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bles as they were able to preserve from the summer, assisted by nuts, ground nuts, acorns, and lily roots. The Chippewas, Ottawas, and most of the tribes which reside near the great lakes, subsist exclusively at some seasons on the white fish ; whilst other tribes residing on the banks of the rivers which flow into the Pacific Ocean, have a superstitious dread of flesh, and consequently feed permanently only on fish and vegetables. The charge of cannibalism, which is so frequently made against the American Indians, is resisted by the author with strong authority; and he shows, that whilst the general feeling and prejudice is against the consumption of human Hesh, there are no instances of that substance being eaten, except in cases of threatened famine.
The subject of Indian manufactures furnishes materials for a very curious chapter. The article, however, peculiar to these tribes, respecting which the greatest curic sity would naturally arise, is the fabrication of the canoe. The following is an account of the construction of one; and when we remember the state of rudeness in which the tools employed in them exist, we shall have a due notion of the difficulties of the performance:
The tree was brought down by making a small fire round the root, toge. ther with the use of the hatchet; and when the trunk was prostrate, it was burnt off at the length desired. The bark, at the season when sap runs in the wood, could be easily stripped off, and the heat of a fire loosened it at any season. The log was then raised, upon stones or stakes, to a convenient height for working, when the process of hollowing was effected by burning with gentle fires, and by scraping with the gouge. The ends were properly shaped, and the work was completed.
When the object was to clear a pieee of land of its woods, instead of burning and chopping the trees down one by one, the Indians cut a notch round the trunks. quite through the bark, with their hatchets. That deadened the trees, and, as they withered immediately, the ground might be planted at once. If otherwise, in a course of a year or two, a high wind generally laid them all prostrate. The fire spoken of above was kindled, as in modern times, by rubbing particular kinds of wood violently against each other-generally a piece of hard wood against one more soft and dry; pine, for instance, against oak. Rotten-wood and dry leaves answered the purpose of tinder.
Canoes were also made—chiefly in New England as they are by the modern Indians, of bark, particularly that of the birch-tree. The tribes of the Northern Lakes make them wholly of this material, with a little soft wood and pine-gum, or boiled pitch, without a nail or a bit of metal of any kind to confine the parts. The entire outside is bark. Where the edges of it come together, at the bottom, or along the sides, they are sewed very closely with a sort of vegetable thread called wattap-made of roots-and the seam is then plastered over with gum. Next to the bark are pieces of cedar, shaven flat and thin, not thicker than the blade of a knife. These run lengthwise, and are pressed against the bark by means of cedar ribs fitted to the bottom and sides of the canoe, in the opposite direction; and which, at the upper end, are pointed, and run into a rim of cedar. This rim, being
about an inch thick, and an inch and a half wide, forms the gunwale (as the whites call it), to which the bark and ribs are all sewed with wattap. Across the boat are several bars, which keep it in shape, and are also fastened to the gunwale. The seats of those who paddle are alongside of, but below the bars, made of plank or board, a few inches wide, and hung by a cord or withe at each end to the gunwale. In small bark-canoes, how. ever, no seats are used. The Indian adjusts himself on the bottom. They are sometimes thirty feet long, and of course capable of accommodating quite a party, like a log-canoe; but more frequently they are made for the use of two or three people, and are so light and small as to be very easily carried a long distance on a man's head. This makes them convenient for travelling in the winter, when the streams and lakes are frozen, as well as for navigating shallow or rapid streams.
The bark-canoes, of whatever size, indeed, are so fragile, as to be easily damaged and destroyed by overloading, or by running against obstacles in the water. The larger ones, used on the lakes, are made to carry a weight of stores, tents and baggage, to the amount of from four to eight thousand pounds; but, in this case, the bottom is defended by a layer of long poles, which cause the burden to press equally on all points. The paddles are of red cedar, and very light. The blade is about three inches wide, except the steersman's behind, which is five inches. One of the crew looks out in front, to prevent running upon rocks. In mounting a rapid current, a stout pole is used instead of the paddle; and those who use it are obliged to stand erect. This makes the navigation exceedingly difficult, and sometimes dangerous, even for those most accustomed to it. Of the whites, perhaps not one out of ten could safely, for the first time, navigate a small birch. canoe, even in smooth water, without oversetting it.
