First Person Accounts
as written by American Indian Students
at Hampton Institute, 1878-1923

Compiled and edited by Jon L. Brudvig, Ph.D. ©1994 and 1996 All rights reserved.

Section One


Stella, or Stanaha (Buffalo Woman), arrived at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in October 1898. She was an Arikara Indian from the Fort Berthold Agency in North Dakota. Stella returned home in 1903 and married James Eagle. Not much is known about Stella's life after returning home because her student file is missing from the Hampton University Archives.


One beautiful evening, a party of Indian maids were playing near the edge of the woods, when suddenly a peculiar looking man sprang out of the woods, and giving one loud war whoop ran where the girls were and said in angry tones, "Many years ago, your people and my people had a fight. Many lives were lost on both sides and I was in the fray".

As he said this, he removed the fox fur that was around his head and, touching his head, he asked them if they noticed anything. The youngest of the girls spoke up and said, "I see your scalplock is gone". By this time the girls were trembling with fear. "Yes," he said, "It was taken by one of your people and now I am going to have my revenge".

When he said this, the girls scattered in different directions. Following after the frightened girls he soon overtook a pretty girl. Alas' It was the chief's only child. Instead of killing the girl, he stuck his fist into the girl's mouth to keep her cries from being heard and then carried her into a cave, which was on a side of a high cliff.

The girls ran back to the camp and told what had happened. Soon everything was in confusion. The young braves mounted their horses and were soon speeding towards the place where the girls had been. The women, and even children, were wailing and all that night not a soul slept save the little children.

Early in the morning the men returned from their hunt but had failed to find any trace of the girl.

Day after day the chief looked for his daughter but without success. He then gave up all hopes of ever finding her.

It was ten years then since the disappearance of the girl and the people moved away from that place to a new hunting place. In the fall when the people were on their way back to the old place where the girl was lost, they stopped at a beautiful ravine and camped there for the night.

That night when the camp fires had gone out and the people had gone to bed, a strange weird singing was heard near by. The men got up and watched, but saw nothing, and all believed that it was some dead person's spirit that haunted the ravine.

The next day the people were not able to go on with their journey for the horses needed a rest, so all agreed to remain there another night.

The evening, when the sun had gone down, two figures were seen creeping through the tall prairie-grass and the people noticed that one was a young woman. Two men armed with bows and arrows went through the ravine and came up on the other side of the ravine and cautiously crept up to the two figures who were hiding in the grass.

All at once, one of the men shouted, saying, "Chief, Son of the Star, your daughter is found'" The people ran and when they saw the girl they cried with joy and brought her to the camp. The person that was with her disappeared as soon as the two men approached them. It was the man who had taken her away many years ago and had brought the girl back only to see her tribe once more, for that night she passed into the happy hunting ground above.

(P.S. This is one of grandma's tales. Please excuse all mistakes. I know I make a lot. Stella)


Anna Bender came to Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute from White Earth, Minnesota in October 1902. She previously attended the Lincoln Institution in Philadelphia for seven years and the government boarding school at Pipestone, Minnesota for three years. Her mother was Chippewa and her father a white farmer.

Anna wished to be a typist and sought a "general education" at Hampton. After graduation from the school in 1906 Anna continued her studies at Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas. She completed Haskell's Business course in 1908 and found a clerk-typist position at an American Indian boarding school in Chemawa, Oregon. Anna married Reuben Saunders, a boy's industrial teacher, in 1910. She died on September 29, 1911.


The only home I can distinctly remember was the Lincoln Institution in Philadelphia. I do not recollect the trip from my home in Minnesota, where I came with two older brothers John and Charles when I was six years old.

My brothers went to the Education at Home on forty-ninth street leaving me at the girls' school on eleventh street. Here I spent the happy days of my childhood with other children, brought as I had been, from their western homes. October to May we went to school in the city, but the summer months we spent in the country eighteen miles out from Philadelphia and five miles from Valley Forge at a place called Wayne. These days are the pleasantest of all in my memory for they recall long walks through the country with our teachers gathering flowers, picking berries and cherries, and in the fall hunting nuts.

We went to school half a day the whole year around, the other half being devoted to knitting and sewing. We were always sorry to leave the country because we could not climb trees any more.

While we were in the city our teachers used to take us to places of historical interest such as Carpenters and Independence Halls so thus began my early study of History. We also went to the mint to see how money was coined and to the Academy of Natural Science and Zoological Gardens where we learned many other things of interest and value.

I remained at Lincoln seven years, my brothers having gone home and left me there. During my last year in Philadelphia, I was confirmed by Bishop Whitaker in the St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

I seldom heard from my parents and was so young when I came away that I did not even remember them, so I had no reason for wanting to go home except that other students went to theirs. How miserable I felt when the time came to go' It was to me the leaving of a home instead of returning to one. The trip was very pleasant at first for there was a crowd of us returning, but when we got to Chicago, I was made sad and lonely again by the departure of most of my dear friends. From St. Paul I had to travel all alone, not for very long as my home was about fifty miles from there.

