Long ago the Stoneys were camping near the
Saskatchewan. Some Kootenay were living in the mountains. The
Stoneys made a raid on their camp, and the Kootenay ran away. Only
two of them remained and hid on a tree. The Stoneys thought that all
had fled, and pursued them, catch-ing some, while 'others escaped to
the mountains, whence they rolled down large rocks on the pursuers.
The Stoneys turned back. One Kootenay squaw ran back towards the old
camp with her child. The Stoneys plundered the camp, found the two
hidden boys, and carried them off, singing a war-song.
The next winter the Shuswap came to the Stoneys on their snowshoes
and made friends with them. One Shuswap, however, was angry on
ac-count of the attack on the Kootenay and stayed alone, never
untying his snowshoes. At last he succeeded in embroiling the
Stoneys and Shuswap. In the fight the Stoneys captured two women and
three children. In the spring the captives ran away at night. For a
while they could not get any food except gopher. The Shuswap thought
both were dead. After a while one of them starved. Of the Kootenay
captives, one did not care to live with the Stoneys and committed
suicide. The other Kootenay took a Stoney girl to wife, and had a
boy. Afterwards he also committed suicide.
There was a Stoney named Saddle. His father had killed six Shuswap
in a battle, but one of them escaped because of his many dreams.
After the fight was over, Saddle asked, "Where is my brother?" "He
is chasing the long-haired Shuswap." Saddle followed his brother.
His brother had a knife tied to either hand. After going some
distance, Saddle heard a noise. The Shuswap had taken away his
brother's knives and pushed them into his sides, nearly killing him.
"Brother, this Shuswap drove his knife in here." Saddle pursued the
Shuswap, a knife tied to each of his hands. He cried, "Come here, I
wish to kill you." The Shuswap knew that there was just one thing
Saddle was afraid of: dried wood. Accordingly, he used a club of
dried wood, and Saddle fled. The Shuswap went to a steep mountain.
There a Stoney attacked him and slashed him again and again with his
knife. For a-long time the Shuswap remained alive. He said, "If I
wanted to, I could kill all the Stoneys." Saddle returned, and cut
off his head and his long hair. Then the Shuswap's body stood up
headless. A great deal of blood issued from it, and there were many
snakes and frogs inside the body. The eyes of the head remained
open. Saddle took the scalp.
The Stoneys and Cree were fighting on account of women. The Stoneys
killed many of the Cree and lost only one of their own men. The Cree
were angry. They again came to the Saskatchewan to attack the
Stoneys. One of them, however, said, "We had better go home, the
Stoneys are hard fighters." Seven Cree went to the Stoney camp north
of Edmonton and hid in the brush. The Stoneys moved camp, only one
of them remaining behind. When he finally went after the rest of his
people, singing as he went along, the seven Cree approached and
nearly killed him with a shot in the shoulder. The Cree thought he
was dead, but he supported him-self and began to shoot back at them.
The Stoneys ran back and were attacked by the Cree, who wounded
Jacob Bear's-Paw1 in the wrist,
break-ing his bone. The Cree made an enclosure, but the Stoneys
leapt in and knifed them. The Stoneys are called Hopa'maksa, because
they cut their enemies' throats. The Stoneys killed all the Cree.
The creek where this took place is called
Cahi'abi-wintca'-kte-bi-wa'pta (Cree-them-they-killed creek).
There were two comrades. One went traveling, while the other stayed
at home. The traveler did not return; he had been killed. His
comrade went on a war-expedition. He arrived at the enemy's camp and
entered the chief's lodge. The chief's wife offered him water, but
he did not drink it. The chief offered him his pipe, but he refused
to smoke it. After a while, the chief looked for something behind
the bed and showed his visitor his dead friend's heads. The young
man was furious. The chief took a knife and, offering it to his
guest, said, "Kill me." The man would not take it, then the chief
stabbed him with it, but without killing him. The young man pulled
out the blade and killed his enemy with it. When all the people
rushed in to capture him, he killed some more, and fled. They
pursued him, but he turned into an antelope and escaped.
