We Hidatsas do not reckon our kin as white men do. If a white man marries, his wife is called by his name; and his children also, as Tom Smith, Mary Smith. We Indians had no family names. Every Hidatsa belonged to a clan; but a child, when he was born, became a member of his mother’s, not his father’s clan.
An Indian calls all members of his clan his brothers and sisters. The men of his father’s clan he calls his clan fathers; and the women, his clan aunts. Thus I was born a member of the Tsistska, or Prairie Chicken clan, because my mother was a Tsistska. My father was a member of the Meedeepahdee, or Rising Water clan. Members of the Tsistska clan are my brothers and sisters; but my father’s clan brothers, men of the Meedeepahdee, are my clan fathers, and his clan sisters are my clan aunts.
- Waheenee--An Indian Girl's Story
as told to Gilbert Livingstone Wilson
Illustrator: Frederick N. Wilson
Published in 1921
Available from gutenberg.org
- Posted on
- Monday 10 January 2022