When I arrived at the station, I was met by my mother who had with her my two younger sisters, and two young brothers whom I had never seen. They greeted me kindly but they and everything seemed so strange that I burst into tears. To comfort me, my mother took me into a store and bought me a bag of apples.

As the house was only about a mile from the depot we all walked home through the woods while my sisters tried to cheer me by telling about the places and people as we passed by them, and about the good times we would have together. When we arrived at the house the dog ran out to meet us. He was only a puppy so he began to caper around each one of us, giving me the same welcome that he gave the rest so this was one comfort.

As we gathered around the table later a great wave of homesickness came over me so that I was unable to eat for the lump in my throat, so I put my head down and cried good and hard, while the children looked on in surprise.

When my father returned from work he greeted me kindly but scanned me carefully from head to foot. He asked me if I remembered him, but I had to answer "No". He talked to me kindly and tried to help me recall my early childhood, which proved unsuccessful. At last he told me I had changed greatly from a loving child to a stranger and seemed disappointed which only added to my lonesomeness.

After a time I became acquainted with my sister...

1903-1908; 1914-1915

Elizabeth, a Chippewa Indian from the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, entered Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in September 1903. She graduated from the school in 1907, but chose to remain so she could enter the post-graduate course in Domestic Science.

Elizabeth taught in various government schools and briefly entered a nursing program in Philadelphia. She returned to Hampton during the 1914-1915 academic year to enter a special program in Home Economics.

Elizabeth taught at the Carlisle Indian School after leaving Hampton in 1915. Elizabeth and her husband, Henry Roe Cloud, established the American Indian Institute in Wichita, Kansas.

Elizabeth devoted her life to the cause of American Indian education. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her as a delegate to the 1940 White House Conference on Children and Youth. In 1950 Elizabeth Bender Roe Cloud was selected the Mother of the Year.


Experiences of a Hampton Graduate in the Indian Schools Indian Day 1915

After graduating from Hampton in 1907, I left in the fall of 1908 for Montana. I had accepted a government appointment and left for the new and untried work, that of a teacher among my own people.

I was sent to work among the Blackfeet Indians who are located in the north-western part of Montana. They are located on a large reservation comprising many thousands of acres of excellent grazing land; but not well adapted to farming owing to the short season.

The name Blackfeet was given to them (according to tradition) by another tribe with whom they had been fighting and who had chased them across a broad expanse of burned prairie thus making their moccasins black.

It was with a feeling of uncertainty that I got off at the little station, Browning, that cold, raw, October night and made my way into a dark and dingy depot. In one corner of the room was a sputtering lamp that tried to give a little light thru a black chimney. As I glanced about the small room I saw a longhaired Indian sprawled upon the floor, wrapped in his blanket, snoring contentedly and unconcerned in the casual stranger who happened in. On the bench was an Indian mother, cuddling in her arms a sickly-looking baby, trying to soothe its fretfulness. I learned afterwards they were all of the same family and were there to take a midnight train and see if they might get medical aid for the sick infant which the government doctor could not adequately give.

After an hour's wait the stage arrived and conveyed me to the little town of Browning which was two miles from the station. The stage stopped at the Kipp Hotel, and there I was to put up for the night. As I entered many men were sitting around a tall heater. Some smoking, one or two cowboys rolling cigarettes, others causing a sizzling sound upon the stove every now and then. Gradually the conversation about the stove ceased and the stranger was the center of interest.

I walked up to the bookkeeper and asked if I might have a room for the night. In broken English he told me he could accommodate me and showed me into a small, cold room. Thanking him for his kindness I proceeded to build a fire in the stove and wondered what the new day would bring forth.

The next morning as I looked out of my window I beheld many cow-hides hanging on a fence, that were being dried for shipping.

I called at the Agent's office soon after eight o'clock and made known I was the new teacher. He welcomed me cordially and told me the school team would be up at noon to get the beef supply for the children and I could go down with the school team. The school was situated seven miles from the railroad station, and beautifully located in the Cut Bank Valley. Looking westward one saw the Rocky Mountains in all their ruggedness and grandeur. Old Chief Mountain stood out grim and silent, separating the Blackfeet Reservation on the north from the Dominion of Canada. To the eastward one could see the rolling plains, dotted with herds of cattle and horses.

My first day in school was very trying as I had boys and girls ranging from five to fifteen years old in the primary room. Some could speak English and some had no command of the language whatever. I asked the children the lesson of the previous day and not one volunteered to tell. After a long silence one little girl had courage enough to inform me that they hadn't had any school although they had entered the first of September. On Saturdays and Sundays the parents came to see their children. Their coming was heralded by the barking of many dogs that followed in the train of an Indian team.

On Saturday the children were dressed in clean dresses and hair was tidily combed for the occasion. What a contrast it was as against the parents who came wearing their gayly colored blankets and shawls, moccasins on their feet, and fathers often with their hair in long braids. The father and mother very often painted the face in vivid colors of red or yellow. Yet these same parents were willing to send their children to school and were anxious to have them get the things they themselves had not the opportunity to get.

They all congregated in the girls' sitting room and enjoyed the visits with their children. Maybe one would see squatted on the floor an old grandmother smoking her pipe filled with the Indian tobacco, "kinnickinnic."

