The following account given me a few years since in the Indian Territory by Pochongehala the son of the grandfather of the Six Nations, may serve to show how the Indians settle difficulties among themselves. It is a sketch of the Covenant and the ratifying of it made and entered into by and between the Six Nations and the Choctaws, and of their united effort to bring the Osages into it. Indeed, it was the commencement of a plan originated entirely with the Indians, to affect a universal peace among themselves.
When the Covenant was presented by the Six Nations to Moshaleh Tubbee and McIntosh, chiefs of the Choctaw Nations, it was readily received and an agreement formed between them. Then the wise men (or chiefs,) of the Choctaws and Six Nations went over the river to propose it to the Osages, and they would not treat with them, but offered to call the young men together, and all that might be wishing to take the Covenant. They then left them and returned to the Choctaw Nation, as the Six Nations had not finished their road1 any farther; they left the Covenant with the Choctaws, and told them they would return in a few days.2 They left them the word, also the token, which was wampum.3
In a few days they returned back to the Choctaws, and together went to treat with the Osages, sending six men before them (to the Osage Nation) to remind them of the talk. Some of them were of the Six Nations, some Choctaws. Chief Tubbee was one. When they came near, knowing them to be warlike, they sent in a part of their men; the Osages said, in so many suns setting, and so many suns rising, their Chiefs and young men would be ready to meet them in Council. Agreeable to the request of the Osages they returned, and found the Osages prepared for defense, with a kind of brush fort, ditched about, inside and outside, piqueted with brush and poles. They wished to get the Osages word, and would not be repulsed by their warlike appearance. Their word was, that they would not all receive their Covenant, yet some of them had been weak enough to do so, and had hung the tokens in their ears. They are your men, but we are not, but choose to stand by ourselves. The Choctaws and Six Nations were friends, their errand was peace, and they asked, will you not receive our Covenant? The Osages were very independent, and said they would not willingly, but told them as they were their grandfathers, they must make them do so, as children had sometimes to be whipped into obedience. The Chiefs that were treating with them bade them to recollect that their grandfather was like a Bear; whenever he laid his toe-nail down, he was always sure to gain the ground. They told him they would come back in a few days in peace, as they should now return to the Choctaws, and when they returned to them again, if they received not the peace, they would cause them to do so by chastisement. They likewise so did. After they were whipped, they wandered off between the two rivers, supposed to be the Mississippi and Missouri, but their grandfather followed them there, and then made them receive the Covenant of Peace. The Chiefs of the Six Nations were not willing to leave the Covenant with them, although they had made their road thus far, and the emblems thereof were worked on the Wampum, but chose to carry it back and leave it with the Choctaws, called in their original tongue, Oyataw signifying a large Nation. The Mississippi River, they called Oyatawgah because of its size, and having many snags. Now this people was called by them Oyataw. The Cherokee Nation claimed to be the same who treated with the Six Nations at this time, but the grandfather says it was the Choctaw and that they knew no difference then between the Cherokees and Choctaws; but finding them all living on this great river, named them after it, as one great nation, the Oyataw. But they found the Choctaws many days afterwards, acknowledging the same men to have been their Chiefs. Furthermore, let the Council be examined; here we find the Cherokees have not got the Covenant of Peace left by the Chiefs of the North or Six Nations; neither the speeches, significations, or articles belonging thereunto, except a very few, neither do they explain or seem to know the use of these illustrations. Thus we are led to judge that they never really belonged to that portion of the Oyataw, but they have been separated away by their Chiefs and called Cherokees. But the Six Nations knew them in these days, the Oyataw, One Nation,
Furthermore, this has not been extended any farther in a proper manner, or anything done as should have been, though the Chiefs have made many trials; except one Covenant of Peace made by George Herron, with the Camanches. This was rightly done, the only one that has been conducted after the pattern since the Six Nations and the Oyataw covenanted together with the Osages. Furthermore, let the old men of the Six Nations treat the Choctaw and Cherokee as seemeth them good; receive them as two nations, search out their chiefs, wise men, their fathers, and their families, and let them be received in order in the Covenant, or else consider them as one, the former Oyataw, and let the Six Nations ascertain and point out those of the families of their former Chiefs, namely Tubbee, the McIntosh, that the braves of the Choctaws need no longer say, as they said to me in the Cherokee Council. ‘We have no head, no elderly wise men; the Tubbee is gone; his family, none of them survive him to our knowledge. We are babes in the sayings of our fathers, and request our grandfather of the Six Nations to teach us.’ I asked them for the Pipe of Peace given them, by the Chiefs of the Six Nations, and described it by saying it was one-half white and one-half red. It could not at first he found. I thought this might throw some light on the gloom that darkened the hopes, even the dying request of the loved, the brave, the lamented Big Chief or Tubbee, of the Oyataw Nation respecting the youngest son of his, who was with the pale face. Furthermore, many evil designing men have reported that this child was dead; others that Chief Tubbee had no such child, and now had no heir living. Others said there was such a person, but that his origin had never been traced out, and many disputed his being the son of their Chief. These statements were made at the last Council, when the Choctaws said if they could find him, they would serve him and love him. At length the Pipe was brought, having been found, among the Cherokees; the grandfather knew that it was left with Tubbee. The pipe was injured; the articles of the Covenant scattered among the two divisions. The braves understood not the talk of their grandfather, but their silence and confused faces showed they were children in the affairs of their nation, and they again requested to be taught; but the grandfather being grieved at heart, determined to seek out the lost one, the child of their worthy Chief, and divert his mind from his pale faced friends to his own people, if possible. He has succeeded; he is proud and satisfied, thankful to the Great Spirit, that so fine a mind, so much national talent, upright principle, is concentrated in the son, the representative of the long distinguished line of noble Chiefs, the Tubbees. Grateful respects to the pale face friends for their care and attention to the grandfather, whose heart is warm, being pleased with his prize as he bears a strong personal resemblance to his father only the father was taller and heavier built. Now may the pale face and the red man dwell peacefully together, is the desire and prayer of the grand-father. Respectfully,
Meaning plan. ↩
Used to signify an indefinite period. ↩
The Wampum is a symbolical representation worked in beads or painted; used by the Indians to express their wishes or ideas. ↩