its disappearance he began to distort himself in the most frightful manner, using every gesture which could convey the idea of pain; at length he succeeded, or pretended to succeed, in throwing up one of the bones. This was handed about to the spectators, and strictly examined ; but nothing remarkable could be discovered. Upon this he went back to his song and rattle, and after some time threw up the second of the two bones. In the groove of this, the physician upon examination, found and displayed to all present a small white substance, the piece of a quill of a feather. It was passed round the company from one to the other, and declared bv the physician to be the thing causing the disorder of the patient.

"The multitude believe that these physicians, whom the French call jongleurs, or jugglers, can inflict as well as remove disorders. They believe that by drawing the figure of any person in the sand or ashes or clay, or by considering any object as the figure of a person, and then pricking it with a stick or other substance, or doing in any other manner that which done to a

living body would cause pain or injury, the individual represented, or supposed to be represented, will suffer accordingly. On the other band the mischief being done, another physician of equal pretentions, can by suction remove it. Unfortunately, however, the operations which I have described were not successful in the instance referred to; for on the day after which they had taken place, the girl died."

Space will not permit us to reproduce Indian tales in any number. Verv many of them, indeed, are of little interest' except to the serious student engaged in tracing the development of a barbarous race. The tales are commonly so grotesque as to make little appeal to the white reader. On the oter hand many of them are singularly beautiful, and of such a couple of examples may be quoted. The following story was taken down by Schoolcraft.

THE WHITE STONE CANOE.

"There was once a very beautiful young girl who died on the day she was to have been married to a handsome young warrior. He was also brave, but his heart was not proof against this loss. From the hour when she was buried there was no more joy or peace for him. lie went often to visit the spot where the women had buried her, and sat musing there, when it was thought by some of his friends he would do better to try and amuse himself in the chase, or by diverting bis thoughts on the war-path. But war and hunting had both lost their charm for him. His heart was already dead within him. He pushed aside both his war club and his bow and arrows.

"He had heard the old people say that there was a path that led to the land of the souls, and he determined to follow it. He accordingly set out one morning, after having completed his preparations for the journey. At first he did not know which way to go. He was only guided by the tradition that he must go south. For a while he could see no change in the face of the country. Forests and hills and valleys and streams had the same looks which they wore in his native place. There was snow on the ground when he set out, and it was sometimes seen to be piled and matted on the- trees and bushes. At length it began to diminish and finally disappeared. The forest assumed a more cheerful appearance. The leaves put forth their buds, and before he was aware of the completeness of the change, he found himself surrounded by Spring. He had left behind him the land of snow and ice. The air became mild ; the dark clouds of winter bad rolled away from the sky; a pure field of blue was above him. and as he went he saw the flowers beside his path and heard the song of the birds. By these signs he knew he was going the right way. for they agreed with the traditions of his tribe. At length he espied a path. It led him through a grove and up a long and elevated ridge, on the top of which he came to a lodge. At the door stood an old man with while hair, whose eyes, though deeply sunk, had a fiery brilliancy. He had a long robe of skins thrown loosely round his shoulders, and a staff in his hand.

"The young Chippewayan began to tell his story, but the chief arrested him before be bad proceeded ten words. 'I have expected you,' he replied, 'and have just risen to hid you welcome to my abode. She whom you seek passed here but a few days since, and being fatigued with her journey, rested herself here. Enter my lodge and be seated, and I will then satisfy your inquiries, and give you directions for your journey from this point.' Having done this, they both issued forth from the lodge door. 'You see yonder gulf,' said he, 'and the wide stretching blue plains beyond? It is the land of souls. You stand upon its border, and my lodge is the gate of its entrance. But you cannot take your body along. Leave it here with your bow and arrows, your bundle and your dog. You will find them safe on your return.' So saying, he re-entered the lodge, and the freed traveller bounded forward as if his feet had suddenly become endowed with the power of wings. But all things retained their natural color and shapes. The woods and leaves, the streams and lakes were only more comely than he had ever witnessed. Animals bounded across his path with a freedom and confidence which seemed to tell him that there was no blood shed here. Birds of beautiful plumage inhabited the groves and sported on the waters. There was but one thing in which lie saw a very unusual effect. He noticed that his passage was not stopped by trees or other objects. He appeared to walk directly through them. They were, in fact, but the souls and shadows of material things. He became sensible that he was in a land of shadows. When he had travelled half a day's journey through a country which was continually becoming now more attractive, he came to the banks of a broad lake, in the centre of which was a large and beautiful island. He found a canoe of shining white stone tied to the shore. He was now sure he had come the right path, for the aged man had told him of this. There were also shining paddles. He immediately entered the canoe and took the paddles in his hand, when to his joy and surprise, turning round, he beheld the object of his search, in another canoe exactly its counterpart in everything. She had exactly imitated his motions, and they were side by side. They at once pushed out from shore and began to cross the lake. Its waves seemed to be rising and at a distance looked ready to swallow them up, but just as they entered the whitened edge of them, they seemed to melt away as if they were but the images of waves. But no sooner was one wreath of foam passed, than another still more threatening rose up. Thus they were in perpetual fear, and what added to it was the clearness of the water through which they could see heaps of beings who had perished before, and whose bones lay strewn at the bottom of the lake. The Master of Life, however, had decreed to let them pass, for the actions of neither of them had been bad. Hut they saw many others struggling and sinking in the waves. Old men and young men, males and females were there; some passed and some sank. It was only the little children whose canoes seemed to meet no waves. At length every difficulty was gone as if in a moment, and they both leaped out on The Happy Island. They felt that the very air was food. It strengthened and nourished them. They wandered together over the blissful fields where everything was formed to please the eye and the ear. There were no tempests—there was no ice or chilly winds—no one shivered for the want of warm clothes: no one suffered from hunger; no one mourned for the dead. They saw no graves; the)' heard of no wars. There was no hunting of animals, for the air itself was their food. Gladly would the young warrior have remained there for ever, but he had to go back for his body. He did not see the Master of Life, but he heard his voice in a soft breeze; 'Go back,' said the voice, 'to the land from which you came. Your time has not yet come. The duties for which I made you and which you arc to perform, are not yet finished. Return to your people and perform the duties of a good man. You will be the ruler of your tribe for many days. The rules you must observe will be told you by my messenger who keeps the gate. When he surrenders back your body, he will tell you what to do. Listen to him, and you shall afterwards return to the Spirit which you must now leave behind. She is accepted, and will be for ever here, as young and as happy as she was when I first called her from the land of the snows.' When this voice ceased, the narrator awoke. It was the fancy of a dream, and he was still in the bitter land of snow, and hunger and tears." . . .

