ePub 版

to account for this, a suggestion may katchewan and towards the tributaries be ventured. The Indian passes a life of the Coppermine and Mackenzie Rivthat knows no repose.

His vigilance ers. The expedition was perilous from is ever on the alert. No hour of day or its commencement, and the danger innight is to him an hour of assured safe- creased with each day's journey. The ty. In the course of years, his percep- war-paths, war-party fires, and similar tions and apprehensions become so indications of the vicinity of hostile acute, in the presence of constant dan- bands, were each day found in greater ger, as to render him keenly and deli- abundance. cately sensitive to impressions that a It should be borne in mind that an civilized man could scarce recognize. experienced trapper can, at a glance, The Indian, in other words, has a de- pronounce what tribe made a war-trail velopment almost like the instinct of or a camp-fire. Indications which would the fox or beaver. Upon this delicate convey no meaning to the inexperienced barometer, whose basis is physical fear, are conclusive proofs to the keen-eyed impressions (moral or physical, who mountaineer. The track of a foot, by a shall say ?) act with surprising power. greater or less turning out of the toes, How this occurs, no Indian will attempt demonstrates from which side of the to explain. Certain conjurations will, mountains a party has come. The they maintain, aid the medicine-man to print of a moccasin in soft earth indireceive impressions; but how or where- cates the tribe of the wearer. An arfore, no one pretends to know. This row-head or a feather from a war-bonview of minor medicine is the one which net, a scrap of dressed deer-skin, or will account for many of its manifesta- even a chance fragment of jerked buffations. Whether sound or defective, we lo-meat, furnishes data from which unwill not contend.

erring conclusions are deduced with The medicine - man whom I knew marvellous facility. best was Ma-que-a-pos (the Wolfs The party of adventurers soon found Word), an ignorant and unintellectual that they were in the thickest of the person. I knew him perfectly well. His Cree war-party operations, and so full nature was simple, innocent, and harm- of danger was every day's travel that a less, devoid of cunning, and wanting in council was called, and seven of the those fierce traits that make up the In- ten turned back. The remaining three, dian character. His predictions were more through foolhardiness than for sometimes absolutely astounding. He any good reason, continued their jourhas, beyond question, accurately de- ney, until their resolution failed them, scribed the persons, horses, arms, and and they too determined that, after andestination of a party three hundred other day's travel northward, they would miles distant, not one of whom he had hasten back to their comrades. ever seen, and of whose very existence On the afternoon of the last day, four neither he, nor any one in his camp, was young Indians were seen, who, after a before apprised.

cautious approach, made the sign of On one occasion, a party of ten voya- peace, laid down their arms, and came geurs set out from Fort Benton, the re- forward, announcing themselves to be motest post of the American Fur Com- Blackfeet of the Blood Band. They pany, for the purpose of finding the were sent out, they said, by Ma-quèKaime, or Blood Band of the Northern a-pos, to find three whites mounted Blackfeet. Their route lay almost due on horses of a peculiar color, dressed north, crossing the British line near the in garments accurately described to Chief Mountain (Nee-na-sta-ko) and the them, and armed with weapons which great Lake O-màx-een (two of the grand- they, without seeing them, minutely est features of Rocky Mountain scenery, described. The whole history of the but scarce ever seen by whites), and expedition had been detailed to them extending indefinitely beyond the Sas- by Ma-que-a-pos. The purpose of the

journey, the personnel of the party, the feet) formed the human race from the exact locality at which to find the three mud of the Missouri, – how he experiwho persevered, had been detailed by mented before he adopted the human him with as much fidelity as could have frame, as we now have it, — how he been done by one of the whites them- placed his creatures in an isolated park selves. And so convinced were the far to the north, and there taught them Indians of the truth of the old man's the rude arts of Indian life, - how he medicine, that the four young men staked the Indians on a desperate game were sent to appoint a rendezvous, for of chance with the Spirit of Evil, four days later, at a spot a hundred and how the whites are now his pecumiles distant. On arriving there, ac- liar care. Ma-que-a-pos's faith could companied by the young Indians, the hardly stand the test of any religious whites found the entire camp of “ Ris- creed. Yet it must be said for him, that ing Head,” a noted war-chief, awaiting his simplicity and innocence of life them. The objects of the expedition might be a model for many, better inwere speedily accomplished; and the structed than he. whites, after a few days' rest, returned The wilder tribes are accustomed to 10 safer haunts. The writer of this certain observances which are generpaper was at the head of the party of ally termed the tribe-medicine. Their whites, and himself met the Indian mes- leading men inculcate them with great sengers.

