"Indian Occupancy" -
One Man's View
in 1880

The following excerpt is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed here are not the views of Rootsweb, or of the Rensselaer County, NY GenWeb site, or of its coordinators past or present. I personally find much of what is written below offensive. I typed the material exactly as Mr. Sylvester wrote it, and we present it here only because it gives a view from the year 1880 of the situation as it appeared to someone not closely involved who was writing at that time. Please note that Mr. Sylvester both influenced and was influenced by the thinking of the day. WE WOULD WELCOME an alternative assessment from a different source of the situation for Native Americans in about 1880 in Rensselaer County, or in the Hudson River Valley generally. We'd like to know which Native Americans lived where, and what their life was like, and the customs they practiced, and how they were treated both by the US Government Bureau of Indian Affairs and by the people who lived around them.

Lin Van Buren added, "In the passage below, I have added in square brackets [ ] information that I hope will help with the geography and history being described.


THE ORIGINAL HOME OF UNCAS

Rensselaer County was the original home of the famous Mohicans. Uncas, the last noted chieftain of the tribe, was once the lord of the territory out of which was carved the Manor of Rensselaerswick, or at least that part of the manor which lay to the eastward of the Hudson. The Mohicans, or Ma-hi-cans, as the Dutch called them, occupied the region that now comprises the southern part of the county, while the northern part of Rensselaer and the southern part of Washington were originally inhabited by a tribe called the Ho-ri-cons. It will readily be seen that the novelist Cooper [James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), who in 1826 published the novel The Last of the Mohicans] borrowed his appellation for Lake George [in Warren Co, NY], which he named Lake Horicon, from this Algonquin tribe, although that beautiful lake never belonged to the Horicons, but was always within the country of the Mohawks, the fiercest nation of the Iroquois, their hereditary enemies. This leads us to the consideration of the two great families into which the Indians of the Atlantic slope were divided.

TWO FAMILIES OF NATIONS

When the Europeans first landed on the continent of America, the Indians who inhabited the Atlantic slope, and dwelt in the fertile valleys of the Allegheny range of mountains, in the basin of the great lakes, and the valley of the St. Lawrence, were divided into two great families of nations. These were soon known and distinguished by the whites as the Iroquois and the Algonquin families, so named by the French. They differed radically, both in language and in lineage, in the manner of building their wigwams, as well as in many of their manners and customs.

THE IROQUOIS

The Iroquois proper, the best types and leading people of this family, were the Five Nations of Central New York, called by themselves the Ho-de-no-sau-nee. To the south of the Five Nations, in the valley of the Susquehanna [Tioga Co, NY, flowing southward into Pennsylvania], were the Andastes, and to the westward of them, along the southern shore of Lake Erie, were the Eries. To the northward of Lake Erie lay the Neutral Nation, and near them the Tobacco Nation, while the Hurons, another tribe of the Iroquois, dwelt along the eastern shore of the lake that still bears their name. There was also a branch of the Iroquois family in the Carolinas, the Tuscaroras, who came north and united with the Five Nations in 1715, after which the confederacy was known as the Six Nations. (See Colden's History of the Five Nations.)

On every side these few kindred bands of Iroquois were surrounded by the much more numerous tribes of the greater Algonquin family.

Among all the aboriginal inhabitants of the New World there were none so politic and intelligent, none so fierce and brave, none with so many germs of heroic virtues mingled with their savage vices, as the true Iroquois, the people of the Five Nations of Central New York. They were a terror to all the surrounding tribes, whether their own or of Algonquin speech and lineage. In the spring of 1628, they made war upon the Mohicans, who dwelt on territory now comprising the county of Rensselaer, and drove them beyond the Connecticut River; in 1650 they overran the country of the Hurons; in 1651 they destroyed the Neutral Nation; in 1652 they exterminated the Eries; in 1663 they ravaged the country of the Pa-comp-tucks and Squak-heags in the valley of the Connecticut; in 1672 they conquered the Andastes, and reduced them to the most abject submission, calling them, in derision, the women of their tribe.

They followed the warpath, and their war cry was heard westward to the Mississippi, southward to the great Gulf, and eastward to the Massachusetts Bay. The New England nations mostly, as well as the river tribes along the Hudson, whose warriors trembled at the name of Mohawk, all paid them tribute. The Montagnais, of the far-off Saguenay, whom the French called th paupers of the wilderness, would start from their midnight sleep and run terror-stricken from their wigwams into the forest when but dreaming of the dreadful Iroquois. The [the Iroquois] were truly in their day the conquerors of the New World, and were justly styled "the Romans of the West". "My pen", wrote the Jesuit father Rageneneau in the year 1650 in his "Revelations des Hurons," has no ink black enough to paint the fury of the Iroquois.

