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S. S. SUF 


Smithsonian Institution, 
Bureau of American Ethnology, 

Washington, D. C, August 4, 1916. 
Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith the Thirty- 
seventh Annual Report of the Bureau of American Eth- 
nology, for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1916. 

With appreciation of your aid in the work under my 
charge, I am 

Verv respectfully, yours, 

F. W. Hodge, 
Ethn ologist-in-charge. 
Dr. Charles D. Walcott, 

Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. 




Systematic researches 1 

Special researches 19 

Manuscripts 26 

Publications 27 

Illustrations 28 

Library 29 

Collections 30 

Property 30 

Miscellaneous 30 


The Winnebago Tribe, by Paul Radin 33 






F. W. Hodge, Ethnologist-in-Charge 

The operations of the Bureau of American Ethnology 
during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1916, were conducted 
in accordance with the act of Congress approved March 
3, 1915, making appropriations for sundry civil expenses 
of the Government, which act contains the following item: 

American ethnology : For continuing ethnological researches among 
the American Indians and the natives of Hawaii, including the ex- 
cavation and preservation of archaeologic remains, under the direction 
of the Smithsonian Institution, including necessary employees and 
the purchase of necessary books and periodicals, $42,000. 


Mr. F. W. Hodge, ethnologist in charge, devoted most of 
his energies, as usual, to administrative affairs. However, 
in pursuance of a plan for cooperative archeological research 
by the Bureau of American Ethnology and the Museum of 
the American Indian (Heye Foundation) of New York, Mr. 
Hodge early in July joined Mr. George G. Heye, of the 
museum mentioned, in the excavation of the Nacoochee 
mound in White County, northeastern Georgia, permission 
to investigate which was accorded by the owner, Dr. L. G. 

The Nacoochee mound is an earthwork occupied by the 
Cherokee Indians until early in the nineteenth century. 
The name "Nacoochee," however, is not of Cherokee origin; 
at least, it is not identifiable by the Cherokee as belonging 
to their language, and by no means does the word signify 



"the evening star" in any Indian tongue, as one writer has 

The summit of the mound, which had been leveled for 
cultivation about 30 years ago, measured 83 feet in maximum 
and about 67 feet in minimum diameter; the height of the 
mound above the adjacent field was 17 feet 3 inches, and the 
circumference of the base 410 feet. These measurements 
are doubtless less than they were at the time the mound 
was abandoned by the Cherokee, as all the dimensions have 
been more or less reduced by cultivation, the slope at the 
base particularly having been plowed away for several feet. 
The mound was reared both for domicile and for cemetery 
purposes and was composed of rich alluvial soil from the 
surrounding field. Excavation determined that the mound 
was not built at one time, but evidently at different periods, 
as circumstances demanded. This was shown plainly by 
the stratification of the mound soil, the occurrence of graves 
at different depths with undisturbed earth above them, the 
presence of fire pits or of evidences of fires throughout the 
mound at varying levels, and by the finding of a few objects 
derived from the white man in the upper part and in the 
slopes of the mound, but not in the lower levels. From this 
last observation it is evident that the occupancy of the 
mound extended well into the historical period, a fact sup- 
ported by the memory of the grandparents of present resi- 
dents of the Nacoochee Valley, who recalled the mound when 
the Cherokee Indians still occupied it and the surround- 
ing area. 

The fact that the mound was used for burial purposes is 
attested by the finding of the remains of 75 individuals 
during the course of the excavations, the graves occurring 
from slightly beneath the summit to a depth of about 19 
feet, or below the original base of the mound. These graves, 
with few exceptions, were unmarked, and in most instances 
were not accompanied with objects of ceremony or utility. 
The exceptions were those remains with which were buried 
stone implements, shells or shell ornaments, a smoking pipe, 
a pottery vessel, or the like. The skeletons were found 


usually with the head pointed in an eastwardly direction, 
and were all so greatly decomposed that it was impossible 
to preserve any of them for measurement and study, the 
bones in most cases consisting of only a pasty mass. 

As mentioned above, most of the burials were unmarked. 
The exceptions consisted of two graves incased and covered 
with slabs of stone, both unearthed near the very base of the 
mound. One of these stone graves contained a skeleton 
the bones of which were largely of the consistency of corn 
meal, owing to the ravages of insects, but what was lacking 
in the remains themselves was more than compensated by 
the finding near the skull of a beautiful effigy vase of painted 
pottery, the only piece of painted ware, whole or fragmentary, 
found in the entire mound. The occurrence of this type of 
vessel and the presence of the stone graves at the bottom of 
the mound suggest the possible original occupancy of the 
site by Indians other than the Cherokee. 

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the mound was 
the large number of smoking pipes of pottery, mostly broken, 
but in many forms and of varying degrees of workmanship. 
Some of the pipes are of excellent texture and are highly 
ornamented with conventionalized figures of birds, etc., or 
marked with incised designs. Another feature of the mound 
was the presence of a great amount of broken pottery, espe- 
cially in the refuse at the base and covering the slopes. 
This pottery is chiefly of fine texture, although some of the 
cooking vessels are of coarse ware. With the exception of 
the painted vessel above noted, the only ornamentation 
applied by the makers of the pottery consists of incised and 
impressed designs, the latter made usually with a paddle of 
clay or wood, or worked out in the moist ware before firing 
by means of a pointed tool, a spatula, a piece of cane, or a 

In pursuance of another plan of cooperative archeological 
research, Mr. Hodge, in October, visited Zuni, N. Mex., with 
Mr. Heye, for the purpose of examining the ruins of the 
historic pueblo of Hawikuh, in the Zuni Valley southwest of 
Zuni pueblo, and of making the necessary arrangements with 


the Indians for its excavation. This site is of great archeo- 
logical and historical interest, as the pueblo was inhabited 
when first seen by Fray Marcos de Niza in 1539, and when 
visited and stormed by Coronado in the following year. 
It became the site of an important Franciscan mission in 
1629, and was finally abandoned in 1670 on account of depre- 
dations by hostile Indians. By reason of the fact that 
Hawikuh was inhabited continuously from prehistoric times 
until 130 years after the opening of the historical period, it 
is expected that a thorough study of its ruins will shed im- 
portant information on the effect of the earliest Spanish con- 
tact with the Zuni people and will supplement archeological 
work conducted in other village sites of that tribe. Owing 
to unforeseen circumstances, active work was not commenced 
before the close of the fiscal year, but it is hoped that its 
initiation will not be long delayed. A permit therefor has 
been granted by the Secretary of the Interior. 

By provisional agreement with the School of American 
Archaeology at Santa Fe, N. Mex., and the Royal Ontario 
Museum of Archaeology at Toronto, plans were perfected 
whereby the Smithsonian Institution, in conjunction with 
those establishments, was to conduct archeological researches 
of an intensive character in the Chaco Canyon of northern 
New Mexico, one of the most important culture areas north 
of Mexico. Although every effort was made to obtain from 
Congress the necessary appropriation for meeting the Insti- 
tution's share of the expense (a permit for the excavations 
having been issued by the Secretary of the Interior), the 
project was presented too late for action, hence the work, so 
far as the Smithsonian Institution is concerned, has been 
necessarily postponed. 

As opportunity offered, the preparation of the bibliography 
of the Pueblo Indians was continued by Mr. Hodge, who 
also represented the Smithsonian Institution as a member 
of the United States Geographic Board, and the Bureau of 
American Ethnology at the meetings of the Smithsonian 
advisory committee on printing and publication. 

Dr. J. Walter Fewkes, ethnologist, having been detailed 
to continue the excavation and repair of prehistoric ruins in 


the Mesa Verde National Park, Colo., under the joint aus- 
pices of this bureau and the Department of the Interior, left 
Washington for that locality in August, 1915, and remained 
in the park continuously until the close of October. Dr. 
Fewkes devoted his attention mainly to a large mound of 
stones and earth situated near the point of a promontory 
opposite Cliff Palace, across Cliff Canyon, the excavation of 
which revealed a type of structure hitherto unknown in the 
Mesa Verde National Park, and architecturally different 
from any that had been previously excavated in the South- 
west. The rooms of this building, which Dr. Fewkes des- 
ignates as "Sun Temple," were thoroughly cleared out, the 
debris removed, and the walls were repaired in such manner 
that they will not be likely to deteriorate for many years. 
A report on the work of excavation and on the structural 
features of this interesting building forms the subject of an 
illustrated pamphlet published by the Department of the 
Interior in June, 1916, under the title "Excavation and 
repair of Sun Temple, Mesa Verde National Park." 

Structurally the Sun Temple consists of two parts — an 
original building, to which an annex is so united as to give 
the two a D-shape ground plan, the southern or straight wall 
of which extends almost exactly east-west. This wall 
measures 131 feet 7 inches in length; the highest wall of the 
structure is 11 feet 7 inches, the lowest 5 feet. The walls are 
massive, varying in thickness from 2 to 5 feet, and are com- 
posed of a core of rubble faced on both sides, the exposed 
stones having been carefully fashioned by hand and accu- 
rately fitted, although, as in the case of pueblo masonry 
generally, the stones are usually neither "broken" at the 
joints nor bonded at the corners. Nevertheless the walls of 
the Sun Temple display excellent structural qualities that 
will compare favorably with any of its class north of Mexico. 
Architecturally the annex resembles certain tower-like struc- 
tures in the ancient pueblo region, and in plan the whole ruin 
bears resemblance also to Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, 
N. Mex. 

The building contains three circular rooms resembling kivas 
or ceremonial chambers, still used by some of the Pueblo 


Indians, and many other rooms of unusual shape and doubt- 
ful significance. There was no indication that the Sun 
Temple had been roofed; indeed, there is strong evidence 
that the construction of the buildings was never finished. 
Dr. Fewkes was not able to determine the age of the Sun 
Temple, but he is of the opinion that it was built later than 
Cliff Palace. One evidence of its antiquity, however, was 
observed — namely, a cedar tree growing from the top of the 
highest walls was found to have 360 annual rings of growth, 
indicating that it sprouted a few years after Coronado led 
his expedition into the Southwest in 1540. 

The builders of the Sun Temple are supposed by Dr. 
Fewkes to have been the former cliff dwellers of the neigh- 
boring canyons. As to its purpose, he is of the opinion that 
the building was used primarily for worship, but that like 
other temples among primitive peoples it was intended sec- 
ondarily as a place of refuge in case of attack, and for the 
storage of provisions. The impression of a fossil palm leaf 
on the corner stone at the southwestern angle is believed to 
mark a shrine where rites to the sky or sun god were per- 
formed long before the temple was built. It is this sup- 
posed shrine that suggested the name for the edifice. 

On the completion of the excavation and repair of the 
Sun Temple, Dr. Fewkes similarly treated Oak-tree House, 
a cliff dwelling in the precipice of Fewkes Canyon above 
which stands the Sun Temple. A collection of artifacts 
found in this dwelling was gathered in the course of the exca- 
vation and later deposited in the National Museum. 

En route to Washington, Dr. Fewkes visited the so-called 
"Buried City of the Panhandle," on Wolf Creek in Ochiltree 
County, Tex., which had been reported to the bureau by 
residents of the neighborhood and had become locally cele- 
brated. The remains examined hardly justify the name 
given to the site, which in former days was used as an en- 
campment by wandering Indians rather than by sedentary- 
people. Dr. Fewkes's attention was drawn also to a sup- 
posed artificial wall which gave name to Rockwall, not far 


from Dallas, Tex., but on examination this was found to be a 
natural sandstone formation. 

Dr. Fewkes returned to Washington in November and 
immediately prepared a report on his summer's work in the 
Mesa Verde National Park for the use of the Department 
of the Interior, an advance summary of which, issued b3 r the 
department, was widely published in the newspapers. An 
account of the excavation and repair of Oak-tree House and 
Painted House, the largest cliff ruins in Fewkes Canyon, was 
also prepared for publication. On the completion of these 
tasks Dr. Fewkes devoted the remainder of his limited time 
to the preparation of the extended memoir on The Abori- 
gines of the West Indies for publication in a report of the 
bureau. In June he again departed for the field with the 
view of initiating, before the close of the fiscal year, an 
inquiry into the archeological evidences bearing on Hopi 
legends that ancestors of the clans of the ancient pueblo of 
Sikyatki lived at Tebungki, or Beshbito, an oval ruin 15 
miles east of Keams Canyon, Ariz. Dr. Fewkes visited and 
surveyed the ruin and made photographs and notes thereof. 
He likewise investigated certain large ruins east of Tebungki, 
on the ancient trail of migration from Chaco Canyon, and 
traced for some distance the prehistoric trail running from San 
Juan Valley southward past the great ruins, as yet unde- 
scribed, near Crownpoint, N. Mex. 

During the months of July to December, 1915, Mr. James 
Mooney, ethnologist, continued to devote most of his atten- 
tion to the preparation for publication of the Cherokee 
Sacred Formulas, including transliteration, translation, and 
explanation of each formula, with complete glossary and 
botanic index. These formulas, collected by Mr. Mooney on 
the East Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina, are writ- 
ten in the Cherokee language and alphabet and held for their 
own secret use by priests of the tribe, most of them long 
since dead. They consist of prayers, songs, and prescrip- 
tions, dealing with medicine, love, hunting, fishing, agricul- 
ture, war, the ball play, self-protection, etc. They number 


in all between 500 and 550, contained in several manuscripts, 
as follows: 

1. Gadigwanasti ("Belt," died 1888). — 186 in a large blank book 
of foolscap size, and 94 others on separate sheets of the same size, 
closely written; 280 in all. Obtained from his son. 

2. A'yunini (''Swimmer," died 1899). — Written in an unpaged 
blank book of 242 pages, 3^ by 12 inches, only partially filled; 137 
in all. Obtained from himself and transliterated and translated 
with full explanation from his dictation in 1888. 

3. A'wanita ("Young Deer," died about 1892). — 24, written on 
separate sheets and obtained from him in 1888. Transcribed later 
into No. 4. 

4. Tsiskwa ("Bird," died 1880).— 22, dictated from deathbed and 
with other formulas written out in regular fashion, with index, in a 
blank book of 200 pages, 8 by 10 inches, by his nephew, W. W/Long 
(Wiliwesti),in 1889. 

5. Darjwatihi ("Catawba Killer," died about 1890). — Written out 
from his dictation by W. W. Long, in No. 4, in 1889; 11 in all. 

6. Gahuni (died 1866). — 10 in all, together with a Cherokee-English 
vocabulary in Cherokee characters and other miscellany, contained 
in an unpaged blank book, 6 by 14 inches. Obtained in 1889 from 
his widow, Ayasta, mother of W. W. Long. 

7. Other formulas originally written by Inali ("Black Fox," died 
about 1880), Yanugtilegi ("Climbing Bear," died 1904), Duninali 
("Tracker," still living), Ayasta ("Spoiler," died 1916), Aganstata 
("Groundhog Meat," still living), and others; mostly transcribed into 
No. 4. 

8. A large number of dance songs, ceremonial addresses, Civil War 
letters from Cherokee in the Confederate service, council records, etc., 
all in the Cherokee language and characters, contained in various 
original blank book manuscripts and letter sheets. Some of these 
have been transcribed into No. 4, and many of them might properly 
appear with the Sacred Formulas. 

Of all this material, about 150 formulas, including the 
entire Swimmer book, No. 2, were transliterated, translated, 
and annotated and glossarized, with Swimmer's assistance, 
in 1888-89. Of these, 28 specimen formulas were published 
in 1891 in "Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees," in the Sev- 
enth Annual Report of the bureau. The manuscript glos- 
sary for the whole 150 formulas numbers about 2,000 words. 

All the other formulas, together with the more important 
miscellany noted under No. 8, were transliterated and trans- 


lated with interlinear translation in the summers of 1911-14, 
together with such additional explanation as might be fur- 
nished by surviving experts. Also some 500 or 600 plants 
noted in the medical prescriptions have been collected in the 
field, with their Cherokee names and uses, and the botanic 
identification made by assistance of the botanists of the 
National Museum. This entire body, exclusive of No. 2 
completed, is now in process of final transcription and elabo- 
ration, with explanation, botanic appendix, and glossary. 
Most of the work at present is being devoted to the Gadig- 
wanasti manuscript, but the interdependence of the formulas 
necessitates frequent shifting from one to another. The 
glossary proceeds incidentally with the final translation, 
but more slowly as the full import of the words becomes mani- 
fest. Many of the words and expressions are technical, 
symbolic, and in archaic and unusual dialectic forms, with 
corresponding difficulty of interpretation. The complete 
glossary will probably comprise at least 4,000 words. 

The botanic section will consist of a list of all the plants 
used in the formulas, as stated, and of some others of special 
importance, with their Indian names and meanings, botanic 
identification, and Cherokee uses as deduced from the various 
formulas and from direct information. 

An explanation of the method and significance of the cere- 
mony, the preparation of the medicine and the manner of its 
application will accompany each formula, but this work is 
deferred to the end, to insure symmetrical treatment without 
unnecessary repetition. 

It is planned to have one or more introductory chapters 
explanatory of the Cherokee mythology, beliefs relating to 
the spiritual and occult world, ceremonial observances, ini- 
tiation of hunters, and other matters illustrative of the for- 
mulas, together with parallels from other tribal systems, and 
also a chapter explanatory of the peculiar linguistic forms. 

More than 200 formulas have received final form. The 
finished work will fill at least one large report volume and 
require a year for completion. 

186823°— 22 2 


In July and August, 1915, Mr. Mooney gave considerable 
time to furnishing information and suggestions for the pro- 
posed Sequoya statue intended to constitute Oklahoma's 
contribution to the Capitol gallery. The usual number of 
letter requests for miscellaneous information also received 

On May 27 Mr. Mooney proceeded to western North Caro- 
lina for the purpose of continuing his Cherokee studies, and 
at the close of the fiscal year was still in the field. 

Dr. John R. Swanton, ethnologist, devoted the greater 
part of the year to his memoirs pertaining to the Creek and 
associated tribes, to which reference was made in the last 
report. The first of these, dealing with the habitat and classi- 
fication of the former Southeastern Indians, their history and 
population, is nearly completed; it consists of upward of 750 
typewritten pages, exclusive of the bibliography, all of which 
has been put in order and annotated. Some new manu- 
script sources of information have recently been discovered 
which will make further additions necessary, but with this 
exception the text is now complete. Six maps are to be used 
in illustration ; two of these, which are entirely new, are now 
being made, and the others are to be reproductions. The 
second paper, to cover the social organization and social 
customs of the Creeks and their neighbors, has likewise been 
arranged and annotated, but it is being held in order to 
incorporate the results of further field research. 

From the end of September until the latter part of Novem- 
ber, 1915, Dr. Swanton was in Oklahoma, where he collected 
113 pages of Natchez text from one of the three surviving 
speakers of the language; he also spent about three weeks 
among the Creek Indians, where about 80 pages of myths in 
English were procured. Further ethnological material was 
also obtained from the Creeks and from the Chickasaw, to 
whom a preliminary visit was made. While with the former 
people Dr. Swanton perfected arrangements with a young 
man to furnish texts in the native language, which he is able 
to write fluently, and in this way 173 pages have been sub- 
mitted, not including translation. From Judge G. W. 
Grayson, of Eufaula, Okla., to whom the bureau has been 


constantly indebted in many ways, was obtained in Creek 
and English, and also in the form of a dictaphone record, a 
speech of the kind formerly delivered at the annual poskita, 
or busk, ceremony of the Creeks. From an Alibamu corre- 
spondent, referred to in previous reports, some additions to 
the Alibamu vocabulary and a few pages of Alibamu text 
were procured. 

At the beginning of the fiscal year Mr. J. N. B. Hewitt, 
ethnologist, transcribed and edited the Seneca text "Dooa'- 
dane'ge"' and Hotkwisdadege /n 'a," making 45 pages, to which 
he added a literal interlinear translation that required more 
than twice as many English words as Indian, the whole being 
equivalent to about 130 pages. This text is a part of the 
Seneca material now in press for the Thirty-second Annual 
Report of the bureau. Mr. Hewitt also read for correction, 
emendation, and expansion, the galley proofs of Curtin's 
Seneca material, and prepared more than 50 pages of notes 
and additions for the introduction and also for the text ; he 
also has ready notes and corrections for the proofs still to 
come. From unedited text Mr. Hewitt completed a free 
translation of 32 pages of the Onondaga version of the 
"requickening address" of the Ritual of Condolence of the 
League of the Iroquois, being a part of the material for his 
projected memoir on the Iroquois League. 

After the material of the Seneca legends had been sub- 
mitted for printing, Mr. Curtin's field records and notes, made 
while recording this material, came into possession of the 
bureau. Mr. Hewitt devoted much time to reading and ex- 
amining this undigested material, some 4,000 pages, for the 
purpose of ascertaining whether part of it should be utilized 
for printing or for illustrative purposes in what was already 
in type. This examination yielded some good material for 
notes and interpretations, but only small return as to new 
material for printing. 

In the early autumn Mr. Hewitt made special preparations 
for the prosecution of field work on his projected memoir on 
the League of the Iroquois, by tentative editing and copying 
of a number of Mohawk and Onondaga texts recorded hastily 
in the field in previous years. The following parts of the 


Ritual of the Condolence Council were thus typewritten : The 
fore part of the Ceremony of Condolence, called " Beside-The- 
Forest," or "Beside-The-Thicket," in Mohawk; the so- 
called " Requickening Address, " in the Onondaga version, 
and also the explanatory "introduction" and the "reply" 
in Onondaga to the " Beside-The-Forest " address already 
noted; and the installation address in Onondaga, made by 
Dekanawida to the last two Seneca leaders to join the 
League, was likewise edited and typewritten. Mr. Hewitt 
also devoted much study to other parts of the League ma- 
terial, for the purpose of being able to discuss it intelligently 
and critically with native informants. Some of the most 
striking results of this year's field work are due to this pre- 
paratory study of the material already in hand. Mr. Hewitt 
spent many days in the office in searching out and preparing 
data for replies to correspondents of the bureau. 

On April 17, 1916, Mr. Hewitt left Washington for the Six 
Nations reserve near Brantford, Ontario, for the purpose of 
resuming field work, having in view primarily the putting 
into final form of the Onondaga and Mohawk texts pertaining 
to the League of the Iroquois, recorded in former years. 
These texts cover a wide range of subjects and represent the 
first serious attempt to record in these languages very techni- 
cal and highly figurative language from persons unaccus- 
tomed to dictate connected texts for recording. These texts 
embody laws, decisions, rituals, ceremonies, and constitu- 
tional principles; hence it is essential that correct verbal and 
grammatic forms be given. 

One of the most important results of Mr. Hewitt's field 
studies is the demonstration that, contrary to all available 
written records and various printed accounts, there were 
never more than 49 federal civil chiefs of the League of 
the Iroquois, and that the number 50, due to misconception 
of the meaning of ordinary terms by Thomas Webster of the 
New York Onondaga, who died about 30 years ago, is modern 
and unhistorical. This false teaching has gained credence 
because it arose only after the dissolution of the integrity of 
the League of the Iroquois in the years following its wars with 
the United States, when most of the tribes became divided, 


some removing to Canada and some remaining in New York 
State, a condition which naturally fostered new interpreta- 
tions and newer versions of older legends and traditions. 

Mr. Hewitt also recorded a Cayuga version of the so-called 
Dekanawida tradition, comprising 130 pages of text, dictated 
by Chief John H. Gibson, which purports to relate the events 
that led to the founding of the League or Confederation of the 
Five Iroquois tribes and the part taken therein by the prin- 
cipal actors. In this interesting version Dekanawida is 
known only by the epithet "The Fatherless," or literally 
"He Who is Fatherless," which emphasizes the prophecy 
that he would be born of a virgin. In this version "The 
Fatherless" is represented as establishing among the Cayuga 
tribesmen the exact form of government that later he founded 
among the Five Iroquois Tribes. It is said that the Cayuga 
selfishly limited the scope of that form of government, and 
therefore its benefits, to the Cayuga people alone, for the 
Cayuga statemen did not conceive of its applicability to the 
affairs and welfare of all men. And so, this tradition 
affirms, it became needful that "The Fatherless" return to 
the neighbor tribes of the Cayuga to establish among them 
the League of the Five Tribes of the Iroquois, which was de- 
signed to be shared by all the tribes of men. This event is 
mentioned in the other Dekanawida versions. 

This Cayuga version also purports to explain the origin of 
the dualism lying at the foundation of all public institutions 
of Iroquois peoples, by attributing the first such organization 
among the Cayuga to two persons who were related to each 
other as " Father and Son," or " Mother and Daughter," and 
who agreed to conduct public affairs jointly. This statement 
of course is somewhat wide of the mark, because it does not 
explain the existence of similar dualisms among other tribes, 
such dualisms resting commonly, in the social organization, 
on the dramatization of the relation of the male and female 
principles in nature. 

Mr. Hewitt was also able to confirm another radical exe- 
gesis of a part of the installation ceremony of the League of 
the Iroquois as first proposed by himself. This deals with 
the significance and the correct translation of the words of 


the famous "Six Songs" of this ceremony. All other inter- 
preters who have attempted to translate these words have 
assumed that these songs are " songs of greeting and wel- 
come," but Mr. Hewitt, solely on grammatic grounds and 
the position of these songs, regards them rather as "songs 
of parting," or "songs of farewell," which are dramatically 
sung by an impersonator for the dead chief or chiefs. 

Mr. Hewitt also recorded, in the Onondaga dialect, a short 
legend descriptive of the three Air or Wind Beings or Gods, 
the so-called Hohdu"i, the patrons of the Wooden-mask or 
"False-face" Society, whose chief function is the exorcism 
of disease out of the community and out of the bodies of 
ill persons; another on the Medicine Flute; another on the 
Husk-mask Society ; and another on the moccasin game used 
at the wake for a dead chief: in all more than 100 pages of 
text not related to the material dealing with the Iroquois 

While in the field Mr. Hewitt purchased a number of fine 
specimens illustrating Iroquois culture, exhibiting art of a 
high order; these consist of a wooden mask, colored black; 
a husk-mask; two small drums; a "medicine" flute; a moc- 
casin game used at a chief's wake; a pair of deer-hoof rattles; 
a horn rattle; and a squash rattle. During the time he was 
in the field, until the close of the fiscal year, Mr. Hewitt read, 
studied, corrected, and annotated about 8,000 lines of text 
other than that mentioned above, and also made a number 
of photographs of Indians. 

Mr. Francis La Flesche, ethnologist, was engaged in assem- 
bling his notes on the rites of the Osage Tribe. Up to the 
month of February, 280 pages of the ritual of the Fasting 
degree of the war rites were finished, completing that degree, 
which comprises 492 pages. The Cathadse, or Rush-mat 
degree, was next taken up and completed; this degree cov- 
ers 104 pages. The Child-naming ritual was then commenced, 
and 21 pages have been finished. 

In September, while on leave of absence, Mr. La Flesche 
was visited on the Omaha Reservation by Xutha Wato n i n 
of the Tsizhu Wano n gens, who gave a description of the 
Washabe Athi n , or war ceremony, as he remembered it. 


With this description he gave 5 wigie and 14 songs. The 
wigie and the words of the songs have been transcribed from 
the dictaphone but are not yet typewritten, and the music 
of the songs has not yet been transcribed. A number of 
stories also were obtained from Xutha Wato n i n , among them 
that of the Osage traditional story of the separation of the 
Omaha and Osage tribes. Xutha Wato n i n died soon after 
his return home, his death being regarded by many as con- 
firming the old-time belief that anyone who recites inform- 
ally the rituals associated with these ceremonies will inevi- 
tably suffer dire punishment. The death of this old man 
shortly after giving the rituals has therefore added to the 
difficulties attending the task of recording these ancient rites. 

Notwithstanding these obstacles, Mr. La Flesche succeeded, 
during his visit to the Osage Reservation in April and May, 
in securing from old Sho n/ gemo n i n the version of the Fasting 
ritual belonging to the Tsizhu Peace gens, of which he is a 
member. The wigie and the words of the songs have been 
transcribed from the dictaphone, but are not yet typewritten, 
and the music of the songs is also to be transcribed. Sho n/ - 
gemo n i n likewise gave the Child-naming ritual belonging to 
his gens, in which there are two wigie, one containing 227 
lines and the other 94. In addition to these rituals, Sho 11 '- 
gemo n i n , after considerable hesitancy, recounted the " Seven 
and Six" (13) coups he is always called on to recount when 
any No n/ ho°zhi n ga of the Ho n/ ga division performs the cere- 
monies of some of the war rites. For this service he is paid 
a horse and goods amounting in value to from $125 to $150. 

Mr. La Flesche also secured from Waxthizhi information 
concerning the duties of the two hereditary chiefs of the 
Osage tribe, the gentes from which they were chosen, and 
how their orders were enforced. He also obtained from 
Watsemo n i n two wigie, one recited by him at the ceremonies 
of the war rites, and the other by the N6 n ho n zhi n ga of the 
H6 n ga Ahiuto" gens. 

In these studies Mr. La Flesche was materially assisted by 
Washoshe and his wife, who have both overcome their aver- 
sion to telling of the rifces. Washoshe resigned from the 
N6 n ho n zhi n ga order because of the injustice of its members 


toward a woman whom he selected to weave ceremonially 
the rush-mat shrine for a waxobe when he was taking the 
Qathadse degree. This man presented to Mr. La Flesche a 
mnemonic stick owned by his father and gave the titles of 
the groups of lines marked on the stick, each of which repre- 
sents a group of songs. This mnemonic stick will be placed 
in the National Museum with the Osage collection. 

Mr. John P. Harrington, ethnologist, spent the entire fiscal 
year in making an exhaustive study of the Indians of the 
Chumashan linguistic stock of southern California. 'Three 
different bases have been established for working with in- 
formants and elaborating the notes. The period from July 
to October, inclusive, was spent at San Diego, Calif., where 
every facility for the work was granted by the courtesy of 
the Panama-California Exposition; November to March, in- 
clusive, at the Southwest Museum, Los Angeles; and April 
to June, inclusive, at Santa Ynez. The month of January, 
1916, was spent at Berkeley, Calif., where, through the cour- 
tesy of the Bancroft Library of the University of California, 
various linguistic manuscripts and historical archives per- 
taining to the Chumashan stock were studied and copied. 
During the period named more than 300,000 words of manu- 
script material were obtained and elaborated. In addition 
to the grammatical and ethnological material an exhaustive 
dictionary of the Ventureno is well under way, which com- 
prises some 8,000 cards. This is to be followed by similar 
dictionaries for the other dialects. The most satisfactory 
feature of the work was the collection of material on the 
supposedly extinct dialects of San Lius Obispo and La Puri- 
sima. The Purisimeno material consists mainly of words 
and corrected vocabularies, while on the Obispeho important 
grammatical material was also obtained. A large part of 
the material which still remains to be obtained depends on 
the life of two very old informants, consequently it is most 
important that Mr. Harrington continue his work in this 
immediate field until the opportunities are exhausted. 

The beginning of the fiscal year found Dr. Truman Michel- 
son, ethnologist, at Tama, Iowa, engaged in continuing his 
researches among the Fox Indians, which consisted mainly 


of recording sociological data and ritualistic origin myths. 
In August, Dr. Michelson proceeded to Oklahoma for the 
purpose of investigating the sociology and phonetics of the 
Sauk Indians, as well as of obtaining translations of Fox 
texts pertaining especially to ritualistic origin myths. After 
successfully concluding this work, Dr. Michelson returned to 
Washington in October, when he commenced the translation 
of the textual material gathered in the field. Advantage 
was taken of the presence in Washington of a deputation of 
Piegan in obtaining a detailed knowledge of Piegan terms 
of relationship. From these studies Dr. Michelson deter- 
mined that the lists of relationship terms recorded by Lewis 
H. Morgan, as well as by other investigators, require revision. 
He also commenced to arrange the material gathered by the 
late Dr. William Jones pertaining to the ethnology of the 
Ojibwa Tribe, with a view of its publication as a bulletin of 
the bureau. Toward the close of the year Dr. Michelson 
undertook to restore phonetically the text of the White 
Buffalo dance of the Fox Indians, which likewise is intended 
for bulletin publication. It is believed that the results of 
this task will be ready for the printer before the close of the 
calendar year. 

Dr. Leo J. Frachtenberg, special ethnologist, divided his 
time, as in previous years, between field research and office 
work. On July 8 he left his winter headquarters at the 
United States training school at Chemawa, Oreg., and pro- 
ceeded to the Yakima Reservation, Wash., where he revised, 
with the aid of the last Atfalati Indian, the Kalapuya 
manuscript material collected in 1877 by the late Dr. A. S. 
Gatschet, of the bureau. This material, comprising 421 
manuscript pages, consists of vocables, stems, grammatical 
forms, and ethnological and historical narratives, and 
its revision marked the completion of the work on the 
Kalapuya linguistic family commenced two summers ago. 
This work lasted until the latter part of July. In conjunc- 
tion with this particular phase of field work, Dr. Frachten- 
berg corrected the second revision of the galley proofs of his 
Siuslaw grammatical sketch to appear in the second part of 
Bulletin 40. 


On returning to Chemawa, Dr. Frachtenberg took up the 
editing and typewriting of his grammatical sketch of the 
Alsea language, the compilation of which was completed dur- 
ing the previous winter ; this was finished in the early part of 
October, and the complete sketch, consisting of 158 sections 
and 421 typewritten pages, was submitted for publication 
in the second part of the Handbook of American Indian 
Languages (Bulletin 40). Dr. Frachtenberg interrupted this 
work on August 22 and took a short trip to the Siletz Reser- 
vation, where he collected 52 Athapascan and Shastan songs, 
which were transmitted to the bureau for future analysis. 

On October 7 he proceeded to the Quileute Reservation, 
where he enlisted the services of a Quileute informant, with 
whom he returned to Chemawa, and brought to a successful 
completion the study of the grammar and mythology of the 
Quileute tribe. This investigation extended from October 
until the latter part of March. The material collected by Dr. 
Frachtenberg during this period consists of 30 native myths 
and traditions fully translated, a large body of notes to 
these texts, voluminous grammatical forms, and vocables. 
In January Dr. Frachtenberg left Chemawa for a short trip 
to the Grande Roncle Reservation, Oreg., where he recorded 
19 Kalapuya songs on the dictaphone. 

As Dr. Frachtenberg's allotment for field work among the 
Quileute was then exhausted, he was obliged to remain at 
Chemawa until the close of the fiscal year. He therefore 
undertook the correction of the page proofs of his gram- 
matical sketch of the Siuslaw language (pp. 431-629), and 
on its completion engaged in translating, editing, and type- 
writing the Alsea texts collected in 1910. The editing of these 
texts involved much labor, since it was deemed advisable to 
present in the introduction a complete discussion of Alsea 
mythology, and a concordance between the folklore of this 
tribe and the myths of the other tribes of the Pacific coast. 
For that purpose all the published works on the folklore of 
the tribes of the northwestern area were consulted, including 
that of the Maidu, Shasta, Yana, Klamath, Takelma, Coos, 
Lower Umpqua, Tillamook, Chinook, Kathlamet, Wishram, 
Quinault, Chilcotin, Shuswap, Thompson River, Lillooet, 


Haida, Tlingit, Kwakiutl, Tsimshian, Bellacoola, and the 
Athapascan tribes of the north. This work was practically 
completed by the close of the fiscal year. The collection con- 
sists of 8 creation myths, 13 miscellaneous tales, 3 ethno- 
logical and historical narratives, 4 statements as to religious 
beliefs, and 3 tales collected in English (31 traditions in all). 
It comprises, in addition to the introduction, 392 typewritten 
pages, and will be submitted for publication as a bulletin of 
the bureau. 


Dr. Franz Boas, honorary philologist, continued his 
researches connected with the preparation of the remainder 
of part 2 of the Handbook of American Indian Languages, 
assisted by Dr. Hermann K. Haeberlin, Miss H. A. Andrews, 
and Miss Mildred Downs, and also devoted attention to the 
completion of the report on Tsimshian mythology. 

The bulletin on "Kutenai Tales," for which galley proofs 
were received in July, 1915, has been revised twice and is 
nearing completion. The page proof is being extracted pre- 
paratory to the accompanying grammatical sketch and 

Through the liberality of Mr. Homer E. Sargent, of 
Chicago, it has been possible to do much work on the prepa- 
ration of an extended paper on the Salish dialects, 
comprising about 500 pages of manuscript. The material 
has been collected since 1886, partly by Dr. Boas himself 
and partly by Mr. James Teit, the considerable expense of 
the field work of Mr. Teit having been generously met by 
Mr. Sargent. In the course of the last 30 years it has been 
possible to collect vocabularies of all the Salish dialects, suffi- 
cient to afford a clear insight into the fundamental relations 
of these dialects, a preliminary work necessary to a more 
thorough study of the language. At the same time Mr. 
Teit gathered ethnological notes which are to be included in 
this work. The preparation of the vocabularies and of the 
detailed comparison that had been begun in previous years 
by Dr. Boas has been continued by Dr. Haeberlin, the basis 
of this study being their manuscript material and the pub- 


lished sources. Also through the liberality of Mr. Sargent 
and in cooperation with Columbia University in the city of 
New York, Dr. Haeberlin will be able to supplement his 
material by an investigation of one of the tribes of Puget 

The interest of Mr. Sargent has also made possible a de- 
tailed study of the Salish basketry of the interior plateau and 
the preparation of the illustrations for a memoir on this sub- 
ject. For the latter purpose there have been utilized the 
collections of the United States National Museum, the 
American Museum of Natural History, the University 
Museum of Philadelphia, the Museum of the American 
Indian (Heye Foundation), and the private collections of 
Mr. Sargent and others. 

The preparation of a manuscript on the Ethnology of the 
Kwakiutl Indians has been well advanced. The material 
for the first volume, which is to contain data collected by 
Mr. George Hunt, has been completed, excluding a number 
of translations which remain to be elaborated. According 
to the plan, the work is to consist of two parts, the first a 
collection of data furnished by Mr. Hunt in answer to spe- 
cific questions asked by Dr. Boas ; the second a discussion of 
them, and other data collected on previous journeys to 
British Columbia. • This volume is to consist of an account 
of the material culture, social organization, religion, and 
kindred subjects. Most of the illustrations for this volume 
have been completed, and about 1,600 pages of manuscript 
have been prepared. Miss Downs has made detailed ex- 
tracts from Kwakiutl myths required for a discussion of 
this subject. 

Miss Downs has also compared the proofs of Dr. Frachten- 
berg's Siuslaw grammar with published texts, and these 
proofs have been compared and passed on by Dr. Frachten- 
berg. This work completes the revision of the Siuslaw 
grammar, the publication of which has been delayed owing 
to various reasons. 

No progress has been made toward the final publication 
of the Chukchee grammar, as it has been impossible to com- 
municate with the author, Mr. W. Bogoras, who is in Russia. 


Some progress has been made with the contributions to 
Mexican archeology and ethnology, to be edited by Prof. 
Alfred M. Tozzer, of Harvard University, with a view of 
their publication by the bureau as a bulletin. Dr. Paul 
Radin has furnished a manuscript on Huave; Dr. Haeberlin 
has nearly completed the study of modern Mexican tales, 
collected by Dr. Boas and by Miss Isabel Ramirez Castafieda ; 
and Dr. Boas has been engaged in the preparation of mate- 
rial on certain types of Mexican pottery and on an account 
of a journey to Teul, Zacatecas. 

Prof. W. H. Holmes, of the National Museum, completed 
for the bureau the preparation of part 1 of the Handbook of 
American Antiquities (Bulletin 60), and at the close of the 
year galley proofs of the entire work had been received and 
were in process of revision. On account of the pressure of 
more urgent work in connection with his official duties, only 
limited progress was made in the preparation of part 2. 
On April 21 Mr. Holmes made a brief visit to the museums 
of Philadelphia and New York for the purpose of conducting 
studies required in the preparation of this handbook. 

Miss Frances Densmore's field trip during the summer of 
1915 for the purpose of continuing her studies of Indian 
music comprised visits to three reservations and occupied 
two and one-half months. Most of the time was spent 
among the Mandan and Hidatsa, at Fort Berthold, N. Dak., 
and during part of her sojourn Miss Densmore camped near 
what is recognized as the last Mandan settlement, where she 
was enabled to record many interesting data that could not 
have been obtained in any other way. The Indians felt 
more free to sing there than at the agency, and Miss Dens- 
more also had an opportunity to observe and photograph 
native customs, notably those of tanning a hide and pre- 
paring corn. The study of music on the Fort Berthold 
Reservation included that pertaining to the ceremony con- 
nected with eagle catching. An old eagle trap was visited 
and photographed, and the songs of the leader in the eagle 
camp were recorded by the only Mandan who had the 
hereditary right to sing them. The songs of the Goose 
Women Society and the Creek Women Society were also 


sung by those who inherited them and were recorded phono- 
graphically. Among these are the ceremonial songs sung 
by the "corn priest" in the spring to fructify the seed corn. 
Songs of war and of the various men's societies were also 
recorded. The total number of songs from this reservation 
now transcribed exceeds 100. 

A new phase of the work was that of ascertaining the pitch 
discrimination of the Indians by means of tuning forks. 
This was begun at Fort Berthold and continued for compar- 
ative purposes at the Standing Rock and White Earth 
Reservations. Data from four tribes are now available on 
this subject of research. 

Miss Densmore read all the galley and part of the page 
proofs of the bulletin on Teton Sioux Music. Important 
additions were made to this book in the form of graphic 
representations, original plots of 240 songs and 18 diagrams 
having been made to exhibit the results obtained through 
mathematical analyses. Of these graphic representations 
63 will appear in the bulletin. One hundred and fifty pages 
of manuscript were submitted during the year, in addition 
to the descriptive analyses of the songs. 

In the preparation of the Handbook of Aboriginal Re- 
mains East of the Mississippi, Mr. D. I. Bushnell, jr., added 
much new material. Many letters were sent to county 
officials in New England requesting information regarding 
the location of ancient village sites, burial places, and other 
traces of aboriginal occupancy in their respective areas. 
Many of the replies contained valuable and interesting infor- 
mation. Letters of like nature were addressed to officials 
in the Southern States, and the replies were equally satis- 
factory. Numerous photographs have been received from 
various sources, which will serve as illustrations for the 
handbook, but it is desired to increase the number if pos- 
sible. The manuscript of the handbook will probably be 
completed during the next fiscal year. 

Dr. Walter Hough, of the National Museum, was detailed 
to the bureau in June for the purpose of conducting archeo- 
logical investigations in western central New Mexico. Pro- 
ceeding to Luna, Socorro County, Dr. Hough commenced 


the excavation of a ruin previously located by him, as de- 
scribed in Bulletin 35 of the bureau (p. 59). This site was 
thought to contain evidence of pit dwellings exclusively, 
but excavations showed that an area of about 40 acres 
contained circular, semisubterranean houses in which no 
stone was used for construction. Seven of the pits were 
cleared, and it was ascertained that many more existed 
beneath the surface, dug in the sandy substratum of the 
region. Burnt sections of roofing clay showed that these 
houses were roofed with beams, poles, brush, and mud, as 
in present pueblo construction. The roof was supported 
by wooden posts, charred remains of which were found. 
Nothing was ascertained respecting the construction of the 
sides of the dwellings or in regard to the height of the roofs. 
On the floor of each of the pits uncovered were a rude metate, 
grinding stones, slabs of stone, and the outline of an other- 
wise undefined fireplace not quite in the center of the cham- 
ber. A bench about a foot high and a few feet in length was 
cut in the wall of some of the pits, and in one of the pits, 
against the wall, was a fireplace with raised sides of clay. 
Another type of structures adjoined the pits; these were 
rectangular, open-air houses with mud roofs, in which 
mealing and culinary work was carried on. Here were 
numerous metates, manos, rubbing stones, pottery, etc.; 
some of the metates were set up on three round stones. 
Near the pit was a cemetery in which infants were buried, 
the burials being associated with clay hearths and much 
charcoal, and near the bodies were placed small pottery 
vessels. Scrapers of flint and bones of deer were also found 
among the burials. So far as ascertained, the people who 
used the circular semisubterranean houses had a limited 
range. Traces of their culture have not been found below 
an elevation of 7,000 feet in the mountain valley, and it 
appears probable that their culture was associated with an 
environment of lakes which once existed in these valleys. 
It is evident in some cases that the pit dwellings were dis- 
placed by houses of stone. In most instances artifacts are 
different from those of the stone-house builders, and the 
latter have more points of resemblance to, than of differ- 


ence from, the ancient inhabitants of Blue River. It is 
probable that the range of the pit-house people would be 
found to be more extensive by excavation around the sides 
of stone houses in other localities, the remains of pit struc- 
tures being easily obliterated by natural filling. At this 
time the pit-dweller culture can be affiliated only with un- 
certainty with that of the ancient Pueblos. At the present 
stage of the investigation the lack of skeletal material is 
severely felt, but further work may overcome this difficulty. 

In continuation of his preliminary examination of archeo- 
logical remains in western Utah, summarized in the last 
annual report of the bureau (pp. 51-53), Mr. Neil M. Judd, 
of the National Museum, returned to Utah in June, 1916, 
and excavated one of the large mounds near Paragonah, in 
Iron County. Limited in time and handicapped by unfa- 
vorable weather, the results obtained were less than those 
anticipated; nevertheless they show the similarity existing 
between the ancient Paragonah dwellings and those near 
Beaver City and neighboring settlements, and warrant the 
belief that the builders of these structures were more closely 
related to the house-building peoples of Arizona and New 
Mexico than has been suspected. 

In the report following his reconnoissance of last year 
Mr. Judd drew attention to the fact that the mounds still 
existing near Paragonah comprise a mere remnant of the 
large group formerly at that place and predicted the early 
razing of those remaining. The hurried investigation of 
this year was undertaken for the purpose of gaining informa- 
tion regarding these ruins before their destruction. 

One of the largest and, at the same time, one of the least 
disturbed mounds was selected as a type for excavation. 
Its dimensions were approximately 100 by 300 feet; its 
average height was 4^ feet. Two great gashes had been made 
through the opposite ends of the mound by diggings of 
many years ago, each cut partially exposing the walls of a 
single long room. Including these two dwellings, which 
were reexcavated only with considerable difficulty, Mr. 
Judd successfully revealed and measured the walls of 14 
rectangular houses, 11 of which are entirely cleared of fallen 


debris and earth accumulation. The walls of these ancient 
habitations, like those previously examined near Beaver 
City, had been constructed entirely of adobe mud; in their 
present condition they exhibited no evidence of the use of 
angular bricks or blocks similar to those employed in Pueblo 
structures subsequent to the Spanish conquest. On the 
contrary, close examination showed that the walls were 
invariably formed by the union of innumerable masses of 
plastic clay, forced together by the hands of the builders 
and surfaced inside and out during the process of construc- 
tion. Careful inspection of the ruins showed that the dwell- 
ings were originally roofed in the manner typical of cliff 
houses and of modern Pueblo structures throughout the 
Southwest. No certain evidence could be found that doors 
or other wall openings were utilized by the primitive arti- 
sans — each house invariably consisted of a single room that 
apparently had been entered from the roof. One of the most 
important discoveries made during the course of the Para- 
gonah excavations was that of a circular, semisubterranean 
room which, with similar wall fragments previously discov- 
ered in the Beaver City mounds, tends to establish the use 
of the kiva, or ceremonial chamber, by the ancient house- 
building peoples of western Utah. 

On the conclusion of his studies at Paragonah Mr. Judd 
proceeded to Fillmore, Willard County, for the purpose of 
investigating certain mounds reported in that neighborhood. 
These and similar elevations near the villages of Meadow, 
Deseret, and Hinckley, were all superficially identified as of 
the same type and representing the same degree of culture 
as those above described. In all a collection of more than 
500 objects was gathered during the course of the season's 

A pleasing coincidence resulting from Mr. Judd's Fillmore 
investigation was the fact that the guide he engaged had 
been employed in the same capacity by Dr. Edward Palmer, 
one of the National Museum's most indefatigable collectors, 
during the latter's expedition of 1872. 

186S23°— 22 3 


The archeological data collected by Mr. Judd during his 
two brief expeditions to western Utah are sufficient to 
warrant the extension of the northern limits of the area 
known to have been occupied by the ancient Pueblo people. 
Further work, however, is urgent, since that already accom- 
plished has not only contributed certain valuable facts to 
Southwestern archeology, but it has shown also the proba- 
bility of finding, in the unknown desert regions of that 
section, a solution of some of the vital questions with which 
American anthropology has labored for many years. 

By reason of the fact that Mr. James R. Murie has been 
engaged by the American Museum of Natural History, New 
York City, in connection with its ethnologic researches per- 
taining to the Plains Indians, his work of recording the rites 
and ceremonies of the Pawnee Tribe came to a close, and 
tentative arrangements have been made whereby the Ameri- 
can Museum will complete the investigation and the results 
published by the bureau. Dr. Clark Wissler, curator of 
anthropology of the American Museum, has undertaken 
this task. 

Dr. A. L. Kroeber, of the University of California, con- 
tinued the preparation of the Handbook of the Indians of 
California for publication by the bureau, and at this writing 
it is believed that the manuscript, with the accompanying 
maps and illustrations, will be submitted for publication 
before the close of the calendar year. 


The large collection of manuscripts in possession of the 
bureau was augmented by the following principal items, 
which do not include manuscripts in process of preparation 
by members of the bureau's staff for publication: 

Miami-French dictionary; photostat copy of the original 
in the John Carter Brown Library at Providence, R. I. 

A number of notebooks from Dr. A. L. Kroeber, on Gros 
Ventre and Cheyenne- Arapaho linguistics and texts. These 
consist of: (a) Gros Ventre, 41-47, 49; (b) Arapaho and 
Cheyenne, 1-14, 21-22, 24-28, and also a catalogue of this 


material recorded on 3,500 cards; (c) 110 pages of manu- 
script on the same subjects. 

First draft of Gatschet's Klamath Dictionary, 177 pages. 

Copies of the following manuscripts, made by photostat 
in the bureau by the courtesy of Rev. George Worpenberg, 
S. J., librarian of St. Mary's College, St. Marys, Kans. : 

Catechism dans la langue Potewatemi, A. D. 1847. 
Petit Catechism en Langue Potewatemi, A. D. 1848. 
Evangelia Dom, and Evangelia in Festis, and portions of the 
Gospels read on Sundays and certain Festivals of the Saints. 


The task of editing the publications of the bureau has 
continued in charge of Mr. J. G. Gurley, editor, assisted from 
tune to time by Mrs. Frances S. Nichols. Following is a 
summary for the year : 


Twenty-ninth Annual Report (1907-08). Accompanying paper: 
The Ethnogeography of the Tewa Indians, by John Peabody Har- 

Thirtieth Annual Report (1908-09). Accompanying papers: 
Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians (Stevenson) ; An Inquiry into the 
Animism and Folk-lore of the Guiana Indians (Roth). 

Bulletin 57. An Introduction to the Study of the Maya Hiero- 
glyphs (Morley). 

Bulletin 62. Physical Anthropology of the Lenape or Dela wares, 
and of the Eastern Indians in General (Hrdlicka). 


Thirty-first Annual Report (1909-10). Accompanying paper: 
Tsimshian Mythology (Boas) . 

Thirty-second Annual Report (1910-11). Accompanying paper: 
Seneca Fiction, Legends, and Myths (collected by Jeremiah Cur tin 
and J. N. B. Hewitt; edited by J. N. B. Hewitt). 

Thirty-third Annual Report (1911-12). Accompanying papers: 
Designs on Prehistoric Hopi Pottery (Fewkes) ; Preliminary Account 
of the Antiquities of the Region between the Mancos and La Plata 
Rivers in Southwestern Colorado (Morris); Uses of Plants by the 
Indians of the Nebraska Region (Gilmore) ; Mound Excavation in 
the Eastern Maya Area, with an Introduction dealing with the 
General Culture of the Natives (Gann). 


Bulletin 40. Handbook of American Indian Languages (Boas). 
Part 2. 

Bulletin 55. Ethnobotany of the Tewa Indians (Robbins, Har- 
rington, Freire-Marreco) . 

Bulletin 59. Kutenai Tales (Boas). 

Bulletin 60. Handbook of Aboriginal American Antiquities, Part 1 . 
Introductory. The Lithic Industries: Mining, Quarrying, Manu- 
facture (Holmes). 

Bulletin 61. Teton Sioux Music (Densmore). 

The distribution of the publications of the bureau has 
continued in immediate charge of Miss Helen Munroe, of the 
Smithsonian Institution, and at times by Mr. E. L. Springer, 
assisted from the beginning of the fiscal year until his 
resignation on April 15 by Mr. W. A. Humphrey, and sub- 
sequently by Miss Lana V. Schelski. Notwithstanding con- 
ditions in Europe and the impossibility of sending publica- 
tions abroad except to a very limited extent, 2,235 more 
publications were distributed than during the previous fiscal 
year. This distribution may be classified as follows : 

Series CopieB 

Annual reports and separates 2, 036 

Bulletins and separates 9, 990 

Contributions to North American Ethnology — volumes and 

separates 18 

Introductions 9 

Miscellaneous publications 367 

12 420 

Mr. DeLancey Gill, illustrator, has continued in charge of 
the preparation of the illustrations for the publications of 
the bureau and of photographing the members of visiting 
Indian deputations to Washington, in which work he has 
been assisted by Mr. Albert E. Sweeney. The results 
accomplished in this direction are as follows : 


Photographic prints for distribution and office use 1, 137 

Negatives of ethnologic and archeologic subjects 126 

Negative films developed from field exposures 188 

Photostat prints from books and manuscripts 1, 125 

Mounts used 78 

Proofs examined 251 



Photographs retouched - - 43 

Drawings made 187 

Portrait negatives of visiting delegations (Pawnee, Sauk and 

Fox, Winnebago, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Chippewa) 25 

The complete editions of three colored plates, aggregating 
20,000 prints, were examined at the Government Printing 
Office. Illustrative material for three bulletins was com- 
pleted for reproduction, and progress was made on similar 
work for the Thirty-third Annual Report. 


The library of the bureau continued in charge of Miss Ella 
Leary, librarian, assisted by Charles B. Newman, messenger 
boy. During the year 1,078 volumes were accessioned; of 
these 214 were purchased, 135 were acquired by gift and 
exchange, and 729 are volumes of serials which were entered 
after having been bound for the first time. The library 
also procured 272 pamphlets, chiefly by gift. The periodicals 
currently received number about 750, of which 12 are 
acquired by subscription and 738 by exchange. Among the 
more noteworthy accessions of books are 20 volumes of 
Bibles, Testaments, and portions of the Bible in American 
Indian languages. The library now contains about 21,315 
volumes, 13,460 pamphlets, and several thousand unbound 
periodicals. There were sent to the Government Printing 
Office for binding, 1,338 books, pamphlets, and serial pub- 
lications, and of these all but 20 had been returned to the 
bureau before the close of the year. 

In addition to the cataloguing of current accessions the 
efforts of the librarian were devoted to making a subject, 
author, and analytical catalogue of the books represented 
in the old catalogue by an imperfect author catalogue alone. 
In this connection special attention was given to linguistic 
works. From time to time Mrs. F. S. Nichols has assisted 
in this work, and satisfactory progress has been made. 

Although maintained primarily for the use of the staff, 
the library is consulted more and more by students not mem- 
bers of the bureau, as well as by officials of the Library of 
Congress and of the Government departments. 



The following collections were acquired by the bureau, by 
members of its staff, or by those detailed in connection with 
its researches, and have been transferred to the National 
Museum : 

704 archeological objects gathered in Utah and Wyoming by Mr. 
Neil M. Judd. (58757.) 

Collection of potsherds showing types of ornamentation, from the 
Nacoochee Mound, White County, Georgia, being a part of the objects 
gathered by the joint expedition of the Bureau of American Ethnologv 
and Museum of the American Indian (Heye Foundation). (58819.) 

170 archeological specimens collected by Mr. Gerard Fowke at the 
flint quarry shop sites at Crescent, St. Louis County, Missouri. 

Collection of nonhuman bones from the Nacoochee Mound, Georgia. 

A small collection of prayer-sticks from a Pueblo shrine on the sum- 
mit of Langley Peak, west of the Rio Grande and south of the Rio 
Chama, New Mexico, presented by Mr. Robert H. Chapman. (59112.) 

53 Indian potsherds and arrow points presented by Mr. Arthur L. 
Norman, Troup, Texas. (59252.) 

Stone "collar" from Porto Rico, received by purchase from Mr. K. 
A. Behne, San German, Porto Rico. (59280.) 

A point and tackle of a salmon spear, a halibut hook, and five small 
fishhooks, the gift of Mr. Robert H. Chapman. (59288.) 

Set of ear perforators formerly owned by Wathuxage of the Tsizhu 
Washtage gens of the Osage, presented through Mr. Francis La 
Flesche by Mrs. Fred Lookout. (59782.) 

Sacred hawk bundle, or waxobe, of the Buffalo-face People of the 
Osage tribe, collected by Mr. Francis La Flesche. (59792.) 

Osage war shield, collected by Mr. Francis La Flesche. (59934.) 


In regard to the property of the bureau there is nothing 
to add to the statements presented in recent reports. The 
cost of necessary furniture, typewriters, and photographic 
and other apparatus acquired during the fiscal year was 


Quarters. — One of the rooms in the north tower occupied 
by the bureau force was repaired and painted, a new electric 


fixture installed, and the wooden casing under the exposed 
stairway removed and fireproofing substituted. 

Personnel. — The only change in the personnel of the 
bureau was the resignation of Mr. William A. Humphrey, 
stenographer and typewriter, on April 15, 1916, and the 
appointment of Miss Lana V. Schelski on May 15 to fill the 

The correspondence and other clerical work of the office, 

in addition to that above mentioned, has been conducted 

by Miss Florence M. Poast, clerk to the ethnologist in charge ; 

Miss May S. Clark, who particularly aided Mr. Bushnell in 

correspondence connected with the preparation of the 

Handbook of Aboriginal Remains; and Mrs. F. S. Nichols, 

who has aided the editor. 

Respectfully submitted. 

F. W. Hodge, 

Ethnologist in Charge. 
Dr. Charles D. Walcott, 

Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 

Washington, D. C. 








Preface 47 

Part I 

Chapter I. — History 49 

General remarks 49 

The Tale of Tcap'o'sgaga 59 

How the Winnebago first came into contact with the French and the 

origin of the Decora family 65 

What the Shawnee prophet told the Winnebago 69 

Winnebago names of other tribes and peoples 75 

Chapter II. — Winnebago archeology 76 

General problems 76 

Implements of stone and other materials 87 

Copper implements 87 

Earthworks and mounds 88 

Intaglio mounds 90 

Conical mounds 90 

Linear mounds 92 

Effigy mounds 98 

Description of Lake Koshkonong mounds 100 

The conical mounds 100 

Combinations of conical and linear forms 100 

Linear mounds 101 

Effigies 101 

Bird effigies 101 

Mammal effigies 101 

Turtle and allied forms 101 

The grouping 102 

The man mound 102 

Miscellaneous structures 103 

Chapter III. — Material culture 104 

Habitations 104 

Clothing and adornment 109 

Hunting 109 

Fishing and agriculture 114 

Games and amusements 120 

Travel and transportation 123 

Musical instruments 123 

Divisions of time 124 

Chapter IV. — General social customs 126 

Male terms of address 128 

Female terms of address 131 

Joking relationship 133 

Mother-indaw and father-indaw taboo 135 

Puberty customs 135 

Marriage 138 

Adoption 139 




Chapter V. — Burial and funeral customs 140 

Description of funeral customs and wake 140 

Generalized description of funeral customs and wake 144 

Funeral customs of the Thunderbird clan (first version) 146 

Death and funeral customs of the Thunderbird clan (second version) 146 

Death and funeral customs of the Bear clan 148 

Funeral customs of the Buffalo clan 154 

Origin myth of the four-nights' wake 154 

Grave-post marks 155 

Chapter VI. — Warfare and the council lodge ., 156 

Warfare 156 

The council lodge 163 

Chapter VII. — System of education 166 

.My father's teaching to his sons and daughters 166 

System of instruction to son 166 

System of instruction to daughter 177 

System of instruction to children 180 

Part II 

Chapter VIII. — .Social organization — General discussion 181 

The twofold grouping 185 

Functions of the twofold division 187 

< Ian organization 190 

Reckoning of descent 192 

Individual names 193 

Attitude toward clan animals " 195 

Relationship to clan animals 196 

The clan tie 198 

Clan functions 199 

The reciprocal relationship of the clans 201 

The specific possessions of the clan 202 

Immaterial possessions of the clan 203 

The clan marks of identification 203 

Influence of the clan upon ceremonial organization 204 

Chapter IX. — Social organization — Specific clans 207 

The Thunderbird clan 207 

Introduction 207 

Clan myths and names 212 

The Warrior clan 218 

Introduction 218 

Origin myth 219 

Clan songs 220 

Eagle and Pigeon clans 220 

Clan names 221 

The Bear clan 225 

Introduction 225 

Origin myths 229 

Clan songs 235 

Clan names 236 

The Wolf clan 238 

Introduction 238 

Origin myths 238 

Clan songs 240 

Clan names 240 


Chapter IX. — Social organization — Specific clans — Continued. Page. 

The Water-spirit clan 241 

Introduction 241 

Origin myth 242 

Clan names 242 

The Buffalo clan 243 

Introduction 243 

Origin myth 243 

Clan songs 245 

Clan names 246 

The Deer clan 246 

Introduction 246 

Origin myths 247 

Clan song 249 

Clan names 249 

The Elk clan 249 

Introduction 249 

Origin myth 250 

Clan names 250 

Snake and Fish clans 250 

Clan names 250 

Clan names 251 

Chapter X. — Shanianistic and medicinal practices 254 

Introduction 254 

Tales concerning Midjistega 255 

Lincoln's grandfather 258 

The uses of the stench-earth medicine 259 

How an Indian shaman cures his patients ■ 270 

Thundercloud's fasting experience 275 

Chapter XI. — Religion 277 

Introduction 277 

The concept of supernatural power 281 

The concept and nature of the spirits 283 

The power and localization of the spirits 288 

The twofold interpretation of the relation of the spirits to man 289 

The guardian spirits 290 

Personal religious experiences 291 

How Wegi'ceka tried to see Earthmaker 291 

Account of J.'s fasting 293 

R.'s fasting 296 

Aratcge'ka's fasting 296 

Account of X.'s fasting 298 

How Y. fasted and was blessed with a war bundle 299 

What G. obtained in his fast 300 

How a bear blessed a man 301 

How the daughter of Mank'erexka refused a blessing from Disease- 
giver 302 

Fasting experience 304 

J. B.'s fasting experience 308 

How a man defied Disease-giver 309 

Methods of bringing the spirits into relation with man , 310 

The folkloristic concepts 311 

The cosmological ideas 316 


Part III 


Chapter XII. — Ceremonial organization 317 

Introduction 317 

Ceremonies associated with the clans , 318 

The clan feasts 318 

The Thunderbird clan or chief feast 318 

The Bear clan feast (first version) 321 

The Bear clan feast (second version I 324 

The Snake clan feast 325 

Chapter XIII. — Religious societies based on blessings from spirits 329 

Society of those who have received blessings from the Night Spirits 329 

Society of those who have been blessed by the Herok'a 343 

Society of those who have been blessed by the Buffalo spirits 344 

Society of those who have been blessed by the grizzly bear 347 

Chapter XIV. — The Medicine dance 350 

Origin myth 350 

Organization of the bands 359 

Personal accounts of initiation 374 

Chapter XV. — Miscellaneous dances 379 

The Hokixe're dance 379 

The Herucka dance 384 

Watconan k'ewe feast 384 

The Captive's Death dance 384 

The Farewell dance 385 

The Soldier's dance 386 

Ceremony of Uangeru x 387 

Feast to Buffalo Tail 387 

Kikre waci and Tcebokona n k dances 387 

Chapter XVI.— The Peyote cult 388 

General description 388 

John Rave's account of the Peyote cult and of his conversion 389 

O. L.'s description of the Peyote cult 394 

J. B.'s account of the leader of the Peyote 396 

Albert Hensley's account of the Peyote 397 

J. B.'s Peyote experiences 400 

J. B.'s account of his conversion 412 

Jesse Clay's account of the Arapaho manner of giving the Peyote cere- 
mony which he introduced among the Winnebago in 1912 415 

Development of the ritualistic complex 419 

Dissemination of the doctrine , 422 

What the converts introduced 424 

The attitude of the conservatives 425 

Chapter XVII. — The clan war-bundle feasts 427 

The war-bundle feast of the Thunderbird clan (first version) 427 

Introductory remarks 427 

Analytical presentation of the ceremony 428 

Analysis of types of action and speeches 432 

The development of the war-bundle feast and its place in the cere- 
monial organization of the Winnebago 432 

Characterization of the spirits mentioned in the war-bundle feast 436 

Description of the war-bundle feast 441 

First division of the ceremony — in honor of the Thunderbirds 447 

Sweat-lodge ritual 447 


Chapter XVII. — The clan war-bundle feasts — Continued. Page 
The war-bundle feast of the Thunderbird clan (first version) — Continued. 
First division of the ceremony — in honor of the Thunderbirds — Continued. 

The Dog ritual 451 

General placing of the tobacco 451 

The tobacco offering to the spirits 453 

The buckskin offerings to the spirits 465 

Filling of the ceremonial pipe and smoking ritual 469 

Basic ritual 471 

The feast 481 

The fast-eating contest 485 

Continuation of the basic ritual 487 

Second division of the ceremony- — in honor of the Night Spirits 501 

The tobacco offering 501 

Basic ritual 505 

The throwing out of the buckskins 513 

Feast to the Night Spirits 519 

Rite of those who have been crazed by the Night Spirits 519 

Continuation of the basic ritual 521 

Terminal address to the dog 527 

Addenda 529 

The war-bundle feast of the Thunderbird clan (second version) 530 

The war-bundle feast of the Thunderbird clan (third version) 534 

The war-bundle feast of the Bear clan 547 

Index 551 

1S6S23 — 22 4 




1. Red Banks, Green Bay, Wis 66 

2. a, Black Wolf, chief of Winnebago. 6, Four Legs, chief of Winnebago. ... 66 

3. Jasper Blowsnake 66 

4. John Fisher 66 

5. a, James Pine, ft, John Rave and family 66 

6. a, ft, John Fireman, c, Whitebreast. </, John Raymond 66 

7. a, Young Winnebago woman and daughter, ft, Old Winnebago and daughter. 66 

8. a, Gray Hair, ft, Red Wing, c, James Ricehill. d, Albert Hensley 

(front view) 66 

9. a, John Baptiste. 6, Hugh Hunter, e, Levi St. Cyr. d, Albert Hensley 

( profile view) 88 

10. Winnebago bone implements 88 

11. Four Legs' village on Doty Island, 1830 88 

12. Aztalan 88 

13. Wisconsin intaglios 90 

14. a, Burial in a mound at Borchers Beach, ft. Conical mound, Cutler Park, 

Waukesha, Wis 90 

15. A series of burial mounds 92 

16. Stone chamber in burial mound, Buffalo Lake, Marquette County, Wis. . . 92 

17. Zahn Mound, Calumet County, Wis 92 

18. a, Lodge made of reed matting. 6, Lodge made of bark with covering of 

reed matting, c, Lodge made of bark 92 

19. a, Lodge of bark. 6, Modern lodge with canvas covering, c Lodge of 

reed matting 104 

20. a, Thomas Mallory . 6, Winnebago in full dress 104 

21. o, Winnebago women in modern dress. 6, Winnebago women in old-style 

dress 104 

22. a, Child in modern dress. 6, Young boy in full warrior's costume 104 

23. a, Group of Winnebago in old-style costumes, ft, Winnebago family 108 

24. Decorated moccasins 108 

25. Decorated moccasins 108 

26. a, Winnebago, showing modern headgear, ft, Winnebago with deer-tail 

headdress 108 

27. Beaded belts 108 

28. Women's hair ornaments and small beaded bag 108 

29. Beaded articles of modern type 108 

30. Miscellaneous objects 108 

31. Bo w and bird arrow 118 

32. Woven bags with old designs 118 

33. Woven bags 118 

34. Varieties of woven bags 118 

35. Woven bags with old designs 118 

36. Woven bags (Peabody Museum ) 118 

37. Openwork woven bags (Peabody Museum) 118 




38. a, Wooden dishes, b, Wooden spoons, r, Wooden mortars and pestles. .. . 118 

39. Moccasin game 122 

40. Snowshoes 1 22 

41. a, Winnebago and daughter, b, Old Winnebago woman, c, Woman and 

child, showing cradle board, rf, Woman and child, showing method of 

carrying infant 126 

42. a, Infant with ornamented cradle board. 6, Group of Winnebago 126 

43. a, War clubs of the Upper Division, b, Whips 156 

44. Drums 156 

45. War clubs 156 

46. Facial burial marks 248 

47. Buckskin offerings 248 

48. Buckskin offerings 248 

49. a, Exterior of Medicine dance lodge, b, Interior of Medicine dance lodge. 350 

50. a, Exterior of Medicine dance lodge, b, Interior of Medicine dance lodge. 350 

51. Otter-skin medicine pouches used at Medicine dance 362 

52. Pouches of animal skins used at Medicine dance 362 

53. Skin pouches and feather fans used at Medicine dance 362 

54. a, Peyote leaders, b, Burial huts 388 

55. a, Oliver Lamere. b, John Rave 388 

56. a, Thunderbird war bundle, b, Hawk war bundle 428 

57. Contents of Thunderbird war bundle 428 

58. Contents of Hawk war bundle 428 


1. Sectional map of Wisconsin, giving the locations of some of the old villages.. 51 

2. Map of Wisconsin, showing distribution of circular mounds 77 

3. Map of Wisconsin, showing distribution of effigy mounds 78 

4. Effigy mounds (panther or water-spirit type) 90 

5. Bear effigy mound, Madison, Wis 91 

6. Burial mounds, upper Baraboo Valley, Wis 91 

7. Burial mounds in a group at Rice Lake, Rusk County, Wis 92 

8. Effigy and dumb-bell-shaped mounds 93 

9. Linear mounds at Madison, Wis 93 

10. Linear mounds, Clyde Township, Iowa County, Wis 93 

11. Effigy and linear mounds, Pishtaka, Waukesha County, Wis 94 

12. Effigy mounds in the Wingra group, Madison, Wis 94 

13. Bird effigy mounds 95 

14. Man mound, Greenfield Township, Sauk County, Wis . 95 

15. Types of mammal effigy mounds 96 

16. Types of so-called turtle effigy mounds 96 

17. Effigy mound of unknown animal 96 

18. La Valle man mound, Sauk County, Wis 97 

19. Group of mounds of different types, Lake Koshkonong, Wis 97 

20. Archeologic map of Lake Koshkonong 99 

21. Wisconsin garden beds 103 

22. a, Cross section of round lodge. 6, Cross section of gable lodge 105 

23. Pattern of men's buckskin leggings 106 

24. Pattern of women's buckskin shirt 106 

25. Pattern of men's moccasin 107 

26. Pattern of women's moccasin 108 

27. Men's lacrosse 120 



28. Grave-post marks 155 

29. Seating arrangement in council lodge according to Thunderbird clan 164 

30. Seating arrangement in council lodge according to Bear clan 164 

31 . Seating arrangement in council lodge according to Thunderbird clan 165 

32. Seating arrangement in council lodge according to Wolf clan 165 

33. Plan of village according to Thundercloud, of the Thunderbird clan 188 

34. Plan of village according to John Rave, of Bear clan 1S9 

35. Diagram of Bear lodge 229 

36. Plan of Bear clan war-bundle feast as given by John Rave 321 

37. Plan of Soldier's dance 386 

38. Plan of Thunderbird clan war-bundle feast 530 


The information included in this volume was obtained during the 
years 1908-1913 while employed by the Bureau of American Eth- 
nology and on private expeditions. In all cases wherever it was 
possible the author tried to obtain his information in Winnebago, 
although the English version is printed here. Owing to the fact 
that the Winnebago have for some time been accustomed to the use 
of a syllabic alphabet borrowed from the Sauk and Fox, it was a 
comparatively easy task to induce them to write down their mythol- 
ogy and, at times, their ceremonies, and then have an interpreter 
translate them. As the author has a fair command of Winnebago 
grammar, he was able to control these translations and thus insure 
their approximate accuracy. On account of the importance of having 
as accurate a record of the ceremonies as possible, those few cere- 
monies that were obtained in syllabic text were subsequently taken 
down in phonetic text. 

It has been the aim of the author to separate as definitely as possi- 
ble his own comments from the actual data obtained, and for that 
reason every chapter, with the exception of those on history, arche- 
ology, and material culture, is divided into two parts, a discussion 
of the data and the data itself. 

Certain subjects, such as mythology, art, and music, have been 
entirely omitted. In order to discuss the second a comparative 
study of woodland art and design would have been necessary, which 
would have entailed a prolonged study at different museums; and to 
discuss the latter, specific training and knowledge were demanded, 
which the author does not possess. 

The following monograph does not claim to be a comparative 
study, but simply as intensive an investigation as the time spent 
allowed, of an unusually interesting tribe, made under exceptionally 
propitious conditions. It is principally the raw material that is pre- 
sented here. Throughout the work, the Indian has been allowed to 
tell the facts in his own way. For that reason no attempt has been 
made to change the English, except when it was ungrammatical or 
unintelligible. This will explain the simple and at times poor Eng- 
lish of the accounts. 

The work ends rather abruptly because the section on mythology 
and the general conclusion have been reserved for special treatment. 

In conclusion, the author wishes to thank all those Winnebago 
who helped him since he first came among them. In particular does 



he wish to thank his interpreter, Oliver Lamere, of Winnebago, 
Nebraska, without whom this work could hardly have been completed, 
and his three main informants, Jasper Blowsnake and Sam Carley, 
both of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, and John Rave, of Winnebago, 

To Prof. Franz Boas he is under especial obligations for directing 
him to the Winnebago, for the methods of research inculcated in him 
at Columbia University, and particularly for impressing upon him the 
necessity of obtaining as much information as possible in text. 

His thanks are also due to the following individual and institutions: 
To Mr. C. Brown, of Madison, Wis., for a number of illustrations 
previously published in the Wisconsin Archeologist, and to the 
American Museum of Natural History, the Peabody Museum, and 
the Milwaukee Public Museum for numerous photographs of objects 
in their collections. 

His brother, Dr. Max Radin, he wishes to thank for financing his 
first visit to the Winnebago in 1908. 

The manuscript was finished in 1913. 

Paul Radin. 

Santa Fe, New Mexico, May 11, 1916. 


Part I 


General Remarks 

At what time the Winnebago entered Wisconsin it is impossible 
to say. It seems quite reasonable to suppose that they came from 
the east. If we are right in assuming that they are the builders of 
the effigy mounds, then we are justified in assigning a certain signifi- 
cance to the distribution of the latter. One of the interesting points 
of this distribution is that many are found along the shore of Lake 
Michigan and northward to Two Rivers, that some are found in 
Rock County, and that they gradually decrease in number as one 
proceeds north. This would lead us to assume that the Winnebago 
entered Wisconsin from the south, probably from the southeast. We 
ought, then, to find effigy mounds in Illinois and, in general, on the 
route of their probable journey from the east. This is not the case, 
and it is very difficult to account for their absence unless we assume 
that all traces of them have disappeared; that the Winnebago first 
developed their mound-building habit after they had reached Wis- 
consin; or that the mounds in Illinois are their work (and that 
of kindred tribes), and finally that the type of mound developed 
along different lines after they had definitely settled in Wisconsin. 
It is also possible that since the effigy mounds are undoubtedly 
closely associated with the clan organization this type of social 
organization was adopted by the Winnebago only after they entered 

There can be no doubt but that the Winnebago and the closely 
related tribes like the Missouri, Oto, and Iowa represented the second 
of the Siouan migrations westward. There were probably four of 
these migrations, as G. F. Will and H. J. Spinden claim, succeeding 
each other as follows: 

1. Mandan, Hidatsa, Crow. 

2. Iowa, Oto, Missouri, Winnebago. 


50 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

3. Omaha, Ponca, Osage, Kansa, Quapaw. 

4. Dakota, Assiniboin. 1 

The linguistic grouping seems to bear out this theory with the 
exception of the Mandan, who are far more closely related to the 
Winnebago and their kindred than to the Hidatsa. It seems like- 
wise strange that the Hidatsa and Crow, on the one hand, and the 
Dakota and Assiniboin, on the other, belonging to the first and fourth 
'migrations," should nevertheless speak dialects that are closely 
related. One might have expected that Dakota would be more like 
Omaha and its group. 

The Winnebago themselves have no traditions telling of their 
migrations from the east. The majority of the people questioned 
asserted that the tribe had originated at Green Bay. This is, how- 
ever, merely the origin myth of the Thunderbird clan, which appa- 
rently has displaced other origin accounts. While, in a few instances, 
other places were mentioned, the localities to which they referred 
were all in Wisconsin. There may be some significance in the origin 
legends of some of the clans which claim that they came from over 
the sea (the lake), but it is utterly impossible to determine whether 
we are here dealing with a myth pure and simple or with a vague 
memory of some historical happening. 

The Winnebago have, however, some recollection of their separa- 
tion from their kindred Siouan tribes. The accounts collected are 
short and fragmentary, but this may be due largely to the fact that 
no systematic attempt was made by the author to obtain detailed 
information on this point. The following fragmentary accounts 
will give some idea of the value of these recollections. 

a. In the early days the Winnebago often went out hunting after 
they had finished hoeing their corn and other crops. During one of 
these travels they killed an elk and every lodge received a piece of the 
animal except one lodge in which a man, his wife, and six daughters 
with their husbands lived. Thinking that they were disliked by the 
rest of the tribe, these remained behind the next day when the others 
continued their journey. They have never been heard from since. 
It is said that the Quapaws do not know where they come from and we 
think that they may be descended from this family. 

b. When the Winnebago lived on Lake Michigan the tribe was so 
large that each clan had its own chief and a general chief presided 
over the whole tribe. After a while it became so hard to obtain food 
that a band of Winnebago went south. They never returned. These 
are now in the Southwest. Some of them are the Missouri and some 
the Iowa. Band after band kept moving away until only one was 
left — the present Winnebago. 

1 The Mandans, Papers of the Peabody Museum. Vol. m, no. 4, pp. 97-98, Cambridge, 1906. 

ti.U'IN I 



c. Four lodges once left the main tribe at Prairie du Chien or Mac- 
Gregor, Wisconsin, and never returned. This happened after all the 
other tribes had leagued together against the Winnebago. The reason 
these four lodges left the Winnebago was because they were afraid 
that war might break out again. Some people believe that the Oto 




[The numbers on the map indicate the locations of some of the Wisconson Winnebago villages.] 

1. Doty Island village, 1634-1832. 

2. Pesheu s village, '1797-1*33. 

3. Black Wolf s village, 1828. 

4. Smoker's village, 1816. 

5. Sarrochau's\illage, 1788. 

6. Rush Lake village. 

7. Yellow Thunder s village, 1S28-32. 

8. Sarcel's village, 1827. 

9. Old Gray-headed Decorah's village, 1793. 

10. Big Fox's village, 1832. 

11. Watertown village. 

12. Iron Walker s village. 

13. Little Priest s village, 1832. 

Whirling Thunder s village, 1836. 

14. Karraymaunee's village, 1832. 

15. Spotted Arm s village. 

16. Davton village. 

17. Wliite Crow s village, 1832. 

18. Choukeka's village, 1816. 

White Ox's village, 1832. 

19. Old Gray-headed Decorah s village, 1793-1836. 

20. Yellow Thunder's"forty." 

21. Karravmaunee's village, 1832-42. 

22. Sarcel's village, 1827. 

23. Washington Decorah's village 1S32. 

24. Buzzard Decorah's village, 1787. 

One-eyed Decorah's village, 1832. 

25. Little Decorah's village, 1857. 

26. Big Hawk's village, Pike Lake. 

are this lost branch, for they speak the same language with but few 
differences and use many old words that the Winnebago employed 
long ago but have now given up. 

d. Some lodges left the tribe never to return. Some say there 
were four, others give different numbers (of long lodges). Some say 
only one lodge. My uncle us^d to say that there were four. "I think 
that it is believed that they went to the east," he said. 

52 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

The other tribes of the second "migration" have semihistorical 
legends telling of their separation from the Winnebago. Major 
Bean told Maximilian that an Oto chief had informed him that origi- 
nally the Winnebago inhabited the lakes and that they subsequently 
migrated to the Southwest, presumably in pursuit of buffalo. At 
Green Bay they divided, the Winnebago remaining there while the 
others continued their journey. 

Dorsey was informed by Iowa chiefs 2 that "their people and the 
Oto, Missouri, Omaha, and Ponca 'once formed part of the Winne- 
bago nation.' According to the traditions of these tribes, at an early 
period they came with the Winnebago from their priscan home north 
of the Great Lakes, but that the Winnebago stopped on the shore of 
a great lake (Lake Michigan), attracted by the abundant fish." 

When the Winnebago were first discovered they were entirely sur- 
rounded by Central Algonquian tribes. To the north of them lay the 
Menominee on the shore of Green Bay, to the southeast the Miami, 
to the south and southwest the Sauk and Fox, and to the west 
the Ojibwa. The nearest of their kindred were in southern Iowa, 
western Wisconsin, and eastern Minnesota. L T nder* these circum- 
stances it is not strange that the Winnebago show marked evidence 
of Central Algonquian influence (fig. 1). 

At what time the Winnebago were isolated from their Siouan kin- 
dred it is impossible to state. We doubt, however, whether this 
occurred before the sixteenth century. The Central Algonquian 
tribes in this region are clearly intruders. The Ojibwa came from the 
northeast and the Fox, Miami, etc., from the south and the south- 
east. It seems clear, to judge from the number of effigy mounds 
found in the territory occupied by the Fox and Miami, that the Win- 
nebago had lived there for a considerable length of time before they 
were pushed westward and northwestward by these tribes. When 
the Menominee arrived, and from what direction, it is difficult to 
determine. On purely linguistic grounds, judging from the close re- 
lationship of Menominee to Fox, we might assume that they, like the 
Fox and the Miami, entered Wisconsin from the south. In that case 
they might either be interpreted as representing the northernmost 
extension of the same migration which carried the Miami northward 
along the shore of Lake Michigan or as representing a prior invasion 
along the same route. If the latter assumption is correct, they may 
have arrived in Wisconsin before the Winnebago. One point seems 
to confirm the thesis of their priority, namely, that they were never 
at war with the Winnebago, and it hardly seems possible that, had 

» Handbook of Amer. Inds., Bur. Amer. Ethn., Bull. 30, part 1, p. 612, Washington, 1907. 

Radin] HISTORY 53 

they forced their way through the country occupied by the Winne- 
bago, war would not have occurred. 

The Winnebago call themselves Hotcarjgara, which has been vari- 
ously interpreted as "people of the parent speech" by James Owen 
Dorsey and as 'big fish people" by other observers. Dorsey's explana- 
tion, which is the one most generally accepted, is most certainly wrong, 
and represents an interpretation read into the word to make it fit the 
legends which claimed that the dialect was the most archaic of all 
the Siouan languages. It is true that ho may mean "speech," but 
tcur/k can only mean one thing, and that is "big, real." It is found 
with a number of animal names, such as ketcurjk, "turtle," and 
cvriktcuyJc, "wolf." It corresponds strictly to the Dakotan tank, 
"large." Ho means "fish" in Winnebago. The name Winnebago, 
as is well known, is of Algonquian origin. 

The Winnebago were first encountered by white men in 1634, when 
Jean Nicolet visited them as agent for Governor Champlain. Where 
he encountered them is not definitely known. The Winnebago as a 
rule claim that it was at Green Bay. Some discussion has arisen of 
late years on this question. No contemporary narrative of the event 
exists, nor have the Winnebago any clearly marked legend that might 
be interpreted as referring to it. 

An excellent description of their history has been given by P. V. 
Lawson 3 and from this we will quote at some length, selecting those 
periods that are of greatest importance in the history of the tribe and 
which can be illustrated by semihistorical legends still known to the 

Much of our knowledge of the early history of the Winnebago is 
derived from Baqueville de la Potherie's Histoire de l'Amerique Sep- 
tentrionale. A good deal of his information was obtained from 
Nicholas Perrot. For the period covering the years 1640-1660 we 
have the following information: * 

A few years ago, they numbered possibly 150 warriors. These savages have no 
mutual fellow-feeling; they have caused their own ruin, and have been obliged to 
divide their own forces. They are naturally very impatient of control, and very 
passionate; a little matter excites them; and they are great braggarts. They are, 
however, well-built, and are brave soldiers, who do not know what danger is; and 
they are subtle and crafty in war. Although they are convinced that their ancestors 
drew upon themselves the enmity of all the surrounding Nations, they cannot be 
humble. Their women are extremely laborious; they are neat in their houses, but 
very disgusting about their food. 

3 The Winnebago tribe, in Wisconsin Archeologist, vol. 6, no. 3, Milwaukee, 1907. 
' Quoted in Lawson's paper, p. 90. 

54 THE WINNEBAGO TKIBE [bth. ann. 37 

Perrot also gives an account of the relentless war waged against 

This nation was a populous one, very redoubtable and spared no one; they violated 
all the laws of nature; they were Sodomites, and even had intercourse with beasts. 
If a stranger came among them, he was cooked in their kettles. The Malhominis 
(Menominees) were the only tribe who maintained relations with them; ihey did not 
dare even to complain of their tyranny. 

Lawson goes on to say: 

So aggressive were the Winnebago that although their only arms "were stone 
hatchets and knives," they declared war on all the other tribes. Envoys sent to 
them by the Ottawa were eaten, which cruel deed so incensed the surrounding tribes 
that they formed an alliance and sent frequent war expeditions against the common 
enemy, and greatly harassed them. As a result of disagreements among themselves 
and the continued troublesome activities of the allied tribes, civil wars broke out 
among the Winnebago. For better protection against the tribes they were finally 
forced "to unite all their forces in one village, where they numbered four or five 
thousand men," but an epidemic occurred which soon reduced their number to 1,500. 

"Despite all these misfortunes, they sent a party of 500 warriors against the Outagamis 
(Fox), who dwelt on the other shore of the lake; but all those men perished, while 
making that journey, by a tempest that arose." 

We suppose that this disaster occurred on Little Lake Butte des Morts, as it has 
been stated that the Winnebago resided on an island, which we suppose was Doty 
Island. The Winnebago being now greatly reduced by despair and famine, the other 
tribes were moved to pity by their condition and ceased to make war, and the Illinois 
sent 500 men, including "50 of the most prominent persons in their nation," to carry 
to them a supply of provisions. These the Winnebago received "with the utmost 
gratitude;" but at the same time meditated sacrificing the Illinois to the shades of 
their dead. A large cabin was erected to lodge their guests, and arrangements made 
for a dance in their honor. While the Illinois were dancing their bowstrings were 
cut, and the Winnebago "flung themselves upon the Illinois, massacred them, not 
sparing one man, and made a general feast of their flesh." 

Reproaching themselves for this dastardly deed, and fearing the vengeance of the 
allied tribes when it should become known to them, the Winnebago "resolved to 
abandon the place which they were occupying," and "took refuge on an island, 
which has since been swept away by ice floes." There they considered themselves 
safe, as the Illinois did not use canoes. The Illinois, finding that their people did 
not return, investigated the place and found only their bones. In order to allow 
a proper period for mourning for the dead: 

"They deferred hostilities until the second year, when they assembled a large body 
of men from all Nations who were interested in the undertaking; and they set out in 
the winter season, in order not to fail therein. Having reached the Island over the 
ice, they found only the cabins in which there still remained some fire, the Puans 
(Winnebago) had gone to their Hunt on the day before, and were traveling in a 
body, that they might not, in an emergency, be surprised by the Illinois." 

They followed the hunters in the dead of winter, coming up to them on the sixth 
day and attacking their camp. 

"So vigorous was their attack that they killed, wounded, or made prisoners all the 
Puans, except a few who escaped, and who reached the Malhouminis' village, but 
severely wounded by arrows." 

He [Perrot] again refers to these traditional events as those of "the ancestors" of 
the tribe as he knew them, and which we judge to refer to ancestors of the Winnebago 

Rapin] HISTORY 55 

of possibly the year 1660. There is no record to say how many years before, though 
it was doubtless several score, for 50 years before La Potherie published his history 
Allouez had told the same story of the destruction of the Winnebago by the Illinois: 

"About 30 years ago all the people of this nation were killed or taken captive by the 
Iliniouek with the exception of a single man, who escaped, shot through the body 
with an arrow." 

This would place the event in about the year 1640. 

He adds that when the captives were permitted to return to their homes this one 
was made a "Captain of his Nation," as having never been a slave. Shea commenting 
on this disastrous defeat of the Winnebago says, "If this strange event took place at 
all, we must ascribe it to an earlier date than 1639 (1634), when visited by Nicolet, 
who "found them prosperous, and we can hardly suppose a tribe almost annihilated 
and then restored to its former numbers in 30 years." . . . Nicolet, it will be remem- 
bered, was sent to this then unknown region for the purpose of "making peace" 
between the Winnebago and the Hurons. As the Winnebago were strong enough 
to command that attention from Governor Champlain, Doctor Shea is quite correct 
in supposing the Winnebago to have been "a prosperous tribe" in 1634. The events 
mentioned in the foregoing accounts are not historical, but traditional, for assuredly 
they did not take place after the coming of Nicolet, as he was followed by other white 
men in such short periods as to make it impossible for the occurrence of these stirring 
events to go unrecorded by others. 

Charlevoix visited the tribe in 1720, and though a historian of note in old Canada, 
records the occurrence as history, though we have shown it to have taken place, if at 
all, more than a century before he went among them. He possibly got the story 
from the records of Allouez, made a half century before, though it may have been a 
riverside or cabin story heard by him at the time of his visit to this frontier of New 
France. He says: 

"The Otchagras, who are commonly called Puans, formerly lived on the shores 
of the bay . . . but they were attacked by the Illinois, who slew great numbers of 
them; the rest took refuge on the river of the Outagamis (Fox River), which empties 
into the end of the bay. They settled upon the shores of a sort of lake (Lake 

Charlevoix . . . adds another disaster not mentioned by the other old writers. 
In this same narrative he records that "sometime after" the Winnebago had settled 
on Lake Winnebago: 

"They undertook to revenge the defeat which they had suffered from the Illinois. 
Six hundred of their best men embarked to seek their enemy; but while they 
were crossing Lake Michigan they were surprised by a furious gale, which caused 
them all to perish." 6 

The Winnebago still tell of these events and practically in the 
same words as Perrot obtained them, as can be learned from the 
following versions obtained in 1910. 

a. When the Winnebago first originated, they were holy and 
clever. They were equal to the spirits. In those days there lived a 
Winnebago who could fly like a bird, one who could fly as far as four 
days' journey from the village. There was another Winnebago who 
could scent anything as far away as four days' journey from the 
village. Then there was one man who could talk with the trees. 
They told him many things. Finally there was one who could trans- 
form himself into a buffalo. On account of these four men, it was 

6 Op. cit., pp. 90-93. 

56 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

quite impossible for an enemy to approach near the village without 
the knowledge of the Winnebago, for he who could scent well would 
scent them, he who could fly far would see them, and he who could 
converse with trees would be informed of their approach. The one 
who could transform himself into a buffalo always bore the brunt of 
the fighting. He would transform himself into a buffalo whenever 
he got angry. In consequence the Winnebago were feared by all. 
They could do what they pleased with the other tribes. If the other 
tribes did not make war on them, they would make war on the other 

One day he who could transform himself into a buffalo had the 
sensation which generally preceded a battle. So he told the other 
three. Then the one who could fly went out to make a reconnois- 
sance of the country around them, but returned without having seen 
anything; then the one who could scent well, scented all around, but 
likewise could find nothing; then the tree-converser asked the trees 
and they also told him that they knew of nothing. In spite of it all, 
however, the buffalo-man said that he still had the premonition of 
something happening. Then he who could fly again went out, this 
time going to a distance four days' journey from the village, but he 
saw nothing. Each time that he went out, however, he noticed a 
pile of rocks in a hollow near their village. When he returned he 
said to the people, "Over there, there is a pile of rocks which I never 
noticed before. I wonder what it can beV Then the buffalo- 
man said again, ' ' I really feel that I am going to fight. Look out for 
yourselves therefore." However, they told him that he was worry- 
ing himself unnecessarily, that he ought to go to sleep. 

However, the feuffalo-man stayed awake all that night, and just as 
he had anticipated, the whole village was surrounded by enemies in 
the morning. The other three men were at once awakened and the 
one who could fly made a rush at the enemy, but was killed. Then 
the one who could scent well made a rush at the enemy, but he, too, 
was killed. Up to this time the latter had been absolutely invulnerable. 
Then the one who could converse with trees made a rush, but he, too, 
was killed. Thus all three were killed. Then the people said to 
Buffalo-man, whose real name was Long- Wing, "O Long- Wing, your 
people are being destroyed! Do you try and accomplish something." 
Then Long- Wing answered, "Ho!" and, making a rush for the enemy, 
killed four of them, the holiest of their warriors. Then the enemy 
gave the signal for stopping the battle, which is u Gu." This signal 
is held to be sacred both among the Winnebago and other tribes. 
There the battle ended. 

The Winnebago felt terrible about the loss of their three warriors. 
The rocks that the one who could fly had seen in the hollow were 
the enemy. The name of the one who could fly well was Short- Wing ; 

Radin] HISTORY 57 

that of the keen scenter was White-Dog: and that of the tree con- 
verser was Buffalo. 

Shortly after this battle a band of visitors from another tribe came 
over to Long-Wing's lodge, which had been pointed out to them as 
the lodge of the chief. The visitors entered it. In the meantime 
the Winnebago held a hurried council and decided to kill these 
visitors to avenge the death of their three warriors, whose loss they 
were still lamenting. It was decided to scald the visitors to death 
with hot water. The roofs of the lodges, which were gable-lodges, 
could easily be opened. 

When everything was in readiness they called their chief out and 
closed the entrances firmly. The chief, however, begged them not 
to kill the visitors in his lodge (for it was holy). The Winnebago, 
however, paid no attention to him, and as they had already taken 
the weapons from the strangers, they poured hot water through the 
roof upon their heads. They killed all except two, who succeeded 
in making their escape through the roof. One of these changed him- 
self into a turkey and flew away and the other got to the roof and 
kept jumping from one roof to the other until he came to the end of 
the village, where he succeeded in making his escape. However, the 
Winnebago noticed his shell neck ornament which had twisted 
around to the back of his neck and one of them threw a stone hammer 
at him and killed him. In reality, therefore, only one man escaped. 

After they had brought the last body back to the village the chief 
told them that they had not acted rightly, for they had killed people 
in his (the chief's) lodge, and that from then on the lodge was to 
remain as a warrior's lodge. 

That same night an owl came to the top of the lodge and hooted, 
saying, "The Winnebago will have bad luck.'' Then the Winne- 
bago asked, ''What can be the matter with us?" The chief inter- 
preted the owl's meaning and told them that it meant that from 
that time on the Winnebago would lose their power. 

Shortly after all these things happened the Winnebago were 
attacked by a disease that turned their bodies yellow and many died 
of this sickness. 

b. When the Winnebago were in trouble because all the other 
tribes had leagued against them, they were living at a place near 
Red Banks. The enemy had shut off all the water and the only 
way they could get any was to tie their pack straps to their pails 
and let down these pails in a deep canyon. However, this was also 
discovered after a while and the enemy cut the pack straps. 

So terrible were their straits that they finally spread their blankets 
on the ground and offered tobacco to their medicine men and asked 
186S23°— 22 5 

58 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ass. 37 

them to make it rain. Then, after the rain had fallen, they wrung out 
their blankets and drank the water. 

All this time the men of the tribe were being killed off. After a 
while they began to kill the male children too. Whenever they 
saw a child they raised up its dress and if it was a male child, they 
killed it. However, there was a young mother who had a boy, and 
fearing that if the enemy discovered him they would kill him, she 
tied a string to the end of the child's penis and pulled the string back 
under its legs so that the child was given the appearance of a girl. 
From this woman and her child all the pure blood Winnebago living 
to-day are descended. 

The war against the Winnebago was ended by a young Winnebago 
chief painting himself blue and surrendering himself to the other 

The most important events of Winnebago history during the 
eighteenth century were the various alliances into which they were 
drawn with and against the Fox Indians in the wars that the French 
waged against this brave tribe. The Winnebago at first allied them- 
selves with the Fox, but afterwards joined the French. This alliance 
was destined to bring upon them a great disaster. Lawson describes 
this period in their history as follows. 7 

In pursuance of their policy to combine all the tribes against the Fox, the French 
in some manner won over the Winnebago, their former friends and allies. Thus we 
learn that in the autumn of 1729 word was brought to Quebec of an attack by the Win- 
nebago, Ottawa, and Menominee on a Fox village, in which there were killed 100 Fox 
warriors and 70 women and children. Among the killed of the assaulting party were 
four Winnebago. . . . Another account gives this assault as on a party of Fox 
returning from a buffalo hunt, and as made by Ottawa, Chippewa, Menominee, and 
Winnebago. The Fox village contained 80 men, all of whom were killed or burned 
except three. The allied Indians burned the cabins and also killed 300 women and 
children. This probably occurred in the winter of 1729, as the reports are of the date 
of May fi, 1730. 

The Winnebago having broken with their neighbors and friends, the Fox, by this 
treacherous and unprovoked slaughter, were now in terror for the consequences of 
their miserable acts. Further attempts against the Fox tribes having been projected 
from Quebec by the fall of 1729, Sieur Captain Marin appeared at the old French fort at 
La Baye (Green Bay), and repaired its fallen roofs. He had with him ten Frenchmen. 
On September 10th the Winnebago returned from their hunt and went to Marin to 
assure him that they still remained faithful to the French, at the same time presenting 
him with three slaves. They were rewarded with gifts of powder, bullets, hatchets, 
guns, and knives. Having ascertained that the Fox were not in their own country, 
the Winnebago took their families and camped on Dendo Island in the Fox River, ad- 
joining their former location on Doty Island. Very soon thereafter the Fox and Sauk 
returned and surprised and killed some Winnebago fishermen. Then began a long 
siege of the Winnebago through the erection by the Fox on the Doty Island waterside 
of two forts to command the water in all directions. 

In order to compensate the Fox for the loss of two of their number through treachery, 
and procure a cessation of hostilities, the Winnebago decapitated two Menominee 

7 Op. cit., pp. 95-97. 

eadin] HISTORY 59 

who were with them, and delivered to them two others. But the Fox refused to be 
satisfied unless they also delivered to them four of their own number. This proposal 
the Winnebago considered an insult, and the siege was resumed. After the fighting 
had continued for about six weeks, ( 'apt. Marin with five Frenchmen and thirty-four 
Menominee, came to the assistance of the besieged. When the treachery of the 
Winnebago in giving up several of their comrades to the Fox became known to the 
Menominee it required all Marin's powers of persuasion to prevent their deserting from 
his small command and leaving the besieged to their fate. After four days of fight- 
ing with the relief party under Marin it was discovered that the Fox had raised the siege 
by decamping in the night. Thus were the Winnebago, who had in the meantime 
been reduced by famine to the eating of boiled bear skins, delivered from the 
enemy. Marin's force thereupon retired, the Winnebago accompanying him to Green 
Bay, "where they established themselves in a fort." 

For a more detailed account of the same events see Wisconsin 
Historical Collections, Vol. XVII, 88-100. The Winnebago have 
preserved a clear recollection of these stirring events in the semi- 
historical tale known as Tcap'o'sgaga. 


In the early days of their existence the Winnebago were a success- 
ful people. They all fasted and were blessed by the spirits. It is 
for that reason that they were powerful and were called Hota-qgara. 

At one time a Fox Indian, whose nation was about to be destroyed 
by its enemies, came to these much-feared Winnebago and said, 
"Brothers, I have come to you for aid." 

The Winnebago lived on one side of the lake 9 and the Fox on the 
other and (because of the appeal) the former made friends of the 
latter, it is said, and the chiefs presented the pipe to one another. 
When chiefs exchange pipes with one another a very sacred bond is 
established. Thus many Winnebago and Foxes became friends, 
and Winnebago men married Fox women and Fox men married 
Winnebago women. 

There was once a very famous warrior among the Winnebago whose 
crops were molested by the Foxes. Tcap'o'sgaga's wife 10 thereupon 
said to him, "Why don't you take them (the marauders) to task?" 
Then Tcap'o'sgaga went to the Foxes and said, ''Boys, all the water- 
melons are yours when they are ripe, if you desire to eat them. " "All 
right," they answered. 

On the morning after the second night Tcap'o'sgaga's wife woke 
up very early and went out to inspect the crops. Again they had 
been disturbed, so she immediately went back exclaiming, "How 
terrible: The largest and best of Tcap'o'sgaga's crops have been 

« This has also been published by me with the accompanying Winnebago text in the Proceedings of the 
Wisconsin Historical Society, 1914, pp. 192-207, Madison, 1915. 
9 Probably at the junction of the Fox River with Lake Winnebago, 
i" This name means White-throat. 

60 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE Ieth. ann. 37 

damaged. Indeed, you {Tcap'o'sgaga) should have forbidden 
.them*." Then Tcap'o'sgaga went over and forbad them. 

Early in the morning after the third night the old woman again 
woke up and went to inspect the crops. Again they had damaged 
almost everything. "The nicest of Tcap'o'sgaga's crops they have 
destroyed. He should have forbidden them. Why indeed did you 
not forbid it? They have utterly destroyed your crops." Then 
Tcap'o'sgaga got up and said,'T will go and forbid them." So he 
went over to the Foxes and said, 'Leave my crops alone, I told you. 
Instead of that you have destroyed them. If again to-night you 
dare do this, as I am a man who thinks (of revenge) , beware. Dare 
do it again (and take the consequences)," he said. 

