Hannah on the "Mississippians"

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Hannah on the "Mississippians"

Postby E.P. Grondine » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:37 pm

LA SALLE'S EXPLORATIONS

There is, in the Relation of the Abbe Galinee (1669-70), as given by
Margry, another statement that refers to the Shawnees, and indicates
the locality of a part of the tribe at that time. Speaking of the com-
mencement of La Salle's journey to the southwest, and the reason for
it, Galinee writes:

"Our fleet consisted of seven canoes, each with three men,
which departed from Montreal the sixth day of July, 1669, under
the guidance of two canoes of Iroquois Sonnontoueronons (Senecas), who
had come to Montreal in the autumn of the year 1668 to do their hunting
and trading.

These people, while here, had stayed quite a long time at M. de
la Salle's, and had told him so many marvels of the Ohio River,
with which they said they were thoroughly acquainted, that they inflamed
in him more than ever the desire to go to see it. They told him that
this river took its rise three days' journey from Sonnontouan
(this start was most likely on the Allegheny River), and that
after a month's travel one came upon the Honniasontkeronons [Hanna suggests that these are Piemont Siouxian(v2p120); Lenape?] and the CHIOUANONS, and, that after having passed the latter, and a great cataract or water-fall that there is in this river [Falls of the Ohio - later Louisville?], one found the Outagame [Wea] and the country of the Iskousogos.

[Ch'Iskousogos = Chicago's? of the Illinois River - Known to Illini as "Piase" after their national symbol, the "Misi Piase". It appears the Five Nations traveled by canoe to Lake Michigan, and proceeded south from it southern point via the "Chicago" to the Chicagos, and also via the Iroquois River to the Wea. Blocked by the Seneca from the Ohio River, La Salle went to Lake Michigan and explored via the portages at its south end. LaSalle spent a lot of time looking for the "Chucaguoa" River, but they were extinct by then.]

..........
"The trade of Fort Frontenac is carried on within the extent of the
lake of the same name with the Iroquois, who live in the environs, and
who never trade but with New England, formerly called New Holland,
at Albany, formerly called Orange, a place distant about seventeen or
eighteen leagues from the last canton of the Iroquois, called Agnie
[Mohawks]. The reason for their not coming down into our habitations
at all, is, that those who go to hunt the beaver, finding few on the north
coast of the lake, where they are now rare, go to seek for them towards
the South, at the west of Lake Erie, where they abound;

"Because, before the destruction of the Islinois [Illinois] and of the Kentaienton-ga (inhabitants of the Erie village, Kentaienton) and Ganeiens-gaa ^ (Gachnawas-haga or Gannaouens, i.e., the KANAWAHAS [Iroquois from the "rapids" at Point of Rocks - Piscataway nation proper], later known as CONOYS, Ganawese, etc.) whom the Iroquois subdued in a year; the CHAOUANONS [Shawnee], Ouabachi [Wea?], Tiotontaraeton-ga (Totontaraton-ga?'), Gandostoge-ga (Susquehannocks), MOSOPELEA [MOSOPELEA LISTED SEPARATELY FROM SHAWNEE here], Sounikae-ronons (Oniasontke-ronons[?]), and Ochiat-agon-ga (Ochateguins, Champlain's name for the Hurons), whom they also overthrew in a few years, they did not dare to hunt in quarters over-run by so many enemies, who have the same apprehension of the Iroquois and are little accustomed to trading in the skins of these animals, only carrying on commerce with the English very rarely, because they are not able to go without much trouble, time, and risk."

MOSOPALEWA - MOUND CITY COMPLEX

About half-way between the southwest bend and the junction of
the Ohio with the Chucagoa, and directly south of the western shore of
Lake Erie, Franquelin locates the "Mosa/pelea [Palawa compound], 8 vil[lages] detruits" (destroyed). The territory in which these villages are placed is undoubtedly intended
for that of the Muskingum, Scioto, and Miami valleys, where so many
palisade embankments, earth fortifications, and burial, totem, so-called
temple, and other mounds of the former Indian inhabitants are found
at the present day. [H.XXX here]

"Mosa/pelea" was therefore the name applied by the Indians to this district
at and before the time when the Shawnees who lived near there first became
known to La Salle and to recorded history. Much of LaSalle's knowledge of the
Ohio Valley was in all probability obtained
by him from these Shawnees from the Cumberland Valley who
joined him at Fort St. Louis in 1683; and at the same time when they
gave him the information about the Cumberland and Tennessee valleys
of which more or less is embodied in Franquelin's map.

This map also shows a village detruite of the "Antouaronons," located
on the south shore of Lake Erie, between Sandusky Bay and the mouth
of the Maumee River, as now known. This was probably a village of the
"Aondironon", a tribe mentioned in the Jesuit Relation for 1640, being
that part of the Neutral Nation living nearest the Hurons, which was
destroyed or dispersed by the Iroquois in 1648, some of them being
driven south of Lake Erie, where they probably met the fate of the
Eries in 1655-56.'

All these "villages destroyed" which are shown on Franquelin's map
of 1684 were probably destroyed within the lifetime of the Shawnees
and Ciscas who gave their history to La Salle, and doubtless we would
be not far from the truth in believing that they were all destroyed by
the Iroquois after 1654, the time of the beginning of their wars with
the Eries. These wars against the Eries and the later wars against
the Shawnees were finished within twenty years; as Charlevoix gives
the date of the final conquest of the Shawnees as 1672. We are probably
safe, therefore, in assuming that at least three groups of the villages
destroyed north of the Ohio River in that period, as shown on this map,
were the towns of the Eries, the Neutrals, and of the pre-historic inhabitants
of southern Ohio; those of the latter comprising the nine villages
of Casa and Mosopelea (or Mosapelea).

In a letter written by La Salle to one of his friends in France,
relating his operations from August 22, 1680, to the autumn of 1681, he
speaks of his efforts to induce the Illinois and Miami Indians to settle
their villages near his station on the Illinois River, in January and
February, 1681. "Meanwhile," he adds, "a Chaouenon captain, who
commands five hundred warriors and lives on a great river which empties
into the Ohio, and from there into the Mississippi, having learned of
my arrival [at Fort Crevecoeur], sent to me to ask the protection of the
King. I gave him the same reply I had given the Illinois, that if he
wished to join me that autumn, to go to the sea, I would after that assure
him of the protection of the King; but that, his country not being
accessible to us because of its great distance, I could not promise it to
him in Canada. He agreed to my proposition, and ought to be at the
entrance of the said river at the beginning of autumn, with as many
men as possible."'
(See Howe's Ohio, ii., 522; Ohio Hist. Soc. Coll., xvii., 360.)

La Salle wrote to Governor La Barre, from Fort St. Louis, April
2, 1683, telling of his negotiations with the western tribes, and stating
that he had "found near here the Chouanons, Chaskpe, and Ouabano,
who have come with an Indian named Pepamany, whom I sent to
invite them to leave the Spanish trade and to come and establish themselves
here. They inhabit there nine or ten villages, which they have
abandoned in order to become French... I was obliged... to do
the same thing at Fort St. Louis (as at Fort Frontenac), and to give to
the inhabitants the liberty of occupying the vicinity. I acquitted
myself of this obligation in part by placing there the Chaouesnons [Shawnee],
Chaskpe ("Chaskpe", of course, were the same as the Chaskepe of the Cumberland River
Valley. They were probably of the Kispoko or Kispogogi Clan of the Shawnee Nation[HXXX?]),
and Ouabanoa (band of Mohicans or Eastern Lenape, whose generic name was
Wabanaki (Wapaneu, easterly); and I depart presently to go four hundred
leagues from here, south by southwest, to seek nine villages of the
Cicaca [Chickasaw], and to invite them to follow the example of their
allies."

