Monday, November 4, 2013

The Heart of Everything That Is

The Heart of Everything That Is:
The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend

(Native American History)
by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

The Untold Story of Red Cloud An American Legend


This book is due to be released Tuesday, November 5th. The Publisher's description is very detailed, and would seem to make for a compelling and well-researched read about a great Sioux warrior, whose vital place in Native American History has been sorely overlooked for far too long.

From the Publisher:
The great Sioux warrior-statesman Red Cloud was the only American Indian in history to defeat the United States Army in a war, forcing the government to sue for peace on his terms. At the peak of Red Cloud’s powers the Sioux could claim control of one-fifth of the contiguous United States and the loyalty of thousands of fierce fighters. But the fog of history has left Red Cloud strangely obscured. Now, thanks to the rediscovery of a lost autobiography, and painstaking research by two award-winning authors, the story of our nation’s most powerful and successful Indian warrior can finally be told.

Born in 1821 near the Platte River in modern-day Nebraska, Red Cloud lived an epic life of courage, wisdom, and fortitude in the face of a relentless enemy—the soldiers and settlers who represented the “manifest destiny” of an expanding America. He grew up an orphan and had to overcome numerous social disadvantages to advance in Sioux culture. Red Cloud did that by being the best fighter, strategist, and leader of his fellow warriors. As the white man pushed farther and farther west, they stole the Indians’ land, slaughtered the venerated buffalo, and murdered with impunity anyone who resisted their intrusions. The final straw for Red Cloud and his warriors was the U.S. government’s frenzied spate of fort building throughout the pristine Powder River Country that abutted the Sioux’s sacred Black Hills—Paha Sapa to the Sioux, or “The Heart of Everything That Is.”


The result was a gathering of angry tribes under one powerful leader. “The white man lies and steals,” Red Cloud told his thousands of braves at council fire. “My lodges were many, now they are few. The white man wants all. They must fight for it.” What came to be known as Red Cloud’s War (1866–1868) culminated in a massacre of American cavalry troops that presaged the Little Bighorn and served warning to Washington that the Plains Indians would fight, and die, for their land and traditions. But many more American soldiers would die first.


In The Heart of Everything That Is, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, the New York Times bestselling authors of Halsey’s Typhoon and The Last Stand of Fox Company, restore Red Cloud to his rightful place in American history in a sweeping and dramatic narrative based on years of primary research. As they trace the events leading to Red Cloud’s War they provide intimate portraits of the many and various men and women whose lives Red Cloud touched—mountain men such as the larger-than-life Jim Bridger; U.S. generals like William Tecumseh Sherman who were charged with annihilating the Sioux; fearless explorers such as the dashing John Bozeman; and the warriors whom Red Cloud groomed, the legendary Crazy Horse in particular. And residing at the heart of the story is Red Cloud, fighting for the very existence of the Indian way of life.


This fiery narrative, fueled by contemporary diaries and journals, newspaper reports, eyewitness accounts, and meticulous firsthand sourcing, is a stirring chronicle of the conflict between an expanding white civilization and the Plains Indians who stood in its way. The Heart of Everything That Is not only places the reader at the center of this remarkable epoch, but finally gives Red Cloud the modern-day recognition he deserves.

If any of you happen to read this book, we would love to hear your thoughts and comments.
  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Turtle Prayer

The Turtle Prayer
by Travis Bowman
Native American Turtle Prayer
This Native American Prayer was written by Travis Bowman.
Background turtle image is by VectorPortal.com

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why the Opossum's Tail is Bare

Why the Opossum's Tail is Bare
Native American Legends: Cherokee

Possum Tail

(This content has been copied from my mother's Native American genealogy website, Carolyne's Native American Genealogy Helper.)

It must be remembered that the animals which appear in Indian myths and legends are not the same as those which exist now. When the world began, animals were much bigger, stronger and cleverer than their present counterparts but, because of man's cruelty and aggression, these left the earth and took the rainbow path to Galunlati, the Sky Land, where they still remain. The animals which came after them - those we know today - are but poor, weak imitations of those first creatures.

In the beginning, before this happened, all living things - men, animals, plants and trees - spoke the same language and behaved in much the same way. Animals, like people, were organized into tribes. They had chiefs, lived in houses, held councils and ceremonies.

Many animals had characteristics which we would not recognize today. The rabbit, for example, was fierce, bold and cunning, and a great mischief maker. It was through Rabbit's tricks that the deer lost his sharp wolf-like teeth, the buzzard his handsome topknot of feathers and the opossum his long, bushy tail.

Opossum was very proud of his tail which, in those days, was covered with thick black fur. He spent long hours cleaning and brushing it and composing songs about its beauty and vigor. Sometimes, when he walked through the village, he carried his tail erect, like a banner rippling in the breeze. At other times, he swept it low behind him, like a train. It was useful as well as beautiful, for when Opossum lay down to sleep, he tucked it under him to make a soft bed, and in cold weather he folded it over his body to keep himself warm.

Rabbit was very jealous of Opossum's tail. He, too, had once had a long bushy tail but, during the course of a a fight with Bear, he had lost most of it and now had only a short fluffy tuft. The sight of Opossum strutting before the other animals and swirling his tail ostentatiously, filled Rabbit with rage and he made up his mind to play a trick on him at the first opportunity.

At this time, when the animals still lived harmoniously together, each had his appointed station and duty. Thus, Frog was leader in the council and Rabbit, because of his speed, was employed to carry messages and announcements to the others.

As was their custom from time to time, the animals decided to hold a great council to discuss important matters and Rabbit, as usual, was given the task of arranging the gathering and delivering the invitations. Councils were also occasions for feasting and dancing and Rabbit saw a way of bringing about Opossum's downfall.

When Rabbit arrived with the news of the meeting, Opossum was sitting by the door of his lodge engaged in his favorite occupation - grooming his tail.

'I come to call you to the great council tomorrow, brother Opossum,' said Rabbit. 'Will you attend and join in the dance ?'

'Only if I am given a special seat,' replied the conceited Opossum, carefully smoothing some untidy hairs at the tip of his tail. 'After all,' he went on, grinning maliciously at Rabbit, 'I have such a beautiful long tail that I ought to sit where everyone can see and admire it.'

Rabbit was almost beside himself with fury, but he pretended not to notice the jibe and said, 'But of course, brother Opossum! I will personally see to it that you have the best seat in the council lodge, and I will also send someone to dress your tail specially for the dance.'

Opossum was delighted by this suggestion and Rabbit left him singing the praises of his tail even more loudly than usual. Next, Rabbit called on the cricket, whom Indians call the barber, because of his fame as an expert hair-cutter. Cricket listened with growing amazement as Rabbit recounted his conversation with Opossum. Like all the other animals, he found Opossum's vanity and arrogance very tiresome.