The Iroquois dwelt in palisaded villages upon the fertile banks of the lakes and streams which watered their country. The houses of all the Iroquois families were built long and narrow. They were not more than twelve or fifteen feet in width, but often extended one hundred and fifty feet in length. Within, they built their fires at intervals along the centre of the earth floor, the smoke passing out through openings in the top, which likewise served to let in the light. In every house were many fires and many families, every family having its own fire within its allotted space.

From this custom of having many fires and many families strung through a long and narrow house comes the signification of the Indian name the league of the Five Nations called themselves by. This Indian name was Ho-de-no-sau-nee, "the people of the long house". They likened their confederacy of five nations or tribes stretched along a narrow valley for more than two hundred miles through Central New York to one of their long wigwams containing many families. The Mohawks guarded the eastern door of this typical long house, while the Senecas kept watch at the western door. Between these doors of their country dwelt the Oneidas, the Onondagas, and the Cayugas, each nation around its own family fire, while the great central council fire was always kept brightly burning in the land of the Onondagas.

The nation of the Iroquois to whom the Indians of the Connecticut Valley paid unwilling tribute were the Mohawk.

In the Algonquin speech of the Connecticut River Indians, the Mohawks were called Mau-qua-wogs or Maquas, that is to say, "Man-eaters." (See brief history by Increase Mather.)

The Mohawk country proper, called by themselves Gu-ne-a-ga-o-no-ga, all lay on and beyond the westerly bank of the Hudson, but by right of conquest they claimed all the territory lying between the Hudson and the sources of the easterly branches of the Connecticut. By virtue of this claim all the Indians in the valley of the Connecticut paid annual tribute to the Mohawks. Every year two old Mohawk chiefs would leave their castles on the Mohawk River, in their elm-bark canoes, and, crossing the Hudson, would ascend the Has-sicke (Hoosac) to its head, and carrying them [their canoes] over the mountain range, re-embark in the head-waters of the Ag-a-wam (Westfield River) and the Deerfield River, come down to the villages of the Wo-ro-noaks, the Squak-heags, in the valley, and to the Nip-mucks at the head of the Chicopee, and father the wampum in which tribute was paid. As will be seen further on in these pages, when all these river tribes joined King Philip in his attempt to exterminate the whites in New England [King Philip's War, 1676-1676], the Mohawks sided with the English and did material service against Philip. (See Conn. His. Col. Rec., vol. ii, p. 461, etc.)

THE ALGONQUIN FAMILY

Surrounding the few tribes of the Iroquois on every hand dwelt the much more numerous tribes of the Algonquin family, to which belonged all the New England tribes, as well as the Mohicans, Horicans, and other New York Indians who dwelt east of the Hudson, and were known as "river Indians".

Northward of the Iroquois were the Nipissings, La Petite Nation [the Small Nation], and La Nation de l'Isle [the Island Nation], and other tribes in the valley of the Ottawa River. Along the valley of the St. Lawrence dwelt the Algonquins proper, the Abenaquis, the Montagnais, and other roving bands below the mouth of the Saguenay.

The Algonquins and Montagnais and the other wild rovers of the country of the Saguenay, who subsisted mostly by the chase, were often, during the long Canadian winters, when game grew scarce, driven by hunger to subsist for many weeks together upon the buds and bark, and sometimes upon the young wood, or forest trees. Hence their hereditary enemies, the more favored Mohawks, called them, in mockery of their condition, Ad-i-ron-daks, - that is to say, tree eaters. This name, thus borne in derision, was given by Prof. Emmonds to the principal mountain chain of Northern New York, and has since been applied to its whole region, now so famous as a summer resort. (See "Historical Sketches of Northern New York", by N. B. Sylvester, pp. 39 and 40).

