Published by Authority of Congress

P A R T S  I,  I I,  I I I,  I V,  V,  V I.


P H I L A D E L P H I A:
L I P P I N C O T T ,  G R A M B O   &   C O M P A N Y ,


1851, 1852, 1853, 1854, 1855, 1857



(Part I, page 53) Tradition would drop such a custom [of mound building] in two or three centuries, if the same tribe had not continued to live in the same area. But, in reality, the tribes who occupied Wisconsin, say in the year 1800, had not occupied it from the earliest known ages. The Winnebagoes still occupied the shores of Green Bay, on the arrival of the French. Immediately south of them were seated a nation which is now unknown, under the name of MASCOTINS, or Prairie Indians. The Sacs and Foxes were still in Lower Michigan. The probability of their more recent origin, than the mounds proper, rests on this; but it is admitted that there are no traditions respecting them.


(248) Their proper name, Dacota, signifies allied, or leagued together, and is equivalent to our name United, as applied to the States, and all who are not Dacotas, or allies, are considered enemies, and it is deemed glorious to kill one of them, though descended from the Dacota family; as the similarity of language shows to be the case with not only Assinniboins, but the Winnebagoes, Iowas, Omahaws, Osages, and Quapaws.



(338) After our arrival at St. Anthony’s Falls, it was found that this system of picture writing was as familiar to the Dacotah, as we had found it among the Algonquin race. At Prairie du Chien, and at Green Bay, the same evidences were observed, in their memorials of burial, among the Menomonies and the Winnebagoes; at Chicago among the Pottawatomies, and at Michillimackinac, among the Chippewas and Ottawas who resort, in such numbers, to that Island.


(435) While the hunter and barbarous tribes thus persist in a policy which must be fatal to their financial prosperity, it is a question of moment, whether the ready means thus supplied to them of self-indulgence, in the use of distilled spirits, is not hurrying them onward in a career that must end in their moral wreck. It is seen, from the inquiries that have been thus far made, that small tribes, who, but a few years ago, were prosperous, and had kept up, if not increased, from the era of 1814, in their numbers, have, under the influence of high cash annuities, and unlimited credit, been hurried on in the triple career of intemperance, depopulation, and moral degradation. Such, indeed, is their fearful progress in this course, that a few years must result in the entire extinction of some well-known tribes. Nations who were, but a few years back, fearful in their native strength, under the banners of a Tecumseh, a Little Turtle, and a Black Hawk, have fallen under influences more fatal to them than the rifle, the sword, and the camp-fever. If the Miamies, portions of the Sauks and Foxes, and the Winnebagoes, could be persuaded of the hasty and downward steps (436) which they are making in this descending moral scale, it is believed that they would pause in their alarming course of depopulation, and revert to a healthier policy.



(Part II, page 31) This cereal [maize] was raised on the ancient Winnebago fields, on the inner shores of Green Bay, and perhaps extended to the banks of the Menomonie river.



Plate 23 is a representation of the wigwams of the Ojibwas and Winnebagoes. These tribes make their huts of birch-bark, or mats made of grass. Saplings are first stuck in the ground, somewhat of a circular form — the tops bent over to the centre and tied; the bark or mats are then thrown over these, leaving a small hole for the smoke to escape. The fire is made on the ground, in the centre of the hut.

Plate 23




I will give you Little Crow's definition of the term Seven Fires, which language is often used among the Sioux. Seven Fires or Seven Divisions, Little Crow says, means seven different nations of Indians, as follows, viz.:

The Sioux, 1st; the Indians west of them, 2d; Chippewas, 3d; Winnebagoes, 4th; Menomonees, 5th; Fox and Sauks, 6th; lowas, 7th.

This is Little Crow's interpretation of the Seven Fires or Seven Divisions. Singular as this appears, yet there may be much sense in it.





Transmitted by J. E. Fletcher, Esq., U. S. Agent.

1. One He zun ke ra
2. Two Noomp
3. Three Taun
4. Four Jope
5. Five Sarch
6. Six Ha ka wa
7. Seven Sha ko we
8. Eight Ha roo wunk
9. Nine He zun ke choo shkoo ne
10. Ten Ka ra pa ne za
11. Eleven Ka ra pa ne za nuka he zun ke ra shun na
12. Twelve Ka ra pa ne za nuka noompa shun na
13. Thirteen Ka ra pa ne za nuka tan e a shun na
14. Fourteen Ka ra pa ne za nuka jope a shun na
15. Fifteen Ka ra pa ne za nuka sarch a shun na
16. Sixteen Ka ra pa ne za nuka ha ka wa a shun na
17. Seventeen Ka ra pa ne za nuka sha ko we a shun na
18. Eighteen Ka ra pa ne za nuka ha roo wunk a shun na
19. Nineteen Ka ra pa ne za nuka he zun ke choo shkoon a shun na
20. Twenty Ka ra pa ne noomp
21. Twenty-one Ka ra pa ne noompa nuka he zun ke ra shun na
22. Twenty-two Ka ra pa ne noompa nuka noomp a shun na
23. Twenty-three Ka ra pa ne noompa nuka tan e a shun na
24. Twenty-four Ka ra pa ne noompa nuka jope a shun na
25. Twenty-five Ka ra pa ne noompa nuka sarch a shun na
26. Twenty-six Ka ra pa ne noompa nuka ha ka wa a shun na
27. Twenty-seven Ka ra pa ne noompa nuka sha ko we a shun na
28. Twenty-eight Ka ra pa ne noompa nuka ha roo wunk a shun na
29. Twenty-nine Ka ra pa ne noompa he zun ke choo shkoon a shun na
30. Thirty Ka ra pa ne taun
40. Forty Ka ra pa ne jope
50. Fifty Ka ra pa ne sarch
60. Sixty Ka ra pa ne ha ka wa
70. Seventy Ka ra pa ne sha ko we
80. Eighty Ka ra pa ne ha roo wunk
90. Ninety Ka ra pa ne he zun ke choo shkoon e
100. One hundred Ho ke he za
101. One hundred and one Ho ke he za nuka he zun ke ra shun na
102. One hundred and two Ho ke he za nuka noomp a shun na
103. One hundred and three Ho ke he za nuka tan e a shun na
104. One hundred and four Ho ke he za nuka jope a shun na
105. One hundred and five Ho ke he za nuka sarch a shun na
106. One hundred and six Ho ke he za nuka ha ka wa a shun na
107. One hundred and seven Ho ke he za nuka sha ko we a shun na
108. One hundred and eight Ho ke he za nuka ha roo wunk a shun na
109. One hundred and nine Ho ke he za nuka he zun ke choo shkoon a shun na
110. One hundred and ten Ho ke he za nuka ka ra pa ne a shun na
120. One hundred and twenty Ho ke he za nuka ka ra pa ne noomp a shun na
130. One hundred and thirty Ho ke he za nuka ka ra pa ne tan e a shun na
140. One hundred and forty Ho ke he za nuka ka ra pa ne jope a shun na
150. One hundred and fifty Ho ke he za nuka ka ra pa ne sarch a shun na
160. One hundred and sixty Ho ke he za nuka ka ra pa ne ha ka wa a shun na
170. One hundred and seventy Ho ke he za nuka ka ra pa ne sha ko we a shun na
180. One hundred and eighty Ho ke he za nuka ka ra pa ne ha roo wunk a shun na
190. One hundred and ninety Ho ke he za nuka ka ra pa ne he zun ke choo shkoon a shun na
200. Two hundred Ho ke he noomp
300. Three hundred Ho ke he taun
400. Four hundred Ho ke he jope
500. Five hundred Ho ke he sarch
600. Six hundred Ho ke he ha ka wa
700. Seven hundred Ho ke he sha ko wa
800. Eight hundred Ho ke he ha roo wunk
900. Nine hundred Ho ke he zun ke choo shoon e
1,000. One thousand Ho ke he hhutaza
2,000. Two thousand Ho ke he hhutara noomp
3,000. Three thousand Ho ke he hhutara taun
4,000. Four thousand Ho ke he hhutara jope
5,000. Five thousand Ho ke he hhutara sarch
6,000. Six thousand Ho ke he hhutara ha ka wa
7,000. Seven thousand Ho ke he hhutara sha ko we
8,000. Eight thousand Ho ke he hhutara ha roo wunk
9,000. Nine thousand Ho ke he hhutara he zun ke choo shkoon e
10,000. Ten thousand Ho ke he hhutara ka ra pa ne za
100,000. One hundred thousand Ho ke he hhuta ro ke he za
1,000,000. One million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen za
2,000,000 Two million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a noomp
3,000,000. Three million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a taun
10,000,000. Ten million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ka ra pa ne za
20,000,000. Twenty million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ka ra pa ne noomp
30,000,000. Thirty million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ka ra pa ne taun
40,000,000. Forty million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ka ra pa ne jope
50,000,000. Fifty million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ka ra pa ne sarch
60,000,000. Sixty million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ka ra pa ne ha ka wa
70,000,000. Seventy million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ka ra pa ne sha ko we
80,000,000. Eighty million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ka ra pa ne ha roo wunk
90,000,000. Ninety million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ka ra pa ne zun ke choo shkoon e
100,000,000. One hundred million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ho ke he za
200,000,000. Two hundred million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ho ke he noomp
300,000,000. Three hundred million Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ho ke he taun
1,000,000,000. One billion Ho ke he hhuta hhu chen a ho ke he ka ra pa ne za

Fig. 7, Plate 55

c. Medicine Animal of the Winnebagoes.


(223) The idea of a medical panacea for human diseases, appears to be deeply implanted in the Indian mind. Equally deep and general is the expression, that this remedy is to be exhibited in connexion with a supernatural, magical, or necromantic power, of which the professors of the medical art are the depositories. These professors, in their supposed order, are the medas, or higher proficients of Indian occult knowledge.

The Jossekeed or seer, or what is denominated the prophet or foreteller of future (224) events, must be classified as a meda, for he is ever supposed by the Indians to be conversant with the highest arts. 2. The Madä-wininee, or doctor, practises his arts of curing on personal experience or knowledge, relying on the material virtues of his simples.

Sorcerers, wizards, and tricksters, or Wabenos, arise from one or the other of these classes, the boundaries between whose arcana of knowledge are of course not very accurately defined.

As a general belief, animals, to the hunting of which so much of the lives of the Indians is devoted, are associated with the exhibition of magic medicines; and individuals, in all portions of the Indian country, acquire a local celebrity for their skill in this department of Indian traditionary knowledge.

The annexed Fig. 7, Plate 55, was drawn by Little Hill, a Winnebago chief of the upper Mississippi, west. He represents it as their medicine animal. He says that this animal is but seldom seen — that it is only seen by medicine-men after severe fasting. He has a piece of bone, which he asserts was taken from this animal. He considers it a potent medicine, and uses it by filing a small piece in water. He has also a small piece of native copper, which he uses in the same manner, and entertains like notions of its sovereign virtues.




d. Dacota.

The tribes grouped together under this name average 11 cubic inches higher than the two last, viz. 85 inches; and these appear to possess more force of character and more of the intameable violence which forms the most characteristic feature in our barbarous tribes. (Plate 62 is an accurate drawing of the head of a Winnebago, one of the tribes affiliated to Dakotas by language.)

Plate 62





                                                     Winnebago School, Feb. 15th, 1848.

SIR: — You have herewith a partial reply to your call in July last for information respecting the aborigines of our country. I shall continue my remarks on other questions propounded as the claims of other duties will permit, and transmit them from time to time.

I regret that this communication has been delayed so long, but my daily duties in school, in connection with the labor of preparing to preach every Sabbath, covers nearly the whole of my time.

                                                   Most respectfully, 

                                                                    Your obedient servant, 

                                                                                     D. Lowry. 


95. That our commerce with the Indian tribes has at least in some degree tended to promote the cause of improvement, is unquestionable; for through this medium chiefly have they become acquainted with and attached to many of those articles consumed by the whites as necessaries of life, which are at first to the Indian luxuries which he is enabled with his surplus skins or money to purchase, and his attention is readily drawn to the habits which procure those luxuries in abundance. And the more of the articles of food, clothing, &c., consumed by the whites we can introduce among the Indians, excepting of course those whose tendency is debasing, the more readily can we convince them of the propriety and benefit of a corresponding change in their habits.

That a well-regulated commerce has this effect cannot be doubted; and though our trade with them may and does throw obstacles in the way of Indian civilization in some instances, yet these counteracting influences can be easily removed, and our government is doing much at this moment to obliterate them.

The trade for the skins and furs is very simple in its operation. The Indian takes (527) his pack after returning from a hunt to the trader with whom he is accustomed to deal, and is paid for them in goods or credited on account, if he should owe a debt to his trader, at their value in the fur-market, less say fifteen per cent., the expense of taking them to the market.

As a general thing, the only criterion of the present value of furs is the latest intelligence he may have received of a sale in London, where furs are offered for sale on a certain day in each month, or perhaps not so often; for the value of furs is seldom affected except on one or two articles, by the consumption in this country. The markets of New York, Philadelphia, &c., can be supplied by the skin-traders in the Eastern States, so that the Indian trader has to depend upon selling his furs for the most part in London; and there the sale of skins is controlled by a monopoly, so that the business is at least a precarious one.

One year the trader who has a large amount of furs may realize ten thousand dollars beyond his expectation, and the next year lose that amount, according as their value may have in the spring, when he gets them to market, advanced beyond or depreciated below the rates indicated by the sales in the fall previous.

The principal trading-posts with the Winnebagoes are near their sub-agency on the neutral ground. As to the chances of profit or loss, judging from the number who enter and leave the trade every year, we may fairly infer that it is not of late years as profitable as it may have been formerly. This change has been brought about by a variety of causes, but they are chiefly to be found in the confirmed habits of drinking among the Indians, in consequence of which they do not pursue their hunts with their former industry, and are less scrupulous about paying their debts. The whiskey-dealer on the line reaps a rich harvest from their improvidence and dissipation; but the licenced trade in the interior of their country is far less profitable than formerly.

96. The Indians are shrewd close traders, so far as a comparison of prices is concerned. For instance, they will dispute about the price of an article, while at the same time they will purchase five times as much as they can make use of, or need. They would be generally honest and prompt in paying their debts but for the excesses they are tempted to run into by their wasteful and intemperate habits, and a too numerous competition in the trade. An Indian gets a credit of his trader, and goes to his hunt or field, and at his return to the agency, especially about the time of the annuity payments, he meets some ten or twenty now traders, all flattering the Indian, and giving him unlimited amounts of credit. The Indian knows that these men do not intend to remain (at any rate a large majority of them) during the year, takes the goods that are so temptingly and urgently offered him on credit, often to a much larger amount than that of their hunts and annuities combined, and consequently must cheat. Some of his creditors, and it is almost uniformly those upon whom he expects to draw for favors in future, may be paid, and the new trade is (528) neglected. This state of things renders the trade so precarious, that the Indians themselves are often the sufferers, being unable to get trusted for supplies when they are in times of the greatest need.

The Indians waste their skins and money, when they have them in their possession, buying articles that are useless or worse, until they are all gone, and are often, two days after an annuity-payment, as entirely destitute of the means of living through the year as they were previous to the payment.

A prudent trader, even when he is certain of meeting no obstacle in collecting, will not credit an Indian for an article which he has reason to believe will be of no service to him or that he does not need. A whiskey-trader on the line never trusts an Indian for a pint of whiskey, and licensed traders in their country do not trust them for trinkets or wampum, unless for some extraordinary or ceremonial occasion.

In view of the above facts, it is inferred that a system of trade that would protect a sufficient amount of trading-capital for the district to secure to the Indians a certainty of assistance in time of want, at a fair profit, would be most beneficial.

The Indian trade, it may be urged, will, like any other, correct its own evils. It will do so, so far as the traders are concerned, but without reference to the good of the Indians. The trade will be reduced to a cash one entirely, and the Indians, tempted by the cheapness of goods resulting from a numerous competition and urged by their own notorious improvidence, will squander their money for ornaments or whiskey, and suffer for the remainder of the year. The traders withdraw their capital into other branches of business, until another annuity-payment rolls round, or if one or two remain with the Indians, they are deterred from assisting them in time of want; and the consequence is that many of them beg, starve, and steal, through the winter.

The Indian trade, it is true, is less expensive and more safe, carried on in this way, than any other; but is far less beneficial to the Indians than it might be rendered.

98. The trader who lives permanently near the Indians is taxed heavily for objects of charity. When an Indian dies, who has dealt principally at his house, he is expected to furnish a shroud, and often the goods or a portion of them for the funeral ceremony.

100. The different races of animals, of course, are diminished by the hunter. In the Winnebago country, the beaver is found nearer civilized habitations than the buffalo, though they are not far apart, and it is believed that this is the case elsewhere.

101. Indian lands, when stripped of their furs, are of course of little value to the Indians so long as they remain in the savage state; but in connexion with this subject arises the question as to their ultimate destruction — for it is evident that in a few (529) years they will exhaust the country of game, and in less than ten years there will not remain unoccupied country between the two oceans sufficient to subsist our present Indian population; and they must before that time adopt the habits of the civilized man or perish. It is, of course, too late now to correct the error, if one has been committed by our government, inasmuch as the Indians are all now moved west of the Mississippi river, and will soon meet the tide rolling eastward from the Pacific.

That oft-repeated and gloomy prophecy, that they are a doomed people, will be fulfilled, or they must be civilized. Then do we not hasten their supposed destiny by driving them from the heart of civilization, and keeping them upon the frontier. The philanthropist and missionary find, in this system of continually changing the location of the Indians from year to year as our frontier advances westward, obstacles insurmountable to human efforts.

The temptation to the Indian, even if he should have made some progress in improvement, and been "almost persuaded" to be a civilized man, after his old location had failed to afford him subsistence by the chase — at his new home universally abandons his semi-formed habits, and yields to the temptation offered by a fresh hunting-country to return to a hunter's life. And the missionary or agent of the government not only loses the assistance given him in his benevolent and arduous task, by the example of that good order which reigns in the older settlements, resulting from the operation of wholesome laws, but the dark mind of his pupil is brought in contact with, and under the mighty influence of all the vice and depravity of that filthy scum of civilization which everywhere floats upon its border. Disheartening and hopeless is his task, so long as we keep the Indians moving — place them beyond this influence as far as we will, and like hungry wolves upon the path of the wearied fawn, it will follow them up.

In keeping the Indians continually in a new country, we do but perpetuate their savage habits and hasten their doom, by rendering them an easy prey to the avarice and cupidity of a pack of rapacious wolves, who, unfit to live in orderly communities, and outcasts from every society where law is known, hover upon the Indian line.

Facts are believed to be the most reliable arguments on this point, and they exhibit to us examples of the best farmers in the State of New York, among the Indian tribes who have been suffered to remain at their old homes, while the corrupting, and to the red man especially, destructive vices of the frontier floated out beyond them; and uniformly, where the efforts to civilize Indians have been successful, they have been surrounded and aided by the influence and example of Bible and law observing communities.

Habits rooted for centuries, and environed by that iron wall of darkness and superstition, cannot be changed, except by necessity. Mere instruction or argument will never demolish it. Necessity must do it. Keep the Indians then on their old (530) worn-out hunting-grounds — surround them by settlements, and we furnish philanthropy with this great lever: the savage hunter is forced to become a tiller of the soil, and the way is opened to the introduction of the arts and sciences. The benign influences of Christianity are brought to bear upon him, and the superstitious savage becomes an enlightened man and a Christian.

