Page images

but are purchased of different fa- deed we observed among them thers. The infant daughters are some women who appeared to be often betrothed by their father to held in more respect than those of men who are grown, either for any nation we had seen. But the themselves or for their sons, for mass of the females are condemnwhom they are desirous of provi- ed, as among

all savage nations, ding wives. The compensation to to the lowest and most laborious the father is usually made in crudgery. When the tribe is stahorses or mules ; and the girl re- tionary, they collect the roots, and mains with her parents till the age cook; they build the huts, dress of puberty, which is thirteen or the skins and make clothing ; fourteen, when she is surrendered collect the wood, and assist in to her husband. At the same taking care of the horses on the time the father often makes a pre- route; they load the horses, and sent to the husband equal to what have the charge of all the baghe had formerly received as theprice gage. The only business of the of his daughter, though this re- man is to fight; he therefore turn is optional with her parent. takes on himself the care of his Sacajawea had been contracted in horse, the companion of his warthis way before she was taken fare ; but he will descend to no prisoner, and when we brought other labour than to hunt and to her back, her betrothed was still fish. He would consider himself living. Although he was double degraded by being compelled to the age of Sacajawea, and had walk any distance; and were he two other wives, he claimed her, so poor as to possess only two but on finding that she had a horses, he would ride the best of child by her new husband, Cha- them, and leave the other for his boneau, he relinquished his pre- wives and children and their bagtensions, and said he did not want gage; and if he has too many her.

wives or too much baggage for The chastity of the women does the horse, the wives have no alnot appear to be held in much es- ternative but to follow him on timation. The husband will for foot; they are not however often a trifling present lend his wife for reduced to those extremities, for a night to a stranger, and the loan their stock of horses is very a:nple. may be protracted by increasing Notwithstanding their losses this the value of the present. Yet, spring they still have at least sestrange as it may seem, notwith- ven hundred, among

which are standing this facility, any con- about forty colts, and half that nexion of this kind not authorized number of mules. There are no by the husband, is considered horses here which can be consihighly offensive and quite as dis- dered as wild; we have seen two graceful to his character as the only on this side of the Musclesame licentiousness in civilized shell river which were without societies. The Shoshonees are not owners, and even those, although so importunate in volunteering shy, showed every mark of having the services of their wives as we been once in the possession of found the Sioux were ; and in

The original stock was



[ocr errors]

procured from the Spaniards, but would then go down and live in they now raise their own. The the buffaloe country in spite of horses are generally very fine, of our enemies, whom we never a good size, vigorous, and patient fear when we meet on equal of fatigue as well as hunger. terms." Each warrior has one or two tied As war is the chief occupation, to a stake near his hut both day bravery is the first virtue among and night, so as to be always pre- the Shoshonees. None can hope pared for action. The mules are to be distinguished without havobtained in the course of trade ing given proofs of it, nor can from the Spaniards, with whose there be any preferment, or inbrand several of them are mark- fluence among the nation, withed, or stolen from them by the out some warlike achievement. frontier Indians. They are the Those important events which finest animals of that kind we, give reputation to a warrior, and have ever seen, and at this dis- which entitle him to a new nane, tance from the Spanish colonies are, killing a white bear, stealing are very highly valued. The individually the horses of the eneworst are considered as worth the my, leading out a party who happrice of two horses, and a good pen to be successful either in mule cannot be obta: ned for less plundering horses or destroying than three and sometimes four the enemy, and, lastly, scalping a horses.

