on the Indian Tribes inhabiting the country in the vicinity of the 49th Parallel
of North Latitude.
By Capt. Wilson.
[Read June 27th, 1865.]
[Extracted from Transactions of Ethnological Society, vol. 4 (1866), pp. 275-332.]
The Indian tribes with which the Boundary Commission was chiefly brought into contact during the course of its operations on the 49th Parallel, may be classed under the three great heads of Cowitchan, Selish, and Kootenay; the Cowitchans being on the west of the Cascade Mountains, the Selish between the Cascade and Rocky Mountains, and the Kootenay on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains.
The Selish and Kootenay, or Indians of the interior, assimilate very much in manner and habit, and it may be as well before entering on a more detailed account of each to point out some of the more striking peculiarities which distinguish them from the Cowitchans or Indians of the coast. Many of these peculiarities, no doubt, arise from the nature of the country in which they live, but some would seem to point to an origin from a different race. The Coast Indians, including the various tribes from Sitka and Queen Charlotte's Island down to the Columbia River, appear to have come from Asia, and spread along the coast to the southward, not attempting to force their way over the more rugged passes of the Cascades, which present a far more effectual barrier to the spread of emigration from the west, than the Rocky Mountains, with their long even slope towards the Atlantic, do from the east. During the present century, and in the memory of many of the older officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, a Japanese vessel was wrecked on the coast of Washington territory, and as late as 1858 a Japanese vessel was found water-logged some 200 miles off the coast of Vancouver Island and the crew brought into Esquimalt, proving the possibility of its being peopled in that way; besides which, there is the long chain of the Aleutian Islands connecting Asia with America. With regard to the Selish and Kootenay, or interior Indians, all their traditions, legends, and habits lead to the belief that they are the same race as the great tribes of Crees, Blackfeet, Crows, Sioux, etc., and a gradual westerly movement of the Indian tribes would naturally take place as the advance of the whites drove them from the sea-board. The range of the Cascade Mountains forms as marked a division of the native tribes of the far west, as it does of the fauna and climate. Besides difference of feature, [p.276] there are many customs amongst the coast tribes peculiar to themselves; such as the flattening of the head amongst the Cowitchans; the mode of burial of the dead in boxes or canoes, with the grotesquely carved tombs; and amongst the more northern Indians the not unfrequent burning of the dead body; the cannibalism of the Sabasses, etc.
One of the most difficult questions in the government of the new colonies, and one which has not yet received sufficient attention, is, "What is to be done with the Indians?" The American system of marking out reserves of ground for each tribe seems to be the best if it could be properly carried out; a certain sum of money is allowed for each reserve, and an agent appointed to regulate the expenditure, buy food, and instruct the Indians in the use of agricultural implements, etc.; but the Indian receives very little benefit from the large sums granted yearly by the central government at Washington, which in most cases find their way into the pockets of unscrupulous agents and contractors, an honest Indian agent being almost unknown in the western state of Oregon and Washington territory. In Vancouver Island and British Columbia, little has yet been done for the Indian; there are certainly a few regulations against the sale of spirits, but except in the neighbourhood of some of the larger towns they are a dead letter, and the small trader moves about with his poisonous compositions almost unheeded; many of the whites look with a sort of grim satisfaction for an easy solution of the question in the disappearance of the Indian, which is surely and rapidly taking place, hastened latterly by the ravages of that frightful scourge, the small-pox, of which Lieut. Palmer, E. E., in speaking of the Bella Coolas, at the date of his visit (July 1862) says:—"During my stay there, this disease (small-pox), which had only just broken out when I arrived, spread so rapidly, that in a week nearly all the healthy had scattered from the lodges and gone to encamp by families in the woods, only, it is to be feared, to carry away the seeds of infection and death in the blankets and other articles which they took with them. Numbers were dying each day; sick men and women were taken out into the woods and left with a blanket and two or three salmon to die by themselves and rot unburied; sick children were tied to trees, and naked, grey-haired medicine-men, hideously painted, howled and gesticulated night and day in front of the lodges in mad efforts to stay the progress of the disease."
Until 1860 little was done by the Protestant missionaries, amongst whom there seems to have been a want of energy, with the single exception of Mr. Duncan, whose noble exertions at Fort Simpson have been crowned with that success which they so well deserve; but during the last few years, schools have been estab- [p.277] lished at Victoria and elsewhere, under the auspices of Bishop Hills, who takes the greatest interest in the welfare of his native flock, and has infused a new spirit into the mission. The Roman Catholics have a well organised mission, long established in the country, and their priests have penetrated to the remotest tribes. Victoria is the head-quarters of the coast mission, and Coeur d'Alene of the interior. One cannot but admire the constancy and devotedness of men who have given up the civilised world to spend twenty or thirty years buried in the wilds of Oregon and British Columbia, and regret that the result has not been greater; several of the priests at Coeur d'Alene, who have spent nearly their whole lives amongst the Selish, speak the language with perfect fluency, and have had far more success in their noble efforts than their brethren on the coast, but still no such visible result has been obtained as that of the schools and model town of Mr. Duncan, at Met-lah-kah, near Fort Simpson.
Nothing strikes the traveller on the western coast of North America more than the wonderful diversity of language amongst the Indians; on Vancouver Island alone, there are no less than five distinct languages, besides dialects innumerable, and it is the same on the coast line. To obviate the inconvenience of this, the 'Chinook jargon' is usually spoken by the whites in all transactions with the natives, and it is not unfrequently used by the Indians of different tribes as a ready means of intercommunication. This jargon, consisting of words derived from the English, French Canadian, and Chinook proper, originated with the early traders at Astoria, and Vancouver, on the Columbia, but, gradually spreading over the whole country, and receiving new words from each tribe, it has now come into universal use, and may almost lay claim to the dignity of a separate language. A vocabulary of words, and a few sentences to show the usual style of composition are given, with a note of the language from which each word is derived, where traceable.
Small parties from many other tribes were occasionally met with during the progress of the commission. Whilst in winter quarters at Esquimalt, Vancouver Island, during the winters of 1858-59 and 1859-60, the Indians from the north visited Victoria in large numbers, but, though many interesting particulars were learnt about them from the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, there was no opportunity of studying their character and habits; the highly interesting letters of Mr. Duncan to the Church Missionary Society give, however, a very vivid and faithful description of the strange customs of these tribes, and are well worthy of perusal. Chinooks, Walla Wallas, Sahaptins, Shoshones, or Snakes, Nez Perces, and Yakimas were met with on the journey to Colville via the Columbia River, but they were mostly in detached parties, and little could be learnt of their manners and customs.
The Cowitchans inhabit a portion of the east and south-east coasts of Vancouver
Island, and the country in the vicinity of the forty-ninth parallel of north
latitude from the sea to the Cascade Mountains. Of the numerous tribes into
which they are divided the 'Cowitchan,' or parent stock, living on the Cowitchan
River some distance to the north of Victoria, are the most powerful, their
numbers being estimated at over 2,000; the other branches living on the island
are the 'Sanetch' (600), on the Sanetch arm to the north of Victoria, the 'Tsaumas'
(400) at Victoria, and the 'Clallams' and 'Sokes', together about 120, between
Victoria and Soke harbour.1 On the mainland are the Indians of Semiahmoo, a few
miserable families, the 'Squohamish' (200), at the mouth of Fraser River, the 'Qualtl,'
or Fort Langley Indians (150), the 'Sumass' (100) on the Sumass River, the 'Chilukweyuk,'
or 'Squahalitch' (200), on the Chilukweyuk River, and the Indians of 'Tskaus'
(Fort Hope), and 'Hochalalp' (Fort Yale), making a rough total of 4,000.
Personal Appearance.—The Cowitchan tribes resemble each other greatly in appearance and habits, such differences as exist being principally due to locality and the means by which they obtain their living, especially noticeable in the Indians of Chilukweyuk, who hunt a great deal on foot, and, from constant exercise, are much more robust in appearance, and more manly and open-hearted in manner, than their brethren of Vancouver Island. The custom of flattening the head prevails amongst the tribes on the Island, and as far up the Fraser River as Fort Langley, but above this I do not remember seeing an Indian with a flattened skull, or an infant undergoing the process, a common sight in the neighbourhood of Esquimalt and Victoria.
The stature of the Cowitchans is diminutive, ranging from 5 ft. to 5 ft. 6 in., and occasionally to 5 ft. 7 in., or 5 ft. 8 in. amongst the more inland tribes; the women are from 5 in. to 6 in. shorter. The hair is either black or very dark brown, coarse, straight, and allowed to grow to its full length, either falling in one large mass over the neck and shoulders, or plaited and done up in tresses round the head. The faces of both sexes are generally broad, the forehead low, the eyes black, bright, and piercing, though generally small, and set in the head obliquely like the Tartar or Chinese, the nose broad and thick with large nostrils, the cheek-bones high and prominent, the mouth large and wide, with thick lips, especially the under one, and the teeth large and of a pearly white when [p.279] young, but soon discoloured and worn down by the hard service they have to go through, masticating the tough dry salmon, which constitutes their principal food; indeed, so much is this the case, that most of the old women met with had their teeth worn down to a level with the gum. The Vancouver Island tribes have broad shoulders and good chests, but the lower part of their bodies is much deformed, the legs being small, crooked, and weak, with thick ancles, arising from their spending the greater part of their lives squatting on their calves in a canoe, which is the favourite and indeed almost the only means of locomotion made use of by these Indians; the women increase this deformity by binding tight bandages round the lower part of the leg. The Chiluweyuks are, however, an exception to this, having straight well formed legs, the result of their more active life, and excursions into the mountains in search of the bear and mountain goat. Usually, with the exception of the hair on the head, both sexes carefully eradicate every trace of hair from the body; but men are occasionally met with who encourage the growth of a small tuft or imperial on the chin. The complexion, when washed, is a dark olive, the colour of the face being deepened by exposure to a dark brown. It is very difficult to form a correct opinion on the age of an Indian from his appearance, as from the constant toil and drudgery of their lives they age very rapidly, the women especially, soon losing any pretentions they may have had to good looks; but I should say that few, if any of them, reach the age of sixty. The health of the young seems to be good, but as they grow older, they are much troubled with rheumatism and pulmonary complaints. The small-pox has commenced its ravages this year (1862), and the venereal disease, always prevalent amongst these Indians, has of late years increased to a frightful extent, threatening them with an end as rapid and complete as that of the large tribes who, thirty years ago, inhabited the district of the lower Columbia.
The intellect of the Cowitchans is of a low order, but they show great ingenuity in the manufacture of their nets, canoes, etc. Whether from fear or inclination, they were always honest in their dealings with the members of the commission, and though scattered in small parties over a large tract of country, presenting every opportunity for it, no case of theft by an Indian occurred during the eighteen months spent amongst them.
Process of Flattening the Head.—Amongst those Indians who flatten the head, the infant immediately after birth is placed in its cradle, which is an oblong trough of cedar, lined inside with moss or cedar-bark, well cleaned and pounded, so as to be as soft as wool. The child is placed flat on its back, the head slightly elevated by a small pillow, and the body covered with [p.280] moss, soft cloth, or skins; a padding of wool or feathers is then placed on the forehead, and over this a piece of cedar-bark, which, having one end fastened to the end of the trough, and being firmly secured by strings tied to its sides and passing through holes in the side of the cradle, causes the padding to press on the forehead. The child is then bound into the cradle so that it cannot move hand or foot, and for about a year is only taken out for the necessaries of washing and exercise, the head being ever after completely flattened. In consequence of the pressure from the padding being so gradual, the process is supposed, and said by the Indians themselves, to be almost painless, though the appearance of the child, with its little eyes almost starting from the sockets, is so disgusting and indicative of pain, that it is difficult to believe in the absence of suffering. The flattening of the head is esteemed a mark of great beauty and also of being free born, slaves not being allowed to flatten the heads of their children unless adopted into the tribe.
Education, or Life from Childhood to Manhood.—The important process just described being successfully completed, the Indian infant, until it can walk, passes its life tightly bound up in a cradle of bark, which the mother carries about on her back in all her expeditions; when she is employed gathering roots or berries in the woods, the cradle is hung to the lower branches of some lofty pine or cedar; when busy in the lodge with awl or needle, a stout wand, firmly fixed into the ground, takes the place of the cedar branch; the cradle is suspended from the upper end, and a connecting string passes under the foot of the mother, with which she gives a rocking motion to the child, soothing it to sleep with some low monotonous chaunt. Now comes the brief but happy childhood, when the little boy and girl, unconscious of the years of toil and drudgery before them, trot along by the side of their mother into the woods for berries, or, ignorant of clothing, roll about in the mud and shallow water, whilst the careful parent fills her basket with clams and shell-fish for the evening meal; soon the boy breaks away from maternal control, and prowling among the bushes with piercing eye and cat-like step, his tiny bow and arrow in hand, wages war against the small birds which frequent the precincts of the camp; growing older and strong enough to wield the spear and paddle, he comes under his father's care, who instructs him in their use, and initiates him into the mysteries of hunting, fishing, and the manufacture of the various implements with which he is to obtain the necessaries of life. In this school the boy passes his years until that eventful period, when, at the age of seventeen or eighteen, he retires to the forest to fast and meditate before taking his place amongst the men of his tribe. Meanwhile the girl is receiving her education; she, too, learns how to use the paddle, and in after life gives her hus- [p.281] band valuable assistance on his canoe journeys; besides which, her mother teaches her how to use the needle and awl, weave mats and blankets, dress skins, cut up and dry salmon, cook, cut firewood, etc., and accustoms her gradually to the heavy loads she will have to carry on her back when mated to one of the indolent lords of creation. In these duties the girl is employed till the age of fourteen or sixteen, when she arrives at her period of fasting and purification.
Fasting Ceremony, etc.—The fasting ceremony on entering manhood is one of the most interesting customs prevailing among the Cowitchans, and one on which it is very difficult to obtain correct information. The young man retires to the hills and fixes upon some spot convenient to water, in which to undergo the ordeal, and remains there as long as hunger will allow him, generally from three to five days. During this time frequent ablutions are performed, a fire is kept up, and no sleep allowed, which gradually weakens the nerves until he sees visions, in which his 'Tomanoas' (guardian spirit or medicine) appears to him, usually in the shape of some beast, fish, or bird, and predicts the course of his future life. This 'Tomanoas' is supposed to accompany the Indian in after life, guiding his actions for good or evil, and to it they address themselves in secret, never mentioning the name even to their nearest relations and friends. Returning to his village, half wild with the cravings of hunger, he seizes a knife, with which he rushes up and down, wounding all who come in his way, until, working himself into a state of frenzy, he sinks down exhausted, and is appropriated by the 'Tomanoas' or medicine-man of his tribe, who, with dismal howls and a chorus of sticks and paddles, proclaims him a man and a warrior. The young women do not seem to retire into the woods, but sit apart in the lodge, bathing frequently, fasting, and undergoing a general purification.
