Page 356




CHAPTER XI.


REGULATIVE INDUSTRIES.


THE GOVERNMENT.


280. Regulative industries are such as pertain to the government of the tribe, embracing all organizations which are "wewaspeaʇac̷icaⁿ," i.e., such as are designed to make the people behave themselves.

Everything that can be thus used is a "wewaspe." Among the former are the gentile system (Chap. III), religion, and government, with the last of which is associated the law. With the latter may be classed the sacred tents, sacred pipes, chiefs, etc. A term of broader significance is "Wakandaʇac̷icaⁿ," Pertaining to or derived from Wakanda, the Deity or Superior Being. Most of the things which are wewaspeaʇac̷icaⁿ are also Wakandaʇac̷icaⁿ, but there are things which are Wakandaʇac̷icaⁿ that are not directly connected with the government of the state, e. g., the law of catamenial seclusion.

281. Governmental instrumentalities.—The following wewaspe or government instrumentalities are regarded as Wakaudaʇac̷icaⁿ: The sacred pipes, including the war pipe, the calumet pipes, the sacred pole, the sacred ʇe-saⁿ-ha, or hide of a white buffalo; the clam shell, the chiefs, the keepers of the three sacred tents, the seven keepers of the sacred pipes, the gentes, subgentes, and taboos. The following are considered of human origin: The policemen and the feasting societies. "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" is a familiar saying. So feasting societies tend to promote the peace of the community, as those who eat together, or give food to one another, are bound together as friends. (See 246.)

282. Government functions.—Government functions are of three classes: legislative, executive, and judicial; but these are not fully differentiated in the Omaha state. There is a still further functional division running through the legislative, executive, and judicial departments, giving civil, military, and religious government. Among the Omahas civil and religious government are scarcely differentiated; but military government is almost entirely so. (See War Customs, Chapter IX.)

283. There does not seem to be a distinct order of priests who perform all religious functions. Some of these functions are performed by the regular chiefs, others by the keepers of the sacred pipes, others by the four wac̷aⁿ during the buffalo hunt, and others by the leaders of the dances. Conjurors also pretend to perform mysterious or sacred rites. At the same time, the functions thus performed by the chiefs, keepers


  
Page 357



of the sacred pipes, and the wac̷aⁿ are of a civil character. The chiefs are religious officers during the buffalo hunt; they are always praying to Wakanda, and showing the pipes to him. They do not act as leaders of the hunt, which is the office of the wac̷aⁿ, though they can make suggestions to the latter. They cannot draw their robes tightly around them when they are thus praying, and they must be sober and gentle.

The keepers of the sacred pipes are regarded as chiefs in some sense, though they are not allowed to speak in the tribal assembly. "Each chief is a member of the tribal assembly, though he is not a chief by virtue of such membership, but by choice of the members of his gens." While the chieftainship is not hereditary, each chief tries to have one of his near kinsmen elected as his successor.

284. Head chiefs.—Those of the highest grade are the "nikagahi uju," or principal chiefs. There have always been two of this rank among the Omahas till the late change of the government in 1880. The head chiefs have generally been chosen from the Hañgacenu gentes, though there is no law forbidding the selection of a member of one of the Ictasanda gentes.

The following is the succession of the principal chiefs of the Omahas from the time of the celebrated Black Bird:

