13 Little Pine’s Journal: The Appeal of A Christian Chippeway Chief on Behalf of His People

by Augustine Shingwauk
Toronto: Copp, Clark and Co., Printers, King Street East.


THE object of this little book is to stir up an interest among Christians generally, both in Canada and the old country, on behalf of the Indian tribes scattered along the north shores of Lakes Huron and Superior, The journal is given as nearly as possible in the aged chiefs own words, without reserve or concealment; and it is to be hoped that no dissatisfaction will be occasioned in the minds of members of other denominations–not less attached to their own churches,–by his mode of expressing attachment to what he styles “The Queen’s Church.” The following narrative shows the circumstances under which his people were led to accept the teaching of the Church of England; and now, after being a member of that Church for forty years, it cannot be seriously objected to by any considerate mind, that this Christian Indian should give expression in simple sincerity to his preference for it above all others.

The good Chief’s journal speaks for itself:–An old man of three score and ten years, and yet stout, robust, and full of energy: he left his wigwam and his people, and “unhired by any one,” as he proudly states, travelled with his friend the “Black-coat,” three hundred miles to the south, to visit the Pale-faces in the big towns of Canada, and intercede with them for the welfare of his neglected and ignorant people. A Christian himself, and deeply impressed with the truth and the blessing of the white man’s religion, he appears to have made up his mind that before “his grey hairs go down to the grave” he must see the Christian religion “go on and increase,” and the good news of the gospel carried to the Red Children of the forest on the shores of “the Great Chippeway Lake.” He appears to have his plan for the accomplishment of this object clearly engraven upon his mind. He thinks an Industrial Institution, where children would be clothed, fed, and taught to read and write; to farm, to carpenter, and to make clothing: should be built at Garden River, where he himself resides; and he anticipates that these children as they grow up will be the means of diffusing Christianity, civilization, and education, among the ignorant and neglected tribes. In addition to this, he wants to see a little log school-house built at every Indian settlement, and teachers sent to give instruction to his people. The simple appeal of the aged Chief to his Christian brethren among the Pale-faces will not, surely, be made in vain.


November. 1871

Little Pine’s Journal

It was when “the sucker moon” rose (February) that the bad news came to us that our Black-coat (missionary) was to be taken from us. I called our people together in the teaching-wigwam, both men and women, and for a long time we sat and consulted what was to be done; it seemed a sad thing to us to lose our Black-coat, who for many years had laboured faithfully among us, and had been as a father to us. We all said “It must not be; our Black-coat must not leave us;” and we wrote a letter to the Great Black-coat (the Bishop), who lives in the big town (Toronto), and petitioned him to let our beloved minister stay and labour amongst us. The Great Black-coat wrote us back answering that he was willing our pastor should remain, but he could not tell us for certain whether it would be so or not.

The weeks passed on; the day of prayer came round many times; and, now the moon of flowers (May) rose; the winter was past, and spring had arrived. Our Black-coat now told us that the time had come for him to leave us; that there were other Indians, the Nahduhwag (Mohawks) away south on the Grand River, who called him to come and teach them, and he must now go. We were all very sad when he told us this; for we loved him much; we loved his wife; we loved his children who were born on our land, and had grown up together with our children; we could not bear to part with him: but he told us that he was called away, and that however much he might himself wish it, still he could not stay, and he hoped another missionary would soon be found to take his place.

At length one morning the fire-ship (steam-boat) arrived, and we assembled on the wharf to bid him fare-well, the young men fired their guns, and he departed from us.

