« PreviousContinue »
the hair cut short all over his head, into little bundles, of two, three, this being the customary mourn- or more, according to the caprice ing for deceased kindred.
of the wearer, and then susThe dress of the men consists pended from the collar, and a of a robe, a tippet, a shirt, long broad fringe of ermine skin is leggins, and moccasins. The robe fixed so as to cover the parts is formed most commonly of the where they unite, which might skins of antelope, bighorn, or have a coarse appearance. Little deer, though, when it can be pro- tassels of fringe of the same macured, the buffaloe hide is pre- terials are also fastened to the ferred. Sometimes too they are extremities of the tail, so as to made of beaver, moonax, and show its black colour to greater small wolves, and frequently advantage. The centre of the during the summer, of elk skin. collar is further ornamented with These are dressed with the hair the shells of the pearl oyster. on, and reach about as low as the Thus adorned, the collar is worn middle of the leg. They are worn close round the neck, and the loosely over the shoulders, the little rolls fall down over the sides being at pleasure either left shoulders nearly to the waist, so open or drawn together by the as to form a sort of short cloak, hand, and in cold weather kept which has a very handsome apclose by a girdle round the waist. pearance. These tippets are very This robe answers the purpose of highly esteemed, and are given a clock during the day, and at or disposed of on important ocnight is their only covering. casions only. The ermine is the
The tippet is the most elegant fur known to the north-west article of Indian dress we have traders by the naine of the white
The neck or collar of weasel, but is the genuine erit is a strip about four or five mine; and by encouraging the inches wide, cut from the back Indians to take them, might no of the otter skin, the nose and doubt be rendered a valuable eyes forming one extremity, and branch of trade. These animals the tail another. This being must be very abundant, for the dressed with the furon, they tippets are in great numbers, and attach to one edge of it, from one the construction of each requires hundred to two hundred and fifty at least one hundred skins. little rolls of ermine skin, begin- The shirt is a covering of ning at the ear, and proceeding dressed skin without the hair, towards the tail. These ermine and formed of the hide of the skins are the same kind of narrow antelope, deer, bighorn, or elk, strips from the back of that ani- though the last is more rarely mal, which are sewed round a used than any other for this pursmall cord of twisted silkgrass pose. It fits the body loosely, thick enough to make the skin and reaches half way down the taper towards the tail which thigh. The aperture at the top hangs from the end, and are ge- is wide enough to admit the head, nerally about the size of a large and has no collar, but is either quill. These are tied at the head left square, or most frequently terminates in the tail of the ani- is drawn so high as to conceal the mal, which is left entire, so as to parts usually kept from view, in fold outwards, though sometimes which respect their dress is much the edges are cut into a fringe, more decent than that of any and ornamented with quills of the nation of Indians on the Missouri. porcupine. The seams of the
he seams of the leggings down shirt are
on the sides, and are the sides, are also fringed and orrichly fringed and adorned with namented, and occasionally decoporcupine quills, till within five rated with tufts of hair taken or six inches of the sleeve, where from enemies whom they have it is left open, as is also the under slain. In making all these dresses, side of the sleeve from the shoulder their only thread is the sinew to the elbow, where it fits closely taken from the backs and loins round the arm as low as the of deer, elk, buffaloe, or any other wrist, and has no fringe like the animal. sides, and the under part of the The moccasin is of the deer, sleeve above the elbow. It is elk, or buffaloe skin, dressed kept up by wide shoulder straps, without the hair, though in winter on which the manufacturer dis- they use the buffaloe skin with plays his taste by the variety of the hairy side in ward, as do most figures wrought with porcupine of the Indians who inhabit the quills of different colours, and
Like the Mansometimes by beads when they dan moccasin, it is made with a can be obtained. The lower end single seam on the outer eilge, of the shirt retains the natural and sewed up behind, a hole shape of the fore legs and neck of being left at the instep to admit the skin, with the addition of a the foot. It is variously ornaslight fringe; the hair too is left mented with figures wrought with on the tail and near the hoofs, porcupine quills, and sometimes part of which last is retained and the young men inoat fond of dress, split into a fringe.
