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FEELINGS AND VIEWS OF THE INDIANS AT THE PRESENT HOUR, WITH SOME SPECIMENS OF
THEIR RECENT ORATORY.
SEVERAL chiefs from the Missouri territory, (a part of North America which is inhabited by tribes of Indians, who, from the remoteness of their situation, do not so often as others, come in contact with white men), were brought by order of the government of the United States, to Washington under the guidance of Major OʻFallon. They were subsequently taken on to New York, where, as at Washington, every thing calculated to impress their minds was exhibited to them. Previous to their departure to their native homes, they were introduced to the President of the United States, when the following speeches were delivered by them. The reader, I think, will not fail to discern in these addresses a grand vein of original eloquence, united with great sagacity; another proof of the error of his Excellency De Witt Clinton, in confining the rhetorical talent solely to the Iroquois or Five Nations. It is with feelings of humility that I allude again to this inaccurate statement. No one can have a higher respect for this gentleman than myself. His discourse delivered to the Historical Society of New York, is not surpassed by any docu:
ment I ever read, for profoundness of intellect, philanthropy of sentiment, exquisite beauty of composition, and extent of historical knowledge condensed within a brief space.
Speeches of several of the Chiefs of the Delegation of
Indians, under Major O'Fallon, to the President of the United States, in Council, on the 4th of February, 1822.
My Great Father :- I have travelled a great distance to see you-I have seen you and my heart rejoices. I have heard your words—they have entered one ear and shall not escape the other, and I will carry them to my people as pure as they came from your mouth.
My Great Father :-I am going to speak the truth. The Great Spirit looks down upon us, and I call Him to witness all that may pass between us on this occasion. If I am here now and have seen your people, your houses, your vessels on the big lake, and a great many wonderful things far beyond my comprehension, which appear to have been made by the Great Spirit and placed in your hands, I am indebted to my Father here, who invited me from home, under whose wings I have been protected *. Yes, my Great Father, I have travelled with your chief; I have followed him, and trod in his tracks; but there is still another Great Father to whom I am
* Pointing to Major O'Fallon,
much indebted—it is the Father of us all. Him who made us and placed us on this earth. I feel gratëful to the Great Spirit for strengthening my heart for such an undertaking, and for preserving the life which he gave me. The Great Spirit made us all --he made my skin red, and yours white; he placed us on this earth, and intended that we should live differently from each other.
He made the whites to cultivate the earth, and feed on domestic animals ; but he made us, red skins, to rove through the uncultivated woods and plains ; to feed on wild animals; and to dress with their skins. He also intended that we should go to warto take scalps-steal horses from and triumph over our enemies-cultivate peace at home, and promote the happiness of each other. I believe there are no people of any colour on this earth who do not believe in the Great Spirit-in rewards, and in punishments. We worship him, but we worship him not as you do. . We differ from you in appearance and manners as well as in our customs; and we differ from you in our religion; we have no large houses as you have to worship the Great Spirit in; if we had them to-day, we should want others to-morrow, for we have not, like you, a fixed habitation-we have no settled home except our villages, where we remain but two moons in twelve. We, like animals, rove through the coun
whites reside between us and heaven; but still, my Great Father, we love the Great Spiritwe acknowledge his supreme power-our peace, our health, and our happiness depend upon him, and our
lives belong to him-he made us and he can destroy
My Great Father:-Some of your good chiefs, as they are called (missionaries), have proposed to send some of their good people among us to change our habits, to make us work and live like the white people. I will not tell a lie-I am going to tell the truth. You love your country--you love your people--you love the manner in which they live, and you think your people brave.--I am like you, my Great Father, I love my country-I love my peopleI love the manner in which we live, and think myself and warriors brave. Spare me then, my Father ; let me enjoy my country, and pursue the buffalo, and the beaver, and the other wild animals of our country, and I will trade their skins with your people. I have grown up, and lived thus long without work-I am in hopes you will suffer me to die without it. We have plenty of buffalo, beaver, deer and other wild animals—we have also an abundance of horses we have every thing we want-we have plenty of land, if you will keep your people off of it. My father has a piece on which he lives (Council Bluffs) and we wish him to enjoy it—we have enough without it but we wish him to live near us to give us good counsel-to keep our ears and eyes open that we may continue to pursue the right road--the road to happiness. He settles all differences between us and the whites, between the red skins themselves-he makes the whites do justice to the red skins, and he makes the red skins do justice to the whites. He
saves the effusion of human blood, and restores peace and happiness on the land. You have already sent us a father; it is enough he knows us and we know him—we have confidence in him--we keep our eye constantly upon him, and since we have heard your words, we will listen more attentively to his.
It is too soon, my Great Father, to send those good men among us. We are not starving yet-we wish you to permit us to enjoy the chase until the game of our country is exhausted until the wild animals become extinct. Let us exhaust our present resources before you make us toil and interrupt our happiness—let me continue to live as I have done, and after I have passed to the Good or Evil Spirit from off the wilderness of my present life, the subsistence of my children may become so precarious as to need and embrace the assistance of those good people.
There was a time when we did not know the whites our wants were then fewer than they are now. They were always within our control-we had then seen nothing which we could not get. Before our intercourse with the whites (who have caused such a destruction in our game,) we could lie down to sleep, and when we awoke we would find the buffalo feeding around our camp—but now we are killing them for their skins, and feeding the wolves with their flesh, to make our children cry over their bones.
Here, my Great Father, is a pipe which I present you, as I am accustomed to present pipes to all the