Catlins Creed December 2015
In honor of Native American Heritage month of November I wanted to recommend my favorite Native American books from George Catlin (adventurer / artist / author) written in 1844. See down below the photos.A great Turkey Vulture story by Maggie Rufo (Volunteer with RATS and The hungry owl project)
Also I am thankful for those great people out there dedicated to wildlife who deserve another mention,
Please take a look at;
|Red Tailed Hawk|
|Rock Wren- I think-please advise|
|Red Legged Frog|
“Catlins Creed” An American Indian story
George Catlin wrote two volumes (two complete books) titled “Letters and notes on the manners, customs and conditions of North American Indians”. From 1832 to 1839 Catlin ventured among the Indians of North American Plains (48 tribes visited in the eight years of his adventure) during a time when they were enjoying their last years of freedom and dignity on their own land. During this time he visited, studied and documented his accounts of many native North American tribes. Catlin was an adventurer and thankfully a self-taught artist who provided a unique perspective into the times most of us know little about. His drawings, paintings and stories along the way provided a realistic “dances with wolves” adventure through the buffalo country during the horse culture years. Catlin includes his experiences with buffalo, wolves, grizzly bears and the “war eagle” an Indian name for the Western Golden Eagle. Catlin was with one of the first columns of the cavalry who met the Comanche in their own country in the south west. The powerful Comanche’s were described in a long line of armed warrior horsemen far out numbering the visitors. He described the scene eloquently noting Spanish defectors mixed among the Comanche’s on horseback. The Calvary had come to locate a kidnapped boy believed to be with the Comanche or Kiowa. Concerned with communication issues and language barriers, the soldiers were surprised to find a black man who spoke perfect English. This man and other blacks from the east have joined the Comanche living free to gather honor and respect from a society who held no prejudice. Comanche’s, Catlin noted, rode one horse and had their favorite horse on a leash for the possibility of extended ventures on the plains.
Catlin also visited the Mandan tribe prior to their demise. It was here he painted a paled skinned blonde woman who was Mandan. (Mint-Email photo) He noted others within this tribe with light colored hair and skin, hazel and blue eyes. He spoke of the brave, fierce honorable warriors dressed in spectacular fashion with cougar of bear skins, eagle feathers and war paint on their faces. He also told of men who would not fight, assisted the women and wore the skins of docile small animals such as otters and mink. They were clean handsome well-dressed men though were not allowed by the tribe to be painted by Catlin. This older Indian tribe vanished within about five years of Catlin’s visit due to a small pox epidemic.
Of the Northern Cheyenne Catlin stated “there is no finer race of men than these in North America, and none superior in stature, excepting the Osages, stating the average Cheyenne man were over six feet tall.”
George Catlin, who lived for eight years among the Native American tribes, was quoted in 1841 “All history of the subject goes to prove that, when first visited by civilized people, the American Indians have been found friendly and hospitable- from the days of Christopher Columbus to the Lewis and Clark expedition”…and so also have a great many other travelers, including myself. Catlin goes on, “Nowhere to my knowledge, have they stolen a six-pense worth of my property, though in their country there are no laws to punish for theft. I have visited forty-eight different tribes, and I feel authorized to say the North American Indian in his native state is honest, faithful, brave… and an honorable and religious being.”
Copied below is Catlin’s Creed from Ed McGaa’s outstanding book “Native Wisdom”
Catlins Creed: by George Catlin
I love a people who have always made me welcome to the best they had.
I love a people who are honest without laws, who have no jails and no poorhouses.
I love a people who keep the commandments without ever having read them or heard them preached from a pulpit.
love a people who never swear, who never take the name of God in vain.
I love a people who love their neighbors as they love themselves.
I love a people who worship God without a bible; for I believe God loves them also.
I love a people whose religion is all the same, and who are free from religious animosities.
I love a people who have never raised a hand against me, or stolen my property, where there was no law to punish for either.
I love a people who have never fought a battle with white men, except on their own ground.
I love and don’t fear mankind Where God has made and left them, for there they are children.
I love a people who live and keep what is their own without locks and keys.
I love all people who do the best they can.
And oh, how I love a people who don’t live for the love of money.
When his journey was over he met his wife in New Orleans. He arrived with his small canoe type boat he utilized during the eight years of travel to navigate through the many rivers and lakes to meet the native tribes. The Natives stored and carried his boat for him at times.
In his first night in New Orleans back among his countrymen with his journey now completed, Catlin’s canoe was stolen.