Collection: Archives Of Aboriginal Knowledge

Origin of the Osages

The following tradition is taken from the official records of the St. Louis Superintendency. Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. choose a state: Any AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY INTL Start Now The Osages believe that the first man of their nation came out of a shell, and that this man, when walking on earth, met with the Great Spirit, who asked him where he resided, and what he eat. The Osage answered, that he had no place of residence, and that he eat nothing. The Great Spirit gave him a bow and arrows, and told him to go a-hunting. So soon as the Great Spirit left him, he killed a deer. The Great Spirit gave him fire, and told him to cook his meat, and to eat. He also told him to take the skin and cover himself with it, and also the skins of other animals that he would kill. One day, as the Osage was hunting, he came to a small river to drink. He saw in the river a beaver hut, on which was...

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Iroquois Cosmogony

Iroquois Cosmogony: The tribes who compose this group of the Indians, concur in locating the beginning of creative power in the upper regions of space. Neo, or the Great Spirit of Life, is placed there. Atahocan is the master of heaven. Tarenyawagon, who is thought to be the same as Michabou, Chiabo, Manabozho, and the Great Hare, is called the keeper of the Heavens. Agreskoe 1Charlevoix sees a Greek root, as the origin of the word Agreskoe. is the god of war. Atahentsic is the woman of heaven. The beginning of the creation, or of man, is connected with her history. One of the six of the original number of created men of heaven was enamored of her immediately after seeing her. Atahocan, having discovered this amour, cast her out headlong to the earth. She was received below on the back of a great turtle lying on the waters, and was there delivered of twins. One of them was Inigorio, or the Good Mind; the other Anti-inigorio, or the Bad Mind. The good and the evil principles were thus introduced into the world. Both were equally active, but the latter perpetually employed himself in counteracting the acts of the former. The tortoise expanded more and more, and finally became the earth. Atahentsic afterwards had a daughter, who bore two sons, YOS-KE-KA and THO-IT-SA-RON. YOS-KE-KA in the end killed his brother, and...

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Algonquian Pictography

Pictorial inscriptions of the character of the Muzzinabiks of the Western Indians, particularly of those of the Algonquin type of languages, are to be traced eastward from Lake Superior and the sources of the Mississippi, on the back line of their migration, through Lake Huron, by its northern communications, to the shores of the Northern Atlantic. One of these has been previously alluded to as existing on the Straits of St. Mary’s, and it is believed that the art will be found to have been in use, and freely employed at all periods of their history, embracing the residence...

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Rock Writing or Muzzinabikon

Rock Writing or Muzzinabikon: The application of picture-writing among the Native American tribes to record transactions in their daily life. From its first or simple drawings in the inscription of totems and memorials on grave-posts, through the various methods adopted to convey information on sheets of bark, scarified trees, and other substances, and through the institutions and songs of the Meda, and the Wabeno societies, the mysteries of the Jeesukawin, the business of hunting, and the incidents of war and affection. It remains only to consider their use in an historical point of view, or in recording, in a more permanent form than either of the preceding instances, such transactions in the affairs of a wandering forest life as appear to them to have demanded more labored attempts to preserve.

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Dighton Rock Inscriptions

An in-depth look at the Dighton Rock inscriptions, including a descriptive analysis of the petroglyphs by the Iroquioan Meda, Chingwauk, in 1839 at the behest of Henry Schoolcraft. Included with the article are Henry’s own deductions based on several decades of research into the early North American petroglyphic arts. Photographs of the rock, as well as drawn replications of both the petroglyph and the inscriptions upon it.

