Native American Nations
                   Your Source for Indian Research
                   Rolls ~ History ~ Treaties ~ Census ~ Books

Initiation of Candidate

 Native American Nations | The Midē Wiwin or Grand Medicine Society                    

If, however, the day be clear and promising the candidate goes early to the sweat-lodge, where he is joined by his preceptor, and later by the officiating priest. After all preliminaries have been arranged and the proper time for regular proceedings has arrived, the preceptor sings the following song (Pl. X, C), the musical notation of which varies according to his feelings, clearly showing that there is no recognized method of vocal delivery, as is the case with the music of dancing songs:

Plate X.c. Mnemonic Song.

to´-e-a-nē´ kan-do´-e-a-nē´,
in-nin´-nĭ man´-e-dō´-ē´.
     The spirit man is crying out.
[The head of the Midē´, a synonym of Ki´tshi Man´idō. The voice lines show spots denoting intensity of accentuation, and that Ki´tshi Man´idō is pleased to look with favor upon the proceedings.]
Ya-ni-nē´, na´, tshi-mo-tē´, hē´,
     Talking around in various sections.
The voice lines, as in the preceding figure, extending downward from the mouth to either side, have spots upon them to indicate “talks” in various directions addressed to the Midē´.
Man´-e-dō, wē´, hē´, pe-me´-so-wa´.
     The spirit is flying.
The Thunder Bird, who causes the rain, is away at some remote place.
Mi-de´-we-tē-we´ me´-wa-gwi´-shak-wa´, mi-de´-we-ta´.

The day is clear; let us have the grand medicine.

[The Mide’s hand reaches to the sky, and rain falls at places other than upon the Midē´wigân, as shown by rain lines from the end of the curved lines denoting the sky.]
Me-shak´-kwot dung´-ke-hē´,
     I am the sign that the day will be clear.
[The Midē´’s hand reaches to the sky, as indicated by the short transverse line, and the sun’s rays diverge in all directions.]
Sun´-gis-ni de´-wit-ka-ne´, he´,
wi-no´-wo-he´-she-wat´ man´-i-do-wi-tshik.
     I am the strongest medicine, is what is said of me.
[The speaker compares himself to Makwa´ Man´idō, the Bear Spirit.]
Hwo´-ba-mī´-de, hwo´-ba-mī-de, man-ĕ-dō
     The spirit in the middle of the sky sees me.
[The upper spot denotes the abode of Ki´tshi Man´idō, the “line of vision” extending to the speaker, shown at a corresponding spot below.]
Ni-wĭ-we´-wai-a-de´ hi´-me nai´-o-nā´.
     I take my sack and touch him.
The Midē´ will use his sacred Otter-skin sack to touch the candidate.
Man´-i-dō wi-kan-ē´, mi-de´-yo.
     My medicine is the sacred spirit.
The Midē´ professes to have received the divine gift from Ki´tshi Man´idō; the gifts are seen descending to the hand held up to receive them.
Ha-ni-ne´ ku-mē´ ni´-kan-nē´?
     How do you answer me, my Midē´ friends?

This is addressed to the Midē´ priests (Nika´ni) present, and is an inquiry as to their willingness to proceed. The Midē´wigân is shown, the line running horizontally through it the path of the candidate (or one who has gone through), the two spots within the place of the sacred stone and the post, while the spot to the right of the outside of the inclosure denotes the beginning, or the sweat-lodge, symbolizing the circle of the earth upon the Midē´ chart (Pl. III), those upon the left denoting the three possible degrees of advancement in the future.

Upon the conclusion of the song there is a brief interval, during which all partake of a smoke in perfect silence, making the usual offerings to the four points of the compass, to Ki´tshi Man´idō´, and toward the earth.

The preceptor then says:

Mĭs-sa´i´-a-shi-gwa, mĭs-sa´-a-shĭ-gwa- nŏn´-do-nŭng; ka-kĭ-nâ
Now is the time,  now is the time he
hears us; all of us
ka-kĭn´-nâ-gi-nŏn´-do-da´g-u-nan´ ga-o´-shī-dōt mi-dē´-wĭ´-win.
he hears us all the one who made the Midē´wiwin.