I. Gahige-ʇañga, The Elder Gahige, commonly called Wajiñga-sabe, Black Bird, of the Maⁿc̷iñka-gaxe (an Ictasanda) gens; and e-saⁿ iⁿc'age, The Elder e-saⁿ, or The Venerable man, Distant-white Buffalo, of the C̸atada (Hañgacenu) gens. II. e-saⁿ iⁿc'age (continued), and Aⁿpaⁿ-skă, White Elk, of the Wejiⁿcte (a Hañgacenu) gens. III. e-saⁿ iⁿc'age (continued), and Aⁿpaⁿ-ʇañga, Big Elk, of the Wejiⁿcte gens, subsequently known by his Pawnee name, Ta-i'-ki-ta'-wa-hu. This was the celebrated Big Elk mentioned by Long, Say, and others in 1819–'20. IV. Taikitawahu, and haⁿ-jiñga or Wahxi, called Icta-ʇañga, Big Eyes, by the white men. The latter was an Ictasanda man. He married a sister of Gc̷edaⁿ-najiⁿ, and this was one reason why the latter succeeded him as one of the principal chiefs. V. In 1843, Aⁿpaⁿ-ʇañga jiñga, the Younger Big Elk, of the Wejiⁿcte gens, and Gc̷edaⁿ-najiⁿ, Standing Hawk, of the C̸atada gens. Another reason for the appointment of the latter was the friendship existing between his father, e-saⁿ, and Taikitawahu. VI. On the death of Aⁿpaⁿ-ʇañga, his adopted son, Icta-manzĕ, Iron Eyes, or Joseph La Flèche, was made his successor, and so he and Gc̷edaⁿ-najiⁿ were the principal chiefs till the former was set aside. Since then there has been confusion about the head chieftainship, as well as about the chieftainship in general, ending in the election of seven chiefs of equal rank in 1880.

285. Subordinate chiefs.—Next to the nikagahi uju are the under chiefs, or nikagahi, of whom the number in each tribe varies from time to time. When both of the head chiefs retire from office or die there is an entire change of the subordinate chiefs; all must resign, and others must be elected to fill their places. Thus when Aⁿpaⁿ-ʇañga jiñga and


  
Page 358



Gc̷edaⁿ-najiⁿ succeeded to the head chieftainship, in 1843, fully sixty subordinate chiefs were appointed. Among these were Aⁿba-hebe, of the a-da gens; Icta-duba, of the Wasabe-hit'ajĭ subgens; asi-duba and Zaⁿzi-mandĕ, of the ʞaⁿze gens; Taⁿwaⁿ-gaze, of the Maⁿc̷iñkagaxe gens; and ac̷iⁿ-gahige, of the a-da. Some chiefs have been appointed by the United States Government, and so have been recognized as chiefs by the United States agent in his councils with the tribe; but these are distinct from the regular chiefs. In 1878 the writer found three of this kind of chiefs among the Omahas. They had been appointed by the United States about the year 1869. Cañge-skă was made chief in the place of Taⁿwaⁿ-gaxe; Ibahaⁿbi, instead of his father, Wanuʞige, of the Ictasanda gens; and Waniʇa-waqĕ, the keeper of the sacred pipe of the a-da was the third.

In 1878 the following were the chiefs who met the agent in councils: Gc̷edaⁿ-najiⁿ and his brother, ede-gahi, who were considered the head chiefs by some; Maⁿtcu-naⁿba, of the Hañga; Gahige, of the Iñke-sabĕ; Mahiⁿ-c̷iñge, of the Wejiⁿcte; Wackaⁿ-maⁿc̷iⁿ, the third C̸atada chief; Cañge-skă, Waniʇa-waqĕ, and Ibahaⁿbi. The last three always appeared to stand together, forming a third party in the tribe, as opposed to the chiefs' party (to which the others belonged), and that of the young men or progressives.

286. Omaha chiefs elected in March, 1880.—These were elected by an assembly of the whole tribe, in open council, and by a show of hands. All are of equal rank, there being no principal chiefs:

ede-gahi (of the chiefs' party) and Nanpewac̷ĕ or Cyu-jiñga (of the young men's party), of the C̸atada (Gc̷edan-najin and Wackan-manc̷in were deposed). Gahige (of the chiefs' party) and Duba-manc̷in (of the young men's party), of the Iñke-sabĕ. ʞaxe-c̷anba, or Two Crows (of the young men's party), and Icta-basude (of the chiefs' party), of the Hañga. The latter was substituted for his aged father, Maⁿtcu-naⁿba. The only Ictasanda chief elected was Cañge-skă, of the Maⁿc̷iñka-gaxe. Mahiⁿ-c̷iñge, Waniʇawaqĕ, and Ibahaⁿbi were ignored.