One of the wicked ones among the Foxes who was doing this said, 
"O pshaw: He acts as though he were the only man (i. e., great 
warrior) in creation." 

The next morning Tcap'o'sgaga himself got up early and went to 
inspect his crops, and indeed they had been utterly destroyed. 
What had been left (from previous depredations) had now been 
utterly ruined, and even the vines had been torn up. Tcap'o'sgaga 
felt grieved and said, "Have my attendants go and call my war- 
bundle bearer."" They went and called him and when he (and others) 
had arrived (they asked), "What are we to do?" Tcap'o'sgaga 
said, "Put on the food." Then they prepared the food. 12 When 
the food had been cooked they went to invite as the feasters the 
most important (of the people). When the feasters finished, then 
he said, "I am going on the warpath. At the end of the path I see 
my enemy. I am going to have the pleasure of killing the ten men 
that my grandfathers (the spirits), who are in control of war, ob- 
tained for me. For ten chiefs I am going. " 

Near the door he indicated what would be the first stopping place. 
Then he placed the war-bundle across the entrance and jumped over 
it. 13 Then he put the war-bundle on his back and walked toward 
his boat, his attendants accompanying him. They had hardly 
pushed off when they were greeted by a "Here! here!" Then they 
saw a very long boat filled with chiefs, all of whom were dressed in 
their best finery; their faces painted blue and medals around their 
'necks. 14 They (the Winnebago) permitted the boat to pass and then 
when it was exactly alongside of them, they shot the occupants and 
tipped the boat over. Soon after, a strong wind arose and all the 
people in the village started out to give chase (to the enemy). 15 

11 The youths who carry the war-bundle on the warpath. They are generally the nephews of the war 

12 For the war-bundle or winter feast which is always given before a war party starts. 
u It was always customary for the leader to do this. 

11 The boat contained the Fox chiefs who had come to make reparation for the damage inflicted upon 
Tcap'o'sgaga's crops. 
'5 1, e., started on a tribal warpath. 

Radin] HISTORY 61 

The Foxes in their village said, "Say, I believe the chiefs have 
been killed. This is a time of war. Tcap'o'sgaga has been angered. 
When Tcap'o'sgaga gets very angry he generally does what he 
threatens." Then the bad Foxes said, "Perhaps they are eating the 
objects we donated". 16 

"The Foxes will not be coming back for some time" (the Winne- 
bago said). (The Foxes) at the same time had gathered together 
and discussed the fate of the chiefs who had gone to give themselves 
up (to the Winnebago) and had never returned. "Very likely they 
are not alive any more, " they said. 

Tcap'o'sgaga returned to the Winnebago village after he killed 
(the chiefs) and then started for the smaller of the two villages in 
which the Foxes lived. It was at the smaller village that the lake 
was narrowest. Toward this one he was going, he said. 

He had again planned a war-party. All those within the village 
who were likely to show any skill in killing men prepared themselves 
for (attacking) the smaller village. They started at dawn, and they 
reached the smaller village at night and ferried themselves across. 
By dawn all had crossed and the village was surrounded. As soon 
as it was broad daylight they gave the war-whoop in four different 
places. Then they rushed on to the small village and destroyed it 
completely. Then they burned up the houses and went home. 

When they got home everyone was happy. They danced the 
victory dance and at night they had the Hok'ixe're dance. So 
happy were the Winnebago. 

Although they thought they had killed all in the smaller village, 
one young girl who was lying on top of a small cliff, near where they 
crossed, fasting, had not been killed. Now the Foxes were living 
also in a large village right across the lake from the Winnebago. To 
this place the young woman who had not been killed went, and when 
she got to the big Fox village she told them the news, namely, "The 
Winnebago have completely destroyed us, I believe. Some of them 
(the enemy) I partially recognized. Go and see, however, whether 
they were Winnebago, for (if it was they) the lodges will be found 
burned to the ground, that being their custom when they go on a 

Then the older Foxes went and when they returned, spies an- 
nounced, "Yes, they were Winnebago, for the lodges have been 
burned down. It is true that the chiefs who had gone to make 
peace have been killed. " Then the Foxes went into mourning for 
them. "There are many of the Winnebago and we will not be able 
to fight them," said the Foxes. Indeed the Foxes were afraid. 
Although a Fox disliked a Winnebago not one could he kill. 

'« I. e., the chiefs who went to make peace. 


All the Foxes went into mourning. 

Ten Winnebago youths proud of their tattoos had been out (in 
the woods) before these troubles began. As they were returning 
they said to the one who was their leader, "Let us go around the 
large village and court women. " "Only if you go around the small 
village will you escape unharmed, " said the leader. "We will go 
by the large village even if all of us are killed by the spirits," 
they said. "Well, let us go by way of the small village," the war 
leader said to them. "If you are afraid, as you say, you may go 
alone by way of the smaller village ; we, however, will go by the way 
of the large village." The leader, however, refused and also went 
by way of the large village. That they would die, he knew very 
well, but nevertheless he accompanied them to the edge of the big 
village. When they got there (they said), "Let us paint ourselves." 

Then they painted themselves, and as they were painting them- 
selves an old man in deep mourning appeared and said, "Are you 
returning from your travels ? Stay with us, for our men are giving 
a feast. I will tell them to come after you. " 

Then he went away and soon a young man came (and said) , ' ' You 
are invited. Come right along." "Men, you have seen that all 
are in mourning. Once more, let me tell you something. In the 
feast in which you are now to take part, do not lend your knives to 
anyone. Hold your knife ready," he told them. "All right," said 

Then they entered the lodge and when all were in they (the Foxes) 
made room for them and they sat down. Then the host arose and 
spoke and pointed to a place that was nearest him, for the leader. 
Then toward another place he pointed for the second and thus each 
one (Winnebago) received a seat. With each Winnebago were placed 
several Foxes, making eight in all. 

Then the host spoke, "As I rise, I will blow upon my flute and 
have a song started. I am anxious to have them start a song," he 
said. Then he rose and blew his flute and as soon as the song was 
started the Winnebago were seized. It was a long time before they 
could seize the war leader, but the others had lent their knives and 
were consequently seized easily. The war leader killed many, but 
finally his knife broke and he was seized. Then they bound him 
and prepared the torture. Ten posts they stuck in the ground. 
Then the war leader said, "I told you of this, but you doubted me. 
Here we are going to die. " 

Then the youths came after them and they began torturing them. 
They applied firebrands to them. They burnt them in those places 
where they would suffer most. Then the war leader said, "Well, 
my boys, we are now courting women." 

Thus they burned them to death and destroyed them utterly. 



The Foxes now offered tobacco to many different tribes, giving 
them beautifully decorated pipes. They desired to annihilate the 
Winnebago. All the different peoples liked this because they hated 
the Winnebago. They made their plans carefully, but even then 
they could not defeat (the Winnebago) in battle. They (the Winne- 
bago) always kept on moving back as the others tried to overcome 
them. The Winnebago were driven into the water. They crossed 
to an island, taking with them the women and children. Here they 
lived in lodges and ate the crops as they stayed there. All summer 
they were besieged on this island, as the enemy hoped to destroy 

One night a man wearing a black skin robe inside out, said, "This 
they are going to do to you, we heard. So far only the fleetest 
have come. Soon the slower ones will come, peeling basswood bark 
as they go along with which to bind the people. If some are still 
alive we can then take them home bound." 

Tcap'o'sgaga felt sad and said, "He will die, the one who said 
that." Then he shot at him and tumbled him down. The one 
who had said this was sitting on top of a tree. 

One day (the Foxes) said, "Turn over to us those Menominee 
who have married into your tribe. We are longing for some Me- 
nominee soup. If you give these (men) to us we will let up on you." 
The two Menominee among the Winnebago were great warriors 
and it was for them that (the Foxes) were asking. These Menominee 
talked to one another and the one who spoke first said, "It is a bard 
thing to be a son-in-law in a tribe not your own, my father used to 
say to me. Whenever the members of the tribe are in difficulties 
and they wish to save themselves, they turn (their attention to the 
strangers among them)." "Thus it is" (said the other), "but they 
may sacrifice me." "My friend, I feel the same way about it just 
as my father told me. I spoke to you because I thought that you 
might dread it." 

Then the Winnebago gave the Menominee away, but the Foxes 
did not let up on them. 

After a while the Menominee came to the aid of the Winnebago, 
but the Foxes said, "Wait a little; let us speak to you first." The 
Menominee listened and the Foxes told them, "The Winnebago are 
not to be pitied. There are two Menominee who had married 
among them and they handed them over to us. In this way we 
again drank Menominee soup. For this reason am I speaking to you. 
You may help them now, if you wish to, now that I have told you." 

The Menominee had come to help the Winnebago, but now that 
the two Menominee had been handed over to the Foxes they turned 


Tcap'o'sgaga had been offered tobacco. "Well," he said, "I will 
try it." At night he started out and jumped into the water. Across 
there were enemies, so he turned himself into a goose. In the middle 
of the lake, a lone goose suddenly squawked. Those across shouted, 
"Tcap'o'sgaga is over there." "Yes," was the answer. Then he 
went around the shallow water and crossed over, and as he sat there 
bathing some one went by. They said to him, "Are you cooling 
yourself off with water?" "Yes," he answered. 

Then he got himself ready and went to the French and when he 
arrived among them he said, "Father, different tribes banded 
together are trying to destroy us." "My child, go home, for I will 
come to-morrow." 

When Tcap'o'sgaga returned he went around the other tribes. 
He went across the island. When he was home he said to the 
Winnebago, "Our father is going to come." All therefore expected 
that their father would come. Soon after the French ship came in 
sight. The other tribes went toward the boat as it came in sight. 
The Winnebago saw them go toward it. The Winnebago were 
frightened as they saw the other people go toward the boat, thinking 
that the French might take part against them. 

Then the other tribes spoke to the French. "Father, you know 
very well that the Winnebago are bad people. Just as a big dog 
jumps on to a small dog and would like to kill it, so the Winnebago 
used to do to us. Let us therefore reduce them to ashes." The 
Frenchman agreed with them and said, "You have spoken the truth 
and I will help you. I will let you go on (if you wish) but the result 
will be simply that you will reduce everything to ashes. This is 
what will happen if you continue. You know that the Winnebago 
gets very resourceful when he starves. That is his nature and 
therefore I will take him home with me and fatten him up for you. 
But you must do what I now tell you. From whatever different 
places you come, go back to them. If you don't do it, as long as I 
live, never will I sell any ammunition to you. If you do not let up 
on the Winnebago, I will give them ammunition and lend them my 
own men." "All right," said they. 

Then they scattered and the women and children were taken into 
the boat. The men who could walk fast, walked. As soon as he 
had brought them back near the fort he gave them food with which 
to sustain themselves. When they were strong enough he bade 
them flee and gave them good guns and as much food as they could 
carry in their boats. Coffee, sugar, bread, and all kinds of food 
he provided for them and he said, "Children, as you're about to flee 
(remember this) . Never hunt fish with a spear. You might thus let 
a fish escape and if it dies later on and (the enemy) hook a dead fish 
and inspect it, they will say, 'This fish was speared and got away 

Radin] HISTORY 65 

and died and therefore they (the Winnebago) have passed here.' 
Likewise, if you build a fire, always cover up the embers, for if you 
should throw away any into the water (you would be detected)." 

Then they went away in boats and returned to the lake. When 
they came to the narrow place where the main body of water lies 
there they went ahead along the left branch. Now this is all of this. 

After a while the tribes came to see the Frenchman, for it was 
about the time fixed, and they said, "How have you been getting 
along?" Then he said, "Children, you know what kind of people 
the Winnebago are. We watched them very closely, but they got 
away, in what direction I do not even know. In the morning they 
were gone. I believe they went downstream, although I haven't 
even hunted for them upstream." 

Well, all these different tribes looked for the Winnebago, for they 
wished to trail them and kill them. Now, although the Frenchman 
had expressly forbidden them, sure enough (the Foxes) found a fish 
that had been speared. "They've come past here," they said. 
However, when they came to the fork of the stream they didn't 
know which way (the Winnebago) had gone, but they noticed 
embers in the water. "They've gone by here." As it was impossible 
to go to the end of the stream in boats, all the half-breed Foxes got 
out (and walked) . Soon they saw the oval lodges. ' ' There they are," 
they said. For that reason the Foxes carefully looked them over 
and watched them. They inquired about them and found out 
that they had passed by. 

The road (trail) was visible, so they chased them. Soon a cold 
autumn spell overtook them and they (the enemy) gave up the 
chase and returned home. 

We will not follow the course of Winnebago history through all 
its vicissitudes from their defeat by the Foxes to the British and 
American occupancy, but only indicate important facts. An im- 
portant local event was the coming of the Frenchman Decora among 
them and his marriage to the daughter of the chief of the tribe. 
An account of this has been preserved by the Decora family, although 
it is clearly mixed up with what we believe is an account of the 
first contact of the Winnebago with the French. 


The Winnebago originated at a place called Red Banks (Green 
Bay, Wis.) (pi. 1). They had no tools to work with at that time. All 
they had were bows and arrows and a fire-starter. They had no iron, 
and if they saw a stone that was naturally sharpened in any way it 
was considered sacred and they offered tobacco for it. They had 
tobacco from the beginning. It was their most valued possession. 

66 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [rth.axn*. 37 

They fasted and became holy. The greatest honor was to be a 
brave man, and for that reason they did nothing but go to war. 
They were prepared for war at all times. They tried to obtain war 
honors. They wished to go to war all the time and kill many enemies. 
If a person fasted and went without food for a long time, gave offer- 
ings of tobacco often, and was then blessed by the spirits, then it would 
be very hard to kill such a person in battle. The people knew that 
such powers could be obtained, and that is why they did these things 
all the time. 

They gave many feasts. When a person gives a feast, then he offers 
the spirits tobacco and asks in return that their weapons be sharper 
than those of their enemies (i. e., that he kill an enemy and escape 
unharmed). That is why they used to give so many feasts, that they 
might be victorious in war. They make offerings to the war spirits, 
and if these then bless them they will become great warriors. They 
desired greatly to obtain these blessings. 

Tobacco is the greatest possession they have. After Earthmaker 
created all things he created man. Man was the last of the created 
objects. Those created before were spirits, and he put them all in 
charge of something. Even the smallest insects are able to foresee 
things four days ahead. The human beings were the least of all Earth- 
maker's creations. They were put in charge of nothing, and they could 
not even foresee one day ahead. They were the last created and they 
were the poorest. Then Earthmaker created a weed with a pleasant 
odor and all the spirits wanted it. Some were almost certain that it 
would be given to them. They would each think to themselves, 
"I am going to be put in charge of that, for 1 am one of the greatest 
spirits in the world." Then the Creator said, "To all of j t ou (spirits) 
I have given something valuable. Now you all like this weed and 
I myself like it. Now this is the way it is going to be used." Then 
he took one of the leaves and mashed it up. Then making a pipe 
he smoked it and the odor was pleasant to smell. All of the spirits 
longed for it. Then he gave each one of them a puff. "Now, what- 
ever (the human beings) ask from me and for which they offer tobacco, 
I will not be able to refuse it. I myself will not be in control of this 
weed. If they give me a pipefulof this and make a request I will not 
be able to refuse it. This weed will be called tobacco. The human 
beings are the only ones of my creation who are poor. I did not give 
them anything, so therefore this will be their foremost possession and 
from them we will have to obtain it. If a human being gives a pipeful 
and makes a request we will always grant it." Thus spoke Earthmaker. 

For that reason the human beings are in control of tobacco ; it is 
their natural possession. This is the story that was handed down to 
us. The Winnebago made war and made many offerings of tobacco. 
It is said that the Winnebago were the bravest of all the Indians. 



















( Front view) 


(Profile view) 











Radin] HISTORY 67 

They say that the tobacco was given to them directly and that 
Earthmaker loves the Winnebago more than any other race. For 
that reason they were very clever. Now this is what the old men 
have said and handed down to us. 

Once something appeared in the middle of the lake (Green Bay). 
They were the French : they were the first to come to the Winnebago. 
The ship came nearer and the Winnebago went to the edge of the lake 
with offerings of tobacco and white deerskins. There they stood. 
When the French were about to come ashore they fired their guns 
off in the air as a salute to the Indians. The Indians said, "They 
are thunderbirds." They had never heard the report of a gun before 
that time and that is why they thought they were thunderbirds. 

Then the French landed their boats and came ashore and extended 
their hands to the Winnebago, and the Indians put tobacco in their 
hands. The French, of course, wanted to shake hands with the 
Indians. They did not know what tobacco was, and therefore did 
not know what to do with it. Some of the Winnebago poured tobacco 
on their heads, asking them for victory in war. The French tried to 
speak to them, but they could not, of course, make themselves under- 
stood. After a while they discovered that they were without tools, 
so they taught the Indians how to use an ax and chop a tree down. 
The Indians, however, were afraid of it, because they thought that 
the ax was holy. Then the French taught the Indians how to use 
guns, but they held aloof for a long time through fear, thinking that 
all these things were holy- 

Suddenly a Frenchman saw an old man smoking and poured water 
on him. They knew nothing about smoking or tobacco. After a 
while they got more accustomed to one another. The Indians 
learned how to shoot the guns and began trading objects for axes. 
They would give furs and things of that nature for the guns, knives, 
and axes of the whites. They still considered them holy, however. 
Finally they learned how to handle guns quite well and they liked 
them very much. They would even build fires at night so that they 
might try their guns, for they could not wait for the day, they were 
so impatient. When they were out of ammunition they would go 
to the traders and tell their people that they would soon return. 
By this time they had learned to make themselves understood by 
various signs. 

The second time they went to visit the French they took with them 
all the various articles that they possessed. There the French 
taught them how to sew, how to use an ax, and how to use a knife. 
Then the leader of the whites took a liking to a Winnebago girl, the 
daughter of the chief, and he asked her parents for permission to 
marry her. They told him that her two brothers had the right to 
give her away in marriage. So he asked them and they consented. 

68 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ass. 37 

Then he married her. He lived there and worked for the Indians 
and stayed with them for many years and he taught them the use 
of many tools. He went home every once in a while and his wife 
went with him, but he always came back again. After a while a 
son was born to him and then another. When the boys were some- 
what grown up he decided to take his oldest son with him to his 
country and bring him up in such a way that he would not be in 
danger, as was the case here in the woods. The Indians consented 
to it and they agreed that the mother was to bring up the youngest 

So he took Ids oldest boy home with him and when he got home he 
went to live with his parents, as he had not been married in his own 
country. He was a leader of men. The boy was with him all the 
time and everyone took a great liking to him. People would come 
to see him and bring him presents. They gave him many toys. 
However, in spite of all, he got homesick and he would cry every 
night until he fell asleep. He cried all the time and would not eat. 
After a while the people thought it best to bring him back to his 
home, as they were afraid that he would get sick and die. Before 
long they brought him back. The father said: "My sons are men 
and they can remain here and grow up among you. You are to 
bring them up in your own way and they are to live just as you do." 

The Indians made them fast. One morning the oldest one got up 
very early and did not go out fasting. His older uncle, seeing him 
try to eat some corn, took it away from him and, taking a piece of 
charcoal, mashed it, rubbed it over his face, and threw him out of 
doors. He went out into the wilderness and hid himself in a secret 
place. Afterwards the people searched for him everywhere, but 
they could not find him. Then the people told the uncle that he 
had done wrong in throwing the boy out. The latter was sorry, but 
there was nothing to be done any more. In reality the uncle was afraid 
of the boy's father. They looked everywhere but could not find him. 

After a full month the boy came home and brought with him a 
circle of wood (i. e., a drum). He told the people that this is what he 
had received in a dream, and that it was not to be used in war; that 
it was something with which to obtain life. He said that if a feast 
was made to it, this feast would be one to Earthmaker, as Earthmaker 
had blessed him and told him to put his life in the service of the 

From this man they received many benefits. He was called to 
take the foremost part in everything. They called him the French- 
man, his younger brother being called Tcap'o'sgaga, White-throat. 
And as they said, so it has always been. A person with French blood 
has always been the chief. Only they could accomplish anything 
among the whites. At the present time there is no clan as numerous 

Radin] HISTORY 69 

as the descendants of that family and the object that he said was 
sacred (the drum) is indeed sacred. It is powerful to the present 
day. His descendants are the most intelligent of all the people and 
they are becoming more intelligent all the time. What they did 
was the best that could be done. The ways of the white man are the 
best. This is the way they were brought up. 
This is the end of the history of the Decoras. 

One of the interesting developments resulting from the Indian con- 
tact with the whites has been the appearance of prophets. In almost 
all cases these prophets were concerned with attempts to so adapt 
the life of their fellow-Indians to the new conditions that they 
would be better able to cope with the invaders who were sweeping 
all before them. Whether prophets sprang up only in response to the 
peculiar conditions resulting from the presence of the whites it is im- 
possible to say, but there seems no reason to believe that such had 
always been the case. It is quite possible that conditions similar to 
those developing from the occupancy of America by Europeans had 
occurred in pre-Columbian times when one tribe was hard pressed 
by another. 

The Winnebago seem to have had their share of prophets, and 
seem likewise to have been influenced by some of the great prophets 
of other tribes, like the Shawnee prophet. An interesting account of 
what he told the Winnebago has been preserved and we will give it at 

One of the suggestive things about the following account is the way 
in which the informant, who is evidently a devout Peyote follower, 
connects the teachings of the Shawnee prophet with the modern 
Peyote movement, thus evincing a remarkable feeling for historical 


Now this is what the Winnebago heard from the Shawnee prophet ; 
this is what he said, it is said, by those who heard him: 

"Let the people give up the customs they are now observing and I 
will give them new ones." This is what he said. 

Some of the Winnebago did this and threw away their war bundles. 
But he had meant their bad customs. Some also threw away their 
good medicines. At last they decided to go over to where he was. A 
man named Smoke- Walker led a number of young men over. " We 
will walk as the thunderbirds do," said the leader. Then a great and 
holy man called Dog-Head said that he also was going along. He 
was then an old man. The leader said, ''You had better not come 
along for we are going to walk as the thunderbirds do, and for that 
reason I wish only young men." But Dog- Head said, "I am going 

70 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

along nevertheless, and whenever you wish to walk like the thunder- 
birds and walk above the earth, then I can turn back. I will go 

There were eleven who went along. When they got to the place 
where the Shawnee prophet was staying they found all the other 
tribes (represented) there except the Winnebago. 

Then the prophet said, "It is good, my younger brothers. - ' He 
called the Winnebago younger brothers. "There are many tribes 
here, but I wanted to see you here especially. It is good you have 
come. I want to talk to you, but it is impossible (because I can not 
speak your language)." Now the old man who had come along 
against the wishes of the chief could speak any Indian language, so 
the leader said to Dog-Head, "Older brother, you used to speak 
almost any language; can you still do it?" Then Dog-Head said, 
"My younger brother, I can understand what he is saying, but I 
don't know whether I could talk the language myself. I may or 
may not be able to speak it (enough to make myself understood). 
I don't know." Then the leader said, "It is good, older brother. 
Try to talk to him, and whatever you do will be better than nothing." 
Then Dog-Head said to the Shawnee prophet, "I can understand 
what you are saying, but I am afraid to talk to you because I don't 
know whether I could make myself clear to you." The prophet 
thanked him and said, "It is good. I want to talk to you Winnebago." 

Then they had a long conversation and this is what he said, 
"Younger brothers, we are not doing the right thing and that is 
why we are not getting along very well in life." 

At that time they (the otber tribes) were having their night dances, 
so the Winnebago moved over to them. There they heard the 
prophet speak. He said that he had been sent by the Creator because 
the Indians were wandering away from their old customs. For 
that reason the Creator had sent him to tell them of it. He at first 
forgot all about it, for the devil misrepresented things to him and 
he believed him. The devil had told him that he would go to heaven 
and that he could not be ki'led. He had told him that he had given 
him a holy belt. He was a bad person. Whenever he got angry 
he would throw his belt down on the ground and it would change 
into a yellow rattlesnake and rattle. When he did this the rest of 
the people were afraid of him. He was very mean when drunk. 
They were afraid of him, not only on account of his belt, which he 
could turn into a yellow rattlesnake, but also because of the fact 
that he was very strong. If, when he was drunk, a number of people 
jumped on him, aftei wards he would find out about it and hit them. 
If they would resist he would kill them. 

It was utterly impossible for him to be killed. He was unkind 
to the women. They would go with him not because they liked him 

eadin] HISTORY 71 

but because they were afraid of him. It was a dangerous thing to 
say anything about him. Whenever he wished to drink he would 
take some person's valuables and buy drink with it. These are the 
things he did. The Creator had sent him on a mission to the earth, 
but the devil had misled him. 

On one occasion (when he was drunk) quite a number of people 
jumped on him and nearly killed him. When he awoke the next 
morning he asked his wife who had done it and she told him. "Well, 
they will hear of me soon. However, I want to go and take a bath 
first and cool off and then take my revenge, when I get back. " When 
he was in bathing a man came to him and said, "They have told me 
to come after you, so let us go. " Then he went back with him and he 
took him to the place from which he had originally started. Then 
the Creator said, "How are you getting on with the work which you 
were to do V Then he remembered what he had been doing. Then 
the Creator said, " Is it for this that I created you ?" Then he took 
his mouth and showed it to him and he saw that it was crooked and 
sticking out in all directions. Then he took his understanding (and 
showing it to him), he said, "Did I create you thus?" Then he 
looked into his ears and they were crooked and ragged. Thus he 
made him see all his bad characteristics and his evil mind. Then 
he took out his heart and showed it to him. It was all furrowed up 
and bad to look upon. "Did I create you thus?" said the Creator. 

"Now, then, you will do better the next time," and he sent him 
back. This time, however, he (the prophet) did not come here to 
get revenge. He came to tell of the mysteries, but no one would 
believe him. "He is just getting crazier all the time," they said of 
him. Then he told all to gather in one place and he promised 
to say nothing but the truth. Then he made a small flat war club, 
cleared a piece of ground and laid it there. Then he said to those 
assembled, "If anyone can lift this, then I will not say it (i. e., talk 
about my mission)." 

Now he (the prophet) was one of triplets. The third one was 
teased a good deal and one day he said, "I am getting tired of this 
teasing and am going home." Then he died. They had been teas- 
ing him about his head, which was very narrow. There were thus 
two left. The brother who was left was a powerful man. Bullets 
could not penetrate him, and indeed it was impossible to kill him 
in any way. It was this brother who had told him not to talk (about 
his mission). Then the prophet said to him, "Well, if you can lift 
this war club I will not speak about it any more." Then he tried 
to lift the little war club and failed. After that the brother made 
no more remarks about it. 

Then he had them make a long lodge and they were told to go 
after a number of bears. As many as he told them to get, that many 

72 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. anx. 37 

they would bring home with them. Thus they knew that he was 
telling the truth. All the people in the country listened to him and 
what he prophesied came true, so they believed him holy. 

One day they told him that the whites were coming. After a short 
time they said, "They are still coming. There are very many of 
them." The lookouts were always watching and they saw them 
coming. Then the prophet said, "When they come, listen to them, 
and when they sleep we will attend to them." Now the whites had 
come; they had to cut through the roads to come. When they were 
near one of their number came over to ask where they could camp 
and they were told to camp right there. In the night, when they 
were asleep, they shot at them. They were half asleep and they ran 
away without their weapons. A tribe of Indians was just then 
going down the stream and these shot at the whites, too. Then they 
turned back and the commander had the bugle blow and called them 
to themselves. Then they took their guns and fought. Many 
Indians were killed. The one who had led the Winnebago over was 
killed in this battle. 

Then his son started back home. His name was Small-Snake. 
As they were returning, unprepared for danger, a boat came down the 
stream and passed very close to them. The women (he was the 
only man among them) cried out. He was without any ammunition 
except two shots. Just as he got ready to shoot they were recog- 
nized. The people in the boat were not Americans but Frenchmen 
and they were very hungry. Thus they were saved, and the French- 
men gave them plenty of ammunition. Then they passed safely on. 

The Indians had scattered in every direction and no one knew who 
was alive. Then Dog-Head blessed them with a powerful medicine 
that he possessed. "My son (he was addressing Small-Snake), if I 
were to induce you to join the Medicine Dance, why that honor 
would perish with your death. Now they say that a man named 
Large-Walker had a vision in which he was blessed by a loon. The 
loon blessed him, saying, 'Large-Walker, I also bless you with this 
(medicine). When I work for the chief and when I sweep his lodge, 
I sweep all the bad things outside. It will be the same with this 
medicine. If a person partakes of something bad, he will not die, 
no matter how bad it is, but, on the contrary, he will live. Now 
when you wish to use this medicine, pour some tobacco for me and 
I will smoke it. ' Then he looked at the loon and the loon had some- 
thing growing out of his back. That is what he was referring to. 
Then the loon said again, 'When you want to dig it, don't dig it right 
away (i. e., without performing the proper rites). You must offer a 
white feather, a white deerskin, red feathers, and tobacco. Then 
you can dig it. If you make these offerings, you will never fail in 

badin] HISTORY 73 

anything. With this I bless you (this herb), and no one else in the 
world will know it.'" 

This is what Dog-Head told Small-Snake: "As long as your pos- 
terity lasts, so long can you use this medicine. If I had given you 
clothes, when they were worn out, that would be the end of them. 
Your father spoke to me in your behalf and that is why I am giving 
you this medicine." Dog-Head told the truth, for even to the 
present day this medicine is being used. *It is a purgative and a val- 
uable medicine. 

When the Winnebago returned the possessor of the medicine 
was careless and placed it in a hole in a cliff. When he came back 
for it it could not be found. He looked all over for it but it was 
apparently gone. Then they said, "We should not have done this. 
We should look before acting." Indeed, nowhere did they ever 
find it afterwards. 

Now, it is four generations since the Shawnee prophet prophesied, 
and from that time there have been many prophets among us, as he 
is said to have told the people. Many have prophesied, but none 
have told anything that seemed reasonable. The Shawnee prophet 
was good, but those who have come after him have prophesied so 
that people might praise them, or just for the sake of talking. 

It is said that the Shawnee prophet said that there would come a 
time when a woman would prophesy and that she should be imme- 
diately killed. The end of the world would be near then. Then he 
is said to have said that a little boy would prophesy and that one 
was to give ear to what he said. 

The Peyote people claim that their ceremony is the fulfillment of 
this prophesy and that it is true. The Shawnee prophet had said that 
there would be springs of water in front of the people's lodges and 
it is so at the present time, for the water is at our very doors. His 
prophesy was correct and he told the truth. Then he said that 
trees would travel and this is happening to-day, for trees are loaded 
into trains and are carried all around the country. He told the 
truth and he knew what was going to happen. He said that one day 
we would be able to write our own language and we are doing that 
to-day, for we have a Bible in Winnebago and we are able to write 
to one another in our own language. All these things he was able to 
foretell four generations ago. 

A Winnebago by the name of Noise-Thunder had also prophesied 
that we would be able to write our own language. One thing that 
he said, however, was not correct. He said that the bad thing that 
has come upon us will make us forget our own ways. He meant 
that we should not take up with the white man's ways. "Don't do 
1S6S23°— 22 6 


74 THE WINNEBAGO TKIBE [bth. anjj. 37 

it, for if you do, we will all die." Now, he was mistaken in that. 
"The Creator has given two plates and they are getting empty. He 
gave the men a plate for them to fill and the women a plate for them 
to fill. The women's plate is empty." He meant that the Creator 
had made men to hunt and the women to dig the soil and raise vege- 
tahles, and that the latter were not doing it. That is what he meant 
hy saying that their plates were empty. Noise-Thunder insisted 
that this was the white man's fault ; he thought that we were being 
weakened by the white man's food. Quite a number of people 
believed him. "The birds eat what was provided for them to eat, 
game and vegetables, and the whites eat what was provided for 
them. Why should we not eat what was provided for us?" He 
was right, but then the Creator also created the food that the whites 
are eating. We are now getting accustomed to it and are getting 
stronger on this food. 

The Winnebago were decreasing in number, so the Creator gave 
them a medicine which would enable them to get accustomed to the 
white man's food ; that, also, they might know the Creator and that 
he is the true bread and food. This they found out by using this 
medicine. They are going into it deeper and deeper all the time, 
they who had been lost, and this has all been accomplished by the 
medicine (the peyote). 

The following notes were also obtained concerning other prophets: 

"There was a prophet among the Winnebago recently named 
George Wilkinson. He claimed that he was the Trickster; that 
there were two worlds ; that he had been to the first and that he was 
now on the second. After a while he was to return to ma! una (Earth- 
maker). He told all the Winnebago to plant their tobacco and corn- 
fields again. (This is what he was ordered to say.) He said that 
the power of the war bundles was entirely exhausted, but that it 
could be restored if a person were to fast for four days. When the 
spirits addressed him by name they called him " He-Who-Stands- 
Blue." This happened fifteen years ago. 

•'Thundercloud claims to be the Hare." 

Another man named Xuga prophesied the same, led them on a 
warpath, and lost a lot of people. 

The most important religious revival of the last century among 
the Winnebago is the Peyote or Mescal religion. It is described in 
detail on page 388. 




Winnebago Names of Other Tribes and Peoples 

At the present time 
for the following tribes 

Omaha, Oma n ha n . 
Sioux, Ca n ha n . 
Oto, Wadjokdjadja. 
Iowa, Waxotc. 
Pawnee, Pani. 
Menominee, Ka7i. 
Fox, Wacereke. 
Sauk, Zagi. 
Potawatomi, Warax. 

the Winnebago appears to have names only 
and peoples: 

Ojibway, Regatci. 

Kickapoo, JakdJAnagi. 

Osage, Worac. 

French, Djimoxgemena. 

Germans, Daieri. 

English, Zagana n c. 

Irish, Hit £ e waracicik. 

Whites in general, Ma n hi xedera. 


General Problems 

One of the most interesting and important features of the area oc- 
cupied by the Winnebago is the large number of earth mounds found. 
That these mounds were made by the Winnebago or the Sioux there 
seems to be little doubt. The participation of the Sioux in the con- 
struction of these earth mounds seems, however, to have been con- 
fined entirely to the so-called linear and conical types. The effigy 
mounds seem to have been the work of the Winnebago exclusively 1 
(figs. 2, 3). 

The first really serious study of the Wisconsin mounds was made 
by I. A. Lapham in 1850, and his work must be considered of consid- 
erable importance still, by reason of the admirable plats of mounds 
long since leveled. The next discussion is found in Cyrus Thomas's 
Report on the Mound Explorations, 2 but he makes no attempt to 
explain them. Our first accurate knowledge dates from the in- 
ception of the Wisconsin Archeologist in 1901. Any attempt to 
study the archeology of Wisconsin will necessarily have to be based 
on material there published. An extremely useful and suggestive 
summary of the data has been made by A. B. Stout. This little 
pamphlet and that on the Koshkonong region 3 by the same author 
are of prime importance in the study of Winnebago archeology . 

In order to understand the archeology of this region clearly it will 
be best to say a few words about the regions which were the early 
habitations of the Winnebago and the tribes that were their imme- 
diate neighbors. 

The Winnebago, when first found, were inhabiting the southern 
shore of Green Bay, Wis. Whether, at this time, they already ex- 
tended farther south and west, it is impossible to say. The tradi- 

1 C'f. Radin, " Some Aspects of Winnebago Archaeology," Amer. Anthropologist, n. s., vol. 13, no. 4, 1911. 

Prof. Dixon in his articlo on "Some Aspects of North American Archaeology," Amer. Anthropologist, 
n. s., vol. 15, no. 4, 1913, accepts this conclusion. "The association of the effigy mounds of Wisconsin and 
the adjacent area with the Winnebago or other Siouan tribes seems now reasonably certain, and one might 
therefore naturally regard the ?erpent mound and the few others of this effigy type in the Ohio Valley as 
due also to tribes of the same stock," p. 501. 

» Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, pp. 47-49, Washington, 1S94. 

a " Prehistoric Earthworks iu Wisconsin," Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, vol XX, no. 1, 
Columbus, 1911; and "The \rchseology of the Lake Koshkonong Region," Wisconsin Archeologist, vol. 
7, no. 2, 1908. 




tions speak only of Green Bay as their original habitat. On the other 
shore of Green Bay were the Menominee, who likewise have no recol- 
lection of having lived anywhere else. To the northeast, along Door 
Peninsula, were the Potawatomi, unquestionably intruders, who had 
come by way of Mackinaw. To the southwest lay the Sauk and Fox, 
the closely related Kickapoo, and the enigmatic Mascoutin. Finally, 


to the south lay the Miami. Such seems to have been the distribu- 
tion of the tribes around Green Bay and Lake Michigan at the first 
advent of the whites. Within 50 years of the landing of Nicollet the 
places were entirely shifted. Winnebago villages are found scattered 
all along the Fox River and Lake Winnebago, the Sauk and Fox and 
Kickapoo are on their way farther south, and the Potawatomi are in 
possession of the southern shore of Green Bay and the western shore 
of Lake Michigan. Later still we find the Winnebago extending all 



[ETH. ANN. 37 

along the Wisconsin River and west of it to the Mississippi, and, at the 
same time, occupying the territory south of Lake Winnebago through 
the region of the Four Lakes, the shores of Lake Koshkonong and 
farther down along the Rock River into Illinois. Their eastern 
boundary was determined by the Potawatomi. 

Let us return now to the distribution of the mounds. Of the three 
kinds of mounds found in Wisconsin, the conical and oval ones are the 


commonest, and they are met with in practically every county of the 
State in which records have been made. They have also been found 
in Minnesota. The so-called effigy mounds, on the other hand, 
have never been found north of a line drawn through the southern 
boundary of Lincoln County. They have, however, been found in 
every area which the Winnebago occupied at one time or another, 


with the exception of the eastern shore of Green Bay and the Fox 
River. At the same time they have been discovered in fairly large 
numbers in the counties of Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Washington, Wau- 
kesha, Racine, and Kenosha, which, as far as our historical informa- 
tion extends, had never been occupied by the Winnebago. Flint 
arrow points and pottery shards are found throughout the entire 
State. The distribution of copper implements has not yet been 
thoroughly investigated, but the present status of our knowledge has 
been ably discussed by Charles E. Brown. 4 To judge from the papers 
of Brown, implements of copper are found pretty generally dis- 
tributed over the State, although certain objects seem to be found in 
greater abundance in some places than in others. 

There are three types of mounds in Wisconsin and the territory 
immediately adjacent to it — the effigy, the linear, and the intaglio. 
All of these have been subjected to a variety of explanations at the 
hands of archeologists, from Lapham's time to 'our own. The car- 
dinal error in all their attempts at explanation has perhaps been the 
assumption that the mounds were necessarily of great antiquity. 
For a long time it was not considered likely that the present inhabit- 
ants of the region, the Winnebago or their ancestors, had had any- 
thing to do with their erection. As soon, however, as systematic 
inquiries had been made among living Winnebago it was discovered 
that not only were they able to give more or less reasonable explana- 
tions of the uses of most of the mounds, but a number of the older 
people claimed to have distinct recollections of the erection of some 
of them. In obtaining notes on social organization the writer was 
told incidentally that it had been customary not very long ago to 
erect near the habitation of each clan an effigy of their clan animal. 
Subsequently, upon a more systematic inquiry, it was discovered that 
not only were such effigy mounds erected near clan habitations, but 
also on every plantation owned by a certain clan. In other words, 
these effigy mounds were, to all intents and purposes, property marks. 
Similar effigies are found in the porcupine quill work, on the war 
bundles, and on the woven bags still used by the Winnebago in Wis- 
consin. This interpretation has been so fully corroborated that there 
can no longer be any possible doubt about it. The age of the mounds 
thus diminishes considerably. Of course some may have been erected 
long ago, but it is quite evident that the effigy mounds found near the 
Mississippi must have been erected during the eighteenth century, 
as the Winnebago did not reach this region before that time. 

In connection with the effigy mounds two things need explanation — 
namely, why there are no mounds of this type near Red Banks, Green 
Bay, and why there are so niany directly south of this region along 

4 "The Native Copper Implements of Wisconsin," in Wisconsin Arekeologist, vol.3, no. 2; and "The 
Native Copper Ornaments of Wisconsin," ibid., vol. 3, no. 3, 1904. 

80 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. anx. 37 

the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, a territory in which the Winne- 
bago have no recollection of ever having lived. The first question 
is very difficult to answer. There is always the possibility that some 
mounds may yet be discovered and again it is possible that all have 
been leveled considerably. The apparent persistency with which the 
Winnebago held to the custom of mound building during their forced 
migration since the eighteenth century, even when they lived in 
places for only a short time, and" the absence of any mounds in their 
legendary home, suggest the possibility that they never lived per- 
manently near Green Bay. 5 This inference has not been drawn from 
a study of the archeological but from a study of the historical sources, 
by Mr. P. V. Lawson. 6 In this paper the writer tries to prove that 
all the old sources point to Doty Island situated in Fox River, at the 
foot of Lake Winnebago, as the place where Nicollet first met the 
Winnebago. Whatever the merits of the case may be, it is certain 
that, according to the Winnebago themselves, their original home was 
Green Bay. Into this tradition many legendary details have, of 
course, been woven, and it seems to us that the presumption of evi- 
dence favors Green Bay, although the complete absence of what seems 
to have been such a characteristic feature of Winnebago culture as 
effigy mounds suggests a possibility that the Green Bay settlement 
represented just the northernmost extension of the tribe. The large 
settlements found along Lake Winnebago so soon after Nicollet's land- 
ing make it reasonably certain that the Winnebago had been there 
before his arrival in Wisconsin. 

We will also have to assume that the Winnebago erected the effigy 
mounds along the western shore of Lake Michigan, in an area that, 
since the coming of the whites, has been occupied successively by the 
Miami and Potawatomi. This would indicate that the Winnebago 
originally came in a compact mass from the south. They, however, 
have no recollection of this fact and it must indeed have taken place 
a long time ago. This is, of course, only an hypothesis. 

The effigy mounds are unquestionably supposed to represent the 
eponymous clan animals of the Winnebago. It seems, however, as 
if three clan animals were never represented — namely, the wolf, the 
buffalo, and the fish. It is possible that the mound found near the 
asylum grounds at Madison, Wis., is intended to represent a wolf, but, 
even if this could be established, it would not explain the apparent 
absence of any more examples of one of the most import ant Winnebago 

* The absence of any mention of them in early records has no significance, for even in the nineteenth cen- 
tury, in regions where it seems incredible that they should have escaped notice, no mention is ever made 
of them by travelers. 

- « " The Habitat of the Winnebago," in the Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1906. 
Mr. A. C Neville in a previous paper published in the Proceedings of 1905, sought to establish the thesis ol 
a Green Bay home from the same data. 


There are a large number of effigies that, for want of a better name, 
most Wisconsin archeologists have called "turtle" mounds. No 
explanations can be offered of these peculiar effigies unless they are 
attempts to picture fish or are altered water-spirit mounds. The 
Winnebago had no turtle clan, but the turtle plays an important part 
in their mythology. 

Perhaps the most peculiar effigy mounds are the famous "Man" 
mounds, of which only two examples are in existence, and the so- 
called "intaglios." Good descriptions of both types have been 
given. 1 

The two "Man" mounds have generally been regarded as inex- 
plicable or connected with some prehistoric rite, and it seemed useless 
to attempt any explanation. As there seemed to be no reason why 
these mounds might not fall into the same category as the clan 
mounds, the writer took the opportunity of inquiring about them 
among the older Winnebago. A number of the people asked knew 
nothing about them, but, fortunately, two very old members of the 
tribe interpreted them, as soon as they were described, as represen- 
tations of the Warrior or Hawk clan. As this clan belonged to the 
Bird phratry, no one had ever looked for any but bird emblems. 

No information has been obtained from living Winnebago that 
could throw any light on the " intaglio" mounds. We wish, however, 
to hazard a suggestion as to their possible meaning. "The intaglio 
effigies, " to quote Mr. Brown, " may be described as being the reverse 
of the ordinary effigy mounds. They are excavated out of the soil 
instead of erected upon it, the earth removed from the shallow exca- 
vation being heaped up with care along the edges, giving form and 
prominence to the animal shapes depicted." 2 The Winnebago fre- 
quently placed symbols referring to water deities under water, and, as 
10 of the 12 intaglios that have been described belong unquestionably 
to the Water-spirit clan, it may have been customary to keep these 
"intaglios" filled with water. The discovery of two supposedly 
Bear "intaglios" militates against this suggestion. However, ac- 
cording to the Bear clan legends, the ancestors of that clan came 
from the water, as did likewise those of the Wolf and Buffalo clans. 

We now come to the most unsatisfactory problem of our area — 
namely, the nature and significance of the linear mounds. The 
various types have been best described by Mr. A. B. Stout and we 
will do best to quote him in extenso: 

The principal classes of linear mounds are as follows: 

The pure linear type is a straight wall-like mound of uniform width and height. 
They are usually about 2\ feet in height and from 10 to 20 feet in width. Some are so 

1 "The Preservation of the Man Mound," in vol. 7, no. 4, of the Wisconsin Archeologist, and " The 
Intaglio Mounds of Wisconsin/' in vol 9, no. 1, of the same journal; both papers by C. Brown. 
1 Cf. Wisconsin Archeologist, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 6. 


short that they approach the oval and platform mound types, while the longest are 
over 900 feet in length. 

The straight pointed linear is usually of considerable length and differs from the 
pure linear as given above in having one end tapering to a long drawn out point. . . . 

Club-shaped linears are frequently found . . . and kidney-shaped linears are 
not wanting. . . . 

The various linear types described above are sometimes modified by an enlargement 
at one end. . . . This ranges from a low, flattened enlargement to a rounded, 
well built conical mound. Various projections or appendages to some of the linear 
forms . . . give figures that shade toward effigies proper. These types of linear 
mounds are mingled in the mound groups as shown in the various group plats. . . . 

Besides the types already discussed there are peculiar combinations and composite 
mounds which do not admit of any rational explanation. 3 

Many explanations have been given by investigators and, for that 
matter, by Indians themselves, of the significance of these linear 
mounds. Not only is it necessary to account for the peculiar and 
manifold shapes, but for the equally strange combinations into which 
they have entered. With regard to the latter type, Mr. Stout 
refuses even to suggest an interpretation. He, however, takes a 
determined stand with regard to the linear mounds proper and 
interprets them as having been constructed for the purpose of 
symbolizing inanimate things, and consequently as really conven- 
tionalized effigies. This seems to him the only satisfactory explana- 
tion. " It is evident," he says, " that there are intermediate or transi- 
tional forms between the linears and the pure effigy types with which 
they are mingled." 4 He admits the existence of linear mounds ex- 
tending westward into Minnesota and Manitoba, far beyond the 
limits of the effigy type, but he does not believe it necessary either 
to regard these latter as effigies or to change his interpretation of 
the significance of the former. Mr. Stout's interpretation is indeed 
a purely arbitrary one. Whereas his identification of the effigy 
mounds was based upon information obtained directly from some 
Winnebago Indians, that of the linear is based upon what he thought 
was the necessity of the case. • 

Inquiries made among the Winnebago of Wisconsin by the writer 
brought out the fact that the Indians were unanimous in claiming 
their forefathers as the authors of the mounds, but they were not 
at all unanimous as to their significance. By far the largest number 
of individuals, however, insisted that these linears were defensive 
works behind which they dodged during battle. These must not be 
confused with anything in the nature of breastworks or fortifications. 
The Indians claimed that these mounds ought to be found in great 
numbers along Lake Koshkonong, because it was there that a terrific 
struggle had once been waged by the Winnebago against one of 

» Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, Vol. XX, no. 1, Jan., 1911, pp. 22-23. 
• Ibid., pp. 24-26. 


their hereditary enemies. As a matter of fact, according to Mr. 
Stout, in the small area of 31 square miles around the lake, no less 
than 48 1 linear mounds have been found, and, if we take into con- 
sideration the fact that but 50 miles to the northwest, in the Sauk 
County area, 734 were found, we have within a radius of 231 square 
miles an enormous number of linear mounds. Whether, however, 
this has anything to do with the statements of the Indians mentioned 
above is very doubtful. When the writer called the Indians' 
attention to the fact that structures that were so low could hardly 
serve as an adequate protection against arrows they retorted by 
saying that the Indians did not stand up when attacked but lay 
stretched on the ground behind the mounds. 

The same two areas that yielded such a large number of linear 
mounds were also rich in effigy and conical mounds, containing 225 
of the former and 646 of the latter. The conclusion is thus forced 
upon us that we have here the seat of a large number of Winnebago 
settlements. The linear mounds may therefore be said to be char- 
acteristic features of certain villages. A similarly large number of 
linear mounds seems to exist in Crawford County, according to the 
investigations of Lapham. It is possible that a continuation of 
thorough and systematic studies like those made by Mr. Stout in 
Sauk County and Lake Koshkonong will bring to light many such 
linear mound areas closely associated with village sites. 

With regard to the Winnebago interpretation given above it 
might be said that we know of numerous battles that occurred both 
along Lake Koshkonong and the Mississippi, and that it would 
require no manipulation of the facts to accept the Indians' explana- 
tion. It might, nevertheless, justifiably be asked why these peculiar 
shapes ? They can hardly have had any importance in warfare. 

As opposed to the view advanced above, various interpretations 
have been given at different times. Peet regarded the linear mounds 
as game drives, but this explanation seems to have been quite 
arbitrary. At least we know of no facts that were brought forth in 
its defense. 

Although the interpretation that we were here dealing with de- 
fensive structures was by far the most common, two other explana- 
tions were obtained, one to the effect that the linear mounds were 
the bases of lodges and the other that some, at least, were snake 
effigies. It is impossible to say anything about the latter conten- 
tion, although there may be more in it than is suspected. The 
other explanation, even though they had a special name for the 
projections that are often found at one end of the linears (natci, or 
wood houses), must be accepted with caution. The enormous 
length of some of the linears hardly seems to support such an assump- 

84 THE WINNEBAGO TKIBE [eth. ann. 37 

tion. The Winnebago themselves claimed that the reason lodges 
were built upon mounds was because they could thus shed water 
most easily. 

The conical mounds were unquestionably used for purposes of 
burial. Whether, however, they were always constructed with that 
particular object in view may be seriously doubted, for in some 
cases the burials seem to represent clear evidences of being intrusive 
in character. A few Indians insisted that some of the conical 
mounds were used as platforms from which to address an audience; 
that some were "stations" in the game of lacrosse, and that some 
were bases of lodges. 

The composite type of mound, characterized by the union of a 
conical and a linear or by the union of a number of each, was inter- 
preted by the Winnebago questioned as lodge bases connected with 
one another, the conical mound being the base of the lodge and the 
"linear" acting as a sort of connecting passageway. 

We mentioned before that Mr. Stout maintains the view that the 
linear are in reality conventionalized effigy mounds. Our main 
objection to such an interpretation would be that conventionaliza- 
tion is a method of artistic expression exceedingly rare among the 
Winnebago. Had it been common it would certainly have been 
found in use in their bead and quill work or in their woven bags. 
There is a possibility that some of the linears may be either very 
crudely constructed effigy mounds or that they may represent effigy 
mounds that have been changed through the influences of weather 
and general climatic conditions, as well as, to a smaller extent, by 
human hands, factors that have been neglected altogether too much 
in this connection, especially in the interpretation of what appear 
to be anomalies. From this point of view, it would be suggestive 
to compare some of the so-called "turtle" effigies with the water- 
spirit or "panther" type, on the one hand, and with the linears on 
the other. It is perhaps such "transitional" forms that have led 
Mr. Stout to postulate that all linears are effigies. 

Summing up, we might say that the linears may be either effigies, 
in part representing a snake, or they may be, in part, altered or 
mutilated or crude effigies ; or they may be the bases of lodges. We 
have the authority of a number of Indians that some are snake effi- 
gies. The interpretation that some are altered or mutilated has 
never been confirmed by the Indians themselves. Finally, that some 
of them are the bases of lodges is the statement of a large number of 
Indians, but it must await further evidence before it can be accepted. 

That some of the mounds found in the Winnebago territory ante- 
date, in part, the coming of the whites, and can consequently be 
regarded as constituting an archeological problem, there can hardly 
be any doubt. Nevertheless, many of them have been erected since 


Nicollet's time, some even within the recollection of Winnebago still 
living. All were unquestionably erected by the Winnebago, and 
since there is no reason for believing that this tribe entered Wisconsin 
many centuries before the first appearance of Europeans in America, 
it is quite erroneous to state, as Mr. Stout does, that the evidence at 
hand justifies us in dividing the occupancy of Wisconsin into two 
principal periods, the effigy mound-budding era and the time that 
has elapsed since that period. 

The use of copper by the Winnebago prior to their contact with 
Europeans is another of the rather baffling questions connected with 
Winnebago archeology. There are references to its use in the myth 
of the Twins, but the sections of the myth where it is mentioned 
show marked evidences of European influence and can hardly be 
accepted as reflecting the original mode of life of the Winnebago. 
Copper is found in a number of mounds, but we have no way of 
determining whether these mounds are pre-Columbian or not. 

In all likelihood, almost all the copper found in Wisconsin comes 
from the original copper workings at Isle Royale, Keweenaw, Onto- 
nagon, and elsewhere, in the Lake Superior district. "A provisional 
description of the territory in which the greatest number of such 
artifacts have been recovered up to the present time may be given 
as extending from about the middle of MUwaukee County, northward 
along the west shore of Lake Michigan to Door County, thence west- 
ward to the Wisconsin River or slightly beyond, thence southward 
along this stream to Dane Comity and eastward to Milwaukee County, 
the starting point. Embraced within this territory are the extensive 
lake shore village sites, from which thousands of articles have already 
been recovered, and certain well-known sites in Green Lake and 
adjoining counties, the Rush Lake and similarly productive regions." 11 

The region thus described embraces the Winnebago territory and 
that subsequently occupied by the Central Algonquian tribes. It does 
not follow the line of Winnebago migrations farther than the Wis- 
consin River to the west or farther than the southern boundary of 
Dane County to the south or southwest. As far as the writer knows 
no one has ever been able to obtain any information from the Winne- 
bago that would in any manner connect them with the authorship 
of the copper implements found associated with their old village 
sites. All Indians questioned denied that their ancestors had ever 
used copper before the arrival of the early French traders. For the 
Winnebago, it seems to the writer, the problem connected with the. 
occurrence of copper implements is not whether the Winnebago made 
them, but how they came to obtain them. The solution of this 
problem would be immensely facflitated if we had accurate knowledge 

11 Brown, in Ihe Wisconsin Archeologist, vol. 3, no. 2, p. 58. 

86 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

of the distribution of copper among the Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo, 
and if we were in a position to tell whether or not these tribes had 
copper before their arrival in Wisconsin. We might then be in a 
better position to decide whether the Winnebago obtained their cop- 
per from these tribes or from some northern tribe, presumably the 
Potawatomi or Menominee. It is generally supposed that they 
actually did obtain their copper implements through the intermedi- 
ation of these two last-mentioned tribes, although there is no really 
conclusive evidence for it. That opportunities for their trans- 
mission through the Menominee or Potawatomi were plentiful is 
unquestioned, and the only problem is whether the systematic ex- 
change was not conditioned by the appearance of the white traders. 

The last problem connected with Winnebago archeology is the 
authorship of the numerous flint arrowheads. They are found all 
over Wisconsin, in every nook and corner of Winnebago territory, 
in every stage of manufacture, and yet the Winnebago of to-day 
regard them as having been made by some other tribe. The most 
common explanation of their origin is the legendary one that they 
were made by worms. In the few cases where the old men were of 
a different opinion, the writer was assured that they were the " bones" 
of the water-spirits, and consequently holy. Numerous myths 
speak of them in connection with the water-spirit. The Indians ad- 
mit that they had at times used them as arrow points, but insist that 
in every case they were found in the earth ; that in fact people were 
generally blessed with them. Mr. Skinner informs me that the 
Menominee, on the other hand, remember very well how they were 
made. Among the Winnebago, until recently, three kinds of arrow 
points were in use: one, properly not an arrow point at all but simply 
a sharpened arrow, the second consisting of sharpened portions of 
pieces of antlers, and the third consisting of a turtle claw that had 
been softened and straightened. It has generally been maintained 
that the presence of regular "quarries" absolutely clinched the 
hypothesis of a Winnebago origin for the flint arrow points, but it 
seems to us that we would first have to prove that in every case 
where such quarries are found no tribe but the Winnebago had ever 
occupied that territory, because had any Algonquian tribe been there 
they might be held as much responsible for these quarries as the 
Winnebago. That they were not used within the recollection of the 
oldest men among the Winnebago there can be no doubt, because 
this question was repeatedly put to them, with negative results. 

It seems best, therefore, to attach some significance to current 
belief as to the origin of the flint arrow points and to assume for the 
present that they were either the work of the prehistoric ancestors 
of the Winnebago or that of some tribe that had occupied the terri- 


tory before them; or — but this is extremely unlikely — that they 
were all of Algonquian origin. 

Implements of Stone and Other Materials 

As pointed out before, we ought not to expect to find much strictly 
archeological data relating to the Winnebago in their Wisconsin habi- 
tat. As, however, they probably reached this habitat before the dis- 
covery of America, some of the archeological finds may easily go back 
that far. Unfortunately we have no way of determining, even 
approximately, the age of the artifacts. 

We will now confine ourselves to a description of the more impor- 
tant types of artifacts and remains found on old Winnebago sites 
without going into the question of their respective age. 

Implements and utensils were made of stone, clay, shell, bone, 
wood, antlers, and turtle claws (pi. 10). According to information ob- 
tained from the present Winnebago, which is supported by the testi- 
mony of the myths and tales, but few objects were made of stone. 
The most important of these was the stone hatchet. It may even be 
questioned whether the Winnebago originally made these, for they 
are given a supernatural origin by those few Winnebago who men- 
tioned their existence, and it has been the author's experience that 
objects to which a supernatural origin is ascribed are generally either 
of recent origin or have been borrowed. None of the myths or tales 
even mention their existence. Nevertheless a large number of stone 
implements, most of them presumably stone hatchets, has been 
found at Doty Island, near Menasha, Wis. (pi. 11), which had at one 
time been one of their principal village sites. It is quite probable that 
the Winnebago obtained most of these from the neighboring Algonquian 
tribes who were well known for their skill in working stone. 

Copper Implements 

The Winnebago are known to have used copper implements in 
fairly great abundance, the only question being whether they were 
the original makers of these objects. We do not think they were, 
and base our opinion on the answers given by present-day Indians 
and the total absence of their mention in the myths. Both iron and 
presumably copper are mentioned in certain myths, but these pas- 
sages are clearly of European origin. 

Practically all of our knowledge of the nature and distribution of 
copper objects in Wisconsin has been conveniently summarized in Mr. 
C. E. Brown's paper entitled " The native copper implements of 
Wisconsin," 12 and all that we mention here is taken from this little 

» The Wisconsin Arcbtsologist, vol. 3, no. 2. 


Following Brown's classification, we note the following copper ob- 
jects in Wisconsin: Axes or hatchets (the most common), chisels, 
"spuds," gouges, spiles, spatulas, knives, spear and arrow points, 
harpoon points, pikes and punches, awls and drills, spikes, needles, 
and fishhooks. 

The most important types of axes were the following: Those oblong 
in outline, with edges nearly parallel; those with straight edges and 
tapering, widest toward the cutting edge and becoming narrower 
toward the head. The head itself may be either flattened, rounded, 
or roundly pointed. This is the most common type found. The 
third type, according to Brown, resembles the second, "with the ex- 
ception that the margin at the edges is slightly but distinctly elevated, 
thus giving a slightly depressed or concave surface in the center and 
from end to end on one or both broad faces of the ax. In some ex- 
amples this margin is fully one-half inch in width at or near the 
middle." 13 

Three principal types of chisels were found: Those broadest at the 
cutting edge, with edges tapering gradually from this cutting edge 
to the head; those of nearly uniform width with straight parallel 
edges; and those with a more or less prominent median ridge. 

According to Brown there can be no doubt as to their use. "It 
probably included the hollowing out of wooden canoes, troughs, and 
vessels . . ," u 

Knives are quite common, there being two principal types — one 
with a straight back and oblique, curved, or straight cutting edge; 
and another distinguished from the latter by a greater breadth of its 
broad curved blade and terminating in a broadly rounded point. 

Spear and arrow points are found in great profusion and fall into 
many types: The leaf -shaped, the stemmed and flat, the ridged, the 
beveled, the eyed, the notched, the toothed, the spatula-shaped, the 
short-stemmed, the barbed or pronged, the conical, the rolled 
socketed, and the ridged socketed. 

Earthworks and Mounds 

Aztalan. — Apart from the mounds there is one very famous earth- 
work in Wisoonsin called Aztalan (pi. 12) which has for many decades 
puzzled archeologists. We will not enter into any of the numerous 
explanations given at different times by observers, but will confine 
ourselves exclusively to quoting the rather clear description given 
by Mr. G. A. West: 15 

The inclosure and associated earthworks at Aztalan, on the Crawfish River in 
Jefferson County, have long been considered among the most interesting and important 

" The Wisconsin Archeologist, vol. 3, no. 2, p. 61. 

"Ibid., p. 62. 

15 "The Indian authorship of Wisconsin antiquities," Wisconsin Archeologist, vol.6, no. 4, pp. 219-222. 




c. LEVI ST. CYR d. ALBERT HENSLEY (Profile view) 




(From Wisconsin Archeologist) 


of the aboriginal monuments of Wisconsin. The inclosure was first noticed by the 
government surveyor. In 1837 a hasty survey was made by N. F. Hyer, who after- 
wards published a brief description. ... In 1850 Lapham made a careful survey of 
Aztalan. . . and in 1855 published a description illustrated with several fine plates 
and figures in his "Antiquities of Wisconsin." . . . 

This interesting inclosure. now almost obliterated by many years of cultivation, 
may be briefly described as being in the shape of an irregular parallelogram, lacking 
one of the long sides which is supplied by the bank of the Crawfish which forms its 
eastern boundary. It is reported to contain 17f acres of land. The length of the 
north wall Lapham gives as 631, the westas 1,419, and the south as 700 feet. The width 
is given as about 22 feet and the height at from 1 to 5 feet. Along the outer edge of its 
entire length, at somewhat regular distances, were rounded projections which have 
been frequently referred to as "buttresses or bastions," but which Lapham deter- 
mined "were never designed for either of the purposes indicated by these names." 

"The distance from one to another varies from 61 to 95 feet, scarcely any two of them 
being exactly alike. Their mean distance apart is 82 feet. On the north wall and 
on most of the west wall they have the same height as the connecting ridge and at a 
little distance resemble a simple row of mounds. 

"On the inner wall, opposite many of these mounds (projections), is a slight de- 
pression or sinus; possibly the remains of a sloping way by which the wall was as- 
cended from within the inclosure." — Lapham, Antiquities, 43. 

Within the wall at the northwest corner of the inclosure was a rectangular truncated 
pyramidal mound, its level top measuring 60 by 65 feet. At its southeast corner was 
a sloping ascent. At the southwest corner, also within the wall, was a square, trun- 
cated mound, the level area on its top being 53 feet wide on the west side, it being 
originally in all probability a square of this size. Lapham's figure shows the sides 
of the mound rising in two terraces to the top. There appeared to be a sloping way' 
leading down from its top toward the east. It was the highest earthwork within the 
wall, which it overlooked. These two mounds he judged to have been the probable 
foundations of buildings or of other structures of perishable materials. From the 
eastern side of the last-mentioned mound a line of wall with a number of projections 
similar to those on the wall of the inclosure extended about two-thirds of the way 
to the river, where it angled and proceeded in a northwesterly direction, being broken 
near its middle to within about 250 feet of the north wall. Beginning near the angle 
and on the east side of and paralleling this wall for its entire length was a second line 
of wall with projections distributed at various distances along its sides. 

Within the inclosure were also a number of excavations, conical mounds, embank- 
ments, and other earthworks, some of which our present knowledge enables-us to iden- 
tify as very probably effigy or emblematic mounds. 

Opposite the southwestern angle of the wall of the inclosure were several embank- 
ments also with projections along their sides. Scattered at intervals along the entire 
front of the west wall were a considerable number of excavations irregular in outline 
and of different sizes from which some of the earth used in the construction of the wall 
was most probably taken. 

A short distance west of these, and also extending along the front of the wall, is a 
long mound of the familiar tapering effigy type, an irregular line of conical mounds, 
and a single linear mound. Several hundred feet northwest of the inclosure on the 
higher ground was a double line of 60 or more conical mounds of different sizes, extend- 
ing from west of the present Aztalan road across the road and in a general northerly 
direction into the present village of Aztalan. A small number of the more prominent 
of these can still be seen along the road. 

On the east bank of the Crawfish opposite the inclosure were two long earthen 
embankments and a group of conical mounds. The larger of the two embankments 
1S6823°— 22 7 

90 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

Lapham's plat shows to have been about 660 feet in length and probably 18 feet in 

Intaglio Mounds 

The intaglio mounds (pi. 13) are clearly the reverse of effigy 
mounds. They were discovered by Lapham 60 years or more ago 
and since that time no others have been found. Lapham himself 
located nine of them, all associated with earthworks, at Milwaukee, 
Pewaukee, Theresa, and Fort Atkinson. At about the same time 





Mr. W. H. Canfield" located two near the earthworks at Baraboo. 
Those found by Lapham are undoubtedly intended to represent 
what most Wisconsin archeologists call the "panther," but which 
the Winnebago call the water-spirit (wakdjexi) (fig. 4), while those 
found by Canfield are probably intended to represent the bear (fig. 5). 




(After Laphamj 


(From Wisconsin Archeologist) 





The Fort Atkinson intaglio is the only one now in existence. 
"Its greatest depth (at the middle of the hody) is slightly over 2 
feet. The great tail of the animal reaches to within about 25 feet 
of a fine large conical burial mound." 16 

Conical Mounds 

These are found all over the territory once occupied by the Winne- 
bago, but we know definitely that the 
Central Algonquian tribes also erected 
them. In the following section we 
will describe but one group of these 
mounds found on territory formerly 
inhabited by the Winnebago and 
which was never, or only for a very 
short time, occupied by other tribes 
(pi. 14). 

This interesting group was located in Angelo Township, Juneau 
County, and is known as Mound Prairie, West Group (Fig. 6). 
Twelve mounds are preserved there with the following dimensions: 








A 53 feet in diameter. 
B 48 feet in diameter. 
C 48 feet in diameter. 
D 45 feet in diameter. 
E 44 feet in diameter. 
G 48 feet in diameter. 

H 46 feet in diameter. 
I 45 feet in diameter. 
J 42 feet in diameter. 
K 65 by 30 feet. 
L 46 feet in diameter. 
M 38 feet in diameter. 

"C. E. Brown, " The Intaglio Mounds of Wisconsin," Wisconsin Archeologist, vol.9, no. 1, p. 9. 



[ETH. ANN. 37 

As a rule, whenever the conical mounds represent the work of the 
Winnebago they are always found accompanied by linear and effigy 
mounds. At Lake Koshkonong, out of a total of 481 mounds 309 
are conical. A similar proportion is found in other groups. Little 
has ever been found in them except burials and there seems little 
doubt that the vast majority of them were always used for this 
purpose. (Pis. 15-17; fig. 7.) 


In a number of places conical mounds are joined to linear mounds 
or to other structures, often producing irregular figures. Mr. A. B. 
Stout classifies them as belonging in general to three types. The 
commonest of these combinations are those called by Mr. Stout the 
dumb-bell and tadpole type (fig. S). 

Linear Mounds 

Linear mounds, like conical mounds, are found all over the territory 
once occupied by the Winnebago. What purpose they could have 
served is not definitely known, although the modern Winnebago 
























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n- , s c o -v -5 - ~ " ' v £ * 




[DTH. ANN. 37 









[ETH. ANN. 37 







Sec. Line 






98 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bth. ann. 37 

seem to be practically unanimous in explaining them as either the 
base of lodges or as defenses (figs. 9, 10, 11). 

Effigy Mounds 

Effigy mounds (figs. 4, 5, 11-18) are discussed at some length 
in the following pages. The following types are found: The 
bird, the bear, the panther or water-spirit, the deer (uncommon), 
the wolf (uncommon), the turtle, and the so-called man. The 
commonest by far are the bird, bear, and water-spirit, and this 
woidd seem to corroborate the statements of living Winnebago 
that these mounds represent the clan effigies, for these three clans 
were by far the most important and numerous in the tribe. Certain 
of the clans are apparently not represented, particularly the elk, 
the buffalo, the snake, and the fish, while but. isolated examples 
of two fairly important clans, the wolf and the deer, are found. 
If the so-called turtle mounds (fig. 16) were really intended to 
represent that animal, we would have the only instance of a 
large number of mounds that can not possibly be connected with the 
Winnebago clans, for the tribe never had a Turtle clan. However, 
these mounds may not really have been intended to represent turtles. 
On the other hand, it is not absolutely necessary to believe that the 
effigy mounds represented only clan animals. It is possible that 
some were erected for religious purposes. 

Owing to the fact that so many effigy mounds have been destroyed 
in the last two or three centuries, it is quite impossible to be certain 
of the distribution of specific types. Even those still in existence 
have not all been carefully noted and described. Until this is done, 
no even approximately definitive conclusions can be drawn as to the 
reasons for the prevalence of certain types in one area and others in 
other areas. To give some idea of their distribution, however, we 
will describe briefly their distribution in those sections of Wisconsin 
that have been fairly thoroughly studied: 

Lake Mendota. — Two types of bird, bear, water-spirit, and the 
very rare effigy of a frog. 

Lake Koshkonong. — Two types of bird, water-spirit, frog ? mink ( 
and an unknown mammal. 

Fond du Lac. — Water-spirit, one type of bird, turtle. 

Lake Wauiesa. — Water-spirit, three types of bird, bear, turtle, 
and lynx. 

Turtle Creek, Bock County. —Water-spirit, turtle. 

Winnebago County. — Water-spirit, bear, bird. 

Lake Wingra. — Water-spirit, turtle, three types of bird, and bear. 

Mantiowoc County. — Bird, water-spirit, turtle. 

Sauk County. — One type of bird, bear, mink, water-spirit. 




In general it may be said that effigies of the bird type are found 
over the entire region in which effigies are found, although certain 
types seem to have a restricted range — the bear type, westward from 
Lake Waubesa to Sauk County and probably beyond; the water- 
spirit, over the entire region from Milwaukee to Madison and as far 
north as Gills Landing in Waupaca County; the goose, at Lake 



Conch shell cache, 1842. 
Black Hawk's camp, 1832. 
Ogden group. 

Rock River group and village site. 
Tay-e-he-dah group and village site. 
Taylor House group. 
Fulton group. 

Koshkonong group and village sir- 
John Son group. 

Noe Springs group and village site. 
North group. 
Rufus Bingnam group. 
Le Sellier group and village site. 
Goldthorpe burials. 
Messmer Garden beds. 
Kumlien group, 
a-b-c. Koshkonong Creek mounds and village 

Conch shell cache, 1867. 

19. Draves group. 

20. Skavlem group. 

21. Carcajou mounds and White Orow's village. 

22. Loge Bay mounds and garden beds. 

23. Altpeter group and White Ox's village. 

24. Man Eater's village. 

24 and 25. Gen. Atkinson group. 

26. Hoard group and Kewaskum's camp. 

27. Fun Hunter's Point mound and cornfield. 

28. Lookout group. 

29. Haight's Creek group. 

30. Atkinson's camp. 

31. Indian cornfields. 

32 and 33. Ira Bingham group and village site. 

34 and 35. Thiebeau Point village siteand cornfields. 

36. French trader's cabin sites. 

37. Camp site and cornfield. 

38. Black Hawk Island camp site. 

100 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [ets. ann. 37 

Waubesa and the upper Madison lakes; the lynx type, at Lake 
Waubesa, as far east as Lake Koshkonong, and as far west as Devils 
Lake in Sauk County. 

Description of Lake Koshkonong Mounds 

In order to give an idea of what a carefully planned survey of a 
particular region has yielded we will quote Mr. A. B. Stout's summary 
of his work at Lake Koshkonong (figs. 19, 20) : " 

A total of 481 mounds are here noted. This does not include the mounds entirely 
destroyed at Thiebeau Point, the Koshkonong Groups, and the Kumlien Group. 
There are 157 mounds on the east side and 324 on the west side of the lake. There 
are still well preserved 394 mounds. There is a total of 309 conical mounds of which 
233 are on the west side, but of the 42 effigies 24 are on the east side of the lake. 

In most cases the grouping as given is in no wise arbitrary. All the large and 
important groups are composed of mounds rather compactly arranged. Groups 3, 
4, 6, 11, and 17 are more or less scattered and are considered as groups chiefly for 
convenience in description. 

The largest group is the Koshkonong Group of 78 mounds. Next in rank are the 
General Atkinson Group of 73, the Noe Springs Group of 64, the Hoard Group of 36, 
the Le Sellier Group of 29, the Kumlien Group of 28, the Altpeter Group of 28, and 
the Rufus Bingham Group of 21. In these 8 well-defined groups are found 357 of 
the total of 481 mounds. 

All of these mounds are found in an area of 42 square miles, of which 13 are covered 
with water and at least 5 more occupied by swamp and marsh lands. 


As previously stated, this type is the most abundant. Most are low, many are no 
more than 2 feet in height. In fact, there are but 23 that are 4 or more feet in height. 
The largest of the conical mounds are as follows: ... 60 by 12 feet in diameter; 
... 75 by 10; ... 45 by 8; ... 54 by 7; ... 63 by 6. 

. . . Some conical mounds are built with edges overlapping, forming a sort of 
chain of mounds. There is some evidence of superimposed mounds. . . . 

Nearly all the conical mounds have been opened in a more or less desultory manner. 
The few clues at hand as to the results of such digging confirm the opinion that this 
type of mound was built for burial purposes. 

It will be noted . . . that several mounds are oval in outline. Two others are 
pear-shaped . . . with the larger end built considerably higher. The oval type 
appears to grade into the short linear. This may be noted in the General Atkinson 
and Altpeter groups. 


The dumb-bell form . — Two mounds of the Altpeter Group are of this form ... In 
these the ends are decidedly conical and may possibly be superimposed upon the 
ends of short linear mounds. 

The tadpole type. — This type of mound consists of a more or less pronounced conical 
mound from which extends a straight pointed linear portion that varies in length . . . 
In No. 4 of the Koshkonong Group the conical part is 40 by 6 with the linear part 
comparatively low and short. In other cases . . . the conical part is wide and 
flattened. In still other cases the linear part is quite long . . . 

Irregular forms. — Nos. 5 and 6 of the Noe Springs Group are unusual combinations 
of conical and linear mounds. The conical mounds are in some cases several feet 

" "The Archaeology of the Lake Koshkonong Region," by A. B. Stout and H. L. Skavlem, Wisconsin 
Archeologift, vol. 7, no. 2, 1908. 


higher than the adjoining linear part. The surface examination made at the time 
of this survey gave the opinion that the conical mounds had been built upon the 
linear parts possibly at a later period. 


The -pure linear type. — This type is shown in . . . [fig. 8]. The mounds thus 
classed are straight and uniform in height and width . Some are so short as to almost 
approach the oval form. 

The straight pointed linear type. — Thi3 form is shown in . . . [fig. 8] and is 
usually of great length, widest at one end and tapering to a point at the other . . . 
Twelve of this type are found. The longest measures 675 and the shortest 120 feet. 

The angular linear type. — In group 9, No. 3 . . . [fig. 8] there is this peculiar 
type which is so abundant along the Wisconsin River in Sauk County. 

The club-shaped linear type. — This form is shown in . . . [fig. 8] and is a slight 
variation of the pure linear type. There are three of this class. 

The curved linear type. — This is a linear form having a slight kidney or- crescent 
shape. There are but two mounds of this type at Lake Koshkonong. 

In the Altpeter Group are three linear-like mounds that might be classed as effigies. 
No. 1 [fig. S] is much like the "mink" type. No. 3 bears some resemblance to the 
same type, and No. 2 to the "tadpole" type. In the latter, however, the head end is 
but little higher than the adjoining linear part and bulges slightly more on one side. 


The forms and sizes of the various effigies can be best understood by a study of the 
[various illustrations] . . . Not including the three mounds just mentioned or any 
of the "tadpole" type, there are 42 mounds that are plainly effigies. Three of these 
are nearly destroyed; the others are well preserved. 


. . . All of these lie on the east side of the lake in two closely associated groups. 
There are six such effigies in the General Atkinson Group and four in the Hoard 

But two have the wings at right angles to the body and both of these are low and 
flattened with heavy broad bodies in marked contrast to splendid mounds of this 
class in other parts of the State. 

Of the class having the wings extremely drooped . . . there are five. Nos. 28 
and 29 in the Hoard Group have a conical-like breast, while those of the General 
Atkinson Group have the surface of the body nearly level. The two small bird effi- 
gies close to the Lake View Hotel . . . have a conical breast and wings half drooping. 


All of the mounds shown in . . . [fig. 15] represent the animal as lying on one side 
with the fore limbs and the hind limbs united. It will be seen that there are several 
splendid examples of the " panther" type. 

Nos. 4 and 31 are of similar form, but represent the animal with the tail raised. 
These two are on opposite sides of the lake and are the only effigies of this precise 

Of the "mink" type there is an example in the Le Sellier Group. 

Mound No. 1 of the Draves Group and the effigy in the Taylor House Group are 
the only ones of their class existing at the lake. 

Of all the forms and types to be found in this region the mound shown in . . . 
[fig. 17] is perhaps the most . . . complicated, and it will be interesting to learn 
if there exists elsewhere in the State a mound of similar form. 


There are seven short . . . and two . . . long-tailed "turtle" effigies in this region. 

Mound No. 60 of the Atkinson Group differs from the "turtle" effigy in profile as 

well as in outline. The head is considerably higher than the part midway between 



[ETH. ANN. 37 

the hind limbs. No. 36 of the Hoard Group is similar, 'but has a truncated tail. 
Mound No. 61 shows still another departure in outline. . . . The four mounds just 
mentioned have no duplicates in the area. All the mounds shown in . . . [fig. 16] 
are similar in that the animal is represented from a dorsal view . . . 


A study of the various groups shows that there was no uniform plan in their con- 
struction. In general they occupy prominent elevations near the lake. There is a 
rather promiscuous mingling of types and arrangement of mounds which suggests that 
a group is the result of several or many years of continuous building during which 
mounds were added as desired and simply grouped to suit the immediate topography.' 8 


Arrow and spearpoints. 

Perforators and scrapers. 



Grinding and polishing stones. 




Stone balls. 




Rolled copper arrowpoints. 


Pipe, broken, and fragments of others. 
Pottery disks. 

Bone beads, several styles. 
Bone aw 1. 

Columella of large sea shell. 
Valves of fresh-water clamshells. 
Bones of various birds and animals. 


Grooved axes and hammers. 

Celts, numerous, many broken. 

Pipes and fragments of pipes (of catlinite, steatite, 

limestone, sandstone, etc.). 
Sawed pieces of catlinite. 
Flint spalls, chips, flakes, fragments, nodules, and 

Burned stones from fireplaces. 








t Potsherds, shell, sand and quartz tempered. 

Bone and shell 

"Jewel stones '' from sheepshead perch. 

Jawbones of pickerel. 

Carapace of mud turtle. 

Shell beads, disk-shaped and cylindrical styles. 

Shell gorget. 

The Max Mound 

What probably constitutes the most interesting type of mound 
found in Wisconsin is the so-called Man mound, two examples of 
which are known, both from Sauk County, one from Greenfield 
Township and the other known as the La Valle Man mound. The 
second of these has long been obliterated, but is known to us from a 
plat made by Mr. Canheld in 1872 (figs. 14, 18.) 

Lapham 19 described the Greenfield township Man mound as 

The figure is no less than 214 feet in length, the head 30 feet long, the body 100, and 
the legs 84. The head lies toward the south and the movement [of the body] is west- 

• 18 The following will give an idea of the material collected from one village site in this region. The village 
site is known as the White Crow site. The information is taken from the Wisconsin Areheologist, vol. 
7, no. 2, p. 93. 
19 Quoted by Brown in Wisconsin Areheologist, vol. 7, no. 4, p. 140. 




ward. All of the lines of this most singular effigy are curved gracefully, and much 
care has been bestowed upon its construction. The head is ornamented with two 
projections, or horns, giving a comical expression to the whole figure, [fig. 14.] 

Miscellaneous Structures 

Stone chambers. — These are found in a number of places and were 
apparently always used for burial. According to the present Winne- 
bago, chiefs were often buried in them (pi. 16). 

Garden beds (fig. 21). — These 
were first described by Lapham. 
According to him 20 they were "low, 
broad, parallel ridges, as if corn 
had been planted in chills. They 
average 4 feet in width, 25 of them 
having been counted in the space 
of a hundred feet, and the depth 
of the walk between them is about 
6 inches." 

Mr. C. E. Brown also found 
some which he has described in 2l 
his paper on "Wisconsin Garden 

To the southwest . . . was a remnant of 
a fourth plot of beds with 11 rows. Their 
direction was northeast and southwest, and 
their length then about 52 feet, a portion 
having been obliterated by the plow. On 
another plot of ground, lying to the west 
of that upon which all of the above de- 
scribed are situated, occurred a fifth plot 
of beds, having a northeast and southwest 
direction. The rows numbered 12 and 

were about 48 feet long. A sixth plot of beds, running north and south, numbered 
28 rows, each about 84 feet long. Its dimensions were about the same as those of the 
first plot. 

In summing up, Mr. Brown says: 22 

In concluding an examination of the evidence now available upon the subject of 
the age of the Wisconsin garden beds it may be stated that examples have now been 
located in 16 different localities in the State. The area in which these occur may be 
described as being bounded by Green Bay on the north and Racine County on the 
south, and extending from Lake Michigan westward to the Fox- Wisconsin waterway. 
In nearly every instance where garden beds are closely associated with mounds there 
is good reason to believe that their origin and age is identical. Like the mounds, most 
garden beds are prehistoric, but some were constructed in early historic times. Their 
association in some instances with plots of cornhills indicates that in these cases these 
two features of our archeology are also contemporaneous. 

20 Antiquities of Wisconsin. Smithsonian Cont. to Knowledge, vol. vn, p. 19, 1855. 

21 Wisconsin Archeologist, vol. 8, no. 3, p. 100. 

22 Ibid., pp. 104-105. 




In former times the Winnebago seem to have had eight types of 
lodges: The round lodge (tci p'arap'a'ratc), the long lodge (tci 
se'retc), the tipi, the grass lodge, the gable lodge ( na n haitci p'a'ra-p'- 
aratc), the platform lodge, the ceremonial lodge, and the sweat, 
lodge. Of the round lodge and the long lodge there are three varie- 
ties — one made entirely of bark (pi. 18, c ) ; another made entirely of 
reed mattings (pi. 18, a) ; and still another of bark with a roof cover- 
ing of reed matting (pi. 18, b). The round and long lodges of all 
three types are occasionally seen even now, rarely as habitations, 
however, but as storehouses (pi. 19). Gable lodges are no longer 
found among the Winnebago, but the writer has been informed that 
a few still exist among the Sauk and Fox living near Tama, Iowa. 

The round and the long bark lodges are constructed in a very 
simple manner. These are built of poles of ironwood (tcatco'rm) 
driven into the ground, bent over and lashed to other poles 
which meet them from the opposite direction. The poles are tied 
together with basswood bark (M n clce'xuntc). The same material 
is used in attaching to these poles the cedar bark that forms the 
walls of the lodge. The walls are supported on the inside by a vary- 
ing number of poles (tcicu' curulea n p) attached to the corresponding 
poles of the other side. In many cases a series of transverse poles 
(tcicu' na n jiy¥ere) are inserted beneath the exterior vertical poles. 
These can be seen in plate 18, a, b, c. The bark roofs are incased 
in frames made of irregularly distributed vertical poles with generally 
one transverse pole (pi. 18, a, b, c). If the roofs are of reed mat- 
ting two or three of the external poles have poles attached to them 
which are arched across the matting (pi. 18 a, b, c). The reed 
matting lodges, as a rule, have no external vertical poles and only 
two transverse poles each, one on the outside and one on the inside 
(pl. 19, e). 

Although considered of Winnebago origin by many Indians, these 

bark and reed matting lodges are in all probability of Central Algon- 

quian origin. They are easily constructed and for that reason were 

generally used for temporary purposes in the olden times. Accord- 



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ing to the oldest informants, the earliest type of lodge used by the 
Winnebago was the ten-fire gable lodge, of which there were two 
types, rectangular in form, one built on a platform and the other on 
the ground. Poles of cedar, forked at the top, formed the sides. 
Through the forks transverse poles were laid to which the gable roof 
was attached. Three poles (na n ji'¥ere) were arranged in the center 
of the lodge for the better support of the roof. Beds were placed 
along both of the long sides on a platform raised 2 feet (haza'tc). 
Frequently a platform 4 to 5 feet high was 
erected in the rear of the lodge and parti- 
tioned off. Here the favorite child of the 
family lived when he was fasting. In front 
of the lodge a spot was always kept carefully 
cleared ( nowaxi'nera) . There were two door- 
ways to the lodge. Often the entrances were 
shaded with boughs. According to some in- 
formants, this was only done for the chief's 
lodge. According to another description of 
the gable lodge, there were only two centra 
poles, one at each entrance ; these were always 
painted blue to symbolize the day (fig. 22, b). 

As far as can be learned at the present tune, 
the platform lodges were merely gable lodges 
on platforms. What purpose the platform 
served is now difficult to determine, but most 
Winnebago questioned said that it was pro- 
vided as a protection against the dampness 
of the ground and insects. 

Tire ceremonial lodge was merely a large, 
long bark lodge. The grass lodge seems to 
have been a roughly constructed round lodge 
with a covering of grass instead of bark. 
The sweat lodge was a round bark lodge 
having a framework of four poles. The tipi 
was of a simple type provided with a three- 
pole framework. 

All the evidence obtained points to the fact 
that lodges of these types were used synchronously. According to the 
myths and the oldest informants, in ancient times a village occupied for 
a considerable period consisted entirely of gable lodges, but these seem 
to have given way to the round and long type, probably borrowed from 
the Central Algonquian. The gable type seems to have held its own, 
however, among the more western villages of the Winnebago. The 
round bark lodges were used in winter and the reed matting lodges in 
186823"— 22 S 

Fig. 22 — a, CROSS-SECTION 



[ETH. ANN. 37 

spring and summer. In the spring those who still lived in bark 
lodges covered the roofs with reed matting, as that material shed 
water more effectually than bark. The tipi was generally used on 
the hunt, the grass lodge merely for a shelter overnight. 

All the duties connected with the construction of the lodge be- 
longed to the woman. These duties do not seem to have been re- 
stricted to any special class of women except in the construction of 
ceremonial lodges, in which only women who had passed their cli- 
macteric could participate. 

Clothing and Adornment 

In discussing the personal adornment of men it must be remem- 
bered that in former times each costume generally had special sig- 
nificance and could be worn only on certain occasions. Moreover, 


/ srw 

SFW \ 

Fig. 24. 


certain articles of dress, as arm bands and garters, could be worn 
only by certain people. The significance of most of the items com- 
prising a man's costume, as well as the proper occasion for wearing 
them, has long been forgotten and today everything relating to dress 
and adornment is hopelessly confused. Illustrations of the various 
articles of apparel will be found in plates 20-23; figures 23-26. 
The men's clothing is thus described by Skinner: 1 

The men's garments obtained in Wisconsin consisted of leggings of ribbon-worked 
cloth, or of plain buckskin . ... Some of the latter are made skin-tight, with a broad 
flap fringed at the edge. The decorated flap of the cloth and the fringe of the buck- 
skin are worn outside. Some are made by folding over a rectangular piece of leather 
and holding the sides together by means of thongs passing through from side to side, 
their ends serving in lieu of a fringe. Some little boys' leggings are skin-tight and 
fringed only at the top. The clout is of three pieces, a strip of plain, cheap material 
to cover the genitals, supported at each end by a belt, and two beaded broadcloth 

i In "Notes Concerning New Collections," Anthr. Papers Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. rv, part II, pp. 




flaps falling over the front and rear, and sometimes merely two ornamented flaps tying 
on like aprons fore and aft and not passing between the legs at all. Shirts of cloth or 
buckskin are beaded about the collar, over the shoulders, and down the front over 
the chest, where the head opening is. Buckskin shirts are often fringed at the junc- 
ture of the sleeves with the trunk at the shoulders, as well as along the seamB of the 
sleeves. Beaded garters are worn outside the leggings below the knees, and beaded, 
or (ierman silver, arm bands may be seen. 

The shirt worn by the women in former times seems to have been 
similar except as to length to that worn by the men, but the leg- 



gings were characteristically different. These consisted of a straight 
piece of buckskin folded around itself so as to leave no free flap. 
The upper part had a cuff. There was no flap at the bottom falling 
over the moccasin, as in the case of men's leggings (figs. 23, 24). 

The skirt is a single piece of broadcloth, the ends of which are handsomely ribbon- 
worked in applique on the outer side. The garment is wrapped around the body, 
the ends meeting in front, bringing the ribbon-worked horizontal bands together, the 
opening being in front. The upper part of the garment is folded outward over the 
woven belt which confines it. A curious shirtwaist, short and beribboned, is worn 
outside the belt. A shawl or blanket of broadcloth, handsomely ribboned, completes 



[ETH. ANN. 37 

the costume. This is worn not over the head, but the shoulders. ... It may be 
observed that in the photographs which date back a number of years, the waists Worn 
by the women are very much longer than those now in vogue, falling almost to the 

There is a marked difference between the moccasins worn by 
men and those worn by women (pis. 24, 25). The former are cut 
out as shown in figure 25, a. h. When folded, they have the shape 


shown in figure 25, b. There are two seams, one in front and one in 
the back. The women's moccasins are cut in much the same manner, 
but they have a large flap falling over the front (fig. 26, a, b). 
The string used in fastening the moccasins to the feet is always 
attached to the rear end (fig. 25, a, b).- 

Hats. — As a rule no head coverings of any kind were worn, but 
in winter, according to the author's Wisconsin informants, the 
head was protected by a hoodlike covering. 

- Excellent illustrations of Winnebago moccasins may be found also in Anthr. Papers Amer. Mas. Xat. 
Hist., vol. iv, pt. n, p. 291. 









O W 



<5 € 

< - 

o s 

o *, 






























'Z 28 























a. Birch-bark receptacle. 

b. Frame for stringing beads. 

c. Stall with personal markings. 

d. Wooden flute. 

e. Catlinite pipe. 
/. Gourd rattle. 


Method of wearing the hair. — In former times the men wore their 
hair in two long braids, although some seem to have affected the 
Sauk and Fox roach. The scalp along the parting of the hair was 
always painted, the color varying with individuals. There is no 
indication of any distinctions in the method of wearing the hair 
among the various clans as found among the Osage. 

A variety of coiffures exist among the Winnebago women at the 
present day and the assumption that these are all recent is unwar- 
ranted. It seems probable that in the old days the hair was usually 
worn in one braid, which on festive occasions was inclosed in a case. 
This consisted of two parts — a rectangular piece of broadcloth 
beaded, and long strips of beaded work (pi. 28). 

Earrings and bracelets. — At the present time earrings are fashioned 
either of 10-cent pieces strung together or of various ornaments of 
German silver. Strings of beads also are worn occasionally. Brace- 
lets now are made generally of German silver, while in former times 
beaded or quillwork buckskin was used. 

Arm bands and necklaces. — Arm bands are made either of German 
silver or beaded work. The necklaces consist of long strings of 
various articles, as modern wampum, seeds, and elk teeth. 

Belts, as well as cross belts, are now either beaded or woven, but 
formerly they were always woven from buffalo hair. Shell gorgets 
are generally of the type shown in plates 22, 24, 26, b. Tight 
collars are now made of beaded work. Bandoliers consist of long 
sashes with bags attached; both sash and bag are always gorgeously 
beaded. The bandoliers are worn in three ways, with the bag hang- 
ing on the right side, on the left side, or in front. Often the same 
individual wears two or three bandoliers. Garters are now made 
of beaded work; formerly these were generally made of the skins of 
various animals, preferably the polecat (pis. 27, 28, 29, 30, b). 

Headdress and taildress. — The Winnebago headdress has been well 
described by Skinner (op. cit., p. 293), as follows: 

The typical headdress is a roach or comb-like ornament woven from deer's hair and 
generally dyed red. A carved bone, somewhat like an elongate isosceles triangle in 
shape, spread out this roach and was attached near the front to another tubular bone 
in which an eagle feather was inserted. Often the latter was ornamented with dyed 
horse hair and rattlesnake rattles. . . . The whole was fastened on the crown of the 
head slightly back of the forehead. It was usually pinned to the hair, the scalplock 
serving to hold it on. 

A taildress, consisting of the tail of some animal, was worn only 
at certain dances, particularly the Herucka. 


In their original habitat hunting was the most important means 
of subsistence of the Winnebago. Practically all game available was 

110 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bth. ann. 37 

hunted, very few animals being tabooed. So far as the author 
knows, the following animals only were not eaten: Skunk, mink, 
marten, otter, horse, the weasel, gophers of all kinds, crows (northern 
ravens?), and eagles. 

Bovj. — The bow and arrow and traps were used in hunting. The 
bow is of a very simple type, having ends more or less pointed by 
rubbing them on stones. In former times the bowstring was made 
of sinew. 

Arrows. — There were five types of arrows, distinguished both by 
the nature of the arrowhead and by their use: Ma n p'axe'dera, bird 
arrow; ma' n santc jfaf'u 71 , rabbit, or small mammal, arrow; ma? 1 
Tc'etcUftk cdko'V ere , deer and large mammal arrow; mai n su'ra, or 
mai n so'¥ere, used in battle; and the ma n p'a' e una, also used in battle. 
The first two and the last were made entirely of wood, generally 
hickory, the last being merely a pointed stick. The third and the 
fourth were the only ones that had separate heads attached. The 
head of the third was, as the name implies, a turtle claw, and that 
of the fourth a fragment of flint. The Winnebago have no recol- 
lection of ever having made flint arrowheads and claim that those 
they used were found in the ground (pi. 31). 

Traps. — One of the principal traps consisted of a heavy timber 
supported very slightly by an upright, to which a piece of wood was 
attached bearing bait at the end. No sooner does the animal — 
wolf, bear, fox, or raccoon — touch the bait than the heavy timber 
falls upon his head, killing him instantly. Another trap commonly 
used for rabbits may be described thus: The head of a post is hol- 
lowed out to receive the knob-shaped end of a long pliable piece of 
wood that fits into it very lightly. To the latter is attached a noose, 
so arranged that it draws away the knob-shaped head at the slightest 
touch. The rabbit must put his head into the noose in order to get 
at the bait; in so doing he invariably moves the lever, which springs 
back, jerking him into the air and strangling him. 

For trapping deer a very ingenious method is used. Taking ad- 
vantage of the animal's habit of following repeatedly the same trail, 
the hunter at some point of a deer trail piles across it a mass of brush 
to a height of about 4 feet. Behind this he plants a pointed stake so 
that it can not be seen by the animal. On encountering the obstruc- 
tion the deer leaps over it and is impaled on the stake. 

Knowledge of the habits of beavers and otters is utilized in the 
following way : Many of these animals live along winding creeks, and 
in proceeding from one place to another, instead of following all 
the meanderings of the streams, they cut across the land. The 
Winnebago hunter digs deep holes in these cut-offs and covers them 
with hay. Into these the animals fall and are unable to get out. 


The bear hunt. — Bears were hunted by individuals or by the tribe. 
Before a man started on a bear hunt he went through the following 
ceremony, known as wanaHce're, literally "concentration of the 
mind." He either built a special lodge or used his own for the cere- 
mony. A kettle containing food was placed on the fireplace; this 
was intended for the particular bear the man wished to kill. The 
food generally consisted of corn or dried fruit; tobacco and red 
feathers also were offered, the former in small bark vessels. All 
these offerings were made not only as sacrifices to the bear but in 
order to make the feast as tempting as possible. When everything 
was in readiness, the host rubbed two sticks having rough surfaces 
against each other, called nai' n earax or nai n waidjo'¥ ere. The host 
never ate. He continued his singing and rubbing until he attracted 
the attention of the bear, as indicated by the appearance of a little 
streak of flame passing from the fire toward the gifts he brought 
for him. 

The same ceremony was performed before starting on a deer or a 
raccoon hunt. In addition to this ceremony, individuals always used 
the special hunting medicines that they obtained during their fasts. 
This was frequently chewed and then rubbed into the arrow (now- 
adays into the gun). 3 

There is a time of the year called hiruci'c, when bear break hickory 
or oak branches for the nuts or the acorns. It seems they are then 
very easy to approach. If a man killed a bear he would always 
refer to it in terms of respect. 

The tribal bear hunt always took place in summer. As enemies 
were generally encountered on the way a winter or war feast was 
always given before the party started. This had nothing to do, 
however, with the hunt proper. Following is a fairly close transla- 
tion of an account of a Winnebago bear hunt and buffalo hunt secured 
by the author: 

Description of a bear hunt. — When the Winnebago went on the bear hunt they 
always traveled in large numbers. They would always be able to find bears in the 
groves of red timber-oak, and it would be very easy to kill them. Nevertheless the 
old people considered it a very dangerous affair, especially if the hunters came upon 
breeding bear. If anyone killed a breeding bear he would cause very much trouble. 
The male bear would get very angry and chase the man who had done the killing, 
and if it ever happened that he was out of ammunition, the man surely would be 
killed. The bear would jump upon him and tear him to pieces. It is said that when 
bears kill a human being they always eat him. Another way of getting at the bears 
was to clear away the ground for them. It is very easy to kill them then. This 
generally takes place at the time of the year when the acorns fall to the ground. 
The bears gather in the cleared spaces and lie down there. They lie in the timber 
under the trees. They look like black objects in the distance. It is customary to 
shoot at them from some distance, but care is always taken not to shoot all of them 
nor to shoot when the wind was with them, for then they would scent the hunters 

' Numerous descriptions of the wanantce're are given in the Hare Trickster cycle. 

112 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. a.nn.37 

or hear the noise and run away. For this reason the hunters are very careful about 
these two things — namely, the number of bears shot and the direction of the wind. 
The method of hunting bears when the acornc fall and they come to the open or 
cleared spaces is known as the hiruci'c method. When the bears eat acorns then 
only is it easy to find them and kill them without, much effort. 

Description of a buffalo hunt. — Whenever the Winnebago went buffalo hunjting, 
they always went in large numbers, for the people used to say that on a buffalo hunt, 
they are likely to encounter their enemies and a fight might take place. It is even 
said that some people went purposely for the fighting. They generally went together 
with the Homanna i Missouri ?), Waxotcera, Iowa, and Wadjokdjadjera, the Oto. 
Many women accompanied them. It is said that they could always tell where the buf- 
falo were by the dust they encountered, for the dust raised by the trampling of the 
buffalo rose high in the air. They would always start out for the buffalo early in the 
morning on fast horses and try to ride up along the right side of the female buffalo, 
for they only killed the bulls afterward. They shot the buffalo with bow and arrows. 
When riding horseback, the bow is always drawn back with the right hand. The 
reason they try to kill the female buffalo first is because they always run away while 
the bulls do not. 

While hunting the buffalo they were always bound to meet some of their enemies 
and a fight would ensue, so that when they returned, they would bring back not only 
buffalo but also scalps, and immediately after their return the Victor}' Dance would 
be celebrated. 

A different account of a buffalo hunt was obtained from another 
informant (J. H.) : 4 

Whenever we go on a buffalo hunt we camp in a circle, with the soldiers in front. 
They always carried long poles to be used in the construction of tipis. [This statement 
was made by a number of persons whose information was generally accurate. As 
they were bound for the open prairie where there was a scarcity of wood, buffalo 
manure was always carried for fuel.] 

As soon as the chief decided to go on a hunt he gave a feast [war feast] to which he 
invited everyone. This was generally in June. As soon as the feast was over a hunting 
council was held. Then the chief appointed public criers who went around the 
village announcing the time for starting, etc. Then all went to the lodge of the chief 
of the Bear clan. There the ten best warriors were selected, who were to go ahead 
of the main body and reconnoiter for both buffalo and enemies. These started immedi- 
ately and if they returned with the news that they had found many buffalo and enemy 
at the same time, fights frequently took place. Ten warriors always went ahead and 
the old warriors generally stayed in the rear behind the women in order to protect 
them better. As soon as they came to the place where the buffalo were seen they 
followed their trail and killed them. The flesh was cut up into large chunks, which 
were afterwards dried on the grass. Then when they had enough they all returned 
home, observing, of course, the same order of march as when they started. When 
they reached their home they gave another war feast at which all thanked the spirits 
for their successful return. 

Pigeon hunt. — The pigeons are " chief " 5 birds and they would be hunted when- 
ever the chief decided to give the chief feast. The entire tribe was always invited 
to participate in the meal served, so that many pigeons were needed. The pigeons 
generally make their nests near human habitations. Sometimes there would be 20 

*As his grandfather was a Dakota, J. H. may have confused in his account Dakota customs with those of 
the Winnebago. Apart from this consideration, it should be said that J. H. was an exceedingly unreliable 

6 They are called " chief " birds because the pigeon belongs to the same division as does the Thunder- 
bird, or Chief, clan. 


in one tree, but a really large tree would hold even more. The pigeons were hunted 
in the following manner: Long poles were taken and the pigeons poked out of their 
nests. In this manner many would be killed very easily in one day. They are 
then either broiled or steeped, when they have a delicious taste. Often it is unnec- 
essary to hunt for them after a storm because large quantities die from exposure to 
inclement weather. 

