I was born in No-doyohn Canon, Arizona, June, 1829.
In that country which lies around the head waters of the Gila River Iwas reared. This range was our fatherland; among these mountainsour wigwams were hidden; the scattered valleys contained our fields;the boundless prairies, stretching away on every side, were ourpastures; the rocky caverns were our burying places. I was fourth in a family of eight children– four boys and four girls. Ofthat family, only myself, my brother, Porico, and my sister,Nah-da-ste , are yet alive.Order now
We are held as prisoners of war in thisMilitary Reservation (Fort Sill). As a babe I rolled on the dirt floor of my father’s tepee, hung in mytsoch (Apache name for cradle) at my mother’s back, or suspendedfrom the bough of a tree. I was warmed by the sun, rocked by thewinds, and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taughtme of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms.
She also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health,wisdom, and protection. We never prayed against any person, but ifwe had faught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men. My father had often told me of the brave deeds of our warriors, of thepleasures of the chase, and the glories of the war path. With my brothers and sisters I played about my father’s home.
Sometimes we played at hide-and-seek among the rocks and pines;sometimes we loitered in the shade of the cottonwood trees or soughtthe shudock (a kind of wild cherry) while our parents worked in thefield. Sometimes we played that we were warriors. We would practicestealing upon some object that represented an enemy, and in ourchildish imitation often perform the feats of war. Sometimes we wouldhide away from our mother to see if she could find us, and often whenthus concealed go to sleep and perhaps remain hidden for manyhours.
When we were old enough to be of real service we went to the fieldwith our parents: not to play, but to toil. When the crops were to beplanted we broke the ground with wooden hoes. We planted the cornin straight rows, the beans among the corn, and the melons andpumpkins in irregular order over the field. We cultivated these cropsas there was need. Our field usually contained about two acres of ground.
The fields werenever fenced. It was common for many families to cultivate land inthe same valley and share the burden of protecting the growing cropsfrom destruction by the ponies of the tribe, or by deer and other wildanimals. Melons were gathered as they were consumed. In the autumnpumpkins and beans were gathered and placed in bags or baskets;ears of corn were tied together by the husks, and then the harvestwas carried on the backs of ponies up to our homes.
Here the cornwas shelled, and all the harvest stored away in caves or othersecluded places to be used in winter. We never fed corn to our ponies, but if we kept them up in the wintertime we gave them fodder to eat. We had no cattle or other domesticanimals except our dogs and ponies. We did not cultivate tobacco, but found it growing wild. This we cutand cured in autumn, but if the supply ran out the leaves from thestalks left standing served our purpose.
All Indians smoked—men andwomen. No boy was allowed to smoke until he had hunted alone andkilled large game–wolves and bears. Unmarried women were notprohibited from smoking, but were considered immodest if they didso. Nearly all matrons smoked. Besides grinding the corn (by hand with stone mortars and pestles)for bread, we sometimes crushed it and soaked it, and after it hadfermented made from this juice a tis-win, which had the power ofintoxication, and was very highly prized by the Indians.
This work wasdone by the squaws and children. When berries or nuts were to begathered the small children and the squaws would go in parties tohunt them, and sometimes stay all day. When they went any greatdistance from camp they took ponies to carry the baskets I frequentLy went with these parties, and upon one of theseexcursions a woman named Cho-ko-le got lost from the party and wasriding her pony through a thicket in search of her friends. Her littledog was following as she slowly made her way through the thickunderbrush and pine trees. All at once a grizzly bear rose in her pathand attacked the pony.
She jumped off and her pony escaped, but thebear attacked her, so she fought him the best she could with herknife. Her little dog, by snapping at the bear’s heels and distractinghis attention from the woman, enabled her for some time to keeppretty well out of his reach. Finally the grizzly struck her over thehead, tearing off almost her whole scalp. She fell, but did not loseconsciousness, and while prostrate struck him four good licks with herknife, and he retreated. After he had gone she replaced her torn scalpand bound it up as best she could, then she turned deathly sick andhad to lie down. That night her pony came into camp with his load ofnuts and berries, but no rider.
The Indians hunted for her, but did notfind her until the second day. They carried her home, and under thetreatment of their medicine men all her wounds were healed. The Indians knew what herbs to use for medicine, how to preparethem, and how to give the medicine. This they had been taught byUsen in the beginning, and each succeeding generation had men whowere skilled in the art of healing. In gathering the herbs, in preparing them, and in administering themedicine, as much faith was held in prayer as in the actual effect ofthe medicine. Usually about eight persons worked together in makemedicine, and there were forms of prayer and incantations to attendeach stage of the process.
Four attended to the incantations and fourto the preparation of the herbs. Some of the Indians were skilled in cutting out bullets, arrow heads,and other missiles with which warriors were wounded. I myself havedone much of this, using a common dirk or butcher knife. Small children wore very little clothing in winter and none in thesummer. Women usually wore a primitive skirt, which consisted of apiece of cotton cloth fastened about the waist, and extending to theknees.
Men wore breach clothes and moccasins. In winter they hadshirts and legging in addition. Frequently when the tribe was in camp a number of boys and girls, byagreement, would steal away and meet at a place several milesdistant, where they could play all day free from tasks. They werenever punished for these frolics; but if their hiding places werediscovered they were ridiculed. American History