Our school celebrated the legal holidays in much the same manner as one would expect to find in any community of school children. However, many of the parents looked on, not knowing what was being said, but the same parental pride would show itself when his or her child was represented on the program.

The children enter school the first of September and remain until about the middle of June, with an occasional visit home on Saturday. When the mild Chinook winds begin to blow and mother nature begins to waken the sleeping buds and flowers the Indian child gets the "Wanderlust." He longs for that home, humble as it may be, and that pony of his that has been idle all winter and that has fattened on the bunch grass, severe as the winter may have been on the range. The Blackfeet have many horses and we are not surprised to learn that Blackfeet boys learn to ride almost as soon as they are able to walk. These are trying days for the teacher. Some days as she goes to her schoolroom only girls are to be seen, as the boys have decided to round up their ponies, or those who had not the courage to go home are off drowning ground squirrels. Indian police are sent out to various homes to round up truants. Sometimes they manage to get them back in two or three days but more often it takes ten.

The teacher who enters the Indian service is called upon to do many things besides actual academic work.

One fall when school opened I had to assume the duties of matron for a month. This was a most trying time, as in the case of the Blackfeet children, many came back to the school fresh from a summer of camp life and not always as clean as one would like to find them. Then there were homesick children to cheer, arranging details for laundry, sewing room, kitchen, dining room and buildings. Getting the sleepy heads out of bed every morning, keeping a watchful eye on those who tried to evade work, taking care of sick children, stopping a toothache, doctoring trachomatous eyes, and many other duties.

Another time I was the children's cook for three weeks. One would hardly expect that accomplishment in a teacher but Hampton does expect it of a Hampton girl, and I knew what my training had been. One thing I remember very vividly in those three weeks of experience and that was what the children said, "Miss Bender sure can cook good beans."

I got the parents interested in the field day sports which were held in the spring. Then with the aid of a Supervisor and the Principal, we got the parents to donate at one time, $84.00 to purchase basketballs, footballs, a baseball outfit, and indoor games to be used when weather was severe, and children had to be confined in small playrooms. Up to this time they had nothing in the way of games and consequently the boys devoted much of their time sneaking off to the school dairy herd, and spent their time breaking in calves to ride.

I became quite well acquainted with many of the parents and visited with them in their homes. Some had comfortable homes, that were orderly and neat, but the majority of the homes comprised just one room, some with no floor, but just the dirt floor, two windows and those usually facing the eastern exposure. Many of the homes were excellent breeding places for trachoma and tuberculosis.

This brings me to the horrors of trachoma and my observation of it among the plains Indians. It is a disease that without medical attention it gradually impairs the sight until blindness results. Upon the examination of one hundred and fifty children in our school, forty three were afflicted with trachoma.

The government sent out specialists about three years ago and they found that out of the population of 300,000, 50,000 had trachoma.

When the treatment for trachoma began I was called upon to treat all cases with bluestone. There was a marked improvement in all cases that we had treated for over six months. I do not know how soon they would have been pronounced cured as I left in March, having received a transfer to the Ft. Belknap Reservation.

Here the condition was even worse. Someone told me that this was "The one-eyed reservation" and it seemed almost true. Here we had fifty children enrolled and all but six had trachoma.

I cited these instances because I feel so keenly these problems that are confronting our people, and they are problems that we can all help to remedy, whether our vocation in life is that of a teacher, carpenter, nurse or a blacksmith. If one cannot get a doctor to treat this disease, be interested enough so that you can treat these cases in your own community.

Think of it! nearly 30% of all Indian children are in danger of becoming blind. Nearly 17,000 Indian boys and girls are in danger of complete blindness.

We may talk about demanding our rights, but unless we are willing to assume responsibility, we cannot presume to make such a demand.

The missionary field for service and consecrated workers is broad. What a wonderful opportunity for some of our young men to become doctors, fitted to cope with trachoma and tuberculosis. Without medical attention thousands of men and women will not be self-supporting and they will be deprived of their usefulness.

We need strong Christian workers in the "Indian Country". A number of the Indians are Christians, but the teacher who works among them sees the horrors of the grass dance, sun dance, the medicine lodge and the use of mescal.

My white friend says, "Let them continue these old dances. It is so picturesque." Is there any picturesqueness when a performer of the sun dance drops dead from exhaustion? Such a scene I witnessed up at Glacier National Park where the Indians were dancing day and night for the benefit of guests at this summer resort. The day when the "sun dance", "medicine dance", played an important part of his religious rites have passed. This form of religious ceremony has deteriorated with the advance of civilization and we need to give the Indian Christianity and not paganism.


Flora Brown, or Migequate, came to Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in 1900, after ten years of schooling in the Absentee Shawnee School in Oklahoma. Flora felt that through education she could improve her chances in life. Her goal was to be a nurse; however, her untimely death from blood poisoning on April 1, 1907 cut short this achievement. Teachers reported that Flora "was a girl of unusually strong sweet Christian character.