Then we were sad in our hearts. When we met in the prayer-wigwam (church), the next prayer-day (Sunday), there was no Black-coat to teach us. One of our young men read prayers, another read from God’s book, we sang hymns, and then my brother-chief, Pahqudgenene (“Man of the Desert”) stood up to exhort the congregation. But his heart was full, he could not speak: he only uttered a few words, and then his voice choked him. He sat down and buried his face in his hands. We were all of us then overcome with grief. We all wept. And we had no teaching that prayer-day. A few days after this we saw a sail-boat approach, it came fast over the waters of the river. We were indeed glad when we learned that a Black-coat was on board. We knew who it was, for he had already visited us before in passing. His English name was Wilson, but the Chippeways of Ahmujewunoong (Sarnia), with whom he has lived as their minister, call him Puhkukahbun (Clear Daylight). He landed, and our young men helped him to carry up his things to the house. His wife was with him, and at this we were glad also. We hoped he had come to stop with us altogether, but he said No, he could not promise to do that; he was only travelling from place to place among the Indians, so he could not stay long. He would remain with us for two weeks, We were again sorry when we heard this. We felt perplexed and did not know what to do. While this Black-coat was with us, we talked to him frequently; and tried to learn all we could from him as to what was to become of our church and people. He told us he was willing himself to come and live with us, but had no power to make any promise without permission from the great chiefs in the old country. Thus things went on for many days. This Black-coat, said that he intended to go up the Great Chippeway Lake (Lake Superior), and visit all the heathen Indians there during the summer; but as he had found us without a teacher, he had now changed his mind, and would stay among us for two months. After that he said he must return to his children at Ahmujewuhnoong (Sarnia). At length the time drew near for him to leave us. The Raspberry moon had already risen, and was now fifteen days old, (July 15th), and Wilson said he must go at once, for the Great Black-coat in Pahkatequayaug-that is “The place where the river divides into two forks,” as the Indians term the Canadian City of London-had summoned all the Black-coats together to meet in council, and elect a new Great Black-coat to be their teacher and chief. [The election of a coadjutor to the late Bishop of Huron.] The reason of this was that the Great Black-coat is now an old man, and often ill, and he feels the care of the churches press heavy on him, and desires another Great Black-coat to help him.

One day while I was working in the bush, preparing bark troughs for next year’s sugar-making, many thoughts were in my breast I was thinking of my people, and of our religion, and about our having lost our Black-coat, who for so many years had been a father to us. I recalled to my mind the time when I accompanied my father, the old chief “Shingwaukonce,” to Toronto, forty years ago; when we were all pagans, and had only just heard for the first time of the Christian religion. Our object in going to Toronto at that time was to enquire of the great white chief, Colborne, what we should do about religion. [Sir John Colborne, then Lieutenant-Governor.] We had been visited by several different Black-coats, and their teaching seemed to be different one from another. The French Black-coat (R. C. Priest) wanted us to worship God his way; the English Black-coat wanted us to follow his religion; and there was another Black-coat who took the people and dipped them right into the water, and he wanted us all to join him. We did not know what to do. So my father called a council, and it was settled that several of our chiefs should go to the big town and enquire of the Great White Chief what we ought to do about religion. We went in canoes as far as Penetanguishene, and then we landed and walked the rest of the way. The Great White Chief received us kindly, and we told him what we had come for. He replied to us in these words. “Your Great Father, King George, and all his great people in the far country across the sea, follow the English religion (the Church of England). I am a member of this Church. I think it right that you Chippeways, who love the English nation, and have fought under the English flag, should belong to the Church of England.” We were much impressed by the Great Chiefs words. We returned to our home at Kete-gaune-sebe, (Garden River,) near to where the great lake of the Chippeways flows into the lower lakes, by Pah-wah-ting, (the rapids of Sault Ste. Marie); and the great chief sent us a missionary, Nashikawah-wahsung, or “The lone lightning,” Mr. McMurray,) to teach us the Christian religion, and to baptize us in the Christian faith. [The Rev. Dr. McMurray, now Rector of Niagara, Ontario. When he undertook the care of the mission at Sault Ste. Marie, there was no clergyman nearer than Detroit on the one hand, and Toronto on the other; so that hundreds of miles of forest and wilderness intervened between him and the nearest Christian settlements. Hence, when his Indian converts appreciated his mission as the first messenger of Christ to bring to them the light of the gospel, in their remote solitude at the entrance of the great lake, they named him Nashhik-kawihwahsung, or The Lone Lightning.] This Black-coat, McMurray, remained many years amongst us. He taught us out of the good book, about the Great Spirit, and His Son Jesus Christ, who died and now lives in Heaven; and of all that Jesus did, in his great love for men; and that he loved his red children, and died to save us, as well as the white men; and we loved our teacher well. He took Ogenebugokwa, one of our nation, for his wife; and for this we loved him still more, for we felt that he had now indeed become one of us. For many years he laboured among us as our father, and when he left, another Black-coat took his place (Rev. Mr. Anderson). Then Tatebawa (Dr. O’Meara) used to visit us, and teach us; he was very active and zealous, and could speak our language just like one of ourselves. We called him Tatebawa because we often saw him walking fast along the shore with the good book under his arm. After this we were without a teacher for some time, and this made our hearts sad. Then we were once more rejoiced when our beloved minister Chance, came to live among us. For eighteen winters he was with us, and his little children grew up among us, and learned to speak our language just like our own children. Then a dark day came. Our beloved minister has been called away from us, and again our hearts are sad.