The New England tribes of the Algonquin family dwelt mostly along the sea coast and on the banks of larger streams. In Maine the Et-it-che-mias dwelt farthest east, at the mouth of the St. Croix River. The Albenaquis, with their kindred tribe the Toratines, had their hunting grounds in the valley of the Penobscot [in central Maine] and as far west as the river Saco [southwestern Maine] and the Piscataqua [between Maine and New Hampshire]. In the southeast corner of New Hampshire and over the Massachusetts border dwelt the Penobscot or Pawtucket tribe. The Massachusetts nation had their home along the bay of that name and the contiguous islands. It was a tradition of this tribe that they formerly dwelt farther to the southwest, near the Blue Mountains, and hence their name Mass-ad-chu-sit, "near the great mountains."

The Wampanoags or Pokanokets dwelt along the easterly shore of Narragansett Bay, in Southeastern Rhode Island, and in the contiguous part of Massachusetts adjoining these, being near neighbors of the Plymouth Pilgrims. The Nansets along Cape Cod were a family of the Wampanoags, and paid them tribute. Next in line were the Narragansetts and their sister tribe, the Nyantics, along the westerly shore of Narragansett Bay, in Western Rhode Island. Between the Narragansetts and the river Thames, in Southeastern Connecticut, then called the Pequot River, dwelt the Pequot nation; and between the Pequots and the east bank of the Connecticut River was the adopted home of Uncas and his Mohicans, whose ancestral home was in the valley of the Hudson, in Rensselaer County.

On the west side of the Connecticut, the territory of the Mohawks was supposed to begin; and in Western Massachusetts, and in what is now the State of Vermont, no Indians tribes had permanent homes. This large territory was a beaver-hunting country of the Iriquois.

THE RIVER INDIANS

Upon the arrival of the Europeans in the valley of the Hudson [early 17th century], or Shat-e-muc, two races of Algonquin lineage dwelt on its banks. On the east side were the Mohicans, and on the west side the Min-cees. These races were hereditary enemies of each other, and united only in their hatred of the Iroquois, to the westward of them.

Long Island, or Sewan-hacky, was occupied by the various clans of the Met-o-wacks. Staten Island, or Mo-nack-nonq, was held by the Mon-a-tons. Inland to the west [New Jersey] lived the Rar-i-tans and the Hack-in-sacks. In the region of the Highlands were the Nav-i-sinks. To the south and west, covering the centre of New Jersey, were the A-qua-ma-chukes and the Stan-ke-kans, and in the valley of the Delaware River were the Lenni-Lenape, known to the Dutch as the Min-quas. The island of the Man-hat-tans was so called from its Indian owners. Above the Nav-i-sinks, on the west side of the [Hudson] river, were the San-hi-cans, and in the region of Rockland and Orange Counties [New York state] were the Tap-pans.

Farther north on the west side of the river, in the counties of Ulster and Greene, were the Minqua clans of the Min-ni-sinks, Nan-ti-cokes, Min-cees, and Delawares. These clans had migrated from the upper valley of the Delaware River.

On the eastern bank of the river, north of the Man-hat-toes, were the tribe of Week-quaes-geeks. Above them, as far as Croton, dwelt the Sint-Sings, whose chief village was called Osin-Sing, or "the place of stones".

The highlands above were occupied by the Waor-an-acks, and north of these, in Dutchess County, lived the tribe of Wap-pin-gers.

Above the Wap-pin-gers, and occupying the whole of the counties of Columbia and Rensselaer, were the Mo-hi-cans [sic - above he says that the Mohicans occupied only the southern part of Rensselaer County]. Such was the condition of things when Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson in the autumn of 1609, as described in the following chapter.

THE MOHICANS

Rensselaer County was the hereditary ancestral home of the Mohicans up to the year 1628.

The Mohicans planted their corn on the fertile meadows which stretched along the Hudson, where the city of Troy now stands. Indeed, the Indian name for Troy, Pa-an-pa-ack, means "the field of standing corn". (See Brodhead's "History of New York, vol. I, page 534.) Their principal village was in the town of Schodack, in the southwestern corner of the county.

But little is known of them in the valley of the Hudson, for as early as the year 1628, two years before the founding of the Manor of Rensselaerswick, and only five years after the building of Fort Orange at what is now Albany, when driven from their ancestral home in the valley of the Hudson, the Mohicans, with Uncas at their head, fled into the valley of the Connecticut, and planted themselves on the eastern bank of that river, near its mouth, on Long Island Sound, and between that river and their friends, the Pequods. In the year 1637, the Pequot nation was exterminated by the whites, and the Mohicans were left to be the new neighbors of the powerful Narragansetts, who dwelt to the east of the Pequot country, on the borders of Rhode Island.