After this monologue he continues, and addresses to the candidate the Midē´ gagĭ´kwewĭn´, or Midē´ sermon, in the following language, viz:

An-be´-bi-sĭn´-di-wi´-shĭn, wa´-i-ni´-nan;
now listen to me
what I am about to say to you;
kēsh´-pin-pe´-sin-da´-nin-wĭn da-ma´-dzhi shka´ ke´-bi-mâ´-di-si-wĭn´.
If you take heed of that which I say to you shall continue always your life.
Un, nun´-gūm, ke-za´-ki-gi-zi-ton mŏn ki´-tshi man´-i-dō ō´-dik-kid´-do-wĭn´;
Now, to-day I make known to you the great spirit That which he says;
o´-wi-dŏsh kid´-di-nĭ ki-ī´-kid-dō´kī´-tshi man´-i-dō gi´-sa-gi-ĭg´.
and now this I say to you. This is what says the great spirit that he loves you.
to-wa´-bish-ga´  gi-shtig-wa a-pī-we- sa´-gi-sit´-to-wad
It shall be white the sacred object at the time When they shall let it be known
o-sa´-in-di-kid´-do-wīn ĕ´-kid-dōdt ki´-tshi man´-i-dō
and this is what I say That which he says the great spirit
ŏ´-gi-din´-nĭn mis-sâ´-wa ke´-a-ked´-de-wó
now this I impart to you even if they say
wa´-ba-ma-tshin´ni-bŭdt mi´-â-ma´ tshī´-ō- nish-gâd´,
That they saw him dead in this place he shall be Raised again
ini-â-má a-pe´-ni-nut´ nin-dē´ kid´-do-wĭn
in this place he puts his trust In my heart in this “saying”
min-nik´ kid-da´- kĭ-o-wink´. Ka-wī´-ka-da-an´-na-we´-was-si-nan,
the time of the duration Of the world. It shall never fail.
me-ē´-kid-dodt´ man´-i-dō. Nin´-ne-dzha´-nis
That is what he says, the spirit. My child,
ke-un´-dzhi be-mâ´-dis si´-an.
this shall give you life.

The Midē´ priests then leave the sweat-lodge and stand upon the outside, while the candidate gathers up in his arms a number of small presents, such as tobacco, handkerchiefs, etc., and goes out of the wig´iwam to join the Midē´ priests. The order of marching to the main entrance of the Midē´wigân is then taken up in the following order: First the candidate, next the preceptor, who in turn is followed by the officiating priests, and such others, and members of his family and relatives as desire. At the door of the Midē´wigân all but one of the priests continue forward and take their stations within the inclosure, the preceptor remaining on one side of the candidate, the Midē´ priest upon the other, then all march four times around the outside of the inclosure, toward the left or south, during which time drumming is continued within. Upon the completion of the fourth circuit the candidate is placed so as to face the main entrance of the Midē´wigân. When he is prompted to say:

“Man- un´-ga-bīn´-di-gĕ o-bŏg´-ga-dĭ-nan´, o-dai´-ye-din´.”
Let me come in nd these I put down a my things [gifts].

The presents are then laid upon the ground. The preceptor goes inside, taking with him the gifts deposited by the candidate, and remains standing just within the door and faces the degree post toward the west. Then the chief officiating priest, who has remained at the side of the candidate, turns toward the latter and in a clear, distinct, and exceedingly impressive manner sings the following chant, addressed to Ki´tshi Man´idō whose invisible form is supposed to abide within the Midē´wigan during such ceremonies, stating that the candidate is presented to receive life (the mī´gis) for which he is suffering, and invoking the divine favor.