Method of slaughtering animals. — According to most of the author's 
informants, all larger animals were opened by making two long in- 
cisions, one on each side of the chest. This information may be 
accepted as correct with respect to the bear, but there is less certainty 
as to other large animals. There are two considerations, however, 
which seem to make the question of agreement among informants of 
secondary importance: First, the considerable differences in this and 
kindred matters among the settlements of the Winnebago, due to 
the large extent of territory they inhabited and the diverse influences 
potent at various places ; and secondly, the fact that the distribution 
of food was entirely a matter of courtesy between individuals, so that 
considerable variation in custom was both possible and probable. 

According to one informant the man who killed an animal had the 
least to say about its distribution and generally got the poorest share. 
This unquestionably does not give a very accurate impression of the 
custom, because subsequent questioning brought out clearly the fact 
that the mamier of distribution depended entirely on the number of 
individuals present at the killing of the animal, and also on the age of 
these individuals and their social standing. Remembering that there 
is no ' ' typical ' ' division which an Indian thinks of in the abstract, 
but that he always has in mind particular instances of distribution, 
in order to ascertain definite rules it would obviously be necessary to 
obtain an adequate number of representative cases in which all the 
possibilities based on the factors of age, number, and social standing 
would be duly considered. 

From another individual the following information was obtained : 
When two people went hunting the man who killed the animal 
received the head, breast, feet, lungs, and heart; his companion, 
the hide and the rest of the animal. A feast was given afterwards, 
however, at which the bravest warrior received all that was properly 
the share of the man who killed the animal. When four went out, 
the eldest always got the hide; he was granted also the right to 
apportion the animal. This last instance seems significant in view 
of the fact that at the tribal hunt the rights of the individual who 
killed the animal were subservient to many other rights, as those 
pertaining to seniority and social standing, and suggests that only 
when one or two individuals took the rather great risks of hunting by 
themselves was actual killing of the animal deemed of predominating 
importance in the apportionment. 

114 THE WINNEBAGO TEIBE [eth. ann. 37 

Regulation of the tribal hunt. — It can not be said that there were 
many special regulations during the tribal hunt. The rules applying 
to the regulation of war parties held here too. (For a description 
of these, see p. 156.) 

Individuals were strictly prohibited from taking the initiative 
except by permission. For instance, a man was not allowed to 
proceed beyond a certain point, or shoot before a certain time; in 
short, not to do anything by which he might endanger Ms own life, the 
safety of his companions, or the success of the hunt, such as scaring 
away the animals or causing them to stampede. 

It is during the tribal hunts that the power of the Bear clan is at 
its height. For this reason it may perhaps be most appropriate to 
include here a description 6 of these powers, although this really 
belongs in the section on Social Organization: 

Whenever the Winnebago are on their tribal hunt or whenever they move from 
one place to another, the soldiers (i. e., the Bear people) take the lead. Whenever 
they decide to stop at some place, the leader of the Bear people places his stick in 
the ground and the other soldiers do the same. The line of sticks is a slanting one. 
The main tribe follows behind at some distance and always camps a little behind 
them. None of the members of the tribe dare pass ahead of these sticks. If, for 
instance, during the fall move the tribe were passing through a country in which 
much game abounded, and if after the tribe had stopped at a certain place anyone 
should take it upon himself to go ahead and kill game on his own initiative, and he 
was discovered, the soldiers would go to his camp and burn it and everything it con- 
tained, destroy any supplies he had, and break his dishes. They would spare only 
his life and the lives of his family. If he resisted he would get a severe whipping. If 
even after that he resisted them and took his gun and attempted to shoot, the soldiers 
would not do anything but stand ready. But the moment he made an attempt to 
shoot, they would kill him and nothing would be said of the matter, for they would 
be putting into effect the law of the tribe. If, on the other hand, the man submitted 
to the action of the soldiers and apologized they would make him a better lodge and 
would give him more and better things than those they had taken away. 

Fishing and Agriculture 

Fishing. — In former times fishing seems to have been done exclu- 
sively by spearing or by shooting. The spear (woca') consisted of 
a long stick provided with a bone or a horn point. Spearing was 
done preferably at night with the aid of torches made of pine pitch. 
In shooting fish a long arrowlike stick (ma n nuxinixini) with a pointed 
end, whittled and frayed at the base like the ceremonial staff of the 
Bear clan, was discharged from an ordinary bow. 

The most commonly used trap for fishing was a triangular weir 
loaded with a stone at its base and placed at the head of a waterfall 
caused by artificial damming of a stream. 

Very few fish were taboo, the principal ones being the dogfish 
and the eel. 

« By Thunder Cloud. 




Names of the principal trees, etc. 

raxgecok'a'wa, resin-weed. 

xa n dje, moss. 

wax eutc, cedar (red cedar). 

tcatca"na, ironwood. 

witci, flat cornered reed used for lodges. 

sa, round reed used for mats. 

hi n cge', basswood. 

wazi, pine in general. 

wazi paras, white cedar. 

wacge', poplar. 

tca n tca'wa, birch. 

tcagu, walnut. 

pa n dja'gu, hickory, 
tcazu'ke, butternut. 
na n sa'rjk', maple. 
ru7i, willow, 
rak, ash. 
tcacge'gu, oak. 
marjka'rak. elm. 
huksigu, hazel. 
na n p'a'gu, cherry. 
na n ho'cg 5 , box-elder. 
he7u', Cottonwood. 

Names of the principal vegetables and fruits 

tcera'bera, a water root, 
wokn^gera, root called "awl" root. 
huVkboi'dja, pea vine, 
dora, a sort of artichoke. 
pa n kxi, root found in lowlands. 
na n p'ak, chokecherries. 
k'a n tc, plum, 
kce' crabapple. 

tcosa /n wa n , fruit of a tree similar to crab- 
apple tree, 
haze'eutegs, raspberry, 
hasda'marjkere, blackberry, 
hasdimrjk', blueberries. 

hascdjek', strawberry, 
hap'u'nup'unuxge, gooseberry, 
hotcjrjke', cranberry. 
k'a n tc hi n cek, peaches (fuzzy plums'), 
kce carotc, apple (long and round apple). 
wak'a n retcawa. wild currant (snake's na- 
doks'wehi, prairie turnip. 
hu n n'rjk, bean. 

hu n narjk' na n di. climbing bean. 
hu n n'rjk" mink, nonclimbing bean. 
ma n hi n tc, milkweed. 

Animals and parts of animals whose flesh is not eaten 



no entrails (u'djwoju). 



warjkeurjk, dogfish. 

djadja'rjks'k, mink. 

doco'nA n k, otter. 

ho wak'a", eel (holy fish'). 

k'aii, crow (really northern raven). 

tcaxce'p, eagle. 

Agriculture. — In the old days the Winnebago always raised in their 
permanent villages at least corn, squash, and beans. As the villages 
consisted practically of a group of families belonging to different clans, 
each clan apparently living by itself, the question of clan ownership 
of these fields was hardly considered. (This statement is made be- 
cause some Winnebago spoke of clan ownership.) What actually 
occurred was, in the opinion of the author, as follows: Each group of 
families being segregated according to clan, it happened that certain 
family groups had fields in common. This must have happened 
rather frequently, for there seems to have been a tendency — although 
this can not be said with certainty owing to the meagerness of reliable 
information — for related families to hold together in these settlements. 
In general, however, each family owned and cultivated its own field. 


In the middle of the field was usually placed an earthen representa- 
tion of the clan animal. As to how squash and beans were planted, 
no reliable information is available. The corn was planted in small 
circular mounds which, to judge from those near Madison, Wis., were 
arranged in remarkably straight rows. 

The author is unable to say what type of implements was used, 
as the Winnebago have been using those of European manufacture 
for many years and have no recollection of any other kind. 

If anyone had more corn planted than he could take care of he 
gave a feast, to which he invited all who had hoes. At this feast 
dried corn was used. On this occasion the people sacrificed tobacco 
to their hoes, so that they might not cut themselves with these im- 
plements or have other accidents. Then they all joined in helping 
their host cultivate his corn. 

In addition to the above-mentioned patches, most Winnebago had 
small fields of tobacco, which were regarded as very sacred. The 
tobacco grown on these was used only for sacrificial purposes. Sacred 
gourds also were planted in these fields. 

Berry picking. — From the earliest times the Winnebago were known 
for their bountiful supply of berries. Every fall parties of men, 
women, and children went out to pick cranberries and whortleberries. 

Customs when berries are ripening. — If a man has a son whom he 
loves very much, he has him fast as soon as the berries and other things 
begin to ripen. If this boy dreams of something good, then he (the 
father) gives a feast with the newly ripened food and the boy eats. 
If the boy does not dream of anything good after four days, the 
father makes him eat and has him try again. 

Rice gathering. — In common with the Central Algonquian tribes, 
with whom they have come in contact, especially the Menominee, the 
Winnebago spent a number of weeks every year gathering wild rice. 
The following description of the manner in which this is done is 
taken from a newspaper article published by Prof. A. E. Jenks of 
the University of Minnesota: 

Fox River from its source to Lake Winnebago was for hundreds of years a very 
productive field for this aquatic cereal, and along this river the Winnebago lived 
in plenty and peace with several wild rice eating tribes of the Algonkin stock. Prob- 
ably a few families still gather their annual crop in that old domain; but most of the 
wild rice which the tribe now gathers is obtained in the sloughs of the Mississippi 
River near Lacrosse, Wis., and on the Iowa side of that river 

The Winnebago gather the grain by running their canoes into the tall standing 
stalks before the grain is ripe. A stick is held in each hand of the harvester, one 
being used to draw the standing stalks over the edge of the canoe, while the other one 
is employed in tapping or striking the heads of the stalks, thus knocking the grain out 
of the fruit head into the canoe. After the canoe is full it is taken to the shore and 

Preparation of foods. — Meats were prepared by broiling, in three 
ways — on stakes, over a rack, or under hot ashes. Only the ribs 


and the breast of most animals were considered good portions, but 
the head of the deer was included. Other portions were eaten, 
however. For infants the deer's tail was considered a delicacy. 
Now, when they eat meat provided by the white man, rib roast of 
beef is the favorite meat of the Winnebago. 

The Winnebago were very fond of soups of all descriptions. Most 
of these were meat soups with the addition of vegetables or berries. 

Most time was, however, spent in the preparation of vegetable 
foods, especially in the preparation of wild rice and corn. For the 
preparation of rice I will again quote Professor Jenks's article: 

At this stage of the harvest when the Winnebago gather the wild rice, the kernel is 
very like a long oat and has a tenacious hull, which must be removed before the grain 
can be eaten. The necessity of removing this hull and the unripe condition of the 
grain make it necessary to dry it artificially. This is usually done by spreading the 
kernels yet inclosed in the hull upon a rack of lattice work, under which a slow fire is 
kept burning. The grain is cured and the hull made brittle by the heat and smoke. 
The next process is the thrashing. The Winnebago thrashes the grain by the use of a 
most primitive flail. He spreads a blanket, rush mat, or deerskin on the ground, 
upon which he puts the now cured grain. Along three sides of the blanket he erects 
a screen of similar material. At the open side of this screen the man squats on his 
knees, and beats the grain with a straight stick in each hand, thus releasing it from the 
hull. When it has been thrashed the woman gathers up the contents of the blanket 
and winnows the mass by letting it fall from a vessel held high in the air upon a blanket 
or mat laid on the earth, the wind blows away the chaff from the falling grain and leaves 
the clean kernels. 

The Winnebago distinguished a number of different kinds of corn, 
the principal ones being wahi'seretc, yellow-stalked; hiwarakona, sweet 
corn; and waruc'tcJce, red-colored corn. The cornstalk was called 
wahu' , the corn proper, witca'Hva n s, and the cob, wosa'W. The corn 
is pounded on a rack (waick £ ) and then shelled, the grain falling 
through the rack and the cobs remaining on top. After being 
shelled the corn is steamed. Then the stones necessary for cooking 
it are gathered and the corn is picked. When this is finished, a 
hole is dug in the ground and red-hot stones are put in. Over this 
the husks are put and upon these the corn; then another layer of 
husks, etc. The top always is covered with husks. Four holes are 
made through the husks, into which four pails of water are poured 
and the whole is covered with a thick layer of earth and the corn 
left there overnight. The next morning it will be entirely cooked. 

In shelling, the outer part of an oyster shell is used. When the 
shelling is over the corn is spread out and dried. 

Squash is prepared as follows: After the skin has been removed 
the squash is cut into slices and the seeds taken out ; the slices of 
squash are then put on poles to dry. The dried squash is called 
hotca' n wa n dawus. There are two varieties of this vegetable — 
witca' n wa n , Hubbard squash, and witca' n wamik, small-kernel squash. 

Fruit was dried, but by what process the author has not learned. 

118 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE !eth. ann. 37 

In addition to the vegetable foods above referred to, the following 
may be mentioned: Teera'pEra, a plant growing in the water, the root 
of which was eaten boiled with meat; wokniylcEra and huHyle boi'dja, 
awl plant and peavine, respectively, of which only the roots were 
eaten ; and finally the dora, wild potato, a favorite dish. The skin 
was peeled off; then the potato was dried in the sun and afterwards 
boiled. NaPpa'Jc', chokecherries, were eaten raw. P'ankxi' and 
maPhi'ntc, a lowland weed, and the milkweed, respectively, were also 
utilized. Of the former, the boiled root was eaten; of the latter, 
the boiled head. Small quantities of food which required grinding 
were put into a squirrel hide from which the hairs had been re- 
moved, and were pounded with a stone. A mill consisting of a 
dug-out trunk with handles attached was also used. 

Preservation of food. — In former times meat was hung on long 
racks for preservation. Corn was cached iwoxe'). Dried berries 
were kept in bags woven from vegetable fibers. These bags were 
always covered with designs, mostly of geometric patterns, although 
realistic designs, as elk, deer, thunderbirds, and water spirits, ah 
unquestionably property marks, were frequently used. There were 
two types of bags, that closely woven (p'a n ) (pis. 32-36), just men- 
tioned, and matting bags with fairly large openings in the meshwork 
(pi. 37). Food stored away at home was generally placed in a part 
of the lodge reserved for the purpose. 

A Winnebago menu. — To give an idea of the favorite dishes of the 
Winnebago, the names of several mentioned in one of the myths are 
here appended: Small dried corn boiled with bear's ribs; jerked meat 
with bear's fat; deer's fat; deer's grease frozen in a hole in the 
ground; dried corn boiled with fruit; deer-loin soup. 

Cooking and eating utensils (pi. 38). — With regard to the kind 
of cooking and eating utensils used in the old days there exists 
even among the Indians themselves considerable difference of 
opinion. According to some, their ancestors never used wooden 
utensils, mills, spoons, and plates, but utilized shells of various 
kinds or other natural objects suitable to their needs. Others 
state, on the contrary, that, in early times, in addition to such 
natural objects, wooden vessels of many kinds were fashioned from 
maple knots. These are said to have been burned out, a very 
tedious process, or even to have been cut out with adzes. It is 
quite impossible to decide this question now. Wooden imple- 
ments and utensils in great variety are, of course, found among the 
Winnebago at the present time, but these are supposed by many to 
have been introduced by the neighboring Algonquian tribes and by 
early French traders. The main contention of the present-day 
Winnebago is, however, that their ancestors could never have made 
this woodenware without the aid of European implements, burning 
out being a tedious and unsatisfactory method. 












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It might be said that all recollection ' he making of wooden 
vessels could easily have been lost in th century or two and 

that therefore too much weight should not be given to present igno- 
rance of the subject. There are a number of reasons, however, why 
ignorance in this particular case might be significant. First, many 
indications point to workmanship of a low order among the Winne- 
bago in the manufacture of artifacts; second, there are many sug- 
gestions of two cultural strata in this tribe; third, while the Winne- 
bago in Wisconsin still use wooden vessels, many of them claim that 
these were introduced; and fourth, all the informants who gave this 
information were old people. If the author were to hazard an hy- 
pothesis, it would be the following: In very early times few objects 
were fashioned out of wood, but gradually contact with the Menomi- 
nee led to the introduction of many wooden vessels, and finally the 
acquisition of European axes, knives, and other implements made 
it possible to manufacture such vessels in large numbers. A similar 
explanation was offered by an Indian with regard to the use of 

Besides wood as a material for dishes and spoons of various kinds 
and sizes, shells were utilized, while sticks served as knives. 

All informants agree that neither bone nor stone were used in the 
manufacture of utensils. 

For cooking, clay pots were used. These vessels, most of which 
were very large, with round bottoms, always hung over the fire. 
The material used in their manufacture was blue clay found at 
Green Bay, on or near the site of St. Paul, Minn., mixed with 
shell shards, glue from sturgeon vetrebra?, and the gelatinous sub- 
stance in the horns of the deer. The addition of these ingredients 
greatly increased the cohesiveness of the clay. The material was 
either molded with the hands or in holes of the desired shape dug in 
the ground and lined with leaves. Finally, the vessels were dried over 
a slow fire in small kilns constructed for the purpose. None of the 
clay vessels were provided with handles. Some were ornamented 
with geometric patterns. The irregular incised designs on some 
Winnebago vessels are the impressions of grass blades with which 
the mold was lined. 7 

Fire making. — In former times fire was always made by means of 
a simple fire drill. This method is still used for ceremonial occasions. 

Tanning. — The author never witnessed the process of tanning. 
The description obtained agrees exactly with that of Mr. A. Skinner 
here quoted: 8 

After the skin has been removed, the hair is scraped from it. During this process 
the skin is hung over an obliquely inclined log. one end of which has been smoothed 

7 One informant gave a description of pottery making in which a wheel was used, but as no other Winne- 
bago corroborated this statement the author is convinced that it is inaccurate. 
' Anthr. Papers Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. pi. iv, pt. n, pp. 289-290. 


off on the upper surface. The beaming tool is then grasped in both hands and pushed 

away from the user against the grain of the hair over the skin where it lies on the 

smoothed surface of the stick or log. This process is the same as that followed by the 

Northern Ojibway and Eastern Cree. The next step is to stretch the skin on a square, 

upright frame. A fleshing tool is then brought to bear, although the beamer is often 

made to answer this purpose. When the skin has been fleshed, it is soaked in a 

mixture of deer's brains and water. Xo grease is added. This preparation is kept 

in liquid form in a pail and lasts some time. After remaining in the brain fluid for 

a time, the skin is taken out and thoroughly washed. Then it is taken by the tanner — 

who is always a woman — and dried. While the skin is drying, it 

is rubbed with a wooden spatula to make it flexible. It is now 

ready for the last step — smoking. For this process it is first sewed 

up into a cylindrical shape, and the upper end is tied together to 

form a bag. By this closed upper end it is then suspended over a 

r shallow hole from a stick driven obliquely into the ground at an 

angle of about 45 degrees. In the hole a fire is built with dried 

wood. The open lower edge of the skin bag is pegged or fastened 

to the ground about the edge of the hole. 

Games and Amusements 

Lacrosse was the favorite game of the Winnebago. 
d This was generally played on ceremonial occasions. 

j% % ^p r " Whenever played, the two divisions of the tribe, the 

WaflgEre'gi and the Mane'gi, were pitted against each 

other. There were two kinds of lacrosse, one played 

by men and the other played by women; these differed 

in a number of particulars. 

B < . Men's lacrosse. — The men's game was called tcabo- 

• • nino'nugis Tiik'isik'. There were either 12 or 22 men 

on each side, placed in the following maimer: Two, 

one of each side, stood in front of the arched sapling 

which constituted one of the goals {wdk'a'rani) ; these 

Fl c G roi 7 e'r I ^ e , n G S oi a K were called woijfiijgra. There were, of course, two 

ft' wl'flgefegTsId^ goals, each about 10 feet high, one at each end of the 

■ff'm'anegi^fde! held. About midway between the goals a small 

w'hi"h U baii r0 ^ mound was made from which the ball was thrown. 

thrown. rp en or twen ty meri) as t ne case ma y be, covered the 

ground between the mound and the two men stationed at each 
wak'a'rani. The lacrosse stick was called tcabonadu'gis, and the ball 
used either td-oko' ndnJcra or wa n i n i' n na. The object of the game was 
to put the ball through the goal four times. At the beginning of 
the game the ball was thrown straight into the air from the mound. 
(For plan of the game, see fig. 27.) 

Ceremonial lacrosse. — The following description of a ceremonial 
lacrosse game was given by a member of the Bear clan: 

The WaflgEre'gi and the Mane'gi people were to play lacrosse. So the WaflgEre'gi 
took an invitation stick and attached some tobacco to it and sent it to the Mane'gi 
people. Thus they fixed a day for the contest. The contest was to be in four days. 
In the meantime both sides were to get ready, for some might be without balls or 
sticks, etc. Then the WaflgEre'gi said, "We are the fleeter and will therefore go and 


look for food." When they returned the leader of the WangEre'gi aaid again, "We 
are the fleeter and will therefore win from our opponents. In addition to that we 
are holy and for that reason we will be strengthened in the coming contest." Then 
the leader of the Mane'gi said, " I will first pour tobacco and then I will arise with the 
blessing of life which was bestowed upon me and through which I know my men will 
be strengthened." Then they arranged the goals, i. e., the wak'a'rani, and arranged 
for the points. Then they took an emetic and went into a vapor-bath in order to 
strengthen themselves. The goals were now standing far apart from each other. Then 
the people who were to play gathered on the field and two men from each side began 
to tell their war exploits. First, one of the WangEre'gi men told how he had cut off 
an enemy's head; how proud his sisters had been at receiving the gifts and how they 
had danced in the Victory Dance. "With such a man you will have to play," he 
shouted to those on the other side. Then a man from the Mane'gi side said, "I also 
am a brave man. I did with the enemy as I pleased. Once when an enemy had been 
killed between the firing lines, I rushed for him and in the midst of bullets I cut off 
his head. With such a man you will have to fight," he shouted to those on the other 
side. Then he gave a whoop and the ball was thrown into the air and they began 
to play lacrosse. Those who first succeeded in putting the ball through the wak'a'rani 
four times would be declared the winners. All day they played and in the evening 
they stopped. Lacrosse was the favorite game among the Winnebago. This is all. 

Women's lacrosse. — The women's game was called naiyaca' 'radji 
unlc'isik'. Ten women took part on each side; they all stood in 
front of the goal, which consisted merely of a line drawn on the sur- 
face of the ground, called wak'a'rani as in the men's game. The 
lacrosse stick (tcabenona) was straight. The "ball" consisted of two 
balls tied together by a string (naiyaca'radjihi n wa n i n ina). Tins was 
put into play by being thrown from a point midway between the 
goals straight up into the air. The side that hit over the goal four 
times won. 

Football. — Football was played by men. The wak'a'rani was 
merely a line drawn on the surface of the ground. The 16 or 20 
men who took part on each side arranged themselves in front of either 
wak'a'rani. The ball used was a fairly large one made of deer's 
hair, covered with hide from the same animal. It was put in play 
in the middle of the field and the side that kicked the ball over the 
goal four times won the game. 

Hit-ihe-tree game (tcibonnoogis nai n djd hai>'a-na' n -i). — This consisted ' 
merely of a test of marksmanship. A tree (na n hadjina) about 8 
feet high and 8 inches in diameter was selected and the one who hit 
it from a certain distance received a prize. Any number of people 
could participate. 

The kicking game. — This was a very rough sport in which men 
only took part. Two men took turns in kicking each other as hard 
as they could, the one who held out the longer being the winner. 

The moccasin gan t e. — One of the favorite games of the Winnebago. 
Five men took positions directly opposite their five opponents. 
Between the two rows of players, in front of each man was a recep- 
186S23°— 22 9 

122 WINNEBAGO ARCHEOLOGY [bth. ann. 37 

tacle, generally a moccasin, in which a small object was secreted. 
The sides in turn guessed in which moccasin it was secreted. The 
guesser pointed in turn with a long stick to each moccasin, all the 
time carefully scrutinizing the expression on the face of each man 
whose moccasin he touched. The bystanders and the other playeis 
on his side meanwhile sang songs and made all sorts of remarks and 
allusions in an attempt to catch off his guard the man in whose 
moccasin the object was secreted, so that he might disclose the fact 
by some gesture or expression. The person guessing had the right 
to touch each moccasin without forfeiting his chance. As soon as 
he wished to guess he overturned with his stick the moccasin in 
which he thought the object was hidden. The seriousness with 
which a player scrutinized his opponents is well shown in plate 39. 

Women's dire game. — The women's dice game (te'ansu) was played 
with either bone or wooden dice. Eight of these are used. After 
being shaken, they are allowed to fall into a wooden bowl. The dice 
are white on one side and black or blue on the other. One of the 
dice has a mark on each side. The count is as follows: 1 dark, 7 
white, count 2; 2 dark, 6 white, 1; all dark, white, 4; 3 dark, 5 
white, 0; 4 dark, 4 white, 0; marked dice dark, 7 white, 10; marked 
dice white, 7 dark, 10; marked dice white, 1 other white, the rest 
dark, 2 ; all dice white, 4 ; 2 white, 6 dark, 1 ; 1 white, 7 dark, 2. 

The side gaining all the counters, which consist of small sticks, 

Cwp-and-ball game. — "A cup-and-ball game is composed of eight 
worked phalangeal bones of the Virginia deer (Odocoilms virginiana). 
It differs from those seen by the writer among the Cree and Ojibway 
in that the topmost phalangeal unit of the game as played among 
those people does not have the joint removed, whereas in the Win- 
nebago specimens all the bones are cut into conical form. The top 
is generally surmounted by a bunch of leather thongs with many 
perforations. The striking pin is of bone. The count is one for 
each unit, five for catching the tails or thongs at the top, and the 
same if all the units are caught together, which occasionally happens. 
The bottom unit nearest the striking pin has four small perforations 
set at equal distances about the lower edge. Above these holes are 
two, three, four, and six dots, respectively, cut in the bone. The 
count gained by catching this bone through any one of the holes 
varies according to the number of these dots. The striking pin may 
be of bone or wood. Sometimes these games are stained with dye or 
paint. The string and pins are short, so that the game is much 
more difficult and clumsy than in the Cree and Ojibway forms." 9 

• A. Skinner, op. cit., pp. 295-296. 











Tree game. — Two trees are selected about 20 feet apart, one hav- 
ing a branch about 15 feet from the ground. A number of people 
stand ready at the side of this tree and the one whose turn it 
is to play tries to hit the branch. When he succeeds in doing so 
all run toward the other tree. As soon as the player gets the ball 
he tries to hit the runners. If successful in this before the others have 
reached the tree he wins; otherwise they are "safe" and he must 
try again. The Winnebago called this game liahi'bidjil~e e u n . 

Travel and Transportation 

Canoes and dugouts. — All the boats found in the early days in the 
territory originally inhabited by the Winnebago were dugouts, yet 
a number of the tribe questioned denied positively that boats of 
this kind were in common use before the coming of the whites. 
According to these informants, in former times the Winnebago 
always had their home in a birch country, and had at hand, there- 
fore, the requisite material for making canoes; moreover, birch- 
bark canoes were much easier to construct than dugouts, for which 
logs had to be hollowed by burning — a process that might consume 
weeks. Only when the whites introduced the ax and the knife did 
it become practicable to make dugouts. These implements became 
available at the time of the southern migration of the tribe into a 
region where birch bark was scarce, and one result of the change 
was the substitution of the dugout for the canoe. The validity of 
this explanation is supported by the same line of argument as in the 
case of the wooden vessels. 

Snowshoes. — The snowshoes of the Winnebago were similar to 
those used by the Menominee, with this difference, that the two 
pieces of wood forming the "handle," instead of being tied together 
for their whole length, as among the latter, were left unfastened for 
about 5 inches at the end. This difference is immediately detected 
(pi. 40) by the present-day Winnebago, who can easily identify, by 
the feature mentioned, snowshoes belonging to the tribe. 

Musical Instruments 

The musical instruments of the Winnebago seem to have been 
restricted to the flute, drum, and gourd. The flute was made of red 
cedar and usually had a range of five or six notes; it was used at 
many ceremonies, and especially by young men when courting. 
The drum consisted of a framework (in later days a wooden pail or 
a barrel served the purpose), over which a skin was drawn very tight. 
A small quantity of water was always kept in the drum so that the 
skin could be wet as often as necessary. Rattles consisted of dried 
gourds filled, in olden times, with seeds, in more modern times with 
buckshot (pi. 30, d,f). 

124 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bth. axn. 37 

Divisions of Time 

The Winnebago reckoned time from the beginning of each new 
month (wira). There are slight differences in the names of the 
months between the Nebraska and the Wisconsin branch of the 
tribe, as appear below: 

Nebraska — 

1. Hundjwi'ra, month when the bears are born. 

2. Hundjwiro-a'gEnina, last bear month. 

3. Wak'ek' iru'x £ , raccoon-breeding month. 

4. Hoi'dogina^na, fish become visible (because of the ice clearing 
away) . 

5. Mai" da'wus, month that dries the earth. 

6. Mank'era, dig-the-earth month (when the crops are sowed). 

7. Wixo'tcera, the month that makes them gray (the month when 
the tassels of corn appear and the fields look gray). 

8. Wida'djox, when the roasted ears of corn burst. 

9. Wiza'zek'e, name of a bird that appears this month. 

10. Pca'mai n na v xora, when the deer paws the earth; or Hu n - 
wai n jukEra, when the elks shout, or whistle. 

11. Tcaik'i'ruxe, deer-breeding month. 

12. Tca'hewakcu", when the deer shed their horns. 
Wisconsin — 

1. Hu'ndjwi tconina, first bear month. 

2. Hu'ndjwiro-aVEnina, last bear month. 

3. Wak'e'k'iruxewiYa, raccoon-breeding month. 

4. Hoi'doginana, fish becoming visible. 

5. Mai D da'wus, drying-of-the-earth month. 

6. Mank'e'ra, digging month. 

7. Mai n na? c u n na, cultivating month. 

8. Wixo'tcerera, tasseling month. 

9. Hu" waiju'kEra, elk-whistling month. 

10. Tco'mai n na v xora, when the deer paw the earth. 

11. Tcaik'iru'xira, deer-breeding month. 

12. Tcahe'yakcu'na, when the deer shed their horns. 
According to a member of the Bear clan, the following were the 

activities throughout the year. The accounts given of these activi- 
ties differed in certain details, depending upon the clan connection 
of the informant, because he naturally associated some months with 
specific activities of Ids clan, such as clan feasts. 

1 . Members of the Bear clan give their feast. 

2. Month in which the various Winter Feasts are given. 

3. Month in which people hunt. 

4. Month in which people begin to fish. 


5. Month in which people hunt deer. At this time deer are very 
tame and frequent the streams. 

6. Month in which people plant corn, squash, and beans. 

7. Month in which people hunt deer. At this season deer are very 
fat. The hunters return to their homes at the beginning of the 
eighth month. 

8. Month in which people dry corn and store it away. 

9. Month in which people tie the rice stems into bundles and go 
through them with their canoes. 

10. Month in which the people go on their fall move and hunt the 
larger animals. 

1 1 . Month in which the people go on their fall move and dry their 

12. Month in which the people return to their winter quarters. 
From this calendar of activities it is apparent that the longest 

period the Winnebago remained at home continuously was three 
months, the twelfth, first, and second. They were at home also 
throughout the sixth and eighth months. Whether they were in 
their villages at intervals during the fourth and fifth months is hard 
to determine. It is probable that the fishing or hunting trips con- 
sumed a considerable portion of, if not the entire, month. During the 
ninth, tenth, and eleventh months the Winnebago were undoubtedly 
away from their villages all the time. 



Birth. — During pregnancy a woman had to observe carefully cer- 
tain restrictions. She was not allowed to roam the woods alone for 
fear of meeting snakes or other animals, the sight of which was 
believed to forebode ill luck to a pregnant woman. She was not 
permitted to have dogs or cats around her nor to sleep during the 
day. Every morning during her pregnancy she had to take a cold 
bath. Among the restrictions may have been food taboos, but no 
information on this phase of the subject was obtained. 

When the time for delivery came, it was the custom for the woman 
to occupy a small lodge erected especially for her use. None of her 
male relatives were permitted to be present and her husband was 
not even permitted to stay at home. He was supposed to travel 
continually until the child was born, in the belief that by his move- 
ments he would help his wife in her delivery. According to one in- 
formant the husband had to hunt game, the supposition being that 
this procedure on his part would cause his wife to have enough milk 
for the child. This traveling of the husband was called, therefore, 
"Looking-for-milk." It was considered improper for a woman to cry 
out during labor pains, and by doing so she subjected herself to the 
jests of her elder female relatives. The cradle-board was always 
made before the child was born (pis. 41, c, 42, a). 

The positions commonly assumed by women in delivery may be 
described thus: Supported by the arms, which were passed over a 
pole held in the crotches of two forked sticks driven into the ground; 
suspended between two stakes; or flat on the back. 

The infant's navel strhig was cut off and sewed into a small bag, 
which was attached to the head of the cradle-board. 

On the birth of a child the sisters of the husband were supposed 
to show his wife especial marks of courtesy. They always gave her 
valuable gifts, such as goods or a pony. They were glad that he had 
offspring, the people said, and even permitted their brother's wife 
to give the presents received from them to her own relatives. The 
presentation of these gifts was called ''Cradling-the-infant." Gifts 
were presented also to the wife's brothers. 

Some time after the birth of a child, if a boy, the father always 
gave a feast to Earthmaker and thanked him. 








Names. — A newborn child received a birth name immediately. 
There were six such names for male children and six for female 
children, which were given according to the order of birth: 
Male Female 

1. K'u'nu. 

2. He'nu. 

3. Ha'ga. 

4. Na'nxi. 

5. Nanxixo'nu. 

6. Nanxixonu'niiik'a. 

1. Hi'nu. 

2. Wi'ha. 

3. Aksi'-a (generally pronounced Aksi). 

4. Hi'nunk'. 

5. A'ksigaxo'nu. 

6. A'ksigax6nu*nirjk'a. 

The meanings of these names are unknown to the present Winnebago, 
who reject the idea that they ever had any meaning apart from 
indicating the order of birth. Originally, of course, these names 
had meanings, but at the present time they resemble no other Winne- 
bago names and baffle all attempts at interpretation. This is not 
surprising, because they represent in all probability archaic names 
which undoubtedly have been considerably modified through long- 
continued use. The Dakota have a similar set of names but only 
four in number. The two additional names among the Winnebago 
indicate by their form that they have been derived from one of the 
other four. In this connection it is interesting to note that the 
fifth of the male names is, as one might expect, merely the fourth 
name of the series with the addition of a diminutive suffix, whereas 
the fifth of the female names is the third of that series with a like 
addition. The sixth name of each series is formed by adding another 
diminutive suffix to the fifth name. 

A few words may not be out of place here with regard to the 
relation of the male to the female series, and to the possible interpre- 
tation of two of the female names. He'nu ' of the male and Hi'nu of 
the female series, it will be noted, differ only in the first vowel. A 
similar phenomenon is found in such relationship terms as Tii'niyk, 
male child of elder brother, and hi'tinuyl-' , female child of elder brother. 
Remembering that in those Siouan languages which distinguish 
between female and male oral stops the difference often consists 
merely in the change of a vowel, this difference between He'nu and 
Hi'nu may be suggestive. The name K'u'nu may be connected with 
Wu'niyTc, "a grandmother," in which lc'u is unquestionably the stem, 
meaning probably "old." In the female series there is a possible re- 
lationship between Hi'nu and Hi'nunk', as ¥ seems to be a very com- 
mon ending in relationship terms. Hi'nunk' itself is identical with 
the word for "woman" and it seems hard to imagine that it is not 
the same, especially since it is also found as the relationship term for 
female child of younger brother. 

1 Hi'nu is also the name for a man's elder sister. 

128 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bth. ann. 37 

On first thought it might he imagined that the application of the 
same name to so many people would cause great confusion. As a 
matter of fact, however, in a village of, say, 20 families, there could 
have been a maximum of only 40 having the same name. Taking 
into account deaths and departures, the number was greatly dimin- 
ished. Moreover, as in general only relations or close friends were 
addressed in this way, strangers commonly being addressed by their 
nicknames, the seeming danger of confusion is almost entirely obvia- 
ted. In those cases, however, in which confusion might result a 
nickname, or sometimes a clan name, was added to the birth name 
when speaking of an individual. 

Naming feast. — The clan name was generally bestowed on a child 
at a special feast held for the purpose or at any feast that happened 
to be given within a reasonable time after its birth. The bestowal of 
the clan name was not infrequently delayed by a father's inability 
to gather the requisite amount of food to be presented to the old 
man who was to select the name. Occasionally it even happened 
that a father under such conditions permitted the relatives of his 
wife to bestow a name on a child, which of course was a name from 
its mother's clan. The author has personal knowledge of a case in 
which the first child of a man had a name belonging to his mother's 
clan while the other children had names belonging to their father's 
clan. When questioned, the man said that at the time of the birth 
of his eldest child he was too poor to pay for the honor of having his 
child receive a name and that he had allowed his wife's relatives to 
give it a name. When his other children were born, however, as 
he was in better condition financially he had been able to name them 
in the usual way. Although a child, irrespective of his individual 
name, always belonged to his father's clan, there seemed to exist a 
feeling that a person having a name not taken from his own clan 
was more or less incomplete. A person possessing no clan name was 
regarded as having low social standing. 

When a child was adopted it retained its former birth name and 
clan name. 

Relationship terms. — The system of relationship terms used by the 
Winnebago is as follows : 2 

Male Terms of Address 

Tcok'a', p. and m. grandfather (direct address). 
Hi'tcok'd, p. and m. grandfather and father-in-law. 
K'u'nink'a, p. and m. grandmother (direct address). 
Hik'arok'e, p. and m. grandmother and mother-in-law. 
Dja'dji, father (direct address). 

a Abbreviations: p., paternal; m., maternal; br., brother; sr., sister. 


Hi-a'ntc, father. 

Na'ni, mother (direct address). 

Hi-u'ni, mother. 

Hi'ni, elder brother (direct address?). 

Ni'ni, elder br. (?). 

Hi'surjk', or Hisunkedji", younger br. 

Hi'nu, elder sr. 

Wai'tcke, younger sr.; or (TcMgua'k' (obsolete) (direct address?). 

Hiwange', wife of elder br. 

Hiwange', wife of younger br. 

Hitca' n , husband of elder sr. 

Hitca' n , husband of younger sr. 

Hi'nink', son of elder br. 

Hi'nink", son of yoimger br. 

Hi'niink', daughter of elder br. 

Hi'niink", daughter of younger br. 

Hi'nunktce'k', wife of son of elder br. 

Hi'nunktce'k', wife of son of yuunger br. 

Hitcu n cke', son of elder sr. 

Hitcu n cke', son of younger sr. 

Hitcu n jonk', daughter of elder sr. 

Hitcu n j6nk', daughter of younger sr. 

Hinunktce'k', wife of son of elder sr. 

Hinunktce'k', wife of son of younger sr. 

Wadoho'tci, husband of daughter of elder br. 

Wadoho'tci, husband of daughter of younger br. 

Wadoho'tci, husband of daughter of elder sr. 

Wadoho'tci, husband of daughter of younger sr. 

Ningia'k', son (no longer in common use) (direct address). 

Hintnk', son. 

Hirakewa 11 , stepson. 

Hitca'xa 11 , stepdaughter. 

Nunguak', daughter (n© longer in common use) (direct address). 

Hinunk', daughter. 

Himurjktce'k', wife of son. 

Watoho'tci, husband of daughter. 

Hitcu n cke', son of son. 

Hitcu n cke, son of daughter. 

Hitcu n j6'nk', daughter of daughter. 

Hitcu n jonk', daughter of son. 

Hinunktce'k', wife of grandson 

Wadohto'ci, husband of grand-daughter, 

Hinunga's, p. br. 

Hi-uni'nink', wife of p. br. 

130 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth.ann. 37 

Hi'ni, Hisu'nk', older and younger sons of p. br., respectively. 

Hi'nu, waitcke', older and younger daughters of p. br., respectively. 

Hinunktce'k', wives of sons of p. br. 

Watoho'tci, husbands of daughters of p. br. 

Hinink', sons of sons of p. br. 

Hinunk', daughters of sons of p. br. 

Hitcu' n wi n , p. sr. 

Hitca' n , husband of p. sr. 

Hitcu n cke', sons of p. sr. 

Hitcu n jo'nk', daughters of p. sr. 

Hinunktce'k', wives of sons of p. sr. 

Wadoho'tci, husbands of daughters of p. sr. 

Hiteu n cke, sons of sons of p. sr. 

Hitcu' n jo'nk', daughters of sons of p. sr. 

Hide'k', m. br. 

Hitcu' n wi n , wife of m. br. 

Hide'kenink', sons of m. br. 

Hidcu' n wi n , daughters of m. br. 

Hitcu n cke', sons of sons of m. br. 

Hitcu n jo'nk', daughters of sons of m. br. 

Hitcu' n wi n , wives of sons of m. br. 

Hitca' n , husbands of daughters of m. br. 

Hi-uni'ntnk', m. sr. 

Hinunga's, husband of m. sr. 

Hi'ni, Hisu'nk, older and younger sons of m. sr. ; respectively. 

Hi'nink, male children of male children of m. sr. 

Hi'nunk, female children of male children of m. sr. 

Hinu, waitcke, daughters of m. sr., respectively. 

Hinunktce'k', wives of sons of m. sr. 

Wadoho'tci, husbands of daughters of m. sr. 

Tcido', elder br. 

Hiteu n ck§', children of br. 

Hitcu n j6i)k', daughters of br. 

Hiciga' n , wife of br. 

Hisu'nk', younger br. 

Hitconk', younger sr. 

Hi'nu, elder sr. 

Hicik £ e', husband of sr. 

Hint'nk', sons of sr. 

Hinunk', daughters of sr. 

Hiciga' n , wives of sons of br. 

Hicike £ ', husbands of daughters of br. 

Hinunktce'k', wives of children of sr. 

Wadoho'tci, husbands of daughters of sr. 

Hicik £ e', husband of father's sr. 


Hiko'no, husband. 

Hitca' n , brother of wife. 

Hitca' n wi n , wife. 

Hiwange', sister of wife. 

After one's grandchild's generation the children of a man whom one 
called either Hi'nink' or HitcCi n cke', or of a woman whom one called 
either Hi'nunk' or Hitcu"j6'nk', were all called Hitcu n ck6' or 
Hitcu n j6'nk'. 

A special term, Wotcu' n wonk', was used by parents-in-law when 
addressing each other. 

It will be noticed that, taking self as the starting point, the dis- 
tinction between forms — one series to be used in speaking of a person 
and the other in directly addressing one's own blood relative — has 
been developed for only grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, 
son, and daughter. It is probable that in former times brother and 
sister also were included in this double series. 

Female Terms of Address 

As compared with the distinction between male and female terms 
of address found among other Siouan tribes, that existing among 
the Winnebago is very weak and there seems to be no indication 
that it ever was much stronger, although caution must be observed 
in drawing inferences as to past relationship terms, since it is a well- 
known fact that they have a tendency to disappear. At the present 
time there are only four terms used among the Winnebago by women 
specifically; tcito, elder brother; Mtco'yJc', younger sister; hiciga'", 
wife of brother; and hicil^c' , husband of sister. 

A cursory examination shows that the following forms are linguis- 
tically related: 

hini. hinu. 

hinlnk'. hinunk. 

hicike'. hiciga' n . 

hitcu n cke'. hitcu n jo'i)k' (tcu n — giVak, obsolete) hitcu' n wi n . 

hitca". hitca n wi n . 


hitcak'a'ro (friend). 

It is clear that we are dealing here with a change of terminal vowel 
(from i to u; from e to a; from a to u), indicative of sex. In the 
form hitcu n wi n , wi n is undoubtedly identical with -wi n , meaning 
''female," found with all animal female names. Terminal k', Jc'e, 
ga, is a suffix that may be related to the termination Jc'e found with 
so many animal names. We may perhaps say, then, that we have 
here only three stems, hini, hiciJc', and hitch' 11 . For a complete list 
of stems used in relationship terms there must now be added to 
these the following: Hik'd'ro — Jc'e hitcoJc — Jc'e', hi-a'ntc hi-u'ni, 
histi'y — ¥, waitc — Jc'e', hintingds, hide — Jc' hiwan — ge' , tcido, 

132 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

wadoMtci, and hinti'nlc — tcek' . Hinunga's might be said to be 
divided into hinug and gas, but there is no reason to assume that 
such a division of the word is justifiable, and for that reason it has 
not been included in the enumeration of hinti'n — ¥ stems. The 
form tcido, elder brother, spoken by females, is baffling, all the 
more so if we assume that there never was a form for "younger 
brother" used by women. 

Let us now separate the terms applied to relatives through mar- 
riage from those applied to blood relatives. 

through marriage 



k', hidekENfrjk' Hinurjga's 

Blood relatives 


through marriage 

Blood relatives 


Hicik £ e 

Waitc — k'd' 


Hiciga /n 


Hik'aro— k'e' 

Hitcu /n wi n 

Hide'— k', hid 

Hitco— k'£' 




Hitcu' n wi" 

Hi-u'ni; hi-unini'rjk 



HisQ'n— k' 


Three terms are applied sometimes to blood relatives and some- 
times to relatives through marriage: IIitc£l' n ivi, lii-uni'niylc' , and 
MnHyga's. It is the author's belief that in all these cases the terms 
have been applied to relatives through marriage on account of the 
extremely close relationship the husbands of Mtcu' n wi and hi-uni'niyl~ l 
and the wives of Mntiyga' shear to one's parents; that it is really 
an act of courtesy toward people whose children are in one case 
(hitcu" n un n and M-uni' ntyk' ) regarded as one's brothers and sisters 
and in the other case as the same as one's sister's children. There 
never was the slightest confusion as to the position held by the wife 
of one's father's brother (hi-uni'niijl-'), or one's mother's brother's 
wife, or the husband of one's mother's sister; nor is there the slightest 
indication that they ever were considered as identical with any 
blood relatives who bore the same name. 

The foregoing list contains twenty-two terms of relationship 
applied by the Winnebago to all relatives, blood or otherwise, for 
five generations — one's own father's, grandfather's, son's, and grand- 
son's. The two tables following show first, how these terms were 
distributed over the five generations, and second, to how many 
people of these five generations the same name was applied. . 










Hi-a'ntc, hide'k' 

Ili-u'ni, hi-uninirjk' 

Hinunga's, hitca' 1 ' 

Hitca'" wi n 




Hini, hisu'rjk' 
Hitcu 11 rke', hideke- 
Nink', hitca'", 
Wadoho'tci, hicik £ e 

Hinu, waitcke', hinunk' tce'k 
Hitcu°j6'rjk', hitcu^wi", 
Hiwangg', hiciga'" 



Hinink', hitcu n cke', 
Hini, hisu'rjk', 

Hinu'nk', hinurjk' tce'k', 
Hitcu" jo'rjk', hfnu, 


Generation Male Female 

5. Grandson's Hitcu n cke / , hinink', IIitcu n j6 / nk', hinunk', 

6. Great-grandson's Hitcu D cke / , hinirjk', Hitcu n j6'rjk', hi'nurjk', 

(Hitcft-'jS'nk') (Hitcu n cke') 

7. Great-great-grandson's (Hitcu n j6'nk') (Hitcu n cke v ) 

For the first three generations no term is repeated except Mtcu' a wi"; 
for the fourth generation eight terms are repeated and two terms 
are added, JiiniyTc' and hi'nuyk'. After that all the terms are re- 
peated and no new terms are added. Only three sets of terms are 
repeated for more than two generations — hitcu n cke', hitcu^jo'yTc 
hinuylc'tce'lc, wadoho'tci, and M'ntyJc', M'nuijlc'. After the fifth gener- 
ation only one set of terms is used. 

Distribution of all relationship terms 3 occurring more than once. — 

Hi-uni'nirjk", wife of p. br. ; m. sr. 

Hi'ni, elder br. ; son of p. br. ; son of m. sr. 

Hisunk', younger br.; son of p. br. ; son of m. sr. 

Hi'nu, elder sr. ; daughter of p. br. ; daughter of m. sr. 

Waitcke', younger sr. ; daughter of p. br. ; daughter of m. sr. 

Hi'ntnk', son of elder br.; son of sr. (sister speaking). 

Hi'nurjk', daughter of elder br. ; daughter of sr. 

Hitcu n cke', son of elder br.; son of daughter and son; son of br.; 
son of p. sr. 

Hitcu n jo'i)k', daughter of elder br. ; daughter of daughter and son ; 
daughter of p. sr.; daughter of br. 

Hitcu' n wi n , p. sr. ; daughter of m. br. ; wife of son of m. sr. 

Hitca' n , husbands of sisters; husband of p. sr. ; husband of daugh- 
ter of m. sr. 

Hiciga' n , wife of br. ; wife of son of br. 

HicikV, husband of p. sr.; husband of daughter of br. 

Joking Relationship 4 

A man was not permitted to take even the slightest liberties with 
any of his near relatives or with his mother-in-law or his father-in-law, 
but a curious exception to this rule was permitted for his father's 
sister's children (Mtcu n cke' and Mtcd n jo'rj¥); his mother's brother's 
children (hitcu n cJce' and Mtcu n j6'ylc'); his mother's brothers (hide'lc 1 ); 
and his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law. In the two cases last 
named not only was a man permitted to joke with those relatives 
but he was supposed to do so whenever he had an opportunity. 
Under no circumstances were any of these individuals supposed to 
take offense. This relationship was of course reciprocal. If a person 

3 A more specific study of these relationship terms is reserved for a special article on Siouan Relation- 
ship Terms. 

< The joking relationship was discovered among the Winnebago by the author. Since then it has 
been found to exist among the Crows and the Creeks, etc. 


attempted liberties with people who did not belong in the category 
of the "joking relationship" they would stop him immediately, 
saying, "What joking relation am I to you" (Djagu' niylc' idajitcgad- 

It is impossible to determine the significance of the "joking rela- 
tionship." Two points of interest may be referred to, however: 
First, that it existed between a person and such close relatives as the 
children of his father's sister and his mother's brothers and their 
children, on the one hand, and his relatives by marriage only, as his 
brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, on the other; and second, that his 
mother's brother was at the same time a person with whom he was 
on particularly intimate terms. With regard to the first point, the 
author suggests the following explanation: Both groups just men- 
tioned had this in common — they did not belong to the man's clan 
and with the exception of their mother's brother they did not belong 
to any individuals but those of their own generation. Now we know 
that the prohibition of marriage into a man's mother's clan extended 
only to members of her generation and that theoretically, at least, 
he could marry her brother's children. In the same way the children 
of a man's father's sister, belonging as they did to the side into which 
he had to marry and not belonging to the generation of his father, 
belonged also to the group into which he theoretically might marry. 
The author has never heard any Winnebago state that a man may 
not marry any of the individuals included in the" joking relationship, " 
with the exception of his sister-in-law, but he feels certain that such 
marriage would be considered improper, although equally certain 
that it would not be regarded as incest, as would be the case if a 
person were to marry the son of his mother's sister or of his father's 
brother. The suggestion is offered, therefore, that the "joking 
relationship" implies, first, close relationship of individuals who 
have different clan membership, and, second, perhaps, the possibility 
of marriage. If there is any explanation for the existence of the 
relationship between a man and his mother's brother I feel that it 
is probably to be sought in the first of these suggestions. The second 
is really advanced merely to suggest some reason for the grouping 
together of blood relations with relations by marriage. 

The "joking relationship" is very peculiar from the point of view 
of a European, and for that reason it is perhaps likely that we exag- 
gerate its importance. In actual practice joking was probably 
indulged in only during the first moments after meeting, except by 
the habitual punster. An important psychological factor may have 
been the opportunity for relaxation it afforded an individual who 
was constantly surrounded by close relatives in intercourse with 
whom he had to observe at all times strict rules of propriety. 


Mother-in-law and Father-in-law Taboo 

In former times the mother-in-law and father-in-law taboo was in 
full force. No man was allowed to talk directly to his mother-in-law 
or to look at her, and the same rule held with regard to the attitude 
of a woman toward her father-in-law. Even accidental meetings of 
these relatives, as on the road, were attended with great embarrass- 
ment. The author never learned of any way in which either the 
mother-in-law or the father-in-law taboo could be relaxed even 
temporarily, much less done away with entirely. 

Puberty Customs 

From the age of five, children, male and female, were taught the 
customs of their ancestors in a series of talks always delivered by 
an elderly male relative, perhaps the father. The specific training 
differed, of course, for boys and girls and for individuals. Per- 
sonal training ceased at the age of puberty, when all, both boys and 
girls, were sent out to fast. For boys this fasting constituted the 
only puberty rite. After their faces had been blackened with char- 
coal they were sent to some neighboring hill with the injunction not 
to return till dawn. Gradually they would be sent out for two, then 
three, nights; if after that trial they were not blessed they would be 
advised either to desist entirely or exhorted to fast until they were 
blessed, no matter how long the time required to secure the desired 
result. While fasting the boys and girls used the following formula: 

Waxop' inixjiwina hina'djire na n dje'je wahadjex. 

Spirits am I likely to be blessed? that is why I am praying. 

One old Indian informed the author that in former times the young 
boys and girls were offered either bread or charcoal for their fast. 
If they took the charcoal, well and good; but if they took the bread, 
they were unceremoniously kicked out of the house and the charcoal 
was thrown after them. From the other statements of this informant 
one might gather that the young boys and girls generally took the 
bread, because, he said, after they had been kicked out, they would 
always resolve to go to the wilderness (in that way running the risk 
of being captured or killed by an enemy), in order to spite their 
parents. My informant was of the opinion that the parents pur- 
posely treated their children roughly, so that they might feel all the 
more miserable while fasting and thus pray all the more intensely. 

A faster is always told to be careful as to what kind of spirits 
bless him, as he might be blessed by a bad spirit. Therefore a 
faster's blessings are always reviewed by the elders. J.'s old grand- 
mother used to call the children in at dusk, as the evil spirits are 
around then. 

136 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bth.ann.37 

All boys do not seem to have approached the ordeal of fasting with 
the proper religious feeling. One instance in particular showed any- 
thing but a reverent attitude; this is so amusing that it is here 
given in the exact words of the Indian : 

When 1 was a young boy, my folks made me fast together with a boy named 
Modudjeka. We were supposed to go to the hills and cry until the spirits blessed us. 
However, whenever we looked at each other and at our charcoal-blackened faces we 
could not refrain from bursting out laughing, ^"henever we made up our minds to 
cry, something or other would induce us to look at each other and the laughing would 
begin all over again. When the time for our return to the house came, we didn't 
present the slightest indication of having cried, so we took some saliva and made long 
streaks on our faces. 

Young girls and women are also encouraged to fast to obtain the 
war honors. 

Menstrual lodges. — Fasting at puberty by girls was inseparably con- 
nected with their retirement to menstrual lodges. Sometimes there 
was only one girl in each menstrual lodge, sometimes there were as 
many as three. From the time of her first menstrual flow to her 
climacteric a woman retired to a menstrual lodge every month for 
a few days. An excellent account of Winnebago customs in this 
respect was obtained in a text from a male informant, and, although 
somewhat discursive, it is given in full here: 

As soon as a woman begins to have her menstrual flow she has to retire to a menstrual 
lodge and to be careful never to come in contact with any sacred objects. If she did, 
these objects would all lose their power. Everything that is holy would immediately 
lose its power if a menstruating woman came near it. A holy woman or a holy man 
or even a holy child would be affected by the proximity of a menstruating woman. 
Their holy condition would immediately disappear. In a similar way, if food were 
served to a sick person from the same dish used for a menstruating woman the sick 
person would become far more sick. 

The food for a menstruating person is always cooked separately. Special dishes 
are used and special fireplaces are made. 

If a person possessed any medicines, they would lose all their power if a men- 
struating woman came in contact with them. If any person should enter a men- 
strual lodge, in after life, whenever he fasted, he would not be blessed by any spirit. 
However, there is one thing that a menstruating woman is afraid of, and that is the 
war bundle. These war bundles are kept in cedar [leaves?] mixed with medicine to 
prevent danger from just such a source. If a menstruating woman comes near a war 
bundle, her flow would increase and never cease, and after a while she would die, 5 
and only if the owner of the war bundle personally attends to her can she be cured. 
For that reason whenever a war-bundle feast is being given a woman is very careful, 
and even if it is a few days before her menstrual flow she will not go. 

■ This explains what puzzled the author for some time — namely, the fact that although contact with a 
menstruating woman destroyed the efficacy of everything holy, in the case of the war bundle the reverse 
was true and the woman was destroyed. Many of the Indians who spoke of this matter also seemed to 
believe it was the war bundle that killed the woman. From this account, however, it is perfectly clear 
that it is not the war bundle at all that killed the woman, but the poison in which the war bundle was 
wrapped. The war bundle is therefore no exception to the general rule, and it is only on account of the 
serious consequences that would accrue to so many people from any impairment of its powers, and the 
care taken to prevent this by surrounding it with special medicines, that it offers externally an exception 
to the fatal effects of contact with a menstruating woman. 


The menstrual lodge is never far from the lodge in which she lives. Indeed, it is 
within speaking distance, so that the occupants of her parents' lodge can hear her. 
All the utensils she uses are very small. The women stay from 4 to 10 days in the 
menstrual lodges. The older women stay out the shorter time because they are over 
it sooner. 

It is said that if the young girls have any lovers they always come to the men- 
strual lodges at night. This is therefore the time for wooing. It is said that the 
girls cohabit with their lovers in these menstrual lodges. Those girls who have 
parents are attended by watchers, so that no unworthy men may visit them. They 
are especially guarded against ugly men, who are very likely to have love medicines. 
However, generally it is of no avail to struggle against such men, for they are invin- 

The women always take their blankets with them when they go to a menstrual 
lodge, for they never lie down but remain in a sitting posture, wrapped in their 
blankets. The women are always watched, so that when their menstrual flow comes 
everything is in readiness and lodge poles are placed around them and a lodge erected 
above their heads just about large enough to fit their body. They are not permitted 
to look upon the daylight nor upon any individual. If they were to look out during 
the day the weather would become very bad, and if they were to look at the blue 
sky it would become cloudy and rain. If they looked at anyone that person would 
become unfortunate. For four days they do not eat or drink anything; not even 
water do they drink. They fast all the time. Not even their own body do they 
touch with their hands. If they ever have any need of touching their bodies they 
use a stick. If they were to use their hands in touching their own body their bones 
would be attacked with fever. If they were to scratch their hands their heads would 
ache. After the fourth day they bathe in sight of their home. Then they return to 
their homes and eat. (This, of course, holds only for those whose menstrual flow 
ceases in four days.) If any women have to stay longer than four days they have to 
fast for that entire period. They always fast during this period and often some spirits 
bless them. When a woman who has stayed in the menstrual lodge for 10 days is 
ready to return to her lodge, she bathes herself and puts on an entirely new suit of 
clothes. Then her home is purified with red-cedar leaves and all the sacred bundles 
and medicines removed. Only then can she enter her parents' lodge. As soon as 
she returns to her parents' lodge after her first menstrual flow she is regarded as ready 
to be wooed and married . 

Thus the teacher of our customs, the Hare, has willed it. At a feast all the young 
girls nearing the age of puberty will be absent, but the old women, who have passed 
their climacteric, sit right next to the men, because they are considered the same as 
men as they have no menstrual flow any more. 

If the Winnebago can be said to be afraid of any one thing it may be said it is this — 
the menstrual flow of women — for even the spirits die of its effects. 

If the above account may be taken as a fairly accurate description 
of the customs connected with the menstrual lodge as they existed 
in former times, then one point must be regarded as of great interest, 
namely, that the women permitted their lovers to meet them there. 
So far as is known to the author, among other tribes having men- 
strual lodges it would have been considered a crime for any man to 
come near them. According to our informant the women were 
indeed guarded while they were in the menstrual lodges, but not so 
much to protect them against the intrusion of all men, as against the 
intrusion of unworthy men. From other information obtained, how- 
186823—22 10 

138 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

ever, it appears that women were married to these same lovers after 

the former left the menstrual lodge, so that the presence of men in 

these lodges may be taken either as a part of the wooing or as one of 

the methods of marriage. Some theorists may be inclined to look 

on this feature of the practices connected with the menstrual lodge 

as a survival of a "women's house." To those the fact may be 

emphasized that it is only a few times in the life of a woman that 

such a feature exists, because she is married shortly after leaving 

the lodge. 6 


Girls were usually married as soon as they reached marriageable 
age, and the same was probably true of men. In most cases marriage 
was arranged by the parents of the young people, and it rarely 
happened that the latter refused to abide by the decision — a fact 
that seems to have been due not so much to implicit obedience as 
to the wise precautions taken by the parents in mating their children. 
If, however, the young people absolutely refused to abide by their 
parents' choice, the latter always yielded. In former times children 
were betrothed to each other at an early age. At the betrothal 
presents were exchanged between the parents of the prospective 
bride and groom. The girl was said to be dohore'nA. 

Generally a man took but one wife, although he was permitted to 
marry more than one if he wished. In polygamous marriages the 
second wife was usually a niece or a sister of the first wife. Accord- 
ing to a very reliable informant it was the wife herself who often 
induced her husband to marry her own niece. This she did if she 
noticed that he was getting tired of her or losing his interest in her. 7 

There was no ceremony connected with marriage. As soon as the 
customary presents were exchanged, the man came to the woman's 
lodge and the marriage was consummated. 

A man generally lived with his parents-in-law during the first two 
years after his marriage. During these two years he was practically 
the servant of his father-in-law, hunting, fishing, and performing 
minor services for him. Many Winnebago interpreted these en- 
forced services of a son-in-law as part of his marriage obligations 
toward his father-in-law. After the first two years he returned to 

6 Were it not for the fact that his informant in this case was exceedingly reliable the writer would be 
inclined to regard with suspicion the statement as to the use of the menstrual lodge as a rendezvous for 
lovers. It seems, however, that the very fact that the informant shows so great abhorrence of the menses 
would have prevented him from attributing to menintimacy with women at this time had there been any 
doubt in his mind on the subject. Nevertheless hisstatement on the point under discussionseems peculiar 
and the author would not be surprised i f he had exaggerated greatly the number of men willing to brave the 
bad luck and weakness incident on contact with women during the menstrual period. 

' As one of my informants said, "A man can marry a woman and her niece. If the man is not steady 
and goes around with other women, it is customary for the wife to call her niece, and she would marry 
her aunt's husband. This is done to steady the man. In this way one or the other will always be 
with him. The same is true of sisters." 


his father's lodge, where his seat had always been kept for him. 
With his own folks he stayed as long as he wished, leaving it generally 
as soon as he decided to live alone — a decision that was usually 
reached as soon as he had one child or a number of children. How- 
ever, he did not always build his own lodge, especially in the olden 
times, when it was customary for those Winnebago who lived in per- 
manent villages to occupy the long gable-roofed lodges, that fre- 
cpjently were large enough to house as many as 40 people. In such 
cases a man and his family generally alternated between his parents- 
in-law and his own parents. 


Adoption of individuals was quite frequent in former times. As 
far as the writer knows, however, it always took the form of replac- 
ing of a deceased child by some other child physically resembling 
the one lost. I do not know whether there were an} 7 additional con- 
siderations if the child adopted happened to be a prisoner. As the 
name for adoption {wanatjxe'relc'inaijlc) indicates, it is closely con- 
nected with the common belief in reincarnation, meaning either the 
exchange of one spirit for another or the replacing of the spirit. A 
special feast could be given for adoption or it could be done at one 
of the regular feasts. As the child adopted was often the "friend" 
(hitcak'd'ro) of the deceased and in any case had parents living, 
presents were always given to his parents. 

Perhaps a better idea of the nature of adoption can be obtained 
from the following few words of an informant: 

When a child dies, then the father mourns for many years, and if during that time 
he happens to meet a child that resembles his dead child he asks to be allowed to 
adopt him. The parents of the child can hardly object to such a request. 8 

s There is no doubt in my mind that quite a number of parents believe that such a person is really their 
reincarnated child. 



There appear to have been two distinct methods of burial among 
the Winnebago — simple inhumation and platform burial. Within 
recent times, owing to the influence of their Algonquian neighbors, 
platform burial has entirely disappeared and inhumation alone is 
practiced. It has even become customary to erect a typical Algon- 
quian burial-hut over the grave (see pi. 54, b). 

When the old culture was still intact inhumation was definitely 
associated with the lower phratry and platform burial with the upper 
phratry. Whether this marked difference in burial customs was 
merely another example of that specialization in function so char- 
acteristic of these two divisions of the tribe, or whether it was due 
to distinct historical origins, it is difficult to determine. I am, 
however, inclined to regard the latter interpretation as by far the 
most probable. 

All the customs are described in full detail in the various accounts 
that follow and in Chapters VII and VIII. Each clan seems to have 
had a few details peculiar to itself, but, in the main, the rights were 
identical. They may briefly be divided into the following sections: 

1. Preparation of the body for burial. 2. Rites in the house of 
the deceased, consisting mainly of speeches of consolation to the 
bereaved. 3. Speeches addressed to the deceased and the narration 
of the myth of the journey to spirit land. 4. Rites at the grave. 
5. The recounting of war exploits by specially invited warriors, at 
the grave. 6. The elaborate four nights wake at the home of the 

Description of Funeral Customs and Wake 

Informant, member of the Thunderbird clan : ' When an individual 
dies his relatives get some one to bury him and the chief mourner 
will also invite some person to talk to the corpse before it is buried. 
The person addressing the dead man or woman tells the deceased how 
he is to go (to spirit land) and what he is to do on the way there. 
The body is then dressed by the person who is going to bury it. All 
the relatives come to the lodge and the deceased is dressed in his best 
clothes; beads are put around his neck, bracelets on his wrist, rings 

1 This description is a generalized one. 


on his fingers, and earrings in his ears. The body is then put in the 

By the time this is all finished the gravediggers have about com- 
pleted their work. Then the mourners blacken their faces with 
charcoal and the corpse is taken up by the man to whom this duty is 
delegated. The mourners follow behind, weeping. Thus they pro- 
ceed to the grave. When they get there the corpse is laid in the 
grave. Then the chief mourner steps across the center of the grave 
and the others do the same. When they start back, they are told 
under no circumstance to turn around and look in the direction of the 

The grave is then filled in. 

Then the overseer goes around to the various people in the village 
and invites them all to come to (the wake). The brave men and war- 
riors are especially welcomed. 

The mourners prepare food and when the sun goes down the chief 
mourner takes a stick made of hard wood and lights it and carries it 
to the grave, placing it at the east end. It is supposed to be still 
burning when placed there. After this is done (the man returns) and 
the overseer gets everything in readiness for the feast. When all is 
ready the chief mourner speaks as follows: 

All my relatives who are sitting here, I greet you. I have done nothing of any con- 
sequence which could justify you to come here and honor me, yet being relatives of 
mine, you have (in the kindness of your hearts ) come to comfort me. I have prepared 
cooked food and boiled water for my child ( the dead person ), and tobacco is also handy, 
all of which the attendant when he is ready will pass around to all and give to whom- 
soever he pleases. That is why I am greeting you. 

Then the attendant takes the water and tobacco and gives it to 
the one who is to speak to the soul of the departed person. This one 
then rises and greets all those present and speaks as follows: 

To-night we are greeting you not for the sake of jollification, but because we are 
afflicted (with grief) . Now, it is the custom to speak to the soul of the departed . It is 
a sacred action, yet even I, they tell me, can do it, provided no worthier person can 
be found. They 2 even tell me that my words will not cause the spirit of the departed 
to lose his way in his journey (to spirit land). 3 For that reason I will speak to the 
departed and say the best I can. I greet you all. 

Then he takes some tobacco in one hand and passing it behind him 
through the lodge says: 

Here it is, the tobacco. I am certain that you, O ghost, are not very far away, 
that in fact you are standing right in back of me, waiting for me to reach you the pipe 
and tobacco, that you might take it along with you, that likewise, you are waiting for 
your food to take on your journey. However, four nights you will have to remain 

2 This and what follows is the customary ceremonial modesty. 

3 It is believed that i f the chief speaker makes a mistake or exaggerates while thus addressing the spirit 
of the deceased, the latter will lose his way in his journey to spirit land. 

142 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bth. ann. 37 

Now here are these things, and in return we ask you to act as mediator (between 
the spirits and us). You have made us long for you. and therefore do you see to it that 
all those things that belonged to you and that you would have enjoyed had you lived 
longer — such as victories on the warpath, earthly possessions, and life — that all these 
you leave behind for us to enjoy. This do you ask for as you travel along. This also 
I ask of you, do not cause us to follow you soon; do not cause your brothers any fear. 
I have now lit the pipe for you. 

Tli en the pipe is passed on to all those present. After that he 
drinks a little water and passes it around again. It is only after the 
pipe and water have passed all the way around that the people begin 
to eat. When the meal is over, the attendant takes the pipe and 
some tobacco and places it before a warrior and tells him to talk to 
the spirit and tell him the route to take. 

Then the warrior rises and speaks as follows : 

Ho, I greet you all. We are not greeting one another because we are happy (as in 
the case of an ordinary feast), hut because it is the custom to do it. Now I will tell 
the soul of the departed one the route to take and the care he must observe in his 
journey. I shall tell them (the ghosts) over whom I have control to guide him safely 
to his destination. I will not exaggerate when I relate my war exploits, but tell 
only those things that really happened to me. It has been said that if, in talking, I 
tell falsehoods the spirit of the departed would stumble on the road. 4 So, therefore, I 
will tell only the truth, and I will tell the chief of the spirits to guide our dead one 
safely over all the obstacles. Now I am not going to speak of anybody else's exploits, 
but only of my own. Only those over whom I have control will I put at the disposal 
of our dead one to guide him. The spirit-tobacco, the spirit-food and fire, they will 
carry for him, and they will lead him by the hand until he reaches his destination. 
I greet you all. 

Then he begins an account of his war exploits. He tells all that 
he did in detail. Sometines the account of a war exploit would last 
two to three hours. When he is through, the people retire for the 

For three nights they do this and every evening they place a burn- 
ing ember at the grave. This is supposed to be taken by the spirit 
of the dead man on his journey. 

The fourth night they invite all the brave men i'n the neighborhood 
and everybody else. They prepare plenty of food, and the relatives 
of the mourners bring objects for the mourning games and try to 
comfort the mourners as best they can. The fourth night, likewise, 
they place a burning ember at the grave of the dead man. 

As soon as the attendant prepares the food the chief mourner gets 
up and speaks as follows: 

I greet you all. I know that I am not performing any great action in greeting you, 5 
but I was in trouble, and all my relatives have come to comfort me. I feel strength- 
ened by their actions. You all have asked me to live (not to succumb to my sorrows), 

' It is believed that a warrior is in control of the spirits of all the people he has killed. His function at 
the wake is to put these spirits at the disposal of the dead man, to guide him, and to take care of him. 

6 1, e., if I were a great man and this were a ceremony of rejoicing, then a greeting would mean some- 
thing. This is another example of ceremonial modesty. 


and I shall try to overcome my grief and sorrow. I will not forget all the good you 
have done for me. You have been a comfort to me and you have helped me in many 
things. Now this is the last night, and I am glad that it is a good night for the war- 
riors to relate their experiences. If they should say anything funny, I hope that you 
will not hold back your laughter. I, too, will laugh with you. You are free to make 
all the noise you care to, for I will feel all the better if you do it. This is what I 
want you to remember. I greet you all who are present here. 

Then the one who is to address the spirit speaks: 

I greet you all. We have come to this (wake) for a purpose, much as we would wish 
that the occasion for it had never happened . Now I will tell the spirit of the departed 
the route he is to take, nor will I, by my words, cause him to go astray. On an occa- 
sion like this not everyone can talk to spirits (spirits of departed people); not every- 
one can do it. My grandfather obtained the right to speak to them and handed it 
down to my father, and he in turn gave it to me. Now I will tell the spirit of the 
departed the right road to take and I will not cause him to stumble. I shall breathe 
upon the spirit of the departed, and I wish all those present to do the same. It 
is said that for those who do not make this sound it is a sign that they will die soon. 
Now all of you say it. 

Then he says "Tia-a" and "ha-a," and all join with him in repeat- 
ing it. 

Then he speaks again (addressing the spirit of the departed) : 

I suppose you are not far away, that indeed you are right behind me. Here is the 
tobacco and here is the pipe which you must keep in front of you as you go along. 
Here also is the fire and the food which your relatives have prepared for your journey. 
In the morning when the sun rises you are to start. You will not have gone very 
far before you come to a wide road. That is the road you must take. As you go 
along you will notice something on your road. Take your war club and strike it and 
throw it behind you. Then go on without looking back. As you go farther you 
will again come across (some obstacle). Strike it and throw it behind you and do 
not look back. Farther on you will come across some animals, and these also you 
must strike and throw behind you. Then go on and do not look back. The objects 
you throw behind you will come to those relatives whom you have left behind you 
on earth. They will represent victory in war, riches, and animals for food. When 
you have gone but a short distance from the last place where you threw objects behind, 
you will come to a round lodge and there you will find an old woman. She is 
the one who is to give you further information. She will ask you, 'Grandson, what 
is your name?" This you must tell her. Then (you must say), ''Grandmother, when 
I was about to start from the earth I was given the following objects with which I was 
to act as mediator between you and the human beings (i. e., the pipe, tobacco, and 
food)." Then you must put the stem of the pipe in the old woman's mouth and say, 
"Grandmother, I have made all my relatives lonesome, my parents, my brothers, and 
all the others. I would therefore like to have them obtain victory in war and honors. 
That was my desire as I left them downhearted upon the earth. I would that they 
could have all that life which I left behind me on earth. 6 This is what they asked. 
This likewise they asked me, that they should not have to travel on this road for some 
time to come. They also asked to be blessed with those things that people are accus- 
tomed to have on earth. All this they wanted me to ask of you when I started from 
the earth. 

6 The deceased had apparently died young, and what he desires is that the difference between his years 
and the normal length of life he distributed among his relatives. He means not only the actual years but 
also whatever he would have accomplished in those years. 

144 THE WINNEBAGO TEIBE [eth. ann. 37 

"They told me to follow the four steps that would be imprinted with blue marks, 
grandmother." 'Well, grandson, you are young but you are wise. It is good. I will 
now boil some food for you. ' ' 

Thus she will speak to you and then put a kettle on the fire and boil some rice for 
you. If you eat it you will have a headache. Then she will say, "Grandson, you 
have a headache, let me cup it for you.'' Then she will break open your skull and 
take out your brains and you will forget all about your people on earth and where 
you came from. You will not worry about your relatives. You will become like a 
holy spirit. Your thoughts will not go as far as the earth, as there will be nothing 
carnal about you. 

Now the rice that the old woman will boil will really be lice. For that reason you 
will be finished with everything evil. Then you will go on stepping in the four 
footsteps mentioned before and that were imprinted with blue earth. You are to 
take the four steps because the road will fork there. All your relatives (who 
died before you) will be there. As you journey on you will come to a fire running 
across the earth from one end to the other. There will be a bridge across it but it 
will be difficult to cross because it is continually swinging. However, you will be 
able to cross it safely, for you have all the guides about whom the warriors spoke to 
you. They will take you over and take care of you. 

Well, we have told you a good road (to take). If anyone tells a falsehood in speaking 
of the spirit road, you will fall off the bridge and be burned. However (you need not 
worry) for you will pass over safely. As you proceed from that place the spirits will 
come to meet you and take you to the village where the chief lives. There you will 
give him the tobacco and ask for those objects of which we spoke to you, the same you 
asked of the old woman. There you will meet all the relatives that died before you. 
They will be living in a large lodge. This you must enter. Ho-o-o, ha-a-a. 

Generalized Description of Funeral Customs and Wake 

Informant, member of Bear clan. When a person died a member 
of his friend (hitcakdro) clan was immediately sent for, who took 
charge of the body and of all the funeral arrangements. The over- 
seer dressed the deceased in his best clothes and all his finery, for it 
was said that he was going on a long journey. Then some clansman 
painted the dead man's face with the clan markings and delivered a 
speech to the corpse. When he concluded the clan songs were sung 
and the body was carried to the grave. All the mourners marched 
in single file. After the body had been buried or placed on a scaffold, 
as the case might be, a post was placed at the head of the grave, and 
the warriors among the mourners counted their coups and drew repre- 
sentations of their victories on the posts. The purpose of the war- 
riors in counting coups at the grave was to put at the disposal of the 
deceased the spirits of all the enemies they had killed, and also to 
give him additional strength for overcoming the obstacles on the road 
to the spirit land. Food was placed on the little shelf in front of 
the window of the grave-house, to be used by the spirit during the 
four days that he hovered around this earth before departing on his 
journey. Then a light was lighted and finally, toward evening, all 
departed for their homes, returning as they had come, in single file, 


and being very careful not to look back toward the grave after they 
had first started. 

The same evening the four nights' wake began. The overseer, who 
was in full charge, had everything prepared. Before the wake 
formally commenced the chief mourner made a short speech. Then 
the overseer lighted a pipe and passed it around to all, who took a 
puft' each and returned it to him. Then sweetened water was passed 
around, of which all partook. The feast followed. Taking on a 
plate a small portion of all the food to be eaten, the overseer threw it 
outside for the spirit of the deceased. In the case of a nursling the 
mother added a small quantity of milk from her breast to the other 
food on the plate. After the feast the chief mourner made another 
speech, explaining why the rites were performed and how they had 
been handed down for many generations. He concluded by thanking 
the people for all they had done for him. 

There was always an abundance of tobacco at a wake. Most of it 
was given to the warriors, a number of whom were invited, for they 
played a very important role on such an occasion. It was believed 
that every warrior was in control of the spirit of an enemy he had slain 
and he was supposed always to be willing to put the spirit at the 
service of any member of his tribe who had just died, if the proper 
offerings were made. At the proper time tobacco was given to the 
warrior, who, rising, narrated his war exploits, at the conclusion 
of which he ordered the spirit of the enemy he had slain to take 
charge of the deceased. Then tobacco was given to another warrior, 
who followed the same procedure, which was continued until mid- 
night. Then most of the people departed to their homes, but some 
stayed overnight in the lodge in which the wake was held. 

The proceedings of the second and third nights of the wake were 
exactly the same as those of the first, but somewhat longer. The 
beginning of the ceremony on the fourth night was the same as on 
the three preceding nights; after a while, however, it deviated in the 
following manner. 

J. F., rising, tells the spirit of the departed the road he is to take 
in his journey to spirit land, the obstacles he is to meet, and how 
he is to overcome them. After he has finished the warriors begin 
to tell some more war exploits, and this continues generally until 
3 o'clock in the morning, depending entirely upon the amount of 
gifts given to the warriors. The gifts generally consist either 
of 12 pieces of calico each 3 yards, or of beads, or of 12 quarter 
dollars. The warriors always gamble for these gifts and play the 
favorite game of the deceased. If a man had died they generally 
play moccasins; if a woman, Jca n su. When all the presents have 
been exhausted, then the relatives of the deceased comb the 

146 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

mourner's hair, give him presents, and tell him that he is now 
free to cease mourning and to marry if he wishes. 

In former times the period of mourning is supposed to have lasted 
four years. 

When a person is in mourning he always cuts his hair short and 
does not comb his hair. In former times people often mutilated 
themselves by cutting off either entire fingers or finger joints. 

The overseer always takes all the belongings of the deceased, but 
he must give the latter's relatives an equal amount of new material. 

Funeral Customs of the Thunderbird Clan 

(first version) 

Informant, member of the clan. When a member of the clan 
dies they send after a man of the Thunderbird clan who is to speak 
to the corpse, paint it, and give him a war club to take along with 
him (to the land of the spirits). Then they go after a man from the 
lower phratry to bury him, for these clans (of the lower phratry) 
belong on earth and they have the right to dig into the ground and 
bury people. 

When the one who is to be the general overseer arrives and arranges 
everything, he prepares the corpse, putting a sack of tobacco in 
one hand and a war club in the other. Then he paints him. He 
paints the forehead with a red and a black mark and paints the lower 
part of the face to the end of the nose with scattered dots. He paints 
the jaw red and he makes a red mark across the mouth and the 
throat. Then he speaks as follows : 

You have departed at this (young) age. You have taken your relatives by sur- 
prise and have left them a long part of your life (i. e., you have lived but a small part 
of your apportioned share of years). As you go to spirit land, you will find on the 
road many feathers, many good plants, and many good kinds of clay, scattered around, 
the blue clay, the red clay, and the white clay. You will also find the sweet-smelling 
plants and good life. For all these things do you ask. If anything comes across 
your path, throw it behind you without looking around. In four days you will de- 
part and objects with which to mediate between us and the spirits will soon be fur- 
nished you. For four nights your people will tell you what to do and when they hear 
you singing on the road they will know that it is you. There (in spirit land) you 
will go to live and the songs that I will sing you will sing as you travel on your road. 

Then he sings (the four clan songs). 

When the gravediggers are finished they take the body and carry 
it to the grave, the mourners following. They take the body to 
the grave and there lower it. 

Death and Funeral Customs of the Thunderbird Clan 

(second version) 

Informant, member of the clan. When a member of the Thunder- 
bird clan dies, the clansmen discuss what is to be done for the spirit 


of the deceased. Then they go and call the leader of their band 
and he comes and addresses the body as follows : 

You are about to leave all your relatives. They will remain on earth, objects of pity 
to all. You will proceed on your road, turning to your left after you start until you 
come to him who is in charge of the spirits. Whenever you see him, the following 
request do we wish you to make of him, namely, that he bestow upon us all that 
you fell short of in your life on this earth. The means of offering, the tobacco, which 
Earthmaker gave us, we have given you some to take along. As you go along the 
road you will come to a place where the road branches off. Do not turn to the right, 
for that road leads to the bad spirits. Turn to the left and soon you will come to a 
guard. Point your pipe at him and he will be thankful. This man will have a com- 
plete suit of clothes and he will look terror-inspiring. He will smoke with you and 
then you may speak to him as follows: "Grandfather, before I left the earth, the 
people told me to ask you to point out to me which road I should travel in." Then 
he will tell you and you will pass ahead and after a while you will come to a fire- 
girdle. The man who ia in charge of it will have a complete suit of clothes just like 
the first man. Point the stem of your pipe toward him and he will be very thankful 
and smoke with you. Then make your request, namely, to be permitted to pass, 
and he will grant it. As you go along after that you will come to a round lodge in 
which you will find an old woman. Point your pipe at her and she will be thankful 
and smoke it, and then ask her to let you pass and she will permit you to go ahead. 
Your hair will now be white but you will not be unconscious. On the contrary, 
you will have complete possession of all your senses. Then you will come to where 
he who is in control of spirits sits. Go to him and point your pipe toward him. Then 
when he is smoking it, ask him to show you the road to Earthmaker, our father, 
and he will point it out to you. Then you must proceed until you come to Earth- 
maker. When you get to him, point the stem of your pipe toward him and, if he takes 
it and smokes it, then you must say, "Earthmaker, my father, you know very well 
what kind of a life I have led." And he will answer, "You have done well, my son." 

The informant then skips to the opening night of the four nights' 
wake. The address to the spirit that follows is probably delivered 
by the chief mourner before the formal opening of the wake. 

Address to the spirit. 7 — Ha ho-o-o-o, I want you to listen, you who have become 
like a spirit. You have made those of your relatives who remained behind on earth 
miserable and lonely. They have given you much food to take along with you and 
they have given you a pipe and some tobacco so that you may offer them to the spirits 
you meet on your road and make some requests of them. The first request that they 
wish you to make is to ask the spirits to distribute to your clan all the successful 
warpaths which would have fallen to your share had you lived your normal quota 
of years; and that, all the food, etc., that you have not used be bestowed upon those 
whom you left behind on earth. The last request you should make of those on the 
road is to pray that a long time may elapse before any of your relatives traverse this 

Now follows a description of the obstacles to be met on the road. 

When you reach Earthmaker, offer him your pipe, and if he accepts it speak to 
him as follows: "Grandfather, as I was leaving the earth my relatives asked me to 
request of you humbly that you bestow upon the clansmen that I left behind me 
all that I would have accomplished had I lived longer. Now this is what I wished 
to ask of you, grandfather. " Thus you should speak: "Ha ho-o-o-o. " 

7 Spirit here is waiop'ini, spirit, deity, not naiiyidak', ghost, noncorporeal embodiment. What is 
meant is that the deceased has become like one of the spirits, in that he lives, enjoys consciousness, etc., 
without at the same time having any corporeal existence. 


Then all the other people answer ha-ho-o-o-o. Now someone lights 
a pipe and passes it around so that everyone can take a puff. All 
take a puff, children and women as well as men. After that water 
is passed around. Then all eat. A little portion of everything served 
is put aside and thrown out for the spirit to eat. Then a warrior, the 
person who has charge of the wake, speaks: 

I greet you all. 1 first wish to pour some of the tobacco that you have offered me 
for our grandfather who is in control of war-giving powers. (Probably the Thunder- 
birds are meant.) I will tell the spirit as carefully as I can all that I know about 
the road he must travel. My father impressed upon me very earnestly the need of 
being very truthful in speaking to the spirit of one recently deceased, for if I were 
a bad man 1 would cause the spirit to stumble. For that reason I always feel that I 
ought not to speak very much whenever I am called upon to talk. 

Then a warrior was called upon to tell of his war exploits. He 
told as accurately as it was possible how he had killed a man, broken 
his collar bone, and then flayed him; how he had then chopped 
and cut up his body and mutilated him in such a way that he could 
not be identified; and how finally he had stolen his dogs. All night 
he spoke in this strain. He went on to tell how he had killed and 
utterly destroyed an entire village so that no one was left to tell of 
the massacre. All night he told of his war exploits. Thus they 
lighted the road for the spirit (i. e., held the Four Nights' Wake). 

The second and third nights were just the same as the first, only 
that different warriors spoke and different war exploits were told. 
They are very proud of their war exploits and they would try to tell 
of their bravest deeds, those that had been most dangerous and which 
had required the greatest heroism. When the mourners listen to 
the narrative of such an exploit they become strengthened. All 
those people on whom the warrior had counted first coup and all 
those whom he had killed would carry the light for the spirit of the 
deceased. Those on whom he had counted second coup were com- 
manded to clear the road, and a woman whom the warrior had cap- 
tured was ordered to carry along the food. The ceremonies of the 
fourth night are the same as those of the first three nights. 

Death and Funeral Customs op the Bear Clan 8 

Informant, member of the clan. Mr. J. M. died in June, 1911. In 
accordance with the old Winnebago customs, the first individual to 
be notified of the death was Mr. J. F., a member of the Wolf clan. 
To Mr. F. fell the lot of taking charge of all the funeral rites — dressing 
the deceased, laying his body in the casket, burying him, and, finally, 
conducting the elaborate funeral wake. 

' This is practically a reprint of "Description of a Winnebago Funeral," by Lamere and Radin, Amer- 
Anthrop., n. s. vol. 13, no. 3, 1911. 


One of Mr. F.'s most important duties was to invite the warriors 
to extend invitations to all those who wish to participate in the feast. 
After the body has been buried the overseer goes to the home of the 
deceased and takes away all those things with which the deceased had 
been in daily contact. 

In addition to F., another man was sent for, Mr. A. W., also a 
member of the Bear clan. He went through the Bear clan ceremony, 
which was as follows: When the deceased was fully dressed, just 
before he was to be laid in the casket, A. W. walked up to him and, 
taking some paint from a little bundle he carried, he painted a red 
mark across his forehead, then a black one immediately below this 
one, and finally daubed the whole chin red. When he was through 
with this preliminary work he addressed those present as follows: 

You relatives, all that are seated here, I greet you. This ceremony is not anything 
that we have originated ourselves, but it was known to be the proper thing to do by 
our ancestors. It is for that reason that I have made the markings upon the face of 
my son in order that he may be recognized by his relatives in spirit land; and I have 
also given him the material with which he may talk, i. e., tobacco, that with it he 
may entreat the spirits to bestow all those years that he fell short of upon his relatives 
still living. 

Now, it is said that the members of the Bear clan hold death as a blessing and not 
as anything to mourn about. I do not mean that I do not feel sorry for the children 
of the deceased and that I rejoice in his death, but it is the belief of the members of 
the Bear clan that the same happiness comes to them at death that comes to us during 
life when a bear is killed and brought to the village for food. 

For now, indeed, my son will walk in a road that has been cleared of all obstacles 
and his claws will be sharp, and his teeth will be sharp, and nothing, indeed, will 
cross his path. And in this, his walk to the spirit land, may he tread down upon us 
the life that he has fallen short of on this earth. And he will walk just as the original 
Bear clansmen walked when they originated and when they approached the earth. 
And now I will sing him the songs that they sang as they came on earth, so that he 
may take them along with him on his journey to the spirit land. It is said that 
there is no other place besides this prepared for us in the hereafter. 

Then he sang the four clan songs. 

When the songs had been sung, it was just about noon and, as 
dinner was read}', we all sat down and A. W. filled a pipe and when 
he was ready to smoke it began to speak again to the following effect: 

Relatives, all that are present, I greet you. It is good that this many of you have 
come here, and it is said that the soul of the deceased remains hovering around about 
this place four days and that we should partake of food with him forthat period. It is 
for that reason that we act in this way. And it is good that this many of you have 
come here and have helped us out with food and dress. • 

He then mentioned the things that had been given by different 
individuals. Then he lit a pipe and took a few puffs and sent it 
around to all the others in the lodge. Then a pitcher of water was 
passed around from which we all took a sip. 

150 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

During the morning Mrs. R. came in and combed the hair of the 
deceased's wife and gave her some presents, telling her at the same 
time that she hoped that she would dry her tears as a sign of appre- 
ciation of the gifts. Another person came in in the morning bring- 
ing a pair of leggings and a blanket for the deceased. He also 
brought the casket. While the body of the deceased was being 
prepared this same person spoke as follows: 

Relatives, all that are present. I greet you. If my nephews will come here and 
sit near me, I will talk to them. 

Then the sons of the deceased came and sat near their mother 
and sisters and the man continued : 

My sister, it is said that it is best for a person not to weep; and that a widow should 
not mourn too much, for then the people would make fun of her; as well as for the fact 
that having children she must for their sake look forward to life and live for them. 
And it is also said that we should keep up this mourning for at least four years. Now 
there is nothing amusing about what I am going to say (although it may sound so)— 
namely, that we should not cry on such an occasion as to-day, but, on the contrary, 
keep up a good spirit. I do not mean that I am glad that my brother-in-law is dead. 
But if you were to weep some one might come in and say that it behooves you more 
to show him your teeth than your tears. They mean that you should smile. 

And again it is said that one should not cry. for when a body is laid in the ground 
there is no more hope of its ever returning to this earth again. My nephew, the one 
that had been advising you in your daily affairs, is gone and you are left alone to look 
after yourself, your little brothers, and your mother; and therefore I want you all to 
love ane another and remember your mother. 

While we were eating C. P. came in and spoke as follows: 

Relatives, all that are present, I greet you. It is good that you all have come here 
and are comforting this house of mourning. It is good that J. H. has brought a casket 
and clothing for the deceased and food for the wake. And indeed he has also prom- 
ised a hog for the feast. I know that he did not do this in order to have some one 
speak of it in public, but how can I refrain from expressing my thanks? My brother 
also came with the intention of furnishing some of these things, but inasmuch as 
J. H. has furnished them beforehand he placed ten dollars in the hands of the wife 
of the deceased. He did not, however, tell her for what purpose he gave her the 
money and I therefore take the liberty of telling her that the gift is meant for any- 
thing that she may desire to buy. Now, my relatives, this is no time for happiness, 
but I am glad, nevertheless, that so many have come and I am thankful for what 
you have done. I greet you all. 

Then the casket was put in the spring wagon and taken to the 
Winnebago Cemetery. When we got there the casket was lowered 
into the grave. When this was over, A. W. spoke as foUows: 

Relatives, all that are present, I greet you. This many of you have followed my 
son to his last resting place. Further than this place he will not walk in this life. 
Truly this many of you have felt sorry for him. All the rites that were taught me in 
this connection I have already performed. I have given the deceased the emblem 
(i. e., the whittled stick known as namanxinixini) and the material to talk with (the 
tobacco), so that he may plead for us. his relatives, when he gets to the end of the 
journey, that we may live the life he fell short of upon this earth, and that he may 


tread firmly upon us as he walks to the spirit land. All that I know I have said 
before. I was taught nothing that I was to do or say at this place except that we 
should step over the grave just as our forefathers did when they originated. They 
were holy and they entered this life on a perfect day just as this day to-day, and, 
inasmuch as they were holy, all the ground that they touched was holy. It is for 
that reason that we should step over the grave. 

Then we stepped over the grave. After that we went to our 

The same evening the wake began. When all the invited guests 
had arrived and were seated, the feast was spread before them. 
Then A. W. spoke as follows: 

Relatives, all that are seated here. I greet you. It is good that this many of you 
have come to-night. You know that we are not creating any new ceremony, but are 
simply following up what our forefathers have learned to be true and good. And. as 
it is said that we should not weep aloud , therefore you will not hear any of us making 
any utterings of sorrow. And even though we weep silently should anyone come to 
us we will look upon them smiling. We therefore beg of you, should you find us 
happy in mood, not to think the worse of us. And now I am ready to turn over the 
tobacco and water to J. F. Thus I express my thanks to you all that are present. 

Then J. F. took the tobacco and water and spoke as follows: 

Relatives, all that are seated here, I greet you. It is good that so many of you have 
come to our humble affair and, as our ancestors said that this was the proper way to 
do, so I am glad that it was given to me to handle the corpse, as I am certain that I 
will be strengthened by it. I will now pass the tobacco to Mr. X. He is a brave man 
and he will light the pipe and pass the water before we eat and after supper he will 
tell the deceased a route to the spirit land. Now I thank you and I greet you. 

Then the brave man took the tobacco and filled the pipe and after 
taking a few puffs from it, passed it to the left and it thus went 
round, each person taking a puff from the pipe and a sip from the 
pitcher of water. Then the feast began. When it was over and all 
the dishes were cleared away, and everyone was properly seated, then 
the brave man greeted them again: 

Relatives, I greet you. As we are not creating anything new, and as our ancestors 
knew it to be good, and as it is said that if anyone exaggerates a story in a case like 
this it will cause the soul to stumble, therefore I will tell my war exploits to my rela- 
tive (the deceased ) exactly as I remember them. I greet you all. 

He then proceeded to tell his war exploits. When he had finished 
he again spoke as follows: 

Relatives that are present, I greet you. As I said before, I do not wish to cause 
the soul of my recently deceased relative to stumble and I have tried to tell my story 
as accurately as I could. It is said that the souls of the ones killed in a battle are at 
the mercy of the victor, and I therefore command the souls of the ones I have killed 
to lead and guide my relative safely through the spirit land. I greet you all. 

He then passed the tobacco to another brave man present who in 
his turn greeted those present and related his war exploits. After 
two warriors had told their war exploits they stopped for the night, 

152 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

to continue on the second night. The second and third nights were 
the same as the first. About the evening of the fourth night, when 
all the people invited were present, A. W. spoke in the same strain 
as on the first night, and when he had finished he passed the manage- 
ment of the feast to J. F. The latter then passed it to F. F. now 
lit the pipe and passed it around, together with the water. Then all 
partook of the feast. After supper A. W. reported all the donations 
that were made to them, naming each giver and the amount of the 
gift and thanking them and praising them for their generous gifts. 
Then F. told the following story: 


Ho! Ha! Are you all ready? I am going to speak about the four nights during 
which you listened to your relatives and to the words they had to say. I am placing 
the sacrificial tobacco in the rear part of the lodge for you. As you go home do not 
look back. Before you are far away you will come to a lodge. You may enter this 
lodge. A door faces the rising sun and a door faces the setting sun. As you enter you 
will find a woman on your right. Go and sit down opposite her. Then your great- 
grandmother will say to you, "My great-grandchild, what did they say to you when 
you were leaving, when your life was over?" "My great-grandmother, as I listened 
to my beloved relatives they said very little indeed. They said that I was breaking 
their hearts (in leaving them), and that they hoped that none would follow me soon. 
Then they asked me to make four requests: 

"First. I was to ask for life, that the flames from the lodge fires might go straight 
upward. Yet they were satisfied if at my departure the flames swayed to and fro. 

"Second. Whatever fruit had been predestined for me and that I did not taste, 
my relatives should hereafter not be deprived of. 

"Third. They also mentioned nuts, all manner of herbs, all serviceable hides and 
skins, all medicinal roots and grasses. They commanded me to make a request for 
all things that exist in the earth. 

"Fourth. That if anyone has a friend his weapon might have a keen edge on one 
side. Now, my great-grandmother, this is the number of requests they commanded 
me to make." 

"My great-grandchild, although you are young, you are wise. My great-grandchild, 
my lodge is a place where all who enter must pass an examination. Earthmaker 
looks upon it as a keen-edged instrument. No clouds of ill omen ever pass over it. 
Now, my grandchild, as to those four requests you put to me, it shall be as you say. 
The nuts and herbs you have requested shall be given you. There will be nothing 
of that food predestined for you that your relatives will not taste. The hides and skins, 
the grasses they will possess in plenty. And if they have friends their weapons will 
be keen on one side. All that they have requested through you shall be given them. 
Here is the food set before you in this wooden bowl." 

Then you are to answer to her, "My grandmother, this was what my relatives 
longed for. These are the things I was to leave behind me for those on earth." 

Now, be sure that you only take a taste and push the dish away from you. For 
then the old woman will say, "My great-grandchild, all that you have left behind you 
in that dish represents the vegetable kingdom on this earth. Many who are older 
than you have eaten all that I gave them, my great-grandchild. You have a wise 
head on young shoulders. All that you have left in the dish shall grow on the face of 
the earth. Earthmaker is waiting for you in great expectation. There is the door to 

9 Obtained from Henry Clowd. 


the settingsun. On your way stands the lodge of Herecgu'nina, and his fire. Those 
who have come (the souls of brave men) from the land of the souls to take you back 
will touch you. There the road will branch off toward your right and you will see the 
footprints of the day on the blue sky before you. These footprints represent the foot- 
prints of those who have passed into life again. Step into the places where they 
have stepped and plant your feet into their footprints, but be careful you do not miss 
any. Before you have gone very far, you will come into a forest of wacke'ja 11 broken by 
open prairies here and there. Here, in this beautiful country, these souls whose duty 
it is to gather other souls will come to meet you. Walking on each side of you they 
will take you safely home. As you enter the lodge of the Earthmaker you must hand 
to him the sacrificial offerings. Here the inquiry that took place in the first lodge 
will be repeated and answered in the same manner. Then he will say to you, "All 
that your grandmother has told you is true. Your relatives are waiting for you in 
great expectation. Your home is waiting for you. Its door will be facing the mid-day 
sun. Here you will find your relatives gathered. Inasmuch, then, as our ruler will 
nod assent and express his approval by word of mouth, so shall we now dothesame." 

At this word all those assembled at the wake shout, Ho-ha! 

Then a warrior told his war experiences and after thanking the 
people passed the tobacco to the next warrior, who in turn related 
his war experiences. 

The amount of gifts was then figured out and they tried to arrange 
matters so that the warriors were through with their stories about 
midnight. At midnight games were played with the donations as 
prizes. The gifts generally consisted of twelve 3-yard pieces of 
calico or money equal to that amount of calico; twelve strings of 
beads, etc. These were the gifts used as prizes. Other donations 
of food were made for the four nights' feast. A. W. was in charge 
of the games and he likewise designated what games were to be 
played. As they generally play the games the deceased was fond 
of so in this case they played the moccasin game and cards. After 
the donations were exhausted and the games finished a brave man 
was called upon to give a war whoop in thankfulness for the sun, 
and also to all the spirits above and below. Then A. W. greeted and 
thanked the guests again for coming, and the wake was over. 

In olden times the widow was supposed to continue single for 
four years. She is strongly admonished, nevertheless, not to con- 
tinue in low spirits, and to consider herself free to act in any way 
that will make her happy. She is told to play games or dance, or in 
fact do anything that will make her forget her sorrow, and she is 
told that no one will hold her conduct against her as disrespectful to 
the deceased. As this admonition is given to her by the sister or 
aunt of the deceased's husband, the only people who could properly 
reproach her — namely, the members of her husband's clan — it has all 
the more weight. The prohibition of weeping is further strengthened 
by the fact that it is customary to say that any woman who weeps 
too profusely at the death of her husband is in reality thinking, in 
186823—22 11 

154 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth.ann. 37 

the midst of her tears, of the one she is going to marry next. The 
people will then tell one another not to put themselves out too much 
as the widow will soon forget her mourning and show no respect to 
the memory of the dead, but instead look after her own pleasures. 

Funeral Customs op the Buffalo Clan 

Told by a member of the clan. 10 If a Buffalo clan man dies some 
members of his clan who are called upon would speak as follows: 

To-day when yon ceased to breathe we were aware of it. Therefore relatives who 
are present, I greet you. Here my brother's life has ended, and for the last time I 
will talk to him about the road he is to take. 

Ha n ho, my brother, the place at which we originated was called Bad Lake. There 
were four buffaloes there and from the youngest one are we descended. They lived 
holy lives, and we hope you will walk in their path. That you may strike everything 
(you meet on your journey) you must take along with you a war club. You shall 
walk armed with sharp teeth; and it will be impossible for bad spirits to walk back 
and forth across your path. And your sight shall be holy as you walk. 

Then the speaker painted the face of the deceased. On the right 
side of his forehead he painted a rainbow with blue and red paint. 
After that he sang the clan songs. When he was through singing, 
a member of the Water-spirit clan spoke as follows: 

Relatives, I greet you. When one of you passes away and you ask me to work, I 
am always willing to be of sendee. And I shall do it all the more willingly now 
because I am certain that I shall obtain some of the years that the deceased left 
"unlived." I do it with that belief, and furthermore I pray that no bad animals 
abuse the deceased on his journey. It is said that one cheers the soul of the dead in 
thinking thus. Therefore I do it and also that I myself may be strengthened thereby. 
I came back willingly when I was asked to work and I am doing this so that no bad 
animals should abuse the soul of the deceased. 

