National Geographic : 1894 Apr 25
Indian Rain Ceremonials. bladder. Before the pipe is smoked it is held toward the sky, and the thunder god is addressed. * * * 'At the conclu sion of this ceremony the rain always ceases, and the Bear people return to their homes.' "* Catlin, in his " Life among the Indians " (page 78), says that he found that the Mandan had " rain-makers " and also " rain stoppers," who were respected medicine men " From the aston ishing facts of their having made it rain in an extraordinary drought, and for having stopped it raining when the rain was continuing to an inconvenient length." He adds: For this purpose, in a very dry time, the medicine men assembled in the medicine lodge, and sitting around a fire in the center, from day to day smoking and praying to the Great Spirit for rain, while a requisite number of young men volunteered to make it rain. Each one of these, by ballot, takes his turn to mount to the top of the wigwam at sunrise in the morning, with his bow and arrows in his hand and shield on his arm, talking to the clouds and asking for rain, or ranting and threatening the clouds with his bow, commanding it to rain. After several days of un successful attempts have passed off in this way with a clear sky, some one more lucky than the rest happens to take his stand on a day on which a black cloud will be seen moving up. When he sees the rain actually fall ing he lets his arrow fly, and pointing says: "There! my friends, you have seen my arrow go. There is a hole in that cloud. We shall soon have rain enough." When he comes down he is a medicine man. The doctors give him a feast and a great ceremony and the doctor's rattle. When the doctors commence rain-making they never fail to succeed, for they keep up the ceremony until the rain begins to fall. Those who have once succeeded in making it rain, in the presence of the whole village, never undertake it a second time. They would rather give other young men a chance. A similar account of the Mandan ceremony is given by Mr John Frost, in his book "The Indians of North America " (New York, 1845, page 109). He says: It was in a time of great drought that I once arrived at the Mandan village on the upper Missouri. The young and the old were crying out that they should have no green corn. After a day or two the sky grew a little cloudy in the west, when the medicine men assembled together in great haste to make it rain. The tops of the wigwams were soon crowded. In the mystery lodge a fire was kindled, around which sat the rain makers, burning sweet-smelling herbs, smoking the medicine pipe and calling on the Great Spirit to open the door of the skies to let out the * "Omaha Sociology," op. cit., 1884, p. 227 .
1894 May 23
1894 Mar 17