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Powasheek, A Fox Chief
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The word Powasheek, in the Musquakee language, signifies “To dash the water off.” The individual who bears this name is a celebrated brave of the Musquakee or Fox nation, and is numbered among their chiefs or leading men. A few years ago he was better known to the whites than any other person of his nation, and was probably at that time the most influential man among them. The superior talents of Keokuk have, however, thrown into the shade all the leaders who once stood high in the combined Saukie and Musquakee nation, and Wapella, the Fox leader, being a chief of great address, and a friend of Keokuk, Powasheek has been little heard of, during late years, in public life. He was a daring warrior, and held a respectable standing in council, as a man of prudence and capacity. The likeness is a good one, and gives a correct idea of his character.
Powasheek is one of those men who, though highly respected, and holding a rank among the first men of their nation, are not distinguished by brilliant talents. Nothing very striking in his history has reached us.
We have but little to say of this individual, whose name, when translated, signifies Sleepy eyes, and is expressive of the character of his countenance. He is one of the hereditary chiefs of the Teton tribe, of the Dacotah nation. In person, he is large, and well pro portioned, and has rather a dignified appearance. He is a good natured, plausible person, but has never been distinguished either in war or as a hunter.
The word Teton means boaster, and has been given to this tribe in consequence of the habit of bragging, which is said to prevail among them. They dwell in skin lodges, which are easily removed, and are constantly roving over the vast plains between the St. Peter and the Missouri. They trade on both rivers, and are very hostile to white men, whom they insult and rob, when they find them on the prairies, where such acts may be safely perpetrated. But all the tribes who live in contact with our frontier, have become so conscious of the power of the American government, as to be cautious in their depredations upon our citizens; and acts of violence are growing every day less numerous upon our borders. The Tetons are fierce, rapacious, and un-tamable; but are not considered braver than the other Sioux tribes.
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