Cherokee Phoenix

From the American Daily Advertiser

Published March, 10, 1832

Page 1 Column 5c

From the American Daily Advertiser.


Mr. Poulson:- The four Indians who have been on a visit for some days in our City, belong to the Sotu, Crea, and Assiniboin tribes. Ka-che-cum, or Big Bell- to the first:- Eto-wish-ke-za--or Lightning Walker--and the youth called Peter, about 16 years of age, to the last. Lightning Walker, is however, but a poor interpretation of Mon-ko-che-asha-ga; it means the man who when he moves towards his enemies, is at each step like the forked lightning, burning and destroying from each point he occupies and sending out irregular and terrible effects from his quiver. Peter, is os called because he has not yet killed an enemy. He received this name from the traders. But when in some desperate enterprise in which he will no doubt ere long engage, he kills his antagonist, then he will have a name, it being the custom with them to take the name with the scalp of the conquered adversary. It is owing to this custom that some of them have two, three, four, and sometimes a dozen names. Eto-wish-ke-za, killed, not long ago, a noted Chief of the Blackfeet Indians, and took his name.

The tribes represented by these people are always at war. Their enemies are the Blackfeet, and Crow, Sioux, Mandans, Asickwas, 'c, 'c. They are known as the Indians of the Plain. They have no fixed villages, but roam over the vast extent of country between the Rocky Mountains, the Yellow Stone, the Red River, 'c. They hunt and live upon the buffalo. The skin of this animal furnishes them with covering for their bodies and lodges. Besides the buffalo, they have the grisly bear, elk, antelope, beaver, and the big horn, or Rocky Mountain sheep. They hunt mostly on horseback-and are armed with bows and arrows, and guns, not rifles.

It is exceedingly difficult to know their numbers. Indeed, they do not know themselves. They count by lodges. But those who occupy these moveable tents sometimes include half a dozen families. The Assiniboins say they have 1800 lodges, at an average of twenty persons to each, this would give them 36,000. The Creas 1500 lodges, the average, makes their number 80,000; whilst the Lotos, a mixture perhaps of Chippewa and other tribes, are very numerous.

We know no more humane policy towards these distant and uninformed savages than to bring them by demonstrations into our settlements and to our principal cities. No description that can be given of our numbers, or power, or improvement, can convey to them the faintest idea of either. If they are told that our villages are so numerous as not to be counted, and that one of them would fill the circuit of one of their largest prairies, they, thinking themselves the greatest and most powerful of all people, and that their lodges outnumbered all others, being immediately to think of us, and of our cities, by a comparison with themselves. If they are told the white skins are as numerous as the leaves of their forests, they again think it figurative, and conclude that we are not more numerous than themselves. They must see and hear and feel for themselves. Once impressed with a just opinion of our power and ability to reach them with it, they feel the natural working of self preservation, and will not, by killing our people throw themselves in the way of being punished for it. Peace is the natural fruit of these visits.- Here again they seeing our comforts and feeling our bounty, or kindness, and our ability to confer benefits on them, yield more willingly to our councils in their intercourse with one another. Peace with us, and peace with one another, are therefore promoted.

The intelligent and daring agent, Maj. John Sanford, deserves credit for leading those distant bands, at immense hazard, through the country of their enemies, to show them the wonderful people whom he represents. Unfortunately, about sixteen of those he had selected to come with him, ' to take back their own views of what we are, and of our country and power were frightened back by some traders telling them they would take the small pox, and on their return their tribes would all die of it. This terrible evil is the Indian's horror! In vain did the agent remonstrate and tell them they would be killed in going back, by their numerous enemies. They answered, then we only will die. But if we catch the breath of the Wah-nee-hash-she-chah-- as the Sioux call the Bad Spirit--we shall blow it among our people, and they will all die. They returned, leaving only the four we have spoken of to come on with him.

Among the sights that have most deeply impresses them, is the ship of the line, the Pennsylvania. This was to these untutored savages, a big canoe indeed. Yet it was not possible to explain to them how it was to be propelled through the water. They were then taken to the Monongahela, now ready for sea, and shown the whole plan of sailing. The old man, Ka-che-cum, broke out and said-'The Great Spirit has made white skins to know a great deal, but we poor Indians know nothing'

The conduct of these Indians has been exceedingly proper since they have been here. Their agent very properly keeps whiskey from them. They never ask for it, and being sober, they are correct in their deportment. A little of this mad-water would kindle the fiercest fires in their eyes, and give to them the looks they assume when they mingle in bloody strife with their enemies. It is only in war, and when an Indian is drunk, or when he paints himself and dances his war-dance, that we can form any correct notion of the looks of a Savage. It is only such occasions we get the genuine yell, the whoop sounds that used to startle our pioneer fathers, and send a shudder through the nerves of our mothers and make their little ones cling closely to their terrified and palpitating hearts. They knew not at what moment they would feel the deadly grasp of the Indian's bloody hand, or hear the twang of the bow, or receive upon their defenseless heads the blow of the war club or tomahawk. But those days of strife are past. How happy are we of the present generation of being free from such alarms, and to be able to lie down and rise up in peace.

But let us not forget the wrongs that the Indians then suffered, nor the causes that goaded him on thus to act. Nor let us forget the wrongs they continue to suffer. When will justice be done to this people


P. S. The four Indians left this city for Washington, on Sunday morning.