Marriage.—There seems to be little marriage ceremony; the young man makes his choice, and, if approved of by the parents, a certain quantity of goods is paid down, on which the bride is led away by her future husband, whose absolute property she becomes. Once married, the man spends his time in hunting and fishing, or more frequently lying lazily in the sun gambling away wife and property, whilst the woman performs all the drudgery, dressing skins, cutting wood, cooking, erecting the summer lodges, and tending to the wants of her children.
Polygamy.—Polygamy is not only allowed, but considered a mark of distinction; it is, however, only the wealthy chiefs who are able to purchase and support more than one wife, the poorer portion of the community seldom keeping more than one, who becomes their constant companion in all excursions. The number of wives seems to be altogether regulated by the wealth of the chiefs, and, though all inhabiting the same hut, there seems to be [p.282] little jealousy or fighting amongst the dusky inmates of the harem. It is probably owing to the prevalence of polygamy that these Indians seldom have more than two or three children, whilst the half-breeds are very prolific. Chastity may be almost said to be an unknown word amongst the Cowitchans, and abortion is said to be frequently procured, though with what truth I cannot say. The missionaries have the same trouble with polygamy here that they have in Southern Africa, and have effected little change for the better in this respect; for, on the few occasions on which Indians have been induced to put away their superfluous wives, they have abandoned the old and faithful companions of their lives, who are left to gain a living in the best way they can.
Food, and the Means of procuring it.—A great proportion of the food of these Indians consists of certain roots, which grow abundantly in most localities. The most noticeable of these are, the stalks of the wild parsnip and celery, eaten raw; the leaves of the dock and root of skunk weed, which are boiled; the young sprouts of the wild raspberry, which, when the outer skin is peeled off, have a very pleasant flavour; the cammas, ground and pressed into cakes for winter use; the roots of fern; the root of a species of rush or reed; and angelica. Of berries there are a great variety, the salmon berry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, cranberry, currant, gooseberry, red and black whortle or huckleberries, Oregon grape, sallad berry dried and pressed into cakes, and the berry of the Uva ursi, or 'kini kinik', which, though very dry and unpalatable, is roasted and eaten. Everything in the shape of animal food that can be procured is readily eaten, from bear or deer to eagle or magpie; but it is to the salmon and other fish that the Indian principally looks for his subsistence, and in catching these the greatest ingenuity is displayed.
Before leaving the subject of food, it may not be out of place to describe some of the means of procuring it. For hunting, the Hudson's Bay Company's common trade musket with flint lock has almost entirely superseded the bow and arrow, though nearly every Indian still has his bow of yew, about five feet long, and arrows tipped with bone or iron, in the use of which he is very expert. In shooting, the bow is held horizontally across the body. Pitfalls are occasionally used by the Chilukweyuks for catching bears, and the beaver-trap is in universal use for beavers, wolves, etc. Castor, kept in wooden phials, is much used in setting the bait, its pungent smell attracting the beaver. Across the entrance of small streams, or 'slues,' to which wild fowl resort, long poles are erected at certain intervals, between which nets are spread; at night, fires are lighted at the foot of the poles, which frightens the wild fowl, who, flying towards the light, come in contact with the nets and fall down to the ground, where [p.283] they fall an easy prey to the expectant Indian. When approaching wild fowl in a canoe, branches are placed in the bows, through which the Indian peers with his gun, seldom failing to approach within shot. On the coast of Vancouver Island the salmon appear in the greatest numbers during the months of August and September, and are caught with hook, spear, and net. Formerly a curious shaped hook was made out of wood, but the European one has now entirely superseded it. The lines are sometimes made of Fraser river hemp, but oftener of sea-weed, which is very strong, and grows to an immense length; when paddling in his canoe, the line is attached to the Indian's wrist, which gives a spinning motion to the bait as it passes through the water. The spears used are of two kinds; one consists of a long stick, with a fork at the bottom, having an iron spike in the centre; the other has a tip of iron or fish bone loosely bound on to a stick, and attached to it by a string, so that, when a fish is struck, the tip becomes disengaged from the stick, and the string allows plenty of play to the struggling salmon. The nets are made of Fraser river hemp, or fibre from the roots of the cedar; they are loaded at the bottom with round stones, about one pound weight, notched to prevent slipping, and buoyed at the top with blocks of cedar. This net is placed in the run of the salmon, which, either becoming entangled in the meshes, are drawn up and killed by a blow on the head with a stick, or speared by the Indian from his canoe, whilst checked in their course by the net. In October and November, herrings and a species of anchovy appear in great numbers; they are taken with a rake, or long stick armed with nails, which, being drawn through the water, catches the fish on the spikes, and at the same time gives impetus and direction to the canoe. The Indian disengages the fish by giving the rake a tap on the gunwhale of the canoe behind him. Dog fish are caught in great numbers with the pronged spear; and whales are occasionally caught about the entrance to the Straits of Fuca, with darts to which bladders are attached. Clams are obtained in great numbers nearly everywhere on the coast, and are cooked and opened by being piled in a large heap over heated stones, and the whole mass covered with sea-weed, which confines the steam generated by the water of the clams running down on the hot stones; they are thus rapidly cooked, and the shells easily opened, when the fish are taken out, strung on long wooden skewers, and hung up in the smoke of the lodge to dry. Razor fish and barnacles are also eaten, but are not found in such profusion as the highly-prized clam. Salmon in the Fraser river are taken with the scoop net, which consists of a pole twenty to twenty-five feet long, with a framework at the end to which the net is attached, so as to slide on the frame and close its mouth when a fish is [p.284] caught; a string leading from the net to the fisherman's hand keeping everything in position till the fish strikes the net. At certain points of the river, where the salmon are obliged to keep close to the bank in ascending, rough scaffolding is erected, projecting over the river, and at the end of this a frail platform of boards is made, on which the Indian stands to use his net, which he does by throwing it up stream as far as he can reach, and bringing it down swiftly with the current to meet the salmon running up. In this manner from fifteen to twenty salmon are frequently caught in an hour, during the height of the season. This method is also employed by the Indians at the dalles and cascades on the Columbia river, where a run is made with large stones when the water is low. Another, and more favourite method, is for two canoes to paddle along parallel to each other, having a rectangular-shaped net with a small purse stretched between them, which is hauled up directly a fish is felt to strike the net. When the salmon commence running in the smaller streams, they are caught by spearing, at weirs, which are made to intercept them. The process of drying and preserving is left to the women, who cut the heads off, split the salmon down the back, take out the backbone and entrails, and then hang them up in the sun to dry. The head and backbone are generally eaten at once, the dried fish being put away for winter use. The Indians never lay up more than barely sufficient to sustain them through the winter, and in years when there is a bad run of salmon, suffer greatly from want of food, being almost entirely dependent on this precarious supply. Sturgeon are caught in great numbers in Fraser river, sometimes with a hook and line, but oftener with the spear. A large hook or spear-head is fastened to the end of a long line, about the size of a large cod line, and then loosely fitted on a pole some twenty-five or thirty feet long. The Indian drifts slowly along with the current in his canoe, having the pole down in the water feeling for the fish, and, directly he feels him, strikes, quickly hauling in the pole and paying out the line; for the sturgeon, when struck, starts off with great speed, dragging the canoe along in his wake, requiring the most dextrous management on the part of the paddler to prevent a capsize. Directly the line slackens, it is hauled taut, and the fish is thus played until he becomes so exhausted that his head can be brought to the surface of the water near the canoe, where he speedily receives his quietus from a stout wooden cudgel which is applied to his head. The side of the canoe is now brought to a level with the water, and the Indian contrives to get the head of the sturgeon on the gunwale, when with a single jerk, though weighing 300 lbs., he is landed safely in the bottom of the canoe without any apparent difficulty. The head and roe of the sturgeon are most [p.285] esteemed. During the sturgeon season, the Indians of Chilukweyuk and Samass eagerly search for a peculiar kind of moth, which, when eaten, is believed to give good luck to fishermen. Salmon are sometimes caught by the process of feeling; but, in this case, the string from the hook is fastened to the pole. So expert are the natives in this mode of fishing, that they seldom or never make a mistake and get hold of one of the numerous logs with which the bottom of the river must be covered, instead of the fish.
Clothing, Manufactures, etc.—European clothing is now in general use; coats, trousers, shirts, and cloth caps for the men, and a dress of some common Manchester print for the women, with the universal blanket for both sexes. The hair frequently forms the only covering for the head; but the mushroom-shaped hat, of native manufacture, made of grass or twisted cedar bark, is still seen. The European blanket has now almost superseded the native one, which was made either from the hair of white dogs, kept and sheared for the purpose, from the wool of the mountain goat, or from small slips of cedar bark plaited together. The wool was dyed and woven into various patterns by the women. The women are sometimes slightly tattooed on the face and arms, and are fond of wearing brass rings on their fingers, wrists, and ankles, and strings of beads or dentalium round their necks; those on Vancouver Island sometimes wear a triangular piece of haliotis-shell in their noses, the cartilage being pierced for the purpose. Both sexes are fond of painting the face; vermilion seems to be the favourite colour, and with this the women usually paint the parting of the hair.
Gambling, etc.—The Cowitchans are great gamblers, blankets, canoes, and all their worldly possessions being staked in the excitement of the moment. They have two favourite games: one of these is played with a kind of dice made from the teeth of the beaver, which have figures engraved upon them, and are thrown out on a mat round which the players are seated; each figure seems to have a certain value, and the reckoning is kept with small pieces of stick, which are passed from one to the other as they gain or lose; in the other game, one man takes a small stone or stick, which he passes from one hand to the other with surprising dexterity, and according as the opponent discovers in which hand the stone is or not, he wins or loses. During the whole time a dismal chaunting and howling, accompanied by a beating of sticks, is kept up, which is frequently prolonged to a late hour at night, much to the disturbance of any one residing in the neighbourhood of the encampment.
Medical Treatment.—A decoction made from the bark of the young hemlock, or of raspberry sprouts, is extensively used for [p.286] diarrhoea. Boiled nettle roots are applied as a poultice to sore ankles or joints, and the root of the wild liquorice is made into a kind of tea. A healing salve is made from pine gum and grease. Pulmonary complaints, intermittents, and rheumatism, seem to be the most prevailing complaints, and for these fasting and steam-baths are much in vogue, but their great faith is in the mummeries of the native doctor. When a patient is ill, his family assemble round him, and laying him on his back, commence a series of howls and chaunts, keeping time with two sticks which they carry in their hands. The medicine man or doctor, fantastically arrayed, leads the chaunt, and commences pommeling the patient's chest, blowing on his hands, and rolling him about to drive the disease out. If the sick man is strong enough to bear this rough treatment he recovers; but I fancy that most of the cases that come under the native doctors' hands prove fatal.
Burial, Tombs, etc.—When dead, the remains are generally wrapped in a blanket and deposited in canoes or boxes, in the crouched up position occupied during life. Bows, arrows, and other valuables, are buried with the deceased, and food is occasionally placed on the tomb. The relations go into mourning by cutting their hair, and keep up a constant howling for a few days, when all is finished, and the dead man's name is never willingly mentioned afterwards. The burial places are usually but a short distance from the village, the boxes containing the body being placed on the ground or supported by rough wooden legs. The tombs are decorated with strange wooden figures. The 'Tomanoas', or guardian spirit in the shape of a bird, beaver, bighorn, fish, figures of men and children, etc., are most frequently met with. In the human figures, the broad Mongol caste of the Indian face is very noticeable, and some of them are evidently of ancient date.
Dwelling-houses, fixed and temporary.—The Cowitchans have fixed places of residence, which they occasionally leave for fishing, hunting, &c, being absent for weeks at a time, as the 'Tsaumass,' 'Cowitchans,' and 'Sanetch,' who go to the island of San Juan and the mouth of Fraser River for salmon fishing. The villages are composed of several substantial wooden houses, and are sometimes, as at Sumass and other places on the Fraser River, enclosed by a stout palisading of young firs, some fifteen feet high, fixed firmly into the ground, with sufficient space between them to point a musket through; this is for protection against the ravages of the Northern Indians (Hydas, Shimpsians, Stickelms, etc.), who are much feared. On Vancouver Island the houses are built in the following manner: stout posts, eighteen feet in height, and varying in number according to the proposed length of the house, are driven into the ground, and their tops roughly hollowed to receive a long round pole, which extends [p.287] the whole length of the building; a similar row of posts five feet high is then erected parallel to and about twenty feet on one side of the first row: after which smaller pieces of timber, reaching from the higher to the lower ridge pole, are firmly tied down by stout cords of cedar bark, and, across these, small poles, similarly secured, are placed, completing the framework of the building. The roof is covered either with split cedar boards, or bark kept in place by poles stretched above it, and tied down to the rafters; the sides and ends are closed with large slabs of split cedar, having one end sunk into the ground, and the other secured to the framework with cedar cords. A small space is left open in the roof to serve as a chimney, and an opening in the side, just large enough to admit the body, forms the door. The Indians of Chilukweyuk and Sumass build their houses much more substantially, the uprights and ridges being of solid timber, of great weight and size, roughly squared, and the sheeting of the ends and sides of thick planks of split cedar. With the slight means and rude implements possessed by the builders, the erection of one of these houses is a work of great labour and time. The houses vary greatly in size, some being as much as 60 to 70 feet long by 20 to 25 feet broad. The Indian villages are always placed close to water, on some harbour or river, where the inmates have only to walk a few yards to launch their canoes, which when not in use are carefully drawn up on the bank, and covered with bushes to protect them from the rays of the sun. The outside of a village is the very acme of filth, and scents rivalling those of Cologne greet the nostril of the passer by, for all the refuse is thrown just outside the house, soon forming a large accumulation, of clam shells, old mats, rags, and the putrid entrails of salmon—added to which the Indian never moves more than five or six yards from his door for the purposes of nature. Nor is the interior of any of the buildings more enticing, for here the head of the visitor is constantly coming in contact with strings of clams, or the head, roe, and bodies of salmon, hung from the roof to dry and smoke, whilst the floor is littered with mats, blankets, etc, of no great cleanliness. The interior of many of the larger buildings is divided by rush mats, which enables several families to occupy the same house, and in the centre of each compartment is the small fire used for cooking, the smoke from which is allowed to find its own way through the roof. Round the sides of the house there is generally a rough bench elevated some 2 feet 6 inches from the ground, which serves as a bunk for sleeping and a shelf on which to stow mats, blankets, clothes, etc, the more valuable articles being carefully packed away in a huge wooden box, generally painted red and fancifully decorated with a number of brass headed nails. The buildings at Langley and Chilukweyuk are the [p.288] only ones on which there is any attempt at ornament, the former being adorned with some curious pictographs, in which a bird something like a crow figures conspicuously; the latter with some grotesque carvings, apparently representing tortoises, large snakes, and some animal of the crocodile type.