Many of the myths conflict with each other to a greater or less extent, and stories prevalent among some tribes are treated as unworthy of credence by others. Schoolcraft reproduces a legend of the origin of Machimanito, or the Great Evil Spirit. In the days of creation the Master of Life made crcature after creature and sometimes experimentally, as partially completed products, without definitely endowing them with life. On a certain occasion he made a creature on the model of many beasts of the field, but with hands like a god—like himself and with uplifted head. In this creature he had left some germs of life which he had forgotten to take awav when he discarded his creation, casting it into an old cave amongst the remains of other works that had been thrown thither without life. Long afterwards, however, the germ of vitality worked in the image, and it came forth from the cave with a great noise and terrible to behold. Thus originated the Spirit of Evil.

As Schoolcraft remarks, "The coolness with which the fact is assumed that the origin of evil was incidental in the process of developing a perfect humanity would, at an earlier date, have been quite appalling to the schoolmen."

Though but few Iroquois made their way to the Western plains, the following tale reported by William Henry is of such high intrinsic interest that it is well worth reproducing as an example of one of the best Indian stories extant. This William Henry was the uncle of Alexander Henry. Having been taken prisoner by Iroquois, he owed his life to his adoption into his captors' tribe. He was possessed of a faculty for languages and took pains to acquire that of his captors, so that he became much respected bv old Cannassatego,'a warrior, councillor and chief man of the village. He took much pains to instruct the white man in the principles of Indian eloquence. "This,"' says Henry, "is an art (it may seem strange to say it, but it is strictly true) carried much higher among these savages than it is now in any part of Europe, as it is their only polite art, and they practise it from their infancy, as everything of consequence is transacted in councils, and all the force of their government consists in persuasion."

On one occasion the Indian bad been making inquiries of Henry regarding the history, customs and religious opinions of the white people.

"When he had sat silent a few minutes he said, 'White man, listen to me; hear me, Coseagou. You say that there is but one great good Mannitta. You know of no more. If there were but one, how unhappy must he be without friends, without companions, without that equality in conversation by which pleasure is mutually given and received. I tell you that there are more than a hundred of them. They live in the sun and in the moon; they love one another as brethren ; they visit and converse with each other, and they sometimes visit, though they donot often converse with us. Every country has its great good Mannitta who first peoples that country. 1 am now going to tell you how my country was first made and peopled.'

"Then raising his voice and entering into the council style and manner of speaking with that modulation which I might call the quoting tone, being what they use in repeating messages, treaties or anything that has been said by others in former times, other places or preceding councils; a tone so particular, that if you come into council in the middle of a speech, you can tell whether the person is delivering his own sentiments or reciting those of another, this tone having the same effect in their speeches, and answering the same end with our marginal inverted commas in writing, to distinguish borrowed passages quoted as authorities; only that the Indians have three differences in the quoting tones, none of which we have in writing, viz.: the approving accent, the disapproving accent and the uncertain or doubting, and that there is something measured or musical in all these tones. I say, Cannasatego. in the quoting or historical lone, with the approving accent, and with an air of great authority and dignity, went on with his account of the manner in which his country was made and peopled.

