Warriorship and War Titles

A boy was trained to the hunt until he reached puberty.  Most of his training on the hunt in his early years was given by his mother.  It was for her and the family cooking pot that they hunted in the inagei,  forest" for tsisqua, "birds," saloli, "squirrel," tsisdu, "rabbit," and other food stuffs such as, wadulsi, "honey," and tsahi, "nuts."  The could catch unoga, "bass fish," tsulistanuyi "catfish," and tsunaga, "trout,  out of the equani, "river."  Of course, what boy could not help but have fun in the family tsiyu, "canoe" when fishing.
  After a boy past puberty his training became more in the line of warrior ship.  He took from his childhood what he had learned about hunting, tracking, marksmanship with weapons, and all his experiences and used them in a new hunt for men and war titles.  This was the time he learned to hunt larger game animals, yona, "bear," awi, "deer," and yvsv, "bison."
  Becoming a warrior was the formost thought in every Tsalagi boy's mind.  He may become an adawehi, or a galotsadi, "bow," guni, "arrow," maker, or learn some other craft or trade, but he would always become an ayasistigi, "fighting man, or warrior."  The Ani-Tsalagi was not a tribe who lived for war.  They were rather a tribe of warriors whose greatest profession in life was that of warrior hood.
  Every man would die, and many did, to attain the rank of Ayastigi.  A boy who refused to become a warrior, and there were not many, was called Usgianu, "Woman Like," and was banned from the tribe.  His life was in danger from his clan members for him to dishonor them so.  A man may not become anything more than just a good warrior, because not many men could be a master of all things, but as long as a man tried to be a warrior, he was fully accepted by his people.
  The first title an Ayastigi received was Dayugidasgi, "Captive Catcher."  This was the ultimate for a warrior and considered higher than one that atsisti, "killed," an enemy to become an asgayadihi, "man killer."  Every warrior was supposed to kill the enemy.  When the Europeans arrived and started paying for scalps, a new title was formed called Uskanigaludi, "Taking his blood head," or "Scalping."
  Other war titles were elected or appointed titles or positions.  A war party of a large size was quite an elaborate organization.  The town's War Chief, or the war party could elect a War Chief, led the operation.  Second in command to the War Chief was Utsidihi, which is an old term alluding to Asgayadihi, "Mankiller."  Only a warrior who was Asgayadihi could be a war leader of any kind.  An adawehi, acting as Chaplin and Keeper of the Fires, was part of the staff.  The others were a Katata Genetsi, "Standard-bearer," a Dunigoti, "Surgeon," and Datsidahi, "Runners, or Messengers."
  the War Chief of the Tribe had a large staff.  The Head War Chief of the Tribe was called Equayastigi, "Great Warrior."  His staff consisted of the Utsidihi, seven Counselors of War, made up of women and men warriors, several members of the Long Hair Society as advisors, who may or may not go on the warpath with the army; an Adawehi, "Chaplin," a Dunigoti, "Surgeon," with three assistants, several messengers, scouts, and the Etsisu, "Quartermaster," who was in charge of all rations and also carried the sacred War Pack of the Ani-Tsalagi.
  A warrior who betrayed his men or did anything to get someone killed, was usually executed on the spot.  If it was the War chief, he was deposed of his position and stripped of all titles, his war drum and war whistle were taken from him, and he was given a boy's name.  If this happened to any warrior, he had to rise in standing again, starting below the Ayastigi rank.  Only the best dared to become a leader.
  The women of the Ani-Tsalagi were as proud as their men.  A Tsalagi mother would rather see her son brought home dead a hero than alive as an Usgianu, "Coward."
  When a war chief wanted to go to war, he marched three times around the Atadedawasdodi, "War Pole."  After the dance, the warrior went into the asi of the war chief, or asi surrounding it of other members of the war party.  The men remained for four days, abstaining from sex and all food, drinking only Gvnega Adatasti, "Black Drink," prepared by an adawehi.  The black drink, made of leaves of yupon, was used as a purger.  It made the warriors immune to arrows and increased their bravery.  At the end of the fast, the warrior put on the danawa wodi, "war paint," the War Chief got his adasqualunesdodi, "war stick, or staff," another dance was held and they took to the danawanuehi, "war path."
  The only food carried by a warrior was a leather bag of gahawistia, "corn that had been soaked, parched, and pounded into a meal."  A warrior added water to the gahawistia and drank it.  For the rest of his food, the warrior lived off the "fat of the land."  A Tsalagi warrior was a tall, lean fighting machine.
  The warriro performed Idigawesdi, "War Song," before he went into battle.  He sang it aloud or under his breath, according to the situation.  He might symolically amiayi dilatiyi, "the act of going to water by splashing themselves seven times" by applying his own saliva to his face, chest and upper body if no water was available.  A personal charm was carried to war off the enemy gani, "arrow."  All warriors wore Danawa Wodi, "War Paint."  All wore an ataga, "medicine bag," taken from the mythical Medicine Lake, Atagahi.  War Paint was made from many things, many different colors of paint from different sources, the juice of fungus, from the neck gland of a lizard, from a species of butteryfly that flies fast, grease fat from animals and birds a warrior thought might have qualities to aid him in battle.  An adawehi was always called upon to aid in the selection of the proper wodi.  This was a personal moment and each warrior held the mix to the rising sun, recited his favorite saying four times and blew his breath on the wodi.  One color was always used by a warrior, gvnega, "black," the color of death and defeat.  Gigagei, "red," was for war and victory.  Red was usually the base for all danawa wodi.
