The Hočąk Notebook of W. C. McKern
from the
Milwaukee Public Museum

W. C. McKern

This is a catalogue of the Winnebago notes and texts compiled by Will Carleton McKern that are kept at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Copies of the Manuscripts are preserved here in the Encyclopedia as well.

Special thanks to Nancy O. Lurie and Dawn Scher-Thomae for making possible the presentation of this material in the Hočąk Encyclopedia.

Notebook 1927

The numbers in the left column represent the order of the pages in the notebook, which have been only slightly adjusted from the order of the loose leaves given to me. Each of these numbers is linked to the original manuscript page from the notebook. They have been scanned at 150 dpi, and if necessary, can be greatly enlarged.

MS = manuscript pages. Ptd = printed versions.
MS Ptd Contents
1 1 Table of phonetic values used in the notebook.
2 2 Blank, except for "Close vowels - a as in father = closed".
3 3 An unlabeled diagram, and mention of several plants that might be the wakipimin.
4 4 Receipt for funds given in advance to informants, "John H. Bear, Ind. Chief Black Bear." Dated 10/24/27.
5 5
Winnebago Notes 1927
Payments to informant, John H. Bear. Date, hours, amount paid. Runs from October 31 - December 12, 1927.
5 5
6 6
7 7
8 8
9 9
10 10
11 11 Expense account. First column is "paid," second column is "applied to debt." For informants John Bear and Smith. Runs from October 31 - December 12 (1927).
12 12
13 13 Payments to informant Ulysses S. White. Date, hours, amount paid. Runs from November 1 - December 9, 1927.
14 14
15 15 Topics on which to gain information.
16 16 Chief John Bear’s address.
17 17 Bear Clan association with the Thunderbird Clan. Four bears of foundation legend. Bear Clan names for girls and boys.
18 18 Bear Clan names for girls and boys.
18 18 Bear Clan Origin Myth (with a vertical line drawn through it). Picture in pencil of how the Bear Clan painted the faces of their dead. See 33 - 34.
19 19
19 19 Bear Clan symbolism. The flag (Hòkĕrĕ’ų́). Their role as police.
20 20 Bear Clan as police, clubs, exogamy. Burials (with a vertical line drawn through it).
21 21 Bear Clan origin myth (with a vertical line drawn through it). This is the second version of the myth. See below.
22 22
22 22 Thunder Clan had its own birth order names. However, places where names were to have been written were left blank.
23 23 Death ritual, Bear Clan, with a vertical line drawn through it. This is the unedited version of Journey to Spiritland, v. 9, rewritten below (35-36).
24 24
25 25
25 25 Mourning periods. War feats told at funeral.
26 26 Death ritual (Four Nights’ Wake). Overview of activities.
27 27
27 27 Notes on the flag.
27 27 Inheritance ceremony. Old people tell the children what is expected of them as adults.
28 28
29 29
29 29 Menstrual hut customs.
30 30 Puberty fasting customs. Role of medicine man. Wood Spirits (wakaį́čų or nóči).
31 31 The association of clans with mounds, and the assignment of each to a cardinal direction.
32 32 Brief remarks on the Thunder Clan in relation to the Bear and Wolf Clans. The page is numbered "①".
33 Origin of the Bear Clan, Version 1 (= Bear Clan Origin Myth, Version 11). Pages numbered "②" and "3.". This is a more detailed rewrite of 18 - 19.
35 Death ritual, Bear Clan (= Journey to Spiritland, v. 9). Pages numbered "④" and "⑤".
37 Bear Clan Origin Myth, Version 2 (= Bear Clan Origin Myth, Version 12). The pages are numbered "⑥", "⑦" and "⑧". This is a more detailed rewrite of the above.
40 40 Bear Clan feasts. "Stick with mark for every moon." List of moons, except November and December.