care, — perhaps to perpetuate unity of Upon questioning the chief men of tradition and purpose. In the arrangethe Indian camp, many of whom af- ment of tribe-medicine, trivial observterwards became my warm personal ances are frequently intermixed with friends, and one of them my adopted very serious doctrines. Thus, the grand brother, no suspicion of the facts, as war-council of the Dakotah confedernarrated, could be sustained. Ma-que- acy, comprising thirteen tribes of Sioux, a-pos could give no explanation beyond and more than seventeen thousand the general one, - that he “saw us warriors, many years since promulgated coming, and heard us talk on our jour- a national medicine, prescribing a red ney.” He had not, during that time, stone pipe with an ashen stem for all been absent from the Indian camp. council purposes, and (herein was the

A subsequent intimate acquaintance true point) an eternal hostility to the with Ma-que-a-pos disclosed a remark- whites. The prediction may be safely able medicine faculty as accurate as it ventured, that every Sioux will preserve was inexplicable. He was tested in this medicine until the nation shall every way, and almost always stood cease to exist. To it may be traced the the ordeal successfully. Yet he never recent Indian war that devastated Minclaimed that the gift entitled him to any nesota ; and there cannot, in the nature peculiar regard, except as the instru- of things, and of the American Indian ment of a power whose operations he especially, be a peace kept in good did not pretend to understand. He had faith until the confederacy of the Daan imperfect knowledge of the Catholic kotah is in effect destroyed. worship, distorted and intermixed with The Crows, or Upsàraukas, will not the wild theogony of the red man. He smoke in council, unless the pipe is would talk with passionate devotion of lighted with a coal of buffalo chip, and the Mother of God, and in the same the bowl rested on a fragment of the breath tell how the Great Spirit re- same substance. Their chief men have strains the Rain Spirits from drowning for a great while endeavored to engraft the world, by tying them with the rain- teetotalism upon their national medibow. I have often seen him make the cine, and have succeeded better than sign of the cross, while he recounted, the Indian character would have seemed in all the soberness of implicit belief, to promise. how the Old Man (the God of the Black- Among the Flat-Heads female chastity is a national medicine. With the wild, irregular rhythm, the dirge was far Mandans, friendship for the whites is more Impressive than the words would supposed to be the source of national indicate. and individual advantage.

It cannot be denied that the whites, Besides the varieties of medicine who consort much with the ruder tribes already alluded to, there are in use of Indians imbibe, to a considerable charms of almost every kind. When degree, their veneration for medicine. game is scarce, medicine is made to The old trappers and voyageurs are, call back the buffalo. The Man in the almost without exception, observers of Sun is invoked for fair weather, for suc- omens and dreamers of dreams. They cess in war or chase, and for a cure of claim that medicine is a faculty which wounds. The spirits of the dead are can in some degree be cultivated, and appeased by medicine songs and offer aspire to its possession as eagerly as ings. The curiosity of some may be does the Indian. Sometimes they acattracted by the following rude and quire a reputation that is in many ways literal translation of the song of a Black- beneficial to them foot woman to the spirit of her son, As before said, it is no object of this who was killed on his first war-party. paper to defend or combat the Indian The words were written down at the notion of medicine. Such a system extime, and are not in any respect changed ists as a fact; and whoever writes upon or smoothed.

American Demonology will find many

fruitful topics of investigation in the “O my son, farewell ! You have gone beyond the great river,

daily life of the uncontaminated Indian. Your spirit is on the other side of the Sand Buttes; There may be nothing of truth in the I will not see you for a hundred winters ;

supposed prediction by Tecumseh, that You will scalp the enemy in the green prairie, Beyond the great river.

Tuckabatchee would be destroyed by When the warriors of the Biackfeet meet, an earthquake on a day which he When they smoke the medicine-pipe and dance the

named; the gifts of the “ Prophet” war-dance, They will ask, “Where is Isthumaka ?

may be overstated in the traditions that Where is the bravest of the Mannikappi?' yet linger in Kentucky and Indiana; He fell on the war-path.

the descent of the Mandans from Prince Mai-ram-bo, mai-ram-bo.