My kind friends: I consider it a great privilege to stand here and look into your faces. I am reminded that if you were to address me personally, the questions would be where are you from, what kind of work have the Indian women, and what influence have they on the men of their race?

Although I am not of the Shawnee tribe I will confine my subject to the ways and customs of the Shawnee women whose homes I have had the opportunity to visit, for the knowledge I had before coming to Hampton had been gotten from the Shawnee government school in Oklahoma, and my home is near Holdenville Indian Territory.

I always thought that if I had to speak on any subject it would be that of the Shawnee women who have had a sad life. Before the white man brought whiskey, the Indian woman's enemy, into Oklahoma, the Indians had cattle, horses and pigs and the women when they wanted new dresses they went to their husbands and he would sell a horse or pig and she could buy just what she wanted. This happiness lasted until the lands were allotted and towns began to grow up, and instead of having more stores they had saloons. As the Indian men and boys passed by, they would hear the music and out of curiosity went in where they were treated to a small glass of whiskey. It tasted good to those that went in, so they invited others to go until they were not satisfied with this small glass to buy. Very soon afterwards horses, cattle and pigs began to go. Some sold their lands and part of the money went for whiskey. They have a law now which does not let a saloon keeper sell whiskey to the Indian men, but they still get in some way so that some nights a husband comes home drunk and drives the wife and children out of the house, and she seeks shelter in a neighbor's house.

Sometimes it seems as though some of the women are hardened to it, for one time we were at a war dance and a young man who had been married about two years was very drunk and he lay on the ground and rolled like a hog rolls in the mud. The superintendent took him to the government school and laid him out by the cow lot, and he lay their (until) he was sober. This was in the afternoon and we went again that night and his wife who used to be my classmate at Shawnee came and asked me how her husband was; but she showed no sign of sorrow, for she went into the ring and danced all the time I was there.

When an Indian woman finds it is getting late she leaves her husband if he is drunk, hitches up the horses and goes home; if there isn't any wood chopped, she cuts it and gets supper, the chief thing being cornbread, for her children.

Our cornbread is made different from yours; the woman gets the corn from the field, shells it, and puts the corn in a bucket of water because the water keeps the corn from flying out of the mortar when she beats it with the pestle. She does not beat hard at first, for the first process is to take the skin off the corn. When she feels sure that the skin is off she takes the corn out into a sifter where those that are cracked enough go through while the larger ones are beaten until they are small enough to go through the sifter. The corn goes through the sifter into a large, square, shallow basket where the corn is separated from the skins. Then the corn is beaten into meal. Put some salt into the meal and pour boiling water on it as you stir it until it makes a thin paste. Then pour it into an iron kettle with coals under it and cover with a lid that has been heated, and put coals on the lid. This is done in half an hour. I ask why the women do not send their corn to the mill to be ground and they tell me that it does not taste as well, for the skins and the good of the corn are ground together.

This story may seem pretty hard to you, but as we look on the bright side of it, these are many things that the Shawnee women have gained, for they see now that they can not go through life easily, they must not marry men who drink, they must leave their husbands anywhere in the road if they are drunk.

Hampton teaches us that we must expect trials and tribulations and so these women having gone through them will come out stronger, for the story of what happy homes they had before whiskey came is always told to the younger ones. When a woman does not notice one who drinks, the Indian men think a great deal of her; and so when more of the girls do this I think this whiskey drinking will go away gradually and the Indian race will stand on its feet as an invincible race.


Carlota Gutierrez entered Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in September 1901 and advanced in her studies until graduating in 1909. She was a member of the Navajo tribe of Cuba, New Mexico and married an Oneida, Edwin Skenandore, in 1910. Carlota held several positions as housekeeper and matron at Indian schools in New Mexico and South Dakota. Her husband worked with her in the schools as a bandmaster and disciplinarian.

The Blanket Weaving
January 1906

The Navaho Indians are noted for their beautiful blankets which they weave entirely by hand upon a very simple loom.

They care a good deal for their sheep, for it is from them that they obtain the wool used in weaving. The sheep are taken from place to place in search of pasture, for the region being dry and almost a desert, it is necessary to do so.

As a whole, the Navaho Indians have always worked for their living. The government has given them very little in comparison with what other tribes of Indians have had. They depend upon their blankets and also their work in solid silver which they make into spoons, bracelets, rings, and other ornaments by the skill of their hands.

The blankets are usually woven by the women. They shear the sheep, wash the wool and put it out in the sun to dry. Instead of going to the store to buy the dye to dye the wool, they search for the flowers, plants and bark, which they have discovered they can use for dyeing. In preparing the dye they chop the flower, plant or bark very fine, then boil it thoroughly. When-the water is well colored, the wool is put in and allowed to stand a while, then taken out and thoroughly dried.

The wool is carded and made into small rolls about one foot long and one half inch in diameter, with small hand cards. The spinning wheel consists of a wooden spindle about twenty inches long, on which near the center, a small disc about five or six inches in diameter is fastened. The spindle is whirled around very rapidly with the fingers, while the wool which has been carded is twisted into smooth, strong threads. Sometimes it is necessary for them to go through the spinning process two or more times, in order to get the yarn very smooth and fine.