An advantage in most of these boats, which should not be forgotten, is, that the two ends being generally fashioned and shaped much alike, both answer equally well for the prow or stern, so that there is no necessity of turning them round. When they are so constructed as to admit of a sail being hoisted, the Indians will accomplish sixty miles with them in a day; without it, half that distance.
It is but two or three years since a member of the Penobscot tribe, residing at Old Town, in Maine, paddled one of the smallest kind of birchcanoes all the way along the Atlantic coast, from the mouth of his own river to the harbour of New York.
Not only the women, but even the little girls, paddle these canoes with great skill. They sit in the bottom of the boat. The woman at the stern strikes her paddle into the water-reaching well forward both with her arms and body. Bringing up the handle to a line with her shoulder, she turns its edge quick to the current, and inclines the blade in and out, slow or fast, as the direction of the canoe may require. If a wrong direction is given to it, the paddle is turned backward, and the right course instantly regained. In a word, the wild-duck does not float more buoyantly or move more lightly on the waves, to all appearances, than this curious vessel under the management of the women. On reaching the shore, which is always approached cautiously, the whole company rise together from the bottom, and leave it together with the same activity. The boat rises like a feather, and the last who steps out, takes it by one of the bars that cross it about midway, slings it over one shoulder, and walks off with as if it were a hand-basket.-vol i., pp. 88-94. vol. 11. (1833) no. iv.
Amongst the peculiar instruments familiarly employed by the natives, the author particularly describes the snow-shoe, the sledge, and the dog-train; there are many others likewise noticed, but of minor importance. There is another important article of manufacture, which is the more worthy of attention, as it is entirely managed by the women of the tribe,—we mean the making of sugar from the maple tree. This is extensively used as an article of food, and it is known, that many of the Indians fatten upon it. As the maple tree forms so interesting an object of attention to the emigrant who directs himself to the western world, we shall pause for a moment on the mode of obtaining the sugar, as that process has been described by Mr. Henry, an American gentleman, from personal observation. A certain locality in the maple grore is first selected, and there a temporary tenement is provided in the most rapid manner, sufficient to accommodate a small number. The bark of white birch trees is then gathered, to be converted into vessels which are to receive the secretion from the trees, which are then“ tapped," or incised, and ducts introduced into them. The secretion collected in the bark vessels is then gradually taken out and conveyed to other reservoirs, some of them capable of holding one hundred gallons, and which are composed of moose skin. In these reservoirs the fluid remains but a short time; for it is conveyed into a number of boilers, which are always in readiness to receive from ten to twenty gallons each, and beneath which strong fires are kept during the night and day. The women are the persons who collect the sap, boil it, and complete the process of making it into sugar; but the men, who accompany them to the wood, generally spend their time in hunting and fishing, in order to obtain a various supply of agreeable food.
Mr. Thatcher proceeds at some length to describe the domestic manners and the mode of bringing up the children of the Indians; but there is not much of importance decidedly known on these points. The next chapters are upon the sports of the natives, including their hunting and fishing, and their games of mere amusement: the author describes in detail bear hunting, snake hunting, beaver hunting, otter hunting, porcupine hunting, deer hunting, racoon hunting, moose hunting, rein-deer hunting, elk hunting, and buffalo hunting. With the general practice of hunting, the Indians connect some strange superstitions. Nearly all the tribes, says our author, in the vicinity of the western and northern lakes, and many in other parts of the continent, believe implicitly in the efficacy of charms, chanting and prayers. These are resorted to in all emergencies, as, for instance, when game becomes alarmingly scarce, or the weather exceedingly severe.
Among many tribes, the medicine-bag, as the whites call it, is in general use. This is a little leathern sack, attached to the hunter's girdle on the occasions in question, and in which he carries certain roots, pounded fine, and mixed with red paint. This paint
some strange fly of the westent, believe
is to be applied to what the Chippewa calls his muz-zi-ne-neen-ug, which are small rude images, generally on wood, of the wild fowl which the hunter wishes to kill, and so of any other game.
