Many Clans Were Formed In Ranks of Native American


By Joe Bruner


The American Indian, August, 1927


(Continued from last issue)

            His way of living is exactly the cure for consumption.  When you are sure that you have consumption, donít go to Arizona or any other warm climate, but go to the mountains wherein you live.  Build a good camp that is dry and comfortable.  Never get in a rain or get wet.  Donít take any medicine at all.  Donít eat hog meat or beef meat, and if you cannot get wild meat, donít get any at all.  But eat all the wild meat you can get or kill.  Donít eat any fish. Eat all the squirrel you can get and, if possible, barbecued venison.  Donít use any lard at any time.

            Wild honey is good when one can find a bee tree.  Never take any strong drink of any kind.  Always build your camp near some good spring of water in or about a mountain.  Take all the exercise you can stand without tiring yourself much.  Go on a hunt each day you are able to walk; always go afoot.  Try climbing mountains, as this will give you the fresh air you most need.

            The writer knew a man who had hereditary consumption who went through this ordeal and was cured and lived some 25 or 30 years after to be an old man.  This is well worth trying, but donít leave the country or state in which you live.  Since the Redman built him a house to live in and began to eat hog and beef and to take strong drink, he is no good anymore.  God made him to live in the open air and eat and live on wild meat.  But the change to civilization has ruined his health.  The writer is acquainted with a great many remedies that the Redman used, but time and space will allow recording but a few at this time.

            The To Ka Pa Itchee, Antusa Hutchee Chuba, and Kialigee are the original Spokogees, and the name of the tribe was finally changed to Muskogees.  The word Muskogees defined means ďgathering or bunched up.Ē  And the Creeksí tradition says [that] the Spokogees came from South America.

            Once upon a time, the Great Spirit called upon the leaders of the Spokogees and advised them that it was time to celebrate the harvest yield.  And that the Great Spirit would furnish them with music[al] instruments.  A day was set when the aged chieftains should go to the top of the Adus mountains to receive the instruments.  They put on their best regalia and went up into the mountains.

            Late in the afternoon, there came up a seemingly dark cloud in the west, and when it reached the mountain top, it proved to be a great fog.  As it passed over the top of the mountain, each chief received a package handed to him by an unseen hand.  These packages were taken to the Medicine Man of the Spokogees for examination.  He fasted for four days and at the same time played the instruments over.

            The Medicine Man reported to his people that the music was very sacred and that they should be formed into bands or clans from that day.  Clans were established, and they were informed they would ever be the custodians of the sacred musical instruments.  The Medicine Man called his clan together, which was made up of veteran warriors, and they became known as the Wind Clan.  Their leader was Tus-ta-nugu, or Little Warrior, who was taught to play the sacred instruments.

            After different clans were formed, a great celebration was begun which lasted for many days.  This was the first time the Spokogees ever celebrated with musical instruments, and this happened thousands of years ago.  All of the old-time Indians belonged to a certain clan, and when they met another Indian, they always told which clan they represented.  And when an Indian was a member of the Tiger clan, it was the custom never to inter-marry into the same clan but choose a wife, say, from the Deer clan, and so on.

             It is said that the Shawnee tribe in their ancient rites celebrate with the sacred musical instruments handed down from their ancestors or perhaps secured from a clan of the Spokogee tribe.  It seems that the town of Tokaparchee voted to turn over its sacred instruments to the Wind clan of the Shawnee tribe.

            A warrior going on a long camp hunt associated only with men.  He never went about womenóeven his wifeófor one moon before he went upon his hunt.  No one but the hunters of the camp knew when the hunters would start upon their hunt.  The day or night of the start was kept a secret until they were gone.

            A tribal custom was that the woman worked and made a crop for bread while the man furnished the meat.  The woman thought it her duty to raise the crop and the man to furnish her with meat.  There was one thing in the womanís favor, and that was that very little bread was required in the Redmanís family, while it required lots of meat, as the Redman is a great meat eater and could live on meat alone.  She made bread that lasted and did not spoil in any kind of weather.