He began to protest, but Rabbit held up a paw and said, 'Wait a moment. I have a plan and I need your help. Listen...', and he dropped his voice as he told Cricket what he wanted him to do.

Early next morning Cricket presented himself at Opossum's door and said that he had been sent by Rabbit to prepare the famous tail for the council that evening. Opossum made himself comfortable on the floor and stretched out his tail. Cricket began to comb it gently.

'I will wrap this red cord round your tail as I comb it,' he explained, 'so that it will remain smooth and neat for the dance tonight.'

Opossum found Cricket's ministrations so soothing that he fell asleep, awakening just as Cricket was tying the final knot in the red cord which now completely swathed his tail.

'I will keep it bound up until the very last moment,' thought Opossum gleefully. 'How envious the others will be when I finally reveal it in all its beauty!'

That evening, his tail still tightly wrapped in the red cord, Opossum marched into the council lodge and was led to his special seat by a strangely obsequious Rabbit.

Soon it was time for the dancing to take place. The drums and rattles began to sound. Opossum stood up, loosened the cord from his tail and stepped proudly into the center of the dance floor. He began to sing.

'Look at my beautiful tail!' he sang as he circled the floor. 'See how it sweeps the ground!'

There was a great shout from the audience and some of the animals began to applaud. 'How they admire me!' though Opossum and he continued dancing and singing loudly. 'See how my tail gleams in the firelight!'

Again everyone shouted and cheered. Opossum began to have just the merest suspicion that all was not quite as it should be. Was there possibly a hint of mockery in their voices ? He dismissed such an absurd idea and continued dancing.

'My tail is stronger than the eagle's, more lustrous than the raven's!'

At this the animals shrieked so loudly that Opossum stopped in his tracks and looked at them. To his astonishment and chagrin they were all convulsed with laughter, some leaning weakly on their neighbor's shoulders, others rolling on the ground in their mirth. Several were pointing at his tail.

Bewildered, Opossum looked down and saw to his horror that his tail, his beautiful, thick, glossy tail, was now balk and scaly like that of a lizard. Nothing remained of its former glory. While pretending to comb it, the wily Cricket had snipped off every single lair.

Opossum was so overcome with shame and confusion that he could not utter a sound. Instead he rolled over helplessly on his back, grimacing with embarrassment, just as opossums still do today, when taken by surprise. 

There is a wonderful book on Amazon about this Native American Legend. If you go to Amazon you can browse through a few pages of the book.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The First Peoples of Ohio and Indiana

The First Peoples of Ohio and Indiana: Native American History Resource Book
(Native American History)

First Peoples of Ohio and Indiana-Native American History Resource
 
This book is a comprehensive resource that includes 250 pages of lessons, worksheets, and handouts designed to help educate about Native American history and culture, created by Jessica Diemer-Eaton of the Woodland Indian Educational Programs. Native History Magazine spotlighted the WIEP in a post about Finding Authentic Native American Lesson Plans.

From their description:
These lessons are meant to compliment current classroom plans while offering students something more than their textbooks can give.

Some Lesson Examples
Turtle Island Eatery: a “menu” and question sheet all about local historic Native foods. Students can explore historic Native dishes under the menu headings “sides, soups, specials, etc.” which, in this format, presents the dishes correctly to students - as a true cultural cuisine.

The Old Northwest Times: a series of “newspaper headlines” that follows Tecumseh and the Shawnee Prophet during their struggle to gain followers, and highlights the daily Native culture and struggle with American influences/politics of the region in the early 1800’s.

Hold a Native American Style Council Debate: an activity that challenges students to follow a Native-format council meeting for a debate, encouraging restraint, respect, listening to understand, and good speaking skills. A huge part of Native discourse was good oratory skills, which most lessons will never touch upon.

 This is the kind of authentic resource that is needed by teachers to create meaningful lessons on Native American history and culture, rather than relying solely on textbooks and/or on random lessons found online. It is appropriate for grades one through twelve, and can be used by teachers, homeschooling parents, and youth group leaders.

Right now the book may be purchases via Create a Space, and Amazon store; it will soon be available directly on Amazon as well. It is $18.99. Click on the text link below to be taken to the Create a Space product page.




Monday, July 22, 2013

John Wooden Legs - Our Land is Everything to Us

Sharing some digital art I created today using a Native Quote by John Wooden Legs, Cheyenne.


"Our land is everything to us... I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember that our grandfathers paid for it - with their lives."

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sioux Chiefs Native Photo Art

I decided to to explore some Native photos at the Library of Congress today and came across a beautiful photo by Edward S. Curtis of some Sioux Chiefs, taken sometime between 1900-10. I wanted to do some digital editing, since that is one of my passions, because I loved the photo so much.

Sioux Chiefs by Edward S Curtis


(Clicking on the photo's title will take you to its location at the Library of Congress.)

According to The Great Sioux Nation page of the Snow Owl website, for the Sioux, the title of Chief was earned for outstanding performance during times of war or peace. It was considered an honorary title. The Sioux people traditionally ruled by a unanimous vote of a council of Chiefs, rather than by one "elected" leader. Decisions of the council were meant to guide the people, rather than to dictate or command them.

You can read more about the great Sioux Nation by clicking on the link below, which will take you to the Snow Owl website's page on the Sioux people.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tecumseh - Give Thanks


Tecumseh Give Thanks


When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. 
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. 
If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.

~ Tecumseh

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Map of the Tribal Nations

A new Map of the Tribal Nations has been created by Aaron Carapella, an Oklahoma native who is of Cherokee and European ancestry. Carapella's map was over a decade in the making, having spent approximately 14 years of study and research to create an accurate representation of how each original Nation looked before contact with non-indigenous people.

Native American Nations Map

This map is truly a testament and tribute to each Native American nation and their unique and original place in the history of North America. Carapella's map documents every known Native American tribe that was in the Unite States in Pre-Columbian times in the approximate year of 1490. All of the nations are documented in their original locations, before the European invasion affected their movement and displacement. And most of the names are given in their own language, rather than the names given by Europeans or other tribes.

Carapella says that this map is "a tribute to all of those forgotten tribes whose names had been lost to the wind, but who live in the hearts and minds of modern-day Native Americans, who managed to survive largest full-scale holocaust in man's history. We also honor the indigenous Nations of this land by giving them ownership of their names for themselves."

To purchase your own copy of this thorough and well-researched map of Native American Nations, please visit Carapella's website below:


There you can find more information about the map, photos, news stories, and more. You can also download a small PDF version of the map, or purchase one of several full size 35x52" paper versions.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Native Roots

Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America
(Native American History)

Native Roots-How Indians Enriched America
 If one is to believe conventional American history books, the white settlers in the New World recreated their European societies upon their arrival. But anthropologist Jack Weatherford, the author of Native Roots, pointedly shows that the Europeans grafted their civilization onto the deep roots of Native American customs and beliefs. Our place names, farming and hunting techniques, crafts and more--all derive from American Indians ways.