  When a war party returned, their first act was to see that the war fire was disposed of properly.  Captives were turned over to the women of the town, who had control of all prisoners.  Then the warriors removed any clothing they wore on the warpath and spent four days drinking black drink in an asi.  On the fourth day, all would atawetiyi, "go to water" by dipping under seven times.  They would destroy all clothing worn on the warpath by fire.  In this manner they purified themselves of all disease and agrression picked up on the warpath and while in foreign countries.  The Ani-Tsalagi believed that other tribes also had anidawehi who had the power to infect their tribe with diseases to befall raiding enemies.
  On the fourth day after they returned from war, there were several dances in the Town House.  The dancing may last for several days and nights.  They started off with the Unikawi Vlasgita, "Town House Dance," and then have a Dalenaheda Vlasgita, "Victory Dance."  There was always a Danawa Vlasgita, "War Dance," for all of those who could not get the war out of their blood.  There was a Utsinaga Vlasgita, "Scalp Dance."  The warrior who brought back a scalp for his mother, wife, sister, or sweetheart would mount the scalp on a forked stick.  The skin of the scalp would be painted red.  The woman would hold the scalp up on the stick as they danced.
  During the dances, each warrior danced out an act of his part in the battle.  It became the burden of the head singer to come up with a song.  At this time, many warriors were given a new name.  The warrior may ask for a new name or he may be given one.  This would be done in a Dudoa Vlasgita, "Naming or Named Dance," for those who were given new names for some event that happened during a battle.  A Tsalagi warrior may have as many as five or six names in his lifetime.  Names were important to a Tsalagi and were an extension of himself.  As he changed, so changed his name.
  A Tsalagi warrior would travel over a thousand miles, suffering all kinds of deprivation, to gain a new ar name or do battle for the love of fighting.  He would go on the path or war, suffering hunger and cold for weeks to right an injustice done him or his people.  This warrior, who never struck his woman or any other woman, his child, who was never known in history to have raped an enemy's womem, and went out of his way to keep from hurting a man's feelings, was one of the most ruthless and feared men to ever go upon the warpath.  He practiced victory cannibalism in his moment of might over his enemy, eating a piece of heart or liver, adding the power of a great warrior to his own.  He gave no quarter.  He asked no quarter.
  The women decided the fate of each captive, the Beloved Woman taking charge of the activities.  She would have the last say, no matter who was chief of the Women's Society or chief of the Long Haired Society.  The captives were placed in three categories; for ransom, for adoption, or for death.  Ransom was the most profitable and the manner in which most captives were handled.  Adoption replaced lost sons and daughters.  Most American Indian tribes knew nothing of discrimination.  Those adopted people, once they had stayed with the tribe for a long period, was allowed to come and go as they pleased, and given the rights and privileges of a Tsalagi.  Some returned to their original tribe, and some remained to be Taslagi for the remainder of their lives.
  Death satisfied the vengeance-loving Tsalagi, who were great believers in blood for blood.  Death meant torture.  Women and children were never tortured or burnt at the stake.  The honors for Oyohusa Atsila, "Death by Fire," at the stake was left to adult male warriors.
  A male prisoner was called Dahugi.  The prisoner condemned for death was stripped of all clothing, marked upon his chest with blue stripes and given bearskin moccasins with the hair turned out.  He was then painted black, the color of death and defeat, from head to foot.  With all of this accomplished, he was ready for his trial as a warrior.
  Before a captive warrior made it to the stake where he was tortured and then burnt to death, he must run the Ayelti, "Gauntlet."  Forming two lines of people facing each other made the gauntlet.  The people mainly women and children, armed themselves with sticks, whips of rawhide and any other weapon or any other weapon was used without killing the man.  At the end of the line stood the stake.  When a captive finished his run of the gauntlet, he was taken to the stake and his hands tied behind his back.  A rawhide rope was tied around his neck and to the post.  He was allowed enough slack to move about.  While the captive was tied to the stake, he was forced to suffer the most horrible kinds of torture.  The women did most of the torture, aided by young boys at times, to fullfill their vengeance against the enemy for loss of some member of the family.  The captive was tortured until he died.  When he was pronounced dead, wood was piled around the stake and he was given Oyohusa Atsila, "Death By Fire."
  The gaunlet and stake served two purposes.  It allowed the people, mainly the older mothers and fathers who could no longer go to war, to vent their anger and passion out on a hated enemy.  The second function allowed the captive warrior, who had not a chance to fight back, to show his warrior hood by reacting bravely to the pain and fear of the certain death he had to face.  They were expected to conduct themselves as such.  A man, who stood singing his death sone, and who showed extraodinary bravery was talked about in story and song for years.

[First Town is Formed]  [Building the Mound and Sacred Fire]  [Forming Clans]  [Family Dwellings]  [Fields]
[Tribal Government]  [Leaders]  [Red and White Organizations]  [The War Women]  [Warriorship and War Titles]
[Diplomacy]  [Immunity of Ambassadors]  [Marriage and Divorce]  [Tobacco Pipes]  [The Ceremonial War Hatchet]
[Take Up The Hatchet]  [Bury The Hatchet]  [Traders and Merchants]  [Craftsmen and Industrial Arts]  [Games]
[Taboo]  [Burial]  [Book Main]