            It was thus she made the bread: She took corn, roasted in wood ashes, and parched it brown, then pounded it with a mortar and pestle just as she pounded raw corn for bread.  After pounding it into fine meal, [she] dripped a lot of lye out of wood ashes, which was very strong.  She made up this meal with nothing but lye and baked it just the shape of a doughnut, and then dried them out in the sun without salt or shortening.  The bread was taken on long camp hunts, and when camp was struck, the bread was hung upon a limb of a tree where it would remain until such time as it was needed.  It would hang on the limb of a tree through all kinds of weather, which had no effect on it at all.

            When a deer was killed, the backbone was cooked in a brass kettle into a kind of stew.  When the deer meat was about done, a lot of this so-called bread was dumped into the stew; after a time, it became soft and was wholesome and good eating for the hunters.

            And again another diet which tickled the Redmanís palate was sofkey, made thus: The woman took corn and wood ashes, put [them] in a pot together, then added some water; when the corn was cooked until it was about half done, it was laid in the sun to dry.  This was then parched and pounded in a mortar until the corn was cracked to about one-fourth of the original grain.  This was also taken on long hunts and was excellent food and could be cooked, done and tender in ten minutes.  This diet was used only on hunts and was relished by the Redman.

             Now about the industry of the Redman and woman, their virtue and honesty.  The Redman on his native heath was truly an honest man.  God never made a man of any color that was more honest that the Redman, nor did he make a more virtuous woman than the Indian woman.

            The modern civilization of the white man as the Redman embraced it has been a downfall to the Redman and woman.  There is a peculiar difference between the white [man] and Redman that we will mention.  Now place a white man in a field to work and with him an Indian.  The white man will work hard from day to day until he gathers his crop, but the Redman will not stick to his work long at a time; he will find some excuse in three or four days to suspend work and rest up about as many days as he has worked.  The Redman makes excuses when it comes to field work.

             Now we will change the case a little: Give the white man a gun and also the Redman a gun and tell them to go out on a hunt.  The Redman will walk all around the white hunter, go twice the distance in a day; in fact, the Redman will walk a white man until he is completely worn out.


Indian Fish Fable


            An Indian learned long before anyone that a fish would bite at a worm, Cara-fa-maka, as he called the red earthworm.  So he fashioned a hook out of a fish bone.  How he got his first fish to get a bone is unknown to us, but he made his line thus:

            He pulled several hairs out of the tail of his pony, and out of the hairs he made a line.  Then [he] went, and by main strength, with a burned stick sharpened while burning, he dug up the worms.  Then he went to a cool shade of a creek and threw in his bone hook well baited.  The fish raised at once, and in fact, they bit so fast that he only had time to bait his hook and jerk them out and throw them over his head.  His hook having no beard on it, the fish readily came loose from his hook while in the air above his head.

            He sat and jerked out fish as fast as he could; in fact, he miscounted the number he had thrown over his head.  When he thought he must have a couple strings about four feet long, he stopped fishing to count and string them before proceeding to his tepee.  He went upon the bank and looked all around for his fish, but found only one.

            The Redman could not understand such luck; he knew he had caught a great lot of them, and to go home with only one fish did not look good to him.  Having lots of bait, he decided to try another string.  He stood and studied the situation.  He had in his life seen flying fish, and thought maybe he had been catching flying fish all the time and maybe as they came unhooked they had flown off to some other part of the creek.  So he thought he would be more careful and see where they were going.  He was not long getting a bite; he gave a jerk and up came Mr. Fish.  While between the earth and heave and loose from the hook, a fish hawk swooped down and caught the fish on the fly and swallowed him right before the Redmanís eyes.