Another letter of La Salle's, written, probably, to the Abbe Bernou,
and bearing date August 22, 1681 (or 1682), has already been referred
to in a former chapter. This is the letter in which La Salle gives it as
his opinion that the "Tiotontaraeton" River, emptying into the western
extremity of Lake Erie, is "certainly the passage to go to the Ohio or
Olighin/sipou." He also speaks of the beaver trade at Fort Frontenac,
and incidentally of the Ohio tribes which were destroyed or driven away
by the Iroquois, in these words:

"The trade of Fort Frontenac is carried on within the extent of the
lake of the same name with the Iroquois, who live in the environs, and
who never trade but with New England, formerly called New Holland,
at Albany, formerly called Orange, a place distant about seventeen or
eighteen leagues from the last canton of the Iroquois, called Agnie
[Mohawks]. The reason for their not coming down into our habitations
at all, is, that those who go to hunt the beaver, finding few on the north
coast of the lake, where they are now rare, go to seek for them towards
the South, at the west of Lake Erie, where they abound; because, before
the destruction of the Islinois and of the Kentaienton-ga (inhabitants
of the Erie village, Kentaienton) and Ganeiens-gaa (Gachnawas-haga or
Gannaouens, i.e., the Kanawahas, later known as Conoys, Ganawese,
etc.) whom the Iroquois subdued in a year; the Chaouanons [Shawnee],
Ouabachi [Wea? Miami?], Tiotontaraeton-ga (Totontaraton-ga?), Gandostoge-ga
(Susquehannocks), Mosopelea, Sounikae-ronons (Oniasontke-ronons), and Ochiat-
agon-ga (Ochateguins, Champlain's name for the Hurons), whom they
also overthrew in a few years, they did not dare to hunt in quarters
over-run by so many enemies, who have the same apprehension of the
Iroquois and are little accustomed to trading in the skins of these
animals, only carrying on commerce with the English very rarely,
because they are not able to go without much trouble, time, and risk."

Perhaps the earliest reference to the Ohio Valley to be found on
the English maps is that contained in one of the legends on Augustine
Herrman's map of Virginia and Maryland, dated 1670, and published
in 1673. The reference in the legend is to the mountain range now
known as the Alleghanies. It reads as follows: "These mighty high
and great mountains, trenching N.E. and S.W. and W.S.W., is sup-
posed to be the very middle Ridge of Northern America, and the only
natural cause of the fierceness and extreame stormy cold winds that
come from N.W., thence all over this Continent, and makes frost.
And, as Indians report, from the other side Westwards do the rivers
take their origin, all issuing out into the West Sea; especially, first
discovered a very great River, called the Black Mincquas River, out of
which, above the SASQUAHANA FORT, meets a branch some leagues distance,
opposite to one another out of the Sasquahana River (the West
Branch, or the Juniata), where formerly those Black Mincquas came
over and as far as Delaware to trade; but the Sasquahana and Sinnicus
Indians went over and destroyed that very great Nation; and whether
the same River comes out into the Bay of Mexico of the West Sea, is
not known."

[FORT AT KITTANING DESTROYED BY 1670. REMAINS MENTIONED IN LATER COLONIAL RECORDS.
LIKELY TO HAVE BEEN LENAPE]

Were the Black Mincquas identical with the Eries, the Oniasontke,
or the Mosopelea?

MOSOPALAWA

The eight destroyed villages of the Moso/pelea, which Franquelin
locates on the north bank of the Ohio or Moso/pelea/cipi, and which La
Salle says were destroyed by the Iroquois, are of especial interest in
connection with the present inquiry.

The word with the last meaning was the tribal name of the Mohawks. It is probable
that the Conoys were nothing more than "corn-shellers" to the Iroquois. Lamber-
ville wrote from Onondaga August 25, 1682, that two Gannaouen women had been
brought from Maryland while he was there, tortured with a slow fire, burned with
hot irons, and afterwards eaten.

(Mentioned as one of the sedentary tribes south of the Lakes by the Jesuit,
Vimont, in the Relation for 1640.)
(See Vol. I., pp. 16, 69, 76, etc.)

On Marquette's map of 1673-74, that traveller locates a "Monsou/pelea" village
on the east bank of the Mississippi below the mouth of the "Ouabouskigo" (Ohio),
and about one third of the distance between that stream and the mouth of the Arkansas River.

On Joliet's map of 1674, a "Mounsouperia" village is located on the east side of the
Mississippi River, but some distance below the mouth of the Arkansas River, and
opposite the "Tahensa".

On Thevenot's map of a few years later, "Monsouperia " and "Monoupera" villages
are indicated in both these locations.

OF JOLIET AND HIS MAP, LA SALLE WRITES (in the Memoir transmitted to Paris by Frontenac, November 9, 1680):
"That gentleman has not considered that the Moso/pelea [Great "Palawa"], of whom he takes
notice in his map, were altogether destroyed before he set out for his voyage,"

In his map of 1755, LEWIS EVANS GIVES THE SHAWNEE NAME OF THE
OHIO AS PALAWA-THEPIKI {I.E., PALAWA-SIPI, OR PALAWA RIVER). Accord-
ing to Robert Vaugondy's French map, and John Mitchell's English
map of the same year, this river was called the "Ohio, or Splaw/cipi/ki.'*
In the Journal of the Rev. David Jones, it is stated of the Ohio [River] that,
"the Shawnees call it Pellewaa Theepee, i.e., Turkey River." Paleawa
(Major Ebenezer Denny), or Palewa (John Johnston), is the Shawnee
word for "turkey"; ("Bloeu" or "Ploeu" in Delaware, as the Moravians
wrote it.) Johnston, in his Shawnee and Wyandot vocabularies, states
that the Shawnee name for the Ohio [River] means "Eagle River".

(James Logan wrote of the Cumberland or the Tennessee River in 1718: "Among
divers other large streams, it [the Ohio River] receives the River Pere/sipi on the south
side, not far from the mouth of Wabasha, which said River of Peresipi is said to rise
in the mountains of Virginia or Carolina." Hazard's Penna. Reg., iii., 211. Peresipi,
as shown above, is equivalent to Pellewaa Theepee, the Shawnee name for the Ohio
meaning "Turkey River. " Pele/sippi is also given as one of the names for Clinch's River.)
on Fry and JeflFerson's map of 1751 ; while on Bellin's map of 1744, reproduced in this
volume, the name, Polesipi ("according to the English") is applied to the same stream.

"Eagle," however, is "Wapalaneathy" in Shawnee (Denny), and in Lenape (Zeis-
berger), "Woapalanne" ("white headed (bald) bald eagle").

[Perhaps "Palawa" means "swan". - epg]

"Mos", or "Moas", is the Lenape word for "elk" (though in Shawnee, according to
Johnston, "elk" is "wabete'").

In Cuoq's Algonquin Lexicon, "Mose" (Zeisberger, "moochwe") is defined as
"a worm which is found in wood, which gnaws the wood," and the combination,
"Mose-wa&i/e", "to have wormy teeth, or decayed teeth." The
meaning of Mosopelea, therefore, may be nothing more than "worm-
eaten turkey," or "decayed turkey."

