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Nancy Bellzona's Picture Book
Chilocco - Chilocco Students 1904

Chilocco Students 1904Since Lizzie was a matron at Chilocco before she married these are probably students in her dormitory. To one who is familiar with the tribes these boys could be identified as coming from Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Apache, Northern tribes and others. The military uniforms showed their various rank.

What the general populace does not understand is that each tribe is like a race all to its own. There are differences similar to that of the French, Italian, Irish, and Greeks. Each tribe had its own dietary laws. There were laws governing marriage, and personal dictates governing conduct. This is a list of a few of these laws and customs as they are known "of the Poncas."

No speaking or association between mother-in-law and son-in-law or between father-in-law and daughter-in-law.

No showing of disrespect while in the presence of the peace pipe. Children were not to be rowdy, but were required to sit quietly in its presence.

Young people were not allowed to marry in their own clan.

Like the Chinese, the older child was taught to care for the one under him and on down to the youngest. No day care nurseries were needed because of this.

Hair was not to be cut, except when death occurred in the family to show a state of mourning.

To know and understand the realm of the spirit world as to having a Great Spirit, Wah-Kahn-Dah. Lesser spirits were to be know about but not to be tolerated to come into the confines of the encampment. If they did so the spirit was to be reprimanded, letting him know you were aware of his presence and he was breaking his own laws by crossing worlds.

The belief in a world existing along-side their own that could be seen only occasionally and by some people.

The belief in little people with strong statements as to sightings and verification of their existence. "Little Brown Men," they were called. They lived in an underworld with a complete social structure of their own. Usually they came out only at night, but occasionally they were seen during the day. Who knows exactly what these were? The stories told were too accurate not to have some fabric of truth. One sometimes wonders if they were a persecuted race of little people who actually did have a colony in the area.

Language had various groupings. One for the leaders (like our judges, lawyers, senators), one for the women, one for the men, and each clan had it's own identifying words. These are only a few customs and it would take a whole book to speak to the total.



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