The gray colored yarn they use in weaving is secured by carding the wool of the black sheep and the wool of the white sheep together, carding it over many times till it is well mixed.

The simple looms are put up in such a way that the weavers begin to weave from the bottom and weave upward. The woven part can very easily be pulled down and rolled from time to time. The women, while weaving, sit on the ground. As they weave they make their own design; they have no pattern to follow. The loom is not often kept for it is simple, and a new one can be put up every time they are going to weave a blanket.

The Navaho blankets are not only known to the Navaho Indians but are known all over the United States and in other parts of the world.


Josephine Hill was an Oneida Indian from Wisconsin. Her father, Chief Onongwatgo (Cornelius Hill), was an Oneida leader and an ordained Episcopal minister. She attended Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute from 1901 until her graduation in 1904. In 1906, Josephine married Isaac Newton Webster, a graduate of Hampton's Indian program and a member of her tribe.

Josephine Hill used the skills she learned at Hampton Institute to become an outstanding teacher of lacemaking at Oneida, Wisconsin. When their employer, the Sybil Carter Indian Lace Association of New York City, was discontinued in 1926, Josephine continued the lace industry at Oneida to help Indian women retain the employment which supplemented the income of their families.


Long ago the Indians were very superstitions and they believed that there were many witches and wizards in their settlements.

The old men and women were often accused of possessing a strange power, and could transform themselves into any kind of animal. When any person gets very sick the relatives are almost sure that a certain witch has caused this sickness and they would gather a number of people over to the sick person's home and perform a ceremony of a certain kind for a certain person or for whom they had accused. If during the ceremony the accused person appears, then they were sure that this is the person that had caused the sickness. Then the old lady (the accused) will be made to doctor the patient and make him well again, and if she couldn't get the person well, then the old woman will be killed. As all old Indian women and old men are doctors, they are quite willing to help any sick person.

One time when the Indians were out camping in the lumber regions, one of their number grew sick and died only a few days afterward. The Indian Doctors were sent for, but they could not seem to find what was the matter with the woman, but they said that someone did this for some revenge.

During the time that this woman was sick, an owl used to come near the camp and sit on the tree nearby, but they could not seem to kill it, though they had tried a number of times. After the sick woman had died, her sister had a quarrel with an old woman who lived near their camp. This old woman during the quarrel said, "All right, I'm going to have you dried up in the chimneys before long, the way I did with your sister." After this old woman went away, the other woman went and told the men what the old woman said. They knew that she was the witch and had caused the death of one of their members.

The next night after the quarrel, they heard the owl hooting near the camps and the men pretended not to notice it. The women were getting the supper and they were working around the fire which they had built, when the owl came and sat on the nearest tree. The men jumped up and shot the bird and others threw stones at it. The owl flew away very slowly and the men knew they had struck its body with the arrow. The next morning word came to them that the old woman who had visited their camps many times and had quarreled with one of the women, had suddenly died, and it was supposed that someone murdered her at her home during the night. After this, the owl never came to the camps and they knew that this old woman that died was the owl.

Indian Cornbread
February 6, 1904

As I am going to tell about the Indian's way of cooking cornbread, perhaps it is well to have you know just how corn came into existence. So, I will tell you a legend about it, and I shall have to tell about the bean too, for it is always connected with the corn.

Many years ago before any white man came into this country, there lived in the eastern part of this country a brave young Indian all alone in his wigwam. He was in love with a beautiful girl and had been long waiting patiently for her consent to live with him. She at last promised to live with him. She had many other admirers and as this young Indian was afraid that she might be stolen, he came and slept near her home at nights so that he could protect her. One night he was awakened by some light footsteps and found that his lover was stealing out of her lodge. She ran when she saw him and he pursued her. But it was not until they had gone a good ways before he overtook her. As he clasped her, he found to his grief and astonishment that he had clasped a strange plant instead of the maiden. The young girl had been so frightened that she fled when she saw him and just as he caught her she raised her arms to her head and was transformed. Her hands changed to ears of corn and where her fingers caught her hair the maize bears beautiful silken threads.

As the corn was supposed to have been a young woman once, the women always did the corn planting and harvesting and the maize became the principal food for the Indians, that is, bread and soup were made out of it.

The chiefs used to meet in councils and the whole family would come to these meetings. Early one morning during one of these gatherings, the daughter of one of the chiefs was awakened by a strange, unfamiliar singing. She arose and quietly went to the spot where the singing came from. She found a pretty green vine whirling in the air above a cornstalk and all of a sudden the singing stopped and the vine began to twist itself around the cornstalk. On the vine were some bright red blossoms. These withered and in time produced long green pods filled with round flat seeds which became hard and brown. She picked them one day and brought them to the council and begged to have them tested, for she said it was a message from the Great Spirit as it would not sing unless it meant something unusual. "It is a sign to test the courage of our tribe," she said, "and to know whether we are worthy of his friendship If the product is good other tribes will buy it, then we will have the honor of interpreting the wishes of the Great Spirit."

