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The Discovery Of This Continent, it’s Results To The Natives

In the year 1470, there lived in Lisbon, a town in Portugal, a man by the name of Christopher Columbus, who there married Dona Felipa, the daughter of Bartolome Monis De Palestrello, an Italian (then deceased), who had arisen to great celebrity as a navigator. Dona Felipa was the idol of her doting father, and often accompanied him in his many voyages, in which she soon equally shared with him his love of adventure, and thus became to him a treasure indeed not only as a companion but as a helper; for she drew his maps and geographical charts, and also wrote, at his dictation, his journals concerning his voyages. Shortly after the marriage of Columbus and Felipa at Lisbon, they moved to the island of Porto Santo which her father had colonized and was governor at the time of his death, and settled on a large landed estate which belonged to Palestrello, and which he had bequeathed to Felipa together with all his journals and papers. In that home of retirement and peace the young husband and wife lived in connubial bliss for many years. How could it be otherwise, since each had found in the other a congenial spirit, full of adventurous explorations, but which all others regarded as visionary follies? They read together and talked over the journals and papers of Bartolomeo, during which Felipa also entertained Columbus with accounts of her own voyages with her father, together with his opinions and those of other navigators of that age his friends and companions of a possible country that might be discovered in the distant West, and the future fame of the fortunate discoverer. Thus they read, studied, thought and talked together concerning that which they believed the future would prove? A reality, but of which no other had a thought. This opinion had found a permanent lodgment in the mind of Columbus and awakened an enthusiasm therein never experienced before in the breast of man upon a like subject, and which aroused him to that energy of determination, which rebuked all fear and recognized no thought of failure. But alas, the noble Felipa, who alone had stood by him in their mutual opinions and shared with him the storm of thoughtless ridicule, lived not to learn of the fulfillment of their hopes, and the undying fame of her adored husband, even as he lived not to learn the extent of his discovery. But alas, for human justice and consistency. Instead of naming the New World II in honor of his equally meritorious wife, the heroic Dona Felipa, or in honor of both, it was wrested from them by one Americo Vespucci, a pilot on a vessel of an obscure navigator named Hojeda, and the world acquiesced in the robbery. But such are its rewards!

Columbus Landing on Hispaniola

Columbus Landing on Hispaniola

But more than four-hundred years have been numbered with the ages of the past, since a little fleet of three ships, respectively named Santa Maria, Pinta and Nina, under the command of Christopher Columbus, were nearing the coast of that country that lay in its primitive grandeur and loveliness, even as when pronounced good by its Divine Creator, beyond the unknown waters that stretched away in the illimitable distance to the West where sky and sea, though ever receding, seemed still to meet in loving embrace, but whose existence was first in the contemplations of Columbus and Felipa, and its reality, first in the knowledge of Columbus. At 10: o’clock, p.m., as it is recorded, Columbus discovered the feeble glimmerings of a distant light, to which he at once directed the attention of Pedro Gutierrez, who also saw it. On the next day, at 2 a. m., the distant boom of a gun was heard rolling along on the smooth surface of the tranquil waters, the first that ever broke the solitude of the night in those unknown regions of the deep. It came from the Pinta, and bore the joyful intelligence that land was found. But how little did these daring adventurers imagine the magnitude of their discovery; or that that midnight signal also heralded the extermination of old notions and the birth of new; the prelude to war and bloodshed with a people whose types were unknown to the civilized world. For man was there man in his primitive state. Fiercely energetic, yet never demonstrative or openly expressing his emotions; uncultured, yet slow and deliberate in his speech; congenial, yet ever exhibiting a reserve and diffidence among strangers; hospitable, yet knowing his rights, knew no fear in maintaining them; trusting, yet welcomed death rather than endure wrong. Yet, in most of his characteristics and. peculiarities seemingly to have a foreign origin from the known races of mankind; still indisputably of the human race he, too, was man; though with no regular or consistent ideas of the Deity, religion or civil government, yet possessing correct views of a distinction between right and wrong, on which were founded very correct maxims or codes of morality; but whose penal code was a definite and fixed rule of personal retaliation “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth;” thus they were gliding smoothly along on the tide of time, nor had a troubled wave ever risen to disturb the tranquility of their voyage, or shadows darkened their sky, and to whom the past had been so bright that the future held only fair promises for them. But, alas, how little did they realize how dark a future was in store for them! That mid night gun, as it momentarily flashed upon the deck of the Pinta and then sent its welcomed boom to the listening ears and watching eyes upon the decks of the Santa Maria and Nina proclaiming that their languishing hopes were realized and their declining expectations verified, was also the death signal, first to the distant Peruvians by the hand of Pizarro; next, to the Aztecs by the hand of Cortez; then last, but not least, to the North American Indians by the hand of De Soto as an introduction of what would be but the Old died hard to make way for the New.

Once the dominant power of this continent; but alas, through unequal wars: through altered circumstances, through usurpation and frauds; through oppressions and trials; through misfortunes and hardships, sorrows and sufferings, of which none can know but themselves, they have been coerced by arbitrary power exerted, through treaty and cessions by open-handed tyranny and wrong, to surrender their country, their all, to make way for white civilization and that liberty that only seemed to prosper and rejoice in pro portion to “the destruction of their own; while they long but vainly looked for the expected day when the White Man’s avarice would be satiated, and then the red and white races could walk together in harmony and peace each aiding the other in the development of the resources of their respective portions of the vast continent that lay between them, extending from ocean to ocean, to the mutual advantages of each in the noble and humane endeavors to attain the chief end of man the glory of God and the enjoyment of Him in this world and the one to come but the White Race would not.

But whence, the origin of this peculiarly interesting and wonderful people? From what nation of people descended? Whence and at what date, how and by what route came they to this continent? Language has contributed its mite and the archaeologist handed in his little, concerning the infancy of this peculiar people, yet the veil of mystery still hangs around them shutting out all knowledge of the primitive past. Who shall rend the veil and tell whence they came to possess this continent in that distant long ago before the dawn of history’s morn? Alas, even the feeble glimmerings of vague traditions have not furnished a ray of light to penetrate the darkness of the long night that enshrouds their origin. It is a sealed book.

Such has been for two centuries past, and still is, the long drawn and doleful wail concerning the North American Indians primitive land; romantic in affording an unlimited field over which the wild, dreamy speculations of the imaginative minds, of which the present age is so prolific in every thing read or heard about the Red Race, may find abundant space to indulge in their visionary delights unrestrained, undisturbed, undismayed; the alpha and the omega of their knowledge of the North American Indian race in Toto; since the causes that induced them to forsake and how they drifted from the shores of the eastern to the western continent, are today treasured in their ancient traditions still remembered by the few remaining of their aged and also written upon a few wampum the archives of their historic past that has escaped the white vandals devilish delight in destroying all that is Indian, now forever buried in that night of darkness which precedes their known history.

But to those who knew them in their native freedom, when uncontaminated by the demoralizing influences of unprincipled whites, they were truly a peculiar and interesting- people whose external habits, strange opinions, peculiar dispositions and customs, seemed to belong alone to themselves and to distinguish them from all known people of the human race; yet, wholly susceptible to as high moral and intellectual improvements as any other race of man kind; while their distinct identity with the human race is a fact which has never yet been successfully disproved. Though severed by climate, language and a thousand external conditions, there is still one deep underlying identity, which makes all man kind brothers; an instructive and interesting subject worthy the attention and consideration of all man kind. It is neither new nor novel but is as ancient as the creation of Adam and Eve.

Though the Indians were without letters, chronology, or any thing by which correctly to denote their dynasties but that which may be inferred from their monumental remains, yet there is much in their recitals of ancient epochs to give great consistency to their legends and traditions, and fully sufficient to reunite the assumed broken link in the chain of their history, which, in the ages of the past, connected them with the Old World; and their history, antiquities and mythology are still preserved by many striking allegories, here and there, or in wild yet consistent romance. And we can but admit that there are many evident truths which we must acknowledge; for when viewed by the light of facts, we see in the North American Indians a peculiar variety of the human race with traits of character plainly oriental, but who long since have been lost to all ancient and modern history.

But the time and manner of their migration to the western continent, as before stated, are wrapped in impenetrable mystery. Those who have studied the physiology, language, antiquities, and traditions of this peculiar people, have alike concluded that their migration to this continent, judging from the ancient ruins found, probably extends back to within five hundred years of the building of Babylon. Dating from the discovery of Columbus, the western continent has been known to the European world upwards of four hundred years; yet it is now generally conceded (if not universally admitted) that the Scandinavians (or Northmen) discovered it long before Columbus, and had sailed along the Atlantic coast from Greenland early in the 10th century. Those ancient and daring sea rovers of Norway, who ventured upon the pathless ocean without chart or compass guided alone by the planetary worlds above, discovered Iceland in the year 850, upon which they established a settlement; and in the following century, stumbled upon the bleak and inhospitable shores of Greenland upon which was also founded a colony. But it has been awarded to Leif, the son of Eric the Red, as the first discoverer of the North American continent in the 10th century. He named the, new country (now believed to be the coast of Massachusetts) Vinland, or Vineland, from the abundance of wild grapes that were there found. It is said the records of this expedition state: “And when spring came they sailed away, and Leif gave to the land a name after its sort, and called it Vinland. They sailed then until they reached Greenland; and ever afterward, Leif was called Leif the Lucky.”

The traditions of the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creek, Cherokees, Seminoles, Delaware’s, Shawnese, as learned by the early missionaries, and, in fact, of all the tribes who formerly dwelt east of the Mississippi River, state that the White Race come to this continent from the East, but that their fore fathers came from the North West.

It is also said, that a Mexican historian makes a new attempt to show that America was discovered in the fifth century, A. D., by a party of Buddhist monks from Afghanistan, of whom one, Hwai Shan, returned to Asia after an absence of forty one years. A short account of the land, which he visited, supposed to be Mexico, was included in the official history of China. It is said, there is proof that Hwai Shan actually visited some unknown eastern regions, and the traditions of Mexico contain an account of the arrival of monks. But whenever seen or found, whether in the fifth, tenth, fifteenth, or eighteenth centuries, the North American Indians have possessed nearly all the leading- traits that they now possess. And all admit, that of all the races of man kind upon earth that wandered from the native countries and have been thrown back into intellectual darkness, the North American Indians have undergone the least change, preserving 1 their physical and mental type nearly the same, seemingly as if bound by the irresistible power of an unchanging decree; and who, in their unvarying individuality and universal idiosyncrasy, point back to no known race of the human family except the Jews. When regarded as a whole, they appear to have been composed of fragments of different tribes of the races of man, yet having a general affinity to each other, and, with here and there an exception, appearing to be parts of a whole. The majority of their languages are evidently derivative, and of a style of synthesis more ancient than those even of Greece and Rome, but exhibiting no analogies to those of northern and western Europe.

Though Bancroft affirms “that their ancestors were, like themselves, not yet disenthralled from nature,” yet the traditions of many of the tribes pointed back to an era in the distant past in which they lived in a better and happier condition, but that was all, nor have ever the fragmentary writings of the ancients thrown any light upon their history. The Nilotic inscriptions, the oldest known, are alike silent concerning them, but that they may be still more ancient, their language, strange idiosyncrasies, and all that render them so peculiar and seemingly different from all the known human race, evidently denote and sustain the probability, if nothing more. Be this as it may, all evidence, yet obtained proves them to be of very ancient origin; and no known book goes far enough back into the past to date the period of their origin, unless it be the Sacred Scriptures. If we refer to them a proto type may possibly be traced in the Eberites, a branch of the house of Almodad, the son of Joktan, of whom it is said, during all periods of their history, that they were reckless, heedless, impatient of restraint or reproof. Yet, this but adds to the affirmation, that history will ever vainly inquire, “whence their origin.”

But that many of their traditions were based on facts is unquestionably true. Many tribes possess traditions of the first appearance of the White Race among them. The Mohicans and Lenni Lenapes have a tradition of the voyage, in 1609, of the great navigator and explorer, Hudson, up the river now bearing his name. Cartier‘s visit to the St. Lawrence in 1534 is remembered by tradition among the Algonquin’s, which still call the French, “People of the wooden vessel.” The Chippewa’s declared (1824) according to their traditions that seven generations of people had lived and died since the French first sailed upon the Lakes. Taking 1608 as the year of the settlement of Canada by the French, and allow thirty years to a generation, the accuracy of their tradition is certainly praiseworthy, to say the least of it. That their ancestors came from the Eastern continent there are many traditional evidences that seem founded on truth. In Sir Alexander Mackenzie’s travels among the most northern tribes, he says the Chippewa’s had a tradition that they originally came from another country, which was inhabited by a very wicked people, that in their travels they suffered greatly in passing over a great lake, which was always frozen and covered with snow. Mackenzie’s, page 387, says: “Their progress (the great Athapasca family) was easterly, and according to their own tradition, they came from Siberia; agreeing in dress and manners with the people now found upon the coast of Asia.” John Johnston, for many years an agent among the Shawnees, an Algonquin tribe, states that these Indians had a tradition of a foreign origin. In a letter of July 7th, 1819,1 he says: “The people of this nation have a tradition that their ancestors crossed the sea; and that they migrated from Florida to Ohio and Indiana;” where they were located at the time of his agency among them. “They were the only tribe,” he writes, “with which I am acquainted, who admit a foreign origin.” The Cherokees also admit it. Oconostata, or the big warrior, chief of the ancient Cherokees, claimed that his people s ancestors came from Asia, landing far to the northwest of this continent; thence to Mexico; thence to this country.2 Johnston further states respecting the Shawnees. “Until lately, they kept yearly sacrifices for their safe arrival in this country. Whence they came, or at what period they arrived in America, they do not know. It is a prevailing opinion among them, that Florida had been inhabited by white people, who had the use of iron tools. Black hoof, a celebrated Chief, affirms that he has often heard it spoken of by old people, that stumps of trees, covered with earth, were frequently found, which had been cut down with edged tools.” But this, no doubt, was the work of De Soto and his army in 1541. Many attribute to the Indians a Jewish origin, and not without some seemingly plausible reason. James Adair, a man, it is recorded, of fine erudition, and who lived more than thirty years among the ancestors of the present Chickasaws, and was often among the ancient Choctaws, Cherokees and Muscogees, and thus became familiar with the customs and habits of these Southern Indians. Tradition states that Adair commenced living among the Chickasaws in 1844. He wrote and published a work; “The American Indians,” in 1775. He was well versed in the Hebrew language, and in his long residence with the Indians acquired an accurate knowledge of their tongue, and he devoted the larger portion of his work to prove that the Indians were originally Hebrews, and were a portion of the lost tribes of Israel. He asserts that at the “Boos-Ketous” (the ceremony of initiating youth to manhood) “among the ancient Muscogees and other tribes, the warriors danced around the holy-fire, during which the elder priest invoked the Great Spirit, while they responded Halelu! Halelu! Then Haleluiah! Haleluiah!” He based his belief that they were originally Jews, upon their division into tribes, worship of Jehovah, notions of theocracy, belief in the ministrations of angels, language and dialects, manner of computing time, their Prophets and High Priests, festivals, fasts and religious rites, daily sacrifices, ablutions and anointing, laws of unseemliness, abstinence from unclean things, marriages,, divorces, and punishments for adultery, other punishments, their towns of refuge, purification and ceremony preparatory to war, their ornaments, manner of curing the sick, burial of the dead, mourning for the dead, choice of names adapted to their circumstances and times, their own traditions, and the accounts of our English writers, and the testimony which the Spanish and other authors have given concerning the primitive inhabitants of Peru and Mexico. He insists that in nothing do they differ from the Jews except in the rite of circumcision. The difference in food, mode of living and climate are relied on by Adair, to account for the difference in the color, between the Jew and the Indian. Abram Mordecai, an intelligent Jew, who dwelt fifty years in the ancient Creek nation, confidently believed that the Indians were originally of his people, and he asserted that in their Green Corn Dances he had heard them often utter in graceful tones, the word Yavoyaha! Yavoyaha! He was always informed by the Indians that this meant Jehovah, or the Great Spirit, and that they were then returning thanks for the abundant harvest with which they were blest.

I often heard the Choctaws, when engaged in their, ancient dances at their former homes east of the Mississippi River, utter in concert and in solemn tone of voice Yar-vo-hah, Yar-vo-yar-hah and when asked its signification, replied: “It is the name of the Great Spirit we worship.” According to an ancient tradition of the Choctaws, as before stated, the ancient Choctaws, Chickasaws and Muskogee’s (now Creeks) were once the same people, and today the Creeks have many pure Choctaw words in their language.

Other writers, who have lived among the ancient Indians, are of the same opinion with Adair and Abram Mordecai, forming this conclusion solely on the fact that many of the religious rites and ceremonies of the various tribes they regarded as truly Jewish, to that extent as to induce them to believe that the North American Indians are originally from the Jews.

Even the renowned Quaker, Wm. Penn, in expressing his views upon this subject, says: “For the original, I am ready to believe them the Jewish race, I mean of the stock of the ten tribes, and that for the following reasons:

“First. They were to go to a land not planted or known, which, to be sure, Asia and Africa were, if not Europe, and He that intended that extraordinary judgment upon them, might make the passage not uneasy to them, and it is not impossible in itself, from the easternmost part of Asia to the westernmost part of America. In the next place, I find them of like countenance, and their children of so lively resemblance that a man would think himself in Duke’s place or Berry Street in London, when he seeth them. But this is not all. They agree in rites; they reckon by moons; they offer their first fruits; they have a kind of feast of tabernacles; they are said to lay their altar upon twelve stones; their mourning a year; customs of women; with many other things.

There was a belief among many of the ancient tribes of the North American Indians, that their earliest ancestors were created within or at least once lived within, the interior of the earth. The Lenni Lenape, now known as the Delaware Indians, “considered, says Heckewelder, in his “Manners and Customs, of the Indians,” page 249, “the earth as their universal mother. They believed that they were created within its bosom, where for a long time they had their abode before they came to live on its surface. But as to the form under which they lived in the interior of the earth, their mythologists differ. Some assert that they lived there in human shape, while others, with much more consistency, declare that their existence was in the form of: certain terrestrial animals, such as the ground: hog, rabbit and the tortoise.” Similar views respecting their origin were held by the Iroquois. The Rev. Christopher Pyrloeus, who formerly lived among the Iroquois and spoke their language, was told, (according to Heckewelder) by a respectable Mohawk chief, “a tradition of the Iroquois which was as follows: That they had dwelt in the earth when it was dark and where no sun ever shone. That, though they engaged in hunting for a living, they ate mice. That one of their tribe called Ganawayahhah having accidentally found a hole at which to get out of the earth, went out, and after looking around a while saw a deer, which he killed, and took back with him to his home in the earth and that, on account both of the flesh of the deer proving such excellent food, and the favorable description he gave of the appearances above, they concluded it best to change their homes from the inside to the outside of the earth, and accordingly did so, and immediately engaged in raising corn, beans, etc.” Heckewelder does not state whether these traditions of the Lenni Lenape and Iroquois were associated by them with any particular localities. However, the place of origin was generally located in some suitable spot within the territory of the tribes, and which was regarded with much veneration by all. “We are told by Cussac, a later authority for the Iroqois tradition,” says Schoolcraft (in his Indian Tribes, part 5, page 636) “that the place at which the first small band of Indians was believe to have issued from the earth was a certain eminence near the Oswego Falls. Also, (part 5, p. 682) “that the Caddo’s, Ionies, and Amaudakas believe that their original ancestors came out of the Hot Springs of Arkansas.” Mercy, in his Exploration of the Red River, p. 69, states that the Wichita’s, on the Red River, believed that their fore fathers came out of the mountains which bear their name. Jones, in his Traditions of the North American Indians, v. 3. p. 187, says: The Minetories, on the Upper Missouri, pointed out two hills as marking the spot of the tribe s origin. Side by side with these of the “earth born” ancestry is another group of origin traditions, which represent the first of the human race as having their origin in and coming out of some body of water, a river, spring or lake, instead of the ground. Long, in his expedition to the Rocky Mountains, v. 1. p. 336, said: One branch of the Omaha’s asserted that their founder arose out of the water, bearing in his hand an ear of red maize, for which reason the red maize was never used by them for food.” De Smet, in his Oregon Missions, p. 178, states that, in the country of the Blackfoot tribe there are two lakes; one of them is known as the lake of men, and the other, as the lake of women. Out of the former came the father of the tribe and of the latter, the mother,

These two traditions of man’s origin, the one that he came out of the ground, the other, that he came out of the water, have been regarded by some as distinct from one another both in origin and meaning; while by others, as identical, and both being the mutilated interpretations of a myth into which a cave and a body of water enter as prominent and essential features.

