Page:American Indian Freemasonry.djvu/17

This page has been validated.

form, as suited the Creator's purpose, and none might be destroyed without reason and sacrifice. Even the pharmaceutical plants of the forest were not taken without a thank offering and the planting of the seed in the hole from which the root or stem had been pulled.

This feeling of fraternity worked out in many other ways, as by the organization of numerous fraternities and societies, by the knitting of the clan system and by the ties of a complex social organization. There were binding laws and customs that governed every social action and regulated conduct. So much impressed was Rodger Williams with the kindness and courteous action of the Indians among whom he lived that he wrote:

If Nature's Sons, both wild and tame,
Humane and courteous be:
How ill becomes it Sonnes of God
To want Humanity?

It was the influence of this feeling of brotherhood that made hospitality the universal rule among the Indians. Every stranger who came with honest intent found a welcome and a home. There was no hunger that all did not share, no feast that was not open to everyone. No orphan need fear the lack of home or care for his clansmen provided for him. Among many tribes the custom of having a sworn brother was observed. Each was responsible for the punishment of any encroachment or injury upon the other. Companies of these brothers often united in associations, which in no uncertain sense were fraternities.

How Did American Indian Freemasonry Originate?

Among many of the Indian tribes there were ceremonial societies and fraternities that exercised a considerable in-