Then one of the callers would talk to the mourners, saying as 
follows : 

Relatives, I greet you. To-day one of your relatives has disappeared. You must, 
However, keep up your courage and not cry, for Earthmaker above has ordained that 
we should disappear. If a piece of earth c'aves in, it disappears, and when a rock 
crumbles it is disappearing. Thus, it is said, it must be. 

Origin Myth of the Four Nights' Wake 

Two friends went out to cut arrow-sticks, and were surprised by a 
war party and killed. When they were shot they thought they had 
stumbled and went right on (in the spirit). After the enemy had 
killed the first one they chased the second one and kUled him, and so 
their bodies lay apart. Then the war party left and the two spirits 
started to follow them. Soon they came to where their bodies were 
lying. Then they said, "Let us follow the enemy a little." Soon they 
caught up to the war party and one of the spirits pushed one of the 

1° This account is quite fragmentary and was obtained in connection with the clan myth. It is given 
here on account of the speeches. 


men on the back of his head. He immediately became paralyzed 
from the touch. Then they pushed another man and he could not 
walk. So they laughed and turned back in order to return to their 

They had not yet learned that they were dead. One went to his 
camp and told his wife that he was hungry but she paid no attention 
to him. The other had the same experience. Then each man started 
to go to the other man's lodge and they met midway. The first man 
said, "I came back hungry and asked for food, but they would not 
give me any, so I thought that I would go to your place." The 
second one said the same thing. Then they said, "Let us lie down a 
while." Just then the people began to cry, for they had brought 
back the bodies of the two dead men. Then one of the men said, 
"My friend, we have been killed." The other one began to cry. 

So the people gathered together and had a meal. One of the 
ghosts said, " We must try and get something from the meal that they 
are having, for the people said, ' We are giving this meal in honor of 
the departed." Then the other friend said, "Now we are going to 
eat, for they are cooking for us." 

These two were born again and told about this, and that is how we 
know it. This is the origin of the Four Nights' Wake. It is claimed 
that the spirits of the spirit land have a four nights' feast before they 

Grave-post Marks 


Warrior has been on the warpath (homani'na). 

Warrior was a leader of a warpath (sak^i'). 

Warrior was a helper on a warpath (wagLxo'na) (rek £ l n/ ). 

Warrior counted one of the three coup (wa'ngonArjk). 

Warrior had made a captive (wanglni). 

Warrior had killed a horse on the warpath or stolen one from the 

If a person had killed a man and cut off his head, he is allowed to 
paint the top (upper part?) of the grave-post red. 


/ D P X & >~^ 

12 3 4 5 6 7 

Fig. 28.— Grave-post marks: 1, Has been on the warpath; 2, has been leader on warpath; 3, has been helper 
on warpath; 4, nas counted one of the coup; .5, has made a captive; 6, has killed horse on warpath or stolen 
one from enemy; 7, has killed a man and cut off his head. 



War was one of the most important elements in the life of the 
Winnebago. The life of the warrior was the ideal toward which all 
men strove. It not only satisfied certain emotional needs but it 
was so inextricably interwoven with social standing in the com- 
munity and with individual prestige that Winnebago life is unthink- 
able without it. It is not surprising, then, that the prayer for 
success on the warpath was the most important prayer that men 
offered up to the spirits and that it was reechoed in almost all the 
ceremonies. (Pis. 43, 44, 45.) 

An element of culture fraught with so much significance to the 
individual and the social group was bound to be surrounded by 
innumerable customs, regulations, and restrictions. It was a life 
that was at stake every time an individual went on the warpath, 
and remembering the value of each life to a small community, it is 
not to be wondered at if there is a definite attempt on the part of the 
social group to restrict individual activity in this particular regard. 
An individual might go on the warpath either alone or in company 
with a few people, but the community, in the person of the chief, 
insisted that he show some warrant for his action. If no warrant of 
any kind could be given, he subjected himself to the only restrictive 
measures the chief and the community could adopt, disapproval, 
jeers, and temporary loss of social standing and prestige. So much, 
as far as his own person was concerned. If his action jeopardized 
the life or lives of other members of the tribe he had then to face 
the relatives of these people, just as any individual who had com- 
mitted some wrong. It is hardly likely that many men would 
willingly run any risks of unnecessarily antagonizing their fellow 
tribesmen when the proper means of preparing for the warpath 
was open to all. A careful perusal of the system of education given 
on page 166 makes it clear that a sufficiently large number of' 
methods for obtaining consent to lead a party were given, and that 
it was possible for every male individual to go on the warpath 
frequently if he so desired. Certain requirements were, however, 
necessary. It was not left to each individual to decide for himself 
whether he possessed these, but the final decision always lay in the 
hands of the chief. 


















Any man who has been specially blessed with war powers may 
go on the warpath. Such a man must not merely be blessed with 
those general war powers that individuals obtain during their puberty 
fast, but must likewise be blessed with a definite enemy to kill or 
capture, as the case may be, immediately before he starts out. In 
practice this meant that whenever a person wished to go on the war- 
path he fasted in order to obtain the necessary guarantees of success. 
An account of the powers granted by the spirit or spirits was then 
placed before the chief and if, in his opinion, they justified the under- 
taking, the man was permitted to go. If they were insufficient the 
chief expressed his disapproval and the contemplated undertaking 
had either to be given up or the man would be compelled to fast again 
for increased powers. There were a number of men who were unable 
to obtain the requisite powers. To them one of two alternatives 
was left open : they might either purchase sufficient powers to go on a 
warpath or they might volunteer to join a large warpath. A volun- 
teer needed no special blessing. If he had one, it would certainly 
benefit him, but it was not necessary except as an additional precau- 
tion, for the leader of the war party (dotca n huyka) was supposed to 
be blessed specifically with every element necessary for a successful 
undertaking. As the Winnebago express it, he was blessed "with a 
complete road." In a war leader's blessing, everything must be 
provided — sufficient food, a definite number of enemies to kill, the 
exact place where they are to be killed, the exact time when they 
are to be killed, the exact manner in which they are to be killed, the 
exact manner in which the participants are to return to their homes, 
the safe return of all participants, and an infinite number of other 
minor points. As a volunteer went at the request of another man, 
the latter, and not he, took upon himself entire responsibility and 
the chief dealt directly with him. The chief would, in such a case, 
be particularly careful to see that every life that was risked was 
amply safeguarded. Otherwise the war party woidd not be permitted 
to start. 

A man may go on the warpath for two reasons : either to revenge 
a slain relative or in a general way because he thinks he has received 
sufficient power and wishes to obtain glory. If the incentive was 
revenge, he might pursue one of two methods. He might go to the 
shaman with offerings of tobacco and presents and tell him about the 
death of his relative and his desire for revenge; or he might take the 
matter in his own hand, fast, and after having stealthily prepared for 
the necessities of the warpath inform a friend and steal out with him 
in the middle of the night. Were he to take the first method, it 
would be the shaman who would fast and who would afterwards 
lead the party, taking along with him as many men as would follow 

158 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

When a man went on a warpath for the sake of glory he generally 
led a large party and all sorts of special arrangements were made, 
because then a war leader was necessary and volunteers were always 
needed. It is believed that the same holds true for larger war 

In discussing the essential requisite for a successful war party we 
have stated that a special blessing was necessary for this purpose. 
There is, however, one noteworthy exception to this ride, if we are 
to accept the statements of members of the upper phratry — all mem- 
bers of the Warrior clan may go on a warpath without fasting and 
without receiving a blessing. This statement was vigorously denied 
by members of the lower phratry. 

When a war party returns, a very interesting ceremony takes place. 
At some distance from the village a victorious war party sends a 
messenger ahead to tell all those at home that the war party has been 
unsuccessful and that all have been killed, and that those at home 
should put on mourning. Secretly, however, the leader tells someone 
to look for a pole for the Victory dance, and shortly after all the 
preparations for mourning have been made the victorious warriors 
rush into the village. Before entering the village that warrior who 
has counted first coup is offered a pipe, from which he always takes 
a few puffs. The same pipe is then handed to the one who counted 
coup second, and so on, until the fourth man is reached. Then the 
prizes (waixewe) are given to the victors, who afterwards give them 
to their sisters. The scalps are not taken into the village, but are 
left outside, and warriors who have remained at home rush out to 
count coup upon them. Then the scalps are carried around the 
village four times. 

The widely-known Plains custom of "counting coup" is also 
practiced among the Winnebago. The individual who strikes the 
dead body of the enemy first obtains the first honor, the one striking 
it second the second honor, the one striking it third the third honor, 
and the one who actually killed the enemy obtaining the fourth and 
least important honor. 

The following are descriptions given in the words of the informants : 

Description of war customs and the manner of conducting a war 
party. — Informant, member of the Thunderbird clan. 

When a man is ready to go on the warpath, he looks around for as many men as he 
wishes to take along and then gives a feast. At the feast he fixes the time at which 
the war partyia to start. The man giving the feast (i. e., the leader of the war party) 
would get up and tell those present that he intended going on a warpath and give his 
reason; then he would say that whosoever so desired could come along. 

Many went along. Indeed, there was quite a crowd. The first stopping place 
(higiyara) was always near the outskirts of the village. There the leader appointed 
four men to go after food and wood for the fire. During their absence two camping 
places would be arranged, one on each side of the war leader. As soon as the four 
men returned with the food the attendants skinned and prepared the animals for 


eating. Then the war leader asked for food, and it was brought to him. Now the 
female relatives of the men came to the camp, bringing with them moccasins for the 
journey. After that the chief asked some man to tell stories and some to take care 
of the fireplace, while two brave warriors were put in chargo of the camp. Toward 
morning a number of warriors who had not been asked to join this particular war 
party might stray in (hotcu' ygit E e) . 

Before the war leader enters the higij-ara he places his war bundle crosswise in 
front of the entrance of the higij-ara and sings some songs. When he is finished, his 
attendants place the war bundle on his back, and only then does he really enter the 
higiyara, followed by all the other members of the war party. 1 

When they approached the place where they expected to find the enemy, two dis- 
tinguished warriors were appointed to reconnoiter, and they proceeded ahead of the 
war party until they saw the enemy. Then they returned to the camp and reported 
to the war leader. From that time on they would practice their various individual 
powers (waruxA'p naykgigire'je). 2 

When the two warriors sent out to reconnoiter return, the attendant offers them 
the pipe that he had prepared for the war leader. They smoke it and say, "Those 
whom we are after are entirely unaware of our presence." Then the members of the 
war party would thank them for their information. All would now start out against 
the enemy. When near the enemy, they practice their powers again and paint 
themselves with their war paints. To those spirits who have bestowed blessings 
upon the various members of the war party offerings are now made. Especially to 
the spirits who are in control of war powers are offerings made. To them they also 
pray for life and for war honors in the coming encounter. They even offer tobacco 
to those spirits from whom they have not received blessings, asking them for aid 
because of their careful observance of all the customs and precepts they were taught. 
Some offered tobacco to a medicine they possessed and asked the m edicine to remem- 
ber them in the coming encounter. Others boiled water (for a spirit) and asked him 
to assist them in obtaining a war honor, while others again offered tobacco to their 
war bundles and prayed that the powers contained therein might be strong and that 
they might kill some of the enemy and obtain war honors. All prayed that the 
enemy might not kill them and that they might finally return home safe. Those 
who had no supernatural powers to fall back upon would get frightened at such a time 
and they would say, "Alas! how will I fare! I should have fasted. I should have 
given feasts. I should have offered good medicines to the spirits and fasted until I 
was blessed, so that I, too, might now have some powerful medicine to use. Had I 
fasted and obtained a blessing from the spirits who are in control of war powers, had I 
given feasts, this all would have been a source of strength to me now and I would 
know positively whether or not I am going to be killed in the coming encounter." 

When everything is in readiness the war leader rises and appoints four warriors to 
give the war whoop. Then, as soon as the war whoop has been given, they would 
rush upon the enemy, imitating as they ran the sounds of the spirits who had blessed 
them. The first four to kill and count coup obtained the corresponding four war 
honors. Those who captured a man also obtained war honors. Beside these principal 
ones there were minor war honors. Those who obtained no honors at all would return 
home crying. After they had killed all those in the village of the euemy they would 
burn it to the ground and then start for their homes in the best of spirits. 

When they were near their home they sent a messenger ahead to inform their rela- 
tives to put on mourning, for all those who had started out on the warpath had been 
killed; that he who had in reality obtained the first war honor had been killed first, 

1 Higiyara is the special arrangement of the camp used on individual warpaths. 

2 When a war party has located the enemy, they prepare for the attack and run about, practicing their 
individual magical powers. "The war-club running" (warum'p naykgigirc'ji) referred to is the practice 
of running about in preparation for the attack upon the enemy so that they may not get tired out too 

160 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

etc. Then the war leader would secretly tell some one to select a stake (for the Victory 
Dance) and after a short time all the members of the war party would rush in and march 
around the entire village striking the scalps that they had tied to sticks. Then they 
would all go to the place where the stake had been put up and there they would dis- 
tribute the war prizes to the sisters of the men who had won them and the women 
would walk around proudly with the prizes around their necks. Then, in the daytime 
they would dance the Victory Dance and in the evening they would dance the 
Hok'ixere Dance for four nights. 

Description of a war party. — Informant, member of the Thunder- 
bird clan. 

If a man wishes to go on the warpath he must fast and be blessed by the spirits in a 
specific manner. If a man is thus blessed, he gives a feast and announces his intention 
of leading a war party. The chief always has a representative at such a feast (a mem- 
ber of the Buffalo clan), and as soon as it is over this man goes to the former and reports 
to him. If the chief thinks that the blessing is insufficient and might cause the death 
of many men he takes the war leader's pipe and lays it across his path and the war 
leader is then compelled to abandon his undertaking. This action on the part of the 
chief is sacred and must be accepted as final. The war leader dare not step across 
the pipe. Should the chief, however, not do this, then the war leader knew that there 
was no objection. Usually some members of every clan go along, but especially 
members of the Thunderbird, Warrior, and Bear clans. 

The action of the war leader is controlled by many rules. He must be the one who 
has fasted and been blessed with all that is essential for conducting a war party. He 
must have his food provided for him by the spirits, know the exact location of the 
enemy, their numbers, and their sex. 

After the war party has traveled for about four days, the men offer tobacco to the 
leader and he tells them where he is going, the number of the enemy, etc. If, after 
that, any of the members of the war party do not approve of the undertaking then they 
place a pipe across his path and the war leader is compelled to return. If nothing is 
said, then all is well. The war leader always goes ahead of his party and his attend- 
ants behind him, followed by the other members of the party. Whenever the chief 
stops liis attendants run to his side, take his war bundle and place it in front of him. 
Then the leader sits down, neither turning to the right nor to the left but looking 
straight ahead. The attendants get two poles and place them on each side of him, 
bend the ends over to form an arch, on each side of which are placed small oak sticks 
arranged in a row. Under this structure the war leader stays. Here he sleeps and is 
fed by his attendants. No one is permitted to go ahead of this improvised structure. 
On each side of him two fireplaces are placed, two for the Upper clans and two for the 
Lower clans. If the war party is traveling westward the two fireplaces on the north 
side belong to the Lower clans and the two on the south side to the Upper clans. If a 
man is going on a warpath for the first time, he stays in the rear of the party and has a 
little fire of his own. He remains in the rear in this way until the battle begins. Then 
he joins the others. 

A member of the Warrior clan is selected by the war leader to act as guard and he 
goes back and forth behind him encouraging the men and telling them not to steal 
away alone or go too far ahead of the party, since that always results in the loss of life. 
It is for this reason that it is not considered correct for a man to try and steal away and 
perhaps obtain a war honor in this selfish manner. Whenever the war leader stops he 
tells his companions what they must do in order to obtain food, all this information 
ha-ving been provided for in his blessing. If he tells some one to go to a certain place 
and kill a deer, he is certain to find a deer at the place specified. Whenever the war 
leader gets up and steps over his war bundle the attendants come and place his war 
bundle on his back and he then proceeds on his march, followed by the other members 
of the party. Whenever he comes to a river he takes some of the tobacco which is 


always kept on hand and offers it to the spirit who controls this particular war party. 
The others do the same. Then he would cross the river. Whenever he drank any 
water the others would also do so, and if he refrained so would the others. If at any 
time during the night when they are camping the war leader should wake up and sing 
some songs, be they grizzly bear, black root paint, or night songs, all those others who 
knew similar songs would likewise begin to sing. 

Miscellaneous war customs. — There were, in former times, many 
miscellaneous customs connected with warfare, most of which have 
now been forgotten. However, in myths and accounts of war parties 
a number of them are still mentioned. 

When a war party surprised a lodge, all the occupants were killed 
or captured and the poles that were spliced together to form the 
arches were released so that they sprang back to either side and 
assumed a vertical position. 

When a war party surprised a lodge in which there were children 
they generally killed them, cut off their heads, pried open their 
mouths so as to give them the appearance of laughing, and then 
placed the heads on their bodies again and arranged them against the 
door, so that when their father came home he would find them greet- 
ing him as usual. A brave warrior would never flinch at such a 
sight, but would prepare a meal as usual and speak to the children as 
if they were alive and offer them something to eat. Only then would 
he bury them. Immediately after they had been buried he would 
go on the warpath to revenge them. 

Frequently the skulls of slain enemies are used as lodge weights and 
their skin is taken off and used as mats, door-flaps, etc. 

War honors. — "It is the ideal of every Winnebago youth," says an 
informant, " to kill an enemy in full sight of his friends and thus to 
gain for himself a headdress and an eagle feather." Most deeds con- 
sidered valorous, according to Winnebago ideas, have associated with 
them certain insignia which are always worn in public, giving evi- 
dence to all that so-and-so has performed such and such a valorous 

These insignia consist of the following: 

Headdress and feather. — Denote that an individual has scalped and 
killed a man and torn off his scalp still bleeding. He is entitled to a 
red headdress and eagle feather. This also includes the man who 
has counted first coup (sarinigwahi'na). 

Red headdress. — If he has killed the enemy and not scalped him 
(tcasi 'ntc wale' e' re.) 

Eagle feather. — Worn by one who has counted second coup. 

Hanging eagle feather. — Worn by one who has counted third coup. 

Eagle feather stuck crosswise in hair. — Worn by one who has counted 
fourth coup. 

Wangirusgitc. — Consists of a rope worn around the neck. It is 
worn by the leader of that warpath who has captured an enemy. 

162 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eih. an.w 37 

Ud'ykere. — Arm band worn by the person who did the actual 
capturing. If two enemies are captured he can wear an arm band 
on each arm. 

Red-dyed eagle feather. — A red-dyed eagle feather worn by a war 
leader who has brought a captured enemy to camp and tortured him 
with embers. 

Ankle-hand of skunk or polecat. — An ankle-band of the skin of a 
skunk or polecat worn by one who has seen an enemy dead on the 
battle field and kicked him. If he does it for the second time, he 
may wear skunk skins on both legs below the knee. If the leader 
does it he is allowed to use an otter skin. 

Rope tied to helt. — A rope of any desirable length tied to a belt may 
be worn by an individual who has succeeded in either capturing or 
killing an enemy's horse. At a dance no one would dare step on it. 
If an individual does not want to wear this, he may in its place Wear 
a rope around his body. 

Legs painted white. — An individual who has been on the warpath 
in winter may paint his legs white, from the knee down. 

Gun painted red. — An individual who has killed an enemy with a 
gun may carry this gun at a dance and paint it red. 

Spear. — If a person kills an enemy with a spear, he may carry 
this and tie to it any symbol (eagle feather, etc.) that he has gained. 

Koke're^u^. — An individual who was a well-known warrior and had 
fought in front of his comrades, and one whom the enemy respected, 
was entitled to a long stick with eagle feathers. At a dance he had 
the privilege of dancing with the stick in front of his comrades. 

Hand on face. — Any warrior making all four coups, who did not 
care to wear a dress, might paint a man's hand in black upon his face. 

Raven's skin around neck. — If an individual captured more than 
one woman in war, he was entitled to wear a raven skin around his 

Body painted yellow ami wounded spot red. — If a man had been 
wounded on the warpath, he had the right at a dance to paint his 
body yellow and the wounded spots red, with red streaks running 
from the wounds. 

Otter skin around knee and naygisfo. — A great warrior, one who has 
gained all the war honors, can, if he does not wish to wear his separate 
insignia, wear instead an otter skin attached below the knee, whose 
ends are not quite united. He may also wear a naygis-o consisting 
of a stick, whittled and painted red, in his hair. 

Valorous deeds are also perpetuated on the grave posts when the 
warriors who have accompanied the corpse to the grave count coup 
and draw a picture symbolizing their particular deed on the post. 
It should therefore be remembered that the markings on these posts 
do not refer at all to the valorous deeds of the deceased but to those 
of warriors who happened to count coup at the grave. 


The Council Lodge 

The clan in the council lodge. — There is one place where the clan 
finds representation as a political unit, and that is the council lodge. 
No unanimity seems to exist with regard to the positions of the 
various clans in the council lodge, but here again the position of those 
clans with specific governmental functions seems to be far more stable 
than that of the others. The clans are generally so seated as always 
to be opposite their "friend " clan, from which fact a clan frequently 
calls its friend "my opposite." It is, however, interesting to note 
that this seating does not hold for two friend groups, the Water- 
spirit-Buffalo and Elk-Deer. The Water-spirit clan occupies a high 
position in the council lodge, apparently quite out of proportion to 
its present importance in the social organization of the tribe, but 
in consonance with its former importance. 

Councils. — No important undertaking was ever attempted with- 
out the holding of a council. On such occasions the principal mem- 
bers of each clan would assemble in a long lodge and discuss in great 
detail. Nothing comparable to a vote that might express the desire 
of those assembled was taken, but the opinions of those present were 
always presented in their speeches. As a rule the chief, or some 
person especially interested in definite matter, led the discussion. 
Owing to the complete absence of specific examples of councils it is 
very difficult to obtain a very clear idea of their working. The 
numerous councils relating to treaties with the whites are of very 
little interest or significance in this connection. 

There was unquestionably a regular order of entering and seating 
in the council lodge. What this order was it is impossible to deter- 
mine now, for the statements made by different informants were con- 
tradictory. Since, however, the contradictions in the seating ar- 
rangements seemed to be correlated with different clan membership 
the discrepancies may be due, not to lack of knowledge but to 
actual differences. A few examples of the seating arrangements 
follow (figs. 29-32) : 

Description of order of entering the council lodge. — Informant, 
member of Bear clan. The Buffalo clan would always be the last to 
enter the council lodge because the members remained outside 
making announcements until all the others had entered. The 
members of the Thunderbird clan enter first, making a circuit of 
tiie lodge before taking their seats. The members of the Warrior 
clan followed and took their seats just opposite those of the Thunder- 
bird clan. Then the Water-spirit clan follows, and then come the 
rest as indicated in the diagram. This is the only place where the 
Bear clan is not in control of the arrangements. 



(ETH. ANN. 37 

Fig. 29.— Seating arrangement in council lodge 
according to Thunderbird clan: a, Warrior clan; 
h, Water-spirit clan; c, Deer clan; d, Elk clan; 
e. Pigeon clan;/, Wolfclan;o, Bear clan; ft , Snake 
clan; i, Buffalo clan; ;', Eagle clan; k, Thunder- 
Dird clan. (The order of importance is from k-a.) 

Fig. 30.— Seating arrangement in council lodge 
according to Bear clan : a , Thunderbird clan ; 
b Bear clan; c, Wolf clan; d, Pigeon clan; t, Eagle 
clan; /, Snake clan; o, Fish clan; ft, Elk clan; 
i , Buffalo clan ; j, Deer clan; k, Water-spirit clan; 
/, Warrior clan. 




Fig. 31.— Seating arrangement in council lodge ac- 
cording to Thunderbird clan: k, Thunderbird 
clan; ; , Eagle clan; i, Buffalo clan; h. Snake clan ; 
g. Bear clan; /, Wolf clan; e, Pigeon clan; d. Elk 
clan; c, Deer clan; b t Water-spirit clau; a, Warrior 

Fig. 32.— Seating arrangement in council lodge ac- 
cordingto Wolf clan; a, Thunderbird clan; 6, Eagle 
clan; c, Buffalo clan; d, Water-spirit clan; e, Bear 
clan;/, Wolf clan. 



The Winnebago seem to have had a more or less formal system of 
instruction. This consisted of a series of precepts on different 
aspects of life, such as the duty of fasting, of being a warrior, of 
behavior to one's parents and relatives, how to treat one's wife 
and women in general, how to bring up children, how to behave to 
strangers, etc. These formal teachings were called Twk'i'TcvP, which 
means "precepts" or "teachings." Doubtless those obtained do 
not constitute all the different types existing, but they seem fairly 

My Father's Teaching to His Sons and Daughters 

system of instruction to son 

My son, when you grow up you should see to it that you are of 
some benefit to your fellowmen. There is only one way in which you 
can begin to be of any aid to them, and that is to fast. So, my son, 
see to it that you fast. Our grandfather, the fire, who stands at all 
times in the center of our dwelling, sends forth all kinds of blessings. 2 
Be sure that you make an attempt to obtain his blessings. 

My son, do you remember to have our grandfathers, the war chiefs, 
bless you. See to it that they pity you. 3 Some day when you go on the 
warpath their blessings will enable you to have specific foreknowledge 
of all that will happen to you on that occasion. This will likewise 
enable you to accomplish what you desire without the danger of 
anything interfering with your plans. Without the slightest trouble 
you will then be able to obtain the prizes of war. Without any trouble 

1 This chapter was originally intended for special publication and the notes prepared for it then have 
been retained. 

2 The fire {p'etc) is regarded as a spirit by the Winnebago. As a spirit he possesses many gifts that are 
of use to human beings in their sojourn on earth, and in order to obtain them, mortals must make offerings 
of tobacco to him. He may also appear to them during their fastings and bless them with a number of 
powers. In addition to his other powers, it is believed that lie is the messenger of Earthmaker and the 
other spirits and that he transmits both the messages, as well as the offerings that mortals make to them, 
by means of the smoke that rises upward. The old man speaks of the fire first, because being always 
around them it is a comparatively easy task to make offerings to it. 

s This is the regular expression used for blessing. The idea seems to be that through fasting and crying 
you are to put yourself in a "pitiable" condition and that then the spirits, seeing your state, will pity you 
and grant you what you have asked. The word "grandfathers" is used in the sense of ancestral spirits, 
the thunderbirds, who are regarded as the dispensers of war power, not only by members of this clan but 
by all Winnebago. 



you will be able to obtain these and in addition glory and the war 
honors. 4 If , in truth, you thirst yourself to death, 5 our grandfathers 
who are in control of wars — to whom all the war powers that exist in 
this world belong — they will assuredly bless you. 

My son, if you do not wear out your feet through ceaseless activity 
(in fasting) , if you do not blacken your face for fasting, it will be all 
in vain that you inflict sufferings upon yourself. Blessings are not 
obtained through mere desire alone; they are not obtained without 
making the proper sacrifices or without putting yourself time and 
again in proper mental condition. Indeed, my son, they are not to be 
obtained without effort on your part. So see to it that, of all those 
spirits whom Earthmaker created, one at least has pity upon you 
and blesses you. Whatever such a spirit says to you that will un- 
questionably happen. 

Now, my son, if you do not obtain a spirit to srengthen you, you 
will not amount to anything in the estimation of your fellowmen. 
They will show you little respect. Perhaps they will make fun of you. 

Do not die in the village. It is not good to die there. Whenever a 
person is grown up that is what is told him. Nor is it good, my son, 
to let women journey ahead of you from amidst the village. It is 
not good thus to let women die before you. 6 Therefore, in order to 
prevent this, our ancestors encouraged one another to fast. Some 
day you will travel in a difficult road; there will be some crisis in 
your life, and then when it is too late you will begin to reproach your- 
self for not having fasted at the proper time. So that you may not 
have occasion to blame yourself at such a time I counsel you to fast. 
If you do not obtain a blessing when the other women are dividing 
the war prizes brought home from the warpath by their brothers, 
your sisters will stand aside envying them. If, however, you are 
blessed by the spirits in control of war power, and if you then return 
victorious, how proud your sisters will be to receive the war honors 
and to wear them around their necks and participate with them in the 
victory dance ! And in this way your sisters likewise will be strength- 
ened by your war deeds. You will keep well, in health. 

My son, it will indeed be good if you obtain war powers, but our 
ancestors say it is difficult. Especially difficult is it to be leader on 

* There are four war honors, the highest going to the Indian who first touches a dead enemy, the second 
belonging to the one who kills him, and the last two to those who touch him second and third. The 
war prizes generally consisted of necklaces of wampum which were given to those who had obtained the first 
war honors. The victor also would be given the privilege of first smoking the pipe on his return to his 
home. The prize of the wampum necklace was always given by the victor to his elder sisters. 

<■ That is, fast. 

6 That is, obtain war power so that yon can go on the warpath and prevent yourself from dying in the 
village or have women die before you. 

168 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth.axn. 37 

the warpath. 7 So they say. If you do not become an individual 
warranted to lead a war party, yet mistaking yourself for one although 
really an ordinary warrior, you "throw away a man/' your act will 
be considered most disgraceful. A mourner might harm you in 
revenge for the fact that you have caused him to mourn, and burn 
you with embers. Your people will all be sad, both on account of 
your disgrace and on account of the pain inflicted upon you. 

My son, not with the blessing of one of the spirits merely, nor with 
the blessing of twenty, for that matter, can you go on the warpath. 
You must have the blessing of all the spirits above the earth, and of 
all those on the earth, and of all those who are pierced through the 
earth; 8 of all those under the earth; of all those who are under the 
water; of all those that are on the sides of the earth, i. e., all the four 
winds; of the Disease-giver; 9 of the Sun; of the Daylight; 10 of the 
Moon; of the Earth; and of all those who are in control of war 
powers — with the blessings of all these deities must you be provided 
before you can lead a successful war party. 

My son, if you cast off dress 11 men will be benefited by your deeds. 
You will be an aid to all your people. If your people honor you, it 
will be good. And they will like you even the more if you obtain a 

T Among the Winnebago any individual who has been blessed with the necessary powers to lead a 
warpath may do so, but it is absolutely essential that his blessing directing him be of such a nature that 
every possible contingency is included therein. Such complete blessings are, of course, not common nor 
can they be obtained except through unusual exertions. If you are blessed with just the ordinary or 
incomplete war powers and you nevertheless undertake to lead a war party, you may either be defeated 
or perhaps only partially successful, and, what is worse, you may lose some of the warriors who started 
with you. Your recklessness has thus caused the death of some of your fellow tribesmen. It is under- 
stood that every warrior before starting on the warpath turn his " blessing " over to the chief of the tribe 
for examination, and if the chief considers it complete the warrior is not held responsible for the lack of 
successor loss of life. If the chief docs not consider an individual's blessing sufficient to justify the object 
he has in view and forbids the warrior to go, and if the latter nevertheless goes; or granted the case he does 
not even submit his "blessing " to the chief for scrutiny, and sneaks out, then he is held directly responsible 
for any mishap on the warpath. The relatives of any individual thus killed may hold the war leader 
responsible and demand compensation; or, as is indicated by B. a few lines later, a mourner (i. e.,one who 
has been placed in mourning by the criminal foolhardiness of the war leader) might attack, perhaps kill 
him, without being held guilty of any crime. It must of course be understood that such occurrences wouid 
seldom take place. We must, however, remember throughout these "teachings' 1 that one of the objects 
of the old men was to draw the most alluring pictures of the rewards that would fall to the lot of those who 
followed in the footsteps of their ancestors, and, on the other hand, to draw the most lurid pictures of the 
wretchedness that befell those who deviated, no matter in what details, from the customs sanctioned by 

8 According to the Winnebago creation myth, when Eartbmaker, the creator of the earth, first came to 
consciousness and began creating life the earth on which we were to live was in continual motion, and 
nothing that the former could do seemed to be able to stop it. From above he threw down grass, trees, 
etc., but all was of no avail. Finally he hit upon the happy expedient of pinning the earth down at the 
four corners by means of four enormous snakes, or, as some say, by means of four mythical animals known 
as water spirits. It is to these that the old man is referring here. According to the story, even these were 
of no avail, and it was only when he finally placed four mythical beings known as "Island Weights" at 
the four corners that our planet stopped spinning. These "Island Weights"seem to be identical with 
the spirits of the four cardinal points, but they are not to be confused with the four winds mentioned later. 

s A deity conceived of as dealing out life-giving powers from one half of his body and death-giving powers 
from the other half. He is also supposed to disseminate disease. Disease-giver is a literal translation 
of the Winnebago word, but this probably does not convey the exact meaning. There seems to be no 
parallel to this peculiar deity among the other Siouan tribes or among the Algonquian. 

10 Daylight or light is conceived of as something different and distinct from the sun. 

ii That is, if you give away things frequently, especially to poor people. 


limb. 12 They will indeed like you very much if you obtain a limb, 
or, even better, two or three. If you do thus, wherever people boil 
an animal with a head 13 you will always be able to eat. 

If on account of your bravery you are permitted to tell of your 
war exploits during the Four Nights' Wake for the benefit of the 
soul of the deceased, do not try to add to your glory by exaggerat- 
ing any exploit, for by so doing you will cause the soul to stumble 
on its journey to the spirit land. 14 If you do this and add an un- 
truth to the account of your war exploit, you wdl die soon after. 
The war spirits always hear you. Tell a little less. The old men 
say it is wise. 

My son, it is good to die in war. If you die in war, your soul will 
not be unconscious. You will have complete disposal of your soul 
and it will always be happy. 15 If you should ever desire to return 
to this earth and live here again, you will be able to do so. A second 
life as a human being you may live, or, if you prefer, as an inhabitant 
of the air (a bird) you may live, or you may roam the earth as an 
animal. Thus it is to him who dies in battle. 

My son, fast for an honorable place among your fellowmen. Fast, 
so that when you are married you may have plenty of food; that 
you may be happy and that you may not have to worry about your 
children. If in your fastings you have a vision of your future home, 
the members of your fanuly wdl be lacking in nothing during their 
life. Fast for the food that you may need. If you fast a suffi- 
ciently large number of times, when in after life you have children 
and they cry for food you will be able to offer a piece of deer or 
moose meat without any difficulty. Your children will never be 

IS That is, a war honor, but more specifically if you "count coup " first. The honor of killing an enemy 
and the three honors associated with first touching his dead body are always spoken of as "the four limbs 
of the body." 

13 That is, wherever people give a Winter Feast. At this feast a deer, head and all, is served to the 
invited guests. The head may only be eaten by bra\e warnors. 

" At the death of a clansman au elaborate wake takes place. To this wake, as the principal participants, 
three or four warriors who have counted "coup" are always invited. It is believed that the souls of all 
the enemies one has killed become the slaves of the victor and he may command them to do his bidding 
at any time. If the victor tells his exploit and then commands the enslaved soul to take care of the recently 
departed person in whose honor the wake is being given, the soul of the conquered enemy will be of con- 
siderable aid in overcoming the obstacles that are supposed to infest the path between this earth and the 
land of the spirits. These can not be overcome by the merits of the individual alone. If, however, a 
warrior becomes vainglorious, the soul of the recently departed individual will fall into the abysm of fire 
which surrounds one of the heavenly earths through which he must pass. That is what is meant by 

15 It must be remembered that the Winnebago believe that all that constitutes "life,'' "consciousness," 
continues to exist alter death, the only difference being that in the former case an envelope, the 
present and, in the latter case, it is not. Winnebago philosophy does not concern itself with what happens 
when a soul becomes "unconscious" at death, which would, of course, be the case with all those who do 
not die in battle: but it does insist that to him who dies on the warpath the moment of death does not 
even deprive of consciousness. He goes right on living, as if he were still an inhabitant of this earth, the 
only difference being that the corporeal envelope has fallen off his soul and that, although he sees and hears 
human beings, he himself is not visible nor his voice audible. 

186823—22 12 

170 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ass. 37 

My son, never abuse your wife. The women are sacred. If you 
abuse your wife and make her life miserable, you will die early. 
Our grandmother, the earth, is a woman, and in mistreating your 
wife you will be mistreating her. Most assuredly will you be abus- 
ing our grandmother if you act thus. And as it is she that is taking 
care of us you will really be killing yourself by such behavior. 

My son, when you keep house, should anyone enter your house, 
no matter who it is, be sure to offer him whatever you have in the 
house. Any food that you withhold at such a time will most as- 
suredly become a source of death to you. If you are stingy about 
giving food the people will kill you on this account. They will 
poison you. If you hear of a traveler who is visiting your people 
and you wish to see him, prepare your table for him and have him 
sent for. In this manner you will be acting correctly. It is always 
good to act correctly and do good, the old people used to say. 

If you see an old, helpless person, help him with whatever you 
possess. Should you happen to possess a home and you take him 
there, he might suddenly say abusive things about you during the 
middle of the meal. You will be strengthened by such words. 
This same traveler may, on the contrary, give you something that 
he carries under his arms and which he treasures very highly. If it 
is an object without a stem, 16 keep it to protect your house. If you 
thus keep it within your house, your home will never be molested 
by any bad spirits. Nothing will be able to enter your house un- 
expectedly. Thus you will live. Witches, instead of entering your 
house, will pass around it. If, in addition to possessing this medi- 
cine, you also fast, your people will be benefited by it greatly. 
Earthmaker made spirits up above and some he made to live on 
this earth; and again some he made to live under the water and 
some to live in the water; and all these he put in charge of some- 
thing. Even the small animals that move about this earth the 
creator put in charge of some power. Thus he created them. After- 
wards he created us human beings and as he had exhausted all the 
powers to be disposed of we were not in control of anything. Then 
he made a weed and placed it in our charge. And he said that no 
matter how powerful are the spirits that exist they would not be 
able to take this weed from us without giving something in return. 
He himself, Earthmaker, would not be able to demand it for nothing. 
So he spoke. This weed was the tobacco plant. Earthmaker said 
that if we would offer a pipeful of tobacco to him, whatever we should 
ask of him he would immediately grant. Not only he, but all the 
spirits created, longed to have some of this tobacco. It is for this 
reason that when we fast and cry piteously for some spirit to take 
pity on us, if we give them tobacco they will bless us with those 

" A plant without a stem, presumably some root, used for warding off danger. 


powers that the creator gave them. So it will be. Earthmaker 
made it thus. 

My son, you must fast. If you breathe upon sick people, 17 1 mean 
if you are blessed with that kind of power, you will be able to restore 
people to health. You will be of help to your people. If you can, 
in addition, draw out the pain from within the body of an individual, 
you will indeed be a help to your people. They will respect you. 
You will not even have to work for all your necessities, for those 
whom you treat will cheerfully support you as long as you live. If 
you should die, your name will be held in great respect and people 
will frequently talk about you. Ah, that man he had indeed great 
power ! 

My son, if you are not able to fast, 18 try at least to obtain some 
plants that are powerful. There are people who know the qualities 
of the different plants, who have been blessed by the spirits with 
this knowledge. It is pitiable enough that you could obtain nothing 
through fasting, so ask those that are in possession of these plants at 
least to have pity upon you. If they have pity upon you, they will 
bless you with one of the plants they possess, and you will thus have 
something to help you in life and to encourage you. One plant will 
not be enough. Of all the plants that cover the earth and lie like a 
fringe of hair upon the body of our grandmother, try and obtain 
knowledge of these, that you may be strengthened in life. Then 
you will have reason to feel encouraged. A real medicine man has 
even more justification for feeling encouraged than an ordinary one, 
because such a one has been blessed with life by the Water-spirits. 
If, therefore, you wish to obtain the real powers of curing people, 
so that you will have the power of making them arise from their 
sick beds, you must long and patiently wait and labor. If, however, 
you obtain the true powers — that is, if you obtain blessings from the 
Water-spirits — then some day, when your children are in need of 
medicine, you will not have to go and look for a medicine man, but 
you will only have to look into your medicine bundle. Whatever 
trouble your children have you will be able to cure it. Should any- 
thing be the matter with the people of your tribe they will call upon 
you. You can then open your medicine bundle and the individual 
who is wanting in life will be benefited from the stock of medicines 

17 Sickness is due to the presence of some object within the body. Illness can therefore only be cured if 
this object is extracted. This is generally accomplished by the shaman sucking it out through a bone 
tube. Among the Winnebago the shaman before applying the tube squirts some water upon the afflicted 
person and breathes upon him. This is what the "breathing'' relers to. 

18 Not everyone who fasts is blessed with power. For those who are thus unable to obtain blessings 
directly from the spirits there is only one method of protection against evils left— the purchase of plants 
with magical properties from those who have been blessed with them. These can be obtained by any 
individual no matter how unsuccessful he has been in obtaining blessings through personal fasting. All 
that is needed is sufficient riches for purchasing them. Of course it goes without saying that those who 
have been blessed with power may and do also provide themselves with these medicines. 

172 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. axx. 37 

that are in your possession. You will indeed never be embarrassed. 
You will know just wherein his ailment lies. As you have obtained 
your power with great effort, therefore what you say will be so. If 
you say he will live, he will live. If the relatives of the patient 
make you good payments, you may perform what you are accustomed 
to in your treatment of people. Then you can ask your medicine to 
put forth its strength for you and it will do so. If you make good 
offerings of tobacco to the plants and if you make feasts in their 
honor, if, indeed, you make much of your medicine, if you talk to it as 
though it were a human being, then when you ask it to put forth its 
strength it will do so. The payments that you receive you can take 
with a good conscience and your children will wear them and will be 
strengthened thereby. So be very diligent in the care you bestow 
upon them. The medicines were placed here by Earthmaker for a 
good purpose. We are to use them to heal ourselves. For that 
purpose Earthmaker gave them to us. If anyone tries to obtain 
the life sustainers — that is, the medicines — and inflicts suffering upon 
himself in order to obtain them, our grandmother will know about 
it. So whatever you spend upon it, be it in labor or in goods, she 
will know about it. All that you gave in obtaining your medicines 
she will know. They will be returned to you. The people will 
thus be providing themselves with something for the future. The 
people always look forward to the future and for all possible happen- 
ings they will have some medicine provided. You must try to ob- 
tain some of the medicines that most people possess. If you want 
paint-medicine, make yourself pitiable. If your paint-medicine 
overcomes your enemy and you keep it in your home, you will never 
be wanting in wealth. The most valued possessions of the people 
will be given to you. The people will love you and the paint-medi- 
cine will be the cause of it. Whatever you receive will be in conse- 
quence of the possession of the paint-medicine. The paint-medicine 
is made of the blood of the Water-spirits, and therefore it is holy. 
People used to fast and thirst themselves to death and a Water-spirit 
would appear to them and bestow his blessings upon them. What- 
ever he told them would come true. The Earthmaker put the 
Water-spirit in charge of these things so that he would bless the 
people with them. That was his purpose. 

Some people who wished to find good medicines obtained the 
race medicine. Try and learn of it. Others had gambling medicine, 
and still others again had hunting medicine. There are medicines 
for very purpose. 

There is a courting medicine and a medicine to prevent married 
people from wishing to separate, and there is a medicine for making 
one rich. 


If one wishes to make a person crazy, there is a medicine for that 

If some one had made another one sad at heart and he wished to 
revenge himself, he would use a medicine that would make that 
person crazy. Thus he would poison him. 

If a person wished to marry a certain girl and she did not want him, 
he would poison her with a medicine that would make her become a 
harlot. All the men would fall in love with her by reason of the 
medicine he gave her. 

If they wished a man to be continually running after a woman, they 
had a medicine for that purpose. All these medicines they possessed. 
You can obtain any of them you like if you ask for them in the proper 

Some people have knowledge of plants that will cause a person 
to sleep all the time. Others again have medicines that will cause 
them to stay awake all the time. Some know how to overcome the 
viciousness of dogs that watch over women by means of medicines; 
some again have medicines that will make people single them out 
even in crowds. If this person uses his medicine in a crowd of peo- 
ple, the one on whom it is used will consider him a great man no 
matter how many there should be in the crowd. Some have a 
medicine to be used for preventing an individual from getting tired. 
Others have a medicine to be used when they have dog contests. 

Whatever they did, for that they would have medicines. 

Whenever they plant a field they protect it with medicine tied on 
to a stick. No one will then go through that field without suffering 
for it. If you did not have that protection, people could go through 
your field whenever they wished. In short, try to obtain as many 
medicines as you possibly can, for you will need them all. People 
should always look out for themselves so that they may learn what 
is necessary to make life comfortable and happy. If you try to 
obtain the knowledge of these things you will get along in life well. 
You will need nothing; and whenever you need a certain medicine, 
instead of being compelled to buy it, you will have it in your own 
possession. If you act in this manner and keep on fasting you will 
never be caught offguard during your life. If you have a home, it 
will always look nice and you will be lacking in nothing. So, do 
what I tell you and you will never regret it in after life. Try and 
learn the way in which your ancestors lived and follow in their 


If you thus travel in the road of the good people, it will be good 
and other people will not consider your life a source of amusement." 

If you can not obtain a blessing from the spirits try also to have 
some good plant take pity on you. This I am telling you and if 
you do not do it, you will suffer for it. All that I am saying will be 
of great benefit to you if you pay heed to me, for (you will need 
medicines for) whatever you do in life, if you are not fortunate 
enough to obtain blessings from the spirits. If you are ever on the 
warpath, you will need medicine in order to escape being hit or in 
order to prevent yourself from getting exhausted or from feeling 
famished. If you manage to be fortunate in all these things you 
may be certain that the medicines have caused it. 

My son, help yourself as you go along life's path, for this earth has 
many narrow passages and you can never tell when you will come to 
one. If, however, you have something with which to strengthen 
yourself you will come safely through the passages you meet. 

Let every one think you a desirable person to know. Associate 
with people. If you act in this manner, every one will like you. 
(You will live) a contented life. Never do anything wrong to your 
children. Whatever your children ask you to do, do not hesitate 
to do it for them. If you act thus people will say you are good- 
natured. If you ever lose a friend by death and if you have riciies 
cover 20 the expenses of the funeral of the deceased. Help the 
mourners to feed the people at the wake. If you act thus you will 
be acting well. Then you will be truly a helper of the people and 
they will know you as such. Indeed, all of them will know you. 
For the good you do, all will love you. 

My son, do not become a gambler. You might, it is true, become 
rich, but in spite of your wealth all your children will die. No 
gambler ever had children. It is an affair of the bad spirits entirely. 
Now if you do all that I have told you, you will unquestionably lead 
a happy and contented life. 

Thus would the old people speak to a child whom they loved very 
much, that he might obtain the means of warding off what is not 
good. Anyone who acted contrary to these teachings would have 
himself to blame for the consequences. 

'» This dislike of being made fun of, or of being the laughing stock, plays an important role among the 
Winnebago. It is not at all comparable to the same feeling as found at the present day among civilized 
people of Western Europe, for it is infinitely deeper and closely associated with social ostracism. The 
despondency caused by being made fun of. would frequently drive a person away from home or lead him to 
embark on any undertaking that would bring death. Owing to the social consequences coming in its train, 
a man would consequently do most anything in his power to ward it off. Correlated with this negative 
aspect of the use of ' ' fun-poking /'there is a positive one. There are. certain relatives who have the privilege 
of making fun of or playing practical jokes on you. This ' joking-relationship'' exists among many tribes 
in America, but the relatives between whom it is permitted differ in every case. Among the Winnebago 
it exists between uncles and nieces and nephews and between brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. 

20 That is, buy the funeral apparel for the deceased. 


If you ever get married, my son, do not make an idol of your wife. 
The more you worship her, the more will she want to be worshipped. 
Thus the old people said. They warned the young men against the 
example of those men who always hearken to what the women say, 
who are the slaves of women. Often they would speak in the fol- 
lowing manner: "You have had many warnings, but it may hap- 
pen that some day you will not pay any attention to them. Then, 
when they call upon you to take part in the Winter Feast you may 
perhaps refuse to go. When a war party is leaving you may listen 
to the voice of your wife and not join them. Thus you will be as 
one who has been brought up as a woman. 21 Men of every descrip- 
tion do what is demanded of them, you alone do not act as a man 
should. You never perform a man's deed. If you were to go to a 
Winter Feast, you would be handed a lean piece of meat. 22 Why 
should you subject yourself to the danger of being made fun of ? A 
real brave man, when he goes to a Winter Feast, will receive a deer's 
head, while you will only receive a lean piece of meat. That is all 
they will give you to eat. It will stick in your throat." 23 

My son, if you keep on listening to your wife, after a while she 
will never let you go to any feast at all. All your relatives will 
scold you and your own sisters will think little of you. They will 
say to one another, "Let us not ever go over to see him. He is of 
no help to anyone." Finally, when you have become a real slave to 
your wife, she might tell you to hit your own relatives, and you 
would do it. For these reasons, my son, I warn you against the 
words of women. Steel yourself against them. For if you do not 
do so you will find yourself different from other men. It is not good 
to be enslaved by a woman. 

My son, this also I will tell you. Women can never be watched. 
If you try to watch them you will merely show your jealousy and 
your female relatives will also be jealous. After a while you will 
become so jealous of your wife that she will leave you and run away. 
First, you worshipped her above everything else, then you became 
jealous and watched her all the time, and the result will be that she 
will run away from you. You yourself will be to blame for this. 
You thought too much of a woman and in worshipping her you 
humbled yourself, and as a consequence she has been taken away 
from you. You are making the woman suffer and making her feel 
unhappy. All the other women will know of this, and no one will 
want to marry you again. Everyone will consider you a very bad 

21 He may mean a berdash, but it is far more probable that he merely means lo call him a woman, an 
insult sufficiently great. 

22 A man who has distinguished himself as a warrior is always invited to eat the head of the animal, offered 
at the Winter Feast. Those next in distinction are given the fat pieces of meat, and the lean pieces— to 
the Winnebago, the poorest — are given to those who are of no importance. 

23 1, e. , the meat will stick in your throat , because you will feel so much ashamed of yourself. 

176 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

My son, whenever people go on the warpath go along with them. 
It is good to die on the warpath. You may perhaps say so, because 
you are unhappy that your wife has left you. My son, not for such 
reasons, however, must you go on the warpath. You will be merely 
throwing away a human life. If you want to go on the warpath, do so 
because you feel that you are courageous enough, not because you 
are unhappy at the loss of your wife. If you go on the warpath you 
will enjoy yourself. Do not go, however, unless you have fasted, 
and unless you have fasted for that particular warpath. If you 
have not fasted and attempt nevertheless to go on the warpath, a 
bullet will surely seek you out and kill you. This is what will happen 
to you if you do not fast. 

If you exert yourself in fasting you will assuredly perform some 
brave war exploit. You must tell your sisters and sister's children 
and your mother's sisters all about your exploit. Remember, also, 
that the keepers of the war-bundles can give you good advice in 
all that pertains to war. For their deeds they will be given a good 
dish of meat. 24 This they will give you to eat. 

Of such things did my ancestors speak, and I would wish you to 
do as they did. That is why I am telling you all these things. I 
myself never asked for any of this instruction, but my father did. 
All human beings ought to ask for it. Never let anybody be in a 
position to puzzle you in regard to what is right. Ask for this 
instruction, my son, for it is not an ordinary thing. In the olden 
times if a person loved his child very much, he would only give him 
instruction after he had begun fasting all day for the first time. 
When a young boy has just matured, those who have been preaching 
to him always ask him one question, namely, whether he had begun 
to fast. And this the young boy must always answer truthfully, 
for if he has begun his fast the instruction would stop. The old 
men do not preach to men, but only to boys. 

(What follows is apparently an illustration of how a young man 
asks his instructor for information of how to conduct himself in life.) 

The young man will go to an old man and say, "Grandfather, I 
would like to know how I am to conduct myself in life. Bless me 
and if you can really give me any information, do so." Then the 
old man was very thankful and said, "It is good; you speak cor- 
rectly." Now the one who was asking something of the old man 
had taken very good care of the old man's body and had led a good 
life. He had no scars of any kind ; that is, he had never done any- 
thing shameful. The young man brought all sorts of food and placed 
it in the lodge of the old man. Then he also brought him a fine 
horse. Only then did he ask him again about the life that his 
ancestors had led, and what kind of a life he ought to live. He asked 

« I. e., you will be given a position at the Winter Feast and offered some of the choice pieces*of meat. 


him what the old people do when they give a child a name, and 
what they say. All these things the old man told him. ' 'It is good," 
he said, "for you to know these things so that if anyone comes to 
you and asks you for information you will be able to tell them some- 
thing and will not have to behave like a fool. If you are asked to 
give a little child a name, this little child will really be a means of 
increasing your power. That is why you ought to give a feast for 
it and smoke the child's tobacco. You must also give the child a 
name for his dog. Give him the name Yellow-Tree for a male dog. 
The name Yellow-Tree is given for the following reason. When the 
Thunderbirds strike at a tree it looks yellow. Just as leaves wither 
so do trees wither when the Thunderbirds strike them. They then 
begin to rot and become very much discolored. That is why they 
give a dog this name. If you ever have to give a dog-name for a 
female child call it She-Who-Stays-In-Her-Own-Place. This is all 
that I wish to tell you." 


This is the way the old men used to speak to the little girls: 

My daughter, as you go along the path of life, always listen to 
your parents. Do not permit your mother to work. Attend to 
your father's wants. All the work in the house belongs to you. 
Never be idle. Chop the wood, carry it home, look after the vege- 
tables and gather them, and cook the food. When in the spring 
of the year you move back to your permanent settlements, plant 
your fields immediately. Never get lazy. Earthmaker created you 
for these tasks. 

When you have your menses, do not ask those in your lodge to 
give you any food, but leave the lodge and fast and do not begin 
eating again until you return to your own lodge. Thus will you 
help yourself. If you always fast, when you marry, even if your 
husband had amounted to nothing before, he will become an excel- 
lent hunter. It will be on account of your fasting that he will have 
changed so much. You will never fail in anything and you will 
always be well and happy. If, on the contrary, you do not do as I 
tell you — that is, if you do not fast — when you marry he will be- 
come very weak, and this will be due to you. Finally he will get 
very sick. 

My daughter, do not use medicine. If you marry a man and 
place medicine on his head he will become very weak and will not 
amount to anything. It may be that you do not want to have your 
husband leave you and this may induce you to use medicine to keep 
him. Do not do that, however, for it is not good. You will be 
ruining a man. It is the same as killing him. Do not do it, for it 
is forbidden. If you marry a man and you want to be certain of 
always retaining him, work for him. With work you will always 

178 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ash. 37 

be able to retain your hold on men. If you do your work to the 
satisfaction of your husband, he will never leave you. I say again. 
it is not proper to use medicine. Above all, do not use medicine 
until you have passed your youth. You will otherwise merely 
make yourself weak. You will lead a weak life. It may even hap- 
pen that you will cause yourself to become foolish. 

Do not use a medicine in order to marry. If you marry remain 
faithful to your husband. Do not act as though you are married to 
a number of men at the same time. Lead a chaste life. If you do 
not listen to what I am telling you and you are unfaithful to your 
husband, all the men will jeer at you. They will say whatever they 
wish to (and no one will interfere"). Every man will treat you as 
though he were on the ''joking relationship" with you. If you do 
not listen to me. therefore, you will injure yourself. 

Thus the old people used to talk to one another. Thus they would 
warn one another against certain actions. They used to instruct 
the young girls as they grew up (just as I am doing to you now"). 
That is why I am telling of these things now. 

My daughter, as you grow older and grow up to be a young woman, 
the young men will begin to court you. Never strike a man, my 
daughter. It is forbidden. If you dislike a man very much, tell 
him gently to go away. If you do not do this and instead strike 
him, remember that it frequently happens that men know of medi- 
cines: or if they themselves have none they may know from whom to 
get them. If you make a man feel bad by striking him, he may use 
this medicine and cause you to run away with him and become a 
bad woman. It is for this reason that the old men used to warn 
the young girls not to strike the men who are courting them, but 
whom they dislike. Pray with all your heart that you do not be- 
come such a woman. 

Do not act haughtily to your husband. Whatever he tells you 
to do, do it. Kindness will be returned to you if you obey your 
husband, for he will treat you in the same manner. 

If you ever have a child, do not strike it. In the olden times 
when a child misbehaved the parents did not strike it, but they 
made it fast. When a child gets hungry, he will soon see the error 
of his ways. If you hit a child, you will be merely knocking the 
wickedness into him. Women should likewise never scold the 
children because children are merely made wicked by' scoldings. If 
your husband scolds the children, do not take their part, for that 
will merely make them bad. In the same way, if a stranger makes 
your children cry. do not say anything to the stranger in the pres- 
ence of the children, nor take their part in his presence. If you 
wish to prevent a stranger from scolding your children, keep them 
home and teach them how to behave by setting them a good ex- 
ample. Do not imagine that you do the best for your children by 


taking their part, or that you love them if you talk merely about 
loving them. Show them that you love them by your actions. 
Let them see that you are generous with donations. In such ac- 
tions they will see your good work and then they will be able to 
judge for themselves whether your actions equal your words. 

My daughter, do not show your love for other children so that 
strangers notice it. You may, of course, love other children, but 
love them with a different love from that which you bestow on your 
own children. The children of other people are different from your 
own children, and if you were to take them to some other place 
after you had been lavishing so much love upon them they woidd 
not act as your children would under the same circumstances. You 
can always depend upon your own children. They are of your own 
body. Love them, therefore. This is what our ancestors taught 
us to do. 

If a wife has no real interest in her husband's welfare and posses- 
sions she will be to him no more than any other woman, and the 
world will ridicule her. If, on the other hand, you pay more atten- 
tion to your husband than to your parents, your parents will leave 
you. Let your husband likewise take care of your parents, for they 
depend on him. Your parents were instrumental in getting you 
your husband, so remember that they expect some recompense for 
it, as likewise for the fact that they raised you. 

My daughter, the old people used to teach us never to hurt the 
feelings of our relatives. If you hurt their feelings, you will cause 
your brothers-in-law to feel ashamed of themselves. Do not ever 
wish for any other man but your husband. It is enough to have 
one husband. Do not let anyone have the right to call you a 

Do not hit your relatives at any time. For if you did that or if 
you were on bad terms with one of them, it may chance that he will 
die, and then the people will say that you are glad that he is dead. 
Then, indeed, you will feel sad at heart and you will think to your- 
self, "What can I best do" (to make up for my conduct). Even if 
you were to give a Medicine Dance in his honor or donate gifts for 
the Four Nights' Wake, many people will still say, "She used to be 
partial and jealous when he was alive. Now that he is dead she 
loves him. Why does she act this way ? She is wasting her wealth. 
(She really does not love him and therefore), and she ought not to 
spend so much money upon him now." Then, indeed, my daughter, 
will your heart ache; then, indeed, will you get angry. That is 
why the old people would tell their children to love one another. 
If you love a person and that person dies, then you will have a right 
to mourn for him, and everyone will think that your mourning is 
sincere. Not only will your own relatives love you, but everyone 
else will love you likewise. If, then, in the course of your life you 


come to a crisis of some kind, all these people will turn their hearts 
toward you. 

My daughter, all that I am trying to tell you relates to your 
behavior (when you grow up). In your own home the women all 
understand the work belonging to the household and that relating to 
camping and hunting. If you understand these and afterwards visit 
your husband's relatives, you will know what to do and not find 
yourself in a dilemma from which you can not extricate yourself. 
When you visit your husband's people do not go around with a 
haughty air or act as if you considered yourself far above them. Try 
to get them to like you. If they like you, they will place you in 
charge of the camp you happen to be visiting. If you are good- 
natured, you will be placed in charge of the home at which you 
happen to be visiting. Then your parents-in-law will tell your 
husband that their daughter-in-law is acting nicely to them. 


Informant, member of the Thunderbird clan: I still keep up the 
old system of teaching my children at the camp fire. In the morning 
I wake them up early and start to teach them as follows: 

My children, as you travel along life's road never harm anyone, 
nor cause anyone to feel sad. On the contrary, if at any time you 
can make a person happy, do so. If at any time you meet a woman 
in the wilderness (i. e., away from your village), and if you are alone 
and no one can see you, do not scare her or harm her, but turn off 
to the right and let her pass. Then you will be less tempted to 
molest her. 

My children, if you meet anyone on the road, even though it is 
only a child, speak a cheering word before you pass on. Fast as 
much as you can, so that when you grow up you can benefit your 
fellowmen. If you ever get married you must not sit around your 
lodge near your wife, but try and get game for your wife's people. 
So fast that you may be prepared for your life. 

My daughters, if at any time you get married, never let your 
husband ask for a thing twice. Do it as soon as he asks you. If 
your husband's folks ever ask their children for something when 
you are present, assume that they had asked it of you. If there is 
anything to be done, do not wait till you are asked to do it, but do 
it immediately. If you act in this way, then they will say that your 
parents taught you well. 

My son, if you find nothing else to do, take an ax and chop down a 
tree. It will become useful some day. Then take a gun and go out 
hunting and try to get game for your family. 

As soon as I see that the children are showing signs of restlessness 
then I stop immediately. 

Part II 


We are justified in assuming that the twofold division of the 
Winnebago and the southern Siouan tribes, Dhegiha and Tciwere, 
had a common historical origin. Our identification is based upon 
the existence in these three tribal units of specific similarities apart 
from those of social organization. Positive proof that the type of 
social organization is historically identical among these tribes is not, 
however, forthcoming. This will become even more apparent when 
we consider the twofold division from the point of view of the names 
they bear, the subdivisions within them, and their specific functions. 

According to our informants, the twofold organization among the 
Dhegiha and Tciwere only existed upon specific occasions, when the 
tribe was on the tribal hunt. We are in complete ignorance as to 
whether in olden times this arrangement was reflected in the village, 
but we know that whether it was or not, the twofold division was 
present in a very definite manner in the consciousness of the people 
themselves; that is, every individual definitely knew to which one of 
the two divisions he belonged and that certain names and functions 
were associated with them. The moment, however, that we stop to 
analyze these names, functions, etc., we realize at once that to-day 
they connote different ideas in the different tribes under discussion. 
The names of the divisions seem particularly significant 5 in this con- 
nection. Among the Omaha they are known as Ictacunda and 
Hanga, probably connoting Sky people and Leaders; among the 
Ponca, as Wajaje and Tciju, Earth and Thunder; among the Kansa, 
as Yata and Ictunga, Right side and Left side; among the Osage as 
Tciju and Hanga, Peace and War side. The names for the Kwapa, 
Oto, Missouri, and Iowa are not known. It will be seen at a glance 
that the terms Tciju and Ictacunda are identical, and it will also be 
noticed by reference to the monographs of J. O. Dorsey and Miss 
Alice C. Fletcher and Francis La Flesche, that these names as well 
as the name Hanga are names of subdivisions within these divisions. 
Were these names first used to designate the two divisions or the 
subdivisions? There seems to be no reason for believing that the 



names were first applied to the larger divisions, whereas a number of 
facts speak strongly in favor of the reverse. In no case, for instance, 
can it be shown that the two divisions, per se, have any functions 
except that of regulating marriage. The various political and cere- 
monial functions displayed pertain to the subdivisions composing 
them. Owing to the massing together of a number of such functions 
on each side, we often obtain the impression that these belong to the 
larger unit, as such. And indeed this may be said to be true at the 
present time, in so far as the functions of one subdivision have be- 
come identified with the larger unit. All that we wish to point out 
here is that the names of the two divisions may be different, and that 
they may connote different ideas in the different divisions of an 
historically related culture, due to specific historical development 
within each. Among the Dhegiha there seem to be a number of reasons 
for assuming that the present names of the two divisions are not the 
historically primary ones. 

It is far more difficult to discuss the names of the subdivisions or 
"gentes" within the two larger divisions. From a comparative 
point of view it must be regarded as significant that the names of the 
subdivisions within the Tciwere tribes tally almost exactly with 
those of the Winnebago and that those of the Dhegiha tribes tally 
with the names of many of the two latter, although they possess, in 
addition, a large number not found among them. The Tciwere and 
Winnebago have animal appellations for their clans, the Dhegiha 
have animal appellations plus a type of designation descriptive of 
animal taboo. Which of the two types is the older it is difficult to 
say. This, fact might be noted, however, that the animal names 
have, to a large extent, been forgotten and that the descriptive 
taboo appellations have not; that in a number of cases there is some 
reason for believing that these animal appellations have been re- 
interpreted and in other cases replaced by nonanimal designations; 
that the origin myths of these divisions always explain why a certain 
animal is associated with a subdivision, and rarely the origin of the 
taboo name; and lastly, that the majority of personal names are 
strictly comparable to the clan names of the Winnebago and the 
Tciwere. On the other hand, the descriptive taboo type of name is 
found frequently among the band appellations of the Plains Indians, 
with whom the Omaha had come into intimate contact and by whom 
they had been influenced along definite lines of ceremonial and social 
development. For these reasons we would like to suggest that the 
animal appellations are historically primary and that the taboo type 
became subsequently popular and spread over the whole tribe. 
Examples of changes in the names of subdivisions are by no means 
isolated. The Winnebago exhibit a tendency to substitute names 
indicative of the function of a clan for the old animal names — and this 


has gone so far that a large number of individuals would probably 
deny to-day that the Hawk and the Warrior clan are one and the 
same. Again, among the Osage, Kansa, and Quapaw we find Sun 
and Star elans, and, if we were to imagine that for some reason or 
another the latter type of name became popular, it might here become 
dominant within a comparatively short time. 

Like a twofold division, the clan may connote a number of different 
things to the minds of the Indians. The Omaha apparently used 
the term tonwoqgtho 71 , which means literally "place-of-habitation- 
of-those-related," gtho n being the possessive-reflexive pronoun. It 
would thus seem to coincide with a geographical unit. The Quapaw 
use the term enikaciga, evidently meaning "people"; the Kansa, 
the term wayumida, " those-who-sing-together " ; the Osage, the term 
peda, "fireplace"; and the Winnebago, the term JioTcik'a'radjera, 
" those-related-to-one-another." The remarks made about the spe- 
cific names of the twofold divisions apply here. There is no reason 
for assuming that these are historically primary. A possible histori- 
cal hint that they are not will be mentioned later. 

The twofold division apparently regulates nothing but marriage. 
It has at the present time no other function, per se. Nevertheless, 
a number of ethnologists, and for that matter Indians themselves, 
speak of the functions of the two sides. If we consider the Omaha 
"circle," we notice that practically all the ceremonial functions 
are on one side; that among the Osage "war" and "peace" functions 
are found on both sides; and that, as a matter of fact, the functions 
of war and peace apparently relate to a certain reciprocal relation 
existing between the two divisions. Indeed, there is no reason to 
justify the use of these terms. Among the Iowa, J. O. Dorsey quotes 
Hamilton to the effect that the regulation of the hunt and other tribal 
affairs was in the hands of one "phratry" during the autumn and 
winter, and in that of the other in spring and summer. It is. how- 
ever, doubtful whether this was the case. Among the Winnebago, 
as we shall see, the functions o£ war and peace were grouped together 
on one side, the functions of the other side being confined to those 
relating to the policing and regulation of the hunt, But the only 
fact of importance to us here is not whether there appears a balancing 
of functions connected with the social organization, but whether the 
Indian thinks there is; and here the consensus of opinion favors the 
view that no Omaha would, for example, suppose that the Han- 
gacenu division, as such, was the custodian of the real pipes of 
peace. This belonged to the Inkesabe gens, and there is not a 
shred of evidence to support the view that it was delegated to that 
clan by the larger unit. The same reasoning applies to the Hanga 
clan. That the importance of the possessions of the latter clan played 
an important part in the associations of the Omaha, even to the extent 

184 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

of impressing its name upon the whole division, we do not doubt 
for a moment. Other reasons may have led to the designation of 
the other half by the name of one of its component clans. 

Similarly, among the Ponca, the Wajaje half corresponds to the 
Wajaje clan, the keepers of the sacred pipe; and among the Osage, 
the Tciju and the Hanga divisions of one side, and the Wajaje divi- 
sions of the other, correspond to the clans with the same name that 
are associated with important ceremonial-political functions. On 
the other hand, we have the fact that among the Kansa the names 
of the two large divisions are distinct from any of the clans in those 
divisions, and the same is true for the Tciju division of the Ponca. 
If we correlate this last fact with the apparent absence of any 
association of important ceremonial or political functions with specific 
clans, the suggestion might be permitted that no incentive existed 
in the minds of these people for the clan becoming identified with the 
larger divisions. Among the Winnebago the names for the divisions 
are quite different from those of the clans composing them, but at the 
present time the fact that the clan in each division has definite func- 
tions and powers has reacted on the interpretation of the social 
organization, and it is quite customary to refer to one half as huyk 
or "chiefs," and to the other as manap' e or "soldiers," although the 
latter is not common. 

In short, we have a right to see, in all the facts mentioned, indi- 
cations of a possible historical development whose characteristics 
seem to lie in the identification of the name and function of an impor- 
tant clan with that of a much larger division. 

The Winnebago social organization has long since broken down, 
but its details are still so well preserved in the minds of the older 
men, and particularly in the literature of the tribe, that no difficulty 
was experienced in reconstructing it. This reconstruction, however, 
does not enable us to determine the relation of the clan and dichoto- 
mous division to the distribution of the tribe over the large area once 
occupied in Wisconsin. That the 4,000-odd individuals composing the 
tribe at the advent of the whites lived together is extermely doubtful. 
The nature of the woodlands of Wisconsin and the fairly extensive 
territory over which the Winnebago were found scattered not long 
after Nicolet's first visit are facts that practically exclude such a 
hypothesis. The myth that speaks of a village that at one time 
was so long that those living at one end did not know what was 
transpiring at the other contains too many literary touches to justify 
its use as an historical document. 

The question, therefore, of village groups is of considerable impor- 
tance, because there may have been, cutting across the general organi- 
zation, another smaller, perhaps looser social unit, that of "band" or 
village, setting off one group against another. Systematic question- 


ing has elicited from various individuals the information, also corrobo- 
rated by historical records, that the villages were generally known 
according to geographical location or according to names descriptive 
of the haunts of certain animals. Even to-day the group scattered 
over the Nebraska Winnebago reservation are commonly known by 
similar designations. There we find, for instance, the following 
names: Icozo-atcira, "those living on the peninsula"; or Tc'vJia n icira, 
"those living below", i. e., in the timber; nivm'hatcira , "those living 
near the dirty water"; hutc x £ dgominangera, "where big bear set- 
tles," etc. If we may then suppose this to have been a customary 
association, we may quite properly ask whether the name of the 
village had any influence on the social organization ; whether there is 
even a hint at a genetic relation between these two types of group 
names. All that can be said is the fact that formerly Jioni, "band," 
seems to have been used instead of hoJeiVaradjera for clan; that an 
archaic name of the Wolf clan, regoni or degoni, may mean Lake band; 
and that the villages all had geographical names. All of which, how- 
ever, is, I realize, hardly sufficient evidence. 

No satisfactory demonstration has as yet been made indicating that 
the clan organization was ever associated with an historically simple 
social structure, whereas quite a number of reasons lead us to suspect 
that it was in all cases preceded by other types of organization. In 
North America there is quite considerable evidence tending to show 
that the village group organization often preceded in many places 
the clan, and for that reason the facts brought out above may be of 
more than casual significance. That a system of clan names different 
from that now in use existed is borne out by the archaic names for 
the Bear and Wolf clans. That another system was making headway 
against the animal-name type of change, namely, the substitution for 
animal designation, with correlated associations of descent or con- 
nection with an animal ancestor, of designations indicative of the 
functions of the clan. If the association of the social unit with a com- 
mon animal ancestor was preceded by an association of a social unit 
with geographical location, we would then be able to demonstrate 
what is so rare in ethnology — the historical succession of types of 

The Twofold Grouping 

The Winnebago are divided into divisions, one known as the 
waygeregi Tierera, "those who are above," the other as the manegi 
Tierera, "those who are on earth." Descent was reckoned in the 
paternal line. But these appellations refer to the animals after 
whom the clans are named, the term waygeregi covering the birds, 
the term manegi, land and water animals. So firmly has the idea of 
division of animal forms become associated with the two divisions 
180S23— 22 13 


that, as mentioned before, were a new clan introduced now among 
the Winnebago its position would depend exclusively upon the nature 
of the animal associated with it. As similar reasons dictate clan 
groupings among some of the Central Algonquian tribes, a few words 
concerning this type of association will not be amiss. The groupings 
of the fauna into a distinct number of categories is extremely common 
in North America. Among the Winnebago, a number of other 
Siouan, and Central Algonquian tribes, there was a fivefold classifica- 
tion; earth animals, sky animals, empyrean animals, aquatic animals, 
and subaquatic animals. Among the Winnebago the thunderbird 
belongs to the empyrean; the eagle, hawk, and pigeon, to the sky; 
the bear and wolf, to the earth; the fish, to the water; and the water- 
spirit, below the water. This religio-mythological conception has 
unquestionably received a certain amount of sympathetic elabora- 
tion at the hands of shamans, and particularly at the hands of the 
leaders of such ceremonies as the Winter Feast, the Clan Feast, and 
the Clan Wake, as well as at the hands of those who had in their 
keeping the clan origin myths. 

The characteristics of the thunderbird, eagle, bear, and water- 
spirit as clan animals, and as animals connected with a division of 
fauna, are also related to the general conception of these animals 
per se. The eagle and hawk are birds of prey; the thunderbird is 
generally a deity granting long life, and associated with peace, 
although his connection with war is also common. Similarly, the 
bear is supposed to have a "soldier" nature, and the water-spirit is 
intimately associated with rites pertaining to crossing streams, 
calming the sea, and ownership of water property. This correlation 
unquestionably indicates an influence of the religio-mythological con- 
ception of the animal upon the social group with which it is associated. 
How far this can go is abundantly attested by the names and behavior 
of the waygeregi and manegi divisions. 

On the other hand, we may legitimately ask what influence the 
two divisions had in molding the attributes of these animals, or 
upon the behavior of the groups with which their name was asso- 
ciated. The functions of a warrior may have determined, as they 
certainly have accentuated, the "warrior" characteristics of the 
eagle and hawk, nor is there any easily intelligible reason why the 
thunderbird should be associated with peace. From our knowledge 
of the social organization of other Siouan tribes, the political func- 
tions of the clan seem to be the characteristic feature of the organiza- 
tion, and this being the case, the possibility of associations of war- 
like and peaceful attributes with animals may as much be ascribed 
to the influence of the social unit as vice versa. With regard to 
such functions as the exogamy of the two divisions or that of the 
clans, or of the reciprocal burial relationship of the waijgeregi and 


manegi divisions, we, of course, know that the characteristics of the 
animal in question have nothing to do with the matter. We must 
then realize that we are dealing with reciprocal influences — of the 
religio-mythical conception of animals on the one hand, and of 
political functions of social units on the other. In some cases, such 
as the specific associations with the water-spirit, it is probable that 
the religio-mythologieal conception of the animal is dominant. 
The association of the thunderbird with fire has likewise not been 
due to any activity of the social unit; and thus examples might be 
multiplied. In this connection, the fact that animals with whom 
a multitude of associations have already been established are sub- 
sequently associated with social units is fundamental. From this 
point of view, the animal names of social organization are intrusive 
features, and we will consequently expect to find historical adjust- 
ments. This, we think, is what has taken place here. The animal 
name with its religio-mythologieal conceptions was a remarkably 
strong unit, and as a result reciprocal influences took place. Although 
the religio-mythologieal influence must thus have been marked, it 
appears to have changed none of the marital and other functions 
of the two divisions nor the political functions of the clans. What 
it did change, and change fundamentally, was the interpretation 
of the social organization. 

Functions of the Twofold Division 

The only function that the waijgeregi and manegi divisions seem 
to have had was the regulation of marriage. A waijgeregi man 
had to marry a manegi woman, and vice versa. The only other 
function was, according to some informants, reciprocal burial. 
Here the religio-mythologieal interpretations seem in part to have 
determined this relation, for a manegi man buried a waijgeregi man 
because, as a "land division," it pertained to him to place a corpse 
in the earth. This, however, seems to be a doubtful function, for 
earth burial seems in olden times to have been characteristic only 
of the manegi division, the waijgeregi clans employing scaffold burial. 
In addition, the burial relation was one of the many reciprocal duties 
of the "friend-clan," and if it was ever postulated of the waijgerigi 
and manegi, this was likely due to the fact that the "friendship" 
relation seems also to have existed between two clans belonging 
to the two different divisions. According to one myth, however, 
the four clans of the waijgeregi paired off as "friends" with four 
clans of the manegi. This would then be practically equivalent to 
saying that the manegi buried the waijgeregi. 

Thus far we have spoken only of the socio-political functions. 
The two divisions, however, play a part in a number of social and 

188 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bth. ann. 37 

ceremonial connections: first, in the organization of the village; 
second, in the arrangement of the clans while on the warpath; third, 
as the basis of organization at the "chief" feast; and lastly, as the 
basis of organization of the ceremonial lacrosse game. 

According to the majority of the older people, when the old social 
organization was still intact, each village was divided into two halves 
by an imaginary line running due northwest and southeast, the 
waygeregi clans dwelling in one half, with the chief's lodge in the 
south, and the manegi clans dwelling in the other half, with the bear 
or soldier lodge in the north (fig. 33). Although this arrangement 
has now become almost legendary, it was corroborated by many 
of the older people. To what extent every village was organized 
on this basis it is impossible to state. When this question was 


Fig. 33.— Plan of village according to Thundercloud, of the Thunderbird clan. 

directly put to individuals, the answer was always in the affirmative. 
Quite a number of old individuals, however, denied vigorously that 
such had ever been the organization of the village, and claimed 
instead that the lodges of the Chief and the Soldier (Bear) clan 
were in the center of the village (fig. 34). 

In looking over the clan affiliations of the informants, we noticed, 
however, that the first arrangement was always given by members 
of the bird clans, and the second arrangement by members of the 
Bear clan and generally also by others on the manegi side. This 
fact, of course, makes the decision as to the relationship of these 
two types of village organization quite difficult. There can be no 
question as to the existence of a twofold division of the tribe as 
far as marital relations were concerned, nor as to the segregation 




of specific clans in different villages. When on the warpath the 
twofold division manifested itself in the arrangement of fireplaces, 
so that the question to be resolved here is whether we can credit 
the statements that this twofold division expressed itself in the 
arrangement of the village, and, if it did, whether this was character- 
istic of the whole tribe or only of parts of the tribe. That this was 
true for part of the tribe can be accepted. Whether it was true 
for the whole tribe, however, can not be definitely answered until 
we know more of the Dhegiha and Tciwere. In the subsequent 
discussion of the clan we will touch on this subject again. 

The twofold organization is reflected in the arrangement of the 
fireplaces when on the warpath, each division having two fireplaces, 

Fig. 34.— Plan of village according to John Rave, of Bear clan. .4 , Lodge of chief of tribe (Thnnderbird 
clan). £, Lodgeofchief of Bearclan. C, Lodge of Warrior clan. D, Lodge of Buffalo clan. 

whose location is determined by the direction in which the party is 
going. When going west, for instance, the two fireplaces for the 
icaijgeregi are on the south, and the two for the manegi on the north 
side. However, when on the tribal move or hunting, no indication 
of the division exists. 

As the basis of ceremonial organization, we find the twofold di- 
vision present only once — at the chief feast Qiuijlc wohq), but as this 
feast is to all intents and purposes a feast given by the bird clans 
in general, there is really nothing surprising about its use. The 
name hutjJc wohq would seem to indicate that we are dealing simply 
with a feast of the Thunderbird clan, and this indeed may have been 
the case historically. Hiujk to-day, however, is frequently used to 
indicate the waygeregi division. 

190 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eih. ann. 37 

As the basis of organization in a game, the twofold division finds 
expression in ceremonial lacrosse. There the waijgeregi are always 
pitted against the manegi. A well-known myth is associated with 
this arrangement, according to which the animal ancestors of the 
waijgeregi and manegi decided their respective rank by playing a 
game in which they were organized on this basis. The waijgeregi 
won and for that reason the chiefs of the tribe have been selected 
from this division. A division into two halves when playing cere- 
monial lacrosse is characteristic not only of the Winnebago but of 
the Omaha, Menominee, Sauk, Fox, and other tribes. Among the 
former two, these sides are identical with the two aforementioned 
political divisions of the tribe, but among the latter two, where no 
such division exists, the tribe seems to divide itself into two halves 
merely on this occasion. 

Up to the present we have treated the two divisions as social units 
per se, but now, before entering on the discussion of the clans, it 
may be well to point out the fact that the waijgeregi people are some- 
times spoken of as the Bird clan (waniyk holcilc'aradjera), and that the 
four clans composing this side are so intimately related, and their 
clan origin myths so similar, that the assumption of the four clans 
representing one clan that subsequently split up into a number of 
divisions is not outside the realm of historical possibility. This is, 
however, quite immaterial, for whether we have one bird clan op- 
posed to eight other animal clans is of little consequence, for his- 
torically it is not the bird clan that is opposing the other clans, but 
one social unit, the division, set off against another. The numerical 
equality that exists between these two sides, in spite of the dis- 
parity in the number of clans, is perhaps another confirmation of 
the fundamental character of the twofold structure. 

Clan Organization 

There are 12 clans among the Winnebago with the following names: 

A. Warigeregi herera (those who are above) : ' 

1. wakandja, thunderbird. 

2. ivonayire uarjlrik, war-people. 

3. tcaxcep, eagle. 

4. rutcge, pigeon (extinct). 

B. manegi herera (those who are on earth) : 

5. huntc, bear. 

6. cuiqlctcurik 1 , wolf. 

7. waktcexi, water spirit. 

8. tea, deer. 

9. hu n wa n , elk. 

1 All the clans of the upper phratry are also called ahuirasara, "Thuse-with-wings." This name is 
found in ceremonies. 


10. tee, buffalo. 

11. ho, fish. 

12. wak'a n , snake. 

Another list was obtained in which only 10 clans were mentioned, 
the Fish and the Snake being omitted. The clans omitted are, how- 
ever, regarded by all as of recent origin. 

There are two older lists of Winnebago clans obtained by Morgan 2 
and Dorsey. 3 Morgan gives the following clans: 

Wolf. Eagle. Snake. 

Bear. Elk. Thunder. 

Buffalo. Deer. 

Dorsey's list is more complete, although owing to the fact that he 
did not know of the existence of the twofold division, he classes the 
four Bird clans as subclans of one larger Bird clan. His list differs 
from the author's only in the absence of the Fish clan and in the fact 
that he was still able to obtain two archaic names for the Wolf and 
Bear clans. Dorsey's list follows: 

Wolf. Bird. Buffalo. 

Bear. a. Eagle. Deer. 

Elk. b. Pigeon. Water-monster. 

Snake. c. Hawk. 

d. Thunderbird. 
Foster gives a grouping of the. clans according to the fauna. 4 His 
list hardly was intended as an enumeration of the clans. According 
to Foster, we have the following grouping: 

I. Thunderbird family or invisible Thunderbird people, 
n. The air family, the visible Thunderbird people. 

III. The land or quadruped family. 

IV. The water family. 

An interesting variant of the names of the Thunderbird and Warrior 
clans was given by one informant. He called the Thunderbird the 
good thunders, and the Warrior the bad thunders. This is strikingly 
reminiscent of the Menominee and was perhaps borrowed from them. 

The main differences in the above lists are the order of the clans, 
the position of the Wolf clan, the presence of a general Bird clan 
called vxmiylc by Dorsey, the double names for the Wolf and Bear 
clans, and the absence of a Fish and Warrior clan in Dorsey's and of a 
Hawk clan in the list obtained by the author. 

The position of the Wolf clan, in spite of Morgan's and Dorsey's 
agreement, does not belong in the place assigned to it by them. In 
all probability their main informant was a member of this clan who 
wished to give his clan a greater importance than properly belonged 

2 Ancient Society, p. 157. 

3 Siouan Sociology. Fifteenth Ann. Rept. Bur. Amer. Ethn, pp. 240-241. 

4 Quoted in J. O. Dorsey's MSS. of Winnebago clan names (B. A. E.). 

192 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

to it. There is no doubt but that in older times the Wolf clan played 
a far greater part in the affairs of the tribe than it does to-day, but 
that it ever was the principal clan of the tribe is out of the question. 

With regard to Dorsey's postulation of a Bird (wamifTc) clan, all 
that can be said is that the author obtained nothing confirmatory of 
it. It is just possible that Dorsey, who apparently did not know of 
the existence of the two phratries, misinterpreted a popular grouping 
of the four clans of the upper phratry, as representing a fundamental 
division. Historically it may, indeed, be true that the four clans of 
the upper phratry represent the subdivision of one clan. 

The archaic names for the Wolf and Bear clans can not be trans- 
lated with any degree of certainty any longer. It is barely possible 
that degoni means "lake band" and tconarik means "blue back." 
Whether these are simply a second set of names, or whether they repre- 
sent an historically older set, it is impossible to say to-day. The 
probabilities are that they are terms of respect. 

The absence of the Warrior clan in Dorsey's list and the presence of 
a Hawk clan is rather interesting, for it shows that only 25 years ago 
the bird name for this clan was stUl in use. The Warrior and Hawk 
clans are identical, the latter being, however, the appellation that is 
preferred to-day. 

In addition to the names given above, some of the clans have names 
indicative of respect, such as hung* for the Water-spirit, haga for 
the male members of the Bear clan, and warowirva for the female 
members. It is also possible that the names degoni and tconank, 
mentioned by Dorsey for the Wolf and Bear clans, were terms of 


Descent is patrilineal and a man's name generally belongs to his 
father's clan. Formerly there never was an exception to the rule 
that the name must belong to the father's clan, but of recent years 
the Winnebago have become very lax in this particlular. The 
irregularities in the giving of names were due to two causes — first, 
the intermarriage of Winnebago women with white men or with 
Indians of other tribes where the clan organization was either 
unknown or where descent was matrilineal, and, secondly, to the 
fact that the wife's parents were often in a better position to pay 
for the naming feast than the parents of the father. When a 
Winnebago woman marries a man who either has no clan or who 
reckons descent in the mother's line, the children are always con- 
sidered as belonging to the mother's clan. This, however, lasts for 
only one generation. As a result the male children of such a mar- 
riage perpetuate the clan of the mother, although they transmit it 
thereafter in the male line. 


Another irregularity that has grown up within recent times is 
the occasional transmission of the clan war-bundle in the female line. 
In olden times it could only be transmitted in the male line, so as to 
prevent its passing out of the clan. It was, however, not always 
passed to the eldest son, but to that one who, by his actions and the 
interest he manifested in learning the legends and songs pertaining 
to the ceremony, showed himself capable of properly providing for 
the bundle. Now it happened occasionally that a man either pos- 
sessed no son or that his son did not show sufficient interest in all 
that pertained to the bundle. In such a case the father had the 
alternative of giving it to some near relative in the male line, and if 
there were none of either giving it to some distant relative in the 
male line or the son of his sister or daughter. This, of course, hap- 
pened very rarely, and in all probability the female line would 
eventually have to return it to the clan to which it originally belonged. 

We have described these two instances of transmission in the 
female line in some detail in order to show how simply they can be 
explained without the intervention of any theory that the Winne- 
bago reckoned descent in the female line originally. Such a claim 
has been made by Morgan and reiterated by Frazer. It seems to be 
based on the fact that Carver found the daughter of a Winnebago 
chief, known to the whites as Glory-of-the-Morning, and her chil- 
dren occupying an exceptional position among the tribe, or at least 
among the division of the Winnebago living at the upper end of 
Lake Winnebago, Wis. Her position and that of her children, one 
of whom has become well known in Winnabago legends, Tcap'osgaga, 
was, however, due to the fact that she married a Frenchman named 
Decora. She was not the chieftainess of the tribe nor were any of 
her children, strictly speaking, chiefs of the tribe. In any case her 
position had nothing to do with female descent and at best but 
illustrates what we have said before about the clan to which chil- 
dren of such a union belong. 


Before turning to the specific study of each clan a few words must 
be said about the individual names. From a purely descriptive 
point of view the names can be arranged in nine classes: 
I. Color. 
II. Physiological characteristics. 

III. Social functions. 

IV. Animal and plant forms. 
V. Animal characteristics. 

VI. Natural phenomena. 
VII. Quality. 

VIII. Episodes of a legendary character. 
IX. Personal achievement. 

194 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE I eth. an.n. 37 

According to the majority of our informants only one of these 
classifications seems to be generally present in the minds of the 
Winnebago to-day — that commemorating incidents relating to the 
origin of each clan. Thus, for instance, because the first thunder- 
bird alit on a tree the name He-who-alights-on-a-tree is given ; because 
a wave swept over the shore as the wolf arrived at Green Bay the 
name Wave is given, etc. However, the most representative names 
of this type are Gives-forth-fruit-as-he-walks, Makes-the-day-tremble, 
He^ivho-comes-singing, Judge-of-the-contest, etc. The vast majority 
of the names, although many of them can doubtless be interpreted 
as referring to incidents that occurred during the various origins of 
the clan, clearly belong to the first seven divisions mentioned above. 
Yet the Winnebago interpret them all in terms of category VIII. 

As an example of the Winnebago viewpoint let me give the follow- 
ing: 5 

Four men [the clan eponymous ancestors] Earth-Maker sent here from above; and 
when they came, all their various characteristics were used for making proper names. 
Thus at the present day, the characteristics of the thunder-birds, all of their actions, 
are used as proper names. (At the beginning), four men came from above. And 
from that fact there is a name, He-who-comes-from-Above. . . From above, four men 
Earth-Maker sent down. And since they came like spirits, there is a name, Spirit- 
Man. . . And as there was a drizzling fog when the four men came from above, so 
there are names, Walking-in - Mist , Comes-in - Mist , and a woman they would call, 
Drizzling- Rain- Woman. It is said that when they first came to Derok, they alit 
upon some brushes, and bent them down; and from this fact there is a name, She- 
who-bends-the-Brushes. On the limb of an oak-tree that stood there, they alit; and they 
bent it down as they alit on its branches. From this there is a name, She-who-bends- 
the-Branches-down. And since they alit on the tree, there is a name, He-who-alights-on 
a-Tree; . . . and from the tree itself there is the name, Oak-Woman. . . And be- 
cause they stepped from the oak-tree to the ground, . . . there is a name, He-uho- 
alights-on-the-Groimd. . . And since they came with the thunder-birds, there is a 
name, Thunder-bird . . . and White-Thnnder-bird . . . and Black-Thvnder-bird . . . 
And since the thunder-birds thunder, there is a name, He-nho-thunders . . . And 
since they make the noise ttfawfa, people are called He-who-makes-Tcinini u . . . 
When the thunder-birds walk, rain accompanies them; and from this fact we have a 
name, IIc-who-walks-irith-Rain . . . And since the thunder-birds come walking, we 
have a name, Walking- Thunder; and since the thunder-birds walk with a mighty 
tread when they start out, there is a name, He-who-comes walking-with-a- Mighty- 
Tread; . . . and since the earth shakes when they commence walking, there is a 
name, He-who-shakes-the-earth-u<ith-force . . . And since there is always wind and 
hail when the thunder-birds come, we have a name, He-tvho-comes-mth-Wind-and- 
Eail. Now, since one of the thunder-birds came first, there is a name, He-who-walks- 
First; and since one of them was the leader, therefore, there is the name Thunder- 
bird-Leader . . . Now since the thunder-birds flash (their eyes) in even- direction, 
so we have the name Flashes-in-every-Direction . . . Now, we don't see the thunder- 
birds, but we see their flashes only; and thus there is a female name, Only-a-flash-of- 
Lightning-Woman; and since the thunder-birds (flash) streaks of lightning, there is 
a name, Streak-of-Lightning; and since cloudiness is caused by the thunder-birds 

s "Personal Reminiscences of a Winnebago Indian," by P. Radin, Journal ol American Folklore, vol. 
26, no. CH, pp. 300-303. 


walking in the clouds, there is a name, He-v:ho-walks-in-the-Clouds. Now since the 
thunder-birds have long wings, there is a name, He-who-has- Long- Wings . . . Now 
when the thunder-birds come, they come with terrible thunder-crashes, it is said; 
and as many people as there are on this earth, . . . and as many plants as there are 
on the earth, indeed, everything, the earth itself, they deluge with rain, and thunder- 
crashes (are heard); for all this they have a name; they call him Wnrudjdxega. 

The point at issue in this interpretation of names is, can we accept 
it as historically primary? We do not think so, for the following 
reasons: A large numher of the names are clearly descriptive of 
animal habits, others express the influence of social organization, 
and others refer to personal achievements, etc. Secondly, the in- 
terpretation is of too specific a nature to be regarded as one that 
could possibly have dictated an original system of naming; and, 
thirdly, in spite of its prevalence, other systems of interpretation 
are present. As a matter of fact in the above quotation, our in- 
formant distinctly mentions the fact that the characteristics of 
thunderbirds were used for names, although he insists that the 
names referred specifically to the ancestors of the Thunderbird clan. 
According to J. O. Dorsey the interpretations obtained by him were 
largely symbolical. He makes no mention of the interpretation ob- 
tained by the author, although this may be due to the fact that he 
was but imperfectly acquainted with Winnebago ethnology. It 
seems best, therefore, to regard the ancestor-episode type of name as 
but one, perhaps the last, that developed among the Winnebago.' 



When the animal names became associated with the social groups 
they were accompanied by the specific associations clustering around 
these animals. These associations were probably of the same type, 
if not indeed identical with those grouped around the animals as 
guardian spirits. The clan animals are among the principal guardian 
spirits to-day, and we must expect to find an explanation of the atti- 
tude toward them as clan animals in the attitude exhibited toward 
the guardian spirit. To a certain extent it would be quite correct 
to say that the guardian became the clan animal. This does not, 
however, mean, in the slightest degree, that the guardian spirit of 
the individual became the clan animal, but merely that the concept 
of the guardian spirit became associated with a local group. 

The guardian spirit is at the present time conceived of as an im- 
material being in control of an animal species. The attitude toward 
this spirit is a purely religious one, and exhibits a marked absence of 
taboo of any kind. It is an open question whether a vision must be 
attested by obtaining some part of the animal "embodiment" of 

For fuller discussion cf. P. Radin, The Social Organization of the Winnebago Indians, Museum Bulle- 
tin 10, Anthropological Series 5, Geological Survey of Canada, 1915. 

196 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

the spirit, but there is no doubt that every vision is symbolized by 
a special gift from the "spirit." The guardian spirit unit may 
thus be said to consist of a special religious attitude plus a symbol. 

The attitude toward the clan animal differs from that toward the 
guardian spirit in this characteristic respect, that more emphasis is 
laid upon identification with the animal itself than with the "spirit." 
As far as could be determined, the clan animal is the thunderbird 
with his characteristics of lightning and thunder, of the bear who 
likes honey and raisins, etc. The animal is engraved as clan symbol 
and used as a property mark, and he is brought into intimate con- 
tact with the group by the postulation of descent. Naturally, 
descent is not from the "spirit" animal but from the living animal 
species. Nevertheless the clan animal has, at the same time, re- 
tained its place as a guardian spirit, and in a most suggestive way, 
for the blessing of a clan animal is more easily obtained by a member 
of the clan than by an outsider. The clan animal is, in short, a clan 

In this change of attitude two considerations seem pertinent: 
first, the possibility of the "spirit" of the guardian spirit being a 
product of the esoteric elaboration connected with religious societies, 
and that its apparent absence in the clan animal represents an 
exoteric conception ; secondly, under the influence of the social func- 
tions of the clan, an originally strong religious conception of the clan 
animal gave place to an identification with the animal species itself. 
It might be objected that there is no inherent correlation between 
social organization and animal species as contrasted with spirit 
animals. It seems certain, however, that descent could only be 
reckoned from the animal, and as long as descent is postulated it 
must be from the animal. With regard to the historical priority of 
the "spirit" conception, little can be definitely said except that the 
systematization it has undergone suggests the influence of esoteric 
societies, and that the visions obtained during fasting appear to 
speak of the guardian " spirit " as an animal. On general psychologi- 
cal considerations we are inclined to believe in the contrast of the 
material and spiritual conception of the animal as a real fact, although 
it would be hazardous to say whether one or the other lies at th^e basis 
of the attitude of the individual toward his clan animal. 


The question of descent from the animal brings us to the con- 
sideration of the whole intricate relationship of the individual to the 
clan animal, a subject that has played so prominent a part in dis- 
cussions of totemism. There are two distinct sources for the de- 
termination of this relationship — data obtained in reply to direct 
questioning, and that contained in some miscellaneous myths and in 


the origin myths. Part of the oral data is merely a reflex of the origin 
myths, hut part is not. The value of this "unwritten" material lies 
in the fact that it represents the popular, exoteric attitude, the at- 
titude that, on the whole, is not the result of conscious rationaliza- 
tion, and that this exoteric view may very likely have been the 
basis for the priestly esoteric interpretation. 

The prevalent conception of the relationship of the individual to 
his clan animal is that of descent from an animal transformed at 
the origin of the present human race into human beings. This 
view is expressed in some of the origin myths and the general state- 
ments of individuals. Direct descent from an animal was never 
postulated. The definition of the term "animal" is, however, very 
difficult. The Indians themselves seem to make a distinction 
between the animal of to-day and the animal of the heroic age. 
The main characteristics of the animal of the latter was his power 
of transformation into human form and vice versa. Although the 
animals have lost this to-day, they are nevertheless descended from 
this animal. The human beings are, however, descended from 
precisely the same "animals," so that it might be well to bear in 
mind that descent from the transformed animal does not mean 
descent from the animal of to-day. This view is more systematically 
expressed in some places. According to one miscellaneous myth, 
the existing human beings and animals were descended from the 
same being, who once possessed infinite powers of transformation 
now into human and now into animal shape. At one time, presum- 
ably the beginning of our present creation, these "beings" either 
consciously or unconsciously exhausted all their "transforming" 
power, and the form into which they changed themselves, human 
or animal, remained fixed for all time. The existing animals have 
never succeeded in regaining their power of transformation. Among 
human beings this power has only been vouchsafed to those few 
who have obtained it as a special gift from some spirit. Even 
then, however, it is ludicrously incomplete as compared with the 
same powers of primordial "beings." This conception of the 
animal-human archetype must not be regarded as at all flavoring 
of a philosophy developed after contact with Europeans. The 
error that has always been committed in discussions upon the 
nature of descent from the animal lies in confusing our concept of 
animal species with the term "animal" as used by primitive people, 
and in the lack of discrimination between the possible connotations 
of that same term, as applied to animals of to-day and as applied 
to those animals that were brought into intimate contact with the 
clan ancestor. 

There is no reason for- regarding the specific descent from the 
totem as a development of this older Winnebago idea of the origin 

198 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ajn. 37 

of human and animal forms. The latter conception is entirely a 
religious one, the former merely an extension of the genealogical 
tendency prevalent in many types of social organization. Instead 
of being simply descended from an individual in a given social unit, 
the bond of membership within this unit has been strengthened by 
the postulation of blood relationship to the clan animal. The idea 
of descent may thus be looked upon as one of the elements necessary 
for the stability of a political unit and may be far older than its 
specific extension to those clan animals. A very illuminating ex- 
ample of a case in point can be selected from the history of the war 
bundle in the Thunderbird clan. This bundle, like the others, was 
obtained as a gift from the thunderbird in his capacity as a guardian 
spirit. The ceremony connected with it has, however, been markedly 
influenced by the clan organization and as a result we find descent 
from the thunderbird and night-spirit, the two most important 
spirits in the ceremony, postulated of the original owner of the war 
bundle. The same tendency is exhibited in the numerous stories of 
the relation of an individual of the heroic age to a village. Here 
the individual, generally a transformed guardian spirit or animal, 
comes to the aid of the people in their struggle against cannibals, 
defeats the latter and marries into the village, becoming thus the 
eponymous ancestor of the subsequent village group. 

At the same time no strong correlation apparently exists between 
a totemic organization and the extension of descent to include the 
clan animal, this seemingly being a peculiarity of certain cultures 
only. Bonds other than descent from the animal are frequently 
found and must unquestionably be considered as older than the 
latter in a number of cases. On the Northwest coast, among the 
Creek, Iroquois, and other tribes, descent from the totem is not 
found. Among the Winnebago themselves, in addition to the above, 
we find the idea that the Thunderbird clan takes its name from the 
fact of its members imitating the actions of that animal. Some 
versions of the origin myth give no reasons at all for the name, while 
in others an animal is killed, becomes reincarnated as a human 
being in a certain village, and the group takes its name from the 
fact. The descent from the totem, however, where it has not been 
primary, owing to its being a reflex expression of the social organiza- 
tion, quite generally supplants the other interpretation. 


In intimate relation with the attitude toward the clan animal is the 
conception of the tie binding one member of the clan to another. 
In no case did an individual regard the tie between him and another 
member of the same clan as based upon descent from the same animal. 
Blood relationship was always given as the reason for exogamy, as is 


shown by the very word for clan (holcilc'aradjera) . This concept of 
blood relationship was extended to the mother's clan generation. 
As we have pointed out, there is no reason for assuming that blood 
relationship is the primary explanation. The number of explanations 
for exogamy existing between one clan and another, and between 
the clans of one side as opposed to those of another, indicate clearly 
how readily interpretations of this phenomenon change. The Bear 
does not marry into the Wolf clan because they are friends (hitcalc'oro), 
and does not marry into the Buffalo clan because it belongs to the 
same side, or no reason at all is assigned. Before the question of the 
clan tie can be thoroughly understood, the kind of blood relationship 
that is here meant must be more carefully defined. This is not a very 
general but a very definite notion, and may be said to extend not 
beyond four generations, in fact not beyond the direct knowledge 
of some living individual. This will be brought out more clearly 
by the following tables, based on actual genealogies: 

(F) Thunderbird— Bear (M) 1. or: 

(F) Bear— Eagle (M) 2. (F) Thunderbird— Bear (M) 1. 

(F) Eagle— Wolf (M) 3. (M) Bear— Eagle (F) 2. 