A few months later three more were elected: Sinde xaⁿxaⁿ instead of Waniʇa-waqĕ, of the a-da; Wahaⁿ-c̷iñge, of the e-sĭnde; and Ibahaⁿ-bi, of the Ictasanda, making ten chiefs.

287. Keepers of the sacred pipes.—These have been chiefs among the Ponkas, and it seems probable that they are reckoned as such among the Omahas. (See the account of the inauguration of Ponka chiefs, 289.)

Though no council could be opened without their assistance, they were not allowed to take part in any of the deliberations. (See 296.)

288. Who can be elected chiefs.—As a rule, they must be such as have won a good reputation in the tribe. A generous man, one who has given more presents or feasts than his kinsmen, stands a chance of being elected a chief by and by. The presents, however, must be made to the poor and aged, of those who are not kinsmen. Some-


  
Page 359



times a man is elected who has not led a good life; but they make him chief with the hope that the new responsibilities resting on him may sober him, and make him a wise man. Sometimes a man succeeds to the chieftainship through the efforts of some kinsman or affinity who is a chief or head chief.

Occasions of such elections.—The resignation or death of one of the principal chiefs; the resignation of both of the principal chiefs, or the resignation of one and the death of the other.

289. Sacred or mysterious rites pertaining to the initiation or inauguration of chiefs.—(1). Among the Ponkas. Maⁿ'egahi, of the Hisada, told the following: Muxa-najiⁿ of the Wacabe, Ce-najiⁿ of the Makaⁿ, C̸a'egaⁿ of the Nuqe, Si-c̷iñge of the Makaⁿ, Maⁿze-si-ugadaⁿ (of the half-breed band), and Canugahi of the C̸ixida, carry the six sacred pipes four times around the tribal circle. Muxa-najiⁿ puts up a large tent (in the middle of the circle), unwraps the bundle containing the six pipes, and then the five other men accompany him around the circle.

The sacred pipes are feared by all except those who are to be made chiefs, sometimes four, five, or six men. These are outside (of their lodges), and as the old men come around, if they have agreed to become chiefs, they put the pipe-stems to their mouths, but they do not inhale any of the smoke. When the old men have gone around the fourth time the chiefs assemble in the large tent. The women and children stay outside or back of the circle, as they are afraid of the pipes. Even the horses are sent to the rear. When the chiefs elect enter the large tent they give many horses to the retiring chiefs. Then they put the pipes to their months and inhale the smoke, for if they should refuse to inhale it, they would die very soon thereafter, before the end of the year.

Fig. 41.—The Ponka style of hañga-ʞi'aⁿze.

Nudaⁿ-axa's account of the ceremonies at the time of his election is as follows: When an old chief resigns, a tent is set up in the middle of the circle. They bring back some wild sage, which is used as a bed for the sacred pipes. These are laid on the wild sage in the middle of the tent, next to the sacred buffalo skull. The hañga-ʞi'aⁿze or privileged decoration is painted on the skull, into the nostrils of which some sprig's of wild sage are thrust. All the chiefs paint the hañga-ʞi'aⁿze on their faces, and stick plumes in their hair. They wear buffalo robes with the hair outside, and redden their arm-pits, elbows, and the toes of their moccasins. They redden blankets at the elbows and next to the arm-pits, in imitation of the buffaloes. The retiring chiefs say to their successors,