Very similar, says Schoolcraft, in his Indian Traditions, 4, pp. 89 and 90, is the tradition of the Navajo’s, of New Mexico. According to their tradition as recorded by Dr. Ten Brock, all mankind and all the animals once lived in a gloomy cavern in the heart of the Cerro Naztarny Mountains, on the river San Juan. A lucky accident led them to suspect that the walls of their prison-house were quite thin, and the raccoon was set to dig a way out. As he did not succeed the moth worm took his place and after much hard labor affected an opening. But when he reached the outside of the mountain, he found all things submerged under the sea, so he threw up a little mound of earth and sat down to ponder on the situation. Presently the water receded in four great rivers and left in their place a mass of soft mud. Four winds arose and dried up the mud and then the men and animals came up, occupying in their passage several days. As yet there was no sun, moon nor stars; so the old men held a council and resolved to manufacture these luminaries. There were among them two flute players, who, while they had dwelt within the mountain, had been wont to enliven them with music; and when the sun and moon were finished, they were given into the charge of these musicians, who have been carrying them ever since. These are the main points of the Navajo legend as recorded by Dr. Ten Brock. It will be observed that the sea, which is nothing else than the primeval sea that forms so common a feature in cosmogonies, holds quite as prominent a place in the story as does the cavern itself, and the two might easily become separated in an incomplete version. Either the cave or the water might be dropped. In fact, there is another version of this legend, given by Col. J. A. Eaton, in which there is no mention of a cave. The Navajo’s, according to Eaton’s version of the story, came out of the earth in the middle of a certain lake in the valley of Montezuma, at some distance from their present location. The question which occurs first, upon surveying this group of legends so alike in their general tenor, is, are they historically connected with one another in the sense that they are the fragments of some primeval tale current among the Indians at a time when they were less widely scattered over the continent than at present, or have they sprung up at several centers independently of each other? This question is of great interest to American ethnologists, but one to which, in the present state of our knowledge respecting the mode of growth and diffusion of popular tales, it would, perhaps, be rash to attempt an answer. It may be said, however, in favor of the former hypothesis that the account of man’s origin at least, however, the story is circumstantially related is, so far as I have been able to discover, peculiar to America. It is true it has sometimes been classed with those old World legends which represent man as of an earthly nature, either as having been fashioned out of clay by the hand of some Promethean potter, or as having sprung from a seed of stones or of dragons teeth scattered over the soil, but a close inspection of any of its detailed versions will show that the story teller has in mind a thought essentially different from those embodied in these classic legends. The first men, according to the Indians account, did not spring up as vegetable life from the surface of the earth; they came out of its interior in the human shape and afterward accompanied by the animals of the chase. Indeed, when closely scanned, the story is seen to be an account, not of man s origin, but simply of a change in the scene of his existence. Except in a few cases in which we are told that the original men were created by the gods before being brought above ground, we receive no hint as to how their life began. We are merely told that they came a long time ago out of a cave or out of a lake, within which they have lived from the beginning. This is a characteristic feature, which I have not met with distinctly portrayed in any legends outside of America. But whether or not these tales have any true kinship with one another, it hardly admits of doubt that they have a common basis, either of facts or of logic, and that they may “bet regarded as practically, if not actually, different versions of a single original tale. What is this basis, and what is the meaning of the story? This question has often been asked, and has been answered variously. From a number of proposed “interpretations,” I select two, which seem the most worthy of consideration, as well from the inherent plausibility, as from the names by which they are endorsed. Mr. Herbert Spencer, speaking, in a recent work, with express reference to the Navajo tradition, of which an outline has been given above; says: “Either the early progenitors of a tribe were dwellers in caves or the mountains; or the mountains making most conspicuously the elevated region whence they came is identified with the object whence they sprung.” (Spencer Principles of Sociology, Vol. 1. p. 393.) And again: “Where caves are used for interments, they became the supposed places of abode for the dead; and hence develops the notion of a subterranean World.” (Ibid, p. 219.) Underlying the tradition of the Delawares and Iroquois, Heckewelder saw an admirable philosophical meaning a curious analogy between the general and the individual creation. This view has been adopted by Dr. D. G. Brinton who presents it as follow: “Out of the earth rises life, to it all returns. She it is who guards all germs, nourishes all beings. The Aztecs painted her a woman with countless breasts; the Peruvians called her Mama Alpha, mother earth; in the Algonquin tongue the word for earth, mother, father, are from the same root Home, Adam, Chomaigenes, what do all these words mean but earth born, the son of the soil, repeated in the poetic language of Attica in anthropos, he who springs up like a flower? As in Oriental legends the origin of man from the earth was veiled under the story that he was the progeny of some mountain fecundated by the embrace of Mithras or Jupiter, so the Indians often pointed to some height or some cavern, as the spot whence the first men issued, adult and armed from womb of All mother earth. This cavern, which thus dimly lingered in the memory of nations, occasionally expanded to a mother world, imagined underlying this of ours, and still inhabited by beings of our kind, who have never been lucky enough to discover its exit. Such tales of an underworld are very frequent among the Indians, and are a very natural out-growth of the literal belief that the race is earth-born.” (The Myths of the New World, 2nd. ed., pp. 238 to 245.) The following is the version given by Lewis and Clark of the tradition of the Mandans, on the upper Mississippi:

“The whole nation resided in one large village under ground near a subterraneous lake. A grapevine extended its roots down to their habitation and give them a view of the light, some of the most adventurous climbed up the vine, and were delighted with the sight of the earth, which they found covered with buffalo, and rich with every kind of fruit. Returning with the grapes they had gathered, their country men were so pleased with the taste of them, that the whole nation resolved to leave their dull residence for the charms of the upper region. Men, women and children ascended by means of the vine; and when about half the nation had reached the surface of the earth, a corpulent woman, who was clambering up the vine, broke it with her weight and closed upon herself and the rest of the nation the light of the sun.

When the Mandans die, they expect to return to the original seats of their forefathers, the good reaching the ancient village by means of the lake, which the burden of sins of the wicked will not enable them to pass. We might conjecture upon general grounds that the idea of an under world found among the Mandans, and many other American tribes sprang from the same sort of reasoning as has evidently given rise to it among other nations.”

Prince Maximilian of New Wied, who visited the Mandans subsequently to Lewis and Clark, and learned additional particulars respecting their belief in an underground origin tells us that the Mandans, like so many other nations, supposed the world to be divided into stages and stories. These were eight in number; four of them were above the earth, and four below, the earth itself forming the fourth stage from the bottom. (Maximilian, Travels in North America, London ed. p. 336.) There seems, therefore, to be very little room for doubt as to the original character of the cave of the Mandan legend. Among the Navajo’s we obtain equally satisfactory evidence touching the original of this legendary cave. Dr Ten Brock tells us that he often conversed with the Navajo’s on the subject of their beliefs, and he gives us, among other particulars, this very important item: “The old men say that the world (i. e. the earth) is, as it were, suspended, and that when the sun disappears in the evening”, he passes under and lights up our former place of abode, until he again reappears at morning in the east. There can be no question as to the location and the real character of the cave into which the sun descends at evening, and from which at morning” he comes forth. Under one disguise or another, this cavern occurs in legends the world over. It is the cave which the Polynesian Mani descends to visit his deserting mother, and into which Orpheus descends in search of Eurydiee; it is the Latinian cave, in which Selene, the Moon, woos Endymion, the Setting Sun. Nor need we be disconcerted because the Navajoes have located it within a particular mountain. ” It would seem that these Indian leg-ends have been handed down by tradition through cycles of ages, founded upon the declaration of the Bible, that man is a child of the soil that he is earth born. Professor Campbell, of the Presbyterian College, Montreal, believes that he has found the key to the Hittite inscriptions, and has sent the result of his investigations to the Society of Biblical Archaeology. The most striking and important feature of this work is the identity established by Professor Campbell, as he believes, between the Aztecs and the Hittites. He concludes a statement of his discovery in the “Montreal Witness” as follows: “It is interesting to know that we have on this continent the re mains of a people who played a great part in ancient history. It is also gratifying to learn that by the establishment of the Hittite origin of the Aztecs, evolutionism in philology and ethnology will receive its death blow.”

Hichitichi Clan of the Choctaws

There is a clan of Choctaws now living among the Creeks in the Creek Nation, who did not move in 1832 with the Choctaws east of the Mississippi River until the exodus of the Creeks and then came with them to the present Creek nation where they have remained to this day. They were known when living east of the Mississippi River “as the Hitchiti or Hichitichi clan, both words (as given above) are corruptions of the two Choctaw words Hish-i (hair) It-ih (mouth.)

Now if the Aztecs be of Hittite origin, and the Choctaws of Aztec origin, of which there is great probability (if their ancient traditions may be relied on) may not the Choctaw words Hishi Itih, the name of one of their ancient Iksas (clans) be itself a corruption of the word Hittite, and pointing back to their ancient origin in the eastern world?

A few of the Iksas of the Choctaws, at the advent of the missionaries in 1818-20, claimed the earth to be their mother, and connected a tradition of their origin with a certain artificial mound erected by their ancestors as a memorial of their arrival in Mississippi from the West (Mexico) of which I will more definitely speak elsewhere.

But though the remote history of this peculiar people is forever hidden in the darkness of by gone ages, yet they had a true history, which, if only known, would have presented as many interesting and romantic features, as that of any of the races of mankind. Truly, would there not be found much in that distant period of their existence that precedes their introduction to the White Race, which, when placed in contrast to their now seemingly inevitable destiny (extermination) would loudly appeal to the hearts of the philanthropists and Christians of these United States. And even after their introduction to the Whites, had they possessed the same desire to learn their history, and also to elevate them in the scale of intelligence and morality, as they did in get ting possession of their country and destroying them, in what a different condition would that race of people be to day, and what interesting and instructive narratives would have been given to the world? What interesting narratives could have been written even of the Natchez in the days of their prosperity and power those worshippers of the sun with Eastern rites! What too, of the Grecian fingers, the letters and the hieroglyphics, which have been found represented on the earthen pottery of so many tribes of this peculiar people s work a people which might have been better understood and more comprehended, but for shameful misrepresentation and calumnious falsehood! What, also, of the once powerful Choctaw; the invincible Chickasaw; the intrepid Muscogee and the peerless Seminole, when in the pride and strength of their respective nationalities! But it is to be greatly regretted that, of that history nothing will ever be learned not even its alphabet, as the mists of ages, have drawn their impenetrable curtain over all; and though the remote past has been questioned, still no response ever comes, except through the vague and unsatisfactory evidence of an ancient people, long antedating all historical in formation. But tribe after tribe have appeared upon the theater of life, acted their part in its drama, and then passed off into the silence of forgetfulness; and their ancient do mains have passed from the hands of their, long line of descendants into those of stranger of whom they never knew or even heard; and who have left behind no memorials but embankments of earth in the form of mounds and fortifications, separate and in combination, scattered all over the land in numbers and magnitude that awaken and excite the curiosity of the beholder, but fail to satisfy; yet giving numerous and satisfactory evidences of the footprints of a long vanished people and the prolonged occupancy of the North American continent by the Indian race whose few and feeble descendants still linger upon the stage of life, as the wretched and miserable words of oppression and cruelty a. living, breathing allegory of poverty and want; since, by the law of force we extended our possessions and made the restiveness our excuse for conquering them, and then plundering them of their lands and homes, and as each territory was added, a new tribe was encountered; and its fears and restiveness, in like manner taken advantage of as our avarice dictated that it could be made profitable to our pecuniary interests. And that we may alike bury the remaining few in the grave of ignominy, every thing that is spoken, written, or published, concerning that now conquered, oppressed, impoverished, hopeless and unhappy people. Is but a reiterated and pro longed mass of exaggerations, misrepresentations and false hoods, sent broadcast over the land by government officials, landed experts, and, in fact, every other kind of unprincipled white skins; from constable to congressmen, and from land sharks to governors, who ride across the Indians country on railroads and gather their “wisdom” upon Indian matters from the car windows, or a moments chat upon the platforms with the white scum which infest every depot in their country thus keeping the Indian between the devil and his imps then return each to his retreat, there, to disgorge their foul souls of the putrid mass.

Yet, that this noble but wrongfully abused people, to whom Christopher Columbus gave the name Indian, from their fancied resemblance to the people of India, but whose habits, customs and characteristics differed so widely that it may be truthfully affirmed, that no people could be more dissimilar, are one of the primitive races of man-kind, cannot be questioned; though it is admitted by all who are truly acquainted with them, that among all the races of man-kind, few have exhibited a greater diversity, or, if it may be so expressed, greater antithesis of character, than the native North American Indian warrior before humiliated by the merciless hands of his white conquerors. The office of the chief was not hereditary, but depended upon the confidence entertained in him by his warriors. His power also de pended upon his personal merit and the confidence reposed in him as a skillful war-leader. His prerogative consisted in conducting negotiations of peace and war; in leading his warriors against the enemies of their country, in selecting the place of encampment, and in receiving and entertaining; strangers of note. Yet, even in those he was controlled to a great extent by the views and inclinations of his warriors. The Indian warrior was indeed well fitted for the destiny to which nature seemingly had adapted him. He was light in form, yet sinewy and active, and unsurpassed in the endurance of protracted fatigue and hardship; strictly temperate even to abstemiousness requiring but little food when upon the warpath, and that of the simplest kind. He was endowed with a penetrating sagacity, subtle wit, quick conception, and brilliant imagination, with quick and acute sensibilities; a proud and fearless spirit was stamped upon his face and flashed from his black and piercing eye; easily aroused by the appeals of eloquence; his language, whose words might well be compared to gems and flowers made him truly nature s orator; and though a restless warrior, yet, he was generous and hospitable, and the door of his cabin was always open to the wayfarer; and his most inveterate enemy, having broken bread with him, could repose unharmed beneath the inviolable sanctity of his home. In war he was daring, cunning, reckless, self-denying, and self-devoted; in peace, strictly just, generous, proverbially hospitable to strangers as well as acquaintances, modest, revengeful, superstitious, and truthful to the greatest degree ever faithful to the last to his promised word. Justly could the North American Indian claim as having no lineal descendant of Ananias and Sapphira among his race?

Great and Evil Spirit

Such were some of the traits of this peculiar people. And even to day many tribes are the same as they were centuries ago, still clinging to their ancient habits and customs and adhering to the belief of their ancient theories, seeing and recognizing alone their Great Spirit both in animate and inanimate nature, And why? Because, in so few instances, have the renovating principles of the Bible been presented to them as they should and could have been.

True the arts of civilization as possessed by us were unknown by the Indians prior to the discovery of the continent by the White Race, still its seemingly illimitable forests were alive with a free, independent and happy people, a war like race, jealous of their rights; and its shades and glens rang with the wild hoyopa-tussaha (Choctaw-warcry), and the echoes of its hills and mountains threw back the” defiant shout of many a gallant warrior, as he hurried along the war path in the noon-tide of his joyous man-hood, but soon to slumber in the long night of oblivion, as the fatal result of his unrestrained zeal; while the more experienced veteran made his movements with that calm deliberation that scorned every appearance of haste. Though war-like, yet, they were a devotional people, to their beliefs, founded alone upon the teachings of nature their only light. They had their good “Great Spirit” and their evil. “Great Spirit” between which there was continual strife for the mastery and possession of the human mind. What less or more have we? They acknowledged the mysterious power of these two antagonistic spirits, and that in numerable numbers of subordinate spirits waited upon both. In what do they differ from us in this? They believed a spirit governed the winds, guided the clouds, and ruled in all things that inspired fear; thus they regarded the elements, and all nature, as spirits, whose images were seen and whose voices were heard above, beneath, every where. Little differing from the mythology of the ancients Witchcraft swayed its sceptre over the mind of the poor. Indian, whose intellectual light emanated alone from nature; yet he was not so much the object of just censure, as those who had the Bible and yet advocated the doctrine. Remember Cotton Mather, a licensed expounder of the Sacred Scriptures, and his numerous adherents, who advocate and taught the doctrine of Witchcraft, and persecuted their opposes, even to the burning of them at the stake. But for the delusive beliefs and fears, which seemed to the Indian as truth, that encompassed him on every side rendering him the ready victim of the wildest superstition and dread, he has been called “The Wild Man of the Woods,” and though his religion involved the varying and confused belief in good and evil spirits in every imaginary creation of air, earth, and sky conceivable to the human mind, existing with not a ray of intellectual light shedding its healing beams through his soul, is it just that he should be reviled for his seeming apathy in moral and intellectual advancement by those who have ever lived within the circle of ever good and truthful influence, but who closed nearly every avenue by which the hapless Indian might return to the ,first principles of truth and intellectual light? Were not their traditions concerning the creation of the world, and those of their own origin; and their views and opinions of man, more worthy of praise than contempt? Was not their belief in the Great Good Spirit by whom all things were made; also in a Great Evil Spirit, who ever plans and labors to counteract all the good and benevolent designs of the Great and Good Spirit, so universal among all the North American Indians, and their great respect for, and undeviating and unwearied devotion to, the Great and Good Spirit, and hate, fear, and dread of the Great and Evil Spirit, a silent but pungent rebuke to their white scoffers and defamers, who profess so much concerning the Deity, yet exercise so little of a devotional spirit?

But whence, their universal belief in a future state of existence after death, though vague their ideas in regard to future rewards and punishments? Whence also their universal belief in a deluge at an ancient epoch, which destroyed all mankind but a few? Whence their belief that the earth was their mother, who sent them forth from caves, ravines, mounds and mountains? Whence the belief in fatality that the fate of man is irrevocably fixed? To which, perhaps, may be attributed their stability and indifference to danger and death? Whence their belief in transmigration and thus claiming relationship with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air expressive of an idea, it seems, of a foreign origin? Whence their belief that the race of animals was first created, then, followed the creation of man? From what ancient fountain of knowledge obtained they these various views? Was it intuitive? How manifest their pride also, and great their delight in having their traditions and legends point back to local origin, even to that of mysterious revelation with all the quadrupeds that burrow in the hidden recesses of the earth, differing in this but little from the mythology of the ancients.

Their opinions concerning the departure of the spirit at death were various. Some believed that it lingered for a time near those earthly precincts, which it had just left, and it continued still to be, in a certain manner, akin to the earth. For this reason, provisions were placed at the feet of the corpse during the time it lay on its elevated scaffold, exposed to the influence of light or air. The deceased had not as yet entered into the realm of spirits; but when the flesh had withered away from the bones, these were buried with songs and cries, terminating in feasts and dances peculiar to the ceremonies of disposing of the dead. Others believe that when the spirit leaves the body, it lingers for some time before it can be wholly separated from its former conditions; after which it wanders off traversing vast plains in the moonlight. At length, it arrives at a great chasm in the earth, on the other side of which is the land of the blessed, where there is eternal spring and hunting grounds supplied with great varieties of game. But there is no other way of crossing this fearful gulf but by means of a barked pine log that lay across the chasm, which is round, smooth and slippery. Over this the disembodied spirits must pass if they would reach the land of a blissful immortality. Such as have lived purely and honestly upon earth are enabled to pass safely over the terrific abyss on the narrow bridge to the land of eternal happiness. But such as have lived wickedly in their attempt to pass over on the log, are sure to lose their footing and fall into the mighty abyss yawning below. Surely this is not a very objectionable, idea of retribution after death. However, their estimate of good and evil, in many respects, was imperfect and circumscribed; and their ideas of future rewards and punishments after death seemed merely the reflex of their earthly joys and sorrows, the natural consequence of minds not enlightened by the teachings of the Bible. Therefore, they beheld a transformed divinity in animate and inanimate nature, in every thing, which lives or evinces an in-dwelling power, which they sought to propitiate by gifts and sacrifices. Their “Medicine Men” were the mediators between themselves and their imagined deity; these “Medicine Men” were believed, by means of their knowledge of the mysteries of nature and the power of magic, to be able to invoke spirits, to avert evil, to heal sickness, and to obtain the fulfillment of human wishes. These men were held in high esteem among all Indians everywhere, and acted in the capacity of both priests and physicians. Their medical knowledge, even if classed with superstitious usages, is not to be despised, as they have large acquaintance with healing herbs and the power of nature. The virtues of the Indian race are well known to those who truly know them; and their fidelity in keeping a promise, their true hospitality, and their strength of mind under sorrow and suffering, merits the highest praise. They had no other government nor governors but through their chiefs and medicine men. The former had but little power and respect, only in their own individual character, and they dreaded the loss of their popularity in their tribe. Thus the Indian warrior was truly his own man, free and independent loathing all restraints.

What but sad forebodings can fill the souls of the feeble few, when contemplating the past and looking to the future walled up before them to that extent, that all action and energy of their lives seem at an end and their only hope of refuge in the grave?

But the pageant has fled, and the majority of those who gave it such depth of interest to their destroyers have long since passed away into humble and nameless yet honorable graves, into which the living few, in vacant desolation, are fast falling, bewildered and confounded amid the toils that have been skillfully and successfully spread for them; and into which when fallen and hopelessly entangled, they appealed to our mercy but to find it a myth. Alas, what a cruel and inconsistent system has been practiced toward the Red Race from the time we enticed them under our jurisdiction, as wards, to the present day a system, calculated in its very nature to uncivilized rather than to civilize them, destroying all confidence, all love and all respect; yea, stifling all the social affections of the heart and the generosity of every noble sentiment; spreading devastation and desolation among them then to be cursed and pronounced a blotch upon the fair face of nature, while we, influenced alone by that degrading venality, that acknowledges no criterion but success, closed the heart and hand of our charity against them and shut our eyes on their woes hearts, hands and eyes never to be opened until the last of the race is exterminated, and there will be left no Indian possessions to excite our avarice; and we be left to boast our achievements in exterminating a helpless people whom to conquer was coward ice the checkered features of whose prehistoric history are still dimly shadowed in the memorials scattered around.

Yet their history, shorn as it is of its antique and romantic features by the march of civilization of the White Race with its accompanying vices and follies, which were presented before them in proportion to its virtues as ten to one, and thus rendered sad and mournful, is still interesting; and, I might justly add, instructive. But passing as they have through many changes of a long pre-historic age, as well as that of an imperfectly known history, the events of their fortunes seem like the incidents of a fairy tale; and while we regard with admiration the many known traits of their character, yet we can but be astonished that to so many of them natural refinement supplied the external deficiencies of accomplished instruction denied by their situation, while a sense of the proper, under every variety of circumstances, appeared intuitive; and many of their names and patriotic deeds are worthy of being transmitted to the remotest posterity, accompanied by those honorable and considerate epithets which flattery can never invest, and are never deceitful; and had they have had a written language, their native historians would have presented many things as interesting and dramatic as any of those of ancient or modern renown. But as it is, they may be justly styled martyrs uncrowned and un-canonized; since they are still known today to millions of the people of these United States under stereotyped appellation of “savages, “and to an equal number of others, as “Heathen Barbarians;” though the Indians belong not to either department of that scientific knowledge in which they have been enrolled by those whose extreme ignorance is thus made manifest; and who feel it an imperative duty to assume a countenance indicative of a holy horror and puerile fear at the very mention of the word Indian; and should they chance to meet one upon the highway serious convulsions would inevitably be the result; while others, of somewhat greater intrepidity, have been known to venture even into the presence of an Indian, their so called devil incarnate; and, to display their imagined heroic daring, they point the finger of scorn at him and question concerning him and his race in the language of ridicule and contempt (to which I have oft been an eye witness when passing through the Indian Territory) with that apparent instinct which makes one feel that humanity, at least that much of it as professed by such ignorant and imbecile yet highly self conceited specimens of mortality, must be closely allied to Darwin’s progenitor of man; and to whom the words of Schiller are justly applicable “Heaven and Earth was in vain against a dunce.”

Liberty, equality, and fraternity have ever been found to be cardinal principles among the North American Indians, from their first acquaintance with the White Race even to the present day. All stood, and still stand upon the same social level. No one regarded himself better, in any manner whatever, than his neighbor; none turned up the lip of scorn, or sneered at the misfortunes of one of his tribe. The members of each tribe lived in perfect harmony together, constituting, in every particular, one great, loving, confiding brotherhood. The clan was the unit of political and social life with all tribes. The individual was never considered. Hence to insult, wrong or injure a member of a tribe was actually to insult, wrong and injure the whole tribe; thus each tribe held the other responsible for the actions of its individual members according to the nature of the offense. In like manner were also construed all favors. Hence when a favor was bestowed upon any individual of a tribe, it was accepted as bestowed upon each member of the tribe. (He who was a friend to one was regarded as equally a friend to all, and as such was received into the confidence and friend ship of the entire tribe. What feature in the characteristics of any nation of people more commendable than this? Yet they are charged as being in want of a single redeeming trait of character.

Despotism, oppression, avarice, fraud, misrepresentation in trade, were things absolutely unknown in all their own tribal relations, and in their dealings with neighboring tribes. Therefore were they, at first, so easily swindled in trade by unprincipled white men; since the white man hid the defects of his article of trade tinder falsehoods, and the Indian openly exposed the defects of his in truth. Though it was easy to cheat an Indian once, to accomplish it the second time was a more difficult task. His confidence was gone never again to be secured. I recollect a little incident of this nature among the Choctaws when living east of the Mississippi river. A young Choctaw was cheated in a trade with a white man, and when censured for making the trade, he calmly replied: “Pale-face cheat me, me sorry; pale-face cheat me twice, me big fool.” After that as a matter of course, he would never believe a word that a white man would say.

