He Walked the Americas (part Three)
*The Pawnee tell of a Prophet who taught them of His Father, "The Mighty
Holy of the Heavens." He warned them not to forget what they were taught by
Him, and when they would return to warfare, they often thought about how He
taught them that "war but breeds more carnage." He had also told them about
the white men coming. They remember Him as Paruxti and His Father was
The Pawnee claim the Prophet visited them twice, the second time was out of
anger. As the story goes, some young men of the Pawnee had gotten together a
secret league to attack merchants and make "war" on them. One night the
Pawnee was by the Mississippi River and came across a camp of worn out
merchants. The merchants had not been aware these young Pawnees had returned
to the old ways and thought they were safe. One of the young merchants had
stated that he was sad he never got to see the Dawn God. But they smoked the
Peace Pipe and went to sleep.
The wild Pawnee then attacked, forced the merchants to carry their own goods
back to the bandits' camp. They had a wild night, dancing, yelling and
preparing the two men for a sacrifice to the Fire god. One old man
protested, pointed to the east where the Morning Star was beginning to rise.
But no one paid attention to him and carried on what they were doing. One of
the prisoners was already dead and the other was dying. The Pawnee stated,
"Let Him come and revive these men! That would be much better magic than
stopping a wind storm or walking on water!"
"At the point, the eastern sky lit up with fire, clouds reflecting the fire
ever brighter. Everyone turned toward the brightened sky and stopped in
their tracks. Suddenly there He was among them! They say He shined with a
strange radiance, each hair of His head luminescent, a weird glow rippling
from His garments and His sea-colored eyes flashing with lightning. He stood
staring at the wild Pawnees.
"He asked them if this was how they kept His commandments, insulting the
Father. "I came to shield you from His anger, or lo, great wind would ignite
the forest! And to ashes would be consigned the Pawnee Nation!"
"At this point, the prisoner that was still alive called to Chee-Zoos and
asked to be released. The Healer told the man he was free and to walk from
the fire. Those who were watching saw the man stumble toward the Healer.
When he had touched the Healer's robe, the man straightened up and didn't
have a mark on him from the fire. The Healer turned to the dead man, telling
him that he wasn't yet for the Land of the Shadows. The fire died away and
the blackened body stirred. The Healer told him to rise up. The man rose up
and was completely healed.
"This story is still told sometimes by the elders at the fireside during the
*The "Algonquin of the Eastern Seaboard" tell they received their name for
the Dawn Light from the Pale One. They wouldn't name the Prophet as He had
asked them to do. They wanted to know what He was called where He grew up
and He told them a name that was strange and hard to say. But they tried
hard to say it: Chee-Zoos, God of the Dawn Light, basically the same as the
*The Chippewa remember very well the "pale Great Master." They tell He gave
them medicine lodges where the signs and emblems are secret and taken from
those across the ocean. And according to the author, they keep this secret
to this day.
*The Dakota (Sioux) say He gave them their rite of baptism and
purification, also many of their lodges. They remember Him talking about the
coming of the white man and many other predictions. "We have backslid from
His teachings, but to Him we dance the Sun Dance. We remember Great Wakona
well." (Speaker not identified.)
*In the times of the Prophet, the place which is now St Louis was once the
capital of the Puant nation. The streets of the city actually represented
history. Each street started from the Central Hub (which is where the Crest
mounds were) and grew outward like a spoke on a wheel. When a dynasty was
complete, the line would end and pottery with significant pictures of the
period would be placed within the mound. The crest would be closed with a
Mound of Extinction. Beyond it, counterclockwise, the new crest would begin.
The capitol buildings stood on the old crest, usually built of logs and
beautifully painted. Many crests had been closed at the time of the Prophet
and the city was large and many imports and exports went through the
streets. The Algonquin remember Him well at the time of His arrival. The
fleets coming down the river ceremoniously brought Him, always greeted with
flowers. Once the Prophet heard tales of the Sunrise Ocean and the Five
Tribes of Warring Nations.
He wanted to go see them immediately; He was so opposed to war and left with
the merchants. He came upon the Seneca's and called the chiefs into a
council. Quoting....."Long He spoke to them on the ways of His Father, as He
had throughout the Broad Land, handling the language with great ease. He
explained His peace religion, then He asked of them quite simply: what was
the reason for their warfare? The Fire Chieftains were embarrassed, for they
had long forgotten the reason, if indeed they ever had a reason. Each
warrior looked upon the other and none could think of a valid answer.
