Thursday, October 23, 2014

Alaskan Indians, Witches and a Flying Duck

There are so many interesting articles that can be found while searching Genealogybank.com and this one isn't any different. It appeared in the Kansas City Star in Kansas City, Missouri in October of 1915. A young daughter is asked by her father to follow along in his practices of witchcraft and takes her on an adventure. 


WITCHES STILL AT WORK
ALASKA INDIANS TELL OF PRACTICE IN FEDERAL INQUIRY.
Little native Girl Accuses Her Father of Flying In the Form of a Duck,
Carrying Her on His Back, Across a Bay.

From the New York Hub
Juneau, Alaska – A complaint of the practice of witchcraft among the natives of Killisnoo was made some time ago to W. G. Beattie, superintendent of native schools for Alaska. An investigation in the Killisnoo village let Superintendent Beattie to bring a number of the tribe to, Juneau for examination by District Attorney Smiser in the United States Court, with the result the wizard was found, but no law could be found on which to base a complaint of the witness.
From the testimony of the witnesses examined before the district attorney, the story of the witchery centers around a blind man, his 13-year-old daughter and her grandmother. For several months the blind man has been announcing himself as a wizard and has claimed responsibility for practically all the deaths that have occurred in the village Killisnoo for the last five years.
LITTLE GIRL ACCUSED FATHER
According to the story of the little native girl, Mary Moses, or Klan-tosh, her Indian name, the first time she knew that her father was a wizard was one night a “long time ago” when he told her that he was a wizard and that he wanted her to learn to be a witch in order that she might carry on his work when he died.
In order that she might learn the secrets of the practice she said her father told her she must visit with him on old graveyard across the bay, Mary stated that her father told her to take hold of his foot and in a moment they “flew” across the channel to the cemetery. While there she said they were able to look through the earth down into the graves and could see the bodies in them. After wondering about the graves for a time her father transformed himself into a white duck and on his back she says she rode back across the channel. Mary told the district attorney that the night she learned many things about witchcraft.  
NATIVES BELIEVE IN SORCERY.
The girl’s story was told with straightfordwardness and without contradiction and the reason she said she wanted something done with her father was because she feared he would kill her grandmother with witchery. The child’s mother is dead and she is apparently very fond of her grandmother, and is evidently sincere in her fear of her father’s power.

In his remarks before the district attorney, Superintendent Beattie said: “The question of witchcraft is one of the most difficult problems we have to handle among the natives. The existence of witches is certainty with them and there is absolutely no possibility of convincing them that there are no such things as witches. It isn’t stubbornness on their part, it is simply and sincerely their belief that there are among their tribesmen persons who have power to cast a spell over others of their number.”