But, as remarked above, the Indians who still retain their wild habits, are all removed west of the Mississippi, and all that remains for our government to do, is now being done. The withering influence that keeps pace with the border line, must be counteracted and restrained by the presence of energetic laws. That foe to which the Indian so soon capitulates, must be conquered and driven from their country, and the red man's doom may yet be averted, and he take a position with intelligent beings, assigned by heaven.

104. The moral and physical evils resulting from the trade with the Indians, which is sanctioned by our present laws, have been referred to in the answer to (95.) The evils of the whiskey trade are notorious, and are incalculable. Every other obstacle to Indian improvement is in some manner connected with this one, and it is indeed the most potent and effectual instrument of woe and destruction that diabolical ingenuity could invent. The physical evils flowing from the licensed trade, as it has been permitted heretofore, are to be found, for the most part, in the suffering and want produced by the encouragement which it gives to the prodigality and improvidence of the savage, who, not able to spend his money when he is in need, is tempted to squander the whole of it within twenty-four hours after its reception upon toys and useless trinkets. The risk is too great for the trader to trust him for goods or provisions when he needs them, and he and his family must starve or steal, while he has ample means coming to him from the government, if they could be judiciously anticipated by him, to subsist and clothe them comfortably through the year. And to this cause — want — may be referred a large majority of the depredations upon the stock of the frontier farms, of which complaints are every year made to the government.

It is believed that the introduction of gunpowder and fire-arms among the Indians has produced the same result that it has been found to produce upon civilized warfare, rendering it less frequent and bloody.

It is not known that any definite influence upon their civilization can be traced to its introduction.

"Finally, can this trade be placed upon better principles, and what are they ?"

It may appear presumptuous to suggest an entire change in the laws which have been adopted for the government of the Indian trade. But the errors which have crept into those laws are such as time and experience alone could point out, and it is impossible for the wisest legislation to foresee the effects that may result among a people so little understood from a law good in its operation upon society elsewhere.

(531) It is intended, no doubt, in posting laws for the protection of the ignorant savage, and for the regulation of our Indian trade and intercourse, to exclude all improper persons from any connexion with the Indians; and that the persons carrying on the trade, as well as the manner in which it is conducted, should, so far as practicable, be rendered auxiliary to the cause of civilization and moral improvement. The errors in the present system have been attended to above, and it has been shown that it fails to render that assistance to the Indians which might be rendered.

To suffer the Indians to anticipate their annuities upon the national (tribal) credit, without any check upon either the trader or the Indians, has been found to open wide the door to fraud and corruption, and it has been very properly prohibited by law.

The Indians, having no accountant themselves, may be imposed upon as to the amount of their debt; and even if the chiefs were aware of the fraud, they may be induced in many instances to become parties in the imposition upon their own people. Though the Indians were by this system often enabled to supply their wants in anticipation of their coming annuities, and thus have less money to spend for whiskey, the system was a bad one, and it needed correction.

The alternative adopted has been to distribute the annuity pro rata to individuals or families, paying no regard to any debts that may have been incurred or obligations entered into by the chiefs of the tribe; and it is confidently believed that this system may be so modified as to make the annuities from the government comfortably clothe and feed the Indians through the year, and render them as efficient an instrument of happiness and improvement as the misuse now made of them is the cause of woe and degradation and destruction.

A modification of the present Indian regulations, something like the following, is suggested by many years' observation and intimate connexion with the Indians of the north: —

The agents or sub-agents should nominate to the Indian Department such persons of unexceptionable moral character as may apply for license to trade with the Indians, until a sufficient number are licensed to satisfy the wants of the trade, with sufficient capital to carry it on and no more.

It should be made the duty of each person to whom license is granted to do every thing in his power to forward the efforts making by the government to civilize the Indians, and likewise to use every effort to prevent the introduction or traffic in ardent spirits in the tribe.

Each trader should receive his license to trade at such points in the tribe or tribes, within the agency or sub-agency, as the agent or sub-agent should designate, upon condition of his paying five hundred dollars, which sum should go to constitute a national contingent fund for the benefit of the tribe or tribes included in the agency or sub-agency.

In addition to paying the sum above mentioned, the applicant for license should be (532) required to give bond, as heretofore, with security approved by the judge of the district where he may have resided. And any act in violation of the regulations of the Indian Department, or in any manner directly or indirectly opposing the efforts to civilize the Indians and promote the cause of education among them, should subject him to a forfeiture of license and a penalty of two thousand dollars; and any act of this nature, by agent or employee, or of any other person, by direction of a trader, should subject him to the same consequences as though the act were done by himself.

The agent or sub-agent should be required to take a correct roll of the Indians within his agency or sub-agency at the commencement of their fiscal year, getting the names of the heads as well as the number of each family, so as to ascertain the precise distributive share of each individual of the money due the tribe from the government at the next payment.

The agent or sub-agent, either alone or in connexion with two of the army-officers of the nearest military post, who may be detailed for this object by the commanding officer, should form a council to examine the traders' invoices, and fix upon them a tariff of prices at which the goods should be sold to the Indians. A copy and list of prices should be kept by the agent, and a copy given by him to the traders; and any violation of said tariff should subject the trader to a forfeiture of his license upon conviction before the authority empowered to revoke licenses.

It should be the duty of the agent, when an Indian needs any article, to give him an order which should be payable, by either of the traders to whom the Indian should choose to take it, in the article or articles specified; and the agent or sub-agent should by no means be authorized to give an Indian or family such orders to an amount exceeding that of the distributive share belonging to him or them of the annuities due from the government at the first ensuing payment, as shown on the roll.

The agent or sub-agent should keep a correct account with the individual Indians or heads of families of the orders thus given, so that he may be able to tell, at any time, how much of his annuity each may have taken up in this way.

The traders shall be required to fill such orders of the agent or sub-agent when presented by the Indians in favor of whom they may he drawn, and keep an accurate account of their own, corresponding with the one kept by the agent; and upon his presenting these orders at the annuity payment, they shall be paid by the Indian disbursing officer out of the amounts due the several Indians from the government, and the balance shall be paid to the Indians severally in hand, provided that the agent or sub-agent shall by no means cancel these orders when presented by any one other than a licensed trader within his agency or sub-agency.

The agent or sub-agent shall be permitted to select and appoint a person suitable for a clerk, to assist him in keeping the Indian accounts, who should be paid $600 out of the national contingent fund provided as above.

The balance of said contingent fund should be applicable to any national purpose (533) desired by the chiefs and approved of by the agent of the tribe, and the balance that might remain on hand at the end of the year should be added to the education funds for the tribe.

The objects which it is confidently believed would be attained by a change in the Indian laws in unison with the above suggestions, are the following: —

The Indians would be amply provided for, both in food and clothing, throughout the year, and, getting their supplies at times when they need them, would not be apt to dispose of them for whiskey, and having used up their annuities, would have but little money to spend in this way. The whiskey-traders, getting no money in exchange for their liquor, would be compelled, in a great measure, to abandon the business, for they could not even buy their old blankets and trinkets with the prospect of turning them back again upon the Indians for cash.

At present, a large business is carried on in this way. When the Indian has no money, ho leaves a blanket or other article, to three or four times the amount of the whiskey, until he can bring the money, and redeem it after the annuity payment.

The temptation to commit depredations upon the settlements will be removed in proportion as the wants of the Indians are supplied, and thus a fruitful cause of difficulties upon the frontier will be removed.

The Indians, no longer goaded by hunger to pursue the deer for subsistence, will gradually abandon their roving habits, and settle down in permanent villages near their agency, where the efforts to improve them can be more effectually employed; and that very prodigality and thoughtlessness of the future may be so guarded by this system as to induce them to purchase agricultural implements and household furniture as they may happen to need these articles during the year: for it is known, to any one acquainted with the trade, that an Indian will purchase anything that may serve his convenience or pleasure at the moment, if he can do it on credit; and it is believed that, if the Indians could anticipate their annuities, ploughs, wagons, harnesses, and, where they are permanently settled, household furniture, &c., &c., would take the place of wampum, beads, and tinsel trinkets, for which they now squander their money.

It will be seen that the plan suggested is similar to the one in operation in the army, so far as the security for the trader's debts, as well as the check upon his prices, are concerned.

There is no influence exerted among the Indians so potent and universal as that wielded by the Indian traders; but the operation of the plan suggested would not only curtail their number, but would wrest that influence from them by making the Indians immediately dependent upon the government officer for favors in time of need. And here lies the whole secret of the trader's mighty influence, viz., in his ability to relieve the Indian when he is in want.

Instead of the Indians and traders being both arrayed against the government, as heretofore, we shall have them both dependent, the one for protection, and the other (534) for assistance, upon the government, and it will be rendered the interest of both to yield to its wishes.

It is believed that from the success of this scheme there would result a willingness, on the part of the Indians, to receive goods in exchange for lands which may bo purchased hereafter, and gradually that the Indians may be induced to change those treaties already made, so as to receive goods instead of money. No argument of the government or its officers can ever have the same weight with the prejudiced mind of the Indian as tangible facts, and the operation of the plan alluded to cannot fail to demonstrate the advantage of receiving goods judiciously selected, and at such times as they are needed.

The change suggested would render the duties of the agents and sub-agents more arduous, but it is believed that a graduation of the amounts paid to them at present would sufficiently remunerate them. Under existing laws, the agents receive $1500 annually, and the sub-agents, though they have the same duties, and, in some instances, more, receive but $750. The salaries of each should be fixed at $1200. It is urged, in conclusion, that the trade, modified as above suggested, will, it is most confidently believed, promote the happiness of the Indians, and instead of distracting their minds, and arraying them against every effort to benefit or improve them, that it may be converted into a most potent auxiliary to the humane efforts of the government to elevate their condition.


258. The fact that our use of iron, articles of food, manner of cooking, wearing apparel, &c., &c., have, to a considerable extent, been introduced among the Indians with whom we have had intercourse, proves that their original manners, customs, and opinions, "have been greatly modified" since their acquaintance with the whites. These changes have all been witnessed among the Winnebagoes, with many others equally beneficial.

In efforts to improve the condition of the aborigines of our country the same "modes of treatment and policy" which would be necessary for us in their situation should be adopted for them; for they are human beings like ourselves, and liable to be affected by the same causes which operate upon us. To the Christian religion, the influence of schools and colleges, and common industry, we are indebted for our national character: no other causes can elevate and save the Indian. As to the last means or " policy" for introducing these blessings among them, perhaps no one system would be equally successful among all the tribes. My opinion is, that those sent either by the government or the church to labor for the benefit of savages, should have full liberty to adopt such plans, and modify them, as circumstances and experience might require. No one thinks of trammelling a general in command of an army with specific laws to (535) govern him in the field of battle. Mind is more difficult to conquer than body, and he who would mould the former should, like the officer in the field, be allowed to exercise some discretion as to the plans to be adopted. To elevate the condition of the Red man, our chief concern is with mind and heart. To exert an influence upon these much often depends upon little things, and a thousand opportunities for making favor able impressions will occur which can never be anticipated or provided for by instructions drawn up a thousand miles from the Indian country. Let competent persons then be employed to labor with and operate upon the Indians, — persons of integrity and conscience, and having full liberty to avail themselves of all the advantages which experience and observation can afford.

Such has been the unsettled state of the Winnebagoes since the commencement of their school and farm, that no mode of treatment or policy adopted could be fairly tested by its practical effects upon the nation. Many of them have applied for aid in building houses to live in; but in view of their expected removal, no such assistance has been afforded.

259. No beneficial effects, either "physical or intellectual," are perceived by an "intermixture" of European blood with the Indian. I should suppose about one eighth of the Winnebagoes possess more or less white blood.

260. The numerical strength of this tribe is advancing, and has been since they removed across the Mississippi river.

262. A visible change in the cleanliness, both as regards the "costume" and person of the Winnebagoes, has taken place within the last fifteen years.

263. Females still perform field labor, though not without the aid of the men, as heretofore. The wife of a chief observed, not long since, that it was not now thought a disgrace for a man to work.

264. The Christian religion exerts but a feeble influence upon this tribe; indeed it may be said that Christian teachers have never been introduced among them for the purpose of preaching the gospel. When I first entered their school, no interpreter could be had to translate religious instruction, and before any of the children learned the English language in the institution, I was requested by the government to take charge of their agency. This withdrew me from the school, and filled my hands with other business, though I preached every sabbath to the white community belonging to the establishment. On accepting the agency, I resolved to appoint persons from the different churches of the country, to teach in the school, labor on the farm, and have an eye to the religious improvement of the Indians. The object in selecting from (536) the different denominations was to enlist the sympathies of each, and to give satisfaction to all. The persons thus selected were formed into a religious association before the Indians, called "The Church in the Wilderness." Never have I seen more harmony in a Christian community, and the deepest solicitude seemed to be felt for the Indians. Many of the children of the school became interested on the subject of religion, and the prospect of influencing their tribe was most encouraging. But, in the midst of these favorable circumstances, I was removed from office, and an attempt made by my successor to place the whole concern on a sectarian footing. Against this course the Indians themselves, connected with the school, remonstrated; but the plan previously adopted for religious operations was broken up, and the interest on the subject of religion among the children, passed away.

Since my return as superintendent of the school, I have not deemed it expedient to resume the organization of a church, but have preached every sabbath to the white community and to the Indians understanding the English language, as they were disposed to attend. We never can succeed, however, in introducing the Christian religion among the savages without employing Christians to do it. I am aware that it is a delicate matter for government to act on this subject; and, to prevent all cause for the charge of partiality, it was my policy, as before stated, to employ professors of religion belonging to different churches, with the understanding, however, that they could associate in the capacity of one church before the Indians. This policy I would earnestly recommend now. It is the only plan that can be adopted, under the auspices of government, that would not be liable to objections by some religious denomination. To place the school and farm in charge of any one denomination, and to exclude the rest, would give offence. To divide the funds among several Christian parties, and suffer them to go before the Indians with their denominational distinctions and predilections, would greatly retard, if not defeat, the object intended. But form one Christian community before the Indian, drawn from the different churches, and you have the good feelings of all, and, at the same time exclude those petty distinctions of SECTS, so injurious to religion among the whites. I repeat, this plan is practicable, for I have tried it.

I am not without solicitude on this subject. Government has placed me among the Indians with the expectation that I will improve their morals: this I cannot do without introducing among them the Christian religion, and to succeed in this, I need the example and aid of all in the employ of the department.

The task of converting savages to Christianity is by no means an easy one. Think of the slow progress of religion among our own people, with all the facilities enjoyed; yet the obstacles among us, opposing the gospel, are not half so numerous as among the Indians, while the means of grace among the whites, perhaps, can never be mode fully to bear upon the Indians. To convert our own people, we have only to overcome the objections of a depraved heart to the holiness of the gospel; but to convert the red (537) man, we must first convince him that his own religion is false, and that ours is true. This being done, we must still encounter the corruptions of the human heart. The white man who has no religion is convinced, in judgment, that the Christian religion is true, and yet for years rejects it, notwithstanding all the Bibles and other books and religious privileges surrounding him. In view of this fact, what can we hope from the Indians, with the public means employed for their conversion? Yet embrace the Christian religion they must, or perish; for it is one of the solemn records of inspiration, that "the nations and kingdoms that will not serve God shall perish."

265. An effort is now being made, with a prospect of most pleasing success, to induce the children of the school to sign a temperance pledge. But few refuse. The cause which operates upon the minds of Indians, leading to intemperance, is simply a love of excitement — the same that operates upon white men. To reclaim the Indians from the sin of drunkenness, the same means should be used which prove successful with the whites. It is not known that any further legislation on the part of Congress would be of service in checking this vice. The late law, rendering the Indians competent witnesses against whiskey-sellers, will do much good. It is very desirable that the States bordering on the Indian country should pass a similar law. If the change proposed in the system of trade should be adopted, I would have high hopes from that quarter.

(Part III, page 277)


[By Henry R. Schoolcraft]

The name of Puants, as the cognomen for an Indian tribe, first appears in the French missionary authors, in 1669. The people on whom they bestowed it, lived on green Bay of Wisconsin, and the bay itself was called after the tribe. By the Algonquins they were called Wee-ni-bee-gog, (plu. animate.) a term which has long been anglicized under the form of Winnebagoes, (plu.) The original is founded on two Algonquin words, namely, weemud, turbid, or foul, and nibweg, the plural form for water. The same radicals are employed in the terms Winnipeg, and Winnepeag,— names for northern lakes, in which the meaning is simply, turbid water. It is found that both these lakes have a stratum of whitish muddy clay at their bottoms, which is disturbed by high winds, giving the waters a whitish hue, and imparting more or less turbidity. The termination in o, in the word Winnebago, stands in the place of the accusative, and renders the term personal.

By the tribe itself they are called Hochungara, which is said to mean Trout nation, and sometimes Horojji, or Fish-eaters. They have always maintained the character of manly brave men, and appear to have formerly exercised a considerable influence among the surrounding tribes. Their language shows them to belong to the great Dacotah stock of the west, and they were found in the van of that group of families of tribes, being the only one of its number who had crossed the Mississippi below Minnesota, in their progress eastward.

The Winnebagoes are a tribe of good stature, and a manly air and bearing, and coincide with the other tribes of Indian race in the United States, in possessing the characteristic straight black hair, black glistening eyes, and red skins. They have maintained their position as a tribe of independent feelings and national pride, during all the earlier periods of our acquaintance with them.

This claim of the Hochungaras to the possession of considerable mental capacity, is sustained by the cranial admeasurements which I have recently caused to be made at the Academy of Natural Sciences, at Philadelphia, (Vol. II. p. 335, of these Inquiries.) In these examinations they are placed at 89 cubic inches internal capacity, and 79° facial angle, on the skulls examined.

How long they had maintained their position at Green Bay before the arrival of the French, we know not. But they had receded from it towards the west, before the visit of Carver, in 1766, who found them on Fox river. Father Allouez says that it was a tradition in his days, that they had been almost destroyed, about 1640, by the Illinois. They have kept on good terms, within the period of history, with the Sacs and Foxes, the once noted and erratic Mascoutins, the Menomonies, Ottowas, Chippewas, and Potawatomies, denoting a wise and considerate policy on the part of their chiefs. (278) Their own traditions, and the accounts we have gathered from some of the tribes on the Missouri, denote them to be the ancestors of the Iowas, Missouries, Otoes, and Omahaws.

Their earliest traditions relate to their residence at Red Banks—an ancient location on the east shore of Green bay—and to trade with the French. They have a tradition that they once built a fort; an event which appears to have made a general impression on the tribe, and which may, without improbability, be connected with the finding of the archaeological remains of an ancient work on Rock river;1— perhaps, with the war with the Illinois, mentioned by Allouez. Geographically considered, they are the aborigines of central Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin, the Rock, and the Wolf rivers, flowed from this central height east, west, and south, and gave them the advantage of descending on their enemies at will. The French found them in league with the Menomonies; and these two powers gave shelter to the flying Sacs and Foxes, when they were finally expelled from lower Michigan. The event of this flight was not completed till the commencement of the Pontiac war—so late as the year 1760. With the French, notwithstanding the reception of these two fugitive tribes, they maintained friendly relations, and traded uninterruptedly. With the Chippewas, Ottowas, Potawatomies, Kickapoos, Mascoutins, and other tribes of the Algonquin group of families, who surrounded their possessions north, east, and south-east, they also kept on general terms of friendship; a point that required great address, as the Sacs and Foxes seemed to have been cut loose from their ancient natural Algonquin affinities, and were perpetually making inroads on these tribes, particularly on the Chippewas of Lake Superior, whom they united with the Sioux in opposing. Tradition represents the Sacs and Foxes to have engaged in battles against the Chippewas, at Lac View Desert, Lac du Flambeau, and the Falls of St. Croix, and Francis River, on the upper Mississippi. They were defeated, along with the Sioux, by the Chippewas under Wabojeeg, in a great battle at the Falls of St. Croix. To preserve their relations with the French, under these circumstances, required skill and diplomacy; but in this, they had the great body of the Sioux, their relatives, immediately west of them on the Mississippi, to sustain them.

