Chief Little Pine.

Chief Little Pine (Augustin Shingwauk) was following his work in the lonely bush, his at the thought of the black-coat (missionary) leaving them. Suddenly a thought entered his mind, it was as though an arrow had struck his breast; “I will go with him,–I will journey with this black-coat where he is going. I will see the great black-coat (the Bishop of Toronto) myself, and ask that Mr. Wilson may come and be our teacher, and I will ask him also to send more teachers to the shores of the great Ojebway Lake, for why indeed are my poor brethren left so long in ignorance and darkness with no one to instruct them? Is it that Christ loves us less than His white children? Or is it that the Church is sleeping? Perhaps I may arouse them, perhaps I may stir them up to send us more help, so that the Gospel may be preached to my poor pagan brethren. So I resolved to go. I only told just my wife and a few friends of my intention. I felt that the Great Spirit had called me to go, and even though I was poor and had but a few dollars in my pocket, still I knew that the great God in heaven, to whom forty years ago I yielded myself up, would not let me want. I felt sure that He would provide for my necessities. So when the raspberry moon had already risen, and was now fifteen days old (July 15), and the black-coat and his wife stepped on board the great fire-ship, I stepped on also. I had not told him as yet what was my object in going and at first he left me to myself, thinking, I suppose, that I was going on my own business. I was a stranger on board; no one knew me, and no one seemed to care for me.

“When we arrived at Ahmejewunoong (Sarnia), the fire-waggons (railway cars) were almost ready to start; so I still had to fast, and not until we had started on our way to Pahkatequayaug (London), did the black-coat know that I had been all that time without food. Then he was very sorry indeed, and from that time began to take great care of me, and I told him plainly what was my object in coming. It is not necessary for me to say anything about London. The black-coats met together in council to elect the great black-coat Chief (Bishop Hellmuth), and I went to the big church to see them all. But I had nothing particular to say to them, for their great black-coat had nothing to do with my people. I was impatient to get on to Toronto to see the chief black-coat who has authority to send teachers to my people on the great Ojebway Lake. We arrived in Toronto on the sixth day of the week when the raspberry moon was twenty-two days old. I was glad to see the great city again, for I had seen it first many years ago, when it was but a papoose, and had but a few houses and streets. We went to the place where the black-coats who have authority over missions meet, and I opened my heart to them and divulged its secrets. I said that at Garden River we were well content, for we had had the Gospel preached to us now for forty winters, and I felt our religious wants had been well attended to; but when I considered how great and how powerful is the English nation, how rapid their advance, and how great their success in every work to which they put their hands, I wondered often in my mind, and my people wondered too, why the Christian religion should have halted so long at Garden River, just at the entrance to the great Lake of the Ojebways; and how it was that forty winters had passed away and yet religion still slept, and the poor Indians of the great Ojebway Lake pleaded in vain for teachers to be sent to them. I said that we Indians know our great mother, the Queen of the English nation, is strong, and we cannot keep back her power any more than we can stop the rising sun. She is strong, her people are great and strong, but _my_ people are weak. Why do you not help us? It is not good. I told the black-coats I hoped that before I died I should see a big teaching wigwam built at Garden River, where children from the great Ojebway Lake would be received, and clothed, and fed, and taught how to read and how to write, and also how to farm and build houses, and make clothing, so that by-and-bye they might go back and teach their own people. The black-coats listened to what I said, and they replied their wish was the same as mine. Afterwards I saw the Bishop of Toronto (Strachan), and he said that it was his own wish that Mr. Wilson should become our Missionary. My heart rejoiced more and more, and I felt now that the great object of my journey was accomplished, and I could return again to my people. But they did not wish me to go home yet. It was to be arranged that the white people should meet together to hear me speak on the third day of the following week.

“Many were the thoughts that filled my mind at that time, as I walked along the streets of Toronto, and looked at the fine buildings and stores full of wonderful and expensive things. ‘How rich and powerful is the English nation! I thought. ‘Why is it that their religion does not go on and increase faster?’ When I entered the place where the speaking paper (newspaper) is made and saw the great machines by which it is done, and by which the papers are folded, I thought, ‘Ah, that is how it is with the English nation, every day they get more wise, every day they find out something new. The Great Spirit blesses them and teaches them all these things because they are Christians, and follow the true religion. Would that my people were enlightened and blessed in the same way!’