Their tradition, always based on facts though abounding perhaps with many errors by misinterpretations and corruptions, in the cycles of ages through which they have passed, were no less dear to him, making a stainless history such as few nations had, save in those pure days of yore when men love truth, justice and honor more than gold; but while all those ancient places are still thronged with traditions, they are over grown with the weeds of popular fancy like ruins of ancient castles covered with ivy;  yet, the names of some of them are still remembered by the aged Indians and sometimes mentioned in their ancient traditions, but the names of their predecessors have completely disappeared from their memories, and the time will never come in which these secrets of the centuries will be remembered or ever known again.


As aids to memory they used various devices, among which belts of wampum were the chiefs. Wampum was truly the archives of the tribe among all North American Indians. It was made of dressed deer skin, soft and pliable as cloth, and interwoven with various shells cut into uniform size, carefully polished, strung together and painted in different colors, all of which were significant; white being the emblem of peace and friendship; red, the symbol of hostility and war. As the colors of the wampum were significant, so also were the length and breadth of these belts, and also the peculiar arrangements of the differently painted strings attached, each and all fully understood by the Indians alone. A belt of wampum was presented to one tribe by another as a remembrance token of any important event that was communicated. They had many and various kinds of wampum; some in the form of belts of different breadth and length; some in strings of various width and length, all reaching back in regular order to centuries of the remote past, with an accuracy incredible to the White Race.

The wampum was the Indians history the chronicles of the past; and the readers of each clan of the tribe, from one generation to another, was carefully and thoroughly instructed by their predecessors for that particular business and were held in the highest esteem by all Indians everywhere.

Bundles of small round sticks were also used to assist them in accurately keeping the number of days that would intervene between the day agreed upon that anything should be done, and the day upon which the bundle had been presented, one stick being drawn from the bundle at the termination of each day and thrown away; which duty was never forgotten nor neglected to be done by him to whom it was en trusted. A long string was also used, having as many knots tied in it as the number of days that were desired to be remembered; at the close of each day, as the withdrawing of a stick from the bundle, so a knot was untied. This custom of using a string was also practiced, it is said, by the ancient Persians, which is confirmed by Herodotus in his statement, that “Darius gave to his allies a string with sixty knots tied in it, and told them to untie one knot at the close of each day; and, if he had not returned by the time the last one was un tied, they could go home.”

Pictures, rudely carved on rocks and trees, were used to convey information, each figure being a true symbol under stood and fully comprehended by the Indians wherever seen.

The Indians regarded their majestic forest trees with emotional pride; and, as they reclined under their broad expanding shades, they listened to their solemn whispers as possessing a mysterious connection with themselves, and as sharing with them their hopes and fears, their joys and sorrows, and they grieved to see them fall before the ax of civilization; since, between the Native American and the White Race, who only saw lumber in the forest tree and money in the lumber, there is the same difference existing that there is between the man who hears the most refined music only as a senseless noise and him who hears it in messages of divine import to his soul; thus it is that Nature bestows on man only that which he is able to receive from her; to one lumber and the jingle of money; to the other beauty and harmony. Oft have I been an eye witness to the sensibility of this people to the charms of natural objects, though accused of its utter want and with emotions of pleasure listened to their expressive words of delight in admiration of the grand and beautiful in nature, as they pointed the finger of un-assumed pride to their magnificent forests, and the majestic appearance of the old patriarchs of their woods seeming to be charmed with their grand forests, the beauty of their flower bedecked prairies, the purity of their streams, the brightness of their skies and the salubrity” of their climate. To the peculiarly fascinating charms of which, as they appeared to my admiring gaze seventy years ago in the ancient domains of the Choctaws and Chickasaws, east of the Mississippi river, I can testify from personal observation, as it also was the home of my birth; nor can time nor distance ever erase from memory their grandeur and beauty; and, today, their seeming power is exercised over me in calling up the reveries and picturing of the past clothing reality with the illusions of the memory and imagination. But to many, nature, in her primitive grandeur, is but an indifferent beauty, though she stops to smile, to caress and entertain with exhaustless diversion her admiring and loving wooer.

So to the Indian also, the grandeur and beauty of his ancient forests left a memory which abides as a constant source of gratification, as he reflects upon their natural beauty upon which his eyes so oft had rested, and from which his soul had gathered a noble conception of the symphonies from which it drew its pure aspirations; and truly, no one who has any conception of the grand and beautiful, could have gazed upon the outstretched panorama of their forests as presented in their ancient domains, without being lastingly impressed with the marvelous picture, in which there stood forth most striking beauties in the form of majestic trees and green swards, on whose bosoms rested, in gentle touch, most inviting shades free of all under-growth of bushes but covered with luxuriant grass interspersed with innumerable flowers of great variety, rivaling the most beautiful flower garden of art. Never have I witnessed any thing more grand and impressive than the Mississippi forests presented when left by the Choctaws and Chickasaws as an inheritance to the Whites. Then and there nature, in all % her diversified phases, from the finite to the in finite, and from the infinitesimal to the grand aggregate of knowledge, was full of instruction; by which she would teach man his duty to his God, to his fellow man and to him self. But alas, how few ever heed the symbolic whispers of her low, sweet voice!

Good Spirit

It was truly a vast wilderness of trees entirely free of all undergrowth except grass with that peculiar stillness that attested the absence of man, and possessing a vastness and boundless extent, and uninterrupted contiguity of shade, which prevented the attention from being distracted, and allowed the mind to the solitude of itself, and the imagination to realize the actual presence and true character of that which burst upon it like a vivid dream. Truly that is happiness that breaks not the link between man and nature. The Indians of this continent openly acknowledged and sincerely believed in the One Great and Good Spirit, and also in the One Great and Evil Spirit; to the former they gave divine homage with a devotion that well might put to shame many of those who have lived, a life time under the light of the Gospel dispensation, with scarcely a devotional emotion. Towards the latter they cherished the greatest fear and dread and sought continually the aid of the Good Spirit in averting the dreaded machinations of the Evil Spirit, therefore every warrior had his totem; i. e. a little sack filled with various ingredients, the peculiarities of which were a profound secret to all but himself; nor did any Indian ever seek or de sire to know the contents of anothers totem, it was sacred to its possessor alone. I have more than once asked some particular warrior friend concerning the contents of his totem but was promptly refused with the reply: “You would not be any the wiser thereby.” Every warrior kept his Totem or “Medicine” about his person, by which he sincerely believed he would be enabled to secure the aid of the Good Spirit in warding off the evil designs of the Evil Spirit, in the existence of which they as sincerely believed, and to whom they attributed the cause of all their misfortunes, when failing to secure the aid of the Good Spirit. Therefore, each and every warrior of the tribe, with eager zeal, endeavored to put himself in direct communication with the Great and Good Spirit. There was but little difference between the “Indian Magician” and the Indian “Medicine Man,” but when a. warrior had attained to that high and great desired point of direct communication with the Great and Good Spirit, and had impressed that belief upon his tribe as well as himself, he at once became an object of great veneration, and was henceforth regarded by all his tribe, regardless of age or sex, as a great “Medicine Man,” upon whom had been conferred supernatural powers to foretell coming events, to exorcise evil spirits, and to perform all kinds of marvelous works. But few attained the coveted eminence yet he who was so fortunate, at once reached the pinnacle of his earthly aspirations. But before entering upon his high and responsible duties, and assuming the authority of a diviner a graduated Medicine Man, in other words, with a recognized and accepted diploma, he must also have enlisted in his service one or more lesser spirits, servants of the Great and Good Spirit, as his allies or mediators, and to secure these important and indispensable auxiliaries, he must subject himself to a severe and testing ordeal. He now retires alone into the deep solitudes of his native forest and there engages in meditation, self-examination, fasting and prayer during the coming and going of many long and weary days, and even weeks. And all that for what end? That he might, by his supernatural power thus attained, be enabled to gratify his ambition in playing the tyrant over his people through fear of him? Or that he might be enabled the better to gratify the spirit of avarice that rankled in his heart? Neither, for both tyrant and avarice was utterly unknown among, all Indians.

What then? First, that he might ever be enabled, by his influence attained with the great and Good Spirit, toward off the shafts of the Evil Spirit, and thus protect himself from seen and unseen dangers, and also be successful in the accomplishment of all his earthly hopes and wishes.

Second. That he might be a benefactor to his tribe, by being enabled to divine future events, and thus forewarn them of approaching danger and the proper steps to take to successfully avoid it; also to heal the sick, etc. True, the fearful ordeal of hunger, thirst, fatigue wrought their part in causing his imagination to usurp the place of reason, filling his fevered mind with the wildest hallucinations and rendering him a fit subject to believe anything and every thing. Yet, no doubt, when he left his place of prayer and self-examination and returned to his people, he sincerely believed that he had been admitted to the special favor of the great and Good Spirit and was fully prepared to exercise his newly acquired supernatural attainments for his own benefit and to the interest of his tribe. Smile not at this, per haps, to you, seeming folly of one who thought, reasoned and acted as taught by the feeble light of nature alone; with such a devotional spirit, what would he have been if enlightened by the renovating influences of the precepts of the Son of God? But I ask, if this doctrine of the spiritual world, the disembodied spirits of our departed loved ones everywhere about us, and the power of communication with them, has not sprung into new life among us in this boasted enlightened age illumined, by the glorious light of the Bible shining around us for centuries past though the doctrine was discarded by the Indians at once and forever, so soon as the light of the Bible shone into their untutored minds. But alas, we still speak of them as savages and barbarians; yet should not emotions of shame fill our hearts, when the similarity of belief between the unlettered” Indians of seventy-five years ago, and the boasted intelligence and Christian civilization of the “Anglo Saxon” of the present day, is so manifest? Need we try to deny that modern Spiritualism its counterpart in the philosophy of the North American Indians of three-quarters of a century ago?

May we justly scorn the Indian when not free ourselves of his ancient superstitious follies, but still have so large portion, though long discarded by the civilized tribes, secretly hidden away in the strata of our boasted common, sense, besides being greatly tinctured with the fashionable skepticism (unknown to all Indians) of the present civilized but fearfully corrupt age?

The Indians reasoned from the known to the unknown differing from us only in that they had no accumulated knowledge to guide them but their traditions. And when we take into consideration the great difficulties with which they had to contend and overcome in the struggle up the rugged hill of civilization and Christianity, as presented to them with all their manifested contradictions and enigmas by the Pale-faces, it is a matter of profound astonishment that they have achieved as much as they have.

Alas, that our universal error, in all our dealings with that people, should consist in the deplorable yet inexcusable failure to perceive how greatly their ideas differed from our own in regard to every thing appertaining to our civilization, Christianity and love of gain; and at the same time forget ting that the idea of civil government was with us of long and slow growth, taking many ages to develop us from our own ignorant and savage ancestry to our present enlightened state; and how greatly to be regretted is the fact, that our feelings and actions are still so influenced and governed by deplorable ignorance of the true nature and characteristics of the Indian, and so swayed by a foolish prejudice against him, and so led captive by self conceit and imagined superiority over him by nature, that we do not and will not justly and impartially weigh the evidence before us; through fear, it truly seems, that our preconceived opinions may be proved to be formed in error, if tested by the knowledge of the truth that would be gained by investigation.

The Indian is accused of stolidity. Wherefore? Is it because he can and does control his tongue when the white man would fly into a violent passion? Is it because the Indian never speaks evil of any one, not even of a personal enemy, but keeps his thoughts and opinions of others in the secret recesses of his own breast, while the reverse is an innate characteristic of the White Race? Is it because the Indian has learned never to talk to the purpose of what is not the purpose to talk of, but in which the white man has long since proved himself an adept to the entire satisfaction of himself and all man-kind? If all this, seemingly so mysterious to his defamers who would search earth and heaven to find an accusation against an Indian, merits- the title Stolidity, then indeed is the Indian meritorious, and that is/the whole of it in a nut shell.

He has also been ridiculed as being “an idiot for carrying” with him his mystic Medicine pouch, and relying on it for safety both in seen and unseen dangers. Yet in this how little did he differ from thousands of the White Race of even today with all their professed culture, among whom there can still be detected a foolish superstition, a lingering survival of Fetchism, for it can be nothing else. See the still lingering belief in Witchcraft and magic charms; behold the horse shoe still nailed over the door as a guarantee to “good luck” and the prevention of injury from the midnight carousals of witches; view the stigma placed upon the *good names of one of the days of the week unfortunate Friday! Contemplate the Charm string composed of various childish gewgaws dangling from the watch chain of the empty and unbalanced head of the “pale-face” dude, and also its counter part around the neck of the empty-headed little Miss of “sweet sixteen”! Think of the harmless little bug snugly ensconced in a crack of the wall humming its lullaby in token of its happiness yet is stigmatized with the appellation of “Death-watch,” the fore-runner of the grim monster so much feared and dreaded by frail humanity, and many more that might be mentioned! What are all these but a lingering spirit of superstition, legitimate offspring’s Fetishism, and differing in nothing from the Indian’s totem? Yet the Indian is regarded as meriting condemnation in this world and damnation in the next because he still adheres, in. some few instances where the truths of the Bible have never reached him, to his ancient superstitious belief and so called savage folly, but the white man, cradled in the lap of Christianity and yet carrying secretly in his breast his totems, verily, might not the reproving language of Saul to Bar Jesus be justly applied to us in all our dealing with the Red Race from the Alpha to the Omega? ,”O, full of all subtlety, and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?”

Again: The Indians passion for war, so erroneously proverbial among us, has ever been shamefully exaggerated. True, their passion for war, when engaged in it for the re dress of real or imaginary wrongs, was unequalled: and, in defense of their country has few parallels in the history of nations, of which we have the full attestation of experience; though we fought them, taking all things into consideration, the advantages of fifty to one. But they seldom made war upon each other actuated alone by the motives of ambitious conquests for national or personal aggrandizement, as far as has been ascertained from actual proof. They had no motive for such a war, as it is well known to all who have attained any true knowledge of the North American Indians worthy of notice, since avarice, in a national or personal point of view with all its baneful consequences, was utterly un known to the ancient Indians of this continent, as it is to this day to their pure blooded descendants. Their desperation in resisting our encroachments upon their rights gave birth to the false charge that “they are a blood-thirsty race de lighting in human gore;” but there is no proof based v upon truth that they are meritorious to a greater extent than any other race of mankind to bear such reproach. Nor were their tactics of war, so loudly condemned by us, any more irreconcilable to justice and humanity, than our own. We stigmatize them with the name of “cowards” for limiting their fighting to ambuscade and surprise; and which we, if out-witted and defeated in a battle with them, pronounced, with assumed horror, a “cruel massacre;” yet, truth positively declares that we too have adopted equally with them the ambuscade, the surprise, and every art of war known to us to out-general them in cunning, in treachery, and in deceit; but call it, if we succeed, “a glorious military strategy,” as if that would make it appear more honorable or justifiable in the sight of truth, justice and humanity or that of a just God. Absolute necessity compelled the Indians to resort to ambuscade and surprise in their wars with us, on account of our vast superiority over them in numbers, skill, and instruments of warfare. What hope of success could they entertain by coming out in the open field with their feeble bows and arrows and few worthless old guns, and stand up before our deadly rifles and destructive batteries they would simply have acted the part of fools in so doing. They fought as best they could, and just as we, or any other people, would have fought under similar circumstances.

We charge them with deception and being full of all manner of hypocrisy in all places and at all times, even in the social and business relations of life. A more false charge was never made against anyone; and it is but one among the thousands that have been unjustly used in justification of robbing them of their country and wiping them out as cumberers of the ground, wholly unfit any longer to inhabit the earth.

Who ever heard of the Indians adulterating their food with poisonous ingredients to add a dime more to their gains? Who ever heard of them adulterating their medicines, thus endangering life to make a nickel more? Who ever heard of them banding together to oppress the poor of their own race by buying up certain articles of food or medicine and holding it to extort a higher price from the needy, and thus add a few more cents to their own coffers? And yet we see fit to falsely charge the Indians with deception and hypocrisy. But to misrepresent in all that is said or written about the Red Race is an axiom of long standing. As an illustration Rid path, in his History of the United States” page 45, says: “But the Red Man was, at his best estate, an unsocial, solitary and gloomy spirit. He was a man of the woods. He sat apart. The forest was better than the village.” Let others speak that it may be known how near the above delineation of the Red Man’s characteristics, as exhibited by the glare of imagined erudition, throws its light to the line of truth according to the positive declarations of the early writers who visited the Indians; and the missionaries who first preached the Gospel of the worlds Redeemer to them. All, everywhere, and among all Indians back to the Pilgrims of 1620, affirm that the tribes everywhere lived in separate districts, in which each had numerous large and permanent towns and villages, and were the most social, contented and happy people they ever knew. La Salle, the renowned French explorer, states that he found numerous towns and villages everywhere. He affirms that the Indians lived in comfortable cabins of great proportions, in some cases, forty feet square with dome-shaped roofs, in which several families lived. De Soto, in his memorable raid through the territories of the Southern Indians in 1541-42, found towns and villages containing “from fifty to three hundred houses, protected by palisades, walls and ditches filled with water;” it is also stated, “every few miles he found flourishing towns and villages.” So also, the early explorers of the headwaters of the Mississippi river found the Indians everywhere dwelling in towns and villages: “The houses being framed with poles and covered with bark.”


Lewis and Clark, when exploring the waters of the Columbia River in 1805, under the auspices of the United Sates Government, found the Indians in the valley of the Columbia living in villages in which there were many large houses. They mention some capable of “furnishing habitations for five hundred people.” The Iroquois, whose territories lay along the southern borders of the Great Lakes, Erie and Ontario, when visited by the Jesuit priests and French traders in 1771, were found dwelling in large towns and villages some of which are described as having “120 houses, many of them from 50 to 60 feet in length, and affording ample room and shelter for twelve or fifteen families.” The Indians of the Atlantic Stages were settled in permanent towns and villages. The Pokanokets, Narragansets, Pequods, and others, as stated by early writers, lived in towns and, villages. The missionaries, when they established, Christian missions among the Cherokees in 1815, the Choctaws in 1818, and Chickasaws in 1821, found them living in prosperous towns and villages scattered from two to six miles apart all over their then vast territories, and to which I testify from actual, personal knowledge; and. no people with whom I was ever acquainted, or of whom I ever read, exhibited more real social virtues, true contentment and genuine social happiness than they; yet Rid paths doleful and stereotyped edition of misrepresentation and ignorance says: “But the Red Man was, at his best estate, an unsocial, solitary, and gloomy spirit. He communed only with himself and the genius of solitude. He sat apart; the forest was better than the village.”

The six nations, to whom the French gave the name Iroquois (Longhouses) were composed of the Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas, Mohawks and Tuscaroras, inhabiting the northern part of the continent, and the Choctaws; Chickasaws, Cherokees, Muscogees, Seminoles, Natchez and Yamasas, living in the southern part and known at an early day as the Mobela Nations, presented, no doubt, the highest type of the North American Indians, and were unsurpassed in, point of native eloquence, unalloyed patriotism, and heroic bravery, by any ancient or modern race of people, civilized or uncivilized; in friendship faithful and true, in war not safe or comfortable to encounter; and whose highest bliss was found in national independence and absolute personal freedom from all restraint whatever; and of whose ancient history, if only known, it might truthfully be said, would be stranger and more interesting than the “most thrilling fiction; abounding with hidden romances of which the civilized world never conjectured or even dreamed, if we may judge from the little that has escaped oblivion. The Iroquois, and the six Nations of the North have long since disappeared be fore the White Race as autumnal leaves before the wintry winds, except with here and there a few lonely wanderers who, like ghosts, still hover around the graves of their ancestors, feeble sparks yet lingering in the ashes of an exterminated race. The Natchez and Yamases of the Mobela Nations have also long since passed through the same ordeal, and Ichabod is written upon their urns with thousands of others, of their unhappy race: while a few still linger to justly rebuke our cruelty and avarice.

They know that they only can learn the; present through the memory of the blood stained past; that temple from which posterity draws its lessons of human life; yet they are not ashamed of their past; or do they undervalue it, but advocate, as they have many, long years before, the great brotherhood of man; and still hope and expect, as in the years of the long past, great things from Christianity and intellectual culture; though oft have been doomed to that bitter disappointment which so loudly and justly rebukes and condemns that prejudice still cherished so bitterly but unjustly against them by the White Race, ,and so difficult to be reconciled to its published professions of Christian attainments, too deep for them or any other people, to understand or even: rightly conjecture. But the question naturally arises, why are they still distrusted by us? Is it because they still honor their past, which they can never renounce nor forget as a brave and patriotic people? Must we forever hate them and eternally make them the subjects of our ridicule and contempt because, forsooth, they will not repudiate the memory of their ancient line of ancestry to them as honor able as to us is our own? And though self respect is all that we have left to them, except a few acres of begrudged land, do we now demand and expect them to so far forget them selves and to stoop so low in the scale of humanity as to adopt voluntarily, the impious and degrading estimate put upon them by the unprincipled of our own race, who through ignorance and prejudice have misjudged them? Then know we not the North American Indian; nor will our demand or expectation ever be realized.

We may exterminate them as we have millions of their race, for we have the power to do so; but we never can coerce them to voluntarily place a degrading estimate upon them. Never. I have heard the charge over and over again made against them, that they would stop the progress of the white mans civilization and the religion of Jesus Christ among them if they could. Without fear or favor, I here denounce the charge as a falsehood, begat by the devil, born in the regions of eternal night, thence escaped to find lodgment in the hearts of its miserably degraded author, and his congenial spirits, the foul mouthed promulgators; and into their teeth I fearlessly hurl it back. But I freely admit, if the “white mans civilization and the white man Christianity” is meant the grim visage of infidelity with its abominable train of liberalism, socialism, secularism, nihilism, spiritualism, and whiskeys with their legitimate children, saloonism and baudy houseism, and all other devilfishes presented in the white mans Christian civilization (so-called), they want none of it; and in proof of which they have warred, and still war and will ever continue to war against the foul brood, be they ever so protective to the white mans “Personal Liberty;” or ever so dearly cherished by him, as among the brightest lights along the horizon of his modern and advanced civilization. But let Christ s glorious Christianity and civilization, as it was presented to them eighty years ago in their ancient domains east of the Mississippi river by the pure minded, devoted, self-sacrificing, God approved missionaries, whose God-like teaching’s, both by precept arid example, have been handed down by that generation to this, (of whom many old Choctaws of that day have frequently spoken to me during my sojourn among them, during the last five or six years, and as often drew the contrast between the white mail’s religion of those days and the white man’s religion of today, the genuine fruits of which are so manifest) be rudely assailed or imperiled, and every warrior, old and young, would at once rise as one man in its defense, and freely give their lives as sacrificial offerings upon the altar of its protection. They had long walked in darkness, but they have seen the light as it shone in the daily life, conversation, and actions, of those old heralds of the Cross, who came to them in their ancient domains, four score years ago, as messengers of the Son of God, proclaiming Peace Good and Will to them. But they would see greater light and know more of that light; therefore, they who charge them with a hankering to still return to the customs of their ancestors, though in many respects more to be de sired than the isms and degrading vices of the white mans modern civilization as presented to them, can lay no just claim to the right of judging or estimating the merits, or demerits of any one, as they measure every thing by the standard of their own imbecility so manifest to all.