The Kootenay were fighting the Stoneys and were repulsed. They fled
back to the mountains. Two women, one of them blind, strayed away
from their people. In the winter they would pick the bones of
buffalo discarded by the Stoneys. They had hardly any clothes. One
Kootenay, who had seen them running at a distance, reported it to
the chief. The chief said, "In the spring we shall look for them."
In the spring they were found by their people. One of the women had
no clothes, using a coating of mud in place of moccasins. The
Kootenay provided both with food and clothes.
A Kootenay stole a Piegan's son, took him across the mountains, and
kept him for a year. He owned many good horses, and one of them was
a fast race-horse. The young Piegan said to himself, "In the summer
I shall go back to the people." One summer night he fled with two of
his captor's best horses. The fugitive knew only one path, while the
Kootenay knew all the roads. The Kootenay told his people to head
off the young man by traveling along the shortest route. They caught
sight of him and pursued him, but his horse was fast and he got
across the mountains. The Kootenay chased him beyond Porcupine Hill.
The Piegan reached the top of a hill, and tied up his horse in the
wood. The Kootenay passed him, but, looking back, he saw the young
man leading his two horses and went back. When he was close, he
said, "I don't like your stealing the horses. I told you you could
take whichever horse you liked best. Now, which of us two is
strongest, shall have the three horses. If you kill me, take my
scalp and the three horses, and if I win I will do the same to you."
They undressed and stood close to each other. The Kootenay looked
into the Piegan's eyes; the Piegan looked scared. The Kootenay
killed him, scalped him, left the corpse, and rode back with his
The people were camping together. One chief said to
a scout, "Go to the top of the hill. If you spy any people, indicate
the direction they come from by flashing a mirror." The young man
went and discovered some enemies stealing the people's horses. He
signaled to his people, and they went in pursuit of the thieves. The
enemy did not run, but prepared for a fight. They killed the chief.
Then all his followers became furious. They rushed on the enemy with
their knives, slaying all save a single man. They stripped off all
his clothes, even his moccasins, and bade him return where he came
from. He had a hard time of it, his feet were worn out. The people
recaptured their horses. One Stoney was killed by a shot in the
shoulder, which passed out at the other side. The people moved camp.
The Flathead had heard that the Stoneys were the best fighters. Five
Flatheads went on a horse-raid. Three Stoneys pursued them. They
went around the Flathead, who did not know the country. One of the
Stoneys had a mule which began to bray. The Stoneys headed off the
enemy and shot at the Flathead, but missed, only killing one of
their horses. The Flathead riding it jumped on another horse. Now
the enemy only had four Stoney horses. The Stoney captured the five
saddled horses of the Flathead. The enemy retreated to the brush.
One Stoney in the camp heard the report of the guns. He went to look
at the fight. The fighting Stoneys shouted, "Don't stand there,
that's where they are aiming at!" But he went close and was shot in
the mentula. The Stoneys were angry, rushed on the Flathead, and
knifed one of them.. The wounded Stoney lived four days more, then
he died. The Flathead never attacked the Stoneys again.
Twenty-two Cree were traveling together; one of them was an orphan.
They heard the sound of a woman crying in a coulee, "Let me alone!
Let me alone!" When they got close, they could not see anyone. Again
they heard the same cry. The orphan knew what was the matter, but
would not tell his companions. At last, they found that it was
Porcupine's wife, whom her husband was beating in a coul6e.
Porcupine explained that she had been unfaithful to him. He also
said, "'You had better go home, or all of you will be killed." The
chief said, "No, we are looking for a fight." After two days'
journey they met some hostile Indians who killed them all, except
the orphan and one other man who was wounded in the leg. The orphan
went home. After ten days the other man began to crawl along on his
hands until they got sore. He found a lodge-pole, cut it in two, and
walked on the fragments as stilts. He got so hungry that he ate his
buffalo robe. He reached a wood and built a fire there. A woman came
up in search of firewood. She had tied up her pony at the entrance
to the forest. The man noticed the pony, leap to nit, and rode away.
When near his own camp, he hid in a gully. He heard his parents
lamenting his loss. Suddenly he stepped forth. "I am not dead, I am
here." His parents kissed him and were very glad.
1 Father of one of the present
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Anthropological Papers American Museum of Natural