In truth, the history of Native Americans is the history of North America. To omit the significance and importance of Native Americans from our history is to negate the fabric of our very existence. For without the threads of life woven together by the heritage and culture of Native Americans, there would be no tapestry of knowledge, experience, and custom that allows our modern day way of life to exist. And in Native Roots, the author beautifully illustrates these very facts.

Jack Weatherford is a professor of anthropology at Macalester College in Minnesota. He is a specialist in tribal peoples and the author of Indian Givers, Native Roots, Savages and Civilization, and The History of Money.

Clicking on the book's title will take you to its location on Amazon.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Finding Authentic Native American Lesson Plans

While searching around the Internet this evening for some "good" Native American Lesson Plans, I came across a wonderful article entitled, Beware of Fallacious Native American Lesson Plans. The article was written by Jessica Diemer-Eaton, who is an historical interpreter of Native American life ways and owner of Woodland Indian Educational Programs. Diemer-Eaton provides a variety of educational programs for schools, students, museums, Powwows, and historical events. And she writes articles that revolve around Northeastern Woodland Indian cultures.

The article focuses on important things to look for when trying to find authentic and meaningful lesson plans about Native American life and culture. 


This article can be an invaluable tool in evaluating lesson plans for potential educational use, identifying ten classic signs of substandard lessons. As a licensed teacher myself, I applaud this article, and I agree with Diemer-Eaton's point about most teachers not having specialized knowledge in Native American subjects. As she so aptly put, "it requires full-time attention to be fluent in Native American subjects." So her article's goal is to help educators sift through the abundance of resources that the Internet provides, and hone in on the ones that are viable, and that will be most authentic and effective for student learning.

And if you are looking for some wonderful Native American classroom resources, be sure to visit the WIEP website. There are some wonderful teacher resources there, worksheets, coloring pages, and several other great resources as well.

Woodland Indian Educational Programs

Their "mission is to contribute to Native American historic preservation, by utilizing resources put forth by the academic and Native communities, in order to develop and conduct public programs and online resources that present Native culture and history in a way that targeted audiences will best receive it."



Saturday, March 9, 2013

Rabbit Head-Hidatsa

This photo is from the Edward S. Curtis Collection at the Library of Congress. It is described as Hidatsa Indian posed, head and shoulders, facing right. It was taken circa 1908. 

Rabbit Head, Hidatsa by Edward S Curtis

(Clicking on the photo's title will take you to the original photo at the Library of Congress)

The Hidatsa are a Siouan tribe living near the confluence of the Knife River with the Missouri in North Dakota. Their language is similar to that of the Crows. The name, Hidatsa has been said to mean 'willows.' The Hidatsa have also been known as the Minitari and Gros Ventre. Today the Hidatsa, along with the Arikara and Mandan (known as the Three Affiliated Tribes), reside on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota.

You can find a lot of historical information about the Hidatsa, along with the Arikara and Mandan at the MHA Nation website. Just follow the link below to learn more.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Helena Nelson-Reed Native-Inspired Art

I always seem to find beautiful artwork on the Web completely by accident. Such is the case with the luminous and ephemeral art I stumbled upon by watercolor artist, Helena Nelson-Reed. When I found her Ghost Dancer painting the other day, I was blown away. 

Ghost Dancer by Helena Nelson-Reed
Ghost Dancer
by Helena Nelson-Reed

I emailed Helena right away to seek permission to use some of her images, so that I could spotlight her beautiful artwork here on Native History Magazine. About Ghost Dancer, Helena said, "I created it after dancing for my brother during his 8th year of Sun Dancing. Sun Dance is different from Ghost Dance, of course, but the immersion, discipline and intensity of prayer focus is much the same. I can only imagine how those Ghost Dancers must have prayed with every fiber of their being."

Much of Helena's work is rooted in myth, fairy, folk and spiritual lore, and is often native-inspired. Her father was one-half Pawnee, so she is undoubtedly touched by her own native roots and heritage. 

Free Spirits by Helena Nelson-Reed
Free Spirits
by Helena Nelson-Reed

The detail and passion put into each of her paintings is amazing, and it is often beautifully connected not only to the environment, but also to the life force of all beings, and life experiences.

Turtle Mother by Helena Nelson-Reed
Turtle Mother
by Helena Nelson-Reed

The Turtle Mother painting is one of my favorites. It instantly made me think of my mother, creator of Native History Magazine, because she so loved turtles. I wish I'd found this painting while Mom was still alive...I would have bought it for her. 

Helena's work is in private collections, and has also been featured on book covers, magazines, and CD covers. She also has a line of fabulous jewelry, calendars, and even greeting cards. 

You can see many more of Helena Nelson-Reed's artworks on her website, and in her Etsy shoppe.



I extend a heartfelt thanks to Helena for being so gracious to allow me to feature her images here on NHM. I look forward to seeing where her inspiration leads her next.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Native Chiefs and Famous Metis

Native Chiefs and Famous Metis
(Native American History)


Native Chiefs and Famous Metis
Overview: These inspiring true stories illuminate the courage and wisdom of five 19th-century Native leaders and famous M├ętis who fought against impossible odds to preserve the culture and rights of their people. The visionary Cree leader Big Bear sought peace and a better life, only to be hunted mercilessly and imprisoned unjustly. Jerry Potts, the legendary North-West Mounted Police guide and interpreter, helped smash the whiskey trade and negotiate treaties. Persevering through sorrow and defeat, these brave and steadfast men left a lasting mark on Aboriginal culture and the history of western Canada.

Chief Crowfoot (Isapo-Muxiha) is featured on the cover of this book. Crowfoot was born in 1821 and was the chief of the Siksika First Nation. He was also known to be a great warrior and orator, and he was greatly respected for his leadership and bravery. Though he fought in 19 battles, he was also well known as a peacemaker who viewed peace as the key to survival. Crowfoot died from Tuberculosis at Blackfoot Crossing, on April 25, 1890.

Clicking on the book's title will take you to its location on Amazon.

Chief Crowfoot on Life and Death

Blackfoot Chief Crowfoot

A little while and I will be gone from among you, whither I cannot tell.
From nowhere we came, into nowhere we go.
What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time.
It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
Chief Crowfoot, Blackfoot Warrior and Orator

Native American Legends Sources

Native American Legends Sources

I want to share some resources I've found that provide a variety of Native American Legends to read, enjoy, and share.

from Native American Genealogy

from Ya-Native

from Stonee's WebLodge 

from First People

from Native-Languages

from Indian Legend

These are just a handful of resources that I've found on Native American Legends. There are many others that can be easily found with a simple Google search. But I hope you will find these useful, and a good starting point for further research and reading.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Legend of the Apache Tears Lesson Plan

After reading our post about the Legend of the Apache Tears, you may also be interested in a Lesson Plan on the same subject.