"'When our great, good Mannitta raised Akanishionegy," out of the great waters he said to his brethren, "How fine a country is this! I will make the Red Men the best of men to enjoy it." Then with five handfuls of red seed like the eggs of flies did he strew the fertile fields of Onondaga. Little worms came out of the seeds and penetrated the earth, where the spirits who had never yet seen the light entered into and united with them. Mannitta watered the earth with his rain ; the sun warmed it; the worms with the spirits in them grew, putting forth arms and legs and moved the light earth that covered them. After nine moons they came forth perfect boys and girls. Mannitta covered them with bis mantle of warm purple cloud and nourished them with milk from his finger ends. Xine summers did lie nurse them, and nine summers more did lie instruct them how to live. In the meantime he had made for their use trees, plants and animals of various kinds. Akanishionegy was then covered with woods and filled with creatures. Then he assembled his children together and said, "Ye arc five nations for ye sprang each from a different handful of the seed I sowed ; but ye are all brethren and I am your father, for I made you all; I have nursed and brought you up; Mohocks, I have made you bold and valiant, and see I give you corn for your food. Oneidas. I have made you patient of pain and of hunger, the nuts and the fruits of the trees are yours. Sennekers, I have made you industrious and active; beans do I give you for nourishment. Cayugas, I have made you strong, friendly and generous: ground nuts and every root shall refresh you. Onondogas, I have made you wise, just and eiocpient; squashes and grapes have I given you to eat and tobacco to smoke-in the council. The beasts, birds and fishes have I given to you all in common. As I have loved and taken care of you all, so do you love and take care of one another. Communicate freely to each other the good things that I have given yon. and learn to imitate each other's virtues. I have made you the best people in the world, and I have given you the best country. You will defend it from the invasions of the other nations, from the children of other Mannittas and keep possession of it for yourselves while the sun and moon give light and the waters run in the rivers. This you shall do if you observe mv words. Spirits, I am now about to leave you. The bodies that I have given you will in time grow old and wear out, so that you will be weary of them, or from various accidents they will become unfit for your habitation, and you will leave them. 1 cannot remain here always to give you new ones.

"'1 have great affairs to mind in distant places, and I cannot attend so long to the nursing of children. I have enabled you therefore among yourselves to produce new bodies; to supply the place of the old ones, that everyone of you when be parts with his old habitation may in due time find a new one, and never wander longer than he chooses under the earth, deprived of the light of the sun.

'"Nourish and instruct your children as I have nourished and instructed you. Be just to all men and kind to strangers that come among you. So shall you be happy and beloved by all, and I myself will sometimes visit and assist you." Saying this he wrapped himself in a bright cloud and went like a swift arrow to the sun, where his brethren rejoiced at his return. From thence he often looked with pleasure to his brothers, the country he had formed and the nation he had produced to inhabit it.

"Here the five nations lived long and happily, communicating freely to each other as their wants required, all the good things that bad been given them, and generations had succeeded generations when the great evil Mannitta came among them and put evil thoughts in their hearts. Then the Mohocks said, "We abound in corn which our brothers have not; let us oblige them to give us a great deal of fruits, beans, roots, squashes and tobacco for a very little corn, so shall we live in idleness and plenty while they labour and live hardly." And in the same manner spoke the other nations. Hence arose discord and animosity and hatred, insomuch that they were on the point of lifting the hatchet against each other, and miring the ground with brothers' blood. Their father saw this from the sun, and was angry with his children. A thick blue and red cloud covered all the land, and he spoke to them in thunder. "Wretches!" said he, "Did I not freely give to each of you different kinds of good things, and those in plenty, that each might have something in his power to contribute to his brothers' happiness, and so increase the happiness and strengthen the union of the whole, and do you now abuse those gifts to oppress each other; and would one brother, to make himself, in imagination, more happy, make four brethren, in reality, more miserable? Ye have become unworthy of the goodness I have shown you, and shall 110 longer enjoy my favors."—Then the sun of Akanishiongy gave forth darkness instead of light, the rivers ran backwards to the mountains, and, with all their fish, reentered the fountains from which they sprang, forsaking their ancient beds, and leaving dry the banks they used to water.

'The clouds withheld their rain, and carried it away to other regions. The surface of the earth became dust: whirlwinds filled the air with it, and every breathing creature was almost stifled with it; everything green withered; the birds flew away; the beasts ran out of the country, and last of all, the afflicted people, famished nearly to death, their dry eyes not having even a tear left, departed sorrowing, begging every where for food from those who despised them for their late wickedness to one another.

"'Nine summers passed away, and their distresses continued. Then the evil spirit left tliem, for the)- no longer listened to his counsels; they began mutually to feel and pity one another's misfortunes; they began to love and to help each other. The nation among whom they were scattered now began to esteem them, and offered to adopt and incorporate them among themselves. But they said, "No, we are still a people; we choose to continue a people; perhaps our great Mannitta will restore 11s to our country, and we will then remember this your offered kindness." The Great Mannitta, seeing their hearts changed, looked on them with compassion. He spoke, and the sun again gave light; the rivers came again forth from the fountains and ran rejoicing through the delighted valleys; the trees and plants renewed their verdure, the birds and beasts returned to the forests, and the five nations, with glad and thankful hearts, went back to repossess their ancient seats. From that time down to the present day it has been an inviolable rule and custom among the nations, that every brother is welcome to what a brother can spare of the good things which the spirit has caused to spring for him out of the earth.' "


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