There is today, and has ever been, as much talent found among the true Native Americans as among the Americans or ever was found in any race of uneducated people; and the Indian is naturally as much of a religious being as the white man, yea, to a greater degree, which is fully sustained by his more faithful adherence and un-assumed devotion to his newly adapted religion, as taught him by the missionary of the Gospel, than are we with all of our fine churches and noisy professions. The Sabbath day is regarded with much more reverence, and observed with greater emotions of unfeigned devotion, yet we call him a savage. Long before the light of the Gospel illuminated the mind of the Indian, and the knowledge of his own dignity and destiny had dawned upon his understanding, his reason taught him a belief in the existence of a Superior Being whose wisdom and goodness he saw, acknowledged and reverenced in every leaf and flower that adorned the earth; in the rising and setting of the sun; in the storm of night and the calm of day. But the missionary came, and the Gospel of the Son of God then erected his alter among them and shed the benign influences of her oracles over them, leading their understanding from the intellectual darkness of that long starless night that had, brooded over them during ages untold. Great indeed must be the reward in heaven for those men and women of God who carried the Bread of Eternal Life to the southern Indians of this continent, over three quarters of a century ago; when civilization and Christianity had never before found lodgment, and Nature was presented in all her seemingly newness of life, unchanged by the handiwork of man. The pride of ancestry may be just; to rehearse the deeds of illustrious predecessors may by laudable; but they, who devote life to the Glory of God and the benefit of their fellow men are truly the ones that make life illustrious and the grave glorious; for when time had silvered their heads with gray, and the summons came that bade them go hence; then it was their good deeds lighted up the gloom of the grave and soothed and softened the pangs of dissolution; and when they have long slumbered in the city of the silent, yea, when every trace of the unhappy Indian shall have been wiped out and forgotten in the oblivion of the past, still will the memory of their labors of love live, and their monuments be in scribed with characters of imperishable fame. Years hence, when the inquisitive shall ask what manner of people were the fallen and exterminated race of North American continent, and inquire concerning those who enlightened the minds that only here and there have left a monument of their independence, will some venerable patriarch point to the catalogue of renowned names, who disseminated the Gospel and the light of learning among the primitive inhabitants of the North American continent. But the question naturally arises here; will the mighty tide of humanity, now flowing like a great river into and over our country, bear to future posterity our virtues or our vices, our glory or our shame? Will the moth of immorality and the vampire of luxury transmit, as an inheritance, their natural results to our future posterity, and ultimately prove the overthrow of our Government, or shall our knowledge and virtue, as pillars of rock, support them against the whirlwind of ambition and corruption now overspreading the land? The little insect intruding” upon our path is despised and wantonly crushed; yet united; they have destroyed nations and depopulated cities. “Coming events” cease not to “cast their shadows before.

North American Indians

The North American Indians, in symmetry of form, seemed perfect men and women; all were straight and erect; the men, of a proud, independent and manly bearing, with sinewy form that denoted great strength, agility and fleetness; with dark complexion, resolute, yet quiet in expression, except when agitated by emotion; frank in demeanor, and always courteous, never meeting you without a grave but polite and cheerful salutation; and whose confidence was not a sudden spark that shone for a moment then went out, but endured through life unless betrayed, then was never more regained, nor was their hatred impulsive but fixed in their judgment and their thoughts rather than in their passing feelings. And what is said of the characteristics of the men, as men, so it may be said equally of the women, as women. Their traditions, which form the connecting link between truth and romance, throw but a glimmering light, as before stated, upon the unwritten history of their past, which has so long been forgotten, as well as upon their ancient habits and customs, of which there can be no reliable information, therefore all must be left to conjecture. But I came in possession of many traditions seemingly to founded more in truth than in fiction, as I oft sat among the Choctaws and Chickasaws in youth and early manhood and listened with romantic emotions to the narrations of the aged, whose plurality of years had consigned them to the retired list of warriors, as unable longer to endure the hardships and dangers that begirt the warpath and the chase, and thus acquired much concerning their past history, not to be found in books, of which I will more fully speak in their proper place.

But alas, that the writings of so many of their White historians (so-called) seemingly through ignorance or prejudice, or both, should contain more fiction than truth, and diffuse more error than true information concerning this peculiar and so poorly comprehended race of people; hence it may be truly affirmed that there is no race of people that now exists upon the earth, or has ever existed, of whom so much has been said and written, yet of whom the world has been taught less true knowledge and correct information than of the North American Indians. But it should not be, perhaps, a matter of very great surprise that the majority of the writers of the present day, especially the sensational newspaper correspondents, as many of their predecessors of years ago, should give prejudiced accounts of this people; since it is plainly manifest, when taken into just consideration, that they are utterly ignorant of the subject offered for their contemplation, yet fail to see their incapacity, since the ingredients are pure and have given abundant and unmistakable proof of their many valuable qualities; therefore, as a natural result, are lost to the blind observers whose compositions, regarding the unfortunate Indians, are made up of equal parts (well mixed) of self-conceit, ignorance, duplicity and falsehood ; which, in their very nature, so utterly disqualify them of judging beyond the surface of anything except self; but seem extravagantly delighted when they have struck a new vein of precious metal in the mine of falsehood against the unoffending Indians, and foolishly imagine it has stamped them with a wisdom higher than man s, though difficulties arise in the minds of a majority from a failure to so comprehend it. Still it is diverting to see them strut about after a safe delivery, as if they were at the head of a new dispensation and waiting for unknown converts to kneel and pay homage to their imagined greatness.

It is a universally admitted that the color of the Indians is peculiar to themselves, and though some affirm that they have discovered indications of a Tartar origin in their cheek bones, others assert that their eyes do not justify the affirmation. Their manner of life may have exerted”, perhaps, some influence in regard to color, but it would be a difficult matter to satisfactorily explain how it could have produced the great difference that is so plainly manifest in that of the eyes. Still it is affirmed that “their imagery both poetry and oratory, is Oriental, though suffering by the limited extend of their practical knowledge.” Their metaphors were drawn from nature, the seasons, the clouds, the storms, the mountains, birds and beast, and the vegetables world. Yet in this, they only did what all other races of the human family have done, whose bounds to fancy were governed by experience. They also clothed their ideas in. Oriental dress. They expressed a phrase in a word, and qualified the signification of a whole sentence by a syllable; and also conveyed different significations by the simplest inflections of the voice. Some philologists affirm that among all the North American Indians who once inhabited this continent, there are, properly speaking, but two or three languages,” and the difficulty which different tribes experience in understanding each other, is attributed to the corruptions in dialects. This may seem more plausible from the following incident. Shortly after the Choctaws were removed from their ancient domains east of the Mississippi River to their present places of abode, a small tribe of strange Indians was discovered occupying a portion of their western territory, now the Chickasaw Nation. A party of Choctaws, under the command of Peter P. Pitchlynn, was sent out to ascertain who they were. When the delegation arrived at one of the villages of the unknown tribe, they were totally unable to communicate with them only through the sign language, so well understood by all the Indians, and them alone. However, it was soon observed that the villagers, in conversation with each other, used a few words that were decidedly of Choctaw origin, and now and then one or more purely Choctaw words. This but in creased the interest of the now deeply interested delegates. Upon further investigation by means of the sign language, It was ascertained that the name of the little tribe of strangers was Baluhchi, a pure Choctaw word, signifying hickory bark (formerly used by the Choctaws in making ropes and whips when peeled from the hickory bush in the spring). It was also learned that they originally came from a country, to their pleasant place of abode, that lay beyond the “Big Waters,” and this was all that could be learned concerning them. Being anxious to ascertain something more definite, the delegates, upon further inquiry, learned that there lived in another village a few miles distant, an aged man who was formerly their chief but owing to his advanced age he no longer acted in that capacity, but was regarded by the tribe as their national Seer or Prophet. To him the delegation immediately went, and found to their agreeable surprise that the venerable old patriarch, for such he truly was, could speak the Choctaw language fluently. He corroborated the statement of the villagers in regard to the migration, and also claimed that he and his tribe were Choctaws. When asked, How long since he left his people east of the “Big Waters,” he replied: “Long ago, when a little boy,” and further stated that he was the only survivor of the little company that had wandered away years ago from the parent stock. But to fully test the matter, he was questioned as to the name of the Choctaw Iksas (Clans) and their ruling chiefs at the time of his boyhood and the departure of the company to he far west. He readily gave the name of several clans and their then ruling chiefs, together with the names of the clan (Baluhchi) to which his parents belonged; also many memorable incidents connected with the Choctaws in his boyhood together with the general features and outlines of their territory. All of which was known to be true. The test was satisfactory. The delegates returned; made their re port, and the Choctaw Nation at once received its long wandering prodigals into its paternal embrace, and without hesitation took them into full fellowship as children of one and the same family. About fifty families of this once lost clan, numbering- about two hundred souls still survive, with a few of whom I am personally acquainted. The little band, I was informed, still adhere to the ancient customs of their Clan with that tenacity peculiar to the North American Indians alone, but have returned to the use of the Choctaw language proper.

Here then, in this little band of strayed Choctaws, who had wandered from the parent stock scarcely a century before, is found a case in which their language had become so blended or mixed with that of the languages of other adjoining tribes, and thereby so corrupted and changed as not to be understood by their own people from whom they had wandered but a generation or two before. The ancient Baluhchi Clan of Choctaws was first made known to the whites by La Salle, who visited them on his voyage of discovery down the Mississippi River in 1682, and to which I will again refer.

Fenimore Cooper, in reference to the sign language of the North American Indians, says, he was present at an interview between two chiefs of the western plains, and when an interpreter was present who spoke both languages of the two different tribes to which the two chiefs respectively belonged. The two warrior chiefs appeared to be on the most friendly terms, and apparently conversed much together; yet, according to the affirmation of the interpreter, each was absolutely ignorant of what the other said .in his native tongue. Their tribes were hostile to each other, but these two chiefs had accidentally been brought together by the influence of the Government; and it is worthy of remark that a common policy influenced them both to adopt the same subject. They mutually exhorted each other to befriend the one the other in the event that the chance of war should throw either of them in the hands of his enemies.

But whatever may be the truth as respects the root and the genius of the Indian tongue, it is quite evident they are now so remote in their words as to possess most of the disadvantages of strange languages; hence, much of the embarrassment that has arisen in learning their history, and most of the uncertainty which exists in their traditions.

The North American Indians conform to rule as rigidly as any nation of people that ever existed. They regulated their whole conduct in conformity to some general maxims implanted in their minds in their youthful days. The moral laws by which they were governed were few, tis true. But they conformed to all of them most rigidly; while our moral laws are many by which we assume to be governed, yet we frequently violate them with little compunction of conscience when conflicting with our real or imaginary interests. We accuse the Indians of stoicism and habitual taciturnity, with out studying their characteristics; but if we had only informed ourselves, we would have learned that they are more firmly linked to us by mutual sympathies and affections than we have ever even imagined. But why do the Indians appear taciturn and unsocial to us? Because we have, from first to last, manifested toward them an unconcealed coldness, indifference, distrustfulness bordering largely on contempt; and never with that confidence, frankness and sincerity which are so indispensable to genuine love and true friendship. Let a little group of Indians be at a railroad station on the arrival of a passenger train. See the rush to the platform and the circle formed around them; hear the remarks of attempted wit made about them and the laugh of ridicule, as they stare at them as if they were a group of wild beasts, yet assuming they to be a people remarkable for their strict adherence to the rules and regulations of politeness! What feelings must pervade the Indians breasts but emotions of manifold pity and mingled contempt for such an ill-mannered set, who profess so much yet display so little of common sense! Who, with any degree of justice, can blame the Indians for manifesting their wisdom and good sense by keeping themselves aloof from the company of the self-conceited and scornful, whose moral worth and highest attainments begin and end seemingly with the monkey and, as a natural consequence, can exhibit no other disposition when in the presence of one or more Indians than that of gratifying an ignorant curiosity in beholding the so-called “red devils, red skin, Indian bucks,” appellations having their origin in the depraved hearts of as corrupt and reckless specimens of humanity as ever cursed a land or county, and are a foul blot upon the fair face of nature, and the language of whose hearts is “justice, truth, honor, mercy, humanity depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.” Thus, in all our intercourse with this unfortunate race of people, we have exhibited, in the majority of instances, every disposition toward them that was calculated to drive them far from even the sight of us, and to stamp indelibly upon their hearts the belief that our only desire is, and ever has been, to dispossess them of their hereditary possessions; and in which they are wholly confirmed by reading our publications in which we portray them as “red devils, red skins, blood-thirsty savages, Indian bucks,” thus seemingly to attempt to justify ourselves, by our calumniating epithets, in our cruelties and outrages upon them without any respect to their claims upon truth, justice, mercy and humanity whatever ; and also, that they have no rights when conflicting 1 with ours, but must succumb any where and everywhere to the nod of our interest be it at their sacrifice what it may ; therefore we continue, as we have done for centuries past, to execute our verdict pronounced against them from the beginning: “It is easier and less expensive to exterminate the Indians, than to obey the mandates of the Son of God in attempting to Christianize them.” Said an old chief: “We’ve been driven back until we can retreat no farther; our tomahawks have none to wield them; our bows have none to shoot them; our council fires are nearly burned out ; soon the white man will cease to oppress and persecute us, for we will have perished and gone from the earth.” Thus have their expectations darkened into anxiety, their anxiety into dread, their dread into despair and their despair into death.

Never in the history of man has the extermination of a people been more complete than that of the North American Indians within the last two and a half centuries. To the query, “Where are they”? Echo but responds, “Where”? Alas! all have disappeared from their ancient abodes, and hundreds .of tribes have long since ceased to exist as nations, the majority not even leaving a name behind them; and even the former homes of the hapless remaining few refuse to acknowledge the feeble exiles but as vile intruders, while the names of mountains, hills and streams are all that remain as testimonials of their former occupancy, even as solitary heaps of drift-wood left far from the channel of the river bear testimony to the extent of its inundation. And to the query? Where are they? The best reply may be found in a book bearing the title “Shanks Report On Indian Frauds,” made March 3d, 1873, to the 420 Congress, 3d, Session, in the management of Indian Affairs. It is as follows: “In 250 years we have wasted their numbers from 2,500,000” (nearer the truth would be, 20,500,000) “down to 250,000 or a waste of a number equals to all their children born to them in the last 250 years, and 2, 250,000, or 9-10 of their original number, residing in the limits of our Government, and have taken absolute ownership of 3,232,936,351 acres of their lands, prairies, forests, game and homes, leaving, to all their tribes collectively, only 97,745,000 acres of ground, generally not the best, and even that is sought after with a greed that is not worthy a Christian people.” Nevertheless we boast of ourselves being a true. Christian nation of the “Anglo Saxon” blood. Who can but pity the unfortunate Cubans and the Filipinos! With what emotions of horror must they shrink from their prospective future, when contemplating the extermination of the North American Indians?

Even at an early day the Indians themselves, believed, felt and acknowledged it. In 1611, all the Indians, then known to the whites, complained, according to the statements of the early writers, that from the time the French came to trade with them they began to decline and die off more rapidly than ever before. It is stated by the early explorers, that they would often fumigate their heads to avoid infection from the magic charms they believed the French carried about their persons, secret poison, harmless to themselves, but fatal to all Indians; at other times they would accuse the whites of selling them poisonous provisions. “In 1634,” writes the French journalist, “the orphans were sadly numerous, for after the Indians began to use whiskey they died in great numbers.” “Not so,” said a chief in 1636, “It is not your drink which kills us, but your writings; for since you have described our country, our rivers, land and forests, we are all dying. This was not so before your coming.” Unhappy chief! Thou were honest in thy convictions, but erring; in your judgment. Whiskey was the secret power employed by the pale-face to silently but effectually destroy thy race, as it has been from that day to this; and, as auxiliaries to that terrible destructive, the introduction of small-pox, scarlet fever, measles, mumps, whooping-cough, unknown before to the Indians, did their fatal work, and hurried millions of that unfortunate people to premature graves, often depopulating entire towns and villages, and even tribes. These new and unaccountable diseases appearing among them with the coming of the whites, baffling” their utmost powers in the healing art, and which it appeared no skill could obviate, nor remedy dispel the fearful infection, they very naturally attributed the cause of them to the writings of the Pale-face, so mysterious and incomprehensible to them. While some tribes attributed their mysterious dying to the anger of the Great Spirit, who thus punished them for permitting the Pale-faces to “describe their country, lands, rivers and forests.”

A Huron convert told the Jesuit priests in 1639, that it was almost the universal opinion of his nation, that all the professed friendship of the whites for the Indians was but a blind to conceal their deep hidden hypocrisy and treachery; and that they were really aiming to the total destruction of the Indians, in order to secure their country for themselves. How truly prophetic, and how much more of truth than fiction were their rational conclusions, and was there not manifested also, in their just reasoning, in regard to the secret designs of the whites, as far-sighted statesmanship as was ever exhibited by any nation of people that ever existed, ancient or modern? Were the philippics hurled against the ambitious Macedonian king and conqueror by the world wide renowned statesman and orator of ancient Athens more prophetic than were the predictions of those ancient Herons of North America? “You will see,” said a relative of the above mentioned Huron convert, to whom he spoke of the kind words and friendly actions of the Jesuit priests towards the Indians, your children die before your eyes; you your self will soon follow, and if we listen to them, we all will go the same way.” “Whether it is the work of the devil or the providence of God,” adds the annalist, “we dare not say, but of five children in the family, but one remains. Soon after that speech, one was carried off by fever; another has been ill for months and cannot live; the oldest, who was one of our pupils, a lad of fourteen, died very suddenly; an adopted daughter has a dangerous cough; the youngest boy is dying too, while the Lord has seen fit to afflict the wife also, who, after losing four children, herself died of small-pox. Truly the poor Indian may say Probasti me et cognovisti me.” In 1657, Father Menard himself, while laboring among the Iroquois, wrote as follows: “The hostility to our faith and to our persons which the Hurons had transmitted to those aborigines, persuading them that we carried with us disease and misfortune to every country we approached, caused our reception to be cool and the presents to be spurned which we offered as a help to the introduction of our religion.”

Could the Indians be justly censured, with such potent convictions resting upon their minds, that many, in wild despair and in blind revenge, if, peradventure, they might be able to turn back the fearful and destructive tide of; disease and death that was so effectually and rapidly destroying them, by driving from their territories the pale-faces seemingly the author of all their misfortunes and woes and did not their hopes of success, their devotion to and love of country, and their irresistible idealism which stimulates the mighty effort, constitute the essence of true patriotism? But alas, our prejudice denies it to them. Wherefore? Because we, as a people, were blinded by our imagined superiority over them, and preconceived determination to convert their country to our own use every foot of it as is so manifest today; therefore refused to become properly acquainted with them lest we might see and learn of their many characteristic virtues. Their country was the philosopher’s stone to us the true secret that influenced our actions toward, and all our dealings with them, both of a peaceful and host nature. It was the scepter that was to give us dominion over them, to their destruction, but our aggrandizement; the key that would un lock to us a storehouse of national power and personal emolument, opening unto us the untold treasures of the western continent. Therefore, whatever in them appeared strange and forbidding to our disordered imagination; what ever did not agree in every punctilio to our self-conceited, “high-born,” civilized customs, we at once misjudged and underrated, haughtily condemned and pushed aside as unworthy our refined attention. Hence it is a lamentable truth, that all the impressions ever made by the whites upon the Indians, with few exceptions, from their earliest associations to the present day, have been contrary to every thing that had a tendency to secure their confidence, maintain their friend ship, and induce them to forsake their primitive customs and adopt those of ours; and we have today the evidence on every side that the evil influences placed before the Indians, and the baneful impressions made upon their minds by unprincipled and lawless white men, who have always in their country, from the beginning, have been deeply and lastingly made, and have long ago assumed the form of a justly bitter but silent hatred enduring as time, and, it is to be feared, forever to rankle in their breasts. This prejudice against and hatred of all that appertains to the white race has been widening and deepening from their first acquaintance with the whites, from whom they have received nothing but sneers, cuffs and kicks from the alpha to the omega, and now stands a yawning gulf between the confidence and friendship of the red man and the white, so broad and deep that all hope of its being bridged seems nearly if not entirely at an end. As the great and good Washington exclaimed when informed of the treason of Benedict Arnold, “Whom can we trust?” so the Indians, long ago, have been entirely justifiable to exclaim of the white race “Whom can we trust?” Memory is, and always has been, the Indian’s only record book, their history of past events; and upon its pages, handed down through ages from generation to generation, are truthfully, faithfully and lastingly recorded in the archives of their respective nations, and the vicissitudes of their individual lives. Its instructions they never forget, be they of joy or sorrow, hope or fear, rights or wrongs, benefits or injuries; and. today, could the heart of every Indian, whose blood is not contaminated with that of the white, male or female, old or young, now living within the jurisdiction of these United States as their miserable and down trodden wards, be read as an open scroll, I venture the assertion as being within the line of truth, though broad and inconsistent as it may seem, there would be found written, and with just cause approved and sustained by truth, against the white race, with pen dipped in the stream of as bitter hatred as ever flowed through the human soul, “Tekel.” They would be superhuman if otherwise. But upon whom justly rests the cause of all this? At whose door lies the fearful wrong? Who has been the first and last cause? The voice of truth, as potent as that which fell upon the ears of Israel s guilty king, sustained CLOW as then by the God of justice and truth, comes also to the white man, and declares in thunder tones, “Thou art the man.”

The era (1492) in which Columbus discovered the western continent was unprecedented in the history of the world, awakening the long slumbering ambition of man-kind to an energy unknown before, and giving origin to number less speculative enterprises, which resulted in a fierce struggle among the different nations of the Old World to secure a permanent foot-hold in the New, which offered such bright prospects for national power and glory and individual wealth, and soon the representatives of the different maritime powers were seen upon the wide and seemingly illimitable field disputing, quarreling and fighting for supremacy upon the soil of the Native American, and adopting every art and device that ingenuity could suggest, right or wrong, so it did prove but successful in preventing the opposite from attaining its desired end, or displacing the fortunate one who had secured a coveted prize. Among the most conspicuous contestants were the representatives of Spain, France, England and Holland; who sent out corporations for colonizing purposes, establishing them at different points according to the inclinations of each, extending from the Great Lakes of the North to the Gulf in the South; each assuming the right based upon that of discovery and occupancy to possess, hold, occupy and retain any territory desired; but in reality, more by virtue of professed intellectual superiority over the Native Americans and the actual advantages in the munitions of war, than that of .any right accrued by virtue of discovery; influencing the inexperienced and unlettered natives by cajolery and deception, and oft by compulsion, to dispose of their lands to them at nominal prices, a mere pittance under the name of purchase,” without any regard whatever to the claims of truth, justice and honor, or to the validity of the Indians title by previous occupancy for ages unknown. But after many years of disputation, wrangling and fighting, the greatest arena of contending disputants was cleared of all but two, the French and English, to whom was left the task of closing the bloody drama; but into which the two hostile and contending rivals continued to involve (as had been done from the beginning of their feuds) the bewildered Indians in their battles with each other, and also arraying them in deadly strife and prolonged war-fare among themselves, tribe against tribe, that they might thus weaken their numerical strength, and thus the quicker and the more easily drive them from their ancient possessions; a scheme artfully adopted by us, after the dispossession of the English, in turn, in 1776 and the handing over of the Indians to us, to complete the destruction of that unfortunate race.