Such were the thoughts that passed through my breast as I was following my work in the lonely bush. I could not think what to do. All seemed gloomy and uncertain. This Black-coat Puhkukahbun, (Wilson) could make us no promise to remain with us; he had been with us a short time, and now he was away again. I felt gloomy and without hope.

Suddenly, like the lightning darting across the sky, there came a thought into my breast. I thought “I also will go with him, I will journey with this Black-coat, Puhkukahbun, to where he is going; I will see the Great Black-coat myself, and ask that Wilson may come and be our teacher; and I will ask the Great Black-coat also to send us more teachers to the shores of the Great Chippeway Lake; for why indeed are my poor brethren left so long in ignorance and darkness; with no one to instruct them? Is it that Christ loves us less than his white children? or is it that the Church is sleeping? Perhaps I may arouse them; perhaps I may stir them up to send us more help, so that the gospel may be preached to my poor pagan brethren. So I resolved to go. I did not think it necessary to call a council and inform my people that I was going, I only told just my wife and a few friends of my intention. I felt that the Great Spirit had called me to go; and even though I was poor, and had but a few dollars in my pocket, still I knew that the Great God in heaven, to whom forty years ago I yielded myself up, would not let me want, I felt sure that he would provide for my necessities.

So when Puhkukahbun and his wife stepped on board the great fire-ship I stepped on also. I had not told him as yet what was my object in going; and at first he left me to myself, thinking I suppose that I was going on my own business. I was a stranger on board; no one knew me, and no one seemed to care for me. I paid four dollars for my passage, but they gave me no food; and not even a bed to lie upon. I felt cold in my heart at being treated so; but I knew it was for my people that I had come, and I felt content even though obliged to pass thirty hours without any food at all.

When we arrived at Ahmujewunoong (Sarnia), the fire-waggons (railway cars) were almost ready to start; so I still had to fast; and not until we had started on our way to Pahkatequayaug, (London) did the Black-coat know that I had been all that time without food. Then he was very sorry indeed, and from that time began to take great care of me; and I told him plainly what was my object in coming with him.

It is not necessary for me to say anything about London. The Black-coats met together in council to elect the Great Black-coat chief, and I went to the big church to see them all. But I had nothing particular to say to them; for their Great Black-coat has nothing to do with my people. I was impatient to get on to Toronto, and see the Chief Black-coat who has authority to send teachers to my people on the great Chippeway Lake. We arrived in Toronto on the 6th day of the week, when the Raspberry moon was twenty-two days old. I was glad to see the great city again, for I had seen it first many years ago, when it was but like a papoose (a baby), and had but a few houses and streets. We went at once to the place where Wilson had agreed to meet the Black-coats who have authority over the Indian Missions. There were present Maheengauns and Tatebawa, and several others, and they all shook hands with me, and gave me a seat by the table. [“Maheengauns”-(Little Wolf), Rev. S. Givins, who formerly laboured among the Indian of the Bay of Quinte, and for twenty years gave himself up to self-denying missionary work. “Tatebawa” (a man walking along the shore), Rev. F. O’Meara, LL.D., who has spent a great part of his life among the Chippeways of Lake Huron, and has done an inestimable service to missionary work in translating the Prayer Book and portions of the Bible into the Chippeway tongue. The other gentlemen present on the occasion, as members of the Indian Committee, were Professor Wilson and Henry Graham, Esq.] They talked a long time, and wrote a good deal on paper; and I was glad to see them writing on paper: for I thought surely now something would be settled, and my journey will not have been in vain; and I was still more glad when they told me that they thought Wilson would come to be our missionary and live among us. I said to them “Thank you. Thank you greatly! This is the reason for which I came. I thank you for giving me so good an answer, and now I am prepared to return again to my people,” The Black-coats then invited me to tell them all I had to say; so I opened my heart to them and divulged its secrets. I said that at Ketegaunesebe (Garden River) we were well content, for we had had the gospel preached to us now for forty winters, and I felt that our religious wants had been well attended to; but, when I considered how great and how powerful is the English nation, how rapid their advance, and how great their success in every work to which they put their hands: I wondered often in my mind-and my people wondered too-why the Christian religion should have halted so long at Garden River, just at the entrance to the Great Lake of the Chippeways; and how it was that forty winters had passed away, and yet religion still slept, and the poor Indians of the Great Chippeway Lake pleaded in vain for teachers to be sent to them. I said that we Indians know our Great Mother, the Queen of the English nation, is strong, and we cannot keep back her power, any more than? we can stop the rising sun. She is strong; her people are great and strong but my people are weak. Why do you not help us? It is not good. I told the Black-coats I hoped that before I died I should see a big teaching wigwam built at Garden River, where children from the Great Chippeway Lake would be received, and clothed, and fed, and taught how to read and how to write; and also how to farm and build houses, and make clothing: so that by and bye they might go back and teach their own people, I said: I thought that Garden-River ought to be made the chief place from which religion might gradually go on, and increase, and extend year by year until all the poor ignorant Indians, in the great hunting grounds of the Chippeways, should enjoy the blessings of Christianity.

