After several speeches had been made, Stormy Wind rose and addressed the chief. His opinion was that the prisoner should suffer death. The Dahcotahs had always been enemies, and it was the glory of the Chippeways to take the lives of those they hated. His chief had taken the prisoner to his teepee; she was safe; she was a member of his family—who would harm her there? but now they were in council to decide upon her fate. He was an old man, had seen many winters—he had often travelled far and suffered much to take the life of an enemy; and here, where there is one in their power, should they lose the opportunity of revenge? She was but a woman, but the Dahcotah blood flowed in her veins. She was not fit to live. The Eagle spoke next. He was glad that the chief had taken the prisoner to his teepee—it had been always customary occasionally to adopt a prisoner, and the chief did well to keep up the customs of their tribe. The prisoner was young, she could be taught to love the Chippeway nation; the white people did not murder their prisoners; the Chippeways were the friends of the white people; let them do as they did, be kind to the prisoner and spare her life. The Eagle would marry the Dahcotah girl; he would teach her to speak the language of her adopted tribe; she should make his mocassins, and her children would be Chippeways. Let the chief tell the Eagle to take the girl home to his teepee.
The Eagle’s speech created an excitement. The Indians rose one after the other, insisting upon the death of their prisoner. One or two seconded the Eagle’s motion to keep her among them, but the voices of the others prevailed. The prisoner saw by the faces of the savages what their words portended. When the Eagle rose to speak, she recognized the warrior whose looks had frightened her; she knew he was pleading for her life too; but the memory of her husband took away the fear of death. Death with a thousand terrors, rather than live a wife, a slave to the Chippeways! The angry Chippeways are silenced, for their chief addresses them in a voice of thunder; every voice is hushed, every countenance is respectfully turned towards the leader, whose words are to decide the fate of the unhappy woman before them.
“Where is the warrior that will not listen to the words of his chief? my voice is loud and you shall hear. I have taken a Dahcotah woman prisoner; I have chosen to spare her life; she has lived in my teepee; she is one of my family; you have assembled in council to-day to decide her fate—I have decided it. When I took her to my teepee, she became as my child or as the child of my friend. You shall not take her life, nor shall you marry her. She is my prisoner—she shall remain in my teepee.”
Seeing some motion of discontent among those who wished to take her life, he continued, while his eyes shot fire and his broad chest heaved with anger:
“Come then and take her life. Let me see the brave warrior who will take the life of my prisoner? Come! she is here; why do you, not raise your tomahawks? It is easy to take a woman’s scalp.”