(F) Wolf— Thunderbird (M) 4. (M) Bear— Thunderbird (F) 3. 

(M) Thunderbird— Bear (F) 5. 

All these marriages are permitted. In the first case a man marries 
into his maternal grandmother's maternal grandfather's clan; and 
in the second, a man marries into his paternal grandmother's clan. 
We will consequently have to consider blood relationship as extending 
only to four, sometimes three, generations, and have to regard the 
statement of blood relationship as the tie binding the members of 
the clan together as purely fictitious and secondary. That, neverthe- 
less, this fictitious tie called forth the same feeling as that of real 
relationship, there is abundant evidence to show, and that it was of 
considerable importance in the development of the Winnebago clan- 
unit is borne out by the fact that the clan was called "those-who-are- 
relatives-to-one-another. ' ' 


The association of political functions with definite social units is a 
common phenomenon in most cultures where a tendency toward 
socialization exists. It is strictly comparable to the association of 
ceremonial and religious functions with ceremonial units. In this 
connection, the difference between an association with a group unit 
and an association with an individual is of fundamental importance. 
Is the former, for instance, merely an extension of the latter 'i This 
only individual history can demonstrate. Such a genetic relationship 
between the two depends probably as much upon the nature of the 

200 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. anx. 37 

political function as upon anything else. The exact time when this 
socialization took place is of no great import here. Among the 
Winnebago, for instance, some individuals claim that the functions 
of the public crier were inherent in the Buffalo clan, while others 
insist that any person who had counted coup four times was eligible 
for the office. Now, in this case not only is it possible but it is 
extremely probable that the office of public crier was originally con- 
nected with an individual, and that subsequently it became associated 
with the Buffalo clan, probably by reason of a certain relationship 
existing between this clan and the Chief clan. It must, of course, 
be remembered that a grouping had already taken place, because the 
requirement of having counted coup four times made a large number 
of warriors potentially public criers. Its association with mem- 
bership in the Buffalo clan represented, on the one hand, a restriction 
of the number of individuals, and on the other hand, the addition of 
another qualification. Historically, then, the qualification of mem- 
bership in the clan supplanted the other qualifications, at least in 
the eyes of a number of individuals. What has been said of the 
development of the functions of the Buffalo may also be generally 
applied to the Warrior or Hawk clan. 

Political functions may, however, become connected with a group 
unit without the individual playing any role either in directing or in 
developing it. The functions of preserving peace and of acting as 
intermediary, that among the Winnebago are connected with the 
Thunderbird clan, and the police and disciplinary functions con- 
nected with the Bear clan, may represent such types of association. 
In the absence of historical data, no demonstration can be made. It 
will, however, be shown later that association of ceremonial-religious 
functions with a social unit has actually occurred. That the police 
and disciplinary functions of the Bear clan developed from functions 
of individuals, on the basis of requirements similar to those of the 
public crier, is quite improbable, and no indication of that exists. 
Similarly the functions of the Thunderbird clan do not lend themselves 
readily to such an interpretation. But even should we accept the 
necessity for the priority of the one over the other types of associa- 
tion, we must still insist that psychologically the functions are in 
each case associated with a group unit. 

Four of the Winnebago clans have specific political functions the 
details of which are discussed elsewhere. The. Thunderbird, the 
chief clan, and in addition to the fact that the chief of the tribe is 
selected from it, has important functions connected with the preser- 
vation of peace; the Warrior clan has functions connected with war; 
the Bear clan, those relating to policing and discipline, both within 
the village and while on the hunt, etc.; and the Buffalo clan, those 
relating to the office of public crier and intermediary between the 


chief and his people. The Wolf, Water-spirit, and Elk clans seem 
also to have possessed minor political-social functions. Thus the 
Wolf people are regarded as "minor" soldiers; the Water-spirit 
people are connected with the passage of streams, etc.; and the Elk 
are connected with the care of the fireplaces while on the hunt and 
warpath. This accounts for seven of the twelve clans, and it thus 
seems as if the association of political functions with clans was a type 
that had found great favor among the Winnebago, and was perhaps 
being extended to every clan. Among the Dhegiha, associations of 
ceremonial functions with social units seem to have found corre- 
sponding favor, while among the Central Algonquian neither type 

Marked political and ceremonial functions of the clan are thus the 
distinguishing characteristics of the Siouan social organization and 
have given an entirely different color to clan structure there. 


We have seen that one of the bonds between the clans was the 
fact of belonging to the same side. But there is a special bond be- 
tween certain clans known as "friendship" relation (hitcak'oro). 
This always subsists between two, although it seems occasionally to 
have been extended to three or four clans. Most informants gave 
these groups in such a manner that the "friendship " relation was not 
postulated between clans belonging to different divisions. One in- 
dividual postulated them just on this basis, i. e., Thunderbird-Bear, 
Warrior-Wolf, etc. There can, however, be no doubt that the preva- 
lent arrangement is: Thunderbird-Warrior; Eagle-Pigeon ; Bear- Wolf ; 
Buffalo-Water-spirit ; Elk-Deer ; Snake-Fish. Most informants did not 
claim any pairing for the Snake, while some associated it in a three- 
fold grouping with the Buffalo and Water-spirit. The four clans of 
the Watjgeregi are generally united in a fourfold group of "friend 
clan," although some divide them into Thunderbird-Warrior and 

Under the term "friend clan " is included the idea of mutual service. 
This becomes especially marked on two occasions: first, when a mem- 
ber of one clan visits his "friend clan," and second, when an injustice 
has been done a member of the "friend clan." On the former oc- 
casion every possible privilege is extended to him, even to his occu- 
pying the seat and bed of the host. There is no indication of "wife- 
borrowing," however. On the latter occasion, the " friend clan " will 
seek to revenge the injustice just as if the wrong had been done one of 
its own members. The respect shown by one clan to its "friend clan " 
is again apparent at the naming-feast. There he may be called upon 
to give the dog names for an individual of the clan with which he is 
associated, and, at times, to lend one of his clan names to the latter. 
1S6823— 22 14 

202 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

The relation ofTiitcak'oro or "friend clan" is thus strictly analogous 
to that which exists between two individuals who are hitcak'oro 
to each other. It is one of the characteristic traits of Siouan cul- 
ture that two individuals often form a strong, inextricable friendship. 
Not only are they always together but the death of one on the war- 
path involves that of the other. The same intimate relationship 
seems to exist between an uncle (hidek 1 ) and his nephew (hitcy,cge). 
There is, however, one fundamental difference between such relation 
as that existing between hidek' and hifcy,cge, the members of the family 
group, and the members of the same clan, on the one hand, and clan 
hitcak'oro, on the other. In the former there is the bond of blood, 
real or fictitious; in the latter, only that of mutual service. On the 
other hand, while the hidek' -hitcycge relation, the individual hitcak'oro 
and the clan hitcalc'oro all may be of different historical origin, they 
are psychologically the same. The postulation of even a fictitious 
blood bond between the different individual hitcak'oro and the clan 
hitcak'oro is not unheard of. For the hitcak'oro relation of individuals 
this is always possible, for if one individual dies, his hitcalc'oro is gen- 
erally adopted to fill his place. On the other hand, the myths seem 
to indicate that no blood bond was regarded as existing between 
them, for they generally married each other's sisters. 

What historical relation the clan hitcak'oro bears to the indi- 
vidual hitcak'oro relation, it is impossible to state, but the remarks 
made before are pertinent here, and no genetic relationship need be 


Among the Omaha a number of clans have in their possession cer- 
tain objects around which not merely the clan but also the tribal 
reverence is centered. Historically, we believe that these were 
originally possessions of an individual clan, which subsequently 
became identified with the entire tribe. Among the Winnebago 
nothing remotely comparable to these clan possessions exists, and 
the few specific objects possessed by the clan have never become of 
real tribal significance. 

The specific material possessions of the clan consist of certain war 
bundles, one in each clan; and two crooks in the possession of the 
Bear clan. There also exist war clubs, of which there are two types, 
one found among the waygeregi, the other among the manegi divi- 
sions. In connection with the clan bundles there are certain cere- 
monials known as clan-bundle or war-bundle feasts, popularly as 
Winter Feasts. The distribution of the clan bundle differentiates 
these from the specific possessions of the Omaha clans, and suggests 
a hint as to their historical associations. To all intents and pur- 
poses, as their individual history shows, these bundles are merely 


gifts from one spirit, the thunderbird, and a secondarily associated 
night-spirit (hqhe). The Winter Feast might thus be interpreted 
as a society of those who have obtained blessings from the thunder- 
bird. The bundle remains in the possession of a certain family, 
however, and cannot pass out of the clan. The war bundle may 
therefore be said to be primarily the personal possession of a 
family which has become associated with all the members of the clan 
to such an extent that it is almost regarded as a clan possession. 

In the possession of the two crooks by the Bear clan we have an 
example of specific clan property. The crooks are in the nature of 
emblems and are used on the warpath to indicate the extreme line 
of advance. They are thus of tribal significance. When not in use 
they are kept in the lodge of the Bear clan. 


Although there are no specific material possessions, each clan 
has certain "immaterial" possessions. They all have the added con- 
notation of sacredness. For the Bird clans, it is the possession of fire; 
for the Bear, the doorway of his lodge; for the Wolf and Water-spirit, 
water. They were not obtained for all the clans. We indicated before 
that these "possessions" may have been primarily connected with the 
animals associated with the clan, upon which an additional socio- 
religious interpretation has been superimposed. The whole subject 
is, however, closely related to that of clan etiquette, for which, of 
course, no explanations can be given now. 


As if more fully to set off the social unit of the clan, there have 
come to be associated with it definite marks of identification, such as 
symbols, property marks, facial decorations, and songs. 

The symbols of only two clans were obtained, although a number 
of other clans seem to have possessed them. These were the war 
club (namqtce) of the Thunderbird clan and the peculiarly whittled 
stick (narnaxinixini) of the Bear clan. When a member of the 
Thunderbird clan died a miniature war club was buried with him. 
Whether the narnaxinixini was buried with a member of a Bear 
clan we do not know. 

The property mark consisted of the effigy of the clan animal, and 
was woven on such objects as bags, tobacco pouches, etc. It was 
also frequently engraved on wooden objects. Its most peculiar uses, 
however, were the emblematic earthen effigy mounds, in the shape 
of the clan animal, which were erected near the habitation of each 
clan in the village and in the center of clan squash fields, cornfields, etc. 

204 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

Associated with every clan was also four clan songs. These were 
supposed to be the four songs sung by the ancestors of each clan when 
they came to this earth. They were always sung on the death of an 
individual, and were supposed to serve as a mark of identification in 
the journey of the soul to the land of the spirits. The use of these 
songs was so intimately associated with death that when some 
hardened offender, let us say, some individual who had killed a 
member of the tribe and who refused to make atonement of any 
kind, was pursued, he defiantly sang his clan songs. 

As a last element in the clan complex may be mentioned the 
specific facial decorations existing in each clan. 

We have now completed the discussion of clan organization. As 
we saw, it consisted of a large number of cultural elements of the 
most heterogeneous historical origin. So many indications are there, 
indeed, of interpretations, reinterpretations, and secondary associa- 
tion that it is impossible to form any correct idea of what is histori- 
cally primary, except the self-evident fact that it had grown around 
a strong social-political unit. 


Perhaps the most characteristic trait of Winnebago culture is the 
existence of two strong socialized units, that of the clan and that of 
the secret society. Historically both are old, and even if we are of the 
opinion that the clan is historically younger, the political unit upon 
which it is superimposed is probably an ultimate historical fact. 
From the earliest times one would have supposed reciprocal influences 
to have occurred repeatedly. The nature of these influences, in so 
far as they are not conditioned by chance, would depend upon the 
respective center of gravity in either unit. It is evident that for the 
clan the organization was of paramount importance, and that the 
addition of cultural associations probably tended to strengthen its 
stability in this respect. On the other hand, the absence of political 
or governmental functions in the religious societies, and the cluster- 
ing of the most multitudinous religious and shamanistic ideas within 
them, rendered the emotional unit of the latter the center from which 
influences would radiate. At the same time, the ceremonial unit of 
organization seems to have been so firmly fixed that any influence of 
the clan unit of organization upon it does not seem likely. As a 
matter of fact, in the typical schematic, religious society like the 
Medicine Dance, the Grizzly-Bear Dance, and Night-Spirit Dance, 
no influence is perceptible. However, these religious societies may 
be regarded as presenting no possible points of contact. Where, 
however, the bond of union is supernatural communication with a 
guardian spirit who subsequently became the clan animal, an obvious 
point of contact is given, and this brings to mind a very suggestive 


fact of Winnebago culture, namely, that there are, strictly speaking, 
no religious societies based on communication from a clan animal. 
There are, however, clan and clan-bundle (Winter) feasts which, in 
many respects, are absolutely identical with the religious societies, 
and which furnish, it seems to us, an example of just those two kinds 
of influence that we wished to point out, one radiating from the clan 
as an organization, the other from the entire clan unit. 

In the Winter Feasts the unit of organization is the clan. Gen- 
erally all the clans were represented in the person of the owner of 
each specific clan war bundle. The order of invitation was tradi- 
tionally fixed, but it seems that in a number of cases the "friend" 
clan always had the position of honor. The war-bundle owner was 
not, however, supposed to represent the clan at all, but the spirits 
to whom offerings were being made. In every case, although the 
participants were supposed to represent a fairly large number of 
animals, the main blessings that were contained in the war bundle 
were from the thunderbird and night-spirit and the main offerings 
were indeed made to them. There seem thus to have been two 
separate ceremonies involved, one to the thunderbird and the other 
to the night-spirits. 

The question arising with regard to the clan basis of these cere- 
monial organizations is whether we are to imagine that the cere- 
monial unit of organization was displaced by the clan unit, or whether 
we are to suppose that the ceremony is of comparatively recent 
origin, let us say at least long after the clan organization had been 
perfected, and that a number of things combined to determine the ' 
acceptance of the clan as a unit of organization, as opposed to the 
traditional ceremonial one. To the foregoing we must also add the 
fact that the Winter Feast seems to be related to similar ceremonies 
of the Central Algonquian, whose influence on the Winnebago must 
first be determined. If, then, we are not in a position at present to 
suggest the course of development, there can be no doubt that the 
content of the ceremony is strictly comparable to that of the religious 
societies, and that there are hints that the ceremonial unit of organi- 
zation had begun to assert itself. If this could be definitely estab- 
lished, it would indicate that the clan basis of organization is his- 
torically primary. 

The clan unit of organization is found in no other Winnebago cere- 
mony, although the specific clan feasts show marked influences 
radiating from the clan unit. The clan feast is a typical ceremonial 
complex, both in type of organization and in content. The differ- 
ence between it and a society like that of the night-spirit lies in the 
fact that although the five principal participants must have specific 
blessings (bundles), they must at the same time belong to the clan. 
To what extent a member of one clan who has obtained a bundle 

206 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. a.n.n. 37 

from some other clan spirit can take part in the specific clan feast 
of the latter it is difficult to determine, but in the buffalo feast, 
assuming that this is unquestionably the real Buffalo clan feast, any 
person who has obtained a bundle from the buffalo can participate, 
although the leader must always belong to the Buffalo clan. This 
example may be taken as an indication of the historical origin of 
these feasts, namely, that they are really religious societies in which 
the influence of the clan has restricted the number of individuals 
who are ordinarily supposed to occupy the five places of honor. 
That this restrictive influence of the clan was caused by the identity 
of the clan animal with the guardian spirit there can be little doubt. 



The Thunderbird Clan 


The Thunderbird clan was unquestionably the most important of 
all the Winnebago clans. In numbers it seems to have equaled the 
three other clans of its phratry, and, since the upper phratry had 
about as many individuals as the lower phratry, the Thunderbird 
clan must have comprised about one-fourth of the entire tribe. 
How are we to explain this? Historical data are, of course, missing, 
so that any explanation reached is entirely hypothetical, but still 
it seems justifiable to hazard some interpretation. The most plau- 
sible hypothesis is to assume that the Winnebago were originally 
organized on a village basis and that the largest of these villages 
and the earliest to adopt the clan organization were those that took 
the thunderbird as their totem. 

In the origin myths, the origin of the Thunderbird clan is always 
given as Green Bay, and in contradistinction to the accounts of 
other clans, the ancestors of the clan are supposed to have originated 
at Green Bay and not to have traveled there from some other place. 
How much credence is to be given to such a localization it is hard 
to say, but assuredly it should not be dismissed as entirely worthless. 

The origin myths of the Thunderbird clan possess some inter- 
esting features which deserve a few words of comment. In the 
first version we have an account of the creation of the world which 
is almost identical with that given in the origin myth of the Medicine 
Dance (p. 350). None of the other clan origin myths contain it. 
How are we to explain this ? As a secondary accretion or as an 
original and archaic feature? On internal evidence we suspect that 
it is a secondary accretion and that the original version began with 
the second paragraj>h. There seems to be no intelligible reason 
for having Earthmaker create two sets of individuals. If we sup- 
pose that the original version began with the second paragraph 
and that the general account of the creation was subsequently 
added, we would have a satisfactory explanation of this feature. 
Only one of the three versions obtained contains this general ac- 


208 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bth. ann. 37 

count of creation, and thus we have another reason for doubting 
its age. 

There are other indications of an assimilation with the general 
origin myth hi our versions, such as the absence of animals on the 
earth and the ascription of certain geographical features to the activity 
of the thunderbirds. Throughout, however, we are always con- 
fronted with the possibility that we may be dealing with an old 
village origin myth. There seems to be no doubt but that the 
episode of the origin of death, so distinct from that given in the general 
origin myth, is archaic. Other features, on the other hand, like 
the description of the origin of fire, are clearly reflections of certain 
possessions always associated with the Thunderbird clan. 

A perusal of the following versions and the versions of the other 
clan origin myths indicates clearly how personal the accounts are. 
The members of the Thunderbird clan, as we shall subsequently 
show for the members of the other clans too, make claims of power 
and importance for their clans that are hardly justified by what 
we know of their actual power. As sources of information, there- 
fore, we must be extremely cautious in our use of these origin myths. 

Before leaving this subject it might be well to point out the num- 
ber of different explanations given in these myths of the relations 
of the members of the clan to their eponymous clan ancestor. If 
a Winnebago were asked what this relation was he would answer 
offhand that the members of the different clans were descended 
from certain spirit-thunderbirds who were transformed into human 
beings at Green Bay. 

In the first version the ancestors of the Thunderbird clan are 
created by Earthmaker and brought down to earth by the four spirit- 
thunderbirds the first Earthmaker had created. They are ap- 
parently human beings and not heroic birds, as most of the members 
of the clan assure you. To complicate the situation we have even 
the mention of the fact that the second set of people who came to 
visit them were members of the Thunderbird clan. 

In the second version we have the customary identification of 
the ancestors of this clan with birds. At the end of this version we 
have the distinct statement, which is, however, clearly not part of 
the myth but an explanation by the informant, that the members 
of the clan call themselves thunderbirds because they, like the 
true thunderbirds, caused a drizzling rain and fog when they went 

It is only in the myth of the origin of the Warrior clan that we have 
what can be interpreted as an account identical with that given 
offhand by the Winnebago. Here we are told that the warriors 
or hawks when they entered the lodge at Green Bay began to look 
different and that their feathers were worn off. 


From these facts it is quite clear that, as far as the Thunderbird 
clan is concerned, the prevailing belief as to the relation of the mem- 
bers of the clan to the clan ancestor is but feebly substantiated by 
the origin myths. 

As mentioned before, the chief of the tribe was selected from the 
Thunderbird clan, although the selection was apparently restricted 
to certain families. The functions of the chief of the tribe were con- 
nected with peace. He could not lead a war party, although, accord- 
ing to some, he could accompany one. His lodge stood either in the 
center of the village or at the south end, according to which of the 
two descriptions one cares to accept, and contained a sacred fire- 
place, around which only members of the Thunderbird clan could 
sit. This lodge was an asylum for all wrongdoers. No one could be 
killed there, and a prisoner who succeeded hi making his escape to it 
was spared. Even a dog destined for a sacrifice at the war-bundle 
feast was freed if he took refuge in it. The Thunderbird chief always 
acted as intercessor between wrongdoers and their avengers. Even 
hi so extreme a case as the murder of a clansman, he would always 
attempt a reconciliation by which the life of the murderer might be 
spared. If necessary, the chief would mortify himself, and with 
skewers inserted hi his back have himself led through the village to 
the home of the nearest kinspeople of the murdered person. 

The chief seems to have had some other miscellaneous functions, 
the most important of which was, perhaps, his right to prevent an 
unauthorized war party to depart from the village. If he, as an 
older man and guardian of peace and the best interests of the tribe, 
felt that a war party was taking too many risks, he would take his 
pipe and place it across the path of the one contemplating an unwar- 
ranted expedition and thus signify his disapproval. If then the war 
party chose to go, any mishap was directly chargeable to the leader 
who disobeyed. Should anyone be killed, the leader was regarded 
almost hi the same light as a willful murderer, and the kinsmen of 
the deceased warrior could demand redress. 

Our main informant for the Thunderbird clan summarized the 
functions as follows: 

The chief is chosen from one of the "greater" Thunderbird clans ' and must be a 
man of well-balanced temper, not easily provoked, and of good habits. The one 
sacred object he possesses is his pipe. He must be a peacemaker and love all the 
people in the tribe, the little children included. 

If he saw a man, woman, or child passing by, he was to call them in and give them 
food to eat, for they were his brothers and sisters. All the relatives he has are to look 
after his possessions and keep him well supplied, for he was supposed to give away 
things constantly. If any person came to borrow some object from him, he would tell 

1 He divided the Thunderbird clans into two groups, the real Thunderbird and the Warrior clans. This 
latter he insisted was identical with the thunderbirds who caused the rain and who were quite different 
Ir uni the other thunderbirds. 

210 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ash. 37 

the man that, since he was without this particular thing, to keep it and use it for all 

The public crier, a member of the Buffalo clan, was supposed to report to the chief 
early every morning and receive instructions. The crier would then go all around the 
village making the chief's desires known. 

The chief had a representative at every council, generally his brother. 

The chief of the village is a peacemaker, and if two members of the tribe ever get 
into difficulties (i. e., quarrel) he is supposed to intercede. If in a quarrel a person 
should be killed, the chief would go to the murderer and tell the latter to permit him- 
self to be tied up — i. e., to give himself up to the relatives of the murdered man. If 
the murderer consents to do so, then his arms are tied behind him and the chief walks 
in front of him carrying his sacred pipe. Thus they would go to the lodge of the 
murdered man's relatives. When they got there the chief would extend the stem of 
the pipe toward them. They might refuse to accept the pipe thus extended, but if 
any member of the family, even if it be a small child, were to take a puff from it, then 
the murderer would be forgiven and turned free. 

This is the capacity of a Winnebago chief. 

Another description of the chief's role as intercessor for a murderer 
is as follows: 

When the Thunderbird chief wishes to save a murderer they take one of their own 
chiefs, one who is well beloved, paint his back blue, and put skewers in his back, to 
which they tie cords. Thus he is taken to the lodge of the murdered person's rela- 
tives. The chief, when he gets there, holds his pipe of tobacco in both hands. Should 
the relations not wish to accept the peace offering they close the door in his face. 
Then he returns. 

The Thunderbird clan possessed a type of war club called a bald- 
headed war club, which was sacred to this clan alone, and a 
miniature of which was always buried with a dead body. The only 
other possessions were the clan war bundles. The Winnebago often 
speak as though each clan had but one of these palladiums, but there 
seems to be little doubt but that there were at least two and probably 
more hi each clan. These war bundles must be regarded as the com- 
mon possession of the clan at the present time, for they can not be 
alienated from the clan. 2 For all practical purposes, however, they 
are the private property of certain individuals or families. 

Fire was considered a sacred possession of the Thunderbird clan. 
As mentioned before, an individual was supposed never to ask for a 
firebrand from the fire of any member of the clan and was never 
permitted to sit near such a fireplace. If, nevertheless, anyone 
should be immodest enough to ask for one of these objects, he would 
be refused, but he would be permitted to ask for any conceivable 
thing else. The following incident will serve as an example of the 
definite way hi which this peculiar custom works. An old Winne- 

2 This point was very forcibly impressed upon the author when he tried to obtain the war bundle of a 
man who had become a member of the Peyote cult. The man was perfectly willing to part with it, but 
after repeated requests to those who happened to possess it at that particular time, be admitted that it 
belonged to the clan, although they could not have taken it away from him had he remained a believer in 
the old faith. 


bago told the author that long ago a young man wanted to marry a 
girl belonging to his phratry and refused to listen to the entreaties 
of his father and mother. Finally the father, in desperation, went 
over to the lodge of a man belonging to one of the clans into which 
the young man could marry and asked for one of the sacred posses- 
sions. It was, of course, refused, and when the man was asked what 
other requests he wished to make, he asked that the host's daughter 
be allowed to marry his son. This was, of course, granted, and thus 
the boy was compelled to marry into the proper phratry. 

One Winnebago interpreted the custom in an entirely different 
way. Exactly how much importance is to be attached to this 
explanation it is hard to say. According to this informant, the 
insult lay not in going to the fireplace or taking a firebrand, but in 
asking for it. The insult apparently consists in not taking it for 
granted that anyone entering the lodge was permitted to do what 
he wished. In other words, his asking was a breach of etiquette. 

The typical method of burial in the Thunderbird clan was scaffold 
burial. It has long since been discontinued. 

The burial customs seem to have been the same for all the clans. 
It may, however, be that in former times there were slight differ- 
ences. For instance, in the first version of the Thunderbird clan 
origin myth the statement is made that the branch of a tree was 
placed at the grave and a small stick, painted red, attached to it. 
The author has no recollection of ever hearing the same statement 
made in connection with any other of the clans. 

There are four songs associated with the Thunderbird clan. 
These are supposed to have been sung by the clan ancestors when 
they came to this earth, and are now always sung when a member 
of the clan dies, and on a few other occasions. 

According to one informant, members of the Elk, Warrior, Deer, 
and Buffalo clans acted as servants to the Thunderbird clan on 
various occasions. The same informant also claimed that the 
Warrior clansmen took specific orders from the Thunderbird clans- 
men when on the warpath. 

According to another informant, Thunderbird marks at death are 
a half circle on the forehead, mac^e with charcoal. The proper 
marking is, however, that shown in plate 46. 

Two dog names used in the Thunderbird clan are obtained — 
fi n zakirutcga; ]ea-4wakitca n ga. 

The only feast specifically connected with the Thunderbird clan 
was the so-called chief feast, of which a description will be found on 
page 318. One of the divisions of the war-bundle feast is often con- 
sidered as sacred to the thunderbird, but this is always the deity 
thunderbird, not the ancestor of the clan. 

212 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 


In the beginning, Earthinaker was sitting in space when he came 
to consciousness, and there was nothing else anywhere. 4 He began 
to think of what he should do, and finally he began to cry and tears 
began to flow from his eyes and fall down below him. After a while 
he looked down below him and saw something bright. The bright 
objects were hidden tears that had flowed below and formed the 
present waters. When the tears flowed below they became the seas 
as they are now. Earthinaker began to think again. He thought, 
"It is thus, if I wish anything; it will become as I wish, just as my 
tears have become seas." Thus he thought. So he wished for light 
and it became light. Then he thought, "It is as I have supposed; 
the things that I wished for have come into existence as I desired." 
Then he again thought and wished for the earth, and this earth 
came into existence. Earthmaker looked on the earth and he liked 
it, but it was not quiet. It moved about as do the waves of the sea. 
Then he made the trees and he saw that they were good, but they 
did not make the earth quiet. Then he made the grass to grow, 
but still the earth was not yet quiet. Then he made the rocks and 
stones, but still the earth was pot quiet. However, it was nearly 
quiet. Then he made the four directions (cardinal points) and the 
four winds. On the four corners of the earth he placed them as 
great and powerful people, to act as island weights. Yet the earth 
was not quiet. Then he made four large beings and threw them 
down toward the earth, and they pierced through the earth with 
their heads eastward. They were snakes. Then the earth became 
very still and quiet. Then he looked upon the earth and he saw that 
it was good. Then he thought again of how things came into 
existence just as he desired. Then he first began to talk. He said, 
"As things are just as I wish them, I shall make one being in my 
own likeness." So he took a piece of clay (earth) and made it like 
himself. Then he talked to what he had created, but it did not 
answer. He looked upon it and saw that it had no mind or thought. 
So he made a mind for it. Again he talked to it, but it did not 
answer. So he looked upon it again and saw that it had no tongue. 
Then he made it a tongue. Then he talked to it again, but it did 
not answer. So he looked upon it again and saw that it had no 
soul. So he made it a soul. He talked to it again, and it very nearly 
said something. But it did not make itself intelligible. So Earth- 
maker breathed into its mouth and talked to it, and it answered. 

» Told in connection with the origin of the Thtmderbird wake. 

< This myth is reprinted from Radin. Winnebago tales, Journal of American Folk-Lore, vol. xxn, no 
lxxxv, 1909. It has apparently been somewhat influenced by the Bible. 


As the newly created being was in his own likeness, Earthmaker 
felt quite proud of him, so he made three more just like him. lie 
made them powerful so that they might watch over the earth. These 
first four he made chiefs of the Thunderbirds. And he thought, 
' 'Some will I make to live upon the earth of those I have created." So 
he made four more beings in his own likeness. Just like the others 
he made them. They were brothers — Kunuga, Henanga, Hagaga, 
and NarjYiga. He talked to them and said, "Look down upon the 
earth." So saying, he opened the heavens in front of where they sat 
and there they saw the earth (spread out below them). He told 
them that they were to go down there to live. "And this I shall 
send with you," he added, and he gave them a plant. ' T myself 
shall not have any power to take this from you, as I have given it to 
you; but when of your own free will you make me an offering of 
some of it, I shall gladly accept it and give you what you ask. This 
shall you hold foremost in your lives." It was a tobacco plant that 
he had given them. He said, also, "All the spirits that I create will 
not be able to take this from you unless you desire to give it, by calling 
upon them during fasts and offering it to them. Thus only can the 
spirits get any of it. And this also I send with you that you may use 
it in life. When you offer anything it shall be your mediator. It 
shall take care of you through life. It shall stand in the center of 
your dwellings and it shall be your grandfather." Thus he spoke to 
them. What he meant was the fire. And then he gave them the 
earth to live upon. 

So the four Thunder spirits brought the four brothers down to the 
earth. The oldest one, Kunuga, said, while on their way down, 
' 'Brother, when we get to the earth and the first child is born to me I 
shall call him Chief-of-ihe-TJmnders, if it be a boy." On they came 
down toward the earth. When they got near the earth it began to 
get very dark. Then the second brother said, "Brother, when we 
get to the earth and a child is born to me, if it is a girl it shall be 
called Dark." They came to a place called Within Lake 5 at Red 
Banks, a lake near Green Bay. On an oak tree south of the lake is 
the place where they alighted. The branch they alighted on bent 
down from their weight. Then said the third brother to his brothers, 
"The first daughter born to me shall be called She-who-weighs-the- 
tree-down-woman." Then they alighted on the earth, but the 
Thunder spirits did not touch the earth. Then said the fourth and 
last brother to his brothers, ' 'Brothers, the first son that is born to 
me shall be called He-who-alights-on-the-earth." The first thing they 
did on earth was to start their fire. 

Then Earthmaker looked down upon them and saw that he had 
not prepared any food for them, so he made the animals that they 

s This lake is probably Green Bay itself. 

214 THE WINNEBAGO TEIBE [eth. ann. 37 

might have something to eat. The oldest brother said, "What are 
we going to eat?" Then the youngest two took the bow and arrows 
that Earthmaker had given them and started toward the east. 
Not long after the third brother came into view with a young deer 
on his back and the youngest brother also came with a young deer 
;ibout 2 years old on his back. The deer that were killed, and 
those that killed them, were also brothers. They were very much 
delighted that they had obtained food. Then said they, "Let us 
give our grandfather the first taste." Saying thus, they cut off the 
ends of the tongues and the heart and threw them into the fire with 
some fat. The first people to call on them were the War clan people. 
They came from the west. Then came four others. They were the 
thunders. Thus they were called the youngest brothers. Then came 
those of the earth. Then came those of the Deer clan. Then those 
of the Snake clan. Then came those of the Elk clan. Then came 
those of the Bear clan. Then came those of the Fish clan. Then 
came those of the Water-spirit clan and all the other clans that 
exist. Then there appeared on the lake a very white bird — swan they 
called it. And after that, all the other water birds that exist came. 
And they named them in the order of their coming until the lake was 
quite full. Then the people began to chess the deer meat. Suddenly 
something came and alighted on the deer meat. "What is that?" 
they said. Then said Kunuga, the eldest brother, ' 'It is a wasp, 
and the first dog that I possess, if it is black, Wasp I shall call it." 
Thus he spoke. "And as the wasp scented and knew of the deer 
dressing so shall the dog be toward other animals, and wherever the 
dog is, and animals are in the windward, he shall scent them." They 
made a feast with the deer for Earthmaker and threw tobacco into 
the fire and offered it to him. And to the other clans they showed 
how fire was to be made and gave them some, "For," they said, 
' 'each of you must now make fire for yourselves, as we shall not 
always lend you some." There the people made their home. It 
was just the time of the year when the grass comes as far as the knee. 

One day they reported that something very strange was near the 
camp; but they said to themselves, "We will leave it alone." In a 
little while it moved nearer. Thus it moved toward the camp and 
soon it began to eat deer bones. They allowed it to become one of 
their clans and took it into their house. It was the dog or wolf. They 
killed one and made a feast to Earthmaker, telling him all about 
what they had done. 

In the beginning the Thunder clansmen were as powerful as the 
Thunder spirits themselves. It was the Thunder people who made 
the ravines and the valleys. While wandering around the earth the 
Thunder people struck the earth with their clubs and made dents in 
the hills. That is the reason that the upper clans are chiefs of all 
the others and that the least of all are the dog people. So it was. 


One day the oldest of the brothers lay down and did not rise again, 
and he did not breathe and he became cold. "What is the matter 
with our oldest brother?" the three others said. Four days they 
waited for him, but still he did not arise. So the second brother was 
asked by his youngest brother what the trouble was; but he did not 
know anything about it and told him to ask his third brother: but 
this one did not know either. Then the two older brothers asked the 
youngest one, but he did not know either. Then they began to 
mourn for him, not knowing what to do or think. They fasted and 
blackened their faces, as we do now when we are in mourning. They 
made a platform and laid him on it. When the snow fell knee-deep 
the three brothers filled their pipe and went toward the place of the 
coming of daylight — the east. There they came to the first being 
that Earthmaker had placed in the east, the Island-weight, as he was 
called. They came to him weeping and went into his tent, turning 
the stem of the pipe in his mouth. They said, "Grandfather, our 
brother Kunuga has fallen and is not able to rise again. Earthmaker 
made you great and endowed you with all knowledge, and thus you 
know all things." He answered and said, "My dear grandsons, I am 
sorry, but I do not know anything about it; but as you have started 
to find out I would refer you to the one ahead of me (the north). 
Perhaps he can tell you." 

So, weeping, they started for the next one. When they got 
there and told him their troubles, he told them he could not 
help them; "but," he said, "perhaps the one ahead of me 
knows." So they started for the third one (the west), but from him 
likewise they could learn nothing. He also referred them to the one 
ahead (the south). When they reached the fourth and last one, they 
entered the lodge, and behold there sat the three to whom they had 
gone before. Here they asked the last one for help, and not only 
he but the other three also answered them: "Grandsons, thus Earth- 
maker has willed it. Your brother will not rise again. He will be 
with you no more in this world, and as long as this world lasts' so will 
it be with human beings. Whenever one reaches the age of death 
one shall die, and those that wish to live long will have to attain 
that age by good actions. Thus they will live long. Into your 
bodies Earthmaker has placed part of himself. That will return to 
him if you do the proper things. This world will come to an end 
sometime. Your brother shall keep a village in the west for all the 
souls of your clan, and there he shall be in full charge of all of you, 
and when this world is ended your brother shall take all the souls 
back to Earthmaker — at least all those who have acted properly. 
Thus it is. Now you may go home and bury your brother in the 
proper manner." The Thunder people thanked the four spirits and 
left the tent. When they got home they took their brother's body, 


dressed him in his best clothes, and painted his face. Then they 
told him where he was to go and buried him with his head toward 
the west and with his war club. They placed the branch of a tree at 
his grave, and painted a little stick red and tied it to the tree, so 
that nothing should cross his path on his journey to the spirit abode. 
If any object or animal should cross his path on that journey, he must 
strike it with his club and throw it behind him, so that those relatives 
he had left behind on earth might derive blessings in war and attain 
long life. He must have his pipe and food along with him on his 
journey, and thus the things that he throws behind him will be a 
blessing for those still remaining on earth. Also the life he leaves 
behind him (i. e., the years that, had he lived to a normal age, are 
still due him) and the victories that he might have gained, all these 
he is to give to his relatives. The riches he might have had or, in 
fact, anything that he could possibly have had, he is asked to give to 
these relatives. Then they will not feel so unhappy and lonesome. 


In the beginning four brothers started from above and came toward 
this world. They came to a country called (ni jahe, cliff place?), and 
there they alighted on a tree. From there they started around the 
world, going from left to right. 6 , The first time they went around 
they went through space, but the second time they went along this 
earth, at a place called derok (Within Lake). There they built 
lodges for themselves. While doing this the oldest suddenly became 
quiet, as if stricken. Finally, he asked the second brother what he 
should do, and the second brother said to him, "You are the oldest 
and ought to know what to do. How can I, who am younger, know 
any tiling? Perhaps the third-born brother might know." So he 
asked the third-born, but he said, "You are the older and ought to 
know. How can I, being the younger, know? Perhaps the youngest 
brother will know." So they asked that one and he said, "Yes, I 
know something." The thing about which they did not know any- 
thing was the making of the fire. The younger one, saying he knew 
something, took a piece of an oak tree and began twisting it until it 
began to smoke, and then the fire started. Then he placed it on the 
ground. After the fire began to blaze and seemed well started they 
finished building their lodge. From that time on whenever they saw 
anything new the brothers would give it a name. Animals and all 
the things that exist were thus named. And then they were to pre- 
pare a meal, and the second brother reached out his hand and pro- 
duced the food that they wanted (i. e., he seemingly reached out from 
where he was seated and brought in deer's meat, etc.). Not having 

« The ceremonial manner of passing around a lodge. Supposed to be comparable to the path of the 


any cooking utensils they broiled their meat on sharp sticks. Then 
the oldest one began making utensils for cooking. He took clay and 
slippery elm bark, mixed them together, and made a pot out of it, 
which was then heated over a fire. 

Within Lake was their main stopping place during their wander- 
ings. Now the members of the other clans began gathering at this 
place and all the other clans got to this place and obtained their fire 
from the Thunderers. From that time on they also began inter- 
marrying. The rule was that the upper clansmen married the 
women of the lower clans and vice versa. The oldest one of the 
brothers made friends with the Water-spirit clan and the second 
brother made friends with the Bear clan. The reason why the 
upper clans and the lower clans intermarried was to prevent their 
marrying their own relatives. The second brother is the ancestor of 
the War clan people. 

The Thunderers do not say that they were descended from the 
Thunderbirds, but they claim that in wandering about there was 
always a drizzling rain and fog which they caused and on account 
of the similarity of this to the actions of the Thunderbirds they 
called themselves the Thunderers. 7 

From the gathering at Green Bay the clan names originated. 
The names were taken from incidents of their journey to this place. 
The older brother kept on naming everything; the different parts 
of our body; the different parts of animals, etc. When he finished, 
he suddenly stopped breathing and died. His death occurred at 
dawn. The brothers did not know that he had died. For a long 
time they waited for him to come to life again, but he never came to 
life again. Thus death originated. His body died, but his spirit 
traveled west toward the setting of the sun, making a road for all 
who were to come after him. He was the chief of the village of the 


''Well, my younger brother, what shall we speak of? Let us 
speak of the Winnebagoes. You are right. Of them we will speak. 
What shall we eat ? If we see an animal let us eat him. I will go 
and look. See I have brought a deer. We will eat him." So they 
built a fire and broiled that deer. They cooked it and then ate it. 
Then they heard something. They listened and two persons came 
into the tent. They took a seat opposite. "Ha, ha, you that sit 
opposite, what relation will you be to me?" "What relation should 
I be to you?" "You shall be my chief." "Listen, some are saying 

7 The word Thunderers is the same as Thunderbirds. One and the same being is meant. 

8 This account seems to begin after the Thunderbirds have reached Green Bay and are sitting in the 
lodge waiting for the other clans to arrive. 

180823— 22 15 

218 THE WINNEBAGO TKIBE [eth. ann. 37 

something. Ha ha, our friends have come. Sit opposite (those 
opposite said). As long as we live we will attend to the fire for 
you." "Listen, our friends, they are speaking." "Ha, ha, sit 
opposite me" (a new clan has entered). They sat down. "You 
Water-spirit clan, what relation, my friend, will you be to me?" 
"What relation shall I be to you? You will be my chief." "Good. 
Now listen, a dog is howling. Let us wait for him" So the Thun- 
derbirds waited for him. "Let us call him." "Ha, ha, my friend, 
we wish to teach the two-legged walkers something. As we say so 
will the Winnebagoes ever be." Again the Thunderbirds spoke, 
' 'Listen, some one has said something. Two people have come. 
We will call them the Buffalo clan." 

The Warrior Clan 


There are not many members of this clan left, although it seems 
to have been quite important in the old days, to judge from the 
number of effigy mounds all over Wisconsin. There seems little 
doubt but that those bird effigies with unsplit tail are supposed to 
represent this clan. 

Only one version of the origin myth was obtained. There is little 
to be said about it except that it mentions the fact that it was custo- 
mary to have names for dogs. One statement seems to point toward 
cannibalism. As was pointed out in the preceding discussion, there 
is a boastful claim that they were chiefs. 

Although, at the present time, this clan is known only as the 
wonayire ua'rikeilc (fear-inspiring men), its older name was hawk, 
and as such it was still known to J. O. Dorsey. When the present 
name began to be popular, it is impossible to say, but we feel confi- 
dent that it has been in partial use for a considerable length of time. 
The change is quite in line with the rather common habit of referring 
to the Thunderbird clan as the chief clan and the Bear clan as the 
soldier clan. In other words, we have a name indicative of the func- 
tions of a clan superseding the older animal name. It is only in the 
case of the Warrior clan, however, that this substitution has been 

There is no indication in the myth that the Warrior clan was ever 
localized. A number of informants stated that the clan was but 
a division of a general bird phratry. In version 2 of the Thunder- 
bird clan origin myth it is stated that the second of the two brothers 
was the ancestor of the Warrior clan. Dorsey, as we have seen, 
obtained the same information. 

The Warrior clan seems to have had a lodge in the northwest 
corner of the village. In this lodge they claimed that prisoners were 


confined and certain tribal regalia deposited. The informants were 
not, however, at all clear about these facts, some even denying that 
there was a Warrior lodge and insisting that prisoners were confined 
in the Bear or Soldier lodge. 

According to one informant the Warrior and Bear clans could give 
each other orders that had to be obeyed. 

The members of the Warrior clan claimed that all the members 
of the clan were warriors and did not have to fast in order to obtain 
the right of starting out on a war party. This was vigorously denied 
by the members of the other clans, who referred to this claim with 
derision. There seems, however, to be no reason for questioning the 
fact that the clan had a special lodge and that it was intimately 
connected with war functions. Exactly what these were it is quite 
impossible to state, as they have not been exercised for a very long 

The first two clan songs are given on page 220. The clan facial 
decoration, used only at burial, and which were supposed to be 
marks of recognition in the spirit land, are as follows: A red line 
alternating with a black and another red line across the forehead, 
and a red line around the mouth. One informant claimed that only 
the three marks on the forehead were necessary, and that in times 
of war blood was used for the red marks (pi. 4(i). 

According to an informant of the Thunderbird clan, the Warrior 
clan functions were as follows: 

The Warrior clan's position in the tribe is that of general warrior. He can kill an 
enemy at any time "without breaking any of the rules of the tribe. Every other 
clansman who wishes to go on the warpath must fast and be blessed by the spirits 
with specific blessings before he can do this. 

There may have been a special feast associated with the Warrior 
clan, but the author never heard of it. The clan possessed a number 
of war bundles. 


(told by a member op the clan) 

In the beginning, Earthmaker made four men. Then he sent 
them to the earth. Within Lake, there, they landed and they alit 
on the branch of a tree. There were four branches and each one alit 
on one branch. And then on the earth they jumped and started 
walking toward the east. There they erected a camping place. 
There they started the fire. It was the principal fire. Then they 
started to look for food, but they were unable to find any. So the 
second brother was sent, but he was not able to get any animal, but 
he brought a man. Because he brought it, for that reason, the first 
male child we have shall be called He-who-eate-humans. Then the 
second one, him whom they called the warrior, was sent. Thus it 

220 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ajjn. 37 

was. And then all of them went toward the chief's lodge. They 
walked as chiefs, all four of them. The four of them went there. 
The chief's lodge was an oval lodge, and there they entered. 

The Snake clansman was the one appointed to get the food. He 
went after the food. It was an Eagle-people feast. Two fish the 
.Snake clansman brought, and with these the Eagle chief gave a feast. 
The Deer clan acted as attendants. Thus they ate the fish. And 
when they were finished with the eating, on either side, they left 
the head and the tail of the fish. This they left of their meal. "And 
if we have a dog we will call him Leaves-fish-on-both-ends," they 
said. Then they sat down. As they were sitting some one peeped 
in. It was the dog. Only his nose he stuck in. Then they said, 
"Whose nose does it look like?" So the chief spoke. "If we ever 
have a dog and if we wish to keep it permanently, T\>hose-nose-does- 
it-look-like, we will call it. 

Then all of a sudden their bodies began to be different and their 
feathers began to look as if they were worn off. They were about 
to enter the chief's lodge. Then the chief passed the fire to the 
Deer clan and when they were through the lodge was purified with 
the incense of smoking cedar leaves. Then again into the very long 
lodge they entered. This was at Red Banks. Then the upper people 
taught the lower people the things to make them good. Thus Earth- 
maker ordained everything, and as he ordered, so it was. That is 
the way they were. Holy they were. And all (of my clan ?) lived 
as chiefs. This is all that I was taught. 


First song 

The blue flame they caused to start. 
The blue flame they caused to start. 
The blue flame they caused to start. 
The blue flame they caused to start. 

Second song 

The fire they started. 
The fire they started. 
The fire they started. 
The fire they started. 

Eagle and Pigeon Clans 

No information was obtained about either of these clans. The 
Pigeon clan has been extinct for some time and only a few sur- 
vivors of the Eagle clan are left. Neither of these clans seems ever 
to have been of great importance. They had war bundles and an 
Eagle feast is mentioned. 


Facial paintings of these two clans, it is claimed, were the same as 
those for the Thunderbird clan (pi. 46). This was denied by others. 

According to one informant the Pigeon clan was borrowed from 
another tribe. 


wanink' hik'ik'a'radjera (the bird clan) 9 

Ahugidjinewinga Young bird that sheds its first feathers a? it flaps its wings. 

Ahugip'arawirjga Spreads her wings (said of a young bird just learning to 


Ahumanip'aga He who hits the ground with his wings (refers to a cloud) 

Ahup'ahiga Sharp wing (said of a thundercloud). 

Ahuperewirjga Transparently clear wings. 10 

Ahuru-anga He who raises his wings (i. f ., the edges of a cloud). 

Ahusak'a Strikes his wings." 

Ahuseretcga Long wings (as a far-extended cloud, clouds Vicing the 

plumage of the thunderbird s I. 

Ahusgawirjga White wing. 

Ahutcowinga Green wing. 

Ahusururewinga Slow wing. 

Adedjirehiga He who sets the prairie grass on fire suddenly (i. e., the 


Codjega He who kindles the (fire?). 18 

Hadjare She who has been seen. 

Hadjatcexiwinga Difficult to be seen. 

Ha n p' hik'inohiga He who misses the day. 

Ha n p'ok' guwinga Owl returning hither. 

Ha n ptcek'a New day. 

Hicdja Kereredjarjga Hawk-face. 

Hitcaxcepewirjga Eagle woman. 

Hitcaxcepsepga Black eagle. 

Hitcaxceptcoga Green hawk. 

Hiwetcoga Green tail. 

Hiwiteajankega Forked-tailed hawk. 

Hoha u p'guga Returning light. 

Hoha n binaniwii)ga Walks in the light. 

Hoha n pdjik'ega Light that comes hither regularly. 

Hoha n pdjikerega Light flashes suddenly. 

9 The following list ol names is based partly upon the manuscripts of Winnebago personal names pre- 
pared by the late Mr. J. O. Dorsey, and now in the possession of the Bureau of American Ethnology. This 
list has been revised and the phonetics of the Winnebago names corrected and transcribed by the author, 
but the English renderings of the names have been left as Mr. Dorsey obtained them, as the author obtained 
practically the same translations. Many of the names were obtained independently by the author. Por- 
sey's list is itself the amalgamation of two lists, that obtained by Dr. Foster and his own. He sub- 
sequently revised Foster's list, but to those names of the latter's list for which he could not obtain any 
translation he appended Foster's initials. 

>° Dorsey has "thin" wings, adding "as is a transparent fleecy cloud.'' However, the word peres, 
which is the full form for pere, means "clear,'* and is generally used in describing water in a brook. 
The interpretation of this and many other names as referring to clouds necessarily and not to the simple 
characteristics of the wings of the thunderbirds. is not obtained frequently to-day, but there seems to be 
noreason for believing that it was not customary a generation or two ago. For a discussion of the meaning 
of the names in general see the introduction to the section on social organization. 

11 Dorsey's rendering "stiff wings" is most certainly incorrect. 

13 Foster translates "misty" and Dorsey "smoke," but cote means to kindle a fire, literally to cause 
the blue llame that appears just as the flames start up. 

222 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. Ann. 37 

Hokorohiga He who makes a noise by dragging something. 

Hopinga Good voice. 

Horutcerega He who has eaten fish . 

Hotca Q t £ i n winga Audible voice. 

Hotcu n tcu n wir)ga Fishes in several places. 

Hunk' nank'awairega Chief whom they are afraid of. 

Idjanikwahiga He who makes them shriek with fright. 

Jibinik'a Short person (common to all clans). 

K'aiihitcank'a Changing crow. 

K'aiijirjk'aga Yellowish crow. 

K'a7inu n p'aga Two crows. 

Ki'zahungewinga Fighting chief. 

Ma°cdja n ixga n winga Makes an effort in moving. 

Ma n cu n p'i n winga Beautiful quill leather. 

Ma n cu n sepga Black quill feathers. 

Ma n cu n sgawinga White quill feather. 

Ma n cu n tcowirjga Green quill leather. 

Ma n hinu n p'aga Two knives. 

Manihidad jega Strong walker. 

Ma D emanik'a Walking storm. 

Mank'iksuntcga He who shakes the earth by striking. 

Na n ma n tce K'urusga He who has taken his war-club. 

Ma°ma n tcenank'ikawairega.He of whose war-club they are afraid. 

Ma n a n cotega He who raises a dust on the earth. 

Ma°nai) ksuntcga He who makes the earth shake by walking. 

Manxek'iga He who drys the ground. 

Ma n suziwinga Yellow arrow point. 

Ma n dadjehimaniga He who walks on the wind. 

Mantcguna n cicga Breaks a bow with his feet. 

Manxicutcga Red cloud. 

Manxik'ok'iwaharetcga Overlapping clouds. 

Manxik'ucina n jink'a He who stands beyond the sky. 

Manxik'ucen& n jirjk'a Sky reached standing. 

Manxip'asewirjga Cloud-point. 

Manxipi n winga Beautiful cloud. 

Manxirukanaga" Master of the clouds. 

Manxisepga Black cloud. 

Manxitcopga Four clouds. 

Manxiwiwak'andjarjk'a. . . .Sacred cloud. 

Maindjateinank'a He who sits having come hither to the earth. 

Ma^odjanguwinga Coming back near the ground . 

Nan xiksewahiga He who scares some one. 

Na n isawagicicga He who breaks a treetop by hitting it. 

Na n isawarutcga He who eats a treetop. 

Na n najojopk'ega Swallow. 

Na n odji"winga He who strikes a tree. 

Nanxekiga Withered tree (blasted by lightning). 

Na n wa n huga He who comes singing. 

Nank'awairega He whom they fear to see. 

Nijuga Rain man. 

Nijumaniwinga Walking rain. 

Nijuxotcga Gray rain. 

Ninoha n phiga He who makes the water shine. 

Nizihutcgewinga Drizzling woman. 


Notca n pga Lightning in the tree. 

Nuwan k k'iriga He who comes back running. 

P'etca n ruhiga Crane rib. 

P'etcawirjga Crane woman. 

P'etcga Fire person. 

Xora cutcewinga Red bald eagle. 

Xora hurjga Bafd eagle chief. 

Xorap'aga Bald eagle head. 

Rae tca n t £ i n wirjga Audible name. 

Rek'uhuhiga South wind. 

Rutcgenirjk'a Little pigeon. 

Sakewarutcga He who eats raw flesh. 

Sa n djamaninga Grizzled walking person. 

Si-okuruspinga Leaves good footprints. 

Sincawatcoga Tuil . 

Tcatcga Wind person. 

Tconirajireka He who is the lirst one named. 

Tca n phak'irutcewinga Lightning crossing itself. 

Tca n pjigewinga Lightens again. 

Dja n peracana n tca n t £ i n v\-irjga .Lightning visible only once. 

Dja n phak'iwaresga Forked lightning. 

Dja°pherega He who is? lightning. 

Dja"phaniwirjga He who makes? or accompanies? lightning. 

Dja n phik'icganga He who makes? moving lightning. 

Dja n pguhiga Lightning that returns. 

Dja n berewinga Lightning that goes. 

Dja n pdjega Standing lightning. 

Dja n pdjikerewirjga Lightning that flashes suddenly. 

Dja n pkca n kcarjga Zigzag lightning or lightning circling and recoiling. 

Tca u t £ i n minank'a Sitting in sight. 

Tcexoha n phiga Lightens the highland marsh. 

Tci-oha n phiga He who lightens up the lodge. 

Tciwaijega He who makes one abandon lodge and flee. 

T £ a-aninanka Kept allying? 

T e a n guhiwirjga He who returns flying. 

Wahok'ega The marksman. 

Wak'andja hadjagip'iwinga. Thunderbird that likes to be seen. 

Wak'andja ciciga Bad Thunderbird. 

Wak'andja yungiwirjga Thunder queen. 

Wak'andjagipeniga Young Thunderbird waiting. 

Wak'andjaga Thunderbird. 

Wak'andja giw'inxga Thunderbird whirling. 

Wak'andjaguw'inga Thunderbird returning. 

Wak'andjan'ingen'ink'a Very small Thunderbird. 

Wak'andjap'irjga Good Thunderbird. 

Wak'andjaxega Yellowish Thunderbird. 

Wak'andjaxiguhiga Thunderbird returning smoke. 

Wak'andjaxunuga Thunderbird small. 

Wak'andjasepga Black Thunderbird. 

Wak'andjatconiw'irjga First Thunderbird. 

Wak'andja tcoga Green Thunderbird. 

Waktc'ernaniw'inga He who walks killing. 

Wani-ak'axiga Crow hankering for flesh. 

Wan'nk'tca n w'inga Changing bird. 

224 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

Wap'akonank'maniga The great dreadful one that walks. 

Warutcexiga He who makes (the grass) rusty-yellow by eating. 

Wasuhimaniga Walking hail. 

Watcirukonanga Judge of the contest. 

Wazika Pine. 

Warjgerutcga Man eater. 

Wip'amarjkerew'irjga Rainbow. 

Wiragocgew'inga Star woman. 

Win ^anasega He who pens up ducks. 

Wonarj jirebun ga Warrior chief. 

Wodji n guhiga He who returns and strikes. 

Wodi n w'inga She who strikes. 13 

Koxmanirjga Walking and making the sound of kox'. 

Ahu-awinga Raise her wing. 

Ahutco Blue wing. 

Na°sgedjawinga Real tree woman. 

Manxisepga Black cloud. 

Maijxisgaxedega Big white cloud. 

Ahu-ijipga Short winged. 

K'eratcosepga Black sky (means properly the firmament). 

Keredj u»sepga Black hawk. 

Manxiruzuga He who makes the clouds have rays before them. 

P'etcda-ehiga Fire starter. 

P'etckerega Has fireplace. 

Hok'awas Darkness. 

Nunik'isumaniga Hails as he walked. 

Tcoraminarj k'a Sits blue. 

Hurjgit'ega Speaks as a chief. 

Noroxoga Scratches tree. 

Na n nawahiguga He who brings up a stick in his mouth. 

Ma n hodja n pga He who flashes on the earth. 

Hana°djadjairewirjga Seen by all. 

Warjgedjarega Belongs to the upper regions. 

Marjxixoruxutcga. Looks at the clouds. 

Ma n curjginoga Flapping and shaking his feathers. 

Ahugiciniwirjga Shining wings. 

Heieninga Young swan. 

Mank'uhodja n pga Flashes under the earth. 

Warudjaxega Comes making a noise. 

Wangedjahuga He who comes from above. 

Na n i n nek'iga Lone tree. 

Wangwaxopniga Holy man. 

Ximaniga Walking in mist. 

Xiguga Comes in mist. 

Xawi n ana n zogiga Bends the brush. 

Tcacgoguga Oak tree. 

Na n nazogega Bends the tree down. 

Na"djidjega Comes on the tree. 

MaMjidjega Comes on the ground. 

K'onihega He who thunders. 

Tciwi n djikerehiga Makes tciwin in coming. 

Wak'andjamaniga Thunder walker. 

Ma n cdja n maniga Mightily walking. 

» This ends Dorsey's list of Bird clan names. Those following were collected by the author. 


Marjgiksuntcga Shakes the earth. 

Tconimaniga Walks first. 

Dja n pdjirehiga Streak of lightning. 

Manxiwimaniga He who walks in the cloud. 

Ahu-iseretcga Long wings. 

Tile Bear Clan 


Seven versions of the Bear clan origin myth were obtained, so that 
for this clan, at least, a fairly intensive study of the variations and 
then significance can be made. Perhaps the most interesting fact 
to point out is the apparent existence of two recognized versions, one 
called the minor or false and the other the true. The complete 
version was only told when the interrogator had paid enough. 11 
The minor version is not at all concerned with the origin of the Bear 
clan but appears to be largely an account of the origin of the recip- 
rocal relations of the Bear and Wolf clans. The second is the real 
origin myth. The version obtained does not, however, seem com- 

The typical origin myths (excluding the fifth version) are of two 
types, those that speak of Earthmaker creating the ancestors of the 
clan and those that do not mention his name. Undoubtedly those ver- 
sions that dp not mention Earthmaker's name are the older. Those 
that speak of Earthmaker show clearly the influence of the general 
origin myth and of shamanistic systematization. This is particu- 
larly apparent in the sixth version, which was told in connection with 
the bear feast. • 

The subject matter of the myths relates to the manner in which 
the bears came to the great gathering at Green Bay, the older ver- 
sions having them originate from the water and the later versions 
having them created by Earthmaker and sent to the earth. In the 
former they are distinctly heroic animals and in the latter vague 
spirit animals. The nature of the relation of these animals to the 
present clansmen is not clearly stated in the myths, and there is 
not the slightest mention of the present current belief on the subject. 
The myths seem almost entirely concerned with the cmestion of the 
origin of the disciplinary functions of the clan and of its relationship 
to the Wolf and a few of the other clans. 

It is difficult to explain the remarkable differences in the various 
versions. Comparing them with versions of the clan origin myths of 
the other clans, it seems likely that the short accounts represent the 
more archaic versions and the longer accounts those versions that 

14 My informant said, "If a person asked me about the origin of life (i-e-, of my clan) and did not give me 
enough gifts or make enough offerings, I would tell him the minor version. Not until he gave me all that 
was necessary would I tell him the true account." 

226 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

have been subjected to literary and shamanistic remodeling. Only 
the shorter accounts show in their subject matter and presentation 
certain affinities to the origin myths of the other clans, the longer 
ones being entirely different. Another cause for these marked dif- 
ferences may lie in the circumstance that since the longer accounts 
were associated with semi-esoteric ceremonies, the war-bundle feasts, 
they were known to but few individuals in the clan, whereas the 
shorter legends could be learned by anyone who chose to pay for 
them. To this must also be added the fact that presumably some 
of the accounts current were based on hearsay knowledge. 

The Bear clan was, next to the Thunderbird clan, the most im- 
portant in the tribe. Its lodge was either in the center of the vil- 
lage, opposite that of the Thunderbird clan, or at the extreme end, 
depending upon the scheme of village organization accepted as 
correct. In it were confined the prisoners of war and the insignia of 
office possessed by the clan, such as the so-called standards, really 
crooks, and the so-called namaxinixini. Some individuals alsoclaimed 
that unmarried men were allowed to sleep in the lodge, although they 
were not clear as to whether they did this in order to guard the pris- 
oners confined there or simply used it as a club house. 

The clan songs are given on page 235. The same songs are used 
when gathering the clansmen together to select soldiers. 

Apart from the war bundle or war bundles, the Bear clan possessed 
three insignia — a war club of a definite shape, the curiously whittled 
baton of authority called namaxinixini, and the crooks used in battle 
called hoke're'u n . Whenever the clan was exercising any of its func- 
tions 4he leader would always hold in his hands the namaxinixini. 

The functions of the clan were probably the most important in 
the tribe and were entirely disciplinary. The author obtained the 
following description from an old Winnebago: 

The Bear clansmen are the soldiers or sergeants-at-arms of the tribe. They have 
complete control of everything concerning discipline. Whenever the Winnebago 
are traveling or moving (i. e., on their various seasonal moves), the Bear clansmen 
lead, and wherever they decide to stop, there the leader would put his stick in the 
ground and the other Bear clansmen would do the same, arranging them all in a row 
pointing toward the direction in which they were going. The main body of the tribe 
would follow at a certain distance. No member of the tribe would dare pass ahead 
of the row of sticks. If, for instance, the tribe was on the fall move and traveling 
toward a country in which there was plenty of game, should any individual go back 
and around the sticks in order to kill game on his own account, the soldiers (Bear 
clansmen) would, as soon as he was detected, go over to his lodge and burn it up with 
all its contents and break all his dishes. The only thing they would spare would be 
his life and that of the other members of his family. I f the one who had transgressed 
the rules made any attempt at resistance he would be severely whipped. If he re- 
fused to submit to this and took up his fire arms to fight, the soldiers would stand there 
calmly, but the moment he made an attempt to shoot they would kill him. In such 
a case nothing would be said either by the rest of the tribe or his relatives about 


the matter. If, on the other hand, he submitted to whatever punishment the Bear 
clansmen inflicted on him without resistance and apologized to them, then they would 
build him a new lodge and supply it with better goods than those which they had been 
compelled to destroy. 

This is the way in which the soldiers act when they are on duty. They never jest 
and their word is a command. If it is not immediately obeyed, their next move is 
to punish. For that reason one generally listens to them and their commands. When 
they are not on duty they are the same as other people. Different members of the 
tribe are on duty at different times, for the leader changes them about frequenth . 

If a field of rice is found in some swamp or lake the Bear clan 
people are informed and they go over and keep watch over it and 
give every person an equal chance at picking it. If a person sneaks 
away and takes advantage of the others, the Bear clan people punish 

The Bear clansmen guard the village almost all the time. When 
a council is held they guard the council lodge, and when a person is 
tried for some crime, particularly that of murder, a trial which gen- 
erally takes place in the Thunderhird clan lodge, then they care- 
fully guard this lodge, lest the prisoner try to escape or his relatives 
or confederates try to rescue him. 

Certain actions and remarks are not permitted in the Bear clan 
lodge. They are the following : 

To peep into the lodge. 

To make the remark that they live in a nice lodge. 

To sit in the doorway. 

To give a deep sigh or snort inside the lodge. 

Should any person do one of these forbidden things, the Bear 
clansmen would be compelled to give the most valued thing in the 
lodge to the offender. 

If a man seduced a woman, he was brought to the lodge of the 
Bear clan and severely whipped. If the soldier whipped him too 
severely, he in turn was whipped. 

If a murderer was brought to the Bear clan lodge and the chief 
of the tribe asked that the man be freed, the rest of the tribe would 
beg the relatives of the murdered man to relent ; but if the murderer 
was turned over to the soldiers, they would take him to the lodge of 
the murdered man's relatives and let one of them kill him. 

According to one informant, the Deer clansmen acted as servants 
to the Bear clan. 

The Bear and the Wolf clans are friends, and although, as we 
indicated on page 201, each clan is paired off with another, the rela- 
tionship of the Bear and Wolf clans is particularly intimate. It was 
even claimed that a Bear clansman would revenge the death of a 
Wolf clansman. For no other clans did the author hear this state- 
ment made. The women are addressed by the men and by each 
other as "my opposite," referring unquestionably to the positions in 

228 THE WINNEBAGO TEIBE [bih.ann.37 

the council lodge. According to another informant, the Bear clan is 
the Deer's friend, and therefore they bury one another. 

Burial, as was the case for all members of the lower phratry, was 
in the ground. Opinions varied as to what clan was supposed to 
bury a Bear man, some people claiming that it would have to belong 
to the upper phratry, others that it was incumbent upon the Wolf 
clan. It seems that the latter custom is the one followed at the 
present time and one which is considered old, to judge from the 
account of an actual funeral (cf. p. 148). The body was always 
buried with a miniature Bear clan war bundle. According to one 
informant, a bow and arrows were occasionally placed in the hands 
of the corpse, in addition to some tobacco. According to another 
informant, the facial marks were charcoal across the forehead and 
red marks under the lips in direct imitation of the bear. 

The facial decoration for the corpse consisted of two parallel marks 
across the forehead, the upper one red and the lower one black, and 
the painting of the entire chin red (pi. 46). The red paint on the 
chin was interpreted as a smile, for the Bear clansmen were supposed 
to greet death with a smile, as they were returning to their clan 
ancestors. The statement was also made that Bear clansmen should 
not mourn the death of any of their comrades. 

There is a specific Bear clan feast at which no one is permitted to 
laugh or talk, nor is anyone allowed to make any noise while drinking 
soup. The feasters must eat with their left hand. 

One of the most interesting of the ceremonies associated with the 
Bear clan is the so-called bear or soldier dance (rncmWpe wad). It 
was described to the author as follows: 

When sickness comes upon a Winnebago village the people go to the chief and say 
"Sickness has come upon us, O chief! See that your soldiers arise! " And the chief 
goes to the lodge of the leading Bear clansman and, offering him tobacco, speaks as 
follows: "My soldier, I am offering you tobacco, for my people have been smitten 
with disease." Then the latter rises and thanks him. He then informs all his clans- 
men and they give a feast. Then, of those participating, a number of males and 
females are selected, who on the next day, accompanied by the leader, go around 
the village four times. If a dog crosses their path, they kill it. After they have 
made the fourth circuit they enter the village from the east end. They thereupon 
visit the sick individuals one after another, dance in their presence, and lay their 
hands upon them. After they have visited all the sick they go to the chief's lodge, 
where a feast is spread for them by the chief's people. The next day all those who 
had been ill become well. 

It is quite clear that this "healing" function of the clan is inti- 
mately associated with the powers supposed to be bestowed upon 
individuals by Bear spirits. In fact, we are really dealing with a 
society possessing the power of healing disease in which membership, 
however, is restricted to members of the Bear clan. 



The following dog names were obtained: 

A black dog with yellow eyebrows and breast is called hesiga'ruyega, 
Opens-beehives; black female dog, hotelciMga, Picks-acorns; black 
dog with white around the neck, Tiotc Itagawanvga, Runs-for-acorns. 
The chief also had the privilege of calling a dog noruxuga, to show 
his superiority over the other members of the Bear clan. From 
another informant the following were obtained: Tcapiracotcga, Eats- 
everything-except-hide ; tealiorawefai, Pulls-out-deer-liver. 


Informant, member of the clan: In the beginning a bear came 
walking on the ocean. When he got to the shore he flew off as a 
raven and alit on the shore. The first being he saw was a Dog clans- 
man. Then he entered the lodge and sat opposite him. That is 

Fig. 35. — Diagram of Bear lodge. 

why they call one another friends, or "he who sits opposite me." 
From the fact that he flew off as a raven we have a name (kaxijigaga) . 
The lodge had four doors, one on each end and one on each side 
(fig. 35). They landed at Green Bay, where a great gathering was 
held of all the clans. The other Bear clansmen claim that it was 
water foam that flew from the water, and it is from that fact that 
they obtained so much life. The fact that he (the bear) changed 
himself twice is the reason for his greatness among his fellow clans- 
men. Originally it was the fourth born who was sent from across 
the ocean. 


Informant, father of above: In the beginning 10 brothers started 
from across the ocean to the great clan meeting. When they got near, 
four waves came ashore and a raven flew from the waves, but when 
it alit (on land) it was a bear that walked. They were the greatest 

>' There are so many versions of the origin of the Bear clan that I think it best to give all I obtained. 
They are all discussed on p. 225. 

230 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

in power, as they had changed themselves twice. There they crossed 
the tracks of the Wolf clan, and they said, "Our friends have gone 
by." Then they went and sat opposite the Wolf people. The Wolf 
and Bear clans must bury one another. 

The 10 men left their father and mother across the ocean. 

The Bears should paint their faces with charcoal from burnt bass- 
wood and red paint. The face should be painted red and black 
alternately crosswise in stripes, or black on the upper half and red on 
the mouth and chin. Women are painted with red markings on each 
cheek and with charcoal markings in the center of the cheek. 


Informant, member of the Bear clan: It is supposed that Earth- 
maker ordered a meeting of all the animals to take place at Green 
Bay, and that the Soldiers (another name for the Bear clan) were 
also to attend. 

In the beginning Earthmaker created all things in the form of 
animals, but at this gathering they (the originators of the various 
clans?) were to become human. When all was in readiness to start, 
it was decided that the families of those animals who were to become 
the ancestors of the Winnebago clans were each to send one repre- 
sentative, and that the one who was thus chosen, accompanied by 
his wife, was to become transformed on that occasion. Of the sol- 
diers (i. e., the bears) the youngest was sent. He had three brothers, 
of whom the eldest had black hair, the second dark red hair, and the 
third blue or green hair. They were the chiefs of the villages from 
which they had started. 16 Only the youngest, however, was sent to 
the earth to attend the meeting. When he emerged at a place to 
the north of Green Bay he came from out the earth. When they 
emerged (the bear and his wife) it was a very fine day. As they were 
coming they heard voices in the distance saying, "The soldiers are 
coming." As they started to walk their footprints seemed imprinted 
with the blue of the sky — i. e., witn daylight. A name has originated 
from this fact (ha n bamanina, "He-who-walks-with-the-day"). As 
his wife was with him, he immediately started to hunt. (It seems 
that by this time the bear had some followers, for some would from 
time to time ask whether they were going to eat, and he would answer 
yes and tell them to hunt for food.) 

When the youngest of the brothers started, the brothers who 
remained behind told him "to remember them" with regard to tobacco, 
red feathers, and food, and therefore after he had started he told 
some of his followers to go ahead and bring food of such and such a 
kind, so that when he arrived at certain camping places thpse sent 

16 It must be remembered that all this is taking place in the heavens, in the spirit abode of the bears 
The color translations are only approximate. 


ahead would be there before him ready with the food. After the 
first meal they started out again, and soon they came across the track 
of a member of some other clan, and they said, ' 'Our friend has gone 
by." The latter clan had also said in coming, "Our friend must 
have come by." Then they came to the place where a large lodge 
had been constructed. When- all were inside, the animal-beings 
wished to start a camp fire, and they called upon all those present to 
start it; but no one except the Thunderbirds could do it, so they 
made the Thunderbirds chiefs of the tribe. As, however, they were 
to have a number of chiefs, they called upon the Water-spirits to be 
chiefs of the lower division. Of the third division, the soldiers were 
to be the chiefs. The latter were to be in charge of discipline. That 
is the origin of the Bear or Soldier clan. 


Informant, member of the clan [so-called "true" version]: Earth- 
maker made all things, and then he created man and woman, and he 
placed them in the south. He gave them charge of some of the day 
or life. All the creatures on the earth and all the birds of the air he 
was in charge of. He was going to start up from below and walk 
toward the north. All the creatures went with him. He walked 
forth with all the creatures. When he arrived on earth all the other 
clans had already gathered at one place. When he arrived they said, 
"Our soldiers have come. Make room for them." So it was said. 
And he said to them, ' 'The things Earthmaker created me for, those 
I will do. Therefore, wherever you live or wherever you gather 
together I will look after your village; even to the edge of the clear- 
ing, that far I will make it sacred for you; and if you are ever over- 
come by sickness and you ask me to arise and help you, your sickness 
will leave you. And while he spoke of his power for four days the 
weather had been good, and no wind blew from any direction. The 
soldier was thus in charge of affairs. And as he spoke thus all birds 
with sharp claws flew above him in a circle. 

On the fourth day all the clans left for their respective homes. 
Now even to this day he, the bear, is still in charge of the people. 


Informant, same as of fourth version [so-called "minor" version]: 
In the south, where he emerged and came upon our earth, there was 
a spring which gave forth white water. When he was about to 
come out, the hill in which he was confined shook and the spring 
shook also. He was not the first to come out, for his attendants 
preceded him. Then he came out. There were 1 1 men. The oldest 
one told him to go and look around at the fields. He sent out four 
to look at the fields (the raspberries and all other fruits). The 

232 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

acorns and nuts they called beans. The four that emerged soon 
came upon the footprints of human beings. 

And then they returned from the fields where they had been 
searching for food. "Oh, my; oh, my," they said, "over there we 
came across the foorprints of human beings." So they spoke. "Go 
again," he said, "go around a larger circle." So they went farther 
than before, and there they saw the people who had made the foot- 
prints. "Our friends are going about here," said the ones who had 
made the footprints and who were wolves. "Never shall we disobey 
one another's word, my friends," said the bear. And the wolf 
answered, "It shall be so." 

If one of the Bear clansmen had been killed and it was reported 
to the Wolf clan, the latter would revenge him. The Bear clan 
would act similarly. Then the'bear said to the wolf, "My friend, 
whenever you die I shall put you away so that your soul may not 
be bothered by bad insects." And the wolf answered, "My friend, 
it shall be so, and when you die I will likewise put you away so that 
the bad spirits may not abuse your soul." Then they parted, after 
shaking each other's hands. The bears returned to their home in 
the south. The next time they came, it was to stay. They scattered 
themselves all over the earth, seeking newly ripened fruit of all kinds. 
In this manner they are still living on earth. 


Informant, member of the clan: Earthmaker made us and as he 
created us thus the story has come down. The story of our creation 
is told as follows: 

"Get ready. We will converse together over this affair." So 
spoke the one in the south. He was but one of those whom Earth- 
maker had created. There were four brothers. The name of the 
oldest one was Black Person, that of the second Red Person. (Indeed 
he was very red.) The third one was called Blue Person, and the 
fourth one White Person. 

"Younger brother, how is it going to be? I (the oldest), who am 
speaking, not fitted do I feel myself for the task. My temperament 
is indeed not fitted for the task. Perhaps you might have something 
to tell them. Try, therefore, to say something to them. They are 
about to have a gathering and it is time to start. Try to say some- 
thing to them." "Older brother, the truth do you speak. I also 
feel even as you have said; I am not fitted for it. I really don't 
consider myself equal to the task. My younger brother only is the 
one fitted for it. He is clever. Our younger brother, he only must 
be the one." "The truth you have spoken, my brother. Our 
youngest brother only is fitted for the task. The announcement of 
the gathering has already been made, so let us council over it imme- 

" Told as the origin myth of the Bear (east. 


diately. Let us get ready. Our younger brother, he is patient and 
strong-minded. On the earth he must go and we will remain here. 
To take care of the home we will remain here. Whatever he says it 
shall be so. In that wise will we think. Earthmaker has ordained 
that the gathering shall take place and that we are to live our lives 
there (on earth). Our younger brother he will go and live on the 
earth. As he is about to go to the earth, we will ask him to remem- 
ber us. 

"Younger brother, when you arrive on earth, whatever offerings 
you obtain, send them back to us as you walk along. When you 
start out you will appear with life. This you will take with you. 
This will be your task. Be careful that you perform everything 
correctly. When you arrive there, it will be necessary to give 
names to the human beings and to their dogs. 

"Younger brother, when you start out toward the earth you will 
be holy. And when you are on earth and your first boy is born, call 
him He-who-is-very-black, and call the second one (wajiga) Brown- 
bear, the third one Blue-bear, and the fourth one White-bear. And 
if girls are born to you, call the first one Night-walking-woman, the 
second one Daylight-as-she-walks, the third one She-who-thrusts- 
herself-within-a-lodge, and the fourth one Visible-footprint-woman. 
And if your daughters have dogs which they wish to keep let them 
give them the following names (wadogega, untranslatable): Dog- 
pair, Third-born-girl, and Red-female-dog. Thus let it be." 

When they (the bears) started, those at the gathering place listened : 
"Our soldiers have started; their whoops are audible." When the 
bear came on earth, he came across some tracks. "Our friends have 
gone by," he said. Finally the bears (man and woman) arrived at 
the gathering place; there they found all the clans assembled. The 
Water-spirit was the first one to come; then came the birds and 
then the bears. When all were assembled, they began to construct 
a large lodge. When it was finished, the one who had arrived first, 
the Water-spirit, was addressed by some of the other people. "Our 
chief, how are we going to make fire? Had you not better start?" 
"True you speak, but I do not know how. I am unable. Let some 
one else try it." But they all regretted and declined, saying they did 
not know how. So it was decided that he who made a fire would be 
chief. All thereupon tried, but only the Thunderbird succeeded. 
So he became the chief and the others all thanked him. Then the 
fire was distributed and all the clan fireplaces were made. Thus it 
was at the creation council. Now all things were finished and 
arranged. The Thunderbirds were the rulers of the village. The 
other people measured their acts by him. When the chief said do 
so and so, they would obey. Then the chief went out to look for 
food for himself and for his people, and they began to bring back 
186823—22 16 

234 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

food in the form of their relatives — i. e., in the form of the animals 
after whom they were named. Then the Bear people made a rule 
that they were to have a feast at which offerings would he made to 
their clan animal. And it was for him that they placed a shallow 
kettle at the feast. This is all. 


Informant, member of the Thunderbird clan. 

At a large spring sat a male bear. He looked upon his body and it 
was very blue. It was even bluer than the blue of the sky. As the 
blue from the sky illuminated, so he was. He sat as though he was 
part of the day. He was a chief and his name was Blue-chief. 
Toward one side he looked and there stood twelve men. Then the 
earth began to quake and something came out from the spring. 
Because something had come out from under the earth that is why 
the earth quaked. Blue-bear named him Earth-shaker. Then the 
earth began to quake again and now it was worse than before and 
Blue-chief named the one who emerged Earth-quaker. And then for 
the third time the earth began to tremble, even much more than 
before. So much did it tremble that the day itself trembled; and 
those that were not solidly attached to the earth came to the top and 
all manner of fruit was scattered over the earth. When he came out 
Blue-chief named him Gives-forth-fruit-as-he-walks. And again for 
the fourth time the earth began to roar and tremble and even the 
day trembled. Then one came out. So he was named, Makes-the- 
day-tremble. Thus they were all named as. they came out. Then 
Blue-bear was told by Earthmaker, "This is all that remains to be 
done; your friends are waiting for you." There Blue-bear talked 
with Earthmaker, the latter telling him what he was to do. Then 
they started to the place where all the other clans were gathering, at 
Red Banks. As they came, all the leaves that had rough edges 
became human and all the trees that had prickers became human, 
and all the birds that had sharp claws and were able to claw anything, 
they all became human, and the snakes that had sharp fangs became 
human. Thus they went. Those of the air went in the air and those 
of the earth went on the earth, and nothing could cross their path. 
Even the earth trembled as they walked. 

When they got to the gathering place they were told that seats 
were reserved for their friends (meaning them). But, said Blue- 
bear, "We did not come for that purpose, so we will not sit down. 
We were intended for something else by Earthmaker. As long as 
this world exists we will take care of you within the confines of your 
villages. We will not permit any evil spirits to enter these confines. 
The seats you offered us will remain as they are, so that if at any time 
the clans are gathered again our place will be reserved. Then the 


crowd dispersed and went home. Blue-bear said that he would go 
home but that the rest were to live on this earth and that they would 
be the soldiers of this earth. That is the origin of the Bear clan. 

When a bear is killed on earth, the Bear clansmen do not mind it, 
but they laugh and feel good. When one of the Bear clan dies, 
they say, "Don't cry, for he has gone home." Then they paint 
his jaws red to give him the appearance of laughing. 

When a bear is killed on earth the spirit returns to Blue-bear, and 
so it is with the Bear clansmen. This is the story of the Bear clan. 

All the birds, trees, snakes, and everything of its kind have soldiers. 
The sharp-clawed birds are soldiers of the birds and all the snakes that 
have fangs and all the trees that have prickers are soldiers of their 
kind. All the animals and living things of the earth have soldiers 
among them. The ugliest tempered ones of their kind are soldiers of 
whatever class they belong to. Oftentimes when a person gets angry 
on earth they would say, "The soldier; it is because he has a soldier 
nature. ' ' (Whoever has the power of hurting one of his fellow- 
beings and does it has a soldier nature.) This is the story of the 
Soldier clan. 

If they had said in the beginning, "This or that clan will never do 
anything wrong," then the rest of the clans would never have done so. 
The Soldier clan opens the way for anyone, of any clan, at any 
time, to take up his soldier nature. 

Song 1 

Winnebagoes, on the road they are coming. 
Winnebagoes, on the road they are coming. 
Winnebagoes, on the road they are coming. 
Winnebagoes, on the road they are coming. 

Song 2 

Speaking Winnebago, they are coming. 
Speaking Winnebago, they are coming. 
Speaking Winnebago, they are coming. 
Speaking Winnebago, they are coming. 

Song 3 

Who can lie behind? 
Who can be behind? 
Who can be behind? 
Who can be behind? 

Who can be above? 
Who can be above? 
Who can be above? 
Who can be above? 

Song 4 



Hagsdja minank'a Sitting opposite. 

Awasarega He who is shut in. 

Cagep'ahiga The one with black claws. 

Ci n sasak'a Coarse-grained fat. 

Rogu n i n nega He who is coveted. 

Hahi-atciwirjga Dwelling on a hillside. 

Hak'iridjewirjga Comes back. 

Hak'irutcewinga Crosses each other. 

Hazhoniwirjga Hunts for berries. 

Ha n heoratcewinga Travels by night. 

Ha n hewinga Night. 

Ha n benink'a Small day. 

Ha n pmaniga He who walks by day. 

Himaniwarutcga He who eats as he walks. 

Hiniguhega His little one who is returning. 

Hinurjk'hadjariga He who saw a woman. 

Hinunk' inekiminanka.. .Woman sitting alone. 

Hinunk' djopga Four women. 

Hodihuga He who comes climbing a tree. 

Hundjhurega Black bear who is coming. 

Hundjga The bear. 

Hundjxedega The big bear. 

Hundjxunuga Small bear. 

Hungatcak'iriga He who has come back to see the children. 

Hurjgit £ ega Prophet. 

Hunkorohiga He who is the chief's flesh. < 

Hurjk'uniga He who is made chief. 

Inek'ina n jinga He who stands alone. 

Inek'iminarjk'a He who sits alone. 

Gis£weminank'a He who sits quiet. 

Man k'axga Dirt. 

Maniwarutcga He who eats as he walks. 

Ma n ok'ipiwinga She for whom the land is large enough. 

Ma n zitciga Iron lodge. 

Ma n zana n pinga Iron necklace. 

Ma a zasa n wirjga Whitish metal. 

Ma n zawinga Metal woman. 

Ma n cgodaniga Three notches. 

Ma n na n ha n pewinga She who throws out the dirt with her paws. 

Mana n pega Soldier. 

Ma n p'ezirehiga Earth thrown up yellow. 

Ma n rotca n wirjga Straight earth woman. 

Ma^orekega Land cut in strips. 

Ma n tco-icdjajiripga Grizzly bear with striped eyes. 

Ma n tcoga Grizzly bear. 

Ma n waksuntcga Shakes the ground by his weight. 

Motciwinga She who dwells in the ground. 

Na n cgadjewinga She who plays on a tree. 

Na n netcfi n sepwinga Black root. 

> 8 The following names are from the Dorsey manuscript. 


Na n mizok'iwinga Bends a tree by pulling 

Na n sa"nehiga He who makes a tree whitish by scratching off the bark. 

Na"tcgepinga Good heart. 

Na n tcgetcexiwirjga She whose heart is difficult. 

Na n tcujiwirjga Yellowish red hair. 

Noxtcuxiga Breaks up a tree into small pieces. 

Noruxoga Scrapes a tree. 

Hok'awasmaniwinga Who walks in darkness. 

Hok'awasminarjk'a He who sits in darkness. 

Reziwak'antcarjk'a Holy tongue. 

Roha n minank'a Many sitting. 

Si-asga Foot good to the taste. 

Tciwojuga Fills the lodge. 

Tcuga Ladle. 

Tcugiga Spoon. 

Wajiga Yellowish-red bear. 

Wakizana n p'irjga He who has a white spot under his throat. 

Wamaniga Walks on the snow. 

Wamanuk'ega He who steals habitually. 

Wamarj ksgaga With a white breast. 

Wasa n himaniga He who walks on melting snow. 

Wasemqmak'arjga Vermillion. 

Wank'ana n sewinga Pens up a male. 

Wank'hok'isak'a Half a man. 

Woixdjahiriga Laughing at his antics. 

Wohinkcahirega He at whom they laugh. 19 

Mai n nukonuga In charge of land. 

Tconarjke hurjk'a First chief. 

Septcoga Real black. 

NaMjudjewirjga Red hair. 

Mana n p'e hurjk'a Soldier chief. 

Hokiwaigu n wirjga She who retraces her steps. 

Moradjawirjga Earth wanderer. 

Ma n nusank' n himinank'a . . Sits as the earth alone. 

Monirjga Hunts about the earth. 

Ana n tcu n xedga Big armful. 

Watcoginiwinga Goes ahead of them (common to all clans). 

Ma n man'winga Walks on the earth. 

Manguwinga Earth coming woman. 

Hotcarjgit'ega. Speaks Winnebago. 

Ha°p' emaniga Walks with the strength of day. 

Ha n bominanga .Sits in the day. 

Tcoraminank'a Sits blue. 

Hundjxonuga Small bear. 

Ha n birukonuga In charge of day. 

Morutca n winga Goes around the earth. 

Motciwirjga Lives in the earth. 

Tci-oma n tciga Lives in the earth permanently. 

Ni-ana n jinga Stands on the water. 

"> The following names were obtained by the author. 


The Wolf Clan 

Three versions of the origin myth of this clan were obtained. The 
second is the most interesting, for it gives the popular account of 
descent from the clan animal-ancestor, although it claims that he, 
in turn, was created by Earthmaker. One other important char- 
acteristic is the statement that the original clan ancestor married a 
human being and that from them the present members of the clan 
trace their descent. A similar type of descent is mentioned in a 
number of myths that can best be interpreted as village origin myths. 
The ownership of war bundles has also at times been linked up with 
descent from some spirit. 

Very little is known at the present time about the functions of the 
Wolf clan. It is quite clear, however, that the clan once possessed 
powers of considerable importance. From the fact that the Wolf 
people are still occasionally called "minor soldiers" and that they 
are so closely linked with the Bear clansmen it is likely that their 
functions were similar in nature to those of the Bear people. They 
probably assisted the latter. 

Water was sacred to the Wolf clan as it also was to the Water- 
spirit clan. A person was not allowed to tell a Wolf clansman that 
he looked like a wolf nor allowed to sit on a log in a Wolf clan lodge. 
If a man kills a Wolf clansman accidentally and then sits on the log 
in a Wolf lodge, he has to be freed. 

According to one informant, the Wolf clan at one time possessed 
four sticks, which they would use and with which they kept time while 
the drum was beaten. 

According to one informant, the Wolf clansmen were the only 
people who were allowed to intermarry. 

The Wolf clansmen give a feast when a Bear child is born, to show 
respect for their friend. They give the child a name of their own clan. 

The Wolf feast is held in the spring of the year, when the ice melts 
from the creeks and everything begins to grow. At the feast the 
clan origin myth is told and the members of the other clans are 
allowed to- hear it. The food used is boiled rice. 



In the beginning the Wolf clan people came from the water. 
Therefore their bodies are of water — i. e., their sacred possession is 
water. There, were four male wolves and four female wolves, and 
as they came up from the sea and swam toward the shore, one after 
the other, they caused waves to go before them. Therefore one of 


their clan names is Wave. They first appeared as wolves and later 
on they became humans. After swimming to the shore they lay on 
their backs to dry themselves; and that also is a name, a female 
name, She-who-spreads-herself-out-to-dry, and another name is He- 
who-comfs-up-first. When they became human they built them- 
selves a lodge and lived in it, but they had no fire. Then the Thunders 
came down and alit on a big oak tree that stood near their lodge. 
At first the Thunders were afraid of the Wolf people and they would 
not enter their lodge. That is why we have a name He-who-is-afraid . 
They asked the Thunders to come into their lodge and they had 
great difficulty in persuading them. After they entered the Wolf 
lodge they wanted to go home again immediately, but the Wolf clan 
people asked them to stay over for four days. From that fact a 
name has originated, One-who-is-waited-for-by-the- Thunders. The 
Thunders stayed, but not in the lodge of the Wolf people. They 
built themselves one just outside their door. Then they built a fire 
in it. After the four days were over the Thunders went home. 

When a Wolf clansman dies the relatives paint his forehead blue 
(pi. 46) and the soul of the deceased is supposed to go west, and it 
never looks back as it goes on its journey, as this would be an indi- 
cation of its longing for something in this world, and it should not 
do that. When the soul gets to the spirit home the relatives already 
there would ask the newcomer, "What did our relatives say when you 
were about to come?" And the deceased would answer, "They said 
that they would not come for some time." 

The food that is prepared at the four nights' wake is supposed to 
last them forever. 

This is the end of the story of the creation. 


All people claim to have come from some animal, and all are 
supposed to come from Earthmaker. 

Four married wolves had a lodge in the middle of the ocean. They 
had four colors. The wolves all had children. One of them had 10, 
and the youngest one of these 10 is the one that came to this earth. 
When they came to this island, the first thing they saw was the foot- 
print of the bear, and they said, "Our friend has gone by." There 
(at the place of gathering) they saw human beings and they liked 
their ways. Therefore they went home again and asked to come to 
earth and live with the human beings, and they were given permission 
to do so. Wherefore the two (man and wife) came here again the 
second time. When they were about to come everything was calm, 
and there were no waves on the ocean. They started out swimming, 
and they caused two waves to go before them. When they came to 
the humans they both got married. When they came to this land 

240 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

they sang songs, but I do not know them. I was not taught them. 
Finally children were born to both of them, and they gave them 
names. They called one of them Wave on account of the wave 
coming before them on their starting out. Because the four original 
wolves in the middle of the ocean had four different colors, therefore 
they have names White Wolf, Green Hair, Gray Wolf, and Black 
Wolf. When the clan began to get larger they taught their children 
these names. 

When a large number of different clansmen are traveling and they 
have to cross some large stream and the wind is high, they call upon 
some Wolf clansman to calm the wind. This clan holds the water 
very sacred. They do not even die in the water. 

It was at this first meeting that they made friends with the Bear 
clan. Therefore these two clans love one another. 


The original wolf brothers appeared from the bottom of the ocean. 
When they got to the top of the water they started for the shore 
singing. When they got to the shore they saw footprints of bears 
who had just gone by. They said, "Our friends have just gone by." 
That is why they are the friends of the Bear clan. They were going 
to the meeting place. There a black hawk was gathering together 
all the different clans. Finally he finished and he said, "It is done." 
When he said this a wolf howled. They had forgotten him. They 
said, "We have forgotten him. Let some one go after him." So 
some one went after him . . . 


First song 

This body of mine that I am walking. 
This body of mine that I am walking. 
This body of mine that I am walking. 
On the earth I am speaking. 

Second song 

This body of mine that I am walking. 
This body of mine that I am walking. 
This body of mine that I am walking. 
In the waters am I speaking. 



Curjgewaksiga Hunting dog. 

Cunktcank'a Wolf. 

Regoniwinga Wolf (archaic name). 

30 The following names are from the Dorsey Mss. 


Hicdjasgaga White-faced. 

Hicdjadjopga Four-eyed. 

Hi n p'iwirjga Good-haired. 

Hi n tcoga Blue-furred . 

Hominarjk'a She who sits howling. 

Manidjopga Four walking. 

Manank £ oga Throws up the earth (with his hind legs). 

Ma n ok'acutcaminank'a He who sits on the tree banks. 

Niedjahuga Coming from the water. 

Niedjawanik'iriga He who brings them back from the water. 

P'etcoga Green forehead. 

P'e-oegaga He who has a white forehead 

P'(i n zakega Big sand person. 

Xe-acaraminarjk'a He who sits on a bare hill. 

Xe-omik'a He who dwells in a hill. 

Xe-oratcega He who travels to the hill. 

Sintcega Bushy tail. 

Tcarawiga He who holds a deer in his mouth . 

Tcasirawiga He who carries deer-feet in his mouth. 

Tconarjkehurjga Chief wolf. 

Tconan ketcowinga First wolf. 

Tconiminank'a Sits as a leader. 

Wanuniniga He from whom nothing is hidden . 

Warawaieinega He who carries something in his mouth. 

Warawaiguga Comes back with something in his mouth. 

Waruxewirjga She who chases. 

Wirap'ega He who lies in wait for them. 

The Water-Spirit Clan 


A rather poor version of the Water-spirit clan was obtained. It 
is, however, one of the few clan origin myths that contains the definite 
statement that the clan ancestors changed into human beings when 
they gathered at Green Bay. 

The functions of the Water-spirit clan were, in former times, 
exceedingly important. Almost all the informants were agreed that a 
chief was selected from that clan, but the exact nature of this chieftain- 
ship is not clear. One informant, himself a member of the Bear 
clan, said that the Water-spirit clan was the chief of the lower 
phratry; that the clans were arranged in three groups, one over 
which the Thunderbird clan ruled; another over which the Water- 
spirit clan ruled; and a third over which the Bear clan ruled. He 
insisted, however, that just as the Thunderbird clan rules over the 
whole tribe in a general way, so the Water-spirit clan ruled over the 
clans of the lower phratry. Other informants claimed that the 
Water-spirit clan originally ruled over the entire tribe and that its 
place was subsequently usurped by the Thunderbird clan. It might- 
be best to regard the function of the Water-spirit clan as akin but 
subsidiary to that of the Thunderbird clan. 

242 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

Members of the clan were buried by members of the Thunderbird 

Water was sacred to the Water-spirits. It was considered an 
insult for a stranger to peep into a pail standing in one of their lodges. 

One informant explained the custom as follows: 

"If one enters a Water-spirit clan lodge and looks into a pail and 
there should be no water in it, the person will turn away and this 
action of his will be construed as begging. It would be proper to 
take a drink of water if some were there." 

A round spot is painted with blue clay on the forehead of a Water- 
spirit man (pi. 46). 

The Water-spirit feast is held in the fall and spring. Cracked or 
ground com is used. Water-spirit people partake before anyone 
else at this feast. 


(told by a member op the clan) 

In the beginning, when the clans began to form, the Bird clans 
came upon the earth first and alit upon an oak tree at Red Banks; 
and when they alit upon the oak tree they became human as we are 
now. Then the Water-spirit clan was to appear at Within Lake; 
and the waters began to whirl around in the lake and all the bad 
things that inhabited the waters began to appear. Just before the 
Water-spirits appeared some burned embers came up from the waters 
and the whirling became faster and deeper. As all the great things 
began to appear it always seemed as if the Water-spirits were the 
next to appear, but not until the last did they come up. Thereupon 
the waters began to quiet down. Then a white Water-spirit ap- 
peared with its horns curved toward each other, and when it came 
upon the earth it became human and walked. Then the other clans 
said, "Now, then, this is the chief. This is all that we have been 
waiting for. Now we shall divide ourselves" (into groups). Then 
they started for the lodge of the Thunderbird clan and entered it. 
There they named one another and divided one another into clans 
and there they counciled with one another. 



He-adaja^jarjk'a Shining horns. 

Hena°pga Two horns. 

Her'^winga Handsome horn. 

Hesatcarj k'a Five-horned 

Hedjopga Four-horned. 

Marjk'a n ojuga He who plants medicines. 

Manka n hodja n pga He who looks at medicines. 

Ma n i n sinip'i n winga Good cold spring. 


Ma n jiwinga Yellowish-red earth (refers to deposits from iron springs). 

Ma n nunp'aga Second earth person. 

Ni-acgadjewinga She who plays on the water. 

Ni amaniwirjga She who walks on the water. 

Ni-a n p" n winga She who makes water good. 

Ni-a n dagewirjga Still water. 

Nicanaga Stream person. 

Nihuga He who discharges water. 

Ni-ot £ a n pwirjga She who jumps into the water. 

Nidjobega Four streams. 

Niwak'itcanga Selects (?) water. 

Wakdjexicicik'a Bad Water-spirit. 

Wakdjexihunga Chief of the Water-spirits. 

Wakdjeximaniga Walking Water-spirit. 

Wakdjexipirjga Good Water-spirit. 

Wakdjexisa n winga White Water-spirit. 

Hep'irjga Good horn. 

Wadjxedega Big boat. 

Hip'ahiga Sharp tooth. 

Rabawirjga Beaverskin woman. 

Rabewirjga Beaver. 

Hejipga Short horn. 

The Buffalo Clan 

The first version of the origin myth of the Buffalo clan is of con- 
siderable interest because it gives us an idea of the manner in which 
a myth had to be bought. It is one of the few origin myths that 
gives a precise location for the origin of a particular clan. What 
lake is meant by de cicik it is impossible to say. Considerable 
importance should be attached, however, to the fact that their 
place of origin differed from that of most of the other clans, because 
it may indicate that the people who came to be known under the 
name Buffalo joined the tribe after the other clans. 

The Buffalo clansmen seem to have had the function of acting as 
the public criers and in general of being an intermediary between the 
chief and the tribe. This, however, has been denied by some in- 
formants, one of them a member of the clan. Their lodge was at 
the southeast corner of the village. Some informants deny that 
they had a special lodge, however. 

The Buffalo and Water-spirit clans are friends and are supposed 
to bury each other's members. 


Informant, member of the clan: "Listen, my grandson. Those 
who originated from the buffaloes and the way in which they origi- 

*i The following myth is given in the precise manner in which the individual who told it to me obtained 
the information from one of the old men who was privileged to narrate it. Unfortunately it was impos- 
sible to obtain any other clan origin myth in 1 he same way. 

244 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

nated, they have heretofore told one another thus. This it is. 
Whenever one asked about it, they would tell him, but they would 
never tell him unless he brought some present. Even when they 
had a child whom they loved very much (and for whom they were 
accustomed to do everything), even to such a one they would not tell 
it unless he brought them gifts. Thus they would not even say the 
least thing about the story of their origin merely because they 
loved some one. It is really essential to make a gift. And if some 
one came, carrying a gift, the old man would ask him what he wanted 
and what he would like to know, as this was not the only thing 
gifts were made for. Then he would announce his desire. However, 
he would not be told in public but when he was alone. Then the old 
man who had the right to tell the origin myth would announce 
subsequently at some feast that he had told so-and-so the story of 
the origin of their clan and that if anyone wished to be told of the 
same he should in the future, when he himself had died, go to this 
young man and ask him in the proper way. Remember, he would 
add, that before everything else it is the duty of an individual to 
try and learn of the origin of his clan. 

"Father," this I give you, a full suit of clothes. This I am giving 
you." "Thanks, my son. What do you wish? What do you wish 
to hear?" "Father, what did we originate from?" "My son, you 
have done well. My son, he who makes the most gifts obtains life 
therewith." "Well, then, father, you need not tell me now, but 
later, when I have made a sufficient number of gifts, then you may 
tell me." "My son, you have spoken well and if you do as you 
say, you will travel unharmed along the road of life." "Father, 
these also I give you, some beads and a blanket." "Thanks, my 
son, it is good. Now, my son, what I told you was true. I did not 
tell it to you because I coveted anything of yours, but truly because 
it is true — this, that we must make a sufficient number of presents. 
Whoever does as you have done will obtain the possibility of a good 
life for himself." "Now again, father, I give you these gifts. There 
is enough food for you in it." "My son, you have done well, very 
well indeed, for the life that I am to give you is holy; and as you 
know, even if one was loved very much they would not tell him 
this merely because they loved him, as it is holy." "Father, this I 
give you as a gift, a horse, as I desire to know what we originated 
from." "Now, then, my son, you have done well. This is what I 
meant when I said it is holy. Therefore, my son, you have done 
well. Come and sit down here. Listen very carefully so that if 
afterwards anyone should ask you for this story you will be able to 
tell it well." 

23 He is now proceeding to give the dialogue that ensued between the old man and himself when he 
brought the presents. 


"My son, we first originated in human form at Bad Lake (de 
cicik). 23 From four buffalo spirits who are there, did we originate. 
The youngest one was clever and from him did we originate. The 
buffaloes asked one another what they were to do, and they then 
began to exert their powers, and the youngest one obtained the 
knowledge that there was to be a gathering of all the animals. So 
they all landed at a place called Red Banks. So it is said. And to 
the elk was given the charge of the seating arrangements. 

"Thus did we originate. And then they counciled with one 
another as to how they should travel along the road of life. And as 
they arrived at Red Banks, each one would ask the other to do some 
work. And there they made a sacred (covenant) — that they would 
never fail to grant one another's requests. Likewise they agreed that 
when they died they would bury one another. The Buffalo clan and 
the Water-spirit clan were to bury one another, and they were to ask 
one another to work." 