But truly has it been said, “The Father of Waters” has two epochs, and each with a romance, the one as different from the other as day and night. The first belongs to the northern Mississippi, and the second to the southern; the former has its pastor, Father Marquette; the latter its novelty, Hernahdo De Soto. France and England, long the ambitious rivals and zealous competitors for territorial acquisitions throughout the inhabited globe, were the first and only nations that disputed and contended for the entire possession of the North American continent at that early day; regarding which it has also been said that religious enthusiasm planted the Puritan colony on Plymouth Rock; religious enthusiasm planted the Cross on the shores of the St. Lawrence, among the Indians around Lake Superior, thence to the Great Valley of the Mississippi. Thus France and her Christianity stood in Canada and the Mississippi valley; England and her Christianity stood on the hills of the Hudson and in the Susquehanna valley, and invited the Indians each to their respective civilization and Christianity, while bloody conflicts and cruel scenes marked the footsteps of the introduction of the new order of things among the confused Indians.


In 1608, Quebec was founded by the intrepid explorer, Samuel Champlain, and whose name is perpetuated in that of Lake Champlain. From Quebec the French Jesuits penetrated and explored the vast solitudes of the Canadian wilderness to the Great Lakes of the West, then a terra incognita, to the civilized world. Following in their wake came the English in their representatives, known as the Pilgrims landing on the rock-bound coast of Massachusetts in 1620 where the foot of the white man had never trod, though the adventurous and indefatigable La Salle had explored the Ohio River as far down as the present city of Louisville, Ky., many years before, while other French adventurers and also Jesuit missionaries had penetrated the wild regions around the Great Lakes, thence southward along the various tributaries of the Mississippi which drained the vast and wild region between them and the Gulf of Mexico far to the south; there they planted the Cross in those seemingly illimitable forests, whose solitudes never be fore had been broken by the voice of anthems sang in praise to the one and only true God, and there left behind them many monuments scattered here and there, as memorials of their adventurous and perilous travels, which, in after years, would remind the passer-by of the names of La Salle, Allouez, Marquette, Joliet, Meynard, and other kindred spirits, whose energy and untiring efforts to convert to their religious creed the various tribes of the Native Americans, and to successfully and permanently secure all their territories for the French, has no parallel in the annals of the world s history. Quebec soon became the great and frequented mart of trade between the French and the Indians, to which the various tribes came from far and near in their canoes laden with the skins and furs of the various wild animals that roamed in countless numbers over the vast forests of those primitive days, to see the pale-face strangers, and to exchange their furs and skins for the new and strange articles that seemed so greatly to excel their own comforts of life, and especially the white mans wonderful gun, which they had quickly learned far surpassed their bows and Arrows in killing game and in destroying their enemies.

In 1679, James Marquette, a French Jesuit, and Louis Joliet, a French Canadian merchant, entered the Mississippi river by way of the Wisconsin in two birch-bark canoes; thence down the Mississippi to a point below the mouth of the Arkansas. In 1682, Robert de La Salle, a French Canadian officer, entered the Mississippi from the Illinois River, thence up to its source, thence down to its mouth, and gave the name Louisiana to that vast territory in honor of Louis XIV, king of France. In 1683, Kaskaskia, in the now state of Illinois, was founded by the French; in 1701, Detroit, in Michigan; in 1705, Vincennes, in Indiana. In 1699, the French, under the command of Lemoyne De Iberville, also a French Canadian, founded Biloxi, in Mississippi, which was named after a clan of the ancient Choctaws called Bulohchi (Hickory Bar), of whom I have already spoken. New Orleans was founded by the French under Bienville, in 1718. Fort Rosalie among the Natchez Indians, which was destroyed by them in 1729, who had become exasperated by the oppressions of the French, of whom I will again more particularly speak. In 1722, Bienville also founded Mobile, in Alabama. A chain of forts was then built by the French between Montreal and New Orleans; the most important of which were, the one at Detroit, erected in 1701; the one at Niagara, 1726; and one at Crown Point, in 1730. However, De Monts, a French Huguenot, established the first permanent French settlement upon the continent, at Port Royal (now Annapolis) in Nova Scotia, calling the territory Acadia.

February 10th, 1763, witnessed the total subversion of French power in North America by the English, at which time peace was made between the belligerents, England, France and Spain, by which the North American continent and its native inhabitants were handed over to England.

Reader contemplates the following, which is only one of thousands. In the “California Illustrated,” a book written in 1849, the Author, on page 111, says:

“In passing through a slight gorge, I came upon the bodies of three Indians who had been dead apparently about two days, each bearing the mark of the unerring rifle; two of them were shot through the head; the sight was a sad one, and gave rise to melancholy reflections, for here these poor beings are hunted and shot down like wild beasts, and they no doubt fell by the hand of the assassin, not for lucre but to satiate a feeling of hate.” “In an adjoining territory the Red Man had a quiet home; there he was always supplied with venison, their corn fields ripened in autumn, their rude trap furnished clothing for the winter, and in the spring they danced in praise of the Great Spirit for causing flowers to bloom upon the graves of their fathers, but the white stranger came and took possession of their hunting grounds and streams, and harvested their corn. They held a council and decided that the Great Spirit had sent the white stranger, and it would be wrong not to give him all he wished; they collected their traps, bows and arrows, and prepared to fall back in search of new streams and hunting grounds; they paid the last visit to the graves of their fathers. What were their feelings? The moon threw a pale, dim light through the foliage, the air breathed a mournful sigh as they reached the lonely mound; the stout hearted warrior drew his blanket to hide his tears as he bowed down to commune for the last time with the spirits that had so often blessed him in the chase; his heart was too full, and he fell upon his face and wept bitterly. But a last adieu; they rise, cross the arrows over the grave, walk mournfully away; the Great Spirit give them a new hunting ground, and the corn ripens on the plain, but soon the white stranger comes and tells them to fall back. They are at the base of the mountain; there are no hunting grounds beyond; they hold a council and decide to defend their homes against further encroachments of the white stranger. The white was strong and drove the Red Man into the mountains, and for the crime of having tried to de fend their homes and families, they are placed under a ban, and hunted down like beasts. No matter where they are found the crime of being a Red Man is a forfeiture, not only of all right to prosperity but to life itself.

“Will not some philanthropist rise above sectional prejudices and undertake the regeneration of this truly noble but downtrodden people? Had I the wealth of an Astor I would not wish a better or nobler field for immortality.” Will not the philanthropists of these United States “rise above sectional prejudices, and undertake the regeneration of these truly” infamous, God-forsaken, white scoundrels, that so curse our land? “I would not wish a better or nobler field for immortality.”

“The first man I met after my arrival in the interior was an Oregonian on horseback, armed with a revolving rifle in search of Indians. He had had a horse stolen, and presumed it was taken by an Indian; he swore he would shoot the first red skin he met; and I had no reason .to doubt his word; still the chances were ninety-nine out of a hundred, that the horse was stolen by a white man, and the charges of the white man upon the Indians are like Neros setting Rome on fire and charging it upon Christians. I have no doubt the three Indians above spoken of were wantonly shot while walking peacefully along their trail.” But alas! Who would undertake the task of regenerating the harpies that are, at the present day, pursuing the Indians, and howling at their heels?

Eugene V. Smalley, in his travels, says: “Near the town (Benton) we visited the camp of a dozen lodges of Piegan Indians, who had come to stay all winter for the sake of such subsistence as they could get from the garbage barrels of the citizens. A race of valorous hunters and warriors has fallen so low as to be forced to beg at back doors for kitchen refuse. In one of the tepees in the Piegan camp there was an affecting scene. A young squaw lay on a pile of robes and blankets, hopelessly ill and given up to die. In the lines of her face and the Expression of her great black eyes there were traces of beauty and refinement not often seen in Indian women. Crouched on the ground by her side sat her father, an old blind man with long white hair and a strong, firm face clouded with an expression of stolid grief. The Piegans and Blackfeet, who possess the great reservation north and east of Fort Benton, have suffered grievously for want of food, and hundreds have died from scrofula and other diseases induced by insufficient nourishment. In fact the government has kept them in a state of semi starvation. Father Palladini told me that the speeches of Indian chiefs at the council, where they told of their suffering of their tribes and bared their emaciated arms and breasts to show what a condition they had been brought by hunger, were thrilling bursts of Indian oratory, even affecting listeners who could not, as he did, understand the spoken words.” What a picture is here represented of our policy toward the Indians! What an illustration of the designs of that arch dissembler, the author of the “Severalty Bill,” whose venal soul plunders a helpless people of the homes and little all through willful misrepresentation and brazen-faced falsehood. What a true elucidation of the so-called “Indian Problem” which our congress has so long held up in imaginary suspension in mid air as a kind of Mohamet’s coffin!

Traditions of Choctaws and Chickasaws

The ancient traditional history of the Choctaws and Chickasaws, (the former signifying Separation and the latter Rebellion separation and rebellion from the Muskogees, now known as Creeks, who, according to tradition, were once of one tribe before their migration from some distant country-far to the west, to their ancient domain east of the Mississippi river, which is of more than dubious authority) claims for them a Mexican origin, and a migration from that country at some remote period in the past, under the leadership of two brothers, respectively named Chahtah and Chikasah, both noted and influential chiefs, to their possessions east of the Mississippi. Adair, in his “American Indians,” says: The Choctaws and Chickasaws descended from a people called Chickemacaws, who were among the first inhabitants of the Mexican empire; and at an ancient period wandered east, with a tribe of Indians called Choccomaws; and finally crossed the Mississippi river, with a force of ten thousand warriors.” It is reasonable to suppose that the name Choctaw has its derivation from Choccomaw, and Chickasaw, from Chickemacaw (both corrupted); as they claim, and no doubt justly, the names Choctaw and Chickasaw to be their ancient and true names.

Their tradition, in regard to their origin as related by the aged Choctaws to the missionaries in 1820, was in substance as follows: In a remote period of the past their ancestors dwelt in a country far distant toward the setting sun; and being conquered and greatly oppressed by a more powerful people (the Spaniards under Cortez) resolved to seek a country far removed from the possibility of their oppression.

A great national council was called, to which the entire nation in one vast concourse quickly responded. After many days spent in grave deliberations upon the question in which so much was involved, a day was finally agreed upon and a place of rendezvous duly appointed whence they should bid a final adieu to their old homes and country and take up their line of march to seek others, they knew not where. When the appointed day arrived it found them at the designated place fully prepared and ready for the exodus under the chosen leadership of two brothers, Chahtah and Chikasah, both equally renowned for their bravery and skill in war and their wisdom and prudence in council; who, as Moses and Aaron led the Jews in their exodus from Egypt, were to lead them from a land of oppression to one of peace, prosperity and happiness. The evening before their departure a “Fabussa” (pole, pro. as Fa-bus-sah) was firmly set up in the ground at the center point of their encampment, by direction of their chief medicine man and prophet, whose wisdom in matters pertaining to things supernatural was unquestioned and to whom, after many days fasting and supplication, the Great Spirit had revealed that the Fabussa would indicate on the following morning, the direction they should march by its leaning; and, as the star led the Magi to where the worlds infant Redeemer and Savior sweetly reposed, so the leaning of the pole, on each returning morn, would indicate the direction they must travel day by day until they reached the sought and desired haven; when, on the following morn, it would there and then remain as erect as it had been placed the evening before. At the early dawn of the following morn many solicitous eyes were turned to the silent but prophetic Fabussa, Lo! It leaned to the east. Enough. Without hesitation or delay the mighty host began its line of march toward the rising sun, and followed each day the morning directions given by the talismanic pole, which was borne by day at the head of the moving multitude, and set up at each returning evening in the center of the encampment, alternately by the two renowned chiefs and brothers, Chahtah and Chikasah. For weeks and months they journeyed toward the east as directed by the undeviating Fabussa, passing over wide extended plains and through forests vast and abounding with game of many varieties seemingly undisturbed before by the presence of man, from which their skillful hunters bountifully supplied their daily wants. Gladly would they have accepted, as their future asylum, many parts of the country through which they traveled, but were forbidden, as each returning morn the unrelenting pole still gave its silent but comprehended command: “Eastward and onward.” After many months of wearisome travel, suddenly a vast body of flowing water stretched its mighty arm athwart their path. With unfeigned astonishment they gathered in groups upon its banks and gazed upon its turbid waters. Never before had they even heard of, or in all there wanderings stumbled upon aught like this. Whence its origin? Where its terminus? This is surely the Great Father the true source of all waters, whose age is wrapt in the silence of the unknown past, ages beyond all calculation, and as they then and there named it “Misha Sipokni” (Beyond Age, whose source and terminus are unknown).

Surely a more appropriate, beautiful and romantic name, than its usurper Mississippi, without any signification. But who can tell when the waters of Misha Sipokni first found their way from the little Itasca lake hidden in its northern home, to the far away gulf amid the tropics of the south? Who when those ancient Choctaws stood upon its banks and listened to its murmurings which alone disturbed the silence of the vast wilderness that stretched away on every side, could tell of its origin and over what mighty distances it rolled its muddy waters to their ultimate, destiny? And who today would presume to know or even conjecture, through what mysterious depths its surging currents struggle ere they plunge into the southern gulf? But what now says their dumb talisman? Is Misha Sipokni to be the terminus of their toils? Are the illimitable forests that so lovingly embraced in their wide extended arms its restless waters to be their future homes? Not so. Silent and motion less, still as ever before, it bows to the east and its mandate “Onward, beyond Misha Sipokni” is accepted without a murmur; and at once they proceed to construct canoes and rafts by which, in a few weeks, all were safely landed upon its eastern banks, whence again was resumed their eastward march, and so continued until they stood upon the western banks of the Yazoo river and once more encamped for the night; and, as had been done for many months before, ere evening began to unfold her curtains and twilight had spread over all her mystic light, the Fabussa (now truly their Delphian oracle) was set up; but ere the morrow s sun had plainly lit up the eastern horizon, many anxiously watching eyes that early rested upon its straight, slender, silent form, observed it stood erect as when set up the evening be fore. And then was borne upon that morning breeze throughout the vast sleeping encampment, the joyful acclamation, “Fohah hupishno Yak! Fohah hupishno Yak! Fohah hupishno Yak! (pro as Fo-hah, Rest, hup-ish-noh, we, all of us, Yak, here.)

Now their weary pilgrimage was ended, and flattering hope portrayed their future destiny in the bright colors of peace, prosperity and happiness. Then, as commemorative of this great event in their national history, they threw up a large mound embracing three acres of land and rising forty feet in a conical form, with a deep hole about ten feet in diameter excavated on the top, and all enclosed by a ditch encompassing nearly twenty acres. After its completion, it was discovered not to be erect but a little leaning, and they named it Nunih (mountain or mound, Waiyah, leaning, pro. as Nunih Wai-yah). This relic of the remote past still stands half buried in the accumulated rubbish of years unknown, disfigured also by the desecrating touch of time which has plainly left his finger marks of decay upon it blotting out its history, with all others of its kind, those memorials of ages past erected by the true Native American, about which so much has been said in conjecture and so much written in speculation, that all now naturally turn to anything from their modern conjectures and speculations with much doubt and great misgivings.

Several years afterward, according to the tradition of the Choctaws as narrated to the missionaries, the two brothers, still acting in the capacity of chiefs, disagreed in regard to some national question, and, as Abraham suggested to Lot the propriety of a separation, so did Chikasah propose to Chahtah; but not with that unselfishness that Abraham manifested to Lot; since Chikasah, instead of giving to Chahtah the choice of directions, proposed that they should leave it to a game of chance, to which Chahtah readily acquiesced. Thus it was played: They stood facing each other, one to the east and the other to the west, holding a straight pole, ten or fifteen feet in length, in an erect position between them with one end resting on the ground; and both were to let go of the pole at “the same instant by a pre-arranged signal, and the direction in which it fell was to decide the direction in which Chikasah was to take. If it fell to the north, Chikasah and his adherents were to occupy the northern portion of the country, and Chahtah and his adherents, the southern; but if it the south, then Chikasah, with his followers, was to possess the southern portion of the country, and Chahtah with his, the northern. The game was played, and the pole decreed that Chikasah should take the northern part of their then vast and magnificent territory. Thus they were divided and became two separate and distinct tribes, each of whom assumed and ever afterwards retained the name of their respective chiefs, Chahtah and Chikasah. The ancient traditions of the Cherokees, as well as the ancient traditions of the Muscogees (Creeks) and the Natchez also point back to Mexico as the country from which they, in a period long past, moved to their ancient possessions east of the Mississippi river. But whether they preceded the Choctaws and Chickasaws or came after, their traditions are silent.

Milfort, (p. 269) says: Big-Warrior, chief of the Cherokees, as late as 1822, not only confirms their tradition that Mexico was their native country, but goes back to a more remote period for their origin and claims that his ancestors came from Asia; crossing Behring Straits in their canoes; thence down the Pacific coast to Mexico; thence to the country east of the Mississippi river, where they were first known to the Europeans.

Mr. Gaines, United States agent to the Choctaws in 1810, asked Apushamatahaubi (pro. Arpush-ah-ma-tar-hah ub-ih), the most renowned chief of the Choctaws since their acquaintance with the white race, concerning the origin of his people, who replied: “A hattaktikba bushi-aioktulla hosh hopaki fohna moma ka minti” (pro. as Arn (my) hut-tark-tik-ba (forefather) hush-ih-ai-o-kah-tullah (the west) mo-mah (all) meen-tih (came) ho-par-kih (far) feh-nah (very)). And the same response was always given by all the ancient Choctaws living east of the Mississippi River, when the inquiry was made of them, whence their origin? By this they only referred to the country in which their forefathers long dwelt prior to their exodus to the east of the Mississippi river; as they also had a tradition that their forefathers come from a country beyond the “Big Waters” far to the northwest, crossing a large body of water in their canoes of a day s travel, thence down the Pacific coast to Mexico, the same as the Cherokees. In conversation with an aged Choctaw in the year 1884, (Robert Nail, along known friend,) upon the subject, he confirmed the tradition by stating that his people first came from Asia by way of the Behring Straits. He was, a man well versed in geography, being taught in boy hood by the missionaries prior to their removal from their eastern homes to their present abode north of Texas. The Muscogees, Shawnees, Delawares, Chippeways, and other tribes also have the same traditions pointing beyond Behring Straits to Asia as the land whence their forefathers came in ages past. Some of their traditions state, that they crossed the Strait on the ice the Chippeways for one; but the most, according to their traditions, crossed in their canoes. But that the ancestors of the North American Indians came at some unknown period in the remote past, from Asia to the North American continent, there can be no doubt. Their traditions, pointing back to ancient historical events, and many other things, though vague by the mists of ages past, yet interestingly strange from proximity to known historical truths. Noah, who lived 350 years after the flood, which occurred 1656 years from the creation of man, or 2348 B. C., divided the earth, according to general opinion, among his three sons. To Shem, he gave Asia; to Ham, Africa, and to Japheth, Europe, whose posterity are described occupying chiefly the western and northern regions (Gen. this well accords with the etymology of the name, which signifies widely spreading; and how wonderfully did Providence en large the boundaries of Japheth! His posterity diverged eastward and westward, from the original settlement in Armenia, through the whole extent of Asia north of the great range of Taurus distinguished by the general names of Tartary and Siberia as far as the Eastern Ocean: and, in process of time, by an easy passage across Behring Straits, over the en tire continent; and they spread in the opposite direction, throughout the whole of Europe, to the Atlantic Ocean; thus literally encompassing the earth, within the precincts of the northern temperate zone; while the war-like genius of this hardy hunter race frequently led them into the settlements, and to dwell in the “tents of Shem,” whose pastoral occupations rendered them more inactive, peaceable, and unwarlike.

There is much proof in favor of the belief that the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees and Muscogees, were living in Mexico when Cortez overthrew the Aztec dynasty.

But heavily has the hand of time, with its weight of years, rested upon the descendants of the people over whom, the two brothers, Chahtah and Chikasah swayed the sceptre of authority as chiefs, counselors and warriors, in the unknown ages of the past; and from the time of their traditional migration to that of their first acquaintance with the White Race, what their vicissitudes and mutations; what hat their joys and sorrows; what their hopes and fears; what their lights and shadows, during the long night of historical darkness, was known to them alone, and with them has long been buried in the oblivion of the hidden past, together with that of their entire race. Truly, their legends, their songs and romances, celebrating their exploits, would form, if but known, a literature of themselves; and though their ghosts still ride through the forests and distant echoes of them are still heard in vague tradition, yet they afford but a slender basis for a history for this broad fabric of romance, while around them still cluster all those wonderful series of myths which have spread over the land and assumed so many shapes. But what a volume of surpassing romance; of fondest hopes, of blighted aspirations; of glorious enthusiasms; of dark despair, and of touching pathos, would their full history make? They owned this vast continent, and had possessed it for ages exceeding in time the ability of the human mind to conceive; and they too speak of the long in fancy of the human race; of its slow advance in culture; of its triumphs over obstacles, and of the final appearance of that better day, when ideas of truth, justice, and that advanced stage of enlightenment had been reached wherein we speak of man as civilized. They were of a cheerful and joyous disposition, and of a kindly nature, the croaking- and snarling of ignorance and prejudice to the contrary not withstanding. Their civilization has been grossly under estimated. We have unjustly contemplated them to a ridiculous extent through our own selfish and narrow contracted spectacles, and have so loudly talked of and expatiated upon their forests, that we have forgotten their cornfields; and repeatedly spoken of their skill as hunters, until we have overlooked their labors as herdsmen; while, at the same time, it has been customary every where to look down upon them with emotions of contempt and to decry their habits and customs. I do not deny the existence of blemishes in many of their characteristics; nor deny that superstitions and erroneous opinions were prevalent, at which we have assumed to be greatly horrified; yet, do condemn the modern writers for their want of judgment on this point, and their unreason able severity in their condemnation of the Indians, in whom they profess to have discovered so many defects without a redeeming virtue; and their disregard of the truth, that, to him alone who is without sin is given the right to cast the first stone. Therefore, how could it be otherwise than that, concerning the dealings of the White Race with the Red, there is a sad, fearful and revolting, story to be told; while losing ourselves in the wild revelry of imagination, we dream of the time when our civilization and Quixotic ideas of human liberty shall embrace the entire world in its folds.

Hernando De Soto

The Choctaws were first made known to the European world by the journalists of that memorable adventurer. Hernando De Soto, who invaded their territory October, 1540, and introduced the civilized (so-called) race of man kind to the Choctaws in the following manner: A manly young Indian of splendid, proportions, and with a face extremely attractive and interesting, visited De Soto after he had left Tallase. He was the son of Tuscaloosa (corruption of the Choctaw words Tushka, warrior, Lusa, black), a renowned chief whose territories extended to the distant Tombigbee in the west. (Tombigbee is a corruption of the Choctaw words Itombi, box, ikbi, maker), a name given to a white man, it is said, who, at an early day, settled on the banks of the river and made boxes for the Choctaws, in which were placed the bones of their dead, which will be particularly noticed elsewhere.