However, the vocabularies of the Illinois and the Miami, as given by Gallatin, may better explain the meaning of the term "Mosopelea" (or "Monsouperia," as spelled by
Joliet). The Illinois word for "deer" was "mousoah" (Miami, "musuoh"),
and for "turkey," "pireouah" ("pilauoh" in Miami), the "r" sound being
very rare, and equivalent to "1" in most of the Algonquin languages.
It is possible, therefore, that Mosopelea River meant to the western
Algonquins the River of Deer and Turkeys ; though Mr. James Mooney
has suggested to the writer that "moso" may be an adjective, and mean
something other than "elk;" and this may be true, as we have seen in
translating it as "wormy." The noun, "moso", has been retained to the
present day in the name of the "Muskingum" River, an important tribu-
tary of the Ohio River, at the mouth of which some of the most elaborate and
important Indian mounds in existence are still to be seen. The meaning
of the word "Muskingum", as given by Zeisberger, Jones, and other
eighteenth century travellers in Ohio, is "Elk's Eye River."

The Scioto River, too, it will be remembered, was known to the Indians of Ohio
from the earliest historic period as a Deer River, the name "Scioto" itself being
a modified form of Ooscanoto, the Wyandot word for "deer." IT WOULD
APPEAR TO BE PROBABLE, AT LEAST, THAT THE NAME "MOSOPELEA " ON FRANQUELIN'S
MAP REFERRED TO THE DISTRICT BOUNDED BY THE OHIO AND ITS MUSKINGUM AND SCIOTO BRANCHES.

(Margry, ii., 95; Hennepin, Thwaites's edition, ii., 628.)

(Wape-mashehawey, translated "White Elk," was the name of one of the Ohio
Shawnee chiefs who attended the conference at Lancnster in August, 1762.)

Father Anastasius Douay, the Recollect priest who accompanied
La Salle on his last expedition in search of the Mississippi and was with
him when he was assassinated, gave on his return to France in 1688
an account of the countries through which Douay travelled on his
voyage up the Mississippi. He says that his party passed the mouth
of the Ouabache (Ohio) on the 26th of August, 1688. "This famous
river," Douay continues, "is full as large as the River Colbert [the
Mississippi River], receiving a quantity of others by which you can enter it.
The mouth, where it enters into the River Colbert [Mississippi], is two hundred
leagues from the Akansa, according to the estimate of the Sieur de la Salle, as
he often told me... About six leagues above this mouth there is on
the north-west the famous river of the Massourites, or Osages, at least
as large as the river into which it empties; it is formed by a number of
other known rivers... The Akansas were formerly stationed on the
upper part of one of those rivers [the Ohio], but the Iroquois drove them
out by cruel wars some years ago, so that they, with some Osage villages,
were obliged to drop down and settle on the river which now bears their
name [the Arkansas], and of which I have spoken.

ABOUT MIDWAY BETWEEN THE RIVER OUABACHE [THE OHIO RIVER] AND THAT OF THE MASSOURITES
[THE MISSOURI RIVER] IS CAPE ST. ANTHONY. IT WAS TO THIS PLACE ONLY, AND NOT FURTHER,
THAT THE SIEUR JOLIET DESCENDED IN 1673; THEY WERE THERE TAKEN, WITH
THEIR WHOLE PARTY, BY THE MANSOPELA (MOSOPELEA). THESE INDIANS HAV-
ING TOLD THEM THAT THEY WOULD BE KILLED IF THEY WENT FURTHER, THEY
TURNED BACK, NOT HAVING DESCENDED LOWER THAN THIRTY OR FORTY LEAGUES
BELOW THE MOUTH OF THE ILLINOIS [RIVER]."

In MARQUETTE's Journal of Joliet's voyage down the Mississippi, he
DOES NOT MENTION THE MOSOPELEA BY NAME, ALTHOUGH HE DESCRIBES THEM.
In his map accompanying the Journal, however, he does locate a village
or encampment of the Monsoupelea on the east bank of the Mississippi,
some distance below the mouth of the Wabash [Ohio River] and a greater distance
above the villages of the Metchigamea and Akansea, which he also
describes by name. After telling of the Wabash, Marquette proceeds:
"We were compelled to erect a sort of cabin on the water with our sails
as a protection against the mosquitoes and the rays of the sun. While
drifting down with the current, in this condition, we perceived on land
some savages, armed with guns, who awaited us. I at once offered them
my plumed calumet, while our Frenchmen prepared for defence, but
delayed firing, that the savages might be the first to discharge their
guns. I spoke to them in Huron, but they answered me by a word
which seemed to me a declaration of war against us. However, they
were frightened as we were; and what we took for a signal for battle
was an invitation that they gave us to draw near, that they might give
us food. We therefore landed and entered their cabins, where they
offered us meat from wild cattle and bear's grease, with white plums,
which are very good. They have guns, hatchets, hoes, knives, beads,
and flasks of double glass, in which they put their powder. They wear
their hair long, and tattoo their bodies, after the Hiroquois fashion.
The women wear head-dresses and garments like those of the Huron
women. They assured us that we were no more than ten days' journey
from the sea; that they bought cloth and all other goods from the
Europeans who lived to the East; that those Europeans had rosaries and
pictures [the Spaniards of Florida]; that they played upon instruments;
that some of them looked like me, and had been received by these sav-
ages kindly. Nevertheless, I saw none who seemed to have received
any instruction in the faith; I gave them as much as I could, with some
medals."

([SXXX-] In a note to this passage in Marquette, Dr. Shea remarks that this
band of Indians may have been a Tuscarora party, who had traded
with the Spaniards. "That they were not dwellers on the Mississippi,"
he adds, "seems probable, from the fact that they were spoken of, not
by the next tribe [the Mitchigameas], but by those lower down [the
Akansea], whom they had doubtless reached on some other foray.")

Now, while we have seen that Marquette's map of this journey
places a village of the Monsoupelea at the point where he met these
Indians, the map of Thevenot, first published with Marquette's Journal
in 1681, also locates a settlement of the Monsouperia (equivalent to
Monsoupelea) at this point, together with some of the Aganahali.
Beneath the name "Monsouperia" on this map, Thevenot adds the
significant words, "Us ont des fuzils", "they have guns."

This legend, taken with Marquette's map and Douay's inaccurate
account, is sufficient, the writer submits, to establish the fact that the
band met by Marquette at this point on the Mississippi in July, 1673,
was a band of the Mosopelea Indians, whatever that name may mean.
Marquette's description of these Indians likewise gives us our first and
only account of the dress and trade of the Mosopelea.

ARKANSAS -
ANGEL MOUINDS=AQUIXO, WHICH WAS ABANDONED BEFORE DESOTO'S ARRIVAL
CASQI = KASKASIA, VINCENNES: PYRAMID MOUND UNDEVELOPED BY INDIANA
PACANHA = PIANKASHAW, Hudson places at Terre Haute, but little sign there

After Joliet and Marquette had reached the village of the Akansea,
near the mouth of the present Arkansas River, they asked the Indians
there what they knew about the sea. "They replied that we were only
ten days' journey from it, we could have covered the distance in five
days; that they were not acquainted with the nations who dwelt there,
because their enemies prevented them from trading with those Europeans ;
that THE HATCHETS, KNIVES, AND BEADS THAT WE SAW WERE SOLD TO THEM
PARTLY BY NATIONS FROM THE EAST AND PARTLY BY AN ILLINOIS VILLAGE
SITUATED AT FOUR DAYS' JOURNEY FROM THEIR VILLAGE WESTWARD.[?]

They also told us that the savages with guns whom we had met
[Chicasa=Mosopalawea?] were their enemies, who barred their way to the sea,
and prevented them from becoming acquainted with the Europeans, and
from carrying on any trade with them; that moreover, we exposed our-
selves to great dangers by going further, on account of the continual
forays of their enemies along the [Mississippi] River, because, as they had guns and
were very war-like, we could not without manifest danger proceed down
the River, which they constantly occupy."