When on fishing excursions, the Indians invariably carry about with them a number of rush mats, which, with the aid of a few poles, are soon formed into a tolerably warm and comfortable house, with its little fire of bark in the middle. These temporary houses are of all sizes and shapes, according to the number of mats and people to be accommodated; but they always have a pent roof, approximating to the form of the wooden buildings, and never to that of the conical lodges east of the Cascades.
Native Manufactures.—The houses, canoes, and implements for war or the chase, are made by the men, whilst the weaving of mats, blankets, baskets, etc, is left to the women. For houses and canoes, the axe, a chisel made out of an old file, and a stone hammer, are used, the axe being only of recent introduction. In felling trees, great labour must have been expended before the introduction of iron, the stumps of trees felled many years ago having somewhat the appearance of those gnawed through by the beaver, but not nearly so cleanly cut. The nets are made of wild hemp or cedar fibre, the twine used being 'layed up' by rolling the fibre between the palm of the hand and the bare leg, and put by in hanks ready for use. The bow is generally made of yew, the string of sinew, laid on loose so as not to suffer from the effects of damp, and the arrow and spear are tipped with iron or jagged fish-bone. Iron pots and kettles have now taken the place of the old wooden ones, for culinary purposes; spoons are made of ash or horn, which is boiled or steamed, and whilst soft moulded into the required form; these are sometimes quaintly carved. Mats are made from the bulrush, which is gathered in summer, dried in the sun, and stored away till winter, when the mats are made; the rushes are cut to an even length, and are taken two at a time, the large end of one being placed with the small end of the other; these are fastened by a cord twisted round the ends, and so on till the desired length is attained, and on this framework the body of the mat is sewn in with a wooden needle. When completed, they look very neat, and throw off the rain well. Hats and baskets are woven by the women from grass or cedar root, and made so strong and compact as to hold water; they are sometimes adorned with patterns or devices worked in with grasses coloured by some native dye-red, obtained from the bark of the alder, is principally used. Blankets are made from the hair of dogs, which were formerly kept and regularly sheared for the purpose, out are now rapidly dying off; the wool or hair of the mountain goat is [p.289] also used for this work. The framework or ground of the blanket is made of strands of hemp or cedar fibre, and on this the hair is woven by the women; a great deal of coloured blanket is worked in with the dog or goat hair, forming the pattern, which is generally very simple.
Means of Progression, Canoes, etc.—The Cowitchans have no horses, and their only means of locomotion are by foot, which they are not very fond of, and by canoe, which in a country like that of the lower Fraser, where the forests are almost impenetrable from the dense underbrush, is by far the most convenient. The canoes of the Cowitchans range from fifteen to fifty feet in length, cut out of a single tree of fir or cedar, the largest size being capable of holding some twenty people: the upper edge of the gunwale is made to fold slightly outwards, so as to form a kind of rim which prevents the water from beating into the canoe; the paddles are from four and a half to five feet long, and one and a half inches thick for about one-third the length, when it widens and is hollowed and thinned on each side of the centre. The canoes of Fraser River, being only intended for use in smooth water, are built of a slightly different shape from those that have to encounter the waves of the open sea. Men and women are equally expert in the use of the paddle, and of great endurance; when exerting themselves against a strong current, they generally raise a low chaunt, to which time is kept by bringing the handle of the paddle down on the gunwale of the canoe with a sharp blow—the effect of this is very enlivening when creeping slowly up stream by the dreary banks of the Fraser. In ascending rapids the canoe is pushed forward by the 'sokten' or pole, in the use of which the men are very expert, forcing the canoe onwards and at the same time keeping the bow exactly in the current, a work of great difficulty, as, on the least deviation from the right direction, the head is swept round and the canoe brought broadside to the current. In making canoes, a suitable tree, generally of cedar, is first chosen, as near the water as possible, and cut down; it is then barked, cut to the required length, and the top squared with an axe, or split off by wedges, till the log is reduced to the requisite height. The bow and stern are now roughly hewn into shape, and enough of the heart cleared out to give facility in turning, when the log is turned over and the bottom roughly shaped with an axe. In this state, if water is close at hand, the canoe is launched and carried off to the village to be finished at leisure. Arrived at the village, the canoe is placed on its keel and the inside either chopped out with an axe or burnt out by a smouldering fire constantly watched to prevent its going too deep, the Indian occasionally feeling the sides with his hands to guide the thickness. Both outside and inside are now carefully smoothed off with a [p.290] chisel made out of an old file, and a stone hammer, a most tedious operation, which it takes many days to finish, but, though all done by the eye, when completed every part is so justly proportioned that it would require a very experienced eye to discover any defect. The smoothing off completed, the canoe is ready for stretching, which is done by nearly filling the canoe with water, into which stones, heated at a fire near at hand, are thrown; this renders the wood so supple that the centre can be stretched from six inches to a foot. To keep the swelling in shape, round thwart pieces, about three inches in circumference, stretching from side to side, with their ends secured to the side of the canoe by cedar withes, are used. The outside is then painted black, and the canoe is ready for use. The swelling is said to be sometimes produced by a small fire placed underneath the canoe. When split or cracked by the sun, the canoes are mended in a very ingenious manner; a little tow of soft cedar bark is pressed into the crack, and a piece of wood placed over it, holes are then made on either side, through which cedar withes are passed and pegged so that any strain serves to tighten the opening. The whole is finished off with a coating of pine gum.
Slavery.—Prisoners of war, when not decapitated, become the property of the victor, and are held in a state of bondage. The slaves are harshly treated by their masters, and in time of scarcity fare but badly; their hair is cut short, and their children are not allowed to undergo the process of flattening the head, except when adopted into the tribe, which occasionally takes place. Some of the Indians make a good deal of money by sending their slaves to work for the whites, and appropriating their wages. A Chilukweyuk Indian, whose slave was employed for several months by the Commission, pocketed a large sum in this way; the money was of course paid to the slave, but his master was always near at hand on pay-day to look after the dollars. Slaves are bought and sold amongst the Indians, and not unfrequently form the stake of the gambler; those who are good hunters, or fishermen, are the most highly valued.
Language.—Two vocabularies are given, one of the Cowitchan proper, kindly supplied by Mr. McKay, of the Hudson's Bay Company—the other, of the Fraser River dialect, collected at Wumass and Chilukweyuk in the year 1859. They are placed on the same sheet for comparison; the system of writing and spelling followed is that given in the 'Admiralty Manual,' under the heading 'Ethnology.' The sound is unpleasant and guttural, and there are a variety of 'clicks,' which cannot well be represented on paper, and very rarely acquired by Europeans who are otherwise proficient in the language. No grammar or rules for the arrangement of words could be traced. The letters (1) and (n) are [p.291] synonymous; at Langley either is used indifferently, on Vancouver Island the (n) is chiefly used, at Chilukweyuk the letter (1).
Religion.—The religion of these Indians, and their ideas about it, are now so confused and mixed up with the Christian doctrines and traditions they have learnt from the Roman Catholic priests, that it is very difficult to find out anything reliable about it, if there ever was anything to find out, which I am inclined to doubt, and think their state before the missionaries appeared was somewhat the same as the fetish worship of the Negroes of Central Africa. They appear to have had some vague idea of a great spirit, represented on the tombs as a large bird having some fantastic resemblance to an eagle, to whom they made offerings, and who showed his displeasure by thunder storms and lightning; and also, that the good would go to some place where they would find plenty of game, and spend their days in comfort, whilst the bad would suffer from hunger and the chilling blasts of winter. They are firm believers in ghosts, spirits, omens, etc., and are fond of relating fables and stories. Each tribe has its 'Tomanoas,' doctor, priest, juggler, or whatever he may be, who is believed to have great powers, including that of rain making. The missionary labours seem to have had little real effect; nearly every Indian wears a little Roman Catholic token, and some of them meet every morning and evening for matins and vespers, which they perform very creditably. The priests, however, from the length of time they have lived amongst them, and their unwearied exertions, in praise of which too much cannot be said, have obtained great influence over the Indians, which is always beneficially used, and they are universally liked and respected.
Various.—Blankets are now the current coin amongst the Cowitchans;2 formerly it was the 'haiqua,' a species of dentalium found at Clayoquot, V. I, which is still very highly prized and made into belts or necklaces for the women. When blood is shed, it is generally made up by a present of blankets, etc., to the relatives of the deceased; but sometimes blood alone will atone, when some luckless slave is handed over to the tender mercies of the dead man's friends. The division of time commences with night; a journey is said to be so many sleeps or nights, and the year is divided by moons. There is a very ingenious mode of procuring fire by the friction of two sticks; one is a simple piece of wood with a flat surface—the other, a round piece of hard wood, in shape like a ruler, with one end sharpened; the point is placed in contact with the flat surface, and made to revolve quickly with the hands, which with skilful management soon produces sparks. [p.292] A curious custom prevails of meeting at certain times for what may be called 'blanket feasts,' on which occasions a great amount of property is given away, the donors expecting to receive similar presents on a future occasion; guns and blankets are the favourite gifts. Tribes come from a considerable distance to these festivities, which last a couple of days; dancing and all kinds of amusements are the order of the day, and every one seems bent on enjoying himself to the utmost. There seems to be no hereditary chiefs, and the nominal ones have little influence, except that due to superior wealth or cunning.
The Selish race inhabit the country between the Cascade and Rocky Mountains, in
the vicinity and to the north and south of the 49th parallel of north latitude,
with the exception of that portion watered by the Kootenay river. The various
tribes are evidently offshoots of one parent stock, the 'Selish' or 'Flat-head,'
living at the western base of the Rocky Mountains, on the Bitter Root River, and
the great southern bend of the Pend-Oreille River, or as it is sometimes called,
Clark's Fork of the Columbia. They are said to number about 1,000. The other
branches of the race are 'Shushwass' (400), near Fort Kamloops, Thompson's
River; the 'Okinagan' and 'Shimilkameen' (300), on the rivers of that name;
the 'Sweielpa' (100), at Colville, on the Columbia River; the ' Sinuitskistux'
(150), on the Lakes and upper portion of the Columbia River; 'San Poils' (50),
below the mouth of the Spokan River; 'Spokani' (350), near the Falls of the
Spokan; 'Sketsui' or 'Coeur d'Alene' (100), on the Coeur d'Alene River and upper
part of the Spokan; and the 'Kalispelms' or 'Pend-Oreilles' (200), on the lower
part of the Pend-Oreille River; making a rough total of 2,750.
Personal Appearance.—These tribes resemble each other greatly in appearance, manners, and customs. The 'Selish' and 'Kalispelms,' however, have the highest character for bravery and all the virtues of a savage life, probably owing to their annual visits to the vast plains to the east of the Rocky Mountains, for the purpose of hunting the buffalo, and their almost constant warfare with their old enemies the Blackfeet, Crows, etc. The average height of the men is about 5 ft. 6 ins. or 5 ft. 7 ins., few exceeding the latter height, and the women are about six inches shorter. The hair is black or dark brown, coarse, straight, and grows to an extraordinary length; there are various modes of dressing it; sometimes it is allowed to fall down to its full length; at others, a lock on each side of the head is confined in a brass keeper, whilst the remainder is put up in one or two long queues, bound round with beads or ribbon, and otherwise ornamented; [p.293] other modes are to have the hair braided and falling down in long plaits, or to cut it short in from leaving a row of stiff bristles, which, standing up from the forehead, give a peculiarly wild and savage appearance to the face. From exposure to the weather, the hair often turns to russet brown colour; but the absence of grey hair, even amongst the very old men, is especially remarkable, very few instances of greyness having come under notice. Both sexes pluck the hair from every part of the body, for which purpose a pair of pincers is generally carried. The back of the head is generally flattened in infancy from contact with the back board of the cradle, but artificial means are used to produce deformity. The face is oval, forehead higher than amongst the coast tribes, eyes black and bright, nose frequently aquiline amongst the men, but broad and thick in the women, cheek bones high and prominent, mouth large with thick lips, and the teeth large and good. The women often tattoo the under lips with thin blue lines. The toes turn inwards, and from constantly being on horseback, the legs are usually bowed. The senses of sight and hearing are highly developed. They are well-made, active, and capable of great endurance. The complexion is rather lighter than that of the Cowitchan. The men change little with age, but the women age early and rapidly; there were several Indians in the neighbourhood of Colville, who remembered the establishment of the first post on the Spokan (in 1811 or 1812), at which time they said they were young men; this would make them between sixty and seventy years of age. Diseases of the eye are very common and cases of total and partial blindness were met with, but the Indians are generally healthy and suffer little from the rheumatic affections so prevalent in the Fraser River country. The venereal disease, formerly almost unknown, was introduced by the United States troops when the Colville post was established in the autumn of 1859; and that, and the frequent use of ardent spirits had, by the spring of 1862, when the commission left, produced a marked change for the worse amongst the 'Spokans,' 'Sinuitskistux,' and 'Sweielps.' The intellect, though of no very high order, is decidedly superior to that of the coast tribes; Garry, a Spokan chief, educated by the Hudson's Bay company at Red River, speaks and writes English with tolerable proficiency; but, during his life in the settlements, he seems to have picked up more of the vices than the virtues of the white man; he is an inveterate gambler, and fond of drinking, which failings have much lessened his influence amongst the men of his tribe, and caused the failure of Sir George Simpson's well meant scheme for spreading useful knowledge amongst the natives. Several of the leading men showed decided evidence of latent ability.
all other Indians, the Selish race are in- [p.294] veterate gamblers; they are, however, brave, honest, polite, unobtrusive, and
dutiful to their parents. No difficulty or disturbance arose during the eighteen
months the commission spent amongst them, and parties of two or three used to
travel about with perfect safety; yet many of these were the same tribes which
had given the Americans so much trouble in the years 1857-58. In the former
year, they succeeded in driving back a party of dragoons under Colonel Steptoe,
but in the latter year were defeated by Colonel—now General—Wright, who is
said to have destroyed 20,000 of their horses during the campaign. Though at
present apparently subdued, the feeling of hostility against the Americans is
still very strong, and there was much excitement when the San Juan affair of
1859 became known. On several occasions, whilst the commission was at Colville,
serious disturbances were on the point of breaking out, and were only repressed
by the influence of Mr. McDonald, of the Hudson's Bay Company, and some of the
leading chiefs. At present they have lost heart, from the destruction of their
horses and the want of ammunition; but before many years have passed, there will
certainly be a last and severe struggle for existence, which must end, as all
others have done, in the defeat and rapid destruction of the native tribes. The
principal difficulty is to get the tribes to act in concert, and this was only
overcome in 1857 by the wonderful tact and influence of Kamiakan, a Yakima
chief, the prime mover and leader of the Oregon war. The chiefs have great
influence over their own people; they are frequently hereditary, but not
necessarily so, and are often men of considerable intellect and sagacity. In
time of war, a younger man, of known abilities and courage, is generally chosen
to lead the warriors to battle, but on his return he subsides into his usual
position in the tribe.