On the fall of the French power in Canada, in 1760, they were slow and cautious in entering into intimate relations with Great Britain. But the French had left the elements of their influence with the western Indians, in the metif population, which resulted from an amalgamation of the Canadian and the Indian female. This power was conciliated by the English agents and commanding officers, who thus mollified the Indian resentments, and replaced them by confidence in the conquerors. The Winnebagoes were firm in their new fealty. They opened their country to English traders; and when the Americans rose, in 1776, to assert a new nationality, (279) the Winnebagoes sided with the Crown. In all the local questions of jurisdiction, at Prairie du Chien, Green Bay, and Michillimackinac, they were arrayed, without a single exception, on the side of the British authorities. When the question of fealty assumed a new vitality, by the war of 1812, the same preferences prevailed. They sided with the Crown and flag of the Red Cross against, the Americans. They helped to defeat Colonel Croghan at Michillimackinac, Colonel Dudley at the rapids of the Miami, and General Winchester at the river Raisin. They were brought into the field of action by Colonel Robert Dixon and Mr. Crawford, two prominent traders of leading minds and influence, who then resided at Prairie du Chien and St. Peter's. They hovered, with the other hostile lake tribes, around the beleaguered garrison of Detroit, and helped to render its forests vocal with the war-whoop. And they returned, in 1815, like the other tribes, to their positions in the north-western forests of Wisconsin, upper Michigan, Iowa, and Illinois, rather chap-fallen, to reflect that they had not in reality been fighting for their own independence, but merely to assist one white power to sustain itself against another. This was acknowledged at a public conference at Drummond island, in 1816, by the noted chief Waubasha. 

In 1812, they had listened to the false revelations of the Shawnee prophet of the Wabash, Elksottawa, and his more celebrated brother Tecumseh, who told them, along with the whole mass of the western Indians, that the time had arrived for driving back the Americans in their progress westward, and for regaining, under the British standard, their lost dominion in the West. They accordingly contributed their auxiliaries in the bloody battles fought in lower Michigan and Ohio, in the, to them, delusive war that ensued. They, like the other Indians, reduced their population thereby; lost every practical and promised object, were wholly deserted, or unrecognised in the treaty of Ghent, with the extended groups of tribes of the Dacotahs and Algonquins, and returned to their homes gloomy and sour-minded against the Americans. They assumed some insolence, in the years immediately following, to travellers in the Fox and Wisconsin valleys. Hoo-choop [Hujopka], a stern chief at the outlet of Winnebago lake, assumed to be the keeper of the Fox river valley, and levied tribute, in some cases, for the privilege of ascent.

In the fall of 1821, a young Winnebago Indian, called Ke-taw-kah, killed Dr. Madison, of the United States army, by shooting him from a horse, under circumstances which gave the act the air of great cruelty, as it was wholly unprovoked. The murderer was promptly arrested, tried, and executed. The act was disavowed by the nation, and led to no interruption of peaceful relations. Deeds of this kind have not been of frequent occurrence with this tribe.

For some years after the war of 1812, in which the political hopes of all the tribes were wrecked, they were looked upon with distrust by travellers. But with the exception of the death of Dr. Madison, and that of another man named Ulric, at Green (280) Bay, they gave vent to few passionate outbreaks, and the tribes preserved peaceful relations with the United States. All the lake tribes had been misled by the war of 1812, supposing that its results, through their adherence to the mother country, would be to restore to them their hunting-grounds west of the Alleghenies, or, at least, to set bounds and metes to the encroachments of the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic races. And when the contrary was made known to them, and they began to comprehend it, most of the tribes retired from the field of conflict to their native woods, like a bear who had been robbed of her cubs. 

The Winnebagoes were not, therefore, peculiar in their moodiness in the elevated and central parts of Wisconsin, their old home and hunting-grounds after this war. The history of their dealings with the American government is brief and definite. They remained undisturbed masters of their territory in the centre of Wisconsin till recently. The first indication that they could not permanently remain there was, perhaps, given by the expedition to explore the country, in 1820. They gazed at that expedition silently, as not understanding it. Their first treaty with the United States was signed June 3d, 1816, about five months after the treaty of Ghent, in which they pledged themselves to peace, confirmed all prior grants to the British, French, and Spanish governments, and agreed to restore prisoners. On the 19th of August, 1825, and the 11th of August, 1827, they adjusted, at Prairie du Chien, and Butte des Morts, with the other tribes, and with the United States, their territorial boundaries. Their lingering surliness to the United States, and the unfriendly feeling produced by the war of 1812, broke out at Prairie du Chien, on the Mississippi, in the summer of 1827, when they fired on a barge descending that stream, and committed other outrages. This brought upon them the prompt movement of troops from St. Louis, which checked their outbreak; and Hoo-choop, their principal chief in east Wisconsin, with thirteen other principal men, affixed their signatures to the treaty of the 11th of August, 1827. In the year 1828, the discovery of valuable lead-mines in their territory, north of Rock river, led the inhabitants of the frontiers of Illinois to pass over, and commence mining operations in that quarter. This produced alarms and collisions on both sides, which were settled by the treaty of Green Bay, of August 12th, 1828, by which a temporary line of boundary was established, and 20,000 dollars allowed them for depredations.

On the 1st of August, 1829, they ceded a tract south of the Wisconsin river, including the mineral district, for the consideration of 540,000 dollars, payable in coin, in thirty annual equal installments: in addition, large appropriations were made for agricultural purposes, the introduction of smiths and agents, and the payment of claims. In 1831-2 they unwisely connected themselves in a clandestine participation of some of the bands, with the schemes and dreams of Black Hawk. The war with the Sacs and Foxes was waged exclusively on the Winnebago territory; they, at its close, ceded all their remaining land in Wisconsin, lying south of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers; and accepted, in exchange for it, a tract west of the Mississippi, in Iowa, called the Neutral (281) Ground. The sum of 270,000 dollars, payable in coin, in twenty-seven annual payments of 10,000 each, was granted, to equalize the exchange of territory. By this treaty stipulations were made for the introduction of schools, the removal of shops and agencies, and their advance in agriculture and civilization. The treaty, which was concluded at Rock Island on the 15th of September, 1833, was one of great benefit to the tribe, who prospered and increased in population under its execution. The remarks of Mr. Lowry on this subject, Vol. II. p. 526, are referred to. One of the worst acts flowing from their connection with the Sac war, and which stains their character by its atrocity, was the assassination of Mr. Pierre Pacquette, the interpreter at the agency, on the Wisconsin Portage. He was a man of Winnebago lineage, and was reputed to be one of the best friends and counsellors of the nation. By a treaty concluded on the 1st of November, 1837, they agreed to remove to the Neutral Ground, the United States stipulating to transfer there the privileges for their civilization, and to establish manual labor schools for their instruction. On the 23d of October, 1839, Governor Lucas of Iowa, reports that an exploring party of them had arrived in that Territory in the spring of that year, to the alarm of Keokuk, the head Fox chief, who complained of the movement, and requested that they might be sent south of the Missouri. 

The Winnebagoes themselves disliked the removal, neither could they be induced to go south. The Commissioner, in his report of November 28, 1840, remarks, that after some of the contiguous bands had passed over the Mississippi, the rest manifested so much aversion to quitting their old homes in Wisconsin, that the emigration was committed to General Atkinson, who, eventually, extended the time to the spring of 1841. Great efforts were required, however, to overcome their reluctance to remove to the Neutral Ground. In September, 1840, the aged chief Karamanee, Weenoshaik, and other chiefs, made speeches to the Agent strenuously opposing it. At length the government determined to remove the agency, schools, and shops, to Turkey river, and directed the next annuities to be paid there. The nation still clung, as with a death-grasp, to the hills and valleys of Wisconsin, but these steps were effective. Governor Dodge reports that the effects of their remaining in Wisconsin, since the large increase of their annuities under the treaty of 1837, were demoralizing, and that they began rapidly to depopulate.

Mr. Lowry remarks, in 1842, that the depopulation from indulgence, drink, and disease, which had attended the removal, had been very great and demoralizing. He says that the number of children to each female in the tribe did not exceed the average of one; and that wretchedness and bloodshed were of so frequent occurrence as to cease to excite attention. Thirty-nine persons had perished in this way in a short time, and sometimes two or three were stabbed to death in a night.2

Under this arrangement, subsequent removals were made to the stipulated grounds in (282) Iowa, till the whole tribe had migrated. During a period of ten or twelve years, while they occupied the Neutral Ground, they appear to have augmented in their numbers and means, and improved in habits. 

It is observed by Mr. David Lowry, on the 15th of February, 1848, that their numerical strength increased while they were on the Neutral Ground, and has been in the process of increasing since they removed west of the Mississippi. There was a visible change in habits of cleanliness, and their opinions underwent a marked change respecting the subject of labor, so that the females were no longer expected or allowed alone to work in their fields.

On the 13th of October, 1846, in a treaty concluded with authorized delegates, the tribe ceded the "Neutral Ground" in Iowa, and agreed to accept an adequate tract of country north of the river St. Peter's, on the upper Mississippi. By this treaty, one hundred and ninety thousand dollars were agreed to be paid them in various forms, of which sum, the interest of eighty-five thousand dollars, at five per cent., was directed to be paid to them in annuities, during a period of thirty years.

In conformity with this treaty, the tribe has been removed to a tract on the upper Mississippi, fronting on the same, between the Watab and Crow-Wing rivers; which tract was purchased from the Chippewas by the treaty of the 2d of August, 1847. The seat of the agency is established at Long Prairie river, where buildings and shops have been put up for them, and extensive fields fenced and ploughed by the farmers appointed to teach them agriculture. Some difficulties have been encountered in inducing the entire tribe to concentrate on this position, and in overcoming the erratic habits of the tribe. But it is believed that these causes have been entirely overcome.

The earliest notice we have of the Winnebago population, is one found at Paris, in a manuscript list of Indian tribes, prepared by Mons. Chaurignerie, in 1736. He put the Puants or Winnebagoes, at eighty warriors and seven hundred souls.

It is to be remembered, in relation to these small numbers, that Allouez had reported them to have been almost destroyed by the Illinois, at a prior period. In the estimates published by Colonel Boquet, in the narrative of his march west of the Alleghanies, in 1764, they are put down at 700 warriors, an evident mistake. Pike, the first American author on the subject, estimates the entire Winnebago population, in 1806, at 2000. In the tables accompanying the plan of removal west of the Mississippi, communicated to Congress on the 27th of January, 1825, they are given at 5800;3 an exaggeration, if Pike be correct, since, by principles of Indian reproduction, they could not have increased 3800 in twenty years, with the war of 1812 intervening.

In the project for a reorganization of the Indian Department, submitted by General P. B. Porter, in 1829, this estimate is repeated.4 In the statement of tribes east of the Mississippi, transmitted with the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in 1836, the number is reduced to 4500. This number is repeated in the tables of the (283) Commissioner's report for December 1, 1837, there having evidently been no effort to obtain new or correct estimates, within the year. The same stereotype figures appear in the official reports for 1839, and for 1840. It is not till the official report of November 10, 1842, that their number, from actual census on the Neutral Ground, is given, and they are found to be 2183; yet the old estimate of 4500 is still given as the total population, east and west. From the precision with which this census of 2183 is given by the Agent, and the known fact that all the Winnebagoes had then emigrated, it is believed to embrace the whole Winnebago population. 

In the tables accompanying the report of November 25, 1844, the old estimate of 4500 again reappears, with the census number, 2183;5 leaving it to be inferred, either that in the two years from 1842 to 1844, there had not been a death or birth in the Winnebago nation, or that no attention had been paid to the topic. The same statements are served to Congress in the fall of 1845,6 but they are omitted in the report of 1846.

In the autumn of that year, several eminent citizens of New York, apprehending that but little reliance could be placed on the vital and general statistics, and other information respecting the Indian tribes, addressed a memorial to Congress, suggesting the collection and preparation of more full and authentic information. A clause was inserted in one of the acts, directing the Secretary of War to call the attention of the Agents on the frontier to the subject. The result was so encouraging, as it is shown in Doc. No. 33, House of Representatives, 29th Congress, 2d Session, that in the act reorganizing the Department, passed March 3d, 1847, Congress made provision for taking a census of the whole number of tribes within the boundaries of the United States.

The Winnebago population was reported in lists of families, as accurately taken from the pay-rolls, and from personal inspection by J. E. Fletcher, Esq., their Agent in 1848. These returns, which are published in Part I., page 498, designate the separate bands into which the tribe is geographically divided; indicating families, sexes, and ages. The total strength of the tribe, as shown in its new location on the tracts purchased from the Chippewas on the upper Mississippi, is 2531. Of this number, 1244 are men, 1202 women, including the children. Of these, there were about 400 souls who would not permanently remove to the new site on Long Prairie river, and who scattered south among the tribes on the Missouri. Replies of the Agent are also given to the queries directed to be circulated, discussing important points in their history, traditions, manners, and customs, which are believed to be entitled to every credence; they are, in part, herewith given.

The language of the Winnebagoes, as given by Mr. Lowry, is a peculiar modification of the generic Dacotah, with the sound of r very conspicuously used.




                                                      OFFICE INDIAN SUB-AGENT,
                                                  TURKEY RIVER, March 7th, 1848.

SIR: — I have the honor to enclose herewith such answers as I have been able to prepare to a few of the queries enclosed with your circular of July last.

I regret that I have not been able to comply with the request contained in said circular, that answers should be furnished by the 1st of February last. I intended to answer all of the queries which are applicable to the tribe under my charge, and with this view I conversed with most of the old chiefs, and accompanied by the Agency interpreter, visited the oldest persons of the tribe at their lodges, to collect information respecting the history and traditions of the tribe, but on examination of my notes I am unwilling to forward them to the Department until I shall have tested their correctness by availing myself of the services of a more competent interpreter.7

I requested Mr. S. B. Lowry to furnish me answers to several chapters of your queries, which he consented to do; and has obligingly submitted replies relative to crime, hunting, and language, which you will please find enclosed herewith, together with his letter accompanying. (Vide Future Prospects, Vols. II. and III.)

I shall employ all the time I can spare from indispensable duties, in preparing other answers required; and will forward them as early as possible.

                                I have the honor to be,
                                             Very respectfully, your obt. servt.
                                                              J. E. FLETCHER,
                                                                          Indian Sub-agent.


"208.—Is dancing a national trait of the tribe?"

Dancing is a national trait of this tribe, and is a part of their religious, social, and military system.

The war-dance is celebrated before starting on a war-path; but although this tribe has not, for several years past, been engaged in war, this dance is still kept up, and frequently practised. The object of this seems to be the same as that sought to be (285) effected by martial music and military reviews among the whites; namely, to keep alive a martial spirit, and "in peace prepare for war." The old warriors sometimes join this dance; but usually only the middle-aged and young men engage in it: occasionally boys are allowed to join in it. Women do not engage in the war-dance, but encourage it by their presence as spectators. The dancers appear in their war-costume, with a weapon, or something to represent a weapon, in their hands. The musicians are seated around a flag in the centre: the music consists of drums, rattles, and singing. When the music commences, the dancers spring into the ring, and dance promiscuously, brandishing their weapons, and making menacing gestures. This exercise is violent, and cannot be long sustained without rest. Occasionally a warrior will step forward, and go through a pantomime of the discovery, ambuscade, attack, killing, and scalping of an enemy; another will give a history of his exploits, and accompany the recital with appropriate gestures.

When an officer of the government, or any distinguished person, visits their village, they assemble and dance; this is done ostensibly as an honor, but in reality with the expectation of receiving a present.

The scalp-dance affords a striking illustration of the vindictive and bloodthirsty spirit of the savage, and the means by which this spirit is imbibed and cherished in their children. I have witnessed but one dance of this kind. In the spring of 1851, a large party of Chippewa Indians were encamped near the Winnebago Agency; five of their warriors left the camp secretly, went into the country of the Sioux, and in the night surprised and murdered, in a most barbarous manner, a family consisting of two men, one woman, and two children, and took their scalps. I saw them on their return, remonstrated with them, and told them that their Great Father would be displeased when he heard of their conduct; they made this reply: "Last year we had a talk with our father, Governor Ramsay, and our brothers the Long Knives; they told us that we must not go to war; that if the Sioux made war on us, they would be punished: a short time after we had this talk, our enemy came to our village at Ottertail lake, when our warriors were on a hunt, and killed several of our women and children: we sent word to our brothers, the Long Knives, and asked them to avenge our wrongs, according to their promises: we have waited a long time, and nothing has been done for us; the spirits of our dead could not rest, and we concluded to avenge them ourselves, and have done so. Our father, you know that we speak the truth." They had spoken truth, and I could only say, in reply, that if they had made war on men, their equals, I could not blame them, but that they had disgraced themselves, in the estimation of all brave men, by murdering unoffending women and children; and that the Great Spirit would be angry with them for such cruelty.

The Indians being now assembled, they proceeded with their dance; the scalps were hung up on sticks set in the ground, and men, women, and children, danced around them; occasionally the women and children would take a scalp and carry it round the (286) ring. This dance was continued for hours, with great excitement. One of the Chippewas killed his man with a spear; finding it difficult to extricate his weapon on account of the barb, he cut out a piece of flesh with his knife, and brought it home, still adhering to the spear; this flesh was cut in pieces, and given to the boys, who ate it raw.

The funeral dance is performed at the grave, when a sacrifice is made for the dead. They dance around the grave to the music of the drum and singing.

The pipe-dance, and other convivial dances, are joined in with spirit and glee by the old and young. The women in dancing have but one motion; they spring on the toes, both feet together; the body erect, and hands by the side. The men bound on the right and left foot alternately, with the body slightly bent forward.


This feast is an ancient custom or ceremony; it is accompanied with dancing, and is sometimes called the medicine dance. The members or communicants of this feast constitute a society having secrets known only to the initiated. Gentlemen of the Masonic fraternity have discovered unmistakable evidence that there is a similarity between the secret signs used by the members of this society, and those of Free-masons; like them they have a secret in common with societies of the same order, wherever located; and like them, have different degrees, with secrets belonging to each respectively, in the same society; but, unlike Free-masons, they admit women and children to membership.

They have no regular or stated times for holding this feast; and all the members do not attend at the same time, but only such as are invited by the master of the feast. Persons desirous of joining this society will, in some cases, use the most rigid economy for years, to enable them to lay up goods to pay the initiating fee. This fee is not fixed at any stipulated amount; those who join pay according to their ability. Sometimes goods to the amount of two and three hundred dollars are given by an individual. Goods given for this purpose generally consist of blankets, broadcloths, calicoes, wampum, and trinkets, and are given to the medicine men, who perform the ceremony of initiating the member. When one or more persons make application to join the society, preparations are made for a feast and dance, which is held in an arched lodge, or bower, constructed of poles, and covered with tent-cloth and other materials. The size of the bower is made to conform to the number of persons to be invited, and this number depends much on the ability of the person who makes the feast. The width of a bower is about sixteen feet, the length varying from ten to seventy-five yards. The members of the society sit on each side of the bower, the centre being reserved for dancing. Candidates for admission into this society are required to fast three days previous to being initiated. At some period during this


(287) fast they are taken by the old medicine men to some secluded secret spot, and instructed in the doctrines and mysteries of the society; and it is said that the candidates are during this fast subjected to a severe sweating process, by covering them with blankets, and steaming them with herbs; the truth of this saying is not here vouched for, but the appearance of the candidate, when brought forward to be initiated in public, corroborates it. 

