is an excerpt from “Nipissing from Brule to Booth”, by Murray Leatherdale
(1975), a book concerning the history of
the Ottawa Valley. - I thought you would find this interesting. I have left it
with the original grammar and spellings, seems pretty old.
- Patrick Glassford.
Laws of The Eastern Algonquin
THE CHILDREN OF LIGHT
1 Condemn Not A
Man by the hue of his flesh, the lilt of his voice or the curvature of his face,
for it is within him and unseen that which can love you.
2 Look into the
eyes of your child once a moon and see there for you the miracle of the Great
3 He who knows not
the love of a small child cannot know the love of the Great Spirit.
4 When you think
you are a great chief and above your tribesmen go into the forest, stand before
a mighty pine, then tell that pine how great a man you really are.
5 If you find fear
in your heart go into the mountains, stand high on the peak, watch the storm
come from the horizon, see the lightning and hear the thunder and know that all
this power is small in comparison to the power of the Great Spirit with which he
has to protect you.
6 When you become
a wolf in the lodge of your loved ones go into the forest, find the tranquillity,
there rest a while, then come home again, a man.
7 Beware of the
man that smiles too soon, for does not the wolf smile just before he bites?
8 Father in your
youth have time for your son and in your age your son shall have time for you.
9 In the profusion
of the forest examine the small weed and note there the work of the Great
10 Sing loud in
the forest and be not ashamed of your voice for the Great Spirit loves the song
of the Raven, and did he not give him his?
11 Hurt not any
child for they are the possessions of the Great Spirit and remain so until
12 Honour your
father and your child shall honour you.
13 Make sure others are not
hungry when you have sufficient for loneliness will drive you mad.
14 Remember, hate destroys
the hater and the hated watches him die.
15 Mend the tribe you have
defeated in war and they shall no longer be your enemies.
16 If a stranger
enter your lodge, feed first his dog and by this he will know you are of a kind
comes from the heart and the heart cannot speak.
18 Knock not upon the lodge of another for you may
frighten the children.
19 Make sure the
smell of your people is a good smell to your nostrils.
20 When you take
of the trees of the forest thank the Great Spirit, for they were made by him and
given to you as to your need.
21 The Shaman
Chief shall kill no game, for his duty is to preserve all life of the tribe and
pertaining to the tribe.
22 If the Dog
Soldier be commanded by the chief to take the life of another, the chief is
responsible and may only do so in the defence of the tribe or the chieftanship.
23 When you walk
on the land of a strange tribe, remove your moccasins in honour of this tribe
for their land is their great love and the possession of their God.
24 If you wish to
feel the hand of the Great Spirit stand naked in the sun.
yourself for warmth and not for shame.
26 Love is man's
greatest possession for even the beasts of the forest will return it when
27 Despise not the
infirmity of your brother's mind or body or any condition of life for they may
become in time your own lot.
28 When sickness
or infirmity or the reverse of fortune affect us, the sincerity of friendship is
29 The path to the
Great Spirit is as wide to the tribesman as it is to the chiefs.
30 To discover
truth the mind must be sedate, seek council at the council rock.
31 In all your
reason employ your mind in the search of truth.
32 The true
worship of the Great Spirit is an important and reverent necessity to success.
33 Know that to be
a leader and a chief you must be the servant of the least of your people.
34 Know that the
Great Spirit is the light beyond the sun, who created the sun, water and earth,
then with these things he created a man.
35 The eldest of
the lodge is chief of the lodge and though he becomes feeble, you in time will
36 If your
father's bones lie in the land, you are of the land for his spirit lie with the
spirits of this land.
37 It shall be the
father who council in truth with his son in matters of the flesh and mothers
with their daughters. Sons belong to fathers for they were once sons, and
daughters to mothers, for they were once daughters. The son raised by a mother
will never become a warrior, and a daughter raised by a father shall have
difficulty in the search for gentleness.
38 If your village
stinks, sickness will visit your people.
39 Make no dung or
water within four lengths of a man, to a river, lake or brook.
40 If a man be
crippled or maimed, it is the will of the Great Spirit. Never condemn the will
of the Great Spirit.
41 Feed the
stranger who appears at your lodge, for he is also a child of the Great Spirit.
