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Chief Bush Head

Example of beadwork on an Indian doll.
Example of beadwork on an Indian doll.

I beg your pardon...

Bush Head the Chief had kinky hair that stuck out from his head all over and was strung with beads at intervals. His hair was course and coal-black, and his skin was a darker color than Jack Indian’s tribe. All his tribe had bushy hair. They weren’t as tall as Jack’s tribe nor as nice looking.

Bush Head also wore a beaded and fringed buckskin suit, but the beadwork on his suit was in the form of large diamonds, using only black and white beads. Each tribe had different emblems beaded on their clothes.

Bush Head was a very mean Indian who use to bring his tribe to the Meadows. His lodge poles were hung with scalps, not all of Indians either. Some scalps were of long light brown and brown hair, and some of the short soft light hair taken from babies’ heads. William Hutchens told his children to never go alone out of their place until Bush Head’s tribe had gone. He was a surly Indian and couldn’t speak enough English to be easily understood by the settlers.

One day Mary’s mother, Eliza Hutchens, had just cleaned her house when they were living on 2nd Street in the Meadows. Mary was making the bed and her mother was cooking in the kitchen in a separate structure. Mary heard someone walk along with the entry, then try the door. She turned quickly and in walked Bush Head the Chief. He said something which Mary couldn’t understand, and he sat down on her mother’s bed. Mary was horrified as even the children weren’t supposed to touch the bed daytimes, least of all her mother’s bed.

Mary rushed out of the room and into the kitchen where her mother was. She said, “Mother Bush Head is sitting on your bed.” Her mother picked up the broom and went over into the house and told Bush had to get right out of there or she would hit him. Evidently, he understood her, and he got up quickly and went out, although he talked back to her, they couldn’t understand him. When her father came home, he was much concerned about it because he said they were all liable to be scalped if Bush Head was angry, but nothing happened. [1]


[1] - Autobiography of Mary Elizabeth Hutchens Sherner, Mary Elizabeth – Her Stories, dictated to her daughter Dorothy A. Sherner, manuscript, 1933, p.84, 87.

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