Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

becomes quite necessary in writing the language. And in the following sentences, the substantive is properly employed after the pronoun. This dog is very lean,

Gitshee bukaukdoozo woh-ow annemoosh. These dogs are very lean, Gitshee bukauddoozowug o-goo annem.

ooshug. Those dogs are fat,

Ig-eu annemooshug ween-in-oawug. That dog is fat,

Ah-ow annemoosh ween-in-ao. This is a handsome knife, Gagait onishishin maundun mokomahn. These are handsome knives. Gagait wahwinaudj o-noo mokomahnun. Those are bad knives, Monaududön in-euwaidde mokomahnun. Give me that spear,

Meezhishin eh-eu ahnitt. Give me those spears,

Meezhishin in-eu unnewaidde ahnitteen. That is a fine boy,

Gagait kwonaudj ah-ow kweewezains. Those are fine boys,

Gagait wahwinaudj ig-euwaidde kwee.

wezainsug. This boy is larger than that, Nahwudj mindiddo woh-ow kweewezains

ewaidde dush. That is what I wanted, Meeh-eu wau iauyaumbaun. This is the very thing I wanted, Mee-suh oh-oo wau iauyaumbaun.

In some of these expressions, the pronoun combines with an adjective, as in the compound words, ineuwaidde, and igeuwaidde, those yonder, (in.) and those yonder (an.) Compounds which exhibit the full pronoun in coalescence with the word Ewaidde yonder.

CHRONOLOGY.

Columbus discovered the West Indies Oct. 12, 1492.
Americo Vespucio, discovered the coast of South America, 1497.
Cabot discovered the North American coast 1497.
De Leon discovered Florida 1512.
Cortes, enters the city of Mexico, after a seige, Aug. 13, 1521.
Verrizani, is said to have entered the bay of New York, 1524.
Cartier discovered the St. Lawrence, 1534.
Jamestown, in Virginia, is founded, 1608.
Acknowledged date of the settlement of Canada, 1608.
Hudson discovers the river bearing his name, 1609.
The Dutch build a fort near Albany, 1614.
The Pilgrims land at Plymouth Dec. 22, 1620.
New Amsterdam taken from the Dutch by the Duke of York and Albany

and named New York 1664.
La Salle discovers the Illinois in upper Louisaina 1678.

discovers Lower Louisiana, and is killed 1685.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

1

RE-WA-KONS, a chief of the straits of St. Mary's, told me, during an interview, in 1327, that but seven generations of red men had passed away, since the French first appeared on those straits. If we take the date of Cartier's first visit to the St. Lawrence, as the era of their acquaintance with this nation, A. D. 1534, we should have 56 years as the period of an Indian generation. Should we take, instead of this, the time of La Salle's first arrival on the upper lakes, 1778, there would, on the contrary, be but a fraction over 22 years for a generation. But neither of these periods, can be truly said to coincide with the probable era of the chief's historical reminiscences. The first is too early, the last too late. An average of the two, which is required to apply the observation properly, gives 33 years as the Indian generation. This nearly assiinilates it to the results among Europeans, leaving 8 years excess. Further data would probably reduce this; but it is a department in which we have so little material, that we must leave it till these be accumulated. It may be supposed that the period of Indian longevity, before the introduction of ardent spirits, was equal, perhaps, a little superior, to that of the European ; but it did not exceed it, we think, by 8 years.

Ke-wa kons, whom I knew very well, was a man of shrewd sense, and respectable poviers of observation. He stated, at the same interview, that his tribe, who were of the Odjibwa type of the Algonquins, laid aside their Akeeks, or clay cooking-vessels, at that time, and adopted in lieu of them, the light brass kettle, which was more portable and permanent. And from that time, their skill in pottery declined, until, in our day, it is entirely lost. It is curious to reflect, that within the brief period of 150 years, a living branch of coarse manufacture among them, has thus been transferred into an object of antiquarian research. This fact, should mako historians cautious in assigning very remote periods of antiquity to the monumental evidences of by-gone generations.

It is by such considerations that we get a glimpse of some of the general principles which attended the early periods of discovery and settlement, in all parts of the continent. Adventurers came to find gold, or furs, to amass wealth, get power, or to perform mere exploits. Nobody cared much for the native race, beyond the fact of their being the medium to lead to these

19

289

specified objects. There were none, to record accurately, their arts, and other peculiarities, which now excite intense interest. They died away very fast, whole tribes becoming extinct within a generation or two. The European fabrics, then introduced, were so much superior to their own, that they, at once, discontinued such rude arts as they practised, at least in our northern latitudes. New adventurers followed in the track of Columbus, Amerigo, Cabot, and their compeers and followers, who, in the lapse of time, picked up, from the soil, pieces of coarse pottery, pestles and such like things, and holding them up, said,-—“See these !-here are evidences of very great skill, and very high antiquity."

It is not the intention by any means, to assert, that there were not antiquities of a far higher era, and nobler caste, but merely to impress upon inquirers, the necessity of discriminating the different eras in the chronology of our antiquities. All Indian pottery, north of the capes of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, is of, or preceding the era of the discovery; but there

; is found in graves, a species of pottery, and vitrified ware, which was introduced, in the early stages of traffic, by Europeans. Of this transition era between the dying away of the Indian arts, and the introduction of the European, are the rude pastes, enamel and glass beads, and short clay pipes of coarse texture, found in Indian cemeteries, but not in the tumuli. In place of these, our ancient Indians used wrought and unwrought sea shells of various species, and pipes carved out of seatites and other soft materials.

