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MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE INDIANS. 91

CHAPTER XXXIX.

General Remarks on the Indians.-The Tribes of New England.-Their Manners and Customs.

1. WE have already stated that the Indians of America, though

INDIAN SORCERER AND SICK MAN.

divided into many

tribes and nations, speaking different languages, and having some difference of manners and customs, were all of one race. It is necessary to remark, however, that the people called Esquimaux [es-kemo], living around the Arctic regions, were of a distinct

race, being of the

[graphic]

same family as the Lap'-land-ers and Sa-moi'-edes of Northern Europe and Asia.

2. With those people, however, the early settlers of the United States had no connection. With the numerous tribes which dwelt in the vast country from the Canadas to the Gulf of Mexico, on the contrary, they were in almost constant contact. The Whites, in fact, occupied the lands which these Indians had held as their patrimony, and the savages were not slow to perceive that, their tribes rapidly wasted away before the progress of these strangers.

3. A natural jealousy, therefore, took possession of their minds, which was often inflamed by acts of aggression on the part of the Europeans. Thus wars ensued, which, in point of fact, constitute a large part of the history of the colonies. In order to understand the narratives belonging to this period, it is necessary to take a somewhat closer view of the manners and customs of those people.

CHAP. XXXIX.-1. What of the Indians of America? The Esquimaux? 2. What of the Indians from the Canadas to the Gulf of Mexico? 3. Jealousy of the Indians?

4. The tribes in New England were, principally, the Pe-nob'-scots in Maine; the Paw-tuck'-ets between Maine and Salem; the Massachusetts around the Massachusetts Bay; the Po-ka-no'-kets in south-eastern Massachusetts; the Narragansets about Rhode Island; and the Pe'quods in the southern or south-eastern part of Connecticut.

5. There were indeed other tribes and divisions of tribes, such as the Mo-he'-gans, the Nipmucks, the Wam-pa-no'-ags, &c. ; but they were not numerous, and were generally tributary to the larger tribes. Nor were the larger tribes so numerous as some have hastily supposed. Judicious authors on the subject have estimated the whole number at only one hundred and fifty or two hundred thousand for the eastern, middle, and southern states.

6. The Indians had no houses, but lived chiefly in rude huts, or, as they were called, wigwams. These were built of sticks, leaves, bark, and sometimes of skins, in the shape of tents. They were usually arranged in small clusters, or villages; one wigwam often serving for several families. Like the wandering Tartars, they often removed their villages. A village contained, usually, from fifty to two hundred inhabitants.

7. They knew little of agriculture, though in some places they raised corn and beans, and a few peas, melons, &c. The employments of the men were chiefly hunting, fishing, and war. Of arts and manufactures they barely knew enough to make their wigwams, weapons of war, hunting and fishing, articles of dress and ornaments, wampum, and a few domestic utensils and agricultural implements.

8. Their food was simple, coarse, plainly cooked, and, from their natural indolence, sometimes scanty. At times they subsisted chiefly on flesh-raw, roasted, or boiled, according to convenience. At other times, when not too indolent to procure it, they subsisted on parched corn, hominy, or a mixture of corn and beans, which they called succotash. The females usually prepared the food and cultivated the vegetables.

9. Their dress, except in winter, consisted chiefly of a slight covering about the waist, with ornaments for the face, wrists, or ankles. In winter they dressed in untanned skins and in furs. They were little affected by external beauty, even personal beauty, notwithstanding their fondness for ornament. In war, and on occasions of ceremony, they painted their faces with various bright colors, giving them a hideous appearance. For amusements, they danced around a fire, or sang songs, or recited stories of their victories. Though in general the Indians had a moody and melancholy look, they sometimes indulged in hearty mirth.

4. What of the tribes of Indians in New England? 5 Other tribes? 6. Indian dwellings? Villages? 7. Agriculture? Employments of the men? Arts and manufactures? 8. Food? The women? 9. Dress? Amusements?

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE INDIANS. 93

10. Their hatchets, knives, and other implements, were chiefly shells or sharp stones; more frequently the latter. The bow and arrow and tomahawk, as we have already stated, were their chief weapons of war. They pounded their corn in large stones, scooped or hollowed out. The ground served them instead of chairs, tables, and beds. Their thread for nets, etc., was made of the tendons of animals, and their fish-hooks of bones. For money, they used wampum, or beads made of the shells of clams strung together in chains, or fastened to belts.

11. The Indians had no books, or schools, or churches. They had, it is true, some ideas of good and evil spirits; their principal deity was called Manitou. They appear to have had a belief in a future existence beyond the grave; but their notions on this subject were very crude and confused; and their religion and religious worship, when they had any, exerted but little influence on their general conduct.

12. Polygamy was allowed among them; and though they could hardly be said to be distinguished for licentiousness, there was not among them that tender and respectful regard for the female sex which is not only a principal element of human happiness, but one of the strongest bonds of society. Their government and customs of war will be seen in the progress of our history.

13. Diseases among the savages of America were fewer in number than in civilized society; but they were sometimes very fatal, as in the case of the smallpox. Their medical treatment was simple, consisting, for the most part, of a little herb tea, and warm or cold bathing; sometimes, however, they resorted to powwows or sorcerers, who pretended to charm away diseases.

14. When an Indian died, the survivors dug a hole in the ground, and having wrapped the corpse in skins and mats, laid it therein. Whatever was deemed most useful to the individual while living, as his implements of war or hunting, were buried with him; probably in the vague belief that they might be useful to him in a future state. Some corpses were buried sitting, with their faces to the east.

10. Utensils? Weapons of war? How did they pound their corn? What served them for chairs, tables, etc.? Nets? Hooks? Money? 11. Books? Schools? Churches? Religious notions? 12. Polygamy? Respect for the female sex? 13. Diseases? Medical treatment? Powwows? 14. Burial ceremonies?

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

The Eight Families of Indians-Algonquins, Huron Iroquois, Dahkotahs, Catawbas, Cherokees, Uchees, Choctaws, and Natchez.-Their Character, Manners, Customs, etc.

1. SUCH were the manners and customs of the New England Indians; they were, however, only a small part of those who dwelt within the present limits of the United States.

2. These comprised numerous small bands, though historians class them in eight great families. First, there was the AL-GON'-QUIN FAMILY, Occupying nearly the whole country from the Canadas to the Carolinas, and embracing nearly all the Indians with whom the early settlers came in contact, as well those of New England as the Middle States and Virginia.

3. The second family was that of the Hu'-RON IR'-O-QUOIS, their

CHAP. XL.-1, 2. What of the bands or tribes among the Indians in the territory of the United States at the time of its settlement? Into how many great families are they divided by historians? What of the Algonquin family?

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