Cherokee Phoenix


Published May, 4, 1833

Page 2 Column 2b


'Immediately after we landed in St. Louis, on our way to the West, I proceeded to Gen. Clarke's, superintendent of Indian Affairs, to present our letters of introduction from the Secretary of War, and to receive the same from him to the different Indian agents in the upper country. While in this office and transacting business with him, he informed me that three chiefs from the Flat-head Nation were in his house, and were quite sick, and that one (the forth) had died a few days ago. They were from the west of the Rocky Mountains. Curiosity prompted me to step into the adjoining room to see them, having never seen any, but often heard of them. I was struck by their appearance. They differ in appearance from any tribe of Indians I have ever seen; small in size, delicately formed, small limbs, and the most exact symmetry throughout except the head. I had always supposed from their being called 'Flat-Heads', that the head was actually flat on the top; but this is not the case. The head is flattened thus: (here in is a drawing in profile of a 'flat-head') From the point of the nose to the apex of the head, there is a perfect straight line, the protuberance of the forehead is flattened or levelled. You may form some idea of the shape of their heads from the rough sketch I have made with the pen, though I confess I have drawn almost too long a proboscis for a Flat-head. This is produced by a pressure upon the cranium while in infancy. The distance they had travelled on foot was nearly three thousand miles to see Gen., Clarke, their great father, as they called him, he being the first American officer they ever became acquainted with, and having much confidence in him, they had come to consult him as they said upon very important matters. Gen. Clarke related to me the object of their mission, and, my dear friend, it is impossible for me to describe to you my feelings while listening to his narrative. I will here relate it as briefly as I well can. It appeared that some white man had penetrated into their country, and happened to be a spectator at one of their religious ceremonies, which they scrupulously perform at stated periods. He informed them that their mode of worshipping the Supreme Being was radically wrong, and instead of being acceptable and pleasing, it was displeasing to him; he also informed them that the white people away toward the rising of the sun had been put in possession of the true mode of worshipping the great Spirit. They had a book containing directions how to conduct themselves in order to enjoy his favor and hold converse with him; and with this guide, no one need go astray, but every one that would follow the directions laid down there, could enjoy in this life, his favor, and after death would be received into the country where the great Spirit resides, and live forever with him.

Upon receiving this information, they called a national council to take this subject into consideration. Some said, if this be true it is certainly high time we are put in possession of this mode, and if our mode of worshipping be wrong and displeasing to the great Spirit, it is time we had laid it aside, we must know something more about this, it is a matter that cannot be put off, and the sooner we know the better. They accordingly deputed four of their chief to proceed to St. Louis to see their great father, Gen. Clarke, to inquire of him, having no doubt but he would tell them the whole truth about it.

They arrived at St. Louis, and presented themselves to Gen. C. The latter was somewhat puzzled being sensible of the responsibilities that rested on him; he however proceeded by informing them that what they had been told by the white man in their own country was true. Then he went into a succinct history of man, from his creation to the advent of the Savior, explained to them all the moral precepts contained in the Bible expounded to them the decalogue informed them of the advent of the Savior, his life, precepts, his death, resurrection, ascension, and the relation he now stand to man as a mediator-that he will judge the world 'c.

Poor fellows, they were not all permitted to return home to their people with the intelligence. Two died in St. Louis, and the remaining two though somewhat indisposed, set out for their native land. Whether they reached home or not is not known. The change of climate and diet operated very severely upon their health. Their diet when at home is chiefly vegetables and fish.


Mission to the Flat Heads.- The article which we inserted a few weeks since under the head of 'Wise men of the West' seems to have excited a fine missionary spirit among our Methodist brethren, in whose paper the article was originally published. The following animating letter from the Rev. Wilbur Fisk, we find in the Christian Advocate and Journal of last week.- N. Y. Obs.


Who will respond to the call from beyond the Rocky Mountains?

Messrs Editors.- The communication of brother G. P. Disasway, including one from the Wyandot agent on the subject of the deputation of the Flat Head Indians to Gen. Clarke, has excited in many in this section intense interest. And to be short about it, we are for having a mission established there at once. I have proposed the following plan: Let two suitable men, unencumbered with families, and possessing the spirit of martyrs, throw themselves into the nation; live with them-learn their language-preach Christ to them-and as the way opens introduce school, agriculture, and the arts of civilized life. The means for these improvements can be introduced through the fur traders, and by the reinforcements with which from time to time we can strengthen the mission. Money shall be forth coming. I will be bondsman for the church. All we want is men. Who will Go? Who? I know of whom I can say, I know of none like him for this enterprize. If he go, (and we have written to him on the subject) we only want another, and the mission will be commenced the coming season. Were I young and healthy, and unencumbered how joyfully would I go! But this honor is reserved for another. Bright will be his crown; glorious his reward. Affectionately yours,


Wesleyan Seminary, March 9, 1833.