The numerous and extremely barbarous Chippeyans of the northwest, whose bleak and barren country affords not even birch-bark from which these images can be made, and whose rudeness has left them ignorant of any material proper to delineate figures upon, use, in their preparations for the medicine-hunt, one of the shoulderbones of the rein-deer, or such other animals as are found in their region. After awkwardly sketching on this bone the figure of the animal which they wish to kill,--and of which it generally happens that they have had more or less dreams beforehand,—they throw the bone into the fire, or otherwise destroy it. The mere sketching of the figure, in their theory, serving as good a purpose as the much more laborious and tedious singing, watching, carving, and often drumming and other ceremonies, practised by most other tribes. Some Indians imagine that they effect the same object by drawing the outlines of animals, with a coal perhaps, on a bit of bark; others, with only a stick, in the ashes or sand. But all these preparations are charms, or medicines; and the hunts which follow them are medicine-hunts. · Amongst the amusements of the Indians, smoking holds an exalted place. But a pipe of a larger and handsomer description than that ordinarily used, received the title of calumet, or “ pipe of peace;" and it is a favourite article in the negotiation of treaties, and is employed in the ceremonies which accompany the hospitable reception of strangers. Smoking with this, when handed round a company, is regarded as a pledge of faith between the parties present. When, for example, a party of strangers came into an Indian village, the pipe of peace was brought out, filled with tobacco, and lit in the presence of the strangers. The principal man in the village then took two or three whiffs, and handed it to the chief of the strangers. If the latter refused to smoke, it was regarded as a sign of hostility. If he wished, however, to be considered an ally or friend, he took a whiff or two, and then presented it to the person who appeared to be the second great man of the village. And thus it was passed to and fro, until most of the people of note on both sides had smoked more or less.
The head or bowl of the calumet is made of stone, and is always finely polished; the tube part, which is about two feet and a half long, is composed of reed or cane, and is sometimes adorned with birds' feathers or wings. The pipe is used also by the host in large feasts, and the lighting of it is the first act which takes place in opening the festive scene. But cultivators of peace, as are the American natives, they are no less distinguished by a passion for martial glory, and from his earliest infancy the Indian is taught to believe that the noblest exploit which he is destined to perform, is to carry home the scalp of some adversary, as a trophy of his prowess. When arrived at their native village after a warlike excursion, the tribe usually announces to the inhabitants the number of scalps by their yells. These yells are quite distinct from the cry called the alarm-whoop, and this is only sounded when danger is inminent. This cry is described by the author as performed in quick succession, much as with us the repeated cry of fire! fire! when the alarm is very great, and lives are known or believed to be in danger. Both this and the scalp-yell consist of the sounds aw and oh, successively uttered, the last more accented, and sounded higher than the first; but in the scalp-yell, this last sound is drawn out at great length, as long, indeed, as the breath will hold, and is raised about an octave higher than the former ; while in the alarmwhoop, it is rapidly struck on, as it were, and only a few notes above the other. Tanner says, that he has seen the strangest terror manifested by wild beasts at the sound of the different war-whoops.
There is a mode of torture practised by the southern Indians, which appears to be very cruel. The victim is stripped, a pair of bear-skin mocassins is put on his feet, the fur side being external, and a red hot firebrand fastened just above his head, to the pole to which he is tied. A number of persons is always present, each being armed with a bundle of dry canes, ready to take part in the sacrifice; the death-signal is given; the victim's arms are fast pinioned, and a strong grape-vine is tied round his neck, to the top of the war-pole, allowing him to track around for about fifteen yards. They fix some tough clay on his head, to secure the scalp from the blazing torches. Unspeakable pleasure now fills the exulting crowd of spectators, and the circle fills with the merciless executioners.
The indifference of the victims under the most dreadful tortures is quite incredible. We have an authenticated case of an Indian of the Ottagami race, who was tortured by the Illinois. Whilst undergoing his fate, he loaded his persecutors with the grossest insult, and recognizing amongst the spectators of the scene a Frenchman whom he had previously known, he called out to him to assist the Illinois in tormenting him. His object in this entreaty was, he said, that he might have the comfort of dying by the hands of a man, “ for my greatest grief," said the prisoner, “is that I never killed a man.” Upon this the Illinois reminded him of the murders which he had perpetrated upon individuals of their tribe. “ Ha! Ha! the Illinois, indeed !” said the captive, with an air of contemptuous defiance," the Illinois! I have killed enough of them, truly ; but I never have killed a Man."
Dancing is a sort of business with the Indians, and varieties of this practice form important portions either of the religious ceremonies or the stated amusements of the tribes. The government of the Indians consisted of a head chief and a general council, the latter being composed of every person who chose to attend ; they made no laws, but took care that their usages should be respected