The young warrior bore an invitation from his father to De Soto to visit him at his capital. The next day De Soto, advancing to with in six miles of where the great chief awaited him, made a halt, and sent Louis de Mascosso with fifteen horsemen to inform Tush ka Lusa of his near approach. Mascosso and his troopers soon appeared before Tush ka Lusa, who was seated upon an eminence commanding a broad and delightful view. He was a man of powerful stature, muscular limbs, yet of admirable proportions, with a countenance grave and severe, yet handsome. When De Soto arrived Tush ka Lusa arose and advanced to meet him with a proud and haughty air, and said: Great Chief; I receive you as a brother, and welcome you to my country. I am ready to comply with your requests.” After a few preliminaries, in company with Tush ka Lusa and his followers, De Soto took up his line of inarch for Mobila the capital of the mighty chief. (Mobila is a corruption of the two Choctaw words moma, all, binah, a lodge, literally a lodge or encampment for all.)

On the third day of their march from Piache, (a corruption of the Choctaw word Pi-a-chih, to care for us), they passed through many populous towns, well stored with corn, beans and other provisions. On the fourth morning, De Soto, with a, hundred cavalry and as many infantry, made a forced march with Tush ka Lusa in the direction of Mobila, leaving Mascosso to bring up the rear. At eight o’clock the same morning, October 18th, 1540, De Soto and Tush ka Lusa reached the capital. It stood by the side of a large river, upon a beautiful plain, and consisted of eighty hand some houses, each large enough to contain a thousand men, and all fronting a large public square. Dodge says in his book styled “Our Wild Indians” that “The aboriginal in habitants of the North American continent, have never at any time exceeded half a million souls;” yet according to De Soto’s journalists who were with him in his memorable raid, Mobila alone, “consisted of eighty handsome houses, each large enough to contain a thousand men;” and if each house contained Dodge’s “several families consisting of men, with two or three wives, and children of all ages and sexes, occupy for all purposes one single lodge of 12 or 15 feet in diameter what must have been the number of inhabitants in Mobila with “80 handsome houses, each large enough to contain a thousand men” with two, three, or more wives, and children occupying “for all purposes,” a space only “12 or 15 feet, in diameter”? The reader can make the calculation at his own leisure; though it seems Mobila alone contained over half the number of souls that Dodge allows for the entire continent, “at one time.”

A high wall surrounded the town, made of immense trunks of trees set close together and deep in the ground, and made strong with heavy cross-timbers interwoven with large vines. A thick mud plaster, resembling handsome masonry, concealed the woodwork, while portholes were abundant, together with towers, capable of holding eight men each, at the distance of fifteen paces apart. There were two gates leading into the town, one on the east, and the other on the west. De Soto and Tush ka Lusa were escorted into the great public square with songs and chants, and the dancing of beautiful Indian girls. They alighted from their horses, and were given seats under a canopy of state. Having remained seated for a short time, Tush ka Lusa now requested that he should no longer be held as a hostage; to which De Soto giving no heed, the indignant chief at once arose and walked off with an independent attitude to where a group of his warriors stood. De Soto had scarcely recovered from his surprise at the independent con duct of Tush ka Lusa, when Jean Ortez followed the chief and stated that breakfast awaited him at De Soto’s table; but he refused to return, and added, “If your chief knows what is best for him, he will immediately take his troops out of my territory.” At this juncture De Soto secretly sent word to his men to be prepared for an attack. Then, hoping to prevent an attack until he could again get in possession of the chief, De Soto advanced toward him with assumed smiles and words of friendship, but Tush ka Lusa scornfully turned his back upon him, and was soon hidden among the multitude of now highly excited warriors. Just then a warrior rushed out of a house, denouncing the Spaniards as robbers and murderers and declared that they should no longer impose on their chief, by holding him as a prisoner. His words so enraged Baltaserde Gallagas that he cut the warrior in twain with one sweep of his broad sword. At the sight of their slain warrior, the Choctaws, with their defiant war-whoop, at once rushed upon De Soto and his men. De Soto, placing himself at the head of his men, fighting and retreating, slowly made his way out of the town into the plain; and continued to retreat until he had reached a considerable distance upon the plain. In the mean time the troopers rushed to secure their horses, which had been tied outside of the walls. The Choctaws at once knocked the chains from the hands and feet of the Indian prisoners whom De Soto had brought with him, giving them weapons bade them help destroy the perfidious strangers. In the first rush the Choctaws killed five of the Spaniards, who had been left outside of the walls, and were loudly exulting over their seeming good fortune in dense masses before the gate. At that moment, De Soto with his cavalry, closely followed by his infantry, made a fearful charge upon the disordered mass of the Choctaws, who were still on the out side of the enclosures, and with a terrible slaughter drove them back into the town. Immediately the Choctaws rushed to the portholes and towers, and hurled clouds of arrows and spears upon the Spaniards, and again drove them from the walls. Seeing the Spaniards again retreat, again the Choctaws rushed through the gate and fearlessly attacked the Spaniards fighting them hand to hand and face to face. Three long hours did the battle rage, the Spaniards now re treating, then the Choctaws. Like a spectre De Soto seemed everywhere hewing down on the right and left, as if his arm could never tire. That sword, which had been so often stained with the blood of the South American, was now red with that of the North American, a still braver race. Above the mighty din was heard the voice of Tush ka Lusa encouraging his warriors; his tomahawk, wielded by his muscular arm, ascended and descended in rapid strokes, like a meteor across a starry sky. But could the feeble bow and arrow and the tomahawk avail against the huge lance and broadsword? What the unprotected body of the Choctaw warrior against the steel clad body of the Spanish soldier? At length the Choctaws were forced to make a permanent retreat within the enclosure of their town, closing the gates after them; and at the same time the Spaniards made a desperate charge against the gates and walls, but were met with showers of arrows and other missiles. But the infantry, protected by their bucklers, soon hewed the gates to pieces with their battle-axes, and rushed into the town, while the cavalry remained on the outside to cut to pieces all who might attempt to escape. Then began carnage too awful to relate. The Choctaws fought in the streets, in the square, from the house top, and walls; and though the ground was covered with their dead and dying relatives and friends, still no living one entreated for quarter.

Hotter and hotter, and bloodier waxed the desperate conflict. Often the Choctaws drove the Spaniards out of the town, but to see them return again with demoniac fury. To such a crisis had the battle now arrived, that there could be no idle spectators; and now were seen women and girls contending side by side with the husbands, fathers and brothers and fearlessly sharing in the dangers and in the indiscriminate slaughter. At length the houses were sets on fire, and the wind blew the smoke and flames in all directions adding horror to the scene. The flames ascended in mighty volumes. The din of strife began to grow fainter. The sun went down, seemingly to rejoice in withdrawing from the sickening scene. Then all was hushed. Mobila was in ruins, and her people slain. For nine long hours had the battle raged. Eighty-two Spaniards were killed and forty-five horses. But alas, the poor Choctaws, who participated in the fight were nearly all slain.

Garcellasso asserts that eleven thousand were slain; while the “Portuguese Gentleman” sets the number at twenty five hundred within the town alone. Assuming a point between the two, it is reasonable to conclude that six thousand were killed in and outside of the town. Tushka Lusa perished with his people. After the destruction of Mobila, De Soto remained a few days upon the plains around the smoking town; sending out foraging parties, who found the neighboring villages well stocked with provisions. In all these foraging excursions, females of great beauty were captured, and added to those taken at the close of the battle. On Sunday the 18th of November 1540, this monster and his fiendish crew took their departure from the smoldering ruins of Mobila, and its brave but murdered inhabitants; and with the poor Mobila girls, at whose misfortunes humanity weeps, resumed their westward march.

Thus the Europeans introduced themselves to the Native Americans nearly four centuries ago as a race of civilized and Christian people, but proving themselves to be a race of fiends utterly void of every principle of virtue known to man. And thus the Native Americans introduced themselves to the Europeans as a race unknown to civilization and Christianity, yet proving themselves possessed of many virtues that adorn man, together with a spirit of as true and noble patriotism, martyrs upon the altar of liberty, that has never been surpassed.

I challenge history to show a nation whose people ever displayed a more heroic courage in defense of their country and homes than did Tushka Lusa and his brave people in defending their town Mama-binah. They exposed their naked breasts to the keen lances and swords of those iron-clad Spaniards with but stone and bone-tipped spears and the feeble bow and arrow, which were but as toy pistols against the deadly Winchester rifle of the present day; and heroically stood face to face with their terrible foes with their frail weapons and disputed every inch of ground, and yielded only when none was left to fight. That they should have killed eighty-two of the Spaniards with their feeble weapons is truly astonishing, proving conclusively that had they been on equal footing with the Spaniards, not a Spaniard would have survived to tell the tale of their complete destruction.


That the Mobilians, as they have been called by the early writers, were a clan of the ancient Choctaws there can be no doubt whatever The early French colonists established in the south under Bienville called the Choctaws, Mobilians and Pafalaahs (corruption of the Choctaw words pin, our, Okla, people, falaiah, tall), and also called the Chickasaws Mobilians; they also state that the Choctaws, Pifalaiahs or more properly, Hottak falaiahs (long or tall men) and Mobilians spoke the same language. The present city of Mobile in Alabama was named after the Mobila “Iksa,” or clan of Choctaws by Bienville at the time he laid its foundation. Moma binah, or Mobinah (from which Mobile is derived) and Pifalaiah are pure Choctaw words. According to the ancient traditions of the Choctaws, and to which the aged Choctaws now living still affirm, their people were, in the days of the long past, divided into two great Ikeas; one was Hattak i ho-lihtah (Pro. har-tark, men, i, their holihta, ho-lik-tah, fenced; i, e. Their men fortify). The other, Kashapa okla {as Ka-shar-pau-oke-lah): Part people, i. e. A divided people. The two original clans, subsequently divided into six clans, were named as follows: Haiyip tuk lo hosh, (The two lakes.) Hattak falaiah (as, Har-tark fa-lai-yah hosh. The long man or men. Okla hunnali hosh (as Oke-lah hun-nar-lih hosh. People six the Kusha (Koon-shah) being broken. Apela, (A help.) Chik a sah ha, (A Chckasaw.)

In 1721, a remnant of the Mobilians were living at the junction of the, Alabama and Tombigbee rivers, but finally united with other clans of the Choctaws, their own people, and thus became extinct as an iksa. The laws of the great Iksas or families, Hattak i holahta and kash ap a okla, for bade the marriage of: any person, either male or female, belonging to the same clan; which, as the laws of the Medes and Persians, were unchangeable; and to this day, the same laws relating to marriage are strictly observed.

From the destruction of Mobila by De Soto, a long, starless night of nearly two centuries throws its impenetrable veil over the Choctaws shrouding their history in the oblivion of the past. But that they, with other southern tribes, were a numerous and also an agricultural people as far back as the fifteenth century there is no doubt; though agricultural to a small extent in comparison with the whites; yet to a sufficient degree to satisfy the demands of any people to who avarice was an entire stranger, and who adhered to the maxim “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

When De Soto passed through Georgia, his route was lined with towns, villages and hamlets, and many sown fields, which reached from one to the other. The numerous log-pens were full of corn, while acres of that which was growing bent to the warm rays of the sun and rustled in the breeze. “On the 18th of September, 1540, De Soto reached the town of Tallase, a corruption of the Choctaw words Tuli, rock, and aisha, abound, i. e. the place of rocks.”

It stood upon a point of land almost surrounded by a main river. Extensive fields of corn reached up and down the banks. On the opposite side were other towns, skirted with rich fields laden with heavy ears of corn. On the third day the of march from Piache, they passed through many populous towns, well stored with corn, beans, pumpkins, and other provisions.”

But the six great southern tribes, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Muscogees, Seminoles and Natchez possessed too grand a country not to attract the eyes of the fortune hunters of all Europe, and excite their cupidity to the highest degree; therefore, the French in Louisiana, the Spaniards in Florida, and the English in Virginia and the Carolinas, early sought to establish a foothold in the territories of those warlike and independent tribes by securing, each for himself, their trade, with a view of ultimately conquering them and thus getting possession of their territories and country. As early as 1670 the English traders and emissaries had also found their way to the Choctaws, Chickasaws and Muscogees; and but few years had passed before their designs, together with those of the French and Spaniards, were plainly manifested.

By each exciting the Indians and influencing them to drive the others from their territories, each hoping thus to ultimately secure these regions for their own country and their personal interests. As the French had artfully gained and held the friendship and confidence of the Choctaws, so had the English secured and held that of the Chickasaws; hence those two brave, and then powerful tribes, were induced to make frequent wars upon each other, and thus each foolishly but ignorantly furthering the designs of their mutual foes against themselves, the Choctaws weakening and destroying the Chickasaws for the benefit of the French, alone, and the Chickasaws for the benefit alone of the English; neither caring a fig for either the Choctaw or Chickasaws, only so far as prosecuting their designs the one against the other, each with the hope of driving the other out of the country, and then, being enabled easily to subjugate the Indians by their weakened condition, they would soon secure their country; therefore, the more Indians killed, no matter by whom or by what means, the better. Thus were the grasping hands of the two unscrupulous rivals manifested as long as they possessed any power or authority upon the North American continent now forming the United States?


In 1696, Bienville convened the chiefs of the Choctaws and Chickasaws in council, that he might conciliate their good will by presents; and, with a view of impressing them with his power and greatness by an imposing display, he also called together all the colonists within his reach; but his effort to impress the Choctaws and Chickasaws with an idea of his greatness proved more humiliating than flattering to the pride of Bienville, as they manifested to him their utter contempt of such a farcical evidence of power and greatness, by propounding a question to him, through one of their chiefs, which was a humiliating proof of the low estimation in which they held him as well as the entire French people; it was, “If his people at home were as numerous as those who had settled in their country”? In reply, Bienville, who had learned to speak their language to some extent, attempted to describe to them by various comparisons the great numbers and power of the French. But still the chiefs proved not only to be doubting Thomas’s, but wholly established in the belief that all he had said was false, by finally propounding the following questions: “If your countrymen are as thick, as you say, on their native soil as the leaves on the trees of our forests, why have they not sent more of their warriors here to avenge the death of those whom we have slain in battle? When they have the power to avenge their death and then fail do so, is an evidence of great cowardice or a mean spirit. And why is it that the places of the strong and brave soldiers that first came with you, but now dead, are filled by so many little, weak and bad looking men, and even boys? If your nation is so great and your people so numerous, they would not thus act, and we believe that our white brother talks with a forked tongue.” Thus was Bienville fully convinced that the Choctaws and Chickasaws did not tremble through fear of his boasted power; and that, they also well knew that he only had about, fifty soldiers at his command, and that his attempted display of power had but convinced them of his weakness. And had the Choctaws and Chickasaws been so disposed, they could, with a little handful of their warriors, have wiped out the French colony, Bienville, soldiers and all.

In 1702, Bienville, then commander of the French at Mobile, secretly sent out a small party to the Choctaws and Chickasaw to solicit their friendship, and thus secures their trade. A few chiefs returned with the party to Mobile, whom Bienville welcomed and entertained with affected friendship and assumed hospitality, bestowing” presents and soliciting” their friendship; yet, “In January, 1704,” says Barnard de la Harpe, pp. 35, 83, “Bienville induced several war parties of the Choctaws to invade the country of the Indian allies of the English, and having” taken several scalps, they brought them to Bienville, who rewarded them satisfactorily;” thus involving” the Choctaws, whose interests he professed to have so much at heart, in destructive warfare so greatly detrimental to their national interests; and proving the shallowness of his professed friendship for the Indians and the perfidy of his nature, in a letter to the French minister, October 12. 1708, in which he suggested the propriety of the French colonists in North America, being” allowed the privilege offending Indians to the West India Islands to be exchanged as slaves for Negroes, and asserting that “those Islanders would give two Negroes for three Indians.”

There was a tradition of the Choctaws related to the missionaries over seventy-five years ago by the old warriors of the Choctaws of that day, who for many years before had retired from the hardships of the war-path, which stated that a two years war broke out between their nation and the Chickasaws, over a hundred years before (about 1705) the advent of the missionaries among them, resulting in the loss of many warriors on both sides and finally ending in the defeat of the Chickasaws; whereupon peace was restored to the mutual gratification of both nations wearied with the long fratricidal strife. This war had its origin as the tradition affirms, in an unfortunate affair that occurred in Mobile, (then a little French trading post) between a party of Chickasaw warriors (about seventy) who had gone there for the purpose of trade, and a small band of Choctaws who had preceded them on the same business. While three together, a quarrel arose between some of the different warriors resulting in a general fight, in which, though several Chickasaws were killed and wounded, the entire little band of Choctaws was slain as was supposed; but unfortunately for the Chickasaws a Choctaw happening to be in another part of the town at the time of the difficulty, escaped; and learning at once of the killing of his comrades, fled for home, where arriving safely he informed his people of the bloody tragedy at Mobile. Without delay the Choctaws adopted measures of revenge. Knowing that the company of Chickasaws would have to return home through their country, they laid their plans accordingly. The Chickasaws, not without fears, however, lest the Choctaws might have heard of the unfortunate affair, secured an escort from Bienville of twenty-five Canadians under the command of Boisbriant. As they approached a village, the Choctaws sent a small company to invite and escort them to a council pretenvedly to be in session; which the Chickasaws, feeling safe under their escort, accepted. They were escorted to the sham council, and were given, as was customary on such occasions, the inside circles, all seated on the ground; while the Choctaws formed a circle completely hemming them in. A Choctaw chief then arose and advanced with great solemnity and dignity to the speakers place in the centre, with a tomahawk concealed under his dress, which, when he drew from its place of concealment, was the signal for the work of death to begin. The speaker went on for a few minutes in a strain of wild eloquence, but saying nothing that would awaken the least suspicion in the minds of his still unsuspecting guests; when suddenly he snatched the fatal tomahawk from its concealment and in an instant hundreds of tomahawks, heretofore concealed, gleamed a moment in the air and then descended upon the heads of the doomed Chickasaws, and, ere they had time for a second thought, all were slain. The Choctaws knowing that the Chickasaws would hear of the destruction of their brethren and would retaliate upon them, rushed at once into their country and destroyed several villages ere the Chickasaws could recover from their surprise. But the brave and dauntless Chickasaws, ever equal to any and all emergencies, soon rallied from their discomfiture, and presented a bold and defiant front. Then commenced a two years war of daring deeds and fatal results between those two nations of fearless warriors, known and to be known to them alone. The creek, dividing that portion of their territories that lay contiguous t6 the place where the band of Chickasaws were slain on their return from Mobile, now in the northern part of Oktibbiha County, Mississippi, and known as Line Creek, was named by the Choctaws, after the two years war, Nusih (sleep or slept, Chiah, yau-yau slept, that is, you were taken by surprise) in memorial of those two tragical events, the surprise and destruction of the Chickasaw warriors, and the disquiet and discomfiture of their nation at the unexpected attack upon them by the Choctaws, Nusih Chia has been erroneously interpreted by some as meaning “Where acorns abound.” Nosi aiasha means where acorns abound;

The killing” of this little band of Chickasaws under the circumstances, together with that of being under the escort and protection of the French, caused the Chickasaws to believe it was done through the connivance of the French, and ever afterwards they were the most inveterate and uncompromising enemies of the French, among all the Indian tribes, north and south, except the Iroquois, and in which, as a matter of course, they were encouraged by the Carolina traders from the English settlements.

That the southern Indians were friendly to their foreign intruders and disposed to live in peace with them, and were not such a bloodthirsty people as they have been represented, is clearly demonstrated by the fact that, in 1810 there was such a scarcity of provisions, that Bienville had to scatter his men among the Indians in order to obtain food for them, and so informed his government; a plan to which he had been driven before; and had not the Indians preferred peace to war with the whites, they surely would have embraced such favorable opportunities to destroy the unwelcome invader of their country.

In 1711, through the machinations of the English, who were ever ready to embrace every opportunity to enhance their own interests, though at the destruction of the Indians, the Choctaws and Chickasaws, were again involved in a fratricidal war, at the beginning of which, there was a little company of thirty Chickasaw warriors instead of Choctaws, in Mobile, and fearing to return home through the Choctaw nation, they too earnestly requested Bienville to send a company of his soldiers with them for protection. Bienville, seeing so favorable opportunity of winning the friendship of the Chickasaws, and hoping thus to seduce them from their alliance to the English to that of the French, cheerfully complied to their request by sending his brother, Chateaugne, to escort them through the Choctaw nation, which he safely did. But the cause and result of this war have long since passed with its participants into the silence of the unknown past.

Charles Gayarre (Vol. 1, p. 91) says: “In 1714 twelve English men, with a large number of Muskogees, came among the Choctaws, and were kindly received by all the towns except two, who fortified themselves and, while besieged by the Muskogees, one night made their escape to Mobile.” From the above, it appears that the visit of the twelve Englishmen to the Choctaws was attributed to an invitation extended to them by a Choctaw chief; since in. the following year, July 1715, Bienville sent messengers to the Choctaws, demanding the head of Outoct-chito”(a corruption of his true name, Oktak (oketark) (Prairie) Chitoh (Big or Big Prairie)) “who had persuaded the English traders to visit- their nation, and had thereby caused to be driven off the inhabitants of two Choctaw towns, who were still in Mobile. The messengers returned to Mobile with the head of the unfortunate Oktark Chitoh, which had been stricken off by the Choctaw chiefs, who now were afraid of Bienville.”

How different the Choctaws then from what they were in 1696, when they closed their interrogatories to him with” the bold assertion, “We believe our white brother talks with a forked tongue.” Alas! How rapidly had they fallen from a state of perfect independence to that of servile dependence within the period of three quarters of a century; the dupes at first, only to become the abject slaves of a heartless tyrant. Thus did the rivalry of France and England for the possession of the North American continent, encouraged and emboldened by their national jealousy and innate hatred long cherished each for the other, involve the deceived Indians in continued war-fare with each other, as their respective traders and emissaries throughout the length and breadth of the Indian territories to contend for the patronage of the Indians, and to drive each the other from those positions where they had established themselves, ultimately to end in ruin and destruction of the Indians. But the Choctaws, though reduced to such servile extremities and seemingly wholly under the arbitrary power of the French, were still dreaded by many of the neighboring tribes, and even by the English themselves.. As an illustration, in 1727, the English, being at war with the Spaniards, used every means in their power to influence the Indians to make war upon them, and by their instigation a tribe, then known as Talapauches, had laid siege to Pensacola (corrupted from the Chahtah words Puska, bread, and Okla, people, Bread People, or people having bread); but Pirier, who had succeeded Bienville in the governorship at New Orleans, sent word to the Talapauches (corrupted from the Choctaw words Tuli, rock or iron, and Poo-shi, dust; and no doubt an ancient off-shoot of the Choc taws) to return to their homes without delay, or he would put the Choctaws after them; and they at once sought their homes with much more alacrity than when they left them. Such was the dread of the Choctaws and such the terror inspired by their name alone.

In 1733, the Choctaws, as allies to the French, engaged in a war with the Natchez, of which I will more particularly notice in the history of that tribe.


