« PreviousContinue »
theirs; but they had also continual quarrels, often degenerating into actual hostilities, between themselves. These originated in encroachments on hunting-grounds, elopement or carrying off of women, and stealing of horses. During their temporary absence from their villages, cornfields and provisions in store appear to have been generally respected by straggling parties, even of enemies; with the understanding, however, that Indians when hungry have a right to feed on any provisions which they discover, and may actually want for that purpose. But it is in their mode of warfare, either amongst themselves, or against other tribes, that we find a decisive proof of much less ferocious habits, than those which characterize the Indian who dwells in the forests between the Mississippi and the Atlantic.
The enemies wounded in battle are killed on the spot, but without any particular act of cruelty, and rarely if ever scalped. The prisoners carried home are neither tortured nor put to death. The women are made slaves; the men are considered as servants, and generally employed in taking care of the horses, and in other menial offices, but not in raising corn, that being woman's work. The children are almost always adopted into the nation.
Amongst the exploits which are the boast of their warriors, that which confers the highest distinction is to take a prisoner alive; the next, to strike with a lance or some other weapon an enemy alive; the third, that of striking in the same manner the dead body of an enemy in presence of his friends; the fourth, taking a horse ; last of all, shooting an enemy at a distance with
a bullet or arrow, this being that which any one
It is but just to observe, that traces of chivalry were also found amongst our eastern Indians. It was a settled rule amongst them, that those who killed stragglers, should leave marks designating to what tribe those who had committed the act belonged. But if done in the vicinity, or even in the heart, of the village of an enemy, the warrior was bound, at the moment he took off the scalp, to raise the warwhoop, thus giving notice of the deed, and trusting to his own superior swiftness and skill for escaping the immediate pursuit of an enraged and unforgiv
The fact, so far as relates to the Delawares, was fully confirmed by General Douglass of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, a gentleman of
It may be added, in reference to the Missouri Indians, that the annual sacrifice of a prisoner, a practice which prevailed amongst the Pawnees, and was lately abolished by the courageous exertions of a celebrated chief, affords an additional proof of the comparatively humane manner in which prisoners were generally treated by them.
Two wandering and purely hunting nations, the Fall, Rapid, or Paunch Indians, improperly called Minetares of the Prairie, and the Black Feet, have their principal seats on the south fork of the Saskachawin.
skachawin. Their hunting-grounds extend as far south, as the sources of the Yellowstone River and of its various tributary streams. The Rapid Indians are the most easterly tribe, and are more generally found between the Saskachawin and the Missouri in the vicinity of and above the Mandane village. They have about three hundred lodges, and are estimated at three thousand souls. The Arrapahoes (or Arrapabays) are a detached tribe of that nation, which has lately wandered as far south as the river Platte and the Arkansa, where they formed a temporary union with the Kaskaias (or Kaskayas) and some other erratic tribes. Although intimately connected with the Black Feet, they speak a distinct language.
The Black Feet are cne of the most powerful Indian nations known to us. Their lodges are estimated at two thousand five hundred, and their population at thirty thousand. They occupy, as hunting-grounds, the whole territory west of the Minetares and of the one hundred and third degree of west longitude to the Rocky Mountains, and extending from the fifty-second to the forty-second degree of north latitude. They carry on a perpetual war against the Flat Heads, the Shoshonees, and other tribes of the Rocky Mountains, whom they confine within the mountains, and prevent from hunting in the buffalo country. They are always at war with the Crows and other Minetares; but they appear to act on the
the most strict veracity and integrity, who during his youth had resided amongst them, and is said to have spoken the language as a native. I regret that, during an intimacy of seventeen years, not having at that time turned my attention to the subject, I neglected so favorable an opportunity of obtaining the most correct information respecting the language of that tribe.
defensive against the Knistinaux and the Assiniboins, who have in fact driven them away from the easterly portion of the Saskachawin country, and call them the Slave Nation. * We have as yet no other vocabulary of those two nations and of the Assiniboins, but the scanty one of Umfreville. It is however sufficient to show, that the Assiniboins are, as they have been uniformly stated, a branch of the Sioux family; and that the languages of the Rapid Indians and of the Black Feet are distinct from each other, and different from any other known to us.
