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him that they were flying to the fields of wild rice
which grew in the river flowing from the lake.

The young Indian said again, "Look!" And
Ji-shiB looked, and saw a fat rabbit sitting under a
bunch of clover, eating the leaves all wet with rain.

Again the Indian said, "Look!" And as he
looked, there were berry bushes, and the berries
were ripe and good to eat.

52 The Childhood of Ji-shiK

When he awoke in the morning he did not at
first know where he was, but he soon remembered,
and felt hungry and cold. He crawled out of the
tree in the bright sunlight, and yawned and stretch-
ed his arms. There were dark shadows moving
swiftly over the ground, and he heard the whistle of
ducks' wings in the air, and ducks were flying right
above the tree tops. He then remembered about
his dream, and knew that in the early morning the
ducks went to eat wild rice in the river, so he knew
where the lake and the village were.

He took his bow and arrows and medicine bag,
and followed the direction which the ducks had taken.
After a little time he came to an opening in the for-
est, and saw a rabbit sitting there, just as the In-
dian had showed him. He stood very still, and
strung his bow, and put an arrow on the string,
and pulled it back, "tang!" said the bow string.
The frightened rabbit jumped up and ran, and then
it stopped, fell over backward, stretched out its hind

legs, and lay still.

Ji-shiB was very proud, for never be-
fore had he shot anything alive, not even
a little bird. He took the rabbit by the
hind leg, and dragged it along as he had
seen his father drag home a wolf a
few days before. Such a heavy load

The Childhood of Ji-shiK

made his arm ache, so he stopped to rest; and there
he saw many berry bushes like those the young In-
dian had showed him in his dream. He ate and
ate the raspberries until he heard
his father call his name. And
when his father saw him, he ran
to him and hugged him; but
when he saw the rabbit which
Ji-shi& had shot, he put the little

boy down out of his arms, and

j TJ ui u- u IT
said, Hun! a big hunter! 1 will

not kiss a hunter; come, bring your rabbit to the
wigwam; Squaw is very hungry." So Ki-niw started
on all of the time laughing to himself and Ji-shi&
followed him into the village, dragging his first
game at his side.

That evening Ji-shi&'s father and mother made a
feast, called a boy's feast, which the Ojibwa Indians
always make when a boy kills his first game. They
invited the people then at the village, and they all had
some of the rabbit to eat. The old hunters made
speeches, and praised Ji-shiS for killing a rabbit when
he was so young. They said they knew that he
would become a great hunter when he grew up; and
some of them told of their own hunting experiences.

One old hunter, who was a very strong Indian,
once shot an arrow so hard that it passed through

54 The Childhood of Ji-shi&

one buffalo and into the heart of another one, and
they both fell dead together.

Another old hunter, who was a great joker, said
that that was nothing he was stronger than that for
once he shot an arrow through three buffalo, and
then the arrow stuck so far in a tree that he could
not pull it out.

All of the Indians laughed at this story, and one
of them asked the old hunter what kind of medicine
he used when he shot three buffalo at once. They all
laughed still more when he said: "I used the same
kind of medicine which little Ji-shiS uses; ask him."

Ji-shiB was obliged to tell his story then. After
he had told it how he stopped the thunder, how he
dreamed about the ducks and the rabbit and the ber-
ries, and that they all came true every one knew
that the Sacred Spirits were with him.

When the old men went out of the wigwam they
patted him on the head, and the Squaws used to tell
their boys to do and to act like Ji-shiB.

The following winter while they were gone from
the lake, hunting in northern Wisconsin, they had no
snow for a long time. The ground was frozen so hard
that an Indian made a noise walking even with soft
moccasins. The game was quite scarce that Winter,
and got very wild because it could hear the hunter so
far away. Even Ki-niw often came home at night

The Childhood of Ji-shi6


L^i^^^^^r^^^^^^^.^jv^i*^- _____ ?r^rr^*-

-*-' - ->.'-..-. -_-r >. - . : - * . *? _^f

without any game, and soon hunger stole into the
four wigwams of the Indians who were together. At
last they had to kill three of their dogs to eat. Then
it snowed very hard. When it ceased the hunters
went out and killed two moose and an elk, for they
could not run in the deep soft snow, though the
hunters could run rapidly over the snow with their
snowshoes. After that they had plenty to eat, but the
sun soon came out very warm and melted the surface
of the snow. Almost immediately it froze over so
that there was a thick crust on the top, which would
hold up a moose as well as a man. The hunters could
not kill any more game, and soon they were starving.
Every night Ji-shiB's faithful father fixed his hunt-
ing medicines, and sang and prayed to the Sacred
Spirits, but during the day he could not kill anything
for food. One night he did not come home at all,

The Childhood of Ji-shiB

and every one in the wigwams went to sleep without
having eaten anything that day or the day before.
In the night Ji-shib awoke, and prepared his
hunting medicine as he had seen his
father do, and he sang and prayed to the
Sacred Spirits, that he and the others
might not starve.