Uncas and Mi-an-to-no-mo

Some account of what happened to Uncas and his Mohicans, after fleeing from their ancient home in Rensselaer County to the valley of the Connecticut, will doubtless interest the reader.

Although the destruction of the Pequots relieved the whites of New England from further Indian ravages for a period of forty years, and until another generation of men came of the stage of active life, yet it tended to intensify the hatred which had long existed between the neighboring tribes of Mohicans and Narragansetts.

The Pequots, the reader will remember, dwelt on the eastern border of Connecticut, between the Rhode Island line and the river Thames, then called the Pequot River. To the east of the Pequots were the Narragansetts, and to the west of them, between the Thames and the Connecticut, dwelt the Mohicans.

At the close of the Pequot War [1637], the captives were divided by the whites between Un-cas of the Mohicans and Mi-an-to-no-mo of the Narragansetts.

These two tribes were hereditary enemies, although both were the allies of the English, and both aided the whites in the war against the Pequots. The deserted hunting grounds of the Pequots soon became a bone of contention between the rival tribes, and in the year 1643, war broke out between them. Previous to the commencement of hostilities, the emissaries of Miantonomo had made several attempts upon the life of Uncas, and Uncas had made complaints to the whites of such treatment.

Miantonomo had also made an ineffectual attempt, about the year 1642, to unite the New England tribes in a war of extermination against the whites. Failing in this scheme, and incensed at Uncas for not joining him in it, he determined to make war upon the Mohicans.

In the month of July, in the year 1643, Miantonomo, without giving Uncas any previous notice of his intentions or making any formal declaration of war, set out at the head of some seven hundred warriors to invade the Mohican country. Uncas, learning of his approach, hastily fathered an equal number, and marched out to bar his progress.

The two hostile bands met upon the old Pequot hunting ground, and halting in sight of each other, with a level plain between them, the two rival chieftains advanced to the front and held a parley.

The wildest romance of the old wilderness warfare presents no more striking scene than this meeting of Uncas and Miantonomo. Uncas proposed that they, the two chieftains, should there and then decide the contest by single combat, and that the people of the one vanquished should become the subjects of the victorious sachem. To this proposal of Uncas, Miantonomo made haughty answer: "My warriors have come to fight, and they shall fight."

Upon receiving this defiant answer, Uncas fell prostrate upon the ground. It was the signal for his men to rush over his body upon the Narragansetts. The Mohicans were victorious. Miantonomo was overtaken in the flight, and made a prisoner by Uncas. Haughty and defiant still, he would ask no quarter; but Uncas for the time being saved his life, and delivered him to the English, at Hartford, for safe-keeping.

The case of Miantonomo was brought by Uncas before the commissioners of the United Colonies, and they ordered that he should suffer death, and that Uncas should be his executioner. He was taken to the field of the fight, and, in the presence of two Englishmen, a warrior of Uncas sank a hatchet into his brain. The spot where he is said to have fallen, in the town of Norwich, Conn., is marked by a block of granite, simply inscribed with his name, MIANTONOMO. Thus died the second most prominent Indian conspirator against the whites - the prototype, after Sas-sa-cus the Pequot, of Philip, of Pontiac, of Tecumseh, of Black Hawk, and of Osceola.

The part which the English took in this quarrel between Uncas and Miantonomo, still rankling in the minds of the Narragansetts, doubtless led to their union with the Pokanokets, nearly thirty years later, in Philip's War. The killing of the Narragansett sachem in cold blood, while a prisoner-of-war, was without doubt justifiable in the minds of the New England fathers as a means of self-defense, for had his life been spared the dreadful scenes of Philip's War would, it is probable, have been enacted long before they were, while the colonists were too feeble to withstand the savages; yet it must be confessed that the side of the Indian has never been written. (See "History of Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts," by N. B. Sylvester, vol. I, p. 53).

SCHAGHTICOKE INDIANS

The Schaghticoke Indians were fugitives from New England, who fled from the avenging whites at the close of King Philip's War, in the year 1676.