warrior. These acts seem nearly We also saw a bridle bit, stir- of equal dignity, but the last, that rups, and several other articles of taking an enemy's scalp, is an which, like the mules, came from honour quite independent of the the Spanish colonies. The Shos- act of vanquishing him. To kill honees say that they can reach your adversary is of no importthose settlements in ten days' ance unless the scalp is brought march by the route of the Yellow- from the field of battle; and were stone river; but we readily per- a warrior to slay any number of ceive that the Spaniards are by his enemies in action, and others no means favourites. They com- were to obtain the scalps or first plain that the Spaniards refuse to touch the dead, they would have let them have fire-arms, under all the honours, since they have pretence that these dangerous borne off the trophy. weapons will only induce them to Although thus oppressed by the kill each other. In the mean Minnetarees, the Shoshonees are time, say the Shoshonees, we are still a very military people. Their left to the mercy of the Minneta- cold and rugged country inures rees, who having arms, plunder them to fatigue; their long abthem of their horses, and put stinence makes them support the them to death without mercy. dangers of mountain war fare, and “ But this should not be,” said worn down as we saw them, by Cameahwait fiercely; “if we had want of sustenance, have a look guns, instead of hiding ourselves of fierce and adventurous courage. in the mountains and living like The Shoshonee warrior always the bears on roots and berries, we fights on horseback; he possesses

a few

a few bad guns, which are reserv- buffaloe hide is perfectly proof ed exclusively for war, but his against any arrow, but in the common arms are the bow and ar- minds of the Shoshonees, its row, a shield, a lance, and a

power to protect them is chiefly weapon called by the Chippeways, derived from the virtues which by whom it was formerly used, are communicated to it by the old the poggamoggon. The bow is men and jugglers. To make a made of cedar or pine, covered on shield is indeed one of their most the outerside with sinews and glue. important ceremonies : it begins It is about two and a half feet by a feast to which all the warlong, and does not differ in shape riors, old men and jugglers are from those used by the Sioux, invited. After the repast a hole Mandans and Minnetarees. Some- is dug in the ground about eightimes, however, the bow is made teen inches in depth, and of the of a single piece of the horn of an same diameter as the intended elk, covered on the back like shield: into this hole red hot those of wood with sinews and stones are thrown and water glue, and occasionally ornament- poured over them, till they emit ed by a strand wrought of porcu- a very strong hot steam. The pine quills and sinews, which is buffaloe skin, which must be the wrapped round the horn near its entire hide of a male two years two ends. The bows made of the old, and never suffered to dry the horns of the bighorn, are still since it was taken from the animore prized, and are formed by mal, is now laid across the hole, cementing with glue flat pieces of with the fleshy side to the ground, the horn together, covering the and stretched in every direction back with sinews and glue, and by as many as can take hold of it. loading the whole with an un- As the skin becomes beated, the usual quantity of ornaments. The hair separates and is taken off by arrows resemble those of the the hand; till at last the skin is other Indians, except in being contracted into the compass demore slender than any we have signed for the shield. It is then seen. They are contained, with taken off and placed on a hide the implements for striking fire, prepared into parchment, and in a narrow quiver formed of dif- then pounded during the rest of ferent kinds of skin, though that the festival by the bare heels of of the otter seems to be preferred. those who are invited to it. This It is just long enough to protect operation sometimes continues for the arrows from the weather, and several days, after which it is deis worn on the back by means of livered to the proprietor, and dea strap passing over the right clared by the old men and jugshoulder and under the left arm. glers to be a security against arThe shield is a circular piece of rows; and provided the feast has buffaloe hide about two feet four been satisfactory, against even or five inches in diameter, orna- the bullets of their eneinies. Such mented with feathers, and a fringe is the delusion, that many of the round it of dressed leather, and Indians implicitly believe that this adorned or deformed with paint- ceremony has given to the shield ings of strange figures. The supernatural powers, and that

they they have no longer to fear any times the knot is formed at a litweapons of their enemies.

tle distance from one of the ends, The poggamoggon

is an instru- so as to let that end serve as a ment, consisting of a handle bridle, while the other trails on twenty-two inches long, made of the ground. With these cords wood, covered with diessed lea- dangling alongside of them, the ther, about the size of a whip- horse is put to his full speed withhandle : at one end is a thong of out fear of falling, and when he two inches in length, which is is turned to graze, the noose is tied to a round stone weighing merely taken from his mouth. two pounds and held in a cover of The saddle is formed like the Jeather : at the other end is a loop pack-saddles used by the French of the same material, which is and Spaniards, of two flat thin passed round the wrist so as to se- boards which fit the sides of the cure the hold of the instrument, horse, and are kept together by with which they strike a very se- two cross pieces, one before and vere blow.