41 41 Death ritual of the Bear Clan. Recitation to the ghost of what he is to do on his journey to Spiritland. Songs sung at the wake (Recordings I - II). Mortuary role of the Wolf Clan.
42 Death ritual of the Bear Clan: Recitation to the ghost of what he is to do on his journey to Spiritland (= Journey to Spiritland, v. 10).
45 45 Death ritual of the Bear Clan. A description of the wake. Funeral games. Role of Medicine Rite.
46 46
47 47
48 48
49 49
50 50
51 51
52 52 Rituals concerned with the grave post.
53 53 Songs sung during the ceremony. Recordings III and IV.
54 54 Bear and Buffalo Clan ethnology. Weather ritual using a bear foot. Procedure used by a Bear Clansman when he has killed a bear or buffalo. Actions done before a buffalo hunt. Two year old buffaloes are most fear. They must not be offended.
55 55 Entitled "puberty ceremonies," but it deals with the relationship of the Bear Clan to the Thunderbird Clan, and the rights of the former with respect to the disposition of the land. Waking songs sung to children.
56 56 Waking songs. Recordings III, V1, V2.
57 57 Waking songs. Recording VI.
58 58 Waking songs. Recording IV.
58 58 What should be handed down generation to generation. The importance of old men as story tellers.
59 59 What should be handed down generation to generation.
60 60 What should be handed down generation to generation. Waking ritual.
61 61 What should be handed down generation to generation. Fasting.
62 62 What should be handed down generation to generation. Crying to the spirits.
63 63 What should be handed down generation to generation. "Afraid to Eat Greens."
64 64 Thunderbirds are guardians of the warbundles.
64 The Oak Tree and the Man Who was Blessed by the Heroka.
66 66 A blank page numbered "9".
67 67 A diagram of a lodge with the comment, "Clans do not sit together."
68 68 Personal names, men, 5-28.
69 69 Personal names, men, 29-52.
70 70 Personal names, women.
71 71 Dog names, male.
72 72 Dog names, female.
73 73 Games. The chipmunk game. The arrow shooting game. Snow snake (sakóro’ų́). Mós’okiroči, a stick game played using a mound. Wanaxé kuruk’į, "ghost comes back," also known as, Woxĕ́hokirinaki, "ground hole in it," where a bowler tries to get the ball to land in a hole, and the boy in whose hole it lands, tries to hit another boy before they can reach base.
74 74
75 75 The two moieties, Earth and Air. Fast Eating Contest.
76 76 Bear Clan leader gives naming feast.
77 77 Naming feast of the Bear Clan.
78 78 People adopted into the Bear Clan are not members of the clan, but only members of the family who adopted them. The avunculate. The warbundle.
79 79 The warleader. Role of his nephews. How he obtained his position. Mourning for those killed in action. The role of dreams in using the warbundle. Rights to items inside the bundle when the whole village goes to war. The war feast.
80 80
81 81 Role of nephews in feast. Teasing relations and relations to whom it was taboo to talk. Child birth customs.
82 82 What is done with a boy's first kill. Taboo of females stepping over the face of males. Stone pointed arrows are not made. They are made by "worms," like dung beetles.
82 82 Arrows types made for children as they progress.
83 83
83 83 Notes concerning food. Eating beating turtle hearts. Acceptable and taboo foods. Eating of dogs at warbundle feasts. Notched sticks used to keep tally on expected guests. Privileges in choice of food.
84 84
85 85 How war honors are distributed. Role of the warleader. How they reenter the village. How warbundle and scalps are handled.
86 86
87 87 Warrior sings in honor of clans represented by victors. Decorations given to the victors.
88 88 Terms for victors. Name Hočągara is "Big Voice" in sign language. Role of female relatives. They receive the prizes won.
89 89 Women give reciprocal gifts. These gifts are given to the poor. Scalp Dance lasts four days. "Feeding the warbundle."