  
Page 360



"Qubʞic̷i-gă!" i.e., "Cause yourselves to be sacred by means of the animals that you see in your dreams when you fast." When they have left the large tent, and have returned to their respective lodges, they sit with their robes over their heads, and before they leave their lodges again, they must make new tent-flaps, which is a sacred act. The bearers of the sacred pipes are Ce-najiⁿ of the Makaⁿ, Hec̷icije of the Nuqe, ac̷iⁿ-gahige (of the Wajaje?), Muxa-najiⁿ of the Wacabe, a Nikadaɔna man, and Canugahi of the C̸ixida. As the old men reach the tents of each gens it is announced by some of the spectators, "They have reached the Nuqe!" for example. When Cenajiⁿ arrives at the tents of each gens, he says, "Ho! I have come to you." The pipes are handed in succession to the candidate who sits at the end. Muxa-najin addresses a few words to each of the candidates who are not the sons of chiefs, but to those who are the sons of chiefs many words are spoken. I belonged to this latter class, so all the old men said to me, "Nʇa c̷ibc̷aⁿ tat! Iⁿc'ge c tat! C̸idi ghi, c̷ijiⁿ'c̷e ghi, c̷iʇgaⁿ ghi, mustqti c̷idaⁿ'bemaⁿc̷iⁿ'ta! Wgazuqti maⁿc̷iⁿ' gaⁿ'c̷a-gă.", i. e., "You shall have you fill of life! You shall live to be an aged man! Your father was a chief, your elder brother was a chief, and your grandfather was a chief; may they continue to look directly down on you! Desire thou to walk very honestly." At length they say, "Caⁿ," Enough! Then the crier proclaims, Caⁿ' c̷a u+!" i. e., "It is indeed enough, halloo!" Then all the people walk rapidly to the tent in the middle of the circle, each one trying to get there before the others so as to get a good seat. So they reach there and pass around the tent. At the time of my inauguration I sat at the door of the large tent. Those who had no seats within, (i. e., as chief's) sat outside. They were addressed thus: "Gc̷iʞaⁿ itc̷a-gă! gic̷e ĕ'di c̷agc̷iⁿ' te hă!" i.e., "Make room! Beware how you sit there!" By and by the two principal chiefs came, stepping very deliberately, and took their places at the head of the circle of those within the large tent.

(2) Among the Omahas , as told by La Flèche and Two Crows:

Only one old man goes once around the tribal circle. He starts from his own gens, the Iñke-sabĕ, and enters but a single tent of each gens. He tells the people of that gens to question all their fellow gentiles who wish to be chiefs. The old man enters the Wejiⁿcte tent last of all. The men of each gens assemble by themselves. Some are afraid to undertake the chieftainship, saying, "It is difficult I am unwilling." If a candidate is "naxde-c̷iñ'ge," or "wspaji," i. e., disobedient or ill-behaved, the men of his gens can prevent his acceptance of the office. The next day the chiefs assemble in a large tent. The decorations of the chiefs, the disposition of the sacred pipes and buffalo skull are similar to what happens among the Ponkas, with a few exceptions. The chiefs do not redden their armpits, elbows, and the toes of their moccasins, and the hañga-ʞi'aⁿze is slightly different.




  
Page 361



Fig. 42.—The Omaha style of haũga-ʞi'aⁿze.

The only clothing worn by the chiefs during this ceremony consists of moccasins, leggings, breech-cloths, and buffalo robes, with the hair outside. The place of meeting is the earth-lodge belonging to one of the principal chiefs. Besides the chiefs, only a few very brave men are admitted to witness the ceremony and to act as servants. The keepers of the sacred pipes are there; and the two old men of the I Hañga who keep the sacred tents, sit by the door, as the wagc̷a, to get wood and water, and to attend to the boiling of the food for the feast. The rest of the people, including the brave men and the young men, are not invited to the feast, but they can sit outside the lodge. When the crier says, "Caⁿ ac̷a u+!" the candidates know that he refers to them, so they and the people hasten to the earth-lodge. (See Fig. 2, 18.)

The brave young men may be selected from each gens to hand around the food; and one of the principal chiefs calls on two by name to lade out the food.

The principal chief who is about to retire tells each new chief where he must sit in the circle of chiefs, and to whatever place he is thus assigned he must regard that as his seat in the assembly from that time on. The seat in question is resigned to the new chief by one of the retiring chiefs, except when some of the subordinate chiefs vacate their places to move nearer to the head chiefs, in which case the new chiefs are told to take the places thus vacated.

When one of the head chiefs resigns all of the subordinate chiefs change their places in the council, moving nearer to the seats of the principal chiefs. But should the principal chiefs so desire it some of the new chiefs may occupy the seats near them, being promoted over some of the subordinates. A new chief did not always succeed a retiring chief of the same gens.