Lesson Plan Resource
Click on the Lesson Plan title to view the full lesson plan at its source.


(Apache - Grade 8)

This lesson plan is geared toward Grade 8 and includes objectives for Reading Process, Literary Text, and Informational Text, but it could easily be integrated into a History lesson as well. It includes a good narrative of the Apache Tears lesson, and it also incorporates the Johnny Cash song, Apache Tears. The song was written for his album, Bitter Tears (Ballads of the American Indian).

Bitter Tears Apache Johnny Cash


The lesson plan is offered on the website of the Arizona Department of Education.

Some other resources you may find helpful for a lesson plan:

Apache Tear Drop
 
Apache - Legend of the Apache Tear

The Legend of Apache Tears

Once when I was little, my mother told me a story...the Legend of the Apache Tears. I believe I was in third grade at the time, and I remember being so moved by the story that my mother told me. The reason she told me the story was because she had a bracelet that she called Apache Tears, and I wanted to take that bracelet to school for Show & Tell. She told me that I would first need to know the Legend of the Apache Tears so that I could share it with my class.

Mom told me the story of 75 brave Apache warriors who were camped on a mountain, and who were attacked by soldiers of the U.S. Cavalry. In the sneak attack, 50 of the Apaches were killed within minutes, while those that remained retreated to the edge of a cliff. Realizing that they had nowhere to go, the remaining warriors chose to leap to their death, rather than to die at the hands of the white man.

Apache Leap Apache Tears
The Mountain Known as 'Apache Leap'

When the women and children discovered their beloved husbands, fathers, and sons dead at the bottom of the cliff, they began to weep. And as their tears fell, black stones were formed on the white, sandy earth for every tear that hit the ground. These are Apache Tears.

Apache Tears Obsidian


Legend has it that anyone who has any of the stones, the Apache Tears, should never need to cry again...because the Apache women cried enough tears for all who mourn. Some believe that the stones themselves carry spiritual and healing powers.

Mom's bracelet had Apache Tears (Obsidian) all the way around it on a silver chain base. I wish I'd found this bracelet after Mom passed away last year. Sadly, I didn't, but I never forgot the Legend of the Apache Tears.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Cayuse Indians

The Cayuse Indians: Imperial Tribesmen of Old Oregon
(Native American History and Culture)

The Cayuse Indians-Imperial Tribesmen of Old Oregon
Robert H. Ruby and John A. Brown, the authors of this book, tell the story of the Cayuse people, beginning with their early years and spanning through the nineteenth century, when the tribe was forced to move to a reservation. 

The book was first published in 1972, but it was expanded in 2005 to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the treat between the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla Confederated Tribes and the U.S. Government on June 9, 1855, in addition to the bicentennial of Lewis & Clark's visit to the tribal homeland in 1805 and 1806.

Clicking on the book's title will take you to its location on Amazon.com.


Chief Ka-Lit-In Cayuse Tribe

Chief Ka-Lit-In Cayuse Tribe

This is a photo of Chief Ka-Lit-In of the Cayuse Indians of the North American Plateau. It was taken by Lee Major Moorhouse, circa 1900.

The Cayuse people lived on the Columbia Plateau in what is now southeast Washington and northeast Oregon. They call themselves the Tetawken, which means, 'we, the people.' They were famous horse breeders, and the small breed of horse, the cayuse "indian pony," is named after this group of Native people. They were also noted by early explorers for the bravery, and for using their riding prowess to intimidate other tribes.

By 1855 the Cayuse had settled on the Umatilla Reservation near Pendleton, Oregon. By 1990, they were among the smallest of tribes in the United States, numbering only 126 members at that time.

You can read more information about the history and culture of the Cayuse Indians on the website of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Kirby Sattler Native American Art Prints

I happened upon the website of an amazing artist today named Kirby Sattler. Mr. Sattler creates Native American Art Prints, which are American Indian Portraits-art interpretations, and they are simply breathtaking. When I saw them, I emailed immediately to request permission to feature Mr. Sattler's work here at Native History Magazine. 

From his Artist Statement:
Mr. Sattler's work is fueled by an inherent interest in the Indigenous Peoples of the Earth. The current images evolve from the history, ceremony, mythology, and spirituality of the Native American. The ultra-detailed interpretations examine the inseparable relationship between the Indian and his natural world, reflecting a culture that had no hard line between the sacred and the mundane. Each of his paintings function on the premise that all natural phenomena have souls independent of their physical beings. Under such a belief, the wearing of sacred objects were a source of spiritual power. Any object--a stone, a plait of sweet grass, a part of an animal, the wing of a bird--could contain the essence of the metaphysical qualities identified to the objects and desired by the Native American. This acquisition of "Medicine," or spiritual power, was central to the lives of the Indian. It provided the conduit to the unseen forces of the universe which predominated their lives.

Mr. Sattler attempts to give the viewer of his work a sense of what these sacred objects meant to the wearer; when combined with the proper ritual or prayer there would be a transference of identity. More than just aesthetic adornment, it was an outward manifestation of their identity and their inter-relatedness with their natural and spiritual world.

Beneath each of these images of Mr. Sattler's beautiful work is the artwork's title. Clicking on the title will take you directly to his website. These images are all Copyright Kirby Sattler, used with permission.
Hawk Bells by Kirby Sattler
painting by Kirby Sattler

I Am Crow by Kirby Sattler
painting by Kirby Sattler
Note: Make-up for Johnny Depp's character portrayal of Tonto in the upcoming film, 'The Lone Ranger' was inspired by this amazing painting.

Voice of Half Moon by Kirby Sattler
painting by Kirby Sattler

Natane Daughter of the Ghost Dance by Kirby Sattler
painting by Kirby Sattler

 Mr. Sattler's work pays beautiful and respectful homage to Native Americans. He calls his paintings 'interpretations,' based on the nomadic tribes of the 19th century American plains. His subjects are inspired by a combination of visual references and his imagination. He produces a limited number of paintings each year; and his limited edition prints are available on both canvas and watercolor paper through his website. You don't have to purchase the prints to be amazed by their detail, depth, and true beauty--but I do hope you'll visit his website and explore his wonderful collection. There is far more to be seen there.

My mother would have loved these works by Kirby Sattler. I deeply thank him for allowing me to share them here at Native History Magazine.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hupa Man in Deerskin Dance Costume

This photo is from the Edward S. Curtis Collection at the Library of Congress. It is described as a Hupa Indian, half-length, standing, facing left, in ceremonial costume. The Hupa (also Hoopa) are native to northwestern California. Known as the Natinixwe, their name means "People of the Place Where the Trail Returns."

