Cherokee Phoenix

This issue of the Phoenix is printed in four columns only

Published November, 13, 1830

Page 4 Column 4a

This issue of the Phoenix is printed in four columns only.

From the N. Y. Daily Advertiser.


We were politely furnished, some weeks since, by a friend, with the following extract of a letter, dated 'Wheeling, January 1830,' the publication of which, has been delayed only by a press of matter, that has at the same time excluded many other articles.

'I took passage at Cincinnati, in the same boat with the Indian Chiefs composing the delegation of the Creeks to the President of the United States, on the subject of their apprehended ejectment from the land of their fathers.

'I was made acquainted, during the time I was with them with some very curious Indian customs, which may be new to you. The Creek Indians have a religious rite, called the busk which they observe regularly in the month of July. The celebration of it appears to be thus: The inhabitants of a township having carefully collected and removed the ashes from their hearths, proceed formally to occupy four Council Houses, which are erected so as to form a hollow square. In the center of this square, on the first of the Busk, a pile of wood is placed, the pieces being laid in radiating positions, which is their usual mode of building a fire.

'The officiating Chief, who united the offices of Priest and Physician, takes two pieces of wood prepared for the purpose, and by rubbing them together produces fire by which the pile is ignited; ' then the Indians unite and move around it in a kind of religious dance. From this fire each family in the township is supplied afresh, with what they esteem

new and pure fire; and on that morning commences the seven day fast, which is kept with religious care and fidelity. During the fast they drink the Yapon tea, (called the black drink) which they believe to be purifying and healthful, together with their bitter herbs, administered by their priest. Bitter herbs and the inner bark of trees are taken to sustain them during the fast, which they are enabled to continue for nine or ten days without much suffering.

'At the village of Chatahoochie are deposited the six Copper or Brazen Vessels, some circular and some oblong, and stamped AE on the outside which according to their tradition, were given for holy purposes by the Master of breath, (God).

'On the first day of the Busk, the Priest delivers them to be washed. They are then carried by six bearers around the fire, and afterwards deposited, to remain unseen, until the following year. This day is the beginning of the season when it is permitted to eat of the new fruits of the earth, (corn, wheat, 'c.) and in cases where the custom has been violated, the conscientious regard the house in which the food was prepared with abhorrence. At this period also certain offenses are pardoned; so that with absolution for past offenses, the purification of their fast, with new fire and new food, they begin the year with intentions of reformed ' better lives.

'Then follows a kind of Carnival- a general feasting,( from which ardent spirits are excluded) to which all contribute. The whole is terminated by a game of Ball, a sport of which the Indians partake with a ardor and delight not surpassed in the games of ancient Greece. The game is generally played by the best men of two different tribes.

'Tripping up and throwing down are permitted, and crippling and killing are not unfrequently the result; but their law of blood for blood (at other times so rigidly enforced) is not enforced under such circumstances.

'On the Chattahoochie (sic) River there are some rocks marked with letters or hieroglyphics, (from which the river takes its name) but the Indians cannot be prevailed upon to show them to white men.'