By Helen Addison Howard
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Additional resources for American Indian Poetry (Twayne's United States authors series ; TUSAS 334)
Throughout this ceremony, the position of t h e feathered stem, representing the male, is upon the outside, where it acts as guard and protector, a wall of defense to t h e interior of t h e lodge which with its fireplace represents t h e nest. X Help us, Kataharu, center within! ) XI Help us, Kekaru, promise of fire! ) Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923) 49 XII Help us, Koritu, word of the fire! (Koritu, the flames, the "word of the fire" refers directly to making fire by friction. ) XIII Help us, Hiwaturu, emblem of days!
Lo! They ascending, come to guide us, Leading us safely, keeping us one; Pleiades, Us teach to be, like you, united. T h e "Chant to t h e Sun" is the first of four verses in t h e Eleventh Ritual, sung on the second ceremonial day. T h e Pawnee believe that "whoever is touched by the first rays of the sun in 50 AMERICAN INDIAN POETRY the morning receives new life and strength" because the rays have been brought directly from Tira'wa atius. "12 The singers petition for success in hunting and in war, for plenty of food, and for children and health.
And stands unrivalled by any [records of a Plains Indian ceremony] which have succeeded it. Here for the first time did any observer step behind the veil into the esoteric mysteries of an Indian ceremony and record those beliefs which are the most difficult to collect from the ultra-conservative old men who know. 31 Fletcher's work among the O m a h a is considered by some authorities as equally important a contribution to ethnology as t h e monograph done among the P a w n e e . " 3 3 For this reason, they permitted her to witness the most sacred ceremonies, and to record t h e sacred tribal songs that were usually concealed from white people.