The Warbundle Maker

from the collection of W. C. McKern

Original manuscript pages: | 167 | 168 | 169 | 170 | 171 | 172 | 173 | 174 |

J. O. Lewis
Dog Head (Sarcel, Teal, Little Duck)

(167) There was a man named Šųgépaga, who belonged to the Eagle Clan. He was a Warbundle maker. When he was first married, he was already a great dreamer. That's why he made a Warbundle. When he married, in early winter, her father and mother were still living, so his wife and he lived with her parents. Generally, the young husband hunted for his parents-in-law. Winter was hunting time and he went hunting often. Maybe he would take several days to reach good hunting grounds. When he arrived home, his father-in-law said, "Now we will move to a certain place to spend the winter." In those days, it was hardly ever permissible for one family to so isolate itself due to the risk from enemies. That is why they did not want them to do this. When he came back from his wife's folks, he said to his father, "My wife's family is moving away from the tribe, and I must go." His father said, "That is not a very easy thing to do. We will not do that." His father was a brave man, a noted warrior. His father said, "If the enemy strike, do not come home alone, die with your family."

(168) So the time came for them to go. His wife's brother was in early manhood (15-16 years old). Then they went over there. It was on a river. There was an island where the streams divided. The water was swift and deep. Right by the camp was a natural bridge of rocks crossing the river. This was the only place where the river could be crossed. Then they began to hunt. Only the young men hunted. The old folks stayed at home. So the woman stayed with the father in camp. So they hunted every day, and brought back many deer and bear. When they had lots of meat, they made a meat-dryng rack (wopĭ́́kere). Then the woman's folks sliced the meat and placed it on the rack to dry so that it could be stored for later use. Some of it was smoked inside the tent. The deer fat they cut into pieces and mixed it with bear meat and poured it hot into a hole in the ground. This they also did with bear fat and bear meat. These they then took from the ground, scraped off the dirt, and wrapped it in buckskin. This meat and grease would be used during next summer. Some of it would be placed in vegetable soup and with corn. Heads and feet were also (169) singed in the fire, the hair scraped off, washed and dried. That is why they took all that they could kill. Some meat was slow-roasted on sharp sticks by the fire. This meat was called wawasų́nų. Bones, with some meat still attached, were roasted by the fire. The marrow was then taken out. This was used as a body ointment. This is called hisarakį́. Then they took the liners from the bear and the membranes. The gall was then taken out of the liver. The guts were also cleaned and washed good. The liver was slashed lengthwise, tied up in the membrane, and boiled, like weenies. Then these were dried. Brains were also taken out to tan deer hides. That's why they killed all they could during the winter season, to prepare food for the summer.

This young man killed much meat and it was dried on the racks. Far and near he traveled on his hunts. One day he thought he would go still farther on to see what was there. So he woke early in the morning. There was snow on the ground. He crossed the river by means of the large rocks. On he went, not hunting, but exploring the unknown beyond. So he went beyond his former hunting grounds. Then he saw the tracks of enemy warriors, going towards the camp of his people. So he turned around and followed. He planned to pass them and arrive at the camp first, without being seen. (170) That is how he arrived at the camps first. Then his wife gave him food. Then he worried about what he had seen, while he ate; but he did not tell the old people. The old man said to his daughter, "My child, my son-in-law is not like himself. He is worried about something. He is not his old self." This she repeated to her husband. "Warriors are coming," he said, "that's why I am thinking of what we should do." Then he said, "Do this: both of you old folks and you and your brother, dress up warmly so you could run far and keep warm, and then proceed as soon as possible towards our village. Each for himself, as fast as you can. Don't you and your brother wait for the old folks. I must remain here and wait for the coming of our enemies. You tell our people to get here as soon as they can tomorrow. Start now. Don't stop anywhere. They, the enemy, will arrive sometime tonight." So they began hurriedly to dress. After dressing, they went on. "Don't worry about anything," he said to them.