90 90 Rituals pertaining to the scalp. The scalp is offered food (but it is eaten by an appointed man). Prayers made to the War Controllers. In the Catching Up Dance, the warriors catch up to the spirit of the slain. Prior to this, the spirit may cause them to feel weak, but the dance restores them.
91 91
92 92
92 Little Priest’s Game.
104 104 The reason for holding the Catching Up Dance (Hok’ixére Waši) is to avoid the sickness experienced by the Sioux in the story above. Any one receiving a scalp must present a four day feast to feed the warbundle. The scalp is finally given to someone who has lost a family member. He hangs it permanently on the grave post.
105 105 Patriotic songs from World War I. Recordings VIIa and VIIb.
106 106
107 107 How medicines were obtained. Hikikáraxjįk, a root used in war and hunting. Various magical potions. Wasé (paint) medicine comes from Waterspirits.
108 108 Winter is night for spirits.
108 A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga.
113 113 Waterspirit medicines.
114 114 How Waterspirits are propitiated. Buffalo medicines (če mą́ką) used in war and in hunting.
115 115 Núkirukąną, medicine used for wooing women. Ną́nikᵋčąke’ų, love doll medicine. More Waterspirit medicines.
116 116 Address of A. A. White (Wisconsin Rapids). Note to ask Charlie Brown about a group of mounds.
117 117 Medical prognostication using Waterspirit medicine.
117 Traveler and the Thunderbird War, Version 5.
123 123 The tribes who are descended from the Hočągara: Missouria, Oto, Iowa, and Hit’enúke ("Don't Like to Talk"). This last mentioned in Medicine Rite.
124 124 The Warbundle Dance.
125 125
126 126
127 127
128 128
129 129
130 130
131 131
132 132
133 133
134 134
135 135
136 136
137 137
138 138
139 139
140 140
141 141
142 142
143 143
144 144
145 145
146 146
147 147
148 148
149 149 Warbundle Dance Lodge diagram.
150 Mijistéga and the Sauks.
153 A Weed's Blessing.
154 Bow Meets Disease Giver.
156 156 Thunderbird chieftainship now superseded by government appointed chiefs.
157 157 Chiefs. Female chief, succession, Bear Clan chief, distinguishing marks of a chief. Bear Clan chief wears a shell gorget.
158 158 Two Bear Clan men's names: Wapísnap’į́ka (Wearer of Shell Gorget), Hokĕrĕ’ų́ga (Indian Flag One).
159 159 Bear Clan spoke for the chief.
159 159 Marriage customs.
160 160
160 160 Kinship terms.
161 161
162 162
163 163
164 164 Kinship diagram.
165 165 Bear Clan war customs. Hikíxa, the line on which a unit forms up. Women who want to marry will offer a present to a warrior before he departs. Bear Clan carries flag (crook), and where posted there is no retreat. Wačųwák, line of battle. See 182.
166 Origin of the Name "Milwaukee."
167 The Warbundle Maker.
175 175 Patriotic song from World War I.
176 176 Warbundle ceremony. Wooing of girls in menstrual hut was done by outlaws. It was not a custom.
176 The Origin of the Hočąk Name for Chicago.
177 177 List of Feasts. Snake Clan Feast, Feast to the Waters, Bear Feast, Thunderbird Feast, Warbundle Feast, Medicine Lodge Feast, Feast for Waterspirit Medicines. Two prayers. Times of feasts. Who may give a feast.
178 178
179 179
179 179 Nightspirit Dance. Diagram of the lodge.
180 180
181 181
182 182 Types of Medicine Men. Three classes: Waruhapkų́s (Warbundle Maker), Wają́ča (Waterspirit Dreamer), Wąkᵋtóšĕwĕ (Medicine Man). They are well respected. Medicine man is a good dreamer. Sucks disease out with a wirás or bone tube.
182 182 Warbundle owner in battle. Warbundle owner gives feast. In battle, Warbundle owner stays behind and sings. This song is called Waruxáp nąwą. He declares who should win what honors. If someone returns and says they are hard pressed in the fight, the owner joins in. However, someone else must guard the bundle, which is never taken into the fight.
