An Indian Boy's Story, by Daniel La
Published: The Independent, Volume 55, Pages 1780-1787,
July 30 1903
Ah-nen-la-de-ni, whose American name is Daniel La France, told his own tale in neat typewritten form, and has been aided only to the extent of some rewriting and rearrangement. -- EDITOR] I was born in Governeur Village, N. Y., in April, 1879, during one of the periodical wanderings of my family, and my first recollection is concerning a house in Toronto, Canada, in which I was living with my father and mother, brother and grandmother. I could not have been much more than three years old at the time. My father was a pure-blooded Indian of the Mohawk tribe of the Six Nations, and our home was in the St. Regis reservation in Franklin County, N. Y., but we were frequently away from that place because my father was an Indian medicine man, who made frequent journeys, taking his family with him and selling his pills and physics in various towns along the border line between Canada and the United States. This house in Toronto was winter quarters for us. In the summer time we lived in a tent. We had the upper part of the house, while some gypsies lived in the lower part. [missing image] All sorts of people came to consult the "Indian doctor," and the gypsies sent them upstairs to us, and mother received them, and then retired into another room with my brother and myself. She did not know anything about my father's medicines, and seemed to hate to touch them. When my father was out mother was frequently asked to sell the medicines, but she would not, telling the patients that they must wait until the doctor came home. She was not pure-blooded Indian, her father being a French Canadian, while her mother, my grandmother, was a pure-blooded Indian, who lived with us. What made it all the more strange that mother would have nothing to do with the medicines was the fact that grandmother was, herself, a doctor of a different sort than my father. Her remedies were probably the same but in cruder form. I could have learned much if I had paid attention to her, because as I grew older she took me about in the woods when she went there to gather herbs, and she told me what roots and leaves to collect, and how to dry and prepare them and how to make the extracts and what sicknesses they were good for. But I was soon tired of such matters, and would stray off by myself picking the berries -- raspberry and blackberry, strawberry and blueberry -- in their seasons, and hunting the birds and little animals with my bow and arrows. So I learned very little from all this lore.