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Chapter XII

The Indian Wars

War was invented by men, and for the purpose of taking from each other, their estates and other property, or for carrying into effect their revengeful dispositions. Thus it was with these Indians, whose battles were frequent, and often declared from the most trivial causes. A consultation was not necessary to decide if the war were just or unjust, but to ascertain if their force were sufficient, and to provide measures whereby they might take advantage of, and surprise their adversaries. War was never waged by them for conquest, but for revenge; and in many cases for some affront given to their ancestors, which had remained unavenged. Their quarrels and disputes arose from trivial motives, for their wealth was trifling, and consisted merely of seeds, skins, or beads, which were universally esteemed amongst them as money. Also, when a chief neglected to return the customary present at their festivities, of which I have before treated, war was declared, and without even giving him notice. Again, if an Indian of one place stole anything from one of another place, although it might be so trifling a thing as a rabbit, a squirrel, or, ornament of some kind, it was sufficient among them to cause a war.

Whenever a captain determined to make war upon another chief, he called together the puplem, and revealed to them his desire to make war upon such a town, for reasons which he explained, and it was discussed by the body, whether they were sufficient of themselves to conquer. If

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sensible of their inferiority, some other friendly tribes were invited to join with them, to whom they sent presents of as costly a kind as their treasury would admit; and if they acquiesced, then the day was fixed upon to assemble for battle. All this was conducted secretly, but, nevertheless, the parties to be attacked were generally warned of their danger, and of course prepared for the conflict. The war being determined upon, a crier was sent around during the evening, exhorting all the people to repair on the following day, at an early hour, to the residence of the chief, and when there congregated, he ordered them to prepare their arms of bows and arrows; and to the females, he delivered grain, for them to grind into flour, which they called pinole. But the reason for such measures was not revealed. However, when the day was decided upon for the marching of the expedition, then the crier went around a second time, and commanded them to repair as before, to the residence of the chief; and all went--the men with their bows and arrows, and the women with their pinoles. Having assembled before the vanquech, where the captain and puplem. had resorted, according to the custom, the crier explained to the people why such preparations were made--why war was declared, and the young men were urged to combat and revenge. Immediately commenced the necessary preparations--each put on his dress, and uniform, corresponding to his rank. The women, in like manner, adorned themselves for the occasion, and thus they started off for the battle ground, old and young--the females carrying the provisions, and upon their backs their infant children. Their order of march was as follows:--The captain, or one appointed by him, took the lead at the head of the young men--in succession followed the older ones, and the women closed up the rear, it being their duty to gather up the arrows of the opposing force which were scattered around them, and distribute the same among their own warriors. Should one of their own party be killed or wounded, they were obliged to remove him to a place of security, so that the enemy could not get at him. No quarter was ever given, and consequently, no prisoners were ever made among the men, excepting of such as were killed, or mortally wounded. These were immediately decapitated by some old men appointed for the purpose, and the hair taken from the heads, together with the scalps, which were dried and cured, after the manner of dressing their skins, and preserved

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as trophies of victory. The women and children taken prisoners, were either disposed of, by sale, or detained by the captain as slaves.

When celebrating their grand feasts, it was customary to expose in public the scalps taken in war; and for this purpose they were suspended from a high pole, erected near the vanquech. Sometimes scalps were redeemed by paying largely; but the women and children were never released,--ever remaining as slaves to their enemies, unless fortunate enough to escape to the protection of their own nation.

Next: Chapter XIII. Their Funeral Ceremonies