Joe F. Tarbell (Mohawk)

Biography | Historical and Cultural Context | Critical Commentary | Further Reading


by Joe F. Tarbell


Once there lived an Indian chief who had a beautiful daughter. She wanted to become a Christian and go away to help the poor people, but the proud father tried to make her stay at home. So one day her father went out hunting and not long after he was gone, an Indian from another village came to see her father, but he was gone, and the man started to go away.

The girl urged him to take her with him, but the man was afraid that her father might shoot him; she was determined to go and said she would go or kill herself.

When the man left, she left too, and when her father returned and saw that his daughter was gone he started to look for her, but could not find her.  He asked some people about her and they told him that they saw her with a man from another village.  Then he knew who took her, so he started after them with gun in hand.  He said that if he saw the man with his daughter he would shoot him.  After two days’ travel he came upon the man, but could not see his daughter.  He was very much disappointed, so turned back and went home.  Because she was to be a Christian God had protected her from being seen by her father, although she was walking by the side of the man.  When they reached the village all welcomed her into their homes.  Their she lived for many years, teaching the people to be Christians.  

Her name was Tekakwetha.  

When she died she was buried on the top of a hill.  It is said that the stars in the sky shone on her grave for two weeks.


From The Indian Craftsman, February 1909 (Vol. 1, No.1)

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