cover it with the skin of a poleThe leggins are generally made cat, and trail at their feels the of antelope skins, dressed without tail of the animal.; the hair, and with the legs, tail,
The dress of the women conand neck hanging to them. Each sists of the same articles as that legging is formell of a skin nearly of their husbands. The robe entire, and reaches from the ancle though smaller is worn in the to the upper part of the thigh, saine way: the moccasins are preand the legs of the skin are tucked cisely similar. The shirt or chebefore and behind under a girdle mise reaches half way down the round the waist. It fits closely leg, is in the same form, except to the leg the tail being worn that there is no shoulder-strap, upwarıls, and the neck, highly the seam coining quite up to the ornamented with fringe and por- shoulder ; though for women who cupine quills, srags on the ground give suck both sides are ojien, behind the heels. As the legs of almost down to the waist. It is the animal are tied round the also ornamented in the same way girlle, the wide part of the skin with the addition of little patches
of red cloth, edged round with animals is as distinguished an beads at the skirts. The chief achievement as to have put to ornament is over the breast, death an enemy, and in fact with where there are curious figures their weapons is a more dangerous made with the usual luxury of trial of courage. These claws porcupine quills. Like the men are suspended on a thong of they have a girdle round the waist, dressed leather, and being ornaand when either sex wishes to mented with beads, are worn disengage the arın, it is drawn up round the neck by the warriors through the hole near the shonlder, with great pride. The men also and the lower part of the sleeve frequently wear the skin of a fox, thrown behind the body.
or a strip of otter skin round the Children alone
beads head in the form of a bandeau. round their necks; grown per
In short, the dress of the Shossons of both sexes prefer them honees, is as convenient and desuspended in little bunches from cent as that of any Indians we the ear, and sometimes inter
have seen. mixed with triangular pieces of They have many more children the shell of the pearl oyster. than might have been expected, Sometimes the men tie them in considering their precarious means the same way to the hair of the of support and their wandering forepart of the head, and increase life. This inconvenience is howthe beauty of it by adding the ever balanced by the wonderful wings and tails of birds, and par- facility with which their females ticularly the feathers of the great undergo the operations of childeagle or calumet bird, of which birth. In the most advanced they are extremely fond. The state of pregnancy they continue collars are formed either of sea their usual occupations, which shells procured from their rela- are scarcely interi upted longer tions to the south-west, or of the than the mere time of bringing sweet-scented grass which grows the child into the world, in the neighbourhood, and which The old men are few in numthey twist or plait together, to ber, and do not appear to be the thickness of a man's finger, treated with much tenderness or and then cover with porcupine respect. quills of various colours The The tobacco used by the Shos first of these is worn indiscrimi- honees is not cultivated among nately by both sexes, the second them, but obtained from the Inprincipally confined to the men, dians of the Rocky mountains, while a string of elk's tusks is a and from some of the bands of collar almost peculiar to the their own nation who live south women and children. Another of them : it is the same plant collar worn by the men is a string which is in use among the Minof round bones like the joints of netarees, Mandans, and Ricuras. a fish's back, but the collar most 'Their chief intercourse with preferred, because inost honour- other nations seems to consist in able, is one of the claws of the their association with other Snake brown bear. To hill one of these Indians, and with the Flatheads
when they go eastward to hunt which he acquired when he first buffaloe, and in the occasional signalized himself. As each new visits made by the Flatheads to action gives a warrior a right to the waters of the Columbia for change his name, many of them the purpose of fishing. Their have had several in the course of intercourse with the Spaniards is their lives. To give to a friend much more rare, and it furnishes his own name is an act of high them with a few articles, such as courtesy, and a pledge, like that mules, and some bridles, and of pulling off the moccasin, of other ornaments for horses, which, sincerity and hospitality. The as well as some of their kitchen chief in this way gave his name utensils, are also furnisheil by to captain Clarke when he first the bands of Snake Indians from arrived, and he was afterwards the Yellowstone. The pearl or- known among the Shoshunees by naments which they esteem so the name of Cameahwait. highly come from other bands, The diseases incident to this whom they represent as their state of life may be supposed to friends and relations, living to be few, and chiefly the result of the south-west beyond the barren accidents. We were particularly plains on the other side of the anxious to ascertain whether they mountains: these relations they say had any knowledge of the venereal inhabit a good country, abound- disorder. After inquiring by ing with elk, deer, bear, and an- means of the interpreter and his telope, where horses and mules wife, we learnt that they someare much more abundant than times suffered froin it, and that they are here, or to use their own they most usually die with it ; expression, as numerous as the nor could we discover what was grass of the plains.
