Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Truth is

Upon for success, were derived from the Powers of the Thunderers 

The “swift-flying-birds” promised to endow the warriors with the ability to travel as fast as they can fly, and, if the braves were defeated, they were empowered to put on bird skins and escape by flight. The buffalo gave them his strength and courage, and the weasel agreed to help them stalk their foes even as he pursued his game. He said that they should be as successful in taking scalps as he is in capturing his prey. The pine snake promised that they should have his skill to hide away in the undergrowth to spy upon the enemy, or to escape if they should be hard pressed.

When the animals had completed their donations, the sun and the morningstar gathered the presents into a bundle, sent for the thunderbirds and gave it to them to transmit to the children of men.

A young man named Watakwuna sorrowed because of the reverses his people were suffering at the hands of thier ravonous enemies. So sad was he that he blackened his face with charcoal and retired to an isolated spot to fast and pray. His entreaties reached the ears of the sun and his

lieutenant the morningstar. According to their instructions, the I’namakiwuk, or thunderers, took pity on him, and sent him word to come to them.

He was told to take a straight course westward across the ocean until he came to an island of rock projecting high above the surrounding waters.Here the vision told him he would find the thunderers. When Watakwuna awoke from his vision he was overjoyed, but yet afraid. He made a sacrifice to the Powers Above and to the offering he invited seven pure young men who had never used tobacco or known women. When these youths were gathered in his medicine lodge Watakwuna offered tobacco to the thunderers as a preliminary service and then explained the purpose of the ceremony to his guests, relating his dream and hissubsequent fears. The revelation made a profound impression upon the young men, who believed his words, and after some discussion, they resolved to accompany Watakwuna on his westward journey to the home of the Ina’makiwuk. Accordingly, the little party, headed by Watakwuna, set forth for the west. The journey was toilsome and the way beset with perils. Often the adventurers were tempted to turn back, but always, when it seemed as Watakwttna, Club-in-his-hand, a “brave name,” one of the type bestowed on valiant warriors. Though human strength and courage could hold out no longer, spirits would appear to them and lure them on, until at length they reached the shore of the Western Ocean. Here they paused, unable to proceed, for they did not know how to go across the water. At this point the thunderers appeared again to Watakwuna in a vision and instructed him to build an elm bark canoe, the first one ever known to man, and the prototype from which all subsequent canoes were modeled.

When the boat was built by Watakwiina and his seven helpers, they launched it and paddled out to sea. They soon passed beyond sight of land, and for days they were frightened because they could see nothing. Yet invisible spirits accompanied and encouraged them until at last they reached their goal. Here were gathered a great number of thunderbirds in human form, waiting for them. As soon as Watakwuna had landed, accompanied by his followers, the chief of the thunderers who was greater and handsomer than all the others, came forward and addressed him as follows:

No’se (grandchild) you have come to me according to my command, for I was troubled in heart when I saw you fasting and suffering, growing light in flesh and thin in body. Now you have gained great honor, for I have taken pity on you. I am going to give you this war bundle to use upon the earth. You shall feed it, and give sacrifices to it for my sake and in my behalf. You shall be empowered to use this thing at your desire. It shall protect you, and your children and grandchildren, so that you and they shall live to see your gray hairs. I command you to use it in the way which I shall make clear to you, and if you obey me, it shall obey you.

Tobacco shall be the chief thing to please it, and when you give it tobacco you will delight us, its masters. You shall take these things which I have here back to the earth again, and when you reach your home, you shall make some others according to my instructions.

Here is an egg, put that in the bundle. Here is a powder, put that in the bundle.

These two articles shall enable you to set fire to the earth at your desire. Here is a little bow, the image of an arrow, and a scabbard to carry. Here are all the birds of the air, that are after my kind. They will lend their assistance when trouble overtakes you. Take this red paint along, that you may apply it to your men who accompany you when you go to war, and the sight of it will please me. It will put new life into you and your men. Through my visionary power I gave you the dream that called you here to see me, through it you shall be able to destroy the enemies that intend to kill you. You shall conquer, and victory will always be yours. The enemies that you shall slay will be food for me and for the war bundle.

When you return you shall carve my image upon a board and place it in the bundle, in order to please me. You must take two plain square blocks, and upon each of these outline my figure in sacred red paint, one shall represent me as a Great Powered Bird, and one shall represent me as a man with a lightning bolt in my hand.

I am of dual nature. I can change myself into either a bird or a man at will.

