Sunday, July 4, 2021

The Warpath is Decided Upon

(Source)

Ten Deer looked around at his fellow leaders, "Is it to be war again my friends? Do we help the English in their fight against the French and their Huron and Abenaki dogs? Why should we, the people of the flint¹ go to war? Are our crops not many, our hunting and fishing grounds rich? Why must we fight the white faces' war?"

Lone Elk lifted his hand, the others fell silent as the oldest warrior on the council indicated that he wished to speak. "My brothers, we have traditionally fought against the tribes from across the great Kaniatarakwà:ronte² and the French continue to encroach upon our lands from the north and from the west, with help from their Huron dogs. Of course, our traditional enemies would help the French. But are not the French and English also traditional enemies, much like the Huron and the Haudenosaunee?³ Their fight is now our fight."

A number of the men nodded and murmured their agreement with the old warrior. But one man, Long Canoe, was shaking his head in disagreement. The men ceased their murmuring and looked to him.

"We have spent many years fighting against the Abenaki and the Huron. We sought only to defend that which the Great Spirit gave to the people of the flint and their Haudenosaunee brothers and sisters. But now the white and red soldiers come and kill each other, they kill the peoples of this land, and for what? They mean to take it all, their numbers are as the stars in the sky. We kill many, many more come. I say we stay out of this war. If they come to our lands, then we fight, but we do not go to fight the red soldiers' wars. That is my opinion, but I will bend to the will of the council." Again the men talked quietly among themselves, Long Canoe had spoken the truth. But so had Lone Elk. Neither man was young enough to take to the warpath himself, but had tread that path many times in their youth. They only sought what was best for the people.

Finally Ten Deer, after having listened to the men, said, "I do not like the ways of the men from across the great waters, but the English have always kept their word with us, the men of the north, these French men, they lie to us and they arm our enemies the Huron and the Abenaki. We must follow the path to war with our English friends, for if we do not, war will come to these lands anyway."


Capitaine Jacques Marie Étienne Louis de Montparnasse had been sent by the great Marquis de Montcalm de Saint-Vera himself to seek out and hire such men of the coureurs de bois who would be willing to serve as scouts for the French army in New France and to bring as many of the natives with them to serve as auxiliaries.

The English were actively trading with the peoples of the Ohio country, an area claimed as part of New France. War was coming, blood had already been shed. A force was being gathered to completely eject the English and cow the tribes in the area from further trading with the English.

As the forces of King Louis XV were small in the New World, great reliance would be placed upon the colonial forces such as the Compagnies franches de la marine and other militia. Of the utmost importance was the support of the Iroquois and Abenaki Confederacies.

The Capitaine found himself sitting in an Abenaki longhouse with three of the Abenaki leaders and two of the local coureurs de bois, the Gaudry brothers. "You cannot begin to understand the importance the King places upon his Abenaki subjects in this war against les anglais. Surely you wish to see your Mohawk enemies crushed?"

Little Wolf turned to Alain and Jacques and said, in Abenaki, "Crushed? No. Humbled? Very much so. Do all of your countrymen think that killing is the only way to mend a problem? And since when did we start bowing to this Loo-ee?"

Alain answered, "No my brother, but it is the way of the kings and the nobles who sit in their fine houses. They send the little people to war, while they grow fat from the spoils. They are not like the wolf or the panther who hunts for his meals, no, they are like the carrion birds, feeding off that which someone else worked for."

"But do we help the king of les français, this Loo-ee?" Little Wolf wasn't convinced, he was content with his life here. His woman took good care of him, had given him a son and a daughter, he was loath to leave all that to go down the warpath once more.

Ugly Bear raised a hand, "The king of les français has been good to us. Les anglais keep coming and taking, they have pushed us further and further north. The Mohawk traverse our lands as if the Great Spirit had given them all the Earth. When do we stop running? When we are in the land of the snow people where the sun never shines? We must fight, we have no other choice if we are honest with each other."

Walks Slow nodded at the Frenchman, who was trying hard to contain his impatience, "Look at this man in his fine clothes and fancy hat, will he fight? Or will he stay in the cities and tell others to go fight?"

Alain nodded and addressed the Capitaine, "My sachem wonders if you will take the warpath with your Abenaki brothers, will this Montcalm do so as well? Or will you stay in Montréal and Québec and send others to die for the king in Paris?"

The Capitaine managed to contain his temper, how dare these rustics question his motives, nay, the motives and courage of the Marquis himself. He took a deep breath, then answered, "I will be marching with you. The Marquis will as well, we go into the wilderness to defeat les anglais and drive them from the Ohio forever. But first we must clear them from the area around the lake. For that I will dress as you do, I will eat as you do, I will fight as you do. In this, you have my word." The last came out almost as a snarl, a challenge.

Ugly Bear grinned and said, "I like this français, he snarls like a badger defending a kill. Tell him that we will go to war with him, this Badger With Feathers."

So it was done, so it would be, the brothers Alain, Jacques, and Little Wolf would go to war once more with les anglais, not in the uniforms of the Compagnies nor the uniform of King Louis XV, but as scouts and supports.

That night the Abenaki were pleasantly surprised when the Capitaine joined them in their war dance. It seems he liked his new name, the Badger With Feathers.



¹ The Kanienʼkehá꞉ka became wealthy traders as other nations in their confederacy needed their flint for tool making. Their Algonquian-speaking neighbors (and competitors), the people of Muh-heck Haeek Ing ("food area place"), the Mohicans, referred to the people of Ka-nee-en Ka as Maw Unk Lin, meaning “bear people”. The Dutch heard and wrote this term as Mohawk, and also referred to the Kanienʼkehá꞉ka as Egil or Maqua. (Source)
² The Mohawk name for Lake Champlain.
³ The People of the Longhouse, that is, the Iroquois Confederacy to which the Mohawk belonged.