On January 13th, 1733, the truly Christian philanthropist, Oglethorpe, with a hundred and twenty emigrants landed at Charleston, South Carolina.  Afterwards sailing down the coast, he anchored his vessel, “Anne,” for a few days at Beaufort, while he, with a small company ascended the Savannah river to a high bluff on which the present city of Savannah, Georgia now stands, which he selected as the place for the establishment of his little colony. And there, February 1st, 1733, he laid the foundation of the oldest English town south of the Savannah River. In a few days the great chief of the Yemacaws, Tam-o-chi-chi, called upon the strangers who had thus unceremoniously taken possession of that portion of his peoples territories; and then and there two congenial spirits, the one of European, the other of an American, first met and formed a friendship each for the other that was never broken; and at the departure of the venerable old man, he presented to Oglethorpe a magnificent buffalo robe upon the inside of which was painted with elaborate Indian skill, the head and feathers of an eagle, and said: “Accept this little token of the good will of myself and people. See, the eagle is bold and fearless, yet his feathers are soft; as the eagle, so are my people bold and fearless in war; yet as his feathers, so are they soft and beautiful in friend ship. The buffalo is strong, and his hair is warm; as the buffalo, so are my people strong in war; yet, as his robe, the} are warm in love. I and my people would be your friends, beautiful in our friendship and warm in our love. Let this robe be the emblem of friendship and love between me and you, and mine and thine.” Oglethorpe accepted the present with its tokens; nor was the purity of those emblems ever tarnished by a dishonorable act of Tomochichi and his tribe or Oglethorpe and his colony, the one toward the other.

It is evident that the Yamacaws were an ancient off shoot of the Choctaws from the similarity of their language, habits and customs. The very name of the tribe is plainly a corruption of the Choctaw words yummakma (that one also) Ka-sha-pah, (to be a part).

Also the name of their chief, Tamochichi, is also a corruption by the whites of the Choctaw words, Tum-o-a-chi (wandering away, from the Choctaws in the prehistoric of the past).

How well did the North American Indians read and comprehend the symbolic language of Nature in all its different phases! What white man, whether illiterate or boasting the comprehensive genius of a United States Colonel (Dodge) who was enabled to discover one race of Gods created intelligences (the North American Indians) to be “absolutely without conscience,” could have drawn such grand sentiments from a buffalo robe and a bunch of eagle feathers, since “the money that was in them” would have absorbed every other consideration of his soul! Alas! that “The love of money” should so engross every noble faculty of our souls, that we could not, or would not, comprehend those beautiful symbols found in nature, on earth and in heaven, everywhere, and would not, or did not, heed them, as they call with their ten thousand voices to the discharge of our duty to the Indians and plead for the perfection of the character of both the red and white race, as illustrated in those grand sentiments of the no less grand old chief of the Yummak ma kashapas. “I and my people would be your friends, beautiful in our friendship and warm in our love!” How sad! How humiliating the reflection that, during four centuries, the North American Indians have found no responsive sentiment in the White Race, except in Penn and his followers, Oglethorpe and his colony, the self-sacrificing missionaries and a few noble philanthropists, though the same earnest and sincere plea was heard from the mouths of every tribe, when first visited by the whites, echoing from the Atlantics stormy shores in the east to the Pacific’s rock-bound coast in the distant west, “I and my people would be your friends, beautiful in our friendship “and warm in our love;” but only to fall upon the ear of our avarice as a tinkling cymbal, since deaf to all else but the gratification of our love of greedy gain, (that stranger to truth and justice, and untouched by any emotion of humanity) which demanded the extermination of the Indians, as the only guarantee to sure possession of their country and homes ; and then called for obloquy to cover their memory as an honorable justification for that extermination. And though Nature, every where in all its phases from the finite to the infinite, and the infinitesimal to the grand aggregate of knowledge, is full of instruction, by which she would teach us our duty to God, our fellowmen, and to ourselves, yet we heeded not the symbolic whispers of her low, sweet plaintive voice pleading in behalf of the Red Race; and in so doing, forfeited a privilege that heavens angels would have embraced with eagerness and joy, for the gratification of our frenzied avarice.

On the 29th of May following, Oglethorpe held a council with the Muscogees at Savannah; for whom and all their allies, Long Chief of the Ocona clan of Muscogees spoke and welcomed Oglethorpe and his title colony to their country in the name of peace and friendship by presenting to him large bundles of the skins and furs of wild animals in which their territories then abounded. And soon so great and wide extended became the fame of Oglethorpe and his followers as true and sincere friends to the Indian race, that the chiefs of the Cherokees, from their distant mountain homes, came to see and confer with Oglethorpe and his colony, to them a prodigy, a white man and great chief and yet a true man to his word pledged to an Indian. Naught like this had been known since the days of Penn and his Quakers. Was the bright morn of a glorious future about to dawn upon their race dispelling the long night of darkness that had for ages obscured their moral and intellectual vision? Was the White Race truly to prove their benefactor, once so brightly shadowed forth in the precepts and practice of the noble Penn and his colony? Indeed it appeared as the second dawn of hope; but alas, only to flicker a moment as the feeble and expiring taper, and then to go out to be seen no more, an illusive dream even as the first had proven to be.

In August 1739, a great council was convened at Coweta in the Muscogee Nation by Oglethorpe, the Indians undeviating friend, in which the Muscogees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Yummakmakashapahs and many others were represented, and in peace and harmony equally participated. The faithful and honest old Tumoachi stood among the most conspicuous of the various and distinguished chiefs. Coweta was, at that time, one of the largest towns of the Muscogee Nation, and many days travel from Savannah through the deep solitudes of a vast wilderness, untrodden by the foot of a white man since the days of De Sotos march, two hundred years before; but through which Oglethorpe and his little band of followers fearlessly and safely traveled, to fulfill his engagement with the unknown Indians there in council to assemble. When it was learned that he had arrived near Coweta, a deputation of chiefs, representatives of the respective tribes assembled, met and escorted him to the town with unfeigned manifestations of pride and joy. The next day the council convened, and remained in session several days, during which stipulations of peace and friendship were ratified, and free trade and friendly intercourse to all established, to the mutual satisfaction and delight of both red and white; after which the Grand Finale was performed, the solemn ceremony of drinking the “Black drink, and smoking the Pipe of Peace; in all of which the noble Oglethorpe participated, to the great delight and satisfaction of the admiring Indians; then, after the closing ceremony of bidding adieu, all to their respective homes returned delighted with the happy results of the council. Oglethorpe was ever afterwards held in grateful remembrance, and loved and honored by all the southern Indians; and was known everywhere as the Indians friend, and everywhere regarded and received as such with implicit confidence. How so? Because he was never known to wrong them in a single instance; therefore their admiration and confidence for and in him had no limits.

The morn of the southern Indians Christian era, as professed by the Protestant world, dawned, according to ancient Choctaw tradition, at the advent of Oglethorpe to this, continent and the establishment of his colony on the banks of the Savannah; and was heralded by the two brothers who so justly rank among earth s illustrious modern great as preachers of the Gospel of the Son of God; viz: John and Charles Wesley, who came with Oglethorpe in 1733, and ac companied him to his councils with the Indians, and there preached the glad tidings of “Peace and Good will toward men.” Shortly after, John Wesley influenced the renowned preacher, George Whitfield, to also come to America. In a letter to Whitfield, John Wesley thus wrote: “Do you ask what you shall have? Food to eat, raiment to wear, a house in which to lay your head such as your Lord had not, and a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” Upon the reception of which, Whitfield said his heart echoed to the call, and to which he at once responded; and upon the return of the Wesleys to England, he says in his journal. “I must labor most heartily since I came after such worthy predecessors.”

In 1734, Tumoahchi, with his wife and son and seven Muscogee warriors accompanied Oglethorpe to George II and before whom Tumoahchi made a speech in that shrewd and captivating manner so characteristic of the North American Indians; which so pleased the king that he caused the American chief and warriors to be loaded with presents and even sent him and his wife and son in one of the royal carriages to Grovesend when he embarked to return to his native forest home. Shortly after his return home, the noble old chief was taken sick, and was at once visited by Whitfield, who says: “He now lay on a Blanket, thin and meager, little else but skin and bones. Senanki, his wife, sat by fanning him with Indian feathers. There was no one who could talk English, so I could only shake hands with him and leave him.” In a few days after, Whitfield returned to the couch of the dying chief and was rejoiced to find Tooanoowe, a nephew of Tumoahchi present, who could speak English. “I requested him,” says Whitfield, “to ask his uncle whether he thought he should die? He answered I cannot tell. I then asked where he thought he would go after death? He replied, to heaven. But, alas, how can drunkard’s enter-there? I then exhorted Tooanoowe, who is a tall, proper youth, not to get drunk, telling him that he understood English, and therefore would be punished the more if he did not live better. I then asked him whether he believed in a heaven, yes, said he. I then asked whether he believed in a hell, and described it by pointing to the fire He replied, No. From whence we may easily gather how natural it is to all man-kind to believe there is a place of happiness, because they wish it to be so; and on the contrary, how averse they are to believe in a place of torment because they wish it not to be so.” But if the poor, unlettered, yet, generous and noble hearted Tumoahchi, who knew nothing of the sin of drunkenness, was unfit for heaven because “how can a drunkard enter there”? How unfit must be he who made him such, by making the whiskey, then taking it thousands of miles to the before temperate Indian and teaching him to drink it and how inconsistent with reason and common sense, and how insulting to the God of justice it must be, for us to call our selves Christians and the Indians savages! And if Tooanoo we “would be, punished the more if he did not live better,” since “he understood English” a little, what will be the fate of us whose native tongue in English, and who, with all our boasted attainments, led, influenced and taught them to adopt and practice, by precept and example, our “civilized” vices, but seldom instructed them in the virtues of the religion of the Bible! Does not the just and merciful Redeemer of the world of man-kind regard with much less approbation all external professions and appearances, than do thousands of his professed followers found among our own White Race? Did he not prefer the despised but charitable Samaritan to the uncharitable but professed orthodox priest? And does He not declare that those who gave food to the hungry, entertainment to the stranger, relief to the sick, and had charity (all of which are today, and ever have been, from their earliest known history, the noted characteristics of the North American Indians, though they never heard of the name of Jesus) shall in the last day be accepted? When those who boisterously shout Lord! Lord, valuing themselves upon, their professed faith, though sufficient to perform miracles, but have neglected good works shall be rejected. And though we have scarcely permitted the Indians, though starving and pleading for moral, intellectual and spiritual food, to pick up the crumbs that fell from our tables loaded with professed virtues, yet we have displayed a wonderful talent introducing them and manifest a strange desire that they should be falsely handed down to posterity as creatures not embraced in the fiat of him who said “Let us make man.”

Never did a North American Indian acknowledge that he recognized in the white man a master; nor was ever an emotion of inferiority to the white man experienced by an Indian. Nearly four centuries of unceasing effort by the White Race have utterly failed to make the Indian even feel, much less acknowledge, the white man as master.

In 1741, Bienville was superseded by Marquis de Vandreuil, to whom the Chickasaws sent a delegation to New Orleans to treat for peace. But Vandreuil refused to treat unless the Choctaws, allies of the French, were made parties to the treaty. The Chickasaws then made an effort to induce the Choctaws to form an alliance with them, supported by the English, against the French. But their design was discovered and thwarted by the secret intriguing of Vandreuil with Shulush Humma, (Red Shoe), then a noted Choctaw chief and shrewd diplomatist, and belonging to the clan called Okla Hunnali, (Six People and living in the present Jasper county, Mississippi, who had been favorably disposed toward the English for several years; and finally, in 1745, through personal interest alone it was thought, he went over to the English; and, at the same time, influencing a chief of the Mobelans (properly, Moma Binah, or Mobinah, a clan of the ancient Choctaws) to do the same with his warriors, and also some of the Muscogees, all of whom were, at that time, allies of the French. Shortly after, Vandreuil went from New Orleans to Mobile, and there met twelve hundred Choctaw warriors in council assembled, with whom he made renewed pledges of friendship bestowing upon them many presents of various kinds. But Shulush Humma stood “aloof and refused to participate in any of the proceedings; and to place beyond all doubt the position he occupied, he, a few weeks after, slew a French officer and two French traders, who unfortunate ventured into his village.

Thus the Choctaws were divided into two factions; at first peaceable, but which finally culminated into actual civil war through the instigations and machinations of both the French and English. And thus the Chickasaws and the Choctaws, blinded to their own national interests, were led to destroy each other, the one in behalf of the English and the other of the French; while both the English and French under an assumed friendship, used them as instruments alone to forward their own selfish designs and self interests, though to the destruction of both the misguided Choctaws and Chickasaws. Truly misfortune seems to have set her fatal seal upon the North American Indians, and doomed them to eternal misery while upon earth, in contending with the White Race for the right to live and enjoy life with the rest of mankind. Unhappy race! What heart so lost to every emotion of sympathy but weeps at the rehearsal of your woes!

In 1750, still infatuated with the belief that the White Race sought their interests, the Choctaws still remained in two hostile factions, thirty of their villages adhering to the French, and only two to the English, who, in a terrible battle which ensued, had one hundred and thirty of their warriors slain, and soon after, were again defeated by the French, with a party of Choctaws, and compelled to sue for peace, while the English stood aloof and left them to fight alone against fearful odds, though their accepted friends.

Three years after (1753), De Vandreuil was succeeded by Kerleree, who, in one of his dispatches, thus spoke of the Choctaws: “I am satisfied with them. They are true to their plighted faith. But we must be the same in our trans actions with them. They are men who reflect, and who have more logic and precision in their reasoning than is supposed.”

How true it is, that the above assertion of Kerleree, in regard to the Choctaws, may be as truthfully affirmed of the entire North American Indian race. And had that truth been admitted and acted upon by the White Race in all their dealings with the Red Race from first to last, the bloody charges that to-day stand recorded against us in the volume of truth would not have been written.

November 3rd, 1762, the King of France ceded to the King of Spain his entire possessions in North America known under the name of Louisiana; and at which time, a treaty of peace was signed between the Kings of Spain and France of the one party, and the King of England of the other, by which France was stripped of all her vast landed possessions to which she had so long and tenaciously laid claim at the useless and cruel destruction of thousands of helpless Indians who alone held the only true and just claim. When the Indians learned of this treaty of cession, and were told that they had been transferred from the jurisdiction of the French to that of the English, whom they feared and dreaded ten fold more than they did the French, they were greatly excited at the outrage, as they rightly termed it; and justly affirmed that the French possessed no authority over them by which to transfer them over to the English, as if they were but so many horses and cattle. Truly, as human beings, as a free and independent people and as reasoning men, how could they but feel the degradation of being thus bartered away as common chattels, and feel the deep humiliation that followed the loss of their national character and national rights. Yet, how little did they imagine the still deeper humiliation, degradation and woe that were in store for their race! How little did they believe that they were soon to be driven away by merciless intruders, from their ancient and justly owned possessions and the cherished graves of their Ancestors, to wander, they knew not where, in the vain search of a pity and commiseration, never to be found among their heartless oppressors and conquerors! Alas! How else but broken-hearted can the surviving little remnant be, when no words of consolation and hope ever greet their ears! How can they be industrious when that industry but brings them in contact with the authors of all their misfortunes and woes! How can they forget their wrongs and sow, unless it be to sow dragon s teeth with the hope that warriors might spring up to avenge their blood, that vengeance justly claimed! Did they not in all sincerity believe themselves wrongfully oppressed? Which they truly were; and in resisting that oppression, did they do more than any other Nation, under similar circumstances, has done and will ever do, that claims the right to exist as a Nation? They contended for that which they honestly believed to be their birthright, and it was, both by the laws of God and man. Could they have done otherwise, when they desired and sought our civilization and Christianity; but we would grant it to them only upon the terms of yielding up to us their country, their nationality, their freedom, their honor, their all that makes life worth living? Have we not treated them from first to last as inferior beings, and in our bigoted egotism scorned them and pushed them from us as creatures below our notice? Can we establish a just plea upon the broad foundation of truth to sustain the right to treat them as we have treated them, take their country from them by the strength of arbitrary power, and call it honor able purchase, and then annoy them by reiterated extortions and oppress them to extermination?

In November, 1763, the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Muscogees were, through their representative chiefs, assembled in council at Augusta, Georgia, with the representative Governors of Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. But two years later, August, 1765, the Choctaws and Muscogees inveterate enemies commenced a fearful and devastating war, which, according to their traditions, continued six years with unabated hostility; and during which many battles were fought and heavy losses sustained on both sides, yet each displaying the most undaunted and heroic bravery. But as they had no native historians, the cause, the progress, the successes, the defeats, as Dame Fortune alternately bestowed her favors upon the one and the other, will never be known; for the long period of those six years of bloody strife is wrapt in the silence of the unknown past, and all that now may be written is contained in “They lived; they fought.” Nor has much more been recorded concerning the vicissitudes of the North American Indian race, by their white historians; though “they killed, they robbed” is but a counterpart of the mutations of the White Race also.

Be it as it may, we find the Choctaw people, amid all their vicissitudes and misfortunes, occupying-, all along the line of their known history, a prominent place as one of the five great southern tribes, who have been justly regarded as being the most to be dreaded in war of all the North American Indians, for their skill and invincible bravery; and the most to be admired in peace for the purity of their friendship and fidelity to truth. And to compare the present enfeebled, oppressed”, broken-hearted, down trodden, the still surviving little remnant, to their heroic, free, independent, and justly proud ancestors of two centuries ago, or even less than one century ago, is to compare the feeble light of the crescent moon lingering upon the western horizon to the blaze of the sun in the zenith of its power and glory. But what has wrought the fearful change? Who hurled them from their once high and happy state down to this low and wretched state of humiliation and slavery? Truth points its unerring finger to these United States, and says as he to Israel’s ancient king, “Thou art the man.” What the difference? None in principle. The one, Israel’s king, a murderer, to gratify a beastly lust; the other, America people, tyrant, to gratify a beastly avarice. And yet we claim to advocate the right of freedom and self government to all nations of people; and boldly hurl our anathemas against the iron heel of England’s oppression of Ireland, and curse the greedy avarice of a heartless and grasping landlordism that for years has sapped the vitals of that unfortunate country and broken the spirit of its noble people; while we are guilty of the same greedy avarice that has broken the spirit of as noble a people as ever lived; and against whom we have exercised the aggressive tyranny, and made it a point to preserve towards them an attitude the most commanding and supercilious, and against whom we have long cherished and still cherish the basest and most unjust prejudice. Alas, how inconsistent are we.

Many other tribes living in the same regions are mentioned by the early writers, but who, in comparison to numbers and prominence as a people, fell far below the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Muscogees, Seminoles and Natchez; though it is reasonable to conclude that many of them were offshoots of the above mentioned. But the cruel and bloody scenes that marked the conflicts of the whites with the brave warriors of these five nations of the North American Indians, before they overpowered them by superiority in numbers, skill and weapons of warfare and drove them from their ancient homes under the false plea of “fair and honorable purchase,” scattering along the whole line of their known history, fraud, dissimulation, oppression, destruction and death, clothe the character of this wonderful people in the wildest romance and truly render them worthy heroes “of fable and song; of whom it may truly be said that, in point of numbers; in the magnitude and grandeur of their territories abounding in every variety of game that could render them truly the paradise of the Indian hunter; in their far sighted sagacity; in their peculiar native eloquence; in their legends and traditions handed down from generation to generation through cycles of ages unknown; in their strange and mysterious religious rites and ceremonies; in all that strange and peculiar phenomena, that stamp the true Native Americans as the independent and fearless sons of the forest, un surpassed in daring and heroic deeds in defense of their country, the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Muscogees, Seminoles and Natchez stand unsurpassed by any other of the North American Indians, or any other unlettered race of people on earth.

Indian Words

Pickett, in his History of Alabama states: “In 1771, the eastern district of the Choctaw Nation was known as Oy-pat-oo-coo-la, signifying the Small Nation; and the western district was called Oo-coo-la Falaya, Oo-coo-la Hanete and Chickasaha,” The four names are fair samples of the miserable corruption of the languages of the North American Indians every where, by the whites.

And in the above, Pickett is greatly in error in the word Oy-pat-oo-coo-la signifying “Small Nation,” if he uses it as a Choctaw or Chickasaw word. In the first place there is 110 such word in either of their languages, and even admitting there is, it cannot signify “small nation.” The words of both for small nation are Iskitini Pehlichika, small nation or kingdom. “And the western district was called Oo-coo-la Falaya, and Oo-coo-la Hanete and Chickasaha.” It is evident also that these three names are corruptions from Choctaw words. The first being a corruption of the words Okla Falaiah, Tall People; the second, “Oo-coo-la Hanete,” from Okla Hunnali, People Six, or Six People.

The third, Chickasaha, from Chikasah, Rebellion, all of which were names of different clans of the ancient Choctaws. There was also an ancient clan named Okla Isskitini, People Small, or Small People, which, no doubt, was corrupted to Oy-pat-oo-coo-la; if not, some linguist, other than a Choctaw, or Chickasaw, will have to give its signification.

Alas; If the errors of our race were confined alone to the orthography, orthoepy and signification of various Indian languages, though as inconsistent and absurd as they are in that of the Choctaw, we might be excusable; but when they enter into every department of our dealings with that people, there can be no excuse whatever offered in justification of them.

See the gross errors set forth in the publications regarding the Indians from first to last, clothed in scarcely a word of truth to hide their hideous deformity, so humiliating to justice, and all in direct opposition to known truth and common sense. The newspapers and periodicals of the present day are full of the same old stereotyped edition of vile calumniations and base falsehoods against that helpless people, the latter of which stand in close and worthy proximity to that of the devils to the mother Eve. Even that class of literature devoted to the instruction at the young, books and papers bearing the title of “School History of the United States,” “Youth’s Companion,” etc., are contaminated with falsehoods and defamatory articles against the Indians; the writers of: which seem determined that the memory of the North American Indians Must and Shall descend from generation to generation to the one which shall be the fortunate one to hear the tones of Gabriel’s mighty trumpet sounding a truce to longer defamation of the Red Race; and thus escape the nauseating dose which its predecessors have been forced to swallow; and though justice calls upon these white slanderers of the Red Race to turn their attention from the arduous labor attending the successful finding of a few defects in the Indians, to the correction of the hideous sins of their own race, yet they heed not her voice.

Before me lies a book bearing the title, “School History of the United States,” under the signature of “W. H. Venable.” by which its author would stuff the minds of the present generation, and those to follow, with the false assertions and self-imagined erudition, in which he has displayed as much knowledge of the North American Indians as might reasonably be expected to be found in a Brazilian monkey if writing its views upon the characteristics of the Laplanders in their icy homes. On page 17 of this so-called “Illumination of the Youthful Mind,” in the matter of Indian characteristics, is found the following absurdities: “The American Indians were fit inhabitants of the wilderness. Children of nature, they were akin to all that is rude, savage, and irredeemable. Their number within the limits of what is now the United States was at no time, since the discovery of America, above four hundred thousand individuals, for the Indian, hopelessly unchanging in respect to individual and social development, was as regarded tribal relations and local haunts, mutable as the wind.”

“Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise,” therefore his “Ipse dixit.”