Childbirth.—After childbirth, the women have to live apart for about thirty days, frequently washing themselves, and, before joining the others, they have to wash all their clothes and undergo general purification. A small lodge is erected about ten or twelve paces from the large or family one, and in this the woman lives during the period of her seclusion, which is kept with great strictness, notwithstanding the close proximity of her friends and relations. When the time of childbirth is felt to be approaching, the woman goes out and plucks a sprig of the wild rose, which she places upright in the ground of the lodge and fixes her eyes upon it during the pangs of labour, which, it is believed, are alleviated by this ceremony. The rattles of the rattlesnake are also frequently used as a medicine to procure ease in the same cases. It is very rarely, however, that any difficulty occurs, the woman being generally able to do everything for herself without assistance. In proof of the ease of birth, a well authenticated story may be [p.295] cited, in which a woman was taken in labour whilst escaping on horseback from the Blackfeet; hastily dismounting, she removed behind a bush and gave birth to a female child, at which moment some of her pursuers came up, but filled with admiration at the courage of a woman who could attempt an escape under such circumstances, with unexpected gallantry they allowed her to pursue her way; and after several days solitary travelling, she reached the camp of her tribe, with the baby wrapped in a shawl at her back, neither of them the worse for the hardships they had undergone.
Infancy, etc.—When a child is born, it is first laid on a heap of very soft moss or weed, which grows on the stones in the shallows of the Columbia river; it is of a brown colour, and is well dried and 'teased' before use. In putting an infant up in the cradle, the head rests on the back board, and each leg is wrapped up separately with moss, rags, etc.; the half-breeds, however, frequently allow the heads of their babies to swing free, and wrap the legs up together, having merely a piece of rag between the heels to prevent chafing. The flatness of the back of a full-grown Indian's head, and the peculiar shape of his legs, are probably in some measure due to the native mode of cradling. The cradle is adorned with various ornaments and medicines, or charms, such as beads, the legs, heads, etc., of birds or small animals, and at the top is invariably fastened a portion of the umbilical cord, which is cut off at birth, sewn up in a piece of cloth, and tastefully ornamented with beads. In travelling on foot, the cradle is carried on the mother's back; on horseback, it is hung to the high pommel of the saddle, a position which, if not agreeable to the child, is very convenient to the mother. The children seem to have few amusements, the only thing of this kind noticed being some urchins who were performing the part of horses, whilst others were placing miniature packs on their backs; they spend most of their time sprawling on the floor of the lodge amongst the pots and pans, occasionally rolling into the fire, when dreadful is the clamour that rises. As the boy grows up, he learns how to use the bow and arrow, and becomes cunning in horseflesh, and, when he can scarcely walk, may be seen galloping about on bare-backed horses. At the age of seventeen or eighteen he becomes a young man, and his great ambition is to be the possessor of a rifle, that he may join the chase. The girl learns all the duties of a woman from her mother, and at the age of fifteen or sixteen arrives at the menstrual period; at this time she retires to the hills, and must not look on the face of a man until all is over, and she has purified herself by washing. During this seclusion the girl fasts to a certain extent, and amuses herself by making small circles of stones on the ground, the origin of which could not be [p.296] discovered. At each course before marriage, nearly the same ceremony is performed, but after marriage it seems sufficient for the woman to keep apart in the lodge. There is no fasting rite for the young men similar to that of the Cowitchans, but each Indian, on entering manhood, fixes on some bird or animal, whose skill or courage he admires, and makes friends with and protects it, that he may become imbued with its good qualities; this animal he calls his 'medicine' or charm.
Marriage.—Marriage is contracted by consent of the bride's parents, to whom presents are given by the bridegroom, who receives an equivalent from the parents on his wedding-day. A large muster of relations and friends, to smoke and wish the young couple joy, seems the only ceremony. Polygamy does not exist amongst the 'Selish,' and the wives, when not in the neighbourhood of a white settlement, are faithful to their husbands and affectionate mothers. Many of the Indians are now regularly married by the priests according to the Roman Catholic rite.
Food and the means of procuring it.—The 'Selish', or Flathead, live principally on buffalo and other game, and they have an Indian agency established amongst them by the Americans, whose business it is to provide the means and teach them the way to raise corn, etc. The 'Kalispelms' and 'Spokans' also go to the buffalo plains, but a great proportion of their food is obtained from the salmon fishery at Colville, where in June, July, and part of August, they assemble with the 'Sketsui', 'Sweielps', and 'Sinuitokistux,' to lay up their winter stock. There are several kinds of roots eaten, of which the Cammass (lathkwa), made into cakes of a not unpleasant flavour, is the best and most used. Of berries, that known as the 'service berry' is the most common, and is gathered in August and September, when it is dried in the sun and put up in mats for winter use. The wild cherry, and a small white berry of a very bitter taste, called by the natives 'steeχchuχ,' and growing on a bush something like the elder, are found in great quantities in some districts. Hips and haws, angelica, the seeds of the Oregon sunflower pounded into meal, and the berries of the kinnikinik, or 'uva ursi,' fried in grease, are also eaten. In times of great scarcity, a dark brown kind of moss, like horse-hair, is eaten. It is boiled for two or three days and nights until reduced to a white tasteless pulp, but does not seem to be very nutritious. The animal food consists of buffalo, bear, lynx, wolf, mountain goat, elk, caribou, deer, beaver, otter, squirrel, marmot, martin, etc, swan, goose, duck, grabe, grouse, etc., salmon, trout, and sucker. Buffalo, bear, deer, and other large game, are killed with the rifle, or, if the hunter is not fortunate enough to possess one of these, with the bow and arrow, in the use of which all are very expert. The rifle used is the common Hudson's Bay trade musket with [p.297] flint lock. The bows are from 3 ft. 2 in. to 3 ft. 5 in. long, about 1¼ in. broad and ½ in. thick, they seem to be made of no particular kind of wood, but are backed with sinew, covered with snake skin. This skin is fastened to the back of the bow with the best cement I have ever met with, as it is not the least affected by heat, cold, or damp; it is made from the skin of the white salmon. The tips and grasp of the bow are bound round with sinew. The string is of sinew laid on loose so as to be twisted at pleasure according to temperature. The arrows are from 2 ft. 5 in. to 2 ft. 6 in. long, with a 10 in. feather, the point being generally of iron bound on with sinew. A scalping knife and a tomahawk generally form part of the hunter's equipment; the former is nothing but a good English butcher's knife, the latter a small hatchet with a pipe head at the back; they seem to be mostly made at Birmingham or in the eastern states of America. Great numbers of deer are killed in the winter, when the deep snow drives them from the hills to gain their living in the valleys; at the Spokan, the Indians make a large semi-circle of burnt appichemos, or skins, into which the deer are driven and fall an easy prey, their timidity preventing them from attempting to break the slight barrier in front. Beavers, otters, etc. are taken with the common beaver trap, and the martin with an ingenious native contrivance something like the figure of four trap, so at not to damage the fur. Squirrels and the smaller animals are only eaten in the time of scarcity, when they are eagerly sought after; at Colville they were nearly exterminated during a severe winter. Salmon are taken in various ways during their run, the 'Okinagans,' and 'Shimilkamans' get theirs from the Okinagan River, the 'Kalispelms,' 'Spokans,' 'Sketsui,' 'Sweielps,' and 'Sinnitskistux,' from the Columbia and Spokan Rivers. At the Okingan River a weir, constructed of slight willow wands, was found, with extended right across the stream, and at one end had an enclosure into which several openings were left; the remainder of the weir being nearly, if not quite, impassable, all salmon passing up the river found their way into a sort of 'cul-de-sac,' where the Indians were busily engaged in spearing them. At the Kettle falls of the Columbia and great Falls of the Spokan, salmon are caught in a large wicker basket, suspended from the rocks at one end of the falls, and projecting slightly into the water. At the foot of the rock there is an eddy, and the water coming down with less force at this point, the salmon here make their chief effort to leap the falls, the greater number, however, fail to clear the rock, many leap right into the basket, whilst others strike their noses against the rock and fall back helplessly into the trap below. Emptying the basket is a most exciting scene, two savages, with nothing but a loose wrapper round the loins, and armed with stout wooden bludgeons, jump into the frail structure, [p.298] which quivers with the struggling fish and falling water, and the work of slaughter commences. One blow on the head from their practised hands settles the account of each fish, which is then thrown out on the rocks and carried to the general heap, from which they are portioned out to the different families every evening by a man known as the 'salmon chief,' when the squaws take them in hand for splitting and drying. From 400 to 500 salmon are taken daily in this manner; the number of fish ascending the river is perfectly extraordinary, the water seems perfectly alive with them, and as many as a dozen have been counted in the air at one time. Some are seen to clear the falls at a single bound, whilst others, after struggling for a moment against the torrent, are carried back into the eddies to recruit their strength for another trial. At the junction of the Great and Little Spokan Rivers, an elaborate contrivance is made for catching the salmon on their way both up and down the stream; on their way up they are caught in a similar manner and by the same arrangement as that described as in use amongst the Okinagans and Shimilkameens; but, in addition to this, runs are made, with stones, through which the salmon have to pass on their way down, and at the end of these, which gradually contract, a small stage, slanting slightly upwards from the mouth of the run, is erected. The salmon coming down with the current is carried on to the stage, where he is speedily despatched by the attendant Indians. In the erection of these, runs, much ingenuity is shewn and considerable time and labour expended. Trout, suckers, etc, are taken with hook and line, or by a weir and basket trap; the latter was employed very successfully in a small stream at Sinyakatan on the Pend-Oreille river. Two barriers of willow wands were made across the stream, about five feet from each other, in both of which a hole was left for the fish to pass through, and the one in the upper barrier was made to lead into a large wicker basket somewhat of the mousetrap pattern, the fish having to squeeze its way in through a small hole which closed immediately behind it. The spear used has a detached head fastened to the pole by a piece of string, similar to that in use amongst the 'Cowitchans'. When the salmon are caught, they are laid on the rocks, the heat from which and the direct rays of the sun serve to loosen the skin; they are sometimes split and dried whole, but the more favourite way of curing, especially with those Indians who have to carry their salmon a long distance, is to strip the flesh from the bones, mash it and pound it as fine as possible, and then spread it out on mats to dry in the sun; three or four days usually accomplish this, and it is then put up in long baskets holding from seventy to eighty pounds, a convenient weight for packing on horseback. [p.299] During the fishing season the Indians live on the heads, hearts, and offal, which they string on sticks and roast over the fire, keeping the dried fish for winter use.
Dress.—The common dress of the men is a cotton shirt, a blanket or buffalo robe, reaching from head to foot, and fastened by a sash tied round the waist so that the upper half can be wrapped round the body in wet or cold, and in fine weather be allowed to fall over the legs like a long kilt, disclosing the finery of the striped cotton shirt, breech clouts of blanketing, richly ornamented leggings, and elk skin moccasins. Caps, coats, and trousers, of European manufacture, are often worn by the chiefs and dandies, as also leathern hunting shirts and trousers. The women, when not able to obtain European clothing, wear leathern dresses, with long fringes, leggings, and moccasins. The claws of the grizzly bear are worn round the neck of a successful hunter, and the favoured lover adorns the fringe of his hunting shirt with a long tress of his lady's hair. The women wear armlets and rings, and strings of hawk bells, large beads, or thick rolls of small beads, round the neck. The leathern dresses, leggings, and moccasins, are made by the women, and are tastefully decorated with beads, or flowers worked in with silk, The leather used is also prepared by the women, and in the following manner: immediately after the elk or deer is killed, the hair is scraped off, and the skin stretched tightly on a frame, where it is left to dry; the brains of the dead animal are now rubbed in, imparting oil to the skin. This finished, it is first steeped in warm water and then dried, two women stretching and rubbing it in their hands whilst drying, after which it is again soaked, stretched, and dried. Before use, the skin is smoked, by being placed over a smouldering fire; the fire is made in a hole in the ground, over which there is a bell-shaped framework to carry the skin, which should be so arranged as to confine all the smoke; constant watching is required to prevent the skin from burning. Rush mats, like those of the coast tribes, are made by the women, and everything is sewn with sinew, which is substituted amongst these Indians for the invaluable cedar fibre of the Fraser River district.
Games, etc.—Horse-racing is a very favourite pastime in summer, and the stakes are sometimes large. A game is played with bows and arrows, in which the players are divided into two parties, one side rolling a small hoop or ring, through which the other side try to drive their arrows. Cards are much in fashion, as also the games of 'odd and even,' 'which hand is it in,' etc.; but the favourite game is one played with two pins or arrows, and a small ring, and in which only two can join at the same time. A small piece of ground tolerably level is chosen, on which two wooden butts are laid about fifteen feet apart and parallel to [p.300] each other; each player is provided with one of the arrows, which are of wood and pointed with thick iron wire, which is evenly balanced by lead wrapped round the opposite end. One of the men takes the ring, in the inner circumference of which six beads are fixed, and rolls it along the ground, and the game is to run after the ring and throw the arrow, so that when stopped by the wooden butt the ring may fall upon it; both players throw their arrow at the same time, and, to enable a man to count two beads of the same colour, he must rest above his arrow. Two of the beads are red, two blue, and two white, arranged so that those of the same colour are opposite to each other; white counts three, red two, and blue one, and the score is generally ten, but this, as well as the value of the beads, is arbitrary. Very heavy stakes are lost and won at this game, which seems to have great fascinations for every Indian, and frequent are the cases of men losing horses, blankets, guns, and all they possess, during a run of bad luck.
Medical Treatment.—Bleeding is sometimes used by the native doctors, but the favourite remedy for rheumatism and all other affections, is the sweating process, not unlike a Russian bath in character. The sweat-house consists of a framework of sticks, bent into the form of an arch, with both ends fixed in the ground, and covered with earth. A small door is left for the patient to crawl in and out, and the floor is slightly sunk into the ground to obtain earth for covering the roof. The house is of an oval shape, 6 ft. by 7 ft., and about 2 ft. high. After the patient gets in, stones, heated at a fire close at hand, are placed in the centre, and water thrown upon them, which fills the sweat-house with steam and thoroughly parboils the inmate, who, after standing this sort of treatment as long as he can, comes out and jumps into the river. This bath is said to give a very pleasant sensation of elasticity to the body and limbs, and is often taken by the Indians before starting on a hunting excursion. Some of the employes of the Hudson's Bay Company, who have tried it, speak in glowing terms of the feeling after it is over, though they were bound to confess that the parboiling in the house was anything but pleasant. The remains of these sweat-houses were found in the wildest portions of the Cascade Mountains, and marked the place where some hunting party had encamped to refresh themselves.