Clicking on the photo's title under the photograph will take you to the original photo at the Library of Congress.

White deerskin dance costume-Hupa

You can learn more about the history of the Hoopa people by clicking on the link below.


That is the official website of the Hoopa Valley Indian Tribe, where you can also learn about their Culture, Language, Art, Government and more.

Piegan Girl and Tipi

This photo is from the Edward S Curtis Collection at the Library of Congress. It is described as a Piegan girl standing outside small tipi.

Clicking on the photo's title under the photograph will take you to the original photo at the Library of Congress.

Piegan Child's Tipi

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Story of the Havasupai People

I Am the Grand Canyon: The Story of the Havasupai People
The Story of the Havasupai People
 (Native American History and Culture)
This book tells the story of the Havasupai, who were among the first group of Native Americans to arrive in North America some 20,000 years ago. The author of this book, Stephen Hirst and his wife lived with the Havasupai people for six years. Having gotten as close inside their life, beliefs, and lore as any outsiders ever could, Hirst gives a compelling account of the Havasupai people and their struggle to recover nearly 200,000 acres of ancestral land from the government, which was taken from them in the nineteenth century.

Running Horse

I'm starting a new feature on the website to highlight art that is either inspired by Native Americans or created by Native Americans. My mother was an artist, and she loved Native American art in all its forms, so it feels appropriate to honor that creative spirit, both hers, and theirs. 

This first image is my own Native American-inspired digital art. It was inspired by a photo I found while searching through the Library of Congress' online image catalog. The photo is circa 1899 and is described as a "Sioux man wearing feathered headdress." It is titled, Running Horse. You can click on the title that appears beneath the image to be taken to the original LOC image.

Running Horse Sioux Native American

This is just the first of what I hope will be many art pieces to be shared here--and not just my own. I'm planning to focus mostly on Native American-created art pieces, more than anything else. This piece is just something I was inspired to create today, so I thought I would share it.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Native American Encylcopedia

I recently discovered a wonderful page on Facebook for the website called the Native American Encyclopedia. I am following their page and have just subscribed to their newsletter as well. I wanted to share this website because it is a wonderful resource for bits of Native American History, photos, art, culture, news, biographies and more. 

At NAE, their goal is to "honor our elders, inspire our youth, document our history and share our culture." The website is Native owned and operated. I am greatly enjoying their Facebook postings, photos, and articles. I will be exploring much more of their website. Just click on their logo, below, to visit Native American Encyclopedia website.

Native American Encyclopedia Website

You can also visit and Like their Facebook page by clicking on the following link:


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Native Origins of 28 State Names

Did you know that twenty-eight of the states in the U.S. owe the origin of their name to American Indians? Here are a few examples.

  • Indiana: Means land of Indians.
  • Kansas: A Sioux word for "south wind people."
  • Michigan: from Chippewa words, mici and gama, meaning "great water," after the lake of the same name.
  • Ohio: Iroquois word meaning "fine or good river."
These are just a few examples. To see the full list of the twenty-eight states, click on the link below, which will take you to the  American Indian Source website.


You may want to poke around their website as well; there are some good educational resources there, and some good information can be found in the Reflections Magazine area as well.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Prayer for a Newborn

This poem was written by Carolyne Gould, my mother, and the creator of Native History Magazine.

Prayer for a Newborn

May your eyes see the beauty of Mother Earth
May your ears hear the music of life and the sounds of laughter.
May your mouth always speak truth, presented with a kind heart.
May your heart always be full of joy
May your hands one day grasp the hands of your own grandchildren.
May your arms always welcome friends and family.
May your feet always walk a straight path.
And if your feet should ever stray from your path,
may Creator always lead you home.

© Carolyne Gould--Poem and Photograph--All Rights Reserved



History of the Haudenosaunee

History of the Haudenosaunee
(Resource Category: History/Culture)

EDITOR'S NOTE: During a United Nations conference on indigenous rights, held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1977, representatives of the Haudenosaunee made a public presentation regarding their history and their place in the world. There are 2 parts to this article located on another website. Part 1 enables you to learn a little about the Haudenosaunee's view of themselves and their place in the world. Part 2 describes the effects of the economy that was created with the arrival in mass, of Europeans to the North American continent.

Understanding the great changes brought through colonization is necessary to understanding the history of all Native peoples, and these lengthy articles are incredibly helpful in promoting and furthering that understanding. 

Clicking on either of the links below will take you to the full articles.


For more online information on the Haudenosnaunee, we recommend students take a virtual tour of a Mohawk village through the New York State Museum. Dioramas in this virtual tour depict life in a Mohawk Iroquois village in about 1600. The website presents scenes from the museum's dioramas about village life and agriculture. You'll even find instructions on how to build a longhouse.



Native American Oral Traditions and Archaeological Myths

Historians and archaeologists are quick to debunk oral traditions the world over as "myths" with no relationship to scientific fact. Working on a research paper, Itztli Ehecatl has compared Native American oral traditions with archaeological and anthropological findings. Ehecati demonstrates that oral traditions confirm events as long ago as 250 million years -- debunking several "myths" held by the mainstream scientific community. This article is not only thought-provoking, but would make an excellent topic for discussion among high-school students.

This article is quite lengthy, but definitely worth the read. Please click on the link below, which will take you directly to the article, which is on Ehecat's Mexica Uprising website.

Native American Oral Traditions and Archaeological Myths

 

Essays on Native Americans

There is a fine collection of archived essays related to Native Americans available for download on the website of the Southern Partisan Reader, the Institute of Southern History, Culture, and Governance. For their full list of Native American-related articles, please click on the following link:


All of their essays are in PDF format and can be downloaded for free. Some articles we recommend include the following.
  • How Lincoln's Army 'Liberated' the Indians
  • The U.S. and the Crime of Genocide Against Native Americans
  • A Thousand Lies: The Native American
The SPR has an impressive collection of other archived essays as well, on topics ranging from Abraham Lincoln, to Martin Luther King, to Terrorism, and the World Wars.

Tribal Names and Their Meanings


EDITOR'S NOTE: It is an unfortunate fact that most of the names native tribes are known by today were actually words given to those tribes by their enemies. It was not the name the tribe gave themselves. For example, the word "Iroquois" is a French variation of an Abenaki word which meant "rattlesnake." The term is used to represent the six aboriginal nations who united to form a confederacy. The result was what some people call "The Iroquois Confederacy." The correct designation should be Haudenosaunee, or the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. This "article" is a list of most commonly known tribal names and their meanings

The following list is in alphabetical order. Where known, the self-identifying name or names of the tribe or nation is listed in parentheses. Following the names are definitions of the meanings of those names. Please notify Native History Magazine of any needed corrections, clarifications, or additions. Research continues and the information will be updated as needed.