Again, (page 19) he affirms: “Stratagem, surprise, and the basest treachery were approved and practiced even by the bravest.” But what of the White Race? Did not Washington and his generals “approve and practice deception, surprise and stratagem” upon the British in fighting for the independence of these United States? Did not Oglethorpe “approve and practice stratagem and deception” upon the Spanish fleet, when he gave a Spanish prisoner his liberty if he would deliver a letter to one of his own men who had deserted and fled to the Spanish ships, the particulars of which are too well known to be repeated here? Did not Lee and Grant, yea, every officer from general down to captain, “approve and practice stratagem, deception and surprise,” during our Civil War? And when an advantage, by these means, was gained, was it not acknowledged as a grand display of superior generalship and dubbed “Military Skill?” When “practiced and approved” by the whites, they are virtues; but when by the Indians, in their wars of resistance against our oppression and avarice, they at once become odious characteristics. But when and upon whom, did the Indians approve and practice stratagem, surprise and the basest treachery? Alone, upon their enemies in war; never elsewhere. But we have alike “approved and practiced stratagem and surprise” in our wars with them always, and everywhere; and have, in numerous instances, approved and practiced the basest treachery,” upon them by false promises, misrepresentations and absolute falsehoods of such hideous proportions as to cause the devil to blush at his own impotency in the art, when trying to influence them to enter into treaties with us by which we would secure for ourselves their landed possessions, and all under the disguise of declared disinterested friendship, and deep-felt interest in their prosperity and happiness; and I challenge anyone to successfully refute the charge. Yet this man would contribute his mite of misrepresentation and false hood to assist others of his own congeniality, to hand down the Indians to the remotest posterity as a race of people the most infamous; but would have it remembered that he and his fall below their merits the white “children of the Lord.”

Therefore, he thus continues his lecture to the children, as set forth in his ephemeral history: “Language cannot exaggerate the ferocity of an Indian Battle, or the revolting cruelty practiced upon their captives of war.” Surely this sensitive educator of the young never perused that truthful little volume, bearing the name of “Our Indian Wards” as written by a Christian philanthropist, W. Manypenny! But thus he continues; “The very words tomahawk, scalping knife, and torture scaffold fill the fancy with dire images; and to say as savage as an Iroquois warrior is to exhaust the power of simile.” But in impressing the youthful “fancy with dire images while studying his “School History of tomahawks, scalping knives and torture scaffolds” and indelibly stamping upon their memories his emphatic “to say as savage as an Iroquois warrior is to exhaust the powers of simile,” he is scrupulously careful not to mention, or even drop a hint, in regard to the foul massacre of the friendly Cheyenne chief, Black Kettle and his band by Gen. Custer and his soldiers, Nov. 27th, 1868; of which Superintendent Murphy, after the diabolical massacre, wrote the commissioner of Indian affairs; “It was Black Kettle’s band of Cheyennes. Black Kettle, one of the best and truest friends the whites ever had among the Indians of the plains;” and of the “horrible” butchery of the Piegan Indians, on the 23rd of January, 1870, who were helplessly afflicted with the small pox, and guilty of no offense except being Indians, but in which assassination, one hundred and seventy-three Indians were slaughtered in cold blood by the whites, without the “loss of a man: ninety of whom were women, and fifty-five of them children, none older than twelve years, and many of them in their mothers arms;” and though the butchery of these unoffending and helpless human beings merits the execration of all men, yet the actors in the bloody scene lived to boast among their fellows “I too have killed an Indian,” though that Indian was an infant in its mother s arms; while their head was honored as the “Great” General Sheridan, backed by General Sherman, at whose feet sycophants bow and humbly solicit a smile from his august personage, then die happy, if obtained, but in despair, if refused. Merciful God! If the very words “tomahawk, scalping knife and torture fill the fancy with dire images; and to say as savage as an Iroquois warrior is to exhaust the powers of simile,” does not the butcher of helpless and unoffending Indian women and children by civilized whites equally “fill the fancy with dire images, and to say as savage as a Sheridan and Sherman in the blood-thirsty wars of exterminating the Indians of the western plains, to protect the white desperadoes in their depredations upon that help less people, and thereby stick another feather in their cap of war fame to conciliate shouts of the, rabble, music more sweet to their bloody senses than that of heavenly angels, “is to exhaust every power of simile.” In the name of truth, justice and humanity, if what Mr. Manypenny has revealed in his ” Our Indian Wards,” a copy of which every lover of truth, justice and humanity should purchase and read, as due to the interests of truth, justice, religion and humanity, is not enough to cause an indignant God to visit these United States with his avenging hand, then indeed they have nothing to fear in regard to what they must do. Be it as it may, there is abundant reason to tremble, if we would reflect that God is just.

On the 16th of February, 1763, the whole of Louisiana, for which they had so long struggled, passed entirely from under the dominion of the French to that of the English; and all evidences of their occupancy of the sea coast of Mississippi, since Iberville first landed there on the 16th of February, 1693, are now only remembered as matters of history and traditions of the long past.

In 1765, through the solicitation of Johnstone, then acting as governor, the Choctaws and Chickasaws convened in general council with him at Mobile, at which time were confirmed the former treaties of peace and friendship, and also regulations of trade were established between them and the English; and in 1777, the Choctaw’s, the first time ever be fore sold a small portion of their country then known as the Natchez District, to the English Superintendent of Indian Affairs, which lay on the Mississippi river and extended north from the bluff then known as Loftus Cliffs to the mouth of the Yazoo river, 110 miles above.

In June 1784, the Choctaws, Chickasaws and Muscogees convened in council at Pensacola, (corrupted from the Choctaw words Puska Okla, People with abundant bread) and there made a treaty of peace with Spain.

Soon after, Alexander McGillervey, the famous chief of the Muscogees, as representative of the Coweta claim of the Muscogees, together with the Seminoles, Mobelans (properly, Mobinahs) and Talapoosas (corrupted from the Choctaw Words Tuli Pushi, Iron Dust) concluded a treaty of peace and friendship with the same nation.

At this time, the United States set up her claim over the entire territories of the southern Indians by virtue of the English title, though the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Muscogees, whose landed possessions were more extensive than all the southern tribes combined; but out of which she finally ousted them, though they had replenished the feeble ranks of her army with their warriors, and helped her out from under the yoke of British oppression fighting under Gen. Wayne and Gen. Sullivan, only to have her yoke of oppression placed upon their necks in turn as a recompense of reward for their services and as a memento of our “distinguished” gratitude to them; while Spain claimed, at the same time, the lion s part of their territories by virtue of her treaties, not with the Indians, the legal owners, but with England and France; while the Indians In whom rested the only true and valid title, gazed upon the scene of controversy over their ancient domains, as silent but helpless spectators.

That the Choctaws were once a numerous people, even years after the destruction of Mobinah, the chief town of Tushkalusas Iksa or clan, by De Soto, there can be but little room for doubt. Their ancient traditions affirm they were at one time one hundred and fifty thousand strong, but some allowance perhaps should be made upon that statement, however, their territory, as late as 1771, extended from Middle Mississippi south to the Gulf of Mexico; and from the Alabama river west to the Mississippi river, embracing as fine a country as the eye could possibly desire to behold; and De Soto states he passed through towns and villages all along his route through their territory, as well as through the territories of other southern tribes. Roman states, in his travels through the Choctaw Territory in 1771, he passed through seventy of their towns. Rev. Cyrus Byington, who was a missionary among the Choctaws for many years previous to their exodus to the west, and had traveled all over their country in his labors of love and mercy, computed their number,” all told, at the time of their removal, at forty thousand, but at which time six thousand died en route many with cholera, and others with various other diseases contracted on the road, as is well authenticated. I was in formed, when traveling over their country in 1884, by an old Choctaw with whom I was personally acquainted when living east of the Mississippi, that many, when they first moved to their present homes, settled contiguous to the pestilential Red river, and in a few years four hundred of the colony had died, and the rest moved away from that stream of death to other parts of their territory.

Picket, in his History of Alabama, says: “In 1771 there were two thousand three hundred warriors registered upon the superintendent s books at Mobile, while two thousands were scattered over the country, engaged in hunting.” But that did not weigh the value of a poor scruple in sustaining the seemingly advanced position, that the Choctaws at that time only numbered about forty-three hundred warriors; as it is safe to say, the French did not register a fifth of the warriors, for several reasons: First, from their great aversion to their numbers being known to the whites; second, their dread and superstitious fear of having their names written in the “white man s books;” third, the great distance that the homes of thousands lay from Mobile, but few of whom ever saw the place; fourth, the missionaries who traveled all over their country found their villages and towns everywhere.; And if the French had twenty-three hundred Choctaw warriors names registered upon the pages of their books, I feel confident, from my own knowledge of the Choctaws over seventy years ago, in saying very few; if any, of the owners of those registered names knew they were recorded there. And if all be taken into consideration, the six thousand, the lowest estimate, slain in the destruction of Mobinah, then the great number that must have perished in their wars with the English and French, as allies first to the one and then to the other; and their wars with various other tribes; and the many that were killed and died from disease when engaged in our Revolutionary war; and the six thousand that died on their removal to the west in 1832-33; and the multiplied hundreds that died soon after their arrival to their present place of abode, from diseases contracted en route and from not being acclimated to their new country; and in addition to all this , the many depressing influences they have labored under since they have had to do with the White Race, and the terrible dispensation under which they have lived, they must, at an early period have”” been a numerous people, or long since they would have become totally extinct.

“The Severally Bill!” I was in the Indian Territory and read a letter from an Indian delegate in Washington City, to a friend in the Territory and was forcibly struck with the shameful truth of one sentence “Congress can and will pass any bill to destroy the Indians.” Yet nothing strange” in this, since rascality and debauchery characterize that once pure and noble body, if even half be true that is said about it, by those who have seen behind the curtains. I also read another letter written by an Indian in the Territory to a delegate of his people, then (Feb. 15, 1887,) in Washington from which, by request and permission, I copied the following without alteration: “Dear old friend:”

“Wounded and grieved over the action* of Congress and the President, who gave the Indians his word (which should be as his bond) to stand by us, when our rights were trespassed upon. Behold now, his actions in the severally bill. Are there no honest men, citizens of the United States? Alas, even the highest in power .has no regard for his word. There must be very little honesty among them, and if God forsakes us, we will soon be remembered only in story. God knows, if we had only the power that the United States have I would be willing to resent the wrong and insult, if it should be at the sacrifice of every drop of Indian blood that is 1 cir cling in our race.” (All praise to that noble and patriotic spirit), “Cleveland thinking” he might lose the next nomination for President, is willing to sacrifice his word or honor (whatever you may choose to call it) to be on the popular side. Away with such hypocrisy! He should be a man of some principle and stamina, but he lacks all of it.

“Dawes, when here, said he would do everything to advance our cause; that he was surprised to see the intelligence and evidences of progress existing among us. See too, what he has done! God will surely damn such hypocrites. Poor Mr. Brown, I feel sorry for him, standing alone, as it were, in the cause of humanity and justice; but I hope he will not feel disheartened in the good cause, but will gather strength from the ruins of broken treaties^ and shattered pledges, made and violated by his so-called great and magnanimous government. All honor and peace be his.

“We will ever feel grateful to him for the active part he took in our behalf. Had there been a few more honest and fearless men like him in Congress, we might have fared better. Inch by inch, does Congress trespass upon and violate the solemn vows was made. Surely such an outrage is almost enough to drive us to raise the tomahawk, and die, every one of us, in fighting for justice against such high handed tyranny and insupportable oppression of our help less and hopeless race. “

What patriotic heart but leaps with emotions of pride at the heroic sentiments expressed in the above. Truth, justice, humanity, Christianity, our honor and integrity as a professed Christian people, backed by a just and righteous God above, demand of us to proclaim our fiat to the scoundrels that today so curse our country and disgrace us as a people, in a tone of voice that shall be heard and, obeyed red, in the imperative command, Halt!

On June 22nd, 1784, the Spaniards convened a council at Mobile, Ala., in which the Choctaws and Chickasaws were largely represented; also a few other smaller tribes came with their families. As usual on all such occasions, the Spaniards, unexcelled only by the Americans afterwards, lavished upon the Indians their flattery and presents, each of equal value, with unwearied tongues and unsparing- hands, thus to induce them to form a treaty of alliance and trade, which was successfully consummated. The last article of this treaty then entered into, confirmed, in the name of the Spanish King, the Indians in the peaceable possession of all their territories within the King s dominions; and further more, it was stipulated, should any of them be deprived of their lands by any of the King s enemies, he would re possess them with other lands within his territories equal in extent and value to those lost. But as stipulations and promises, never intended to be fulfilled, and cajolery and flattery to deceive them into a trusting belief of true friendship, were the means adopted and practiced by the foreign nations that contended with each other for a portion of the North American Continent, so they, as the vicissitudes of war dictated, withdrew their interest in and protection from the confiding Indians to whom, they had made so many fair promises of protection, and manifested such hightentions of sincere and disinterested friendship, and hesitatingly assumed the right of transferring them to any nation which their interest demanded without a care, or even a thought, of the interests and welfare of the Indians; thus conclusively proving that they, each haunted with the fear of the other, using every effort to secure and maintain the good will of the Indians only for the purpose of interposing them between themselves and their encroaching rivals, when it was to their interests so to do.

The Spaniards again induced thirty-six of the most prominent and influential chiefs of the Choctaws and Chickasaws to visit them at New Orleans in 1787, where they were received and entertained with the greatest manifestations of sincere respect and friendship, by escorting them to public balls and military parades, and the usual bestowal of presents and flattery; nor did it ever occur to the Choctaws and Chickasaws that all this was but for the purpose of rendering them, their more easy prey, and their assumed friendship designed but to throw them off their guard, and thus conceal their real intentions; thus they were induced to renew their pledges of peace and friendship to the Spaniards, by smoking the pipe of peace in confirmation of their former treaty, by judging the actions of the Spaniards from the standpoint of the integrity and honesty of their own hearts.

Hopewell Treaty

The first treaty made with the Choctaws by the United States was at Hopewell, on January 3rd, 1786; and between this and January 20th, 1825, seven additional treaties were made with them; the second being December 17th, 1801, in which it was mutually agreed between the Choctaw Nation and the United States Government, “that the old line of demarcation heretofore established by and between the officers of his Brittanic Majesty and the Choctaw Nation, shall be retraced, and. plainly marked in such a way and manner as the President may direct, in the presence of two persons to be appointed by the said nation; and that the said line shall be the boundary between the settlements of the. Mississippi Territory and the Choctaw nation.”

James Wilkerson, as commissioner of the United States; and Push-kush Miko, (Baby Chief), and Ahlatah Humma, (Mixed Red, i. e. Mixed with Red), as commissioners of the Choctaw nation, did run and make distinctly this division line, and made a report of the same, August 31st, 1803, as follows: “And we, the said commissioners plenipotentiary, do ratify and confirm, the said line of demarcation, and do recognize and acknowledge the same to be the boundary which shall separate arid distinguish the land ceded to the United States, between the Tom big-bee, Mobile, and Pascugola Rivers from that which had not been ceded by the said Choctaw nation.”

The names of the ancient Choctaws, as well as their entire race, as far as I have been enabled to learn, were nearly always cognitive referring generally to some animal, and often predicating some attribute of that animal. Such names were easily expressed in sign language; as the objectiveness of the Indian proper names with the result, is that they could all be signified by gesture, whereas the best sign talker among deaf mutes, it is said, is unable to translate the proper names in his speech, therefore resorts to the dactylic alphabet. The Indians were generally named, or rather acquired a name, and sometimes several in succession, and from some noted exploit or hazardous adventure. Names of rivers, creeks, mountains, hills, etc. were given with reference to some natural peculiarity; for the Indian had “a literature of his own, which grew every year in proportions and value; it was the love of Nature, which may be developed in every heart and which seldom fails to purify and exalt. Ignorance and prejudice call the Indians savages. I call them heroes. You and I, reader, may not know where or how they live. God does.

As before stated, the first treaty was made by the United States with the Choctaw Nation on Jan. 3d, 1786. The following” Articles of this treaty were concluded at Hopewell, on the Keowee River, near a place known as Seneca Old Town between Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, and Joseph Martin, commissioners plenipotentiary of the United States of America, of the one part, Yockenahoma, (I give the names of the Choctaws as recorded in the treaty, and also give their corrections and significations), corruption, Yoknahoma; Orig., Yoknihumma Land, Hoommar, Red, great medal chief of Soanacoha, corruption of Sanukoah, pro. as Sar-nook-o-ah (I am mad); Yackehoopie, corruption of Yakni Hopaii pro. as Yark-nih, (Land) Ho-py-ye (Land of the war chief, leading chief of Bugtoogoloo, corruption of Bok Tuklo, pro. as Boke (Creek) Took-lo (Two); Mingohoopari, corruption of Miko Hopaii, pro. as Mik-o (Chief) Ho-py-ye (Leader as War Chief), leading chief of Hashooqua, corruption of Hashokeah, pro. as Harsh-oh-ke-ah (Even the aforesaid); Tobocoh, corruption of Tobih Eoh, pro. as Tone-bih Eoh (All Sunshine) great medal chief of Congetoo, utterly foreign to the Choctaw language; Pooshemastuby, corruption of Pasholih-ubih, pro. as Par-sha-lih (To handle) ub-ih (and kill) gorget captain of Senayazo; cor. of Siah (I am) Yo-shu-ba (as ah) Lost; and thirteen small medal chiefs of the first-class, twelve medal and gorget captains, commissioners plenipotentiary of all the Choctaw nation, of the other part.

The commissioners plenipotentiary of the United States of America give peace to all, the Choctaw Nation, and receive them into favor and protection of the United States of America, on the following conditions:

Article 1st. The commissioners plenipotentiary of all the Choctaw Nation, shall restore all the prisoners, citizens of the United States (useless demand, as the Choctaws were never at war with the United States, and never held any citizen of the United States as a prisoner, but always were their faithful allies) or subjects of their allies, to their entire liberty, if any there be in the Choctaw Nation. They shall also restore all the Negroes, and all other property,” taken during the late war, from the citizens, to such person, and at such time and place, as the commissioners of the United States of America shall appoint, if any there be in the Choctaw Nation.

Article 2nd. The commissioners plenipotentiary of all the Choctaw Nation, do hereby acknowledge the tribes and towns of the said Nation, and the lands with the boundary allotted to the said Indians to live and hunt on, as mentioned in the Third Article, to be under the protection of the. United States of America, and of no other sovereign whatsoever.

Article 3rd. The boundary of the lands hereby allotted to the Choctaw Nation to live and hunt on, within the limits of the United States of America, is and shall be the following, viz.: Beginning at appoint on the thirty-first degree of north latitude, where the eastern boundary of the Natchez district shall touch the same; thence east along the thirty-first degree of north latitude, being the southern boundary of the United States of America, until it shall strike the eastern boundary of the lands on which the Indians of the said nation did live and hunt on the twenty-ninth of November, 1782, while they were under the protection of the King of Great Britain: thence northerly along the said eastern boundary, until it shall meet the northern boundary of the said lands; thence westerly along the said northern boundary, until it shall meet the western boundary thereof: thence southerly along the same, to the beginning; saving and reserving for the establishment of trading posts, three tracts or parcels of land, of six miles square each, at such places as the United States, in Congress assembled, shall think proper; which posts, and the lands annexed to them, shall be to the use and under the government of the United States of America.

Article 4th. If any citizen of the United States, or other person, not being an Indian, shall attempt to settle on any of s the lands hereby allotted to the Indians to live and hunt on, such persons shall forfeit the protection of the United States of America, and the Indians may punish him or not as they please.

Article 5th. If any Indian or Indians, or persons residing among them, or who shall take refuge in their nation, shall commit a robbery or murder, or other capital crime, on any citizen of the United States of America, or person under their protection, the tribe to which such offender may be long, or the nation, shall be bound to deliver him or them up to be punished according to the ordinances of the United States in Congress assembled: provided, that the punishment shall not be greater than if the robbery or murder, or other capital crime, had been committed by a citizen on a citizen.

Article 6th. If any citizen of the United States of America, or person under their protection, shall commit a robbery or murder, or other capital crime, on any Indian, such offender or offenders shall be punished in the same manner as if the robbery or murder, or other capital crime, had been committed on a citizen of the United States of America; and the punishment shall be in the presence of some of the Choctaws, if any will attend at the time and place; and that they may have an opportunity so to do, due notice, if practicable, of the time of such intended punishment shall be sent to some one of the tribe.

Article 7th. It is understood that the punishment of the innocent, under the idea of retaliation, is unjust, and shall not be practiced on either side, except where there is a manifest violation of this treaty; and then it shall be preceded, first by a demand of justice; and if refused, then by a declaration of hostilities. (But wherein is this to benefit the Choctaws, if, to the best of their judgment, “this treaty” was violated by us, and their demand of justice was refused? Could they hope to obtain justice “by a declaration of hostilities”? What a farce is such a futile attempt to display our wonderful generosity to the Choctaws, when we have openly violated every treaty made with them, whenever it was to our interest so to do, a truth we cannot deny, knowing the folly they would be guilty of in declaring war against us when we were as a thousand to one of them in every particular as to advantage. Nor have we neglected to use those ad vantages from 1786 down the passing years to the present, to the utter impoverishment and final extermination of the too confiding Indians).

For the benefit and comfort of the Indians, and for the prevention of injuries or oppressions on the part of the citizens or Indians, the United States in Congress assembled shall have the sole and exclusive right of regulating the trade with the Indians, and managing all their affairs in such manner as they think proper.

Then was inaugurated a system of fraud by which the Choctaws were completely given into the hands of a few soulless white traders who fleeced their victims at will.

Article 9th. Until the pleasure of Congress be-known, respecting the 8th article, all traders, citizens of the United States of America, shall have liberty to go to any of the tribes or towns of the Choctaws, to trade with them, and they shall be protected in their persons and property and kindly treated.

Article 10. The said Indians shall give notice to the citizens of the United States of America, of any designs, which they may know or suspect to be formed in any neighboring tribe, or by any person whomsoever, against the peace, trade, or interest, of the United States, of America.

Article 11. The hatchet shall be forever buried, and the peace given by the United States of America, and friendship re-established between the said States on the one part, and all the Choctaw nation on the other part, shall be universal, and the contracting parties shall use their utmost endeavors to maintain the peace given as aforesaid, and friendship established.

In witness of all and every thing herein determined, between the United States of America and all the Choctaws, we, the underwritten commissioners, by virtue of our full powers have signed this definitive treaty, and have caused our seals-to be hereunto affixed.

Done at Hopewell, on the Keowee, third day of January, 1786 L. S. (Locus Sigilli) Place of the Seal.
Benjamin Hawkins
Andrew Pickens
Joseph Martin

Corruption: Yockenahoma, his x mark. Original: Yok-ni Humma, pro. Yak-nih Hoom-mah Land Red.

Corruption: Yokehoopoie, his x mark. Original: Yak-ni hopaii (as, hopy ye). Land of the War-chief.

Corruption: Mingo hoopaie, his x mark. Original: Mi-kohopaii. Leader, as War-chief.


  1. American Archaeologist, p. 273 

  2. Milfort, p. 269.