Houses, etc.—The Selish tribes may almost be called nomadic; for though each tribe has its own particular district or country, the dwellings are of a temporary nature, and the people themselves are continually changing their place of abode. The houses or lodges, as they are called, are of a conical shape, and composed of several long poles, the lower ends of which are pointed and driven into the ground, and the upper drawn together and fastened [p.301] by strips of hide, etc. Several dressed buffalo skins, sewn together, are stretched over the poles, leaving a hole at the top for the smoke to escape, through which the ends of the poles project; the door is protected by a flap, and in wet or cold weather a small fire is made in the centre, which warms the whole lodge, and with their feet towards this, the inmates lie down when they retire to rest. The lodges are far more comfortable to live in than might be expected; the smoke escapes freely through the opening at the top; they are commodious, and, even in the depth of winter, are warm and agreeable, being superior in that respect to a tent. The squaws become very expert in raising the lodges, and it takes very few minutes after a halt to have everything in order, and the kettle on the fire. These lodges are very expensive, costing from thirty to forty skins, or sixty to one hundred dollars, on the western side of the Rocky Mountains, the skins having all to be brought from the eastern plains, so that it is not every Indian who is able to purchase one. The more common house is of the same shape and pattern, made with large rush mats wrapped round the poles in place of the skins; these throw off the rain well, and are as comfortable as the others; but the mats wear out quickly, and they are very bulky and inconvenient for packing on horseback. I may mention that the Sibley tent, now used by the United States army, is made, with some modifications, on the pattern of the Indian lodge.
Means of progression, etc.—The horse is the means by which the Indian generally moves from place to place. Since the Indian war of 1857-58, the number of horses has decreased greatly, few even of the chiefs possessing more than ten or twelve, and many of the poorer men having none at all. Some of the best fetch good prices, but a fair average one may be bought for thirty or forty dollars; mares are in great demand for breeding purposes. No selection seems to be made to improve the breed, and many are wretched specimens of horse-flesh; they have great endurance, are surefooted, and very hardy, requiring little care at the end of a day's journey, when they are simply turned loose to graze, and in the morning caught up and saddled. The Indian treats his horse very cruelly; most of them have large open sores on the back, and the numerous scars on the head and the unwillingness of the horse to let anyone touch that part, show the effect and cruelty with which the rider uses the butt of his whip. The Indian mounts clumsily and slowly from the off side of his horse, and even when once in his seat, though he rides boldly and well, there is none of that grace and ease of carriage which might be expected amongst these Arabs of the far west. The horses are trained to dash up at full galop, and come to a sudden stop at a motion of the rider's wrist, a practice which causes much injury [p.302] to the feet; those wonderful feats of horsemanship so often related as being common amongst the Sioux, Crows, and Blackfeet, were neither seen nor heard of. No care is taken of the horses during the winter; they are turned loose to pick up their living as they best can by scraping away the snow and eating the dry unnutritious grass below, in consequence of which they are a long time recovering flesh in the spring, and, being ridden long before they are strong enough, soon get broken down. In the neighbourhood of WallaWalla, during the winter of 1861-62, there was a slight thaw after the snow had fallen, and, on the frost setting in, such a hard crust was formed that the horses could not break through it, and during the three months of winter nearly the whole were lost, many of the bodies being found with the hoofs almost separated from the legs, by the sharp edge of the frozen crust. At Colville they were much more fortunate, as frost setting in before the snow fell, the snow remained soft and dry as dust during the whole winter, but even there many of the weaker animals succumbed to the severity of the weather. The men use either a saddle of the common Mexican pattern, a leathern pad, or a piece of buffalo skin thrown over the horse's back; the women ride after the manner of men, and use an exaggerated form of Mexican saddle, having a very high pommel and cantle. The bridle is nothing more than a rope of horse or buffalo hair fastened to the lower jaw by a clove hitch; this makes a very severe and effective bit, and the rope is very convenient for tethering the horse when out hunting or wishing to dismount; the same rope is also fastened round the horse's neck when turned out for the night, the whole length being allowed to trail on the ground behind him, a plan which permits the horse to choose his own grass, and enables the rider to catch him with ease when required. The whip is a short thick piece of wood furnished with two long strips of buffalo hide. None of the horses are shod, and, after a long journey over rough or rocky ground, the hoofs get worn down to the quick. The girth or lynch is made of horsehair, and is provided with a ring at each end, by means of which it is fastened to the saddle with leather straps. The stirrups are of wood, which is more pleasant and comfortable to the foot than metal, especially in very cold weather. For packing, a very simple saddle is used, with cross pieces, on the ends of which bags of undressed buffalo skin are hung; these are laced up at the top, and kept from swinging about by a leather thong passing under the horse's belly. A piece of buffalo skin is placed underneath the saddle to protect the horse's back, but they get dreadfully galled notwithstanding this precaution.
Canoes.—There are few wooden canoes, and those very badly made, having none of that elegance of design so noticeable in the construction of those seen on the coast. The canoe in general [p.303] use is made from the bark of the white pine, and is so light that it can with ease be carried on the head from one stream to another, yet is capable of holding three persons with a considerable quantity of baggage. These canoes are very fragile, and it is usual to carry a supply of gum to mend any cracks or holes that may be made during the journey. The paddler sits in the centre of the canoe, and uses the common paddle; as this requires shifting from side to side, it is somewhat curious that the double bladed paddle has never been thought of by the Indians. In winter, when snow is on the ground, snow-shoes of what is called the bear's foot pattern are used, which are said to be much better for hilly and mountainous country than those of the well known long Canadian pattern. The wood is bent into shape and hung up in the smoke of the lodge until thoroughly seasoned, and the sinew is twisted by the Indian in his spare moments.
Slavery.—Prisoners taken in war are generally enslaved, but are not treated so harshly or made such a common article of barter as amongst the coast tribes.
Language.—The language is not nearly so guttural as the Cowitchan, and much more readily picked up by a stranger; as far as could be learnt, there was little or no grammatical construction. Vocabularies of the Sweielp, Spokan, and Kalispelm, are given.
Religion.—Sunday is very generally observed amongst the Selish tribes, and there is a great deal of devotional feeling, which is kept alive by frequent visits from the priests, who have established a central mission in the Coeur d'Alene country, and have great influence amongst the Indians, but it is doubtful whether they have made any real converts. Besides the mission in the Coeur d'Alene country, there are others at the Spokan, St. Ignatius on the Pend'Oreille, at Colville, and on the Great Okinagan Lake, now having no resident missionaries, but visited at different periods of the year by members of the Coeur d'Alene Mission. The Indians believe that those who are good go to a happy hunting ground where there is an unlimited supply of game, etc., whilst the bad go to a place where there is eternal snow, hunger, and thirst, and they are tantalised by the sight of game they cannot kill, and water they cannot drink. They have a strong belief in the efficacy of charms or 'medicine,' and also believe that a familiar spirit is always with them on earth, taking care of them and directing their actions by dreams or presentiments in lifetime, and after death remaining on earth to watch over their nearest friends. This spirit is supposed to leave them sometimes during life, and the medicine man is then called in to bring it back again by his incantations. There are a great many very curious and pretty legends amongst the Selish, in all of which the [p.304] coyoti, or small prairie wolf, is the most conspicuous figure. One tradition is, that the present sun is only a portion of an old one, which existed years before any man lived, and was broken in some mysterious way by the little wolf. The expression of 'a toad in the moon,' equivalent to our 'man in the moon,' is explained by a very pretty story relating how the little wolf, being desperately in love with the toad, went a wooing one night and prayed that the moon might shine brightly on his adventure; his prayer was granted, and by the clear light of a full moon he was pursuing the toad, and had nearly caught her, when as a last chance of escape she made a desperate spring on to the face of the moon, where she remains to this day. At another time, the little wolf being desirous of getting a wife, visited the Spokans, and demanded a young woman in marriage; this was granted, and he thereupon promised them an abundance of salmon, and for this purpose made the rapids that they might be the more easily caught. He made the same request to the Coeur d'Alenes, but being refused, he became very angry, and formed the great falls of the Spokan, which prevent any salmon from running up to the Coeur d'Alene country. One of these legends, for which I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. and Mrs. McDonald, of Colville, is given in full, in which the Indian mode of expression and peculiar style is preserved as much as possible. the translation being almost literal.
The Kootenays inhabit the country watered by the Kootenay, Flatbow, or, as it is
sometimes called, McGillwray's River, and are divided into two tribes, the 'Akishkinookaniks,'
or Upper Kootenays, living immediately at the base of the Rocky Mountains, in
that part of the country commonly known as the Tobacco Plains, numbering about
450; and the 'Akuchaklacktas,' or Lower Kootenays, scattered over the country
from the southernmost point of the great bend of the Kootenay, near Chelempta,
northwards to the Kootenay Lakes, and numbering about 200, making a total of
From the shortness of the time spent in the Kootenay country, but few particulars could be learnt about this very interesting tribe, which, speaking a widely different language, and walled in by high ranges of mountains, is entirely isolated, and has had far less intercourse with the whites than any of the surrounding tribes. The Kootenays were decidedly the finest race of Indians met with during the progress of the Commission; the men were tall, averaging 5ft. 9im, with sharp features, aquiline noses, black hair and eyes, and very long black eyelashes, which form one of the most striking peculiarities in their appearance. The hair is either [p.305] dressed in a long kind of 'queue' hanging down the back, done up with grease and ornamented with rings of yellow metal, or cut short in front, so as to leave a row of stiff bristles standing erect from the forehead, with a long lock on each side, passed through a metal tube or keeper.
The Kootenays bear the reputation of being brave, honest, and truthful, and pride themselves on the fact that no white man has ever been killed by one of their tribe. Though naturally quiet and inoffensive, when occasion demands, they show themselves inferior to none in all warlike accomplishments, and, spite of the small number of their tribe, manage to hold their own against the Blackfeet in the frequent skirmishes which take place on the common hunting ground.
The Upper Kootenays live principally on buffalo meat, to obtain which they make each year two excursions to the plains; one in spring, the other in autumn, crossing the Rocky Mountains either by the Kootenay or the Boundary Pass. Deer, bear, elk, and the mountain goat, are taken in the winter when the deep snow on the mountains drives them down to find shelter and food in the narrow valleys. The Lower Kootenays live on deer, fish, and berries, seldom visiting the plains for buffalo, and to this may be ascribed the fact that, though living so close to the Kalispelms, no one could be found amongst them who spoke the Selish language, whilst amongst the Upper Kootenays, who are in the habit of hunting in company with the Selish, most of the men were able to talk it. Several of the Kootenays have small herds of cattle and patches of cultivated ground, and one of the chiefs called 'Joseph' had a small farm on the waters of the Kootenay, with a band of seventy horses and thirty head of cattle.
The dress of the Kootenays consists of a blanket, or buffalo skin, wrapper, breech-clout of blanket or leather, with leggings and mocassins; most of them have a Roman Catholic token suspended from a small bead necklace. A broad belt of yellow metal round the neck is a very favourite ornament, and many of the men are accustomed to carry a long string of beads by which they are enabled to tell the exact day of the month, coloured beads on the string serving to mark the termination of each month, a mode of reckoning time which has probably been introduced by the priests.
The lodges, canoes, arms, etc, are of the same description as those used by the Selish, and what has been said of their habits, customs, and general mode of life may be equally applied to the Kootenays, who, it may also be remarked, give the 'Little Wolf' the same prominent position in all their legends. The horses of the Upper Kootenays are wintered on the Tobacco Plains, those of [p.306] the Lower Kootenays near the Kootenay Lake, at neither of which places is there any great depth of snow during the winter, and they are much esteemed for their hardiness and powers of endurance.
The chiefs are much respected, and have great authority amongst their own particular portion of the tribe; in one camp a chief was met with who used to enforce his authority, amongst the younger and more unruly members of his flock, with the cane, which had a most beneficial effect on their behaviour.
There is a mission house on the Tobacco Plains, now uninhabited, but visited at intervals by one of the Roman Catholic Missionaries from Coeur d'Alene. The teaching of the priests seems to have had more substantial results amongst the Kootenays than elsewhere, but they have not yet undergone the severe trial of constant intercourse with the white man.
'THE LITTLE WOLF.'
Some account of the manner in which the little wolf visited heaven, what he saw
and did there, and of the bloody war which he waged with the grizzly bear. A
legend of the Flatheads (Selish).
There was of old a wolf who had a good and faithful wife, a mole, by whom he had a son who was married to two wives, one, the double-tailed black cricket, the other, that small white speckled duck which loves ever to dive and be alone. The former of these the young wolf loved dearly, the latter he did not like so well, and thus the old wolf, seeing the duck's beauty made no impression on the heart of her husband, became enamoured of his son's wife; time only increased his passion, and at last brought him to contemplate the ruin of his son.
One day the young wolf, who was a great hunter, complained to his father that he had no feathers to wing his arrows with, to which the old wolf replied, that he would go and get some eagle's wings for him, and then both started out to hunt, one for an eagle's nest, the other for deer. After the old wolf had trotted along for some time he met three whelps under a spell, who told him they were his children, as they had been created from three pieces of his dung; this he believed, and disclosed to them his desire of banishing his son. The eldest whelp asked why his heart was so cold towards the young hunter, to which he replied, "I am his father, and it is my will"; the two youngest whelps then said, "We will become three trees, and the eldest shall be an eagle on his nest; so they were transformed as the old wolf wished it, and he returned home to look for his son. The young wolf, on seeing him, asked, "Well, my father, didst thou find the eagle?" to which he replied that [p.307] he had found the nest of that renowned bird, "and," said he, "thou shalt come with me to-morrow, my son, and help to harry the eagle's nest, for I am getting old, and may be unable to do it alone."
Now the young wolf was a sagacious hunter, and next day, when he stood with his father by the three trees, he saw that they were strange things and recently grown, as he had passed the place on the previous day, and observed no trees where the three now stood, From this he knew in his heart the intentions of his father, but kept his knowledge to himself. The middle tree was much higher than the others, and this the young hunter, stripping off leggings and mocassins, and requesting his father not to look after him as he went up, prepared to climb, for on its lofty head was placed the eagle's nest. He took with him his bow and quiver, and after climbing till he reached a fork of the tree, stood up, and launched an arrow at the eagle, which brought it down, till stopped in its fall by a branch of the tree above his head. Trying to catch it, and failing in his attempt, he looked down and saw his father winking at the tree to extend itself to a greater height. On asking his father why he looked up and winked, the old man replied, "I was looking at your perilous position, my son, and a piece of bark struck me in the eye." The young hunter again tried to reach the eagle, when lo! he looked up and found that the tree had grown to a dizzy height, with the eagle far above his head at a much greater distance than before. A third time he tried to reach it, and looking down saw his father winking at the tree to rise higher, on which he accused him of having bad designs. The old man replied: "Thou art indeed so high, my son, that I feel much for thy position, it is so lofty and imposing, that it may make thy head spin like a whirlpool and cause thee to fall." The son answered, "Yes, my father, but he that keeps a steady head loses not his footing." As the hunter looked again at the eagle, he saw that the tree had penetrated the heavens.
