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قراءة كتاب Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

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‏اللغة: English
Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 3


INDEX.      285







Origin of the Sac and Fox Indians—Removal to Green Bay—Their subjugation of the Illini confederacy—Their attack upon St. Louis in 1779—Col. George Rogers Clark relieves the town—Governor Harrison's letter—Maj. Forsyth's account of the conquest of the Illini—Death of the Sac chief Pontiac—Sac and Fox village on Rock river—Description of the surrounding country—Civil polity of the Sacs and Foxes—Legend about their chiefs—Division of the tribes into families—Mode of burying their dead—Idea of a future state—Their account of the creation of the world—Marriages—Social relations—Music and musical instruments—Pike's visit to them in 1805—Population—Character for courage.

The word Saukee, or O-sau-kee, now written Sauk or more commonly Sac, is derived from a compound in the Algonquin or Chippeway language, a-saw-we-kee, which means "yellow earth." Mus-qua-kee, the name of the Fox Indians, signifies "red earth." These two tribes have long resided together, and now constitute one people, although there are some internal regulations among them which tend to preserve a distinctive name and lineage. The chiefs, on ceremonial occasions, claim to be representatives of independent tribes, but this distinction is nominal. For many years past the principal chief of the Sacs, has been, in fact, the chief of the Foxes likewise. They are united in peace and war, speak the same language, claim the same territory, have similar manners and customs, and possess traditions which represent them as descended from the one common origin—the great Chippeway nation.

Both tribes originally resided upon the waters of the St. Lawrence. The Foxes removed first to the west, and established themselves in the region of Green Bay. Upon a river bearing their name, which empties into the head of this Bay, they suffered a signal defeat by a combined body of French and Indians, at a place, since known as La Butte de Mort, or the Hill of the Dead.[1] Subsequently to this battle, they were joined by the Sacs, who having become involved in a war with the Iroquois or Six Nations, were also driven to the westward. They found their relatives, the Foxes, upon Green Bay, but so far reduced in numbers, by the attacks of other tribes, that they were no longer able to sustain themselves as an independent people. The union between these two tribes, which then took place, and continues to this day, was as much a matter of necessity as of feeling. The period of their migration from the St. Lawrence to the upper Lakes cannot be satisfactorily ascertained. La Hontan speaks of a Sac village on Fox river, as early as 1689; and Father Hennepin, in 1680, mentions the Ontagamies or Fox Indians, as residents on the bay of Puants, now Green Bay.

From this place, the Sauks and Foxes, crossed over to the eastern bank of the Mississippi, and combining with other tribes, began to act on the offensive. The period of this irruption from the north, it is not easy to determine. Major Thomas Forsyth, who resided for near twenty years among the Sauks and Foxes, in a manuscript account of those tribes, now before us, says:

"More than a century ago, all the country, commencing above Rock river, and running down the Mississippi to the mouth of the Ohio, up that river to the mouth of the Wabash, thence up that river to Fort Wayne, thence down the Miami of the Lake some distance, thence north to the St. Joseph's and Chicago; also the country lying south of the Des Moines, down perhaps, to the Mississippi, was inhabited by a numerous nation of Indians, who called themselves Linneway, and were called by others, Minneway, signifying "men." This great nation was divided into several bands, and inhabited different parts of this extensive region, as follows: The Michigamies, the country south of the Des Moines; the Cohakias that east of the present village of Cohokia in Illinois; the Kaskaskias that east of the town of that name; the Tamarois had their village nearly central between Cahokia and Kaskaskia; the Piankeshaws near Vincennes; the Weas up the Wabash; the Miamies on the head waters of the Miami of the Lakes, on St. Joseph's river and at Chicago. The Piankeshaws, Weas and Miamies, must at this time have hunted south towards and on the Ohio. The Peorias, another band of the same nation, lived and hunted on the Illinois river: The Mascos or Mascontins, called by the French gens des prairies, lived and hunted on the great prairies, between the Wabash and Illinois rivers. All these different bands of the Minneway nation, spoke the language of the present Miamies, and the whole considered themselves as one and the same people; yet from their local situation, and having no standard to go by, their language became broken up into different dialects. These Indians, the Minneways, were attacked by a general confederacy of other nations, such as the Sauks and Foxes, resident at Green Bay and on the Ouisconsin; the Sioux, whose frontiers extended south to the river des Moines: the Chippeways, Ottoways, and Potawatimies from the lakes, and also the Cherokees and Choctaws from the south. The war continued for a great many years and until that great nation the Minneways were destroyed, except a few Miamies and Weas on the Wabash, and a few who are scattered among strangers. Of the Kaskaskias, owing to their wars and their fondness for spiritous liquors, there now (1826) remain but thirty or forty souls;—of the Peorias near St. Genevieve ten or fifteen; of the Piankeshaws forty or fifty. The Miamies are the most numerous; a few years ago they consisted of about four hundred souls. There do not exist at the present day (1826) more than five hundred souls of the once great and powerful Minneway or Illini nation. These Indians, the Minneways, are said to have been very cruel to their prisoners, not unfrequently burning them. I have heard of a certain family among the Miamies who were called man-eaters, as they were accustomed to make a feast of human flesh when a prisoner was killed. For these enormities, the Sauks and Foxes, when they took any of the Minneways prisoners, gave them up to their women to be buffeted to death. They speak also of the Mascontins with abhorrence, on account of their cruelties. The Sauks and Foxes have a historical legend of a severe battle having been fought opposite the mouth of the Iowa river, about fifty or sixty miles above the mouth of Rock river. The Sauks and Foxes descended the Mississippi in canoes, and landing at the place above described, started east, towards the enemy: they had not gone far before they were attacked by a party of the Mascontins. The battle continued nearly all day; the Sauks and Foxes, for want of ammunition, finally gave way and fled to their canoes; the Mascontins pursued them and fought desperately, and left but few of the Sauks and Foxes to carry home the