National Geographic : 1991 Oct
in it. His arrow has struck through the lungs into the heart! Walking down the hill and crossing a small ridge, he finds the deer dead. Okwaho kneels and places his hand on it. "Brother," he says, "thank you for giving your life to me and to my people so that we may survive. We will use you well." With a sharp-edged, dark chert blade he cuts open the deer's belly and spreads the entrails on the snow. "Little brothers of the forest," Okwaho says, "I share this with you." He remembers the story his grandmother told of Red Hand, the good hunter who was slain by enemies but brought back to life by the forest animals because he always respected them and shared the game he killed. Ok waho places the heart and liver in his pouch; when he has walked half way home, he will make a small fire and cook them. Then he loops a rawhide thong around the deer's antlers. Too heavy to carry, the buck will be easy to drag. No need to fashion a sled of bark, for the snow is not that deep. The sun is only a hand's width from the western edge of the sky when Okwaho sees the stockade. It is not guarded now. Most of the men are home, for it will soon be the Mid winter Festival. In another moon they will be gone, hunting on snow shoes after moose farther north, and once more sentinels will be placed from among older men and boys like Okwaho who have less than 12 win ters. Such boys hunt closer to the vil lage while the men range farther, thereby avoiding extinction of ani mals in their own area and teaching the boys vital skills. Okwaho hefts the deer onto his shoulders. He will not leave it at the forest edge and ask his mother or his sisters to bring it in, thus reserving it for their longhouse; he will carry it proudly into the village. It is the first deer he has killed alone, and it is right that it should be a gift for all. As he carries the buck, he thinks of how he has followed the traditional procedures in killing his first deer. His people believe that sickness results from imbalance. A mistake in ritual practices-such as forgetting to ask the Otstungo: A Mohawk Village in 1491 deer's spirit for forgiveness before killing it can result in the hunter's coming down with boils or sores. Similarly, a person may fall ill because of unfulfilled wishes. Such an illness, which might take the form of deep depression, can only be cured by recognizing what it was that a person truly wanted and either obtaining it or purging it from the per son's system through herbal medicine. As Okwaho nears the entrance to the stock ade, he sees his uncle Satekariwadeh leaning against the great pine tree built into the stock ade wall, a symbol of the strength of his peo ple. Satekariwadeh has been waiting for his nephew's return. Seeing the deer, he holds up . vr. v.. rt.vn .U rV ,,i mI . .r- nL , n1. rlr ivr, Collaredrim and incisedpatterns give distinctive Iroquoiantouches to potsherds excavated at Otstungo and rinsed in the nearby creek waters that once filled them. Iroquoianpots dat ingfrom a thousand years ago have been found in the Northeast.