(And indeed the Thunder-bird-beings have been known to come to earth in human form. They have appeared as homely men, short and thick-set, with heavy muscles in their arms and legs, and bearing a bow and arrows in their hands. Ordinary persons can scarcely recognize them as thunderers, but those who have received power from them in their dreams, know them at once for what they are).

I give you the power to know and see me in your night sleeps. You shall be forewarned of your enemies plans.

You shall know beforehand whether you shall win or lose your battles.

You shall do all your fighting at night, and you shall destroy your enemies during their sweet sleep.

Before you go out to war you shall first prepare and give feasts to the war bundle.

You shall sacrifice to it in behalf of the thunderbirds. You shall receive that for which you ask us, for I shall assist you. Call on me through those sacred things which I have given you, and you shall have the thick fog settle down and hide you from the enemy so that you may escape under its cover. You shall have the lightning and hail to cripple the wicked foe when he troubles you.

You shall seek your enemy in the night through this bundle. You shall approach him with the stealth of the snake in pursuit of its prey, and encircle his village. Let each warrior carry the image of one of the medicine birds with him, with a single quill feather fastened in his hair, and as the humming bird is so small in flight that none can hit it with a rifle ball, so shall each warrior be. As it is impossible to strike the edge of a knife blade ground sharp and held off edgewise from the body, so shall you and your warriors be. These things I say to you that you may understand the power of the medicines that I have placed in the war bundle.

You shall make incense of a portion of each of the sacred roots that I have included, and you shall purify yourselves with the fumes. You shall carry a little of each in your mouth, and you shall chew some of them and spray yourselves and your warriors with your saliva, that they may elude the keen vision of the enemy, for the eyesight of the enemy shall be destroyed when they approach.

When you have drawn near and surrounded the village, you shall signal on the war whistle, and you and your warriors shall rush to the attack. You shall destroy the sleeping enemy with battle axe and war clubs that have been kept in the powerful medicine until they are saturated. Those who awake shall try to escape, but cannot, for the medicines which I have given shall sap their strength and benumb their minds. When a warrior takes a scalp he shall lick the fresh blood from it, this he must do as a sign that the enemy are devoured in behalf of us, the thunderers.

When the fighting is over, then you shall make a great ceremony with dancing for the war bundle and for us, the Ianama’kiwik, or thunderers. You shall thank us for the assistance which we have rendered you. Then you shall sing songs for the scalps that have been taken with valor.

” Always respect the war bundle which we have given you,” commanded the Thunderbird-being. “Be careful to keep it tied with a string, and keep it hung in a place by itself, outside of the home, away from the children, and the maidens who are just arrived at the threshold of womanhood. Especially keep it concealed from those

women who are having their moon-time, the bundle should never encounter the mighty power her ability. The bundle must never be opened for nothing, as that would be a serious offense to it, and to us, the lanama’kiwiik. It

may only be opened in time of peril, or when you sacrifice to it in the spring or in the fall of the year for our sake. Yet this I say, in case of an accident, even in peace it may be opened and the roots it contains may be used to stop the bleeding, but you shall not forget to pay us in tobacco for our help.

“And this is not yet all that I have to say” said the chief of the Thunderbird-beings to WatakwOna. “One thing that you must make when you get home, or which the women may make for you, is a pack strap (or belt), Ape’kon.’ This you shall make of coarse long beads (pese’me’kuk). It shall be put in the bimdle to be kept as a reward for the brave warrior who kills a chief or leader among the enemy.

It shall be given to him as a great honor.

When the thunderer had finished speaking, he called to his cohabiters to bring food, prepare it, and place it before WatakwAna and his followers. They departed immediately and soon returned bringing a quantity of sturgeon which they cooked and set before their guests.

“Now, eat and depart,” said the chief of the thunderers. “This is the only food we can offer you. For ourselves, we may not touch it, for we feed upon the horned snakes and shadow dwellers of the under world, which in their turn cannot be food for you.”

So Watakwina and his followers obeyed and when they were filled they took their leave of the islet and its enchanted inhabitants. As they entered their canoe the water lay still as glass, the sun shone brightly, and they soon reached the shore from whence they started. The overland journey from that point was equally devoid of its former perils. Food was abundant and they had never need to draw their bows, for game they met fell dead before them so powerful was the spell cast by their war bundles.

So at length they arrived among their own people again and imparted to them the story of their successful venture and from that day to this, the war bundle has been on earth among men and its powers are granted to the worthy in their dreams.