Page images

nor with all its efforts can nature which being twisted are interever restore its shape; the heads woven with silk-grass, or the of grown persons being often in bark of the white cedar, in such a straight line from the nose to a manner that the fur appears the top of the forehead.

equally on both sides, so as to The hair of both sexes is parted form a soft and warm covering. at the top of the head, and thence The skins of the racoon or beaver falls loosely behind the ears, over are also employed in the same the back and shoulders. They way, though on other occasions use combs, of which they are very these skins are simply dressed in fond, and, indeed, contrive, with the hair, and worn without furthe aid of them, to keep their ther preparation. The garment hair in very good order. The which covers the body from the dress of the man consists of a waist as low as the knee before small robe, reaching to the middle and the thigh behind, is the tissue of the thigh, tied by a string already described, and is made across the breast, with its corners either of the bruised bark of hanging loosely over their arms. white cedar, the twisted cords of These robes are, in general, com- silk-grass, or of flags and rushes. posed of the skins of a small ani. Neither leggings nor moccasins mal, which we have supposed to are ever used, the mildness of the be the brown mungo. They have, climate not requiring them as a besides, those of the tiger, cat, security from the weather, and deer, panther, bear, and elk, which their being so much in the water last is principaliy used in war rendering them an incumbrance. parties. Sometimes they have a The only covering for the head is blanket woven with the fingers, a hat made of bear-grass, and the from the wool of their native bark of cedar, interwoven in a sheep; occasionally a mat is conie form, with a knob of the thrown over them to keep off rain; same shape at the top. It has no but except this robe, they have no brim, but is held on the head by other article of clothing during a string passing under the chin, winter or summer, so that every and tied to a small rim inside of part of the body, but the back the hat. The colours are geneand shoulders, is exposed to view. rally black and white only, and They are very fond of the dress of these are made into squares, the whites, whom they call pasbi- triangles, and sometimes rude sheooks or clothmen ; and when- figures of canoes and seamen harever they can procure any clothes, pooning whales. This is all the wear them in our manner : the usual dress of females ; but if only article, indeed, which we the weather be unusually severe, have not seen among them is the they add a vest formed of skins shoe.

like the robe, tied behind, withThe robe of the women is like out any shoulder-straps to keep that worn by the men, except it up. As this vest covers the that it does not reach below the body from the armpits to the waist. Those most esteemed are waist, it conceals the breasts, but made of strips of sea-otter skin, on all other occasions, they are

2 K 2



suffered to remain loose and ex- adorned with bracelets of copper, posed, and present, in old women iron, or brass, in various forms. especially, a most disgusting ap- Yet all these decorations are pearance

unavailing to conceal the deforSometimes, though not often, mities of nature and the extravathey mark their skins by punc- gance of fashion ; nor have we turing and introducing some co- seen any more disgusting object loured matter: this ornament is than Chinnok or Clatsop chiefly confined to the women, beauty in full attire. Their broad who imprint on their legs and flat foreheads, their falling breasts, arms circular or parallel dots. their ill-shaped limbs, the awkOn the arm of one of the suaws wardness of their positions, and we read the name of J. Bowinan, the filth which intrudes through apparently a trader who visits the their finery; all these render a mouth of the Columbia. The Chinnook or Clatsop beauty in favourite decoration however of full attire, one of the most disboth sexes, are the common coarse gusting objects in nature. Forblue or white beads, which are tunately this circumstance confolded very tightly round their spired with the low diet and lawrists and ankles, to the width of borious exercise of our men, to three or four inches, and worn in protect them from the perseverlarge loose rolls round the neck, ing gallantry of the fair sex, or in the shape of ear-rings, or whose kindness always exceeded hanging from the nose, which the ordinary courtesies of hospilast mo le is peculiar to the men. tality. There is also a species of wampum very much in use, which seems to be worn in its natural form without any preparation. Its shape is a cone somewhat curved, about the size of a raven's

(From the Same.) quill at the base, and tapering to The Clatsops and other nations a point, its whole length being at the mouth of the Columbia, from one to two and a half inches, have visited us with great freeand white, smooth, hard, and dom, and we have endeavoured thin. A small thread is passed to cultivate their intimacy, as well through it, and the wampum is for the purpose of acquiring ineither suspended from the nose, formation, as to leave behind us or passed through the cartilage impressions favourable to horizoi tally, and forms a ring, country. Having acquired much from whichother ornaments hang of their language, we are enaThis wampum is employed in the bleil, with the assistance of gessame way as the beads, but is the tures, to hold conversations with favourite decoration for the noses great ease.

