Sharitahrish, also known as The Wicked Chief,
was principal chief or head man of the Grand Pawnees. He was descended
from a line of chiefs, and, according to the law of descents, which
selects the next of kin, if worthy, succeeded his elder brother,
Tarecawawaho. They were sons of Sharitarish, a chief, who is mentioned
in Pike's Expedition under the name of Characterish.
When invited to visit the United States President James Monroe, he refused to do so, upon the ground that it would be too great a condescension. The Pawnees, he asserted, were the greatest people in the world, and himself the most important chief He was willing to live at peace with the American people, and to conciliate the government by reciprocating their acts of courtesy. But he argued that the President could not bring as many young men into the field as himself; that he did not own as many horses, nor maintain as many wives; that he was not so distinguished a brave, and could not exhibit as many scalps taken in battle; and that therefore he would not consent to call him his great Father. He did not object, however, to return the civilities of the President, by sending a delegation composed of some of his principal men; and among those selected to accompany Indian Agent Benjamin O’Fallon to Washington on this occasion, was the subject of this sketch. Sharitarish returned with enlarged views of the numbers and power of the white men, and no doubt with more correct opinions than he had before entertained, of the relative importance of his own nation.
Sharitarish was principal chief, or head man of the Grand Pawnees. He was descended from a line of chiefs, and, according to the law of descents, which selects the next of kin, if worthy, succeeded his elder brother, Tarecawawaho. They were sons of Sharitarish, a chief, who is mentioned in Pike’s Expedition under the name of Characterish.
As he travelled
league after league over the broad expanse of the American territory,
he became convinced of the vast disparity between a horde of wandering
savages and a nation of civilized men, and was satisfied that his
people could gain nothing by a state of warfare with a power so
Sharitarish was a chief of noble form and fine bearing; he was six feet tall, and well proportioned; and when mounted on the fiery steed of the prairie, was a graceful and very imposing personage. His people looked upon him as a great brave, and the young men especially regarded him as a person who was designed to great distinction. After his return from Washington his popularity increased so greatly as to excite the jealousy of his elder brother, the head chief, who, however, did not long survive that event. He died a few weeks after the return of Sharitarish, who succeeded him, but who also died during the succeeding autumn, at the age of little more than thirty years. He was succeeded by his brother Ishcatape, the wicked chief, a name given him by the Omahas, or Pawnee Mahas, and which also has been applied by some to the subject of this notice.
a principal chief of the Grand Pawnee tribe. He was son of another
chief of the same name mentioned as Char-ac-tar-ish by Lieutenant Pike
who met him at the Grand Pawnee village on the Republican river in
1806. The subject of this portrait succeeded his elder brother,
Ta-re-ca-wa-ho as head chief. The latter was invited to visit the
president at Washington, but refused because he thought the Pawnee the
greatest people on earth and would not condescend to go in person. He
sent Shar-i-tar-ish in his stead. Shar-i-tar-ish was then a young man,
six feet tall, well proportioned and of fine appearance. His portrait
was made at Washington. Soon after his return he became head chief and
died a little later, aged thirty. He was succeeded by Ish-ca-te-pi
sometimes spelled Is-ka-tap-pi and called "The Wicked Chief."
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