Abenaki (Abnaki, Alnonba) --- Those living at the sunrise (In the East, near coast)
Achomawi --- River
Acolapissa --- Those who listen and see
Adai (Nateo)
Ahtena --- Ice People
Akwesasne --- Land where the partridge "drums"
Alabama (Alibamu) --- I clear the thicket
Aleut (Alutiiq) ---
Anadarko (Nadaco) ---
Anishinibeg aka Chippewa and Ojibwe or Objibwa ---
Apache (Dine, Dineh, Tinde, Inde) --- Enemy (A Zuni word)
Apalachicola --- People of the other side
Apalachee --- People of the other side
Arapahoe (Inunaina or Atsina) ---
Arikara --- Horns or elk people, or corn eaters
Assiniboin (Hohe) --- Ones who cook using stones (ojibwa word)
Atakapa --- Man Eater
Athapaskan (Dene) ---
Atikamekw --- White fish
Atsina aka Gros Ventre (Haaninin) White clay people
Atsugewi --- Hat Creek Indians
Avoyel --- People of the rocks
Aztec (Nahuatl, Nahua) ---
Bannock (Panaiti) ---
Bayogoula --- People of the bayou
Bidai --- Brushwood (A Caddo word)
Blackfoot (Piegan, Peigan, Nitsi-Tapi, Sarcee)
Blood (Kainai or Kainaiwa) ---
Brule --- Burned thighs, also burned wood (skin description)
Caddo (Natchitoches, also Adai, Hasinai, Kadohodacho)--- True chiefs
Cayuga --- Place locusts were taken out, people at the mucky land
Cayuse --- Stones or rocks (A French-Canadian word)
Catawba (Esaw) ---
Chakchiuma --- Red crawfish people
Chehalis --- Sand
Cherokee (Ani-Yun-Wiya)--- Cave people ( A Choctaw word), people of different speech (Creek word)
Chetco --- Close to the mouth of the stream
Cheyenne (Dzi-Tsi-Stas) --- Red talkers (Dakota word)
Chickahominy --- Hominy people
Chickamauga --- Dwelling place of the chief (A Creek word)
Chippewa aka Ojibwa (Anishinabeg) ---
Chipwyan --- Pointed skins (A Cree word)
Chitimacha --- They have cooking vessels
Chontal --- Stranger (Nahuatl word)
Choula --- Fox
Chowanoc --- People at the south
Chumash --- People who make the shell bead money
Clakamas (Guithlakimas) ---
Clallam (S'Klallam, Nusklaim, Tlalem) --- Strong people
Clatsop --- Dried salmon
Cocopah (Xawitt Kunyavaei) --- River people
Coeur D'Alene (Skitswish) ---
Comanche (Detsanayuka, Kotsoteka, Nermernuh, Noconi) --- Anyone who wants to fight me all the time (ute word)
Coushatta (Kopano, Quevenes) ---
Cowichan (Khowutzun) --- Basking in the sun that warms your back or warm land
Cree (Kenistenoag, Iyiniwok) ---
Creek (Muskogee, Abihika, Abeika, Hitchit)
Crow --- Crow, sparrowhawk, bird people
Dakota --- Friend or ally
Deleware aka Lenni-Lenape (Wampanoag, Munsee, Unami, Unalachitgo)
Dine --- The Apaches' word for themselves
Erie --- Log tail or cat people (Iroquoian word)
Eskimo (Inuit, Inupiat, Inuvialuit, Yupik) ---
Fox (Mesquaki) --- Red earth people
Git' Lissums --- People of the Lissums
Gitksan --- People of the Northern Skena
Gros Ventre (Atsina, in the prairie region; Hidatsa, in the Missouri area) --- Big bellies, one who cooks with a stone, cooks by roasting
Hach Winik --- True people
Han --- Those who live along the river
Haudenosaunee (Hotinonshonni, Ongwanosionni) --- People of the Long House, We of the Extended Lodge
Havasupai (Suppai) --- People of the blue-green water
Hiute --- Bowmen
Honniasont --- Wearing something around the neck
Hopi (Hopitu, Hopitu Shinumu, Moqui, Hapeka) --- Peaceful ones or well-mannered people
Houma --- Red
Huchnom --- Mountain people
Hunkpapa --- Campers at the opening of the circle
Hupa --- Trinity River
Huron (Wendat, Wyandot) --- Ruffian, head of a boar (French)
Hwal'bay aka Hualapai --- People of the tall pines
Ihanktonwan --- Dwellers at the end (Ihanktonwana - little dwellers at the end)
Iowa (Pahodja) --- Sleepy ones (Dakota word)
Iroquois --- Real adders, rattlesnake, (See Haudenosaunee)
Jatibonicu --- People of the great sacred high waters (First spelling)
Jatibonuco --- Great people of the sacred high waters (Second spelling)
Jicaque --- Ancient person (Nahuatl word)
Jicarilla (Tinde) --- Little basket weaver (Spanish word)
Kainai --- Many chiefs
Kakwchak Porcupine people
Kan-hatki --- White earth
Kanienkahaka --- People of the place of flint
Kanza aka Kansa --- People of the south wind
Karok --- Upstream
Kato --- Lake
Kawchottine --- People of the great hares
Ketsei --- Going in wet sand
Kickapoo (Kiwigapawa) --- He stands about
Kiowa (Kwuda, Tepda, Tepkinago) --- Principal people
Klallam --- Strong people
Klamath (Eukshikni-Maklaks, Auksni) --- People of the lake
Kickitat (Qwulhwaipum) ---
Kootenai (Kuronoqa, Kutenai, Ansanka) ---
Kotsoteka --- Buffalo eaters
Kutcha-kutchin --- Those who live on the flats
Kwuda --- People coming out
Lakota --- Friend or ally
Latgawa --- Those living in the uplands
Lenni Lenape --- Genuine men
Lillooet --- Wild onion
Lipan (Naizhan) --- Warriors of the mountains
Lumbee (Cheraw) ---
Machapunga --- Bad dust
Mahican aka Mohican, Mohegan --- Wolf
Maucioa (Pipatsji) ---
Makah (Kwenetchechat) --- Cape people
Maliseet --- Broken talkers
Mandan (Numakaki, Metutahanke) ---
Massachuset --- At the hills
Mdewankantonwan --- Dwellers of the spirit lake
Menominee --- Wild rice men
Miami (Twightwis, twahitwa, Wayatanoke) --- People on the peninsula, cry of the crane, pigeon