The chiefs were roused by this and immediately asked who would be willing to test the new seed. A brave old woman stepped forward and said, "I am willing to risk my life for the benefit of my friends and race". She cooked and ate it and found it very good. So from that day the bean became an ingredient in the mixing of cornbread because it first grew on the corn.

Corn, being the principal product for the Indians, has always been raised to a much greater extent than any other farm product. After the corn is cut, and the ears heaped in different parts of the field, they are gathered and emptied into a shed, barn or into the living room, or in a place where it will not be cold when husking time comes. This is great fun for all, both young and old, for as they work many interesting stories are told and also jokes. The different shapes and colors of corn meant different things to the Indians. If a double corn is found then the person who found it can go and hit someone on the head and present the cob to this person. Then in finding a red ear any person may be kissed, which of course is not Indian. On the white corn some husks are left on the ears and these are braided together into many bunches and hung up, usually in the loft, so that the mice will not get at it, and this is the corn used for making cornbread, not the yellow corn as many suppose.

In order to be able to make cornbread a woman must have a "gar ni got" made of a trunk of a tree about 50" in diameter and two and half or three feet high, and hollowed out on the end by burning it to form a sort of a bowl in which to pound the corn. Then a pestle of wood, rounded on both ends, so either end can be used in pounding. This we call "har si sot". "Ya nus to har lete" must also be on hand when preparing cornbread. This is a basket made in a certain way, which is used when cleaning or rinsing corn. If all these articles are on hand one can easily make the Indian cornbread when one knows how.

The first thing to be done in preparing the cornbread would be the boiling of corn with some clean ashes from the stove. When the outside skin of corn begins to crack and come off, then it is taken off and washed. The corn is emptied into the "ya nus to har lete" (a basket) and over this, the cold water is poured to wash the ashes down. I remember when I was a little girl, my grandmother came up to our house. She used to make cornbread and I would pump the water, bucket after bucket, and bring it to her to use in washing the corn. And sometimes before she was through rinsing, for a lot of water must be used, I'd run off, for it seemed she used all the more water because she was helped, and when the bread was cooked I'd stay in the house till after meal time. After the corn is washed, then it is pounded. If one has two pestles, two people can pound the corn in the same bowl, at the same time, for the work will be done more quicker. When the corn is ground quite fine, it is sifted into a wooden bowl and the coarser particles put back to be pounded again. When the meal is all ready, it is then mixed to be cooked.

Before it is time to be mixed, the beans must have been cooked so it can be used as an ingredient. The meal is then mixed with beans, as raisins are put into a cake, and also a little salt. Then boiling water is poured over it and stirred so that there won't be any lumps. Enough of the hot water is poured in so that you can take up the mixture in your hands and shape it into flattened round loaves. These loaves are put into the boiling water already prepared for this purpose and boiled for about half an hour till it's cooked. When this is done, there is no other bread that will equal it in taste.


Lucy Hunter came to Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in September 1910 after graduating from the Santee Indian School in Santee, Nebraska. She completed her studies at Hampton in 1916 and entered the Training School for Christian Workers in New York City. Lucy later became a Y.W.C.A. field secretary in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and was highly praised for her good influence on young Indian girls. In 1931, Lucy enrolled in a nursing program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, but poor health prevented her from completing her training.

The Nebraska Winnebagoes
Indian Day 1913

When the white man arrived in the Middle West they found many different tribes of Indians, and among them were the Winnebagoes. They were occupying land which we now know as Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. This tribe of Indians is not, and was never so large as that of some of the other Indian Nations. They were always a very quiet people and have been regarded by other Indian tribes as a peace loving people. They did not wage war on the white man as did some of the other tribes, but instead showed him friendliness and willingness to have him as a neighbor.

As the old story runs, the white man soon thought and felt that he needed a little more room. With this thought and feeling in mind he extended an invitation to the Winnebago to give him a little more room. This was the beginning of the government making treaties with this tribe of Indians. In 1832 they were compelled to give up the part of the country in which they were located and take a tract of land west of the river Mississippi. In 1846 they were again compelled to make a little more room for their neighbors, and again in 1855 when they were removed to Minnesota. It was promised them that this would be their permanent home. Here they settled down and contented themselves in trying to grow and develop as a people, and became prosperous. Regardless of the progress they were making, in 1863, they were again made to give up the land which had been given them only recently. It was here the tribe was split. Some of them went back to Wisconsin, a few remained in Minnesota, and the rest were forcibly transported to where Chamberlain, South Dakota now stands. Here they spent a very hard and severe winter and many of their numbers died. The next year, in 1864, they were brought down the Missouri River and landed in Northeastern Nebraska, their present location. This reservation, which they now own, was purchased for them from the Omaha tribe, with their own tribal fund, here on the banks of Missouri, without their knowing it, and they made their last stopping place and set up their Wigwams.

When they reached Nebraska they did not own anything which was of any help nor of any value to them, and they had to begin anew in their crude way of building and making homes.

Their first winter here was a hard one. Although they received rations about twice a year from the government, every man at the head of the family had to earn bread for himself and family. To begin with, every head of a family was supplied by the government with what they called farm implements, consisting of a plow, axes, and hoes, and in some cases a yoke of oxen. The women were given kitchen utensils. Who would not say that this was only fair and just?