The importance of these observations of Marquette to the subject
of our present inquiry may seem to be doubtful, in view of the remark
already quoted as printed by Hennepin, and which was taken by him
or his publisher from a Memoir forwarded to France by Count Frontenac
November 9, 1680, which is printed in Margry's second volume. THE
WRITER OF THIS MEMOIR WAS LA SALLE HIMSELF, AND IN SPEAKING OF JOLIET
HE SAYS: "HE HAS NOT REFLECTED THAT THE MOSOPELEA, WHOM HE MARKS IN
HIS MAP, WERE ENTIRELY DESTROYED BEFORE HIS VOYAGE." THIS REMARK,
HOWEVER, WAS NOT TRUE, AS LA SALLE HIMSELF FOUND OUT ON DESCENDING
THE MISSISSIPPI IN 1682; AND AS WILL DIRECTLY APPEAR.

The information which the Akansea gave to Joliet and Marquette,
relating to the tribe with guns, which they had met above, being also
located below the Akansea village, is no doubt the reason why Thevenot,
in making his map for Marquette's Journal, placed one village of the
Monsouperia above the Akansea, and another below. La Salle, as we
shall see, found some of them below the Akansea.
......
When Father Gravier descended the Mississippi River in
1700, he wrote that on the 15th of October his party reached the mouth
of the Ouabachi (the name then generally applied to the Ohio River below
the mouth of the Wabash proper). "We camped in sight of this river,
which comes from the South, and empties into the Mississippi. At its
mouth it makes a great basin, two arpents from its discharge. It is
called by the Illinois and by the OuMiamis the River of the AKANSEA,
BECAUSE THE AKANSEA FORMERLY DWELT ON IT...[more below]
........
The farthest point south reached by Joliet and Marquette when
they descended the Mississippi in 1673 was at the mouth of the Arkansas
River, where they found a tribe of Quapaw Indians living. The Qua-
paws were of Siouan stock and were known to the Illinois and other
Algonquin tribes as the Akansa.

TAENSA - TENNESSEE?

In Tonty's Relation of La Salle's voyage down and up the Mississippi
in 1682, he states that on the return of the expedition up the river,
they arrived, on April 30th,' at the village of the Taensas. Here, "on
the morrow," Tonty writes, "A CHIEF OF THE MOSOPELLEAS, WHO, AFTER THE
OVERTHROW OF HIS VILLAGE, HAD BEGGED OF THE CHIEF OF THE TAENSAS TO LIVE
WITH HIM, and there dwelt, with five cabins, went to see M. de La Salle;
and having said he was a Mosopellea, M. de la Salle gave him back a
slave of his own tribe, and also gave him a pistol."^

The Taensa village, to which the Mosopelea Indians had fled,
after the destruction of their town, was located near the west bank of the
Mississippi River, in what is now Tensas Parish, Louisiana. THE TAENSAS
SPOKE THE SAME LANGUAGE AND HAD THE SAME CUSTOMS AS THE NATCHEZ, a
tribe living about fifty miles farther down the river, a few miles east of the
site of the present Natchez, Mississippi.^ Eighty leagues above, at the
mouth of the Arkansas, dwelt the allies of the Taensas, the Akansea, of
whom FATHER GRAVIER WROTE IN 1700 THAT THEY HAD MIGRATED FROM THE
OHIO RIVER, A STREAM TO WHICH THE MIAMIS AND ILLINOIS GAVE THE NAME
"AKANSEA RIVER," BECAUSE THE AKANSEA HAD FORMERLY LIVED ON ITS BANKS.

Why the Mosopelea survivors should have fled so far down the
Mississippi after the destruction of their towns [HXXX-] in the Scioto and
Muskingum valleys (prior to 1673) would be interesting to know. Possibly,
their adoption by the Taensas was merely an incidental result of their
flight. Not improbably, however, they may have fled directly to the
Taensas after the overthrow of their own villages in the North because
the Taensas may have been of a kindred tribe and language with them-
selves, the fugitives risking the trials and dangers of a twelve hundred
mile trip down the Ohio and Mississippi, in order to find a safer refuge
with a tribe of their own race, rather than to make their home with one
of the numerous tribes of other races lying between the mouth of the
Scioto and the Taensa village.

If this were the true explanation of the presence of the survivors of
the Ohio Valley tribe in the village of the Taensas, then we could learn
something of the customs and manner of life of the Mosopelea by study-
ing those of the Taensas and Natchez. And if such a study should show
that the customs and manners of the Taensas differed in a marked
degree from those of all the surrounding nations (excepting the kindred
and neighboring tribe of the Natchez), as well as from those of all the
northern tribes whose history has been preserved; then, if we assume
the Mosopelea to be a kindred tribe also, we may safely conclude that
the customs and manner of life of the latter tribe in its original home in
what is now southern Ohio, likewise differed widely from those of the
tribes which surrounded them there.

As a matter of fact, THE INSTITUTIONS AND CUSTOMS OF THE TAENSAS AND
THE NATCHEZ WERE VASTLY DIFFERENT FROM THOSE OF ALL THE OTHER INDIAN
NATIONS IN THE NORTH, AND MORE OR LESS DIFFERENT FROM THOSE OF THE NEIGH-
BORING SOUTHERN TRIBES. THE TESTIMONY OF TONTY AND MEMBRE (1682),
MONTIGNY (1699), LA SOURCE AND GRAVIER (1700), PENICAUT (1704),
DU POISSON (1727), IS UNIFORM IN REGARD TO THIS, and while there are some
variations in its details, the whole of it is of intense interest in connection
with the study of the Indians of the Ohio Valley in pre-historic times.

While we are not in a position to assert that the Ohio totem and so-called
ceremonial mounds were built by the direct ancestors of the Nachesan
tribes, it can be said with positiveness that their habits, the despotic
power of their chiefs and medicine men, their customs, institutions, and
the nature and extent of their civiHzation were such as we might reason-
ably and naturally expect in the people who did build the Ohio mounds.
[HXXX there.]

The farthest point south reached by Joliet and Marquette when
they descended the Mississippi in 1673 was at the mouth of the Arkansas
River, where they found a tribe of Quapaw Indians living. The Qua-
paws were of Siouan stock and were known to the Illinois and other
Algonquin tribes as the Akansa. Father Membre, who accompanied
La Salle's expedition down the Mississippi in 1682, after describing the
manner in which La Salle was received and entertained by the Akansa,
who lived at the mouth of the Arkansas River, goes on to relate that,
'they finally gave us provisions and men, to conduct us and serve as
interpreters with the Taensa, their allies, who are eighty leagues distant
from their village. On the 17th we continued our route, and six leagues
lower down we found another village of the same Akansa nation, and
then another, three leagues lower, the people of which were of the same
kind, and received us most hospitably... On the 22d we reached
the Taensa."

When Father Gravier descended the Mississippi in 1700, he wrote that on the
15th of October his party reached the mouth of the Ouabachi (the name then
generally applied to the Ohio below the mouth of the Wabash proper). "We
camped in sight of this river, which comes from the South, and empties into the
Mississippi. At its mouth it makes a great basin, two arpents from its discharge.
It is called by the Illinois and by the OuMiamis the River of the AKANSEA,
BECAUSE THE AKANSEA FORMERLY DWELT ON IT. THREE BRANCHES ARE ASSIGNED
TO IT; ONE THAT COMES FROM THE NORTHWEST, PASSING BEHIND THE COUNTRY
OF THE OU/MIAMIS, CALLED THE RIVER ST. JOSEPH, WHICH THE INDIANS CALL
PROPERLY, OUABACHI; THE SECOND COMES FROM THE IROQUOIS, AND IT IS THAT
CALLED BY THEM OHIO; AND THE THIRD FROM THE S.S.W., ON WHICH ARE THE
CHAOUANOUA; AND ALL THREE UNITING TO EMPTY INTO THE MISSISSIPPI, IT IS
COMMONLY CALLED OUABACHI; BUT THE ILLINOIS AND THE OTHER INDIANS CALL
IT THE RIVER OF THE AKANSEA."'

