Among some of our western tribes of Indians the bodies of the dead are placed on scaffoldings of poles several feet high, and there left to the action of the elements. This practice had its origin in the absence of all tools suitable for digging in the earth, and possibly from a vague theory that the body of the deceased should be raised towards the home of the Great Spirit beyond the skies.
The home-land of the Eskimo is dreary. They live in Labrador, Greenland, and the Arctic country stretching from Greenland west to 7Northern Alaska. Generally, it is a land of snow and ice, where it is impossible to raise even the most hardy plants. The people are forced to live chiefly on animal food. Not only is the weather usually cold, but for a large part of the year the Eskimo do not see the sun, and for the rest of it they see the sun all the time.
The Eskimo eat the flesh of seals, whales, birds, hares, bears, dogs, foxes, and deer. In that cold country they like fat meat. Sometimes meat and fish are eaten raw, but they may be boiled or fried. Fresh, raw blubber is much loved. The skin of whales, seals, and halibut is favorite food. Travellers tell astonishing stories of the quantities of candles and oil that Eskimo eat and drink when they are supplied to them. The supply of plant food is small: stalks of angelica, dandelion, sorrel, berries, and seaweed are used.
Many of these wild tribes delight in bright feathers. They make necklaces, head-dresses, arm-rings, bracelets, leg-bands, aprons, and capes from them. Not that a single tribe makes all of these many ornaments; some will use the feathers in one way, others in another. Among the tribes of Brazil, the Botocudo are famous for the ornaments they wear in their lips and ears. These ornaments are mere disks or plugs of wood, which are inserted in holes pierced in the ears and lower lip. Some Botocudo lip plugs are three inches in diameter. Such a lip ornament holds the lip out almost like a shelf.
In the northmost part of the Scandinavian Peninsula and Finland live the Lapps. There are probably not more than ten or twelve thousand, all told. They have had much contact with the Finns, and speak a language related to Finnish. In many customs they resemble them. This is not strange, as the land they live in is much the same.
Mr. Lummis has written of the Apache warrior and described the war led by Geronimo. It was a daring thing. There was but a handful of the Indians. “Thirty-four men, eight well-grown boys, ninety-two women and children”—that was all. Only forty-two who could be called fighters. On May 17, 1885, the little band broke forth from their reservation and headed for Mexico. It took the United States a year and a half of useless trouble and expense to pursue them. Time after time, when it seemed certain that the Indians were trapped, they 14vanished. They never stood for a pitched battle. But anywhere, concealed behind rocks or hidden in brush, they picked off the soldiers sent to capture them. The forces of the United States and Mexico were both kept constantly upon the move. When a year had passed about sixty of the Indians returned home. Twenty warriors, with fourteen women, kept up the battle, when they too went home. During the year and a half of fighting more than four hundred whites and Mexicans were killed; only two of the Indian band were destroyed. During that time Arizona and New Mexico and all the northern part of Mexico were kept in constant terror. These Apaches were truly “wild Indians.”
We have spoken only of the mestizos. The Indians are also interesting. There are many tribes, all with their own customs, and many with their old languages still in use. In the State of Oaxaca alone there are fifteen languages still spoken. Among the many Mexican Indian tribes perhaps the Aztecs, Otomis, Tarascans, Zapotecs, and Mayas are the best known.
Trade Beads and Hawk Bells
Indian “Buffalo Jump”—Yellowstone Valley.
An Indian tepee
Socially, the Indian had less liberty than the white man. He was bound by customs handed down from his forefathers. He could not marry outside his tribe. He could not sit in whatever seat he chose at a council. He could not even paint his face any color he fancied; for a young who had won no honors in battle would no mor ehave dared to decorate himself like a veteran warrior than a private soldier in the United States army would venture to appear at parade in the uniform of a major-general.
Each tribe had a "totem", ot badge to designate it. The "totem" was usually the picture of some animal. The totem was also used as a mark on gravestones, and as a seal.
The most ingenious work of the Indians was seen in the moccasin, the snow-shoe and the birch-bark canoe. The moccasin was a shoe made of buckskin, - durable, soft, pliant, noiseless. It was the best covering for a hunter's foot that human skill ever contrived.
The snow-shoe was a light frame of wood, covered with a network of strings of hide, and having such a broad surface that the wearer could walk on snow in the pursuit of game. Without it the Indian might have starved in a severe winter, since only by its use could he run down the deer at that season.
Typical natives of the Sandwich Islands
On the morning of the 26th, the captain, who had been to Oparrée with some of his officers, to make a formal visit to the king, observed a fleet of more than 300 pirogues, drawn up in order on the shore. They were all completely equipped. At the same time a number of warriors assembled on the beach.
The officers' suspicions were excited by this formidable armament, collected in one night, but they were reassured by the welcome they received.
This fleet consisted of no less than sixty large double pirogues, decorated with flags and streamers, and 170 smaller ones, intended for the transport of provisions, and the flotilla was manned with no fewer than 7760 men, warriors or paddlers.
Ta-ton-ka-I-yo-ton-ka (Sitting Bull)
Sitting Bull, the famous commander at the Custer massacre, was, during his prosperous years, the chief of chiefs, or supreme head of the nation. He first inherited the office, and was able to retain it because of mental superiority and by reason of the fact that, until the last hope was gone, he assumed an uncompromising position in regard to the encroachment of the whites. Then, too, Ta-ton-ka-I-yo-ton-ka was a medicine man, capable of arousing religious fervor. That he was cruel toward the enemies of his people cannot be denied; but, according to the red man's philosophy, that was simple bravery and loyalty.
Specimens of American Indian picture-writing
No. 1, painted on a rock on the shore of Lake Superior, records an expedition across the lake, in which five canoes took part. The upright strokes in each indicate the number of the crew, and the bird represents a chief, “The Kingfisher.” The three circles (suns) under the arch (of heaven) indicate that the voyage lasted three days, and the tortoise, a symbol of land, denotes a safe arrival. No. 2 is a petition sent to the United States Congress by a group of Indian tribes, asking for fishing rights in certain small lakes. The tribes are represented by their totems, martens, bear, manfish, and catfish, led by the crane. Lines running from the heart and eye of each animal to the heart and eye of the crane denote that they are all of one mind; and a line runs from the eye of the crane to the lakes, shown in the crude little “map” in the lower left-hand corner.
Indian Costume (Female)
Indian Costume (Male)
Long House of the Iroquois
"We are glad to be able to declare in the face of the world," says Lütke, "that our stay of three weeks at Ualan cost not a drop of human blood, but that we were able to leave these friendly islanders without enlightening them further on the use of our fire-arms, which they looked upon as suitable only for the killing of birds. I don't think there is another instance of the kind in the records of any previous voyages in the South Seas."