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stock, who, at an early time seated themselves on the sources of the Mississippi, making their head quarters at Leech Lake. To this place, their traditions assert, they came from Chagoimegon, or still farther east, prior to the discovery of the country by Europeans. They were consequently intruders in, or conquerors of the country, and drove back some other people. It seems equally probable that this people were the Dacotahs, the Naddowassies, or as it is abbreviated, Sioux, of early French writers. The Sioux are a numerous and warlike stock, who occupy portions of the banks of the Missouri and the Mississippi, at, and about the latitude of St. Anthony's Falls. A hereditary war of which “the memory of man runneth not to the contrary," was the consequence of this ancient inroad. Of all this region of country we can speak from personal knowledge, having traversed it at sundry times, and in various directions. It is in local remi
, . niscence, little more than a widely extended scene of Indian battles, ambuscades and murders. There is hardly a prominent stream, plain or forest, which is not referred to as the traveller proceeds, as the particular locality of some fight, tragedy, or hair-breath escape among the Red Men. The Olympic games were not a surer test of fame in successful rivalry, than is this wide area of aboriginal warfare, for the opposing nations of the Sioux and Chippewas. War is the prime avenue to distinction to the Indian mind. As soon as a hunter has acquired any distinction, and begins to look upon
courage and address, he turns his efforts to the war path. Whatever else he is famous for, this is the crowning test and seal of his reputation. And none have pursued it with more incessant devotion than the Chippewas.
Takozid determined from his earliest youth to take a part in the strife for barbaric glory. He early joined the war parties going into the great plains. He learned their arts, repeated their songs, and became expert in
, all the warrior's arts. He established the reputation of a brave young
The next step was to lead a war party himself. He courted popularity by generosity, self denial, and attention to their religious rites and ceremonies. These things may be done on a smaller scale, as effectually among a band of savages, as in the hall or forum. He succeeded. He raised a war party, conducted it into the plains, discovered his enemies, approached them slily, fell upon them, defeated them, and returned in triumph with their scalps to his village. His deep and hollow CHE KWAN DUM, or death-cry of victory as he came to the eminence which overlooked his village, announced all this before he set foot in his village: and the number of his scalps.
These exploits placed him on the pinnacle of fame. It is a curious fact, in the lives of our Red men, to observe that war is a stimulus to poligamy. One of the first things he thought of, as a proper reward for his bravery, was to take another wife. In this, his friends and partizans concurred, although he had no cause of dissatisfaction with his first wife, to whom he
had been married but a short time, and who had borne him a son. Time added confirmation to this plan. It was talked of, and even debated by the chiefs. It was conceded to be due to his bravery. All, indeed, appeared to approve of it, but his wife.
She heard of the rumor with alarm, and received the account of its confirmation, with pain. It could no longer be doubted, for the individual who was to share, nay, control the lodge with her was named, and the consent of her parents had been obtained.
Monon, or the Little-Iron-Wood-Tree, as she was called, was a female of no ordinary firmness of character. She was ardently attached to her husband, not the less so for his rising fame, jealous of her rights, and prompted by strong feelings to maintain them. In all these points she was above the generality of her country women. Like others, however, in a community where poligamy was common, she might have submitted at length, to her fate, had not her rival in the affections of Takozid, appealed to a deeper seated principle, and waked up, in the breast of the injured wife, the feeling of revenge: a principle reckless enough, in communities where there are the safeguards of education and christianity to restrain and regulate it; but horrible in wild and roving bands of barbarians. Monon's fidelity was slandered. She was a pure and high minded woman, and the imputation goaded her to the quick.
When this slander first reached her ears, through the ordinary channel of village gossip, a chord was struck, which vibrated through every throe, and steeled her heart for some extraordinary act; although none could anticipate the sanguinary deed which marked the nuptial night. An Indian marriage is often a matter of little ceremony. It was not so, on this occasion. To render the events imposing, many had been invited. The bride was dressed in her best apparel. Her father was present. Many young and old, males and females were either present or thronged around the lodge. The broad clear blue waters of the lake, studded with green islands, spread before the door. A wide grassy lawn, which was the village ball and play ground, extended down to its margin. It was a public event. A throng had gathered around. Takozid was to be married. He was to take a second wife, in the daughter of Obegwud. Takozid himself was there. Hilarity reigned within and without. All indeed, were there, but the dejected and deserted Monon, who had been left with her child, at the chieftain's own lodge.
But a spirit had been aroused in her breast, which would not permit her to remain absent. She crossed the green silently, stealthily. She stood gazing awhile at the lake. She approached the bridal lodge. She passed easily among the group. She entered the lodge. Nor bad any .one, at that moment, a thought of suspicion or alarm. The bride was seated on her envied abbinos ; her affianced husband was at her side.
All at once, there arose a shrill cry, in the Chippewa tongue. vociferated the enraged Monon, This for the bastard!" and at each repeti
tion of the words, she raised an Indian poignard, in her hand. The suddenness of her movement had paralyzed every attempt to arrest her, Amazement sat in every face. She had plunged a pointed knife into the breast of her rival.
There is little to be added to such a catastrophe. Its very suddenness and atrocity appalled every one. Nobody arrested her, and nobody pursued her. She returned as she came, and re-entered her lodge. Her victim never spoke.
From this moment the fame of Takozid declined. The event appeared to have unmanned him. He went no more to war. His martial spirits appeared to have left him. He sank back into the mass of Indian society, and was scarcely ever mentioned. Nor should we, indeed, have recalled his name from its obscurity, were it not associated in the Indian reminiscences of Leach lake, with this sanguinary deed.