“The next day was the day of prayer, and I went to the big wigwam where the children assemble to be taught. I stood up and spoke to them, and told them how much I desired that my children should be taught in the same way, and have such a beautiful wigwam to assemble in, where they might hear about God and His Son Jesus Christ. It rejoiced my heart to hear them sing. After this I entered the great house of prayer (the cathedral). I was in Toronto when the first one was there. Since that time it had been burnt down and rebuilt, and then all burnt down again, and yet now it stands here larger and grander than before. ‘The white people,’ I said to myself, ‘have plenty of money; if they knew how poor my people are, surely they would give more of their money to build a house for us where our children may be taught.’ I could not understand the words of the service, but my heart was full of thoughts of God, and I thought how good a thing it was to be a Christian, and I rejoiced that I had heard of the love of Christ, who died for His red children, as well as for the pale faces, for He is not ashamed, we know now, to call us brothers. During the few days we remained in Toronto I was out nearly all the time with Mr. Wilson, collecting money at the people’s wigwams. I am an old man of seventy winters, and I cannot walk about as much as I could when I was young; so he got a waggon, and we drove from house to house. I thought some of the people were very good. One woman gave us ten dollars, but many of them gave us very little, and some would not give us anything at all.

“When we reached St. Catharine’s Mr. Wilson and myself went from wigwam to wigwam, asking for money to help the Indians on the great Chippeway Lake. In the evening the white people met together in the teaching wigwam, and there were so many of them that they had no more room to sit, and I spoke to them and told them the thoughts of my heart. This time I spoke more boldly than I had done before. I told them that as an Indian chief I had a right to speak on behalf of my poor people, for the land the white men now held was the land of my fathers; and now that the white man was powerful, and the Indian was weak, the Indian had a right to look to him for help and support. As I closed my speech I looked around last of all upon the children; for I wished my eyes last of all to rest upon these white children who had received the benefit of education and Christian instruction; and I gave them my beaver-skin to keep in their school, so that they might always remember my visit and think upon my words.

“On the second day of the week, early in the morning, we entered the fire-waggon to go to the river of the Mohawks. I was greatly rejoiced to see Mr. Chance once more, and also his wife and children. I remained with them three days.

“When the day came for me to leave, the black-coat, Chance, took me in his waggon to the place where the fire-waggons start, and sent a wire-message to Mr. Wilson to be ready to meet me when I arrived.

“I sat in the fire-waggon, and smoked my pipe, and rejoiced in my mind that my work was now over, and I should soon return to my people. For many hours I travelled, and the sun had already sunk in the west, and I thought I must be nearly arrived at Ahmujewunoong, when the fire-waggon chief came to look at my little paper; and then he looked at me and shook his head, and I understood I had come the wrong way. Presently the fire-waggon stood still, and the chief beckoned me to get out, and he pointed to the west, and made signs by which I understood that I must now wait for the fire-waggons going towards the sun-rising, and in them return part of the way back. By-and-bye the fire-waggons approached, coming from where the sun had set; and a man told me to get in. It was midnight when I reached Pahkatequayang (London), and they let me go into the wire-house and lie down to sleep. I slept well all night, and early in the morning a man beckoned to me that the fire-waggons were ready to start for Sarnia, and showed me which way to go.

“Thus I at length got back to Sarnia, and was glad to lie down and rest in Mr. Wilson’s wigwam; and now I am waiting for the fire-ship to come, and as soon as it comes I shall go on board and return straight home to my people.

“The black-coat, Wilson, has asked me to let him write down all this that I have told him, so that it may be made into a book and read by everybody. And I hope that by-and-bye all the white people will see this book, and that their hearts will be warmed towards the poor ignorant Indians who live on the shores of the Great Ojebway Lake.

“We have collected three hundred dollars, but three hundred dollars is not enough to make religion increase. If we had but the worth of one of those big wigwams, of which I saw so many in Toronto, I think it would be enough to build a teaching wigwam at Garden River, and enough to send teachers also to the shores of the Great Ojebway Lake. I must have something done for my people before I die; and if I cannot get what I feel we ought to have from the Great Chiefs of this country, I am determined to go to the far distant land across the sea, and talk to the son of our Great Mother, the Prince of Wales, who became my friend during his visit to Canada, and gave me my medal, and who, I believe, will still befriend me if I tell him what my people need.”

Wilson, Rev. Edward F. Missionary Work Among the Ojebway Indians. London: Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge. 1886.

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