The Black-coats listened to what I said and they replied that their wish was the same as mine; and they hoped that in due time I should see my desire effected. Afterwards I saw the Great Black-coat (the Bishop), who has authority over the Indians of the Great Chippeway Lake, and he said that the other Black-coats had spoken his own wish in saying that Wilson should become our missionary. My heart rejoiced more and more, and I felt now that the great object of my journey was accomplished, and I could return again to my people. But Wilson did not wish me to go home yet. He said to me, now that you are here, I will ask the Black-coats to call a council of their people, and you must speak to them, and tell them all that is in your heart. I told him I would stay and do as he had said; and it was arranged that the white people should meet together to hear me speak on the third day of the following week.

Many were the thoughts that filled my mind at that time. As I walked along the streets of Toronto, and looked at the fine buildings, and stores full of wonderful and expensive things, the thought came into my breast: How rich and how powerful is the English nation; Why is it that their religion does not go on and increase faster? Surely they behave as though they were a poor people. When I entered the place where the “speaking paper” (newspaper) is made, I saw the great machines by which it is done, and the man who accompanied us pointed to a machine for folding up the papers and said: This is a new machine, it has not been long invented; and I thought then, “Ah, that is how it is with the English nation, every day they get more wise; every day they find out something new. The Great Spirit blesses them, and teaches them all these things because they are Christians, and follow the true religion. Would that my people were enlightened and blessed in the same way.”

The next day was the day of prayer, and I went to the big wigwam where the children assemble to be taught (the Sunday School). I stood up and spoke to the children and told them how much I desired that my children should be taught in the same way, and have such a beautiful wigwam to assemble in, where they might hear about God and his Son Jesus Christ. It rejoiced my heart to hear them sing, and I wished that my children could learn to sing hymns in the same manner. After this I entered the great house of prayer (the Cathedral). I feel much reverence for that sacred building. I was in Toronto when the first one was there. Since that time it has been burnt down, and rebuilt t and then all burnt down again; and yet now it stands here larger, and grander than before. The white people, I said to myself, have plenty of money to build this great house of prayer for themselves. If they knew how poor my people are, surely they would give more of their money to build a house for us, where our children may be taught. I felt at home in this great house of prayer, though it is so large and so fine; for the great white chief used to worship there, and I regarded it as the Queen’s prayer-wigwam. I could not understand the words of the service; but my heart was full of thoughts on God; and I thought how good a thing it was to be a Christian, and I rejoiced that I was a member of the Queen’s church, and had heard from its teachers of the love of Christ, who died for his red children as well as for the pale faces; for he is not ashamed we know now, to call us brothers.

In the evening the man who writes for the speaking paper (the Toronto “Telegraph” reporter), came to see me. He said he was going to write about me in his paper, so that everybody might know who I was, and what I had come for. I thought this was good: for I wished everybody to know my reason in coming to Toronto, so that they might be stirred up to send help to my poor neglected brethren. This writing-man put a great many questions to me. He asked me about my medals, and about our customs before I became a Christian, and what I thought of the recent Indian outbreaks in the country of the Long-knives (the States). I thought many of his questions were not to the point, and I told him so. I said to him: “When the white people read about me in your paper, I think they will say that I am a fool”

During the few days we remained in Toronto I was out nearly all the time with Puhkukahbun, collecting money at the people’s wigwams. It was he who proposed that we should do this, He said to me “You want to see the Christian religion increase, and the pagan Indians on the Great Chippeway Lake to have school-houses and teachers. This cannot be done without money, so we must set to work and collect some. I am an old man of seventy winters, and cannot walk about as much as I could when I was a young brave; so he got such a waggon as the rich people go about in there, and we drove from house to house, I thought some of the people were very good; one woman gave us ten dollars, and several men also gave us ten dollars; but many of the people gave us very little, and some would not give us any at all.

