Page:Life and journals of Kah-ke-wa-quo-na-by.djvu/22

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ter of Wahbanosay, a chief of the Messissauga Tribe of the Ojebway nation. I had one brother older than myself, whose name was Tyenteneged, (given to him by the famous Captain Joseph Brant) but better known by the name of John Jones. I had also three younger brothers and five sisters. My father being fully engaged in his work, my elder brother and myself were left entirely to the care and management of our mother, who, preferring the customs and habits of her nation, taught us the superstitions of her fathers — how to gain the approbation of the Munedoos, (or gods,) and how to become successful hunters. I used to blacken my face with charcoal, and fast, in order to obtain the aid of personal gods or familiar spirits, and likewise attended their pagan feasts and dances. For more than fourteen years I lived and wandered about with the Indians in the woods, during which time I witnessed the miseries of savage life, and the woeful effects of the fire-water, (alcohol,) which had been introduced amongst us by the white people.

When I was young a grand feast was made for the purpose of giving me an Indian name, and of dedicating me to the guardian care of some particular god, according to the Indian fashion. I was then named Kahkewaquonaby, which literally means “sacred waving feathers,” and refers to feathers plucked from the eagle, the sacred bird. By this name I was dedicated to the thunder god; the eagle being considered by the Indians the representative of the god of thunder. At this feast I was presented with a war club and a bunch of eagle's feathers, which I was to keep as a memorial of my dedication, the club denoting the power, and the feathers the flight of the god of thunder. I long since lost both, and consequently became powerless and wingless!

My grand-father, Chief Wahbanosay, officiated at this feast, and gave me my name, which belongs to the Eagle Totem, clan or tribe, it being that to which my mother belonged.