Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/134

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


the Wakan man as almost his only resource." Belief in Wakan men is, Mr. Pond says, universal among the Dacotahs, except where Christianity has undermined it. "Their influence is deeply felt by every individual of the tribe, and controls all their affairs." The Wakan man's functions are absorbed by the general or war-chief of the tribe, and in Schoolcraft (iv. 495), Captain Eastman prints copies of native scrolls showing the war-chief at work as a wizard. "The war-chief who leads the party to war is always one of these medicine-men." In another passage the medicine-men are described as "having a voice in the sale of land." It must be observed that the Jossakeed, or medicine-man pure and simple, exercises a power which is not in itself hereditary. Chieftainship, when associated with inheritance of property, is hereditary; and when the chief, as among the Zulus, absorbs supernatural power, then the same man becomes diviner and chief, and is a person of great and sacred influence. The liveliest account of the performances of the Maori "tohunga" or sorcerer is to be found in Old New Zealand,[1] by the Pakeha Maori, an English gentleman who had lived with the natives like one of themselves. The tohunga, says this author,[2] presided over "all those services and customs which had something approaching to a religious character. They also pretended to power by means of certain familiar spirits, to foretell future events, and even in some cases to control them. . . . The spirit 'entered into' them, and, on being questioned, gave a response in a sort of

  1. Auckland, 1863.
  2. Page 148.