[THE THIRD IS EITHER THE CUMBERLAND OR TENNESSEE; MOST LIKELY THE CUMBERLAND AT THIS TIME]

The Ohio is shown as the Akansea River on Van Keulen's map of
1720, reproduced on the opposite page.

In his Relation of 1693 Tonty writes that La Salle's expedition
down the Mississippi arrived at the Taensas on March 22, 1682.

"When we arrived opposite to the village of the Taensas, M. de la
Salle desired me to go to it and inform the chief of his arrival. I went
with our guides, and we had to carry a bark canoe for ten arpens, and
to launch it on a small lake in which their village was placed. I was
surprised to find their cabins of mud and covered with cane mats.
The cabin of the chief was forty feet square, the wall ten feet high, a
foot thick, and the roof, which was of a dome shape, about fifteen feet
high. I was not less surprised, when, on entering, I saw the chief seated
on a camp bed, with three of his wives at his side, surrounded by more
than sixty old men, clothed in large white cloaks, which are made by
the women out of the bark of the mulberry tree, and are tolerably well
worked. The women were clothed in the same manner, and every time
the chief spoke to them, before answering him, they howled and cried
out several times, 'O-o-o-o-o-o,' to show their respect for him; for
their chiefs are held in as much consideration as our kings. No one
drinks out of the chief's cup, nor eats out of his plate, and no one passes
before him; when he walks, they clean the path before him. When he
dies, they sacrifice his youngest wife, his house steward, and a hundred
men, to accompany him into the other world.''

(Probably the present Lake St. Joseph. Gatschet, Creek Migration Legend, 31.)

Tonty's 1683 account of the same visit, as given by Margry (i., 599-610) is as
follows:

"On the 22d we arrived at the Taensas, after having sailed eighty leagues.
As this Nation lives on a small lake, we camped at three leagues from the village. . . .
We arrived there by night. The Akansas began to sing; the Taensas recognized them as
friends, and we entered their village safely. Never was I so surprised as when entering
the hut of the Chief; because the other savages do not build in the same way. One finds
in this nation some of the qualities possessed by civilized poeple. We were first led
into a hut of forty feet front. The walls, built of a mixture of clay and mud, are two
feet thick and twelve feet high. The roof is in the form of a dome, in cane matting,
so well worked that the rain cannot pass through it. On entering, we saw the Chief,
seated upon a kind of lounge. There were more than sixty elders opposite him; they
were all covered with large white blankets, like those hammocks the savages of the
American Islands fabricate. There was a torch of dry stricks in the centre of the hut,
which was adorned with several copper shields made fast on the four sides of the
walls, besides a quantity of pictures. There was also an alcove, where the Great Chief
rests, and several field beds, upon which rest the chiefs of eight villages situated on the
lake, which are dependencies of the Great Chief. All the elders who were with him in
said hut, held their hands upon their heads, howling like wolves, crying, 'Ho! Ho! Hot
Ho !' ... I forgot to mention that the Taensas have a divinity; for we have seen a
Temple opposite the Chief's hut. In this Temple there is a kind of altar, surmounted by
three eagles, looking towards the rising sun. This Temple is encircled by a sort of fort,
upon the walls of which they stick the heads of enemies killed in battle. This fort is not
regular, but each angle is well defended; there are sentry-boxes of stout wood."

"THEY HAVE A FORM OF WORSHIP, AND ADORE THE SUN. There is a
temple opposite the house of the chief, and similar to it, except that
three eagles are placed on this temple, who look towards the rising Sun.
The temple is surrounded with strong mud walls, in which are fixed
spikes, on which they place the heads of their enemies who are sacrificed
to the Sun. AT THE DOOR OF THE TEMPLE IS A BLOCK OF WOOD, ON WHICH IS A
GREAT SHELL, AND PLAITED AROUND WITH THE HAIR OF THEIR ENEMIES, IN A PLAIT
ABOUT AS THICK AS AN ARM, AND ABOUT TWENTY TOISES LONG. The inside of
the temple is naked; there is an altar in the middle, and at the foot of
the altar three logs of wood are placed on end, and A FIRE IS KEPT UP, DAY
AND NIGHT BY TWO OLD PRIESTS [jongleurs], who are the masters of their
worship. These old men' showed me a small cabinet within the wall
made of mats of cane. Desiring to see what was inside, the old men
prevented me, giving me to understand that their god was there. I
have since learned that it is the place where they keep their treasure ^
such as fine pearls, which they fish up in the neighborhood, and European
merchandise. At the last quarter of the moon, all the cabins make an
offering of a dish of the best food they have, which is placed at the door
of the temple. The old men take good care to carry it away, and to
make a good feast of it with their families.

"Every spring they make a clearing, which they name the "field
of the spirit",* when all the men work to the sound of the tambour.
In the autumn, the Indian corn is harvested with much ceremony, and
stored in magazines until the month of June in the following year, when
all the village assemble and invite their neighbors to eat it. They do
not leave the ground until they have eaten it all, making great rejoicings
the whole time. This is all I learned of this nation. The three villages
below have the same customs. . . .

"A brother of the Great Chief of the Natchez conducted us to
his brother's village. . . . We were well received there. This nation
counts more than 300 warriors. Here the men cultivate the ground,
hunt, and fish, as well as the Taensas, and their manners are the same."

The Recollect Friar, Zenobius Membre, wrote of the same visit to
the Taensas in these words:
"On the 22d we reached the Taensa, who dwell around a little lake formed
in the land by the River Mississippi. They have eight villages.
The walls of their houses are made of earth, mixed with straw;
the roof is of canes, which form a dome, adorned with paintings;
they have wooden beds, and much other furniture, and
even ornaments in their temples, where they inter the bones of their
chiefs. They are dressed in white blankets, made of the bark of a tree
which they spin; their chief is absolute, and disposes of all without con-
sulting anybody. He is attended by slaves, as are all his family...

"The Sieur de la Salle being fatigued and unable to go into the town, sent
in the Sieur de Tonty and myself with presents. The chief of this
nation, not content with sending him provisions and other presents
wished also to see him... THE CHIEF, WHO CAME SOME TIME AFTER, WAS
DRESSED IN A FINE WHITE CLOTH OR BLANKET. HE WAS PRECEDED BY TWO MEN,
CARRYING FANS OF WHITE FEATHERS. A THIRD CARRIED A COPPER PLATE, AND A
ROUND ONE OF THE SAME METAL, BOTH HIGHLY POLISHED... Religion may
be greatly advanced among them, as well as among the Akansas, both
these nations being half civilized."

Nicholas de la Salle, who also accompanied the explorer to the
mouth of the Mississippi River, describes in his Recital, the second visit
paid to the Taensas on the return voyage up the river. His description is as
follows:

"On the first day of June [May], 1682, we arrived in the Taensa
country; M. de la Salle sent four Frenchmen, of whom the Little La
Salle was one, in order to bring back this Taensa [who had accompanied
the party down the river]. Having come close, he sang out. It was
during the night. Two old men with torches came upon the shore of
the lake, to ascertain what the matter was. They led the Frenchmen
to the cabin of the chief. The Little La Salle says, that the chief
was by the side of the cabin on a platform, upon a mat of as fine work
as those wicker baskets made by the nuns in France; that HE HAD SEEN
IN THIS CABIN AN OLD SPANISH SWORD AND THREE OLD STYLE SHOT GUNS.
[FROM DESOTO'S EXPEDITION]

The chief had the Frenchmen tell him about their journey. He manifested
pleasure in hearing that they had killed men. All who entered the hut
greeted the chief, lifting their hands above the head and saying 'Hou!
Hou! Hou!' The chief would answer: 'Negoudez! Negoudez!'
The Frenchmen were given food and also mats to sleep on. These
people are very grave and very respectful towards their chief... This
village extends for a league along the lake. The temple, the chief's
cabin, and seven or eight cabins of the elders are surrounded with posts,
forming a kind of fort; upon the posts human heads are stuck. The
temple is dome-like, the door, daubed with red paint, is guarded night
and day by two watchmen.

