Imágenes de página
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


Brothers, +When the white men first set foot on our grounds, they were hungry; they had no place on which to spread their blankets, or to kindle their fires. They were feeble; they could do nothing for themselves. Our fathers commiserated their distress, and shared freely with them whatever the Great Spirit had given his red children. They gave them food when hungry, medicine when sick, spread skins for them to sleep on, and gave them grounds, that they might hunt and raise corn.--Brothers, the white people are like poisonous serpents: when chilled, they are feeble and harmless; but invigorate them with warmth, and they sting their benefactors to death.

“ The white people came among us feeble; and now we have made them strong, they wish to kill us, or drive us back, as they would wolves and panthers.

Brothers, --The white men are not friends to the Indians: at first, they only asked for land sufficient for a wigwam; now nothing will satisfy them but the whole of our hunting grounds, from the rising to the setting sun.

Brothers, The white men want more than our hunting grounds; they wish to kill our warriors; they would even kill our old men, women, and little


Brothers, -Many winters ago, there was no land; the sun did not rise and set: all was darkness. The Great Spirit made all things. He gave the white people a home beyond the great waters. plied these grounds with game, and gave them to his

He sup

red children; and he gave them strength and courage to defend them.

Brothers --My people wish for peace; the red men all wish for peace: but where the white people are, there is no peace for them, except it be on the bosom of our mother.

Brothers,—The white men despise and cheat the Indians; they abuse and insult them; they do not think the red men sufficiently good to live.

“ The red men have borne many and great injuries; they ought to suffer them no longer. My people will not;, they are determined on vengeance; they have taken up the tomahawk : they will make it fat with blood; they will drink the blood of the white people.

Brothers, -My people are brave and numerous; but the white people are too strong for them alone. I wish you to take up the tomahawk with them. If we all unite, we will cause the rivers to stain the great waters with their blood.

Brothers --If you do not unite with us, they will first destroy us, and then you will fall an easy prey to them. They have destroyed many nations of red men because they were not united, because they were not friends to each other.

Brothers,—The white people send runners amongst us; they wish to make us enemies, that they may sweep over and desolate our hunting grounds, like devastating winds, or rushing waters.

Brothers -Our Great Father, over the great waters, is angry with the white people, our enemies.

He will send bis brave warriors against them; he will send us rifles, and whatever else we want-he is our friend, and we are his children.

Brothers,—Who are the white people that we should fear them? They cannot run fast, and are good marks to shoot at; they are only men; our fathers have killed many of them: we are not squaws, and we will stain the earth red with their blood.

Brothers, The Great Spirit is angry with our enemies; he speaks in thunder, and the earth swallows up villages, and drinks up the Mississippi. The great waters will cover their lowlands; their corn cannot grow; and the Great Spirit will sweep those who escape to the hills from the earth with his terrible breath.

Brothers, We must be united; we must smoke the same pipe; we must fight each other's battles; and more than all, we must love the Great Spirit: he is for us; he will destroy our enemies, and make all his red children happy.”

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]



[ocr errors]

In consequence of the universal sentiment that the Indians, from defect of intellect, are incapable of civilization, I fully determined to endeavour to procure a young deserted infant (if such could be found), whom I would have taken and educated with, and as one of my own. My speculations on this plan were, however, frustrated; as all who were intimate with the Indians, concurred in affirming that to obtain one of their children would be impossible. No emolument, or hope of advancement, would induce an Indian to part with his child. What an exalted virtue is here established ! People who are esteemed most civilized, most refined, have very different feelings as to their offspring, which in many instances are cast off at their birth to be nursed by a hireling; alienated from their early home, and abandoned to the too often careless guardianship of an academy; consigned to a college, where if they learn something of Virgil and the mathematics, they also get initiated, before their manhood, into every species of dissipation; and finally sent to remote parts of the globe (no matter where) with little, if any, regard to a single consideration other than the acquirement of wealth. How few of the duties obligatory on parents are fulfilled by the majority of Christian fathers and mothers!


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The tender solicitude of the Indian women, in respect of their children, I have had several opportunities of witnessing; but it was never more completely developed than by the following incident which took place before my eyes.

A mother with an infant at her breast, and two other children, one about eleven and the other eight or nine years of age, were in a canoe near a mile from land, during a violent squall. The wind came in sudden gusts, and the waves dashed in rapid succession over the frail vessel. The poor woman, with a small oar in one hand and the other surrounding her babe, directed the two young ones, who each had a paddle, to get the head of the canoe to the wind while the squall lasted; which, with much labour on the part of these tender little mariners, aided by the mother, was at length effected; but during the effort it was very touching to see the strong emotions of maternal love, evidenced to the poor infant at her breast. She would clasp it tightly to her agitated bosom, then cast a momentary look at her other children, and with an anxious and steady gaze, watch the coming wave. In this scene were exhibited such high degrees of fortitude, dexterity, and parental affection, that I could have wished many of our civilized mothers, who look and think with contempt on the poor Indian, had beheld her.

This tenderness in the early nurture of their offspring, is followed by the most exact care in their subsequent education.

“ It may justly be a subject of wonder,” says Mr. Heckewelder, “ how a nation,

« AnteriorContinuar »