INTRODUCTION OF THE Umonhon CHILD 
TO THE COSMOS


Wayne Tyndall
©1999 Wayne Tyndall
All rights reserved



It was a rite of the Umonhon to have a child introduced to the universe eight days after its birth on earth. This rite was under the charge of the Washe’ton, a sub clan of the Inshtasunda Clan of the Inshtasunda  Division (Sky People) of the Hu'thuga (Great Tribal Circle.)

The Inshtasunda  were the keepers of one of the seven pipes that represented a clan chief of the Umonhon Tribe. The name of the clan refers to lightening and thunder pertaining to the sky forces which represent the great powers of Waconda over man's life and death. The name, in addition, also applied to one half of the Hu'thuga -- the half representing the Sky people who in union with the HonGashenu (Earth People) gave birth to the human race. Did not the Bible mention the angels coming down from heaven and marrying the earth people?

In former times there were two sub-clans, one referring to the sky, the other to the earth, father and mother respectively.

The rites pertain to the sky -- to the power which descends to replenish the earth. This power produces the rain (clouds and storms) causing the earth to bring forth life as worms, insects and small creatures living on the earth.

In this connection children were consecrated to the life-giving powers, symbolized by the thunder and lightning and the passing of the simple relation it bore to its parents and was reborn as a member of the Umonhon Tribe.

On the fourth day after the birth of a child, it was given a name. If it were a boy, a belt ornamented with wildcat claws was put around it; which referred to the lost stellar rites of the Ta'pa (deer) Clan which has reference to the Sky, the male as opposed to earth mother. If the child were a girl, a girdle of mussel shells were strung on a string and put around her. The shell is connected to water with water serving as a medium for sending power from the above to mother earth. This symbolic emblem on an infant offered a prayer for the preservation of the Umonhon Tribe as for the continuation of life through children.

The five Inshtasunda  Clans were custodians of rites that related to the creation, the stars, the manifestation of the cosmic forces that pertain to life on earth.

In view of the foregoing information, it was through the ritual that a child was introduced to the cosmos; and the ceremony through which the child was introduced into its place and duty in the Hu'thuga when the long lost ritual required when the two sacred tribal pipes held by the Inkesabe (Buffalo) Clan were ceremonially filled and used on solemn occasions between the two great halves of the Hu'thuga.

On the appointed day a priest of the Washe’ton sub-clan of the Inshtasunda Clan was summoned and took his place near the entrance of the tent of the family and recognizing the child, raised his right hand, palms outward to the sky and intoned the ceremonial prayer in a loud voice imitating the thunder, protector of man.

 

Ho! Ye Sun, Moon, Stars, all ye that move in the heavens, 
I bid you hear me!
Into your midst has come a new life.
Consent ye, I implore!
Make its path smooth, that it may reach the brow of the first hill!

Ho! Ye Winds, Clouds, Rain, Mist, all ye that move in the air, 
I bid you hear me!
Into your midst has come a new life. 
Consent ye, I implore!
Make its path smooth, that it may reach the brow of the second hill!

Ho! Ye Hills, Valleys, Rivers, Lakes, Trees, Grasses, 
all ye that move in the earth, 
I bid you hear me!
Into your midst has come a new life. 
Consent ye, I implore!
Make its path smooth, that it may reach the brow of the third hill!

Ho! Ye Birds, great and small, that fly in the air, 
Ho! Ye Animals, great and small, that dwell in the forest, 
Ho! Ye Insects, that creep among the grasses 
and burrow in the ground,
I bid you hear me! 
Into your midst has come a new life.
Consent ye, I implore!
Make its path smooth, that it may reach the brow of the fourth hill!

Ho! All ye of the heavens, all ye of the air, all ye of the earth; 
I bid you all hear me!
Into your midst has come a new life.
Consent ye, consent ye all, I implore!
Make its path smooth -- then shall it travel beyond the four hills of life!

This ritual was for the child to reach the fourth hill of life and be able to travel beyond into the afterlife. It brings all life forms into a oneness which connects with the Great Almighty Waconda, source of all, the Great Unseen Power over everything in the universe.

When the child began to walk it was ceremoniously introduced into the Umonhon Tribe through a ritual called "The Turning of the Child."

This beautiful ceremonial was an Umonhon rite where all children passed through in ceremonial order. It was directly related to the cosmic forces - wind, earth and fife.

All children who could go about unaided were symbolically "sent into the midst of the four winds." This rite was essential to a long life and good health. The children's feet were set upon a flat stone -- an emblem of a long life and of the wisdom of age, while the fire a life-giving power invoked the children to have a wonderful life on earth. This rite sent the obscure child out into the world to become a spiritual human being, a master of the world, as a distinct individual through a spiritual sanction and connection. It became a clan member, and was given a lasting name which was announced to the world and its elements.

The children received new moccasins, one side containing a hole purposely made so the child could say, if a messenger from the spirit world tried to take him, "I cannot go on a journey with you; for my moccasins are worn out."

The turning of the child took place in early spring soon after the first thunder rang out and life began to move in motion.

The priest ended by saying:

 

You shall be bowed over; 
you shall have wrinkles; 
your staff shall bend under your weight. 
I speak to you that you may be strong.

The family bestowed many valuable gifts on the priest -- food, clothing and implements. The priest ended by intoning the following:

 

Turned by the winds goes the one I send yonder;
Yonder goes he who is whirled by the winds;
Goes, where the four hills of life 
and where the four winds are waiting;
There in the midst of the winds do I send him, 
Into the midst of the winds standing there.

In proxy of the Thunder did the priest act.

 

 


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