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Indian Tribes of the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains

The Salt Lake Basin; The Valley Of The Great Säaptin, Or Lewis River, And The Pacific Coasts Of Oregon. By Nathaniel J. Wyeth, Esq. Synopsis. Letter I. Object of Inquiry. Period of Residence. Letter II. Question of Affinity of the Shoshonees by Language. Means of Subsistence. True Name Bonacks. Scarcity of Game. Game and Trapping. No social Organization among the Tribes. Utter Ignorance. Introduction of the Horse an Era. No Cultivation whatever. No Laws. No Ideas of Rights of Property. Foot Tribes cannot cope with Tribes possessing Horses. The Horse, therefore, the Cause of Division, and Tribal Organization. Letter III. Influence of the Introduction of the Horse on the American Tribes. Letter IV. Geography of the Säaptin River. Hydrographic Power. Salmon. Hot Springs abundant. Fossil Wood. Blue Limestone. Reddish Sandstone. Bitumen. Coal. Glauber, Epsom, and Common Salts. Obsidian. Very dry Atmosphere; consequent danger of handling Fire Arms. Extraordinary range of the Thermometer. Grazing. Scarcity of Fuel. Wood alone on the Mountains. Letter V. Implements of the Shoshonees. Root-Pot. Bows of Horn artistically made. Obsidian Arrow -Heads; their shape. Obsidian Knife. Graining Tools. Bone Awls. Fish Spears. Fish Nets. Boats or Rafts. Pipes of Fuller s Earth and Soapstone. Mats resembling the Chinese. Implement for obtaining Fire by Percussion. Letter VI. Transmitting Remarks on the Snake River Valley, &c. Letter VII. Language of the Shoshonees. Destitution; eat pounded Bones. Mildness,...

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Tribal Organization, History and Government

There are about seventy tribes, nearly all of whom are susceptible of being generalized into five ethnological groups, who have constituted the object of our policy and laws, during the three-fourths of a century that the Republic has exercised sovereignty over them. No tribe which was in existence in 1776 has become extinct. The wars that have been maintained on the frontiers have been purely wars of defense. They have never been wars of aggression, the object of which has been, in any sense, the acquisition of territory. Nor have the tribes in these contests suffered depopulation. The loss of numbers in battle has been light, compared with the slow, heavy, onward march of fixed and permanent causes, contravening the maxims of industry and population which have marked their long intervals of peace. National vanity; the pursuit of the false and exhausting objects of the chase; the neglect of agriculture; the pride that has kept young men from learning trades, while mechanics were employed to teach them; and the general use of distilled drinks, have at all times had a most inauspicious bearing. But, over and above all, the prolongation of the period of the maxims and customs of Indian society, as they are evinced in the disregard of thriftful housewifery by the Indian females; and the fiscal means which the tribes have so profusely reveled in, by the...

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Tribes on the Santa Fe Trail, and at the Foot of the Rocky Mountains

The tendency of the Indian population, which stretches over the prairies east of the Rocky Mountains, is towards the south and southwest. The Cheyennes, or Chawas, who once lived on a tributary of the Red River of Hudson’s Bay, crossed the Missouri, in consequence of the arrival of the Algonquian tribes on the sources of the Mississippi. The latter went as far north as the summit of the Portage du Trait, in their progress towards Athabasca Lake. The Chawas are now found very high on the Nebraska, and pressing onwards southward, below the mountains. The Sioux, or Dacotas, of the Missouri are pressing in the same direction, occupying positions less westerly. The Dacotas of the Mississippi, who have not yet broken up their more easterly villages in Minnesota, are destined to pass in the same direction. The pres sure upon these tribes is from the north. They have receded, in the last quarter of a century, (dating from the treaty of boundaries of Prairie du Chien, in 1825,) before the military ardor of the Algonquins, and cannot now be said to have permanent or safe footing north of the river St. Peters. The Arapahoes, who infest the sources of the Platte and Arkansas, are a part of the Atsina, or Fall Indians of the Blackfoot stock, and once lived on the Assinabwoin and Saskatchiwine. The Minnatarees and Gross Venires...