When they were gone, he went out and picked up some snow, and threw it up in the air. This was to make it become cold and snow. Then a north wind blew hard and there was a great snowfall. It was very cold. The snow (171) hid all their stored meat and belongings. He also cleaned out the fire and sprinkled water over the inside of the lodge. Then he threw water on the rocks which bridged the stream, so that it turned to ice. This ice covered the rocks. Then it became dark. So he waited at the near end of the rock bridge, hiding behind a tree, waiting for the enemy. It was still cold and snowing. The stream was deep and swift. That is why it did not freeze. After awhile, two men were seen approaching. It was the enemy. Stealthily they came, one following the other. He waited for them to come closer. When they were near, he placed an arrow in his bow and shot them and they fell into the water. There both of them drowned. After awhile, came four others. Still others were seen approaching. As fast as they came to the ice covered bridge, they took hold of each other's hands to make the crossing safely. That is how he drowned many by shooting one or two. The dead ones pulled the others off the slippery rocks into the water. Finally, a large number, looking for their warrior companions, came to the crossing. They could find no other place to cross. When they were all on the rocks, he shot one and all fell into the water. This he kept doing until he had killed many of them. After which (172) daylight came. Then others found another way across the river, and on they came in large numbers. They surrounded his tent. So they fought. This was a mighty warrior. Many he killed, and so they kept fighting.

His wife and her brother came to the main village early in the morning. She went to his folks and told them. Her brother told his folks also. "Warriors are coming," they said. "He said for us to come. We started before dark. He stayed to wait for the enemy. His word is that you should come as soon as you can." When they heard this, the Bear Clan police made it known throughout the village. So they prepared themselves to go. And the man's father went too. They traveled fast. Towards noon, the young man started to fight his way towards the village. He would run ahead of them and then attack them from a new hiding place. That is how he did. More and more he killed of them in this way. This he did over and over. Shortly after noon, he caught his father-in-law and mother-in-law. They had been very slow on the trail. "Is this as far as you have gone?" he said. "This snow makes it hard to travel," said the old man. "We have done the best we could." "Go on," said (173) the young man, "I shall stop them here. I will not let them catch you." So they went on and he stayed. Then they heard him make a noise. Then the old man said, "Old woman, you go on. I am going back to see how it is with my son-in-law. I heard him make a strange call. I am going to see if anything happened to him." So the old man went back. When he came close, he saw the enemy had surrounded his son-in-law. He was fighting close up, striking at them with his bow. That is why he had called. That was because he broke the bow string, which allowed them to surround him. Then the old man joined the battle, to save his son-in-law. "I thank you for your help, my father-in-law," said the young man, "they had almost got me. Now I can fight harder." So the father mended his bow string. This was possible because the enemy ran back when the old man launched his surprise attack. Then their own people arrived. Then their enemies retreated before the newly arrived warriors. When his people came, the young man had lost one moccasin, but he had been fighting so hard that he did not know it. His people saw this and gave him a new one. When his father came, he said, "My son, you have done well. This will give me a good name among our people. You can rest now, for you (174) have done your part." So said the other to this young man too. He answered, "No, they have made me very angry. That is why I want to kill all of them. So they followed up the enemy and killed them all.

Then they asked the young man, "How did you do this thing?" He answered, "Go towards my tent and you can see how it was done." So they went. There they saw the tracks of the battle, and the dead men lying about his various stands. When they came to his camp, they saw many more dead men around it too. Then they went in his tent and found men frozen to death in there. Then they saw many dead men in the river. "All these things he did," they said, "this Warbundle maker." This was his first fight. That is why he fought so successfully, because of the bundle.

That is all.1

Commentary. "Šųgépaga" — given as Sũgépaka, but corrected to the form given above. It means "Dog Head."

"married" — McKern adds the parenthetical comment: "In the old days a man and woman were not married until fully adult — 'man + woman'."

"sliced the meat"wakíha "to slice the meat" (McKern).

"smoked" — the smoked meat was called hotaxí (McKern).

"these" — this kind of food is called wakinica móaxų (McKern).

"corn" — the kind of corn that was boiled with grease was called wita kí’ų (McKern). This is probably for wira kí’ų, "the corn to do things with."

"membranes" — this would seem to be the omentum, the fat covering the abdominal wall.

"weenies" — an American colloquialism for weeners (hot dogs), called "weeners" from the Austrian city of Wien (Vienna), and called "frankfurters" from the German city of Frankfurt.

"repeated" — the custom was that a person could not address directly his parents-in-law, nor they their offspring's marriage partner. So conversations were always held indirectly.

"warriors are coming" — in Hocąk, Hotocą́! (McKern).

"Bear Clan police" — the mą́ną́pe, often translated as "soldiers," were in practice police. This was the primary function of the Bear Clan. McKern's informants (mainly from the Wisconsin Bear Clan) said that the Bear Clan also supplied criers, although others have said that this was done by the Buffalo Clan. Buffalo clansmen may have been minor criers (as the Wolf clansmen were minor mą́ną́pe), or they may have been long distance messengers, carrying word from one village to another.