The retiring head chief then exhorts each new chief thus: "If you get in a bad humor Wakanda will do so to you. Do not lie lest the people speak of you as lying chiefs and refuse to obey you."

290. The tribal assembly or council.—This is composed of the chiefs alone. The common people have no voice in it. When there is any very important business the young men and all the people are informed of it after the meeting of the council. When the chiefs are thus assembled, they are not always invited to a feast; but the two sacred pipes were always carried around the circle. (See 18.)

The principal chiefs did not act without consulting the other chiefs. They used to call them together and submit to them any important questions that had arisen, saying first to one then to another, "What


  
Page 362



do you decide on?" or "Do you decide what shall be done." If one after another refused to express an opinion, the two principal chiefs continued their questioning till they found one who gave a decision.

291. The Gentile Assembly.—A gens could assemble as a whole when there was any special occasion for such action, e. g., if they had any grievance against the members of another gens.

292. Powers of subordinate Chiefs.—Chiefs had certain rights, among which were the following: 1. The right to sit in the tribal assembly, and to join in the deliberations. 2. The right of each to retain his office till his death or resignation. 3. The right to regulate the buffalo hunt with the aid of the directors and the keepers of the Hañga sacred tents. 4. The right to approve or disapprove of the organization of a small war party, and to prevent the departure of the same. 5. The right to form a party to go on a friendly visit to another tribe; this includes the right to go with a sacred pipe to the village or camp of a hostile tribe in order to make peace. 6. The right to stop quarreling or fighting between two or more persons, by putting the two sacred pipes between the combatants and begging them to desist. 7. The right to assemble at the sacred tent of the Elk gens, and regulate the sending out of scouts in case of a sudden alarm. 8. In modern times, the chiefs have exercised the right to sell all or a portion of the land occupied by the tribe, to the United States Government; but such a right was, from the nature of the case, unknown in ancient times.

No chief had a right to interfere with the food or other property of private individuals, such as that belonging to the head of a household. So when visitors came from another tribe the chiefs could not compel members of their tribe to entertain them or make presents to them; all they could do was to ask such things of the people as favors. No chief had a right to deprive a hunter of an animal that he had killed, nor could he claim even a part of the animal. (See 147.)

293. Powers of principal Chiefs.—Among their powers are the following: 1. The right to order the policemen to strike the disobedient. 2. The right to order the crier to proclaim the decisions of the tribal assembly. 3. The right to call on two of the brave young men by name, and tell them to lade out the food for the feast. 4. The right to the principal seats in the tribal assembly. 5. The right of one of them to determine the place for each newly-elected chief in the tribal assembly, and also to give any chief a higher place in the circle, promoting him to a place above some of his seniors.

294. Deposition of Chiefs.—Chiefs were not deposed. They always continued in office till their deaths or resignations. But when both head chiefs died, or one died and the other resigned all the subordinate chiefs were obliged to resign.

203. Powers of the Keepers of the Sacred Tents.—They had certain duties to perform during the buffalo hunt. They had the care of the sacred tents, with their contents, the pole, and sacred skin. They acted


  
Page 363



as wagc̷a for the tribal assembly, in which they had seats, but without the right to join in the deliberations. They were expected on such occasions to attend to the fire, to bring in wood and water, and to superintend the boiling of the food for the feast, whenever one was given to the assembly. (See 8.)

296.—Powers of the Keepers of the Sacred Pipes (see Chapter III).—They could not join in the deliberation of the tribal assembly, though no council could be opened without their assistance. (See 287.)

297. Powers of the Policemen.—When not traveling on the buffalo hunt they acted as messengers for the chiefs. There were no special policemen for each chief. They could strike any of the disobedient persons, even when not ordered to do so by the principal chiefs. Such disobedient ones were those who quarreled and fought, stole, or scared off the buffalo.

298. Religion.—Religion may be considered as not fully differentiated from the government (see 280 to 283). The chiefs are the religious as well as the civil rulers of the state. A full account of the religion of the Omahas cannot be given in this paper. It is connected with the practice of medicine, mythology, war customs, gentile system, etc.