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Traditions of the Ante-Columbian Epoch

On this subject, we are confined to narrow limits. Three or four of the chief stocks now between the Equinox and the Arctic Circle, have preserved traditions which it is deemed proper to recite. 1. In the voyages of Sir Alexander Mackenzie among the Arctic tribes, he relates of the Chepeweyan, that ” they have a tradition that they originally came from another country, inhabited by very wicked people, and had traversed a great lake, which was narrow and shallow, and full of islands, where they had suffered great misery, it being always winter, with ice and deep snow.” 1Mackenzie, CXII. Introd. In a subsequent passage, p. 387, he remarks ” Their progress (the great Athapasca family) is easterly, and according to their own tradition, they came from Siberia; agreeing in dress and manners with the people now found upon the coasts of Asia.” 2. The Shawanoes, an Algonquin tribe, have a tradition of a foreign origin, or a landing from a sea voyage. John Johnston, Esq., who was for many years their agent, prior to 1820, observes, in a letter of July 7th, 1819, published in the first volume of Archaeologia Americana, p. 273, that they migrated from West Florida, and parts adjacent, to Ohio and Indiana, where this tribe was then located. “The people of this nation,” he observes, “have a tradition that their ancestors crossed the...

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Synopsis of Wabeno Songs

The following synopsis, referring by figures to the hieroglyphic devices, exhibits the words of the chants and incantations in their simplest forms, together with the key-sign or ideographic terms of pictorial notation. Synopsis of Wabeno Songs. Plate 52 (see below) Chant, or Incantation 1. My lodge crawls by the Wabeno power. 2. Under the ground I have taken him 3. I too am a Wabeno 4. I make the Wabeno dance 5. The sky the sky I sail upon 6. I am a Wabeno spirit this is my work. 7. I work with two bodies. 8. The owl! the...

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Notes of Henry Schoolcraft

This work contains all the original papers laid before Congress respecting the History, Antiquities, Languages, Ethnology, Pictography, Kites, and Superstitions of the Indian tribes of the United States. Congress having granted the copyright to the Author, he is enabled to present a private edition, with all the original opulence of type and illustration. In preparing it for this purpose, some generalizations were required. A title, more expressive of the research necessary to promote the general object of the inquiry, has been prefixed. Full indices are given. The volumes of “Information” laid before the National Legislature, were prepared under official requirements, which are, in a measure, no longer imperative. These initial inquiries, embracing the first series of five volumes, were necessarily devoted to Tribal Histories, the traditions of particular families and tribes, dialects and languages, their vital and industrial statistics. Other traits invited study. Their manners and customs, although often described, were often described inaccurately. Their oral imaginative legends, prior to the Algic Researches, were untouched. Their pictography and mnemonic symbols, so much used in their inscriptions and secret societies, were a sealed record. Their rites and ceremonies, superstitious and religious, constituted subjects of which the rationale has not even been attempted. To accumulate facts on these topics is to present the man in a new light. Why an Indian acts, in peace and war, contrary to the plainest maxims...

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Symbols of Hunting in Pictography

Keossawin, or Hunting Pictography: A similar virtue is believed to be exerted, if but the figure of the animal sought be drawn on wood or bark, and afterwards submitted to the efficacious influences of the magic medicine, and the incantation. Pictographs of such drawings are frequently carried about by the hunter, to avail himself of their influence, or of the means of becoming more perfect in the mystical art, by intercommunication with other and distant Indians. These figures are often drawn on portable objects of his property, such as implements of hunting, canoes, utensils, or rolls of lodge-barks, or sheathing.

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Indian Art, Tools and Weapons

If we were to judge the Chinese by the tools and implements which they employ, as these were exhibited for the first time to the British public in 1842, at the Chinese Museum at Knightsbridge, London, or as since shown by other collections in this country, without the fabrics produced by them, we should certainly underrate their skill and type of civilization and refinement beyond measure. This fact denotes how cautious we should be in judging of the arts of a people who are, by any possibility of just theory, descended from that mixed race, 1The Chinese Nations and...

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