42 Beware of
the man who has no love for his dog, particularly if his dog has no love for
43 If you see a
man unclothed in the sun, know that it is beautiful, for it is the likeness of
the Great Spirit.
44 Know that flesh
upon flesh is a very small part of love and that it is the completion and not
45 Take for
yourself one mate and you shall have peace in your lodge.
46 The child of the elk and the deer is owned by
The man who touches a deer and lets it live is truly a hunter, but he who
kills for the like of killing has a lack of heart and few friends.
If you wish to hunt for the sake of killing, hunt a man, he is your equal
and can fire back the arrow.
49 Tend the
wounds of your brother, for the Great Spirit made both of you in the same
it be necessary to punish a child, do it in such a way as to improve his
strength or his mind, but lay not your hand upon him for you may damage the
possession of your god, his gift you.
51 Know the
success of a man by the weight of his child and the smile upon his child's face.
52 Blame no child
how it came to be, for the gift of life is from the Great Spirit.
When the nose of your son reaches your first rib, take him into the
forest, kill for him a deer; from the fore shoulders to the rear, remove one
hand span by two arm lengths of leather, then from the underside remove a strip
the width of your thumb long enough to circle his waist; put the warm hide
between his legs and lace it through the belt, front and back. He will then know
the reason for killing; Waste not the remainder of the deer.
54 Hold your head high my son
for it is your father your honour. If you cannot honour your father, you will
never hold your head high.
55 The evil of nudity is
generally in the eye of the beholder.
56 Humility is one of the most
amiable virtues one can possess.
57 The child who is solemnly
fed and never injured in games of hunt, or damaged from childish play, will
become like a beast of prey who destroys without pity, for the search for the
knowledge of suffering.
58 Flattery made to deceive
and betray, should be avoided as a rabid wolf.
59 Unhappiness is brought to
those who are deaf to the calls of duty and of honour.
60 If you have only trees
to view, you have many possessions.
61 They who have much given to
them will have much to answer for.
62 It is not to be expected
that those who in early life have been dark and deceitful should afterwards
become fair and ingenous. (sic)
63 They who have laboured to
make us wise and good are the persons whom we ought to love and respect and whom
we ought to be grateful to.
64 From the character of those
whom you associate with, your own will be estimated.
65 It is the Great Spirit who
breathes the wind upon the earth with the breath of spring who covers it with
splendor and beauty.
66 When the trees get their
leaves, the brook again sings after the long winter, and the land becomes green
again, it is the time of giving.
67 The truest gift
in substance your child can give you is two sticks tied. together; It is not the
two sticks, it is the tying.
68 To enjoy your
own land, look back upon it from another.
69 The ruin of a
tribe is generally preceded by a universal degeneracy of manners and contempt
toward the Great Spirit.
We are frequently benefitted by what we have dreaded.
It is no great virtue to live lovingly with good-natured and meek
It deserves our best skill to inquire into those rules by which we may
guide our judgement.
If we lie no restraint upon our lust, no control upon our appetites and
passions, they will hurry us to guilt and misery.
74 To promote
iniquity in others is the same as being the actors of it ourselves.
75 Be not afraid
of the wicked, they are under the control of providence.
of guilt may justly affright us.
77 Convey unto
others no intelligence which you would be ashamed to avow.
78 How many
disappointments have in their consequences saved a man from ruin and his
well-poised mind makes a cheerful countenance.
80 Virtue embalms the memory of good.
The Shaman may dispense but the Great Spirit alone can bless
82 Condemn not a man till you have walked a mile in
83 In many
pursuits we embark with pleasure and land sorrowfully.
mountains and caverns are of indispensable use both to the earth and to man.
85 The hive of the
village or the lodge is in the best condition when there is the least buzz in
86 The roughness
found on our entrance into the paths of virtue and learning, grow smoother as we
advance into manhood.
harmlessness of many animals and the enjoyment which they have of life, should
plead for them against cruel usage.
88 We are often
very busy to no useful purpose.
89 Genuine charity
how liberal so ever it may be, will never impoverish ourselves.
disagreeable, we must resolutely perform our duty.
91 A bout of
sickness is often a kind of chastisement and discipline, to moderate the
affection for the things of this life.
92 Health and
peace, our most valuable possessions, are obtained at a small price.
93 True happiness
is an enemy to pomp and noise.