Hai ya ha man´-i-dō, hō´, ti-bish´-ko-gish´-i-gŭng, hē´, we-zá-ba-mid´-mi
There is a spirit ho, just as the one above, he, now sits with me
nin-dzhá-nis, esh-ĭ-gan´-do-we, hē´, hwē´, mé-a-tshi-bin´-de-gan´-ni-nan,
my child and now I proclaim, he, hwe, that I enter you here
nōs, dzhi-man´-i-dō, hō´, hwō´, sha-wé-nĭ-mi-shin´, hē´, hwē´,
my father good spirit, ho, hwo, have pity on me, he, hwe
a-shig´-wa-bin´-de-gan-nŏk gé-gwa-da-gí-sid wi-bĭ-mâ´-di-sĭd,
now that I enter him here, he that is suffering for life,
dé-bwe-daú-wi-shĭn dzhí-bi-mâ´-di-sĭd´, nōs,
believe me that he shall live, my father,
wē´-o-sĭm´-in-nan´, hē´, hē´.
whose child I am, he, he.

The following is the musical notation:

he-he-he-he yo.

The candidate is then led within the inclosure when all the members of the society arise while he is slowly led around toward the southern side to the extreme end in the west, thence toward the right and back along the western side to the point of beginning. This is done four times. As he starts upon his march, the member nearest the door falls in the line of procession, each member continuing to drop in, at the rear, until the entire assembly is in motion. During this movement there is a monotonous drumming upon the Midē´ drums and the chief officiating priest sings:

Ni´-sha-bon´-da shkan wig´-i-wam ke-non´-deg,
I go through [the] “house” the long, i.e., through the Midē´wigân.

At the fourth circuit, members begin to stop at the places previously occupied by them, the candidate going and remaining with his preceptor to a point just inside the eastern entrance, while the four officiating priests continue around toward the opposite end of the inclosure and station themselves in a semicircle just beyond the degree post, and facing the western door. Upon the ground before them are spread blankets and similar goods, which have been removed from the beams above, and upon which the candidate is to kneel. He is then led to the western extremity of the inclosure where he stands upon the blankets spread upon the ground and faces the four Midē´ priests. The preceptor takes his position behind and a little to one side of the candidate, another assistant being called upon by the preceptor to occupy a corresponding position upon the other side. During this procedure there is gentle drumming which ceases after all have been properly stationed, when the preceptor steps to a point to the side and front of the candidate and nearer the officiating priests, and says:

Mĭ-i´-shi-gwa´ bŏ´-gi-ta-mon´-nan, mi´-na-nan´-kĕ-ân-dzhi bi-mâ´-dĭ-si´-an.
The time has arrived that I yield it to you. [the Midē´migis] that
will give you

The preceptor then returns to his position back of and a little to one side of the candidate, when the chief officiating priest sings the following song, accompanying himself upon a small cylindrical Midē´drum. The words are: Kit´-ta-non´-do-wē man´-i-do´-wid—you shall hear me, spirit that you are—, and the music is rendered as follows:

Kit´ta-no´do-we man´i-dō´wid-hō dō, wē, hē,
Kit´ta-no´do-we man´i-dō-wid-hō, hē, hwē, hē,
Kit´-ta-no´-do-we man´-i-dō´-wid, kit´ta-no´do-wē,
kit´ta-no´do-wid, man´i-do´-wid, man´i-do´wid-hō, wē, hwē, hē,
Kit´ta-no´dowē´ Man´idō´wid, hō, hē, hwē, hē, hē, hwē, hē.

This site includes some historical materials that may imply negative stereotypes reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. These items are presented as part of the historical record and should not be interpreted to mean that the WebMasters in any way endorse the stereotypes implied.

The Midē Wiwin or Grand Medicine Society, 1891

Previous | The Midē Wiwin or Grand Medicine Society | Next


Copyright 2000-2019 by and/or their author(s). The webpages may be linked to but shall not be reproduced on another site without written permission from NaNations or their author. Images may not be linked to in any manner or method. Anyone may use the information provided here freely for personal use only. If you plan on publishing your personal information to the web please give proper credit to our site for providing this information. Thanks!!!