Ojibwe Indians in a maple syrup camp The manufacture of sugar was one of the principal Indian industries.
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They produced large quantities of this article, and of good quality. Having completed its manufacture for the year, they packed it in mokoks vessels or packages neatly made of birch-bark and buried it in the ground, where it was kept in good condition for future use or sale.
Their sugar-making resources were, of course, almost unlimited, for groves of maple abounded everywhere. Once a year, soon afer sugar-making, nearly all the Indians of the interior repaired to Kepayshowink the great camping-ground which was where Saginaw now stands. Many an inveterate Indian feud reached a bloody termination on the "great camping ground" at Saginaw.
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It has already been mentioned that the ancestors of the later Saginaw Chippewas imagined that the country which they had wrested from the conquered Sauks was haunted by the spirits of those whom they had slain, and that it was only after the lapse of years that their terrors became allayed sufficiently to permit them to occupy the "haunted hunting-grounds. Long after the valleys of the Saginaw, the Shiawassee, and the Maple became studded with white settlements, the Indians still believed that mysterious Sauks were lingering in the forests and along the margins of their streams for purposes of vengeance.
So great was their dread that when as was frequently the case they became possessed of the idea that the munesous were in their immediate vicinity, they would fly, as if for their lives, abandoning everything, - wigwams, fish, game, and peltry, - and no amount of ridicule from the whites could induce them to stay and face the imaginary danger.
Chippewa (Ojibway, Anishinaabe, Ojibwa)
Truman B. Fox, of Saginaw, "they would be seized with a sudden panic, and leave everything, - their kettles of sap boiling, their mokoks of sugar standing in their camps, and their ponies tethered in the woods, - and flee helter-skelter to their canoes, as though pursued by the Evil One. A few shreds of wool from their blankets left sticking on thorns or dead brushwood, hideous figures drawn with coal upon the trunks of trees, or marked on the ground in the vicinity of their lodges, was sure to produce this result, by indicating the presence of the dreaded munesous.
Often the Indians would become impressed with the idea that these bad spirits had bewitched their firearms, so that they could kill no game. Ephraim S.
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Williams, of Flint, "from places miles distant, bringing their rifles to me, asking me to examine and resight them, declaring that the sights had been removed and in most cases they had, but it was by themselves in their fright. I have often, and in fact always did, when applied to, resighted and tried them until they would shoot correctly, and then they would go away cheerfully.
I would tell them they must keep them where the munesous could not find them. A very singular superstitious rite was performed annually by the Shiawassee Indians at a place called Pindatongoing meaning the place where the spirit of sound or echo lives , about two miles above Newburg, on the Shiawassee River, where the stream was deep and eddying.
The ceremony at this place was witnessed in by Mr.
Williams, of Owosso, who thus describes it: "Some of the old Indians every year, in fall or summer, offered up a sacrifice to the spirit of the river at that place. They dressed a puppy or dog in a fantastic manner by decorating it with various colored ribbons, scarlet cloth, beads, or wampum tied around it; also a piece of tobacco and vermilion paint around its neck their own faces blackened , and after burning, by the river-side, meat, corn, tobacco, and sometimes whisky offerings, would, with many muttered adjurations and addresses to the spirit, and waving of hands, holding the pup, cast him into the river, and then appear to listen and watch, in a mournful attitude, its struggles as it was borne by the current down into a deep hole in the river at the place, the bottom of which at that time could not be discovered without very careful inspection.
I could never learn the origin of the legend they then had, that the spirit had dived down into the earth through that deep hole, but they believed that by a propitiatory yearly offering their luck in hunting and fishing on the river would be bettered and their health preserved.
Chippewa Tribe Facts, History, and Culture
When the British ousted the French from the region, the Ojibwe allied with British traders and soldiers to drive away American settlers. The history of the powerful Ojibewa Nation is everyone's history. My mother, born at Turtle Mountain, sent to boarding school in Alberta, and eventually adopted by a white family, was a chronic runaway.
She was full of war. Her inability to overcome her anger lead to her early death. I am in the middle of final exams and am searching the web for statistics on Native American death rates. I am struggling with how much theory I am taught in my classes. I must write critically, analytically, theorhetically about something I intuitively understand.
Being able to check in with this site takes the morbid edge off my homework. Writing about how we die becomes depressing and reinforces the myth that native peoples are dissappearing.
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