A trading post had been established on the reservation and many villages and towns were growing up in the vicinity of the reservation in Nebraska and Iowa. It was with the people of these places the Winnebagoes began to trade. They traded mostly in lumber and game. As new railroads were being built in this part of the country about this time, many of the men turned lumbermen, others fishermen and hunters. They worked hard from morning till night, and often times when there was a moon, they worked by moonlight, cutting down wood, splitting it for rails, cordwood and various other uses. They made sleds which with the help of their oxen they were able to carry their wood to the different trading posts. Those who were fishermen and hunter also did all they could toward the support of the family. The women did their share as far as they were able. Besides taking care of the home they very often helped to saw the wood, split it and load it, and if it was game, they dressed it and made it ready for market.

After they had been here for some time, the government built a number of houses in various parts of the reservation, and it was not until about the year 1888, when their land was allotted to them. They had been forced to move from place to place and although the government had told them that this piece of land was theirs they, fearing that they might be made to give it up as in previous cases, did not take advantage of their opportunities and therefore have not prospered as one may expect them.

The one thing which has always been a disadvantage to the Indian is his language, and more than his not being able to read nor write that of the white man. This caused him to know very little about the regulations of land which the government made for him, and oftentimes there were disputes about this piece, and that piece of land.

Immigration was moving westward very rapidly about this time, and many foreigners began coming to the reservation. It was to them the Indians began to rent their lands for as much per acre for a year and lived on what it brought them. It was not the best class of white people who came to the reservation, and even some who represented the government among the Indians have, in many cases, carried on their work in such a way as to help the Indian along on the downward road. The more foreigners came the more they brought of the thing which soon became a curse to the Winnebago, liquor, and along with it gambling was introduced. Under such conditions as these the Winnebago began to go downward and they went so far down that only a few years ago they were regarded both by the church and government as the most degraded tribe of Indians, morally, and for a time their case seemed to be one of hopelessness. But thankful to say, there were some who had some hope for him and offered him a helping hand. Since then there seems to have been a turning point, and a change has taken place at Winnebago, a thing that seemed impossible for so many years to those who knew their people.

There has come to them both an industrial as well as a spiritual awakening, and that a longing for a new life to come to them is shown in the movement which has begun. Those who know the Winnebago have seen the coming of a remarkable change in a very short time.

Of the 212 families (approximately) 115 are now living on their own allotments, 59 families on inherited lands, and beginning to show that they realize the value of their land, and to appreciate it. So wonderful is the change which is taking place among this people that Dr. Williamson, a man who has given his whole life to the Indians, and who understands them through and through, speaks of it as a "modern miracle," and in the hearts of those who are working for the uplift of the Winnebago there is hope that the most noble and highest ideals in a human soul are not wholly lost. It is believed that there still remains in the heart of the Winnebago a spark of the truest and noblest desire for a better life, and regardless of the conditions under which this people has lived for so many years it has produced for itself some very good representatives. Two of the very best and who may be the most interested in the progress of the Winnebago are Mrs. William Dietz and Henry Roe Cloud. Mrs. Dietz known in the world of art as Angel Decora, and Mr. Roe Cloud, the first and only Indian who has yet graduated from Yale College, and who is now in his last year in a three years' seminary course. They have done more than their share to show to civilization and mankind that there is some desire and longing for the best things of life, not only in the Winnebago but in the whole Indian race.


Lena Ludwick came to Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute from Oneida, Wisconsin in October 1901. After graduating from Hampton in 1908, she held a position as an assistant matron in the Government School at her home in Wisconsin. She returned to Hampton for advanced training in teaching and taught at the Whittier School. Lena returned to Wisconsin in 1910 and continued her teaching career until her marriage to Philip Cornelius in 1916.

The Oneidas of Today

My Oneida ancestors used to assemble about the Council Fires of the Iroquois Nation of New York. They lived in a beautiful valley of the Mohawk River.

About 87 years ago, the Oneidas were urged to give up their prosperous community for a tract of woodland near Green Bay, Wisconsin. At first they were very reluctant to obey this wish of the white people,and consequently many of them stayed. The majority, known as the Christian Indians, left in 1822, headed by Skenandore or Running Deer, the last of the New York Chiefs who played an important part in the French and Indian Wars.

There in the woods, they cut down trees and built houses and adopted a civilized mode of living as they had already done to some extent. One of the first buildings was a little log church, being the first church in Wisconsin.

The first missionary, Mr. Williams, the supposed lost Dauphin of France, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, established an Episcopal Church in 1826. He translated the prayer book and wrote Indian Hymns.

Time forbids to tell you of all the devoted missionaries since, who with their help have changed the whole reservation into a comfortable, religious community as one sees today. From rude log houses are now seen frame houses, brick houses and improved log houses. The people, as a whole, can hardly be called thrifty, nor lazy, as they had to earn their own living, receiving hardly anything from the government. Most of them possess good size farms and some have learned trades by which they earn their living.