Afterwards, while he slept, the beau-
tiful young Indian came into the wig-
wam and told Ji-shiB: "To-morrow
you shall eat a bear;" and Ji- shift
looked, and saw a path leading into
the forest. Far out from the wigwam
it turned into a small marshy place, and stopped;
and then the young Indian slowly faded away.

Next morning when the Squaw left the wigwam
to inquire after her husband, Ji-shift took a flint
tomahawk, and his own bow, and some hunting
arrows of his father, and slipped away unobserved.
After a while he saw a path in the forest, and this he
followed to a small marshy place, but he did not see
any bear. All at once the snow broke through un-
der him, and he found himself in a hole up to his
arms. He looked down at his feet, and there he saw
the head of asleeping bear, lying close to the ground,
and he remembered that hunters sometimes killed
sleeping bears in their holes in the Winter, where

The Childhood of Ji-shib


they lie buried until Spring. He struck the bear
twice between the eyes with his tomahawk, and
when he saw that it did not stir lie knew that lie
had killed it, so he crawled out of the hole and ran
home breathlessly. His father was just starting out
to find him, having come home with only one
young beaver to eat.

That day, after the hunters dragged the heavy
bear to the wigwams another boy's feast was given
for Ji-shi&, because that was the first bear he had

In a few days the crust melted on the snow, and
then there was plenty of game to be had, but the
people never forgot how Ji-shif) saved them from
starving, and he never forgot the beautiful young
Indian who always came to him in his dreams, and
he often wondered who he was, and which of the
Sacred Spirits sent him.

T ^ *Ia




In Which Ji- shift Learns How to Prepare For


JI-SHIB had now become a tall slender boy. In
the Spring after he had killed the sleeping
bear he helped pack up the canoe, and all of the In-
dians left their Winter hunting grounds with larger
canoe loads of skins and pemmican than they usually
had, for they were preparing a war party to go in
the early Autumn against their fierce enemy, the
Sioux. At such times the Indians desired to leave in
the village food, and skins for clothing, to supply
the Squaws and children and old men who remained
behind; there must also be a large supply of mocca-
sins and bows and arrows and tomahaws for the war-
riors themselves.

By the time they reached their Sum-
mer village at the lake, after having
stopped and made maple sugar, their
canoes were piled high with provisions.
Early one morning as they paddled
down Chippeway river they . suddenly
came upon a large deer swimming across
the stream. On one side the river bank
was steep and slippery, and the deer
was obliged to come to the shore at a


The Childhood of Ji-shiK

particular place. Ji-shiB and his father and mother,
were far ahead with their canoe, and prepared to
shoot the animal.

The father selected for Ji-shiB an arrow with a
straight and slender shaft and a sharp flint point.
Ji-shiB knew very well where to shoot in order to
kill the deer, for many times he had been shown
where a deer's heart lies, and he knew that when an
animal's heart is pierced it soon loses its courage and
dies. Then the father selected an arrow for himself,
and waited for the boy to shoot. The deer swam
swiftly with only its head and large horns above the
water, and Ji-shiB, watching it, trembled with ex-
citement. As soon as the deer came into the shal-
lows, so that it could touch bottom, it began to
bound forward half swimming and half running.
Soon its body was entirely above the surface of the
water, and the arrow shot away from Ji-shiB 's bow
string and struck its victim. The deer bounded into
the air, and then ran splashing and plunging through
the water and up the river bank into the forest.

When the father saw where the arrow struck he
did not shoot. He knew that a deer will run as long
as it has breath in its body, but it is bound to stop
soon when it has an arrow through its heart.

As the deer passed up the river bank, and over
the low ridge out of sight, it waved its tail like a


The Childhood of Ji-skiS

handkerchief, as much as to say, ft Good-bye, Indians!
I'm in quite a hurry, good-bye!"