"One of the Frenchmen entered it, very much against the will of
the guards, one of whom followed him, wiping with his hands the
earth on which the Frenchman trod, and rubbing his body with
the hands.

"The Frenchman says this temple is oval in form, thirty feet long,
with an inside width of twelve feet, decorated with works made of sticks,
and all painted red. The dome is covered with beautiful mats, the
sides with earth. The sticks which form the roofing stand out two feet
from the centre, crossing one over the other. Every night there are
two lit torches in it. We saw that the women held their children against
the Sun and rubbed the little ones' bodies with their hands, which they
had also held against the Sun.

"We went to take leave from the chief. He had the canoe given
back to us with a quantity of victuals. He paid a visit to M. de la Salle,
accompanied by thirty canoes; brought him so many provisions that
some of them had to be thrown away, the canoes being overladen.
Natives swept the ground over which their chief had to pass. He spoke
with M. de la Salle seated on a mat. M. de la Salle gave him an old
dressing gown of painted canvas and a small Mosopolea slave, who had
been given by the Acansa; the chief gave him his robe or blanket, a kind
of cotton fabric."

Montigny, who established a mission among the Taensas in the
latter part of the year 1699, gives a description of the nation in a
letter written by him from the Akansea country in the following January.
"The first among whom we thought of establishing," he says, "are the
Tonicas, who are sixty leagues lower down than the Akanseas. Mr.
Davion has stationed himself there. The spot where he is is quite
fine. With some small villages of some other nation who are with them,
they made about 2000 souls. ABOUT ONE DAY'S JOURNEY LOWER DOWN
(THAT IS TO SAY, 20 LEAGUES), ARE THE TAENSAS, WHO SPEAK ANOTHER
LANGUAGE [THAN THE TUNICA?]. THEY ARE ONLY A SHORT DAY'S JOURNEY FROM THE NATCHEZ,
WHO ARE OF THE SAME NATION AND SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE [AS THE TUNICA?].

"For the present I reside among the Taensas, but am to go shortly to the Natchez.
This nation is very great, and more numerous than the Tonicas. The Taensas
are only about 700 souls. ... I often speak of the Tonicas and the
Taensas, and of those who are on the banks of the Mississippi. . . .
They have rather fine temples, the walls of which are of mats. That
of the Taensas has walls seven or eight feet thick, on account of the
great number of mats, one on another. THEY REGARD THE SERPENT AS ONE
OF THEIR DIVINITIES, SO FAR AS I COULD SEE. They would not dare to accept
or appropriate anything of the slightest consequence without taking it
to the temple. When they receive anything, it is with a kind of venera-
tion that they turn towards this temple. They do not seem to be
debauched in their lives. On account of the great heat the men go
naked, and the women and girls are not well covered, and the girls up to
the age of twelve go entirely naked... They have also another abuse.
When their chiefs are dead, the more esteemed he has been, the more
persons they kill, who offer themselves to die with him; and last year,
when the chief of the Taensas died, there were twelve persons who
offered to die, and whom they tomahawked."

La Source accompanied Montigny on his voyage down the Mississippi.
In his Narrative of the journey he writes:

"On the 2ist we arrived at the Taensas. It is a league by land and two by water
[from the river]. They are on the shore of a lake, three leagues from the
Mississippi. They are very humane and docile people. Their chief
died not long before we arrived. It is their custom to sacrifice on this
account. They told us that they had put to death thirteen on the death
of the one who died last. For this purpose they put a root in the fire to
bum, and when it is consumed, they kill him with tomahawks. The
Natchez, who are twelve leagues lower down, put men to death on the
death of their chief. It must be avowed that they are very foolish to
allow themselves to be killed in this way; yet it is a thing they esteem
as great honor and noble-heartedness.

"They [the Taensas] have a pretty large temple, with three columns, well made,
serpents, and other like superstitions. The temple is encircled by an enclosure
made like a wall. It is almost covered with skulls. They would not let us enter,
saying, that those who entered died. We entered, half by force, half by consent.

"The girls and women are dressed like those I have mentioned before, and even worse,
for we saw some, twenty-five and thirty years old, quite naked."

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, the founder of Louisiana, visited the
Natchez and Taensa villages in March, 1700. He describes the Taensa
natives in the Journal of his voyage as follows :

"On the morning of the 14th we went to the lake, where we met
four natives who had brought us canoes, having heard the reports from
our guns. We travelled about two leagues upon the lake and at noon
went to the village, where I found M. de Montigny, the missionary,
having four Frenchmen with him. He had a house built there and is
preparing to have a church built. In this nation there may be about
one hundred and twenty cabins, spread over a space of two leagues on
the shore of the lake. There is a rather fine temple in this place.
Formerly this nation was numerous, but there are not more than three
hundred men now. They have large barren lands and on the bank of
this lake some very good soil, which is not subject to inundation and
might be a quarter of a league in width, running around the lake for
four and a half leagues from northeast to west. The main part of
this village is at about two leagues from the end reaching towards the
Mississippi and opposite a smaller river of about one hundred feet in
width, upon the shore of which are some cabins of natives...

"On the 15th I returned with M. de Montigny to the landing place,
where I had left my canoe, in order to await my brother and all my men.

"On the 16th and 17th it rained and thundered much. In the
night of the i6th, lightning struck the Taensas' temple, setting it afire
and entirely destroying it. These savages, in order to pacify the Spirit,
whom they said to be angered, threw five infants into the burning temple.
They would have thrown several others into the flames but for the
intervention of three Frenchmen who prevented their doing it. An aged
man, about sixty-five years old, who seemed to act as high priest, was
standing near the fire shouting: 'Women, bring your infants to offer
as a sacrifice to appease the Spirit.' Five of them did so, bringing their
babies, whom he took and threw into the flames. The deed of these
women was looked upon as one of the noblest that could be performed.
They followed this old man, who led them with great ceremony to the
cabin of him who was to be the chief of the nation, the last chief having
but recently died. It was customary at the death of their chief to kill
some twenty men or women, in order to accompany him, they say, into
the other world, and attend upon him. Several, according to what they
said, were delighted to be among the killed. I doubt this very much.

"The old man above mentioned, said that the Spirit was angered, because
at the death of the last chief nobody had been killed; that the chief him-
self was angered; that he had had the temple destroyed; accusing the
Frenchmen, who were the cause of this misfortune, because M. de
Montigny having been at the village on the occasion of the chief's death
had prevented anybody from being killed; of which the whole nation
seemed to be glad, except this high priest. These women by the deed
they had done, sanctified and consecrated to the Spirit, thus several of
these savages called them, were led to the pretender to the crown, were
made much of, were much praised by the elders, and every one of them
was clothed with a white blanket made of mulberry-tree bark, and every
one's head was decorated with a large feather. They remained the
whole day in show at the entrance of the chief's cabin, seated upon cane
mats, this cabin being intended to be used hereafter as the temple, where
the fire was lighted, as it is customary for them to do."
E.P. Grondine
 

Re: Hannah on the "Mississippians"

Postby E.P. Grondine » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:39 pm

TUNICA
NATCHEZ

Father Gravier, who made a voyage down and up the Mississippi in
1700, writes of the Taensas and Natchez :
"On the 13th (of November) we set out... and the next day reached
the River of the Tounika...
"They have only one small temple, raised on a mound of earth. They
never enter it, Mr. Davion told me, except when going to or returning
from war; and do not make all the bowlings of the Taensa and Natchez
when they pass in front of their temples, where there is always an old
man who maintains the fire...