Song 1 

Finally you have cried. I heard you. 

Finally you have cried. I heard you. 

Finally you have cried. I heard you. 

Finally you have cried. I heard you. 

Sony .' 

This earth you have made me hear. 
Finally you have cried. 
You have made me hear. 
You have made me hear. 

Song S 

This day you have made me hear. 
Finally you have cried. 
You have made me hear. 
You have made me hear. 

"My son, here is some more information that one in your position 
should seek. This should be the second thing to ask for: 'What 
should one say when one gives a feast?' This you should ask for, 
and you should boil food for the informant and then you will be 
taught the proper speeches. Afterwards, when anyone boils food 
(i. e., gives a winter feast) a kettle should first be put on for Earth- 
maker and one should ask him for life; that the people may live to 
be strong and good. Include tobacco in your offering, for although 
Earthmaker made the tobacco he will not take any of it of his own 
accord. Not until it is offered to him by humans will he take it. 

2 3 The name dc cicik is applied to-day to Lake Michigan. However, our informant in this case applied 
it to Devils Lake in Sauk County, Wis. 

246 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ass. 37 

Thus he made the tobacco so that humans may ask life with it, and 
he will grant them their desires. This is all." 


Moratcega He who travels the land. 

Tcanimaniwirjga Sho who walks ahead. 

Tceninksiga Suckling buffalo calf. 

Tcega Buffalo. 

Tcep'anu n pga Two buffalo heads. 

Tcetca n iwinga First buffalo. 

Tcedojenink'a Buffalo yearling. 

Tcedonirjka Young buffalo bull. 

Tcewirjxedega Big female buffalo. 

Wirukananga He who is in control. 

Hehekmaniga? Shaggy walker. 

Tcehatcowinga Buffalo hide blue. 

Mangiksuntcga Shakes the earth by striking. 

Tcep'aga Buffalo head. 

Manok'azuhiga Kicking up the earth. 

The Deer Clan 


The first version of the origin myth of the Deer clan is in part like 
that of version 6 of the Bear clan origin myth and in part like that of 
version 1 of the Thunderbird origin myth. It is the only myth that 
shares with version 1 of the Thunderbird origin myth the account of 
the origin of death. 

The Deer clan does not seem to have had any important functions, 
although in myth 1, it is stated that they claimed a '"partial" chief- 
tainship, whatever that may mean. 

It was considered an insult to tell a member of this clan that he 
resembled a deer. 

The facial painting is the same as that used for the Elk clan. 
(PL 46.) 

The Deer clan people tell one another not to sing their clan song 
very loudly, and also not to make any sudden movement of their 
limbs, for each movement might cause the death of a human being. 
For the same reason they are told not to weep too loudly, as each 
deer's limb is a symbol of one of the four directions. When, there- 
fore, a Deer clansman moves a limb too hard when he is weeping 
over the decease of a member of his clan, he might be "putting some 
human being in the earth," and the wind would blow hard. 

The dog names obtained were uanlcigohoniga and na n natcgisga. 



This is the origin story of the Deer people. In the beginning a 
black deer accompanied by an elk appeared in the center of the 
earth, and they went in the direction of the east. There they were 
going. Then the black deer said, "My dear younger brother, I am 
heavy on account of my excessive fatness, go you alone and I will 
remain here." So he remained there and did not go; and then to 
the center of the earth, to the place from which they started, he 
returned. Then he came back to the earth, and again they asked 
him. Four times they asked. There the necklace of money orna- 
ments he recognized, the black deer did. 24 Thus the Deer clan beat 
them, and therefore they have the name Blacl-Deer-chief. As they 
went so they returned again. Again the necklace made of money 
he (the black deer) 25 recognized. The earth they went around. 
Then again the black deer went to the east. It was a large one who 
went ahead, and as he was going along, to his astonishment, they 
reached the place from which they had started. 

"My younger brother," said Black-deer, "you try to do it." 2e 
And the second-born went ahead and the others followed, and again 
they were drawn back to the place from which they started. Then 
the third-born went first and the others followed and the same thing 
happened. Then they told the fourth-born to go first, and he went 
in front and suddenly he struck his horn, the one on the right, upon 
the earth, and, behold, grass suddenly appeared. It was a very 
white bud that he had caused to appear. Then he struck his left 
horn on the earth, and he made a tree appear and the fruit of this 
tree was meant to be eaten. Then they ate the fruit of the tree. 
The top of the tree there they ate. Thus they said. And they 
call a woman even to-day She-who-eats-the-top-of-the-tree. And then 
they began to walk and the earth trembled from their walking. 
Toward the east side they went. From this fact they have a name, 
He-who-shalces-the-earth. And again as some of the brothers were 
small they have the name Small-deer. They also have the name 
Walking-leader. And they also have names She-who-comes-baclc and 
He-who-comes-back, because in the beginning they always came back 
to the place from which they started. Whatever actions they went 
through, from these they derived their names. 

u The thought is not quite clear here, due to the fact that something has probably been omitted by the 

25 There seems to be a contest between the deer and the elk as to who would be able to see the "money- 
necklace" first. Cnder the term "money-necklace" they evidently mean the medallions distributed by 
the American Government to those whom they recognized as chiefs. The recognition of the "money- 
necklace" is evidently going to decide the chieftainship between the deer and the elk. 

M Some power is evidently drawing them back to the place from which they started. 

248 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ass. 37 

The four cardinal points and the winds that are there, they are in 
control of. If on a very nice day a deer's voice is heard, that day 
will become bad, and if on a very bad day a deer's voice is heard, 
that day will become nice. The deer people are those who are in 
control of the weather. And they also have a name, He^who-plays- 
with-the-unnds, and a woman is called She-wTio-goes-with-tTie-wind. 
The deer would always sit with the wind back of them. Thus they 
roamed all over the earth. Not one place on this earth did they miss. 

Once, when they had come home, their eldest brother suddenly 
fell down (dead). "What is the matter?" they said. And the 
second-born said, ''Our oldest brother is not saying anything; I 
don't know what the matter is." And then they asked their youngest 
brother and he said, "Our oldest brother is dead. That is the way 
Earthmaker arranged things." And then he talked to the dead 
brother and he said, "Earthmaker has made a place for you to go 
to now that you are dead. You have not attained a large share of 
life and you have left us who remain on the earth in a pitiable con- 
dition. But now that you are going home I want to ask you some- 
thing. Those years that are still coming to you, distribute among 
your relatives. This I beg of you. And this is the second request: 
May the warpaths that you did not go on (by reason of your death), 
may the war honors that you did not obtain, may all these things 
be distributed among us. This I ask of you, my dear brother. And 
this is the third request: May the food that you did not eat, the nuts, 
the sweet fruits, etc., all that you liked on earth, may it all be dis- 
tributed among us. This is what I ask of you. And tins is the 
fourth request, my dear older brother: May all the wearing apparel 
that belonged to you as well as all the materials that you stored in 
back of your tent, never to be touched by you, but may we who are 
left behind use it all. This I ask of you. Wherever you are going, 
may these requests of those whom you left here behind on earth be 
before you." 

Then the younger brother took some red paint and he said, " Brother, 
I am going to paint you. Thus they will recognize you at home. 
That is the way we will always do it hereafter. Those who are to 
live after us will paint us in the same way. Now this is the manner 
of painting. The forehead and the corners of the eye are to be 
painted in black and red streaks, respectively, and the chin and the 
front part of the throat are to be painted red." Then he dug a 
grave. Then they buried him. Then they sang the songs and when 
they were finished with this, they traveled around the earth and 
came to the gathering place of the clans. When they came to that 
place they were people — i. e., human beings. They lived their own 
life just as they had as deers. All the incidents of their traveling 
as well as all the characteristics of deers were used in the names 











o o 

o o o o 

° o o 






















they gave one another. Thus they have the names WMte-Tvair, Fast- 
one, LUtle^white-tertk, Diffident-one, Horn, Pronged-horn, etc.; and for 
dogs they have names also. That is the war the deer people lived 
in the beginning at Red Banks, Within Lake. Bands of people 
gathered together there, and all the clans that exist now originated 


The Deer clan people came up at the beginning of the earth. 
Only one is spoken of as appearing at the beginning. He started 
forth but returned again that he might look for a companion. For 
that reason a name exists in the tribe, He-who-comes-back , and another 
is Ilt-iclm-appears-first. After they had appeared on earth the deer 
blew on the original fire, which was only smoldering, and made it 
blaze up. For that reason they claim a partial chieftainship. The 
first one that appeared had a chief's medal around his neck. 


I use the cries of the four directions. 
I use the cries of the four directions. 
I use the cries of the lour directions. 
I use the cries of the four directions. 



Tcasephunk'a Black deer chief. 

\Vatrizena n p £ i n ga Wears shells around neck. 

Tcanurjkca D p £ i n ^vii)ga Deer vagina. 

Maijk'isaga-vepga Appears in the middle of earth 

Tcatconiwiijga First deer woman. 

The Elk Clan 


In the Elk clan origin myth we find the clear statement that Earth- 
maker created the ancestors of the clan, and that they were human 
beings. The myth resembles a village origin myth more than it does 
a clan origin myth. 

The Elk clan seems to have had certain functions relative to the 
distribution of fire through the village and in camp. It was never a 
very large clan. 

The Elk people claim half of the fire, and thus half of the chieftain 
ship. They never hold fire toward any one. 

Elks are buried by the Snake, Water-spirit, and Eagle clans, 
although the first has the preference. 

White clay is used in painting the dead. 

According to another informant, the facial painting consisted of 
white and blue dots on the face (pi. 46 1. 
186S23"— 22 17 

250 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 


Earthmaker created all human beings. When he was about to 
create them, then he thought it would be good to see something 
moving. So he made a man and he was very good. But Earth- 
maker thought he ought to have company, so he made a woman. 
Then he thought to himself, "How should they know one another." 
So some one came to life through the water and this one was an 
animal. He made a village in the west for the human beings, and 
he thought about it and then he thought he would ask the humans 
what they would like to live through (i. e., become reincarnated), 
and they said the elk, because the elk never committed any crime. 
The humans were not to commit any crime. So the four elks started 
for the meeting place at Green Bay, Red Banks. They had up to 
that time supposed that they were the only living things, but Earth- 
maker let the oldest of the elks know of the existence of the other 
clans. So there they came and lived as Winnebagos. Thus it is 
said. This is all that they ever tell. 


hu n wa n hik'ik'ahadjeba (elk clan) 

Roha n maniwinga Many walking. 

Rek'uhumaniwirjga She who walks with the wind. 

Tcatchiruxewinga She who pursues the wind. 

Snake and Fish Clans 

No information of any consequence was obtained about these two 
clans. Almost all the informants claimed that they were recent 
additions to the tribe. Only a very few survivors of either clan are 
still living. 

clan names 

wak'a n hik'ik'aradjera (snake clan) 

Hankcimink'a Lying snake. 

Hip'ahiga He who has sharp teeth. 

Hirodinga She who has attained her lull growth. 

K'ik'urudiwinga She who crawls. 

K'irixminank'a Sits coiled up. 

Gisewek'inarjka Sits quiet in her (homo. 

Hokciga High snake. 


Ilo-apcudjewirjga Red fish scale woman. 


Ha n boguwirjga East woman. 

Hun kminarj ka Sitting chief. 


K'ikarasintcga Licks herself. 

Mankuhoradjega Roams under the earth. 


Ksismainga Sits solidly attached. 

Maiikurudjewinga Her earth she spreads out. 

Tcisgamaniga Walks as a white house. 

Sinihimaniwirjga Cold walking woman. 

Sa n naguga Coming white. 

Warjk'inek'iga Lone man. 

Warutca"xonuniga Small attendant. 

Hominankpinga Sits good as she comes. 

Na n nawahiguga He who brings something in his mouth . 

K'izahiyurjgiwinga Fighting princess. 

Mogisagominank'a Lies in the middle of the earth. 

Waxurutcmanewirjga Moves along as she walks. 

Warjktcoga Green man. 

Hihina°pga Comes out. 

Pirjk'ikunga Fixes himself. 

Clan Names 
ferst four given in each clan 

Although it has been discontinued for some time, the Winnebago 
claim that in former times it was customary to assign definite names 
to the first four children born in each clan. In all probability this 
custom extended not only to the fourth but even to the sixth child, 
as lists were obtained that gave six names. This would correspond 
to the fixed number of birth names. No significance need be attached 
to the exact number, as it was intended beyond any doubt to cover 
the number of children generally born within one family. Within 
these limits, then, the names were fixed, at least theoretically. 

First four names of Thunderbird clan ; informant, member of clan: 

First. Nanozok'a Bending bough of tree. 

Second. Nodja n pga Lighting the tree. 

Nai n sawagicicga Broken tree top. 

Hana n tenarjXgurjga All heard it. 

First four names of Thunderbird clan; informant, member of 
Warrior clan : 

First. Ilop'iyga Good one. 

Second. Warudjaxiriga Makes noise as he comes? 

Third. Wak'andjamaniga Thunder walker. 

Wak'andjahurjga Thunder chief. 

Informant, member of Thunderbird clan: 

First. Wak'andjahurjga Thunder chief (male). 

Second. Ma n djidjega He who alights on the earth (male). 

First. Hok'awas wiijga Darkness (female). 

Second. Na n nazogewinga Bends (weighs) the tree down (female). 

252 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ans. 37 

Informant, member of Elk clan: 

First. Wak'andja sepga Black thunderbird. 

Second. Wak'andja-teoga Green thunderbird. 

Third . Wak'andja sgaga White thunderbird. 

Fourth. Wak'andja cutcga Red thunderbird 

Names of Warrior clan: informant, member of the clan: 

First. Wonafire warjkcik'a Warrior man (male). 

or Nanxedega Big tree (male). 

Second. Na n i n nek'iga Lone tree (male). 

Third. Ma n cdja n maniga Walks mightily (male). 

Fourth. Wona7irega War (male). 

Fifth. P'etcda-ehiga Fire-starter (male). 

Sixth. Hfingmaniga Chief walker (male). 

First. Ahugiciniwinga Shining wings (female). 

Second. Ahutcowigga Blue wing (femalei. 

Third. K'izahiyurjgiwirjga Fighting princess (female). 

Fourth. Ahup'i n wirjga Good wing (female). 

Fifth. Nijumaniwinga ... . : Rain walker (female). 

First four names of Eagle clan; informant, member of Warrior 
clan : 

First. Narjk'iridjega Returns to the tree. 

Second. Ahusak'a Strikes his wings. 

Third. Tcaxcephurjk'a Eagle chief. 

Fourth. Tcaxcepx'nunik'a Small eagle. 

Bear clan; informant, member of the clan: 

First. Tconankhurjk'a Bear chief (male) 

Second . ? ? (male). 

Third. Wak'izna n p'irjga He who has white spot under his throat 


Fourth. Hundjxedega Big bear (male). 

Fifth. Hirocicga (Male). 

Sixth. Noroxuga Scrapes a tree (male). 

First. Hok'iwaigu n winga Retraces her footsteps (female). 

Second. Tconanketcowinga Blue bear (female). 

Third. Na n cgadjewinga Plays on wood (female). 

Fourth. Asgawawinga Delicious bear (female). 

Fifth. Hundj hinunk'a Female bear (female). 

Sixth. Sitca n t £ i n wirjga Visible footprints (female). 

Bear clan; informant, member of the Thunderbird clan: 

Mairjxga n higa Shakes the earth. 

Waksurjksuntcga Makes (it) quake. 

Hashiwenimaniga Gives forth fruit as he walks. 

Ha n bixga n higa Makes the day tremble. 

Bear clan; informant, member of the clan: 

First. Mank'isakhominarjk'a He who sits in the middle of the earth. 

Second. Hokere'u n animanirjga He who carries the ensign. 

'third. Ha"bidja n dja n higa Makes the day tremble(?) 

Fourth. Nai°sawahicicga Breaks the tree tops. 


Wolf clan: informant, member of Bear clan: 

First. Hi"tcoga Blue hair. 

Second. Keratcoga Blue sky. 

Third. Cufiktcurjk' xotcga Gray wolf. 

Fourth. Cufiktcurjk' sgaga White wolf. 

Wolf clan; informant, member of Thunderbird clan: 

First. Cunktcurjk' xotcga Gray wolf. 

Second. Cuijktcuijk' sepga Black wolf. 

Third. Cuijktcurjk' sgaga White wolf . 

Fourth. Cunktcurjk' cutcga? Red wolf(?) 

Wolf clan; informant, member of tbe clan: 

First. Cur) ktcurj k' sgaga White wolf. 

Second. Curjktcurjk' xotcga Gray wolf. 

Third. HiHcoga Green hair. 

Fourth. Cufiktcurjk' sepga Black wolf. 

Water-spirit clan; informant, member of Eagle clan: 

First. Wakdjexi sgaga White water-spirit. 

Second . Wakdjexi pinga Good water-spirit . 

Third . Wakdjexi tcoga Green water-spirit. 

Fourth. Wakdjexi sepga Black water-spirit. 

Elk clan; informant, member of tbe clan: 

First. Hu n wurjga The elk. 

Second. Hezaztcga Prong-horned. 

Third. Hu n wurjgapga Black elk. 

Fourth. Hi n sgaga White hair. 

Deer clan; informant, member of Elk clan. 

First. Tcaga The deer. 

Second. Tca'i n nek'iga Lone deer. 

Third. Tcasgaga White deer. 

Fourth. Tcasepga Black deer. 



The shamanistic and medicinal practices of the Winnebago differ 
in no respect from those found all over the woodland area and there 
is consequently no need for discussing them at length. The stories 
told about Midjistega and old Lincoln are the famous tricks and 
sleight-of-hand performances known all over America. There does 
not seem to be as much said about the conjuring lodge as is the 
case among the Ojibwa. This apparently is identical with the 
Winnebago warulcA'na, "exerting one's powers." The lack of 
specific information relating to this subject obtained by the author 
may, however, be due to accident. 

The Winnebago make a fourfold classification of their medicines: 
Those that affect a person by direct administration ; those that affect 
him by their odor, like love and racing medicines; those that affect 
him at a distance; and those that are shot at an individual. Most 
of the medicines are obtained by fasting, although they can also be 
bought. The most important of these medicines are those called the 
stench-earth medicine (see p. 259) and the black-earth medicine. 

Medicine may be used in a number of ways, but principally as 
offerings or as means of killing animals or men. It is often chewed. 
In order to make arrows or guns unerring, medicine is frequently 
rubbed upon them. 

Sympathetic magic is of course well known. The procedure is 
the common one. A picture of the man to be harmed is drawn on 
the ground and shot at, stabbed, etc. The man is then certain to 
die a short time after, in the same manner as the figure has been 

There are two general magical ceremonies. WarulcA'na, to know 
something by exerting one's powers; wanaHcere, to hypnotize in the 
distance. (For description of latter, see p. 111.) 

Example of warulcA'na. — J.'s older brother and a friend had failed 
to return home and so J.'s grandfather went to a man called C. English 
and, offering him some tobacco, asked him to find out something 
about his son — i. e., to exert his powers. English did so and told 
the old man that they were camping and making sugar and that if 


the old man went to a certain place he would find them. He went 
and found it was so. 

Tales Concerning Mid.jistega 

Recently the Potawatomi were going on the warpath and a num- 
ber of other tribes were going along with them. As they were 
making their preparations they spent the evenings exhibiting the 
various powers they possessed and which they had obtained during 
their fasts. 

One day Robert Lincoln's father heard that a Winnebago was 
going to come and give a grizzly bear dance. Old Lincoln and a 
few other Potawatomi decided to go over and watch him. When 
they arrived at the lodge they were told that the name of the Win- 
nebago was Midjistega. They were also told that this Midjistega 
was going to make some gunpowder (in a magical manner). When 
they heard this, the Potawatomi said that if he could make his 
teeth protrude from his mouth he might be able to make gunpowder, 
but that otherwise he could not. 

In the middle of the lodge where this performance was to be held 
there was a wooden dish filled with charcoal near which Midjistega 
was sitting. He had beautiful hair and he had marks made by 
white clay in the corners of his eyes and mouth. When the singers 
in the lodge began to sing for him he ran around the lodge on all 
fours, four times. Then he took up the dish of charcoal and shook 
it. While doing this he made a noise like a grizzly bear. Then his 
teeth began to protrude. When he had gone around the lodge four 
times the charcoal turned into gunpowder. Then he took a handful 
of it and threw it into the fire and it exploded. The members of 
the different tribes present took some of it and put it in their war- 
bundles. It is only a short time ago that a Winnebago war-bundle 
that was supposed to have some of this gunpowder was stolen. 
It belonged to a man named Buchanan. 

Old man Lincoln had never seen any Winnebago before this, but 
he could understand their language and he interpreted all that 
Midjistega said. The Potawatomi around him asked whether he 
had learned the language from some of his Winnebago relatives but 
he said he had not. 

After showing that he could make gunpowder in this way, 
Midjistega made some plug tobacco. He cut the bark of some 
walnut trees into the shape of plug chewing tobacco and put it in a 
white deerskin on top of which was placed a piece of real plug 
tobacco. Then Midjistega said, " Now since I have made gunpowder 
I will also make some plug tobacco." Then he took the bundle and 
danced around the lodge with it and by the time he had danced 
around the lodge the third time the odor of tobacco became very 


strong. After he had danced around for the fourth time he opened 
up his package and there was the tobacco. Then he spoke to the 
people, "You people of different tribes, the one that is dancing 
with me will obtain the first war-honor on the warpath that you 
are planning now, for I am giving him that honor and that power." 

After this he told them that he would make them some paint, as 
they seemed to be short of it then. He took a wooden dish and 
filled it full of ashes and covered it up with a white deerskin. Then 
he danced around the lodge. As he was dancing around for the 
third time, old Lincoln thought he noticed yellow-colored paint. 
The fourth time he danced around, the paint turned into a rod 
color. When, finally. Midjistega took the cover off, there was red 
paint of a very fine quality. Then the members of the different 
tribes distributed it among one another. 

After this he made some axes. He molded some clay into the 
shape of axes and put them into a deerskin. On top of this bundle 
he put a real metal ax. " Then taking this bundle he started to 
dance around the lodge. As he went around the lodge the third 
time, old Lincoln thought he noticed something shining. After he 
had gone around the fourth time he took the cover off and there 
were some real axes. They were all new and bright. 

Then he decided to make some hoes, and then some awls. All of 
these he made of clay. Then he made some needles of deer hair. 
Then, noticing some boys playing with some basswood bark, he asked 
them to give him some, and out of it he made ribbons of four different 
colors, blue, white, red, and black. 

Then he said, "As I have made almost everything, I will now try 
and make some whisky. If I fail there will be no harm done any- 
how." Old Lincoln told his people what Midjistega was saying. 
Then they placed a new pail full of water before him. He took a 
flute and began to dance around the lodge. After he had made the 
first circuit of the lodge he held the flute near the pad, almost sticking 
it into the water. The second time he approached the pad he stuck 
the flute into the water just a little bit. The third time he came near 
it he stuck the flute into the water and stirred it around . By that time 
Old Lincoln could smell the odor of whisky pretty strongly. Then 
Midjistega went around the lodge for the fourth time and finally 
stirred the water with his flute for a long time, and taking a drink 
from the pad said, "It is whisky." Then he passed it around and 
everyone present took a drink. Old Lincoln, however, did not touch 
it. Then his father told him to drink it, as it was holy and had been 
made by a spirit. Then Old Lincoln drank some, and, sure enough, 
it was whisky, although it was colorless. 

After that, all the people went on a warpath. However, the per- 
son to whom Midjistega had promised the first war honor only obtained 


the second one, Old Lincoln himself obtaining the first. The first 
war honor was a quantity of wampum beads and the second a wam- 
pum belt. Both the one who got the second prize and Old Lincoln 
brought back with them an enemy's head. 

From that time on Midjistega stayed with the Winnebago and he 
and Old Lincoln became great friends, living together, one of the 
reasons being that Old Lincoln could understand Winnebago. 

One day they ran short of corn meal, so they decided to go and 
trade some furs for corn meal. They had plenty of furs because they 
spent most of their time hunting. When they got to the trader's 
store Midjistega said, "Say, trader, the boys have been out of paint 
for some time and you ought to give them some." "No, Midjistega, 
I can't do that." Then Midjistega, again said, "Well, the paint 
boxes are small and aren't of much value anyhow, and you ought to 
make them a present of some. However, I always knew you were 
very stingy." Then the trader said, "My business is to trade you 
my wares for your furs and I will not give you any paint for noth- 
ing." Then Midjistega said, " If I had some flour I could make some 
paint myself. However, I am short of flour, too." Then the trader 
said, " Midjistega, you can not do it, for even the whites do not know 
how to make paint (in that way), so how could you, who are only an 
Indian, do it?" Thus they spoke to and fro and finally the trader 
said, " Midjistega, I will bet you my store against your furs that if I 
give you some flour you can not make paint out of it. If I win you 
are to give me your furs, and if you win I will give you my store." 
Then the bet was agreed upon. 

Then a lodge was prepared and Midjistega' 8 drum and flute were 
carried into it. Then the trader had some flour carried over to the 
lodge and it was poured into a dish. The trader, suspecting that 
there might be some trick, stirred up the flour thorougldy. He sat- 
isfied himself that there was nothing at the bottom of the. dish. 
Midjistega, in the meantime, painted the corners of his mouth and 
eyes with ashes and then the singers sang for him. Then he handed 
the flute over to Old Lincoln and told him to blow it for him every 
now and then. The trader sat near the entrance of the lodge with 
his employees. Then Midjistega jumped up and ran all around the 
lodge on all fours. Then he took the dish with the flour and shaking 
it, began to dance around the lodge with it. After he had danced 
around for the third time it suddenly tinned into a yellow color, and 
Old Lincoln noticed the change in the expression on the trader's face. 
As he went around for the fourth time it suddenly changed to a 
red color. When he got back to his starting place it was quite red 
and was an excellent quality of paint. Then he said, "Well, trader, 
I have won your store," and the trader answered, "You have won 
my store. I did not think that an Indian could do it." Then Mid- 

258 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth.ans.37 

jistega said, "I can also make some sugar. If you don't believe it, 
give me some more flour." However, the trader said, "There is no 
need of your proving it; I believe you now." However, he sent one 
of his employees after some more flour and out of this Midjistega 
made some maple sugar. He made it in the following way. He 
sprinkled some water on the flour and said, "This shall be the size 
of pheasants' dung." Then it formed into little round lumps. Then 
the trader said, "Midjistega, my store is worth several times the value 
of your furs, and you have made me a poor man. However, I wish 
to ask you for one thing — this sugar — so that I can eat some of it 
once in a while." Then Midjistega gave it to him. Midjistega and 
his friend carried the contents of the store home. They had to make 
several trips. All the people at home got a blanket. 

Then the trader said, "Midjistega, there is not a white man living 
who would believe that you can do this and if, therefore, I ever call 
on you to do it again, I hope that you will come with your friends 
(and do it). This is the only way I can ever win any of my money 
back again." However, no one ever heard of the trader after that. 

Midjistega also made all the different varieties of corn at the 
Potawatomi meeting. 

Old Lincoln had always heard of the remarkable power the Winne- 
bago were supposed to possess in these matters but he had never 
actually witnessed any exhibition of it until he saw Midjistega per- 
form (these tricks). 

A man named Young Rogue, a brother of Robert Lincoln, could 
roll up a piece of clay about the size of a marble and then roll it on 
the ground and it would change into a toad and jump away. He 
was also able to shoot a blade of grass right into a log. 

Lincoln's Grandfather 

Lincoln's grandfather was the leader of the medicine dance and 
every time any relation of his died he would tell the daughters of 
his relative to stop their crying and that he would avenge the death 
of their father and kill four people. Shortly after he said this the 
four whom he had picked out died. 

If there was a man with great wealth in the tribe he would make 
a wooden snake and send it toward the man. Immediately after 
this it always happened that the rich man would be bitten by a 
snake. The latter would then send for the medicine man and give 
him all that he possessed. Then the former would ask him, ' 'When 
do you want to got well?'' If the sick man said "In three to four 
days," the medicine man would say, "You must like to suffer." 

For this reason the children of Lincoln's grandfather always had 
plenty of wealth. 


The Crow (i. e., Menominee) Indians knew what a wonderful man 
he was and whenever he went to visit them they gave him many pres- 
ents. He would be invited to a feast as soon as he arrived. 

On one occasion when they had a feast in a lodge (in his honor) 
one of the Menominee marked the ground in front of him and dared 
Lincoln's grandfather to come over, saying that if he did he would 
injure him. When the Winnebago crossed the mark he was pushed 
in all directions and finally shoved into a pit, bruising himself a great 
deal. When he came out, the old man said, ' 'You have probably 
never heard of me. To-morrow noon, soldiers will hit you." Then 
the Menominee asked, "If soldiers hit me, what will be the result?" 
"You will die.'' Then the Menominee said, "You have nothing to 
do with my life,'' and made a jump at him. 

The Menominee who had been told that he was going to die said 
the next morning to his nephew, ' 'Nephew, let us go to the lake and 
look around. I can't forget what the old man told me yesterday." 
So they took their spears for fishing and went out. While they were 
on the lake they saw a deer drinking at the edge of the water. The 
man took a shot at the deer, and the deer ran back into the timber. 
The man and his nephew pursued it. After a while the man gave a 
yell and then all was quiet. The nephew went over to the place 
and there the man was found dead. At his side a very large snake, 
with hair on its back, was standing. 

The next morning one could hear the mourning songs all over 
the woods. Then they went to look for the Winnebago, for they 
believed that it was his fault. They told him not to worry about it 
and gave him a horse to appease him. The day after they all had 
left the camp, the Winnebago pointed to some hawks that were 
circling around and told the Menominee to watch the foremost one. 
Then he pointed his finger at that one and made a sound with his 
mouth and the bird fell down dead. This Winnebago had the power 
to do this to all birds. He always told the Winnebago not to eat 
these birds because they were not good. 

The Uses of the Stench-Earth Medicine 1 

There once was a man who had consumption and who knew tliat 
he was going to die soon. His relatives were about to move him 
to some other place and so he told them just to build him a separate 
lodge and leave him alone — that he wanted to die there. He asked 
them likewise not to come back to see him. They obeyed him and 
left him to die alone. 

One day he decided to go out into the wilderness and die there. 
He went to the top of a hill and lay down. He noticed many birds 

1 This is the literal translation. What plant is meant the writer was not able to determine. 

260 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bth.ann.37 

of prey hovering around the hill and he felt certain that they were 
there so that they could devour him as soon as he was dead. How- 
ever, the birds told him they had come to cure not to devour him. 
Many carnivorous birds and many wolves were there. The turtle 
also came because he was the owner of some medicines. 

Then the animals who had gathered on the hill began to doctor 
him. The raven began first. He ejaculated e-he-a! e-he-a! gave him 
some medicine and began to exert his powers until he felt better. 
Then the wolf began. He walked around ejaculating certain sounds 
and spitting medicine on him. The man became much better. 
He was almost completely restored to health. Then the turtle began 
to exert his powers, ejaculating at the same time ahi! ahi! alii! ahi! 
and walking around the man and giving him some boiled medicine 
to drink. Now he was almost entirely cured. Finally a black 
hawk began to doctor the man. He put some medicine on the place 
where the man's pains seemed to be situated and he was immediately 
cured. Then all those who had cured him said, ''Human! In a 
similar way you shall cure your fellowmen." They then gave him 
as much medicine as he would need. The raven gave him his ' 'medi- 
cine chest," consisting of a flute and a gourd. With these things 
he blessed him. He also gave him a song which he was to sing. 
Then the wolf gave him his medicine chest, consisting of a gourd 
and a flute, and told him that he would not fail to cure any sick 
person he treated and that if the sick people offered the proper 
amount of tobacco, red eagle feathers, and food, no matter how 
serious their disease was he would be able to cure it. Then he, told 
the man that Earthmaker had placed him in charge of these things 
and that he in turn wxmld bless him with them for all eternity. As 
long as any of his posterity was left they would enjoy the benefit of 
these blessings. 

And this is true, for even to the present day his descendants use 
this medicine. 

Then Black Hawk said, "I, also, bless you. Earthmaker placed me 
in charge of some medicines and with these I bless you. If you are 
careful in offering tobacco and food to these medicines they will 
always help you to the utmost of their power. Whatever you ask 
they will accomplish for you. They will be able to understand you. 
So, if anyone is sick, you will be able to help him. In this way I 
bless you. If you are ever in any difficulty, think of me and I will 
help you." (What he meant is that if he ever was in any difficulty, 
he should think of the medicines with which Black Hawk had blessed 
him, and that that would be the same as if he thought of him.) 

Then the Buffalo said, "My grandson, Earthmaker placed me in 
charge of certain medicines. Why should you then wish to die? 
Your condition is 'pitiable,' and therefore I want to bless you. 


All those spirits whom Earthmaker made with his own hands were 
placed in charge of certain things. All these spirits have had com- 
passion upon you. All those whom Earthmaker created as holy 
have blessed you. Earthmaker has placed me in charge of certain 
medicines and I am so completely in control of these that I can do 
what I please with them. There exist no beings either on the earth 
or under the earth whom I can not cure. With all these do I bless you. 
All your previous blessings were from spirits who live either on 
earth or in the heavens. The medicinal plants I bless you with are 
called Buffalo medicines. The other medicines are called 'stench- 
earth medicines.' As long as you and your descendants live these 
medicines will be efficacious. The owners of the stench-earth medi- 
cines they will be called. In this manner I bless you." 

Then the hitcara said, "I bless you with those things that Earth- 
maker placed me in charge of. I was created by Earthmaker. 
Medicines, grass, trees, and bushes (for use in the making of medi- 
cines), with these I bless you. I bless you with my utterance. With 
my mouth, I bless you. If a human is suffering and places tobacco in 
your hands, then you may mention my name and pour a pipeful of 
tobacco into the fire. I will grant whatever you request. All the 
medicinal plants with which I bless you shall belong to you and your 
descendants as long as the earth endures. Your children can use 
them, and they will protect them. If any part of their body is weak 
from disease they can heal themselves with them. Many things will 
you gain through these medicines. You may also eat them. 
Human! you have dreamed, not only for yourself but for all your 
descendants. As long as this earth endures, so long will your 
descendants use these medicines with which I have blessed you. In 
this way I bless you." 

Then the wildcat said, "Grandson, Earthmaker placed me in con- 
trol of medicines also. I bless you. The other spirits have blessed 
you with certain medicines, and to these I now add my own. I can 
not teU you anything about the heavenly blessings. The spirits 
above have already bestowed these upon you. I will, however, 
tell you this: There is nothing either upon this earth or under it that 
I can not accomplish. I bless you with the power to do the same. 
With the blessings I give you, you will be able to accomplish anything 
you wish whenever you put these medicines to use. If a person were 
dying, and his relatives offered tobacco and food to you, you would be 
able to cure him. When you use my name, concentrate your mind 
upon me, and offer me tobacco. If I smoke the tobacco you will then 
know that your request has been granted. All the medical plants that 
I am giving to you, all the herbs that I am blessing you with, to all 
these, make an offering of tobacco. Whatever you ask they will 
grant you. All the animals that tread upon the air, all those 

262 THE WINXEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

on the earth, have medicines that you are to use on earth. 
Whatever you say on earth it will be so. You have been blessed with 
all the things that are on and under the earth." 

All the fowls and insects of the air, all the beings that have wings, 
blessed him and gave him medicines, which he was to mix with other 
medicines. He was told to make use of all the insects of the earth 
and air, some of which we never see. All those who live on earth, all 
the fishes in the water, and all the different kinds of water-spirits 
blessed him with medicines. He was blessed with, and told to use 
as medicines, all those plants that live in the water. He was blessed 
with the leech, one of the animals that lives in the water, and he 
was to use it in medicine mixing. They say that it is good to mix the 
leech with other medicines to relieve pain. He was blessed with all 
the trees, that we see to-day, which he was to use as medicines. 
Their bark, leaves, and roots are considered very good for such pur- 
poses. He was blessed also with all the small undergrowth, whose 
leaves, bark, inner bark, blossoms, and roots he was to use for 
medicine. He was blessed with all the weeds, and he was to use 
their heads and leaves for medicine, but their roots were to be used 
for other purposes. 

Thus all the different kinds of plants that grow on this earth 
blessed him. The earth also blessed him and said to him, 
"Grandson, as the other spirits are blessing you, I, also, will bless 
you. Earthmaker has placed me here, and I therefore bless you 
with all plants that grow upon me, and all the trees and weeds and 
animals that exist on this earth, and lastly, with life and myself 
(i. e., earth). You may use me, and especially the blue clay that you 
derive from me, for medicines. Should you use as medicine all these 
things with which I have blessed you, especially if you use me, as 
medicine, you will be able to accomplish all that you attempt. 

"If a person who is sick offers you tobacco (i. e., asks you to cure 
him), remember that I also would like to smoke and that it is for 
that reason that I have blessed you." 2 

Birds, especially eagles, are used hi the making of medicines. 
The entire body of a raven, including the heart and brains, are used, 
and also the following snakes: The gray snake, the black snake, the 
blue snake, the yellow snake, the bull snake, and the snake that 
breaks itself in two. The rattlesnake is used in a mixture given to 
women when hi labor. If a woman hurts herself during pregnancy 
and kills the child within her womb, she can be made to deliver the 
embryo if she uses the medicine mentioned above. 

2 According to general belief the spirits rre supposed to have entered into a sort of "bargain" with the 
human beings by which they were to bestow their blessings upon them in exchange for tobacco, buck- 
skin, and feathers. Of course, it must be understood that individuals must have the necessary require- 
ments, such as a certain attitu le of mind, fasting, etc., before their offering of tobacco has any meaning 
to the spirits. 


Toads are used, but only for poison medicines. The quail's heart 
is used for the same purpose. If a person is killed outright, his heart 
is used as a medicine, as the human heart is regarded as having great 
efficacy in such medicines. It is used in war, for compelling people 
to give you presents, and for courting women. The bear likewise is 
used for a variety of purposes. Its liver is especially powerful. It 
is rubbed over the body whenever in pain. It is often used by 
women who have injured themselves in childbirth, or in the form of 
tonics, poultices, and emetic ; or for toothaches, bathing sore eyes, ear- 
aches, headaches; as snuff, as a physic, for burns, strictures, boils, hemor- 
rhages, injections in the rectum, consumption, measles, dysentery, 
chills, nosebleed, pains in the stomach, and headaches caused by 

Sometimes a woman would take a hair of her husband and stick 
it into some bad medicine. In such a case he would never leave her 
for he would become very much enamored of her. If ever she went 
away, he would miss her very much. However, he always had a 
headache. Finally he would get sick and lose his appetite and then 
his eyesight. That is why it is forbidden to use this medicine, 
although some, still do it. 

Many Winnebago are blind, because there is a medicine that 
causes blindness. If one person offends another who possesses such 
a medicine, the latter would cause the offender to become blind. 

The Winnebago have medicines for every purpose; for -courting, 
for becoming rich, for obtaining good looks, etc. Even if a person 
is very holy, these poisoners can poison him. If a man was a good 
hunter or if he was wise and good, these bad shamans would poison 
him. If an individual was a great medicine man and these bad 
shamans got jealous, they would poison him. Indeed, only if a person 
was poor and lowly would they like him. Such a man they would 
never poison for they had no reason for being jealous of him. A 
bad shaman is always treated with the greatest respect and honor, 
because he kills many people. 

A warrior is also greatly respected and flattered. It is the Indian's 
greatest- desire to become a warrior. All desire that, and they also 
wish to become great medicine men and bad shamans. 

This is the way they prepare and use their courtbig medicines. 
The courting medicine known to me is a plant of apparently two 
varieties, one of which has a blue blossom and the other no blossom at 
all. Otherwise they are alike. The one with the blue blossom is the 
male and the one without the blossom is the female. When I go out 
to dig this plant, I do not dig for these two specimens unless I can 
find them growing together closely. Even then I do not dig any two 
specimens unless the male is found growing on the east side. For 
that reason it is very hard to find them. As soon as I find two that 

264 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

fulfill all the conditions I dig them out and mix them together with 
their own roots. Then I take the blossom of the male and mix it 
together with the center leaf of the female flower. After that both 
are ground together thoroughly. Then I go to the woman I wish to 
court and, at night, when she is asleep, I touch first any part of her 
body, then a place not far from her heart, and finally the top of her 
head with this mixture. Finally I make her smell it. I then wake her 
up and go home. The girl will wonder who had touched her and she 
will think a good deal about the incident and never forget it. The 
next time I see her she will like me and she will do whatever I ask 
of her. The medicine would be working. If I did not see her for a 
long time, she would get lonesome, and the only thing that would 
cure her would be to marry me. 

There is another medicine which I am now going to describe. 
When it first sprouts, which is in the spring, it is quite white. This 
must bo taken and dried. Then one must chew it and go near the 
woman with whom one desires to talk. Approach her on the side 
from which the wind is blowing so that she can smell the medicine. 
As soon as she smells it, even although the man chewing it is one 
whom she has hitherto disliked, she will get to like him. This is the 
way in which the medicine works. 

A man who was blessed was told of all these things. He cured all 
diseases. If a person had been shot and one blessed with the stench- 
earth medicine was called, he could be cured. In the same manner, 
if one is stabbed in what would generally be considered a fatal way 
and if a man blessed with stench-earth was called in time he would 
save him. The same cure is effected in cases of broken arms and of 
patients who are on the point of death. It is for this reason that 
those blessed with the stench-earth medicines are always praised, 
and that the people say "They surely are hi charge of life; for their 
blessings really come from the spirits, just as they claim." 3 

[The "stench-earth" medicine men could undoubtedly cure the 
sick, but they also used it to poison people. The courting medicine 
was a poison medicine, and therefore it was not good. These people 
cured the body, but they killed the soul. It would have been much 
better had they saved their souls. They were really working for 
the devil. It is from him that they got all the bad medicines. When- 
ever they were offended, they would go and get poisons to kill the 
offender. Thus the devil 4 was really causing them to kill their own 
souls and the souls of those they poisoned. It is the same with all 

8 The following portion in brackets is the comment of our informant, who is a member of the Peyote 

* Although he really means the Christian devil many of the traits of the old Winnebago deity Herec- 
gu'nina, the chief of the bad spirits, are clearly discernible. 


the other medicines, like the courting medicine, etc. The Indians 
were destroying their own souls. So Earthmaker decided to give 
them a new medicine. We have now all broken away from the old 
things. We have broken away from the devil and are earning our 
salvation through Earthmaker. For "this reason I am thankful 
both for my sake aud that of my people.] 

This is a medicine that is good for consumption, for stomach 
trouble, for a cold, for a sore throat, and for general illnesses. It 
consists of the following ingredients: 

1. Waraxa'dax koske'rera, English unknown. 

2. Waraxa'dax ma n nap'a'rara, English unknown. 

3. Enai' n tcox mank'a' n na, English unknown. 

4. Nicu'tcera, red water. 

5. Mank'a' n skaka, white medicine. 

6. Mank'a'" niyetco'tcera, medicine of the water. 

7. Gi'xuk'unina, English unknown. 

8. Mank'a n ne , xeda, English unknown. 

If a woman has any trouble with her womb this medicine will cure 
her immediately. She must not, however, drink it, but inject it. 
It makes no difference how severe her illness is, this medicine will 
always effect a cure. This man was blessed with the knowledge of 
its efficacy. 

This is another medicine: 

1. Marjk'a' n manup'ara'ra, medicine that spreads over the 


2. Xa n wiwingi'ckera, medicine to tie with. 

3. Mank'a'" p'orop'orora, round medicine. 

4. Hap'o'skra, English unknown. 

5. Mank'a' n kerebcera, sweet flag. 

6. Na n p'aca'k'onank' hura, English unknown. 

7. Huntc p'istara, bear liver. 

This is all ground together and mixed with w T ater. When thor- 
oughly mixed it is put into a bladder and injected by means of a 
wing bone. 

This is a medicine for diarrhea: 

1. K'etcti'nk'sire tco'ra, English unknown. 

2. Aseni ho-ap hodo'p'iricera, curled sumac leaves. 

3. Mank'a'ni tetco'tcera, medicine of the water. 

4. Waraxadax skaka', English unknown. 

5. Na n e 1 a'nicura, maple sugar. 

These are all ground together into a fine powder and sweetened 
with maple sugar. Otherwise no one would take it, for it does not 
taste good. It is called kasawah'kemank'. 
186823°— 22 IS 

266 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bih.-ahs.3T 

This is medicine used by women when their menstrual flow is not 
very good: 

1 . Tcemanank'e, English unknown. 

2. Wazi p'ara'ske abera, pine with flat leaves ( ?). 

3. Wacutci abera, red'cedar leaves. 

4. Mank'a p'orop'oro abera, round medicine leaves. 

All four of these ingredients are ground, mixed together, and then 
mixed with water. They are then drunk by any woman having 
trouble with her menstrual flow. After she has taken it she makes 
knots in the belt and ties it around her waist. As many knots as she 
makes that many days w T ill it take her to get well. She also smokes 
herself with cedar leaves. 

The next medicine that I wish to speak of is compounded as follows: 

1. K'ewaxgu' £ u n sera, scent of a toad. 

2. Wanirjkcu'tc na'ntckera, heart of a red bird. 

3. Hactce'kera, strawberries. 

4. Wankcik na'ntckera, human heart. 

5. Xawi D ja n , a plant. 

If this medicine were mixed with whisky and given to any person, 
the latter would surely die within a year. The frog that is used in 
this medicine becomes alive in the stomach of the person who drinks 
it and kills him. If he took the same medicine and mixed it with 
paint and then rubbed it over his face, all who looked at him would 
take a liking to him and give him presents, and the women would fall 
in love with him and want to marry him. The reason that the women 
become smitten is because they can not resist the sight of a ripe 
strawberry. The human heart in the mixture is the object that 
makes the medicine so powerful, and the red bird heart strengthens it. 
Whenever these two, the human heart and the heart of the red bird, 
are used in medicines, the medicine is always remarkably efficacious. 

If a woman makes fun of you and you feel hurt about it and want 
to revenge yourself, get one of her hairs and dip the root into this 
medicine and then tie it up. Hang the medicine bag in the woods 
and whenever the wind blows the woman wdl get lonesome for you 
and her head will ache. Finally she will get crazy. She will never 
cease talking about you. This is one of the medicines this man was 
blessed with. Some of them die from the effects of it. It is not a 
good thing, but the Winnebago thought that it was a very great 
thing. (Now that they know the Creator, they know that it is bad.) 

Here is another medicine that we have, and it is prepared in the 
following way: Four trees of a certain species are peeled near the 
roots lying on the east side. Then the second bark is also peeled. 
Then these are taken and boiled together with a square-stemmed 
weed. The whole mixture is used to induce vomiting. This vomit- 
ing would rid a person of a spell cast upon him which was preventing 


him from killing game. In the particular case mentioned above the 
spell was the following: A man killed a deer, and a pregnant woman 
ate a piece of the intestine. From that time on the man was unable 
to kill any more deer. 

The above medicine is used to break the spell of Ul luck in hunting 
caused by the following actions: If a man cohabits with a widow, or 
if one who is a widower eats together with another person, or if he 
smokes out of the same pipe as another person. Not only would the 
medicine free him from his ill luck in hunting, but it woidd give him 
good luck in cards and speed in running. 

Here is an astringent medicine. It is compounded of a mixture of 
the "clear" medicine and the "plant that spreads itself on the 
ground." It is used for the following purposes: As an application 
for swellings, for illness after childbirth, and for general sores and 
eruptions of the skin. In case of illness after childbirth it is injected. 
For sores, etc., it is taken internally. 

Here is another medicine, called bladder medicine. It is made of 
the roots of a certain weed. These roots are boiled and then drunk. 
If one is troubled with stricture, the drinking of this medicine will 
enable him to pass water immediately. The same medicine is used 
to alleviate a toothache and to stop too profuse a menstrual flow. 

Now this is another medicine. It is made of the leaves of a certain 
plant. These leaves are rolled up and then drunk down with water. 
The medicine is used for all stomach complaints. 

Here is another medicine used for diarrhea and dysentery. It is 
made from the roots of a plant that has many thorns and beautiful 
white blossoms. The roots are scraped and the scrapings boiled 
and gulped down. At least a pint of this concoction must be taken. 
It can also be used as a mouth wash for those troubled with sore 

We have another medicine used to rid a person of superfluous bile. 
This acts as a strong physic and not only cures a person of his indis- 
position but also gives him a great appetite. 

Here is another medicine. It is called the medicine for burns. It 
consists of the leaves of a certain weed that is dried. If anyone has 
a burn, he chews some of this dried weed and then applies it to the 

Here is also a medicine for private diseases, compounded of the 
following : 

1. Doxicu'tckera hara, red willow bark. 

2. Ma n sixu'tckeda hara, English unknown. 

3. Nap'a'hira hara, sharp tree. 

These barks are pulverized and mixed together with skunk oil. 
The next medicine I am going to describe is used in poisoning. It 
is called small-part-of-a-black-root-tree. It is used for many pur- 

268 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

poses. If, for instance, I wish a person to become blind or if I dis- 
like him or were jealous of him because he was better off than myself, 
I would do the following: I would get a small part of a black root 
and pulverize it. Then I would mix it with ghost snuff and put it 
into my medicine bag. When I am ready to shoot the person I 
shake my bag and make the medicine fly out, and it would enter his 
eyes and make them sore. Soon he would become blind. I also 
use this medicine when I go on the warpath. I wrap it in a piece 
of buckskin and wear it around my neck. As long as I wear it in 
this manner I will never be shot. 

This medicine is also used as a poultice. If a man has a pain 
anywhere, he makes four incisions in his body at that place, with the 
point of a knife, and appUes the medicine. 

Here is another medicine. It is kept in a large bundle. It is 
used in the following way: At a medicine dance a person may put 
an eagle feather on the nose of an otter-skin bag and then open the 
bundle containing his medicine and bring the medicine in contact 
with the nose of the otter-skin bag. The individual then enters the 
medicine-dance lodge. He makes note of the place where the person 
whom he dislikes is sitting. After a while he gets up and makes a 
circuit of the lodge four times and shoots at this person. He sees to 
it that one of the feathers attached to the otter-skin bag lodges just 
where he wishes it. Either he wishes to kill the man outright or to 
make him suffer for a long time. Should the victim die, the man 
who does the shooting must be very careful for he might easily 
injure himself. He must know, for instance, exactly when his 
victim is going to die and then as soon as he is dead he must open 
his medicine bundle and let the feather return, which it does as soon 
as the person at whom it was shot is dead. A black hawk is then 
heard in the distance. As soon as it approaches the man utters 
curious sounds and the feather alights right in the medicine bundle. 
When the feather returns, however, it is always black, though when 
it started it was red. One might imagine that there had been two 
distinct feathers. 

If the man who shot the feather does not know when his victim 
dies and consequently does not make the necessary preparations for 
opening his medicine bundle, such as imitating the cry of a black 
hawk, or if, worse still, he is asleep, the feather will land upon him 
and he would likewise die. 

This same medicine is also used for the following purpose: If a 
person offends you and you wish to take revenge by killing him, 
take your medicine bundle and whenever you come across the foot- 
prints of your prospective victim then open your medicine bundle 
and take out a striped feather from it and sing a song. When you 
are finished, make certain sounds and stab the footprints. You can 


arrange to have your victim die immediately, or, if you wish, to 
have him suffer for a long time, by becoming paralyzed. 

This same medicine is used in a similar way in times of scarcity of 
food. The people offer a shaman tobacco and he would do the fol- 
lowing: He would take his medicine bundle and walk till he came 
to the footprints of a bear. Then he would follow the tracks of the 
bear till he came to his lair. Here he would open his medicine bag, 
dip the striped feather in the medicine, and sing for some time. 
When he has finished he makes certain sounds and stabs the bear's 
footprints. Wherever the bear happened to be at that time, he 
would not be able to walk, and the people would soon overtake him. 
For that reason this medicine is valued very highly. 

This medicine is also used when one desires something belonging 
to another. All that is necessary to do in such a case is to use the 
songs accompanying the medicine. Then all the things one has 
coveted would immediately be brought. For this reason they thought 
a good deal of this medicine. 

If ever anyone uses it in gambling, he will win. 

If again he casts his thoughts upon women, then the power of this 
medicine would go in their direction, and he will lose while gambling. 
All the women will, however, like him. He can marry whomsoever 
he wishes. The same thing will occur when a woman uses this 
medicine. If she casts her thoughts upon men, she will become 
foolishly enamored of them. For that reason the old people used to 
forbid women to use it. 

This medicine bundle is also used on the warpath. If a man uses 
it upon himself and rushes upon the enemy, all those who are in 
front of him will suddenly find themselves unable to move. A 
person who goes on a warpath, after he has carefully applied the 
medicine to himself, is invulnerable. It is impossible to kill him, for 
no bullets can penetrate his body. 

This medicine was likewise used in hunting for bear, and deer 
could easily be killed with it. Even those who are not accustomed 
to hunting could kill game easily if they used it. 

Many of the medicines mentioned above were obtained from the 
man who was blessed with the stench-earth medicine. Everyone 
believed that the cures effected by him with this medicine were real. 
They believed that this medicine could cure them, and, indeed, it 
did cure them. It was this man, too, who originated the stench- 
earth medicine feast. It is a very sacred feast, considered more 
sacred than any other feast among the Winnebago. When the 
feast is given, an entire deer is boiled and cut into pieces much 
larger than any one person could eat. Nevertheless the host orders 
those whom he has invited to leave nothing upon the plate. Should 
any guest leave anything upon his plate, the host would give him a 

270 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. an*. 37 

small piece of a root and tell him to chew and eat it. This the guest 
would have to do, and from that time on he would never know when 
he had had enough to eat. He would never get satiated. Whenever 
the man who had been blessed gave the feast personally, no one was 
ever known to leave anything upon his plate. While eating the 
guests kept time. They never shook their plates, for if anyone did 
so the others would immediately give him whatever remained on 
their plates. They would assume that anyone who shook his plate 
was the possessor of the stench-earth himself and that he intended 
to eat up these extra portions with the aid of this medicine. If, 
however, the shaking was done unintentionally and he faded to eat 
up the extra portions placed on his plate, then he would make a 
noise like a raven, and those who wished to help him consume this 
food would also cry like the raven, approach him, and flap their 
arms as the birds do their wings. Then all would eat. 

When the man who obtained these blessings died, he left all these 
medicines that he had been the first one to use to another person. 
With the medicines he of course left all the songs. All that he used 
to do when he doctored a sick person he bequeathed to his successor. 
The last man who had these medicines was not a holy man but he 
knew all their uses and for that reason he was considered a powerful 
and holy man. To-day only the poison medicines are remembered; 
the good medicines are all gone. 

This is the end. 

How ax Indian Shaman Cukes His Patients 5 

"I came from above and I am holy. This is my second life on 
earth. Many years before my present existence, I lived on this 
earth. At that time everyone seemed to be on the warpath. I 
also was a warrior, a brave man. Once when I was on the warpath 
I was killed. It seemed to me, however, as if I had merely stumbled. 
I rose and went right ahead until I reached my home. At home I 
found my wife and children, but they would not look at me. Then 
I spoke to my wife but she seemed to be quite unaware of my pres- 
ence. 'What can be the matter,' I thought to myself, 'that they 
pay no attention to me and that they do not even answer when I 
speak to them.' All at once it occurred to me that I might, in 
reality, be dead. So I immediately started out for the place where 
I had presumably been killed and surely enough, there I saw my 
body. Then I knew positively that I had been killed. I tried to 
return to the place where I had lived as a human being but for four 
years I was unsuccessful. 

"At one time I became transformed into a fish. However, the 
life of the fish is much worse than ours. They are very frequently 

» The shaman is represented as in the lodge of the patient and as speaking to him and his relatives 


in lack of food. They are nevertheless very happy beings and have 
many dances." 

"At another time I became transformed into a little bird. When 
the weather is good the life of the birds is very pleasant. But when 
it is cold they are compelled to undergo many hardships on account 
of the weather as well as on account of lack of food. When it was 
very cold I used to go to the camp of some people who were living 
in the neighborhood and try to steal some meat from their racks. 
A little boy used to stand near these racks and we were very much 
afraid of him because he carried something in his hands with which 
he shot and which made a dreadful noise. Whenever he shot it we 
would all fly away. What the boy was using was a bow and arrow. 
At night we slept in a hollow tree. If I entered the tree first and 
the others came in behind me I would be almost squeezed to death. 
If, on the other hand, I waited until the last I would sometimes have 
to stay outside and when the weather was cold I might have frozen 
to death. 

"At another time I became a buffalo. The cold weather and the 
food did not worry me much then, but as buffaloes, we would always 
have to be on the alert for hunters. 

"From my buffalo existence I was permitted to go to my higher 
spirit-home, from which I originally came. The one in charge of 
that spirit-home is my grandfather. I asked him for permission to 
return to this earth again. At first he refused, but then after I had 
asked him for the fourth time, he consented. He said to me, 'Grand- 
son, you had better fast before you go and if any of the spirits take 
pity upon you (i. e., bless you), you may go and live in peace upon 
earth.' So I fasted for four years and all the spirits above, even to 
the fourth heaven, 7 approved of my coming. They blessed me. 
Then I fasted 10 days more and then 20 and then 30. Finally all 
the spirits blessed me, even those under the earth. When I was 
ready to come to this earth, the spirits gathered together in a council- 
lodge and 'counciled' about me. All the spirits were present. 
They told me that I would never fail in anything that I wished to 
do. Then they decided to make a trial of my powers. They placed 
an invulnerable spirit-grizzly bear at one end of the lodge and sang 
the songs that I was to use when I returned to earth. Then I walked 
around the lodge holding a live coal in the palm of my hand and 
danced around the fireplace saying wahi-! and striking the hand 
containing the coal with my other hand. The invulnerable bear 
fell forward prone upon the ground and a black substance flowed 

6 This is commonly postulated of both the life of the fishes and that of the snakes. 

7 He is probably referring to the four earths, although it is, of course, possible that there were four heavens. 
However, I never obtained the slightest indication of such a belief. 

272 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

from his mouth. Then they said to me, 'You have killed him. 
Even so great a spirit as this you have been able to kill. Indeed, 
nothing will ever be able to cross your path.' Then they took the 
'bear' I had killed and cut him into small pieces with a knife, 
piled these in the center of the lodge, and covered them with some 
dark material. 'Now,' they said, 'you must again try your powers.' 
I asked them for the articles that I would have to use and they gave 
me a flute and a gourd. Then I made myself holy. All those who 
had blessed me were present. I walked around the object that lay 
piled up in the center of the lodge and breathed upon it. This I 
did for the second time and all those within the lodge breathed 
together with me. Four times I did this and then the spirit-grizzly 
bear got up and walked away in the shape of a human being. 'It 
is good,' they said. 'He has restored him to life again. Surely he 
is holy.' After a while they said to me again, 'Just as you have 
done here, will you always do below. Whenever you wish to, you 
will be able to kill a person or restore him to life. Most assuredly 
you have been blessed.' 

"Then they placed a black stone in the shamans' lodge that stood 
above. There again they made a trial of my powers. There I blew 
four times on the stone and I blew a hole through it. For that 
reason, if any person has a pain and he lets me blow upon it, I can 
blow it away. It makes no difference what kind of a pain it is. My 
breath was made holy by the spirits. 

"The spirits on the earth and those under the earth also gave me 
a trial of my powers. They placed an old rotten log before me. I 
breathed upon it four times, and spat water upon it and it got up 
in the shape of a human being and walked away. 

"My ability to spit water upon the people whom I am treating I 
received from an eel, from the chief among the eels, one who lives 
in the center and in the deepest part of the ocean. He is absolutely 
white and he is the one who blessed me. Whenever I spit water it 
is inexhaustible, because it comes from him, the eel. 

"Then I came to this earth again. They, the spirits, all gave me 
advice before I left them. When I came upon this earth I entered 
a lodge and there I was born again. As I said,' I thought that I was 
entering a lodge, but in reality I was entering my mother's womb. 
Even in my prenatal existence, I never lost consciousness. Then I 
grew up and fasted again and again, and all those spirits who had 
blessed me before sent me their blessings again. I can dictate to all 
the spirits that exist. Whatever I say will come to pass. The 
tobacco you (the patients) offer me is not to be used by myself. It 
is really intended for the spirits. 

"Spirits, a person is sick and he offers me tobacco. I am on earth 
to accept it and to try to cure him. 


"' You will live (this is addressed to the patient), so help yourself 
as much as you can and try to make yourself strong. Now as I 
offer this tobacco to the spirits you must listen and if you know 
that I am telling the truth, you will be strengthened by it.'" 

(What follows is the shaman's offering of tobacco to the spirits.) 

" Ha n ho! Here is the tobacco, Fire. You promised me that if I 
offered you tobacco you would grant me whatever request I made. 
Now I am placing tobacco on your head as you told me to, when I 
fasted for four days and you blessed me. I am sending you the plea 
of a human being who is ill. He wishes to live. This tobacco is 
for you and I pray that the one who is ill be restored to health within 
four days. 

"To you too, Buffalo, I offer tobacco. A person who is ill is offer- 
ing tobacco to you and asking you to restore him to health. So add 
that power which I obtained from you at the time I fasted for six 
days and you sent your spirits after me who took me to your lodge 
which lies in the center of this earth and which is absolutely white. 
There you blessed me, you Buffaloes, of four different colors. Those 
blessings that you bestowed upon me then, I ask of you now. The 
power of breathing with which you blessed me, I am in need of now. 
Add your power to mine, as you promised. The people have given 
me plenty of tobacco for you. 

"To you, Grizzly-bear, I also offered tobacco. At a place called 
Pointed Hill lives a spirit who is in charge of a ceremonial lodge and 
to this all the other grizzly-bears belong. You all blessed me and 
you said that I would be able to kill whomsoever I wished, and that 
at the same time I would be able to restore any person to life. Now, 
I have a chance to enable a person to live and I wish to aid him. So 
here is some tobacco for you. You took my spirit to your home after 
I had fasted for ten days and you blessed me there. The powers 
with which you blessed me there I ask of you now. Here is some 
tobacco, grandfathers, that the people are offering to you. 

"To you, the Chief of the Eels, you who live in the center of the 
ocean, I offer tobacco. You blessed me after I had fasted for eight 
days. With your power of breathing and with your inexhaustible 
supply of water, you blessed me. You told me that I could use my 
blessing whenever I tried to cure a patient. You told me that I could 
use all the water hi the ocean, and you blessed me with all the things 
that are in the water. A person has come to me and asked me for 
life; and as I wish him to live, I am addressing you. When I spit 
upon the patient may the power of my saliva be the same as yours. 
Therefore I offer you tobacco; here it is. 

"To you, the Turtle, you who are in charge of a shaman lodge, 
you who blessed me after I had fasted seven days and carried my 
spirit to your home, where I found many birds of prey (literally, birds 

274 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

with sharp claws). There you blessed me and you told me that 
should, at any time, any human being have a pain I would be able 
to drive it out of him. For that reason you called me One-who- 
drives-out-pains. Now before me is a person with a bad pain and I 
wish to take it out of him. That is what the spirits told me when 
they blessed me, before I came down to earth. Therefore I am 
going to heal him. Here is the tobacco. 

"To you, who are in charge of the snake lodge, you who are per- 
fectly white, Rattlesnake, I pray. You blessed me with your rattles 
to wrap around my gourd and you told me after I had fasted for 
four days that you could help me. You said that I would never fail 
in anything that I attempted. So now, when I offer you tobacco 
and shake my gourd, may my patient live and may life (an additional 
number of years) be opened to him. That is what you promised me, 

"I greet you, too, Night Spirits. You blessed me after I had fasted 
for nine days, and you took my spirit to your village which lies in the 
east, where you gave me your flutes which you told me were holy. 
You made my flute holy likewise. For these I ask you now, for 
you know that I am speaking the truth. A sick person has come to 
me and has asked me to cure him; and because I want him to live 
I am speaking to you. You promised to accept my tobacco at all 
times; here it is. 

"To you, Disease-giver, I offer tobacco. After I had fasted two 
days you let me know that you were the one who gives diseases and 
that if I desired to heal anyone it would be easy for me to do so were 
I blessed by you. So, Disease-giver, I am offering you tobacco, and 
I ask that this sick person who has come to me be restored to health 
again as you promised when you bestowed your blessing upon me. 

"To you, Thunderbirds, I offer tobacco too. When you blessed 
me you said that you would help me whenever I needed you. A 
person has come to me and asked me to cure him, and as I want him 
to live, I wish to remind you of your promise. Grandfathers, here 
is some tobacco. 

"To you, the Sun, I offer tobacco too; here it is. You blessed me 
after I had fasted for five days and you told me that you would come 
to my aid whenever I had something difficult to do. Now, someone 
has come to me and pleaded for life, and he has brought good offerings 
of tobacco to me because he knows that you have blessed me. 

"To you, grandmother, the Moon, I also offer tobacco. You 
blessed me and said that whenever I needed your power you would 
aid me. A person has come to me and asked for life, and 1 therefore 
call upon you to help me with your power as you promised. Grand- 
mother, here is some tobacco. 


"To you, grandmother, the Earth, I too offer tobacco. You 
blessed me and promised to help me whenever I needed you. You 
said that I could use all the best herbs that grow upon you, and that 
I would always be able to effect cures with them. Those herbs I ask 
of you now, and I ask you to help me cure this sick person. Make 
my medicine powerful, grandmother. 

"To you, Chief of the Spirits, I offer tobacco. You who blessed 
me and said that you would help me. I offer you tobacco and ask 
you to let this sick person live, and if his spirit is about to depart, I 
ask you to prevent it. 

"I offer tobacco to all of you who have blessed me." 

Then the shaman blew upon his flute, breathed upon the sick man 
and sang four times. Then he walked around the lodge and spat 
water upon the patient. After this he sang four times and stopped. 
The spirits would now let him know whether the patient was to live 
or die. 

In this manner a shaman treats his patients for four days, and after 
that takes his offerings and goes away. If the sick person happens 
to recover, the shaman would tell him that he would never be sick 

Thundercloud's Fasting Experience 

Then he (Thundercloud) told of his fasting experience. ''At 
the very beginning, those above taught me (the following). A 
doctor's village existed there; and all the various spirits that lived 
up in the clouds came after me, and instructed me in what I was 
to do. In the beginning they taught me, and did the following for 
me. 'Human, let us try it,' they said to me. There, in the middle 
of the lodge, lay a dead, rottening log, almost completely covered 
with weeds. There they tried to make me treat (the sick person). 
Then once he breathed, and all those that were in the lodge also 
breathed; then the second time he breathed, and all breathed with 
him; then for the third time he breathed; and then for the fourth time 
he breathed. , As a young man he, the dead log, arose and walked 
away. After the fourth breathing, he arose and walked away. 
'Human, very holy he is,' they said to me. 

"There, from the middle of the ocean, they (the spirits) came 
after me, for there, in the middle of the ocean, is a shamans ' village. 
There they blessed me — as many (spirits) as there are in the middle 
of the ocean — they all blessed me. There they made me try my 
power. As many waves as there are, all of them as large as the 
ocean, they asked me to blow upon; and as I blew upon them, every- 
thing became (as quiet) as (water) in a small saucer. So it became. 
Then I blew for the third time, and again it was that way. The 
fourth time they made the ocean choppy, and had (the waves) piled 

276 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

one upon the other; and they told me to blow again and show my power. 
And I blew, and the ocean, mighty as it was, became quiet again. 

" 'This, human, is the way you will have to do,' they said to me. 
'Not anything will there be that you can't accomplish. Whatever 
illness all (the people) may have, you will be able to cure it, ' they 
told me. All those who are on earth (the spirits) blessed me. 'If 
any human being who has suffered, pours tobacco for you, then, 
whatever you demand, that we will do for you,' they said to me. 
At Blue-Clay-Bank (St. Paul) there is one who is a dancing grizzly- 
bear (spirit) , and there they came and blessed me. If ever I should 
meet with some great trouble, they would help me, they said. I 
should pour as much tobacco as I think (necessary) for them, and 
they will smoke it, they told me. Songs they gave to me; and the 
power of beholding them, a holy thing, they permitted me, they told 
me; and their claws, which are holy, they gave to me, they told 
me. Then the grizzly-bears danced, performing while they danced. 
Their abdomen they would tear open, and making themselves 
holy, they would then heal themselves. Then they did it again, 
and shot bear-claws at each other, and they were badly choking 
with blood. Then they made themselves holy, and cured themselves. 
Now, again, they did the following: they made a front paw disappear 
in the dirt, and after a while they pulled out a prairie- turnip. Then, 
again, they grabbed a hold of a small plum tree that stood there, 
and breathed upon it, and shook it, and many plums began to fall. 

"Then all sorts of 'shells' they gave. 'All of this, human, we 
bless you with; and if you do (what we desire), you will obtain 
(what you desire),' they said. Then he sang, and breathed (upon 
me), and squirted some water on my chest. 'Very true this is; 
very holy it is, I believe, ' he said. 'You will get well,' he said to 



We know that in all religions there are two factors to be con- 
sidered — a specific feeling and certain beliefs, conceptions, customs, 
and acts associated with that f eeling ; that the belief most inextricably 
connected with that religious feeling is the one in spirits more power- 
ful than man and controlling everything in life which he values. 

The beliefs themselves play an important part with all people, 
but the importance of the specific feeling varies with each indi- 
vidual. A perusal of the fasting experiences (see pp. 293-308) will 
make this quite clear. It is because we do Dot separate the actions 
and testimony of the religious man from that of the intermittently 
religious and the nonreligious man that most presentations of the 
subject are so confused and vague. It is, of course, extremely diffi- 
cult to obtain the real attitude of the intermittently religious and the 
nonreligious man, because it is the religious individual and leader who 
gives form to the expressions which religion assumes in ceremony 
and prayer. Yet we must recognize that there is a difference and that 
it is often this difference that accounts for certain contradictions in 
the information obtained. The one place where it is possible, at 
least among the Winnebago, to obtain some idea of the emotional 
make-up and attitude of the intermittently religious man, is the 
fasting ordeal, and from a comparison of those experiences it is 
quite clear that a sufficiently large number of people were not able 
to obtain that thrill which they had been taught to expect. It is also 
clear that the shamans and religious leaders recognized this fact 
and provided for it by advising such people to buy the requisite 
protection against the trials and misfortunes of life, or as they put 
it, "the crises or narrow places of life." Such a person would 
certainly not be regarded as one of the leaders of the tribe. 

The ideal that the parent held before the eyes of his children is 
quite eloquently put in the system of instructions (see p. 166). 

My son, when you grow up, you should try to be of some benefit to your fellowmen. 
There is only one way in which this can be done, and that is to fast ... If you thirst 
to death, the spirits who are in control of wars will bless you . . . But. my son. if 
you do not fast repeatedly it will be all in vain that you inflict sufferings upon your- 


278 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth.ann.37 

self. Blessings are not obtained except by making the proper offerings to the spirits 
and by putting yourself, time and again, in the proper mental condition ... If you 
do not obtain a spirit to strengthen you, you will amount to nothing in the estimation 
of your fellowmen, and they will show you little respect . . . My son, as you travel 
along life's path, you will find many narrow passages (i. e., crises), and you can never 
tell when you will come to them. Try to anticipate them, so that you will lie en- 
dowed with sufficient strength (by obtaining powers from the spirits') to pass safely 
through these narrow passages. 

Among the Winnebago religion is definitely connected with the 
preservation of life values. It is not a phenomenon distinct from 
mundane life, but one of the most important means of maintaining 
social ideals. What these are can be gleaned from practically every 
prayer; they are success, happiness, and long life. The vast majority 
of investigators are often surprised at the intense religious life which, 
among the North American Indians, exists side by side with an 
intense realism and with a clear understanding and appreciation of 
the materialistic basis of life. The explanation, to judge from the 
Winnebago data, is simple enough. The Indian does not interpret 
life in terms of religion, but religion in terms of life. In other words, 
he exalts the world around him and the multifarious desires and 
necessities of the day, so that they appear to him bathed in a re- 
ligious thrill. At least that is what the devoutly religious man 
does and most of the religious data presented in this volume emanates 
from him. Still we are convinced that for the vast majority of 
Winnebago, in other words, for the intermittently religious, there 
are many moments in hfe and many actions which are seen through 
this pleasurable religious thrill. 

Every Winnebago will admit that to perform the wana n tce're cere- 
mony (p. Ill) and, on the following day, to agree to start at a certain 
hour, would not necessarily result in killing a bear. The. bear tracks 
are to be followed and a person is to persevere until the bear is 
captured, in spite of the fact that the wanaHce're ceremony is sup- 
posed to insure the capture of the animal. 

Or again let us take the following example. No man can hope to 
go on a warpath and kill an enemy unless he is authorized to do so 
by a definite blessing received during fasting. If we were to accept 
this statement as such, we might be led to believe that the Winne- 
bago were willing to risk their young men on so dangerous an under- 
taking as a warpath, on the sole strength of a fasting experience. 
It does not stand to reason that they would, and a careful hiquiry 
into the subject has shown that they never did. What actually 
happened was that the prospective war leader translated into re- 
ligious terms the exact conditions and requirements of every par- 
ticular war party. That is why the chief of the tribe and the shamans 
insisted that only such a person who had been blessed with the most 
specific kind of knowledge, such as the number of men he must take 

radin] RELIGION 279 

along, the amount of food required, the number of moccasins neces- 
sary, the number and strength of the enemy, where he was to meet 
them, etc. — that only such a man might start on a warpath. If an 
individual failed to give the proper assurances and guarantees to the 
chief, his expedition was not countenanced. If, nevertheless, he 
went, any mishap was directly chargeable to him. 

In other words, we are dealing here with a more or less fixed way of 
describing the mundane happenings of life. The terminology is 
religious, but does that mean that there is always a religious feeling 
attached to it? That is the crucial question to determine. We 
believe that the religious element in such a happening depends upon 
the religious susceptibility of the individual concerned. It is quite 
possible that a devoutly religious man may think of the religious as- 
pect of a rite or action more than one who is but indifferently religious, 
but he will never for one moment forget that the questions involved 
here are of a purely human nature. The most that can be said of 
the rehgious element of the two particular cases mentioned above 
is that they will spur the person on. Perhaps it is the realization 
that such is the case that often prompts the more matter-of-fact 
individuals to lay such stress on fasting preparatory to starting on 
a warpath. There, indeed, seems to have been a matter-of-fact 
movement in the tribe, for the members of the Warrior clan claimed 
that they could dispense with the fasting, and that mere membership 
in that particular clan gave them the right to go on a warpath when- 
ever they wished to. This we know was vigorously denied by other 

The Winnebago has no disinterested, unselfish love for the spirit 
or deity to whom he prays, except in so far as every man is likely to 
develop such an attitude at some crisis or when his mind is fixed 
intently on the attainment of some personal advantage. Then, 
naturally enough, the spirits who are to bestow these blessings are 
addressed in the most laudatory terms. To show how intimately 
these spirits are bound up with the worldly affairs of man and how 
little they mean to him apart from this we have but to point out 
that, for the vast majority of Winnebago, the spirits' freedom of 
action is conceived of as definitely restricted. There seems to be a 
purely mechanical relation of cause and effect between the offerings 
of men and their acceptance by the spirits. The latter are not free to 
reject them except in theory. Was it not ordained by Earthmaker, 
when the earth was created, that in return for tobacco the spirits were 
to bestow blessings on man? So every Winnebago believes. The 
religious leaders insisted that only when the proper offerings were 
made in the proper way would the spirits bestow their blessings. 
But after all is said and done, the chances that the proper conditions 
would not be fulfilled were negligible And we doubt whether this 

280 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth.ann.37 

rather high conception was shared by all the Winnebago. Our 
impression is that many Winnebago believed the offering would 
be mechanically followed by the blessing. Take, for instance, the 
following example: A middle-aged Winnebago while hunting was 
suddenly surprised by the enemy. He succeeded in making his 
escape into a cave. All hope of final delivery seemed to be gone, for 
the enemy stationed themselves before the entrance. Now this man 
had never been blessed in his youth and knew little about the proper 
procedure to observe when making offerings to the spirits. Tn this 
terrible crisis he turned instinctively to the spirits. He took some 
tobacco and put some in the different nooks of the cave, and said: 
"Spirits, whoever you are, and wherever you are, it is said that you 
love tobacco and that in return for it you bless people. Here is some 
tobacco, and I ask that I may return to my people." There was, as 
far as we know, no promise made that hi return he would make fur- 
ther offerings to them or that he would thereafter love them and 
honor them. He escaped and unquestionably believed that it was 
due to the intervention of the spirits, but the spirits were, quite 
clearly, constrained to act because they had received tobacco. 

There can be little doubt that many Winnebago felt as this man did. 
We find an expression of the same attitude in a myth. The Winne- 
bago are represented as making offerings to the buffalo spirits, and 
the smoke is ascending to the home of these spirits through a hole in 
the sky. The younger buffalos can not resist the temptation of 
approaching the opening to catch a few whiffs of their favorite 
tobacco. They are thereupon warned by the older buffalos not to 
go too close, for the tobacco fumes might tempt them too strongly; 
and should they succumb to the temptation and accept the offer- 
ings, they would then have to appear on earth and be killed by man. 
As might have been expected, there is in the relation of the spirits 
to man something similar to the securing of the food animal by some 
such ceremony as the ivana n kere. The spirits are dazzled, hypnotized 
by the offerings, and accept. 

In the second of the examples given above we were dealing with a 
food animal — -the buffalo. If there is any plausibility hi the explana- 
tion we advanced before that the Whmebago interprets religion in 
terms of life, the relation of the spirits to the food supply ought to 
show it. Now, it is characteristic of the Whmebago religion that 
the great generalized spirit deities, like Earthmaker, Sun, Moon, etc., 
have little to do with the securing of specific kinds of food. As a rule, 
some generalized spirit-animal presides over the various species of 
animals, and he gladly permits the animals to appear on earth to be 
killed by man when the proper offerings are made. This seems to 
have been a secondary interpretation, however, developed probably 
under the influence of the shamans as a substitute for the purely 
mechanical attitude mentioned above. To picture the food animals 

Radin] RELIGION 281 

as desirous of being killed and eaten by man is, however, but another 
way of saying that the food animals were killed and eaten, and were 
secondarily and weakly brought into the general religious life, 
because everything was seen through a religious vista. It is by no 
means certain that this was always the case, and there seem to be 
innumerable indications in the myths that there was a time when 
the securing of the food animals was not connected with religion as 

Just as the securing of food animals is to-day connected with cer- 
tain spirits, so are the various activities of man during his life. But 
characteristically it is not a generalized conception of life, but life 
as consisting of a prescribed number of years, with so many war 
honors, so much wealth, so much food consumed, so many children, 
etc. The spirits are exhorted to give to every man his allotted num- 
ber of years, food, etc. These are apparently his by right, and if he 
dies before his time the ghost of the deceased is asked to beg the 
spirits to distribute among his relatives the "unused" years, food, 
etc. So here, too, we have a clear example of the explanation of 
purely materialistic conception of life in terms of religion. 

It will be best to discuss the main features of Winnebago religion 
under the following heads : 

I. The religious concepts: 

1 . The concept of supernatural power. 

2. The concept and nature of the spirits. 

3. The power and localization of the spirits. 

II : 1 . The twofold interpretation of the rela tion of the spirits to man. 

2. The guardian spirits. 

3. Personal religious experiences. 

III. Methods of bringing the spirits into relation with man: 

1. Fasting. 

2. Mental concentration. 

4. Offerings and sacrifices. 

5. Prayers. 

IV. The folkloristic concepts: 

1 . The concept of evil. 

2. The concept of disease. 

3. The concepts of death, after-life, and reincarnation. 

4. The concept of the soul. 

V. The cosmological ideas. 

The Concept of Supernatural Power ' 

The Winnebago have no such belief in a "magic power" as Mr. 
J. N. B. Hewitt and Mr. W. Jones would have us believe exists among 

1 For a general discussion of this concept in North America cf. my paper on the " Religion of the North 
American Indians," Journal of American Folklore, vol. 27, no. 106, pp. 344-351. 

186823°— 22 19 

282 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bth. an.n. 37 

the Iroquois and Fox. 2 In the article mentioned above we have 
given our reasons for believing that these ethnologists were mistaken 
in their interpretation. 

In the Winnebago language the four words most commonly used 
in speaking of the spirits are wdk'a n , waJc'a'ndja, xop, and waxop'i'ni. 
Wak'a n seems exactly equivalent to our word "sacred," while 
wal'a'ndja, which is identical with the Omaha word wakonda, 
means thunderbird. In all likelihood it originally meant "he who 
is sacred " or something like that. It has nothing to do with the word 
"thunder," which is lc e oire in Winnebago. The word wak'a n also 
means snake, for the snake is a holy animal among the Winnebago, 
the messenger of the spirits. The word xop, identical with the 
Omaha xube, is more difficult to define. It means sacred and awe- 
inspiring and seems to be associated, in the eyes of the Winnebago, 
with the intensely emotional aspects of religion, where self is com- 
pletely forgotten. Those ceremonies, in which the performers work 
themselves into a frenzy of excitement and dance naked, are always 
referred to as x( p. The word waxop'i'ni is clearly a noun compounded 
of the indefinite prefix wa- and the suffix -ni, which possibly is an 
old agentive nominalizer, or, more probably, an old stem meaning 
"man." It occurs also in the word manka'ni, medicine-man. In 
other words it means "he who" or "that which is holy." Waxop'i'ni 
is the only Winnebago word for spirit. Both the words wak'andja 
and waxop'i'ni are very definite terms referring to individualized 

As to the use of the adjectives wak'a 71 and xop, there seems to be 
little, mystery about them. They are used much as our words 
"holy" and "sacred." Anything in any way connected with the 
spirits is either wak'a? 1 or xop. If a Winnebago were to come across 
some unusually shaped object he might offer tobacco to it, and upon 
being questioned he would undoubtedly say that the object is wak'a n . 
What is it that he means by wak'a 71 ^. From my experience in the 
field he simply means that it is "sacred," and if pressed for a more 
definite answer he would probably say that it has the power of 

3 According to Mr. Hewitt, nrenda is a "magic power which was assumed ... to be inherent in every 
body . . . and in every personified attribute, property, or activity . . . This hypothetic principle was 
conceived to be immaterial, occult, impersonal, mysterious in mode of action . . . The possession of 
orcntia . . . is the distinctive characteristic of all the gods, and these gods in earlier time were all the bodies 
ami beings of nature in any manner affecting the weal or woe of man." ( Article "Orenda" in the Hand- 
book of American Indians, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 30, pt. 2.) According to W. Jones, 
the manito "is an unsystematic belief in a cosmic, mysterious property, which is believed to be existing 
everywhere in nature . . . The conception of this something wavers between that of a communicable 
property, that of amobile,invisililesubstance,and that of a latent transferable energy; . . . this substance, 
property, or energy is conceived as being widely diffused amongst natural objects and human beings . . . 
the presence of it is promptly assigned as the explanation of any unusual power or efficacy which any 
object or person is found to possess: ... It is a distinct and rather abstract conception of a diffused, all- 
pervasive, invisible, manipulable, and transferable life-energy, or universal force . . . (Finally) all success, 
strength, or prosperity is conceived to depend upon the possession of (this force)." — "The Algonkin Mani- 
tou" (Journal of American Folklore, vol. 18, no. lxx, pp. 183-190, 1905). 

radin] RELIGION 283 

bestowing blessings upon him — in other words, of acting like a spirit, 
a waxop'i'ni. That is why he offers tobacco to it. We would be 
inclined to say that the individual finding such an object has created 
a new spirit. Such a new spirit may be forever confined to the par- 
ticular family to which the individual belongs. It might die with 
him, or, on the other hand, it might acquire great importance and 
popularity and become a tribal spirit. What seems to have happened, 
in the vast majority of cases, however, among the Winnebago, is 
that owing to the marked development of the spirit-deities and cos- 
mogonic myths, such "sacred" objects were interpreted as being 
either some manifestation of a spirit, some transformation which he 
had assumed, or as inhabited by a spirit. 

The reason why, in our opinion, so many ethnologists have ap- 
parently misinterpreted the nature of wal~'a n is due to the fact that 
when something that, from the European viewpoint, is immaterial 
and inanimate, like vapor, light, movement, etc., is called v:ak'a n , 
then it seems difficult for them to imagine that it can be so except 
by virtue of some intimate connection with a definite spirit, and if 
that can not be demonstrated, then the only solution left is to fall 
back upon the "magic power" idea. By doing this they clearly show 
that for them the test of individualization is corporeality of a fairly 
definite kind, dependent mainly upon visual sensations. This 
brings us to a fundamental problem, not only for Winnebago re- 
ligion, but for North American religion in general. 

The Concept and Nature of the Spirits 

Those Indians who have never spent any time thinking upon the 
nature of spirits can not truly be said to have any concept of their 
nature, whether vague or definite. They simply repeat what they 
have heard from the more religiously inclined. An answer prompted 
by a moment's consideration, as is often the case when an ethnologist 
interrogates them, does not necessarily reflect the current view of 
the subject, nor, for that matter, even the same Indian's belief 
after he has given the matter some thought. Many Winnebago, 
with whom the author was fairly well acquainted, refused to answer 
certain questions offhand and asked for time to reflect about them. 
It seems justified, when we are studying a subject like religion, to 
ask for information from those who have, in all probability, formu- 
lated the beliefs — the shamans'. It is from them that we must 
strive to learn whether the spirits are conceived of as anthropo- 
morphic, theromorphic, dream-phantasms, or indefinite entities in 

In trying to discover this the author found, not only that he was 
asking a leading question, but that he was asking an unnecessary 
question. It was soon quite clear that the Winnebago did not 

284 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

base their test of the existence of a spirit on the presence or absence 
of corporeality; in other words, upon such sense perceptions as sight 
and hearing. It is because we Europeans do insist that the presence 
or absence of corporeality is the test of reality or unreality that we 
have been led to make the classification into personal and imper- 
sonal. But the Winnebago apparently does not insist that existence 
depends upon sense perceptions alone. He claims that what is 
thought of, what is felt, and what is spoken, in fact, anything that 
is brought before his consciousness, is a sufficient indication of its 
existence and it is the question of the existence and reahty of these 
spirits in which he is interested. The question of their corporeality 
is of comparative unimportance and most of the questions connected 
with the personal or impersonal nature of the spirits do not exist. 

It is clear that if comparatively little stress has been laid by the 
Winnebago on the personahty of the spirits,, it will be difficult to 
define them precisely except by their names, by their attributes, and 
by the nature of the blessings which they bestow on man. What 
seems to stand out most prominently in the attitude of the Winnebago 
toward their spirits is the intense, belief in the reality of their exist- 
ence, which is due first to what might be called the "emotional 
authority" for their existence, and secondly, to the fact that the life 
values of man are intensely real and the spirits are theoretically in 
control of these life values. 

To the average Winnebago the world is peopled by an indefinite 
number of spirits who manifest their existence in many ways, being 
either visible, audible, felt emotionally, or manifesting themselves 
by some sign or result. From a certain point of view, all the spirits 
demonstrate their existence by the result, by the fact that the bless- 
ings they bestow upon man enable him to be successful, and this holds 
just as much for the spirit who manifests himself in the most in- 
tangible, emotional manner as for that one who is visible to man. 

In all those areas where a well-developed ritualistic organization 
exists a fairly large number of theromorphic and anthropomorphic, 
spirits is found. In many cases these are real deities. This is true 
for the Winnebago. Exactly how definite and distinct this thero- 
morphic and anthropomorphic nature of the spirits is will depend 
largely on the individual history that the spirit has undergone. 
Where tricksters and animal heroes have become spirits or deities 
their theromorphic nature is marked. Other deities, like Earth- 
maker, Disease-giver, the Thunderbirds, etc., have become markedly 
anthropomorphic, owing to the reinterpretations and remodeling of 
the shamans. Often enough the reinterpretations are not thorough 
and we find deities of an apparently mixed type. 

Those who care to get a detailed description of the various deities 
of the Winnebago should read the various prayers found in such 

radin] RELIGION 285 

ceremonies as the war-bundle feasts, buffalo dance, sore-eye dance, 
etc. We will enumerate but a few of them here. 

The principal deities of the Winnebago are: Earthmaker, Sun, 
Moon, Earth, Morning Star, Disease-giver, Thunderbird, Water- 
spirit, etc. 

Earthmaker. — He is known to the Wimiebago under three names: 
Ma^'una, earthmaker; waja n gv n zera, he-who-makes-something ; and 
waxopi'ni xedera, the great spirit. Of these the last is the most 
archaic, which might imply that originally Earthmaker was merely 
the great spirit. In the hands of the shamans, to whom the develop- 
ment and elaboration of the great Winnebago ceremonies like the 
medicine dance and the war-bundle feasts were due, he became 
almost a true monotheistic deity, benevolent but unapproachable. 
In the older myths, like the trickster and hero cycles (cf. for instance, 
the wak'djvijl'aga and hare cycle), he is hardly mentioned except 
as a clear afterthought. In another cycle, like that of the twins, 
where he is definitely mentioned, he is treated like a spirit similar 
to the other spirits, although superior to them, but in no way re- 
sembling the benevolent deity that we find in the origin myth of 
the medicine dance (p. 350). How and when this development took 
place, and whether the introduction of Christianity had anything 
to do with it, it is difficult to say. All indications seem to be over- 
whelmingly against the latter assumption, although it can not be 
entirely dismissed. As we have indicated in a previous paper, 3 
there appears to have been a well-developed pre-Columbian belief 
in a good and bad spirit among the woodland Indians. The Winne- 
bago shared in this belief and Earthmaker developed his present 
position through the displacement of the chief bad spirit called 

The older conception of Earthmaker seems to crop out also in the 
occasional attempts of individuals to obtain blessings from him. 
(Cf. the tale of Wegi'ceka, p. 291.) 

Little can be learned as to the actual appearance of Earthmaker 
In the origin myth of the medicine dance he is described as though 
he were clearly anthropomorphic. The symbol associated with him 
in the war-bundle feasts, the cross, is unquestionably supposed to 
represent the four cardinal points. 

Earthmaker is not supposed to bestow 7 any definite blessings on 
man. He is, in a general waj*, expected to give them life. There 
is but little real worship of him because he is far removed from man 
and is supposed to come into relation with them only through his 
intermediaries, the spirits. According to the cosmological myths ho 

3 The Religion of the North American Indians, Journ. Am. Folklore, vol. 27, no. 106. 

'286 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. aun. 37 

created everything with the definite purpose, of benefiting mankind 
in contrast to the creative acts of the old Trickster. It is very instruc- 
tive to notice how he gradually usurped the place formerly held by 
the older spirit-deities and clan ancestors. In the clan origin myths 
there are a number of versions where he directs certain spirit animals, 
the ancestors of the clan, to go down to earth, while in other appar- 
ently older versions nothing is said of him. 

Sun. — The sun is known to the Winnebago generally as ha n bunra, 
orb of day, and ceremonially as Jia n boradjera, day-wanderer. He 
does not occupy to-day the position he formerly held. There are a 
number of indications that seem to point to the fact that his worship 
diminished when that of Earthmaker began to assert itself. Many 
of his functions and powers were likewise taken over by the Thunder- 
birds, who, although they distinctly belong to the older strata of 
Winnebago beliefs, have yet assumed their present importance appar- 
ently in connection with the development of the Earthmaker belief. 

The sun is occasionally spoken of in myths, but rarely as a culture 
hero. In only one myth collected was he the hero of the myth. 
There he appears as the husband of the moon and as an anthro- 
pomorphic being who possesses an all-powerful disk (the sun). 

Offerings are frequently made to him, but he rarely blesses an 
individual. In other words, he is not a true guardian spirit. He 
only blesses men and upon them he always confers success in war. 

Moon. — The moon, like the sun, probably formerly occupied a 
more important place in the Winnebago pantheon. She is a female 
deity and blesses women, although, like the sun, she is not a true 
guardian spirit. 

Earth. — Earth, like the moon, is a female deity. She is one of the 
oldest deities of the Winnebago and appears as the grandmother in 
some of the oldest myth cycles, like that of the hare. Offerings are 
made to her at the various ceremonies, particularly at the medicine 
dance and the war-bundle feasts. She never appears as a guardian 

The earth is one of the deities who has received considerable rein- 
terpretation at the hands of the shamans. In the myths she is a 
purely folk-mythological figure in no way interested in furthering 
s he welfare of mankind. On the contrary, she is spoken of as the 
tister of those bad spirits who are bent on destroying the human 
race. Her role as a beneficent deity probably developed in connection 
with that of the hare, her grandchild, according to the old folklore 
notions, transformed when he became associated with the founding of 
the medicine dance or its older Winnebago predecessor from a typical 
trickster to an heroic animal deity. 

Morning Star. — This is one of the spirits belonging to the older 
strata of Winnebago beliefs, who apparently was not displaced by 

badin] RELIGION 287 

the newer deities. He is both a great deity and a guardian spirit. 
That he developed out of the indefinite "folklore-spirits" is abun- 
dantly attested by the r6le he plays in the myths. 

Morning Star is preeminently associated with war. 

Disease-giver. — This is but an approximate translation of his name 
in Winnebago, which is hocere £ u n wahira. He is a very pecidiar 
figure, being described as an anthropomorphic figure, dealing out 
death from one side of his body and life from the other. He is pre- 
eminently a guardian spirit who only appears to the bravest and 
holiest f asters. His specific blessings seem to be connected with war 
and the curing of disease. 

He appears in none of the myths and in but few of the ceremonies. 
He plays a very important role in the war-bundle feasts. 

It is rather difficult to explain his origin. He seems hardly to be a 
deity of the people and can best be understood, it seems, if we regard 
him as largelv a construction of the shaman. Certain of his char- 
acteristics may have been borrowed from some neighboring tribe. 

Thunderbird. — Thunderbird is another of the older folkloristic con- 
ceptions that has been remodeled and reinterpreted by the shamans. 
He might be said to be the most popular of Winnebago deities. He 
is found everywhere — in the oldest myths, the clan origin myths, 
and the newest myths; he is a clan ancestor, a popular guardian 
spirit, and a popular deity. In contradistinction to practically all 
of the other deities, he is regarded as easily approachable by man. 

To the popular mind he is distinctly theromorphic in form, causing 
lightning by the flashes of his eyes and thunder by the flapping of 
his wings. In some of the versions of the clan origin myth we still 
find this conception. In the hands of the shamans he became an 
anthropomorphic deity, characterized by baldness and the wearing 
of bay wreathes. Something of the older conception still clings to 
him, how T ever, for he frequently acts as a bird and the flashing of his 
eyes still causes lightning. His baldness itself is an archaic feature, 
because the Thunderbird originally was supposed to be a kind of 

Many representations of th« Thunderbird can be found on various 
articles and in the effigy mounds. 

He blesses men with practically everything, but particularly with 
victory on the warpath. 

Water-spirit. — The meaning of the Winnebago word for this deity, 
wak'tcexi, is unknown. The translation "Water-spirit" does not 
claim to have anything to do with the real meaning of the word, but 
it was preferred by the Winnebago because this deity is always pic- 
tured as a water monster. 

He is one of the older folkloristic conceptions and has not been 
very greatly reinterpreted by the shamans. The Thunderbird is sup- 

288 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth.ann. 37 

posed to be at eternal enmity with him, and for that reason he is 
regartled by most of the Winnebago as a sort of a mixed deity, partly 
evil and partly good, but always to be feared and capable of bestow- 
ing great blessings on man. Owing to the fact that he has become 
identified as the clan ancestor of one of the most important Winne- 
bago clans, he has undergone a partial rehabilitation. 

The Water-spirit is an important figure in the older myths, and in 
them seems to be identified with the bad spirits. The attitude of the 
Winnebago toward him is full of inconsistencies. He is evil, yet Ins 
"bones" are the most prized possessions of man on account of the 
remarkable power with which they are endowed. He is an evil 
spirit, yet according to an apparently old myth (the Traveler) one 
of the Water-spirits is the spirit deity in control of the earth. 

In addition to these marked anthropomorphic and theromorphic 
spirit deities, the Winnebago, as mentioned before, have a large num- 
ber of vague spirits, like fire, light, etc., and a legion of animal spirits. 
The latter show some interesting transitions extending all the way 
from purely nonspirit heroic animals to distinct spirits, conceived of 
as animal in shape but noncorporeal. In many cases it is, of course, 
quite impossible to say how marked the "spirit" nature of the ani- 
mal is, because it often depends on who is looking at it. To the 
ordinary nonreligious Winnebago the hare is mainly an heroic animal; 
to the religious Winnebago or a member of the medicine dance he is a 
spirit-animal or even a spirit-deity. In the same way different con- 
ceptions are held about the nature of the animal clan ancestors, 
some thinking of them as heroic animals and others as generalized 
noncorporeal spirit-animals and spirit-deities. Wherever guardian 
spirits are animals they also become noncorporeal spirit-animals. 
One of the reasons given by the Winnebago for the fact that the 
different guardian spirit>animals do not object to the killing of ani- 
mals of their own species is because, in killing a bear a Winnebago is 
not killing his guardian spirit, the bear, for the latter is a generalized 
spirit-bear in control of all the bears who appear on earth. 

In a number of cases it is not at all difficult to trace the develop- 
ment of a trickster hero, an anthropomorphic hero, or an heroic 
animal, into a spirit to whom offerings are made. Thus, for instance, 
kettles and often buckskins are offered to wak'djvyTe'a'ga, hare, and 
the twins, at the war-bundle feasts. 

The Power and Localization of the Spirits 

According to the Winnebago, spirits possess the power of bestowing 
upon man all those things that are of socio-economic value to him. 
These may vary from such very important economic things as ram 

radin] RELIGION 289 

or success on the warpath to the most insignificant trifles. Practi- 
cally any spirit, no matter how indefinitely conceived, can bestow 
generalized blessings. On the whole, however, these powers are con- 
ceived of as being in the hands of a comparatively small number, 
and the same powers are frequently possessed by different spirits. 
This will become clear after a careful perusal of the fasting experi- 

As to the prevalence of the belief hi the localization of spirits, not 
only among the Winnebago but over all North America, there can 
no longer be any doubt. Among the Winnebago there are as many 
spirits as there are lakes, hills, rivers, etc., and all these are looked 
upon from two points of view, first as the bestowers of certain bless- 
ings and, secondly, as the protectors of their own precincts. In the 
first case they are generally identical with the guardian spirits. In 
the second case they are simply vague, indistinct spirits to whom 
offerings are made for temporary protection. So when a Winnebago 
crossed a river or lake he poured tobacco into the water as a recom- 
pense for trespassing, and uttered the prayer that no storms should 
arise or that he should not come to grief. 

As to whether the spirits here are the lakes, rivers, hills, etc., or 
some being inhabiting them, the answer is, unquestionably the latter. 

The Twofold Interpretation of the Relation of the Spirits 

to Man 

We mentioned before (p. 279) that the interpretation of the rela- 
tionship between the spirits and man was largely mechanical, bless- 
ings being secured apparently independent of any volition on the 
part of the spirits, for if the Winnebago make the requisite offer- 
ings to the Thunderbirds they must accept them and bestow on the 
suppliant the powers they possess. While this interpretation was 
undoubtedly the popular one, the shamans tried to develop another 
explanation — what might be called a "contract" theory. The 
spirits possessed the various powers without which man could achieve 
only a modicum of success; and man possessed tobacco, corn, eagle 
feathers, buckskin, etc. His principal possession, however, was 
tobacco, and this had been given him directly by Earthmaker. The 
contract was definite and distinct: man was to. give the spirits 
tobacco, etc. ; and the spirits were to give man the powers they con- 
trolled. Accompanying this change of interpretation, there was a 
difference of attitude, the principal characteristic of which was a 
heightened religious feeling. This change of interpretation is clearly 
shown in the concept of the guardian spirit. 


The Guardian Spirits 

In the concept of the guardian spirits we have a mixture of both 
the "mechanical" and the "contract" theories. The guardian 
spirits themselves are, to our mind, but the transformed localized 
spirits; in other words, the genii loci. They are supposed to protect 
the individual to whom they appear in the same way as the genii loci 
protected their precinct. While theoretically every Winnebago could 
have his own guardian spirit, there seems to have been a marked 
tendency for certain guardian spirits to be inherited. This was so, 
not because there was any distinct development of the idea of inherit- 
ance, but because certain definite powers were associated with the 
spirits, like success in hunting, fishing, etc. In terms of everyday 
life this simply meant that a good hunter would try to make his sons 
and near relatives good hunters; in religious terminology it meant 
that a son was blessed by the same guardian spirit as the father. 
(Cf. the fasting experience on p. 293.) 

The following fasting experiences will show clearly what powers are 
supposed to be possessed by the various guardian spirits. The attitude 
with which the faster approaches the ordeal clearly varies from that 
of childish playfulness to one of considerable religious intensity, 
always remembering that we are dealing with boys and girls before 
the adolescent stage. Perhaps the best way of putting it would be 
to say that we are dealing with a stereotyped expression of life, 
reading as follows: "I am a successful hunter; I am a prominent 
warrior, etc.; and I am told that I have become such because I have 
done what my elders told me, have practiced these professions dili- 
gently, and made offerings to the spirits." Such a formula might be 
put in the mouth of the youthful faster, but it meant nothing until 
it was interpreted much later in terms of each man's experience in 

The youth's fasting experience is carefully tested by the elders, 
and if found wanting in any respect the youth has either to try again 
or give up. 