Being now certain that his father intended to banish him from the world, he waved his hand and bade him farewell; for though the parent's deeds had been bitter, the feelings of nature were still strong in the son:—waving his hand a second time, he stepped from the tree into heaven. There he wandered for some time through very strange countries; now passing through smothering calms, which made him feel as if he were in a bear's belly, now borne on by violent winds like a flake from the whirlwind's nostril, at times shivering with cold so that his thumb was dead to the notch of his arrow and the cord of his bow, then on again as if the big round heaven were a sweat-house, the large hot drops rolling down into his eyes till they smarted. He [p.308] saw stars in every direction he looked, and one shadow that held them on his bosom, like islands sprinkled on the surface of some great waveless lake. In the face of this shadow, all other shadows stood, passed, and returned, the sage man and the born fool, the good and the bad, the aspiring reasoner and the imbecile idiot, all those that were, that are, and that shall be, were there, and when a cloud of displeasure passed over the face of the shadow, all the shades in his face were afraid, and he became afraid of himself, and withdrew into his emptiness alone.
After seeing this the young wolf passed on till he came to three lodges made of clouds; he lifted the door of the first and, passing through, entered the second. In the first two he saw nothing but the walls, made with the winds glued together by mists, but on entering the third he found two large grim old fellows with grizzled hair and beard, and long horny nails crooked like the owls. They were two old spiders spinning their webs, who, upon seeing him, seized their darts to kill him. He was much afraid but kept his presence of mind, and said to them, "Be not so hasty to kill me, my grandfathers, I am a poor wolf banished for no fault of my own;" to which they asked, "How callest thou us thy grandsires, we know of none banished but the Little Wolf's son?" he replied, "I am he of whom you speak, your grandson is in your hands." On hearing this the old spiders, grinning with gladness, toddled forth to get him something to eat, saying, "We are old and weak, but glad, very glad, to see you; we are nearly blind and compelled to snare the winds to drive deer into our power, but it is time we give you of our fare," and so taking the skull of a large dragon fly they filled it high with fresh mosquitoes, dried ants, slices of grasshopper flanks, some junks of wasp fat, a few eggs of the bull fly, some trout roe, the kidneys of a butterfly, a bat's tongue, and a cell of the spotted bee's honey.
Now after the old wolf had banished his son, he took his clothing and clad himself in it so as to deceive the people and pass for his lost son; and, to make his face look fresh and young, he daubed it with red and white clay; on which the spell bound trees restored to their form of whelps entered his mouth, and he returned home. On approaching the camp he cried and howled for the loss of his father; the duck and the faithful cricket heard him; the cricket knew the shrill voice of the old rascal from the kind lusty words of her husband, and told the duck that there was mischief about, but the duck would not be convinced, for she loved the old wolf. He then entered his lodge, and seeing the sagacity of the cricket commanded her to absent herself; but, on his thus exposing himself, before [p.309] leaving she reproved him with bitter vehemence for his conduct towards his son.
The old wolf now enjoyed the love of the duck, but the people of the camp grumbled much about his ways, openly saying, that he had made off with his son to get possession of the duck; a few fools, however, believed the lie, and that it was really the absent made present. Being sole chief of the camp, he essayed to lead it to game, but the more they hunted the more they starved. The poor old mole wept daily for the loss of her son, and the cricket, staff in hand, with her son and goods on her back, be wailed her lost husband.
The young wolf fared well in heaven with the spiders, but yearned to be restored to earth. One day as he was standing in the door of his cloud made lodge, he saw a form like the shadow of a man pass down through the clouds and move swiftly towards the earth. On asking the spiders what this was, they said: "That thing which thou seest is going to assume his inheritance, and will be the chief insect of thy world; he will breed diseases to destroy, and destroying will make cures to heal; he will be bitten by a fly, while the panther will shrink from his glance; he will sing like a swan when his son is dead on his knee, and kiss his wife while he holds a knife to his heart; he will run through the stars while he moulders with death in the clay; he will thirst like a desert when steeped like a pool, and weep like a cloud when he burns like a star; think and know, my son, for these are but few of his many signs." Having mused on this warning, and the dim spirit-like shadow he had seen, he begged the spiders to restore him to earth; this they promised to do, and immediately commenced spinning a large ball of thread; after which, taking two spoons made of the horn of the mountain ram, they closed him in it, forming an open shell round his body, with a supply of thread to lower himself by. Everything being ready for his descent, he promised to repay their kindness with venison, and then commenced his journey. Passing down by the moon, he saw that she was made like a bleached buffalo's skull, hairless, and full of hollows and knolls, with its horns ring-worn, blasted, and dry. On touching the top of the clouds, he shook himself in the shell, and letting go a knot of his web, landed on the top of a column of mist; a second shake and letting loose another knot, landed him on the top of a tree; a third shake and knot, and he touched the top of the grass, which bent easily with him to the ground.
Disengaging himself from the shell, he left it, and pursued his way to the site of the three trees, but could not find them. Convinced by this of his father's power, he ran on till he reached the camping ground from which he and his father had started to harry the nest, but found the place deserted; on and on he fol- [p.310] lowed, till he found some embers smouldering on the site of a late camp, and a bow he had once made for his son; onward again he trotted, and at last saw the travelling camp far off on the verge of the plain. As he hastened to overtake it, he saw, toiling in the rear, the poor fatigued cricket with his son and chattels on her back. The son saw his father, and cried "hoo-ho-pa-noo," but the mother, much distressed, gave her son a backward slap with the cane, saying, "Poor little fool, why doest thou trouble me, thy father is lost to us?" and then trotted on. The end of one of her pack cords was dragging behind her, and, putting his foot on this, the young hunter brought her to a stand; she shook and pulled, but, finding herself still held fast, with head stooped by the weight of her load, she turned to see what was the matter, when lo! it was her husband. She was soon in his arms, embraced and embracing, but spoke not a word till she had wept with joy; after some time both sat down on the grass, and in turn related what had taken place during their separation, during the course of which the cricket told her husband how his father had given her no leather, game, or fish, but lived continually with the duck. "Well," said he, "all this has been very cruel of my father, but I am still a hunter, and as the people are starving, I will, by my ken, direct the course of the camp to game." After this the cricket and his son stood up with him on the grass, and they danced one of the hunter's dances together. To conceal his arrival, he persuaded the cricket to carry him on her back, and told her when she saw anyone come in with fat meat, to take it away from him. She attended to his words and bore him to the camp, and as the several hunters returned from the chase, she watched them, and on seeing one carrying a fat deer, went and took it from him. This was much talked of at night in the camp, and they sent a spy, the striped squirrel, to visit the cricket's lodge, but he returned, saying he had seen nothing save the cricket weeping for her husband; they then sent a hawk, who scudded silently to her lodge, but he returned, confirming what the squirrel had said; again, they sent that slippery snake whose hide adorns the bow; he glided through the grass unseen, and saw the cricket and her returned husband; then, striking his head against the skin door to make them aware of his presence, returned home with the news, and many were affected by his tale.
The young hunter seeing that he was discovered, said: "All that has passed shall be disclosed, and I will make myself known to my father." The old wolf and his friends were dancing a medicine dance as the young hunter passed through the camp to his father's lodge, the people crying out "'Tis he! behold the old wolf's son." Some told the father to listen to the cry without, [p.311] but he danced, grinned, frowned, howled, snapped, yelled, whooped, and leaped the more. The young hunter stepping into his presence, looked him full in the face, on which the dancer retired to a corner, covering his face with his hands. The duck seeing the confusion of her lord, fled, and is diving alone to this day.
The old wolf presently recovering his presence of mind, quitted the dark corner, and standing in full view of his son, said to him: "My son, here I am with thy stolen clothes, I pray thee forgive me, and take them back again. Remember, knowledge comes from without as well as from within; to him who understandeth this is evident, and I have no doubt that, if thou hast lost time, thou hast gained knowledge thereby. The son replied that he would not use his clothes again, but would capture new ones in the forest, that would be more worthy of him.
At this time the old mole, touched to the heart by her son's voice, for she had hungered and pined in his absence, begged him to forgive his father, and tell her his adventures; after relating all that he had seen and learnt in heaven and on earth since his departure, he received his mother's blessings and good wishes, and left the lodge. Returning to his cricket, he prepared his arms, and started off at dawn to the woods, where he soon made great havoc amongst the deer; and, after slaying as much venison as he could dress, hung all the rump pieces highest, and returned at dusk with choice pieces for his cricket, who never forgot the poor old mole. He then told his son to warn every lodge except his father's, and bid them be off at break of day to bring in the game. Next morning, after all had started, on foot or wing, the call was given to be off; the old wolf begged them to stop for him, but he was told they were already far advanced; at this he hastened, grinning, and gnashing his teeth at them for giving him the slip, which would enable them to leave the worst pieces for him. On arriving at the venison, he found nothing but the rumps left, and after much trouble in getting them down, tied them with a cord he had stolen for the purpose; turning to rise with his load, the rope broke; with many curses he mended it, but it broke a second time, and when again mended, the sun had walked down behind the world. The sky now began to get troubled, and as the gloom thickened, seeing its dismal appearance, he took up one rump and trotted towards home; he had not gone far, however, when a whirlwind caught him, twisting him round like a bubble on the edge of a whirlpool, and then whistled onwards, leaving him without meat or arms; onwards, however, he sped, though the sky remained murky. The very mountains groaned; birds fluttered in the gloom; burning brands of lightning smote the neck of heaven; clouds fixed into one another like closing eagles; the thunderer leaped from peak to peak [p.312] like a mountain ram; the winds blew as if they would scalp the hills, and wrenched big trees from the valleys as they passed; hailstones rattled like a freezing forest, killing the birds that could find no shelter; rivers streamed on, beaded in foam; sudden gusts drove through his whiskers; the wilds shook like a grove of cotton wood, and his eyes were wet with sleet and tears. Darkness and solitude caused him to lose his way, now blown down to the dust, now borne off like a flake of froth, biting his tongue in despair, or bitterly howling over the tricks he had played his son. Thus he walked, creeped, trotted, and tumbled along, surrounded by gales and lightning, till morning found him at the foot of a mountain he had never seen before, when finding himself lost, he sat down drenched and shivering at the foot of a great stone, whose head was sheathed in moss. There, with none to soothe him, he wept bitterly, and the earth seemed cold, troubled, and strange, and he coiled himself up and went to sleep; but the dripping from his hair formed a pool beneath him, and he was thoroughly humbled, wet, and sad at heart. Presently, however, the world essayed to calm his agitation, and sighed like a weary man; the clouds, like travelling camps, retired in the distant ring, birds sang out, tufted foams dosed on the breasts of the streams, the sun looked through the thin veil of mist, and all was at peace as a heart beating calmly.
By this time, the young wolf had become the leader and hunter of his people, and the kind cricket was mindful of the mole. With a portion of his first game, the young hunter went to the place where the shell still hung from the heavens, and having fastened the venison to it, made a grateful sign to the spiders, who immediately drew up shell and flesh.
The old wolf resolved to do good; but to do so he must use cunning, industry, and audacity. One soft sunny morning, as he was walking down by a river, he saw the badger dig with nails and nose for roots, and the osprey stand still in the air, looking for his prey; he heard the snakes whistle to betray the birds, and saw the ant, with choice chips, build his lodge; the spider hung his net from the boughs; the sage cocks, stroking their sides with their wings, gathered to do battle for their sweet-hearts; the fawn, on its knees, sucked his dam, who, on seeing him, bristled up her hair and struck the plain with her hoof, whilst the fawn tried its speed on the plain; bubbles stood motionless on the pools; the winds held their breath on the hills; the sun walked up into the heavens without his heeding it; a sleepy spirit was abroad in the silence, and he lay down alone to sleep.
The three spell bound whelps now escaped from his belly and formed themselves into three beautiful and graceful maidens. Two [p.313] of them wished to destroy the old wolf, but the eldest, who was just and good, reproved them, saying "He has already suffered for his wicked deeds, he did not do as much evil as this to our brother. it is better to return good for evil, than evil for good"; after hearing what the elder had said, they all bathed in the stream.
The old wolf, who was awake at this time, overheard their discourse, and wishing to test their fidelity, lashed himself into a piece of the raw hide of a stag, and, pushing off from the bank, floated down the river. On seeing him adrift in this manner, the two said, "See how he thinks to deceive us, let him pass on and be drowned," but the eldest replied, "No; I will swim and bring him on shore; I will be good to him and he will help us;" so saying, she swam and brought him to the shore, where she gave him the tenderest fish to eat. This happened near a fall, and the old wolf saw that the salmon could get no further up the stream, and observed that many perished in their ceaseless and vain attempts to surmount the falls, for some of them, with quivering tail and fin, sprang from the throat of the whirlpool, and, spanning like a rainbow the mists of the torrent, struck their heads and sides against the overhanging rocks, from which, repulsed in death, they floated down on their silvery sides, the sport of the whirl and surge, whilst others leaped straight as a bow, rebound, and with flashing crest, as when the young moon climbs a driven cloud, pierced on high the tumbling waters, but were beaten back like shadows.
On seeing all this, he thought how much better the people in the upper part of the valley would fare if the salmon could only succeed in their leap, and mentioned it to the three maiden whelps; the two youngest, who were of a greedy disposition, were displeased with his charitable thought, but the eldest approved his design, so he laboured day and night with a crooked and flat stick until he had made a new pass for the salmon to get up. This generous feat performed, it was beautiful to see how the salmon darted up the new channel, up and up they went, and he, galloping up the river bank before them, closely followed by the eldest whelp, shouted and sang:
"For life, for life, against the stream,
For light, for light, against the beam,
With speed the boundless plains I'll try.
For winds the windless hills will sigh,
To drive the rains that swell the streams
Which wrap the salmon and his dreams."
Thus he sang, they, like a cloud of swallows, scudding after him against river and rill, till creatures far above beheld the bounty that had fallen on the land. The two greedy spirited whelps, having plunged into the torrent to stop the salmon, were drowned, their spell having been broken when they separated themselves from their eldest whelp and their sire.
During this time the young wolf was very attentive to his people. One day he had
a quarrel with the grizzly bear, which in the end gave rise to a serious war
between many of the greatest chieftains of the land; this quarrel was caused by
a deer which the young hunter had killed. The bear being large and strong, the
young wolf thought he had better outwind his enemy before getting to a
hand-to-hand fight, so he went and soaked his tail in a spring, rolled it in the
dry sand, and walked stiffly up to the place where the bear was hiding what he
could not eat of the meat, then slipping quietly by the proud bear, struck him
in the eyes with his sandy tail. The bear rubbed his eyes and growled terribly,
rolling himself on the ground. The young wolf gave him another switch in the
face with his tail, which made him growl more fiercely and tear the ground with
rage, for he could not see to follow his enemy, who was also very nimble footed.
The wolf's courage at last overcame his prudence, and, running in, he caught the
bear by the throat, on which the grizzly with one stroke of his paw ripped out
the wolf's eyes, and would have slain him with the next, had he not slipped his
hold as soon as he was struck. Now the fox, who was the young wolf's friend,
came up during the last round, and being himself too light to join in the fight,
sat down and howled to let his friend know which way to take. On hearing the
fox, the bear was much afraid of being surrounded, and stood up on his thighs
listening with a ear more tender than the she beaver's to learn what his foes
were doing, and awaited the result where he was. The fox led the blind young
hunter home, showing him much tenderness on the way. After a few days the bear
recovered his sight, and vowing deep vengeance declared war against the wolf and
The young hunter's people began to suffer much on account of his accident, they had nothing to feed or clothe themselves with, and wandered over the hot sandy plains bewildered and forlorn, their eyes with dimmed light sank back into their heads, the skin stuck to their cheek bones with a hungry hold, their lips grew long and blue, their teeth rose like a dead beaver's, the soles of their feet were like singed horns, full of thorns and tumours, and they were in a most forlorn state.