We find them inquiof the men. The men also use sitive and loquacious, with ur fercollars made of bears' claws, the standings by no means deficient in

and children those of acuteness, and with very retenelks' tusks, and both sexes are tive memories ; and though fond








of feasts, and generally cheerful, greatest liberality, and all the they are never gay. Every thing good qualities of which their sithey see excites their attention tuation demands the exercise. and inquiries, but having been Where the women can aid in accustomed to see the whites, procuring subsistence for the nothing appeared to give them tribe, they are treated with more more astonishment than the air- equality, and their importance is gun. To all our inquiries they proportioned to the share which answer with great intelligence, they take in that labour; while and the conversation rarely slack- in countries where subsistence ens, since there is a constant dis- is chiefly procured by the exercussion of the events, and trade, tions of the men, the women are and politics, in the little but considered and treated as burdens. active circle of Killamucks, Clat. Thus, 'among the Clatsops and sops, Cathlamahs, Wahkiacums, Chinnooks, who live upon fish and Chinnooks. mong them- and roots, which the women are selves, the conversation generally equally expert with the men in turns on the subjects of trade, procuring, the former have a or smoking, or eating, or con- rank and influence very rarely nexion with females, before whom found among Indians. The fethis last is spoken of with a fa- males are permitted to speak miliarity which would be in the freely before the men, to whom highest degree indecent, if custom indeed they sometimes address had not rendered it inoffensive. themselves in a tone of authority.

The treatment of women is On many subjects their judgments often considered as the standard and opinions are respected, and by which the moral qualities of in matters of trade, their advice savages are to be estimated. Our is generally asked and pursued. own observation, however, in- The labours of the family, too, duced us to think that the im- are shared almost equally. The portance of the female in savage men collect wood and make fires, life has no necessary relation to assist in cleansing the fish, make the virtues of the men, but is re- the houses, canoes, and wooden gulated wholly by their capacity utensils; and whenever strangers to be useful. The Indians, whose are to be entertained, or a great treatment of the females is mildest, feast prepared, the meats and who pay most deference to cooked and served up by the men. their opinions, are by no means The peculiar province of the fethe most distinguished for their male is to collect roots, and to virtues ; nor is this deference at- manufacture the various articles tended by any increase of attach- which are formed of rushes, flags, ment, since they are equally wil. cedar-bark, and bear-grass ; but ling with the most brutal hus - the management of the canoes, band, to prostitute their wives to and many of the occupations, strangers. On the other hand, which elsewhere devolve wholly the tribes among whom the women on the female, are here common are very much debased, possess to both sexes. the loftiest sense of honour, the The observation with regard


[ocr errors]


to the importance of females ap- ple appear to be treated with atplies with equal force to the tention, and some of their feasts, treatment of old men. Among particularly the buffaloe dances, tribes who subsist by hunting, were intended chiefly as a contrithe labours of the chase, and the bution for the old and infirm. wandering existence to which that The dispositions of these people occupation condemns them, ne- seem mild and inoffensive, and cessarily throws the burden of they have uniformly behaved to procuring provisions on the active us with great friendship. They young men.