The public ceremony of initiation usually takes place about 11 o'clock, A. M. The public exercises of dancing, singing, praying, and exhorting, which precede the initiations, commence the previous morning. Before the candidates are brought forward, the ground through the centre of the bower is carpeted with blankets and broadcloth laid over the blankets. The candidates are then led forward and placed on their knees upon the carpet, near one end of the bower, and facing the opposite end. Some eight or ten medicine men then march in single file round the bower with their medical bags in their hands. Each time they perform the circuit they halt, and one of them makes a short address: this is repeated until all have spoken. They then form a circle and lay their medicine bags on the carpet before them. Then they commence retching and making efforts to vomit; bending over until their heads come nearly in contact with their medicine bags, on which they vomit, or deposit from their mouth a small white sea-shell about the size of a bean; this they call the medicine stone, and claim that it is carried in the stomach and vomited up on these occasions. These stones they put in the mouth of their medicine bags, and take their position at the end of the bower opposite to and facing the candidates. They then advance in line, as many abreast as there are candidates; holding their medicine bags before them with both hands, they dance forward slowly at first, and uttering low guttural sounds as they approach the candidates, their step and voice increasing in energy, until with a violent "Ough!" they thrust their medicine bags at their breasts. Instantly, as if struck with an electric shock, the candidates fall prostrate on their faces — their limbs extended — their muscles rigid and quivering in every fibre. Blankets are now thrown over them, and they are suffered to lie thus a few moments: as soon as they show signs of recovering from the shock, they are assisted to their feet and led forward. Medicine bags are then put in their hands, and medicine stones in their mouths; they are now medicine men or women, as the case may be, in full communion and fellowship. The new members, in company with the old, now go round the bower in single file, knocking members down promiscuously by thrusting their medicine bags at them, (Plate 31.) After continuing this exercise for some time, refreshments are brought in, of which they all partake. Dog's flesh is always a component part of the dish served on these occasions. After partaking of the feast, they generally continue the dance and other exercises for several hours. The drum and rattle are the musical instruments used at this feast. The most perfect order and decorum is observed throughout the entire ceremony. The members of this society are remarkably strict in their attendance at (288) this feast: nothing but sickness is admitted as an excuse for not complying with an invitation to attend. Members sometimes travel fifty miles, and even farther, to be present at a feast, when invited. 

The secret of the society is kept sacred. It is remarkable, that neither want nor a thirst for whiskey will tempt the members of this society to part with their medicine bags.

Whether these medicine men possess the secret of mesmerism or magnetic influence, or whether the whole system is a humbug and imposition, is difficult to determine. A careful observation of the ceremonies of this order for six years has been unable to detect the imposition, if there be one; and it is unreasonable to suppose that an imposition of this character could be practised for centuries without detection. There is no doubt that the tribe generally believe that their medicine men possess great power.



(375) My collection of Indian pile is, probably, the most extensive and valuable in existence, including specimens from all the following groups, viz., Iroquois, Algonquins. Dacotahs, and Appalachians; and from nearly all the tribes now existing, belonging to, or descended from, those groups.8 ...

(376) The examination of the American Indian pile includes, first, its general appearance.

It is long, straight, lank, and black colored, lacking lustre.

Long. The length of the hair of the heads of their females exceeds that of their males.

The hair of Weeunkaw, a Winnebago female, specimen sent by Mr. Fletcher, measures two feet six and a half inches.

That of the wife of Crane-ribs, of the same tribe, and sent by the same, one foot seven inches. ...

(377) Straight and lank. The hair of the head of the pure American Indian is straight and lank. ...

By a mixture of species, this property is affected.

J. M. Strut, a pure Winnebago, aged 25, (specimen sent by Mr. Fletcher,) has straight, lank hair. What is the class to which his wife belongs is not mentioned; but her hair flows, indicating some mixture of the blood of the white man, and the hair of their child curls.

Michael St. Cyr, a di-Mestisin, Winnebago and French, (specimen sent by the same,) has curled hair. The hair of the Mulattins has, generally, a crimped or undulated appearance. ...

(378) The colors of the pile of Mestisins are various and mutable.

Michael St. Cyr, a di-Mestisin, Winnebago and French, by his wife, a pure Winnebago, with straight black hair, has four children; one, fourteen years of age, has chestnut hair, brown complexion, and black eyes; another, aged twelve, has dark chestnut hair, brown complexion, and black eyes; the third, a brunette, has blackish-brown hair and black eyes; the fourth has blackish-brown hair, brown complexion, and black eyes.

The sister of Michael St. Cyr is married to a Pole, and has one child that has blonde hair and light eyes; and another who has light brown hair, copper complexion, and black eyes.

J. A. Alexander, an American, of light complexion, dark hair, and blue eyes, is married to a hexa-Mestisin, Winnebago and French, and has two children; one with brown hair, a sallow complexion, and dark eyes; and the other with flaxen hair, brown complexion, and blue eyes. (Specimens of all the above sent by Mr. Fletcher.)

(379) Of the Loss op the Coloring Matter of the Indian Hair.

As a pure American Indian advances in years, the coloring matter of his pile becomes less and less abundant, forming what is generally, but improperly, termed "grey hair." It is colorless hair.

A Winnebago female, aged 100, (her name not given by Mr. Fletcher, who sent the specimen,) has hair of an entire ashy-white color. ...

Catherine Myat, a tetra-Mestisin, Winnebago and French, aged 80, (specimen sent by Mr. Fletcher,) has about one-third of her hair silver-white. ...

Nawhekaw, a pure Winnebago chief, aged 58, (specimen sent by Mr. Fletcher,) has about one-third white hairs.

Broad-face, a mixture of Winnebago and Menomonee and Sioux, aged 56, (sent by the same,) has about one-half white hairs. ...

(380) The presence or absence of lustre is a characteristic of some importance in the examination and description of pile. There is a striking contrast between the dull ash-colored hair of the aged Winnebago female, and the shining silver-white hair of Meshegenequa, both above mentioned.



(474) In reply to the inquiry, "What have been the most effective means" in the education of "children and youth" among the Winnebagoes, I would observe, that the most successful method of drawing the children into school, has been to leave it to the choice of parents whether to let their children board and lodge at the institution, or draw their rations every evening, and return to the wigwam. The latter plan has generally been preferred by the Indians, and it has enabled a much greater number to enjoy the benefits of the school. The usual course is pursued in the school, when giving instruction, which is observed with white children. "Females have duly participated in the means" of improvement, and have received such instruction as was deemed proper to qualify them for the discharge of domestic duties. The prejudice of the tribe against their children being educated is not only "on the wane," but may be said to be overcome. The relative proportion of the young population who have received the elements of an English education, has just been reported to the Department by the Sub-Agent.

The Winnebagoes have no native mechanics, but it is believed some of their youths might be induced to learn at least the lighter mechanic arts. ...

(479) Our army against Black Hawk had Winnebagoes in its ranks, but could never get but one of them into battle. ...

(480) The Indians have been represented as a very happy people. "Simple, virtuous, happy," &c, are epithets often applied to them by travellers. An officer of government was not long since sent on a visit to the Winnebagoes. I accompanied him to their wigwams. Some were playing cards, some eating, while others were sleeping. The officer, seemingly in rapture, exclaimed, "These are the happiest people in the world!" I did not admire the gentleman's view of human felicity. It had never occurred to me before that the highest state of rational enjoyment was to be found in the lowest state of degradation and vice. The ox, when filled with grass, and having nothing to do but lie down in the shade and defend himself from the flies, is contented; but man is subject to intellectual and moral wants as well as physical, and must be miserable while these remain unredressed. He may laugh and seem to be cheerful, but "the heart knoweth its own bitterness."




                                       TURKEY RIVER SUB-AGENCY, Iowa, April 1st, 1848.

Sir:—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note, requesting a reply to the following queries, viz.:

"1.—What are the diseases of this climate, and what are the diseases to which the Winnebago Indians are most subject?"

"2.— What is the state of medical practice among them?"

"3. — What is the state of their materia medica?"

In reply to the first query, I would say the Indians are subject to all, and the same diseases that affect the whites.

During the summer and autumnal months, bilious diseases predominate; in fact, cases are rarely met in which the liver and spleen do not participate. The febrile diseases are of a remittent or intermittent type. Continued fevers are rarely met, except in cases where the former have been neglected, or injudiciously treated. Typhus fever, as a primary disease, is never seen. There is a greater tendency to gastroenteritis in fevers of this climate than is usually found in a more southern latitude.

During the winter and spring months, the diseases are generally of a highly inflammatory type. The most common are bilious pneumonia, pneumonia, pleuritis, bronchitis, tonsillitis, ottitis, and odontalgia.

Of the above, bilious pneumonia is the most frequent, and by far the most fatal disease among the Indians.

2. As regards the practice of medicine amongst them, it is a compound of superstition and ignorance. They are totally ignorant of the pathology of disease, and equally so of its treatment. They have no knowledge of anatomy, nor any correct idea of the circulation of the blood; the maximum of their knowledge on this point is that the blood runs in certain channels — arterial and venous: circulation is with them the same thing.

"Medicine-men" are numerous among them, and each has his secret universal panacea for all the diseases "that flesh is heir to." So far as I have been able to observe, their medicines are of a mild character, the poisons being excluded as being the work of the Evil Spirit in an attempt to imitate the Good Spirit, who created the different fruits and grasses for the use of the Indians. Their remedies are exhibited with but little reference to disease or the particular stages of the same.

(498) The hot or vapor bath and the cold bath or cold affusions, and frequent blood-letting, are the most powerful remedial agents in use. These powers are resorted to in every disease attended with inward heat of the surface; and the latter is an almost universal remedy. The flint is used as the instrument for bleeding: a small scale is broken off and tied to the end of a stick, and used as farmers use the lance in bleeding horses. The vapor bath is prepared by covering a small lodge with blankets, in which the patient is placed; heated rocks are placed near him, on which water is poured, immediately generating any required amount of vapor. 

The cold bath is some natural stream, or spring, in which the patient is placed in a sitting posture, the water coming up to his chin; or, when such natural bath is inconvenient, from distance, the patient is wrapped in blankets, and cold water poured over him: this is continued according to the pleasure of the operator. This course sometimes has a happy effect in cases of fever, but more generally the effect is congestion of some of the important viscera, or brain.

In some cases of disease, they rely more on propitiatory offerings to the Bad Spirit, and incantations, accompanied with the drum, rattle, and whistle, than on any internal medicine.

Cupping is also a favorite remedy with them. This is performed with a horn of the ox, using the mouth as a suction-pump; the part being first scarified with a flint, or with the point of a knife.

As regards their materia medica, but little is known to the whites, as a superstitious mystery envelopes all their actions when attempting to cure the sick. I have been much among them during the last two years, and have carefully observed their remedies, and the effects, and am perfectly satisfied that they have no remedies of any value not known and embraced in the Pharmacopoeia of the United States.

Their theory of ague and fever is, that it is the work of the "Bad Spirit;"—that he blows his cold, and after, his hot breath upon them. This may be taken as a fair specimen of their knowledge of the cause of disease. All their sacrifices and propitiatory offerings are made to this spirit. I am not aware that offerings are ever made to Manitou, or the Good Spirit. During seasons of unusual sickness, large amounts of valuable goods are suspended on trees, or poles, in the vicinity of their villages, as offerings to the Evil Spirit. Such was the case during the summer and autumn of 1846. Dogs are a favorite offering.

Their superstitious notions are, however, gradually melting away before the light of civilization; and many of them have now discarded their own "medicine-men," and in all, even the slightest indisposition, call on the government physician for medicine and advice. This is emphatically true, so far as the Agency band is concerned. Observation and experience have convinced them that there is more safety in the doctor of the white man, than their own; and few cases of disease occur in which he is not consulted.

I am, &c,                                                 
F. Andros, Phys. to Winnebago Ind.



(Part IV, page 51) THE ensuing observations respecting the manners and customs of the Winnebago tribe, from Mr. Fletcher, derive value from his residence, for several years, in an official capacity among them, as well as from the authentic light which they cast on their history and character.


198.9 “The Winnebagoes were once a warlike people, but for several years past they have been at peace with the neighboring tribes, and are, at the present time, disinclined to war. Their military or war system is very simple, and is here given on the authority of Taw-nee-nuk-kaw, the head war-chief of the tribe.

(52) Nothing but the taking of life is considered just cause of war. When an Indian has had a relative killed by Indians of another tribe, and wishes to raise a war-party to avenge him; in case the enemy is not in the immediate neighborhood, and instant action for self-defence is not required, he in the first place fasts until he has a favorable dream; if, perchance, he has had a bad dream, he gets up and eats, and commences his fast again, and continues until his dream is favorable to his purpose; he then makes a feast, invites his friends, relates his dream, and asks them to go with him on a war path. The war-chief is usually invited to take command of the party.

All who join the party, volunteer; none are compelled to serve, and those who volunteer do not obligate themselves to serve during the war, or for any fixed time. If a warrior turns back after starting on a war-path he is laughed at, perhaps, but not punished for deserting. The man who gets up the party, and his friends, furnish a feast at starting; after that, each warrior takes care of and supports himself. The Indian goes to war on his own “charges;” no munitions of war, subsistence, or transportation are furnished at the public expense; each warrior furnishes himself with arms and ammunition. To these facts the peculiar character of Indian warfare is to be attributed; having no commissary department, they cannot subsist an army; and when, under a general and strong excitement, several hundred warriors start together on a war-path, they are, from necessity, obliged in a short time to separate in search of subsistence.

The Indian who raises a war-party furnishes a horse and as much wampum as he is able; the war-chief also furnishes something. The warrior who takes the first scalp10 receives the property furnished by the man who got up the party; and the warrior who takes the second scalp receives the property furnished by the war-chief.

199. Warriors start for the first place of rendezvous, singly, or in squads, as may be most convenient. No order is observed. After they are assembled, and before starting on the war-path, they dance, and sacrifice dogs and deer-skins dressed white. Each warrior carries a bag made of skins or rushes, in which is carried a root. Before going into battle they chew this root, swallow some of its juice, and put some of it on their bodies to make them brave and keep them from being hurt. This medicine does not have the effect to deaden pain. After the ceremony of the dance is concluded, the party start in single file, the war-chief at their head. When they arrive in the neighborhood of their enemy, they have a vanguard when marching, and sentinels stationed when encamped at night. Neither priests nor jugglers are consulted respecting the result of a campaign; the dream of the warrior who raises a war-party is relied on.

200. The war-chief directs the movements of the party, and commands in battle; he plans the attack, issues orders to his braves and assigns them their post. They (53) sometimes fight in line when they happen to meet an enemy in the open field by day. In such case, they commence firing as soon as they come within range, and then advance, the object of each party being to drive the other from the field. When one party breaks and retreats, the other pursues, killing with the knife and war-club. The wounded retire to the rear.

201. The usual plan adopted by the party making the attack is, first, to ascertain by reconnoitring, the exact position of the enemy, then start upon him in the night, and at a given signal attack him promiscuously. The war-whoop is not used as an order or signal after commencing an attack, but, like the shout of the white soldier in battle, is intended to defy the enemy, and exult in success.

202. Sometimes a war-party agree to take one or two prisoners. If a warrior wants a prisoner for the purpose of adopting him into his family, he is allowed to take one. No important ceremony is observed in adopting a prisoner. Without a previous arrangement, male prisoners are seldom taken in battle. Quarter is neither given nor asked; the Indian, when outnumbered and surrounded so that he cannot retreat, knows that it is useless to surrender, and fights to the last.

When, as it sometimes happens, a. warrior is taken in battle, and his captor does not wish to adopt him, and the war-chief is not present to decide his fate, he is bound and taken to the village where that chief resides. The prisoner is then made to go about in the village, and if he enters the lodge of the war-chief, he is condemned to die, but if the war-chief shuts his lodge against him, his life is safe. The war-chief has the power of life and death in the case. They do not bury their dead who fall in the field of battle, neither do they strip them of their ornaments, but leave them as they fall. They kill and scalp the wounded of their enemy. Sometimes Indians, after being scalped and left for dead on the field of battle, recover and get back to their tribe. There are individuals now living, who have recovered under such circumstances.

203. They do not make slaves of their prisoners if their lives are spared. They generally marry, and are treated as members of the tribe.

204. The Winnebago warriors say that chastity is, by their tribe, uniformly respected in war. They say that the Great Spirit has told them not to abuse the women.

205. The warriors start on the war-path attired in their usual dress, but go into battle divested of most of their clothing. They paint their faces and bodies so as to appear as hideous as possible. They use vermilion and most of the pigments employed by painters, and when these cannot be obtained they besmear their bodies with clay. The feather of the war-eagle is worn by those warriors who have taken a scalp in battle.11

(54) 206. Some wear frontlets, and this ornament is constructed of various materials, and in various shapes and patterns. They wear a small portion of the hair on the top and back part of the head long, and braided in two or three braids; the balance of their hair is generally cut similar to the fashion of the whites. They do not show any part of the head. Their ornaments are worn in battle; these consist chiefly of necklaces of animals’ claws, bracelets, and rings.

207. Since the introduction of fire-arms among them, those who can obtain the gun and rifle prefer to use them, instead of the bow and arrow. The war-club, tomahawk, and knife, are still used as weapons. The scalping-knife does not differ from the common knife used by the Indians in hunting.


211. It is characteristic of an Indian to suffer in silence, and die composedly. When an individual in this tribe dies, the relatives, if able, procure a new suit of clothes, in which they dress the corpse; then, if practicable, procure a coffin, and bury the dead as soon as the necessary preparations can be made. They do not address the dead as if living, or capable of hearing.12 They usually bury a pipe and some tobacco with a male adult, and sometimes deposit a war-club in the grave of a warrior.

212. Graves are usually made in dry ground, and dug from two to four feet in depth. No tumulus or barrow has been erected by this tribe to the memory of their chiefs, in modern times. Indian graves are usually excavated imperfectly, always shallow, and sometimes not deep enough to prevent effluvia from the body, and to protect it from wild beasts. They usually place some protection around graves, by setting boards or poles in the ground, meeting at the top over the grave. In addition to this, the graves of chiefs and distinguished men are sometimes enclosed with pickets.

213. Graves are dug east and west, and the dead buried with the head towards the east; the reason given for this is, “That they may look towards the happy land in the west.”

214. The dead are sometimes deposited in a sitting posture. An excavation is made, and the body placed in it, facing the west, with the head and chest above the surface of the ground.

215. This tribe do not embalm the dead. They clothe the corpse in full dress, and when a coffin cannot be obtained, they sometimes substitute bark.

(55) 216. Sometimes parents scaffold their dead children in order that they may have them in sight. Sometimes the dead are disposed of in this manner, in compliance with their wish expressed while living, and sometimes the dead are scaffolded as a matter of convenience, to avoid the trouble of digging a grave in frozen ground.13

217. White flags are frequently placed at the head of graves, and sometimes the United States flag is placed over the graves of chiefs and distinguished persons. These flags are supposed to remain until worn out.

