Saturday, 23 March 2013


Mohawk prisoner halter. Found in 1746.

The tenth day we traveled five or six miles in the morning. We got within a quarter of a mile of a new town, on the west bank of the Wabash river, where those warriors resided, about nine o'clock, and made a halt at a running branch of water, where the timber was very thick, so that they could conceal themselves from the view of the town. Then they
washed themselves all over and dressed themselves with paint of different colors. They made me wash, then they painted me and said I was a Kickapoo. Then they cut a pole and pealed it, painted it different colors and stuck the big end in the ground, and cleared a ring around the pole for to dance in. 
The fifth night they cut a lock of hair out of the crown of my head about as thick as my finger, plaited it elegantly and put it in their conjuring bag, and hung that bag on the pole they contemplated dancing around, and said that was their prisoner, and I was a Kickapoo, and must dance with them. When they all got ready to dance, the captain gave three very loud halloes, then walked into the ring and the rest all followed him. They placed me the third next to the captain; they then began to sing and dance. When we had danced about half an hour, I saw several old men, boys and squaws come running to where we were dancing. When there were a considerable number of them collected, the captain stepped out of the ring and spoke to the squaws. He told them to carry his and the other warriors' budgets to the town; the captain then joined the other warriors and me in the dancing ring; he marched in the front and we danced and sung all the way from there into the town. Some of the old Indian warriors marched upon each side of us, and at times would sing and dance until we got into their town. We
continued dancing until we got through the town to the war-post, which stood on the west bank of the Wabash river; danced round that about twenty minutes; they then marched into the town, took all the cords off me, and showed me a cabin, told me to go in there, they were good Indians, they would give me something to eat; I need not fear, as they would not hurt me. I accordingly went in, where I received a plenty to eat and was treated very kindly. The warriors went into other cabins and feasted very greedily. We had not eat anything that morning nor the night before. 
About one hour and a half before the sun set the same evening, the warriors went out to the war-post again to dance. They took me with them; several other Indians were present. They had danced about half an hour when I saw two Indian men and a squaw riding a horseback across the Wabash river, from the east side; they came to where we were dancing. One of the Indians had a handkerchief tied around his head and was carrying a gun; the other had a cocked hat on his head, and had a large sword. The warriors never let on that they saw them, but continued dancing about fifteen minutes. After the two Indians and squaw came up the warriors quit dancing, and went to them and shook hands; they appeared very glad to see each other. The captain of the warriors then talked with them about half an hour, and appeared to be very serious in their conversation. The captain then told me I must go with them two Indians and squaw. The sun was just then setting; the two Indians looked very much pleased. I did not want to go with them, as I knew not where they were going, and would have rather remained with the warriors that took me, as I had got acquainted with them, but the captain told me I must go with the two Indians and squaw, and that they were very good Indians. The Indian that had the sword rode up to a stump and told me to get up behind him on his horse; I did so with great reluctance, as I knew not where they were going; they looked very much like warriors.
However, they started off very lively, and the Indian that I was riding behind began to plague and joke the squaw about me; she was his sister-in-law. He was an Indian that was full of life and very funny. When I got acquainted with him I was well pleased with him. 

1 comment:

Cincinnatus said...

Love the fingerwoven prisonerstrap/tumpline. Beautiful. I have not attempted weaving in a design. Mine are all plain brown hemp or jute.