They quickly turned the canoe to the shore, and

thereon the sands were bloodstains.
The father pretended to be busy
with the canoe until Ji-shiB ran
up the bank following the tracks;
and then from over the ridge came
the boy's cry of victory, for there
was his first deer dead at his feet.
When the other Indians came
down the river in their canoes, the
boy's feast was again celebrated in
honor of Ji-shiB 's first deer.
The village was very busy that Spring and Sum-
mer getting ready for war. The Squaws planted
their maize and squashes. After planting their gar-
dens they frequently tanned skins all day long, and
sewed moccasins in the evening by the light of the
wigwam fire. The young Indians hunted and fished
a great deal. Many of the old Indians and Squaws
were absent from the village making arrow heads,
while the other Indians built new canoes, and made
bows and arrows.

In the month of June, which Ji-shiB called the
month of Strawberries, he went with his father to
get birch bark to make a canoe. They went some

The Childhood of Ji-shiK 6 1

distance up Chippeway river, and there found a
large tree, straight and smooth, without a limb any-
where near the ground. They cut a circle around
the tree near the roots, and another one far up the
trunk, and then they cut a straight line down the
side of the tree from one circular cut to the other.
Just like a boy in the country who is almost un-
dressed by the time he gets to the swimming hole,
so the old tree had nearly half disrobed by the time
Ki-niw finished cutting through the bark. The bark
sprung away from the tree trunk, on both sides of
the long straight cut, as though it had done it every
Summer for fifty years. Then Ki-niw loosened the
entire bark by pushing his hands between it and the
trunk, and there was a gentle swishing sound as the
large section fell on the ground at his feet.

When they had taken it home Ji-shi6's mother
sewed it together so that it would be large enough to
cover the canoe frame. She knew
exactly how to sew it, first hold-
ing it near the fire until it became
soft and would bend like leather,
and afterwards punching holes in
it with a bone bodkin. She finally
fastened the pieces together with
large strong thread made of the
slender roots of the spruce tree.

62 The Childhood of Ji-shiB

While she was doing this, Ji-shi6 helped his
father prepare the frame of the canoe. This frame,
made like the skeleton of a great fish laid on its

back, they placed on top of the bark on
the ground; then they gathered the bark
up on both sides of the cedar ribs, and
all three of them helped tie it along the
top of the frame. Next a strip of cedar,
which we call a gunwale, was bound
along the upper edge of the canoe, and
four crosspieces fastened in, in order to

ill j t 1

protect the bark and give form to the
canoe. It was turned bottom up, and Ji-shiS and
his mother melted pine pitch and smeared it over
all of the seams so that they would not leak, poking
the pitch in with a flaming stick. The canoe was
then completed. They carried it to the lake, and
it floated like a bubble.

Ji-shifo and the other Indian children knew that
about two days' journey from the village, away up on
the east fork of Chippeway river, there was a quarry
and workshop where the tribe got its rock to make
arrow heads and war clubs. But Ji-shife had never
seen the place, nor had it very often been seen except
by the old Indians and Squaws who worked there.

One afternoon late in the Summer a canoe came
around the bend in the lake shore, and those who

The Childhood of Ji-s/iifi

saw it knew that it belonged to old
Ma-kwa, Ji-shi&'s grandfather. He
had been at the workshop all the
long Summer, and had brought back
a great many arrow heads carefully
wrapped up in little bags of buck-
skin. These they carried from the
canoe to the wigwam, and before the
sun set that evening every wigwam
in the village, and every wigwam at
the west end of the lake, had re-
ceived its share of each sort of arrow

Before this Ji-shi6 had helped
his father in making arrow shafts.
Of course he did not do much in so
delicate an undertaking as the mak-
ing of war-arrow shafts, and after he
had done all he could, Ki-niw
worked over them until they were
smooth and dry and straight. He
cut a notch in one end of the shaft
to fit the bow string, and in the
other end he cut a much deeper
notch in which to fasten the arrow
head. He also tied and cemented
feathers on the back end of each


(Story of

64 ' The Childhood of Ji-shiff

shaft so as to guide it straight as a blackbird uses
its tail.