I had this relation a few years ago, from a trader, who had lived at Leech lake, who personally knew the parties, and whose veracity I had no reason at all, to call into question. It is one of the elements that go into the sum of my personal observations, on savage life, and as such 1 cast it among these papers. To judge of the Red race aright, we must view it, in all its phases, and if we would perform our duty towards them, as christians and men, we should gather our data from small, as well as great events, and from afar as well as near. When all has been done, in the way of such collections and researches, it will be found, we think, that their errors and crimes, whatever they are, assume no deeper dye than philanthropy has had reason to apprehend them to take, without a knowledge of the principles of the gospel. Thou shalt not kill, is a law, yet to be enforced, among more than two hundred thousand souls, who bear the impress of a red skin, within the acknowledged limits of the American Union.
MACHINITO, THE EVIL SPIRIT;
FROM THE LEGENDS OF IAGOU.
BY MRS. E. OAKES SMITH.
“ The Pagan world not only believes in a myriad of gods, but worships them also It is the peculiarity of the North American Indian, that while he believes in as many, he worships but one, the Great Spirit.”—(Schoolcraft.)
CHEMANITOU, being the master of life, at one time became the origin of a spirit, that has ever since caused himself and all others of his creation a great deal of disquiet. His birth was owing to an accident. It was in this wise.
Metówac, or as the white people now call it, Long Island, was origi nally a vast plain, so level and free from any kind of growth, that it looked like a portion of the great sea that had suddenly been made to move back and let the sand below appear, which was the case in fact.
Here it was that Chemanitou used to come and sit, when he wished to bring any new creation to the life. The place being spacious and solitary, the water upon every side, he had not only room enough, but was free from interruption. It is well known that some of these early creations were
very great size, so that very few could live in the same place, and their strength made it difficult for Chemanitou, even to controul them ; for when he has given them certain elements, they have the use of the laws that govern these elements, till it is his will to take them back to himself. Accordingly, it was the custom of Chemanitou, when he wished to try the effect of these creatures, to set them in motion upon the island of Metówac, and if they did not please him, he took the life out before they were suffered to escape. He would set up a mammoth or other large animal, in the centre of the island, and build him up with great care, somewhat in the manner that a cabin or a canoe is made.
Even to this day may be found traces of what had been done here in former years; and the manner in which the earth sometimes sinks down [even wells fall out at the bottom here,] shows that this island is nothing more than a great cake of earth, a sort of platter laid upon the sea,
, for the convenience of Chemanitou, who used it as a table upon which he might work, never having designed it for anything else; the margin of the CHATIEMAC, (the stately swan,) or Hudson river, being better adapted to the purposes of habitation.
When the master of life wished to build up an elephant or mammoth he placed four cakes of clay upon the ground, at proper distances, which were moulded into shape, and became the feet of the animal.
Now sometimes these were left unfinished; and to this day the green tussocks, to be seen like little islands about the marshes, show where these cakes of clay had been placed.
As Chemanitou went on with his work, the NEEBANAWBAIGS (or water spirits,) the PUCK-WUD-JINNIES, (Fairies *) and indeed all the lesser manittoes, used to come and look on, and wonder what it would be, and how it would act.
When the animal was quite done, and had dried a long time in the sun, Chemanitou opened a place in the side, and entering in, remained there many days.
* Literally, little men, who vanish.
When he came forth, the creature began to shiver and sway from side to side, in such a manner as shook the whole island for many leagues. If his appearance pleased the master of life he was suffered to depart, and it was generally found that these animals plunged into the sea upon the north side of the island, and disappeared in the great forests beyond.
Now at one time Chemanitou was a very long while building an animal, of such great bulk, that it looked like a mountain upon the centre of the island ; and all the manittoes, from all parts, came to see what it was. The Puck-wud-jinnies especially made themselves very merry, capering behind his great ears, sitting within his mouth, each perched upon a tooth, and running in and out of the sockets of the eyes, thinking Chemanitou, who was finishing off other parts of the animal, could not see them.
But he can see right through every thing he has made. He was glad to see them so lively, and bethought himself of many new creations while he watched their motions.
When the Master of Life had completed this large animal, he was fearful to give it life, and so it was left upon the island, or work-table of Chemanitou, till its great weight caused it to break through, and sinking partly down it stuck fast, the head and tail holding it in such a manner as to prevent it from going down.
Chemanitou then lifted up a piece of the back, and found it made a very good cavity, into which the old creations, which failed to please him, might be thrown.
He sometimes amused himself by making creatures very small and active, with which he disported awhile, and finding them of very little use in the world, and not so attractive as the little Vanishers, he would take out the life, holding it in himself, and then cast them into the cave made by the body of the unfinished animal. In this way great quantities of very odd shapes were heaped together in this Roncomcomon, or Place of Fragments."
He was always careful to first take out the life.
One day the Master of Life took two pieces of clay and moulded them into two large feet, like those of a panther. He did not make four—there were two only.
He stepped his own feet into them, and found the tread very light and springy, so that he might go with great speed, and yet make no noise.
Next he built up a pair of very tall legs, in the shape of his own, and made them walk about awhile—he was pleased with the motion. Then followed a round body, covered with large scales, like the alligator.
He now found the figure doubling forward, and he fastened a long black snake, that was gliding by, to the back part of the body, and let it wind itself about a sapling near, which held the body upright, and made a very good tail.