Monday, May 14, 2012

Native American Indians Affection and Reverence for Parents


REVERENCE AND AFFECTION FOR PARENTS.


There lived a noted chief at Michilimackinac, in days past, called Gitshe Naygow, or the Great-Sand-Dune, a name, or rather nick-name, which he had, probably, derived from his birth and early residence at a spot of very imposing appearance, so called, on the southern shore of Lake Superior, which is east of the range of the Pictured Rocks. He was a Chippewa, a warrior and a counsellor, of that tribe, and had mingled freely in the stirring scenes of war and border foray, which marked the closing years of French domination in the Canadas. He lived to be very old, and became so feeble at last, that he could not travel by land, when Spring came on and his people prepared to move their lodges, from their sugar-camp in the forest, to the open lake shore. They were then inland, on the waters of the Manistee river, a stream which enters the northern shores of Lake Michigan. It was his last winter on earth; his heart was gladdened by once more feeling the genial rays of Spring, and he desired to go with them, to behold, for the last time, the expanded lake and inhale its pure breezes. He must needs be conveyed by hand. This act of piety was performed by his daughter, then a young woman. She carried him on her back from their camp to the lake shore, where they erected their lodge and passed their spring, and where he eventually died and was buried.
This relation I had from her own lips, at the agency of Michilimackinac, in 1833. I asked her how she had carried him. She replied, with the Indian apekun, or head-strap. When tired she rested, and again pursued her way, on-wa-be-win by on-wa-be-win, or rest by rest, in the manner practised in carrying heavy packages over the portages. Her name was Nadow√°kwa, or the female Iroquois. She was then, perhaps, about fifty-five years of age, and the wife of a chief called Saganosh, whose home and jurisdiction were in the group of the St. Martin's Islands, north of Michilimackinac.
The incident was not voluntarily told, but came out, incidentally, in some inquiries I was making respecting historical events, in the vicinity. One such incident goes far to vindicate the affections of this people, and should teach us, that they are of the same general lineage with ourselves, and only require letters and Christianity, to exalt them in the scale of being.