Dahcotah eBook

Seth and Mary Eastman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 267 pages of information about Dahcotah.

Years ago, the Dahcotah hunted where the Mississippi takes its rise—­the tribe claiming the country as far south as St. Louis.  But difficulties with the neighboring tribes have diminished their numbers and driven them farther north and west; the white people have needed their lands, and their course is onward.  How will it end?  Will this powerful tribe cease to be a nation on the earth?  Will their mysterious origin never be ascertained?  And must their religion and superstitions, their customs and feasts pass away from memory as if they had never been?

Who can look upon them without interest? hardly the philosopher—­surely not the Christian.  The image of God is defaced in the hearts of the savage.  Cain-like does the child of the forest put forth his hand and stain it with a brother’s blood.  But are there no deeds of darkness done in our own favored land?

But the country of the Dahcotah,—­let it be new to those who fly at the beckon of gain—­who would speculate in the blood of their fellow-creatures, who for gold would, aye do, sell their own souls,—­it is an old country to me.  What say the boundless prairies? how many generations have roamed over them? when did the buffalo first yield to the arrow of the hunter?  And look at the worn bases of the rocks that are washed by the Father of waters.  Hear the Dahcotah maiden as she tells of the lover’s leap—­and the warrior as he boasts of the victories of his forefathers over his enemies, long, long before the hated white man had intruded upon their lands, or taught them the fatal secret of intoxicating drink.

The Dahcotahs feel their own weakness—­they know they cannot contend with the power of the white man.  Yet there are times when the passion and vehemence of the warriors in the neighborhood of Fort Snelling can hardly be brought to yield to the necessity of control; and were there a possibility of success, how soon would the pipe of peace be thrown aside, and the yell and whoop of war be heard instead!  And who would blame them?  Has not the blood of our bravest and best been poured out like water for a small portion of a country—­when the whole could never make up for the loss sustained by one desolate widow or fatherless child?

The sky was without a cloud when the sun rose on the Mississippi.  The morning mists passed slowly away as if they loved to linger round the hills.  Pilot Knob rose above them, proud to be the burial place of her warrior children, while on the opposite side of the Mine Soto [Footnote:  Mine Soto, or Whitish Water, the name that the Sioux give to the St. Peter’s River.  The mud or clay in the water has a whitish look.] the frowning walls of Fort Snelling; told of the power of their enemies.  Not a breath disturbed the repose of nature, till the voice of the song birds rose in harmony singing the praise of the Creator.

But a few hours have passed away, and how changed the scene.  Numbers of canoes are seen rapidly passing over the waters, and the angry savages that spring from them as hastily ascending the hill.  From the gates of the fort, hundreds of Indians are seen collecting from every direction, and all approaching the house of the interpreter.  We will follow them.

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Dahcotah from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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