the other behind, which rise to a Besides these, they have a kind considerable height, ending someof armour something like a coat times in a flat point extending of mail, which is formed by a outwards, and always making the great many folds of dressed ante- saddle deep and narrow. Under lope skins, united by means of a this a piece of buffaloe skin, with mixture of glue and sand. With the hair on, is placed so as to prethis they cover their own bodies vent the rubbing of the boards, and those of their horses, and find and when they mount they throw it impervious to the arrow. a piece of skin or robe over the

The caparison of their horses is saddle, which has no permanent a halter and a saddle: the first is

When stirrups are used, either a rope of six or seven they consist of wood covered with strands of buffaloe hair platted or leather ; but stirrups and saddles twisted together, about the size are conveniencies reserved for old of a man's finger, and of great men and women. The young strength : or merely a thong of warriors rarely use any thing exraw hide, made pliant by pound- cept a small leather pad stuffed ing and rubbing; though the with hair, and secured by a girth first kind is much preferred. The made of a leathern thong. In halter is very long, and is never this way they ride with great extaken from the neck of the horse pertness, and they have a particuwhen in constant use. One end lar dexterity in catching the horse of it is first tied round the neck in when he is running at large. If a knot, and then brought down he will not immediately submit to the under jaw, round which it when they wish to take him, they is formed into a simple noose, make a noose in the rope, and alpassing through the mouth : it is though the horse may be at a disthen drawn up on the right side tance, or even running, rarely fail and held by the rider in his left to fix it on his neck ; and such is hand, while the rest trails after the docility of the animal, that him to some distance. At other however unruly he may seem,



he surrenders as soon as he feels the the flint itself is formed into heads rope on him.

This cord is so for arrows, by means of the point useful in this way that it is never of a deer or elk horn, an instrudispensed with, even when they ment which they use with great use the Spanish bridle, which they art and ingenuity. There are no prefer, and always procure when axes or hatchets; all the wood they have it in their power. The being cut with flint or elk horn, horse becomes almost an object the latter of which is always used of attachment: a favourite is fre- as a wedge in splitting wood. quently painted and his ears cut Their utensils consist, besides the into various shapes: the mane brass kettles, of pots in the form and tail, which are never drawn of a jar, made either of earth, or nor trimmed, are decorated with of a stone found in the hills befeathers of birds, and sometimes tween Madison and Jefferson a warrior suspends at the breast of rivers, which, though soft and his horse the finest ornaments he white in its natural state, bepossesses.

comes very hard and black after Thus armed and mounted the

exposure to the fire.

The horns Shoshonee is a formidable enemy, of the buffaloe and the bighorn even with the teeble weapons supply them with spoons. which he is still obliged to use. The fire is always kindled by When they attack at full speed means of a blunt arrow, and a they bend forwa d and cover their piece of well-seasoned wood of a bodies with the shield, while with soft spongy kind, such as the wilthe right hand they shoot under low or coiton-wood. the horse's neck.

The Shoshonees are of a dimiThe only articles of metal nutive stature, with thick flat feet which the Shoshunees possess are and ancles, crooked legs, and are, a few bad knives, some brass ket- generally speaking, worse formtles, some bracelets or armbands ed than any nation of Indians we of iron and brass, a few buttons have seen. Their complexion reworn as ornaments in their hair, senibles that of the Sioux, and is one or two spears about a foot in darker than that of the Minnetalength, and some heads for ar- rees, Mandans, or Shawnees. The rows, made of iron and brass. hair of both sexes is suffered to All these they had obtained in fall loosely over the face and down trading with the Crow or Rocky the shoulders : some men, howmountain Indians, who live on the ever, divide it by means of thong's Yellowstone. The few bridle- of dressed leather or otter skin bits and stirrups they procured into two equal queues, which hang from the Spanish colonies.

over the ears and are drawn in The instrument which supplies front of the body; but at the prethe place of a knife among them, sent moment, when the nation is is a piece of flint with no regular afflicted by the loss of so many form, and the sharp part of it not relations killed in war, most of more than one or two inches long. them have the hair cut quite short The edge of this is renewed, and in the neck, and Cameahwait has


« PreviousContinue »