Biauswah – A Father’s Love

I wanted to share with you, today, a story that I came across in my journey.  It is a remarkable story of a Father’s love for his child and his people.  This story is about Biauswah, sometimes written as Bayaaswaa, who was an Anishinabe Chief in the 1600’s. Anishinabe is the preferred name of the Ojibwe (Chippewa) Nation of Native Americans.

Biauswah was the Chief of a village on the south shore of Lake Superior in the late 1600’s. This village was approximately 40 miles west of what is now known as La Pointe, Wisconsin.

According to oral history Biauswah was a man known for his wise council and his exceptional valor and bravery.

It is said that Biauswah returned one day from a hunting trip to find that his people had been massacred by the Fox Indians.  He scouted the Fox and found they had taken two captives.  An old man who they had tortured to death and a young boy – his own son.

Biauswah stepped out from his hiding place as the Fox were about to set his son on fire. He walked up to where the boy was and said to his enemies, “My little son, who you are about to burn with fire, has seen but only a few winters;  his tender feet have never trodden the warpath, he has never injured you. But the hairs of my head are white with many winters and over the graves of my relatives I have hung many scalps, which I have taken from your people. My death is worth something to you, my son’s is not. Let me take the place of my child that he may return to his people.”

His enemies listened and were astonished at his proposal. They had long wished this man dead and decided to accept his offer to give his own life to save his son’s.

The boy was also known as Biauswah, often referred to as Biauswah II.  The young boy went back to his people and told of his father’s act of bravery and of his death. Biauswah II became Chief of his people too.

There is no stronger medicine than the medicine of love and this story of a Father’s love for his son and the ultimate sacrifice he was willing to make really touches my heart. I hope it touched yours today, too.

~ Mitakuye Oyasin ~ We are all related