As soon, therefore, are addicted to begging and pilas a man is unable to pursue the fering small articles, when it can chase, he begins to withdraw be done without danger of desomething from the precarious tection, but do not rob wantonly, supplies of the tribe. Still, how- nor to any large amount; and ever, his counsels may compen- some of them having purloined sate his want of activity ; but in some of our meat, which the the next stage of infirmity, when hunters had been obliged to leave he can no longer travel from in the woods, they voluntarily camp to camp, as the tribe roams brought some dogs a few days about for subsistence, he is then after, by way of compensation. found to be a heavy burden. In Our force and great superiority this situation they are abandoned in the use of fire-arms, enable us among the Sioux, Assiniboins, always to command ; and such is and the hunting tribes on the the friendly deportment of these Missouri. As they are setting people, that the men have been out fur

new excursion, accustomed to treat them with where the old man is unable to the greatest confidence. It is follow, his children, or nearest therefore with difhculty that we relations, place before him a piece can impress on our men a conof meat and some water, and viction of the necessity of being telling him that he has lived long always on our guard, since we enough, that it is now time for are perfectly acquainted with the him to go home to his relations, treacherous character of Indians who could take better care of him in general. We are always piethan his friends on earth, leave pared for an attack, and uniformly him, without remorse, to perish, exclude all large parties of Irwhen his little supply is dians from the fort. Their large hausted. The same custom is houses usually contain sevei al said to prevail among the Minne- families, consisting of the parents, tarees, Ahnahawas, and Ricaras, their sons and daughters-in-law, when they are attended by old and grand-children, among whom men on their hunting excursions. the provisions are common, and Yet, in their villages, we saw no whose harmony is scarcely ever want of kindness to old men. On interrupted by disputes

Althe contrary, probably because in though polygamy is permitted by villages the means of more abun- their customs, very few have more dant subsistence renders such than a single wife, and she is cruelty unnecessary, the old peo- brought immediately after the



[ocr errors]


marriage into the husband's fa- tities at a time, till after circumily, where she resides until in- lating through the lungs and stocreasing numbers oblige them to mach, it issues in volumes from seek another house. In this state the mouth and nostrils. But the the old man is not considered as natural vice of all these people the head of the family, since the is an attachment for games of active duties, as well as the re- hazard, which they pursue with sponsibility, fall on some of the a strange and ruinous avidity. syounger members. As these fa- The games are of two kinds. In milies gradually expand into the first, one of the company bands, or tribes, or nations, the assumes the office of banker, and paternal authority is represented plays against the rest. He takes by the chief of each association. a small stone, about the size of a This chieftain, however, is not bean, which he shifts from one hereditary; his ability to render hand to the other with great dexservice to his neighbours, and the terity, repeating at the same time popularity which follows it, is at a song adapted to the game, and once the foundation and the mea- which serves to divert the attensure of his authority, the exercise tion of the company, till having of which does not extend beyond agreed on the stake, he holds out a reprimand for some improper his hands, and the antagonist action.

wins or loses as he succeeds or The harmony of their private fails at guessing in which hand life is indeed secured by their the stone is. After the banker ignorance of spirituous liquors, has lost his money, or whenever the earliest and most dreadful he is tired, the stone is transpresent which civilization has ferred to another, who in turn given to the other natives of the challenges the rest of the comcontinent. Although they have pany. The other game is somehad so much intercourse with thing like the play of ninepins : whites, they do not appear to two pins are placed on the floor, possess any knowledge of those about the distance of a foot from dangerous luxuries, at least they each other, and a small hole made have never inquired after them, behind them. The players then which they probably would have go about ten feet from the hole, done if once they had been intro- into which they try to roll a duced among them. Indeed, we small piece resembling the men

, have not observed any liquor of used at draughts; if they succeed an intoxicating quality used among in putting it into the hole, they these or any Indians west of the win the stake ; if the piece rolls Rocky Mountains, the universal between the pins, but does not beverage being pure water. They, go into the hole, nothing is won however, sometimes almost in- or lost; but the wager is wholly toxicate themselves by smoking lost if the chequer rolls outside of tobacco, of which they are ex- the pins. Entire days are wasted cessively fond, and the pleasures at these games, which are often of which they prolong as much as continued through the night possible, by retaining vast quan- round the blaze of their fires, till


« PreviousContinue »