Madoc and his adventurous Welch“Many scalps will be taken for

death :

men, and the consideration accorded The Crows will lose many horses;

them on that account, may very possibly Their women will weep for their braves, They will curse the spirit of Isthumaka.

be altogether fanciful ; but whoever will O my son! I will come to you

take the trouble to investigate will find And make moccasins for the war.path,

in the real Indian a faith, and occasionAs I did when you struck the lodge Of the Horse-Guard' with the tomahawk. ally a power, that quite equal the faculFarewell, my son ! I will see you

ties claimed by our civilized clairvoyBeyond the broad river.

ants, and will approach an untrodden Mai-ram-bo, mai-ram-bo," etc., etc.

path of curious, if not altogether useful Sung in a plaintive minor key, and in a research.




THOU great Wrong, that, through the slow-paced years,

Didst hold thy millions fettered, and didst wield
The scourge that drove the laborer to the field,
And look with stony eye on human tears,

Thy cruel reign is o'er ;

Thy bondmen crouch no more In terror at the menace of thine eye ;

For He who marks the bounds of guilty power, Long-suffering, hath heard the captive's cry,

And touched his shackles at the appointed hour, And lo! they fall, and he whose limbs they galled Stands in his native manhood, disenthralled.

A shout of joy from the redeemed is sent ;

Ten thousand hamlets swell the hymn of thanks ;

Our rivers roll exulting, and their banks Send up hosannas to the firmament.

Fields, where the bondman's toil

No more shall trench the soil, Seem now to bask in a serener day;

The meadow-birds sing sweeter, and the airs
Of heaven with more caressing softness play,

Welcoming man to liberty like theirs.
A glory clothes the land from sea to sea,
For the great land and all its coasts are free.

Within that land wert thou enthroned of late,

And they by whom the nation's laws were made,

And they who filled its judgment-seats, obeyed Thy mandate, rigid as the will of fate.

Fierce men at thy right hand,

With gesture of command,
Gave forth the word that none might dare gainsay ;

And grave and reverend ones, who loved thee not,
Shrank from thy presence, and, in blank dismay,

Choked down, unuttered, the rebellious thought ; While meaner cowards, mingling with thy train, Proved, from the book of God, thy right to reign.

Great as thou wert, and feared from shore to shore,

The wrath of God o'ertook thee in thy pride ;

Thou sitt'st a ghastly shadow ; by thy side
Thy once strong arms hang nerveless evermore.

And they who quailed but now
Before thy lowering brow

Devote thy memory to scorn and shame,

And scoff at the pale, powerless thing thou art.
And they who ruled in thine imperial name,

Subdued, and standing sullenly apart,
Scowl at the hands that overthrew thy reign,
And shattered at a blow the prisoner's chain.

Well was thy doom deserved ; thou didst not spare

Life's tenderest ties, but cruelly didst part

Husband and wife, and from the mother's heart Didst wrest her children, deaf to shriek and prayer ;

Thy inner lair became

The haunt of guilty shame;
Thy lash dropped blood ; the murderer, at thy side,

Showed his red hands, nor feared the vengeance due. Thou didst sow earth with crimes, and, far and wide,

A harvest of uncounted miseries grew,
Until the measure of thy sins at last
Was full, and then the avenging bolt was cast.

Go then, accursed of God, and take thy place

With baleful memories of the elder time,

With many a wasting pest, and nameless crime, And bloody war that thinned the human race;

With the Black Death, whose way

Through wailing cities lay, Worship of Moloch, tyrannies that built

The Pyramids, and cruel creeds that taught
To avenge a fancied guilt by deeper guilt,

Death at the stake to those that held them not.
Lo, the foul phantoms, silent in the gloom
Of the flown ages, part to yield thee room.

I see the better years that hasten by

Carry thee back into that shadowy past,

Where, in the dusty spaces, void and vast,
The graves of those whom thou hast murdered lie.

The slave-pen, through whose door

Thy victims pass no more,
Is there, and there shall the grim block remain

At which the slave was sold; while at thy feet
Scourges and engines of restraint and pain

Moulder and rust by thine eternal seat.
There, 'mid the symbols that proclaim thy crimes,
Dwell thou, a warning to the coming times.

« 上一頁繼續 »