their remedy. It is possible that The names of the Indians this disease may have reached vary in the course of their life: them in their circuitous commuoriginally given in childhood, nications with the whites through from the mere necessity of dis- the intermediate Indians; but tinguishing objects, or from some the situation of the Shoshonees accidental resemblance to is so insulated, that it is not proternal ubjects, the young warrior bable that it could have reached is impatient to change it by some them in that way, and the existachievement of his own. Any ence of such a disoriler among important event, the stealing of the Rocky mountains seems rather horses, the scalping an eneniy, or a proof of its being aboriginal. killing a brown bear, entitles him at once to a new name which he then selects for himself, and it is The Killamucks, Clatsops, Chinconfirined by the nation. Some nooks, and Cathlamahs, the four times the two pames subsist to- neighbouring nations with whom gether : thus, the chief Cameah- we have had most intercourse, wait, which means,
preserve a general resemblance in never walks,” has the war name
person, dress, and manners, of Tooettecone, or “ black gun,” They are commonly of a diminuVOL. LVIII.
NATIONS OF THE COAST.
tive stature, badly shaped, and western Indians, with the exceptheir appearance by no means tion of the Alliatan or Snake prepossessing. They have broad nation, are designated by the thick fiat feet, thick ankles, and common name of Flatheads. This crooked legs : the last of which singular usage, which nature deformities is to be ascribed, in could scarcely seem to suggest to part, to the universal practice of remote nations, might perhaps squatting, or sitting on the calves incline us to believe in the comof their legs and heels, and also mon and not very ancient origin to the tight bandages of beads of all the western nations. Such and strings
worn round the an opinion might well accommoankles, by the women, which date itself with the fact, that prevent the circulation of the while on the lower parts of the blood, and render the legs, of the Columbia, both sexes
are unifemales particularly, ill shaped versally flatheads, the custom diand swollen. The complexion minishes in receding eastward, is the usual copper-coloured from the common centre of the brown of the North American infection, till among the remoter tribes, though the complexion is tribes near the mountains, nature rather lighter than that of the recovers her rights, and the Indians of the Missouri, and the wasted folly is contined to a few frontier of the United States : the females. Such opinions, howmouth is wide and the lips thick ; ever, are corrected or weakened the nose of a moderate size, by considering that the flattening fleshy, wide at the extremities, of the head is not, in fact, pecuwith large nostrils, and generally liar to that part of the continent, low between the eyes, though since it was among the first obthere are rare instances of high jects which struck the attention of aquiline noses ; the eyes are ge- Columbus. nerally black, though we occa- But wherever it may have sionally see them of a dark yel- begun, the practice is now unilowish brown, with a black pupil. versal among these nations. Soon
after the birth of her child, the
mother, anxious to procure for The most distinguishing part her infant the recommendation of of their physiognomy, is the pe- a broad forehead, places it in the culiar flatness and width of their compressing machine, where it is forehead, a peculiarity which they kept for ten or twelve months; owe to one of those customs by though the females remain longer which nature is sacrificed to fan- than the boys. The operation is tastic ideas of beauty. The cus- so gradual, that it is not attended tom, indeed, of flattening the with pain ; but the impression is head by artificial pressure during deep and permanent. The heads infancy, prevails among all the of the children, when they are nations we have seen west of the released from the bandage, are Rocky mountains. To the east not more than two inches thick of that barrier, the fashion is so about the upper edge of the foreperfectly unknown, that there the head, and still thinner above :
FLATTING THE HEAD.