218. It does not appear, from the traditions of this tribe, that they ever collected and re-interred the bones of their dead.

219. It is probable that this tribe never used charnel-houses.

220. Incineration of bodies is never practised by the Winnebagoes.

221. Black is the garb of mourning. They make great lamentation for the dead, but do not scarify themselves in token of mourning. When a family bury a member or relative, they black their faces and bodies, sometimes put on sackcloth, and do not wash or comb their hair until they make a sacrifice. This is done by procuring goods, and hanging them over the grave of the deceased, when their friends are invited to meet. After singing and dancing about the grave, the party is divided, and the goods in some way gambled for, either by a game of ball, moccasin, or cards. It is customary to visit the grave of a relative four times. Mothers carry images or bundles of clothes to represent a child lost by death. Men do not suffer their beards to grow long, in token of mourning for the dead.

222. Fires are kindled at the graves of the dead, and continued four nights; the object is to light the spirit on its journey to the spirit-land.

223. Grass and rubbish are cleared away, and the surface of the ground around a new-made grave is swept in a circle from six to twenty feet in diameter. This is done to prevent evil spirits from creeping up to the grave. A roof constructed of bark, boards, or some other material of wood, is made over the grave, and sometimes a post some six or eight inches in diameter, and three feet in height, is set at the head of the grave. On these posts they paint hieroglyphics, representing, not the epitaph of the dead, but the achievements of the warriors who dance at the grave and relate their exploits while the record is being made.14



224. It is not known that any mounds are now being built by Indians in the northwest territory of the United States. It is believed that some tribes of Indians could have mustered a sufficient number of laborers, including women, to erect the largest artificial mounds found in the west, provided they could have been furnished with subsistence and tools; but the present race of Indians lack the energy necessary to undertake and prosecute works of such magnitude; and, considering their habits and customs, it is difficult to assign a motive for such an undertaking. These mounds may have been erected for national monuments, and sepulchres for the illustrious dead. The old men of this tribe give it as their opinion, that such was their purpose and use; but the traditions of the tribe make no mention of the origin or use of these mounds. It is not reasonable to suppose that a tribe of Indians who subsisted by the chase, would erect these works for fortifications, as it would be impossible for them to procure subsistence sufficient to enable them to sustain a siege for any considerable length of time.

225. Orphan children are usually supported by their nearest relatives. When they have no relatives able to support them, they are maintained by individual charity. No provision is made for them at the public expense.

226. Aged and infirm persons sometimes suffer in seasons of scarcity. They receive their share of the annuity of the tribe; and when that is exhausted, and they have no children or near relatives to whom they can apply for aid, they often receive voluntary contributions from their friends and neighbors. The chiefs also interest themselves in behalf of such persons, and request their agent to give them an extra share of the public annuities. The organization of savage society is such, that few, if any, persons can be found, who have not some relatives who are bound by its usages to afford them the last rites of humanity.

227. The bands of this tribe build their summer lodges in villages. These lodges are built by setting posts or poles in the ground, and covering them with bark. Ash, elm, and linn, are used for this purpose. (See Plate 23, Part II.) The shape of the lodge is similar to that of a log cabin, and differing in size according to the number of persons in the family or families who occupy them. Said lodges are from twelve to forty feet in length, and from ten to twenty feet in width, and about fifteen feet in height from the ground to the top of the roof. These lodges are built near the field or fields they cultivate, and are occupied several summers. A lodge forty feet in length, and sixteen in width, will accommodate three families of ten persons each. There are (57) no windows in these bark lodges. They generally have two doors, and a space through the centre; with benches or berths on each side for sleeping. The fires, one for each family, are made along the space through the centre of the lodge. The smoke escapes through apertures in the roof. These lodges were formerly built by the women; latterly, however, the men assist in building them.

The summer lodge is made of lighter materials, and is portable. When on a hunt, these lodges are frequently removed from place to place. When a family removes to a distant location, the frame of the lodge is left standing, and the covering only is removed. The Winnebagoes use skins, mats made of flags, and bark, for enclosing their winter lodges. The Chippewas cover their lodges with birch bark. The frame of these lodges is made by setting small poles in the ground, and binding the tops together, thus forming an arch high enough for a man to stand erect in the centre.

228. The Winnebagoes use chiefly canoes made of logs, which they excavate and finish with great skill. The axe and an adze, constructed for the purpose, are the tools used. These canoes carry from two to fifteen persons. The Chippewas use the bark canoe; they are the most skilful canoe-builders in this country, and probably the most skilful in the world. The frame of the bark canoe is first made of pine, cedar, or some light wood, and then sheeted with birch bark. The edges of the sheathing are lapped, and sewed with thin filaments of‘ elm bark; the seams are then covered with gum, and thus rendered impervious to water. The log canoe is the most durable. The bark canoe the most convenient when portages are made.

229. This tribe has made considerable advancement in civilization. A portion of them subsist chiefly by agriculture, and have adopted the use of the common farming implements, and a few of the mechanical tools used by the whites.

230. The Winnebagoes have no regular periods for meals; they eat when hungry, provided they have aught to eat. They generally boil their food, and cook it until it is well done. Their skill in boiling fish consists in keeping it heated for a long time over a slow fire. They use brass, iron, and tin vessels in cooking. Before they procured metallic vessels, they sometimes boiled their food in wooden vessels, or troughs, by putting heated stones into the water contained in them. They use but little salt, and do not relish milk.

231. Provisions are usually cured by hanging them in the smoke of their family fires. They preserve fish, and all kinds of meat taken in their hunts, by smoking. The tail of the beaver is parboiled before it is smoked.

232. It is difficult to estimate what proportion of their support those bands in this tribe, which rely on the chase for subsistence, derive from the “spontaneous fruits and productions of the forest.” Wild rice is the most important article for food that grows (58) spontaneously. Whortle-berries, black-berries, rasp-berries, straw-berries, and cran-berries, are delicacies which they enjoy in their season. They get but little wild honey, an article of which they are not very fond. They manufacture maple sugar to considerable extent. In a favorable season, they produce some 15,000 pounds of this article, the labor of which is performed chiefly by the women.

233. In seasons of scarcity, they are sometimes straitened for provisions. At such times, they use their resources economically; and if the ground is not frozen or covered with snow, they dig wild potatoes, artichokes, and other nutritious roots. Suffering by famine is seldom known in this tribe; their large annuities, together with the proceeds of their labor and hunts, are sufficient to secure them against extreme want.


234. Indians of both sexes consider the Mackinac blanket an essential article of dress at all times. White blankets are preferred in the winter, and colored in the summer. Red is a favorite color with the young, and green with the aged. Three point blankets are worn by men, and two and a half point by women. The calico shirts, cloth leggins, and buck-skin moccasins, worn by both sexes,15 are similar. In addition to the above articles, the women wear a broad-cloth petticoat, or mantelet, suspended from the hips and extending below the knee. No part of the garments worn by this tribe is made of materials the growth of their own country, except that their leggins and moccasins are sometimes made of deer-skins, dressed by themselves. Blankets and mantelets last about one year. Leggins, moccasins, and shirts, last but a short time. A common dress for a man costs about $12; for a woman, about $15. A holiday dress, with ornaments, costs about $100.

235. The Winnebagoes adapt their dress to varying circumstances, occasions, and seasons. The chiefs wear nothing peculiar to designate their office, except it be medals received from the President of the United States. The habits of the Indians of this tribe, respecting undressing for bed at night, are similar to those of the whites.

236. These Indians attach great value to ornaments. Wampum, ear-bobs, rings, bracelets, and bells, are the most common ornaments worn by them. Head-dresses, ornamented with eagles’ feathers, are worn by the warriors on public occasions. Warriors only are allowed to wear the feather of the war eagle. Most of the ornaments worn by the Winnebagoes are procured from their traders.

237. Some of the young men and women of the tribe paint their blankets with a variety of colors and figures. This is usually done with vermilion and other paints, (59) purchased of their traders. Vegetable dyes are used but little by them. They do not tattoo their bodies. A large majority of the young and middle-aged, of both sexes, paint their faces when they dress for a dance, and on all public occasions. Vermilion, prussian blue, and chrome yellow, are generally used for this purpose. The men frequently besmear their bodies with white clay when they join a public dance.

238. They have no badge of office.

239. The Winnebago women wear no curls or false hair; they uniformly, old and young, divide the hair from the forehead to the back of the crown, and wear it collected in a roll from the back of the neck, confined with ribbons and bead-strings. The men and boys wear their hair cut similar to the whites, except that they all wear a small quantity on the back of the crown long and braided, which braids are tied at the end with ribbon. These Indians have but little beard, which is usually plucked by tweezers. Only one or two men in this tribe wear whiskers.

240. The skin of the Indian is thinner than that of the white man, the surface is smoother, and the lines or indentations more regular.”

[The fact brought to notice by Mr. Fletcher, in the concluding sentence of the above remarks, is believed to be a general one among the traits of the North American Indians, and commends itself to the attention of physiologists. After this general survey of the manners and customs of the tribes who have so long occupied a position on our frontiers, and filled so prominent a niche in Indian history as the Winnebagoes, it will be appropriate to introduce the manners, customs and opinions of the Sioux or Dacotahs— a cognate, but still more numerous and important tribe.]



The Winnebagoes have a tradition (148) that they came from Mexico. (Notes to my Geo. Rep, 1822.)




1. Origin: It is difficult to arrive at the correct history of a people who have no written language. When reference can only be had to oral traditions, always vague and often contradictory, much difficulty arises in deciding on the relative claims of such traditions to authenticity. Such are the traditions of the Winnebago Indians, and such is the foundation on which is based the authenticity of what is here related respecting their origin, early history, and migrations. No hieroglyphics, artificial landmarks, or pseudo monuments, can be referred to as proofs on these points, with reference to this tribe; and no information respecting them can be obtained from white persons now living with them. The traditions here given were obtained from the chiefs, and old persons of the tribe.

On the subject of their origin, the Winnebagoes can communicate nothing entitled to credence or respect; unless we give to their traditions such allegorical interpretation as will make them conform to probable facts.

The residence of the Winnebagoes at a place they call the Red Banks, on the west shore of Lake Michigan, and north of Green Bay, appears to be the earliest event preserved by their traditions relative to their history.

The Winnebagoes claim that they are an original stock; and that the Missourias, Iowas, Otoes, and Omahas, sprung from them.

These Indians call the Winnebagoes their elder brothers; and the similarity of their language renders it probable that they belong to the same stock.

Nothing can be gathered from the traditions of the Winnebagoes, to show from what stock of men they sprang.

2. Tribe and geographical position: O-chunga-raw is the name by which the Winnebagoes are called among themselves; also by the Otoes, the Iowas, the Omahas, and the Missourias; they are called O-ton-kah by the Sioux; the Sacs and Foxes, the Pottowatomies, (228) the Menomonies, the Chippewas, the Kickapoos, and the Ottowas, call them Winnebagoes. These names have no particular meaning.16

The traditions of this tribe extend no further back than their residence at the Red Banks, some eight or nine generations since; and from the fact that the Winnebagoes believe that their ancestors were created there, it is probable that they dwelt at that place for a considerable length of time.

If the traditions of this tribe be correct on this subject, the Winnebagoes had formerly a much larger population than at the present time; and their number was put down vaguely at four thousand five hundred, in the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in 1837; now their actual number is but little over twenty-five hundred. The population of this tribe has increased during the last three years.

Prior to the treaty of August 19th, 1825, the Winnebagoes appear to have had no very definite boundaries to the territory they claimed or occupied for hunting purposes. Said treaty has proved a great benefit to the tribes participant therein, by settling and preventing disputes about their respective boundaries; and has relieved the government, in subsequent treaties with them, from the embarrassment of such disputes.

The Winnebagoes, in disposing of their lands to the United States, have generally exchanged a large for a smaller quantity; and received for the difference in value, a consideration in money, provisions, and goods. The country they now own contains an area of about 850,000 acres, bounded principally by the Crow-wing, Watab, Mississippi, and Long Prairie rivers. (See Plate 31, Part II.)

3. Ancient or modern location: The Winnebago Indians believe that their ancestors were created by the Great Spirit, on the land they formerly occupied on Lake Michigan; and that their title to said land originated in the gift of it to them by their Creator.

They cannot recollect the first interview with the whites. The first sale of their lands to the government was made in 1829. Some of the signers of the treaty are yet living. Fire-arms, woollen goods, cooking utensils of metal, and ardent spirits, were introduced among this tribe prior to the recollection of the oldest persons now living.

4. Vestiges of early tradition: The Winnebagoes have traditions of the creation and the deluge; but it is impossible to determine what was the character of their traditions of these events, previous to their first interview with the whites. It is not improbable that the traditions of the creation and the deluge, now held by this tribe, are based in part on the scripture account of these events, communicated to them by the whites.

The character of the traditions held by the Winnebagoes, will be seen from the following specimens. Sho-go-nik-kaw (Little Hill), one of the chiefs of the tribe, (229) relates the history of the creation as follows: “The Great Spirit at First waked up as from a dream, and found himself sitting on a chair. On finding himself alone, he took a piece of his body, near his heart, and a piece of earth, and from them made a man. He then proceeded to make three other men. After talking awhile with the men he had created, the Great Spirit made a woman, who was this earth, which is the grand mother of the Indians. The four men which were First created are the four winds—east, west, north, and south. The earth, after it was created, rocked about; and the Great Spirit made four beasts and four snakes, and put them under the earth, to steady and support it. But when the winds blew, the beasts and snakes could not keep the earth steady, and the Great Spirit made a great buffalo, and put him under the earth; this buffalo is the land which keeps the earth steady. After the earth became steady, the Great Spirit took a piece of his heart, and made a man; and then took a piece of his flesh, and made a woman. The man knew a great deal, but the woman knew but little. The Great Spirit then took some tobacco and tobacco-seed, and gave them to the man; and gave to the woman one seed of every kind of grain, and showed her every herb and root that was good for food.

The roots and herbs were made when the earth was made. When the Great Spirit gave tobacco to the man, he told him that when he wanted to speak to the winds or the beasts, to put tobacco in the fire, and they would hear him; and that the Great Spirit would answer him. After the Great Spirit gave these things to the man and woman, he told them to look down; and they looked down, and saw a child standing between them. The Great Spirit told them that they must take care of the children. The Great Spirit then created one man and one woman of every tribe and tongue on the earth; and told them, in Winnebago, that they would live on the centre of the earth. The Great Spirit then made the beasts and birds for the use of man. He then looked down upon his children, and saw that they were happy. The Great Spirit made the Fire and tobacco for the Winnebagoes, and all the other Indians got their Fire and tobacco from them; and this is the reason why all the other tribes call the Winnebago their dear brother.

After the Great Spirit had made all these things, he did not look down on the earth again for one hundred and eighteen years. He then looked down and saw the old men and women coming out of their wigwams, grey-headed and stooping, and that they fell to pieces. The Great Spirit then thought that he had made the Indians to live too long, and that they increased too fast. He then changed his plan, and sent four thunders down to tell the Indians that they must fight; and they did Fight and kill each other. After that the Indians did not increase so fast. The Good Spirit took the good Indians who were killed in battle to himself; but the bad Indians who were killed went to the West. After a while, a bad spirit waked up, and saw what the Good Spirit had done, and thought he could do as much: so he set to work and tried to make an Indian, and made a negro. He then tried to make a black bear, and made (230) a grizzly bear. He then made some snakes, but they were all venomous. The bad spirit made all the worthless trees, the thistles, and useless weeds that grow on the earth. He also made a Fire, but it was not so good as the Fire that the Good Spirit made and gave to the Indian.

The bad spirit tempted the Indians to steal, and murder, and lie; and when the Indians who committed these crimes died, they went to the bad spirit. The Good Spirit commanded the Indians to be good, and they were so until the bad spirit tempted them to do wrong.”

After relating the foregoing tradition, which he said had been handed down from his forefathers, Sho-go-nik-kaw, in reply to inquiries on the subject, said he believed the earth had been destroyed by a flood, and that he believed it would be destroyed again; that the Good Spirit and the bad spirit will Fight; that there will be darkness for four days and nights; that there will be thunders and lightnings; and that the wicked will go to the bad spirit. He said that he believed the Good Spirit will always live, and that after the earth is destroyed he will repair it again.

Taw-nee-nuk-kaw [the Smoker], one of the oldest chiefs of the tribe, gives the following tradition of the Creation:

The Great Spirit created the earth, and looked down upon it, and it was bare. He then made the trees and grass and herbs to grow. After the earth was made, it rolled about; and the Great Spirit made four spirits, and placed them under the four corners of the earth to keep it steady. He then put four kings under the earth, to support it. The four kings were two snakes and two Waw-chuk-kaws. The Great Spirit then created animals, and, after making the earth and animals, he thought of making people to live on the earth; and took a piece of his body, and of it made an Indian. He made him in heaven, and sent him down to the earth. The Great Spirit told the Indian to go down very slow; but the Indian came down like thunder and lightning, very fast; and when he landed on the earth, at the Red Banks on Lake Michigan, he had a war-club in one hand, and articles to make fire with in the other. This Indian was the First chief. The Great Spirit saw that this man was alone, and he made a woman, and sent her down to him. The Great Spirit then made another man, and sent him down to the earth to be a brother to the First man. This man came down in a thunder-storm, and the rain put out the fire which the First man had made. The First man then kindled another Fire, and told his brother to keep it. The last man sent down, was the First war-chief. The Great Spirit then made another woman, and sent her down for a wife for the war-chief. The birds that fly in the air, were next made by the Great Spirit: and he then thought that he would make a man to spring from the earth. On a fair day, a man was seen springing from the middle of Lake Michigan. This man was the First land-holder. The Great Spirit then made a man from a he-bear, and made a woman from a she-bear. The man made from a bear was a runner to carry news. After these men were created, they held a council; and it was agreed (231) that the second man that came down from heaven should be the war-chief; and that the man made from a bear should be his second in command.

After the Winnebagoes had lived a long time, the Great Spirit looked down upon them, and saw that they worked very hard with their stone axes and other tools made of stone; and he created the white man to make tools for the poor Indians.

Taw-nee-nuk-kaw said that his father had told him the story of the Deluge, which had been handed down by their forefathers; but said he did not believe it was true, because he could not believe the Great Spirit would destroy the people and animals on the earth, after taking the trouble to create them. The tradition of the Deluge is believed by a majority of the tribe. Naw-hu-hu-kaw, one of the chiefs, in speaking of the Deluge, gave it as his opinion that it was produced, in part, by a heavy rain, but principally by a strong wind blowing the waters out of the great lakes, and overflowing the land.

The Winnebagoes have no tradition of their ancestors having lived in other lands; or of any quadrupeds which are foreign to America; nor have they any tradition of a more civilized race having occupied the continent before them.

5. No direct term applicable to, or signifying the entire continent, is used by the Winnebagoes. Hitherto, they have considered the country they inhabit as an island. When they speak of the whole country they say Mo-me-nug-raw, the land we live upon; or, Wuck-aw-nee-wee-naw, our island.

6. Reminiscences of former condition: The traditions of the Winnebagoes furnish but a vague and unsatisfactory account of the history and condition of the tribe prior to the time they were visited by the whites; they represent, however, that previous to the time that the French came among them, and introduced wine—and, subsequently, the introduction of rum by the British—they were more prosperous and happy than they have been since; that then they were living in peace among themselves, and at peace with the neighboring tribes, excepting the Sioux; but that, since the whites came among them, they have had many wars. Their traditions also say, that the Winnebagoes made leagues of friendship with the Menomonies, and the Sacs and Foxes; and that the Sacs and Foxes broke the league by making war upon them, and that the Winnebagoes built a fort—that it was constructed of logs or pickets set in the ground. The Winnebagoes know nothing of the origin of the large mounds found in the west; they give it as their opinion, that the numerous small mounds now standing on the prairies in the valley of the Upper Mississippi, were built for dwellings— they say that some Indians formerly lived under ground.

