National Geographic : 1894 Apr 25
Indian Weather Ceremonials. The Indians in some cases have ideas of controlling the weather more generally, and Dablin, in his " Relation of the Voyages, Discoveries and Death of Father James Marquette,"* writing in 1671-1675, says: It now only remains for me to speak of the calumet, than which there is nothing among the Indians [i. e., the Illinois] more mysterious or more esteemed. * * * They esteem it particularly because they regard it as the calumet of the sun, and, in fact, they present it to him to smoke when they wish to obtain calm or rain or fair weather. Even the control of fog has been attempted, as shown by the following quotation from Dorsey's account of the Turtle sub gens of the Omaha: t In the time of a fog the men of this subgens drew the figure of a turtle on the ground with its face to the south. On the head, tail, mid dle of the back and on each leg were placed small pieces of a (red) breech-cloth with some tobacco. This they imagined would make the fog disappear very soon. But it is not only the pagan Indians who have tried their hand at weather-making. Their christianized descendants have also tried to control these operations of nature. In the transi tion times between paganism and Christianity occurred some events which throw a curious and instructive side-light on this question, and two of these I will now give. Mr Parkman says that while the Jesuits labored with the Hurons a severe drougth came upon the fields. The sorcerers put forth their utmost power, and from the tops of the houses yelled incessant invocations to the spirits. All was in vain. A re nowned " rain-maker," seeing his reputation tottering under his repeated failures, bethought him of accusing the Jesuits, and gave out that the red color of the cross which stood before their house scared away the bird of thunder and caused him to fly another way. On this a clamor arose. The popular ire turned against the priests, and the obnoxious cross was condemned to be cut down. The Jesuits said: " If the red color of the cross frightens the bird of thunder, paint it white." This was done, but the clouds still kept aloof. The Jesuits followed up their advantage. " Your spirits cannot help you. Now ask the aid of Him who made the world." Heavy rains occurring soon * Hist. Coll. of Lodisiana, part iv, 1852, pp. 34-35. t 3d Ann. Rep. Bureau of Ethnology, p. 240.
1894 May 23
1894 Mar 17