The women are busily engaged in beautiful lace-work. One year they earned over two thousand dollars. One Hampton girl built a comfortable house with her savings, another furnished her new house with a set of furniture. One Hampton graduate who learned the lace work here is now in charge of these women who make lace.

The Indians are very much interested in education. Many parents with some misgivings send their children to non-reservation schools, after having completed the course of study at the government school. The majority of the returned students lead useful and respectable lives. Some Hampton students are doing exceptionally well. One is a successful doctor in Milwaukee, another a very efficient nurse and still others who are in the Indian service.

Within the last three or four years, a wonderful change has come in the life of this tribe. The gov't. has given them their full rights of citizenship and they are~certainly using their rights in selling their land and property. At first they-sold the inherited lands, nearly all uncultivated. Now they are selling their own lands and homesteads. Some have used their money wisely, while some have wasted it in drinking. Drinking is the greatest drawback to the advancement of my people.

Heretofore, we have been protected from a saloon. Now drinking is very prevalent and more thoughtful Indians are watching the outcome with the deepest anxiety, and hoping that new responsibilities may eventually sober them.

This last summer, the reservation was incorporated as Hobart Township, named after good Bishop Hobart. Warrants for the town meeting for choosing of officers were posted at various places. Many who would have had the right to vote did not attend, and later made a complaint because no council had been called. They had to be told that the state did not recognize the Indian Council. Many Indians, however, did attend and a young educated Indian was chosen moderator.

It is understood that within a few years the government school will be changed into a high school for whites and Indians, and day schools will be established. We are hoping that through these schools, many of us who are having opportunities of education, both academic and industrial such as Hampton affords, may be of some service to our people in the future.

The Oneidas of Today

My ancestors once lived in the beautiful Mohawk Valley and sat around the Councilfires of the Iroquois in New York. About three generations ago, a part of the tribe that had become Christianized and civilized was induced to leave their little farms and homes among their own people and emigrate west to the new state of Wisconsin. Skenandore, or Running Deer, who was a famous warrior during the French and Indian War was our leader.

There in the woods about ... people cut down the trees, built themselves houses and started a small civilized community. One of their first buildings was a little church, the first one built in Wisconsin. Our missionary, Eleazur Williams, was supposed to be the lost Dauphin of France, and the Episcopal Church that he established is today a large and influential body, and people worship in a large stone church that the Indians themselves built with much labor and sacrifice. He also translated the prayer book and many hymns into our language, and these we use today in our service.

Many of my people are prosperous farmers and tradesmen with good brick and frame houses, large barns and prosperous farms. Others are not thrifty, but live in poor houses on badly kept farms. All have to work enough however, to support their families because we receive no help from the government. Once a year we receive 44 cents apiece for services our ancestors rendered in the revolutionary war.

Our women are very energetic and hard working. Almost all have learned lace making, and one year earned over $2,000 by their sales largely to people in the East. One Hampton girl saved enough to build a good house for her family, and another has furnished her four-room house with money made in this way. A Hampton girl is in charge of the lace making, and the disposing of the work.

My people are very ambitious for their children and often make great sacrifices to keep them in school. Nearly 200 have been at Hampton and as many more to other schools. Our physician is a man of our tribe who was educated in the East, and one of our Hampton boys has studied medicine and would practice at home, only there is not enough work for two doctors and so he has gone to Milwaukee where he has a very successful practice among white people.

Quite a number of our educated boys and girls have gone out into the world where the chances are better or the need seems greater. One of the Hampton girls went up into Canada as a teacher, and through her influence several of her students have come here. Another who is a trained nurse, had charge of our hospital for a long time, but is now away down in New Mexico, in charge of nursing in a Government school. Another of our girls has taught for twelve years among other tribes and several others have worked among the more needy tribes, when there seemed no great need of them at home.

Some of our boys are working at their trades at home. One has been our blacksmith with a good shop of his own for years, and the others do what carpentry and painting they can though we are not large enough nor rich enough to support many tradesmen. Our engineers and machinists have to go out among the white people or to the large Indian schools to get work at their trades. One of our boys has been an engineer at a large Government school for ten or fifteen years.

During the last two or three years a great change has come over our people and it is not a change for the better. As a tribe we were protected in our rights to land and property. Lately these restrictions have been removed, and the white people have rushed in upon us with money and liquor, and the weaker of our people have transferred their last foot of ground to the white people, and are now, not only paupers, but drunkards, dependent upon the tribe for support, or fleeing to their kinsfolk in Canada for help. Some of the better class have sold their uncultivated or surplus land and improved their homes with the money. But so many more have squandered their all in drink and foolish ways that the more thoughtful are watching the outcome with the deepest anxiety.

This summer the reservation was incorporated as a township and named Hobart after our good Bishop. The white people who have bought the Indians' land are coming in to live among us, and our schools must be shared with them. The saloon also has come, and with it a greater anxiety for our young people, and a greater responsibility for us who are educated, and stronger, to understand and to resist.

I went home last year and worked for four months as matron in the Government School. There I learned the great need of a more definite training and have come back to prepare myself for better work.

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