7. Names and events, as helps to history: No very important events, as epochs in the history of this tribe, are spoken of in their traditions. In their wars they have (232) suffered losses, and gained victories; but it does not appear that they have ever subjugated another tribe, or that they have ever been subjugated by their enemies.

The old people of the tribe say that the smallpox has prevailed amongst them three times, since their remembrance; they say that this disease was First brought among them by the English. More than one-fourth of the population of this tribe died of smallpox in 1836.

8. Present rulers and condition: Waw-kon-chaw-koo-kah is head-chief of the Winnebagoes. Waw-kon-haw-kaw, Watch-ha-ta-kaw, Maw-kuk-souch-kaw, Maw-hee-koo-shay-naw, Zhu-kaw, Sho-go-nik-kaw, and Baptiste Lassallier are next to the head-chief in influence in the tribe. She-go-nik-kaw and Baptiste Lassallier were appointed by the government agent; the others are hereditary chiefs. Waw-kon-haw-kaw is the orator or speaker of the tribe. Taw-ne-nuk-kaw holds the rank of head war-chief.

Waw-kon-chaw-koo-kah, generally known by the name of Wee-no-shik by the whites, succeeded to the chieftainship of his band while a young man; he is now of middle age, and is, both physically and intellectually, a fine specimen of an Indian. In person above the medium height, well-proportioned, faultless in symmetry of form, easy and graceful in manner, he is decidedly the most accomplished and handsome man in his tribe. In respect to mental, social, and moral qualities, it may be said of him, that as a man he is modest, kind, and courteous; as a chief, he is dignified in demeanor, firm in purpose, and just in the exercise of authority towards his band and tribe; but in the transaction of business with the government, he is suspicious, obstinate, and faithless; as a politician, he is plotting, crafty, and cautious; as a warrior, he is brave in battle, and calm and self-relying in danger. Wee-no-shik seems to have cherished hatred to the Americans from his childhood, and has twice taken up arms against them. In the Winnebago war of 1827, he was taken prisoner by General Dodge, on the dividing ridge between the forks of the Pekatonika river in Illinois. His father, and the rest of his band, escaped: Wee-no-shik, then a boy fifteen years old, when surrounded, refused to surrender; he sat on his horse with his gun cocked in his hand, and eyed his foes with defiance and hate. The soldiers had become greatly exasperated by the cruelties perpetrated by the Indians, and, but for the sympathy of bravery, that moment would have been his last. General Dodge saw and admired the intrepidity of the boy, rode up and wrested his musket from him, and thus saved him from the death he at once courted and defied. On being assured by General Dodge that he wished to settle amicably the difficulty between the Indians and the whites, Wee-no-shik consented to guide him to his father’s village, which stood where the town of Freeport is now situated: on arriving at the village, they found it deserted. Wee-no-shik was then requested to devise some way to inform his father of his position—to accomplish this he drew, on a piece of bark, a map of the country, and pictures of fifty-seven white men armed, on horseback, and also a picture of himself (233) with them, as their guide, and designated the route they would take. This bark he set up in a conspicuous place, and the village was left undisturbed.

In 1832, Wee-no-shik joined Black Hawk, at the head of a band of Sacs, when he invaded the State of Illinois, and commenced the “Black Hawk war.” He guided Black Hawk's army from the head of Milwaukie river by a difficult route, crossing the Kickapoo hills to the Bad-axe river, Wisconsin, and subsisted for some three weeks principally upon horse-flesh. He was faithful to the ill-fated band which he had joined, and was taken prisoner near the battle-ground, the day after the Fight at Bad-axe, in which Fight he was severely wounded in the arm. When brought before General Dodge, and asked whither Black Hawk had fled, he refused to tell. General Dodge said to him, “I saved your life when you were a boy, and I have a right to expect that you will tell me the truth.” Wee-no-shik replied, “It is true-— you did save my life, but it would have been better for me had you permitted your men to kill me.”

Wee-no-shik was made head-chief of the tribe in 1845; this appointment was made chiefly for the purpose of facilitating business transactions, and does not affect his position as chief of his particular band. Like most Indians, he is fond of intoxicating liquor; but unlike most Indians, he sometimes keeps it in his lodge, and drinks with moderation. In regard to his domestic affairs, it will suffice to mention that he has four wives, one of whom is the reputed daughter of Colonel Morgan, late of the United States Army. Wee-no-shik is a believer in the religion of his fathers, and is, apparently, a devout worshipper of the Great Spirit.

Waw-kon-haw-kaw has, for many years, held the position of principal orator of his tribe. He is one-fourth French, and is possessed of good sense and much shrewdness. He has great influence in the tribe, and sometimes takes a fee, as attorney for the traders. He is between seventy-five and eighty years old, and although dissipated, is still robust and healthy.

Watch-ha-ta-kaw is about eighty years of age—has an iron constitution—never was sick; but some twenty years since he lost his right eye. This chief has had twenty-one wives, by whom he has had thirty children—twelve sons and eighteen daughters; five of his sons and Fifteen of his daughters are now living. He has six wives living with him at the present time—the youngest is fourteen years old. He is a man of good sense, and great firmness and decision, and has the reputation of great bravery; he has fought the Chippewa and Sac and Fox Indians, and also fought against the United States under the command of Colonel Dickson, a British officer.

Maw-keek-souch-kaw is a middle-aged man: he is the son of a chief, and was, during the life of his father, promoted to the head of a large band on the death of Big Thunder, his uncle.

Maw-hee-koo-shay-naw-zhe-kaw is an honest man, and deservedly respected and highly esteemed by all who know him.

(234) Sho-go-nik-kaw (Little Hill) is not an hereditary chief; but some fifteen years ago was put at the head of a small party that collected in the neighborhood of the school. By energy and good management he has acquired an influence equal to that of any of the hereditary chiefs, and has now the largest band in the tribe. His mother was a Menomonie, and his father half Winnebago and half Sioux, consequently he is but one fourth Winnebago. In person he is below the medium height, but strongly built and very athletic. He is now about forty years old, is an industrious man, has been a very successful hunter, but has lately turned his attention chiefly to farming, and has done more than any other chief to advance the civilization of the tribe.

Warm-hearted, generous and brave, Sho-go-nik-kaw is the idol of his friends; intelligent, shrewd, ambitious, crafty in design and bold in execution, he is one of the leading spirits of the tribe; raised from the common ranks of the people to his present position, he understands thoroughly the elements of public sentiment, on which he relies to sustain himself, and while he would be considered as the fountain and guide of public sentiment, he is generally content to be its organ, and is careful not to deviate far from its clearly indicated path. Sometimes, inspired by a noble impulse, he will fearlessly advocate and sustain justice and right against any odds, regardless of opposition or consequences; anon he will be found playing the demagogue, and pandering to the worst passions and prejudices of the mob. Ardent in his temperament, he has more energy than Firmness, and is guided more by impulse than by principle. As an orator, he is bold and fluent in style, rapid in utterance, and energetic but not graceful in manner. He has twice visited his Great Father at Washington as a delegate from his tribe, and was speaker for the delegation in negotiating the treaty of 1846, in which negotiation he displayed talents highly creditable as a diplomatist. Sho-go-nik-kaw has uniformly been an advocate and patron of the school established in his tribe; from which school his band have received great assistance in the support of their children. In his religious belief he adheres to the traditions of his fathers, although he occasionally attends divine service with the Protestants, and considers himself an honorary member of the Roman Catholic Church. In his domestic arrangements, he approximates nearer to the usages of civilized life than any family in the tribe, the credit of which is, in a great measure, due to his amiable, excellent, and virtuous wife.

Baptiste Lasallier is a half-breed—his father was a Frenchman, his mother a Winnebago, and he exhibits traits characteristic of his parentage. In person, tall and well-formed; in his manner, graceful and somewhat accomplished; in features and complexion, resembling the white more than the red man, and possessing the vivacity and wit of the Frenchman, tempered with the stoicism and shrewdness of the Indian, he can, at pleasure, join the social and festive circle with the whites, or assume the taciturn dignity of a chief in the councils of his tribe. He has an extensive acquaintance with the whites, with whom he is a favorite. His associations with the whites, and his extensive travels among various tribes of Indians, have afforded him a wide field for (235) observation. He speaks the English, French, and nine different Indian languages; and here it may be suggested as a matter of curious speculation, whether this untutored child of nature, who, unable to read or write, and without books or teachers, has mastered so many languages, might not have shone conspicuously in the halls of literature, had his lot been cast in civilized life.

This man is now in the prime of life. In the year 1845, he was, by the Government Agent, placed at the head of the most degraded and badly governed band in the tribe. His appointment was an experiment, made with the hope that ambition, if not principle, would lead him to exert himself to elevate the character, and improve the condition of his band. The experiment has mainly failed; he lacks the force of character, and moral principle, and courage, requisite for a benefactor of his race.

Taw-ne-nuk-kaw, is recognised as the principal war-chief of the tribe. His English name is “ Gull,” and like most of the chiefs he is better known by his English name among the whites. He is now about eighty years of age—has a giant frame, and was, in the prime of his life, the most powerful Indian in the tribe. This man formerly exerted great influence in the tribe; but, morose in his disposition, and overbearing in his manner, he was feared rather than respected. Dissipated in his habits, and unbridled in his passions, his sins have been visited fearfully upon his children; he has buried ten sons, all of them powerful men, and all of them, with one exception, died by violence; six of them were killed in drunken broils. One of his sons was killed by his brother. The old man immediately ordered the murderer to be arrested and slain before him. It is possible that excited passion, may have had some agency in stifling the voice of parental affection in the old chief, while acting the part of an inexorable judge in the sentence and execution of his child; but that the conflict in his bosom between affection and duty was agonizing, is fully proved by the impress it made. Crushed to the earth by the stroke, the old man mourns the loss of his sons, and is fast sinking to the grave, with little to console him either in memory or in hope.

The Winnebagoes removed to the Neutral Ground in the Territory of Iowa, in 1840, having, by the treaty of 1837, relinquished their title and right of occupancy to the country they formerly occupied east of the Mississippi river. A part of the tribe manifested great reluctance in leaving their old home, and it became necessary for the Government to remove them by military force.

9. But one language is spoken by the Winnebagoes, consequently but one interpreter is requisite in transacting business with them. Aged persons relate the traditions of the tribe, but this service is not specially assigned to any particular person or class.


The Winnebagoes bear a respectable, say a medium rank with other tribes. Their tradition assigns them a superior rank, and this relationship appears to be acknowledged (236) by the Omahas, Otoes, and Missourias, who call the Winnebagoes their elder brother, and are by them called younger brother. In the absence of authentic tradition or history, it is difficult to decide on their pretensions to original rank and affinities of blood. The name by which they are called by themselves and others, is no certain criterion in deciding this matter; a comparison of the physical and mental characteristics and the religious dogmas of the different tribes, assists in determining their relationship and affinities; but a comparison of their language is the best criterion by which to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion.

11. Proof from monuments: This tribe have no monuments to prove the existence of ancient alliances, leagues, or treaties. They have formed alliances and made treaties with other tribes, in which they have exchanged pipes and wampum as pledges of friendship.

12. Proof from totems: It appears that this tribe was anciently divided into clans or primary families, known by the names of bird, bear, and fish families, &c. These clans have not, at the present day, any badges designating their order or rank.

13. Tradition assigns the scarcity of game and rivalries of chiefs and bands as causes of division of tribes.

14. The traditions of this tribe refer to the Red Banks on the western shore of Lake Michigan, as the First and great geographical feature connected with them. Their migrations since, have been south-west and north.

15. Geography: The Winnebagoes have no correct ideas of the natural divisions of the earth, except such as they have gathered from the whites. Many of them suppose the earth to be oval; more believe it to be flat, and all formerly believed it to be stationary, and that the sun revolved from the east to the west during the day, and, at night, returned under the earth to the east. Their ideas of the earth's size correspond with the extent of their travels.

16. The Upper Iowa, Turkey, Wapsipinicon, and Red Cedar, are the principal rivers running through that portion of the Neutral Ground which has, for several years past, been occupied by the Winnebagoes; all of which rivers have their rise north of the Neutral Ground, through which they run in a south-eastwardly direction, and empty into the Mississippi. None of said rivers are navigable within the limits of the country occupied by the Indians:

17. There are no large lakes in the eastern part of the Neutral Ground. The country abounds in excellent springs, one of which, having its rise fifteen miles north-east from (237) Fort Atkinson, is the largest in the State of Iowa. It gushes from a cavity in a rock, at the base of a high bluff, runs some two miles, and empties into the Iowa river. This stream is stored with speckled trout, and is sufficiently large for a valuable waterpower.

18. The surface of the country in that portion of Iowa which has been occupied by the Winnebagoes, is generally undulating; some portions of it, in the neighborhood of the Iowa river, are hilly and broken. Between the east fork of Red Cedar and Wapsipinican rivers, the country is level, and some portions of it wet and marshy. The bottoms on the Red Cedar, Iowa, and Turkey rivers, are narrow but fertile. The upland prairies are generally fertile, and bear the fruit raised elsewhere in the same latitude. The agricultural advantages of the country are good, with the exception that the prairies are large and some portions of them distant from timber, which is found chiefly in the neighborhood of rivers. The Indians raise oats, beans, peas, potatoes, and garden vegetables to some extent. Corn is their principal crop.

19. The Neutral Ground is well adapted to the raising of stock. Cattle, horses, sheep, and hogs thrive well, the prairies and woodland affording spontaneously an abundant supply of herbage. Horses owned by the Indians subsist, during winter, by grazing. Springs and rivulets generally supply sufficient water, and wells can be had at an average depth of twenty-five feet. This portion of country has, for several years past, had the best home market in the State. The removal of the Indians and the garrison, will affect the market injuriously.

20. It is believed that the practice of burning the prairies has a beneficial effect on the health of the country, by preventing the decomposition of vegetable matter; but it injures the surface of the soil, kills the young timber, and thus circumscribes the native forests.

21. There are no extensive barrens, deserts, or swamps in this section of the country.

22. No mountains are found in the eastern part of the Neutral Ground; and the quantity of arable land is not materially diminished by rocks and hills. There are a few ridges of small extent, so broken as to be unfit for anything but pasture. No volcanic tracts are found, and no tracts of sand worthy of notice.

23. The climate in this section of the country is healthy: the atmosphere is less humid than in regions further south. Sometimes the streams are swollen by heavy rains so as to overflow their banks and injure the crops in the low bottoms. Tornadoes (238) and heavy thunder-storms are not frequent. The variations of heat and cold, and the prevailing winds, will be seen from meteorological tables.

24. No salt springs. Saltpetre-earth or beds of gypsum have been discovered.

25. The Indians discovered lead-ore near the Turkey and Iowa rivers, and formerly smelted the ore for their own use. The furnaces which they constructed for this purpose are still to be seen in several places. These furnaces were constructed by digging in the side of a hill, and placing flat stones edgewise, so as to form a crucible in the shape of an inverted pyramid, with a small aperture at the bottom, from which a spout is dug in the ground for the purpose of draining off the metal. Neither stone-coal nor iron-ore has been found here.

26. Wild game is scarce in this district. The Winnebagoes derive but a small part of their subsistence from the proceeds of their hunts, within their own country. There are a few deer, elk, bear, otter, muskrat, and minx. The fur trade, by creating a market for furs, increased for a time the proceeds of the Indian hunts; but it has had the effect of diminishing the value of the country for the purposes of hunting, by inducing a greater destruction of game than its increase. The buffaloes decrease and disappear earliest. The Indians say that a few years ago the beavers were nearly all destroyed by some disease or pestilence.

27. The traditions of this tribe make no mention of gigantic animals in former periods.

28. No tradition corresponding with the story told by Mr. Jefferson.

29. The Winnebagoes have peculiar notions respecting the rattlesnake, wolf, bear, turtle, and some other animals. For instance, they believe that an evil spirit dwells in the rattlesnake, and that it can send disease when, and to whom it pleases; hence, they seldom kill this snake, even when found about their lodges.

30. This tribe has no tradition respecting the horse, except that they First obtained this animal from the Sioux. They call the horse “ shoon-hutta-raw” [šųgᵋxetera], which means big dog or big servant.

31. Some individuals in this tribe can draw maps of the country which they occupy, which, in the general outlines, are tolerably correct; but their rude drawings evince but little knowledge of the laws of proportion. [32 46 are missing]

(239) 47. These Indians had no correct knowledge of astronomy until a school was established among them. A large majority of the tribe believe that the earth is a plane; some few believe it is oval on the top and Flat at the bottom. They believe that the earth is larger than the sun, and have in general no correct ideas of the relation it bears to the sun and planetary system. All the notions they have that approximate to correctness on the subject of astronomy, have been derived from the whites. When asked if they believe the planets are inhabited, they answer, “We don’t know.”

48. Their ideas of the universe, and their conceptions of the vast Field of space, are as erroneous and contracted as their means of information have been limited. They profess to believe that the Great Spirit made the earth, the sun, moon, and stars, for the benefit of mankind. They appear to limit space by the extent of their vision, and not to have discovered that the infinity of space is beyond their comprehension.

49. Their opinion of the nature and motions of the sun is that it is a body of fire, made to keep them warm: that it starts from the east in the morning, goes to the west, and, during the night, returns under the earth back to the east. They have capacity, and can be made to comprehend the correct system of astronomy.

51. The Indians’ theory of eclipses is a compound of ignorance and superstition. Some of this tribe believe that when the sun is eclipsed, a bad spirit has seized upon it, and they Fire guns at it to frighten it away. Others believe the sun is dying, when eclipsed. They all believe an eclipse ominous of evil.

52. The Winnebagoes reckon twelve moons for a year. They do not keep an account of the days in a year, and have made no attempt to compute a solar year. They divide the year into summer and winter; and subdivide the summer into spring, summer, and fall. They call it winter while there is snow on the ground. The season between the time of the melting of the snow and the commencement of hot weather, they call spring. During the continuance of hot weather they call it summer; and from the appearance of frost to the falling of snow, they call it fall. Spring is the commencement of their year. Their method of dividing the year into twelve moons, brings them at fault in their reckoning, and they frequently have disputes about the matter, These disputes are sometimes referred to the Agent, when occasion is taken to explain to them the cause of their difficulty. They differ somewhat in the names of their twelve moons. The following, however, is the common almanac among them.

   1st Moon      Me-tow-zhe-raw      Drying the earth.
  2d “   Maw-ka-wee-raw   Digging the ground, or planting corn.
  3d “   Maw-o-a-naw   Hoeing corn.
  4th Moon   Maw-hoch-ra-wee-daw   Corn tasselling.
  5th “   Wu-toch-aw-he-raw   Corn popping, or harvest time.
  6th “   Ho-waw-zho-ze-raw   Elk whistling.
  7th “   Cha-ka-wo-ka-raw   Deer running.
  8th “   Chad-ka-wak-cho-naw   Deer’s horns dripping.
  9th “   Honch-wu-ho-no-nik   Little bear’s time.
  10th “   Honch-wee-huttarraw   Big bear’s time.
  11th “   Mak-hu-e-kee-ro-kok   Coon running.
  12th “   Ho-a-do-ku-noo-nuk   Fish running.

