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Customs, Manners, 8c. of the Inhabitants of
NATURE AND ART.
OF NORTH AMERICA.
Customs, Manners, Religion, and Government: BETWEEN Hudson's Bay and California, there are several tribes of Indians, some of whom are known to Europeans, particularly the New heth-aw-a Indians, the Assinne pætues, the Fall Indians, the Sussuces, the Black feet Indians, the Blood Indians, and the Paegans.---These are names given by themselves; and there are Spanish traders settled among them from the other side of the continent, making their inland excursions from California, as the English do from Canada and New Britain.
The usual dress of these Indians consists of a pair of stockings, made of pliable leather ; a sort of loose jacket with sleeves of the same kind, and over all a drest buffalo-skin. Young men dress their hair in different forms, and paint their faces according to their fancies ; but older persons seldom tie their hair or paint their faces. A drest
otter-skin, however, is usually wound round their heads, and the ends are suffered to hang down the back. The women's dress is nearly similar.
All these Indians are much inclined to a lean habit of body, and are, in general, very swift of foot. Charlevoix tells us of one man who assured him, that before he had eaten any bread he could walk forty miles a day without fatigue, . but that since he had been used to bread, he could not travel with the same ease.-As their country abounds with 'innumerable herds of deer, elks; and buffaloes, they frequently make great slaughter among them, from ja ridiculous opinion that the more they kill, the more they have to kill; and to this notion they are enthusiastically higotted, though, they sometimes find the folly of it to their cost, suffering occasionally such extreme hunger through it, that parents have been reduced to the sad necessity of devouring their own offspring. Yet they have a philosophy that reconciles all this, and a degree of composure superior to most men. An Indian after being out a whole day upon the hunt, exposed to the bleakest winds, without any thing to satisfy the calls of nature, comes home, warms himself at the fire, smokes a few pipes of tobacco, and then retires to rest, as calm as if in the midst of plenly. This, however, does not proceed from insensibility; for if he happen to have a family, and that family be reduced to extremity of want, his affection gets the better of his philosophy, and he immediately abandons himself to the most pungent sorrow.
Even then, however, be imputes his distress to supernatural causes, and to the capricious will of some invisible agent, whom he supposes to preside over all his undertakings.
The country they inhabit is very wild and uncultivated, but not so much as that which they chuse for hunting. It is a long march to reach it, and they carry on their backs all they want for five or six months, through ways so frightful, that one would scarcely suppose any thing but wild beasts would come there. In the hunting season, they encamp on a certain spot, erecting a temporary cabin, with poles fixed in the snow, and covering it with bark in a conical form. The erecting of these cabins is the work only of half an hour. . The snow heaped around them, forms a sort of wall which the winds cannot penetrate, and under the shelter of this wall, the poor inmates sleep on a bundle of pine branches as sweetly as on a bed of down.
In these expeditions, the Indians are followed by a great number of dogs, which are remarkably - faithful, and, for the most part, are bold and skilful hunters. Their masters taking little care to feed them, they are always very lean; and having little hair on their backs, they are so sensible of the cold, that if they cannot get at a fire, they will lie down upon the first Indian whom they approach.
The Indians rely much upon physiognomy, and perhaps there are no men in the world who are better judges of it; for they study only pure nature and have none of that respect for certain individuals which so frequently seduces civilized nations. Free from the considerations of interest and ambition, the equality of conditions is by no means essential to the support of their society. They have, perhaps, less delicacy of sentiment than the polished sons of Europe, but they have certainly more justness. The blessed influences of religion alone can bring the amiable qualities of this people to per
fection, and cure their evil ones ; but even at present an attentive observer may find, in their most indifferent actions, some vestiges of the primitive religion, which is probably more effaced through want of instruction than altered by a mixture of superstitious forms and fabulous tradition.
Their mode of dividing time is by months, some reckoning twelve, others thirteen; but they have
distinction of weeks, nor any names for particular days : yet they have four fixed parts in each day, viz. sun-rise, noon, sun-set, and midnight. They have no chronological computations, and if they preserve the memory of certain great events, they cannot tell the exact time since they happened. In counting, they reckon the units from one to ten, the tens by ten to a hundred, and the hundreds by ten to a thousand ; but beyond this they cannot go.
Their principal amusements are the game of the dish, the game of the straws, and that of the bat, besides a variety of dances.-The game of the dish is played by two persons, each of whom has eight liitle bones with six unequal surfaces, two of which are painted black. They make them jump up by striking the ground with a hollow dish in which they are contained, or if they have no dish, they throw them up into the air with their hands. If in falling they come up all of one colour, the thrower wins five : the game is forty up, and they subtract the number gained by the opposite party. Five bones of the same colour wins one for the first time, and the second time they win the game ; but a smaller number wins nothing. Whole villages are sometimes concerned in this game, and each party chuses a marker. The players appeas wild with agitatior,