            He saw at once what had become of his big catch.  Then it was Mr. Injun who planned to fool the fish hawk, so the next time he went fishing, he made a long throw line, and he caught and saved up all his catch.  Since that time, the Redman always uses a throw line.  MoralóDonít jerk your fish too high up in the elements for fear of fish hawks.


Another Indian Fable


             The Redman did not at first like hog meat; he thought that the hogs were very dirty and unclean and were not good to eat.  Although the Redman raised lots of hogs, [he] seldom ever killed one to eat.  He liked his deer and other game that lived among the native woods.

            A certain Medicine Man who had cultivated a taste for hog meat was very fond of it.  The neighbors had lost several hogs, and on the quiet, the Medicine Man was accused of getting the missing hogs.  But no one wanted to come right out and publicly accuse the Medicine Man, as he was prominent in the community.  But finally one of the neighbors had been missing too many hogs, which made him very angry, and he made up his mind to watch as well as pray.

             So one morning, he was out watching his bunch of swine, and at a distance, he saw the Medicine Man coming in the direction of the herd.  The owner of the herd hid himself and waited in patience.  The Medicine Man arrived near the swine herd and proved to be a very kind and liberal Medicine Man, for he reached into the comprise of his buckskin shirt and unearthed some ears of corn and began to shell and distribute [them] very freely among the herd, all the time speaking kind words to the hogs; and all at once, he plunged a knife into the heart of one of the fat ones.

            Now as to where he got the knife is very easily solved.  Christopher Columbus gave him the knife and instructed him how to use [it], and it was good to kill a hog with as well as a man.  The Medicine Man shouldered the hog and proceeded towards his house.  The herd owner cast his eyes up and saw him advancing in the direction of his home and followed him.  He saw the Medicine Man land his load or burden, and he also saw the good wife heating water to clean the hog.

            The Medicine Man cast a faraway look from whence he came with the hog and saw the swine owner coming, and the first thought that struck his mind was to hide his catch.  He told the good wife to hasten hither with a buffalo hide at once, and the wife obediently came to the rescue with the article wanted.  The Medicine Man spread the hide over the hog; and after a time, the herd owner came up, and the Medicine Man very cordially invited him to have a seat.  The herd owner seated himself on a log and waited for further developments.

            The Medicine Man was very talkative, and among other things he said that the patient under the cover had been very sick and he was now trying to sweat his fever off.  While saying this, he went around on the opposite side from where the swine owner sat, raised the buffalo hide a little, and inquired of the would-be patient if he was perspiring; then he came back to where the swine owner sat and in a low voice told him that he was afraid that he would lose his patient if he could not get up a sweat on him.  The swine owner got up to go, and the Medicine Man cautioned him not to disturb the patient, as that might prove fatal.

             Among the old-time Indians, there was no such thing as vulgarity.  There were no cuss words in their vocabulary, and with all the education given them, there still [are] no cuss words.  In order to take the Lordís name in vain, the Redman has to resort to what little English he has learned to do his swearing.  With all his depravity, he [has] his first intoxicating drink to make.  He is the first man though that gave the world its tobacco, as he was the discoverer of the weed.

            Several hundred years ago, the little Indian boy in his meandering along the seashore, swimming, etc., found the oyster and taught his parents to eat them.  There was a difference in the way he and the white man ate them.  The Redman roasted them in hot embers, shells and all, and did not fix them up as people of today do.

            The Indian boyís grandparents did the chastising of [him].  The parents never corrected their children except by advice, but if a child had been unruly, he [or she] was reported to the old people and was called for punishment.  The child was stripped of his [or her] leggings and made to stand with his [or her] back to the old man, who always carried his weapon with him.  The weapon was usually made of the under jaw of a very small gar fish, which the old man carried in his shot or tobacco pouch.  This was used to scratch the calves and arms of the child and was very severe punishment, as it cut to the blood and caused tears to flow.  After this ordeal, the wounds were dressed, and the child [was] given a lecture not to be a bad boy or girl any more.  This was perfectly satisfactory with the parents.                        (To be Continued)