"Therefore He bound them ceremonially into a never-ending alliance. To each
He gave a sacred duty to perform for the alliance, and then He asked them to
smoke the Peace Pipe, filled with tobacco and cedar shavings, and to blow
the smoke to the four directions making the sign of the Great Cross, which
is a holy symbol. Never from that time onward have the Five Nations fought
each other, nor has the trust He gave them been cracked and broken.
"At this Council was a Seneca chieftain who was tall, for we are a tall
nation. Like many of our people he had a lofty stature, and could easily
look down on the heads of the others. Indeed the Prophet was not a short
man, but neither was He as tall as the chieftain. The Seneca, seeing that he
was the tallest, and could look over the light hair of the Pale God, rose
and waited to speak. "There was a shocked silence. Would he presume to
question the Prophet? The chieftain looked upon the Healer.
"'I have been watching you while you were speaking, oh One whom the people
call the Dawn God. It is true that you hold a most strange fascination over
the minds of men. I know that the people call you the Dawn God. If it is
true, then you can prove it. Meet me here in four days in the early morning
before the sun has shot his first long red arrow, and we shall stand before
this door together. If the first red arrow of the dawn light, touches your
hair before it paints my eagle feather, then indeed you are the Dawn God.
This I give to you as a challenge. Now, for this day, I have spoken.'
"Everyone turned to look at the Prophet. He sat quite still as if in deep
thought. At last He arose. 'Your stand is well taken. I will meet you here
before the dawning. When from the Sunrise Ocean arises the golden light of
the Dawn Star, I will be standing here before the Great Lodge. I will use
up the moments of waiting to talk once more with the people-all who care to
hear me. For now, I too have spoken.'
"During the four days the Healer went among the tribes, and though He did
not speak of His appointment, everyone knew that He would keep it, for the
Great One never broke a promise. Accordingly, at the time appointed, great
crowds swarmed about the small mound where the Great Lodge stood open to the
eastward. First to climb the mound was the Prophet. As over the horizon
arose the first golden shafts of the Dawn Star, the Pale God spoke to the
assembled nations. It is said that He always charmed His listeners, but now
there was almost a breathless silence. Indeed it seemed the very trees were
listening and also the assembled animals of the forest, so softly He spoke
and so well did they hear Him, because of the silence that had settled.
"Now the tall chieftain left the others and slowly climbed the small mound,
taking his place beside the Prophet. The two eagle feathers in the hair of
the chieftain projected well above the head of the Healer, but no sign
except a friendly greeting was given by the Pale Heawahsah, who turned and
began the Chant of the Dawning. This was a prayer chant He had taught the
people, which has long since been forgotten. Everyone started to join in and
then, suddenly, a miracle happened.
"Before anyone else saw the sunlight, a golden shaft of radiant beauty came
down from some clouds banked high with firelight, and touched the curling
hair of the Prophet, diffusing itself like a halo until He stood, a luminous
creature, painting all the ground around Him with gold. The people then fell
down saying: 'Behold He is indeed the Dawn God who has come to walk among
us!' and 'He draws his power from the Star of the Dawning.'
"The tall chieftain, seeing the Great One clothed in gold light, knelt in
the dust beside Him and taking the hem of the Prophet's mantle, laid his
cheek on the line of creases. I know that you think this sounds something
like the Legend of Hiawatha written down by Longfellow, the poet. You are
right; there is a resemblance.
"Once he was our guest and heard us chanting. He liked our stories so well
that he kept urging us onward through his interpreter of the language. We
told him many stories. When he returned and began to write them, he mixed
them all together; but he was not trying to make fun of our legends-he was
confused. We still honor him for enjoying the chants, and even trying to get
the rhythm of their language. We honor him although Heawahsah never sought a
Dakota maiden. That was a much later hero, who married with a distant
"The meaning of Heawahsah? It is He From Afar Off. It is our name for the
Prophet, who drew His great strength from the Dawn Star. All nations know He
was of the Dawn Star, and that is why, even now, no nation of the ancient
people know as 'red-skins' will ever make war or fight a battle while the
Sacred Star of Peace is still shining in the great heavens. They dare not,
for it is the Star of the Prophet."
(Note: Few know where to reach the ' Big Tree,' the Seneca, or even if it is
still alive. He once told this legend to a child to illustrate the fact
that the tallest men are not always the greatest. I hope he will not mind
its inclusion here. Since there is a variation of this legend in Bancroft,
recorded over a hundred years ago, it seems to be quite authentic to Seneca