It will be perceived by an inspection of the map, that, with the exception of some detached bands of the Shoshonees or Snake Indians, who occasionally cross over to the head waters of the Yellowstone and of the river Platte, the only Indians within the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains, not included in the preceding enumeration, are those who may wander between the upper waters of the river Platte and the Red River, west of the Pawnees, Kansas, and Osages. They were designated by Bourgmont, in 1724, by the name of Padoucas; an appellation which seems to have disappeared. The Panis, or Towiaches of Red River, have fixed villages, and have already been mentioned. The Hietans, or Camanches, are within the Mexican dominions; and some stragglers only are occasionally seen within the territory of the United States. Three tribes appear to wander and hunt within their limits in that quarter, or along the Mexican boundary, between the thirty-fourth and forty-first degrees of north latitude. These are the Kaskaias or Bad Hearts, the Kinawas (or Kioways), and the Bald Heads, who, united with detached bands of the Arrapahoes, of the Shyennes, and even of the Shoshonees, were met on the Arkansa by Major Long's detachment during his first expedition. The vocabularies, which Dr. Say had taken of the languages of the Kaskaias and the Kiawas, have been unfortunately lost. We only know, that both were harsh, guttural, and extremely difficult. It is a remarkable circumstance,
* The information respecting the Crows, the Rapid Indians, and the Black Feet, has been principally derived from Mr. Kenneth Mackenzie, who is at the head of the establishment of the American Missouri Fur Company at the mouth of the Yellowstone ; and from whom I hope to receive in the course of next year correct vocabularies of those and other adjacent tribes. The Paegan and Blood Indians are subdivisions of the Black Feet.
that none of those tribes understood the language of any of the others; and that they communicated together partly by what is called the “language of signs,” partly through the medium of the Crow, which was not the native language of either of them. Their number has been estimated at only fourteen hundred souls by the Indian Department, and, including other small bands mentioned by Lewis and Clarke on uncertain information, cannot well exceed three thousand.
The Wakash or Nootka Sound Indians are the most southern tribe on the shores of the Pacific, of which we have been able to give a vocabulary. With the exception of a few words collected in the Straits of Fuca, and of some of the Chinook language at the mouth of the river Columbia, we have not a single one along the coast, till we come to the Ellenes and the Ruslenes of the Spanish missions of New California. Mackenzie has given a short one of an inland tribe, the Atnahs, who, in 520 30' north latitude, are bounded on the north by the Tacullies, and extend thence southwarldy down Frazer's River towards the Straits of Fuca. It is also a language distinct, so far as we are now informed, from any other. But of all the tribes inhabiting the territory west of the Rocky Mountains between the forty-second and the forty-ninth degree of north latitude, we have, besides a few Shoshonee words collected by Dr. Say, no other vocabulary but that of the Salish or Flat Heads, which belongs to Mr. Duponceau's collection. This is a small tribe, computed at two hundred warriors, waging an unequal war with the Black Feet, and residing towards the sources of one of the branches of the Columbia River, which must be either the most southern branch of Clarke's River, or the most northern branch of Lewis's River. It will be perceived that, with that single exception, our deficiency embraces all the Indian tribes living on the Columbia River and all its numerous tributary streains. Messrs. Lewis and Clarke had brought with them copious vocabularies of all the Indian tribes along the line of their route. These had been placed by Mr. Jefferson in the hands of the late Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton for arrangement and publication, but could not be found after his death. The country has now been for many years occupied by the British traders; and for the present we must look to
that quarter for information. A long list of the tribes, together with an estimate of their numbers, is annexed to the account of Lewis and Clarke's expedition, to which we must refer the reader. Captain Lewis was of opinion, that along his route there were three distinct families of languages on the waters of the Columbia River ; that of the mountains, that of the Columbia plains, and that of the seashore. According to his estimate of the population, which was almost entirely derived from Indian accounts, those on the waters of Columbia River amounted to eighty thousand souls. A more recent statement reduces the number to five thousand six hundred warriors. It is probable that they have been overrated in the one, and underrated in the other estimate. Considering the nature of the country and the means of subsistence which it affords, it is probable that they can hardly amount to fifty thousand souls. This however, as well as any estimate of the population of the Eskimaux, of the Athapascas, and generally of the tribes north of the United States, can only be founded on conjecture. That of the Indians within the territory of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, is, with few exceptions, as correct as the nature of the case will admit. With this observation we submit the following recapitulation. Eskimaux, Athapascas, Atnahs, and tribes on the Pacific as far south as Fuca's Straits.
60,000 Indians of Columbia River, and the seashore of Pacific from 42° to 49° north latitude
50,000 Algonkin-Lenape ; in British dominions 20,000 in United States 40,000
60,000 Iroquois tribes; in British dominions in United States
7,000 Choctaws and Chicasas
24,000 Muskhogees and Seminoles
15,000 Uchees, Natches, small Lousiana tribes
4,000 Sioux, including Assiniboins (7,000) in British Dominions 50,000 Pawnees 9,500; Panis or Towa-ash 1500
11,000 Black Feet and Rapid Indians
2,000 Kaskaias, Kiawas, Bald Heads, and other small erratic bands 3,000