Mr. Anderson remarks in his biography of Catharine Brown, that “ the Cherokees are said to possess a language, which is more precise and powerful than any into which learning has poured richness of thought, or genius breathed the enchantments of fancy and eloquence.”

David Brown, in one of his letters, in the same volume, terms his people the Tsallakee, of which we must therefore take “ Cherokee," to be a corruption. It is seen by the Cherokee alphabet, that the sound of r does not occur in that language.

a

FAITH.

When Chusco was converted to Christianity at the mission of Michilinackinac, he had planted a field of potatoes on one of the neighbouring islands in lake Huron. In the fall he went over in his canoe, with his aged wife, to dig them—a labour which the old woman set unceremoniously about, as soon as they got into the field. “Stop!” cried the little old man, who had a small tenor voice and was bent nearly double by age,“ dare you begin to dig, till we have thanked the Lord for their growth." They then both knelt down in the field, while he lifted up his voice, in his native language, in thanks.

SHINGABA-WOSSINS, OR IMAGE STONES.

The native tribes who occupy the borders of the great lakes, are very ingenious in converting to the uses of superstition, such masses of loose rock, or boulder stones, as have been fretted by the action of water into shapes resembling the trunks of human bodies, or other organic forms.

There appears, at all times, to have been a ready disposition to turn such masses of rude natural sculpture, so to call them, to an idolatrous use ; as well as a most ingenious tact, in aiding the effect of the natural resemblance, by dots or dabs of paint, to denote eyes, and other features, or by rings of red ochre, around their circumference, by way of ornament.

In the following figures, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, some of these masses are represented.

[graphic][ocr errors]

Number 3. was brought to the office of the Indian Agent at Michilimackinac in 1839, and placed among objects of analagous interest to visiters. It consisted of a portion of a vein or mass of gneiss or granite, from which both mica and feldspar were nearly absent, existing only in trace, while the quartzy portion predominated, and had, by its superior hardness, resisted the elemental action. The mode of the formation of such masses is very well known to geologists, resulting, in almost every case, from the unequal degree of hardness of various parts of a mass, submitted to an equal force of attrition, such as is ordinarily given by the upheaving and rolling force of waves on a lake, or ocean beach. To the natives, who are not prone to reason from cause to effect, such productions appear wonderful. All that is past comprehension. or wonderful, is Attributed by them to the supernatural agency of spirits. The hunter or

versa.

warrior, who is travelling along the coast, and finds one of these selfsculptured stones, is not sure that it is not a direct interposition of his God, or guardian Manito, in his favour. He is habitually a believer in the most subtle forms of mysterious power, which he acknowledges to be often delegated to the native priests, or necromancers.

He is not stag: gered by the most extraordinary stretch of fancy, in the theory of the change or transformation of animate into inanimate objects, and vice

All things, " in heaven and earth," he believes to be subject to this subtle power of metamorphosis. But, whatever be the precise operating cause of the respect he pays to the imitative rolled stones, which he calls Shingaba-wossins, and also by the general phrase of Muz-in-ina-wun, or images, he is not at liberty to pass them without hazarding something, in his opinion, of his chance of success in life, or the fortune of the enterprize in hand.

If the image be small, it is generally taken with him and secreted in the neighborhood of his lodge. If large and too heavy for this purpose, it is set up on the shore, generally in some obscure nook, where an offering of tobacco, or something else of less value, may be made to it, or rather through it, to the spirit.

In 1820 one of these stones (No. 2.) was met by an expedition of the government sent north, that year, for the purpose of interior discovery and observation, at the inner Thunder Bay island, in Lake Huron. It was a massy stone, rounded, with a comparatively broad base and entablature but not otherwise remarkable. It was set up, under a tree on the island, which was small, with the wide and clear expanse of the lake in plain view. The island was one of those which were regarded as desert, and was probably but seldom stopped at. It was, indeed, little more than a few acres of boulders and pebbles, accumulated on a limestone reef, and bearing a few stunted trees and shrubs. The water of the lake must, in high storms, have thrown its spray over this imaged stone. It was, in fine, one of those private places which an Indian might be supposed to have selected for his secret worship.

In No. 3. is figured an object of this kind, which was found in 1832, in the final ascent to the source of the Mississippi, on the right cape, in ascending this stream into lac Traverse—at the distance of about 1000 miles above the falls of St. Anthony. I landed at the point to see it, have ing heard, from my interpreter, that such an object was set up and dedicated to some unknown Manito there. It was a pleasant level point of land shaded with trees, and bearing luxuriant grass and wild shrubbery and flowers. In the middle of this natural parterre the stone was placed, and was overtopped by this growth, and thus concealed by it. A ring of red paint encircled it, at the first narrowed point of its circumference, to give it the resemblance of a human neck; and there were some rude dabs to denote other features. The Indian is not precise in the matter of

a

« ПредишнаНапред »