class="x-ebookmaker-pageno" title="[Pg 30]"/> penetrated the earth, forming such stones as flint, from which fire can be drawn.
Mrs. Eastman tells of the belief of the Sioux in a storm giant, to whom heat was cold and cold heat; who laughed when sad and groaned when merry; who wore horns to represent lightning and hurled meteors with his hands; he used one of the four winds as a drumstick to produce thunder.
In seasons of drought, the rainmaker of the Lenape sought a retired spot, and drawing upon the ground the figure of a cross, pointing to the cardinal points, made offerings of tobacco and other articles, to the Spirit of Rains.
The Blackfeet massed stones upon the prairies, in the form of a cross, in honor of the "Old Man who sends the wind."
The Creeks also called upon the four winds, whose duty it was to distribute showers.
The Wild Parsnip was a bad man, going around doing harmful deeds, until, by transformation, compelled to stay in one place, he could no longer cause damage except by killing people when they ate him.
The Spirit of Fire was supposed to ride, bow in hand and face blackened with rage, in a cloud of smoke. When he drew the bow, quickly the flames spread over the prairie.
The Navajos thought that fire was first brought to earth through the efforts of the coyote, the bat, and the squirrel. The coyote attached some splinters to his tail, ran quickly through the fire and fled with his prize. Being pursued, he was compelled to run rapidly and became exhausted, whereupon, the bat relieved him. The squirrel assisted him at the last, to carry it to the hearths of the Navajos.
In some tribes fire was considered a type of life. The Shawnee prophet said to his followers:
"Know that the life in your body and the fire on your hearth proceed from one source."
The greatest feast of the Delawares was to their "grandfather, fire." Referring to the immortality of their gods, the Algonquins said: "Their fire burns forever."
The imagery of the red man compares favorably with that of other races. The Indian lived near to the very heart of Nature and understood her fundamental truths. To him, all things were divided into the animate and inanimate. Everything endowed with life or capable of action was thought to possess intelligence and reason. There were lessons in the movements of the winds and waves; in flying clouds and in the azure skies; the countless stars had a language of their own; and even the comet, sweeping across the heavens, told a story with a strong moral.
The earliest record of the Indians of the Middle West, that of Father Marquette, has been preserved at St. Mary's College, Montreal, Canada. The document refers to the Kaws, Osages and Pawnees, as the dominant tribes. The Padoucas, of whom little is known, then dwelt near the head waters of the Kansas River. They were strong and numerous, and ranged the country southwest, in Colorado and New Mexico. The nation and language were unknown in other parts of the continent; and no relationship could be traced to the four principal Indian families. The habits of the people were different from those of any other tribe. They lived in houses in villages with streets regularly laid out; but raised no grain, depending for subsistence chiefly upon the products of the chase. Certain students of ethnology have asserted that the Kiowas are their somewhat degenerate descendants.
As years went by, all was changed. The Padoucas became extinct and the Pawnees reduced in numbers; the Osages ceded nearly all of their territory in Missouri to the United States and were allowed a reservation in Kansas. A few years later, a large percentage of their lands and that of the Kaws was purchased by the Government, to be used as a home for the Eastern Indians. The Delawares, Wyandots, Pottawatomies and Shawnees were the emigrant nations of the Kansas River valley.
When the Territory of Louisiana was still the property of France; when the United States was endeavoring to subdue the savages within its own domain; a wild and unsophisticated people, to whom the vices of civilization were as yet unknown, traversed the broad prairies of Kansas and Nebraska.
The Pawnees, or Pani, were, according to tradition, of southern origin. The white man found them established in villages along the Platte River, whence they sallied forth, roving over the entire region extending from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains and carrying terror to all who ventured opposition. None were more relentless in war or more ready to seek revenge. The word Pani, meaning "horn," was supposed to have reference to a peculiar custom of wearing the scalp-lock dressed to stand upright like a horn. The Pawnees were often called "wolves," on account of a singular aptitude in imitating those animals. When desirous of noting the movements of the enemy without being detected in so doing, they frequently put on the skins of wolves and dropped upon hands and knees as soon as near enough to be observed. Becoming common objects of the landscape, they remained unnoticed.
The nation was composed of three bands, federated under one chief. In order of importance, they were the Chau´-i (In-the-Middle), Kit-ke-hahk´-i (On-the-Hill), and Pit-hau´-erat (Down-the-Stream). These names were given with reference to the relative position of the villages. The Ski-di, or Loups, whose history is somewhat obscure, united with the tribe at some period after it had become settled along the Platte River. Western men called the different bands the Grand, Republican, Tapage and Wolf Pawnees. The Ski-di were more intelligent and fierce than their neighbors. After they united with the tribe, there were four important villages. The Tuhk-pah-huks´-taht (Pumpkin-vine Village) derived its name from the fact that once, during the absence of the people upon a long summer hunt, the pumpkin vines grew until they climbed over the lodges, almost hiding them from view. This was considered a miraculous occurrence.
One cold winter, when food was scarce, a band went into camp near the Loup River. Just below the village large numbers of buffaloes came to cross upon the ice. The Indians succeeded in killing so many of the animals that, having dried all the meat required, they preserved the skins only, leaving the bodies to be devoured by wolves. About this time a member of a starving band arrived and expressed great wonderment as to the way in which they had obtained so much meat. Taking him down to the river, his friends pointed out the spot on the ice where wolves, standing in a pool of water caused by a slight thaw, were feasting upon the buffaloes. Going back to his own band, the Ski-di told of plenty in the other camp, and when questioned as to its location, replied: "Ski-di-rah´-ru" (Where the wolves stand in the water). From this incident the second village took its name. The third and fourth were Tuh-wa-hok´-a-sha (Village-on-a-Ridge) and Tu-hi-'ts-pi-yet (Village-on-a-Point).
In ancient times the Pawnees had no horses and went hunting on foot. Arrow heads were made of flint or deer horns. Until a recent date, the old stone arrow heads were believed to have supernatural power. White traders introduced those made of iron. The warriors were skillful marksmen and the bow and arrow remained the favorite weapon as long as there were buffaloes to kill. The endurance of the Pawnees, when hunting, was remarkable. In the first place, scouts were sent out to look up a herd. Having discovered one, they returned with information regarding its location. The