The guardian spirit is not supposed to be in permanent attendance 
upon man. It is only when he is needed, in the crises of life, that 
he is brought into relation with man; and it is quite characteristic of 
the markedly materialistic basis of the belief that the spirit is only 
called into aid for the particular needs of the case. 

badin] religion 291 

Personal Religious Experiences * 

how wegl'ceka tried to see earthmaker 5 

Once there was a Winnebago whose name was Wegi'ceka. As soon 
as he was grown up his father begged him to fast. The old man told 
his son that Earthmaker, when he created this earth, made many 
good spirits and that he put each one of them in control of powers 
with which they could bless human beings. Some he placed in 
control of war powers. If these spirits bless an individual, he will 
always be victorious on the warpath. Earthmaker told the human 
beings to fast for these powers and then they would be rich and 
powerful. Now, my son, if Earthmaker has put all these spirits in 
charge of something, he himself must be in charge of much more 
power. Thus the old man reasoned and the son thought the same. 
So he tried to "dream" of Earthmaker. "I wonder what sort of 
blessings Earthmaker bestows on people," he thought to himself. 

None of the spirits blessed Wegi'ceka during his fastings. He 
was always thinking of Earthmaker and asking him to bless him. 
Wegi'ceka made himself extremely "pitiable" and wept. He could 
not stop. "Perhaps I will be able to see Earthmaker if I weep," 
he thought to himself. "Indeed, if Earthmaker does not bless me 
I will die during my fast." 

He fasted continuously without stopping. Verily, he fasted for 
Earthmaker. First he fasted for 4 nights, and then for 6 nights, 
and then for 8 nights, for 10, and finally for 12 nights. Yet he 
received no blessing of any kind. After fasting 12 nights he stopped 
and ate something. He kept fasting on until he had grown to be a 
fully developed man. Then he stopped and married and, accom- 
panied by his wife, he moved away from his village to some unin- 
habited place. There he lived alone with his wife. There again 
he fasted and his wife helped him. As before, he tried to have 
Earthmaker bestow a blessing upon him. This time he made up 

* Some religious experiences belonging to Winnebagoes well known to the tribe have been cast in a 
literary form and handed down from one generation to another. The literary mold in which they have 
been cast does not in the least interfere with their value as excellent examples of personal experiences, 
and for that reason I will include one of them here. 

b Earthmaker is supposed never to bless any human being, but there are a number of accounts of indi- 
viduals who tried without success, nevertheless, to have him bless them. What the people, however, 
meant by lack of success was not so much a total lack of success as an incomplete blessing. So, for instance, 
Wegi'ceka does really receive a cane as a blessing from Earthmaker, and he has the right to call upon 
him afterwards in the same way as he calls upon other "guardian spirits." Earthmaker does not, how- 
ever, appear to him in the way an ordinary spirit would — that is, he neither appears to him as a man nor 
in the form of a voice conferring some blessing, but as a flash oflight. 

292 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

his mind once and for all that if Earthmaker did not bless him he 
would die during his fast. "It is true," he said to himself, "that no 
one has ever heard of anyone being blessed by Earthmaker, but 
nevertheless I will either obtain a blessing from him or die in the 

As time passed on his wife gave birth to a male child. Then the 
man said, "We will offer up our son to Earthmaker," and the woman 
consented. So they sacrificed their son to Earthmaker. Then 
they placed the body of the child on a scaffold and wept bitterly. 
"Surely," he said to himself, "Earthmaker will bless us to-night." 
And indeed during the night he came to him. Wegi'ceka felt positive 
that it was he. He wore a soldier's uniform and a cocked hat and 
he was pleasing to the sight. Wegi'ceka looked and wondered 
whether it was really Earthmaker. Then this person took a step 
forward toward Wegi'ceka. "Indeed it must be," he thought. 
Then he took another step in his direction and uttered something. 
Wegi'ceka looked and saw that it was not Earthmaker but a pigeon. 
The spirits had fooled him. His heart ached, but, undaunted, he 
again fasted, and after a while Earthmaker seemed to come to him 
and say, "Man, I bless you. For a long time you have wept and 
made yourself pitiable. I am indeed Earthmaker." When Wegi'- 
ceka looked again he beheld something pleasing to the sight and he 
liked it. The clothing the man wore was pleasing and Wegi'ceka 
now felt certain that this person was Earthmaker. He looked at 
him again and it seemed to him as if Earthmaker was getting smaller 
and smaller, and as he looked for the fourth tune he saw that he had 
been looking at a little bird all the time. Then his heart ached all 
the more, and he cried even more bitterly than before. Then for the 
third time Earthmaker blessed him and spoke to him. "You have 
tried to 'dream' of Earthmaker and you have worried yourself to 
death. Behold, I am Earthmaker and I will bless you and you will 
never be in want of anything. You will be able to understand the 
language spoken by strange tribes and you will never be wanting in 
the goods of life." Then he looked up for the first time, but when he 
saw the individual who had spoken to him he thought that there 
was something wrong. Soon he saw that the one who had spoken 
to him was a bird. 

Then for the last time he tried to "dream" of Earthmaker. He 
did not eat anything and positively resolved to die if Earthmaker 
did not appear to him. He felt bad, for he thought that all the bad 
birds (spirits) were laughing at him. 

He fasted, and soon Earthmaker, far above, heard his voice and 
said, "Wegi'ceka, you are weeping bitterly. For your sake, I will 
come to the earth." Then Earthmaker told Wegi'ceka that when he 
(Wegi'ceka) looked at him he would see a ray of light extending from 

kadin] RELIGION 293 

above far down to his camp. That far it would reach. "Only thus, 
Wegi'ceka, can you see me. What you ask of me (to see me face to 
face) I can not grant you. But, nevertheless, you may tell (your 
fellowmen) that you saw me." Thus he spoke to him. He did not 
bless him with war powers. Only with life did he bless him. 

Then Wegi'ceka tried to draw a. picture of the flash of light extend- 
ing from the heavens to his camp, just as he had seen it, upon a cane. 
To that cane he sacrificed. The descendants of Wegi'ceka arc using 
cane even to the present day. 


When I reached the age of puberty my father called me aside and 
told me to fast. He told me that it was his fervent wish that I should 
begin to fast, so that I might become holy and invincible and invul- 
nerable in war. I would become like one of those Winnebagoes of 
whom stories are told. In future generations the people would speak 
of me often. For these reasons he wished me to fast. He assured 
me that if I fasted I would really be holy and that nothing on this 
earth would be able to harm me. I would also live a very long life, 
he told me. I would be able to treat the sick and cure them. That 
holy I would be, he told me. If I acted in this way, my father told 
me, no person would dare to make fun of me and they would always 
be careful of the manner in which they addressed me, both because 
they respected me and because they were afraid of incurring my 
enmity. For these reasons my father counseled me to fast and to 
continue fasting from the late fall until spring. During that time I 
should fast without stopping. In the spring, however, I was to 
stop, because many bad spirits are about at that time and they might 
deceive me. If he thought that I was not doing enough fasting he 
would urge me on with words, saying, "My son, fast, because if you 
receive knowledge of anything (i. e., if you have been blessed repeat- 
edly), nothing will be able to harm you. You will live long; and I 
w T ant you to live long." In this way my father used to speak to me 
and in this way he used to plead with me in a piteous manner. ' ' Re- 
member," he used to say to me repeatedly, "that if you do not fast 
none of the spirits will bless you." 

There w T as a hill near our place called the Place-where-they-keep- 
weapons. This hill was very high and it looked steep and rocky. 
It must have been a very holy place. There my father had lived 
(when he was blessed by the spirits). Within this hill lived the 
spirits that we call Those-who-cry-like-babies. 6 These spirits were 
supposed to have arrows and bows. There were supposed to be 
twenty of them in this hill. My father had control of these spirits. 

e These spirits are the same as those generally known as the Herok'a, or Those-without-horns. 

294 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth.ann.37 

If he (my father) blessed a man he would do as follows: He would 
take his bow and arrows and, holding them in both of his hands, 
take the man around the hill and then into the lodge (i. e., into the 
hill). There he and the man he wished to bless let their breath 
pass into the middle of the lodge (i. e., into the hill). There stood 
a stone pillar and upon this stone pillar, at about arm's length, he 
drew the pictures of different animals. My father had only one 
arrow, but that arrow was a holy one. Then my father danced 
around the stone pillar and sang some songs, and when he was finished 
he began to breathe upon the stone pillar; and, walking around it, 
he shot it. When he looked at it, he saw that the stone had turned 
into a deer with large horns. This deer fell dead at his feet. He 
repeated this a number of times and the little spirits who were fol- 
lowing him breathed with him and said, "Winnebago, whenever you 
wish to kill a deer with one horn, do as you have done here. Then 
offer tobacco to us and you will be able to obtain whatever you 

"Now, my son, I want you to be able to do as I do. I want you 
to be able to kill deer whenever you wish, and at any particular time." 
My father was a very good hunter and I wanted to be very much 
like him. I knew that what he was saying was true and that it 
would be good to follow his advice. I was also told that if I traveled 
around the hill where these spirits lived, then all earthly things 
would agree with me and that I would be the gainer thereby. If I 
did this, they told me, then I would never suffer any pains in my 
body and I would never be troubled in any way. 

And this they told me about the ghost village — that when I go 
there I will be able to steal a costly shawl from the spirits and be 
able to escape with it; that then all the inhabitants of the ghost 
village would chase me, but that they would not be able to over- 
take me and would be compelled to turn back as soon as I reached 
the earth. In this ghost village there are no grown-up children. 7 

Now, all that I have spoken of, I dreamed. I really dreamed 
that I was stealing a costly shawl and that I would have plenty of 
them all the time. I dreamed that I would obtain ten or even more 
shawls in one year and that I would not have to pay anything for 
them. What the spirits meant by shawls was supplies. However, 
all this took place before I ate the peyote. Since then I know that 
these things were not true, and that what I must depend upon is not 
supernatural power, but myself, and my own endeavors. Super- 
natural powers do not come from anywhere. They do not exist at 
all. The blessings I had received were not holy and I am not holy. 

3 He is evidently referring to the spirit home of the Herok'a, or Those-who-cry -like-babies. 

Radin] RELIGION 295 

This I know now. The whole thing is untrue. Therefore I stopped 
using these supernatural powers some time ago. 8 

The old people made me fast so that I might obtain blessings, 
and that I might lead a life similar to that led by my ancestors. My 
father asked me to fast so that I might be of some help to my fellow- 
men as I grew up. It is through fasting that individuals obtain the 
power of curing disease and restoring a person to health again. 

Spirits from above also came to me. They took me to the spirit- 
shaman village. As the shamans gathered around me they said that 
the blessing would be very difficult to give me. Then the shaman 
sitting far in front made himself holy and breathed upon me (i. e., 
performed the actions of a shaman when treating a patient). When 
he was finished, then he began to sing and all those in the lodge 
began to breathe, helping him. Then the second shaman made 
himself holy and began to breathe and sing. In this way four of 
them made themselves holy. They were showing me what to do 
when I came back to earth. If a person on earth is sick (this is 
what they meant), and is in an almost hopeless condition where no 
one else could cure him, then they would call for me and offer me 
tobacco with which I was to sacrifice to the spirits who had taught 

Indeed I am holy. If a man is sick I can restore him to health. 
That is what I used to think. I really (had it been true) should 
have felt it, for I labored earnestly and honestly to be a holy person. 
Yet in spite of all my exertions I was very unfortunate. I had 
married twice and both of my wives and all my children died. In- 
deed, how could I ever consider myself a holy man (i. e., if I couldn't 
even cure my own wife and children of what value were my "super- 
natural powers") ? For a long time I knew that, at least I should 
have known it. 9 (I was not holy.) Then I ate the peyote and 
now I really see myself as I am. Indeed I am not holy. My body 
is without a soul. I thought myself holy. So I have stopped the 
practice of the shaman. 

8 The informant had become a convert to the Peyote belief only a short time before he wrote down this 
account of his fasting, and it is interesting to see that, although he nolonger believes in the efficacy of the 
supernatural powers, he still believes that they exist. Two years after this, however, the same informant 
explained them, as all the older members of the Peyote cult explain them, namely, as delusions, either 
caused by the abnormal condition of the youth while fasting or as snares of the devil. 

9 In the words "I should have known it" are summed up the essential change of attitude between 
the Peyote Winnebago and the older Winnebagoes. The latter, too, had observed the apparent failure 
of the supernatural powers on many occasions, but instead of attributing them to any diminution of efficacy 
in the "powers, " attributed them, on the contrary, to a lack of something in the individual trying to use 
the "power, " in so far as they thought about it at all. But the essential difference between the two cults, 
the older one and the Peyote, lies not so much in the logical conclusions their adherents have drawn from 
the failure of the ' ' supernatural powers "to behave as they were expected to, as in the fact that the Peyote 
people make the failure of the "power" the subject of discussion and the old Winnebagoes accept the whole 
concept of "supernatural power" as such, and do not permit it to rise into their consciousness. 

296 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 


(h. was a member op the bear clan) 

There was a village near Big Lake (Lake Winnebago), and at this 
village the upper people and the earth people played lacrosse. 10 The 
Bear was the chief clan of the lower people, and those representing 
that side in the game defeated the representatives of the other side 
by sheer strength. Then one of the upper people said, "What 
effeminate fellows those Bear people are. They are very strong, but 
it would be much better if instead of being so strong in playing 
lacrosse they were strong when on the warpath." Thus he spoke. 
Then one of the Bear people (the one whose fasting is about to be de- 
scribed) felt very much grieved and went out into the wilderness to fast. 
His desire was to be blessed by those spirits who are in control of war, 
and in his longing to be blessed by them he cried bitterly. Soon he 
heard some one saying, "Do not cry any more, we have come after 
you from above. The spirits have blessed you. You are going to 
be taken to the lodge of your friends." When the young man got 
there he saw four men. They were called cannibals, and they were 
brothers. "Our friends have blessed you and we also bless you," said 
the four spirits. These four spirits were catfish. Then some white 
crane spirits said, "Our friends have blessed you. With spears they 
have blessed you. Indeed, for good reason was your heart sad (i. e., 
did you make yourself suffer while fasting). With victory on the 
warpath do we bless you. Here is your bundle. Here also are your 
spears and your bow and arrows. This bundle you must use when 
you go on the warpath. Here also are some songs to use when you 
start out and when you return. With these songs I bless you. 
Here they are: 


Ho'sto k' I1 ine / dja I1 e / dja rahi'je? 
Where they gathered, there did you go? 
K'aro' hitcak'aro' ha'gixewi N re. 
Well, my friend, shout at it for him. 

' ' When the enemy is close upon you and aim their guns at you, if 
you sing these songs they will not be able to hit you. If you sing 
these songs then, those who gave you a name will honor you. 11 Thus 
we bless you. With life also we bless you." 

aratcge'ka's fasting 12 

Aratcge'ka, Left-handed-one, went out to fast. "A spirit I wish 
to bless me. I am fasting because I was told to do so. A shaman 

i° In playing lacrosse the upper and lower divisions were always pitted against one another. 

" The sense is not quite clear here, but it is believed that he means that by singing one of these songs he 
will be victorious and be able to count coup or distinguish himself in some such way, and thus be worthy 
of being honored by his elders. 

12 This account of a fasting has been cast in a literary mold. It evidently relates to the fasting experience 
of a well-known man. 

kadin] RELIGION 297 

I would like to be. I would like to be able to treat people the way 
he does, and I have for that reason blackened my face and fasted for 
eight days." Then I was blessed and they (the messengers of the 
spirits) came after me. Up above, to a shaman spirit-lodge they 
took me. There I saw the chief, and he said to me,- "What you 
desire, what you are thirsting yourself to death for, that you are to 
be blessed with. For that reason these people have brought you 
here. Here you are to give an exhibition of your powers. I am the 
one who has caused you to be brought here (i. e., blessed you), I am 
the ruler of this village and I sent for you to give you the following 
powers: • 

"If ever an Indian is sick, even if he is so sick that he is practically 
dead, I give you the power of restoring him to life. Now you are to 
show your powers. Here is a log so rotten and decayed that it is 
practically falling apart. 13 Upon this you are to exert your power 
and show that you have been blessed. This is what the spirits 
meant when they blessed you." Then he walked around the log, 
breathed upon it, and spat water upon it, and it became human. 
Then he walked around it again and again spat water upon it, 
and it began to move. Then for the third time he spat water 
upon it and walked around it and it began to groan. Then he 
walked around it for the fourth time, and again spat water upon 
the log, and it got up and walked away. He had restored the log to 
life. Then the spirit said to him, "Man, with this power you are 
blessed. That for which you longed, that for which you fasted, you 
are blessed with. Giving-humans-life, thus the people will call you." 

Then all the spirits who are above said as follows : " Brother-in-law, 14 
that you may live I am telling you this story." 

In the wilderness I went, and there near an oval hill I sat down 
and wept. Below the hill lay a round lake and there I saw the rising 
dew coming in a fog. This first spread itself out over us, and then, 
in turn, shrank and became small. All this time I sat there weeping. 
There was something moving in the lake, but although I was looking 
in that direction I did not see anything. They (evidently the 
spirits) were sneaking up on me. Two (flames of) fire suddenly 
burst forth extending from above to the lake. Then a report like 

13 This log is supposed to represent a human being in a similar condition— that is, practically on the verge 
of dissolution. 

11 The account is suddenly interrupted here to tell the listener why AratcgeTca is telling the story of 
bis fasting. The personal religious experiences were very sacred and rarely told even to near relatives. 
As far as I know, they were only told before death or when a person was very ill, as in the present case. 
The purpose seems to have been to transfer the benefits of the blessing to the sicK person and cure him in 
much the same way as is done when an accredited shaman goes through his entire performance. Of course, 
Aratcge'ka*s blessing related directly to the curing of disease. But evidently it was believed that blessings 
connected with other powers were equally efficacious. 

1S6S23°— 22 20 

298 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

that of a gun sounded. The. two (spirits) were causing it. Suddenly 
a great noise was heard. I kept right on crying, for I was trying 
to be blessed. I sat there with staring eyes looking at the spirits. 
"I must be receiving a blessing," I thought. I continued crying 
and after a short time it began to rain very much. "How is this," 
I thought to myself, " only a little time before it was so nice and now 
it is raining." Yet in spite of the rain no water seemed to fall upon 
me. "How is it," I thought, "here it is raining and yet no rain is 
falling upon me." Then I looked above and I saw that it was very 
cloudy, yet straight above me in a direct line the sky was blue. 
This blue spot was like a round object covering me as though it 
were an umbrella. The Thunderbirds were blessing me. With the 
blue sky, they were blessing me. Soon the noise stopped, and 
when I looked above I saw four (men) standing with packs upon 
then - backs. These (the spirits) killed. Then they blessed me with 
the power of killing. They spoke to me and said, " Stop your crying. 
What you have longed for and fasted for, with that we have blessed 
you. Just as these four men have been kdled, so you will be able 
to kill people. But you will also be able to restore them to life 
again. Upon your body now we will make a mark and those whom 
you wish to bless will be given an opportunity of selecting life for 
themselves, 15 so that, even when a person be practically dead he 
will be restored to health. What is above you, the blue sky, that 
we place on one of your fingers, 16 and with that we bless you. If 
the patient picks the finger with the mark upon it, he will live." 

The Thunderbirds were the spirits speaking to me. They had 
spears and little war-clubs in their hands and (wreathes) made of 
flat cedar leaves upon their heads. Thus did four Thunderbirds 
bless me. 

"Well, brother-in-law, I want you to live and I want you to pick 
life for yourself — i. e., pick the finger with the blue mark upon it. 
Do it carefully and do not attempt it when you are tired. Here are 
my four fingers and one of them has the blue sky upon it (i. e., the 
blue mark that betokens life) . If you choose that, you will certainly 
live. You are the second person ( to whom I have offered my fingers) . 
Now do not miss it, for if you miss it you will surely die. Be careful, 
then, in picking it." 

Then the brother-in-law picked the little finger and Aratcge'ka 
said, "Brother-in-law, it is good. You will live." Then he turned 
his little finger around and there a circular blue mark was visible. 


The spirits can bless you with everything. My father used to 
tell me how much he loved me and how much lie wished me to fast. 

'» That is, a sick person will have to guess at the part of the body that has been blessed by the Thunder- 
birds, and if he guesses correctly he will become well. 
16 That is, we will place a mark made with blue clay upon your finger. 

kadin] RELIGION 299 

He wanted me to fast all the time. I would therefore, to please him, 
fast off and on through the winter. The longest I ever fasted at 
any one time was six days. I was blessed by a yellow snake who 
lived near Medway, Wis. It was at that place that I fasted one 
winter. The spirit-snake that lives there blessed me with life and 
the right to draw bad blood from sick people (i. e., "cup blood"). 
These blessings are truly efficacious, but after they have been handed 
down to the next generation they lose their power (unless renewed). 
That same winter, not long before the beginning of spring, I fasted 
again for four days and early on the morning of the fourth day as I 
was walking along a ravine, crying and putting myself in a "pitiable 
condition," so that the spirits might take pity upon me, some one 
came to meet me. Up to this time, in spite of all my exertions and 
fastings, I had not been blessed by any of the spirits. The one who 
was coming toward me was walking very fast and when I stopped 
to look at him I saw that he was a man. His entire body was painted 
red and he wore an eagle feather on his head and garters around his 
legs. When he came near to me he said: "Human, I bless you. 
You may now go home and eat (i. e., break your fast). Every day I 
will bring the blessing of life to you. This also (I wish to tell you), 
if you think of me when you are in any difficulty, you will pass 
through it safely. The sick you will be able to heal through the 
blessing I give you. I am the Sun. Even if a day is cloudy, then 
know that I am keeping life for you beyond the clouds." 


Our war-bundle is eight generations old. In the beginning my 
clansmen had no war-bundles. Whenever they had, war, they had 
nothing from which to receive strength. The only powerful posses- 
sion they had was fire. That was the only thing they carried when 
on the warpath. Soon they discovered that other clans had war- 
bundles and that they received them by fasting for them. So 
K'erex u n 'sak'a started to fast for one. He fasted from early 
autumn until summer and he received a blessing. Then he went 
to his father and told him, "Father, you told me to fast. Let us 
now go and see with what I have been blessed." So the old man 
accompanied his son. 18 When the old man got there he found a 
snake dried and dressed up and standing in an upright position. 
The snake had long hairs on its back, scattered here and there. The 
father on seeing it said,' "My son, this is really too great. If you 
accept this and carry it with you on the warpath, you will not leave 
any human beings alive (i. e., you will always want to go on the 

17 This is the account of the origin of a war-bundle claimed to be eight generations old. 

18 Evidently the spirit had told him to go to a certain place and that there he would find certain objects, 
namely, the material objects with which he had been blessed. 


warpath)." The son therefore refused it, and went out to fast 
again. Then the spirits blessed him again and again he went to 
his father and asked to accompany him to the wilderness and see 
what blessings he had obtained. When they came to the wilder- 
ness l9 they found two wild cats ( already stuffed) standing there 
and facing in opposite directions. Then the old man told his son 
again not to accept this blessing because it would be too powerful, 20 
but the young man said, "This is the last blessing that I am going 
to get," and accepted it. 

(What follows was obtained at a later time from the same informant 
and relating to the same blessing.) 

The first blessing K'crex £ u"'saka received was from the Thunder- 
birds. They dropped a flute and two feathers from heaven. But 
these he refused. The second blessing was also from the Thunder- 
birds. This time they told him to go to a certain place where he 
could see them himself. He went there and found four men sitting 
there broiling meat. They gave him a piece of meat. It was only 
when he fasted for the fourth time that he was blessed with a war- 


I never fasted much. I only fasted three times and I don't believe 
that I ever fasted for more than two days at a time. However, I 
never was blessed with anything (i. e., any object). I knew, how- 
ever, that I came from the home of the Thunderbirds (i. e., that I was 
a reincarnated Thunderbird). My spirit father and mother 21 were 
Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds are beings whose glance can 
penetrate any object. For that reason I also can do it. For 
instance, I have seen a man through a tree. This I did once during a 
thunderstorm when a man had sought shelter behind a tree. 

19 Whenever the word " wilderness' ' is used all that is meant is an uninhabited place far away from the 

20 By ' 'too powerful' ' the old man means that the feasts, offerings, etc. , that would be necessary for so 
great a blessing would be quite beyond the means or the ability of the young man. It is to be remembered 
that the bestowal of a blessing does not in itself insure its efficacy , but that this can only be assured if the 
proper offerings and the proper emotional attitude accompany its subsequent use. Evidently the old 
man did not feel that the young fellow would be equal to the task. I have been told by many of the older 
Winnebagoes that when the old system was still intact the older people always made it a point to warn 
impetuous youths against taking upon themselves responsibilities that they might possibly not be able 
to fulfill, a very excellent device, it seems to me, for not multiplying the chance of failures and consequently 
the necessity of explaining them. However, one need not believe that this was the reason for their caution. 

21 He says "spirit father and mother" because when he lived with the Thunderbirds he was, of course, a 
spirit. It is quite impossible to determine whether he means that he was a human being who was living 
among the spirits as a spirit or whether he was a spirit who had desired to become reincarnated as a human 
being. Originally, of course, there were no human beings, but only spirits, of whom a portion became 
permanently transformed into human beings. However, even very powerful shamans never claim more 
than three reincarnations, so that he can obviously not be referring to this primitive condition and is either 
referring to the fact that he is a Thunderbird residing temporarily on this earth, or — and this would be the 
more common form — a human being who lived for some time as a Thunderbird and then returned to earth. 
In the latter case one would expect him to obtain great blessings in his fast, and the fact that he did not 
and had nevertheless such great powers suggests that he is really a reincarnated Thunderbird. 

hadin] RELIGION 301 

When I was ready to go down among the human beings (i. e., when 
I became reincarnated) I was given the power to overcome my 
enemies in battle. And this I have actually done. All the Thunder- 
birds have small war-clubs. I also had one when I came. Whenever 
I went on the warpath I made myself a war-club and used that only 
in battle. I believe that I was invulnerable. Whenever I got tired 
of living among human beings I knew I could return to the Thunder- 
birds. I thought I knew all this and that I had these powers. For 
that reason when I ate peyote I still held on to these beliefs for a long 
time, thinking that when I returned to the Thunderbirds inasmuch 
as they are above it would be the same as going to everlasting life, as 
the Peyote people said. Finally, one night, at a peyote meeting, in 
thinking over these things, I resolved to give them up. I could, 
nevertheless, not bring myself to do it. Then the peyote began to 
strangle me; 22 at least I thought so. 

I also had the power of causing or stopping rain. All that I had 
to do was to offer tobacco to the Thunderbirds and make my request. 


Once a band of Winnebagoes used to give a feast to the bears. A 
bear had blessed one of their number with life and victory on the 

It was a spirit-bear that had blessed him. The man was fasting 
and the spirit blessed him and said, "Human, I bless you. In war 
you will be able to do as you wish (i. e., you will be able to kill an 
enemy whenever you desire). The first time you go on the war- 
path you will come back with the fourth war honor; the second time 
you go on a warpath you will return with the third war honor; the 
third time you will return with the second war honor; and the fourth 
time you will return with the first war honor and receive the first 
prize, which you are to give to your sister." This is what the man 
"dreamed." He believed it and was happy. Then the spirit-bear 
said again, "Human, I said that I blessed you and I really mean it. 
Earthmaker created me and gave me control of many things. 
Human, I bless you. As many years as Earthmaker bestowed upon 
you, that number I also bless you with. You will reach the limit of 
the years that were granted you. With my body I also bless you. 
Whenever you are hungry and wish to kill a bear, pour a pipeful of 
tobacco for me. If then you go out hunting, you will be successful. 
Don't abuse the bears. I am the chief of the bears. I bless you. 
Never before have I blessed a human being, as long as I have lived 
here. As long as your descendants live on this earth, so long will this 

» According to the Peyote people, if a member does not wish to do or tell something that he ought to, the 
peyote begins to strangle him and he finds no relief until he tells what is on his mind. 
33 This is really the "origin myth " of a bear feast. 


blessing last. Should your descendants perform the feasts in my 
honor well, I will bless them with life and victory on the warpath. 
Whenever you offer me tobacco I will smoke it. If you put on a 
kettle of food for me I will be thankful to you. When you put this 
kettle of food on the fire and offer me tobacco see to it that you keep 
away menstruating women . . . 24 


The daughter of Mank'erexka was fasting. She was his third 
daughter. She decided to fast during the summer. In her fast she 
was told that she was blessed and that on the following day a big deer 
would come across the waters for her to eat. Then she went to her 
father and said, "Father, I have been told to eat a big deer, and that 
to-morrow very early in the morning it will come out of the water." 
"It is good, my daughter. That deer has been given to you by the 
spirits and you may eat it." 

Early the next morning a big deer came across the waters. "Let 
it be," the people said (to her). "As soon as it comes near we will 
chase it." So they got into a boat and chased it. Then they killed 
it and gave it to some other person instead of the young woman. 
"My daughter, what are you going to do ? Are you going to eat the 
deer?" "No, father, if I were to eat the deer I would have killed it 
myself. But you people have killed it, so I will not eat any of it." 

Then she rubbed some charcoal on her face and went to the place 
of fasting and said, "What you (the spirits) gave me others have 
taken away and eaten." Early in the morning she looked around 
toward the water. She was very weak, for she had not eaten for a 
long time. Nine days she fasted. She was saying to herself, "As 
soon as I see a deer I will tell the others and call my father." In the 
morning she went out in search of the deer. She was so weak that 
she could hardly crawl along. But she managed to reach the edge 
of the waters and, as she looked across, she saw a deer coming. So she 
immediately went to her father and told him. He got up immediately 
and, taking a spear, jumped into a boat, pursued, and speared it. 
Then the girl said, "Now I will eat." So they called her uncles, 
Wolf and Elk. 26 When they came she put tobacco in their hands 
and said, "My uncles, I have offered tobacco to the different spirits 
and asked them to bless me. Now I am about to eat and I would 

M The rest of the story is a description of a bear feast and how, in spite of the warning of the spirit-bear 
two menstruating women took part in the feast; how, thereupon, two bears suddenly appeared and killed 
them, and how for that reason the bear feast was given up. 

■'' This account has been cast in a literary mold, but there is no doubt that it represents a real fasting 
experience. It is included here principally because it contains a number of extremely interesting features. 

26 Tlio^e are the names of individuals. 

radin] RELIGION 303 

like to have you put some food in your mouths." 27 "My niece, it is 
good. You have indeed made yourself 'pitiable.' You have 
thirsted yourself to death and I, too, pity you. If any spirit has 
blessed you, he has done so with good reason. I, too, once thirsted 
myself to death and the spirits blessed me with life. With this life, 
my niece, I also bless you. I will gladly partake of your feast." 
Thus spoke Wolf. Then Elk said, "My niece, I, too, was told to 
fast; and in my fast the spirits blessed me with the power of having 
complete control over all my actions. This dream (i. e., the bless- 
ings I obtained) I now give to you. 28 With these blessings you will 
be able to live as you desire. I will now gladly partake of your 

When they were through eating, she also ate, and then they all 
went home. After a while her father said to her, "My daughter, I 
am going to ask you a question. It is said that those who have 
been blessed might tell their dreams if they were asked." "All 
right," said the daughter, "I will tell you. Eight days I fasted and 
then the spirits blessed me. They told me that if at the end of four 
days I should place offerings south of the place known as the Big 
Eddy and situated down the stream the powers with which I had 
been blessed would be shown to me. The one who blessed me was 
the chief of the Wak £ ai n tcu n , the spirits who live in the earth. He 
said that Earthmaker had created him and given him great power; 
that he had placed him in charge of 'life.' In four days he told 
me, 'I will appear to you. The day on which I appear to you will 
be a perfect day. Whatever you wish to make for yourself, you may 
do. You will never be in want of anything, for you can make imple- 
ments for yourself out of my body. With these I bless you, for you 

37 The feast referred to here is the feast called Ha n daginantc Wadu-itcanena n orfaster'sfeast. It is given 
whenever a man or woman who has been blessed is about to break his fast. At this feast it is customary, 
according ti s:>me inf irmants, for the faster to narrate his blessing. However, thesefeasts have now been 
discontinued for so long a time that it is extremely difficult to obtain any accurate information. 

38 The transference of certain blessings is very common, but, to my knowledge, it is rarely done in tliis 
manner. As a rule i f a person was unable to obtain blessings, he sought to offset this handicap in life by 
purchasing supernatural powers from some of his more successful fellow-men. However, these powers 
seem to be connected almost exclusively with medicines. That blessings such as those bestowed upon 
individuals during their fast, such as long life, invincibility, hunting powers, etc., were transferred, does 
not seem probable, although it is, of course, possible. The writer was told of a number of cases where this 
seemed to have been the case, but on closer study it was conclusively shown that no real transference had 
taken place, but that in those instances where a person had said, " I transfer this and that dream to you," 
the transference had no validity unless the individual to whom the dream had been bequeathed actually 
fasted and obtained the same dream. An individual would in such a case always be careful to select as 
his "dream-heir" one who would in all likelihood obtain the same dream. It is only in this sense that 
one might actually speak of a transference. In those instances where a man is blessed with supernatural 
powers that are to extend to all his posterity thisis what is really meant, namely, an infinite repetition of 
the same blessing, one that has, however, become so certain within definite families that it might be con- 
sidered automatic. 

304 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

have made yourself suffer very much -" and my heart has been rent 
with pity for you. I bless you, therefore, with life, and this you 
may transmit to your descendants.' All this, father, the spirit said 
to me." "My daughter, it is not good. These spirits are trying to 
deceive you. Do not accept it. They will never bestow upon you 
what they have promised." "All right, father, but let me at least 
give them the offerings of deerskin, red feathers, and tobacco. I 
will not accept these blessings, for you forbid it." 

Then after four days she took her offerings to the place where she 
was to meet the spirit and told him that her father had forbidden 
her to accept the blessing. "'You are not a good spirit,' he said." 
"He is right, for one side of my body is not good but the other is," 
answered the spirit. "That is the way in which Earthmaker 
created me." Thus the wak'ai n tcu° spoke. 30 Then the woman 
looked toward the lake and she saw a tree standing in the water. 
The spirit climbed upon this tree and wTapped himself around it. 
Then he took a tooth and shot the tree and knocked it down. 31 
"This is what you would have been able to do," said the spirit. 
"The people would have respected you very much. You would have 
been able to cure weak or nervous people. But you did not listen 
to what I told you. You refused it." 



A man fasted and was finally blessed. When he was to be blessed 
a spirit came after him. He came from the south. "Human," he 
said, "I was told to come after you." Then the man looked at him 
and he saw that it was a man speaking to him. So he went along 
with him. He did not go far before he came to a village and in the 
middle of this village he saw a long lodge. There he was taken and 
there he was blessed. The one that was in charge of the village 
blessed him first. 

"I bless you with victory in wars. Whenever you go on the war- 
path and when you are about to make the rush, do not forget me. 
If you pour some tobacco for me and then fight, the enemy will not 
be able to kill you. I am in charge of wars." 

29 When people are blessed by the Water-spirits they make medicines from the bones of the spirits. 
They are also supposed to make what the Winnebagoes call "implements." What is actually meant by 
this term it is very difficult to state precisely. But it seems that they meant sharpened bones, etc., used 
in connection with the administration of magical medicines in painting the body, and in connection with 
shamanistic practices of all sorts. It is not common for other spirits beside the Water-spirits to bless an 
individual with the use of "his bones," but this is occasionally met with. In the trickster cycle the trick- 
ster, in one of his escapades, is squeezed into the skull of an elk, and he persuades the people that he is an 
elk-spirit and blesses them and permits them to use his bones. 

30 This characteristic would seem to identify the wak'ai n tcu n with the disease-giver , although it is possible 
that a number of Winnebago deities had such characteristics. 

» This is a symbolistic representation of the powers she was given. 


So he spoke to him. " Thus will your life be. Look at yourself." 
So he looked at himself and his hair was Yery white. As one who 
had attained a full life he saw himself. "All that are within this 
lodge bless you," the spirit continued. "You have come to the 
Buffalo village." This he was told, so he looked at the lodge full 
of people. And those whom he had seen up to that time as human 
beings now were buffaloes. 

"Human, they bless you is why they went after you. Human, 
if anyone is weighted with life and a reasonable amount of tobacco 
is given, such a one would be able to do the following": 

A dead man was placed in the middle of the lodge, and all of 
those in the lodge tried their power, but none succeeded in restoring 
him to life. At last the spirits let the man try it. So he tried. 
When he arose, all those in the lodge began to make sounds and 
when he began to exert his powers he sang buffalo songs. When 
he was through with these songs, he walked toward the dead man, 
in the middle of the lodge. He blew on him once, then again and 
again. Now the man began to open his eyes. Then he blew on 
him for the fourth time and he caused him to rise. 

"Human, you have overcome all of us," said the buffalo chief. 
"Human, thus shall you ever do to people. If anyone is sick and 
the. proper offerings are made to you, send some tobacco to our 
council lodge and I will remember you. You must send all the 
tobacco that is offered to you. I will remember it. This council 
lodge is given to you and to your posterity as long as it lasts. As 
long as the earth lasts that long your posterity will have occasions 
on which to pour tobacco. Whatever blessing they ask, we will 
bestow upon them whde we smoke their tobacco. As many as are 
the kettles that they offer to us, we will never accept one without 
giving them a blessing. We are in control of wars ; the Earthmaker 
has given us control of them, and if you ask for it we will give it to 
you. And if you ask for life we will bestow that blessing upon you 
and accept your offerings." 

They also blessed him with plants for medicine. This is the way 
they did it. Each of the spirits caused him to see a plant and to 
know the purposes to which it could be put. They told him to make 
offerings to the plants whenever he gave a feast, so that the plants 
would become more powerful. They also blessed him with a drum. 
"This you must beat when you give a feast and it will tell us your 
wants. We will understand the drum. We will make your drum 
holy for you, and you must treat it as such," they told him . "You 
must keep it holy. Whenever you are on the warpath you must 
take it with you and it will help you. Human, your enemies you will 
overcome; your weapons only will be sharp if your posterity will 
never give up this ceremony." So they spoke to him. "Whenever 

306 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

you -give this ceremony, no matter what blessing you ask, we will 
bestow it upon you, when you offer tobacco. A flute you must also 
keep holy. You must make it yourself, so that it remains sacred." 
They also told him to make a war bundle. The Buffalo chief told 
him this. So he made one out of a buffalo head and a buffalo tail. 
These he made sacred so that people might offer tobacco to them. 
This was done long ago and yet they still do it. 

Then they told him that four differently colored buffaloes would 
bless him — a white one, a black one, a red one, and a yellow one- 
After a while he was blessed the second time. This time the spirits 
came after him from above and took him to the home of a spirit 
buffalo. This is the one that blessed him. 

"Earthmaker has placed me here," said the spirit, "and he has 
given me control of many things. Grandson, I bless you. I am in 
control of war power, and if you ever go on the warpath don't forget 
me. If you pour a pipeful of tobacco for me before you go into 
battle, the enemy will only be able to shoot your shadow." Thus he 
spoke to him. "I will take your body, and in that way it will 
only be your shadow that the enemy will try to shoot with all their 
strength. You will be without a body, and how then can they hit 
you, being without a body?" This is what the spirit told him. So, 
therefore, whenever he went on the warpath it was impossible to 
kill him. For the spirit had said, "I am also in control of life and 
I will give you your life back, that you may control it. The spirits 
have given you a tobacco-pouring feast and whenever you give it, 
remember that I wish to smoke also. When you pour tobacco for 
me I will grant you whatever you ask. If you ask for war, or if you 
ask for life, I will accept your tobacco. As long as this earth lasts 
I will smoke your tobacco and accept the kettle of food that you 
place on the fire for me." 

Thus he spoke to him. The man, however, still kept on fasting, 
and finally the spirits came for him again. There in the middle of 
the earth lived a buffalo-ghost. There he went and the buffalo- 
ghost said to him: "I also bless you. You were given counsel and 
I who am a buffalo also counsel you. I am in control of many tilings. 
Earthmaker placed me here to live and he put me in control of many 
tilings. Human, look at me," he said. The man looked at him. 
Then he saw that his body was covered with flattened bullets. ' ' Thus 
you will be," said the ghost to him. "It will be impossible to kill 
you, and you will attain to old age, and when you get tired of living 
you may do as you please. I give you the privilege of controlling 
yourself." Then he gave him a song and he caused him to see a 
war prize, a wampum. After a while he spoke to Mm as follows : 

" I also will always smoke at your feast, and if a kettle is ever put 
on the fire for me, I will be thankful to you. Whatever the people 

kadin] RELIGION 307 

ask of me I will always take it into consideration. If they ask for 
war or if they ask for life, remember that I have been given control 
of these tilings." Thus spoke the buffalo-ghost. There he received 
all the things with which he was blessed. 

In the course of his life he made use of all his blessings. His first 
victory occurred when he went on the warpath for the first time- 
He had joined a war party and a fight occurred toward the evening 
of the same day. As he was walking along he suddenly saw a gun 
directed against him at close range. He jumped right and left and 
in that way escaped being shot. Then the enemy tried to capture 
the one who had been blessed by the buffalo, holding him tightly by 
the arm. But he struck the enemy twice against an object and tore 
his stomach open. Then he walked away. As he was going he 
thought to himself, "Why did I not kill him outright?" So he went 
back with the intention of doing this, but as he approached the man 
the latter directed a gun against him. Thinking, however, that it 
was not loaded, he did not dodge, and he was shot. His breast was 
filled with shot and he was killed. But he did not remain dead long. 
He. soon came to consciousness and sat up, uttering sounds like a 

Then he remembered that a buffalo ghost had blessed him. He had 
indeed said to him, "When you are about to fight do not forget me." 
He remembered this, so he exerted his power. All the blood that 
was in his stomach he vomited forth and felt better. Just then one 
of his relatives came along and asked him, "How have you been getting 
along?" and he answered, "I have killed one. There lies his body. 
Take his scalp for me." "All right," said his relative, and did what 
he had been told, and brought it to him, saving, "Here it is." A 
horse was there also, and this the relative likewise led away and 
started back to (the camp). When he met the war leader, the latter 
asked him, "How have you been making out?" He answered, "I 
give you these trophies," and handed the leader the scalp and the 
horse. "Ah, it is good," he said, and put a wampum belt on him. 
Then the war leader sang a song and started to run, and the buffalo- 
blessed one reminded himself of his blessing and went back also. 
He was all shot to pieces. But he did not die, for he had been 
blessed with power, so how could he die ? The buffalo ghost he had 
seen with flattened bullets in his belt had fulfilled his promise, and 
the wampum belt that he had seen in his fasting had now become true. 

He went to many wars after this, but he was never harmed. He 
doctored many people and caused them to have more life. After 
a while he made a war bundle consisting of a flute that he had con- 
structed himself, a buffalo tail, and a buffalo head. Then he made 
offerings to them. These many things he made sacred. Since then 
buffalo feasts have been given. 

308 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 


I fasted all the time. We moved back to a place where all the 
leaders used to give their feasts. Near the place where we lived 
there were three lakes and a black hawk's nest. Right near the tree 
where the nest was located they built a lodge and the war-bundle 
that we possessed was placed in the lodge. We were to pass the 
night there, my older brother and myself. It was said that if anyone 
fasted at such a place for four nights he would always be blessed 
with victory and the power to cure the sick. All the spirits would 
bless him. 

"The first night spent there one imagined himself surrounded by 
spirits whose whisperings were heard outside of the lodge," they 
said. The spirits would even whistle. I would be frightened and 
nervous, and if I remained there I would be molested by large mon- 
sters, fearful to look upon. Even (the bravest) might be frightened, 
I was told. Should I, however, get through that night, I would on 
the following night be molested by ghosts whom I would hear speak- 
ing outside. They would say things that might cause me to run 
away. Toward morning they would even take my blanket away from 
me. They would grab hold of me and drive me out of the lodge, 
and they would not stop until the sun rose. If I was able to endure 
the third night, on the fourth night I would really be addressed by 
spirits, it was said, who would bless me, saying, "I bless you. We 
had turned you over to the (monsters, etc.) and that is why they 
approached you, but you overcame them and now they will not be 
able to take you away. Now you may go home, for with victory and 
long life we bless you and also with the power of healing the sick. 
Nor shall you lack wealth (literally, 'people's possessions'). So go 
home and eat, for a large war-party is soon to fall upon you and as soon 
as the sun rises in the morning they will give the war whoop, and if 
you do not go home now they wdl kill you." 

Thus the spirits would speak to me. However, if I did not do the 
bidding of this particular spirit, then another one would address me 
and say very much the same thing. So the spirits would speak until 
the break of day, and just before sunrise a man in warrior's regalia 
would come and peep in. He would be a scout. Then I would 
surely think a war party had come upon me, I was told. 

Then another spirit would come and say, "Well, grandson, I have 
taken pity upon you and I bless you with all the good things that 
the earth holds. Go home now, for the war-party is about to rush 
upon you." And if I then went home, as soon as the sun rose the 
war-whoop would be given. The members of the war-party would 
give the war-whoop all at the same time. They would rush upon me 
and capture me and after the fourth one had counted coup, then 

radin] RELIGION 309 

they would say, "Now then, grandson, this we did to teach you. 
Thus you shall act. You have completed your fasting." Thus they 
would talk to me, I was told. This war-party was composed entirely 
of spirits, I was told, spirits from the heavens and from the earth; 
indeed, all the spirits that exist would be there. These would all 
bless me. They also told me that it would be a very difficult thing 
to accomplish this particular fasting. 

So there I fasted, at the black hawk's nest where a lodge had been 
built for me. The first night I stayed there I wondered when things 
would happen; but nothing took place. The second night, rather 
late in the night, my father came and opened the war-bundle and 
taking a gourd out, began to sing. I stood beside him without any 
clothing on me except the breech-clout, and holding tobacco in each 
hand I uttered my cry to the spirits as my father sang. He sang 
war-bundle songs and he wept as he sang. I also wept as I uttered 
my cry to the spirits. When he was finished he told me some sacred 
stories, and then went home. 

When I found myself alone I began to think that something ought 
to happen to me soon, yet nothing occurred, so I had to pass another 
day there. On the third night I was still there. My father visited 
me again and we repeated what we had done the night before. In 
the morning, just before sunrise, I littered my cry to the spirits. 
The fourth night found me still there. Again my father came and 
we did the same things, but in spite of it all, I experienced nothing 
unusual. Soon another day dawned upon us. That morning I 
told my elder brother that I had been blessed by spirits and that I 
was going home to eat. However, I was not telling the truth. I 
was hungry and I also knew that on the following night we were 
going to have a feast and that I would have to utter my cry to the 
spirits again. I dreaded that. So I went home. When I got there 
I told my people the story I had told my brother; that I had been 
blessed and that the spirits had told me to eat. I was not speaking 
the truth, yet they gave me the food that is carefully prepared for 
those who have been blessed. Just then my older brother came 
home and they objected to his return, for he had not been blessed. 
However, he took some food and ate it. 

That night we gave our feast. There, however, our pride received 
a fall, for although it was supposedly given in our honor, we were 
placed on one side (of the main participants). After the kettles of 
food had been put on twice, it became daylight. 


Once a man said, "Why do you always make offerings and feasts 
to the Disease-giver? What benefit has he ever been to you that 
you do it ? If I were ever to see him, I would kick him off the earth. 
The only thing he can give you is disease." 

310 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

In the fall of the year in which the man said this the people, as 
usual, went out hunting and the man got lost and was forced to 
camp out in the wilderness overnight. So he built a fire and sat 
alongside of it. Suddenly he saw a man coming toward him. As 
soon as the stranger came up to him he took a seat on the opposite 
side of the fireplace. Then the stranger said, "I am the one whom 
you threatened to lack off this earth whenever you met him. You, 
furthermore, boasted that I could not kill you." Then he pointed 
his finger in a line with the man's heart. But the man remained 
seated near the fireplace without moving. Then he did this again, 
yet the man still remained in his former position. Then the third 
time he did it and said, "In the center of the heart." The man, 
however, remained seated just as before. Then the stranger 
exclaimed, "Who are you anyhow?" and pointed his finger at him. 
But the man did not move. Then the stranger (Disease-giver) 
pleaded with the man to die so that it might not be said that he had 
failed in the " mission" for which he had been created. He promised 
the man that if he would oblige him and die he could come back to 
earth again within four days. Finally the man consented. He 
went home and told his folks that he was going to a certain place to 
die for the space of four days and that they should, under no con- 
ditions, go to see him there, for in that case he would surely die. 
Then he dressed himself in his best clothes and went to the place 
where he was to meet Disease-giver. (He rested his head against a 
tree and died.) However, on the third day his wife could not resist 
the desire to see him, so she went to the place where her husband 
was leaning against the tree. Then he really died. After his death 
a red spot was \ isible upon his forehead. 32 

Methods of Bringing the Spirits into Relation with Man 

Fasting. — Fasting has been discussed before. There are two things 
to be remembered in connection with it — first, that it is a method of 
superinducing a religious feeling; and, secondly, that this religious 
feeling in turn is bound up with the desire for preserving and per- 
petuating socio-economic life values. Among the Winnebago the 
desirability of the conditions superinduced by fasting lay not so 
much in the emotional pleasure it gave, although this is not to be 
underestimated, as in the belief which the shamans had developed, 
that such a state was essential for placing people in a position 
enabling them to overcome certain crises in life, which it was reason- 
able to believe might take place. 

Mental concentration. — To the religiously inclined Winnebago the 
efficacy of a blessing, of a ceremony, etc., depended upon what they 

" This is not supposed to be a myth hut the real experience of a man named James Smith. 

kadin] RELIGION 311 

called ''concentrating one's mind" upon the spirits, upon the details 
of the ritual, or upon the precise purpose to be accomplished. All 
other thoughts were to be rigidly excluded, they believed. This was 
the insistent admonition of the Winnebago elders to the youth who was 
fasting. He was to center his mind completely on the spirits, for his 
blessing would be in direct proportion to the power of concentration 
he was capable of. The Winnebago believed that the relation between 
man and the spirits was established by this concentration and that 
no manner of care in ritualistic detail could take its place. Very fre- 
quently failure on a warpath or lack of efficacy of a ritual was 
attributed to the fact that the Indian or Indians had been lacking in 
the intensity of their "concentration." 

Offerings and sacrifices. — The theory of offering and sacrifice held 
by the Winnebago has been discussed before. To the important 
deities offerings were made at the great ceremonies. These offerings 
consisted of tobacco preeminently, buckskins, and whatever the 
particular spirit was supposed to like. The animal spirits were 
given their favorite foods — honey to the bear, for instance. Dogs 
were offered to Disease-giver at the war-bundle feasts. Whether 
human sacrifices ever existed it is difficult to say. In the tale of 
Wegi'ceka a child is offered to Earthmaker, and there is reason to 
believe that this may represent a survival of human sacrifice. 

Tobacco could be offered at any time and was so offered to the vari- 
ous genii loci whenever an individual passed their precincts. 

Prayers. — For examples of prayers reference must be made to the 
descriptions of the ceremonies. Among the Winnebago, and doubt- 
less everywhere else, the objects of the prayer are always the socio- 
economic life values. What in these values is stressed depends 
upon the ambitions of the individual, and consequently it happens 
that individuals may pray for abstract blessings or ideal objects, 
although this is rare. Prayers are undoubtedly always accompanied 
by a religious feeling when made by the religious man, but frequently 
become mere formulas in the hands of the lay Indian. 

The Folkloristic Concepts 

Tin concept of evil. — It is extremely difficult to understand exactly 
what the Winnebago concept of evil is. They undoubtedly postu- 
late the existence of evil and they have theoretically a host of evil 
spirits, the waxop'i'ni cicilc. Youths will be warned not to fast at certain 
times and children will carefully be kept at home after dark for fear 
of the evil spirits. Yet in spite of all this, no even fairly definite idea 
of what these evil spirits are and what they look like can be obtained. 
One almost gets the impression that the notion of evil spirits belongs 
to an older strata of Winnebago beliefs and that what we find to-day 

312 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

is but a faint survival of former times. The older myths are full of 
references to the evil spirits, and the cosmological myths represent 
the world as infested with evil spirits who are on the point of exter- 
minating the human race until the culture heroes come to the rescue. 
It would almost seem as if, from a purely matter-of-fact point of 
view, these early culture heroes had destroyed all the evil spirits. 
Certainly they are not regarded as of great consequence, for if they 
were we ought to find a certain number of prayers addressed to them 
asking them not to harm anyone. They seem to be mere bogies, 
personifications of fear, and that is perhaps why they are so intimately 
connected with darkness. 

At the present time the vast majority of Winnebago ascribe evil, 
in so far as they explain it at all, to three causes — either to some 
failure on their part to perform a rite in the prescribed way, to 
the fact that they have not invoked the spirits for protection (i. e., 
attempted to pass through life without the aid of the spirits), or to the 
evil machinations of other men. Often one derives the impression 
that they accept evil and do not try to explain it. It seems to be a 
trait characteristic of the Winnebago, and perhaps characteristic of 
other North American tribes, that explanations are developed for 
the positive aspects of things. Certainly it would require some 
thought on the part of a Winnebago to explain why a war party 
that had, in the opinion of the chief, all the necessary requirements 
for victory, should nevertheless be defeated. He would doubtless 
find some reason, after a while, but it would be an afterthought and 
would probably vary from individual to individual. In some cases 
lack of success would be ascribed to the fact that an individual had 
been misled by an evil spirit, but this is clearly a secondary explana- 
tion because the individual, when questioned, would admit that he had 
no way of telling whether this was so until he had failed in some- 
thing. We base this statement on an actual instance. 

There is some evidence to show that there may have originally 
existed among the Winnebago a belief that the spirits were neither 
good nor bad; that they could be either at different times. In two 
notable instances, that of Disease-giver and Water-spirit, this is true 
at the present time. The former deity is the only one to whom 
prayers are addressed beseeching him not to present to man his 
death-dealing side. 

In the myths we find a definite incarnation of evil in the case of 
a spirit called Herecgu'nina. The meaning of this word as given by 
a Winnebago, and which seems to be justified, is "he whose existence 
is doubtful." If this is an old Winnebago word it would confirm 
the view advanced above, that the Winnebago were not very much 
concerned about the evil spirits. There is, however, a possibility 
that Herecgu'nina is, in part, a post-Columbian development due 

badin] RELIGION 313 

to Christian influence. The one place where he plays an important 
role, the myth of the twins, shows definite indications of European 
influence. The only thing that militates against such an assumption 
is the fact that there does not seem to be any particular reason why 
the existence of a chief evil spirit should have been doubted, even 
if we were to grant that Christian influence extended the belief. The 
French of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had a very definite 
idea of the devil and made it a point to tell the Indians that all their 
former habits were due to deceptions the devil had practiced upon 
them. To-day such an answer is the first that a Christianized Winne- 
bago or a member of the new Peyote cult will give an ethnologist. 
Perhaps, after all, it is a very old Winnebago conception, a confir- 
mation of the view promulgated before, that in former times the 
'Winnebago had a very definite conception of evil spirits taking an 
active part in the affairs of man to his detriment. The figure of 
Herecgu'nina is well defined and it would be ridiculous, in our 
opinion, to believe that the shamans would have done anything to 
develop it. We have clear indications of what the shamans were 
trying to do with this conception. They were attempting to bring 
it into some relation with the concept of Earthmaker, a beneficent 
All-Father, and to do so they were even willing to claim that 
Herecgu'nina was the first attempt of Earthmaker to create a spirit ; 
that Earthmaker was dissatisfied with his work and threw it away; 
that then Herecgu'nina watched Earthmaker create spirits and imi- 
tated him, the evil spirits representing these imitations. The 
shamans, we should expect, would have done all in their power to 
lessen the importance of Herecgu'nina, even to deny his existence, and, 
in this connection, it may be of significance that one Winnebago 
interpreted his name to mean, " He-who-seems-to-exist-but-who- 

Whatever the case may be, this much is clear, that in the twin 
myth he is represented as a deity as powerful as Earthmaker, whom 
Earthmaker can not destroy; upon whom the twins play jokes but 
whom they cannot really harm. 

The concept of disease. — Disease is rarely ascribed to the spirits. 
Like lack of success, it is regarded as a fact of existence, and when 
it is explained it is believed to be due either to the carelessness of 
man in trying to pass through life without the aid of the spirits or 
to the evil machinations of other men. 

The deity known as Disease-giver is the one exception to the rule 
that the Winnebago spirits do not directly cause disease, for he is 
sometimes described as scattering death broadcast over the earth. 

The concepts of death, after-life, and reincarnation. — Death is rarely, 
if ever, ascribed to the spirits. It likewise is a fact of existence and, 
186S23 — 22 21 


when explained, is laid at the door of some evil man. Death at old 
age is clearly taken for granted. Where explanations are advanced, 
they are always for the deaths of individuals before their time, or 
at least before what the Winnebago consider their time. 

The Winnebago look at death in two ways — as being, first, a dif- 
ferent kind of consciousness from that possessed in life, and, secondly, 
as being a cessation of certain kinds of intercourse between individuals. 
Death is regarded as a "stumbling," after which the individual goes 
right on as if nothing had happened. He does not know he is dead 
until he sees his body. The individual is divested of all his corporeal 
investment and desires. In the myth of the journey of the soul to 
spirit land the ghost is not entirely a spirit until the old woman 
whom he meets brains him, thus, by destroying the seat of con- 
sciousness, depriving him of all corporeality and carnal desires. 
The ghost then becomes a spirit, in some cases of the same type as 
the true spirits. 

Although the Winnebago know that after death they will never see 
people again, they do not feel that all kinds of intercou~e have 
ceased. The deceased may appear to a living individual in dreams 
or visions; he may talk to him or make his presence felt in a multi- 
tude of ways; and since, as we pointed out before, the test of exist- 
ence is the consciousness of some kind of contact, such intercourse 
may be of a very intense type. 

This lack of a feeling of discontinuity between the living and the 
dead is emphasized by the Winnebago concept of after-life and 

After-life is but life on earth, only idealized. Everything is pro- 
vided. All carnal desires have been done away with and men and 
women spend their time in one long round of enjoyment and bliss. 
Something of the fear of ghosts lingers here, however, for when living 
individuals try to reach spirit land — and a number of such instances 
are mentioned in the myths, particularly in the origin myth of the 
Ghost dance — these spirits are likely to be harmful. 

By the belief in reincarnation the Winnebago entirely bridge the 
gulf between life and death. In other words, we seem to have a 
cycle consisting of life (consciousness), after-life (unconsciousness 
from a corporeal viewpoint), and life (reincarnation). To live again 
is the greatest desire of the Winnebago, and practically every secret 
society holds this out as the lure to the outsider. If you join the 
Medicine Lodge you will become reincarnated, they say, and the other 
ritualistic organizations make the same claim. But not only by 
joining an organization is it possible to be reincarnated; if you live 
an upright life, if you die on the battlefield, reincarnation also awaits 

badin] RELIGION 315 

The author was fortunate enough to obtain an account by a well- 
known Winnebago shaman of his various reincarnations. 

T. C.'s account of his two reincarnations. — I once lived in a party 
that numbered about 20 camps. When I had grown up to be a lad, 
although one not large enough to handle a gun, a war party attacked 
us and killed us all. I did not know, however, that I had been killed. 
I thought that I was running about as usual until I saw a heap of 
bodies on the ground and mine among them. No one was there to 
bury us, so there we lay and rotted. 

I (i. e., my ghost) was taken to the place where the sun sets (the 
west). There I lived with an old couple. This place (spirit land) 
is an excellent place and the people have the best of times. If you 
desire to go anywhere, all that you have to do is to wish yourself 
there and you reach it. While at that place I thought I would come 
back to earth again, and the old man with whom I was staying said 
to me, "My son, did you not speak about wanting to go to the earth 
again?" I had, as a matter of fact, only thought of it, yet he knew 
what I wanted. Then he said to me, "You can go, but you must 
ask the chief first." 

Then I went and told the chief of the village of my desire, and he 
said to me, "You may go and obtain your revenge (upon the people 
who killed your relatives and you)." 

Then I was brought down to earth. I did not enter a woman's 
womb, but I was taken into a room. There I remained, conscious 
at all times. One day I heard the noise of little children outside and 
some other sounds, so I thought I would go outside. Then it seemed 
to me that I went through a door, but I was really being born again 
from a woman's womb. As I walked out I was struck with the sudden 
rush of cold air and I began to cry. 

At that place I was brought up and I was taught to fast a great 
deal. Afterwards I did nothing but go to war, and I certainly 
took revenge for the death of myself and my relatives, that being 
the purpose for which I had come to earth. 

There I lived until I died of old age. All at once my bones became 
unjointed, my ribs fell in, and I died the second time. I felt no more 
pain at death, then, than I had felt the first time. 

This time I was buried in the manner used at that time. I was 
wrapped in a blanket and then laid in the grave. Sticks were placed 
in the grave first. There in the grave I rotted. I watched the people 
as they buried me. 

As I was lying there, some one said to me, "Come, let us go away." 
So then we went toward the setting of the sun. There we came to a 
village where we met all the dead. I was told that I would have to 
stop there for four nights, but in reality I stayed there four years. 
The people enjoy themselves there. They have all sorts of dances 

316 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

of a lively kind all the time. From that place we went up to the 
place where Earthmaker lived and there I saw him and talked to him, 
face to face, even as I am talking to you now. I saw the spirits too, 
and, indeed, I was like one of them. 

From that place I came to this earth again for the third time, and 
here I am. I am going through the same that I knew before. 

The concept of the soul. — This concept is not clearly developed as a 
separate entity among the Winnebago on account of their strong 
belief in reincarnation. Their notion of the soul is merged in that 
of the noncorporeal ghost who eventully comes to earth again. 

The Cosmological Ideas 

The cosmological ideas are of two types — those that are clearly of 
a folkloristic origin and those that have been developed by shaman- 
istic reinterpretations. To the former class belong all the creative 
acts of the tricksters and culture heroes, like Wdk'djuyk'agd and Hare, 
and to the latter the systematic creation of the world by Earth- 

What is probably the oldest form of the Winnebago cosmological 
notions is that concerned with the general destruction of the bad 
spirits by Hare and by such spirits as the Thunderbirds, Morning 
Star, etc., and the removal of obstacles. Often the present character- 
istics of the earth are formed accidentally, as, for instance, the origin 
of the valleys, mountains, and lakes, as given in the myth of "Holy 
One." Even in the thoroughly remodeled general origin myth, 
Earthmaker is not conceived of as having purposely created the world. 

The Winnebago believed that there were four worlds, one beneath 
the other, presided over, respectively, by Earthmaker, Trickster 
(Wak'dfuylc'aga), Turtle, and Hare. Hare rules over the world 
on which man lives. There seems to be some confusion as to who 
rules over the last earth, because it is also definitely stated that 
Traveler (a Water-spirit) is in control of it. 

Part III 


The Winnebago had four types of ceremonies: clan ceremonies, 
in which only members of the clan could participate; religious so- 
cieties, for which only people who had obtained blessings from the 
same spirits were eligible; the Medicine Dance, in which only initiated 
individuals could take part; and a semipermanent organization like 
the TwJc'ixe're dance, in which only individuals who were returning 
from a war party and had counted coup could participate. In this 
grouping we do not include ordinary feasts, such as the feasts con- 
nected with different medicines and the pleasure dances. 

Every clan seems to have had a clan war-bundle feast (often called 
winter feast) and also a specific clan feast. We have reason to suspect 
that the war-bundle feasts were originally private feasts given by 
the owner of a war bundle. Then as the war bundles became of great 
importance to the clan to which the owners belonged, they were after 
a while regarded as clan possessions. But even at the present time, 
while many would contend that the war bundle belonged to the clan 
as such and could not be alienated, everyone realizes that it is the 
property, whether held in trust or not, of a certain individual, and 
that he can, up to a certain point, do what he wishes with it. For a 
detailed analysis of a winter or war-bundle feast see page 427. 

The clan feasts were specific feasts at which offerings were made to 
the clan animal. A good description of one is that of the Snake 
clan on page 325. 

Perhaps the most characteristic ceremonies of the Winnebago were 
those of secret societies in which membership was dependent upon 
blessings from one and the same spirit. There were at least four of 
these — the society of those who have been blessed by the night spirits, 
the society of those who have been blessed by the buffaloes, the society 
of those who have been blessed by ghosts, and the society of those 
who have been blessed by grizzly bears. 

In order to prevent any misunderstanding with regard to the buffalo 
societies, it might be well to point out that there were three of them — 


318 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

the Buffalo clan feast, the society of those who have been blessed by 
the buffaloes, and the society of those who wear buffalo headdresses; 
the last apparently of Sioux origin. 

The medicine dance has been described by the author in some 
detail, 1 and a general description will be found on page 350. 

Of the semipermanent societies, the hoik' ice' re dance is given after 
every successful war party by those four individuals who have 
counted coup. It has only a temporary existence, for it ceases to be 
an organization as soon as each individual performance is over. Its 
main purpose seems to be the desire to transfer to the victor, from the 
skulls or the scalps of the slain enemies obtained on that particular 
warpath, the valor and prowess for which the slain person was noted. 

In addition to the above ceremonies there were a number of pleasure 
and miscellaneous dances that are described on page 379. 

There were apparently a number of very important feasts connected 
with certain medicines, the principal one of which was the Black 
Earth Medicine feast; but unfortunately no account of this was 
obtained, owing to lack of time. 

Ceremonies Associated With the Clans 

the clan feasts 


Introduction. — The chief feast, or, as it may more properly be 
called, the feast of the bird clans, is generally given once a year, 
sometimes in late spring. It was also given on certain other occasions 
for specific purposes. At the present time it is given by the members 
of the Thunderbird clan and the prevalence of the appellation 
"chief feast" would seem to indicate that it was at all times the 
feast of the Thunderbird clan. We ought then to expect to find 
clan feasts of the other members of the uwjgeregi division, namely, 
of the Warrior, Eagle, and Pigeon clans. No such feasts are given 
to-day, however, and the members of these latter three clans always 
speak of the chief or bird feast as their specific clan feast. As such 
it is also regarded by the members of the ma n negi division. 

In the total absence of historical data it is quite useless to specu- 
late about the significance of one feast sufficing for four clans, where 
in strict analogy to the feasts of the other clans we would expect to 
find one for each clan; yet the idea that naturally presents itself is 
that we are in reality dealing with one clan that has become split up 
into four subclans. Such a view has been expressed by J. O. Dorsey, 3 
but the data upon which he based his opinion seem to us highly 

1 The Ritual and Significance of the Winnebago Medicine Dance, Journal of American Folklore, vol. 
xxrv, No. xcn, 1911. 
•Siouan Sociology, 15th Ann. Rept. Bur. Amer. Eton., p. 241. 


unsatisfactory. Apparently his statement is based upon the occur- 
rence of four mythical ancestors. The similarity of the Winnebago 
social organization with that of the Dhegiha and Tciwere branches of 
the Siouan family, in which subclans seem to be found, appears to 
have influenced Dorsey considerably in making this assumption. 

It is true that in their account of origins the Warrior clan speak of 
themselves as having sprung from the second of the birds mentioned 
in the origin myth of the Thunderbird clan and this statement permits 
us to infer that the other two clans bear a similar relationship to those 
four ancestral birds who, according to legend, alit on a tree near Red 
Banks. But this is, of course, merely a mythical account, and the 
data imbedded in the clan myths must be used with the greatest cau- 
tion in so far as they can be expected to throw any light on early 
conditions of social organization. 

All that we can say now is that the chief feast will have to be 
considered as belonging to all the four bird clans. But this is not 
to be interpreted to mean that an amalgamation of four histori- 
cally distinct feasts has taken place, nor that, on the other hand, the 
four clans were originally subdivisions of one unit. 

The Chief feast. — Informant, member of the Thunderbird clan: 4 
The chief of the tribe is at the head of all the different bands and 
groups of people that exist among the Winnebago. As chief he has 
full charge of them. All the others are, so to say, his attendants and 
servants. When his people wish anything they go to him and ask 
him to obtain a blessing for them. Thus all the members of the 
tribe, the children as well as the mature men, go to him, and to help 
them the chief gives the feast known as the chief feast. He sacrifices 
to Earthmaker, and all who are present offer up some little gift in 
thankfulness, as this is a thing of supreme sacredness. All those 
who are present — the children, the women, the middle-aged, and the 
old men — in fact, whosoever attends the feast, see to it that they eat 
some of the food distributed. 

As this feast is given in honor of their chief, all the members of 
the tribe, but most particularly the members of the Bird clan, pre- 
pare large offerings, so that there should be abundant food to eat. 
They bring all kinds of food — different kinds of meat, different kinds 
of vegetables, all manner of berries — in short, all sorts of edibles. 
These are to be offered to the spirits, and by means of these offer- 
ings they expect that their life will be filled with all that is good. 
It is to obtain these blessings that the feast is given. 

When his people get sick, when it appears that an epidemic is 
likely, then the chief also gives the chief feast. It is for the purpose 

« Unfortunately, it was not possible to obtain a full and detailed account of this feast. As in type, how- 
ever, all the clan feasts are identical, this deficiency can be made up in part by comparing it with those 
feasts like the snake, bear, and buffalo that have been obtained in considerable detail. 

320 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

of stopping the spread of the sickness, whatever it may be, and for 
repairing the ravages caused thereby. For this the feasters pray 
"May our people recover and thrive," they say. "May they never, 
get sick." Then they make ail those present offer up tobacco. As 
each, one offers tobacco Earthmaker is aware of it and accepts. 
Thereby do we live and become strengthened. If Earthmaker 
smokes the tobacco offered him he will give life in return. The 
people offer tobacco that they may obtain life. 

They call the Thunderbird people chiefs, and it is from among 
their ranks that they select the chief of the tribe. 5 

It is the duty of the chief to ward off all evils. This is one of their 
missions in life. They preach only what is good. 

"Chief," they used to say to him, "try to do something for your 
people. Try to accomplish something difficult for them. Try to 
accomplish something difficult for your village. If you accomplish 
such a thing for the benefit of your people they will look up to 
you and respect you. Have pity on your people and love them. 
If a man is very poor, help him. Give him and his family food. 
Whatever they ask, give it to them. If your people get into trouble 
with one another, take your pipe and, walking in front, die for them, 
if necessary. From actions like these they will know that you are 
really their chief. There, in front of them, with your pipe in your 
hands, you will be lying on the ground, dead. 

"If your people are about to sacrifice a dog and he gets loose and 
runs into your tent, you must let them have something in place of 
this dog for their feast. Do not let them kill the dog in your lodge. 
This would be sacrilegious. Grant the dog his life. Similarly, if an 
individual who has murdered a person escapes and takes refuge in 
your lodge, give him his life. Use all the wealth you have and give 
it to him, that he may employ it to make peace with the relatives of 
the person he has killed. Help these people who are in need. Do not 
think of your wealth. When that is gone you will get some more. 
Do your duty. Do not pass anyone unnoticed, not even a child. 
If people have come and asked you for something, do not let them 
go away without attempting to do something for them. You are a 
chief. Do some good for your people. In that way you will show 
that you are a chief. 'Our chief,' they will all call you. The 
children that see you will call you chief. Whoever talks to you will 
call you chief. If you are good to your people, they will show their 
respect by being bashful in your presence. If you are not good to 
them they will not think you a chief and they will not be bashful 
in your presence. So, at all times, do as a chief ought to do. Be 
good-natured to all the people and in this way you will show that 

' What follows is a typical speech delivered by a member ot the Thunderbird clan. 




you are indeed a chief. And then even the people of other tribes 
will say that such and such people have a good chief." 

Informant, member of the Bear clan: The Indians always cele- 
brated in summer. It was a season of rejoicing because the chief 
fed the tribe. It somewhat symbolized a mother bird feeding her 

young ones. The Thunderbird 
clan is in charge of the tribe, 
and when the chief feeds the 
tribe all rejoice and the standard 
is raised. 


Two versions of the Bear clan 
feast Cfig. 36) were obtained, for- 
tunately both from a man and a 
woman. The feast was generally 
given during the month called 
Hundjwi'ra (i. e., bear month), 
corresponding roughly to our 

Informant, member of the clan 
(female) : The host tells his sis- 
ter's son, or, if he should not hap- 
pen to have any, a member of 
the Wolf clan, to build a long 
lodge. This attendant then fills 
kettles either with blueberries or 
raspberries or any other fruit that 
the bears are fond of, and places 
them on the fireplace. Some- 
times dried corn is also brought. 

The participants enter the 
lodge at dusk. The host pre- 
cedes the invited guests. In en- 
tering they proceed in a direction 
contrary to the hands of the 
clock. The host always sits at 
the southeast end of the lodge and the guests occupy seats next to 
him, proceeding from the southeast to the northwest. 

When all are seated the host rises and addresses his guests as 

"Members of my clan who are seated here, I greet you all. To 
those from whom I have sprung I make these offerings of tobacco 
and this headdress (i. e., red feathers). I was told by my ancestors 
that if I did this I would obtain for myself, for my relatives, and for 

Fig. 36.— Plan of Bear clan war-bundle feast as given 
by John Rave, a. Host. 6, Relatives of host, c, 
Warrior clan, d, Wolf clan, e, Thunderbird clan. 
/, Eagle clan, g, Buffalo clan. 1, Buckskin for 
earthmaker. 2, Buckskin for turtle. 3, Buckskin 
for thunderbird. 4, Buckskin for sun. 5, Buck- 
skin for moon. 6, Buckskin for morning star. 7, 
Buckskin for earth. S, Buckskin for fire. 9, Buck- 
skin for heroka. 10, Buckskin for night spirits. 

322 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. an.v. 37 

the members of my clan, sufficient blessings to guide us all safely 
through life, and to make our lives pleasant. I will not tell the 
origin myth (of our clan) because it is sacred and it must not be told 
without the proper ceremony, for the telling would then injure an 
individual. Besides there are many clans beside our own represented 
here and it is not proper that these should hear it." 

He then speaks of the four ancestral bear-beings who were created 
in the beginning. 

When the feast is ready one of the Wolf clansmen gives four 
soldier whoops. Then the fire is allowed to die out, and as soon 
as the lodge is in complete darkness the feasters begin to eat. Before 
eating, the host sings four songs. These are the clan songs and are 
only sung at these feasts or on the occasion of the death of a clans- 

Those who partake of food at the feast may be members of any 
clan except the Bear clan. The members of the latter clan do not 
eat at their own feast. 

Everyone attending must bring his own wooden spoon and must 
use it with his left hand. There are four wooden dishes in which 
the food is served. These are arranged in the lodge in a certain 

The guests sit around these dishes and eat with their own spoons. 

The feast is given in the first bear month. Some one generally 
watches the moon and as soon as the new moon is visible the feast 
begins. The feathers and the tobacco to be offered are placed in 
four little troughs made of basswood bark, each about 1 foot long. 
These are then placed on the south side, of the fireplace. 

When the meal is over the attendant or Wolf clansman generally 
says a few words of thanks to the host and then the host hi turn 
thanks those who have participated and tells them that the feast 
is now over. All now pass out, the one next to the host leaving 
first and the rest in succession, the host himself remaining until 
the end. 

When the feast is over the tobacco and the feathers are taken 
away from the lodge and carried in a southern direction to a place 
(under a tree) that has been especially cleared and sanctified. Any 
person may therafter go there, offer tobacco, and ask for long life. 

Informant, member of the clan (male): "Well, soldiers, your 
moon is about to appear. It is good. So come forth, for it is at 
this time that the spirits asked to be remembered. Let us send, on 
this occasion, to the place at which we all originated, whatever we 
possess of wealth. This is what the spirits asked of old. Let us 
therefore put the kettle on and prepare the feast. 

"This is the way in which we prepare the feast. I offer only one 
small kettle. Here is my offering. I pray that what 1 offer may 
suffice and bring enough blessings from the spirits to include all the 


Indians who exist and especially those who are present at this feast. 
For that reason do we deliver these speeches. We were told that 
at the place where we originated our ancestors now remain, regard- 
ing it as their home. There they expectantly await us. So our 
ancestors spoke. Our offering at this feast is intended for that pur- 
pose. Let us pour tobacco for them. Let us place at the edge of 
the fire the four bark receptacles. Now listen to me for I am going 
to pour tobacco. 

(He now addresses the four original clan beings.) 

"On the north side, Earthmaker created you. Four brothers he 
placed there (you being one of them). And when one of them 
started for the earth those remaining asked to be remembered at this 
feast. These are the objects they asked to be given as offerings — 
tobacco, feathers, and boiled food. Earthmaker gave you that kind of 
life-giving material. We, in turn, ask you for this, so that when you 
take our offerings you will grant us what we ask. Here they are, 
the offerings with which you wished to be remembered. The spirits 
promised to give them. We are praying now not only for our own, 
but for all the clans. Our life wdl be strengthened, it was said. 
These words that I am telling you now, theyused. We must act very 
cautiously in this, they said. 

"If you place a portion of boiled food away as an offering, you 
must use it only in that particular place. Do not do otherwise. 
This way only is the correct way to do it." 

Then he spoke to the attendant and said, "Are you ready 1 Go and 
get all these people wdio are to eat. They must bring their spoons 
with them." 

Then the attendant brought the people into the lodge and put 
some food in their plates. 

"Place the people around the plate and let them be seated," the 
host said. "Now turn the fire down and get ready. Hold your 
spoons in your left hand, for with that only are you allowed to eat. 
None of you» must talk nor laugh. You must do what I tell you. 
Before the meal begins let us sing. Let us do it now." (They then 
sing the four clan songs.) 

"Thus they have told us. That way it was at the place where we 
began life. 

"Now the meal is over. We have had a minor council. We have 
acted correctly. It is good that you who are present have come at 
our request. You have eaten very well, and we thank you for it. 
This is what those from whom we originated told us to do. This 
council-feast they pleaded for. 'We should act very cautiously, 
they said. That you have done. It is good that you have eaten 
for our benefit. Now is about time for us to finish. I greet you all." 

324 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann.37 


Informant, member of Bear clan : As soon as the first bear month 
is visible they have their feast. They do not use meat but products 
of the earth. The feast is held at night, never in the daytime. The 
people always save up food some time before giving the feast. The 
favorite dishes of the bear are sugar and blueberries. When they 
can not obtain these they use other vegetables. Indeed, any product 
of the earth is all right. 

When they prepare to give the feast they get the food ready and 
have some tobacco on hand. On the first day of the first bear month 
they put on the fire some kettles with dried corn mixed with fruit and 
others containing green corn. The latter is boiled. They also have 
ground sugar. When these are ready the feast attendant goes around 
the village to invite the people. When all have entered the lodge and 
taken their proper seats, then the host rises and addresses them: 

"All my relatives who are seated here, I greet you. It is not through 
blessings of our own that we can always make offerings of tobacco. 
My grandfather was blessed by a spirit called Black Fur, a spirit who 
is in command of all the other spirits. This spirit told us that we 
could perform the ceremony in this way. It is for that reason we 
have made an effort to heat water for him." The first request we 
make is that if we ever go on the warpath, we may conquer. Our 
grandfather was also blessed with life by the bear spirit 7 and he told 
him that he would grant him and his posterity whatever they asked. 
We shall therefore send to this spirit a pipeful of tobacco, two kettles 
full of food, and some tree sap. 8 So much will we send him, accom- 
panied by an offering of tobacco. 

"As soon as the attendant gets everything ready the feasting will 

Then the attendant puts food in every plate, and when he has 
finished the host speaks again. 

"Relatives, it is said that when the plates are supplied to you 
filled with food, then you should begin to eat. Do not, however, use 
your right hands in eating." 

The host tells the feasters to use their left hands in eating, and they 
obey him. Before starting to eat all the fires are put out and the 
people eat in the dark. 

In the spring of the year this feast is given again. Twice a year 
it is given. 

The feact 9 was always given with some choice dried corn that had 
been put away for this event. Once when it was time to give the 
feast in the first bear month, the two daughters of the man who was 

• Boil soup and prepare food in general. 

7 Black Fur is apparently a ceremonial expression for bear. 

8 Ceremonialname for maple sugar. 

• What follows is an account of why this particular feast was discontinued. 


to give it had their menses and were fasting. When the feast was 
about to be held there was no food and their mother gave the girls 
some of the sacred food and the unclean girls boiled it and ate it. 

The following spring when the girls were out helping their mother 
tan some hide a bear approached them and tried to kill the girls. The 
old woman fought the bear off as best she could, but he paid no 
attention to her and tried to get at the girls. Finally he killed the 
girls. Then the old woman attacked the bear and finally threw 
him down and kdled him, using her tanning stick as a weapon. 

Now this bear was not an ordinary bear such as live on this earth, 
but his body was covered with blue clay. He had come out of a 
spring of water shortly before he came to this place. The girls had 
eaten sacred food when they were unclean, and that is why this bear 
came and killed them. 

Since then that particular band has stopped giving this bear feast. 


When a person wishes to give a snake feast, four chickens must be 
obtained. The nephew of the feast giver is then told to prepare these 
chickens and make the general preparations. 

The feast is given in the fall, just as the snakes are supposed to 
go into their winter quarters and close their doors. The winter is 
their night, and then they go to sleep. 

Shortly before the feast begins the host takes out a bundle con- 
taining four snake skins — a yellow-snake skin, a rattlesnake skin, a 
blow-snake skin, and a bull-snake skin. In honor of these he gives 
his feast and makes his offerings. 

As the fall of the year is to the snakes the same as our evening, the 
Winnebago give this feast in their honor then, in much the same way 
as we have our supper before retiring for the night. The snake skins 
are representatives of the first four snakes Earthmaker made and 
which he pierced through the earth in the direction of the east. The 
snake skins are kept to represent the four original snake-beings and 
to keep evil away from homes. That is why offerings are made to 
them. Four men only are invited to this feast (as main participants), 
and they must each eat a chicken. 

The host himself opens the door for the snakes. In front of him, 
next to the fireplace, he makes four holes in the ground, thus opening 
the door for them. There he likewise places tobacco for them. 
First he pours tobacco in the fire, for the fire is the mediator be- 
tween the people and the spirit. The fire tells the spirit the wishes 
of the people and is, in general, in charge of the members of the tribe. 
For that reason they always pour tobacco upon it. 

Now the host rises and speaks. "Grandfather (fire), you who 
stand in the center of the lodge, I offer you tobacco, for you are the 
interpreter (between the spirits and human beings), and I know that 

326 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

you will deliver the requests I address to our grandfather-who-crawls 
(the snake), just as I have said them. I offer you tobacco. 

"To you likewise, grandfathers, you whom Earthmaker created 
first and placed within the earth; you whom Earthmaker placed in 
control of abundance of life and whose war clubs were made heavy, 
so that nothing could miss them ; to you we offer these things. What- 
ever you can give us, we ask of you in return. Here are our offerings 
of food, tobacco, and eagle feathers. We place them here at your door. 
We ask that you bless us with victory in war. We know that the 
weapons you carry make you invulnerable, and we wish likewise to 
be invulnerable. You never fail to obtain what you desire with your 
clubs, and we ask that the same power be bestowed upon us. As 
the years pass may the blessing we obtain increase in power. When 
you look out upon the world life emanates from your eyes. May this 
life be given to our posterity. As we strut about in the short number 
of days allotted to us may you keep out of our path, so that we 
may not be frightened. Yet should we cross any of your paths may 
we be strengthened thereby. It is said that you are the grass, and 
that is why we ask you to bless us. Bless us because you are in pos- 
session of the life which we desire. For these reasons do we offer 
you tobacco, feathers, and food." 

Then the host poured tobacco into the four holes that he had made 
in the ground and placed feathers there. Then he took a little food 
from each of the kettles and poured it into the four holes. After 
that he greased the heads of the snake skins which were lying before 
him with kettle grease and poured tobacco on the heads of the snakes. 
He asked all his relatives to offer tobacco likewise and he put tobacco 
into the holes again and poured some upon the heads of the snakes. 

When those invited have arrived, someone who is a good speaker 
sits near the entrance, while another good speaker sits near the 
farthest end. After all have entered, the leader of the four partici- 
pants makes the circuit of the fireplace four times. He then sits 
down, and the host greets each one in turn, as follows: 

" I greet you all. It is good. How could I say aught but that it 
is good? I am a poor worthless fellow, yet you have remembered 
me. It is good. You did not look upon my unworthiness and think 
within your hearts he is a worthless fellow, but you thought of the 
spirits, and therefore you came to sit with me so that I might see 
your face. It is good. I have obtained four chickens, and the 
attendant is now cooking them. I suppose he has cooked them by 
this time, and we will soon be able to eat them. 

"I am attempting to cook water for the beings first created, so 
that we might be blessed with victory in war, and with life. That is 
what we are asking and what we would like to obtain from them 
before they (the spirits) retire for the night. It is our desire to be 
blessed year in, year out. 


" Your plates will be filled soon, so let me greet you again, you 
(humans) who are taking the place of the spirits. All you who are 
present I greet." 

The attendant now takes the kettles from the fire and takes the 
plate of the first of those sitting in the row. Then he takes the 
sharp stick that he holds in his hand, sticks it through one of the 
four chickens, and puts it in the plate of the first man. He passes 
the plate around the kettle four times, going from right to left, and 
finally he places it before the feaster. The feaster then says, "I 
thank you all," and the attendant passes on to the next one, and so 
in succession until he comes to the last person. Then the one first 
invited rises and says, "All those present, the host and the three 
other guests, do I greet." Then the speaker addresses the one sit- 
ting next to him, who greets him in return. In the same way ho 
greets the third and the fourth one. Then he speaks as follows: 

"It is good. Who would not be thankful for this? The host and 
his relatives present here are praying for life and victory, to the 
four greatest spirits Earthmaker ever made, to those spirits whom 
he pierced through the earth so that it might hold together. All the 
snakes whom we see on the earth are ruled by these four. From 
them have they asked blessings. The first human beings on earth 
saw these spirits face to face and, we are told, they used them for 
protection. These we see before us as the host has laid them out. 
We are told that blessings can be obtained by the use of these snakes. 

"I am indeed not a fit person to be invited to such a gathering as 
this, but the host has kindly overlooked my faults. My grand- 
father fasted and thirsted himself to death and he was blessed and 
his spirit taken to a spirit-home. That is what happened to my 
grandfather, for he told me this himself. The place where he was 
blessed was at Red Banks at a place where a creek flows into the 
sea (Green Bay). At the fork of this creek there was a hill lying 
east and west. It is there that the yellow snake-chief lives. To 
the home of this snake-chief my grandfather was taken. This 
snake was at this place gathering tobacco for all the spirits. There 
my grandfather was even blessed with their bodies. For this reason 
I always pour tobacco for them. And I have been given to under- 
stand that the spirits do not overlook the least fault (in the per- 
formance of the feast). They are always in our midst just as even 
the grass and the dust represent snakes. They know everything, 
they say. It is not safe to cross their path. As, however, the 
host is now making an offering to them, should we cross their path 
now it would even strengthen us. It is good. These clubs are 
heavy and they will not fail to strike everything within their reach. 
The host has asked for that power so that he might have 
victory (in war). They, the spirits, also have life to dispose of and 
that we ask of them also, giving them these offerings of tobacco, 

328 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann.37 

feathers, and food. They will bless us I am certain, for I am told 
that they even know our thoughts and wishes (before we express 
them) , and are willing to grant them if we pour tobacco while making 
them. However, to-day we have done more. We have openly 
made a great offering to them. How could any spirit fail to see 
such an offering? For that reason (I know) they will surely bless 
us. And the blessings asked for the posterity will surely be granted. 
I feel that when I go home and talk to my children afterwards, they will 
be strengthened by the fact that I have taken part in the feast. All who 
are present, I greet. You, the host, I also greet. I greet you all." 

Then the second one invited rises and speaks. He thanks the 
host for the privilege of having been invited and encourages him 
and assures every one that they will surely be blessed, telling them 
why they should be blessed. 

Then the third one rises and says approximately the same as his 
predecessor. He also tells how his grandfather was blessed by the 
snakes, etc. 

Then the fourth one speaks, telling what the snakes do and that he 
himself was a member of the Snake clan and was consequently 
descended from the snakes. Inasmuch as he had partaken of the 
feast, all who were present would surely be blessed by the snakes. 
He assured them that what they asked would surely be granted. 
Then he greeted them and concluded. 

After that, all the four participants greet each other in turn again 
and when this is over they sit down and begin the feast. Each 
person must eat a chicken apiece. They must not leave anything 
on the plate, for it is a sacred feast. After they have eaten the 
chicken they are given soup to drink. 

When the feast is over the host throws cedar branches into the fire 
and the plates and the spoons are held over the smoke in order 
to purify them. The host then rises and says: 

"You, the first invited, and you, the second invited, etc., I greet 
you all. It is good that you have come and occupied seats at my 
request and I am grateful to you for it. Even were that all the 
blessing I was to receive, it would (be enough). But you have 
assured me that I would receive the blessings I longed for. You 
truly encouraged me. You told me of your grandfathers' blessings, 
so that I feel positive that I am blessed, for your grandfathers' bless- 
ings were surely great and I am sure everything could be obtained 
with them. Surely your grandfathers' blessings were equal to those 
of the spirits. It is good that you have indeed partaken of my 
feast. This must be what the older people said: 'Your life is 
(naturally) weak and 30U can only be strengthened by the counsel 
and advice of brave men.' Truly you have counciled with me and 
given me enough to live on. I thank you for the speeches you 
have delivered, for it is life to me. It is good. I greet you all." 




Society of Those Who Have Received Blessings From the 

Night Spirits 

Informant, member of Thunderbird clan : Once a man went hunt- 
ing so that he might be able to get the game with which to give a feast. 
All of those who were to participate in the feast went along with him. 
After they had killed some deer they built a lodge. Then all the 
other feast-givers came into the lodge, bringing something toward the 
feast, as well as the tobacco which they were to offer. Some brought 
other things, even dogs, as their contribution to the feast. The dogs 
would be killed, singed, then boiled, and prepared in the same way as 
the deer. The meat would then be mixed with dry corn. The 
attendants, who were generally the nephews of the feast-givers, would 
look after the boiling of the food. Every time they gave a feast they 
selected these nephews to do the cooking and the general work 
connected with this ceremony. 

The nephew who acts as attendant accompanies a feast-giver on 
the warpath, where likewise he has to endure a great deal. Should 
his uncle be killed, it is his duty to be killed likewise and not to return 

He acted in this way because of his love for his uncle. The attend- 
ants do all the work whenever their uncles give a feast. They also 
arrange for the place where the feast is to be held; make the four 
invitation sticks; blacken them with charcoal and decorate them at 
the ends with fine and fluffy white eagle feathers. Then they prepare 
a bundle of tobacco containing about a pipeful. After these prepa- 
rations have been made one of the nephews goes around the village 
and presents the invitation sticks to every individual who had been 
blessed by the Night Spirits. These are called the night-blessed 
children. The night-blessed children thanked the messengers and 
assured them that they now felt they were obtaining life. Then those 
to whom the invitation stick had been presented go around asking 
their relatives to accompany them to the feast. There the guest and 
his relatives would meet at the appointed time. All those who re- 
ceived invitation sticks do the same. 

186823—22 22 329 


The host at the same time puts himself in readiness to receive the 

The two drums to be used are placed in the proper position with 
tobacco on top as an offering. The two gourds to be used are arranged 
in the same way, with offerings of tobacco on top. These four articles 
are placed in a row in front of the host, who pours tobacco upon them 
again and asks them for life. 

The host now rises and speaks as follows (first, however, offering 
tobacco to the fire, and telling the people of his own band how he 
had obtained his blessing, and from what source it had come) : 

"Grandfathers, when you blessed my grandfather with life you 
promised that as often as we would boil food for you and offer you a 
pipefid of tobacco, you would smoke it. So it has been said. Boiled 
water from an animal whom you considered the same as our own body, 
and spirit food he extended to you, as well as a pipefid of tobacco. 
This we also are sending you. And what could we ask of you in 
return but war? That it may be directed toward us, we pray you. 
Grandfathers, you who are called Happy Nights, when you blessed our 
grandfather you blessed him with endless war. So it has been said. 
That is what we ask for, that as you blessed our grandfather, so you 
bless us. We ask for the same things. You, likewise, grandfather, 
you who are called The-one-with-rounded-wood, when you blessed 
my grandfather you blessed him with life. That is what he said, and 
you asked him in return to make offerings of tobacco. Here is the 
tobacco. This night we are going to ask life of you. We desire that 
you give us and all who will be here to-night, life. As many people 
as will be seated here, we ask life for all of them." 

Then all who are present rise and, holding tobacco in each hand, 
walk around the lodge, pouring tobacco on the drums and the 
gourds, and some of it into the fire. They pour tobacco into the 
fire for the Night Spirits. For the Beings-with-rounded-wood they 
offer tobacco by pouring it upon the drums. The offering is made 
both to the drums and to the gourds directly. The tobacco bundles 
tied to the invitation sticks are offered to the four cardinal points 
and the four specially invited guests smoke this tobacco, because 
they are supposed to represent the four cardinal points. Behind the 
respective invited guests are placed two women, next to the wall, 
so that they might lead in the dance. When the invited guests 
come to the feast these women remain outside until the starting 
songs have been begun. 

The host sings these songs first and when he has finished the first 
invited guest enters the lodge, ejaculating peculiar sounds (that are 
probably meant as greetings). Continuing these sounds, he walks 
around the lodge until he comes to the place from which he has 
started. There he stops and speaks. "You who obtain life, you 


that council, relatives, all who are seated here, I greet you. It is 
good that you have taken pity upon me. All those that I have 
along with me, my relatives, you have caused them to think that 
they were to obtain life; that a great life was to come to us through 
you. And all this you have clone when we were leading worthless 
lives. It is good. If such an invitation were to be extended to 
people when they are sick and weakly, it would heal them; it would 
overcome their illness, it is said. It is good. When I think that 
our sick people will get well by reason of this feast, I am thankful. 
Up to the present our children have all been sickly, but from now 
on we will have no cause to worry. I am thankful. The principal 
tree of the night-soldiers, standing in front of their doorway and 
which is in full bloom, has not a dead leaf upon it, not one that has 
dried. It is beautiful to look upon. They obtained it for us and 
caused it to come down to us, and we feel grateful. It will strengthen 
our families. This lodge that we have entered is like the first lodge 
(the night-soldiers' lodge), and just as we were strengthened by it, 
so will we surely be strengthened by entering this lodge to-day. In 
the night-soldiers' lodge fine white feathers are scattered all over 
the ground, ankle deep, it is said. As we are about to go over the 
past, we certainly will be strengthened thereby. The lodge of the 
night-soldiers was fair to behold from the inside, we are told. We 
will consider ourselves blest with life to-day, even although we are 
not children of the night-blessed ones, and even although we will 
not be able to conduct ourselves as it is meet. We will, however, 
do what we can in order to obtain life. You children of the night- 
blessed ones, who are seated around here, I greet you.' - 

Then he sings the entrance songs and walks around the lodge. 
His singing is generally finished at about the time that he has made 
the complete circuit of the lodge. Then he starts around the lodge 
again uttering the peculiar sounds mentioned before, until he comes 
to the seat of the host. There he stops and makes a circle in the air 
(with his hand) and addresses him as follows: 

"I greet you. A great day has come to me and all my relatives 
have tasted thereof in the hope that they might thereby be strength- 
ened. I have also brought along with me a pipeful of tobacco to be 
given to you, that we may all be strengthened. So it is said. It is 
for that reason that I am acting thus and am greeting you." 

With these words he concluded and walked to the place that had 
been assigned him in the lodge, opposite the host and, still standing, 
he said the following: "Children of the night-blessed spirits who are 
seated here around me, I greet you all. The councilor, I mean the 
host, has seen fit to give me and my relatives a seat. We will sit in 
it so that we may be strengthened thereby. We will now take our 
seats, but before that let me send forth my greetings to all." 

332 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ins. 37 

Then the second invited guest enters. He utters the same sounds 
as his predecessors and makes the circuit of the lodge. When he 
reaches the place from which he started he stops and addresses the 
host as follows : 

"Councilor, you who obtain life, relatives who are seated here, I 
greet you all, and your seats do I greet likewise. You that are 
seated in the first place, I greet you, too. All you children of the 
night-blest spirits who are in this lodge, I greet you. It is good that 
you wish me to live ; that I am here. I am not a child of a night-blest 
one, that this invitation should have been extended to me, but you 
probably knew the nature of my life and that is why, I suppose, you 
extended this honor to me. My relatives are even greater weaklings 
in the properties and goods of life than I am. That happens to be 
our manner of life. It is good. Henceforth we shall be stronger as 
we journey through life. Our men, women, and children shall all 
live in peace. As many of us as are living to-day, that many shall 
continue to live (on account of my participation in this ceremony). 
I am thankful. 

"Of all the spirits that exist, these truly are in control of most life. 
So it is said of the Night Spirits. This is a great thing. These 
spirits have given us the occasion for a great counciling. Many of us 
are not able to take part in it, especially the one now speaking. The 
songs that have been used by our fathers we will not be able to sing, 
but whatever we say I know will be acceptable to you, children of the 
night-blest spirits. I send forth greetings to you all." 

Then he sang an entrance song, and after he had made the circuit 
of the lodge, he sang another one. Then he went around the lodge 
again making his strange utterances, until he came in front of the 
host. Here he made a circle (with his hand) and stopped. Then he 
greeted the host as follows : 

"A great day has come upon us, both upon me and upon all of my 
relatives. We all have tasted thereof so that we might live thereby. 
We have all brought you a pipeful of tobacco, just as we were told. 
It is said that we would thus strengthen one another, and that is why 
we have done it. I greet you all." 

Then he went to his seat, the second one in the lodge, and sat down. 
Then all the members of his band sat down, each sending forth a 
greeting as they took their seats. When they were all seated the 
third man invited prepared to enter. 

The third one invited now entered, uttering strange sounds, and 
made the circuit of the lodge, when he paused and addressed the host 
as follows : 

"Councilors, life-obtainers, relatives who are seated in your respec- 
tive seats, I greet you all. Here I have been blessed, although I am 
not worthy of it. My grandfather, and my father, too, once said to 


me, ' Some day when there is a dearth of people, some night-blest one 
will take pity on you. Submit to it. ' Thus he spoke to me and 
what he referred to was this feast. These feasts are all sacred, but 
this is the most sacred one. That is what he used to tell me. It is 
not to be trifled with, even in respect to the rituals within the lodge. 
Never should one cross the lodge directly. If you trifle with this 
rule you will bring sorrow upon yourselves. The so-called night- 
soldiers are not to be trifled with. So he told me. The so-called 
night-soldiers, like soldiers on this earth, are stern. Truly they are 
stern, said my father. If we were to slight one of them we would 
most assuredly be punished for it, and punishment by them means 
death. So he spoke to me. But, said he, ' if, on the other hand, any 
one attends to all that pertains to this ceremony it will be a means 
of obtaining life. It will be a good thing to do, and one would 
thereby obtain a good life. Therefore, I have always looked upon 
the Night dance with awe, for it is a very holy thing.' So spoke my 
father. For that reason, consequently, whenever my father gave a 
Night feast he would encourage us to pay careful attention to it, and 
that is why I have always tried to do so. Remember, however, that 
I am not a child of the night-blest ones, and that, therefore, I have 
very little to say. However, I will start a song, which will be a greet- 
ing to this lodge, and I will sing it as I am passing around the lodge. 
Children of the night-blest ones, who are seated here, I greet you." 

Then he sang an entrance song, first at the west end of the lodge and 
then near the position occupied by the host. When he had finished 
the circuit of the lodge he went around again, making the accustomed 
peculiar utterances, until he came in front of the host. There he 
stopped and addressed the host as follows : 

"I greet you. You have caused this day to come upon me and all 
my relatives. We have all tasted thereof and we have all felt our- 
selves in connection with life. We are thankful. We have thought 
of this blessing of life in connection with ourselves. I greet you." 

Then he walks to the place assigned to him in the west end of the 
tent and sits down. The other members of his band do the same, one. 
after the other, greeting the people in the lodge at the same time. 

When they are all seated the fourth one comes in. He repeats the 
utterances of the former guests and then starts around the lodge 
until he reaches the entrance. There he stops and addresses the host: 

' 'Councilors and lif e-obtainers, I greet your seats. I likewise greet 
you, host. You who are seated in the north and you who are seated 
in the west, your seats I greet. Children of the night-blessed spirits 
who are within this lodge, all of you I greet. It is good. As far as 
I understand this Night ceremony is considered a life-giving one. 
The so-called happy Night Spirits alone are in control of most of life. 
So I was told, and that is why this ceremony is called a life-giving 

334 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

one. If I participated in this ceremony, I would be able to call it life, 
I was told. But I did not pay any attention to it. They told me it 
was good and that I would at the same time be making offerings to 
Those-with-the-rounded-wood, and that thus I would be able to make 
use of all the plants that these spirits control, so that I would never 
be embarrassed when I wished to use them. I have caused people 
who were ill to become well by means of this ceremony. All of the 
plants that these spirits control are good ones, and it is easy to obtain 
life with them. In this ceremony we may also obtain life by dancing. 
But we must dance earnestly. The leaders of this ceremony have 
held council over everything, and yet they have selected us for a seat 
of honor, so that we might greet them in this lodge and that we might 
be able to use this song while greeting them. You children of the 
night-blessed ones, I greet you all." 

Then he sang an entrance song, and when he finished he repeated 
the utterances used in entering and gradually made the circuit of the 
lodge singing. When he was through singing, he again continued the 
utterances until he came to the place of the host, where he made the 
circle (with his hands) and stopped. Then he addressed the host as 
follows : 

"I greet you. You wish me to live, and therefore caused a great 
day to come upon me and upon all my relatives. We have all received 
a taste of it, and we have all thought of ourselves in connection with 
life. We are also bringing you a pipeful of tobacco, so that we may 
strengthen one another. That is what we thought and that is why 
we are doing it. I greet you." 

