Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & President A. Jackson - 5

     Cobmoosa, was once the sub chief of Noonday's (P) and Wobwindigo's (OT) tribes.  Noonday signed the Treaty of 1821 and Wobwindigo the Treaty of 1836.  Once a chief signed a treaty they could sign no other.  In the absence of the great warrior Noonday it was Cobmoosa who led many hunting and fishing parties into the wilderness areas of the Upper Flat River, the Maple and Thornapple Rivers and bring back food to his people (1790-1830).   Game was getting scarcer.
     When Noonday in the presence of Cobmoosa was in Washington to sign the Treaty of 1821 Cobmoosa was no longer sub-chief since many in Noonday's two Potawatomi villages had to left to reservations.  Noonday had the "rapids" village in Grand Rapids and another village in the Kalamazoo area.  Kalamazoo Avenue was the Indian Trail between his two villages. Slowly the entire tribe dissolved into the Bradley Reservation or Missouri Reservations while Noonday and Cobmoosa continued to help the missionaries establish the mission in Grand Rapids.
     Cobmoosa knew that within a few years Noonday would have to leave as the Treaty of 1821 stipulated.  In his upriver travels he became friends with Boshaw and Chief Hazy Cloud at Ada and was welcome in Chief Keywaycooshcum's and Wobwindigo's Ottawa villages.  Since he didn't wish to leave his native land, he had to remove himself, so he found shallow spots in the Grand River and waded across. He shunned canoe travel his entire life.  He suffered from hydrophobia - fear of water and drowning.  He traveled on foot wherever he went and his wives trailed him.
     Cobmoosa was an expert in how to supply the bands with meat.  He showed the younger men how to make bows and arrows until he bought an old shotgun from Mrs. Sessions east of Ionia.  He was the traveling tribal medicine man or magician within the various tribes to offer comfort to the sick.  He told others about his dreams and used his eloquent speeches to shape the direction of the tribes.  As such he became the greatest peace orator of traditional customs and laws of the Grand and Flat River tribes and was held in high esteem wherever his travels took him.
     Chief John Wabasis adopted foster-father was Cobmoosa and he taught Wabasis how to be the best at everything.  He educated the lad and later in life he was so proud of Wabasis and together they used their intelligence to keep the peace in the Grand River valley.  Despite the renegades blasphemous language to kill incoming settlers these two chiefs kept the river from turning red with much blood.  This is how both of then  reaped greater rewards from Presidents rather than the language for payment in treaties.
     Cobmoosa had his share of mentors, too, like other great orators known as Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee, the Red Jackets of the Senecas and Pa-ban-ne, the Henry Clay of the Ottawa nations. 
     Chief Noonday was about 11 years older than Cobmoosa.  Cobmoosa being fatherless was taught the ways of his friends and warriors, but Cobmoosa shied away from the unpleasant talk.  He was never impressed nor did he ever participate in savagery of any kind.  Noonday was forever boasting about his wicked savagery during the American Revolutionary War, the Indian Wars and the War of   1812-1818.
     Cobmoosa disliked Noondays torturous conversations and instead taught Wabasis to respect the white mans religion and do without savagery.  Wabasis listened intently and absorbed Cobmoosa's teachings and became an honorable chief of his own clan at Wabasis Lake in 1838 when lazy blackskins labeled him a thief by stealing their annual annuity payments.  Blackskins were slaves caught in time of war.  Their lives were spared, but to survive they had to become Indian.  Some Blackskins near Greenville were convinced Wabasis was responsible for stealing their annuity payments.
     Cobmoosa, Wabasis and Boshaw were those dedicated half-breed Indian men who stayed out of conflicts with Washington.  Not all of Cobmoosa's mentors were educated -  some were ignorant, but like their fathers, the educated half-breeds took Indian wives, too, who helped them keep peace from 1821-1855. (continued)

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