In the evening, after Ma-kwa had come, they
were all sitting outside the wigwam, and Ki-niw
handed Ji-shife an arrow shaft and an arrow head,
and motioned him to fasten them together. Ji-shiE>
went to his place in the wigwam, and getting a ball
of deer sinew, soaked it in hot water. Next he put
the arrow head in the deep notch of the shaft and
bound it in firmly with wet sinew. His father looked
at the finished arrow, and said:

"Yes, my son, that is well done, but we are not
going to hunt deer with these arrows, we are to
hunt the Sioux."

After that they all sat around the bright little
fire and fastened on the arrow heads, Ji-shi6 help-
ing his father. They did not fasten them on firmly,
as Ji-shilS had done with the one he made which
was really a hunting arrow but they fastened them
on so lightly that if one entered the flesh of a Sioux,

that dreaded enemy could not pull
the arrow out without leaving the
cruel barbed flint head in the wound,
to cut and dig and make it bleed. In
three days old Ma-kwa took his
Squaw and returned to the workshop.
After he had gone they found that he

The Childhood of Ji-shil) 65

had left at the wigwam his deer-horn chipping tools,
so Ji-shilS went with his father to take them.

At the workshop, where they made the arrow
heads, there were many old Indians
whom Ji-shiB had never seen before,
as they were from other villages.
The ground was strewn with chips
and splinters of flint and quartz rocks.
His grandfather and old Nes-se-win
had a small pile of chips just outside
of their wigwam, where they worked
together, while inside the wigwam
was a pile of thin slabs of rock about as large as an
Indian's hand.

Old Nes-se-win laid one of these large flint
slabs on a piece of buckskin which was spread on
the palm of his hand, and held it down firmly with
the tips of his fingers, while Ma-kwa placed the
point of his chipping tool against the flint, and
struck it a quick rebounding blow with a wooden
mallet. Every time he struck it, a chip flew off.
Nes-se-win kept turning the flint in his hand over
and around, and Ma-kwa kept chipping it away,
until finally it was an arrow head or spear point.

It was almost as though Ma-kwa struck with his
mallet in order to beat time to his singing, for he
sang nearly all of the while in a low pleasant voice,

66 The Childhood of Ji-shi5

and his songs kept perfect time with the strokes of
his mallet. Sometimes he sang to Nes-se-win over
and over again this simple song:

" Nes-se-win holds the flint.
While Ma-kwa chips it out.

Nes-se-win holds the flint,
While Ma-kwa chips it out."

And then again he sang to the arrow head. As he
was chipping the point sharp and slender, he sang
to it this worker's song, which made Ji-shiS's blood
boil, and before he knew it he was singing it with
his grandfather:

*I give you the war-bird's eye
To see the enemy's heart;
I give you the war-bird's eye
To see the enemy's heart."

When he came to chip the two sharp barbs at the
base of the arrow head, he changed the song, and

sang: j gj ve vou ^ e war-bird's claws

To tear the enemy's heart;

I give you the war-bird's claws

To tear the enemy's heart.'

Everywhere about them in this work-
shop the old Indians were busily at
^ work. While looking around him at

the singing groups of workers, Ji-shiB

Off for

The Childhood of Ji-s/iifi 67

saw a Squaw come up from her canoe at the river
bank with a heavy pack on her back. When she
opened the moose-skin pack it proved to be full of
slabs of flint like those in the grand-
father's wigwam, and from which
they chipped out the arrow heads
and spear points.

The next day Ji-shiB went
with his father and grandmother a
short distance farther up the east fork of Chippeway
river to the quarry site. There in the river bank were
several pockets of quartz and flint rocks massed to-
gether like squashes in a great basket. Some of the
old Indians pried the rocks out of the ground, others
broke them up with large stone hammers, while
still others chipped these broken pieces of rocks
into crude slabs the size of one's hand, and these the
Squaws carried away to the workshop for the chip-
pers to make into arrow heads and other weapons.

When Ji-shiB and his father got back to the
village from the quarry, the Squaw had gone with
several others down into Little Manomin river to
begin the Autumn harvest of wild rice, which is the
common grain food of the Ojibwa. After remain-
ing at the village a day to distribute the arrow
heads which they brought in from the workshop,
they took a great number of duck arrows, and


The Childhood of Ji-shiB

paddled out through the lake into the river, to shoot
ducks and other water fowl in the wild rice fields,
while the Squaws were gathering the grain.