I have one friend left in Toronto of those whom I used to know many years ago, his name is Odonjekeshick, (Hon. W. B. Robinson) he has always been a great friend of the Indians, he used to make treaties with us many years ago. I was very anxious to see him. We drove to his house, but he was away from home. We only saw the young woman, but she told us that Odonjekeshick would return on the third day. On the third day we went again to see him, and found that he had just come home. I was rejoiced in my heart to meet him; and although it is many winters since we last met, I found that he could still talk with me in my own tongue.

There was also a kind Black-coat, whom I had seen of old at Ketegaunane-sebe, (Garden River) called Beaven, who greeted me warmly as a friend. His wife also, and his daughters were very good; and engaged to ask their people for money to send teachers to our neglected tribes on the Great Lake of the Chippeways.

On the evening of the day on which I met those friends, the people of the big town assembled together in their great teaching wigwam to hear me speak. There were several Black-coats on the platform and Robinson was the leader, (chairman). I told the people all that was in my heart and appealed to them, to help us. At the close of the meeting the men took plates round for money. I watched the people giving; the women gave the most. I think that women have more love for religion than men. They told me that the collection amounted to $21. I did not say anything, but the thought in my breast was “This is too little, this is not enough to make religion increase,” I thought-This is a big city, there are plenty of rich people; on all sides are beautiful houses; they have good and abundant food; surely there must be a great deal of money in this big city. I say this:-The Christian religion cannot go on and increase until the people begin to give more. I am an old man, and I often pray to God that I may see my people on the Great Chippeway Lake, enjoying the blessing of religion and education before I die.

I was very anxious to see McMurray, the Black-coat who first taught our people the Christian religion, many winters ago. So the day after the meeting we crossed the lake to Niagara, and I was rejoiced in my heart to see him once more, and to shake hands with him, and with his wife who is one of our own nation.

And now I had only one thing more to do before I returned again to my own wigwam at Garden-River, and that was to visit our Black-coat Chance, on the river of the Nahduhwag (the Mohawks), I wished to shake hands with him once more and say Boozhoo, and I wished to see his wigwam and mark the spot in my mind, so that I should be able to find him if at any future day I might want to see him. [The Indian salutation: Fr. bon jour] I told the Black-coat, McMurray, what my desire was; and then he and Wilson talked together in the English tongue; and presently McMurray said to me: “The black-coal, Wilson, thinks it is not good for you to go home too fast, Between this place and Chance’s wigwam there are two big towns which you must pass through, and the Black-coat, Wilson, wishes you to stop a day or two at each, so that you may speak to the people, and rouse them up, and collect a little more money. I also myself think that the plan is good, and advise you to listen to his words.”

I replied that my reason for wishing to hasten home was that I might cut the hay, so that my cows might have food to eat in the winter, and I feared that it would soon be too late if I delayed much longer; still, if it was necessary for me to do so, I would consent. So instead of going at once to see the Black-coat, Chance, we journeyed a short distance only, and arrived at an inland town, (St. Catherines) where was a spade-dug river (the Welland Canal), and plenty of sail-ships and fire-ships.

At the feeding-wigwams (hotels) in this town they did not seem to like us very well, and from two of them we were turned away. I did not know the reason, but I thought in my mind, “these people are not the right sort of Christians, or they would not refuse us shelter.”

The Black-coat in this town (Rev. H. Holland) was very good to us indeed. We were both of us strangers to him, and yet he received us as if we were old friends. He invited us to his wigwam, and we drank tea with his wife and daughters. This Black-coat’s wife seemed to me to be a very good woman, and full of love. She told me that she came from a far country, many days’ journey distant to the South, beyond the Big-knives’ land, where the sun is very hot, and the land inhabited by strange Indians, I thought it was because she came from this far country that she was different from the women who lived here, and perhaps it was her having known these strange Indians long ago that made her so good to me now. She gave me money to buy a shawl for my wife, and my heart warmed towards her. I tried to think what present I could make to her, and I told her I had a beaver-skin with me, which I always carried to put under my feet when I sat, or to lie upon at night. This I wished to give her if she would accept it, but she would not take it. She said that I should want it, and although I pressed her again to have it, still she refused.

