Thursday, June 5, 2014

Seneca Iroquois Belief in Witchcraft

Seneca Iroquois Belief in Witchcraft



The Native American,Seneca Indians shared fully in the superstitions common to their race. Belief in witchcraft prevailed, and omens had no little influence in shaping their action both in peace and war. On the gravest occasion a dream 'would secure listeners 'and its teachings seldom went unheeded. At a New Year's festival in Squakie Hill, after the sacrificial dog was killed, an old Indian who lived on the flats below told the following dream at the council-house, the whole village giving thieir undivided attention : "I had got ready with my two sons the previous evening," said he, "to attend the festival, but before starting I fell asleep and dreamed that we had set out. Everything appeared strange along the path. Squakie Hill seemed thrice its usual height and looked as if covered with a deep snow, although there was very little. I stopped a moment when two winged men flew by us, one of whom alight ed on a tree near by. I was frightened and asked ' what means this V 1 We are devils,' said they, ' and are come because Indians are bad men and get drunk.' They told me that unless I stopped whiskey and be came good, they would have me. The figure in thechanged to a great negro, and taking his seat upon a limb, turned toward me with a horrible grin, thrust ing at me a pole six feet long, on which was hung a dead Indian by the feet. The face of the corpse was very ghastly and its mouth widely stretched. The devil remarked that all who quarreled or got drunk would be treated in the like horrid manner. The " body of the dead Indian 'was then whirled at me. The shock awoke me." Instead of a lecture on in temperance, a vice to which the tribe were greatly addicted, the old Indian wisely chose to enforce the moral by availing himself of the regard held by his race for the supernatural. The dream seemed strong ly to impress his audience.