"The Natchez, Mr. de St. Cosme assured me, are far from being as docile as
the Tounika. They practice polygamy, steal, and are very vicious, the girls a
nd women more than the men and boys...

"The Taensas, who speak the same language, have the same habits also; their village
is twenty leagues from the river of the Tounika... Their temple having been reduced
to ashes last year by lightning, which fell on a matter as combustible as the canes
with which it is thatched, the old man who is its guardian, said that the
spirit was incensed because no one was put to death on the decease of
the last chief, and that it was necessary to appease him. Five women
had the cruelty to cast their children into the fire, in sight of the French
who recounted it to me; or rather, gave them to the old man, who cast
them into the fire while making his invocations, and chanting; and but for
the French there would have been a great many more children burnt.
The chief's cabin having been converted into a temple, the five unnatural
mothers were borne to it in triumph as five heroines.

"We had pretty fair weather to reach the Natchez, south of the
Taensas, from whom they are only twenty leagues distant. After
mounting a little bluff, you find a great beaten road leading to a rather
steep hill, more than half of which is covered in the high waters. On
top of this hill you discern a noble prairie. The most beaten road
leads to the village where the Temple is; the others, running off right and
left, lead to different hamlets. There are only four cabins in that where
the temple is. It is very spacious and covered with cane mats, which
they renew every year with great ceremonies. . . . There is no window,
no chimney in this Temple, and it is only by the light of the fire that you
can see a little, and then the door, which is very low and narrow, must
be open. I imagine that the obscurity of the place inspires them with
respect. The old man who is the keeper, keeps the fire up and takes
great care not to let it go out. It is in the centre of the Temple, in front
of a sort of mausoleum after the Indian fashion. There are three, about
eight or nine feet long, six feet broad, and nine or ten feet high. They
are supported by four large posts covered with mats of canes in quite
neat columns and surmounted by a platform of plaited canes. This
would be rather graceful were it not all blackened with smoke and
covered with soot. THERE IS A LARGE MAT WHICH SERVES AS A CURTAIN TO
COVER A LARGE TABLE, COVERED WITH FIVE OR SIX CANE MATS, ON WHICH STANDS A
LARGE BASKET THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL TO OPEN, AS THE SPIRIT OF EACH NATION OF
THOSE QUARTERS REPOSES THERE, THEY SAY, WITH THAT OF THE NATCHEZ...
THERE ARE OTHERS IN THE OTHER TWO MAUSOLEUMS, WHERE THE BONES OF THEIR
CHIEFS ARE, THEY SAY, WHICH THEY REVERE AS DIVINITIES...

(In a letter from Mr. F. S. Shaw, of Natchez, he states that the ancient seat of
the Natchez tribe was "about ten miles [east] from the present city of Natchez, on
the Woodville road, near the two Indian mounds on the banks of Second Creek [a
head of Catherine Creek]. On one of these mounds the sacred fire was kept, the
Natchez being fire worshippers... They had another mound at Selsertown [Emerald
Mound] near Stanton station, where the sacred fire was also kept.)

"The Frenchman whom M. d'Iberville left there to learn the
language, told me, that on the death of the last chief, they put to death
two women, three men and three children; they strangled them with
a bow-string, and this cruel ceremony was performed with great pomp,
these wretched victims deeming themselves greatly honored to accompany
their chief by a violent death."

The best account of the customs and religion of the Natchez, who
were a kindred tribe to the Taensas[?], spoke the same language, and lived
twelve leagues farther down the Mississippi, is that of the Jesuit Father,
Le Petit, written from New Orleans, July 12, 1730. It is in part as
follows, the translation being from Thwaites's edition of the Relations:

"This nation of savages inhabits one of the most beautiful and fertile
countries in the world, and is the only one on this continent which appears
to have any regular worship. Their religion in certain points is very
similar to that of the ancient Romans. They have a Temple filled with
idols, which are different figures of men and of animals, and for which
they have the most profound veneration. Their Temple in shape
resembles an earthen oven, a hundred feet in circumference. They
enter it by a little door about four feet high, and not more than three
in breadth. No window is to be seen there. The arched roof of the
edifice is covered with three rows of mats, placed one upon the other,
to prevent the rain from injuring the masonry. ABOVE, ON THE OUTSIDE,
ARE THREE FIGURES OF EAGLES, MADE OF WOOD, AND PAINTED RED, YELLOW, AND
WHITE. BEFORE THE DOOR IS A KIND OF SHED WITH FOLDING-DOORS, WHERE THE
GUARDIAN OF THE TEMPLE IS LODGED; all around it runs a circle of palisades,
on which are seen exposed the skulls of all the heads which their warriors
had brought back from the battles in which they had been engaged with
the enemies of their Nation.

"In the interior of the Temple are some shelves arranged at a certain
distance from each other, on which are placed cane baskets of an oval
shape, and in these are enclosed the bones of their ancient chiefs, while
by their side are those of their victims who had caused themselves to be
strangled, to follow their masters into the other world. Another separate
shelf supports many flat baskets very gorgeously painted, in which they
preserve their idols. THESE ARE FIGURES OF MEN AND WOMEN, MADE OF
STONE OR BAKED CLAY, THE HEADS AND THE TAILS OF EXTRAORDINARY SERPENTS
[ALLIGATORS?], SOME STUFFED OWLS, SOME PIECES OF CRYSTAL, AND SOME JAW-BONES
OF LARGE FISH. IN THE YEAR 1699, THEY HAD THERE A BOTTLE AND THE FOOT OF A GLASS,
WHICH THEY GUARDED AS VERY PRECIOUS.

"In this Temple they take care to keep up a perpetual fire, and
they are very particular to prevent its ever blazing; they do not use
anything for it but dry wood of the walnut or oak. The old men are
obliged to carry, each one in his turn, a large log of wood into the enclosure
of the palisade. The number of Guardians of the Temple is fixed, and
they serve by the quarter. He who is on duty is placed like a sentinel
under the shed, from whence he examines whether the fire is not in
danger of going out. He feeds it with two or three large logs, which do
not burn except at the extremity, and which they never place one on the
other, for fear of their getting into a blaze.

"Of the women, the sisters of the Great Chief alone have liberty
to enter within the Temple. The entrance is forbidden to all the others,
as well to the common people. . . .

"The Sun is the principal object of veneration to these people; as
they cannot conceive of anything which can be above this heavenly
body, nothing else appears to them more worthy of homage. It is for
the same reason that the Great Chief of this Nation, who knows nothing
on the earth more dignified than himself, takes the title of Brother
of the Sun, and the credulity of the people maintains him in the despotic
authority which he claims. To enable them better to converse together (i.l.
the Chief and the Sun), they raise a mound of artificial soil, on which they
build his cabin, which is of the same construction as the Temple. The
door fronts the East, and every morning the Great Chief honors by his
presence the rising of his Elder Brother, and salutes him with many
howlings as soon as he appears above the horizon. Then he gives orders
that they shall light his calumet; he makes Him an offering of the first
three puffs which he draws; afterwards raising his hand above his head,
and turning from the East to the West, he shows Him the direction
which He must take in His course. . . .