Michigamea --- Great water
Mi'kmaq aka Micmac --- family, friend, turtle
Miniconjou --- Planters by water
Missouri --- Great Muddy, people with wooden canoes
Moapa (Moapariats) --- Mosquito creek people
Moatokni --- Southerners
Modoc aka Mohave (Tzinamaa, Ahamakav) --- Southerners
Mohave aka Modoc --- Three mountains
Mohawk (Kanienkahaka) --- Possessors of the flint, coward or man eater (Abenaki words)
Mohegan aka Mahican, Mohican --- Wolf
Moneton --- Big water people
Munsee (Minasinink) --- At the place where the stones are gathered together
Nahane --- People of the west
Narragansett --- People of the small point
Nanticoke --- People of the tidewaters
Natsit-Kutchin --- Those who live off the flats
Navajo --- Cultivated field in an arroyo (Tewa word)
Nez Perce (Neemeepoo, Kamuinu, Sahaptin) ---
Nipmuck --- Freshwater fishing place
Nisga'a (Git'Lissums) --- People of the Nass River
Nokoni --- Those who turn back
Nooksack --- Mountain men
Nootka --- Along the coast
Ogallala (Okandanda) --- Scatters their own
Ojibwa --- To roast till puckered up
Okanago (Isonkuaili) ---
Okelousa --- Blackwater
Okmulgee --- Where water boils up
Omaha --- Upstream people or people going against the current
Oneida --- Aa boulder standing up, or the people of the standing stone
Onondaga --- People on top of the hills
Opata --- Hostile people (Pima word)
Osage (Wakon, Wazhazhe Pahatsi) ---
Ottawa --- To trade
Otto (Chewayray) --- Lechers
Pahodja --- Dusty ones
Paiute (Numa) ---
Pakiutlema --- People of the gap
Pamunkey --- Rising upland
Pantch-Pinunkansh --- Men altogether red
Papagos (Tohono-Odham, Akchin) --- Desert people, the bean people
Papinashuash --- The ones who like to laugh
Pascagoula --- Bread people
Passamaquoddy (Peskedemakddi) --- Plenty of pollock (pollock is a fish)
Paugusset --- Where the narrows open out
Pawnee (Pariki, Chahiksichahiks, Awah) --- Horn people, look like wolves, men of men,
Penateka --- Honey eaters
Pennacook --- Down hill
Penobscot (Pannawanbskek) --- people of the forks on the white rocks, the descending ledge, of the stone place
Pensacola --- Hair people
Peoria --- Carrys a pack on his back
Pequot --- Fox people, destroyers
Piegan --- Scabby robes
Piekuakamit --- The ones from the flat lake
Pikani --- Poor robe
Pilthlako --- Big swamp
Pima (A'atam) --- River people
Pojoaque --- Drinking place
Potawatomi --- People of the place of fire, keepers of the fire, fire people
Powhatan --- Falls in a current of water
Pshwanwapam --- Stony ground
Puyallup --- Shadow
Quahadi --- Antelope
Quapaw (Ouaguapas) --- Downstream people
Quinnipiac --- Long water country
Red River Metis (Slotas) ---
Sac aka Sauk (Meshkwakihug) --- People of the yellow earth, people of the outlet
Salish (Okinagan) --- Flatheads
Sans Arc (Itazipco) --- Without bows (French)
Sarcee (Tsuu-T'ina) ---
Schaghticoke --- At the river forks
Sekani --- dwellers on the rocks
Seminole --- Separatist, runaways, peninsula people
Seneca --- Keepers of the Western Door, Place of stone, people of the standing rock, Great hill people
Serrano (Cowangachm, Mohineyam) ---
Shawnee --- South or southerners
Shoshone --- Snake
Sihasapa Sioux --- Blackfoot
Siksika --- Blackfoot
Sioux --- Snake (French)
Sisitonwan --- Dwellers of the fish ground
Skokomish (Twana) --- River people
Susquehanna (Susquehannock) ---
Taino --- We, the good people
Takelma --- Those living along the river
Tanima --- Liver eaters
Tangipahoa --- Corn gatherers
Tantawats --- Southern men
Tatsanottine --- People of the copper water
Tawakoni --- River bend among red hills
Tejas --- Friendly
Tenawa --- Downstream
Tennuth-Ketchin --- Middle people
Teton --- People of the Mountains (French)
Tewa --- Moccasins
Thlingchadinne --- Dog-flank people
Tinde --- Dwellers of the prairie
Titonwan --- Dwellers of the plains
Tonawanda --- Confluent stream
Tonkawa (Tonkaweya, Titskanwatich) --- They all stay together, the most human of people
Tsattine --- Lives among the beavers
Tsetsaut --- People of the interior
Tsimshian --- People of the river
Tsuu t'ina --- Great amount of people
Tubatulabal --- Pinenut eaters (Shoshone word)
Tuscarora (Skarure) --- Hemp gatherers, shirt wearing people
Two Kettle (Oohenonpa) --- Two boilings
Unalachtgo --- Tidewater people
Ute (Noochi) ---
Vunta-Ketchin --- Those who live among the lakes
Wahpekute --- Shooters in the leaves
Wahpetonwan --- Dwellers among the leaves
Wailaki --- North language
Wakokai --- Blue heron breeding place
Walapai --- Pine tree people
Wallawalla --- Little river
Wampanoag (Pokanoket) --- Eastern people
Wappo --- Brave, couragous
Waptailmin --- People of the narrow river
Wasco --- Cup, people who have the cup
Wichita (Kitikiti'sh) --- Big arbor (Choctaw word), raccoon eyes
Winnebago --- Filthy water people
Wiwohka --- Roaring water
Wyandot --- People of the peninsula
Yakama --- Runaway, the pregnant people, people of the narrows
Yamparika --- Root eaters
Yavapai --- (Mohave Apache) People of the sun, crooked mouth people
Yoncalla ---
Yuchi --- Located yonder
Yuki --- Stranger
Yuma (Chisa) ---
Yurok --- Downstream
Zuni (Ashiwi, Ashiwani) ---