53. The Winnebagoes take no notice of the summer and winter solstices, or of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes.

54. The opinion prevails among this tribe, that the Indians will be destroyed at the expiration of thirteen generations from the creation, or at the expiration of three generations after the present. They are now making extra feasts to propitiate the Great Spirit, and supplicate him to extend their time.

55. They have no name for the year, as contradistinguished from winter—no division of time resembling a week—and no division of the day into hours. They reckon time by winters, moons, and nights.

56. They have names for some particular stars.

57. They have nothing resembling the ancient signs of the zodiac, and do not attach personal or other influence to the stars. The moon is not considered by them as having influence on men, vegetation, or animals, and no regard is paid to the particular time of the moon’s phases, in planting corn and other seed.

58. The Winnebagoes believe the Aurora Borealis is produced by a bad spirit, and that it is ominous of death. They call the Milky Way death’s road, or the road of the dead. They have no theory of the origin or causes of clouds, rain, hail, and winds and tornadoes, except the general one, that they are made and caused by the Great Spirit. They cannot account for comets or meteors, but are superstitious respecting them, and consider them ominous of calamities. They do not attempt to account for the rainbow.

60. A part of the Indians in this tribe believe the paradise of souls is above, but do not define its particular location in the heavens. Some say that good Indians will, after death, go to the paradise above, and that bad Indians will go to the west; others believe that this paradise is located in the west, and that all will go there. Those that believe in the latter theory generally locate their land of souls on an island far in the west.

(241) 61. Arithmetic: The enclosed tables will show the names of the digits used by this tribe, and their method of computing numbers. Some in the tribe can compute as high as millions—they have no occasion for a higher computation. Indefinite and countless numbers they represent by the terms, “leaves on the trees—stars in the heavens—-blades of grass on the prairie—and sands on the lake shore.” (Vol. II., p. 214.)

62. Wampum was formerly used by this tribe as currency, and a standard of exchange, and is still, to some extent, used as currency. Gold and silver are their principal currency, and standard of value and exchange, at the present time. They understand the denominations of federal money.

66. Medicine: The uncultivated Indian knows nothing of science. The general character of the theory held by the medicine-men of this tribe is a compound of quackery, ignorance, and superstition, added to some practical skill derived from experience and observation. Their practice corresponds with their theory. They administer a few simple remedies, sometimes judiciously, and use incantations, sacrifice dogs, sing, dance, and fast, to aid in effecting a cure; and they sometimes set up toads, turtles, and snakes on sticks around the bed of their patient, to drive away the bad spirits. Taking into consideration the harmless nature of the remedies used, and that they are generally aided by the simple habits, good constitution, and strong faith of the patient, it is not strange that these medicine-men acquire great reputation for skill and success. And Indian specifics (so called) used by empirics among the whites, no doubt owe their efficaciousness chiefly to the same causes. These Indians are careful and tender of their sick. Old people, when sick, are generally nursed with kindness and affection by their children and relatives; but here, as in civilized life, the strength of parental over filial affection is manifest—-no nurse is so unwearied, and no watcher so anxious, as the mother by the sick-bed of her child.

The doctors or medicine-men of this tribe usually charge exorbitant fees, and require payment in advance for their services; but when they undertake the cure of a patient, they devote themselves night and day to it, for the term of time agreed on.

67. The medical practitioners in this tribe have no exact knowledge of the anatomy of the human frame. They have no professors or demonstrators of anatomy among them, and their knowledge of this subject is probably no better than is that of white men who have never made it a study. By cutting up the game taken in hunting, the Indian acquires a general knowledge of the comparative anatomy of animals. The limited knowledge they have of the circulation of the blood, has evidently been obtained from the whites; the medicine-men of this tribe say that the blood flows in the veins— but when questioned on the subject, they appear to be wholly ignorant of the agency of the arteries in producing this current— ignorant of the agency of the lungs (242) and air in renovating the blood, and, in fact, ignorant of the entire economy of‘ the system. In view of the conflicting theories advocated by pathologists among the whites, and in the absence of a certain and acknowledged standard on this subject, it is difficult to determine how far the Indian theory of the nature and causes of diseases is entitled to respect. If the success of their practice is considered a fair criterion of the correctness of their theory, the Indian doctor can claim a respectable rank among the disciples of Esculapius. The pathology of the medicine-men of this tribe is based chiefly on a belief in the supernatural agency of evil spirits.

68. They treat fevers, pleurisy, obstructions of the liver, constipations and congestions, nearly in the same manner. Their remedies are bleeding, emetics, cathartics, and cold and vapor baths, together with incantations, drumming, singing, dancing, rattling the gourd, and snakes, toads, turtles and lizards set up on sticks around the patient. This tribe has, from time to time, suffered severely from dysentery, their physicians having not been successful in their treatment of this disease, for which their remedies are principally astringent decoctions of bark and roots. The Chippewa physicians have a higher reputation for skill than have the medicine-men of any other tribe in the north-west. It is said, by good authority, that they have succeeded in curing consumption of the lungs, in some cases in which the disease had become seated and far advanced. Powerful emetics is the remedy they First use in such cases. The seneca snake-root is an important article in the materia medica of the Chippewas, and is much used by the Winnebagoes as a remedy in fevers. (Vide Dr. Pitcher, Title XIII.)

69. It is difficult to ascertain what species of plants and roots are used by Indian doctors for emetics and cathartics, as they are not communicative on this subject. They use the bark of the white elder, both for an emetic and a cathartic; when it is intended to operate as an emetic, they scrape it from the stalk from the root upwards; but when they design it to operate as a cathartic, they scrape it from the boughs downward.

70. Bleeding is generally resorted to as a remedy in fevers. The operation is performed sometimes by using a phlegm made by fixing a piece of flint, or the point of a pen-knife, in a stick; but is more commonly performed by the use of a spring-lancet. The temporary benefit which persons of plethoric habit derive from bleeding, induces them to resort to this remedy often. Sometimes six or eight Indians, apparently in health, may be seen being bled at the same time; the operator, after opening the vein, leaves his patient to bleed as long and as much as he chooses. They frequently cup a patient for headache, and other local pains. The operation is performed by scarifying with a Flint, knife, or lancet, and applying the tip of the horn of the ox or buffalo; a vacuum is next produced by the operator applying his mouth to the small (243) end of the horn, and exhausting the air; the operation is thus performed as efficaciously as by the use of cupping-glasses.

Indians, when greatly fatigued by walking or running, sometimes scarify their legs, to obtain relief by bleeding.

71. The bark of the sumach is used as a styptic, besides which they have several other vegetable styptics, which they consider valuable; they also use alum and blue vitriol. They make healing and drawing plasters, which prove efficacious. Bandages and lints are applied skillfully, but are generally removed and replaced oftener than is necessary. A bad wound is seldom suffered to heal by the First attention, but kept open in order that it may heal, as they say, from the bottom.

72. The eminent success which attends their treatment of cuts, stabs, and gunshot wounds, is owing to the skill and care of the surgeon, aided by the constitution and temperament of the patient. In the First place, they thoroughly cleanse the wound, and if a gun-shot, they extract the ball, if practicable; then, by applying the mouth, and long-continued sucking, they extract clotted blood and extraneous matter that may have entered the wound; then make applications to allay inflammation, and-induce suppuration. In addition, generally, to a good constitution, the temperament of the patient aids his recovery; the Indian, when wounded, throws himself on his power of endurance; and submits to confinement and pain, without suffering that nervous irritability which often retards the recovery of the white man.

73. The Winnebago surgeons never amputate a limb; and their practice proves that amputation is not always necessary when declared so by white surgeons. In simple and compound fractures they use splints; and sometimes confine the limb, after reducing the fracture, by tying it fast in an extended position, and thus keep the patient until the bone unites.

They usually remove their sick and wounded from place to place, on litters carried by two or more persons. These litters are constructed by fastening a blanket between two poles. When it is necessary to remove the sick a considerable distance, these litters are suspended on and between two horses, one walking directly behind the other. (Vide Plate 25, Vol. II., p. 180.)

74. Theory of diseases, and their remedy: This subject was referred to Dr. Andros, physician for the Winnebagoes, and his report is herewith submitted (Vide Vol. III, p. 497).



There is no more difference between the language of the Iowas, Otoes, and Menomonies, than between the language of a New Englander and Southerner. A few words are common to one tribe, and not to the others. They say the Winnebago is the First language. This may be true; if so, the Iowa, Otoe, and Missouri language would be one dialect, the Omahaws and Ponka another, the Konza, Osage, Quapaw, and (406) Ahachae (a band of Osages) another, or perhaps the Omahaws, Pangkaws (Poncas), Konzas, etc., might all be called one dialect.

The Osage, Kanza, Quapaw, etc., are the same language. The Omahaw and Ponca are the same. Some say there is no difference between the language of the First and last named; others say there is some difference. I inquired of a Konza Indian, not long since, who said they were the same; he could understand all the Omahaw. Many words of the Winnebagoes are the same in Iowa; so some of the old men who speak Winnebago tell me. 




The country assigned to the Winnebagoes by the treaty of 1846, in the region of the head-waters of the Mississippi, proved to be not altogether suitable. So great has been the dissatisfaction, that it has been impossible to keep a majority of them upon it. Under these circumstances, and because of their pressing and constant solicitations, and of promises given last year, arrangements were made, the past summer, to assign them another and more satisfactory home. The new location fixed upon, which is farther south than their present country, is objected to, it is understood, on the ground of its bringing them too near the white settlements; and its close proximity to the Mississippi river is believed to be prejudicial to the interests of the Indians. The Department has not yet determined whether these objections are sufficiently well founded to justify the rejection of this arrangement. ...

(485) The Pottawattomies, on their First removal from Illinois, were improperly placed in the intra-Nilotic region referred to; but were, in a few years, induced to cross the Missouri. The Winnebagoes who went from Wisconsin to Iowa, in 1841, found themselves, at the end of ten years, in a closed district; and, by a short-sighted policy, (486) instead of being sent to join their co-tribes west, were removed to northern Minnesota, another closed district, where they cannot permanently or prosperously abide. By a recent act of the grand jury of Benton county, in that Territory, they are indicted as a public nuisance. The error is our own. They should have been sent in a direction promising, if not to advance their character for industry, education, and temperance, at least to maintain it. To this quarter it is also proposed to send the Menomonies of Wisconsin; but this plan of casting a partially-reclaimed people into barbarism is, I believe, temporarily arrested.



C H A P T E R  IV.


[But one member of this group had crossed the Mississippi, in their ancient migrations, and Fixed themselves in the area east of it. This tribe was the Winnebagoes, who formerly maintained an independent position in central Wisconsin. They went into Iowa, a few years since, and have just completed their second removal into the (547) country of the Chippewas, on the west bank of the Upper Mississippi. There is thus left no portion of this stock east of that stream, save, perhaps, a small band of the Sioux, who are yet located on its east bank, between the Falls of St. Anthony and the mouth of the St. Croix river. ...


(549) 142. Ocangra Aramee Wa wa ka ka ra: Ocangra Prayer Book. Detroit: George L. Whitney, Printer, for the Catholic Church. A. D. 1833. 18 pp., 12mo. This appears to be the First attempt at translation into the Winnebago dialect. It is a translation of part of the Ottawa prayer book, containing 203 pages (vide No. 50). Second edition. Used by the Ottawa Indians of L’Arbre Croche.

(Part V, page 42)


Three groups, or ethnological families, thus covered by far the largest area of the United States, east of the Mississippi: namely, the Algonquins, Iroquois, and Appalachians [Muskogeans]—with the intrusion of a single tribe, namely, the Winnebagoes, from the Dacota group of the west of the Mississippi, and with the diverse fragmentary elements of the Utchees, the Natchez, and the Achalaque or Cherokees. Such is, at least, the arrangement of the tribes, by generic groups and languages, as known at the settlement of the country.



When the old tribes west of the Mississippi are asked the direction they came from, they point south. They came up over the fertile, level plains, and hilly uplands east of the forbidding and impassable peaks of the Rocky mountains. Such is the account of the Quappas (Kapahas of De Soto’s day, vide my “Ozarks”), Cadrons, Kansas, and the generality of the great prairie or Dacota group west of the Mississippi, and of the Iowas, Sioux, and Winnebagoes, who had crossed the stream at and below St. Anthony’s Falls, and above the junction of the Missouri. (Vide Iowa map, Vol. III., Plate 30.) The Sioux proper, who are the type, and were the precursors or pioneers of this group of tribes, ultimately reached the head waters of Lake Superior (vide D’Ablon and Marquette), and the sources of the Mississippi river, at Leech and Cass lakes.




     Comparative View of Indian Treaties, Wars, and Expenditures attending the Initiation of the System of Removal of the Tribes from the precincts of the old States, during the period between March 4, 1829, and September 12, 1838. (No. 1.)

Name of Tribe. Date of Ratification by the Senate. Estimated quantity of and acquired Probable value to the United States
Estimated expenses of carrying each treaty into effect, including land and money

Winnebagoes Jan. 2, 1830 2,530,000 $3,162,500 $749,800
Winnebagoes Feb. 13, 1833 2,810,000 3,520,000 2,945,482

(699) There are likewise Indian missions in the diocese of St. Paul, Minnesota, which is governed by Rt. Rev. Joseph Cretin. A school at Long Prairie is attended by Winnebago Indians. About ninety children are in charge of the Sisters of St. Joseph. The mission of Pembina consists chiefly of half-breeds.




  Warriors. Souls.
Winnebagoes 1000 5500

(Part VI, page 206)


The only acknowledged trans-Mississippian Indian tribe residing on Green Bay was that of the Winnebagoes, which, although of Dakotah origin, had an Algonquin name, and lived in amity with the Algonquins. ...

(237) The Winnebagoes of Green Bay, representing the bold prairie tribes of the Dakotah stock, west of the Mississippi, at no period were not the friends of the French.


(271) The Winnebagoes, called by the French, Puanis, are rated at 360 men, or an aggregate of 1750 individuals, which is not excessive.



T. Jefferson,

Early in the spring of 1806, Lieut. Pike descended the Mississippi river, arriving at his place of departure on the 30th of April. His estimates of the Indian population of the Upper Mississippi, comprise a total of 11,177 souls, including the Sioux, Chippewas, Sauks, Foxes, Iowas, Winnebagoes, Menomonees, and the various scattered bands of Dakotahs, called Yanctons, Sessatons, and Tetons.17 ...

J. Madison,

(358) Early in the spring of 1813, the forests surrounding every military post in the West were, at nearly the same time, filled with armed warriors, who watched the gates with the keen eyes of a panther ready to spring upon its prey. ... The Chippewas and Ottawas, with delegations of the Menomonees, Winnebagoes, and Sioux, had, on the 17th of July preceding, enabled Captain Roberts, with a trifling force,‘ to surprise and capture Michilimackinac.



J. Monroe,

We have placed the commencement of this era in the year 1816; which was as early, indeed, as the full cessation of Indian hostilities rendered it safe for the emigrant to enter remote districts. ... Treaties were also concluded during this year with the Kickapoos, Weas, Winnebagoes, Sacs and Foxes, Sioux, Osages, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and other tribes. These treaties were negotiated by commissioners appointed by the United States, who were well acquainted with the territories, character, resources, local history, and feelings of the tribes. Some of these commissioners had been military commanders, or had occupied high civil stations on the frontiers. ...

J. Monroe,

(385) The Winnebagoes were in possession of the Wisconsin and Rock river valleys. The Menomonees were scattered along the Fox river to Buttes des Morts and Winnebago Lake, thence quite to Green Bay, and, with interchanges of location with the Winnebagoes, to Milwaukie on Lake Michigan. ...

(386) The Winnebagoes were ruled by De Corrie and Tshoop, the quatre jamb, or “Four Legs,” of the French.



J. Q. Adams,

A series of conventions held with the Indian chiefs of the western and north-western tribes, marked the early part of Mr. Adams’ administration; the First, and most important of which assembled at Prairie du Chien, on the Upper Mississippi, during the summer of 1825, under the auspices of General William Clark, the general superintendent at St. Louis, and of Governor Lewis Cass, of Michigan, ex oficio superintendent of the northern Department. This convention was attended by the Mendawacanton and Yanton Dakotahs, or Sioux, of the St. Peter’s and the Plains, the Chippewas and Pillagers, of the sources of the Mississippi, and the Sacs, Foxes, Iowas, Winnebagoes, Menomonees, Chippewas, Ottowas, and Pottawattamies, of the Lakes and the Illinois river. Maps, drawn on birch bark, giving the outlines of their hunting-grounds, were exhibited by the several tribes, and, after a full discussion with each of their respective agents, a treaty of peace and limitation was signed by them, August 29, 1825.18 (422) While the treaty of Butte des Morts was under consideration, the Winnebagoes committed some hostile acts at Prairie du Chien, on the Mississippi. They there fired into a boat, plundered several individuals, and endeavored practically to enforce an obsolete idea, that they had a right to interdict merchandise from passing the portage of the Wisconsin, without receiving some acknowledgment therefor, in the nature of toll. General Cass, who, as one of the Commissioners, was then in the vicinity, immediately embarked in his light canoe, manned by skilful Canadians, crossed the portage, and, entering the Mississippi river, journeyed night and day until he reached St. Louis, whence he returned with a body of troops, whose sudden appearance prevented any further trouble from this source. 



A. Jackson,

[Black Hawk] readily enlisted the sympathies of the Indians, who are ever prone to ponder on their real or imaginary wrongs; and it may be readily conjectured that what Indian counsel could not accomplish, Indian prophesy would. Without doubt he was encouraged in his course by some tribes, who finally deserted him and denied their complicity, when he took up arms and began to experience reverses. Black Hawk claimed to have such relations with the Foxes, Winnebagoes, Sioux, Kickapoos, and others. Early in 1831 he sent a symbolical miniature tomahawk, made of wood, and smeared with vermilion, to the principal war-chief of the Chippewas. ...

(450) In an evil hour, the chief determined to renew the experiment of keeping the intrusive feet of emigrants from his native valley, and from the flowing line of the Mississippi. Black Hawk was then about sixty-seven years of age.19 His features denote great firmness of purpose, and his wisdom had acquired him great respect among the united tribes of the Sacs and Foxes, as well as the Winnebagoes, Iowas, and surrounding tribes. He had undertaken to form a confederacy of the tribes; a task much easier to propose than to effect, there being no certainty how far the tribes, who hearkened to his messengers and counsels, would fulfil their engagements when the trying hour arrived. But little alarm was excited by the details of Black Hawk’s proceedings. ...

(451) “Reports have reached the department, from various quarters, that the Indians upon our frontiers are in an unquiet state, and that there is a prospect of extensive hostilities among themselves. It is no less the dictate of humanity, than of policy, to repress this feeling, and to establish permanent peace among these tribes.”20 ... The agent was furnished with a small military force of but twelve men, under the command of Lieutenant J. Allen. ... (452) Information obtained in these reconnaissances implicated the Winnebagoes, Iowas, Kickapoos, Pottawattamies, and some Missouri bands. Meantime, while this expedition was pursuing its explorations, the Sac chief [Black Hawk] had commenced the war, and been driven by Generals Atkinson and Dodge to the mouth of the Bad Axe river, between the Falls of St. Anthony and Prairie du Chien. Without being apprized of the impending peril, the expedition eluded the danger, after ascending the river to the influx of the St. Croix, by passing up that river into the waters of Lake Superior.