That evening the sacred dog feast was held.
They killed and cooked a white dog, but before
they ate any of it they asked the Spirits to keep off
all storms until the grain was gathered. Before
each mouthful Ji-shilS and his father, and every one
who ate, threw a part of his food in the fire, so that
its Spirit might ascend to the Spirits above as a
feast for Spirits like to eat as well as Indians do.
Why not? Every one eats when he is hungry, if
he can find food; and eating makes him better-

Next morning the harvest began. Ji-shi&s
mother and another Squaw gathered their canoe
full of wild rice from the tall waving stalks which

grew higher than their heads in
the water of the river.

When they came to the shore
with the canoe full of grain, Ji-
shiS helped take the rice out
and spread it to dry on a rack
over a slow fire. It was his duty
that first day to keep the fire
burning. But he was careful
not to have it burn too high, or

The Childhood of Ji-shiB 6Q

it would have burned up the rack and grain. When
the grain was dry enough, it was carried to the
threshing-hole. After spreading a deerskin in the

hole, they filled it with grain.
Then his father stepped into the
threshing-hole, with new moc-
casins on his feet, and there he
danced and stamped around un-
til he had threshed the hulls all off the kernels.

Ji-shiB's mother emptied the grain and hulls
from the deerskin into a large birch-bark tray.
This she held in front of her, all of the time shak-
ing it in a peculiar manner, when soon the hulls
were shaken to the top and out over the edge of
the tray onto the ground. All that was left in the
bottom of the tray when she finished shaking it
was clean grain, ready to cook and eat.

They remained three weeks gathering wild
rice, and the several wigwams each had many skin
bags full of delicious grain.

But this is not all they did. Every night they
danced or feasted or told stories, and nearly every
night they did all three things. During the day the
Indians shot wild fowl in the rice fields, because all
they did in the harvest was just the threshing of
the grain. The children carried rice and kept the
fires, and some of the larger boys at times went

The Childhood of Ji-shiK

hunting with the Indians. But the Squaws worked
all the time.

Ji-shi& played war party a great deal. Since he
had seen the old Indians making war-arrows and
heard their songs, he had twice dreamed of going
to war with his father. And since he heard one
night at the rice fields that when he was a babe
the Sioux had killed fourteen men from his own
village, he wished very much that he was old
enough to go to war and avenge the death of his
tribesmen. He knew, however, that he was not
old enough. It would be fully ten years more be-
fore he would be a warrior, with a chance to fight
and die like a brave Ojibwa.

Within a week after they returned to the vil-
lage from the harvest, the old Indians and Squaws

had all come from the quarry and work-
shop; and the warriors in both villages
at the lake had nearly one hundred ar-
rows each. Their tomahawks and war
clubs and shields were all made, and
each warrior had ten or twelve pairs of
strong new moccasins to wear while
making the long journey westward to
the Mississippi river, the Sioux country.
The Ojibwa Indians from the small
villages on the Chippeway and Wiscon-

The Childhood of Ji-shi5

sin rivers, and from Bad river at Lake Superior, had
come to the village to join the war party. When
each Chief reported the number of warriors whom
he had, it showed that there were in
all about eight hundred.

Everything was ready, the even-
ing of the last day had come, and
they joined in a great wild war dance.
The yells and songs and speeches
of the Chiefs and warriors stirred
and aroused the courage of everyone.
Each Indian there, who was not too
old or too young to go to war, was
made to feel brave and courageous,
and resolved to join the war party
when it started next day.

Although Ji-shi6 was much too
young to go to war, or even to go so
far from home, yet he felt the surging hatred of a
brave warrior when he heard how many of his
people had been killed by those deadly snakes,
the Sioux. But he had great respect for their cun-
ning and bravery, for that very evening had he not
heard how a large band of his people once attacked
a small Sioux village whose few warriors fought
until they died, although they knew that they could
not defeat so large a party ?

The Childhood of Ji-sMb

It was nearly midnight before they went to
sleep, and each wigwam was packed full of war-

While Ji-shiS slept, he thought that
the beautiful young Indian who came
to him so often in his dreams, came
and softly pushed aside the deerskin at
the door and peeped in. Then the young
Indian beckoned to him to come. He
awoke outside the door and by the dim
gray light of early morning saw several
persons darting about in the dense fog
from the lake.
Suddenly the dogs at the farther end of the vil-
lage began to bark, and instantly every cur within
hearing took up the cry.

Ji-shi&'s grandfather came hurriedly out of the
wigwam and his quick eyes saw enough at a single

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