183 183
183 183 Contents of Medicine Bundles.
184 184 Wawús and starting fire. How tribal decisions were made. Role of Bear Clan. Role of Warrior Clan representative is to be contrary and to be severe in all things. He is the opposite of the Thunder chief. Any prisoner entering a Thunder lodge must live; if he enters a Warrior Clan lodge, he must die.
185 185 Treatment of murderers. Wergild.
185 The Eagle Clan Origin Myth, Version 2.
186 186 Treatment of murderers. Bear Clan crooks.
187 187 How a new wife was supplied to a man who killed his unfaithful wife.
187 The Man Whose Wife was Captured, Version 2.
196 196 Nephews of chief guard doors of a council, and seat people. Clan uncles. List of clans: Thunderbird, Bear, Eagle, Wolf, Buffalo, Pigeon, Snake, Warrior, Waterspirit, Fish, Deer, Elk. Reciprocal: Thunders and Warriors, Bear and Wolf.
197 197
197 197 Clan reciprocity. Some clans once practiced exclusive intermarriage. Weapons different for each clan.
198 198 The elk horn club. Would be possessed by anyone dreaming of an Elk Spirit. The woman’s place in the home. Things that men made.
199 Tobacco Man and Married Man.
200 200 Women did not smoke. How men are responsible for the raising of tobacco. The Rabbit.
201 201 Children’s education. Boys and girls could play together. Had to come in after dark because it is a time of bad spirits. Never spanked, but might have loss of meal. Premature sexuality got a scolding, but they were promised to each other when they grew older. This was sealed by the boy's relatives giving fresh meat to the girl's, and they would reciprocate with vegetables.
202 202 Bear Clan Feast. Held in dim light, and people at with their left hands. There were no special clan houses. Meetings were held in the chief's house. "Tearing the tent in two" — speaking evil tales of other can lead to partitioning the lodge into two parts. Prisoners might be kept for a time in Bear Clan lodges, but were eventually turned over to the Warrior Clan.
203 Black as Sin.
204 204 How murderers were dealt with. Anyone who said in a Bear Clan lodge, "That is good," it had to be given to him. Such a person was not respected. In a Thunderbird Clan lodge, it was taboo to sit on a rock that surrounded the fireplace. Police functions of the Bear Clan.
205 205 The warpath. Only the leader's warbundle was taken on the warpath. Before an attack, all sang their own warbundle songs to gain power. Men who dreamed of giants, ghosts or snakes were best suited to be scouts. If he sees an enemy coming, he may give the call of an owl, or that of a fox or wolf. As the scout returns, the warleader shakes his rattle and sings his warbundle song.
206 206
207 Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts. This is a Hočąk story told about what happened to an Ioway man.
219 Morning Star and His Friend, Version 2.
228 The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum.
242 242 Mrs. U. S. White and her father know the names of campsites south of Madison.
243 243 A maternal nephew may have certain privileges in his uncle's clan. A clan member cannot dream more easily of his own totem than the member of any other clan. Black bear dream is all right. Woman's name: Sičákiwįga, "She Whose Tracks are Seen."
243 The Incarnate Thunderbird. Followed in parentheses by "not Winnebago."
248 248 Six Bear Clan names.
249 249 Woman's name: Mąk’ĕ́ka, "Digger"; man's name: Wamániga, "Walker on Snow." During harvesting parties, people and clans could go anywhere. Clan camp was set up where the clan chief was. Bear Clansmen were present there to keep order, which was necessary because enemies could be encountered at any time. Part of harvest (e.g., wild rice) saved for feast was called wikígo. Náprohač, mid-winter feast of the wikígo. Dried blueberries mixed with dried corn a favorite food.