Mas-sa-soit and His Two Sons, Wam-sut-ta and Met-a-co-met

The powerful tribe of the Wampanoags, or Po-ka-no-kets, dwelt at the head of Narragansett Bay and along its eastern shore, and consequently were the near neighbors of the Pilgrim Fathers of Plymouth. Mas-sa-soit, the chief sachem of the Pokanokets, was always the warm friend and steadfast ally of the English. Massasoit had two sons, who were the hereditary heirs of his sachemship, named Wam-sut-ta and Meto-a-co-met. Early in the summer of 1660, Massasoit died at an advanced age and was succeeded by his eldest son, Wamsutta. In the month of June 1660, Wamsutta visited the General Court at Plymouth and among other requests was desirous of an English name. It was easy for the court to grant this request, and so they "ordered that for the future he should be called by the name of Alexander Pokanoket". Desiring the same in behalf of his brother, the court at that time ordered that Metacomet should from henceforth be called Philip.

But the reign of Alexander over the Pokanokets was short. It was reported at Plymouth in the summer of 1662 that he was plotting with the Narragansetts, and a message was sent to him to come to town and explain his conduct. Failing to come, an armed party was sent for him. He made satisfactory explanations and set out on his return. At the end of two or three days he changed his mind and turned back towards Boston. He reached Major Winslow's house at Marshfield, and there was taken sick of a fever. He was carefully taken home by water, soon died there, and his brother Philip became chief sachem of the Pokanokets.

In the spring of 1675, King Philip's war broke out, and for two summers devastated New England. It was a war of extermination between the white and red races, and for a time the issues seemed doubtful. In the winter of 1675-76, King Philip, with some of his followers, as has been stated in a preceding chapter, came over to the valley of the Hudson, and dwelt for some months at or near the mouth of the Hoosac [Hoosick River]. In February he returned to the valley of the Connecticut, or rather was driven there by the Mohawks, and mustered his clans in "Squak-heag," now Northfield, for the final struggle.

As is well known, the Indians, at the close of Philip's War, in 1676, were mostly driven from New England. In the autumn of 1676 some of the scattered tribes united in an emigration to the valley of the Hudson, and settled, with the consent of the Mohawks, at the mouth of the Hoosac, in Rensselaer County, and became known to the English as the Schagh-ti-coke Indians. These Indians dwelt peaceably in the fertile valley of the Hoosac until about the year 1754. They were fugitives from the Narragansetts, Wampanoags, Pacomptucks, Nonotucks, and other Eastern tribes.

About the year 1754 the Schaghticokes left their adopted home on the Hudson, at the mouth of the Hoosac, and joined a band of their old neighbors of the Connecticut Valley, the Wo-ro-noaks, who had settled, at the end of Philip's War, at Missisquoi Bay, at the lower [northern] end of Lake Champlain, near the Vermont and Canada line, under the leadership of the famous chief Gray Lock.

An account of the departure of the Schaghticokes from the Hoosac Valley is given by John Fitch, as follows:

"About the year 1753-54, and about the time of the commencement of active hostilities in the French and Indian war, the Schaghticokes had a pow-wow so protracted and singular as to attract the notice and excite the wonder of their white neighbors. During four consecutive days they engaged in songs, dances, shouts, and other ceremonies; and on the morning of the fifth day most of their huts were found tenantless. A man residing on the outskirts of the settlement had heard the footsteps of one Indian after another as they were running past his cabin, singly and at the top of their speed, the whole night through. Thus the entire tribe, which was now quite formidable and of much influence, without the knowledge of the whites, left their homes." (See the Historical Magazine, June, 1870, p. 388, article by John Fitch.)

SOCIAL LIFE

Forts

The Indians of the valley of the Hudson built their forts on high bluffs, near springs of water, and usually on or not far from the bank of some river. The forts were circular in form, enclosing about one acre of ground, and constructed of palisades set close together in the ground, and some twelve or fifteen feet in height. Within they built rows of wigwams along both sides of well-defined streets.

Wigwams

The Indians of the Algonquin family of nations built their wigwams small and circular, and for one or two families only, unlike the Iroquois nations, who built theirs long and narrow, each for the use of many families. The Algonquin-shaped wigwam of the valley tribes was made of poles set up around a circle, from ten to twelve feet across. The poles met together at the top, thus forming a conical framework, which was covered with bark mats or skins; in the centre was their fireplace, the smoke escaping through a hole in the top. In these wigwams men, women, children, and dogs crowded promiscuously together in distressing violation of all our rules of modern housekeeping.