The day after our arrival at the inland town where sail-ships and fire-ships are plenty; we hired a little waggon and went from wigwam to wigwam, asking the white people for money to help Christianity to spread on the shore of the Chippeway Lake. Some of them opened their purses, and gave us a little money; but most of the people seemed too busy with their buying and selling, and other employments, to listen to us; and even though they belonged to the Queen’s Church, still they did not seem to care much about our poor Indians in the far north. One selling wigwam especially I remember, into which we entered three times, and each time sat a long time waiting to be heard, and saw much money thrown into the money-box; and yet, after all our waiting, they would only give half-a-dollar to help Christianity to spread on the shores of the Chippeway Lake.

In the evening of that same day the white people gathered together in the teaching wigwam to hear, what I had to say to them. The wigwam was full and my heart was rejoiced to see so many faces turned towards me to listen to my words, I told them my object in coming to the great town of the white people; that I had not been hired to come; that even my own people did not know my reasons: but that the Great Spirit had put the thought into my heart; and though I was a poor man, and had no means of my own, still I had come to tell my story, and urge the white people who are so strong, and so wise, to send help to the poor Indians on he Great Chippeway Lake. I told them I belonged to the Queen’s church, and my reasons for doing so; and that I wished that all people were wise and good; and that I thought if they were wise, they would be members of that church also.

After I had finished speaking, a man stood up and asked me some questions, which, when I understood by Wilson interpreting, I answered. He asked me what was the meaning of my medals, and the feathers in my head, and what was our occupation at Garden River. When I had answered all his questions he sat down. Then another man stood up and spoke, but I did not understand what he said until after the meeting was over. Then I asked the Black-coat, and he told me that that man was a Scotchman, and that he did not like my saying in my speech that I thought people were not doing right unless they belonged to the Queen’s church; he thought I ought to love all Christians alike. When I heard this I told the Black-coat I wished I had known what the Scotchman was saying and I would have replied this to him-“Is it not true that the English religion is good? Do you think the Queen does wrong in belonging to the Church of England? Why do you fly the Queen’s flag from the top of your prayer-wigwams and yet refuse to join her in her worship? I feel ashamed of you.” [It has been deemed right to give the Chiefs remarks here, as elsewhere, as nearly as possible in his own words.]

After the meeting a collection was taken up, but it was too little money. There were several plates, but they only contained twelve dollars. If Jesus loves his red children as you say and believe he loves the white people, did he not give his life for them; and is that all that they will give to help to tell our poor Indian people, away on the Great Chippeway Lake, of his love? Religion will not increase unless the white people give more.

Early in the morning of the sixth day we got on board the fire-waggon to go to “Hauminton” (Hamilton), and as soon as we arrived we went to see the Black-coat I did not greatly desire to stay, for I was afraid my grass would be spoilt, and my cows have no hay to eat in the winter; and I wished to hasten on to see the Black-coat, Chance, that I might know where he was camped, and then to return to my home. Wilson interpreted to me what the Black-coat here said; but even before I heard the interpretation, I knew by his manner of speaking that it was not very favourable to our likelihood of success. He thought that if we staid we should not be very well satisfied with the money we should collect, for a great many of the people were away a long distance off, and very few only were at home. I then told Wilson that I thought we had better go; for I wished to hasten home and cut the grass for my cows to eat in the winter time. The Black-coat however spoke again, and said that he had pondered the matter in his mind, and he was unwilling to let us go until a meeting was held, so that his people might hear all that was in my heart. When I heard this I replied, “If there is any necessity for me to stay I will stay, if there is not I will go.”

The next day was prayer-day, and I went to the prayer-wigwam, and also to the teaching-wigwam to hear the children sing and to speak to them a few words.

The whole of the day following, Wilson and myself went from wigwam to wigwam, asking for money to help the Indians on the Great Chippeway Lake. We also entered a long wigwam where live the chiefs who own all the fire-waggons. We saw the great fire-waggon chief, and he spoke kind words to us, and gave us a paper on which it was written that we were to pay no money at all on our way back to Ahmujewuhnoong. In the evening the white people met together in the teaching-wigwam, and there were so many of them that they had no more room to sit, and I spoke to them and told them the thoughts of my heart. This time I spoke more boldly than I had done before. I told them that as an Indian Chief I had a right to speak on behalf of my poor people, for the land the white men now held was the land of my fathers; and now that the white man was powerful and the Indian was weak, the Indian had a right to look to him for help and support. As I closed my speech I looked around last of all upon the children; for I wished my eyes last of all to rest upon these white children who had received the benefit of education and Christian instruction; and I gave them my beaver-skin to keep in their school, so that they might always remember my visit and think upon my words.