Whilst they were in this sad condition, the fox went out one night to see what he could catch, and having wandered about till the time when the owl roosts, took advantage of the darkness to pass close to the grizzly's camp and see how it was pitched. Taking another road home he met the old wolf, who was still lost to his friends, and thus saluted him, "What a fortunate hour is this, my old friend, in which we meet; since thou wert lost, nothing but calamities have fallen upon us. Thy son's eyes have been tom out by that tyrant the bear, the lodge of thy good old [p.315] mole has been robbed and torn down by him, and all our people are sore pressed by want and suffering. The dams, too weak to carry their young, leave them to die uncared for and unseen, and the old are left as useless to die at the tyrant's hands. Yes, the grizzly and his people feed on the lips thou hast heard singing the war song, and on the knuckles that smote their joints on thy drum. Silence and tears have taken possession of our camp, where no sound of gladness is heard, and thy son howls 'Woi, woi, woi' for his eyes, and is grieved to the heart for his conduct towards thee." The old wolf then said to the fox, "Yes, when ye want, ye howl; when ye had, ye were proud and heartless; my son, now that he has lost his eyes, mourns for his sire, but when he had it in his power, he was glad to banish him; still it was only act for act; I pity my son and am resolved to help him. By his want of sight, by my mole, and by the bow that broke not with the blows of his fathers, lead me to the lodge of the bear." The fox then said, "Yes, my chief; I know that thou art strong in thy cunning, but take care, for the grizzly is a beast of great renown, full of strength and deception, and supported by known heroes." To which the wolf replied, "I know him of old, lead the way."
At this time the two opposing camps were in sight of each other, and the blind hunter advised his people to fight rather than submit to the unjust acts of the bear, thus addressing them: "Why did the grizzly uproot the old mole's lodge? see how he has torn the eyes of the hunter and hidden the game he could not eat; how he basks in the face of the moon, whilst the weak mole, mouse, lizzard, and toad sweat to grease his mane; from their little stores he fills his giant carcass, and slaps them with his nailed paw when they complain. Does he not appease his appetite with the food of the poor? and do they not skulk from the sight of the tyrant when the rocks repeat his words? Let us return what we receive from this insolent grizzly's haughtiness, cruelty, and mockery; shall we forget our injuries from fear to do battle with him? No, no, my people, let us fight; I am blind, but I can bite and grip without seeing, and, could I see, I could do no more." To this harangue every one present nodded approval, and though every heart was rent with alternate hope and fear, they prepared for battle.
Both camps were pitched for fighting, when the old wolf, led by the fox, appeared descending a hill which overlooked both armies. Standing to look at the camps, the old wolf asked the fox who were the bear's allies." "There," said the fox, "is the lodge of the bear, and the chiefs wolverine, panther, lynx, badger, and eagle, are there at the head of their tribes. Our own forces are more numerous, but of less renown. We [p.316] have, as thou knowest, the raccoon, osprey, crane, raven, marten, skunk, beaver, otter, tortoise, lizzard, snake, musk rat, frog, toad, wasp, mole, owl, cormorant, loon, marmot, mink, and more of less fame.
As they approached the hostile camps, they took particular care to look at every hole and stone in the vicinity of the bear's camp, after which they went to the mole's lodge, and she was immediately in her husband's arms; there, too, sat his blind son making arrows. He was received in silence, which is most expressive when the heart is full; after a sad and long separation, and being on the eve of a serious fray, they spoke but little of their sufferings, turning the conversation to the coming combat.
The spell-bound whelp now advised them to gather the chiefs together for a war dance, and his advice being found good they proceeded to obey him. One of the first to dance the war dance was the Chieftain Frog, who standing up, took the sounding rattle in his hand, and sang:
"Way-ka-ku, way-ka-ku, way-ka-ku,
Frogs wake, strokes, frogs wake,
Frogs blows take, frogs rows make,
Frogs, frogs, frogs!"
He had no sooner danced and sung, than the War Raven commenced, and sang:
"Crow crank, crow crank, croak, croak.
Crow crank, rocks, rocks, rocks.
Crow chocks, crow rocks, crow crank."
In this way each of them danced and sang his own war song. While all were intent
on the dancing, the old wolf, wishing to have another immediate cause for war,
sent the chief mouse to beg a piece of meat from the bear's wife. The she-bear
was inclined to pity the poor mouse, but the old grizzly killed him with a slap
of his paw, and, to add to the indignity, sent the chief wolverine with the dead
body to the old wolf's lodge, bidding him also challenge the wolf to fight. In
reply the wolf promised to meet the bear at noon next day; but though he spoke
truly concerning himself, he did not say when the fight would begin, so that
whilst the bear, confident in his strength, dosed on till dawn, the wolf's
chieftains were busily engaged in causing his ruin.
Now of all the chiefs who befriended the grizzly, the eagle was thought to be most formidable and overbearing. Everyone said so except Chieftain Owl, who spoke thus: "I know the eagle, light and his weight make him brave, but in the dark he is a coward, a great blind, helpless blockhead, that will not quit his perch; but, as you all know, darkness is my nature and vantage; [p.317] I will go with the gloom around me, and fight the chief of the eagles." The old wolf said, "Thy words accord with my thoughts, go forth and prove thy courage." Now this owl was that lord of the night that scours the wilds of the Rocky Mountains; his stout wings, clad in their hoary plumage, were long and supple, and his feet were armed with sharp piercing talons, ringed and curved; such was the chief who went out to find and fight the renowned eagle. He flew and dived at the wind as was his wont, and sat on the top of a tree, on one of whose seared limbs that strong bird, the eagle, was roosting. Here the owl made a meal off the game he had caught, and tried to read the eagle's thoughts. The night was dark and thick, the moon and stars were obscured, and as the owl hopped down from branch to branch, to near the eagle, he stopped for a moment to look down at that daring chief. There he sat half asleep, his strong-ribbed quills dappled like the storm, his bill was arched like the sky, and his eye peered from its socket like the morning star; his back was dusky and broad as the thigh of a hill, and his crest stood up half erect like the grizzly's mane when he leaves his bath in the spring.
The owl attempted to end the fight by one bold stroke, and springing with the darkness around him, fixed the talons of his right foot in the eagle's eyes, whilst with his left he seized him fiercely by the neck, pinching him to the quick. The eagle sprang to the ground, but the owl still held fast, and he now shrieked, and rising in the air with the owl on his head struck him to the earth with his wings, but did not wound him. The eagle was now blind, and in his pain screamed to his friends to help him, but they, being cowards during the night, were still more afraid when they heard his screams, and would not venture out to help him. The owl soon rose, and finding his courage good, closed nail to nail and breast to breast with the eagle, but that bird, being dizzy from the pains in his head, could not get a fair hold of the owl, who was drawing his blood at every round. At last the eagle, being much spent, and standing on the ground with drooping wings, whilst his life's blood streamed down over his cheeks, the owl, emboldened by seeing him in this state, ran in and caught him by the ribs, but with his wings bent forward to encompass his foe, the eagle, with one stroke, pierced him to the heart. Just as the owl had reached the eagle's heart, and before the wolverine, who was hastening to the eagle's assistance, could arrive, both were dead.
As the wolverine was bearing the dead bodies from the field, a large rattlesnake from the wolf's army sprang round his neck and tried to choke him in its icy folds. The remaining owls, seeing that the eagles would not come out in the dark, made a sore attack [p.318] on the wolverine, who was nearly strangled by the snake; he rolled about, and growled fiercely, and striking the snake's stoutest coil with his forepaw, broke its back bone, but at the same moment his eyes were put out by the owls. The panther now stole to the fight, made a gallant spring at the snake, which still held on to the wolverine, and bit its head clean off from its body. The wolverine was scarcely freed from the snake when he began to reel about and soon fell dead upon the ground. As the panther crouched to engage another enemy, the female snake sprang upon him, and holding fast by his lips, twisted her body round his head, a hold well calculated to wear out his impetuosity. The blind hunter, too, led by the snake's rattle, caught the panther by the windpipe, and at the same moment the active marten seized him by the nostril. The hunter being on the same side as the snake, the panther was much embarrassed, and could make no use of his left arm, and though he bounded through the air like a whirlwind, his foes still held on; he was now much spent, with his tongue hanging out, when a brave little lizzard ran into his throat and choked him; thus died the agile panther, but that brave chieftain the lizzard did not survive, for his brain was pierced by the tusk of the blind hunter when pressing the panther's throat.
Now pale dawn began to appear on the skirts of night, and the eagles, pluming themselves, bore down to the fight. The foremost, wheeling exultingly in the air with the body of the female owl, was tearing the head from the body, when he was fiercely charged by the chief crane, and his loins pierced by the crane's bill, which sore wound brought him to the ground, still holding the owl in his deadly grasp. This crane, on withdrawing his bill, was seized by the eagle's sister, and his neck twisted off at the root, so that he fell dead to the plain below. The remainder of the eagles, after performing many deeds of prowess, were at last defeated by hosts of ravens, cormorants, loons, and ospreys.
Now the badger, who is always vigorous in the morning, with a snort challenged the otter to fight. The otter, with a wheeze like squeezing ice, walked on his toes towards the badger, and for a moment they stood watching each other, then closed, and wrestled fiercely. The badger laid hold at the root of the otter's fore arm, whilst the otter, hoping to disable him at once, caught the badger by the loins; that brave chief, however, was well clad with shaggy hair and fat, so that the otter's teeth were too short to reach any vital place. They thus struggled fiercely till the otter from pain in his arm quitted his first hold and seized the badger by the cheek, but could not force him to let go his hold. At last when the badger had nearly torn the otter's arm [p.319] off, and the otter had gnawed the badger's cheek like a bruised berry, they paused to breathe, but soon closed again, laying hold of each other's necks. The otter now tried to pull the badger down to the water, and the badger just as stubbornly endeavoured to draw the otter to his hole; at this time two large musk rats came to the otter's assistance, and one of these commenced an attack on the badger's ham-string whilst the other caught him by the fore foot. The badger seeing the turn affairs had taken, made a desperate effort to drag the otter into his den; it was a critical situation for the otter, one of the rats was crushed to death between the badger's thigh and the side of his rocky hole, and, after a long severe struggle, the otter yielded up his life, whilst the remaining rat ran off for his life and tried to lead a fresh otter to the badger's hole. The newly arrived otter would not go in, nor would the badger leave the cool shade of his lodge. The remainder of the badgers stood at the doors of their lodges ready for the fight, but seeing many enemies about, and no appearance of the grizzly, kept to their lodges.
On another part of the field the lynx, after slaying a great number of squirrels, minks, frogs, and lizzards, was met by the marmots, martens, and ospreys, by whom, after shewing much skill and courage, he was defeated.
The bear's people were thus in sad plight, so many of their chiefs being wounded or slain, but he himself was a tower of strength. The old wolf had still many little heroes who had not yet fought.
The grizzly, who could have captured numbers of his enemies, and probably retrieved the bad state of affairs, allowed his pride and foolish sense of honour to get the better of his cunning, and would not come forth till noon when his enemy had appointed to meet him. The remnant of his army, though now bleeding sorely, and much discouraged, looked to the result with confidence, relying on the grizzly's well-known prowess. While the remainder of the animals were engaged much as has been described, and generally in favour of the wolf's party, that chieftain was busy making a bone sling out of the skull of a lynx, and showing his mole how to heat some round pebbles which he intended to sling red hot at the grizzly, instructing her at the same time, to come up as quickly as she could, when she heard him cry "A stone, a stone."
It was noon, and the sun was pouring down his rays from mid-heaven, filling all creeping and flying things with languor, when the old wolf advanced to the fray, his head and sides well besmeared with white and yellow mud.
The bear now also came forth, slapping his shaggy sides with his paws; his mane, neck, limbs, and body, were smeared with [p.320] oil and mud, and in this garb he placed himself in front of the wolf, who thus addressed him, "Dost thou not know, my old foe, that knowledge is power? Thy haughtiness and gluttony will soon bring ruin on thy lodge. The wolf has taken advantage of thy laziness. Thou hast torn out the eyes of my son, broken down my lodge, robbed my wife, and hoarded up the food of the weak; thou hast slain the beggar and filled thy huge belly, whilst the poor crept hungry at thy feet. Thou art nothing but an empty boast that brings up the rear of the chase. Canst thou fight before the sun in the open plain with the little wolf? Dost thou not know that there is a thing now walking towards the earth from whose sight all people will run, and from whom thou wilt shrink in confusion? Know, my foe, that thy day of reckoning has come, and that thy tyranny is smitten by a cloud-born shade."
The bear answered, "All days are the same to the brave; his power and courage are always the same. If thou art good to the poor, how is it thy goodness makes so many poor? Thou art a little wolf of a long and windy howl; thy voice is only fit to confound the deer; thou art an active wretch, a swift thief, and a fine liar; thou art a wise grey little knave, when thy belly is full thou baskest and starest at the clouds, when thou starvest thou seest not the heavens. Thou art a good howler and an arrant coward, if thou but givest me one good hold of thy mane thou art dead;" and saying this, the grizzly stalked towards the wolf with a scowl of contempt on his big face. An arrow from the wolf's bow soon stuck in his thigh, and turning round to pull this out another was driven at his neck, but, that part being covered with a dense mass of hair and strong bristles, the arrow fell to the ground. The grizzly now rushed at the wolf, and the latter was retreating, when the brindled skunk ejected in the bear's face. The wrathful bear made a stride to crush the skunk, but the wolf, dashing between them, drove another arrow into his nose, which gave the skunk time to seek shelter in his hole. The grizzly, seizing a dry branch that lay in the sun, made a strong east with it at the wolf; but, being badly thrown, it was easily evaded. Thus they fought for a long time, until the grizzly became oppressed with the heat and very thirsty, but whenever he attempted to reach the water, the wolf pressed him closely, often leaving no more than a step between the grizzly's mouth and his own tail. The bear being now much worn by this mode of combat, the wolf howled to his wife:
"A stone, a stone,
A mole, a mole, Come, quickly bring the stones, I pray:
A stone, a stone,
A mole, a mole!
Thus howls the wolf to guide the way."
On hearing this cry, on came the mole as fast as she could, led by a stout
active frog, and the tortoise was made to carry the heated pebbles, in a hollow
shell of rock, on her back; the frog held the shell steady with one hand, whilst
with the other he led the blind old mole.