Corn-Planting Fields

The low meadows of the streams in and around Rensselaer County were famous in Indian annals for their corn fields. Every autumn, after the fall of the leaf, came the Indian summer, in which they set fire to the woods and fields, and thus burned over the whole country, both upland and meadow, once a year. This burning destroyed all the underbrush and mostly all the timber on the uplands, save that growing in swales and on wet lands. Their cornfields on the meadows usually contained from fifteen to twenty acres of ground. One tool for planting was all they had. This was a hoe, made of the shoulder blade of a deer or moose, or a clam shell fastened onto a wooden handle. For manure they covered over a fish in each hill of corn at planting time. Their planting time was about the 10th of May, or as soon as the butternut leaves were as large as squirrels' ears. Some idea may be formed of the large extent of their planting fields when it is stated that the Pa-comp-tucks alone planted, in the valley of the Deerfield River, in the spring of 1676, the second year of Philip's War, about three hundred acres. Perhaps this was an exaggerated story, and that one hundred acres would have been nearer the truth. But Philip was killed in the summer following, and the Pa-comp-tucks abandoned their unharvested corn fields for the new home on the east bank of the Hudson, at the mouth of the Hoosac, as above related. They took what is now the "Tunnel Route" for the West. The women did all the corn planting and raising, but the men alone planted and took care of the tobacco. It was too sacred a plant for women to handle or smoke, and no young brave was allowed to use it until he had made himself a name in the chase or on the warpath.

Food

The Indians had fish and game, nuts, roots, berries, acorns, corn, squashes, a kind of bean now called seiva-bean, and a species of sunflower (whose tuberous root was like the artichoke). Fish were taken with lines or nets made of the sinews of the deer or of the fibres of the dogbane. Their fish hooks were made of the bones of fishes and birds.

They caught the moose, the deer, and the bear in the winter season by shooting with bows and arrows, by snaring, or in pitfalls. In the summer they took a variety of birds.

They cooked their fish by roasting before the fire on the point of a long stick, or by boiling in stone or wooden vessels. They made water boil, not by hanging over the fire, but by the immersion in it of heated stones. Their corn boiled alone they called hominy; when mixed with beans, it was succotash. They made a cake of meal, pounded fine by a stone pestle in a wooden mortar, which they called rookhik, corrupted by the English into "no cake."

Social Condition

Their government was entirely patriarchal. Each Indian was in his solitary cabin the head of his family. His wife was treated as a slave, and did all the drudgery. The only law that bound the Indian was the custom of his tribe. Subject to that only, he was as free as the air he breathed, following the bent of his own wild will. Over tribes were principal chiefs called sachems, and inferior ones called sagamores. The succession was always in the female line. Their war chiefs were not necessarily sachems in time of peace. They won their distinction only by prowess on the warpath.

The language of the Indian, in the terms of modern comparative philology, was neither monosyllabic like the Chinese, nor inflecting like that of the civilized Caucasian stock, but was agglutinating like that of the northwestern Asiatic tribes, and those of southeastern Europe. They express ideas by stringing words together in one compound vocable. The Algonquin languages were not euphonious like the Iroqouis dialects, but were harsh and full of consonants. Contrast the Iroquois names, Ta-wa-sen-ta, Hi-a-wot-ha, or O-no-a-la-go-na, with the Algonquin names Squak-heag, Qua-Boag, or Wam-pan-oag.

Religion

The Indian had but the crudest possible ideas, if any at all, of abstract religion. He had no priests, no altars, no sacrifice. His medicine men were mere conjurers, yet he was superstitious to the last degree, and spiritualized everything in nature. In a word, he heard "aery tongues on sands and shores and desert wilderness", he saw "calling shapes and beckoning shadows dire" on every hand. The mysterious realm about him he did not attempt to unravel, but bowed submissively before it with what crude ideas he had of religion and worship. The flight or cry of a bird, the humming of a bee, the crawling of an insect, the turning of a leaf, the whisper of a breeze, were to him mystic signals of good or evil import, by which he was guided in the most important relations in life.

In dreams the Indian placed the most implicit confidence. They seemed to him to be revelations from the spirit world, guiding him to the places where his game lurked and to the haunts of his enemies. He invoked their aid on all occasions. They taught him how to cure the sick, and revealed to him his guardian spirit, as well as all the secrets of his good or evil destiny.

Although the Indian has been for three centuries in more or less contact with the civilized life of the white man, he is still the untamed child of nature. "He will not," says Parkman, "learn the arts of civilization, and he and his forest must perish altogether. The stern, unchanging features of his mind excite our admiration from their immutability; and we look with deep interest on the fate of this irreclaimable son of the wilderness, the child who will not be weaned from the breast of his rugged mother."



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