On the second day of the week, early in the morning, we entered the fire-waggon to go to the river of the Mohawks. The Black-coat Wilson said he must leave me now, and go straight to Ahmujewuhnoong; and that after I had visited Chance in his wigwam I must follow and meet him again. So when we came to a place where there were many fire-waggons, (Paris), the Black-coat led me to another fire-waggon which stood there and told me that it was going to the great river of the Mohawks; then he said Boozhoo, and left me to go on my way alone.

When I arrived at the River of the Mohawks (Brantford), I felt strange and puzzled, having no one now to guide me; and I saw no face that I knew, neither could I speak English to make myself understood. But Wilson had given me a paper with words written on it, and this I shewed to two men upon, the road. They beckoned for me to come with them, but I thought they had been drinking and I walked away. Then I saw a woman sitting alone in a waggon and I showed her my paper. She was very good to me, and told me to get in; and she drove me to the house of the Black-coat who is the teacher of the Indian people on the River of the Mohawks, The Black-coat (Rev. A. Nelles) was very good to me, and gave me food; and after about two hours he told me to get into the waggon and a man got in too, and drove me to Chance’s wigwam. It was a long way, and the man did not seem to know well which way to go, for he kept stopping and speaking to the people all the time. When we got to the wigwam I knocked at the door, and knocked again several times; at length the Black-coat, Chance, heard me and came to open the door, and I was greatly rejoiced to see him again once more, and also his wife and children. They were all very good to me, and I remained with them three days. The Nahduwag chiefs met together and had a meeting to welcome me; but I could not speak to them. The Black-coat, Chance, translated what I said into English, and a Nahduwag Indian then interpreted what he said in the Mohawk tongue, so that the chiefs might understand.

When the day came for me to leave, the Black-coat, Chance, took me in his waggon to the place where the fire-waggons start, and sent a wire-message to Wilson to be ready to meet me when I arrived.

I sat in the fire-waggon, and smoked my pipe, and rejoiced in my mind that my work was now over, and I should soon return to my people. For many hours I travelled, and the sun had already sunk in the west, and I thought I must be nearly arrived at Ahmujewunoong; when the fire-waggon chief carne to look at my little paper: and then he looked at me and shook his head, and I understood I had come the wrong way. Presently the fire-waggon stood still and the chief beckoned me to get out, and he pointed to the west, and made signs by which I understood that I must now wait for the fire-waggons going toward the sun-rising, and in them return part of the way back. I staid at this place about one hour. It seemed to be a large town, with many big chimneys and plenty of smoke, and there was the smell of oil, (probably Bothwell). By and by the Fire-waggons approached, coming from where the sun had set; and a man told me to get in. It was mid-night when I reached Pahkatequayaug, (London), and they let me go into the wire-house and lie down to sleep, I slept well all night, and early in the morning a man beckoned to me that the fire-waggons were ready to start for Sarnia, and shewed me which way to go.

Thus I at length got back to Ahmujewunoong, and was glad to lie down, and rest in Wilson’s wigwam; and now I am waiting for the fire-ship to come, and as soon as it comes I shall go on board and return straight back home to my people.

The Black-coat, Wilson, has asked me to let him write down all this that I have told him, so that it may be made into a book and read by everybody. And I hope that by and bye all the white people will see this book, and that their hearts will be warmed towards the poor ignorant Indians who live on the shores of the Great Chippeway Lake.

We have collected $300, but $300 is not enough to make religion increase. If we had but the worth of one of those big wigwams of which I saw so many in Toronto, I think it would be enough to build a big teaching-wigwam at Garden River, in which the children would be taught and clothed and fed, and enough to send teachers also to the shores of the Great Chippeway Lake. I must have something done for my people before I die; and if I cannot get what I feel we ought to have from the great chiefs in this country, I am determined to go to the far distant land across the sea, and talk to the son of our Great Mother, the Prince of Wales, who became my friend when he gave me my medal, and I believe will still befriend me if I tell him what my people need.


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Healing and Reconciliation Through Education Copyright © 2019 by Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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