Op. Cit.


Show Summary

"I will tell you about it. Once the world was all water and God lived alone. He was lonesome, he had no place to put his foot, so he scratched the sand up from the bottom and made the land, and he made the rocks, and he made trees, and he made a man; and the man had wings and could go anywhere. The man was lonesome, and God made a woman. They ate fish from the water, and God made the deer and other animals, and he sent the man to hunt and told the woman to cook the meat and to dress the skins. Many more men and women grew up, and they lived on the banks of the great river whose waters were full of salmon. The mountains contained much game and there were buffalo on the plains. There were so many people that the stronger ones sometimes oppressed the weak and drove them from the best fisheries, which they claimed as their own. They fought and nearly all were killed, and their bones are to be seen in the hills yet. God was very angry at this and he took away their wings and commanded that the lands and fisheries should be common to all who lived upon them; that they were never to be marked off or divided, but that the people should enjoy the fruits that God planted in the land, and the animals that lived upon it, and the fishes in the water. God said he was the father and the earth was the mother of mankind; that nature was the law; that the animals, and fish, and plants obeyed nature, and that man only was sinful. This is the old law.

"I know all kinds of men. First there were my people [the Indians]; God made them first. Then he made a Frenchman [referring to the Canadian voyagers of the Hudson Bay Company], and then he made a priest [priests accompanied these expeditions of the Hudson Bay Company]. A long time after that came Boston men [Americans are thus called in the Chinook jargon, because the first of our nation came into the Columbia River in 1796 in a ship from Boston], and then King George men [the English]. Later came black men, and last God made a Chinaman with a tail. He is of no account and has to work all the time like a woman. All these are new people. Only the Indians are of the old stock. After a while, when God is ready, he will drive away all the people except those who have obeyed his laws.

"Those who cut up the lands or sign papers for lands will be defrauded of their rights and will be punished by God’s anger. Moses was bad. God did not love him. He sold his people’s houses and the graves of their dead. It is a bad word that comes from Washington. It is not a good law that would take my people away from me to make them sin against the laws of God.

"You ask me to plow the ground! Shall I take a knife and tear my mother’s bosom? Then when I die she will not take me to her bosom to rest.

"You ask me to dig for stone! Shall I dig under her skin for her bones? Then when I die I cannot enter her body to be born again.

"You ask me to cut grass and make hay and sell it, and be rich like white men! But how dare I cut off my mother’s hair?

"It is a bad law, and my people cannot obey it. I want my people to stay with me here. All the dead men will come to life again. Their spirits will come to their bodies again. We must wait here in the homes of our fathers and be ready to meet them in the bosom of our mother. . . ."

[Replying to another officer who pointed out that] even the Indians had to work hard during the fishing season to get food for winter, the prophet answered:

"This work lasts only for a few weeks. Besides it is natural work and does them no harm. But the work of the white man hardens soul and body. Nor is it right to tear up and mutilate the earth as white men do."

To the officer’s assertion that the Indians also dug roots and were even then digging kamas in the mountains, he replied:

"We simply take the gifts that are freely offered. We no more harm the earth than would an infant’s fingers harm its mother’s breast. But the white man tears up large tracts of land, runs deep ditches, cuts down forests, and changes the whole face of the earth. You know very well this is not right. Every honest man," said he, looking at me searchingly, "knows in his heart that this is all wrong. But the white men are so greedy they do not consider these things."

He asserted that the Indians were now so helpless before the white men that they must cease to exist unless they had assistance from a higher power, but that if they heeded the sacred message they would receive strong and sudden help as surely as the spring comes after winter. When some doubt was expressed as to his own faith in these things, he asked pointedly:

"Do the white teachers believe what they teach?"1

In 1889, in northern Nevada, a Paiute Indian of the Paviotso tribe, named Wovoka, began to have recognition as a prophet and messiah. He was a son or kinsman of a prophet who had originated a restoration dance which had spread through northern California between 1871 and 1874, but had subsided. In 1889 several delegations from Siouan tribes (the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Shoshoni) visited Wovoka and reported, some favorably, others unfavorably, to their tribes. Sitting Bull was among these visitors. The distance between the Plains tribes and the Paviotso is about a thousand miles, but the visitors used the railways, and within a year, promoted by traveling agitators and by letters composed by Indian boys who had attended white schools, the excitement had reached approximately half the Indian population in the United States.

1Mooneyn/an/an/an/an/an/a, , 720–721, 724.


Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options

Title: Op. Cit.

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options

Title: Op. Cit.

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: "Op. Cit.," Op. Cit. in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed July 23, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=NYH31ZGJ9TDREHP.

MLA: . "Op. Cit." Op. Cit., in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 23 Jul. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=NYH31ZGJ9TDREHP.

Harvard: , 'Op. Cit.' in Op. Cit.. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 23 July 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=NYH31ZGJ9TDREHP.