The wolf, taking one of the pebbles, slung it into the grizzly's mouth, which burnt him severely, and made him roar with pain. Seeing him in this state, two large wolves of the white tribe rushed in and gripped him fiercely, one on either side of the neck. In this position the grizzly gave the wolf on his right a blow with his fore arm, which brought him to the ground with torn ribs. Meantime the old wolf was busily employed in slinging the hot pebbles down the bear's throat, and, on the fall of his friend, the second wolf let go his hold and stood out of the bear's way.
The grizzly, dreadfully fatigued, was now sitting with tongue out and drooping eyes, when the wolf slipped into his mouth the last and hottest pebble he had; just at this moment a panther advanced and made a tremendous spring at the large grey wolf, bringing him down as if struck by a flash of lightning, and life left his body at the stroke, but the panther was in turn attacked by a dense cloud of wasps, herons, and martens, who cut his thews and harassed him so severely that he forsook the grizzly and fled for his life.
Now the old wolf signed to the cormorants, marmots, foxes, and loons, to go and sack the bear's lodge, but the bear's son guarded the entrance, and slew great numbers of them; however, on seeing a band of heavy beavers on their way, and well knowing how they could cut through his sinews, he forsook his lodge, and placing a load of meat on his back, growled loudly to his father, the chief grizzly, to follow him. This he did, and then the wolf and his hosts set up such a loud shout that it terrified the retreating bear and his friends, who made all speed from the fatal field.
Now came the pursuit of the defeated enemy; snakes hissed along, toads ran and tumbled, frogs leaped like shadows, mice squeaked as they ran, lizards with cocked up heads dashed onwards, the wolf, fox, and marten, waved their arms and tails for the people to press on. The tortoise and mole were left in the rear, the otter and beaver were in the van of the pursuers; dense crowds of cormorants, loons, hawks, ravens, magpies, herons, and cranes, screamed above the grizzly's head. Earth and sky re-echoed with the noise of the chase; the bear's camp was plundered, whilst the stag, mountain ram, and antelope, stood looking down from the hills, amazed spectators of the scene. A large herd of buffaloes, grazing on the skirts of the plain, were seized with a panic, and joining the retreating enemy, became [p.322] bewildered, and were driven over the precipices and deep rocky chasms, where not one of them survived to bellow in the morn. On their bodies the wolf and his people fared well for many days and nights.
CHINOOK JARGON, OR TRADE LANGUAGE.
[Note: The x here represents the χ sound, or guttural kh.]
Words of English Origin.
|How are you||kla-hd'i-ia||Shoes||shuus|
|To run; hurry||kuti-ri||Snow||snoo|
|Musket; gun||mus-kit||Sun; day||sun|
Words derived from Sound.
English and Indian Compounds.
|American (Boston man)||bo's-tun man|
|Petticoat (lower coat)||kik-ui-li koot|
|Englishman (King George's man)||kin-sho'tsh|
|Woman (a good man)||kluutsh-man|
|Winter (cold land)||kool il-la-hi|
|Ague (cold sickness)||kool sik|
|To untie, let go (to make slack)||maa-muk klak|
|To throw down (to make a smash)||maa-muk mash|
|To write (to make paper)||maa-muk pa-pa|
|To shoot (to make a shot)||maa-muk poo|
|Butter (cow grease)||muus-muus yl'is|
|Today (this day)||os kok sun|
|Drunk (full of rum)||paat-lum|
|Brandy (fire water)||p'j-a tshuk|
|Tent (cloth house)||sal hous|
|Sailor (ship man)||ship man|
|Midday (half day)||sit-kum sun|
|Moccasins (skin shoes)||skin shuus|
|The east (sun comes)||sun tshaa-ko|
|The west (sun sits down)||sun mit-ljt|
|Girl (little woman)||ten-as kluutsh-man|
|Boy (little man)||ten-as man|
|Morning (little day)||ten-as sun|
|Falls (falling water)||tum ud't-a|
|Summer (warm land)||uoom il-la-hi|
|Fever (warm sickness)||uoom sik|
Words of French Origin.
|Pork; bacon; pig||ka-shtiu||Foot||le-pi'-a|
Words of Indian or other Origin.
|By and by; to wait||al-ka||Canoe||ka-na-am|
|Other; another; different||al-loo-i-ma||To finish||ka-pa-at|
|Now; at present; then||al-ta||To steal; to destroy||kap-siu-o'l-la|
|Quick; hurry||hai-ak||Low down; beneath; below||kik-ui-li|
|Many; much||hai-itiu||To return; to come back||ki-li-pj'|
|Across (a river)||in-a-tai||To find||klap|
|With; to take; to get||is-kum||To go||klat-a-uo'o|
|That way; there||i'-a-uo||False; to lie; to deceive||klem-en-uit|
|He; she; his; hers||i-iak-a||Deep||klip|
|Bullet; arrow||ka lai-tun||Ear||kol-an|
|To break||kok-shit||Red; blood||pil-pil|
|To fight; to beat||kok-shut-l||Green||pit-shish|
|So; thus; like||koo-kua||And||pi|
|How many; how much||koo-nt-shik||Night||po-luk-li|
|Beads||kum-oo-suk||Above; high up; high; lofty||sak-a-li|
|Both||kun-a-mookat||Far off; distant||sai-iaa|
|On; in; at; about||kuup-a||Button||sil-sil|
|A long time||la-la||Half; middle||sit-kum|
|To buy; to sell||maa-kuk||Indian||s'j-udsh|
|You; ye; yours||mai-ka||South||st'j-uak|
|To stand||mid-uit||To jump||su-pi-na|
|To sit down||mit-ljt||Milk||ta-tuush|
|Ashore||moolk-uil-i||Want to do a thing; wish; like||tik-a|
|Food; to eat||muk-a-muk||White||ti-koop|
|Sleep; repose||muu-sum||Friend; relative; men; people||til-i-kum|
|Deer (applied to nearly||Grass; hair||tip-su|
|all animals)||mo-itsh||To come||tshaa-ko|
|Yes; surely||na-it-ka||Iron, or any metal||tshik-o-min|
|To see; look||naa-mitsh||Mistake||tso-lo|
|I; my; mine||nai-ka||Barrel||tuin-o-lits|
|Road; trail||oo-i-hut||To say; to speak; to tell||uoo-uoo|
|To exchange; to barter||oo-i-oo-i||One||ikt|
|Eleven||taat-la-lum pi' ikt||Thirty||klon taat-la-lum|
|Twelve||taat-la-lum pimaks||One hundred||taat-la-lum taat-la-lum or ikt tak-u-|
|Soon (a little wait)||al-ka ten-as|
|The sea (great water)||hai-as tshuk|
|Hold your tongue (finish talking)||ka-paat uoo-uod|
|To tie (to make fast)||maa-muk maa-ma-lost|
|To kill (to make dead)||maa-muk tshaa-ko|
|To bring (to make come)||oo-lo tshuk|
|To thirst (hungry for water)||sak-a-li tai-i|
|God (the chief above)||ten-as po-ltik-li|
|Evening (little night)||uik koont-shik|
|Never (not ever)||uik nai-ka|
|I don't understand||kum-taks|
Where are you going?
kaa mai-ka hlat-a-ud'o?
I am going to Victoria to see the Governor, and shall return in a fortnight (half a moon).
ndi-ha hlat-a-uad mik-to-lia nad-nitsh hai-as tai-i pi sit-hum muun hi-li-pj.
Is Victoria far off?
Not very far, about two days' journey (two sleeps) if you travel quickly.
uih hdi-as sai-ida, klufa-naas maks muu-sum spoos mai-ha hdi-ak klat-a-uaa.
How many salmon have you got?
ha'int-shih sa'd-mun mdi-ha?
Six, which you can have for a shirt or an old pair of trowsers.
tiibh-um kloosh od-i-oo-i spoos mdi-ha padt-latsh shut spoos o-lu-man sa-hd'o-hihs.
Have you any (no) venison?
had-lo mou-itsh mdi-ha?
No (none), I did not see any deer.
had-lo, uih ndi-ka nad-nitsh mou-itsh.
I want you to (my heart will be very glad if you) go as quickly as possible to Fort Langley, with a letter to the officer there, and bring back two men with their blankets, etc.
hdi-as kloosh ndi-ha tum-tum spoos mdi-ha hdi-ak klat-a-ud'd poot Idv-la padt-latsh tdi-'i oo-hoh pd-pa, p'i hi-li-pj ho-pa mdks man pi pa-s'i-si p'i ih-tas.
Very well, but I have no food.
kloosh, p'i had-lo muh-a-muk ndi-ha.
I will give you some pork, and your wife plenty of molasses and beads.
ndi-ka padt-latsh mdi-ka-ka-shao, pi mdi-ha hlutitsh-man hai-iufi, mod-las p'i ka-moo-suk.
I am very hungry.
hai-iuu nai-ha oo-lo muk-a-muk.
Come here, friend, I want to buy a horse.
tshad-ko siks, ndi-ka tik-a mad-kuk kiuu-ten.
How much will you give?
ka'ant-shik mdi-ka padt-latsh?
Fifteen dollars and a present.
tadtda-lum pi kuin-em tad-la p'i kul-tus padt-latsh.
I can shoot better than you.
uik mdi-ka mad-muk poo kd'd-kua nai-ka.
My father died a long time ago.
sai-iad dn-a-kadt-i maa-ma-lost ndi-ka pa-pa.
That dog is very old, send him away.
hdi-as olu-man oo-hok kad-muks, kloosh mad-muk klat-a-ud'd.
What are you doing?
ik-ta mdi-ka mad-muk?
I am only smoking (eating tobacco).
kul-tus ndi-ka muk-a-muk kai-nut-l.
I do not understand what you say.
uik ndi-ka kum-taks ik-ta mai-ka noo-uoo.
To drink (eat water).
In the Chinook jargon there is no article, the case is determined by the construction; the plural is generally formed by prefixing hai-iuu (many), and the superlative by prefixing hdi-as (very). In speaking, a great deal is expressed by the stress of the voice on certain syllables, and by gesticulation, or the use of those signs with the hands which seem to be intelligible to all savage races. Any number of compounds may be formed, and almost every word receive a new sense, by prefixing muk-a-muk (to eat or take anything in the mouth, and mda-muk (to make or cause).
VOCABULARY OF COWITCHAN AND SUMASS-CHILUKWEYUK.
|Brother||sit-la-ta||suaa-ka nis-i i-ia|
|Town; village; house||laa-lum||laa-lum|
|Morning||a-maa-mil su'j-il||mas-min u'j-il|
|Leaf (of a tree)||haa-1'i-tan||spaal-tan|
|Handsome||j saat-sus||j o's-is|
|Eleven||oo-pul 'its lut-sa||oo-pun its nut-sa|
|Twelve||oo-pul its a-saal||oo-pun its a-saal|
Additional words collected at Sumass and Chilukweyuk
|Crown of the head||skoo-ta-lux||Hat||iaas-ok|
|The Deity, God||ts'i-tsil, si-aam||Blanket||pa-ktil-a-uat|
|Pole used in poling canoe||sok-ten||Midday||tox suj-il|
|Stone hammer||shtaalt-sish||East wind||so'o-titsh|
|Wooden chisel||xo-haat||West wind||is-tshaa-kum|
|Rush used for making mats||saa-kan||Cedar bark||sko-ua|
|Eating trough||la-shaan||Prairie land||spexl-kul|
|Straw berry||is-tshi-ia||A cripple, Deformed||spaa-tshis|
|Grizzly bear||kuaa-tshin||To fire a gun||ktia-lix|
|Skunk||tsa-paak||To do, To make||i-js|
|White headed eagle||po-kus||To break||li-hik|
|How much||kuaa-la||Fort Hope||tskals|
|How many||kuaa-los||Fort Langley||kuoo1t-l|
|What||int-si-aa-mi||Victoria, V. I.||tso'o-mas|
Proper Names of Men and Women.
SUJ-EL-PA. COLVILLE INDIANS.
|Old man||klax-klax-aap||Fingers||tso'o ujkst|
|Father||(m.) la-oo, (f.) mes-tum||Heart||spoos|
|Mother||(m.) skoo-is (f.) too-um||Blood||mil-ki'-ia|
|Brother||(eld.) el-kax-tsa, (yr.)||Bow||tshi-kua-nik|
|Sister||(eld.) el-ki'-ka, (yr.)||Kettle||xlkap|
|Gloves||speks||Gum of pine||tf-t-sa|
|Canoe (wooden)||stadt-lam||Flesh, meat||slouk|
|Gun||su-lui-lo-min||Buffalo, also||(masc.) sta-máalt|
|Smoke (of a||spo-ual||Rabbit||spep-a-li-na|
|Pine||saa-tulp (pinus ponde-||Bird||ska-kati-ka|
|Larch||tshüu-kuals||Feather||spuumt. (This word is|
|Leaf||pixsh-kul||also used for the fur of animals)|
|Priest||li-kuj’l||A long time ago||k-saa-pa|
|White||paá-uk||Bye and bye||kuan-in-ul|
|Small||kek-ui-iud-ma||Eleven||oó-pun-ikst cit naks|
|Old||klax-klax-adp||Twelve||oó-pun-ikst cit a-sfial|
(good for nothing)
(a term of derision)
|I||int-sa.. in...a||To stand||tad-lix|
|He||tsbi-n’iils||To come||shuó-ix... uj skitsh|
|Ye||fin-ui an. ..ak||To take||skui-nfim.. .skuint|
|All||si-ad||To pack a horse||skuelt|
|Many; much||ui-aat||Look (there)!||afit-sunt|
|How many||kuaa-nix||That is just right, or|
|But||pin||that suits you exactly||uj puut|
|Very||si-si-uds||Oh! I understand||aa a-mafi-pi-nudnt|
|Already; now||klaa||Have you any, or|
|Perhaps||mad-delt||have you no?||fim-ak uópt|
|Near||ki-kat||I have finished, and|
|Far off||li-koot||am going away||uj tshins hud-i|
|Above; high up||am-uist||I am||tshin tshaa|
|Below; under||ni-hudt||What do you want?||staam an-ax-a-|
|To-day; now||o-pi-naa. Same word||mafi-nax fin-ui|
used for now, immediately
|What do you say?||staam aks kuel|
|To-morrow||hax-a-lip||My house||in tshaa-tux|
|My heart||a spoos||Your heart||ak spoos|
|Very cold||si-si-utis tsaalt||Very strong tobacco||si-si-utis si-maa-nux|
|Your house||an tshaa-tux|
Proper Names of Men.
Spokan and Kalispelm.
|Woman||si maam||Flesh, meat||skj'1-tik|
The words given above are those which differ from the Colville or "Sweielp" Indians and for facility of reference, the same numbers are used in the two vocabularies; the remaining words are identical in the three tribes. A slight difference of pronunciation was very noticeable amongst the "Spokans" and "Kalispelms," the x of the "Sweielp" being generally softened into sh, as in the few examples given below:
1 This estimate was made in 1858-59, since which time the native population has greatly decreased.
2 The American dollar is fast driving the blanket out of the field as currency.