250 250 Cooking of corn. Dry, ground corn, roasted and mixed with maple sugar a favorite, used for long trips. Dried, it is called wašųgĕ́. Bag for this is called a warúšĕ. Five kinds of Indian corn. Detailed account of how corn is cooked in a pit (mą́wirohą). A large forked pole (sometimes 10' long), used to stoke the fire. Sort of corn tossed out. Husked are used for containers. Preparations for the subsequent cooking of squash, grated corn, and beans. Pit closed and left overnight. Corn tasted sweet. Squash and beans mainly saved for the winter. Popcorn is watačóx. In husking corn, cattail mats (warúpini) are used. Corn spread out to dry. Sometimes done in the lodge where the fire can dry it out. When dried, they are stored in bags, pąhák.
251 251
252 252
253 253
254 254
254 254 Nettle roots gathered in the winter to make bow strings for boy's bow. The sources of various colored dies. Food stored in bags for winter. Women must stay away from those to be used for feasts. Many ways to cook corn. One is to boil it in a pot, but not as good as pit corn.
255 255 Other ways of cooking corn. Various preparations of corn.
256 256 Tooth decay was unknown before the introduction of wheat flour. Various ways to fix and serve corn.
257 257 Wapoxini corn.
258 258 Black Bear Spirit can give healing and war powers to those who dream of him. A grizzly bear man could change into a grizzly without the aid of a grizzly skin. Porcupine and bear considered to be of the same family. A man should not take his wife into enemy infested territory. Rather than come back without her, he should die with her.
258 The Dogs of the Chief’s Son. Published as, "Winnebago Dog Myths," Yearbook, Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee, 10 (1930): 318-321.
264 The Dog Who Saved His Master.
266 The Dog that became a Panther. Published in W. C. McKern, "Winnebago Dog Myths," Yearbook, Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee, 10 (1930): 321-322.
269 Why Dogs Sniff One Another.
270 270 One could fast and get a prediction of the weather from a spirit. Thunderbirds were the best to be blessed with in this respect. A warbundle bearer would be good at predicting weather. Sometimes a medicine man could say that if a man became better, the weather would be clear the next day. A medicine man might throw tobacco in the fire, and if it did not burn, he would not treat the patient. Hočąk and Anishinaabeg medicine men were in demand. Dreaming of a Thunderbird might allow a man to bring rain. Rain might be stopped by rolling a packing strap made into a ball back and forth over the fire.
271 271 The cleaning of a spring was done by Wolf Clan or Waterspirit Clan. The particular duty of the Bear Clan leader was to mark a calendar stick. This stick was called a nąmáškočkoč. Phases of the moon given. Names for the four seasons.
272 272 The nąmáškočkoč calendar stick was marked as soon as a child was born. It was marked every year. Each family had a stick. Not known to be done by any but the Bear Clan.
272 Brass and Red Bear Boy.
292 The Spotted Grizzly Man.
301 301 Little Priest as a reincarnation of Red Bear.
301 Migistéga's Death, Version 2.
302 White Fisher.
309 309 Songs belonging to the Little Priest myth. Recordings IXa and IXb.
310 310 The Heruška.
311 311
312 312 Two war songs. Recordings XIV-a, XIV-b. Labeled "①" and "②".
313 313 Two war songs. Recordings XV-a, XV-b. Labeled "③" and "④".
314 James’ Horse.
316 316 Two war songs. Recordings XVI-b, XVI-a. Labeled "⑤" and "⑥".
317 317 Explanation of Song ⑥ (Little Priest). Song ⑦, Recording XVII.
317 317 "Names of foreign people differing from Radin."
318 318
319 Why the Tonkawa are Called "Cannibals." This is a Tonkawa story.
325 325 Some words used as metaphors.
325 The Death of Henry Harris’ Daughter.
326 White Shirt.
328 The Arapaho Girl.
330 A Peyote Story.
333 A Peyote Vision.
335 335 Lists of possible informants.
336 336
337 337
338 338