94 Few depressions
are more distressing than those which we make upon ourselves in our own
95 Cultivate your
own heart and not that of evil ways.
96 Wars are
attended with distasteful and devastating affects; it is confessedly the scourge
of our angry passion.
97 The blood of
all men when spilled together cannot be defined apart.
98 Encourage no
man to do what he believes to be wrong.
99 It shall not be
said that we are charitable doners when our deeds proceed with selfish motives.
100 A great joy to a father is
the glint of the sweat on the muscles of his son in worthy effort.
101 The gentleness of a
daughter's a joy to her mother.
102 Endeavor to become a great
chief and you stand a good chance of becoming a great warrior.
103 Great warriors do not
always fight but with wisdom, are peace makers.
104 May a young man put his
hand in the hand of an old man and let him live again a day of his youth, and
from this learning your youth will become more keenly full.
105 Do one great deed in your
life and it will be easier to die.
106 Recompense to no man evil
for evil; this will define the leaders of men for the chieftans of the tribe.
107 Meekness controls our
angry passions, candor our severe judgements.
108 To be faithful among the
faithless argues great grants of principal.
109 Be not fooled but know
that wars are regulated robberies.
110 A friend exaggerates a
man's virtues, an enemy enflames his crimes
111 A witty and humerous vein
more often produces enemies.
112 Many have been visited
with afflictions who have not profited by them.
113 The experience of want
enhances the virtue of plenty.
114 The wicked are often
ensnared in the trap they lie for others.
115 When retiring at the setting of the day and there is an argument in
your lodge, say you are wrong, though you are right and go to bed happy.
116 It is hard to say what
diseases are controllable they are all under the controls of the Great Spirit.
117 Fear not the Shaman for he
is guided by the Great Spirit, and his cures are the gifts of the Great
118 A steady mind may receive
council, but there is no hold on a changeable humor.
119 Excessive merriment is the
path to grief.
120 To practice virtue is a
sure way to love it.
121 One should study to live
peaceably with all men.
122 A great warrior has a soul that can secretly defy death and consider
it nature's privilege to die.
123 The man who claims no fear
is an idiot and a liar.
124 Let not the sternness of
virtue affright us; she will soon become amiable.
125 True valor protects the
feeble and humbles the oppressor.
126 Hurt no child or elder in
war for they are the possessions of the Great Spirit.
127 One should recollect that
however favourable we may appear to ourselves, we are vigorously examined-by
128 Virtue can render youth as
well as old age, honour.
129 Rumor most often tells
130 Let gossip not break a
treaty between friends or tribes; often a jealous tongue will use it to
131 Weak minds are ruffled by
132 It is an Honourable chieftan who feeds the hungry, visits the
sick and clothes the naked and helpless of children.
133 It is good to be cheerful
134 The gaiety of youth should be
tempered with the respect. of' age.
135 The most acceptable
sacrifice is that of a humble and contrite heart.
136 We are accountable for
whatever we patronize in others.
137- It is a mark of a vicious
disposition to torture animals, to make them smart and agonize for our devotion.
138 A guilty man cannot avoid
many melancholy apprehensions.
139 If we injure other we must expect retaliation.
140 The conscious receiver is
as bad as the thief.
141 The Great Spirit is not
only the creator but the ruler and preserver of all life.
142 Honest endeavors, if
persevered in, will finally be successful.
143 It requires a kind heart
as well as a just mind to be a great chief.
144 Inquire into the cause of
the crimes of your warriors before you pass judgement on the crime itself.
145 If your warrior steals
a loaf of bread, judge him for why. If to feed his children, you are also
responsible as Chief that no child should be hungry, but if for self gain only,
then he is guilty.
146 When the father of a child
be a slave to your tribe, remember that the child is yet the possession of the
Great Spirit who at the time of maturity may claim your tribe as his own; this
be his right.
147 There be first the child, then the rabbit warrior, then the
claim to the tribe at maturity, then the hunter, then the dog soldier (the
protector of children and the chieftanship), then a councillor, then an elder.
148 The bloodline chief
becomes in line for chieftanship, being the youngest son at the death of the
grandfather, therefore the father chief will have time to train him.
149 The child will choose the
parents upon the death of his own.
150 Children in their childish
battles must be taught to feed the loser for the following day.
151 Learning is loosing an
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Changes last made on: February 21, 2003.