Allgemeine Geschichte Der Neuesten Zeit Von 1815 Bis 1915

by Richard Von Kralik

(515) Difficulties Created by the Indian Question. The nomadic Winnebagoes sent in December [1828] a deputation to Washington; their chief spoke from the depths of his heart and with serious demeanor, on Capitol Hill where the Presidential Elections were going on, by swaying his long pipe as a sign of peace: "Father, I am pleased to see you. I consider this pipe returned and take your hand in friendship. Father, there is a cloud between us which is thick and black. But now it seems that your face looks happy to me. Father, the Great Spirit gave his children, the Winnebagoes, a strong plant; it is good to smoke. I have it here, and I give it to you in peace. Father, I'm as old as you. My heart is true. They told me that your heart is black; it is not so. We welcome (516) you in friendship. Father, I say no more, my speech means little, I am a leader among my people. But one is here who can say our thoughts better." Now appeared a sign from of the old caciques for a young Winnebago to advance, light his pipe, and give it to the president. This performed some configurations, so that the smoke gently swirled upward. This cacique entourage supported this with a low murmur of satisfaction. The calumet, the peace pipe, moved around the whole circle; the President received it again and replied in the same style, his hand solemnly and dramatically on it: "I am delighted to see you. You are, to me and my children, welcome. The cloud that was between us, disperses like the smoke this pipe. Look at the face of the sky, there is no cloud. The sun shines brightly down on us. The Great Spirit looks down and smiles pleasingly on our cooperation. If you are there, I will look with favor on the pipe, and if I ever hear hostility arose between Winnebagoes and my children, I'll say it is impossible; because I have the word of a Winnebago which must be true, and here is the pipe, which he has left me as a sign of sincerity. "

Commentary. "[1828]" — the previous paragraph had discussed the hard fought presidential election campaign of 1828, and the section was labeled "1827-1828," thus allowing the identification of the date.1

"their chief" —  this was Nąga, a well known figure among the Hocągara.2

"Father" — he is addressing President John Quincy Adams.

"a cloud between us" — a reference to the Winnebago War of 1827.

"a strong plant" — the tobacco plant, which Earthmaker relegated to the exclusive control of humanity that the most helpless of creatures on earth might obtain the aid of the Spirits to compensate them for their weakness. See Tobacco.

"caciques" — here, in German, as Kaziken, borrowed through Spanish from the Taino where it means "chiefs."

Nąga Presenting the Pipe
to President Adams
    Hųwąnįka, the Young
Orator of the Tribe

"a young Winnebago" — this was Hųwąnįka, "Little Elk." "Naw-kaw pesented him with a peace pipe and Little Elk declaimed a sonorous oration, translated by Pauquette, in which he assured the Great Father that the tribe would maintain perpetual peace."3

"satisfaction" — when smoke from any fire rises straight up, it is considered propitious. Apparently, this is what happened on this occasion, which prompted the murmurs of satisfaction.

Notes to the Commentary

1 A thorough description of this trip of the Hocąk delegation to Washington in 1828 is given in Louise Phelps Kellogg, "The Winnebago Visit to Washington in 1828," Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, 29 (1935): 347-354.
2 Kellogg, "The Winnebago Visit to Washington in 1828," 348, 353.
3 Kellogg, "The Winnebago Visit to Washington in 1828," 348, 353.


Richard Von Kralik, Allgemeine Geschichte Der Neuesten Zeit Von 1815 Bis 1915, Vol. 1, 1815-1835 (Graz and Vienna: „Styria“, 1915) 515-516.