"he would run ahead of them and then attack them from a new hiding place" — today this is known as a "fighting retreat."

Comparative Material. ...

Links: ...

Stories: about Šųgépaga (Dog Head = Sarcel = Teal = Little Duck): Šųgepaga, Black Otter's Warpath, Great Walker's Medicine, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara – see also Kinzie's Receipt Roll; about famous Hocąk warriors and warleaders: How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game, The Masaxe War (Hogimasąga), Wazųka, Great Walker's Warpath (Great Walker), Great Walker's Medicine (Great Walker, Smoke Walker, Dog Head, Small Snake), Šųgepaga (Dog Head), Black Otter’s Sacrifice to a Thunder, Black Otter's Warpath (Dog Head, Black Otter), The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara (Smoke Walker, Dog Head, Small Snake), Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath (Big Thunder, Cap’ósgaga), The Osage Massacre (Big Thunder, Cap’ósgaga), The Fox-Hocąk War (Cap’ósgaga), The Origin of Big Canoe's Name, White Thunder's Warpath, Four Legs, The Man who Fought against Forty (Mącosepka), Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon, The Hills of La Crosse (Yellow Thunder), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Fighting Retreat, Mitchell Red Cloud, jr. Wins the Medal of Honor (Mitchell Red Cloud, jr.), How Jarrot Got His Name, Jerrot's Temperance Pledge — A Poem, Jarrot's Aborted Raid, Jarrot and His Friends Saved from Starvation, They Owe a Bullet (Pawnee Shooter); mentioning (spirit) bears (other than were-bears): White Bear, Blue Bear, Black Bear, Red Bear, Bear Clan Origin Myth, The Shaggy Man, Bear Offers Himself as Food, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, The Spotted Grizzly Man, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Redhorn's Sons, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Hocąk Clans Origin Myth, The Messengers of Hare, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Hocąk Migration Myth, Red Man, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Two Boys, Creation of the World (v. 5), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Brown Squirrel, Snowshoe Strings, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The Spider's Eyes, Little Priest's Game, Little Priest, How He went out as a Soldier, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Trickster's Tail, Old Man and Wears White Feather, cf. Fourth Universe; mentioning Warbundles: Waruǧábᵉra (Thunderbird), The Adventures of Redhorn's Sons (Thunderbird), Redhorn's Sons (Thunderbird), The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty (Thunderbird), The Warbundle of the Eight Generations (Thunderbird), Wanihéga Becomes a Sak’į (Thunderbird), Šųgepaga (Eagle), The Warbundle Maker (Eagle), The Masaxe War (Eagle?), Black Otter's Warpath (Bear?), The Blessing of a Bear Clansman (Bear), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits (Buffalo), Paint Medicine Origin Myth (Hit’énųk’e Paint), The Blessing of Kerexųsaka (Sauk), Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store (Potawatomi), A Man's Revenge (enemy).

Themes: someone expresses concern about the military danger of the area where someone has erected his lodge: Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, A Man's Revenge, White Fisher, The Dog Who Saved His Master; descriptions of human warfare: Black Otter's Warpath, Annihilation of the Hocągara II, The First Fox and Sauk War, Great Walker's Medicine, The Annihilation of the Hocągara I, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game, Wazųka, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath, The Fox-Hocąk War, Great Walker's Warpath, White Fisher, The Lame Friend, White Thunder's Warpath, The Osage Massacre, A Man's Revenge, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, They Owe a Bullet, The Spanish Fight, Origin of the Name "Milwaukee," The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2), Tobacco Man and Married Man, The Scalping Knife of Wakąšucka; while a man fights a large enemy force, others go off to get reinforcements: How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, White Fisher, The Dog Who Saved His Master, A Man and His Three Dogs; pursuits across the ice: A Mink Tricks Trickster, The Fleetfooted Man; a Hocąk warrior single handedly fights an overwhelming enemy force (taking at least one enemy head or scalp): How Little Priest went out as a Soldier (Arapaho), Little Priest's Game (Sioux), The Man who Fought against Forty (Dakota), Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath (Osage), The Osage Massacre (Osage), Fighting Retreat, The Scalping Knife of Wakąšucka.


1 W. C. McKern, Winnebago Notebook (Milwaukee: Milwaukee Public Museum, 1927) 167-174.