"When the Great Chief dies, they demolish his cabin, and then raise
a new mound, on which they build the cabin of him who is to replace
him in this dignity, for he never lodges in that of his predecessor...

"These people blindly obey the least wish of their Great Chief.
They look upon him as absolute master, not only of their property but
also of their lives, and not one of them would dare to refuse him his
head if he should demand it; for whatever labors he commands them
to execute, they are forbidden to exact any wages... One of the
principal articles of their religion, and particularly for the servants of
the Great Chief, is that of honoring his funeral rites by dying with him,
that they may go to serve him in the other world... They first put
on all their finery, and repair to the place opposite to the Temple, where
all the people are assembled. After having danced and sung a sufficiently
long time, they pass around their neck a cord of buffalo hair with
a running knot, and immediately the ministers appointed for executions
of this kind come forward to strangle them, recommending them to go to
rejoin their master... The same ceremony is observed in like manner on the
death of the brothers and sisters of the Great Chief...

"The Government is hereditary; it is not, however, the son of the
reigning chief who succeeds his father, but the son of his sister, or the
first Princess of the blood. This policy is founded on the knowledge
they have of the licentiousness of their women...

"In former times the Nation of the Natchez was very large. It
counted sixty villages and eight hundred Suns or Princes; now it is
reduced to six little villages and eleven Suns. In each of these villages
there is a Temple where the fire is always kept burning, as in that of the
Great Chief, whom all the other Chiefs obey."
......

(If, from any cause, the fire became extinguished, it could only be relighted
in one of two ways: from the Spirit, that is, from a tree set on fire by lightning: or
'with blood;' the latter meant, that an attendant at the Temple where the fire had
become extinguished, must journey to another Temple where the sacred fire was kept,
and obtain some of it. Resistance was made, and blood had to be shed before a
surrender of any of the fire was made." - Letter from Mr. F. S. Shaw, of Natchez,
Mississippi.)

The Temple of the Natchez.
A Paris view, from Lafitau's Moeurs des Sauvages, 172^, where it is
described as " Mortuary rites of a chief or chieftainess of the
Nation of the Natchez in Louisiana. The temple, all opened,
permits a view of the interior, and shows the corpses of the
chiefs which are there deposited. HE TO WHOM THEY RENDER
THE LAST RITES IS EXPOSED ON ONE OF THE STONES WHICH ARE AT THE
ENTRANCE OF THIS TEMPLE. Two choirs, represented in the fore-
ground, form a religious dance, during which they strangle
those whose duty it is to keep company with the deceased,
and who go to serve him in the other world."

[H. CONCLUSION - H. WAY XXX HERE-]

These various relations regarding the Taensa and Natchez Indians
reveal to us a barbarous race, living under a most despotic form of
government, and in every way capable of having produced such works
as those of the various mounds and fortifications to be found in the
Ohio Valley. If they and their kindred tribes were not the direct
descendants of the Indians who built those mounds, we may be sure that
we will never have a more nearly accurate description of the manners
and customs of the Indians who did build those works than is furnished
in these various accounts of the Taensas and Natchez of the Mississippi.
E.P. Grondine
 

Re: Hannah on the "Mississippians"

Postby E.P. Grondine » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:25 pm

LA SALLE'S "LEAF DETACHED" BEGINS AS FOLLOWS:

"..neighbors of the Ciscas and their allies, as well as the Cicacas. Chucagoa,
which means in their language (The name of this tribe is lost, with the missing first sheet of this account of La Salle's; but from the word, Chucagoa, its language may have been Iroquoian.
[Hxxx]) the Grand River, as "Mississippi" in the Ottawa language and "Masciccipi"
in the Illihnoi, is the River which we call the "St. Louis" [the Wabash River to the jucntion with the Mississippi River].

The Ohio, which is one of its affluents, receives the waters of two other large rivers before discharging into the St. Louis, to- wit., Agouassake (shown as one of the heads of the Wabash on Franquelin's map of 1684) from the North and Riviere des Chaouesnons from the
South.

[IS THE "CUCAGOA" RIVER THE TENNESSEE RIVER?]

The Takahaganes inhabit on the north bank of the Chucagoa, about latitude 32° North ; the Cicaca [Chickasaws] in the interior of the country, about latitude 323^" North,
on the south side of this River, in a southerly direction from the outlet of
the Illinois River into the Colbert River [the Mississippi River]; that is to say, about longitude 39 west of Percee Island, seventeen days' journey up the river, estimating the journey at seven or eight leagues a day, on the average, the route being about east-northeast.

The Kaskias (the Casquis of De Soto?) are to be found on their Island [at Louisville or on the Mississippi River at Kaskasia?], but very few of them remain, the nation having been almost completely destroyed, or forced to flee, by the Iroquois. The Tchatakes (misprint or
variant for Tchalakes, i.l., Cherokees) are on the north shore of the same
River, about 34 degrees north. This river is much wider, in all that ex-
tent of country than the Colbert River [Mississippi River]. I have not yet been
able to explore it. The Apalatchites, a nation inhabiting British Florida, are not very
far from some of its most easterly branches, because they are at war with
the Tchalakes [Cherokee] and the Ciscas, having once, with the aid of the English
burnt one of their villages. The Ciscas then left their old villages, which
were situated much more to the East than those from which they came
(to Fort St. Louis in 1683); although this River flows from East to West,
and, consequently, it seems that it should discharge into the Colbert
River [Mississippi River], of which the Takahaganes, who live on the shore of
the Chucagoa, are only three days distant from the Mississippi, where we have seen
some when we were going down and on coming back.

"I do not know whether these two rivers join; first, because Fernand
Soto's relation is assuredly not a chimera. The name of the River and of
all the nations which inhabit its shores, according to what he says, as
well as the large number of Mauvila [Mobile] Indians...

"moreover, THE NAMES OF "QUIQUALTHANGI" AND "ANILCO" ARE JUST AS MUCH UNKNOWN ON THE
COLBERT RIVER [THE MISSISSPPI RIVER] AS THOSE OF THE [SOUTH TO NORTH IN 1682]
COROA, NATCHE, OMMA, TAENSA, IKOUERA, TOUNICA, YAZOU, TIOU, OUASITA,
MAHEHOUALAIMA, KINIPISSA, TCHOUCHOUMA, AND TANJIBAO, WHO LIVE THERE,
WERE UNKNOWN TO SOTO'S PARTY.

"Moreover, THE PRODIGIOUS WIDTH WHICH THEY [DESOTO] ATTRIBUTE TO THE CHUCAGOA
CHANNEL... has nothing to do with the width of the Mississippi, which
[in some places near the delta] is no greater than that of the [River] Loire,
even at its mouth...

Moreover, all maps are worthless, or the mouth of Colbert River [MISSISSIPPI RIVER]
is near Mexico . . . and consequently not on the Chucagoa River, whence the Spaniards
were so long in reaching Mexico...

Moreover, what leads me to believe that Chucagoa is not the Mississippi,
but that it parallels it, is, that on the east side of the Mississipi,
no large river flows into it, while on the west side there are many
large tributaries.' This has always led me to conjecture that there was,
in the east side, some other large river into which all the waters of that
side flow...

"I wrote without thinking this digression about this river; although
many people have told me that the Chucagoa did flow into the Mississippi.
This is possible, although we have not seen the confluence, because, above
the Acansas village is a large island, or rather, many islands, which are
from sixty to eighty leagues in extent; in going down, we took the western
channel, and, as we had left all our baggage at the Acansas village, we
were obliged to return by the same route...

"The arrival of the Ciscas (Chaskepes?) and the Chaouenons was followed by the return of the Islinois, " etc.
E.P. Grondine
 


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