Martin Van Buren,

By the terms of the treaty negotiated by General Scott, September 15th, 1832, immediately succeeding the close of the Sac war, the Winnebagoes ceded their lands, lying east of the Mississippi, in the State of Wisconsin, and accepted a location west of that river, on a tract designated in the treaty as “the Neutral Ground;" a fine district of country, abounding in game, and possessing a very fertile soil, situated between the territory of the Sioux and that of the Sacs and Foxes. As Wisconsin filled up with a white population, and the position of the Winnebagoes, as a hunter tribe, became more and more inconvenient, they were urged by the local authorities to remove to the Neutral Ground, which they hesitated to do, from a dread of being embroiled in the fierce and sanguinary wars constantly raging between the Sacs and Foxes and the Sioux. Strenuous exertions were made by the Government to quell these hostilities, and the removal of the Winnebagoes was Finally effected during the year 1837.

Martin Van Buren,

(505) The same attempt to remove a tribe from one State to another was made with the Winnebagoes. Having been implicated in the Sauk war, they agreed in 1832, at Rock island, where the American army was then encamped, to leave the east banks of the Mississippi, abandoning their favorite Rock river, Wisconsin, and Fox river valleys, and remove to a position west of the Mississippi, denominated the Neutral Ground. For them, however, it was not “neutral ground.” It was, in fact, the war ground of the Sacs and Foxes and Sioux; and they had, under the influence of the presence of a military force, agreed to a proposition, which they had not the ability, and were unwilling, to perform. Though ethnologically of the Sioux stock, their affinity was not to be relied on; they possessed a nationality of their own, and could not, after ages of separation, take shelter under the Sioux flag. The plan of the neutral ground was a benevolent theory, which it was hoped and believed would work well, but it eventually proved to be an utter fallacy. It had, however, strong advocates, being favored by many persons who did not wish to see the Winnebagoes removed, with their large means and annuities, beyond the reach of a peripatetic pedlar’s footsteps, or to lose sight of the distribution of their annual per capita dollars.

In 1837 the Winnebagoes renewed by treaty their engagement to remove to the Neutral Ground, in Iowa, within eight months after the ratification of that instrument. The treaty was not ratified until June, 1838, which would limit the period for their removal to February, 1839. They still lingered in the valleys of their ancient home, until the matter of their removal was placed in the hands of General Atkinson. When they discovered that the United States were in earnest, the mass of them removed across the Mississippi without causing much difficulty; but, though still urged to proceed to the Neutral Ground, they encamped on the western margin of the river, where they were allowed to remain until the following year. Meantime they were afflicted by considerable sickness, and surrounded by whiskey shops, together with every temptation that Indians, possessing heavy annuities, are sure to encounter. Their agent established his buildings and shops on the Neutral Ground, where the tribe was eventually induced to settle, by the announcement that there only would they be paid their annuities. It will be seen in the sequel, that in a few years it became necessary to remove the Winnebagoes from the limits of Iowa. 



               Tribal Strength in 1855.              Increase.              Total.
Winnebago Bands   1715   39   1754

At a census recently taken, there were seventeen hundred and fifty-four members of the tribe present, being an increase of thirty-nine over the number reported last year.

The improvements made have fallen far short of our intentions. We have only nine hundred and forty-three acres of land ploughed, in forty-two fields of different sizes, all of which are not yet enclosed. We have five thousand six hundred and forty rods of fence. Two hundred acres have been cultivated in wheat, fifty acres in oats, two hundred and thirteen acres in corn, one hundred and seventy-three acres in potatoes, one hundred and nine acres in ruta baga and white turnips, and six acres in peas, beans, and buckwheat. The Indians cultivated three hundred and eighty-seven acres of the aforesaid land after it was ploughed for them, and also cultivated numerous gardens, which they dug up with the hoe. Our crops, with the exception of a part of the corn, will be a fair average with the crops raised in the adjacent counties. The Indians used the scythes furnished them as a part of their annuity goods, and have made about one hundred and Fifty tons of hay, and two hundred and seventy tons have been made by employées. A blacksmith shop, with two forges, a carpenter shop, a warehouse, fourteen dwelling-houses, a school-house, and a few stables, are the principal buildings erected. The loss of the dam at the saw-mill was a serious drawback on our means for building. The mill is now in operation; we have lumber seasoning, and the Indians will be assisted in building houses this fall.

This tribe, at their last two annuity payments, received per capita an unusually large amount of money. I was directed to observe and report the effect produced. Some few have learned to use their money with economy, but with the majority the result has been to encourage idleness and dissipation. The policy of paying annuity to Indians in money is objectionable. Necessity must be relied on mainly in effecting their civilization. They are indolent from inclination and habit, and will not work so long as they have any other dependence for a living.



No. Name of Tribe No. of Souls. Place of Residence. Source of Information.
95. Winnebagoes 2,546 Minnesota Territory. Annuity pay roll. 1854.
96. Winnebagoes 208 Kansas Territory Report of Agent Vanderslice, 1855



4. Winnebago ...........................................................  2,546





To which Tribe paid.   In Money.     In Goods.     In Provisions.  
To the Winnebagoes .......................    92,899.22     19,286.20     10,000.00  

Notes to the Text

1 Called, with pedantry, and an entire disregard of Indian history, Aztalan.
2 Report of D. Lowry, September 30th, 1842 [Doc. #2 (15), p. 409].
3 Doc. 21, 18th Congress, 2d Session.
4 Doc. 17, 20th Congress, 2d Session, House of Representatives.
5 Report of 1844, p. 21 [#2, Census of Indian Tribes, 20-21 (but 21 is missing from this source)].
6 Report of 1845, p. 13 [Doc. #2 (1), p. 460].
7 These papers have subsequently been received, having been revised and re-examined by Mr. Fletcher, and will be submitted, in full, in Vol. IV. — H. R. S.
8 The difficulties experienced in making this collection can scarcely be imagined. Through the instrumentality of the Hon. W. M. Meredith, then Secretary of the Treasury, and H. R. Schoolcraft, LL.D., and Historical Indian Agent of the United States, I obtained, from the Hon. H. H. Stewart, then Secretary of the Interior, circulars addressed to each agent, missionary, and teacher, in the service of the Department, within the Union; requesting their co-operation in collecting specimens of the pile of the heads of Indians. To these, answers were received from Jonathan C. Fletcher, Esq., of the Winnebago Agency ...
9 These figures refer to Inquiries, in Appendix, Part I.
10 For a representation of this act, see Plate 10, Part II.
11 See this question examined in Part II., p. 57, Plate 13.
12 In this respect differing from the Algonquins.—H. R. S.
13 For a representation of scaffolding the dead, see Plate 3, Part I., and Plate 16, Part II.
14 For descriptions of the grave-posts, or monumental structures and devices used for the dead, see Plate 50, Part I.
15 This is a mistake, so far as relates to leggins, which are male and female in their cut and shape; the latter being scarcely half the length of the former.
16 For the etymology of Winnebago, see Vol. III., p. 277.
17 Information, Vol. III., pp. 560-69.
18 U. S. Treaties, page 371 [q. v.].
19 Life of Black Hawk; Boston, 1834, p. 2.
Expedition to Itasca Lake: Harper & Brothers, New York, 1834, p. 5 [138].
21 Annual Report of Indian Bureau, 1855 [#17, Sept. 12, 1854, p. 56].
22 Ann. Rep, 1846, p. 44 [#4, Oct. 15, 1856, p. 41]. This report is in mss., and very vague in the last four items. 

Little Turtle

Little Turtle — a prominent Miami chief and military genius, born ca. 1747 in what is now Whitley County, Indiana. In Miami, his name, mihšihkinaahkwa, probably means "Painted Turtle." He distinguished himself in an action against the French during the American Revolution, and was made war chief of the leading division of the tribe. In October, a French force under La Balme sacked the Miami village of Kekionga. The succeeding month, Little Turtle established his reputation by falling upon La Balme's encampment, killing him and 30 of his men. After acquiring its independence, the Ohio country fell into the possession of the United States. The ambition of the tribes living there was to keep this country as their own, and to that end they formed the Western Confederacy, with Little Turtle as one of its primary figures. In 1790, two expeditions by Gen. Harmar were seriously defeated by Little Turtle and Blue Jack of the Shawnees. Washington then appointed a serious veteran General, Arthur St. Clair, to lead a force of 2,000 men against the Confederation. In the battle that ensued near the headwaters of the Wabash on November 4, 1791, Little Turtle inflicted the worse defeat in U. S. Army history, killing 623, and wounding 258, and eliminating 44% of the infant United States Army in a single stroke. A year later, he went over on the offensive, and attacked a column attempting to supply horses to the advance forts. All the horse were lost except 23, and the force was driven back to its fort. In 1794, Little Turtle advocated negotiations in light of the more disciplined force being advanced by "Mad" Anthony Wayne, but Blue Jacket met Wayne at Fallen Timbers and suffered a decisive defeat. After peace was restored, Little Turtle took a trip to the capital, where he met Washington, who gave him a ceremonial sword. He later met Presidents Adams and Jefferson. He died in 1812, and was given a military funeral at Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Reverend David Lowery

Commentary. "Mr. Lowry" — Rev. David Lowery was born on January 20, 1796 in Kentucky. Within two years he was orphaned. He was taken in by a family that some have described as "reckless and intemperate," but on turning 18, he attended a Presbyterian revival meeting, and became a passionate convert to that denomination. Not long after he was ordained, he did work in frontier Indiana. Back in Kentucky in late 1830, he initiated the newspaper, the Religious and Literary Intelligencer, the first of his denomination. Having moved to Tennessee, where he became a friend of Andrew Jackson, he published the Cumberland Presbyterian. In 1832, Jackson appointed him to be a teacher for the Winnebago tribe. In 1833, he held a powwow with the Winnebago chiefs to discuss his plan, and although Wakan Decorah spoke against the idea of his mission, the remainder of the attendees at least found it acceptable. After several moves by the Hočągara, he was able to establish a mission school on the Yellow River in Iowa. When the tribe was exiled to Nebraska, Rev. Lowery moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota. He eventually moved back to Iowa where he died of what the pseudo-science of the time called "paralysis of the brain."1

"J. E. Fletcher" — The following account is given of the life of Jonathan E. Fletcher: "A native of Thetford, Vermont, born in January, 1806. He came to Muscatine in the summer of 1836, when Iowa was made a separate territory. He attended the first land sale in the territory, in November, 1838, at which he bought lands six miles west of the city, upon which he located in the fall of 1839, and went to farming, having previously returned to Vermont. He was married to Frances L. Kendrick in 1839. He had resided a few years in Ohio before he came to Iowa. In 1846, he was appointed, by President Polk, an agent for the Winnebago Indians. His valuable services in his long career as Indian agent, to the government, and to the country, are incalculable. General Fletcher held many responsible offices in this territory and state. He represented Muscatine County in the Fourth Iowa General Assembly, 1852. He was a member of the convention which framed the old constitution, taking an important part in the formation of our fundamental law."2

Governor Alexander Ramsey

"Governor Ramsay" — born in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania on September 8, 1815. His father Thomas was a blacksmith who committed suicide when he went bankrupt in 1826. After that, he went to live with a relative. in 1839, he received a degree in Law and was admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania the same year. In 1844, he married Anna Jenks. They had three children, but only a daughter survived childhood. From 1843 to 1847, he served in the U. S. House of Representatives as a Whig from Pennsylvania. In 1849, he was appointed as the first Territorial Governor of Minnesota, stepping down in 1853. Two years later he won election as mayor of St. Paul. In 1860, he became the first Governor of the new state of Minnesota, and being in Washington when Ft. Sumpter was fired upon, he was the first governor to offer Lincoln troops for the upcoming war. During the Sioux uprising of 1862, he suggested that the Dakota be either removed from the state, or exterminated altogether. He offered bounties for their scalps. In 1863, he resigned in order to run for the Senate in 1863 as a Republican. He served in the U. S. Senate to 1875. From 1879 to 1881 he served as Secretary of War under President Hayes. He died in St. Paul in 1903.3

"They do not address the dead as if living, or capable of hearing" — Schoolcraft in his note observes that this practice differs from the Algonquians; however, at the four day's wake at the funeral, the departed soul is extensively address, and as Fletcher notes here, fires are kept burning for four nights to light the way for the soul. It may be that rather than having contradicted himself, he means to suggest that after the funeral, no one attempts to communicate with the dead at the site of their graves. This is because the addresses to the dead in the four days' wakes are designed to instruct the soul on how it should depart and what to expect on the way, and having therefore left after the fourth day, it could not be expected to be present at the grave any further.

"Mackinac blanket" — a heavy wool blanket supplied by the United States government for distribution to American Indians. So called because it was originally disbursed from Fort Mackinac [Mackinaw]. The basic design was usually plaid, but they could also be found in solid colors.

"Red is a favorite color with the young, and green with the aged" — tradition dictated that the young dress in šuč (red) and the old dress in čo (blue/green), so it was not a mere matter of preference.

"Naw-hu-hu-kaw" — for Nąhųhųka, "Sturgeon Chief" < nąhų, "sturgeon"; hųk, "chief"; and -ka, a definite article used chiefly for personal names. This must surely be a Fish Clan name, so the individual in question was not a chief of a village, which office belongs to the Upper Moiety, but is likely, therefore, to be a chief of the Fish Clan. It is consequently less surprising that a member of the Fish Clan would favor what is no doubt a Biblical story in which the whole world is swamped by water.

"Mo-me-nug-raw" — for Momįną́gᵋra < mo, an old word for "earth, land"; mį-ną́k, "to sit"; and -ra, the definite article.

"Wuck-aw-nee-wee-naw" — for Wąkaníwina < Wąk, "people"; and haníwina, "our"; which therefore means "our people," and not "our island" (which would be Wičaníwina).

"epochs" — since then such a myth has been created: see, "The Cosmic Ages."

"Waw-kon-chaw-koo-kah" — this appears to be for Wakąjakuga, "Returning Thunderbird." This is, as indicated in the text following, the famous Winneshiek, for whom see 1, 2, and above.

Wakąjakuga   Wakąhaga   Wajᵋxeteka   Šoǧogᵋnįka

"Waw-kon-haw-kaw, Watch-ha-ta-kaw, Maw-kuk-souch-kaw, Maw-hee-koo-shay-naw, Zhu-kaw, Sho-go-nik-kaw" — Waw-kon-haw-kaw is for Wakąhaga, "Snakeskin," also known as Wakąga, "Snake," for which see 1, 2, and above. Watch-ha-ta-kaw is for  Wajᵋxeteka, "Big Canoe," also known as "One-eyed Decorah," a well-known chief. For the latter, see 1, 2, and above. Maw-kuk-souch-kaw is for Mąkaxsųčka, "Red Earth" (mąkax, "earth, dirt"; sųč, "red"), for whom see above. Maw-hee-koo-shay-naw is a shortened form of Mąxikušenąžįka, "Stands Reaching the Sky" (maxi, "sky"; hikušé, "up to";  nąžį, "to stand"), for whom see above. Zhu-kaw is Žuga, "Money, Wampum." Sho-go-nik-kaw is for Šoǧogᵋnįka, "Little Hill" (Šoǧok, an otherwise unknown word for "hill" [but see š’ok, "knoll"]; and nįk, "little"), for whom see 1, 2, and above.

"Colonel Morgan" — Lt. Col. Willoughby Morgan (1785 1832) was in command of Ft. Crawford at the time of the Winnebago War. In July of 1826, Col. Morgan demanded and received hostages from the Hočągara to be held until such time that those who had killed settlers were turned over for trial as murderers. Willoughby was the natural son of the famous Daniel Morgan.

It is not generally known that Morgan also had a son. Born in the mid-1780's, Willoughby Morgan was illegitimate, and his mother's identity remains a mystery. His birth so embarrassed [Daniel] Morgan that he never referred to Willoughby in his surviving letters or in his will. Apparently at a very early age Willoughby was sent to South Carolina, where he grew up and studied law. By 1811 he lived in Winchester and later raised a company of infantry in the War of 1812. Compiling an impressive combat record, he decided to make a career in the army, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. A woman who knew Willoughby declared that he possessed considerable formal education, and, like his father, was tall and muscular. After serving at western posts in Indiana and Wisconsin, he died in 1832.4

It is hard to judge whether his own illegitimacy may have led to the attribution of this woman's parentage to him.

A Brass Fleam from 1828

"phlegm" — more commonly "fleam" (but also "flem, flew, flue, fleame, or phleam"), is a device used in the medical practice of bloodletting.

"spring-lancet" — a lancet whose blade is housed in its handle, and extended forth for use by a spring.

"Menomonies" — Menominee, as an Algonkian language, should, of course, not be included in this set.

Dr. Franz Hübschmann

"F. Huebschmann" — Franz Hübschmann was born Riethnordhausen, Grand Duchy of Weimar in 1817. He was raised in the oppressive autocratic atmosphere of the Duchy, and after obtaining a medical degree from Jena in 1841, wasted no time in emigrating to America. Settling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when it was still a Territory, he was elected school commissioner in 1843. He was a staunch opponent of the anti-German bigots of the Know Nothing Party. When he was elected as a Democrat to the Wisconsin Constitutional Convention of 1846, he made sure that it was stated in the constitution that "every person of 21 and over was entitled to vote after one year of residence within the state and his declaration of intention to become a citizen." From 1848 to 1867, he held many elective posts: presidential elector, Milwaukee City Council and Milwaukee County supervisor, Wisconsin State Senator, and by appointment of President Pierce, superintendent of Indian affairs for the northern United States (1853-1857). He was a very prominent surgeon during the Civil War, holding positions from brigade to corps surgeon, and seeing action at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and the Atlanta Campaign. An incident from the war is illustrative of his character:

During the destructive battles between the Northern and Southern armies it happened that Dr. Huebschmann with nine of his assistants and 500 wounded were caught between the firing lines while located in an improvised old church near Gettysburg, used as a field hospital. Significant to his fearless character, Dr. Huebschmann became annoyed by the senseless bombardment and sniping of the southern troops at the hospital. He boldly laid down his instruments after an operation and walked out into the open fields in his blood-spattered white coat, a perfect target for the snipers lifting his arm. He implored in a booming voice to the troops to stop firing at the wounded and pick on the healthy soldiers who at least could defend themselves.5

He returned to Milwaukee in 1864, where he died in 1880.

Notes to the Commentary

1 The Cumberland Presbyterian, April 12, 1877, page 2.
2 From the website, The Iowa Legislature, viewed: 5/18/2012. For more on Gen. Jonathan E. Fletcher (Jan. 1, 1806 April 6, 1872), see Clement Augustus Lounsberry, Early History of North Dakota: Essential Outlines of American History (Washington, D.C.: Liberty Press, 1919) 151-152. On a book of old houses in Minnesota, his was described as, "... occupied by a great man who deserves wider recognition, Jonathan E. Fletcher." Roger G. Kennedy, Minnesota Houses: An Architectural & Historical View (Minneapolis: Dillon Press, 1967) 44.
3 William J. Ryland, Alexander Ramsey: A Study of a Frontier Politician and the Transition of Minnesota from a Territory to a State (Philadelphia: Harris and Partridge: 1941). Also see Kenneth Carley, The Sioux Uprising of 1862, 2d Ed. (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1971).
Don Higginbotham, Daniel Morgan: Revolutionary Rifleman (Chapel Hill: UNC Press Books, 1961) 183.
5 from the website, Dr. Franz Hubschmann, Company.


Henry R. Schoolcraft, Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, Vol. III (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1853).