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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: 9

all the pains he takes to conceal his passion, his malady is still apparent to his friends. The faithfulness of this sketch, will hardly be questioned, when the close analogy which it bears to a pale-faced lover, is recalled to mind. The Sauks and Foxes, when pinched with hunger, will eat almost any kind of meat, but prefer venison and bear's meat to all other; they never eat it unless cooked. They make much use of corn, beans and pumpkins, and annually raise considerable quantities. They are not fond of fish and seldom eat them if they can procure other kinds of food.

There are but three kinds of musical instruments used among these tribes. The drum, which is beat at their feasts, dances and games, the tambourin, and a kind of flageolet, made of cane or two pieces of soft wood hollowed out and fastened together with strips of leather. Their tunes are always on a flat key, have but few variations and are mostly of a melancholy character. According to Mr. Atwater, who visited those residing near Rock Island, in 1829, the Sacs and Foxes have "tunes evidently of French origin, and some songs of considerable length." "These Indians have among them, what answers to the Italian Improvisatori who make songs for particular occasions." The same writer says, "the Sauks and Foxes have a considerable number of songs, suited to a great many occasions in their own language." He further adds, "Among the Indians of the Upper Mississippi, the Sauks and Foxes are decidedly the best actors, and have the greatest variety of plays among them." In common with the Indian tribes generally, they have a variety of athletic games, in which both the men and women join. They are addicted to cards and other games of chance, and often bet very high.

Touching the condition of these tribes in 1805, Lieutenant Pike, in his travels to the sources of the Mississippi, says, "The first nation of Indians whom we met with, were the Sauks, who principally reside in four villages. The first at the head of the rapids des Moyens, on the west shore, containing thirteen lodges. The second on a prairie on the east shore about sixty miles above. The third on the river De Roche [Rock river] about three miles from the entrance, and the last on the river Iowa. They hunt on the Mississippi and its confluent streams from the Illinois to the river Des Iowa; and on the plains west of them which border the Mississippi. They are so perfectly consolidated with the Reynards (the Foxes) that they can scarcely be termed a distinct nation; but recently there appears to be a schism between the two nations: the latter not approving of the insolence and ill-will, which has marked the conduct of the former towards the United States, on many late occurrences. They have for many years past made war (under the auspices of the Sioux) on the Santeaux, Osages and Missouries; but as recently a peace has been (through the influence of the United States) made between them and the nations of the Missouri, and by the same means between the Sioux and the Santeaux (their principal allies) it appears it would be by no means a difficult matter to induce them to make a general peace, and pay still greater attention to the cultivation of the earth: as they now raise a considerable quantity of corn, beans and melons. The character which they bear with their savage brethren, is, that they are much more to be dreaded for their deceit and inclination for stratagem, than for open courage.

"The Reynards reside in three villages. The first on the west side of the Mississippi six miles above the rapids of the river de Roche. The second about twelve miles in the rear of the lead mines, and the third on Turkey river, half a league from its entrance. They are engaged in the same wars, and have the same alliances as the Sauks, with whom they must be considered as indissoluble in war and peace. They hunt on both sides of the Mississippi, from the river Iowa (below the prairie des Chiens) to a river of that name, above said village. They raise a great quantity of corn, beans and melons; the former of those articles in such quantities, as to sell many hundred bushels per annum."

At this period, 1805, according to Lieutenant Pike, the total number of souls in the Sauk nation was 2850, of whom 1400 were children, seven hundred and fifty women, and seven hundred warriors. They resided in their villages and had about seven hundred stand of arms. Their trade was principally in deer skins, with some bear and a few otter, beaver and raccoon skins. The total number of the Foxes was 1750, of whom eight hundred and fifty were children, five hundred women and four hundred warriors, with about four hundred stand of arms. Their number of villages and their trade being the same with the Sauks.

Some further items of information about these tribes may be gleaned from the statistical view of the Indian nations furnished by Lewis and Clark's Expedition. It is there stated that the Saukee, or O-sau-kee, speak a primitive language, dwell principally in two villages, have about five hundred warriors and 2000 souls in the tribe, were at war with the Osage, Chippeway and Sioux. The Foxes or Ot-tar-gar-me, in the Saukee language, number not more than 1200 souls, and about three hundred warriors. These nations, the Sauks and Foxes, says Mr. Lewis, are so perfectly consolidated that they may in fact be considered as one nation only: "they are extremely friendly to the whites and seldom injure their traders; but they are the most implacable enemies to the Indian nations with whom they are at war; to them is justly attributed the almost entire destruction of the Missouries, the Illinois, the Cahokias, Kaskaskias, and Peorias."

In 1825, the Secretary at War, estimated the entire number of Sacs and Foxes at 4,600 souls, and in 1826, the warriors were supposed to amount to between twelve and fourteen hundred. Supposing these estimates to approximate the truth, it appears that during the twenty years between 1805 and 1825, these tribes had increased very considerably in numbers.

The traders generally and those who have had most intercourse with the Sauks and Foxes, speak of them as honest in their dealings, and feel safe among them, seldom locking their doors by day or night, and allowing them free ingress to their stores and houses. Their reputation for courage, it appears, does not stand quite so fair. Lieutenant Pike speaks of them as being more dreaded by their savage brethren for "their deceit and inclination for stratagem, than for their open courage." Major Thomas Forsyth, late U.S. agent among the Sacs and Foxes, calls them a dastardly and cowardly set of Indians. The correctness of these charges may be questioned. Mr. Schoolcraft, in speaking of the Foxes says, "the history of their migrations and wars, shows them to have been a restless and spirited people, erratic in their dispositions, having a great contempt for agriculture, and a predominant passion for war." He adds, "they still retain their ancient character, and are constantly embroiled in wars and disputes with their neighbors, the results of which show, that they have more courage in battle, than wisdom in council." In a report of the war department to the President, made by the secretary Mr. Cass, in 1832, the Sacs and Foxes are spoken of as being distinguished for their "daring spirit of adventure and for their natural courage."

The truth appears to be, that the Sacs and Foxes fought their way from the waters of the St. Lawrence to Green Bay, and after reaching that place, not only sustained themselves against hostile tribes, but were among the most active and courageous in the subjugation or rather extermination of the numerous and powerful Illini confederacy. They have had many wars, offensive and defensive, with the Sioux, the Pawnees,