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Indian Stories by Great Grandma



Enemies On Every Side

Andrew Jackson was born in North Carolina 1776.

He was a General and a hero during the war of 1812 against the British, and from 1829 and 1837 he served two terms as President of the United States.

During that time the Indians of Illinois and Iowa petitioned him to provide Federal troops to protect them from Indians and settlers who were encroaching on their tribal lands.

Great Grandmother said that Indians wrote a letter to President Andrew Jackson about other Indian and white settlers moving from the east who were moving onto their hunting grounds, stealing their crops and attacking their villages.

In the letters to the President (Great White Father) they spoke of having enemies from on all sides, moving from the east ( the Ohio Valley) and forcing them to move across the great river where they had enemies north, south and west. They asked for federal soldiers to protect them and keep the peace.

NOTE: I have found no record of that request, but note that it was not easy for Indian farmers to keep moving west. According to great grandmother, they were an agrarian society who made their clothing out of buck skin and supported themselves by planted maize or other crops. 

The women and old men and children, remained behind to tend the crops while the young men went out to hunt or fish. Without protection for their villages and farms, the men could not hunt, nor could the tribe  leave their village unprotected to go to fish camp. Their traditional ways of living were indangere, and they didn't want to have to fight.

Traditionally, after the crops were planted, some of the women and old men stayed to water and tend the crops while the braves moved on to summer camp where the hunted and fished. After the hunting and fishing was finished, they returned to the village to harvest their crops. 

Without protection at home, they were returning to their villages to find them empty, women and children carried off by marauding tribes, crops stolen or burned. They learned these things from  old men and children hiding in the woods.

Finding their villages abandoned, they would have to gather the other tribes together and pursue the raiders. 

When the enemy first came, the villages could not move rapidly with women and children in tow. When they got to Iowa, they could move no further west. 

To the west and north there were other enemies, tribes whom they encountered along the way. They referenced enemies to the west who rode horses. They may have the Cheyenne or Sioux Indian tribes, the most powerful tribes in the west.

Related Story

Great Grandma told yet another short story that may be related to be related to the one above, but could have happened a hundred years earlier.

Indian villages were often miles apart, so a system of lookouts and relays watched out for enemies and delivered  messages about movement of enemies tribe to tribe.

Warriors from several tribes banding together, one such war party caught the enemy, slowed by women with babies and children, rescued the captives and killed many of the raiders. "Like leaves from the trees they fell, and nere rose again." 

The tribes banded together to plan a more permanent way to protect their fish/summer camps and their home villages. One of those plans was to ask the Great White Father for help.


NEXT: They Had Many Villages, Old and New