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42 comments:

  1. I like his nickname, too. Would my Uncle Darrell, the WWII Hellcat driver, have been a Badger With Feathers?

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    1. Remember, these are not nicknames to the natives. Many European names were unpronounceable to them, so they would give them a name in their language which corresponded to a native name. The French captain was named for his snarling attitude and the feathers in his fancy tricorne.

      Your uncle would more than likely have been called Iron Bird or something similar. Maybe even something as simple as Man-Who-Flies.

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    2. True, Sarge! I imagine you know what 'Rakkasan' means, directly translated (tip o' the chapeau to our Army cousins!).
      Gently, 'loathe' is a verb; 'loath' is an adjective. I loathe politicians, and am therefore loath to contribute to them.
      --Tennessee Budd

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    3. Ah, my bad.

      And yes, 落下傘, Japanese for parachute, literally an "umbrella for falling."

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    4. The umbrella men of the chicken men (heard that was a VC/NVA name for the soldiers of the 101st-said with respect).

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    5. AeroBracero #1 - Good one.

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  2. BOOM! Happy (BANG!) Independence Day (WHOOSH..BAM!) Chanters!! (BOOM!)

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    1. Yes, a Happy Independence Day to all who value freedom and the sacrifices made to preserve it.

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  3. As Victor Davis Hanson wrote; the choices in war are almost never between good and bad but between bad and worse. Our characters have chosen bad, but I can certainly empathize with Little Wolf and Long Canoe.
    Parallels are rather obvious on this, our once and future Independence Day
    Boat Guy

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  4. When the neighbors want war you don't have a lot of options left but to go along, no matter how comfortable you are.

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    1. Something, I think, that Belgium finally realized too late twice.

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    2. One could make a pretty good argument that Belgium was a construct slapped together by the major powers after Napoléon's First Abdication. The eastern border speaks German, the southern half speaks French, the northern half speaks Dutch. Or dialects thereof technically. But the modern day Belgians would argue that point, I'm sure.

      Yes, Belgium has an unenviable geographic location.

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    3. Have you seen Stephen Fry, and Hugh Laurie's look at the Treaty of Westphalia?
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=c-WO73Dh7rY

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  5. Maybe, "On the Warpath," or "Upon the Warpath," ?

    Have a good Fourth of July.

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    1. Nope, I wanted the wording to be somewhat archaic, as might be said two hundred and seventy years ago.

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    2. That is the reason I have such trouble with voice recognition technology. Old Guns

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    3. Part the second: Learning to read from the King James Bible leads to problems in verbal intercourse in today's society.

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    4. OG #1 - Voice recognition technology is in its infancy, I don't trust it, I don't like it. Much of that software would be vastly improved if the developers spoke with a linguist or two!

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    5. OG #2 - I can well imagine, the older English had an entirely different rhythm and flow.

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  6. Hey AFSarge;

    Happy Independence Day to you and yours. Something that just occurred to me while reading your post, the alliances were the same with the tribes as they were with the Europeans before WWI, an attack on one would start the war with the others because of the alliances the various tribes have formed over time, that made the war much more devastating and messy because of the entangling alliances others were forced to fight and once the warpath was started, you couldn't unwalk that path.

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    1. Not quite as complex as the alliances preceding the First World War, but if a tribe decided to sit a war out, odds are they would be overrun. When there are only the choices of fight or die, one fights.

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  7. Wisdom speaks, but often no-one is listening.

    Badger With Feathers. Ha. Almost as bad as my nom de guerre.

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    1. Hard to listen when everyone is talking...

      Do tell!

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    2. The first part - "Toirdhealbheach" - is a very archaic Old Irish version of the root of my realspace name. "Beucail" is the Scot's Gaelic word for the sound a cannon makes, so "Booming" or "Roaring".

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  8. It is one thing to seek to incite and recruit people to fight on your side, quite another to actually fight along side them. Good for the BWF.

    But, sadly, like any war, the people who will suffer most will be those who can ill-afford to suffer at all. And from what I remember, all the French and Indian War did was really reduce the number of Indians.

    Sad.

    No good will come of this war. But it is what it is. The tribes will fight anyways as alliances and power shifts to and fro. So, well, might as well get some traction out of it.

    Bleh. Dark thoughts during a dark time.

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    1. It also exiled the Acadians, the folks we know as Cajuns these days.

      Remnants of New France remain, down in the bayous and up north in Québec.

      I often wonder if the Indians would have been better off if the French had won that war.

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    2. Sarge, I like to think so. The French - at least under the Bourbons - seemed to have a much different relationship than the British (and then Americans) with their colonies.

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    3. The French weren't really interested in colonizing as much as the English, more to do with trade I think. After the Bourbons, the French became a bit more violent. To say the least.

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  9. Possible typos? (Or just a dense reader....)

    "...But are not the French and English also traditional enemies, much like the Huron and the Haudenosaunee?³ Their fight is now our fight." ---- not instead of now?

    "And since we did we start bowing to this Loo-ee?" --- when instead of we?
    John Blackshoe

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    1. The first was intentional, the speaker is pointing out that the fight between the French and the English IS now their fight as well, whether they like it or not.

      The second was indeed an error, and has been corrected. 😁

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  10. "...down in the Bayous..." Cajun Country? Brother don't I know..spent some 27 yrs of my life off & on down here!

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  11. PS: HAPPY 4th EVERYONE!!! THE BEST!

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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