Then he walked around the lodge until he came to his seat. There 
he stopped and addressed his seat as follows: 

"Seat that is reserved for me and for my relatives, we are about to 
sit in you; we will do it, and we will think that our lives have been 
helped thereby. I greet you." Thus he spoke and sat down. Then 
all the other members of his band sat down one by one. 

When they were all seated the lodge was full. Then the host rose 
and spoke as follows : 

' 'You who are seated in the first position, I greet you; you who are 
seated in the north position, I greet you ; you who are seated in the 
west position, I greet you ; and you who are seated at the end of the 
road, I greet you. Children of the night-blessed ones who are here, I 
greet vou. My father and my grandfather spoke to me of this cere- 
mony, and they told me it was good. They told me that the one 
who first obtained it was named ' Little Red Turtle.' He fasted and 
was blessed by those whom he called the Beings-with-round-wood. 
By these was he blessed at the noon hour, and he was taught what 
to do. There they taught him all. At a place where "the stars 
touched land they caused it to become night, and there they blessed 


hirn and taught him how to make four circles and also certain songs. 
Since then this ceremony has been performed. He was really blessed, 
and he was told exactly how everything should be performed. So it is 
said. As he was very fond of the Night feast, he spoke in its behalf, 
and told of all the medicines that were associated with it and of 
the use to which they could be put. I myself know that these medi- 
cines are good to live on. If anyone uses them he will receive benefits 
therefrom and his children will receive life. I know that they are 
good. I would not have you think that I am one of those blessed 
by the Night Spirits because I say this. But I know that all the medi- 
cines of which I have personal charge and to which I make offerings 
of tobacco, for whom I boiled food, always make the individual to 
whom I offer them the better for it, provided that I do everything 
correctly. I was told to do this, and that is why I do it. I am now 
going to sing some songs audibly, and all these songs will be songs 
about medicines. I know that we will cause you to fan your faces 
(from perspiration brought on by making you work too hard), but 
forgive us for it. Children of the night-blessed ones who are seated 
here, I greet you, and to take the place of their sister whom they 
always place ahead of them so we also will have our sisters lead the 
dance for us." 

Two women now rise and stand side by side in front of the men and 
hold, one in each hand, the invitation sticks that had been returned. 
These two women lead hi the dance. The men who shake the gourds 
stand with their backs to the women, facing the drummers. All sing 
together and all the dancers have partners at their sides. It is a 
very interesting dance. Then all get up and start around the lodge, 
making strange utterances. When they have made the complete 
circuit of the lodge they stop and sing. When they finish this song 
they start around the lodge again, repeating the utterances. They 
stop at the west end of the tent, where they sing again. They thus 
sing at both ends of the lodge. They use all the songs they intend 
to. When the last song is over the individual who has sung it makes 
four circles and then takes the drum, gourd, tobacco, etc., and places 
them in front of the guest who occupies the first seat of honor. Then 
all sit down. Then the east leader rises and speaks as follows: 16 

"Councilors and life-obtainers, relatives who are seated here, I 
send you all greetings ; and to you who are on the north side, and 
you who are on the west side, and you who are at the end of the 
road, your seats I greet. Our host has passed over to me the means 
of our meditation, the instruments through which we ask life. This 
instrument for asking life is the foremost thing we possess, so the old 
people said. We are thankful for it. We know that Earthmaker 

'• From now on we will use the terms East Leader, North Leader, West Leader, and South Leader to 
designate, respectively, the first, second, third, and fourth guests in the order of their invitation. 

336 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

did not put us in charge of anything, and that for that reason the 
tobacco we received is our greatest and foremost thing. So the old 
people said. We were told that we should use it to ask for life. 
This must have been what they meant. This, the instrument with 
which to ask life, is, I feel sure, sufficient to attract them and they 
will surely take notice of it. We may also follow him who is taking 
the place of the spirits, and we will consider all those who are in the 
lodge blest. Those whom we call Nights have been offered tobacco, 
and the same has been offered to the four cardinal points, and to all 
the life-giving plants. To this many tobacco has been offered. It 
will strengthen us. This is what we call imitating the spirits, and 
that is why we are doing it. Chddren of the night-blessed ones who 
are seated here, I greet you all. The song we will now start is a 
pipe-lighting song." 

When he finished singing he greeted all those in the lodge and 
then he lit his pipe. Then he took a number of puffs. First he 
inhaled some smoke and blew it toward the east, then toward the 
north, then toward the west, then toward the south. Then he passed 
it around and all smoked, except the host, who is not permitted to 
do so. Then the east leader spoke again as follows: 

"Night-blessed ones who are seated here, I greet you. The instru- 
ment with which to ask life I will now place here, and if any of you 
want to fill your pipes you may do so." 

Then the leader of the north band rose and spoke as follows: 
"Councilors and 1 if e-ob tamers, you who sit in the direction where 
the day comes from, you who sit on the other side, in the west, and 
you who sit at the end of the road, your seats I all greet. We, too, 
have been anxious to obtain the instrument whereby we ask life, 
and therefore we fill a pipe for ourselves. I greet you." 
Then the leader of the south band rose and said as follows: 
"If the leader of the north band has finished his greeting, I also 
would very much like to have the instrument with which we ask life 
brought to me. We will immediately go and fill a pipe. I am speak- 
ing now because I wish to tell you what I intend to do. I greet 


The leader of the north band did not pass the pipe that he had 
filled all around the lodge, but merely passed it to the members of 
his band. Only they smoked from it. In the same way the leaders 
of the other bands, with the exception of the host's band, passed the 
pipe only to members of their individual band. Only the host passed 
his pipe all around the lodge. When the smoking was over the 
leader of the east band rose and greeted everyone. Then he spoke 
as follows : 

"Our grandfathers used to carry on this ceremony, I have been 
told. They told me that if at any time the giver of this ceremony 


can not find enough people to invite he would take pity on me. 
This is what I should say, my father told me. In the direction from 
which the day comes, there where the Nights are, live the night-sol- 
diers, who blessed my grandfather and who made him try his powers 
in the middle of the ocean — there where it is deepest. They placed 
a round object of wood before him, and the night-soldiers said that 
they would not take it away, and that every time my grandfather 
tried to seize it he would not miss. 'You have done well, human, 
you have won,' they said to him. For this reason it was considered 
an instrument of war, he told me. If you do your utmost in offering 
tobacco, it will be an instrument of war, he said. 

And he also said the following: "All the plants with which I have 
been blessed are useful and a person can receive life through them 
if he takes good care of them. These plants can be very powerful 
and some of them can even be used in playing jokes, we are told. 
But we have never used any of them in such a manner, for if we did 
our plants would surely lose their strength. I have been told that 
should I frequently use any of my plants for the purpose of playing 
jokes and then for the purpose of curing a sick person, they would 
have no power at all. If, however, I never used them in jokes my 
medicine would always be powerful. Therefore I have never used 
them in that manner. Nor have I ever poisoned anyone with them. 
I never considered myself great or used a Night's trick-medicine or 
used fire, although I was told I could do so. This I never did. 
When I use one of the plants I like to have it do its work. I am 
saying this, although I am not a child of the night-blest ones. It 
is now about time to permit our sisters to get hold of the 'chief 
sticks' and to permit them to sit here and sing together with us." 

The women are then permitted to take two sticks apiece and sing 
wherever they are sitting. As soon as the men sing the women 
join in. 

"This is the way to do, I was told, and that is why I am doing it. 
Children of the night-blessed ones, who are seated here in this lodge, 
I send you all greeting." 

When he is through with his starting song he stands up and speaks 
to them again, as follows: 

"Night-blest ones who are within this lodge, I greet you. I was 
not invited to take this seat because I was a wise man. I do not 
for a moment imagine that, but it was done in order to help me 
obtain life. We will now rise and go forth and we will brush against 
your faces, but you must take pity on us. Children of the night- 
blessed ones, I greet you. We will not remain seated here but we will 
rise and go forth in order to obtain the round stick. That is why I 
am making this announcement to you. I greet you." 

338 THE WINNEBAGO TKIBE [eth. ann. 37 

They then rise and make four circuits of the lodge, first stopping 
at the first seat, then at the second, then at the third, and lastly at 
the fourth. When they get back to their starting place they sing 
dancing songs, first stopping at the west end of the lodge and then 
at the entrance. This they repeat. By this time all the songs they 
had intended using have been sung, so they make four circuits of 
the lodge and then, taking the drum, gourd, etc., place it in front of 
the north band. When the dancers are all seated the leader of the 
north band rises, and greeting everyone speaks as follows: 

"I was not pitied because I was a child of the night-blest ones, 
my father told me. Yet if I performed my duties aright I would be 
able to make the proper speeches when called upon, I was told. 
That I have been pitied now is due to the fact that these people here 
wished to have me obtain life. Certainly my invitation to this 
ceremony has made me think of life, as my father used to tell me. 
I do not for a moment imagine that they invited me because I was a 
great man. Nevertheless my father told me to say that it was good; 
and that if I really meant all that I said, my life would certainly be 
strengthened thereby. My father knew how to perform this cere- 
mony correctly, but I am not able to do so. Although I was told 
it was a good thing, nevertheless I was not able to pour tobacco. 
Those whom we call the Ones-with-the-rounded-wood are in charge 
of very much life and they are holy. This affair is not a thing to be 
trifled with, my father told me. Yet in spite of this we will sing 
some songs, even though we know that we will not be able to sing 
them as they have been sung heretofore. Perhaps, however, you 
will be kind enough to be satisfied with whatever we do. Children 
of the night-blessed ones, I greet you." 

Then he sang the starting song, and when he was finished he rose 
again and, greeting all, spoke as follows: 

"When Those-with-the-rounded-wood start to walk their sisters 
are placed in front of them. Our sisters we will now place in front 
of us, so that thereby they may be blest with life and hold the princi- 
pal sticks and staffs. We will use the toys so that we may be 
strengthened thereby, we think, and that is why I greet you." 

Then they permit the women to lead the procession. These 
women walk in front, side by side, and are followed by the ones 
carrying the gourds, who dance with their backs toward them. Then 
come the drummers and the feast-givers, and after these, all those 
who desire to join in. They walk around the lodge making strange 
utterances. Four times do they make the circuit of the lodge and 
then they come and stop at the east end, where they sing. When 
they are through here they start around the lodge again and stop 
at the west end and sing. Then they start again, making the same 
strange utterances as before, until they come to the east end of the 


lodge, where they sing once more. When they have in this manner 
sung all the songs that they wish to use the leader of the north 
band makes the four circles as before and brings the tobacco, gourds, 
etc., to the west band. Then they all take their seats. Now the 
leader of the west band rises and speaks as follows: 

"Councilors, life-obtainers, relatives, to you all who are seated 
here, I send forth my greetings. You who occupy the first seat, 
you who occupy the north seat, and you who occupy the seat at 
the end of the road, I greet. I do not mean to say anything of con- 
sequence. I was taught this ceremony, but I do not know any- 
thing about it. However, I always honored it, for I was told that 
it was a good thing. Indeed, I knew it, but I could never perform 
it well. I was told that if I performed it well I would obtain life 
thereby, just as others have done. Well, some of you are able to 
do it. It is a very great council feast. How, indeed, can the spirits 
ignore what you have done for them to-day ? If they acknowledge 
it, we who are representing the directions will receive blessings 
through the host who is giving the feast. That is what I mean. 
When we hold our mediators (that is, the drums, tobacco, etc.) we 
will be strengthened thereby. So with this in our minds, let us 
take and hold them. Children of the night-blessed ones, I greet 

Then he sang the starting song, and when he had finished he rose 
and spoke again. 

"Councilors, I send you greetings, as well as to you who sit in the 
first seat, to you who sit in the north, and to you who sit at the end 
of the road. It is said that when the night-soldiers come they walk 
over the entire extent of the earth. When they blessed my grand- 
father they blessed him with life. So he used to say of himself. We 
will now plead for these powers in our songs. We will place our 
sisters in front and follow them. That is what I wanted to announce 
to you. Children of the night-blessed ones who are seated here, I 
greet you." 

Then they made the complete circuit of the lodge until they came 
to the place w T here they had been sitting. There they made a cir- 
cle. Then they made another circuit of the lodge and stopped in 
front of the south position and made a circle. Here they made 
another circuit of the lodge and stopped at the east end and made 
a circle. Then they made the last circuit of the lodge and stopped 
in front of the north band and made a circle. By this time all the 
songs that they were to use had been sung. The leader now made 
four circuits and brought the gourds, drum, tobacco, etc., in front 
of the south band. All now took their seats and when they were 
seated the leader of the south band arose and spoke as follows: 


"Councilors, life-obtainers, I greet you. You who sit in the 
first seat, you who sit in the north, and you who sit in the west, I 
greet. Children of the night-blessed ones who are seated within 
this lodge, I greet you all. It is good that to-night you have tried 
to imitate your grandfathers, that you have tried to take the. place 
of the spirits. You have said enough with which to obtain life. 
But I am more unfortunate. I can never do what my ancestors 
did or say what they said, and for that reason I suppose my talk 
will be quite worthless. I was told that if at any time I should be 
pitied, not to talk foolishly about this ceremony. If I am a bad man 
I will act foolishly in this affair, I was told. 

" My grandfather was 'blessed by those whom we call the night- 
soldiers, who blessed him with certain utterances. As many black- 
birds as there are, that many appeared to him as Night Spirits. 
Our utterances will be an imitation of those he received when he 
was blessed. We can only guess at these. 

" We were told that when we hold the mediators we will be strength- 
ened by them. Night-blessed spirits who are seated here, I greet 


Then he began the starting songs, and when these were finished 

he rose and spoke again. 

"Councilors, life-obtainers, I greet your seats. You who sit in 
the east, you who sit in the north, and you who sit in the west, I 
greet you all. Children of the night>blessed ones, I greet you. Those 
whom we call night-soldiers treated their sisters as holy and placed 
them in front. In imitation of these soldiers we will now put our 
sisters in front, so that we may be strengthened thereby. I wish 
to announce that we now place the women at the head of our pro- 
cession. Let us all come together, so that we may be strengthened. 
That is our desire and that is what we are pleading for. I greet you." 

When they are ready to begin the dancing songs all rise and form 
in line, having the women lead them. Then the men with the gourds, 
their backs turned to the women, follow, then the drummers. Then 
all those join who feel so inclined. When they have finished all the 
songs they intend to use they bring back the drum, gourd, etc., to 
the middle of the lodge and stop dancing. Then they return to their 
seats and then the leader rises and says: 

"Councilors, relatives who are seated here, I greet you. You 
who are seated in the first seat, you who sit in the north, and you 
who sit in the west, night-blest ones who are within this lodge, I 
greet you all. Whenever a night-blessed child holds council, when he 
is invited to a feast and is given the position at the end of the road, 
the intention of the feast-giver is to enable him to obtain life. So 
they told me, and that is what they meant. Most assuredly have 
they caused me to think of life. When I hold the mediators in my 


hand I am holding life, and when I pass them on to the others, to 
my relatives and to my sisters, I am passing on life to all of them. 
In this waj r were we made to think of life. I will not detain you 
any longer. All that I wish to say is that I am thankful. Chil- 
dren of the night-blessed ones, I greet you." 

Then he sat down and the host rose and spoke as follows: 

"You who sit in the east, you who sit hi the north, you who sit 
in the west, and you who sit at the end of the road, I greet you all. 
It is good. This is what I wanted but have not been able to say. 
You, however, told it all in my place. It is good. Of all things 
this is the foremost, it is said. The instruments with which to ask 
life you have placed before me. That alone is enough to live on 
and that you have done for me. It is good. Your forefathers 
dreamed just as the spirits did, and how they ob tamed life, all of that 
you have told me to-night. It is good. You have said enough to 
obtain life. It is good. I say this because I am thankful. If you 
do anything, do it hi the right way, I was told. I understand this 
ceremony, but nevertheless what I have done is the best I could do. 
I will now place the food before you. I am an old man, but I have 
always performed this affair just as I have performed it to-day, and, 
although I know that I have not done it hi the right way, yet it was 
my turn to do it, and I did it. I am an old man, and for that 
reason I am not able to procure meat anywhere. My relatives 
helped me and that is why I have been able to do it. Here are four 
kettles of hot water. I will place them hi the center of the lodge 
for you. The one hi the east and the one hi the north and the one 
hi the west and the one at the end of the road ; each one may have it. 
Children of the night-blessed ones, all who are seated here, to all do 
I send greeting." 

Then the leader of the east band rose and said: "Councilors, I 
greet you. You who sit over there in the north, you who sit hi the 
west, and you who sit at the end of the road, I greet you all. Chil- 
dren of the night-blessed ones who are hi this lodge, I greet you. 
We are all to arise soon and that is why I announce this." 

Then the leader of the north band rose and said: "We also will rise, 
as it is our turn. We greet you all." 

Then the leader of the west band rose and said: "The time has 
come for us to rise. I and mv relatives will now rise. We greet you 

Then the leader of the south band rose and said: "Councilors, I 
greet you. I greet all who have been blessed by the Night Spirits, 
each one hi turn. We are now going to rise." 

Then the leader of the east band said agahi: "Councilors, I greet 
you. We will now greet the hot water and I will use a song." 

342 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

Then the leader of the north band said: "I also will start a song. 
I greet you." 

Then the leader of the west band said: "I also will start a song. 
I greet you." 

Then the leader of the south band said: "I also will start a song. 
I greet you." 

Then the leader of the east band sang a song, and the other leaders 
sang their songs. Each band sang its own songs, not paying any 
attention to the songs of the others. Each band sang different 
songs. This they do in order to drown the voices of the others. 
Should one band overcome the other, it means that that particular 
band would be blessed with victory in war. What they were really 
saying is that their songs were more powerful than the others, and 
that their grandfathers' songs were the holiest. Then they all 
danced around the lodge, single file, and made their exit from the 
lodge. While they were dancing, the host sat stdl singing and beating 
his drum. They carry their kettles outside. Wherever they wish to 
eat, there they go and dance around the kettle of food first. Then 
they eat their meal. They dance in different bands. 

The ceremony finishes with this feast. It is customary, however, 
for the one who has been given the seat of honor, that is, the east 
seat, to give a feast immediately afterwards. Then the one who has 
been invited first would do the same thing, so that all four would 
in this manner give dances in rotation. For this reason it generally 
took five nights before the ceremony was over. During those five 
nights no one could sleep. It is from this fact that the word, "Sore- 
eye Dance," which is the general term used for this ceremony, 
originated. If a person does not sleep for five nights, his eyes 
generally get sore, and that is why they call this ceremony the 
"Sore-eye Dance." 

Sometimes they perform night-spirit tricks. These would be of 
the following nature: A kettle is put on to boil and some individual 
fishes out a piece of meat bare-handed without getting burned. At 
other times they shoot a hole into a drum covering, using a wild-cat 
claw as a missile. Then they immediately mend it. 

When a man is very bad they shoot him with an object and kill 
him. They used to be very much afraid ofsuch people. Sometimes 
they take a handful of live coals and embers from the fire, put them 
into their mouth and then spit them out without getting burned. 
It is for this reason that they are called holy. Sometimes they take 
burnt portions of a tree that had been struck by lightning, put them 
in the fire, and then when they are red hot take them out again and 
put them in their mouths without extinguishing them. They then 
spit them out, and it w T ould look like lightning. Or they would shoot 
one another with cold charcoal. This is all that I know. 


Once a medicine-dance man and a night-blessed man became jeal- 
ous and the medicine-dance man said that he would play tricks on the 
night-blessed man. The night-blessed man said he was quite willing 
to have a contest. So the two came and sat opposite each other and 
began their contest. Whatever the medicine-dance man did the 
night-blessed man did too, but always a little better. The medi- 
cine-dance man was defeated, so from that time on the medicine- 
dance men are afraid of the former. The medicine-dance men shot 
the night-blessed men with claws, but they could not kill them. 
Therefore they were afraid of them. The night-blessed men could 
kill the medicine-dance men at pleasure. The medicine-dance men 
were inferior. That is all. 

Society of Those Who Have Been Blessed By the Herok'a 

Informant, member of the Bear clan: The feast of those who have 
been blessed by the Herok'a is given at any time of the year. Any- 
one may be invited. The feast is held in a long lodge and is gener- 
ally given by a number of members at the same time (or by all). 
Each person brings a deer and his bow and arrows. The bows and 
arrows are painted different colors, depending upon the color (paint) 
with which the individual has been blessed. The bows are all stuck 
in the ground between the first two fireplaces and the arrows in a 
row just behind them. 

During the ceremony and feast the members all sing the songs 
with which they have been blessed. The ceremony is held before the 
feast and is conducted by one of the members of the society. He 
leads, holding a bow in one hand. The others follow, holding arrows 
in their hands. Only men are permitted to dance. There are cer- 
tain songs, to the accompaniment of which women are permitted to 
dance. But the women must have passed their climacteric. 

They do not use gourd rattles as at the other dances. Instead a 
number of deer hoofs are strung together and used in place of them. 
(They do not eat with their hands or with the ordinary sticks) but use 
instead forked sticks, whittled down at one end. The leader wears 
a headdress to which a horn is attached, and paints his body with 
the same color as his arrows. Whoever leads the dance carries a 
flute, which he plays before and after each song. Those following 
him hit their mouth with the palm of their hands and whoop. 

When the dance is over, each one of the feasters takes his plate and 
dances out. 17 

" This account of the Herok'a Society is unfortunately merely fragmentary, but from a few additional 
notes obtained there seems to be little doubt that it represents the same type of organization as the other 
religious fraternities. 

344 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [dth.ann. 37 

Society of Those Who Have Been Blessed By the Buffalo 


Informant, member of the Bear dan: "Come, it is the time for 
giving the Buffalo Feast," said my father, "so tell the attendants to 
get ready; and you, third-born, if you see anyone, tell him about the 
feast that we are going to give." 

So I went to Fire-starter and said, "Nephew, my father is about 
to give a feast, and he wants his attendants to get ready. You are 
to go over to his lodge and get a few more attendants to help you. 
We also will get ready right away." Then I greeted him and he said, 
"All right, I will go and get some to help me." I returned to my 
father and told him what I had done. He told me to go and inform 
those who were to take part in the feast that they were to bring food. 
This I likewise did and returned with the information that they would 
all do as desired. 

Now the attendants arrived and asked what was expected of them. 
They were told to haul the wood and cut the poles to be used in 
building the lodge, prepare the fireplaces, and put the kettles on the 
fire. After that they were to go and tell the young women to get 
the food ready. When the drum was fixed and the food prepared, 
then the feast would begin, they were told. 

" Well, Green-hair, my nephew, it is about time for you to go down 
toward the timber and invite the people. You, my nephew, Fire- 
starter, may go to those who possess war bundles and invite them. 
Go especially to Strikes-the-earth-with-his-wings and tell him that he 
must come immediately. When you come back, Green-hair, get the 
earth mound (ma n warup'urura) ready. Construct two of them in the 
lodge. Then place upon them all the things that we are going to 
use in the dance." 

The drum, the flute, the buffalo tails, the buffalo heads were all 
painted and placed there. 

Then the feasters arrived. He-who-strikes-with-his-wings was to 
sit opposite Fleet-one. When all had entered and were seated 
Hodja'noka arose and spoke: 

" War-bundle owners, all you who have been blessed by the buffalo- 
spirits and are seated here, you who are taking the place of the 
spirits and giving counsel like them, I thank you and greet you all. 
You are taking the place of the spirits. Just as we ask for long life 
from the spirits, so do we ask the same of you. Relatives, I know I 
am going to tire you all out, but do not take it amiss. What we 
long for, aid us in obtaining. Life is what I wish. 

"What I am doing now I did not originate, for my ancestor 
Hodja'noka was the one blessed by the buffalo-spirits. When he 
was a child he was blessed by them and they gave him a certain 


plant and blessed him with long life and with victorious warpaths. 
He asked to be remembered by Hodja'noka in his offerings. The 
buffalo-spirit told him that if he would pour tobacco for him, and 
give feasts and make offerings of eagle feathers, the blessings he had 
given him would last forever. 

"All these blessings were handed down to my father. These I 
also was taught. This life do we pray for and we have asked you 
all to come and help us. We thank you for it. As soon as the 
attendants are finished with the preparation of the food then we 
will eat. Our servants may perhaps burn their hands while pre- 
paring the food, but they will obtain life by so doing. Those who 
possess war bundles are always told to help one another and I know 
that you have come here for that reason. Life I am seeking and 
that is why I am giving this feast. Help me, all you owners of 
bundles who are present here. I will now sing s,pme of the songs 
that Hodja'noka taught us. You who have obtained blessings, I 
greet you." 

Then he sang the following songs : 

Song 1 

Narjgura homa'ni hiwiie. (Repeat.) 
In the road walk let him do. 

Song 2 

Hodja'noka hamani Vine. (Repeat.) 
Hodjanoka Walk by. 

Song S 

Kara Hodja'noka haniani'winS. 
Say, Hodjanoka Walk by. 

Dancing song 

Hodja'noka tcawawi're. (Repeat.) 

Hodjanoka go toward. 

Erehu'na. (Repeat twice.) Wiga're. (Repeat twice.) 

It is coming say to them. 

As soon as Hodja'noka finished his songs, then all the objects 
(drum, gourds, etc.) were passed to He-who-strikes-the-earth-with- 
his-wings, and he rose and spoke: 

"Brother-in-law, councilors, relatives, all who are seated here, I 
greet you. You who have been blessed with bundles, I greet like- 
wise. You are taking the place of the spirits. It is good. We are 
trying to encourage one another and we have come to help you. 
We have brought you food for the feast. We also are desirous of 
obtaining long life and that is why we have brought our offerings, 
for we know the buffalo-spirits will accept them, as they are very 
tempting. You who are taking the place of the spirits, I greet you." 
1S6S23— 22 23 

346 THE WINNEBAGO TEIBE [eth. ann. 37 

Then he sings some songs and dances and passes the drum, etc., 
to the next guest and so it, in turn, is passed on until the fourth 
invited guest is reached. Then the drum is replaced in the center of 
the lodge. 18 

Informant, unknown clan: 19 Buffalo feasts are given in spring, in 
fall, and in midwinter. No meat is offered, but only vegetables. 
The buffaloes said that maple sugar is their favorite food, so when 
this feast is given they always have some maple sugar along with 
the other things. The buffalo feast always takes place in a long 
lodge. The attendants make the lodge and boil all the food. When 
the kettles have been placed on the fire those giving the feast enter. 
The earth mound is now constructed and tobacco offered to it. All 
those giving the feast pour tobacco on the earth mound, asking for 
victory in war. When this is finished they sing buffalo songs, 
starting with the, initial songs. When they are ready to sing the 
dancing songs the feast-giver rises and speaks as follows : 

"The dancing songs that we are about to sing we use because we 
believe that our offering will thus be accepted. It is generally the 
custom to do this." 

He now calls on some one to lead in the dance. This individual is 
always taken from the Buffalo clan. He comes forward, placing the 
buffalo head on his own head and carrying the buffalo tail attached 
to himself. He leads in all the dances, the others following him. 
A plate of maple sugar is placed at the buffalo mound. When he 
approaches the buffalo mound he makes a noise like a buffalo, 
sticks his tongue to the plate of sugar, and licks up some of it. Those 
following do the same. This they do without even holding the dish, 
just as buffaloes eat. When they finish their dancing they pass the 
drum on to another person, and when it has made the circuit of the 
lodge they eat. Each person has his own dish. Then the leader in 
the dance is told that the dish of wild rice standing in the center of 
the lodge is meant for him, and that he can invite whomsoever he 
likes to help him. When all in the lodge are ready they start eating 
all at the same time. When those in the center of the lodge get 
through and the dish is empty it is thrown over their heads, and 
they do not stop this until the dish has been turned upside down. 
While they are engaged in doing this they bellow like buffaloes. 
They are not allowed to use their hands in turning the dish over. 
They must do it with their heads, for it is a sacred thing and that is 
the way the buffaloes used to do it. When they are all through eat- 
ing the feast-giver sings a dancing song and all those within the 
lodge rise, take their plates, and dance out of the lodge. 

is In this account it is not quite clear whether the drum is merely passed to the four principal guests or 
to all. At the buffalo dance witnessed by the writer in the summer of 1908 it was passed only to the four 
principal guests. This was also corroborated by a number of informants. 

" The origin myth of this feast is given on page 243. 


Description of buffalo dance and its origin. — Informant, member of 
Bear clan : The buffalo dance can be given by anybody who has been 
blessed by the buffalo spirits. In the beginning the Winnebago had 
animal forms, and they could obtain all the power they wanted, but 
since they left that stage of life they can obtain power only by fasting. 
John's buffalo feast is of recent origin. It originated with his 

A long lodge is prepared and in tbe center there is a pile of loose 
dirt. John's grandfather's name was Hodjanaga, Young-man-just- 
maturing. In fasting he found out that he was blessed with powers 
to cure the sick and be victorious in battle. While fasting, the 
spirits told him that he would receive what he was longing for. 
They told him that he would know what to do, for they would come 
after him. Soon they came after him and took him into camp (i. e., 
spirit country). When he got there, he saw an old man and a child, 
and he was told that it was on account of the child that he had been 
brought there; that the child had heard his prayers while fasting 
and had blessed him. Then they showed him a certain herb and 
told him, "This is what we give you. It will give you strength in 
running. Use it in time of war, and use it also as medicine for life. 
I have blessed you and given you what you desired and do you, in 
turn, make me a dog feast and give me red feathers, tobacco, and 
food." Then they taught him the songs and gave him a buffalo tail 
and a flute. 

No invitation sticks are used. They go around and invite those 
whom they want. 

When the grasses are well developed, then the Buffalo clan people 
make a feast to their life or clan; also in midwinter, for that is the 
time when all the spirits awaken from their night's sleep and turn 
over on the other side. 

Society of Those Who Have Been Blessed Bt the Grizzly Bear 

Informant, member of Bear clan: The grizzly-bear dance was 
given by those who had been blessed during their fasting by the 
grizzly bear. Women were never so blessed, and for that reason 
they never could participate in the dance. Different people received 
different blessings. We were blessed with two grizzly-bear heads, 
grizzly-bear hides, and paws. In the lodge constructed for the dance 
was placed a mound of earth called ma n warap'uru. The ma n warap'uru 
is supposed to represent a bear's cave, the four points of the cross 
representing the entrances to the cave and the four lines running to 
the center, the paths along which the grizzly bear travels when he 
scents a man. The place in the middle is supposed to be the habi- 
tation of the bear himself. Tobacco and red feathers are placed both 

348 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth.ahn.37 

in the center and at the four points. Only people who had been 
blessed by the grizzly bear were permitted to sing and dance. The 
dancing itself took place both around the lodge and around the 
ma n warap'uru. The dancers are supposed to imitate the motions 
and the cries of the grizzly bear. Sometimes they whirl themselves 
round and round, like a grizzly bear, but their principal motion con- 
sists in stretching out their hands. In this position they will take 
tobacco from the ma n warap'uru and eat it. They believe that they 
are representing the bears when they do this. 

The dancers are selected by the one giving the dance. Those 
taking part vie with each other in exhibiting the powers with which 
they have been blessed, because in this way those present could see 
who possessed the greatest powers. 

The purpose of the dance was to thank the grizzly bears for the 
blessings they had bestowed upon the people. (However, there 
seemed to be many other special occasions for which the dance was 

If sick people are present at the dance they are told to put some 
tobacco on the ma n warap'uru and ask for life. 

There is a description of the grizzly-bear dance in the account of 
Little Priest's life which it might be well to append here in view of 
the brevity of the above description. 

" Little Priest had been wounded in so many places that he was 
practically dead. He was, of course, entirely unconscious when his 
relatives arrived. They decided to perform the grizzly-bear dance 
for him , He himself had been blessed by the grizzly bears when he 
was young. 

"The dance was to be given at the lodge of an Indian named Good 
Soldier. They carried Little Priest to the lodge in a blanket, so that 
they could sing for him and permit him to show the powers he pos- 
sessed. He was unable to move on account of the wounds and the 
bruises he had gotten. The man who sang for him at that time was 
South-Wind. There were all in all ten Indians, entirely naked, 
except for their breechclouts. Little Priest had told South- Wind 
that he was a grizzly bear and that he could heal himself (no matter 
how badly he had been wounded). 

"As soon as the songs and dancing commenced Little Priest began 
to move his little fingers. Soon he. was able to move his arm as far 
as his forearm, and gradually he regained the power of moving the 
entire arm. Finally he sat up and began to keep time on the drum. 
Then he tried to stand on his feet, but owing to his weakness it was 
only with the greatest difficulty that he could straighten out his 
body. Finally he stood erect. Then he started to walk around the 
lodge very slowly. The second circuit he made more easily, and by 
the time he had made the fourth circuit he was dancing just as the 


other dancers were with all his strength restored. Then he walked 
to the ma n warup'uru, took some earth, rubbed it on his wounds, 
and they were healed immediately. There was only one wound 
that he could not heal, which was situated on a part of his back that 
he could not reach with his hands." 

He sang many songs while dancing. These songs were the ones 
that the spirits had taught him when they blessed him. 



Newine'na newine'na ha n ptca n ne. 
I am he, I am he, the clay it is I. 

Ha / na n ninxgu n ne v k'tce hiniggai're nink'tcaVnirjkEra djaniinga'gre. 
That you would be you were by the children aa many as there are. 
listened to told 


Ma n tco'ja n ho'dadjehi v rera. 

The grizzly bear was starting to roam. 

Wa'wonatca n t £ i n nihe'ka. 
Shouting you can hear him. 
Hc'ratca 11 ^! 11 nihe'ka. 
His voice you can hear. 



(Pis. 49,50) 

Origin Myth 

What it was our father sat on when he came to consciousness is 
uncertain. Then his tears flowed and he began to cry. Not long did 
he think. He saw nothing and nothing was there anywhere. He 
took something from the seat on which he was sitting and made a 
portion of our earth. 

Then he sent the earth below him. From where he sat and as he 
looked at his own creation, it became similar to our earth. However, 
nothing grew upon it and it was entirely without a covering. It 
had not become quiet but was spinning around. 

Suddenly he thought, "If I do this, it will become quiet." Then 
he made a covering (hair) for it. He took a weed from his seat to 
make grass for the earth and earthward he sent it. That he did and 
then looked at his own creation. It was not quiet but still kept on 
turning. ''This way I will do again," he thought. He took a tree 
and toward the earth he sent it and again looked at his creation, but 
still it kept spinning around. Then he sent four men, brothers, and 
placed one in the east, one in the west, one in the south, and one in 
the north, and again looked at his creation. It was, however, still spin- 
ning around. ''Perhaps it will become quiet in the following way," 
he thought. So he made four of what are called water-spirits and 
below the earth he placed them, and for that reason they are called 
island-weights. Then he scattered a female spirit over the earth, by 
which stones are meant. Finally he looked at his creation and he 
saw that the earth had become quiet. 

He had sent the stones clear through the earth, throughout its 
extent, and only the heads remained uncovered. He looked at his 
creation and saw that it had become quiet. No clouds appeared 
anywhere, the light of day appearing motionless, and the vibrations 
of heat seemed to be like spider webs going past, floating. 

All the birds that were to roam over the sky, all the quadrupeds 
that were to be on this earth and those called subterranean animals 
he placed in houses that he had made for them and scattered here 
and there. Then he made all those insects that were destined to 
live on the earth. Finally, at the end of his thinking he made us, 








the human beings. However, we were not even equal in strength to 
a fly. We were the weakest of all. Then he looked at what he had 
created and he liked it and sat filled with happy thoughts. 

He was proud of us and gazed again on what he had created. He 
had, however, not made the human beings equal in strength to the 
others and they were on the point of being destroyed. Then he 
formed a human being, like ourselves, and when he had finished him, 
he named him the Foolish-One. "Foolish-One, to the earth you are 
to go. Weakly (pitiable) , in every respect, I made the human beings. 
I made them as my last thought. Now this creation of mine, they, 
the evil spirits, are likely to injure, so do you, O Foolish-One, go and 
put things in order." 

Then he sent him to the earth, but when he came on earth he did 
not do what he had been told. He went around the earth and ac- 
complished nothing. (As useless) as a child crawling on all fours 
he was. He really amounted to nothing. Though sent by Earth- 
maker, he amounted to nothing. He did no good and injured the 
creation of Earthmaker, so Earthmaker took him back and had him 
sit at the right of his own seat. 

Then he made another (man) and when he was fini sher! called him 
the Turtle. ''The two-legged walkers (human beings) whom I cre- 
ated as the last of my thoughts, (evil spirits) are about to exterminate 
Do you go and put the earth in order." Turtle went and (took along) 
a knife that he had been given. When he came on earth he led people 
on the warpath, but he did not look after the (welfare) of (Earth- 
maker's) creation. Earthmaker therefore took back the second man, 
too, and placed him on his left side. 

Then he made a third (man) , and when he finished him, he named 
him Bladder, and said, "You are to go to the earth. As my last 
thought, I created the two-legged walkers and they were pitifid in 
every way. They are now about to be exterminated and you are to 
rescue them. Try with all your strength." 

When he came on earth he made a long lodge and created twenty 
men. That many younger brothers he had. Then they all started 
to go around this entire island and all the younger brothers were 
killed. Thus he failed in his mission. The work his father had sent 
him to do, he failed in, so (Earthmaker) took him back and placed 
him on his left side. 

Then he made a fourth (man) and when he finished he named him 

Then he made the last one, Hare, his body just like ours. "You 
are the last one I am going to create, so try with all your strength, 
Hare, try." He-who-wears-human-heads-as-earrings, the fourth one, 
faded. He therefore took him back. Hare was the last that Earth- 
maker, our father, wished to create. He (had created) him entirely 
by the force of his thoughts. 

352 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. axn. 37 

"Hare, what I am doing, you also will be able to accomplish. 
Try with all your power. If (the evil spirits) injure my creation, it 
will not be good on earth, life will not be good." Thus he encouraged 
him; thus he spoke to him. "Try and overcome these (evil spirits)." 

So Hare was sent to the earth, and when he came on earth he said 
to himself, "My brothers acted in a (certain) way and failed." Hare 
had come up to a certain oval lodge and from this (same) house came 
a young woman with a little pail. She was going toward the river. 
"Now they (Foolish-One, etc.), were not able to do (what I am going 
to do)," he said. There he entered the body of the young woman in 
order to become a human being. There he sat in the abdomen (of 
the young woman) , yet he heard their (human being's) cry. 

He heard them crying. "My father sent me to give them advice, 
and here, for so very long a time, I have been sitting." Crying, 
shrieking, he heard them (the human beings). "So long have I been 
sitting here that (the evil spirits) will in the end destroy them." 
Seven months had he been waiting when he spoke thus. Finally, 
when the proper time had elapsed, he went out through an opening. 
Not four days after, the woman died. 

He always left the house in which they lived, at night, and would 
roam around. Whenever he walked inside the house he would 
reflect much light. As soon as daylight appeared he became quiet, it 
is said. As soon as the sun went down, he went out. He traveled 
all around the earth, for its entire extent, and just before sunrise 
returned and became quiet. Throughout the day he sat thinking 
of all the work he was to do. 

For the third time he again started out, at sunset, and traveled 
over half the extent of the earth, and all the bad spirits that were 
growing wild he put an end to. "Not again will they (the bad 
spirits) live; not for a second time will they kill any of my uncles or 
aunts." Just before daylight appeared, he went toward the house, 
and as he approached it, his heart felt good. Then he entered the 
house and all day he sat there wrapped in thought. 

When the sun went down he went out and over to the very edge of 
the earth, as large as it is, he roamed, and all the bad spirits that exist 
he killed. Just about daylight he went up into the heavens and bang ! 
he pursued all the bad birds that were living there and driving them 
together in the west, he killed them all. Very early in the morning 
he went to the house thinking pleasant thoughts. "The work my 
father sent me to do I have accomplished. The life of my uncles and 
aunts will now be like mine, from now on." Thus he thought as he 
entered the house. 

"Well, Grandmother, the work my father sent me to do, I have 
accomplished. He sent me to look after his creation and all that I 
have accomplished. My uncles' and aunts' lives will hereafter be the 


same as my own." "But, Grandson, how can your uncles' lives be 
the same as yours ? It is not so. The (world) is as our father created 
it. Not different can it be made." "The old woman must be re- 
lated to them and therefore does not like it that I killed (the evil 
spirits)." "No, Grandson, our father has ordained thay my body 
(the earth) should fall in two. Lest they should cause a shortage in 
food (by overpopulation) he ordained that there should be death, 
otherwise they woidd crowd each other too much on earth. So, there- 
fore, he arranged that they have a place to die." 

Hare didn't like it. "Surely, Grandmother does not like it be- 
cause she was related to them. She is taking their (evil spirits) part." 
Thus he thought. "No, Grandson, that is not so. Your heart, at 
present, feels sore. Your uncles and aunts will obtain enough of life; 
they will live to a normal old age," she told him. "Now, Grandson, 
get up. Your uncles and aunts will follow you. Try with all your 
strength (to do what I am going to tell you) . You are a man, so do 
not look back." 

Around (the earth) they started. "Not to look back," grand- 
mother said. "I wonder why she said it." Thus he thought. So 
he looked back just the least bit to his left. The place he had started 
from caved in instantaneously. "O my! O my! A man I thought 
you were, a person of prominence, and I had encouraged you very 
much. But now, Grandson, decay, death can, in no way, be taken 
back." That is what she meant, it is said. 

Around (the earth) they went and to the edge of the fire (that 
encircles the earth) they traveled, it is said. They united it (the 
fire) so that they (the uncles and aunts) would attain old age, so she 

"To look back, she forbade me. But I have already made up my 
mind (as to the immortality of my uncles and aunts). When they 
become like me, then only will I be happy. Such is my thought." 
Then he went out and there, where the sun rises, to the east, he went 
and entered the house. Opposite the occupants he sat himself. 
What he had come for (the occupants) knew, it is said, " Well, Hare, 
there is nothing I can say to you. If the one ahead has anything he 
wishes to say to you, he will undoubtedly do so." Then he (Hare) 
greeted him and went out. 

Toward the west he traveled. Even then not any (other) thought 
he had. " I can do it," he thought on the way. When he arrived at 
the house he entered and sat himself opposite the (occupant) . " Hare, 
what you have come for, I know, I believe, but I will not tell you 
anything. The one ahead, he it is that can tell you, he it is." So he 
(Hare) saluted him and went out. 

Toward the house of the fourth one, in the south, he went and en- 
tered, and sat himself opposite (the occupant). "Hare, what you 

354 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

have come for, I know, but if even those ahead could not say any- 
thing to you, how can I, the very last, say anything?" 

Then he saluted him and went out in the same way that he went 
in. lie started for his house and came there crying, it is said. "My 
aunts and uncles must not die!" "To all things death will come," 
he thought. Then he cast his thoughts upon the precipices and 
they began to fall, to crumble. Upon the rocks he cast his thoughts 
and they crumbled. Under the earth he cast his thoughts and all 
beings that were living under the earth stopped moving and their 
limbs stiffened (in death). 

Up above also he cast his thoughts and the birds began to fall 
down (dead). 

Then when he entered the house he took his blanket and wrapping 
himjelf in it, lay down crying, it is said. "Not the entire earth 
will suffice for us," he thought, "and in some places there will not 
even be enough earth. " 

After a while the news reached our father. "To utterly destroy 
us they will try" (the people were saying). That Hare was not 
feeling well, was the news that reached him. Then he (Earthmaker) 
said to the first man he had created, "Hare is not feeling well and 
you are to go after him." Toward the earth he came. "Hare, I 
have come here to fetch you." But he did not answer him and 
he did not even move his blanket. So the man (Foolish-One) 
returned. Then he (Earthmaker) said to the second one, "Hare 
you are to go after and bring him back here. Try very hard to 
(accomplish) it, for he is not feeling well." When he arrived there 
(he said), "Hare, I have come after you to take you back." But 
Hare did not even (answer). When he returned, he said, "Hare 
did not say anything." (Then to the third one he said), "Hare 
you are to go after, for he is not feeling well. " When he came (to 
where Hare was, he said), "Hare, I have come after you, to take 
you home." But Hare did not even answer him. Hare was indeed 
not feeling well. 

Then he (Earthmaker) told the fourth one, "You are to go after 
Hare. Be sure and bring him. Be sure and bring him. Try with 
all your strength." "No matter how hard it is, I will bring him" 
(said the fourth one). He started out and when he came to Hare 
(he said), "Indeed, for a very long time has your heart been sad, 
Hare. But let us go home now. Get up ! " Then he took him back, 
it is said, to Earthmaker he took him. But not to Earthmaker 's 
house did he take him, but to that opposite where the chief of the 
Thunderbirds lived. At his side, there they placed him. In front 
of the Thunderbird chief's (house) there was a mound and also a 
little war club painted red on one side. Thunderbird chief took 
the little war club and holding it lightly, shook it gently. So great 


was the noise (it made) that Hare got frightened and almost ran out, 
it is said. Then they freed him from the sad thoughts he had had 
on earth and restored his spirits. 

Soon after that they took him to Earthmaker and (when) he had 
come there (Earthmaker said), "Hare, your heart must have been 
very sad. Indeed, for your uncles it was, that your heart felt sad. 
Now that their lives may be benefited, a holy teaching you are to 
take back to them. "Here, look at it," he said, and pointed to- 
ward the south. There a long lodge stood (revealed). At this he 
looked and there were old people with hair all white. "Thus your 
uncles and aunts will be. They will make very much noise (in 
this ceremony). Now look down! Some help is to be given them. 
Not one bad spirit will I put there. " Then he (Earthmaker) pointed 
in that direction and said, "You are to go back there (to earth) 
and put this (ceremony) before them. Not alone are you to do it, 
but with the aid of your own friends, Foolish-One, Turtle, Bladder, 
and He-who-wears-heads-as-earrings. " These he meant. "Your 
grandmother (the earth) will help you and if one of your uncles and 
aunts performs everything properly he will have more than one 
life. I will always keep the door (through which he may return to 
earth) open to him. When he becomes reincarnated he can live 
wherever he wishes. He can return (to the earth) as a human being 
or he can join the different bands of spirits, or finally he can become 
(a being) below the earth.*' All this he (Earthmaker) did for us. 

Then Hare returned to the earth and to his grandmother. " What 
I have tried to obtain for my uncles and aunts, that now I have 
brought back with me." "Grandson, how was it possible for you to 
make them immortal like ourselves ? As the world was created, so 
must it remain." "Grandmother, I say that my uncles will choose 
their lives for themselves, and grandmother, you are to help me." 
"All right, grandson, it is good," she said, thanking him. "When 
the time comes, my friend the Foolish-One will come," he thought. 
Then he struck his drum and started the songs. All of a sudden, 
Foolish-One came in. " That you would come, my friend, I thought, 
and thus you have come." " Indeed, my friend, I knew your thoughts 
and, for that reason, I came." Then they went out together and 
outside of the village they sat and discussed what they were to do. 
This is what they were doing. All day they discussed on the out- 
skirts of the village. When they came to the house they entered it 
and sat down. "My friend Turtle will come," he (Hare) thought. 
Then Turtle did come. "My friend, I knew you would come, and 
for that reason, you have come." "Yes, indeed, your thought I 
knew, and for that reason I have come." Soon Bladder came. He 
(Hare) thought he would come and for that reason he came. Then 
Hare centered his thoughts on He-who-wears-heads-as-earrings, and 
he also came. 

356 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

Their grandmother listened to them quietly, but she could not 
understand them. Then (after a while) Hare said, "Grandmother, 
what I have been trying to obtain for my uncles I have succeeded (in 
accomplishing). You are now going to hear of it. Come here 
toward the fireplace and sit down and you will hear of it. (I know) 
that you are anxious to help them, Grandmother." "Indeed, 
grandson, it is good," she said, and got up. Then she took her work 
and sat down near the five of them and laid her hands upon their 
heads. In front of her nephew, Hare, she placed her work. "If you 
get this for them (i. e., the medicine dance) your uncles will live weU. 
This way they are to do forever," she said. In front of him she put 
her work and said, "For this thing, indeed, I thank our father." 
Thus she said and went back and sat down. "Grandson, what the 
nature of my help for you was to be, you asked? Well, look at me, 
grandson. For your uncles and your aunts, our father had me bring 
the following. I have for them that with which they will always be 
able to ask for life." Then she opened that part of her body where 
her heart was situated and very green leaves were to be seen, like an 
ear in shape. It was as white as a blossom. Then she opened her 
breast on the right side and said, "Grandson, look at me." Then 
unexpectedly corn was visible. "For your uncles and aunts, our 
father let me bring corn." A stalk became visible whose leaves were 
very green and whose tassels were white. These were the ears of 
corn that we were to eat. 

Then the five of them got up and Hare said, "Our grandmother, let 
us greet." So they walked up and laid their hands upon her head. 
Then they greeted her and went around again. "It is good, grand- 
mother, this is what I meant when I said you were to help them. 
You were going to help us, grandmother," I said. "You may now 
fix your breast." 

Then he went out, proceeding toward the east, and when he got 
there he stopped. Then he turned toward the west. Grandmother 
closed her breast and entered the house. "Well, grandson, I have 
done it." "It is good, grandmother," said Hare. Then he went 
out, and when he got to the door he stopped there and thought, 
"This is the way it will be." And where he stood, eight yellow 
female snakes he threw. They became the side-poles of the lodge. 
Their heads he turned toward the east, and their tails he turned 
toward the west. The strings he used with "which to tie them were 
rattlesnakes. The doorway was made of a black female and a 
male snake, the latter placed at the right. At the rear end of the 
house, in the west, he also made doors of blue female snakes. Then 
he took a reed-grass, which he had brought with him, under whose 
covering we were to live, and threw it over the lodge and the lodge 
was wrapped in it entirely. Then he took another piece of reed- 


grass and inside the house, at the right side, he threw it and it became 
white mats spread out. Then he threw a bear-skin hide in the house 
on the right side, and it extended along the length of the lodge. 
Then he made a white deer-hide extend along the entire length of the 
lodge, on the right side. A door he made of a real living mountain 
lion. This he did in order to prevent bad spirits from entering. At 
the door, on the west side, he placed a buffalo bull, and when this 
all was completed, he looked inside the lodge and then he heard 
these animals bellowing and roaring, it is said. Inside of the lodge, 
it was light. 

Then he started for the lodge, first going for his friends. "Well, 
my friends, I am through; the house I have finished. Grandmother, 
stand up, for we are going to follow." He walked behind and when 
they came to the door, the fear-inspiring lion snapped his teeth, as 
he stood there. Then they went in and walked around the lodge 
until they came to the place where they had entered and they sat 
down. Then Hare sent a number of public criers, a bear and a wolf, 
to traverse the entire length of the earth. Along with them were sent 
the winged messengers, the common crow and the shrieking crow. 

When the animals that had started first returned, their bodies were 
old and devoid of hair, and they supported themselves on staffs. 
When the birds who had gone returned, their wings were worn out, 
their eyebrows lapped over their eyes, and they looked very old 
indeed. They came in front of Hare's seat and said to him, "Your 
uncles and aunts, when they speak of you, will speak of you forever 
in praise. We have placed many life-giving objects within the 
lodge.'' "Well, my friends, it is good. This is what I meant. I 
thank you in the name of my uncles and aunts." 

Then all the messengers who had been above on the earth, etc., all 
of them came. The four very first men he had created also came. 
They all stood at the door ready to enter. The oldest one started in, 
but he turned back, being afraid of the animals within. Three of 
them were afraid and therefore failed to enter. Then the youngest 
opened the door for them and led them in. After he entered, they, 
in turn, walked around the lodge, and when they got to the door, 
Hare placed the eldest one there and said, "My elder brother, this is 
your seat, the east one." Then he walked around again and at the 
north end he stopped and made the second one sit down. Then he 
walked around and, stopping in the west, made the third one sit 
there. Then, finally, he put the fourth one in the south seat, and 
went to his own seat and sat down. 

Now all the other spirits began to enter the lodge. Then the first 
people came in and four were made to sit in the east and four were 
made to sit with each of the four seats. The people were of the 

358 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. iss. 37 

Bird clan, the Bear clan, the Wolf clan, and the Snake clan. The 
fourth one was the one they were to teach, to initiate. 

Then Hare got up and spoke as follows: "My friends, I have had 
you come together, for my uncles and aunts had been living a most 
pitiable life. You are to teach them the life they are to live and 
which they are to hand down from generation to generation. That 
is what I ask of you. What I want, you have heard. I leave every- 
thing to be done and said by those in the east." 

Then he, the one in the east, arose and spoke, "Our friends, the 
uncles and aunts of the Hare, we are to teach the meaning of life, 
so that they may hand it down from one generation to the other. 
Only today, for the first time, have we discussed this thing for them. 
Life (all that life consists of — wealth, honor, and happiness) they 
shall have from now on." The four of them said, "What the one 
ahead said (we say)." When they finished, they returned. 

Now Hare got up again and said, "My friends, that is what I 
wished for my uncles and aunts. This council-lodge I made for 
them, and as long as they follow the precepts taught in the creation- 
lodge they will be invulnerable. For that reason this seat has been 
made for them, that whosoever desires may sit therein." 

All day long the spirits taught him, and when the sun was on the 
treetops, wdien it was time to stop, the spirits dispersed, taking with 
them as they went half the light within the lodge. They rubbed 
against the door-poles as they went out. They pushed them in 
deeply so the^y would not fall. 

Then Hare spoke, "Grandmother, I will be sitting ready for any 
one of my uncles and aunts who will perform this ceremony that we 
have taught them well. With tears my uncles and aunts will come 
to me and my heart will feel sore. I will go above and sit down and if 
any person performs this ceremony that we taught him well, then 
he will be as I am, if you will but look at me, grandmother. Look 
at my body, grandmother." And behold, like a very small boy he 
was. "If any one repeats what we have done here, this is the way 
he will appear." 

"Look at me," Hare said for the second time; "Look at me!" 
There he stood a full-grown man. Then, for the third time, he said, 
"Grandmother, look at me." There he stood a man in middle age; 
his hair was interspersed half-and-half with gray. Then she looked 
at him for the fourth time, and his hair was covered as if by a swan 
(i. e.j it was all white), and he leaned tremblingly on his staff, stand- 
ing in the east. "Well, grandmother, if any of my uncles and aunts 
performs this ceremony properly this way they will live." 

"It is good, grandson. However, not only your uncles but your 
aunts, likewise, will be that way if any of the latter performs the 
ceremony properly. " Look at me," she said, and when he looked at 


her, there stood a very young woman, her hair like a shawl. "It is 
good, grandmother, and I thank you in the name of my aunts. 
Then for the second time she said, "Look at me." He looked at her 
and there stood a woman in middle age, her hair almost gray. " Well, 
grandmother, it is good, that is what I meant." Then for the fourth 
time she said, "Grandson, look at me." He looked at her. Her 
hair was entirely dried up, in the nape of her neck there was a hollow, 
and like a duck looking at the sun, she appeared. Her chin, like a 
wooden poker, burnt short, there she stood trembling. "Well, 
grandmother, this is what I meant when I said that you were to 
help me. My uncles and aunts that is what I wished for them, and 
I thank you." 

Organization of the Bands 

The medicine dance of the Winnebago consists of fire bands. A 
sixth band is temporarily formed whenever the ceremony is given 
in honor of a deceased member. 

For purposes of description it will be best to divide each band 
into three parts — the leader, his two assistants, and the rest of the 
band. Leadership depends upon a thorough knowledge of the 
ceremony and its complete esoteric significance, which is in the 
possession of only a few individuals in each band. This knowledge 
can be obtained solely by purchase and religious qualifications. 
These religious qualifications, to which might be added moral as 
well, play little part at the present day, but there can be no doubt 
that they were essential in the past. The leader likewise often 
possessed other characteristics, such as those of warrior and shaman. 

The two assistants were generally men who had purchased suf- 
ficient information and privileges to entitle them to help the leader 
in certain details of the ceremony. The drummers, rattle holders, 
dancers, etc., w r ere always recruited from their ranks. Eventually 
they might become the leaders. Those who were neither leaders 
nor assistants possessed a knowledge varying from that of elementary 
information, required for admission, to that entitling them to the 
position of assistant. 

There is a priority of position in the lodge, depending on priority 
of invitation. The band invited first occupies the east position; 
that invited second, the north; that invited third, the west; and 
that invited fourth, the south. The east is the position of highest 
honor; the south, that of the lowest. Between the bands there 
exists an order of invitation based on tradition, the exact nature 
of which is unknown. According to one informant, if one band 
invited another, the latter in turn would be obliged to give it the 
position of honor; but as there are five bands, this can apply only 
to special cases. Whatever may be the order, it is certain that 
each band has ample occasion to occupy all five positions. 

360 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

There are two ways in which a man can join the medicine dance. 
He may simply apply for admission to any of the five leaders, or he 
may take the place of a deceased relative. In the former case, if 
his payment is satisfactory, and he has the other qualifications, he 
is accepted. In the other case, his relatives decide to have him 
take the place of a deceased relative. This latter form of candidacy 
is by far the more common. At the present day initiation requires 
the payment of about $300 or $400, in the form of goods and tobacco. 
Of this, a portion is given to the leader of the ancestor host's band 
during the four nights' preparation, and the rest to the leaders of 
the other four bands during the ceremony proper. 

Exactly how much information an individual obtains on entering 
can not be determined. Much depends on the amount of the payment. 
The minimum knowledge would amount to an acquaintance with the 
bare externals of the ceremony, its general significance, and such 
knowledge of the legendary origin of the lodge as a single recital 
could give. The new member is not initiated into the symbolism of 
the ritualistic myths, and consequently a large portion of the same 
must be unintelligible to him. What he obtains is practically only 
the right to hold the otter-skin bag and to use it in a certain way. 
He may not take part in any of the forms of dancing or singing, nor 
may he even shoot at will. He very rarely remains in this condition 
long, but takes the first opportunity to purchase additional knowledge 
and privileges. 

There are three kinds of members — mature men, women, and chil- 
dren. The privileges of women differ from those of the men, in that 
the women do not have to take the sweat bath, may never become 
assistants, and are allowed to dance only in a certain way. In other 
respects they have the same privileges as men. In practice there are 
certain privileges that women never have, but this is due to the fact 
that either they do not care for them or they are not in a position 
to buy them. Children belong to a quite different category. Although 
they possess an otter skin, they have not even the power of making it 
effective. There does not seem to be any evidence indicating that 
women were ever excluded from membership. 

Prescribed duties of the bauds. — The duties of the host, called 
the ancestor-host, are as follows : 

1. To rehearse the songs and rituals with his band four nights 
previous to the ceremony proper. At this rehearsal the candidate is 
always present and is instructed in the ceremony. 

2. To send out invitation sticks and tobacco to the leaders of the 
other four bands. The messengers are always his sisters' sons. 

3. To begin the four nights' ceremony preceding the ceremony 


4. To receive the leaders and assistants of the other four bands 
before the sweat-lodge ritual, and to begin the same. 

5. To begin the ceremony proper. 

6. To take part in the main portion of the ceremony proper: 
(a) To welcome the four bands. 

(6) To lead the candidate to the secret brush and instruct him in 
certain precepts. 

(c) To act as preceptor of the candidate before he is shot with the 
sacred shell. 

(d) To turn the candidate over to the charge of the leaders of the 
east and north bands. 

(e) To relate certain of the myths. 

(/) To deliver specific speeches and to perform the actions that con- 
stitute the basic ritual of the ceremony proper. This will be discussed 

The east is known as Those-who-sit-first, Where-the-day-comes- 
from, Where-the-sun-rises. All these terms are used frequently. 
The duties of the leader are: 

1. To assist the ancestor host in passing upon the eligibility of a 

2. To take part in the following portions of the ceremony proper: 

(a) Accompanied by his two assistants, to take part in the brush 

(b) To take charge of the candidate after he has been handed over 
to him by the ancestor host. 

(c) To shoot the sacred shell into the candidate's body. 

(d) To relate certain of the myths. 

(e) To perform the basic ritual. 

The north band is known as Where-the-cold-comes-from. The 
leader has the same duties as those of the east leader. The myths 
recited are of course different. 

The west band is known as Wliere-the-sun-goes-down. The leader 
has the duty of reciting certain myths and performing the basic 

The south band is known as He-who-sits-at-the-end-of-the-road or 
Where-the-sun-straightens. The duties of the leader are the same 
as those of the leader of the west band, except that the myths he 
recites are different. 

The distribution of the gifts to the different bands is as follows: 
The leader of the east band receives one-half of the number of blan- 
kets, the upper half of the new suit worn by the candidate, and one- 
quarter of the food. 

The leader of the north band receives one-half of the blankets, 
the lower half of the suit, the moccasins, and one-quarter of the food. 
1SGS23— 22 24 


The leaders of the west and south hands receive each 3i yards 
of calico and a fourth of the food. 

The ancestor host receives various gifts of food and tooacco from 
the leaders of the other bands. He receives his payment from the 
candidate before the ceremony proper. 

The candidate is present at the four nights' ceremony of the an- 
cestor host's band, preliminary to the ceremony proper. At the 
latter ceremony he sits to the right of the ancestor host's band. He 
is not dressed in his new suit until after the secret ceremonies in the 

There are facial decorations distinctive of the different bands: 
The host's band and the candidate paint a blue circle on each cheek, 
but its significance is unknown to the writer. 

The regalia used are simple and few. They consist of eagle, hawk, 
squirrel, beaver, and otter-skin bags (pis. 51-53), a drum, gourd 
rattles, and invitation sticks. The otter-skin bags are always beaded 
and contain the sacred shell and various medicines. A few red 
feathers are always inserted in the mouth of the otter-skin bag. The 
gourds contain buckshot at the present time and are painted with 
blue finger marks. 

Division of the ceremony. — The medicine dance is divided into five 
well-marked parts. The first part (I) consists of the two nights' 
preparation preceding the sending out of the invitation sticks. This 
takes place at the home of the ancestor host in the presence of the 
members of his band and the candidate. The second part (II) con- 
sists of the four nights' preparation preceding the sweat-lodge ritual. 
Each band has its own four nights' preparation, although that of the 
ancestor host begins before the others. The third part (III) con- 
sists of the rites held in a sweat lodge, specially constructed for this 
purpose near the medicine lodge, on the morning after the four 
nights' preparation. The participants are the ancestor host, the 
leaders of the east, west, north, and south bands, each with his two 
assistants, and the candidate. The fourth part (IV) consists of the 
ceremony proper, which in turn must be divided into the night cere- 
mony (a) and the day ceremony (b). The fifth part (V) consists of 
the rites held in the brush, at which the secrets of the society are im- 
parted to the candidate. Special guards are placed on all sides of 
the brush to prevent the intrusion of outsiders. The participants, 
besides the candidate, are the ancestor host, the leaders of the east 
and north bands, each with his two assistants, and all other indi- 
viduals who have bought the privilege of attending. These cere- 
monies take place at dawn preceding the day ceremony. 

Two feasts and one intermission interrupt the main ceremony. 
The feasts always take place at the end of the ritual of the east 
band — i. e., generally at noon and at midnight. The intermission 










generally lasts from dawn preceding the day ceremony until 7 or 8 
a. m. The intermission begins as soon as the drum and gourds have 
been returned to the ancestor host and ends as soon as the people 
return from the brush ritual. 

The first and second parts are concerned entirely with a recital 
of certain ritualistic myths and a rehearsal of the songs and the 
specific ritual of each band used during the remaining parts. 

Types and component elements of the. ceremony. — For purposes of 
greater clarity, the speeches, songs, and types of action will be care- 
fully differentiated and referred to by some designation character- 
izing their essential traits. These speeches, songs, and types of 
action together form combinations which may be regarded as units, 
and they will therefore also be referred to by some designation char- 
acteristic of their function. 

1. Types of speeches — (1) Salutations: No formal salutation is 
used during Parts I and II, the individuals being addressed by their 
relationship terms. In Parts III, IV and V the salutations are in- 
variably the same. The ancestor host and his band are addressed 
as follows: "The-one-occupying-the-seat-of-a-relative (deceased) and 
you-who-sit-with-him, do I salute." The east is addressed, "You- 
who-represent-the-place-where-the-sun-rises " ; the north, "You-who- 
represent-the-place-where-the-cold-comes-from"; the west, "You- 
who-represent-the-place-where-the-sun-straightens," or (preferably) 
" You-who-represent-the-end-of-the-road." 

The appellations of the bands, as before stated, refer to the creation 
myth and the four guardian spirits whom Hare visited for the 
purpose of inquiring into the necessity and meaning of death. Hare 
was compelled to travel around the earth, which is conceived of as 
an island, and received no answer until he came to the spirit at the 
end of the road. In the dramatic performance of the medicine 
dance the lodge typifies the earth and the four bands and their 
leaders typify the four spirits. The ancestor host's band typifies 
the ancestor of the Winnebago. 

(2) Speeches: Under this head will be treated (a) speeches of wel- 
come; (b) speeches of acceptation; (c) speeches of presentation; 

(d) speeches explanatory of the significance of the ritual; and 

(e) speeches of admonition, addressed exclusively to the candidate. 
This does not exhaust all. There are many others, generally short, 
that can hardly be classified. In their content, as well as in the order 
of their succession, the speeches must follow a traditionally deter- 
mined sequence. In practice this is certainly not always true, but 
to the mind of the Winnebago these speeches appear as old as the 
ceremony. It is their firm belief that any departure from the accepted 
type will interfere with the efficacy of the ceremony. 

364 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [bth. ann. 37 

(a) Speeches of welcome: When the leader of the east band enters 
after the ancestor host has begun the ceremony (IV, i), he addresses 
the latter as follows: " It was good of you to condescend to invite me 
to this dance. I am a poor pitiable man and you believed me to be a 
medicine man. However, I know you will show me the true man- 
ner of living, which I thought I possessed, but which I in reality 
did not." In this strain he continues, weaving into his speech refer- 
ences to the ritual connected with his band and offering thanks for 
the beautiful weather (should it be a clear day). In concluding he 
thanks all again, and informs them that he will sing a song. With 
slight alterations the leaders of the other bands address the ancestor 
host similarly. The ancestor host's answer of welcome is as follows: 
" Whatever I desired you have done for me. All night have you 
stayed with me and by your presence helped me in the proper per- 
formance of this ceremony. I am ready with a dancing song, and 
when I have finished and sit down I shall pass to you tobacco and 
other means of blessing (the gourds and the drum). All who are 
present do I greet." 

(b) Speeches of acceptation: After the ancestor host has been pre- 
sented with food he thanks the donors as follows: "You have had 
pity on me. You have been good to me and have given me to the 
full whatever I desired. You have filled my heart with the blessing 
of thankfulness. In return I give you a blessing. Here is some food 
for you. It is not anything special, nor is it as much as it ought to 
be, and I know you will remain hungry. It was prepared for the 
spirits of the four quarters (whom you represent), but it is lacking in 
all those qualities which would have made it acceptable to them. 
Such as it is, however , # may its presentation be a means of blessing 
to you." 

(c) Speech of presentation: East presents the food to the ancestor 
host with the following words: ''I have not very much to tell you, 
because I am too poor, but our ancestors told us to give you food. 
This little that I give is all that I can, being a person of so little 

(d) Explanatory speeches: These are of so specific a nature that 
no single one can be considered typical. 

(e) Speeches of admonition: "Nephew, now I shall tell you the 
path you must walk, the life you must lead. This is the life Hare 
obtained for us. This is the only kind of Jife — this that our ancestors 
followed. Listen to me. If you will always help yourself, then you 
will attain to the right life. Never do anything wrong. Never steal, 
never tell an untruth, and never fight. If you meet a woman on the 
left side of the road, turn to the right. Never accost her nor speak 
familiarly with a person whom you are not permitted thus to address. 
If you do all these things, then you will be acting correctly. This is 
what I desire of vou." 


2. Tvpes of songs: The songs may be divided into two groups — 
(1) Those that are sung in connection with myths and after the 
speeches of a more general nature, and (2) those that are sung to 
accompany definite and specific actions. These latter can therefore 
be most conveniently divided into (a) minor dance songs, (b) major 
dance songs, (c) initial songs, (d) terminal songs, (e) loading songs, 
and (f) shooting songs. The medicine men distinguish only between 
four kinds of songs — major and minor dance, terminal, and shooting 
songs. Each has a different rhythm and music. For purposes of 
description, however, the above division is more convenient. 

3. Types of action — (T) Blessing: Either hand is held outstretched, 
palm downward, and moved horizontally through the air. It is 
always used when entering and leaving the lodge and on any occasion 
where an individual has to pass from one part of the lodge to another. 

It is always rendered as "blessing" by the Indians, and they par- 
ticularly insist upon the fact that the "blessing" was not conveyed 
bj any words used in connection with the action, but by the action 
itself. Each person who is thus passed answers with a long-drawn- 
out ''ho — o — o" and with an obeisance of the head. 

A modification of the above is the "blessing of the head," which 
consists of a simple laying of the hand upon the head, both the giver 
and the recipient keeping their eyes fixed upon the ground, the recipi- 
ent slightly bending his head. A few mumbled words accompany 
this action. 

(2) Direction of walking in the lodge: Individuals always walk con- 
trary to the hands of the clock. A person in the east band must 
make the entire circuit of the lodge in order to pass out. In only 
exceptional cases can this rule of passing be broken, and that is when 
an old and especially privileged member crosses from his seat to that 
directly opposite him during the shooting ceremony. I was given to 
understand that this was an extremely expensive privilege. 

4. Types of ritual: Parts III, IV, and V can be so analyzed that 
they fall into a fairly well-defined number of units, consisting of 
speeches, songs, and movements. These units are nine in number. 
Artificial distinctions have been avoided in this division, as far as 
possible. The units are (1) entrance ritual; (2) exit ritual; (3) fire 
ritual; (4) present ation-of-food ritual; (5) shooting ritual; (6) initia- 
tion ritual; (7) sweat-lodge ritual; (8) smoking ritual; (9) basic ritual. 

Of these, (3), C5), (7), (8), and (9) are found in Part III; all except 
(7) and (6) in Part IV (a); and all except (7) in Part IV (b). (5) 
does not actually occur in Part III, but is described in detail in the 
myth related there. The order in which we will discuss these cere- 
monial units is not the order in which they follow one another 
in the ritual. Some are interwoven with one another. Both these 
factors will, however, be considered in the description of the entire 
ritual, following the description of each ceremonial unit. 

366 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

(1) Entrance ritual: The band enters the tent, makes one com- 
plete circuit, and stops. The leader now delivers a short speech, 
followed by a song. The band then continues to the west end, where 
another speech is delivered and another song sung. After this the 
band continues again, and stops at the east end, where the leader talks 
and sings. Now all sit down. After a short pause the leader again 
rises and walking over to the ancestor host, talks to him, gives 
him some tobacco, and returns to his seat. Each band entering re- 
peats the same ritual. This applies, however, only to Part IV (a) 
and (6). 

(2) Exit ritual (Part IV (a) and (b)) : The east leader rises and 
speaks, followed by north, west, and south. Each one then speaks 
again and, all singing, all walk toward the entrance in such a way 
that the south, north, and west bands make complete circuits of the 
lodge, thus enabling the east band to precede them. Near the 
entrance all stop singing and say "wa-hi-hi-M" four times and pass 
out. This exit ceremony differs slightly in the two divisions of IV. 

(3) Fire ritual, Part III: The ancestor host rises and goes to the 
leaders of the four other bands individually ; and after he has blessed 
them they respond; then all rise, make four circuits of the lodge, 
and sit down again. The leader of the east band now rises, holding 
in his hand the invitation sticks and some tobacco, delivers a 
speech, then goes to the fireplace and kindles the new fire. 

(8) Smoking ritual: The leader of the east band pours tobacco 
into the fire, first at the east, and then at the north, west, and 
south corners. He then lights his pipe, puffs first toward the east, 
then toward the north, west, and south, after which he passes his 
pipe to the leader of the north band, who takes a few whiffs and in 
turn passes it around to the next member of the lodge. When the 
pipe has made the complete circuit it is placed in front of the fire- 
place. In the meantime the ancestor host has returned to his seat, 
and after a short pause, rises, speaks, and sings again. This smoking 
ceremony occurs after each entrance ceremony, IV (a) and (b), and 
before both feasts of IV (a) and (b). 

PreseJitation-qf-jood ritual (Part IV, a and b). — The leader of the 
east band rises and brings meat, berries, wild potatoes, etc., to the 
ancestor host, delivering a minor speech at the same time. Each 
of the other leaders repeats the same ceremony. When all have 
finished, the ancestor host rises and thanks them. 

(5) General shooting ritual (Part IV, a and b): The leaders of the 
east, north, west, and south bands, holding their otter skins in their 
hands, rise and, accompanied by three men, make a complete circuit 
of the lodge. They first speak in undertones to these three men, 
giving them directions. At each end the leader of the east band 
speaks, and then, singing, walks toward the west end, saying "yoho — 


o — oya — a" three times, and ending with a long-drawn-out "yo — 
ho." At the west end both he and the leader of the south band 
speak. Then chanting "yo — ho" again, they all walk toward the 
east end. Here the leader of the east band speaks twice. All now 
place their otter skins on the ground in front of them, and east 
speaks again. At the conclusion of his speech, all kneel in front of 
the otter skins and cough, at which the sacred shell drops from their 
mouths upon the otter skins. They thereupon pick it up, and hold- 
ing the shell in one hand and the otter skins in the other, make a 
circuit of the lodge four times, increasing their speed each time, and 
singing. All this time the shell is held in full view of the spectators, 
on the outstretched palm of the right hand. As they near the east 
end of the lodge, at the end of the fourth circuit, standing in 
front of the ancestor host's band, they supposedly swallow the shell, 
and fall dowTi, instantaneously, head foremost, as if dead. Finally 
they come to, and coughing up the shell they put it into their otter- 
skin bags, and then making the circuit of the tent, shoot four members 
of the ancestor host's band, four of the east, four of the north, two of 
the west, and two of the south band. Each person as he is shot 
falls prostrate upon the ground, but recovering after a few moments, 
joins those making the circuit of the tent. Each leader now takes 
his drum and gourds to the fireplace. Then the general shooting 
commences. Each person possessing the right shoots one individual, 
until all the members have been shot. As each person is shot he 
falls to the ground, feigns unconsciousness, and then slowly recovers. 
The slowness or speed of his recovery depends exclusively upon the 
privileges he possesses and the number of years he has belonged to 
the society. As soon as each person shot recovers he falls in line 
immediately after the last one shot. While all are thus walking 
around a half dozen people at the fireplace sing shooting songs to 
the accompaniment of drums and gourds. The amount of noise at 
this point is quite considerable. 

(6)" Initiation ritual (Part IV, b): All the members of the an- 
cestor host's band and the candidate make one circuit of the lodge, 
taking their otter skins with them. As they pass around they gently 
touch the heads of the members with the mouth of the otter 
skin, saying " Yoho — o — o", to which the members respond with 
"Ho — o — o." After the circuit, all return to their seats, with the 
exception of the candidate, who remains at the east end in front of 
the fireplace. After a pause the ancestor host joins the latter and 
delivers a speech of the admonition type. The candidate first faces 
the south and then the north. During the speech the ancestor 
host touches him on his head and on his chest and makes him face 
first south and then north. When the speech is over the ancestor 
host sings and takes the candidate to the west end of the tent. 


The tent is now prepared for the initiation proper. Two long 
strips of calico are stretched from the west to the east end of the 
lodge. They are about a foot and a half wide and are separated from 
each othex by the fireplace. At the west end a much shorter strip 
of the same material is stretched along the width of the lodge across 
the two long strips. Upon this the candidate is placed. When 
these preparations are completed the ancestor host arises and going 
to each of the four leaders speaks to them in an undertone. He then 
returns to his seat. The leaders of the east and north bands now 
arise and make the complete circuit of the lodge. First the former 
and then the latter speaks. Then the former speaks twice. After 
that the leader of the north band delivers another speech and, together 
with his partner, walks to the west end of the lodge, where the can- 
didate is kneeling. The two leaders here speak again. Both now 
take their sacred shells, swallow them, and walk to the east end (pis. 
52, 53). 

Here they speak again and hold their otter skins in readiness for 
the shooting, but first jerk them forward twice toward the four 
cardinal points, saying "dje-ha-hi, dje-ha-hi," and concluding with 
"e-ho-ho-ho." Standing upon the two calico strips in a slightly bent 
position and holding the otter skin tightly in their hands, they now 
run rapidly toward the reclining form of the candidate, making loud 
threatening sounds in a quavering voice, and strike his body twice 
with the mouth of the otter skin, emitting two short sounds as of 
an animal who has succeeded in capturing his prey. The candidate 
falls prostrate to the ground instantaneously. He is immediately 
covered with a blanket upon which are placed the otter skins of the 
two leaders. A number of people especially privileged now gather 
around the covered figure, dance, sing, and shout to the accompani- 
ment of the shouts of the other members of the society, all of whom 
seem in a frenzy of excitement. When the noise has somewhat 
abated the blanket is removed and the figure of the candidate is 
shown, still apparently unconscious. He comes to slowly and finally 
succeeds in raising himself and sitting up. He then coughs vio- 
lently, and the shell which has apparently been shot through his 
body falls out of his mouth. After this his recovery is rapid. He 
is then undressed and the finery and new buckskin suit, moccasins, 
etc., are distributed to those to whom it is customary to give them. 
He now returns to his seat, to the right of the ancestor host's band, 
where some female relative, generally his mother, dresses him in an 
ordinary suit. 

(7) Sweat-lodge ritual (Part III): The east leader rises and with 
his two assistants makes the circuit of the sweat lodge, while the 
north, west, and south leaders each with two assistants join him. 
At the east end the leader makes four steps with his right foot, each 


time saying, " Wa-M-hi." He then makes the circuit of the lodge 
four times. After the third circuit he goes directly to the heating 
stone, "hi defiance of the rule," as he himself says, hut with the 
hope that through this defiance he will gam additional strength. 
After he has made the fourth circuit he seizes the two entranc.e lodge 
poles and, shaking them gently, shouts "e-ho-ho-ho." All now sit 
down. The ancestor host now takes four sticks and smears them 
with a special kind of greenish clay and hands them to the leader of 
the east band. The latter seizes them and holds them tightly with 
both hands. By this action he is supposed to obtain strength. The 
sticks are then passed in rotation to the leaders of the north, west, 
and south bands, all of whom repeat the same ceremony. 

(9) Basic ritual (Part IV, a and b) : This ritual is that upon which 
the ritual for the ceremony proper (Part IV, a and b) is built. In a 
certain sense it may be justifiable to consider all the above ritualistic 
complexes with the exception of the entrance and exit rituals as 
parts of this basic ritual. The important religious function of the 
medicine dance is the "passing" of the blessing, consisting of speeches, 
songs, and the blessings, going from one band to the other, for 
the greater benefit of both the host and his guests. These blessings 
are symbolized by the drum, the gourds, the songs, the speeches, 
and the specific actions in which each band participates. The cere- 
mony begins when the ancestor host delivers his first speech and 
ends when drum and gourds are returned to him. All that takes 
place between the ancestor host's first speech up to the time that 
the drum and gourds are placed before the members of the east 
band constitutes the unit that I have called the basic ritual. Into 
it are thrust as intrusive elements other rituals, so that it is at tunes 
extremely difficult to discern the basic ritual itself. But it is there 
and remains intact, for as soon as an intrusive ritual is finished it is 
taken up and continued to the end. Such a ritual as the general 
shooting or the initiation, or such myths as the origin myth, require 
hours; and yet as soon as they are over the basic ceremony continues 
from the point where it has been interrupted. 

The east leader rises, speaks, then sits down, and, together with 
the other members of his band, sings a song (initial song). When this 
is finished he rises and speaks again, sits down, and commences a 
song called the minor dancing song. While he and a few others are 
singing, drumming, and using the gourd rattles, other members of his 
band, as well as members of the other bands who so desire, and who 
have bought the privilege, come to his seat and join in the dancing. 
When this is over he and a few others, either from his own or from 
some other band, go to the fireplace, where the leader delivers a 
speech, and begin the major dancing songs, in which the privileged 
members participate. After this the drum is tied to one of the 

370 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

privileged members, generally the one who has been drumming, 
and the circuit is made twice, the leader and his two assistants at the 
head, followed by the other members of his band. Two stops are made 
at the west and two at the east end, where songs, called completion 
songs, are sung. Then the circuit is made four tunes, all chanting 
" Wa-M-M," slowly at first, then faster, the speed of the walking cor- 
responding to that of the chanting. Then with a final strong 
"e — ho — ho" drum and gourds are deposited in front of the next 
band. All now return to their seats, where before sitting down the 
leaders deliver a short speech. 

This basic ritual is repeated by each band in the manner described. 
As it is so often broken up by the intrusion of other rituals it will be 
best to divide it into four parts. These parts are never broken up. 
Whenever intrusive elements occur, they either precede or follow. 

The first part consists of all that takes place between the first 
speech of the leader and the completion of the initial song. The 
speech referred to is the one that follows the smoking ritual, which 
may, on the whole, be reckoned as belonging to the introductory 
ritual, such as the entrance ritual. The second part consists of all 
that transpires between the second speech and the conclusion of the 
minor dancing song. The third part consists of all that happens 
between the speech at the fireplace and the completion of the major 
dancing songs. The fourth part includes everything between the 
completion of the major dancing songs and the last speech the leader 
makes, after he has passed the drum and gourds to the next band. 

The most bewildering intrusion is that which follows the second 
part. Before the leader and his assistants go to the fireplace the 
elaborate general shooting ritual takes place. After the specially 
designated men of each band have been shot, those privileged pro- 
ceed to the fireplace. Here they sing the shooting songs until the 
ritual is over. The first set of drummers and gourd rattle holders are 
often relieved by a second set. It is only when the shooting songs 
have been completed that the leader and his assistants proceed to the 
fireplace to begin the third portion of the basic ritual. 

Ceremony as a whole: As stated before, there are certain speeches 
and types of action that can not be fitted into the above description. 
This is especially true of myths; and these, with the exception of 
the content of the myth, will now be considered in connection with 
the description of the entire ritual as related to me by B. The cere- 
mony begins with an account of the manner in which B. was induced 
to join the society. Upon his acceptance and payment of the re- 
quired amount of material, the ceremony began. 

The first two nights consisted of an informal salutation, two 
explanatory speeches, and four myths, the latter in no way con- 
nected with any part of the medicine dance. The last three myths 


dealt with the legendary account of the origin of the Winnebago 
medicine dance and its dissemination among the tribes. 

At sunset the leader of the band to which the candidate has applied 
for admission gathers together the members of his band and all 
retire to a little lodge near his home, in order to begin the four nights' 
preparation. What actually takes place during these four nights is 
not as stereotyped as the other rituals connected with the medicine 
dance. There is a general rehearsal of songs, speeches, and other 
elements of the ceremony. The speeches are not actually rehearsals 
of those to be delivered during the ceremony proper, but refer to the 
purpose of the medicine dance much in the same way as do some of 
the speeches in the ceremony proper. A large number of miscellaneous 
myths are likewise related. The candidate who is present in the lodge 
of his future ancestor host is likewise instructed in as many things as 
an uninitiated member is allowed to know. This instruction consists 
in the teaching of certain myths and types of action. 

On the morning after the last of the four nights the candidate is 
given some sacrifical tobacco and told to go in search of a stone for 
the sweat bath. He selects a stone that he can carry on his back 
easdy. Before picking it up he pours tobacco on it. As soon as the 
stone is brought to the lodge of the host it is heated. The candidate 
is now dispatched for some oak branches, four pieces of oak wood about 
2i feet in length, and some grass. The grass is used for improvised 
seats; the oak wood for the four construction poles of the sweat lodge. 
They are placed in the east, north, west, and south points, respec- 
tively. It is not permitted to trim the tops of the oak wood. When 
all the bands have gathered near the medicine lodge and retired to 
their improvised lodges, the ancestor host and the candidate go to 
the lodge of the east leader, that is, to the lodge of the band first in- 
vited, and greet him by touching his head with their hands. 

He answers with "Ho — o — o." The leader of the first band rises 
and, accompanied by his two assistants, goes to the sweat lodge. 
The ancestor host then goes to the lodges of the other bands and 
greets the leaders in a similar manner. After the leader and assistants 
of the band last invited have entered the sweat lodge the ancestor 
host, the candidate, and his assistants enter, and the ceremony is 

After the ceremonial salutation and an introductory speech the 
ancestor host, as the leader of the band giving the medicine dance 
may now be called, rises, and taking his invitation stick and some 
tobacco, approaches the leader of each band, and blessing him, thanks 
him for coming, assuring him at the same time to how great a degree 
his presence will contribute toward the success of the performance 
of the ritual. He then returns to his seat. The leaders thank him 
in turn. Now follow the fire and smoking ritual, which in turn are 

372 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth.ann.37 

followed by twelve speeches of a general and explanatory character. 
Then conies the "strengthening" ritual, and immediately after twa 
exceedingly long myths, describing the initiation of the first man into 
the secrets of the lodge, as well as the sj^mbolic meaning of the shoot- 
ing ritual. All now undress and take a sweat bath. Female candi- 
dates are excluded. A number of short speeches follow, and the whole 
concludes with the exit ritual. 

The drum and gourds are used to accompany the songs. The basic 
ritual is perhaps present to a certain extent. The writer, however, 
was not permitted to witness the ritual, and for this reason the pro- 
cedure seemed somewhat hazy to him. 

When the ritual and the sweat baths are over there is a slight pause. 
The candidate, the ancestor host, and his band enter the medicine 
lodge, and after taking their seats sing a few songs. When the last 
song is concluded the other bands enter in the order of their invi- 
tation. Now comes the entrance ritual, followed by the smoking 
ritual. Thereupon the ancestor host rises and delivers the opening 
speech of the basic ritual. The ancestor host does not go through the 
entire basic ritual at this time, because he is not permitted to begin 
the shooting ritual. Soon after the beginning of the basic ritual by 
the ancestor host, generally after the second speech, gourds and drums 
are passed to the leader of the east band. This one rises and begins 
the basic ritual, which he interrupts at the end of the second part, in 
order to begin the general shooting ritual. When that is finished he 
continues the third and fourth parts of the basic ritual. Then drum 
and gourds are passed to the north band. Its leader now in turn 
begins his basic ritual, but stops after the second part, where, the 
presentation-of-food and the smoking rituals intervene. It is now 
about midnight, and the feast is given. As soon as the feast is 
finished and the lodge has been cleared of food and eating utensils, 
the leader of the north band continues up to the third and fourth 
parts of the basic ritual. The leaders of the west and south bands 
perform the basic rituals without any interruption, except, of course, 
that of the general shooting ritual between the second and third 
parts. The drum and gourds have now reached the ancestor host, 
who goes through the third and fourth parts of the basic ritual. 
There is, however, some doubt as to whether this is always done. 
Then follows the exit ritual and all pass out to rest for a few hours. 

A short time preceding dawn the candidate and the leaders of the 
east and north bands and the ancestor host, each with two assistants 
and all other members who are privileged to do so, leave the lodge 
and walk to the brush where the candidate is to be initiated into the 
mysteries of the sacred shell and the shooting. Each band must 
have one or more of its members present at this ritual. When they 
are near the place set aside for the secret ritual the order of marching, 


which up to this time has been of no consequence, changes into that 
of single file, the leader of the east band leading. When they have 
arrived at the proper place, all stop. The east leader now informs 
those present that he is going to make a road for the candidate 
symbolical of the path of life, which forms the basis of the sweat 
bath and medicine dance. Singing, he circles the spot four times. 
At the end of the fourth circuit he stops and all turn around and 
face east. The leader of the north band has also the right to go 
through this ritual, but he does not always do it. Repeating the 
ceremony is, in all probability, connected with extra expense. All 
now sit down and the specific rites of the brush ritual begin. 

The ancestor host rises and, taking the candidate with him, goes 
to the leader of the east band and speaks to him. Then he and the 
candidate return to their seats. The east leader now relates to the 
candidate a portion of the story of the journey to the land of 
the spirits and to the lodge of Earthmaker. When this is finished 
the two leaders teach the candidate how to go through the actions 
incidental to the shooting, the swallowing of the shell, and t lie 
recovery from its effects. When they think that he is sufficiently 
adept in all these actions they dress him in his new suit, put on a 
new pair of moccasins, decorate him with finery, and return to the 
medicine lodge. 

The rites generally last until about 8 in the morning, so that 
when those who have participated in the brush ritual are returning 
the other members of the medicine dance are also about ready to 
begin the day ceremony, the principal one of the entire medicine 
dance. The ancestor host again precedes the other leaders in enter- 
ing the lodge. Then follows the entrance ritual. During this 
ritual the drum is struck four times at stated intervals. The smoking 
ritual now follows. When it is concluded the ancestor host rises to 
begin the basic ritual, which is interrupted at the end of the second 
part. Gourds and drum are passed to the east band, whose basic 
ritual is also interrupted at the end of the second part. Now follows 
first the initiation of the candidate into the medicine dance and 
then the general shooting ritual. When the east leader has con- 
cluded, drum and gourds are passed to the north band, whose basic 
ritual is not interrupted as on the preceding day. At the con- 
clusion of the basic ritual of the north band the food-presenta- 
tion ritual follows, then the smoking ritual, and finally the feast. 
After the feast the leader of the west band narrates the origin 
myth of the medicine dance, which is continued by the leader of 
the south band. The presents are then distributed. After this, 
the basic ritual is continued by the leader of the west band, followed 
by that of the south band, and finally the drum and gourds go to 
the fireplace. The exit ritual now begins, and at about sunset the 
entire ceremony of the medicine dance is over. 


On the whole, it must he said that the main difference between 
(a) and (b) of Part IV, setting aside the initiation, lies simply in 
the number of myths told and the greater length of the speeches. 

Personal Accounts of Initiation 

1. J. B.'s account: I was about 13 years and over when they told me 
that they would make me a member of the medicine dance. I liked 
it very much. Some people do not like it at all when they are asked 
to join the medicine dance. I, however, liked it very much. The 
medicine dance I am going to join, they told me. Very much did my 
parents desire me to do it. If I wished to live a holy life, that is what 
I should do, they told me. 

Then, when everything was in readiness for my initiation, we 
moved on to the village where the ceremony was to take place. 
At night they were to sing at the medicine dance, and they, my 
relatives, were to join in the singing with them. There they also 
preached to me. They told me that this rite, the medicine dance, 
was a good thing. I did not even then think that those who were to 
initiate me into the medicine dance would kill me when they shot at 
me, as was the popular belief. 

Never had there been such a life, they said, as the one I was going to 
live, now that I was about to join the medicine dance. Never at any 
time woidd I have thought of such a life. Those who were about to 
make me join the medicine dance told me that the Indians, when they 
hear of it, will expect me to do great things, that they will speak well 
of me, and like me. That is all I can now think of concerning that 

Now, those who are' about to make me join the medicine dance are 
preparing to show me the shells, and for this purpose they are taking 
me into the brush. There they, the elders, preached to me. I was 
not the least bit frightened when, after this, they prepared to shoot 
me with the sacred shell. Indeed, I was not the least bit worried 
about it, nor did I think to myself, "I wonder how it is going to be V 
Then those who already belonged to the medicine dance, those whom 
I had dreamed of all this time, shot me. When they shot me I 
didn't die. That thought was in my mind; but when they shot me, 
as a matter of fact, I didn't even lose consciousness. Almost imme- 
diately I knew how to do it (i. e., to shoot). They liked it very 
much. Everything they told me to do I did immediately, nor was I 
backward about anything. The shaman liked it. Never had anyone 
learned as quickly as I had, they were saying. "That augurs well 
for him," they say. I thought then that the medicine dance was 

When we returned from the brush I entered the lodge. Not in 
any direction did I look, not once did I speak, not once did I move 
around, not once did I change my position. Just as they told me 


to sit, that way I remained sitting. As many Indians as were gath- 
ered in the lodge, all of them, I failed to notice. Not. once did I, by 
chance, permit my glance to wander from side to side. I was doing 
everything exactly as I was told. The shaman liked it. 

Whenever thereafter a medicine dance was given I attended it. 
Whenever I went in at night I remained there until it was all over, 
not going out once. And during the day ceremony not once did I 
permit my glance to wander outside. Never did I permit myself to 
lie down from fatigue; nor did I permit my glances to wander outside, 
because there was much noise there, or because some people were 
doing funny things. Not even within the lodge did I glance. Indeed, 
I never allowed my glances to wander in any direction. All the holy 
things I was told to do, I did. This is a holy ceremony, and I was 
bashful in its presence. 

If at any time any of my leaders in the medicine dance wished to 
give the ceremony I would stay in his house together with those who 
had been invited. I would do all the work for him, sing the medicine 
dance songs, etc. All the different things he was supposed to do, all 
that I would do for him. 

When his wife cooked, I carried the water for her, I made the fire, 
and helped her with the dishes. All the work she liked to have done 
in the house, I did for her. 

All the clothes I possessed I gave to him. Money I gave to him, 
and the food he needed I procured for him. Whenever he gave a 
feast, in addition to what he cooked, I would put a special pail of 
food on the fire for him. When he ate it he was thankful. 

"My son, what do you think I possess, that you are doing all this 
for me?" But I continued; and when I killed a medium-sized buck 
I made a feast in his honor, and all the clothing he needed, I gave 
him. Then I also gave him a costly repeating rifle, the one I used in 
hunting. All these things I offered him. Then I gave him an 
eagle, so that he could make a medicine pouch out of it. Money I 
also gave him, and gourds. Thus I acted, feasting him and offering 
him gifts all the time. I worked for him all the time. 

One day he said to me, "My son, you have been treating me very 
well. Even my own brothers never treated me the way you have 
been doing. I thank you. All my relations hate you, but don't pay 
any attention to them. You are from a different family and I am 
teaching you various things (that belong to them), they say. They 
want me to stop instructing you. My father left the medicine dance 
for me to take care of. I am in complete control of it. Not one of 
these people, my kindred, has ever done anything for me in their 
lives. My ancestors said that you are my relative for what you have 
done. I can not teach my relatives the details of this ceremony, as 
I would have done had they acted correctly. My knowledge of this 
ceremony belongs to you, for you have paid for it. My remote 

376 THE WINNEBAGO TRIBE [eth. ann. 37 

ancestors told their descendants, as it has passed down from mouth 
to mouth to us, that whosoever pays careful attention to all that per- 
tains to this ceremony, that whosoever has a good memory, he is the 
one to whom it should be taught. Thus they spoke. 

"My son, you alone have been good to me," he said. "This cere- 
mony you will learn. Our son, He-who-stands-on-a-cloud, and you 
have been kind to me. Both of you will live a long life. Never 
divide this ceremony in two. Never keep anything separate, but do, 
the two of you, counsel about everything. If one of you knows any- 
thing, tell it to the other. Two people are necessary to make the 
ceremony truly efficacious for either one. Never dislike one another. 

"My younger brother, you are going to be a chief. No one else 
pays attention to this ceremony. You alone are doing it. If at any 
time I should leave your presence, when I am about to go I know that 
3*ou, oh my son and brother, I will leave behind me, peacefully travel- 
ing along. Thus I will think as I am about to depart. Thus my 
ancestors told me." 

Thus in trying to obtain information I made myself pitiable. 
I* tried to be blessed. I performed all kinds of work. Even woman's 
work I did. Thus I kept myself in a pitiable condition, and for that 
reason my brother-in-law blessed me. He blessed me with the cere- 
mony of his ancestors. He told it to no one else but to me; and if 
anyone else, at the present time, narrates the ceremony as told by 
our band, he is not telling you the truth. Up to the present time this 
ceremony was an Indian ceremony, and not a second time will I tell 
it to a member of the white race. 

This ceremony molded me. I paid the most careful attention to 
it; I worshiped it in the best way I knew how. I was careful about 
everything in my life. I never drank. A holy life it was that I 
sought and most earnestly did I pray that I might live over again. 
That is what I yearned for. If I do everything that this ceremony 
enjoins upon me well, I will return to Earthmaker, they told me. 
This is what I wished. I was doing well as a medicine man and 
everyone loved me. This ceremony was made with love. 

I knew all the songs. Indeed, the leader of the dance would make 
me sing the songs for him. As many medicine men as there were, 
they all liked me. I was not overbearing, but modestly did I com- 
port myself right along. All the medicine men told me that I was 
doing very well, and they offered thanks in my behalf. 

2. J. C.'s account of how he came to join the medicine dance: This 
is how it was. A grandmother of mine was the cause of it. She said 
that the Creator's son 21 was called the Hare ; that he came on earth 
and brought life, she said. She said that whoever did this would live 
well, that their souls would always return to the place where the 

« J. C. is a prominent member of the Peyote cult and, in common with other members of this cult, he 
has identified the Hare with Christ. 


Creator sits. The first tiling that they did to me was this: They took 
me to a lodge at night; there they talked and sang. Then the second 
night the tobacco bundles were made; then the great old medicine 
men were given tobacco. After this came the four nights' prepara- 
tion. Then came the great medicine dance. Then they went after 
those that were going to join, one at a time. They, the medicine 
men, were repeating what the Hare had done. When the Hare 
came on earth he performed certain actions, and that is what 
they were repeating now. Hare had visited the different spirits, 
it is said, looking for a means of life, it is said. The old medicine 
men possessed the good tidings that Hare had brought to this earth. 
That is what the people desired of Hare, it is said. 

When they entered, the first person to whom tobacco had been 
given, i. e., the one first invited, entered first. Then the others 
followed in turn. Then he talked; then the one who initiated me 
expressed his thanks, saying, "You medicine men, this affair the 
Hare has given you, you are repeating in order to bless us. For that 
reason you have come. We ask you to give to this person whom we 
are about to initiate the life you have obtained for us. We ask that 
the newly initiated one travel along that road." 

Then the first person spoke, and after that they all ate. When he 
was through they heated a stone. After that they all entered in 
regular order and I was asked to go in with them. Thus I entered 
the sweat-bath lodge. When I was inside they told me that the stone 
which they had heated was a spirit. "The life that he brought I 
should ask for," they told me. After that we went out again. 

At night we entered again. Then at about 2 o'clock they took 
me out to the brush. Not until then was I to learn what the medicine 
men really did. When we got to the brush they made me sit down 
and the man who was initiating me turned me over to the others. 
He said, "I turn him over to you. Whatever the elders have taught 
you, that we desire you to tell him." When he finished the first 
one began to talk, saying, "It is good that you are such a person. 
Earthmaker must have willed it so. In the olden times if a person 
wanted to join the medicine lodge he could not do it until he was 
quite old." Then he continued preaching to me. When Earth- 
maker first came into the world and what happened after that, how 
he created all things: that he told me. He told me that Earthmaker 
created four worlds, in each of which he placed men and women; 
that the heavens we see represent the last man he created and the 
earth we are living on the last woman he created. Then he told 
how Herecgunina was created. The story is as follows: Earth- 
maker created man, whom he wished to put at the head of the world, 
but he did not make one of his legs quite right. Then he threw him 
down to the earth because when Earthmaker made anything wrong 
186823—22 25 


he never did it over again. Herecgunina lived on earth from that 
time on, and it is said that he also created things. Indeed, it is said 
that he was almost the equal of the Earthmaker. He made the people 
very miserable. Then Earthmaker sent four of his sons (to save the 
people) . Hare alone, of all the four, accomplished what he had been 
sent out for. All the rest failed. Hare obtained life for the people 
upon this earth. 

Then the man told how the medicine lodge had been founded ; how 
all the spirits upon the earth and all those under the earth and all 
those above the earth gathered together. They brought life with them. 
Then the medicine bags began to come. Fisrt came the eagle. He 
came from above. Next came the hawk, and then the squirrel, etc. 
The otter was the last one. Then the old man stopped talking to me 
and another person began to admonish me. He told me how I was 
to conduct myself. Then he spoke to me of the medicine-lodge road 
(i. e., of life) and what happens after life. 

The first tiling that I would meet on the road would be bad birds 
making a lot of noise. "Do not look at them," he told me. They 
would let fly at me bad-smelling saliva and phlegm, but I was not 
to turn around, he said. Then the road would become thickly covered 
with thorn bushes. It would seem almost impossible to untangle 
them. I was, however, not to pay any attention to them, he told 
me. On the road, fires would send their sparks toward me, but I 
was to pay no attention to them. After a while I would lose one 
of my relatives, but I was to keep right on. I was not to get angry 
nor to give up, and after a while the road would become thickly 
covered with poplars growing on each side. Then the hair on my 
temples would become gray. This is what would happen to me, he 
told me, if I paid close attention to this ceremony. After a while 
it would become foggy — i. e., my eyesight would grow dim. Then 
I would come to a hill, one of four hills. When I came to the last 
hill there I would see red cedar trees. This is what would happen 
to me if I paid close attention to this ceremony, he told me. My 
soul would return to Earthmaker and I would then be allowed to 
come back to this earth if I wanted to. 

Then they gave me the object with which they shoot themselves — 
the shell. They shot me. After that they made me try to do it, 
and when I was able to shoot well, we all came back. It was now 
daylight. Now they put clothes on themselves and arose. Those 
who were initiating me then spread upon the ground the things 
which had been brought. Then the leader spoke. He told me that 
he would put me on the medicine-dance road. Then they sat me 
down there and shot me. Then the clothes that I had on were 
taken off and I was given other clothes. I was now told that I was 
standing on the medicine-dance road. After that they danced all 
day. In the evening they stopped. Now this is what I did; this 
is all I can say. I greet you, my friends. 


The Hok'ixe're Dance 

Informant, member of the Thunderbird clan: This is the way in 
which people used to bring scalps to one another. When a man 
returns from the warpath with a scalp he leaves it outside of the 
village and the warriors run out with their clubs and strike it and 
count coup (just as on the battlefield). As they count coup they 
call out their names Then they are told what ceremonial dress 
they are to wear. They then send a messenger to the person to- 
whom the scalp is to be presented to tell him to select a pole (for 
the victory dance). He thanks them and says, "It is good." Then 
the warriors who are returning arrange themselves in a circle around 
this pole and dance around it. He w