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Fourth Degree

 Native American Nations | The Midē Wiwin or Grand Medicine Society                    

Fig. 33.—Diagram of Midē´wigân of the fourth degree.

The Midē´wigân, in which this degree is conferred, differs from the preceding structures by having open doorways in both the northern and southern walls, about midway between the eastern and western extremities and opposite to one another. Fig. 33 represents a ground plan, in which may also be observed the location of each of the four Midē´ posts. Fig. 34 shows general view of same structure. A short distance from the eastern entrance is deposited the sacred stone, beyond which is an area reserved for the presents to be deposited by an applicant for initiation. The remaining two-thirds of the space toward the western door is occupied at regular intervals by four posts, the first being painted red with a band of green around the top. (Pl. XV, No. 1.) The second post is red, and has scattered over its surface spots of white clay to symbolize the sacred mī´gis shell. Upon it is perched the stuffed skin of an owl—kŏ-kó-kŏ-ō´. (Pl. XV, No. 2.) The third post is black; but instead of being round is cut square. (Pl. XV, No. 3.) The fourth post, that nearest the western extremity, is in the shape of a cross, painted white, with red spots, excepting the lower half of the trunk, which is squared, the colors upon the four sides being white on the east, green on the south, red on the west, and black on the north. (Pl. XV, No. 4.)

Fig. 34.—General view of Midē´wigân.

About 10 paces east of the main entrance, in a direct line between it and the sweat lodge, is planted a piece of thin board 3 feet high and 6 inches broad, the top of which is cut so as to present a three-lobed apex, as shown in Fig. 4. The eastern side of this board is painted green; that facing the Midē´wigân red. Near the top is a small opening, through which the Midē´ are enabled to peep into the interior of the sacred structure to observe the angry man´idos occupying the structure and opposing the intrusion of anyone not of the fourth degree.

A cedar tree is planted at each of the outer corners of the Midē´wigân, and about 6 paces away from the northern, western, and southern entrances a small brush structure is erected, sufficiently large to admit the body. These structures are termed bears´ nests, supposed to be points where the Bear Man´ido rested during the struggle he passed through while fighting with the malevolent man´idos within to gain entrance and receive the fourth-degree initiation. Immediately within and to either side of the east and west entrances is planted a short post, 5 feet high and 8 inches thick, painted red upon the side facing the interior and black upon the reverse, at the base of each being laid a stone about as large as a human head. These four posts represent the four limbs and feet of the Bear Man´ido, who made the four entrances and forcibly entered and expelled the evil beings who had opposed him. The fourth-degree Midē´ post— the cross—furthermore symbolizes the four days´ struggle at the four openings or doors in the north, south, east, and west walls of the structure.

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The Midē Wiwin or Grand Medicine Society, 1891

The Midē Wiwin or Grand Medicine Society


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