US Tribes Map

Teaching Young Children About Native Americans

Squamish Nation
In classrooms across the United States, many educators are striving to present accurate information to their students about American Indians. A very popular choice has been the use of a book called "Brother Eagle, Sister Sky," (with words of Chief Seattle of the Squamish Nation), and which on the surface presents a fairly acurrate image of native culture. Although there is a lesson to be learned in this book, it may not be the one you wanted to teach.

Unfortunately, the illustrated children's book, "Brother Eagle, Sister Sky," has a major problem that not all educators may spot and which can result in continuing the stereotypical image of American Indians. Promoting stereotypes is not what education should be about.

The book uses words by Chief Seattle, who was a member of the Squamish tribe that lived in the the coastal areas of the Northwest, in what is now British Columbia. The illustrations, although wonderfully drawn, show the attire of Plains Indians and the tipis used by Plains tribes rather than the homes and clothing of the Squamish.

While the premise and purpose of the book is positive, a lack of knowledge on the part of the illustrator and publishers has allowed the sterotypical image of American Indians to be perpetuated. Not all American Indians wore fringed buckskin. Not all American Indians lived in tipis, or grass huts. The arts, culture and living conditions of the Squamish and other northwestern tribes is as different from the Plains tribes as the Plains tribes differ from the Southeastern Woodland tribes. If you have this book in your classroom or home, I don't suggest you throw it out; but, be sure the child that reads it is aware of what is wrong with the illustrations, even if it means gluing a small informational notice inside the front cover.

For more information on the web regarding teaching children about Native Americans, I suggest a 1996 ERIC Digest by Debbie Reese. A Pueblo Indian, Reese specializes in early childhood education and provides some very useful tools for educators, whether those educators are teachers in public schools or parents in the home. Visit Teaching Young Children About Native Americans for more information.

The Squamish Nation

The people describe themselves thus: "The Squamish Nation is comprised of Salish peoples who are descendants of the aboriginal peoples who lived in the present day Greater Vancouver area; Gibson's landing and Squamish River watershed. The Squamish Nation have occupied and governed their territory since beyond recorded history." A visit to the "About Us" page will lead you to information on the Coast Salish, the importance of the Longhouse in Salish culture and some Squamish history. Be sure to check out the photograph of the traditional Squamish Longhouse.

The Squamish Nation, (once called the Squamish Band), is made up of 16 Squamish/Salish-speaking tribes from several different Indian Reserves in Canada:

  •     Ustlawn I.R. #1 (Mission)
  •     Ch'ch'Elxwikw I.R. #1 (Seymour)
  •     Homulchsen I.R. #5 (Capilano)
  •     Senakw I.R. #6 (Kitsilano)
  •     Skowishin I.R. #7
  •     Poyam I.R. #9
  •     Cheakamus I.R. #11
  •     Yookwitz I.R. #12
  •     Poquiosin I.R. #13
  •     Waiwakum I.R. #14 (Brackendale)
  •     Seaichem I.R. #16
  •     Kowtain I.R #17
  •     Stawamus I.R. #24
  •     Chekwelp I.R. #26
  •     Sxaaltxw I.R. #27 (Shelter Island)
  •     K'ik'elxen I.R. #28 (Port Mellon)

The image of the Thunderbird that accompanies this article was created by Stan Joseph Jr. The Squamish Nation has used this as their logo since 1981. Like much native art, there is symbolism in every part of the design. See the Squamish Nation website for more information on their logo.

Message to a Missionary

Message to a Missionary...By Red Jacket, a Seneca, 1805
EDITOR'S NOTE: In 1805, a Christian minister went to speak to the Seneca tribe. Following the minister's oratory, during which time all natives present listened quietly, Otetani, then the Chief of the Seneca tribe, made an oration of his own to the minister. Otetani was was born in 1758 and was called Red Jacket because he sported a bright red coat that was given to him by the British during the American Revolution. His title for the tribe was Sagoyewatha. Selected as the main spokesperson for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, he later became a friend of George Washington. His speech was recorded and printed in 1805.

Red Jacket Message to a Missionary
It was the will of the Great Spirit that we should meet together this day. He orders all things and has given us a fine day for our council. He has taken His garment from before the sun and caused it to shine with brightness upon us. Our eyes are opened that we see clearly; our ears are unstopped that we have been able to hear distinctly the words you have spoken. For all these favors we thank the Great Spirit, and Him only.

Brother, this council fire was kindled by you. It was at your request that we came together at this time. We have listened with attention to what you have said. You requested us to speak our minds freely. This gives us great joy; for we now consider that we stand upright before you and can speak what we think. All have heard your voice and all speak to you now as one man. Our minds are agreed.

Brother, you say you want an answer to your talk before you leave this place. It is right you should have one, as you are a great distance from home and we do not wish to detain you. But first we will look back a little and tell you what our fathers have told us and what we have heard from the white people.

Brother, listen to what we say. There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island. Their seats extended from the rising to the setting sun. The Great Spirit had made it for the use of Indians. He had created the buffalo, the deer, and other animals for food. He had made the bear and the beaver. Their skins served us for clothing. He had scattered them over the country and taught us how to take them. He had caused the earth to produce corn for bread. All this He had done for His red children because He loved them. If we had some disputes about our hunting-ground they were generally settled without the shedding of much blood.

But an evil day came upon us. Your forefathers crossed the great water and landed on this island. Their numbers were small. They found friends and not enemies. They told us they had fled from their own country for fear of wicked men and had come here to enjoy their religion. They asked for a small seat. We took pity of them, granted their request, and they sat down among us. We gave them corn and meat; they gave us poison in return.

The white people, brother, had now found our country. Tidings were carried back and more came among us. Yet we did not fear them. We took them to be friends. They called us brothers. We believed them and gave them a larger seat. At length their numbers had greatly increased. They wanted more land; they wanted our country. Our eyes were opened and our minds became uneasy. Wars took place. Indians were hired to fight against Indians, and many of our people were destroyed. They also brought strong liquor among us. It was strong and powerful, and has slain thousands.

Brother, our seats were once larger and yours were small. You have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets. You have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us.

Brother, continue to listen. You say that you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to His mind; and, if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right and we are lost. How do we know this is true? We understand that your religion is written in a Book. If it was intended for us, as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given to us, and not only to us, but why did He not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that Book, with the means of understanding when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people?

Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book?

Brother, we do not understand these things. We are told that your religion was given to your forefathers and has been handed down from father to son. We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers and has been handed down to us, their children. We worship in that way. It teaches us to be thankful for all the favors we receive, to love each other, and to be united. We never quarrel about religion.

Brother, the Great Spirit has made us all, but He has made a great difference between His white and His red children. He has given us different complexions and different customs. To you He has given the arts. To these He has not opened our eyes. We know these things to be true. Since He has made so great a difference between us in other things, why may we not conclude that He has given us a different religion according to our understanding? The Great Spirit does right. He knows what is best for His children; we are satisfied.

Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion or take it from you. We only want to enjoy our own.

Brother, you say you have not come to get our land or our money, but to enlighten our minds. I will not tell you that I have been at your meetings and saw you collect money from the meeting. I can not tell what this money was intended for, but suppose that it was for your minister; and, if we should conform to your way of thinking, perhaps you may want some from us.

Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest, and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again of what you have said.

Brother, you have now heard our answer to your talk, and this is all we have to say at present. As we are going to part, we will come and take you by the hand, and hope the Great Spirit will protect you on your journey and return you safe to your friends.