WINNEMUCCA was one of the famous old Chiefs who stood for valor, goodness, and courtesy; and was in himself a noble example of all his own doctrines.
Gen. O. O. Howard, who knew his people well, has recorded the teachings of Winnemucca. He ceaselessly exhorted his people:
"To love peace and make constant effort to keep it; always to be kind, one to another; always to tell the truth; and never to take for one's self what belonged to another; to treat old people with tender regard; to care for and help the helpless; to be affectionate in families, and show real respect to women, particularly to mothers." ("Famous Indian Chiefs I Have Known," p. 208-9, O. O-Howard, U. S. A., Century Co., N. Y. 1908).
In the day of his strength no man is fat. Fat is good in a beast, but in a man it is disease and comes only of an evil life.
No man will eat three times each sun if he would keep his body strong and his mind unclouded.
Bathe every sun in cold water and one sun in seven enter the sweat lodge.
If you would purify your heart and so see clearer the way of the Great Spirit, touch no food for two days or more, according to your strength. For thereby your spirit hath mastery over the body and the body is purged.
Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise men turn fools. Neither touch food nor taste drink that robs the body of its power or the spirit.
Guard your tongue in youth, and in age you may mature a thought that will be of service to your people.
Praise God when you rise, when you bathe, when you eat, when you meet your friends and for all good happenings. And if so be you see no cause for praise the fault is in yourself.
A proven Minisino is at all times clean, courteous and master of himself.
The wise man will not hurt his mind for the passing pleasure of the body.
If any man be given over to sex appetite he is harboring a rattlesnake, whose sting is rottenness and sure death.
By prayer and fasting and fixed purpose you can rule your own spirit, and so have power over all those about you.
When your time comes to die, sing your death song and die pleasantly, not like the white men whose hearts are ever filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes, they weep and wail and pray for a little more time so they may live their lives over again in a different manner.
When you get to be a man remember that it is ambition that makes the man.
If you go on the warpath do not turn around when you have gone part way, but go on as far as you were going; then come back.
If I should live to see you become a man I want you to become a great man. I want you to think about the hard times we have been through.
Take pity on people who are poor, because we have been poor, and people have taken pity on us.
If I live to see you a man, and to go off on the warpath, I would not cry if I were to hear that you had been killed in battle. That is what makes a man, to fight and to be brave.
Love your friend and never desert him. If you see him surrounded by the enemy do not run away; go to him, and if you cannot save him, be killed together, and let your bones lie side by side. - ("Pawnee Hero Stories," by G. B. Grinnell, pp. 46-47).
On the lowest plane of all the great Indian teachers, perhaps, was Tshut-che-nau, Chief of the Kansas Indians. In 1800 he was a very old man, so probably his epoch was 1750 to 1800.
This Hammurabi of his people used to lecture the young Indians - as part of their training - and J. D. Hunter, the white boy, who was adopted into the tribe and sat at the old man's feet, has thus recorded principles there laid down:
When you become men be brave and cunning in war, and defend your hunting grounds against all encroachments. Never suffer your squaws or little ones to want. Protect the squaws and strangers from insult. On no account betray your friend. Resent insults.
Revenge yourself on your enemies.
Drink not the poisonous strong water of the white people; it is sent by the Bad Spirit to destroy the Indians. Fear not death; none but cowards fear to die.
Obey and venerate the old people, particularly your parents. Fear and propitiate the Bad Spirit, that he may do you no harm.
Love and adore the Good Spirit, who made us all, who supplies our hunting grounds, and keeps us alive.- ("Captivity Among the Indians," 1798-1816; John D. Hunter, p. 21).
"With the Indian courage is absolute self-control. The truly brave man, we contend, yields neither to fear nor anger, desire nor agony. He is at all times master of himself. His courage rises to the heights of chivalry, patriotism, and real heroism.
" 'Let neither cold, hunger, nor pain, nor the fear of them, neither the bristling teeth of danger nor the very jaws of death itself, prevent you from doing a good deed,' said an old chief to a Scout who was about to seek the buffalo in midwinter for the relief of a starving people." (" Soul of the Indian," p. 115; by Ohiyesa).
O Powers that be, make me sufficient to my own occasions.
Give to me to mind my own business at all times and to lose no good opportunity for holding my tongue.
When it is appointed for me to suffer let me take example from the dear well-bred beasts and go away in solitude to bear my suffering by myself.
Help me to win, if win I may, but - and this especially, O Powers - if I may not win, make me a good loser.
From the ritual of the Omaha Pebble Society (Fletcher-LaFlesche, Eth. Ann. 27; p. 570)
"At the beginning all things were in the mind of Wakonda. All creatures, including man, were spirits. They moved about in space between the earth and the stars (the heavens). They were seeking a place where they could come into a bodily existence. They ascended to the sun, but the sun was not fitted for their abode They moved on to the moon and found that it also was not good for their home. Then they descended to the earth. They saw it was covered with water. They floated through the air to the north, the east, the south, and the west, and found no dry land. They were sorely grieved. Suddenly from the midst of the water uprose a great rock. It burst into flames and the waters floated into the air in clouds. Dry land appeared; the grasses and the trees grew. The hosts of spirits descended and became flesh and blood. They fed on the seeds of the grasses and the fruits of the trees, and the land vibrated with their expressions of joy and gratitude to Wakonda, the maker of all things".